ISOT American 2002
Written by Dave Knudson,
------------ Time to jump on the ISOT bandwagon...
On March 13, 2002, the continental (i.e. lower 48 states) USA of that day is switched with the USA from March 13, 1942.
The continental USA of 2002 ends up in 1942, the continental USA of 1942 ends up here.
I'm not interested in the 1942 world - presumably the 2002 USA crushes (in no particular order) the Nazis, Japanese, Italians, Soviets, Communist Chinese, Rumanians, Bulgarians, etc ad nauseum, and makes the world into pseudos-America (kinda cool actually, if you happen to be like me, maybe not so cool if you're not).
However, 2002 is an interesting case. Alaska, Hawaii, and (here's the kicker) all overseas US military forces are still of the 2002 variety. The 1942 USA would find itself in an unbelievable situation, but already gearing for war.
What happens now?
The US still has considerable striking power, given our overseas bases, subs, carriers, etc, as well as several active-duty divisions in Europe and Asia. There are also significant military assets and infrastructure in Alaska and Hawaii.
What happens next?
Does the Middle East explode (even more than it already is)? Does China strike at Taiwan? Does North Korea invade South Korea? Does India hit Pakistan? How do Roosevelt, Marshall, et. al react to all this? Can the overseas US forces get back "home" to an America 60 years out of place? What does NATO do?
CONUS USA 2002 in 1942
Note: This is the “other side” of the USA ISOT issue I raised a few days ago. I’ve been working on what happens to the 1942 USA in 2002; I thought it might be fun to look at what happens to the 2002 USA in 1942. This is just pure fantasy fun, so please don’t be offended…
At 4:00 EST AM March 13, 2002, the lower 48 states of the United States of America is surrounded by a wall of white light, which lasts approximately 3 minutes. The wall of light vanishes at 4:03 EST AM, without doing any apparent damage. The wall of light is visible to all coastal and land border residents of the US, but due to the hour, very few people actually see it. The event is captured on numerous cameras, and US satellites that happened to be over CONUS at the time also record the event. As reports filter in, NORAD contacts the Pentagon, informs them of the “wall of light”, and the subsequent lack of contact with any US or allied military assets outside the continental United States. For the duration of the event, no US scanners, radar, or other detection means within CONUS can detect anything at all outside CONUS. As soon as the event clears, NORAD is able to monitor outside of CONUS again – however no US assets seem to exist beyond the range of CONUS. At 4:10 AM EST, President George Bush is wakened by the Secret Service, and hustled off to Marine 1, which takes him to Andrews. He is briefed by phone by the duty officers at the Pentagon and Cheyenne Mountain. Though no damage to the United States has occurred, and there is no indication of an attack, there is no contact with anything outside of CONUS, including Air Force 2, with Vice-President Cheney on board. Additionally, there is no explanation for the “wall of light” many people are reporting. Both duty officers recommend an upgrade of the nation’s defence posture to DEFCON 2. Bush agrees, and all continental US military forces are placed on alert. By 4:29 AM, Bush is boarding Air Force 1, and the situation is even more confused. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as other cabinet and military leaders, who are gathering in, or en-route to the Situation Room at the White House, join the Pentagon and NORAD duty officers in contact with Bush. The NSA is reporting that all overseas, Alaskan and Hawaiian stations are down, but that signal intercepts are being gathered. Unfortunately, these intercepts make little sense. NASA reports that between 4:00 AM EST and 4:03 AM EST “something” happened, but they are unable to provide any data on what that “something” might be. They do report that 90% of US satellites are unresponsive, and that they have no contact with any of their global tracking stations outside CONUS. The only satellites they do have contact with were those that happened to be over CONUS between 4:00 and 4:03. Bush, with memories of 9/11, orders all planes (except for military planes) grounded, and all ships to remain in port. Five US CVN carrier groups are in port; 2 are ordered from Norfolk to put to sea in the Atlantic; 1 is ordered into the Pacific from San Diego. The Air Force is ordered to CAP major US cities. Meanwhile, Chester Nimitz in Hawaii is alerted. US Naval Intelligence at Pearl Harbor has lost all contact with the mainland. Fearing sabotage as a prelude to a Japanese invasion, the two US infantry divisions on Oahu are alerted. Contact with the British in