General Uye had been sitting at a table with some of his lieutenants. They were discussing what name to give to their new land.
One proposed that they name it after the General himself. It was a clandestine attempt to get into his good books, but the General was flattered and genuinely appreciated it. They all knew that there was a policy or custom in the Oan Isles not to name things after people.
They pondered for hours. They threw ideas, back and forth and tossed them up again, should they reveal knew insight. Hualua had come to tell the General that his wife and son were coming. He knocked on the door and was well received. He was surprised to find all these men sitting in the small office, but he saluted them. They acknowledged him.
He began relaying the news he wanted to tell the general. The general cut him short and yelled, “Of course!”
He asked Hualua, “Hualua, what do you think we should name the new province?”
Hualua searched his mind. He wondered about it for a moment or two and yelped out, “Harmony”.
The Lieutenants looked at him and looked back at the general. One of them exclaimed, " Ko Oa! That’s a very good name!" The others spoke and in agreement and the General proclaimed, “It is decided that the new province will be Harmony Province and the first city would be Harmony City”.
Hualua was proud of himself. The General said, " Go tell your family the good news".
Hualua said, “I’ll get on a telephone right away”.
The General stopped him and said, " No man! Their already here!"
Hualua was overjoyed and gave the man a bear hug. He awkwardly receded when he realised what he had done and simply saluted the man and left the room. He was too excited to be embarrassed. The men in the room belted with laughter, but they understood why. They too felt more enthusiatic and excited than they had felt in a long time.
The men had to decide whether to move the settlement or keep it. They decided to properly map it first and get a feel for each island. They sailed at dizzying speeds from island to island. Satellites collected data. When he part looked at the map, he realised just how vast “Harmony Province” was. It was the size of the entire Oan Isles and then some! It had more than doubled the size of the Oan territory. He felt rather pleased with himself.
He decided to keep things as they were. Harmony Base would eventually (or hopefully) turn into Harmony City.
The day he had dreaded, had arrived. He was summoned back to La Rochelle to face the Cabinet. It’s not as though they were enemies. He was personal friends with each of them, as far as politicians could genuinely have any friends, but he didn’t want to see them. The last few days after the announcement of the law in the National Assembly and before he left were chilly at best. And it wasn’t because of the Antarctic Trade Winds shifting course.
He barely spoke to them and they didn’t seem interested in talking to him. He had acted without their consent and had thereby lost their trust. He hoped if he had lost their respect he would regain it. It was a good idea, and the Cabinet had to act as one. They had too few details on this and largely didn’t want to pursue the idea. They begrudgingly supported it. The law had already been passed and the Cabinet had to appear united, so they had no choice.
He sat in the ship, thinking about what he would say and how he would present it as the beautiful ocean swept him by.
La Rochelle was a little colder than usual today. Ese Ulua lit a fire in his office. His enormous penthouse the Defender’s Official Residence was kept warm by air conditioning, but he enjoyed the sound of the crackling flames. He wondered if Oaluoa was enjoying a fire such as this under the stars.
A knock on the door knocked him out of his daydream. He told the person to come in. Locklyn Le Roy saw the Defender hunched over a fire.
He asked him, “Should I turn the air-conditioning on?”
Ese Ulua simply shook his head. Locklyn went over to him and pulled up a chair next to him. He was a diplomat. He coaxed his prey before ensnaring it. He had a penchant for preambles and pretty, but long winded language. As soon as he started talking, Ese Ulua said, “Make sure that you get to the point as soon as possible”.
Locklyn replied, " Fine", and began his account, "I’ve been troubled by a number of things of late so I’m not sure where or with which I should start, but I suppose I should start at the beginning, relativenature speaking.
“I kept these things to myself, but they weigh heavily on me and before The General comes, I should make you aware of them. Since you asked ne to speak frankly I shall do so. Forgive me if I speak bluntly, but such the matters are.
