Governmental Ramblings
Governmental Ramblings
Summary: Nicholas proves his political acumen and forces Isabeau to stop being a lawyer, if only for a few moments.
Date: 97 ACH
Related Logs: Related Logs: Chock Full of Win and Debate
Players:
Nicholas..Isabeau..

(Note: This RP began some time back, but due to my own illness, the completion was postponed. I adjusted the date to bring it more current. Nicholas, if this messes with your time line, I can put it back to the start date.)

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JAG Office Carina - Main Level
97 ACH 23817 Souls


This office is a rather plain affair with a pair of desks placed at right angles to one another in a corner of the room, with computer terminals on each desk, file cabinets, still new from the crates, sit along one wall, while in the middle of the room is a collection of four chairs. Finishing off the room is a new coffee maker sitting on a table near a sink with a collection of cups bearing the seal of the Battlestar Genesis on them.

Nicholas is directed towards the JAG office by someone out front, and pauses to straighten his tie in ritual before rapping on the door with the back of his knuckles.

Isabeau looks up from her work at the sound. The door, while ajar, is not open far enough to see who stands without. "Come in, please." Her tone, while loud enough to carry, is subdued. While waiting, she closes the folder she has been working on and saves the information on the PDA, blanking it's screen when she finishes. The folder is placed in a drawer and she folds her hands on her desk.

"Miss Aragon?" Nicholas has no briefcase with him as he pushes the door open. The instant he says her name his eyes roll up a little and he laughs. "Listen to me, what an assumption. Is it really Miss? Or Mrs…or do you prefer the old standby 'Ms.'?"

Isabeau tilts her head slightly as you enter and the shadow of a smile lights her face for an instant. When it fades, the light dies, "It is Miss, Mr. Luma. Welcome." She rises and moves around the desk to offer a hand, "To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?" The other hand gestures toward a shelf, "May I offer you some coffee, sir?"

"Oh no, thank you. Don't trouble yourself." Nicholas smiles at her and shakes her hand, his grip light. "Please, sit. I just wanted to have a word or two with you about this government proposal that I…assume you're spearheading."

Isabeau's grip is firm enough, though gentles quickly and falls away. "Oh, it is no trouble, I assure you. But, as you like." Turning, she eases back around her desk to reclaim her chair. As she sits, she gestures to a chair that has already been drawn up to the other side of her desk. "Yes, I am spearheading the push. Please…? What is on your mind. Is this a conversation that I should record to reference later, or something more off the record?"

Nicholas laughs a little. "Oh my goodness, you are ever the lawyer. Whichever would make you comfortable, I'm just here for some clarifications and maybe a suggestion or two." He settles into the seat and crosses his legs. "First of all, if you don't terribly mind, I'm curious as to who I'm talking to. The last time I heard your name it was in passing and it had a rank attached to it. I know next to nothing about you or what you stand for besides the generic 'setting up civilian government'."

Isabeau once more half smiles, though this time it does not touch her eyes or light her expression, "It is what I am, Mr. Luma." Reaching over, she sets the PDA to voice record. Softly, she states the date and time, then adds, "I am speaking to Mr. Nicholas Luma." Turning to you, she adds, "That is simply so that I can locate the information later. If you wish to put forward suggestions, I would like to keep them and my memory is not as good as it should be." Leaning back slightly, she folds her hands and rests them in her lap, "I used to be in the military, yes. I reached the rank of Captain before mustering out." She lifts her gaze for a moment, her expression almost resolutely neutral. When she speaks again, her tone is softer and she looks at you once more, "What, exactly would you like to know? I do not want to ramble on and on, never touching on what you are looking for."

Nicholas lets his hands rest on his knee. It's a posture that could easily be interpreted as formally uptight but there's an ease about him that looks comfortable. "Oh, as I said. What you stand for. 'Government' is such a large word, and, no offence but I've often found lawyers to be less than forthcoming about their opinions on what it means to a people. And since you are the one whose choice of language and spin will ultimately influence what this is to these people, I am curious as to what you believe it is."

