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A More Perfect Union

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  • A More Perfect Union

    When I was still in, I posted a question asking what state or group of states might fare best in an ISOT situation; the original title of the thread was 'State(s) ISOT'ed'.
    After much discussion with others who participated in the thread, it was decided that the states of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. I took this and turned it into a scenario, the first chapter of which follows here:

    A More Perfect Union
    By Michael Garrity

    And so it Begins
    Date: February 4th, 2013 Location: The Distinguished Visitors Quarters, Whiteman AFB, Missouri 1800 Hours Local Time

    Steven Chu, United States Secretary of Energy is not in Washington, DC for President Obama’s State of The Union address. Instead, he is here in his home state of Missouri. In view of the recent tensions between the United States, North Korea and Iran, it was decided by the Secret Service that Secretary Chu would be out of town under the ‘designated survivor’ rule. So, Secretary Chu finds himself here in the DV quarters of Whiteman AFB. Two large-screen televisions are tuned to CNN and Fox News so that Secretary Chu can watch the broadcast. He is joined by Brigadier General Thomas A. Bussiere, commanding officer of the 509th Bomb Wing and overall base commander of Whiteman AFB, and also by Brigadier General Eric S. Overturf, commanding officer of the 442nd Fighter Wing. Before the broadcast begins, BG Bussiere leans over towards Secretary Chu and says "Well, Mr. Secretary. I certainly hope that Air Force hospitality is all that you expected."

    Secretary Chu replies "Yes, general, it is. Your staff has been most helpful in the brief time I have been here.

    Outside the room where Secretary Chu, BG Bussiere and BG Overturf are sitting, there are two agents from the Secret Service protective detail. There is also a team of agents on perimeter duty outside the DV quarters building. While Secretary Chu is watching the broadcast, he sees President Obama come up to the Podium in the House of Representatives and begin to speak "My Fellow Americans, good even…." Just then, the broadcasts from CNN and Fox are cut off in mid-word. The screens of both televisions are filled with static. Before Secretary Chu and the two generals can think to respond, the windows of the DV quarters are flooded with bright, blazing, multi-hued light. The two agents at the door of the room hear over their earpieces the shouted command ‘MARCHING ORDER!!’. They burst into the room and Jim Smith, the senior agent of the detail, says "Mr. Secretary, we have to go NOW!!! General Bussiere, what is the most secure location on this base?"

    BG Bussier’s face assumes a look of great concern as he says "Agent Smith, that would be the communications bunker underneath base headquarters." Agent Smith replies "We are going there now. Please come with us, General." The two agents take Secretary Chu by the arms and practically drag him to the waiting Secret Service SUV. They are followed in turn by BG Bussier and BG Overturf. Just before Secretary Chu and BG Bussier are bundled into the vehicle, BG Bussier turns to BG Overturf and says "Officers’ Call at the bunker in 30 minutes. Get the ready flight of A-10s into the air; load them for a mixed Air-to-Air/Air-to Ground mission." BG Overturf braces to attention, salutes smartly and departs.

    The armored SUV holding Secretary Chu, BG Bussiere and the security detail is accompanied by the lead and chase vehicles carrying other Secret Service agents. The three vehicles drive off towards Whiteman AFB’s headquarters building at a very high rate of speed with their lights and sirens blazing. Overhead, the sky is covered from horizon to horizon with a blazing dome of pulsing light. The astonished passengers on all three vehicles marvel at the visual display in the sky. There is a strong smell of ozone in the air as enormous electrical discharges play through the cloudless evening sky. As the armored SUV makes its way towards base headquarters. Agent Smith turns to BG Bussier and says "General, I am formally requesting the assistance of your Security Police squadrons. I want a double perimeter around base headquarters. No one gets in that you don’t personally know." BG Bussier replies "I understand, Agent Smith. I’ll make the call as soon as we arrive."

    The three vehicle element arrives at base headquarters and comes to a squealing stop. The agents on the security detail surround Secretary Chu as they all walk into the foyer of the building. Six agents take up positions on either side of the door with their MP-5’s at the ready. BG Bussier come up to the ready desk. The staff sergeant on duty comes to attention as BG Bussier says "Contact the Officer of the Day. Tell him that I want the SPs here on the double, with full combat loads." SSGT Shannon Lucky says "YESSIR." He snaps off a parade-ground salute, then picks up the phone. Meanwhile, the remaining members of the Secret Service detail escort Secretary Chu and BG Bussier into the bunker.

    Down below, there is controlled chaos as various communications officers attempt to ascertain just what happened. Some of their main screens are blank and others are filled with static, as is every network and cable television feed. Everywhere, warning lights are blinking and buzzers are sounding.

    1800 Hours

    The Kansas City Air Traffic Control Center (ZKC) located in the suburb of Olathe, Kansas is conducting its ordinary business when they suddenly loose all contact with other ATC centers. They are suddenly deluged with calls for information from every airline flight in the skies of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. As a precaution, the director of ZKC exercises his prerogative and orders all flights to make for and land at the nearest airport capable handling them. In short order, the airports in Kansas City, St. Louis, Wichita, Manhattan, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Omaha and Lincoln become very crowded as all commercial traffic in the air over the four states starts to land. To relieve congestion, the major regional airports are pressed into service.

    Officer’s Call
    1830 Hours

    The scene in the communications bunker below Whiteman AFB Headquarters is one of controlled chaos. Here and there, various Air Force communications officers are trying to get ahold of what happened just half an hour ago. As ordered by BG Bussier, the commanding officers of the various units on Whiteman AFB have arrived for their meeting with him. The meeting will take place in the bunker’s conference room, and Secretary Chu will be in attendance. BG Bussiere begins the meeting by saying "Gentlemen, this is Mr. Norman Chu, United States Secretary of Energy. By now, you are all aware of what happened just thirty minutes ago. Do any of you have any information for me?"
    Major Lucas Dalton, Whiteman AFB’s weather officer is the first to speak "Sir, what happened could not have been any kind of weather phenomenon. I put in a call to the National Weather Service Office in Kansas City, and they show no storm cells or weather fronts within one hundred and fifty miles of us."

    "Very good, Major. General Overturf?"

    "Yes, sir?"

    "What is the status of your A-10's?"

    "Sir, by your previous order, I have had eight A-10s armed and fueled. They are taking off as we speak."

    "Good work, General Overturf. What of our communications?"

    Major James Braddock speaks next "General Bussiere, I put in a call to STRATCOM at Offutt AFB, and they say that they experienced the same phenomenon as we did."

    "Major Braddock, does NORAD have anything to say?"

    "Sir, that’s the curious thing."

    "What do you mean ‘curious’?"

    "Sir, all communications with NORAD are offline. There have been no phone calls, faxes or emails from them since 1800 Hours. There have also been no communications with the Pentagon, Fort Meade or the National Command Authorities. In fact, we have had no communications of any kind with any commands west of the Mississippi River." BG Bussiere’s eyes go wide with surprise and alarm as he says "are you quite sure of that, Major Braddock?"

    Major Braddock replies "Yes, sir. I am quite sure."

    "What of more local commands?"

    "Sir, we have communications with the National Guards of Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, plus Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth and McConnell AFB."

    1845 Hours

    The eight A-10 Thunderbolts are now all airborne. Colonel Gregory Eckfeld (callsign: Bandit) is in command of the mission "Bandit Flight, this is Bandit Lead. Disperse to your objectives. Bandit-Two, you’re with me." One by one, the other seven pilots radio back ‘Affirmative, Bandit Lead’, starting with Bandit Two. The eight aircraft divide themselves into four two-ship elements. Colonel Eckfeld and Bandit Two proceed northwards from Whiteman AFB towards the Missouri/Iowa State Line. Bandit Three and Bandit Four fly east, towards the Missouri/Illinois State Line; Bandit Five and Bandit Six fly south towards Arkansas, while Bandit Seven and Bandit Eight fly west towards Kansas.

    2015 Hours

    Colonel Eckfeld comes on the radio and says "All Bandit elements, this is Bandit lead. Report your situation. Bandit Tow and I see nothing out of the ordinary on the Missouri/Iowa Line."

    "Bandit Lead, this is Bandit Seven. Bandit Eight and I have overflown Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. Everything seems normal here."

    "SWEET MOTHER OF GOD!! Bandit Lead, this is Bandit Three. Bandit Four and I have just overflown St. Louis, and there is nothing on the other side of the of the Mississippi River but empty land. The river bridges are intact, but there are no buildings, lights or vehicles that we can see. East St. Louis is gone, sir. Bandit Four and I are going to break. I will fly down towards the Missouri Bootheel, while Bandit Four will north towards the Iowa Bootheel. Will advise."

    "Roger that, Bandit Three. Proceed and be careful."

    "Understood, Bandit Lead. Bandit Three out."

    "Bandit Five, Bandit Six, this is Bandit Lead. Report."

    "Bandit Lead, this is Bandit Five. All roads on the Missouri/Arkansas and Missouri/Oklahoma State lines are cut off exactly at the State Line. It’s like someone cut them off with a perfect razor. Bandit Six and I can report that there is no sign of civilization in either eastern Oklahoma or Northern Arkansas."

    "Understood, Bandit Five. All Bandit Elements, this is Bandit Lead. Return to base."

    2115 Hours

    After landing back at Whiteman AFB, Colonel Eckfeld is ordered to report directly to BG Bussiere. He is driven directly to the communications bunker by an Air Force SP. As they arrive, Colonel Eckfeld sees that the base headquarters has been ringed with SPs. There are Peacekeeper ASVs in evidence, as are M-1151 up-armored HMMWVs equipped with FRAG-6 kits. Colonel Eckfeld goes to see General Bussiere and says "Sir, I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to tell you. All signs of civilization in Illinois, Arkansas and Oklahoma has simply disappeared. The roads and highways are cut off right at the state line. The bridges over the Mississippi are intact, and on the other side there is nothing but wilderness. Iowa is still there, as is Kansas and Nebraska."

    "Very good, Colonel Eckfeld. Thank you for your report."

    Secretary Chu has been listening to the back-and-forth between General Bussiere and his officers. He now says "Gentlemen, I have heard enough. Apparently, something un-natural has happened. The lack of communications with the Pentagon and Washington D.C only confirms this. General Bussiere?"

    "Yes, Mr. Secretary?"

    "I am of the opinion that this situation is operative under the ‘Designated Survivor’ rule as delineated in the Continuity of Government Plan. Do you concur?"

    "Yes, sir. Mr. Secretary, I do."

    "Then, sir. I need to take the oath. Kansas City is only 70 miles from here. You will send a helicopter to the Charles Evans Whittaker Federal District Courthouse in Kansas City. Make contact with the night staff there and find Chief Judge Fernando Gaitan. Inform Judge Gaitan of the situation and bring him here soonest. In the meantime, have your communications staff set up a conference call for me with General C. Robert Kehler at STRATCOM and the governors of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa."

    "Yes, sir. Mr. Secretary"

    2200 Hours

    Pursuant to the request from Secretary Chu, BG Bussiere dispatched a UH-60 Blackhawk with orders to make for the Whittaker Federal District Courthouse in Kansas City. The pilot of the Blackhawk radioed ahead to the State Highway Patrol Barracks in Lees’ Summit, Missouri and asked that they bring Chief Judge Fernando Gaitan to the courthouse where he can be picked up. While the UH-60 is still in-bound, a Highway Patrol cruiser and two uniformed officers are sent to Judge Gaitan’s house. The senior of the two officers knocks on the front door and a short time later, Judge Gaitan answers the door "Yes, officer. How can I help you?"

    "Judge Gaitan, I am Lieutenant Wilson, Missouri State Highway patrol. I must ask you to come with me immediately. Your presence has been requested by Energy Secretary Dennis Chu. He is at Whiteman AFB, and he needs to take the Presidential oath of office." Judge Gaitan replies "Lieutenant, does this have anything to do with that incredible atmospheric display that happened at 6:00 PM?"

    "I believe it does, sir. Beyond that, I have no information."

    "Very well, Lieutenant. Give me five minutes to change and pack a small bag. I’ll be out directly."

    Just a few minutes later, Judge Gaitan leaves his front door while carrying a small bag. He says goodbye to his wife, then gets into the State Patrol cruiser. At a very high rate of speed, the vehicle makes its way towards the Charles Evans Whittaker Federal District Courthouse located on 400 East Ninth Street. Just fifteen minutes after they arrive, the UH-60 Blackhawk lands in the courthouse’s parking lot. Judge Gaitain boards the aircraft as quickly as possible, then it takes off. The pilot now gets on the radio, saying "Home Base, this is Retrieval Flight, Over."

    One of the communications officers at Whiteman AFB replies "Retrieval Flight, this is Home Base, go ahead."

    "Retrieval Flight to Home Base. Be advised that the judge is aboard and we are on our way back at the best possible speed."

    "Home Base to Retrieval Flight, received and understood."

    "Retrieval Flight, out."

    "Home Base, out."

    2215 Hours

    Air Force Sgt Geoff Hatten comes to see BG Bussiere, salutes and says "General Bussiere, Retrieval Flight is in-bound, Their ETA is forty-five minutes." General Bussiere returns the salute and says "Thank you, Sgt Hatten. You are dismissed." BG Bussiere goes to Secretary Chu and says "Mr. Secretary, Judge Gaitain is on the way, he’ll be here in forty-five minutes." Just then, Major James Braddock says "General Bussiere, the conference call is ready."

    "Thank you Major. Mr. Secretary, this way please." BG Bussiere and Secretary Chu make their way to the bunker’s conference room. The room is furnished with a large but functional table and several chairs. There are several large video screens on the wall, and the images of the several other participants in the conference call are displayed on them. They are General C. Robert Kehler, commander of USSTRATCOM, Major-General William C. Mayville, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, Terry Brandstad, David Heineman, Sam Brownback and Jay Nixon; governors of the States of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri respectively.

    Secretary Chu is the first to speak "Gentlemen, thank you for joining me in this conference call. I’ll get right to the point. At 6:00 PM local time, an event took place that is unprecedented in the history of our country. Aircraft from Whiteman AFB made reconnaissance flights southward into Oklahoma and eastward into Arkansas. The pilots report that there are no signs of life in those two states; no roads, buildings or lights. The highway bridges over the Mississippi River are intact, but beyond that, nothing."

    Governor Terry Branstad speaks next "Mr. Secretary, General Bussiere, General Kehler, General Mayville, I have been meeting with my staff here in the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa ever since 6:30 PM. I can confirm what the pilots from Whiteman AFB said. I ordered aircraft from the 132nd Tactical Fighter Wing at Des Moines International Airport to take off and survey the situation. They flew as far north as Minneapolis-St. Paul and as far east as Chicago. On the return leg, the Minneapolis-St. Paul flight swung down through the southeastern corner of South Dakota. They reported no signs of civilization that they could see. As in Missouri, the highway bridges over the Mississippi River are intact; all roads and highways are cut off exactly at the State Line. Rock Island Arsenal is there, too."

    Governor David Heineman of Nebraska says "Gentlemen, I can also confirm the same information here in Nebraska. A reconnaissance flight took off from Offut AFB and surveyed into eastern Wyoming and Northeastern Colorado. The same situations are reported. Interstate-80 is cut off exactly at the Nebraska-Wyoming State Line as is Interstate-76 a the Nebraska-Colorado State Line. One curious thing, however. The pilots report that they saw immense herds of Buffalo in Eastern Wyoming and Northeastern Colorado." This last comment from Governor Heineman sparks much conversation among the other participants in the conference call.

    Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas is the next to speak, followed by Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri. Their information matches precisely what was conveyed by Governor Branstad and Governor Heineman. General C. Robert Kehler of USSTRATCOM joins in and says "There are no communications links with anyone outside of the states of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. Pursuant to my authority as commander of STRATCOM, I am ordering all remaining U.S Military forces to DEFCON 3; the exercise term is Roundhouse."

    Secretary Chu listens to the reports from the various state governors before speaking. After a few moments of consideration, he says "Gentlemen, I regard this situation as operative under the ‘designated survivor’ rule in the Continuity of Government plan. My opinion was confirmed by General Bussiere. Accordingly, I will be taking the Presidential Oath of Office within the hour. Once this has been done, I will address the people of the four states via television broadcast. Do you have any questions for me?"

    The four governors reply nearly as one "no, Mr. Secretary."

    "Then, I bid you all a good night. Please let me know if there are any additional developments."

    2300 Hours

    BG Bussiere comes to Secretary Chu and says "Sir, Judge Gaitan is here." Secretary Chu responds "Thank you, general." Judge Gaitan is shown into the bunker’s conference room, and he introduces himself to Secretary Chu and all the Air Force officers present "Mr. Secretary, gentlemen, good evening. I am Chief Judge Fernando Gaitan of the United States Court for the Western District of Missouri. Are you ready to proceed?" Secretary Chu replies "yes, we are." As the swearing-in ceremony begins, the proceedings are documented on video. Judge Gaitan asks for a bible, and he is given one; this copy having a blue cover and embossed with the seal of the U.S Air Force. "Please raise your right hand and repeat after me...." Secretary Chu is able to repeat the oath of office almost by memory. He says "I, Steven Chu, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me, God." Judge Gaitan shakes the new President’s hand and says "congratulations, Mr. President."

    BG Bussiere greets his new commander-in-chief and says "do you have any orders for me, sir?" The newly-sword President Chu replies "have your communications staff get in touch with all of the network affiliates and other stations throughout Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Use the Emergency Broadcast System if you have to. I need to make a public statement before the people begin to panic." BG Bussiere replies "yes, sir. May I suggest that you make the broadcast at 0700 hours tomorrow morning? This way, you will reach as many people as possible."

    "An excellent idea, General. It is clear to me that something unprecedented and extraordinary has happened. That report from Governor Heineman of Nebraska about the herds of Buffalo that his pilots saw in eastern Wyoming and Northeastern Colorado really has me wondering, though. For now, I will return to my quarters. We have a long day tomorrow, and I must prepare for the broadcast."

    BG Bussiere replies "Yes, sir. Mr. President." President Chu is escorted out of the bunker by his security detail of Secret Service agents and Air Force SPs. In the meantime, BG Bussiere turns to SSGT Shannon Lucky and says "I wonder how General Lemay would have dealt with this situation. Do you have anything for me, sergeant?" SSGT Lucky hesitates a moment or two before replying, as he has been rather shaken by the events of the past several hours. He gathers his thoughts and says "Sir, I don’t want to sound ridiculous, but I believe we have traveled in time." BG Bussiere’s face registers both surprise and disbelief as SSGT Lucky continues "Sir, I read science fiction, and one of my favorite authors is S.M Stirling. In the late 1990's, he wrote a series of books called the ‘Nantucket Trilogy’. These books detail what happens to the people on the Island of Nantucket when the island is cast more than three thousand years into the past. I firmly believe that this is what has happened to us"

    BG Bussiere’s face is still registering incredulity as he says "That is a rather extraordinary claim, wouldn’t you say, sergeant?"

    SSGT Lucky says "Yes, sir. I know what it sounds like. I am also a student of western history, and there haven’t been herds of buffalo like the pilots from the Nebraska Air Guard reported since the early 1870's."

    "Very well, sergeant. I will take your information under advisement. Thank you for your input. Dismissed." SSGT Lucky salutes General Bussiere and returns to his other duties.

    0700 Hours
    February 5th, date: unknown

    Shortly before 0700, every radio and TV in the four states comes alive with the familiar signal from the Emergency Broadcast System. The message urges everyone listening and watching that there will be a message from the President of the United States. At 0700 precisely, President Chu steps up to the podium and begins his statement "My fellow Americans, good morning. I am Steven Chu, and I was sworn in as President of the United States at 11:00 PM Central Time last night. I am addressing you in regards to the extraordinary event which took place at 6:00 PM yesterday. By some unknown means, the rest of the United States, and perhaps the world, outside of the borders of the States of Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, has simply disappeared. The land is still there, but there are no signs of civilization present. I know some of you will not believe this, but all indications are that this is just what has happened. I urge you all to cooperate with state, local and federal authorities as we deal with this developing situation. With the cooperation of the governors of the four states, I am issuing an executive order to the effect that all non-essential businesses are closed until further notice, and that all non-essential travel is strongly discouraged. You will be notified of any further developments in this situation. Thank you all and may God bless the United States of America."

    "And, we’re off." The Air Force communications staff manning the broadcast equipment signals that the signal feed is complete. President Chu turns to General Bussiere and says "Let’s get to work."

    0715 Hours
    February, 5th, date; unknown

    Governor Terry Branstad of the State of Iowa has just finished listening to President Chu’s broadcast. He immediately picks up the phone and places a call to the Office of the State Adjutant General at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa. "Good morning, General Orr." Major-General Tim Orr replies "Good morning, Governor. How can I help you?"

    "General Orr, I trust you watched President Chu’s broadcast at 7:00AM."

    "Yes, sir, I did. What orders do you have for me?"

    "General Orr, I am calling up the entire Iowa National Guard, both Army and Air branches. You will communicate this to the SDOs and SDNCOs of all your component units. I will also be issuing a call for all retired members of the Iowa Guard to report for duty at their most recent unit of affiliation. This will help relive any short-term manpower shortages you might have. Additionally, I want you to send a platoon of military police to the far end of the Interstate-80 highway bridge in Davenport. Their mission is to secure it. I have already dispatched officers from the Iowa State Patrol to the bridge, and I have asked for assistance from the Scott County Sheriff’s office."

    "Yes, Governor. I will issue the appropriate orders immediately."

    February 5th, 1607

    All over the States of Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas, there is mass disbelief and, in some cases, outright panic. Midwestern practicality doesn't rule everywhere. While some people tend to the business of their daily lives as best as they can, others get it into their heads to react in different ways. In many locations, there is panic buying at grocery stores and gas stations. In the larger cities such as Kansas City, Topeka, Omaha, Lincoln and Des Moines, there are instances of home-invasion robberies and near-riots when certain stores and gas stations run low on supplies or people try to cut in line. The previous night professors, assistant professors and graduate students in the departments of Physics and Astronomy of the various colleges and universities in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas turned their telescopes and other instruments to the skies to observe and document the incredible phenomenon as it unfolded. Among the very first academics to realize what happened is Mark Brodwin, assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. After the event last night, he observed that the patterns of the stars weren’t as they should be. Accordingly, he took several digital pictures of the night sky and ran them through a stellar-regression program on his office computer. The results were nothing less than astounding. Just to be sure, Professor Brodwin ran the analysis six times. In each, the results were exactly identical. The star patterns in the night sky of February 4th were those of February, 1607, not February 2013. This discovery shakes Professor Brodwin to the core. He wastes no time in communicating his data to colleagues at other universities. These individuals test the data provided by Professor Brodwin, and in every case, their results are also the same.

    With confirmation in hand, Professor Brodwin calls Wai-Yim Ching, Chair of the UMKC Department of Physics and Astronomy to inform him of the discovery. In turn, Professor Ching communicates this to Leo Morton, Chancellor of the University. A call from the Chancellor’s office is immediately put through to Governor Jay Nixon’s office. "Good morning, Governor. This is Leo Morton, Chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City."

    "Good morning, Leo. How are you doing?"

    "Governor, I’m doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances."

    "How can I help you today, Leo?"

    "Governor, Professor Mark Brodwin at UMKC made a fascinating discovery last night. He examined the star patterns present in the sky after the event and noticed something amiss. He took pictures of what he saw and ran them through a regression program on his computer. Apparently, we here in the four states of Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska have traveled back in time. I know this sounds fantastic, but Professor Brodwin is very thorough. He double-and triple-checked his observations, then forwarded his data to his colleagues. They confirmed his observations in every detail."

    Governor Nixon is stunned into mute amazement for the next few minutes. When he recovered his senses sufficiently, he says "Chancellor Morton, this discovery is going to make the proverbial bolt out of the blue seem like a small firecracker. I’ll have to communicate this with President Chu. Have the other governors been informed?"

    "We must assume that they were also informed, sir."

    "That is understandible, Leo. I thank you for bringing this to my attention. If you or your professors have any further information that you believe may be of use to us in this present situation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at any time."

    "Thank you, Governor" With the call with Chancellor Morton being completed, Governor Nixon next places a call to Adjutant-General Stephen Danner. He answers the phone and says "Good morning, Governor Nixon. How can I help you?"

    "General Danner, effective immediately, I am calling up the entire membership of the Missouri National Guard. Retirees from the Guard are also being recalled to service. I want troops on the highway bridges leading into Illinois, Arkansas and Tennessee as soon as possible. They will be backed up by officers from the State Highway Patrol and from the sheriff’s departments in the counties where the bridges are located."

    General Danner replies "yes sir, Governor."

    Governor Nixon says "Thank you, general. If you need anything, let me know."

    The line to the Adjutant-General’s headquarters cuts off as the call is completed. Governor Nixon next places a call to BG Bussiere at Whiteman AFB. The call is relayed by SSGT Shannon Lucky, who happens to be manning the phones in the bunker. He alerts BG Bussiere, who comes over and picks up the phone "Good morning, sir. To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?"

    "General Bussiere, I have just heard from Chancellor Leo Morton of UMKC. He tells me that one of his astronomy professors has discovered that we have all been thrown backwards in time to February, 1607." BG Bussiere asks "Governor, is there any mistake?"

    "No, General. There is no mistake. The data has been independently confirmed" When BG Bussiere hears this, he looks over at SSGT Lucky and motions him to stand by. Governor Nixon next goes on to say "this is something that President Chu must be made aware of."

    "Agreed, sir. I will tell the President immediately. Thank you for your call, Governor." When General Bussiere hangs up the phone, he turns to SSGT Lucky and says "Sergeant, your belief that we have traveled back in time has been proven. An astronomy professor at UMKC made observations which confirmed it."

    "Thank you, sir. Is there any information about the time period we have traveled to?"

    BG Bussiere replies "SSGT Lucky, we have gone back to February, 1607. It seems you have some knowledge of history. So, if you have any more ideas, you are specifically ordered to come to me immediately."

    "Yes, sir." SSGT Lucky salutes crisply and returns to his duties.

    February 5th, 1607
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    The State Capitol Building

    Attorney-General Jon Brunning of the State of Nebraska enters Governor David Heineman’s office and says "Governor, there is something that you need to be made aware of. My office has received reports of civil unrest from here in Lincoln and also in Omaha. It seems that some of the people aren’t reacting at all well to what happened last night. There have been home-invasion robberies and fights at gas station and grocery stores. Some stores and gas stations have also tried to take advantage of the situation by price-gouging, and this has caused even more anger. While the disorder is still under control by local law enforcement authorities, I recommend that you call up the entire membership of Nebraska National Guard and have them stand-by to render assistance if necessary."

    Governor Heineman replies "Thank you, Jon. I will call Adjutant-General Judd Lyons and have him issue the alert order immediately. As regards the price-gouging, I am issuing an executive order that all prices are to be frozen at their former levels for the next ninety days. I will also have Director John Munn of the Division of Banking & Finance issue an order limiting what funds people can withdraw from banks; the maximum amount will be $300.00 per day. I believe that this will help prevent banks and other financial institutions from running short of actual cash."

    Attorney-General Brunning says "Very good, Governor. I will see to your instructions immediately."

    At almost the same time as the Governor and the Attorney-General are meeting, Nebraska State Patrol officers and local law enforcement in Kimball and Deuel counties are reacting to the various accidents that took place at the far end of Interstate-80 leading into Wyoming and at the Interstate-80/Interstate-76 interchange on the Nebraska/Colorado state line. Of even more concern is a large freight train that was about to cross the Wyoming/Nebraska line at the moment of the transition event. The train derailed near the highway when the event cut off the track in front of the lead locomotive. Most of the train’s cargo is intact, but one tank car containing liquid chlorine ruptured and spilled its contents.

    At STRATCOM in Omaha, Nebraska, a long-range reconnaissance mission is taking place. An RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft has been dispatched to what was once Virginia in order to ascertain whether or not the Jamestown Colony in Virginia has been founded as it was in the original timeline.

    0900 Hours

    Iowa is a heavily-agricultural state, and the well-being of its farms and crops depends on having adequate supplies of seed and fertilizer. To this end, Governor Terry Branstad has a meeting with Bill Northey, the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. Secretary Northey comes into the Governor’s office and says "Good morning, Governor Branstad. How can I help you?"
    "Thank you for coming, Bill. I’ll get right to the point. I want your department to ascertain how much in the way of seed stocks and fertilizers are available here in Iowa. Keeping our people fed in the coming months and years is of an importance that can scarcely be under-estimated. Co-ordinate your efforts with the offices of Pioneer-Du Pont in Johnston, Iowa and the College of Agriculture at Iowa State University in Ames."

    "Yes, sir."

    Several hours later, Secretary Northey calls Governor Branstad and says "Governor, I have good news for you." Governor Branstad says in reply "I am listening, Bill."

    "Governor, my staff contacted every dealer of seed and fertilizer in the State of Iowa. Apparently, there is a great overabundance of seed stock and fertilizer on hand. A month before the event, the U.S Department of Agriculture forecast an unusually-productive growing season. Accordingly, the College of Agriculture at ISU-Ames urged farm dealers to lay in as much stock as possible; this was to accommodate farmers here in Iowa and dealers in other states."

    "How much of a supply are you referring to, Bill?"

    "Governor, my information is that there is as much as three to five times the annual supply of seed and fertilizer on hand. I have also conferred with my colleagues in the States of Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas. They tell me that their supply situation is much the same."

    Governor Branstad heaves his shoulders and utters a sigh of relief "That is wonderful news, Bill. Thank you for letting me know."

    In the meantime, a platoon of the 186th Military Police Company, Iowa Army National Guard is en-route to the Mississippi River in order to secure the bridges over that river. They will be re-inforcing the 339th MP Company from Davenport, Iowa. The 339th MP Company is already on guard on Iowa’s eastern State line. The first to be secured, of course, is the Interstate-80 bridge over the Mississippi River. When the troops from the 186th MP company arrive on station, there are already two State Police cruisers and two cruisers from the Scott County Sheriff’s Office at the far end of the bridge. The first task of the MPs is to set up a small Forward Operating Base. This is done by stretching a line of triple-standard concertina wire to block direct access to the bridge from the Illinois side of the line. Then, two M-1151 up-armored HMMWVs take up positions flanking the approaches to the bridge itself. Each of these is armed with an M-240B .30-caliber machine gun. Operations, living quarters, supply storage and medical support are in the form of one GP-Large tent, two GP-Medium tents and a GP-small tent. In the middle of the FOB, a portable radio tower is set up so as to maintain communications with the SEOC at Camp Dodge. The perimeter of the FOB is secured by triple-standard concertina, and a pair of watch towers will be constructed. When finished, the towers will be equipped with thermal-vision and night-vision devices to detect anyone approaching the perimeter. Lastly, the other vehicles are parked inside the perimeter.

    After speaking with Secretary Northey, Governor Branstad calls Elizabeth Jacobs, chair of the Iowa Utilities Board . "Good morning, Elizabeth. This is Governor Branstad, and I have a question for you."

    "Good morning, Governor. How can I help you?"

    "Elizabeth, I’d like to know when the nuclear reactor at the Duane Arnold Energy Center was refueled."

    "Governor, the reactor was most recently refueled in January. The fuel will last for three years at maximum generating output, and up to five years at lesser outputs. Interestingly enough, the plant operators say that there is an extra set of fuel elements in secure storage on site. No one knows where they came from. This will give the staff the ability to refuel the reactor once when the current supply is expended."

    "That is good news, Elizabeth. Thank you very much."

    "My pleasure, sir."

    1200 Hours

    President Chu is in conference with some of his advisers. One of the matters under discussion is the economy of the four states and how to sustain it with the least disruption to the population. In the course of the meeting, the topic of commercial and residential mortgages comes up. One of President Chu’s advisers, a Mr. James Simpson, says "Mr. President, as regards the outstanding mortgages in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas, some of them are held by banks which no longer exist. Others are held by banks within the borders of the four states. It seems unfair to those people who have to pay their mortgages to allow those with mortgages to out-of-state banks to get off free-and-clear."

    "I see, Mr. Simpson. What do you propose?"

    "Mr. President, I believe that you should issue an executive order that all residential and commercial mortgages are suspended for six months. This would apply regardless of whether or not the mortgages in question are with in-state banks or out-of-state institutions." President Chu asks "Mr. Simpson, what would be the purpose of the suspension?" Mr. Simpson replies "Mr. President, doing this will allow those persons and businesses whose jobs and operations were disrupted by the event to get back on their feet economically."

    "What of the mortgages held by out of state banks, the ones who no longer exist?"

    "Mr. President, at the end of the six-month suspension, the residential and commercial mortgages owed to out-of-state banks will be assumed by the Federal Government. In turn, they will be packaged and sold to in-state banks. This will level the playing field for everyone concerned."
    "Very well, Mr. Simpson. Though economics isn’t my field, I find your suggestion to be meritorious. I will confer with the State Treasurers of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas as to its practicability and issue an executive order to that effect."

    1200 Hours
    February 5th, 1607

    As was customary for the last several years, the members of the Nebraska Rangers reenactment group assembled on February 3rd for their annual muster & rendezvous. The purpose of this gathering is to practice their impressions and skills before the upcoming reenactment season. The Nebraska Rangers consist of the 24 members of Company G, 1st U.S Cavalry Regiment, 12 members of the United States Marshal's Posse reenactment group, 8 gunfighters plus the artillery crews. This year, the families of the membership of the rangers came along to observe the gathering, which is taking place in a field along the North Platte River between the towns of Henry and Lyman, Nebraska. The membership of the Rangers came from those two towns, as well as from Scottsbluff, Nebraska and points inbetween. Everything was normal, until the transition event on the night of February 5th. The incredible atmospheric display caused the members to gather outside of their tents and marvel at what they saw. This morning at 0700, Frank Miller, one of the members of the group, happened to be listening to his radio when he caught President Chu’s broadcast. He hollered out for his friend Jim Parsons to come and listen also "JIM! You have to come here and listen to this!! What happened last night just wasn’t an atmospheric display, the states of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri have been thrown back in time.!!!"

    "Frank, you have got to be kidding me. Are you hitting the whiskey again?"

    "Jim, I’m not bullshitting you. Listen to the goddamned radio, will you???" Just then, the local radio station re-broadcasts President Chu’s speech. The speech causes Frank Miller’s face to assume a look of shock, followed by grim determination. He says "Jim, get everyone in camp to the headquarters tent. We have got to tell them what happened." Jim Parsons runs to every tent in the camp to tell them what is going on, and within five minutes a group of seventy-eight loud, somewhat frightened people gather in front of the main tent.

    Frank Miller addresses the group, most of which he has known for years "Alright, people, listen up. We have a serious situation here. That thing we saw in the sky last night wasn’t just a light show. The four states of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri have been thrown back in time to the year 1607. Everything outside the borders of those four states is as it was. Nothing of the rest of the United States is there, it’s all gone!!"

    This pronouncement causes much excited discussion to run through the group. Frank Miller raises his hand for quiet and says "People, things are going to get dicey in the cities right quick. So, I think we should stay right here for the time being. We’ve got our families here with us, and supplies for two weeks. Jim Parsons here owns a health food store over in Morill." Frank Miller turns to Jim Parsons and says "Jim, maybe you oughta make a run to your store and bring back as many bottles of vitamins and mineral supplements as you can. I think we’re going to need them."

    "Ok, Frank. I’ll take my truck. I’ll have another guy with me, just in case. I’d also want Tim Dawson to bring his truck and trailer also."

    "Right, you two. Please be careful." Jim Parsons and Frank Miller head to their trucks, accompanied by two other members of the group. They drive off in a cloud of dust as Frank Miller turns back to the group and says "Ron, where are you?" Ron Parsons raises his hand from the back and says "Here I am, Frank." Ron Parsons is the unit armorer and blacksmith. Frank asks him "How are we fixed for weapons and ammunition, Ron?
    "Frank, we’ve got the usual assortment of Winchester lever-action rifles, Colt revolvers, Smith & Wessons and double-barrel shotguns. A few of the boys have Sharps rifles in .50-90 and .45-110, and the horse jockeys in Company G have their Springfield carbines along with their Colt SAAs. We were planning to do a lot of live-fire, so we’re flush with ammunition."

    "How about the artillery?"

    "Frank, we have a Model 1841 six-pounder gun with a limber, limber chest and caisson. The caisson has two chests, and all three chests are full. There’s also enough spare ammunition to refill each chest once; this makes a total of 300 rounds. The 1841 12-pounder mountain howitzer is on a Third-Model prairie carriage and we also have a limber and caisson. Each of the three ammunition chests holds 39 rounds, and they’re full. We’ve also got 234 extra rounds in crates, for a grand total of 351 rounds. Lastly, there's our Hotchkiss Model 1875 Mountain rifle. This piece has 400 rounds in wooden crates of 20 rounds each. You’re going to love this next one, Frank. The cavalry boys brought their Model 1874 Gatling gun along with them, and they’ve got twenty cases of ammunition for it; that’s 500 rounds per case."

    Frank Miller grins widely at the amount of firepower that has just been mentioned. Then his face turns serious as he considers another tough that has just crossed his mind "the people hereabouts are mostly farmers. They’ve got root cellars, and just about everyone I know is heavily into canning and preservation. That being said, we and they are going to need meat to stay healthy. Since we’re all back in 1607, that means the wildlife here on the plains is untouched. The herds of buffalo are practically untouched, and come later in the Spring, the flocks of birds are going to be beyond belief. I propose a hunting expedition across the line in what used to be Wyoming. We’ll bag enough buffalo to give everyone here, as well as back in Henry and Lyman two hundred pounds of meat. For preservation, we can make jerky, pemmican and we can also smoke the meat. The hides can be tanned and turned to any number of uses. What do you say?"

    The rest of the membership of the Rangers is silent for a moment, then cheers start to break out. Those members of the Rangers who have Sharps rifles are grinning from ear-to ear at the prospect of a real buffalo hunt. Frank Miller raises his hand again for silence and says "We can’t go off half-cocked, so we should plan to have the hunt tomorrow morning."

    1330 hours

    While the membership of the Rangers is busy in arranging the camp with regards to their new situation, Jim Parsons and Tim Dawson return from their supply run. Frank Miller sees them drive up and comes over to ask "How did it go, guys?" Jim Parsons says "It went ok, Frank. People in Morill don’t seem to be panicking just yet. I took advantage of the opportunity and swung by Gravers Outdoors on the way out of town. The boys and I stocked up on stuff we might need here, like Coleman lantern fuel, first aid supplies and a few other things."

    "Great job, Jim. Get that stuff unloaded over at the quartermaster’s tent."

    "Ok, Frank."

    1500 Hours

    With the downturn in the economy before the Event, the Nebraska Division of Natural Resources has had to resort to installing remote sensing equipment in the many wells which were drilled in order to monitor the condition of the Ogalalla Aquifer. This was done because it was too expensive to send out crews to check each and every well. This afternoon, Matt Alexander is scanning the readouts from the wells when he notices something very unusual. Every test well (even the dry ones) is showing much-increased pressure readings. He reports this to his coordinator Jennifer Schnellpepper, who in turn, relays the information to Jesse Bradley, the division head of Integrated Water Manangement for the Nebraska DNR. This situation is unusual enough that Jesse Bradley decides to come to the monitoring station himself to see what is going on.

    "Hello, Matt. What seems to be going on?"

    "Ahh, Director Bradley. I didn’t expect to see you here. I noticed pressure readings from the remote sensors in all of our test wells in the Ogalalla Aquifer had increased significantly. Even the dry wells are showing the same readings. The curious thing is that the readings are all the same."

    "Are the readings at dangerous levels?"

    "No, Director. They’re all within nominal limits."

    "Hmm, that is rather strange. Let me put in a call to John Gross over at the Nebraska Geological Society. Perhaps he might have some input." Director Bradley uses a telephone in the monitoring station to call John Gross and says "Hell, John. I have Matt Alexander here at the Ogalalla Aquifer monitoring station. Let me put you on speaker. Can you hear me, ok?"

    "I can hear you, Director. How can I help you?"

    "John, have you noticed anything odd going on underground in west-central Nebraska?"

    "Yes, I have, actually. As you may already know, the Nebraska Geological Society has a number of seismographs in place here in our offices. We use them to monitor seismic events here in Nebraska and around the country. Ever since very early this morning, we have detected a swarm of very small earthquakes; there have been hundreds of them, most of which have measured between 1.5 and 2.25 on the Richter Scale. This is highly unusual, as the quakes are happening all over western and central Nebraska, rather than being in one place. It is as if the ground is being stretched upwards like a balloon."

    "Thank you for that information, John. We’ll keep monitoring the situation on our end. If anything new develops, please let me know."

    "Of course, Director."

    Meanwhile in Kansas, a very similar situation is being reported at hundreds of oil and gas wellheads throughout the state. Even those wells which were thought to be dry are showing pressures that are virtually the same as an active well. This information is developed by the Kansas Geological Survey and very quickly communicated to the Department of Natural Resources. In turn, the information is carried to Governor Sam Brownback’s office by his chief of staff Landon Fullmer. With the printout in hand, Landon Fullmer knocks on the Governor’s door, opens and enters.

    "Goof afternoon, Governor."

    "Hello, Landon. What can I do for you?"

    "Governor, I have here a fascinating piece of information which was just developed by the staff over at the Kansas Geological Survey."

    "I’m listening."

    "Sir, earlier today, there were a large number of small earth tremors focusing in around the well heads in the State’s oil and gas fields, as well as around those well which tap our portion of the Ogalalla Aquifer."

    "Landon, PLEASE don’t tell me the wells blew out."

    "Far from it, sir. Apparently, the wells are full again. The pressure readings are the same as those taken on the first day the wells were drilled. It is as if not so much as one barrel of oil or a single cubic yard of gas was ever tapped. The same goes for our water wells." This information is conveyed with an enormous smile on Landon Fullmer’s face. Governor Brownback’s face is temporarily frozen with amazement before he says "Landon, are you telling me that our oil, gas and water wells have been refilled, all of them??"

    "Yes, Governor, that is exactly what I am telling you."

    Governor Brownback sits back in his chair and heaves a vast sigh of relief. He says "Set up a conference call with Governor Nixon in Jefferson City, Governor Branstad in Des Moines, Governor Heineman in Lincoln and President Chu at Whiteman AFB. This information could potentially save us all."

    1530 Hours
    February 5th, 1607

    The Air Force sergeant assigned to President Chu as an orderly knocks on the President’s door and says "I beg your pardon, Mr. President, but there is a video conference call for you. Governor Heineman of Nebraska is waiting, as are Governor Nixon, Governor Brandstad and Governor Brownback."

    "Very well, Sergeant. Put them through."

    "Yes sir, Mr. President."

    "Good afternoon, Governor Heineman. How can I help you today?"

    "Good afternoon, Mr. President. I have some very important information for you. Earlier today, I received some startling news from the State Department of Natural Respources concerning the Ogalalla Aquifer which underlies most of west-central Nebraska."

    "What is wrong, Governor?"

    “Nothing is wrong, Mr. President. In fact, nothing could be more right. The information I have from the Nebraska DNR is that the Ogalalla Aquifer is at full capacity. Apparently, the event which transported us into the past has had the effect of fully-recharging it."

    "I see." Just then, Governor Brownback of Kansas interjects and says "Good afternoon, Mr. President. I can report that the situation here in Kansas is exactly the same as in Nebraska. The Kansas DNR and the State Board of Geology report that all of the oil and gas wells in the state are showing pressure readings as if they had never been tapped at al. Even the wells which were formerly known to be dry are showing as if not so much as a single barrel of oil or a single cubic yard of gas had been drawn from them. Additionally, the Hutchinson Salt Company in Hutchinson, Kansas reports that the shafts in their mine underneath the city have all disappeared, and have been replaced with un-mined salt. The sole exceptions are those tunnels leading to the 26-acre facility used by the Underground Vaults & Storage Company; the contents of this facility are intact. The Kansas DNR also says that other salt producers are reporting the same from their properties. Without exception, it is further reported the mining equipment at every mine was found parked in neat rows outside the mine entrances.

    President Chu leans back in his chair and says "Gentlemen, that is amazing news. What you just said means that we now have the raw materials needed to keep the economy running. Governor Nixon, Governor Branstad, how are things in Missouri and Iowa?"

    Governor Branstad is the first to speak "Mr. President, as in Kansas and Nebraska, the State DNR reported to me that the underground aquifers in Iowa are full capacity. As regards Iowa’s coal deposits, the situation is very similar. The curious thing is that one of the division’s field survey teams went out to check out several abandoned coal mines. The team reported that all of the tunnels had disappeared, and had been replaced with un-mined coal. Additionally, the mine shaft only went downwards a distance of some twenty-five yards."
    "Mr. President, if I may interrupt?"

    "Yes, Governor Nixon?"

    "Mr. President, Missouri is a state rich in natural resources. We’ve got some of the largest lead deposits in the world. There are also significant silver deposits co-located with the lead, as well as other significant and valuable mineral deposits. Just this morning, workers employed by the Doe Run Company arrived for their morning shifts at the company’s six production shafts on the Viburnum Trend in Reynolds County, Missouri. When they got to the mine entrances, they noticed that all of the mining equipment which was formerly underground was now parked in neat, orderly rows outside the entrance to the mine. Further investigation revealed that the mine shafts extended just fifty yards into the ground. Another notable example of this is the Missouri Mines State Historic District in Park Hills, Missouri. After the reserves of lead ore were depleted in 1972, the land was donated to the state by the St. Joe Lead Company. It later became a historic site and mining museum in 1975. The museum staff report that all of the old tunnels are gone, with the exception of the first seventy-five yards or so. The mine’s ore bodies are there, as if they had never been touched."

    President Chu speaks to the four governors and says "Gentlemen, this is fantastic news. As we expand outwards and begin to recreate the country, I think we’ll find that the mineral deposits underlying the lands formerly occupied by the other states will be there and untouched. I am specifically referring to the oil deposits and coal beds in Pennsylvania, the gold and silver deposits in Colorado and Nevada, and of course, the oil and gas in Texas. While I have you on the line, there is another serious matter I must discuss with you. One of my primary tasks as President will be the re-constitution of the Federal Government. There are certain things that I can do by virtue of the powers inherent in the office of the Presidency. On the other hand, there are things that I can’t do without the advice and consent of the Senate. It goes without saying that to have the advice and consent of the Senate, there must be a Senate in the first place." President Chu’s last comment causes the four governors to chuckle. "I therefore request that all of you, the governors of the several states, appoint such successors as you see fit to the now-vacant seats formerly held by your respective states in the United States Senate. I urge you to do so as expeditiously as possible."

    Governor Brandstad says "Mr. President, I believe I speak for my fellow governors when I say we will gladly do so. Having a Senate will show the people of our states that things are beginning to return to normal. Heaven only knows that they could use the reassurance".

    "Very well, Governor. Gentlemen, if you have nothing further, then I will bid you all a good day."

    0800 Hours
    February 6th, 1607

    As previously discussed, the members of the Nebraska Rangers assemble in camp to go out and begin their buffalo hunt. To locate a suitable group of buffalo, the cavalry re-enactors ride out across what was once the Nebraska/Wyoming state line. They are accompanied by four of the other re-enactors who have Sharps rifles. An hour an a half later, the group is following along the banks of the North Platte River when they ride up to the top of a low rise and catch sight of a medium-sized herd of buffalo. One of the cavalry riders raises his binoculars and does a quick count of the animals he sees. There are approximately four hundred animals placidly grazing here and there. The four riflemen dismount and bring their horses back below the crest of the ridge. Then, they station themselves fifteen yards from each other. The cavalry patrol is sent back to camp to bring up everyone not needed for camp security so they can assist in preparing the buffalo after they have been taken. By 9:00 AM, the riflemen have marked their targets and made the necessary adjustments to their sights. For ease of access, extra cartridges are laid out nearby on a leather ground cloth. Of the four rifles present, two are chambered in .45-110 and the other two are chambered in .50-90. The plan is to take no more buffalo than are absolutely necessary to supply everyone in camp and back in the towns of Henry and Lyman two hundred pounds of meat each. Since not everyone in those two towns has sufficient cold-storage space for such an amount of meat, the meat will be smoked, made into jerky and also pemmican.

    The four riflemen take careful aim, and their rifle hammers are brought to full-cock. The set triggers are engaged, and the first shots ring out in the cool, clear morning air. By common consent, no buffalo who are with calves will be taken. Instead, only the largest specimens of either gender are to be shot. The shots are placed broadside, through the lungs. This is done so the animal will drop immediately and not lash out when injured. Rather than concentrating their fire on one section of the herd, the four riflemen are very careful to pick their targets so that they are as widely-spaced as possible. The rifles are discharged simultaneously, so as to reduce the chances of four separate shots causing the heard to break up or stampede. At 10:00 AM, the killing is over. Some one hundred and ten buffalo line dead along the banks of the North Platte River. One hour later, most of the rest of the membership of the Rangers arrives on scene to help process the kills. Eight men are detailed to go out on the perimeter of the kill site to guard against predators such as wolves and bears, while the most of the rest of the people set to work skinning the kills, gutting them and cutting the meat into manageable pieces. Nothing is wasted, not even the bones. The internal organs are saved and preserved as a source of vitamins, the bones will be kept to be ground up into fertilizer, the hooves are saved to make glue and, most importantly, the hides are taken. As each hide is removed, it is flensed and staked out to dry. In the meantime, those members of the rangers not on perimeter security or involved in processing the kills are building smokehouses and drying racks to preserve the meat, organs and hides. All told, the entire harvesting process is expected to take the next four or five days.

  • #2
    Chapter Two

    0900 Hours
    Whiteman AFB Communications Bunker
    February 6th, 1607

    This morning, the first of what is sure to be more than a few Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs) is taking place. In attendance are President Chu, BG Thomas Bussiere, COL Robert S. Spaulding III and those elements of the CIA and NSA that had been previously posted at Whiteman AFB as part of their duties before the transition event. When President Chu enters the briefing room, BG Bussiere calls out ‘ATTENTION’. Every military member there braces as straight as a ramrod, and President Chu responds ‘Take your seats, Gentlemen.’ The officer conducting the briefing is COL Spaulding, so BG Bussiere turns to him and says "Alright Colonel, you may begin."

    "Thank you sir. Good morning, Mr. President. This is the geopolitical situation as of February 6th, 1607. The world we are now in is ruled by kings and nobles both great and small. The ones we will have dealings with before too long are as follows". COL Spaulding signals SSGT Shannon Lucky, who activates the main viewscreen and begins the PowerPoint presentation.

    "As of this date, the ships ‘Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery’ are part-way through their voyage to the New World (having set sail on 20 December 1606). They are due to make landfall in early May, 1607 on a peninsula in the James River in what we knew as Virginia. The 105 settlers aboard these three ships founded the Jamestown colony. Over in England, King James I (who the colony will be named for) is sitting upon the throne. He acceded to the Crown after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, who died on the morning of 24 March 1603. This accession unified the crowns of England and Scotland; in Scotland, James I is known as James VI. By way of ancestry, King James I is the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots. She was executed by Elizabeth I on 8 February 1587 on charges that she attempted to have Elizabeth I assassinated. As an aside, James I is the one who had the version of the Bible printed which bears his name. This publication is due to be made in 1611. Next page, please."

    SSGT Lucky brings up the next page, and COL Spaulding’s presentation continues "In Europe, the Kingdom of France is ruled by King Henry IV of the House of Bourbon. Henry IV assumed the throne on 2 August 1589 after the death of his second cousin and brother-in law, Henry III. Henry IV is well-regarded by his subjects, and is remarkably tolerant of the Protestants under his rule. In fact, he is referred to as ‘Good King Henry’ or ‘The Green Gallant’. One of Henry IV’s most notable achievements was ending the Wars of Religion in France by enacting the Edict of Nantes in 1598. This act guaranteed religious liberty to all Protestants in France. In our original history, Henry IV was assassinated on 14 May 1610 by a Catholic fanatic named Francois Ravaillac; probably as an indirect result of the Edict. Next page, please."

    SSGT Lucky brings up the next page, and COL Spaulding continues "In Spain, King Phillip III is on the throne. He assumed the kingship of both Spain and Portugal on 13 September 1598 after the death of his father King Phillip II. It was this same Phillip II that sent the Spanish Armada against England back in 1588. Mr. President, Spain is an intensely-Catholic country. They are harshly-intolerant of other faiths, and the Spanish Inquisition is still quite active. In fact, they make it their business to hunt down heretics, witches and secret Jews (called Marranos). Some of the Inquisition’s more notorious acts were the Basque Witch Trials, which are due to begin in January, 1609. During these proceedings, some 7,000 different cases involved between 2,000 and 5,000 people. These persons were hauled in after being denounced. Many of these were tortured into confessing and thirty-one individuals were subjected to an ‘auto da fe’. Twelve of these were burned at the stake; five of these burnings were symbolic, as the five had died under torture."

    COL Spaulding expands the briefing to include Germany. He goes on to say "the country we formerly knew as Germany is a squabbling collection of various princely states ruled over as part of the Holy Roman Empire. The current Emperor is Rudolph II of the House of Hapsburg. Rudolph II became King of Germany on 27 October 1575 and was elected as Emperor on 2 November 1576. Though Germany and Spain are bitter enemies due to their differing religious faiths (Germany is the seat of Protestantism), they share their intolerance of witches. In fact, some of the methods used in Germany to torture and execute witches are even more brutal than in Spain."

    Just then, President Chu interjects a question. He asks "Colonel Spaulding, other than Henry IV of France, how long are those monarchs you mention supposed to be on their respective thrones?"

    "Mr. President, King James of England is supposed to reign until 27 March 1625. Phillip III of Spain & Portugal will reign until 31 March 1621. Rudolph II of Germany will rule until 20 January 1612. There is another factor to consider here."

    "What is that, Colonel?"

    "Sir, one of my staff who is well-versed in science fiction tells me of something called the ‘Butterfly Effect." This effect involves a minor change in circumstances which leads to a major change in outcome. In popular media such as books, films and movies, it is used to deal with the effects of time travel. Imagine, if you will, that the course of time is like a great river. Before the event which brought us here, the flow of time proceeded in its ordinary natural course. Had the Event not happened, our old history is the one that would have come to be. Then, the Event happened. The effect of our arrival back in 1607 is like a huge avalanche which partially obstructs the river of time and forces it into a new course. This ‘Butterfly Effect’ has already rippled across the time stream; the deaths of the monarchs I mentioned may be delayed for some time due to the effect. By the same token, they may also take place earlier than they would have in our original history."

    "I see, Colonel. Do you have anything else to add?"

    "Yes Sir, Mr. President. The ‘Many Worlds’ interpretation of quantum mechanics states that all possible alternative histories and futures exist simultaneously. Under this theory, the timeline we came from can either have blinked out of existence as soon as the event happened or, it could still be going on without us. At the risk of sounding a little odd, the course of time and its effects on us from now on are best summarized by a line of dialogue from the 1991 film ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’. The line goes ‘No Fate But What We Make."

    "Very good, Colonel. Your presentation was most informative. General Bussiere?"

    "Yes, Mr. President?"

    "Put in a call to STRATCOM at Offut AFB. Tell them that I want them to re-purpose a photographic reconnaissance satellite. Their orders are to keep an eye on the James River region in Virginia. I want to know exactly when those three ships make landfall."

    "Understood, Mr. President."

    We The People
    Date: February 6th, 1607
    0900 Hours

    By the authority vested in the Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa by the 36th amendment to the State Constitution, Governor Branstad has called a special session of the Iowa General Assembly. The purpose of this session is to address the re-creation of Iowa's members in the Congress of the United States. From his office in the Capitol Building, Governor Branstad is escorted by the Sergeant-At-Arms to the floor of the Senate Chamber where he begins his address "Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, fellow Iowans. I come before you today to on a matter of the highest importance. In light of the extraordinary circumstances that brought us all here, President Chu has asked that the several states reconstitute their membership in the Senate as expeditiously as possible. In the case of an ordinary vacancy (one which is not covered by election law), I would appoint a suitable individual to fulfill the rest of the vacant term; then the Senate would be informed by written declaration in due course. However, in view of our current situation, I have decided that circumstances warrant my making the nominations in person. Therefore, I nominate our former Governor Chet Culver to fill the vacant seat formerly held by Senator Tom Harkin. I also nominate Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds to fill the vacant seat formerly held by Senator Charles Grassley. Both of these individuals have distinguished records of public service. Having them in the U.S Senate would be a great credit to the people of Iowa." Governor Branstad now turns to Senate President Pam Jochum (D-14) and says "Madam President, I ask the Senate's unanimous consent that the names of Chet Culver and Kim Reynolds be entered into the record. I further ask that the Senate confirm my choices by voting on them."

    Senator Jochum gavels the Senate to order and says "without objection, it is so ordered. The membership of the Senate will tally their votes via electronic device." Just then, Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix R-9) rises from his chair and says "Madam President?" Senator Jochum says "the chair recognizes the gentleman from the 9th district."

    "Madam President, I thank the chair for your kind recognition and ask the indulgence of the Senate that I and my colleagues may discuss this matter."

    Senate President Jochum looks over to where Majority Leader Michael Gronstal (D-50) is sitting. Senator Gronstal nods his head, and so Senator Jochum says "without objection, it is so ordered." Over the next half an hour, a quite vigorous debate takes place on the floor of the Senate. No one has any objection to Chet Culver serving as a U.S Senator from Iowa. The main point of contention is over the fact that Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds is a recovering alcoholic. Some Republican senators (mainly those who were passed over) and more than a few Democrats object to Governor Branstad's choice in this regard. The debate is so loud and so boisterous that Senate President Jochum has to repeatedly gavel the Senate to order. When the ruckus has finally died down, Majority Leader Gronstal rises and says "Madam President?"

    Senate President Jochum says "The chair recognizes the distinguished Majority Leader."

    "Thank you, Madam President. Fellow senators, our country, what there is left of it, faces a crisis of truly unimaginable proprotions. How can we be mired in partisan poltical bickering when our future is at stake?? Madam President, I move the floor be closed for further debate and that an immediate vote be called." Senate President Jochum scans the Senate chamber and sees no one rasing their hands or making any effort to speak. "Without objection, it is so ordered. The members of the Senate will tally their vote by electronic device." Over the next five minutes, each Senator casts his vote. When all is said and done, Former Governor Chet Culver has been unanimously confirmed by a vote of 50-0, and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds was confirmed by a vote of 44-6. Iowa's delegation to the U.S Senate has now been reconstituted.

    Now that the business of the Senate has been concluded, Governor Branstad next asks for a private meeting with the Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives Kraig Paulsen, along with the majority and minority leaders Linda Upmeyer and Kevin McCarthy. The three individuals are shown into Governor Branstad's office in the Capitol Building, where they take their seats and wait for the governor to speak. "Thank you all for coming on such short notice. I have just come from the Senate, where replacements for Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley have been chosen. I now ask for your assistance in doing the same for Iowa's four members in the U.S House of Representatives."

    House Speaker Paulsen says "How can we help you, Governor?" Governor Branstad replies "Mr. Speaker, I would like you and your colleagues across the aisle to coordinate with the apparatus of your respective parties in the four Iowa House Districts. I intend to call for a special election no later than thirty days from today. The purpose of this election will be to select successors to the now-vacant seats in Iowa's delegation to the U.S House of Representatives. You will have the full resources of the State of Iowa to accomplish this. Believe me when I say that this election will be one of the most important ever held in the State of Iowa." House Speaker Paulsen exchanges glances with Majority Leader Upmeyer and Minority Leader McCarthy; both of them nod their heads in complete agreement. Minority Leader McCarthy speaks up and says "Governor, the Iowa Democratic Party will do everything in its power to help the election run as smoothly as possible. What do you say, Senator Upmeyer?"

    "I am in complete agreement with you, Senator McCarthy."

    Date: February 9th, 1607
    0900 Hours

    Robert F. Hay, the President’s private secretary, is called into President Chu's office at Whiteman AFB , "Good morning, Mr. Hay."

    "Good morning, Mr. President. How can I help you today?"

    "Mr. Hay, I want you to draft an executive order."

    "At your convenience, sir." Mr. Hay takes up his pen and a pad of legal paper and prepares to write. As he does, Mr. Hay asks "may I enquire as to the nature of the order, sir?"

