Antoinette Banderas, former Chair of the MAFC Interstellar Coordination Committee

Antoinette ('Toinette to close friends) Banderas was an outspoken Martian Senator from Quadrant 5, who from 3210-3216 held the position of Chair of the MAFC Senate Interstellar Coordination Committee (the seniormost Martian executive position). Previously she served as the Q5 High Council representative for the capital world, Marti, where she was born in 3153, and had also had spells in the Senate as Representative for War and Representative for Foreign Affairs. Banderas has a military background herself, having served in the Martian Marine Corps, where she achieved the rank of Chu-Sa (Commander), and distinguished herself for bravery on numerous occasions, particularly the hunting down of the infamous cyborg pirate Thogan DeVix in Quadrant 8. However, her independent nature made her ill-fitted for the strict discipline of the Martian military, and in spite of her achievements she eventually found herself cashiered for refusing to obey orders during a terrorist attack on In The Clear.

Banderas returned home to Marti to a hero's welcome, however, and after the mandatory five years had elapsed from her leaving the Marine Corps, she was persuaded to stand for office as Mayor of New Jack City, the largest on Marti. She swept to power on a platform of slimming down government and 'red tape', combined with pro-gun legislation (the Banderas Bill' mandated the owning of firearms by MAFC citizens of voting age). Her slogans: "an armed society is a polite society" and "I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six" (pallbearers), became catchphrases throughout the Quadrant. Election as Quadrant 5 Regional High Council representative for Marti soon followed, and then the formality of electing the capital world representative as Q5 Supreme Councillor.

Her unorthodox, straightforward and uncompromising style, and a string of affairs with up and coming young actors and athletes, proved popular with the tough frontier worlds of Quadrant 5 and the tabloid press respectively, and she became one of the rare breed of Martian politicians able to command significant support away from her own homeworld. This helped secure her election to the Senate in 3202. She came to lead the Mars Colonial Growth Faction in the Senate, and after tabling the No Confidence vote that brought down the Harness Administration in 3205 she became part of the Government of National Unity led by Senator Dermond as Foreign Affairs representative. In 3206 after the MLWP made major gains in the Senate she became the coalition partner of Anton Dec, keeping her Foreign Affairs brief, although she was clearly never happy as part of the coalition. MCGF gains in the 3210 Senate elections brought her into partnership with her old foes in the Central Democratic Party, but this time as senior partner, chairing the Interstellar Coordination Committee. In spite of occasional differences with the CDP, the coalition was a successful one, and made further gains in the 3214 elections. Banderas notably softened her often bellicose rhetoric and shed much of her folksy image after becoming leader of the MAFC, put down to extensive coaching by image makers Scratchy & Scratchy.

In the domestic sphere, she was rumoured to be the instigator of a report which eventually begat the proposal to expand the Martian Senate from its previous 30 members to its current 50, in order to better represent the demographics of the Quadrants. On foreign policy, she continued to make defence of humanity against artificial intelligences a central policy thrust, leading to the rounding up of an AI ring in Q4, the destruction of a Forerunner AI on Mystery, and a joint operation with Earth to prevent the construction of a suspected AI on Sirius. This latter however ultimately proved to be her political downfall, when it emerged that the so-called 'Sirian AI' was probably a sting operation by Earther intelligence. Banderas attempted to keep a lid on this information so as not to jeopardise cooperation with Earth over gravitic ship technology, but after a Senate inquiry and the publication of a Mossad report showing that the Xyonists had come to the same conclusion, she was forced to resign in 3216. Initially she said that she would remain as Senator for Q5 for the remainder of her term, but was enticed onto the Grand Armada mission to Hostile Exterminator Builder space in 3217 as a diplomatic and political representative. Her departure for 'HEBspace' means that she is unlikely to return to human space for 10 years at the earliest, if ever.


