He shook his head. “In that case, I believe that this conversation has advanced to its natural stopping point.”
“Agreed,” Broadhurst said. “I’m always happy to talk with you on issues of mutual interest. That’s one of the reasons I am here, after all.”
“Thank you for taking my call,” Bronkowski answered. “It is always very pleasant to talk to you. Bronkowski out.”
“Broadhurst out,” Broadhurst echoed while she closed down the call. She inhaled her tea’s aroma. It was a fine tea for such a dreary day. She opened a channel on her deskcomp and began to dictate a report on the conversation. Bronkowski appeared to know something that she didn’t, a position she did not like to be in.
The Federal Technical College
Elektra de Witt stared out the window of her new formal office. By tradition, the First Minister uniquely had an office in Union Hall. As a working office, it left a great deal to be desired, but as a place to receive Lords and Senators it was well sited. Once upon a time, she thought, construction plans for the incomplete Union Hall had called for each of the primary cabinet ministers to be given his own tower, but that extravagance had been so controversial that only one tower had been built. On the bright side, it was by a good margin the highest point in New Pueblo, so she had a beautiful view in all directions. The disadvantage of the tower was the First Minister was expected to be in her office every morning to receive complaints from members of the Upper House. Fortunately she was allowed to require that complaints be made in writing, as a result of which she had a stack of paper at her right hand. Major Cabinet Ministers were not entitled to see her in person, but even a total fool like Drummond-McLaren would receive them in person. And now, her schedule said, she was to receive Education Minister Michael O’Raffertaigh and unofficial NRP party leader Glorious Day Alberg.
By tradition, the First Minister’s secretary rang a small bell to indicate that her visitors had arrived. She heard the double ring, stood, and waited for Michael and Glorious Day to enter. The office was large enough to have comfortable chairs and a circular table for serious discussions. Without being told, Gertrude Kim brought in the customary tea service and tray of pastries. If I am not careful, Elektra thought, the First Minister’s position will turn me into a landwhale. She waited for Michael and Glorious Day to sit and then, as a mark of their importance, poured each of them a cup of tea.
“I gather there are issues with education,” she said, “in particular the Federal Technical College and the proposed Federal Technical University. I did manage to persuade FTC to disgorge the faculty minority report that they had tried to suppress. It did not make amusing reading.”
“Amen to that,” Glorious Day said. “Does this mean that the First Minister is going to be reaching over our heads even though we are the two education leaders?”