Step one

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A Fenspace story by Dartz

“Would the delegate from the Town of Port Lowell please come forward and sign,” the announcer requested.

A man in a rather sharp looking business suit stepped out from a line of his contemporaries from each of the primary Martian settlements and factions. He was greeted by applause from the assembled crowd in the room, the same applause that usually greeted golfers as they holed an easy putt.

He sat down at a rather simple desk, and picked up a single electronic pen which had been left waiting. With a few quick strokes, and a thumbprint he signed the document on the electronic tablet.

There was more golf clapping as he stepped down. Most people’s arms where getting tired by now.

“It’s all very.... mundane,” remarked Lenneth, unimpressed.

“Oh?” Jet quirked an eyebrow

“You know what I mean. It feels like we’re standing in a mundane parliament or something,”

“Not really,” The two catgirls standing in bikinis sort of put paid to that. As did a pair of armoured cyborgs watching over things from the back wall. “It’s much too polite and orderly.”

“Would the delegate from Utopia Planetia please come forward and sign,” the holographic announcer requested once more, with the exact same dispassionate intonation as before.

A woman in a Starfleet Uniform. Captain Hancock according the the pre-arranged program.

“But I get what you mean,” Jet finished. “It’s more formal than we’re used to. Mars has changed in the last few years, even since I got here.” She shrugged as if it was to be expected, and couldn’t be helped.

“With all those mundanes coming up....true mundanes who’re here for work, rather than the lifestyle.” said Lenneth with mild scorn. “I just....” she paused, “What with Stellvia declaring full independence and now this, I just feel like something is ending, like our Wild West is getting a little less wild,”

“Would the delegate from the Castle of Heterodyne please come forward and sign,”

This next signatory chuffed up to the table riding a steam-powered brass and wood wheelchair.

“It’s just a Terraforming council.” said Jet, “Not a government. Y’know the mess they had trying to get the MTP started up again after the war?”

“I’ve read the same program. Since the MTP affects all the people on Mars, all the people on Mars should have a say in it.” she rolled her eyes, “And running it with a direct democracy just wasn’t practical. But with the first link, a chain is forged. And I came up to Fenspace to get away from the chains of politics,”

“Would the delegate from Grunthal please come forward and sign,”

“Yoko looks good with her medals and awards on,” Jet commented.

“Well it helps to intimidate a little,” Lenneth giggled. “I think that’s how she managed to get veto powers for us, at least.”

Jet nodded. “Without that, I wouldn’t have voted to support our signing. And I think we only got it because of our record...... And the 213 order. We punch above our weight.” Pardon the pun.

“That’s part of the problem. Most groups our size are either getting a non-veto Councillor, or just getting lumped in as residents of the nearest settlement, which could be some distance away. It’s inherently unfair,”

“Would the delegate from New Adelaide please come forward and sign,”

Another beady-eyed individual wearing a very yellow suit, who spoke with an odd stammer. Jet recognised him and felt a bitter pang of anger.

“Since when has representative democracy ever been truly fair?” Jet snarked, “Besides, it’s just a project council, not a government.”

“A little short sighted are we? It starts with a project council, then an economic development council, then a joint defense agreement....which I’d actually agree with mind but anyway....then factional cooperation so we have more clout in the convention, then finally the slide towards full federalisation as more and more things get divested to the council. And while a council like this’d work for a project.... it’s a real mess for a government.” A pause. “And don’t tell me that’s not what this is going to become.”

Jet sighed. “It might happen. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about that either.”


“A little,”

“Would the delegate from Marsbase Sara please come forward and sign,”

“I know it’ll solve some problems,” she continued “But it’ll introduce new ones. It could the Convention does when nobody erdeside expected it to....or it could turn into an almighty clusterfuck.”

“And if you were to put a bet on it?” questioned Lenneth.

“Well, the cynical part of me says clusterfuck.” Jet admitted, after a moment’s pause. “But I’ve been trying hard to kill that part of me since I got up here. If there’s a hard push for Federal... I’d like it to succeed. The alternative gets....messy”

“Would you like them to push to Federate though? ”Lenneth pushed her point.

“Like I said, I really don’t know.”

“Would the delegate from Mos Eisley please come forward and sign,”

In an Imperial uniform no less.

He sat down and made his signature with the appropriate solemnity.

Lenneth blew out a languid sigh. “Outside of Port Lowell, I doubt many of the people here would want any sort of Union of Mars anyway. If you asked them to do it right now, very few would say yes, would they? Even the mundanes are happy with their town councils... they can ‘talk to their elected representative personally’, and the rep’ goes to the Convention for them, saving them the bother of getting involved in all the weirdness. But.... it’ll happen. It’ll happen step by little step so gently most people won’t realise until it’s done.”

The warsie signatory walked back to the line, accompanied by the same golf-clapping that had followed all of his predecessors.

Jet shrugged once more, “Well the times they are a changin’.”

The hologram inspected the datapad, immediately transmitting copies out onto the wide interwave, before he began to read.

“On behalf of the Peoples of Mars as representatives duly elected and sent from the established settlements and factions of this planet, and in recognising the collective rights of all the Peoples of Mars, we the undersigned do so establish a Council for the Terraforming of Mars, to manage the Mars Terraforming Project for the common good of all who have chosen to make their home on this world.”

There was of course, more applause.... and the strange collective feeling that something mildly important for the future may have just been accomplished.

“And that is that,” said Jet.

“Step one,” added Lenneth.