Galactic Senate, Theed, Naboo
Open to all Galactic Senators and Representatives
Max was never usually one to call these sessions, even though he very well could do as the Jedi Order's political representative to the Galactic Senate. Usually he didn't have to, even about matters that really mattered, because others would do that before he could. But on this occasion the people who would normally bring these issues to a session (Emryc Thorne or Caliban Drast and strangely no one else) were bringing it to sessions of their own, local, governments instead. Now Max wasn't against local governments having their say but the wider Galaxy needed to be mobilizing in the same direction.
In the senate building of Theed, the senate did not have the fancy senate pods that the Coruscant senate building had, instead substituting in a series of wooden seats. To the people of Naboo, democracy was almost akin to a sacred duty and no one should be sitting comfortably, high above others, when they were discussing matters pertaining to the maintenance of that democracy.
When the senate members and representatives had filed in, a neutral Naboo party stood in front of the assembly.
"This session of the Galactic Senate is now OPEN. It is, as with all main sessions, being broadcast live." the man thundered with the aid of a microphone, "The senate will now hear from Jedi Order Representative Maxims Tionson, who has called this session. Representative Tionson? You have the floor."
Standing from his seat off on the left side of the room, Max turned his body to properly address the senators and representatives. He had some notes but he'd left them on the desk beside his chair. The section of the senate set aside for the Jedi was mostly bare as only he was currently in the position of representative of the Jedi Order.
"Thank you." he started off briefly with a smile that dimmed quickly, "Senators, Representatives, the Galactic Senate is made up of four bodies, as we all well know. The hope was that as one body, united in common cause, we could achieve more than we could on our own. Never before has the Galaxy, as a whole, faced such a threat as it faces today. Civil wars, death stars and starkillers may come and go but the Galaxy has stood and weathered them all through unity and it's people - but today it faces AMS, which weaponizes those same people."
He gestured to Emryc and Caliban.
"My esteemed colleagues from the ISC and the New Republic have already held sessions regarding their response to these issues on a local level with their borders. Their commitment to ensuring the safety of their people CANNOT be overstated, it must be applauded. That the Galactic Senate itself trails behind them on this issue is a grave oversight that must be corrected here and now." he argued passionately, nodding to the room at large, "Senators and Representatives of the Galactic Senate - we must make our resolutions to tackle this threat now as a united front to better save the people of all our worlds."
He turned to the officials in charge of taking official notes of the session.
"The Jedi Order wishes to propose a joint law enforcement and medical task force of Jedi, Sector Rangers, volunteer citizens and employed defense forces with clear aims. To contain AMS outbreaks wherever they are found, to evacuate and protect the uninfected and to spearhead the search for a cure."
The first official nodded.
"The Representative of the Jedi Order has raised a motion. All may now openly debate and vote on said motion."
Emryc had barely come out of the ISC session when an emergency session was called in the Galactic Senate. It was set a week following the meeting, and he would have to arrange for travel at once. He figured he could tack on a visit to the Queen- Emilia, that is, while he was at it.
He found himself seated on an uncomfortable wooden chair along with others assembled. He did find it amusing that it was the Jedi, of all people, that called this meeting. FWA, as usual, was lagging behind on the uptake. The half Sephi looked as polished as ever- suit, tie, styled hair and chrono all meticulously assembled.
The half Sephi listened as Max spoke, his steely gaze as calculating as ever. His chin rested on his curled fingers as he quietly listened. His posture was relaxed and comfortable, but it was clear he was hanging onto every word. Regardless of his opinions on matters, anyone that had the floor would know Emryc gave them his undivided attention.
When the proposal was pitched and the floor was open again, Emryc didn’t waste much time before delving in.
“Jedi Master Tionson,” He began, “First I must commend you for gathering us all here. It is clear that you have the welfare of the galaxy at the forefront of your mind. As this is an issue very near and dear to us all, I trust we will find a resolution at once."
Emryc straightened up slightly in his seat as he looked at the Jedi and then at the rest gathered, “However, I must respectfully question the effectiveness of the Rangers outside of their jurisdiction. The worlds hit hardest with AMS are in the Outer Rim. They are worlds within ISC borders. There is no convenient defense force to lean on for many of those worlds, nor can they support a model that’s cookie cutter to fit the rich, industrial worlds within New Republic and FWA territory.”
He paused briefly before continuing,“What I would request is to allow the ISC, in the absence of having an organization like the Rangers, to form a military force to take firmer action and defense against the infected. As you may have seen from our sessions, we already have considered the research factors and have passed bills on funding it. Where we lack is an active defensive force to combat against AMS.”
York would rise, wanting to seize on the momentum created by Thorne. He would skip the whole "bygones being bygones bit." He didn't want to remind the public about all that. New chapters were being written, he hoped, and he aimed to be seen as one of the protagonists. Perception was reality, no matter how dirty he was behind the scenes. He would, however, find a few senators that gave him a hard time in the FWA and offer a small smirk or a wink. But now was the time for image building.
"The ISC believes in a multi-pronged approach. In addition to needing the resources to combat the infected as outlined by President Thorne, we understand that it is not ideal. We would much prefer to heal those who are infected early enough that termination is not necessary. Even better, if we could create a vaccine against this dreaded virus, we could prevent infection altogether."
York looked around the room and would try, for the purposes of optics, to make eye contact with members of all factions, including the Jedi Master that called the meeting to order. "We all know that research for a cure, a vaccine, or some combination of the two is the only way we can end this terrible pandemic. If not, we will be forced to continue to kill the poor souls who are unfortunate enough to contract this awful virus forever. One thing that I know we all believe in our hearts is that if we work together, we can create these cures and vaccines sooner. If we are to work together, the scientists need to be together."
