A Foreign World
November, 1862. A last battle is held in Lexington, Kentucky, cornering the Union army against the Appalachian Mountains. A surrender is filed and the Civil War ends. Now it is the middle of the month, and reconstruction has begun...
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"Miss Leon, you must understand something. No matter what you do, no matter how much your try, politics is not a one man show. That's a very clear and simple fact. However, it can be a one woman show. Now, we both know that if women had the right too, you would be my biggest competition in this Senate. Instead, we work together. I need you to get what I need done and more power, and I can give you anything you want when I have that power. I'm not promising you an alligator's tear, I'm promising you an alligator's head." He leaned back, looked at her. He wasn't afraid, was very calm throughout it all. She couldn't phase him, but he knew she could on others. And he liked that.

2/1/2010 #121
SnowClaw of Windclan

She watched him, evaluating her new toy. She would wind him around her fingers soon enough, forget teamwork. She would have her own vote in the senate, at least by the end of the dancing season--and she would use it well. She moved forward again, her eyes smoldering with an agressive interest. "I will speak to you later, Senator. However, it is getting late and I must leave. Good night."

2/1/2010 #122

He looked at her. He knew what she was thinking, it was the same thing that he was thinking. There is no team in I. "Well, Miss Leon," he said, "It was a pleasure speaking to you. I do say, this is a business proposition that will not go wrong." He put his hand out, waiting for a shake. If you try anything, I'll have you on the streets begging for dirt. And that's only if I feel generous.

2/1/2010 #123
SnowClaw of Windclan

Bella took the hand, tightening her grasp. For a moment her nails pressed into the skin of the man's hand, then she let go, watching him with a last savage expression framed by a wild black mane before she turned and headed out of the room, shutting the door behind her.

2/1/2010 #124
SnowClaw of Windclan

The sky had darkened, and one by one the residents of Richmond went back to their homes and into their beds, drifting into sleep. In fact, soon enough, the sun had risen, signalling the beginning of a new day.

2/1/2010 #125
SnowClaw of Windclan

Senator Flynn entered the room at approximately six in the morning to begin the Senate session. He sat down in his seat, seat five, waiting for the others to enter the room. He moved through his bill collection, looking over his side notes, which had been written in his characteristic slanted, crisp black handwriting. He waited for Senator Cromwell to arrive, pushing up his glasses.

2/2/2010 #126

Cromwell walked into the Senate building, reading as he went on. His bill had been edited, if only slightly, to fit what Mr. Bailey had suggested. It would be edited out in the fine print later, no doubt, and he wouldn't have to worry about Senator Bailey from Virginia. And the lovely (sarcastically speaking, of course) Miss Bella Leon would take care of any other nuisance that got in his way. He looked up from his papers to see Senator Flynn. Speak of the devil. He walked over to his seat and kept reading, pretending not to notice the man.

2/2/2010 #127
SnowClaw of Windclan

"Hello, Senator." Ulysses stated coldly, pushing up his glasses and watching him with a blank expression. He was quite skilled at Poker, due to his ability of controlling his body language and expressions to make them very minimal, but rarely played; he preferred chess and Billiards. His home back in Georgia was set up so that he could play both, with a chess table in the library and a Billiards table in the Billiards room.

2/2/2010 #128

Cromwell looked up, gave a smile. "Senator Flynn, what a pleasure to see you today. How was your night's rest? I trust that you are feeling well today?" He tried to catch Flynn off guard, was going to act incredibly nice today. It was all his trick, his way of making people second guess. If he hadn't been in politics, the theatre would have been his best choice.

2/2/2010 #129
SnowClaw of Windclan

Ulysses watched him with narrowed eyes. It was not and had never been in Cromwell's character to act this way, and it raised the hair up on the back of his neck. His suspicion was not shown externally, but he waited before he spoke, thinking out his words and selecting them one by one. "It was fine, Senator. I thank you for your concern." Senator Cromwell had something he was trying to hide. Ulysses did not know what, but it was concerning.

2/2/2010 #130

Cromwell smiled. "A pleasure to hear that, sir. I'm very glad to know that you are well. It would do me much dispair to think that anyone of the representatives of our nation was not well in some way, shape, or form." He gave a slight laugh, a gesture that had no real purpose. This was his favorite way to perform, to take those who knew his dark side and show this. It was confusing, made them second guess themselves. He loved the looks, the physically gestures. Even when they didn't do anything, as Flynn was, he could tell they were suspictious. He could sense it and he played off of it.

