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Atlantean Government

Posted by saphanibaal on 28.03.2007. at 14:50
If/when they do secede, they'll probably need a more stable government than what they have now (also -- my watching's been pretty sporadic; did they ever show us a recognized procedure for what would happen if Weir got, say, pneumonia and was flat on her back for a week?): what sort of model do people think they might go for?

Comments:


Cas
Spoken Thus aella_irene at 2007-03-28 20:20 (UTC) (Stability)
I think a sort of Governing Council, made up of Weir, Sheppard and McKay (as the heads of their respective divisions)as well as Teyla, and the chosen representatives of any other refugee populations they take in.

did they ever show us a recognized procedure for what would happen if Weir got, say, pneumonia and was flat on her back for a week?

My watching's been sporadic as well, but I think they end up with a power struggle.
Miriel
Spoken Thus mardahin at 2007-03-28 22:26 (UTC) (Stability)
It depends what you mean by Weir flat on her back - are you eliminating half the command staff as well? In the case where Sheppard & McKay are also out of the equation, Teyla assumed command of Atlantis (No Man's Land) and certainly seemed at home in the role.

My take on it has always been that somewhere around mid-season 2 Weir squeaked Ronon & Teyla onto a request for authorization to adjust the command structure - using sentences with words of 25 letters or more, in the middle of section 3, she named Teyla the Minister of Pegasus Affairs and Ronon the Deputy Minister. Thus, Teyla's officially in the command structure - in the diplomatic branch. So she's Weir's second if something comes up, and something like 4th in line to assume command of the base if Weir, Sheppard, & McKay are all incapacitated (presuming Caldwell's not around).

We don't really have canon reference to her exact position in command structure, and most of the time (as I understand things, anyway) when Weir's out of the running, Sheppard &/or McKay seem to be out of it as well. I think she and Sheppard sorted out their own internal hierarchy back in S1 (Hot Zone, anyone?), and so the major pushes for military rule tend to happen when Caldwell's around - Regardless of anything else, Weir is technically Sheppard's Commanding Officer (there's no way she doesn't have a DOD Rank-equivalency).

Hypothetically, I think Rodney (as the next senior civilian on a civilian run expedition) is next in line if Weir crashes and burns, but it depends on who's in town at the moment. I don't think we've ever actually seen that acted upon, though.

I have this great fic I keep meaning to write about the poor sergeant who tracks down Ronon for paperwork authorization because Hey! Ronon's Deputy Minister! He has signing rights when Teyla's MIA. Ronon doesn't know WTF the guy's talking about, and things progress as the guy gets more and more upset because the databurst is in four hours and he needs this to go through this week.
Spoken Thus teaphile at 2007-03-29 07:06 (UTC) (Stability)
I have this great fic I keep meaning to write

I would read that with great joy. Please, do write it.
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-03-30 06:39 (UTC) (Stability)
Seconded. This sounds almost as fraught and somewhat more amusing than the idea that the remaining Athosians really, really want to genetically diversify their small base population.
Miriel
Spoken Thus mardahin at 2007-03-30 15:58 (UTC) (Stability)
LOL! You know, I'm sure someone could do a wonderful story about the Athosian Breeding Campaign (completely separate from the Genii Genetic Diversity Project, of course), and the ramifications it might cause - parental rights, intergalactic custody disputes, etc.

Actually, speaking of Athosians, you might find this amusing. It's this theory I've been with (which won't leave me alone) that the Athosians are secretly axe-murderers. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-03-30 20:00 (UTC) (Stability)
Wait, wait, what Genii Genetic Diversity Project?

I have trouble believing that any repeatedly-culled society doesn't have at least some sort of ritualized situational exogamy (where the "marriage" portion of "exogamy" is a complete and utter euphemism).