He hung on to that for a moment to see if they understood where he was going. "What we need is a medical central research hub where the top researchers from their fields from all parties represented in this body come together, work together, and together, as a galaxy, as a unified galaxy, defeat this horrible plague. I suggest that research facility be in Thyferra, and I suggest that for multiple reasons. First, no planet in this galaxy can boast the great medical research history as Thyferra. Second, despite the great economic resources given to core worlds such as Coruscant and Corellia, the bureaucracy of such a planet with construction rules, building regulations, union contracts...all of which are not necessarily bad, but from someone who builds buildings for a living, I know that all of these things slow down construction projects. With this disease, we can't afford to take our time."
York would certainly look sympathetic enough. "We should immediately begin construction on the greatest, most state of the art medical research facility in the galaxy in Thyferra. We can stagger construction crew shifts so we can work on its construction around the clock. We can build it, staff it, and be working in galactic unity on a cure before the end of the month. We all continue to work independently on a cure until that time, but when we can come together, work together, we can and will beat this disease together."
He opened his arms to the group to indicate the entirety of those present. "Differences, rivalries, hard feelings...we can and must put them aside. And if we do...no, when we do...The relationship between the ISC, FWA, the New Republic and the Jedi will no longer be a relationship. It will be a bond. It will be the moment that our galaxy looks back on for millenia to come that yes, we can come together and accomplish anything when the chips are down. We can't afford to let this moment pass us by."
York nodded to the one presiding over these discussions, and sat back in his chair.
Sessions back on Coruscant for the New Republic had just ended hardly a week ahead of time and already a Galactic Senate was being called on essentially the other end of the Galaxy. There was much to do with their own response now and it was hardly worth the flight to Naboo to make it in person. Holo technology could reach to such a place securely enough for something that was public in nature either way. It was fitting that the Jedi would have such poor timing for a call once others started actually doing work. The Byss Senator tried not to read too much into it as he settled into his office at home to connect into the meeting.
It seemed all was well and the connection was stable as Vyss watched the Jedi introduce his proposal for the Senate. There was little need to disagree with such a thing and working together would only mean more success. Despite a rocky history at times, the Jedi were always well tied into the Republic and historically could be counted on to think along similar lines. Vyss was glad to see this was one such occasion. Things went downhill of course once the ISC began to respond with their own agendas tied to it. Outwardly, the Abyssin kept his calm demeanor and smile despite these feelings. He simply pressed a button to chime the room so that he would be acknowledged as the next to speak.
"There is hardly a need for more military in the galaxy. Simply helping the taskforce will mean they come to your worlds as well. A lack of sector rangers does not mean the group will ignore your worlds. That is the entire purpose of the proposal. Mutual assets and protection. If the ISC lacks in one area, the other groups make up for it. And vice versa. Send us scientists and we send you Jedi, rangers, and others. I hardly agree that it is a good plan for us to endorse the formation of military bodies right now." Came the reply once the two had finished their replies. His eye focused on Emryc as he spoke, not giving a look of malice but more neutral as he gave his case.
A glance flashed towards Senator York and it was hard not to feel a bit of contempt at the man who played games to get where he was today. Guilty or not guilty, the man had burned his bridges despite acting more friendly now. Vyss did not glare so much as give a bit of a suspicious glance for that brief moment before addressing a more central part of the room. "The vision to build a place to work together is great. I encourage us to have facilities we can pool resources into and find a cure. That said... in the time it takes to plan, build, and coordinate this new spot we could be working. A new structure is time and resources that can be better placed."
A command or two was quickly typed on the datapad in front of Vyss at his desk. This changed his projected image to that of a map with a few highlighted locations.
"You can see here that the New Republic already has state of the art facilities constructed, staffed, and ready for collaboration. Arkania, Khomm, and Coruscant all have labs superior to what can be built in a single month without huge expenditures." The image zooms in on Arkania itself, covered in snow but further zooming in to a domed city with a large research hospital. "Use our joint resources that exist. Use that rich core you love to mention to its advantage. Those unions and regulations are what keep people free. And will also not be a bother with a facility and staff that already exists or will be brought in with government waivers."
The map fades away and is replaced once more with an image of the Abyssin Senator. He smiles to those assembled and adds on, "Quick action is key to making sure those suffering in the galaxy are helped. Let us use each other's resources instead of trying to create new ones. That is the purpose of this body, is it not?"
Emryc’s attention turned towards the Senator of Byss when he spoke, once again pushing back against any ideas present. It was becoming an entertaining game at this point. The half Sephi watched him until he finished before finally leaning forward to address the floor.
“This isn’t the first push towards military as the Rangers within your very own borders haveapproached you about the same,” He said flatly. That had occurred even before the Galactic Senate was formed, and the meeting had been on Coruscant. The Core world senators being suspiciously absent didn’t mean it wasn’t escalated to them.
“The crux of the issue is that this is an unprecedented problem. Your resources will be stretched thin attempting to cover down on your worlds where the population density is significant,” He explained, “Rangers are already struggling within their present jurisdiction and setting them up in Rim worlds where they are not welcome and outright despised is asking for more barriers to the problem up front.”
Emryc glanced over everyone gathered, “ISC has made it very clear that the planets within it do not trust in Force users. Jedi presence on our planets would simply aggravate the Sith and invite retaliation, something we have seen happen time and time again in the Core worlds. I do not, nor should I, have the authority to force planets to accept Jedi help. As a result, such help would be stopped before it even enters the airspace. The entire basis of this government is to be able to stand up solutions that are different from the models that have worked for the richer Core worlds. You can’t simply lift one and place it on the other expecting it to fit.”