2/2/2010 #131
SnowClaw of Windclan

Flynn watched him for a long moment, pushing up his glasses, and turned back to his book, The Merchant of Venice. "Senator, I thank you for your concern," he stated, before sinking into the text. Cromwell would not be able to manipulate him as he did to several others if he did not have his attention, and that was what Ulysses fully intended to have happen.

2/2/2010 #132

Cromwell smiled inwardly, noting the comment. He's backing down, doesn't want to become sucked in. He understands, and that's the fun of it. "Happy too, sir, happy too," he said and looked up as the Pro Tempore entered, he rearranged his notes, began to read again.

2/2/2010 #133
SnowClaw of Windclan

The Pro Tempore, upon seeing that all were present, brought down his gavel. "This meeting has been started. The next number on our order of agenda is bill number 212. Would the clerk please read the purpose?" The clerk of the house cleared his throat and came up to the well. "To increase public education portions of taxes by 15%." The Pro Tempore spoke as he left. "The floor is now open for debate. Would the sponsor or sponsors of this bill please report to the well?"

Senator Flynn stood up, striding towards the well with a blank expression. Pushing up his glasses, he spoke. "The future of our nation depends on its literacy. This cannot be done without more money, as I have been told by several educators and students, but our federal and state taxes are not covering it. If they did, we would not have a problem with this. I propose that we increase the federal taxes by 15%."

"Will the sponsor yield the well?"

"I will."

2/3/2010 #134

Cromwell sat silently for a moment, thought over what he was going to say. He raised his number, waited for the Pro Tempore to notice him, and after being allowed to proceed walked toward the well.

"Mr. Flynn, I am a very strong supporter of education. I am a learned man, and believe that it was my education that provided me the opportunities that I have today. However, I do not believe that raising taxes, federal or state, is the way to perform such actions. Is a 15% tax increase necessary? Before we go jumping to raise taxes on our poor, war-tired country, let us first determine whether or not our current budget can be rearranged to fit the needs of public education. We must do what is necessary, but not at the cost of those poor people beyond our doors who have endured enough suffering to have their money taken from them now. Education must be a main goal, but we must always realize that taxation isn't always the correct course."

2/3/2010 #135
SnowClaw of Windclan

"Mister Cromwell, I do believe that you are misinterpreting my statement." His voice was cold, making it seem as if it were all the other man. "I intended for the bill to reproportion tax collections, so that fifteen percent are sent to education, thus leaving five percent that must be taken from other areas. I believe that five percent can be taken from Public Services with the least problems, as if you all will recall--" Senator Flynn looked at his audience, making eye contact, "That is currently where most Federal taxes go."

2/3/2010 #136

After Flynn finished, Cromwell stood again. "My sincere apologies, Mr. Flynn. I am afraid that I did misinterpret your statement. It is clear to everyone here that I am strongly against increased taxation, and it seems that my own beliefs have come in the way of truth. Once again sir, I apologize. I agree with your plan sir, I speak strongly in favor of it. I would encourage all of my fellow senators to consider for a moment how much money in education would benefit our society, how much it would benefit our future. Mr. Flynn's bill proposed today will ensure the foundation of education in our nation." He sat back down, nodded and smiled in Flynn's direction.

2/3/2010 #137
SnowClaw of Windclan

Ulysses, not too surprised about the other Senator's support, allowed himself to smile back at Cromwell. The man wasn't a horrible creature; he just had several attributes that, when combined, made him an irritating opponent. He pushed up his glasses, turning back to the bill book. The Pro Tempore looked around the room, seeking out any others with questions or comments relating to the bill.

2/3/2010 #138

He watched Flynn now, like a vulture watches a dying creature. Fool, thinks I actually care about a bunch of poor people and their snot-nosed brats. I've got to find a way to reproportion that bill, take money from somewhere else. I'll need those funds, sooner or later. That can be worked out later, enjoy this moment. You're preforming at the theatre, and going to win an award for this performance. He followed the Pro Tempore's eyes, nodded when no one seemed to comment or question. He looked back at the Pro Tempore, waiting for the vote.

2/3/2010 #139
SnowClaw of Windclan

After the vote was held--a majority, more than likely because of the combined influence of Cromwell and Flynn, the Pro Tempore called a temporary adjournment, an hour in total for the Senators to discuss matters amongst themselves and eat their lunches. Ulysses stood, pushing up his glasses. "I thank you for your vote," he stated, turning towards Cromwell. He did not trust the man, and had the feeling that he had voted for it for a reason other than the purpose. He would handle that tonight, and plan things out.

