Ok: Captain Confederacy, (the ah-comic by Will Shetterly) in 1969.[link][link]
In this world, the failure of the Union to crush the Southern Rebellion was only the prologue to a long, bitter, and politically messy process of disintegration that eventually left eight new nations where there had been one in 1860. British and French intervention yielded no peace but did allow the Louisiana Free State to emerge in the territory they occupied. Texas broke with the rest of the Confederacy and took much of the southwest with it, later fishing in the muddy waters of the extended struggle between the Republican North and Imperial South of Mexico to snag some new territories. The Mormons of Deseret jumped at their chance to reestablish their independent “republic of the saints”. And so on and so forth. A rump United States eventually emerged from the Chaos Years with the reunification of the east and the mid-western states, but internal woes prevented it from pursuing further efforts at expansion.
German Unification was not butterflied away, and German size and strength and the bellicose nature of its leadership inevitable provoked defensive combinations, which in turn led to claims of “encirclement”, and due to Some Damn Fool Thing in the Balkans (albeit without Serbian complicity) provoked the outbreak of the Great War in 1910. With North America too divided against itself to send aid, even in the case of provocative German submarine warfare, and the US not rich enough to extend endless loans to the anti-German alliance, the Germans were better placed to win the war of attrition. Although in the end the French remained stubbornly non-stereotypical, refusing to surrender even after a *Michael offensive had reached Paris (which became a hell of house-to-house fighting) economic exhaustion and near-famine conditions in Britain eventually brought the two sides to the negotiating table. France lost territory and colonies, but avoided any truly crippling reparations, and managed to keep its army (even if it couldn’t afford it). In the east, German successes were more absolute: Russia collapsed into revolution, and German forces pushed far eastwards.
France, feeling it had been sold down the river by its British allies (which gave up very little in the peace treaty), sunk into political turmoil. The Germans made an effort to restore a puppet Tsar to the Russian throne, but fanatical resistance by the Red Revolutionaries (not OTL Bolsheviks, but pretty ruthless chaps all the same) combined with the possibility of a French stab in the back eventually led them to accept half a loaf in the rump “Grand Duchy of St. Petersburg”, the legitimacy of which was loudly denied by both Reds and the few surviving members of the royal family which had managed to make it to exile in Russian Alaska/Alayeska (never sold to a USA with no west coast).
Austria-Hungary eventually reached its Past Sell Date and was incorporated wholly or partially into the German Empire. The French settled down under an unpleasant left-authoritarian regime vaguely reminiscent of Baath Party Iraq, and began looking for new allies against Germany. The Japanese stumbled into China as OTL. Under the very different initial conditions, the OTL Great Depression was butterflied away, and there was a brief period of “détente” in the later 30s and 40s: a feeble “League of Nations” was set up as an international forum, and there was some talk about peacefully resolving the mess in China.
Alas, the political weather turned icy again. Violent protest and resistance against German rule in Eastern Europe brought brutal repression and a sharp turn to the right in German politics. Britain and Japan clashed for influence in Asia, leading to the outbreak of war in 1948, in which a new generation of Japanese ships and planes proved superior to anything the UK could field, and in the end the British Empire was pushed west of Ceylon. Australia and New Zealand were neutralized, and the British were kicked out of India. Japan had planned to make India a puppet, but Indian nationalists had ideas of their own, and didn’t want to be Japan’s Little Brown Buddy. The Japanese, after a short war that showed them an outright conquest of India would be a pain, settled for half a loaf in the form of a Bengali satellite state.
Germany developed the atom bomb in 1951, which provided a great way to intimidate uppity Russians and Frenchmen, which were threatened with incineration of their major cities if they tried to develop nuclear arsenals of their own. France, unpleasant as its government was, by the 1950s not that serious a worry, with a much weaker economy than Germany and less than 2/5 of its population. No, a new bogeyman had arrived on the global scene with the defeat of Great Britain: the Japanese Empire, whose defeat of the White Man (in British form) had made German blood boil, and whose snagging of rebellion-torn Dutch Indonesia was practically a slap to the face of the Netherlands “protector.” German politicians called for a crusade in the name of Whitey against the sinister Orientals, who fully reciprocated the heated rhetoric.
