No announcement yet.

A More Perfect Union

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #61
    Infrastructure Expansion
    Date: February 17th, 1610
    Location: various
    Time: various

    Once affairs in Minnesota and Michigan settled down in the aftermath of the second transition event, serious thought was given to using certain newly-arrived assets in order to support FOB Hope, FOB New York and FOB Newport. Of all the Great lakes freighters which made it through the transition, only the MV John G. Bolland is small enough to fit through the Welland Ship Canal.

    MV John G. Bolland was built in Wisconsin in 1973 under the name of MV Charles E. Wilson. Then in 2000, the ship was given its present name to honor John G. Bolland, founder of the American Steamship Company. The ship measures 680’ OAL, with a beam of 78’ and a maximum draft of 31’; Bolland’s cargo capacity at maximum draft is 39,000 GRT, with lesser a capacity of 29,600 GRT at a draft of 27’6”. As commissioned, the ship’s purpose is to carry bulk dry cargoes (such as cement, iron ore and coal) to the ports in the Great Lakes region.

    Once it was realized that MV John G. Bolland was the only vessel small enough to fit through the Welland Ship Canal, plans were made to user he to support the further expansion of FOB Hope, FOB New York and FOB Newport. By request from the Department of Transportation, the ship was taken out of winter lay-up by the American Steamship Company and begun to be re-fitted in order to handle break-bulk cargo. Her cargo handling & storage facilities consisted of six large internal holds (with a total of 22 external hatches on the weather deck), an internal, self-unloading cargo conveyor (in the stern of the ship) and a 250’ cargo boom with a conveyor belt (mounted just forward of the deckhouse). This boom is capable of turning both to the left and to the right, with a total arc of 105 degrees. As this system can’t be used to unload break-bulk cargo, the internal conveyor will be removed; the 22 cargo hatches will be removed and replaced with six large deck hatches (one for each hold); these hatches will have two halves, be hinged longitudinally and also be capable of being sealed against even the heaviest weather. Additionally, the 250’ boom will be converted into a crane; there will also be a smaller traveling crane mounted forward on the weather deck (aft of the bow) which will be used to service those holds which can’t be reached by the 250’ crane. Aside from removing the 22 smaller hatches and replacing them with six larger hatches and removing the internal conveyor system, the floors and bulkheads in the six cargo holds will be specially-reinforced in order withstand the extra hull stresses involved in handling break-bulk cargo.

    The purpose in these specific design changes was founded in an order sent by Secretary of Defense Danner to the command staff at each of the three forward operating bases. The particulars of the order are that a quay is to be constructed at each facility, to be of such a size that ships of up to 750’ OAL, 80’ in the beam and 35’ in draft can be accommodated. Given that the United States intends to enter the market for constructing sail-powered vessels, the order was amended to include direction for setting up shipyards at FOB New York and FOB Newport; each of which is to have twelve slipways. For FOB New York, the shipyard will be on the western bank of the East River, just above the southern tip of Manhattan Island; for FOB Newport, they shipyard will be on the shore just above the base’s location; the equipment for these shipyards will be among the first loads of cargo delivered by MV John G. Bolland when’s she’s ready for service in the Spring.

    Local People, Local relations
    Date: February 19th, 1610
    Location: FOB Narragansett, RI
    Time: Various

    When FOB Narragansett was first established, Canonicus (paramount chief of the Narragansetts) saw the arrival of the strangers as a direct challenge; he assembled a host of his warriors and sent a challenge to their leader in the form of a sheaf of arrows wrapped in leather. Being knowledgeable of Rhode Island’s early colonial history, FOB Newport’s commanding officer replied by sending the leather wrap back, this time containing two leather bags; one containing lead bullets and the other one containing black powder. When these were returned to Canonicus’ village of Chaubatick, it so happened that some of the black powder was accidentally spilled near one of the village’s campfires and ignited. This caused the Narragansett shamans and Chief Canonicus himself to regard the strangers with superstitious fear and awe. It was some little time before communications could be opened and trade established with the Narragansetts and the other tribes In Rhode Island. Eventually, however, enough understanding of the languages was gained so that a peaceful understanding could be reached between the Americans and the natives. Above almost all else, what sealed the friendship between the Narragansetts and the Americans happened when Canonicus’ wife went into labor; the baby was in the breech position and both mother and child would have died but for the intervention of two physicians from FOB Newport. Thanks to their efforts, the child was delivered safely and the mother survived. In a twist of fate, the baby was named ‘Canonchet’ by his father in a public ceremony in the village of Chaubatick.

    FOB Narragansett’s initial personnel roster was especially chosen in order to avoid the horrific possibility of inadvertently setting off a ‘virgin field’ epidemic; everyone underwent a thorough health screening in order to ensure that no one had diseases of any kind (even the common cold). Additionally, everyone assigned to the FOB underwent a full program of vaccinations; when enough trust had been built up between the Americans and the natives, the vaccination program was likewise extended to cover the Narragansetts and the other tribes in Rhode Island (the Eastern Niantic, the Nipmuc, the Pequot and the Wampanoag). The Narrgansetts were (and are) an interesting case study. As of the current date, they are at their full strength. The tribe has some 4,500 members spread over six different villages, each of which has a separate sub-chief. These villages are Chaubatick (near what would later be called Providence, Rhode Island), Maushapogue (in Providence County), Mittaubscut (on the Pawtuxet River, seven or eight miles above the mouth), Narragansett (above the site of what would have been Kingston, Rhode Island), Pawchouquet (in western Rhode Island) and Shawomet (near what would have been Warwick, Rhode Island). Of the other tribes, only the Eastern Niantic (with their main village of Wekapaug on the Great Pond near what would have been Charleston, Rhode Island) could come close to challenging the Narragansetts in terms of the size of their population, with a total of 2,000 members.

    As part of FOB Narragansett’s development, survey teams were sent all throughout Rhode Island in order to document the geography and natural resources of the territory. One team in particular proceeded by boat through the northern reaches of Narragansett Bay, onto the Providence River and sailed upstream to the Seekonk River as far as the Pawtucket Falls; a second team proceeds to the location of what would have been Bristol and Barrington in order to find the anthracite coal seam which is known to be there, while a third team goes upstream to the west bank of the Blackstone River to the location of what would later be called Quinsnicket Ledge.

    Above Pawtucket Falls, the watercourse is known as the Blackstone River; below the falls, it is the Seekonk River (a tidal inlet of Narragansett Bay. All along the banks of the river, the presence of various species of enormous trees (beech, American chestnut, red maple, eastern white pine, northern red oak, red oak, black oak, white ash, willow, birch) is noted. It is of particular interest to the team members to see the chestnut trees as they once were, because the species had been largely destroyed by chestnut blight in the first half of the 20th century.

    Up from the riverbanks, the character of the woodlands in several places is noted to resemble a park, in that the Narragansetts and the other tribes would periodically set fires in order to burn off the underbrush and open up the land for agriculture. There are locations, however, where tall timber goes down almost to the water’s edge.

    In regards to fishing, the primary species in the Narragansett Bay watershed are Atlantic salmon, shad, river herring, rainbow smelt and sturgeon. The waters of the bay and its associated rivers are still pristine, being enormously productive and a major source of food for the Narragansetts and the other tribes in the area.

    In regards to FOB New York, its developement has proceeded along the same course as FOB Newport. Unlike in Rhode Island, the only native tribe in the area of what would have been New York City is the Lenni Lenape. FOB New York was founded on the lower end of Manhattan Island near the approximate location of what would have been Fort Amsterdam; after the initial settlement, peaceful overtures were made to the Lenape after which the island was acquired in exchange for trade goods (just as it was in the original history). This time, the Lenape got a considerably better deal; instead of just trinkets (beads, ribbons, etc), they got material that was entirely practical (cast-iron cooking pots, frying pans, fire grates, tripods plus steel-bladed hatchets, axes, knives, spears; woollen blankets, cloth, salt, rotary querns for the grinding of grain, etc). Aside from the trade goods, the Lenape received the same kind of medical outreach as did the Narragansetts and the other tribes in Rhode Island.

    Tokens of Esteem
    Date: February 22nd, 1610
    Location: the U.S. Embassy, College de Clermont, Paris
    Time: later afternoon

    As was previously promised by King Henri IV, GySgt James Peterson, USMC receives those tokens of esteem promised by his majesty in gratitude for saving his life during the recent assassination attempt. The gifts are conveyed by Monsieur Gaston de Pluvinel (an officer in the king’s service) and delivered to the U.S Embassy compound t the College de Clermont; the first of these is an officer’s-grade garniture of armor and weapons, made in the royal workshops at St. Etienne. The armor is a three-quarter set of plate (of the type worn by French cuirassers), consisting of helmet, cuirass, pauldrons (shoulder guards), rerebraces (to protect the upper arms), 5-lame couters (to peotect the elbows) and cannons (to protect the forearms). The cuirass has an attached fauld (to protect the waist) and tassets (to protect the hips); lastly, there are a pair of cuisses to protect the thighs.

    Though plain in design, the armor’s excellence lies in the skill with which it was made. The protection given by the cuirass is enhanced by a stop-rib riveted to the chest plate just below the neck; in combat, this would serve to deflect sword and lance thrusts aimed at the wearer’s neck. Since armor of this type is not designed to be used in conjunction with a shield, the left side of the cuirass’ chest plate has been reinforced in order to take the shock of a lance thrust and the odd sword stroke. The armor’s only affectations to style are that the neck and shoulder holes all have roped edges, while the lames of the fauld and the tassets all have bronze edging.

    Rounding out the garniture are the weapons, consisting of a basket-hilted cavalry sword, a seven-flanged mace with a spiral shaft and leather-wrapped grip and a matching horseman’s axe with a scalloped blade. The mace and the axe are plain in design and manufacture, but the sword is elaborately decorated as befits the weapon of a high-ranking officer. The blade is of watered steel, while the hilt is blued, chased with decoration and set with silver inlays. Finally, the grip is wrapped with braided gold wire set with turks-heads at the top and bottom.

    Complementing the garniture is an elaborate saddle, a pair of wheellock horse pistols in pommel holsters and a wheellock petronel (carbine) carried at the waist on a broad leather shoulder strap; weapons like these are useless without powder flasks & tools, so there is a matching set of bullet mold & tools for all three weapons, plus and engraved ivory powder flask and priming flask.

    The king’s beneficence continues with a package containing an officer’s uniform for the King’s Musketeers, consisting of a wide-brimmed black hat with a feathered plume, a dark-blue tabard & tunic, red pantaloons, a knee-length dark blue cloak (with a fold-down collar) lined with red silk, high boots with fold-down cuffs and long gauntlets (both items are of brown kidskin leather). The tabard and cloak are embroidered with the king’s personal device (a stylized cross) in silver thread, and are likewise trimmed with silver braid.