And as for the Athosians in particular -- whether or not Sheppard and Teyla went back with the invisible puddlejumper and life-signs detector to see if they could collect anyone else before the Wraith got it together enough to finish retaliating, they're still likely to have been decimated and still cut off from easy access to their usual trading partners and their genetic material. OTOH, the Athosians are sitting on top of:

a) A collection of very, very smart people, including cultural anthropologists who are likely to be fascinated by a new and alien culture with which they can interact and geologists who either have little to do at home or are always visiting the Athosians to pursue their specialty anyway. Granted, intelligence isn't particularly directly inheritable;

b) A collection of relatively young people selected for their reflexes, stamina, overall physical fitness, and lack of gross stupidity, most of whom spend the long time in between the moments of fierce terror in just that state of drilled boredom that has historically correlated with getting one's end away;

and the Athosians may or may not bother to inform any of the men they proposition that children are kind of the point of the whole thing, as any resulting pregnancy or baby will be Athosian business.

(No wonder Bates wanted the Athosians the hell out of the city. ^_^ )
Miriel
Spoken Thus mardahin at 2007-04-02 00:34 (UTC) (Stability)
The Genii Genetic Diversity Program is actually one of my little off-shoots/theoretical evolutions. Because you know that if Radiation Sickness is striking the Genii, their birthrate has to be dropping like a stone. Breeding assistance, to be crude, is something that the expedition can offer the Genii in trade; that and fresh genetic material.

The program operates on a couple of levels:

You have two In Vitro options, both offering donor eggs and sperm to recipients:

In option one, you can select from a smaller list with attributes - height of donor, eye color, etc.

In option two, you get a randomized selection from a larger gene pool. The command staff, and any ruling council members, are barred from contributing to the attributes list to prevent potential problems. Those w/ ATA are encouraged to donate frequently.

For either in vitro option, conception, implantation, and 16 weeks gestation are guaranteed. Records are kept by the medical staff regarding source of donor material, but the information is not available even to the new mother. In the event of the death of both 'surrogate' parents (presuming 2 parents at the time of birth), any genetic donors will be contacted confidentially and offered the option of taking on care of the child. Should they refuse, no mention is made and the child is informed they were a natural conception and grows up in the orphanage.

There is also the "traditional" method. For a lower fee, women are granted entrance to the bi-monthly fertility festival on the Mainland (following a medical eval). The festival is open to all single Atlantis men, and a venue for a strings-free one night stand. Any resultant child is the sole legal 'property' of the mother, the father has no claim or responsibility for the child. However, should the parents so wish, there is nothing barring the continuance of a romantic relationship. This has resulted in several marriages.

Yeah, I can totally see the Athosians mastering the art of the one-night-stand and reaping the benefits without speaking up too loudly. Of course, when their kids start turning up ATA+ it might raise some eyebrows...
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-04-02 03:53 (UTC) (Stability)
Ooh, ooh, I love this idea, too, and you've worked out so many of the ramifications so well. Out of curiosity, is the fertility festival also open to Atlantean women?

(I also have this idea that the SGC maintains an Opt-In Genetic Donation Database, using alien technology to remove ova more safely and clone the removed ones -- which pretty much means that they could name their price for that when dealing with the outside world on their own planet, never mind others -- with a pledge that some of each viable strain will be saved for the personal use of the donor or their heirs, the ability to opt out of one's donation being also used for research, and a choice of how much donor information to make available for end users [who would get their own choice of how much information they wanted out of that available]; after all, every little bit of recouping the immense amount of funding poured into Colorado Springs helps. This would both be one of the things that everyone on the Atlantis Expedition would be offered the chance to contribute to before they left, and something that, when combined with a reliable mitosis inducer, could relatively easily have a backup made and sent via Daedalus for safekeeping.)

