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It was an unusually hot, sunny afternoon in Belfast. People milled about in the streets, many carrying cones of ice cream in a variety of flavours, vanilla, strawberry, bubblegum...

 

Young people could be seen everywhere, simply relaxing on the grass chatting with friends or browsing the latest selections of clothing stores. Mothers and fathers held tightly onto the hands of their children, lest they be lost in the throng of bodies that peppered the streets. Traffic moved slowly, drivers lolling in their seats as idle hands hung out the window or tapped the roof of the car to the beat of pop music.

 

Seated in the back seat of a government car himself, as he took all this in, William Prescott glanced down at his watch. It wasn't an expensive Rolex or some other timepiece of Swiss magic. Just a simple digital thing his wife had purchased on his previous birthday. He didn't know why but there was just something about its simplicity and spartan look that made him prefer it over any other watch he could want.

 

It read 12:40.

 

Twenty minutes until a meeting began that would put two old countries on a new course of history.

 

 

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The train wasn't moving nearly as fast as Arthur Connelly would have liked it to. Something he would very much like to change in the future, a high speed rail service would be vital. As he neared Central Station in Belfast he wondered exactly what was about to happen, and could he really believe it was to be so. For years people on both sides had wanted to see this occur, would he really be the one to do it? He could only hope this would not be another failed venture into the matter. A stronger bond would be needed between the British and Irish and he would attempt anything to secure such a relationship. The economic and political benefit this would garner could not yet be calculated, but it would be vital to the success of Arthur's presidency.

 

When he stepped outside the station, he couldn't help link the surprisingly good weather to what was to occur today in Belfast. A sign perhaps he though to himself. The car which would take him to the meeting arrived, begrudgingly he stepped out of the warm sunshine into the overly chilled Rolls Royce. He would be glad of it eventually though as he made his way towards the most significant meeting he would probably ever have.

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He had arrived at last. Stormont Estate. Quite possibly the biggest symbol of governance in the history of Northern Ireland. A fitting location for today's events. As the car drew around the Edward Carson statue, a set of barriers lining the main road to the Parliament Buildings prevented it from moving any closer. The Chancellor ordered the driver to pull over; he would walk the rest of the way instead. He needed the fresh air and sunshine anyway.

 

As he walked along the path alone, savouring the lustrous green surroundings and the feeling of hot sun on his face, lashed by the occasional gust of wind, William pondered the day's work. It was all to begin with a meeting of two men, private and away from prying eyes; no prospect of this magnitude could ever begin as something being discussed by everybody even remotely involved. Certainly not if it was to succeed. No, the largest details had to be agreed upon first by the very leaders of these isles. Then the finer details could be approached by the wider scope of personnel. If all worked out well, this was going to be a very long afternoon indeed.

 

Prescott reached the steps of the Parliament Buildings and took them two at a time, full of energy and intent. There were no cameras to greet him, no journalists or lines of citizens waving flags in some hail to patriotism. This critical meeting had been kept under wraps, restricted to only the highest echelons of each country's respective government. Neither side wanted any undue influence or pressure being placed on this event, especially not from the media. Doubtless there would be many a foaming mouth in the North at this but they were simply going to have to finally face the music. And if they chose to do otherwise, well, MI7 existed for a reason. In any case, the relevant announcements would be made at the right time and not before.

 

He burst through the front doors of the building and made his way immediately to a staircase which would enable him to ascend to the uppermost floor. There was a small bustle in the main hall as various aides and secretaries proceeded with their assignments. A small room in the south quarter belonging to a minister, having been cleansed of possible bugging devices and soundproofed anyway, would be used for the initial top-level discussion. It was here that the Chancellor made his way. 12:50. Hopefully his Irish counterpart would arrive soon and the meeting could get under way.

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As Arthur neared the Stormont Estate, it would not take much deduction to notice he was becoming slightly nervous. It was to be a momentous meeting and he could certainly not take the honour for granted. This was something that he could not make a mistake in, or he would risk losing this opportunity. He would try his utmost to ensure that that does not happen.

 

He glanced at his watch. Just three minutes to go now. As their cavalcade drove up the Newtownards Road he wondered if this was all just a dream and that he would wake any second. However, as they drove through the gates it became clear to him just how real this was. His car pulled up to the front door of the building and he began to make his way to the meeting room. He savoured every step that he took, knowing what the outcome of this would mean for his people and his country.

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William stood at the window, looking out across the grounds. The sun still shone brightly as wisps of white cloud swirled lazily across the sky, itself as blue as Neptune and unrelenting in its depth. Behind the Chancellor, the door clicked open and then shut again. The entrant could only be one person. At last. "Arthur," William said as he turned to face the Irishman, "it's nice to finally meet you in person. I believe we have much to discuss." The two men shook hands and moved to sit opposite each other at the desk.