Australia, the remaining US forces besieged in the Philippines, and the Canadians at Vancouver is fine, so the technicians at Pearl are confused. If sabotage cut off the islands, then they should be unable to contact anyone; yet only the links to CONUS are down. Similarly, Dwight D. Eisenhower (note: I don’t know if Ike was even in Britain at the time. I don’t think he commander of anything until TORCH, but I’m not sure) who is enjoying breakfast with his British counterparts in London, is informed both by US Army Intelligence and the British that all contact with CONUS has been lost. Additionally, very strange reports have been heard from Canadians living near the US border – something about a wall of light. Alarmed, Churchill orders a Royal Navy squadron from Halifax to investigate, while Eisenhower contacts the US Naval attaché. By 5:45 AM EST, the situation is even more confused for Bush on Air Force 1, by this time over Indiana. Two F-15s are escorting the President’s plane. NSA signal intercepts are clearer, after frantic technicians retuned their equipment to the AM band. Strange reports of fighting in the Philippines, and the “Soviet Union” are heard, as well as broadcast from the BBC, and, amazingly, the US Armed Forced radio, reporting from Britain. Bush orders the Air Force to over fly Canada, Mexico, and Cuba. At 5:56 AM EST, on board U-431, Captain Gunter von Seechkt can’t believe his eyes. An enormous merchant ships, ablaze with navigational lights is just sitting outside of New York harbor. U-431 was just arriving, and although von Seechkt had heard reports that the Americans had lousy convoying – this was too much to believe. He orders an attack. The freighter, the Panamian-registered Star of Colon is halted due to Bush’s orders. Carrying fruits and coffee from South America, it never sees the three torpedoes that hit it. Damage control functions reasonably well, and the captain is able to contact the US Coast Guard. When the next two torpedoes from U-431 hit, they are seen coming in. Before abandoning his sinking vessel, the captain does report that he’s been attacked by a submarine. By 6:10 AM, reports from the Star of Colon are coupled with those from Detroit, Buffalo, Sarnia, El Paso, and other border locations. Mexico and Canada have changed. Bridges in Detroit going over to Windsor, Ontario end abruptly mid-river. The cities themselves have changed – Windsor is unrecognisable, as are cities border towns and cities in Mexico. US Customs agents on the border report roads that just end at the border. Bush is isolated aboard Air Force 1 – the Secret Service hustled him there with little ceremony. Contact with the Situation Room is maintained, however. Bush orders the borders sealed, and all air contacts warned off from US airspace. Satellite links are largely down, and an awakening America is finding its cell phones and direct TV not working. CNN and other major news organizations are cut off from their non-CONUS subsidiaries, and Americans are becoming aware that something is really, really wrong. Two more merchantmen are torpedoed by U-Boats almost within sight of the US East Coast, and the Coast Guard scrambled to respond. By 7:23 AM EST, the USS Eisenhower battle group has put to sea from Norfolk. With reports of sub attacks from three points along the US East coast, the group starts active ASW measures, along with a CAP. Almost immediately sonar and other means detect unknown submarines up and down the coast. The ASW personnel note that these subs are very slow and very noisy. One of the subs is within five miles of the group. Contacting the CNO at the Pentagon, who contacts Bush, the group is authorized to defend itself. ASROC missiles from an escorting destroyer are fired, acquire the German submarine almost immediately and sink it at 7:32 AM EST. By 8:00 AM EST, four hours after the event, the world is very confused. In the United States, there is a sense of unreality, similar to 9/11. Most people can’t tell anything has happened, but almost unbelievable reports from CNN, and stony silence from the White House is lending a sense of panic to the air. Rumours of military manoeuvres, aliens, and nuclear war abound. Local TV from places like Detroit and Buffalo are broadcasting simply unbelievable pictures from Canada, and late-run pictures of the Wall of Light lend to wild speculation. Political pundits are speechless, and only a small group of people – mainly kooks who hang out on the ‘net on weird places like alternate history lists begin to suggest time-travel. The rest of the world is also confused, but not with the same sense of urgency. Only in Canada are stunned residents really aware of the change, and frantic attempts from Windsor to explain Detroit’s Renaissance center are met with disbelief in Ottawa and London. At 