Cloister - Utama, Ramaxia
0600 Hours - 13 Bamx 2228
Placid floor canals rumbled to life, pushing water up and into the wall’s network of splintery veins. High overhead, the black rotunda glass lightened to transparency as unseen energy burned away every speck of dust within the session hall. Lights flickered to life along the intrados, highlighting the center podium while lessor overheads revealed ascending seating decks.
The highest platform opposite the others sat empty as the Committee gathered in the corridor outside.
Tee Banto, a white and black striped hizak with a thick-backed figure, exhibited a charm born of privilege. The stand-offish Fourth Office fixed an amused eye on frenemy Lekada Wram, the pink and brown-hided Second Office standing alone, her body wracked by tension.
The Primary’s office door remained closed, and standing beside it was Gid Ikat, clad in a tight Orta-Prime uniform. On her scalp was a tattoo of a volcanic eruption, its fiery flow pouring down her cerise and brown neck. Before Tee could begin a confrontational dance with the brooding marix, her bizak sibling entered the corridor. The ivory and mud spotted Wox Dag had been born a Banto, taking on the name of her deceased bond after Line Dag’s elders offer to make her one of their own. This official elevation allowed physician Wox to hold the Fifth Office instead of the one she’d been born to serve.
“Where’s Fusa?” Wox whispered.
“Convening with Ryo and Rasa,” said Tee, fixing the loose flower in Wox’s up-do. “Ikat’s supposed to be acquiring Uli Zag.”
Ikat caught them staring and glared back.
Wox looked away. “I didn’t realize Ikat was still alive.”
Tee continued to stare at Ikat. “Why wouldn’t she be?”
“She’s head of Terminal Sabotage,” Wox whispered behind a cupped hand. “You don’t get to that position without killing a few friends.”
Tee smiled. “Orta drama is the best drama,”
“Someone’s always ridden or killed,” said Wox with a grin.
When the Primary’s door swung open, Ryo Uym emerged without acknowledging Ikat. The First Office was a tall hizak who wore tight black suits to highlight her bronze and red flecked hide. Today, her hair was sculpted to resemble the folds of a gashcol.
Rasa Jyr, the Third Office, followed her, delivering a friendly nod to the marix at the door. A contrast to Ryo in every way, the mahogany-colored hizak kept her sizable posterior contained in a flowing suit jacket and her hair in well-crafted waves that flattered the petite features of her face.
Fusa Kul appeared after them.
A hulking figure over nine feet tall, she boasted a snarling fusaxica on her bald head. Beneath her uniform, the bear’s bloodied paws covered her broad shoulders, and engraved on each murderous mitt was a date: the day she’d bonded to the deceased Fee Banto and the night her marix donation, Fusada, had died.
Without warning, Kul grabbed Ikat by the collar.
“Where’s Zag,” she seethed.
“We’ve been to her office and her residences.” Ikat didn’t flinch. “She’s gone.”
Kul released her right as Ikat pushed her away.
“I did not hear that,” her deep voice dripped with danger.
“There’s a limited number of locations for her to shelter,” Ryo moved fearlessly between them; no word existed for an hizak capable of marixi brutality, but if one did, it would stem from Ryo’s name.
Ikat kept her eyes trained on Kul. “My agents are looking for her all over Ramaxia.”
“Her guilt is irrelevant now,” Ryo interjected. “She’s sealed her fate by fleeing.”
Tee approached, pausing to address the Second Office.
“Lekada,” she needled. “Where’s Velto?”
The hizak scowled at Tee as Wox put a comforting arm around her. “She’s in Cloister,” she answered for Lekada. “Waiting to be spanked.”
Ryo’s eyes narrowed.
“I don’t recall your name being Lekada.”
“Today, my name is, Ride Off Ryo,” she cracked.
Rasa sighed. “Must we behave as donats?”
