July 1st 2015
SPEAKER MARSHALL MADRIGAL (U-Borea-Magnus Sys): Next up for discussion and subsequent vote is Senator Harren’s bill to upgrade QuarterDeck. Senator Harren, if you’d like to introduce the measure before the vote.
SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U-Kampos-Ellis Sys): Thank you, Speaker. Arash Anello was a family man from Kampos. Besides his partner and two young kids, Arash loved nothing more than the Murray Cup and hauling cargo with his Hull C. Six months ago, he carried a load of raw materials routed for Archangel Station. Sadly, he never made it. Shortly after entering the Chronos System, Arash was ambushed by a pirate pack led by Colby Casper, an escaped QuarterDeck prisoner. Following this tragic incident, my office was flooded with comms asking how our Empire could fail to keep Colby Casper locked up. After months of research and investigation, this bill is the answer my constituents in Ellis and the entire Empire have been demanding.
Simply put, there is a security crisis on QuarterDeck and it’s our responsibility to fix it. This bill will do just that. My proposal outlines a series of improvements to QuarterDeck’s existing security protocols and also creates necessary new ones. Now, I can already hear the awkward shuffling of my fellow senators worried that I will invoke the dreaded word “spending.” So let me address their concerns first. As a member of the Interior Committee, I lead a review of QuarterDeck that showed an uptick in antimatter production can cover the necessary costs to institute every feature of my proposal; hiring more agents to police the prison planet, funding additional help on the nearby JusticeStar Satellite, and even increasing patrols of the surrounding Kellog System. In short, this will reduce the number of escaped prisoners. It will improve QuarterDeck’s conditions. And most importantly, it will make our Empire safer for all law-abiding Citizens and civilians, like Arash Anello. Thank you.
SPEAKER MARSHALL MADRIGAL (U-Borea-Magnus Sys): The floor is now open for debate. The Speaker recognizes the honorable Senator from Corel.
SENATOR GHATA VERAS (C-Lo-Corel Sys): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Senator Harren, could you enlighten the Senate as to how this bill aims to achieve increased antimatter production on QuarterDeck?
SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U-Kampos-Ellis Sys): Currently, the facility is not meeting production goals. This resolves that issue by taking corrective actions to get the refinery running at an optimal level.
SENATOR GHATA VERAS (C-Lo-Corel Sys): According to the bill’s language, increased production comes from mandating that all QuarterDeck prisoners work at the refinery. As opposed to the current system, which grants reduced sentences to qualified prisoners who volunteer to work there.
SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U-Kampos-Ellis Sys): Correct. Fewer and fewer prisoners have taken the gracious offer of a commuted sentence in exchange for a little hard work.
SENATOR GHATA VERAS (C-Lo-Corel Sys): Are you aware, Senator Harren, that antimatter refineries are considered one of the most dangerous work environments in the entire ’verse? In fact, that same Interior Committee report you just referenced states that “dozens of prisoners die each day” while working at QuarterDeck’s antimatter facility.
SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U-Kampos-Ellis Sys): And even more prisoners will die if the overall conditions on QuarterDeck remain as they are. Let me remind you that revenue generated by this bill will also be able to go towards correcting the ‘unsafe conditions’ outside of the antimatter facility. On a recent fact-finding mission, I witnessed prisoner-on-prisoner violence running rampant among the inmates. I saw food and medical provisions in desperately short supply, while drugs and other black market goods were abundantly available. It is only by requiring prisoners to work at the antimatter refinery that we will be able to generate the credits needed to deal with these security and safety issues on QuarterDeck. Incentivizing prisoners to work at the refinery has failed. So enough of the carrot. It’s time for the stick.
SENATOR GHATA VERAS (C-Lo-Corel Sys): Like you, Senator Harren, I’ve been to QuarterDeck. But, unlike you, I’ve been there more than once. Overall, the conditions are shameful, and I am as committed as anyone to finding a solution. But I refuse to support a bill that funds those changes through what some might consider slave labor.
< inaudible chatter >
SPEAKER MARSHALL MADRIGAL (U-Borea-Magnus Sys): Quiet in the chamber!
SENATOR GHATA VERAS (C-Lo-Corel Sys): One final question. According to a recent article in the Terra Gazette, Senator Harren’s largest campaign contributor is Hurston Dynamics, who purchases large quantities of antimatter from the UEE in order to make quantum cascade lasers, electron guns, and even military warheads.
SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U-Kampos-Ellis Sys): I am failing to hear a question in any of this.
SENATOR GHATA VERAS (C-Lo-Corel Sys): Well, that was a statement, Senator Harren. Here’s another one, taken from the budget office’s assessment of your bill: “Increased antimatter production by the UEE should drive down its overall cost across the Empire.” So, to get to the question you’re so eager for, if this bill were passed, would Hurston Dynamics, your top political donor, greatly benefit from lower antimatter costs?
SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U-Kampos-Ellis Sys): The entire Empire would benefit, Senator Veras.
SPEAKER MARSHALL MADRIGAL (U-Borea-Magnus Sys): Are there any further questions for Senator Harren?
< pause >
SPEAKER MARSHALL MADRIGAL (U-Borea-Magnus Sys): Quite a few, I see. We are scheduled for an hour recess at 13:00. Let’s take that now. Debate of Senator Harren’s bill will proceed once we’re back in session.
< gavel bang >