After weeks of planning and coordination in the background with his counterparts at the ISC, the day had finally come for Galek to make his address to the citizens of the galaxy. And what better way to do so than with a live press conference?
Crowds of Induparan citizens and journalists gathered at the base of the steps of Dahonis City Hall, the space having been cleared for the occasion. The floor would be open for questions following the address, with many reporters appearing amongst the crowd via holonet. Stepping up to the podium, Galek was dressed in a finely tailored white-and-gold suit, an embroidered black sash laid across his shoulder. Flanking him on both sides was a row of ISC flags, purple banners fluttering gently in the breeze.
Placing his hands onto the podium in front of him, Galek greeted the assembled crowd with a polite nod - a smile beaming across his features. With the camera feeds broadcasting the scene from the Outer Rim to the Core, the eyes of the Galaxy were on the prince and he knew it.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” He took a breath, beginning his speech. “It is my distinct honor to address you all today to discuss a great matter of importance, and to announce promising new developments from the ISC.”
Pausing for a moment, Galek’s voice took on a more serious, somber tone. “For years now, we have all been subjected to the heartbreaking images pouring in from systems across the galaxy. Images of worlds devastated by war and AMS, driven to the brink of collapse. Images of men, women and children forced from their homes and fleeing across entire sectors. Images of worlds from the Core to the Outer Rim, overflowing with starving refugees, unable to shoulder the burden of so many on their own.” He shook his head. “Without a structured system in place to handle this influx of refugees, the governments of the galaxy have floundered to come up with a response, allowing this crisis to go unaddressed.” Galek planted a hand firmly into the podium in front of him.
“I stand before you now to proclaim that changes today. No longer will the ISC stand for inaction while billions of men, women and children suffer.”
“To that end, I am proud to announce that the ISC has begun to take the first steps toward the establishment of the Independent Systems Consortium Refugee Agency. Under the leadership of a select committee, this agency will be dedicated to promoting the interests of refugees that come from all corners of the galaxy, providing a structured pathway to seek asylum on ISC worlds.”
Galek paused briefly, allowing his announcement to hang in the air before continuing on to the details. “Under this new system, refugees will be directed to established ports of entry at designated locations across Consortium space where they will undergo the proper quarantining periods and other basic screenings. After passing through these ports of entry, refugees will then be resettled to worlds across ISC territory, from Indupar to Tatooine, all of whom have agreed to take accept them based on varying levels of capacity.”
“This system will serve to relieve the burden from worlds such as Naboo and Christophsis, whose resources have become strained by the overwhelming influx of new arrivals. Additionally, by spreading the load across many worlds, individual refugees will have better access to infrastructure and support networks until such time that they return home, or choose to make a permanent life in within ISC space.”
Galek allowed the smile to return to his face. “Under I.S.C.R.A, no longer will those displaced by this crisis live in squalor, but instead they will have access to the resources they deserve. With the establishment of the ISC military and infrastructure projects being planned across planets like Lok and Lahsbane, new arrivals will almost immediately have meaningful employment opportunities available to them. Additionally, as more new arrivals are settled upon planets, the demand for housing complexes and new, permanent infrastructure will continue to serve as generators of new jobs and wealth, something benefiting both recipients of this program and their host worlds.”
“Through this program, we can finally begin the hard work of addressing this calamity that has gone ignored for far too long.” The prince paused, turning to face the camera’s directly. “We at the ISC continue to commend the good works being done by MortaCorp and others, and I am optimistic that a vaccine is only just around the corner. But while we wait for a permanent solution to this crisis, it is my hope that I.S.C.R.A will serve as a beacon of support to those who are in need of it most."
“In the days to come, I look forward to being able to share with you all more details about these efforts as they are made available.” Galek gestured an open hand to the assembled journalists. “With that, I now open the floor to questions from those in attendance both here and via the holonet. I shall do my best to answer.”
Open to reporter characters both in-person or via holonet. Other characters may react as usual. Write up for the refugee program can be found HERE
Supreme Chancellor Emil Ro formally applauds the creation of the Independent Systems Consortium Refugee Agency.
