111 "Freedom Day"
Stardate: 50800.0 (start of poll)
Stadi: They know hardly anything about us, and we know hardly anything about them. We've got a long way to go.
Jo Hillback, Munarch O'Reilley's love from his youth before the exile, arranges to meet him in the officer's mess. Munarch wrongly believes this to be a date, and is angry when he discovers Jo is already involved with David
Heart. At Jo's request, they agree not to see each other for a while.
The election campaign to replace Starfleet's temporary government lasts for over a month (during which Stadi visits the Darwin, only to be played around with by Q, but that's a different campaign). The three front runners become David Heart, a doveish Bolian woman called Heraza who believes the Tholians should be appeased in order to concentrate on the Dominion, and Munarch. In that order.
David Heart announces the presence of the Chakuun (Home is where the Heart is) in the hope of turning it into an election issue that helps his campaign. The Tholian Ambassador (who was not previously aware of them) teleports into the central plaza of the government buildings and demands their return. Several days later, the Tholian consulate launches a probe, and the Chakuun must be evacuated to avoid it. They are teleported to the caves, where they take refuge in the deepest section (Prior Claim). After several days of the probe failing to find them, the Tholian ambassador meets Horah-Morash, Mortimer, and Stadi, and states that they will not go to war over the Chakuun. During this exchange Stadi succeeds in becoming empathically aware of the Tholian.
The council of representatives is elected, and Heart, Heraza, and O'Reilley all have significant support as candidates for planetary governor. Heart (leading) offers O'Reilley (3rd) a couple of cabinet posts in return for his support. O'Reilley refuses him. After seeking further support from uncommitted council representatives, O'Reilley passes Heraza. The race becomes one between Heart and O'Reilley, which O'Reilley wins with the support of the doves in Heraza's camp.
© Ian McDonald 2001