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No Perfect Moment

Posted on Jun 06, 2017 @ 6:18am by Marie-Claire Martine & Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Jun 06, 2017 @ 6:18am

Mission: Aftermath

=/\=
"No Perfect Moment..."

=/\=

Thresholds of pain, indignity and incapacity are entirely personal.
--Polly Toynbee

=/\=
Location: VULCAN
Scene: Bonviva Home
TI: A week after “Deciding His Own Direction”

Ben and Xana had picked up dinner on the way home from the Federation Council. Climbing out of the sand cruiser they grabbed the take out and eyed the beat up sand cruiser that was already parked outside their home.

“That’s Kovar’s sand cruiser,” Ben offered helpfully.

Kovar was a friend of Dahlia’s from school that she had repeatedly insisted was “only a friend” and judging from the way they interacted Xana believed it. Normally, Dahlia had been open about when Kovar was coming over to do homework but Xana hadn’t known he’d be over today but it could be that it slipped her mind.

Walking into the house with Benito, Xana looked into the living room, expecting to see the teenagers with a pile of snacks ostensibly doing their homework or more likely playing video games. Seeing an empty living room, she put down the dinner for the evening, and peeked out the back door and saw that the porch was also empty. Glancing down the hall she saw that the door that lead to room that Dahlia and Erika’s room was locked shut.

“Benito, go to your room,” Xana ordered quietly.

Ben looked up at his mother. “But I want to be here when Dahlia gets in trouble,” he protested. When Xana gave him “the look” he sulked as he went off muttering, “I never get to do *anything* fun.”

As Ben went off into his room, the silence about killed Xana. Ideally there would have been another parent here. As she took the steps to Dahlia’s room, her mind drifted. What would Gene have done? It would have been hard to say, he died when Dahlia was a baby, but Xana figured he would have used a fair amount of firmness with empathy. Daisy would have joked but been firm, Xana knew. And Jake...from the very beginning Jake and Dahlia just adored each other so this would have broken his heart, and who knows what that would have done to Dahlia.

Instead Xana and Dahlia, mother and daughter, were stuck with each other.

Exhaling, the azure woman banged on the door. Loudly. “I’m going to have to ask you if you’re naked to get dressed and come out.” She paused. “If you don’t come out in one minute I’m going to get my phasers.”

Hearing frantic whispering and movement came from the other side of the door; Xana rubbed her face. “And Kovar, you’re going to have to leave.”

With that she walked back to the kitchen to set up the dinner she got with Ben, all the while praying. **Dear Gods, don’t let them be naked. Don’t let me be a grandmother in several months.**

As Xana stood in the kitchen, ostensibly setting up the takeout, a Vulcan/Betazoid teenager came flying out of Dahlia’s room. In a sign of the depth of embarrassment the kid felt, bright red spots were on the apples of his cheeks, as Kovar’s voice squeaked, “Sorry, Ms. Bonviva.”

**I can’t kill my daughter, people look down at that kind of thing; I love my daughter, even if she is a teenager,** kept running through her head as she attempted to fix dinner while waiting for the furious monster known as her teenage daughter to appear. Hearing the stomping that seemed to accompany every step that Dahlia took as of late, Xana turned around to see her daughter standing in the doorway to the kitchen. Her blonde hair was still shorn short, but her blue lips had a distinct pouty look to it as if they had been kissed.

“Well I hope that you went to the clinic and got protection. Kovar too,” Xana said finally.

Dahlia rolled her golden eyes at her mother. “Moooom, it’s not like that.”

Xana walked over and held up the shoulder of Dahlia’s shirt which was inside out and wrinkled. “I wished I believed you.”

Dahlia blushed as she jerked away. “If I was Erika, you’d believe me. You always believe her.”

The mother tried not to roll her own eyes at that. Erika was an open book, she was similar to Benito that way. Xana knew the first time Erika began experimenting because she came home and told any adult within earshot, “THAT’S IT?” Xana kept that to herself, instead pointing out, “You aren’t Erika. You are Dahlia.”

There was a long period of silence so Xana went back to setting out dinner and drinks with Dahlia leaning against the wall for support. “Mom, it’s Kovar. He’s a friend. I’m allowed friends, aren’t I?”