Isabeau's nod is thoughtful. "Fair enough." She blushes just a little at the description of lawyers in general, "There are reasons why lawyers tend to be slippery, Mr. Luma. For one thing, lawyers must deal with facts and until facts about their cases are known, opinions are meaningless and can prejudice an investigation or the completion of a case. We are trained to form opinions slowly and to be willing to adjust them based on the results of investigations. At least… Publicly. Also, there are very few professions that suffer the same kind of scrutiny that lawyers do. As you saw in the meeting, one inadvertant misstep and the public judges not only whatever you are doing, but you personally. I was less cautious than I should have been." Shaking her head a moment, she pauses. The silence grows for a moment or two before she begins once more. "As for what I believe "Government" is? That is complicated. I believe that a Government must first and foremost, stand for the people it represents without prejudice or exclusions. It is a body elected by the people to handle issues that effect the populace as a whole. Those are fairly generic statements, I realize."

"Very generic," Nicholas replies, without rancor. "Which usually indicates the person is either naive, patronising, or afraid of confrontation." He smiles at her. "I know at least two out of three tend not to be true for lawyers, or at least I should hope not. But if that's all you're comfortable saying on the topic I suppose I understand."

Isabeau tilts her head slightly, "Well. I am not being patronizing, I assure you. Whether I am naive or not is still open to debate. And, I am not particularly afraid of confruntation. Neither is it that I am only comfortable going so far and no farther. I have written a fifteen page outline of what I believe this government should be, the limitations on it's rights and powers, what it can handle and what it must. But… I am very much aware that my desires in this instance are not as important as yours, or Dr. Pike's or that fellow who was so loudly disapproving at the meeting." If she knows the man's hame, she keeps it private as was his apparent desire. "This is not /my/ government, Mr. Luma, it is ours. So, tell me, if you would… How do you define Government? What do you want to see come out of this?"

"Why would yours not be as important?" Nicholas asks, skimming past her final questions for now. "Don't we all have equal importance, without prejudice or exclusions? Or was that just political correctness?" He smiles a little.

Isabeau chuckles softly, though her eyes remain quietly focused, "You are mixing apples and oranges, Mr. Luma. If you are asking about whose opinion is important to the governments, then yes, my opinion is as important as anyone's. But, if you are talking about importance to me, personally? I have taken a long time to develop my beliefs about how things should be run. I have what I believe to be a well defined outline. But, it was developed in a vaccuum and it is time for me to seek new perspectives, new hopes and dreams, new opinions and ideas." She sobers a little, her expression sobering, "You know? I try to speak frankly, believe it or not. From the heart. I try to treat people with respect and eschew petty pigeon holing. While I believe in courtesy and in polite discourse, I do not see any value in sugar coating unpleasantness."

"That is exactly what I'm trying to invite you to do," Nicholas makes a small gesture her way. "Speak frankly. Yet you seem reluctant to do just that…you're still not doing it, but rather just talking about doing it." He smiles at her. "Go ahead and just do it."

Isabeau sighs and leans back in her chair, "Maybe I've been a lawyer too long. I thought that I was being frank." She looks around the office at the file cabinets full of folders holding cases, the wireless that tacks away with word from the JAG's office or various clients and the waste bin full of take out cartons. When her gaze drifts back to you, she offers, "Are you willing to try an experiment, Mr. Luma?"

"Always," Nicholas replies, readily. "Less so if it involves feathers."

Isabeau begins to nod until you finish. Then, she freezes as an image pops into her mind. Whatever it is she imagines, her iron control almost gives into laughter. Or at least a smile. But, she manages to sidetrack the expression somewhat. A brow lifts and she sidles you a glance, "You have something against feathers, Mr. Luma? Now, who is being prejudiced?" A sparkle begins deep within her gaze, though it fades away quickly enough. "Rather than ask me generic questions with generic answers, please ask me direct questions. I shall answer directly and if I get too vague, stop me and I shall try to be specific. Are you willing?"

