By Ingvar: “Trigger, dear?”
Trigger Snowflake was shaken out of his tired musings by the voice of his beloved wife Coraline. “Yes, Coraline?” he replied.
“Are you packed? You know we’re heading to Mars tomorrow, for SysLiCon.”
“I have not forgotten, beloved wife. I only have my holiday hat left to pack. Just finishing up some paperwork, then I’ll come to bed.”
* * *
The next morning, fast duly broken, the couple walked to the Fort Corallium spaceport, where they boarded the small vessel provided for Sheriff Snowflake. They’d have to reimburse the Solarian Police for the fuel used, but it was definitely worth the cost for having private transport to the Mars SysLiCon.
It was a momentous SysLiCon. For the first year, Mercury was bidding for an upcoming SysLiCon and it stood between Luna on one hand and Mercury on the other.
The general feeling in the Literature community was that while it would be interesting to have SysLiCon on Mercury, it was not safe for the bulk of the SysLiCon attendees.
And the initial processing of the absentee ballots would begin while they were in transit. Naturally, Trigger and Coraline were eagerly awaiting any and all news beams.
* * *
“Oh. Trigger, have you seen?”
“A telefacsimile transmission just arrived. It seems as if OlympiCon have dropped Urbel as chairperson for the con-meeting.”
“That’s unusual. Why?”
“I am not actually quite sure. But, you’ll have to enquire when we get to Mars.”
* * *
“Trigger, there are more updates! Apparently, he has also been dropped from the SysLiCon-on-Luna bid committee.”
“This is very unlike Sheriff Scrogginski. I will need to talk to him, once we get to Mars.”
* * *
Trigger expertly maneouvered the ship down onto the landing pad. They still had a few hours before the official opening of OlympiCon, the Mars Systems Literature Convention.
Trigger debarked, then helped Coraline to step down on the landing pad.
“Dearest Coraline, would you excuse me? I need to find Sheriff Scrogginski and see if I can get any clarity in what has been happening.”
“Darling Trigger, you do that. Come back and tell me, once clarity has been achieved.”
* * *
“Urbel! Urbel! It’s me, Trigger.”
“Ah, Sheriff Snowflake, a familiar face!”
“So, this whole thing? What happened?”
“Well, as you know, I was on the SysLiCon-on-Luna bid committee. And as such, I was an observer for the initial processing of the absentee future site election. As such, I used the bid committee observer privilege to get some data from the absentee ballots. Specifically, the planet of domicile for the absentee voters.”
“Hm, so far, I see nothing untowards?”
“No, neither did I. So, then, I sent out a Letter of Comment, with the planetary domicile breakdown, highlighting that almost 7 out of 10 were domiciled on Mercury.”
“Well… The on-site voting in the future site selection has a deadline in three days?”
“But, Urbel, culd this not be construed as election interfering?”
“I very clearly sent the LoC as myself as a private individual.”
“Nonetheless, you are well-known as being the chairperson, and you are, well were, on a bid committee.”
“Yes. In retrospect, I suppose it was not as well-advised as I thought at the time.”
* * *
Coraline walked through the main hall of OlympiCon, soaking up the heady atmosphere of literature discussions, happening all around her. It felt so good being back at an actual convention, after all the SOVID issues.
She suddenly stopped, staring at a book propped up at one of the fan tables. It was titled “An Elemental Mess – a History of Sulphurian Actions in Literature”.
She picked the volume up, and only then did she see who was also standing by the table.
“Barbara! I did not know you were here. It is so good to see you!”
“Coraline! I see you have seen my new book. I was inspired to write it, after the whole thing when they thought I was Trigger. I just didn’t know what to call it.”
* * *
A few days later, Trigger, Coraline, and Ms Dimatis were taking coffee in one of the convention cafés.
“Ms Dimatis”, Trigger said, “did you know that danishes are actualy called Viennas in Denmark?”
“Yes, Trigger, I knew that. They were apparently first made by a baker from Vienna, who had moved to Copenhagen. Oh! Look! They’re just about to announce the results of the future site election!”
“I wonder how it all went? Ah, yes, I did speak to Urbel. Apparently about 70% of the absentee ballots were from Mercury.”
“Oh, if that had been published in… Wait, is that why he was dropped as chair?”
“Yes, apparently neither OlympiCon nor the SysLiCon-on-Luna concoms thought it was a good look, having someone so well-known doing something like that, even as a private individual.”
“Well, looks like Mercury won the election. So, SysLiCon will be on Mercury in two years.”
“Good for them. I hope they will get many off-planet attendees. But I for one will not go, as I fear being that close to the Sun.”