Love and Pain. That’s what she was the Avatar for but right now she’d trade it all in for some patience. Xana exhaled when the patience was thin as she scrambled looking for the right words. “You know you have friends,” she said as she gripped the sink. Looking over at her daughter she said, “But you’re angry at me. You’ve been angry over the divorce. The move to VULCAN. But you know what? You’re not much of a friend if you use your friends as a weapon against me.”

Dahlia said nothing to that, folding her arms to that. It was a small win, so Xana took it. “Once you have sex, you can’t go back to holding hands,” the mother said quietly.

“We didn’t have sex, Mom,” the teen said finally. Jumping up on a nearby counter Dahlia frowned in thought. “We just fooled around.” Tapping her foot against the counter she said, “I wasn’t using him.”

Shaking her head at the surreal conversation she was having with her younger daughter, Xana said, “It’s not me you have to convince.”

“What about convincing you of this? VULCAN blows,” Dahlia announced. “I want to live with Jake. Permanently.”

The tingling in her legs was back with a vengeance; it often sneaked up on her after exertion or stress. No stress here, Xana thought to herself dryly. Walking unsteadily to the seat in the living room, she eased herself down. “I would never deny you spending time with Jake,” she said carefully. “But think carefully Dahlia, is this a smart decision--”

Dahlia exhaled loudly at that. “You always say that when you don’t want me to do something.”

The mother pursed her lips at that. The unsettling feeling in the pit of her stomach was just a byproduct of this conversation, she understood it, even if she hated it. Still she continued on. “You only talk about wanting to live with Jake when you’re angry,” she said.

The teenager leapt off the counter with more grace than one would imagine with large combat boots and heavy chains looped around her waist. “Maybe that’s just when I realize how terrible it is to live with you,” she said. “You don’t love Jake doesn’t mean I don’t love him anymore.”

Leaning back against the soft chair, Xana said, “That he and I can’t make our marriage work is on us -- him and I. But I will always be...grateful and yes, some part of me will always love him. I wouldn’t be half the person I am if it wasn’t for him.” Lifting a shoulder she said, “I can’t think of a better person for you to live with. Which is why I don’t want you to do this out of anger.”

Dahlia looked at her mother, her golden eyes so like one father’s but the words that came out of her lips, aligned her to another father. “That’s very nice, Mom, but at the end of the day you decided to divorce Jake and I didn’t. So Ben and I are going to live with him.”

“No, I’m not.”

Xana closed her eyes at that. When she heard the movement in the back of the house, she thought it was Benito but there was only so many things she could control -- the universe or all of her children at once. “Benito,” she sighed rubbing her throbbing temple, “you’re supposed to be in your room.”

Her stubborn son slid down the wall to sit on the floor of the hallway just outside the living room. “It was getting boring and I couldn’t hear much since you two stopped yelling,” he admitted.

Dahlia gave a look at her younger brother. “We’re going to go live with your dad,” she ordered.

“I’m not going,” Ben said stubbornly. Shrugging he said, “He’s got a ship, he can come here.”

“Why not?” Dahlia ordered.

Ben’s blue eyes darted to his mother before glaring up at his sister. “I told you, Dad has a ship. He can come here.”

The teenager let out a frustrated yell. “Erika won’t come but we’ve never been separated,” she told her brother.

“Don’t go,” he told her. When Dahlia glared at him Ben pointed out, “Dad has a ship.”

“Jake doesn’t fly to VULCAN,” Dahlia pointed out. “He never flies to home world planets.”

Ben looked down at that for a moment before looking up. “Yeah well...not much of a ship if it can’t fly here, is it?”

“You just don’t get it,” Dahlia snapped as she stomped off to her room.

Ben and Xana sat in the quiet front rooms, until eventually he got up to get some food and Xana rested her eyes. Suddenly a large crash from Dahlia’s room followed by yelling and tears alerted them that something was amiss. The azure woman stood up and immediately crumbled wordlessly to the floor.

“Mama,” Ben said quietly as he dashed out of the kitchen, crumbs of the cookie he stole trailing out of his mouth and down his shirt.

