“Said again,” Bronkowski said, “without registration with us, you can’t design a spaceship, you can’t equip it, and it can’t go anywhere.”
“That is an interesting set of rationales,” Broadbent said. “From your analysis, it follows that we probably are not building any spaceships. I’ll tell the managing committee about what you said.. Any further decision is theirs, not mine alone.” She pinched her nose. “Are there more issues? Did you have other business?” she asked.
“As a practical matter, if you recommend to your Board that you should register your spaceship, that would be a very positive outcome. It would show that you understand the importance of an appropriate relationship between the progressive thinking of the Stellar Republic and the respectful obedience reasonably expected of citizens of insignificant powers.”
Broadbent wondered if Bronkowski was able to open his mouth without offending people. The smart money looked to be against.
“However, “ Bronkowski continued, “after you have done that, especially if you were successful, your usefulness to Bulger Spaceyards might deteriorate. In that case, there are any number of Republic Starship firms that would be delighted to employ a highly competent attorney such as yourself, especially one who understands Union law so well. I think I could guarantee that your salary would be at least twice what it is now, with guarantee through a bonding service of at least twenty years’ pay at that level.”
“I see,” she said. “That’s very generous.” Why, she wondered, is he pushing this line, which a cynic would call attempted tortious interference in my contract? That’s a lot of money, at least in Anglic Union pounds, that he is proposing to put up. “However, I am entirely happy with my present employer, to whom I always give honest service, so I don’t think I would be able to accept. I will still call the attention of the Managing Committee, on which I sit, to the issues you raised, which actually are of interest, so someday we might choose to register a ship of ours with you, assuming hypothetically that we want to design and build a spaceship as you suggested.”
He shook his head. “In that case, I believe that this conversation has advanced to its natural stopping point.”