SynopsisThe United States declares war on the controversial "pseudo-country" Sea State, a scant few days after this year's Seedling initiation, and as a preliminary attack, throws a nuclear warhead at Sea State's largest "city", the sea platform R1.
One boat of Seedlings - thirty teenagers from 15 to 16 years old, plus two adult guardians - has survived.
Can they unravel the roots of this war and negotiate peace for their country?
ExcerptThe Treaty of Rarotonga - also known as the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone treaty - covers only parts of the western half of the South Pacific. Only the slimmest area of the eastern half is covered by the Treaty of Tlatelolco - the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean - since that treaty defines the extent of its coverage according to the territorial seas and airspace of the covered states.
The R1 platform is positioned a few nautical miles outside of Chile's exclusive economic zone; had it been within that zone, any natural products, as well as the "land" formed by the platform itself, would be under the jurisdiction of Chile, under the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea III. The end of Chile's exclusive economic zone is almost 200 nautical miles outside of Chile's territorial seas, and well outside the coverage of Tlatelolco.
The nuclear strike on R1 does not violate the letters of the treaties. There are several anti-nuclear protests in response, both within and outside the United States, but the government staunchly ignores them, and eventually the issue becomes yesterday's news. Japan issues a strong denunciation of the nuclear strike, but is otherwise unwilling to champion the Sea State, due to deep disagreements with the Sea State's obedience, or lack thereof, to international copyright treaties, and the rampant piracy of Japanese media among Sea State citizens. Chile also issues a denunciation, but it is unimportant compared to the United States. Sea State has few friends, none of them particularly willing to protest against a nuclear power.
Seedling boats 1 and 5 were near R1 at the time of the strike and are presumed destroyed. When Seedling boat 2 was found, most of its inhabitants were dead and the remainder were dying; the boat's electronics had been destroyed by the nuclear explosion's electromagnetic pulse and the boat drifted far too long within the radioactive fallout area. Seedling boat 7 was mostly unaffected by the pulse, but the strong westerly winds deposited fallout too near it, and it was not fast enough to escape the effects of radiation. Seedling boats 4 and 6 were luckier; their electronics failed, but they drifted away from the fallout, and the winds did not blow the radioactivity towards them; their inhabitants willingly surrendered when they were found by US Navy ships. Properly deputized authorities then subjected these questionable elements to alternative justice systems that found them liable for terminal punitive measures; about two decades later the sole escapee, from Seedling boat 4, becomes internationally famous after publishing the memoirs of her internment.
Of the 7 Seedling boats of R1, only Seedling boat 3, several days due heading towards the Dunbarite platforms, survived.