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For All Nails #12: Island Life

Bridgetown, Barbados
22 February 1970

Everybody came to Rocky's, particularly Felipe "Phil" Jackson.
White faces were the minority on the island, but not so unusual as
to cause comment -- there were retirees, tourists from the CNA on
the weekly airmobile or one of the cruise ships, dilettantes with
sailboats, and even the occasional Mexican spy.  Felipe Jackson of
Puerto Hancock was a major in Mexican army intelligence, and Phil
Jackson of Miami, Georgia was a dilletante with a sailboat.  Both
enjoyed the cheap Bajan beer and the excellent Bajan rum, but Felipe
particularly enjoyed the conversation in Rocky's.

There were still three small warships in the harbor, two CNA and one
British.  The ten combat airmobiles at Seawall Field had become twelve,
and there was a new AA rocket battery.  Two new patrol torpedo boats
had begun operating out of Bathsheba, complicating any future covert
landings on the east shore.  The CNA was in one of its periodic episodes 
of concern for security after the Michigan City business, and apparently
had bought these for the Bajan coast guard.

Most intriguing was a new "astronomical observatory" in St. Peter's
parish.  Rocky at the bar had described what seemed to be large 
radiolocator dishes, which _could_ be used to observe the emanations from
distant stars and galaxies, Jackson supposed.  But then why would the
dishes swing around violently, "like de flying fish on de hook", in
Rocky's words?  These dishes, and the others in three places in the 
Bahamas, were for tracking something closer to home.  When he was done
here, it would be time for more birdwatching around Cocoa Beach, Georgia...

Meanwhile, a moonlit hike in St. Peter's would be a pleasant end to a
productive evening.  Tomorrow he could get down to the business of
recruiting some of the cleaning staff at the "observatory".  No Bajan
would voluntarily help Mexico, the last redoubt of slavery.  But they
would be jumping out of their patriotic skins to help "Leftenant Jackson
of Royal Navy Intelligence" keep "the Crown" up to date on the CNA's
doings here.

Could Barbados stay out of the war to come?  One of his superiors had 
suggested a _coup_ and a Mexican-backed government, which had been a laugh.  
How many troops would we need to keep a lid on a hundred thousand Bajans, 
each with the _machete_ he brought to work every day, thinking we're coming to 
restore slavery?  Bajans were proud of their freedom and their independence,
but when it came to intelligence they were innocent as babies, 
really, with no conception of the two scorpions in a bottle circling
around them.  Enough rum for now, he was mixing his metaphors.

Maybe the war wouldn't come at all.  This would be the place to retire 
to -- sail the boat for real, take some fishing charters that would pay
in pounds instead of worthless _dolares_ -- things could be worse.  In 
the meantime, he had a job to do.


Notes:

Barbados is an independent, black-ruled member state of the United
Empire.  Though nominally subject to Britain, it looks to the CNA for
military protection and as a market for its sugar.  (The CNA  largely
protects its agriculture but doesn't produce much sugar itself.)  As in
OTL, sugar and tourism are the island's main industries.

We know that there is a USM presence on St. Maarten's.  I am presuming
that Jamaica and the other UK colonies have status like Barbados -- what
do we know about the major islands?

Dave MB