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3rd Antargic Council meeting


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The Røvik Hotel | 1030hrs
5th May 2020
Canastota
United States of Prymont

 

Three-world-class-restaurants-to-open-in

 

Oliver Remmen, Minister of Energy & the Environment, beamed at the diplomats and politicians sat before him. They'd travelled from far and wide, the summit attracting attention from all four corners of the globe, for one united purpose. Since 2017, the Antargic Regulation Treaty of Human Activities (ARTHA) had safeguarded the southern continent of Antargis, promoting scientific research and protecting the peaceful, untouched lands from being spoiled. Prymont was known as an environmentally-friendly nation, and Remmen was very proud to be serving his country in what he considered the most important role in the cabinet. Sure, the Prime Minister was running the country, and the Health Minister kept people happy and healthy, and perhaps the Defence Minister made sure they were safe, but none of it was possible without the Energy & the Environment office. Oliver Remmen was promoting the wellbeing of the environment, not only at home but on the world stage. Hopefully this conference bore the fruits of his labour, and would show the Prime Minister what a stellar job he was doing.

"Good morning everyone," he started, his eyes meeting those of the attendees as he sought acceptance and comfort amongst his peers, "and welcome to the third Antargic Council meeting. I'm absolutely honoured to welcome you all to the United States, and I'm confident that we can make some good progress today."

He glanced down at his laptop, reminding himself of the long-winded name of the treaty while reaching for a glass of water. "The Antargic Regulation Treaty of Human Activities has been a bit of a success story so far. The Trans-Continental Science Initiative has been operating the Simon Station for over two years now, and we've already seen some great research emerging from the facility. The station is kept as sparsely populated as possible throughout the year, and as far as I'm aware there's little other human activity on the continent. Naturally, this is doing Antargis wonders, and it remains an unspoiled place of natural beauty. I'm delighted to see some new faces today, and I hope that we can welcome you all on board as we seek to protect and preserve Antargis."

On the agenda, most noticeably, were finding a permanent HQ for the Council, reviewing the zone management, and revisiting the entire wording of the treaty to ensure it was up to date before the new signatories joined. Plus, Remmen didn't doubt that the attendees would bring their own topics of discussion too. "So, ladies and gentlemen - where shall we begin?"

Edited by Prymont
Fixed grammar (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

(TL;DR: the EOS ice breakers are operational but helicopters can't fly in the cold; changing of zone management is negotiable depending on what we can get for it in return.)

Mr Tobiya WayanorMr Tobiya Wayanor was appointed only five months ago after Mrs Anna Hackney moved on from her post as EOS permanent representative. Those were some big pumps to fill. Wayanor leaned forward and lightly tapped his microphone.

"Thank you very much, Minister Remmen," he began, gesturing in the direction his host with an open right palm, "I'd like to start by thanking our Prymontian hosts for preparing this splendid venue."

This was quite true. The Røvik Hotel was an excellent location for this kind of conference. Much better compared to the dilapidated old EOS headquarters. And the city of Canastota proved to be quite beautiful this time of year. The introduction of Concorde aircraft into the government's transportation fleet quickly proved itself a welcome upgrade. Travel times were considerably shortened.

"Speaking for EOS in general and Orioni in particular, we hope this 3rd official meeting of the Antargic Council resolves some important issues left open during the previous, more bureaucratic conferences," he continued. "The Entente members have prepared an update of their plans and progress. We want to put forward three major points of discussion: 1. our fleet of ice breakers, 2. the changing Antargic climate, and 3. considerations regarding the zone management."

(1) "As you all know, the first stepping stone of EOS' Antargic Strategy was the creation of research and resupply icebreakers. We can share in confidence that sea trials were a success. In May of last year, our nuclear icebreaker IRV Beredo made its maiden voyage to Antargis. We learned a great deal from operating in the hostile polar climate. While on its way to Antargic the mission also focussed on the tragic case of Mr Walter Sandiego, sadly without success. Search and rescue operations in such a vast expanse of open ocean are complicated without regular patrolling stations in Marenesia. Lessons learned from the Beredo were applied by our Miirosi partners to upgrade of the Beredo's two sister ships, the IRV Menelassar and the IRV Connor Grey. One problem I like to highlight is the reliability of aircraft. Operating the Beredo's helicopter within the Antargic circle proves problematic. Perhaps the more experience Prymontian engineers have a solution they'd like to share."

