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Hearts And Minds

Posted on Jul 04, 2017 @ 5:45am by Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Jul 04, 2017 @ 5:46am

Mission: Aftermath

“Hearts and Minds”





=/\=

You can't win the hearts and minds of the masses unless you inspire them - you must lift their spirits and enliven their hearts.

-Jason Silva

=/\=



Location: Bolarus IX

Scene: Palace of the Planetary President - Sitting Room -> Balcony of Justice



“Mom, really, if you were going to have a mid-life crisis, couldn’t you just have gotten married again?”



Xana Bonviva turned to look at her daughter, stifling the sigh while she did so. “Dahlia, it’s not a mid-life crisis.” Dahlia in response did *not* stifle the sigh as she slouched in the ornate gold chair and picked back up her PADD to read ignoring her mother.



At least her two other remaining children were happy; Erika was scoping out drama schools and Ben peeking out the windows to see the crowds, grateful he wasn’t on VULCAN anymore. A female Bolian staffer opened the doors and said, “Your final family member is here.”



All four occupants turned their eyes to see a tall, lanky man with brown hair, freshly shaved, ambling in. “You promised not to interfere,” he warned.



“I never make promises I can’t keep,” the azure woman parried back. As the man leaned in for a hug she kissed her eldest child on the cheek. “I am happy you’re here, Gavi.”



Gavi Bonviva rolled his eyes even as he greeted his mother and held out an arm for the brother that rushed to his side. “I’m here, showered and shaved, per your commandment. What else do you want?”



“You need a haircut,” Xana Bonviva grinned at the familiar conversation.



Seeing someone else slip into the room, in a quiet manner, she nodded for Gavi to take his siblings to the side while got up to greet Yalar Traras, the Chief of Staff she had been communicating with. Walking into the room his lean face and high cheekbones were so sharp and accentuated the almond-shaped golden eyes. He was long and lean in a way that most Bolian men were not.



“Hello, are we all doing well?” Yalar Traras asked as he came in. “Good? Good,” he answered before anyone could say a word. “Alright so President Xall will come in, you’ll chat with her for a bit and then we’ll go out to the crowds. She’ll introduce you then you’ll go out and make your remarks.”



Xana studied the Chief of Staff; if he was Human she would have said a hair wasn’t out of place. But he was Bolian, so there was no hair. Instead, she could tell he was impeccably dressed, and her gut told her he was always so; more importantly she could tell he was used to walking into a room and being in charge, even if his title wasn’t the most impressive.



Xana understood this; she knew what that was like. Hells she was that. But he was also different. There was a sharpness to him as well, she couldn’t place her finger on it just yet, but something was telling that this wasn’t just a desire to serve or even ambition but something else entirely...



“Understood,” she nodded. “I have my remarks ready.”



Yalar waved that off. “We’ve revamped them to have them in line with the President’s remarks.”



The Bolian/Human woman went to say something when the doors opened again; first the guards came in and stepped aside to allow an elderly woman with imperial bearings, dressed in swirling lavender robes, leaning on a white walking stick.



Xana immediately made a fist with a fist with her left hand and brought it up over the heart on her right side, sweeping her eyes downward but not before noting that all her children did the same. “Madame President,” she said as she heard her children say at the sametime.



President Anaha Xall walked into the room and stood before the woman she was about to the Council and motioned for her and her children to rise. “When I stood on the Cliffs of Bole and announced that the Romulans had to get through me, the people *loved* me.” Pausing for a moment she said softly, “They finally loved me again.”



The azure woman with white hair stood there and nodded. It was a dramatic moment, one that rallied the weary Bolians who had been fighting with little hope. “I was proud to be a daughter of Bolarus,” she nodded.



“You were the one who dared to yank me off the Cliffs,” the President snapped.



“I had a duty as the Chief of Bolian Office of Protection to save the President,” Xana pointed out.



The President hobbled over to the windows and looked at the crowds. “How is it going to look that I am nominating *you*? I was going to be a martyr for Bolarus until *you* saved me. What do you suggest I say for now appointing you?”



“Gratitude for saving your life?” Xana replied, ignoring the querying looks from her children.



President Anaha Xall snorted at that. “I wanted to die; let the people have their idiot Vice-President, I didn’t care. The damn Romulans came and were decimating my planet, the least I could have done was die, but you had to ruin that too.



“Let no good deed go unpunished, isn’t that from your God of Pain? Well then this is your punishment. You saved me, now I can think of no greater punishment than to turn you loose on the Bolian public.” Standing at the doors she looked out at the mob outside below the balcony before turning around. “And after I let you loose on them, I’m giving you Yalar here as your Chief of Staff. You know in case you get any ideas.”



Xana raised an eyebrow. “Ideas?”



Anaha smiled thinly. “You’ll know the ideas after you give your speech.”



As the President swept outside, Xana Bonviva collapsed into the nearby overstuffed white chair, the neuropathy flaring in her legs. Ben was the first one who came over. “Mom,” he whispered. “She was *not* happy.”



“I know,” she replied squeezing his hand.



