Global Explorer II
by David Mclead
Holidays, but Not for All
December 20, 2018 @ 10:27 AM
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Lennox," the clerk said. "But your credit card was declined. Perhaps—"
"Impossible," Mrs. Lennox said. "Black cards don't get declined."
"Perhaps the magnetic strip—"
"Give me the card. Use this one," Mrs. Lennox said, and held out a gold card from a different company.
The clerk swiped the card, and stared at the terminal. Then, "I'm sorry ma'am, but this one's been declined, as well."
George Washington University
December 20, 2018 @11:00 AM
"Mr. Lennox, your check in payment of your son's spring semester tuition has been refused by the bank. I don't understand . . ."
"Yes, sir, we scan directly to the Automated Clearing House . . ."
"No sir, no reason was given. It was just refused."
December 20, 2018 @11:00 AM
"Senator McDonald? I am Special Agent Kane; this is Special Agent Raleigh. We have a warrant for your arrest."
"You cannot arrest a sitting member of Congress!" McDonald sputtered. "Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution—"
"Except in cases of treason, felony, and breach of the peace," the FBI agent interrupted. "This warrant was issued by a federal grand jury. The charge is treason. You cite the constitution, sir, I trust you know that treason is the only crime defined in the constitution, and one which calls for the death penalty."
The senator's attempt to seize the gun in his desk was thwarted when the agent slammed the drawer on McDonald's wrist—breaking three bones as he did so. It took both Special Agents to subdue the senator before he was strapped to a gurney and taken to the prison wing at the new Walter Reed Hospital.
December 20, 2018 @ 1:00 PM
"Now, why did I have to come here in person?" Mr. Lennox demanded. He returned his driver's license to his wallet and jammed the wallet into his pocket.
"Sir, your accounts have been frozen by the IRS. It's not something I can say over the telephone."
It's happening, Lennox thought.
December 21, 2018 @ 11:00 AM
"What do you mean, the accounts are locked?"
"Lennox must have changed the passwords. We can't get into any of the accounts."
"How could he have done that? It takes two . . .?"
The Bishop kept silent. Son of a bitch must have had a key logger on the computer. If anyone ever finds out that it was my password, I . . ."
December 21, 2018 @ 2:00 PM
Mr. Lennox carried a large, rectangular black briefcase such as an airline pilot or navigator might carry. The UFC leadership was anxious to see him.
Mr. Lennox set the briefcase on the table. He smiled, and then snapped open the two latches.
The arched and domed ceiling of the Lady Chapel had been designed to bear the weight of the two bell towers that stood on the southwest side of the cathedral. It was not designed to withstand pressure from below. When the forty pounds of C-4G explosive in the briefcase detonated, the dome of the chapel collapsed. The falling bell towers crushed the ornamental flying buttresses, which turned out not to be so ornamental, after all. Without the support of the flying buttresses, the walls collapsed outward. The roof dropped burying the nave. The chain reaction extended toward the apse and then to the transepts.
"Holy crap!" said the pilot who was maneuvering his plane into the S-Turn that would take him over the Potomac River and into Washington's Reagan Airport. Crap hardly covered what was revealed when four television networks and seven major newspapers opened the files Mr. Lennox had emailed before entering the cathedral.
Nothing in those email messages gave any clue where the money was: all accounts traceable to the UFC were empty, and the hundred or so legitimate charities throughout the world that received large but anonymous donations didn't make the connection.
Anconia Montana Compound
January 1, 2019
Nicky and I were exhausted from our whirlwind visits to hospitals (built with my trust fund) and orphanages, plus command performances by the Bolshoi Ballet and the National Symphony Orchestra. The icing on that particular cake had been a very Russian (but also very secular) Christmas celebration at the Winter Palace. I think the two of us slept all the way from St. Petersburg to the airport at the Montana compound.
We accompanied Jonathan, his mother, and Davey as well as members of Jonathan's staff and security detail on an IL96-300. Jonathan's visit was billed as "private," although afterwards he would fly to Washington, DC for talks with the president and to address a joint session of congress. Hence, the Russian plane.
The right-wing press had already picked up on plans for Jonathan's DC visit, and AM talk radio was full of the usual.
