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For All Nails #76: You Say "GrenAYda", I Say "GranAHda"

La Guaira, New Granada
12 March 1974

For a man who did not exist, Timothy Liddy was reasonably
reconciled to his position.  True, nonexistence did not 
have all the tax advantages of death, but it was equally
effective in preventing him from being questioned about his
tenure as the head of the Confederation's intelligence service.
This had been a great disappointment both to his successor
and to a number of Grand Council committees, but Liddy had
work to do that would allow no interruptions.

Vincent Mercator was up to something.  This was not unusual  
for the wily, mercurial dictator, but _this_ project of his
had earth-shaking implications.  Stephen Urquell had been 
North America's best atomic scientist.  The two men on "extended
leave" from MIT were nearly as good.  And all three had vanished
from the notice of the world's scientific community.  It had
taken quite a bit of work to find out that all three were now
in New Granada, of all places, in a newly constructed USM base
near Ciudad Hermion, or Ciudad Camacho as the new government
was calling it.  A _USM_ base, in a country whose current
government was supposedly not even recognized by the USM.

But a nonexistent man was not without resources, none of them
directly linkable to the CBI.  He was in this port city as 
"Larry Gordon", a sort-of-Mexican arms dealer looking into the
expanding New Granadan market.  If it came to actually selling 
any arms, he could even come up with some, as he knew people
who knew people who were (for some reason) unloading Kramer-made
small arms at a deep discount.  (And no one would be surprised
at an aura of secrecy surrounding that sort of business.)

If he got any hard intelligence on Ciudad Camacho, there were
ways of getting the word to Carter Monaghan, or at least close 
enough to him.  He bore no grudges about the loss of his former 
job, as it was the price his boss had had to pay to stay in office.
Thank God Monaghan and not Skinner was running things at the moment,
though how long would that last?  People talked about the margin of
power among the PJP dissidents, but if he were Skinner he'd be 
looking for two potential turncoats among the _PC_ Councilors, some
of whom you wouldn't want to turn your back on even on national 
vitavision.  But domestic political intel was now someone else's 
problem.  His problem, he was increasingly sure, was in Ciudad
Camacho.

***********

Aboard Private Yacht _Jonquille_, in harbor
Saint George's, Grenada
16 March 1974

Astrid Bengtson Jackson was, for the moment, a woman at complete
peace.  She always treasured the first few minutes after making 
love, in some ways more than the act itself.  When she was working
a source, those minutes were supremely valuable -- most men were
rather befuddled and had little idea what they were saying to their
bedmate.  But Felipe was different, had been different even that
first time in the Virgin Islands.  His brain seemed sharper right 
afterward, the usual flippancy of his "Phil" persona gone completely.  
It had been one reason she'd fallen in love with Felipe the first 
time last year, after seducing the USM spy Phil pursuant to her orders.
They had gone from mutual targets to partners in a few minutes, both
in the same state of intense relaxation, if you could call it that.
Perhaps it was something like the deliberate trance states of the 
Asian mystics.  At any rate, they were there again, and it was a good 
time for the serious conversation they needed.

"So we have a problem," she began.

"Yeah.  I don't think we can get away with misinterpreting _this_ order.
Stay out of New Granada and Trinidad.  I guess the first question is 
how badly you want to go there."

"It would be nice.  I think we've got all we're going to get on New
Granada's intentions for the moment.  They're going into T&T in June,
July at the latest."

"And you'd like to know what they'll find on the ground there."

"Right.  The blacks will fight, but the RNG will take all the flat parts
within a few days.  Most of the _trabajadores_ will wait and see [1]
but I'd like to know how many will be active collaborators.  Also how
much preparation the government's done for a resistance."

"Hum.  The trickiest thing for the initial invasion is to avoid killing 
the Brits in the radiolocator station at Piarco, or the Tories doing 
signals intelligence at Icacos Point.  But _I_ know about both those 
places, so of course the New Granadans do too.  Without help from the 
Brits the defense is pretty well screwed on most of Trinidad, but there's 
those mountains in the north to hole up in.  Tobago they could hold out 
on for quite a while, given some outside supply."  More or less what she 
had concluded, but it was nice to have the expert confirmation.

"That's sort of the point.  I think F&F [1] will want to help the T&T army
prepare for a resistance, once they've seen my report.  I don't think 
_we'd_ want to get directly into the operations side with that, but 
they'll probably ask me to do some scouting on both islands." 