Nicholas smiles brightly at the prejudiced comment. He looks pleased. Shifting on the chair, he crosses his legs the other way and settles his elbow on the back of the chair. "I wasn't aware this had to be interview format, but certainly, I'll try and oblige. I'll make the warm-up easy. Where are you from?"

Isabeau sighs, though her expression shifts to contrite, "It should not have to be. But…" Inhaling, she sighs, "Whatever works." Canting her head, she waits, then nods, "I am from a small farming village on Libris."

"Libris," Nicholas repeats, as though that answered a few questions for him already. "So, now your first proposal to us in that meeting was that we elect representatives by colony. Later after I spoke up and then Mr. Holloway and Mr. Fulton, you too seemed to change your mind. What was that final bit in the proposal where that was concerned?"

Isabeau nods, "It not only seemed as though I changed my mind, Mr. Luma, I did. Electing representatives based on an equally divided population is far more equitable. The only thing that concerns me is that twelve representatives were recommended. I balk when there is an equal number, to be honest. I would rather see eleven or thirteen. Then, the body elects a moderator or whatever from it's members to lead meetings, keep things on track and vote in case of a tie."

"Well, I think the twelve is now arbitrary. Clinging to the colonial way." Nicholas shrugs languidly. "What concerns me is that this election is -too- fluid. A representative has to, well, represent. A sub-segment of the population, clearly defined and usually through geographical divisions. Districts, counties, what have you. Once identified by that, one can further separate by politics and what have you. But they represent the interests of their sub-segment, giving it equal voice with others in a forum. I am worried that simply saying 'elect twelve people out of all those running in a giant pool' is organizationally chaotic." He pauses. "I didn't put a direct question in there, I guess. Do you need me to?"

Isabeau leans forward, listening. She rests her hands on her desk, clasping them. From time to time, she nods, though adds a faint touch of mirth to her reply to your last, "Perhaps. We'll see." Turning in her chair, she angles to face you a little more directly. "I am calling together a small group of people to put together the election rules. I would hope these would include how a candidate can be nominated, whom is eligible, how long they have to make their opinions known to their constituents and so on. That way, the people have an idea of whom they are electing. I would like to act as moderator for that meeting. Personally, the only prerequisite for running for office I feel is appropriate is age. Before approximately 25, people have a fairly narrow viewpoint. After that, once they have gained some experience, they have a better understanding of how they fit into society." She pauses, "Does that answer, Mr. Luma?"

Nicholas hehs. "Ninety days ago I might have called you mad and said even thirty was pushing it. But such as things are, I would say there's no choice but to open up." He glances at his fingernails, idly. "I would argue that one needs quite a bit more than just enough age to be able to function well in office. A council made up of eleven thirty year olds from Caprica who have never worked a day in their lives would sink this fleet."

Isabeau shrugs, "That is not for me to decide, Mr. Luma. Those are the concerns of the committee who will write the rules for the election. Tell me, Mr. Luma. Would you be on that committee? I had made a list from those who attended the meeting and you are on it."

Nicholas gives her a pained look. "Am I. I will if that's what it takes to move forward," he says, a little dry. "I must warn you, putting an economist near anything political is asking for trouble. I may tempt myself into making a drinking game of how many times I can fit the word 'marginal' into the evening."

Isabeau comes very close to smiling at that pained look, but does not. Quite. "Good. Thank you. I will let you know when the first meeting is to be held." Opening a drawer, she pulls out a PDA and makes an entry. Without missing a beat, or even looking up, she nods, "Might as well, Mr. Luma. Although you will have to keep a tally and do the drinking after the meeting." Finishing her notation, she looks up, "And of course I want an economist. How else will the committee know if what they are planning is economically feasible?"

Nicholas snorts. "Murphy's law of economics, Miss Aragon. We have the least influence on policy where we know the most and are most agreed; we have the most influence on policy where we know the least and disagree most vehemently." He sighs with a slightly dramatic sound and then pauses. "Allow me to tell you of my worst nightmare when it comes to these 'representatives'?"