    At the conclusion of the presentation ceremony (which took place in Ambassador Hamscher’s office, Monsieur Gaston de Pluvinel turns to the ambassador and says “God be thanked that your man Sergeant Peterson was in a position to do as he did. If His Majesty had been murdered by that foul cretin Francois Ravaillac, it would have been an absolute disaster for France.” Ambassador Hamscher replies “you are quite welcome, Monsieur. GySgt Peterson only did his duty, as any United States Marine would have.”


    • Otis R. Needleman
      Otis R. Needleman commented
      Editing a comment
      As always, mighty good, Mike! Happy New Year!

  • #62
    Author's Note:

    ITTL, the King's Musketeers were formed in late December, 1594 after the assassination attempts by Pierre Barriere in August, 1593 and Jean Chatel in December, 1594. IOTL, they were formed in 1622 by King Louis XIII.


    • #63
      What happens if someone from the isoted states wants to buy land near a FOB and settle there?

      Happy New Year!
      Last edited by Archangel; 01-02-2017, 09:13 PM. Reason: clarification and typo correction


      • #64
        I assume you are referring to civilians from the six states. In that case, they would have to negotiate with the natives. In the case of FOB New York, Manhattan Island is open for settlement because of its purchase from the Lenni Lenape.

        When New York City rises again, it won't be nearly as densely populated, because destruction of the natural topography will not be permitted. In particular, the Collect Pond will be protected...


        • #65
          Looking Forward
          Date: March 24th, 1610
          Location: London, England; the Palace of Whitehall
          Time: 9:00 AM

          Having been invited by King James I to attend festivals at court, Ambassador Boden is pleased to accept the royal invitation. Accordingly, he and his aide Sir Thomas Howard boards one of the embassy’s coaches and is accompanied on the ride to Whitehall by four Marines mounted on horseback. Bearing in mind what nearly happened to King Henri IV of France not all that long ago, each of the men is armed with a Beretta 9-mm pistol in a belt holster and a scabbarded NCO sword; this is only the obvious armament. What remains hidden in nondescript cases are two short-barreled M16A4 carbines and two short-barreled Remington Model 1187 12-gauge semi-automatic shotguns. Due to the cold weather, the Marines are wearing the ‘service dress’ uniform and an insulated greatcoat.

          The ride from the Palace of St. James to the Palace of Whitehall is only one mile; even so, it takes one-quarter of an hour to make the trip. After arrival, the diplomatic party is greeted by the palace chamberlain who says “welcome back, Milord Ambassador. His Majesty is waiting to see you on the council hall.” Ambassador Boden nods his head by way of reply, then he and the Marines are escorted through Whitehall and into the council hall. The ambassador is announced by the palace herald, then says “hail and well-met, your majesty.”

          “Ahh, your excellency. Well-pleased are we to see you once again. We trust that all has gone well with you and yours since last we met.” To Sir Thomas, the king turns and says “your service to Ambassador Boden has been noted by the throne and we wish that it continue.” Sir Thomas bows his head and replies “a thousand thanks, your majesty.” The Ambassador waits respectfully until the king finishes speaking, then he says “indeed it has, your majesty. I have been looking forward to attending today’s festivities, ever since I heard that there was to be a tournament.”

          “Aye, your excellency. The tournament is being held to mark our accession day, plus the retirement of our King’s Champion Sir Thomas Colville. There will be a series of individual combats on foot, followed by a grand melee on foot and concluding with a Joust ‘a plaisance’. Sir Thomas himself will ride in the joust and carry our colors for one final time. Now, you will ride with us in the royal coach as we and the nobles of our court go in procession to the jousting grounds in Hyde Park.”

          “Very good, your majesty. Given what almost happened to his majesty King Henri IV of France recently, I ask permission for my retainers to ride alongside the royal coach.”

          “Granted, sir; now let us be off.”

          The King, Ambasaador Boden and Sir Thomas Howard walk baxck through the palace until they reach the place wghere the royal coach is waiting to take them to Hyde Park. In addition to the royal coach, the conveyances of the nobles of the court and other officials are already waiting nearby (all occupied with their passengers. King James I is hailed by his nobles as he takes his seat, then he signals the coachman to depart by rapping on the roof of the coach with his walking stick.

          The royal coach is escorted by a detachment of household guards mounted on horseback; the detachment numbers 40 men and is deployed in two equal groups; one in front and one behind. All of these men are wearing half-plate armor and crested morion helmets and are armed with basket-hilted broadswords, lances and a pair of long-barreled horse pistols in pommel holsters. Ambassador Boden’s Marines now fall in on either side of the coach, their eyes ever-watchful to any threat to their principals and their off hands never far away from their pistol holsters.

          Twenty minutes later, the royal procession arrives at the tournament ground in Hyde Park; the king, the ambassador and Sir Thomas Howard dismount from their coach. King James and Ambassador Boden seat themselves in the royal box, while Sir Thomas Howard goes of to make preparations to join the individual combat portion of today’s events. The Grand Marshal comes before the royal box and loudly pronounces “your majesty, my lords, ladies and gentlemen; welcome to the Accession Day tournament. With your majesty’s gracious permission, the foot combat will now begin.”

          King James I nods his head, whereupon the Grand Marshal signals for a trumpet fanfare to be played; this calls for the fighters to take their places on the field. When everyone is in position, the marshal gives the signal to begin fighting. The individual foot combats begin with 32 contestants; each of these is paired with another and the contestants are armored cap-a-pie in various styles of munitions-grade plate armor. Given that the armors are so similar, each contestant is distinguished from his fellows by his helmet crest, shield device (if he uses a shield) and style/design of cloth skirt (worn over the leg harness and under the tassets). They are armed with an assortment of weapons, with some favoring the spear or the pollaxe and others using the sword (two-handed, broad, bastard or long), axe, war hammer or mace. In order to assure fairness, the weapons employed by each pair of combatants are of a similar size. The first round of combat continues until half of the 32 contestants have been defeated, at which time the losers retire from the field and the 16 remaining fighters pair off against each other.

          The second, third and fourth rounds proceed in like manner to the first, until there are only two contestants left. These two enter the championship round and fight until one yields to the other. To the evident interest of King James I and Ambassador Boden, one of the two fighters is none other than Sir Thomas Seymour; the other man is Sir Thomas Gage from Suffolk and currently in the service of the Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas Egerton. The fighting between the two men is long, drawn-out and very involved; it only ends when Seymour un-helms Gage with a deft swordstroke to the base of his helmet crest. As soon as this happens, the match is ended when the Grand Marshal sounds his horn.

          Next, the two fighters present themselves before the royal box in order to be recognized. Ambassador Boden and the other spectators come to their feet and applaud respectfully as King James I rises from his chair and says “well-fought, good sirs. Those swordstrokes you both delivered were as fair as any that we have ever seen before.” Ambassador Boden raises his hand to speak and says “with your majesty’s gracious permission, I would recognize what each of these men has done.”

          The king nods his permission, whereupon the ambassador reaches inside his overcoat and takes out two bags (each heavy with coin) from an interior pocket. The fist bag contains the equivalent of 100 pounds in gold, and is presented to Sir Thomas Howard; the second bag contains fifty pounds in gold and goes to Sir Thomas Gage. King James takes note of this generosity and says “well-done, your excellency; well-done indeed.”

          As there will be some little time before the grand melee begins, Ambassador Boden turns to the king and says “your majesty, there is a matter that I would like to discuss with you,”

          “Say on, your excellency.”

          “Your majesty, it has come to the attention of my government that there are certain religious sects in England whose beliefs and practices have lately come to trouble the counsels of the King and the Church of England. In particular, I am speaking of those called ‘separatists’ and ‘dissenters.’ My government would offer a solution to these perceived problems by facilitating the emigration of these people to lands which will be set aside for them in a province called ‘Massachusetts.”

          “Indeed; we would hear more of this.”

          “Yes, your majesty. With your kind permission, I will send to the leaders of these groups and invite them to come to the embassy. Thereafter, my government’s proposal will be put to them. Unless I am very much mistaken, they will accept.” King James thinks for a few moments, then says “very well, your excellency. You have our permission to proceed.”

          Just then, a fanfare of trumpets announces that the tournament’s grand melee is about to begin. This event comprises a mass combat between two teams of men formed from the participants of the earlier combats on foot; one team is led by Sir Thomas Howard and the other by Sir Thomas Gage. The armor worn by the combatants is the same as in the individual event. As for weapons, the combat will be at close quarters, so no pole arms will be used. Therefore, the fighters select from among maces, war hammers, clubs, axes and broadswords; a few minutes more, and the teams form on opposite sides of the field.

          This event is meant to simulate a clash of heavy foot, so the team led by Sir Thomas Howard will be defending and the team lead by Sir Thomas Gage will be attacking. His objective will be to capture Howard’s banner. After some consultation, Howard forms his men into a line of battle and leaves behind six men to guard the banner; seeing this, Gage forms his team into a wedge and orders them forward to break Howard’s line. The two groups come together with a thunderous crash and the fighting begins. Though the edges of the swords and axes are rebated and the maces & war hammers have blunted points, there is still a very real possibility of serious injury.

          The fighting surges back and forth over the next fifteen minutes, and the issue seems to be in doubt until ten of Gage’s men manage to break through Howard’s line and engage his bannermen. There is a short, vigorous combat after which, one of Sir Thomas Gage’s men grabs hold of Sir Thomas Howard’s banner and shouts forth “STAND AND BEHOLD, THE DAY IS OURS!!!” Seeing this, the grand marshal signals for another trumpet fanfare to be played in order to signal the end of the melee.

          Sir Thomas Gage and Sir Thomas Howard present themselves before King James, who says “well-fought, my lords; I never yet saw better sport.” Not to be upstaged by Ambassador Boden’s generosity, the king grants each man on Gage’s team the sum of ten pounds in silver coin; for the men on Howard’s team, the sum is five pounds in silver coin. The two men bow respectfully before the king, then they and their teams withdraw from the field in order to make room for the joust.

          The next quarter-hour is occupied in preparing the field for the joust; mainly in the setting up of four courses with separate, cloth-covered tilts (barriers). The purpose of these barriers is to keep the horses from running into each other, and to allow the knights to better aim their lances. The rules of this particular joust call for each of the knights to make three passes at his opponent. Points (referred to as ‘lances’) are awarded based on where the lance is broken; for example, if the opponent is un-horsed, three points are awarded. Two points are awarded for knocking the crest off the opponent’s helmet and one point for breaking the lance on any point of the opponent’s body between the waist and the neck; note that being dismounted doesn’t automatically end the match. If the score is tied after the three courses, the involved knights will dismount and continue the combat on foot with pollaxes. As the joust is one of peace, all lances are fitted with coronel-shaped or fist-shaped heads. This will reduce the risk of injury by allowing the force of impact to be distributed over a wide area.

          At last, the eight knights (including Sir Thomas Colville) take their places at opposite ends of their respective courses. At a signal from the grand marshal, the tournament herald drops his flag as a sign for the knights to make the first charge. All eight of them put spurs to their horses, drop their lances and come thundering down the list towards each other. Colville skillfully unhorses his opponent, while the opponent’s lance knocks the crest of Colville’s helmet; thus the score is 3-2 after the first course for this particular pairing. Other pairs of knights are mutually un-horsed while, with others, lances are broken against breastplates, helms and shields.

