GA Senate Committee of the Interior Holds Second Beeraxi Secession Hearing
IC Time: Sun Jun 8 23:10:54 2403 Alliance Standard Time (81435.52)
Synopsis: The Alliance Senate Committee for the Interior has its second hearing on Beeraxi Secession. In it, tempers flare until the vote to promote the bill fails, effectively denying independence to the colony world.
Viewpanel activates and displays Alliance Hall - Hall Of Senators - Senate Chambers [Earth].
Alliance Hall - Hall Of Senators - Senate Chambers [Earth]
Deep mahogany paneling lines covers thick steel walls of the Chambers, lending the room a rich textured atmosphere and aiding acoustics. Seating is arranged in measured risers to the left and right of the heavy door, each row of seats containing several comfortable swivel chairs behind a smooth, flat surface of white formica. At the front of the room stands a podium mounted on a dais. Lighting is inset into a suspended ceiling above, casting soft white light throughout the room.
You see Viewscreen and Camera here.
Count Trex, Minister Lorian, and Senator M'rus are here.
A scroll at the bottom of the screen reads: Live from the Alliance Senate Chambers. At the moment, the camera only displays people milling about in the room as they prepare to begin.
A scroll reads: Live from the Senate Chambers. It appears people are being ushered to their seats now, as the room is starting to get quieter. The room has now gone silent, as members of the Committee begin to file in from the rear of the room an take their seats at the front of the room. It appears a number of Senators are missing from the group.
After the Senators and Committee members file in and find their seats, a lone figure in the robes of Ministry of State strolls in. Minister Darin heads for her reserved seat at the front and settles silently.
The Vulcan Chairman bangs his gavel once, further quieting down the room. He begins, "I call this meeting of the Senate Committee on the Interior to order, and I thank the gallery for their patience as we get started this morning." The Chairman gently cocks an eyebrow before nodding. "The Committee also thanks the Honorable Minister of State for joining us as we discuss these important proceedings. The Committee summons back the Delegation from Beerax, that we might begin."
Trex makes his way into the chambers slowly, followed by the rest of the Beeraxi delegation. He takes his seat, clearing his throat as he glances away from the table before taking his oath of truthfulness and folding his hands before him.
The Chairman nods. "We'll begin today with the Honorable Senator from Trill."
Lorian follows Trex with her eyes as he makes his way in and takes his seat. She smiles slightly, inclining her head toward him in a greeting nod between old friends. Then she gathers her robes around her and folds her hands in her lap, turning her attention to the chairman.
The Trill Senator nods. "Thank you, Mister Chairman, and thank you for joining us again today, Ambassador. In honor of our guest from the Ministry of State, my questions will focus on diplomatic affairs." She nods her head with a bit of a smile towards Lorian, then turns her attention back to Trex. "Has the Beeraxi Government already made contact with other foreign powers, in preparation for their independence? What do you expect your relationship to be like with our friends and neighbors the Cardassians, the Rihannsu, the Tzenkethi, and so on?"
The Beeraxi Ambassador nods a bit. "Thank you for the invitation, Senator. To my knowledge, the Beeraxi government has not currently made contact with the Rihannsu or the Cardassians. Certainly, we would expect to do so once we are operating independently. There has been some preliminary contact between Beerax and the Tzenkethi, mostly given our proximity and current trade licenses." Trex clears his throat a bit. "It is my expectation that Beerax would handle our relationship with other foreign powers similar to how we plan to deal with the Alliance: in friendship. We're more than willing and eager to establish trade agreements with the Alliance, the Rihannsu, the Cardassians and any other power that wishes to engage in such agreements."
A swirl of shimmering light appears and dissolves, leaving M'rus in its place.
The Trill Ambassador nods slowly. "Is it not a little too late to wait for those agreements? If Beerax will require those trade agreements to function, as I'm sure they would given your planet's size, why are you waiting?"
M'rus beams into the cloakroom before emerging hurridley into the senate "My apologies chairman. I was caught up in a meeting with the Ferasan Leadership." M'rus states quietly, his paw over the microphone before he turns to look down at Trex again. Ah. Joys.
The Chairman places his hand over his microphone and whispers something to the Caitian Senator before turning back to the proceedings.
Trex nods. "The Secession Bill asks for a transition period that we believe will give us enough time to establish the relationships we will require, organize our own security force, and establish a permanent government. The time coincides greatly with the previous secession bills that have been passed by this chamber, so we're confident we can make it work for us, especially given, as your say, our considerably smaller size than that of say the Rihannsu."
