The Galactic Family Council
I. Family Council
Although the governing party, for the people of Lai, called themselves Democratic nepotism ran the show. For instance, families controlled the Senate for so many years that each family formed a council to inform Senators decisions.
Therefore an elaborate ruse was created to make all citizens feel actively involved in the creation of policy and laws.
Of course the individual had no say but the people of Lai seemed content with their political system and no one complained.
Sometimes when an action could not be pardoned and the family councils could not cover things up the people of Lai would express concern. As a result the governing parties would act immediately to stop all discontent.
Lai people had a common religious belief, Tonkay, that put as much emphasis on evil behavior as good with the hopes to create balance. Due to this acceptance of vile behavior the people of the space station were tolerant to many things but certain things could not be excused.
II. The Council Meeting
To keep the crimes of Senator Kolpa from being spread throughout the station rigorous measures were taken. Senator Kolpa’s wife, being involved with the crime, pretended she knew nothing.
The Kolpa family council gathered in a private room today.
Senator Kolpa, age forty-seven and cause of all the privacy, arrived at the meeting after the leading members. He was prepared to openly confess.
The council began the meeting. Opening discussion was Senator Kolpa’s crimes which started with stealing food and wine from the core and ended with murder.
Kolpa murdered Pasha, a solo performer for “The Chorus of Stars.” Above all he did not deny the act and only laughed when shown stations footage of the night it occurred.
III. Discussion in the Council
As a result the Council members discussed this solemn problem. They sat around a large table and argued about what would be a fitting punishment for such an unforgivable crime. The inhabitants of the station agreed that the death penalty was called for but the council felt finding a solution much more complex.
“To the stars!” Shouted one of Kolpa’s uncles, “Who said family honor is a prejudice? I only ask the council to look at this from all angles to prevent making a mistake.”
“Your comments are noted Council Member.”
“Don’t get me wrong we must reach a conviction. Family or not a rascal must not be left unpunished no matter who. The honor of his family will be upheld no matter what punishment is given.” Councilman Marko sat down. He continued to point out that a conviction must be made today. Pasha’s death created almost a cult-like following who made her a martyr for the poor. If this case went to court their family name would be scarred forever. He also pointed out that life has its peculiar temptations and asked how many on the council ever stepped too far.
IV. Some Thoughts
“Lai history is full of great minds unable to avoid tragic mistakes. Look at all the great Senators, whose policies moved the Lai people into the future, who gamble or drink. On the other hand, Senator Kolpa crossed a line. He committed a crime that deserves a serious punishment. The council must take into account that Senator Kolpa hardly finished his education, lost his parents at a young age, and is deprived of control. His guilt is obvious but he still deserves sympathy. He must be punished, of course, but he has already been punished by his conscience.”
“And how Councilman Marko should we violate our social duty!” Asked Councilwoman Iva, “If instead of punishing a guilty man we stretch out to him a hand of mercy!”
Importantly Councilman Marko’s thoughts moved towards the question of family honor. He felt that his distinguished family name was dear to him for many reasons and worried about the casting of shadows upon his ancestral tree.
These thoughts made him ask: “What is a crime?”
A crime was an immoral act coming from an evil impulse. Therefore, did the Lai people have a free will when it came to evil impulses or were these actions the universe finding balance?
V. A Chair Outside
“Councilman Marko!” Councilwoman Iva interrupted his thoughts, “For heaven’s sake talk sense! This is a grave matter and you are a clever man….Now can all this rhetoric help us come to a decision?”
Senator Kolpa sat outside the door and listened. He felt tired and empty but not scared or filled with shame. It did not matter to him whether forgiven or not and he sat outside this door only because his uncle made him. There is no difference between sitting in this corridor, sitting in a prison cell, or floating in space.
“Space is only space.”
Life wearied Senator Kolpa. Due to his constant debt, the fact that his family, the ones who sat on this council behind the door, paid little to no attention to him, and his post as Senator no longer allowed him privilege. He felt a dark future on the other side of the door as he heard the word “criminal” being spoken. He wanted to burst through the door and scream.
“I am not a criminal I am a Senator of this great Space Station!”
But he knew, even though he felt he was easy-going, sensitive, and cared deeply, people would only see a murderer. A criminal of the worst kind.
VI. Decision of the Council
“Gentlemen, what if this is only the beginning.” Councilwoman Iva prompted, “Suppose for the sake of argument we let him off! He will go on in the same way. What guarantee do we have that he will not murder again?”
At this moment the door opened and Councilman Marko called upon Senator Kolpa.
“Come!” A guard grabbed Kolpa by the arm and led him.
Councilman Marko stood up at the table as Councilwoman Iva remained seated. Sweat beaded off of Councilman Marko’s forehead.
Filled with sudden shame Kolpa glanced anxiously around the room and avoided eye contact.
“My dear Senator Kolpa how could this have happened? Your situation is awful and the situation you created is awful! For the sake of Tonkay beg for your forgiveness…..I implore you to confess today your crimes and except your punishment.”
Kolpa never expected his aristocratic relatives would raise such a storm over the death of one poor girl.
“I am guilty of the murder of Pasha and I am here to accept my punishment.”
“It is decided, Senator, ” Councilwoman Iva looked stiff, “banishment!”
VII. Banishment It Is
The noontime announcement came over the rooms intercom and the council ended.
Councilwoman Iva, to avoid meeting the man who caused so much shame, left the room through the backdoor.
Councilman Marko looked agitated as he shook Kolpa’s hand.
“Looks like it will be alright Kolpa,” Marko released his hand from the handshake, “Tonkay be praised! You will not be alone. Our resident Somyan is heading towards a wormhole today. Be at the docking bay in seven hours and join him.”
“For what purpose?”
“Senator your new rank is Ship Maintenance Officer. You will assist the ships AI and ensure proper performance while Somyan travels.”
Councilman Marko and Kolpa left the room together. Marko muttered something technical but Kolpa did not listen. He felt something heavy fall off his shoulders. This was over – he was alive! Joy burst into his heart refreshing his spirit. He needed to celebrate.
“Councilman Marko we need wine! Before we go find me wine! Man, wine!”
Councilman Marko looked over at Kolpa and through his nervousness came a small look of doubt.
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