Who says Carolina boys can't be sneaky? Also, an epic drunken rant from Johnny Gamble. Hark the Sound of Defiant Men's Voices: A History of Operation: Knox's Ark Chancellor Gamble meets with OPV agents disguised as cultural attaches in Belfast, Northern Ireland (1928) Chancellor Johnny Gamble was a complicated man, with a variety of beliefs, motivations, and goals in his political and personal life. One thing about the man was, however, very simple: his powerful, abiding faith in the Presbyterian Church. In the aftermath of the Great War, he looked on in horror as he saw the proud Presbyterian people of Scotland and Northern Ireland turn to the siren song of Fundamentalism, which promised them a god-given Empire in Europe, as well as "spiritual power" and "liberty." What was even worse was that the Yankees were actively encouraging this turn of events, and the AFC developed a well-funded, ruthlessly efficient machine to convert the Scots and Ulster Scots into their vision of upright, faithful, Fascist Anglo-Saxons. Gamble had always been a pawn of Philadelphia, both witting and unwitting, but this was a breaking point for the Chancellor. He might have to kiss Joe Steele's ass, but he would be god-damned if he would hand the Presbyterian people of the world to his puppetmaster on a silver platter. No sir, Johnny was a gamblin man, and now he was gonna gamble on the preservation of the Presbyterian faith. June 3rd, 1925. It's a hot, miserable day in Raleigh, as is to be expected. Chancellor Gamble is sipping on a mint julep on the back porch of the Chancellery Mansion, looking over the rose garden and waiting for his guests to arrive. First to pull up is Anthony Campbell, one of Bunker's lieutenants. Gamble figured out several years ago that Ol' Rust Bucket was a Yankee agent, and the old bastard doesn't travel well these days, so he was able to justify sending for Campbell, a man who has no excessive love for the Yankee Empire. Although it has never been explicitly said, both men are eagerly awaiting the day Rusty breathes his last. The two men exchange friendly greetings, and a fresh tray of mint juleps is sent for. 15 minutes later Billy Bob Thorton, the nation's most highly decorated general pulls up. He too accepts the Chancellor's alcoholic hospitality as they wait for the final delegation to arrive. They don't wait long, and bounding out of a simple black auto, is Alexander MacDonald, the head of the Council of Doctrinal Research for the General Presbytery of the Carolinas. He also grabs a julep, joking "If God didn't want the Cokie man to drink, he wouldn't've made Yankees or women." This earns a hearty chuckle from everyone, and some more friendly banter is exchanged as the men work through their drinks. Finally, after polishing off his second drink, General Thorton speaks up and asks "Aight Johnny, what's this all about? We got a Virtueman, a preacher, a soldier and a politician. Either you're bout to set up a godawful joke or somethin is goin on." Gamble gulps down what was left of his (fourth) drink, and tosses an article from the Raleigh News and Observer at him. The headline reads "Three New Fundie Churches Open in Glasgow." Thorton reads the article and passes it to the other men. He replies "Yeah, the Yankees are spreadin their crazy faith to the Scots. Damn shame, but what does it have to do with us?" Gamble grabs another drink and gives a humorless chuckle, before responding: "What does it have to do with us? I'll tell y'all what it has to do with us. Scotland and Northern Ireland are the bulwarks and birthplaces of OUR Presbyterian faith and the Damnyankees are pollutin those folks minds with drugs and snake handlin! They ain't content to take our sovereignty and our money, no the heartless bastards have to try and take our faith from us too! To destroy the Presbyterian project of democracy and freedom for all Anglo-Saxon blooded men! Did y'all know the last emissary Steele sent to make demands of us was a GODDAMN WOMAN? After she gave all of her demands, I wanted to look that bitch right in her icy Yankee eyes and say "Frankly my darling, I DON'T GIVE A DAMN!" But no, I had to play nice and say "Well yes Miss. So and So, anything to strengthen our bonds with our closest allies." I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the YANKEES comin down from on high and tellin me what to do. Sick of em actin like God made the world just for them, and that they can do whatever the hell they want. I wanna hit em back. I know we can't do much, the crazy sons of bitches do surround us n whatnot. But, we can fuck with em. Britain is still a warzone. Right there by Ireland and the Frenchies. Lotta missionaries could get killed and no one would know who to blame. Churches could get bombed, and the deaths pinned on the Paddies. All sorts of strange things happen in a warzone. In fact, they're already dealin with these problems. And of course, we would be remiss if we didn't offer our Presbyterian brethren safe harbor, away from the Papists who would do em harm. They would also be damn