That the British should develop a bomb of their own fast enough to make German nuclear blackmail somewhat impractical was no great blow to German confidence – fellow Germanics, after all – but the speed at which the Japanese did the same was rather shocking. Thus began the atomic Arms Race.
By 1969, both sides had enough bombs to incinerate each other twice over and the missiles to deliver them (missile and rocket technology had progressed faster than OTL: the first man on the moon - a German - planted the imperial eagle in the regolith in 1960). The whole world was increasingly being pressured to take sides, as the world’s leading powers growled at each other from either end of the Russian “buffer”…
In 1969, people speak of “Central North America”, the area between Canada (once again part of the British Empire after the Troubles of the 30s) and the backward nations of OTLs Central America, where the major political actors of the continent trade, quarrel, make and break alliances. Starting to the northwest, the Czars of Russia still rule in Alayeska, albeit now constrained by a Parliament. It’s a bit more populous than our Alaska, with a bit over two million inhabitants thanks to refugees from the Russian Socialist Union, economically dependent on oil and other extractive industries and militarily dependent on an alliance with the British Empire to keep the Socialists from crossing the Bering Straits and reconquering them. Not that this is a really big worry nowadays: the Union has mellowed over the last couple decades, and relationships are nowadays fairly cordial, although the Czar’s insistence in titling himself “Czar of all the Russias” still ruffles feathers.
Pacifica (previously the Oregon Republic, decided on a name-change after British Columbia jumped ship from Canada during the Troubles) is a prosperous social democracy, whose excellent trade relations with the Empire of Japan leads to a dispiriting degree of self-censorship in its mass media whenever the subject of Asian Atrocities comes up. The disagreeably racially and economically stratified republic of California has had a left-wing revolution and is now a People’s Republic: killings of former Oppressors of the People have been refreshingly few, although a lot of people lost their fortunes and property to the People (State). Economic difficulties and hostility from their conservative Texan and Mormon neighbors has led to an alliance of convenience with the Empire of Japan, Imperialist scumbags as they may be.
Texas is near anarcho-capitalistic, is a leader in high-tech, and has the highest level of gun violence in North America, which its inhabitants consider an acceptable price to pay for the right to own your own bazooka. Still a relatively small country, population-wise, Texas makes up for it with an attitude suitable for a country ten times its size. It is a perpetual annoyance to their puritanical Mormon neighbors in Deseret, a near-theocracy which has banned both alcohol and cigarettes and a level of social discipline and conformity which impresses even the Japanese. Polygamy remains legal, although nowadays sufficiently closely regulated that it’s usually only wealthy men who have multiple wives.
With the northern and central portions of the former US under dispute between Oregon, Deseret, the Western States of America (the US being temporarily even more fragmented than it would be in 1969), and even Canada, a number of native tribes banded together and managed to create a neutral “buffer” state between the Anglo powers. Demographically boosted by expulsions of Native Americans from elsewhere (“look, you Injuns have a homeland now. So git.”) – extensive ethnic cleansing of “troublesome” tribes from Texas, the betrayal of the Civilized Tribes of *Oklahoma by their wartime Confederate allies – the nation that in time became known as the “Great Spirit Alliance” survived, beat off some filibustering attempts by its neighbors, and gained international recognition. Nowadays it is the poorest country north of Mexico, and still almost as thinly populated as OTL Mongolia, but its people are free and proud and 100% enlisted in the state militia in case the white man goes on the warpath again. Currently, there is a fair degree of political turmoil as many complain that the new emigrants from Latin America (the Spirit Alliance still holds itself as a refuge for persecuted Amerindians anywhere), many of whom are Spanish-speaking Catholics, are not “proper” Indians and should not be allowed in.
Thanks to Texas overrunning much of the territory of their Republican opponents and continued French support, the Imperial faction remained in power in Mexico, although they demonstrate little gratitude to either. With a more stable political situation since the 1880s, Mexico is more developed than OTL 1969, and having a royal family of German descent give the country a certain respectability in the eyes of the Reich, which is useful in various ways, although Mexico is careful to avoid too close an entanglement with Germany. Louisiana Free State is neutral, French-English bilingual, a hub of trade, a center of diplomacy (Switzerland is too much in bed with the Germans nowadays to make a good neutral meeting place), and one of the best places on earth to have a good time. It’s also black-majority and works very hard to make itself useful to the Great Powers, the hot angry breath of the Confederacy always on the back of its collective neck.
