(OOC: I intend to use this thread mostly for internal roleplay of events that are not reported in the news or to give more detail on events that are partially reported in the news. /OOC)
Titu Yupanki relaxed as much as he possibly could as he waited for the arrival of the Micay Puma, Minister of State Security, and Inti Amuru, Minister of Foreign Affairs. It had been a long while since there was an issue elected officials had deemed problematic enough to consult with him. The recent attacks by fundamentalists in Europe and legislation limiting WMD had probably inspired the current meeting. Likely at least one of the Ministers was going to outline a plan that had implications serious enough that he would consider vetoing it.
Relaxation rarely eluded Yupanki at the remote estate, surrounded for kilometres by a private park from which motor vehicles were strictly forbidden, where the meeting was to be held. Decades earlier construction of a hydroelectric dam on the river racing down from the Andes would have flooded a centuries old palace, constructed as a regional administrative centre after the Incan empire expanded into the region. Development had largely trumped history and when the dam was complete it was not long before the palace was submerged under the rising waters. The estate was adorned with a mix of artifacts removed in advance of the filling reservoir, as well as modern imitations, set within a stone country house designed both to blend into the surrounding landscape and to display Incan history. The modern structure was used as a retreat, home, and museum depending on the circumstances. Yupanki found the place most useful as a quiet retreat for the politics in the capital. Recently he had been spending more time at his retreat and found that it seemed to suit both him and the politicians in Cuzco well.
Yupanki sat on a wooden chair carefully grown for more than a decade into its present form before it was harvested as furniture for the courtyard of the Sapa Inca?s retreat. Nearby sat two similarly grown chairs and in the midst of them a table bearing a wooden bowl of mixed blackberries and coca leaves in addition to glasses and a pitcher of water. The furniture had been arranged to both provide a view of a low fountain in courtyard?s centre and so that sun would not shine directly in front of the seated party. When they first arrived, Puma and Amuru would approach the courtyard through a hall with tapestries depicting the historical expansion of the empire, the deeds of his ancestors, and the benefits rule by his ancestors had brought to the people.
Despite his feelings of both curiousity and trepidation over the direction of the plans that Puma and Amuru would present the Sapa Inca was able relax. Allowing his eyes to close he listened to the fountain while daydreaming about his hobbies of wood carving and growing flowers. So it was that he was unaware of the approaching ministers until a soft rustle of fabric, and Puma?s shadow blocking the warmth of the sun, heralded their arrival in the courtyard.
Opening his eyes Yupanki smiled at his ministers and, gesturing to the empty chairs, indicated that the Puma and Amuru should take their seats.
The Sapa Inca thought he had a good idea of the likely positions Amuru, the Foreign Minister, would take. Amuru was clearly a member of a faction supporting closer relations with the EU and political reform within Nouvelle Picardie. Yupanki had no worries over Amuru. The politcal reforms desired by the faction Amuru was part of were largely to introduce laws to limit the power of the Sapa Inca and expand the powers of the elected government. While in theory such legislation would be a great departure from Nouvelle Picardie?s traditions, in practice the Sapa Inca tended to leave the business of governing to the bureaucrats and elected officials and would only occasionally veto legislation. In the same way the corporations legally under his ownership were in reality managed as state enterprises.
Puma was another story. She was a hardline sovereigntist, suspicious of the EU and more likely to view other nations as potential threats rather than trading partners. Following the wave of terrorist attacks across the EU she, and other nationalists, had wasted no time in promoting their agenda. The bureaucrats in her Ministry also recognised the potential to advance their own interests and thrown their support behind Puma?s push for a larger budget.
?Welcome! I hope you two had a most pleasant journey from Cuzco and will enjoy the atmosphere here as much as I do. Help yourselves to such refreshments as you desire. I do hope at least one of you will suggest banning Bakrova?s latest Eurovoice entry.?
After additional pleasantries the discussion eventually turned to more substantial matters as the Minister for State Security made her pitch.
?Nouvelle Picardie must learn from the attacks across the EU. Although we increased surveillance on anyone with the faintest connections to the fanatics, and to a lesser degree of foreign religious groups in general, we need to devote more resources to our internal security. We also need to pay more attention to the risks of domestic terrorism by individuals without connections to those responsible for the crimes in Europe. Take for example your personal security. As the most well known and powerful political personality in our nation you face a higher risk. When you are here it is far easier to provide security, but when you are in the capital it is much harder to guarantee your safety as would be assassins can blend into the urban scene.