8:15 AM, a small cabin on Air Force 1, Bush addresses the nation. He is clear, concise, and calm. Something has happened, and the situation is confusing. A “Wall of Light” surrounded the continental United States, and the world seems to have changed. The government is investigating, and has no clear answers yet. There are confused reports of fighting from around the world, but the government can confirm nothing, and urges all Americans to remain calm. Bush announces that all banks are closed, and all wages and prices are frozen until further notice. He urges all Americans to remain in their homes, and stay attentive to news reports. Bush signs off, and orders Air Force 1 to return to Washington. At 9:30 AM EST, two Canadian spitfires are detected by radar approaching the Quebec-Vermont border. Two F-16s are scrambled from Logan AFB, and intercept them short of the border. No voice contact is made, but the spitfires quickly retreat from the mysterious rocket planes. One of the F-16 pilots is a history buff, and he recognizes the Spitfire, which is reported to Bush. At 9:45 AM, the Mayor of Buffalo, New York crosses over to Canada. He is met by stunned Canadians. He gets a newspaper, which reports the date as March 13, 1942, and is filled with war news. He crosses back to Buffalo, where he shows the paper to stunned reporters. By 11:30 AM, Bush is back in the situation room. Thousands of incidents of people crossing the border have been reported. In a hurried conference with his science advisors, Powell, Rumsfled, National Security Advisor Rice, and NASA, Bush concludes that the continental United States has been transported back to 1942. He arrives at this conclusion much more quickly than does the rest of the world. The US forces overseas, mainly in the Pacific and Britain have no real idea of what’s happening. The Germans and Japanese are, by this time, aware something is going on, but they’re not sure what. Stalin is informed that all contact has been lost with Soviet agents in America. Churchill, who informs him of the fantastic reports coming from Canada, contacts Stalin. The nominal allies agree that more information is needed, and Eisenhower contacts Nimitz, in Hawaii, who agrees to send a task force built around the USS Hornet to the West Coast. A Royal Navy taskforce, built around the battleships King George V and Renown, formerly on convoy duty, is already en route to the US from Halifax.
More to Come.
USA 2002 in 1942 Part 2 (say that three times fast…)
By 12:00 noon EST March 13, eight hours after the wall of light, the government of the 2002 United States of America is aware that something unbelievable has happened – that the continental 48 states of the union have been somehow transported back to the year 1942. The stunned government can barely respond – and when it does, its automatic responses only. Bush federalizes the National Guard, and orders the borders sealed – for real this time. No one in, no one out. Both Rumsfeld and Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge say that this is virtually impossible, but they can try. Colin Powell points out that in 1942, the United States was at war with a great many countries - Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy being the big three enemies. However, the 2002 United States is not at war with them. Additionally, the United States has commitments to wage war in concert with allies – most importantly the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. At this Condoleelzza Rice points out that the USSR is currently led by one Joseph Stalin, a man many consider to be on par with Hitler for pure evil. Before Bush can comment on this, Rumsfeld breaks in again. The navy has reported sinking 2 submarines – suspected Nazi U-Boats at this point, and that three merchant vessels have been torpedoed. Rice again speaks – saying that early 1942 were a “happy time” for German U-Boats off the US East Coast. Bush asks about the vulnerability of both civilian and military shipping. No one speaks for a minute, and Rumsfeld sends for an expert on World War II. CIA chief George Tenet breaks in. Signal intercepts from the NSA indicate heavy fighting around the world – as one would expect in early 1942. There is some indication that Britain and 1942 US military forces outside CONUS know something is wrong, and a large force of surface ships is approaching the Northeast coast. The ships are believed to be British. Bush asked about contacting Winston Churchill, or even 1942 US military forces in Hawaii and the UK, and is informed that technicians are working on it. Press Secretary Ari Flieschman points out that speculation in the press is rampant, and it won’t take people long to figure out what’s going on. Bush tells him to schedule an address to the nation for 2:30 that afternoon.
