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3rd Antargic Council meeting

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Oliver Remmen was delighted to see such participation. Unfortunately the United States had been unable to attend the last Antargic Council meeting due to cabinet issues immediately after the election, but he'd seen on the news that it was effectively an @Orioni echo chamber. Clearly the treaty had needed a change of pace, and bringing the meeting to Prymont had been a step in the right direction as far as interest went.

Mr Wayanor from Orioni had made some interesting comments; progress on their icebreaker fleet sounded positive, but Remmen and his aides were saddened to hear the news of the passing of a Walter Sandiego. Remmen wasn't quite sure who that was or why he was so important, but it was not good news nonetheless. Their simulations on the future of Antargis were rather concerning, and the Minister made sure to draw particular attention to that in the debrief after the meeting. 

Delegates from @Salvia and @Seylos largely said the same thing - they were interested in moving to Antargis, establishing research bases, and playing a role in the treaty. To that effect, Remmen felt little need to address many points regarding those two nations. However, the Seylosian commodore did mention crop research, but that was nothing a little clarification couldn't settle.

Finally there was the woman - at least, he thought it was a woman - from @Variota. The Variotans were good friends of Prymont, but they were bloody weird. They were also rather concerning, and not just because they were strange people. Time and again their actions had proven to disregard the environment in favour of political and economic gain. Minister Remmen recalled two incidents that stuck out in his mind - the completely barbaric practice of whale hunting, and the rather absurd suggestion of creating new landmass in the sea with rubbish. While Dr Fantuitlant hadn't said anything outrageous just yet, her intentions were edging towards being regarded as questionable and he was keen to nip that in the bud before their wacky ideas progressed into reality.

The Minister of Energy & the Environment remained silent after the Seylosian had sat down, taking the time to sort his notes and allow another diplomat to take the spotlight. Once nobody else took the opportunity Remmen himself rose, straightening his suit and shuffling his notes before beginning.

"Thank you all for those very thought-provoking, insightful points. I'm glad to see nations across the wurld are taking this treaty seriously and are excited to join us on this journey of exploring and preserving Antargis. Now before we talk about the TCSI or zone management, I'd like to address some points raised by each of you.

"We'll start with Mr Tobiya Wayanor. Firstly I'd like to congratulate the Orionese on the development of your icebreaker fleet. Your supply vessels have been crucial in delivering goods to the TCSI's Simon Station and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To see such collaboration between so many nations is very promising for the future of not only Antargis but the wurld. As for your helicopter problems I'd be happy to refer you to Aamotech, who I'm sure will have an answer for you. Drop me an email afterwards and we'll look into that.

"Regarding your simulations... err, they're a bit confusing, to say the least." Remmen rubbed his temples as he recalled the simulations Mr Wayanor had presented. Complete and utter nonsense, although he couldn't quite say that. "I wonder if there is some inaccuracy in your technology? We have been stationed on the continent through the TCSI for almost two and a half years and we've not noticed anything that drastic. Our own simulations also do not correlate with yours, so there's some further investigation to be had there. Regardless, it does make a very good point of reinforcing what's at stake. If we are not careful, Antargis will end up looking like those simulations. An increase in global temperature, rising sea levels, and a decrease of Antargic landmass is not good news for our collective future. We must tread carefully and protect this continent at all costs. 

"There was also a question regarding non-signatories I'd like to address. The TCSI maintains a zero tolerance stance on non-signatory involvement on Antargis, whether it's in line with the treaty or not. The treaty is here for a reason - it ensures we're all playing by the same rules and working towards the same goal. Any nation or entity working on Antargis without the approval of the treaty will be condemned appropriately." His voice had turned stern and determined as he spoke about the action against non-signatory involvement on Antargic land. Naturally it was something the Minister was very passionate about, and his tone remained as he moved onto his next point.