          Another half-hour, and the three passes by each pair of knights is completed. In just one case did a winner have to be decided by combat on foot. Not surprisingly, one of the four winners was Sir Thomas Colville (who defeated his opponent by a score of eight lances to four). King James greets his retiring champion enthusiastically and says “nobly ridden, Sir Thomas; nobly ridden indeed.”

          Colville doffs his helmet and replies “my thanks to your majesty for the courtesy shown my while riding in your service. I pray that whoever succeeds me as the King’s Champion serves the throne as I have.” The riders in the joust are rewarded for their skill by the king; now that the tournament is over, the spectators begin to disperse. King James and Ambassador Boden board the royal coach and are escorted back to Whitehall. On the trip, the king says what thought you of our festivities, your excellency?”

          “Your majesty, I have always wanted to see a real tournament and joust; now I have. You see, recreating such in the United States is something of a pastime. However, such recreations are but a pale imitation of the real thing.”

          “Indeed, your excellency. As to what you mentioned about the Separatists, we will summon our royal council and inform them that they are to render any aid and assistance that your excellency needs in carrying out your design.”

          “Thank you, your majesty.”

          Hail & Farewell
          Date: March 26th, 1610
          Location: President Chu’s office, Whiteman AFB
          Time: 9:00 AM

          Ovre the past few months, Captain-General Alarcon and his staff have visited each state, the principal cities of each state, as well as meeting with various public officials and people from all walks of life. All good things must come to an end, and now it is time for the Captain-General to return home to Spain and report on what he has seen to his king. There is, however, one more htign to be attended to. Up until now, the executive branch of the U.S. Government has functioned without the presence of a vice-president. Today, President Chu intends to make his choice and submit this individual to the Senate for confirmation.

          By previous invitation, the Captain-General and his officers show up at President Chu’s office on the morning of March 26th. Greetings are exchanged, and the Captain-General says “buenos dias, Senor Presidente. On behalf of His Majesty and my officers, I wish to extend my thanks to you for the courtesy and kindness that we have been shown during our visit here.”

          “You are very welcome, sir. Before you begin your long journey back to Spain, there is an important function of my country’s government that I would like you to bear witness to.”

          “What is that, Senor Presidente?”

          “Sir, the executive branch of the U.S. Government is headed by the President; which office I now hold. When the nation was founded in the world we came from, it was decided by the founding fathers that there should be an office of the vice-president. The holder of this office is the second highest-ranked official in the government after the president, and his function would be to assume the office of the Presidency in case something happens to the President, or if the President is unable to discharge the duties of his office. Up to now, I have operated without a vice-president; thsi will change after today.”

          “How do you mean, Senor Presidente?”

          “Captain-General, the states of Michigan and Minnesota have recently reconstituted their congressional delegations. When a president nominates a cabinet secretary, federal judge or (in this case) a new vice-president, that nomination goes to the Senate for confirmation. While your visit was still going on, I began a search for a suitable candidate to fill the office of the vice-president; after due consideration, I have settled on Governor Rick Snyder from the State of Michigan.”

          Just then there is a knock on the door; President Chu looks up as his private secretary enters the room and says “excuse me, Mr. President. Governor Snyder is here to see you.”

          “Very well, Ellen. Please show him in.”

          A moment or two later, Governor Snyder enters. He and President Chu shake hands, then he says “Mr. President, I thank you for the confidence you have shown in me by nominating me to be your vice-president.”

          “Thanks really aren’t necessary, Governor. Before we head upstairs to the Senate for your confirmation, I would like to introduce you to Captain-General Ricardo Alarcon (in service to his majesty King Phillip III of Spain). He and the officers with him have spent the last several months touring the country in order to gain an appreciation of who we are and what we can do; then, to report that information back to the king.” Governor Snyder shakes hands with the captain-general and his officers, then says “a pleasure to see you again, gentlemen. I trust that your visit to the great state of Michigan went well; I regret not being able meet you previously.”

          “Thank you, Senor. Your officials and the people of your state received us with great kindness.”

          “You’re welcome, sir.”

          Another knock on the door is heard; President Chu looks up as his secretary announces “Mr. President, the Senate is in session.”

          “Thank you, Ellen. Governor Snyder, Captain-General, gentlemen, please follow me.” President Chu leads the party upstairs to the second floor of the building that has been serving as an impromptu White House and Capitol. Presently, the Senate has been using one of the conference rooms as its chamber. Given that the nation comprises just six of the original fifty states, the Senate has just twelve members. These men and women are seated around a table in the front of the room; while, in the back, there is seating for visitors and reporters.

          President Chu, Captain-General Alarcon and the other Spanish officers seat themselves in the front row, then the Senate is gaveled to order by Senator Chet Culver (former Governor of the State of Iowa and now President Pro Tem of the Senate) .

          “Governor Snyder, thank you for being here. We find ourselves in a rather-unusual situation, in that there has never been a vice-president who is of a different political party than the President.”

          “Thank you for your kind welcome, Senator Culver. I think you’ll agree that our current circumstances are quite unlike anything that the old United States ever faced. Yes, I am a Republican and President Chu is a Democrat. In the world we came from, those distinctions would have bene of some importance; that is definitely not the case today. Should you see fit to confirm me, I will do my utmost to help the President in carrying out the business of the nation.”

          While this discussion is going on, President Chu leans over to Captain-General Alarcon and says “in the world we came from, the U.S Senate had 100 members; two from each of the fifty states. Cabinet and judicial appointments would be referred to the appropriate committee. If the nominee was found to be suitable, the nomination would be reported out to the committee and to the full senate for a vote. However, in this case, the Senate consists of just twelve members and is therefore sitting as a committee of the whole.”

          “Most fascinating, Senor Presidente. In Spain, His Most Catholic Majesty’s word is law. Government ministers and officials serve at the king’s pleasure and may be replaced at will. Choices are made by the king alone, with no input from anyone. Often, the men chosen are upstanding, public-spirited individuals. Unfortunately, there have also been men like the late, un-lamented Duke of Lerma.”

          “Indeed, sir.”

          Meanwhile at the committee table, Governor Snyder is answering questions about his personal finances, background and experience. He further relates that, during his time as Governor of Michigan, he had no contacts with foreign governments that did not arise out of his official duties. There were, of course, visits to Michigan by official and business delegations from various European countries. The questioning now moves to Governor Snyder’s tax returns for the last ten years. Nothing out of the ordinary is found, so Senator Culver speaks up and says “ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, as nothing objectionable has been found in Governor Snyder’s record, I now call for a vote. All those in favor of confirming him as the next Vice-President of the United States, raise your hands and say ‘Aye’.” The vote is unanimous. Purely as a matter of form, Senator Culver says “those opposed?”; there is silence.

          “Congratulations, Mr. Vice-President. Chief Justice Mary Briscoe of the Supreme Court will now come forward to administer the oath of office.” A bible is presented and Justice Briscoe says “place your left hand on the bible, raise your right hand and repeat after me…”

          The oath is so well-known that Vice-President Snyder can repeat it from memory. “I, Richard Snyder do solemnly declare that I will faithfully execute the office of Vice-President of the United States of America and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me, God.”

          The membership of the Senate applauds, as does President Chu, Captain-General Alarcon and the other observers in the back of the Senate chamber. An official photographer comes forward to document the occasion, and the Senate is gaveled out of session. Afterwards, Vice-President Snyder comes over to greet President Chu and the Spanish officers.

          The President says “welcome to the team, Richard. My staff will see to providing you and your family with suitable quarters, plus suitable office space for yourself. The next items on the agenda are in-briefings by Secretary of Defense Danner and Secretary of State Kerrey. Captain-General Alarcon, the time has come for me to bid you and your officers farewell; I’m sure you’ll want to get under way as soon as possible. So, in the interests of time, you’ll be flown back to Mobile Bay by an Air Force transport.”

          “Muchos gracias, Senor Presidente. Our experiences here will be long-remembered.”

          The President and Vice-President take their leave, then Captain-General Alarcon and his officers are driven out to the flight line where they board a C-130 transport for the flight back to FOB Mobile. The flight is uneventful and, 2 hours 30 minutes after it begins, the aircraft lands and the Spanish are driven to where their ships are moored. Captain-General Alarcon is greeted by Captain Felipe Ortiz (Commanding officer of his flagship ‘La Natividad’), who says “welcome back, sir. I hope that your visit with the Americans was all that you thought it would be.”

          “Indeed it was, Captain Ortiz. Now, how stand the ships and their companies?”

          “Very well indeed, sir. The American Navy has seen to it that our three ships have been given any needed repairs. Likewise, the ships have been completely refitted and re-supplied. As of now, the holds are full to bursting with the best provisions I ever saw; preserved meats, vegetables, fruits. There’s soft bread, barrels of lime juice to prevent scurvy and beverages that the Americans call ‘condensed’ milk, ‘coffee’ and ‘tea’. Wonder of wonders, there is also sugar, honey and molasses;
          having these rations on board will surely mark a change for the better, after chipping our teeth on ship’s biscuit and trying to choke down half-cooked salt beef. In other matters, the crews have been treated with the utmost courtesy by the Americans during our visit here. You’ll be pleased to know that stocks of all manner of American trade goods have been laid in; they’re sure to sell for a great deal of money when we get back to Spain.”

          “Excellent. Tell the officers and crews that they have shore leave until midnight. After that, we sail on the morning tide.”

          Moving On
          Date: March 27th, 1910
          Location: Fort Mandan North Dakota
          Time: 2:00 PM

          On the northern plains, the hand of winter still lies heavily upon the land. Even so, there are signs that Spring isn’t far off. Ever since the New Corps of Discovery arrived and set up in this location, one of its main tasks (aside from engaging in friendly relations with the Manda, Hidatsa and the Arikara) is the laying in of supplies for the further continuation of the expedition. In this, the expedition has been well-served by Mike Garrity, Jo Faulkner and the other hunters; they have harvested numbers of Bighorn sheep, Elk, Moose and buffalo. The meat was smoked and preserved in other ways, while the hides were made into blankets, robes and other items of clothing.

          Before the weather turned cold, great quantities of nuts and various kinds of wild fruits were gathered and stored away in anticipation of future need; likewise for fish caught in the local streams, rivers and lakes (trout, salmon, bass, catfish, etc).

          The projected date of departure for the expedition is thirty days from today; after which time, Fort Mandan will be turned over to the chiefs of the Mandan, Hidats and Arikara to be used as they see fit.


          • #66
            Just caught up on the story. I am glad to see it continued, and can't wait to see what happens next!


            • #67
              Wagons, Ho!!
              Date: April 30th, 1610
              Location: Fort Mandan, North Dakota
              Time: 9:00 AM

              Now that weather conditions have improved, the time has arrived for the Corps of Discovery to finally leave Fort Mandan. The actual decision was made a week ago by Mike Dodge, acting in concert with the senior members of the expedition. Ever since then, the fort has hummed with activity as the wagons, tack & harness are thoroughly checked. Everyone performs preventive maintenance checks & services on their weapons & personal equipment, and this includes the crews of the mountain howitzers and 3-pdr field guns.

