Turn 4.1, Resonance.
The door slid open and Michaël stepped inside.
"You wanted to see me, sir?"
The man sitting at the desk looked aged. A feat that wasn't impossible for an HED, but was also needlessly complicated to maintain. His white hair tied into a ponytail and his trimmed beard indicators of a man who took great care of himself. Or perhaps that was what he wanted others to think. That wasn't a very alien concept to the Heightened.
Kightlinger was always one to carefully plan ahead a meeting. He regarded Michaël with a hint of jealousy. Brand new model, brand new skin cells. It was interesting how older models actually adopted human signs of aging and the newer ones didn't. Getting up from the desk and taking a few steps towards Michaël. Kightlinger's eyes narrowed. Looking somehow concerned, he raised one eyebrow in consideration. Eventually, his eyes opening slightly, an infrared command was issued out. It made a part of the wall slide in, revealing a map of their planet.
"You are being reassigned, Michaël."
"What?! No! I mean.. Sir! I have trained for this my entire life!"
"You're wasting your juice, Captain, you know you don't have the authority to decide otherwise. Tell me though, have you heard news of Amélie?"
Michaël paused, he wondered what kind of game Kightlinger was playing. Was this to make him jealous? To make him angry somehow? He had indeed received news of Amélie, and they were good. Better than he had imagined them to be, in fact. A new world was always going to be a fragile, uncertain thing in its first steps.
"Yes, I have. She's doing quite well."
"You think so. Now. But did you know, before?"
"If you mean to say whether I could accurately predict the success of the operation beforehand, I'd have to decline, sir."
His hand pointed towards the map of Resonance. "This planet wasn't always hospitable. We made it so. And unfortunately for us, the same goes for everything in this universe. I.R.I.S. was unwilling to satisfy my 'whimsical' demands, but it seems that Amélie has given them a report that has changed their minds."
Michaël wondered whether Amélie's report had been influenced by this man. It would have been simple enough. Unless she was more than aware of it. And she would have been, as well. The question was: Was she playing along with it, or was this guy being framed? And if the ship sank, was he going to sink with it? His mind calculated the probabilities of that happening, judging them to be at a fairly low level.
"... So. Now the Venturer has been assigned as an explorer vessel. The colony module is nearly ready and we will have another pilot to command it out onto its next objective, don't you worry. Your job is to make sure those planets we send them on are hospitable enough. You've been assigned to this new mission and we expect you to leave very soon. Any questions?"
"None, whatsoever. Sir."
"Very well. You're dismissed."
Turn 4.0, Conjecture
"Amélie, you should really go back inside. It's not safe out here."
Her co-pilot regarded her with mitigated concern. In one way, he looked worried for her, but otherwise looked more worried about his own safety. So very typical bravado. She nodded her head in his direction to make him realise she'd heard him before turning towards the landscape once more. Behind her, the sound of a closing door indicated she was alone once more.
It was beautiful. The pale, sparse grass, lit up to a lime color by the lightning in the sky. In the distance, enormous mountains profiled themselves against the horizon, spanning miles, almost as if it were containing the wrath of a furious, stormy god from obliterating what was left of this piece of land. Her intuition piped in, telling her that complete destruction by the storm was an unlikely scenario. Turning her back towards the land, she looked towards the huge dome of reinforced steel taking shape. It was insulated and grounded to divert the lightning away from the inhabitants. In the grass, dotting the landscape for kilometers wide around their compound were tall lightning rods to prevent most of the gruesome accidents. Being mostly mechanical had its disadvantages.
This whole mission was still an egg. An egg that would hatch soon enough. And she was its mother, in a way. Her good luck had held out for her until they had landed, and now she would need more than that to bring this project to fruition. She switched her augmented displays to her messages. Again, her inbox was full and several messages were in a 'waiting list'. Waiting for her to answer or delete some of the thousands of messages she'd received ever since landing. She had filtered them to highlight those coming from Michaël, but he had not replied yet. Maybe his message had been a front, and maybe she was being silly waiting for news from him. She'd never met him and felt that maybe she never would. Even if he was to command that other ship, he would end up at the head of a new world, or maybe even be killed in less fortunate circumstances. They would never meet. She would never know what kind of man he was.
She sighed. Getting up from her spot she slowly walked towards the compound. Up above, the skies were raging. They never stopped. Flying her colony ship down to the ground had been the most terrifying experience. And she had this feeling it wasn't over. Somewhere inside her, despite all the enthusiasm of the crew of the Settler, she felt down.
A message popped up.
Originally Posted by To Amélie; S/N: 0000859685
Hey Amélie, congrats.
Somehow, her circuitry warmed at the missive. It was short, but that was all she needed. Her steps became lighter. Her enthusiasm was reignited. She was going to do something about it. She was going to make it so that they would meet. That he wouldn't end up on a world before he even got to know her, and for that, she knew who to address.
Originally Posted by To Ad. Kightlinger; S/N: 0000000028
I have heard about your ordeal with I.R.I.S. and I believe I am able to put forward a summary that would support your claims.