“You’ve failed to grasp the severity of the situation, CM Dag,” the stone-faced Ryo addressed the bizak. “I’d like you to grasp the severity of the situation.”
Wox nodded dutifully. “Yes, CM Uym.”
Ryo then whisked past her with a grinning Rasa on her heels. Tee mocked Wox with a scolding finger wag as she filed in behind them. Primary Kul observed Wox with an entertained gleam; the bizak was her dead bond’s sibling, and her antics remained one of the few weaknesses the lethal marix still permitted herself.
“The demise of the Slavs is immaterial,” Lekada called to them. “This situation grants opportunity.”
Tee agreed. “I suggest we use it to keep Velto out of Cloister,”
“She’s not reentering politics, is she?” Ryo faced them.
“She interviewed with the press last night,” Tee announced. “I ordered the event blocked, but Intragux allowed that troublemaker Julo her broadcast.”
Wox scowled. “Why is Koba Julo still operating in the media?”
Rasa chuckled softly; Koba, her subak sibling’s donation, recovered from her many job terminations due to her relation to Line Jyr.
“Why is Julo still breathing?” Kul wondered.
Rasa addressed her. “We do not murder journalists, Fusa.”
A smile played across Ryo’s face. “We don’t murder anyone.”
“Ikat,” Kul stepped into her fellow marix. “You put your best Term Sabo bark on fishing out Uli Zag,”
“Already on it,” Ikat said, nose to nose with her Primary.
Kul lowered her voice. “She was never a friend, was she?”
“No, Primary,” Ikat shook her head. “Zag was never our friend.”
“The only reason you’re still alive right now,” said Kul. “Is because you knew this way back when, and I didn’t listen to you.”
“No, Primary,” Ikat said. “You didn’t listen.”
“If you wish to keep your elevated rank,” Ryo boldly disrupted their moment. “We’d better have Zag dead by next Cloister session.”
Rasa shifted from one high-heeled shoe to the next.
“You’ll have Zag,” Ikat promised, a cruel glint in her eye. “Just as you have the Bass Plain.”
All eyes shifted to Lekada.
“You tore that bridge down?” Fusa asked her, smiling.
“Ikat and I found the time, opportune,” said Lekada.
Kul marched toward the Session Hall with a spring in her step.
Ryo took Lekada politely by the arm, passing Ikat on their way.
Tee paused and stared at the menacing marix.
“Breathe, brooder,” she teased.
Ikat scowled down at her.
“Oh,” Tee said, smiling. “That lazy eye in your left socket.”
Wox giggled to break the unease.
“Stop flirting,” Rasa said, pulling Tee away by her arm.
Out in the Session Hall, the hulking Primary took her seat in the uppermost deck. Beneath her on the dais sat First Office Ryo, with Tee and Wox to her right, and Lekada and Rasa on her left. The opposite side of the Hall belonged to the Citizenry Chamber, a mixed generational lot that often disagreed with the Ruling Platform on everything.
Vanda Prime owned the highest deck, where a Tenth Gen hizak Eppis Banto sat beside her young and newly hired administrative aid. The only donation of Tee Banto, the stately hizak had inherited her kerma’s white hide, but her signature black spots came from a long-dead mako. Beneath her position on the same balcony sat Jixa Ru, the orange and tan Ninth-Gen representative of Central Vanda. A privacy wall separated CR Ru and her cloister-aid from North Vanda’s representative, Tenth Gen hizak Qul Grik.
Centering the Chamber side was the Toxican deck.
Ninth Gen hizaki Uwav Grik and Gentix Relo narrowly won their last elections in East and West Toxis. Each sat separated above a larger balcony reserved for Toxis Prime. Since the prime dome contained no citizenry in residence, their representative seat fell to the current head of the Prime Lab, a Ninth Gen physician named Riba Wygz.
A foot beneath Wygz and her assistant stretched an elongated deck that hosted all three representatives of Pikalit.