              Knowing that their friends in the Corps of Discovery are about to leave and continue on their westward journey, a delegation of leading men from the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara are on hand to see them off. Speaking for the delegation is Sheke-shote, local chief of the Mandan, who says “Chief-of-Strangers, the people of the Five Villages are saddened that you and your people must depart. All of us are grateful for the respect for our ways that you have shown during the past eight moons.”

              Mike Dodge replies “Chief Sheke, my people and I are likewise grateful for the hospitality shown to us by your people and those of the Hidatsa and Arikara. Without it, we would have faced great difficulties on our journey ahead. Now, it is time to leave. As a token of our gratitude, I hereby leave to your people the great wooden lodge which we built here. All that I ask in return is that it be maintained so that others of my people who may come this way will have shelter.”

              “Chief-of-Strangers, there is great wisdom in your words and it will be as you say.”

              Now that farewells have been said, it is time for the Corps of Discovery to depart. As expedition leader, Mike Dodge rides to the head of the column with Spotted Calf at his side. He looks behind him and sees that all of the wagons have assumed their positions in line. For flank security, Mike Garrity, Jo Gaulkner and the other hunters are disposed on either side with their weapons at the ready. As he has done more than a few times before, Dodge stands tall in the saddle and calls out loudly “CORPS OF DISCOVERY….IN SINGLE COLUMN….FORWARD, HO!!” At this moment, horses are spurred, reins are clapped and the expedition moves out. The morning is crisp and clear, without a cloud in the sky. The overnight low temperatures in recent days have been in the low to mid-30's; by this time of the morning, the temperature is at 40 degrees and rising. Dodge’s plan is to have the Corps of Discovery the north bank of the Missouri River until the confluence with the Yellowstone River; this part of the trip is expected to take all of the next 18 days.

              Additional Infrastructure
              Date: April 30th, 1610
              Location: various
              Time: various

              While MV John J. Bolland is being refitted from a bulk cargo carrier to a general-purpose cargo carrier, facilities are being constructed at FOB Hope in Quebec, FOB Newport in Rhode Island and FOB New York in order to handle it. These consist of a place to dock the vessel, a staging yard for storage of vehicles and cargo before they are dispersed and the necessary support infrastructure (access roads, etc).

              The ship is 680’ long and has a midsummer draft of 30' when carrying a load of 34,000 tons. As the Welland Ship canal has a depth of 30', the ship is limited to loads of no more than 29,600 tons (which will give it a draft of 27'6"). To accommodate the ship at FOB Hope, a road from the base proper down to the river’s edge. Here, a staging yard measuring 20 acres in extent was laid out; surfaced with steel runway matting and given a perimeter built of Hesco bastions. On the riverbank, a wharf was constructed by driving a series of steel pilings through the bottom of the river and down into bedrock; for additional strength, these pilings are filled with steel-reinforced concrete. When all of the pilings were in place, the water inside the perimeter was pumped out and the resulting space filled with a mix of concrete and locally-sourced boulders of varying sizes. This was built up to the level of the staging yard, topped off with more concrete and surfaced with steel runway matting. To ensure that the area of the river adjacent to the wharf could accommodate the ship, the riverbed was dredged to the necessary depth of 26.5'. Additionally, to protect those areas of the riverbank upstream and downstream of the wharf from erosion, they were given layers of rock armor consisting of boulders weighing between seven and twelve tons each.

              At FOB Newport, the shifting nature of the sands in Narragansett Bay prohibited the construction of a conventional wharf. Instead, a jetty was constructed of irregularly-shaped granite boulders sourced from quarries in Westerly and other areas in Rhode Island. On the lee side of the jetty, the slope of the revetment is at an angle of 45 degrees to better-dissipate the force of waves coming against the structure. On the inner face where MV John J.. Bolland will be moored, the jetty has a vertical surface. The top of the jetty is 60’ wide, paved with concrete and steel runway matting; it also has an area at the far end so that trucks can turn about; at the bottom of the bay, the jetty measures 90’ wide. On shore, there is a staging yard and access road, just as at FOB Hope.

              For FOB New York, the design chosen was that of a pier. Four rows of equally-spaced steel pilings (filled with concrete as at FOB Newport) were driven into the riverbed. Then, the pilings were capped off with cross beams of steel-reinforced concrete; the pier’s deck was built from thinner beams of steel-reinforced concrete and given a surface of poured concrete and steel runway matting. At full size, the pier measures 800' long and 60' wide. As at the other bases, there is an access road and staging area.

              MV John J. Bolling’s first trips to the three forward operating bases will be for the purposes of carrying heavy construction equipment, construction materials, fuel, supplies and additonal personnel to expand the bases. The vessel’s second trips to FOB Newport and FOB New York will be for the purpose of building shipyards for the construction of new and improved vessels for the various countries in Europe and elsewhere.

              Further Territorial Expansion
              Date: May 2nd, 1610
              Location: various
              Time: various

              After a conference between the Secretaries of State, Defense and the Interior, it was decided that, as there are no Spanish settlements in Alta California, the first bases in the new territory should be where the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles would have been in the original history. In a nod to that history, these settlements will be called FOB San Diego and FOB Los Angeles. As there is no direct sea or land access to these locations, the initial parties (consisting of combat engineers to do the construction and military police for site security) will be inserted by parachute along with their equipment and supplies, along with a battery of 81-mm mortars and two 155-mm towed field pieces for fire support. The first tasks will be to set up a base camp and security perimeter, then to construct a proper airfield; one capable of handling both helicopters and C-130 transport aircraft. Once the airfields are completed, heavier vehicles, construction equipment and additional supplies will be flown in.

              In other locations (such as Mexico City and Santa Fe), there were already pre-existing Spanish settlements. Once the treaty transferring King Phillip III’s North & Central American land claims to the United States went into effect, civil administration teams were dispatched via aircraft to each city in order to assert American jurisdiction over these territories. These teams included medical personnel, civil engineers, surveyors and administrative staff. They were followed by combat engineers (to construct air bases) and companies of military police to conduct public safety and law enforcement missions. Under the terms of the treaty, all Spanish residents of these territories who wished to remain had to swear allegiance to the United States. Those who didn’t want to remain were allowed to remove themselves, their families and personal property to the nearest convenient port for transport back to Spain (or, wherever else in the Empire that they wished to go). Not surprisingly, the majority of those who decided to stay are the peones (many of whom chafed under oppressive rule by the Spanish colonial government). However, more than a few of the more forward-thinking hildalgos, fildalgos, caballeros and clergymen decided to stay in hopes of improving their position. Those who left were mainly comprised of the ones who had oppressed the people and the native inhabitants. One Spanish official who elected to stay was Juan de Oñate (former governor of the territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico), whose good relations with the Pueblo people enabled the transition from Spanish to American rule to take place with little or no difficulty.

              Once the civil administration teams were in place, certain changes were made almost immediately. The first of these was the abolition of the practice of Encomienda (forced labor), whereby a certain person in each territory was granted the right to use the labor of a specified number of individuals from the native community; these people having the legal status of wards of the Spanish crown. All of the Encomienderos’ laborers were emancipated and given the means to work for themselves; if landlords wanted to retain their labor, they had to enter into fair contracts with their workers and pay them a proper wage. Secondly, the practice by the missions of forcibly converting the natives to Catholicism was outlawed. Only the most conservative and hidebound of the bishops and other Mission authorities objected to this; they fully realized that, under the new government, changes were coming and that it was useless to resist them.

              One of the most important tasks of the new administration was to conduct a census throughout the new territory, in order to gain an appreciation of just how many people were living there. This was coupled with a close examination of municipal tax rolls and property records to accurately describe who owned what piece of property and what taxes were paid on it. On the financial side, a strict policy of double-entry bookkeeping was introduced to provide better oversight for government income and expenditures. To no one’s great surprise, the main opposition to these policies came from those who could be best described as venal and corrupt. These individuals were among the first to avail themselves of the opportunity to take their personal property and depart without let or hindrance; estates which were abandoned in this manner escheated to the civil authority and were held for later re-distribution.

              One program that did meet with near-universal acclaim was medical outreach. Everyone in the territory (regardless of status or origin) was given a comprehensive medical examination; their injuries and illnesses were attended to, and everyone received a comprehensive series of vaccinations. This last item was the #1 priority among the medical staff because of their knowledge that, in the original history, the majority of the region’s indigenous population had been wiped out by such European diseases as smallpox, typhus and diphtheria (among others).

              Forwarned is Forearmed
              Date: May 4th, 1610
              Location: London, the Palace of Whitehall
              Time: mid-morning

              Over the last several months, Ambassador Boden has taken to having regular meetings with King James I in order to know what is going on in England. On this particular day, the Ambassador is driven to the palace of Whitehall by coach for another one of these meetings. After arriving, the ambassador is shown to the king’s council chamber and formal greetings are exchanged.

              Ambassador Boden doffs his hat and says “I give you good day, your majesty.” The king replies “hail and well-met, milord ambassador. How goes it with you and yours this morning?”

              “Well enough, your majesty.” A moment or two passes, then the ambassador says “your majesty, I have a message for your consideration from the President of the United States. He has asked me to tell you that, pursuant to the conversation which I had with your majesty at the tournament on the 24th of March, the lands in the province of Massachusetts have been set aside and are waiting for such settlers as your majesty chooses to send. With this in mind, I have sent invitations to the leaders of the several separatist groups and asked them to come to the embassy so that I can discuss my government’s proposal with them.”

              “Indeed, sir. We charge you with the responsibility of keeping us informed as to what develops with those men.”

              “Of course, your majesty. There is one other thing I would discuss with you...”

              “What might that be, your excellency?”

              “Your majesty knows full well that I and my people are from the future yet to come. Since we came back to what we had previously called the past, our presence has caused history to turn onto a new track; one that is largely unknown. However, certain great & momentous events will still happen unless steps are taken to avert them.”

              A curious look cross the king’s face as he replies “Do I presume correctly that there is something that your excellency seeks to prevent?”

              “Yes, your majesty. In the future that was, your majesty’s City of London was largely destroyed in a great fire which began in a bakery on Pudding Lane just after midnight on Sunday, September 2nd, 1666. Despite valiant efforts by the people of that neighborhood and parish constables, the fire soon went out of control. Between September 2nd and September 5th, 13,200 houses were burned ; along with 87 parish churches, the cathedral of St. Paul and most of the buildings housing London’s city authorities.”

              A look of shock crosses the king’s face as he replies “was the cause of the fire ever discovered?”

              “No, your majesty; it wasn’t. Contributing factors to the scale of the disaster were the overcrowded nature of the city itself, the materials used in buildings (thatched roofing, wattle & daub walls, etc), haphazard construction methods and various enterprises operating inside the city limits illegally (foundries, smithies & glaziers) plus a severe drought which had been in effect since November, 1665.”