Said Confederacy is a middling-sized power still suffering political turmoil a year after the assassination of President Lee (apparently by members of her own party) after she collected every favor she was owed to ram through the nations’ first Civil Rights bill, which has held up in spite of efforts to reverse it. Black Confederates, a third of the population, still face severe discrimination, but they now have at least a chance for legal recourse, the ability to vote, and the ability to move their place of residence without getting police and government permission. And they have a hero. The Confederacy includes Cuba and Puerto Rico and the Yucatan – efforts to expand its holdings into Africa were baffled by the UK navy, a conflict most Confederates prefer not to think about due to the whole “reestablishing the slave trade under another name” thing.
The United States remains the dominant power on the continent, the most populous, most powerful, and economically important nation, with an economy not far behind that of Germany proper if still rather smaller than the German Block considered as a whole. Many of its politicians look to the reunification of English-speaking North America, possibly even including Canada. With higher barriers to immigration from the south, it is whiter than OTL US at the time, and more social-democratic: labor is powerful, and there is more of a sense of transatlantic links with Europe. (Alliance with Germany is another idea occasionally floated by US politicians, although due to increased German authoritarianism in recent decades it does not play as well in Peoria.)
Latin America is a checkerboard where the Germans and the Japanese (and to a lesser extent, the US and Britain, and the Red Russians) strive and scheme for influence. As OTL, the economies are generally fairly backwards and dominated by foreign companies, although some of the dumber Marxist ideas are absent. Brazil, where the Empire took his time to get rid of slavery, remains a monarchy, and has regional ambitions which (as it’s more intelligent politicians sourly know) will probably be baffled by Germany or Japan putting their oar in. OTLs French Guiana is German and a major base for the German space program.
Battered by their defeat at the hands of the Japanese, the British have withdrawn into heavily armed neutrality (on good days, its “glorious isolation.”) They still control much of Africa, but are increasingly moving away from direct rule to rule through local autonomous regimes and puppets (at least in this world they avoided lumping together such incompatible bits as north and south Nigeria or Equatoria with Muslim Sudan). Canada suffers from an increasingly noisy “Free Quebec” problem, which the British are trying to manage by working towards a Quebec still integrated through the wider empire, if not Canada specifically. The breakaway of the Boers at least allowed for an early universal democratization of the Cape Colony, and the economy is picking up again after a tough period in the 50s. The British can also boast that they have managed to maintain their democratic form of government (in spite of a few sticky spots in the late 20s and early 30s), which is more than you can say for the French.
The rather nasty French regime is frustrated: its goal of avenging the humiliations of ’15 seems further away than ever, now that Germany has all those nukes. Under the circumstances the general population is beginning to ask whether they really need all those secret police and so on if it’s not going to help re the Germans, which the government deals with by cranking the repression up. Forbidden from developing nukes, the French have been developing a chemical and biological arsenal of some size instead, which they feel will at least act as a deterrent when they let people know about it. They lead a small group of malcontent nations referred to as “The New Entente”, including a *fascist Italy Permanently Pissed over Venetia, a Greece very unhappy about its lack of Balkan spoils, a right-wing Spanish regime which owes its existence to French aid against their own socialist revolutionaries, and the Egyptians, whose French-derived form of government is even more pure Saddam Hussein quill than France’s (France is run by committee: Egypt, by strongman. He even has an excellent mustache).
The Boer state is a Germany ally and has even worse racial issues than our South Africa at the time: a few years back some revelations about Boer plans for “population control” and “social management” were so shocking that the government was forced to loudly claim it was the work of Radical Elements, and several scapegoats fled into exile (supposedly just a hop ahead of the police, which has not been exactly energetic in seeking extradition since). Liberia, after US intervention in a local civil war, has become a US territory: Confederates cynically note that the supposedly color-blind US seems in no hurry to make it an actual state.
The German Reich dominates most of Europe. It is more populous than the same area OTL 1969, having avoided the losses of WWII and attracted rather more immigration. There is some talk of maybe absorbing Switzerland and the Netherlands, but their governments are cooperative enough and their economies firmly incorporated into the German “system” running from la Manche to the Volga. Why make trouble, when there is enough of it in Eastern Europe, whose vassal German royal families often sit uneasily on their thrones, and the mellowing of the Russian Socialist Union has had the unfortunate effect of making the Ukrainians and the Cossacks less scared of the notion of striking out on their own. Antisemitism is on the rise again in these troubled times, although actual anti-Jewish legal measures so far fail to make it through the Reichstag.
