July 20, 1972
Black Rock, NY, NC, CNA
Harold Pickett came to the northwest corner of Edgewood and Massachusetts
Streets. (1) _Edward Allen_, he reminded himself. That's your name now.
He never slipped in such matters so that anyone else could possibly notice.
The only problem he ever had was conditioning himself to think of himself
by a different name within his own thoughts.
There, on that blue bench by the street. The man wearing the orange and
red sunhat. Allen/Pickett had been told to look for a man in such garish
headgear. He himself was wearing what he'd been told: a blue business suit
with a yellow rose in the lapel, and a gray business hat. The bench was
empty otherwise. He sat down. "Nice day for a picnic," he said. Fortunately,
the weather matched the code phrase. It was gorgeous without being too hot
or humid; there was no wind except a gentle breeze.
"But not if you get ants." His seatmate looked over at him. "Ants at a
picnic are unpleasant."
"Edward Allen," he said, offering his hand. The other introduced himself
as John Hanson, but Allen guessed it wasn't his real name either. He was
about fifty, average height and weight, with salt-and pepper hair. Another
man came up, about ten or fifteen years younger, with the look of hired muscle.
"This is Daniel Henry." Allen guessed that was a real name. The implications
were clear: if the USM screwed us over, we'll take care of you, or any other
USM agents in this country.
"My employers are intersted in your organization." The name of the
organization was left unsaid, although they all knew it to be the Samuel
"We are not much now," said Hanson, "only 63 in the Black Rock chapter.
But we, and other private army clubs, can be found throughout the NC, and
Indiana, and some of the Vandalias, but not among the blacks there. They
aren't very recptive to our cause, evn though we've tried to recruit them.
With your aid, though, we can stpe up recruiting, buy more arms, maybe in
a few years, take over the government and make the Revolution succed finally."
_Maybe in a few decades is more like it, and that's optimistic_, Allen
thought but left unsaid. A note from Winston in his information packet
(which he burned after reading it) had made sure he understood that if
fomenting revolution in the CNA was to happen, it'd have to be a very
long-term project. The real aim was simply to sow the seeds of general chaos
and dissent. It had gone on to wish him luck, and let him know this project
was unbelievably blessed by both Moctezuma and Mercator. "We aim to stand
beside you when that time comes. It may be difficult for Mexico to commit
troops without risking an atomic attack from the current government, but we
will provide all the covert support possible. This has been backed at the
highest levels." He left that as it was, for Hanson to assume whichever
faction in the USM government he wished.
"I see." Hanson sounded unimpressed, which made sense, for he hadn't seen
anything substantial yet. That was when Allen calmly left his pack on the
"200,000 CNA pounds for beginnings." The money had been converted into three
different currencies before being deposited into a New York Bank with branches
in Black Rock by Mexicans acting as New Grenadans. Allen himself had taken
the cash out an hour ago. He'd been informed regular deposits would be made
so he could dupply the erstwhile rebels.
"You shall have to show me some of this city someday. I have only seen the
tourist attractions thus far. It lokks like a fine town, and should still
be so after you take control of the land." He looked at his watch - 1:10
PM. "In the meantime, I must find some food; I have not yet had lunch.
North Amercian food is rather bland to us Mexicans, even Anglos like me.
We are used to something spicier."
Hanson laughed uproariously. "Then you are in the right city, my friend!
The rest of the CNA has not yet found our contribution to cooking as it
is only about ten years old, but it is everywhere in Black Rock. The place
that started it is nearby. Go five blocks down Massachusetts, left onto
Fillmore (2), and go one more block. Go into Franklin's Anchor Tavern and
ask for the chicken special. Tell them John Hanson sent you and you'll get
a quarter off the price. As for seeing the life in the city, we shall have
to take you to skaters (3) when the season starts. But for now, you will
be surprised what we can do with a chicken in this town."
1. In OTL, this'd correspond almost exactly with the intersection of Delaware
and Delavan in Buffalo. These are two of the main thoroughfares in Black
2. Milton Fillmore, analog of Millard, was a popular mayor of Black Rock
3. Skaters is the FANTL version of ice hockey. The term refers to the game,
not the participants (they are called skatemen). It's descended from the
same Native game out of Canada, but evolved differently.
Next: more on Black Rock chicken, skaters, and maybe a little something on
who John Hanson really is.