              “Your excellency, pray tell what prevention can be had to avert such a catastrophe?”

              “Your majesty, the city was subsequently rebuilt with wider streets, open & accessible wharves along the Thames River, no houses blocking access to the river and clay water pipes to replace those made from ash wood. Perhaps, most importantly, all buildings required to be made from brick & stone. From now until that time is the space of twoscore ten and six years; more than enough time to make the necessray improvements. If these are done, perhaps yet another disaster might be averted...”

              “What new calamity is this, your excellency?” says the king with a crestfallen look on his face.

              “I am speaking of the Plague Year, which lasted from 1665 to 1666. This outbreak was called the ‘Great Plague’ because it was the last such occurrence in a series that started in June, 1499. Most recently, your majesty will certainly recall the outbreak in 1603; this one taking some 30,000 lives. Other outbreaks before the year of the Great Plague are the one in 1625 (which took 25,000 lives) and the one in 1636 (which took 10,000 lives).”

              “Verily, it seems that the Angel of Death was let lose in those times.”

              “That is one way of thinking of it, your majesty. However, that was not the case. In the original history, men of science discovered that the plague’s causative agent was a bacteria called ‘Yersinia Pestis’; this bacteria being transmitted to people by the bites of infected rat fleas. Conditions for the spread of the disease were aggravated by the overcrowded nature of London and lack if public sanitation. If measures were put into place to clean up the city, provide clean drinking water and, most improtantly, getting rid of the rats and denying them places in which to live, this would go a very long way towards seeing that those future plagues don’t break out.”

              The look on King Charles I’s face brightens considerably when he hears thius, so he replies “your excellency, we will consult with Sir William Harvey and others of our most learned doctors and men of science on the practicability of your suggestions. We doubt not that they will find them full of favor. Sir William tells us that, ever since your excellency gave him those medical books and urged that the knowledge and practices therein be adopted, the rates of childbed fever, gaol fever and other diseases have decreased most spectacularly.”

              “Your majesty’s kind words are most gratefully accepted. For the rebuilding effort, my government pledges whatever technical and engineering assistance might be needed. Perhaps with London as an example, the other great cities of the world will follow along and do likewise.”

              “Indeed; we shall pray to the Almighty that this be so.”

              Extending One’s Reach
              Date: May 6th, 1610
              Location: U.S Embassy, Manor of La Estrella
              Time: late afternoon

              Ambassador de La Vega is attending to the business of the embassy when a messenger from King Phillip III rides up to the front gates. After verifying his identity to the Marine guards, he is admitted to the embassy and brought to the ambassador’s office. There is a knock on the door; De la Vega looks up and says “yes?”

              The ambassador’s assistant says “I beg your pardon, sir. There is a messenger form King Phillip III here to see you.”

              “Thank you, Steven. Please admit him.”

              The messenger comes into the office, makes a formal bow and says “your excellency, I am Armando Mendoza, in service to His Most Catholic Majesty. The king personally charged me with the task of coming here to tell you that the King and the Royal Council have met to debate your government’s proposal to lease certain territories from the throne; namely Guantanamo Bay on the Isla de Cuba, the Plains of Lajes on the Island of Terceira in the Azores and on the shores of the Bay of Cadiz near Rota, Spain. After much discussion with the council, His Most Catholic Majesty has decided to grant your government those leases. The terms are that each lease will cost 50,000 pesos de ocho, to be paid on a yearly basis.”

              Ambassador de La Vega claps his hands in enthusiasm and says “thank you for bringing me that news, Senor Mendoza. My staff will see to your refreshment before you return to El Escorial; now, if you will please excuse me, I must communicate this matter to my government.” Mendoza bows once again, says “I am your excellency’s servant” and withdraws. Then, de La Vega calls for his assistant and says “Steven, go to the communications section and send a message to Secretary Kerrey’s office. Tell him that the Spanish have finally gotten around to granting the U.S. those leases for Guantanamo Bay, Lajes and Rota. The cost for each lease is 50,000 pesos de ocho per year; I wll secure the leases by making the first payments out of embassy funds.”

              “Very good, sir.”


              • Otis R. Needleman
                Otis R. Needleman commented
                Editing a comment
                As always, mighty good and exciting reading, Mike!

            • #68
              Good update, Mike!

              There's a couple of typos: where it reads "hildalgos, fildalgos", it should be "hidalgos, fidalgos".


              • #69
                I'm not sure I understand what I typo'ed..

                Are you saying that those words should be italicized?


                • #70
                  There is " hild -" and "fild-" . There should be "hid-" and "fid-". From "fijo d'algo" - fidalgo (Portuguese. ,Galician) and hidalgo ( Castillian).


                  • #71
                    Originally posted by Michael Garrity View Post
                    I'm not sure I understand what I typo'ed..

                    Are you saying that those words should be italicized?
                    Originally posted by sigosippy View Post
                    There is " hild -" and "fild-" . There should be "hid-" and "fid-". From "fijo d'algo" - fidalgo (Portuguese. ,Galician) and hidalgo ( Castillian).
                    It's like sigosippy said.


                    • #72
                      From Strength to Strength
                      Date: May 21st, 1610
                      Location: President Chu’s office, Whiteman AFB
                      Time: 9:00 AM

                      While construction is ongoing in New York, Rhode Island and Quebec, President Chu, Vice-President Snyder and the other members of the cabinet are meeting to discuss the pace of construction and the prospects for further expansion. As the construction effort is under the auspices of the Army Corps of Engineers, Secretary Danner gives his report first. After consulting various files, he says “Mr. President, Mr. Vice-President, construction at the three forward operating bases is proceeding according to schedule. Port facilities at each location sufficient to accommodate MV John J. Bolland will be completed in the next three months. Then, Phase Two of the expansion project will be undertaken by using the vessel’s massive carrying capacity to deliver additional personnel, supplies and equipment to each location.”

                      President Chu says “Mr. Secretary, which of the three bases will be the first to undergo further expansion?”

                      “Sir, FOB Hope in Quebec, as it is closest to MV John J. Bolland’s home port. After that, FOB Newport in Rhode Island and then FOB New York. Each base will receive four visits from the ship, bringing a total of 118,400 tons of cargo to each location.”

                      “Excellent. Secretary Salazar, have you come up with a plan in regards to further expansion?” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar replies “yes, Mr. President. I have consulted with Secretary Ruan and Secretary Danner; several locations are under consideration, and I believe that the most applicable are on the banks of the Ohio River between the former locations of Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. The location would be called ‘Joint Base Ohio’ and serve as a location from which expansion will take place into the territory that formerly comprised the two states. As at FOB Hope in Quebec, construction crews will be composed of U.S. Army Engineers; they and their equipment will be inserted via parachute and their first task will be to construct an airfield to allow for follow-on deliveries of additional supplies, personnel and heavy construction equipment by aircraft. Once the airfield is in operation, large deliveries can be made by barge down the Mississippi River and up the Ohio River.”

                      “Very good, Mr. Secretary. What other locations are under consideration?”

                      “Mr. President, the next base will go in Ontario; this one to be called FOB Sudbury. This location was chosen because of the future need for the mineral deposits in the Sudbury Basin (principally nickel, copper, gold and platinum-group metals). Last but not least is a three-pronged project to aid in the development of Wisconsin. This first part of this will be FOB Milwaukee, to be set up on that city’s former location. This part of the project will be handled by private contractors and will be aided considerably that equipment deliveries of all sizes can be made by ship across Lake Superior from Michigan. The second and third locations will be in the west and northwestern parts of Wisconsin, where contractors from Minnesota will be tasked with setting up bases south of Duluth and east of St. Paul. As with FOB Sudbury, the mineral resources of Wisconsin will be critical for the future economic development of the United States.”

                      “Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Gentlemen, I now believe that it is time to start planning the construction of a new Panama Canal. Though we are able to establish bases on the West Coast by air, the nation’s capacity to develop California, Oregon and Washington (as well as expanding across the Pacific) will be severely hampered unless a reliable means of maritime transportation can be achieved; this would be in addition to establishing rail links with California. Secretary Ruan, what have your engineers decided?”

                      “Mr. President, after much consultation with the senior staff at Union Pacific, the consensus is that two lines should be set up. The first of these is a continuation of the Overland Route which was cut off at the Nebraska/Wyoming state line by the transition event. This line would go through southern Wyoming, Northern Utah and Northern Nevada; it would then run through what was once Sacramento and end up at San Francisco Bay. The second line is the South-Southwestern Route; this was part of the Southern Pacific system and was also cut off by the transition event. The new route will extend from the end of the tracks in southeastern Kansas, through the Oklahoma Panhandle, northwestern Texas and northeastern New Mexico. When the track reaches the New Mexico/Texas state line, another forward operating base will be established at the former location of El Paso and the line will continue into Arizona (where it will run through the locations of Tucson, Phoenix and Yuma before crossing into southern California and ending in San Diego).”

                      “Excellent. Ladies & gentlemen, in other matters, I am pleased to report that the construction of the new capitol building in Washington, FD is well-ahead of schedule. This and other buildings in the district will be available for occupancy in the next six months.”

                      President Chu’s announcement causes a stir of excited conversation to run around the conference table. Secretary Kerrey speaks up and says “Mr. President, that is certainly welcome news. It will come as a powerful indicator to the people that affairs are getting back to normal.”

                      “Well-said, Mr. Secretary; well-said indeed.”

                      Next to speak is Secretary Ruan, who says “Mr. President, in regards to the new Panama canal, I am rather familiar with the history of the original construction project. We’ll certainly be able to avoid the threats to the health and safety of the construction crews because we know what mistakes were made in the original history and what was done in response. In terms of lock sizes, I have it in mind to specify that the locks be able to accommodate ships of any size; up to and including a length of 1,400' and a beam of 240'. This will avoid the problems that the original canal had when ships of ‘post-panamax’ sizes began to be built. As for the route, the original one will be followed.”

                      Elsewhere across the northern plains, the new Corps of Discovery is three weeks out from its former bivouac at Fort Mandan, North Dakota. In that time, the expedition has made good progress; averaging 12-15 miles per day. As of the present date, the Corps has advanced a total of 270 miles by following the south bank of the Missouri River, then crossing the Yellowstone River. They are now encamped in the vicinity of where the town of Wolf Point, Montana would be located.

                      After the camp was set up, Mike Garrity joined Jo Faulkner and others in riding the perimeter and scouting out the approaches so that nothing and no one could approach the camp without being noticed. In order to cover more ground, the scouts divided themselves into pairs; while out riding, Garrity and Faulkner drew their reins while on top of a low rise and paused to take in the scenery around them. Garrity stood tall in the saddle, took out his binoculars and used them to do a sweep of their surroundings. Seeing nothing, he sits back down and returns the binoculars to their case.

                      Faulkner turns to Garrity and says “Mike, have you given any thought to what you want to do after the Corps of Discovery goes back home?”

