The foundation of NESTO
19 June 2017
The Prime Minister and her senior aides as well as the Secretaries of State she decided to travel with were on their plane to Dikaioma. Theresa had put her foot down on Priti a day earlier, and she noticed that she was keeping to herself and kept conversation to a minimum.
'Surely, she can't be upset that I exerted my right as Prime Minister to at least manage the behaviour and conduct of the Government,' Theresa thought, mentally rolling her eyes as she did so. She was in the middle of yet another briefing by her top aid, Fiona Hill.
"...and that's why when you're going in, you have to let the Derectans go first on the discussion," Fiona said, unaware that the Prime Minister could really care less about what she said. She understood what was going to be possible in the House of Commons to pass. Then the Senate would get its turn to dissect the treaty, and she knew the Liberals would go for it in the Senate as is. Theresa was actually dreading bringing along Patel, Crabb, and Javid with her. They were off to the right of her, Patel especially, but at least she quashed her. The two men, however, would prove much more difficult. The ex-Chancellor had the side of the Board of Trade as well as the FTSE 500 Index on his side, and Crabb had the whole wing of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that believed that the UK should be wary of Europe and that everything needed to be micromanaged by it. Suddenly....
"Prime Minister," Fiona said, waving her hand in front of her face.
"Oh, yes, Fiona," Theresa gasped, shocked that she was so lost in her political thoughts.
"Look...I get it; election campaigning, election debating, election winning happened," Fiona replied. "Did you really want to go on a trip like this to some potentially intense negotiations so soon after the first session of Parliament?"
"It went off without a hitch, I thought. Ken got his just rewards, I got to rub Keir's nose in the election win, and the backbenchers were happy to welcome back John Bercow as Speaker," Theresa said. The powwow with the Prime Minister's aides was broken by Foreign Secretary Stephen Crabb.
"Prime Minister, we're approaching Dikaioma now. I thought it would be a good strategy to see us all get out together, so I came up here and brought Sajid and Priti with me," Stephen said. He suddenly stopped as his Public Services Network phone rang. It was the Permanent Secretary at the FCO. "Hello? No, you've got to tell the Miracans that...."
"Busy man, it seems," Sajid said to the Prime Minister. His words sounded like, at least to Theresa, a pride that had been scorned by being deposed from the second most powerful office in Government. She looked at him.
"Political realities...." Theresa began.
"I know, I know....keeping the moderates and more progressive Unionist members on side and all that. A voice for them at the top of Government," Sajid sighed. "But they had Amber, you know..."
"Yes, they did," Theresa began. "We're a big tent, our party, and with Stephen representing the right wing, Philip at the centre, and Amber on the centre-right progressives."
"You could have warned me before announcing it," Sajid replied, a bit more steel coming into his voice.
"Look, you've been a great Chancellor and you will be right there to help Philip as well; not to mention you're someone I can consider a friend in Government," Theresa said, as the aides were waved out along with Patel and Crabb, leaving only Theresa, Fiona, and Sajid in the main section of the plane. "My hands were tied by the 1922 Committee on that aspect of the reshuffle."
The plane touched down and Sajid and Theresa felt the bump of the landing.
"Okay; but promise me that you'll reconsider if Philip flops..." Sajid replied.
"Sajid, you are my most trusted minister. You will be right there when the decisions are made, and you are my eye on Philip to make sure he continues to follow the policies set out by the Exchequer before the election," Theresa smiled in earnest. She was not known to the public as much for being able to broadcast warmth, but she could certainly see that Sajid felt it through her smile. He grinned too.
"Alright, we four better get off at the same time," Sajid replied. "Oh, and Fiona too. I reckon she's important."
"Screw you too, Sajid," Fiona giggled. "We all know she listens to my advice anyway when it comes to policy."
"Or so you think," Theresa joked. Sajid looked at Fiona and flashed a cheeky grin as Priti and Stephen moved towards the door. The five stepped out and into the car, heading over to temporary NESTO headquarters.