Lorian watches Senator M'rus silently, eyebrows lifting faintly as one corner of her mouth twitches.
The Trill Senator hmms quietly. "It may be more advantageous for you to have those plans made before asking us to cut you loose. But, I'm loathe to tell you how to run your own affairs." She shrugs noticeably. "My last question for you is related to your government. At our last session you mentioned that your government will not be decided until you gain independence. What assurances do we have that your current appointed Governor will not seize power over the planet? While I think this committee could, in the right circumstances, be amenable to your bid for independence, the Trill certainly could not agree to handing your planet over to a dictator."
Trex narrows his eyes a bit, glancing down at his papers a bit before glancing back upwards towards Lorian for just a bit, then back to the Senator. "Yes, well, as we've discussed in the previous session we will be deciding upon our government because it will need to be voted on directly by the citizens of Beerax. Though it will not be our intention to kick Alliance citizens off the planet, we would only be permitting those who accept Beeraxi citizenship to vote and participate in our new government. Though that process has started informally in the Beeraxi Senate, we'd not feel comfortable starting that planning with people who may or may not be citizens further down the line." He clears his throat a bit. "As for the Governor, though Governor Irashavi is passionate about Beeraxi Independence, he has committed to stepping down as Governor once the permanent government is selected. I'm not really sure what other assurance I could offer you that this is true, other than the fact that the Beeraxi are not ones to be subjugated, whether from within or without, as evidenced by the protests that have been occurring for more than a year now."
Lorian listens intently to the words of the Beeraxi Ambassador, leaning forward slightly as he speaks. When he is done, she sits back, a thoughtful expression forming in a fine line between her brows. Her fingertips tap lightly on her knee.
The Trill Senator says, "I don't know that any Alliance world tolerates subjugation, Ambassador. And though your words do little to make me comfortable with this, I suppose at the point of independence, that because your problem and not ours." She sighs and turns to the Vulcan. "That's all for me, Mister Chairman.
The Vulcan Chairman nods. "Thank you, Senator. The Chair recognizes the honorable Senator from Ferasa."
"Can I just convey the strongest protests from myself, both as a senator and a citizen of the Galaxy Alliance, and from my Government on the decision by Starfleet to withdraw from this Government the benefit of their experience and training, that the citizens of this Alliance pay for at great cost. And also protest the decision not to explore our options to compel testimony from members of the fleet over the protests of the Chancellor's minister. The Caitian Caucus, though small, can have little faith in this Chancellor or his Government if they act to obfiscate and maintain such a staunch centralising regime. This bill by the Beeraxians would not occur if the repeated urgings of myself and many of my fellow senators for power to be released to the worlds where it was not necessary at the centre had been heeded. In choosing for all power, the Chancellor will find himself the Chancellor of Spacedock and little else." The little speech out of a way he coughs "I have a question about fleet assets again. Assuming the measure is passed, and assuming starfleet assets are not granted to the state. Would Beerax be willing to consider some form of lend-lease agreement with an eye to eventual purchase, or even an outright purchase and payment plan of the station? Or alternatives in the other direction perhaps, leasing the station back to Starfleet for a period of years while Beerax assembles its own defensive squadrons"
Lorian's expression during the Ferasan Senator's speech takes many forms. Surprise, initially, followed by a slight narrowing of her eyes as she observes his heated words. And then she glances down, at the floor, and lets out a silent sigh.
The Vulcan interrupts Trex briefly. "The Chair will remind the Senators that this is a question and answer session, and that statements can be provided at the time of vote." A number of Senators are murmuring to each other, holding their microphones so as to not interrupt the proceedings. The Angelite 'Count' blinks a bit as he listens to the Caitian's speech, pulling a glass of water closer to him to take a sip before placing it down gently on the table. He clears his throat a bit. "It's the opinion of the Beeraxi Government that all Alliance-owned property in the system is its rightful property, paid for in its grossly off-balance taxes and in the blood of its citizens who have died to protect the Alliance." He hrms. "That said, I think we could be amenable to a possible cohabitation agreement, should we be given the ownership of the property and the right to govern our space as we see fit."
