"What do you mean you're off to Western Australia!?" Mrs. Clinton said on the phone. "You can't go right now, we have a summit to conduct today....not if you want your job. It is not going to take more than one day...thank you, see you in 10 minutes."
The Prime Minister sat in her office. It was the first day of the Winter Recess in Canberra, and the smattering of rain sounds against the window signalled that the first of the cold monsoon rains had reached the capital. Jackets and umbrellas were visible from the windows on the footpath around the back of Parliament House, signalling that the temperature was, at best, just above 5 or 6 degrees Celsius outside. The Prime Minister finished with some paperwork when an aide knocked on her door.
"Yes?" the Prime Minister asked.
"The Duxburian delegation has landed at the Canberra Airport, and they should be here within the hour," the aide responded. He had perfectly kept light brown hair, and hazel eyes. The young intern was put together nicely, and the Prime Minister found it a nice change from some of the sloppiness that was tolerated by the previous Government when it came to aides standards of dress and decorum.
"Thank you, Kevin," the Prime Minister responded. "If you can make sure everything is ready in the Cabinet Room for our meeting; I'll prepare the short tour of Parliament House and choose the refreshments we'll have for our guests."
"Very good, ma'am," Kevin responded. He walked away briskly, Mrs. Clinton moved off into the cabinet adjacent to her office and opened it. It was a wine locker, and she looked for a moment before pulling out a bottle. She stared at it intently.
"Hmmm...the Chiraz from South Australia.....the Riesling from Perth? No, the Chardonnay from Hobart," Mrs. Clinton responded. "Oh, I should take all three and they can choose. I should get a sauvignon blanc as well then...and then what are we going to have with it. Do I have the good brie? Ham from Miraco?"
She reached for a bucket underneath the racks of wine and walked down the hallway to the small restaurant in Parliament House, handed the bucket to one of the workers, and it returned with ice.
"Okay, time for the light refreshments," Mrs. Clinton thought out loud.
"We'll be landing soon, Steward."
Dante Maximillian could swear that he saw snowflakes as his plane broke through the clouds above Canberra. He'd been warned about the Australian monsoon, and had dressed accordingly, but it still felt jarring to think about frozen precipitation during high summer. Dairghazbury was currently baking in the worst heat wave in decades, with temps soaring over 90° M.
With so much going wrong at home, he wasn't even really in the mood for this trip. With Australia declaring neutrality, it wasn't even useful in his plans with General Reid. However, he had an enthusiastic and talented delegation. There was the youthful Andrew Marian for technology matters, the even younger Jon Lamington for economics, and clutch negotiator Acwellan Devoy to bring it all together. Good, reliable, loyal, people.
The Steward would need to build a loyal crew if he were to survive the Vincent Clarkes, Robert Kligenbergs, Brandon Devoys, and Davian Lamingtons of the world. They weren't going along with his plans and were too powerful to be forced, other than Brandon, who had fled and couldn't be located. Davian fucking Lamington! Dante was pretty sure that he himself was the only person in the entire federal government that Davian couldn't fire on a whim. Yikes! It also didn't help that Vincent outranked the likes of General Reid. None of the Officers could be replaced by a Steward, and were seriously powerful in the absence of an Aelir. However, he had Andrew, Jon and Acwellan, now if he could win election as Aelir in the winter...
The plane stewardess watched closely as the Steward lost himself in thought, texting his status to the delegation in the back of the plane, a fistful of K:100 Acennan banknotes in her pocket.
Andrew, Jon, and "Acwellan" sat together, whisper-arguing strategy, glancing at Andrew's phone every now and then to make sure that Maxmillian hadn't left his seat.
"...Even if we succeed, he still needs to sign off on everything! You saw how out of it he was, something is wrong with him. He won't even try, let alone approve anything."
"There is a lot to be gained on both sides in Australia economically, he can't ignore that."