You say, "Murphy knew a lot about politics, Mr. Luma." Either she is teasing, or believes it. Perhaps a little of both. Nodding, she lifts a hand, "Please do."
<OOC> Remember to +cookie. Cookies will be awarded on Sunday at midnight server time.

"That these 'elections'" Nicholas raises his hands and does indeed quote mark with his slender fingers. "Trusting in a noble but naive belief that democracy is the voice of the majority vote, won't notice that these civilian ships contain minorities that may never be heard. Sociology aside and myself being what I am, I nod to the working class. The soon-to-be-poor, if we continue the way we have been. Fewer than one thousand between the Destiny and the Carina, just to take two ships, grossly overshadowed by the five thousand and some wealthy patrons whom they wait on every day. Even if someone entered the race and claimed to stand for their rights and their well-being, they are a minority and face the danger of being outnumbered at every turn. This is my nightmare. That candidate after candidate will be decided by the brute-force tyranny of the majority."

Isabeau pays close attention to what you are saying. Inhaling, she nods, "That is a legitimate and honorable concern." Leaning back, she lifts a pen, her slender fingers toying with it as she considers a reply. Finally, she begins to speak, though her voice is soft, "There are any number of governmental models available, Mr. Luma. Some look fantastic on paper, but fail to take into account human failings. Some look ridiculous on paper, and still fail to take into account human failings. Yes, in the system that I have in mind, the majority of people in each of twelve divisions would elect one candidate each. But, it is the only way that I can think of that is fair. One citizen, one vote. It is not a perfect system, but it is fair. Each councilman or woman would represent the concerns of their constituents, so there is the opportunity for everyone to have a voice without weighing any one group's vote more heavily than another's." She keeps her gaze upon you and finally sighs a little, "But, as I have said, there are any number of models. Mine is but one and the Counsel will have to make the decision about how things will run once the first election has been completed." She pauses, her lips quirking into a near smile, "Why don't you run, Mr. Luma? Once the divisions have been established. You would be an excellent representative."

"Why the insistence on twelve?" Nicholas asks her, tilting his head. "What is the significance, if it's a free-for-all and not divided by subsections of the population or their interests? What does each represent? It sounds like unnecessary bureaucracy, Miss Aragon, considering our population is barely the size of a small town."

Isabeau shrugs, her expression never shifting from the quiet concentration she lends the conversation, "Twelve is traditional, Mr. Luma, so might afford the population a sense of continuity with the past. This, in turn, can give the people a sense of security and comfort that other configurations might not afford. From a practical standpoint, having a relatively large number on the council makes it possible for each councilperson to talk to their constituents in small groups and get a very clear idea of their concerns and needs. But, the number is not set in stone."

"It may be traditional, but it was functional when we had twelve regions that needed representation," Nicholas says, with a soft sigh. "Now I'm failing to see the connect between our needs and the layers of bloat that this would be. You keep mentioning constituents but having rejected the notion of geographical divisions…the only thing I'm pulling from this is that you believe that every 2000 people or so need their own representative…which isn't exactly accurate either since there are no subsets in the voting population from what you've described. I'm not seeing the justification for that."

Isabeau tilts her head slightly as you speak, her gaze steady, "I am not saying that it is necessary, Mr. Luma. I am saying that some number should be established by the committee who write the rules of election. Whatever that number is, it must allow for a fair and; hopefully, impartial governing body to be established. Twelve may be too many. One could do it, but I am uncomfortable with what that implies. Two is not a bad number, though four is as good. Six is also a good number. Eight may be too many. The thing is, Mr. Luma, that whatever number is chosen, the representatives need to understand their duties. They need to be willing to represent the needs of their…" She pauses, then moves on, "Constituents, or whatever. Now, I do not believe that I ever said the electorate would not be subdivided. I did agree that the division based on colony of origin is no longer valid and is, in fact, limiting. I don't honestly care how people are divided as long as it does not engender complications down the road, is easily updated and maintained and allows for fair representation."