It’s late in the day in London, and Churchill has called an emergency session of his war council, and asked the US Ambassador Joe Kennedy and Eisenhower to sit it on it, along with the Soviet ambassador. Churchill informs them that all contact with the United States has been lost, but that contact with US territories, like Alaska, Hawaii, and the Philippines is available. No reports of natural disasters have been delivered, but that frankly insane reports are coming from the US-Canadian border of huge buildings and strange people. Additionally, strange planes and even auto-rotors (helicopters) have been seen. A Royal Navy task force is steaming south from Halifax, and should know something by tomorrow. Churchill also reports that the US Navy has dispatched a task force from Pearl Harbor to the West Coast. It will be at least three days before anything is known from it. Before that, however, news is expected. Admiral Nimitz has dispatched long-range flying boats – Catalinas – with the range to reach the west coast. They should arrive within a few hours, and issue a report. Air Marshall Dowding reports that two Canadian spitfires already sent to reconnoitre the US were turned back by fantastic rocket planes. They did report the mysterious planes as having US markings – but were also marked as belonging to the “US Air Force”. Churchill turns to Ike, but Eisenhower can give no explanation – all land-based US military aircraft are a part of the US Army Air Corps, and he’s never heard of the “US Air Force”. For now, Churchill decides, the war will continue as normal. There is extreme concern about the battle of the Atlantic, and that the Germans and Italians under Rommel will continue a major push towards Cairo. In Russia, the winter is clearing, and both Soviet and British intelligence believe the Germans will continue their push on Moscow. The news from the Far East continues to be depressing in the extreme – the American in the Philippines are now hopelessly cut off with the destruction of the ABDA naval assets in the NEI.
In Berlin, Hitler meets with his military advisors. Canaris advises him “something” has happened regarding the United States. German agents in the UK report that the British have been going bananas all day trying to figure out what’s going on. German intelligence also reports that all US radio stations that they could monitor have gone off the air – except for those outside the United States. Hitler is genuinely confused. He grows more so when Grand Admiral Raeder advises him that a strong British naval taskforce has been ordered off convoy duty from Halifax to “investigate” the US northeast. Hitler is surprised by this, and sends for his astrologer.
At 2:30 PM EST, George Bush goes on TV from the Oval Office. He advises Americans that the government is still investigating what happened, but that some preliminary facts are in. One, that the “Wall of Light” remains unidentified. Two, that reports of nuclear war are false. Three, that as far as the US government can tell, the Continental United States has been transported back in time to 1942. He says that the government is unable to explain this, but that the transport did not cause any damage. Four, that World War II is raging with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. He confirms the reports of the three merchantmen sunk that morning off the east coast, and advises Americans to avoid the water – for now. He also advises Americans that significant military assets were also transported with the US, and that he is extremely confident that the military can keep the country safe while the government continues its investigation. Five, that the stock market will remained closed until further notice. The emergency wage and price controls remain in place, and Americans in vital jobs are to report to work. Six, that he is declaring a national state of emergency, and that all military reservists are to report for duty.
