December 17th 2014
To: Rio Calabas
Re: I need your help
the account numbers checked out so i did my end. see attached. i hope you appreciate this. domestics arent really my thing.
you must really be obsessed with this casey if youre willing to risk you job at CCB. ill never get you mortals and your love.
just remember to act surprised …
Of course I want to know the truth. You saw what I found. The hidden credits. The fake appointments in our mG sched. Casey’s hiding something from me and I need to know what it is. This is the person I’m sharing my life with. I can barely sleep anymore. Whatever the truth, I have to know.
Hopefully this will prove how serious I am. Attached are the account numbers you asked for.
< attachment: accountlisting.ssp >
… // ENCRYPTIONFORGE //
*/ COMM MESSAGE ID: $Fg111-Gh34, prtcpnts: Casey Thilo; Aimé Aliker /*
THILO: Captain Aliker?
ALIKER: Please, Casey, I’ve told you, call me Aimé.
THILO: Sorry, Aimé, I just keep picturing you wearing the hat on your spectrum photo and I can’t help but think captain. I really do appreciate you being so accommodating with the last minute comm. Rio’s schedule changed so I wanted to make sure he was out of the apartment when – I’m rambling aren’t I?
ALIKER: [laughter] A little. But don’t worry, on you it comes off quite charming.
THILO: [laughter] You’re quite the charmer yourself. Thanks for being patient with me and my fretting.
ALIKER: That’s what partners do for each other.
THILO: We’re partners now?
ALIKER: You’re funding my entire expedition, Casey, I don’t know what else I’d call it.
THILO: Handing over credits is the easy part. You’re the one who’s going to have to be out there for months on end.
ALIKER: Please. I love it. The long moments of quiet punctuated by the intense thrill of discovery. Every moment, every emotion, just feels stronger when I’m out there. I don’t know how to describe the feeling really. When I’m back planetside, even with the rush and all the crowds, it’s like I’m in a fog. But when I’m on the bridge of the Śānti everything becomes so clear and … I’m the one rambling now.
THILO: You’re almost making me want to come along.
ALIKER: You could. I’ve read your papers. Any crew would be lucky to have a physicist of your caliber.
THILO: You actually read my research? Color me impressed.
ALIKER: I like to know who I’m getting into bed with. I don’t just take credits from anybody.
THILO: I bet you say that to all your generous benefactors.
ALIKER: You know, I was only half kidding about you joining the expedition. Imagine how much better it would be if you helped discover the new system yourself.
THILO: Thank you for the offer, seriously, but as silly as it sounds, I don’t think I could be away from Rio for that long. Not to mention it might ruin the surprise a little.
ALIKER: Yeah, he probably would start to suspect something if you went away for six months.
THILO: Are you still on schedule to leave this Friday?
ALIKER: Got word this morning that the last of the supplies will be loaded up tomorrow.
THILO: This is so exciting. I have no idea how I’m going to last a whole year without saying anything to Rio.
ALIKER: Casey, I know I’ve said this before, but you understand that there’s no –
THILO: I know, Aimé. You can’t guarantee that you will find a new system. Even if it is only the slimmest of chances it’s still worth it.
ALIKER: Have you figured out what your plan B is?
THILO: I don’t even want to think about it. I know Rio will love any present I get, but how sad will it be to give a new mobiGlas or a fancy shirt when I know what the gift could have been. Anyway, I have almost a full year till our tenth anniversary.
ALIKER: Well I’ll do my best and send you updates when I can. I got to say, if we pull this off, this will go down in history as one of the best presents ever. Naming a whole new system after someone? That’s just brilliant. Rio is lucky to have someone like you.
THILO: I’m pretty sure I’m the lucky one.