Native Earth (attn. CBS)

Discussion in 'The World Stage' started by Beautancus, Jun 29, 2019.

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  1. Beautancus

    Beautancus Timeout

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    Far, far from the Confederated Republic of Beautancus...


    It had been long before the tumult of years recently past when Joe had last visited the country of his parent's birth. Much larger last time too, Polesia had been, though that was a particularly recent development. Had a different name back then too.

    So recent that it hadn't been this size, officially, when Joe had first put the idea to his nominal superior, Endymion Quincy Walker. The jumped up little hottenthot had immediately referred it to the gate-keeper in Drummond House, Adigne Tayte. She was as smart as they came, regardless of her plumbing, and had the foresight to immediately kick the proposition upstairs to their ultimate superior, her lover, and the most powerful man in the Confederated Republic.

    The First Citizen and Joe got along quite famously, and it hadn't required anything in the way of further convincing once Adigne had him primed. Orton was one of the most naturally pragmatic men Joe had ever met, which was of course saying something, along with being a cold-blooded (political) operator of unparalleled grit and talent. More than anything, Joe found he liked the man, something he hadn't been able to say since before Duke left the office.

    Orton still scared him. Souls like that could be poured into men only sparingly, lest the mold be broken, and Joe was beginning to suspect Beautancus had never before seen his like.

    Fifty years in service to this country - my country - and never have I known a man that seemed so purpose-made to wield the rod and scepter of state, Joe had told his eldest friend and colleague before leaving, which Dr. Rheron Cypreau hadn't seemed at all surprised to hear. On the contrary, he'd admitted to having thought the same for some while.

    A week or two had passed, in which time the media had played its part in soft-pitching the trip to a public not exactly known for Marxist sympathies. In that time, Joe had been pumped full of whatever science project their "rejuvenation therapy" amounted to - new blood or some such inane nonsense.

    Though maybe not quite so much nonsense after all, with how spry he felt stepping from the plane and onto Trivod- no, Polesian soil. Joe was sure it was a beautiful country, but having his spent all of his very nearly eight decades of life thinking of himself as Cussian and Beautancus as his home...mainly, he appreciated why his parents had left.

    "Secretary Doctor Koscialkovski!" Hearing his name spoken aloud in its native manner was always amusing, though not nearly quite to the degree as hearing "Our Stars" tootled out by the color-guarded Polesian band waiting for him to disembark. What a strange and interesting time to be alive and in service to my country.

    The Polesians had put more into the reception than the Cussian elder statesman had expected, down to the Polesian Premier, Yaakov Zilberfarb, being on hand. They had some appreciation of what this visit might come to mean then, at least.

    State Service had put together a special profile on Zilberfarb for this tour, flagged as a "true believer," every bit as committed to Marxism-Leninovism as Moravscik himself. Maybe more than, even. That was both a comfort to Joe, and disconcerting, as there were good reasons for why Nativists usually accounted Marxists as Fictionals, and Zilberfarb seemed apt to make a walking, talking example thereof.

    The Polesian didn't speak Engellish well enough to be comfortable with intellectually sparring in it with the likes of "Dr. K," but it was a small matter anyway. Joe had been raised bilingual, speaking his parents more Deutsch-like (formerly Christian) Yiddish, and was able to get along just fine. It even pleased him to have a bit of practice, though he did find the creep of even more Slavian influence into the language troubling. The Kadikis cast a long shadow over every facet of life here.

    At least they aren't Catholic, was a mantra Joe found himself repeating more than a few times in the course of his time in Amstov. Though he had not required it, the toll paid by this city and society for failing before the onslaught of Communism was plainly enough seen to provide a perfectly clear lesson on the wages of failure. Or the wrong kind of victory.

    The reaction and responses to an almost insignificant speech on the adaptability of Nativism had been rather encouraging. People this removed from the Far West mostly only received the caricature of the Cussian belief system through the completely biased and bigoted lens of the Tiburan civilization that gaped between them.