3212 Interview with INN:
> 1. What do you feel the future holds for your government?
Right now we have a fight on our hands; a war against an alien enemy that gives and wishes to receive no quarter. I think that that is probably going to occupy the main priority of this administration, and given the distance that they may have come from, probably several administrations to come. The citizens of Adobe know to their cost what it would mean to drop our guard on that one, so I hope that the public understands the tough decisions we are going to have to take on spending commitments to make sure that no-one else has to suffer in the same way. There are some good collective efforts that have been made towards a long-term solution to this issue, taking the war to the enemy, and we'd like to see those moves accelerate if possible.
We understand of course that the Association has gone through some tough times economically under our Socialist predecessors, and - in conjunction with our coalition partners in the CDP - revitalising the economy is another of this government's priorities. We hope to cut red tape and bureaucracy and harness the creative power of the Martian people. And more generally we hope to play a constructive part in international affairs, making sure that the Martian voice and perspective is heard, and maybe now and again even listened to.
> 2. What is your unique contribution to your government.
I've always sought to serve the will of the People, first in the Marine Corps, and then in public office; as Mayor of New Jack City, Councillor for Marti, and Supreme Councillor for Quadrant 5. It has been my privilege to be elected as one of the Senators for Q5, and as the head of this administration I now hope to be able to serve the whole Association in the same way. Nothing unique about that, you say. Maybe so. But I hope that it shows that what people can expect from me is that I'll treat the job as I have all of those before it - I'll speak my mind, as I always have (that's how I got kicked out the Marines after all!), and I'll do whatever it takes to safeguard the lives and property of free citizens, and to involve the public in overcoming the problems that face us all, as I did in tackling crime in New Jack City with the Banderas Bill.
My record on Artificial Intelligence I think speaks for itself - not many people would have had the guts to not only drop a Marine landing force on an allied capital city, but also to accompany them in person; I believe in taking personal responsibility for my actions. What the people see is what they get - someone who will fight for their interests just as hard as they would themselves if they were standing where I am now. That may not be unique, but it's got me where I am.
> 3. If you ruled the Universe (and you don't) what would be your top three new laws / rules.
I think my first wish would have to be not to be ruling the Universe! Probably the last thing most humans need are more laws being drafted from On High telling them how to live their lives. My party has always stood for smaller, more devolved government, so in the unlikely event I ever did find myself running the Universe, I am sure I would be looking for a way to transfer power back to the people, where it belongs. If you could improve the world just by making more rules, we'd all have joined the Venerian Republic. It's having fewer rules that allows us all to be what we want to be. Self determination, self expression, self reliance; that's what being a Martian is all about.
> 4. What or who do you regard as being the greatest threat to universal peace? (Go, on, be honest, I won't tell anyone...)
Well, going purely on the evidence so far, the top two have to be the Exterminators and their builders - which most people are assuming is what the Roaches are - and if they're not, then that's two rather than just one - and then Artifical Intelligences, and those who are crazy enough to build them.
Of course, those are the two easy ones, especially for a Martian. After that it's more complicated. There are those who might say that the Visitors pose the greatest threat to our way of life; they're not a direct, physical threat like an Exterminator, but rather something more insidious - something that can change our society, our way of thinking, our shared values. See, I'm not just a pretty face - I think about this stuff too. Of course, we mostly have the Mald Foundation's word on this, and there are others who might say that their stranglehold over our learning and science is an equal and counterbalancing threat; to fossilise and ossify us in an unchanging status quo for eternity.
But leaving the high falutin' philosophy to one side, I guess that longer term, the greatest threat to peace, rather than just peace of mind, comes from within - humanity's own nature. As long as there are those who seek power over other humans, and who are willing to use any tools at their disposal to control people and direct them to their own vain personal ends and glorification, or a blind subservience to Big Ideas, be they Empire, Socialism, Capitalism, Fascism... I'm naming no names here - then there will always be a need for free citizens to band together in time of need to maintain a collective defence against the imposition of another's tyrannical will.
So say we all.
> 5. When not being one of the most important people in the universe, how do you like to relax? Hobbies, pets, bizzare personal habits?
Thanks for asking. Work hard, play hard has always been my motto, and I've always been a party person - I'm lucky that Martians aren't as sanctimonious about their politicians as some other nations, and if I like a drink or two of an evening that's my own lookout, right? We don't have to wear hair shirts all the time. Or only if we want to, anyway! I like a good workout - nothing gets the blood pumping and eases the stresses of public life like physical activity. And imagining someone else's face on the punch bag can be very therapeutic - again I'm naming no names here! Did you get what you needed? Thanks, it's been real.