His tone wasn’t condescending in any way, but it was firm, “While I can agree that perhaps the construction of a new facility may not be necessary, I would like to echo Governor York’s sentiments that Thyferra is the perfect setting for the headquarters. Why? Thyferra has served as the industry leader in distributing bacta throughout the rest of the galaxy. There are supply chain logistics and processes in place for thousands of years to quickly ship medical products to the greater galaxy. Why waste time in setting up new logistics with those Core worlds, when you can easily leverage an existing one? Thyferra coming under ISC has not impacted its ability to mass produce and supply the galaxy. The only change has been to allow ease of trade with some backwater planets that previously had no access. Thyferra is, and always has been, prepared to pivot and produce in the time of a crisis.”
Sometimes Max despaired at the state of Galactic politics, that someone so new to the 'Grand Game' as he was able to insert himself so easily. How he was so adverse to it and yet found that he was rather well equipped to deal with it. His reputation both within the Jedi and in the greater Galaxy as the definition of a straight shooter helped him greatly. No one looked for agendas in his own proposals because they knew better than to expect one other than that which he clearly stated; to strive for a better Galaxy together. How was it that he fit in so well amongst career politicians - unless they were not as competent as they should be. Max nodded to his aide, a Jedi Knight by the name of Isado who enjoyed helping him with research almost as much as he enjoyed taking long breaks to nap.
Accepting the datapad from his aide with a smile, Max flicked through some of the research that he had done and that Isado had helped him compile.
"Senator Jakar, Representative Thorne - I refer you back to my initial proposal. A task-force of Jedi, Sector Rangers, volunteer citizens and employed defense forces. The limitations of the Rangers and my own Order are not unknown to me and I do not suggest spreading them ever thinner over even more ground, some of which, the senator may recall in the formation of the ISC, does not hold my Order in good standing." he pointed out with a raised eyebrow not at Emryc but at Vyss, "The Jedi Order would never present a proposal to force through a legal 'right' for them to operate where they are not currently allowed by local law and weight of public opinion."
But he needed to clarify so he did.
"Instead the task-force I propose would be a joint operation - the Rangers in the New Republic and FWA space with Jedi support, and ISC and Outer Rim space with employed security forces who would work with Rangers and Jedi to combine efforts on a Galactic scale, not necessarily a local one." he nodded to Emryc and York, "Jedi will not act on your planets and neither would Rangers; instead intelligence would be shared, technology as well should it prove effective. The Jedi will not oppose the creation of a security force within any body of this senate; that is a right of each and every independent entity to decide for themselves."
The idea of a military force under the ISC bothered him, however. Specifically the fact that it was going to be a military force rather than a policing force like the Rangers were in the FWA and NR. A military was not required to fight a pathogen, even if some of it's effects could be countered with used of naked force. But it was not the place of the Jedi to demand changes to an independent government - he could advise, of course, but his words were worth dirt to the people of the ISC.
However Governor York's suggestion was not solely for the ISC despite the clear and rather obvious attempt to monopolize a vaccine. Max tried to always see the best in people but it was difficult when York was almost transparent in his desire to have the 'solution' to AMS come directly from the ISC alone. Of course there was talk of working together but the optics wouldn't support that at all - all the public of the Galaxy would see would be work conducted on Thyferra and vaccines shipped exclusively from the ISC, which would have the power to withhold said vaccines at will.
Did he believe that Emryc would authorize such a measure? Not really, no, but it wasn't about what he thought Emryc was capable of. It was about what his replacement could be capable of and he would rather not have over half the Galaxy held to ransom because someone without Thorne's morals took control. Thankfully it seemed that Emryc himself wasn't too keen on the idea either or at least not to the same extent as York.
His face lightened back into his more natural smile.
"Well said Representative Thorne. Representative York - your proposal is appreciated but ultimately unnecessary as our institutions may share data instead, including Thyferra of course but not excluding the efforts of facilities on other planets." he countered with a small smile, "I appreciate your enthusiasm to tackle the medical aspects within your own backyard but for now true medical co-operation is but a successful motion and some shared data between institutions away!"
Tyris had been quietly listening to the conversation so far. But now he felt that he must speak up. While the Jedi and Vyss were talking about working together to find a cure for the virus. There are two problems. All the planets that Vyss had suggested a snuggled deep in FWA space and second they were being told by the Jedi on what to do without an explanation with how to go about it. Then there was the issue of, if both sides worked together, how to safely share information without some radical group getting a hold of it.
He has to say something.
Clearing his throat Tyris spoke up, looking at Vyss and the Jedi"You both speak of working together. Yet the planets you are suggesting are nicely settled deep within FWA space. Yet Thyferra is on the fringe of ISC space." This he will prove by having the said planets circled on the map he pulled up on his screen followed by outlines of the respective space borders, " With the planets you are suggesting being deep within your borders it will take longer for the cure to be delivered out to everyone. Yet with Thyferra being at the edge and already with connections with the rest of the galaxy it is the best option for everyone to benefit. If we decide with the planets Vyss suggested then it will be FWA worlds that will get the most benefit since they will be the ones to get the cure first."