"I'd now like to ask you a question, Mr Wayanor. Before this meeting myself and my team searched through the national foreign affairs archives and we got in touch with the Orionese embassy. Neither were able to provide us with a satisfactory answer so I'll ask you directly. The only way I can see the EOS being defined is as an organisation that is predominantly focused on military activities. To be blunt, I don't like this. Antargis should be free of any military involvement, and as per the treaty," Remmen paused while his aide flicked to the appropriate page in the ARTHA booklet she'd brought, "take your time... here we are, err... prohibition of any... yes, the prohibition of any military projects on the continent of Antargis. Could you either clarify the ultimate overarching goal of the EOS for me, or if not, promise me today that the EOS will remove itself from the treaty and any future involvement in Antargic matters?"

It was a bold move to call the Entente out to their face, but it baffled Remmen that nobody else had done the same before now. The EOS went against everything the treaty stood for, and despite their actions being productive and adhering to the treaty so far, he was worried about any ulterior motives. A military alliance working its way into a strictly scientific situation could only mean one thing, and Remmen wanted to make sure nothing shady happened on his watch.

After a sip of water and turning a page in his notebook he was ready to continue. "Err, Dr Varazzo, I'll come to you next. Let's just say the treaty would be honoured to have Salvia join us. It's been wonderful to see the country grow and prosper since you've rejoined the global political stage and while I'm sure this will be a big moment for your country, it will also be a big moment for the treaty. The United States and the TCSI would fully support a Salvian research base and we'd be happy to share with you the lessons learned from the Simon Station. We'll get to zone management later, but I don't think I could walk away from this meeting without sorting something out with how the land is split up. Currently I admit it is very unfair, so don't worry, we'll get to that.

"Now we'll go to the Variotans and Dr Fantuitlant," Remmen glanced down at his notes and had to stifle as laugh, bringing a fist to his mouth and forcing a cough to recover the momentary lapse in professionalism. Upon seeing the doctor rise from her seat to talk he'd written 'what the bloody hell is she wearing' and not much more. Fortunately his aide had been better prepared and covertly slid her notes over to help. "Sorry, just getting my notes straight... ahm, it's reassuring to hear that you are eager to protect Antargis with fervour upon signing the treaty and being allotted a slice of the pie to manage. I do support what Commodore McKellar has said about the continent, in that it is not to be viewed as a new piece of land under your own flag, and instead as a loan from mother nature. We promise to protect and preserve Antargis, and nothing more. Here, write that down," he gestured to his aide, tapping his finger on her notepad, "that'll make a good headline. We're here to protect and preserve Antargis."

"I don't think it'll make any headlines, Oliver."

"Just write it down please. Sorry doctor, where were we? Yes, erm, the Antargic Treaty welcomes one and all, as long as their actions are strictly scientific and do not harm the environment. The treaty will not be changed to allow any other sort of involvement and I'm sure you'll understand and appreciate why that is. As I've already said, any wrongdoing on the continent will earn itself an appropriate response. I'm sure Variota will do the right thing and join us today to ensure no harm comes to Antargis."

With all queries and comments hopefully settled, Remmen was ready to press on with the agenda. Despite having updates regarding the TCSI's progress in the Simon Station and their future plans for the continent, zone management was clearly more important, and what better way to tackle the elephant in the room than head on? Oliver paused briefly, pondering the best way to truly fight an elephant, but dismissed the thought as quickly as his mind had conjured it - he was the environmental man of the cabinet. He'd leave fighting matters to the defence office, and would probably grumble that elephants should be left alone rather than fought head-on. 

"I think now is a good time to move on and, since it has been mentioned by some of you already, we should probably look at how we manage Antargis." He snapped his fingers at his aide who worked frantically at her laptop's keyboard to pull up an image. "Any time today, don't worry, not as if we have important people here... yes, here we are."



A map of the wurld appeared on the screen behind Remmen and he wished he'd never turned around to see it. It was crudely made, as if his aide had only spent five minutes on it and didn't care for professionalism or making good impressions. He shook his head in dismay before returning to his notes, muttering curses under his breath in Standard Prymontian and hoping that his guests weren't too knowledgeable on the local words of expression.