    "Of course, Mr. Hay. It concerns the future territorial expansion of the United States of America, to wit: 'Pursuant to the authority granted to the Office of the President, I, Steven F. Chu, President of the United States of America, do hereby publish and declare that all lands and territories in North America not already claimed by any European power are now henceforth and foreverafter under the jurisdiction of the United States. Such lands are those north of the Rio Grande river between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America."

    "I have it, sir. I will put your order into proper legal form and have it back for your signature in
    fifteen minutes." Mr. Hay leaves the President's office, and while he is gone, President Chu has another one of his aides place a call to Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas. "Good morning, Governor Brownback."

    "Good morning, Mr. President. To what do I owe the pleasure for this call?"

    "Governor Brownback, in determining the course of the future expansion of the United States, it is necessary for me to know in general terms the types and amounts of the natural resources available in your state. I will be talking to the governors of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri later today and making the same request of them."

    "I will be delighted to help you. Mr. President. I will consult with the Kansas Division of Natural Resources and get back to you before the day is out. My staff will fax you a written report. Will that be sufficient?"

    "Perfectly so, Governor. I thank you in advance for your information, and I bid you a good day."

    "Thank you, Mr. President." Not five minutes after the call to Governor Brownback is completed, Mr. Hay brings back the Executive Order for the President's signature. The document is signed and the Great Seal of the United States is affixed. "Mr. Hay, see that copies of this order are sent to the Governors of the several states.

    "Very good, sir."

    1400 Hours

    As promised by Governor Brownback, a summary of his state's natural resources is being sent by fax to the President's office. The document is given to President Chu by one of his aides. He takes it and sits back at his desk to read it. The document is titled 'Natural Resources of the State of Kansas', and it proves to be interesting reading. It relates in part that the major natural resources in Kansas are in order of precedence, petroleum (#8 producer in the U.S before the transference event), natural gas (#5 U.S producer), helium, coal and rock salt. In terms of recoverable amounts, Kansas has in excess of one billion tons of coal, 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 500 million barrels of oil. As regards helium, before the transition, the State of Kansas was the #1 producer of the gas in the U.S. Helium is recovered from the same deposits as natural gas. In fact, some natural gas wells produce 3%-5% helium by volume. Lastly, the salt deposits of Kansas are, for all intents and purposes, effectively inexhaustible. The main salt-bearing formation is the Hutchinson Salt member of the Wellington Formation, which underlies 37,000 square miles of central and south-central Kansas. This body averages 500’ in thickness, and contains upwards of 1.1 trillion tons of salt. Other salt deposits are the Blaine Formation and the Ninnescah Shale, but these haven’t been mined.

    1500 Hours

    In quick succession, President Chu makes calls to the Governors of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. He requests the same information from them as he did from Governor Brownback of Kansas. The first to respond is Governor Branstad of Iowa. The report from the Iowa Division of Natural Resources states that Iowa has a number of interesting geological features that contribute to the state’s natural wealth. The first of these is the lead-zinc ore body that underlies the area of Dubuque, Iowa. This body contains thirty million tons of lead ore and ninety million tons of zinc ore. This ore is notable because it contains two hundred parts per million (ppm) of gallium and other metals. Trace metals are gold (at 1.25 grams per ton) and silver (at 6 grams per ton). The second is the Waukon, Iowa iron ore deposit, which holds twelve million tons of limonite. This ore is of high quality, having an iron content of 55%. Lastly, Iowa’s coal deposits hold thirty billion tons of bituminous coal. Trace metals in Iowa’s coal are Selenium (at three parts per million), Mercury (at 0.10 parts per million) and Arsenic (which varies between 1.4 and 71 parts per million). There are no significant oil deposits in Iowa, and the state’s clay, sand & gravel deposits are very large.

    The next report is from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. This document says that Elk Creek, Nebraska has a 100,000,000-ton deposit of niobium and rare-earth ores. Mineral fuels are oil (at 500,000,000 barrels) and natural gas (at 977.7 billion cubic feet). There are no significant coal deposits in Nebraska, and the state’s clay, sand and gravel deposits are larger than Iowa’s. Lastly, and perhaps most significantly. Nebraska has a deposit of Uranium located in Dawes County. The Crow Butte deposit holds 4,500,000 tons of ore, with an average uranium oxide content of 2.5%. The primary uranium minerals in this deposit are carnotite, torbernite, meta-torbernite, uranophane, davidite, pitchblende and uraninite. The Crow Butte operation obtains uranium oxide by the ISR (In-Situ Recovery) method, rather than by conventional drilling and blasting.

    The last report is from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. This report says that Missouri has forty-five billion tons of coal reserves, along with an estimated two billion barrels of oil. In 2012, Missouri produced 120,000 barrels of oil from active fields located in the Forest City Basin and Bourbon Arch formations. Operations to determine the state’s actual oil reserves are ongoing. Other formations that are being explored are the Lincoln Fold, the Ozark Dome and the Mississippi Embayment. Missouri’s oil is buried at shallow depths, ranging from less than 200’ in the Eastern field in Vernon County to 2,800’ in the Runamuck Field in Atchison County.

    The state mineral of Missouri is Galena; PbS (lead sulfide). It is this mineral (along with other minerals such as Anglesite and Cerussite) that made the Southeast Missouri Lead District famous. Also known as the ‘Lead Belt’, this ore body underlies parts of Saint Francois, Crawford, Iron, Dent, Madison, Washington and Reynolds Counties. The Southeast Missouri Lead District contains 700,000,000 tons of ore, and is the richest source of lead in the world. Along with galena, anglesite and cerussite, the presence of sphalerite and chalcopyrite enable the District to produce economically-viable quantities of zinc and copper. Metals such as silver, gold, platinum, platinum and palladium occur as byproducts of the lead/zinc refining process. In general, the ore is 16.5% lead by weight, 2.25% zinc and 0.04% copper. The trace metals are silver (142 grams/ton), gold (2.5 grams/ton), platinum (1.6 grams/ton) and palladium (0.2 gram/ton). After lead and zinc, Missouri’s most abundant metal is iron. The main ore body is the Pea Ridge Deposit, located in Washington County, Missouri. Ore in this deposit (which holds one billion tons) is extremely rich, varying in iron content from 65% to 80%. The primary iron mineral in the deposit is magnetite, with varying amounts of hematite.

    Of additional interest are the uranium deposits in the area of the state called the ‘Missouri Bootheel’, which comprises the counties of Dunklin, New Madrid and Pemiscot. These deposits haven’t been commercially exploited as yet. Preliminary drilling and testing has indicated very high concentrations of uranium oxide (20% or greater). The main minerals in the deposit are uraninite and pitchblende.

    Future Expansion
    Date: February 11th, 1607 D+7 0930 Hours

    David M. Cornelison, formerly head of the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Materials Science at Missouri State University and now President Chu’s Scientific Adviser, is called to a meeting in the President’s office “Ahh, good morning, David. Thank you for coming.”

    “Good morning, Mr. President. How can I help you today?”

    “David, it is one of my stated goals to see that the United States expands the territory under its jurisdiction. However, we can’t go everywhere at once. Therefore, I’d like your advice as to where I should direct development efforts first.”

    “I see, Mr. President. It seems to me that you should focus your efforts on the territory of those nearby former states where natural resources would provide the greatest return for the least effort. I will consult with my colleague Thomas Plymate, he’s the head of the Department of Geography, Geology and Planning at Missouri State University. I‘ll have a report for you this afternoon.”

    “Very good, David. I look forward to reading it.”

    “Thank you, Mr. President.” With this, Professor Cornelison excuses himself from the President’s office to go about his assigned task.

    1000 Hours

    President Chu calls for his private secretary to come into his office “Yes, Mr. President?”.

    “Ms. Woodhull, I want you to draft several letters of appointment. One of my primary tasks is to see to the reconstitution of the Federal Government, and I have made up my mind on the first series of recess appointments.”

    The President’s secretary takes her seat in front of the President’s desk, pen and paper in hand. She prepares to write as President Chu directs “I’m ready, sir.”

    “Very well, Ms. Woodhull. ‘To the honorable Esther George, President of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. Dear Madam: You are hereby appointed as the new Secretary of the Treasury of The United States of America. You will be acting secretary until such time as the United States Senate has been reconstituted and your appointment can be confirmed. Sincerely: Steven F. Chu, President of the United States. Next letter, please.”

    “Go ahead, sir.”

    “To the honorable John Ruan III, Chief Executive Officer, Ruan Transportation, Des Moines, Iowa. Dear Sir: You are hereby appointed as the new Secretary of Transportation of The United States of America. You will be acting secretary until such time as the United States Senate has been reconstituted and your permanent appointment can be confirmed. Sincerely: Steven F. Chu, President of the United States.”

    “Will that be all, Mr. President?”

    “No, Ms. Woodhull. The third and final letter today will be going out to Major General Stephen Danner, Adjutant-General of the State of Missouri. The letter will be of the same form as the first two. I am appointing General Danner as the new Secretary of Defense. After you leave, place a call for me to Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri. I need to talk to him about this.”

    “Very well, sir.” Ms. Woodhull leaves the President’s office, and within five minutes, the call to Governor Nixon goes through “Good morning, Governor Nixon.”

    “Good morning, Mr. President. To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”

    “Governor, I’ll get right down to the point. One of my main tasks is to rebuild the Federal Government. I have already made recess appointments for the Departments of The Treasury and Transportation. I need a Secretary of Defense, so I have decided to appoint your adjutant-general Major-General Stephen Danner to the post. I know this is very sudden, but the country has need of his services.”

    “I understand, Mr. President, I will inform General Danner immediately.”

    “Thank you, Governor. Please tell General Danner that his letter of appointment will be on the way tomorrow morning.”

    “Yes, Mr. President.”

    1000 Hours

    Meanwhile, at Whiteman AFB headquarters, Brigadier General Thomas Bussiere is attending to a matter of personnel “Staff-Sergeant Lucky, Front and Center!”

    SSGT Lucky braces to attention and says “Yessir!!”

    Brigadier-General Bussiere continues “You were among the earliest personnel to realize what had happened to us in the aftermath of the Transportation Event. The information you provided was invaluable and is therefore worthy of recognition. By my authority as commander of Whiteman AFB, I hereby promote you to the rank of Technical Sergeant. Such rank will be effective from February 4th.” BG Bussiere comes forward from behind his desk, and TSGT Lucky snaps off a parade-ground salute.

    “Thank you, Sir.”

    1500 Hours

    As promised, Professor Cornelison returns to President Chu’s office to deliver his report “Good afternoon, Mr. President.”

    “Good afternoon, Professor. What information do you have for me?”

    “Mr. President, as regards the natural resources in the former territory of the nearby states, Oklahoma is one that comes to mind first. Oklahoma’s oil and gas and reserves are 15.1 billion barrels of oil and 104 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. There are also 8 billion tons of coal. Other significant non-fuel minerals are iodine, zinc and lead. Before the event, Oklahoma was the sole U.S producer of iodine. This element came from the deep brine wells located in Woodward, Dewey and Kingfisher counties. As of 2012, these wells produced 1,500 tons of iodine. For zinc and lead, the main deposit is in Ottawa County in the far northeastern corner of the state. This deposit is part of the Tri-State Mining District. It contains 104,000,000 tons of ore that is 5% zinc and 1.25% lead. The Wellington Formation also underlies much of western and northwestern Oklahoma. The salt reserves contained in the Oklahoma part of the formation are estimated at 500 billion tons.”

    “I see. What of the other states, Wyoming, South Dakota, etc?”

    “Mr. President, the Powder River Basin in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana is an absolute treasure house. It contains a staggering 800 billion tons of bituminous coal. Associated with the coal are deposits of coal-bed methane. These amount to some 663 trillion cubic feet of gas. There is also the Smith Ranch-Highland uranium deposit. This ore body contains 35 million tons of ore with an average uranium oxide content of 0.09%; the total recoverable amount of uranium oxide is 315,000 tons. Before the transition event, Smith Ranch-Highland was the largest uranium producer in the United States.”

    “Professor Cornelison, those figures are absolutely mind-boggling. Do please continue.”

    “Yes, Mr. President. In South Dakota, the Tyler Formation (which also underlies northeastern Montana, the western half of North Dakota and the southwestern corner of Saskatchewan) contains 24 billion barrels of oil. The Bakken Formation (which occupies the northwestern corner of South Dakota and the western two-thirds of North Dakota) was estimated by the USGS in 1999 to contain 400 billion barrels of recoverable oil. For non-fuel minerals, the most significant are the gold and silver deposits in western South Dakota”.

    “I see. What are your recommendations?”

    “Mr. President, the natural resources which are most easily accessible to us are those in the Powder River Basin and in Oklahoma. A 200-mile extension of the rail lines in northwestern Nebraska would put the terminal end of such lines right in the richest areas of the Basin. In regards to Oklahoma, a 150-mile extension of the rail lines from Wichita would allow direct access to Oklahoma’s oil and gas deposits. The zinc & lead deposits in Ottawa County are close enough to the Kansas/Oklahoma state line that they could easily be accessed by going overland.”

    “Do you have anything else, Professor?”

    “Not at this time, Mr. President. My next report will make recommendations on the resources in Minnesota.”

    “Thank you, Professor. That will be all for today.”

    “Yes, Mr. President.”

    More Resources
    Date: February 12th, 1607
    1000 Hours

    Elizabeth Woodhull, the President’s private secretary, knocks on the office door and enters. “Good morning, Mr. President.”

    “Good morning, Ms. Woodhull.”

    “Mr. President, I have that report from Professor Cornelison regarding the natural resources in Minnesota.”

    “Yes, I have been expecting it. Ms. Woodhull?”

    “Yes, Mr. President?”

    “I want you to place calls to the Consulates-General of Spain and Japan, and the Consulate of the Netherlands in St. Louis, Missouri. Then you’ll call the Consulate of Austria and the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City, Missouri, the vice-consulate of Italy in Overland Park, Kansas. Finally, you’ll call the Consulates-General of Mexico and Denmark in Omaha, Nebraska.”

    “Yes. Mr. President. May I enquire as to the purpose of the calls?”

    “The purpose of the calls is to arrange a meeting with the consuls-general in order to discuss matters of mutual interest. Tell them that I want to meet with them here in one week’s time.”

    “Very good, Mr. President.” The President’s secretary leaves the office to begin making the calls as requested. While she is gone, President Chu begins to read the report prepared for him by his scientific adviser, Professor David Cornelison. The more President Chu reads, the more amazed he becomes.

    ‘A brief survey of the mineral resources available in the territory comprising the former state of Minnesota’

    Mr. President: I present the following information for your perusal.

    The iron deposits in northeastern Minnesota (commonly called the ‘Iron Range’) are the largest such deposits in the world. In fact, they are so vast as to be nearly incomprehensible. The four deposits which make up the range are (in order of size) the Mesabi Range, the Gunflint Range, the Cuyuna Range and lastly, the Vermillion Range. They are all of the ‘banded iron’ type, having been created by photosynthetic cyanobacteria. The oxygen released by these cyanobacteria combined with iron dissolved in the oceans of the primitive Earth and precipitated out, the deposition occurring between 3.7 Gya and 1.8 Gya. In the area that is now Minnesota, this sedimentary deposition was halted as a result of the Sudbury Basin asteroid impact 1.849 Gya. Approximately one-third of the ore in the Iron Range is high-grade hematite, with an iron content of 70%-85%. The rest is lower-grade taconite, with an average iron content of 30%-40%. The four ranges are as follows:

    Mesabi Range: 110 miles long, 2.5 miles wide, 700’ thick; 600 billion tons
    Gunflint Range: 93 mile slong, 5 miles wide, 500’ thick; 720 billion tons
    Cuyuna Range: 68 miles long, 20 miles wide, 400’ thick; 1.68 trillion tons
    Vermillion Range: 96 miles long, 18 miles wide, 700’ thick; 3.12 trillion tons

    It is worth noting that the ore in the Cuyuna Range is rich in manganese, having an average content of 300 parts per million.

    Another mineral deposit of note is the copper deposit located underneath what was the city of Ely in St. Louis County. This ore body holds four billion tons of ore. The ore contains 6.75 parts per thousand of copper, for a total projected amount of 27,000,000 tons of copper. The primary copper-bearing minerals in this deposit are chalcopyrite, chalcocite and tetrahedrite. Along with the copper, there are associated mineral ores which hold 9,200,000 tons of nickel (at 2.3 parts per thousand) and 32,000 tons of gold and platinum-group metals (at 8 parts per million).

    David M. Cornelison
    Scientific Adviser to the President

    First Contact, Part 1
    Date: February 14th 1607
    1000 hours

    The members of the cavalry troop from the Nebraska Rangers are out across the Nebraska/Montana line. They are riding along a tributary of the Platte River when they hear a blood-curdling scream from the other side of a nearby low ridge. Knowing that something is amiss. Lt. Jim McPherson orders his men forward to the top of the ridge. What they see fills them with horror. A young native american woman and a small boy were out gathering firewood for their village when they chanced to encounter a large grizzly bear. The bear attacked and proceeded to drag the boy off by his ankle. The scream the troopers heard was from the woman as she chased after the bear and tried to get it to drop the boy. The woman struck the bear with a stick, and in so doing, the bear turned and swatted at her with one of its great paws. The woman was knocked down and unconscious.

    Lt. McPherson and his men immediately clap their hands to their Springfield carbines and draw them from their saddle scabbards. Almost as one, the weapons are raised to the shoulders of the troopers. They take careful aim and fire at once. They volley of .45-70 rounds takes the enraged bear broadside. Lt. McPherson is the best shot in the troop; he placed his shot so that the bullet struck just behind the bear=s left shoulder. The bullet penetrated both of the bear=s lungs and came to rest under the right shoulder blade. The bullets from the other troopers strike various parts of the bea’s torso. One of these bullets finds the bear=s heart and he roars one final time before dropping dead on the ground.

    Lt. McPherson instantly sizes up the situation. He orders two of his men to see to the young woman, while he and the rest of the troop ride over to the bear and extricate the boy from its jaws. McPherson gently examines the boy’s leg and finds that it is broken. He expertly cleans the bruises and fixes a splint so that the broken bones won’t move and cause further injury. Then, he goes over to see how the young woman is doing. One of the troopers says “Jim, this woman has cuts and lacerations to her scalp and her left shoulder.” Lt. McPherson says “Alright. I’ll get my medical kit, then clean and stitch her up.” He retrieves the medical kit from his saddlebags, and just as Lt. McPherson leans over the woman, she starts screaming unintelligibly.

    AJim, can you make out what she is saying?@

    “As a matter of fact, Bob, I can. She’s Cheyenne, and I have some understanding of the language she is speaking.” Lt. McPherson takes off his hat and kneels down next to the woman. He gestures with the open hand of peace as she screams again “Who are you? Where is my brother? The bear, the BEAR...” She tries to rise, but Lt. McPherson says in her own language “Lie still, woman. I am He-that-goes-far and you are injured. The bear is dead and your brother is safe. I saw you chase after the bear with only a stick; that was a very brave thing for you to do.” The woman’s face registers fear as she sees the enormous stranger leaning over her. She shrinks in fear and tries to rise, but her wounds cause her to grimace in pain. Lt. McPherson asks in the woman’s language “who are you and where do you come from?”

    The woman summons up her courage and says with a tremulous look on her face “I…I am Running Deer and the boy is my younger brother. My village is nearby. My brother and I went out to gather firewood when we were attacked by that bear. I tried to make him let go of my brother. Then, he knocked me down and started to drag my brother away.” Lt. McPherson says “Running Deer, you and your brother are hurt. Will you allow me to treat your wounds?”

    Running Deer starts to object, but something in the huge stranger’s bearded open face reassures her. She says “Yes”. With this, Lt. McPherson and one of the troopers commence to cleaning and disinfecting Running Deer’s wounds. He begins to stitch the wounds closed, but pauses and says “Running Deer, your wounds have to be closed. Otherwise, they will open up and you will begin to bleed again. Will you allow this?” Running Deer nods her head, and Lt. McPherson threads a length of surgical silk through a curved needle. He expertly stitches the wounds closed, then follows up by swabbing the sutures and the surrounding skin with an iodine solution to keep them from becoming infected.

    “Running Deer, you and your brother are too injured to travel back to your village on your own. I will bring you both back there.” Running Deer replies “my father is chief of our village, and he will be very glad to see me. I do not know what he will think of you.” Lt. McPherson says “yes, that is true. However, it must be done.” He calls to Fred Johnson and says “Fred, I’m taking the woman and her brother back to her village. I want you and Mike Dodge to chop some brush and make a litter for the boy. Running Deer will ride with me.”

    Fred Johnson says “Ok, Jim.” He calls out to Mike Dodge and the two of them cut a number of branches from some small nearby trees. The branches are lashed together, then a wool blanket is tied to the frame for the boy to lie upon. He is gently placed on the litter and covered with a second blanket. Fred Johnson calls out “we’re done, Jim. Are you sure you know what you are doing?”

    Lt. McPherson says “damned if I know, Fred. But, it has to be done. I want you to take Mike Dodge and the rest of the troop and high-tail it back to camp. Tell the rest of the Rangers what happened here.”

    “Right, Jim. You’re the boss. Stay safe”

    “I always am, Fred.” Lt. McPherson says to Running Deer “Are you ready?” She replies “yes, I am. What kind of animal is that? I have never seen anything like it before? Jim says in reply :It is called a horse. Don’t be afraid, he won’t harm you.”

    “As you wish, He-that-goes-far.”

    Lt. McPherson climbs into his saddle, then gently hoists Running Deer up behind him. The other members of the cavalry troop ride back to their camp on the other side of the Nebraska line. He and his two passengers ride off in the direction of the village. Just over one hour later, Lt. McPherson draws his reins and halts his horse on the outskirts of Running Deer’s village. There are dozens of earthen lodges and birchbark wigwams scattered here and there throughout the village, and the inhabitants are occupied with the various tasks of daily life. Suddenly, one of the men catches sight of the strange animal and calls out an alarm. Dozens of men come spilling out of their lodges. They are armed with spears, bows, clubs and stone-headed axes. Lt. McPhereson raises both hands as a gesture of peace; doing this shows that he is unarmed. He gently lowers Running Deer off of his saddle sand says “which of those men is your father?”

    “He-that-walks-far, my father is standing in the middle. Do you see his deerskin outfit and how it is more richly decorated that the others?” Lt. McPherson says “yes I do, Running Deer.”

    She says “that is how strangers know who is our chief. I will go to him and say what you have done for me and my brother. Stay here and make no sudden move.”

    “I understand.” Running Deer walks slowly over to her father so as not to alarm the men of the village. As she walks, she cradles her left arm in a cloth sling that Lt. McPherson made for her. She walks up to her father and says “greetings, my father.” Chief Sharp Knife nods his head gravely and says “greetings, Daughter. How did you come by your injuries? Who is that stranger with you? What kind of animal does he have with him? Running Deer says “Little Wolf and I went out to gather firewood when we were attacked by a great bear. This stranger came along and saved us by killing the bear with a weapon that made a noise like thunder. He calls himself ‘He-that-goes-far’. He and his men treated our hurts with great gentleness. His men went back to their own camp, then he brought me back here. Little Wolf is on a litter tied to the back of the stranger=s animal. He-that-goes-far calls the animal a ‘horse’. Chief Sharp Knife and two of his warriors go forward to get Little Wolf. They approach the stranger, who raises his right hand in a gesture of peace.

    The Chief raises his own right hand by way of reply and says “greetings, He-that-goes-far. I am Sharp Knife, chief of this village of the Tsitsistas. Running Deer has told me what you did for her and my son Little Wolf.” Lt. McPherson says “greetings, Sharp Knife. Did Running Deer also tell you that she tried to fight the bear off armed only with a stick?”

    Chief Sharp Knife looks back over his shoulder at Running Deer with a look of amazement in his eyes and says “no she did not, He-that goes-far. You have given me back my daughter and my son. Without your aid, I might have lost them and never known what happened. For that, you have my gratitude. Let us go to the council lodge. The men of the village will want to hear your tale.”

    Lt. McPherson says “I will gladly accept your hospitality, Sharp Knife.”

    Chief Sharp Knife says “what of your animal? Running Deer says that you call it a horse.”

    “Yes, Chief. He is named Thunder. He is very gentle and will harm no one. I will tie his lead to a tree outside of the council lodge so that he doesn’t wander off. He east nothing but grass and leaves, so your women and children need have no fear of him.”

    “It is well, He-that-goes-far. Let us go to the council lodge.” Lt. McPherson follows Sharp Knife to the council lodge. He leads his horse by the reins and ties the reins to a convenient tree outside the lodge. Already, some of the bolder children of the village are starting to crowd close to get a better look at the giant stranger and his animal. Lt. McPherson sees this and smiles widely. Then, he draws back the hide covering the lodge entrance and goes inside.

    First Contact, Part 2
    Date: February 14th, 1607
    1200 hours

    Just after Lt. McPherson enters the council lodge, he turns to Sharp Knife and says “Chief, the bear I killed was very large and had a thick pelt. It would be a shame if it were to go to waste. Perhaps you should have some of your warriors go to collect and process the kill. I give it to you and the village as a token of my respect.” Chief Sharp Knife raises an eyebrow and says “That is well-said, He-that-goes-far. It will be as you say.” The chief calls over two of his warriors and whispers instructions into their ears. The two men nod their heads, then take to their heels to carry out their chief’s instructions.

    The interior of the council lodge is well-lit by a fire in a central hearth. Already, the senior men of the village are in attendance. They are seated upon furs placed around the hearth, with pride-of-place being reserved for Chief Sharp Knife. The Chief takes his seat, then calls for Lt. McPherson to be seated. “So, He-that-goes-far. Tell us of your people and how you came to be here.” Lt. McPherson gathers his thoughts for a moment then replies “Come gather ’round me. Men of the Plains, surround me. Hark now to the tale of the People of the Eagle. Until just recently, I and my people lived in a land that is so far away that you could not reach it in ten lifetimes of travelling. The land was called the ‘United States’, and there were fifty different tribes there. All of these tribes dwelled together in peace and harmony, being pledged together for their mutual benefit. Of all the people who dwelled in the lands where I came from, the People of The Eagle were perhaps the mightiest. There was nowhere our power could not reach, and nothing my people couldn’t do if they set their minds to it. We even fought two great wars to free other nations that were oppressed or enslaved by minions of the Evil One. In the fullness of time, the Great Spirit saw fit to change the course of history. So, he summoned a mighty storm that gathered up and carried off four of the tribes of my people. The storm brought them here and put them down many days of travel to the East. Chief Sharp Knife, did you and your people not see a strange storm some ten days agone?”

    “Yes we did, He-that-goes-far. Why do you ask?”

    “Chief, it was that storm that the Great Spirit caused to bring us here.”

    This revelation caused hushed whispers of conversation to run through the group of men seated around the council fire. Lt. McPherson says “The four tribes that were brought by the Great Spirit to this new land are called ‘Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri’. Our chief is called the President, for he presides over all of my people.” One of the senior warriors raises his hand to speak next. He is acknowledged by Sharp Knife, then the warrior says “How did you come to meet our people, He-that-goes-far?”

    Lt. McPherson says “My men and I were riding along the nearby river to see if there were any People here. I hear a loud scream. We went to investigate and saw Running Deer and her brother Little Wolf being attacked by a large bear. My men and I intervened, and I slew the bear with the weapon you see beside me here.” Lt. McPherson holds up his Springfield Trapdoor carbine for Chief Sharp Knife and all of the rest of the men to see. They look it over with muted gasps of amazement, as none of them have ever seen anything like it.

    Sharp Knife asks “He-that-goes-far, is it true that your weapon can kill at a great distance while making a noise like thunder?”

    “Yes, Chief. My weapon can kill at a range of six times bowshot. If you wish, I will demonstrate it for you and your warriors.”

    “That will be good to see, He-that-goes-far. Are all of your people such as you? Yours must be a race of mighty warriors and medicine men. Not only did you single-handedly kill a bear that would have taken five warriors of the People to take down, but you treated my daughter Running Deer’s with skill that would be admired by our best medicine men.”

    Lt. McPherson says “Chief, I am but an ordinary man of my people, no more or less different than any other.”

    “Ahh, a warrior who is modest and who doesn’t praise himself to the skies and beyond.” This comment from Chief Sharp Knife causes more than a few chuckles of laughter to be hear around the council fire. “Tell us of your animal, the one that is tied outside the council lodge. You said it is called a horse?”

    “Yes, Chief. His name is ‘Thunder’, because of the noise his hooves make when runs.”

    “I see. How fast can he run? How far can he go?”

    “Chief, Thunder can run faster that the wolf or the buffalo. He can cover more distance in one day than a man on foot can cover in four days. I need not tell you how useful this can be. Not only can Thunder be ridden far, he can also carry heavy burdens aside from a rider. You saw how I was able to use him to bring Running Deer back to you?”

    Sharp Knife whistles softly and says “That is truth, He-that-goes-far.”

    “Chief, since you and your warriors are so interested in Thunder. I will show him how he is ridden and how my people used horse in battle.” This comment about battle causes much professional interest from the warriors gathered around the council fire.” Sharp Knife says, “That will be good, He-that-goes-far. For now, let there be feasting and making of merriment. You are the honored guest of the Tsitsistas, and will be so for as long as you choose to stay with us.”

    1400 Hours

    While the feast of welcome is being prepared, Lt. McPherson makes ready to demonstrate the capabilities of his weapon and his horse. He asks that one of the warriors set his own mark and shoot at it with his bow as a measure of comparison. The warrior sets out a hide stuffed with dry leaves at the distance of one hundred paces. Then, he nocks an arrow to his shortbow, draws it back and lets fly. The arrow speeds forth and sinks up to its feathers in the target. This first arrow is followed in very quick succession by half-a-dozen more, all with the same effect as the first. The warrior retrieves the target hide, rightfully proud of his skill. To begin his own demonstration, Lt. McPherson asks for another hide. He takes the hide and climbs into Thunder’s saddle. Horse and rider gallop off in a cloud of dust. They go out to a distance of six hundred paces and drop the hide to the ground. Having a target at such a long distance causes the people of the Village to gasp in amazement, as some of them can barely make it out.

    Lt. McPherson loads his carbine with a cartridge from the box at his waist. He draws the hammer back to half-cock as a safety measure, then kneels down and takes a small amount of dust from the ground and stands up. He lets the dust fall from his hand to see which way the wind is blowing. The carbine’s sights are adjusted, then Lt. McPherson raises his hand to his eyes to shield them from the bright afternoon sun; this is done to get a good look at the target hide. Lastly, he licks his thumb and moistens the front sight of the carbine. All is in readiness, so Lt. McPherson raises the butt of the weapon and seats it firmly against his shoulder. The hammer is drawn back to full-cock; he inhales, then exhales slowly so that breathing will not disturb his aim. Then…..


    The shot creates a cloud of whitish-gray smoke that smells of rotten eggs; the cloud quickly drifts away on the warm afternoon breeze. The sudden noise takes some of the people of the village by surprise. Some of the smaller children are frightened by the noise and begin to cry, but they are quickly hushed up by their mothers. The men and women of the village who are watching exclaim in amazement at what they have just seen. Without delay, Lt. McPherson opens the breechblock of his carbine and ejects the spent cartridge. The weapon is reloaded with a fresh round, and he takes aim and fires again.


    The noise of the shot echoes throughout the village and across the plain and nearby hills. In quick succession, Lt. McPherson reloads and fires twice more.



    Lt. McPherson collects the spent cartridges and returns them to his belt pouch. He now asks Chief Sharp Knife to have one of his warriors retrieve the target hide. This is done, and a few minutes later the target hide is brought back to be looked at. Sharp Knife and his warriors examine the hide and find that there are four small holes spaced evenly throughout the middle of the hide, which is about the size of a man’s torso. He-that-goes-far’s skill with his mysterious weapon elicits much admiration from the warriors present. Next, he asks that Chief Sharp Knife have a double-line of stakes (each the height of a man) set up. There will also be a hollow gourd filled with water attached to the top of each stake. Lt. McPherson spends the next several minutes answering questions from the people of the village while the stakes are being emplaced. When they are ready, he climbs back into the saddle and draws his saber. The saber is held so that the grip is at waist-height and the tip of the blade extends up over Lt. McPherson’s right shoulder. The brightly-polished surface of the blade flashes in the afternoon sunlight as Thunder is spurred forward. Horse and rider approach the double-line of stakes, which have been offset from each other so that they can easily be ridden between.

    Lt. McPherson raises his saber as he approaches the first stake. He brings it down to his right in a blinding flash that splits the first gourd down to the stake. Just as quickly, the second stake on the left is sliced in half by another downward stroke by the saber’s gleaming blade. In very quick succession, the other eight gourds on the right and left are hacked apart. Now that the demonstration is complete, Lt. McPherson returns to the starting point and dismounts his horse. He says to Sharp Knife “That is how my people fought in war from the back of a horse.” Just then, Running Deer comes up. Her eyes are wide with excitement over what she has just witnessed. She says “Truly, He-that-goes-far. I did not know your animal could move so fast. Were you not frightened?”

    “No I was not frightened, Running Deer. I ride like that quite often. Here, I have something for you.”

    “Oh, what is that?” Lt. McPherson’s hand goes to his cartridge box and he takes out one of the fired brass cartridge cases and gives it to her. “This is for you.” Running Deer’s eyes blaze with pleasure as she accepts the empty brass tube with her good right hand. Chief Sharp Knife looks on with interest at this interplay between his daughter and He-who-goes-far, and smiles.

    “He-who-goes far. Let us return to the council lodge. There are matters I would discuss with you.” Lt. McPherson follows Chief Sharp Knife back to the lodge, where they and the senior warriors again take their seats by the council fire. Sharp Knife says “He-that-goes-far, the life of the Tsitsistas is to be found not only in war, hunting and the gathering of food, but also in trade. You have shown us many fine and amazing things. Might it be the wish of you and your people to trade with us?”

    “Chief, I have some knowledge in the matters of trade. However, I have no large stock of trade goods with me. I will remain here with the Tsitsistas for the next four days. Then I will go back to my camp and arrange for some to be brought here. For now, I will give you a small example. Please excuse me for a moment.” Lt. McPherson gets up from the floor of the council lodge and goes outside. He returns a short time later with a cloth-wrapped object in his hand. Lt. McPherson unwraps the object and presents it to Chief Sharp Knife.

    “Chief, this tool is a hand axe. It is made of the same metal as the weapon that you saw me slice and chop those gourds a short time ago. The edge isn’t quite as sharp as one of your stone axes, but the blade is much stronger. Here, let me show you.” Lt. McPherson takes the axe in hand and gets a log from the woodpile next to the fireplace. The log is about the length of a man’s forearm. Lt. McPherson raises the axe up on high and gives a mighty blow that splits the log apart from end-to-end. Then, he hands the axe over to Sharp Knife and says “Please accept this as another token of my esteem for the Tsitsistas.”

    “You are a man of much wisdom, He-that-goes-far. While you are with us, you will guest with me in my own lodge. I’m sure there are some who will look upon this with favor.” Sharp Knife grins slightly as he says this.” Lt. McPherson replies “I thank you for your kindness and courtesy, Chief.”

    Global Strike
    Date: February 15th, 1607
    Location: The President’s Office, Whiteman AFB
    0900 Hours

    This morning, the newly-minted Secretary of Defense arrives for his first briefing with President Chu “Good morning, Mr. President.”

    “Good morning, Secretary Danner. I trust that you are settling into the office as well as can be expected under the present circumstances.”

    “Yes sir, I am.”

    “What do you have for me today, Mr. Secretary?”

    “Mr. President, I have concerns regarding our ability to strike targets on other continents by conventional means. In our old world, we could have loaded up the B-52s or the B-2 Stealth bombers with J-DAMs or J-SOWs and sent them on their way. While we still have significant bomber forces here at Whiteman and Offutt, using them at long range presupposes a refueling infrastructure that includes foreign bases which we no longer have.

    “I see. What do you propose?”

    “Mr. President, back in 2001, President Bush authorized the development of a program called ‘Prompt Global Strike’. Part of the program focused on the design and manufacture of conventional warheads for our ICBMs. The warheads were built and placed into storage. For obvious reasons, they were never mated to operational missiles.”

    “I understand, Mr. Secretary. What is it that you are proposing?”

    “Mr. President, there was some talk back in 1995 of deactivating the 351st Missile Wing here at Whiteman AFB. That wasn’t done. Instead, it was decided to phase out all of the Minuteman-III ICBMs in service and to replace them with the Peacekeeper ICBM. This missile is significantly more accurate than the Minuteman-III, and also carries twelve warheads (rather than the three warheads of the Minuteman-III. I propose that thirty of the 150 Peacekeepers here at Whiteman have their nuclear warheads removed and replaced with the conventional ones that are in storage. The United States is now the only nuclear power on Earth; a situation that will last for centuries. We no longer have to worry that launching a conventionally-armed ICBM will provoke a nuclear response from some other nation.”

    “Very well, Mr. Secretary. What warheads are available?”

    “Mr. President, there are conventional high-explosive, fuel-air explosive, thermobaric and incendiary cluster warheads.”

    “Secretary Danner, your request is approved. I leave the types of warheads to be deployed up to your own best judgment.”

    “Thank you, Mr. President.”

    “Do you have anything else for me?”

    “Yes, sir. As of now, we have no naval assets beyond what the U.S Coast Guard uses to tend buoys along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. It is obvious that the United States Navy has to be reconstituted. Therefore, I have issued a Request For Proposal to the shipyards in the St. Louis, Missouri area. The prospective design is for a destroyer based on the Allan M. Sumner- class DD that so ably served the United States during the Second World War. Initially, twelve of these vessels will be constructed along with support craft.”

    “Very well, Mr. Secretary. Do please keep me apprised.”

    “Yes, Mr. President.”

    First Contact: The Return
    Date: February 18th, 1607
    Location: The camp of the Tsitsistas
    0800 Hours

    The last four days has gone by in a whirlwind of activity. The people of the camp have continued to perform their daily tasks, and Lt. McPherson has made himself useful wherever possible. Just yesterday, he helped to cut the timber for a new lodge in camp. During this activity, he shouldered a log that would have taken three or four ordinary men of the Tsitsistas to carry. Everyone present expressed amazement at this feat of strength.

    All good things must come to an end, and so Lt. McPherson goes to Chief Sharp Knife and says “Chief, it is time for me to return to my people. I will be away for perhaps seven days or so. I must tell my leaders of the courtesy and kindness that the Tsitsistas have shown me. There are also the trade goods to be arranged for.”

    “It is well, He-that-goes-far.”

    Just then, Running Deer comes up to say her farewell. Even though He-that-goes-far’s absence will only be temporary, her face betrays a look of sadness. She says “How long will you be gone?” Lt. McPherson pulls her close and holds her tight. Running Deer rests her head on his shoulder and says “I will return in seven days. You have my word on that.” The embrace ends, and Lt. McPherson climbs into his saddle. He draws his saber to salute Chief Sharp Knife and says “Chief, I thank you for your hospitality. Look for my return before sunset on the seventh day.” Chief Sharp Knife waves as Lt. McPherson rides off in a cloud of dust. At the edge of the camp, Lt. McPherson pauses, draws his reins sharply and causes Thunder to rear up. The horse drops his hooves to the ground and Lt. McPherson gallops off into the east.

    1200 hours

    After four hours of moderate to hard riding, Lt. McPherson arrives back at the camp of the Nebraska Rangers. He dismounts next to the headquarters tent and ties his horse to a nearby tree. The leadership and most of the membership of the Rangers is on hand to greet him. The first to speak is Jim Parsons. He says “I was wondering when you were going to come back, Jim? Fred Johnson and Mike Dodge told us what happened with that young woman and the bear.”

    Lt. McPherson replies “Jim, that young woman is Cheyenne, and her name is Running Deer. Her father is called Sharp Knife. He is chief of their village. Running Deep and her brother Little Wolf were both injured by the bear, and so I took it upon myself to see them safely back to their village. I have been staying there these last four days. Chief Sharp Knife and his people are very well-disposed towards us because of what I did for Running Deer and Little Wolf. Before I left, Sharp Knife asked if our people were interested in trade. I said that we are, but that it would take some little time to get up a stock of trade goods.”

    Frank Miller speaks next “Jim, when are you going back?”

    “Frank, I told Chief Sharp Knife that I would be back in seven days. The Cheyenne are not the type of people you make promises to and not keep them.”

    “That is understandable, Jim. I think we should send someone back to Henry, Nebraska and talk to Bob Maxwell. He’s on the County Board of Supervisors. He’ll kick this thing upstairs to Lincoln. Perhaps we can get some state support for this little endeavor of ours.”

    “That sounds like a great idea.” Lt. McPherson looks around for Ron Parsons, the unit armorer and blacksmith. He says “Hey, Ron, How long would it take you to make up forty steel spearheads?” Ron Parsons replies “Jim, the iron ingots I have in the unit’s forge are for making repair parts and horseshoes. Get me the steel stock and I can bash those out in a day or two.” Lt. McPherson now turns to Frank Miller and says “Frank, your store in Lyman is the biggest dealer of sporting goods and camping equipment in the county. Could I persuade you to make a run back to town and get some of the stuff I need for the trading mission?”

    “No problem, Jim. What do you think you are going to need?”

    “Hmmm, let’s see. How about salt, blankets, iron cooking pots and steel bar stock so Ron can make those spearheads? Do you have axes, knives and fire-starting kits?”

    “Sure do, Jim. I don’t carry steel bar stock but the hardware store next to me does. The owner is a good friend of mine. As for the rest of the stuff you’re interested in, my store and the attached warehouse is filled to overflowing with all kinds of material. Anything specific in mind?”

    Jim McPherson says “Frank, the Cheyenne make much of their living by hunting wild game, so skinning and hunting knives would be good. They cut wood to make fires and build their lodges by using chipped stone axes. Wooden-handled single-bit axes would be great. What kind of fire-starting kits do you have?” Frank Miller says “Jim, I’ve got both the modern and primitive kind. The modern kits have magnesium and steel; they come in a plastic box. The primitive kits have flint, steel, tinder and come in a plain wooden box.”

    Jim McPherson rubs his chin thoughtfully and says “the primitive kits will do nicely, Frank.”

    Jim Parsons says “along with Frank Miller, I need four volunteers with their pickup trucks to go and transport all that stuff back here. Make sure to swing by my agricultural supply outfit and pick up a dozen 50-lb bags of salt.” Four of the Rangers put their hands up into the air immediately to signify that they are going with Frank Miller on this supply run. The five men head off to their vehicles and drive off. In the meantime, the remaining membership of the Rangers excitedly discuss among themselves the possibilities and opportunities that this ‘First Contact’ has presented.


    • #3
      As always, mighty good, Mike!


      • #4
        I hope ASB has done something about looming virgin field epidemics.


        • #5
          Good to see the Swordman back again. I'll be interested to see how they deal with the challenges.

          Quite a date you've picked there. There are Spanish down in Mexico, and they have certainly explored some of the south west. They will found Santa Fe in a couple of years. They have another settlement in Florida.




          • #6
            Not for very much longer......


            • #7
              Originally posted by Roisterer View Post
              Good to see the Swordman back again. I'll be interested to see how they deal with the challenges.

              Quite a date you've picked there. There are Spanish down in Mexico, and they have certainly explored some of the south west. They will found Santa Fe in a couple of years. They have another settlement in Florida.


              Also, those people in/headed for Jamestown might bring news of these highly advanced, multiracial "Indians" back to King James...


              • #8
                Chapter Three

                Date: February 20th, 1607
                Location: President Chu's office, Whiteman AFB
                0900 hours

                This morning, President Chu has called a meeting that will have profound implications for the future of the United States. In attendance are the President's senior advisers and military officials. Part of the preparations for the meeting is a conference call with the governors of Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas. President Chu calls the meeting to order and says "Good morning, gentlemen. Thank you all for coming. I will begin by saying that I have made a decision as regards the territorial expansion of the United States. From my readings of American History, I know that the French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec on July 3rd, 1608. The French settlement of Port Royal, Acadia already exists, having been founded in the Spring of 1605. Under my executive order regarding territorial claims in North America, the Port Royal settlement will not be interfered with. As Samuel de Champlain hasn't arrived yet, I wish to pre-empt him by establishing the first U.S base outside the borders of the four states. Secretary Danner?"

                "Yes, Mr. President?"

                "Please consult with senior officers of the Air Force and Army. You are to plan for moving a company of Combat Engineers from Fort Leonard Wood to a suitable site in Quebec. Their task will be to construct a landing strip capable of handing C130 cargo aircraft. Once the airstrip has been built, reinforcements will follow."

                "Yes, Mr. President. I believe that the most efficient way to get the engineers to Quebec will be to
                insert them via parachute, along with their equipment and supplies."

                "An excellent idea, Mr. Secretary. Governor Nixon?"

                "Yes, Mr. President?"

                "This operation will need the services of the 139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard. They will provide transportation for the initial insertion, plus the followup cargo runs. Governor Branstad, Governor Heineman? To support the airlift, I will need the 185th Air Refueling Wing out of Sioux City and the 155th Air Refueling Wing from Lincoln."

                Governor Branstad says "Mr. President, the full resources of the Iowa Air National Guard are at your disposal" Governor Heineman makes a similar declaration.

                President Chu turns to SecDef Danner and asks "Mr. Secretary, when can you begin the operation?" Secretary Danner replies "Mr. President, I estimate that it will take thirty days to fully plan and coordinate the operation. Once you give the ‘Go' order, the planes will be in the air within two hours."

                "Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Secretary Ruan?"

                "Yes, Mr. President?"

                "I would like you and your staff to begin planning the construction of a rail line from northeastern Nebraska up into the Powder River Basin area of northeastern Wyoming. I'll want you to provide time and materials estimates as soon as possible."

                "Of course, sir."

                Promises Kept
                Date: February 25th, 1607
                Location: The camp of the Nebraska Rangers, Nebraska/Wyoming state line
                0800 Hours

                The time has finally come for Jim McPherson to return to the village of the Tsitsistas as he promised. This time, he won't be alone. Frank Miller's expedition back to Lyman, Nebraska to acquire trade goods was eminently successful, having returned five days ago. The goods he brought back are now being loaded onto two of the Ranger's wagons. To safeguard the wagons and the goods, Jim will be accompanied by twelve of the members of the Nebraska Rangers cavalry group; Company G, 1st U.S Cavalry Regiment. Two days ago, Ron Parsons forged forty spearheads. These items each have a blade that is 12" long, with a socket that is 6" long. For strength, the blades were forged with a flatdiamond crosssection and a strong central rib. Ron has always been something of a perfectionist, so he finished the sockets with some chiseled decoration. The blades were also polished until they gleamed.

                One hour later, the loading process is complete. The wagons and their cavalry escort are ready to move out. Frank Miller comes to Jim McPherson and says "Jim, here's a list of everything that you are taking with you." He takes a folded sheet of paper from his pocket and begins to read:

                40 spearheads
                24 singlebit axes with hickory handles
                24 hunting knives
                24 iron cooking pots
                40 hand mirrors
                40 firestarting kits
                200 blankets
                12 50lb burlap bags of salt

                Once he finishes reading, Frank Miller says "Jim, those hand mirrors weren't part of your original request. I added them because it seems to me that the Cheyenne you met might like them." Jim McPherson replies "Thanks, Frank, That was a good idea." Jim looks back over the small column and sees that all is in readiness. He and the guidon bearer take their positions at the head of the column. Jim draws his saber, gestures with it and calls out in a loud voice "COLUMN, FORWARD.....YO!!" The bugler signals the advance as Jim McPherson brings his saber to the lowready position; this has the hilt held at the level of his waist with the blade vertical and pointed up over the right shoulder. In keeping with 19thcentury U.S Army doctrine, the pace of the column is neither too fast or too slow.

                In the meantime, Scotts Bluff County Supervisor Bob Maxwell in Lyman, Nebraska was finally able to put in his call to Governor Heineman's office in Lincoln, Nebraska. He got the message back on February 19th, but due to the pressure of county business in the aftermath of the transition, he was unable to make the call before now.

                Location: The Governor's Office, Lincoln, Nebraska
                0900 hours

                Governor Heineman's private secretary Charlene Davis calls him over the office intercom and says "I beg your pardon governor, but I have a call for you from a Mr. Robert Maxwell of Lyman, Nebraska. He's on the Scottsbluff County Board of Supervisors, and he says he has some important information for you."

                "Very well, Ms. Davis. Put him through." In just a few seconds, the connection is made and Bob
                Maxwell begins to speak "Good morning, Governor."

                "Good morning, Mr. Maxwell. My secretary says that you have some important information for me."

                "Yes sir, I do. On the 14th of February, a group of people from Scotts Bluff County established friendly contact with a village of Cheyenne that are just over on the Wyoming side of the Nebraska state line. These people are a group of historical reenactors called the Nebraska Rangers. Apparently, some of their number were riding over across the state line and happened to
                encounter a young native woman and her brother. These people were being attacked by a bear. The Rangers intervened and killed the bear. One of their number, a Mr. Jim McPherson, treated the wounds suffered by the woman and the boy. He took it upon himself to bring them back to their village. It turns out that the woman and the boy were the daughter and son of the Cheyenne village chief. The chief was grateful for his children being saved. Mr. McPherson remained in the village for a few days and got to know the inhabitants as well as could be expected. During this time, there was discussion between Mr. McPherson and the village chief about opening a trading relationship."

                "I see, Mr. Maxwell. Do you have other information for me?"

                "Yes I do, Governor. Part of the message that was conveyed to me from the Nebraska Rangers was that they wanted to know if they could have something in the way of state support for their venture."

                "Hmmm. I can't really give an answer now, because this is close to being something that the State Department would have to deal with. I'll put in a call to the President and let him know about this. If there are no objections at the Federal level, the State of Nebraska will be more than happy to oblige. In other matters, how are things in Scotts Bluff County, Mr. Maxwell?"

                "Governor, we're doing pretty well. There has been none of the civil disorder that I have heard of in other cities and counties. We're rather practical and selfsufficient out here. I'd like to mention that those selfsame Nebraska Rangers that I told you about organized a buffalo hunt in Wyoming. They took enough animals to give everyone in the towns of Henry and Lyman, Nebraska
                two hundred pounds of meat."

                "This is a most interesting development, Mr. Maxwell. Do please keep me apprised of any developments in the situation. You've got my direct number, so please feel free to call me at any time."

                "Yes, Governor. I will do so. Thank you for your time."

                Returning As Promised
                Date: February 25th, 1607
                Location: The village of the Tsitsistas
                1700 hours

                Starting early this morning, Chief Sharp Knife has had some of his warriors keep watch for the promised return of Hethatgoesfar. Among the people in the village, perhaps no one has waited with more anxiety than Running Deer. As this day wore on, and the sun began to sink in the west, Running Deer began to pace back and forth nervously. Finally, the call is shouted forth by one of the watchers "Strangers approach, Hethatgoesfar is with them." Excitedly, Running Deer races off to the edge of the village to watch him approach. Chief Sharp Knife follows along at a more restrained pace and stands indulgently beside his daughter.

                Compared to one man riding hellbent for leather, the pace of the column's advance has been slow. The ride has been eight full hours, and among the cavalry troopers, Jim McPherson is the most excited. He is keeping his word to Chief Sharp Knife, and most importantly, to Running Deer. Jim's secondincommand John Socha calls out "Jim, we've been spotted. See that ridge over there about a quartermile distant? There are some of those Cheyenne you told us about watching us from there."

                Jim replies "Thanks for the headsup, John."

                Jim McPherson calls a temporary halt for the column and wheels his horse about. He tells the rest of the troopers "We're almost to the village. It lies just on the other side of that low ridge over there. We're going to haul up short about fifty yards from their perimeter. I'll go forward and ask the Chief's permission to bring the column forward. I don't doubt that he will give it, but it is best to show him respect."

                John Socha says "Sounds like a good idea, Jim." Lt. McPherson calls out to the bugler "Sound the advance". Immediately, the notes of the call ring out and the column moves forward. A few minutes later, the troopers and the wagons approach the edge of the village and halt where indicated. Lt. McPherson says to his men "I'm going to greet Chief Sharp Knife. Stay here until I call for you." The troopers and the wagon drivers signify their understanding and remain in place.
                Jim spurs his horse forward and rides up to where Chief Sharp Knife and Running Deer are standing. He says in a loud, booming voice "Hail and wellmet, Chief. I have come back as I promised you I would." He dismounts and begins to lead his horse towards the village. Before he can get very far, Running Deer runs over to him and throws herself into a long embrace with him, saying "I missed you so, Hethatgoesfar. I hardly slept at all the last two days, knowing that you were coming back to me."

                "I missed you too, Running Deer." Jim McPherson holds the embrace a moment longer, then gently peels himself out of Running Deer's arms. He turns to Chief Sharp Knife (who has a barelyconcealed grin upon his face) and says "Chief, I have the trade goods I told you about. I ask your kind permission to bring my men forward and place the goods before the council lodge." Chief Sharp Knife says "You have it, Hethatgoesfar. It is good that the young show respect to their elders. This says well of your character." Jim smiles inwardly as he hears this, as he is the same age as Chief Sharp Knife.

                "My thanks, Chief." Jim waves back to his men, who slowly urge their horses and wagons forward. By now, almost the entire population of the village is on hand to witness the arrival. Jim's
                cavalry patrol is in the lead, followed closely by the wagons. The meeting ground before the village's
                council lodge is wideopen and flat, with numbers of lodges arranged around the perimeter. The wagons are driven to he middle of the ground, and the cavalry patrol's horses are tethered to one side. Both the drivers and Jim's men dismount to unload the trade goods. These are arranged on the ground opposite to where the horses are tethered. First to be unloaded are the blanket rolls. Each of
                these takes the strength of two men to move, because they are both heavy and bulky. Next, the sacks
                of salt are arranged in a single row, followed by the axes and cooking pots. Lastly, the baskets
                holding the spearheads, knives, firestarting kits and hand mirrors are unloaded.

                Chief Sharp Knife comes to stand beside Jim McPherson as the unloading of the wagons is being directed. He says "Hethatgoesfar, when you said that you were bringing trade goods, I only expected a few baskets of what your people had to offer, not these great piles here. Truly, there is
                no end to your wonders." Jim replies "Chief, my word is my bond. Now that the goods are unloaded, I ask your permission for my men to set up their own temporary lodges near the village entrance, They have had a long ride, and need to rest and take care of their horses."

                "Granted, Hethatgoesfar." Chief Sharp Knife looks over the goods and says "I look forward to hearing you tell me of what I see here." Jim says "It will be my pleasure. Chief." Jim signals his men that they have permission to set up their tents at the edge of the gathering field.

                "Chief, if you would call the men and women of the village here, I will begin." Sharp Knife gestures to one of his warriors, who in turn runs off and begins to gather the people of the village.
                The very first to arrive is Running Deer, who practically ran forward to stand beside her father and Hethatgoesfar. When all are present, Jim begins his presentation.

                "People of the Tsitsistas, I am Hethatgoesfar, and I come before you today in peace and friendship. The goods you see in front of you were made by my people and brought here for the purposes of trade. The first are these spearheads." Jim picks up the basket containing the result of
                Ron Parson's work and sets it down in front for all to see. He picks up one of the polished steel blades and turns it here and there so that the lateafternoon sunshine flashes as it would of a poll of still water. Jim holds the spearhead up on high and says "This weapon is made of a metal called steel. The metal is the same as in the long curved blade you saw me demonstrate the last time I was here." One of Sharp Knife's senior warriors raises his hand and says "Of what use are these spearheads, Hethatgoesfar?" Jim replies "These steel spearheads are much stronger and more durable than any that can be chipped from flint, no matter how skilled the craftsman. In fact, if a steelheaded spear were to be carried or thrown with sufficient force, it will penetrate halfway through the body of a buffalo or bear." This comment is the cause of much discussion among the warriors gathered. All of them can see how useful this would be for hunting and other endeavors.

                The next item to be shown is the firestarting kit. Jim takes one of the small wooden boxes and shows it to the people arrayed in front of him. He says "When I was here the last time, I saw how
                difficult and timeconsuming it was for the people of the village to start their fires." Chief Sharp Knife interjects, saying "This is truth, Hethatgoesfar." Jim says "Chief, I will now demonstrate how this firestarter works. Running Deer, please bring the materials to start a fire." Running Deer
                does as she is asked, pleased to be helping the man who has so completely captivated her interest. A few minutes later, Running Deer returns with some kindling, tinder and a few larger pieces of wood. She places them on the ground and arranges them as if a fire were going to be started in the ordinary way.

                "Thank you, Running Deer." Jim opens the wooden box and takes out a piece of flint and a small, curved iron bar. He takes some of the dry leaves and piles them up among the smaller pieces
                of kindling. Jim takes the iron bar in one hand and the flint in another hand and leans down close to the ground. Deftly, he strikes the two together and gives off several large sparks. The sparks land on the dry leaves and the leaves begin to smoke. Jim aids the ignition by gently blowing upon the leaves and kindling until a small flame is created. The flame is fed with larger and larger pieces of wood, until the fire is burning well. This process didn't take more than a minute or two. The speed and ease with which Hethatgoesfar was able to start the fire causes many discussions among those seated in the gathering field.

                "Chief Sharp Knife, do you have the small axe I gave you?"

                "Yes, I do, Hethatgoesfar."

                "Very good. See now the larger version of that tool." Jim hold up one of the singlebitted axes for him to examine. It has a handle of hickory that is about the length of a man's leg, and the head is carefully wedged so that it won't come off. Jim demonstrates just how sharp the blade is by using the axe to shave some of the hair off his left arm. He goes onto say "Chief, with an axe like this one, a man can cut five times as much timber in the same amount of time as a man using a stone axe. There are also longbladed hunting knives with edges that are just as sharp as the blade on this axe."

                Chief Sharp Knife sees the two dozen iron pots arrayed in neat rows and asks what they are for. Jim McPherson replies "Chief, these are vessels for cooking food and boiling water. The handle on top is for picking up the pot and carrying it without burning one's hands. I have heard that the women of Tsitsistas use vessels made of carved wood, fired clay, stone or even sewn hides to do their cooking. Imagine how useful a vessel would be if it would never wear out, burn or be broken in any way?" The women of the village comment among themselves when hearing this, and immediately start to think upon what Hethatgoesfar will want in exchange for one.

                Jim says "The Tsitsistas are a proud people who take great pride in their appearance. Up to now, the only way someone could judge their own appearance would be to look into a pool of water or ask another person in the village." The items he now holds up are a pair of woodenframed hand mirrors. The frames are rectangular in shape and stoutly built, measuring 9" long and 6" wide. The mirrors themselves are oval, measuring 7" long and 4" across the middle. He hands one to Chief Sharp Knife, who looks at his reflection and is absolutely stunned by the quality of the image. Sharp Knife says "What magic is this, Hethat goesfar?" It is as if I am inside this thing looking outwards."

                "Chief, hear me say that there is no magic involved. This is but a very simple device of my people, who use it to examine how they look at close quarters. The principle is the same as one who looks upon their own image in a still pool of water." Sharp Knife is reassured, then asks "How many of these things did you bring?" Jim McPherson replies "There are enough of them so that every lodge in the village will have one; there are also a few extra to distribute as you see fit. The numbers of the spearheads and firestarting kits are the same."

                "What of the axes, knives and cooking pots?"

                "Chief, there are enough so that every lodge will have one of each."

                "Ahh, Hethatgoesfar. You are generous beyond compare."

                "Think nothing of it, Chief Sharp Knife. I am simply fulfilling my promises to you and your people."

                "Hmm. This is good to know. I see that there are still more items to be had, those strange rolls and those large bags. What are they?"

                "Chief, the rolls are made up of blankets that haven't been cut apart. I have heard that the Tsitsistas use hides and skins to keep warm at night, or during the day when the air is cold. My people do the same thing with these blankets when necessary. I have brought twenty rolls, and there are ten blankets in each roll. This will give each lodge in the village eight blankets, with eight left over to do with as you please. As you can see, there are two rolls each in the colors of white, red, brown, blue and green."

                "Hmm. What is in those bags?"

                "Chief, those bags contain pure salt. Are there not places in the land of the Tsitsistas where animals go to chew the ground and to lick at the rocks to get salt? Do the Tsitsistas not boil down
                water from certain locations to make salt of their own?" Chief Sharp Knife nods yes. "My people know for certain that having a small quantity of salt in the diet is necessary for good health. In those twelve bags is an amount of salt that is equal to twice the weight of my body. The women of the village are to share it out equally among the lodges."

