Departure Day

Story: The Ambassador

Synopsis:

Ambassador Micha Torrence is thinking about retirement in a few years. She leads a team (her delegation) on various missions to establish treaties and regular relationships with civilizations throughout the galaxy on behalf of the Known Worlds Alliance. She is an empath, a student of cultures and languages, an adept in the Lost Arts of the Ancients and has something of a reputation for going on adventures.

Her role as Ambassador takes her to dangerous places. Mostly, she carries no weapons and needs to be resourceful. She’s more than capable. Others follow her willingly. She looks out for everyone.

Other Characters in this story:

Captain Alexander Logan is the new Captain of the Magellan. He’s youthful, well-regarded, well-mannered, a little bit of a risk-taker, and has been biologically enhanced, a common practice in high-risk professions. 

N’mani Anrmlr is the Ambassador’s Chief of Staff and bodyguard. He is Elythoian (a cross between the Elves in the Lord of the Rings and the blue guy from Avatar, no tail). He was only recently assigned to her delegation.

Other Characters to be introduced:

Magellan ship’s AI, Maja
Other members of the Ambassador’s delegation (including non-human)
Ship’s officers and crew (same)
Whoever the treaty is with (more options)


Departure Day

She turned over in bed for the fourth time. It wasn’t working. She couldn’t get back to sleep.

What time is it? she thought as she looked for the clock. Almost 3. Might as well get up and make coffee, she thought again. No one to hear her if she’d spoken aloud. She liked being alone and was comfortable with her thoughts. Considering some of what she was preparing to do, she appreciated having some quiet time.

She sat up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Sitting there for a minute, she thought about all the other times she’d gotten up about the same time. Travel was like that. It seemed to always be easier to get transport early in the day. It wasn’t as easy to get up as it used to be. She was getting older.

Coffee was ready. It was the one thing that she had decided to keep. So many other things she’d had to give up over the years. This one, this small thing, she wanted to keep. It wasn’t always the best, but she managed. Today, it was fresh-brewed and just right. She blew across the top of the cup and took a sip.

(audible sound / light – alert, communications)

“Good Morning, Ambassador.” came a voice from the comm terminal.

“Good Morning, N’mani” she replied. “I’m up. Coffee in hand. Everything is packed. I’ll be ready in about 30 minutes.”

“Thank you, Ambassador.” The terminal went dark.

It was going to be a long day. Departure days always were. There was the coordination and getting everyone on board and making sure we had our supplies and oh all the little details. She was very happy N’mani was coming with her. He’d been assigned to her detail during the transition. He seemed to naturally take over managing things. He knew what needed to be done and he got it done. He was quite remarkable. And practical. He was always on time and he kept track of everything with such ease.

She finished her coffee, showered, and got dressed. There wasn’t anything else to do. It was time. She went over to the comm terminal.

“N’mani”

“Yes, Ambassador.”

“I’m ready. Please ask the Magellan to start transport.”

“Yes, ma’am. The other members of our delegation will follow you shortly. We are scheduled to depart at 10:00 am local time. Oh, and the Captain would like to see you after you arrive on the station.”

“I understand. I will see you there.”

Yes. It was going to be a long day, she thought as she picked up her personal bag and walked through the door. It was going to be a very long day.

She walked down the hall to the building transport terminal. “Planetary departures” she said as she stepped onto the platform.

The departure terminal wasn’t busy at this hour. It was quiet. She took a deep breath, as if to drink in that quiet, and walked toward the gate.

“May I see your documents?” the guard asked.

She presented her charter, health certifications, and personal identification.

“Thank you, Ambassador. You are cleared to depart. Good Luck.”

“Thank you.”

She turned to look back one more time, as if to record the images in her mind. She hoped that things would go well and she’d be coming home in a few months. But there was no way to know until she got there. It could be longer. She smiled, turned around, and stepped onto the platform. It’s going to be another adventure, she thought. It’s always an adventure. 

She stepped off the platform on the station and went to the Diplomatic entry channel to present her documents.

“Welcome to Antares II, Ambassador. How long will you be staying with us?”

