Harmony in Difference

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Harmony in Difference To Be Continued
Salaryman A icon.png
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Shopkeeper A
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Shopkeeper B
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Hotel Room
Siesta Beach
Guests arrive at Siesta on the eve of its imminent relocation, and Mayor Herman personally goes to greet them. A short meeting ensues between the two, both as leaders, and as fathers.
<Background 1>
[Two workers are having a chat.]
Worker A It's already 10:30, and you still want coffee? You still have time to worry about coffee?
Move your ass away from the coffee maker and put it in front of your desk where it belongs.
Worker B *cough*...!
Worker A How are you doing with the revisions from the feedback we got last time? There's not much time left until the 3 o'clock meeting.
Worker B I already updated the proposal. Here.
The feedback from the last meeting was pretty clear. We basically got a few solutions handed right to us, and incorporating them was a simple matter.
The speech is ready to go as well.
Worker A There's not much time left. We've got three days until the weekend, and we need to have the proposal finalized by then so the other departments have time to implement it.
Be extra careful. The mayor's been very clear about his intentions, and this isn't like before.
Volcanoes don't wait for anyone. And I'm not joking around when I say that.
Worker B Yeah, yeah. I know.
Worker A Let me take a look at what you've written.
Worker B Here, it's this one. The speech is attached underneath.
Worker A What?
Worker B ...To be honest, when I was drafting this proposal, it felt like there was one issue that couldn't be resolved internally, so that needs to be brought up at the meeting for the boss to discuss with the mayor.
Worker A Which issue?
Worker B It's hard to say, but let me explain first.
You see, we proposed a plate-by-plate migration model for this relocation, with the key technical and managerial personnel for each plate going first.
Their numbers are small enough for us to manage, and they've already completed the move. Once they assume their posts in the core sector, we can start preparing to move the rest of the population.
The fixed demand treats each plate as a unit, with each unit moving in sequence. However, all the proposals made so far fail to provide enough transportation capacity, even if we bring in external logistics companies.
Worker A I see. So?
Ideas on their own are worthless without plans. How are you going to deal with this issue?
I hope you're not planning to bring it up at the meeting just to let the Bureau of Administration and Transport worry about it.
<Flashback starts here>
[Herman reads documents regarding Siesta's transition to a nomadic city.]
Herman ......
A few logistics companies alone won't be able to provide the capacity we need.
The professional transport management capability of a cutting-edge logistics company, hmm...
[The telephone rings; Herman picks it up.]
Herman Hello?
This is Siesta City Hall. Mayor Herman speaking.
<Flashback ends here>
[Someone knocks the door and enters, who turned out to be Herman's new secretary that replaces Cronin.]
Secretary Apologies for the interruption, Mr. Mayor. I'm here to confirm today's itinerary with you.
Please take a look here.
<Background fades out and in>
Secretary This portion of your schedule has been arranged beforehand.
I need your input though, because I just received a phone call from one of our logistics partners, who will arrive in Siesta around 1 PM.
Your original itinerary has a 3 PM meeting with various departments to discuss the relocation efforts. With so many departments each having their own schedule, delaying it isn't an option, and it is unlikely that it will be cancelled either.
Shall I serve as your proxy at the meeting then?
Herman ...No. Come with me to meet our caller. Have another secretary start the meeting.
Make sure he takes the minutes and have him turn them over to me after it's finished.
Secretary Understood.
Do we need to let the other departments know that we've been in talks with logistics partners?
Herman ...You can go ahead with that.
But only mention that we may be cooperating with foreign logistics companies. If all goes well, we'll consider introducing a new logistics management model and bring that up at the meeting.
Secretary Alright. I'll be going then.
<Background fades out and in>
Secretary ...Yes, that's the current situation.
The mayor will be discussing things with our clients this afternoon, and the meeting will pertain to the subject matter I just mentioned. Please refer to this document.
This message comes straight from the mayor. Any questions?
Worker A None from me. Appreciate the heads up.
Worker B Thank you very much.
[The secretary leaves.]
Worker A Listen up, you still have four hours, starting now.
Worker B *sigh*...
Look, here's another version of the proposal I prepared earlier. It's a letter of intent for the introduction of a new logistics management model.
Worker A Huh?
Hah, would you look at that...
I'll let you in on a bit of good news then. If this job ends up being a success, everyone's getting a bonus.
So do your best out there!
<Background 2>
[Herman meets with his client, who is revealed to be Eurill and Bison Pides of the MountainDash Logistics.]
Eurill Hello, Mr. Mayor.
Thank you for reaching out to us. It's an honor to have this opportunity to cooperate.
Herman No need to thank me, cooperation is a matter of mutual benefit.
Is this your son?