                "Your generosity amazes me yet again, Hethatgoesfar. I must ask what you and your people seek in return for the items you have brought here."

                "Chief Sharp Knife, we seek knowledge not just of the Tsitsistas, their language and their customs, but also of the lands and peoples that lie in the direction of where the sun is setting. My people are, in part, explorers who continually thirst for knowledge. In bringing them the knowledge I will get from you, I greatly aid them. Beyond this, we seek hides, skins, meat and examples of plants that are fit for people to eat."

                "Surely what you have brought is far more valuable than what you seek?"

                "Perhaps, Chief. But is it the price I am asking."

                "Wellbargained and done, Hethatgoesfar. Let us see to the distribution of the items " Chief Sharp Knife now calls for the people of the village to come forward. The women of each lodge get an axe, a cooking pot, a hand mirror and a firestarting kit. Each warrior gets a steel spearhead and a hunting knife. Lastly, each lodge gets eight blankets; the remaining eight blankets are kept by Chief Sharp Knife. The women of each lodge are asked to bring sufficient pots or leather bags so that the salt can be measured out equally. The amount that all of the lodges will receive is 25 lbs each. After the distribution is completed, the people of the village disperse and return to their lodges. The men are talking amongst themselves over their good fortune, as are the women.

                Chief Sharp Knife says to Hethatgoesfar "I wish for you to guest with me under my roof this night. It is the least I can do for you for all that you have done for us this day." Just out of what Running Deer thinks is hearing distance, she giggles softly and smiles. Sharp Knife's hearing is very keen, and he goes on to say "Hethatgoesfar, Running Deer is much taken with you. I also see that you have come to care for her. I am not such an old man not to know what happens when two people care for each other. I give you the use of my lodge tonight. Of what may happen afterwards, I will say nothing."

                Jim McPherson is just flabbergasted. Of all the possible reactions that could have taken place, this was the most unlikely (at least in his mind). His face flushes slightly in embarrassment as he
                says "Yes, Chief". It is all he can do to avoid stuttering out his reply. Chief Sharp Knife pushes aside the hide covering the entrance to the lodge and departs. Jim McPherson now asks Running Deer to sit in front of the firepit, and she is more than happy to comply. He goes on to say "Running Deer, I made sure to keep back some of the items which your father and I gave to the village. Once I get this fire started, I will give them to you."

                With her heart all aflutter, Running Deer replies "Yes, Hethatgoesfar."

                Jim McPherson takes one of the firestarting kits and removes some of the tinder from the small wooden box. He places it in the stonelined firepit and breaks off some very small sticks from the pile of wood by the entrance to the lodge. These are arranged on top of the kindling so that they will light easily. Running deer is watching with rapt attention as Jim gets up and sits down directly behind her. His huge arms wrap gently around her to the front, and he says "Running Deer, I want you to watch how I start this fire, so that you will be able to do it for yourself when necessary."

                "Ye...yes, He thatgoesfar." Jim takes the curved piece of steel in his left hand and the chunk of flint in his right hand. Holding them just so, he makes several glancing strikes with the flint against the steel. Each time, showers of sparks are given off. When enough of them have landed on the dry tinder, Jim gently disengages himself from Running Deer so that he can fan the small flames and ensure that they light the larger pieces of wood in the firepit. Jim returns to his place behind Running Deer. In the rapture of the moment, she presses backwards as Jim gently folds her into his arms.

                Implications and Consequences
                Date: February 25th, 1607
                Location: Governor Heineman's office, Lincoln, Nebraska
                1700 hours

                Almost at the exact same time that Jim McPherson is in the camp of the Tsitsistas distributing the trade goods, Governor Heineman is placing a call to President Chu's office at Whiteman AFB. He says "Goof evening, Mr. President. I am sorry to call you at this time of day, but I have to inform you of a certain development in western Nebraska just on the other side of the state line in what was once Wyoming." Something in Governor Heineman's voice causes President Chu to sit up and take notice.

                "Yes Governor, what happened?"

                "Mr. President, four days ago, a group of historical reenactors made friendly contact with a band of Cheyenne just on the other side of the Montana/Nebraska line. Apparently, a woman and a young boy from the village had been attacked by a bear. The reenactors killed the bear, then one
                of their members, a Mr. James McPherson, took it upon himself to treat the wounds the woman and the boy had suffered. He also took the two individuals back to their village. The chief of the village is called Sharp Knife, and in the course of discussions between him and James McPherson, the subject of trade relations came up. Both parties were agreeable, so Mr. McPherson and the reenactors came up with a stock of trade goods and delivered them to the Cheyenne earlier today. The reenactors also requested state support for their endeavors."

                "Well, Governor. I suppose that ‘First Contact' with the native Americans had to happen sooner or later. I for one am pleased to hear that it was on a friendly basis. Ordinarily, relations with a foreign people would be within the purview of the State Department. However, our situation is unique. There is no State Department, and I have recently promulgated an executive order saying that all lands in North America not already claimed by a foreign power are now under the jurisdiction of the United States. Under this premise, the Native Americans are not foreign. Still, this situation needs careful monitoring."

                "Yes, Mr. President."

                "Governor, you have my authorization to offer that group such support as you think necessary. The first thing to be done, I think, would be to have people from the Nebraska Department of Health get out there and vaccinate everyone; reenactors and natives included. The one thing I never want to see is a replay of the epidemics which killed off a large proportion of the Native Americans in our old timeline."

                "That is an excellent point, Mr. President. I'll have my staff make the arrangements tomorrow morning."

                "If there are any further developments, I want you to call me, no matter what time of the day or night it happens to be."

                "Yes, Mr. President. Thank you for your support. I bid you a good day, sir." The call is disconnected, and Governor Heineman places another phone call to Kelly Winterer, CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

                "Good evening, Governor. How can I help you?"

                "Director, there is a situation in farwestern Nebraska that needs your prompt attention. Four days ago, a group of people from the towns of Lyman and Henry in Scotts Bluff County made friendly contact with a village of Cheyenne just on the other side of the Nebraska/Wyoming line. I need your department to get a medical team out there tomorrow and vaccinate those people as soon as possible. I discussed this matter with the President, and I am in complete agreement with him."

                "Yes, Governor. The natives of this time have no resistance to our diseases, so something like the common cold or chicken pox would go through them like the proverbial wildfire. My staff will be ready to go before noontime."

                "Thank you, Director. I'm counting on you."

                Date: February 26th, 1607
                Location: the village of the Tsitsistas
                0700 hours

                Jim McPherson rouses himself from the furs where he and Running Deer have been sleeping. He is careful not to disturb her. Jim puts on his uniform, yawns and stretches widely after he leaves
                the lodge. Jim walks across the village's meeting ground to where his men are camped. As he does so, he's greeted with sidelong glances and muted giggles from some of the village's women. Jim's friend Richard Henry sees him approach and calls out a greeting.

                "Hi, Jim. How did it go last night?"

                "Hey, Richard. The trade goods we brought were very wellreceived by the people of the village. I think there is much potential here."

                "Where did you go afterwards?"

                Jim flashes an enormous grin and says "I slept in the lodge of Chief Sharp Knife. Let's just say that Running Deer and I passed a very pleasant night..."

                Richard grins back and says "What do you want us to do now, Jim?"

                "For now, the patrol is staying here. I want you to send one of the guys back to camp and tell them that all is going well. As part of the price for the goods we brought, Chief Sharp Knife is going to tell us about the Cheyenne, and all that he and his people know about the lands and tribes west of here."

                "Good Idea, Jim. I'll send a rider at once."

                0800 Hours

                Running Deer wakes up and stretches herself upon the sleeping furs and yawns. Last night marked a turning point in her life. For the last year or so, she has been without a man since her mate was killed while on a hunting expedition. To show her newfound devotion to Hethatgoesfar, she prepares breakfast for him while he is out of the lodge, and serves it to him upon his return. Running Deer smiles widely when she sees Hethatgoesfar throw open the hide that covers the lodge entrance. She says "I greet you, heartofmyheart, Each time I see you is like a new dawn over the plains. Jim reciprocates his affection by sweeping Running Deer off her feet and into a long embrace. "I see that you have prepared food for us this morning, Running Deer. Let us sit and eat together. I must speak to Sharp Knife before too long; there is the matter of the knowledge I asked of him in partial exchange for the trade goods. Did you like the items I gave you? They are yours to keep." Running Deer asks "Hethatgoesfar, what are these ‘blankets'? I haven't seen their like before. The Tsitsistas use hides and furs to keep warm when we are cold, but these blankets are something different."

                "Running Deer, these blankets are woven from the fur of an animal called a sheep. The People of
                The Eagle raise them in great numbers for their fur, meat and milk."

                "What of that thing I can see my face in?"

                "It is called a mirror, Running Deer. My people make them in numbers so that any who wants one can have them and see their own image."

                "I can see myself so very clearly in it, like I am looking at myself as we look at one another. I have seen my face on the surface of still water in a stream or river, but never so clearly as with this." Running Deer holds the mirror with both hands and clasps it tightly to herself. The thing that you used to start the fire last night was amazing. I have started fires before with a bow and drill, and it took much effort. That firestarter required so little effort and so little time that a child could use it."

                "Very true, Running Deer. Now, let us eat. Sharp Knife waits to speak with me." Within the space of a quarter hour, Hethatgoesfar and Running Deer eat their morning meal. When they are done, she gathers up the plates and takes them off to be cleaned. Chief Sharp Knife greets his daughter as she is leaving the lodge. Jim sees Sharp Knife entering the lodge and makes to stand up, but the Chief motions for him to remain seated. He says "Hethatgoesfar, I haven't seen such a contented look on Running Deer's face since before her man was killed last year. For that, I thank you. Now, let us speak of the Tsitsistas, our numbers, customs and culture. I will also tell you of the tribes and peoples who lie in the direction of where the sun sets."

                Hethatgoesfar takes out a notebook and pen from his haversack and begins to write as Chief Sharp Knife speaks. Meanwhile, on the other side of the gathering field, the other troopers of Jim McPherson's detachment are seeing to their own camp chores. One or two men are busy chopping firewood, while some are airing out the tents. Still others are making minor repairs to their tack & harness and watering/feeding the horses. The horses are tethered inside a temporary enclosure next to the cavalry tents. The enclosure was built from deadfall branches gathered near the village.

                When the chores are all done, the troopers gather around outside their tents to await instructions from Jim McPherson. While they wait, the cavalry troopers pass the time in such amusements as playing cards and singing songs. This last activity causes much curiosity among the inhabitants of the village. None of them speak any English, but they are still able to recognize that a song is being sung. If they could understand what was being said, the people would hear:

                ‘Let Bacchus' sons be not dismayed
                but join with me each jovial blade
                Come drink and sing and lend your aid
                to help me with the chorus'.....

                First Aid
                Date: February 27th, 1607
                Location: the camp of the Nebraska Rangers, Nebraska/Wyoming state line
                0900 hours

                The medical aid mission dispatched by the Nebraska Department of Health arrived in the town of Lyman, Nebraska earlier this morning. They asked for and received directions to the Rangers' camp. Immediately after getting to the camp, the mission director Dr. Beverly Carson seeks out Frank Miller, the man in charge. Frank says "Good morning. How can I help you?"

                "Hello, Mr. Miller. I am Dr. Beverly Carson and I have been sent here from the Nebraska Department of Health. Word reached Governor Heineman and President Chu of your group's friendly contact with the Cheyenne on the other side of the Nebraska/Wyoming line. Governor Heineman decided that it would be in the public interest to offer the Cheyenne vaccinations against the diseases that we already have been treated for, but for which they have no real resistance."

                "Yes, Dr. Carson. I know from my own readings of western history that a major reason for the decline of the Native Americans was their lack of resistance to our diseases. What do you propose to do?"

                "Well, Mr, Miller..."

                "Please call me Frank."

                "Alright, Frank. I would like to go to that camp of the Cheyenne and vaccinate them. Before I do that, however, I and my staff would like to give you all booster shots just to be on the safe side."

                "Very well, Dr. Carson. I will call all of the group together and you can see them. I will arrange transportation to the Cheyenne camp. Will that be satisfactory?"

                "Perfectly so, Frank."

                Just 15 minutes later, the entire remaining membership fo the Nebraska Rangers is assembled on the meeting ground of the camp. Frank Miller explains the situation, and very soon thereafter, the
                membership of the Rangers (plus their familes) is lined up with sleeves rolled up above their elbows. Over the next halfhour, Dr. Carson and her two assistants administer vaccines and booster shots to everyone in camp. Frank Miller rubs his left arm and says "Now that the shots are done, I'll have a wagon brought up for you, Doctor. It will be about an eighthour drive from here to where the Cheyenne camp is located. Some of our people are there already; part of our cavalry troop went to escort the delivery of a couple wagonloads of trade goods. When you get there, please pass a message to Jim McPherson. Tell him that I'd like the wagons, drivers and cavalry to come back here."

                "Ok, Frank."

                In short order, the wagon is brought up with the horse team already hitched. Dr. Carson climbs into the wagon box next to Mike Miller, the driver. Mike is Frank Miller's younger brother, and he is glad to get this assignment. Dr. Carson's two assistants take the seat behind them, and two of the Ranger's gunfighter contingent follow along on their own horses as an armed escort. The driver claps the horse team's reins, and they leave camp. Eight hours of travel later, the sun is beginning to set in the west when the wagon and passengers arrive on the outskirts of the camp of the Tsitsistas. By now, the people of the Village are somewhat accustomed to the sight of strangers. Across the village's meeting ground, Jim McPherson catches sight of the new arrivals and comes over to see what is going on.

                "Hi there, Mike. I hadn't expected to see anyone from camp so soon. What gives?"

                "Hi, Frank. The lady here is Dr. Beverly Carson. She and her two assistants are from the Nebraska Department of Health. They gave us all booster shots and are here to vaccinate the Cheyenne in this village."

                "I see. Pleased to meet you, Doctor. Why don't you come with me and I'll introduce you to Sharp
                Knife; he's chief of this village of the Tsitsistas."

                "Very well, Mr. McPherson."

                Jim McPherson, Dr. Carson and her two assistants walk across the village meeting ground to see Chief Sharp Knife. Along the way, they are joined by Running Deer who asks "Hethatgoesfar, who are these people?" Jim replies "Running Deer, this medicine woman and her two assistants have been sent by the paramount chief of Nebraska in order to aid the Tsitsistas. They do not speak the language of the people, so I will translate for them."

                "It is well, Hethatgoesfar." The small group arrives at Sharp Knife's lodge. He comes out to greet them and says "How goes it with you today, Hethatgoesfar?"

                "Very good, Chief Sharp Knife. I would like to introduce this medicine woman and her two assistants to you, Chief. They do not speak the language of the Tsitsistas, so I will give your words to them and their words to you."

                "That is good, Hethatgoesfar. Why are they here?" Jim McPherson turns to Dr. Carson and poses Sharp Knife's question. She speaks to him for a moment, then Jim comes back to Sharp Knife and says "Chief, she is a medicine woman and these others are her two assistants. They have been sent here by the paramount chief of my own tribe, the Nebraska to help the Tsisistas."

                Sharp Knife strokes his chin in thought and says "Hethatgoesfar, tell the honored medicine woman that I thank her. How can she help us?" Jim McPherson replies "Chief, every year do not the Tsitsistas lose both children and adults to diseases that afflict the People?"

                "Yes we do, Hethatgoesfar. We grieve for every loss, especially the children, for they represent
                our future."

                "Chief, the same diseases which afflict your people have also affected mine in the past. The People of The Eagle are treated against them from a very young age, and so they do not trouble us as they do the Tsitsistas. The medicine woman asks for your permission to treat the people of the village."

                "Hmm, what do you say to this, Hethatgoesfar? With your union to Running Deer, you are as much a part of the village as you are of your own people."

                "Chief Sharp Knife, hear me when I say that this is a good thing. Doing this will mean that there will be fewer parents who grieve for the loss of a child and fewer children who mourn the loss of one or both parents."

                "Then, let it be done as you say, Hethatgoesfar."

                "Thank you, Chief." A short time later, the entire population of the village is assembled. Chief Sharp Knife tells the people who the strangers are and why they are here. Some are reluctant at first, but in the end, all are swayed by the presence of Hethatgoesfar. To begin, three tables and
                three seats are brought before Chief Sharp Knife's lodge and set up to provide Dr. Carson and her assistants a place to work. To show that it is safe, Jim McPherson is the very first to receive the injections; in his case, all that he is getting is a few booster shots. While all in attendance watch carefully, he rolls up his sleeve and Dr. Carson swabs his arm with an alcohol patch to disinfect the surface. She takes a small bottle from a chest containing the vaccines and other supplies and uses a needle and syringe to withdraw a small amount of liquid from it. Dr. Carson taps the syringe to make sure there are no air bubbles in the vaccine, then quickly jabs Jim McPherson in the left arm.

                In succession, Jim's other booster shots are administered in the same way; some go in the left arm
                and the others in the right arm. Next in line are Chief Sharp Knife and his daughter Running Deer. Through Hethatgoesfar, they are instructed to roll up their sleeves as he has done. The vaccines are administered, then Chief Sharp Knife signals for his people to come forward and do likewise. Slowly, they do so; one person at a time to each of the three tables. For reasons of health and safety, the needles and syringes used to vaccinate each individual person are notreused. Instead, they are discarded into a sealed box for later disposal. In a short time, everyone in the village has received their shots.

                As the people of the village disperse to their lodges to prepare the evening meal, Dr. Carson turns to Jim McPherson and says "That was very welldone, Jim. Those vaccines my assistants and I just administered are going to save lives. Oh, by the way, I have a message for you."

                "Yes Dr. Carson, what is it?"

                "Please call me Beverly. Frank Miller wanted me to tell you that he wants the wagons and the cavalry patrol to return to camp."

                "Thanks for the message, Beverly." Jim calls over one of the cavalry troopers and has him pass the word to the wagon teams and the rest of the troopers that they are heading back to camp tomorrow morning. While this is being done, Chief Sharp Knife comes up and speaks a few words to Hethatgoesfar. Jim nods his head and says to Dr. Carson "Beverly, Chief Sharp Knife asks me that you and your assistants guest with us in his lodge tonight."

                "Of course, Jim. Please tell the chief that we will be honored to accept his hospitality."

                By this time, the sun is fully below the horizon in the west, and the sky is darkening rapidly.
                Fires are lit throughout the village of the Tsitsistas, both for cooking and light. In the cavalry camp, preparations are being made for the patrol and the wagon drivers to depart in the morning. In the lodge of Chief Sharp Knife, there is much indirect discussion between Dr. Carson and the Chief. Jim McPherson ably serves as translator. During the meal, Dr. Carson asks if there are other nearby bands of the Tsitsistas. When Sharp Knife replies yes, she asks that he bring it before the chiefs of the other villages and bands, he pauses in midbite and says "Honored medicine woman, this village of the Tsitsistas is one of the largest of the People. By virtue of my position here, I sit on the Great Council of Chiefs that guides and directs the affairs of the Tsitsistas. I will take your words before the Council and lend my weight accordingly."

                Through Jim's translation, Dr. Carson expresses her thanks to Chief Sharp Knife. Then, all in the
                lodge finish their meal and retire for the night.

                Date: February 28th, 1607
                Location: the village of the Tsitsistas
                0900 hours

                After a morning meal, Dr. Carson and her assistants pack up and prepare to leave the village. They are going back on the wagons that brought them and their equipment. Also going along are the wagons which Jim McPherson used to bring the trade goods, as well as Jim's cavalry detachment. When the column in ready to leave, Mike Miller come up to Jim and says "Are you coming back with us?"

                Jim replies "I'm staying here, Mike. I think I can be of great benefit to our own people by teaching the Cheyenne some of our ways and learning all I can of them. Before I forget, here is a report I wrote concerning the Cheyenne, their ways and culture. There's also a great deal of information on the other tribes of Wyoming." Jim hands over two notebooks (some 120 pages in all) and says "Mike, I want you to see that these get to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources in Lincoln. They will know what to do with them." Just then, Dr. Beverly Carson speaks up "Jim, my assistants and I are heading back to Lincoln as soon as we can get to Lyman. Our vehicles are there, and my instructions from Director Winterer are to report back to her and Governor Heineman as soon as possible. If you don't mind, I will handcarry your report and deliver it in person."

                Jim McPherson says "That's fine by me. Dr. Carson. I appreciate the offer. Mike?"

                "Yes, Jim?"

                "You and the column had better get going. Tell Frank I'm staying here."

                "Ok, Jim." With that, the wagon drivers and cavalry detachment clap their reins to their horses and the column moves out. Before the last of the wagons has left the village, Chief Sharp Knife comes over to observe. Running Deer is there also. As she looks at the last of the wagons, she settles her arm around Jim's waist and rests her head upon his shoulder. Sharp Knife sees this and
                looks on with evident approval. Jim turns to the Chief and says "The Medicine Woman and her assistants are going back to Nebraska. She has promise me that she will bring word of the great courtesy she received to the Governor of the tribe and also to the President."

                "This is well, Hethatgoesfar."

                More Mineral Resources
                Date: February 28th, 1607
                Location: President Chu's office, Whiteman AFB
                0900 hours

                At the same time back at Whiteman AFB, the President's Daily Briefing has just concluded. After President Chu's advisers file out of the office, one of the President's private secretaries (a lady by the name of Ellen Bradshaw) knocks on the door and says "I beg your pardon, Mr. President. This document from Mr. Cornelison arrived for you while the briefing was going on."

                "Thank you, Ellen. That will be all."

                "Yes, Mr. President." Ellen places the thick envelope on the President's desk and leaves. President Chu opens the envelope and begins to read. The first page is a letter from David M. Cornelison. It reads as follows "Mr. President, on my own initiative, I have prepared this report for your attention. It outlines the mineral resources in certain other parts of North America, and is an extension of the earlier report which I presented to you several days ago. I consulted with the directors of the Departments of Natural Resources in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas, as well as with my colleagues in several of the largest institutions of higher learning in the four states. Therefore, you may regard the information contained in this report as being completely accurate."

                David M. Cornelison
                Scientific Adviser to the Office of The President.

                President Chu begins to read the report, and each page fills him with yet more amazement. In sum, the core information is as follows:

                Mineral Reserves of North America

                Gold: 851,500,000 tons ore, average grade 0.25 ounce/ton
                Oil: 57.6 billion barrels
                Natural gas: 1,000 trillion cubic feet
                Copper: 15.5 billion tons ore, average grade 10%; associated metals are molybdenum (0.04%), silver (10 ounces/ton), zinc (17.1%), lead (4.5%), germanium (100 ppm) and gallium (70 ppm)
                Rare-earth elements: 1,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 6.5%; associated metals are thorium (2.6%) and uranium (0.26%)
                Graphite: 2,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 8%
                Coal: 37 trillion tons
                Iron: 30 billion tons ore, average grade 58%

                Uranium: 7,000,000 tons ore; average grade 0.021%
                Gold: 30,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.25 ounce/ton
                High-iron ilmenite: 100,000,000 tons; average grade 30% titanium dioxide/50% iron oxide
                Natural gas: 90,000,000,000 cubic feet

                Zinc: 350,000,000 tons ore, average grade 9.15%; associated metals are copper (6.62%), silver (0.75 ounce/ton) and gold (0.158 ounce/ton)
                Lead: 200,000,000 tons ore, average grade 4.2%
                Magnesium: 60 million tons ore, average grade 22%
                Copper: 175,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.36%, associated molybdenum content 0.01%
                Iron: 6,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 69%

                Rare-Earths: 40,000,000 tons ore; average grade 12%
                Uranium: 18,000,000 tons ore; average grade 0.07%
                Gold: 472,000,000 tons ore; average grade 0.25 ounce/ton
                Silver: 90,000,000 tons ore; average grade: 25 ounces/ton
                Rhenium: 500,000,000 tons ore, average grade: 1.0226 oz/ton (associated molybdenum content is 2.25%)
                Diatomite: 500,000,000 tons
                Oil: 6 billion barrels
                Shale oil: 15.4 billion barrels
                Natural gas: 7.5 trillion cubic feet

                Gold: 5,750,000,000 tons ore; average grade 2.94 ounces/ton, associated metals are silver (6.878 ounces/ton) and tin (36 ppm)
                Copper: 150,000,000 tons ore; average grade 4%
                Iron: 1,050,000,000 tons ore; average grade 32.5%
                Oil: 5 billion barrels
                Uranium: 7,000,000 tons ore; average grade 0.059%
                Lithium: 900 parts per million from underground brine, hard rock deposits are 4,400,000,000 tons at an average grade of 0.25%
                Magnesium: 120,000,000 tons ore; average grade 12%
                Gallium: 600,000,000 tons ore; average grade 15 ounces/ton
                Barite: 600,000,000 tons
                Rock Salt: 500 billion tons

                Oil: 30,000,000,000 barrels
                Shale oil: 1.3 trillion barrels
                Coal: 40,000,000,000 tons
                Coalbed methane: 11 trillion cubic feet
                Natural gas: 28 trillion cubic feet
                Iron: 750,000,000 tons ore, average grade:
                Molybdenum: 610,000,000 tons, average grade: 0.3%
                Copper: 19,500,000,000 tons ore, average grade: 10%; associated metals are gold (0.5 oz/ton), silver (32 ounces/ton), lead (17.6%), zinc (10%), indium (0.0385%), gallium (120 ppm), germanium (400 ppm), tellurium (2,500 ppm), selenium (2.5 ppm), bismuth (0.15%) & cadmium (3,000 ppm)
                Uranium: 35,000,000 tons ore, average grade: 0.8%; associated vanadium content is 1.8%
                Beryllium: 8,000,000 tons ore, average grade: 0.76%
                Phosphate: 7,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade: 40%
                Potash: 2,000,000,000 tons
                Rock salt: 500 billion tons
                Brine: 230 billion tons, mineral contents are magnesium (18.7%), salt (13%), potash (7.9%), barium (1%), lithium (1,700 ppm), bromine (6,100 ppm) & boron (1,260 ppm)

                Molybdenum: 1,600,000,000 tons, average grade 0.0151-0.025%
                Coal: 130 billion tons
                Natural Gas: 50 trillion cubic feet
                Shale Oil: 600 billion barrels
                Nahcolite: 43.3 billion tons
                Gold: 180,000,000 tons ore: average grade 0.25 ounce/ton
                Silver: 22,500,000 tons ore: average grade 16 ounces/ton
                Copper: 900,000,000 tons ore, average grade 5%; associated metals are lead (11%) and zinc (8%)
                Uranium: 8,600,000 tons ore, average grade .08% uranium oxide; associated vanadium content is 1.46%
                Rare-Earth oxides: 1,600,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.52% REOs; associated metals are thorium (0.4%) and titanium (7.6%)

                Gold: 180,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.25 ounce/ton
                Copper: 12,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.5%; associated metals are molybdenum (0.16%) and silver (0.5 ounce/ton)
                Manganese: 200,000,000 tons ore; average grade 4%
                Uranium: 31,250,000 tons ore, average grade 0.8% uranium oxide; associated vanadium content is 1.42%
                Potash: 1,000,000,000 tons, average grade:
                Rock Salt: 35 trillion tons
                Coal: 30,000,000,000 tons

                New Mexico
                Uranium: 210,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.25% uranium oxide, associated vanadium content is 0.12%
                Copper: 240,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.3%; associated metals are silver (9 ounces/ton) and gold (0.12 oz/ton)
                Coal: 25 billion tons
                Natural Gas: 40 trillion cubic feet; associated helium content is 7.5%
                Potash: 100,000,000 tons

                Oil: 220 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 765 trillion cubic feet; associated helium content is 2.7%
                Salt: 2.5 trillion tons
                Uranium: 20,000,000 tons ore, average grade .08% uranium oxide
                Sulfur: 3.75 billion tons
                Mercury: 100,000 tons
                TREO: 2,500,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.064%; associated fluorine content is 1.3%

                Silver: 285,000,000 tons ore, average grade 100 ounces/ton; associated metals are copper (2.5%), and lead (4.5%)
                Gold: 50,000,000 tons ore, average grade: 0.25 ounce/ton
                Cobalt: 44,160,000 tons ore, average grade .08% ; associated metals are copper (4.5% grade) and gold (1.04 grams/ton), nickel (3.2% grade) and bismuth (9.2% grade)
                Molybdenum: 2,500,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.15%
                Thorium: 70,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.4%; associated rare-earth oxides (0.52%)
                Zinc: 450,000,000 tons ore, average grade 18.9%; associated lead content 7.4% Phosphate: 1,250,000,000 tons, average grade 40%
                Sulfur: 250 billion tons

                Chromium: 5,000,000 tons ore; average grade 45%
                Gold: 114,000,000 tons ore; average grade 0.25 ounce/ton
                Silver: 50,000,000 tons ore; average grade 16 ounces/ton
                Copper: 230,000,000 tons ore; average grade 6.5%
                Palladium: 90,000,000 tons ore; average grade 1.8 ounces/ton (associated platinum content is 0.6 oz/ton)
                Iron: 1,000,000,000 tons ore; average grade 60% (associated titanium oxide 7.5%)
                Zinc: 25,000,000 tons ore; average grade 16% (associated lead content: 4.5%)
                Manganese: 4,500,000 tons ore; average grade 36%
                Molybdenum: 60,000,000 tons ore; average grade 0.3%
                Tungsten: 65,000,000 tons ore; average grade 0.3%
                Manganese: 15,000,000 tons ore; average grade: 22%
                Phosphate rock: 25 billion tons
                Rock salt: 3.7 trillion tons
                Oil: 40,000,000,000 barrels
                Coal: 220 billion tons
                Natural gas: 4.5 trillion cubic feet
                Uranium: 485,000,000 tons ore; average grade 0.009% (ore is also 31% phosphorus pentoxide)

                Lithium: 4,000-4,500 parts per million from underground brine (18,000,000 tons total)
                Gold: 174,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1 ounce/ton
                Uranium: 145,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.002%
                Rare-earth metals: 14,700,000 tons ore, average grade 6.81%; associated minerals are tantalum (7.16 ounces/ton and niobium (37 ounces/ton)
                Bentonite: 2,000,000,000 tons
                Phosphate: 2.5 trillion tons, average grade 9%; associated uranium content is 33 ppm
                Trona: 130 billion tons
                Oil: 1.5 billion barrels
                Natural gas: 75 trillion cubic feet, associated helium content is 1.3%
                Shale Oil: 1.5 trillion barrels
                Coal: 70 billion tons
                Coalbed methane: 120 trillion cubic feet
                Helium: 60 billion cubic feet

                Oil: 15.1 billion barrels
                Natural gas: 104 trillion cubic feet
                Coal: 55,000,000,000 tons
                Iodine: 6,550 ppm from brine wells (525,000 tons total reserve)
                Zinc: 104,000,000 tons ore, average grade 5%, associated lead content is 1.25%
                Rock salt: 500 billion tons

                Coal: 35 billion tons; associated germanium content is 2.75 ounces/ton
                Oil: 16.6 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 25 trillion cubic feet; associated helium content is 3%-5%
                Rock Salt: 1.1 trillion tons
                Zinc: 115,000,000 tons ore; average grade 2.5%; associated metals are lead 0.06%), cadmium (0.035%) and gallium (0.012%)

                Oil: 1,500,000,000 barrels
                Natural Gas: 5.5 trillion cubic feet
                Iron: 1,800,000,000 tons ore, average grade 65%
                Rock Salt: 30 quadrillion tons
                Copper: 850,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.75%

                Copper: 180,000,000 tons ore, average grade 10.5%, associated metals are zinc (9.4%), lead (1.7%), silver (2.3 ounces/ton) and gold (0.28 ounce/ton)
                Iron: 950,000,000 tons hematite, average grade 70%; 4,750,000,000 tons taconite, average grade 35%

                Titanium: 660,000,000 tons ore, average grade 16.5%
                Iron: 6.12 trillion tons; one-third of this ore has an average grade of 70%, and the remaining two-thirds has an average grade of 40%
                Copper: 4,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade is 0.84%, associated metals are nickel (2.3 ppt) and gold/platinum-group metals (8 ppm)

                Lead-Zinc: 120,000,000 tons ore, average grade 2.75% lead and 1.5% zinc; associated metal content is gallium (200 ppm), gold (1.25 grams/ton) and silver (6 grams/ton)
                Coal: 30,000,000,000 tons; trace metals are selenium (3 ppm), mercury (0.10 ppm) and arsenic (1.4-71 ppm)
                Iron: 12,000,000 tons ore, average grade 55%

                Niobium: 100,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.02% niobium oxide
                TREO: 210,000,000 tons ore, average grade 3.32%
                Oil: 500,000,000 barrels
                Natural gas: 977.7 billion cubic feet
                Uranium: 4,500,000 tons ore, average grade 2.5%

                Oil: 2,000,000,000 barrels
                Coal: 45 billion tons
                Natural gas: 250 billion cubic feet
                Lead: 700,000,000 tons ore, average grade 16.5%. Associated metals are zinc (2.25%), copper (0.04%), silver (142 g/ton), gold (2.5 g/ton), platinum (1.6 g/ton) and palladium (0.2 g/ton)
                Iron: 1,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 65%-80%
                Uranium: 3,500,000 tons ore, average grade 20%

                Coal: 300 billion tons
                Oil: 3.6 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 70 trillion cubic feet
                Oil: 1,000,000,000 barrels
                Natural Gas: 90 trillion cubic feet
                Coal: 28 billion tons

                Coal: 24 billion tons
                Oil: 5 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 15 trillion cubic feet
                Rock Salt: 80 billion tons

                Coal: 12 billion tons
                Natural gas: 987 billion cubic feet
                Uranium: 30,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.02%
                Titanium: 450,000,000 tons ore, average grade 4%

                West Virginia
                Coal: 117 billion tons
                Natural gas: 50 trillion cubic feet

                North Carolina
                Gold: 162,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.264 ounce/ton
                Lithium: 375,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.07%
                Magnesium: 115,000,000 tons ore; average grade 45% magnesium oxide
                Phosphate rock: 3,000,000,000 tons, average grade 30%

                South Carolina
                Gold: 158,500,000 tons ore, average grade 0.2 ounce/ton; associated metals are copper (0.2%), molybdenum (0.13%) and lead (0.74%)

                Coal: 104 billion tons
                Oil: 2.8 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 143.07 trillion cubic feet
                Shale oil: 50 billion barrels

                Natural Gas: 50 trillion cubic feet; associated hydrogen sulfide content is 10 ounces per 100 cubic feet
                Oil: 2,000,000,000 barrels
                Coal: 4,000,000,000 tons
                Lignite: 9,000,000,000 tons
                Bromine: 4,000-4,600 parts per million (ppm) from oilfield brines
                Lithium: 700 parts per million (ppm) from oilfield brines
                Aluminum: 7.5 billion tons ore, average grade 55%; associated metals are niobium (2%), tantalum (0.05%) and gallium (2.75 ounces/ton)
                Iron: 270,000,000 tons ore, average grade 35%
                Manganese: 550,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.2%; associated cobalt content is 0.22%
                Vanadium: 6,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.2%
                Titanium: 8,000,000 tons ore, average grade 8%

                Zinc: 250,000,000 tons ore, average grade 3% zinc; associated metals are lead (1.5%), cadmium (0.09%), germanium (0.04%) and gallium (0.05%)
                Phosphate: 345,000,000 tons
                Natural Gas: 126.5 trillion cubic feet
                Coal: 1.35 billion tons
                Iron ore: 1,000,000,000 tons, average grade 55%

                Oil: 1,000,000,000 barrels
                Natural gas: 500 billion cubic feet
                Coal: 50 billion tons

                Oil: 5,000,000,000 barrels
                Natural gas: 56 trillion cubic feet
                Coal: 24 billion tons
                Iron ore: 2,000,000,000 tons hematite, average grade 70%; 4,700,000,000 tons limonite, average grade 50%

                Aluminum: 50,000,000 tons ore, average grade 44%-50.4%
                Iron: 350,000,000 tons ore, average grade 50%
                Manganese: 90,000,000 tons ore, average grade 35%
                Beryllium: 500,000 tons ore, average grade 0.98%
                Cobalt: 35,000,000 tons ore, average grade 2 lbs/ton
                Gold: 10,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.10 ounce/ton
                Kaolin: 3,200,000,000 tons

                Oil: 6.8 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 500 trillion cubic feet
                Coal: 12,000,000,000 tons anthracite, 1.96 trillion tons bituminous
                North Dakota
                Oil: 167 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 80 trillion cubic feet
                Coal: 38 billion tons bituminous coal, 400 billion tons lignite
                Potash: 80 billion tons
                Rock Salt: 250 billion tons
                Sodium Sulfate: 60 million tons

                South Dakota
                Gold: 270,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.25 ounce/ton
                Oil: 36 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 25 trillion cubic feet

                Oil: 27 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 230 trillion cubic feet
                Rock Salt: 2.5 trillion tons
                Lignite: 2,000,000,000 tons

                Phosphate: 5,000,000,000 tons; average grade is 30%, associated uranium content is 0.002%
                Titanium: 40,000,000 tons ore, average grade 53% titanium dioxide/47% iron oxide
                Oil: 970,000,000 barrels
                Natural gas: 660 trillion cubic feet

                Copper: 33,000,000 tons ore, average grade is 3.4% copper; associated metals are zinc (17.1%), lead (1%), cadmium (2%), bismuth (1.5%), silver (6.3 ounces/ton) and gold (0.2 ounce/ton)
                Molybdenum: 2,000,000 tons ore, average grade 6.46%
                Manganese: 20,000,000 tons ore, average grade 17.6% manganese oxide

                New York
                Iron: 2,000,000,000 tons, average grade 55%
                Zinc: 100,000,000 tons ore, average grade 8.7%; associated mercury content is 1,200 ppm
                Rock salt: 4 trillion tons
                Coal: 25 billion tons
                Oil: 2,000,000,000 barrels
                Natural gas: 38 trillion cubic feet

                Copper: 30,000,000 tons ore, average grade 2%
                Iron: 150,000,000 tons ore, average grade 60%

                New Hampshire
                Zinc: 50,000,000 tons ore, average grade 10%; associated metals are copper (5%), lead (3.7%), silver (20 ounces/ton), cadmium (0.2%) and various REEs (0.15%)

                Iron ore: 15,000,000 tons ore, average grade 72.5%
                Copper: 20,000,000 tons ore; average grade 10.5%

                Oil: 315 billion barrels
                Natural Gas: 800 trillion cubic feet
                Coal: 190 billion tons
                Tar Sands: 1.6 trillion barrels oil-equivalent
                Gold: 1,150,000,000 tons ore; average grade 0.25 ounces/ton
                Silver: 930,000,000 tons ore; average grade 16 ounces/ton
                Iron ore: 103 billion tons, average grade 44%
                Uranium: 80,000,000 tons ore, average grade 4.5%
                Thorium: 160,000,000 tons ore, average grade 3%
                Radium: 0.333 ppm of uranium oxide
                Zinc: 850,000,000 tons ore, average grade 12.8%; associated metals are lead (3.3%), copper (1.4%), nickel (1.55%), platinum-group metals (1.5 ppm), germanium (6,280 ppm) and gallium (600 ppm)
                Chromium: 600,000,000 tons ore, average grade 40%
                Titanium: 1,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.5%
                Molybdenum: 900 billion tons ore, average grade 0.25%
                Tantalum: 65,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.196%; associated niobium content is 234 ppm.
                Lithium: 60,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.9%
                Cesium: 1,000,000 tons ore, average grade 24%; associated rubidium content is 1.35%
                Phosphate: 700,000,000 tons, associated REEs are 1,600 ppm
                Potash: 150 billion tons
                Rock salt: 1 quadrillion tons
                Sulfur: 200,000,000 tons

                Rare Earth Elements
                Strange Lake, Quebec: 41 million tons ore, average grade 1.16% TREO (total rare-earth oxides), 2.17% zirconium oxide, 0.24% niobium pentoxide, 0.12% beryllium oxide, 0.05% hafnium oxide
                Great Slave lake: 61.1 million tons ore, average grade 2.05% TREO, 10.6 million tons ore, average grade 1.34% lithium oxide, 0.30% rubidium oxide, 0.007% tantalum oxide
                Bernic Lake: 405,190 tons ore, average grade 24% cesium oxide

                Snap Lake: 185 million tons ore, average grade 1.5 carats/ton
                Victor: 274 million tons ore, average grade 0.25 carats/ton
                Diavik: 340 million tons ore, average grade 3 carats/ton

                On the last page, there is a note from Professor Cornelison that says ‘Mr. President, as you can see, the natural resources of North America are so vast and so varied that they beggar the imagination. Of other nonfuel and nonindustrial minerals, the supplies of clay, sand, gravel and
                building stone are, for all intents and purposes, effectively inexhaustible.' The supporting documentation in the report consists of many tables, charts and graphs that precisely detail the locations of each and every deposit mentioned in the report.

                President Chu places the report in a drawer in his desk and then goes on with other business. The next document he reads is from Secretary of Defense Stephen Danner. It says ‘Mr. President, I have received responses to the Request For Proposal that I sent out in regards to construction of warships for the rebuilding of the United States Navy. The first is from the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company in Leavenworth, Kansas. During the Second World War, this firm operated a shipyard that constructed hundreds of barges and small craft for the U.S Navy. After the war, the company's shipyard manufactured river barges for civilian business until 1982, when the shipyard was mothballed. Once this facility is reopened, it will be capable of constructing vessels of up to 950 tons displacement. The design they propose to build for the U.S Navy is a variation of the Admirableclass minesweeper from World War II. This new design will have a lengthened and strengthened hull for additional fuel bunkerage and storage of supplies and munitions. The specifications and armament of this vessel are as follows:

                Hazardclass DE, named after USS Hazard (AM240)
                Displacement: 750 tons
                Length: 225' 6", Beam: 33', Draft: 10', Speed: 15 knots, Range: 5,000 nautical miles
                Ship's Complement: 104 officers & men

                1 x 76mm/62caliber automatic cannon, turretmounted on the forward deck. Ammunition stowage is 1,500 rounds; this weapon is a copy of the OTOMelara design.
                1 x 57mm Mk110 automatic cannon, turretmounted on the after deck. Ammunition stowage is 120 ready rounds, with a further 1,000 rounds in the magazine.
                2 x Mk 38 Mod 2 ‘Bushmaster' 25mm autocannons; one each, port & starboard. Each of these weapons is carried on a powered external mount, with a total ammunition stowage of 2,700 rounds per gun.
                4 x Browning M2 .50caliber machineguns on manuallyoperated pintle mounts. Each mount has an external box magazine that holds 300 rounds. Total ammunition stowage is 6,000 rounds per gun.

                To maximize both performance and fuel efficiency, the Hazardclass will have dieselelectric propulsion

                ‘The second response I received is from Trinity Industries of Caruthersville, Missouri. This yard is still in operation, and is capable of constructing vessels of up to 2,500 tons displacement. The vessel they propose to build is a copy of the Allen M. Sumnerclass DD (also from World War II). This vessel's specifications and armament are as follows:

                Sumnerclass DD, named after the original Allan M. Sumnerclass DD
                Displacement: 2,250 tons standard/3,500 tons full load
                Length: 376' overall, Beam: 41', Draft: 15' 9" normal/19' full load, Range: 6,500 nautical miles
                Ship's Complement: 336 officers & men

                3 x 5"/62caliber Mark 45 Mod 4 naval guns in three single turrets (2 forward, 1 aft).
                Ammunition stowage is 20 rounds per gun in the turret loader, plus 880 rounds per gun in each
                of the three main magazines.
                4 x Mk 38 Mod 2 ‘Bushmaster' 25mm autocannons; two each, port & starboard. Each of these weapons is carried on a powered external mount, with a total ammunition stowage of 2,700 rounds per gun.
                8 x Browning M2 .50caliber machineguns on powered twin mounts. Each mount has two external box magazines that hold 300 rounds each. Total ammunition stowage is 6,000 rounds per gun.
                1 x 21" quintupletube torpedo mount, centerline amidships. Five torpedoes are carried in the mount, with an additional ten torpedoes carried below deck.

                ‘Like the Hazardclass corvette, the Sumnerclass frigate will have dieselelectric propulsion. As for construction times, the proposal from Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company tells me that it will take eight months to reactivate their shipyard. Trinity Industries says they can begin construction of the first vessel within thirty days. Sourcing the armament for both classes is not a problem, as Rock Island Arsenal can make everything needed.’

                Respectfully yours:
                Stephen Danner
                Secretary of Defense

                As soon as President Chu finishes reading Secretary Danner's report, he places an immediate call to the Secretary of Defense' office.

                "Good Morning, Mr. Secretary."

                "Good Morning, Mr. President."

                "Mr. Secretary, I just read that report you sent me, and I wanted to talk with you before I made my decision."

                "Yes. Mr. President."

                "Call Trinity Industries and tell them that you have confirmation from the Office of The President. They are to begin building the Sumnerclass frigate as soon as possible. Your report said that they can start in thirty days?"

                "Yes they can, Mr. President. The CEO of Trinity Industries tells me that the shipyard has one large slipway and four smaller ones. If we want him to increase the rate of production, he'll need financing to expand the number of slipways."

                "Mr. Secretary, how long will it take for the first vessel to become available?"

                "Mr. President, the first ship of the Sumnerclass will be available six months from today."

                "Very well, Mr Secretary. When you call the CEO of Trinity Industries, tell him that I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to issue a letter of credit of sufficient value to finance the expansion of their shipyard. You will also call Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company and ask that they get started in reactivating their shipyard. Reconstituting the United States Navy is one of my highest priorities."

                "Yes, Mr. President."


                • #9
                  Chapter Four

                  Onwards and Upwards
                  Date: March 20th, 1607
                  Location: Whiteman AFB
                  0700 hours

                  In keeping with President Chu’s order of February 20th, Secretary of Defense Stephen Danner began planning Operation: Outreach. This operation will focus on the construction of a Forward Operating Base in Quebec. The initial phase will involve the insertion of a full company of combat engineers to construct an airfield capable of handing aircraft up to the size of a C-130 cargo transport. Along with the engineers, there will be two platoons of military police for site security and a battery of 120-mm mortars for fire support. The expedition will have supplies and equipment sufficient for thirty days of sustained operations, with more to be brought in once the airfield is operational. The C-130s with the troops, supplies and equipment have been staged on the tarmac awaiting the Go-Order.

                  SecDef Danner is at Whiteman AFB Headquarters along with the base commander General Thomas Bussiere. A call is received from the airfield, and GEN Bussiere says “Excuse me, Mr. Secretary, Operation Outreach is ready to go.”

                  SecDef Danner replies “Very well, General Bussiere.” Secretary Danner next asks for a call to be placed to President Chu’s office. A few seconds later, the connection is made. “Good Morning, Mr. President.”

                  “Good morning, Mr. Secretary. I assume this call is in connection with Operation: Outreach.”

                  “Yes Sir, Mr. President. The men and materiel have been assembled and loaded aboard several C-130's. They are ready to go. All we need is your order to go.”

                  “Very well, Mr. Secretary. You may proceed at your own discretion.”

                  “Thank you, Mr. President. I will keep you informed of our progress as information becomes available.” The call is ended, and SecDef Danner turns to General Bussiere and says “General, you may proceed.”

                  “Thank you, Mr. Secretary.” The Go-order is transmitted to Whiteman AFB’s control tower, and in turn, to the pilots of the C-130s waiting on the tarmac. The lead pilot calls to the other aircraft and says “Outreach Flight, this is Outreach Lead. We have a go. Tally-Ho!!” The lead aircraft taxis into position, then accelerates down the main runway. It climbs into the sky, and is quickly followed by the other eleven aircraft. Once aloft, the twelve C-130s link up and form themselves into two separate elements of six aircraft each. The lead pilot has his navigator set course for the landing site in Quebec. On the comm channel, he announces “Outreach Flight, this is Outreach Lead. Flight time to the drop zone is 3 hours, 30 minutes.” The other eleven aircraft acknowledge receipt of this information, and the flight crews settle into their routines.

                  1130 hours local time

                  Outreach Flight reaches its destination over the woods and grasslands of what would be Quebec in another universe. The lead pilot gets on the radio and says “Outbound Flight, this Outbound Lead. We are approaching the drop zone. Prepare to drop in three minutes.” The engineers, MPs and mortar crews perform their last-minute safety checks while the loadmasters on each C-130 inspect the straps and belts securing the vehicles, supplies and other equipment to their respective pallets. Three minutes later, the green light comes on, and the rear cargo ramps on each aircraft are lowered. In quick succession, all personnel exit their respective aircraft. The parachutes all open without any trouble, and the men find themselves on the ground. As soon as all of the personnel have landed, the signal is given for the cargo pallets to be parachuted. Fifteen minutes later, the last of them is on the ground; the work of building FOB Hope now begins.

                  “Home Base, Home Base, this is Outbound Lead. How do you read me, over?”

                  “Outbound Lead, this is Home Base. I read you loud and clear, over.”

                  “Home Base, this is Outbound Lead. All personnel and equipment have been successfully inserted into the target area.”

                  “Outbound Lead, this is Home Base. Received and understood. How is your fuel state, over?’

                  “Home Base, this is Outbound Lead. Right now, we’re at 60% of maximum, over.”

                  “Roger that, Outbound Lead. Return to base, out.”

                  “Understood, Home Base. Outbound Lead out.”

                  To support the initial mission, two bulldozers and two excavators were para-dropped along with stores of fuel and spare parts. The MPs have six up-armored HMMVWs and three armored security vehicles. Fire support is in the form of a battery of six M120 120-mm mortars, each of which is towed on a trailer by an M1198 HMMWV. A total of 500 rounds per tube was allocated to this mission. Additionally, a sufficient number of palletized HESCO barriers were dropped with the other equipment so as to provide physical security for the perimeter of the working camp. Troop accommodations are in a series of GP-Medium tents, and so the first task of the troops is to set the tents up and get the equipment, supplies and ammunition under cover. When this has been done, the work of clearing and leveling the ground can begin.

                  Here We Go
                  Date: March 21st, 1607
                  Location: FOB Hope, Quebec
                  0700 hours

                  After landing yesterday, most of the rest of the day was spent in setting up the tents and checking the equipment for any possible damage. This morning, a survey party is sent out to look over the ground and plan the layout of the airfield. The ground previously chosen by satellite surveillance is relatively flat, with about 50% ground cover. Even so, the size of the airfield is planned to be 4,500' long and 400' wide. This will require a great deal of work, and so, the combat engineer company sets to it with a will. In the meantime, the two platoons of MPs and the six mortar crews are finishing the work of setting up the camp. Observation points are set up to cover all possible avenues of approach, and the mortars are arranged so that their fields of fire are mutually-supporting. Two of the up-armored HMMWVs and one of the armored security vehicles are detailed to stay behind and protect the camp. The other HMMWVs and armored security vehicles establish a perimeter around the work crews as they begin to prepare the ground.

                  Captain Chris Brodeur is the commander of the Combat Engineer Company assigned to this mission, as well as being the OIC of the mission itself. At 1300 hours, he calls a staff meeting with the command elements of the MPs and the Mortar battery. “Gentlemen, the mission is off to a good start. We are going to need the rest of our TO & E to complete it on time. So, I’m going to call for the rest of our equipment to be air-dropped to us. Do you have any suggestions as to what can be added?” The MP element commander 1LT James Ferguson raises his hand and speaks up. He says “Sir, I’d feel better if we had enough concertina wire to ring the camp with a triple-standard fence as well as a tanglefoot. Later on, when the airfield is completed, more wire can be dropped so that the protection can cover the airfield’s entire perimeter.” Captain Brodeur turns to 1LT Ron Scheidler and says “Ron, how are your boys doing?”

                  “Sir, I never saw them work so hard and so fast before. I think they realize the importance of this mission. The six mortars are all in place, with sandbag protection all around. A couple of them even climbed trees with their binoculars and laser-rangefinders; they worked up some excellent range cards. I can definitely say than no hostiles are getting anywhere near us without risking some steel rain, as it were.

                  “Good work, Ron.”

                  Anchors Aweigh!!
                  Date: March 21st, 1607
                  Location: Trinity Industries Shipyard, Caruthersville, Missouri
                  1500 hours

                  At the shipyard of Trinity Industries in Caruthersville, Missouri, there has been a furious amount of activity today. This day marks the ceremonial laying down of the first Sumner-class destroyer, and two huge sections of steel beam are welded together to form part of the ship’s keel. This vessel (to be named USS Sumner) is expected to be launched by the end of September, 1607. The enthusiasm of the shipyard workers for this project showed in how fast they got their shipyard ready to go. The schedule for this didn’t have them ready until the end of March,

                  Over at Rock Island Arsenal, work is beginning on the production of the weapons needed to arm twelve Sumner-class frigates. This is expected to take up to two months. An additional thirty days will be used to test the weapons for reliability.

                  Building For The Future
                  Date: April 4th, 1607
                  Location: The camp of the Nebraska Rangers

                  At a meeting of the full membership of the Nebraska Rangers, it was decided to have the families of the Rangers return to their homes in Henry, Lyman and Scottsbluff. This decision was made because the likelihood of civil unrest has been much-diminished over the last two months. It was further decided that in order to facilitate the operations of the Nebraska Rangers, permanent quarters should be constructed. After more discussion between the membership, Frank Miller, Jim Parsons and Tim Dawson decide that since the land on the other side of the old Nebraska/Wyoming state line is unclaimed by any current government entity, it would be beneficial for the Rangers to move their operations there.

                  Mike Dodge is in charge of the re-enactors of Troop G ever since Jim McPherson decided to stay with the Cheyenne. He thinks for a few minutes and says “Frank, I have an idea where the new post should be located.” Frank Miller replies “Where’s that, Mike?” Mike Dodge says “ I saw a suitable location when we were riding back and forth between here and that Cheyenne village. There’s a patch of ground about a quarter-mile into Wyoming where we can build. The location is well-situated with good drainage. There is a stream nearby for water, and the timber is abundant.”

                  “What do you have in mind, Mike?”

                  “Frank, we should build a timber fort like we saw in all of those old cavalry movies.” This remark causes a substantial amount of good-natured laughter to break out among those present. When the laughter settles down, Mike Dodge goes onto says “We’ve now got contacts with the State Government in Lincoln. We can get their support to put a few amenities in the fort like a wind-driven water pump, a solar water heater and a wind turbine for generating electricity. The walls of the fort will give protection from wild animals, and we can put up actual timber buildings inside the enclosure. These will certainly be better than our tents when it comes to putting up with bad weather.”

                  Frank Miller considers what Mike Dodge has just told him and then he replies “Let’s do it. That location you mention will also put us in a better position to maintain contact with the Cheyenne.”

                  Expanding and Expanding
                  Date: April 4th, 1607
                  Location: FOB Hope, Quebec
                  1300 hours

                  At FOB Hope, the Combat Engineers have performed absolutely Herculean feats in constructing the airfield. All of the trees within the perimeter have been cut down, and the stumps removed. The trunks have been stripped of their branches, cut to a standard length and stacked for later use. Captain Brodeur and his executive officer 1LT Frank Morris made a survey of the ground within the proposed perimeter; the results of this survey were used to determine which areas of ground needed to be flattened or otherwise filled in. Preparation of the ground was greatly aided by the rest of the combat engineering company’s construction equipment, which was airdropped four days previously. Gravel for the smoothing and leveling of the ground was obtained from the banks of nearby streams and rivers.

                  Just after lunchtime, Captain Brodeur and the MP commander 1LT Jim Ferguson are out walking the perimeter. 1LT Ferguson turns to Captain Brodeur and says “Sir, your men are making fantastic progress. I would have thought that such progress would have required at least another week to ten days.” Captain Brodeur replies “True enough, lieutenant. Your own men have put in their fair share of construction work.”

                  “Thank you, sir. I’d like to ask what’s next on the schedule.”

                  “Lieutenant, the field is almost ready to land aircraft. All that needs to be done is receive a sufficient amount of AM2 aluminum matting. I made such a call back to Whiteman AFB. They tell me that the flights will begin tomorrow morning. Once the matting has been landed, my guys will have it in place as soon as possible. The, we can actually have those C-130s land here, instead of just airdropping what we need.”

                  “That is good news, sir. I can report that my men have finished building the guard towers on the perimeter of the landing field. There is one tower at each corner, plus other towers at regular intervals along the length of the field. Each tower is manned by a fire-team of three men at all times. Thus far, I have had no reports of anyone approaching the perimeter. This won’t last, however. The French and the Iroquois are out there, and it is only a matter of time before we encounter them. President Chu’s declaration that all North American lands and territories not already claimed by any European power belong to the United States isn’t going to sit well with our friends from Paris.”

                  “I see, lieutenant. How do you know this?”

                  “Sir, I have a master’s degree in the history of Colonial America. Samuel de Champlain is due to come out this way in July of 1608. I think it a great understatement that he’ll be quite surprised when he gets here.”

                  “Very well, lieutenant. With what you just said in mind, I will call for a battery of towed 105-mm artillery to be flown in as soon as the airfield is ready. There will be enough concertina wire to ring the field’s entire perimeter, just as with our camp. There’s going to be triple-standard concertina, plus an arrangement of tanglefoot outwards from the triple-standard. Even though the mortars and the artillery will provide us absolute fire superiority, I’d be more comfortable if we had advance knowledge of our surroundings. When the field is ready, I will ask higher headquarters for a troop of AH-64 attack helicopters to be stationed here. They’ll probably send us a few reconnaissance birds and a couple of transport helicopters as well.”

                  “That is an excellent idea, sir. Having the attack and recce birds here will enable us to reach out and touch someone at great distances. Those transports will allow us to put boots on the ground anywhere within range if necessary.”

                  Date: April 4th, 1607
                  Location: the capital cities of Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska
                  1400 hours

                  Meanwhile back on the home front, the reconstitution of the U.S Senate is proceeding apace. The governors of Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska saw how well the process went when Iowa re-made its’ own Senate delegation. Therefore, they resolve to call special sessions of the respective State legislatures to address the issue. The first body to be called into session is the Kansas State Legislature, followed by Missouri and finally Nebraska. In Topeka, the special session of the State senate is called to order by Senate President Steve Morris (R-39), who strikes his gavel upon the desk in front of him and calls out solemnly “The ladies and gentlemen of the Senate will please take their seats.” He turns to Senate Secretary Diane Minear and says “Madam Secretary, what business stands before the Senate this day?”

                  “Mr. President, by request of Governor Brownback, the Kansas State Senate has been asked to meet and select individuals to replace Senators Tim Huelskamp, Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder and Mike Pompeo. As you all know, the entirety of our Congressional delegation was left behind in our old world when we were brought here.”

                  “Very well, Madam Secretary. Ladies and Gentlemen of this distinguished body, it is of singular importance to the State of Kansas and the nation as a whole that our Senate delegation be reconstituted without delay. Therefore, I open the floor for nominations.”

                  Senator Terry Bruce rises from his seat and says “Mr. President, I ask the chair’s indulgence to speak on this matter”

                  “The chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from District 34.”

                  “Mr. President, the situation which our nation and our state has faced these past two months is unlike any other in all of human history. The good of the people requires us to put aside any differences between Republicans and Democrats and act as a united whole. I therefore ask my distinguished colleague Senator Ralph Ostmeyer from the Committee on Federal and State Affairs to step forward. I yield the floor that he may speak and I further reserve the balance of my time.”

                  “Without objection, it is so noted.” Senate President Morris gestures over to where Senator Ostmeyer is sitting and says “Senator Ostmeyer, the floor is yours.”

                  “I thank the President of the Senate for his kind indulgence. Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished members of the Kansas State Senate, I rise this day to place the name of Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley in nomination for one of the vacant seats in our U.S Senate delegation. Senator Hensley is the longest-tenured member of the Senate. He was first elected to the House in 1977, where he served until 1992. In 1993, he was elected to a term in the Senate and has been here ever since. Senator Hensley’s long service and his experience as chair of the Committee on Federal and State Affairs makes him extremely well-qualified to serve as a U.S Senator. I ask that his name be entered into the record and that the nomination be seconded.”

