Thomas Bushell
Fictional Character
The Two Georges
POD: c. 1763
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Nationality: North American Union
Date of Birth: 1947
Occupation: Soldier, Police Officer
Spouse: Irene (divorced)
Military Branch: Royal North American Army,
Professional Affiliation: Royal American Mounted Police

Thomas Bushell was a colonel in the Royal American Mounted Police and the chief of the RAMs' Upper California section. In 1995, he was a compact, solidly made man of 48 with brown hair and mustache.

In the 1970s, Bushell served as a Lieutenant in the Royal North American Army. He served with his fellow Lieutenant Horace Bragg and was assigned Staff Sgt. Samuel Stanley as his senior non-com on the border with Nueva España. Several disputes arose during this period which resulted in border skirmishes. In one, Bushell was wounded attempting to rescue one of his men who was down. Both were saved by Stanley.

When the three were discharged, they joined the RAMs. Bushell married Irene Clarke but discovered her in the act of adultery with David Clarke when he returned home unexpectedly. Bushell divorced her but was devastated by it all and turned to drink to forget. He was on a downhill slide when Bragg (now Lt. General and commandant of the RAM) reassigned him to head the Upper California section so he could get a fresh start. Bushell managed to put his life into some semblance of order and proved to be effective as the section head but was still prone to go on occasional drinking binges.

The Theft

In 1995, The Two Georges was sent from its home in Britain to tour the North American Union. On June 15, the painting was placed on display in the mansion of the Governor of Upper California, John Burnett. This was a private display for select VIPs. As Governor Burnett rose to speak, several shots rang out. These shots had killed "Honest" Dick, the steamer King who had stepped outside to berate some picketing coal miners.

While the guests and the police guards were distracted three Sons of Liberty disguised in RAM uniforms entered the room the painting was being displayed in and overpowered the two real RAM guards at gunpoint. They rendered the guards unconscious with chloroform. The Sons left a note stating that "the colonies will be free" and "Washington was a traitor". They also left a mechanical phonograph with a shellac platter that played the jaunty, hateful tune "Yankee Doodle". They did not leave any fingerprints or other incriminating evidence.

Bushell spoke with his superior Lieutenant General Sir Horace Bragg by telephone. Sir Horace ordered Bushell to concentrate on the theft since the murder of "Honest" Dick was under the jurisdiction of the New Liverpool Police. Bushell also spoke by telephone with Governor-General Sir Martin Luther King. Sir Martin assured Bushell that the full resources of the NAU were behind him in his investigation and that as a symbol of that support both he and Sir Horace and their senior staff would travel by train to New Liverpool.

Bushell and Stanley commandeered two offices in the mansion and interviewed all witnesses: guests, house staff, police, and picketers. Nothing significant was immediately apparent but Bushell and Stanley took careful notes for future reference.

The Investigation in New Liverpool

The day after the theft Colonel Bushell telephoned Sir Horace's secretary Sally Reese and asked her to review the dossiers of the curators travelling with The Two Georges. While some of the individuals had mildly suspicious items in their files, the most suspicious remained Doctor Kathleen Flannery. However, nothing incriminating presented itself.

Colonel Bushell next went to the local branch office of the Independence Party and interviewed its chairman Morton Johnston. Again, while Colonel Bushell remained suspicious, Mr. Johnston did not incriminate himself or the Independence Party.

On returning to RAM headquarters, Colonel Bushell went to the records room and reviewed the files maintained on the Sons of Liberty. Some individuals in the files such as Peter Jarrold were in prison and so could not have been involved. Others, such as Andrew Kincaid, had died during the commission of crimes.

Bushell decided three individuals merited investigating. Titus Hackett and Franklin Mansfield were a pair of printers who produced an allegedly obscene publication (they had been acquitted) lampooning the marital troubles of the grandchildren of George, Duke of Kent. The pair seemed to have more intelligence than the typical run of Sons who were mostly street toughs and so may have been able to pull off such a theft. The third was such a tough, Joseph Watkins.