Taking the map down from his screen, Thanewulf will then address the Jedi, "You keep saying what needs to be done. Yet I hear no explanation from you on how to go about it. Like sharing information. How do you propose the information being shared without it leaking out to some radical group?" He paused for a moment as he brought the map back up with the planets still circled. But now had markers for where ships had been boarded along the trade routes. He will then continue, "Who will protect the ships from being boarded? Who will be in charge of the task force? Will it be strictly one government or the other or fifty-fifty that has authority? With the Rangers and Jedi are spread thin; how is the information going to be kept secure if the FWA takes full responsibility?" Tyris will take map back down looking at everyone. Now it was the waiting game for the two to respond.
York would rise and address the Jedi. "With all due respect, Master Jedi, we do not need a law enforcement task force. This is not a legal issue nor is it a law enforcement issue. There are planets with infection rates that are 30, 40 up to 90 and 95% infected with this horrible disease. There is no amount of law enforcement, there is no task force management that will solve this problem. The time where that could work has come and gone."
He typed into a datapad and pulled some statistics on the holo. Nal Hutta - 31% infected. Nar Shaddaa - 55% infected. "With a population of 85 billion on Nar Shaddaa, that's nearly 50 billion, billion with a 'B' that are infected with this virus. This is a problem the Sector Rangers can't fix. There is no intelligence that they can provide that will save that moon. It's a problem that the Jedi can't fix. We are at a crossroads here. We have to work on a cure and a vaccine, but in the meantime, we have to provide these worlds with a solution that keep the living alive."
He turned off the holo and shook his head. "Nobody likes it. It's not a good solution, but it's obviously the best solution. A military response is the only immediate response that will save the most lives. Not supporting a military solution to these planets that are being ravaged by this virus is a death sentence. It is a death sentence to the horrors and the infection rates we have seen in places like Utapau, Tol Amn, Nixor, and Ubrikkia. Can you imagine Nar Shaddaa at 90% infection? If we don't act fast, you won't have to imagine it."
He let that statement sit for a moment.
"We can play semantics. We can call it a military force. We can call it a security force. But the fact of the matter is there is a full-fledged army of the living dead on many of these planets, and it's going to take an army to fight back."
"There is merit," Caliban finally spoke up after having stayed out of the discussion so far, instead observing and processing everything that was said, "in what you say Senator York. But the proposal put forth by Master Tionson is also not without merit. Might I propose a compromise, leveraging the best of both proposals." The ISC proposal to form a military was not an altogether unexpected one, after all as Thorne had mentioned a similar suggestion had been put forth by the Rangers not too long ago. He had his reservations about such a motion then, and he had them now. But the fact of the matter was that it was quickly becoming a necessity, one they could no longer resist. The ISC were going to form a military force to fight the spread of the virus, and despite the intent behind the action it would have the same result. An arms race, the Republic and the Free Worlds would be forced to respond with a similar push for armament. Throw the Sith, the Jedi, and the anti-Force sentiment spreading throughout the Galaxy and you had the recipe for chaos. They would have to be vigilant to avoid that eventuality. But for now, however reluctantly it might be, he had to agree.
"I propose we begin preparing ourselves to deal with the spread of the virus, not just the ISC but the Republic and Free Worlds need to build up our forces to repel this threat. But such an action cannot take place overnight. While we gather such forces we can rely on the task force proposed by Master Tionson. An interim force that is ready to act almost immediately, and can combat the spread of the virus while we prepare the cavalry. But might I suggest using the task force to send research teams to infected worlds to gather more data? I have been advised about the potential development of variants, and we need reliable and fresh data if we are to catch such developments."
@Sreeya @Wit @Isen @Bauren @Forsythe Crowholde @The Good Doctor @The Captain @Raydo @darkrei9n @Nefieslab
Emryc heard everyone out, gaze flicking back and forth from speaker to speaker. He had always been the type to absorb information and store it away for later. He was especially impressed with York - the man was truly becoming an asset to ISC with his methodical approach. Emryc’s gaze lingered on him longer than the others, nodding silently to let him know the man had his support. The half Sephi decided to address the floor after Senator Drast finished speaking.
“Who will be leading the task force, Master Jedi?” Emryc asked as he looked at the man, using the awkward title most non Force users addressed Jedi with, “Because if your answer is ‘a representative from each body of government’, we will never get anywhere. There needs to be an authoritative point of contact and accountability for this task force. Ideally it’d be a single individual that reports up to this forum,” The half Sephi stared at the Jedi for a moment, “What will be the exact logistics of this task force? How will it be funded? Which worlds will be expected to fund it and how do you propose navigating the political nightmare that comes from some worlds not wanting to pay? What will be the size of this task force and how will it be enough to cover the vast amounts of grounds in the rim planets?”
Emryc looked over at Senator Drast then, “ISC would be happy to join the task force effort if our contribution can be military force. You have the luxury of having planetary defenses that can be called in for that kind of action. When it comes to the Rim planets, some of which have millions or billions infected, we have a far taller order to deal with. Our primary focus will be ramping up this force.”
He glanced back at Max, “What is your proposed bill for the amount of funding to raise this task force?”
One of the downsides of trying to accomplish anything in politics that Max had found? If your suggestion didn’t exactly align with their interests, everyone wanted to poke holes. They poked holes and they demanded solutions while providing solutions that only benefited themselves. It was a far cry from his work as a Jedi back when he first started, when any problem he encountered could be dealt with using the Force to mediate the disputes, to save lives with it.
It was not unlike being caught in a crossfire of blasterfire though – thinking about his cross examination in such a way actually made him feel more comfortable with it.
