Getting to know each other by David Macfie
Jenny and Jamie were the last pair to join Komando-Ka. They met in a small meeting space near the canteen that Jamie hadn’t noticed before. It was set out like an office with a desk and chair on one side and two visitors’ chairs on the other. The commander was sitting in a Taurian sized chair, behind the desk and facing the door when the couple were ushered in by Teacher, who closed the door behind them. The commander wasted no time.
“Before we begin, there are two things I’d like to tell you. First, your idea of individual meetings with each pair has turned out to be a splendid success from my side. I have learned a considerable amount of very valuable information. So much so that I have cancelled the routine for tomorrow one more time. My seniors and myself, wish to meet with all of your group to take the exchange of information to the next level. I also want to ask the group how they felt about the meetings. Second, Pantando-Ka’s injury has been healed by our medics and he is ready to begin training with you. I have arranged a training room and the sessions will begin tomorrow at the same time as the rest of your group is at the physical training session. Is that satisfactory?”
“Yes it is and thank you for the feedback.”
“Good. Now to this meeting.” He turned to Jenny.
“Miss Warrington, may I call you Jenny?”
“Of course,” replied Jenny with a somewhat surprised expression. “I’d be happy if you did.”
“Thank you, Jenny. I know it isn’t customary in your society until people know each other better, but I’d like to get to that sooner rather than later. I’d like to hear from you first because I’ve had several meetings with Mr. Calhoun and I feel I know him rather better than I do the rest of you.”
“OK, what do you want to discuss?”
“First, how you feel about your situation then what are your desires, fears and concerns. After that we could discuss things that we, Taurians, could do to make this more of an adventure than a crisis for you.”
As Jenny frowned in concentration, Jamie smiled at how the commander had paraphrased his own words at the last meeting. But he said nothing and watched Jenny.
After several minutes the young lady had collected her thoughts and was ready.
“At first I was so scared that I couldn’t think. Then I saw that Jamie was here and he helped me to calm down a bit so that I could function again. Since then he’s been like a rock and I’m back on in control again. I know you took us as a pair, but we had only just met and hardly know each other. So having us bunk in the same room and in the same bed was premature and that shook me up as well. It could have turned out badly, but Jamie has been a perfect gentleman and supported me so that I’m not afraid anymore.”
“Would you prefer separate accommodation?” asked the commander.
“No, it’s not necessary. We, Jamie and I, have reached an understanding.”
“All right. Please go on.”
“Just like everyone else, I guess, I’ve also spoken to my family and friends and told them what happened. They didn’t believe me at first but now they do. Strangely, the more I’ve told people about the situation, the better I feel about it. I’m still uncertain and a bit scared about all the things I don’t know and what’s going to happen but, at the same time, I’m excited about the challenge. So right now, I don’t want to go home and I don’t think I’ll change my mind unless something awful happens. I think all the members of this group will see this thing through because, for all of us, it’s a career challenge to dream about. The chance to help create a new world, just the way it should be, is something that most people would jump at. I’d like to play my full part and watch Androm come to life with our help. My biggest fear is of the unknown. When I said most people would jump at the chance, I meant on earth not on a planet that’s twelve light years away.”
Jamie smiled at her and nodded. She grinned back, looking beautiful to him. She sensed his regard and smiled wider. The commander just watched the interplay for a while.
“You do like each other, don’t you?” he asked, with a small smile of his own.
“Yes, I’d say we do,” replied Jenny, without a trace of embarrassment. Jamie just nodded.
“I notice that Mr. Calhoun has mastered the art of strategic silence,” commented Komando-Ka, dryly. “He’s used it to his advantage against me several times. Would you like to continue, Jenny?”
“I think I’ve covered my reaction to the situation, how I’m feeling now and what my desires are. I’ve also told you my greatest fear. If I remember correctly that leaves concerns and what the Taurians can do to make things better.” She looked at the commander, who nodded.
“For me those two things are wrapped up together. My concern is that we really are prisoners and, as time goes on, that will become more and more apparent. So I agree totally with Jamie when he says that, for this thing to work, we have to function together as one team of equals and allies, with complete transparency from both sides. We need to discuss everything, understand everything and work together on solutions to everything. Anything less is unthinkable. Now I’m done. Is there anything else you’d like me to cover?”
“Please tell me what you think you bring to the alliance,” replied the commander.
“I’m a good, if inexperienced climatologist. I think that all the designs for the remodeling of Androm should be scrutinized with the climate in mind. We should look at what it’s like it now and build models to forecast what the designs will do to it. Then we should look at changing designs or changing climate to suit what we want to achieve. I think I’m a good team player and a supportive person so that would help me to fit in. I’m also the partner of the chosen leader and I think that bring leadership responsibilities for me also. If only as a conduit for others to him. I believe the leadership job will be difficult and sometimes stressful, so my support to Jamie might also help overall.”
“Do you have anything you’d like to add?” asked Komando-Ka. Jenny shook her head. The commander turned to Jamie.
“Jamie, it’s your turn. What have you to say?”
“Three things only, since we’ve had several chances to discuss my concerns and fears. First, I’d like to suggest that we change the routine so that we can add some real work. I’m not suggesting that the training isn’t essential, but there are some things I think we can get busy with immediately, so I think we should.”
The commander looked interested. “Elaborate, please.”
“You’ve spoken to everyone so you know their skill-sets. Jenny should immediately become involved in a climatology team. If none exists it should be created immediately and given the resources to do the job Jenny outlined. Brian and Amy Faulkner should join the team of medics that are working on your slowing reproduction rate. Peter Bishop should join the engineering team that’s is already busy on the planet and Gillian Marshall must be fitted into the Project Management group as soon as possible. These two may see problems or issues that haven’t been identified yet. It’s always better to do the job right the first time than it is to do it twice. George Montgomery and Elizabeth Grey should be part of the team that is planning the energy generating infrastructure for the new civilization on Androm and finally, Robert and Laura Calder should be drafted into the team that is working on the mechanisms and infrastructure that will make the planet self-sustainable in terms of feeding its population while protecting the natural resources of the planet. All of these people must have access to all information and resources required to let them be fully functional members of their respective teams.”
“That was succinct and to the point. And, what are your two other things?”
“Second, my only desire is to protect this group any way I need to and lead it to the best of my ability. Last, I will not consider going home until I have completed my second thing. Anything else, I will bring up with you as it arises.”
“You are a good choice as leader, Jamie Calhoun,” mused the commander.
“He is, isn’t he?” smiled Jenny.
“I think we are finished here for today,” said Komando-Ka. “If you hurry, you will be in time for you physical training session.”