Reaction across the country is mixed. Riots break out in some supermarkets, as people rush to hoard food. There is a run on banks, and disorder when people can’t get to their money. Several governors request that Bush let them retain control of some units of the National Guard to contain civil disorder, and Bush agrees. Major military units are ordered to be deployed to some cities. Bush is in the situation room again by 3:00 PM. Several experts on World War II have been located, and join the Cabinets, Majority Leader Daschle, and the rest of the National Security Council, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several scientists. Bush speaks to the NASA chief first. The chief says he can offer no explanation for what has happened, and that he has no way of telling if it will happen again. None of the scientists can offer an explanation either. It was clearly the work of an intelligence, however, one of the scientists says. How so, asks Bush. The event transported back only the United States. The national boundaries are arbitrary lines – drawn by humans. There is no natural boundary between North Dakota and Manitoba – it’s just an imaginary line. Therefore, it must have been a deliberate act. Bush ponders this, and then dismisses it. There’s no way we can address this now, he says, and anything with the power to transport an entire country back in time is far beyond our capabilities to impact anyway. What he wants is a plan of action for right now. Several people speak at once. Bush holds up his hand to quiet them, and then points at Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. Abraham is as confused as anyone else, but points out that the biggest problem facing the nation is oil. Bush is an oilman, so he listens intently. The United States imports oil – it has to, there’s not enough domestic production to meet demand. Domestic production can be increased, but eventually more will have to be found. The SPR – Strategic Petroleum reserve can be tapped, but several military people look unhappy with that. Luckily, Abraham points out, we know where to find oil. Several fields in the western hemisphere – tapped out by 2002 – are available, and the Middle East has oil as well. Enough tankers are in port to transport the oil. Through the German Navy, asks Rumsfeld. Bush turns to his military people. After consulting with the JCS and his commanders, Rumsfeld lists assets. Six regular army divisions are available, and five complete carrier battle groups. Several thousand aircraft are also available, as are the ICBMs and several squadrons of B-52, B-1, B-2 and other bombers. With the activation of reserves, another 14 divisions can be brought on-line in the next two months. As far as intel, most of the US Satellite network is mostly unavailable, but some birds do remain. The NSA is collating Intel from them. It is evident that heavy fighting is occurring in the USSR and North Africa, as well as the Philippines and China. The Eisenhower and Constellation carrier battle groups off the East coast report contact with 52 unidentified submarines, presumably Nazi U-Boats. There are also contacts from the Stennis off the West Coast, these are presumably 1942 US boats. Additionally, the Truman remains in Norfolk and the Theodore Roosevelt is in San Francisco. The venerable Nimitz is undergoing an overhaul at Newport News. The Ronald Reagan is scheduled for completion is the next few months. All other US carriers were deployed, mostly in support of Enduring Freedom. Bush nods. What to do then? An immediate babble starts up, and COS Andrew Card motions for silence. Bush nods at Powell. The US, said Powell, has an obligation to fight Hitler. Technically, by waging war, both Germany and Japan are in violation of their 1945 surrender terms. Someone points out that they haven’t surrendered, so aren’t those documents invalid. Powell starts to reply, but Bush cuts him off. The United States will fight, he says. He looks to Daschle, and asks him to call a joint session of Congress, which Bush will address tomorrow. Meanwhile, Bush orders official contact made with Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom (Churchill is a personal hero of his) and all overseas 1942 US military forces, primarily Pearl Harbor.
For the rest of the day the country settles down. With no evident immediate threat to life and limb, people for the most part enjoy a day off. Not so at the National Training Center in California. Two battalions of the Israeli 5th Armored division had just had their butts handed to them (again) by the aggressor force – US troops specially trained on Russian equipment. Like everyone else, the Wall of Light had shocked the Israelis. They too had listened in stunned disbelief to Bush’s press conferences. They heard 1942, and they heard “Nazis”…
More to come if there’s interest…
USA 2002 in 1942 – Part 3
I haven’t forgotten USA 1942 in 2002 – but this is more fun right now…
Canadian, Mexican, Cuban, and British radio stations were able to detect US AM transmissions. Local listeners weren’t able to make much sense of them, until Bush’s 2:30 press conference, carried live by several AM stations. Even with the reports coming from places like Windsor and Niagara, the situation was too “War of the Worlds” for most people – they remembered Orson Wells, and weren’t going to be fooled again. However, by 4:00 PM EST (10:00 PM in the UK), transcripts of the press conference “President Bush” had held were in London, Rome, Berlin, Tokyo, and Moscow. Both Allied and Axis intelligence services were going bananas trying to figure out what was going on. Churchill, who’d been in an emergency meeting all day, was going over the transcript (for the 9th time) with various people, when a call came in. Using some powerful transmitter, President Bush of the United States of America was on the wireless. There’s a moment of collective shock at #10 Downing street, and then Churchill indicated the set be brought it. After some static, George Bush is talking to Winston Churchill. Though warned that this was open line by the British, the Americans don’t seem concerned. Sir Christopher Meyer, British ambassador to the US was with Bush, and Ike and Joe Kennedy were with Churchill. There were some confused words, and an agreement that a face-to-face meeting was imperative. Churchill invites Bush to Britain, which Bush is agreeable to, but others convince them that it would be better for Churchill to come to Washington. Churchill can use available British transport to get to the US, but Colin Powell recommends using a US jet. An older Boeing 727 (it is feared no runway in 1942 Britain could land a 747) that the State Department used for ferrying important diplomats around is readied at Andrews. The 727 has enough range to get to Britain and back (since there’s no jet fuel in the UK). Air Marshall Dowding is worried about escorting the plane, as the Germans were undoubtedly listening. A US admiral with Bush shrugs. No big deal. The 727 can out run anything the Germans have, and the Ike carrier group will be in range to provide air cover in a day or so. Churchill agrees – over the objections of his security people. The plane will leave in 24 hours, to give the Ike time to get into position. The US Secretary of State will ride the plane as well.
