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The Secretary's Report

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The Secretary's Report

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Sunset City, Government Tower, 100th floor, Theresa Tumbleweed's apartment, 22:40

MaiThrough the shaded panorama windows of one of the best-secured rooms in all of the Sunset Sea Islands, Theresa Tumbleweed observed the sun slowly creeping behind the horizon. She had worked hard for her position but that did not mean that the times of hard work were over for her. Governing a nation of one hundred and sixty-four million inhabitants with a fair but firm hand was still a tough and exhausting job. Neither did Theresa Tumbleweed want to assign too many tasks to her aides. If there was someone better suited to carry out these tasks she wouldn't be where she was now. Nevertheless, observing the magnificent sunset was calming her down a little, although her facial expression remained as cold as ever. Nobody could ever tell what Theresa Tumbleweed was thinking or feeling at a given moment and explaining her thoughts or feelings to someone who wasn't herself was impossible as well. One of the few people who could grasp some of them was Mai, who had been standing quietly in the shadow of the entresol. Theresa Tumbleweed was probably one of the most mysterious people in the world with nothing about her private life being public. Mai, however, was even more mysterious. Not many people knew she existed in the first place and those who did either had the highest level of clearance in the nation or they could never talk to anyone about her existence because of hospital or mental ward stays of indefinite length. Mai did not have an official title. Having an exact title would mean storing that information somewhere. As storing information regarding her person was detrimental to her position, she was one of the very few people who could slip through the Synapse System's all-seeing algorithms. She avoided surveillance cameras, but whenever she had no other choice but to pass through the line of sight of a camera, the system would recognise her as a moving person but without any personal or other data attached. The system would just forget about her existence as soon as she left its field of view again. The world that would best describe Mai was "ghost". Her tasks, however, were much less mysterious in nature. She was Theresa Tumbleweeds secretary, maid and confidant. Whenever Theresa Tumbleweed went out, Mai would follow without anyone noticing. When Theresa Tumbleweed went home, her apartment was sparkly clean and tea was prepared on the dark marble table in the middle of the otherwise empty room. When the Synapse System identified shady individuals lurking in the proximity of the head of state, slender hands would pull them into the shadows never to be seen again. And on the rare occasion that Theresa Tumbleweed would want to speak to someone, she was there to listen.

"Mai," Theresa Tumbleweed said in her aged, but sharp voice.

"Yes, Mrs Prime Minister," Mai answered immediately.

"What do you know about the situation in Futanaria and Free Dobby?"

"After the Kingdom of Mat Troi Lan was defeated in the Thalassan War and reformed as the Kingdom of the Sunset Sea Islands, it had to release all of its subjects, including Futanaria and Dobby. Mat Troi Lan hegemony and the never-ending thirst for resources wreaked havoc across Thalassa. Most minor nations recovered more or less from the exploitation of their lands but the situation was different for every individual puppet. Whilst the smaller nations like @Little Flau or @Selayar recovered quickly since there was not much to exploit there in the first place and they profited from Mat Troi Lan rule through the infrastructure the kingdom built there, Futanaria and Dobby suffered heavily. Mat Troi Lan destroyed the economies of both the proud and industrious Futanarians and the peaceful Dobbians completely and sucked the nations dry. Although both nations already were under Mat Troi Lan rule prior to the Thalassan War, both nations did not gain anything from their subjugation. Even after the UBPSSIF was established after the war to tie all three nations together and to repay Futanaria and Free Dobby for their losses, stability could not be maintained. All governments formed in both nations collapsed within years. Mat Troi Lan hegemony destroyed their societies permanently. Since then one semi-legitimate government follows the next into the abyss of history and the UBPSSIF became a shell of its former self. Today it is only providing the inhabitants with medical aid and food, secure the waters surrounding them and running emigration centres to relocate willing individuals to the Sunset Sea Islands. Their former overlords are now the only society they can go to since their own one collapsed decades ago. Now, the population is slowly draining away and the only people still living there are outlaws and isolationists. Needless to say, some nations completely ceased to exist, for example, the small but militarist Flups and Truly and the perpetually fighting sisters, the spiritualist and authoritarian Cynph and the liberal and democratic Phync. Now, those four are simply sparsely populated islands within the sphere of influence of the Sunset Sea Islands. Shall I continue?"

"No, thank you, Mai, that was entirely sufficient." Theresa Tumbleweed answered. The sun had hidden completely in the meantime and the sky was dark. Theresa Tumbleweed's face was illuminated by the city's lights from below.

"Do you think we are at fault for what happened, Mai?" the head of state of the Sunset Sea Islands asked.

"No, Mrs Prime Minister, we are not. None of the people who were responsible for the crimes committed by our predecessor state are still alive today, so nobody alive today is at fault for what happened in the last century. However, we do have a responsibility to make sure this doesn't happen again and we have a responsibility to care for the people alive today who still suffer from the crimes of Mat Troi Lan. Protecting their waters, providing aid to their people and making it easy for them to integrate into our society is the least we can do."

"Very good answer," Theresa Tumbleweed said. It was rare for her to speak outside of working hours and it was even rarer for her to praise anyone.

"The Radiant Republic of the Sunset Sea Islands welcomes immigrants from former Mat Troi Lan subjects with open arms. Those who possess a higher degree of education applicable in the SSI can find a good job here and those without an education can provide well for their families by learning a trade. Currently, a large share of the workers we dispatch to our construction projects in Tenma and the Manamana Canal are diaspora from former puppet states. Whilst we are prospering our northern neighbours are crumbling and at the edge of demise. Therefore, decisions need to be made. I will submit a controversial proposal at the upcoming ATARA General Assembly. If we want stability for the residents of the UBPSSIF we need to change it. We need to federalise it. The Sunset Sea Islands are the only stable nation in western Thalassa. If we turn the UBPSSIF from a supranational union into a federal union, at least partially, we can stabilise the continent in a more efficient way. I will push for an incorporation of the deserted Flups, Truly, Phync and Cynph. The other member states are unable to govern themselves, how should they help the smaller island nations? Furthermore, I will request further authority in Free Dobby and Futanaria. Things cannot go on the way they are going now. I know that I and all of our nation will be accused of neocolonialistic tendencies, but lives are on the line. We cannot avert our eyes when a system created to help people fails to do its job. When we have the power to save lives we have to act upon it whether we will be criticised for it or not."

"Whatever you do, Mrs Prime Minister, I support your decision fully," Mai said.

"Thank you, Mai. You may rest now."

"Yes, Mrs Prime Minister." Mai saluted and went into her room without making the slightest noise.

Once more, Theresa Tumbleweed took a look at the pulsating lights of the city below before she too went to bed. "Today had been a hard day, tomorrow will be much harder," she thought before closing her eyes.

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