"Twelve is too many." Nicholas says. "I am well aware I look fantastic in blue, and so I'm perfectly fine with arguing that until my face turns said exact colour." He smiles a little. "This is a fledgling body, here for the needs of under 30,000 people. Too much 'government' is bloat. Miss Aragon, part of our problem now is our worsening inefficiency in the general population, and I don't want to see that symptom reappear in its government." He scratches his eyebrow with his ring finger. "So what manner of voting system do you see, then?"

Isabeau lifts her hands in submission, "Fine, Mr. Luma. Twelve is too many. With luck, we will need that many again one day." She allows a faint smile at the level of self awareness the man displays, but lets it go. "You are asking me questions that must be determined by the committee tasked to write those rules. However, as you have asked, there are any number of ways a vote can be accumulated. There is the purely electronic, which would mean that polling booths would need to be erected, the software written and tested, and so on. There is a purely paper ballot method. That would mean that the votes would need to be collected and tallied by hand within full sight of the public. As you have said, our population is relatively small, so a paper poll is not impossible. Do you have suggestions?"

"I meant less the method than the system," Nicholas says, with a slight motion of his hands. "Plurality voting, ranked voting, rated voting, bloc voting, cumulative voting, SNTV…et cetera. That needs to be determined before one can talk about paper versus electronic. I suppose you'll say again that that's the committee's problem. When is this committee meeting?"

Isabeau sighs softly, a hint of frustration touching her tone, "Look, Mr. Luma. Yes, I know how I want things to run. But, I am not making those decisions." She rises, walking to the coffeepot on the shelf, "Would you like some?" Pouring some of the liquid into her mug, she continues, "During the meeting I held, I got the distinct impression that the people who were there were objecting either to the decisions that I had made, or to the fact that I have…" She pauses, then amends, "…had close tied to the military. Or possibly simply to the fact that I had opinions. As such, I have backed off a bit on my own expectations. Personally, I think that the type of election and the voting method go hand in hand. If people want to hold one election and fill all the slots available from a pool of eligible candidates, then a bloc voting method makes sense. If the election is going to be spread out over some given time, a single vote method would work better." She turns to face you, waiting to see if you wish a mug of coffee. "If people want me to outline clearly what I want to see in a comprehensive document that includes election and voting specifics, definitions and all of that, I am willing to do so. But, I am trying very hard not to turn this into my show. If it is going to succeed, it needs to answer the concerns and desires of the people. Yes, my opinion counts. But, it is only one opinion." She watches you for a moment, then adds, "As soon as I hear from everyone on the committee. I need to find someone else, however. One of the members I had asked passed away. Do you have a recommendation for another?"

"Maybe," Nicholas smiles at her, unruffled by the speech. "You're an extremely defensive woman, Miss Aragon. Even for a lawyer."

You say, "Maybe on the coffee or the recommendation, Mr. Luma?" She almost smiles, then shakes her head gently, slowly, "I am not as defensive as it appears. I am trying to be understood and I keep getting the feeling that I am not being clear."

"On the recommendation, pardon me." Nicholas laughs quietly. "The coffee no, thank you. I've never been a fan." He makes a polite gesture of decline as he says so, then his hands return to folded on his knee and he grins. "Even defensive about being called defensive. My goodness. Well, allow me to put it into military terms, if I remember them correctly. You're giving me your view on strategy, when what I'm asking after is your opinion on tactics."

