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Across the Sea [Attn: Sylvania]

Auraria

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Almost as soon as the thud of aircraft signaled its wheels had touched the ground, Minister Cabello’s grip of the armrest released and he opened his eyes. For a man whose job is almost always conducted on a plane flying from one location to another, he had a paralyzing fear of flying. His staff would joke about how all the windows had to be closed while in the air because Cabello couldn’t stomach to notice he was 12,000 meters in the sky.

He leaned to the side of his chair and lifted the cover of the window. The wing of the plane was swaying up and down as it taxied. He had read countless briefs about how the flexibility of the wing was a safety feature, but to him it only meant it was seconds away from falling off.

“Another happy landing,” his aide smiled at him. He grunted as he pulled out his phone. Sure enough, there were countless e-mails addressing the invitation that the Organization of Democratic States had sent while he was airborne to Sylvania. He always had a sneaking suspicion they wanted him out of the room while ODS negotiations were taking place, but he did everything he could to shake the idea that sending him to Sylvania was part of a greater plot to keep him out of the hemisphere, let alone the room.

At this point, Cabello had suffered a series of defeats and failed to deliver meaningful foreign policy results to Consul Valera or President Ordenes. His briefing materials would indicate that at the very least, dealing with Faraday would be less of a headache than the world leaders of Gallia. There every leader was far more concerned with positioning their own country as the de facto leader of the continent than they were of creating any sort of arena for cooperation. The Sylvanians were far more pragmatic, but there are any number of things that grant them such luxuries. For whatever political genius the Aurarians could employ, no ally would ever be as good to Auraria as the Silk and Thaumantic Oceans are to Sylvania.

Nevertheless, the time had come to negotiate outside of Gallia and begin to find Auraria’s place in the larger scheme of things. Sylvania was a natural target to beginning dialogues outside of the dogma of the old world. The added bonus, of course, was its allegiance to the Democratic Defense Initiative – perhaps the world’s largest military bloc. While Auraria was suspicious of Post-Delegationism, and its own Post-Delegationist factions were constant thorns, Sylvania presented its own unique cultural challenges.

Late last year, the Sylvanian Congress moved to restrict non-white Aurokin and Nethian immigration citing crime statistics, which left a poor impression on the Republic. Not least to mention that the country’s entire Social Democratic Party was embroiled in a child-sex ring scandal that saw so many resign and an entire administration collapse. President Breckenridge and President Ordenes certainly wouldn’t find much common ground if the two were in a room. Good thing that Cabello was sent first to see where it was, if there was any at all.

The Foreign Minister rose from his chair and began walking to the front of the plane. An aide handed him his coat – Sylvania was far colder than Auraria. They weren’t used to such climates. The doors were opened and before he stepped out he looked to his staff that had assembled around him.
“Let’s try it again, shall we?”

They nodded and the Foreign Minister stepped out of the plane to meet the entourage.


@Sylvania
 

Sylvania

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The plane had been brought to secure area within the Sander K. Rygaard International Airport at Charleroi that was out of the way where no media personnel where allowed access. The media would be informed later that meeting was taking place between the foreign ministries of Sylvania and Auraria, big media events would be reserved for heads of state and government. It was indeed cold when Minister Cabello arrived, but not as cold as it could be, it was mild late April day considering the northerly climate.

Katalin Faraday had personally come to meet the foreign minister, it wasn't unusual for such a thing to happen, but in this case she thought it important to meet the Aurarians out here unlike the smug and pompous Justosians in her last meeting.

"Good afternoon, Minister Cabello, it is my pleasure to welcome you to Sylvania, I hope your flight was kind to you." She could tell that the Minister was uneasy, but not because of his fear of flying. Before he could respond Katalin motioned to a helicopter nearby. "I hope you won't mind another ten minutes of air time, traffic in the city is terrible at this time of the day and it will be much quicker if we take a short jaunt in this helicopter."

The ride went smoothly in the cold spring air and soon the two parties found themselves in Katalin's office suite. "Well now, let us get down to business then. I understand from our previous communication your government's concerns about the situation in Gallia. I'll admit that is about all I have to go on at this moment, however as I have mentioned it is something the we are also concerned about, I don't think a daily cabinet briefing goes by without some mention of the goings on in Gallia and especially the Long Sea, where many of our concerns and interests lie as you well know. If I may be so frank, I think the region is reaching a point of no return, what with these status quo treaties and now Pelasgia claiming itself as hegemon of the long sea. It is a very delicate time we find ourselves in, so let us speak of delicate matters."
 