Germany leads the world in theoretical science, but is hotly contested by Japan when it comes to making practical applications of its technology. The total size of the economy of the German “Block” of nations is still somewhat larger than the much more populous Japanese sphere, and standards of living are much higher: still, German romantic pessimism is quite evident in popular culture, and Germans worry a great deal about falling behind the Yellow Menace. (German popular magazines, books, movies, etc. remain highly “politically incorrect.”). At least the people have confidence in the current Kaiserin, a middle-aged “woman of iron” who can best be described as the unholy love-child of Bismark and Margaret Thatcher. (The aging former Kaiser and the German parliament did the legal work to pass the succession to the female line after a tragic zeppelin accident took out the heir presumptive and the backup kid, leaving the next three males in the line of succession an alcoholic, a lunatic and a valiant soldier who, alas, was also flamboyantly, even extravagantly gay.)
The Ottoman Empire is a solid German ally. It is often called the Turkish Empire, given that  the Sultan is essentially a figurehead of the dominant political party and  Turkish nationalism has become a major part of said party’s ideology (it’s also the only legal party). The Arabs are understandably unhappy about this. The Ottomans are a bit annoyed about the German-Japanese rivalry, which in their opinion distracts from the more important task of destroying the Russian regime and liberating central Asia. The Monarchy is in much better shape to the east in Iran, where the Shah’s regime is modernizing with Japanese aid and savage repression of any opposition to his great power ambitions.
Germany’s forward listening bases and a number of military assets are located in the Indian Federation, a somewhat politically complex union of states held together mostly by fear of the Japanese, Muslim-Hindu bickering generally staying non-violent. India is a German ally out of necessity: it needs an atom-powered protector, and the Germans are the most credible when it comes to facing down the Japanese.
The Russian Socialist Union was never as sociopathic as Stalin’s regime, and have mellowed since a reform faction came to power in the late 40’s, but it is still a one-party state with universal mobilization and a rather paranoid outlook, lying at it does between two hostile and nuclear-armed superpowers. Recent odd seismic activity in the Lop Nor has led various Russian officials to become surprisingly bad at understanding the German and Japanese languages and easily baffled by the simplest of questions.
The Japanese Empire is the world’s most populous empire, and its most ruthlessly oppressive one. Its huge domains are divided into puppet regimes, colonial regimes, areas of military “special administration” (like colonies, but with more salutary massacres), and areas directly incorporated into the homeland. Taiwan, after generations of cultural re-education, is nowadays considered almost “Nipponese” enough to gain this coveted status: there will be a decision made sometime in the next few years. Korea remains more of a problem child. The current arms race with Germany is convenient for the coalition of army, secret police, bureaucrats, and corporate titans that effectively runs the empire: it provides a good excuse to ignore popular sentiment in favor of returning democracy to at least 1920s levels, and to label dissidents as traitors who want the terrorists to win.
The current Emperor is a 10 year old boy: due to his largely symbolic and ritual purpose, this does not interfere with the running of the empire. The Empire is big on atomic power, with which it hopes to become fully independent of any energy imports from outside the Asian Union for Growth and Prosperity: its cities are among the world’s largest- and most polluted, something the heavily controlled press generally fails to dwell on in its ongoing discussion of how great things are going for the greatest of empires. While women’s rights have been making progress in Germany under the influence of the Kaiserin, Japan still does its best to keep its women pregnant and in the kitchen, birth rates having declined to an extent that there is some discussion of making condoms illegal along with birth control pills.
Japan has a few allies, mostly authoritarian regimes: the Philippines, which broke away from Spain sans US interference, and allied to Japan to gain protection from other predators, is a militarized one-party state with a lot uniforms and formation marching, and flatteringly imitative of Japan.
