By Robert Lynch
The Senator’s office was small and pokey. Jackson could see the story was true; the senator really had kept the same office since he’d been a freshman. Of course, it was possible that he just had meetings in this room to affirm the story but kept the Chancellor’s office for private use. Duplicity and self-aggrandisement are both synonyms for Senator.
“Mr Freeman,” the Senator shook Jackson’s hand, “I’m glad we could finally meet.”
“Please Chancellor,” Jackson returned the handshake with reciprocal vigour, “Call me Jackson.”
“And you should call me John.” The Senator replied. “I’m led to understand you wanted to talk about the Marriage Bill.”
“That’s right,” I replied. “I’m hoping that you might lend your support to it.”
“Straight to the point, eh?” the Senator said. “Very well. Let me be blunt then, inter-species marriage will never win a vote in the senate. No matter my personal politics, I can’t erode my political capital where there is no gain to be had. All that will achieve is weakening me so I can’t influence fights that can still be won.”
“I appreciate your point of view,” I said. “But unfortunately for you this is a hill I have chosen to die on. Or worse.” I handed the senator a large yellow envelope.
He took it and opened it. The pictures inside were graphic, to say the least. He went slightly pale.
“Inter-species fornication is no crime.” The Senator said. “But blackmailing a member of the Senate is.”
I smiled. “That isn’t a photo isn’t of you. Apparently, the leader of the opposition and yourself have similar appetites. He has the photos with you in them.”
He looked back at the photos, clearly looking at the male face for the first time. “What do you hope to gain from this?”
“Well, you are at each other’s mercy now. Both of you would see this bill passed. The majority of voters want it passed. But old money chains you both.” I said. “I have no copies of any photos, although I doubt that the PI I hired gave he his originals, from here you two have to decide if your careers are worth more than dusty donor money.” I stood up. “I’ll see myself out.”
“How do you know I’ll let you leave?”
“I’ve committed no crime. I did not ask for anything in return for the photos, nor threaten any action. Arresting me will only help my cause, as it will make everything public.”
“There’s only one reason a man would take a risk such as this.” The Senator said. “When’s the wedding?”
“Depends how quickly you can get the bill signed.”