                  Senate President Morris says “Without objection, it is so ordered.” He gestures to Senate Secretary Minear, who says “Senator Anthony Hensley has been nominated to fill one of Kansas’ four vacant U.S Senate seats. Do I hear a second?”

                  “Mr. President?”

                  “The chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman Les Donovan from the 27th District.”

                  “Mr. President, I second the nomination.”

                  “Thank you, Senator Donovan. The nomination of Senator Hensley, having been made and duly seconded, will now be debated by the membership at large. The allotted time will be sixty minutes.”

                  The debate over Senator Hensley’s nomination commences, but is largely pro forma. He is so highly-respected on both sides of the aisle that the hushed mutterings of discussion among the members of the Kansas Senate quickly come to a conclusion just over fifteen minutes later. At this time, Senator Ralph Ostmeyer rises from his seat and says “Mr. President?”

                  “The chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from District 40.”

                  “I thank the chair for your kind indulgence. Mr. President, I am of the opinion that further debate on Senator Hensley’s nomination will serve no purpose. I have polled my colleagues and they and I are of like mind. I call for an immediate vote.”

                  “Without objection, it is so ordered. In the matter of the confirmation of Senator Anthony Hensley to fill one of the vacant seats in the Kansas delegation to the United States Senate, the membership will cast their votes by electronic device. The Secretary of the Senate will call the tally when all members have voted.”

                  Just five minutes later, the electronic display on the wall of the Senate chamber shows that all members of the Senate have voted. As a matter of course, Senator Hensley abstained. Senate Secretary Minear reads from her own electronic display and announces to the membership at large “The membership of the Kansas State Senate having recorded their votes on Senator Hensley’s nomination to the United States Senate, the Yeas are 39 and there are no votes in opposition.”

                  Senate President Morris gavels this set of proceedings to a close and says “Congratulations, Senator Hensley.” To the membership at large, he says “There are three other seats to be filled. I now open the floor for nominations.”

                  In the Senate chambers of Nebraska and Missouri, very similar proceedings are taking place. All told, the Senate delegations of these two states (along with that of Kansas) will be reconstituted within twenty-four hours. After that, President Chu will be apprised of these developments so that accommodations can be made for the new United States Senate.

                  Date: April 5th, 1607
                  Location: Nebraska National Guard Headquarters, Lincoln, Nebraska

                  In order to survey the ground and provide up-to-date knowledge of the area outside state borders, Adjutant-General Judd Lyons decides that a reconnaissance should be made of northeastern Colorado and southern South Dakota. To this end, he orders Assistant Adjutant General Daryl Bohac to work with State CSM Eli Valenzuela to come up with a practical plan for doing so.

                  “Sir, CSM Valenzuela and I should be able to have a preliminary plan on your desk before close of business today.”

                  “Very well, General Bohac. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.”

                  At almost the same time in the headquarters of the Iowa National Guard at the STARC Armory in Johnston, Iowa, practically the same discussion is being had between Adjutant-General Timothy Orr and his subordinate commanders. Some of these officers are present in the STARC conference room, while others are participating via teleconference. The results of this command staff meeting are that General Orr has ordered several reconnaissance missions to take place. The first of these will be into west-central Illinois. The 1st Platoon of the 339th MP Company from Davenport, Iowa was on duty at the Illinois end of the I-80 highway bridge. They will be reinforced by the 2nd Platoon. Additional supplies and equipment will be delivered to the forward operating base at the end of the bridge, then the two platoons will make forth to a distance of thirty or forty miles. Another FOB will be set up and exploration of the local area will commence. Back at the bridge, security duties will be assumed by 2nd Platoon, 186th MP Company; these troops were already on-station as backup for 1st Platoon, 339th MP Company.

                  Adjutant-General Orr asks the commanding officers of the two MP Companies if they have any questions; CPT Dominic Wibe of the 339thth MP Company has enough foresight to ask “Sir, pardon me for mentioning this, but what do we do when we encounter members of any of the indian tribes in that area? I certainly don’t speak any of the languages, and neither do any of the troops under my command.”

                  “An excellent question, Captain Wibe. I will call the chancellors of Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa to see if any of the staffers in their anthropology or archaeology departments have any knowledge of the languages that your troops are likely to encounter.”

                  Next to be called upon by General Orr is Captain Samuel McKnight of HQ Company, 1-133rd Inf Bn. “Captain McKnight?”

                  “Yes, sir?”

                  “Your unit will be tasked with exploring southern Minnesota. You will stage out of the town of Clear Lake in Cerro Gordo County. The first objective will be to set of a forward operating base on the other side of the Iowa/Minnesota state line; I leave choice of the location up to your own best judgment. Once the base is set up, you will have your troops explore the surrounding area.”

                  “I understand, sir.”

                  “Very well, gentlemen. Dismissed.”

                  As promised, General Valenzuela brings his papers to General Lyon’s office to brief him on the plan he devised for carrying out the reconnaissance mission. “Sir, I have here an outline for accomplishing the mission you gave me earlier today. I call it ‘Operation: Exploration’, and it is in two parts. The first part involves staging troops and supplies out of the village of Lynch in Boyd County, Nebraska. These troops will move across the state line into southern South Dakota. They will travel along the Missouri River for a distance of forty miles. At that time, they will select a location to set up a forward operating base. When the base is operational, they will send out patrols in all directions. These patrols will be tasked with surveying the land and seeing how it compares with the maps we have of that area from before the transition. In all likelihood, we will encounter members of the Ponca and Sioux Indian tribes. On that basis, I will consult with officials in the University of Nebraska system and the Nebraska State Historical Society to see if there are any speakers of those languages residing in the state.”

                  “So far so good, General Valenzuela. What of northeastern Colorado?”

                  “Sir, the expedition for that area will stage out of the city of Ogalalla, in Keith County. They will follow the course of the South Platte River until they reach the site of what used to be Sterling, Colorado. A forward operating base will be set up, and its personnel will be tasked with exploring the countryside just as their counterparts are doing in South Dakota. Both bases will have medical personnel assigned to see to the needs of the troops on each expedition, as well as any of the Arapaho they happen to come across. As with the South Dakota part of the mission, consultations will be had to see if there are any speakers of the Arapaho language available.”
                  “I see. What units will you be tasking for this mission?”

                  “Sir, the 67th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade and the 1st Squadron of the 134th Cavalry Regiment are both based out of Lincoln, Nebraska. With your approval, I will send the 67th BSB to South Dakota, while the 1st of the 134th will handle the Colorado part of the mission.”

                  “Very well, General Valenzuela. Your plans and dispositions are sound. You have my authorization to execute Operation: Exploration immediately.”

                  “Thank you, Sir. I will report back to you when the troops are en-route.”

                  Adjutant-General Lee Tafanelli of the Kansas National Guard is issuing his own instructions for the exploration of Oklahoma. Selected troops will cross the Kansas-Oklahoma state line and establish forward operating bases at the locations of what were the cities of Bartlesville and Enid, Oklahoma. Once the bases are up and running, explorations of the surrounding territory will be made.

                  At the headquarters of the Missouri National Guard, Adjutant-General Danner received a call earlier today from his colleague Adjutant-General Orr of the Iowa National Guard. This call apprised General Danner of General Orr’s plans to explore parts of Illinois. In the course of this call, a suggestion was made that they coordinate their efforts in regards to Illinois. “That is an excellent suggestion, General Orr. I will have my troops proceed across the river bridges in St. Louis, Missouri and take up station perhaps twenty to thirty miles on the other side.”

                  “General Danner, what will you be doing in regards to northern Arkansas?”

                  “My men won’t just be exploring Arkansas. One group will stage out of Sikeston, Missouri and explore the western end of Kentucky; the forward operating base will be located near Lake Barkley. I will have two separate groups stage out of Kennett, Missouri. One of these will proceed to the location of what was once Jonesboro, Arkansas; the second group will head across the I-155 river bridge into far northwestern Tennessee and set up operations near the location of Dyersburg.”

                  More Developments
                  Date: April 7th, 1607
                  Location: President Chu’s office, Whiteman AFB

                  One of the features of President Chu’s weekly briefings has been an update on the location of the three ships ‘Susan Constant’, ‘Discovery’ and ‘Godspeed’ carrying English settlers that will found the settlement of Jamestown in the colony of Virginia. A previous order from President Chu had tasked a photographic reconnaissance satellite to search for the ships. Just as this meeting was about to conclude, Tech SGT Shannon Lucky approaches BG Thomas Bussiere, leans over and speaks to him quietly. He also hands over an office folder of the type used for inter-office communications. BG Bussiere dismisses Tech SGT Lucky and then says “I beg your pardon, Mr. President.”

                  “Yes, General?”

                  “Sir, my aide just handed me these photographs of the three ships you asked to be apprised of. Per your order of 6 February, 1607, STRATCOM at Offutt AFB retasked one of our Block IV KH-12 photo-reconnaissance satellites to look for these vessels. The NRO detachment at Offutt was able to find them quite easily. Going by what we know from our historical records, the vessels are proceeding on their original course. As of one hour ago, they are just 1,200 nautical miles off the Virginia coast. In our original history, landfall was made on May 14th, 1607. All indications are that the Susan Constant, Discovery and Godspeed will still make landfall on this same date, just five weeks from today.”

                  “Very good, General. Please keep me apprised of their progress. Additionally, I want preparations made to support the colonists as necessary. Since we all arrived in this new time, I have read up on colonial American history, and I know that the settlers at Jamestown went through some very rough times. They are going to arrive too late in the season to get viable crops planted, and within just six months, 51 members of the original company are going to be dead. The lack of inclination from the settlers to grown their own food led them to strong-arm supplies from the neighboring Indian villages. This in turn led to several violent and bloody conflicts between the settlers and the natives. These conflicts are something that I wish to avoid.”

                  “Yes, Mr. President. FOB Hope in Quebec will be well-situated to take the lead in this relief effort. The base is just 850 miles from what will be the location of the Jamestown settlement. I will order that relief supplies be stockpiled at FOB Hope. At the appropriate time, we can have the supplies air-dropped to the colonists.”

                  “Excellent. You may proceed at your own discretion, General.”

                  “Yes, Mr. President.”

                  Date: April 14th, 1607
                  Location: FOB Hope, Quebec

                  By truly herculean amounts of effort, the combat engineers and MPs at FOB Hope have completed the airfield and the security perimeter around the base. The steel decking covering the airfield proper is all in place, and now C-130s can land (rather than having to air-drop additional supplies, equipment and personnel). Among the first vehicles to be landed are a detachment of eight AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, plus support staff, spare parts and maintenance equipment. Also flown in were four CH-53E Super Stallion transport helicopters and four AH-6i reconnaissance helicopters. To further enhance FOB Hope’s long-range firepower, four M198 towed 155-mm howitzers and their prime movers were brought in. Ammunition stores are 800 rounds per tube, in the proportions of 70% HE, 20% WP and 10% parachute flare.

                  Just after noontime, Captain Chris Brodeur is called to the base commo tent, where he receives an important communication.

                  “FOB Hope, FOB Hope, this is Home Base. How do you read, over?”

                  Captain Brodeur replies “Home Base, this is FOB Hope. I read you loud and clear, over.”

                  “FOB Hope, this is Home Base. Be advised that NCA has ordered that additional supplies and personnel be flown out to you in order to provide relief to the Virginia Colony. The flights will begin tomorrow. Date of the relief operation is TBD.”

                  “Home Base, this is FOB Hope. Received and understood. Will advise.”

                  “Roger that, FOB Hope. Home Base out.”

                  Captain Brodeur calls over the MP detachment commander 1LT James Ferguson and says “Jim, we’ve got another job.”

                  “What is that, sir?”

                  “Jim, NCA is mounting a relief effort for the Virginia Colony. Supplies and personnel will be stockpiled here at FOB Hope, and then sent forward when necessary.”

                  “Very good, sir. When do the first flights get here?”

                  “Home Base says that the first planes are coming here tomorrow. Advise your men accordingly and stand by to render assistance.”

                  “Yes, sir.”

                  Supply Run
                  Date: April 15th, 1607
                  Location: Whiteman AFB, Missouri

                  In connection with BG Bussier’s orders from President Chu, the first two C-130s have been loaded with medical supplies, high-protein/high-calorie ration packs, agricultural tools and sealed packets of various types of seed crops. These seed packets are identified by type, and are stored in vacuum-packed plastic drums. Along with the cargo, there will be a number of medics and physicians to see to the medical needs of the Virginia colonists (including vaccinations).

                  The command pilot of the lead aircraft radios Whiteman AFB’s control tower and says “Home Base, this is Relief-One, requesting permission to take off.”

                  “Relief-One, this is Home Base. Permission is granted. Be advised that winds are out of the northwest, steady at eight miles per hour. Weather radar shows no formations within 400 miles.”

                  “Thanks, Home Base. Relief-Two, this is Relief-One.”
                  “Go ahead, Relief-One.”

                  “We’ve been given the green light to proceed. Let’s go.”

                  “Understood, Relief-One.”

                  The pilot of the Relief-One aircraft nudges his throttle forward slightly. The four turboprops roar loudly as they speed up and the aircraft begins to taxi forward to the main runway. Some 75 yards behind Relief-One, the pilots of Relief-Two are doing the same thing. The plan is for the lead aircraft to take off and orbit Whiteman AFB until the trail aircraft is aloft. The two aircraft will join together and proceed towards FOB Hope at their best possible speed.

                  Ship Status
                  Date: April 15th, 1607
                  Location: Trinity Shipyard, Caruthersville, Missouri

                  The keel of USS Sumner is largely complete, and so the shipyard workers begin to fabricate some of the ship’s other structural members. Some of these are to be welded, while others will be riveted. While this is going on, the ground along the banks of the Mississippi River nearest the shipyard is being surveyed with an eye towards increasing the capacity of the shipyard. In total, four more slipways will be built, so that a total of five vessels can be worked on at the same time. Superintendent Roger Wilson places a call to Rock Island Arsenal to enquire on the status of the guns for USS Summner and her fellow vessels.

                  “Hello, this is Roger Wilson over at Trinity Shipyard in Caruthersville, Missouri.”

                  “Hello, Roger. This is Mike Rodgers. I’m the supervisor here at Rock Island. What can I do for you today?”

                  “Mike, I’m calling to get a status update on the armament for the Summner-class vessels we’re building for the U.S Navy.”

                  “I’m glad you called, Roger. As of today, the blanks for the breechblocks have all been cast. They are in the machine shop even as we speak. The barrel tubes for the 5"/62-caliber main guns and the 25-mm secondaries are being forged. After that, the tubes will be chambered and rifled. Next, the mounts will be constructed and the electricians will get to work on the wiring harnesses for the guns. We’ve got enough M2 .50-caliber machine guns in stock to arm all twelve of the Sumners; all that we have to do here is to build the mounts.”

                  “What of the torpedoes, Mike?”

                  “Ahh yes, the torpedoes. The ones we’re going to be building for the Summner-class are going to be 21" in diameter and 20' 6" long. Completed units are going to weigh 3,000 lbs each. They will be propelled by a steam turbine fueled by propellant-grade high-test peroxide. The peroxide is fed through plates covered with a silver catalyst. The chemical reaction decomposes the HTP into high-temperature steam and free oxygen; these in turn are fed into the turbine. The weapon’s range depends on its speed setting. The high-speed setting is 46 knots; this will give a range of 4,500 yards. Low-speed is 31 knots with a corresponding range of 9,000 yards. As a safety feature, the torpedo casings are going to be of stainless steel; all of the tubing for the HTP fuel will have curves instead of sharp right-angles. This will prevent explosions from the accumulation of excess HTP in the fuel lines.”

                  “How about the warheads, Roger?”

                  “These aren’t going to be very complicated at all, Mike. Each of them will have 500 lbs of TNT fired by means of a contact exploder. There’s not going to be any guidance mechanism, because, from what I have heard, no ship in this day and age can possibly hope to avoid or out-run them, even at the low-speed setting.”

                  “Thanks for the update, Roger. Please keep me apprised.”

                  “I certainly will, Mike.”

                  Executive Orders
                  Date: April 16th, 1607
                  Location: President Chu’s office, Whiteman AFB

                  President Chu calls his private secretary Robert F. Hay into his office to dictate several executive orders “Good morning, Mr. Hay.”

                  “Good morning, Mr. President. How can I be of assistance today?”

                  “Mr. Hay, I wish you to draft two executive orders for me.”

                  “Yes, Mr. President.” Mr. Hay takes up his pen and a fresh pad of legal paper and says “I am ready to copy, sir.”

                  “Very well, Mr. Hay. Write as follows:”

                  ‘Whereas the practice of slavery is a vile, abominable crime against humanity, I, Steven F. Chu, President of the United States do hereby publish and declare that any slave who sets so much as one foot upon any territory under the jurisdiction of the United States is, from that very moment, to be considered a free man. Henceforth, it shall be the policy of the Government of the United States that the practice of slavery shall be rooted out whenever and wherever possible. By an act of Congress published in 1820, trafficking in or smuggling of slaves is to be considered an act of piracy. Those who partake in this business are to be considered as pirates and punished as such.’

                  Signed: Steven F. Chu
                  President of the United States

                  “I have it, Mr. President.”

                  “Thank you, Mr. Hay. The second executive order is to be sent to Esther George, Secretary of the Treasury. It is as follows:”

                  ‘Madam Secretary, in order for the economic growth of the United States to be further assured, you are directed to re-establish the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. You have Presidential Authorization to recruit such experts from private industry as are needed to perform the Bureau’s functions. The first task of the Bureau will be to re-develop the ability to strike coins. The first of these coins will be a re-introduction of the silver dollar originally designed by George T. Morgan. These coins will be dated starting in the present year of 1607, and are intended to facilitate international trade and the acquisition of further territory for the United States.’

                  Signed: Steven F. Chu
                  President of the United States

                  “Very good, Mr. President. I’ll draft these into proper legal form and return them for your signature.”

                  Robert Hay excuses himself and leaves the President’s office. A few minutes later, the buzzer on President Chu’s desk rings. The call is from Elizabeth Woodhull, his other private secretary.

                  “Mr. President, you asked to be reminded of your meeting with the Consuls-General of Spain and Mexico. These gentlemen will be here within the hour.”

                  “Thank you, Ms. Woodhull. Please see that appropriate refreshments are laid on. Let me know when the consuls-general arrive.”

                  “Yes, Mr. President.”


                  Just one hour later, a limousine carrying the flag of Spain rolls up in front in the parking lot of the building housing President Chu’s office. In this vehicle is the Consul-General of Spain, Ricardo Alvarez and two members of his staff. Next to arrive is Felipe Ortega, Consul-General of Mexico from Omaha, Nebraska. He is accompanied by Alfredo Carranza, Mexican consul from Kansas city. The limousine the two gentlemen are riding in carries the flag of the Mexican Republic. They are also accompanied by members of their respective staffs. As soon as the vehicles arrive, a Secret Service agent notifies Elizabeth Woodhull. She, in turn buzzes President Chu’s office.

                  “Excuse me, Mr. President. You wanted to be notified when the Consuls-General of Spain and Mexico arrived. They are here.”

                  “Thank you, Ms. Woodhull. Please show these gentlemen to the conference room and tell them that I will be there directly.”

                  The diplomats are greeted at the building’s entrance by Elizabeth Woodhull, who says “Your excellencies, welcome to Whiteman AFB. President Chu is expecting you. Please follow me.” Consul-General Ricardo Alvarez of Spain is the first to speak “Thank you for your courtesy, Senora Woodhull. I am very much looking forward to meeting President Chu.” Immediately behind him are Consul-General Felipe Ortega and Consul Alfredo Carranza of Mexico, along with selected members of their respective staffs. The diplomats are shown to the building’s conference room, where President Chu is waiting to meet them. He asks them to please be seated, and then takes his own seat at the head of the conference table.

                  “On behalf of the People of the United States, I tank you all for coming here this morning. I know that the past two months have been a great trial for you.”

                  Consul-General Ortega of Mexico replies “Si, Senor Presidente. Hardly a day goes by when my office isn’t deluged with calls from Mexican nationals in Omaha, Nebraska and elsewhere.” He turns to his colleague Consul Alfredo Carranza and says “Alfredo, is this the not the case with your office in Kansas City, Missouri?”

                  Consul Carranza replies “It is indeed the case, Senor Ortega.”

                  President Chu says “Let us begin the meeting, gentlemen. Senor Alvarez, at the risk of trivializing the obvious, what is now your country is ruled by the Habsburg monarch King Phillip III. Spain and its empire are beset on all sides by monumental problems, chief among which is the upcoming Thirty Years War. There is also the present financial crisis, which as you know is the worst in Spain’s entire history.”

                  Consul-General Alvarez says “Si, Senor Presidente. You are speaking the truth. Though the glory of the Spanish Empire be at its height now, what follows is a long, hard fall and much misery for the people of Spain. Senor Presidente, I must ask why you are mentioning this.”

                  “Senor Alvarez, I mention the problems that Spain is having because I have a solution. At present, the collected debts of the Spanish Crown are some one hundred million pesos. In terms of relative economics, this amount is equal to the total debt owed by the Spanish Government in the time we came from. I propose that, in return for Phillip III signing over the Viceroyalty of New Spain, the United States of America will tender to him an amount of coined silver equal to that one hundred million pesos.”

                  Consul-General Alvarez’ eyes go as wide as the proverbial piece-of-eight when he comprehends the full meaning of President Chu’s proposal. He says “Senor Presidente, that is a truly monumental idea. I regret what my people had to suffer during Spain’s ‘Long Fall’. I would not see the Spain of this time suffer the same fate. The finances of His Most Catholic Majesty Phillip III are greatly strained, so I believe he would accept your proposal. However, certain of his advisers may not be so willing to accept. May I ask how you will facilitate the transfer?”
                  “Senor Alvarez, the United States Navy is currently being reconstituted. When sufficient ships are available, I intend to dispatch a diplomatic mission to Spain for the express purpose of meeting with King Phillip III. If he agrees, the sum of one hundred million pesos will be paid to the Spanish Imperial Government by whatever means are acceptable. If speed is of the essence, I will detail ships of the United States Navy to carry the silver to whatever location is directed. If your excellency wishes, you can accompany the mission, or you can choose someone to act in your stead.”

                  “I look forward to that, Senor Presidente.”

                  Just then, Consul-General Alfredo Carranza and Consul Felipe Ortega speak up almost simultaneously “What of our country, what of Mexico?” President Chu replies “Gentlemen, your country will not be born for more than two hundred years. Even then, it will arise out of a bloody revolution that will do as much harm as it does good. I propose that, once the United States takes over jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, that portion of the Viceroyalty defined by the 2013 border between our two countries will be held in trust until such time as a new government for Mexico can be properly constituted. Then, all of the territory which constituted Mexico will be turned over for governance. To ease the transition, you will be provided with the precise locations of any mineral deposits of consequence in Mexico. Since this is 1607, many of them haven’t even been discovered yet. Those that are known are being exploited with the technology of this time. Will this be acceptable to your excellencies?”

                  Consul-General Carranza and Consul Ortega exchange brief looks of acceptance and nod their head vigorously. Consul Ortega says “Senor Presidente, your idea is like a gift from Heaven. If it can be accomplished, it will save generations of Mexicans both living and as yet unborn much sorrow and pain. Muchos Gracias, Senor Presidente.”

                  The next three hours of the meeting proceeds with many discussions of how President Chu’s stated objectives can best be accomplished. Details are worked out on how best to accomplish them. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Mexican Consuls are handed a document listing the exact locations and amounts of Mexico’s mineral deposits and reserves as they were known in 2013.

                  Mineral Deposits and Reserves of the United Mexican States

                  Historically, Mexico has been one of the world’s largest silver producers. The main silver deposits are located in the ‘Mexican Silver Belt’, also known as La Faja de Plata. Small workings in this area are currently being exploited by the Spanish colonial authorities, but the true extent of the silver deposits are unknown to them. At present, La Faja de Plata contains 2,000,000,000 tons of silver ore with an average grade of 16+ ounces per ton. This same ore also contains 0.183 ounces per ton of gold, along with 1% lead and 0.8% zinc.

                  See above for projected figures

                  The copper deposits of Mexico are located in an area called the “Mexican Copper Belt.” This is an area of Jurassic-Cretaceous and Tertiary-age porphyry deposits and magmatic arcs that run from the northern state of Baja California through Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua and into Chiappas State. As with silver, these copper deposits are being worked on a small scale. In total, the Mexican Copper Belt holds 2,500,000,000 tons of ore with an average grade of 10%.

                  In Mexico, sulfur is available from two sources. The first is ‘native’ or elemental sulfur. This is found in certain of the more volcanically-active regions of the country. Native sulfur deposits are 160 million tons. The second source is sulfur-bearing minerals with an average grade of 25% sulfur by weight. These deposits are vast, with a total of 1,500,000,000 tons.

                  Deposits of Molybdenum ore exist primarily in the state of Sonora and a few other locations. Total reserves are 300,000,000 tons, with an average grade of 0.077%. Associated copper content is 0.049%. None of these deposits are known to exist by the Spanish colonial authorities

                  These deposits are in the state of Hildalgo. They total 1.53 billion tons of ore, with an average grade of 25%.

                  Total iron ore deposits in Mexico are 1,200,000,000 tons. The ore is high-grade hematite, with an average iron content of 70%.

                  Coal: 2,500,000,000 tons

                  Oil: 90 billion barrels

                  Natural gas: 680 trillion cubic feet

                  The document also contains tables listing the exact location of these resources, along with much technical information like the depths and grades of the various ore bodies. Consul-General Carranza and Consul Ortega express their deep gratitude to President Chu for this information. Consul Ortega says “Gracias, Senor Presidente. When the time comes, the information you have given us will be of immense help in building Mexico up as a regional power.” Consul-General Carranza says “My colleague expresses my thoughts also, Senor Presidente. Rest assured that we will aid you to the limits of our ability.”

                  President Chu shakes hands with each and every one of the Mexican diplomatic personnel before they leave. Future meetings are also scheduled in furtherance of the stated objectives.

                  Old Man River
                  Date: May 12th, 1607
                  Location: The office of the Secretary of Defense, Whiteman AFB
                  Time: 0900

                  With the construction of the U.S Navy’s new warships now well on its way to completion, it behooves Secretary Danner to make sure that the Mississippi River is deep enough to admit the passage of the ships once they are completed. To this end, he places a call to the senior surviving officer of the United States Coast Guard. LT. Commander Ben Karpinski is the commander of Base Detachment-St. Louis. Lt. Commander Karpinski is in his office when his aide Yeoman Janet Price calls him over the office intercom.

                  “Commander Karpinski, please excuse the interruption. I have the Secretary of Defense on the line for you.”

                  “Thank you, Yeoman Price. Please put the call through to my desk.”

                  “Aye, Sir.”

                  Yeoman Price does as she is instructed, and in very short order Lt. Commander Karpinski picks up the phone and says “Good morning, Mr. Secretary. How can I be of assistance?”

                  Secretary Danner says “Commander, you may already know that new ships for the United States Navy are being constructed at the Trinity Shipyard in Caruthersville, Missouri. It is vitally important for me to know if the Mississippi River is deep enough downstream from the shipyard to allow passage to the vessels into the Gulf Of Mexico. Will you be able to find this out for me?”

                  “Yes sir, Mr. Secretary. As it so happens, a pair of Coast Guard HC-130J aircraft were undergoing a training flight from their base in Elizabeth City, North Carolina to CGAS Sacramento in California. They happened to be in our airspace when the transition event happened, and so they landed at Offutt Airbase when all air traffic was temporarily grounded. As it so happens, these two aircraft are fitted out for oceanic and riverine surveillance. They have a full sensor suite, to include radar, sonar and other systems.”

                  “Very good, Commander. I want you to order one of those aircraft to make a survey flight down the entire length of the Mississippi River from the Missouri Boot-heel down to the mouth of the river near the location of what was once New Orleans. Tell the crew that they are to measure the depth of the river as often as possible, and to take note of any other conditions of interest. When the mission is completed, you are to call me directly with the results.”

                  “Aye, sir. I will issue the order immediately. One of the aircraft will be airborne within the hour.”

                  “Thank you, commander. That will be all.”

                  The call is concluded, and Lt. Commander Karpinski calls Offutt Airbase to issue the orders. One hour later, the pilots of the aircraft (titled Coast Guard-015) are taxiing into position of Offutt’s main runway to request permission to take off.

                  1000 hours

                  “Offutt Tower, this is Coast Guard-015. We are in position, requesting permission to take off.”

                  The tower’s Air Traffic Control officer replies “Roger that, Coast Guard-015. Permission is granted. You are clear to take off on Runway 3-Right. Be advised that Visual Flight Rules are in effect.”

                  “Copy that, Offutt Tower. Coast Guard-015 out.”

                  Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, LT Roger Holbrook advances his throttles so that the HC-130J’s four Allison T56-A-15 turboprops come to full power. Slowly at first, then faster and faster, the aircraft speeds down the runway. CG-015 is now airborne and is proceeding with its mission. After takeoff, LT Holbrook banks and sets the aircraft on an east-southeast course towards the Missouri boot heel. One and a half hours later, CG-105 arrives over the Mississippi River. He passes the word to the crew chief to begin the survey mission. The men in the sensor suite power up their instruments and begin to scan the river 1,500' below. Two further hours of flying time sees CG-015 approaching the mouth of the Mississippi River. From above, the delta is in its’ familiar place. Lt Holbrook and his co-pilot exercise their command discretion and spend the next thirty minutes overflying the coastline on either side of the delta.

                  Finally, the order to return is given. The pilot wheels the aircraft around and follows the course of the Mississippi back up-river. To double-check the findings of the sensors, the crew is ordered to survey the river again. To save time on getting the information to Secretary Danner, Lt. Commander Karpinski previously ordered CG-015 to land at Lambert Field in St. Louis. Six and a half hours after takeoff from Offutt AFB, CG-015 lands at Lambert Field. Lt. Commander Karpinski is on hand to greet the pilot and crew of the aircraft as soon as it comes to a stop. The engines are throttled back and then shut down. From his command chair on the flight deck, LT Holbrook sees Lt. Commander Karpinski waiting to see him on the tarmac. He debarks the aircraft.comes over to where Lt. Commander Karpinski is standing, renders a salute and says “Lt. Holbrook reporting as ordered, sir.”

                  The salute is returned and Lt. Commander Karpinski says “Thank you, lieutenant. What do you have for me?”

                  “Sir, as you ordered, I flew along the Mississippi River all the way from the Missouri bootheel to the Gulf of Mexico. Starting some thirty miles south of the bootheel, I saw evidence of extensive flooding that went on for hundreds of miles downstream. Just above the bootheel, the depth of the river is twenty feet. Below the bootheel, I expected the depth to be rather shallow, but it wasn’t. Instead, the depth averaged thirty feet down to the vicinity of what was Greenville, Mississippi. From there, the riverbed deepened until the vicinity of what was Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There it was forty-five feet. From Baton Rouge to New Orleans, the depth exceeded one hundred feet.”

                  “That is most unusual, Lieutenant. There has been no dredging, so how can you explain the increased river depth?”

                  “Sir, I can only surmise that the flooding had something to do with it. Before the transition event dropped us back here in 1607, the Mississippi River was at its natural depth throughout its entire length. When we were dropped here, the section of the Mississippi River from Northern Iowa all the way down to the Missouri bootheel had a much-increased volume of water. After the transition, this water rolled down-river and scoured out the bottom of the original river bed. This may be what caused the flooding I and my crew observed.”

                  Lt. Commander Karpinski considers what he has heard for a brief moment and then says “Thank you, Lt. Holbrook. Your information will be most useful. For now, stand down and see to your aircraft and your crew; pass the word to your crew and tell them I said well-done.”

                  “Yes, sir. I’m sure they will appreciate the comment.”

                  Shipyard Interlude
                  Date: May 12th, 1607
                  1100 hours

                  At the Trinity Shipyard in Caruthersville, Missouri, the employees are working as expeditiously as possible. Not only are they building USS Sumner, they are also beginning work on four new slipways to facilitate the construction of other ships. The foundations for these slipways have already been excavated, and the steel reinforcing is in place to take the first pours of concrete. As regards the armament of the Sumner-class vessels, the 5"/62-caliber main guns and the 25-mm secondaries for USS Sumner have been delivered, along with the deck-mounted torpedo tubes and the M-2 .50-caliber machine guns for all twelve Sumner-class vessels. In the shipyard’s fabrication building, the hull plating for USS Sumner is being made (along with various of the hull’s structural members. Immediately upon fabrication, these items are stored and will be delivered when called for.


                  • #10
                    Chapter Five

                    Old Man River, part 2
                    Date: May 12th, 1607
                    Location: Lambert Field, St. Louis
                    1700 hours

                    Lt. Commander Karpinski places a call to the Secretary of Defense’ office and speaks directly to Secretary Danner himself. “Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary. I have that information you wanted.”

                    “Very well, Commander. Proceed with your report.”

                    “Yes, sir. From the Missouri bootheel down to Greenville, Mississippi, the depth of the riverbed averaged thirty feet. From Greenville to Baton Rouge, the bed gradually deepened until it was forty-five feet. From Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico, the depth averaged some one hundred feet. These depths will be sufficient to pass any ship we are capable of constructing at this time.”

                    “This is most interesting, commander. Can you explain this increased river depth?”

                    “Yes, sir. Lt. Holbrook, the pilot of the survey aircraft believes that the riverbed was scoured out by the hugely-increased volume of water that made its way down-river from the section of the Mississippi River that was transported back in time with us to the section that was here already. He observed evidence of extensive flooding downstream from the Missouri bootheel. Lt. Holbrook believes that the water from our section of the Mississippi both scoured out the riverbed and caused the flooding.”

                    “Very good, commander. I will communicate your information directly to the President. I’m quite sure he will be pleased to know that the Navy’s new warships will be able to get out into the open sea.”

                    “Thank you, sir.”

                    Date: May 14th, 1607
                    Location: The office of the President, Whiteman AFB
                    Time: 0800

                    President Chu has just settled down in his office for another hard day’s work when he takes a call from Secretary of Defense Stephen Danner.

                    “Good morning, Mr. Secretary. To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”

                    “Good morning, Mr. President. I have two items of interest for you. First, I ordered U.S Coast Guard Assets to survey the Mississippi River downstream from the Missouri bootheel with an eye towards seeing if the river was deep enough to accommodate the U.S Navy’s new ships. I am pleased to report that the river is more than deep enough to pass any vessel that we are capable of building at this time.”

                    “That is good news, Mr. Secretary. What else do you have for me?”

                    “Mr. President, the NRO branch at Offutt AFB just told me that one of their KH-12 surveillance satellites spotted the three ships Susan Constant, Discovery and Godspeed just off the coast of Virginia. They are expected to make landfall later today. It looks like the historical record was precisely correct in this regard.”

                    “Very good, Mr. Secretary. I want you to pass the word to the personnel at FOB Hope in Quebec to stand by to provide humanitarian aid as soon as the colonists are in need of it.”

                    “Understood, Mr. President.”

                    Date: May 14th, 1607
                    Time: late afternoon

                    Captain Christopher Newport is standing on the quarterdeck of his vessel, the Susan Constant. He is observing the preparations to make landfall at the site chosen for the Virgina Colony’s first settlement. With him are Captain John Smith and Captain Edward Maria Wingfield. In an election held aboard the three ships just yesterday, Captain Wingfield was elected as President of the Virginia Colony’s governing council. He turns to Captain Newport and Captain Smith and says “Gentlemen, by the grace of Almighty God, we have at long last arrived at our destination.” Captain John Smith replies “I for one am glad of our arrival. There were times on our voyage where I despaired of our company ever getting here. Captain Newport, I trust that what passed between us on the voyage is in the past. What I did and the way I acted was due to a combination of uneasiness and frustration. Captain Newport says “I brought you up on charges of attempted mutiny because I believed that you were trying to usurp my authority over this ship and this expedition. These charges were put before a jury and they decided that you were not guilty. What’s past is past, I say.”

                    Captain Smith nods his head by way of compliment. In the meantime, Captain Wingfield stepped to the ship’s railing and observed the passage of the river as the Susan Constant and her two sister ships Discovery and Godspeed make their way upriver from the Atlantic ocean. He is moved to say “Gentlemen, in honor of our dread sovereign lord King James the First and also to give thanks for our safe passage, I propose that we name this river the ‘James River’ and that the site of our settlement be named after His Majesty, to be called ‘Jamestowne’. What say you?”

                    Captain Newport’s and Captain Smith’s responses are most enthusiastic “Hear, hear!!”, “Well-said!!” Captain Wingfield goes on to say “As soon as our company is landed upon the shore, our good Reverend Father Robert Hunt will say a prayer of Thanksgiving for our safe arrival in the New World. After the prayer is said, I shall call a council and put the naming of the river and the settlement to a vote. I doubt not that the naming will be confirmed.”

                    Landfall, Part 2
                    Date: May 14th, 1607
                    Location: Jamestowne Island
                    Early evening

                    After having sailed some distance up the James River, the ‘Susan Constant’, ‘Godspeed’ and ‘Discovery’ return back to Jamestowne Island and drop anchor. Captain Christopher Newport, his fellow ship captains and their crews make all three vessels fast, while Captain Edward Maria Wingfield, Captain John Smith and the chief men among the colonists prepare to go ashore. Unsure of whether or not they will meet with a hostile response form whatever natives are present, Captain Wingfield, Captain Smith and several of the men arm themselves. Captain Smith is wearing his buff coat, thigh boots, lobster-tailed ‘pot’ helmet and ‘back & breast’ cuirass. For arms, he is carrying a basket-hilted broadsword of German make in a baldric, as well as a rifled wheel-lock carbine slung over his shoulder. Captain Wingfield is similarly armored, and his arms are a German rapier in a scabbard slung from a hanger, plus two long-barreled snaphaunce pistols in a waist sash. The other men are wearing buff coats, thigh boots and wide-brimmed hats. None of them has any armor to speak of, but all are armed with swords of various makes as well as matchlocks.

                    The only man who isn’t armed is Reverend Robert Hunt. He is in the first boat along with Captain Wingfield and Captain Smith. There are three other boats coming along. Captain Wingfield’s boat is the first to land; he, Captain Smith and those men on the oars drag the boat up onto the beach. The other boats soon draw up alongside the first. Captain Wingfield and Captain Smith plant the King’s banner firmly in the soil just above the beach and loudly declare ‘We claim this land in the name of our sovereign lord King James The First’. Reverend Hunt and the rest of the landing party soon follow. When all are gathered, Reverend Hunt says “Let us pray.” The other men doff their hats and helmets and bow their heads as Reverend Hunt begins to speak.

                    “Almighty and everlasting God, you who orders the firmament above and the oceans and lands below, we thank thee that, in thy great and abiding mercy, thou has seen fit to deliver us safely to this New World. Give us the strength to endure the trials and tribulations which surely awaiteth us. We also implore your blessings upon His Majesty, our dread sovereign lord King James, who has seen fit to establish this colony in the New World. These things we ask in your Holy Name. Amen.”

                    The assembled company responds vigorously ‘AMEN’

                    Captain Wingfield looks over to Captain Smith and says “Now, Sirrah. Let us look to this day and our respective tasks.” Captain Smith nods his head, then commences to directing the other men to unload the boats and start setting up tents. Four men are set on watch, while four others go to a nearby stand of timber to cut firewood. As soon as the four boats are unloaded, they are rowed back to the three ships lying at anchor offshore. Darkness is beginning to fall, so only a few more boats will be able to land tonight before it is too dark to see. For reasons of safety, the women and children of the expedition will remain aboard ship tonight, while the rest of the men will go ashore.

                    Making Money
                    Date: May 15th, 1607
                    Location: The office of the Secretary of the Treasury, Whiteman AFB
                    Time: 0800

                    Pursuant to President Chu’s executive order dated April 16th, Secretary of the Treasury Esther George undertook to re-establish the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. Requests for proposals were sent out to various metal-working companies throughout the four states. Certain of these companies replied favorably, and these replies were further examined by the Secretary of the Treasury and her staff. Upon further consideration, contracts were let and equipment ordered for the re-establishment of the U.S Mint. This equipment (consisting of rolling mills, blanking machines and twenty coining presses was delivered to a building located in an industrial park located near the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri. Mint Supervisor James Hudson was given authority by Secretary George to hire such staff as he saw fit. Among the first to be so hired were skilled tool & die makers. The primary task of these men was to manufacture the dies used to strike the silver dollars called for in President Chu’s executive order. Other staff were also hired to run the machinery.

                    Just yesterday, the master hubs and dies were completed. These were used to make the dies that will actually strike the coins. This morning, Mint Supervisor Hudson places a call to office of the Secretary of the Treasury to inform her of the mint’s status.

                    “Good morning, Mr. Hudson. I trust you have good news for me.”

                    “Good morning, Madam Secretary. I do indeed have good news. The mint is ready to begin operation. All I need is your authorization to proceed.”

                    “Excellent. Please give me an overview of your production facilties.”

                    “Yes, Madam Secretary. The new United States Mint is located in an industrial building near the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. This location was chosen for its proximity to the Mississippi River. In this building, I have four gas-fired furnaces for the melting of silver bullion, plus eight rolling mills, eight blanking machines and twenty coining presses. Each of these presses is capable of striking up to five thousand coins per hour. I have arranged for deliveries of silver bullion from the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City and its branch in Omaha, Nebraska. These deliveries will be supported by silver bullion contracted for with various suppliers in the four states.”

                    “Very well, Mr. Hudson. You may proceed. President Chu has given me the authority to choose the design of the coin to be struck. Therefore, instead of Morgan silver dollars, I want you to strike silver American eagles. These coins are pure silver, and so don’t require alloying with copper. Please keep me apprised of your progress.”

                    “Thank you, Madam Secretary.”

                    With Secretary George’s authorization, James Hudson orders his staff to begin work. The very first thing done is to take silver bullion bars and feed into them into the rolling mills. These machines feed the ingots between a series of powerful rollers. The rollers squeeze the ingots down into sheets of an exact thickness, this thickness being decided by the design for the silver American Eagle. When the rolling is done, the silver has been pressed into strips. Each of these strips measures 3.218" wide, 0.1193" thick and 80.4' long, and weighs 80 lbs each. The strips are wound up into rolls, and these rolls are moved over to the blanking machines.

                    The blanking machines use a series of high-speed hydraulic punches to press the coin blanks from the rolls of silver sheet. Each blank measures exactly 1.598" in diameter, with a thickness of 0.1193"and a weight of one ounce. Twelve hundred blanks are stamped from each sheet of silver; the resulting scrap is recycled to cast new ingots. The blanks are given a raised edge by the blanking machine (to protect the obverse and reverse fields form undue wear) before being ejected into a storage bin).Then, the blanks are washed, cleaned and stored in hoppers attached to the coining presses. The mint’s present bullion supply is eighty tons, and the blanking process will continue until it has been entirely converted into blanks (2,560,000 total). As soon as the bullion has been converted, more will be ordered so the process can continue.

                    The first strips are fed into the coining presses, and the striking of silver Eagles commences. The design is a copy of the Silver American Eagle coin designed by Adolph A. Weinman. The only difference is the date, which is the current year 1607. The obverse of the coin features the design of the Walking Liberty half dollar. The top of the coin features the word ‘Liberty’, and the date is set along the bottom edge. On the right side of the obverse field, there is the motto ‘In God We Trust’. The coin’s reverse features a heraldic eagle with thirteen stars arranged in a geometric over its head. Around the edge, the words ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA *ONE OUNCE .999 FINE SILVER ONE DOLLAR*’ are stamped. To prevent the coins from being clipped, they are struck with a reeded edge.

                    Mining & Natural Resources
                    Date: May 15th, 1607
                    Location: Des Moines, Iowa

                    In a public statement today, Governor Branstad praised the owners of the newly-incorporated Iowa Coal & Iron Company. This company was formed to exploit the iron ore and coal deposits of the State of Iowa, which were effectively recharged to full-capacity by the Transition Event. Governor Branstad singled out Company President & CEO James McDonald, saying that “By his activities and those of his company, Mr. McDonald gives notice that the entrepreneurial spirit which served our great state so well in the past is alive and well.” In a related matter, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources issued the Iowa Coal & Iron Company a permit to begin operations immediately. This permit was secured by a bond of sufficient value to enable reclamation of the mining properties once their resources have been expended.

                    Immediately after Governor Branstad’s news conference, IC & IC President James McDonald went to his company headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. He and his staff placed telephone calls to the owners of the land atop the formerly-depleted deposits of iron ore in the Waukon, Iowa area, plus the lead and zinc deposits in Dubuque, Iowa. These individuals were offered the industry-standard rate of $20,000, plus an additional amount equal to one-eighth the value of the material extracted from the property; such amount to be paid monthly. The standard leasing agreement drawn up by IC & IC lawyers is as follows:

                    Mining Lease and Agreement

                    This Mining Lease and Agreement (“Mining Lease”) is effective as of the effective date (defined in section 1.A) and is by and between______________________(“lessor’) a landowner residing in the city of Waukon, Allamakee County, Iowa and Iowa Coal and Iron Company, Inc., an Iowa Corporation (“Lessee”).


                    A. Lessor is the owner in fee of land in Allamakee County, Iowa, more particularly described in Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference.
                    B. The Parties desire to enter into an agreement relating to (i) Lessee’s entry upon, over and across the Property (defined in Section 1.G) and (ii) payment by Lessee to Lessor for the right of entry and ingress and egress over, upon and across the Property for the purpose of gaining access to Mineral Deposits (defined in Section 1.D) on, in or under the Property, for the Exploitation (defined in Section 1.B) of those Mineral Deposits, and for damage to or destruction of the surface estate of the Property as a result of such Exploitation and other activities of Lessee on the Property.

                    C. Upon and subject to the terms and conditions of this Mining Lease, Lessee takes full responsibility for any and all environmental and reclamation obligations for Lessee’s activities on, in and under the Property, and Lessee will comply in all material respects with any and all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, whether environmental, mining, reclamation or otherwise, implicated by Lessee’s activities (“Applicable Laws”).

                    D. Pursuant to a Letter Agreement by and between Lessor and Lessee executed by Lessor on ______________, 1607 and executed by Lessee on_____________, 1607 (the “Letter Agreement”), Lessee has made a non-refundable payment of $20,000 to Lessor and Lessor has delivered or will deliver to Lessee all data in Lessor’s possession or known to Lessor relating to uranium mineralization and reserves in the Property. Also pursuant to the Letter Agreement and to escrow instructions dated_____________, 1607, Lessee has deposited a refundable payment of $250,000 (as an advance on mineral revenues) with the firm of Thompson & Barr PC, Des Moines, Iowa as escrow agent.

                    NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the terms, conditions, payments, covenants and obligations set out in this Mining Lease, Lessor and Lessee mutually agree to the following provisions:

                    1. DEFINITIONS.

                    A. EFFECTIVE DATE. “Effective Date” means the day on which the last of the following events has occurred: (1) the Lessor has executed this Mining Lease, (2) the Lessee has executed this Mining Lease, or (3) the Iowa District Court for Polk County has given the approval required by the laws of the State of Iowa.

                    B. EXPLOITATION. “Exploitation” or “Exploit” means all means and methods selected by Lessee in its sole discretion, whether now known or discovered in the future, for determining and recovering the value contained in Mineral Deposits, including but not limited to, geological and geophysical exploration activities; exploratory drilling operations; mining, underground mining, and open pit and other surface mining); surface activities in support of mining, including but not limited to drilling and operating water and fluid recovery wells; milling, processing, marketing, construction, maintenance and operation of Production Facilities (as defined in Section 1.F); stockpiling; and storage, deposit and disposal of ore, overburden, topsoil, tailings, waste and other materials.

                    C. MEMBER(S). “Member” and “Members” means a member or members of Lessor, as determined by or according to rules adopted by Lessor’s Board of Trustees (“Lessor’s Board”).

                    D. MINERAL DEPOSITS. “Mineral Deposits” means all ____________minerals in, on and under the Property, except oil and gas. “Mineral Deposits” does not include sand, gravel and similar common minerals, which Lessee may use, without any obligation to make payments to Lessor, for construction of Production Facilities on the Property or on tracts not owned by Lessor within the exterior boundaries of the Property, but not otherwise.

                    E. PARTIES (PARTY). The “Parties” to this Mining Lease are Lessor and Lessee. Each of Lessor and Lessee is a “Party.”

                    F. PRODUCTION FACILITIES. “Production Facilities” means facilities constructed, maintained and operated in support of and necessary, convenient or incident to the Exploitation of Mineral Deposits and/or, pursuant to Section 2.A of this Mining Lease, ores, minerals and other materials from adjoining and nearby lands, including, without limitation, milling and processing facilities (provided, however, that Lessee shall (i) not construct or operate milling or other processing facilities on the Property unless it is also constructing or has constructed a mine on the Property and (ii) reserve at least fifteen percent (15%), calculated on a calendar-year basis, of the capacity of any such milling or other processing facilities for milling or other processing of Mineral Deposits from the Property); temporary housing for mine security personnel only; office facilities; utilities, including, without limitation, electrical, telecommunication, gas and water; transportation facilities; buildings; structures; equipment; machinery; shafts; openings and other surface and subsurface excavations; ditches; drains; railroads; roads; bridges; and other improvements; and facilities for the development, production and use of sand, gravel and other materials useful in and limited to construction of Production Facilities on the Property or on any tracts not owned by Lessor within the exterior boundaries of the Property.

                    Company President & CEO James McDonald further confers with the company’s Board of Directors and states his intention to expand the scope of the company’s operations into exploiting the lead-zinc deposits in Dubuque County, Iowa. This statement was applauded vigorously, because the members of the board know just how important lead and zinc are to Iowa’s economy.
                    Meanwhile, the Doe Run Lead Company in St. Louis, Missouri is experiencing an extraordinary uptick in business. Its mines and production facilities in Herculaneum, Missouri are working three shifts per day. Those minerals which are most desired are the gold, silver and platinum produced as byproducts of lead mining in the company’s Viburnum Trend properties. The U.S Government has signed contracts with the company to secure the majority of its silver production for the minting of Silver Eagles (needed to pay the Spanish Crown for the purchase of its North American possessions). Elsewhere in Missouri, companies like Western Oil, General Oil, Bond Enterprises and Dimensional Resources LLC are pumping and selling as much oil as their wells are capable of producing. In connection with other oil companies in Kansas and Nebraska, the oil companies of Missouri are shipping crude oil to the refineries in Kansas to make up for the disruption in the supply of refined petroleum products occasioned by the Transition Event.
                    In the immediate aftermath of the Transition Event, one of President Chu’s first official acts was to institute fuel rationing. This rationing proved to be a wise policy, as it enabled pre-existing stocks of gasoline, diesel and other fuels to cover the needs of the people in the four states until such time as production could be ramped up. The staff at the three Kansas oil refineries (Coffeyville, El Dorado and McPherson) are making preparations to increase their refining capacity from the current total of 341,200 barrels per day to an expected 600,000 barrels per day.

                    Crime & Punishment
                    Date: May 16th, 1607
                    Location: President Chu’s Office, Whiteman AFB
                    Time: Late afternoon

                    Today, President Chu makes a decision that answers a question that has been nettling him for some time. He calls his private secretary Robert F. Hay again into his office and says “Good afternoon, Mr. Hay.”

                    “Good afternoon, Mr. President. How can I be of assistance?”

                    “Mr. Hay, I have another Executive Order for you to draft.”

                    Robert Hay takes up his pen and pad of legal paper. He says “I am ready to copy, sir.”

                    “Excellent. Please write as follows.”

                    ‘Recognizing that the practice of Capital Punishment is still carried on by the judicial systems in the States of Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, and recognizing that there are ten individuals on Death Row in Nebraska, ten in Kansas and forty-five in Missouri, and recognizing still further that these individuals have appealed their convictions and sentences to the United States Supreme Court, and lastly, that the Supreme Court currently doesn’t exist as a result of the Transferrence Event, I, Steven F. Chu, President of the United States, do hereby declare that, pursuant to the power granted to the office of the President by Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution to grant pardons, commutations of sentence, respites and amnesties, the carrying out of all capital sentences is suspended until such time as the Supreme Court can be duly reconstituted and such sentences can be reviewed.


                    Steven F. Chu, President of The United States’

                    “I have it, Mr. President. I will draft your Executive Order into proper legal form and have it back here for your signature within the hour.”

                    “Very good, Mr. Hay. When it is done, see that copies are transmitted to the governors of Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska.”

                    “Yes, Mr. President.”

                    Date: May 18th, 1607
                    Location: The Office of the Governor, Iowa State Capital Building
                    Time: 0900 hours

                    This morning, Governor Branstad places a telephone call to John R. Baldwin, Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections, a call that will have profound implications for the future of Iowa’s inmate population.

                    “Good morning, Mr. Baldwin.”

                    “Good morning, Governor. To what do I owe the pleasure of your call?”

                    “Director, I know that, for some time now, various of Iowa’s correctional facilities are overcrowded, and that this has lead to certain ‘incidents’ taking place.”

                    “You are correct, sir. Only a month before the transference event, there was a riot at the State Prison in Fort Madison, Iowa This incident was serious enough that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office had to be called in to render assistance.”

                    “Yes, Director. I recall that incident. The reason why I am calling you today is that I have a solution to the problem of overcrowding, as well as solving the pressing need for labor to work on various projects here in the State.”

                    “What is that, sir?”

                    “Director, I will be ordering the release of all non-violent inmates in the custody of the Iowa Department of Corrections. This release will be conditional upon the inmates performing public service for the State, and will not apply to those convicted of violent crimes such as murder, rape, arson and armed robbery. It will also not apply to the residents of the Oakdale Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Iowa City. Should any inmate subject to this conditional release re-offend in any way, shape or form, they will be taken back into custody and re-sentenced to the maximum term applicable for their original offence.”

                    “I see, Governor. Are there any legal issues pertaining to your proposed order?”

                    “Director, I have consulted with Attorney General Tom Miller, and he has informed me that there are no legal impediments to the issuance of this order. Therefore, the order will be issued, effective two weeks from today. Please inform your staff so that they can make the necessary arrangements.”

                    “Yes, Governor.”

                    Date: July 30th, 1607

                    Location: Trinity Industries Shipyard, Caruthersville, Missouri
                    This day marks an important milestone in the construction of USS Sumner. The hull has been completed, and the ship’s internal spaces are beginning to be fitted out. The electrical systems and plumbing lines have been installed and are being tested. In the engine room, the propellor shafts have just been installed, and the last components for the ship’s diesel-electric engines are scheduled for delivery. Topside, the structural support members for the deck are being put into place so that work on the ship’s superstructure and weapons mounts can begin.

                    Elsewhere in the shipyard, the foundations for the four additional slipways have been completed, and the support systems (overhead cranes, electric and hydraulic lines, etc) are being installed. The slipways were designed so that they are all in line with each other, parallel to the Mississippi River. Access from one slipway to another is via a pair of retractable gates. If necessary, the gates between each slipway can be opened to create a larger work space. As soon as the slipways are completed, work will begin on four more Sumner-class frigates.

                    Meanwhile in the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company Shipyard in Leavenworth, Kansas, work on reactivating the shipyard is nearing the halfway point. It is due to be completed by the end of November, 1607. The first order of business when the yard is complete will be to begin construction on the Hazard-class corvettes for the United States Navy. Each of the Hazard-class is less than half the size of the Sumner-class frigate, and so, will take just four months to construct. The MVB & IC shipyard has twelve slipways, so up to twelve vessels can be worked on at any one time.

                    To crew these new vessels, Secretary of Defense Danner sent out the word to any current, separated or retired U.S Navy personnel who were at home in the four states when the Transition Event happened. They are to make themselves known to the Navy Liason at STRATCOM in Omaha, Nebraska and prepare to be transported to Coast Guard facilities in St. Louis, Missouri for additional training and familiarization.

                    Fort Lincoln
                    Date: July 30th, 1607
                    Location: Fort Lincoln, Wyoming
                    Time: Late afternoon

                    The Nebraska Rangers have put the finishing touches on their new base just inside Wyoming. This post would be familiar to anyone who watched any of the innumerable western/cavalry movies of the 1940s-1950s. It is in the form of a timber stockade, with four corner towers and two gate towers. Below the top of the stockade, there is a walkway which extends around the inner perimeter of the wall. Inside the perimeter, there are several buildings that are built into the wall. Externally, these buildings appear just as the originals would have back in the 1800s. Internally however, there are noticeable differences. The windows are all fitted with double-paned glass, and the walls are all insulated.

                    The State of Nebraska provided the Nebraska Rangers some logistical support, and this was put to good use. Solar panel arrays were installed on the roofs of many of the buildings to provide electricity; there is also a solar water heater on top of the post headquarters. Fresh water is provided by a windmill-driven pump in the center of the fort’s parade ground.

                    Defensively, Fort Lincoln is well-protected. The Rangers’ Model 1841 6-pdr gun is inside the fort facing the gate, while the gatling gun is emplaced in one of the towers flanking the gate. The Hotchkiss mountain gun is in one of the corner towers. Frank Miller, Jim Parsons and Tim Dawson are surveying the work that they and the rest of the Nebraska Rangers did in getting the fort built. Fran Miller turns to his companions and says “Well gentlemen, we did it.” Tim Dawson replies “We certainly did, Frank. I really like the way the crops we planted are starting to turn out” He gestures over to several fields that were cleared, plowed and planted while the fort was going up; there are separate fields for corn, potatoes, wheat, soybeans, field peas and beans of various types. Close to the fort, there are small plots for the growing of grapes, plums, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries; the plots were placed where they are so that the wall sentries can keep birds away from them.

                    Just then, a loud, booming voice calls out “HELLO, THE FORT” It is Jim McPherson, he is riding his horse Thunder, and Running Deer is seated behind him. Frank Miller, Jim Parsons and Tim Miller return the Jim’s greeting loudly and enthusiastically “How are you doing, Jim?”, says Frank Miller “We haven’t heard from you in over a month. We were beginning to think something had happened.”

                    Jim McPherson replies “Running Deer and I have been travelling with Chief Sharp Knife and some of his people. I appeared before the Tsitsistas’ Great Council of Chiefs, and I told them our story. Sharp Knife showed them some of the trade goods we provided, and the other Cheyenne were very interested in obtaining some for themselves. Sharp Knife and I even went to meet with the chiefs of the Arapahoe, Shoshone, Ute and Crow tribes. These groups are also interested in our trade goods. When we told them of our medicines, and how effective they have been for the Tsitsistas, they also wished to receive them. The Great Council of Chiefs is coming here, as are groups from the other tribes in Wyoming.”

                    Frank Miller says “So that’s what you have been doing, Jim. You certainly haven’t been letting any grass grow under your feet, have you? About the Chiefs and the representative from the other tribes, how long will it be before they get here?” Jim McPherson laughs and says “No, I haven’t. As for the Chiefs of the Tsitsistas and the groups from the other tribes, they’ll be here in about two weeks.” Frank Miller says “I figured you would be coming back sometime, so while the fort was under construction, I had a room put aside for you and Running Deer n the post headquarters building. Maybe the both of you will want to get cleaned up after your long ride? After that, we can put in some calls for trade goods and more of the vaccines.”

                    “Sounds like a good idea, Frank.” Jim beckons Running Deer to follow him; as they go, her eyes are wide with wonderment as the sights she is seeing. She says “Is this one of the lodges of your people, He-that-goes-far? It is so large.”

                    Jim McPherson gazes indulgently at his wife and says “Yes it is, Running Deer. My friends built it while I was away with you and your father. Now, let us go inside.” Running Deer compliantly follows. The room that has been assigned to them is just inside the headquarters building entrance. It is well-furnished, with a bed, table and two chairs. There is even a small bathroom off to the side with a shower stall. Jim absently-mindedly flicks on a light switch by the door, and Running Deer gives an involuntary start of fright when the light comes on. She exclaims “What...what is that, He-that-goes-far?”

                    Jim realizes what she is afraid of and comforts her by saying “Don’t be afraid, Running Deer. That is just a light.” Running Deer looks up towards the ceiling and says with wonder “How does it work? I see no flame or smoke, like there is in our lodge back in the village.”

