“At ease, Lieutenant. We needed to have a discussion before I turned you loose on Europa. I realize this will be the first time that you have been exposed to young men of your own age en mass. I also understand that with your unique Psionic capabilities, you will likely form a deep bond with one or more of them. Of course, the reasoning behind all that is still fully classified and they will not know at Europa Station. ”
“Your standing orders have not changed. You need to use your own judgment on whether or not you need to use lethal force. You still have your dna-locked side-arm?”
“Excellent. I’m sorry for the rushed decision to move you off from Earth. I realize that we gave every indication that you would remain there for a number of years. Unfortunately, we do not feel we have the time to wait. The Confederation Council has ordered that we accelerate the Spirit Project to be ready as soon as we possibly can. This means that we will need to rely on you even more than we have been for the Artificial Intelligence development for the Spirit Class Ships. The Spirit of Dawn is nearly ready to move from the shipyards to the dry docks for outfitting. The original AI for the ship self-terminated and they are now using the prototype that you developed. You’ll need to interface with it to speed its development. After that we’ll need to learn to clone the AI’s for the other ships. While you are at Europa doing real flight training and ship training, we will be relying on you to get the Spirit Artificial Intelligence to a combat-ready state.”
“My exposure to others is going to be significantly higher than ever before. I am not sure that I will be able to keep everything under control and complete all the tasks you have assigned sir,” Jeremiah said bluntly.
The admiral raised one eyebrow. He wished he had a lot more people that were willing to admit that they couldn’t do everything. “Jeremiah, I appreciate the candid assessment, but I am confident that you can do this. It is imperative that you learn to be around others. It was our mistake to keep you from it for so long, even knowing the other possible issues that could arrive from it. I think you will find at least several young men that you will be comfortable around.”
“Yes, sir,” Jeremiah replied clearly.
“Since you are already here, there is no reason for you to return to Earth, just to come back again. I have sent some VIPs back to Earth and you can wait here. While you are waiting you can visit Engineering. Your prototype is currently there. Reintroduce yourself. The Master Sergeant will accompany you until you are ready to board the shuttle.”
Jeremiah left the office and the Master Sergeant joined him. “Where to, sir?”
“The Admiral ordered me to go visit Engineering.”
“The maglev to Engineering is this way sir.”
It took about a half an hour to get to engineering. Once he was there, he was shanghaied by Commander Frakes, the Chief Engineer of Outreach.
“Lieutenant, your reputation precedes you. I did not realize you were still a teenager. Congratulations on your breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence. It is especially impressive, given your age.”
“Thank you sir. Admiral Sukolav ordered me to interface with the Spirit of Dawn’s AI. Is she available?”
“Absolutely. We just need to interface now so that you can help her develop with your implant.”