//Yeah, I can totally see the Athosians mastering the art of the one-night-stand and reaping the benefits without speaking up too loudly. Of course, when their kids start turning up ATA+ it might raise some eyebrows...//

The three places I can think of where the postulated cultural difference would expand into a Discussion are as follows:

1. What is this "condom" you speak of?
2. If one of the Earth-born sires dies/is culled, and Teyla is charged to discreetly find out whether he had already passed on his genetic material, and if not, to offer to turn the child over to *his* family: after all, allies do these sorts of favors for each other.
3. Variations on the plotbunny I don't particularly want to write where Jinto, having made inquiries, asks Miko to please bear him a little brother or sister: he'd like one, Halling would like one, and Miko is intelligent, exotic, and an ATA carrier.
Miriel
Spoken Thus mardahin at 2007-04-02 00:36 (UTC) (Stability)
Yeah, the whole above average-ness of the expedition as a whole is what led to all of the kids in Ripples to be unusually bright. Environmental influences aside, they're starting with a damn good set of base genetics.
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-04-02 03:54 (UTC) (Stability)
Although, as mentioned above, high levels of intelligence tend not to be directly and simply inheritable.
Miriel
Spoken Thus mardahin at 2007-03-28 22:35 (UTC) (Stability)
Also: Thank you so much for posting!! Glad to not be the only raised voice in this comm ^_^

I think that they'll probably stick with what's been working for them for as long as they can - it's certainly not stable, but it has the advantage of familiarity and there are clear chains-of-command. The suggestion of a ruling 'council' composed of an administrator, the science head, and the military head (with a side order of "Minister of Pegasus Affairs" or something, i.e. Teyla representing the interests of the various Pegasus Natives affiliated with the city) is certainly workable, and could well be the long term solution.

The trick is if they will go for an internal gov't or if they enter into any kind of serious alliances (which will be a necessity if they're going to, you know, feed themselves for the long haul. As the population grows, there's just no way the occasional trade agreement is going to keep them afloat if they want to expend the majority of their resources on warfare and research). You'd need one or two reasonably (this is Pegasus - paranoia is a cultural constant for a reason) trusted allies like the Athosians or the Taranians (the planet from "Inferno" (02x19)) to provide grain and game while those from Earth put their energies to bigger and better ways to beat the Wraith. If they go the Alliance route, you're probably going to see a more diverse ruling body that's a bit more representative of the population breakdowns of those involved - Earthers are, after all, an ethnic minority in Pegasus. Not as much as the Athosians at this point, depending on how you calculate your numbers, but certainly smaller in population than the Genii or pre-holocaust Hoffans or even the Kids on Keras' world.
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-04-02 04:18 (UTC) (Stability)
//The suggestion of a ruling 'council' composed of an administrator, the science head, and the military head (with a side order of "Minister of Pegasus Affairs" or something, i.e. Teyla representing the interests of the various Pegasus Natives affiliated with the city) is certainly workable, and could well be the long term solution.//

This makes sense from an executive standpoint, which has been the main one to concern the expedition so far; but I don't think I've seen much in the way of internal judiciary behavior, and legislation seems to be left to Tellurian bodies (albeit extremely haphazardly enforced in Atlantis ^_^). Obviously both these latter would need rethinking should ties with Earth be dissolved.

//The trick is if they will go for an internal gov't or if they enter into any kind of serious alliances (which will be a necessity if they're going to, you know, feed themselves for the long haul. As the population grows, there's just no way the occasional trade agreement is going to keep them afloat if they want to expend the majority of their resources on warfare and research).//

Here again, I think that there are worse things one could do than look at similar situations in other people's fiction -- and in both Asimov and Flint, the answer I see is "both." (Speaking of which, WTF was up with the creative staff dropping the ball on the appropriate response to the Genii takeover attempt? Couldn't they think of one plausible way Teyla could know of some non-Wraith-allies who'd be more than a little antsy at the thought of the Genii having a monopoly on access to Ancestral technology?) Alliances are crucial, but you also need some sort of government for internal affairs; and it should be subordinate to the overall government, lest it slave vast areas and populations to the needs of one small part of the whole. (The Roman Senate, for example, was reasonably good at its original function: governing a town/city and the surrounding farmland. The troubles occurred when it tried to administer territory beyond that as both an appanage to its needs and a source of great personal wealth for its individual members.)
Taya Wulf
Spoken Thus tayawulf at 2007-03-29 04:27 (UTC) (Stability)
did they ever show us a recognized procedure for what would happen if Weir got, say, pneumonia and was flat on her back for a week?

