Tag Archive: Inner Council

Tourist Trap coverLetter OThe Councils were originally formed to provide the R’il’nai some feedback on how the Human population of the Confederation would react to R’il’nian actions. All members showed strong R’il’nian traits, but until the development of the Çeren index (which measured the fraction of active genetic material of R’il’nian origin) membership was rather helter-skelter. By a century after the Çeren index was developed, it was formalized: those with a Çeren index of more than 72 (1/2 the active gene R’il’nian-derived) were considered R’il’noid; those with more than 108 (3/4) were called High R’il’noids and expected to act as part of the Outer Council when on Central, and the Inner Council was made up of those with Çeren indices of 120 or greater (7/8). By the time of Homecoming, the Inner Council was effectively running the Confederation, though Lai as the last surviving R’il’nian retained veto power (which he rarely used, recognizing that all too soon the Inner Council would be on its own.) The Outer Council was an advisory body for the Inner Council and its members were on call for assignments throughout the Confederation, as were all R’il’noids.

It must be emphasized that both Councils were concerned strictly with Confederation law, which dealt with R’il’noids and relationships between planets and between species. Individual planets had their own laws and governments and aside from a few things that were requited to join the Confederation (such as not trying to settle or exploit a planet with a native sentient or near-sentient species,) any form of government was accepted and could not be interfered with by the Confederation. Think of the United Nations with absolute power to stop wars between member states, but absolutely nothing corresponding to the declaration of human rights.

Thus Central, for instance, though the seat of the Confederation for historical reasons, was under the control of an elected assembly of Humans, and slavery was accepted there. On Falaron, the vacation planet in Tourist Trap, slavery was illegal.

Confederation law did trump planetary law, and R’il’noids were not subject to planetary law. There was actually good historical reason for this: R’il’noids trying to do their job had been executed for inadvertently violating some rather strange local laws. But by the time of Homecoming some R’il’noids were taking advantage of this fact.

Although the Inner Council met regularly, the Outer Council was convened only under extraordinary conditions. Such a condition might be an amendment to the Articles of Confederation. To quote Carina, the oldest member of the Inner Council and the expert of Confederation law, when she as asked about amendments:

“Part of the original Articles,” she said without opening her eyes. “Yes, it can be changed. Two-thirds of the Inner Council—not two-thirds plus—and a simple majority of the entire Council, inner and outer combined. Then two-thirds of the planets in the Confederation have to ratify it. It can be done, but it’ll take time—probably several years, if not decades.”

But for the most part, the Outer Council serves as the eyes, ears, hands, and feet of the Confederation.

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. The format of background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. Bold type indicates that more information has been or will be available in another A to Z post. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.

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http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/nebula/pr2005012b/As I said last week, the Jarnian Confederation acts only to prevent Human-occupied planets from preying on each other or on other sentient species, or to provide emergency aid. But it needs some structure to do this. The interaction of my characters with this structure provides much of the plot of my fiction.

Originally (and still to a large extent in Homecoming and Tourist Trap) the Confederation as a whole was ruled by the R’il’nai. As their numbers dwindled, the Councils were developed to provide the remaining R’il’nai with information and a part-Human sounding board. Membership was originally determined by tests to determine the fraction of traits R’il’nian-Human hybrids showed that were clearly of R’il’nian origin. Those with over seven-eighths R’il’nian traits were considered part of the Inner Council.

The Outer Council was composed of High R’il’noids, those with more than three-fourths R’il’nian traits, and was primarily an advisory, fact-finding and enforcement body subject to the Inner Council. Those with more than half R’il’nian traits were considered R’il’noid. R’il’noids were essential to the running of the Confederation and were subject to Confederation law but not to planetary law. This was primarily because of problems that had arisen in the past because of planetary laws (such as a ban on travel at the new moon, punishable by death) which prevented R’il’noids from carrying out their professional duties. At that time virtually all adult R’il’noids had the R’il’nian empathy at least to the extent that they could be trusted not to take advantage of their immunity to planetary law.

R’il’nian-human hybrids were rare, is spite of official encouragement for R’il’nian males to father offspring from Human or R’il’noid women. Such matings were often sterile. A R’il’nian scientist, Çeren, developed an in vitro fertilization method that greatly increased the production of crossbreds, and also developed a more objective method of ranking R’il’noids by the fraction of active R’il’nian-derived genes. The unintended consequences of both these developments (which were desperately needed at the time) set up the problems in my science fiction.

By the time of Homecoming the Inner Council was actually making most of the decisions to run the Confederation, though the only surviving R’il’nian, Lai, had absolute veto power at least in theory, though he rarely if ever used it. Barring that veto power, the Inner Council was ruled by a majority vote providing at least 5/6 of the Inner Council members were present and voting. Reconsideration of a vote already taken required a 2/3 plus majority. By the time of the trilogy veto power no longer exists, and this is how the Confederation is ruled and the Horizon War was started.