The News-Review

A Service of the News Bureau of the Government of the Twelve Colonies

Presidential conference held aboard Colonial One under tight security, Fleetwide scrutiny

Posted by Fleet News Service on August 19, 2007

CELESTRA/COLONIAL ONE, August 19 — An historic summit occurred yesterday evening aboard Celestra, during which a number of urgent priorities were set for the Fleet. While contentious and politicized at times, this first recorded face-to-face meeting between President Vargas and Caprican Quorum of Twelve Representative Capri Carbetta represented a major step forward in the reconstruction of our society.

Update/Correction: Thank you to Captain Heidi Stiglitz of Pacifica’s 27th Fighter Squadron for providing this correction (duplicated in Comments). Personnel references in this piece which duplicate the error have been edited. — DS

  • Jr. Lt. Kalah DeCuir was brought in as a witness for the Caprican Quorum rep’s claims of martial law. At no time was JrLt. DeCuir acting on behalf of the security detachment, nor was she at any time dialed in to the security wireless channel set up by Ms Brown.
  • Working with Ms Brown aboard the Celestra were myself and Corporal Raydin Nishi of the Colonial Marines. The Viper CAP was provided by Lt Gaius Gisaku and JrLt Sazuki Yoshikawa. Logistical support for the Vipers was provided by the Pacifica’s CAG, Major Darsh Lucero.”

In attendance at the meeting: Leonid Quorum Representative Pazzo Pestana; Commander Angelica Nephilim of Pacifica; Fleet Counsel Vicky Christensen; Captains Starbuckk Serapis and Tanya Halberd; Officer Melandra Brown, providing security for the President, Jr. Lt. Kalah DeCuir (a material witness for Representative Carbetta); and News-Review staff members D’Anna Biers and Dean Steadham.

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Photo: The CAP provided Colonial One’s airborne security detail during the conference, pictured here alongside a Raptor from the 27th Squadron designated for VIP transport. Thanks to a Heartbreakers pilot for capturing this photograph, as regular shuttle service was suspended.

Carbetta’s Presence Among Us
Questions had been raised prior to the meeting, by the press and others, as to where Ms. Carbetta came from, and where she’s been since the attacks. She indicated she’d been aboard 7th Heaven at the time of the initial Cylon onslaught, and had been wounded and unconscious.

Corroborating witnesses for this particular aspect of Ms. Carbetta’s history have not yet been located, and are invited to step forward to authenticate it.

Martial Law, or Merely a Tight Ship?
Initially, debate during the meeting focused on addressing a surfacing belief in the fleet that “the military controls the Presidency.” Ms. Carbetta was quite adamant that the people’s views and needs were being subjugated to the will of the military and/or the Presidency. In particular, Commander Nephilim spoke eloquently in defense of the separation of Colonial powers, saying “The Fleet’s military service is not a democracy, nor do we pretend to be. We are sworn to protect democracy, not practice it. ”

Viper pilot Kalah DeCuir was called upon by Ms. Carbetta to testify that the tragic and unusual shooting of a civilian aboard Pacifica was evidence of martial law. Again, Commander Nephilim rose to the challenge, stating, “If a civilian is on my boat unauthorized and in a secure area, interfering with medical operations and refusing to surrender, Gods know I will take whatever means necessary to secure the protection of the Fleet.”

Using a recent News-Review article to support her argument, Ms. Carbetta next leveled accusations that the President exercises undue control over the press, dictating timing, content and viewpoint of our articles. Both Ms. Biers and I challenged this, and in particular I was called to defend my article of August 17th in which the President exercised her privilege to release limited details about the conference to the public. The reason for such privilege was — and remains — obvious: public safety. For the same reason the CAP circled Colonial One and shuttle service was suspended during this conference, it’s logical to refrain from publicizing the time and place of a gathering between executive, military and legislative leadership.

Ultimately Ms. Carbetta seemed, reluctantly, to accept that the relationship between government and the press is a complicated and delicate one…and one that is managed through diligent and ethical behavior on both sides.

Despite intriguing testimony from Jr. Lt. DeCuir and impassioned speech from Ms. Carbetta, discussion of the “martial law” question drew to a close with all at the table seeming to agree that evidence currently in existence does not support claims of a martial state.

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Photo: From left to right — JrLt. Kalah DeCuir, Representatives Carbetta and Pestana, and D’Anna Biers of the News-Review.

Case Orange and The Order of Succession
In the interest of accuracy on the critical question of who has the rightful claim to the Presidency, the News-Review offers this excerpt from our official transcript of the proceedings.