Twice in the series, we've seen Elizabeth, John and Rodney all off world, at the same time, for an extended period of time, and both times, Teyla seemed to be in charge of Atlantis. Both episodes were season beginners: After Siege 3, EJ&R and Carson are all back on Earth for weeks, and the final scene of that ep seemed to imply that Teyla (and perhaps Zelenka) had been in charge. That set fandom all atwitter, about Earth military under the control of an alien, but people pointed out that Teal'c had been in charge of US military in SG-1 before, so it's not unprecedented for the SG universe. But that was just an implication of Teyla being in charge; it became explicit in this season's opener, No Man's Land. Elizabeth, called back to Earth by the IOA while J&R and Ronon are all missing, openly leaves Teyla in charge. The scene where she is forced to leave immediately is an interesting example of the use of body language and tone between Elizabeth and Teyla. Elizabeth is leaving Teyla in charge and trusts her, but her body language shows that she knows this might be controversial for some of the Earth-origin personnel around her.

As for possible governments, the basic purpose of government is, simplistically, two-fold: to manage the business of the populace (domestic issues) and to represent/defend the populace to outsiders (foreign affairs). I'd like to think that there'd be an elected council to handle foreign affairs, but that domestic issues would be handled with a true democracy, with regular town meetings and "one voice, one vote" decision-making.
Miriel
Spoken Thus mardahin at 2007-03-29 18:07 (UTC) (Stability)
Some very good points about the nature of government. I like your suggestion of a "one person, one vote" democracy for internal policy - at least the major stuff. You have an initial ratified bill of rights and constitution (or some variant) and then amendments fall under general scrutiny, as well as issues not covered within the initial paperwork. You could even handle a lot of it by EMail, if you wanted to.
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-03-30 06:21 (UTC) (Stability)
I know it's a recognized and relatively stable form of government for small populations, and I still am amused by the thought of Atlantis running itself the same way as my church. (Complete with someone in the back of the meetings reading/doing their own work and keeping half an ear open in case a subject they're actually interested in comes up.)
Taya Wulf
Spoken Thus tayawulf at 2007-03-31 20:11 (UTC) (Stability)
and I still am amused by the thought of Atlantis running itself the same way as my church

hee! or my condo association for that matter. Can't you just see Rodney sitting in the back of the room on the Ancient-equivalent of folding chairs, viciously marking up a research proposal submitted by one of his minions and making snarky remarks about the proceedings, until his agenda item comes up? It'd have to be something big to get him there, like a proposal to open a kindergarten classroom in the same corridor as his favorite lab or something. :)
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-04-02 04:20 (UTC) (Stability)
He so would -- although during most of the parts involving civilian affairs, John would be trying to play double Tetris or something with him.
Spoken Thus teaphile at 2007-03-29 07:20 (UTC) (Stability)
Funny, they didn't discuss anything about command issues when Elizabeth was out of it during The Real World. I think Chuck took command while everyone else stood around her bedside and twittered.

Seriously, though, I can't believe that either John or Rodney would want that much responsibility, so I think it would fall to Teyla with input from a council.
Miriel
Spoken Thus mardahin at 2007-03-29 18:03 (UTC) (Stability)
I think that part of it with Real World was that it was supposed to happen during the course of a single day - she wasn't out of action for a week or two, and no one wanted to talk about what happened if she didn't wake up because they didn't want to jinx it (I may be mistaken; that's just the general timeframe I remember). I know in The Long Goodbye Rodney made some serious noises of unhappiness when Caldwell took over (which Caldwell quells by pointing out that it was a military situation and thus civilian leadership was outweighed by military leadership, although he ignores the basic fact-of-life that every situation in Pegasus could be argued a military situation with a little tilting of the head).

