The question about the third exploration fleet shouldn't be a real problem, but politics made it an enormous mess.
The free republic of Byzartax, after the secession from the Mechanical Empire, decided to consider the exploration of the unknown space one of its founding principles, in opposition to the immobility of the nation they left. Since then, exploration fleets always had great importance in the life of the community... and a heavy weight on its expense. Dismissing the third, mostly unused, exploration fleet could give a real boost to the rest of the economy.
But the parliament had to vote for that.
There wasn't a real reason to fight about it. The disposal was an idea from the first party, the Democratic Toadies. Obviously the Imperial League and the Scientist said no, fulfilling their role as opposition, while the ecologist party of the Flying Fishes didn't express itself about the question. The problem was the Social Party. Allied to the Democratic Toadies they said they weren't ready to guarantee all the needed votes for the motion, endangering the process.
- I don't think the caretakers changed idea - said MO-444 to Tilligan. They were on the balcony behind the benches of the parliament. They weren't admitted to the benches because they weren't deputies, but just assistants. «The caretakers» was the nickname for the social party.
- I can't understand their decision.
- Grandpa said many from the Social Party have friends in the third fleet... good friends.
- What kind?
- Smugglers of caffeine. They use the exploration ships to bring that from the hidden refineries. If the fleet would be dismantled a lot of people would lose big money.
- Jeez... That sounds like a very dirty business...
MO-444 shrugged. Tilligan was young, he had been in the government citadel for less than six months, as junior assistant for «Grandpa». He was brilliant, but still a bit dumb about understanding the games played in the parliament. Too dreams, too moral questions. MO-444 was an old half-bionic counselor, one of the few that fled the Mechanical Empire at the time of the secession. In his life he saw things worse than that. - Look. - he said - Gambrinus is ready to talk.
Gambrinus, the young rising star of the toadies, was the promoter of the third fleet disposal, the last speak was his duty.
- Friends of the parliament - he started - We are not here to judge the work of the exploration ships or to change the direction of the Republic. We're here because our Republic has many needs. One of them is exploration, I know, but others are more urgent. - A little pause.
Grandpa was hearing the talk holding his chin with the right hand. He started scratching it. He seemed bored.
Gambrinus went on. - With the resources averted from the fleet we will lower taxes on trades, giving a boost to the free exchange, helping our merchants to conquer the empire's market!
A lot of toadies cheered up, few caretakers showed some kind of happiness too, but the most relevant reaction came from the Flying Fishes. They started look each other and whisper like an anthill on fire.
- What's happening? - asked Tilligan.
MO-444 focused his electronic eye on Grandpa. He was smiling. - Something interesting. - he answered.
The president of the parliament smashed his hammer, asking for silence, then the vote started.
The scientist voted NO first, followed by the Imperial League.
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Lords & Ladies of the M'Verse: An Ooorah AnthologyScience Fiction
Each of the 100 stories featured herein will be set within a Universe of the writer's creation, all being a part of a larger, shared Multiverse. Writers have free reign to tell the story they wanna' tell and providing...