Wayanor felt confident he'd made his first point. In truth, the Beredo itself had experienced no significant issues to speak of. The helicopter crew, however, didn't get much flight time. Oil problems, strong winds and low visibility proved too great a risk for landing. Without landing bases nearby, their helicopter crew deemed the flight too risky to even try.

(2) "Our second element concerns the Antargic climate. The MIDAS satellites network has detected some rather alarming changes. We've prepared a short briefing for you. If you'll please turn your attention to face the monitors." While Wayanor explained the climate findings, participants got to see an animation of the Antargic ice sheet. Between 2006-2015 the animation showed the Antargic ice sheet growing and shrinking. Between 2016-2020 the changes became more exaggerated. And a simulation of changes from 2020 onward looked outright dramatic. "As you can see, ladies and gentlemen, the Antargic continent is changing at an alarming rate. In January of this year an ice-sheet broke off that's the size of Greater Canastota. The addition of this much freshwater will have an as of yet unpredictable impact on our ocean's salinity. Our scientists tell me that big shifts in salinity could be a warning that more severe droughts and floods are on their way, or even that global warming is speeding up."

When the animation had run a few times, Wayanor turned to face the nearest of TCSI. "Right now the TCSI is the only member of this Antargic Council with a permanent base on Antargis. We eagerly look forward to the first scientific findings you'd like to share."

(3) "And as our third and final point, we'd like to bring up the existing zone management agreement. The 2nd Antargic Council decided on a two-zone division of Antargis. This made TCSI responsible for W135° to W165°, with other zones outside of this area falling under EOS management."

Wayanor knew zone management was an important issue. The ratification of these zones had been one of his predecessor's greatest achievements. It was a major milestone for the EOS, after years of stagnation. Before departing O'polis he received clear instructions from the councillor of foreign affairs to play it very hard if any renegotiating of the agreement came up.

"However, in January 2019 the Federative Republic of @Shffahkia announced their plans to establish their own Mercier Research Base, in collaboration with the Worker's Republic of @Fulgistan. This complicates the existing agreement as neither countries are signatory to the Antargic Regulation Treaty of Human Activities."

"Certainly near-Antargic nations will wish to become involved in the zone management. Think, for example, of the Aurelian League and the Marenesian nations. What is the TCSI's stance on this unilateral action by non-signatories? How will we ensure the ARTHA is respected while avoiding any potential conflict?"

Edited by Orioni
Removed reference to Mercier Research base; added TLDR (see edit history)
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It was somewhat ironic that Salvia, a warm country where many-a people escape to during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, was at a council about the frigid, inhospitable Antargic.  Yet despite the wild difference in climate, Antargic was close enough to the continent of paradise for Salvia to take interest in her.  And so it was for this reason that Dr. Catori Varazzo, a senior advisor to the Minister of the Environment of Salvia, was sent with a team of diplomats to the Third Antargic Council to voice the opinions of a Salvian state emerging from its isolationist cocoon, ready to take part in international matters once more.

Well, in reality, Salvia’s been “emerging from her cocoon” for two f*cking years now.  Must be one massive butterfly if it takes this long, the doctor thought to himself.  The things he was about to say weren’t even his own thoughts - rather, they were carefully constructed into a paragraph written by the most boring diplomats known to mankind.  Wishing to test this hypothesis further (and trust him, he’s tested it plenty already), he leaned towards one of them and whispered, “What’s the difference between a @Prymontian and an Antargic seal?  One lives in a cold, inhospitable wasteland and is constantly under the threat of being clubbed, and the other is a seal.”  Finishing his joke, the doctor snickered, waiting for the diplomat’s reaction. 

Nothing.  Shifting back to his seat, he muttered “Boring prick,” before turning back to the meeting, where he noticed most of the people staring at him.  A look of disbelief on his face, the Orionese delegate leaned back towards the microphone and simply asked, “Did you have any comments, Mr… Varazzo?”