Capri Carbetta: The Articles of Colonization say that the successor to the Presidency is the highest ranking government official.

Angelica Nephilim: As a law student at the Academy I beg to differ. Case Orange is quite clear in this matter. During the attacks, the Celestra logs will show only one answer to Case Orange. No other reply was received, but given the condition of the Colonies, that may simply mean the transmission tower was destroyed after transmitting the Case Orange signal. Case Orange dictates the order of succession under conditions when an AUTOMATED implementation is needed — it is transmitted to ensure rapid succession in the case of just such a catastrophe as we have endured.

Zarta Vargas: All established protocols were followed on the day of the attack, as they are stated in Case Orange. There are persons here with us now who were present and who can attest to this.

D’Anna Biers: Forgive me, but did the 12 Representatives have a hand or say in the writing or approval of Case Orange?

Thus, for the first time in the conference, the question of the validity of Case Orange as a legitimate means of naming Presidential successors was raised for discussion: namely, do responses to an automated disaster signal trump the claims of democratically-elected legislators from the Quorum of Twelve, if and when they are discovered? Representative Pestana drove this portion of the discussion.

Pazzo Pestana: If I may…Before we leave the critical discussion regarding governance, I would like clarification of the role of the Quorum in succession, or the position in the sequence.

Angelica Nephilim: *Legally* it is a preservation of the branches of government.

Capri Carbetta: And again, a Military leader answers for the people!

Angelica Nephilim: As our *esteemed* representative of my home Colony [Caprica] has reminded us, she was elected by the people while Madam President was a member of the Cabinet. The Quorum is a legislative body — and the cabinet is the Executive branch.

Pazzo Pestana: And all Quorum members have equal standing?

Starbuckk Serapis: The answer to your question, Mr Pestana, is yes.

Pazzo Pestana: Thank you. Then, none of the Quorum members has a specific place in the succession?

D’Anna Biers: It seems the obvious resolution is to hold elections. And if we uphold the law as written, elections are due when the President’s first term of office [actually the completion of President Adar’s unfinished term] is over.

Reception to the idea of formal elections was strong, though Ms. Carbetta continued to assert her claim that the prophecy of Sari Choche made elections unnecessary, and that Ms. Vargas’ presidency should be reevaluated. We’ll look at the prophecy and related discussions in the next section.

((First, enjoy these close-ups captured at the conference.))

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Photo: Caprican Quorum of Twelve Representative Capri Carbetta, seated, flanked by Junior Lieutenant Kalah DeCuir of the Pacifica.

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Photo: Leonid Quorum of Twelve Representative Pazzo Pestana.

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Photo: President Vargas, seated, with assigned security officer Melandra Brown.

The Prophecy: Leadership Directive, or The Basis for Elections?

As was made apparent in Ms. Carbetta’s previous press releases, she hoped to convince others in attendance that the “prophecy” received and interpreted by a now-disappeared High Priestess (Sari Choche) provided sufficient justification for a change in presidential power. The prophecy is quoted here:

A leader will arise who is the namesake of the seat of Government to lead the people at the time of near extinction of Humanity.

Clearly, the “seat of Government” is a reference to Caprica, and Ms. Carbetta’s first name (Capri, a feminine derivation of the planet’s ancient name, Capricorn) would seem to lend credence to the “namesake” reference. Ground was certainly fertile for discussion of the prophecy, and all were focused on the critical task of deciding whether to accept the interpretation as presented, or to apply it as additional knowledge to our current situation (a stranded fleet, under siege in a time of war).

Ms. Carbetta presented a four-point plan to further her interpretation — sounding very much like a campaign stump speech — stating that as “leader of the planet of the seat of Government,” her life’s work has been “upholding the Articles of Colonization, establishing an economy, establishing a system of health care and building a suitable system of education for our children.” This reporter doesn’t doubt that she was responsible for good work on Caprica, but as was pointed out in the meeting, Representative on the Quorum of Twelve is a legislative position, not an executive position. If her reputation amongst Caprican survivors is any indication, she is a well-respected legislator — but as Commander Nephilim pointed out, President Vargas (as a member of President Adar’s Cabinet) has experience in the Executive branch of government.

With neither side willing to give much ground on the question of the prophecy’s validity, discussions turned by necessity to the way in which government would be structured for the remainder of the President’s current term, and beyond. There was no disagreement that a formal election process should be re-instituted. According to the Articles of Colonization, the next opportunity for formal elections will be in nine months, when the current Presidential term elapses.