“Mr Thanewulf, data is regularly shared quickly and safely across the distances you are referencing. Medical orders are placed to Thyferra and other institutions on a daily basis. Is it possible to intercept data sent? Of course it is.” he agreed before pressing on, “But those same data receptors held up to attempts by the CIS and the Rebels to crack into them, allowing both the Republic and the Empire to send sensitive information across the Galaxy in moments. It takes dedicated listening stations or capital ships of cruiser size and above to jam or intercept data with any degree of success - whereas targeting a series of complexes on one planet is much more manageable by radical groups. There are no perfect solutions but this one is what I would suggest has the fewest exploitable flaws.”
Max nodded to the diplomat from Bestine.
“It is much cheaper and more manageable to have slicers monitoring and upgrading data security than it is to send out legions of courier ships, I think you’ll agree. Slicers within the New Republic can protect the data transmitters and relays within their space, FWA within theirs and ISC within their own.” he nodded to Representative York, “As Representative York has said - Thyferra is home of many medical corporations of renown and their data security is very advanced.”
Max was a Jedi and Jedi were not supposed to hate - but Max despised the idea of an organised, standing, military force for anything other than planetary defense. Worse still was that York had a point, the infection was not something that could be contained or even classed as law enforcement. He just fundamentally disagreed with the idea of a standing military force - especially one that operated out in the Galaxy beyond it's own borders. But the point of the matter was that Max knew it was required, which was why he didn't oppose the creation of such a force, though he had refrained from calling it a military force.
There was a greater good at stake and it was saving lives.
"Representative York - you do have a point and I have just previously agreed with your remarks in fact though perhaps not as clearly as I would have liked. Thank you for the chance to clarify - the Jedi do not stand opposed to any security force being raised." he nodded to the other man, "Security forces - defense forces - military forces, the difference is academic at best. What the currently suggested task force would do is work with those forces included in it’s make-up, I do not mean to suggest that they shouldn't exist and did not mean to imply so."
The ugly necessity of having armed forces was not something Max liked to be dealing with at all but he needed to be clear that the Jedi wanted to work with them. Working alongside them while not leading or answering to them was an important step and he knew it would be a hard line to walk but it was the best option of a bad bunch. The business of who should lead the task force was something Max had given much thought to - as well as how to decide who should be the primary controller.
"I agree whole-heartedly Representative Thorne, there should be a central commander for the taskforce and I would ask the senate to join me in deciding who it should be. Options for commander would be raised and voted on by the senate - after a brief recess if required to review candidates within our own spheres of influence."
The nitty-gritty side of things was brought up and Max nodded as his assistant passed him a datapad.
"When initially formed, the task force may very well be too small in numbers but that can be bolstered by military forces provided by the ISC or any other world who wishes to contribute in such a manner. The choice between providing manpower, ships, supplies or credits will be open to all members - to give as much as their economic situations allow in a manner that suits them."
Then? The numbers.
He sent a copy of his predicted expenses as an internal memo to be received by every representative within the room. It would be a suggested budget working on the assumption that the task force would be granted no favorable prices on anything.
“The attached pricing assumes many things; no discounts negotiated with any companies, doesn’t take into account existing resources that can be allocated and more as you can see on your pads. For the benefit of the public without access to the screens - the initial proposal is for 750 light freighters to be purchased, stocked and crewed by four crewmembers each to ferry rangers, Jedi, military personnel and supplies to and fro - allowing for maintenance budgets and fuel. The initial costs for a year’s worth of operations stands at 216,345,000 Credits.” he announced, trying not to wince at dealing with monetary amounts far above anything he had ever seen in his lifetime personally, “After initial purchases are made, the running costs may reach 120,345,00 Credits per year.”
3000 crewmen for 1 year (based on 40k credits per year average salary) = 120 million
Consumables for one year (based on prices from Edge of the Empire Operational Costs manual) = 75k
Fuel for one year (based on prices from Edge of the Empire Operational Costs manual) = 120k
Maintenance yearly allocated budget (based on prices from Edge of the Empire Operational Costs manual) = 150k
Total Initial Cost = 216,345,000 Credits (compiled from existing data and assuming no discounts to anything)
Yearly running costs;
3000 crewmen for 1 year (based on 40k credits per year average salary) = 120 million
Consumables for one year (based on prices from Edge of the Empire Operational Costs manual) = 75k
Fuel for one year (based on prices from Edge of the Empire Operational Costs manual) = 120k
Maintenance yearly budget (based on prices from Edge of the Empire Operational Costs manual) = 150k
Total Running Costs After 1 Year = 120,345,00 Credits (assuming maintenance budget from last year used up entirely)
The meeting went back and forth on the subject of locations without the need for Vyss to further argue his point it seemed. Sharing data and using current infrastructure made much more sense than building new or trying to shove everything together with logistical nightmares. That was an easy solve that the Abyssin Senator could accept without a fuss. The New Republic facilities could keep working now with data sent by others and vice versa. He sat at his desk with a smile on his face and seemed un-phased when the Jedi began discussing prices for the task force.
"The price tag is hardly a worry at that level. We can shift things around, as we already began to do, in the name of fighting this plague. Funding a combined force hardly even breaks the budget we had for our own response. You can count us in for such an estimate easily." His tone was cheerful once more as he addressed the Senate with an easy agreement to the proposal.
Compared to military budgets and the weekly grind of the core these seemed like pocket change. A few pieces of hardware and some people to manage was hardly an issue for the New Republic to help fund if they desired it. Vyss jotted down some notes on a datapad to make sure he had the correct figures going forward. The topic of leadership was important and the same question had fallen to the internal response from the Republic.