                    “Running Deer, my people have ways of bringing power from the sun and turning it into light. There is nothing to fear.” She replies “Since you tell it to me, He-that-goes-far, it must be the truth. Truly, there is no end to the wonders that you have shown me.” Jim smiles indulgently and says “Running Deer, do you wish to refresh yourself after our long ride?”

                    “Yes, I will go outside and warm water over a fire.”

                    “Running Deer, that won’t be necessary. Here, let me show you.” Jim goes to the shower stall and turns the tap. Just a few seconds later, warm water is gushing out of the shower head. “Here”, he says “Put your hand in this.” Running Deer does as she is asked and her eyes go wide with wonder. She exclaims “Another one of your people’s wonders!!”

                    Jim McPherson replies “Yes. The same power that is used to make light is used to heat the water.” Running Deer exclaims like a small girl, then step under the shower head after first stripping off her deerskin clothing. She luxuriates in the feeling of the warm water as it cascades through her long black hair and over her smooth bronze skin. To dry off, Jim hands her a long towel. Jim changes places with her in the shower, and soon, he has washed off the last of the trail dust. Thus refreshed, Jim and Running Deer dress and go back outside.

                    They walk hand-in-hand out of their quarters, across the parade ground and out the gate. Running Deer turns to Jim and asks “He-that-goes-far, you once told my father that your people had more of those animals you called ‘horses’. Might it be possible for the Tsitsistas to get some of them? They would enable us to travel much farther than we could have on foot. Hunting would also be safer for the men, because they could approach large game, strike and be away safely before the animal could strike back.”

                    “Running Deer, I would like nothing better than for your people to have horses. However, this is not a matter for me to decide, or even for my friends here. This must be put before the Chief of the my own tribe, the Nebraska. It is he who will decide this.”

                    “I understand, He-that-goes-far.”

                    Shipfitting, Part 2
                    Date: August 2nd, 1607
                    Location: Trinity Industries Shipyard, Caruthersville, Missouri
                    Time: mid-morning

                    With the new slipways nearing completion, it is time for Shipyard Superintendent Roger Wilson to make a determination on what vessels to build next for the U.S Navy. Slipway #1 is occupied by USS Sumner, and before too long, the others will be available for more hulls. He retires to his office to complete work on a design proposal that he has been working on for some time. Reasoning that the U.S Navy will eventually want vessels with longer range and greater firepower that the Sumner-class frigates, Roger Wilson takes pen and paper in hand to sketch out the basics of a light cruiser-type design. When the basics are finished, he plugs them into the CAD program on his office computer. The preliminary results are as follows:

                    Name: Columbia-Class cruiser
                    Type: Light Cruiser
                    Displacement: 10,000 tons standard/12,500 tons full load

                    Length: 610'
                    Beam: 62'
                    Draft: 23'
                    Propulsion: 4 diesel-electric motors, 4 shafts, 25,000 shp each
                    Maximum Speed: 32 knots
                    Cruising Speed: 15 knots
                    Range: 10,000 nautical miles

                    Ship’s complement: 800

                    12 x 5"/62-caliber Mark 36 naval guns in four triple turrets (2 forward, 2 aft); similar to the Mark 45 single mount. Ammunition stowage is 600 rounds per gun in each of the four main magazines.
                    8 76-mm/62-caliber Mark 75 guns in eight single turrets (Four each, port & starboard sides). Ammunition stowage is 750 rounds per gun.
                    6 x Mk 38 Mod 2 ‘Bushmaster’ 25-mm autocannons (3 each, port & starboard). Each of these weapons is carried on a powered external mount, with a total ammunition stowage of 2,700 rounds per gun
                    16 x Browning M-2 .50-caliber machineguns on powered twin mounts. Each mount has two external box magazines that hold 300 rounds each. Total ammunition stowage is 6,000 rounds per gun.

                    Main Belt: 5.5"
                    Deck (over magazines/barbettes): 3"
                    Deck (over machinery/crew spaces): 2"
                    Bulkheads: 2.5"
                    Main Turrets
                    Front: 6:
                    Sides: 4"
                    Top: 3"
                    Rear: 2"
                    Barbettes: 5"
                    Secondary Turrets: 2"
                    25-mm gun mounts: 1.5" gun tub/1" gun shield
                    .50-caliber machine gun mounts: 1” gun tub/0.75" gun shield

                    Conning Tower: 8"

                    Aircraft Complement: MQ-8C Fire Scout armed UAV

                    Satisfied with the results, Roger Wilson sends off a secure e-mail to the Office of the Secretary of Defense outlining the specifics of his design proposal. In the meantime, Slipways #2-#5 will see more Sumner-class frigates being laid down as soon as they are completed.

                    Fort Lincoln, part 2
                    Date: August 2nd, 1607
                    Location: Fort Lincoln, Wyoming
                    Time: Afternoon

                    In a meeting held in Fort Lincoln’s headquarters building, Frank Miller, Jim Parsons and Tim Dawson confer with Jim McPherson about the gathering of the chiefs of the Tsitsistas that will be taking place in the fort on August 15th. Frank Miller says to Jim McPherson “Jim, this gathering is going to be hugely important. We’re not going to be dealing with just one band of Cheyenne, but with the representatives of the entire Cheyenne nation. Plus, there are the representatives from the other tribes, the Arapahoe, Shoshone, Ute and the Crow. We need to get the State of Nebraska involved in this.”

                    Jim McPherson looks over at Running Deer, smiles indulgently and then replies “I agree, Frank. Supplying the whole bunch with trade goods isn’t something that we can handle by ourselves. Plus, there is the matter of vaccines for everyone that will be in attendance. Running Deer has also asked for horses to be supplied to her people in order to make their hunting and scouting expeditions safer. I think that this is a good idea. Tim?”

                    “Yes, Jim?”

                    “You should head back into town and get in touch with the County Board of Supervisors. Tell them our situation and ask for help from the State of Nebraska. Tell them also that we are going to need several breeding pairs of mustangs. In particular, Appaloosas, if they are available. I think that if we can supply the Tsitsistas with them, they are going to be exceedingly grateful.”

                    “Sure thing, Jim.”

                    Tim Dawson leaves Fort Lincoln’s HQ building and rides his horse back across the line into Nebraska. He heads straight for his home in Lyman and places a telephone call to his friend Robert Maxwell, on the Scottsbluff County Board of Supervisors.

                    “Hello, Bob. This is Tim Dawson with the Nebraska Rangers. I wanted to thank you for your assistance in getting us State support for our previous dealings with the Cheyenne. I also wanted to let you know of certain developments out here.”

                    “Hi, Tim. I’m glad I could be of assistance. What can I do for you today?”

                    “Bob, our previous contacts that we have had with the Cheyenne have gone very well. I am calling you now to enlist your aid in getting State support for certain developments that have taken place recently. One of our members, a Jim McPherson is now living with the band of Cheyenne, and he has been before the Great Council of Chiefs of the Cheyenne. They are so impressed with what Jim told them that they are coming to our base camp to see for themselves. He and some of his Cheyenne friends traveled to meet the other tribes of Wyoming, and they are sending representatives also. I think it is a good idea that the Department of Health send more several vaccination teams out here to immunize these people. The last thing we want is virgin-field epidemic breaking out among the native tribes.”

                    “What kind of numbers are we talking about?”

                    “There will be an estimated one thousand people showing up at our camp. These numbers are outside our ability to deal with, and that’s why we are asking for help. In our first meeting with the Cheyenne, the trade goods we were able to come up with proved to be enormously popular. A sufficient quantity for a group of one thousand is beyond our ability to provide.”

                    “Tell me about the goods your people provided.”

                    “We provided basic materials like blankets, cooking pots, firestarting kits, hand mirrors, axes, knives, steel spearheads and bags of salt.”

                    “That sounds reasonable. Is there anything else that you need?”

                    “Jim McPherson has asked for some horse breeding stock to establish a local herd. He thinks that it would help cement better relations with the Cheyenne and the other tribes if we could trade horses to them.”

                    “I see. I will call Governor Heineman’s office directly.”

                    “Thanks, Bob. When you do, please ask the Governor to have the Department of Health send out Dr. Beverly Carson as part of the vaccination teams. The Cheyenne really took a liking to her when she was here the last time.”

                    “Alright, Tim. One last thing. When will the Cheyenne and the representatives of the other tribes be at your camp?”

                    “Bob, according to the information I have from Jim McPherson, the Chiefs of the Cheyenne and the people from the other tribes of Wyoming will be at Fort Lincoln in two weeks.”

                    “Fort Lincoln?”

                    “Yes. That is what we are calling our base camp.”

                    “Very well, Tim. I’ll put in the call right away. The materiel you requested should be there in a week or so.”

                    “Thanks, Bob. I’ll head back to the camp and let the others know.”

                    I’ve been working on the Railroad
                    Date: August 2nd, 1607
                    Location: President Chu’s office, Whiteman AFB
                    Time: 1300 hours

                    President Chu has just gotten back to work after having lunch when the buzzer on his office intercom sounds.

                    “Yes, Ellen?”

                    “Mr. President, I have a call for you on Line 1. It is from the Secretary of Transportation.”

                    “Ahh, yes. I have been expecting this. Please put the call through to my desk.”

                    “Yes, Mr. President.”

                    The phone rings, and President Chu picks up the receiver “Good afternoon, John.”

                    “Good afternoon, Mr. President.”

                    “To what do I owe the pleasure of your call, Mr. Secretary?”

                    “Mr. President, per your previously-stated desire to have the rail lines in northwestern Nebraska extended into the Powder River basin in northeastern Wyoming, I have consulted with the Secretaries in the Departments of Transportation in the four states. I have also talked with senior officials in the Union-Pacific railroad, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway, Norfolk Southern, and various other smaller railroad outfits. They tell me that within the boundaries of the four states, there is a total of 2,500 miles of abandoned track. At present, we have no facilities for the rolling of new rail. Therefore, I propose that the abandoned tracks be pulled up and reconditioned. We can use them for the new Powder River line.”

                    “I approve, Mr. Secretary. What will be your first move?”

                    “Mr. President, pursuant to my authority as Secretary of Transportation, I will tender contracts to BNSF and the ATSF for the removal of those abandoned rail lines. These two companies already have the equipment to repair their own lines, so it won’t be necessary to design and build new machinery. In our old world, the Union Pacific and the ATSF railroads operated the lines from Nebraska into northeastern Wyoming. I propose that the new Powder River Line be jointly operated by both companies.”

                    “Approved. How will the new tracks be laid out?”

                    “Mr. President, having just a single line of track is not advised. Not only will it lead to freight bottlenecks, it is also hazardous. Imagine what would happen if an inbound freight train collided head-on with an outbound train. To avoid this, two lines of track will be laid; one for outbound traffic and one for inbound traffic. There will be a small terminal yard at the end of the tracks to handle the change-over.”

                    “Make it so, Mr. Secretary.”

                    “Yes, Mr. President. My staff will begin preparations immediately.”

                    “Thank you, John.” The call ends and President Chu returns to his other business.

                    Date: August 2nd, 1607
                    Location: Trinity Industries Shipyard, Caruthersville, Missouri
                    Time: 1500 hours

                    Shipyard Superintendent Roger Wilson is conferring with his department heads about the progress being made on the construction of USS Sumner. He is told that, since the building process has gone so smoothly, USS Sumner will be ready for launch by the third week of September, rather than at the end of the month as was originally estimated.

                    “Alright, gentlemen. Tell me about the ship’s weapons systems. Where do we stand on that?”

                    Deputy Superintendent James Sherman speaks up and says “Roger, the 5”/62-caliber main guns and their ancillary systems have been installed and tested. They’re all nominal at this point in time. The 25-mm secondaries were installed two weeks ago, and they’re good to go. Ammunition for the 5” mains, 25-mm secondaries and the twin .50-caliber machinegun mounts has been delivered from Rock Island Arsenal and stored in our own magazine. All that has to be done is to bring the ammunition aboard after USS Sumner has been launched.”

                    “That’s good news, Jim. What about the torpedoes?”

                    “Roger, the torpedoes have been giving us problems. The original design called for the turbines to be powered by high-test peroxide. The HTP would be catalyzed into steam and oxygen by passing it through a fine silver wire mesh. The steam powers the turbines and so, propels the torpedo.”

                    “That sounds like a very efficient system, Jim. What’s the problem?”
                    “The problem is one of safety, Roger. HTP is inherently unstable, so much so that the British stopped using it after a peroxide fire aboard their submarine HMS Sidon in 1955. One of their 21” Mark 12 torbedoes had a ‘hot run’ inside its tube. The engine ran wild and over-pressured the torpedo’s fuel system. It ruptured one of the oxidizer lines and sprayed HTP all over the inside of the torpedo’s casing. This oxidizer explosion ruptured HMS Sidon’s watertight integrity in the forward torpedo room and twelve men were killed. Do you recall the loss of the Russian submarine ‘Kursk’ on August 12, 2000?”

                    “Yes, it was all over the news.”

                    “One of the Kursk’s Type 65 torpedoes exploded in its tube. The explosion caused the detonation of the warheads on several of the Kursk’s torpedoes. The disaster was directly attributed to a failure of the Type 65’s HTP fuel system.”

                    “Ouch. I see what you mean. Is there a solution?”

                    “Roger, the Mark 48 torpedo used by the U.S Navy in the world we came is fueled by Otto Fuel II. This chemical is a mono-propellant which incorporates both fuel and oxidizer. Unfortunately, there are no facilities available to manufacture it.”

                    Roger Wilson mumbles a few choice obscenities under his breath, then says “Jim, are we going to be able to do the torpedoes or not?”

                    “Of course we will, Roger. I have a copy of Jane’s Naval Weapons 2012, and it has the performance specifications and design details for every model of torpedo in service at that time. Among them is the German Navy’s DM2A4 heavyweight torpedo. This design uses a permanent magnet electric motor powered by silver oxide/zinc batteries. I propose that we build a copy of the DM2A4. Our electrical engineers are as good as any that can be found, and there are quite a few companies that manufacture silver-zinc batteries and permanent-magnet electric motors. One thing we won’t have to change is the torpedo’s warhead. The explosive charge consists of 500 lbs of aluminized PBX. Rock Island Arsenal is making the explosive charges and loading them into the warhead casings. The initial delivery of 60 warheads is scheduled for one week from today.”

                    “Ahh. Good news at last. Keep me apprised. That will be all, gentlemen.”

                    More Expansion
                    Date: August 4th, 1607
                    Location: President Chu’s office, Whiteman AFB
                    Time: 0900

                    President Chu places a call to Secretary of Defense Stephen Danner to discuss a matter of great importance. “Good morning, Mr. Secretary.”

                    “Good morning, Mr. President. How can I be of assistance today?”

                    “Mr. Secretary, I have reviewed the reports of how FOB Hope in Quebec is doing, and I am very pleased. It is now time to discuss establishing a second outpost.”
                    “Understood, Mr. President. May I enquire as to the location you have in mind?”

                    “Certainly. The first of the two locations I am considering is on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, on the previous location of Gulfport. The second location is the former site of Mobile, Alabama. Both are well-situated with regards to access to the Gulf of Mexico. However, I am leaning towards Mobile because of the protected anchorage that Mobile Bay provides. Gulfport is right off the Gulf of Mexico, and is much more vulnerable to the effects of hurricanes than is Mobile Bay.”

                    “Agreed, sir. Mobile is a better location. There is another factor to consider.”

                    “What is that, Mr. Secretary?”

                    “Mr. President, FOB Hope was established via air-drop; re-supply is also done by air. Having a forward operating base on the shores of Mobile Bay means that setting up the base can be done by water. All we need to do is to contract with the various shipping companies on the Missouri section of the Mississippi River. A standard river barge measures 195’ long, 35’ wide and has a draft of 9’; the capacity is 1,500 tons. Just one of these barges can hold more cargo than has been shipped to FOB Hope in all of the airlifts thus far. Using these barges would enable the pace of construction to be greatly sped up, as heavy earthmoving equipment could be sent along.”

                    “I see, Mr. Secretary. Do please go on.”

                    “Yes, Mr. President. Setting up the FOB would be in two phases. The first has an advance team going to the selected site to construct a facility capable of unloading a standard river barge. When this is done, the follow-on personnel and equipment will be sent. Their job will be to clear the ground for a large base. May I presume that one of your purposes in having this new base set up is that you want deep-water access for a shipyard?”

                    “That is correct, Mr. Secretary. The Trinity Industries shipyard in Caruthersville, Missouri and the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company shipyard in Leavenworth, Kansas are strictly limited in the size and draft of the vessels they can build for the U.S Navy. This is because of the respective depths of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Having a shipyard with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico will allow much larger vessels to be built.”

                    “Sound reasoning, Mr. President. When do you wish to begin?”

                    “Mr. Secretary, I want you to begin preparations as soon as possible. Talk to the Missisippi River shipping companies and secure the services of a tow-boat and ten barges for now. Later on, a total of forty barges and four other tow boats will be needed. After that, you may structure the delivery of troops, supplies and equipment at your own discretion.”

                    “Yes, Mr. President. Do you have anything else for me?”

                    “No, Mr. Secretary. That will be all for today.”

                    “Thank you, sir.” Secretary of Defense Danner leaves the President’s office and returns to his own office, where he and his staff begin making certain phone calls. One of these calls is to Major General Leslie Smith, commanding officer of Ft. Leonard Wood; the purpose of this call is to alert General Smith that one of his engineer companies is to prepare for deployment in the near future. Other calls are made to construction companies in southeastern Missouri to evaluate the availability of additional heavy construction equipment, and still others go to Ingram Barge Company, Blue Water Shipping Company and Heartland Barge to secure the services of the requisite number of barges and tow boats.

                    Among the Secretary of Defense’ staff is Navy Lt. Cmdr Richard Jordan. When Secretary Danner gets off the phone with General Smith, Lt. Cmdr Jordan says “Excuse me, Mr. Secretary.”

                    “Yes, Commander?”

                    “Mr. Secretary, there is another unit that I believe that you should include in the deployment.”

                    “Which unit is that?”

                    “Sir, there is a company of Seabees that shares building space with a Marine Corps Reserve unit in St. Louis. Rather than having the Combat Engineers from Ft. Leonard Wood handle all of the construction, they can handle the FOB, while the Seabees lay out the shipyard and port facilities.”

                    “An excellent suggestion, Commander. Make it so. Call the Seabees’ commanding officer and alert him and his men for deployment.”

                    “Aye aye, sir.”

                    Back in the President’s office, President Chu calls in one of his private secretaries and says “Ellen, I want you to take a letter.”

                    “Yes, Mr. President. I am ready to copy.”

                    “Very well. Write as follows: ‘To Colonel James Minick, Commandant, 9th Marine Corps District, Kansas City, Missouri. Sir: You are directed to report to me at Whiteman Air Force Base at your very earliest convenience. Then, we will discuss a matter of utmost importance to the future of the United States Marine Corps.


                    Steven F. Chu, President of the United States.
                    “I have it, Mr. President.”

                    “Excellent. There are two other letters I wish to compose.”

                    “Go ahead, sir”

                    ‘To General James. T Conway, USMC (retired), St. Louis, Missouri. Sir: One of my primary tasks as President of the United States is to reconstitute the command structure of the U.S Military. Therefore, by virtue of my authority as Commander-In-Chief, you are hereby recalled to active duty. Furthermore, you are appointed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This appointment shall be in force from this day forward. I have sent this appointment to the Senate for confirmation, where it will be acted upon with dispatch.’


                    Steven F. Chu, President of the United States.

                    “And your third letter, Mr. President?”

                    ‘To General C. Robert Kehler, Commander, USSTRATCOM, Offut Airbase, Omaha, Nebraska. Sir: Effective immediately, you are relieved of duty as Commander of USSTRATCOM and are appointed as Air Force Chief of Staff. This appointment shall be in force from this day forward. I have sent this appointment to the Senate for confirmation, where it will be acted upon with dispatch.’


                    Steven F. Chu, President of the United States.

                    “Ellen, as soon as these letters are ready, I want them hand-carried by courier and delivered to their recipients. This is top priority.”

                    “I understand, Mr. President.”


                    • #11
                      Chapter Six

                      A Strong Foundation
                      Date: August 6th, 1607
                      Location: The Office of the President, Whiteman AFB
                      Time: 0900 hours

                      Colonel James Minick, USMC is driven to the President’s office in an Air Force staff car. Upon arrival, he gets out of the vehicle and introduces himself to the two Secret Service agents on duty at the front door “Good morning, gentlemen. I am Colonel James Minick and I have an appointment with the President.”

                      “Good morning, Colonel, We were informed of your arrival. Please go inside, the President is expecting you.”

                      “Thank you.” Colonel Minick enters the building through the main doors and goes upstairs to the second floor. At the end of the hallway there is a small office alcove where the President’s secretary is located. Next to the alcove, there is a Secret Service duty station with two more agents. Colonel Minick says “I am here for my 0900 appointment with the President.”
                      Ellen Ramirez, the President’s private secretary says “One moment, please. I will inform the President that you are here” She reaches over to the office intercom, activates it and says “Mr. President?”

                      “Yes, Ellen?”

                      “There is a Colonel James Minick, USMC here to see you, sir.”

                      “Ah, yes. Please send him in.”

                      “Thank you, Mr. President.” Colonel Minick, the President will see you now.”

                      “Yes, Ma’am” Colonel Minick pauses a moment to straighten out his duty uniform. He knocks on the door and President Chu says “Enter.” Colonel Minick strides purposefully over to the President’s desk, braces to attention, snaps off a perfect salute and says “Sir, Colonel James Minick, reporting as ordered.”

                      “Thank you, Colonel. Please be seated. I called you here today because there is a task that needs to be accomplished, one that is perfectly suited to an officer of your talents. When we were thrown back in time by the Transition Event, much of the United States Military was left without the higher echelons of its command staff. I have already begun to address this situation by appointing General James Conway, USMC (retired) as the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General C. Robert Kehler (formerly commanding general of USSTRATCOM) and Air Force Chief of Staff.”

                      “Mr. President, I have known General Conway for many years, and you couldn’t have chosen a better man for the job. I have never met General Kehler, but I know of his reputation. He’s a skilled operator and an excellent choice. I must ask, sir, what of the Marine Corps?”

                      “Colonel Minick, that’s where you come in. I have reviewed your service record, and it is most commendable. Your most recent posting was Commandant of the 9th Marine Corps District. Before that, you had command of two Battalions; you were also Force Recon. I am going to give you an opportunity that hasn’t existed since Tun Tavern in 1775. ATTENTION TO ORDERS!!”

                      Colonel Minick jumps to his feet and braces to attention; his back is as straight an unyielding as a swordblade.

                      President Chu says “Colonel Minick, effective immediately, you are relieved from your post as Commandant of the 9th Marine Corps District. You will succeed General James Amos as the 36th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. As such, you are also promoted to the rank of General. This appointment and promotion are in effect as of today, August 6th, 1607. Please remove your rank insignia.”

                      Colonel Minick does as instructed. Then, President Chu opens a drawer in his desk, takes out a small wooden box and opens it. There are two sets of four stars each in the box. The stars are made from sterling silver, and are so brilliantly polished that it is possible to see one’s reflection on the surface. With his own hands, President Chu attaches the four Stars to the shoulder straps on General Minick’s duty uniform.

                      President Chu shakes General Minick’s hand and says “Let me be the first to offer you congratulations on your promotion and new assignment.”

                      General Minick’s ironclad self-control doesn’t slip an inch. Inside his mind, however, he is exulting at his good fortune. With a grave demeanor on his face, General Minick says “Mr. President, I thank you for the trust you have shown in me. I will always strive to prove myself worthy of it.” President Chu replies “I have absolutely no doubt of that, General. In other matters, the first session of the new United States Senate will be convening in two days. I will be forwarding your promotion/nomination for confirmation, along with those of General Conway and General Kehler.”

                      “Yes sir, Mr. President. What are my orders?”

                      “General Minick, you are to reconstitute the United States Marine Corps in its entirety. You have the authority to promote/reassign such officers and non-commissioned officers as you see fit in order to accomplish this mission.”

                      “I understand, sir.”

                      “That will be all for today, General. Dismissed.”

                      General Minick renders a perfect salute and leaves the President’s office.

                      Shipfitting, Part 3
                      Date: August 7th, 1607
                      Location: Trinity Industries Shipyard, Caruthersville, Missouri
                      Time: 0800 hours

                      Upon further consideration, and in consultation with his senior staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Shipyard Superintendent Roger Wilson decides to make changes in the design schematics for the Columbia-class light cruiser that he recently proposed. Rather than being a dedicated gunfire support platform, the Columbia-class CL will be a multi-mission weapons platform. Superintendent Wilson calls up the old design stored on his computer and sets himself to making the modifications. After several hours of hard work, the results are as follows:

                      Name: Columbia-Class cruiser
                      Type: Light Cruiser
                      Displacement: 10,000 tons standard/12,500 tons full load
                      Length: 610'
                      Beam: 62'
                      Draft: 23'
                      Propulsion: 4 diesel-electric azimuth thrusters; 100,000 shp total
                      Maximum Speed: 25 knots
                      Cruising Speed: 14 knots
                      Range: 15,000 nautical miles
                      Ship’s complement: 800
                      6 x 155-mm/47-caliber guns in two forward triple-mount turrets, similar to the Mark 16 mount. Ammunition stowage is 500 rounds per gun in each of the two main magazines.
                      8 5”/38-caliber Mark 12 guns in four Mark 38 twin mount turrets (two each, port & starboard sides). Ammunition stowage is 600 rounds per gun.
                      2 x GAU-12 ‘Equalizer’ 25-mm gatling cannons on Sea Vulcan mounts (1 each, port & starboard). Ammunition stowage is 6,000 rounds HEIT-SD per gun
                      4 x GAU-19/A .50-caliber gatlings on powered single mounts. Each mount has an external box magazine that holds 800 rounds. Total ammunition stowage is 12,000 rounds per gun.

                      Main Belt: 3.5"
                      Deck (over magazines/barbettes): 2.5"
                      Deck (over machinery/crew spaces): 1.5"
                      Bulkheads: 2"
                      Main Turrets
                      Front: 5”
                      Sides: 3"
                      Top: 2"
                      Rear: 1.5"
                      Barbettes: 3"
                      Secondary Turrets: 2"
                      Sea Vulcan gun mounts: 1"
                      GAU-19/A .50-caliber gatling mounts: 1" gun tub/0.75" gun shield
                      Conning Tower: 6"

                      Aircraft Complement: 2 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, 2 QH-58 Sea Kiowa armed UAV; aircraft are carried in an internal hangar located on the aft deck

                      More Ships
                      Date: August 10th, 1607
                      Location: Trinity Industries Shipyard, Caruthersville, Missouri
                      Time: 0800 hours

                      Shipyard Superintendent Roger Wilson calls his senior staff together for a meeting in order to discuss Trinity Industries’ ongoing projects and the prospects for further expansion of the shipyard.

                      “Gentlemen, it seems that the Navy will be going full-steam ahead with plans for expansion of the fleet. The reports I have seen and heard of the success of USS Sumner on her shakedown cruise are very encouraging. The revised design proposal for the Columbia-class CL I sent to the Office of the Secretary of Defense was well-received, so I think that an order will be placed to the new ship very soon. As of now, the shipyard has five slipways. Three of these are occupied by Sumner-class hulls, and the other two were being kept empty in anticipation of building more Sumners. Each slipway is 380’ in length, and can accommodate hulls of up to 23’ in draft. We are fortunate that we don’t have to build new slips for the Columbias. All that we have to do is to remove the bulkheads between the two vacant slips. This will give us 760’ in building space. As soon as we get the order, we can cut steel for the first Columbia within 48 hours.” One of Roger Wilson’s staff speaks up and says “Roger, that is good news indeed. However, there is something that I would like to point out. Without proper logistical support, the Navy is going to be restricted to an operational radius of 3,000 miles from their port in St. Louis. USS Sumner is going to get around this limitation on its voyage to Spain by towing a barge behind it loaded with food, fuel and other supplies. While effective, this is hardly the proper way to conduct fleet operations.”

                      “I agree, Mike. That is why I propose that we expand the shipyard even further than what we have now. Two double-size slipways, each measuring 760’ long, will allow Trinity Industries to build the logistical ships that the Navy is going to need. The first ship will be a fleet oiler/replenishment vessel, with statistics as follows” Roger Wilson turns on a projector and shows a PowerPoint presentation listing the specifications of the first vessel:

                      USS Phoenix
                      Phoenix-class fleet oiler
                      Length: 376'Beam: 56'
                      Draft: 18'
                      Speed: 12 knots
                      Fuel Bunkerage: 1,700 tons
                      Range: 14,000 nautical miles at 10 knots
                      Ship’s Complement: 250
                      Bulk Fuel Capacity: 3,720 tons (compartmentalized so both diesel and JP5 can be carried)
                      Armament: 2 x 5”/38 guns on deck mounts (with gun tubs & splinter shields); 1 forward, 1 aft, Ammunition stowage is 200 rounds per gun
                      2 x GAU-19 on pedestal mounts; ammunition stowage is 12,000 rounds per gun
                      2 x GAU-12 in powered mounts; ammunition stowage is 6,000 rounds per gun
                      Consumables storage: 22,500 man-days

                      “Gentlemen, the second ship I propose is a multi-function LPD. This vessel can be employed in both amphibious operations, as well as the construction and maintenance of port facilities anywhere they are proposed. Please direct your attention to the screen.” Roger Wilson then brings up the specifications for the LPD.

                      USS Trenton
                      Multi-class LPD
                      Length: 600'
                      Beam: 85' (waterline); 100' max
                      Draft: 23'
                      Well Deck: 170' x 50'
                      Vehicle Space: 12,000 square feet
                      Cargo Space: 50,000 cubic feet
                      Bulk POL storage: Gasoline: 23,000 gallonsDiesel: 850,000 gallonsJP5: 350,000 gal
                      Water distillation capacity: 50,000 gal/day
                      Consumables Storage: 225,000 man-days
                      Armament: 2 x 5”/38 guns on deck mounts (with gun tubs & splinter shields); 1 forward, 1 aft, Ammunition stowage is 200 rounds per gun
                      2 x GAU-19 on pedestal mounts; ammunition stowage is 12,000 rounds per gun
                      2 x GAU-12 in powered mounts; ammunition stowage is 6,000 rounds per gun
                      Ship’s facilities: fully-stocked machine shop, fully-stocked electrical shop, 12-bed hospital
                      Troop/Passenger capacity: 800 (standard), 920 (maximum)
                      Aircraft complement: Internal hangar for 2 x CH-46, 4 x UH-60, or other combinations.
                      Design purpose
                      Primary: to support the construction of port, base and colony facilities
                      Secondary: Amphibious warfare

                      Roger Wilson turns off the projector and says “Comments, gentlemen?” Those among his staff who are prior-service Navy engage in much excited discussion as they consider how both of these ships will allow for expanded naval operations. He goes on to say “If we are all in agreement, I move that we begin the construction of those two new slipways. All in favor?”Every man seated around the table raises his hand in support of the idea. Not one is opposed.“Very well. The motion is passed and the order is given.”

                      Fort Lincoln, Part 3
                      Date: August 15th, 1607
                      Location: Fort Lincoln, Wyoming
                      Time: Afternoon

                      Today, there will be a gathering at Fort Lincoln, Wyoming, the likes of which has never before taken place among the people of the plains. By the good efforts of the Cheyenne Council of Chiefs, word was sent to the other tribes of Wyoming to ask that they send paramount warriors and chiefs to represent them. Representatives from the other bands of the Tsitsistas (Cheyenne) were the first to arrive; their participation was speeded by the words of Chief Sharp Knife, and recognition of the deeds of the one called He-that-goes-far. Those tribes in attendance are the Arapahoe, Ute, Crow and Shoshone. Jim McPherson and his fellow Nebraska Rangers have been extraordinarily busy preparing their post for the meeting. Their task was greatly aided by help from Chief Sharp Knife’s band of Cheyenne, who regard Jim McPherson as a brother ever since he took Sharp Knife’s daughter Running Deer as his mate.

                      As previously requested by the Rangers, medical support teams were sent by the state of Nebraska and the U. S Government. These teams will vaccinate all of the natives in attendance, as well as teaching basic medical care. Trade goods of the type previously supplied to the Tsitsistas have also been brought in quantity.

                      Jim McPherson is assisting the other Nebraska Rangers in the final preparations for the meeting when Chief Sharp Knife and several of his warriors come up to the fort. The Chief says“Greetings, He–that-goes-far. I see that you and your men aren’t ones to let the grass grow under your feet. This great wooden lodge of yours is like nothing I have ever seen before.”

                      “Yes, Chief. It was our intention to build a lodge that would protect us against attack by wild animals, as well as enabling us to better resist winter weather. As you can see, there is much room within the walls of the lodge for the Tsitsistas and the men from the other tribes to set up their own lodges. You will be pleased to know that the chief of Nebraska (who we call ‘Governor’) has consented to your request for horses.”Jim McPherson points to a corral across Fort Lincoln, where there are sixteen horses penned. He says “Chief, the Governor sent eight breeding pairs of horses; one male and one female. The females (or mares) are all in foal, meaning that they will deliver within the month. When there are sufficient numbers of new horses, I and my fellow Rangers will show you and the warriors of the Tsitsistas how to care for and train them. We will also provide horses to the other tribes as well.”

                      Chief Sharp Knife says “This is well, He-that-goes-far. No longer will we have to walk long distances to hunt game. We will be able to chase the game, rather than seeing it run away. Now, I see the men from the other tribes approaching. Let us go and greet them.” Jim McPherson follows Chief Sharp Knife; as he doesn’t speak any of the other languages, he lets the Chief speak for him. Sharp Knife raises his right hand in a gesture of peace and says “Hail, fellow chiefs and paramount warriors. I am Sharp Knife, Chief of the local band of Tsitsistas and I bid you welcome to this gathering.” The chiefs and the other men return the greetings, then commence to setting up their tipis. The very first thing to be done is to set up the poles which will support the skin covering; these three poles are lashed together at the top and the bottom ends are splayed outwards. Next, twelve more long poles are rested against the top lashing of the first three. They are secured at the top by a lashing rope which is drawn around the framework of the tipi three times and tied tightly. To cover the framework, a skin made of tanned animal hides is tied to another pole, and this pole is rested against the top lashing. The skin is wrapped tightly around the frame; the two edged are pinned together with tapered wooden pins and the bottom edge of the skin is staked to the ground.

                      When the tipis are complete, the chiefs and the other men of the tribes gather inside the fort to hear Chief Sharp Knife speak “Hear me men of the Plains, my words are true. Beside me, you see my son He-that-goes-far. He is from a tribe called the Nebraska; this tribe is part of a great nation called the United States of America. This nation lies many days of travel to the east. He-that-goes-far and some of his people built this great wooden lodge you see around us. Their purpose in coming here is to trade with all other peoples of the Plains. Among the people who came here from the Nebraska are those who are greatly-skilled in curing the sick and healing the wounded. If you wish it, they will attend to you all as they have attended to the people of my own band. In matters of trade, they have many types of wondrous goods for us. All they ask in exchange are those goods and craft items we make, plus knowledge and experience of the lands which lie to the north, south and west of us.”

                      While Chief Sharp Knife is speaking, members of the Nebraska Rangers and his own band of Tsitsistas have been setting up long wooden tables to display the trade goods that Sharp Knife mentioned. As quantities of each item are brought out and arrayed on the tables, He-that-goes-far tells the assembled group what it is and how it is used. As he speaks no other languages than his own and the tongue of the Tsitsistas, Chief Sharp Knife translates. As in their previous dealings with the Tsitsistas, the Rangers bring out steel spearheads, hatchets, long knives, hand mirrors, firestarting kits, iron cooking pots, cloth blankets of various colors and designs, plus cloth sacks filled with salt. In a change from the previous exchange of trade goods, the Nebraska Rangers have brought large wooden boxes filled with hundreds of steel arrowheads.

                      When the examinations and vaccinations are done, the warriors of the several tribes sit and talk among themselves about what just happened. Several of them have lost family members to the same kinds of diseases that Hethatgoesfar and Chief Sharp Knife told them about. These are the most enthusiastic about getting the vaccines.

                      While the talking is going on, He thatgoesfar and Chief Sharp Knife escort the other chiefs along the rows of tables where the trade goods are displayed. Hethatgoesfar describes each item in great detail and explains what it is. The items that get the most attention are the hand mirrors and firestarting kits. None of the men have ever seen their images (except by looking into still water), and all have had to start fires by using fire drills. The spearheads, arrow heads, knives and hatchets are recognized by their forms. A chief of the Shoshone says “our tools and weapons are made from bone, horn or chipped stone. What is this material that these items are made from? It shines like still water or a full moon.”

                      Through Chief Sharp Knife’s translation, Hethatgoesfar replies “Hear me, Chief of the Shoshone. The material is not stone. It is called ‘steel’. This steel is made from a certain kind of rock that is common in the land of my people. We take this rock, crush it to a fine powder, then heat the powder in a great fire. The raw material for the steel comes out of the heated rock powder and we add certain things to it. When the steel is cool enough to touch, we shape it into any form we desire.”

                      The chief asks “How is this steel better than chipped stone?” Hethatgoesfar replies “The chief virtue of steel is that it is stronger and more durable than stone. Arrows and spears tipped with it can penetrate big game much deeper. For chopping wood, one man with a steel axe can fell a large tree and cut all of the branches before the axe needs to be sharpened; a dozen stone axes would break in the felling and cutting of that same tree.”

                      The chiefs talk among themselves for a short time, then the same Shoshone chief says “This is good, Hethatgoesfar. We would know what you and your people ask in return for these goods and for what your medicine men and women have done for us.”

                      “In trade, we ask for those goods and craft items that that the People of the Plains produce; fruits, nuts, berries, hides and meat. The lands of my people aren’t yet recovered to the point where we can produce these things for ourselves. Further, we ask for knowledge of the lands and peoples that lie far to the west, north and south of here. It is also our intention, with your permission of course, to send our medicine men and women among the other people of your tribes. We will teach your shamans what we know and we will likewise look to the medical needs of your people.”

                      The assembled chiefs nod their heads in agreement. The Shoshone chief says “We will go to our men and tell them of what we have discussed with you. When this great council is done, we will return to our tribes and tell them that your people are coming to see them. For me, hear when I say that Hethatgoesfar and his people will never lack for strong friends among the Shoshone.”

                      Ships & Submarines
                      Date: August 17th, 1607
                      Location: Trinity Industries Shipyard, Caruthersville, Missouri
                      Time: 0900 hours

                      In his office, Roger Wilson is attending to various and sundry matters relating to the ongoing work on the ships under construction as well as to the expansion of the yard’s capacity. Outside the office, the shipyard is echoing with the sounds of drilling, hammering and welding. To increase the rate of construction, Wilson has ordered that Trinity Industries phase in the concept of modular ship construction (first used by Henry J. Kaiser during the Second World War). It is anticipated that this will reduce ship construction time by at least half; possibly as much as two-thirds. At 9:00 AM, the phone in the outer office rings and is answered by Roger Wilson’s secretary. She calls over the office intercom and says “Excuse me, Mr. Wilson. There is a call for you on line 1. It is the Secretary of Defense.” “Thank you, Linda. Please put the call though.” The call is connected and Mr. Wilson says “Good morning, Mr. Secretary. This is Roger Wilson, Trinity Industries. How can I help you today?”

                      Secretary of Defense Stephen Danner replies “Good morning, Mr. Wilson. I am calling you today because I wish to discuss the design proposals for that tanker and multi-purpose LPD you sent to my office last week. They represent a significant expansion of U.S Naval capabilities, and are sorely needed if the Navy is to be able to engage in power projection beyond our local waters. It is my understanding that Trinity Industries is just now building new, larger slipways. Is this not correct?”“Yes, Mr. Secretary. You are correct. I authorized my people to begin expansion of the shipyard to allow for the construction of larger vessels.”

                      “Well Mr. Wilson, you will be pleased to know that I have discussed this matter with the President. He agrees with me, and furthermore, he has given me the authority to place another order with your company. Specifically, Trinity Industries is to begin work on the tanker and LPD designs as soon as you are able to build them. The initial order will be for three vessels of each type. How soon will you be able to begin construction?”

                      “Mr. Secretary, ground has already been broken for the two new slipways. They will be ready for use by November, 1607.” “Excellent. In other matters, the U.S Navy is eventually going to need a new fleet submarine design. Is your firm capable of designing and building such a vessel?”

                      “Mr. Secretary, we can certainly design the boat. However, at present, we don’t have the yard space to build it. All of the slipways are filled with Sumner-class hulls in various stages of construction. The slipways for the tanker and LPD have priority, so anything new will have to wait until after they are done.”

                      “I thought as much, Mr. Wilson. In any case, please come up with a design proposal for a new submarine and get back to me when it is ready.”

                      “Of course, Mr. Secretary. May I also assume that you eventually want the U.S Navy to get back into nuclear propulsion?”

                      “You are correct, Mr. Wilson. My main purpose in calling for this new submarine design is to develop the skillset and infrastructure necessary for that purpose.”

                      “I understand, sir. I and my staff will work up a preliminary design for your consideration. I’ll have it to you in a week.”

                      “Thank you, Mr. Wilson. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.”

                      At the conclusion of the call, Roger Wilson calls for his staff and his naval architects to tell them of the request from the Secretary of Defense “Gentlemen, I have good news. Trinity Industries has been commissioned to build the tanker and LPD designs that we discussed. Secretary Danner placed an order for three of each. We are to begin as soon as the new slipways are ready. He also wants us to come up with a design proposal for a submarine.”

                      The news that Trinity Industries will be constructing the tankers and LPDs is no great surprise. The submarine idea, however, is entirely different. This causes much excited discussion to run around the office table. Assistant Superintendent Mike Summers speaks up and says “Roger, our fabrication capabilities are certainly up to the challenge. What kind of a design did you have in mind?” “Mike, I was originally thinking about a Tench-class boat. However, I realized that the Navy is probably going to want something a little more up to date. All of you who were in the Navy know about the Barbel-class boat; it was the last conventionally-powered submarine built for the U.S Navy before the advent of nuclear power. I propose that we build a copy of that design.” “Roger, as a matter of fact, I served aboard one of those boats. Specifically, USS Blueback; 1987-1990. I was part of her last crew before she was decommissioned in 1990.”

                      “That’s great news, Mike. I’ll need your input for the new design.” The meeting concludes; Roger Wilson and Mike Summers set to work. The first thing they come up with is a set of design characteristics.

                      Name: USS Barracuda
                      Type: diesel-electric attack submarine
                      Length: 320’
                      Beam: 29’Draft: 25’
                      Displacement: 2,200 tons light, 2,850 tons full, 3,200 tons submerged
                      Armament: 4 bow-mounted 21” torpedo tubes, 24 DM2A4 torpedoes carried as reloads
                      Propulsion: 3 x 3,150 shp diesel engines, 2 x 2,400 shp electric motors
                      Battery storage: 4 x 126-cell storage batteries
                      Speed: 15 knots (surfaced), 12 knots (snorkeling), 25 knots (submerged)
                      Range: 20,000 miles w/o refueling, 90 minutes at maximum speed submerged, 102 hours at 3 knots submerged
                      Test depth: 700’ operating, 1,000’ crush
                      Ship’s Complement: 85
                      Endurance: 6,375 man-days consumables.

                      The hull of the Barracuda-class has been lengthened by 100’ over the hull of the Barbel-class to afford extra space for fuel bunkerage, consumables storage and the addition of vertical-launch tubes for cruise missiles.

                      Coming to the Rescue
                      Date: September 15th, 1607
                      Location: the Colony of Jamestowne

                      It is with sure purpose that I, Captain John Smith take quill in hand to relate the amazing events of the last several days. Our company had greatly suffered from want of provisions and from diseases of various sorts. The poor conditions of the land surrounding the Colony of Jamestown prevented much in the way of planting crops, and our efforts to trade for provisions with the local Indian tribes met with little success. Methinks this was due to the hostility of their chief Powhatan, who surely regards us as intruders in his domain. Any party that went without the fort for fishing, hunting or the planting of crops was subject to attack. Indeed, several of our men were taken by the Indians or were killed on the spot. I was forced to order that no one go outside the stockade without armed escort.

                      This state of affairs lasted until the 7th instant, when a party of men approached the fort. They were moststrangely garbed, and all bore arms the like of which we had never seen before. The main body of them stood back some little distance and their leader came forward and hailed us.

                      “Hello, the fort. I am Lieutenant James Smith of the United States Army, and I come in peace.”

                      My adjutant and I greeted this Lieutenant Smith. I identified myself and said “what is your purpose here?” Lt. Smith replied “Sir, my men and I are here to help the colony. We received intelligence that the people here were suffering from disease and a lack of food. If you are agreeable, I will supply rations and medical care.”

                      “Whatever you can provide will be most welcome, Lieutenant. How will your supplies get here?”

                      “Sir, my men are currently securing a large clearing near here. The supplies and equipment will be dropped there. If you wish, you can come with us to oversee the delivery.”

                      “Aye right willingly, Lieutenant.” My adjutant and I, plus an escort of seven men went with Lt. Smith. His men disposed themselves on either side of us in two openorder columns; the distance between each man was five paces. They carried themselves with excellent order and discipline. At all times, they looked outwards in every direction with their weapons at the ready. The clearing was located along the shore some two hundred yards distant from the fort. We had previously cut back the brush and attempted to plant crops here, but attacks from the Indians forced us to stop.

                      Lt. Smith then did something I didn’t comprehend. He raised a small green box to his right ear and spoke into it. Most amazingly, the box actually spoke back to him. With some little trepidation, I asked “Lieutenant, what is that device?” He replied “Sit, it is a communications device. I have arranged for a supply drop, and the materiel will be here in half an hour.”

                      “How is that possible? I see no ships approaching the shore. They would have to be very nearby in order to arrive so soon.” Lt. Smith said “Sir, just wait and see.” Not half an hour later, my men and I were amazed to see what looked like great birds approaching us out of the sky. These creatures gave forth loud howling noises that sounded for all the world like great gusts of wind. They grew near with a suddenness that was so unnerving that two of my men took flight and ran off back to the fort. Being of much sterner stuff, I stood my ground. I looked over to Lieutenant Smith and asked “what are those creatures?”

                      “Sir, those aren’t living creatures at all. They are flying machines, controlled by men. They are bringing the rations and medical supplies I called for.”

                      The flying machines were overhead in the space of a few moments. All manner of large boxes were cast out from them, and above these boxes sprouted what looked like large white wings. Amazingly, the boxes floated down to the ground as if they had been lowered by rope. Among the boxes, I saw that more men had come down out of the sky and were beginning to clear away the boxes. The wings were not, in fact, wings at all. Rather, they were round sheets of fine white cloth.

                      Lt. Smith saw the expression on my face and said “Sir, those crates and boxes contain the medicine and supplies for the colony. My men will bring them back to the fort and see to their distribution. You’ll be pleased to know that among the men that came with the supplies are physicians who will see to the medical needs of your people.”

                      I grabbed Lt. Smith by the hand and shook it most vigorously. I said “Lieutenant, on behalf of Governor Wingfield and the people of the Colony of Virginia, I thank you for your timely arrival. I had begun to fear for our future survival.”

                      “Thanks are unnecessary, sir. We of the United States of America have no wish to see your people suffer more than they already have. Now sir, let us retire to your fort. I must speak with Governor Wingfield, as there is much to discuss.”

                      Lt. Smith and two of his men followed me and mine back to the stockade. In very short order, we went to the council hall where Governor Wingfield and the rest of the council were waiting.

                      “Governor, I have the honor to introduce to you a Lieutenant James Smith, of the United States Army. He and his men have brought supplies of food and medicine for the succor of our people.”

                      All about the hall, many onlookers have gathered. Many are fearful over the sights they have seen and the sounds they have heard. Some are even displaying the beginnings of hope and of curiosity.

                      Over the next several hours, Lieutenant Smith spoke at length with Governor Wingfield and myself. He told us much about his people and how they had come to be. The tales he told grew more and more fantastic. I would have dismissed him as a liar and a charlatan had I not seen the truth with my own eyes. While the meeting was going on, the supplies of food and medicine had been brought into the fort. Lt. Smith’s men and my own were seeing to it that everyone had as much hot food as they could eat. When the people heard what was happening and smelled the food as it was being prepared, great shouts of thanks rent the air.

                      After the meeting with the council was concluded, Governor Wingfield, Lieutenant Smith and I came out of the council chamber. Lt. Smith said “Governor, if you and Captain Smith will permit it, the physicians among my men will begin giving medical examinations to everyone here starting tomorrow. Everyone who is sick or injured will be treated to the very best of our ability. Now, I must see to the further disposition of my men. It is very crowded here in the stockade, so we will pitch our tents just outside the walls.”

                      I said “Lieutenant, there have been many attacks and raids by the Indians of late. I have some concern for your safety.” Lt. Smith replied “Sir, your concern for our safety is muchappreciated, but unnecessary. We are more than capable of dealing with any hostile force, no matter how large.”

                      Date: September 15th, 1607
                      Location: President Chu’s office, Whiteman AFB
                      Time: 1800 hours

                      The President is about to go to dinner when he is greeted by Dennis Morgan, his chief of staff. “I beg your pardon, Mr. President. There is a development that you need to be apprised of. The staff at FOB Hope in Quebec have informed me that troops made first contact with the Colony of Virginia on September 7th. The contact was friendly, and an initial drop of supplies has been made. The people of the colony weren’t in good shape, so physicians and medicines were brought in along with the supplies. Relief efforts are ongoing.”

                      “Thank you, Dennis. Please keep me apprised.”

                      “Yes, Mr. President.”

                      2100 hours

                      After the colonists of Jamestowne have eaten their fill of emergency rations, many of them retire to bed; their stomachs full for the first time in several months. Outside the main gate, Lt. Smith’s men have set up their own camp and begun security patrols outside the stockade’s perimeter.

                      At the same time inside the colony’s council hall, Governor Wingfield, Captain Smith and Lt. Smith are conferring about the tasks set for tomorrow. Before discussion continues, Captain Smith says to Lt. Smith “I see we bear the same last name, Lt. Smith. Be that a coincidence?”

                      Lt. Smith smiles broadly and replies “No sir, that isn’t a coincidence. I am a lineal descendant of yours on my father’s side of the family.”

                      “This is most pleasing news, Lieutenant.” Captain Smith shakes hands with Lt. Smith in the familiar manner of two longlost relatives who are suddenly reunited.”

                      Governor Wingfield says “Lt. Smith, you said earlier today that your men will be seeing to the medical needs of the people here in the colony. How do you intend to do this?”

                      “Sir, in the morning, I will ask that you gather together all of the colony’s residents who are able to walk. They will be divided into small groups and seen to on an individual basis. For those who are too weak to move, my physicians will go to their homes and see them there. This is what is termed a ‘house call’. Any and all injuries, whether great or small will be cared for. Among the medications which will be administered are certain dietary supplements; these will go a very long way towards restoring the health and vigor of the people. Before I continue, Governor, have there been any evidence of smallpox among the colonists?”

                      Lt. Smith’s mere mention of that most dreaded of all diseases causes a shiver of fear to run deep within the Governor and Captain Smith. Governor Wingfield says “Praise be to Almighty God that there has been none such.” Captain Smith adds “Lieutenant, there are regular outbreaks of smallpox back in England. I encountered the disease during my travels in Western Europe while I was fighting against the Spanish in the armies of King Henri IV of France and also for Dutch independence from King Phillip II. May I know why you asked about the disease?

                      “Sir, among the several medicines brought by my physicians are those which are called vaccines. If someone who has never had smallpox is given a vaccine against it, that person will never contract it.”

                      Captain Smith and Governor Wingfield exchanges looks of total amazement as they comprehend what Lt. Smith just told them. They both know full well that smallpox is a remorseless, relentless killer capable of wiping out entire villages. Governor Wingfield says “Lieutenant, if what you say is true, then it is a blessing from the Almighty. To reassure the people, I will be the first to take this vaccine. How is it administered, may I ask?”

                      “Sir, the vaccine is injected into a person’s arm by means of a sharp steel needle attached to a small glass tube” Captain Smith interjects “After the Governor takes the vaccine, I will be the next.”

                      Battle in the Darkness
                      Date: September 15th, 1607
                      Location: outside the stockade of Jamestown Colony
                      Time: 2400 hours

                      While the population of the Jamestown colony are sleeping peaceably in bed, all is most assuredly not well in the woods outside the fort. For some time now, Wahunsunacawh (paramount Chief of the Powhatan Confederation) and his brother Opechancanough have regarded the activities of the English settlers with much trepidation. The ways of the two peoples are so different that mistrust soon grew to open hostility. There were only a few attempts at trading before open warfare broke out.

                      The two brothers have been keeping careful watch on the settlement and have seen the population much reduced by hunger and disease. They have judged to attack the fort and wipe out the strangers once and for all. To this end, Wahunsunacawh gathered a band of fifty of his finest warriors. This band is led by his brother Opechancanough and was given the simple command ‘Kill them all.’

                      Unfortunately for the Powhatan, they lived far enough away from the fort that they neither saw or heard the arrival of a new band of strangers. Just about midnight, the Powhatan war band was quietly approaching the stockade with their weapons in hand. The Powhatans gave a loud war cry and charged.

                      Sgt. James Burton (leader of the squad of seven soldiers assigned to the task of perimeter security) saw the Indians charging the fort and shouted out “HOSTILES FRONT.” His men immediately assumed defensive positions. The Powhatans vigorously maintained their charge while firing arrows and throwing spears. Their war clubs and axes were saved for close combat. Sgt. Burton and three of his men were struck by arrows and spears, but suffered no injury due to their helmets and body armor.

                      On the walkway of the fort’s palisade, Captain Smith’s adjutant cried out fearfully “TO ARMS….TO ARMS…. WE ARE ASSAILED!!!” These cries of alarm quickly wake the population of the fort; the people stand to arms and make ready to defend themselves. Outside the fort, the Powhatans are less than ten paces from Sgt. Burton and his men. He says “steady….steady….Alright boys, OPEN FIRE!!!” What follows is an indescribable maelstrom of violence that is over before Captain Smith’s troops can make it out of the gate. Sgt. Burton and his squad laid down a withering curtain of automatic weapons fire which cut down most of the Powhatans before they got close. By sheer chance, Opechancanough and eight of his warriors managed to get close to Sgt. Burton and his men, where they were dispatched with pistol fire and their combat knives. Opechancanough caught the butt of a rifle to his right temple and was knocked unconscious.

                      Just as the combat concluded, Captain Smith, Lt. Smith and a mixed force of American soldiers and colonial militia come spilling out of the stockade’s main gate. Lt. Smith doesn’t hesitate before shouting out “MEDIC” The medical personnel assigned to the relief expedition make their way out onto the battlefield and see to the casualties. Sgt. Burton and three of his men are wounded to one degree or another; he has a broken arm from a hit by a war club. One man has an arrow in his right thigh and the other two have cuts to their forearms. While the injuries are being attended to, Lt. Smith conducts a quick afteraction report with Sgt. Burton.

                      “Sir, the men and I were walking the perimeter as you ordered. Nor more than ten minutes ago, this group of Indians comes screaming at us out of the darkness and called out ‘Hostiles Front.’ We were immediately engaged by enemy fire. Because of the darkness, I had to wait until the hostiles were ten yards away before returning fire. Even though they were using bows, arrows, spears, clubs and knives, it was a pretty near thing. The leader of the enemy force and eight of his men managed to close with us; we had to put them down with pistol fire and our knives. I clubbed the leader with the butt of my rifle and he dropped like a sack of potatoes.”

                      “Alright, sergeant. You and your men did well, considering the circumstances.” Lt. Smith orders “The rest of you, I want a perimeter twenty yards out.” Just then, Lt. Smith sees one of the colonial militiamen approaching the wounded Indians with murder in his eyes. The militiaman is just about to draw his sword and start killing the wounded when Lt. Smith angrily strides over with his pistol out. He shouts “Hold up. Under the laws of the United States Army and the laws and usages of war, these men are no longer the enemy. They are our prisoners and are entitled to protection and medical care. If you so much as look at them the wrong way, I’ll blow your brains out the back of your thick skull. DO YOU HEAR ME, MISTER??”

                      Date: September 16th, 1607
                      Time: 0700 hours

                      All throughout the night and into the morning hours, Lt. Smith’s medics worked to save as many of the wounded Powhatan warriors as they could. By 7:00 AM, Chief medic SFC John Harrison reports to Lt. Smith and says “Sir, we’ve done all we can. The final butcher’s bill is 30 KIA and 20 WIA.”

                      “Alright, Sgt. Harrison. You and your men are to be commended; you all did extraordinarily well considering the circumstances. I know you and your men are tired, however, I must ask you to proceed with the examinations and vaccinations of the Jamestown colonists. I already told Governor Wingfield and Captain Smith that the examinations would take place this morning, and I don’t want to disappoint them.”

                      “I understand, sir.” SFC Harrison rejoins his men and commences the examinations and vaccinations. The people of Jamestown are understandably afraid of what happened last night, so the medics do their best to reassure them. In the meantime, Lt. Smith is meeting with the Governor and Captain Smith to discuss the events of last night. Over the next several hours, Lt. Smith hears how the situation came to be between the Indians and the colonists. He carefully considers what he has heard and says “Gentlemen, it will be a long time (if ever) that the Indians try attacking the colony again. The question now arises on what to do with the prisoners. Captain Smith, just last night, I had to draw my sidearm on one of your men who was about to start killing the wounded Indians on the field. I’ll tell you in all seriousness that I was fullyprepared to shoot him if necessary; killing of unarmed and defenseless prisoners is something that the U.S Army doesn’t tolerate.”

                      “Yes Lieutenant, I know. I talked to the man, and I never saw someone who was more afraid in all my life. He was shaking so badly that he looked as if the devil himself had confronted him.”

                      “I did come down on the man rather hard, sir. But, I had to make a point. Now, as to the prisoners captured after last night’s engagement. It is clear to me that the colony has no facilities for holding prisoners. Captain Smith, I propose that that the prisoners be released back to their own people on condition that they never take arms against the colony again. You and Chief Powhatan know each other, and I know that you speak their language fairly well. I and ten of my men will escort you to their village. You’ll tell Chief Powhatan what happened and offer him his men back. Tell him also that if he wants the bodies of his fallen warriors back, he can send a party under flag of truce to retrieve them.”

                      Governor Wingfield says “Lieutenant, your proposal may be more successful than you know. Earlier this morning, I looked over the prisoners. That elaboratelydressed warrior your man Sgt. Burton clubbed over the head is none other than Opechancanough; he’s the younger brother of Chief Powhatan.” Captain Smith looks somewhat hesitant to lead the mission, so Lt. Smith again says “Sir, I and ten of my men will go with you. We’ll be fullyarmed and equipped; no force can possibly overcome us, no matter how large.”

                      “Very well, Lieutenant. I will make preparations to leave at your convenience.”

                      Lt. Smith says “Yes, Sir. While you are doing that, I will communicate with my higher headquarters. My government will need to know just what happened here.”

                      Down to the sea in Ships
                      Date: September 22nd, 1607
                      Location: Trinity Industries Shipyard, Caruthersville, Missouri
                      Time: 0900 hours

                      After truly herculean amounts of effort by the personnel of Trinity Industries, USS Sumner has been completed and is ready for launch. The ship was actually completed on September 20th; the intervening two days was occupied in readying her for the launching ceremony. This launch is especially meaningful, as USS Sumner is the first warship to be built for the U.S Navy since the transition event. Accordingly there are thousands of people and a number of high-ranking dignitaries in attendance; among these are President Chu and Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri. USS Sumner’s commanding officer Captain Stevens is also present. After a round of speeches is made to the gathered witnesses, President Chu solemnly intones “Bring forth the Naval Register.”

                      With this, a large leather-bound volume is carried by Shipyard Superintendent Roger Wilson and placed on a table in front of the President. Nearby, two shipyard workers are fastening a special bottle of champagne to a thin rope dangling from the overhead beam of a dockside crane. The bottle is held within a loosely-woven cloth mesh bag so that, when it is swung against the ship’s bow, none of the fragments will scatter. With these preliminaries out of the way, President Chu, Governor Nixon and their specially-invited guests step forward to participate in the christening of USS Sumner. President Chu raises the bottle of champagne up on high and calls out in a loud, clear voice “In the name of the people of the United States of America, I christen thee the United States Ship Sumner. God bless this ship and all who sail upon her.” President Chu vigorously swings the bottle of champagne against the bow of the ship; the bottle shatters and sprays its contents all over the freshly-painted steel.