Auraria

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“Ah yes…the Long Sea,” Minister Cabello did his best to hide his uneasy stomach from the ride in that abomination of a vehicle. Sylvanians had so little patience for the pleasantries of life. Why spend so much time to develop a wonderful city if you’re only going to fly over it. However, perhaps that’s why the Sylvanians were rich and the Aurarians weren’t. Life is about choices.

“I imagine I’ll be long dead before the day comes that the Ancient Pelasgian Empire isn’t a thorn in the side of progress,” he joked “If I am to speak bluntly, the Republic welcomed the site of Sylvanian ships in the Claret Sea. The Pelasgians bankrupt themselves on the construction of carriers and destroyers to defend a claim no one recognizes as theirs. That all said, their Claret Sea Council is certainly an interesting departure from their normal engagements.”

The Minister paused, knowing full well that both Faraday and he knew of the Pohjanmaans’ denouncement of the Council and their subsequent decisions to suspend business with member states. Their proclamation put Auraria in an uncomfortable spot and he had hoped that their decision was one off, that weren’t speaking for the foreign policy of the entire Democratic Defense Initiative.

“So, I will speak clearly and I will speak candidly,” he began, doing his best to mitigate his heavy accent “I suspect that you will do the same and it is appreciated. This constant back and forth of confrontation with the Pelasgians in the Claret Sea cannot stand. It’s a powder keg waiting to ignite, and when it does – it’ll have disastrous results. I am fully aware that the Pelasgians will attempt to weaponize this Claret Sea Council to their advantage and use it to justify military operations. I am equally confident that the member states of the Council, which are no friends to the Pelasgians, will not allow nor consent to the Pelasgians’ use of the council in that manner. In fact, if the cards are played right, the Pelasgians may have damaged their own positions in the region.”

“I understand the volatility of the region. I also understand repeated attempts to establish authority there. Each has failed, several have led to disasters. I firmly believe the Claret Sea Council can democratize the region, but I also firmly believe it must be given the chance to do so. My Ministry stated only moments again, and I will repeat it to you – the decision of the Pohjanmaans is reckless and endangering.”

The Minister leaned back in his chair.

“Pohjanmaan vessels currently sailing in the Claret Sea have openly declared their opposition – this creates a dangerous situation. I am hopeful that Sylvanian ships, which allow me to reiterate – are a welcome sight by the Aurarians – do not follow in suit. I believe that Pohjanmaa and Sylvania, or perhaps even the Democratic Defense Initiative as a whole, can accomplish far more in the Claret Sea by supporting and working within the organs developing around it as opposed to openly denouncing them. Madurja, Auraria, and perhaps even Asteria are all partners where common ground can be achieved.”
 

Sylvania

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"Minister Cabello, it gives me a small measure of relief to hear your views about our navy's operations in the Long Sea. We were beginning to feel that we were not welcome. However I must take exception to your feelings about Pohjanmaan operations in that area. The Pohjanmaans are our good friends and allies and this friendship has been forged despite our embattled history together. They can be ill-tempered at times but their intentions in the Long Sea, I can assure you with much confidence, are the same as ours. We do not feel that the Claret Sea Council will lead to a democratization of the area and though you have given well thought out reasons as to why you think they might have shot themselves in the foot or rather weakened their position, you must understand that we cannot wait for this to materialize. Our confrontations with Pelasgia will remain on the diplomatic stage and we will continue to conduct mission in the Long Sea, any conflict that might happen will not be started by us, but by some overzealous nation who sees itself as somehow affected by innocent freedom of nav missions. So far our ships and Pelasgian ships have not acted aggressive to each other in any way, like I said before, if anything kicks off it will have not been started by us."

Katalin too a sip of water, that had been provided to her and her guest prior to allow a slight pause before continuing.