The Pikalit Triad housed a substantial amount of bizak, and last year they’d elected three Tenth-Gen hizaki to represent them. The cinnamon-streaked Pel Jyr sat for Prime Dome, while the mustard and black-hided Yegi Das represented the Greater dome. Northeast dome belonged to Cruzo Tegal, a former hairstyle model whose popular cobalt color still garnished attention.
Inches above the churning water floor was a small deck reserved for Utama. Its seat belonged to a Ninth Gen hizak named Ryl Jyr, renowned for her liberal views and habit of siding with the Tenth.
Silence blanketed the Hall when Yir Gizul appeared. The Primary and her Committee controlled Ramaxia, but the Sernatae ruled Cloister.
A dark-hided Ninth with a stern visage, Yir was often the subject of political satire mocking her lofty hairstyles; today’s hair mold consisted of two large spheres, one on her crown and the other behind her ear.
Before calling this session, Yir conferred with hive Tolitat and discovered that Femtrux would be observing. There were political and generational matters at hand, and to ensure her understanding of the details, Yir convened with Tolitat’s paxum at Myanix Azi for a concise timeline of events.
Orta’s hive, Pentox, had delegated Velto Wram’s use of Sky Sister to Prime Chair Uli Zag, who allowed the canon’s use citing primada protocol. Genetically coded heirs acquired such allowances only if there were two heirs in play. Before this incident, the Tenth Gen lacked a Primary candidate; its two coded heirs, Fusada Kul and Zixas Wram, had been dead for years.
Such a reality meant that Yir would spend this session not determining Wram’s guilt but policing the Ruling Platform. The punitive reach of the current Committee needed constant patrolling; no doubt they’d demand censure, and Wram being heir to one of their offices left such reprimand open to abuse.
Yir walked the narrow deck to her podium, smiling to Chamber members before casting her dark eyes up to recognize the Ruling Platform. Once settled behind her pulpit, she looked across to her first-born, Ixo Gizul, the standing Sernatae-Second.
Ixo often convened with hive Tolitat as current Prime Chair of Mynu. Also, as Prime Administrator of Marixi Administration, she partook in daily counsel with Pentox, so her awareness of today’s business likely outweighed her kerma’s.
Yir’s stately voice filled the Hall, amplified by an audio collar.
“This Special Session is called to allow Representatives of the Citizenry to review the acts of Ambassador Velto Wram and her use of the Stellar Kyronic Yaw against the helovx-nation called, Slavic Empire.”
Velto Wram stood near a hover disk, no stranger to the Cloister, having represented West Toxis for years. Her unmarked honey-toned hide and large round eyes weren’t native traits of her Clan; they belonged to Hal Wiv, a subak who’d been dear to Yir Gizul in what seemed a lifetime ago.
“I call to the Cloister, Prime Chair of the Ramaxian Armed Forces, Uli Zag. I call to the Cloister, Ambassador Prime of Ramaxia, Pitana Dag. I call to the Cloister, Ambassador to the Slavic Empire, Velto Wram.” Yir paused at the next name on her testimonial list. “I call to the Cloister, Komad Sofita Kul, Sorority of Defense, Femitokon Division.”
“Sernatae, may I speak?” said the Primary. “We’ve been unable to locate PC Uli Zag.”
“Thank you, Primary Kul,” Yir said as a request signal flashed over her orbital socket interface. “CR Prime Eppis Banto of Vanda?”
“Thank you, Sernatae,” said Eppis, audio collar activated. “My ill feelings for helovx aside, I’d never advocate the destruction of any helovx nation.”
Agreeing whispers filled the Hall.
“We’re not animals,” she said further. “We don’t murder those weaker simply because they’re weak. Femmar are above such brutal behavior.”
Another signal flashed in Yir’s eye.
“CR Pel Jyr of Pikalit?”
“As Representative of Pikalit Prime, the most essential city in Ramaxia…” A collective groan came from the Chamber; some even smiled. “I’d like to know why CM Lekada Wram and her so-called Office of Helovx Advocacy hasn’t taken more responsibility for this incident.”
