After Jeff Singh abruptly left the treaty signing to return to his ship the North American negotiator, Quincy Love, turned to his Hawaiian supplied security and asked to be returned to his hotel rooms. The press immediately started packing up their equipment, and minor officials seeing the principal participants leave, headed for the exits too.
Prime Minister Tanaka was temporarily besieged by his own military and law enforcement demanding what they should do with the nuclear weapon at their feet with which Jeff had gifted them. By the time he made clear he wanted it as far from Honolulu as they could take it and secured with guards in a remote location the hanger was almost cleared. Their security people were standing around the perimeter still but the janitors were there too, looking eager to clean up and close the building.
Tanaka looked around dismayed. His Business Minister Naito was still standing fast by him but even the mayor of Honolulu and his aide were in retreat for the exit. “I had no idea the signatories would just abruptly march off without taking time to issue closing statements to the press. I was going to propose an official luau tomorrow as a grand celebration. That isn’t going to work with the guests of honor gone.”
“That’s pretty hard to top as a closing statement,” Naito said, gesturing at the white cylinder of the weapon resting on the hanger floor. “I suspect the North Americans never thought he’d offer hard evidence of what sort of weapons their ship carried. If they had they would have never issued a flat denial. Other governments would at most offer up photos or video as evidence. It’s an intelligence bonanza few would share once they got a sample of their enemies most advanced weapon.”
Tanaka looked deeply thoughtful. An expression Naito wasn’t used to seeing on his face. “That tells me they see little value in the tech. They must have as good or better. I think you got the key there when you said other governments. Singh and his ladies are not really a traditional government. I don’t get the impression it was ever something to which they aspired. They are just some very strange people who fell into significant powers. There’s no predicting what they may do because they are amateurs.”
Naito had to stifle a smile at the strong disapproval Tanaka put on that word.
The roar of exhaust from Dionysus’ Chariot made them turn their heads and look out the open hanger doors. The dark wedge of the ship was already well off the ground rising on a pencil line of purple flame when it winked out of existence. The roar cut off abruptly a couple of seconds later.
“And North America should be cautious and treat these odd amateurs with all due respect until they can do that,” Naito concluded.
“That’s some seriously spooky stuff,” Tanaka agreed.
“Thank you for your support,” Naito said. “I think this left us looking very good, and the fact North America didn’t contest having the talks here would make arguing against the reality of our independence in the future rather difficult.”
“As if you left me any way to graciously beg off,” Tanaka said. “You got away with it this time, but if you keep pulling this sort of stunt it will eventually blow up in your face. Don’t think for a moment I wouldn’t have put the whole thing on your head if it had turned into a fiasco. You are almost as dangerous and unpredictable as these Spacers.”
“I’ll only take such risks if the potential benefits are worth it,” Naito promised. “I’m pretty sure Singh is going to reward us with regular shuttle service. That puts us on a par with Australia, Tonga, and Japan. That’s an exclusive club to join with economic benefits.”
“Good, because I don’t think the North Americans are going to reward us at all for facilitating this. I’ll be happy if they don’t try to recover their weapon by military action and then try to pretend we never had possession of it.”
“Where are you taking it?” Naito wondered. “Are you going to call in the French as Singh suggested? You had your heads so close together with the brass I couldn’t hear.”
“We’re going to make a great show of loading it up on an aircraft and taking it to the French Frigate Shoals,” Tanaka said. “Where it is really going you have no need to know. The suggestion we share it with the French is an excellent suggestion, but I have no idea if he cleared it with them first. It’s just the sort of thing this amateur might blurt out as an ad hoc thing without worrying about it failing if he hadn’t arranged it behind the scenes. In any case, the French can damn well open an embassy or a consulate here if they expect us to share such advanced technology with them. Hawaii has no need of such space weapons and no ships to carry them. I’m perfectly willing to let it sit unopened until it’s obsolete if they aren’t willing to acknowledge us that much.”
“That seems a small price,” Naito agreed. “I think they will readily agree.”
Tanaka gave him a sharp look. “Don’t try to help me on the sly. I’ll handle the French.”
“I wouldn’t think of it,” Naito said, showing his palms in surrender. He was already thinking who might be a conduit to the French but dropped that thought reluctantly. “I’m going home up the hill with my neighbor to celebrate privately and leave it all to you now.”
Tanaka nodded a goodbye without scolding him any further. Naito took his leave before he issued any more restrictive orders. Diana was visible waiting for him by the exit. One of only a handful of people who hadn’t vacated the hanger. There were armed soldiers circled around the weapon already. Naito figured they would bring in some sort of a lift as soon as the place was empty and they had some privacy. He didn’t think it was a rational fear, but he’d just as soon be several kilometers away when they started handling it.