                      As soon as the bottle breaks against the bow of USS Sumner, Shipyard Superintendent Wilson signals his workers to release the ship into the waters of the Mississippi River. First, the heavy steel pins which fasten the chains holding the ship in the slipway are knocked out with sledgehammers. Then, the large wooden baulks which serve as brakes are pulled away. Slowly, inexorably, USS Sumner begins her slide into the Mighty Mississippi. To guard against the possibility of grounding on launching, the ship was constructed sideways to the river, rather than perpendicular to it. Loud, squealing metallic groans are heard as USS Sumner goes down the slipway. Finally, there is a great splash of river water as the ship feels water under her keel for the first time.

                      USS Sumner is now afloat, the waters of the Mississippi River lapping gently against her smooth steel hull. Satisfied that all is well, President Chu goes to the table holding the Naval Register and says to the assembled witnesses “By affixing my signature to this Register of U.S Naval Vessels, I formally acknowledge that USS Sumner has been completed according to contract and is therefore accepted into the United States Navy.”Out in the river, two tugboats gently nudge USS Sumner into a temporary mooring immediately downstream of the shipyard. As soon as the ship is made fast, Captain Stevens calls out to his crew over the shipyard’s Public Address system “BRING THE SHIP TO LIFE”. From their ordered ranks standing next to the ship’s moorings, the crew thunders forth “AYE AYE, SIR.” Hundreds of sailors are soon coming up USS Sumner’s gangplank. They fan out across the ship and take up their stations. Immediately, the first checks of USS Sumner’s systems are begun; these are so numerous and so complex that the while process is expected to take several days. Captain Stevens has been ordered to put to sea for USS Sumner’s shakedown cruise no later than October 2nd. So, the crew will be working long shifts to make it happen on time.

                      A Caribbean Cruise
                      Date: October 9th, 1607
                      Location: The Caribbean Sea, due south of the Island of Hispaniola
                      Time: 1200 hours

                      Thus far, the shakedown cruise of USS Sumner has gone without incident. The crew came aboard the ship after she was launched from the Caruthersville, Missouri shipyard. They checked all of the ship’s systems and familiarized themselves with them. After an uneventful cruise down the Mississippi River, USS Sumner entered the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The crew put their ship through a series of drills and exercises designed to test USS Sumner’s reliability and maneuverability; these tests included gunnery practice, damage control and high-speed runs with sharp maneuvering.

                      As USS Sumner was passing due south of the Island of Hispaniola, a call suddenly comes over the ship’s internal communicator “Bridge, CIC. Radar shows two intermittent groups of contacts bearing Two-Seven-Zero degrees relative; range is thirteen nautical miles.

                      “CIC, Bridge. What do you make of it, Mr. Jenkins?”

                      The ship’s radar officer Lt. Cmdr Richard Jenkins replies “Sir, upon further examination, my screens show two separate groups of contacts. The first group is forward of the second, and has three separate targets in it. The second group has four targets. In this second group, one of the targets is hanging slightly aback of the others Both groups of targets are maintaining the same course, but the second one seems to be closing on the first; distance between the two is just under one and a quarter miles.”

                      “Very good, Commander. Bridge out.”

                      “Well XO, this looks suspiciously like pirate activity to me. On the off chance that it is, match our course with both groups and close to within visual range.”

                      “Aye, Sir.” Thirty minutes later, USS Sumner has advanced to within six miles of the target groups. One of the bridge lookouts is using a large pair of image-stabilized naval binoculars to scan forward. Despite the present ‘Sea-State’ of three and a light swell, the hazy, misty conditions makes it rather difficult to get a clear look at the targets. Still, the lookout sees enough to call out “Action Forward!!” Captain Stevens says “Where away, sailor?” The lookout replies “Dead ahead, sir. The range is just under six miles.” The captain is joined by the XO, and both men take out their own binoculars. After a minute or two, Captain Stevens says “XO, that looks suspiciously like pirate activity to me. Sound ‘General Quarters’, if you please. Commander James Wilson replies “Sound General Quarters, aye, sir”. The XO takes up a microphone and announces over the ship’s PA system “General Quarters, General Quarters. All hands man your battle stations.” Warning klaxons blare loudly all over the ship, spurring men into action.

                      “XO, when we get to within half a mile, I want you to fire three warning shots in the vicinity of the trail vessel in the second group.”

                      “Aye, sir.”

                      Meanwhile, at that very same time aboard the Dutch merchant trader ‘Erasmus’, Captain Pieter de Vries calls to his pilot-major John Blackthorne and says “Well, Pilot-Major. Those pirates have the weather-gage on us and they are closing the range rather quickly. It seems that they mean to have us and our cargo.” Pilot-Major Blackthorne replies “Aye, Captain. That be the case. Ever since the conclusion of the war between England and those accursed Spanish in 1605, privateering commissions have disappeared. Certain English sea-captains have turned pirate, rather than taking up honest trade. I believe that some of them are pursuing us now.”

                      “How do you know this, pilot-major?”

                      “Captain, I’m Plymouth-born and bred. I recognize that big bastard holding abaft of the other three vessels. By the cut of her rigging, she’s race-built. The other ships are likely Spanish hulls, taken as prizes.”

                      “Very well, pilot-major. Pass the word to the quartermaster and to our other two ships, Clear Decks For Action!!”

                      “Aye, Captain.”

                      While the crews of the three Dutch merchantmen are clearing their decks, the pirates chasing them are hungry and eager for prizes. For them, pickings have been slim of late. So, it was decided to attack these three merchantmen. As emphasis, the lead pirate vessel begins firing its bow chasers. Nothing much in the way of serious battle is anticipated, as none of the Dutchmen have heavy armament. So eager are the pirates for plunder, and so intent are the crews of the merchantmen to avoid being caught, than none of them see the great metal ship coming up hard and fast behind them.

                      At the range of one-half mile, USS Sumner brackets the rear-most pirate galleon with three shots from her main battery. The first round lands to port, the second to starboard and the third round lands dead aft. It is close enough to the stern that spray from the explosion of the shell drenches the galleon’s stern-post, and several of the windows in the captain’s cabin are shattered by the force of the explosion. Despite their shock and amazement at the sight of this enormous ship seemingly appearing out of nowhere, the galleon’s crew returns fire with their stern chasers. Both cannonballs fall far short of their target.

                      Captain Stevens now orders “XO, put one round into that vessel’s stern. Silence those guns, if you please.”

                      “One round into the stern of the enemy vessel. Aye, sir.” USS Sumner’s Turret #1 aligns its gun on the proper bearing, then discharges one round. In the blink of an eye, the high-explosive shell crashes into the stern of the pirate galleon. The explosion dismounts both stern chasers, kills or injures most of the two gun crews and destroys the ship’s rudder. Two of the other pirate vessels break off their pursuit of the Dutch merchantmen and maneuver so as to bring their own broadsides to bear. Seeing this, Captain Stevens orders “XO, you may disable those other ships at your discretion.”

                      Commander Wilson orders Turret #1 and Turret #2 to open fire. Three rounds from turret #1 strike the first pirate craft broadside. One of these shells lands amidships and brings down the mainmast. The second shell detonates on the pirate vessel’s starboard quarter and blows a giant, gaping hole in the hull just above the waterline, while the third shell explodes in the captain’s quarters. The power of the detonation causes the timbers on the quarterdeck to shatter as they heave violently upwards. All of the windows are blown out, and the ship’s steering cables are cut.

                      Turret #2 engages the second pirate vessel with similar results. Two of the shells hit broadside and explode, creating identical devastation as on the first ship. The third shell overshoots its intended target and hits the third pirate vessel at an angle below the foremast. By a trick of fate, this shell penetrates the hull and finds the pirate ship’s main magazine. The resulting explosion destroys the entire ship in a thunderous blast.

                      “XO, cease fire and safe the guns.”

                      “Cease fire and safe the guns. Aye, sir.”

                      “Helm, pull us alongside that galleon. Make your range one hundred yards. I want to hail them.”

                      “Aye, Captain.”

                      Slowly and cautiously, USS Sumner comes alongside the pirate galleon; the distance between the two ships is just one hundred yards. The pirate crew is so shocked by the incomprehensible violence that has been visited upon them and their fellows, that all that can do is to watch as an impossibly-huge metal ship pulls next to them. As if what happened to them wasn’t bad enough, Captain Stevens gets on USS Sumner’s bullhorn and shouts “AHOY THERE, PIRATE VESSEL. THIS IS THE UNITED STATES SHIP SUMNER. STRIKE YOUR COLORS AND HEAVE TO. SPILL THE WIND FROM YOUR SAILS, UN-SHIP YOUR GUNS AND TOSS THEM OVERBOARD. YOU HAVE THIRTY MINUTES TO COMPLY. IF YOU FAIL TO COMPLY WITH THIS ORDER, YOUR SHIP WILL BE DESTROYED. PASS THIS MESSAGE TO THE OTHER TWO VESSELS.” Captain Stevens’ voice reaches across the water like the fury of an angry god, and so cows the pirates into abject submission.

                      The sailing master of the galleon waves a white flag in token of his acknowledgement. Neither the captain or the first mate are available, as both were killed when one of USS Sumner’s shells exploded in the captain’s cabin. Very quickly, hands are sent aloft to furl the sails, while every other available man is set to the task of dismounting the ship’s guns and throwing them overboard. These same tasks are being performed on the other pirate ships.
                      While USS Sumner’s bridge crew is carefully monitoring the disarming of the pirate ships, Captain Stevens orders “XO, put one of the ship’s launches over the side. Raise a white flag to show those merchantmen that we mean no harm. They obviously witnessed what we did, so I anticipate no trouble.”

                      “Aye, Captain.”

                      "XO, tell the men well done. I do however think we need to look at whether we should have had a track on them a little farther out."

                      "Aye, Captain, the crew needs more training. I want to look at the radar logs myself. Sailing ships generally give poor radar returns, but I have a suspicion that there might have been some intermittent ghosts. Perhaps the radar boys need some training with manually plotting ghosts on an old fashioned plotting board to look for motion. I don't think the enemy is going to volunteer to put a radar reflector up in their rigging. The software does not give a relative motion vector without a solid contact, so we are going to have to get better with weak and intermittent contacts. Unfortunately, with our speed differential moving ghosts will not be easy to see, but it will be better to chase the occasional phantom than to miss the prize. I think the lookouts just need more experience and training. The bridge wings are not that high above the water, but I would have hoped we would have a visual at six miles. My guess is that they are used to relying on radar too much and we need to sharpen the Mk-1 eyeball sensor suite."

                      In the meantime, one of USS Sumner’s two launches is lowered into the water from one of the ship’s Miranda-type gravity davits. One of the ship’s officers, a Lt. Roger Connolly, goes aboard with a small crew to handle the boat. Lt. Connolly orders the helmsman to make for the largest of the Dutch merchantmen (which just happens to be the Erasmus). When the launch finally pulls alongside, the rails of the Erasmus are crowded with the faces of curious and fearful crewmen.

                      Lt. Connolly hails them “Ahoy there, I am Lieutenant Roger Connolly of the United States Ship Sumner. We saw you being pursued by those four pirate vessels and intervened on your behalf.” One of the Erasmus’ crew, more bold than the rest, steps forward and says “I am Pilot-Major John Blackthorne. On behalf of my captain and crew, I thank you for your most timely assistance.”

                      “You are welcome, sir. My captain has instructed me to tell you that the pirate vessels have been disarmed, and that you may do with the ships and crews as you like.” Pilot-Major Blackthorne smiles widely, as he has been on other ships that have come under pirate attack in the past.”

                      “Will you not come aboard and sup with us, lieutenant? Captain de Vries sets a fine table, and he will surely want to hear more of that strange ship of yours.”

                      “Sir, I thank you for your generous offer. But, I must regretfully decline. My ship has pressing business elsewhere.”

                      “As you please, lieutenant.”

                      The helmsman of USS Sumner’s launch turns the boat about and prepares to head back. Lt. Connolly calls out to Pilot-Major Blackthorne and says “Sir, before we leave, my captain asks that you spread the word of what happened here today when you return home. Just out of curiosity, sir, where are you bound for?”

                      “Lieutenant, we are first going to Southhampton, and then on to our home port in Amsterdam.”

                      “Understood, Pilot-Major.”

                      Lt. Connolly and his helmsman put their craft about, back towards USS Sumner. As they depart, Captain de Vries says “Pilot-Major, send to our other ships. Have them tell off prize crews for the other two pirate vessels. The galleon is ours, and so, some of our men will crew it.”

                      “Captain, what of the crews of those three ships?”

                      “Pilot-Major, they are pirates and, though we didn’t capture them, they were taken in arms against us. By the principles of Ius Gentium, they are ‘Hostis Humani Generis’, the common enemies of all mankind, and therefore are subject to summary execution. I do not propose that you should hang them all, because that would mean there wouldn’t be enough hands to sail them back to port. Therefore, hang the captains and the surviving officers. Tell the crews of those ships that if any of them attempt to rebel, the guilty parties will be hanged immediately and their bodies thrown to the sharks. We’ll turn the crews over to the authorities when we return to Amsterdam.”

                      “Aye, Captain.” Pilot-Major Blackthorne hastens to carry out his captain’s orders. Within the hour, prize crews are put aboard each of the three pirate vessels. The first order of business is to collect and secure all of the small arms and swords aboard each ship, and this is swiftly done. Next, the two surviving pirate captains (along with the officers of each of the three pirate ships) are quickly identified. Then, stout ropes are rigged over one of the yardarms on each ship. The pirate captains and their officers are pinioned and noosed. As a further measurement of humiliation, their own former crewmen are forced to haul their comrades upwards off the decks of their own ships. The free ends of the ropes are made fast to the ship’s railings and the victims are left swinging in the breeze for the next half-hour.

                      1500 hours

                      USS Sumner has put about and is heading back towards the Louisiana coastline. Captain Stevens orders his radioman to send a message detailing the events of the day. He turns to Commander Wilson and says “XO, before very long, the news of this action of ours is going to be flying from ship-to-ship and from port-to-port. The authorities in the Netherlands are certainly going to be happy that three of their ships didn’t fall victim to pirate attack.”

                      “Yes, sir. I think our shakedown cruise has been eminently successful, wouldn’t you say?”

                      “Indeed, Commander. Helm, set course for home.”

                      “Set course for home. Aye, Captain.”


                      • #12
                        Mighty good, as always, Mike!


                        • #13
                          Chapter Seven

                          Date: October 19th, 1607
                          Location: the waterfront; St. Louis, Missouri
                          Time: 1300 hours

                          After a long return trip through the Caribbean Sea, across the Gulf of Mexico and up the Missisisppi River, USS Sumner has at last, returned to her home port in St. Louis, Missouri. Due to the navigational complexities of the Mississippi River, Captain Stevens chose to anchor his ship in the middle of the channel at night and only sail upriver during daylight hours. These precautions meant that the trip upriver took almost as much time as sailing across the Gulf of Mexico. The ship’s crew goes through its mooring evolutions as USS Sumner is gently nudged into her berth just downstream from the Gateway Arch.

                          President Chu and his staff were very interested in the radio report that Captain Stevens sent detailing his encounter with the pirates and the Dutch merchantmen. So much so that a helicopter was dispatched to bring him back to Whiteman AFB. The aircraft landed on the grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. While the two pilots attended to their machine, an officer went down to USS Sumner’s mooring and waited for Captain Stevens to debark his ship.

                          The officer salutes and asks “Captain Stevens?”


                          “I am Lieutenant James Wilson. The Secretary of Defense dispatched me here to escort you back to Whiteman AFB. Both he and President Chu read that radio report you sent, and are interested in hearing what went on in your own words.”

                          “Very well, Lieutenant.” Captain Stevens and Lt. Wilson climb the stone steps up from the riverfront to the Gateway Arch, and walk over to where the helicopter and the pilots are waiting. Salutes are exchanged and within a very short period of time, the machine is airborne. The flight back to Whiteman AFB takes less than an hour, because the pilots have been ordered to expedite Captain Stevens’ return.

                          After landing, Captain Stevens is driven by an Air Force enlisted man to Base Headquarters, where both President Chu and Secretary of Defense Stephen Danner are awaiting his arrival. The meeting takes place in the main conference room; Captain Stevens salutes crisply and says “Reporting as ordered, Mr. President.” President Chu “At ease, Captain. Please be seated. Please tell me and Secretary Danner exactly what happened in your encounter with the pirates and those merchantmen.”

                          “Yes, Mr. President. On October 9th at approximately 1200 hours, USS Sumner was passing due south of the Island of Hispaniola while on the final part of our shakedown cruise. One of my bridge lookouts observed a small convoy of three merchantmen flying Dutch colors from their mastheads. These three vessels were being pursued by four other ships that bore no national colors that I could identify. These four vessels indicated their hostile intentions by firing on the Dutch merchantmen. I believed them to be pirates so, I exercised captain’s discretion and intervened. I had my weapons officer fire three warning shots close aboard the largest of the four ships. They elected to return fire, whereupon I ordered the largest of the four ships disabled with a single round into her stern. While this was going on, two of the other ships broke off their pursuit of the merchantmen and maneuvered so as to present their broadsides to my ship. Accordingly, I ordered fire to be placed upon them. A total of ten rounds were fired; three rounds disabled the second ship and two rounds struck the third ship broadside. My last round missed the third ship and hit the fourth ship. By chance, this last round struck the ship’s magazine and caused the vessel to go up in a huge explosion.”

                          “I had USS Sumner draw alongside the three remaining pirate vessels and ordered them to surrender. As a condition of surrender, all of the vessels were ordered to unship their guns and throw them over the side. When the pirate ships had complied, I had done of my officers go over to the Dutch merchantmen. The helmsman of one of the Dutch ships, a Pilot-Major John Blackthorne, thanked Lt. Roger Connolly for our timely assistance and invited him aboard to meet his commanding officer. Lt. Connolly politely declined, but told Pilot-Major Blackthorne that the pirate vessels and crews were to be dealt with at the discretion of his captain. Lastly, Lt. Connolly asked that the helmsman and his captain spread the word of what happened.”

                          President Chu listens to Captain Stevens’ description of the events, then spends a few moments in silent thought. Finally, he says “Captain Stevens, I congratulate you for your decision to intervene on behalf of those Dutch merchant ships. You showed commendable restraint in engaging those other three ships; the catastrophic loss of the fourth pirate vessel was only by chance, so you need no concern yourself with it. What say you to that, Mr. Secretary?”

                          “I agree completely, Mr. President.”

                          “Captain Stevens?”

                          “Yes, Mr. President?”

                          “You, your crew and your ship acquitted yourselves very well in this engagement. Therefore, I am giving you your first official assignment. USS Sumner will resupply and refuel. Then, you will put to sea and make contact with one of the Spanish treasure fleets. When you do, send word by the highest-ranking Spanish officer to his government that we wish to open diplomatic relations with the Spanish Crown. The man I have chosen to be the U.S Ambassador to the Court of Spain will be coming aboard USS Sumner, along with his staff. Mr. Secretary, do you have anything to add?”

                          “Yes, Mr. President. Captain Stevens?”

                          “Yes, sir?”

                          “There will be a contingent of Marines coming aboard USS Sumner. Their functions will be to secure your ship against enemy boarding actions (as remote as they seem to be). They will also provide security for the Ambassadorial party. The OIC of the Marine detachment will be reporting to you within the week.”

                          “I understand, Mr. Secretary.”

                          President Chu says “Thank you, Captain. That will be all for now.”

                          Captain Stevens snaps off a razor-sharp salute and replies “Aye, aye, Mr. President.”

                          The Marines are Coming
                          Date: October 22nd, 1607
                          Location: the anchorage of USS Sumner, along the St. Louis waterfront
                          Time: 0800 hours

                          A non‑descript military staff car parks near the gangplank of USS Sumner, and a tall, distinguished‑looking Marine officer wearing a Service Alpha uniform gets out of the vehicle. He approaches the watchpost at the bottom of the gangplank and is saluted by the two sentries. The salute is returned crisply, and the officer says “I am First Lieutenant John Highway, USMC. Your commanding officer is expecting me.” The Bosun’s Mate in charge of the guard detail replies “Yes, sir. I am Petty Officer Sandra Phillips; Captain Stevens told us you would be arriving sometime today.” Petty Officer Phillips calls to one of the sentries “Petty Officer Brown, please escort 1LT Highway to the bridge.”

                          “Aye, aye. This way, sir.” 1LT Highway follows PO Brown up the gangplank and is brought to the bridge. Captain Stevens is on one of the bridge wings observing deck operations. 1LT Highway salutes and says “Reporting as ordered, sir.”

                          Captain Stevens returns the salute and replies “Ah yes, Lieutenant. I was expecting you. Please come with me to my ready room. XO, you have the bridge.”

                          “Aye, sir.”

                          Captain Stevens and 1LT Highway go into the ship’s ready room. He waits to take his seat until the captain says “Take your seat, Lieutenant. There is much to discuss.”

                          “Aye, sir.”

                          “The Secretary of Defense told me that there will be a contingent of Marines coming aboard USS Sumner, both to function as security against boarding parties and as protection for a diplomatic mission to Spain. I wasn’t given specific numbers. So, I’ll rely on you for that information.”

                          “Aye, sir. The Marine Detachment coming aboard USS Sumner consists of a modified rifle platoon from 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment. The numbers are as indicated on this document.” 1LT Highway opens his briefcase and takes out a single sheet of paper. He hands it over to Captain Stevens, who reads it with interest.

                          Order of Battle
                          Marine Detachment
                          USS Sumner

                          CO: 1LT John Highway; M16A4 carbine & Beretta M9 pistol
                          SNCOIC: GySgt Carlos Hughes; M16A4 carbine & Beretta M9 pistol
                          Plt Sgt: SSgt Frank Mortimer; M16A4 carbine & Beretta M9 pistol
                          Radioman: Lcpl; M16A4 carbine & Beretta M9 pistol
                          Platoon Corpsmen: Hospital Mate 1C, Hospital Mate 2C; 2 M16A4 carbines & 2 Beretta M9 pistols
                          Surveillance/Target Acquisition Detachment: 1 Sgt, 1 Cpl, 3 Lcpls; 2 M40A5 sniper rifles, 5 M16A4 carbines (2 are fitted with M203 40‑mm grenade launchers), 5 Beretta M9 pistols
                          2 infantry squads: 1 Cpl, 11 Lcpls; 12 M16A4 rifles (4 are fitted with M203 40‑mm grenade launchers), 4 M249 Squad Automatic Weapons
                          Weapons Squad: 1 Sgt, 12 Lcpls; 1 M16A4 carbine, 12 M16A4 rifles (4 are fitted with M203 40‑mm grenade launchers), 13 Beretta M9 pistols, 2 M224 60‑mm mortars w/ 200 rounds each, 2 M240B medium machineguns, 2 Mk153 Mod 2 SMAWs w/ 70 rounds each

                          Total Personnel: 45

                          Captain Stevens finishes reading and says “Lieutenant, having your men aboard will be most welcome. In addition to their other duties, I will have my weapons officer train them in the operation and handling of one of our 5” guns. Specifically, I want to transfer operational responsibility for the #3 gun turret to you and your men. I don’t doubt for one moment that they will become as proficient as any of my gun crews.”

                          “Aye, sir.”

                          The Marines are Here
                          Date: October 24th, 1607
                          Location: the anchorage of USS Sumner, along the St. Louis waterfront
                          Time: 0700 hours

                          This morning, a fair‑sized convoy of trucks makes its way through the streets of Saint Louis down to the waterfront near the Gateway Arch. The monument’s smoothly‑polished stainless steel exterior gleams brilliantly in the early morning sunshine as the trucks park nearby. As soon as the engines are turned off, Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hughes gets out of the cab of the lead truck and starts walking down the line. He starts barking commands “Alright, Marines!! Time to un‑ass the vehicles and off‑load the gear. We have to get everything stowed aboard the ship in two hours.” Just then, Captain Stevens and 1LT Highway walk down from where USS Sumner is moored to observe the arrival process. GySgt Hughes sees the two men approach and bellows loudly “OFFICER ON DECK.” Those Marines not already off the trucks immediately snap to attention, but 1LT Highway calls out “As you were, Marines.” To GySgt Highway, 1LT Hughes says “Gunny, how was the trip?”

                          “Sir, it went well enough. We met up at the armory of Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion/23rd Regiment in Springfield, Missouri and drew our weapons and other equipment from there. We loaded up the trucks and drove to the HSC armory in Bridgeton, Missouri; we spent last night in the armory and departed for St. Louis at 0500 this morning.”

                          “Very well, Gunny. Continue to offload the gear and equipment, then come to see me in the ship’s wardroom when everything is aboard ship. I’ll be with Captain Stevens.”

                          “Aye, Aye, Sir.”

                          In the meantime, the Marines under GySgt Hughes’ supervision are beginning to off‑load their heavier equipment. First up the gangway are two padded black nylon weapons cases, each containing an M‑240B medium machinegun. Next, comes a steel weapons rack holding the four M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, followed by the cased components of the two M224 60‑mm mortars and lastly, the cases for the Mk‑153 Mod 2 Shoulder‑launched Multipurpose Assault Weapons. Once this weaponry has been secured aboard ship, the ammunition comes next. Due to the sensitivity of the contents, each of the wooden cases (weighing 90 lbs) containing the SMAW rockets are carried up the gangway by two Marines. The cases for the 60‑mm mortar shells hold ten rounds each, and weigh 44 lbs per unit and are easily carried by one man.

                          The last of the bulk explosive ammunition to be loaded aboard ship are the 40 PA‑120 metal cases for the M‑203 40‑mm grenade launchers. Each case holds fifty rounds of 40‑mm HEDP, with individual rounds contained in sealed cardboard tubes. Like the cases for the mortar shells, each of the loaded PA‑120s weighs 44 lbs and is carried aboard USS Sumner by one Marine.

                          Individual small arms like the M‑16A4 rifles, carbines and the M40A5 sniper rifles are carried by the personnel they are issued to. The rifles and carbines are slung over the shoulder and muzzle down, while the Beretta M9s are all holstered. The sole exception are the two M40A5 sniper rifles, which are safely stored in padded cases. Last but not least, the wooden cases holding the Marine Detachment’s small arms ammunition are brought aboard. The largest number of cases hold 5.56 x 45‑mm ammunition for the M‑16A4 rifles and carbines. Each case has two metal ammunition cans that contain 840 rounds each, for a total of 1,680 rounds per case. Each weapon is provided with ten cases.

                          Following these are the cases holding 9‑mm ball ammunition. Each Beretta M9 has been provided 5,000 rounds, for a total of 120,000 rounds in 60 cases. Lastly, the belted ammunition for the two M240Bs and four M249 Squad Automatic Weapons is carried aboard. Each of the M240B’s has 40 cases (800 rounds per case for a total of 64,000 rounds), and each of the four M249 Squad Automatic Weapons has 20 cases (1,600 rounds per case for a total of 128,000 rounds).

                          When the arms and ammunition have been safely stored aboard USS Sumner, the members of the Marine Detachment stow their personal gear in the Detachment’s berthing spaces. The loading process went somewhat overlong so, just as the last of the equipment is coming aboard, Captain Stevens and 1LT Highway come out on the port bridge wing to observe. 1LT Highway turns to Captain Stevens and asks “Sir, may I enquire as to when USS Sumner will be departing?” “Lieutenant, I expect Ambassador Diego de La Vega to come aboard before noontime. The purpose of our mission is to establish contact with the Spanish Government and safely transport Ambassador de la Vega and his staff from the United States to the Court of Spain.
                          1000 hours

                          For Diego de La Vega, the experience of the past several months was something that he would never forget. Shortly before the Transition Event in February, he had just moved from his family home in Los Angeles, California to take up a position as Professor of Spanish history with the University of Missouri in St. Louis. In the aftermath of the event, de La Vega continued his teaching duties as best as he was able to. When the U.S government asked the colleges and universities in Missouri and the other three states for advice on how to deal with the Spanish crown and the other powers in the world of 1607, Diego de La Vega was one of the first to come forward.

                          To no one’s great surprise, Diego was awarded the nickname ‘Professor Zorro’ by his students; he accepted this with great good humor because his parents named him after Don Diego de La Vega, the hero created by Johnston McCulley in 1919 for his novel ‘The Curse of Capistrano.’ Being inspired by his fictional namesake, Diego took up the practice of fencing in his free time and quickly came to master many different styles and techniques.

                          De La Vega’s contributions to the U.S government’s research project didn’t go un‑noticed. In fact, they were so erudite and concise that they earned him an interview with President Chu. During this interview, he was informed by the President of the intent to establish diplomatic relations with the Spanish Crown; he was further asked if he would be interested in becoming the Ambassador to Spain. Not being one to back down from any kind of challenge, Professor de La Vega accepted.

                          The ambassador, his staff and their gear are brought to USS Sumner’s moorings near the Gateway Arch. The convoy arrives while the ship is being loaded for the voyage to Spain. There is a barge moored just downstream with extra food, fuel and other supplies. A detail of sailors from USS Sumner’s deck division is aboard the barge getting ready to rig towlines and a sea anchor (should one be needed during the voyage). Ambassador de La Vega makes himself and his staff known to the ship’s anchor watch, and they are brought to see Captain Stevens in short order.

                          Captain Stevens is standing on the port‑side bridge wing supervising the loading operations when de La Vega comes forward “Good morning, Captain. I am Diego de La Vega. I have been appointed by President Chu as Ambassador to the Court of Spain.

                          “Good morning, Mr. Ambassador. Welcome aboard USS Sumner. As you can see, we’re making preparations to cast off.“
                          “I see, Captain. My staff is on deck awaiting instructions on where to stow their personal gear. There are also three trucks with gear and other support equipment for the embassy.
                          “Very good, Mr. Ambassador. XO, see to the needs of the Ambassador and his staff. Tell off a detail from the deck division to unload and store their equipment.”

                          “Aye, Sir.” The XO carries out his orders with dispatch, and before noon, the last of the ambassadorial party’s gear is carried aboard and stored below deck. Captain Stevens watches the amount of boxes being brought aboard and asks “Mr. Ambassador, that certainly seems like a great deal of gear.”

                          “Captain, it is the President’s intent that the embassy be self‑sufficient. Accordingly, we’ve got a strongbox with operating funds for the embassy, a disassembled wind turbine, several solar panels, a solar water heater, satellite communications gear, medical supplies and everything else we might need.
                          1200 hours

                          Captain Stevens is standing on the port‑side bridge wing. He turns to the XO and says “It is time to leave, Commander.”

                          “Very good, Sir.” Cmdr Wilson calls down to the deck division and orders “Let go your bow lines, let go your stern lines.” These tasks are accomplished with speed and soon, a Missisippi River tugboat is gently nudging USS Sumner downstream to where her replenishment barge is moored. This craft is a converted river barge; it is un‑powered, but is protected against the weather. Work crews from the deck division are already aboard the barge to make it fast to USS Sumner via the attachment of a pair of 8" hawsers. For additional security during the tow, two lengths of 2.5" stud‑link anchor chain are fastened between the barge and the ship. Lastly, a sea anchor aboard the barge is rigged to deploy in the unlikely event that the tow cables and anchor chains should break during the voyage.

                          When this operation is concluded, the work crews are brought back aboard USS Sumner, and her engines are brought up to speed. As soon as the ship’s propellers begin to foam the river water at her stern, a local band especially commissioned for the occasion picks up its instruments, takes up its position and begins to play a tune that is very well‑known by everyone who ever wore Navy blue:

                          ‘Anchors a‑weigh, my boys. Anchors a‑weigh.....’
                          Sustaining the Present, Resurrecting The Past Location: The Office of The Secretary of Defense, Whiteman AFB Time: 1000 hours

                          One of Secretary of Defense Stephen Danner’s most important duties is to maintain and expand the military strength of the United States. With this purpose in mind, he places a call to Executive Vice‑President Dennis Muilenburg of the Defense, Space & Security Division of Boeing, Incorporated. Mr. Muilenburg’s office is located at the Boeing offices in St. Louis, Missouri. After the Transition Event, he was Boeing’s senior surviving executive and was voted in as President of the company.
                          “Good morning, Mr. Secretary. How can I be of assistance today?”

                          “Good morning, Mr. Muilenberg. I’ll get right to the point. The Transition Event that brought us all back to the year 1607 greatly reduced the number of combat aircraft available to the United States Air Force. Our Air Force bases are well‑stocked with spare parts, but these stockpiles of parts will only last so long before they are depleted. To avoid this, the Department of Defense will enter into a contract with Boeing, Incorporated to supply spare parts for all U.S combat aircraft; this will include all helicopters in service.”

                          “I understand, Mr. Secretary. Before the Transition Event, the Boeing facility in Wichita, Kansas was slated to close; the closure would have taken place at the end of 2013. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen now. Not only can this facility build engines and spare parts, it is capable of producing entirely new aircraft (along with our plant here in St. Louis) should this be necessary. Our facility in St. Charles, Missouri was the centerpiece of Boeing’s weapons production. So, we can make whatever weapons you need in any quantities desired.”

                          “Thank you for bringing up the subject of new aircraft. Barring the replacement of aircraft lost in training accidents and ordinary operations, there will be no new jet fighters and tactical bombers produced in the near future. Though the United States has been much‑reduced by the Transition Event, our technological and military superiority is absolute. We aren’t likely to face significant aerial opposition for at least one or two centuries. The skillset and infrastructure for producing jet aircraft will be maintained, however. As regards new combat aircraft, I have proposed to the President that we gear down and produce aircraft that are simpler and easier to maintain than jets; my proposal was approved.”
                          “What do you have in mind, sir?”

                          “The Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas has produced aircraft for 85 years, so new production will be done there. I will shortly be calling the directors of every aviation museum in the four states to determine exactly what aircraft they have in their inventories, and to use them to produce sets of blueprints where none exist. The two types of planes that I intend for Boeing to produce are the A‑1 Skyraider and the P‑61 Black Widow.”

                          “Those are excellent choices, Mr. Secretary. You will be pleased to know that the archives in our Wichita plant have complete sets of drawings, specifications and technical blueprints for the Wright R‑3350 Duplex Cyclone and Pratt & Whitney R‑2800 Double Wasp engines. During the Second World War, Boeing produced several aircraft designs that used those engines. It was deemed necessary to have that information on hand in case we had to produce our own engines.”

                          “That is good news, Mr. Muilenberg. I suggest that you and your staff make preparations to have Boeing produce those engines. I will get back to you after I have contacted those museums. In other matters, the Air Force and the Army are going to need new supplies of Hydra‑70 2.75” unguided rockets. When the A‑1 Skyraider and P‑61 Black Widow go back into production, they will need 5” high‑velocity aircraft rockets as well.”
                          “Yes, Mr. Secretary. The Hydra‑70 and 5” HVAR are currently produced by Boeing, so re‑tooling won’t be required.”
                          “Excellent. That will be all for today, Mr. Muilenberg.”
                          “Thank you, Mr. Secretary.”

                          After the phone call is concluded, Secretary Danner next instructs his staff to call every aerial museum in the four states and see what they have in their inventories. In Missouri, the first call goes to the Air & Military Museum of The Ozarks in Springfield, followed by calls to the Nicholas Beasley Aviation Museum in Marshall, the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum in St. Louis and the Commemorative Air Force wing in St. Charles.

                          In Kansas, the museums called are the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita, the Combat Air Museum in Topeka and the Mid‑America Air Museum in Liberal. The largest and most significant air museum in all the four states is the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.

                          In total, among the many specimens of combat aircraft displayed in the several museums, there are four Douglas A‑1 Skyraiders and two P‑61 Black Widows. Three of the Skyraiders are fully‑operational, while the fourth is undergoing a complete restoration at the HAR museum in St. Louis. Neither of the P‑61s are in flying condition; one aircraft is a static display (cosmetic restoration only) and the second aircraft is undergoing a full restoration in order to make it airworthy. More pleasantly, copies of the original blueprints and technical specifications for both types of aircraft were found at the Air & Military Museum of The Ozarks in Springfield, Missouri.
                          New Ships Date: October 26th, 1607 Location: Main Office, Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company, Leavenworth, Kansas
                          Time: 0800 hours

                          In the main office of the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company, the senior staff is met in order to discuss the status of the status of the reactivation of the shipyard. They are also deciding how to proceed with the construction of the twenty Hazard‑class hulls that have been commissioned. Chairman and CEO Robert Mortimer is the first to speak “Gentlemen, within a short period of time, our facilities will be rehabilitated and we’ll be laying down the keels for the first of the new Hazard‑class corvettes for the U.S Navy. We have eight slipways, and so we’ll be able to work on eight ships at the same time. I have conferred with various naval officers in the four states (both active‑duty and retired), and they are of the opinion that (rather than being a dedicated gun platform) some of the Hazard‑class hulls should be multi‑mission‑capable. The floor is now open for discussion.”

                          Shipyard Superintendent Mike Lafreneiere raises his hand and says “Robert, it makes no sense to have anti‑aircraft or anti‑submarine capability right now. The only aircraft on Earth are the ones we in the U.S already have; any submarines will be the ones we build for ourselves.” The matter‑of‑fact way that this statement is delivered causes much discussion to run around the conference room table.
                          “What do you suggest, Mike?”

                          “Robert, how about we do a Block‑II redesign of the Hazard‑class. This will involve removing the aft 57‑mm gun mount and magazine. In their places, there will be a flight deck for a small navalized helicopter; either an AH‑6 ‘Little Bird’ or an OH‑58 Kiowa. Below the flight deck, there will be a well deck for the launching and retrieval of small boats.”
                          “Excellent ideas, Mike. Alright, gentlemen. That will be all for today. I’d like to see a set of preliminary specifications in three days.”

                          Date: October 28th, 1607 Time: 0900 hours
                          Robert Mortimer receives an inter‑office message folder containing a thumb drive along with several sheets of paper. These documents and the drive contain a set of specifications for the Block‑II version of the Hazard‑class corvette. Robert carefully examines the papers and likes what he sees. The thumb drive is plugged into his office computer and a PowerPoint presentation begins, the substance of which is a follows:

                          USS Hazard
                          Block II
                          Type: Hazard‑class corvette, named after USS Hazard (AM‑240)

                          Displacement: 750 tons
                          Length: 230’
                          Beam: 33'
                          Draft: 10'
                          Speed: 18 knots
                          Range: 8,000 nautical miles
                          Propulsion: diesel‑electric, 2 shafts, 2 screws
                          Ship’s Complement: 104 officers & men
                          Aviation Facilities: external aft‑mounted flight deck for one helicopter
                          Small‑craft Facilities: well deck for launching and retrieving small boats
                          1 x 76‑mm/62‑caliber automatic cannon, turret‑mounted on the forward deck. Ammunition stowage is 150 ready rounds, with a further 1,350 rounds in the magazine; this weapon is a copy of the OTO‑Melara design.
                          2 x Mk 38 Mod 2 ‘Bushmaster’ 25‑mm autocannons; one each, port & starboard. Each of these weapons is carried on a powered external mount; ammunition stowage is 2,700 rounds per gun.
                          4 x Browning M‑2 .50‑caliber machineguns on manually‑operated pintle mounts. Each mount has an external box magazine that holds 300 rounds. Total ammunition stowage is 6,000 rounds per gun.

                          Addendum: it is proposed that of the twenty Hazard‑class vessels to be constructed by MVB&IC, five of them will be Block‑II designs.

                          Across the Ocean Blue
                          Date: October 30th, 1607
                          Location: The mouth of the Mississippi River
                          Time: 0600 hours

                          After a long, leisurely journey down the ‘Mighty Mississippi’, USS Sumner is about to enter the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico. During her time on the river, the ship’s engines never made any more revolutions than were necessary for station‑keeping down the middle of the river channel. This was a conscious decision made by Captain Stevens to conserve his fuel supplies; he didn’t know just how long it would take to find the Spanish in the Caribbean and make contact with them. As soon as USS Sumner has cleared the mouth of the river, Captain Stevens orders “Helm, steer course bearing 161 south‑southeast.”

                          “Steer course 161 south‑southeast. Aye, sir.”

                          The ship’s executive officer Cmdr Wilson asks “Sir, may I ask what your intentions are?”

                          “Certainly, XO. Our fuel supplies are too limited to allow us to go hunting all over the gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea hunting for the Spanish. I propose that we sail at cruising speed towards the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninusula. I estimate that the trip will take us just over two‑and‑a‑half days. After arrival, we will anchor there and use the ship’s sensors to detect any Spanish convoys passing through the area. It is highly‑likely that we will sight one before too long. Ambassador de la Vega has told me that the passage between the Yucatan peninsula and the western end of Cuba is part of the trade route between Spain and the New World. He also says that Spanish treasure fleets sometimes passed between Cuba and the southern tip of Florida.”

                          “Very good, sir.”

                          Date: November 2nd, 1607
                          The voyage across the Gulf of Mexico was uneventful. As planned, USS Sumner drops anchor just off the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Once the ship is securely moored, Captain Stevens says to Cmdr Wilson “XO, I want the ship’s radar screens manned 24/7. I want to be kept apprised of any and all surface traffic coming out of the Gulf and headed towards Cuba, even if it means waking me up at 0300 hours; this goes in the ship’s log. Is that understood, Commander?”
                          “Very good, sir.”

                          “XO, I chose to drop anchor here in the lee of this point so as to conceal us from any east-bound shipping. It wouldn’t do to scare the Spanish off before we can make contact.”

                          “I understand, Sir. Do you have further orders?”

                          “Yes. Have the deck division replenish our fuel bunkers from the supplies carried aboard the barge. I want to be full-up in case we have to raise anchor and ship out quickly.”

                          “Aye-Aye, Sir.”

                          The next three-and-a-half weeks pass uneventfully. In addition to the continual radar watch, there are anchor watches and occasional trips ashore by armed away teams; their purpose is to do a little exploration of the countryside and gather fresh fruit. This situation lasts until the late evening of November 23rd.

                          “Conn, Radar. My screens show a large group of surface contacts passing five miles due north of us.”
                          “Radar, Conn. Keep watch and inform me of any changes in course or speed.”

                          “Aye, Sir.”

                          Per the Captain’s standing order, he is awoken by Cmdr Jenkins. The XO says “Sir, Radar shows a large group of surface contacts five miles north of us.”

                          “Very well, XO. We’ll let them pass. Tomorrow morning, we’ll raise anchor and follow their course until they pass north of Havana. We’ll keep out of their visual range until it is time to make our ‘introductions’, so to speak.”

                          “Understood, sir.”

                          Meeting Date: January 1st, 1608 Location: the Spanish city of Barcelona

                          Immediately upon arrival of the first of the two 1608 Treasure Fleets in the City of Barcelona, Captain‑General Rodrigo Diaz y Alarcon dispatches a fast messenger to his sovereign, King Phillip III. At present, the king and his court are located in the palace of El Escorial outside the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, some twenty‑eight miles northwest of Madrid. The Captain‑General took some time to compose his message, both to gather his thoughts and to convince the king that his tales of the Americans, their ships that move without sails and their other wondrous contrivances are much more than the drunken babbling of sailors too long upon the ocean. The text of the message being sent to the king is as follows:
                          To His Most Catholic Majesty King Phillip III from Captain‑General Rodrigo Diaz y Alarcon, greetings:

                          ‘Your Majesty, I have the honor to report a most singular occurrence. While the fleet Your Majesty entrusted to my command was at anchor just outside the harbor of Habana, Cuba, in late November, 1607, we were approached by the largest ship I or any of my officers had ever seen. This vessel not only moved without sails or oars, it was able to sail against the wind with truly ridiculous ease. Far from being hostile, the crew of this vessel raised a white flag, indicating that they came in peace and wished to talk to me. I accepted this, but being prudent, I ordered my decks to be cleared for action in case battle was called for.

                          Within the half‑hour, a small boat was lowered over the side of the strange ship. There were but a few men aboard this small boat, one of whom was the captain of the unknown vessel. He requested permission for he and his men to come aboard my ship, the Santa Maria. This I granted speedily, for I wished to know what he wanted. The Captain saluted Your Majesty’s flag and was then piped aboard. In polished southern Castilian, he said his name was Robert Stevens, and that he was an officer in the United States Navy. Captain Stevens said that it was his mission to establish peaceful contact with the Spanish Crown.

                          I said to Captain Stevens that I knew of no power in the Americas called the ‘United States’. He replied that the tale of how the United States came to be in the New World was passing strange, and that he wished to know if Your Most Catholic Majesty would entertain an ambassador from his leader Steven Chu, titled ‘President of the United States’. I replied that I could not speak for the king, but that I believed that Your Most Catholic Majesty would be receptive. Captain Stevens seemed to be pleased to hear this, and said that his vessel (with the ambassadorial party aboard) would arrive just two weeks after the treasure fleet anchored in the harbor of Barcelona. I politely asked how this was possible, since it took the fleet almost two months to cross the Atlantic Ocean; and that no ship could possibly sail that fast. Captain Stevens simply smiled and said that he would be there.

                          I hosted Captain Stevens and his men for dinner aboard the Santa Maria. His men were unusually reserved in their speech, and the dinner passed without incident. Afterwards, I bade him farewell. When the boat that brought Captain Stevens over to my vessel was bearing away, I saw that it too moved with neither sail or oars. I espied a long glance at Captain Stevens’ ship and saw that it bore very few guns, and these being in some kind of mount that I recognized not. The ship appeared to have metal on its deck and the sides of its hull. It was slightly less‑wide in the beam than the Santa Maria, but was more than two‑and a half times as long as my ship. The Santa Maria is the largest, most powerful vessel in Your Majesty’s fleet; but when I beheld Captain Stevens’ vessel, I had the distinct feeling that if battle had been joined, the Santa Maria would have been of no more use than a fishing boat against a Manila Galleon.

                          In other matters, the cargo of the Santa Maria and the rest of the treasure fleet will have been unloaded long before this message reaches Your Most Catholic Majesty. I shall await your pleasure here in Barcelona.’
                          I have the honor to be Your Most Catholic Majesty’s humble and obedient servant.
                          Rodrigo Diaz y Alarcon

                          Date: January 11th, 1608
                          Location: The palace of El Escorial

                          The messenger from the Captain‑General arrives at the Spanish royal palace, and is quickly given to King Phillip III. The king reads it through, a look of obvious disbelief on his face. The king’s council (headed by Francisco Gomez de Sandoval, Duke of Lerna) sits nearby and listens respectfully as the king reads the message out loud. After a few moments, the king turns to Duke Francisco and says “Well, my friend. What do you make of this? I am sorely tempted to disregard it.” Duke Franciso replies “Sire, Captain‑General Alarcon is one of the most faithful and reliable men in Your Majesty’s service. I know him personally, and he isn’t given to exaggeration. If he said that he saw what happened, then it indeed happened. I counsel Your Most Catholic Majesty to go to Barcelona and see this strange ship for yourself.”

                          King Phillip III sits back in his chair of state and strokes his beard thoughtfully for a few moments before replying “Very well, your grace. We will go to Barcelona and see for ourself if what the Captain‑General has said is true. Go now and make the preparations. We will leave upon the morrow.” Duke Francisco bows his head and respectfully says “Yes, Your Majesty.”

                          In an instance of serendipity, at almost the same time as King Phillip III is reading the message from the Captain‑General, the USS Sumner is dropping anchor some distance outside of the harbor of Barcelona. Behind the ship, there is a large replenishment barge attached to USS Sumner by a pair of thick tow cables. The Santa Maria and the other ships in Captain‑General Alarcon’s fleet are also at anchor. While on liberty, the Captain‑General’s crew and the other sailors of the fleet flooded the city’s wine shops and tavernas with tales of a strange metal ship that moved without sails or oars. In each instance, the tales grew in the telling until the strange ship took on the status of something out of ancient myths and legends. This day, officers and men of Barcelona’s garrison caught sight of the strange ship as she approached the city’s harbor and dropped anchor. Soon, much of the city’s population was arranged along the shoreline straining to catch a glimpse of the great vessel.

                          Once again, Captain Stevens and several of his officers board one of the ship’s morot launches and make their way towards the Santa Maria. Captain‑General Alarcon again welcomes Captain Stevens aboard his own ship. He says “Hail and well‑met, Captain. I see that you are a man of your word. I dropped anchor but two weeks ago here in the harbor of Barcelona. I immediately sent a message to the King telling him of our encounter. Unless I miss my guess, he is on his way here even as we speak.”

                          Captain Stevens replies “Sir, I thank you for your courteous welcome. It is a pleasure to see you again. My leader President Chu wishes to establish peaceful relations with His Most Catholic Majesty’s government. For that purpose, he sent along one Diego de la Vega as his ambassador. Ambassador de La Vega is most eager to meet the king and looks forward to his arrival. In the meantime, I invite you and your principal officers to have dinner aboard my ship.”

                          Captain‑General Alarcon says “I gladly accept your invitation, Captain Stevens. I have been looking forward to seeing your vessel up close. Tell me, what is her name?” Captain Stevens replies “Sir, the formal name of my vessel is the United States Ship Sumner. She is named after Allan M. Sumner, one of the United States’ most redoubtable soldiers. I have a question of my own to put to you, Sir.”

                          “Go ahead and ask, Captain Stevens.”

                          “Sir, when will His Most Catholic Majesty arrive?”

                          “Captain Stevens, if the king departed from his palace of El Escorial immediately after receiving my message, it should take him no more than two weeks to get here.”

                          “That is excellent news, sir. I would also like to discuss the possibility of arranging liberty for my crew.”

                          “I can see to that personally, Captain Stevens. There are several excellent tavernas located next to the harbor. My crews frequent them often; the food is of excellent quality, and the wine is even better. There is one in particular that I and my officers use; it is called the ‘Sailor’s Rest’, and I commend it to your attention.”

                          “Very well, sir. My second‑in‑command will arrange for shore parties to begin at your convenience. Now sir, let us depart for my ship. This will be the first formal dinner that USS Sumner has hosted, and I am quite sure my cooks will out‑do themselves.” With this, Captain‑General Alarcon and his staff officers accompany Captain Stevens back to the motor launch moored alongside the Santa Maria. He orders Petty Officer Sandra Peterson (who is in command of the launch) to get under way immediately. She salutes and replies crisply “Aye, Aye, Sir.” Petty Officer Peterson takes her station at the wheel of the motor launch and calls out to the ratings who are serving as its crew “Let go your bow lines, Let go your stern lines.” The launch’s engine rumbles as the craft picks up speed and heads across the harbor to where USS Sumner is anchored. Along the way, Captain‑General keep staring at Petty Officer Peterson as she expertly handles the wheel.

                          Captain Stevens sees this and grins. He says “Pardon me, sir. Is there something wrong?” Captain‑General Alarcon replies “Petty Officer Peterson is female??? I have never before head of a woman being a member of a ship’s company. Is she your woman?” By an effort of will, Captain Stevens manages not to laugh out loud as he says “Sir, she is most definitely not my ‘woman’. Petty Officer Peterson is a valued member of my crew. In the United States Navy, men and women serve alongside one another with honor and distinction.” Captain‑General Alarcon’s eyes widen in amazement as he hears this. The discussion between the two captains causes much excited talk among the Captain‑General’s staff. A few minutes later, the motor launch pulls up alongside USS Sumner and is made fast to the landing platform. Captain Stevens says “Now, sir. If you will please follow me? I have arranged for dinner to be served in the ship’s wardroom.”

                          “At your convenience, sirrah.” Captain‑General Alarcon and his staff follow Captain Stevens up the ship’s gangplank. As soon as Captain Stevens gets to the top of the gangplank, he is piped aboard by USS Sumner’s master‑chief petty officer William Holiday. MCPO Holliday calls out ”Sumner, Arriving!!” in a voice that would do credit on the quarterdeck of a ship‑of‑the‑line. He salutes sharply, as do the ship’s master‑at‑arms and the three deck hands present for reasons of security. Captain Stevens returns the salutes just as Captain‑General Alarcon and his staff come on deck. In turn, these officers are also saluted. Captain Stevens respectfully gestures for Captain‑General Alarcon and his officers to follow him. Along the way, the heads of the Spanish officers seem like they are on swivels as they look this way and that way. The sights and sounds of USS Sumner are so far beyond the experiences of these men that they have no basis of comparison.

                          Finally, the party arrives in the ship’s wardroom. USS Sumner’s executive officer James Wilson is on hand to greet his commander. He begins to salute, but before he does, there is a strangled gasp of alarm from one of Captain‑General Alarcon’s men “A MOOR?? HERE!!” The man drops his hand to his sword hilt, but, before the weapon can come out of the scabbard more than an inch or two, Captain Stevens sees what is happening and thunders forth in Spanish “BELAY THAT, MISTER!!” Captain‑General Alarcon immediately orders his other officers to remain calm as he says “My apologies, Captain Stevens. My young Ortega here has been blooded in clashes with the Turks and Moors, and he was not thinking clearly.”

                          “Your apologies are accepted, Sir. The ‘Moor’, as your man put it, is Commander James Wilson, He is my executive officer and is second‑in‑command of this ship. Now, sir. If there are no further interruptions, let us be seated.” Captain‑General Alarcon sits down first, followed by Captain Stevens and then by the rest of the assembled officers. Behind the Captain’s chair, there are arranged both the American flag and the Spanish Royal Colors; the American flag is to Captain Stevens’ right and the Spanish flag is to his left. Before the meal begins, several ship’s stewards bring in chilled bottles of wine and wine glasses on silver trays. The glasses are place before each man at the tabel, and the wine is poured. Captain Stevens stands up from his seat, along with his officers. All have glasses in hand. Captain‑General Alarcon and his men are somewhat confused, but they do likewise.

                          Captain Stevens raises his wineglass and says “Gentlemen, to the President of The United States.” He and his officers drink a toast, and after a few seconds of hesitation, Captain‑General Alarcon and his men do the same. The next toast catches the Captain‑General completely by surprise “To His Most Catholic Majesty Phillip III, King of the Spains.” Captain‑General Alarcon grins widely to acknowledge this measure of respect. The assembled men take their seats just as the stewards begin to bring in the meal. While the food is being brought out, Captain‑General Alarcon turns to Captain Stevens and says earnestly “Who in the name of Almighty God are you people?”

                          Captain Stevens says “Sir, that is a tale that will be long in the telling.” As the meal takes place over the next two hours, Captain Stevens relates the story of how the United States came to be here. The terms he uses are those which the Captain‑General and his men are most likely to understand. At the end of the dinner, Captain‑General Alarcon turns to Captain Stevens and says “Sir, that is, without a doubt, the most fantastic story I have ever heard in my life. If I wasn’t sitting here within this ship, seeing the truth of the matter with my own eyes, I would never have believed it. Not even the wildest tale of the most drunken sailor that ever lived even comes close.”

                          “Sir, you have my word as a fellow naval officer that everything I have told you is the absolute truth. Now that you and your officers have partaken of my hospitality, perhaps you would care for a tour of my ship.”

                          “Captain Stevens, I have been hoping you would offer the chance to see more of your magnificent vessel.”

                          “Very well, Captain‑General. Please follow me.” A few minutes later, the party reaches USS Sumner’s bridge. The sailors on duty brace to attention and the senior one of them says “CAPTAIN ON THE BRIDGE.”

                          Captain Stevens replies “As you were”. The sailors return to their duties as he explains to Captain‑General Alarcon what goes on here. “Sir, this is USS Sumner’s bridge. From here, I command all aspects of the running of my ship in both peacetime and war. The instruments you see arranged here allow me to have instantaneous communications with any area of the ship. Over there is the helm”. Captain Stevens gestures to a large wooden wheel at the front of the bridge. This, at least, is something that the Captain‑General recognizes. Before the tour resumes, Captain‑General Alarcon hesitates slightly, then points to a table behind the ship’s wheel and asks “Your pardon, Captain Stevens, but what are those three glowing green glass plates there? I haven’t seen their like before.”

                          Captain Stevens realizes what the Captain‑General is asking about. He grins and replies, saying “Sir, those green glass plates as you call them are the ship’s radar screens.”

                          Captain‑General Alarcon looks on with wonderment and asks “What is ‘Radar’”?

                          “Sir, Radar is a system that allows me to detect the approach of any vessel, either friend or foe, to a distance that exceeds fifty nautical miles. The system also allows for the engagement of targets in all weather conditions and sea states, as well as at night.’ When the Captain‑General and his officers hear this, their faces are overwhelmed with looks that are equal parts amazement and disbelief.

                          “Now sir, if you are ready, we will continue the tour.” Thus bidden, the Captain‑General and his officers follow Captain Stevens from the bridge to the ship’s foc’sle. Once there, the party stands by as Captain Stevens points to a large, domed structure in the middle of the fore deck. There is an extremely long gun barrel projecting out of it. This gun barrel is something that Captain‑General Alarcon and his men also recognize, but barely.

                          “Captain Stevens, this gun mount is part of your ship’s main battery, is it not? The gun points forward; how is it trained?”

                          “Sir, this mount is called a ‘turret’, and it is capable of turning in any direction through an arc of 270 degrees. Please watch as I demonstrate.”

                          “At your convenience, Sir.”

                          Captain Stevens reaches to his belt and takes a portable, hand‑held communicator from a pouch there. He presses a switch on the side and says “Bridge, this is the Captain.” Captain‑General Alarcon’s eyes widen with amazement as the device in Captain Stevens’ hand replies “Captain, Bridge here.”

                          “Bridge, train the Number 2 gun mount throughout its full arc of movement.”

                          Instantly, the order is repeated and confirmed “Train the number two gun mount throughout its full arc of movement. Aye, sir.” There is a strange whining noise as the turret begins to move. It first swivels to the left and then back to the right before coming back to the forward position. Captain‑General Alarcon makes no comment, but his officers mumble and talk excitedly amongst themselves as they see what they regard as a strange metal house turning as fast as a man can walk.

                          Captain‑General Alarcon pauses a moment to gather his thoughts, then says “Sir, my own ship, the Santa Maria, has one hundred guns in her battery. You have only three. Why is that?”

                          “Sir, USS Sumner has no need of more guns than that. You saw how far the turret can turn? Let’s just say that there are no dead spaces anywhere in my ship’s field of fire.” Captain Stevens smiles with satisfaction as he says this. The tour now continues as the assembled Spanish officers follow Captain Stevens to the ship’s quarterdeck aft of the Number 3 turret. He places his hand on the large metal construction there and says “Sir, this is my ship’s helicopter.”

                          “Most impressive, Captain Stevens. What does this ‘helicopter’ do, may I ask?”

                          “Sir, this machine can fly.”

                          All the wonders that Captain‑General Alarcon and his men has seen thus far pale into utter insignificance as they comprehend that simple statement. He stammers out “You said that this machine can FLY??”

                          “Yes sir, I did.”

                          “What is its purpose?”

                          “Sir, the helicopter is used to quickly transport men and supplies from ship to shore and back again. In battle, it scouts ahead of the ship and can detect and engage enemy targets outside the range of the ship’s guns.”

                          “Captain Stevens, if it isn’t too presumptuous of me to ask, I would like to see this machine fly.”

                          “Very well, sir. Perhaps you and I will ride together.” Just then, Captain‑General Alarcon’s face assumes the look of a young boy who has just been given the sweetest treat imaginable. Captain Stevens uses the communicator at his belt to call to the bridge.

                          “Bridge, this is the Captain.”

                          “Bridge here, Captain. Go ahead.”

                          “Bridge, tell the helicopter crew to lay aft and prepare for a demonstration flight.”

                          The order is repeated and confirmed “Helicopter crew to lay aft and prepare for a demonstration flight. Aye, sir.”

                          Five minutes later, the helicopter’s two pilots and the flight crew approach their machine and prepare it for takeoff. The first thing that is done is that the helicopter’s rotor blades are folded out and bolted into position. This takes fifteen minutes to accomplish. As soon as the blades are locked into place, the flight crew next unfastens the chocks and cables which hold the helicopter fast to the deck. Then, the two pilots man their aircraft and begin their pre‑flight checks. While this is going on, Captain Stevens is taking great pains to explain to Captain‑General Alarcon and his officers what is being done. As the rotors begin to spin up, Captain Stevens says “Sir, we must step back inside the ship until the helicopter is ready to take off. This is for reasons of safety.”

