The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.
The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue, Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family Business, Jewel’s Place, Shanghaied, First Mark, The Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash Down, The Lake House, Dancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment.
The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to See, Maintaining Common Sense, Meeting Compagno, Unseating Dibolocos, The Journey Homeward, Ambush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda, Changing the Moon, Expanding Horizons, Running the Blockade and Dueling Politicians. Today we get Episode 34.
Legislation, Delegation and Deliberation
The next day when Jamison entered the governing chamber he noticed that most of the delegates treated him differently. They hushed as he approached. They side stepped to let him pass. Others made sure to approach him and greet him prior to the day’s work. The change made Jamison nervous. He didn’t know exactly how to respond to the insincere brown nosing from a few of them. But he also didn’t trust the new respect being given by the others. His days as a pirate had taught him that if people feared you they are more likely to stick a knife in your back.
That morning Commodore Galvez announced their first step toward self-government would be to determine what style of leadership to use. For the next couple of hours different styles were discussed. Then each delegate’s console allowed them to vote from among several of the possibilities. The two possibilities which got the most votes were similar to each other. The first allowed for a president who presided over a legislative house, a small judicial committee and a military wing. The other possibility was a Chancellor who presided over a legislative house, with two Vice-Chancellors representing the military and the judiciary.
These two options were then considered in depth, and eventually the second was chosen. The next day they would select their Chancellor, and Vice Chancellors. But they also would have to select a basic set of sub-committees to take on various tasks. They would decide those groups once they had their own Chancellor in charge of the congress.
The next morning they were allowed to make nominations, via their consoles. They started with the position of Chancellor. After the first round of nominations there were 37 candidates. But after most declined the position there were 13. Jamison was glad to see he was on the list and he made the assumption he would be the first Chancellor. He remembered that his calling from the king had been to be the law giver. It was his role to bring law and order to the colonies.
He was greatly perplexed when in the next round of voting he only got two votes. There were three candidates whose vote totals stood well above all the others, so these three were put forward and allowed to each speak for a half hour about what they would do if selected as chancellor. A final round of voting then was held in which the first Chancellor was selected to be the man Jamison had saved from Richards and his gang of thugs. His name was Robert Johnston.
Then Jamison began to consider that perhaps being the Vice-Chancellor in charge of the judiciary would best allow him to fulfill his calling. This position was the next one to be taken up and the same process was used. After the first round of nominations there were seven candidates, and Jamison was not one of them. He was now certain that something had gone terribly wrong.
Shortly one of the representatives from the capital was placed in charge of the Judiciary. He would have authority over all of the courts, including those which manage law enforcement and those handling civil matters. It was noted that this second category would include any grievances against the government brought be citizens.
Jamison briefly wondered if he might be the Vice Chancellor in charge of the military, but this did not seem to fit with his calling at all. And when Commodore Galvez, asked for an exception, that this position would be held by a ranking officer, he was quickly appointed to that role.
The group adjourned for the day with these three key positions in place. The next day they sought to divide up the most urgent tasks they needed to do next. A committee was formed to establish districts and election protocols. Another was shaped to form law enforcement for every colony. Another was formed to place courts in each. Another was formed to consider how to fund the government. Chancellor Johnston was given quite a bit of leeway for appointing the Chairmen and members of these committees. The only time voting took place was when someone objected or asked for a formal count.
Jamison was almost to the point of despair and beginning to lose focus on the progress of the group. He had expected because of the promises of the Kilkian king and Colopher that he would be one of the key leaders. However all the key positions seemed to have already been passed and now he was stuck with nothing left to do but grunt-work. While distracted in this way he startled to realize Chancellor Johnston was addressing him.
After a moment or two of embarrassment he realized he was being appointed as chairman of a committee on Laws. In order for the colonies to be united they would need to share their most basic legal code. So the formation of laws regarding the most elemental aspects of right and wrong would fall to this committee. Suddenly it was obvious that he had not been chosen for any of those other positions because this committee fit his calling very specifically.
By noon that day they had their committees selected, and it was determined that each morning they would meet in congress, but each afternoon they would adjourn to committees. The committee recommendations had to pass a vote of the whole congress, but by allowing committees to do the bulk of the work simultaneously they would be able to cover more ground each day.
So after lunch Jamison headed into his first meeting of the Committee on Basic Law. He immediately noticed the other four men in the room had all also aligned with the Kilkians. This brought him a deep sense of relief. He would not have to fight for common decency within the committee, but he knew when the recommendations went before the congress they would meet resistance.
The five began to brainstorm a list and from this list began to prioritize what they felt was important enough to codify. Jamison was surprised to notice that even though they were all aligned, and seemingly should be unified, the men did not have agreement in everything that should be illegal. There easily agreed as to what was right and wrong, but differed often as to what was wrong enough to be punished by law.
At the end of the first day a little progress had been made, but they were not ready to report. They had two short lists. One list was moral in nature: it included protecting the family, murder, sexual behavior, stealing, lying and social justice. While this list was generally agreed upon the details of how to flesh it out were far from settled. A second list was about alignment: Kilkian alignment, no aligning with new aliens, not speaking against the Kilkian king, and celebrations of alignment. They all wanted these items because of their own loyalty to the Kilkian king. However they were not at all certain it would be the right thing to do to legislate these issues rather than to leave them in the realm of personal conscience.
This summarized much of the problem. The King wanted people to know right from wrong, but also wanted them to have the freedom to choose right. Those areas where doing wrong caused harm to others must carry a penalty. This serves to protect the public from the anarchy, piracy and their own moral weaknesses.