“Deal with Elizavetsians?” Chelan smiled. “Under the Union Treaty, for we Americans that is a purely internal matter in which the Union has no say.”
“That’s a correctible matter,” Whitecloth began. “The Union can perfectly well assert increasing Federal control over this issue.”
“Not without dissolving the Union you can’t,” de Witt interrupted. “Indeed, if you do not withdraw that assertion, my party will be forced to ask a vote of confidence in the Renaissance Party government, a vote you will lose.”
“Apologies. Withdrawn,” Whitecloth mumbled. You may withdraw that, Chelan thought, but your political opponents will remember it.
“Is the report true?” Hughes asked.
“That would be a trade secret,” Chelan answered. “If there were such sales, they would be entirely legal under American law, which is the only law that is relevant to the matter.”
“There is a separate issue,” Whitecloth said. “The Gazette claimed that Bulger Yards rejected a tender to construct components for the Space Guard, a tender backed by a War Office mobilization directive. Is this true?”
“I have no idea,” Chelan said, “how that idea reached the Gazette. I have received no tenders, let alone the ones the Gazette reported. I am entirely aware of Guard interests in various purchases. Some of them are for items we can’t currently make, because the Yards were not maintained for years. We are currently reconstructing and repairing the yards, on a timetable that under law is a protected corporate secret, except to say that the plan appears to get the Guard what it needs and wants as expeditiously as practicable, given for example the health and safety needs of our own freighters.”
“Mister Chairman?” Broadhurst said. Whitecloth nodded.
“Mister Chairman,” Broadhurst continued, “you are referring to a tender, a Union document…if it exists. Under Senates and Lords rules, my client was entitled to a copy of that document 24 hours before the hearing began. Assuming there is such a document.”
“And if there is,” Chelan added, “we would be most grateful to you for receiving a copy, since we seem to be the only people who have not seen it.”
Still very interesting. This is shaping to be a boardroom drama a.k.a, financial Western where the action happens mostly off screen. It is a bit tricky because it contradicts the “show, don’t tell” adage, but it can be made to work.