For All Nails #144: Where Are They Right Now?
a collective post by the entire FAN Cabal
It's 3:02 am Greenwich Mean Time on the morning of 26 December 1974.
On the island of Bali in the Kingdom of Australia's Indonesian protectorate, it
is 11:02 am, and a fusion bomb has just been detonated near a vacation resort
on the north shore. CARL SALAZAR, President of Kramer Associates, is part of a
mushroom cloud rising above the island, as are several thousand of his fellow
KA executives and fifty thousand innocent bystanders. The senior surviving
member of the KA organization is the Deputy Director of the Factfinding &
Forecasting Division of United Dry Goods, PAUL SEBASTIAN. Sebastian is at KA's
corporate headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan, trying to find out what has happened
to the video feed from the corporate conference in Bali.
At an undisclosed location somewhere in the Western Hemisphere, it is two
minutes past the hour on the evening of 25 December. VINCENT MERCATOR is
watching the vitavised broadcast of a speech he recorded earlier that day. As
always, he is highly critical of his performance, and thinks that if he had
only done just one more take, he would have achieved just the right tone of
In Palo Alto, California it is 7:02 pm on the evening of 25 December. BOBBY and
ANNA CONTRERAS are sitting on a sofa in the living room of their apartment,
watching Mercator's speech on the vita. Bobby is holding Anna in his arms.
It is also 7:02 pm at Pancho's Fly-In just outside of Theodore AAS. Lt. EMILIO
LACROIX Y COSTILLA is in the middle of one of his better Wednesday nights,
having just gotten the number of that good-looking brunette lieutenant who
works in the Radio Shed on base. He is trying to wake up Sergeant Fernandez,
who is still apparently comatose in his usual face-down position on the bar, so
he can tell him un chiste which that Tory space pilot girl he met several
months earlier would have disapproved of. PANCHO BARNES hangs up the telephone
behind the bar with an unusually loud clack of plastic meeting plastic, and
strides over to the vita. A unanimous groan rises from the cliente, who were
eagerly watching the evening's tlachti match between the Mexico City Aztecs and
the Veracruz Conquistadors. Then, they see what he has changed the channel to.
Emilio Lacroix turns to Pancho. His eyes are still half-fixed on the vita and
he holds the half-empty bottle of Liberty Cap. "I need something stronger right
now," he murmurs.
In Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City it is 8:02 pm. Mexican President IMMANUEL
MOCTEZUMA is watching Mercator's speech and swearing nonstop at his vitavision
set. Chief of Staff CHEWY ENCISO at his apartment a few blocks away, and
Secretary of State MARIA DEL REY at her house outside the city, are also
watching in stunned disbelief. Each is thinking that it's time to telephone
Moctezuma. In another part of Mexico City, HAROLD PICKETT is packing his
belongings in preparation for vacating his apartment. He has been getting ready
to move to the CNA on a permanent basis, and was just about to turn off the
vita so he could pack it. His hand stops an inch from the button, and his jaw
drops in surprise at what he sees. He decides to redouble his moving efforts.
It is also 8:02 pm in suburban Acapulco. Former First Lady of Mexico and
estranged wife IMELDA FAYE DEL VALLE MERCATOR is sitting with her daughter and
son-in-law, BONITA and MIGUEL DONNELLY, and their three children, ANGELICA,
BELINDA, and CRAIG. Imelda begins talking at the vitavision set: "It never
ends. It never ends! Even by remote control you wreck every single Christmas we
In Henrytown, Jefferson it is 9:02 pm. ERNESTO NUCHE, along with the rest of
the _Henrytown Mercury-Reporter_ newsroom staff, stares at the vita screen in
silence. Outwardly expressionless, Nuche is thinking, _What a year! The firing,
the trial, the scandal, the assault, the election, and now this. A reporter's
dream._ He starts wondering which of his old contacts in the War Department are
still good, and how many stories he'll be able to get out of this.
