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The Ballad of Natty Cooper

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Natty Cooper, man on the moon,
Whispered "gold" and laughed like a loon.
Came back down, what a mistake.
How many Patriots did it take?

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MAN WALKS ON THE MOON?
Unknown Astronaut Says "Gold" Before Breaking Connection

Houston, July 16, 1969—At 9:29 AM, a few minutes before the scheduled launch of Apollo 11, an unknown astronaut made contact with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission control room. The entire transmission consisted of 3 seconds of static, followed by roughly a minute of shaky footage of a cratered surface. The camera then turns to a figure in a space suit, and a voice, presumably the man behind the camera, saying, "Gold." The short video ends with footage of what may be the moon's surface.

NASA officials have yet to issue a statement. The launch of Apollo 11 has been indefinitely delayed as this possible hoax is under investigation.

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In the halls of the Kennedy Space Center, they still speak of Natty Cooper, sibilant whispers and the occasional loud curse reverberating through the building. No one has met him, but everyone has a friend of a friend who has, the chain of once-removed connections enough to go to the moon and back. There is a bathroom stall on the eighth floor where you can still make out "end" and "trail," signed "Columbia Forever," and they say it rang with laughter the day the Red Alert was broadcast. And though the official memo states that Apollo 11 was delayed on account of management, others say that the night the Yellowside Reports started, before pink eye was all the rage, half of NASA was sent home with conjunctivitis, Neil Armstrong himself rubbing his eyes raw and red, a single tear running down his tired face. No one knows who patient zero was, but there have been rumors of a heap of dirty blankets in the corner of an oft-used hallway, gossip of Natty Cooper shaking the hands of everyone he met before he suddenly vanished from records and paperwork and landed on the moon.

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NATTY COOPER ASSASSINATED
Fear of Reprisal from the Territories

Des Moines, May 9, 1971—Mr. Nathaniel "Natty" Cooper, popularly known as "Lunar Boy," was pronounced dead today at 5:34 PM. Mr. Cooper's body was identified by his brother, Mr. Chingachgook Cooper, who is also his sole living relation. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds, six of which could have been fatal. The coroner's report states that Mr. Cooper was very likely shot at by a large group of people.

Currently, Mr. Cooper's killers have not been identified, although a group calling themselves "The Patriots" have been claiming that they were behind the assassination.

Mr. Cooper was most widely known as the "first Indian on the moon." NASA has repeatedly denied this statement, noting that the Apollo 11 mission of August 31, 1969, was the first documented landing of human beings on the moon. On July 16, 1969, NASA received a broadcast that presumably was of Mr. Cooper in a spacesuit on the moon. Mr. Cooper continued to send broadcasts over a period of three weeks. These broadcasts were later called the "Yellowside Reports," as they consistently emphasized the massive quantities of gold available on the moon. Mr. Cooper claimed that he had staked the unpopulated territory of the moon for the United States of America, trading buffalo hides, pemmican, and wampum with the native population for perpetual land rights.

Many Indians in the Territories claim Mr. Cooper foretold the Conservation Act, and some have even hinted that he may have been a part of the marked absence of anti-Conservation congressmen the day the act was passed.

Although Mr. Cooper claimed to have been on the moon, there are no NASA records of a "Nathaniel Cooper."

"I remember him from training," said one NASA astronaut, who wishes to remain unidentified. "We just called him 'Nat.' He definitely said he was Indian, but whenever anyone asked him to prove it, he would take whatever paper was lying around and draw some sort of ID or something." Another classmate corroborates, "He'd always tell us what tribe he belonged to, but it would change every other week."

Mr. Gary Hastings, an engineer assisting with training, said, "Any time we tried to file something, the official record was always out, or missing, or something." When asked how working with Mr. Cooper was, Mr. Hastings stated, "He was extremely intelligent, definitely one of the best I worked with. Actually, I never really believed he was Indian. He was too good with the technology."

Mr. Cooper died owing a total of $28.2 billion dollars to a consortium including NASA, the Kennedy Space Center, NBC, CBS, ABC, and the New York Times.

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FBI FILE NO. 24-3845

NOTE: Fwd. to Agent Jim Lowell re: the Gnat case. Action against the Chicago branch of the Black Panthers is already underway. Recommended action for Agent Lowell is further surveillance on the AIM with the possibility of planting moles.

Summary: This transcript was taken from Tape 523.54 of the Hampton files. The following conversation was recorded between 7:33 to 7:35 PM on September 14, 1971, at 91 S. 5th Ave., Maywood, IL, 60153 (Hampton's residence at the time).

MARK HAMPTON (head of the Chicago Black Panthers): I met with someone from the American Indian Movement yesterday.

JULIA WOODS (HAMPTON'S roommate; member of Chicago Black Panthers): Not from the Territories?

MH: Nah. Skin Parade didn't take everyone, and the ones left are probably even worse off.

(snort, probably JW)

MH: Anyway. She was trying to pass me a warning or something? Something about FBI assassination of one of theirs, that Natty Cooper guy who was on the moon?

JW: Wouldn't be surprised. They got their fingers all over the place.

MH: Yeah. Yeah, they do.

JW: We gotta be more careful around the newer members. I already found one guy passing notes to god knows who.

MH: Not a good time to be a radical.

JW: (laughs) Never is.

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POLICE RAID BLACK PANTHER RESIDENCE

Chicago, December 4, 1971—Police raided the house of Chicago Black Panthers leader Mark Hampton at 4:45 AM only to find the residence empty. Police chief Robert O'Neal stated that they had a warrant to seize any illegal weapons on the property, though none were found.

"We've had a lot of reports of the Panthers carrying assault weapons, but none were in evidence this morning," Chief O'Neal corroborated. "We did, however, find a single arrow on the floor of the living room. It looked very primitive, just a stick, some feathers, and an old stone arrowhead. Don't think it could have hurt anyone."

The Black Panther Party states that they intend to sue the Chicago Police Department for property damage. Mr. Hampton and his associates have not been found.

Mr. Hampton is known for his work on the Rainbow Group, a radical coalition he co-founded along with white migrant leader Preacher Jones and Puerto Rican activist Jose Hernandez. The Rainbow Group was previously in the news for brokering a possible partnership with Anna Powless from the American Indian Movement, a move that had drawn much criticism from groups fearing a rise in violence. Mr. Hernandez has stated that the alliance between the two groups will continue despite the disappearance of Mr. Hampton.

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They say Natty Cooper laughed when the Patriots caught him at the Border; they say he eyed their coats and their muskets and said they might have the red coats, but he was the one with a red skin. They say the Patriots chased him from Ohio to Indiana to Illinois to Iowa and that they caught him only a mile from the Territories. They say no man could have caught Natty Cooper, that Natty Cooper was just tired of running, tired of hiding, and wanted to have some fun. They say the Patriots found him waiting for them, alone, surrounded by miles of prairie, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.

The Patriots say they scalped him and left him lying on the prairie like the buffalo, a black cloud of flies his final marker, but no one has met the Patriots who shot him.

In the Territories, they say different.

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Natty Cooper had some fun.
Natty made those Patriots run.
Turned and stopped, said, "What's that?"
Black hair spilling from tricorne hats.