About half way or a little more in April 13.
“The French announce they will take bids for rights to develop facilities on Proxima B,” Secretary of State Brenton read aloud.
“Why set up on the planet there?” his one undersecretary asked. “That makes you expend more energy than building a space station. Unless they find something to mine worth lifting from the planet. I understand it’s a hot rocky desert on one side and like Antarctica on the other.”
“Yes, but it’s a huge free shield against the solar flares. Proxima is a noisy star spewing out big bursts of radiation and particles,” Brenton said. “A space station would be a deathtrap or need ridiculous shielding.” He’d done his homework.
“That’s not a bad business model then,” the undersecretary decided.
“Tell it to Commerce,” Brenton said. “We’re concerned with the political aspects.”
* * *
“Hello, Diana. I’m sorry if I got a bit intense rushing you off,” Naito said. He looked stressed and worried which Diana hated to see.
“I took it for care,” Diana allowed. “Are you thinking of following me?”
“No, in fact, I feel more secure than when I urged you to leave. I’ve news your friends will probably be happy to know ahead of the news reports. Prime Minister Tanaka intends to step down citing serious errors and loss of confidence from his closest advisors.”
“So, he was the architect of this debacle?” Diana asked.
“He is owning it. If anyone agreed with his actions, he isn’t dragging them down with him. Has Jeff spoken with you about our conversation and his actions?”
“No, I saw April, but now I’m at Sylvia’s and didn’t even have to kick him out of my place. I did go get some of my things but he wasn’t there.”
“Tell Singh I asked him to relate them to you if he will. I’d rather not tell the whole thing with no better encryption than public coms offers. It’s a fair trade for the news about Tanaka. I was almost ready to follow you up when he revealed he was going to resign. I don’t know if he told me ahead of others in the government but he at least trusted me not to break the story to the newsies.”
“The public is pretty stupid but they aren’t going to believe he didn’t have some help from others,” Diana said.
“The uh… Crap, I don’t want to say too much. Ask Jeff what happened to the lab here.”
“OK. Is there anybody among your revolutionary buddies you want to be PM?”
“That’s a problem I’m working on right now. Tanaka promised to stay away from any association with me and urged me to be careful who I supported. I’m just not sure how to do that exactly,” Naito admitted. “I know them all too well.”
“Be careful they don’t try to foist it off on you,” Diana warned. “People, including other governments, may not be satisfied with Tanaka as a sacrifice. I predict the next Prime Minister will be on shaky grounds. The politically astute may wish for others to take the office in case more heads need to roll and curb their ambitions for a little.”
“I’ve already told anyone who will listen that I’m too young and inexperienced,” Naito said. “Don’t worry. I won’t let anybody bully me into it.”
“Good. Just remember, if the politicking doesn’t work out you always have a place with me as my pool boy.”
“But you don’t have a pool,” Naito said.
“Honey, for you I’ll put one in.”
When he disconnected, Naito was smiling. Diana felt good about that.