Applause rang out from every Tenth Gen representative, except Eppis Banto; she joined elders Relo, Grik, Ru, and Wygz at playing stoic; even Ryl Jyr sat unmoved.
Lekada Wram’s signal appeared in the Sernatae’s eye.
“Sernatae, please remind CR Jyr that the obliteration of the Slavic Empire took place against my direct order,” her voice then lost its edge. “I wanted no engagement with the Slavs, and I expressly forbid any reprisals.”
Ryl Jyr spoke when recognized.
“Are we to understand, Sernatae, that the Slavs were to go unpunished for the murder of citizen Ilo Cux?”
Displeasure echoed until Ryo Uym signaled to speak.
“Sernatae,” she began, “remind our Utama colleague that there are procedures in place to punish helovx-nations that bring harm to members of the citizenry,”
Ryl looked to the Sernatae and spoke when Yir gave the nod.
“Remind the First Office that I’m aware of such punitive measures.” The hizak then looked to the highest platform. “The last time a citizen of Ramaxia fell to harm by way of an helovx, our esteemed Primary enacted a similar response.”
Every member of the Chamber applauded Ryl’s whataboutism.
“Sernatae,” Ryo countered. “Please remind Utama that the Primary’s retaliation was, in fact, punished by the former Primary.”
“Where’s Primary Ixo now,” yelled Cruzo Tegal.
A warning light flashed from the Sernatae’s podium.
“No speaking out of turn,” Yir scolded. “That’s your first warning, Northeast Pikalit.”
“Sernatae,” Wox Banto spoke when recognized. “Evidence suggests that Ambassador Wram witnessed a moral violation before the death of citizen Cux?”
Yir nodded. “I call Ambassador Prime of Ramaxia, Pitana Dag.”
A tall hizak blessed with a diplomat’s visage, the Tenth Gen appeared beside her old friend Velto and stepped onto the first hover disk. Her hair, a row of neatly spun coils, cast a strange shadow on her rise toward the Sernatae.
“Ambassador Dag,” said Yir. “You are to be truthful at all times.”
The hizak touched her chest with a spread hand, a sign of respect and reverence. “Yes, Sernatae, I will be truthful,”
“Tolitat gave evidence that your office received no notice of an impending action against the Slavic Empire,” Yir spoke while reading the flat screen built into her podium. “Ambassador Prime Dag, did any contact occur between you and Ambassador Velto Wram, outside normal channels that day, regarding the deteriorating situation in Uralskey?”
“No, Sernatae,” Pitana said.
The Chamber fell quiet, yet Lekada’s grin spoke volumes.
After acquiring permission to speak, Wox stared proudly at her donation, Pitana. “Sernatae, does Ambassador Prime Dag wish to elaborate?”
Pitana remained composed and spoke when allowed.
“Before Ambassador Wram departed for the Slavic Empire, I made it clear to her that any impropriety on behalf of the Slavs would result in her immediate removal. For the record, I bestow upon all my Ambassadors the freedom to exercise any on-scene judgments in emergency situations. I’m not their kerma, I’m their Prime.”
Cleared throats and snappy coughs followed.
A new signal appeared. “CR Eppis Banto of Vanda Prime.”
“Sernatae,” said Eppis. “May I speak to Ambassador Prime Dag?”
“Yes, CR Banto,” Yir said. “Keep it within the protocol, please.”
“Thank you, Sernatae,” Eppis said. “How are you today, Ambassador Prime?”
Pitana nodded. “I’m fine, thank you, CR Banto.”
“Ambassador Prime Dag, in discussions with your field Ambassadors regarding their autonomy, did the subject of retaliatory actions ever occur?” asked Eppis. “If yes, did you as their Prime express such actions should never be enacted alone?”
