A Meeting of Friends


The feast was wonderful. The chicken was delicious, the slizzard was, um, interesting, although very good in its own way, and the company was all one could ask for. Unfortunately, I had more on my mind than the food and friends. Throughout the night I had been letting the people I trusted know to meet in my tent after the festivities died down. There were things that needed to be dealt with.

“Alright,” I started, “I’m sure you’re all wondering why I asked you here. Or rather, you’ve probably already figured it out and want me to just get on with it so we can all go to bed after such a long day of political maneuvering. So I’ll cut to the chase. How did Reye win, despite being so unpopular, and what do we do about it?

“I think most of you have already figured the first part of that, but I’ll recap. Because of the vote weighting, and because there was no explicit prohibition against voting for a candidate more than once, one person could cast up to three full ‘votes,’ let’s call them, for a single candidate, meaning that people gaming the system in this way would have voting power equivalent to anywhere from three first place votes to fifteen fifth place votes.” I noticed Jaisa giving me the “get on with it” sign (and rolling her eyes, of course).

“So I feel like I need to apologize. I didn’t say anything before the votes were cast because frankly I didn’t think that Reye was quick enough to catch the loophole or organized enough to get his supporters to exploit it, and I didn’t want to hold up the meeting any more. I still think I was right on both counts. Buchanan, though, is apparently both smart enough and organized enough to pull it off. I noticed their section passing slips of paper around right after you announced the voting system, Histy. But that’s all water under the bridge now. We do know, though, that Buchanan and Reye are still working together, despite their rather public rift. Sinopa,” I gestured towards my friend, “followed Buchanan out to Windmill Hill during lunch and saw him pass Reye some papers. She was too far away to hear anything, but they’re definitely still on the same side.

“Alright, so I’ve done my little speech. Sorry about that. So, what do we do now? I’ve got some ideas, but I’ve no doubt everyone else here does too. So shoot.”

Andy spoke up, “I don’t trust Buchanan as far as I can throw him. Reye is a well-intentioned dupe who thinks he is doing good. Ash is working on a Traffic Analysis Intel sweep of Buchanan and Jack. I doubt we will catch them at anything really illegal but, if we can nail them with some serious ethics questions we can gut their support.”

“That brings up an interesting point – laws.” I replied, “Technically no one can do anything ‘illegal’ unless we make it illegal first. So if there’s something we think they might be doing that should be illegal anyway, we should make a point to make it illegal before we catch them.

Ash chimed in this time, “Yeah, but don’t do it in a way that they can figure we are already looking!”

“Agreed.” Sinopa started, “If we have a list of the things we need to make sure are illegal then we can insert them in a larger ‘voter protection’ package – it’ll be hard for them to argue against laws that do nothing but protect our fledgling democracy. I’m sure Connor won’t mind drawing something up,” she finished, grinning.

The discussion went on for a while, eventually winding down with plans in place for Ash to keep Kara and I informed of Buchanan’s extracurricular activities as well as his likely actions so we could keep the laws a step or two ahead of him. As the meeting dispersed I asked the Stuarts and Sin to stay behind. Like it or not, we had bigger things to deal with than a few of semi-competent bureaucrats, and the sooner the ball got rolling on this discussion the better.

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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