Office of the Prime Minister Willy-Brandt-Straße 1, 10557 Trondheim, Fremet 19 June 2017 Prime Minister, We are honoured to be included in these talks. We will be arriving tomorrow (20 June), with me will be Minister of Defence Eva Nygård, Minister for Foreign Affairs Justin Trudeau, Minister for Commerce Per-Willy Amundsen (just call him Will), and Minister of Finance Anna Olsen. A FRAF Coordinator will be contacting your government shortly to coordinate the arrival of our delegation via aeroplane. I personally look forward to meeting you and working with you in laying the groundwork for this truly momentous occasion. Regards, Angela Merkel Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Fremet
Prime Minister Leandros decided to take a walk around Eleutheria Palace before heading of to Diethnés Tower, where the NESTO talks were to be held.
She knew they wouldn't be quick and simple, primarily due to the Britons' scepticism on the treaty, so she needed to relax before venturing into the lion's den.
As soon as her car was ready, she started checking the schedule for the Derectan delegation.
"Mario, have ministers Schultz, Trujillo, Tressler, Valero and Madden confirmed their assistance?" Violet asked her secretary.
"Yes Ma'am, although Minister Tressler will be arriving a bit late. He had a forum with some San Marcos businessmen this morning. Also, the British are already heading towards the tower." answered the aide.
"Alright. Call Dikaíoma International and tell them my escorts will welcome the delegations that haven't arrived yet." said Violet. "And there is no rush to get to Diethnés, so we shall stop at the nearest Mercado XXI, I need a coffee."
Violet didn't want to be surrounded by the British PM and half her cabinet without her own ministers at her side. They could wait a little, it was known Derectans were generally anything but punctual. Fortunately, the three foreign delegations had managed to confirm their assistance. Violet had been worried the timing was not convenient, mainly due to the British tight political schedule`.
"One more thing Mario. Have the copies of the treaty arrived from Europolis?" asked PM Leandros
"Yes, of course Ma'am. They arrived yesterday evening. Don't worry, everything will be fine" said Mario, trying to calm the PM down. Whenever she was stressed, she began craving for coffee...
"My goodness, I don't know how I would survive without your help!" said Violet, while smiling.
The car stopped, and the PM stepped down, entering the urban market.
"A caramel frappuccino with extra coffee, caramel and cream, please"
There was a long awkward silence in the car. Theresa knew that it was not a part of the Derectan custom, having been made to wait once. She looked at Priti, Sajid and Stephen while Fiona, in the front, was taking in the sights of the former Crown protectorate and newest member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was a beautiful place to wander around in.
"Stop the car," the Prime Minister responded. The motorcade of Protection Command officers who were commissioned to come on the trip with the Prime Minister stopped first, then the ministerial car stopped.
"Prime Minister?" Stephen asked. "Why the pause?"
"...I think we can stop for an ice cream before going on to the meeting; cooler, relaxed and calmer heads always prevail in these situations. Besides, the Derectans won't be ready yet," Theresa responded. "They live a different life from the punctuality of British life."
Fiona grinned. She hadn't seen the Prime Minister act so improvisational as this before. The other three Ministers glanced at each other, stunned at the reasoning.
"Well, you don't have to tell me twice," Priti said to the car. She got out and walked onto the sidewalk with Fiona and the officers in front of a Tennyson's department store. Theresa sidled up second while Stephen and Sajid brought up the rear. The four officers turned to the Prime Minister.
"I don't think that we can stay very long," the chief operations officer of the Prime Ministerial security wing of the Protection Command explained. "We haven't had a chance to..."
"Now, I know I'm British Prime Minister, but for God's sake, it's an ice cream, Roland. Give us a rest," Theresa said, moving past him. The group walked in and Theresa looked at the directory board. The restaurant was on the first floor beyond the women's intimate apparel.
"Come on, then," she called out. The group wandered through to the food court area, which was not just beyond the women's section but also the electronics as well. They ordered ice creams for everyone, guards included, on the Prime Minister's expenses card.
"Theresa..." Sajid said, the former Chancellor cringing at the use of the expenses card.