"The task force should be led by someone in this body that can answer to it and take direction from it." Vyss says firmly when he switched to address the next topic. "We don't need to further complicate things. There are experienced people in these seats who are willing to do the work."
It felt odd to suggest himself for the role, but the Abyssin had every requirement he would ask of someone else in the role. His eye turned to the image of the Jedi Master as he continued. "As many know, my background is in managing planetary defenses and law enforcement. If we need someone to manage this task force I can use that experience."
He knew that there would be pushback on that suggestion. The ISC pretty much made it their job to disagree with anything said by the New Republic; and vice versa. Vyss folded his hands on the desk in front of him and simply waited to see what came next. Acceptance would be the bigger shock, but a good one, in his mind.
York again would rise, rubbing the bridge of his nose in frustration.
"I feel like the gravity of this situation is not being fully understood. Please pardon my lack of excitement for 3000 soldiers and 3000 blasters when there are 50 billion....I repeat, billion, infected AMS are on the moon of Nar Shaddaa alone." York would pause after he said "billion" the second time so that it would resonate further.
York dropped his head and placed both hands on the podium before him. As he spoke, it would be a different tone. Almost...solemn. "Honestly, I'm trying to be kind and courteous, but it's becoming increasingly difficult." York would look at Thorne and make eye contact. Normally, York would go on full tilt, with no other purpose but to grandstand and humiliate. But this...this was actually important, and he felt like people needed to understand just how far gone this situation has become. "Can we be honest? 3000 troops will not even represent a dent of what is needed. What is being proposed does a disservice to the phrase 'a drop in the bucket.' If you want to get 3000 crack commandos, arm them to the teeth, and use them as a special missions unit to clear out hospitals or save people from buildings about to be overrun by the infected, you have my support. But people...let's come back to reality for a moment. The AMS army is hundreds of billions strong, if not in the trillions in number galaxy-wide. What the hell do we think 3000 soldiers with blasters and body armor is going to do against that? If we think small, we have already lost."
The Kattada representative would again try to make eye contact with members from each constituency. "We don't need an army in the thousands. We need an army in the hundreds of billions at a minimum. We can't just ask for volunteers to go into these Outer Rim planets and fight these monsters. We can't simply ask planets to send their troops, risk their security, out of the goodness of their hearts. And why would they? Why should they? Quite honestly, they shouldn't under this proposal. This body is not doing what is necessary and we're playing footsie with this thing by suggesting a few thousand soldiers will solve the issue. Planetary leaderships all over the galaxy know full well it is only a matter of time until they will need their militaries to protect their own planets. If they were smart, they wouldn't send a single troop."
York leaned forward, resting both hands on his podium. He said matter of factly, "The answer is droids. It's the obvious answer. It's the only answer that makes sense. Master Jedi, your 3000 soldiers? They get bit, they get scratched, they drink from the wrong well that has an infected corpse in it....now we have to kill them too. Fighting with flesh and blood is the exact opposite of what makes good sense. Every living soldier that dies at their hands....becomes one more living dead that we have kill. Think about that. Droids can't be turned. Droids can't be infected. Droids are the perfect soldiers against an army that feeds off of organics."
York would stand and shrug. "We need a massive droid army. It's staring us right in the face. If we don't use the best tool for the job, what does that say about us?"
York would sit. There were other reasons this would be beneficial, financial reasons most notably. If you're going to start the war machine, making billions of droid soldiers is going to help the economy somewhere. This may not be the time, and if he needed to play that card, he certainly could later. For now, he wasn't going to get into who was going to lead this task force and where they would be from. York was thinking bigger.
The Senator of Alderaan has been pretty passive for this, more than he should be. Nicolas saw others getting right to it, bringing up valid points, discussing important topics. The last things being brought up were the central commander of this taskforce to lead the effort against AMS, and then the Jedi Master's base proposal for the freighters he would need for ferrying military/defense/security/rangers/.etc
Then there was York. Nicolas looked puzzled as it seemed that York was under the impression that the Jedi Master's plan was to literally take 3,000 people and gear them up and then slap them on one of the infested worlds, when the freighters were used for logistics purposes to get man-power on the ground quickly and effectively. "Senator York, I believe the good Jedi Master was purposed that the 3000 'soldiers' are actually freighter crewmen who are being used as a starting point for supportting logistics for our fight against AMS. Not to have them charge in the thick of it." Nicolas wasn't sure if he was just strawmanning or something else. Probably was.
"Droids, I do agree are a good idea for a bulk of our frontline efforts. If we are wanting 'massive droid army' however will cost us a million-fold, we will all need to be prepared to pay the price, if we can. Good, reliable droids don't come cheap" It's one thing to have a very large amount of droids, their quality will be another.. Nicolas knows that Blackwell has some pretty potent droids, but they are expensive and Nicolas wouldn't put it past the mega-corporation to up the prices. Probably Czerka would too with their droids. One could go for really cheap droids like the old CIS did, but of very questionable reliability. Questionable reliability isn't something desirable with how dire things can get. "Although regardless droids can't fight the pandemic alone, we will more than likely need agents to carry out more surgical tasks ill-suited for droids." He said, York kinda already touched on.
On for the topic of Taskforce commander, Vyss maybe a good choice given his current background. The New Alderaan senator wouldn't nominate himself, maybe someone else may, perhaps from the ISC.
The meeting was getting heated and they were no closer to a resolution. Emryc was temporarily detached from the discussion, though his expression never changed. With the stoic look he held at all times, it was often difficult to tell when he was truly checked out. Emryc’s gaze flicked down to his chrono as he checked the time. He saw the preview of a text from Morgan that cropped up, and it threatened to turn the corners of his lips up into a smile. His eyes remained down for a few moments longer before they shifted up again, the subtlest glint in his eye shifting back to the cold steel usually there.
