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For All Nails #109:  Strap Your Hands 'Cross My Engines

Somewhere in Hazard County
Maine, NC, CNA
18 August 1974


This was a long way from Yale College, Clarissa Forster 
thought as she gripped Adam's waist more tightly and 
the powerful Hurley-Pugh motowheel [1] barely negotiated a 
tight corner of the dirt logging road.  Yale prided itself 
on offering a comprehensive liberal arts education, 
a preparation for all aspects of adult life.  It was true, 
she supposed, that this fourth consecutive weekend-long 
party with Adam LaDuke was exercising skills she had 
developed in college.  But a night out at Morey's with her 
cohorts from the theatre or the Slavic Chorus [2] could not 
approach a weekend with Yank gangsters when it came to 
chemical challenges to her body.  Morey's did not serve 
raw potato liquor, for example, and its law-abiding 
patrons for the most part eschewed _mota_.

Adam knew how to show a girl a good time, that was for sure.
And he was reliable in his own way, as he had three times 
returned the woman he knew as "Abby Bartlet" to her small 
Millinocket apartment on Sunday in time for her to get some 
sleep and be ready for her secretarial job on Monday morning.  
Though how was to be questioned, as they had certainly been 
in Maine, and were probably in Maine now, but had never 
passed through a marked (much less manned) border crossing 
from or to Nova Scotia [3].  A matter for Clarissa's eventual 
CBI report -- though Nova Scotia was more or less part of the 
CNA in many respects, the authorities _should_ have a better 
idea of who was going in and out of the Confederation proper.

For that matter, Detective-Serjeant Clarissa's report would
also have to include some developments "Abby" had noticed on
her day job.  With the increasing possibility of a Liberal 
victory in the CNA election, and a consequent increase in the
enforcement and severity of clean-water laws there, Great 
Northern Forest Products was getting ready to lend a hand to
its sister firm in Maine.  Now that it seemed (from what she
had overheard on a radio this morning) that the Liberals were
in, she had no doubt that effluent which in reality was going
into the Tory Prince Andrew's River [4] would now (at least on
paper) start flowing into the less-regulated Scottie Penobscot.  
By the time Abby moved on from this job, her alter-ego Clarissa 
would have the goods on the polluters.  The latter's bosses, 
from Roger Gaffney on up, would be overjoyed to have a clean-water 
case to trumpet to the new government.  The one problem for 
Clarissa was to solve the case without getting _herself_ transferred 
into the CBI's chronically understaffed Forensic Accounting Division.  
Probably the best thing to do was to gift-wrap the evidence and then 
have Abby "suggest a friend" as a successor, a secretary who would 
actually be a CBI accountant...

Adam had turned onto a moderately well-paved road and taken the
Hurley-Pugh up to about seventy.  She gave him an harder squeeze.
She literally needed to hang on for dear life, but she was perfectly
happy to wrap herself around his warm male animal body.  There was
nothing feigned in her attraction to Adam, or in their slowly
intensifying kissing and fondling.  Of course she hadn't _slept_ with
him -- why did conventional Tory society automatically assume that
a woman who dressed like Abby (borrowed leather jacket over tight
halter top, shorts, and long boots) put any lower a value on her
virtue?  Clarissa's mother had been an Abby herself, but she had 
played her cards right, married a dentist, and sent a daughter to Yale.  
If this Abby were a real woman instead of a mere cover identity, 
_marrying_ an up-and-coming gangster like Adam would be a definite 
long-term possibility for her, a step up the social ladder though not 
exactly _straight_ upwards.  So like so many women throughout human 
history, she would carefully keep the growing physical intimacy in 
proportion to the growing emotional intimacy, as she considered the future.

And as for Clarissa?  Much as she liked Adam, he would be a step
_downward_ for her, not to mention something of a social liability
in her chosen profession.  Women in the CBI typically retired when
they married, like most professionals.  Perhaps someday she'd meet
a man for whom she could give up her career, but not for a while.
There were worse things than being a career woman for a lifetime, 
if she could face life without children.  It would _really_ be a 
step up the social ladder if she retired as Dame Clarissa -- such a 
thing was not out of the question at all for a CBI agent.  That would 
be something to show off at a Chilton Hall reunion!

Not that she had any hope of ever being the most famous alumna even 
in her year at Chilton, not when her classmate had already visited
outer space.  Naturally a girl's school in Star's Hollow, Connecticut
had revolved around the daughter of Lord Gilmore of Star's Hollow, but
Evie Gilmore had deserved all the attention too, as the star performer
in _nearly_ every field.  As her frequent rival, Clarissa had earned 
Evie's respect and even a measure of her friendship in spite of the 
social gap between them.  And Clarissa was grateful to Evie and her
mother as well, because her favorite aspect of Chilton had been the 
physical education program.

Lady Anne Gilmore and Evie had convinced the board of governors that a 
well-bred young lady should be able not only to ride, read Latin and solve
quadratic equations, but also swim across a small pond, hike ten miles into
a forest and set up camp, or physically discourage an unruly gentleman
caller.  Mr. "Goss" Lewis (Company Serjeant Major, Royal Corps of North
American Marines, Retired) had taught these required subjects with
enthusiasm and expertise, and introduced optional instruction and 
competition in pistol and fencing.  (There had been only one school 
championship Evie had wanted and never won -- Clarissa could not beat
that almost-supernatural eyesight on the pistol range but she managed
to _outfence_ her every time.)  In his off-hours, Serjeant Goss he had 
been delighted to teach young Clarissa both _la savate_ [5] and 
knife-fighting.  If any unpleasantness should develop on this 
assignment, for example, she would have to rely on her hands, feet, 
and the eight-inch blades in each boot, unless a sword should happen 
to be lying around.  Come to think of it, since these Yanks were 
history fanatics, you couldn't necessarily rule _that_ possibility out...

They were turning off the MacAdam onto another wood road.  She hadn't
noticed any road signs for a while.  After about a mile, Adam eased 
the motowheel to a stop, turned, and kissed her hard.  She felt his 
hand on her bare rib under the jacket.  She came up for air.

"So where are we?  Somewhere near the border?" she asked.

"More or less.  I'd rather not say _exactly_ where we are."

"Why not?"

"Well, where we're going next is a bit of a secret.  You see, I 
think it's time you met the General."

Notes:

[1] The British-based Hurley-Pugh Motowheel Works is the FANTL's 
    premiere producer of powered two-wheeled vehicles.  For
    more on OTL's Hurley-Pugh motorcycles, see 
    www.hurley-pugh.co.uk.
    Colonel Hurley-Pugh from FAN #45 is presumably a relative of
    the firm's founders.

[2] In OTL Yale University boasts an excellent 
    Women's Slavic
    Chorus.  Such a group is even more appropriate in the CNA,
    where choral music is dominant and ethnic groups held more
    tightly to old-country traditions.  (Clarissa is not Slavic
    herself but liked the music and aced the competitive auditions.)

[3] Millinocket is in Maine in OTL but in Nova Scotia in the 
    FANTL along with the Penobscot valley.  Hazard County is 
    roughly OTL's Franklin County, around OTL Farmington.  For
    more geographical and other background to this post see FAN 
    #89 and #105.

[4] The Androscoggin, renamed along with many other CNA rivers in the 
    1830's amid wide anti-Indian sentiment.

[5] A French form of kickboxing, developed in both timelines around
    1830.  (See for example
    
    this site from the Cambridge Academy of Martial Arts.)
    Asian cultural influence on the CNA is much smaller than
    that on the OTL USA, and has never extended to Asian martial arts.

Dave MB