Tensions rise as Zealandia threatens New South Scotland
“We have no intentions of war with Austenasia. We are quite happy to poke at the edges.”
These were the words sent by Queen Astrid of Zealandia in a Skype chatroom used by members of the MicroWiki community of politicians and diplomats minutes after announcing that Zealandia was on MILRED [“military readiness”, cf. DEFCON] 2, before declaring “God I need another bottle of wine” in another similar chatroom.
Tensions have been steadily rising over the past few weeks in regards to New South Scotland, the crown dependency of Austenasia situated near Zealandia which has been governed on the Emperor’s behalf by Queen Astrid – also known as Anna Lindstrom – since its foundation in January 2013.
On 22 May, a crisis – unreported in most media outlets – took place in Zealandia. General Rodsson of the ZDF (the Zealandian military) threatened to overthrow Queen Astrid from the Zealandian throne if she did not within a day sanction a Zealandian invasion of New South Scotland. Warning the Austenasian government that she couldn’t “command [her] army’s ambitions much longer”, a compromise was eventually reached after the Zealandian legislature was persuaded to support the Queen.
A deal was reached whereby the ZDF would be permitted to use half of New South Scotland in exchange for conquering some new territory for the crown dependency. Queen Astrid designated an area known as Touchwood Forest to be annexed by the ZDF to New South Scotland.
However, before the land-transfer deal could be finalised, Astrid announced in the Micropolitan Lounge Skype room on 29 May that Zealandia had “invaded half” of New South Scotland, stating in regards to the crown dependency that it was “really, really tempting to be like to hell with it, ours now [sic]”.
Despite later claiming the ZDF entering New South Scotland had not been an invasion, Astrid claimed that “Zealandia has a government and military… that wants to flex some muscle”, and promoted General Rodsson – the rogue officer who had threatened to depose her earlier that week – to her Chiefs of Staff.
It was then revealed that Touchwood Forest was not available to be annexed to New South Scotland by the ZDF to begin with, being an area already under Zealandian authority. When confronted about this, Astrid refused to discuss the matter, claiming she was too sleep-deprived to talk further.
When next contacted in regards to Touchwood Forest, Astrid revealed that she had not even consulted her government about the land-swap, and claimed that those she had appointed to it regarded Austenasia in the same way the EU regards Russia, despite having signed a treaty of friendship with the Empire a mere two months ago.
After being confronted over misinforming the Austenasian government about Touchwood Forest and allowing her government to regard Austenasia as an enemy, Astrid resigned from her position as Governing Commissioner of New South Scotland and as a Privy Counsellor, and changed Zealandia’s “military readiness” to 2 (an actual state of war being 1), later stating that “Tyr (a Norse god of war) will happen now”.
Unfortunately, New South Scotland stands practically defenceless; the New South Scotland Constabulary, established by Astrid, was revealed by her several days ago to have been defunct for some time. Although there is little chance that an invasion by Zealandia could be stopped, the Emperor has assured the public that the Empire would easily be able to retake New South Scotland in the future, with several secret Austenasian operatives living in and around the area.
The ZDF has been given just under 23 hours (3 June 14:18 BST) to withdraw from New South Scotland, after which the presence of any Zealandian military personnel there will be considered a violation of sovereignty. Zealandia has already been condemned by various small nations for its aggression towards Austenasia.
UPDATE 2 JUNE 16:04 – Zealandia has suspended diplomatic relations with the Empire. HIH Countess Eritoshi, Austenasian Prime Minister, has set the DEFCON level of the Empire to 3, its lowest since the England riots in 2011.