Isabeau half smiles and nods, "Very well." Carrying her mug back to her desk, she reclaims her seat. Holding the mug near her lips, she watches you. Considering. Taking a sip, she actually blushes a bit and her gaze falls away. "I see. Well. I… suppose that I am being a bit defensive. But, that is not likely to change, Mr. Luma. I am sorry." While she looks away from you, away from the question at hand, her attention abstracts, her focus shifts and whatever light had grown in her eyes due to the discussion, fades away. After a moment, she blinks and returns to the discussion. Leaning back in the chair, she crosses her legs and reclaims her coffee. "I see. Tactics." Her gaze returns to you, "With the understanding that none of this is set, then?" A brow lifts slightly, though she does not wait for confirmation. "I would like to see five people on the committee with one set to serve as moderator. That person would be able to voice opinion on all topics but would not vote unless there is a tie. As we are a small population, I would like to see the election of all five at once, with bloc voting employed. I do think that having a 'none of the above' option is important. Voting would be done at polling places here on the Carina and on the Destiny. Votes would be brought to a neutral, very public location and tallied. Perhaps the committee setting the rules would do the tallying." She inclines her head toward you, her chin inviting rather than accusatory, "What do you think, Mr. Luma?"

"I think that now, we're talking tactics," Nicholas replies, approvingly. "Now this five, this is for…which committee, exactly? We've been talking about two as far as I could tell."

Isabeau lifts a brow slightly, "I think you are a consummate politician, Mr. Luma." Setting the mug down, she eases her chair forward and flips open her PDA. Pulling up a file, she consults it, then nods, "I was speaking of the governing body we intend to elect, but according to the notes that I made just after the initial meeting, I had the same number on the committee drawing up the election rules. That may be too many, however. Three would serve as well and would likely cut down the time required to accomplish the task."

Nicholas laughs under his breath at the politician comment. "I'll do my best to take that as a compliment. As for the 'governing committee', I don't see the use of denying the moderator a vote unless there's a tie. That would mean the position would have be voted in separately since the weight of the role would differ from the other four. No, I would be fine with five voting members of council. The role of moderator, in my opinion, is one that should routinely rotate among the members given its potential to be a position of power…a moderator is likely going to have to function as a spokesperson and, in some cases, a liaison. Now as I understood, the plan calls for a governor figure as well, correct?"

Isabeau twitches a half smile, the expression closer to touching her eyes than most. Gracefully, she inclines her head, though does not comment either way on the intent behind the comment. "As long as there is a way to keep ties from being a problem. Which, I feel, would mean that either all members must be at every voting meeting or some other way to handle ties is allowed for. Though I do like the idea that the moderator would rotate. Perhaps on some preset schedule." Another sip from the mug and she nods, "As I envisioned it, yes. The governor would interface between the military higherarchy and the counsel. I am not certain what other functions the position would need to take on. How do you envision that position functioning?"

"If there are an odd number of voters then a tie is never a problem," Nicholas remarks. "If a council member has to be absent then either they send a proxy or the decision is held until they've submitted their vote." At her question about the governor's role, he tilts his head. "Well. I would hope a governor has some practical power when it comes to the population they govern…their responsibility is to the people that vote him or her in, not solely between military and council. This does, of course, beg the question of what kind of power this 'governor' has and how much can be moderated by the council."

Isabeau nods, "If the vote is critical and time sensitive, then I suppose the absent member can be contacted to submit a vote." The mug is turned a little and she half closes her eyes in thought, though the glitter can still be seen where she watches you, "Traditionally, Governors have the power to appoint certain individuals like the chief of police, or of the fire department, an attorney general, the head of a board of education, and other public offices not governed by an electorate process. They… call for an election to replace a counselmember who has vacated their office. The Governor were responsible for the management of publicly held land. In some cases, when the population was small, they had power to pardon criminals, depending on a set of circumstances. Let me see." Turning in her chair, she reaches for a volume and draws it to the desk. Opening it, she flips through pages until she finds what she is looking for. Turning the book, she offers it to you, "Here is a list of what has been in the past. Now, we may or may not wish to incorporate these. I… do want to be sure that checks and balances exist."

"Well," Nicholas says, lofting a brow at the list. "Some of these yes, but these were written taking into account an established system. A functioning economy and penal system, a functioning tax system. Miss Aragon, we have to back up several steps in evolution from this."