    They knew nothing of the indefatigable genius of Direct Utilitarianism, or the implication of inoculation against the involuntary servitude that it provided. The notion of growth necessarily requiring struggle had of course also gained significant purchase, providing the Polesian audience with a silver lining to their defeat and subjugation by one of the modern world's greatest powers. "To have taken and survived such mighty blows will breed greater strength than any alive today can imagine," Joe had told them, smiling.

    The primary difficulty in translation of Nativist ideals stemmed from the uniquely Yiddish condition of Polesian society: their Native folklore actually was the Fiction that other peoples had been tricked into adopting and were called to abjure in pursuit of the primordial liberty their ancestors had (and modern Cussians yet still) enjoyed. Even so, Joe had seen the notions taking root behind furrowed brows and stunned eyes here and there in the crowd, not least among those Kadikis and Crotobaltislavonians doing their best to blend into the crowd.

    The presence of the latter in that crowd had nicely presaged the arrival of the Free Canton's Foreign Minister, Maximillian Jedreck. His was a face somewhat more familiar than this current crop of Communard Polesians, Joe easily recalled having met him in the course of his last state visit to the region in the late 1980s. Joe remembered being moderately impressed with the Free Canton's man back then too, and was pleased to find him to have improved with age.

    He's not the only one that can say that, Joe reminded himself. Eighty wasn't at all that far away for Joe now, and no amount of eighteen year old blood being pumped into his all but fossilized veins would forestall the inevitable decline into senility and death awaiting him.

    Snorting at his amateurish slip into concerned revelry over his own mortality - of course you're going to die old man, that is not a surprise - Joe imagined it was clear to the world that the real point of this departure from the diplomatic status quo was entirely focused on Crotobaltislavonia. That was to the good too, and even partly - if not entirely - correct. Truth told, it would be a miracle if the agenda could be successfully concluded with the discretion required, even for an operator as practiced as the famous Dr. K.

    Another day, another town, and the last leg of his stay in ancestral Polesia. Zalenograd had never been big enough to deserve the -grad, not now and certainly not when his parents and said their final goodbyes. It was, however, where their parents were buried - and where they had requested a portion of their own ashen mortal remains be scattered. "Returned unto the soil from whence we have come," as demanded of Nativist rite of eulogy.

    They'd all be spinning in their graves, if there was enough left to jostle, Joe thought as he scattered his parents blended ashes from a hill overlooking their insignificant hometown. They hated Marxism-Leninovism like they were born Cussians...like I do, because I am. There'd be no peace for any of them if they'd lived to see what's become of Trivodnia.

    It was something of a relief then for Joe to shake Zilberfarb's clammy little hand for the last time, and to finally board the Crotobaltislavonian riverboat that had inspired Joe to this whole demented scheme in the first place. Hebrews weren't exactly the most insufferable kind of Fictionals, they surely weren't trying to extoll the virtues of conversion all the time...but neither were most of those he'd spoken to in this trip just Hebrew anymore. No, Marxism-Leninovism had done its work well and would have to be dealt with before everything was said and done. Before much of anything can be done at all, Joe corrected himself.

    Jedreck in tow, and both of their most critical aides and security details aside, and with all decorum satisfied, they were at last underway. There would be at least a day or two to go before they would reach the Slava and make their way into Banja Luka, but the route was already well more than famous for the scenery it provided.

    No small amount of ink had been spilled on the matter of the disparity between the histories of the New and Old Worlds, however fairly and unfairly to either side of the equation. There was history aplenty to be had in Westernesse, before and after the first Engell had set hobnailed boot to Cussian land. The quality of this region's history, both ancient and more recently passed, was a thing altogether different though.

    There was something truly haunting in the gravity of the skeleton of a riverside holdfast, caught up in the wrath of the passing Kaduygher horde. As the riverboat rounded another bend, their perspective improved to reveal that the fortification had been utterly broken in its capture, and so badly decayed by the passing of nearly half a millennium that it was now impossible to say which lord had once held it, or what crown he had been sworn to. The Chiricahua had been a scourge to all that lived - but the last of their braves had been spitted on a Cussian lance well before the final years of the 19th century.