M'rus looks sideways to the chair and inclines his head "Apologies Mister Chairman, it is just frustrating that so many questions, some I am sure from starfleet officers themselves, are unable to be asked due to the absences of qualified testimony." The Senator then nods to Trex "That is good news, the details of that would of course need to be arranged with the minister of state. But it is good to hear. I would like to ask you now about the matter of tensions. I am sure you are aware of tensions that existed at a time between the Rihannsu and also the Cardassians and ourselves following their secessions, speaking as someone who was in the diplomatic corps in that period I would not like to hazard a guess at how many hours or even minutes we were from a war at times. My question is, what level of openness are you willing to concede in order to ensure transparency? Will you accept Alliance monitors at elections, for example? Has your government prepared plans for a cross border unit to handle any cross system crime? Any preperations for trade deals?"
Trex nods. "It's my pleasure to reiterate for you, as I indicated before you arrived, that the Beeraxi have not yet made contact with other governments for the purposes of trade agreements. We thought it best to utilize the transition period post-approval to begin those discussions with foreign powers. As for cross-border crime units, those would need to be negotiated through the applicable Ministries of State. We're trying our best to follow the letter of the law in these proceedings, and as such we have not started acting as though we have independence by doing things that are currently the purview of the Ministry of State." He covers his microphone to discuss something with the Senator from Beerax, then removes his hand. "I don't believe I have the authority to allow Alliance elections monitors, however. Certainly, we would be more than happy to open our records to a coalition of foreign powers, but we'd need to limit the amount of direct intervention on our sovereignty by the Alliance . . . that is pretty much the whole purpose of our secession."
M'rus looks at his panel as it bleeps to show questions "One moment if you will indulge me...Count." he peruses the list before he looks back "I was hoping you might expand on your previous points. You have mentioned intervention or subversion of your sovereignty, something I am sure those of us who suffered borg attack due to off world companies subverting our own sovereignty can sympathise. Can you identify how this has occured? You seem to think there is an evil out there Count Trex. Is it the GA or a specific part? Do you consider Starfleet to be an occupying power? Or is it the whole involvement in the Galaxy Alliance? And, as ever, Count Trex...are you willing to submit to a full audit of tax revenues from Beerax, which you claim were so high, versus GA investment. If we owe you the station that might be one thing. But perhaps you owe us the station and a brand new starship."
Trex blinks at the bombardment of questions, taking a moment to glance down at the papers in front of him. Taking a deep breath, he begins, "Given recent news accounts, I think all of the smallest planets in the Alliance, and the great majority of the border planets, are feeling subjugated by the Alliance's runaway spending. The demands of tax revenue on the smallest planets are also outrageously high, given the percentage of resources we consume. That said, we are continually audited by the Alliance Office of the Exchequer, and you're welcome to access those tax accounts as you wish via the annual audit reports. I'm not, however, going to play a game where we see if Beerax owes anything other than its tax revenue to the Alliance. The whole purpose of planets affiliating with the Alliance is that our combined strength and resources are part of a bigger whole. As part of being a memberworld, Beerax was entitled to Defense, entitled to funds to rebuild and entitled to all the rights and privileges of every other world in the Alliance. We've now decided that these rights, while great, are not working for us. And so, as such, we want our independence and the government property that is in /our/ system."
"Would that I could be confident they would even submit to questioning before this committee. The one thing I must commend you on, Count, is that at least the Beeraxi are willing to submit themselves to the scrutiny of the senators." M'rus pauses as he shuffles some padds to find the right one "I can't help but notice when I proposed austerity measures to solve the crisis, I had no communication that I can recall of from yourself or the Beeraxi government. Is it not the case that you take advantage rather than seek actual solutions?" He then tilts his head "What you would propose though, would allow any devastated world to apply, and we would feel compassion to allow them to join...then you would allow that world to jump ship with our advantages? No. There must be a reckoning of sorts, to ensure the many are not disadvantages by the few, Count. Do you not see that as a risk?"
The Chairman whispers something towards M'rus.
Trex takes another drink of water. "With respect, Senator, the Beeraxi have decided on independence. We are here today to make that case to you, not negotiate for us to remain in an Alliance that we believe provides us disproportionate benefits to the costs we pay. I will say that I haven't heard of a planet applying to join the Alliance in quite some time, though I would be open to being corrected on that account. As for leaving, the choice is very clear: either allow us to leave peacefully as has been established by legal precedent, or occupy our sector and consume even further resources you don't have trying to keep the populace from rioting. Unfortunately, my charge here as an Ambassador representing the Governor of Beerax is not to think of the Alliance as a whole. It is to think of the best needs of my planet."