"Well, that's something isn't it? You'll have to excuse my aide's graphic abilities. Despite how it looks this treaty won't be invading Aurelia or Marenesia anytime soon. Look, you get the idea. We split Antargis up into twelve easy, equal blocks. Everyone gets their fair share this way. Currently there are seven signatories of the treaty, and if we induct three nations today then we reach ten. The TCSI already has an operational base on Antargis so we'll make that eleven, leaving one empty space which, ideally, we do exactly that - leave it. It can be left for a future signatory or if not, I doubt there'd be many issues with the TCSI assuming a watchful eye over the remaining zone.

"The benefit here is that everything is equal so nobody can complain. Well I suppose you can complain since the landmass isn't all that equal but it's not like we're going straight to the south pole, right? All we need is some coastal access and you can have yourselves a nice research facility. What this also allows is for us to create a further twelve zones by splitting the existing zones up equally, so if there was ever an influx of signatories we could handle it no problem. If a current signatory wasn't maintaining a presence on their zone then it could be split up to allow another signatory a piece of the puzzle. It's clear, it's simple, and it's equal. I don't see a better way of going about it."

Remmen took a seat at last, satisfied with how he'd handled the various comments and remarks and rewarding himself with a fresh glass of water. His aide, on the other hand, would be getting nothing but a bollocking afterwards.

Edited by Prymont
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Posted (edited)

An aide behind Varazzo tapped his shoulder and passed forward a slip of paper.  Motioning himself to be acknowledged, he began, "Minister Remmen, before I go on with the rest of my statement, I wish to thank you for your welcoming position to Salvia's goals in Antargic.  Moving on to the issue of zone management, the Salvian delegation has just one point to raise, that being that the 'boxiness' of the borders, which seem to ignore the geography of Antargis.  Just from looking at this map, there seems to be an issue with borders cutting peninsulas off - zone 5 cuts off that peninsula from the rest of zone 6, the same happening with zone 7 and zone 6, and with zone 7 and zone 8.  I recommend that we instead change it so that the peninsula is given to the zone that is cutting it off - for example, zone 5 should be granted the whole peninsula that juts into zone 6.  I also must ask, since the boxes of this map do not adequately show, how far each zone extends into the ocean. That is all."

The doctor sat back down and waited for the Prymontian response.

Edited by Salvia
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Posted (edited)

(TL;DR: Some veiled critique for TCSI. An attempt to sidestep Prymont's obviously correct arguments. New research stations can be discussed, but there are some concerns about potential exploitation. Zone management will more challenging to redraw without something in return. Let's discuss.)

So far everything looked very promising, Tobiya Wayanor thought to himself. The participants were all very outspoken about their wishes and desires. Mr Remmen of @Prymont didn't beat around the bush: he wanted the Argic Council's permanent HQ to be located right here in Canastota. With Prymont being the furthest away from Antargis that didn't really make any sense. But agreeing to this request would be an easy token gesture. And who knows, perhaps another representative might come up with this remark all on their own...

"Rest assured, Mr Remmen, that the EOS is complying with and remains committed to the ARTHA rules. This was already made crystal clear when representative Hackney signed the treaty in 2017, in the presence of your very own president Duval. The improvement of civilian, humanitarian and scientific achievements were part of the core goals at EOS founding, and they remain so to this day. The ultimate overreaching goal is defined in our EOS Antargic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan. Someone from my staff will be able to attain a copy for you while we continue our discussion." Wayanor covered his mouth and whispered to his aide: but be sure to send them only the abbreviated bullet points. He then continued: "And regarding your other question, I can only point to the wurld map: EOS is concerned with maintaining peace around the Oriental Ocean. And Antargis happens to border that same ocean. Even a child can see that. There's really no need to discuss this any further."

"Now, Lady and gentlemen, for something that actually matters" Wayanor said, recognising the abnormally tall Variot Dr Fantuitlant, "It is quite obvious that we all are of a similar mind. That the burden of Antargic care-taking should be the responsibility of all nations. It seems only fair that the protection of Antargis becomes a shared duty. This task should not rest on the shoulder of the EOS alone. It is admirable that the TCSI even considers taking on more responsibility, having weathered the difficult supply problems and tragic loss of human life." Wayanor thought it was rather ironic how the TCSI wanted to double the size of their assigned zone, even though they were obviously already out of their depth. Wayanor had no problem with subtly pointing this out. "We appreciate the offer of Aamotch assistance, and hope that in the future the availability of a polar-capable helicopters can improve safety for all scientific missions."

