Gaius Baltar walked into the temporary office of the President on Cloud Nine
. Laura Roslin’s new advisor was at his heels, but he ignored her and smiled at Laura. Laura in turn took off her glasses and smiled at Gaius as well.
“He wouldn’t stop, Madame President,” Maya began, but Laura just nodded.
“It is all right, Maya. Gaius, what can I do for you today? I am afraid that my time is short, what with the meeting of the Quorum in just,” she made a show of checking her timepiece, “fifteen minutes.”
“That is Mister Vice-President, Madame President,” Gaius said as he took a seat. And he cocked his head to one side, waiting.
“Mister Vice-President,” Laura said soothingly. And then the humor went out of her voice. “What do you want?”
Gaius adjusted his coat and he leaned forward. “Madame President, I have been giving some rather serious thought to the wonderful news that Captain Greene and Lieutenant Jamussa brought us—the existence of other survivors. If I recall the briefing that Tory gave me on their statements, more than five thousand survivors, Madame President. And thank you again, she has proven a most wonderful chief of staff.”
Laura smiled. And according to her reports, she thought, you are cutting her out of everything—not quite so politically naïve as you want to appear, are you Gaius? “Yes, a wonderful thing indeed.” She cocked her head to one side and crossed her legs. “Did you come here to express your joy over this?”
“No, Madame President,” Gaius said as he removed his glasses. “Having given this matter some long and intense thought, I believe that we must reschedule the elections until after these survivors—more than eleven percent of our existing Fleet—have rejoined us.” He smiled.
“Reschedule the elections? Mister Vice-President, we do not know when these survivors will be rejoining us; clearly acting now is premature and shows . . . uncertainty in the government.”
“That could well be true, but if I understand the briefing that Captain Gaeta provided to myself and the other members of the Quorum, we are expecting Scorpia
and her other ships in a matter of weeks—their arrival should occur just before the scheduled election.” Gaius sighed. And then he nodded. “Clearly you will have two choices, Madame President, if the elections are not to be rescheduled and they arrive beforehand.”
“Oh, and what might those be, Gaius?” Laura asked sweetly.
“First, you can allow them to cast a ballot—but at such a late date, there will no great opportunity to instruct
them in the issues that are at hand. As such, their votes will be . . . uneducated
, Madame President. And quite likely will break along the lines of their own Colonies here in the Fleet,” he paused. “Of course, such a break will only happen once their fellow survivors make their own views on the election known—but then we do have a policy of allowing free communication between the various ships of the Fleet, do we not?”
“We do,” answered Laura.
“Yes, Madame President. We do. And given the demographic breakdown of the survivors in Scorpia
’s own Fleet . . . well, you are already losing the Tauron and Saggitaron vote. And if Prince Hamish,” Laura kept all expression from her face, but inside she winced—because no one
was supposed to know of that yet, “decides to support my candidacy and that of Tom Zarek for Vice-President, then the Virgons might well change sides. They are one of your strongest supporters, Madame President, and I would hate for you to lose the election on the basis of one man making an uninformed decision just days
before the ballots are cast.”
“And the second option?”
“Oh, you can simply declare that they have no
vote, Madame President. It would disenfranchise them in this election cycle, of course, but you might be able to cite some . . . residency
laws as grounds.”
He smiled again and put his glasses back on and he drew in a deep breath. “However, it is my considered opinion, Madame President, that neither of these options will be satisfactory to the Quorum—especially to the smaller populations that are about to get a great deal larger. That will, unfortunately, cut away at that nearly overwhelming majority of the Caprican and Picon bloc that are supporting you. Although I would imagine that your recent executive order, bypassing the Quorum completely I might add, on the matter of abortion rights will mean that the Gemenesse will be behind you
nearly one hundred percent. That order is another matter I plan to bring officially before the Quorum today.”
Laura kept her intense dislike of the man from her face as she continued to smile at him. “Mister Vice-President, rescheduling the elections would be breaking a promise I made to the Fleet. We will deal with Scorpia
’s fleet when they arrive. And if they arrive prior to the election, they will have a vote.”
Gaius stood and he nodded his head. “I do admire you taking such a stand, however, I will be bringing this matter to the attention of the Quorum in,” and Gaius checked his timepiece just as ostentatiously as Laura had, “eleven minutes. Until then, Madame President—I have an appointment to speak with the representatives from Leonis, Saggitaron, Scorpia, Tauron, and Virgon on this very matter before we convene the meeting."
He smiled again. “Do not be late, Madame President,” he smiled as he spoke those words to her. And then he left her office and Laura frowned. After Laura heard the outer office door close, she cursed. “Maya,” she called out. “I need to speak with Marshall Bagot and Perah Enyeto, RIGHT NOW!"