“I make it clear to the Ambassadors under my command, CR Banto, that no reciprocal act be taken against helovx persons, under any circumstance,” Pitana explained. “Yet, I feel that Ambassador Wram felt herself in danger, and in her position, I feel she made the proper choice.”
All three of Pikalit’s representatives were nodding.
“Forgive me, Ambassador Prime Dag,” said Eppis. “Did you speak to Ambassador Wram at any time while she was on Uralskey Island?”
“No, CR Banto,” Pitana replied. “As I stated earlier, no exchange between myself and Ambassador Wram occurred during her final hours abroad.”
“Then you cannot speak to Ambassador Wram’s state of mind,” said Eppis.
“I agree, Sernatae.” Ryo Uym spoke when recognized. “Prime Dag’s thoughts on Ambassador Wram’s mindset are irrelevant.”
Pitana shook her head. “No, I suppose my opinion doesn’t mean much.”
Merriment mingled with disgusted laments.
Tee Banto signaled to speak.
“Sernatae, we all appreciate the free-reign Prime Dag affords her ambassadors, and in any other situation, one might consider Ambassador Wram’s acts defensive. Yet two Divisional officers had been sent to ensure the safe removal of the Ambassador and her bond-partner.”
“Sernatae,” Ixo Gizul spoke while glancing up at the Ruling Platform. “Evidence obtained by hive Pentox via a sync with Ornithocheirus Five indicates that these Slavs enacted violence against a member of the armed forces before murdering a civilian with a Ramaxian weapon.”
Yir nodded. “Noted, Secondary Gizul.”
“That citizen has a name,” Velto yelled.
“Ambassador Wram,” Yir slammed her orb-gavel against the podium. “You’ll remain silent until permitted to speak.”
Velto rocked from one leg to the next, hands fisted.
“Sernatae-Second apologizes to Ambassador Wram,” said Ixo.
Velto blinked, caught off guard by the apology.
“CM Banto is correct,” said Pitana when recognized. “Komad Kul and Donmat Dox of the Sorority of Defense carried out the extraction.”
“May I ask, Sernatae,” Lekada spoke up. “Why Ambassador Prime Dag chose two agents from the Sorority of Defense over two officers from Surface Operational?”
“I don’t understand the purpose of that question,” said Yir.
“Sernatae, SOD officers never handle OHA removals,” the Primary spoke without the aid of an audio collar. “Why did operative Kul get chosen for this assignment?”
Pitana trained her eyes on Yir. “Sernatae, I didn’t choose Komad Kul. Pengon was notified of an assignment error and thus assigned the highest-ranking officer with the most hours logged between the poles.”
“What assignment error?” Kul asked.
“Sernatae,” the Sernatae Second spoke up. “Please inform the Primary she must ask permission to speak to witnesses in the Chamber,”
Yir stared at Ixo, shocked by her brevity.
“It’s fine.” Pitana cast her eyes upward. “Primary Kul, a Promad in mission-scheduling, was notified by Pentox of the assignment error.”
“Evidenced here,” Ixo tapped the screen before her and brought up a floating page of text before the Hall. “Terminal Sabotage received the subsequent extraction order for Ambassador Wram.”
Silence fell over the Hall as Yir jerked her gaze upward.
“Is this true, First Office Uym?” she demanded.
“Reviewing the request log, Sernatae,” Ryo sounded bored. “Yes, it appears an error in assignment occurred.”
“Sernatae,” Lekada interjected. “Does Prime Dag wish us to believe that she didn’t tailor a new request making Komad Kul the logical choice?”
“Is that a question or an accusation, Sernatae?” Pitana asked.
Laughter erupted, and this time Third Office Rasa Jyr joined Wox Dag in smiling.
“I’m going to consider it a question,” Yir said, stern.