"They're lettin' a commie pinko into the White House . . ."
"Reagan was right—Roosha is the evil empire."
"Ben Gazi. They're trying to cover up Ben Gazi."
"_____ing Bolshevik. And them Ancondas are nothing but fellow travelers."
Francesca was monitoring and sent me transcripts.
I had invited our closest friends from the crew, Sea Cadets, and students to the reception. Macon Randolph was already there, after spending several days in Washington and Kentucky with a member of Tom Pershing's legal team, settling his father's estate. I was surprised when Jimmy and Timmy Hastings accepted the invitation. Azisa and Bert declined; they were in Africa. Captain Izzard and his wife were there, but they were family and automatically included. Nearly the entire science staff attended, as well, but they were employees of the university and also automatically invited.
It was midafternoon when I found Aunt Elizabeth in the gazebo. She had just put out her pipe and knocked the dottle into an ashtray. "Come on inside," I said. "You can't escape forever."
I led her toward two boys. One was in a wheelchair. "Aunt Elizabeth, this is Jimmy Hastings and his brother, Timmy."
Aunt E offered her hand to Jimmy, and then to Timmy. "I'm Nicky's mother and Alexander's aunt. And you are the young man who shut down Tupelo. That was masterful. My friends are still puzzled. It was so nice to meet you." Nicky arrived, took his mother's hand, and led her away while Jimmy and Timmy were still trying to think what to say.
"Commander? Who . . . who are her friends?" Timmy asked me.
I smiled. "If I told you, I'd have to kill you. I'm sure you can figure out what that means."
"Oh my god! She's C—" Timmy said, and then shut his mouth. "They know? Am I in trouble?"
"Actually," I said, "I think she may have something much better in mind, but you'll have to ask her."
Anconia Montana Compound
January 1, 2019 @ 10:00 PM
After the reception, Mother held a family supper. Family included Jonathan and Viktoria, Nicky and Davey, and by Dad's orders, Macon. By custom, no business was discussed. The triplets teased their sister about her date. It was the same boy who had escorted her last year, and they had already decided they wanted him to be their brother-in-law, but not for a few years. I announced that Jonathan, Davey, Nicky, and I would visit the grove after supper. Dad understood. I think Aunt Elizabeth did, as well. For the others, our visit was considered a routine thing, a family thing.
That visit was the first time that Jonathan, Davey, Nicky, and I had been alone together in over a year.
I parked the four-wheeler in the middle of the path. We were bundled against the cold; our breath trailed behind us in clouds of ice crystals. At the center, we stopped.
"Alberto? Colin? Hansel?"
They stepped from the trees. I almost expected to see others: Langen, Fabiop, Mandarin, Pan, and Jaf's friend from Russia and his compatriots. They were not there, but I think we all felt them, and the worldwide bond among the dryads and between the dryads and those of us who had been changed by them. The feeling grew stronger as dryads and humans exchanged hugs and kisses.
"Are you not cold?" I asked. The dryads were wearing only their long T-shirts and sandals.
Colin shook his head. "We are not. Come, sit."
Those were the last words spoken for a while. We exchanged thoughts. Jonathan's plans for environmental cleanup in Russia, my plans for the Explorer's next voyage, the dryads' plans to waken more of their brothers to help us both.
"Will it be worth it? Will you succeed?" Colin asked.
"Progress has been slow," I said, "but there has been progress. Students and campers have carried our message and new knowledge to their countries. Thousands of kids are being helped: diseases treated; clean water supplied; literacy and trades taught. The number of coal-fired power plants is going down; soon, the people of China will once again be able to see the sky. All this has been done without the hateful, so-called morality of the old way. And thousands more kids discovered that they could make a difference."
Book End Notes
From the first voyage of the Global Explorer, Member Brendan has been an inspiration, a beta reader, and a line editor. His knowledge of Russian history and culture as well as his comments and thoughts have inspired and steered this manuscript. If you like what you've read, please thank him. If you don't like it, blame me (and please let me know, either way).
Author Ricky has offered invaluable assistance as a beta reader and line editor. His support and sometimes tongue-in-cheek comment on my ideas about science have been more helpful than he realizes.
In Alexander's universe, as in all universes it touches, "boy" means a young male of the age of consent.
