Dawn, over New Whitelight. The white star blazing stark shadows across the craters that broke the horizon into a thousand dark orifices against the monotone sand landscape. Beauty of a far different sort than that of the rocky landscape of old White Light. The hazel eyes of the tall man who perused all before him swung slowly across the vista of this new home for his people. The twinkling of various lights and glittering arms of contructor's of all sorts animated the scene below. Expansion upon this harsh planet would take time, but it resources would suit the people well. The population was pleased with New Whitelight, and even more pleased to be free of the demands of the brief alliance with a certain Guild of Empires.
The hazel eyes fell finally upon themselves, and the man they were part of, in his reflection of the glassteel ports of his home. John Grimes High Chancellor of Whitelight and Grand Admiral of the White Fleets was a lofty and high-sounding title that he sometimes felt slightly embarrassed to carry. He regarded himself critically, as he the clicking hands of Kayfor managed to finally place the gold braided epaulet over his right shoulder. He straightened a few matters of his costume with more human delicacy as the robotic's labs best Gentleman's gentleman buzzed. "Your formal uniform complete, sir." the automaton droned.
"Assignment complete. Resume normal daily routine." John told the machine in his usual dull baritone voice.
"Yes, Sir." The tri-wheeled carriage spun and carried K4 off to other matters. John noted it turned and responed to the chime at his homes entrance. The servant welcomed Governor Martel and Lady Olaine of the Defense Ministry. "Blinding Light, High Chancellor." the Governor announced in salute.
"Blinding Light, Governor. I trust you have not arrived at this early hour merely as a social call?" John returned as he walked to greet his guests, and lifted the rather pudgy paw of Lady Olaine. He kissed only the air above her hand, and gave her a thin smile. This smile faded as he regarded the Governor. "Now, Lord Governor, our paltry defenses and meager rate of erecting them is upon you, to explain. Not before your Lady, of course, but surely the matter of singular importance at this moment."
John turned back to his desk and retreated to his chair. The shifting of its cushions as it adjusted to him always made him uncomfortable until he was comfortable. The Governor dismissed his wife to a far corner where she pretended to be facinated by a painting on the wall. The Governor stood before the High Chancellor and let forth a rather langorous sigh. "Chancellor, we have only a few constructors and they have been spread thinly amongst the departments. Our Defenses can only be accelerated if we concentrate the replication and constructors solely on such."
John Grimes folded his fingers before him and thought briefly. He tapped up a holoscreen in the center of his desk and then input a few requests and held still as the recognition software verified him. He gazed at the data then shifted his focus to the Governor now enhanced by the blurry blue-white data hovering between them. "Very well, though I see a lack of detail in your documentation, and find far too much of your time is spent upon frivalous passtimes, I will issue orders to pull the Contructors from Habitat when they complete the latest project. They will be assigned to Defense department until needed again."
This first meeting of the day completed, John rose from his chair to complete the obligatory farewell to the Governor and his Lady, but paused as his door was abruptly thrown open. A curiously entrancing voice, even when distraught, filled his office. "Get your 'bot paws off me, you wheezing appliance." wailed the voice of a pissed off angel, who swept into John's presense in a swiftly striding flow of white gown and auburn curls set with flaring green eyes that popped wide as they regailed the High Chancellor and the others in the room. The vision in white made a curious gulping noise and dropped to the floor in a graceful and swift bow.
Before the woman could speak the Governor coughed and motioned his wife towards the younger woman, "I apologize for my daughter's disturbance and lack of manners, Chancellor. She has been living aboard various ships till her Lord Captain husband suffered a misfortune and perished. Allow me to introduce Mrs. Myrinette Martel."
John walked over to the newest adornment to his office and extended his hand. "Mistress Martel, I am charmed to make your aquaintance." he told her with a bit more than the usual smile upon his thin hard lips. "Do forgive my protocol automaton. It was poorly programmed." and he assisted her to rise. Suddenly concerned with appearances, his large hand returned to smooth through his own silvered hair. The shoulders squared, and he felt himself reacting as some rediculous primary school lad before the woman. "I find her presence a delight." he told the Governor as he turned back to his desk. "So, Mistress Martel, I assume you've burst into my office with at least tales of a planet-wide plight?"
The woman blushed but her eyes held a pride and she clutched her skirts and walked slowly to a chair opposite the Chancellor's desk. She did not ask, but simply sat down, and smoothed over her gown as John's small smile was returned in kind. "No, High Chancellor, I did not have anything so urgent." The lifted a delicate hand and pushed back one unruly lock of hair, "I was aggitated at my Father for insisting I remain with our carriage." She glanced at her parents, "and further put out by the failure of the number three repulsor, a turbocooling breakdown."
The woman was not guessing, by her tone, and John elevated his respect for the woman. "You were an officer and wife on your Husband's ship?" John asked.
While her mother sighed indignantly, Mistress Martel spoke softely. "I was Engineering Officer." This admission pulled an even greater sigh from both her parents. Grimes chuckled, his smile becoming even more genuine. "I see, well, than I should like it very much if you would tell me as an officer of some distinction, what you believe to be the cause of the delays in your Fathers direction of our Defenses."
Both parents fired warning shots with their eyes at their daughter, but the daughter's eyes lit like green fire. "Quite simple. My father need only ignore all of my mothers insistance upon social functions and protocol, and her sway over his delegation of authority to the lessor qualified persons in Defense Department. He needs to be away from Mother long enough to remember his duty, and again use the quite excellent managerial mind he has."
John wasn't sure what was more amusing. The wicked smile upon the beautiful Myrinette's face, or the bulging eyes of her pudgy mother. He was in his own offices, and did not withhold his laughter. He rose and strode about his desk, to extend his hand to the woman. "On my honor, Mistress Martel, you have made my morning. Will you break your fast with me?"
The young woman nodded her acent to his offer and rose to lay her fore-arm over his own. John pulled his collar loose a bit and started towards the office doors. The Governor slid slowly up beside his wife, and the two parents stood looking aghast as their wayward child walked beside the High Chancellor. "Governor Martel, please send your wife back to your home, and return to your duties. I also order that your wife be assigned to Habitat department duties for the next standard month, in sector four nine seventy five. Her attention to the more refined qualities of decor and social procedures will be most welcome there." John did not pause his slow exit of his own office. Nor did he look at the pair very long. He tapped the commbadge of his uniform, and summoned his own carriage. The gilded black and faux wood open-topped vehicle arrived with a smooth hum, and he assisted Mistress Martel into the rear of the coach seating. "Financial District, Klien's Bakery." he told the auto-pilot. The carriage rose and accelerated and paused only to meld with traffic in the dully gleaming walls of Tube 412, towards fine food, and for once with excellent company.
This story was submitted by Wm.Gant for the AE Stories Event. Find Details on sending your own Story here.