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For All Nails #81c: Conversation with a Servant

Bogotá, Kingdom of New Granada
15 June 1974

"You must admit, Joshua, these people certainly know how to throw a party,"
said Frau Merkel.  She and her husband were out on the ballroom floor dancing
to a Strauss [1] waltz.

"It's not their party-making ability that concerns me," said Exterior
Minister Joshua Merkel.  "It's their war-making ability.  They are entirely
too good at it for my peace of mind."

"But they are our allies, aren't they?" said Frau Merkel.

"They /were/ Mexico's allies," Merkel explained.  "There are rumors of
continued military cooperation between the two states, but officially
relations between them are chilly.  It was only after the announcement of
Ferdinand's accession to the throne that the Mexicans even extended
recognition to the Elbittar government.  In the meantime, New Granada has the
second-largest army in America, [2] and it's as well-equipped as any in the
world.  Furthermore, there's some sort of secret project going on in Ciudad
Hermión, or Ciudad Camacho as they're calling it these days."

For the past twelve years, the phrase "secret project" had become synonymous
with "building an atom bomb," so Merkel had no difficulty interpreting his
wife's look of concern.

"I hope not," he said in reply to her unspoken question.  "It's impossible to
be sure, though.  Nobody is even certain whether the Mexicans have the Bomb,
though the general assumption in the cabinet is that they do.  And it goes
without saying that any Mexican Bomb will be under Mercator's control and not

The two of them finished the dance in silence, then retired back to their
table.  For reasons known only to the New Granadans, the Merkels had been
seated next to Foreign Minister Takanashi of Japan and his wife.  By chance
or design, both couples were fluent in English, and they had been able to
carry on a lively conversation, the chief topic of which (thanks to Greta and
Frau Takanashi) was the relative merits of Bogotá's various marketplaces.

However, when Merkel and his wife reached their table, the Takanashis places
were empty.  Standing beside them was a uniformed servant with curiously
unfocused eyes.  "Good evening," Merkel greeted the servant in English, "I am
Minister Merkel, and this is my wife, Greta."

The servant bowed until his hair was practically sweeping the floor.  "The
good evening to you also," he said in thickly-accented English when he was
finished the bow.  "I am Mr. Quon, who is parasite to the Foreign Minister
Takanashi-san.  The Takanashi-san and his wife are called away, and I am here
to give the explain."  Mr. Quon concluded his statement with another
hair-sweeping bow.

Parasite?  Clearly, Mr. Quon's (a Korean name, surely?) command of English
was uncertain.  "Do you have any idea when they'll be back?" Merkel asked.
Even after all these years of dealing with foreigners, Merkel had to resist
the temptation to raise his voice, as though Mr. Quon's unfamiliarity with
English made him hard of hearing as well.

"It is less than the hour that they will be back," Mr. Quon answered.  "It
was naughty of you to fight the English."

"I beg your pardon?" said a puzzled Merkel.

"On 1939," Mr. Quon clarified slightly.  "Von Bruning did not show the proper
respect for pedigree.  He went to war with the English, and made ally with
the Mexicans, when he should have made ally with the English and went to war
with the Mexicans."

"Ah, unfortunately," explained Merkel, "there was a revolution in the Ottoman
Empire, and we and the British found ourselves on opposite sides."

"That was naughty also," Mr. Quon responded.  "The Arabs were misbehaving,
rebelling against their pedigreed masters in Constantinople.  You should have
helped the Turks to keep the Arabs in their proper place.  Then you could
join with the English and the North Americans and attack the Mexico.  As it
is, the Japanese and the Australians had to fight alone to save the Western

"From the Mexicans?" wondered Merkel.  "Aren't they also part of Western

"They are not," Mr. Quon insisted.  "They are the rebellious North Americans
who mixed their blood with Indians and didn't show proper respect for
pedigree.  There are no white Mexicans any more, they married into the
Mexicans, now only mongrels and Indians are left.  Soon they will all sneak
across into North America, and the Western Civilization will fall there.
Then they will join with the Africans and invade Europe, just like in that
book that Guy Matthias wrote. [3] I have not read it, but everything that
Matthias wrote in it is true.  After that, there will --"


It was Foreign Minister Takanashi, and he did not look pleased.  Merkel was
amazed to see Mr. Quon bow even lower than he had before.  Takanashi began to
hector Mr. Quon in staccato Japanese, and Merkel found himself deeply
regretting the fact that he didn't speak the language.  Mr. Quon hung his
head low and listened in silence until the Foreign Minister ran out of
vituperation.  Then he bowed lower than ever and shuffled out of the

"Mr. Merkel, I must apologize for the behavior of my servant," said
Takanashi.  "Rest assured, he will be punished severely for his

Merkel, whose father had been a sales clerk before the Global War, and a
General after it, shook his head at the departing champion of pedigree.

"I'm sure he wouldn't have it any other way."


[1] Although he was born 48 years after the POD, Johann Strauss, Jr. still
made it into the FANTL, and still composed the world's best-known waltzes.
There was even one inspired by the Danube, though it wasn't OTL's "Blue

[2] In the absence of OTL's United States of America, standard practice in
the FANTL is to refer to the entire Western Hemisphere as "America".

[3] A Conservative Party columnist and writer from Victoria, author of _The
Black Flood_, a novel set in a near future where growing nonwhite immigration
to Europe causes the collapse of civilization.