​Damp air surrounded Mirella as she awoke. Something had woken her, unable to tell what it was she rose, clutching the bedsheet to her chest. Beside her the bed was empty, had Phineas gone? She saw a cold glimmer of light from the adjacent room. As Admiral she had the luxury of a bigger quarters, even though she was single. Sometimes it bothered her that she lacked the greatness of character to deny these. 

The cold light emanated from a tablet, it was in Phineas’ hands, he typed frantically. It was that light thatn had woken her. “Chatting with your other girlfriend?” She joked, got chuckles from Phin as a reply. “No. Killian contacted me to ask where I was, and after I had told him I was sleeping out, he replied with a winking smiley face and went to bed. After that I thought, why not get a bit of work done?” He showed her his screen. 

It was split in two, the upper half showed various images, the lower half was text. “I received another interesting information just now.” He smiled. 

As Mirella sat down on the cushioned seat in front of him he opened something on his tablet. “You convinced gamma. The motion carries, Destiny is not going to disturb the natives on RV-p296.” Biting her lip Mirella nodded. “I can be convincing, it was just a matter of history.” 

They both leaned back, staring at each other. Where would they go from where they were? “What kind of time consuming work awaits you and the other scientists now?” Mirella feared the answer to the question of their relationship. 

“Sadly, not much. Most of the research will be done by Explorer, what they don’t work out, we get. Horizon is, understandably short on man power, they are currently trying to figure out, how to build something out of the nothingness of space.” Although dark, they both snickered at his remark. “But what interests me more at the moment than the colonisation of 296, is, where do we go from here?”

The question she had dreaded to ask, finally spoken out. 

Still biting on her lip Mirella shrugged her shoulders. “Where these things normally lead to. Us being together, maybe move in together?” 

Phineas nodded with a smile. “Yes, I think I’d like that.”
After the crawler had returned to Eagle the drone set off. It had received new orders from the orbiter, avoid contact with the natives. Ascending higher to avoid being too obvious the Eagle continued with its original purpose. 

It mapped the volcano in greater detail, found it was active, but currently dormant. Turning north it furthered the mapped out regions. 
“Hawk and Eagle found the Twins,” the unofficial nickname for the two landmasses separated by the straight, “are populated all over. The natives are scattered, much about the way they live resembles nomadic, and semi nomadic tribes on earth, like the native american people.” It had been three weeks of daily updates from the probes. Of course they were old when they reached Destiny, but to her crew and scientific community, it was new. Phineas glanced over the table, to his joy he found Mirella attending the meeting. He did these every third day, when enough information had been gleaned from the sent data.

“However, the Owl on the largest continent has found that its inhabitants live in conditions more similar to the bronze age.” Images of towns and cities appeared on the screens. “They have agriculture and as far as the Owl could could find out, they have trade, and they sail the oceans.”

Orbital images of sailboats and ships in harbours and the sea popped up. “It is only a matter of time, until they find out there’s another continent.” Someone else in the room said, commenting on the images. 

Most of the conclusions and results were drawn by the Explorer crew, as Phineas had told Mirella, the Destiny scientists had not much to do. “Audio recordings of the different tribes, and nations, led us to conclude that they speak different languages. We haven’t deciphered any of them, but we’re working on it.” Proud of the work his department had finished so far and were in the progress of doing, Phineas let that information sink in with his guests. 

What followed was a excerpt of the Bussard on Equatoria, no traces of the native people, plenty of wildlife, fertile soil. 

“That was the good news, but there is a downside to it.” He displayed a short video, it showed trees shaking. “That was day 1. Bussard deployed crawlers, and seismographs. Day 3 and day 4, earth quakes. Day7, day 9, day 10 earth quakes. Then there was five days of rest, until it went on. The entire northern half of equatoria is unstable.” The orbiter image showed a series of fault lines running through the continent. “Bussard was sent to the southern half, which seems to be stable, but we have no information yet. I’m afraid the northern half will soon dislodge from equatoria. At least, that’s the conclusion that the Explorer geology department reached.” Soon, in a geologic manner of speaking. “Only one of the quakes was truly worth mentioning, the first one, then others were more like tremors, but still, any settlement plans have to take this into account.” 

After a few more minutes the meeting was adjourned, and Phineas headed over to Mirella. 

“I have had a glorious idea!” He smiled across his whole face, gently grabbing her hand. 
After they had enterd the cab he blindfolded her, before telling the cab where to go. She noticed only that they became weightless for a while, and returned to a ring. By the duration of the ride she assumed theiy either had gone to alpha ring, or subalpha.  

Leading her by the hand she soon smelled moist soil, and plants. 

After a while he stopped. She heard a door open, and a gust of wind blew in her face. 

It had come so sudden, so unexpected that it thrilled her. 

Goosebumps ran over her skin. 
He led her through the door, more wind gushed over her, again unexpected. It wasn’t like traditional wind simulations, not a continuous blow that varied in intensity. It stopped from time to time, came back in a gentle breezee, stopped, blew hard, and weakened. 

To her it seemed to change direction too. “I hope you like the wind, it should quiet down soon, otherwise my plans will be ruined, or so I’ve heard.”

He lifted the blindfold from her head. They were at the tracks, at the tea plantation. From the corner of her eye she saw the wind turbines, they paused blowing, turned, blowed in a random setting of intensity, and paused again to turn, also randomly. “It was a minor adjustment to the program.” Phineas explained the unusual wind patterns that had thrilled her. At his feet was a picnic cloth, and a basket waiting for them. 

Intrigued Mirella sat down, gladly accepted the sparkling water he poured her. Taking in the unusual scenery and setting, she was about to take a sip, when she noticed something at the bottom of her glass.

“I’ve always been an old school guy.” He gently took her hand in his. “Will you be my wife?” 

Stunned Mirella managed to stammer “Yes.”