15th March 1999.
On maps, a third of the frozen Antarctic continent was marked as "Unclaimed". No country that may have had entitlement had grasped its potential. A.P Davis, founder of a global real-estate firm, did. When he'd first gone to that blessedly unclaimed portion of the globe he'd almost shouted in joy at the opportunities that were presented. Now he merely smiled as his plan two years in the making started to unfold.
He spoke to the rotund head of the tiny island nation whose proximity and sea bed profile, had entitled them to lodge a formal claim for the territory. A case was laid on the table between them. The Rulers eyes glistened as the case opened. 'Four million dollars for one frozen slice of pizza' the ruler breathed. He pushed a yellow folder across the table. It contained the UN acknowledgement of title and a binding Deed of Assignment to Davis, already signed. They both smiled but for entirely different reasons. They did not shake hands. Davis picked up the folder and left to catch his plane.
9th April 2003.
Davis was back in Australia, talking to the best Climatologist in the Southern Hemi-sphere. His plans had just been accelerated dramatically by the information that had been spat out of the terminal that interfaced with the massive Cray supercomputer below his feet.
'Are you sure about this' asked Davis to a bespectacled man bent in front of the console.
'Very, this is definitely a micro fault right there, and combined with the effects of global warming, a few years from now, the substrate will warm. An enhanced side-scanning radar satellite image shows that this entire spot here…' he circled the land on screen with a stubby finger '…is not, in fact, fused to the ground. It has a deep fault though it that separates the ice on top and the ice underneath, going down to less than a meter thick in some places. If we do it right we can slide this entire surface block off in one go.'
'Could the UN get us with eco-vandalism?' asked Davis.
'We have checked and currently- no, as we're just moving water around- it's not classed as mining. It's the same as clearing an airfield or turning on a tap, but they won't like it. We will only get one chance.'
'Perfect.' grunted Davis.
15th November 2007.
Davis stood on the flagship of the largest fleet of ocean going salvage tugs ever assembled in one place. Seven of them were nuclear powered. They stood off over five kilometres away from the blast zone. His ground crew had spent the last nine months preparing for the removal of the ice covering the outer peninsula. Davis pushed the button on the radio detonator. A silent mountain of white shot up, and 15 seconds later an enormous thump came through the heavy deck. First nothing happened, and his heart raced. Had he failed?
Slowly, with a deep grinding vibration, a block of ice the size of Kangaroo Island began its slow decent sideways before slipping into the dark ocean. It punched through the water. The huge iceberg rose and steadied. Fierce waves surged away and swamped the tugs deck. The fleet of helicopters closed in, pulling up giant sheets of thermoplastic which were initially floating on the water. Men rappelled down to seal it tight with explosive bolt guns, making his prize ready for its long journey. The tow cables were attached to the massive tugs; these would tow it high into Spencer Gulf near Adelaide, where it would be dammed and the ancient and pristine fresh water reclaimed as it melted. Water would then be pumped to Perth and Melbourne, who, having experienced drought for the last three years would pay dearly for it.
16th March 2009.
Davis sat relaxed in front of the full Council of the UN. 'This is HIGHLY irregular, bordering on illegal. No nation is allowed to…' began the US delegate.
Davis cut him off. 'You said it yourself. No nation! No NATION! I can do whatever conservation activity I like under your agreement, and you are in no position to stop me.'
The representative from America stood up and said in an oily voice 'I think we all would like to know how anything you have done could be classed as conservation.'
'I conserved that fresh water- it would have just melted into the ocean.' Davis shot back.
'If that's not classed as conservation, then you have some whaling "research" to stop.' He had hit a sore point. The Japanese delegate glared at him.
The English delegate wrung his hands before speaking, 'Look, we want that land to become a protectorate of the UN. We want you to sign it over to us'.
'Given this venture will pay off for decades why should I? It is the new Alaska!' said Davis.
The US delegate cut in 'You don't have a choice. Name your price or lose it by force.'
'Fine. I'll assign for six billion US dollars- World Tax free' he added with a grin.
There was a stunned silence. The English delegate went white. A small group formed and huddled briefly, before the US representative turned and spoke.
'Five billion, with US tax, and we ain't haggling.'
'Four and a half billion, tax free and I will throw in the base, construction machinery, drills and blast gear and prospecting tools I had purchased to use myself for…. ', he paused, 'ahh… conservation purposes'.
There was a pause.
'Done.' came the response.
Davis whistled as he boarded his Jet. It was a dream he had sold. The land became worthless the moment any legally constituted authority took control; under international law and the Antarctica Treaty they could not mine or exploit it in any way. He had just completed the largest real estate deal in the world, and the best part was he had already sold its most precious resource.