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Good morning. I cannot say that I am happy to see you all here, for this is not the tone of our gathering. However, it is nice to see many of your faces, and I am fully glad that you were all able to be here. For many of you it was more than a train ride. For that I and the rest of the members of this committee thank you. Many years ago the last thing that would have ever entered my mind as a publically elected official was the possibility that I would find myself before such a committee. Then again, many years ago none of us would have imagined we would be here. New Columbia is still a state in her infancy. As much of the nation seeks to rebuild and restore itself, we have welcomed new relatives into the family fold. I welcome in particular the representatives from the states of Mexico and Puerto Rico. It is ironic to welcome you as newborn states since, in all respects, you are the elder sisters of my own. This truly is a new world that we live in. But the reason we are here in my new home state of New Columbia is not to celebrate the rebirth of a nation, but to examine the law regarding events that may have led to that nation’s downfall. Ladies and gentlemen, I pose to you that we as the builders of this nation bear an unusual responsibility. We have known, for much of our lives, certain laws that have protected and ordered our nation. Now, it falls to us to reexamine those laws, and perhaps to create law itself. The eyes of an infant nation are upon us, my friends. It falls upon us to bless the first pages of a fresh America with the ink of our laws. When the nation, and the world, was first ravaged by what we call the I-X virus, we attempted to control it with familiar means and in familiar ways. Court systems were upheld. Medical practices were maintained. The policies that had seen us so far seemed to keep us safe and, further, seemed in our minds sufficient to preserve that safety. Soon, however, we realized that things were not the same. This was not an event that our usual way of doing things could manage. Before we knew it things were out of our hands, and the question became not justice, not law, not ethics or morality or social standards, but survival. And today, my fellow senators, it falls to us to question the legality of some of the survival tactics engaged during what is arguably the darkest period of our nation’s history. Many of us, I know, were forced to face many difficult and seemingly impossible decisions in light of this global epidemic. What was right? What was wrong? To what levels and lengths would we go in order to preserve our lives, and the lives of those we
loved? I cannot cast judgment on those who faced these decisions and chose the toughest roads in order to survive. My heart goes out to all those who faced such choices. However, in these days following the I-X outbreak and subsequent events, it is still our duty to uphold those principals to which we first bound ourselves when we stepped foot into public office. Were we faced with an impossible challenge and impossible choices? Certainly, yes, and none of us here would argue that point. Were many of the choices we made, at the very least, in the grey areas of the law? Again, the answer is most certainly yes. But can we ignore and turn a blind eye to those actions which, by every moral fiber in our collective national body, and by every letter of every law we have ever studied and found to be upright and true, are to be deemed socially, ethically, morally and in all other ways reprehensible and criminal? My fellow committee members, I offer you this one answer we must all agree upon: most certainly, no. The case before us now is that of the events that transpired in May of 2012 in the town of Sundara, Pennsylvania. The unique and, I daresay, uncomfortable position we are in is to examine that case and not only learn from it, but also judge it for the legality, and the moral and ethical fortitude, of the actions taken there. We are all familiar with this case. We come here aware of what happened. Sundara was a public-spirited community with a unique placement in the political and cultural landscape of the Northeastern United States. A town known for its apple orchards, farmlands, covered bridge, and so forth, Sundara was a peaceful town of pleasant people and a rich and vibrant cultural heritage. There was a small theater in the center of town where you could still see a movie for less than five dollars. There were department stores with sit-in restaurant counters. It was a quaint town, a locale with a population of less than 2,000 residents. With the first outbreaks of I-X confirmed in the Northeastern region of the United States in March of 2011, Sundara was unique in that its first confirmed case of I-X did not emerge until six months later. A large part of the 1,695 people who lived in Sundara fled the area before a major outbreak could occur, but by late-September over half of the 400-some remaining people were reported to be infected. Little news emerged from the area during the time of infection. In the chaos raging across the nation, a relatively “small” case—and I do not take the use of that word “small” lightly—like that affecting the town of Sundara almost went completely unnoticed. Perhaps things would have stayed this way were it not for the events of late-March 2012. The exact date remains
unconfirmed. The survivors of the Fort Brendle caravan of military and medical officers, also known as the Facility Alpha Survivors, offer mixed information. Some have stated they entered the region of Sundara on March 27, but did not enter the town until three days later. Others report different dates. What is known is that on March 31, 2012, a mayday was intercepted by officers at Fort Beston, a Green Zone military instillation in Beston, Pennsylvania, reporting that the residents of Sundara were under attack. It was not until June of 2012 that any officials were able to venture to Sundara, but when they arrived they found that over two hundred infected had been dispatched, along with half that number of uninfected. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the case before us. As I have already expressed, it is a strange and difficult case. We are tasked with the discovery of facts, facts that until now have remained elusive to all those seeking the, and I quote, “true story” of what happened in Sundara. Many have questioned why, after the horrors that we as a nation have survived, any government officials or bodies would deem it necessary to examine such a case, rather than letting it rest, presumably as the citizens of Sundara, in peace. The Tressioch Daily News has accused us of “dredging up a dirty story in order to maintain some illusion that law and justice are, in some way, in any way, the same as they used to be before I-X.” Other national news outlets have accused us of the same. But the problem is that this story cannot rest in peace. The residents of towns like Sundara do not rest in peace, not until as sure a form of justice as we can afford them has been reached. And make no mistake, this is not merely an attempt to maintain an illusion of law and justice. This is nothing more and nothing less than a return to justice. In these days of rebirth and renewal it is essential that we ensure justice for all. It is essential that we not let heinous criminal acts go unpunished, lest we fall into yet another, albeit different, state of chaos. It is essential that we either indict or exonerate those who stand accused. It is essential because it is what allows us to move forward, to continue to rebuild, and to ensure such things do not happen again as they have in the past. I must stress to you all, as I have reminded myself constantly in the days leading up to these proceedings, that our duty here is to judge not these men and women but their deeds. This, I believe, is an important distinction. While we might say that we empathize with the people involved, which is perhaps only human, our determinations are not based on our sympathies but on our knowledge of the law and of what is right and wrong. Perhaps, in the end, it can be determined that the actions undertaken in the events of Sundara were ultimately correct.
Perhaps we shall find that the actions were wrong, and punishable by law. But we must remember, above all else, that the work we do here is our duty. It is the work entrusted to us by the citizens of the United States of America. It is essential work, it is important work, and it is a duty we owe not only to ourselves but also to those who have survived, those who have entrusted us with these laws, and perhaps most importantly to those citizens of Sundara for whom we are tasked to speak. And so, I entrust the words of this statement to the record. I know that there are many others who wish to offer statements for the record as well, and therefore the records shall be kept open so that these statements may be added alongside those of the people who will be called forward to testify before this committee.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?