    The barbarian horde had never stopped sweeping down off of this steppe to obliterate the softer peoples of the more settled lands, in this part of the world. All for want of a few Cussians at the right time.

    "Tell me Mr. Jedreck, did the flea-bitten savages that wrought this visit similar ruin on your own homeland in those days?" Joe cast a sidelong glance to the Crotobaltislavonian.

    Joe, as fully Dr. K now as ever, had called forth a sample from his private stock of Far Western liquors some while before. Cussians were as committed to the idea of whiskey as they were liberty, though some variation was allowed, expected and even enjoyed in regard to both matters. As it was in this case, Joe had selected a bottle of "sipping whiskey," what Cussians called Clarentine, as well as an unlabeled bottle of perfectly clear liquid. "Moonshine, you might have heard that called. From the private still at Banner Elk, the First Citizen's own, and older than both of us combined," Joe explained before pouring a conservative splash for himself.

    He inclined an empty tumbler in Jedreck's direction, preferring to let the man have some say in picking a poison.






     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  2. Crotobaltislavonia

    Crotobaltislavonia Well-Known Member

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    Maximilian Jedreck shook his head as he watched the ruined fastness pass by. "As far as I know, that eastern tribe did not make it to the Motherland. Polesian did the Motherland a great service in the old days, acting as a buffer."

    Max sighed as he turned his back to the riverbank. He went on. "We became shortsighted and forgot that. And now look at us. A border with Kadikistan. Kadikistani troops on our soil. A war with Bourgogne. An alliance with Lars. Doctor, I tell you, I miss the times when my country was poor and backward, when I could afford to be a useless functionary who could take my mistress on assignments without censure."

    The Foreign Minister took the offered glass and held it out. "The First Citizen's own, you say? I assume it is your country's very best and shall indulge."
     
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  3. Beautancus

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    "Just so, from the cellars at Banner Elk. Lovely place, up in the holler, as they say in those parts. Among the great cultures of distilling in the world, I am confident and quite honorbound in saying." Joe's smile was genuine, and his affect quite open. It was obvious he thought a bit more about it than that, but was a man famous for leaving pregnant, silent pauses laying about as some tomcats did bastards.

    He sipped at his own drink, grateful for the familiar fortification to his constitution it brought. There truly was no disputing that Orton had inherited one of the finest private distilleries in the world when Banner Elk had passed to him, patriotic duty to say so be damned. The stones of the shattered keep, now so far behind that even the most jagged of its stony ribs seemed no more than a greasy gray smudge to his aged eyes, a reminder of the pressing nature of the business at hand.

    Far closer, and far clearer, Joe was beginning to decide he liked Jedreck more now than he already had. "Circumstances have certainly changed in the region. My parents -who thought of themselves as Krasnislavian - left a country called Trivodnia. And that provides my own, if not quite visceral then certainly personal foundation on the matter."

    With something approaching slight of hand, the near octogenarian statesman produced both cigarillo and match, and was stoking the thing to fragrant life in very short order. As all Cussians gentleman of a certain age and standing, Joe appreciated the virtues of his homelands most famous native leaf - and had long since discovered that the legend of those virtues had made its trip well around the world.

    He gestured to a silver tin on the table, laid open and stocked with both cigarillos and handmade matches of some sort. "If you've a mind to partake in such vices, taken from the soil of noble Clarendon and valorous Chicora," he said, accenting it with a bit of emphasis with deep pull from his own.

    "Welmonton has observed these matters with a degree of interest growing to such that it has brought me back to these lands of my ancestral lineage. Not my lands though, as some are rather surprised to discover at times." There was a crooked glee in his eye with that recollection, whatever it was. "My parents meant for me to be Cussian, and so that was how I was raised - it is what I am."