"Jon, I've read many of his emails and been in his phone. I know that he sent dick pics to a lover in 819, and he has reached level 73 in "Angry Squirrels". He will talk with Clinton, but not go for anything important to us or our country. He's not interested in non-military partners. We need to do something."
"What if we get him drunk?"
"Andrew has a point, he's a happy and go-with-the-flow drunk. That could actually work."
"Won't he lose our trust when he sees the deal later?"
"Not if he doesn't remember what he agreed to! Besides, we are really all he has, other than Reid and Hale. The rest of your family hates his guts, along with most of the 7 and practically all the Officers, who he can't even fire."
"Alright, so you'll need to take point, setup the mood, and start the drinking."
"Oh don't worry, I'm a D'voy, I cahn drink that suckah undah the table!" The excitement of that thought briefly brought out Brandon's true accent.
"That will open the door for Andrew to come in and talk about technology partnership. Ripple, national wifi..."
"University exchange, cross border physical networking, and maybe intel sharing. Maybe security protocol sharing." Andrew shrugged, it was a lot to ask.
"The Aussies have done a pretty good job at that ever since I jumped in on one of Clinton's email convos. Haven't been able to get in since. They've got some smart people working on cybersecurity. Definitely a new server in a secure facility, perhaps lattice-based encryption, triple auth, must be a PITA for her to use."
"Alright, then I'll come in with economics...resource deals, border demilitarization, free movement, fair trade. Imagine if both our land borders were totally open militarily and legally, I think it would be the first time in Duxburian history!"
"That would be a killah deal, Clinton should go for that."
"Only thing is, one of you will need to translate for me, preferably Jon, since you'll be drunk AF."
"What, you don't think I can handle some sauvignon blenglish? Booze is what got me through language classes. If the government forced you to take 5 sets of them, you'd be a raging alcoholic, I guarantee it."
"Steward is up and moving!"
"Alright, we've got our plan, good luck gentlemen!"
The plane landed and taxied into a gate. The snow had turned into rain at ground level, but it looked like a cold rain. The airport was blissfully small and well-organized compared to Dominion Center, and they were soon in the motorcade.
The city looked quite nice, but it wasn't the best day for touring. Brandon knew when they were getting close, having spotted the Parliament House. The real reason he wanted them to intervene wasn't that the Steward would be disinterested.
The Steward wasn't fond of Hillary Clinton, everything he knew about her was from Dairghazbury political elites and mainstream media. Brandon was very fond of Hillary Clinton, everything he knew about her was straight from her...normally that would be an awkward meeting, but hey, he was Acwellan. Even his brother didn't know the real Clinton. She'd probably figure him out, but play along in the interest of power politics. The benefits of establishing a strong relationship with Australia far outweighed the risks to his person.
The motorcade pulled up and they hurried inside, where it wasn't just above freezing.
Mrs. Clinton just finished looking at the refreshments before dinner at the Lodge when she heard a knock on the door.
"G'day Hillary," said Mr. Burke, Cabinet Minister, responded. "Have we heard much about the Duxburians arrival time?"
"One of the aides told me to tell you they are on their way from Canberra Airport, so I'd give them about...they have sent a couple of real up and coming stars of Duxburian politics and negotiating ability, the Steward Dante Maxmillian and Acwellan Devoy. Should be a cracker of a meeting. Chris, Adam and Wilkie are downstairs waiting for them to show up," Mr. Burke replied. He walked out of the room and brought in an acoustic guitar and started playing while Mrs. Clinton put on her earrings, carefully matching her "I think Stephen is there too, just in case. I can probably figure at least one of them is not happy with the fact that we've turned into a neutral state, but I mean...we still have security rights and intelligence capabilities and the right to a defensive force."
"Yeah. We'll cross that bridge when we get there," Mrs. Clinton said. She looked at her navy blue pants suit and the accessories and gave herself a smile. "This looks like business, doesn't it?"
