Consul Strathclyde took a sip of water. So far, this had been the meeting of his dreams: Artabanos wasn't there to add what He would call "wit" into the discussion, or to somehow steer the whole thing to talk of drones, whisky, or Nestor Karaman. The Consul's counterparts were direct, pragmatic, and sensible. He had been able to approach the topic of arms sales confidently yet relatively discreetly. Things were progressing even better than he had anticipated. "Yes, of course, Minister, Inimician companies have only had a fairly limited scope in your nation thus far. As you'll know, we have mainly established chemical industries which naturally have a fairly small consumer base. However, part of my mission here today is to work with you on expanding our interests. The Imperial Government is ready to commit to investments in agriculture, production and sales of luxury products, as well as other potential avenues you may think are suitable. We have the cash, we just need to decide where to spend it."
If Consul Strathclyde had been granted another 20 minutes at the table without Artabanos there, he was sure he would've integrated the Czech and Inimician economies almost to the level of North Diessen's. Sadly, it was not to be, and the Emepror's booming voice could be heard in the corridor before the heads of state barged into the room: "Aw, what a shame you no longer have a court to preside over, Albina. I really think you should try to reinstate this - I'll send you some tips on fancy court language in the group chat with Mikaela and Vistek. It's always fun to be able to slag someone off and make it have legal legitimacy, if you know what I mean."
The leaders sat down at the table and Artabanos looked at the water Strathclyde had requested rather sadly. "So, what seems to be the talk of the day? President Reiserova and I just had the most fabulous walk through Prague. Christopher, you really should have joined us. Anyway, I take it you've mentioned expanding our business interests in Czech Slavia? It will please you all to know, my Czech friends, the Artabanos Foundation and the Imperial Government are ready and willing to commit to opening multiple series of factories, processing plants, luxury goods stores, and even homeware and department stores, under the brand name HomeBanos Stores. Or something else, if you have a better marketing brand that might strike Czech consumers more effectively, of course..." The Emperor looked at Albina.
"Ah, yes, well, you see, President Reiserova, Inimicus has recently become a major player in aircraft and especially unmanned aircraft production. I'm sure you've heard of My good friend Boris Mancov, the Imperial Commissioner for Drone Warfare?" Strathclyde could be seen rolling his eyes and grabbing for the nearest bottle of water at the mention of Mancov's name. "Well, he used to be My Defence Officer, actually, but we all know how that ended. Anyway, his plants are producing so many drones, electronic warfare systems, and even F-35 jets, that we couldn't possibly use all of them. We were hoping to export loads to Telum allies, but then of course I didn't realise that the Duxburian Union is a member of the Telum Treaty and produces pretty much everything in greater and better quantities than we do. So we're looking for other markets."
Strathclyde swiftly took over the Emperor's bargaining plea: "As His Imperial Majesty eloquently described, our offers mainly consist of UAVs - of both reconnaisance-focused and weapons-focused types - as well as highly advanced EW systems which you could mount on ships, planes, wagons, whatever fits Czech interests, and possibly a small supply of Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 combat aircraft. This should make Czech Slavia very well equipped to counter the threats of the 2020s."
The Consul could feel his Czech counterparts would need some time to think about this unexpected offer. He looked to the Emperor, who, to His credit, immediately recognised the conversation had to move on. "Anyway, President Reiserova, about your other requests. President Grimwald is quite the guy, although I haven't really had the pleasure of speaking with him for long -- he was at My Canal Party, of course, where he made a bit of a mess of himself, but these things happen. Perhaps we could set up a chat with the three of us? I'm sure he'd be open to it. I actually don't have his cell, though, so we'd have to go through the official channels. Ugh. I know Mouri-Kudo slightly better - that fiend Augustus Barrington hid from Me in Leagio a few years back, of course - but again, I'm not in constant contact with him. I'd be more than happy to get you guys chatting though. You know how good I am at coupling up others." If only, the Emperor thought, He was as good at coupling up Himself.
"Well, perhaps we should give everyone some time to think about what's been discussed so far?", Artabanos announced, sensing Albina wanted to take this meeting behind closed doors - where, in Artabanos's view, all good meetings took place. He whispered to the President for Life: "I could really do with a drink, Albina." Nodding at Strathclyde: "And I know someone who certainly could."