“I tripped,” she lied, ignoring the tell-tale fiery sensation that worked its way up her legs indicating that the nerve damage was flaring up. Looking under the sofa she said, “Are you all using under the sofa as a food storage?”

Ben nodded as he looked under the sofa with her. “What else would we use?”

Sighing she asked, “Clean it up, would you?” These episodes never lasted long, thankfully, but they always seemed to catch her off guard. “Alright now I need to check in on your sister.”

As she got up, Ben looked up at her. “Mama, I’ll keep our promise I won’t tell anyone that you keep tripping. I know,” he nodded.

Closing her eyes at that, she murmured, “Grazie.” Stretching her legs she moved cautiously down the hall and stopped at the door of the room that her daughters shared. Dahlia had done a number in destroying it; mentally she realized that when Erika got home from her job she was going to give Dahlia hell for it but that was later, now it was to figure out why. Moving cautiously towards the bed she sat at the end of it and asked, “Dahlia...what happened?”

“I tried to call Jake, to ask about moving in with him,” she sniffled.

Xana nodded at that although with her daughter’s head buried in the pillow she couldn’t see it. “What happened?”

“HE WASN’T THERE!” Dahlia yelled. Sitting up, she threw a pillow at the wall, even as tears streamed down her cheeks. Looking at her mother she asked. “What’s the point? No one is ever there. Dad’s dead, Daisy is gone, and Jake is never around. No one is ever there,” she sobbed into her mother’s arms.

=/\=
Scene: Staff Room, Karimi’s Office Suite
TI: Next Day

The next morning had been quiet, peaceful, and uneventful. But instead of savoring the moment, Xana found herself worrying and wondering why. She imagined a secret service coming to arrest her for the careless conversation she’d had with Amanda Lane a couple of days before. Therefore, she sought out the rest of motley crew to see what was going on.

Leitas was in the corner, three computer screens in front of her, as she carefully observed statistics and scuttlebutt regarding the new Bill. Not one to avoid multi-tasking, she also noted the most important information on a PADD resting on her thigh.

Gideon Bosley and Marie-Claire Martine were sitting on the other side of the room, a plate of beignets and two cups of coffee between them. The azure woman could see they were talking, but she couldn’t tell the subject matter. Whatever it was, they were both smiling and laughing sometimes, paying little attention to anything else but each other. As Xana closed the gap, she saw that the two of them were holding hands across the table, and Martine looked strangely relaxed and happy.

Xana tried to comprehend why it seemed weird, but then it hit her. It wasn’t that she had never seen her assistant smile before, but this was a carefree grin. The older woman was being purely genuine in her communication with the Monegasque Press Secretary. One thing was obvious; the gleam in her eye and pink in her cheeks wasn’t because of the job.

“M-C, can I see you for a minute?”

“Sure.” The Canadienne stood, allowing her hand to touch Bosley’s wrist for a second or two longer than it had to.

=/\=
Scene: Xana’s Office

“Good morning,” M-C volunteered as the two women entered the office.

Xana sat down and put her feet up on the desk to ease the fatigue in her legs. “What exactly was that?”

“A morning break? La pause matinale,” Martine countered. She took a chair and eyed Xana with a bemused expression.

“I meant between you and Mister Bosley.”

Marie-Claire averted her cobalt eyes from Xana’s currently unforgiving gaze. Xana in return folded her arms and her expression began to look more like one suited for her younger daughter than her Campaign assistant. Muscle memory was apparently a legit thing.

“It’s not like you to be so quiet. When exactly did this happen?”

“You knew about my feelings for Gideon,” Marie-Claire professed.

Xana nodded. She may have not been the strongest physically that she had ever been, but her mind was still intact, despite her occasional lack of sleep. “It felt like more of a set of theoreticals at the time,” she quipped. “But yes, I remember.”

“While you were away, things moved from theory, to practice. Nature taking its course.”

“What about the campaign taking its course? Or the Bill? The work isn’t going to complete itself while you’re letting nature run amok.”
“The work- is in good hands. As it will continue to be,” Martine responded gently, but firmly. Xana’s sharpness didn’t bother Marie-Claire from an employment standpoint, but alarm bells were ringing in her head that something was wrong with the Chief of Staff. Or that something had gone wrong on BOLARUS IX. “What’s going on that you don’t want me to know about?”