For internal security we need to maintain our increased surveillance of foreigners, monitor electronic communications, and tighten border security. With access to data from the Ministry of Industry we may also be able to identify unusual purchases which could indicate criminal activity. Although we are a great distance from Europe we can not afford to ignore the possibility that our membership in the EU may attract the attention of the foreign intelligence services of nations that may previously have ignored us. We should look carefully at foreigners to see if they are involved in espionage as well as guarding against the risk of our own people working for other nations. Our own foreign activities have been largely been limited to placing a few agents among Nouvelle Picardie?s volunteers to the European Relief Force. Hopefully they will have a chance to learn additional European languages and gain experience working within the culture of the EU.
The passage of the Biological Weapons Act also forces us to reconsider our defences against external aggression. Although we are distant from Europe, and it would likely be a logistical nightmare for another nation to attempt an invasion, we should consider how best to maintain our deterrent.?
Dropping her voice slightly Puma continued to explain her position.
?We can retain ?devices? that are not subject to the restrictions of the Act, although the deterrent value may appear to be less as they target non-human organisms. Complying with the Act will dilute our deterrent but if we substantially increase the numbers of these devices we may be able to compensate. If we abandon possible enemies already contemplating action may take advantage of the situation; although that appears very unlikely the consequences would be severe enough that even a tiny chance must be accounted for in our decision making. In addition we should begin enrichment of uranium beyond what is required for our reactors. This will provide the raw material if we ever need it and our experts can draw up various designs to test if the decision is made to go down that pathway. Due to its scale this program will likely be observed by foreign powers but I do not believe it is contrary to any legislation.
All of this may seem a little extreme, but I believe that it is necessary for our nation?s security. We failed to predict both the recent conflicts between the UK and Australia and between the coalition and Dromund Kaas. To put it bluntly the formation of a coalition and their invasion caught us entirely by surprise. The reaction to the brief detention of the Premier Commissioner did not seem proportionate, particularly since our own lawyers were not certain whether or not she had any diplomatic protection as her position was with an international organization rather than as a representative of a nation. Based on our past failures to predict the actions of the Europeans we cannot assume that we understand their intentions. Therefore we must maintain a deterrent and do everything we can to avoid accidentally provoking them.?
As Puma fell silent the Sapa Inca asked for the Foreign Minister?s perspective.
Foreign Minister Amuru had been afraid that Puma would push further, perhaps even as far as ignoring the new legislation, that she did not was a relief but also left him with fewer arguments to oppose her plans. Sensing that the Sapa Inca would not veto Puma?s proposition, Amuru decided to make the best he could of the situation by arguing for more engagement with EU nations.
?What my colleague has proposed is a step short of madness.? Ignoring a glare from the Minister of State Security, Amuru carefully picked a blackberry out of the bowl and continued. ?We are distant from the EU nations and they should not see us as a threat. There is no reason for them to interfere in our internal affairs unless we give them one? or several as my colleague is suggesting. We should remember that we joined the EU for trade, for the advancement of knowledge, and for cultural understanding. We need to renew our efforts to hold bilateral meetings with other EU members. Puma outlined the risks of misunderstanding the intentions of the Europeans. Doubtless that applies to them attempting to guess our own motives as well. In any case promoting communications is essential to maintaining peaceful and harmonious relations.
The potential benefits could be great. An agreement on search and rescue service could encourage trade and make it safer for ships travelling to the European nations far to our north. Our scientists are also eager for collaborations with their counterparts. For example we might be able to share costs to build an overwhelmingly large telescope in the Andes. Nouvelle Picardie could also benefit if it is possible to share costs with nation, or several nations, with more experience with manned space missions than we do. I only ask for support to engage with our European friends and to avoid antagonising them.?
As his second minister fell silent Yupanki finished chewing a handful of leaves from the bowl and considered. He hoped that Puma?s blocking his sunshine on her arrival in the courtyard would not be mirrored by her plans plunging his nation into darkness.
?I believe that we have the resources to proceed with both agendas simultaneously. I am sure you, Puma, can find support in the National Assembly for increased military spending and adjusting the size to account for our population growth. I will also support the efforts the Foreign Ministry chooses to make to engage with Europe. Now, if we are finished talking about business, why don?t you two take some time to relax before your trip back.?