“I believe, Rose,” Chelan said, “that there are paths to adding to debt, without diluting your repayments. I will oppose any scheme that does dilute your repayment claims.”
“If that happens, no complaints,” she answered.
“We may need to call in favors,” Goldsmith said, “or elsewise be prepared to lobby, to keep the Union from trying to steal our facilities. Yes, I understand that the Elizavetsian contracts are supposed to make this a purely American issue, but at some point political millstones may start to turn.”
“We hit this once,” Morningstar, “when that nincompoop Whitecloth threatened to invoke the Defense Mobilization Act. He backed off when you pointed out what would happen. On a repeat, the same things would happen.”
“There is a no-cost gesture that actually brings benefits,” Rose Cohen said. “The approval of the Debtors in Possession would be needed. Add Elaine Bell to this group. We make clear that getting the yard up and going is our absolute first priority. She is, it seems, nationally famous in defense circles. The folks on the Senates and Lords Space Operations Committee knew her. Also, we keep hitting issues where more precision on technical issues would be helpful. We don’t tell you how to run things, Victor, but we understand this is her expertise, while we are gifted amateurs.”
“I am happy to agree,” Chelan said, “subject to approval by the investors and the Chancelry Court. God knows how long that will take. By and by, as you are paid off, most of our new Board of Directors should have technical, engineering or whatever, backgrounds. Bell is already extremely busy interviewing people where we have already authorized the slots. We don’t have anyone else who can read between the lines on a Space Guard service record, so she has to do it. And she sees a fair number of moves ahead, what has to be done before what, which is a rare skill.”
“I have an idea,” Morningstar said. “We should think about it carefully. We should say, publicly, that we are aware that there is a renewed American interest in building starships. When we have finished bringing the yards back into working order, we will largely be able to build starships. However, because there are Stellar Republic intellectual property rules, the people buying a starship from us must, at the front end of construction, present us with working fusactors and alpha drives that we will incorporate into the ship when built, because we will respect Republic IP rights. No one can argue with our position, but it does tend to avert claims that we are not being responsive.” He looked around the room at doubting faces. “OK, perhaps major editing is needed on my suggestion.”