A World Ruled by Upstart Peasants Who Venerated the False Idol of Free Will (February 2021)

by Brenna Harvey

Regular Meeting Minutes of the Independent Planetary Council of Nossalar

Cycle 3, Month of Pollen, Standard Year 3162

Hall of All Voices, 2199 O Futuro Avenue, Curazona Province, Nossalar

1. Call Meeting to Order.

People’s Minister Teresinha Da Cisco called the meeting to order at 26:03:07.

2.Roll Call

Members present:

  • People’s Minister Teresinha Da Cisco

  • Proxy Minister Paspar Lo’Dinis

  • Senador Eva Tiago 

  • Senador Tiffani Da Roque 

  • Senador Fetch Aloise

  • Senador Min Xia-Nine (attending via hologram)

Others officials present:

  • Legionnaire Primis Michaelman Titanor, diplomatic representative of the Galactic Imperium of Semina Terrae

3. Reports on Infrastructure Proposals:

A. New aqueduct construction in the municipality of Guialma Próxima, Sobolago Province.

Senador Da Roque attempted to present an overview of findings from a preliminary environmental impact report on the proposed aqueduct project. Before the Senador could load her slideshow, the presentation was interrupted by Legionnaire Primis Michaelman Titanor, who rose from his seat to proclaim that the proceedings were “a flagrant insult to the might and glory of the Galactic Imperium.” 

Legionnaire Titanor asserted that the crash landing of his Imperial Star Chariot was clearly pre-ordained by “the God-King Exorak, Undying Imperator of Semina Terrae.” Legionnaire Titanor declared that it was his destiny to reclaim this “lost, wayward colony and all its riches in Exorak’s name,” and that all who opposed him would be "swept aside in a scalding river of blood and offal, spewing forth from Exorak’s righteous butchery of the traitorous masses.”

People’s Minister Da Cisco asked Legionnaire Titanor to please wait to express his concerns until the Council initiated the new business portion of its Regular Meeting. Legionnaire Titanor demanded to face the People’s Minister in nude hand-to-hand combat, with the winner declared “the living avatar of the God-King Exorak and the mouthpiece of his cosmic will.“ The People’s Minister declined.

Legionnaire Titanor contended that the People’s Minister offered her people “a rancid feast of lies,“ and that “the glistening meat of freedom was but a fetid carcass where the maggots of chaos gestated.” People’s Minister Da Cisco asked Legionnaire Titanor to please refrain from mentioning gestating maggots so close to the Council lunch break and to please put his clothes back on. Legionnaire Titanor then performed a lewd act with the Nossalaran Unity Flag. 

People’s Minister Da Cisco said that if Legionnaire Titanor did not sit down, Council security would be forced to pacify him with electronic stun batons. Legionnaire Titanor dared the People’s Minister “to mar my flesh, I whose very limbs and sinew are an immaculate blade wielded by the God-King Exorak.” Legionnaire Titanor was then pacified by a member of Council security personnel with an electronic stun baton. 

Senador Da Roque said her slideshow was fully loaded and asked if she should continue with her report. People’s Minister Da Cisco said: “I have never been so excited to watch an informational slideshow in my entire life!” Senador Da Roque said: “Well, then you better prepare yourself for some pretty mind-blowing computational groundwater flow model diagrams…” Senador Tiago said: “Jesus, Tiffani, can we please get on with it already before I lose my mind?” Senador Da Roque said: “Of course, Eva, just trying to break the tension.” 

Senador Da Roque explained that the proposed aqueduct project, which would tap the Guanabara Aquifer as a supplemental water supply for nearby human habitation, was declared nonviable. The Sobolago Department of Environmental Engineering determined that the aquifer experiences insufficient recharge from Mount Guanabara meltwater to provide a sustainable source of potable water. 

Senador Tiago asked if an additional investigation could be undertaken to assess the feasibility of utilizing the aquifer strictly as an emergency water supply in case of severe drought. Senador Da Roque replied that such a measure would be prohibited according to Section 23B of the Nossalar Ordinance Determining Ecological Viability of Human Resource Extraction.