" Oaluoa has aggressively been able to expand the budget of the armed forces of late. He has proposed extra budgetary appropriation bills for the purchase of equipment or construction of new facilities. He has gone as far as to set a five year plan for its modernisation and reinvigoration as he likes to call it. He has managed to pull of these feats and more such as shifting our pacifist policy to a nonaggression policy. In my view, he encroached on my department and I have, as demanded by my diplomatic nature, to find a compromise and to see the positive aspects of the changes he proposed. You were there of course sk you know all about that. But he has been able to introduce them with a greater ease and efficacy than one would expect. Unless of course he was not acting alone. I am not insinuating the kind of conspiratorial shadow works that my speech may lead one to perceive. But whether it has been a product of ignorance, disregard or design, I must ask and if you’re offended by that then I sincerely apologise”.
Ese knew that the dreaded question was coming and braced for impact.
“Did you support or allow Oaluoa to carry out his missives the way he did?”
Ese Ulua then replied, "I am not a dictator issuing instruction to his team autocratically. You and all the other ministers form the team I rely upon and am inspired by. Each of you has an ability to use the resources available to you or rise above the daily or hourly challenges you face, for which I admire and respect you, to get things done.
" I have always believed that my team, especially one so competent, should be given the freedom to work, to create art regardless of how large or small the department.
"I had worked as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Maritime Administration for some time. Because of this I had been responsible for procuring and handling all matters related to the ships of the state including those of the army. The power of the army to handle matters of its own ships had been wrenched from it as had its power to essentially do much independently of the vigilant and unyielding jaws of the civilian government. I greatly appreciated that as it has been a valuable resource in protecting the democracy that we hold dear and shall work endlessly to protect.
" Yet I had also served in the Navy as a lieutenant sme time before that. I had gained an understanding of the mechanisms within the army and those without it and how they affected its work. The experienced I had acquired in policy making gave me an understanding of the external restraints that the state naturally faced in equipping the army as extravagatly as many within it had hoped. I do not call anyone ignorant or naïve, but without an experience of the dangers we faced, policy and charts failed to give a full and trully comprehensive understanding of the conditions our men and women faced.
“General Oaluoa is someone whom I believed was most equipped to reconcile two seemingly divergent ideas and move the armed forces foward, just as I had placed my faith in you.
" I gave him the freedom, as I believe I have done all of you, to tackle the problems I had assigned him to tackle. I have supported you regardless of how imaginative the ideas are. Yes, I supported and allowed his appropriation bills”.
It felt as though there was no one else in the world, but them, which made Le Roy feel more aggressive and made Ese Ulua more poised for defence.
Locklyn asked, “Did you know that he was exploring new land?”
Ese replied, “I had heard a rumour, but did not know of it in the strictests sense of having information to have approved it”.
Locklyn asked, his heart increasing the fury with which it hit his chest, “Do you approve of what he did?”
Ese knew that the bait was set. He knew that he wpuld fall into the trap regardless of what direction he chose, so he went with the truth, “He provided us with a convenient solution to an obvious problem, so I didn’t really have a choice”.
" Locklyn", he continued, "I’m not naïve or playing favourites, but I know of the unspoken competition between you and Oaluoa. You both intend to succeed or unseat me. You are both building political capital to take my place if it comes down to it.
"You started to Embassy Program and expanded our diplomatic relations more viciously than they have ever been before. The Dragonia treaty was a particular gold mine.
" He started the expansiom of the army. You are worried that by virtually doubling the area of the republic that you have lost the competition, if I am to call it that.
" Both of you hope to gain more leverage over the other if a competition was closely contested and hope to solicit my support to tip the odds in youdr favour. You don’t trust me to be impartial.
"We are all politicians and understand that it comes with the territory, but because of the friendships we have forged, it’s a lot more personal, and no longer just business. When people stray into those waters, they are confronted with sharks and man-eating sirens!
" I would advise you to look at this with the retrospective mature eye of the diplomat I had faith in to appoint as my Minister of Foreign Affairs. Please don’t lose sight of the service you can do our nation whether it’s discussing trade deals in Aura or sitting in the Defender’s chair. That chair doesn’t mean much really. You even arrested me for being, as you described it, too whimsical! "
Ese continued, “The title means nothing without the courage and sense of duty of the man who sits in it. From the greatest to the least, everyone and anyone, can make a difference. You my friend, are among the greatest of all!”