"As for this Pohjanmaan opposition, their opposition is simply to the existence of the council, I am not sure how this creates a dangerous situation, let me reiterate for you and I speak with some authority on this as I am in contact with my Pohjanmaan counterpart quite often, that Pohjanmaan ships in the Long Sea are their to support DDI freedom of navigation missions, the same missions that our ships are conducting. I hope that I can assuage any fears your government may have about this, I understand you are not on the best of terms with our allies but I hope that the site of their ships can become a welcome sight as our ships are to you. Any agressiveness you may have knowledge of is simply a response to the routine harassment that their vessels and our as well have met from the likes of Eiffelland and even Furlanie. In this case I feel this is a situation that has arisen from misunderstanding. Auraria has no reason to fear Sylvanian, Pohjanmaan or Touzen ships. We remain committed to peace in the Long Sea despite our rejection of this Pelasgian led council."

Katalin hoped she had gotten her message across, nothing good would come of Gallian nations continuing to view DDI ships with suspicion and she felt that Minister Cabello's apprehension was a result of lies spread about their mission there.

"Now this refusal to do business with the council members is quite the development. We support our ally in their decisions and at all times we wish to help create a unified face to all DDI member state actions. We cannot, however follow suit and stop trade over this, but we may hold things a little closer to our chests as this matter goes on."
 

Auraria

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“Oh not to worry at all on that front, Director, Auraria fears nothing but is attentive to everything,” the Minister spoke with the stereotypical smugness of the Aurarians “Perhaps this is the first good test of faith between Auraria and Sylvania. I will trust you at your word that the Sylvanian and Pohjanmaan ships in the Long Sea have nothing but the best of intentions and I ask that you trust in the Aurarians to try and use this avenue the Pelasgians provided to force a democratization. If that fails, well…we’ll be having a different conversation.”

The Minister looked to his left to his diplomatic corps that was holding a brief case. He spoke to them in Catamarcan with a Solisian accent, which was simply much faster and the words were less distinct from one another, almost like slurring. An aid quickly carried the brief case and handed it to the Minister.

“Speaking of different conversations,” he switched back to Engelsh “Please accept this as a gift from the Republic.”

The Minister turned the brief case and opened it to reveal two elegant bottles of wine sitting in a purple silk wrapped holder.

“These are quite special, I certainly hope they’re your taste,” he lifted one of the bottles and handed it to the Director “These are called ‘Sangre de los Reyes’ or the King’s Blood. A bit of a brutal name with an equally brutal backstory. Bogeda Numanthia is one of my country’s oldest wineries. For a time, it curated a selection exclusively for the members and allies of House Calderon, the rulers of the Aurarian Kingdom. As with everything else they owned, 1819 rolled around and the people overthrew the Monarchy. The workers of Bogeda Numanthia took it over and began drinking all the wine and sending the recently bottled – not ready to be drank – barrels to their families. The red color of the wine, and the celebration of the spilled blood of Kings, earned these bottles their name. They were all bottled in 1819 for the King, but now they’re prized symbols of a peoples who emancipated themselves. There are only about a thousand or so in circulation…the accounted for ones, at least. Frankly, I am not even confident that more than these two bottles exist in the New World.”

The Minister closed the brief case and set it on the table between him and the Director.

“One is now yours, the other please deliver to President Breckenridge as a gift from President Ordenes. It is a small thing, but to Aurarians, gestures go a long way,” he said “Now. Onto other business.”

“In the last several months, the borders of the Rurikgrad Pact have grown far more extensively than they have during the Seven Days War. The inclusion of the People’s Republic of Ostmark and the Burgundian People’s Republic have brought both Eiffelland-Retalia and Auraria to become border states of the Marxist-Leninovist Alliance. In no small portion, the Grand Duchy of Furlanìe unilaterally signed a Status Quo Treaty with Kadikistan, presumably to save their own skins at the cost of the continent’s safety and integrity. In response, the Serenien expelled all Fruli and Kadikistani citizens from their country – that’s 40,000 people, overnight. Further, the Serenien refused the help of my own country to facilitate this. So, in essence, it put 40,000 lives in danger. Further, Asteria’s alliance to the Serenien on the basis of shared ideology has always been a constant concern, even if Rumeria has oft been seen in a far more positive light. Madurja, on the southwest, recently lost its Consul because of his participation in the Gallian Summit – which failed.”

The Minister took a breath and leaned back in his chair.

“The long and short of it is that on all sides, Auraria is bordered by enemies, potential enemies, threats, or weaknesses. I do not believe, at the present moment, that Gallia is strong enough to stand up for itself and the aggression between Ivar and Villesen will inevitably lead to disaster. Auraria is not militarily prepared to handle a conflict of that nature and recently my government made available billions of euromarks for the purpose of modernizing equipment. Along with a general interest to further integrate the economies of our countries through trade incentives, my government sent me here to negotiate a substantial arms deal. I hope you would be open to such negotiations.”
 