M'rus glowers down at Trex from over his microphone "Threats, Count, do not function well. We are here to test and establish the law, and the facts claimed to produce those laws. Rest assured, if the /right/ choice is to deny this bill, then we would expect people to obey the rules of law and understand that the processes we all laid down have been followed. The processes your planet submitted themselves to." His furry head shaking "My final question before I yield...can I ask what your projected military strength is in case of borg incursion? We do not want to incur the cost of protecting you, after all, if we are to gain no benefit."
Trex sighs in frustration. "Senator, it is not my intention to threaten anyone. However, given the Alliance's inability to quell the protests that have ravaged my planet the past year, I am merely stating the reality of what will occur if we are not given what is rightfully ours." Holding his microphone to talk to the Senator beside him again, he then nods. "I cannot give you an estimated military strength until after we've been given the chance to evaluate the equipment at Station Alcatraz and its support craft. Any force would also be supplemented by any treaties the Beeraxi agree to with our neighbors." The Angelite pauses a moment. "Though, if I may be so blunt, your benefit to protecting anyone from the Borg is in preventing them from further augmenting their number of drones."
M'rus snorts slightly "I see little difference, count, between those that would tear this Alliance asunder. At least the Borg have the bloody-mindedness to be open about what they are trying. However, we have little choice but to ignore the military situation I fear, as starfleet have refused to provide us with an expert alternative. I hope we shall tolerate no complaints from the Minister of Defense or Starfleet about the situation should this bill be adopted to the senate. Thank you Count Trex. Mister Chairman? I yield."
The Vulcan chairman nods. "Very well. At this time we will halt discussion in preparation of a vote. Ambassado--" The Vulcan is then cut off by the Senator from Selay, who loudly bangs his hand on the table. "Ssssssstop! We do not ssssssupport a vote to sssssssecssssede." The Chairman gavel. "There will be order-- There will be order in this room." The Selay angrily stands from his chair before the Vulcan bangs his gavel again. "Enough. We will recess for five minutes to allow the Senator from Selay to compose himself prior to vote. Ambassador Trasera, thank you for your time."
Trex blinks a bit at the outburst and seems to discuss something quietly with the Beeraxi Senator. He then stands from his chair.
People begin to slowly stand and move about the chamber at the short recess. The Selay is gesturing wildly as he talks to some of the other Senators. The viewscreen display reads: Live from the Senate Chambers with a five minute count-down.
Lorian stands slowly from her seat, casting a wary eye to the Selay, before moving toward Trex with slow steps.
M'rus pinches his nose at the Selay's outburst before he puts a paw over his microphone just incase and turns to a fellow senator to discuss the bill.
Trex moves to join Lorian a few feet from his chair, bowing gently as he quietly discusses something with her.
Trex whispers something to Lorian.
Lorian whispers something to Trex.
Trex nods to Lorian.
Trex whispers something to Lorian.
Lorian nods her head to Trex.
The Vulcan returns to his seat after talking to the Selay for just a moment and bangs his gavel. "Given this committee has received no response for inquiry from the High Council, the Ministry of Defense or the Department of Starfleet, we will end debate at this time. The Chair would like to thank the Beeraxi Delegation for their willingness to respond to our line of inquiry. The Chair will ask for a motion to move this bill to the Senate Committee of the Whole for further debate."
The Senator from Trill leans forward. "The Trill move to move this bill to the full Senate."
The Chairman says, "Does this bill have secondary support for a motion to the full Senate?"
M'rus lets out a sigh and nods his head "I will second it because we cannot have full scrutiny here in this committee without the co-operation of the Government. It must pass to the senate where the full senate can bring its full weight to bear against the Government to ensure full and proper debate." he looks to the chair "As a point of order, this committee has received a refusal, Chairman, not no response. A direct refusal. So I must reluctantly second this motion."
The Chairman says, "Ferasa seconds. We'll open this to a vote via electronic device on the motion to promote bill S.B. 4031: A Bill for the Peaceful Secession of the Planet Beerax IX to the Senate Committee of the whole. Five minutes for the vote, the Chair asks the room to remain in order during that time."
A display reads: Yea 0 Nay 0 Abstain 0
A display reads: Yea 2 Nay 2 Abstain 1
A display reads: Yea 3 Nay 5 Abstain 1
A display reads: Yea 8 Nay 11 Abstain 1
The Chairman bangs his gavel. "Time. By a vote eight to eleven, with one abstaining, the nays have it. This bill will be tabled in Committee for the option of renewal in the next Legislative Session. This committee is in recess." He bags the gavel once more.