The doctor cleared his throat several times and stammered out, “Ah-ahem, uh, not at, uh, at all Mr, uh, ...Wah-yuh-nor.”  He flashed the entire room a (hopefully very charismatic) smile.  The diplomats next to him cringed slightly or laughed behind their hands before one nudged the doctor, nodded towards the microphone and mouthed “GO.”  Varazzo nodded and chuckled awkwardly before continuing.

“Thank you, Minister Remmen and, uh, the delegate from @Orioni.  The Salvian delegation, grateful for its involvement in the Third Antargic Council, has just two major points to put forward; both are, in a way, responses to the Orionese delegation’s concerns.  First, the Salvian delegation wishes to inform the respective states of her intentions on joining The Antargic Regulation Treaty of Human Activities and to become involved in scientific exercises on the Antargic continent.  As a result of signing onto this pact, the Salvian state also wishes to discuss the establishment of a Salvian scientific research base on the continent.  Secondly, the Salvian delegation wishes to review the zone management of Antargis so as to include the Marenesian states, who have so far been excluded from the continent.  Thank you, that is all.”  With that, the doctor sat down and turned to the diplomat who he had joked to.  Making sure his microphone was off this time, he muttered, “Oh, so now you f*cking laugh.”

Edited by Salvia (see edit history)
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Dr. Jiwilmi Fantuitlant was an imposing sight, two meters tall and wearing an outfit that contained enough animal print to make wildlife run away in fear of their life. A cigarette almost constantly in her hand or her mouth, lighting one with the other. A drink in the other, either from whatever the Prymontians offered their guests or from her own bedazzled flask. Her parents might have been immigrants to Het Huisselant and relatively conservative at that, she herself had taken up the Variotan culture and lifestyle with a gusto that was rare to see even among Variotans themselves.

The other delegates had come dressed plainly, boring suits and dresses filling up the room. And while she was sure that that'd probably fit the places they were from, boring places that would be forgotten in the history books once they'd inevitably fall, she believed in the truth of more is more. No one can see past your arguments when they can't look past you. A great person, a big person has a big personality, dresses big and does big. And she was sent to do big things.

And now, in this hotel, she'd finally be able to make her mark and move up within the ministry of Diplomatic Affairs. The Variotan stance was that participating in the Antargic Council wasn't an environmental thing, even if some of others thought that. Who cared about the environment when it came down to it? As if the snobs in O'Polis would go back to live like it was 1699 if it meant saving the world. Of course not. Antargis was about diplomacy and science and science had a cost. Progress had a cost. And if all else failed, progress was needed to ensure that Eurth's population was able to flee to different planets. Would Antargis hold these secrets? Who knows.

The biggest concern she had was when she entered the hotel and was told smoking wasn't allowed there. She had heard that such draconian, freedom crushing laws were in place in various nations on Eurth but to see freedom be so abused, contained and crushed in one of Het Huisselant's allies... It was sad, it almost brought a tear to Jiwilmi's eye. A tear that could've normally be prevented by that sweet, sweet feeling of a cigarette between her fingers and lips, that delicious, lung-filling feeling of premium tobacco smoke giving you a level of comfort and peace that the religious people of Eurth would seek their entire lives. A tear she now had barely managed to suck back in through the use of that unnatural demon, nicotine patches. Yuck.

The Orionis, Orionians, Orii, Jiwilmi didn't know and didn't really care, did their spiel first, sending a man with a face and expressions that looked like he was constantly being farted right in the face by an obese woman with a diet primarily consisting of beans. It was always sad when cultures that lacked the finer points of diplomacy tried to act as if they were better than they actually were. Anyone with half a mind could see that the entire spiel of delegate Wayanor was nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt by the Orionerians to toot their own horn sprinkled with a minor serving of 'oh the poor environment' that was barely enough to keep her from throwing down fists.

She was really getting f*cking annoyed with the lack of cigarettes. Even palming one didn't help, she needed that sweet juicy joy that sucking in smoke brought. That sound of your lighter, the flame hitting the cigarette. That delicious, delicious scent. She f*cking needed it. Oh great, now the Salvians were to speak. Who even invited them here? Did they sneak in by pretending to be staff? Were they actually staff that was just quickly blessed into a position of 'importance' by their Papi or whatever their leader was called? Cigarette. Now.