Isabeau half laughs, "Clearly. However, an understanding of what was, Mr. Luma, should help us decide a few things. First, what the Governor's responsibilities should be now. Second, it gives a blueprint for how to return to a more elaborate system should we wish to later." Leaving the book on the desk, she eyes that page, her expression fading back toward an unreadable darkness. "Which do you see as vital in our current situation?"

Nicholas' expression turns wry as he keeps reading down the list. "Civilian resource allocation is absolutely critical. Within three weeks we'll be seeing the effects of hoarding as the last of public rationing runs out. I have to say, one problem I have with all this is time. You told us at that meeting that you saw a month going by before election are even ready to begin. By then we're going to be out of food."

Isabeau nods, that darkness within her gaze growing, "Yes, I know that now. Unfortunately, I had been so engrossed in this that I was not aware of that. I think that the military is in worse shape than we are, but that is an assumption that may not be born out. Well…" The mug of coffee is almost cradled, perhaps in a subconscious acknowledgement that soon enough there will be no more. "I suppose that we could hold an election in a week. If the committee can come to agreement on the procedures employed. So, if you will give me your recommendation for another member, we should get things moving."

"Well, there was that lawyer, Holloway. He seemed on the page," Nicholas rubs his fingertips over his forehead. "Unless he's already on the committee?"

Isabeau nods, "He is. The committee as I envisioned it would be you, Mr. Holloway, Mr. What's his name… The captain of the ship… Myself and one other. I had hoped Mr. Fulton would be interested, but… Perhaps Dr. Pike."

Nicholas has to smile slightly at that. "Their accents were very similar. I know that type when I hear it, and they appeared to know each other. Are you prepared for the reaction to the committee having an overrepresentation of the Caprican rich, who are clearly affiliated?"

You say, "Whose were? Doctor Pike and Mr. Holloway? Or…" She shrugs a little, dismissing it. "If you have a better suggestion, Mr. Luma, I am all ears." She watches you, then chuckles, "I actually expect that between yourself and Captain What's his name, a wider point of view will be brought to the table. In your case, because you have an honest concern for the folk who might not otherwise get a voice and Mr. What's his name, because he simply cannot help but be the voice of the masses as he sees it. Hopefully, among all of us, we can hammer out procedures for the election that make sense.""

Nicholas tilts his head. "Mr. Fulton?" He clears his throat quietly. "Miss Aragon, Mr. Fulton is dead."

Isabeau nods, "Yes, I know, Mr. Luma. That is why he cannot serve on the committee. That is why I am looking for a replacement. No, I meant Captain whatever. The gentleman who had so many excellent points so rudely expressed."

"Fulton was the only Captain I was aware of in the room," Nicholas says, sounding puzzled. "Do you mean the young man who was sitting next to me?"

Isabeau frowns slightly, "Yes. I was under the impression that he was captain of a ship. Perhaps I was incorrectly informed." Her glance slips toward the door, and; perhaps to the aide seated somewhere outside. "No matter. You know how to contact the gentleman?"

"Fulton was the only Captain I was aware of in the room," Nicholas says, sounding puzzled. "Do you mean the young man who was sitting next to me?"

Isabeau frowns slightly, "Yes. I was under the impression that he was captain of a ship. Perhaps I was incorrectly informed." Her glance slips toward the door, and; perhaps to the aide seated somewhere outside. "No matter. You know how to contact the gentleman?"

"Oh. Yes." Nicholas smiles at that, as though at some private joke. "I do. I'll see if I can scare him up." His eyes flicker absently to her coffee maker and pause on the cups with the Battlestar emblem on them. "People are very afraid they're going to starve. The military are the only ones with power to do anything, and they haven't said a word. All these promises of liaisons and openness, and here we are three weeks from eating the fake grass and we haven't heard so much as a 'We're working on it'. And now the death of the Commander. Politics is last on the minds of so many."