In New Orleans it is also 9:02 pm. ROBERT CONTRERAS is watching a vitavision
station broadcasting from over the border in Lafayette, Jefferson while holding
a sobbing CONNIE MAGLIAZZI. Robert himself is dry-eyed and totally
expressionless. At the University of New Orleans, MARIE-CLAIRE REYNARD, back
>from Vespers at the campus's grandiose Basilica of the Holy Cross, has stepped
into the packed front sitting room of Pangborn Hall dormitory. Her
just-removed chapel veil is folded neatly in her hands, until her fists
suddenly clench and rumple the white lace. In a moment, she is swept into the
crowd of fellow students, all their gazes glued to the vitavision set. And all
of a sudden, a shudder runs through the packed room and everyone pulls their
friends closer in fright. Her dark eyes well up with tears, and she begins to
It also 9:02 pm in the affluent Michigan City suburb of Evanston. JACK ELLISON,
the nominal President of Kramerica, PLC, is drinking his Christmas cognac and
holding his wife's shaking hand as he watches a special bulletin on the vita.
He feels a bittersweet mixture of sympathy for the dead, and a sense of
excitement that there are no more "Taiwanese Twits" above him in the KA
organization to tell him how to run his business.
In Burgoyne it is 10:02 pm. Governor-General LENNART SKINNER is sitting in bed
beside his wife in the Executive Palace, talking frantically on the phone with
his Foreign Minister, MICHAEL MURPHY.
It is also 10:02 in Black Rock, N.Y. The man going by the name of JOHN HANSON
is watching a skaters game on vitavision when the action is interrupted for an
urgent bulletin. He leans forward with interest and shock. He wonders if it may
be a good thing that his connections with the Mexican War Department have been
severed now that Mercator is going to be a cursed name worldwide.
It is also 10:02 pm in Quebec City. LUCIEN REYNARD, second-rate Surete
bureaucrat, looks up from his newspaper and stares at the vita in dull
incomprehension of the frantic French-language newswoman struggling to get out
a breaking story that, for once, fills him with utter horror. He looks away and
his eyes fall on his wife. She is seated on the sofa next to him, and she
fingers the beads of an old rosary nervously.
It is also 10:02 in Concord, Massachusetts. GEOFFREY BILD is at home asleep
with his wife and child. It is the first time he has been at home this early in
many weeks. He has no idea that his wife CAROLINE is already planning to
introduce him to the intricacies of Family Court in the CNA.
It is also 10:02 p.m. in New London, Connecticut, where CLARISSA FOSTER is
making a rare holiday visit to her family. Her alter-ego ABBY BARTLET is away
>from the North Woods, allegedly with her own relatives in New Hampshire. As the
Fosters sip port in their parlor, an announcer suddenly interrupts the radio
broadcast of Handel's _Messiah_.
It is also 10:02 pm in Bogotá. In their richly decorated bedroom in the Royal
Palace, KING FERNANDO and QUEEN SOPHIA are asleep in each others' arms. Sophia
is in the process of conceiving Fernando's child. In a bare room in another
part of Bogotá, General GUILLERMO TINTOREO, FANG (Ret.), lies awake in the
tangled sheets of his own bed, still unable to go to sleep. The convulsions of
his waking mind, the fruit of what he saw in Grao Para, have been stilled by
the thirty-three days of preparation that led to his consecration and full
entrance into the Knights of the Immaculata, but his dreams are occasionally
visited by blood and silent screams. He feels he will be having one tonight,
and he tries to remember the festive polyphony of the Vespers liturgy he
attended hours earlier that evening at the church of San Juan. The Latin words
of the _Magnificat_ come to mind, and he quietly dissects them, wondering if
they hold a message for him in his torment. _Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui. Deposuit ptentes de sede, et exaltavit
humiles._ He has shown his might with his arm; He has scattered those who
harbored pride in their hearts. He has brought potentates down from their
thrones and He has raised the humble.
It is also 10:02 pm off the coast of Havana, Cuba. FELIPE and ASTRID JACKSON
are on board the _Jonquille_, getting a fix on the signal carrying Mercator's
transmission. 400 miles to the east, in another ship, TIMOTHY LIDDY and JOAN
KAHN are getting a second fix on the signal. In Guantanamo, Cuba, SEBASTIAN
QUEZADAS sits at a desk pushing papers around, his leg in a cast, wishing that
someone had bothered to install a heating system in the building. Even Cuba can
get chilly in December! As he wonders why he misses Lucia so much -- after all,
she's just a stripper -- Joe Talvi sticks his head in the door. "Uh, Sebo? I
think you'll wanna see this."