    "I was raised with a measure of respect and, oh, let us call it a sense of atavistic kinship with the Free Canton too though. Such was the case with many Krasnislavs who maintained the Tiburan creed, more so at times than any sense of sameness shared with their Yiddish neighbors. Removed as I was from the ancient grudges and hatreds of that place, it was easier for me to approach the region through your homeland, in my youthful studies" Ropey tendrils of white smoke swirled around his features before rising and dragging away on the river breeze. "It pains me, personally, to see the situation that the Free Canton finds itself in. In your dealings over the years, have you heard that many academics call Kadikistan 'the prison of nations,' around the Domain?"

    The Cussian envoy smiled his crooked, mischievous little smile and pressed on, "It will be no great shock to you that the very idea of being forced to endure such indignities...foreign troops parading through the streets of Welmonton uninvited, at will and as they please...very nearly makes me physically ill." He had to shake his head at the idea even. There was no part of his soul that could have been made to believe such a scene would ever come to pass, even as and if the imagined occurence chilled him.

    Joe turned fully, now directly facing Jedreck. "These are times for the Confederated Republic I honestly never dreamed we would see. I have striven to make them real for my whole life, and genuinely believed it would happen. A century or so ago now and it didn't seem like Beautancus would survive as a single country. Or that we would ever crawl out of the shadow of our Sylvanian neighbors, or be able to stand on equal footing with the South Engells ever again. We're here now though."

    Joe chuckled, glancing to make sure the Crotobaltislavonian was with him as he needed him to be, assessing posture and body language in the way only sixty years of training would allow. "And we are committed to a world of Republican self-determination and respect for popular sovereignty, now that we are. We have seen what the world looks like from most of the angles it has to offer - and come away from that to find ourselves with a crystalline image of the way things ought to be."

    Without pausing for effect, Doctor Koscialkovski plowed ahead. "The Office for the Administration of Government has a few ideas on how to get the world to that picture, and similar notions on where we might find people capable of helping us make ready the way." He locked eyes with Jedreck through another cloud of smoke, "Particularly, we would like to take an active interest in helping you to ensure that this is the case, all around the world - beginning with the Free Canton."

    "But please, don't let me prattle on into the self-absorbed and demented senility of extreme old age. Tell me Minister, what do you think of that? What might your boss say, hearing that?"
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
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  4. Crotobaltislavonia

    Crotobaltislavonia Well-Known Member

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    Jedreck took an offered cigarillo and lit up. He inhaled deeply and then slowly exhaled. Holding up the cigarillo, he looked at it and nodded. "I do not make it a habit. But sometimes. And only the finest. 'The soil of noble Clarendon and valorous Chicora.' Very fine, indeed."

    The Foreign Minister went on. "Doctor, I hear your words. Sovereignty has special meaning to us in the Free Canton. Being at the crossroads of Gallogermania, the Free Canton has experience being told what to do. And unfortuantely, we have not been able to protect our sovereignty. It is said that sovereign is the monopoly on the legitimate use of force. But I think it is really being able to ignore others."

    Another pull from the cigarello offered a moment's pause. And then, "prima facie, I think there is something here Doctor Sobel might be amenable to. She desires a completely sovereign Free Canton, able to make its own choices without listening to another's say. But I can tell you, she does not want to trade one outsider's agenda for another. She will be cautious of your agenda ... what did you say, 'the way things ought to be?'"

    Jedreck took a puff from the cigarello and blew the smoke out slowly. "This really is fine stuff, Doctor. I must have a supply shipped to Crotobaltislavonia." He looked at Dr. K and smiled.
     
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  5. Beautancus

    Beautancus Timeout

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    Nodding knowingly, Joe spared his own cigarillo a glance, smoke rolling lazily from nostrils and lips - now curving into a slight smile. "They are among the most deservedly lauded leaves grown in Beautancus, truly. Being in this business for as long I have, it was some time ago that I appreciated their usefulness - and began to bring a healthy stock with me for trips like this. Good Minister, I will be sure not to leave Banja Luka without seeing to it that you are generously supplied."

    Tasting his next words for an instant, he came back to the real point. "In regard to your other, entirely appropriate concerns..." The old man placed his cigarillo in the standing ashtray beside him, and pointed up. There was nothing especially remarkable about the sky today, clear for the most part and no plains to be seen at all.

