“That’s surprising,” Rolly said. “Drummond McLaren would have had to be a total idiot to have that written down someplace. “
“Would have had…” Untermontanus mumbled. “A shame the First Minister’s guiding genius is not news. But how did you see it?”
“Those diplomatic files are huge,” Fenstermacher said. “I gather things were hidden in them, not where you would expect, with the usual tricks for evading computer searches, but someone got lucky in searching them. More I do not know, but from the dollar amounts, the list of recipients of his largess is probably more or less complete.”
“How charming,” Untermontanus said. “Thank you for the warning. That’s a truly remarkable leak. Fortunately none of us here were on the take. However, knowing what not to deny, because we can be shown up, that’s very useful. If all that comes to pass, and you save us…I somehow suspect that the Secretaryship of the Space Guard will be available, if that interests you.”
Fenstermacher beamed. “That would be highly satisfactory,” he answered. It was a truly well-paying seat with very few duties.
“And now, the winds of time having blown us to late evening, I fear that we must be taking our leave,” Untermontanus said. “As I have not had time to tell my friends here, since I received the message as I was coming through the door, we have yet another critically urgent meeting.” With that he and his friends stood and bid Fenstermacher adieu, leaving Fenstermacher with a just-opened bottle of a fine Oregon trockenbeerenauslese. He carefully poured himself a glass, inhaled its aroma, admired its fingers, swished a small sip through his teeth,and offered a silent toast. It was a truly fine vintage. It was so sad, he thought, that the mice had fled so quickly, but from their responses, they had all fallen for his bait.