Teyla's totally Elizabeth's 2IC in every way that counts; John and/or Rodney would head for the nearest hive ship if they had to face that much additional paperwork on anything resembling a regular basis.

and

Ronon + Paperwork = Bad. Very Bad. Bad With A Big Gun.
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-03-29 20:21 (UTC) (Stability)

to sum up...

So, basically, Teyla functions as Elizabeth's second, but there may or may not be any written procedure that she is de jure next in line, or to whom it would go after her?

Because they almost might want to get that set up BEFORE actual secession -- I vaguely remember the US Constitution delineating this whole laundry list of exactly whom executive power would bounce around should half the capital be laid low with the measles or something, and they didn't have to worry about Wraith or people being unexpectedly stuck offworld in a crisis.
Miriel
Spoken Thus mardahin at 2007-03-29 23:41 (UTC) (Stability)

Re: to sum up...

*Laughs really, really hard at the Measles comment*

I would bet good money (chocolate, coffee, whatever your currency of choice) that Elizabeth's already got a working draft filed away on her computer. She strikes me as the kind of person who would start something like that at 0200 when she can't sleep back in first year when they didn't know Earth was coming back, and continue noodling as situations evolve. Granted, it would need general approval and all, but they'd certainly have a strong framework in place. After all, she's got the experience with heavy-duty documents, she might as well make use of it.

And yeah, Teyla's totally Elizabeth's unofficial/official 2IC. Whether SGC knows/approves/etc is anyone's guess.
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-03-30 06:37 (UTC) (Stability)

Re: to sum up...

Although... hm. Would her draft of a constitution overall (not just an order of succession) automatically go to a checks-and-balances place, or would she be sure that she could probably do a better job than anyone else except maybe Teyla, or...?

In either case, there'd probably be a difference betwen the Plan for Interim Government and a Plan for Lasting Government... for some of the issues that would crop up in re a free and independent Atlantis, I keep wanting to point people at Flint et al.'s Grantville series. (Granted, I'd want to do that anyway, because it's awesome, but...) When the little West Virginian town got dropped into Reformation Germany, it first set up an interim government, and then appointed a committee to write a constitution while the interim government handled the day-to-day stuff.

Also... I hear the Athosians moved away in the episodes I've yet to see, which I kind of wish they hadn't done, because having multiethnic on-world populations makes a great deal of things easier or more interesting. (Query: is it possible to build an iris, or is it one of the secrets the Ancients took with them?)
Miriel
Spoken Thus mardahin at 2007-03-30 16:24 (UTC) (Stability)

Re: to sum up...

I'd imagine she'd have a few drafts going, in preparation for various situations that might arise.

I have this theory that there's a secret sub-council of administrators - Lorne, Zelenka, maybe Carson (or one of his assistants who handles the in-house paperwork), and quite possibly Teyla as well - basically, it's a representative from each major department, the one who handles the paperwork (leaving Sheppard & Rodney off of it means that should they ever be found out and accused of sedition, there will still be 2 of the command staff in the clear). They meet every two weeks and discuss things like the current relationship with Earth and the possibility of eventual break-away/secession/etc if things go to hell. That committee/council would also be the one drafting the documents necessary if they ever break away. When the break-away happens, they'd come clean about their secret committee and pull together a slightly larger group to do the final revisions while things continued as they always have until the constitution et al is settled and put into action.

It's not perfect, and you'd certainly need a general populace ratification. I can't imagine they wouldn't build in a set of in-system checks & balances, you'd want two branches of gov't that can butt heads when need be - a recourse to appeal a decision made by one or the other.

The Athosian move happens in the mid-season finale - The Return Part 1, and is really glossed over in terms of its ramifications for life in Atlantis. Although I saw the ep? And came away full of ideas about AC-103, A Gated Community (i.e. the creation of a secret commuter colony for the day-population of Atlantis).

OK, so I'm not really sure if I made any sense in my colonial ramblings. Apologies if it's unintelligible.
Sophonisba
Spoken Thus saphanibaal at 2007-04-02 05:27 (UTC) (Stability)

Re: to sum up...

