August 1, 1942
“The time is midnight in New Orleans, Louisiana. My name is Malcolm Little, broadcasting over the transmitters of Radio Dixie across the continent of North America.”
“I am the voice of free Negroes across the continent. This is Radio Free Africa.”
“My fellow Negroes, Radio Dixie has said that I would be speaking at this hour, and I thank you for staying awake to listen. I am a Negro. I am proud of my heritage. There is nothing wrong with Europeans being equally proud, and I support and celebrate, in particular, President Huey Long, who gave me this chance to be a general, and who gave me this chance to speak at this microphone tonight.”
“Let me make this clear: for every Negro in the Confederate States of America, especially those in the occupied territories, President Long has your best interests and your future at heart. Trust in him as you believe in your future.”
“For my fellow Africans imprisoned in the contiguous borders of the United States of America, these are my first words to you. I was born and raised in the United States. I fled. I fled because, despite kind words, the United States treats you like slaves. Look at yourselves. You are the ones still slaves. Are your Congressmen Negroes? Are your Senators Negroes? Are your Governors Negroes? No! Without exception, all of your leaders are White men, Europeans, men determined to work you to death in their factories and mines. They speak of kindness and benevolence, but they regard you as chattel. You accept your fate, and that is your failure. I was born and raised in the United States, and I saw my mother and father worked to death for pittances called fair wages. My brothers and sisters this cannot continue. This abhorrent rule by slavemasters must end.”
“I fled to New England. In New England, a kind man named John Alden helped me to find my way to the Chesapeake Republic. There I found a nation willing to train and educate me as an officer in their military, not an enlisted man, an officer entrusted with leadership. When the United States invaded that small, peaceful nation without provocation, I fought with my peers through the city streets of Baltimore, against overwhelming odds, for a nation that has given me a chance. I fought with every breath until I was knocked unconscious. And then, after I was saved by good men who believed in me and every other Negro, I was recognized by President Long personally, and he gave me my own Negro unit to defend the rights of our people. That Negro unit has grown from a battalion to an Army, and, after our signal victories at Galveston and Little Rock, we are defending the Texas coast and New Orleans against the full might of the American Army. The Americans possess far more artillery and far more tanks, and their air power is unsurpassed. That does not matter. The courage of Negro infantry is unmatched. The Negro Army stands in defense of New Orleans, and President Long himself has refused to leave his home city. We stand in defiance of the racist invaders of the Confederate States.”
“And, most important, know this—we Negroes, at last, have a land of our own. Not an African continent overrun by colonial masters, not a hopeless and destitute minority status as peons in a White nation, but a land of our own. Just as the Confederate States once granted the American Indians their own territory in the Western part of their nation, President Huey Long has granted our race its own land, the Negro Territory comprising the former states of Louisiana and Mississippi. He has given his own home to our people. We could ask for no more support from any leader. I stand beside President Long, and I fully support him in his mission to defeat these American invaders.”
“My fellow Negroes—my fellow Africans—I, and our thousands of men under arms in and around New Orleans, pledge our lives to preserve this hope for our first chance at freedom.”
“But for those of you behind American lines, and for those of you oppressed in the United States, here is what you must do: assemble the weapons of war. Assemble firearms. If you lack firearms, collect gasoline. If you lack both, have at hand both knives and clubs. Bring ready what you have, and plan how you can use what little you have to disrupt your local government and commerce. Speak with care, for there will be traitors, but ready yourselves for action. In the crucial moment, every contribution, no matter how slight, will contribute to final victory.”
“But most of all, hide your radios. I shall transmit at midnight. Without coordination, we Negroes are nothing. Together, we shall establish our dream of a free home.”
“For tonight, that is all. This is Radio Free Africa. Now music.”
The signal segued into tribal music.
“How was it?” asked Malcolm Little.
President Long stood and offered his hand. “This, son, is why I believed in you. Thank you. Not what I would have said, son, but what needed to be said.”
“Thank you, President Long. Admiral Spruance?”
“Well, good words, Malcolm. But if the Americans get him, John Alden is a dead man.”
August 2, 1942
“Impressive,” said Prince Charles. “Admiral Shaw, you have created quite a command.”
“Lieutenant Commander Allan Carr created this command, Your Majesty,” replied John Shaw. “Look, I take credit wherever I can. He did it.”