"It looks great," Mr. Burke responded. "You know, Hillary...Bill is a lucky man to have landed you as a wife." The guitar playing abruptly stopped, and there was about a third trimester's worth of pregnant pause. Mrs. Clinton didn't say anything in response, but instead smiled and walked out of the office.
"Okay, I think we're all ready to meet the delegation when they show up. I hope they can deal with this extreme weather shift. It's only supposed to be 8°C today," Mrs. Clinton said, effectively shutting down that moment in time beyond the reach of her trusted Minister. She didn't want to ruin what they had which was a personal friendship and professional ally status. "Oh, and thank you Tony. I'm lucky to have Bill as a husband."
The Prime Minister met with selected cabinet ministers who were waiting for her down the hallway from the main entrance into Parliament House. They saw a motorcade pull up and saw four people shuffle away into the building.
"It's so hot in the Duxburian Union, isn't it?" Stephen Smith, the Minister for Defence commented softly towards the Prime Minister.
"It's at least a 25° difference from where they're coming from; remember, the mountain shields them from the cold monsoonal winds which gives us winter while the Duxburian Union tends to be more like Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland and hot all year round," Mrs. Clinton said. She led the grouping over to the Duxburian delegation.
"Hello and welcome to Australia. Hillary, nice to meet all of you," said Mrs. Clinton with a warm and engaging smile, almost atypical to her persona of being a party apparatchik or party functionary. "This is some of the Cabinet Members of the Government. We have Stephen Smith, Minister for Defence; Tony Burke, Cabinet Minister; Minister for Resource and Sustainability, Adam Bandt of the Green Party; Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment, Chris Bowen; and the Minister for Business, Innovation, Science and Skills, Senator Chris Evans. Let's take a short tour before we go into the Cabinet Room and have light refreshments."
"This Parliament House was actually constructed in 1981 and finished in 1988, so this is a relatively new building. It has the two legislative chambers, of course, the House of Representatives and the Senate. We operate under a Westminster system so the House of Reps is green like the British House of Commons and the Senate is red like the British House of Lords. Unlike the British system though, the Senate is fully elected on a rotational basis, each with staggered six year terms in the Senate. In this double dissolution, though, there will be a class of Senators that will be up for election in 2019," Mrs. Clinton began. She walked them to the House and to the Senate before walking around the garden (she felt as though her guests wouldn't appreciate being paraded out into the cool weather) into the Cabinet and Government rooms.
The refreshments were set onto the table, including the choice of wines in their bucket and a tray of hors d'oeuvres.
"Gentlemen, there is wine in the bucket and water available as well as any choice of sodas, liquors or mixed drinks in the Cabinet Room refrigerator that Tony can make. I've had a couple of Tony's drinks, very good...very potent," Mrs. Clinton responded.
"Before we get on to the business end, let me take the time to say it's a pleasure to host Your Excellency the Steward and your delegation. We've been close friends ever since federation, despite some tiffs with the British over the eastern colonies in our history. Our three nations have enjoyed prosperity and working together throughout our long histories, and this is another chapter in that success story," Mrs. Clinton replied. "Now, shall we open with details surrounding trade?"
"Australia has been blessed with formidable deposits of oil (though not as much as our neighbours), lead, uranium, zinc, iron, sulphur and rare earth metals as well as natural gas. We would like to offer those resources as part of a larger trade deal. We are also a strong farming nation, with high quality meats and produce, internationally competitive wines and liquors. Our healthcare sector is strong with an international leader in pharmaceutical technologies, with the industry worth something around $10 billion in exports. We are also experiencing a boom in green energy technologies including photovoltaic cells, geothermal technologies, wind turbines and hydro and tidal technology. These are areas that we're bringing to the table, though I think we all know the giant economic weight and industrial capacity of the Duxburian Union. If any of these Australian sectors sound appealing, we would gladly seek trade opportunities for our industries," Mr. Bowen responded as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment.
