The nine committee members seated in Scorpions main conference room sat in silence for what felt like an extendedly long few minutes, two of them exchanging brief fleeting glances with each other, while still glancing down at the papers in front of themselves. The eye of WES watched them all from the wall they faced, its looming red glow slowing moving from one, to the next, to the next.
The central committee member, Lord Cammeo, stood and looked to those on either side of himself. “Members, I believe we have all had enough time to read the brief and consider our decisions, have we reached an accord on this issue?” He then proceeded to sit back, down take one more slow scan of the room, and pressed one of the two buttons in front of him.
Each member then proceeded to follow suit. The buttons, were all obscured from each other’s view, so despite everyone having a seat at the same, crescent-moon shaped table, each members vote was entirely anonymous.
Once each and every member of the committee had cast their votes, all eyes turned to face WES. who sat silently for a few moments, before responding to the members. “Vote was not unanimous.” He spoke in his usual emotionless voice. “Petition to allow altering of the Space Stations angle once a month to face the Earth’s Moon will not be carried out. Do you have any other requests of me?”
Lord Cammeo stood once more. “No, WES, return to your duties.”
WES said nothing more but the eye closed and the screen went blank.
Without saying a word, one by one the members began to leave the room and make their way back to their shuttles, before returning to their Stations. After only a short time, only four remained, Lady Mitch, Madam Night, Sir Fisiio and Sir Arjes.
Sir Arjes had not even begun to move from his seat, and gazed at the other remaining members. “It’s been months since we came to any kind of agreement here, we need to crack down on this.”
Lady Mitch and Madam Night exchanged brief glances. “The problem is.” Lady Mitch began. “Is that the decision we seem to want to make are not beneficial to everybody, we were elected to keep the peace and retain equality, and yet we seem to have lost that.”
“To be fair though.” Madam Night stepped in. “The problem isn’t equality, its progress. If you look back through history the politics were always changing, the many support the few, the workforce labours so the higher ranking people can focus on more important things, and we are those people, and the important things for us are the running of the stations.”
“What running?” Lady Mitch retaliated. “We’ve made no decisions of late, and even when we do we ourselves don’t actually make the changes, its WES that essentially runs everything.”
Before Madam Night could respond again, Sir Fisiio stepped in. “If I may, some of the decisions we seem to be divided on these days aren’t even relevant to the running of the stations.”
Madam Night bobbed her head in agreement. “Point taken.”
Sir Arjes frowned slightly. “Explain.”
Sir Fisiio just sighed a little. So Madam Night stepped in instead. “Take today’s decision for instance, in what way does it benefit the stations to be temporarily pointed towards earth’s moon? It doesn’t. Or last week when we were discussing the idea of bringing the notion of daylight saving time to the stations, or for one month of the year changing the rotation to counter-clockwise. None of these actually achieve anything, not to mention they are pretty stupid ideas, they are only happening because we can’t come to a conclusion about anything important and are just trying to waste time.”
“Are you saying we aren’t a good committee?” Sir Arjes raised an eyebrow.
“I’m not saying that.” Madam Night responded.
“I am.” Sir Fisiio interjected, a half smile on his face.
Madam Night frowned at him before continuing. “I mean the system is broken, maybe we need to meet less frequently or meet with the aim of not changing anything.”
“Interesting that you are the one who thinks the system is broken.” Lady Mitch scowled.
“Explain yourself Lady Mitch.” Sir Arjes spoke sternly.
Lady Mitch’s frown deepened as she turned to face Sir Arjes. “Did you really just give me an order? SIR Arjes?”
Sir Arjes’s eyes widened slightly as he realised his mistake, but before he could say anything more, Sir Fisiio cut in. “Lady Mitch. I apologise for my fellow Sir, he stepped out of line in what can only be described as a clear-cut mistake.”
Lady Mitch’s face softened slightly. “That got a little more heated than I expected. I accept your apologies, both of them.” She looked back at Sir Arjes. “In answer to your question, Madam Night here is from Station Dunnwood, and so has a hefty reason to complain about what she calls ‘equality’.”
Madam Night scowled at her fellow member. “Oh please. You hail from Station Nimura, not exactly the most looked after is it?”
“Station Nimura has a proud history I’ll have you know. We do not need the patronisation that one such as yourself provides.”
Before Madam Night could respond further, Sir Arjes raised a hand to silence her, at the same time gaining the attention of Lady Mitch and Sir Fisiio. “If I may stop you there, I do not believe that Madam Night patronised you, nor do I believe she said you do not have a history you are proud of. I believe the issue in question was to why we have not come to any conclusions lately.”
Madam Night looked sheepishly over at Lady Mitch. “If you don’t mind I would like to get back to that.”
Lady Mitch looked back at her, eyes narrowed to a face of thunder. But she said nothing.
Taking this as her que, Madam Night looked at both men in the room. “Part of what I am wondering is, are there too many of us, is that why we aren’t changing anything?”
Sir Arjes leant forward onto this part of the table slightly. “Part of the decision by the original founders was that each station have its own leader, and that those leaders represent us in the committee. You know this as well as I do.”
“What if we didn’t lose members?” Sir Fisiio interjected.
The other three looked over at him. “Go on.” Sir Arjes prompted.
“Well the way I see it, if the problem is we are repeatedly hitting impasses, maybe it’s time to change the system, we have always had to reach decisions unanimously, but what if we changed that to we only had to have the majority vote?”
“That’s something to ponder.” Sir Arjes nodded, sounding mildly impressed.
“Would that even be possible?” Madam Night cut in. “Isn’t WES designed so he can’t do anything without the unanimous decision of us all?”
“You may have a point there.” Sir Arjes admitted. “The specifications for both A.I. are buried somewhere in station Scorpion, I’ll go and have a look, this is a very interesting development.”
“What happens if this becomes a possibility?” Madam Night asked.
“Then next time I visit Station VanOrre I will speak to Lord Cammeo and gain his opinion on the matter.” Sir Arjes responded simply.
“I feel like you visit VanOrre far too often given that you hail from station Geraldine.” Lady Mitch spoke with more than just a little hint of annoyance.
Sir Arjes just shrugged. “Geraldine is a bustling station, lots of people means lots of water to be cleaned. Sir Fisiio, you’re from Colemann, you know what I mean when I say these things.”
Sir Fisiio’s eyes darted back and forth slightly before he answered. “I understand, though my shuttles tend to carry more and make fewer trips, though Geraldine is closer to VanOrre than Colemann is.”
“But do you travel with the shuttles?” Lady Mitch spoke sternly.
“No.” Sir Fisiio admitted. “But that’s because I don’t like flying in the shuttles, if I didn’t have to come to these meetings I wouldn’t.”
“That’s a decent enough point.” Madam Night admitted.
Sir Arjes stood up from his seat and gestured towards the door. “I suggest we all adjourn for the day and resume next week, hopefully avoiding any more debates in the meantime. I will go and find the specifications for both the A.I. and we will discuss in full the idea of the majority over unanimous votes next week.”
Yes I confess this one ended rather abruptly, but only because what follows fits better into the next portion of the story.