"Which would mean violating my orders.  Well, it had to come sometime,
I suppose.  There's only so long you can work for two employers at once
when they don't like each other."

"Three, actually, don't forget F&F.  They mostly want the same thing as
Scandinavia--"

"Which is what, currently?"

"Protect the Virgin Islands, which means getting the Germans off of Boricua,
which means helping the Brits and Tories at the moment.  We don't like
_anybody_ on Boricua actually, but short of blowing up the place we're stuck
being next to it."

"And F&F?"

"There's been some kind of reorganization with the big company.  They're
turning over most of the actual military stuff to Scandinavia and Taiwan,
and beefing up F&F a lot.  But the main idea's the same -- prevent any major
war, most importantly any war with atomic weapons.  That's meant building up
Scandinavia as a middle force between the Brits and Germans, trying to help
the poor goddamned Tories figure out what they're doing, and keeping a very
close eye on the Mexicans."

"And what does Astrid want?"

"I want _you_.  And to retire Anita, get off the _pildora_, find somewhere
nice, and have kids."  

Anita Garciaparra was a brown-eyed, brunette, Hispano party girl who would 
never be mistaken for the blue-eyed, tomboyish, fair, and emphatically 
blond Astrid.  Over the past few weeks in the New Granadan military port 
of Cumana, Anita had befriended a number of high-ranking RNG officers, 
some of whom had subsequently carried small soundrecorders into staff 
meetings without their knowledge.  (You could detect a wireless overhearer, 
but a soundrecorder gave off no emanations and could be recovered from a 
sleeping subject later.  A pity Mesmerism didn't work like in the cinema --
it would be so much easier to have the source repeat back the whole meeting
and then forget the whole thing.  Well, we do what we can...)

"But if somewhere nice meant here or Barbados--"

"Right.  Places we know, with good people, good weather, good government
[3], just perfect.  Until there's a war in the Caribbean.  And there's
_going_ to be a war."

"You're sure?"

"I am now.  These guys are going to push, Felipe, until someone stops
them.  There's no way they'll stop with T&T.  They'll go on with Cuba,
the Dominicana, as far as they can until they run up against the Brits."

The RNG officers had not been such bad guys, actually, just _very_ devoted 
to their chief's imperial dreams.  Only three times so far in her career
had she slept with a man and then concluded he needed killing.  Not this 
time around, though, which was too bad in a way.  Doing the job would have 
been good for Felipe's morale -- he'd been awfully understanding about how 
she'd been getting her information.  And you could get a _lot_ more 
information with drugs if you didn't have to worry about the subject being 
around afterward.  But this was not a good time for any sudden deaths in 
Felipe's vicinity, not with the USM so suspicious... 

"Or the Tories."

"Please.  We're discussing _armies_ here, not duck-kickers.  The RNG has 
a real army, and so do the Brits.  Each better than your people, man for 
man, as far as I can tell."

"Oh, yes.  I've seen the _cazadores_ in action, actually.  I don't think
I ever told you about that thing in Rio Negro in '66..."

"Ah, yes, back in the good old days when the Hermions wouldn't take a leak
without orders from Mercator.  Well, the RNG is under new management, and
ready to kick some ass."  She'd noticed that when talking intimately with
Felipe she had picked up some of the USM military dialect he rigidly
suppressed as "Phil".  

"And I and my Scandie wife are supposed to stay out of their way.  You 
know why that is?"  Felipe had been conducting "quality control" analyses
of the New Granadan forces -- the USM liked to know what aspects of friendly
forces, or even their own forces, were apparent to skilled observers.

"Because for whatever reason, Mercator wants them to keep going for a 
while.  And they don't trust you when it comes to me.  Which brings up
more questions.  What does Mexico want?  Or should I say what do Mercator,
El Popo, and Felipe want?"

"I gave up trying to figure out the Mapmaker a long time ago.  El Popo wants
peace with the CNA so he can have trade and start to rein in the military.
_I_ want _you_, but if possible I'd like to continue being a good soldier
at the same time." 

"For Mexico?"

"That's my duty, isn't it?"  For a double or triple agent, Felipe had
an unusual commitment to his personal honor.  Endearing in its way, but...

"What was the exact wording of your commissioning oath again?"