With Economic Rebirth Underway, Rebuilding the Quorum is a Priority
Seemingly relinquishing her spirited bid for the presidency and pledging her support for President Vargas for the remainder of this term, Ms. Carbetta raised the critical question of a Vice Presidency. Who would stand beside President Vargas, prepared to step in as leader when/if required, and who would serve as an appropriate balance to her power in the meantime? Since the question of Presidency is, for the moment, off the table, the group turned to the Articles of Colonization to provide guidance for naming a Vice President. The Quorum of Twelve are responsible for voicing the will of their constituents in this process — and at the moment, only two members of the Quorum of Twelve have stepped forward.

Therefore, in keeping with the spirit of the Articles of Colonization and recognizing that our current situation prevents immediately following through on their mandates to the letter, President Vargas reached a worthy compromise with Representatives Carbetta and Pestana.

  1. We will first reestablish the Quorum of Twelve, in the nine months remaining before a formal Presidential election.
  2. Once a Quorum is reinstated, Vice Presidential candidates will also be nominated, whether or not President Vargas’ current term has elapsed.
  3. Once he or she is elected, the Vice President will serve alongside President Vargas for the remainder of the Adar term.
  4. Approximately nine months from now, with a full Quorum in place, a full Presidential election will occur on the schedule called for in the Articles.

Private Commercial Enterprise Returns to the Fleet
The re-emergence of commerce on 7th Heaven has been a tremendous step forward, as merchants from the Twelve Colonies are reestablishing their livelihoods for the good of the Fleet. As to how the Fleet’s economy will function, Captains Halberd and Serapis pointed out that the current system of bartering and exchange — bolstered by the limited amount of currency 7th Heaven carried prior to the attacks — is working reasonably well for the short-term. In the longer term, 7th Heaven and Colonial One plan to incorporate as a Fleet-wide commercial business entity, entirely separate from governmental or military control, to further encourage economic stability.

((As the Fleetwide economic plan continues to develop, watch the News-Review for updates.))

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Photo: From left to right — Security Officer Brown, President Vargas, Commander Nephilim and Vicky Christensen, Esq.

Carbetta and Pestana to Collaborate, Prepare for Quorum Elections
The surviving Quorum representatives have agreed to lead efforts to locate, nominate and present for consideration — through special Quorum elections — potential representatives from each of the ten unrepresented Colonies. Search efforts for survivors continue, which Commander Nephilim points out is a primary reason why the Fleet has remained within our own star system. These are welcome words of comfort and hope from leadership, and the News-Review looks forward to covering the re-assembly of the Quorum of Twelve.

Gracious concession from Carbetta
As the group’s thoughts turned away from petty differences and toward collaborative reconstruction, Ms. Carbetta made a statement to President Vargas which should formally put to rest this challenge of her current office. More importantly, she pledged cooperation in the future as we work to reestablish order and the rule of law:

“I concede that you have become the President. My right of free speech allowed me to say, however, that I did not think a scientist should be the President. I call for elections as soon as possible, and in the interim I pledge my support to President Vargas and will do all in my power to rebuild the quorum and to help the people.”

She concluded by openly requesting greater press coverage than she felt she’s received in recent weeks, and the News-Review has committed to a face-to-face interview (to be conducted by Ms. D’Anna Biers).

After a productive two-hour meeting, shuttle service was restored and the conference participants retired to 7th Heaven to socialize (pictured below).

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Photo: Temporarily dubbed “Colonial One” because of its VIP passengers, the Pacifica shuttle makes its way from Celestra, past Pacifica, en route to 7th Heaven.

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Photo: Clockwise from top — Capri Carbetta, Melandra Brown, Dean Steadham, Angelica Nephilim, Tanya Halberd, Starbuckk Serapis, Zarta Vargas.

Dean Steadham
The News-Review

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One Response to “Presidential conference held aboard Colonial One under tight security, Fleetwide scrutiny”

  1. Heidi Stiglitz said

    A little correction for the beginning of the article. JrLt Kalah DeCuir was brought in as a witness for the Caprican Quorum rep’s claims of martial law. At no time was JrLt DeCuir acting on behalf of the security detachment, nor was she at any time dialed in to the security wireless channel set up by Ms Brown.

    Working with Ms Brown aboard the Celestra were myself and Corporal Raydin Nishi of the Colonial Marines. The Viper CAP was provided by Lt Gaius Gisaku and JrLt Sazuki Yoshikawa. Logistical support for the Vipers was provided by the Pacifica’s CAG, Major Darsh Lucero.

    Captain Heidi Stiglitz
    27th Fighter Squadron
    Battlestar Pacifica

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