"It's parliamentary; it's a food expense. If it makes you feel better, I'll pay it back when we get back to London," Theresa said. "Live a little; eat the ice cream. This coffee one is delicious."
Priti (strawberry) and Fiona (mango) began chatting about the store itself, while Stephen and Sajid talked more about their portfolios and government. Theresa just sat in calm and looked around. She enjoyed the space, and the ice cream. It let her clear her thoughts before having to jump into intense negotiations. Once finished, the group went back into the car, with many people (who now understood who came in) taking pictures of Theresa and the ministers leaving the store.
Having finally stepped off the plane, after a somewhat of an exhausted delay, The Prime Minister with his entourage in tow dismounted from their respective vehicles and proceeded to walk into the foyer of Diethnés Tower.
Suddenly, the Prime Minister stops the murder of ministers, "Now, apart from the obvious, I'm expecting them nit pick and basically wanting a rewrite of our draft. Is there anything that we should bring up?"
"Sir!" - Peter pipes up, "Apart from the UK delegation, do you think we can spruik the idea of establishing an NESTO wide JOTHRN network?"
"Peter! Now's not the time" - Jock said scornfully at Peter, "This is a meeting to establish a Treaty Organisation, not for you to push your agenda of expanding your precious RADAR network around the f**king globe."
Standing there, shaking his head at the naïvity of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. General Perry-Marsh breaks protocol and steps in to defend the Minister of Defence. "In defence of the Defence Minister, Sir, expanding JOTHRN within our partners is not at all about the Minister expanding his 'precious RADAR network' as you so elequontly put it."
"Insolent bastard..." - Jock mumbles under his breath while the Chief continues.
"If we look at further establishing JOTHRN across the partner nations, we will see an increased ability to provide early warning and intelligence gathering across the whole organisation. The treaty isn't just about trade or mutual benefit, it's also about Mutual Defence. If the other partners agree, we will be basically handing them the capability, which has a number of benefits to the nation. We either manufacture the components back in Gallambria, OR we work agreements with the respective partners and manufacture there, either way, we're creating jobs. Not only would we create jobs, we would start this chain reaction of increased indigenous defence development and manufacturing. Either way, I think we should consult the other partners."
"Thank you General" - Peter said.
The Prime Minister, abit infuriated with Jock's stubborness gathered the group together and starts to walk into the building.
The PM's secretary suddenly received a call from Diethnés Tower. The Gallambrians were already there, even before the British.
"Ma'am, we should leave at once. The Gallambrian delegation has just arrived at the tower and our ministers will soon be there." said Mario, trying not to stress his boss.
"Yes, It'll be a great image for the British, to see us together when they arrive. Come on, let's go" answered Violet, a bit hyped up by the coffee she had just had.
The PM stepped into the car and told her chauffeur to take her to the meeting. The traffic in the capital had become less congested since her cabinet introduced the new public transport services around the country. There wasn't going to be any problem to arrive in time to Diethnés.
As soon as the car parked at the tower's doors, Violet rushed inside to greet the Galllambrians
"Hello Prime Minister Greenwald. It is so nice to have you and your team here in Dikaíoma!" said PM Leandros, quite cheerfully. "Now, I wouldn't want to seem rude, being so direct, but what'll be our strategy with the British? I guess they'll want to cut most of the trade articles..."
The British cavalcade finally made it into the Diethnes Tower area. The Gallambrians and Derectans had arrived before them. Priti looked at the Prime Minister, instantly embarrassed.
"Oh my God, Theresa....how did you let everyone get there before us..." Priti groaned, embarrassed and turning redder and redder.
"Relax; I'm sure had the Gallambrians not probably shown up first, the Derectan PM would still be wherever she is. That's just how the country works," Theresa explained. They slowed down; the two already arrived parties were talking.
"Prime Minister, should I?" Fiona asked. Theresa held up her hand before announcing her presence.
"Violet, I'm sorry we took a little detour; I wanted an ice cream and the rest of the Ministers and security detail wanted one as well. I see you two are already headlong into the business proceedings. Do you mind if we cut in?"