                      “Actually, I have. The first thing I want to do is to go and see my parents in Clive, Iowa. They’re both retired now; Dad was the assistant state medical examiner and he still pinch-hits for the regular M.E whenever he’s not available. Mom was a social worker, and she keeps busy by helping out with the local relief society. I’m really looking forward to this, because it so happened that the rest of the family got left behind when the transition event happened.”

                      Jo sighs and says “you’re lucky, Mike; at least you’ve got someone to go back to. Me? I have nobody. I’m from Dothan, Alabama and my entire family was left behind when the transition event came along and scrambled the deck.”

                      “I’m sorry to hear that, Jo. You’re more than welcome to come along with me and visit my parents if you like; they’d certainly be glad to have the extra company.” Faulkner squares her shoulders and replies “thanks, Mike. That means a lot to me. What do you want to do after the visit?”

                      “Well, now that you ask, I want to set up my own expedition to Colorado; get a full section of land in what would have been Colorado Springs and set up a trading post. To do this, I’ll need money. To get it, I’ll file a claim on some of the land where those gold deposits we found while out with the geologists a while back…”

                      “Oh, yeah. I remember those.”

                      “I’ll work the deposits for a couple of years, then sell out and use the wherewithal to set up my expedition; essentially, I’ll be founding Colorado Springs.” Faulkner perks up when she hears Mike’s plans and says “wherever you want to go, count me in.”

                      “You got it, Jo.”

                      Reaching Out
                      Date: May 28th, 1610
                      Location: various
                      Time: various

                      At long last, it has been decided by President Chu to formally establish diplomatic relations with both the Ottoman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire (the second polity neither being holy, Roman or much of an empire). In the case of the HRE, it was also decided not to wait until January, 1612 to establish the embassy.

                      To this end, a number of vessels will be assembled in Mobile Bay, including the Navy’s newest warship (the destroyer USS Basilone), the cruiser USS Columbia and the Wichita-class AOR USS Wichita; which mission will be their first overseas deployment. USS Columbia will also tow a pair of ocean-going barges which will be transporting all of the necessary supplies and equipment to set up the embassy compounds. Given the location, the embassy’s security element will be a full Marine rifle company. It will be supported by four LAV-25A2s, eight Peacekeeper ASVs and 16 M1151 up-armored HMMWVs. The man in charge of this part of the expedition is Dr. Michael C. Low from Iowa State University’s History Department.

                      As an afterthought, it was decided to combine the mission to the Holy Roman Empire with the one to the Ottoman Empire. The embassy to the HRE will be situated in Hamburg, as this city is a thriving port with direct access to the North Sea via the River Elbe. The main vessels assigned to this embassy will be a pair of Hazard-class destroyer escorts, while the secondaries will be two Dvora-class riverine patrol craft; each of these smaller boats is heavily-armed for its size, with a Mk96 Mod 0 mount forward (carrying a 25-mm Busmaster autocannon and a 40-mm Mk-19 automatic grenade launcher), a pair of M-2 .50-caliber MGs on a powered twin mount aft and four M240B .30-caliber machineguns (two each on the port & starboard sides). The mission will be headed by Professor Jeremy Best, also from Iowa State University; it will be protected by two platoons of Marine riflemen and have vehicular support in the form of four Peacekeeper ASVs and eight M1151 HMMWVs.

                      Each embassy will be as self-sufficient as possible, with generous stocks of fuel, equipment, rations, ammunition, spare parts, wind turbines & solar panels for the generation of electricity, a complete water-purification setup, a very well-equipped medical section and a satellite communications station.

                      In other matters, now that King Phillip III has agreed to the U.S’ leasing of the territory at Guantanamo Bay, the plains of Lajes in the Azores and a section of the shoreline on the Bay of Cadiz near Rota, Spain, SecDef Danner consults with the secretaries of the Air Force and the Navy and decides that, in order to facilitate the construction of these bases, a pair of Trenton-class LPDs and a pair of Maricopa-class LSVs will have to be built. Once plans for the bases have been finalized, they will be submitted to President Chu for his consideration and approval. As intended, Rota will host a squadron of four destroyers, a squadron of eight C-130 transport aircraft and six maritime patrol aircraft; one of its major tasks will be to support air operations in Europe. This will be of great importance, because the State Department’s long-term plans for expanding diplomatic relations to other countries includes an embassy in Russia.

                      By way of comparison, Lajes will be an Air Force base with only those port facilities necessary to supply it. Tenant squadrons will be two each of A7-D Skyraiders and P-61 Black Widows, a refueling squadron and an air transport squadron. The base’s runways and parking aprons will be capable of accommodating any aircraft in the U.S. inventory; up to and including the C-17 transport and the B-52 & B-2 strategic bombers.

                      Last but not least is Guantanamo Bay. Unlike the original facility (which was restricted to the lower bay), this base will include the entirety of the upper and lower bays. It will be a joint Navy, Coast Guard & Air Force installation, with maritime patrol aircraft, C-130 transports, a squadron of eight Lincoln-class patrol gunboats, a squadron of four destroyers, two high-endurance Coast Guard cutters, four medium endurance cutters and smaller support craft.

                      Date: June 2nd, 1610
                      Location: U.S. Embassy, St. James Palace
                      Time: early afternoon

                      Among the first notable separatists to respond top Ambassador Boden’s invitation are John Robinson, William Brewster, John Carver and Robert Cushman. They arrive at the embassy by coach on the afternoon of June 2nd and are personally greeted by the ambassador himself, who says “I give you good day, gentlemen. If you will all please come with me, I will tell you why I asked to see you.”

                      Ambassador Boden takes the four men to the embassy’s council hall on the 1st floor of St. James Palace, where he bids the take their seats. Being the most senior among the four (by virtue of his experience in the service of William Davison and as postmaster of the Town of Scrooby in Nottinghamshire), William Brewster speaks up first and says “your excellency, when I and my fellows received your invitation to visit, I didn’t quite know what to make of it.” The ambassador replies “Mr. Brewster, gentlemen, the reason why I asked to see you here today is that I and my government know full-well of the troubles that you are having with the Church of England; and that you are all at variance with several of the church’ practices and beliefs.”

                      “Aye sir, you have the right of it. For myself, I believe that the Church of England is in dire need of reform. Not surprisingly, my views were not well-received by the authorities; as a consequence of which, I was arrested in 1607 when I tried to leave England for Holland. I had hoped to settle there because of that country’s more tolerant views. I and my followers again attempted to leave England in 1608; this time, we were stopped with the authorities confiscated the ship we had purchased in order to carry us away. So, we are here…”

                      “Mr. Brewster, all that you said is already known to me. I spoke to the king some little time ago and said that my government set aside lands in a province called ‘Massachusetts’; these lands being for the use of sects such as yours. The king is willing to let you, your fellows and any who follow you depart thereto without let or hindrance..” This pronouncement causes a few moments of excited discussion between Brewster and the others; shortly thereafter, he exclaims “Praised be God in high heaven; this news is most wonderful in our eyes.”

                      “I thought you might receive this news in such a fashion, Mr. Brewster. I am also authorized to tell you that my government will underwrite the costs of your expedition, such funds coming from the embassy’s purse. All that the king desires is that whatever settlements you establish maintain due regard of and submission to the laws of England.”

                      “Your excellency, I and my companions have never sought to challenge the king’s authority; only to change those practices of the Church of England we find to be unhealthy. We will accept your generous offer but, a thought strikes me just now. What be the price of your government’s aid in this matter?”

                      “Mr. Brewster, it is but this. There are tribes of natives already inhabiting the regions where you will be going to settle. I strictly charge you that, in all dealings that you have with the natives, they are to be treated with decency, honor and respect. They are not to be forced to change their ways; any conversions they do must be strictly on a voluntary basis and all treaties that will hereafter signed with them are to be kept to the very spirit and letter of the law. If this is done, all will be well and good. Should my government hear that the natives have been abused in any way, shape or form, the aid will be withdrawn and my government will act on the side of the natives. Is this clearly understood?”

                      “Your excellency, after the privations I and my companions have had to endure of late, what you and your government ask is but a small price to pay. May I ask where the first settlement will be located?”

                      “It will be sighted at a location called Plymouth, on the east coast of Massachusetts. My staff will provide maps and charts showing the location, and my government will take steps to see that your colony has a proper foundation. After this, future settlements will be situated wherever you desire; bearing in mind that cordial relations must be maintained with the natives at all times. If for some reason they don’t want there to be a settlement at a particular location, then you must go elsewhere.”

                      “Aye, your excellency. We will mark your words and keep them well.”

                      The meeting concludes, then Brewster and the others return to their homes. It is not very long at all before word of what the American government is offering spreads to the separatist communities all throughout England. Almost immediately, preparations begin to be made. The first two ships to be hired are the Mayflower of Harwich (captained by Cristopher Jones) and the Speedwell (captained by Thomas Blossom). The former vessel has a burden of 180 tons, is square-rigged and beak-bowed; with three masts and a spiritsail in the bow; the latter vessel is a pinnace of some 60 tons displacement. Other vessels that the separatists are looking to hire have already been to North America and back again; these are the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery (all three vessels having been the ones to transport colonists to Virginia in 1607.


                      • #73
                        Broadening the Horizons
                        Date: June 16th, 1610
                        Location: various
                        Time: various

                        Now that civil affairs in Minnesota have settled down in the wake of the second transition event, Governor Dayton confers with Interior Secretary Salazar and SecDef Danner and decides that it is tiem for the state to aid the expansion of the United States by constructing forward operating bases in the territories that formerly comprised the states of North Dakota, South Dakota and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario. This expansion project will be a joint project between the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota National Guard.

                        In North Dakota, the base will be located just to the west of the Minnesota state line, near what would have been the city of Fargo in the history that was. In South Dakota, the base will be located on the former site of Sioux Falls. In regards to the bases in Canada, it was decided that the one in Manitoba will be located just south of the site of Winnipeg. For Ontario, the base will be on the former site of Thunder Bay. All of these bases will be set up overland via the use of convoys of trucks. Once they are in operation, it will be the task of the crews onsite to build airfields capable of handling heavy transport aircraft. Concurrently, highway and railroad links with these locations will be established.

                        In the case of Michigan, Governor Snyder consults with the Secretaries of the Interior and Defense, as well as various officials in the state government. After much discussion, he decides that three forward operating bases will be constructed. The first one will be in northeastern Wisconsin, near the former location of the town of Marinette. The second base will be on the other side of the old border opposite Sault Ste-Marie, while the third base will be on the former site of Windsor, Ontario. As with the bases to be set up by Minnesota, these will be established by truck with airfields, highways and railroad links to follow.

                        In other matters, efforts to design a workable nuclear reactor to power submarines are on-going. The design team is composed of people from the nuclear power industry throughout the six states, retired Navy personnel with nuclear power experience (who were either living in the six states or caught up by the transition events), plus faculty from the nuclear engineering programs at the University of Missouri, Kansas State University, the University of Nebraska and Iowa State University. When the second transition even happened, the design team was joined by Nuclear Engineering faculty from the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan. The ultimate goal is to produce a copy of the S8G reactor, formerly manufactured by General Electric.