"..to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of Mexico,
and to follow the lawful orders of its President--"

"Who would be El Popo, right?"

"--_and_ those officers lawfully placed in command by him.  I know you 
have this idea that El Popo's going to assert control somehow at some 
point [4], but for now that last part means the Secretary of War and 
the CO of Army Intelligence."

"And you don't want to break with them yet."

"Not yet.  Do you?"

"No, I don't think so.  For one thing, they'll probably come gunning 
for you if you resign your commission, and I don't want to lose you.
Also if we want to keep operating in the Caribbean, we need your contacts
as much as mine.  And I _want_ to stay in the Caribbean, to do what we 
can."

"Forever?"

"Oh, Felipe, it all depends.  I am yours, and you are mine.  We'll 
decide together.  If it _does_ get too hot here, we can always sail
to the Med [5].  I'll even consider farming in Manitoba, though I don't
think you really understand what a northern climate is like.  But we'll
do it together.  For now, I think you're right.  We follow your orders,
and head somewhere else.  Any ideas?"

"Grenada will do for a week or two, I think.  Then maybe Cuba?  If
you're right, we should find out what we can there before _it's_ a war
zone too."

Notes:

[1] The history of Trinidad and Tobago was significantly different in 
    the FAN timeline.  In the different UK/French-Spanish war, there 
    was no UK expedition from Martinique to take Trinidad in 1797, and
    the island remained Spanish at the peace.  As in other Spanish-owned
    islands, there was a slave revolt followed by a planters' restoration
    in 1807, leading to a government nominally under the Hohenzollern king
    of Spain (and ambiguously attached to New Granada) but in fact 
    independent.  In OTL British Trinidad abolished slavery and filled
    its agricultural sector with East Indian immigrants -- FAN Trinidad
    abolished slavery with Spain in 1853 but then imported South Americans 
    instead whose descendents are still called _trabajadores_.  The Spanish  
    revolution of 1881 ended any formal connection between Trinidad and Spain.
    Oil production with Mexican investment began soon after (earlier than the
    1910 of OTL).  When Hermion conquered New Granada British and CNA backing
    kept Trinidad independent and black-ruled, though Spanish is still the
    blacks' primary language and the island never joined the United Empire.
    Currently the _trabajadores_, supplemented by decades of immigrant oil
    workers, form about a third of the population.  (OTL's East Indians form
    a similar proportion including today's most famous Trinidadian, the 
    writer V. S. Naipaul.)  New Granada has always maintained its claim to 
    sovereignty over both Trinidad and the smaller nearby island of Tobago, 
    and unsuccessfully tried to exert this claim militarily during the 
    Global War (as mentioned in FAN #71).

[2] Astrid is employed as a consultant by the Factfinding and Forecasting
    division of a private corporation, United Dry Goods.  Her contact in
    Scandinavia, Mr. Gustav Lu, also frequently consults with the government
    there on military and intelligence matters (see FAN #33).

[3] The British West Indies are an integral part of the United Empire
    (actually about the only part left except for the UK itself, though
    the UK includes Ireland, Newfoundland, and Labrador).  The islands
    are more prosperous and less crowded than in OTL, exporting both people
    and sugar to the CNA.  Jamaica in particular lacks the crippling poverty
    of OTL and thus never developed reggae as such -- its most famous 
    musician [6] took another path than did OTL's.

[4] As always, opinions expressed by FAN characters, particularly on matters
    outside their direct experience, are not necessarily those of the 
    management.  Astrid also thinks the USM has had nukes for two or three
    years but is waiting to reveal them until they have Superbombs.

[5] The heavily militarized South Pacific does not come as easily to
    mind in this context as it would in OTL. 

[6] Sir Marleigh Roberts (1922-), K.U.E., musician, folklorist, and 
    religious scholar, the FANTL's most famous living Jamaican.  Known
    best for such classical works as his _Third ("Calypso") Symphony_ and
    _Hymn to Jah Love_, Roberts also holds a place in liturgical music
    (both within the Anglican communion and beyond) comparable to OTL's 
    Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Known for interdisciplinary research on the
    African roots of Negro Caribbean culture, particularly in musical forms
    and religion.  His fusion of Anglican Christianity with Abyssinian
    theological ideas has been very influential and has also inspired 
    much of his music. 

Dave MB