Sylvania

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"Then we shall have a mutual trust in each other, for now." Director Faraday replied, ignoring the smugness of the Aurarian minister.

Director Faraday took the gift and handled the bottles with care as she looked upon them. "This is quite the gift, perhaps when we visit Solis we might be able to return it in kind, however I feel that what we might offer will not equal such a thoughtful gesture. When I sample it I shall make a toast to the death of monarchy and the imperial ambitions of our world's tyrants." She said with a smirk and quiet chuckle. "I am sure the President will be very honored by this gift, I shall make sure he receives it as soon as I am able. He is quite fond of his alcoholic beverages and a little history lesson of the death of kings will certainly be interesting to him, though my recitation shall not be as riveting as yours."

Director Faraday listened to the concerns of Minister Cabello, "I understand the current affairs of Gallia are quite strained. We feel that Auraria should be preserved and we would hate to see your nation fall so far as to make a status quo treaty as the Friulians and Pelasgians have. Though they may have done this to preserve themselves, their cowardice will repay them only with pain and sadness. We would support bringing our economies closer together with trade deals and lowering of tariffs. We republics must stick together for the sake of keeping our democratic ideals alive and free of communist subversion in the coming years, that is why we will also be open to selling weapons to your military and training them in their operations, assuming the price is right as well as a favor."

Director Faraday let a few seconds of silence fill the room, she could tell Minister Cabello wanted to know what the favor was.

"Yes A favor. We are privy to many things going on politically and I know for a fact that soon our friend and ally in the Anti-State will soon call for an international council for the Long Sea. We understand you are committed to the democratization of that sea by working within the Claret Sea Council and we will privately support your continued efforts there. Publicly we will continue to denounce the Pelasgian efforts in the CSC. We cannot force you to follow through with this favor, but it would certainly make things flow easier between us if you were to support the call for a truly international council when the time comes. Whether you do so is entirely up to you."
 

Auraria

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Cabello smirked at the Director’s language. It was unusual to see such staunchly anti-monarchist speech in a setting like this. Usually such talk was reserved for the comfort of friends where the words couldn’t be used against you down the line.

“The Status Quo Treaty,” Cabello shook his head “The Fruili Delegation attended the Gallian Summit to do nothing more than announce their departure. Shortly thereafter this Status Quo Treaty was proclaimed and all of Ivar’s expansion into Gallia and Germania was sanctioned and reinforced by Furlanìe’s law. To say that such a move stunned us is an understatement. Gallia’s refusal to cooperate will be its ultimate demise, I fear.”

Cabello decided it best not to elaborate as he knew that the response to the Anti-State’s Long Sea Council would be far more interesting than the perspective the country has on the Status Quo Treaty. This move was bound to create conflict, that couldn’t be avoided – mitigated, perhaps – but not avoided. The Democratic Defense initiative was united in its republican ideals as much as it was a mutual desire to proclaim hegemony on the globe. Hard to critique, however, as it was this very tendency the Aurarians were hoping to gain the favor of.

“I appreciate your words on the Claret Sea Council and I understand the necessity of your country to continue its public rhetoric against it. For what it is worth, Auraria shall take care to not directly target Sylvania in our defense of the Claret Sea Council. As for the Anti-State’s proposal of an international council – obviously such decisions reside in the President however I know him well and I know his intentions. If possible, should the details of this Council be shared with Auraria prior to the announcement of it publicly, it will be easier for our country to make an informed decision. I do not trust Propontis, that’s clear – but to ask Auraria to support something it has not yet seen is troublesome.”

“As for the rest, such a gracious offer would readily be accepted. I am confident that a generous price can be accommodated by our government for a consistent supply chain. Trade deals, tariff reductions…these are all things that Auraria would be in favor of. In fact, I happen to know of one particular area of interest in the Aurarian Government that we’re prepared to give Sylvania the first opportunity at. In spite of the great success we’ve had with CAIDA in producing commercial airplanes – directly taking on Eiffellanders – we have not truly been successful in the automotive industry. We have factories, sure, but between you and me Aurarian made cars aren’t…what’s the phrase?” The Minister looked to his aide quickly as if she would have any possibility of reading of his mind to know what idiom he was searching for “Selling like biscuits..waffles…hot cakes! Yes, that’s the one.”

