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“Transport of visitors from the Kismet is due in ten minutes.” Lieutenant Shepherd called his recruits to order. “You’ll act as a representative force, I want to see your best sides.” In his voice every one heard his plea, for them to be the best class possible. He disliked the fact he had to substitute for their instructor, but the recruits thought he did an excellent job.

Since the diplomatic visit to the Destiny there had been only two transports from the Kismet, none of people flocking to see the Rhama. Only now had the Sheiks given in to the pressure of their people.

“Alright, line up!” Gant barked, with relief in his eyes did he see Kaleb Johnson. The instructor he temporarily replaced. Still somewhat pale the man reached the group standing to the sides of the entrance.

He looked the recruits over, nodded with a satisfied look, then assumed position next to Gant. “You could reasign to this job.” He mumbled.

“I’ll take my chances in security, thank you.” Hissing the doors opened and visitors poured through the opening. They were lead by a young man and his wife, both in nobler garments than the others. “That is a prince.” Kaleb whispered.

“I figured as much.” Seemingly annoyed Gant hissed back.

Prince Shamim stopped a few paces past Gant and Kaleb, with their eyes fixed at the door where the visitors had come from, neither one had taken notice of the Admiral arriving.

“Admiral.” Shamim smiled benignly. “It is a great pleasure to be back on your ship.”

“Prince Shamim,” the Admiral bowed slightly. “it is always a pleasure to have you here. I did not know you were a follower of the Rhama?”

A smile twitched in the cornersnof his mouth. “There are many things you do not know about me.” Pausing he turned to his wife. “This is my lovely wife.”

Again the Admiral indicated a bow, but soon lead the guests of honor away.

 

“Why aren’t they letting any negotiations be conducted by the Rhama?” Dana approached Gant, ringing of cutlery and dishes filled the dining hall. “Because he isn’t meant to interfere with these worldly matters.” Wishing he had taken up his friends request to join him in that club on gamma ring, rather than dining with the recruits Gant replied with a passive aggressive tone. “One thing that the founders of his religion agreed upon was that faith shouldn’t interfere with life. From the Rhama you will never hear any comment about contraception, diet or prayer times.” Or homosexuality. “When you feel uncomfortable with something, avoid it if possible. Quite a reasonable religion if you ask me.” He returned to his normal demeanour.

When was the last time he actually had gone out? He didn’t remember.

Somewhat satisfied with the reply she got Dana sat down comfortably, beginning to eat. “I was curious sir.” Annoyed over the fact that she spoke while chewing, Gant looked up from his plate. “When my training is over, could you write me a letter of recommendation so I could get into security?”

“Once you are there, let me know and we’ll talk.” He smiled. “We could talk now, sir.”

Feeling her stare on him like fire Gant put his fork down. “You can’t charm me. I’m not interested,” he paused, looking around, “in women.”

Blushing Dana too put the fork down. “Forgive me. It was inappropriate of me in any case. I can understand if you’re going to report me.”

Winking at her, Gant told her without words that he wouldn’t report her.

 

“If you give us a list of your requirements, I am certain that we can arrange something.” Smiling at the prince, Pryia began to understand that his visit to the Destiny wasn’t purely a spiritual journey. “Thank you Admiral, since our ship was originally designed to be only a short term accommodation we lack certain requirements to maintain functionality for another two generations. The fusion power is another problem, the Kismet was designed to be powered with Antimatter, with a much higher output, systems had to be redesigned, but in some cases these modifications and refits were forgotten, or not followed up thoroughly enough.” Unlike at his first visit, the prince seemed much more settled, but a man can change in a year.

Pryia stopped at the double winged door. “In a few years we won’t be able to handle as many guests from your ship, prince. Children currently living with their parents will move out and occupy these quarters. Eventually the Rhama himself will have to find other accommodations.”

As the doors slid open the prince recognised the bald, black man with the greying beard sitting in the center as the Rhama. Quickly he called for his wife, together they entered and greeted the Rhama. Hissing the doors closed behind them, leaving Pryia in the hallway.

Intent on waiting for the Prince she paced through the corridor, until her glasses in her pocket began vibrating. “Yes?” She put them on.

“The supply carriers from Ericsson will be in range within a few hours. Thought you’d welcome an update on that.”

“Thank you Stanley.” She sighed glancing to the door. “I’ll join you for reigning them in.” Determined she began to turn away, strutting she stopped after a few meters. “Tell his majesty that I had to attend important matters, but that I will join him at dinner.” One of the few attaches to the Prince nodded, but otherwise kept his stern expression.

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