Before Senador Da Roque could load the ordinance in full, Legionnaire Titanor announced that he had returned to consciousness and that “no mortal instrument wielded by a feeble provincial infidel could fell a champion of the God-King Exorak.” Legionnaire Titanor then leaped over the barrier dividing visitor seating from the main Council floor and forcibly headbutted Senador Da Roque, rendering her unconscious. Legionnaire Titanor then briefly attempted to strangle Senador Xia-Nine, not realizing she was in attendance via hologram, before being pacified by multiple members of Council security personnel with electronic stun batons.

Emergency Motion By: People’s Minister Da Cisco

Seconded By: Senador Xia-Nine 

Text: BE IT RESOLVED, that the Independent Planetary Council of Nossalar hereby requests that Legionnaire Titanor, in addition to remaining under the supervision of his assigned guards, be placed in physical restraints and a vocal suppression muzzle until his allotted portion of the Council meeting. 

Discussion: Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis suggested that physically restraining Legionnaire Titanor was tantamount to unlawful punishment and torture. Senador Tiago countered that Legionnaire Titanor was a clear threat to the present company, and suggested that the Council should “return Titanor to his precious God-King via an interplanetary nuclear missile.” 

Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis said the Council could not allow the threat posed by the Galactic Imperium to let them abandon the values of peaceful democratic consensus on which Nossalar was founded. Senador Tiago responded that if Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis loved the Imperium so much, perhaps “you should get on the floor and clean Legionnaire Titanor’s boots with his tongue!” Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis said: “Only fools mistake pacifism for cowardice.” Senador Tiago said that she hoped the Proxy Minister’s moral principles would comfort him while the Imperium “harvested his organs for fascist protein snacks...” 

People’s Minister Da Cisco interrupted to call for an immediate vote on the emergency motion.

Result: Motion passes {4-1-1} with Senador Da Roque abstaining due to head injury.

Legionnaire Titanor was placed in an electromagnetic wrist and ankle cuffs and a vocal suppression muzzle. 

Further discussion of proposed infrastructure projects was tabled until Senador Da Roque is cleared by a physician for participation in Council matters. Senador Aloise asked if the Council should consider postponing the remainder of its Regular Meeting. Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis said: “I will be damned if I let the looming threat of conquest by the Galactic Imperium prevent me from the fulfillment of my duty to the people of Nossalar!” Senador Tiago interjected: “Such a drama queen…” Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis said: “What was that Eva?” Senador Tiago said: “I agree, can we please move on?”

4. Public Comment

A. Baramos Vix-Tupi, member of the Zintese Sovereign Hunter-Gatherer Commune of the Northern Unincorporated Territories. 

Mx. Vix-Tupi appeared before the Council to argue for the additional representation of the Federation of Sovereign Communes on the Nossalaran Commission of Public Parks and Planetary Conservation. Mx. Vix-Tupi asserted that a Commune representative should be present for the Commission to have a quorum, given the outsize effects of Commission decisions on Commune life.

Motion By: Senador Xia-Nine

Seconded By: Senador Aloise

Text: BE IT RESOLVED, that the Independent Planetary Council of Nossalar hereby schedules a public roundtable discussion on the matter of reserving seats on the Commission of Public Parks and Planetary Conservation for Sovereign Commune representatives. The roundtable will take place during the next Commission meeting, after which a public referendum on the matter will be scheduled.

Discussion: Senador Tiago asked how the interested Commune members would remotely participate in the public roundtable, given that Nossalar’s Unincorporated Territories are a Reduced Electromagnetic Interference Zone, where the use of wireless communication devices is heavily restricted. Mx. Vix-Tupi replied: “Senador Tiago might be surprised to learn that electronic communication can still take place through wires and that Commune members know what computers are.” Senador Tiago said: “My apologies, truly, no offense was intended!” Mx. Vix-Tupi said: “Calm down, Senador, these are ceremonial arrows, I’m not going to shoot you!” 

Result: Motion passes unanimously {5-0-1} 

4. Public Comment (continued)

B. Keija Althar, a fourth-year student at Guajajara Primary School in the municipality of Camphero, Secabacia Province.

Ms. Althar appeared before the Council via hologram to propose the creation of a Nossalaran Youth Poetry Award. Ms. Althar explained that the planet’s annual Coralina Award for Poetic Achievement gets lots of people excited about poetry, but that many children don’t think poems are important. Ms. Althar said she believed that a Youth Poetry Award would encourage children to try writing poems. She explained that poetry was important because it helped people feel better when bad things happened, like when her mother died in a transport shuttle accident earlier this year. Ms. Althar concluded by reading her poem, “I Get Up Even When the Rain Falls Down.”