                        In reviewing the status of the U.S. Navy’s nascent submarine program, SecDef Danner decides that it is necessary for the Navy to have a new class of submarine that will be powered by conventional diesel engines and have a secondary armament of guns in addition to torpedoes; the reason for this is that torpedoes aren’t exactly the most efficient way of destroying wooden-hulled vessels. After some consideration, it was decided to go with a copy of the Tench-class boat. Instead of ten torpedo tubes, the new Tench-class will have four tubes in the bow and two in the stern; the total torpedo loadout will be reduced to 24 weapons from 28. To further extend the range of the Tench-class, the room and weight that would have been taken up by the addtional four tubes and four torpedoes will be given over to increasing the capacity of the fuel tanks. In regards to the gun armament, there will be a 5"/25 gun forward of the conning tower and a 3"/50 gun aft; each of these guns will be on wet mounts. Additionally, there are two 25-mm autocannons on conning tower platforms (one each, fore & aft; also on wet mounts). Plus, there are four pintle mounts (two on either side of the conning tower) that can accommodate M-240B medium machineguns, M-2 .50-caliber heavy machineguns and Mk-19 40-mm automatic grenade launchers.

                        Meeting and Greeting
                        Date: June 18th, 1610
                        Location: U.S Embassy, London
                        Time: 9:00 AM

                        By previous arrangement with Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, Ambassador Boden sets off in his private coach towards Arundel Castle. Purely as a matter of prudence, the coach is escorted by ten marines on horseback; there are three more marines in the coach (one as the driver, one riding shotgun and two as the ambassador’s ‘close protection’ detail. Every marine is wearing body armor and is carrying a sidearm; those on horseback are armed with M-4 carbines, while the three in the coach are carrying Saiga 12-gauge automatic shotguns.

                        Arundel Castle is approximately 50 miles from London; the size of the ambassadorial party and the conditions of the road are such that the trip takes the better part of the next eight hours. The party arrives at Arundel Castle just after 5:00 PM, and Ambassador Boden alights from the coach to find the Earl himself waiting to greet him. Thomas Howard is the 21st Earl of Arundel, having only succeeded to the title in 1604 after the accession of King James I. His father Phillip Howard (the 20th Earl of Arundel) lost the title in 1589 after he was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Queen Elizabeth for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith. Previously, the Earls of Arundel were also style the Dukes of Norfolk. However, this title is currently in abeyance after Thomas Howard (the current holder’s grandfather) 4th Duke of Norfolk was executed for treason in 1572 (after scheming to take the hand of Mary, Queen of Scots in marriage). The ducal title isn’t due to be restored to the family for another 50 years.

                        “Good afternoon, your lordship. I thank you for your courtesy in agreeing to this visit.” Earl Howard replies “the honor is all mine, your excellency. Pray tell what brings you here?”

                        “Purely a matter of my own curiosity, sir. I wanted to come and see for myself what Arundel Castle used to look like during its ‘operational’ period, and to meet the current holder of the Earldom. You see, the castle and the title still exist in the time I came from, and are still held by the family. In the centuries between now and the future that was, the castle underwent many alterations, and I am pleased to see how things used to be.”

                        Earl Howard raises an eyebrow and replies “say you so, your excellency? Well, this wants talking at length. Do please come inside; my servants will see to the provision of quarters for you and your men. For now, let us proceed to the Great Hall; I’ve a pitcher of mulled wine that’s been waiting upon your arrival…”

                        “Thank you, your lordship; I’ll be pleased to accept your gracious hospitality.” To the NCOIC and the other members of the escort detail (except for the two close protection men), Ambassador Boden says “you and the men are dismissed to quarters until dinnertime.”

                        GySgt Scheidler snaps to attention, salutes and replies “sir, aye aye, sir.”. Just then, several of the Earl’s servants arrive to show the marines to their quarters. While this is going on, Earl Howard shows Ambassador Boden and his two attendants into the castle’s Great Hall. Here, there is a fire burning in the main fireplace, while there is a nearby sideboard with a pitcher of mulled wine and two silver goblets. As a mark of respect for his distinguished visitor, the Earl pours Ambassador Boden a goblet of wine with his own hand. In turn, the Ambassador raises his goblet in salute and says “to your lordship’s very good health.” The toast is quickly returned, then the two men take their seats and begin to talk. The first question that Earl Thomas asks is “what does your excellency know of the castle’s history?” Ambassador Boden replies “sir, though I have never visited Arundel before today, I am familiar with the history of the castle from the time when it was founded by Roger de Montgomery in 1068; the manor and lands of Arundel had been granted to him by King William I as a reward for having kept the Duchy of Normandy safe while the king was about his business here in England. The castle’s most prominent feature (the motte) dates from this time. It was constructed on de Montgomery’s order by first digging the central dry moat, then heaping up the excavated earth to form the mound itself. I will point out that the stone shell keep is not the original construction. What existed there in the first place was a simple timber hall, surrounded by a log palisade. It was only in the year 1138 that William d’Albini II ordered the construction of the shell keep. It is of particular interest that Arundel’s motte is a design feature shared by Winsdor Castle and Warwick Castle. Though Warwick itself dates from the year 914 (when an Anglo-Aaxon Burh was established in the vicinity by Ethelfleda, daughter of King Alfred the Great), the motte is part of the Norman fortifications dating from 1068."

                        "Your Excellency's knowledge of the castle's history is simply amazing. Prithee, can you tell me what the future portends for myself and my family?" Ambassador Boden shakes his head regretfully and replies "I wish that I could do that, sir. I I were to do so, this might lead to your lordship's making decisions that you otherwise would not have. I will say this, however. The Howards still hold Arundel Castle in the future that I and my people came from, four hundred years and more from now."

                        I understand. What of England, then? Does the realm still satnd in the future that you speak of?"

                        "Indeed it does, your lordship. In fact, the monarch is Queen Elizabeth, Second of the name and very well-regarded the world over."

                        Getting There
                        Date: June 18th, 1610
                        Location: Great Falls, Montana
                        Time: 9:00 AM local time

                        After the New Corps of Discovery left their bivouac near Wolf Point, Montana, the expedition set upon a course that was west-by-southwest; the objective being the location of what would be Great Falls, Montana. Between May 21st and today, the expedition averaged just about 13 miles per day. Of course, the rate of progress could have been much faster; but there were side trips and frequent stops to explore the surrounding territory.

                        At 9:00 AM, the expedition’s outriders (Mike Garrity, Joanne Faulkner and others) reach the vicinity of Great Falls; what they see is a natural scene of unmatched beauty, Though they are nearly three miles away from the Missouri River, they can see the immense clouds of mist and spray rising into the sky from the Great Falls as if it were the smoke from a large fire. A sure sign that Garrity and the others were approaching the Great Falls was the rumbling of the water as it poured over the top; from off in the distance, it sounded very much like a continuous roll of thunder. From reading Meriweather Lewis’ original account penned in June, 1805, Garrity and Faulkner know that the Great Falls spans a distance of some 900’ and rises to a height of 80’.

                        Upon arriving at the site of the Falls, the outriders pause for a moment to admire the awe-inspiring view. Then, they ride upstream for a distance of ten miles in order to locate and document the other four waterfalls. In order from downstream to upstream, the first is Horseshoe Falls (also known as Crooked Falls), measuring 19’ high. The next is Rainbow Falls, which the second-largest of the five (measuring 44’ high). Following this are Colter Falls (the smallest of them all at just 6’ high) and Black Eagle Falls (at 26’5” high). After visiting the other four waterfalls, Mike Garrity, Joanne Faulkner and the others head back downstream to the Great Falls. Before Faulkner heads out to bring the rest of the Corps of Discovery from their temporary rest stop seven miles away, Garrity says “have you noticed that we’re being watched?”

                        Faulkner replies “sure have, Mike; ever since we first got here. Any idea who they are?”

                        “Well, they’re on foot. If memory serves me right, they should be some of the local Peigan Blackfeet tribe. These people migrated westwards from their original territory in about the year 1600 and pushed the previous residents (the Salish Indians) back into the Rockies.”

                        “Do you think there’s going to be trouble?”

                        “I certainly hope not. Back in our original history, Meriwether Lewis revisited Great Falls with the intention of exploring the Marias River. Unfortunately, a Piegan Blackfeet raiding party stole half of his horses, meaning that three of Lewis’ men had to stay behind. Later on in April of 1823, Jim Bridger and Major Andrew Henry visited the Falls and were attacked by the Blackfeet. So, I want you to ride hard and have the Expedition come up as quickly as they can; the campsite will be next to Giant Springs.”

                        Joanne nods her head gravely, hefts her Winchester Model 1866 rifle and says “I’m on horseback and the Blackfeet are on foot. There’s no way in in hell that they’re going to catch me.” She claps her horse’s flanks with her reins and is off in a cloud of dust. In the meantime, Mike Garrity and the rest make their way to Giant Springs as carefully and nonchalantly as possible. Once they arrive, Garrity directs his companions to take up a defensive position until the rest of the Corps arrives. While this is going on, he checks the priming on his Walker Dragoon revolvers, then removes ‘Big Thunder’ & ‘Dastardly Dan’ from their saddle scabbards and lays them out in such a way that he can easily reach them necessary. With ‘Bad Medicine’ in hand, Mike settles down to wait with the others.

                        Relative to the original history, the New Corps of Discovery’s visit marks the first time that human eyes have beheld all five waterfalls in their natural state ever since they were dammed for the generation of hydroelectric power; Black Eagle Dam went up in 1890 and submerged Black Eagle Falls, while Rainbow Dam was constructed in 1910 and submerged Colter Falls. Volta Dam (on top of the Great Falls) was built in 1915. As a consequence of this development, only one of the five waterfalls (Crooked Falls) existed in its natural state. In the here and now, all five waterfalls are in their original condition.

                        After riding hard for the distance of two miles, Joanne Faulkner sees that no one is following her. So, she slows her horse down and rides the rest of the way at a walk. An hour-and-a-half later, she reaches the Corps of Discovery’s temporary camp and immediately seeks out Mike Dodge.

                        “Hello, Joanne. I assume that you, Mike Garrity and the other outriders have located a good place to stop for the next moth...”

                        “We sure have, Mike; It’s at a place called Giant Springs, very near to Great Falls. Garrity wanted me to tell you to bring up the wagon train. However, he also says that we were being watched by the local Piegan Blackfeet the whole time while we were scouting the surroundings. He doesn’t think that there will be trouble, but it’s best to be prepared.”

                        “Thanks for the heads-up, Joanne.” To the rest of the expedition, Mike Dodge calls out loudly “alright people, its time to move out. Strike the tents and hitch up the wagons; I want to be moving in an hour.” Dodge calls out to a member of one of the gun crews and says “Harry, pass the word to the others and have the two mountain howitzers at the head of the column.”

                        “Sure thing, Mike.”

                        One hour later, everything is in readiness. Once again, Mike Dodge stands tall in his saddle and shouts “CORPS OF DISCOVERY, IN COLUMN, FORWARD...HO!!!”