“My commitment to running the office of Councilman Hussein Karimi to a high standard is my concern. That’s what’s going on. Not my lovelife,” she jabbed.

The last former Secretary of Starfleet had a sour expression which she let hang in the air between them for a good ten seconds before she sprang into action. “One moment, Xana,” M-C said in as polite a voice as she could come up with, and darted across the hall.

Less than a minute later, Marie-Clare appeared with a stack of PADDs. She lined them up on the edge of Xana’s desk.

“What are these?” Xana asked.

Martine pointed to each one in turn and gave an explanation. “List of those expected to vote in favor of and against our Bill and possible sway points for those not in our favor. A daily rundown of Leitas’ workflow. Karimi’s schedule and any comments he’s made organized chronologically. The minutes of every meeting we had in your absence along with an action plan. Transcripts of all speeches given. And finally, the next year’s worth of agendas planned out by quarter. They were all updated as of an hour ago. As expected.”

Xana pushed a tendril of hair that had escaped her chignon off her forehead. This wasn’t going the way she intended. “I didn’t mean to-”

M-C wasn’t finished. “N’importe quoi! I am an adult and fully capable of balancing the demands of a career with my personal life. The main word here being “my”. And I will not ask your permission to date whomever I choose to. If you don’t like it, you can do as you see fit. I haven’t felt this way since- a long time ago.” The face of a certain Betazoid man came to mind. “Anyway, I’m not letting another chance at happiness pass me by.”

“I apologize,” Xana said quietly. Marie-Claire wasn’t Dahlia. And Gideon wasn’t some older kid with his own brokedown hovercar.

Martine sat down and clasped her hands together. “You don’t need to, but I appreciate the gesture.”

“Promise me one thing.”

“What?”

Xana examined the first PADD, a lighter expression softening her face. “That you’ll save some of that passion for the swing voters. It’s too close to call right now.”

The women shared a smile, but Martine then brought it back to her original concern. “You haven’t been the same since your return to VULCAN. It’s clear that something’s on your mind.”

“You’re right. But it isn’t the time to discuss it.” She grabbed some English breakfast tea and a blueberry scone from the replicator, not sure if she was up for food but she needed to try to eat.

“When is it going to be?” Martine asked, her eyes following the Chief of Staff’s movements.

“Soon, I hope,” Xana admitted.

“I want that to be your promise to me,” Marie-Claire said in all seriousness.


=/\=
Scene: Federation Council

Reasa Keiri walked into the empty Federation Council, pushing back the salt and pepper curls, inhaling the air. She had finally made it, although if the rumors were true, she had her work cut out for her. Walking into the chamber she saw a long lean Trill man cleaning up around the room.
“Excuse me, I’m Dr. Reasa Keiri, the new Councilwoman from BETAZED,” she announced.

“Congratulations, I’m Somul Piim,” he said without looking up as he adjusted the chairs at the desks and PADDs on the desks. “I’m the custodian of the Council. If you need anything be sure to holler out “Piim!” like all the others do and I’ll get to ya eventually.”

Reasa sighed as she tapped her foot. “Where does BETAZED sit?”

Somul Piim stopped and pointed across the way. “Over that-a-way by BAJOR,” he said.

As Reasa walked over she checked the silver personal chronometer on her. “It’s 0900. I was told that the Federation Council convenes now.”

“They’ll get here with old grapes and grouse leading the way,” Piim explained.

“Who?” Reasa asked.

An elderly Zakdorn man walked in from a side door and dropped a pile of PADDs on a nearby desk. “PIIM!” he bellowed. “Get me a brandy!”

Piim went running over. “Councilman Betello, you’ll be happy to know Dr. Keiri is here,” he said.

The Zakdorn sighed so loudly that all of his three extra pouches quivered. “I don’t need a doctor, I need a brandy. Are you going deaf, man?”

Piim leaned in, “New Councilwoman from BETAZED.”

“Well why didn’t you say so?” he heaved. Hefting himself up he walked over to Reasa as Piim went dashing off for the brandy. “New Councilmember from BETAZED? I’m the old councilmember from Zakdorn.” Turning around he said, “Two brandies, Piim.”