Supreme Chancellor Emil Ro voices his support for the formation of the Independent Systems Consortium Refugee Agency (ISCRA) and the progressive actions of the ISC government. The Chancellor applauds Governor Galek Ordalos of Indupar, who made the announcement, and President Emryc Thorne of the ISC for their proactive stance towards those afflicted by the AMS pandemic, as well as those displaced by other galactic tragedies.
The Chancellor also had the following to say on the matter:
The Independent Systems Consortium has at times been met with suspicion by us in the Core Worlds and in the Galactic Senate; but I think praise is long overdue for their efforts to secure their people, as well as to provide safety and well-being for those outside their borders. With the creation of the ISCRA, the Consortium has set a new galactic standard, which we must all strive to emulate. With our galaxy in crisis, it is essential that all of us — from the Core to the Rim worlds — do our part to help the billions displaced by war and disease. The ISC is clearly doing its part. We in the New Republic intend to follow suit and do ours.
The tapping of his fingers across the datapad's screen was overshadowed by the sound of the Holo. He'd tuned it onto G-SPAN3, a channel dedicated to covering live political events people in the ISC. Claudias wasn't listening though, focused instead on his newest essay. This one would be on the political ramifications of Palpatine's final death, and the development of the FWA. It was already ten pages long.
"In regards to the Jedi order, they proved a significant help in..." The next paragraph opened, though Claudias was forced to pause. "N-no, Andronikas would p-p-protest mentions of the Jedi." He muttered aloud. He'd quickly delete the words, sitting there for a few more minutes. It was almost impossible to bring up this time period without mentioning the Jedi, yet he was confined by his position. He didn't want to create a dishonest narrative, but...
The channel would suddenly flick to a new subject. It was a delayed broadcast, rather than a live feed. Claudias paused, unsure of what to make of the decision. When had he ever seen these networks do anything of the sort? It just wasn’t done, yet apparently GSPAN thought it was an absolutely essential broadcast.
“Wonderful, perhaps the announcement of a trade deal? Maybe the senate voted to temporarily change the Republic’s official holonet account’s profile picture to the flag of some world completely overwhelmed by AMS. Maybe they’ll levy taxes on some peasants on some former industrial world that can’t support itself.” The man cynically thought. He didn’t bother saying it out loud; he was completely alone… and the sound of his own voice without others often saddened him.
The Republic and ISC were developments he knew he’d never be able to write about. Rarely did historians ever produce recent history in a critical, unbiased, and informative matter. Unlike his older works, his biases would drop into the works, and readers would dismiss him as another aristocrat forcing their ideals into a work of nonfiction. For the sake of his work, his opinions on modern politics would have to be kept separate, and they’d need to be written down by someone else. Perhaps a metal inscription of his speech on granting citizenship rights to migrant laborers during his first week in the assembly.
But if the Galaxy knew his reaction to the broadcast, if it were written down… it would’ve probably been repetitive, and not at all compelling. Future readers would learn of how Claudias Tannaras would audibly shout in applause, stand without his cane, and tumble to the floor. They’d learn of how he’d get back up, right himself into his chair, and begin clapping. One would’ve thought he was at his niece’s harp recital, or the opera on the tragedy of Nikephoras and Theodoras.
Elation would be the only word that could describe it. It’d be followed up by him drafting a response on his own holonet account. “While many of my colleagues in the assembly have argued for the preservation of Brentaal’s policy on refugees, I would direct them to the precedent set by his esteemed Governship of the prosperous world of Indupar. While not of our most glorious and fair republic, he and the governing body of the ISC have set about a precedent of a most compassionate, yet reasonable approach to helping the galaxy’s tired, poor, huddled masses. To them, his people have provided a breathe of fresh air. A breathe of freedom, and of hope for their future in a Galaxy that has, for the longest time, turned their backs.”