Brandon, summoning up his brother's social gregariousness, took lead, "It's great to meet everyone! Let me introduce our delegation!"
"This is Dante Maximillian, Steward of the Duxburian Union. A Steward is a caretaker who steps in when the Aelir is unable to perform the duties of their office. He's done a pretty standup job of running the country on Avoldran Dehn's behalf." Yeah, running the country into the ground...Brandon thought. "Regrettably, Aelir Dehn is still in a coma. We pray every day that he recovers."
Brandon shot a glance of pure venom at the Steward when he wasn't looking. He knew exactly why Dehn was sick...cause this sack of shit poisoned him to grab power!
"This is Master Andrew Marian, server and IT admin in the Office of Science and Technology. His job mainly consists of dust, cables, and magic. He also has experience designing logic gates, cryptographic algorithms, and supercomputers." The supercomputer I used to read Clinton's emails on...
"This is Jon Lamington, a Masters candidate in the Office of Economics. I'd rather not think about what his job entails, something about math and magic. He is Robert Kligenberg's Alternate, so he has at times run the entire Duxburian economy. This is why we can't have nice things...
And last, but certainly not least, I am Acwellan Devoy."
He snuck a wink at Hillary Clinton.
"I don't have any fancy Masters credentials", I'm the youngest Grandmaster in Duxburian history, but I can't fucking tell you that... "but I was the original Councillor of the Duxburian Union, and our MP in the European Parliament even before that. I've been here during bad times and good, trying to represent the people to the best of my ability."
There were quite a lot of Aussie cabinet members to meet, so the Duxburian delegation spent some time getting to know them as Clinton led everyone through the building. Maximillian admired the modern architecture, a pleasing style with uniquely Australian elements.
The garden looks lovely...from the inside, thought Brandon. It couldn't have been more than 25 Marks outside.
"Minister Burke - can I call you Tony? - any chance I could get a Brisdon Blackout? You know how to make one? Awesome! The Steward could use one, as well. Also, what about a Lucian Tablemaster? You know that, too? I love this guy! Come run for Aelir!"
Drinks were passed around as the Australians opened business with trade.
Jon Lamington was up. "Nice to meet you, Minister Bowen."
He wasn't comfortable using first names yet, being keenly aware of his youthful age. Jon was probably the youngest official in the room.
He brought out a large map of the Duxburian Union, marked with the locations of major mineral deposits.
"We are also very interested in a large resource trade deal, especially for rare earth materials. Our computers and smartphones in particular rely on rare earths. In exchange, we want to offer silicon, the building block of information technology. Some of our domestic resources overlap with yours, but we can offer copper, tungsten, and a variety of finished metals, like brass. Tungsten for lead could be a fair trade, along with copper for iron.
Moving beyond resources, we have many industrial products to offer, particularly heavy machinery. We are good at making machines that make machines. We have specialized equipment that assembles anything from trucks to bridges to skyscrapers. We're especially interested in alternative energy technology, solar and tidal being a priority. However, that sounds like more potential for joint venture partnership than a trade. With a severe shortage of coal, the Duxburian Union has
never been much of a fan of fossil fuel power.
With our countries working together, perhaps we could make big, breakthrough advances in alternative energy. We have an experimental tidal farm deployed in the rapid currents around Norimere Race, and a massive solar farm out in the Laatzen desert. We can bring experience with vibrational cells to the table, many buildings run on it in downtown Verington and it can even power the Metro during peak usage hours. There's definitely untapped potential in all these energy categories."
"The rare earth trade is certainly something we can agree to," Prime Minister Clinton said before Mr. Bowen could even respond. "Don't you agree, Chris?"
"Yes, ma'am," Minister Bowen conceded. He knew that the Prime Minister would step on his toes a bit, but he tolerated it as she allowed him much more authority on trade than most foreign ministers would enjoy.
