Backlash

The lithe Olyver opened the door to the triumvirate’s office and walked through the doorway. He let the door slam shut in the silent room. The loud echoing boom caused Quinn and Caitlin to jump in their seats. They looked up at the dirty blood man as he strode to his desk.

“Good morning Olyver,” Caitlin murmured as the man took his seat at the desk of the third triumvir.

Olyver gave Caitlin a slight dip of his head, “Good morning, Caitlin. I hope you two are doing well.”

“What do you want?” Quinn asked as he shoved papers aside.

“To bring the two of you to task,” Olyver quipped.

Caitlin slammed her hands upon her desk as she shot to her feet. “We…”

A whistle echoed through the office as Quinn stared at Caitlin. She stopped talking as she returned to her seat. Quinn looked from Caitlin and stared at Olyver. “It was the agreement of the triumvirate that the conversations you’re talking about are best served by open discussion.”

“Of course,” Olyver agreed as he folded his hands upon his desk.

“And we looked for the first time such an open discussion could be held,” Quinn said as if he were speaking to a young child.

Olyver lifted a hand keeping Quinn from continuing. After a few moments, he lowered his hand and spoke with clarity. “Quinn, you and Caitlin, quite deftly outmaneuvered Malark. He was not suited to a life of politics.”

“We’re trying to lead our people back to the stars,” Caitlin said with a sigh. “We were not trying to outmaneuver your predecessor.”

Olyver eyed Caitlin and studied her briefly, “Your intentions don’t matter. What you’ve done is to keep us from moving forward, Caitlin. We need to start designing the ships if we are to reclaim the stars.”

“We know that Olyver,” Quinn answered.

“And before we can colonize another world, we need to have the laws in place,” Olyver said as if Quinn hadn’t interrupted him.

Caitlin let her eyes flit to Quinn, and she saw his slight nod. She took a deep breath in, “We know that as well, Olyver. But the scope of both the topics it was decided to shift them to an open discussion.”

“A delay tactic,” Olyver said with grace despite the nascent snarl. “One that the people are starting to see through.”

“And what would you suggest, Olyver?” Quinn asked as he lifted a pen from his desk.

“That the three of us have the discussion you promised my predecessor and our people. But I want more than a discussion. I want to come up with the list of requirements for the new ships, so our engineers can start designing them. And I want a draft for the laws for the new federation.”

“That’s too…”

Was all Caitlin managed to say before Olyver lifted his hand, silencing her. “Do not try and play word games with me, my dear Caitlin. You’ll find the experience less than pleasant.”

“Olyver Gresser, you are a triumvir, not a thug,” Quinn said as he slowly drew himself up to his feet. And through a snarl of his own Quinn managed to speak with warmth and authority, “Remember that.”

Olyver smiled and tipped his head to Quinn. “I apologize for the apparent crassness in my words.”

“Apparent?” Caitlin asked as Quinn rounded his desk. “They defined crass, Olyver.”

With another inclination of his head, Olyver expanded upon his choice of words. “I only meant that the people, if they knew of your intentional delay, would want to remove you from your position.”

Olyver looked around the room and lingered on all the objects that lined the walls. There were simple images, but also, there were things of priceless beauty. “I mean you two seem to have grown accustomed to a certain level of… comfort.”

Quinn paced over to Olyver’s desk with stiff legs as he whispered, “The trappings here were brought by Malark. He cared for the material trappings that any governing body can appropriate.”

“Yet they’re still here?” Olyver asked as he leaned into his chair.

Quinn leaned in so close that Olyver began to squirm. But Quinn reached out and with his calloused hands stilled the newest triumvir. “Caitlin and I have done more to stabilize our world than anyone else. The trappings you mentioned are being picked up and redistributed in three days.”

Olyver tried to squirm free from Quinn’s grip, but the iron like fingers refused to budge. Quinn leaned down and spoke so only Olyver could hear him. “And if you ever threaten one of us again, no matter how indirectly you will not live long enough to regret it. Understood?”

The trapped triumvir nodded, and Quinn released his grasp. Walking back to his desk he said, “With all that posturing done, I will agree that the three of us can come up with the requirements of the ship and hand that over to the engineers. But the draft you want will have to wait till the open discussion.”

Olyver reached up and adjusted his tie before he voiced his objection. “We can bring a draft to the open discussion.”

Caitlin shook her head firmly, “No, we cannot, Olyver. The draft must be something crafted by everyone.”

“No, Caitlin,” Quinn said as he sat on the edge of his desk. “After the open discussion, we will craft the draft. Those laws will be nothing more than a compromise, so no one will be happy in the end.”

“Then, why wait?” Olyver demanded his voice burning with white-hot rage.

“Because it presents us with the illusion and reality of us hearing everyone’s voice,” Quinn replied as he stood and returned to his chair.

“The illusion?” Olyver asked as the fire of his rage dwindled.

“Government is the illusion, we just need to present the right illusion,” Olyver said as he resumed working on his papers.