Eurill Haha, I'd like him to get a wide variety of experiences as soon as possible. If he never goes out and sees the world, he won't be able to adapt to the changing climate.
Bison Hello, Mr. Mayor.
Herman Good afternoon.
Eurill As a token of our meeting, I'd like to present you with this watch.
Herman Thank you. However, I don't believe it's appropriate for me to accept gifts from MountainDash Logistics at this point, either publicly or privately.
Mr. Eurill, we've previously spoken about our project's needs over the phone. We've invited you to Siesta in the hopes of reaching a final agreement on our contract.
Eurill Haha, I see you like to get right to business.
We've already read the documents sent by City Hall. Given the size and scale of MountainDash Logistics, we are more than happy to have the opportunity to work directly with the municipal government.
Herman Naturally, we also hope that this joint endeavor will be a fruitful one.
So what does MountainDash think of the terms of the contract?
Eurill You are a man of honor, Mr. Mayor, and MountainDash is more than willing to sign.
However, because cooperation is a two-way street, I would like to renew our discussion about the quote.
Herman ......
Eurill This wristwatch–
Can be stopped at any time, Mr. Mayor.
Herman Very well.
MountainDash has quite the appetite.
Eurill Hahaha, you misunderstand me!
What I meant to say is that we are willing to provide this service free of charge.
Herman ......
What are your terms?
Eurill Take a look at this, sir. This is a "Letter of Contractual Intent" drafted by MountainDash.
Since we will be working directly with the municipal government, we also hope to take our cooperation to the next level.
What we would like is for MountainDash to be able to start a new subsidiary in Siesta, not restricted by local competitors and Messengers.
Herman I thought as much.
Then I assume you know the weight of what you are asking for, Mr. Eurill.
Herman leans lightly back in his seat.
Secretary Ahem.
Mr. Mayor, your scheduled three o'clock meeting is about to begin.
Herman I know.
Eurill You have a very sharp secretary.
Herman My criteria for one are not based strictly on ability, but also on whether or not they can understand what I'm thinking. It also depends on the situation.
City Hall has no shortage of candidates.
Eurill Mr. Mayor, though you recognize that a distant spring is ill suited to quench an imminent thirst, you still choose to live far away.
Herman As you've just heard, my meeting is about to start, so–
Is there anything else MountainDash would like to show us?
Eurill Ahem.
What if I told you that we're capable of meeting both your needs?
We're not here to make money, but to solve problems.
Herman What do you see as the "problem" then?
Eurill Whatever you might need help with.
Herman And what exactly do you think I need?
Eurill Restructuring.
After establishing a new logistics company built off of MountainDash, you'll be able to leverage them to facilitate free trade and establish a network of trade agreements not beholden to any political entity–
Imagine a future where Siesta will be able to enter the markets of foreign countries as a neutral entity under those agreements, becoming a commercial hub capable of supporting its local businesses and government.
Herman Well, I can see that MountainDash has a clear vision. Thank you for your time.
The secretary steps forward, ready to receive the documents Herman is handing back.
Eurill then leans forward.
Eurill Mr. Mayor, what do you think of Columbia's pioneering business model?
Tkaronto circles the country year-round, bringing continuous economic benefits to Columbia.
Herman Tkaronto?
Eurill Tkaronto.
Designed as a pioneer trade city, it will never have a future beyond what Columbia has planned for it.
Herman Pioneer cities have always been different from other nomadic cities. They couldn't have less in common with Siesta.
The only common thread is that its immediate benefit to Columbia far outweighs the potential risks of its somewhat independent status.
So Tkaronto will continue to chug along, extracting things from the wastelands that other nomadic cities cannot.
Do you understand me, Mr. Eurill?
Eurill Of course.
Ultimately, you are the mayor of Siesta, and you have the final say.
However, Tkaronto's economic model has been set in stone, and will not change in the future.
By contrast, Siesta is now moving away from this beautiful beach.
Who will have the final say when the water is no longer visible?
Herman ......
Eurill Haha! As you know, Mr. Mayor, Great Yan is thousands of miles from here. Quite the journey, even with modern transportation.
MountainDash is but a private company in distant Lungmen, unable to do anything drastic. But since you extended your courtesy to us, we came.
Take a look at this, if you please.
Though we've always conducted business in and around Lungmen, our earnings can hardly be considered insignificant.
From what I hear, that volcano's giving Siesta a hard time limit. This city could be gone before my kid here is old enough to start a family.
Opportunities are scarce, and time waits for no man.
Herman ...So that's why you brought a watch.
Herman casts a glance at Bison, who is sitting farther back along the table.
Herman And what does your son think of this proposal?
Eurill My son?
Bison Oh, me? Sorry Mr. Mayor, I'm actually not involved in this...