“Sernatae, I fail to comprehend what’s being asked,” Pitana retorted. “I’ve no history of special-ordering agents for specific assignments. My knowledge of Divisional agents is marginal at best. My awareness of Komad Kul’s position in Divisional—”
“-Are you claiming you had no prior knowledge of Kul’s rank and Division before assigned?” Lekada demanded.
The Sernatae’s podium glowed once more.
“Second Office Wram,” Yir warned. “You will address me and request to speak to the witness directly.”
“Sernatae, may I finish?” Pitana asked.
Yir nodded. “Yes, Ambassador Prime.”
“As I attempted to explain before interrupted,” said Pitana. “I wasn’t aware of Komad Kul’s position in Divisional until hand-delivering an assignment to her last month,”
“Sernatae,” the Sernatae Second waved her hand and sent another holographic display to the middle of the Hall. “Prime Dag was dispatched at the request of CM Wram to meet with Komad Kul at her residence last month.”
The Bumo Investigation had been an exciting session as fleet schemes proved more entertaining than legislation. Testimony revealed that the Second Office planned to dismiss Ambassador Jyr for failing to report a hybrid and some engineered sharks. Komad Kul destroyed this cadre of mutant sharks. However, the Komad’s mission report detailed that Jyr had been investigating Bumo since meeting with that hybrid.
“We addressed that mission,” Ryl spoke when allowed. “Ambassador Prime Dag verified her private talks with Komad Kul regarding a communique from Ambassador Laxum Jyr.”
Pel Jyr of Pikalit accused: “A message that CM Wram claimed never came to her office.” Assured grunts from others followed as Pikalit’s Prime Dome received a warning for talking without acknowledgment.
“Sernatae, I delivered the specifics as ordered,” said Pitana. “I’ve known Komad Kul from an early age and wished to reconnect.”
“CR Das of Greater Pikalit?” Yir called.
“For the sake of full disclosure and my intense dislike of being interrupted, please inform the Second Office that I too attended caste-training with Ambassador Prime Dag,” the hizak’s sass brought amusement. “I also knew Citizen Kul and was a donational acquaintance of citizen Wram.”
Velto scowled as laughter rang out.
“Thank you, CR Das.” Yir shook her head and shifted back to Pitana. “Thank you as well, Ambassador Prime Dag.”
“Sernatae,” Primary Kul spoke up. “May I break protocol and inquire about something unrelated to the matter at hand?”
“If you must, Primary,” said Yir.
“I’d like to ask Ambassador Prime Dag,” the marix leaned forward, “when she visited Komad Kul, was it at her barracks?”
Pitana didn’t hesitate. “It was at her residence.”
“May I ask another question, Sernatae?” Kul said, and when Yir allowed it, “Where is Komad Kul in residence?”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Velto groaned.
“Ambassador Wram,” Yir barked.
“Sernatae, we’re wasting time,” Velto cried. “My life is on trial, and the Primary wants to know what her donats front door looks like.”
Laughter exploded throughout the Hall.
Yir banged her gavel, then pointed at Velto.
“Ambassador, it’s been a while since you cracked ice in my Cloister, you’ll not speak another word out of turn, or I’ll have you removed.”
Pitana stared up at the Primary.
“Komad Kul resides on Base Three.”
“Thank you,” said Kul, her hardened face unmoved.
The disk returned Pitana to the witness dock.
Yir shifted her eyes, “CR Jyr of Utama.”
“I’d like to hear Ambassador Wram’s side of the story,” said Ryl.
“Ambassador Velto Wram,” Yir said. “You have the floor.”
Velto sucked her tongue when unable to step onto the hover disk at its standard-setting, and as it lowered to accommodate her, sniggers abounded.
“I’m responsible for what happened to the Slavic Empire,” said the bizak, risen to address the Hall. “I disobeyed the Second Office.”
“PC Wygz of Toxis Prime?” said Yir.
Velto growled in frustration. “You hizzah’s can’t wait five minutes until I’m through talking!”
Whistles filled the Hall, along with thundering laughter from the Primary. All fell silent when the Sernatae slammed her gavel down.