                          “Very good, sir.” The Captain‑General and his officers do as they have been instructed, and within a very few minutes, the helicopter’s rotors are at full speed. The noise thus created is unlike anything the Spanish officers have ever heard. The older and more experienced among them (Captain‑General Alarcon included) maintain a look of stoic indifference, while the younger officers mumble soft prayers under their voices and other imprecations against evil.

                          Captain Stevens turns to Captain‑General Alarcon and says ‘Are you ready, sir?” The Captain‑General replies “I am.”

                          “Then, follow me, if you please. I ask that you approach the helicopter as I do, in a somewhat‑crouching fashion. Also, hold your hat down tightly with one hand. Otherwise, it will be blown off by the force of the wind from the rotors.”

                          “I understand, sir. Why can we not walk upright like gentlemen as we approach your flying machine?”

                          “Sir, believe me when I say that coming up to a helicopter is extremely dangerous. You are a guest aboard my ship and I would not see you put at hazard. Now sir, let us be off.” Captain Stevens and Captain‑General Alarcon walk to the helicopter in a half‑crouch; the board the machine and are strapped into their seats by the crew chief. The Captain‑General is given a flight helmet to wear, identical to the one that Captain Stevens is putting on. Up front, the two pilots nudge their throttles forward, and the helicopter rises into the sky. A few minutes later, the helicopter is headed out over the Mediterranean Sea. They are at an altitude of five hundred feet, traveling at a speed of 150 knots. Despite the noise from the helicopter’s engines, the flight is remarkably smooth.

                          As the flight begins, Captain‑General Alarcon asks Captain Stevens “Where are we going?”

                          “Sir, we are making a simple flight out over the Mediterranean. We will be going out to a distance of eighty miles, then coming back to my ship.”

                          “Eighty miles, you say? Why, that is a full day’s sailing, even with a fair breeze of wind in my sails!! Truly, there is no end to the wonders you have shown me. When I tell His Most Catholic Majesty of what I have seen and experienced, he will surely want to do as I have done.” The rest of the flight passes uneventfully, as Captain‑General Alarcon floods Captain Stevens with questions. Most of these are answered; only a few are not (due to military necessity). One hour later, those aboard USS Sumner see the helicopter approach for a landing on the flight deck. The machine lands, and no one approaches until the rotors have stopped moving. The flight crew fastens the helicopter to the deck, then the doors are opened to Captain Stevens and Captain‑General Alarcon can debark.

                          Captain Stevens says “Well sir, what did you think of the flight?”

                          “Sir, that was exciting, to say the least. To think that I, an officer in His Most Catholic Majesty’s Navy, flew above the ocean. I looked down upon the world and saw it like the birds of the air or an angel. That feeling was remarkable beyond words.” Captain‑General Alarcon’s officers approach somewhat hesitantly and begin asking questions without regard to rank or station.

                          “Sir, Sir. Where did you go? What did it feel like? When you got into that machine and it flew away, some of us despaired for your safe return.”

                          Captain‑General Alarcon quiets his officers with a gesture, then says “Gentlemen, your fears were misplaced. The ride in that machine was no more rough than a carriage ride over a mountain road. To Captain Stevens, he turns and says “Sir, I thank you for the courtesy that you, your officers and your crew showed to me and my men. In particular, that ‘helicopter’ ride is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. I should like to repay that courtesy by hosting you, your officers and such other members of your crew that you deem necessary for a feast at the ‘Sailor’s Rest’ tomorrow evening.

                          “I will be pleased to accept your generous officer, sir.”

                          “Excellent. Now, I must return to the Santa Maria and see to my own crew.”

                          “I understand, sir. I will accompany you and your officers to the gangway, and MCPO Holliday will conduct you back to your ship.”

                          “Again, Captain Stevens, please let me express my thanks for all that you have shown me. I look forward to seeing you and your men tomorrow.” Captain‑General Alarcon and his men are taken to the gangplank where they board one of the motor launches for the trip back to the Santa Maria. Captain Stevens turns to his executive officer and says “Commander, officer’s call in the wardroom, 15 minutes.” Cmdr Wilson salutes and says “Aye, Sir.” He leaves to carry out Captain Stevens’ orders. One‑quarter of an hour later, the ship’s officers are assembled as ordered, and Captain Stevens begins to speak “Gentlemen, Captain‑General Alarcon has invited me ashore tomorrow afternoon to have dinner with him and his staff. I think this a good opportunity to start giving the crew some shore leave. They have worked hard to see that this mission succeeds, and so they deserve a reward. Commander Wilson?”

                          “Yes, sir?”

                          “I want you to draw up a shore leave roster. Starting tomorrow, and for each day thereafter, ten members of the ship’s crew are to be allowed to go ashore per day. Tomorrow, MCPO Holliday will accompany me and the first ten selectees ashore. For reasons of security, all hands on the shore party will be armed, and everyone, myself included, will have Level III‑A soft body armor under their uniforms. MCPO Holliday and I will be in our dress whites and will be wearing our swords along with our sidearms. The other members of the shore party will be in their DCUs. Make sure that four of the selectees are from the Marine contingent assigned to the Diplomatic Security Group.”

                          “Understood, sir. Do you have any instructions for tomorrow?”

                          “I don’t anticipate any hostile activity from the locals. However, I think it prudent that the master‑at‑arms and all of his mates are to be in full battle‑rattle at all times while the shore party is away. There is to be a full squad on anchor watch, along with full squads on the foc’sle and the quarterdeck.”

                          “Very good, sir.”

                          “Gentlemen, look to your departments. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. Dismissed.”

                          Shore Leave
                          Date: January 12th, 1608
                          Location: dockside. The Harbor of Barcelona
                          Time: Late Afternoon

                          As intended, Captain Stevens, MCPO Holliday and the other members of the shore party board one of USS Sumner’s two motor launches and head towards dockside. Captain Stevens and MCPO Holliday are in their dress‑white uniforms. They are wearing their Navy‑issue swords, along with holstered Beretta Model 92 9‑mm pistols and three extra magazines. The other members of the shore party are also armed with Beretta 9‑mm pistols, except that the four marines are also carrying short‑barreled Saiga‑12 semi‑automatic shotguns from USS Sumner’s armory slung over their shoulders. Belt pouches around their waists are loaded with four extra magazines each per man.

                          While the boat is proceeding towards the dock, Captain Stevens says to his men “Alright, people. Listen up. Much depends on there being a successful conclusion to this shore party mission. ROE are that weapons are tight, and that you will not fire unless you are in immediate danger of life and limb.” He says to MCPO Holliday “Chief, I am depending on you to help keep the shore party secure while I am meeting with Captain‑General Alarcon.”

                          “Aye, Aye, Sir.”

                          Now, the motor launch pulls up to the dock and is made fast by several of Captain‑General Alarcon’s sailors. On hand to greet Captain Stevens and his men is Teniente Ricardo Alvarez. He salutes Captain Stevens and says “Greetings Sir, and welcome to Barcelona. The Captain‑General sends his respects. I am here to escort you and your men to the ‘Sailors Rest.’

                          “Very well, Teniente. Please proceed.” Captain Stevens and his men fall in behind Teniente Alvarez and walk towards the taverna, which is about two hundred yards away. Along the way, Captain Stevens and MCPO Holliday notice that throngs of curious onlookers are being held back by the Captain‑General’s guards. The four marines in the shore party notice this also and subconsciously increase their own alert levels.

                          The shore party arrives at the ‘Sailor’s Rest’ without incident. Captain‑General Alarcon and his staff are waiting outside to greet them. Captain Stevens leaves the shore party by the gate and he comes forward, braces sharply to attention and renders a salute “Sir, I and my men are here at your invitation.”

                          Captain‑General Alarcon returns the salute and says “Sir, I am most glad that you were able to come. I am looking forward to showing you some Spanish hospitality.” Captain Stevens motions the rest of the shore party forward and says “Sir, please let me introduce Master Chief Petty Officer William Holliday. You met him yesterday when you first came aboard my ship. He is the senior ranking enlisted man aboard USS Sumner and a vital member of my crew.” MCPO Holliday steps forward, salutes and says in perfectly‑accented Castilian “A pleasure to see you again, sir.”

                          “The pleasure is all mine, Senor Holliday. Now sir, let us go inside. The cooks here have been busy for hours preparing a us feast.” As the party walks through the taverna’s double doors, Captain‑General Alarcon asks “Sir, may I enquire why your men are armed? You are in no danger here.”

                          “Sir, it is U.S Navy policy that all shore parties go armed at all times. After all, do not your own men go armed when they are ashore in new and unfamiliar territory?”

                          “Ahh, you have the right of it, Sir.” The entire party is now inside the taverna. They are seated around a large table in the main room. The delicious smells of roasted meat and cooked vegetables are beginning to waft their way through the taverna. While the food is beginning to be carried out, Captain‑General Alarcon turns to Captain Stevens and says “Sir, I should like to repay the courtesy you showed me and my officers during the dinner aboard your vessel yesterday.” The Captain‑General claps his hands to summon the taverna’s servants, who immediately appear with flagons of wine in hand. Before each seat at the table, there is an elaborately‑worked gold goblet which is quickly filled. Captain‑General Alarcon stands up, raises his goblet and says ‘To His Most Catholic Majesty Phillip III, King of the Spains” This toast is repeated by the Captain‑General’s officers, Captain Stevens and the other crewmen with him. The next toast by the Captain‑General is “To Steven Chu, President of The United States”. This, too, is repeated by everyone present.

                          The food is now ready to be served. The first dishes placed on the table are large platters of roast suckling pig and lamb, followed by spiced rice with chicken, stuffed partridges and quail. Following these are pots of stewed vegetables of various kinds and great mounds of warm, freshly‑baked bread. Complementing the bread are sliced cheeses of various types, along with butter. Finally, servants are standing by with flagons of various Spanish wines like Madeira, Sherry, Malaga and Rioja.

                          It is a mark of how important this taverna is that the place settings in front of each seat consist of elaborately‑worked silver platters, knives, forks and spoons, along with gold wine goblets decorated with chased scenes of war and hunting.

                          As the feasting begins, Captain Stevens says “Sir, among the crew from my ship that are here, only I and Master Chief Holliday speak Spanish. I tell you this so that you don’t get the impression that my other crewmen are ignoring any question you might ask.”

                          “That is quite alright, sir. Now, let’s to business, shall we? I am obliged to tell you that as soon as I docked here in Barcelona, I sent off a message to His Most Catholic Majesty telling him of our first encounter. Unless I am very much mistaken, his curiosity will have been much aroused and that he is on his way here.”

                          “Thank you for telling me that, sir. How long do you believe it will take His Majesty to get here?”

                          “I should think that the King’s journey will take about two weeks.”

                          Captain Stevens replies “I see. That will give me the time necessary to prepare my ship and her crew for the King’s visit, should he wish to see my vessel in person. Ambassador de la Vega will be most eager to meet the king, as he has told me that there is business to be conducted between my government and yours. But, that is a matter for another day.”

                          The rest of the evening passes without incident, with much discussion taking place between Captain Stevens and Captain‑General Alarcon. Occasionally, some of the Captain‑General’s officers ask questions of Master Chief Holliday; he answers them as best as he is able to. After the dishes and the remains of the feast are carried away by the taverna’s servants, Captain‑General Alarcon claps his hands yet again and calls for music. A number of well‑dressed beautiful women enter the main hall of the taverna carrying musical instruments of various kinds. They seat themselves before the table and begin to play assorted musical pieces to the delight and entertainment of all. Two of the women even sing a number of songs. At the conclusion of the performance, the applause by both the Spanish and the Americans is loud and enthusiastic.

                          Captain Stevens looks at his watch and then at Master‑Chief Holliday, who nods a silent reply. He says to Captain‑General Alarcon “I beg your pardon sir, but it is time for me and my men to return to our ship. I would like to say that the wine, the food, the music and the songs were a credit to your people.”

                          “Your kind words are most gratefully accepted, sir. If you wish, I will personally escort you and your men dockside.”

                          “Thank you, sir. That is most gracious of you.” Without further delay, the combined party walks along the docks until they reach the location where the motor launch is moored. Captain Stevens and his men board the boat and say their farewells as Captain‑General Alarcon waves. Outside the harbor mouth, USS Sumner is brightly lit, and so the motor launch returns to the ship without difficulty.

                          A Conference
                          Date: January 13th, 1608
                          Location: Officers’ Wardroom, USS Sumner
                          Time: 0900

                          This morning, Captain Stevens gathers Ambassador de La Vega and his staff in the ship’s wardroom to inform them of the developments thus far. “Good morning, Ambassador. Good morning, gentlemen. I trust you passed a pleasant night.”

                          “Good morning, Captain Stevens. We did indeed.”

                          “Mr. Ambassador, I have been informed by Captain‑General Alarcon that King Phillip III is coming to Barcelona to see us. The Captain‑General tells me that the king will be here in two weeks.”

                          “I see. Thank you for letting me know, Captain. This will allow me to prepare for the meeting.”

                          “May I enquire as to the nature of your mission, Mr. Ambassador?”

                          “Certainly, Captain. This trip involves much more than just meeting King Phillip III. Not only will I be handing over my credentials, I have been charged by President Chu with the task of entering into negotiations with the King in regards the purchase of Spain’s North American possessions.”

                          “That will certainly be a mighty undertaking, sir. I have read the DoD briefing paper on the state of affairs in Spain in this day and age, and I have some concern for your safety. I will assign ten marines from USS Sumner’s security detachment as protection for you and your staff. 1LT John Highway will be OIC of the diplomatic security detail, and he will be assisted by Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hughes.”

                          “Thank you, Captain. That will be sufficient.”


                          • #14
                            Chapter Eight

                            A Royal Meeting
                            Date: January 25th, 1608
                            Location: The City Hall of Barcelona
                            Time: Mid‑morning

                            Barely two weeks after leaving El Escorial, the Royal Procession has reached Barcelona.Excellent progress was made on the journey (despite the size of the procession) because of the outstanding condition of El Camino Real, the network of royal roads running between the major cities of Spain. The Royal Procession consisted of over a dozen carriages escorted by four full companies of Spanish Cuirassiers. Each carriage was placed in the procession in order of precedence at court. Of course, the very first carriage in line held but two occupants; King Phillip III and his chief minister Francisco Gomez de Sandoval, Duke of Lerna. The other carriages transported palace officials and nobles of the court. Mindful of the King’s safety, the Duke of Lerna ensured that the troops in the escort detail were the best‑trained and best‑equipped available. Each man is mounted on an excellent Spanish charger, and is wearing a brilliantly‑polished set of three‑quarter armor in the Maximilian style (along with a pair of thigh boots). For armament, there are a pair of wheel‑lock horse pistols carried in pommel holsters and a heavy, basket‑hilted sword in a shoulder baldric. Lastly, each man carries a steel‑headed lance socketed upon the right stirrup. The lances each have a pennant depending from the tip; the pennants display the Spanish Royal Coat of Arms.

                            After the procession enters Barcelona’s main gate, the King turns to the Duke of Lerna and says “Well, my lord Duke, we have at last arrived. We must confess that our curiosity has only grown over the previous two weeks. The Duke replies “True enough, your Majesty. You will be able to see with your own eyes the truth of what Captain‑General Alarcon has reported to you.” Just then, the Royal Carriage’s iron‑shod wheels (and the hooves of the horses drawing it) begin to ring loudly as the procession crosses from the dirt roads outside the city of Barcelona to the stone‑paved streets within. The procession makes its way through the streets of the city, but is slowed by throngs of Spanish citizens who crowd close to try and catch a glimpse of their sovereign lord. Finally, the procession pulls up in front of the City Hall of Barcelona. On hand to greet the King are Captain‑General Alarcon and various city officials. The Captain‑General makes a formal court bow and says “Welcome to Barcelona, Your Majesty.”

                            “We greet you as well, Captain‑General. Tell us of these ‘Americans’, are they still here?”

                            “Yes they are, Your Majesty. I informed the Captain of the American vessel of your Majesty’s probable date of arrival. Captain Stevens said his mission was to transport an ambassador from his ruler (who is titled the President of The United States), so that this gentleman could present himself and his credentials to Your Most Catholic Majesty’s court.”

                            “If you please Captain‑General, when will this meeting take place?”

                            “Your Majesty, the American officers and the ambassador will be here within the hour. As soon as I had word of Your Majesty’s procession approaching the city, I sent word to Captain Stevens’ ship, which is currently moored on the far side of Barcelona’s harbor.”

                            “Excellent. When we first read your report to us concerning these ‘Americans’ as you call them, it seemed so fantastic that we were tempted to dismiss it out of hand. But, the Duke of Lerna persuaded us to come here and for ourself.”

                            Captain‑General Alarcon bows his head to his sovereign and says “I offer Your Majesty my humble thanks. In the meantime, does Your Majesty wish to go inside? The city fathers have laid on a great feast in honor of Your Majesty’s coming to the city.”

                            King Phillip III says “Lead on, Captain‑General. We are fair‑famished from this day’s journey and would sup with you before we meet the Americans.” Thus bidden by his king, Captain‑General Alarcon turns and goes inside the city hall. He is followed by the King, the Duke of Lerna and other officials of the court.

                            A little over one hour later, the King, the Duke and the Captain‑General are dining at the high table in the council chamber of the city hall when a herald strides purposefully up before them. He strikes his staff three times upon the stone floor of the hall and calls out in a loud, clear voice “Captain Stevens of the United States Navy and Ambassador Diego de La Vega from the United States of America are outside and do crave admittance to Your Majesty.” While this is being said, Captain Stevens, Ambassador de La Vega and the marine escort are standing outside the doors to the council hall. Captain Stevens is in his Navy dress white uniform; there is a leather belt around the waist of the uniform jacket, to this belt is attached Captain Stevens’ naval officer’s sword and a leather holster containing his service sidearm. Ambassador de La Vega is wearing an elegantly‑tailored three‑piece suit. The suit consists of a top coat, vest and long trousers. The coat and trousers are of black wool, while the vest is gray. Setting off the coat and vest is a white, long‑sleeved shirt with a button‑down collar. To compliment the formal attire, there is also a maroon‑colored tie and a black top hat. In deference to Spanish court fashion of the period, Ambassador de La Vega is wearing a cup‑hilted rapier with belt & hanger.

                            Of the Marine escort, only 1LT John Highway and Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hughes are wearing their dress blues. Lt Highway is the OIC of the detail, and is armed as such. He has a holstered Beretta Model 92 9‑mm pistol on his right hip and a Marine Corps Officer’s sword in a gold‑mounted scabbard on his left hip. GySgt Hughes is similarly armed, except that his sword is the Marine Corps NCO‑pattern weapon. He is also carrying a long, black weapon case in his left hand. The other ten marines on the detail are clad in woodland‑pattern MARPAT. On top of the MARPAT, the marines are wearing Level‑3A body armor with ceramic‑plate inserts. To the Spanish observers outside the council hall (who are talking excitedly amongst themselves about the strangers in their midst), these vests mean nothing as they appear to be only another item of the strangers’ clothing. The marines are armed with thigh‑holstered Beretta Model 92s and slung M16A4 rifles. The rifles are carried muzzle‑down so as not to display aggression.

                            Among the membership of the diplomatic party, no one stands out more than GySgt Hughes. Not only are his Marine Corps Dress Blues highly distinctive in their own right, he himself is very broad‑shouldered; standing 6’6” tall and weighing 245 lbs.

                            King Phillip III says “Very well. Bid them enter and be welcome.” The herald bows before the King and leaves. He returns a short time later with Captain Stevens and Ambassador de La Vega in tow. Through Captain Stevens (who speaks fluent Spanish), the marine escort is asked to wait in the antechamber of the council hall. Lt. Highway looks at Captain Stevens, who nods in silent reply. Then, he turns to his marines and says “Alright boys, it’s showtime. Weapons are tight. I say again, weapons are tight. No one does anything without my direct order.” GySgt Hughes snaps to attention and says “Sir, aye aye sir.”

                            Captain Stevens and the ambassador are brought before the King. He nods his head and says “Your most Catholic Majesty, may I please present His Excellency Diego de La Vega, Ambassador to the Court of Spain from the United States of America?” King Phillip III doesn’t reply, but instead motions the ambassador to come forward. The cut and style of Ambassador de La Vega’s clothing is quite unlike anything the Spanish have ever seen before, and this causes some muted discussion among those nobles and officials seated with the King. In due course, Phillip III silences this talk with a single, imperious gesture. Ambassador de La Vega waits for the talk to die down before speaking.

                            “Your Most Catholic Majesty, I am Diego de La Vega, ambassador to Your Majesty’s court from the United States of America. I have the honor to present my credentials to Your Majesty.” The ambassador now hands over a leather folio embossed with the Great Seal of The United States upon the cover. In the folio, there is but a single sheet of gilt‑edged parchment printed in both Spanish and English. King Phillip III reads the document:

                            ‘To all whom these presents may come Greetings. Know ye that espousing special trust and confidence in the fidelity and professional excellence of Diego de La Vega, I do hereby appoint him as Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary from the United States of America to the Court of Spain’

                            Steven F. Chu
                            President of The United States

                            King Phillip III closes the folio after reading and says “Ambassador, this is all well and good, but before we proceed, we must know who are you people and where do you come from?” Ambassador de La Vega smiles inwardly and says “Ahh, Your Majesty, that is a tale that will be strange in the telling. If I may be permitted to sit, I will most gladly tell your Majesty who we are and where we come from.”

                            “Pray be seated, ambassador. We wait upon your word.”

                            “My thanks to Your Majesty. In February of this year, the Almighty in his infinite wisdom saw fit to gather up four of the fifty provinces of the United States in the year 2013 and deliver them
                            here to the year 1607. They now occupy their former locations in the center of North America.”

                            King Phillip III’s noble Hapsburg face is struck with a look of utter amazement when he says “Ambassador, are you telling me that you and your people are from the future?”

                            “Yes, Your Majesty.”

                            “That, sirrah, is surely the most ridiculous tale that we have ever heard in all our days. If we were to believe you, what proof have you of its truth?”

                            “Your Majesty, I draw your attention to the great metal ship now moored in the harbor of Barcelona. There is no other like it in all the regions of the world. It is made completely of steel, and moves neither by sails or oars. The ship is far larger than any that sails the oceans of the world, and weighs more than twice the Santa Maria, which, according to Captain‑General Alarcon, is Your Majesty’s largest and most powerful vessel.”

                            The King turns to the Captain‑General and says “Is what Ambassador de La Vega says the truth?”

                            “Your Most Catholic Majesty, I give you my word as a Spanish officer that every word of the ambassador’s story is the absolute and unvarnished truth. I saw this ship with my own eyes when I and some of my officers went aboard her for dinner at Captain Stevens’ invitation. There is also a machine aboard his ship which can fly as if it were a bird of the air.”

                            “A machine that flies?? This we must see for ourselves, Captain‑General. Arrange it, if you please.”

                            “Sire, it was the earnest hope and desire of Captain Stevens and Ambassador de La Vega that Your Majesty come aboard the ship for a tour of inspection. Accordingly, the vessel has been made ready to receive your Royal Presence. Captain Stevens first asks if Your Majesty would care to assay a test of skill at arms between one of his men and five of my own soldiers.”

                            “Five‑to‑one, you say? This promises to be interesting, Captain‑General. Of what form will this contest be?”

                            “Sire, Captain Stevens proposes a test of skill with firearms.”

                            “Proceed, sirrah.”

                            “Yes, Your Majesty. Out in the courtyard, there have been arranged two sets of five targets each; one set for my five men and one set for Captain Stevens’ man. The conditions are that each of my men will use a wheel‑lock pistol to fire three rounds at each of his targets, while Captain Stevens’ man will use his side arm to fire three rounds at each of his own targets after my men are done.”

                            “Very well, let us go and see.”

                            “Yes, Your Majesty.” The king rises from his seat and goes to the gallery overlooking the courtyard outside City Hall. He is accompanied by Captain‑General Alarcon, the Duke of Lerna and Captain Stevens. A previous order from Captain Stevens has Lt. Highway send GySgt Hughes out to the courtyard to await the contest. The two rows of targets are set up at a range of twenty‑five yards, and are in the shape of a man’s torso and head. Below the gallery, there are placed two tables; one for the Captain‑General’s men and one for GySgt Hughes. First to fire are Captain‑General Alarcon’s men. Each of them takes a long‑barreled wheel‑lock pistol from the table and begins the slow, laborious process of loading the weapon. First, a measured charge of powder is poured down the barrel, followed by a lead ball wrapped in a greased cloth patch. Next, the priming pan is opened and charged with a small amount of fine‑grained powder from a priming flask on the table. Lastly, the priming pan cover is closed, the dog‑head (which holds a piece of iron pyrite tightly in its jaws) lowered down on top of the pan and the wheel‑lock mechanism is spanned. The weapon is now ready to fire.

                            Captain‑General Alarcon calls out “FUEGO”, and five wheel‑lock pistols are fired almost simultaneously. Over the next two minutes, the process of lading and firing is repeated twice more. A total of fifteen shots were fired, creating a cloud of sulfur‑smelling smoke that hangs over the courtyard like morning mist. Of the fifteen shots, there were no misses.

                            There is a look of satisfaction on Captain‑General Alarcon’s face as he turns to Captain Stevens and says “Sir, the courtyard is yours.”

                            Captain Stevens says ‘Thank you, sir.” He calls down from the gallery to Lt. Highway, who, in turn says to GySgt Hughes “Gunny, you are to engage those five targets out there; three rounds
                            each, as fast and accurately as you are capable of delivering them.”

                            “Sir, three rounds per target. Aye Aye sir.” GySgt Hughes walks up to the table, drops his right hand to his holster, undoes the flap and draws his sidearm in one smooth, fluid motion. He begins to fire and what follows is so totally outside the experience of King Phillip III and his nobles that any attempt at comparison is meaningless. GySgt Hughes fired three rounds at each of his five targets in less time than it took one of the Captain‑General’s men to span his wheel‑lock and take aim (to say nothing of actually loading and firing). Two shots were placed into the torso of each target, and one into the head. On average, the two torso shots are less than a hand‑span apart. GySgt Hughes holsters his weapon and collects his empty cartridge brass.

                            King Phillip III and his nobles look on in wonder as Captain‑General Alarcon nervously says “Your Majesty, there will be a second test. This one involves the use of shoulder arms. It must take place outside the city gate due to the range needed. My man will be shooting a wheel‑lock musket at a full suit of proof plate, while Captain Stevens’ man will shoot at a second suit of proof plate with his own shoulder arm.”

                            Boldly, King Phillip III says “Let the test commence.” Half an hour later, the king and his nobles are assembled next to a large open field outside the city walls of Barcelona. Nearby, Captain Stevens and Ambassador de La Vega are standing with the other members of their marine escort detail. The two suits of proof plate are arranged on racks at the distance of two hundred yards. Captain‑General Alarcon’s man fires first, using a heavy, long‑barreled wheel‑lock musket and a forked musket rest. The weapon’s great size and weight mean that each of the three shots takes a full minute to load and fire. At the king’s command, the first suit of armor is brought back for examination. Each of the wheel–lock musket’s three rounds created an egg‑sized dent in the armor’s breastplate. The dents are smeared with lead where the musket ball broke up upon impact. GySgt Hughes speaks to his OIC Lt Highway, who turns to Captain Stevens and says “Sir, that second target is rather too close. Can it be removed to a fit distance for men to shoot at?”

                            Captain Stevens makes the request to Captain‑General Alarcon, who asks “Sir, how much farther does your teniente ask that the target be moved?”

                            “A further four hundred yards, sir.” Captain‑General Alarcon is visibly shaken by this request, but speedily complies. When word of this new range is passed to the King and his officials, they respond with gasps of disbelief and amazement.

                            Lt. Highway calls out to GySgt Hughes and says “Gunny, your target is that second suit of armor out there. Three rounds, make them count.” GySgt Hughes braces to attention and says “Sir, aye aye sir.” He goes to the table and places the black case he has been carrying in his left hand on top. The case is opened and a small shoulder weapon is taken out. To the Spanish, this weapon appears to be nothing more than a small carbine, but in fact, it is an M40A5 sniper rifle chambered in 7.62 x 51‑mm. To aid in accuracy, the weapon is fitted with a Schmidt & Bender 3‑12x 50‑mm Police Marksman II telescopic sight, a muzzle break and a McMillan Tactical A4 composite stock.

                            GySgt Hughes carefully wraps the rifle’s sling around his left arm and steadies the butt of the weapon against his right shoulder. The sights are aligned on target, and three shots are fired in less than one‑quarter of a minute. Other than the sound of the rifle’s report (which is noticeably different from the sound of a shot from the wheel‑lock musket), GySgt Hughes’ weapon creates no smoke of any kind whatsoever. This, in itself, is just as startling to the Spanish as the performance of GySgt Hughes’ pistol. The second suit of armor is brought back for examination, and there are three small holes in the front and back plates of the armor’s cuirass. The holes are in a group that measures less than six inches across. The back plate is examined closely, and it is found by the Spanish that the edges of the holes bow outwards, as if a thin iron spike had been driven through both pieces of the cuirass with great force.

                            King Phillip III maintains his royal resolve while the Duke of Lerna, Captain‑General Alarcon and the other nobles present exchange looks of incredulity. Ambassador de La Vega sees this and says “Your Majesty, your excellencies, the handgun and the rifle that you just saw in action
                            are the smallest, the very least of my people’s weapons. There are other capabilities which will be demonstrated when Your Majesty comes aboard our vessel tomorrow.”

                            “Ahh yes, ambassador. If your people’s small arms are any indication, their other capabilities must be truly great indeed. For now, we will return to the hall and continue with our feasting.”

                            “At your convenience, Your Majesty.” The King and his nobles return to the council hall, followed in turn by Ambassador de La Vega, Captain Stevens and the marine escort. When everyone has again taken their seats, Ambassador de La Vega says to the King “Your Most Catholic Majesty, the President of the United States has charged me with the task of laying before Your Majesty certain proposals as regards Your Majesty’s North American possessions Before I proceed, there are certain facts that I ask Your Majesty’s permission to lay out.”

                            “Granted, ambassador.”

                            “Thank you, Your Majesty. For some time now, Your Majesty’s finances have been severely strained. Crown revenues were (and still are) adversely affected by the war between Spain and England which concluded only three years ago. There is also the Dutch War, where Your Majesty’s government signed a ceasefire in April, 1607. and the Battle of Gibraltar, which took place earlier in that month and resulted in the loss of one of Your Majesty’s fleets. In the current year of 1608, Your Majesty’s budgetary outlays are in the amount of fifty million pesos, while the total revenues of the Spanish Crown from all sources are only thirty million pesos. This deficit of twenty million pesos will further add to an already‑staggering national debt.”

                            King Phillip III’s eyes widen in surprise as he says “Ambassador, how is it that you know all these things? Our Council of Finance only laid them before us thirty days ago.” Ambassador de La Vega smiles disarmingly and says “Your Majesty, the United States Government is well‑informed in many areas.”

                            “We see, ambassador. Tell us of the proposal from your President.”

                            “Yes, Your Majesty. The President of The United States wishes me to inform Your Majesty that the Government of the United States wants to purchase all of Your Majesty’s territorial claims in North and Central America. In compensation for which, I am authorized to tender to Your Majesty the sum of one hundred million pesos in silver. Such a sum is greater than can be carried by ten of Your Majesty’s treasure fleets, and is equal to the entire outstanding debt of the Spanish Crown.”

                            While Ambassador de La Vega is speaking to King Phillip III, the Duke of Lerna is listening very intently. When the silver is mentioned, the Duke of Lerna’s personal greed and monumental avarice flame brightly in his mind. He thinks to himself “These Americans have but one ship. If they were to be persuaded otherwise, some of their wealth could find its way into my own purse.” Ambassador de La Vega’s proposal stuns King Phillip III and his other officials and nobles like the proverbial bolt from the blue. The King thoughtfully strokes his beard and says “Ambassador, this proposal wants talking. We shall discuss it at length with the councillors and nobles of our court. When we come aboard your ship tomorrow, you shall know our mind at full.”

                            “Thank you, Your Majesty. May I and my staff have your permission to withdraw? There are certain arrangements that have to be made before Your Majesty comes aboard ship.”

                            “You may depart, ambassador. God go with you.”

                            “Yes, Your Majesty.” Ambassador de la Vega, Captain Stevens and the marine escort take their leave of the King and quickly make their way down to the harbor of Barcelona. There, they board USS Sumner’s two launches which have been waiting for them and return to the ship.

                            A Royal Visit
                            Date: January 26th, 1608
                            Location: aboard USS Sumner
                            Time: 1400 hours

                            Captain Stevens is in his stateroom attending to various administrative matters when there is a call from Lt. Commander Robert Wilson, the Officer of the Watch “Captain, bridge here.”

                            “Go ahead, Commander.”

                            “Sir, per your standing order, we have been using the ship’s TV cameras to maintain surveillance on Barcelona’s docks and shoreline. Just half an hour ago, I saw a large procession of mounted men and several carriages make its way dockside. A number of individuals dismounted from the carriages and boarded three boats; these boats are now bearing towards us. The lead boat of the three has the Spanish Coat of Arms flying from the masthead.”

                            “Very good, commander. That will be the King of Spain and members of his entourage. Make a note in the ship’s log, then sound officer’s call in the wardroom, fifteen minutes, all departments.”

                            The Officer of the Watch acknowledges the order and repeats it “Officer’s call, wardroom, fifteen minutes, all departments. Aye, sir.”

                            One quarter of an hour later, Captain Stevens addresses his officers “Gentlemen, King Phillip III is on his way here as we speak. Deck Division will be standing by to pipe the King aboard with full honors as soon as the boats carrying the royal entourage tie up alongside. There will be a 21‑gun salute; firing order on the turrets will be one, two, three. The King will be touring the ship and in all likelihood, will want to go flying as Captain‑General Alarcon did when he came aboard. Flight crew will lay aft and prepare for flight operations when I give the word. Gentlemen, let me emphasize that King Phillip III isn’t some third‑world dictator, he is the legitimate ruler of the Spanish Empire, a state that is as large and powerful in the world of 1608 as the United States was in the world of 2013. The Spanish are also bigoted, intolerant and virulently anti‑semitic. Please bear all this in mind in our dealings with them. Any questions?” There are none, so Captain Stevens says “Dismissed.”

                            1500 hours

                            King Phillip’s boat pulls alongside USS Sumner’s landing platform along with the other two boats containing the members of his entourage. A working party of sailors makes the boats fast as the King and his officers come up the ship’s gangway. On hand to greet them are Captain Stevens, the ship’s XO, MCPO William Holliday and an honor guard of six men and six women from USS Sumner’s deck division. As soon as King Phillip III steps off the gangway, MCPO Holliday says “His Majesty Phillip III, King of The Spains, arriving” and pipes him aboard.

                            Captain Stevens says in flawless Castilian Spanish “Welcome aboard USS Sumner, Your Majesty. It is indeed an honor to have you here.” MCPO Holliday signals for the traditional 21‑gun salute to be fired by the ship’s main battery. The three turrets rotate to starboard from the position of fore & aft; the movement slightly startles everyone in the king’s party except Captain‑General Alarcon. Then, the three guns crash and thunder as each one fires seven blank rounds in quick succession. This does catch everyone in the Royal party by surprise, including the Captain‑General. The sounds of cannon fire echo across Barcelona’s harbor, and great clouds of black‑powder smoke are created.

                            King Phillip III maintains his royal reserve, but the Duke of Lerna, the Captain‑General and the other royal officials are amazed at how fast USS Sumner’s guns have been fired. They begin to
                            talk excited amongst themselves as the King says “Captain Stevens, we wish to know why your guns were fired when we came aboard your ship.” Captain Stevens replies “Your Majesty, it is United States Navy tradition that whenever a head of state of other important dignitary comes aboard, that they receive a salute of 21 guns. This ship has but three main guns, and so each of them was fired seven times.”

                            “Ah, yes. How is it that your guns are able to fire so quickly?”

                            “Your Majesty, the round domes you see are called turrets. Each turret houses but a single gun, and is able to turn through an arc of 270 degrees. This eliminates the need to re‑position the ship to fire a broadside. Inside the turrets, there are certain devices attachéd to each gun that need only and firing.”

                            “Most impressive. Captain‑General, we saw that you weren’t surprised when those ‘turrets’ began to move.”

                            “Yes, Your Majesty. Captain Stevens was kind enough to demonstrate their functioning when I came aboard previously. I am, however, simply amazed at how fast those guns can fire.”

                            King Phillip III notes this with interest and says “Captain Stevens, let us begin the tour of your

                            “Of course, Your Majesty. If you will please follow me?” The King and his entourage follow Captain Stevens up to the bridge of USS Sumner. He says “Your Majesty, your excellencies, this is the bridge of my ship. From here, I exercise command and control functions over all aspects of the ship’s operations. She is helmed and navigated from here and in battle, the ship’s weapons systems are controlled from here.”

                            “We see. What are those devices that are arranged on the table around this room?”

                            “Your Majesty, those devices are what allow the ship to be controlled from the bridge. Those glowing green glass plates you see over there are radar screens. As I explained to Captain‑General Alarcon on his previous visit, radar is a system that allows us to see out to great distances day or night, even in the worst sea‑states possible.” The King asks “How far can this ‘radar’ of yours see, Captain Stevens?”

                            “Your Majesty, the ship’s radar systems allow us to detect surface contacts out to a range of fifty miles.”

                            King Phillip III gasps and says “FIFTY miles, you say??”

                            “Yes. Your Majesty heard me correctly when I said fifty miles. If something approaches this vessel through the air, it can be detected at a range of 200 miles. In short, nothing and no one can approach this ship without us knowing it is there.”

                            Captain Stevens now conducts the Royal Party to the bow of the ship in order to begin a tour of the deck. He begins by saying “Your Majesty, USS Sumner measures 369’ at the waterline and 376’ 6” over all. She is 41’ in the beam, moves at 15 knots and weighs 3,500 tons at full load.”

                            “Captain Stevens, when we came aboard your vessel, we saw neither oars, masts, spars or any kind of rigging. How is it possible for your ship to move?”

                            “Your Majesty, this ship has devices on the lowest deck called ‘generators’. These generators burn a certain kind of flammable oil to create something called ‘electricity’. This electricity is the same kind of power one sees when lightning bolts fly across the skies. This power drives the ship’s engines and so moves the ship in any direction I so choose.” This description has some of the more superstitious among the King’s entourage mumbling about witchcraft. Some even start to finger their rosary beads and pray softly under their breath.

                            Captain Stevens sees and hears this. He says “Your Majesty, your excellencies, there is no witchcraft here. The principles which drive this ship are simply the practical application of scientific knowledge that my people have had for centuries.” The captain’s pronunciation quiets some of the King’s entourage, but not all. The more fearful among them continue to talk softly and mumble imprecations against what they see as magic until King Phillip III quiets them with a single, sharp gesture.

                            The Royal Party proceeds aft, escorted by Captain Stevens. On the way, he takes great care to explain the other functions of the ship and the workings of the equipment on deck. Amidships, the King stops before an odd‑looking emplacement on the starboard side and asks “A moment, if you please, captain. We wish to know what this device is.” The King lays his hand on the gun tub of one of the starboard 25‑mm gun mounts.”

                            “Your Majesty, that device is a weapon. It is part of USS Sumner’s secondary battery. It is an automatic cannon with a bore of one inch; the same as the heavy matchlock muskets used by some of Your Majesty’s soldiers. The gun can fire 180 rounds per minute out to a range of 1,000 yards. This weapon and the other guns in the secondary battery are employed for close defense against small craft that aren’t worthy of our main battery.”

                            King Phillip III listens to Captain Stevens explaining the working of this gun, and this time his royal reserve fractures such that the King’s jaw hangs open in mute amazement. He realizes that
                            no ship so protected can possibly be overcome by force of arms. The Duke of Lerna subconsciously echoes his king’s thoughts and says to himself ‘I must come up with another, more indirect way to deal with these Americans. Confronting them directly would be foolish in the extreme’ The King swiftly recovers his self‑control and says “Let us continue the tour.”

                            When the combined party reaches the quarterdeck, the King and his officials see a number of men and what appear to be women working on a strange machine that is lashed to the deck by chains attached to the machine’s small wheels. King Phillip III turns to Captain Phillips and asks “That machine over there, is it another one of your mechanical wonders, Captain? Unless our eyes deceive us, there are women working on it. Our Captain‑General says that when we came aboard, half of the party that greeted us was composed of women. In truth, we didn’t recognize them as such because of their odd clothing and the way it was cut. I see now that one of the people working on that strange machine is a woman. We must know, are the women aboard your ship concubines? Perhaps mistresses of the ship’s officers?”

                            Captain Stevens maintains his self‑control as he replies “Your Majesty, the women aboard this ship are neither of those things. They are members of my crew, and all serve with distinction and honor. I will let Your Majesty know that one of the women in the honor guard that greeted the royal party when Your Majesty came aboard this ship is Petty Officer Sandra Phillips. PO Phillips is the best pistol shot aboard USS Sumner, and that includes the Marine who you saw performing that shooting demonstration yesterday.”

                            King Phillip III harrumphs as if he still thinks that such a thing isn’t possible. He points at the machine secured to the quarterdeck and asks “What is that machine that those men and that woman are working on?” Captain Stevens replies “Your Majesty, that machine is a helicopter and those people are its crew. Captain‑General Alarcon must have told you by now that this machine flies.” The King says “He did, and it is because of this that we wished most earnestly to come aboard your vessel and see with our own eyes.”

                            Captain Stevens nods benignly and says “Your Majesty, I anticipated that would be your desire. So, I ordered my crew to make the helicopter ready for flight. Would Your Majesty care for a flight aboard the machine? Captain‑General Alarcon has already had a flight with me aboard it, and the helicopter is perfectly safe.”

                            King Phillip III turns to Captain‑General Alarcon; the King’s face poses an unspoken question, to which, the Captain‑General says “Your Majesty, upon my honor I swear that what Captain Stevens says is true. The ride aboard that machine was no more rough than a carriage on a smooth country road.”

                            “Very well, we will go on this machine. Our honor and dignity requires that we have certain members of our court along with us. Therefore, the Duke of Lerna, our bishop and our chamberlain will accompany us, along with four of our bodyguards.”

                            Captain Stevens says “I completely understand, Your Majesty. I will also be accompanying Your Majesty on this flight. It may interest Your Majesty to know that the pilot of the helicopter is a woman.” The King’s preconceived notions about the proper role of women in society are still very much in force. However, all the King does is to raise a questioning eyebrow “Let it be as you say, Captain.”

                            “Very good, Your Majesty. The flight we will be taking will be a fairly short training flight. We will all board the helicopter and take off from the quarterdeck. The helicopter will fly out to a distance of eighty nautical miles from the ship and then return back. The flight time will be just one hour, and the total distance we will be flying will be one hundred and sixty nautical miles.”

                            All that King Phillip III has seen before pales into utter insignificance before what he has just heard. He says “We have often dreamed about what it would be like to look down upon the world and see it as an Angel of the Lord or a bird of the sky.” For a brief moment, the King’s face takes on the look of a small boy given a particularly‑desireable present. Just as quickly, the King recovers his self‑control and says in a grave but dignified manner “Let us be off.”

                            Captain Stevens conducts the King and the chosen members of the Royal Entourage to the helicopter and says “Your Majesty, I must caution you that the safety of everyone aboard the helicopter depends on all commands from the pilot being obeyed instantly and without question. Aboard the helicopter, the pilot’s authority is equal to my authority aboard my ship.”

                            “We understand, Captain.” In the meantime, the pilot has lowered the ladder so that all present can climb aboard the aircraft. The co‑pilot is performing the last of his pre‑flight checks on the instruments. The pilot takes his seat in the command chair while Captain Stevens makes sure that everyone is safely strapped into their seats and wearing helmets provided by the flight crew. Before the engines spin up for takeoff, Captain Stevens says “Your Majesty, we will be cruising at an altitude of one thousand feet.”

                            “One thousand feet, say you so? Why, that is more than twice the height of our mightiest cathedrals. The saints and the holy angels be with us all…..”

                            The helicopter’s engines are roaring loudly as they spin up to speed. Quickly, the helicopter rises off the deck into the sky. For Captain Stevens and the two pilots, the sensation is nothing new, but to King Phillip III and his people, the sensations are like those felt when someone falls from a great height. In less than one minute, the helicopter is speeding away from USS Sumner at the stated altitude of one thousand feet. The King was given a window seat, and as the helicopter continues its flight, he presses his face against the window to gain a better view of the ocean below. While the King is largely silent. his bishop Juan de Moncada is nervously smoothing his robes of office. When the helicopter hits a turbulent patch of air, the bishop shouts in fear “Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the holy saints defend us. He begins praying, while the Duke of Lerna is looking very queasy. For the rest of the flight, the Duke manages to keep himself from throwing up (but only barely).

                            The rest of the flight is taken up by a near‑endless series of questions asked of Captain Stevens by the King. The questions continue almost until it is time to land back on USS Sumner’s flight deck. After the helicopter lands, the King and his men debark the aircraft; the Duke of Lerna almost falls to the deck as his stomach lurches. Captain Stevens prevents the fall and says “Don’t worry, Your Grace. What you are feeling is air‑ sickness, and it will pass quickly. In the meantime, I will have my ship’s pharmacist give you a medicine that my pilots use when they are so afflicted. The Duke wearily nods his thanks as the King’s bodyguards take hold of him and escort him into the ship.

                            “Your Majesty, may I ask what you thought of the flight?”

                            King Phillip III says “Captain, what we experienced was truly beyond words. It was something that we will not forget if we live to be one hundred years of age. In truth, the experience has caused us to work up a mighty appetite. We are looking forward to dining with you and your officers.” Captain Stevens thanks the King for his kind words and says “Very good, Your Majesty. If you and your officers will please follow me, my stewards and cooks will have the dinner laid on by now.”

                            “At your convenience, sirrah.”

                            Let There be Feasting and Making of Merriment
                            Date: January 26th, 1608
                            Location: the wardroom of USS Sumner
                            Time: 1715 hours

                            King Phillip III and his entourage enter the ship’s wardroom and seat themselves as indicated. The position of honor at the head of the table is held by the King, while the Duke of Lerna is seated at the King’s right hand and Captain Phillips is seated at his left hand. To the Captain’s left is seated Ambassador Diego de La Vega. The Duke of Lerna has very quickly recovered from his bout of air‑sickness thanks to the medicine given to him by the ship’s pharmacist.

                            The wardroom table is covered with a clean, white tablecloth embroidered with the Great Seal of The United States. Every seat at the table is set with dishes, utensils and drinking vessels from USS Sumner’s silver table service. As marks of distinction, the Spanish royal flag and the U.S flag were brought out and placed in stands behind where the King of Spain and Captain Stevens are seated. When the principals are all seated, the officers of USS Sumner also take their seats.

                            At a signal from Captain Stevens, the ship’s mess attendants carry in platters and dishes heaped with the food that is to be served tonight. King Phillip III observes this and enquires “Captain Stevens, what sorts of dishes are we and our entourage to be served this night?”

                            “Your Majesty, the food that the mess attendants are bringing out was prepared in the ship’s kitchen. It is what is served by the U.S Navy on formal dining occasions such as this. Noting that each diner’s preferences may be different, my cooks have prepared several different main, side and desert dishes so that each diner may choose what they want to eat. The food chosen will be served by the mess attendants. For the main course, there is beef pot roast with gravy, roast turkey, roast chicken and baked ham with raisin glaze. The side dishes are buttered potatoes, carrots and peas. There is also a salad of lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded carrots and diced cucumbers. Lastly, the deserts are a choice between peach cobbler, cherry pie, apple pie and various flavors of ice cream.”

                            “Captain Stevens, we are unfamiliar with most of the dishes you mentioned. If the delicious aromas that we smell are to be any judge, this will certainly be a feast worthy of mention.”

                            “Your Majesty, I offer my thanks for your kind words. My crew will certainly appreciate them”

                            The King is the Guest of Honor this night, so His Majesty has the privilege of being served first. He chooses beef pot roast with buttered potatoes and corn on the side. The King puts his fork to the plate, but stops before he takes a single bite. He says “Captain Stevens, are there tasters among your crew? At our Court, tasters are employed to see if the food is safe for our consumption; as there are those who wish us harm.”

                            “Your Majesty, the food served aboard this ship is fit for the table of the President of The United States. If Your Majesty wishes, I will taste the food first, so that Your Majesty can be assured that it is safe.”

                            “That will be sufficient, Captain.”

                            Captain Stevens takes small portions of the food items the King has chosen and puts them on his own plate. Slowly and obviously (for the benefit of the King and the members of his entourage), he swallows every single bite. Seeing that there is no harmful side effect, King Phillip III falls to his meal with obvious delight. In very short order, the ship’s officers and the other members of the King’s entourage are served with whatever dishes they please. Partway through the King’s meal, he pauses and asks “What are these round vegetables served with this excellent beef?”

                            Captain Stevens replies “Your Majesty, they are called ‘potatoes’. They are an excellent source of nutrition, and are well‑suited to growing in all sorts of soils. Potatoes are as yet unknown in this part of the world, but are commonly grown in the lands of the United States”

                            “We see. Perhaps samples might be provided to our court, that our subjects might grow them and thereby better their lives. We should also like to give our compliments to your ship’s cook. We declare this repast to be fit for our own table at El Escorial.”

                            During the meal, various types of wines and champagne are poured out into silver cups, and various toasts are made. Near the conclusion of the meal, the desserts mentioned by Captain Stevens are brought out and served to the diners. King Phillip III chooses the peach cobbler with whipped cream topping, and the other members of his entourage delight themselves with the apple pie, cherry pie and ice cream.

                            After‑dinner entertainment is in the form of several members of USS Sumner’s crew who have some skill with stringed instruments. Various pieces of classical music are played to the delight of all. The King is so pleased with the performance that he says to Captain Stevens “Sir, We wish to recognize the skill of your musicians.”

                            “Very good, Your Majesty.” The King signals for one of his attendants to come forward with a purse heavy with coin. Each of the musicians is rewarded with a heavy gold piece called an ‘excelente’

                            “Your Majesty, now that the meal is concluded, there are certain diplomatic gifts to be presented. I now turn the floor over to Ambassador de la Vega.”

                            “Thank you, Captain Stevens. Your Majesty, on behalf of the President of The United States, I present you with this pair of holster pistols, along with a suitable case and accessories. The barrels are fully‑rifled, and measure 14” in length. Each of them is of octagon‑to‑round profile, with a caliber of .62. The stocks are black walnut, with silver wire inlays; all of the fittings are in silver. These fittings are chased and engraved in the finest style.” King Phillip III has always been a great lover of art in general and firearms in particular, and so he hefts one of the pistols (both to test its balance and admire the workmanship up close). The balance of the pistol is as fine as he has ever felt, and so the King expresses his admiration.

                            Ambassador de La Vega continues with his description of the pistol. “I direct Your Majesty’s attention to the pistol’s lock mechanism. It is called a flint lock, and is a refinement of the snaphaunce and miquelet designs that are in use today. Unlike the miquelet, a flintlock’s mainspring is mounted internally (making it much less susceptible to breakage). In comparison to the snaphaunce, the pan cover and striking steel function as one single unit, rather than as two separate pieces. Additionally, the lock has several features that serve to make it safer and more reliable to use. The first of these features is a half‑cock notch in the tumbler. This serves to keep the hammer away from the striking steel. At the half‑cock position, a flintlock hammer can’t fall forward unless it is first drawn to full‑cock and the trigger is pulled. Next, the mainspring is connected to the tumbler by a stirrup; rather than bearing directly upon the tumbler itself. This linkage makes the lock function in a much‑smoother fashion.”

                            “Your Majesty, a flintlock has certain external features which are vastly‑superior to either the snaphaunce or the miquelet. The first of these is a waterproof priming pan. This pan is so designed as to allow the lock to fire reliably even in the wettest, heaviest weather. The second is a roller bearing on the striking steel; which allows the steel to move much more smoothly against its spring. Lastly, the priming pan and the barrel’s touch‑hole are made of bronze. Bronze is much less subject to the corrosive action of burning powder; the touch hole is removable so that it can be replaced or repaired at need.”

                            King Phillip III’s eyes blaze with pleasure as Ambassador de La Vega concludes his description of the pistols. He says “Ambassador, well‑pleased are we with these objects of skill from the artisans of your land. Know that we find them most fair to behold and that we shall add them with honor to the Royal Cabinet of Arms.” Ambassador de La Vega says “My humble thanks to Your Majesty. I will be sure to pass on Your Majesty’s compliments. If I may be permitted to continue, there is yet another piece to be presented.”

                            The King’s eyebrows rise as a subtle indication of his curiosity. He says “We await the presentation of the next item.”

                            “Very good, Your Majesty.” Ambassador de La Vega signals for a long, cloth‑wrapped bundle to be given to him. The ties holding the bundle are un‑done, and a flintlock carbine is withdrawn and presented to the King. “Your Majesty, behold this weapon. It is a flintlock carbine, of such a size as to be suitable for use by cavalry and skirmishers. The rifled barrel is 30” long and is in .62‑caliber, just like the pistols. The lock is also identical in every way, and there is a swivel mounted opposite to the lockplate to allow the weapon to be carried on a shoulder sling.” The King hands the carbine to Captain‑General Alarcon in order to get his professional opinion. The Captain‑General examines the weapon minutely then says “I have never seen a weapon that is so well put together. I see that it is undecorated. Why is that?”

                            Ambassador de La Vega responds “This carbine is intended to be a service arm. Therefore, it is undecorated; such embellishments are unneeded in the field, wouldn’t you agree?” Captain‑ General Alarcon nods his head in response as the Ambassador continues to speak “Another thing that distinguishes these flintlocks from the run of firearms in this day and age is that all of their parts are fully interchangeable. This means that they are made to exacting standards, and that any part or component from one flintlock can replace that same component in another flintlock with no problems whatsoever.”

                            Captain‑General Alarcon instantly realizes the advantages conferred by using interchangeable parts and grins widely. He knows that such a thing isn’t possible with any firearms currently produced, even if they are of the finest quality.

                            King Phillip III claps his hands by way of appreciation and says “We find these firearms a wonder to behold. The Honor of the Court requires that gifts of similar quality be given in return.” The King motions for one of his subalterns to come forward; the man is carrying two silk‑wrapped bundles that he places on the table before his sovereign. The first package is unwrapped to reveal a pair of stunning wheel‑lock horse pistols with carved ivory stocks and silver mounts. The package also holds a powder flask, a priming flask (both items are of horn with silver mounts), a bullet mold and a pair of carved steel spanning wrenches. Ambassador de La Vega accepts the weapons from the King’s own hand as Phillip III says “We trust that your President will appreciate these tokens of our esteem.”

                            “Yes, Your Majesty. President Chu has long admired works of art, be they paintings, sculpture or firearms. They shall be conveyed to him immediately upon the return of our vessel to the United States.”

                            “Excellent. And now, ambassador, we present a small token of our esteem for you.” The King unwraps the second package and draws out an ‘Espada Ropera’ with an elaborate guard that has three separate rings and a number of twisted steel bars. The fore ring and back‑guard of the hilt are fitted with artistically‑styled piercings, and the whole guard is most richly‑gilded. The pommel is of spherical form, being of darkened steel and set with chased silver inlays. Of equal magnificence is the ropera’s scabbard. The body of the scabbard is thin wood, lined with close‑sheared lamb fleece to protect the blade in sheathing and drawing. The body is covered with tooled and worked leather that has been dyed a deep burgundy. The scabbard mounts are pure gold. The belt hanger for the scabbard is also of burgundy leather and the mounts are chased silver.

                            Ambassador de La Vega exclaims with obvious pleasure at the sheer magnificence of the gift the King has bestowed upon him “Your Majesty, I offer you my deepest and most profound thanks for this gift. Know that I will treasure it always.”

                            “We acknowledge your gratitude, ambassador. And now, to the business at hand. Yesterday, we said that you would know our mind at full as regards the proposal from your president, and so you shall. After much reflection and learned wise counsel from our closest officials, we have decided to agree to your President’s proposed purchase of our North American territorial claims. All that now remains is the matter of arranging payment.“

                            “Yes, Your Majesty. This can be done in either of two ways, as Your Majesty pleases. First, this vessel where we are now met can be employed to deliver the silver. It has a limited cargo capacity, and so delivery of the full amount would take some time. This is the safest way, as there is no ship or fleet of ships anywhere that could hinder or threaten it in any way. The second way is for the silver to be delivered to Your Majesty’s city of Habana, Cuba. Once there, it will be loaded aboard such ships as Your Majesty shall deem necessary and brought back here to Spain. The waters of the Caribbean and of the Atlantic are rife with piracy, so to ensure the safe delivery of the silver, Your Majesty’s fleets will be escorted by ships of the United States Navy until such time as the delivery of the silver is completed.”

                            “Ambassador, we appreciate the offer of your magnificent vessel to transport the silver. However, the nobles and officials of our court think it more fitting if the sliver were to be transported by Spanish hulls. How many ships does your excellency believe will be needed to transport the silver back to Spain?”

                            “I completely understand, Your Majesty. As to the schedule of delivery, the silver will be brought by the U.S Navy to Habana, Cuba starting in June of this year. The deliveries should take no more than two weeks. When all of the silver is in Habana, the purchase of the territory shall be deemed full and complete. In regards to the number of ships needed for transport, if it is assumed that fifty tons of silver are carried per vessel, then seventy ships will be needed.”

                            “We agree, ambassador. When the purchase is complete, we shall remove our garrisons to other territories held by us. A question that immediately occurs to us is the status of our people in North America.”

                            “A most pertinent question, Your Majesty. All Spanish subjects who choose to remain within the territory of the United States will be subject to our laws and regulations. They may also apply to become citizens of the United States (in which case they may fully participate in the political process) or they will be permitted to leave with their goods with neither let or hindrance. Please let me commend the wisdom Your Majesty showed in making this decision. This means that after the transfer of authority takes place, the Spanish Crown will no longer have to incur the costs of administering and defending the territories.”

                            As the Duke of Lerna listens to this exchange between King Phillip III and Ambassador de La Vega, he smiles inwardly at the possibilities which have just presented themselves. Among the Duke’s many duties is the post of Minister of Finance. As such, he is charged with depositing all Crown revenues into the Royal Treasury. Being hopelessly corrupt, the Duke is already scheming to see that some of this silver finds its way into his own coffers rather than into the Royal Treasury.

                            The King’s decision was helped along considerably by the Duke’s (apparently) earnest counsel and advocacy that the King accept the American offer. To give the impression that he isn’t thinking for himself, the Duke asks “Ambassador, might I enquire as to how pure the silver is that you will be sending to Spain?”

                            “Of course, Your Grace. The bars of silver carried by His Majesty’s treasure fleets have a purity of 99.2%. By way of comparison, our silver is 99.9999% pure.” The ambassador’s statement occasions much interest in the Duke of Lerna and the other nobles present, as Spanish refining techniques aren’t capable of producing precious metals of such purity.

                            King Phillip III listens, then says “We gratefully accept your commendations, Ambassador. To further aid your mission to our court, we have decided to grant you the property of La Estrella just outside of Barcelona. This property consists of a fortified manor house, a small village and a tract of land amounting to some six hundred forty acres. The former owner was a local noble of our court who had no family and who died without issue. Therefore, the property escheated to the Crown. The house is spacious and well‑furnished as befits your station, ambassador; you may staff it as you see fit.” The King turns to the Duke of Lerna and says “Your Grace, attend me.”

                            The Duke is instantly attentive to his sovereign’s wishes as he says “Yes, your Majesty?”

                            “Your Grace, when we ago ashore, it is our royal will that you personally oversee the transfer of the property to Ambassador de la Vega.”

                            The Duke makes a formal court bow and replies “As you wish, Your Majesty. It will be my pleasure to assist the noble ambassador to the Court of Spain.” Outwardly, the Duke of Lerna is they very picture of courtly behavior. Inwardly, however, his mind is afire with schemes and plans on how to turn this state of affairs to his personal advantage.