It is 11:02 p.m. at the Green Moose Tavern in Sunbury, Nova Scotia. ADAM LaDUKE
is indeed near a vitavision by eleven, as he has been instructed to be by THE
GENERAL. His first thoughts at the news are of the whereabouts and safety of
his sort-of girlfriend Abby. His second thoughts are of how his employer could
have known of such an event in advance.
Due to one of the planet's most idiosyncratic time zones, it is 11:32 p.m. in
Quoyle Harbor, British Newfoundland. CARMEN VALENZUELA is sleeping off the
effects of Christmas dinner with her colleagues at the small Danielloise health
clinic. For some reason, she is dreaming of her USM Medical Corps training in
the treatment of radiativity trauma.
It is 3:02 am in London. Foreign Secretary EUSTACE SUDBURY is on the phone with
the British ambassador to the USM. When he hangs up, he'll place a call to a
sleeping Prime Minister SIR GEOFFREY GOLD. Meanwhile, in a ratting den in
Whitechapel, a number of sportsmen are placing wagers with an incognito KING
It is also 3:02 am in Paris. Premier YVETTE FANCHON is asleep in her apartment.
She is having the dream where her great-grandfather stares down at her from his
portrait in silent disapproval. General ERIC VON GELLMANN is asleep beside his
wife in his bedroom in the German Embassy. He is dreaming of Yvette Fanchon.
It is 4:02 am in Copenhagen. KING CHRISTIAN GUSTAV is in his bedroom in the
Royal Palace, on the phone with his ambassador to the USM.
It is also 4:02 am in Berlin. Chancellor DAVID GRAUER is padding through the
west wing of the Chancellery building in his dressing gown and slippers, a bowl
of cherries in his hands. Exterior Minister JOSHUA MERKEL, in the bedroom of
his house in the Bendlerstrasse, has just been awakened by a call from
Ambassador GERHARD EICHEL in Mexico City. Meanwhile, in the study of his house
in Potsdam, former Defense Minister HORST VOTH, who has long since come to
terms with his unpublicized state of house arrest, is hard at work on the
fourteenth chapter of his political thriller, "The Mancunian Candidate".
It is also 4:02 am in Warsaw. KING FREDERICK has just woken from a terrible
nightmare he can no longer remember. He is still shivering in reaction.
It is also 4:02 am in Luanda, Angola. President JOAO PEDRO VIEIRA is absently
smoking a cigar while trying to decide whether a certain journalist has become
too critical of his regime. The phone at his desk has just begun ringing.
In Gaborone, Botswana, it is 5:02 a.m. Most of the time, Prime Minister SERETSE
NKATE would be working late, savoring the freedom from distraction that comes
with the predawn hours. Up until a few minutes ago, he was doing so today. Now,
however, he is listening with horror to the speech coming over the radio. As
the speech winds down, he picks up the telephone on his desk and dials Cape
It is also 5:02 am in Cape Town. QUEEN ALEXANDRA, an early riser, is on her way
downstairs to the kitchen in the private wing of the Royal Residence. There is
a phone ringing in the distance.
Most Bedou have never heard of standardized time, and those who have eschew it
as a German, anti-Islamic innovation. Thus to the three Bedou waiting with
Colonel L. E. THOMAS in the Negev desert, it is 5:22 by local solar time, about
two hours before sunrise. They are not concerned with explosions on the other
side of the world because they are waiting for a smaller but still significant
explosion here -- one that they hope will rid Palestine of several of its
pro-German Jewish settlers.
It is 6:02 am in Nairobi. VICTORIA MADOKA is asleep after a long, long
Christmas Day. She is dreaming again about visiting Letitia Ntimana in Nyeri
Prison, and not being allowed back out.
The clocks in the Geminae space capsule are set to 22:02, but EVANGELINE
GILMORE and GINA TURCHETTA don't care. They are watching in fearful disbelief
as the white light spreads across the tropics north of Australia.