DeWitt and her escort headed for the Tipsy Turtle. After not long she realized that in addition to a half-dozen tall, fit party members she was also in an open grid formed by a dozen very stocky young people. No, she thought, not stocky. That’s heavy body armor.
The Common Room at the Turtle was almost empty. Two waitresses and the bartender were doing final setup, preparing for the lunch crowd. Video screens featured arrays of talking heads. To judge from the chyrons, DeWitt thought, none of them had had the time needed to read Hughes’ documents.
“Well done, Elektra!” the bartender shouted. The early regulars at the bar applauded.
The Independent Union Party’s private room was crowded. The morning side table looked to have been heavily depleted, but she could see a substantial tray of her favorite hash and eggs benedict that had clearly just emerged from the kitchen. She made two steps beyond the door before she was handed a large mug of coffee, properly lightened.
She sipped. “The way I like it. Thank you, Daphne.”
Daphne Mueller nodded. “Of course, First-Minister-to-be. And on behalf of our former Cabinet members, we are all here and behind you. That’s even before the Hughes Addendum. The entire ExComm is waiting at the front of the room.”
“Well done, Elektra,”Joseph Fenstermacher said as he pointed to to a chair at the head of one table. “You were right to say nothing.”
“Breakfast!” she announced. “I haven’t eaten yet. What have you all heard? Caius, you’re Party Whip. You know everything.”
“The situation is unclear, “ Caius Flower answered. “Drummond-McLaren and his allies have spent enormous effort lobbying all and sundry. They’ve also been offering huge contributions to political party treasuries. Until this morning I had no idea where they could get the money, All of their allies in the press have rallied to his defense, mostly by attacking you and other prominent members of our party personally. There’s a lot of repetition of the ‘no real evidence’ line, even though the file is in the public record, complete with the Foreign Affairs validation codes. However, he gets almost no votes out of the Radicals or the Popular Democrats. The Union Democrats and the National Front were considering his offers. That was when they had doubts about your charges, and were still reading the record. He lost the votes of the Monarchists, and the True Monarchist. If the UD and the NF go over to him, our party would have had to hang together indeed in order to defeat him.