"And with all the required parties present I hereby declare today's council meeting to be in session," my father stated, before sitting down next to me. I looked around at the other council members, all of whom gave me a respectful nod as my father formally introduced me. I had, as is custom, gone around and shaken hands with all of the council members before taking my seat, but my formal introduction was a pre-requirement for my induction that would take place later in the month. As eager as I had originally been to come to a meeting, I found myself zoning in and out as they spoke of rather mediocre things, such as the career trials and their collaboration with the other councils to create a calendar of each field's ceremony, in order to scatter them evenly throughout the last week of this month. I did not truly start paying attention however, until I heard them making reference to me.
"Is your successor aware of everything her position requires?"
My father looked over at me, his face appearing rather blank. Although that face worked with everyone else, it seemed, I knew that he only made this face when he had something to hide.
"She is not yet aware of all that is contained in our S.S.S."
Well, I'd certainly heard him use that acronym before and I knew what it stood for, "System of Surface Secrecy", but I only knew that it was a code that the council members took very seriously. I knew I had learned almost all there was to know about the surface, which I supposed was meant to be kept a secret unless otherwise decided among council members.
"She knows most information, but not everything. She will be well informed by the time of her induction, I assure you."
"Did you enjoy your studies?"
The question had been posed to me by an older woman sitting three seats away from me.
"Yes, ma'am, very much so."
"Yes, Nova has always been very interested in the sciences. She is also very good with math. I am very proud of her."
Normally, I would feel an overwhelming force of emotion at that statement. I rarely heard my father say he was proud of me, but knowing that he could potentially be lying to me, I couldn't take what he said to heart. For all I knew, this was just part of the game to him. Despite these thoughts, I managed to give him a small smile.
"What was your favorite thing to learn about?"
This time the question came from a man sitting two seats to my father's right. He looked to be about five or more years younger than my father.
"The stars...everything in space. It's just so big...so vast. And all the ways they have been used in history. They're beautiful."
"I thought she would say that. Her mother loved stars, too, back when-"
"That will do," my father interjected, somewhat sternly.
Darn it. Just when I was about to find out something important. Now I knew he was definitely hiding something.
And I intended to find out exactly what.