Even through her, slowly growing, haze of anger towards the injustice she was facing and need for a cigarette, she was able to see that the Salvian broom pushers had atleast one thing right. Zones had to be renegotiated. Het Huisselant did not care about the Marenesian nations, the Salvians would probably just try to push their religion to the penguins or whatever beast lives on Antargis and the Batengdeians would probably just die on the journey to Antargis due to being chronically malnourished from communism.

Once the Salvian delegate, whom Jiwilmi was almost certain carried her bags to her room when she checked in at her hotel, was finally done, she stood up. Others might have decided to stay seated but that was not her way. If only because she was on edge enough from the lack of cigarettes, even after having aides stick enough nicotine patches on her arms to murder a family of elephants through nicotine overdose, that her body welcomed any sort of exercise.

''My dear fellow delegates!''

Her voice boomed throughout the chamber the meeting was held in, even with the microphone being relatively far away from her mouth, there was little else one could focus on.

''Let me first thank our great Prymontian friends for hosting this meeting! Suipe, cheers or whatever the various nations represented here use when they toast.''

At that point, she took her drink and took a swig from it, wetting her whistle enough to continue on with her own spiel.

''The delegate of the Salvians speak some truth! As the representative of the venerable Huisselant, I am here to declare that we too, feel that the Antargic zones need to be renegotiated! No longer should they be limited to the veiled Europan imperialists or how they like to call themselves, the EOS. No longer should they be limited to the TCSI. There should be zones made available to the genuinely worthy nations of Eurth, nations such as my own. Nations that lead the wurld with their scientific advances! Nations that are able to make the entire wurld progress!

Yes, Antargis needs to be defended! But one can defend it without limiting its usage so much that the scientific value of Antargis is basically null. I and with me, Het Huisselant, am sure that this council will come to the right choice of opening up the usage of Antargis to the proper nations. And once that decision has been made, Het Huisselant will gladly take its place among the treaty nations and among Antargis, protecting its zone with the same verve as we would protect our own territory.''

Sitting back down, she downed the rest of her drink. She really needed a cigarette now even more than before she started. Would she manage to keep her need for a cigarette from getting too far before the end of the meeting?

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Commodore Austyn McKellar had taken in the sight around him in the Antargic Council Chambers of all the diplomats and scientists who had come to the meeting. It was surely a strange sight seeing a military man in the room, in fact possibly one of the very few directly representing their country. Should any other nation present a military leader to the council this may be a cause for concern, but a Seylosian military officer with a group of scientists wasn’t something to bat an eye at. As the head of the Royal Navy Oceanic Research Division, he was a scientist just like many of the other attendees.  If anything it was almost a seal of approval of the gathering of nations, with some of the country’s brightest minds joining the Seylosian military. He sat listening to the representative from Orioni, a Mr Tobiya Wayanor, talk about his various points from icebreakers, climate change, and of course the elephant in the room territorial acquisition.

Dr. Varazzo from Salvia was next, though it took a moment to get their standing. Some of the other diplomats around the room snickered as the man stammered out his first words before getting to the topic at hand. Which of course seemed to be the most sought after topic of the day, again territorial management. He could tell things might be a bit rough regarding that. Following Varazzo was what he could only tell was an incredibly tall clone of Dina Diva with a PhD. He had taken to watching her across the room fidgeting and sighing, a look of barely contained anger on her face.  He rolled his eyes at her platitudes of protecting Antargis, he doubted the Variotans cared much for keeping the integrity of the continent intact. He watched the woman sit and quickly down her drink, her face reverting back to thinly veiled disgust. McKellar hadn't the best opinions of Variotans, though he had met a few he had genuinely positive feelings towards. The last time he had actually spoken to one was at a gathering at the Royal Palace, where members of the military scientific community had gathered at the King's request. He had remembered the Variotan ambassador showing up very strung out and chugging as much of the free alcohol in the room as he could. When McKellar had finally been able to meet the King, the ambassador had strolled up nudging him and has asked him quite loudly if all the equipment on his 'science boats' could microwave the fish in the ocean before being picked up before whispering loudly that Variota would pay a princely sum for such a revolutionary technology. At least the King had gotten a laugh out of it while the Commodore had just sat there with his palm to his face.