Australia and New Zealand, neutralized after the defeat of Britain, joined into a federation for mutual defense in the early 50s: although Australia has considerably developed its military since then, the international view is that if the Japanese exerted themselves, Australia-New Zealand would be pretty quickly swallowed by the Empire. Like France or Russia, Australia-New Zealand is forbidden nuclear weapons, and the Japan get _very_ pissy at any hint they might be thinking of violating neutrality by inviting in German forces. Currently, there is something of a population leakage, mostly to North America, which leads local pundits to moan and groan about how the Asians will just walk in once population decline has gone far enough. (A fair number of Asians are walking - or at least boating - in, Islamic refugees from the Japanese East Indies in particular: their extreme hostility to Japan does not prevent said pundits from claiming them to be a vanguard of the eventually Invading Hordes).
Science and technology is generally a bit ahead of OTL 1969, while some fields - aerospace, cybernetics, materials science, biochemistry, and some others – are substantially ahead. Japan and Germany have both put men on the Moon, and are in fact building lunar colonies – armed with Moon-to-Moon missiles, as well as Moon-to-Earth. (The “can’t stop a missile from the Moon” crowd of idiots is vocal in this TL, too). The USA, the British, and the Russians have put men in orbit, and there is some talk in the Confederacy of developing a manned space program.
Advanced robotics and cybernetics means that the Germans and Japanese are both developing forms of combat robots, but relatively crude AI at this stage means that this means either remote control (with all sorts of methods of interfering with or even redirecting the machine’s commands) or robots with people in them – a more refined version of this is powered body armor, flight capable versions of which have been developed both by the Germans and the Japanese (the Japanese version, which comes with a nifty monomolecular sword capable of cutting airplanes in half and travels underwater as well as in the air, is rather more expensive than the German one – impractically expensive, in fact. The corporate conglomerate responsible for its construction fervently claims that the costs will come right down with mass production).
(The Japanese are also working on Really Big atomic-powered robots. Of course).
There are also true cyborgs, a field which in which the current leaders are (openly) Texas and (secretly) France. (The French have been using up quite a few political prisoners in experimentation). Lower-level, practical applications of cybernetics in the form of advanced prostheses for the crippled are becoming practical in terms of cost in a number of countries: although this world failed to revive the Olympics as OTL, sports promoters are already quarreling about the role of partially mechanical competitors in the Sports of Tomorrow.
The Japanese won their war with the UK through their superior navy, and have continued to build bigger and more powerful battleships: the current generation of nuclear-powered “floating castles” are bigger and more powerful than any ship built OTL, and mount nuclear artillery. They will also be entirely useless if the ICBMs begin to fly, which is impolite to mention to a Japanese citizen.
There are six acknowledged nuclear powers: the US, the Confederacy, Britain, Germany, the Ottomans, and Japan. Most people suspect Texas has a nuke or two stashed away somewhere.
Texas also excels in the development of rocket-propelled munitions, some fired from hand-held weapons. Most people think Texans are crazy.
The flying car is still a rarity, but the one-man “hopper” or simply “flyer” mini-helicopter is popular, both by the police and general public, with licensing for the private individual varying from almost possible in anal-retentive Germany to alarmingly easy in Texas or the Confederacy. (The military version with the sidecar is really rather silly looking). Blimps, Zeppelins, and so on are of course common: it’s an alternate universe, isn’t it?
THE SUPERHERO RACE
Aside from the arms race, a strange new international competition is starting.
Back in the last months of the Great War, a British biochemist stumbled across a formula to enhance human ability. It made men ten times as strong and five times as fast. It also halved their IQ and killed them in a week.
It might still have been used on a large scale out of sheer desperation, but the war shortly ended in a negotiated peace in which the French got the majority of the shaft, and the formula was consigned to low-priority animal research. It was smuggled out of the country by Confederate agents, and Confederate scientists carried out their own experiments.
It took half a century, but a formula that enhanced human ability without killing the subject or damaging the brain was finally developed. And the Confederate government, looking at what the so-called Ultimate Potential Serum, decided “hey! We can have superheroes to sell government policy!” (Superhero comics were doing quite well in North America at the time: probably better than OTL in the US and Confederacy).
Things went pear-shaped, as they usually do in projects of this sort.
In the end, heroes and villains died, a villain became a hero, a President was forced to embrace reform, and a “new generation” of heroes emerged: a black female “Captain Confederacy” and “Kid Dixie” – who was in fact the original Captain Confederacy, minus some fifty pounds of muscle.
