Itinerary

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The door swung open, and Isaac's eyes crept into the triumvir's office. He swept his gaze past Quinn, looking at Caitlin's empty seat, and then he checked on Olyver's chair. With a grin, Isaac slipped in, sealed the room, and leaned against the wall. "Should I worry about the missing members of the triumvirate for this meeting? Dare I hope for pleasant news?"

Quinn grinned as he collected a series of pads, "Take a load off."

"Why am I here?" Isaac asked as he scurried toward the seat. Once within arm's reach he gripped its back, as his eyes narrowed, "I feel like a raw recruit reporting for a reprimand."

Quinn flicked his gaze up as he pointed at the armchair. "Would you just sit down?"

"I'd prefer you explain my summons."

"We need to talk," Quinn selected a pad and lifted it. "Now, take a seat and read this."

Isaac took the device and scanned the screen's contents. He dropped it onto the chair. "You dragged me up to your fancy office to get my opinion on the status of the last colony in this system?"

Quinn tightened his grip on the remaining pads and sighed. He painstakingly placed them in a line before him and folded his hands on his lap. He cleared his throat and eyed the pad resting on the seat's cushion. "Isaac, sit down and relax. I'd like you to pursue the files on that tablet. And remember that currently, I'm the only reason Olyver didn't get his way concerning your future. If you alienate me, you'll lose everything."

"Fine," Isaac grumbled as he snatched the tablet and dropped into the seat. He lifted the device and started reading the document. With each flick of his wrist, Isaac absorbed every word in the file. When he finished, he lowered the pad. "I don't see the relevance."

"Check the others before your lip gets you into trouble."

Isaac's head fell to the side as he drew the tablet up, closing the open document. As he flipped through the files, his eyes widened, "These are an eclectic collection of documents. What thread is connecting them?"

"Have you gone through them?"

"None of these pertain to flying a spaceship."

Quinn nodded and steepled his fingers against the tip of his chin. "Just skim them."

Isaac grumbled as he slumped into his chair and buried his face behind the screen. When he finished scanning the device's contents, Isaac laid the tablet in front of the triumvir. "The floundering settlement doesn't have all the resources they need to develop. Again, the relevance of the files is eluding me."

"Olyver's been pushing this agenda of his for quite some time." Flashing a smile, Quinn rose and walked toward a small table between his desk and Olyver's. "I tried explaining this to him, but he's too busy trying to implant his nose into his constituents..." With a rueful grin, he grabbed a bottle. "I hate to admit it, but Olyver has good taste. It is the only reason I tolerate his presence."

"Because he stocks quality alcohol?"

"Some of the best available to our fledgling federation." Quinn showed Isaac the label. "Can I tempt you with a drink?"

"Sure," Isaac replied, climbing to his feet. "Though, I'd prefer you get to the point. It's not as if discussing the lack of supplies for our newest planet matters to me."

Quinn placed the bottle's stopper next to it and poured a glass for himself and another for Isaac. "While certain people rushed us into our circumstances," Quinn glanced at the cups and groaned. He snatched one and downed its contents.

"Decided not to share?"

Quinn cradled the empty glass to his chest. "We're having trouble supplying them with enough raw materials to complete the terraforming process."

"How's that my problem?"

Quinn refilled his cup and sauntered back with both glasses, "Can't you think of a single reason?"

Isaac shook his head.

The triumvir touched the cups to his forehead. "I suppose we could examine this from a fresh perspective." He placed one glass in front of Isaac as he sipped at the other. "If we're unable to transport the materials needed by the platforms, how do we ensure the colonies receive what they require."

Isaac grabbed the cup and sipped the pale liquid. He stared at the alcohol as his lips curled into a snarl. "Olyver wants to transform me into a cargo pilot."

Quinn shook his head and shoved the second drink into Isaac's chest. "Relax and savor the liquor."

"I don't want to be relegated to transporting raw materials," Isaac's fingers tightened their grip around the alcohol.

"Isaac, stop being difficult and have faith in me."

Isaac took another sip from the glass. He eased his grasp and ran his thumb along the rim. "If you're not angling to shove me behind the cockpit of a cargo ship, what are you planning on doing?"

"The triumvirate is dispatching you to supply the newest colony with their required goods."

"That's the definition of a cargo runner," Isaac slammed his cup onto Quinn's desk. "Why are you doing this?"

Quinn drained the rest of his drink and snatched Isaac's. He cradled the cup of precious liquid and stared at the light through the pale amber alcohol. "Because that's only your initial responsibility."

"What other cargo runs are you throwing at me?"

Quinn took a sip and rested the glass on his stomach. "After everything I've done to protect you, can't you trust me just a little?"

"After dropping off the freight, what's the next assignment?"

"You'll be spearheading the travel to meet with Escort One. After that you'll spearhead further expeditions once the first planet is colonized, and you restock the ship."

Isaac's lips trembled as a smile formed. "And Olyver is fine with this?"

"With everything that's transpired, Olyver wants you out of his hair."

Isaac slammed the table as his grin spread to his ears, "I'm happy to oblige him!"

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