2/3/2010 #140

Cromwell smiled. "Sir, there is no need for you to thank me. If I had voted against it, I would have you think that I am not a man of honor. Any man who does not believe that education is worthy of such money is not a man worthy to be here. I believe that very strongly sir. I am very glad that you proposed the bill." He gave a jolly laugh, patted Flynn on the back.

2/3/2010 #141
SnowClaw of Windclan

Ulysses eyed him with distaste at the physical contact. He did not enjoy it regardless of gender or the person's relation to him; he did not participate in embraces at family gatherings. Pushing up his glasses, the Senator nodded. "The last of the bills are to be proposed soon; afterwards, we'll be having the bills from the House come." He set his things to one corner, debating getting something to eat. He wasn't too hungry and food wasn't completely appealing.

2/4/2010 #142

"Indeed, sir. I can only hope that any bill proposed is hald as worthy as your previous one. You know those men over in the House, never can get anything done right." He laughed slightly, didn't touch Flynn this time. He knew it upset him, one of the reasons he did it at first. Now, he was trying to act descent, didn't want to ruin a diplomatic moment.

2/4/2010 #143
SnowClaw of Windclan

Ulysses nodded. "It is more difficult with the amount of people that they have, and neither as precise nor as organized." The statement was cold, and yet meant. He tended to be irked by the amount of time it seemed to take the representatives to do anything short of sign their names on their own bills. Even that, he had noted dryly, took about a week for reasons unknown. He did not trust Cromwell's laughter, sensing that it was probably not meant. He didn't like the man, and he didn't like Flanchard. Outgoing people were not pleasant for him to be around.

2/4/2010 #144

"Yes. Getting actually work done also requires brains, which no of the members of the House have, unfortunately. Well, I'm sorry, there are several members who can accomplish something, but rarely. They prefer to sit there and whine about pointless issues. I'm glad that we in the Senate rise above such things." He wasn't sure if he meant the statement to be sarcastic, but it could very well be taken that way. He was being human, and he was rather uncomfortable with that. Being a respectable human being was never his strong point, he could only do it for so long. The rest was an act, but every so often, like now, it was real.

2/4/2010 #145
SnowClaw of Windclan

Ulysses responded with a nod, not wanting to overly engage in conversation with the man. His stomach gave a soft growl, reminding him that although he didn't feel like eating, it was going to demand that he eat something. "I am going to have lunch in Richmond, before the break is over. It has been nice speaking to you, Senator." He started towards the door, feeling inconvenienced.

2/4/2010 #146

"And a pleasure speaking to you as well, sir." He nodded as Flynn walked away. Cromwell sneered as the Senator left, went back to his seat and began to read again. You change this statement here.... rewrite this..... I can move money around into my own funds in a few days. Any money left over will end up where I want it to go. He gave a slight laugh, an evil laugh. He looked around as everyone began to leave for lunch, did not go himself. He could control his hunger, would eat on his own time. I listen to nothing and no one, even my own stomach.

2/4/2010 #147
SnowClaw of Windclan

Bella entered the Senate building and approached Cromwell with a calculating, agressive expression, skirting the table and imposing on his personal space when she stopped. "Hello, Mr. Cromwell. I've come to finish the proposition that you made yesterday, although it would be in your best interest to continue discussion elsewhere." Senator Flynn had entered the building again, and pushed up his glasses as he watched them. Although he would not lower himself to listening in on the conversation, he had a pretty good feeling that it was a traditional, Senate brand body-for-money deal. Distasteful, although all of the men in the room certainly had enough money to go about such proceedings. Ulysses found it disgusting.

2/4/2010 #148

Cromwell looked up, saw the girl now. He smiled slightly, looked over at Flynn who was giving him a look of disgust. Man assumes things, let him. Digusting man. "Certainly, Miss Leon. Shall we go to my home, then?" He actually enjoyed digusting Flynn. It made have influence on him, and that meant something.

2/4/2010 #149
SnowClaw of Windclan

Ulysses didn't look at him, as he didn't want to become submerged in the other man's personal matters. It wasn't too interesting to him, although he did note that if he was to go as low as to uncover things Cromwell didn't want him to uncover, he would have that to write to his wife and children. However, Senator Flynn didn't honestly believe in such things. It was better to acheive victory through public measures.

Bella, noting his first expression, set a hand on the Senator's back as she walked, purposely making an attempt to get under the other Senator's skin. She was not and would not ever be a badwoman, but the man was not from the state and would not recognize her. There was no risk to her reputation in taking measures to frustrate him.

(To Richmond.)

2/4/2010 #150
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