Voyage From Yesteryear

“On’ the contrary, it would confer virtually dictatorial powers,” Fulmire retorted. “There can be no validity in a legality established by ~legal means.”

“But you’ve aleady confirmed that the question of illegality does not arise,” Kalens pointed out. “The emergency clauses apply until the elections have been held.”

“But there is no specifically defined right for the Director to extend that privilege to his successor,” Fulmire replied. “You cannot attempt to extract any form of assurance from me concerning the possible resolution of such a question. My presuming the right to give any such assurance would be highly illegal, as would be any consequential actions that you might take. I repeat, I have no more to say.”

“Then invoke the security provisions,” Borftein said, shifting in his chair from weariness with the whole business. “It’s a security matter, isn’t it? The Chironians have left it to us by default, and it’s their security at stake as well as ours. The Pagoda’s only two years away. Somebody’s got to take the helm in all this.”

Fulmire gestured over the books and documents spread across his desk. “The security provisions provide for Congress to vote exceptional powers to the Directorate in the event of demonstrable security demands, and for the Directorate to delegate extraordinary duties to the chief executive once they are voted that power. They do not provide for the chief executive to assume such duties for himself, and therefore neither can he do so for his successor.”

A short silence fell, and the deadlock persisted. Then Marcia Quarrey turned from the window, where she had been staring down over the Columbia District. “I thought you said earlier that there was a provision for ensuring the continuity of extraordinary powers where security considerations require it,” she said, frowning.

“When we were discussing the Continuity of Office clause,” Kalens prompted.

Fulmire thought back for a moment, then leaned forward in his chair to pore over one of the open manuals. “That was under ‘Emergency Situations,’ not ‘Security,'” he said after a few moments, without looking up. “Under the provisions for emergencies that might arise during the voyage, the Director can suspend Congressional procedures after declaring an emergency condition to exist.”

“Yes, we know that,” Quarrey agreed. “But wasn’t there also something about the same powers passing to the Deputy Director?”

Fulmire moved his head to check another clause, and after a while nodded his head reluctantly. “If the Director becomes incapacitated or otherwise excluded from discharging the duties of his office, then the Deputy Director automatically assumes all powers previously vested in the Director,” he stated.

Kalens raised his head sharply. “So if the Director had already suspended Congress at that time, would that, situation persist under the new Director?” He thought for a moment, then added, “I would assume it must, Surely. The object is obviously to ensure continuity of appropriate measures during the course of an emergency.”

Fulmire looked uneasy but in the end was forced to nod his agreement. “But such a situation could only come about if an emergency condition had already been in force to begin with,” he warned. “It could not be applied in any way to the present circumstances.”

“You don’t think that a ship full of Asiatics coming at us armed to the teeth qualifies as an emergency?” Borftein asked sarcastically.

“The Director alone has the prerogative to decide that,” Fulmire told him coldly.

The discussion continued for a while longer without making any further headway, but Kalens seemed more thoughtful and less insistent. Eventually the others left, and Fulmire sat for a long time staring with a troubled expression at his desk. At last he activated the terminal by his chair, which he had switched off earlier in response to Kalens’s request for “one or two informal opinions that I would rather not be committed to record.”

“Which service?” the terminal inquired. “Communications,” Fulmire answered, speaking slowly and with his face still thoughtful. “Find Paul Lechat for me and put him through if he’s free, would you. And route this via a secured channel.”


“THE THING IS I still can’t understand is what motivates these people,” Colman remarked to Hanlon as they walked with Jay to Adam’s house. “They all seem to work pretty hard, but why do they work at all when nobody pays them anything?”

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Categories: Hogan, James