 

Prescott produced a file folder and slid it across the table. It contained some two-hundred pages of detailed documents regarding nothing less than the complete transfer of civil and military control of Northern Ireland to the state of Ireland. Re-unification, in one word. This was combined with an offer of mutual defence and security alongside a very typical trade and finance clause. The move was unprecedented for the Federation. "This folder has all the relevant files. I've personally gone over each and every one of them myself and made any necessary adjustments to ensure that this is the complete package, with no exceptions or exclusions. Please, take a moment to skim it. Would you care for a drink? I believe one of the secretaries here has a stash of excellent coffee beans. Of course, there is bound to be something stronger lying around if that is your preference."

 

The Chancellor's voice remained steady and no emotion showed on his face, except for slight mirth perhaps at his last sentence. He exuded professionalism and the business-like attitude that made him a force to be reckoned with at the negotiating table was showing quite clearly as he pressed into the matter at hand directly. The joviality would come later, when they had gotten through the hard work.

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Arthur spoke as he looked at the document that had been presented before him, "I can assure you the pleasure is all mine, and yes I'll take a coffee please. No milk or sugar thank you.". 'It was to be so then', he though to himself. He briefly skimmed over the document, he would give it to his aides to be looked over in depth but at the moment there was nothing that seemed to jump out at him as requiring a rewrite. "This is quite an impressive document William. It would appear you have thought very long and hard about this and put an equal amount of work into producing something that will make a lot of people happy." He thought very hardly about his next question, making sure to word it properly.

 

"How much resistance would you expect to see if we go through with this? The last thing we want are more troubles in Northern Ireland."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Arthur was not sure what to make of the silence. However, he was sure he wanted to go through with this deal no matter what the cost. "Mr Prescott... William, I believe we can make this work. Both the mutual defence as well as the finance and trade parts look to be what we want, as does the handing over of Northern Ireland to Irish hands. I will have my people write up an announcement immediately."

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  • 2 weeks later...

An announcement.

 

The Republic of Ireland hereby confirms that a deal between ourselves and the British government had been in the process since before the British Federation ceased to function as a ruling government.

 

This deal was for the consolidation of the Northern Counties of Antrim, Armagh, Derry/Londonderry, Down and Fermanagh into the Irish Republic.

 

We are now enforcing this to ensure the continuation of Government in all parts of the Ireland of Island and confirm the addition of said counties into the Irish Republic constitution.

 

We have no desires to control the rest of the British Islands but should no other successor state arise within 14 days we reserve the right to extend the reaches of the Irish Republic into England, Whales and Scotland and any other offshore lands previously under the control of the British Federation.

 

Long live the Republic.

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By now Ireland had taken full control of the North. Some were unsure of their new rulers but as of yet no violence had been sparked.

 

As the leaders of Ireland continued the absorption process they continued to keep an eye on the rest of the British Isles. No government had yet arisen to take control and ensure stability in the region. It was too early to start taking any real action but they would be patient. 

 

They began to prepare for the worst case scenario. Plans would be made to ensure the people of the British Isles would not be without a government forever.

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By now it was beginning to look certain that no new government and preparations were underway to ensure military control of the remainder of the British Islands would be swift.

 

The Atlantic and Irish Channel fleets were put on high alert and many airbourne units were ready to flay to key points in the isles, taking off from bases across Ireland.

 

The fleets in the North Sea and English channel would be put onto high alert also. 

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Special Missive to Ireland from Iceland [Private]

 

To Whom It May Concern,

 

Greetings.  I am sending this message in reference to Ireland's recently issued declaration of protection and stewardship over all the British Isles, and most specifically, any offshore islands.  I would like to inform the government of Ireland that Iceland, before any announcement was made by Ireland of protection, had sent peacekeeping forces to act as police in the Orkney and Shetland Islands.  Shortly thereafter, Iceland staked a formal claim to the two island chains, with intent to join sovereignty with them. 

 

I would also like to note that this move is not imperialistic or colonial in nature, and that both Orkney and Shetland in joining sovereignty with Iceland, would become equal in political standing with Iceland within a new and restructured government, should full sovereignty over the areas in question be attained.

 

My goal with contacting you was to avoid any diplomatic incident that could come from a miscommunication.  If you wish to hold a meeting, I would be glad to discuss this in person.  We wish no harm or instability in the islands, and if more explanation would be needed, we would be happy to relay.  We feel that we have reasonable cause to engage politically with Orkney and Shetland, with long histories of political and cultural kinship and exchange. 

 

I look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

Valgeir Thorgursson

Prime Minister of Iceland

Edited by Chicago Noise
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