“I’m only here in transit, Commander. We’re departing the station as soon as my delegation and our supplies are assembled. I was told that Captain Sorrenson wanted to see me. Where might I find her?”

“Ma’am, Captain Sorrenson was promoted and reassigned to command Regulus V. Captain Logan has taken command of the Magellan. He’s waiting for you. (points) Up those stairs, second floor, turn right. First door on the right.”

“Thank you very much, Commander.” she said walking away. She knew better than to let show how surprised she was. This was a doozy. She took a deep breath and started up the stairs.

The Magellan was a Lewis-class star cruiser. It had every option and then some. Maja, the ship’s AI had been adapted for diplomacy. The ship itself was one of the best in the fleet. And she had a portal drive. It was fine to spend a few weeks on a ship at plus light speed in normal space, but there were times when being able to open a portal was very useful. She’d been on board the Magellan several times. It was a very good ship for getting into and out of trouble. 

Not having to deal with Sorrenson on this trip could be a good thing. She’d not gotten on well with Captain Sorrenson. Seemed they were always at odds about some little thing or another. So when she was on the ship, she tried to keep out of her way as much as possible. But there were times when she needed someone was capable of extracting her. Sorrenson could do that with grace and finness. Personal relationships, not so much. She’d heard a few things about Captain Logan, that he was generally well-regarded and capable. This would be their first meeting and their first mission. Not her preference. Not for this one. Another deep breath….

(knock, knock) She knocked on the door.

“Come in” said a clear voice from inside the room.

She opened the door.

“Welcome to Antares II, Ambassador Torrence. Very pleased to meet you.” the rather tall, well-built young man said, walking toward her. “I’m Alexander Logan, Captain of the Magellan.” He seemed relaxed and at ease.

“Pleased to meet you Captain,” she smiled, crossed her arms in front of her chest and bowed slightly with her mind focused on generating calm and trust. It was one of those old-fashioned elegant gestures that often surprised those she met for the first time, pleasantly. Only a few had learned how to do it. As one of the Lost Arts of the Ancients, the skill was only taught to a few. It could take years to demonstrate the character requirements to be admitted for training. Even with safeguards, sometimes there were occasional problems. 

Captain Logan stopped, shifted back a bit, and bowed. He’d never met an adept of her level. “Ambassador, I’m honored.”

“Thank you, Captain, but it’s my honor to be here. Besides, it seems congratulations are in order for you as the new Captain of the Magellan.”

“Thank you. It was a bit of a surprise for me, although I couldn’t be happier to have received this assignment. The Magellan is an excellent ship with a fine crew. I’ve been handling transport security and oversight for several emissaries in the Perseus arm. Their work was mostly focused on maintaining existing relationships but there were a few times when we, em, unfortunately had to use some non-diplomatic methods. I understand you have a first-contact charter.”

“Yes. Have you been briefed?”

“Only that I’m supposed to be here, meet you, take you and your delegation somewhere, and bring you home.”

She grinned. Big grin. “Excellent!” she said, taking a seat. “I hope we don’t need those “non-diplomatic methods” this time.” she said, looking a bit sideways with the implication that they could be needed.

He sat down across from her.

“We are going to the Butterfly Cluster to meet with the High Council of Kal’en to try to establish regular communications. If I’m successful with the first meetings, my delegation and I will stay to set up the future framework. Kal’en has been mostly receptive to our overtures, but we don’t have anything formal yet. And, like always, there are those who don’t want to see an alliance.”

“Okayyyy… So that first-contact charter really does mean first-contact, doesn’t it.” Grinning with just a bit of apprehension and awe.

“Indeed.” Laughing.

(audible noise, light – comm terminal)

“Captain Logan, the Ambassador’s detail has arrived on the station. They are waiting in the final departure lounge. We are loading their supplies now.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant. We are on our way.”

“Yes, sir.”

Both collect their things and start walking toward the door.

“Are the other members of your detail as interesting as you are, Ambassador?” Captain Logan asked, grinning.

“I’d say more so, Captain.” she smiled, wryly. “Shall we go meet them?” she asked, gesturing towards the door.

He stepped back to let her go out first and then followed, scratching his head. He was thinking about some of the stories he’d heard about her and wondering how many of them might actually be true.