far from the Yankee missionaries. They done gave up on convertin us a looong time ago. Do y'all catch my drift?" Silence hung over the porch like an Appalachian fog. Then Reverend MacDonald raised his glass and gave the hearty cheer "Hark the Sound of Defiant Men's Voices!." The rest of the men followed. After congratulating the Chancellor for standing up to the Americans, the somewhat drunk gathering formulated a plan that was both audacious and surprisingly brilliant. It would be known as Operation: Knox's Ark, in honor of John Knox, Father of the Presbyterian faith. After an AFC missionary was killed in Belfast by an Irish terrorist on June 31st, Chancellor Gamble phoned Philadelphia and offered "300 Virtuemen of high intelligence and good moral character to defend the Presbyterian homeland and the Americans within." Gamble laid it on thick to President Steele, making the Strong Man revel in what appeared to be yet another case of Cokie groveling and self-humiliation in order to keep him happy. He accepted Gamble's offer, and by September, Northern Ireland and Scotland were home to 300 "cultural attaches" there to "strengthen Carolinas bonds with her Presbyterian brothers and sisters." The whole operation was placed under Campbell's control, and the agents all knew their true mission: to bomb, murder, maim, or otherwise harass Fundamentalists in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Several ammo depots were robbed by ostensible "Beutelists, Papists, and other Inferior sorts" and large quantities of explosives and bullets disappeared. The OPV agents gave much of these to legitimate Beutelist and Catholic terror organizations, on the condition that they only use the given materials on Fundamentalist targets. Given how short on funds most of these cells were, they heartily agreed, and a series of incredibly violent and high-profile church bombings killed thousands of Americans and local converts in the winter of 1925. Churchill and Steele were furious, and Gamble handed over a particularly annoying set of Irish "allies" to them, which boosted the OPV's credibility in Steele's eyes. Predictably, the bombings also contributed to the siege mentality of the Scottish and Ulster Scots people living in what was still in many ways an active warzone. Gamble capitalized on this fear and began a massive advertising campaign to encourage Protestant immigration to East Carolina and the African territories. Of course, almost all of the Fundamentalists that applied were turned down "for various reasons that cannot be divulged" although a few were let in as token examples to keep the Church from getting too antsy. Of course, every Presbyterian who didn't have a criminal record (and many that did) was allowed in, and many received land grants to help "civilize the African wilderness." Churchill was very unhappy with this, as he felt that the Carolinians were poaching his people away from him and exploiting a situation they were doing nothing to mitigate. Churchill even ordered his men to harass Cokie immigration officers, who had been sent over by Gamble as part of Operation: Knox's Ark. This resulted in a fiery confrontation between the two men where Gamble came out on top after pointing out that relatively speaking, Carolina was far more powerful and could hurt Britain far more than vice versa. This amused Steele greatly, as he took a sick thrill in watching his two underlings duke it out in a Survival of the Fittest kind of way. He allowed Carolinian operations to go unmolested, despite Churchill's increasingly desperate pleas. The only snag occurred when Churchill took advantage of Steele's natural paranoia and states (correctly, but without solid evidence) that the Cokies were behind the seemingly constant attacks on Fundamentalism in Scotland and Ulster. Gamble was able to sidestep this with another generous heaping of apparent groveling, and by pointing out to Steele "Surely, such a concerted campaign by our nation to undermine the AFC would be an act of war on y'all, wouldn't it? I think a quick look at a map would disavow any person with half a brain that my administration desires war with the Union! We would be destroyed!" This satisfied Steele, especially as tensions once again rose around the world and it seemed far more logical to blame America's actual enemies than their terrified lapdog. The audacity and insanity of Knox's Ark ironically ensured its success. The Operation would continue for many years until the Irish were finally defeated and the Carolinians wisely decided the jig was up. Modern scholars believe that Knox's Ark slowed down the full conversion of Scotland and Ulster by over a decade, and it's certain that it secured over a million Presbyterian immigrants for Carolina. It would be the most influential clandestine operation in Carolinian history. Two AFC missionaries killed in an apparent Beutelist bombing attack in Edinburgh in 1926. Irish Catholic David O'Hanlan, one of many scapegoated by the OPV for its acts of violence in Ulster and Scotland. He would be hanged in 1927.