"The heavy machinery deal definitely is something we'd want to open up to Australian industry," Minister Shorten added. "It's something that, of course, we have heard so much of from our British counterparts and some private businesses during our election campaign. Cooperating on renewable energy is a big target for our government and we welcome a partnership venture on these technologies between Duxburian and Australian industries." The Prime Minister seemed to motion to Dante Maximilian, and once he finally caught wind of the gesture, the two snuck off into the hallway.
"Listen, I know Australia is a neutral country now, but believe me...this shit was agreed to by all parties before the election and our party along with Labour spearheaded the change. Mostly to prove that we're not beholden to British interests or whatever bullshit. This government, I promise you, will stand by the Duxburian Union in any way that we can in our new role. Intelligence, joint security, anything you could possibly need from us, we're going to support you," Prime Minister Clinton said to the Steward. "Our Cabinet policy is that we want to make sure that we stand by our friends and defend our country to the best of our ability, and if anyone fucks with us, we have every right and capability to defend ourselves. You have a friend in the Clinton Government."
The Prime Minister and the Steward walked back in with the Prime Minister.
"Let's talk about connecting Sydney, Melbourne, and the Duxburian Union with high speed rail," Minister Bowen began, clearly the top dog of the Australian Cabinet representatives without the Prime Minister standing by. "This connection could be a part of billions of new economic growth in New South Wales, Victoria, and the western regions of the Duxburian Union. We can also talk about some technology sharing and the potential for Australia to join the Ripple network, considering that we have quite a large contingent of Duxburians in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane."
Andrew Marian was up. After making sure the Steward's glass was full, he addressed Minister Bowen. His translator Ian Kline also got ready - Marian didn't know a single word of English, nor did he plan on using Kendrevarian. He was preparing to utter an ancient language called Aelirian.
Supposedly created by Acennan Aelir himself over 2,300 years ago, it was the language of the Duxburian crown, the elite, and its great statesmen. With the language gaining tremendous popularity again, it seemed fitting to bring it back onto the international stage. This would be the first time it had been spoken by an official government delegation off home soil in eight centuries.
And of course, Kline thought to himself, Andres would be the one to do it. Marian was one of the people most responsible for popularizing the language, through viral parody of modern society. Having translated Marian for several years now, he'd come to really respect one of the nation's rising master programmers and his surprisingly deep influence on the digital world. If Devoy was Web 1.0, then Marian was Web 2.0.
"Hendre, Meneshlir, ai ine Andres en Marian. Nike tir meshyk io."
"Hello, Minister, I am Andrew Marian. Nice to meet you."
They shook hands formally. Marian had terrible carpal tunnel in both wrists, but he was still able to convey competence, confidence, and strength.
"Inforshenel, ai denyt snaako Anglike."
"Unfortunately, I do not speak English." Yeah, and don't bother with it, thought Kline. This shitty language is so far below you, it's not even funny.
"Te Iunio Dairghazburiano venski tir kleke folgo relashioni wym Awssylia teknologiskel."
"The Duxburian Union wishes to pursue close partnership with Australia technologically."
"Eai aro kinel intressekir im konstruteno rael alte velok intre meyr dairgi westen anre Awssylia."
"We are keenly interested in building high speed rail between our western dominions and Australia."
"Aktel, eai shold renno o ril te dairgfin omne te gata tir Lamingtone, ten eai wold veno servike alte velok ril attir lizyk Sydney tir Veringtone, paxxeno via Dairghazburel an tir gata."
"Actually, we should run it from the border all the way to Lamington, then we would have high speed service from at least Sydney to Verington, passing through Dairghazbury on the way."
"Tiz kold ero attrativ altrentiv tir aereno anre jakro turisme via^om te rute."
"This could be an attractive alternative to flying and boost tourism throughout the route."
"Eai wold allo amyro tir veno io an te Krusin plaxxeum!"
"We would also love to have you on the Ripple platform!"