Erika looked over at the President, who was just beyond the doors, making a speech. “Why did you save her again?”



“She was President, it was my duty,” Xana explained softly.



“Dumb,” Erika sighed.



Yalar walked over, straightening his already perfectly straight red tie. “You’ll need to be ready in two minutes.”



The neuropathy was not going away; stress and anxiety was not good for her. “I’ll be ready when I’m ready,” Xana replied back. When Yalar gave her a look, Xana replied in kind with an equally stern look. “I’m communing with the Gods.”



Yalar, momentarily flustered on how to handle a boss who had a religious title as well as a political one, cleared his throat and nodded. “Right, well...uhm...I’ll be over by the doors when you’re ready,” he said while backing away.



“We’re not really praying,” Dahlia whispered to her mother. “And you never even forced us to all pray to the same--”



“If you don’t all bow your heads in the next ten seconds while I try to figure out something, I will ground your asses from now until you’re my age,” the mother warned. “Understood?” All four kids bowed their heads at once, Xana was pleased to note. Feeling the pain back away Xana’s mind ran through scenarios until she finally settled on the best one under the circumstances. “Gavi, watch your siblings. We’ll do the formal pictures, inside, as a family but I don’t trust all of us going on the balcony, it’s too insecure.”



Gavrosh Bonviva nodded at that. “And if something happens, I’ll go to EARTH with them,” he nodded, repeating the standard orders Xana had always given him. It was always go to EARTH or Bolarus IX; and now the choice was clear.



Exhaling at the best plan she could up in under one minute with limited resources she nodded and shooed her kids off her. “Time for me to go out there.”



After the kids gave her hugs and kisses, Xana walked to the edge of the doorway to hear President Xall wrap up her remarks, “--my appointment to the Federation Council is a daughter of Bolarus IX who in hour of need came home to help us fight back against an incursion. Now once again I call upon her to fill our seat on the Federation Council, which is *sorely* lacking in Bolian leadership after the senseless, brutal murder of our own. The universe is not safe for Bolians but we all give, by the Nine, and we give *all* of ourselves. With that I give to you, your next Councilwoman who is prepared to give all of herself to Bolarus IX, Xana Bonviva.”



As Xana Bonviva walked out onto the balcony into the warm air, the Lolsara Ocean a glimmering blue at the edge of the yard where the crowd had gathered beneath the Balcony of Justice of the Palace of the President. Looking down, Xana saw another sea -- a sea of Bolians looking up at her. Even from this height she could see the hunger and anger on their faces; the frustration was almost palpable in the air. The azure woman began to speak from her heart, something she knew she could do well, and had done so many times over the years.



“Thank you, President Xall. Many many moons ago Bolians had a date with fate, and now that time comes when we shall redeem our promise. Rarely moments come when we can feel the shift from the old ways to new, when an era ends, and a people suppressed, finds their purpose again. It is fitting that at this solemn junction in history we take the pledge of dedication to the service of Bolarus IX and her people and to the still larger cause of our being with some pride. At the beginning of time, Bolarus IX started on her unending quest, and all our centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of successes and failures. Through good and bad alike we has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave us strength. We have ended a period of ill fortunes and Bolarus IX discovers itself again. The service of Bolarus IX means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of ignorance and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest Bolian of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but so long as there are tears and suffering, our long work will not be over. And so we have to work, and hard work, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for Bolarus IX, but they are also for the universe, for all the planets and people are too closely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that it can live apart--”



“SYMPATHIZER!”



Xana snapped her head at that, thrown off her prepared remarks. Up until this moment, the crowd had been quiet, mostly intrigued and held back. Sensing a shift in the mood of the crowd, the Bolian/Human stood at the podium, pushing back a tendril of white hair.



“She’s not even BOLIAN!”



Xana Bonviva darted her violet eyes around, taking note of the shift in feel of the crowd; before they had been cautious. She knew what it was to watch a crowd, to look for signs.



“Hey hey! Ho ho! Bonviva has got to go!”



Large crowds were like rivers; they worked of their own accord and could not be controlled by a lone entity. A long ago floated to the top of her consciousness that only 10% of any crowd actually rioted, 60% of the crowd were known as passive participants and the remaining 30% were spectators. Realistically one only had to worry then about 10% of a crowd becoming *truly* dangerous.



“NOT MY COUNCILMEMBER!”



Except she was standing all alone on a balcony, the lone target, with an increasingly angry mob below her.



“No justice!” / “No peace!”



In moments the crowd had gone from rapt listening to chanting for a Councilmember of their own choosing stood silent, bereft. Then came flashes of anger, jeers, shouting. Suddenly out of nowhere a crash was heard as glass danced across the square.



A window was smashed.



Some of the people panicked and dissipated as fast as they could, fleeing to the down side streets; scared for their lives. Bolarus IX was about to crumble again, many could feel that palpable fear; except now it would be their own undoing. A core of Bolians stayed, for what came next; looking for the next confrontation.



