“If he’s a diplomat,” Sykes said, “ he is forbidden to possess eavesdropping devices, remote digital communications probes…that’s in our treaty with the Stellites.”
“Good point,” Tara said. “Assuming he is a diplomat. Of course if he’s not, Bulger is a defense installation, so he’s a spy, meaning he gets to be tried for espionage. Do we have a location for the firing squad wall yet?”
“I am a diplomat!” Descamps answered. “And I was not carrying any spy equipment. These people put it on the ground, to make me look guilty of something!”
Tara noted that he had just switched claims a hundred eighty degrees without blinking an eye.
“You’re with the New Washington embassy?” she asked.
“Yes, ma’am. Please tell them to release me,” Descamps asked.
Tara looked skyward. The sky was covered with puffs of white cloud, the space in between being a brilliant blue. She listened for a moment to the call of seagulls.
“I’ll have to confirm that,” she announced. “I’ll call Legate Bronkowski, and see what he has to say about the situation. Naturally, as the equipment is not yours, you say, Mr. Descamps, we will keep it. Guys, hold him here, politely.” She returned to her office.
Ir was remarkable, she thought, how many times Bronkowski had called her, without her ever calling back. No matter. That record was about to come to an end. Her card file did have the required telephone number for the Stellar Republic embassy.
After some delay, a face appeared on the vision screen, someone she did not know.
“Hello, I’m Tara Broadbent, Senior Counsel to Bulger Spaceways. I need to speak to Senior Legate Bronkowski.”
“I’m sorry,” the nameless face said, “but the Senior Legate is extremely busy. Surely this matter is something someone else on our staff can deal with.”
Tara smiled. “Our security has detained a young man claiming to be one Pierre Descamps. He claims to be a member of your embassy staff, but is carrying no identification. Also, he appears to have been carrying a substantial amount of spy equipment, contrary to our current treaty, for unclear purposes. I would hope that the Senior Legate can clear the matter up. Otherwise, since he was carrying spy equipment, and admitted being a foreign national, he is likely to be tried and put up in front of a firing squad as a spy. He seems to be a nice young man, with a rather thick little black book of girlfriends, so I would prefer to think he does not need to be shot. However, modern Union judicial proceedings are extremely efficient, so if the matter cannot be resolved reasonably promptly, in a few weeks he will probably be quite dead. Now, misbehavior of diplomatic personnel is solely under the Senior Legate’s remit, so it is to him I must speak.”
“I see,” the embassy staffer said. “It may take me a few minutes to reach the Senior Legate. Please have him call you back as soon as possible? There is a person of this name on the staff. I happen to know him. The spy issue I have to pass up to the Senior Legate.”