                            King Phillip III clears his throat and says to the assembled company “And now, we must go ashore. There are matters which require our attention. We leave our Captain‑General Alarcon here with you this evening so that further arrangements regarding the transfer of the silver can be attended to. For now, we depart.” The King and his other nobles stand up from the wardroom table; Captain Stevens, his officers and Ambassador de La Vega do likewise. An escort from the ship’s complement of Marines is called for to escort the Royal Party to their boats and see that they board safely. Finally, the only people left in the wardroom are Captain Stevens, Ambassador de la Vega and Captain‑General Alarcon. The Captain‑General says “Your excellency, Captain Stevens, I am quite glad that our two governments have established friendly relations with one another. Ambassador de La Vega replies “Of course, sir. Captain Stevens?”

                            “Yes, sir?”

                            “His Most Catholic Majesty has charged me with the task of overseeing the transfer of the silver from your government. As such, I will have command of the first of the treasure fleets sent to Cuba to pick it up. For reasons of safety and security, there will be but two fleets. Each fleet will have thirty‑five vessels. Upon the morrow, I will issue orders to gather together the ships for the first fleet. As soon as they are all assembled, we will raise anchor and sail for Habana. I anticipate arriving by the end of May.” Captain Stevens replies “Sir, by the time you arrive off Cuba, the silver will have already been prepared for shipment. Immediately after my ship returns home, I will send word to President Chu. In turn, he will order the shipment to proceed.”

                            “Excellent, Captain. When do you sail?”

                            “Sir, USS Sumner will raise anchor as soon as Ambassador de La Vega and his staff have debarked. This raises another issue, Mr. Ambassador. My instructions regarding the safety and security of the diplomatic party were to detach one rifle squad’s worth of men from the ship’s Marine Detachment and send them along with you. I now judge this number to be insufficient, especially considering the size of the property the King is handing over for your use. Therefore, by my authority as commanding officer of USS Sumner, I am transferring the entire detachment to the new embassy and placing them under your authority. Lt. Highway will be your military adviser.”

                            “Thank you, Sir. The additional troops will certainly ease the security situation.”

                            “Captain‑General Alarcon, when you go ashore, I will need you to make arrangements for additional horses and rolling stock for the Marines and their equipment”

                            “I will gladly do so, sir. For now, I must go ashore. I thank you for your most courteous reception this evening. Unless I am much mistaken, no one at court (including the King himself on down to the lowest subaltern) will ever forget what they saw.”

                            “Your kind words are gratefully received, Captain‑General. Now, MCPO Holliday will escort you to the gangplank so that you can go ashore.”

                            Taking up residence
                            Date: January 28th, 1608
                            Location: the docks of Barcelona’s harbor.
                            Time: 0800 hours

                            Ever since Captain‑General Alarcon left USS Sumber early in the evening of the 26th, he and
                            his staff have been working diligently to see to Captain Steven’s request for more horses and wagons. To supplement the ship’s two launches, Captain‑General Alarcon has sent over some small craft of his own to assist in the offloading and transfer of Ambassador de La Vega, his staff, theMarines and all of the equipment for the setting up of the new embassy. Only an hour ago, the loading of the wagons was completed. Ambassador de La Vega and his staff are in several coaches, along with their personal gear. For reasons of security, the most important gear (the communications equipment, the embassy’s treasury and the medical equipment) are in the four wagons immediately behind the passenger coaches; there are four Marines in each wagon to guard the contents. The other wagons have but two Marines each. Those Marines not tasked with securing the wagons are riding horses provided by the Captain‑General. The Marine commander 1LT Highway was offered a chance to ride in the coach with Ambassador de La Vega, but he declined so that he could ride on horseback with the rest of his men.

                            Even though it is but a short distance to the Manor of La Estrella, Captain‑General Alarcon detailed a full company of cuirassiers to ride along as escort (more to keep the throngs of curious onlookers at bay, than for any threat of armed attack). As befits his station, Ambassador de La Vega is riding at the head of the column. The numbers of wagons are such that it takes more than five hours to get to La Estrella. All the while, Lt. Highway is riding next to the ambassador. His eyes and the eyes of those Marines chosen as a personal protective detail for Ambassador de La Vega are swiveling in all directions, ever vigilant for any possible threats.

                            Just past one in the afternoon, the column of wagons arrives at the manor. The house is so large as to be almost a small castle, rather than a fortified mansion. The central feature is a square tower that measures eighty feet tall and sixty feet on a side. The top of the tower and the edges of the roof are battlemented, while the perimeter wall is twelve feet high to the crenelations. The gatehouse is a solid, stoutly-built structure; the gate itself is wide enough to admit two wagons at the same time, with room left over on the sides and in the middle. In anticipation of the Ambassador’s arrival, the portcullis has been raised and the valves of the gate thrown wide open.

                            At a slow, sedate pace, the wagons and the escort ride through the gate; the wagons are drawn before the mansion’s main door and placed in ordered ranks by the Marines. This is done to facilitate their unloading. The mansion’s domestic staff are awaiting the new owner of the house; their curiosity has risen high ever since they found out that the estate and house were being given to one of the mysterious ‘Americans’ for use as an embassy.

                            Ambassador De La Vega turns and says to Lt. Highway “Well, we’re here. A rather impressive structure, wouldn’t you say?”

                            “Right you are, Mr. Ambassador. With your permission, I’ll set my fellow Marines to unloading our equipment. The wagons with our communications and medical gear will be held until the last, as will the wagon with the embassy’s treasury aboard. I think it would benefit us to set up our ready room on the ground floor of the tower. The armory and the embassy’s treasury will go on the second floor. Once all the gear is unloaded, we can set about with putting up the satellite antenna, the solar panels, the solar water heater and the wind turbine.”

                            “A sound plan, Lieutenant. I leave such matters in your capable hands.”

                            While this discussion s going on, the commander of the escort detail assigned by Captain-General Alarcon comes up, salutes and says “I beg your pardon, Senor Ambassador. I am Capitan Ricardo Gomez, in service to his excellency the Captain-General. Now that we have arrived, I will announce you to the staff.”

                            “Very well, Senor Capitan.”

                            Capital Gomez stands tall in his stirrups and says in a loud, clear voice “Hear me and behold. This is His Excellency, Ambassador Diego De La Vega from the United States of America. His Most Catholic Majesty has seen fit to gift His Excellency with the estate and lands of La Estrella in furtherance of his diplomatic mission. Don Diego is to be obeyed in all things as if he were your former master. This, the King commands.” Capitan Gomez sits back in his saddle and says “Senor Ambassador, La Estrella is now yours. I bid you a most respectful good day.”

                            He salutes Ambassador de La Vega and Lt. Highway, then wheels his horse about and rides out the gate. The escort follows him in column-of-fours. As soon as the last horseman has departed, the Ambassador turns to Lt. Highway and says “Alright Lieutenant, let’s get to work.”

                            Lt. Highway says to GySgt Hughes “You heard the man, move out.” GySgt Hughes calls out to his squad team leaders “I want the target acquisition team on the roof of the tower and a 240-Bravo in the gatehouse. four of you guys will stay here to secure the wagons while the rest will start unloading. Shake a leg, Marines!!!”

                            The other Marines not already detailed for security duty fall to their work with a will, and soon, many bags, boxes, crates and other parcels are being carried through the mansion’s enormous doors. All the while, the domestic staff of the mansion are looking on in wonderment at the sight of all these strangers. The idleness lasts only as long as it takes the majordomo of the house to notice and shoo them back to their duties.

                            Registry of Naval Ships
                            Date: January 30th, 1608
                            Location: The Office of the Secretary of Defense, Whiteman AFB
                            Time: 0900 hours

                            Secretary of Defense Stephen Danner is in his office reviewing the reports of the ships that are being built or will be built by Trinity Industries Shipyard, the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company and other shipyards yet to be constructed. In order to streamline the process, Secretary Danner makes a policy decision, and writes it up for dissemination. The policy memo reads as follows:

                            To: All Interested Parties
                            From: The Office of the Secretary of Defense
                            Re: Ship Construction
                            Date: January 30th, 1608

                            Henceforth, the system under which all ships will be built for the United States Navy will be referred to as the ‘Naval Construction Contract’, or ‘NCC’. Each class of ship will have its own NCC number, and each hull within the class will be further enumerated. Therefore, the NCC registry stands as follows:

                            Ship Class NCC Number Ships Sumner‑class DD 01 USS Sumner NCC‑0101*
                            Hazard‑class FFG (Block I) 02 USS Hazard NCC‑0201*
                            Hazard‑class FFG (Block II) 03
                            Columbia‑class CL 04
                            Trenton‑class LPD 05
                            Phoenix‑class Fleet Oiler 06
                            Barracuda‑class Fleet Submarine 07
                            Landing Ship--Assault (un‑named) 08

                            *: Lead ship of the class

                            A Message to Rome
                            Date: January 30th, 1608
                            Location: the palace of Juan de Moncada, Bishop of Barcelona
                            Time: late morning

                            Bishop Juan de Moncada is in his private office after having returned from the meeting between King Phillip III and these new ‘Americans’, as they call themselves. What he witnessed with his own eyes shook him to his very core, particularly the Americans’ great metal ship and their flying machine, the ‘helicopter’. His Excellency realizes that His Holiness Pope Paul V must be apprised of these developments and so, he calls for one of his servants to brink, parchment, ink and pens. When the Bishop is alone again, he begins to write as follows:

                            ‘To the Most Holy Father Papa Paolo Quintus, Vicar of Christ on Earth from Your Holiness’ humble servant, Juan de Moncada, Bishop of Barcelona:

                            It is with sure purpose that your servant takes quill in hand to relate a most singular occurrence. Just two days agone, His Most Catholic majesty King Phillip III and I met in Barcelona with a curious group of strangers who call themselves Americans. These people told us that they had been set down in the middle of the continent of North America by the will of the Almighty. The Americans had previously approached Captain‑General Ricardo Alarcon and though him, made themselves known to His Majesty the King. They arrived in the harbor of Barcelona aboard a great metal ship that moved with neither sails or oars. The King commanded that your servant and other nobles of the Court go with him aboard the American vessel, and so we did. The ship is more vast than anything Your Holiness’ humble servant has ever seen before. Aboard the American ship, there were many remarkable mechanical contrivances, the greatest of which is a machine that is actually capable of flying like a bird.

                            His Most Catholic Majesty and I were invited by the ship’s captain to come aboard the flying machine with him. The king accepted the offer, and so we all climbed aboard the machine. It made a great noise as of the rushing of wind in a storm as it took off from the deck of the ship. The Royal Party was carried by the flying machine out to a distance of eighty nautical miles from the ship and returned back again, all within the space of but one hour.

                            Your Holiness, what your humble servant saw aboard the American awed me. Before Almighty God, I swear that the Americans are artificers whose skill makes the best of what Spain has to offer seem like the merest fumbling of a child with his toys. There is much opportunity and danger for the Holy Catholic Church here, so I most respectfully counsel Your Holiness to send a group of the most eminent scientists and scholars available to meet with the Americans, travel about their territory and see them for who they are.

                            Prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, I have the honor to profess myself, with the greatest respect, Your Holiness’ most humble and respectful servant.’

                            Juan de Moncada
                            Bishop of Barcelona

                            The letter is neatly rolled up and tied with a silken cord. Bishop de Moncada seals it with the signet ring of his office and summons his messenger Alfonso Perez to take it to Rome. The messenger arrives and the Bishop gives him his instructions “Alfonso, you are to make for Rome with all possible speed. This message is of the highest importance. So, you are to deliver it into the hands of His Holiness and none other.”

                            “Yes, Your Excellency. I understand.”

                            “Now, be off; the blessing of the Almighty be with you and speed you on your journey.”

                            Alfonso bows his way out of the Bishop’s presence and goes to the palace stables where he secures the use of His Excellency’s best horse. The animal is quickly saddled by the stablemaster; other attendants bring Alfonso’s gear and supplies and pack them on the saddle. With the space of but one‑quarter of an hour, he rides forth in a cloud of dust. At the end of the first day, Alfonso has made excellent progress on El Camino Real, travelling some thirty miles. Travelling at night would serve no purpose except to place his mission in jeopardy, so Alfonso stops at a local inn and tavern for the night. He presents the Bishop’s letter of authorization, so the innkeeper is more than happy to accommodate him.

                            The next morning, Alfonso Perez packs his gear and sets out again after breakfast. He knows that there is a long journey ahead of him, so he resolves to make as much progress as possible. Consultations with the innkeeper revealed that the remaining distance is more than eight hundred miles. Alfonso calculates that he should arrive in Rome no later than February 27th.


                            • #15
                              Chapter Nine

                              Economic Intelligence
                              Date: February 1st, 1608
                              Location: President Chu’s Office, Whiteman AFB
                              Time: 0900 hours

                              As part of his continuing duties, David M. Cornelison is composing another natural resources report for President Chu’s consideration. This one concerns the mineral resources outside of North & Central America. The preface reads as follows:

                              ‘Mr. President, in line with your continuing instructions to me as Science Adviser to the office of the President, I have prepared the following information for your perusal.

                              Mineral Resources in Territories outside of North America

                              In the territory which comprised the nations of Central America in our old world, the following mineral resources are contained in the types, amounts and grades indicated.

                              Copper: 4.25 billion tons ore, average grade 0.76%; associated metals are molybdenum (0.015%), gold (0.08 gram/ton) and silver (5.2 grams/ton)
                              Gold: 250,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.1 ounce/ton
                              Manganese: 5,000,000 tons ore, average grade 85%

                              Gold: 175,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.25 oz/ton
                              Copper: 300,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.62%
                              Zinc: 340,000,000 tons ore, average grade 6.8%; associated metals are lead (1.9%), silver (2.75 ounces/ton) and cadmium (0.01 oz/ton)
                              Iron ore: 950,000,000 tons ore, average grade 63.5%
                              Antimony: 2,500,000 tons ore, average grade 40%
                              Coal: 8 billion tons
                              Rock Salt: 40 billion tons

                              Gold: 170,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.16 oz/ton; associated metals are silver (3 oz/ton) and antimony (6%)
                              Nickel: 50,000,000 tons ore, average grade 3.04%
                              Tin: 1,250,000,000 tons ore, average grade 5.24%
                              Copper: 100,000,000 tons, average grade 8.3%
                              Zinc: 200,000,000 tons ore, average grade 32.6%, associated lead content is 0.402%
                              Iron ore: 800,000,000 tons ore, average grade 60%

                              Gold: 40,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.125 oz/ton
                              Titanium: 50,000,000 tons ore, average grade 60%
                              Chromium: 20,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1%

                              Costa Rica
                              Aluminum: 300,000,000 tons bauxite, average grade 60%
                              Copper: 2,500,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.52%; associated molybdenum content is 0.75%
                              Gold: 20,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.4 oz/ton, associated silver content is 0.75 oz/ton
                              Iron ore: 400,000,000 tons, average grade 70%
                              Regional Resources

                              Oil: 5,000,000,000 barrels
                              Natural gas: 40 trillion cubic feet

                              Regional resources are those contained under the sea floor off the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Central America.

                              South Africa
                              Coal: 100 billion tons
                              Natural gas: 600 trillion cubic feet
                              Manganese: 3,500,000,000 tons ore, average grade 47% manganese oxide
                              Chromite: 10,000,000,000 tons, average grade 45% chromium oxide
                              Mineral sands: 500,000,000 tons, average grade 5% titanium oxide; associated vanadium content is 1.5%
                              Iron: 90,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 60%
                              Gold: 160,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.18 oz/ton
                              Platinum-group metals: 10,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.375 oz/ton
                              Copper: 1,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.5%; associated metals are lead (5.8%), zinc (4.5%) and silver (10.75 lbs/ton)
                              Uranium: 1,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1 lb/ton
                              Diamonds: 1,250,000,000 tons ore, average grade 3.5 carats/ton
                              Phosphate: 30,000,000,000 tons, average grade 9%

                              Coal: 80,000,000,000 tons
                              Lignite: 125 billion tons
                              Shale oil: 1.7 trillion barrels
                              Natural gas: 200 trillion cubic feet
                              Magnesite: 3,250,000,000 tons, average grade 41.3% magnesium oxide
                              Aluminum: 9,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 54% aluminum oxide
                              Copper: 8,700,000,000 tons ore, average grade 2.5%; associated metals are gold (0.053 oz/ton), silver (0.1 oz/ton) and uranium (10 oz/ton)
                              Gold: 6,400,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.1 oz/ton
                              Platinum-group metals: 750,000,000 tons ore, average grade 2.19 g/ton platinum, 2.39 g/ton palladium and 0.25 g/ton rhodium
                              Iron: 50,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 60% iron oxide
                              Manganese: 680,000,000 tons ore, average grade 42% manganese oxide
                              Nickel: 350,000,000 tons ore, average grade 6%; associated metals are copper (2.63%) and cobalt (0.22%)
                              Mineral sands: 600,000,000 tons, average grade 7%
                              Rare-Earth metals: 772,000,000 tons ore, average grade 3.75%
                              Thorium: 400,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.27% thorium oxide; associated metals are zirconium (1.96%), niobium (0.46%), yttrium (0.14%), hafnium (0.04%) and tantalum (0.03%),
                              Uranium: 250,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1% uranium oxide
                              Zinc: 500,000,000 tons, average grade 12.5%; associated metals are lead (5.1%), silver (2.25 ounces/ton), tin (1.3%) and indium (0.25 oz/ton)
                              Tin (alluvial sand deposit): 546,000,000 tons, average grade 1.1%
                              Scandium: 40,000,000 tons ore, average grade 12 ounces/ton
                              Niobium: 136,000,000 tons, average grade 0.36% niobium oxide
                              Tantalum: 200,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.03% tantalum oxide
                              Tungsten: 300,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.6% tungsten oxide
                              Lithium: 150,000,000 tons ore, average grade 6.1% lithium oxide; associated rubidium content is 1.5%
                              Magnesium: 900,000,000 tons ore, average grade 40% magnesium oxide
                              Molybdenum: 6,800,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.39% molybdenum sulfide, associated rhenium content is 0.5 oz/ton
                              Vanadium: 6,400,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.82% vanadium oxide; associated titanium content is 6.7%
                              Diamonds: 100,000,000 tons ore, average grade 3.5 carats/ton

                              South Africa and Australia are as yet un-claimed by any European power. Therefore, they are subject to colonization by the United States without let or hindrance.

                              Oil: 90 billion barrels
                              Natural gas: 170 trillion cubic feet
                              Rare-earth metals: 800,000,000 tons ore, average grade 4.5%; associated metals are tantalum (1%), uranium (0.0257%), yttrium (0.0864%) and zinc (0.2189%)
                              Zinc: 6,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 12%; associated lead content is 5.5%
                              Nickel: 850,000,000 tons ore, average grade 2.67%; associated metals are copper (0.63%), cobalt (0.06%) and PGMs (1.2 g/ton)
                              Gold: 325,000,000 tons ore, average grade 3.5 ounces/ton; associated metals are tungsten (14%), antimony (20%) and 1.6 g/ton PGMs
                              Lead: 4,500,000,000 tons ore, average grade 9%, associated metals are zinc (14%) and silver (1 oz/ton)
                              Molybdenum: 424,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.6%
                              Iron ore: 2,500,000,000 tons ore, average grade 65%
                              Cryolite: 50,000,000 tons, average grade 58%
                              Uranium: 760,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.75 lb/ton

                              Greenland is a territorial possession of the Kingdom of Denmark. King Christian IV sent a number of expeditions to Greenland between 1605 and 1607 to try to locate lost Norse settlements and to assert Danish claims on that Island.

                              Coal: 2.5 trillion tons
                              Oil: 180 billion barrels
                              Oil Shale: 1.92 trillion barrels
                              Natural gas: 2.5 quadrillion cubic feet; associated helium content is 0.6%
                              Iron ore: 350 billion tons, average grade 65%
                              Manganese: 375,000,000 tons ore, average grade 45%
                              Copper: 15,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.5%
                              Zinc: 1,750,000,000 tons ore, average grade 12 %; associated metals are lead (7.2%), indium (0.75%) and gallium (50 ppm)
                              Aluminum: 750,000,000 tons ore, average grade 55%
                              Uranium: 9,500,000 tons ore, average grade 12.5%
                              Nickel: 2,500,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1.8%; associated metals are copper (3%), cobalt (0.23%), bismuth (0.15%) & platinum‑group metals (0.5 oz/ton)
                              Tin: 400,000,000 tons ore, average grade: 1.24%; associated tungsten content is 0.3%
                              Gold: 48,000,000,000 tons ore, average grade 0.2 g/ton
                              Silver: 150,000,000 tons ore, average grade 24 ounces/ton
                              Chromium: 450,000,000 tons ore, average grade 45%; associated metals are aluminum (20.3%), iron (20%) and magnesium (16.2%)
                              Rock Salt: 40 trillion tons
                              Potash: 20,000,000,000 tons, average grade 50%
                              Phosphate: 10,000,000,000 tons, average grade 14%; associated uranium content is 200 ppm
                              Titanium: 450,000,000 ton sore, average grade 13.7%; associated vanadium content is 0.64%
                              Tungsten: 500,000,000 tons ore, average grade 1%
                              Rare‑earth metals: 600,000,000 tons ore, average grade 7.3%; associated metals are niobium (6.71%) terbium (9.54%), tantalum (0.6%), yttrium (0.6%) and scandium (0.048%)
                              Mercury: 100,000,000 tons ore, average grade 14%
                              Deep brines: 100 trillion tons; contained metals are lithium (0.088%), rubidium (0.0077%), bromine (0.7%), iodine (0.0033%), manganese (0.0064%), zinc (0.025%) and magnesium (6.7%)

                              Until 1582, much of western Siberia was controlled by the Khanate of Sibir (an offshoot of the Mongol ‘Golden Horde’. The conquest of Siberia by the Russians began in 1580, when troops under the command of Yermak Timofeyevich invaded the territory under orders from Czar Ivan The Terrible. A series of battles took place between 1582 and 1584 that further cemented Russian control over the territory.

                              Oceanic Mineral Resources

                              These resources are those contained on the ocean floor, underneath it or in the ocean water itself.

                              Manganese nodules: 500 billion tons; mineral content is 28% manganese, 6% iron, 6% chromium, 5% silicon, 3% aluminum, 1.75% titanium, 1.5 % nickel, 1.25% copper, 0.25% cobalt and 1.25% trace elements
                              Methane hydrate: 105,945 trillion cubic feet

                              Aside from salt, which comprises 3.5% of seawater by weight, seawater contains the following elements in solution:
                              Magnesium: 0.129%
                              Sulfur: 0.0904%
                              Calcium: 0.0411%
                              Potassium: 0.0392%
                              Iodine: 0.04%
                              Bromine: 0.067%
                              Fluorine: 0.0013%
                              Molybdenum: 0.001%
                              Strontium: 0.00081%
                              Carbon: 0.0028%
                              Boron: 0.00045%
                              Silicon: 0.00029%
                              Barium: 0.00021%
                              Nickel: 0.000066%
                              Zinc: 0.00005%
                              Iron: 0.000034%
                              Uranium: 0.000033%
                              Silver: 0.0000028%
                              Rubidium: 0.0000021%
                              Mercury: 0.0000015%
                              Gold: 0.00000011%

                              Weight of seawater: 4.6 billion tons per cubic mile

                              Current technology allows for uranium and other heavy metals to be extracted from seawater by the use of woven mats of polymer fiber that have been saturated with amidoximine groups. These groups selectively adsorb heavy metals, and have a particular affinity for uranium. Current cost of this technology equates to 3.1 times the cost of metals mined by conventional methods. Lighter minerals such as magnesium, sulfur, calcium, potassium, iodine, bromine, etc can be harvested by the simple expedient of evaporating sea water and separating the desired substances from the salt left behind.

                              David M. Cornelison
                              Science Adviser to the President

                              In the Navy
                              Date: February 1st, 1608
                              Location: The Office of the Secretary of Defense, Whiteman AFB
                              Time: 0900 hours

                              As part of the ongoing effort to rebuild the United States Navy, SecDef Stephen Danner has ordered his staff to come up with a roster of candidates for senior staff and command positions. Of these, none is more important than having a new Chief of Naval Operations. After much searching, SecDef Danner decided upon Rear Admiral (ret) Charles A. Williams. Accordingly, a call is placed to the offices of Commercial Realty, a real estate firm in downtown St. Louis. RADM Williams is a principal of this firm, and handles representation for clients in the office, industrial, retail and investment property markets.

                              “Good morning, Admiral. This is Stephen Danner, Secretary of Defense.”

                              “Good morning, Mr. Secretary. This is an unexpected pleasure. How can I help you today?

                              “Admiral, I’ll get right to the point. Your country needs you. President Chu has tasked me with finding a suitable candidate to fill the role of the new Chief of Naval Operations. Construction of new hulls is ongoing, and one ship, USS Sumner has already been launched. This ship is currently operating in support of the diplomatic mission to Spain.”

                              “I see, sir.”

                              “Admiral, by my authority as Secretary of Defense, you are recalled to active duty, effective immediately. You will come to Whiteman AFB and meet with the President; I have no doubt that he’ll be nominating you as the next CNO. I realize that you will need some time to settle your personal and business affairs in St. Louis, so you will have three days to do so.”

                              “Yes sir, Mr. Secretary. I understand.”

                              Once the telephone call is completed, SecDef Danner turns his attention to other affairs of moment.

                              The Spectre is Back!!
                              Date: February 2nd, 1608
                              Location: The office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Whiteman AFB
                              Time: 0800 hours

                              Air Force Secretary C. Robert Kehler realizes that for many years to come, ground opposition to U.S Military operations will consist of land‑based armies of one size or another. Fast movers like the F‑16 may, at times, not be the most efficient way of delivering close air support, air interdiction and force protection. Accordingly, Secretary Kehler decides to request that the Secretary of Defense issue an urgent operational requirement and contract with Boeing Aircraft for the construction of 16 AC‑130U gunships, to be referred to as ‘Spooky III’. These aircraft will be based on the Spooky II configuration, and have the general characteristics of the C‑130. The main differences are in the armament package. Rather than having just a GAU‑12/U Equalizer 25‑mm gatling cannon and a 105‑mm M102 howitzer, the weapons load will be increased to include a pair of Bushmaster III 50‑mm autocannons and a pair of GAU‑19/A .50‑caliber gatlings. Each wing will have six hardpoints capable of carrying three 250‑lb bombs each or a single LAU‑10 loaded with 5” rockets. To further increase the psychological impact of this aircraft, all examples will be painted so as to resemble a dragon.

                              Date: February 2nd, 1608

                              Location: The office of the Secretary of Defense, Whiteman AFB
                              After communicating with the Secretary of the Air Force and hearing his proposal for a new AC‑130 gunship fleet, SecDef Danner gives his approval. He takes the specifications for the new design and forwards them to the Boeing Company’s offices in Berkley, Missouri. The aircraft to be produced will have the following specifications:

                              General Characteristics
                              Crew: 13
                              Officers: 5 (pilot, copilot, navigator, fire control officer, electronic warfare officer)
                              Enlisted: 8 (flight engineer, TV operator, infrared detection set operator, loadmaster, four aerial gunners)
                              Length: 97’
                              Wingspan: 132’
                              Height: 38’
                              Wing area: 1745.5 sq ft
                              Loaded weight: 122,400 lbs
                              Maximum takeoff weight: 155,000 lbs
                              Powerplant: 4 A‑15 turboprops, 4,910 shp (3,700 kW) each

                              Maximum speed: 260 mph
                              Range: 2,200 miles
                              Service ceiling: 30,000’

                              Internal Armament
                              1 x 105‑mm M102 howitzer w/ 200 rounds HE
                              2 x Bushmaster III 50‑mm automatic cannons w/ 1,600 rounds HEIT
                              1 x GAU‑12/U ‘Equalizer’ 25‑mm gatling cannon w/ 9,000 rounds HEIT
                              2 x GAU‑19/A .50‑caliber gatlings w/ 12,000 rounds APIT

                              External Armament
                              6 hardpoints under each wing (12 total); 750 lbs per hardpoint. Each hardpoint can hold three 250‑lb bombs or one LAU‑10 four‑tube launcher for 5” rockets

                              Reporting for Duty
                              Date: February 3rd, 1608
                              Location: The Office of the President, Whiteman AFB
                              Time: 0715 hours

                              RADM Williams arrived at Whiteman AFB yesterday afternoon, and was booked into the VIP section of the Visiting Officers Quarters. He spent several hours preparing himself and his dress uniform for his meeting with President Chu, then retired for the night. At 0700 the next morning, a staff car from the base motor pool arrived to pick up RADM Williams and bring him to the President’s office. At 0715, the car drops RADM Williams off at the building where President Chu’s office is located. One of the Secret Service agents on duty escorts the Admiral to the President’s office, where he knocks, requests permission to enter and says “Rear Admiral Charles Williams, reporting as ordered, Mr. President.”

                              “Good morning, Admiral. Please take a seat. I have been reviewing your service record, and I find it to be most exemplary. You are flight‑qualified, and served aboard the carrier USS America. You have five tours as a commanding officer at various postings, and are well‑versed in logistics and joint operations with U.S military forces and the military forces of foreign countries. All of this, plus your military education, makes you well‑qualified for your next assignment. Attention To Orders!!”

                              RADM Williams knows what is coming, so he immediately braces to attention. Even after a 33‑year career, his back is as straight and unyielding as it was when he graduated from Aviation Officers’ School in 1972.

                              “Sir, by recommendation of the Secretary of Defense, it is my great pleasure to promote you from the rank of Rear Admiral to the rank of Admiral. Such promotion will be in full force and effect from this day forward. You will also assume the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, effective immediately. You are now charged with rebuilding the United States Navy.” President Chu opens a drawer on his desk and takes out a small wooden box. Inside the box are two sets of four gold stars each, the insignia of a full admiral. He removes Admiral Williams’ two‑star insignia from the lapels of his dress uniform jacket and replaces them with the new rank insignia. Admiral Williams takes one step back and snaps off a salute.”

                              “Thank you, Mr. President. I am honored by your trust and confidence in me.”

                              Over the Seas
                              Date: February 3rd, 1608
                              Location: the harbor of Barcelona
                              Time: 0800 hours

                              With the diplomatic mission to Spain firmly‑established, Captain Stevens orders his crew to make ready for the long voyage back to the United States. The first thing to be done is to weigh anchor and move USS Sumner from its berth in the harbor of Barcelona over to where the ship’s replenishment barge is anchored.

                              “Let go your bow lines, let go your stern lines.”

                              The ship’s XO Cmdr. Richard Jenkins replies “Let go my bow lines, let go my stern lines. Aye, sir.” USS Sumner’s deck division commences hauling in the mooring lines. Once these are secure, Captain Stevens commands “Weigh Anchor.”

                              Again, the XO acknowledges and repeats the order “Weigh anchor. Aye, sir.”

                              “Cmdr. Jenkins, have engineering make revolutions for minimum headway. Helm to steer us alongside of the replenishment barge. Then, make us fast and commence refueling and resupply operations.”

                              “Aye, sir.”

                              A large number of Barcelona’s people are gathered on the city’s docks to watch the great metal ship get under way. By now, stories of the ship’s wonders have begun to spread far and wide; each tale becoming more and more exaggerated in the telling. Within a half‑hour, USS Sumner pulls alongside her supply barge. The ship slows, stops and is made fast. Cmdr. Jenkins gets on the ship’s PA system and orders “Attention; this is an all hands evolution. Lay topside and commence refueling and resupply operations.”

                              First, fuel hoses are connected from USS Sumner’s bunker outlets and pumping begins. A total of 400 tons of fuel is to be transferred. With the ship’s high‑speed pumps, refueling is expected to take four hours. While the fuel is flowing, the deck division sends crew aboard the barge to begin off‑loading consumables and other supplies; the pallets are to be transferred from the barge to USS Sumner’s aft deck by means of the ship’s crane. Here, the crew will break the contents of each pallet and carry the material for storage in lockers below deck.

                              Captain Stevens and Cmdr. Jenkins are observing the resupply efforts from USS Sumner’s starboard bridge wing. He turns to the XO and says “Well, commander. Our mission to Spain is concluded.”

                              “Indeed, sir. Meeting King Phillip III in person was quite an experience. Before we all got dropped back into the past, I had only read of him in history books.”

                              “True enough, commander. We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore.” Captain Stevens and the XO exchange chuckles, then turn back to supervising the resupply effort. Four hours later, the last of the diesel fuel has been pumped into USS Sumner’s fuel bunkers and the fuel hoses are disconnected and reeled in. Four hours after this, the crew has stowed the last of the food and other supplies. Lastly, USS Sumner detaches herself from the barge’s port side. She moves just slightly ahead of the barge, then the deck division rigs the hawsers and tow chains in preparation for the voyage back home. When all is in readiness, Captain Stevens says “Alright, Commander. We’re done here; Best course and speed for home, if you please.”

                              “Aye, Sir.” Cmdr. Jenkins goes inside the bridge to relay Captain Stevens’ orders. Shortly, the ship’s propellers are foaming the water at the stern and USS Sumner is under way at last.

                              Date: February 7th, 1608
                              Location: 1,620 nautical miles south‑southeast of Spain

                              USS Sumner is well out into the waters of the Mid‑Atlantic. She is making excellent progress, and Captain Stevens expects to arrive off the Gulf coast of Louisiana in ten days. This morning, Captain Stevens is meeting in the wardroom with Cmdr Jenkins and the ship’s other officers to tell them of the ship’s next assignment.

                              “Gentlemen, when we arrive back in St. Louis, the ship’s company will have liberty for the next three days. Commander Jenkins, I will leave it to you to arrange the duty schedule.”

                              “Aye, Sir.”

                              “When the last of the crew has come back aboard from shore leave, our orders are to tow the barges carrying the silver for the U.S’ purchase of the Spanish possessions in North and Central America.”

                              Cmdr Jenkins replies “Very good, Sir.” The meeting concludes and the assembled officers return to their other duties.

                              More Money
                              Date: February 7th, 1608
                              Location: the U.S mint facility, St. Louis, Missouri
                              Time: 1600 hours

                              This afternoon, James Hudson places a call to the Office of The Secretary of the Treasury and says “Good afternoon, Madam Secretary. This is Mint Supervisor James Hudson.”

                              “Ahh, yes. How can I help you today, Mr. Hudson?”

                              “Madam Secretary, I am pleased to inform you that the government order for one hundred million silver eagles has been completed. Over the past several months, I have hired additional staff, and my people have worked around the clock to get the order done on schedule. The coins are stored in sealed wooden crates embossed with the Great Seal of the United States on the outside of the lid. Inside the lid, the Treasury Seal is likewise embossed. Each crate holds one thousand coins; the coins are in paper rolls, with 25 coins per roll (40 rolls per crate). The 100,000,000 silver eagles thus require one hundred thousand cases. For ease of movement and storage within the mint’s vaults, the cases are placed on wooden pallets. Each pallet holds fifty cases, and there are two thousand pallets in total.”

                              “That is excellent news, Mr. Hudson. I will so inform the President. Please accept my thanks for a job well‑done.”

                              “Thank you Madam Secretary, I will convey that message to my staff; I’m sure they will appreciate it.”

                              “Of course, Mr. Hudson. While I have you on the phone, can you tell me how long it would take you to retool your facilities for the production of additional coin denominations?”

                              “Not long at all, Madam Secretary. The physical plant of the mint remains as I told you back in May of last year, specifically four gas‑fired furnaces, eight rolling mills, eight blanking machines and twenty coining presses. May I enquire as to the denominations you are considering?”

                              “Yes, Mr. Hudson. I want you to prepare for the issue of gold and silver coinage. Silver coins will be struck in the denominations of one dollar, half‑dollar, quarter and dime; just as they were up until 1964 in the world we came from. Gold coins will be struck as double eagles, eagles, half‑eagles and quarter‑eagles.”

                              “Yes, Madam Secretary. What designs do you wish to be used?”

                              “Mr. Hudson, rather than striking more Washington quarters, Roosevelt dimes and Kennedy half‑dollars, you will prepare to re‑issue the Walking Liberty half dollar, Standing Liberty quarter, and Winged‑cap Liberty dime. For the dollar coin, I want you to use the design of the Morgan silver dollar. I am well‑read on American numismatic history, and I consider the designs I just mentioned to be among the most beautiful coins ever struck. As regards the issue of gold coinage, I want you to use the Augustus St. Gaudens design for the Double Eagle. For Eagles, Half‑eagles and Quarter‑eagles, you will use the Liberty Head Coronet design. The eagles and Half‑eagles will display the motto ‘In God We Trust’ on the reverse, and the Quarter‑eagle will have the motto ‘E Pluribus Unum’ on the reverse.”

                              “Those are excellent choices, Madam Secretary. I fully agree with you on their artistic merit.”

                              “How long will it take you to re‑tool, Mr. Hudson?”

                              “Madam Secretary, the major sticking point is the production of new hubs and master dies. These have to be engraved and the production dies manufactured. The rolling mills, blanking machines and coining presses are all of a standard design. So, they don’t need to be changed at all. However, if you want the new coinage to be struck in large numbers, production capacity will have to be increased.”

                              “Very well, Mr. Hudson. For now, commence with the manufacture of new hubs, master dies and production dies. To test them, you will strike a run of proof coins of every denomination. These will be available as full sets and individual coins.”

                              “Yes, Madam Secretary. Do you have anything else for me?”

                              “Mr. Hudson, I anticipate the return of USS Sumner to St. Louis in two weeks or so from today. This was the vessel dispatched by the President for the purpose of establishing diplomatic relations with Spain. Unless I miss my guess, the ambassador will have negotiated the purchase of Spain’s territorial possessions in North and Central America. The silver eagles the Mint has been striking are for that purpose. I want you to prepare to transfer the silver to the custody of the U.S Navy when called for.”

                              “Of course, Madam Secretary.”

                              Home is the Sailor, Home from the Sea
                              February 22nd, 1608
                              Location: the St. Louis waterfront, near Gateway Arch memorial park.
                              Time: 1200 hours

                              At long last, USS Sumner has arrived back at her home port. The families of the ship’s crew were apprised of the ship’s prospective arrival, and so they gathered along the Mississippi River to welcome home their loved ones. USS Sumner actually arrived off the Gulf Coast of Louisiana on February 17th; the intervening five days were spent in carefully making her way back upriver to St. Louis. At noontime, the ship pulls up to her moorings, accompanied by the music of a brass band and the appreciative roars of the assembled crowd. Immediately, the ship’s mooring lines are sent ashore and the ship is made fast to her bollards. The gangplanks are put into place and the ship’s crew is given permission to debark.

                              Mission Preparation
                              Date: February 23rd, 1608
                              Location: aboard USS Sumner
                              Time: 0900 hours

                              While the first third of USS Sumner’s crew are on shore leave, Captain Stevens and his XO Cmdr Jenkins are attending to a number of administrative tasks. The first of these is to forward a copy of the ship’s log to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for his consideration. Secondly, the cased pair of ivory‑stocked wheellock pistols gifted by King Phillip III to President Chu is sent to Whiteman AFB. Lastly, the mission to carry the silver to Havana, Cuba is planned. When it comes to the particulars, Captain Stevens says “XO, rather than sailing straight to Havana across the Gulf of Mexico, I intend to hug the coast until we reach the southern tip of Florida. This way, there will be less chance of running into heavy weather; I’d rather not risk the silver we’ll be transporting.”

                              “A wise precaution, Sir.”

                              Just then, MCPO Holliday knocks on the door of the wardroom. He enters, salutes and says “I beg your pardon for this interruption, Sir. There is a Mr. Anthony Andruzzo here to see you. He is from the Ingram Barge Company here in St. Louis.”

                              “Very well, Master Chief. Show him in.”

                              “Aye, Sir.”

                              Shortly thereafter, a tall, imposing‑looking gentleman enters the wardroom. His formidable physical appearance is set off by his professional deportment. He says “good morning, Captain. I’m Tony Andruzzo from Ingram Barge Company, here in St. Louis. The company has been contracted by the Treasury Department for the services of three of our bulk cargo barges.”

                              “Good morning, Mr. Andruzzo. It’s a pleasure to meet you; I’ve been expecting you.”

                              “Thank you, Captain. I’m pleased to be able to tell you that the barges are on the way here as we speak. In fact, they’ll be here within the hour. One of the company’s river tugs is towing them from our boatyard in St. Charles. If you like, I’ll have them moored downriver from you. The tugboat’s crew will stand by to maneuver the barges as you direct.”

                              “Thank you, Mr. Andruzzo.”

                              Three quarters of a hour later, USS Sumner’s bridge lookouts spot the tugboat and the three barges coming down the middle of the Mississippi River channel. The tug’s crew skillfully moves the barges past USS Sumner and places them dockside one hundred yards south of the ship’s moorings. The barge crews make their craft fast, then the tugboat docks upstream of them.

                              Date: February 25th, 1608
                              Time: 1200 hours

                              The remainder of USS Sumner’s crew is coming back aboard after shore leave. The ship’s XO comes up to Captain Stevens and says “Sir, there are two men from the Treasury department to see you.”

                              “Very good, Commander. Give them my compliments and ask that they wait in the wardroom. I’ll be along directly.”

                              “Aye, Sir.”

                              “Officer of the watch, you have the bridge.”

                              “Aye, Sir.”

                              Captain Stevens proceeds to the wardroom, where the two men are waiting. The first is Robert Faraday and the second is John Lafreniere, an agent of the U.S Secret Service. Captain Stevens says “Good morning, gentlemen. Welcome aboard USS Sumner. How can I help you today?”

                              Mr. Faraday replies “Good morning, sir. I am here on behalf of Treasury Secretary Esther George to formally transfer custody of one hundred million silver eagles to the United States Navy.” Mr. Faraday opens his briefcase and takes out a document bearing the Treasury seal. He passes it over to Captain Stevens, who take sit in hand and reads it carefully. The document says ‘This is to certify that I, Esther George, Secretary of the Treasury, do hereby transfer to the custody of the United States Navy the sum of 100,000,000 silver eagles.’

                              “Sir, if you are satisfied, I’ll need your signature on the document.”

                              “Everything seems to be in order, Mr. Faraday.” Accordingly, Captain Stevens and Mr. Faraday affix their signatures as principals, while Commander Jenkins and Agent Lafreniere sign as witnesses. Mr. Faraday returns the document to his briefcase and says “Captain, the silver will be transported by truck from the Mint’s storage facilities starting this afternoon. Each truck will be carrying thirty tons of silver, and will be accompanied by armed representatives of the U.S Mint Police.”

                              “Very good, Mr. Farady. Commander Jenkins?”

                              “Yes, sir?”

                              “Have MCPO Holliday assemble an armed guard from among the ship’s company. Coordinate with the St. Louis Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. I want a secure perimeter in place before the shipments start to arrive.”

                              “Aye, sir.”

                              1600 hours

                              Thanks to some quick work by the St. Louis Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the security perimeter on the St. Louis waterfront is in place before the first trucks start to arrive. At 1600 hours, a convoy of ten flat‑bed trucks makes its way down to the dock here the barges are moored. Captain Stevens, Cmdr. Jenkins and the armed guards from USS Sumner are on hand to greet them.

                              Each barge has a load master who directs the placement of each pallet of silver as they are off‑loaded from the trucks by a pair of large dockside cranes. The idea is to evenly divide the load on each barge so that the barges don’t lose any of their sea‑keeping abilities. Each truck carries twenty pallet‑loads of silver, for a total of thirty tons per truck. The off‑loading/reloading process consists of four riggers attaching heavy nylon straps around each pallet, then attaching the straps to the crane’s hook. The crane operator carefully winches the precious cargo aloft and gently swings it over the barge, where it is slowly lowered into place. Half an hour later, the last pallet from the first shipment is lowered into place.

                              As the last truck in the first group is departing, the first truck in the second shipment is arriving. This time, there are twenty trucks. Ten of them are directed to a holding area, while the first ten are parked at dockside for unloading. The process goes just as swiftly as it did with the first shipment. This first group of ten empty trucks is sent on its way; the second group is brought out of the holding area an unloaded in half an hour.

                              1715 hours

                              As the sun begins to set, it is decided that no more silver will be brought for unloading today. Captain Stevens says to Cmdr. Jenkins “XO, the St, Louis Police Department and the State Highway Patrol are going to handle perimeter security. Have MCPO Holliday dispose his armed guards so that there are six aboard each barge and four at the bottom of each gangplank. I also want roving patrols on the docks.”

                              “Aye, Sir.”

                              Date: February 26th, 1608
                              Time: 0700

                              Shipments of silver from the U.S Mint resume at 0700 this morning. There are still seventy trucks to be unloaded. Today, the trucks are scheduled to arrive at the rate of ten per hour. Throughout the day, the trucks arrive at the dock and are swiftly unloaded. While this is going on, USS Sumner is restocked with supplies. By 1400 hours, the last truck has been unloaded. The load masters on each barge have their crew secure the barge covers.

                              The next task involves attaching the barges to USS Sumner. The tugboat and her crew are standing by to assist in this maneuver. First, all of the ship’s armed guards are taken aboard; the tugboat comes alongside and cables are passed between the two vessels to make themselves fast to each other.

                              Captain Stevens passes an order to the XO “Weigh anchor, commander.”

                              “Weigh anchor, Aye, sir.” USS Sumner’s mooring lines are hauled aboard, and the ship’s anchor is raised and locked into place. The XO next orders “Thrusters to station‑keeping”. USS Sumner is now carefully maneuvered by the tugboat into the middle of the Mississippi River’s channel. She drops both of her anchors, then the thrusters are angled so as to keep the ship in position and the anchor chains tight.

                              Next, the tugboat is detached from USS Sumner. She moves just back upstream and she is placed next to the barges so that they can be moved over to USS Sumner and made fast for towing. These maneuvers are rather delicate, so they take the better part of an hour. Eventually, the three barges are moved aft of USS Sumner. The deck division passes over the ship’s hawsers, and they are securely fastened to the lead barge. Next, anchor chains are attached to the lead barge; this is done to secure it in case the hawsers break during the tow (just as it was done when the replenishment barge accompanied USS Sumner to Spain).

                              At the conclusion of these evolutions, the barge crews and loadmasters are taken aboard the tugboat for the trip back to Ingram Barge Company’s yard in St. Charles. Captain Stevens gets on the radio and thanks the Ingram crew for their assistance. He says to Cmdr Jenkins “XO, our orders are to get under way as soon as possible. Weigh anchor, then ahead dead slow. Let the river current take us. This will save us fuel.”

                              “Weigh anchor, then ahead dead slow. Aye, Sir.” USS Sumner begins to make her way down the Mississippi River towards the Gulf of Mexico.

                              Open for Business
                              Date: February 26th, 1608
                              Location: The Embassy of the United States of America (formerly known as the manor of La Estrella)
                              Time: 10:00 AM local time

                              Captain‑General Alarcon and several of his officers ride to the U.S Embassy on the outskirts of Barcelona in order to enquire as to how Ambassador de La Vega and his staff are settling in to their new quarters. As they arrive, the Captain‑General notices that certain changes have been made to the grounds of the Manor and to the Manor house itself. First, a tall, windmill‑like structure has been set up in the courtyard. There are also several strange‑looking glass panels on the roof of the main house. Captain‑General Alarcon recognizes one of the Marines guarding the gate, so he and his men ride up to speak with him.

                              “Ahh, good morning, Sergeante Highway. I trust you and you men are settling in without difficulties?”

                              GySgt Carlos Highway replies “Good morning, sir. I remember you from the Ambassador’s meeting with the King and also from your two visits aboard USS Sumner. How can I help you today?”

                              “I am here to see His Excellency the Ambassador. Is he available?”

                              “Of course, sir. This is the Embassy’s first full day of operations, and we have had no callers here as yet. Please follow me.” Captain‑General Alarcon and his staff dismount, then hand off their horses to an embassy staffer to be tethered, fed and watered. GySgt Highway escorts them to Ambassador de La Vega’s office, then returns to his duties at the gate.

                              The Ambassador sees the Captain‑General approach and greets him formally “Hail and well‑met, Sir. It is a pleasure to see you again so soon.” Captain‑General Alarcon replies “The pleasure is all mine, your excellency.” Ambassador de La Vega says “to what do I owe the honor of your visit here today?”

                              “Sir, I simply wished to see how you and your staff were settling into your new quarters. I trust that La Estrella meets with your approval. I see that there are strange mechanical contrivances in the courtyard and on the roof; more of your peoples’ scientific wonders, perhaps?”

                              “Yes. The array on the roof uses the light of the Sun to heat water for washing and cooking, while the tower out in the courtyard uses the wind to drive a generator which produces electricity.”

                              “Ahh yes, electricity. That is the power which drives Captain Stevens’ great ship, is it not?”

                              Ambassador de La Vega replies “Yes it is, sir. In other matters, your visit here today is most fortunate. I received a communication from my government only yesterday. I am informed that Captain Stevens and his ship are transporting the silver to the City of Habana, Cuba even as we speak. You are respectfully requested to gather your ships and put to sea at your very earliest convenience.”

                              “I see, Your excellency. How long will it be before Captain Stevens arrives in Habana? “

                              “Sir, at best course and speed, it will take him just three weeks for the trip. Captain Stevens has instructions to survey the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico and the southern tip of the peninsula of Florida during his voyage. May I ask how long it will take you to put to sea?”

                              “Ambassador, the ships of the first treasure fleet are already swinging at anchor in the harbor of Barcelona. All I need to do is board my flagship and weigh anchor. Spanish hulls are nowhere near as fast as Captain Stevens’ magnificent vessel. As soon as the fleet is away, the crossing will take seven weeks.”

                              “Thank you for that information, Captain‑General. I will see that Captain Stevens is apprised of it immediately. In other matters, Captain Stevens is bringing along a shipment of seeds and trade goods. You’ll recall that His Most Catholic Majesty expressed an interest in certain of the crops grown in the United States, namely potatoes. There are also other vegetable seeds being sent along, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions, lettuce. To guard against the possibility of crop failure, there are as many different varieties of each type of seed as we have available.”

                              “Ambassador de La Vega, that shows commendable foresight. There have been crop failures here in Spain and elsewhere for many years. The people have suffered greatly during those times, so anything which can improve their lot will be welcomed. Now sir, what of the trade goods you spoke of?”

                              “Captain‑General, these goods are being sent as examples of the craftsmanship that the workers in the United States are capable of. The manifest includes telescopes, binoculars, microscopes and mechanical calculating devices. When your fleet arrives in Cuba to pick up the silver, I ask that you bring the trade goods back to me.”

                              “What are your intentions, sir?”

                              “Captain‑General, I intend to parcel the items out among the nobles and great merchants of the land. If there is sufficient interest, more will brought for sale.”

                              “A moment, if you please, sir. What is a telescope?”

                              “Ahh, forgive me for being remiss, Captain‑General. A telescope is a long metal tube with glass lenses in either end. It has the property of making things which are far away look as if they are much closer. Think how advantageous this would be to a sea captain or a military commander. There are two types of telescope being brought; the smaller model can be collapsed and carried upon the person or in a haversack, while the larger model has a fixed tube and is mounted on a wooden tripod. This larger version is suitable for use by astronomers and surveyors. Before you ask Captain‑General, binoculars are an instrument with two very small telescopes fixed together in a common frame. A set of binoculars allows both of the user’s eyes to look at a target, rather than having one eye closed.”

                              “Excellent. I look forward to seeing these devices. And now sir, please excuse me. I must be off to see about getting my ships ready to sail.”

                              “Of course, Captain‑General. It was a pleasure seeing you again.”

                              Elsewhere upon the embassy grounds, the medical specialists attached to the Marine garrison have set up a clinic to see to the needs of the embassy staff. By direction of Ambassador de La Vega, this clinic is open to the people of the surrounding villages. Among the specialists other duties are teaching Spanish doctors antiseptic medical procedures (including but not limited to sterilization of instruments and the preparation/use of tincture of carbolic acid).

                              Date: February 26th, 1608
                              Location: the Mississippi River, downstream of the Poplar Street Bridge
                              Time: 0730 hours

                              Aboard USS Sumner, Captain Stevens and Cmdr Jenkins are on the bridge monitoring the functions of their ship as she begins to make her way down the Mighty Mississippi. Per Captain Stevens’ order, USS Sumner’s engines will make only those revolutions necessary for station‑keeping. As the river’s current carries USS Sumner down past the Poplar Street Bridge, Captain Stevens calls Cmdr Jenkins’ attention to a number of vessels assembled at the docks on the western bank of the Mississippi.

                              “XO, do you see those barges and tugs over there?”

                              “I do, sir.”

                              “Right now, they’re being loaded with men and materiel for an expedition to Mobile Bay, Alabama. Once there, they will be off‑loaded and the construction of a new forward operating base will begin. The idea is that the ground will be prepared for the construction of a new shipyard. The yards here in St. Louis are strictly limited as to the size of the ships they can build, so National Command Authority wants to be able to construct hulls with a deeper draft.”

                              “I understand, sir.”

                              “XO, keep us steady in the middle of the river channel. I also want lookouts posted around the clock on the bridge wings, as well as fore and aft. Coordinate with the sonar crew, as I want to be able to avoid any possible river obstruction. When it gets towards evening, we’ll anchor in the channel and continue tomorrow morning at first light.”

                              “Aye, sir.”

                              In the meantime, Tony Andruzzo and others from the Ingram Barge company are overseeing the loading of the barges for the expedition to Mobile Bay. There are eight river tugs and forty barges; in total, some 60,000 tons of equipment and supplies are being loaded. The first military personnel to arrive are a full company of combat engineers from Fort Leonard Wood. They convoyed here in numbers of deuce‑and‑a‑half and 5‑ton trucks early this morning, and their first duty was to stow their own gear (tents, cots, weapons, rations, etc). Next, they lend a hand with loading the construction equipment and raw materials. At noontime, a company‑size detachment of Seabees from the St. Louis Naval Reserve Center at Lambert Field, Missouri rolls up in their own trucks and joins the loading process.

                              The purpose of the combat engineers will be to construct and secure the Forward Operating Base (along with an airfield), while the Seabees will survey and prepare the ground for the shipyard and associated port facilities; later on, the Seabee detachment will be joined by the rest of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 15 for the actual construction of the port and shipyard.

                              Time: 1200 hours

                              Aboard USS Sumner, the crew has settled into their various routines (such as watch‑standing). Cmdr Jenkins is at the plotting table. He looks up Captain Stevens and says “Sir, the average flow rate of the Mississippi River is just one knot. Assuming that we let the river carry us and that we anchor for eight hours each day, it will take us thirty‑eight days to reach the mouth of the river. If we make our forward speed three knots, the flow rate of the river will make our effective speed four knots. This will get us to the mouth of the Mississippi in just nine‑and‑a‑ half days.”

                              “Very well, XO. Ahead, dead slow.”

                              “Ahead dead slow. Aye, sir.” Cmdr Jenkins orders the helmsman to raise the ship’s speed to three knots. All throughout USS Sumner’s lower decks, the rhythmic thrumming of the ship’s engines is communicated through the deck plates. Above, a cold wind out of the Northwest sweeps across the weather deck. On the surface of the river, the wind has raised a small chop that laps at the ship’s bow.

                              Only the Beginning
                              Date: February 27th, 1608
                              Location: Fort Lincoln, Wyoming
                              Time: 0900 hours

                              On the last day of the Great Gathering, He‑that‑goes‑far rises to address the Chiefs of the tribes; Chief Sharp Knife stands by his side in order to translate.

                              “Hear me, men of the plains. In the time that you have been here, much has been said and done and I would see this spirit of cooperation continue. In furtherance of this, I put it before you that I will build a great lodge nearby, where the people of the plains will gather from time to time and discuss matters of importance. My own people will likewise come here to meet with you, and also for purposes of trade.” Chief Sharp Knife translates the words of He‑that‑goes‑far for the assembled chiefs and warriors. He‑that‑goes‑far goes onto say “I seek your permission for some of my people to come among you, so that they can learn your languages and the ways of your people.”

                              Pia’esa, a Chief of the Shoshone rises and asks “What is the purpose for your request?” He‑that‑goes‑far replies “One of the foremost desires of my people is to learn the ways of others. In so doing, we better ourselves; is this not a worthy goal?” Chief Pia’esa nods sagely. After more discussion, the representatives of the various tribes betake themselves to their encampments to prepare for the journey back home. Soon, the only ones left on the meeting ground are Chief Sharp Knife, He‑that‑goes‑far and some of the Tsitsistas.

                              Chief Sharp Knife says “That was very well‑done, He‑that‑goes‑far. Now, about the ‘horses’ you brought. What is your plan to get them to the Tsitsistas and the other tribes?” Jm McPherson replies “Chief, for now the numbers of the horses are limited. Once the mares come into season, they will be bred to the stallions. When there are enough horses so that each tribe can have four hands worth, we will send word. You and the Tsitsistas, as well as the other tribes, will have men come here to learn how to raise and train them. I counsel patience, because learning how to ride a horse isn’t something that can be done overnight.”

                              “Once again, you speak words of wisdom. It will be as you say.”

                              Arrival in Rome
                              Date: February 27th, 1608
                              Location: Rome, the Quirinal Palace
                              Time: late afternoon

                              After a long hard ride of some twenty‑seven days, Alfonso Perez finally arrives in Rome. He immediately makes his way to the Quirinal Palace, official residence of His Holiness, Pope Paul V. It is a mark of the importance of Alfonso’s mission that his master, Bishop Juan de Moncada, entrusted him with the signet ring of the Bishopric so that none might hinder or delay him. Alfonso shows the bishop’s ring to the guard captain on duty at the gates of the Quirinal Palace, whereupon he is immediately brought to the office of Father Niccolo Alamanni, the Pope’s principal secretary. He says “Greetings and felicitations, Reverend. I am Alfonso Perez, in service to his excellency Juan de Moncada, Bishop of Barcelona. I come bearing a message of the highest importance for His Holiness.

                              “What is the nature of the message?”

                              “Reverend Father, there has been a singular development in the Americas. A new people, who call themselves the United States of America, have suddenly sprung into existence. Though their numbers are small, their power is so great that it can scarcely be comprehended. My master the Bishop begs that His Holiness send a delegation of the most eminent scientists and theologians to ascertain the truth of the situation.”

                              Father Alamanni says “I understand. Please come with me, I will get you an immediate audience with His Holiness.” The two men quickly make their way through the shadowed halls of the Quirinal Palace to the Pope’s audience chamber. Alfonso Perez waits by the entrance; Reverend Alamanni is seen by the Pope and is bidden to come forward. He respectfully bows before the Papal throne and says “Your Holiness, I beg your pardon for this interruption.”

                              “Trouble yourself not, my son. We see that there is some matter which has excited your countenance. Pray tell what is it.”

                              “Your Holiness, the man who with me to the entrance of the audience chamber is a messenger from His Excellency the Bishop of Barcelona. He begs immediate admittance to Your Holiness’ presence.”

                              Pope Paul V gestures in the affirmative and says “Very well, my son. Bid the man approach and be welcome.” Father Alamanni gestures towards Alfonso Perez, who comes before the Papal Throne and makes a full, formal court bow. The Pope motions him to stand and says “Our Reverend Father Alamanni says that you bear a message of great importance from our faithful servant Juan de Moncada, Bishop of Barcelona. What troubles the good bishop, that he had to send you all the way to Rome to see us?”

                              Alfonso Perez bows again and says “Your Holiness, this letter penned by my master gives full and complete details of a most unusual happenstance in North America.” Alfonso hands the letter to a page who carries it upon a silver plate to the hand of His Holiness. The Pope breaks the seal, opens the letter and begins to read. Alfonso and Father Alamanni stand respectfully nearby while the Holy Father peruses the document.

                              After the better part of a quarter‑hour of reading and re‑reading the letter, Pope Paul V looks up and says “If this letter were from anyone other than His Excellency the Bishop, we would not have believed it. We note here that Bishop Moncada actually saw these so‑called ‘Americans’ in person, went aboard their great metal ship; he and King Phillip III and actually flew through the air in one of their machines. This situation must be investigated, for we sense both great opportunity and great peril here. His Holiness looks over at his advisers (one of whom is the Very Reverend Claudio Acquaviva, Superior‑General of the Jesuit Order) and says “Compose a committee of our most renowned scientists and theologians and send them with all possible dispatch to North America.”

                              Father Acquaviva says “Yes, Your Holiness, it shall be done as you order.”