Unhappy with not having a say in the burning hovers and property with no thought to whom it belonged to. They had become a mob, mindless and dangerous.



Anyone who tried to stop them was beaten severely; if they could not turn on the government they would turn on each other. They had lost all self control.



It was a riot.



The Bolian Office of Protection, the planetary division that Xana once lead in their black uniforms with their shields and full face visors, marched towards them in rigid formation. Instructions were given through comms and then the gas was unleashed.



Turning around Xana tried the sweeping glass doors back into the Presidential Palace only to find them locked. Belatedly she remembered that the protocols would have locked down the Presidential Palace. Peering into the windows she saw the very frightened faces of her four children who were safe but now having to watch their mother face a riot alone.



**I can think of no greater punishment than to turn you loose on the Bolian public,** the words of President Xall suddenly repeating in her mind. Stupidly Xana would have thought the protocols would have included *yanking* the newly appointed Councilmember off the balcony before locking down the Presidential Palace, but evidently she was wrong.



“I should have let the Romulans have that old bat,” Xana muttered to herself as she turned around to the riot. Looking up she saw that while the balcony was on the third level there was no easy way to climb up to the top of the Presidential Palace. Also with her neuropathy, the Bolian/Human wasn’t sure about attempting a climb *up* some rickety trellis.



Flattening herself against the doors to make herself less of a target, the Bolian/Human woman furtively looked around trying to figure out how to get out of this (preferably in one piece -- alive). Out of the corner of her eye she saw at the far edge of the crowd a figure with a dark hood over their head with sharp green eyes. The pale skin stood out more in the sea of blue Bolians, even under the hood. However, after a moment Xana suddenly felt a calming sensation wash over her and the distinct feeling that she should stay on the balcony even though somewhere in the back of her mind the azure woman knew it went against every rational thought.



Time slowed, inexplicably, in that moment. Xana could turn her head just barely enough to look backwards through the door to see her children. She saw Benito crying, tears streaming down his face as his small mouth hung open; Gavi was picking up his younger brother, to try to save him, even as he looked back at his mother. Erika had her own bright eyes tightly shut, as if she couldn’t take another good-bye, as if she couldn’t say it one more time to another parent. Dahlia was heaving as if she had run a mile in a minute, her jaw slack as if physically shocked by the events that were unfolding. She wanted to tell them how much she loved them, how proud she was of all of them...but she couldn’t.



Suddenly a small crowd of Bolians broke off from the riot and climbed up the trellises, the one that scared Xana but clearly not them, and for a moment she flattened herself against the windowed doors convinced that this was *it*. That after all these years, she was finally done for, she was going to be massacred in front of her children. Silently she cursed her own futility in being unable to move, her own body now at war with itself; she was unable to move even as a small fragmented portion of her mind yelled that this was *not* normal. Turning to face her people that were climbing to rush towards her, Xana stepped forward; she was going to be damned if she was going to be flattened and beaten like some rat in a cage, especially in front of her children.



At that moment, as the first set of Bolian men and women started to come to the balcony, that Xana realized *what* was happening. “Save the Councilmember!” they yelled.



**Save the Councilmember?** Xana thought to herself. This was *not* normal. Riot crowds did not usually break apart and have diametrically opposing points of view, at least not in the middle of the riot.



And yet...in the middle of the riot, there was a crowd of Bolians streaming up the Presidential Palace’s trellises to create a physical barrier to protect her.



All the which made it difficult for Xana to look through the crowds to find that one non-Bolian she thought she saw earlier.



=/\=

Scene: Bonviva Residence



That night the Bonviva family settled into the small apartment that Xana still had on Bolarus IX. Of course it was a small apartment, which only felt smaller, since no one really wanted to be out of eyesight out anyone.



“Mom, Ben flops around like a fish out of water when he sleeps,” Erika groaned.



Gavi sighed. “I’ll sleep with him. You snore,” he replied.



“Do not!” Erika replied flinging a pillow at him.



Ben during all this slept, but Dahlia oddly enough leaned against her mother. Xana looked down at her Bajoran/Bolian/Human daughter who was reading...well it was some kind of engineering manual but what mattered was this was the closest the two of them had been in sometime.



Hours later, as Gavi and Ben settled in one bed, Erika and Dahlia in the other, Xana slipped down but still reading, her mind whirling. She didn’t expect today to go easily; but not this difficult either.



Suddenly the communicator terminal beeped and Xana accepted a message.

FROM:

TO: XANA BONVIVA, COUNCILWOMAN - Bolarus IX

SUBJECT:



Too bad about your first day...they often say the first day is the easiest too. Let me know when you want to me to make it easier.



=/\=

NRPG: That’s where we end for now. Xana’s been appointed Councilmember from Bolarus IX but the people are not happy and neither is the President of Bolarus IX. But who was that hooded figure in the crowd? Time will tell :)



Susan/Alix: Thank you to both of you for all your help/inspiration.



Jerome: How is this for non-acceptance?



=/\=

Sarah Albertini-Bond

~writing for~

Councilmember Xana Bonviva - Bolarus IX

 

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