    There passed an obvious moment of silence before Joe was satisfied, that gleefully mischievous smile creasing his aged and weathered features. "I've not gone mad, I assure you. You can't see it up there, but Sentinel is there all the same - and he sees us, all the same."

    Taking his half-stogie up and puffing it back to full, fiery life, the Doctor continued, "While I would be dishonest in saying that we would not maintain a certain degree of interest in your vested interests, I can say that we would not require the same presence on the ground that your current guests have."

    "This will be a delicate process, however it might unfold, there is no way to approach it other than to accept that now - we both know this, as do Dr. Sobel and First Citizen Orton, but it can be done. And if Beautancus and the Domain are absolutely sure that the Free Canton is committed to such a course of action, the world can scarcely conceive of the lengths we are willing and will go to in defense of the principles our Civilized Order are founded upon."

    "Minister Jedreck, we - Cussians - are many things. Most of them we have worked hard at being, and so deserve the labels and names that come with them. We are every bit as hot-tempered, passionate and stubborn as the old gossip makes us out to be, truly...we are hell on wheels in a fight, and we do indeed love to fight." In full form now, Joe hadn't felt this much like himself in ages. "What we are not, though, is in the business of building an empire of conquered satrapie, dominated and terrified into moral bankruptcy and intellectual stagnation."

    Joe gestured broadly, all around the both. "The world may think of us what it will, but I ask, how well do you know Cussian history? Particularly the story of our partnership with the Hagarite Redmen of East Himyar, in Azraq. We have done business with the Dawamalians for as long as there has been as Azraqi Empire, and in that time we have never been inclined to exert any unreasonable influence of their domestic affairs. Any who would dispute that Beautancus possesses the might and force of arms to simply take the whole of that nation are mistaken - and yet we never have. Even despite their peculiar Fictions and at times incomprehensible customs, we have never been compelled to make an imperial holding of Azraq and reshape them in our image, and we never will."

    Flicking the last bit of his cigarillo into the river, his eyes earnest and open. "In your case, that of the Free Canton, it would do to expect nothing less - we need partners, Minister Jedreck, capable and ready to stand on their own feet and with their eyes ahead and looking to tomorrow, and nobody else in the world can help keep you from having to always look over your shoulder like us."
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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  6. Crotobaltislavonia

    Crotobaltislavonia Well-Known Member

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    Jedreck listened closely as he finished off his cigarillo, savoring both the words of the man and the taste of the burning leaves. When the cigarillo was finished, Jed flicked it into the river. When Dr. K was finished, Jed smiled nodded and replied.

    "Yes, there is much to be liked here. Beautancus with an interest in our affairs would go along way towards putting the Free Canton at ease so that we can look towards the future without unwelcome obligations. Wanting it is harmless. Getting it is dangerous.

    "I am worried, Doctor. And I know Doctor Sobel will be worried. What is the first step? As you say, the Free Canton already has guests which puts us in a precarious position. Unless we can do this delicately, a continuation of the status quo might be prefeable."
     
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  7. Beautancus

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    That lit Joe's face up with delight, almost gleefully. "There can be no mistaking that, good Minister, there are few positions more precarious in the world today. Though this might be changing in the near term."

    The old Cussian looked off at the river bank again, almost wistfully. "Such a transition would have to be carried out with the utmost guile and precision. And nothing like an overnight miracle."

    Joe's clever blue eyes, still sharp and unclouded even if set into an ever more ancient face, lingered a moment more on the wooded mysteries of the passing earth. "The dynamics of the wider region are going to be shifting soon Minister Jedreck. Likely to extremes hitherto undreamt. The Confederated Republic is already capable and inclined to support your cause, alone or in conjunction with our mutual associate to the south some ways."

    Turning back to the Crotobaltislavonian, continuing earnestly, "In some short weeks and months, we will be even better positioned to support the Free Canton in any hypothetical endeavor, even those some might call surprising. And we will, given assurance of proper consideration in return of course. With a bit of time to plan and coordinate, the chances of success are actually quite good."