Herman Haha, don't worry, I'm just making small talk.
So to be clear, you want us to finish negotiating this contract by today?
Bison ...As the executive manager of MountainDash Logistics, that is my hope.
Herman I know.
Bison Though I may not be personally involved with this project, I do know that as logistics companies develop in the future, they will not be merely transporting goods and materials, but also facilitating the exchange of economies and cultures.
We have both the vision and the capacity, and we will not fall short of your expectations.
Eurill So how about it, Mr. Mayor?
Herman Hahaha!
I have a daughter who also thinks a great deal about Siesta.
Before she and my other daughter left the city, I promised her I'd work to create her ideal version of it.
[Herman stands up.]
Herman The nomadic city of Siesta. It will be a wonderful place.
Hah, thanks for all your hard work in making this contract possible.
Eurill ......
Herman That said, the sun is about to set, and the view around this time is most spectacular. Shall we continue our discussion outside?
<Background 3>
[A pair of shopkeepers have just finished setting up.]
Shopkeeper A That's the last of the batch. Once we finish selling our inventory, we should pack up and head for the new city.
Shopkeeper B Heh, the nostalgia's really starting to catch up with me. I grew up here since I was a little kid, and can recognize every grain of sand.
I'll have to bring a bottle of it with me when I leave. Who knows if I'll ever get the chance to return.
I won't, will I...?
Shopkeeper A Who can say? It's too early to start moping.
Oh, someone's heading our way. Go get their attention!
[The male shopkeeper offers his goods.]
Shopkeeper A Welcome, welcome! Try our special charcoal-grilled sandworm legs! The shop's about to relocate in a few days, and we might have to change to a completely different menu by then! Get them while you still can!
Bison Wh-What is this?
Sandworm... legs?!
Eurill What are you freaking out over this time?
...I must say, the scenery isn't the only thing unique about Siesta.
Herman Ah, during the last Obsidian Festival, there was a young lady who sold this sort of barbecue.
It became an instant hit, and now it's a popular local snack.
Shopkeeper A (Hold up, is that the mayor?)
Shopkeeper B (Why are you asking me? You think I've met the mayor? Am I not meeting the exact same people as you every day?)
Shopkeeper A (Should we...?)
Shopkeeper B (I think we just act normal.)
Hahaha, would our wonderful visitors like to give it a try?
Bison Uh...
Eurill Uh...
I think we'll pass for now?
I am curious though. What is that facility over there that's been spinning around this whole time?
Herman Oh, that? That's the burdenbeast carousel.
It's another attraction that popped up during the Obsidian Festival. For whatever reason, a large number of people kept going to ride it every day.
Eurill I see.
Shopkeeper A Are you all tourists?
Here, I'll give you a free sample. Give it a try! If you like the taste, take a few more with you!
Bison Oh, thank you. I guess I'll take another one then. Here's your money.
Shopkeeper A So you're not just cute, but courteous too!
Bison Oh, uh... thank you.
Shopkeeper B Huh?
You know I'm still here, right?
Shopkeeper A Haha!
<Background fades out and in>
Secretary Mr. Mayor, Mr. Eurill, this way please.
Herman Enjoying a meal while overlooking the ocean is incredibly popular among tourists. The view here is simply unbeatable.
Even after the relocation, Siesta will continue to retain this aspect. Even as a nomadic city, she will not lose what was once hers.
Eurill Of course not. You've done your diligence to ensure that.
Waiter Your dishes are ready. Please enjoy.
Eurill Ahh, beautiful scenery and delicious food. Fresh fin sashimi truly is an altogether different experience. By the way, those two shopkeepers earlier mentioned changing their menu after relocating.
There's no shortage of things to take into account as a small businessman.
Herman Some of the beachside recreational facilities have yet to be removed. You and your son are welcome to experience them for yourselves.
Bison I appreciate the offer, but I think I'll be fine here.
Herman Your son is incredibly well-behaved. Most children his age would've already dragged their parents off to buy tickets.
Eurill Hah. That's the heir of MountainDash Logistics you're looking at. Though I'm also fine with him walking his own path.
Herman By the looks of things, you've been teaching him well from an early age.
It's good to have an eye out for the future.
Eurill Hah, as if. It's also apparent that he still has a long way to go.
He's a bit better-behaved these days, but you have no idea how much he worried me when he was younger.
Herman You're being too modest, Mr. Eurill.
Eurill This isn't a matter of modesty. If you ask me, every father has gone through the same thing. Just don't laugh at what I'm about to tell you–
When he was around four years old, the school held a parent-child event, and I went to participate.
But when I got there, I realized it was actually a tug-of-war competition. His mother wasn't in good health at the time, so I had to join in.