“Isn’t it early,” Kieri offered.

Zakdorn looked mildly shocked at that. “That’s ridiculous. It’s a medicinal fact that brandy gets your bloods flowing and brain pumping. I’m surprised you didn’t know that being a doctor and all.” Giving the doctor a look he said, “Where does BETAZED stand on the question of the
“Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All” Bill ?”

“With EDOS of course.”

Betello laughed at that as he turned to a sharply dressed golden young man. “Noellex get over here,” he said. “Well Dr. Kieri, now you’ve met the long and the short of it. Noellex is the youngest member of the Council.”

“Pleasure Councilwoman Kieiri,” Noellex smiled.

“All mine,” Reasa smiled back.

“Good, good,” Betello nodded. “PIIM - where’s my BRANDY?”

“HERE!” Piim yelled back from right behind the Zakdorn Councilman. “And you're not the oldest. Councilman Kevak has you beat by a year and half.”

Betello glared at the custodian as he took the two glasses. “Well where did you go for the brandy, man, YRIDIA?”

As Betello stomped off with Piim, Noellex swept an arm out and guided Reasa Kieri to where some other Councilmembers were congregating. “I know you’re anxious to meet some of your other colleagues. May I present Councilwoman Fenna Golan from TRILL and Councilman Kala Shor from BAJOR.”

After the introductions and pleasantries were made, it was the Councilwoman from TRILL who cut to the chase. “Tell me, what is BETAZED’s position on “Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All” Bill?”

The Councilwoman from BETAZED smiled coolly. “I have been sent without any instruction; free to vote my own personal convictions.”

There was a moment of silence as exchanges were passed before Councilman Kala from BAJOR asked, “And those are?”

“Personal,” Reasa Kieri replied back easily.

More glances were exchanged before Noellex waved a hand as he guided the Councilwoman from BETAZED back to the chamber. “Come now; those of us not from the founding worlds stick together; speak with one voice as it were. It’s tradition.”

Noellex looked as if he were going to say more but as he saw a proud Vulcan woman walking into the chamber. “Councilwoman T’Pau of VULCAN.”

The tall Vulcan woman stopped by the Edoan Councilman. “Councilman Noellex,” she replied evenly.

“May I present, Dr. Reasa Kieri of BETAZED, new Councilwoman from BETAZED,” he introduced.

“Greetings,” she nodded. T’Pau turned to make her way to her desk then stopped to turn around. “I wonder if I might impose to discuss something with you in private, Councilwoman Kieri?”

“Of course,” the Betazoid woman said as she followed the Vulcan woman. They made their way through the chamber into an anteroom that was clearly used for meetings and assignations. “VULCAN had great respect for your predecessor which is why I am reaching out. When the time is right, then you should align yourself. There have been others, who have risen quickly, but aligned with...questionable choices.” Pausing for a moment she said, “There is a wisdom in waiting before making alliances.”

“Appreciate the concern,” Reasa nodded.

Suddenly a wall slid to the side and a Tellarite man in nondescript clothing walked in through the secret door. “T’Pau, when you’re done converting the woman let the opposition have a crack at ‘em.”

T’Pau gave a cool glance at the Tellarite man. “You forget, once I get a hold of them, then logic has taken its hold. There is no going back.”

As Gavaar laughed at that, T’Pau turned to the new Councilwoman. “Dr. Reasa Kieri of BETAZED, this is Gavaar of TELLAR PRIME.” Looking at Gavaar she said, “Our newest member of the Council.”

“A pleasure,” Gavaar said courteously. “Tell me, Doctor, where do you stand on--”

“Extending equal rights?” Reasa asked.

“Advocating unconstitutionality,” Gavaar announced.

Reasa raised an eyebrow at that. “I don’t have the stomach for defying the Federation’s constitution.”

“Good,” Gavaar nodded. “As you were.”

As the Tellarite male swept off, the two women leaned in to speak again when they heard a throat clearing behind them. T’Pau reacted first. “Oh Councilman Karimi I didn’t see you there,” she said addressing the Human Councilman.

“Good Morning,” he said.