In Berlin, the Germans were listening to that, and a multitude of other conversations from America. Most are completely bewildering, but almost all are scathingly anti-Nazi. Many of the radio stations are call-in stations, and the condemnations heaped down on the head of Hitler and others in the Nazi hierarchy are – strong – to say the least. In particular, the Germans note many Americans talking about “death camps” – and – worse – naming them. Many Americans, both Jews and others, are demanding immediate action to liberate those camps. There are many calls for the use of nuclear weapons. Most German listeners have no idea what a “nuclear” weapon is – except that it can’t be good.
In Moscow, the NKVD isn’t much happier. The vast majority of the transmissions from America seem to be strongly anti-Nazi, which is good, but a small, very vocal minority is anti-Stalin. Several stations carry history discussions, and note that Soviet repression grew after the 1945 surrender of the Germans. Several people recommend crushing the Soviet Union as soon as Germany is defeated. Beria, who is personally monitoring the situation for Stalin, calls for immediate emergency session of the Politburo.
In Tokyo, the Japanese are still very confused. They aren’t getting all the same information. The Americans are talking about the Bataan Death March, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese have no idea why those particular cities would interest the Americans. The Imperial Japanese Navy was preparing for a strike against the British in Ceylon. New orders are sent – the Combined Fleet is to gather at Truk for possible future operations against Hawaii.
Bush has another meeting – this time with his economic advisors. A growing sense of urgency has gripped them. The US economy could be a shambles very quickly, they warn. The US economy was tightly integrated with the global economy. Many US firms, and, therefore US jobs were dependent on overseas trade. That trade is gone. Furthermore, US dependency on gasoline to run the economy is also high. Gas rationing is probably necessary. Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, and others recommend that several steps be taken: One, that all US reservists be called up – thus removing a large number of people from the employment pool. Two, that the stock market remain closed until the US economy stabilizes. Three, that the government freeze all prices. Four, that banks limit what cash they give their borrowers. Five, that the US federal government embark on an immediate program of public works, and military expansion to employ America’s labor force. Bush is concerned. This smacks of socialism in his mind, and he fears that military expansion coupled with massive public works will bankrupt the government. Not to worry, says Greenspan. In the long term, the prospects for the US economy are golden. The whole world will be dependent on US tech, US business practices, and US expertise. The US is poised to be even wealthier than it was – after some short and medium term pain.
At 4:15 AM EST, March 14, 1942, Convoy PQ-17 en-route from Halifax to Liverpool is attacked by a German u-boat wolfpack. Frantic calls from the convoy to the British navy for help are intercepted by the NSA. They inform the JCS, who informs the President. Bush doesn’t hesitate – the Ike is on a few hundred miles away. The US Navy is ordered to render assistance. By 5:15, two merchantmen have been sunk, and another is ablaze as the dawn sky begins to brighten. Two F-18s from the Ike overfly the convoy – stunning the crews of the remaining ships with their appearance. They report the situation, and several Sea Stallions are dispatched to the area. Additionally, P-3c Orions are on the way. SACLANT in Norfolk is on the wireless with the Admiralty. After a call from Churchill, the admiralty orders PQ-17 to turn south, towards the Ike. Other German wolfpacks are converging, and the sonar from the US ships should be able to track them. By 7:30 EST, Navy helicopters are conducting S&R for the convoy victims, and others are hunting the subs. 1942 German subs prove ridiculously easy to find, and the Orions and helos are able to kill several. The crews of the merchant ships and escorts are unable to believe the sights they are seeing. One of the escorts is the 1942 US destroyer Campbell. Aggressively hunting the subs, it is contacted by the Ike. It is ordered to proceed at high speed to link up with the carrier group. The admiral in charge needs a “local” expert to help him with this crazy situation, and the Campbell just got elected.