The people who developed the serum never really knew what they had. They knew it enhanced healing to the extent that nothing short of a bullet in the brain was a guaranteed kill, that it increased strength six or seven fold, speed four fold, built muscle mass…but it was not what it seemed. All the _real_ change took place in the brain. Strength, speed, healing…it all came from the mind, from unleashed psionic energy. The body grew muscle because the brain _believed_ super-strength must come with big ol’ muscles. And new abilities developed with time – the ability to read minds. The ability to visit other people in their dreams, to sense hostility, limited precognition…and in the end, increased intelligence, and the ability to do away with regular injections of the superhero serum, the brain itself constantly restoring the changes previously made with the serum, and negating the otherwise lethal effects of withdrawal.
Definitive evidence of actual super-powered Confederates of course made the leaders of a dozen foreign nations muddy their shorts, although calm was restored when it became clear that the Confederacy had no intention of going into mass production. (For one thing, rumors of the telepathy thing made superheroes more toxic than plutonium to any Confederate politician that heard them: in the dirty business of Confederate politics, way too many people had skeletons in suddenly entirely transparent closets.) Whatever the rumors might be, a dozen new research projects came into play: the British revived their old projects, the US (which had in turn stolen the original Great War formula from the Confederates some thirty years ago and quickly discarded it as impractical) ran to the old files, Deseret put more money in a related if alien line of research…
(The Japanese actually had developed their own version of a propaganda superhero even before the Confederates went public with theirs. Their version, however, was cybernetically enhanced ninja assassins designed to scare the shit out of the empire’s various resistance movements, and was intended to be something discussed in scared whispers, not someone to appear on television and cheerfully address the public with a big toothy smile).
The research being difficult at best, while hundreds of spies converged on the Confederacy to try and steal the formula (if it still existed: the government claimed it had been destroyed), various military projects were repurposed as “superhero” projects: trustworthy soldiers training to use Germany’s flying powered armor project (the “Iron Falcons”) were relabeled as national Science Heroes, as was a Texan cyborg and a Mormon woman running on a terrifying array of performance-enhancing drugs: the Japanese, needing a public hero, picked the operator of their new, super-expensive, Makes The German One Look Like Crap power armor (AKA “Solar Samurai”) as their flag-bearer. Nations lacking high tech gimmicks turned to athletes and martial artists to create new national vigilantes and defenders of the people, such as California’s “Spirits of the People.”
Superheroes by the summer of ’69 had become a gimmick, a fad, the new and exciting thing world-wide: everyone needed to have one. Russia fielded their own cyborg hero, a colossal mass of machinery which foreigners claimed was just a big robot suit. The Philippines produced costumed martial arts vigilantes. Mexico, a masked wrestler with his own camera crew. The French cyborg hero wore an all-covering costume, being too freaky looking in less enveloping duds. Italy fielded a Gladiator-themed hero whose twitchy boy sidekick was an actual natural telepath, tracked down by a government Psychic Research program which had taken twenty years to prove itself something other than a boondoggle. The US put on stage a remarkably multi-talented model/athlete/chess champion/sharpshooter/etc. with remarkable breasts. (Their _actual_ superhero program was kept behind many layers of security). The Confederation of the Andes fielded an extraordinarily fast-talking and jerkily-moving gunslinger hero who claimed to be powered by cocaine, leading to his arrest by drug enforcement agents when he incautiously decided on a trip to the USA.
And in that summer, a remarkable event was to take place. The world’s first superhero convention, to be held in neutral Louisiana Free State. Not just north American heroes, but the representatives of Germany and Japan. A meeting for international peace. A meeting to show off the prowess of the various nations, technological and otherwise. Sponsored by the North American Unity Foundation, a powerful organization which lobbies for closer ties between the states of North America – and has ties to important US political figures…
Minor odds and ends:
Science Fiction is called Scientifiction. There is a McDonalds but it is a taco and burrito place. There is a Sanders but he’s a Doc rather than a Colonel and sells catfish. Marihuana is a legal drug in the Confederacy. William Jennings Bryan made it to the Confederate White House and negotiated the multinational peace that established the borders of the Great Spirit Alliance, but was assassinated in 1902. Lincoln never made it to the five dollar US bill. Confederate money has a shitty exchange rate with US dollars. Havana Homicide is the most popular evening cop show in the Confederacy. The City of New York has a peculiar autonomous status within the US, making it an international Free Port with its own separate legal system – and pays no taxes to Albany, State of New York.