"Thank you Mr Remmen for you proposal of redrawn zone management. You have obviously put great effort into preparing this draft. Very interesting." Wayanor leaned back from the microphone for a moment, pulling a handkerchief from his vest pocket while suppressing a sneeze. He must have caught a cold here in northern Prymont. "Many of the participants here have already clearly stated their interest in redrawing the zone management." He looked around at Mr Remmen, Dr Fantuitlant, Cdre McKellar and Dr Varazzo. This last one had already highlighted inconsistencies in the zones numbered 5, 6, 7 and 8."

"The plans of the lady and gentlemen for establishing research stations, scientific experiments and crop cultivation are quite intriguing. I'm sure these plans can be discussed on a case-by-case basis. And if these stations are to be located between135°W to 165°W the EOS will likely not use its veto right." (See §8.) For now Mr Wayanor kept his concerns about the proposed plans to himself. Antargis wasn't to be exploited for profit. And yet Cdre McKellar was already talking about crop farming. Meanwhile Dr Fantuitlant proclaimed without concern that Variota would be "protecting its zone with the same verve as we would protect our own territory". And let's not forget Prymont's minister of the Environment also happens to be the Minister of Energy, an obvious conflict of interest.

§8 Construction of Scientific Stations

Those scientific stations can be built in any zone as long as any Responsible does not veto. If a veto was to be made, the Responsible needs to further explain their reasons. If the veto was to be contested, a mediation shall be initiated.

"What seems to have been overlooked is that this proposal, and for now we'll only consider this a proposal, entirely consists of dividing the zones under EOS management. While we understand the intent, the existing ARTHA does not permit you to redefine another member's zones. (See §6) To the best of my knowledge the EOS are fulfilling their obligations. And as mentioned earlier, we have even been assisting the TCSI. Perhaps we should be discuss reducing the TCSI responsibilities to something... easier to manage?"

§6 Zone Management

Those zones Responsibles [...] may be removed, amended or added during any conference if a Nation/Organization or international cooperation shall be failing to fulfill this treaty.

Wayanor had made his point in the most polite way possible. He didn't have to commit to anything. The EOS were holding almost all of the cards.

    Edited by Orioni
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    As soon as Remmen took a seat his aide leaned over with a sly grin. She was already in deep shit for her lackluster editing of the wurld map to display the zone management propisition, so she may as well continue digging her own grave. "What about the Seylosian?" she whispered as Salvia's Dr Varazzo rose to speak.

    "Why didn't you tell me that before I'd finished?" Remmen groaned as he wondered how to remedy the fatal error once he next spoke.

    "You seemed to get into a rhythm, I didn't want to disturb you." Remmen gave her the cold shoulder as he took note of Varazzo's amendment, which was very fair all things considered. His proposal was short and sweet, and Remmen was ready to get up and support the proposal when @Orioni's Tobiya Wayanor took centre stage. What came out of the delegate's mouth was the largest, fattest piece of tripe he'd ever heard. Remmen recalled the tripe his grandmother made; it was a favourite dish of hers, but to him it was vile and repulsive, much like what he was hearing from Wayanor. The man was shooting down valid proposals on the foundation of EOS taking advantage of a very vacant audience in the previous meeting. Unfortunately for him, Remmen was not about to roll over and obey his every command like a dog. Oliver Remmen took to the podium, cleared his throat, and began his response.

    "Thank you Dr Varazzo, and Mr Wayanor for your comments. Before I make any response I hope you don't mind if I briefly apologise to Commodore McKellar. The treaty would wholeheartedly support Seylosian involvement and the morals and focus of your government fall in line with the aims of the treaty. We'd be very honoured for you to become a fellow signatory today. I would be interested to speak with your scientists in Llalta regarding the discoveries they've made about ice breakup in the north pole. Since we're effectively in the north pole now, there's room for some research collaboration that could be very useful in comparing how climate change is affecting the north and south poles. Furthermore, I'd like to remind you that while farming tests on a very small scale would be fully acceptable in Antargis, we would prohibit anything on a larger scale in the fear of it disrupting the environment. Overall, we'd be happy to have you. My apologies again. Now Dr Varazzo, your suggestion is something I can get behind and would support as long as it is supported by the others. However, we may have a hurdle to overcome before we can get that far."