The half Sephi turned to look at the Senator of New Alderaan, “I hardly believe Governor York was mistaken in his understanding of the proposal. At the end of the day that’s still simply 3,000 units being dispersed and spread thin across planets that have infections in the billions. Even as a starting point, that’s not enough to make any kind of difference in many of the Outer Rim planets that are practically overrun.”
Emryc turned to regard the others, “I echo the Governor’s sentiments that funding a droid force will be instrumental in tackling this problem. In fact, I have real use cases for this from how we tackled the AMS issue on Bothawui. We have implemented a solution to isolate, neutralize and clean up the infected. Our efforts have reduced the amount of infected by almost 40% since we landed there. Trade and travel has since been restored on Bothawui. And you know how many soldier casualties we had? Zero.”
He looked at Clement again, eyes narrowing slightly, “It will cost in the trillions, Senator. But do you want to turn to the camera and explain to the citizens with soldier families how you’d rather risk their lives because a droid might hurt the bank for a bit? The only organics needed are the researchers who would be safe in a closed facility. I trust droids to be able to cover down on everything else.”
Emryc leaned back slightly in his seat, “We are getting sidetracked and we need action. The first executable thing to agree on will be a lead on this task force,” He looked over at the Senator of Byss briefly, “I would support Senator Drast to spearhead this effort with the compromise that he works out of Thyferra as the HQ for this effort.”
He looked back at the Jedi, “No data will be as secure as a facility with an on premise local network. At that point you would have to have a bad actor that’s physically located there. Your idea is feasible, but know that it’s not as close to perfect as it can be.”
Emryc looked at them all again, “Once we agree on the task force lead, I would next like to suggest that ISC be given the chance to muster up the droid forces needed. ISC is disadvantaged when it comes to having a standing army and the worlds hit hardest are ours. We need to own the droid force action.”
As the discussion continued, becoming more heated by the second, Caliban was reminded how much he hated politicians. At times like this he often thought about the day he had accepted the offer to join the Senator's office as legal counsel, how masochistic that decision had been. He had wanted to do good, to help people, bring about change from within. But more and more he found himself playing games that left him handicapped and incapable of doing any of that. They were all out with their own agenda, even if it was hidden behind sound and reasonable proposals. That was why Thorne putting forward his name caught him off guard. The moment the topic of leadership had been brought up he had expected the session to get derailed, it was too tempting a fruit for everyone to not want a bite.
"I thank you for your vote of support President Thorne, and if this body so votes I would accept this responsibility. But regardless of who leads the task force, and from where, I have a question that I think they would need to consider. How soon do you think this droid army can be assembled? We are talking about a force of billions," he glanced at York for but a moment, "with a b, right? Hundreds of billions? I do not know of any facility has the capabilities to produce such a force overnight. I agree with the merits of a droid army, but what I would like to know is how soon can such a force be assembled? And what would our response be in the interim?" He could not deny the value a droid army offered, but there was an immediate need that was going unanswered. That was where the Jedi's proposal might help, even though he agreed with Thorne's assessment regarding the cost of such an operation. It would end up being in the trillions, and it was a cost they would have to pay. There were various factors that would contribute to such an exorbitant price tag, but the disparity between the numbers Tionson proposed and what it might end up being to be effective was not something he held against the Jedi. He was not expected to be as versed with the logistics and bureaucracy of such an operation, he was there to provide inputs that others might not, such as the one he had. He was doing what others were not, looking at a solution that served them here and now. It was up to them to build on that and create a plan out of it that might work. That was the only way this body could function, by working together and taking advantage of their strengths for the greater good.
"The Republic, and I assume the same to be the case for the Free Worlds, does not have the ability to build such a force in the timeframe we would need it. While we prepare we must make use of what we have, planetary forces, defense fleets, volunteers. The ISC seems best prepared and most in need of a droid army, but even if they take the lead on that effort we will also need generals, doctors, analysts, and a score of other resources to make sure that when this droid army is ready we are putting it to the best use. That is where the Republic and Free Worlds can contribute right now. We might not have the military strength to combat this threat, but we have enough to hold the fort till this droid army is ready. So we take Master Tionson's proposal, and build around it. We use what forces we have and take action, we study the threat, we prepare ourselves, all while we build up our forces. This task force needs to be supported by a group of advisors who know what they are doing, and I propose using an immediate response force to build a long term strategy. This is a threat that is new to us all, and we cannot hope to combat it without knowing what we fight. We all contribute what we can, numbers we can draw up, but we build an immediate response force. Each of us, Republic, Free Worlds, and Independent Systems appoint a military commander, and that triumvirate advices the task force on the best course of action. And hopefully by the time this droid force is ready we are also better prepared to deal with this threat."
Politics was a messy business wasn't it? Max was beginning to see that things were getting further and further off track however and he wanted to get away from it. The numbers? The numbers could be escalated as dictated by whoever was put in overall command of the task force and he was fine with that - he had just drawn it up so he would actually have something to present and he had done so a few weeks before the meeting. Naturally some of the data he had used to create it from was out of date - though York seemed to keep drawing on the numbers of infected on Nar Shadaa for some reason. He didn't doubt the numbers, he doubted if the Hutts would let them anywhere near their territory while they still have ships at their disposal.
Something for the eventual task force leader to address, however. And for once? Max was glad of the shift in opinion of the Jedi - because it meant that he got to stay as far away from military command as possible. He held his hands up in a placating manner to the room at large.