"Lek^mio tallo ellir im dypet rende koniskeno Awssylia, teyr aro ae lok am enkelti nixxel grixxel tir accelyro ovra."
"Let's talk later in depth about connecting Australia, there are a lot of nitty gritty details to go over."
The Prime Minister and Minister Bowen looked at each other, cracking a glancing grin. Ripple was something the Australians had been clamouring for, but something that Malcolm Turnbull couldn't deliver in his 2012-2016 government. The Prime Minister was surprisingly hands-off, allowing her colleagues who were closer to the detail of their portfolios to really shine. What Mrs. Clinton was exceptionally good with was putting together details of implementation, and she stepped in at this moment.
"Minister Bowen and I would be happy to hammer out details on the technological partnership as well as the details on the Sydney-Lamington line," Mrs. Clinton responded. "Why don't we do this over dinner at the Lodge."
Mr. Bandt, Mr. Evans, and Mr. Smith all frowned. They knew that they would not be invited back to the Lodge with the Duxburian delegation. Mrs. Clinton had already expressed that she only takes her Cabinet Secretary and the Foreign Secretary to dinners with foreign dignitaries. In a way, the three understood why Minister Bowen was the one invited back. It was difficult for them to grasp why the Cabinet Secretary was the one out of the rest to go to dinner with the Duxburians. The Prime Minister walked over to her ministers.
"I would bring you guys as well, but I need you guys to keep getting information for me from your agencies. Can you get as much as possible on energy, transportation, and other key stats?" Mrs. Clinton asked.
"Certainly, Madam Prime Minister," Mr. Evans nodded. He motioned for Senator Smith and Minister Bandt to leave ahead of the delegation.
The three men walked through the Parliament Building to to Senator Evans' office.
"I can't believe she wants us to do work while she wines and dines the Duxburians," Minister Smith groaned. "It's shitty."
"We have a job to do, and hers is to act as Entertainer in Chief right now," Minister Bandt snapped back. "She can't stroke everyone's ego all the time. It's HER government and she's got to seal the deal. We need to keep giving her information to work with so she can do it."
"Ooh, la di da Adam wants a promotion," Senator Evans teased. "He's right though."
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, Minister Bowen, and Secretary Burke led the Duxburians to a set of vehicles for the short jaunt to The Lodge.
The group got out of their vehicles and stood on the walkway towards the door.
"The Lodge is the official residence of the Prime Ministers of Australia. It's a little different from the austere greyness of 10 Downing Street, for sure," Mrs. Clinton explained. "Bill and I decided to go ahead and live here rather than rent accommodation, though some decide to do so based on renovation needs or redecoration. The other residence I'm offered is Kirribilli House in Sydney, but I prefer this one. It's built in a colonial style with 40 different rooms. I think Paul Keating bought and since donated the grand piano that sits in the lounge room. He was a fan of Rachmaninoff, I heard. Well, dinner is waiting for us, if you'd like to follow us into the dining room. Oh, and my husband will be joining us, Bill. Don't worry, he was leader of the Progressive Party for 8 years so he's familiar with politics."
Minister Bowen and Secretary Burke looked towards the Duxburians who finally looked happy since the announcement of dinner was made. And with good reason. Secretary Burke's mouth dropped at the decadent spread made available at the table. Traditional Australian items like meat pies (including a variety of emu pie), pea and ham soup, lamington cakes for dessert, John Dory fish with mashed potatoes and salad, and even a section of grilled meats like chicken, beef, crocodile and kangaroo (the kangaroo, being low in fat, was left medium to rare). Other international foods like spaghetti and others were also on the table.
"Please, help yourselves and then we can talk about those details," said the Prime Minister. However, she flashed a look at the one called Acwellan Devoy. She could sense something about him, but she couldn't put her finger on it. The intuition she relied on so heavily in decision making flared up a bit whenever her gaze happened to land on Mr. Devoy.
