Dec 2
My experience with
The Council in Sector Three

The next day I return to the terminal after making an early lunch to make my way to the council chambers. Other than the restaurants and retailers, you probably wouldn’t notice how special the area is. It is kind of like the downtown of our sector. 
    The council chambers are in a glass box on top of a low building. This is to promote transparency. The building is a concave block in a matte metal of some sort that makes the room atop that much more apparent. It sits at the head of a forum that I am glad to report is full of people busy about their lunch or other business. Everyone in the area can see who is in council, and then if you want to know what is going on, there is a feed you can listen to which keeps a constant tab on what is being discussed not only in your local council, but landmark decisions in other sectors and the regional and galactic councils as well. That’s as close as we ever get to having a news source. 
    I enter through the front doors and find, as always, the building is quite empty. I have heard in other sectors that council buildings are usually full of attendees preparing for their sessions, discussing their ideas and researching methods of procedure. Our sector is much more cynical of government. We would prefer if the system were effective, but chose its cases sparingly. Each council meets almost continuously to discuss various issues in the sector. Any member of the sector can participate by signing in for a time. The council then has nearly complete control of the sector for the time it meets, but the tradition is one of gridlock and to doubt every action. In our council in fact from one to three o’clock each day has been unofficially nominated as fun time in which the council members enjoy each other’s company rather than actually passing laws or decrees.
    I arrive just on time to the meeting at 12:45. Everyone in the room looks as if they have been there for some time, though I suspect only a handful of them have the free time to be there more than a few hours a day. I am happy to see that both humans and Elites are represented on the board. Before I entered I heard talking and disputing, but now they all stare at me as if they know who I am and why I am here. Just as the clock strikes the beginning of my session, the council bursts back into action.
    “Motion to nominate Jess Fens chairman of the board for his session,” says one.
    “Seconded,” says another.
    The current chairman, an Elite, doesn’t even look annoyed at the prospect of being demoted. He immediately pulls out a tablet to tally the vote. 
    “For,” he says.
    Most of the board raises their hands, including the chairman. Then they all look at me.
    “You can vote for yourself, Jess,” they insist.
    I raise my hand and that seems to settle it for them. The chairman gets up from the head and offers it to me.
    “Can we get information on why I have not received an assistant computer technician?” I query hesitantly.
    Again the room erupts in conversation.
    “You’re the only human who can speak telepathically,” says the exchairman as he is interrupted by another.
    “You know that requests are fulfilled by the interested party,” says the other.
    Then another: “There simply isn’t another to be an assistant with you.”
    “You haven’t gone to one of General’s conferences in some time.”
    “You realize there isn’t even an Elite which can perform the task you perform,” the exchairman again.
    “Your fellow workers not only have been as busy as you, but are Superiors who hate engaging in the council’s activities, so naturally you are the only one to fulfill your own request for an assistant.”
    “We’ve found some interested in the position, but they simply cannot perform the task. And that’s coming from me, a fellow human.”
    “General certainly would help you increase productivity so that you don’t need an assistant. Motion to have Jess go to technician conferences.”
    I feel all flustered, understandably. I go to take the tally. They all raise their hands, but not out of spite. Although it feels that way to me. They legitimately think a conference with General will help me. The order is logged into the computer immediately and I am scheduled for appointments with General for the next month.
    “Very well, but I still would like for us to source an assistant as well during this time,” I request.
    “What you ask is done by having a human who has expressed interest undergo antimatter placement surgery,” responds the exchairman.
    “But the switch would be permanent. The interested person must really want the position.”
    “Or better yet, perhaps a future mate for Jess would be ideal because regardless of wanting the position for life, their bond would maintain the position for however long is needed to procure a replacement. Motion that the candidate be a female Jess’s age that expresses interest in the position.”
    “Seconded, on condition the position be shown as desirable but a lifelong commitment.”
    I don’t necessarily love the stipulations, but I take note that the motion is unanimous. Besides, my quarter hour is pretty much up. The motion is logged and a search for the candidate is run. The search will return with the most appropriate candidate in a few days it says, when she will undergo the surgery and be transferred to our sector if she is stationed in another. I nominate the exchairman as chairman again which is seconded and approved. I get up and return the seat, but just as I am about to leave the Elite insists I stay.
    “You should stay and talk, Jess. There is still an opening. We have much to discuss, but during this time we don’t expect any results. In fact, we prohibit any actual work from getting done. Stay at least another fifteen minutes, if that is all you can spare,” he insists. 
    I sit back down in the vacated seat and watch as all the members lean back casually in their chairs. Several discussions start at once as the woman next to me introduces herself.
    “Hello. My name is Beth. You’re quite young to be almost a master in your trade, aren’t you? You’re something of a prodigy, they say. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to see young people engage in the political process. Nothing shows how tyrannical your system is by how old you have to be to even begin engaging with the process. Your presence today is most welcome indeed, because it shows how tame and domestic our process is,” she says.
    Several of the members get lunch deliveries as they continue to converse. I didn’t know you could have lunch in here, otherwise I might have done the same. Then I hear my name called.
    “Jess? What say you?” the chairman asks.
    “About what?” I ask in reply.
    “How would you propose integration?” he asks.
    “Do you refer to Superior/Elite integration, human to alien integration, or all of the above?” I clarify.
    “I daresay you’re right, Jess. There must be different methods for each relationship. Well pick one and give us a go, there’s a good chap!” he says.
    “With a system like ours, the easiest route would be to legislate the integration, but that is not wise as people need to feel universal acceptance from deep inside themselves, not by force. But getting all involved in a particular process, such as this council, such actions very well give an example to others. And if the processes were made more efficient by their integration, the influence would be the greater,” I say, “Your biggest issue is not getting others to integrate, but allowing yourself to agree with all equally. Your biggest issue is convincing a Superior to participate in the council.”