“Some of these Tom, Jack and Harry startups may get someplace,” Grigsby said. “We have lots of bright people looking for alternatives, though their education tends to be a tad weak for this. But spaceyards are so fabulously expensive that building another one will not happen soon.”
“I take it,” shadow Finance Minister Joseph Fenstermacher growled, “that you decided not to warn more of the ExComm in advance?” He glowered in DeWitt’s direction. His few allies on the ExComm nodded. He didn’t say he was considering challenging her for the leadership position, but Elektra had no doubt but that was the case.
“There really needed to be surprise on this,” Elektra answered, “and we all know full well that this Committee may not leak like a sieve, but it does leak. I told Caius and Phineas last night; the rest of you learned a half-day later, within the last hour. That includes Drummond-McLaren’s letters. Yes, that’s his letters to the Ambassador, proving he was agreeing with what was happening. Bite your tongues on this for a day, unless the press finds them sooner.”
“Indeed she did,” Chief Whip Caius Junius Flower agreed.
“Can’t be denied,” Fenstermacher agreed. “Need to move very quickly, to get press releases and a full analysis out before Drummond-McLaren can find excuses. Your choosing not to read out loud his letters, where he supported our being annexed, to judge from the ones I just read, was brilliant. He may assume we don’t have them, since they were buried in the wrong file. Let’s not break the news to him on that.”
“I’m hoping Drummond-McLaren will deny most things,” Elektra said, “not realizing that his letters to Mogado also became public. Then he can explain those away, too.”
“So what are we to be doing, Madame Party Leader,” O’Raffertaigh asked, “while waiting for all these dominos to be falling?”
“First, secret ballot vote, I asked for a Senate vote of confidence in my leadership,” De Witt asked. “Do you support me, in this, or should I resign?”
“Are we needing a vote for this?” O’Raffertaigh asked.
“I support,” Fenstermacher answered, “despite some historical differences, but, yes, secret ballot is the right thing to do.”
“Is there a need for debate? ” O’Raffertaigh asked.
“If I may?” Lumley asked. “Very briefly, I read those letters being hinted at. They include several parties I can’t identify. There appears to be a group working to make our current political situation – untenable. And there were other parts. Someone was proud of deep-sixing the Federal Technical University appropriations. You remember that furor, a couple years back. I won’t go on, but I could. I support No Confidence in Drummond-McLaren.”