Bush is informed of the “battle” in the Atlantic, and calls another military conference. He wants to know the situation. The briefing is more like a history lesson than anything else. In the USSR, the Germans are preparing to launch an offensive against the Caucasus oil. In Egypt, the British and Rommel’s Afrika Corps are locked in a death struggle for Cairo. In the Far East, the Japanese are over-running what would become Indonesia, and have 20,000 US and Phillipino troops isolated in Bataan. Bush wants to know if anything can be done in the Philippines. Not quickly, is the answer. With no bases capable of supporting them, no assets can be staged from CONUS. The Army has been in contact with MacArthur, in Australia, and wants to know what to do. An Air Force general recommends having them surrender – if they’ll even accept orders from Bush. They gain the US nothing by continuing to fight, and it’s unlikely that the US can get help to them in time to make a difference. Bush ponders that. Meanwhile, he orders all reserves activated, and a recruitment drive to raise more troops. The generals blanche at this – if it really is 1942, then existing US troops should be enough to win. Bush orders them to recruit more troops anyway – his concern is economic, not military.
Colin Powell and George Bush have brief meeting with the 2002 ambassadors from Japan, Germany and Italy. They are friendly, as 48 hours ago all three nations were staunch US allies. The ambassadors, who’d talked to each other before this meeting present a united front to Bush and Powell. They understand that the situation is insane, and that the US has an obligation to affect “regime changes” in their countries. Their concerns are for civilian casualties, and, in particular, about the use of nuclear weapons. Bush and Powell are sympathetic. Yes, the regime change will take place. Yes, the US will minimize casualties as much as it can. No, no use of nuclear weapons is planned, but it remains an option to the United States should a conventional military operation go sour. Furthermore, the US government is counting on the ambassadors and staffs of the embassies to provide guidance and advice in the tough days ahead. The ambassadors thank the President, and leave. On the way out, the German ambassador asks what the US is planning to do about Stalin. Not Russia, but Stalin. Powell and Bush look at each other. This is another question to be answered.
Bush’s address to Congress is full of the kind of high-minded language and oratory typical of historic moments. Bush is unable to offer any explanation for what has happened, but states that reality can not be ignored. Adolph Hitler is alive, and killing millions. The US has a historic and moral obligation to stop him, and the US will. Already, Bush informs them, the US Navy is engaged against German submarines in the Atlantic. Bush outlines his plan. With America’s ally Britain, the US will defeat the true “Axis of Evil” as quickly as possible. America’s vast technological lead assures victory, Bush said, and this time the war won’t last until 1945. Severe economic shocks will hit the country, and Bush assures Congress and the American people that the administration has a plan to deal with this. However, for now, banks will remain closed, and gas rationing will be implemented. In closing, Bush asks for formal declarations of war against the Axis powers. He closes on a religious note: Might this event have been the work of the almighty, who has given America the chance to right the terrible wrongs of the last sixty years? Can we turn our backs, asks Bush, on a world where this is so much more injustice than anyone can remember? With America’s leadership, humanity can face a new dawn of hope, and a future of promise.
In Berlin, German intelligence hears this. Hitler and his advisors meet. In Moscow, the NKVD can not help but notice the only ally mentioned was Britain. The anti-Stalin rhetoric from US radio stations has not abetted.
