I’m getting to this a bit late today, but yesterday’s passage is the beginning of a scene I’ve been writing in my head for almost a year. I need to unpack.
The Senate chamber is set up in four sections.
The general gallery is located directly behind the Presidential Dais. The general public is always invited to Senate sessions, and it’s a popular entertainment for those who live in The Ravine. Interestingly, the only entrance to the chamber is through the Senator’s seating area, call “the pen.”
On the President’s right are special invited guests and members of the executive branch of government. Close advisors of the President are always in attendance, should someone need to direct a query to the bureaucracy during debate.
Directly opposite the general gallery is the Senator’s pen. It’s arranged here so the Senators will have to face the general public as they determine the political fate of the people. It doesn’t change how the Senators rule, but it’s a nice thought.
To the left of the President are seated the Representatives. These are junior members of the Senate, often those being trained to take up Senatorial positions when a vacancy occurs. Representatives are not permitted to take place during the prime debate, which leads to the first vote. In the event of a tie, the debate moves to the representatives who hold their own debate in view of the Senators. This debate ends with the auxiliary vote. In the case of a tie, the president casts the deciding opinion.
Pomp and circumstance
It’s difficult to create a world which has many forms which might seem familiar to us, without simply copying “real world” examples.
The calling of the role is a typical bureaucratic function in our world, but here I wanted to change things up. In The Valleys it is very rare for a senator or representative to miss a session. In fact, sessions have been delayed simply to allow members to recover from illness or complete travels delayed by weather. Whenever a full role is present in session, it is customary for everyone to break out into huge applause – celebrating the faithfulness of the governmental body over the governed. It’s a farce, but it’s a great tradition nevertheless.
Points of order
You might wonder why there wasn’t more debate about about officially recognizing Highcliff’s name. It comes down to how the point was raised. In the Senate a “point of order” is often brought up for minor quibbles, something which the presenter knows will not change but nevertheless wants their opinion acknowledged.
Such points are allowed rebuttals, but each Senator is allowed only one rebuttal per session. Thus, very few members are willing to speak out to either support or reject a minor prospect such as a point of order. Kaitlyn wanted her bloc to understand what was at stake in this Senate hearing, and so spent her rebuttal to highlight just how cut off The Coastlands were from The Valleys. If she hadn’t offered a rebuttal, the vote would have taken place exactly as it does in the passage, but might have been a bit closer.
It’s about time
The vote taken to recognize Highcliff by name actually recognizes The Coastlands as an independent entity, unhindered from the laws of The Valleys. Because of the gravity of the vote, Satal was very surprised to find the objection to Walter’s speech was not made as a “Point of law.” This would have resulted in a much more vigorous debate, and certainly better aligns with the Inner Valley Senate bloc. Merkot and his ilk believe the Senate is the only legitimate political power over all humans, including a region as isolated as The Coastlands.
Walter may be happy with the result, but Satal is feeling nothing but unease. Merkot could have kept Highcliff’s status in limbo for days by taking a different tactic. She’s left wondering what his plan really is.