McKellar stood up to address the council after checking over his notes one final time, “Thank you all, and thank you especially to the United States of Prymont for hosting this event. I won’t lie that I’m incredibly excited to be here to help share in the untapped potential of Antargis. The scientific community in Seylos has been ready to explore this unknown continent for many years, and we hope now to join the international effort of uncovering its mysteries.”

“Like Mr Wayanor had spoken of before, Seylos has also been highly concerned for the possibilities of climate change, and the impact it may have on the seas that our country relies so heavily upon. Our own concerns stem from observations made in the north pole by climate scientists stationed in Llalta, who have made the journey to study the breakup of several ice sheets. We agree that studying the effects of any sort of climate shift the planet is going through is of critical importance to all nations present. Seylos also seeks to study the continents past, and to use the location as a way to research crop growth in the most extreme of conditions to prepare ourselves for the future. Our country has already seen a terrible set of possibilities in our neighbors to the west, where ecological devastation and overpopulation has pushed the island of Ceris to its near breaking point.”

“And of course the biggest question in the room that we are all seeking the answers to is… how do we deal with all this territory? Though I’m sure that we are all going to dive into that issue at length, I would like to impress upon the representatives that we need to treat this land not as just another acquisition of clay to expand our nations’ power and influence,” McKellar took a moment to glance over at the Variotan representative. He didn’t know how many people had noticed but he couldn't help himself. “But as a place rife with scientific wealth and potential for extraordinary exploration.”

He sat back down, satisfied with his opening statement, and prepared himself to listen to the next diplomats speak as well.

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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."

EURTH-ANTARGIC-ZONES-v1.png

 

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 (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

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 (see edit history)
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(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
    Typos (see edit history)
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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."

    9393_original.png

    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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    • 4 weeks later...

    Mr Wayanor spilt his drink. It happened while Minister Remmen was staring at him. The glass had slipt his hand, and now his pants were all wet. It was a fitting metaphor for the position he found himself in. Minister Remmen's arguments were rock-solid. And that last little sting, using his words against him? Wayanor was sure it would follow him around for the rest of his career.

    "Minister Remmen," he said calmly while his assistant Ms Julia Atenas tried dabbing his pants with some tissues that quickly started to fall apart, "As you can see, I must ask for a brief recess while I change into another outfit. Shall we say... 30 minutes?" Half an hour was more than enough for Wayanor. In fact, he only needed ten. Would anyone notice the delay tactic? This so-called accident would buy him some time for a private discussion. Or even a phone call to a certain someone in the city of Andro. 

    Their host proved very accommodating, again. Wayanor and his team moved to a side-room in the Røvik Hotel. "Sir, while you take a moment to change I will reach out to Andrew Pipkin," asked Ms Atenas. It was a good idea. Wayanor didn't want to inform Councillor Hackney about the major pushback he was receiving. Orinese politics didn't work like that. The perception was just as important as actual accomplishments. Perhaps even more important. Reaching out to his old mentor Sir Pipkin seemed like a good strategic alternative. Meanwhile, his other aide, the young Mr Atikili Tenya, could rush up to the hotel room and grab some fresh pants.

    It took a while for the secure connection to get through. And there was a time difference to account for. But a few minutes later Sir Pipkin was on the line. He appeared to be outside some club, wearing a bright patterned outfit. "Ah hello, Toby. This is a surprise. It's been a while. And what an unusual hour," the former councillor said, "What can I do for you?" Wayanor explained the situation: the military alliance questions, housing the HQ, zone management, side-projects, etc. Pipkin listened for no more than 3 minutes before interrupting.

