“The Radicals and the Social Democrats will be peeved,” Ricardo Sanchez said. “But if I am doing the numbers right, Whitecloth can make that stick. TerHorst has spent the last several decades reforming his Senate roster. National Front people are so effective because he has encouraged the election of folks who are detail-minded, sharp, good on their feet in a debate, and hard workers in committee. As the Lead Opposition, TerHorst’s shadow cabinet will be impressive in debate. I read recent Social Democrat attacks on TerHorst’s ‘fascist subhumans’, using the same lines they were using thirty years ago, and wonder how they don’t notice. Those lines don’t work well any more, because the National Front has changed. “
“Whitecloth remarked that his party was completely disorganized at this point,” Daphne said. “If they were stuck being the Lead Opposition, they have no idea who the shadow First Minister should be.”
“Not Woodrow Wilson?” Elektra asked.
“His reaction was ‘Gods! No! I know my limits, and shadow First Minister is beyond them.’ “
Elaine Bell stared at the Executive Committee. “Always wonderful what can be done in a modest number of weeks,” she reported. “Fusactor One came up this morning, all the way to full power. Fusactor Two needs a week. Former staff shut them down correctly. Of course, fusactors are vastly simpler than old style fusion reactors, but the new crew was very efficient. Also, I finally got to explore the large area labelled ‘vacant warehouses’ across the road from here. Fortunately, that large area is inside our security screens, and the buildings were solidly barricaded.”
“That’s on my list,” Charles Smith said. “I finally noticed we are paying a lot to safeguard empty buildings, and wondered if there were alternatives.”
“Not really that much,” Pamela Davis countered. “It’s a marginal add-on given the area coverage we already have.”
“ ‘Empty’ was maskirovka,” Elaine said. “I’d been wondering where we had hidden the fabrication facilities for large spaceship components, hull plates, girders, ducts, and the like. The isotope purification facilities for the rare earths are there, also. The construction facility we are starting to clean up is good for all manner of smaller parts, but it would strain to make deck plates let alone girders for the frames. Those buildings are not empty. If we need to replace a ship hull completely, I think we can do it, once those facilities are brought up – not that I can imagine a need for a new ship hull.” She tapped her ear and pointed at the walls. Heads nodded. “But whatever part we need, we can make it. And I’d like to thank Pamela for insisting I take a large security element … there were no human intruders, but several rattlesnakes became deceased before I could step on them.”
“The molecular spray systems?” Victor asked.
“Up and running,” Elaine said. “Space Guard did send us a request for several components, being made. Of course, they pay on a government schedule. Heads for the coarse-focus units – not one of them is in working order – are being made. And I may have found a solution to our personnel issue.”