“What happened to the clerk?” Smith asked.
“Drummond-McLaren demanded he be fired. He had Civil Service protection. Legal debates are now noisy,” Tara said.
“Politics is about to become amusing,” Chelan said. “Alas, it is impossible to speculate in popcorn futures. However, I’m clearly going to need a special meeting of the Executive Committee.”
“Will do,” Tara said.
The Executive Committee
“I believe we are all here,” Tara Broadhurst said. “Victor Chelan, Lawrence Morningstar, Benjamin Goldsmith, Margaret Evans, Rose Cohen, an anonymous representative of the Audit committee, and myself as Counsel and Clerk. Our scheduled meeting was in two days, moved up to today because of the political foofaraw yesterday. Victor has the floor.”
“So I shall ask: Business or politics?” Chelan inquired.
“Business,” Goldsmith answered. “That’s where the money is. And the politics are confused.”
“Do we have inside information,” Morningstar asked, “on how Tara DeWitt knew where to look? The Stellar Republic’s legislature is exceedingly fond of producing paper and reports, many with odd things hidden on stray pages.”
“Business,” Cohen said. “I represent people who really need a return on their bonds.”
“Business.” The simulated voice from the unseen Audit representative was peculiarly low-pitched. “That’s why I’m here.”
“Business it is,” Chelan said. “Molecular fine-spray systems will all be up and running in two weeks. We then start repairing the coarse-spray systems. Electricity was an unexpected cost. Prior owners had not paid their bills, so we had to. We have – it’s not obviously in the property list – three ground station large, low-field fusactors. We didn’t know about them. They are now being tested in all respects, but apparently were properly closed and mothballed. We also need the power to run the machine shops. Fusactors are a major income stream when turned on, so we’re hiring the people we need to do that. That’s a new expense, but leads to a new income stream. There’s a table of expenses.”
“When do we start flying cargo ships?” the Audit representative asked. “That date has never been set. Our entire repayment scheme depends on flying them.”