    Wayanor-Pipkin call about ARTHA

    "No no no Toby! You're seeing this all wrong," Pipkin called out, waving his hands in front of the camera phone, "The only thing that matters here is the zone management. What you need to do is turn the tables." Wayanor looked at the screen with a blank stare. "Listen, Toby, I'll let you in on a little secret" continued Pipkin, "We always envisioned the large EOS zone as a bargaining chip for something better, something more important. The way I see it, you can turn this around and make it into a nice PR moment for the Entente. By 'sharing' the large Antargic zones with other nations, you'll be the peace-maker. People will quickly forget the change in some territory down in Antargis. It'll soon be forgotten when the next news cycle rolls around."

    The two men further refined the argumentation. Ms Atenas had made ample notes. After another review, they said goodbye to Sir Pipkin. His perspective proved most helpful. Meanwhile, the second aide, gasping for breath, had returned with some fresh pants. The colour didn't match his jacket. But that was alright. The combination gave off an air of Variot je ne sais quoi, resembling a style similar to Dr Fantuitlant.

    Refreshed and feeling more confident about their approach, the Orinese trio stepped back into the room. Wayanor sat down again. "My apologies to keep you waiting," he spoke with a slight smile, feeling more confident than before, "The change in outfit has allowed me to see the change in perspective. It has become clear from the arguments you shared today, that there is a great passion for the Antargic. This latest announcement by Minister Remmen on the creation of a seed bank highlights this even more. It is in this shared passion that I think a compromise can be reached. Humanity stands to gain much from increased peaceful cooperation. What we propose to do is…"

    1. Encourage. We want to encourage greater participation in preserving and protecting Antargis. A revision of the Antargic Zone Management as outlined by Minister Remmen is key, considering the proximity of each signatory;
    2. Observance. We want to continue the observance of the original Antargic Regulation Treaty, which included recognition of the Entente as a valued signatory and partner;
    3. Service. We want to provide service and shoulder our fair share of the burden. This includes continuing transports of people and supplies to and from Antargis, maintaining coastguard patrols within the Antargic circle, and improving our search and rescue capabilities in cooperation with other signatories.

    "What do the council participants think of this proposal?" Wayanor wanted to take another sip from his glass of water. But then he realised he had no more glass.

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    Varazzo tapped his mic as Mr. Wayanor finished, indicating he wished to speak.  Being recognized by Minister Remmen, the doctor began, “I’d first like to point out that the presence of a military force - or organization, for that matter - in the Antargic runs counter to your wishes for ‘peaceful cooperation’, Mr. Wayanor.  Salvia fully supports Minister Remmen’s position on the EOS and its position in the Antargic.  I pose a question for you: would it not be both improper and inappropriate if Salvia and @Prymont instead approached the Antargic under TRIDENT?  I certainly believe it would, and the EOS is no different.  Certainly, then, @Orioni and all other signatories of the EOS should ditch the label and approach this treaty as we all are?  I also take issue with your stance that the EOS should remain on this treaty on the basis that previous sessions have maintained that the organization’s presence is legal and recognized.  The original councils obviously failed in enforcing its own treaty in ensuring the absence of any military powers, and the fact that this issue is just now being addressed speaks more to the failure of the treaty’s signatories rather than the legality of the EOS’s presence.”

     

    The doctor paused to take a sip of water before continuing, “On a off-handed note, Salvia also fully supports Minister Remmen’s plans on establishing a seed bank on the continent and would be willing to help create and maintain such a structure.”  Varazzo indicated to the minister that he was finished speaking and turned his mic back off.

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    • 8 months later...

    After studying the room and deciding that nobody else wanted to support or discredit either side, Minister Remmen rose from his seat and gathered his notes as he prepared to speak. He was thankful for the presence of the Salvians and their support of his argument - while it was in black and white that military organisations were to be prohibited from the continent, he was of the belief that the Orionese would fight tooth and nail to maintain an EOS presence on the continent. Having an ally to stand with him and fight his corner gave him the breathing room he needed to get his elbows out.

    "Thank you both, Mr Wayanor and Dr Varazzo. Mr Wayanor, I am afraid that I simply cannot support any military presence in Antargis, whether that be as an observer or otherwise. I've already pointed out to you multiple times the rules within the signed treaty that you'd be breaking. I've given you the opportunity to redefine the EOS to fit within the treaty, an opportunity which has been ignored. As it stands, I would be betraying the people of Prymont as their Minister of Energy & the Environment by breaking a treaty that we hold so sacred. Perhaps you do not care for our democracy, but I do."