No, you made sense.

//I can't imagine they wouldn't build in a set of in-system checks & balances, you'd want two branches of gov't that can butt heads when need be - a recourse to appeal a decision made by one or the other.//

And while I might think that three branches is a good number for a government to have, people who grew up under different systems are likely to suggest different methods of organizing affairs.

//The Athosian move happens in the mid-season finale - The Return Part 1, and is really glossed over in terms of its ramifications for life in Atlantis.//

I swear, some days I think that the creative staff only comes up with elements I want to see by fortuitous accident, never by considered decision.

(I mean, in something as minor as my own pet AU -- which when you come down to it only has to please me -- I decided that Situation "A" would not happen, Situation "B" would happen instead, and that the result of s/A/B would have a particular effect on Situation "C" that I chose by authorial fiat; then logical expansion from there showed that "D" would almost certainly happen differently, "E" and "F" were likely to happen differently under the rules of the Stargate universe, as a result of s/F/F' "G" would not happen, as a result of s/C/C' "H" and/or "I" might happen, that if I then went on to eliminate "J" and "K" my AU would have a rather one-note conflict and that I ought to rethink that, and speaking of resulting lack of conflict, I really ought to push the "colonial issues" button thoroughly and often if I wanted to keep an engaging plot, not to mention that s/C/"C'+H" meant that it wouldn't be as simple as it is in canon -- and as a result of two periods of about half an hour of thinking I had a perfectly good story arc and a half, although of course it needs actual expansion if it's to become actual stories. Without calling their creative abilities into question, I sometimes wonder if the creative staff puts half as much thought into what they're going to do.)

//And came away full of ideas about AC-103, A Gated Community (i.e. the creation of a secret commuter colony for the day-population of Atlantis).//

Oh, that sounds interesting.
korilian
Spoken Thus korilian at 2007-04-01 21:21 (UTC) (Stability)
We're totally going to find out next season! Technically I think Rodney would be in charge, but I'm leaning towards John going redshirt.
Snowynight
Spoken Thus xueyie at 2008-01-05 22:08 (UTC) (Stability)
It seems so late to drop in this discussion so I hope you don't mind. I have trouble with the new canon as I too assume Rodney should be the next in line as a civilian leader. It is not reasonable to send in an US military leader. I guess based on previous seasons, a seceded Atlantis will probably have similar structure as before - Elizabeth as officer and Mckay, Teyla and Sheppard are command staff. Ronon before clearly has his comfort zone on his team but it may change after secession. I think democracy may be their goal but won't actually implement as it is not very efficient in military/emergency situation and people are used to their appointed leaders.
Rin
Spoken Thus jen_chan13 at 2008-01-24 02:12 (UTC) (Stability)
(seconding the late entry! XD) i agree about rodney being the next civilian in line, although he doesn't project or exercise that status very much at all in the show- partly, i think, because whenever elizabeth is out of action, so is he; but also because he doesn't much care for day-to-day, bureaucratic events that don't effect his own work. elizabeth has ended up relying a lot on teyla, who was after all raised to lead her people- it's not just her job, it's her life. and teyla, unlike rodney, shows that with her actions- she's a leader and people see that up-front about her.

it's a pretty blurry line, imo. elizabeth and john have sort of made their civilian/military peace, but their seconds- rodney/teyla and lorne/ronon- haven't worked that out. ronon is also fairly forgotten, i think- people don't realize that he was the satedan equivalent of special-ops in an industrialized/modern society. he knows his stuff, and john was right to recruit him. ronon has this interesting vibe that's a combination of unswerving loyalty and an independence that comes only from complete confidence in his own skill. john works well with that, i think, but because john handles ronon's personality so well, people forget that he's a military commander in his own right, and far more experienced with pegasus idiosyncrasies and assumptions that an earth-born commander might miss.

okay, and i'll get off my soap box abut ronon now. *blushes*
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