“Apologies but it’s difficult to address you if you insist on standing in Gavaar’s shadow all the time,” T’Pau pointed out. Before Karimi could do little more than huff the Vulcan woman said, “Councilman Karimi, the author of today’s bill. Councilwoman Kieri, our new representative BETAZED.”

“Pleasure,” Karimi smiled at Kieri before glaring at T’Pau as he walked into the chambers.

The two women walked back into the Chambers and as Kieri went to take her seat she saw out of the corner of her eye a tall, distinguished, if slightly hobbled Andorian walked in. “Good Morning all,” he said as he made his way to his seat.

It was the only time that morning that Reasa Kieri was starstruck, if such a thing possible in the Federation Council. “Do you have the honor of being Councilman Kevak?” she asked.

The oldest member of the Council, who had seen more changes than all the rest of the members; whose voice leant credibility to the Federation’s actions in all four quadrants, walked slowly and carefully to his seat. “I do have that honor. I also have the cellular ennui to go along with it,” he admitted as he lowered himself down. “I believe I’ve already heard the rumblings about you. Nice to have you join us, Councilwoman Kieri.”

“Pleasure is mine,” she admitted.

At that moment, 0945 to be precise, that the gavel was brought down by the chair, which today was held by Hussein Karimi. After the reading in of the date and time, Hussein Karimi began the day’s business. “Mr. Piim, the stores of spirits are closed to the Councilman from ZAKDORN for a period of...3 days.”

“You can’t do that Hussein!” Betello yelled.

Hussein gave a look over at the Zakdorn Councilman. “You’ve abused the privilege.” As Betello went to try to charm Piim, Karimi went about with the Council’s business as the upper gallery of the Federation chamber filled in with visitors for the morning. “The Chair would like to recognize the new Councilwoman from BETAZED and hopes she will make the best of it.”

A round of applause and polite noise made its way up the chamber as Reasa Kieiri nodded her appreciation. After that Karimi called for the official roll call of the Federation Council where all of the members were reported present except for BOLARUS IX.

“I’m concerned about the continued absence of BOLARUS IX. Surely they’ve had an election to have a new representative,” Karimi stated. “So where is BOLARUS IX?”

The Caitian Councilwoman gave a sharp look as she said, “In the Bolian sector of the Alpha Quadrant.”

Hussein Karimi gave a glance at Councilwoman Soliss. “Yes, thank you,” he said over the twittering. Going through his own PADD he said, “The Chair will now read in the dispatch from Admiral Andrea Stiles.”

Dr. Kieri sat back in her chair as she listened to a report from Starfleet from Admiral Stiles detailing the missions of the USS PHOENIX under the the Captain Kane. “They looked at pictures of insects and now they’re going to the Neutral Zone?” she whispered to Councilman Shor. “I’m confused.”

“I don’t think reports are her forte. She’s more of a in the field leader from what I understand,” Shor explained. Then he thought about it and whispered, “None of the Admirals like the reports now.”

After the report was read in, Councilman Garshor was recognized. “Councilman Karimi, why is Admiral Stiles sending us reports?”

Councilman Karimi raised an eyebrow at that. “Because she’s an Admiral in Starfleet and Starfleet often reports to the Council--”

“They used to report to us *in person*. Not on PADDs!” Garshor pointed out. “How can the Council truly understand what Starfleet is doing if they are *out there* and we are *here* if we cannot properly convene with Starfleet?”

“What do you suggest?” Councilman Karimi asked.

The Denobulan Councilman gestured to where he was standing. “Get Starfleet *here* for their briefings. They did it on EARTH they can come to VULCAN.”

“Starfleet HQ is on EARTH too and Starfleet HQ is not moving to VULCAN,” Karimi pointed out. “Admiral Stiles, and the rest of Starfleet, will continue to write their reports as they see fit.” Setting aside that PADD he said, “With that we move onto today’s business. We have before us two bills: the first of which is “Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All” Bill. However, as I am the author of this bill I cannot present it so it will have to be tabled ag--”

Councilwoman Thamal stood carefully, her long milky hair brushed away from the slight cranial ridges on her head, “EFROS DELTA brings forth the “Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All” Bill for ratification.”

Reasa Kieri looked over at Noellex, the Councilman from EDOS. Things were different in the Council than in the Assembly; it would have been unheard of for the planet that sponsored the bill to not bring it forward. “Can she do that? I’m not familiar with the rules of the Council,” she whispered.