    A brief pause allowed him to finish off his glass of water and mentally prepare for his next statement. Going against a country such as Orioni was no mean feat, especially when Remmen was representing a significantly less important state as Prymont was, but his determination to uphold the values that his nation held dearly overwhelmed his fears of prodding an angry bear.

    "Perhaps nobody else present feels as strongly about the issue as Dr Varazzo and myself do, but it is something that needs to be settled before we can progress and make any real steps forward. Granted, the EOS have not overstepped any lines and acted in bad faith as of yet, but permitting a military organisation access to Antargis would invalidate the very treaty that we've signed and worked so hard to uphold. It would bring the treaty's credibility into significant doubt if we continued to allow the EOS free reign over Antargis while refusing other military organisations the same. Dr Varazzo raises a very good point in introducing TRIDENT to the continent, but that's something I'm not going to do. I refuse to stoop to such levels. There is no place for pettiness in preserving and protecting our final untouched frontier. Granted, there is a place for Orioni, but not for EOS."

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    • 3 weeks later...

    Commodore McKellar took the opportunity after Minister Remmen had finished speaking to stand and address the room.

    "I am forced to be in agreement with both Dr. Varazzo and Minister Remmen. The presence of an alliance based mainly on military objectives can only cause further issues in moving forward. The EOS would have extraordinary leverage over individual nations within this council especially considering the military assets it has at its command. Each area of Antargis should be representative of an individual nation and their non-military interests. While I understand that TRIDENT affiliated nations would be a party to this treaty, the organization of TRIDENT has so far not made any overtures to gain representation as a block. Should something like that happen, Seylos would protest it the same as an EOS presence. Zone management without question should be based on individual nations."

    He then turned his gaze to Minister Remmen, "I would also like to address the creation of seed bank and can say with relative certainty Seylos would contribute bother material and funding to this effort."

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    • 2 weeks later...

    With his own proposal for encouragement, observance and service shot down so quickly, it certainly dawned on Mr Tobias Wayanor that the other participants were ganging up on him. Dr Varazzo wanted them out. Mr Remmen wanted them out. Cdre McKellar wanted them out. Instead of focusing on cooperation, they chose confrontation. And their way of forcing this confrontation was to misrepresent the EOS as a singularly military organisation, neglecting the equally important civilian side of the organisation in service of peace and freedom.

    "Thank you, gentlemen, for your candour and honesty," Wayanor responded. "This is what I admire in all of you. Your openness allows everyone here to see all the issues in the way they truly are." Tobias swallowed hard after telling such an obvious lie. "We thank Mr Remmen for his proposal to redefine the EOS to fit within the treaty. As an equal member of the Antargic Treaty, we are also opposed to any military presence on our most southern continent. One possible solution to consider is transferring our participation in Antargic preservation and research to an independent civilian program. A new agency with a distinctly civilian orientation, encouraging peaceful participation. Such a move could satisfy your distrust and at the same time fulfil our shared ARTHA mission. Of course, this matter must first be discussed within the Entente, which will happen at a later date. I can assure you that we hear your grievances and will take these statements of objection into consideration. Meanwhile, speaking for my own country, we will continue to meet its obligation as a rightful member of the Treaty." Wayanor looked over to his colleague from @Miiros, who seemed to nod in agreement.

    "... and together with Dr Varazzo and Cdre McKellar we also applaud the establishment of this seed bank and will gladly provide an equal share of the financial support, et cetera, inter alia."

     

    OOC: The idea for this independent agency will be approved by the EOS. A separate civilian agency will be created, without connections to any military programmes. Publicly Wayanor will be lauded for his brilliance. Privately the military branch will hate him for it and seek revenge in one form or another. After a few months, he will suddenly find himself in a new role, put out to pasture as ambassador to Variota, where he can do no harm.

    TL;DR: EOS out, Orioni in, Miiros as well I presume. No to military participation (never was). Yes to seed bank. No news on zone management.

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