Herman I assume you've never lost a game of tug-of-war?
Eurill ...Right, nobody can beat me in that, so it didn't take long for us to get first place.
But the problem was, the other little kids weren't going to take their loss lying down. After seeing us win, they all wanted in on it. They started running over and tugging at my legs, calling me "dad" in the hopes that I'd help them win.
Herman Pfft... *cough* *cough*...
What'd your wife say...?
Eurill She wasn't there at the time, because of her poor health.
Herman Lucky man.
Eurill But my kid here sure was generous! He pushed me out there himself, saying that the teacher taught him that sharing is caring.
I didn't dare open my mouth.
Bison Dad!
Eurill Hahaha!
I believe you mentioned before that you have two daughters?
Herman Mhm.
Two daughters...
Herman leans lightly back in his seat.
Herman One of them puts my mind at ease. The other, the furthest thing from it.
Heh. Although I suppose I could also say that I don't have to worry about either of them.
Eurill Haha. I never would've expected you to treat your children that way.
Herman This was a few years back, but when the troublesome one was still going to university in Victoria, I almost never got invited to go see her.
Only once did I make the time to go over to her school to talk to her professor about how she was doing.
So imagine my surprise when I found out she'd gotten someone else to pretend to be her father for the parent-teacher conference.
Eurill Your daughter's got some serious guts.
Herman That is one thing she'll never be short on.
I stayed there and listened in for a while. I was pretty angry at the time, but I had to admit...
That daughter of mine... The flowers grown in a greenhouse may be elegant and beautiful, but I'd rather she be the weeds that sprout up there instead.
To be able to do that proves that she indeed is my daughter. So I trust that when she's out there on her own in the world, she has the ability to overcome any obstacle.
What's more, she's a good judge of character.
You see, later on, I sent someone to contact the man she had impersonated me.
Eurill Oh? Do tell.
Herman I ended up asking him to come work for me.
Eurill Ahahaha! As expected of you.
He must've been quite talented indeed.
Secretary ...*cough* *cough*...
Eurill Oh, are you him?
Secretary You flatter me, sir.
Eurill Hahaha, what a story.
So, how are your daughters doing these days?
Herman They're both working elsewhere now.
Eurill Mhm. Just a little longer, and I plan to kick this kid out too, so he can get a good, hard look at the real world.
I have a few old friends over in Lungmen. They're a bunch of knuckleheads, but I know that as long as they're around, nothing bad's going to happen to my boy.
Herman It's no easy feat trying to make sure your kids turn out fine when they grow up.
I'm sure you're only here because you wanted the best for your son.
Eurill I fall far short of my wife in that respect.
A few years ago, between my young son and my sick wife, I was seriously considering scaling back the business.
She wrote dozens of letters interrogating me. Haha, if not for Rim Billiton and Great Yan being thousands of miles apart, I'm sure she would've given me an earful in person.
It's thanks to those letters that MountainDash is what it is today, and the kid and I turned out the way we are.
Herman ...You truly are a lucky man.
Herman falls silent while gazing at the waves crashing against the shore.
Herman I hope your wife gets well soon.
Eurill Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Herman "Mr. Mayor," hm.
Just call me Herman.
Eurill Mr. Herman... I can truly see now that you're not just a mayor, but a father as well.
Herman Haha. You're not quite what I was expecting either, Mr. Eurill.
Eurill Hahaha...
Care for a glass?
Victoria's grapes are sanguine in color and rich in aroma.
Barrel-brewed in Gaul with a light, cedar-baked flavor.
Have a taste. I brought it from Lungmen.
Herman –Ahh.
[Herman's hands shake as he holds the glass, causing some of the wine to fall into the table.]
Herman Silly old me. I've had so much to drink that I can't even hold my glass straight.
Eurill Haha, no point in crying over a bit of spilled wine. Happens all the time.
I'll pour you some more. As long as you don't drop the glass itself, that is.
Herman I don't even know how long it's been since I've held out my glass like this. What if my hand shakes and I end up breaking it?
Eurill Hahaha! Don't worry, I'll hold your hand steady.
These hands of mine have conquered an entire school in tug-of-war.
Herman ...I suppose I have nothing to worry about then.
The two men raised their glasses and looked out across the scenery before them.
The sun was setting, but the surface of the ocean glimmered even more brightly than it had during the day.
Herman Mr. Eurill.
Eurill Yes?
Herman The wine you brought from Lungmen... It's good stuff.
It's not something that would normally make its way into Siesta, is it?
Then I trust that it'll also suit the tastes of people from other countries.
Eurill Haha. And I trust that Siestans will enjoy this wine all the same.
[Eurill and Herman have a toast for their partnership.]