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"In order to build up an army formidable enough to withstand an invasion, we need to go on with this plan," Riva insisted. He swept his gaze across the Senators seated before him, holding the gaze of any who might seem to disagree with his declaration. This withering stare made them turn away before he did, a silent victory in the battle of mental strength.


Senator Rafael rebuked, "With all due respect, Mr President, it's a folly to go along with your plan. The international scene is witnessing a massive de-arming campaign as well as a demilitarization policy. We would go against the grain if we were to fund the research and development of new mobile weapons for use by INVICTUS. We might lose allies and make more enemies! We already have a lot to worry about in the form of the Earth Alliance."


The gesticulating Senator punctuated each sentence by stabbing his palm with his index finger. Riva could see that Rafael was swaying some of the other senators. However, the Senator was no match when it comes to a competition of charisma. The President rose from his seat and stated simply, "I hope you have not forgotten the horrors of the past, the occupation by the Atlantic Federation. We were invaded because we were weak and unable to defend ourselves. Even right now, we rely on our allies to provide us with the necessary training and equipment needed to have a barely functioning military -"


"-'barely functioning' is a matter of opinion, Riva," Rafael interjected. Riva smiled, "By that I mean that INVICTUS is barely functioning when compared to the OMNI Enforcer or the FREE Forces, - or even the Black Company. We need become self-sufficient. Should the Orb Union or the Kingdom of Scandinavia decide to stop aiding us, we would be vulnerable to attacks."


"I would like to re-iterate my previous point," the Senator fumed. "There is no need for us to build up our military because the other nations are disarming as agreed in the treaty-"


"-You fail to realise that they can always do that in secret facilities. Research, development and manufacture of mobile weapons," the President reminded. He sighed to himself. This was going no where. They were simply restating their points again and again.


It has been five hours since the discussion started. Taking matters into his own hand, he decided to bring the debate to a close. Sitting around here with a group of men who were more concerned for their political futures rather than truly caring for the welfare of the people was something Riva found to be extremely distasteful. However, he had to get thee Senate's approval were for his proposed bill.


Every since the last elections in which a greater majority of the opposition People's Party won seats in the Senate, Riva had been having difficulties setting his plans in motion. The sudden alliance of opposition parties to form the People's Party took his Freedom Front by surprise and was able to garner more votes than the ruling party.


He watched uninterested, as another opposition member droned away. When the man was done, Riva stood up once more. "We have given enough voice to our differing opinions on this matter. It is time we bring this to a close and vote on the verdict."


The Senate had ten minutes to decide before they had to enter their preference in the voting device before them. Most of them had their minds set and it was only a handful that appeared uncertain.


When the time limit was up, the voting results were flashed on the widescreen. Sixty-seven percent disagreed to the plan while forty-two percent supported Riva's scheme. The remaining one percent had chosen to remain neutral. A smile tugged gently at the edges of Riva's lips. That was a two percent increase in support from last month. It pleased him to know that his words influenced some. Nevertheless, it was still a setback for him. The plan that desperately needs to be carried out was once again rejected.


Perhaps it was time for him to take some drastic measures...

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