“Velto Wram,” Yir warned. “You utter that word in my Cloister again, and it will be the last word you utter in my Cloister.”
Velto pressed her lips together, quieted.
“Sernatae, no one denies that Ambassador Wram took matters into her own hands,” said Riba Wygz, still humored. “However, the loss of one life cannot justify the slaughter of an entire helovx nation.”
Primary Kul spoke out. “I disagree.”
Riba and the other Ninth Gen found this funny, but not Ryl Jyr.
“Sernatae,” the hizak from Utama stood. “As a citizen that cared for and knew Ilocux, I find the humor on display, disrespectful.”
Yir nodded. “I agree, thank you, CR Jyr of Utama.”
When Vanda Prime was recognized to speak, Velto let out a frustrated huff.
“Sernatae, I too was angry at Ilo’s death, but Ramaxia cannot arbitrarily commit genocide,” Eppis stood as if making history. “It may make me unpopular with my Primary to voice such sentiment, but I stand by it.”
Yir nodded. “Ambassador Wram?”
“Moral posturing aside,” Velto glared up at Eppis before turning her attention back to the Sernatae. “I’m certain the Axyrn logs show my attempt to call Prime Dag. It also shows the Second Office intercepting it.”
“That log exists,” said the Sernatae Second, waving her hand brought Velto’s communication with the Second Office to every interface screen in the Hall.
“I demanded the termination of the helovx before, before my partner,” the bizak struggled then. “Before Ilo came onboard with a blast wound in her stomach.”
Yir softened. “Do you need a moment, Ambassador Wram?”
“Sernatae,” Wram’s voice broke. “There aren’t enough moments,”
Many averted their gaze in pity.
“My desire to eliminate the Slavs,” she continued after clearing her throat. “Came in the face of a Fifth Tenant breach.”
Gasps filled the Chamber.
“Sernatae,” asked a shaken Wox. “Were the helovx feeding on us?”
“No, Sernatae,” Velto shook her head. “Tell her they were feeding on each other.”
“With all due respect, Sernatae,” Ryo said, dismissive. “Helovx have cannibalized each other in times of environmental bottleneck for centuries,”
“The Slavs were in no bottleneck, Sernatae,” Velto said, calm. “They harvested aborted fetal tissue and processed with the protein-sequencing technology given to them by the Ruling Platform.”
Wox Banto and Rasa Jyr leaned up in alarm, while Tee Banto’s face twisted in disgust. Ryo Uym and the Primary remained unmoved, and Lekada Wram rolled her eyes.
The Sernatae Second stepped into the space behind Yir and handed her a biv-tablet. After reading its surface, Yir addressed the Hall. “I’ve received notice from Komad Kul, currently onboard the TCS Orcinus, that she and Donmat Fuzo Dox are unable to attend Cloister today due to current mission responsibilities. Komad Kul has provided footage from her probe of the Slavs—”
“-Sernatae,” Wox’s voice sounded shrill. “No one questions Ambassador Wram’s account, nor do we wish to see evidence of it.”
“Sernatae,” Tee spoke up. “What’s being decided here is what should be done with Citizen Wram for enacting fatal measures upon an entire population.”
Yir remained polite. “Fourth Office Banto, part of decreeing punitive measures upon those in service and accused of acting against the Citizenry’s best interest, is determining the circumstances upon which the wrongdoing occurred.”
“We understand this, Sernatae Gizul,” Ryo finally spoke. “Despite the Primary feeling that Citizen Wram behaved accordingly, her acts are not something my Second Office would’ve abided.”
Lekada nodded. “As CR Banto said prior, we’ve evolved.”
“Do I regret what I did to Australia? Maybe.” Primary Kul spoke without being recognized. “Yet their crime pales in comparison. The Slavs perverted our technology and then killed a beloved citizen. Ambassador Wram’s motivations are, in my opinion, above reproach.”