Using the same, overly poetic style as he did his history’s, the post would probably receive a level of backlash. He knew his brother would be… furious, Ofcourse. It was one thing to commend Ordalos, but it was another to suggest that Brentaal and the entire republic should follow suit. He was violating the central purpose of his position as a representative; to represent his family’s interest.
Yes, that would be a lengthy argument. It’d probably be all he could focus on, actually. Andronikas would be to busy demeaning Claudias’ activism that he probably wouldn’t check his histories. Yes, there wouldn’t be any complaining about an extensive section on the Jedi. Claudias couldn’t help but smirk a bit, a twitch of his head cutting it off just as quickly as it appeared. Silently, he got back to his draft… and he clicked undo.
"Press." Voren rolled his eyes as the gruff-looking security guard peered at his pass for what seemed like the hundredth time "Look, there. Press Pass, that means you need to let me in." he harrumphed at the guard, jabbing his finger at the pass as once again, the guard peered through his spectacles and looked confused. Finally, after what seemed an age, he waved him forward.
Sighing, Voren rolled his eyes "Cheers Officer." he offered a sarcastic, exaggerated salute and walked into the press room, taking his seat and stowing his bag under his chair. Pulling out his datapad, he scrolled through the press notes and then fell silent as, a few minutes later, the press conference began. He resisted the urge to gag when the flags and banners unfurled, and the politician started ranting on about the ISC - dressing up their refugee program with all the trappings of some two-bit autocrat.
Finally, the statement wound down to its conclusion, and the floor was opened up to questions.
"Voren Dhur of the Hyperlane Herald." he introduced himself as he stood to ask his question "Moving refugees in unprecedented numbers from infected worlds to those within the ISC is commendable, however, it raises numerous questions about the long-term viability of this plan. In your statement, you said that the ISC will provide work, housing, and infrastructure to all refugees who come in through the system. Partner this with the huge cost of creating a navy, and an army, as well as building infrastructure across multiple under-developed worlds, and launching a new currency, there seems to be no end in sight for the spend spend spend policies of this Government."
"How is this being paid for? How is the ISC Government able to afford a new army, a new navy, space ports, planet-wide redevelopment, and a pledge to house potentially billions of refugees? Has Kuat, Coruscant and Corellia, maybe even the Banking Clan, joined the ISC, and nobody has yet to notice?"
When Galek opened the floor to questions from the assembled press, he shifted his posture ever-so-slightly. Rather than looming large over the podium and gripping it by the sides, the prince took a half-step backwards, knitting his hands together and settling them neatly in front of him. It was a subtle gesture, but it was one meant to portray him as more approachable for questions. When the first reporter of many called out to him, Galek tried very hard not look disappointed.
He immediately recognized the rather controversial reporter by face and name. He recalled Voren Dhur from his many pointed tabloids within the Hyperlane Herald, where he’d been known for indiscriminately taking pot-shots as politicians ranging from Senator Drast of Coruscant to Senator Rayne of Commenor. Most recently, the Corellian reporter had made a point to criticize the ISC for blocking the Anti-Sith Alliance within the Galatic Senate – a vote that Galek had been exceptionally vocal in striking down.
This is going to be interesting.
“Mr. Dhur,” He began, biting back any semblance of distaste for the man and masking it behind a politician’s smile. “Thank you for your question, and thank you for the opportunity to further elaborate on the financial details of this proposal. You bring very good points about the availability of work, housing, and infrastructure – so allow me to address each individually.”
“First and foremost, let us talk about infrastructure. As a rule, ISCRA seeks to utilize infrastructure that is already in existence wherever we possibly can. The devising of limited screening locations was meant to, among previously mentioned justifications, limit the amount of places where new infrastructure needs to be built in the beginning. Take for example Llanic, which already has developed infrastructure on its surface and had already been subject to a significant influx of refugee's passing through it. Through this proposal, ISCRA would be able to convert what it already there and utilize it as a part of the program." He paused, taking note of several reporters writing things down as he spoke. Part of infrastructure, let us talk about transports – one of the key facets of this program."
