Duxburian Union - United Republic Summit
The Steward's plane touched down at James Joyce International Airport, right on schedule. Regional concerns had brought Dante Maximilian to the United Republic, to re-affirm and leverage their alliance. He couldn't wait to meet Cynthia Johnson, President of the United Republic. She was the kind of strong and cunning leader he could work with, a women who really understood the politics of power. If anything, he was the lesser party, not being a full-fledged Aelir.
Mindful of this, he got off the plane with his delegation, one which included 5 Star General William Reid. The Steward was very careful in his dealings with Reid, for the General was very loyal to Avoldran Dehn and wouldn't hesitate to turn on Maxmilian if he ever found out how Dehn really got ill and who he really appointed as Steward. However, Maximilian lacked the power to replace Reid and Reid needed to be present for this type of summit.
He tried to look less worried. There was bad news from the Federal Office: the men he'd sent to assassinate Dehn's actual named Steward, Brandeus Devoy, couldn't locate him. The office was correct, the secret apartment was correct, but he just wasn't home. He wasn't at work, either - the man was gone. He either knew already or had gotten lucky - bad news either way, for now his guards were highly suspicious of their intent. Maximilian only now knew the kind of person he was facing, one who had members of the 6 martyr families as bodyguards. Maximilian's assassins also brought back intel on Devoy's friends: Byran Lunde, yet another member of the 6, Kay Dio, Spymaster of the Duxburian Union, William Nyquist, leader of the Emerald Order, Jade Aletto, leader of the Whitestone Society, Yusif Guillaumus, Cyber Security Director of Pax Aurea, and the list went on, Maximilian didn't want to hear any more. His rival would not be so easy to get rid of.
Maximilian saw the British delegation coming to greet him and tried to forget about his domestic problems, at least for now. He needed to be in the here and now to settle his foreign problems.
"Hello, you must be Mr. Maximilian. Welcome to the Irish Province, and Dublin. The James Joyce Airport is a part of New Dublin, but you will be meeting the President in Steward's Lodge, in Old Dublin outside of Phoneix Park," said a very cute, red-headed Irish woman sent to lead the British and Duxburian delegation. "My name is Siobhan O'Leary, Irish aide to the President's Cabinet. It will take a little longer as we have to take a diplomatic train service to Old Dublin, and then a car. You don't want to try the motorway at this time of day."
She looked on and took the Steward into the comfortable, one coach train.
"I hope you like Dublin. We pride ourselves on being very green and connected in multiple ways."
Maximilian was very pleased with the train service in Dublin. It was modern, clean, and fast. The scenery was also a refreshing change from home as they entered Old Dublin. He inquired about the domes, gardens, and churches as they passed by. At one point, he saw a huge castle with a very impressive turret.
But, the street system in Old Dublin was definitely chaotic like on the Capital Promontory at home. He wondered how anyone got around driving, but by the time they transferred from train to car, the traffic had subsided. It didn't appear to be particularly bad in this section of the city.
Maximilian didn't mind that their destination appeared to be a small caretaker's house in a park. It was best to hold this kind of conversation in such a secluded place.
President Johnson waited in the Steward's Lodge, the home of the Republican government in Ireland. She knew that on that ground, several leaders of the old Kingdom of Ireland had made their plans, and that everything around her had been different. She figured that the Steward of the Duxburian Union would appreciate coming somewhere that seemingly shared his name.
She knew exactly what she wanted to do here, and found that the Steward arrived much faster than she thought.
'Mr. Maximilian, I am so honoured to host you here in Dublin. I hope your flight to this city went well. I wanted to express how great it is to meet a Duxburian leader. I happened to study political science at the University of London with an emphasis in Duxburian politics. Shall we enter the house?
"Most certainly," replied the Steward.
They shook hands. President Johnson's grasp was solid and of perfect duration, definitely strong and confident, an equal.
"After you, Madam President."
They went inside and were seated. The Duxburian delegation sat down with General Reid closest to the Steward and the trip handlers furthest. Reid was sporting a ceremonial white uniform - the ancient Duxburian color of peace and friendship. Its buttons were made of rare whitestone and was only worn in allied territory. Reid wasn't sure what to think of the new Steward yet, but he certainly approved of this meeting and its goals.
"The trip here was great, no major holdups in the air or on the ground."
The Steward was very used to flying all over with Avoldran Dehn and had seen really bad delays, so even a moderate one wouldn't have bothered him at all. He sensed that the President was the kind of person who could slice through politician fluff like a knife through butter, so he got right down to business.
"As you know, our countries have maintained a very successful partnership. I've come to you with the hopes of solidifying our friendship further and to strengthen our defenses in a turbulent time for Europe. The Western Sahara incident showed that countries are ready to mobilize and use their military forces liberally, even if an event does not concern them. Meanwhile, the Duxburian Union remains concerned about Davishire's posturing, with its troops popping up unannounced from Icholasen to the Western Sahara. Aelir Degn came very close to war with Davishire in the past and it doesn't look like anything fundamental has changed or will in the future. It's a dangerous world that we live in."