“Your Majesty, Admiral Shaw’s planning skills, as well as his sense of urgency, were essential,” said Lieutenant Commander Austin Carr.
“I am sure that both of you are right. Look, Admiral Vaughn has orders for you. I have one more question. What should we name your submarine?”
“Admiral?” said Lieutenant Commander Carr.
“Your Majesty, pardon the impropriety, but after the bombing of Boston, the crew wanted to name her The Queen, and then, after a few days, Killer Queen. I can only relay the thoughts of the crew, Your Majesty. I defer to your wisdom on a correct and proper name…but that is the consensus of our crew.”
“Interesting,” said Prince Charles, smiling, but not happily. “I am…pleased…that you recognized the sacrifice of my mother.”
“The nation shared your loss,” said Lieutenant Commander Carr.
“Thank you. But the name is wrong,” said the Prince.
“What would be better?” asked Admiral Vaughn.
Prince Charles looked off, for a moment or two, into the limited space of a submarine’s overhead. “Revenge,” he said.
The crew behind him cheered.
August 3, 1942
Commander Crandlemire approached Vice Admiral Danforth on the Flag Bridge of the Penobscot. He was smoking his pipe. “Good afternoon, Sir,” he said.
“Good afternoon, Wayne. Isn’t it beautiful?” asked Vice Admiral Danforth.
“The moment. Just look at it. Can you see?”
Wayne Crandlemire looked at the ocean from Vice Admiral Danforth’s perspective. The Central Pacific Ocean, removed from polar influences, was lighter blue than the waters near New England. If one did not look back, one did not see the other five battleships, nor the entire invasion fleet carrying most of the Fifth Division to Nicaragua. From the Flag Bridge, looking only forward, one had a different perspective, one relieved of responsibility and accountability. But the ocean waters were very tranquil and blue.
“Yes, Admiral. Beautiful,” said Commander Crandlemire.
“I’m glad that you can appreciate it,” said Vice Admiral Danforth. “So many officers lack the culture to appreciate art, or good wine, or excellent tobacco.”
“I understand, Admiral. I am not a Yale man, nor a graduate of Harvard.”
“Oh, we know, but don’t sell yourself short, Wayne. Some few can overcome that, with time. Now, why are you here?”
“I just wanted to review with you the challenge we might meet. The Nevada, New York, and Wyoming might sortie from San Diego, and they might have eight cruisers and the Langley in support. We have just these six battleships and light escorts. The asymmetrical battle could cause issues, and I had wanted to discuss it.”
“Wayne, you look too hard to find problems in life,” said Vice Admiral Danforth. “Look out ahead of the Penobscot. Do you see any problems?”
Wayne Crandlemire looked forward, ahead of the bow that was gently cutting its way through the sea. “No, Sir. No problems at this moment, viewed from this bearing.”
“Good man. Wayne, enjoy the afternoon. If problems in life present themselves, we’ll handle them. Until then, we’ll appreciate the day.”
“Yes, Admiral,” said Commander Crandlemire. “Anything else, Sir?”
“No, Wayne. Just relax. We’ll do fine. Dismissed.”
August 4, 1942
“No. What’s your point?” asked Chief McGuire.
“Oh, just telling you what he was thinking,” said Thomas B. Adams, pointing at Vice Admiral Alden.
“We don’t have to put up with this,” said John Alden.
“Complain to my uncle,” replied Thomas B. Adams.
“Very well. You are beautiful, Chief McGuire,” said Vice Admiral Alden.
“I look like %$%%,” replied Chief McGuire. “I still can’t put on my makeup, these khaki shorts look horrible on anybody, and the bags under my eyes could sink the Titanic. This is war. I can’t say that I like it.”
“Yes, but you’re beautiful even without your makeup?” asked Vice Admiral Alden.
“Thank you, Admiral,” said Chief McGuire.
“Doesn’t this prove my point?” asked Commander Adams.
“Sorry, Commander, I don’t see your point,” said Vice Admiral Alden.
“Yes, Admiral. So, enough on the modeling of the Revenge?”
“We don’t have enough to go on. And I’m afraid that’s the same with respect to the issues with our Pacific Fleet—we just don’t know enough. Where are we investing our simulation time?”
“New Orleans, Sir,” said Commander Adams. Things have been pretty…dynamic since Malcolm Little started broadcasting.”
“Do we have any idea of the effect of his broadcasts?”