A gasp sounds out around the Senate chamber, as the room suddenly is filled with chatter.
Trex' eyes widen as vote is called. The failed Ambassador merely stands staring at the electronic voting sign.
Lorian gives Trex a pointed look, shakes her head, and places a hand on his arm. "All is not lost," she says very softly. She gives his arm a sqeeze and turns to head out of the chamber, shrugging her cloak over her shoulders and tugging on the hood as she walks.
M'rus lifts his eyebrow as he looks across to the Chairman with his furry eyeridge raised. "A point of order, Mister Chairman. I am concerned about the ramifications of this vote. I would ask that the voting record be unsealed, with the consent of my fellow senators, so that we can stand by our vote when it comes to it."
The Chairman nods, banging his gavel once more. "With no objection?" The chairman nods again. "The clerk is directed to disclose the vote upon entering it into the record. We're in recess." He bangs his gavel once more.
M'rus stands from his chair and looks to Trex as he comes down from the committee members boxes. They begin to speak to one another.
A voice-over says, "We now move to a hearing of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs related to recent Talarian exchanges."
Viewpanel blinks and Alliance Hall - Hall Of Senators - Senate Chambers [Earth] disappears.
The slight form and soft lilting voice add to this Betazoid's demure presence, softening somewhat the aristocratic planes of her face. Pert, dainty nose and delicate shaped mouth are accented by dark brows and dark lashes, framing fathomless obsidian eyes. Eyes that seem almost haunted, a restless gaze that locks onto one as if peering into their very soul. Her hair falls freely to her waist in waves of midnight black tinged with copper, pulled away from the cool features of her face with an obsidian band about her head. Light traces of silver pepper through the thick mane, most prominantly from her temples.
She is wearing a long cloak made of a thick black material. Long flowing sleeves cover most of her arms while richly draping fabric falls to near floor-length. A generous hood, lined with a soft grey material can be pulled up to protect and conceal her head from the elements. Around her waist, a simple black cord hangs down and can be tied to keep the cloak closed.
Lorian is 53 years, 24 days old.
M'rus is a Caitian and is accordingly rather furry. His fur is a russet red-brown with lighter highlights on the back of his paws and around his ears and throat which blend from the russet through ochre into a cream colour while his bib is entirely cream, when visible. Throughout his fur a few flecks of grey have started to appear on his paws and behind his ear. His eyes are a green with brown flecks around his slitted iris. The Caitian has a distinctly average appearance all told and, despite being slightly small for a Caitian, lacks any distinguishing marks or features except for his fur.
He wears bold, solid-crimson robes of pure Tholian silk, trimmed in cream. The robes are tailored in a mid-length semi-contemporary style, giving a trendier sleeker feel, but nevertheless also convey a sense of professionalism, formality, and authority. They are specially cut to a Caitian frame with space for the tail, with a matching dark red leather collar with brass fasteners to complete the ensemble.
M'rus is 45 years, 7 months, 12 days old.
Taking a look at Trex, one would never expect him to hold the title and regality that he does. Standing at a mere five feet tall, the middle-aged man quite literally looks up to all those he meets. Brownish-black hair covers the top of his head, mixed with strands of grey and styled rather averagly: buzzed short in the back with slightly longer bangs that end long before his forhead, while his graying sideburns come down to just past his ears. Dark blue eyes peer forth from his face, the right with a large faded scar scratched down it, just above a normal-sized nose and mouth, who themselves rest above his hair-covered chin. The rest of his body frame seems rather normal for an Angelite male: slim yet muscular shoulders and short arms are attached to a small chest and stomach that is by no means big, but still retains a bit of weight to it. Understandably, his legs are rather short as well. All in all, not much is visibly special about the 'lil Angelite man.
The man is wearing a uniform reminiscent of an ancient monarchy. A forest green uniform jacket in a sort of wrap-around style is fastened together in the front by four buttons, the top two remaining open to allow the top to flap backwards, exposing the white side underneath. The sleeves are decorated in burgundy with a gold trim that matches the epaulettes upon his shoulders. A raised collar in red and gold is fastened around his neck. White pants extend from his belt to his feet, upon which a shiny pair of black shoes are worn. Finally, a golden half-cape is fastened to one shoulder with a white string that wraps around to allow the cape to stay in place off his left shoulder.
Trex is 54 years, 6 months, old.