Ryo talked when recognized.
“Citizen Wram did not react, she avenged. Reaction is instant, Sernatae. Vengeance requires forethought. Citizen Wram displayed this by manipulating Komad Kul with her demand for recompense.”
Some hushed agreements came as the First Office continued.
“Primada tier safeguards enacted by Femtrux ensure that no ambassador, officer, or agent abroad, can access weaponized systems without direct consultation with a proper superior.”
Lekada spoke when allowed. “There’s culpability here, none of which belongs to the citizenry. Ergo, we shouldn’t be discussing this matter before the Chamber.”
Whistles and howls exploded among the Representatives.
The Primary’s voice boomed: “Ambassador Wram ordered Sky Sister to destroy Uralskey, and someone in Orta allowed it.”
“Sernatae,” said Ryo when allowed. “Prime Chair Uli Zag knew full well that such action had precedent considering that she and the Primary took part in a similar situation before.”
“PC Zag authorized all this,” Fusa declared as if defending her. “Because she thought it was the right thing to do.”
“Sernatae,” CR Ru spoke up, agitated. “Where’s proof that PC Zag gave this permission?”
The Sernatae Second sent images of two Tenth Gen officers to everyone in the Hall. “Please inform CR of Central Vanda that we have the testimony of two Promad stating that Pentox contacted PC Zag.”
Ryo spoke again when allowed.
“Sernatae, rather than attempt to hold the Second Office accountable, I’d like the Chamber to appreciate her unfortunate position. Our relations with helovx nations will never be the same now that they know Ramaxia can, at any time, eliminate them from orbit.”
Hushed debate abounded.
“Thank you, First Office Uym.” Lekada stood. “I motion that Citizen Wram be stripped of her position in the Office of Helovx Advocacy.”
“Seconded,” said Ryo.
The Chamber exploded with furious rebukes from all three representatives of Pikalit and Ryl Jyr, and a visible show of support from Fifth Office Wox Dag and the Primary.
Tee Banto, however, remained unmoved. “I propose we ban Citizen Wram from any future opportunity to serve the Citizenry.”
“I second this,” said Eppis.
Velto made to shout until silenced by the Sernatae’s warning stare. “I deserve to lose my position in the OHA, but not my right to represent,” she fixed her eyes on Lekada. “Such an action in my time of grief might force me to consider terminating my life.”
Gasps filled the Chamber.
“I don’t like that sort of posturing, yet such things are beyond my purview,” Yir looked at Lekada. “Second Office Wram, have you considered this implication?”
“Not until this moment,” said Lekada, eyes aflame.
“Then it’s out of the Ruling Platform’s hands and in mine.” Yir then addressed the Chamber. “It is my decision, Ambassador Velto Wram, that you have acted with gross impropriety in your dealings with the helovx-nation known as the Slavic Empire.”
Velto stood silent, her head held high.
“Your authority within the Office of Helovx Advocacy is stripped, and you’ll be forbidden any future interactions with the helovx. This punitive measure includes the export of your food-replication technology.”
Gentix Relo of West Toxis stood.
“Sernatae,” said the hizak. “Forgive my intrusion, but are we to level penalties against businesses held by private citizens?”
Yir remained civil. “When those businesses are operated by those serving the citizenry in an official capacity, yes.”
“The point, Sernatae,” Gentix added quickly, “is that such penalties would discourage wealthy entrepreneurs from considering civic office.”
“I accept this penalty,” Velto exclaimed.
“Citizen Wram,” Yir eyed the bizak. “I’ll not take from you your right to represent, that’s not my place, but your actions in the matter of the Slavic Empire will remain on your record until you recycle from this world.”
Velto nodded, “I accept this ruling.”
“This is my final judgment,” Yir Gizul addressed the Chamber. “Cloister, do you accept this ruling?”
A resounding “yes” filled the room, the lone dissent logged by Lekada Wram.