"Gentlemen, please, peace." he called out, "Both of you have the right of it; Nicolas is correct in that the idea of the initial task force would be freighters and crew being directed by the leader of the task force. Supply missions to besieged worlds and areas, dropping off of droid troops to problem areas and the like that armed freighters are suitable for. Soygun also has the right of it - my numbers will need to be increased. My initial proposal was drawn up with data from weeks ago, before the Hutts were unable to keep the true extent of their cases under wraps any longer. So, as suggested, the numbers will need to be pumped up though I would still argue that a fast response force of armed freighters could be imperative in the logistical element of this war against AMS, especially in the interim before a full force can be mobilized."
He nodded to those who had called for droids to be the bulk of the armed forces. Max himself agreed with them. Honestly, he didn't even think it was that surprising that a Jedi opposed to lethal force was alright with using droids to wage a war. The Clones of the Grand Army of the Republic? That he had a whole series of issues with - droids? No one died when droids fought other droids and only those beyond help would need to die between a battle fought between droids and AMS.
"Indeed, I would agree that droids are the best possible soldiers. Blackwell Automata have the D3-NB, the V3-G4, the BQ-12 and can be supported by the S4F3 from Industrial Automaton as well." he gestured to the ISC delegates, "I know that Blackwell have facilities on Tatooine and other planets that likely have already started stockpiling in preparation for just such an announcement. It will take time to reach a suitably large number but there might very well be a viable staring point already prepared."
As for the nomination?
"The Jedi Order would like to second the nomination of Senator Caliban Drast for the role of commander of the task force." he announced, gesturing to Emryc as he nodded to Caliban, "He has leadership experience and is a man I believe all parties can trust to be measured with his application of force; but resolved to use it as it must be used in this time."
The idea of having all of the research centralized was brought up again and Max could see the benefits of it, even if he still personally believed that the idea of leaving the medical resources of the rest of the Galaxy idle was a waste of time and resources. At Emryc's condition for his recommendation, Max frowned ever so slightly before shrugging ever so slightly as he gave up the point. He didn't agree and it looked a bit like a power-play to his untested political mind but he wasn't going to argue about it any longer. Arguing for the sake of arguing was annoying at the best of times - right now it would delay a response to a crisis causing untold destruction and death so he didn't raise any objection.
Damn it to hell. Drast. Of all the people to nominate, it was Drast. It was Drast who snitched in the middle of the senate meeting about the media getting the leaked proposal. It was Drast who wanted York censured and escorted from the hearing without a sliver of proof who the leaker was. It was Drast who always had to take some potshots at York. "Billions with a b" indeed.
And now he was going to lead this military task force.
If anyone but Thorne had nominated Drast, Soygun would have nominated someone else to at least make it interesting or throw his support behind Jakar. But, he understood it. Politically, it made sense. Drast was a uniter, someone who would always try to keep the ship together. That probably meant the ISC could navigate independently a little easier. Drast would want to keep all the parties together, at least publicly, because a failure of the task force to keep all parties happy would look like a failure on his part. And, if York understood Thorne the way he thought he did, the ISC would be much more demanding of the task force than the other parties.
Still, he couldn't vote yes. After the way Drast accused him of being the source of the leak and asking for him to be censured and escorted out of the building, if he voted in favor, the entire galaxy would see him as nothing more than a rubber stamp "yes man" for Thorne. If Drast had publicly apologized after Senator Maroo admitted to the leak, maybe bygones could be bygones...but he didn't.
York stood and clicked on his microphone. "I plan to abstain on the leadership vote for the task force." With that, York turned off his microphone and sat down. He wouldn't fight Thorne on it, but he wouldn't outwardly support it either.
Well it was about time that some order was brought to the room with the Jedi stepoing to the plate. It looked like nothing was going to get accomplished at the rate everything was getting sidetracked. But as easily the discussions became a mess it can happen again after everyone casts their vote on who should command the task force.
Thorne suggested Senator Drast to command the task force. Either Emryc has something in mind or entirely for some political reason. Whatever the reason it will be a lot for whoever gets the vote to take on. Not just that. But the blame for whenever the war against the AMS goes wrong. With how long it will take to produce an efficient number of droids it could happen fairly quickly.
So far it is two votes for Senator Drast and Senator York abstaining his vote. Switching his comm on Tyris spoke up, "I will cast the third nomination for Senator Drast." He will then switch his comm off and sit back in his seat. Hopefully the discussions won't become a mess again. They really can't afford getting sidetracked left and right again. Otherwise nothing will get done and with it precious lives and time lost because of an unnecessary delay.
He had been quiet for the better part of the discussion, and Morndell could only watch with amusement and satisfaction as talks grew a little heated then back to being diplomatic again. Anything he could and wanted to say have all been raised and scrutinized, so what was there to add unless he wanted to be repetitive like a broken record?
The Chalactan senator wasn't able to attend the last session on Coruscant due to private matters regarding his health. But he had received word of what were discussed, and now being furthered in the current session. His friend Max had done quite a lot of research, and so did the head of the ISC and the other representatives. Morndell did his own with the help of his aides and he felt somewhat reassured that while talks were still being had before they could come to action against the ever rising threat of the AMS virus, at least something helpful to the galaxy's denizens could most definitely come out of this session.
It was more than enough for him, because he was sure that action would finally take place after this discussion.
"Casting the fourth nomination vote for Senator Drast,"Morndell simply stated as he switched on his comm, giving the man from Coruscant a respectful nod.