A Greater Game

 

 

 

The campaign for the international recognition of the State, Government and laws of Mars has implications more than Commissioner Tanya Jones at first believes. Not only would that recognition guarantee the technological and patent rights for advanced space travel, it will bring her and the fledgling Martian state into direct conflict with the most powerful nation on earth. 

The legal recognition of mars is presented to the UN general assembly. Despite American, Chinese and Russians opposition the vote is passed. However, the United States refuses to ratify that recognition, insisting that US interests and law precedes any other.  The Americans and UCC are at odds, and for a reason.

 

As Tanya’s returning flight lands on Mars so does the Discovery, a NASA sponsored American built rocket ship carrying The 2ndInternational Mars Expedition. With the US refusing to recognize Mars, Tanya has denied the US contingent access to the Martian soil. Imprisoned in their ship the American crew has little option but to accept Tanya’s parole, but even that act breeds discord. A death in the Discovery crew brings the resources Tanya has available into play, and opens up a new investigation. 

 

 

 

 

 

January

 

As Tanya Jones entered the arena a huge wave of sound preceded her, the percussion of two thousand palms striking each other repeatedly. The platform seemed huge, the curved auditorium cavernous, with rows upon rows of desk fronted seating, the walls either side filled with glass windowed translators boxes.  With the lighting in her eyes, Tanya could hardly make out if a single one was vacant. 

The clapping subsided to a subdued rumble as ignoring the lectern, Tanya walked out to center stage, almost in touching distance of the front row. The hush was expectant like a weight was in the air, more so than the simple being at one atmosphere, like the air could support a sensation, an emotion as it did particulate matter. In the harsh glare of the spotlights Tanya could see the dust motes clearly suspended in the thick air and could hear the breathing of a thousand lungs in the heavy atmosphere. 

Pulling herself to full height, she began. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” her voice carrying through the thick air as if magnified. “Delegates and representatives of the Nations of Earth.” Tanya paused for effect as the hall lapsed into silence, ready to hear her every word. The words she was about to speak would not be a surprise, but they would be unprecedented not just in the history of the United Nations, but also in the story of mankind. “I stand before you,” She said, “As a legal representative of the people of Mars. We have come here today to lay before this special session of the United Nations General Assembly the proposition that the formal and unilateral recognition by the United Nations of the State of Mars, its laws, its rights and jurisdictions be approved and written into statute.”

Once more she paused, then lacking objection continued. “We come not as a petty entity pleading for protection, but as a nation full formed and economically sound. Small and distant we may be, but the part we play in the global economic forum is not by any means negligible. We accept that Mars was populated for commercial means and we stand by that venerable institution, notwithstanding that we as citizens of an independent nation are now in full control of our destiny.” 

Unseen behind her back Tanya clicked a remote control device and the wall behind her was lit. “You will have before you printed copies of the slides I am about to show in sequence that indicate the articles of our covenant, the constitution and primary laws of the state, the regulations appertaining to our legislature and ballot returns. I stand before you as the Commissioner of Police for Mars. Beside me is Harry Broadbent, the current Governor of Mars, who will speak shortly.”

“I have been chosen to speak first as I, among the appointed officials of the State am most recently removed from this planet. It is also my place to inform and answer to our constitution and law as it was incumbent upon me to emplace these two pillars of our society.”

Taking her time, Tanya displayed the slides, one by one. “I do not propose,” She told the assembly, “To read out loud to adults, nor go into detail for the constitution and laws here displayed are self explanatory. The regulations as to representation may at first seem to be at odds with our current population, however we have made them so in order to accommodate future growth.”

 

The State.

We hereby declare the state of Mars, the constitution and laws of which shall be effective on and under the surface be it land, liquid or gas and in the legally declared vicinity of the planet, this to be established as within five thousand kilometers of the mean surface height.

The constitution of this state, ratified by a congress of peers shall be as follows:

1. A body of representative government and system of law be set up and maintained in accordance with article 1 of the law.

2. All sentient beings are equal under the law. Discrimination by origin, race, creed, gender, color or nationality is an abomination not to be tolerated.

3. Every citizen of an age of attestation shall have the right of representation on an equal basis.

4. Every sentient being within the jurisdiction of the state shall have the right of protection of the state from persecution or harm from whatever source.

5. Every sentient being shall have the right to life support in the form of breathing air, drinking water and consumable sustenance at levels adequate to support life on an equal basis. 

6. Every sentient being shall have the right not to be detained without just cause and to trial by a jury of peers where guilt is not established beyond reasonable doubt.

7. The body of representative government shall have the authority to raise taxes and apply fees as appropriate from time to time.

8. Every citizen shall have the unalienable right to freedom of communication excepting where that communication shall be to the public ill or unless demonstrably true, private harm.

9. Every citizen shall have the right of personal privacy and the right to silence excepting where that silence may be construed as condemnatory of another.

10. The acquisition, possession, carriage, sale, purchase or use of deadly weapons is prohibited in all cases excepting where officers of the law are specifically required in the course of their duty to carry and use such devices.

 

The Executive

With immediate effect,

The State of Mars appoints as Governor and Administrator;

Harold J Broadbent BA

 

The State of Mars appoints as Commissioner of Police;             

Tanya M Jones

 

The State of Mars appoints as Minister of Finance;                      

David Livermore BSc

 

 

 

The Law

 

Law number one: There will be order.

Law number two: The constitution will be upheld. 

Law number three: You will not kill.

Law number four: You will not cause harm.

