matapam (pamuphoff) wrote,

_Who Counts_

 Since I'm not getting anything written today, how about a glimpse of the future?

Chapter One

5 Ramadan 1423 yp

"So you've got the Multiverse in an uproar. Until it settles down a bit, I think I'd better keep you home. But what the hell do I do with you?"

My poor boss! Ice tried, and probably failed, to look innocent. "There's always the Millennial Census."

"The what?" Ox looked at him blankly.

His boss's boss, President Izzo, slapped his forehead. "Oh. Dear. One!"

Ox frowned, then leaned back, "Wait, that clause in the constitution . . . a thousand years after it is signed . . . a redefinition of representation in the council? According to a census of all citizens everywhere."

Ice nodded. "Yep. It officially became the law of the Empire in 424 Year of the Prophets. Three thousand councilmen. One from each of the Warrior Clans districts. Who had wisely spread themselves out so that each Councilman represented roughly equal numbers of people."

Ox shook his head. "To be updated in a thousand years. I suppose that seemed safely off in the distance. Or so far in the future we'd have replaced the whole thing by then."

Izzo nodded. "They did add a councilman for each of the independent smaller nations that joined the Empire--generally under threat--and one for each new Colony World, and Homestead negotiated two hundred reps when they joined."

Ox was tapping at his comp. "And it looks like all that was by Council and Presidential approved acts, not actual amendments to the Constitution." He looked over at Ice. "I almost hate to ask how long ago you saw this coming."

"Nineteen years ago. I wrote a paper on it my senior year at the Directorate School. My Civics teacher seemed to think it could just be ignored . . . but he did look a little worried." Ice grinned. "He especially disliked my suggestion that by the time of the Millennial Census we'd have a population of about ten billion, so five thousand councilors would be needed to represent citizens at the current approximately two million residents of the Home World per councilman, ignoring Homestead's 200 and the Granite Peak, Vista, and Tall Trees Natives with one appointed councilman each."

"Right." Ox shut his comp firmly. "I'll sic a team of lawyers on it and . . . why don't you send me a copy of that report and any updates you've just happened to have made since."

Izzo nodded, sat back and eyed Ice. "And when you've gotten Tall Trees . . . what? Close to two hundred reps instead of one? Are you going to run for office?"

"The thought has occurred to me . . . despite having very little, if any, Tree in me. But frankly? It sounds tedious."

Ox pinched his nose. "However entertaining Councilor Ice would be . . . Damn, I'd miss having you around. Well . . . not having anyone around who was capable of doing anything would be a relief. Until I needed the impossible done."

Izzo nodded. "We'll look into this and . . . in the mean time, go keep an eye on all your . . . I don't know whether to call them adoptees or henchmen."

Ice grinned. "Some of each. Yes, sirs." He pretended to not hear the President of the Empire muttering something about putting Ice in charge.

President Izzo, speaking to the Council of the Empire:

"My legal experts say we can't weasel out of this and just pretend it's not there.

"So, there's no procedure in place for this unique . . . action. And since the decadal Census is a Council function, I suspect we'd better leave the counting to the experienced people, and deal with the ramifications.

"Specifically, right now you Home World councilors each represent two point two three million people. The Homestead councilmen represent eight and half million people, each. The Vista Councilor, over six hundred million people. And the Tall Trees Councilor, over four hundred million people."

Yeah, that got a stir.

"So in order to even things out, we'll either have to have a lot more Councilors--It will take a bit over four thousand five hundred at two point two three million per voting district--or each councilor will have to represent more people.

"Not to mention figuring out how we're going to split out voting districts.

"And whether people are going to be represented by their district of birth, or by where they live, or whether they can individually choose that."

Izzo looked over at over three thousand appalled faces--and a lesser number getting thoughtful, and a few gleeful. The PC looked like he had a head ache.

"And deciding that is your job, gentlemen and ladies. I will assign a representative of mine to . . . monitor the process, and also assist, so we can smooth out problems before they get too serious."

He nodded politely to the Prime Councilor. "Thank you Igsu, Councilors, for your attention."

Away from the microphones, Igsu grumbled, "Are you sure we can't just ignore it?"

"Positive. Election years are always a mess . . . now imagine all the losers suing to prevent verification of the vote because the whole thing is unconstitutional."

Igsu's reply was fortunately drown out by the rising acrimony on the floor.

Izzo shrugged. "We're going to have to have more Councilors, because none of them are going to just shrug and say, 'Oh well, I got squeezed out' are they?"

Igsu closed his eyes in pain.

"I'm going to assign Ice to this. He got along very well with your ministry people, on the Cyborg Task Force."

Igsu frowned. "Do you know . . . I'm think I may pull some people out of there, at least temporarily, to get an information packet together, with all our options." He looked around the graceful domed chamber. "And then figure out how to shoehorn in another thousand Councilors."

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