The other Australian ministers were right in their disappointment to not be invited to dinner. What began as a feast quickly turned into a high-powered nerdout. Master Marian sat with Prime Minister Clinton and Minister Bowen, attempting to explain the technical details of Ripple through Kline. However, Kline had difficulty translating this kind of material - Andrew Marian had talked about Ripple before, but never about its inner programming in such detail. Jon Lamington was able to help with the algorithms and walked the Australians through their options for preserving their tax code. Jon's characterization of how Ripple could wreck income taxation seemed over the top, so Brandon came in to demonstrate. Seeing was believing, after all.
"It sounds hard to believe, but Jon is correct - nothing stops a person from moving huge amounts of money across national borders anonymously and near-instantly. Here is the Ripple app. I am now going to login - you don't need a 64 character password - and now I am in. Let's pretend that we're bankers in the UK and this is our Duxburian day trading account. We just had a windfall of 10 million kaels and wish to transfer this home. By selecting an amount, let's say all 10 million kaels, and a destination address, we can move this money. A few seconds later, we get a green bar telling us that the transaction was successful, with a transaction fee of 1 XRP, which is a fraction of a thrael. The money is out of the DU and in the UK. Tax liability? Zero. Destination address? Anonymous. Tax enforceability? Zero. Knowledge that the money is even in the UK? Zero. Jon can walk you through the solutions for this."
Everyone shifted attention to Jon, while Brandon fought back a laugh. Ripple had no test mode, that was a real, live transaction. He'd just sent the 10 million kaels to some completely random UK Ripple address. Someone would wake up shocked in the morning! He didn't expect it back, either. There was no reason to care about only 10 million.
"So, what we can do is setup Australia's network with only financial institutions like banks as the gateways. Tax evaders can put as much money into the network as they'd like, but if they ever want to get it out, they will need to pass it through a bank and get busted in the process. It is also possible to lock the creation of a Ripple address using public key cryptography. Once the user has verified their identity, they recieve the private key. Assuming the address is paired with a gateway, their bank can now monitor funds," Jon explained.
They paused to take a break and eat more delicious food.
When Jon and Minister Bowen were busy discussing trade, Steward Maximillian was drunkenly examining the crocodile meat, Brandon knew the time was right to seek a private conversation with Clinton. He caught her eye and motioned to walk toward the door. She led him down the hallway to a small meeting room. Unlike the other rooms, decor in this one was modest and there was minimal furniture. He took a quick stroll around the room, pretending to admire what little there was, while scanning with his watch. Clinton noticed just now that it didn't actually tell time. The room was clean.
Her suspicious facial expression indicated that he'd need to spill his secret, and her emails indicated that it would *probably* be safe...
Minister Bowen couldn't seem to keep up with the talk about Ripple...at least it was until the literal example was shown to him. He wondered if the made up example was truly made up. The Duxburians seemed to enjoy that far too much.
"It's an exciting technology, and Australia will certainly get behind a comparable Ripple set up that the United Kingdom and Duxburian Union have made. Banks as a gateway to withdraw money certainly is a plausible option. I know the Prime Minister has..." Minister Bowen began, when suddenly he saw that Hillary had moved on. He didn't know what to say, as he didn't know how much of the hand he wanted to expose to the Duxburians. "Ah, well, let's see what we can do regarding some more of your finished products, particularly on the computational side..."
The Prime Minister had finally gotten up to follow Mr. Devoy. She knew he had something to tell her, and that it was increasingly more important.
"You know, not very many people would bring a negotiator that seemed to do the job of understanding their country better than they would. They also wouldn't be so entirely hands off. Even I, with my belief in a proper cabinet Government, am still hands on when it comes to things like this.
"What I am trying to really say is...is there anything you need to tell me? I can tell you are a fine, upstanding man with principled beliefs in some areas. You also seem as if you've been a lot...its your eyes. They give away a little bit of sorrow, even," said the Prime Minister. "This is a safe place, and whatever you want to tell me will not leave this room."