The next day, Colonel Bushell, along with two squads of RAMs, served a warrant on Hackett and Mansfield at their print shop. The RAMs discovered the makings of another lampoon and filed with the material invoices payable in Russian gold roubles from the Queen Charlotte Islands Board of Tourism. The Russian connection made Bushell suspicious, but did not provide any grounds to charge the printers.

Colonel Bushell and the two squads of RAMs then served a warrant on Watkins at his apartment. Tearing the place literally apart, Constable Clarence Malmsey discovered a Nagant, a Russian made rifle. This was the same make as the rifle that killed "Honest" Dick but next day the forensics report indicated the rifle had not been fired. However, the packaging containing the rifle indicated that it had been mailed from Skidegate in the Queen Charlotte Islands.

With two sets of suspects pointing to the QCI this definitely merited further investigation. However, before it could be started Sir Martin, Sir Horace and their staff arrived by special train. Colonel Bushell briefed them and was informed by Sir Martin that the investigation was under a deadline. The King-Emperor Charles III was due to arrive in Victoria on 16 August, the day after the painting had been scheduled to be returned to the All-Union Art Museum. Needless to say, it would not do for Charles to make a major address in front of a blank wall.

The next morning Colonel Bushell received a ransom demand for The Two Georges in the morning post. The Sons demanded 50 million pounds by August 15 or they would torch the painting. To prove the legitimacy of the claim, the demand included a photograph of the painting with a newspaper carrying a headline about the theft thrust into the frame. Major Michael Foster examined the ransom demand, the accompanying photograph and the envelope they came in but did not find any incriminating fingerprints. Likewise Captain Patricia Oliver failed to match the typewritten note with those known to have come from the Sons.

Bushell and Sir Horace met with Sir Martin and his chief of staff Sir David Clarke to discuss the ransom demand. Sir Martin listened to the discussion of the issue by the other three men and decided that the investigation would continue. However, if no progress had been made by the deadline the ransom would be paid.

The Investigation in the Queen Charlotte Islands

Colonel Bushell felt superfluous in New Liverpool since Sir Horace, as the senior officer, took over the investigation. He elected to continue the field investigation personally and so, with the reluctant permission of Sir Horace, set off to Skidegate in the QCI. Accompanying him were Captain Stanley and Lieutenant-Colonel Felix Crooke. The three first flew by the airship Empire Builder to Wellesley then by train to Prince George. There they changed trains to go to Prince Rupert and then by ferry to Skidegate.

Once there, Bushell interviewed Rob Pratson, the postmaster, who indicated that four men living in Buckley Bay had been mailing long, narrow packages all over the NAU. Bushell then approached Cmdr. Nathan Hairston of the Royal North American Navy Security Detachment for assistance. Hairston provided two squads of Royal Marines and transportation to Buckley Bay.

The next day Bushell, his companions and the Marines set out. They were dropped off by HMS Grampus about five miles north of the town and then hiked unobserved to the abandoned logging town. One squad was sent around the town to the south so there would not be an easy escape route from the town. When the deployment was completed, the Marines and RAMs entered the town using move-and-support tactics.

As Bushell approached an abandoned grocer's shop that had smoke rising from the chimney, a voice rang out challenging them. Crooke broke cover, stood and replied that they were police and demanded that the occupants surrender. Rifle fire broke out and Crooke was hit. Bushell broke cover to rescue Crooke and safely carried him to another abandoned building but fount he had been shot through the heart and had died instantly.

In the mean time, the Marines returned fire and after a short gun battle succeeded in killing two and wounding and capturing another man. Bushell and Stanley challenged and killed a fourth man when he refused to surrender and tried to fire on them. In addition to Crooke, two Marines were killed and four were wounded.