“Once ratified by the Assembly, technically anyone can bring it forward, but yes, it’s unusual. The bill was sponsored by EARTH but Karimi is the chair today of the Council so effectively he’s neutral,” Noellex admitted. His golden lips pursed together in thought. “Now let’s see who seconds it…”

The Councilman Garshor stood. “DENOBULA seconds the bill,” he announced. As he sat back down he kept his eyes to the floor to avoid glances from the other Councilmembers around him.

Karimi looked up at the upper gallery with a quizzical glance to a tall azure woman with white hair neatly tied back into a chignon, a regal Human woman with brown hair also swept back, and in between the two women a young azure boy with white hair next who appeared to be reading and eating popcorn constantly. Looking back at the Council he said, “The Bill has been brought forward for a vote.”

Councilman Geley stood up. “BENZAR moves for postponement of this discussion indefinitely.”

There was a subtle tapping heard in the chamber, as if an old code was transmitting a message, before BAJOR stood up. “BAJOR seconds the motion for postponement,” Councilman Shor said quietly as he avoided the looks from those who sat near him.

Karimi sighed he sat up, “On the motion to postpone this discussion indefinitely or to pass this bill. All those in favor of passage--”

Councilman Betello stood up, belched, and said, “Point of order, Councilman Karimi.”

“Yes?” Councilman Karimi asked sounding this side of aggrieved as he looked over.

“In all my years of - ya know - Counciling or whatever it is we do here,” Betello said, “I have never seen, smelled, tasted, or heard of a Bill so dangerous we didn’t *talk* about it first.”

A murmur went across the Council at this point. “The floor is open to discussion for the standard time. Should the need to open floor debate need to be extended then the Chair will entertain those motions,” Karimi ruled.

One by one the Councilmembers stood up to argue their points of the bill. Economics was a driver -- both for and against -- to allow more freedoms for those who were not part of the Federation. Cultural barriers were also discussed.

“There is a process for joining the Federation,” Councilwoman Fenna Golan of TRILL said, “and by advocating for the rights of all people, not just Federation but all, we are doing something we have never done before. It’s not the idealism that I find fault with but the practicality of putting it into place.” Pausing for a moment she appeared to weigh her words, “I appreciate my colleagues from EFROS DELTA and DENOBULA for bringing it to the Council. However, we cannot ignore that this Bill was ultimately sponsored by EARTH. And we cannot allow the passage of this Bill, no matter how good its intentions, to wipe away the atrocities that were committed on by its people and even worse the blind eye they took for so long. There is much good here but I cannot allow the good to blind me to the truly dangerous that still lurks beneath.”

As the Trill woman moved back to her seat, the Andorian Councilman cautiously stood up. “I agree with my fellow Councilmember from TRILL. I find no fault in what she said. We cannot forget what EARTH did and that despite what the record may show for eternity, that EARTH ultimately wrote the Bill. That Edgerton came from EARTH we will never forget. And while he was dealt with, there was too long a period he was not dealt with.

“None of that has bearing on the matter at hand,” Councilman Kevak stated. “Billions of beings in the universe, regardless of their Federation status, should have their inherent status recognized and rights defended no differently than we would our own. People are people, regardless of planet, regardless of flag, regardless of affiliation. All we are doing with this Bill is recognizing that fact.”

The Council was silent as Kevak sat back down. Karimi sipped some water at the desk in the front of the main Council Chamber at the Chair’s desk as he surveyed the room. Finally he said, “If there are no other comments for the record, then we will proceed to a vote. Since this is not a classified matter I will remind everyone that this is a public vote. I will proceed alphabetically. ANDORIA.”

The oldest member of the Council stood up. “ANDORIA votes yea,” Councilman Kevak said.

Karimi notated that. “BAJOR?”

Councilman Kala Shor stood up. “Civil rights are intrinsic to BAJOR but so is Starfleet and we cannot weaken Starfleet. BAJOR votes No.”

“BENZAR?”


Councilman Geley stood up and glared at Karimi. “BENZAR votes no.”

Karimi ignored the glare as he noted the vote. “BETAZED?”