Cynthia Johnson could definitely agree with this line, she knew all about danger, particularly in the Western Sahara. All parties had finally signed the Treaty of London and war had been avoided thus far.
Maximilian continued, "The Duxburian Union remains secure with its nuclear arsenal. Our other allies also have nuclear weapons, except the United Republic. I would like to offer you a place under our defensive umbrella with say, 100 missiles stationed in the northern section of the Republic. This would kill two birds with one stone, giving you the protection of a nuclear state while also deterring Davishire from attacking either of us.
In return, we are willing to give you a naval base in the Duxburian Union, as we know you've been seeking a home port for your navy. Simply name any location within reason on any of our coasts, and it shall be done."
The President knew that this deal was serious the moment the Steward finished. She also knew that with her party in control of the Presidency and government, she would have greater flexibility with her foreign policy, shaping the future of the United Republic.
If anything in her studies of Duxburian politics, she knew that if a Duxburian leader offered such an even deal, taking that deal immediately would be in her best interest.
_'The knowledge of added security through Duxburian missiles is something that I know the Government and people of the United Republic would benefit from, and we have ample room in Scotland, west of Aberdeen.
'You are correct sir in your knowledge that we are looking for a port for our navy. My studies of the Duxburian Union have left me with an intimate knowledge of the geography of the nation, so I can say that Adimere would be a perfect location for a naval base, if it suits the Steward.
'Hopefully this sends a message to those who seek to destabilize the European Union with violence and war. You are very right, the Western Sahara has provided many governments with a dangerous scapegoat for troop movement and aggressive posturing. This is a step in the right direction. And besides, those who wish to tempt the fire of the Duxburian Union should not complain about the potential burn. I only wish the government of Davishire weren't so inept.'_
"Adimere is a good choice with an excellent harbor. It is an industrial city, so you will have access to a wide variety of raw materials at cheap prices. There are several existing shipyards on the east side of the port that specialize in warships, they can build, maintain, and retrofit anything from a dingy to a supercarrier. Or, we can provide space for you to develop your own yard for more internal control. The Duxburian navy's main Red Sea base is in Westeria, not Adimere, so Adimere's harbor will not be overcrowded by any means.
Excellent, I'll begin making arrangements to move the missiles and in Adimere. The missiles are mobile pad-launched, so they are easy to transport over and hard to detect."
Maximilian took a break for water and gave Reid authorization codes for the missiles, who promptly got on a secure line to talk with the missile operators.
"There's another order of business I would like to discuss, the situation in Neo-Venetia. The region has forgotten that little corner of the world and left it to rot. There hasn't been an actual government in Neo-Venetia for years, the state restored by the EUSC ceased to exist a long time go and the nation has been wracked by anarchy. The communists collapsed with the Soviet Union, no political force has control.
There was supposed to be EUSC aid, but it never materialized and the ineffective act was repealed. I visited Neo-Venetia during my transition to the Stewardship and it is in the worst possible condition. The refugee population in the Duxburian buffer zone has swelled well into the millions, there are about 80 of them for each Duxburian personnel. There are many more millions outside of the zone, however, boundaries long blurred away. It's such a mess that nobody knows who controls what. Troops regularly travel deeper into the country to bring food and water to cities and there have been naval supply drops on the coast.
The point is, the nation is failing and we seriously need to do something about it, since Europe has turned a blind eye for so long. The United Republic has done a fantastic job mediating the Western Sahara, so we would be honored if you would broker a referendum for the future of Neo-Venetia. They could choose to remain independent and we could do our best to help, or they could join the Duxburian Union and/or Angleter. There are areas that favor Angleter more and areas that favor the DU more, so they don't have to just choose one.
As much as we would like a strong and independent Neo-Venetia, it appears to be a pipe dream. They have the past years to reflect on, including complete abandonment by the rest of Europe, and should really question whether continued independence is actually best for them. As part of the Duxburian Union and Angleter, the impact would be immediate - new infrastructure, restored rule of law by police and courts, heavy investment in their businesses, access to both our markets, etc. A rapid and complete reversal of fortune and an economic boom, they could become a first world region almost overnight. Some of the Venetian coast even has huge opportunity to get rich brokering Angleteric sea trade if they choose to join Angleter.
Of course, this should be for the people to decide, the power is all theirs. The Duxburian army is not an occupying force, it's there to ensure these people don't starve to death."
If you want to hold the referendum, I will contact Angleter to make sure that this solution is also acceptable to them."
President Johnson paused for a moment. She had not expected Neo-Venetia to suddenly become on the radar, and immediately felt a sense of guilt, for that portion of the world HAD become very isolated and forgotten, and she was a guilty party to that forgetfulness.
'Neo-Venetia is another step towards lasting regional peace. The chaos in that nation has led to potential terrorist activities as well as a humanitarian catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. It is a mission of this government to ensure that democracy stands where it can; I will request personally that a referendum take place in Neo-Venetia