"Since its inception, we have implemented a policy of negotiating favorable tariffs on traded goods and tax cuts, on a sliding scale, for those businesses and corporations who participate in the program. To put it simply, the larger the contribution, the larger the benefit for that corporation. To further this end, the three primary screening locations within this program have been strategically located along major hyperspace routes in and out of ISC space – incentivizing businesses and corporations to fit refugee transport into their business models. Through this policy, we are able off-load a vast majority of the cost of transporting refugees to private industry, and have already received support from dozens of businesses across the Outer Rim in closed-door discussions. Any gaps in the flow of transport, naturally, would then be filled by ISC navy vessels if and when their mission permits.”
The prince began to drum his fingers against the podium now. “As for housing, similar deals have been reached with construction companies to incentivize the construction of temporary housing blocks on host planets. Tent cities, housing blocks, dormitories – all of these are being built with private industry support, helping to cut costs where we can. The first wave of housing will be completed for refugee arrival, but moving forward, arrivals will be encouraged to work jobs expanding their own communities – building new housing, and turning temporary infrastructure into permanent cities.”
He exhaled, taking a drink from a nearby glass of water before he continued. “Finally, let me address your concern about our promise of providing work to these refugees. The answer to this concern is rather simple – the jobs we are offering to refugees are already being made available. As you well know, The ISC is undergoing an unprecedented period of expansion, industrialization the likes of which the Outer Rim has never seen – our biggest obstacle in this endeavor has been lack of sentients to fill them. Take, for example, the planet of Tatooine – one of the many planets outlined within this program. With the launch of the ISC Navy and Army, countless new jobs are being made available working in the droid factory’s and shipyards – both to build them and once they are operational. The biggest obstacle in the way of Tatooine’s, as you put it, ‘planet-wide redevelopment’, has been an exceptionally small population that prevents these jobs from staying on planet. With an influx of refugees entering the workforce, this problem begins to solve itself.”
If the reporter thought Galek would quickly move on once the question was answered, he was soon to be sourly mistaken. Voren had greeted the prince with a pointed statement right off the bat, and it was clear Galek intended upon returning the favor with what he said next. “I am actually quite grateful for your last question, Mr. Dhur, as it gives me the opportunity to address this stereotype that I believe you, unintentionally or not, are perpetuating."
"This stereotype – one believed by many from outside our borders – that the ISC has somehow taken luxuries with its fiscal policy. You see, unlike Kuat, Coruscant or your native Corellia, the planets of the ISC do not have centuries of wealth or established industry thriving on their surface. With some notable exceptions, they are traditionally poor, underdeveloped planets which have been neglected by every government up until this point– from the Republic of old to the Empire. The ‘spend spend spend’ policies that you affectionally refer to are not unnecessary luxuries, but instead they are the necessary investments that these planets need in order to bring industry and prosperity to the Outer Rim. They are necessary to build the future that we at the ISC envision – a future where the Outer Rim can thrive without having to rely upon the Core Worlds for scraps.”
“You speak to the long-term viability of the proposal, but then I can’t help but wonder what it is precisely that you would consider to be viable? Surely, Mr. Dhur, you don’t mean to suggest that the current policy largely practiced across the galaxy – the policy of ‘do absolutely nothing at all’ - is somehow any more sustainable? You speak of the ‘great costs’ of this proposal, as if there is not inherit long-term benefit associated with it – the same as any other investment. The arrival of refugees is not a burden upon society, but it is a boon when managed properly. The arrival of those under this program will help to develop and flourish worlds that have never had the opportunity to do so.”
He spread his arms outward around him. “Will these proposals require initial spending? Yes. Will they require us to secure financing, in order to get the ball rolling? Perhaps. All investment requires an upfront cost – but it is necessary to bring about the future that we want to see. There will be mistakes made, and there will be details that need to be ironed out as we go, but I am confident in the work that has already been done, and I believe that ISCRA is the step in the right direction that is needed in this moment.”
The prince smiled. “I hope I answered your question fully.” His gaze then flicked back to the crowd.