Many of the epigraphs attributed to National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Wall Street Journal, and other media sources are from years 2014 and 2015 in our reality (Earth Analogue III)—about four years before this story takes place in a different but parallel reality. They are all accurate.
Many names, including Francisco, Wyatt, "Frisco," "Slug," Ragnar, and Anconia were inspired by Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
"Supercargo" originally meant a person on a ship who represented the owners of the cargo, and watched over it. More recently, it may be taken to mean "non-revenue" passengers. That is how we use it.
"White Crow" by Jamie H. Cockfield is a real book, although not easily found. If you are interested, check your public library's inter-library loan system.
"Don't Sleep, Here There are Snakes" by Daniel Everett tells of an evangelical missionary, graduate of one of the leading bible colleges of the USA, who loses his faith trying to convert natives of the Brazilian Amazonian jungle to Christianity. It's a fascinating journey both for the attempted conversion and also for the discussion of linguistics.
Much of Alexander's discussion of evolution is based on "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne. It's available for Kindle and the Kindle app on the iPad.
To see some of the things seen in the cameras of the submersibles, Google "Ted Talk David Gallo" for five minutes of phenomenal underwater photography in a lavishly illustrated talk entitled, "Underwater Astonishments."
Members Yettie One and Daddydavek provided reviews of the first voyage that inspired visits to dead zones and garbage patches. Thank you, both.
Author Quokka was kind enough to review my thoughts on Australia and its culture, and provided links to material adapted for the Explorer's visit to that Continent-Nation.
Please remember that these events take place in a reality that is like yours, but which is not yours. Nevertheless, trademarks used herein, and which exist in both realities, including Apple, Associated Press (AP), Band-Aid, Embraer, Escapade, Formica, Four Seasons Hotel, Google (maps and more), Jell-O, MacBook, Mercedes, Speedo, and Valium are property of their owners in all realities.
The GE90-115B was, in 2014, the most powerful jet engine in the world—in Earth Analogue III.
Helen Thomas was, in our reality, a reporter for the Associated Press, and perhaps one of the sharpest yet most gracious members of the press ever to cover the White House.
The title of Chapter 38 was inspired by "I Fought the Law (and the Law Won)," from the album, "Love is All Around" by the Bobby Fuller Four. 1980.
Tsar Jonathan I ("The First") Romanov
Davey Jones, Ensign, UNSC; Jonathan's boyfriend, head of IT, and chief of staff; old hacker name, Beantown Bomber; later Captain, Russian Navy, of Standart, the imperial yacht
Grand Duke Leopold (the pretender)
Jonathan's mother Mrs. Victoria Romanov: Victoria/Viktoria (Виктория); later, Babuska of Russia
Computer geek Lukas Achterberg; hacker name, Junge auf Feuer, usually Jaf.
Lukas's father, who becomes Jonathan's chancellor after the mole is arrested
Babushka to Mrs. Viktoria Romanov: Izabella Gurin
Viktor Tchekov, also known as огнемет, ‘Flamethrower' fifteen-year-old computer hacker arrested, and then recruited as Jaf's helper
Lt. Anatoly of Standart, sometime mentor to Davey Jones
Colonel Ainsley, interim commander of the Protectors
Dryads in Russia
Vitaly veeTAHleey Виталий meets Davey in Switzerland at first vault opening
Leonid lyeoNEED Леонид meets Davey in Winter Palace shortly after Jonathan's arrival; teaches Davey Russian; becomes Jaf's boyfriend
Spartak Спартак sparTAHK
Alexander (Alex) Perseus Anconia, Commander, UNSC; mission commander
Nicholas "Nicky" O'Brian Pershing; Alexander's boyfriend and science and IT advisor; Ensign, UNSC