“Gallo-Germania is dominated by those cars and there’s few manufacturers that can compete. Auraria has a workforce that’s more than capable and Sylvania has an expertise that’s more than sufficient. Perhaps our governments can work out agreements to bring Sylvanian auto manufacturers into Auraria, build the plants that will stimulate our economy while expanding the Sylvanian brand and ultimately stock values by increasing the availability of alternatives to Eiffellander vehicles. Just a thought.”

@Sylvania
 

Sylvania

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"Yes of course, I understand that your government will need more information and when the time comes I shall provide it for you, what happens after is of course up to your leadership and we have confidence they will see the wisdom in such a organization. Until then as I have said we shall privately trust your initiatives in the Claret Sea Council. As for our auto manufacturers, we have on major company already make some headway into expanding into Furlanie, but I am sure that there is room for expansion into Auraria considering the Fruilian effort is on a limited scale. I would be most happy to help facilitate a deal between our manufacturers and your people."

Sensing that the meeting was winding down, Katalin shifted in her seat a bit, she hated sitting in one place for too long. "Minister Cabello, I must say I feel that this has been a very productive first meeting between our two governments, I look forward to our two teams working more closely as we begin to hash out the particulars of what we have discussed today. I wonder then if there is anything else that should be brought to my attention before we adjourn?"
 

Auraria

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Cabello couldn't help but let out a smile. It had been so long since he'd been able to report anything positive to President Ordenes. The mission to Sylvania had been beyond successful, and he had hoped it was only the beginning.

"Truly, Director Faraday," he began "It has been a pleasure. I have no doubt in my mind that the relationship between Auraria and Sylvania will grow to be quite beneficial. My office shall follow up quickly about the details and arrangements of what we've discussed today."

"There is one last thing I would like to say to you, Director, since I am here," the Minister leaned back in his seat "In the coming days, Consul Valera will send a letter on behalf of the Aurarine Government and President Ordenes in response to a formal invitation form the Organization of Democratic States to join as a full member. The letter has conditions that I believe are still being worked out, but ultimately it will be to accept the invitation and join the ODS. I wanted to keep this meeting focused on Sylvanian-Auro relations but it would behoove me to mention the grander balance between ODS and DDI. Auraria's membership in the ODS is not a rejection of DDI, but rather it is our hope to open a new avenue of dialogue. I intend to have a much more in-depth conversation on this, but that is not for today."

"Today is the start of our nations' trust. It is nonsensical to me that it has taken this long for Auraria and Sylvania to begin this sort of dialogue. You have my trust in the undoubtedly dynamic times ahead, and I hope you'll allow me to have yours."

The Minister realized that the conclusion of this meeting put him only moments away from a hellish ride on a helicopter.

"If it is all the same...," he looked to his staff and back to Faraday "Naturally my job puts me on the road frequently and I have seen so many places, but I rarely get to enjoy any of them. If it is not too heavy an ask, if a car could be arranged back tot he airport - it would give me such an opportunity to enjoy Charleroi. It is unlike any city in Auraria. It would be a joy to see it from the ground as any Sylvanian would."
 

Sylvania

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Katalin nodded and smiled. "Your membership with the ODS will not stop us from forging a new friendship and we hope that your future fellow members will not attempt to torpedo it either. You shall have this administration's trust as we forge ahead, we hope that you understand it is not given lightly! I hope that we shall see Auraria as the link our alliance needs with the wider ODS membership as I believe you intend it to be." Katalin stood up as Cabello did and shook his hand. "Of course if you would be so kind as to wait a moment I shall have a car brought from the garage."

Katalin picked up her phone and pressed a speed dial button, and spoke to the motor pool supervisor. "Have a car brought around, our guests shall be leaving momentarily." She hung up as quickly as she started the call. "Traffic should have died down by this point, It should be a leisurely ride back to Rygaard International."

Katalin, dismissed her staff and escorted the Minister and his staff to the secured lot where the car was now waiting. She shook Cabello's hand one more time. "Have a safe flight, hopefully my own travels shall bring me to Auraria one day." The car was joined by two metropolitan police officers on motorcycles as escort as the car left the secured lot. The director looked at he watch, still so much of the day left and a mountain of work to contend with, with a sigh she reentered the building as she pushed away thoughts of taking a short break.
 
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