The Conference The atmosphere in the Council Room was tense, made all the more so by the android who was seated in the Captain's chair. An emergency conference was held after the attack at the party. It was estimated that twenty civilians, not including Xavier Reeth, were killed in the attack. The former Captain was miraculously alive, but he was being monitored around the clock in case his vital signs changed. Sofia, who was a normally cheerful and perky person, was looking somber in her seat. Cradled in her leathery hands was a steaming cup of strong tea, which she stared into morosely. Daiyu on the other hand, sat as rigid as a board, hands clasped in her lap. Donald glared murderously at everyone, and his gaze stopped on Carter. "Son, I'm having my doubts about you doing your job." "He had a day to prepare, Donald. Something was going to slip up," replied Nira, eyes narrowing on him. "A slip up is if someone got apprehended for beating another citizen. What happened tonight was not a slip up, Nira." Craig glared at Donald. "Let's not argue. What happened tonight was..." "Ridiculous, we have shown that there is flaw in our system. The people will have our heads for this." David looked at his fellow council members without sympathy. There was nothing left to do. Mark didn't say anything, he only looked down at the table while the others started to argue. "Hey, don't push this shit on me Donald. I wasn't the one who suggested we have the election on the same day as the celebration. I had a single fucking day to make plans for what everyone here knew was going to be an incredibly dangerous night. Seriously, it's almost like you people didn't even give a fuck about that. But then the shit hits the fan and look who gets blamed." Carter raised a middle finger to Donald and glared. Vanessa interjected before Donald could respond. She had a way of catching arguments before they got out of hand. "The blame is not on Carter alone. We all had a hand in this. We should have seen it coming." "Hmph. I did see it coming. I told you all that we shouldn't have had that election. I told you that we should not have allowed an AI on the council. Now she's here, and look what happened. Twenty people dead and more dying by the hour in the hospitals. Thirty four injured on top of that. All because that old fool Xavier insisted on making that... THING his successor." Melina's eyes were fixed on Lydia, glaring daggers. Lydia sat slumped in the Captain's chair, wishing desperately that her first order of business as the ship's new Captain could have been for anything else. She responded without even giving Melina the grace of looking at her, eyes fixated on the center of the table while she thought aloud. "It was not my choice to be made Captain; it was Xavier's, and the people's. And from what I understand, the election only could have gone forward with a unanimous council vote - which you had to have agreed to. So this is as much your fault as it is anyone else's." She cleared her throat quickly after speaking. "Excuse me," she said, before redirecting her attention to something more productive. "What's the status on the White Knight android? Is he going to be questioned? Investigated? Do we have security footage from the event? Credential logs, scans of people going in and out - anything we can find to cross-reference?" All eyes turned towards Carter. "Yes yes, my team is already going over all the security footage from the evening and triple checking all the ID logs for inconsistencies. Artemis and the other AI, who we've identified simply as 'Z,' are being detained and prepped for interrogation. We won't be leaving any stone unturned, rest assured." Byron let out a sigh as he read over the holographic documents before him. Fingers relentlessly swiped at the projection that was clearly able for all to see. A rotatable, full body diagram of Xavier after the injury was displayed. "Projectile entering in through the right trapezius... traveled through his body, tearing his lung. Found it's way outside by blowing through the right pectoralis major. Nowadays this type of injury is easy to repair but hard to recover from. Usually takes two weeks to recover from but I decided that we will keep him under constant watch for three." The Level One representative tapped her foot loudly, a nasty expression on her face. Her gaze moved from Carter to Lydia as she put her thumb into her mouth, biting the nail. The glare she was giving Lydia was relentless. It was one full of hate. "How ironic that the same day we elect an android to the council, two others shoot out the whole area. I knew that this whole thing would be an issue from the start..." "What are you suggesting Councilwomen Rose? All of us have tried our best to do what is necessary for the ship. All of us are at fault here as long as we just argue about what happened." David sat back in his chair, rubbing his temples. "We need to avert a larger crisis." Daiyu leaned forward, voice strained. She avoided eye contact with Mark. "Aside from Artemis and Z, who else do we have in custody? Who else are we investigating?" "KT is already on it," replied Nira. "Along with some of our police force. They've been placed in charge of interrogating some prime suspects." "Be sure to reassure the public," said Sofia, looking up from her cup of tea. "Let them know that this problem will be taken care of and swiftly." "As if I didn't have enough to deal with already. Fine I'll make an announcement." Carter leaned back in his chair and tried to relax. It was obvious that he was a bit more stressed than some of the other council members. "And what about the new Captain? Are we going to have some kind of public coronation to 'honor the first AI council member'? Because I for one think that would be a terrible idea. Clearly her getting elected was the cause of this violence in the first place. The last thing we should do is give people the chance to do it again." Melina's tone was as condescending as ever. It was clear that she just wanted Lydia out of the spotlight. Byron studied the diagram before him once more, deciding not to put his two sense into the matter. All that was on his mind right now was making sure that the old Captain would be up on his feet in no time. "You what would be a GRAND idea? If we asked the Captain herself how she would go about this." There were two reasons for Daiyu speaking up. One was to bring the topic away from the attack, and the second was to slight Lydia. She of course had her prejudice about the Captain, but unlike Rose or Melina, she would at least be tactful in her disdain. Cool eyes met Mark. "Right now Levels Two and Three desperately need food and water. How soon can your Extraction Team leave?" The frigid tone was not lost on Sofia. In the many years she had been alive, she knew how to spot a lover's spat. She wondered if the others it picked up, but the woman wouldn't voice it. Let it to the both of them to sort it out. Mark looked up from the table to Daiyu. He didn't want to speak, the only urge he had was to leave. For a moment, Mark closed his eyes and collected his thoughts. "We leave in a matter of days. I'm sure we will bring enough back to sort those issues out." David furrowed his brow at Mark. "We will do our best to sort this issue out Councilwoman." Meanwhile, Lydia sat quietly, contemplating the prospect of a coronation or a ceremony as the rest of the council bickered amongst themselves. As much as Lydia would have enjoyed such a ceremony, not only for herself but for the symbolic good it would do for AI, the answer was plain and simple - no calculations or simulations necessary. "No ceremony." Lydia's voice cut across the other council members' discussions about extraction and supply needs as Lydia took the time to make eye contact with every single one of them. "The risk is far too great. We've lost enough lives on my behalf already. If we are to hold any kind of ceremony at all, it should be to honor those who were killed and to lay them to rest." "Of course," said Daiyu. "Arrangements will be made right away." "Good, then lets end this meeting and get back to doing our fucking jobs, shall we?" Carter pushed himself up and barged out of the room before anyone could say anything, prompting the end of the conference.