     
  8. Crotobaltislavonia

    Crotobaltislavonia Well-Known Member

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    Jedreck watched the shore pass by as he considered Joe's words. Looking back, he nodded. "Yes. A wider shift would be the safest course while having the most effect for Crotobaltislavonia. I cannot imagine Doctor Sobel opposing this change in course when I brief her. I think I can speak for her when I say do not delay if you can help it. When you walk the razor's edge, 'some short weeks or months' can cost lives.

    "Doctor, one question that I'm sure the Prime Minister would like answered before she decides: you mention the wider region is in play, will your plans go forward with or withour the Free Canton's participation?"
     
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  9. Beautancus

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    "There is a sort of unspoken rule to Cussian policy, Minister Jedreck, one that we are loath to spend overmuch time on pointing out or describing...suffice it to say, for now, that the Confederated Republic does not let slip a word of its intentions unless the better portion of the plan is already in motion. If not all but in hand." Joe- Dr. K's smile had grown tighter now somehow.

    "As you aware, we share a mutual friend to the south. Soon, should it prove necessary to, oh let us say, put our money where our mouth is, it would invariably play out as the unfolding of a much larger continuum. And not at all concerning Beautancus alone." The old Cussian had a fresh cigarillo lit and stoked to life again already, somehow. His aged features were again wreathed by twisting columns of pure white smoke.

    "We will be making another move soon as well, elsewhere. The chaos in Gallia draws far too near the waters of the Home Islands of Engellexic Civilization. I'm sure you can imagine such a state cannot long be suffered." Perhaps chillingly, Dr. K had stopped smiling.
     
  10. Crotobaltislavonia

    Crotobaltislavonia Well-Known Member

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    Jedreck smiles and nods at the mention of a response to the Gallian situation. After a short pause, the foreign minister straightens up and faces Dr. K. "I think that is all the information I need for when I brief Doctor Sobel. Do you have anything specific you'd like me to tell her, a point you'd like me to insist on?"
     
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  11. Beautancus

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    Joe shook his head, eyes focused up and accessing deeper memories. It was perhaps the first time he'd done either, in the course of their conversation.

    "No Minister Jedreck, I believe that will about do it. It will be necessary to revisit the matter down the line, to ensure that we are properly coordinated when the appointed hour draws near..." The old Cussian's eyes narrowed slightly, and he seemed to be gathering himself inwardly, resting on one leg and drawing deeply from his fresh cigarillo.

    "It occurs to me now that we might pursue the angle of those very same Economic Cooperation or Development Zones, whatever Ivar calls them. The Union has been kind enough to pioneer the model and champion an almost shockingly liberal exercise of high custom within their bounds - I suspect there would be no restrictions on Banja Luka doing the same, or similar? I can't tell you how easily any preparation to support full sovereignty for the Free Canton would be made for this, I suspect though, that it will be hard to overestimate." His eyes were back on Jedreck now, the flash of that old, gleeful - almost impish - wit plain to be seen in their decades-clouded blue.

    "Even aside, the flow of material wealth and easier access to resources necessary for a host of modernization programs - not merely constrained to this select enterprise...this is what Crotobaltislavonia needs, and I can say that without the slightest reservation." Joe nodded with his own words, emphasizing their rightness for both he and Jedreck.

    It would not occur to or begin to bother him that the thought of "those damned Econ Zones" hadn't come to him with the first cigarillo until much later in that evening.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  12. Crotobaltislavonia

    Crotobaltislavonia Well-Known Member

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    Jedreck looked towards the shoreline. Below, a barge was passing by. Overhead was a majestic azure sky. The foreign minister glanced at Joe and then looked back at the river, gathering his thoughts. When he turned back, he said, "Doctor, this has been a most enjoyable conversation. The idea to meet on the river was an excellent one. And I appreciate your allowing me to sample the leaves and liquor of your homeland. Very enticing. And my report to Doctor Sobel will reflect that."

    The Foreign Minister offered his hand. "I look forward to consulting with you, or a colleague, in the future."
     
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