                        • #74
                          Strong Foundations
                          Date: June 24th, 1610
                          Location: various
                          Time: various

                          The pace of construction at FOB Los Angeles, FOB San Diego, FOB Sudbury and Joint Base Ohio is well in hand. As at FOB Hope in Quebec, a contingent of combat engineers and their equipment (along with military police for site security) was parachuted into each location via transport aircraft and set to work in constructing an airfield so that follow-on deliveries of additional personnel, supplies and heavier equipment can be made by cargo aircraft. At FOB Sudbury, the new base is situated on the northwestern shore of Ramsey Lake. Unlike the other three bases, there is no access to Sudbury either by the ocean or rivers. Therefore, everything necessary to expand the base will have to be brought in by air. For Joint Base Ohio, it is by chance that it happens to be located near where Paul Brown Stadium would be in the future that was.

                          Supplying FOB Milwaukee will not be a problem, because it is on the shore of Lake Michigan. There are a number of cargo ships which are too large to fit through the Welland Ship Canal, so it will a matter of refitting one of them to carry equipment, vehicles and other supplies. After due consideration, Secretary Ruan decides on MV John G. Munson. This ship measures 768' long, 72' in the beam and has a carrying capacity of 11,000 tons. While the ship is being modified to carry break-bulk cargo, a wharf capable of handling the vessel will be constructed; as at FOB Newport, FOB New York and all the others, the wharf will have a storage yard and access roads.

                          To support construction efforts at overseas locations such as Guantanamo Bay and Lajes, ther Secretary of the Navy authorizes the construction of two Trenton-class LPDs and two Maricopa-class LSVs. When the ships have been completed, Guantanamo Bay has first priority in being set up, followed by Lajes and then finally by Rota, Spain.

                          To aid in the construction of the base at Lajes, Ambassador de la Vega gets permission from King Phillip III to hire as many of the local population on Terceira who are willing and put them to work in clearing out and smoothing the ground on the northeastern shore of the island. The location chosen is where Lajes Air Base would have been located in the future; this way, the new base will be finished and operational that much sooner.

                          On the civilian side of things, there is a need to build ships capable of delivering cargo to the ports of Europe. Given that these ports have no facilities that can handle 21st century-size cargo ships, it was decided in October of 1609 to revive the ‘Lighter-Aboard-Ship (LASH) from the 1950s. The project was handed off from the Department of Defense to the Department of Transportation, and a contract was issued to the Mobile Bay Shipyard to build four LASH vessels. Each of these ships measures 820' long, 100' in the beam and has a draft of 35'. They can hold up to 75 lighters; these are unpowered barges that are 61'4" long, 31'3" wide and have a draft of just 8'5". The cargo capacity of a lighter is 380 tons, and it requires external power to move. To help maneuver the ship and the lighters carried aboard, each vessel has a pair of small tugs carried in the well deck. Given the present state of affairs, the LASH carriers are armed for defense with two 3"/50-caliber deck guns and four .50-caliber machineguns. In terms of completion, it is anticipated that the four LASH carriers will be ready for use by December, 1610.

                          Meanwhile back in England, five ships (the Mayflower, Speedwell, Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery) have been chartered by the Separatists headed by William Brewster, John Robinson and the others. The ships are gathered in the port of Southampton, and preparations for the expedition are well under way. When Brewster’s people got word that King James would allow them to leave England, it was received with great enthusiasm. Already, stocks of food, clothing, farm implements, seeds and tools have been laid in; more is being purchased all the time. This materiel is carefully stored aboard ship in anticipation of a quick departure.

                          Back in the United States and after consultation with President Chu, Secretary of State John Kerrey decides to support the establishment of the Massachusetts Bay Colony by requesting that Secretary of Defense Danner order that a contingent of Seabees from FOB Newport proceed to the future location of Plymouth so they can harvest, shape and stockpile timber in anticipation of the colonists’ arrival. This way, houses and barns can be built as soon as possible. Additionally, a team from FOB New York will sail up the Connecticut River towards its confluence with the Westfield River, then follow the Westfield River until it joins the Little River in what would later be called Hampden County. Here, they will establish a settlement called Westfield (in honor of the original).

                          Elsewhere in North America, FOB Los Angeles is sited at the former location of Los Angeles International Airport. Given the history of earthquake activity in the area, all buildings at FOB Los Angeles and FOB San Diego will be so constructed as to be able to resist damage from earth tremors. For FOB San Diego, its location was chose with an eye towards being the centerpiece of U.S expansion across the Pacific Ocean; therefore, the base will have two separate locations. The first of these is on the shores of San Diego Bay, directly opposite the entrance to a passage known as the ‘Spanish Bight’. The second location is on North Island, and FOB San Diego’s will be located here.

                          In addition, Secretary Ruan has been instructed by President Chu to give priority towards the construction of a rail link between the end of the Southern Pacific tracks in southeastern Kansas and southern California; already, a staging base has been constructed on the Kansas/Oklahoma line west- southwest of the town of Liberal (the presence of the Mid-America Regional Airport just west of the town helps to facilitate rapid deliveries of men and supplies). From here, the prospective route will run across the Oklahoma Panhandle (through the location of what would have been the town of Tyrone, Oklahom), northeastern Texas and down through eastern New Mexico; the first objective will be to set up a base in what would later be known as El Paso. Then, the rail line will run across southern Arizona and into southern California. When the tracks reach San Diego, the line will continue on to FOB Los Angeles.

                          Date: July 5th, 1610
                          Location: FOB Mobile, Alabama
                          Time: various

                          Ever since May 28th (when it was decided to proceed with the diplomatic missions to the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire), ships, men and materiel have begun to be assembled to carry out the mission. The fleet in Mobile Bay consists of the cruiser USS Columbia, destroyer USS Basilone, the Wichita-class AOR USS Wichita, the Hazard-class DEs USS Fletcher and USS Simpson, plus two Lincoln-class patrol gunboats and two Dvora-class riverine patrol boats. Muscle for the embassy to Constantinople consists of a full Marine rifle company, four LAV-25A2s, eight Peacekeeper ASVs and 16 M1151 up-armored HMMWVs. For the embassy to the Holy Roman Empire (which will set up in the city of Hamburg), its backup consists of two platoons of Marine riflemen and have vehicular support in the form of four Peacekeeper ASVs and eight M1151 HMMWVs. The ships that will remain on-station in Constantinople are USS Basilone, USS Simpson and the two Lincoln-class patrol gunboats, while those for Hamburg are USS Simpson and the two Dvoar-class riverine patrol boats; each embassy will have air support consisting of two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters fitted with External Stores Support Systems (ESSS); \oOf course, all vehicles and aircraft will have generous supplies of fuel and spare parts.

                          The diplomatic staff consists of Dr. Michael C. Low (Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire), Professor Jeremy Best (Ambassador to the Holy Roman Empire), their aides and assistants. Both men are form Iowa State University, and were specifically chosen for their knowledge of and expertise in the two respective empires.

                          The fleet’s projected date of departure is scheduled for July 12th; while the Marines and sailors personnel assigned are working hard to make sure that everything is in readiness, Dr. Low, Professor Best and their staffs meet in the wardroom aboard USS Columbia to review their respective assignments. Dr. Low speaks first and says “good morning, Jeremy. I hope you and your people are doing well today.”

                          “Good morning, Mike; we certainly are. Ever since President Chu nominated me to be the ambassador to the Holy Roman Empire, I’ve been familiarizing myself with how matters stand ove there as of the present day. Only last year, Rudolf II was forced to give the Bohemian Protestants greater religious liberty in a document called the ‘Letter of Majesty’ (which was granted in 1609); this came about because of difficulties that the Emperor had after the conclusion of the Long War with the Ottoman Empire, which lasted from 1593 to 1606. Matters were further complicated by a revolt in Hungary which lasted from 1604 to 1605; the revolt was only concluded in 1606 by the Peace of Vienna, signed between Rudolf and Prince Stephen Bocksai of Transylvania. Also in 1606, Rudolf signed the Peace of Zsitvatorok with Sultan Ahmed I.”

                          “Well, it certainly sounds like you’re going to have your hands full with Rudolf II and his bunch.”

                          “You’re more right than you know. In the time that we came from, historians and pyschologists confirmed that Rudolf II suffered from bouts of clinical depression (which onoly worsened over time). Additionally, the Emperor’s son Don Julius Caesar d'Austria was a schizophrenic. He died on June 25th, 1609 after suffering the effects of a ruptured ulcer which went untreated. To make matters worse, Don Julius’ schizophrenia violently manifested when he murdered the daughter of a local barber in 1608, disfigured her body and threw it from one of the towers of his castle. After which, Rudolf II imprisoned his son for the rest of his life and became even more withdrawn than he previously was.”

                          “Ouch. I can see where that would present problems. What are you oging to do about it?”

                          “I’ve got two psychologists on my staff, and their input will be valuable as I determine how best to deal with Rudolf II in the normal course of the embassy’s business. Of course, Rudolf won’t be too much of a problem, because he’ll die in January of 1612 from bronhcitis in both lungs and gangrene in both legs. The emperor is due to be succeeded by his brother Matthias, who is (by all accounts) a decent, honorable man.”


                          “How about your own posting, Mike? Do you forsee any difficulties in getting down to it with the Ottomans?”

                          “For one thing, Sultan Ahmed I no longer rules. If you’ll recall, he didn’t react at all well when the U. S Navy punched his fleet in the teeth back in June, 1609. In fact, Ahmed became so angry that he later died from the effects of a stroke.”

                          “So I have heard. Who’s in charge over there?”

                          “The late sultan’s son Mustafa has assumed the throne. However it is not he who rules, but his mother Halime Sultan. You see, Mustafa I developed severe mental problems (probably from living under the constant threat of being executed at any time) after he was imprisoned in the Golden Cage when his older brother Ahmed I took the throne. In former days, it was the custom of the new sultan to execute all of his brothers so that none would seek to threaten his rule. However, for one reason or another, Ahmed I decided to spare his brother’s life. When Ahmed died, Mustafa came to the throne. Halime Sultan is now the real ruler; the power behind the throne, so to speak. I have read the report filed by Ambassador Hamscher in regards to his meeting with her after the death of Sultan Ahmed I. The document relates that the lady is shrewd, intelligent and very capable; if she wasn’t, Sultan Mustafa would have had her killed as soon as he acceded to the throne.”

                          “I see; it looks as if we and our respective staffs have our work cut out for us. Do you have an idea on how long it will take?”

                          “Well, the fleet will be delivering you and your staff to the posting with the Holy Roman Empire. I consulted with the ship’s captain and he says that the distance from Mobile Bay to Hamburg is just under 5,000 nautical miles. If we assume an average speed of 15 knots, this portion of the trip will take two weeks. Of course, the fleet will remain on station until the embassy is set up; afterwards, it’s off to Constantinople, a distance of 3,400 nautical miles. At the same speed of 15 knots, the second phase of the voyage will take 9 ½ days.”