Bushell questioned the survivor but the man refused to answer his questions; instead he demanded to speak to a solicitor. Bushell and Stanley then searched the grocer's and found two dozen Nagants, several crates of ammunition and a small metal chest filled with Russian gold roubles. Not finding any documents, the two then went to the Sons' rubbish heap in another building. There they retrieved as many paper documents and letters as they could find. Later, examining these, they found something extraordinary: an envelop mailed from The Six Nations.

On returning to Port Clements, Bushell telephoned his HQ in New Liverpool to report. He spoke with Major Gordon Rhodes who informed him that Capt. Oliver had traced the newspaper headline in the photograph of the stolen The Two Georges to that of the Doshoweh Sentinel, the chief English language newspaper in The Six Nations. With two clues leading to the same place, Bushell elected to travel as quickly as possible to The Six Nations to further the investigation.

The Investigation in The Six Nations

Bushell and Stanley remained in the QCI an extra day due to the need to give depositions to Cmdr. Hairston. After doing so, the two overnighted and then took the ferry back to Prince Rupert and the train to Prince George. There they changed trains and continued to Regina where they caught an airship to Astoria. In Astoria they missed their connecting airship and so took the train to Doshoweh.

Having arrived after eleven at night, Bushell and Stanley checked into the Hotel Ahgusweyo. In the morning they had breakfast in the hotel's restaurant. While seated, they were surprised to see Dr. Kathleen Flannery enter for breakfast too. Bushell invited her to join them and then asked what she was doing there. She indicated that a colleague had recognized the newspaper in the ransom photograph as being the Doshoweh Sentinel and so she came to The Six Nations to investigate.

Bushell was suspicious of Flannery but had no cause to arrest her. He made the best of the situation by compelling her to join him and Stanley in their investigation. As such she accompanied the two to the Doshoweh constabulary offices to meet with Major Shikalimo. There Bushell described what had occurred in the QCI, finding a letter mailed from The Six Nations by someone named Joe and an envelope potmarked "Doshoweh". Bushell passed the envelope to Shikalimo who, in turn, passed it to Ganeodiyo, a forensics specialist in the station.

While waiting for Ganeodiyo's analysis, Shikalimo outlined his approach for the investigation. Since the "Joe" of the letter would be keeping a low profile, his officers would investigate outspoken critics of Iroquois autonomy looking for acquaintances named "Joe". After compiling a list of such people, Shikalimo would again meet with Bushell to determine if any were suspects based on RAM information. Ganeodiyo reported that the letter had been posted in the Deohstegaa district of the town so Shikalimo would concentrate his forces there. With that the meeting ended.

Being unable to assist the Doshoweh constabulary, Bushell spent the next day working the telephone. Major Rhodes reported that he had grilled Hackett and Mansfield but they continued to deny any connection between the gold roubles they had received and the Sons in Buckley Bay and he had no evidence to the contrary. He next rang Captain Jaime Macias who was investigating the murder of "Honest" Dick. He had nothing new to report but also reported that no further Nagants had turned up.

Finally Bushell telephoned Sir Horace Bragg. He reported on the investigation to date and his frustration on the lack of progress. However, Bragg commended Bushell's work and encouraged him to keep at it. Bragg also mentioned that he had seen Sir David Clarke at a French embassy reception in animated conversation with Duke Alexei Orlov, the Russian ambassador to the NAU. However, Bragg couldn't overhear what they were saying and so didn't have anything to bring to Sir Martin.

One thing Bushell did not tell Sir Horace was that he had seconded Dr. Flannery to assist in the investigation. He did not want him second guessing his decision. However, she remained a suspect and so Bushell contrived to keep her occupied with either him or Stanley. One day the two of them toured a museum dedicated to Sosehawa. The next morning at breakfast he invited her to see the sights at Niagara Falls. Flannery accepted but they were interrupted by Stanley who entered the hotel restaurant and announced that Major Shikalimo had called and wanted to meet immediately to review the results of his investigation.