Law number five: You will not steal.

Law number six: You will not cause damage

Law number seven: You will not cause public or private nuisance

Law number eight: There will be religious and political freedom.

And so it goes on.

 

Law number one.

  • Governance of the state shall fall within the remit initially of an appointed governor. The term of appointment shall not exceed 1 full rotation of the planet around the sun nor for any individual five consecutive terms. 
  • The governor shall be furnished with a council of elected representatives appropriate to the resident population at a rate of one representative per thousand souls until this number reach five thousand. The representative ratio thereafter to be decided at a later date.  This council shall act as a board of advisors in civil affairs and to ratify law, with each member of the council having one vote and in a hung council the governor shall have the casting vote.
  • The governing body shall appoint a Commissioner of Police, whose duty it is to maintain good order within the bounds of the law.
  • The governing body shall appoint an Administer of Justice, whose duty it is to regulate the affairs of the Commissioner of Police and to sit in judgment upon cases of breach of law as presented by the Commissioner of Police.
  • The governing body shall appoint an Administrator of Civil Affairs whose duty is to maintain the upkeep of public property and organization of public service. 
  • The governing body shall appoint an Administrator of Finance whose duty is to oversee expenditure and levy taxation only to a level adequate to provide for the affairs of state. This administrator shall also review financial affairs for all commercial enterprises within the jurisdiction of the planet.

 

Immediately to her front a well-heeled representative, sporting a New England accent spoke out. “Your claim to sovereignty is in direct contravention to the Laws of Space, which states clearly that all space exploration will be done with good intentions and is equally open to all States that comply with international law. No one nation may claim ownership of outer space or any celestial body.” 

“The outer space treaty and the moon law.” Tanya responded. “I cannot argue that the outer space treaty formulated way back in1967 uses the words you quote. These words apply to terrestrial states, of which only 103 of the 196 or so of the then recognized nations ratified the document and not a single word or signatory has been added to it since that date. As to the so called 1979 moon treaty which even to this day only sixteen terrestrial nations subscribe, terrestrial nations I emphasize, none of whom have put people into the cosmos of their own efforts. It is widely regarded as a failed treaty.

We agree that no nation should hold sway over territories or peoples far removed from their national homeland. All the more reason to establish a government on such a far away place, just as the nations of the new world split from the old and established new nations so we have done the same on Mars. With regard to the outer space and moon treaties, Mars is neither a terrestrial nation or a signatory to either document so even if either treaty had any standing we would not feel bound by them. Recognize us however and we will come into the international fold.”

 

A voice came from somewhere in the middle of the hall. “All right, I agree with your argument as an emergent nation and see no call to question your laws or representation, I do however question your opening statement where you declare a jurisdiction of, and I quote ‘on and under the surface be it land, liquid or gas and in the legally declared vicinity of the planet, this to be established as within five thousand kilometers of the mean surface height.’ That’s some territorial claim.”

“And totally reasonable.” Tanya responded. “Mars doesn’t have a Karman line so it’s an arbitrary figure that will include geostationary satellites. But this isn’t about a land grab; it’s an establishment of a unified legal and governance system. We are fully cognizant that there are unstated territorial claims upon our sovereign territory. We are also aware of the intention and planning of national colonies upon the surface of Mars. In no way do we intend to disrupt or harm such expeditions, we do however demand that such landings be fully aware of our firm intention that no conflicting law or form of government be established and that all current landing sites fall within the remit of the territory and laws of Mars. In short, we will not touch your lander or its equipment on the proviso that it does not unreasonably claim territory or infringe the laws or security of the State of Mars. Put simply, don’t try and tell me you have a two hundred kilometer exclusion zone round your lander. It won’t wash. Similarly don’t think you can put a spy satellite in orbit around us. You want to see what we’re doing, come on down and say hello. We’ll put the coffee on.”

 

Tanya had not been sure what sort of reception these statements would receive. A hushed amusement was accompanied by a catcall from the back where lights prevented her seeing the speaker. “Can I take you up on that Commissioner?”

Tanya vainly tried to shield her eyes and see the speaker. “Sure,” She said, loud and clear. “I’m back up the week after next. See you then?”

“I wish.” The voice returned.

“Actually maybe you don’t.” Tanya told him, whoever he was. “Because if you go now, you won’t be able to come back for two of your years. And if you can cope with two years on Mars, you won’t ever want to come back here.” Gathering her thoughts for a minute. She started to say things she had never intended. “To those of us who live there, our nation, our country if you will, is every bit as precious as any you live in here on Earth. Have no doubt, it’s a hard life and we are by no means independent. But there is no vista in the universe like that at home.” She paused again for the meaning of ‘home’ to be clear.

“We don’t have a flag, that would be pretty pointless where there is not enough air to unfurl it, and we don’t have an anthem but that doesn’t mean we aren’t touched, inspired, every time we walk out on that magnificent surface. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our land.”

 

“Mars is a functioning society. Our workforce is motivated and happy, our children grow and our standard of living is improving. We prosper.”

Turning back to the speaker she returned, “So not knowing where you come from, maybe that coffee is exactly what you want. If so I, no we will welcome you. I won’t be quite so dramatic as to say ‘bring me your struggling masses’ but by all means come along and see if you can play a part. As our society grows, it needs not only the boffins, -did I really say that?” She joke asided, “But the washer women, the teachers and cleaners, the ordinary people that make the world tick. So don’t think that because you’re not a rocket scientist we don’t want you. You could not be more wrong.”

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© Alexander Travell