For the rest of the 21st century Minerva faced increasing opposition from bandit groups, local warlords and even some city-states that managed to survive the War. While the newly formed paramilitary branch Aegis employed their Peacekeepers to defend Minerva’s territory, there was a recognized need to pursue peaceful resolution to their problems.
At their April meeting in 2040, the Regents voted to create and fund a diplomatic corps. The new organization, christened “The Oculus of Minerva”, immediately set to work training diplomats, spies and propagandists. Basing themselves after the business-political model of the pre-War US, they organized a board and chose a president, John D Rockefeller VII, whose secretary’s records I here quote.
Agenda for Weekly Board meeting – 24/5/2040
10:00 – Welcome
10:05 – Report from Chair of Acquisitions Committee
10:15 – Report from Chair of Diplomatic Committee
10:25 – Report from Chair of Espionage Committee
10:35 – Report from Chair of Propaganda Committee
10:45 – Break
11:00 – Discussion of Long Term Goals
11:30 – Discussion of Short Term Goals
12:00 – Lunch
1:00 – Presentation on Current State of Affairs
Some of her minutes from the meeting include lists of potential targets for diplomacy or sabotage, and a variety of ideas for how to turn the various bandit groups to serve Oculus’ purposes. Some of her notes are damaged beyond my ability to restore, but the general tone of the meeting seemed to be hopeful, even confident in Oculus’ importance to the future of Minerva. Perhaps that very over-confidence is what led us to today’s state of affairs.
Oculus proved to be a very successful endeavor over the next few decades. Several powerful city-states joined Minerva after prolonged negotiations with Oculus diplomats. Many more joined despite their initial refusals when several raider groups began invading their territory, or when their resources were stolen and water was poisoned. Oculus denied any involvement, which in my opinion allowed the Regents to accomplish their goals without having to accept the moral consequences of their actions.
Brutal and immoral as some of Oculus’ tactics may have been, they certainly were effective. By 2100, Minerva’s sphere of influence had nearly tripled to include an area of over 3000 square kilometers, and continues to increase today.