Day 7 Midnight
“Wasn’t that a fine meal to end a fine day?” I said to Judith after the celebration was over and we were back in our tent preparing for bed.
“It certainly was dear.” Judith replied in a tone of voice indicating complete satisfaction. And then I saw a hint of concern, “You left for a little while just after dessert, were you talking to Buchanan?”
“Yes I was, and a strange conversation indeed. Let me tell you how it went…”
“Congratulations Mr. Moderator,” were the first words from Burt’s mouth as we met after the vote. “It seems you have a popular mandate.”
“Well ah yes, it would seem so. And I owe you for it and I know that.. But what exactly are you expecting other than thanks from me? I know it can’t be altruism on your part but for the life of me I can’t seem to think of anything beyond my thanks you can get out of it. And another thing I’m wondering now is since Jack lost what happens with him?”
“Lester, you now have a small measure of authority here, and we both how important that is to you. And all I expect from you is that you play your part to my script. As for Jack he is my problem so don’t even bother thinking about him. I have plans and he will come in handy. Oh and one more thing… You give me a job.”
I was more than taken aback by that last statement and said, “I can’t do that… The Council has no authority right now to do something like that. I don’t know… maybe later..” my voice trailed off.
“Lester, Lester, Lester,” Burt intoned, “You are missing the point once again. I am more aware than you are of the limits of the present governmental structure and what directions it is likely to go in. What I said was ‘You’ give me a job. There are only a few colonists with direct farming experience and you, fortunately, are one of them. Being a politician at the present time won’t earn a living; so it’s back to the land you go.”
“After you’ve studied the maps and chosen a site it will be a trivial mater for your land grant to be processed. Once it does you will need help to clear it and make it work. I can take the easy route of directing the robots doing the actual work and you can pad my hours so I build up a bank account and become a model citizen. And you don’t need to worry I will actually give you some time, just not as much as you credit me for. And that Lester… is all I ask.”
I couldn’t even read his expression when he was done but said. “Ok I think I can do that, but do you have any farming experience at all?”
“Not a lick Lester, but then that’s no problem because you do.”
“Well that was it my dear, and I can’t tell what his game is… but for that much… and I feared far worse, I think we can play along.”
“If you say so.” and then Judith added. “Mike isn’t back yet should we message him? He‘s too young for hours like this.”
“Let him stay out, an event like this is once in a lifetime thing. There are enough people watching so he should be fine. I’ll just tell R.Hadrian to wake us if he’s not back in another hour… Done. Night dear.”