1 JUNE 2018
HOUSE OF DEBATE
In theory, the members of parliament for Kyrloth would work out any inconsistencies in potential legislation in the House of Debate, a room with two hundred and eighty eight cushioned chairs, and one uncomfortable-looking stool on which sat the Speaker of the House.
In theory, the Speaker of the House would keep order in the House of Debate by determining who was given the right to speak to the rest of parliament at what time, and revoking said right if things became uncivil.
In theory, the agenda for the 19th of Suramun, 1344 was to debate the somewhat controversial Budget Order On Military Spending, or B.O.O.M.S for short. An integral part of Soldiers’ Guild leader and deputy prime minister Sinter Tass’s coalition deal with Hefanira Tara, B.O.O.M.S would allocate an extra 20 billion ura (4.8 billion SHD) to the Kyrlot Army Research Division’s budget.
This was not met without opposition.
In practice, the name of the room in which the members of parliament for Kyrloth were situated was still the “House of Debate”. In practice, the Speaker of the House’s job was still to keep order in said house. But there was neither debate nor order, only shouting and chaos.
On the government’s side was Sinter Tass and the prime minister, Hefanira Tara. Tass, to cut a long argument short, wanted shiny new guns for the military, because you never know what threats might rear their ugly heads in the near future. Tara, to cut a slightly shorter argument to roughly the same length, wanted shiny new guns for the military, because you can use ray guns in situations that weren’t war, some of the time.
On the opposition were the leaders of the other parties. Njiera Utla, head of the Resource Control Board, thought it was just a waste of money that could be better spent on things that weren’t likely to blow up at a moment’s notice, like a nineteenth pit mine. The Socialist party’s leader, Gull Hughny, decided it was a terrible idea because capitalism would be involved, and Keron Mannt, face of the Human Rebellion, decided it was a terrible idea because the zrei elves would be involved.
At the current moment, the Spiritualists of Azmarin Zlovskavaar had the floor, and their leader, Masari Té, was fresh out of custody following a riot he had instigated a few months before. He spent his first day back in the House of Debate attacking every single point of the bill, even the mundane articles, such as what the definition of “military” was. Lunch was due to arrive soon, but Té showed no signs of stopping; he was well into the nineteenth minute of the sixteen they had been allotted. He had perhaps taken five breaths in the entire duration of his ranting.
“We should never even consider funnelling even more of the taxpayers’ money into creating machines of evil,” Té continued. “All that these weapons are good for is destruction. What this country needs is God. God creates. You people just want to destroy.”
Hefanira Tara felt the brief pause for breath and took the opportunity to get her point in. “As I have said numerous times before, the new technological developments we will be getting for the battlefield can be adapted for use in peaceful matters. Dynamite used to be a purely military endeavour, and now it’s one of the most widely-used mining tools in existence. Science is science, regardless of its original source–”
She was interrupted by Té, who had taken the opportunity to catch his breath. He seemed a lot calmer now, more determined. “'It matters not. Regardless of how much you beat your swords into ploughshares, the fact remains that you started with swords. Murder is evil. Any item designed for the purpose of killing our fellow man is designed for evil, and, ergo, is evil. Anyone who tries to legislate for making these evil machines even more evil is facilitating evil, and, ergo, is evil. For example.” Masari Té reached into his coat pocket and drew a small pistol. It was already loaded. He pointed it at Hefanira Tara and pulled the trigger five times. One bullet missed and drove itself into her chair; the other four hit their target, two in the head, two in the heart.
She fell to the floor, dead.
There was a brief moment of silence in which the members of parliament processed what had just occurred. Then, chaos erupted like a firework. While the rest of the Spiritualists stared on in shock, most of the rest of the room crouched down, cowering behind their desks. Sinter Tass took advantage of his position just out of Té’s immediate line of sight to throw the closest nearby object – a solid iron paperweight set in the shape of a panther – at his head. Tass was a veteran, and had been the reigning shotput champion at his high school, so he knew it would meet its target. With a roar, he followed his projectile with a rugby tackle, sending Masari sprawling to the floor. His head impacted against a nearby desk with a satisfying noise. The Treasurer, Keras Qirat, snapped into motion when he saw Té lose his grip on his gun. Sprinting out, he kicked the pistol away before Té could grab it back.
Security guards swarmed into the room, guns drawn. They took Masari Té into custody with ruthless efficiency, and, just to be certain, the rest of the Spiritualists. For good measure, they also took the members of parliament for the Human Rebellion in for questioning as well, given that they had been talking about this kind of thing for many years, even if it had only just been words. Medics entered and assessed the situation, but it was abundantly clear that Hefanira Tara had been dead before she had even touched the ground. “T-time of death,” the head medic stuttered, “Twelve-sixteen.”
He needn’t have announced it; the world already knew. As was custom with all parliamentary debates, the whole event had been broadcast live to the House of Debate TV channel.
Sinter Tass looked up, surveying his surroundings for any potential secondary threats. There were none; it looked like Té had been acting by his own, homicidal, confused self. But around him, the members of parliament were sitting, some standing, some curled up into a ball behind their desk, all motionless, shocked, dazed. One corner of the room, though, was in action mode. The Soldiers’ Guild had a requirement for running for parliament – you had to either currently be, or had been at some point in the past, serving a term of duty in the military. In a room full of politicians, they had been the only ones – save the Treasurer, perhaps – who had done anything other than sit, scared, and hope someone else would sort it out for them.
Tass sighed. What use was a system that couldn’t even react to something happening right in front of them? Suddenly, a thought came to him. That was a system he would be able to fix.