“Only that the Americans seem determined to break the line now,” said Commander Adams. “They’re bleeding badly against solid defensive positions, and they don’t seem to care. They want to kill General Little.”
“Catherine Rose Hanes, reporting for duty,” said the middle-aged woman in the starched white uniform of a nurse from Massachusetts General Hospital, suddenly standing in the doorway. “This building is a wreck of a cesspool. I advise all of you to leave, with a brief hospital stay for inoculations and observation. I have no idea why I have been ordered here, because I have not been in the military since my service as a young woman in the Great War. But I urge all of you to leave immediately. This is unsanitary beyond insanity.”
“Welcome to the War College,” said Chief McGuire. “Where is your escort?”
“I came on my own,” said Catherine.
“But your orders directed you to report to Commander, Fleet, Newport, not here,” said Commander Adams.
“For further assignment, here. I skipped the bullshit. I do that. You have to accept that.”
“Catherine,” began Chief McGuire.
“My title is Chief Nurse Hanes. I would prefer that I be addressed as such.”
“Yes, Chief Nurse Hanes,” said Chief McGuire, the one soul in the room most obviously on an immediate first-name basis. “You have skipped some rather important issues you describe as ‘bullshit.’ One of those is reporting as directed by official orders.”
“I don’t give a damn about military orders! I am a nurse…”
“Shall I take her under arrest, Admiral?” asked Commander Adams.
“Do so,” said Vice Admiral Alden.
“Aye, Sir. Chief Nurse Catherine Rose Hanes, you are under arrest for failure to follow lawful orders. From this point, you are an accused criminal.”
Chief Nurse Hanes stood. “Who in the blazins do you believe that you are?”
Commander Adams chose a point of least structural damage, pulled his pistol, and fired into the wall. He then pointed his pistol at Chief Nurse Hanes. “I believe that I am a Commander, that you are a Chief, and that I am a member of the Royal Family, and that you are a commoner. In two seconds your life will become worse.”
“I…” began Chief Nurse Hanes.
“Freeze!” demanded Major O’Brien. August burst past him and tackled Chief Nurse Hanes, jaws upon her throat, to the floor. Major O’Brien raced forward with his Thompson submachinegun.
“Welcome to the Navy War College, Chief Nurse Hanes. Do you choose to live, or would you rather die here and now?” asked Thomas B. Adams.
“Help…me…” said Chief Nurse Hanes, jaws upon her throat, a Thompson muzzle in her face, and an Italian pistol pointed close enough to kill her by itself.
“Do you remember that you are literally under arrest and resisting arrest?” asked Commander Adams.
“And will you now compose yourself as appropriate for an individual under arrest?”
“Try avoiding insults to the Royal Family. You have made some bad mistakes,” said Commander Adams. “Major O’Brien, advise your dog not to kill her…yet.”
“How was I to know you were a…” began Chief Nurse Hanes.
“And what $$@$+%@ difference does it make, Catherine or Cathy or Kate?” said Chief McGuire, dropping to the floor next to August, who still had his jaws upon her neck. She went face-to-face with the intruder. “I am a Chief. You are a Chief. He is a Commander. Whether or not he is part of the Royal Family—and he is—you address him as ‘Sir,’ with respect. Hey, %+#!*, want to know what matters in life?” asked Chief McGuire, leaning over the nurse. “This dog will protect me and obey me, and Vice Admiral Alden will protect me. You have five seconds. Ask for a new start, and, whatever you do, do not *#!# it up again. Five…”
“I want a new start,” said Chief Nurse Catherine Rose Hanes.
“August, come,” said Major O’Brien. The dog released the nurse’s neck and returned to the Army Officer’s side.
“Chief McGuire, please let the prisoner rise. Chief Nurse Hanes, I advise compliance with orders and proper etiquette, said Vice Admiral Alden.
“Yes, Admiral,” said Chief Nurse Hanes.
“Major O’Brien, take Chief Nurse Hanes back to the office we had designated as both her quarters and her professional examining room. Chief McGuire, talk with her and determine if she is suitable for our intended billet. If she is not, we shall have her imprisoned for the duration.”
“Yes, Admiral,” said Chief McGuire.
“And George, at your discretion, you and your dog kill her. By my orders.”
“Yes, Admiral,” said Major O’Brien.
“And Chief Nurse Hanes?” asked Vice Admiral Alden.
“Don’t make these mistakes again. But welcome aboard.”