Lord Commander Grumpenheim Snow stomped around his iceberg restlessly in a foul mood, which was nothing new, but today there was a lot more gnawing on his mind than usual.
The disastrous end of the Ark Synod that culminated in the exile of Empress Federosa gave him every reason to feel horribly guilty. He had called the others’ bluff during the discussion to impeach the empress based on past experience, but did not count on the unexpected turncoats. His duty was to serve the throne and protect it at all costs. He and Admiral Schnabelpouch worked closely on this, so naturally they both walked away feeling and looking like the ultimate traitors to Her Majesty. “At least I didn’t have to escort her to the launch pad like the poor General Cavalli, or swallow press the launch button for the capsule like the Admira”l, he muttered, “I don’t think I could have done that job or even look her in the eye once she entered the cage.“
So what did they have to show for it now? The entire kingdom was about to jetty into the abyss without a ruler, no border security whatsoever, no emergency powers for a temporary leader, and worst of all, humans at the gates. The situation couldn’t possibly be worse than this. The only thing missing what the election of some loudmouth idiot to the throne next, and that was a disaster just waiting to happen. The two main candidates from the Council of Elders were Countess Lizzy van Lurch, the petit master strategist and seasoned politician who knew how to manipulate the system to perfection; and Baron Troeta, a loudmouth who gave the impression of being extremely wealthy, but his lack of finesse was apparent the moment he stretched out his obnoxious trunk. If The Countess won she would be first female lizard to ever sit on the throne, and that scared a lot of the residents. The Baron was uncouth, had no qualms crushing his opposition in whichever way possible, and had offended just about every animal grouping in existence. “And there is no viable alternative” thought the bear, “I am too old and short-tempered for the job.”
The task of continuing the dialogue and negotiation with with humans fell on him now and the Lord Commander Grumpenheim was at a loss. He was a military bear, with very little diplomatic skills to boast off, having been trained to act aggressively from his early cub days. Dialogue was seldom on offer with him, and was known to have punched a few creatures across the table over the years if they didn’t see things his way. So how on earth was he supposed to negotiate later on? He was rather in the mood to eat the humans, not talk to them! First things first: whether he liked it or not, he was going to take charge, seeing that everyone else was too frazzled from recent events, and scared of being exiled as well. The only other creature who was willing to take the risk was The Countess, and perhaps, if he twisted his wings hard enough, even The Admiral. That would make a skeletal team of three and would have to suffice. The issue at hand was the sale of the land, their land, and conversion thereof into a reservation, a protected area where all the animals could live in peace away from the humans. As the then-empress Federosa had explained, this would lower the need to forage for food and actually extend their life spans. For some endangered breeds this might be the answer to their dwindling numbers. Looking at his notes, The Lord Commander shook his head. This was still going to be a curtailment of freedom, no matter what anyone said. Restricted and monitored movement was imprisonment, no matter what.
Admiral Schnabelpouch, Countess Lizzy van Lurch and a very angry Lord Commander Grumpenheim Snow craned their necks upwards in horror as they stared at the monstrosity of steel and glass before them. This was one of the diamond cage a nincompoop human had designed and deemed fit for habitation of smaller animals. There seemed to be no access to natural air, no gardens, parks, or forests, not even a natural source of water. Everything was artificial, including the lighting. This is what the humans wanted them to give their freedom up for? The Reptile tribes were going to be up in arms about this, of that the Lord Commander was sure. It wasn’t just a matter of restricted movement, it was also an issue of mobility within the structure. The Countess whispered “this is the most bizarre cage I have ever seen. There is no point in proceeding with the negotiation talks my Lord Commander, because it would be absolutely futile. Just take my size as an example. How would I even operate the contraptions called elevators? I can’t even reach them. The Admiral here has a beak he can use, and you have paws, but me? Or even my snake cousins? This would send everyone to their deaths sooner than you think.” The polar bear nodded in agreement and sad down to ponder. His two companions knew better than to interrupt his thinking process and stood aside in silence and apprehension.
Two years later, Empress Lizzy van Lurch looked up from her official receiving chamber at the Ark and contemplated the events of the last 24 months. Lord Commander Snow’s stroke of genius that fateful day had turned the negotiations around completely, taking all the humans by storm and enabling her to win the election to the throne in the process. Baron Troeta had committed a strategic mistake during his campaign by promising to end all immigration and making sexist remarks about the female species, which angered the Black Widows Association and ended his political career. She glanced down from her favorite branch at the Tree of Wisdom where she liked to sun herself during lunch breaks, and her eye fell on a human soaking in some Vitamin D. His chosen seat looked most uncomfortable, but like most humans who had come to terms with life inside the fence, he made the most of it. Humans did not seem to have the same issues as animals regarding monitored movement and lack of open spaces since they constantly walked around with mobile phones and worked and lived in diamond cages. The Voices of The Ark reverberated triumphantly over the kingdom.