    Remmen turned his attention to Wayanor and stared at the man for a moment as he contemplated his response. He leaned forward slightly on the podium, his piercing scowl an attempt to unnerve a man who had... well, a lot of nerve spouting such rubbish. The Seylosians and the Salvians had come with excitement and anticipation to join what was a great treaty, and while he was certain those pesky Variotans had sinister motives they were outwardly just as warm and receptive as the others. Tobiya bloody Wayanor had the nerve to throw a spanner in the works, when Remmen was making progress in leaps and bounds. Even his own aide, who had been difficult and careless in her role, squirmed in her seat. The atmosphere in the room had turned from one of hope to one of hostility.

    The Minister had to take a further moment to compose himself and swallowed the strong urge to throw an insult. He was not Julian Nordeng. He would use his words to overcome his opponents rather than belittle them, although he wished he had Nordeng by his side to unleash a barrage of insults anyway. "Mr Wayanor... I'd like to point out that you have failed - no, refused to redefine the EOS. As it stands, the organisation continues to be seen primarily as a military alliance, and that strictly contradicts point 2.4 of the treaty, as I've already pointed out."

    The prohibition of any military projects on the continent of Antargis

    "I appreciate that you respect the rules of the treaty, and as such I know you'll agree with me when I say your stance against reorganising the zones based on points 6 and 8, as you kindly pointed out to us, is completely invalidated by point 2.4. A military organisation has no place on Antargis as agreed by all signatories. You're also keen to remind us that President Duval was a founding member of the treaty, and in turn, I shall remind you that he has not been a member of parliament for over a year. President Duval made many mistakes, and allowing the treaty to develop in such a way is one of them. I hope that today we can correct that mistake."

    Remmen took a moment to collect himself and regain his professionalism. He took a sip of water, referred back to the notes he'd scribbled during Wayanor's ramble, and resumed. "Moving on, I disagree that the TCSI needs its zone reducing. We've made leaps and bounds since we first arrived on the continent and our progress isn't stopping yet. I acknowledge the setbacks that we have faced recently, particularly a string of failures with launching weather balloons which has disrupted our observations of the local climate. These setbacks are unfortunate and frustrating and have been pinpointed to older technology and a lack of adequate funding. Today I would like to announce that Prymont will be contributing an additional β5 million directly to the Simon Station as an act of faith and confidence in the good, honest work that the scientists carry out there. Additionally we're considering increasing the funding for the University of Canastota's environmental sciences department, which has sent many students and professors to the Simon Station, and if ratified by the budget review panel, will be available for the 2021-2022 financial year.

    "Finally I would like to reveal plans for the TCSI to construct a seed bank in Antargis. Prymont has already seen the successful construction of a seed bank in our northern lands which currently holds over 500,000 samples from around the wurld. This structure is essential in preserving the vital crops of Eurth, and an additional bank in Antargis would be another failsafe. A further β5 million will go towards this project directly from Prymont's pocket, and we encourage our fellow TCSI members to contribute to a vital piece of environmental preservation and protection. May I note that the EOS is yet to set foot on the continent, despite having the largest zone. Perhaps they're concerned about their abilities to succeed in such unforgiving climates? The TCSI and the United States will continue to thrive under the pressure and will not be deterred in the ugly faces of adversity and uncertainty.

    "Mr Wayanor, everybody here wants equal zone management." Remmen gestured to his peers who had been supportive of his proposal to divide Antargis into equal portions, and the @Salvians had even offered improvements. "Your current position is counterproductive and, by assuming such a stance, you are preventing the widespread, fair protection of Eurth's last frontier. Let us protect these unspoiled lands together."

    He took another mouthful of water and gathered his notes. His response was complete, but there was one last comment he wanted to make and he couldn't quite help himself. "At the end of the day, Mr Wayanor, a child can see that EOS is going against what ARTHA stands for. Let's not ruin what we have."

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