The newest member of the Council stood up. “BETAZED is split on the middle. The people are against it and I am for it,” Dr. Reasa Kieri admitted. “Until I figure if being a Councilwoman means relying on their judgment or mine, I will Abstain.”

Karimi nodded seemingly understanding of the conflict. “By virtue of having no representation BOLARUS IX also abstains. CAIT?”

The Caitan Councilwoman stood up, her long mane flared out. “CAIT is for rights everywhere, we vote yea.”

“DENOBULA?”

Garshor stood up, again not meeting anyone’s eyes. “DENOBULA does the right thing, even if it will cost us. We vote yea.”

Several Councilmembers exchanged glances at that as the roll continued to be called. “DELTA?”

Councilman Clarze stood up and appeared to be weighing his options. “DELTA yields to TRILL.”

“Noted,” Karimi said.

In the meantime the score counters in the upper gallery and in the Council realized the vote was getting close and every vote would count. Councilmembers were huddled trying to figure out strategies as those in the upper gallery were trying to read lips and send nonverbal messages. “Karimi, yield the chair. You need to vote. Give it to Kevak or the new girl,” Betello hissed as he leaned in from his seat as far as his stout body would let him go without him yielding his position.

Councilman Karimi, however, did not yield the Chair of the Council, and instead continued with the vote. “EARTH, as the Chair of today’s session, must remain neutral and cannot vote. EARTH abstains. EDOS?”

Noellex turned and looked over at Karimi with a raised eyebrow at the shocking swiftness that EARTH did not just vote on its own bill. Standing up he said, “EDOS would happily welcome anyone who joined the Federation, but doubts that we can force rights upon those who do volunteer for the process, however imperfect it maybe. EDOS votes no.”

“EFROS?”

Councilwoman Thamal stood up. “EFROS sees a path forward; we vote yea.”

“TELLAR PRIME?”

Gavaar stood up and gave a sly smile. “I am not as eloquent as my colleagues, so I will defer to them on speeches. TELLAR PRIME votes no.”

Karimi studied his PADD as he said, “TRILL?”

Councilwoman Fenna Golan stood up. “TRILL has laid out why this is not the right bill. TRILL votes no.”

Councilman Clarze from DELTA stood up then, “DELTA PRIME votes--”

“I know, both TRILL and DELTA PRIME vote no,” Karimi said as he recorded the votes.

T’Pau stood up quietly. “There is no perfect process, there is no perfect sponsor, and there is no perfect moment. There are only processes which can be improved upon and sponsors who realize the moment when they are needed, however imperfect they are and flawed the moment maybe. VULCAN votes yea.”

The elderly Zakdorian Councilmember leaned forward. “It’s not too late, Karimi, you idiot,” he hissed. “Yield now, and recant the abstention. You’re in session, you can vote.”

“ZAKDORN?”

Betello stood up, his dark eyes full of rage at the Human Councilman. “There is no path to victory but I will not be the one to kill what is clearly right. ZAKDORN votes yea.”

Councilman Hussein Karimi, author of the “Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All” Bill, was forced to stand and say, “Without clearing a simple majority, by a vote of 6 to 6 with 3 abstentions, the “Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All” Bill fails.”

=/\=

NRPG: Several things happening here. Lots of emotional pain, stepping of boundaries (lots of fun!) and then finally we get to the vote of Karimi’s bill at last half of the post (the same “Bill” we’ve been talking about for awhile) where it was proposed that the rights of non-Federation worlds would have the same rights as Federation worlds. Since the vote was 6-6-3 it failed by not reaching simple majority.

And that concludes our tour today of emotional VULCAN (never thought you'd see that, huh?) :)

Tiffany: At some point (maybe next time whenever that is) I'll have Xana send Sofia a note about her collapsing. Think that's something a doctor should know, huh? :)

Shawn: Since Jake is already out in space he probably won't get this message from Dahlia for a bit but figured it's been awhile since she threw a fit and asked/demanded to go with Jake.

=/\=
A Joint Post by

Susan Ledbetter
Writing for
Marie-Claire Martine
and
Amanda Lane

=/\=

Sarah Albertini-Bond
~writing as~
Xana Bonviva

 

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