Ignoring the private joke, Isabeau's gaze follows yours to the mugs with their logo. Her gaze remains there and she nods, "They have every right to be afraid, as far as I can see." A flash of grief touches her as the commander is mentioned and she nods, "The loss of the Commander is a blow to all of us, Military and Civilian alike. Dealing with his succession and the memorial will take time." Her eyes drift back and she steeples her fingers in front of her, "I wish that I had information to pass on, but I do not. I have sent requests up the chain, but have heard nothing. I think that you are right, Mr. Luma. So, those of us who are thinking along these lines simply need to forge forward."

"Well." Nicholas says, quietly. "Those of us thinking along those lines are going to starve, too. When it's something so basic as food that people want, it's not a government we're going to need. It's riot police."

Isabeau nods, her expression grim, "I know that. Giving people a government will help them believe that something is being done. At least for a while. By the time we need riot police, I hope we have a civilian police force because if we don't, the military will send over more of the MPs. The situation will become very ugly, very soon."

"Three weeks," Nicholas says, evenly. "That's where we are. I'm impressed at your faith that we can have a functioning government up, but I'm not sure what this government is going to be able to do when its birth comes when we're looking at a week before we're starving to death. Do you know that the Destiny is already is already having problems of violence, and now there's rumors all over that something's gone wrong with the Carina's rations and people are sick. People don't come out and stand on line to vote when it's three weeks to the slow and painful end of their lives." He exhales slowly. "Who is it on the Genesis that's supposed to be communicating with us? That's ignoring you?"

Isabeau nods, her voice just above a whisper, "I know…" When she glances at you, the haunted darkness has returned to her gaze, though it does not seem inwardly focused. Still, it dims after a moment and her tone strengthens, "But, knowing does not give us the right to give up. Or, not me. I have to forge on as though everything is going to be fine. Call it faith or naiveté, or delusions, but I do believe that we will find a solution. When we do, I would rather be in a position to move forward from a stronger position rather than start over." Reaching for her PDA, she shifts to a different document, then scans what is there, "Let me see. I had been asked to communicate with Colonel Altair, but since the Commander's death, I have been referred to the JAG's office on the Genesis."

"Being handed off doesn't fill me with faith," Nicholas scratches his fingers through his short hair. "So he had asked you to speak with the XO. Who's the XO now?"

You say, "No… When Colonel Altair helped me set this up, he was head of JAG. When he became XO, he asked the new JAG to liasion with me. (Whose name I can't get from the wiki as I can't make it change pages.) He passed it to an underling. I have asked for a meeting, but; as I said, I have not heard." Looking at her notes, she adds, "I believe the new XO is Major Fotilas.""

"Yes, well." Nicholas glances at her PDA with a wry expression. "This is not a recent problem. We've been asking for communication with the military for…goodness, over a month now. Well before the Destiny incident, then again when it happened, and now it's critical. Regas was willing to listen when a random civilian called him and told him there was a fleet problem. I wonder if this Salin is as well."

Isabeau turns off the PDA and pulls it toward her. "I am certain that he will, Mr. Luma. He is an honorable man." Sliding the PDA back into her drawer, she folds her hands on her desk, "So. Whom is your recommendation for the other member of the committee? I would like to send out invitations before heading home for the evening. Or, is Dr. Pike a reasonable addition?"

Nicholas exhales softly through his nose, uncrossing his legs. "She's fine." He rises, straightening his cuffs and then his tie. "Be well getting home, Miss Aragon."

Isabeau blinks slightly, her expression faintly startled. "Pardon me, sir. Was there anything else you wished to discuss? I did not intend that to sound so utterly abrupt."

"No, no." Nicholas makes a small motion with his fingers. "Goodness knows it's been hours and we both have things to do. I trust you'll be in touch."

Isabeau nods, her gaze still holding a flicker of curiosity, "Of course. Be careful going home, Mr. Luma. Please don't hesitate to send word if there is anything that I can do for you."

Nicholas smiles pleasantly. "I will. Same for you, of course." A last check on his collar to be sure it's straight before he breezes for the door. "Have a good evening."

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