Captain Izzard (Merchant Marine)
Bobby Bell, Ensign, UNSC; communications; boyfriend of Jimmy Hastings
Tommy Samson, Ensign, UNSC; boyfriend of Artie Michaels
Azisa N'Kosi, Ensign, UNSC (Zulu name meaning honor, esteem, pride) part of Dr. Brewster's team and the command team, independent scientist investigating fungi; boyfriend of Bert Hayes
Macon Randolph III [son of senator], Sea Cadet; later Ensign, UNSC
Artie Michaels, high school student who recognized Tommy's nuclear insignia and became Tommy's protégé and boyfriend; later Ensign, UNSC
Sonar Tech Klystra, ex-Navy; Merchant Marine
Dr. Purdom, reactor chief
Coastie Sean Casey and his boyfriends, members Strike Team GX 1; other strike teams
1st Officer Thackery, Merchant Marine
3rd Officer Ignirtok Anik, Merchant Marine (adoptive brother to Alexander Anconia)
Drs. Brewster and Gannon: Science Team
Dr. Helen Stroud; geneticist on science team; Alexander's aunt
Rutherford "Rocky" Griggs, Lt. Commander, UNSC and Lieutenant, British Royal Naval Reserve
Sea Cadets Jorgensen; Eisenmann; Ludwig Rhein; Jacques Boudreaux (sonar watch stander)
Cuthbert "Bert" L. Hayes III: Science fair winner, biology geek
Naval aviators (fixed wing)
Army Warrants (helos)
High school students and Anconia "campers" and their chaperones and teachers
Jimmy Hastings: in electric wheelchair; boyfriend of Bobby Bell; Jimmy's twin, Timmy
Pavel Korsokov; prepares tea syrup for Jonathan's visit to the Explorer in Australia; perhaps later in China, after Korea; high school student; son of Anconia employees
TV/press crew: Ms. Susan Munford (video reporter, print journalist), Mr. John Watts (print journalist and still photographer), and Mr. Kay Gertain, videographer and sound technician.
Hans Bleiber, German boy associated with Max Planck Institute
Aunt Elizabeth Pershing, CEO of Becker Corp
Uncle Carlos (seafood)
Uncle Ricardo (metal)
Ricardo's son, Wyatt (oil tenders, etc.)
Uncle Ragnar (shipping)
Tom Pershing (lawyer)
Francisco's younger brother, Alexandre [sic]
3-star Uncle Admiral Caruthers, retired
4-star Uncle Admiral John Pershing, retired
Uncle Harry Luce (career ambassador)
Cousin Louise (accountant)
Anconia family not listed elsewhere:
Mrs. Lydia Anconia
Francesca (Alex's younger sister)
Triplets Alberto, Carlito, and Demetrio (Alex's younger brothers)
President Theodore (Todd) Hawkins and Mrs. Helen Hawkins
John _____: Presidential press secretary
UN SecGen Nigel Manning
US Sec State Barbara _____, cousin to Francisco Anconia
Australian Prime Minister Watson
Canadian Delegate, Uncle Asaalak and his translator, younger brother of Lt. Anik
Chinese Premier/Chairman Quin Huang
Pennsylvania Governor _____ Christianson.
Camarilla in US Congress
Senator Macon Randolph, II KY
Senator McDonald, KY, junior senator, in the pay of the KGB
Senator Charles "Chuck" Zinio, WY, Chair, Senate Energy Subcommittee; in the pay of the Western Company and probably others
Senator Able, AZ
Senator Jefferson, AZ
Senator Ernest Chambers, GA
Senator George Paine, PA
Rep. Nancy Peligrini, CA
Randolph's political aide
Randolph's opponent in 2018, Mr. Abe Fortmain.
Joe White Eagle Wings
Unnamed child (female) who contacts Francesca after the UFC attack on Window Rock
Two Anconia cousins in November circuit laboratory
Guiding Council of the First Apostolate of the Universal Fundamentalist Church (UFC)—Bishop Boggs, Elder #1 [Thurmond], Elder #2
UFC senior accountant, Mr. Lennox
Reverend Fallmuth, Prelate of Washington and principal preacher at the Warren National Cathedral
Dryads not named elsewhere:
Colin, Hansel, Alberto (Montana)
Fabiop (Nassau, Bahamas)
Russian Rump KGB:
Colonel Ulinov; Major unnamed; aide unnamed; others unnamed
Romanov Organization not listed elsewhere
The mole: Count Maximilian von Bismarck (real name Vasily Putin)
D. Taggart ("Slug") of Taggart Transcontinental
Director "Frank" Kabua of the Marshallese Oceanographic Institute