Motion By: People’s Minister Da Cisco

Seconded By: Full Council

Text: BE IT RESOLVED, that the Independent Planetary Council of Nossalar hereby endorses the creation of a Nossalaran Youth Poetry Award, and will forward Ms. Althar’s proposal to the Nossalaran Planetary Commission for the Arts for an immediate budgetary roundtable. 

Discussion: Senador Aloise said: “Ms. Althar’s poem was very good, and she should be very proud!” The Senador then ceded the floor. Senador Tiago asked Senador Aloise if he was crying, and Senador Aloise replied: “No, I have allergies.”

Result: Motion passes unanimously {5-0-1} 

4. Public Comment (continued)

C. Eduard Posco, resident of the municipality of Sulopolis, Sobolago Province.

Mr. Posco came before the Council to assert that the newly constructed arena concert hall in Sulopolis violates the municipality’s noise ordinances. Senador Tiago said that extensive acoustic impact reports were performed before construction of the Luthis Center was approved. Mr. Posco said that he didn’t care what the reports said, he could definitely hear noise from the venue in his residence and that he hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in months. 

Motion By: People’s Minister Da Cisco

Seconded By: Senador Aloise

Text: BE IT RESOLVED, that the Independent Planetary Council of Nossalar hereby requests a follow-up acoustic impact report on the Luthis Center for the Performing Arts. 

Discussion: Senador Tiago said that minimizing light and noise pollution from the venue was of paramount concern during construction due to the many migratory bird species that pass through Sulopolis. Scientists also uniformly agreed that the Luthis Center would not affect the local environment. Mr. Posco asked if Senador Tiago was “calling me a liar.” Senador Tiago replied: “No, I am merely presenting empirical data about the matter at hand.” Mr. Posco said that he remembered a time “when the Planetary Council helped people instead of hurting them.” Senador Tiago said: “Yes indeed. I only volunteer my time on the Council for the express purpose of keeping Mr. Posco sleep-deprived…” 

People’s Minister Da Cisco interrupted to call for a final vote on the motion. 

Result: Motion fails {2-3-1} 

Mr. Posco said he had additional concerns about the noise caused by a dog park several blocks from his residence. Proxy Minister Lo’Danis said Mr. Posco’s allotted time had expired, and that his second noise complaint would have to wait for the conclusion of new business. Mr. Posco said that Council members refusing to address the concerns of constituents was “the height of tyranny.” Proxy Minister Lo’Danis thanked Mr. Posco for his stewardship of democracy.

5. New Business

A. Discussion Item: Proposed restoration of political ties with the Galactic Imperium of Semina Terrae.

After being resuscitated and unmuzzled by Council security personnel, Legionnaire Primis Michaelman Titanor, diplomatic representative of the Galactic Imperium of Semina Terrae, came before the Council to declare the proceedings of the Regular Meeting “illegal and heretical.” Legionnaire Titanor said that Nossalar, whose true name was Utero Bellator IV, was a dominion of the Galactic Imperium, and therefore “subject to the rule of the God-King Exorak.” 

People’s Minister Da Cisco affirmed that Nossalar was originally a penal colony established under the authority of the Galactic Imperium. However, the portal system connecting the colony to the Imperium’s transit network went dark in Standard Year 2917. Cut off from Imperial communication and directives, Nossalar was forced to operate as a sovereign planet and had enjoyed two centuries of peaceful self-rule. The People’s Minister explained that whether or not Nossalar would rejoin the Imperium would be determined by the Nossalaran people in a free and open referendum. 

Legionnaire Titanor spat on the floor and called the people of Nossalar “faithless apostates.” He said that “the seditious false prophets” of Utero Bellator IV had sabotaged the transport portal, intentionally isolating the planet’s people in order to build a world ruled by “upstart peasants who venerated the false idol of free will.“ 

Senador Xia-Nine said that Legionnaire Titanor wasn’t entirely wrong on this point. People’s Minister Da Cisco asked the Senador to refrain from antagonizing the prisoner. Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis replied: “Legionnaire Titanor is not a prisoner, but a foreign dignitary being held in special circumstances for his own safety.” Senador Tiago said: “Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to...”