"Oh don't worry Theresa, so great we finally meet, hey?" said PM Leandros, trying to sound kind and casual. "We have only just arrived and..."
Suddenly Athanasios appeared. Violet felt relieved, as she didn't want to start having a conversation with the British. She was a bit intimidated by their Prime Minister, and she was trying to remain calm and impassible.
(OOC: such a big image!!, sorry...)
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first Head of Government NESTO talks. I am Athanasios Economides, the Derectan representative to this organisation and your host here at Diethnés Tower. As the Fremetian delegation has not arrived yet, we shall go through some of the details. Have your clerks contacted your embassies here at Dikaíoma concerning your stay in Derecta? If you prefer to, the Prime Minister will host your delegations at Eleutheria Palace." said the diplomat.
"The Derectan delegation is formed by the Most Hon. Prime Minister Violet Leandros;
The Hon. Sebastián Trujillo, Minister of Defence and Internal Affairs;
The Hon. Friedrich Tressler, Minister of Economy, Commerce and Industry;
The Hon. Alfredo Valero, Minister of Foreign Affairs;
The Hon. Henry Madden, Minister of Development, Infrastructure and Transport;
(OOC: another big photo...)
The Hon. Veronica Schultz, Minister of Immigration, Social Affairs and Integration;
and myself. We shall now move on to a small déjeuner we have prepared."
Athanasios showed the way to the next room, where the catering was set up.
"Oh no...not a breakfast," Sajid groaned. Theresa glared at him while Priti stifled her own laughter.
"Speaking too soon, eh Sajid?" Stephen chuckled. "Look, a breakfast could be just the thing we needed. It's an opportunity to get to know the team. The Derectans must have felt clearly outnumbered by us at first so they've decided to invite their entire cabinet."
"It's not all of it," Fiona mumbled. "They must have assumed our Cabinet was small. Little did they know that the entire Cabinet is around 30-35 people in total."
"Should we have brought Michael with us?" Theresa asked Fiona as she went to the line of the pastries, hoping to grab one. "They seem to have brought their defence secretary."
"Well, you can speak on behalf of the British Armed Forces and intelligence services, as the person who gets the full briefing on it in Cabinet," Fiona quickly said under her breath.
Violet stayed behind with Minister Valero while Athanasios took the British and the Gallambrians to the next room.
"Do you think it was too much having Veronica and Henry here, Alfredo? I mean, their ministries aren't really concerned by the treaty... MISAI is in part under your supervision and Development and Transport would only touch hypothetical new routes to NESTO countries." Violet asked her foreign affairs minister.
"Oh Violet, don't worry. Veronica is very experienced, and Henry can be our critic voice. You see, we needed to have a strong team when we were to face the Brits, that's why you chose this team. Don't think we're too many, it is what's needed." answered the minister.
"Anyway, do you think there'll be coffee at the breakfast?"
Ministers Madden and Schultz were having a chat in the meantime...
"Henry, ever since you got in charge of Transport, traffic in Dikaíoma has been so smooth. Great job! And what you have been doing about the Trans-Regional HSR Network is truly remarkable." said Veronica.
"Well thank you, minister! I hoped I could refurbish the system when I was appointed by the Prime Minister, and it has taken quite some time, money and effort to do so. But that's at least some of it done. Marina and Syricus are next. They have quite a situation pollution-wise..."
Sebastián and Friedrich were also speaking with each other....
"Do you think they're here out of good will, Sebaastián? The British have always been seen as a bunch of isolationists... They'll have come to undermine the treaty, especially the parts that interest me the most..." said Minister Tressler.
"Oh come on Fred. You know what the Prime minister was saying about the Commo..."
"SHH! That is classified for the moment. If Violet hears you have mentioned it..."
"Relax. Everything is OK. That'll just ease our relations with our Briton friends. No need to be paranoid." said Minister Trujillo
The Derectans went into the room were breakfast was being served. Sadly, there was no coffee, but tea. Violet made a subtle grimace of disgust...