Legionnaire Titanor then headbutted a nearby guard, stripped him of his stun baton, and pacified him. The Legionnaire then smashed the baton against his skull, exposing its inner electrical system. He asserted that the weapon now carried “the deadly force of the God-King Exorak’s wrath”, and threatened to execute the unconscious guard unless his cuffs were removed and he was allowed to return to his Imperial Star Chariot. 

People’s Minister Da Cisco rose from the Council bench and approached Legionnaire Titanor. She explained that the question of reestablishing the planet’s membership in the Galactic Imperium could not be decided without the input of the people of Nossalar. Imperium representatives would be given a chance to make their case to the public, and, if the people believed that their needs would be better served by Imperial governance, then the Council would support that decision. 

Legionnaire Titanor said that the will of the masses was nothing but “the mewling of degenerate children.” Legionnaire Titanor then leapt at the People’s Minister with his makeshift weapon, whereupon Mx. Vix-Tupi fired an arrow through the Legionnaire’s neck. 

Legionnaire Titanor collapsed to the ground and was promptly pacified and remanded to the custody of Council medical personnel. Ms. Althar said: “That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis asked: “Who left her hologram on?” 

Senador Tiago asked if the Council seriously intended to entertain the idea of rejoining the Imperium. People’s Minster Da Cisco said that refusal to rejoin would doubtless be followed by interplanetary war, and that the citizens of Nossalar might prefer to submit to Imperial rule rather than risk genocide. 

Senador Tiago said: “Teresinha, you can’t possibly mean to give the people the opportunity to vote themselves into authoritarian subjugation!” People’s Minister Da Cisco said: “I have to. We have to. To do otherwise is to embroil our population in a war not of their choosing.”

5. New Business (continued)

B. Discussion Item: Secondary noise complaint of Eduard Posco, resident of the municipality of Sulopolis, Sobolago Province.

Mr. Posco asked if he was now allowed to voice his dog park noise complaint. Senador Xia-Nine suggested that Mx. Vix-Tupi answer with their ceremonial arrows and Mr. Posco forfeited the floor.

Council members retired to their private chambers for supplemental deliberations on unfinished business.

6. Unfinished Business

1. Discussion Item: Proposed restoration of political ties with the Galactic Imperium of Semina Terrae.

Senador Tiago said that the Galactic Imperium had happily ignored this lost little colony for over two hundred years and that Imperial forces would likely only consider reannexation if Legionnaire Titanor returned to make his report about Nossalar’s ongoing survival and self-governance. Senador Tiago said: “That doesn’t have to happen…”

The People’s Minister said: “What are you implying, Eva?” Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis said: “We all know what she’s implying, and we’re not even going to consider it! Extra-judicial murder and imprisonment are themselves the hallmark of authoritarian rule, and the moment we employ them, we lose all legitimacy as representatives of the people’s will.” 

Senador Xia-Nine said she agreed with Senador Tiago, that not every threat to democracy can be voted away, and that sometimes the law stands in the way of “a deeper, truer justice.” Senador Aloise said he agreed with Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis, that “some ideals need to be preserved at all costs.” Senador Tiago said: “Then we’re in agreement, our ideals need to be preserved at all costs?” 

Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis said: “Well, Teresinha, it looks like you’re going to be the tie-breaking vote here.” People’s Minister Da Cisco did not answer. Proxy Minister Lo’Dinis suggested that perhaps this matter fell outside the purview of the Council’s Regular Meeting. People’s Minister Da Cisco agreed.

7. Adjournment

At 29:71:12, People’s Minister Da Cisco made a motion to adjourn the Regular Meeting. The motion was seconded by the full Council and approved unanimously.

Text copyright © 2020 by Brenna Harvey. Illustration by Pixabay, used under license.

About the Author: Brenna Harvey is a writer and comedian from Hartford, Connecticut. She is a graduate of the 2019 Odyssey Fiction Writing Workshop, and her short fiction has been featured in OMGQueer, Night Frights, and Queer Sci Fi's annual flash fiction anthology. Her story, "A World Ruled by Upstart Peasants Who Venerated the False Idol of Free Will," was inspired by her efforts to be more involved in local politics. Follow her on Twitter at @UnkissedBot.