At the NTC in California, the officers of the two Israeli battalions have a brief meeting. They would not wait, it was decided. The Nazis were killing Jews now. They would leave California now. Too bad they couldn’t take their tanks…
USA 2002 in 1942 Part IV "Orientation"
At 4:30 AM PST March 15, 1942, 77 year-old Miquel Jimenez got up in his home, located just south of Tuscon, Arizona. He got into his 4x4 SUV, and drove south along Interstate 19 to within 5 miles of the Mexican border. He turned off on a service road along the interstate that led to a small, unmarked dirt road. His SUV bumped along that road until it ended abruptly at the Mexican Border. Miquel stopped his SUV off the side of the road. The Border patrol, never more than a token presence here in the wastes west of Nogales, had repaired the fence since Miquel's last journey a few months ago, but that didn't matter to Miquel. He took a pair of bolt cutters from the back seat of the SUV, and grabbed a backpack and canteen. Spry for his age, Miquel wielded the cutter like the mechanic he'd been for decades. The bolt cutter made short work of the fence, and Miguel slipped through and walked south into Mexico. After a walk of six miles, with several stops and turns to orient himself and his decades-old memories of the place, Miquel stopped before a small farmhouse. A few minutes after that, he was shaking hands with his 17 year-old self.
Miquel's experience was repeated by dozens of people over the next few days. For some it was joyful, some terrible, and some just terribly confusing. The government was unable to offer any explanation for how this could be, and churches saw a surge in membership.
On March 15, the "Battle of the Atlantic" is in full swing. The CAMPBELL had met up with the EISENHOWER group. The captain of the CAMPBELL came on board the huge CVN, and could only gape. An explanation was offered, but the poor man could not understand what was happening. Finally, he gives a stuttering interview to a CNN camera team on the boat, and is struck speechless by the roar of an F-18 taking off. The captain is escorted down to CIC, where seemingly magical sensors, relaying information from helicopters and escort ships, display every German submarine within 200 miles of the group. Even the submerged ones. The EISENHOWER was under orders to clear the shipping lanes of German submarines and aircraft. One of the techs on the IKE had an idea. Why not give the Germans a chance to surrender by letting them know how out-classed they were? Some sonar equipment on two sea stallion helicopters and a destroyer was reconfigured, and a sub selected. The lucky German sub promptly submerged at the sight of the approaching helicopters. A torpedo with a dummy warhead was launched, which struck the German sub, caused relatively little damage, but got the Germans' attention. The helicopters and destroyer then used their sonar to communicate. Rather than the "ping-ping" of normal sonar, they put out a series of pings and longer tones that emulated Morse Code - "Surface or Die" - repeated several times. Then, just to show they were serious, the US sailors launched another torpedo with a dummy warhead. The sub surfaced, and the crew interned. Over the next few days this procedure was repeated, with varying degrees of success, as some German subs did flee or try to fight. They were destroyed. The procedure worked even better after someone had the bright idea of tran-sonaring the messages in German rather than English.
As German submariners were experiencing Darwinism in person, the EISENHOWER group was approaching Europe. Several German long-range FW390C CONDOR four-engine naval scout/bombers met F-18s. The results were fairly predictable, though the IKE's S&R teams did manage to fish some German pilots from the sea.
On March 16, Winston Churchill was standing with Ike, Joe Kennedy and Anthony Eden watching an impossible plane land. They were at a bomber base near Manchester, England, and the 727 coming towards them with "United States of America" emblazoned on the side was impossible not to see. The propeller-less aircraft lined up, and did a perfect landing on the tarmac. Overhead, equally impossible planes circled the field. Though none of the men on ground recognized them, all knew military planes when they saw some. They had the lean, sharp look of killers. The RAF had a squadron of Spitfire Vs up providing CAP as well, but it was clear the fighter jets were far more capable. The plane taxied for a bit, and then a ladder was pushed up to the door. It wasn't the right size of course, but some quick adjustments fixed that. With much less pomp than befitted the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a couple of men in blue uniforms descended the stairs. The saluted Churchill, and Eisenhower, and introduced themselves as members of the United States Air Force. An African-American also descended the stairs. He was in a suit, and smiled at Churchill. Shaking hands, he introduced himself as Colin Powell, Secretary of State of the United States. As he was doing so, the F-18s suddenly roared off to the East. One of Air Force men touched an earpiece, and nodded at Powell. The Germans were coming.
The last three days had been confusing to Germans. Strange reports from America, loss of contact with Atlantic U-boats, and reports of rocket planes from Condors. Then the call from "President Bush" to Churchill. A chance to get the British PM was too good to miss. Three squadrons of FW190 fighters were tasked. They had the range to make Manchester from Calais. The AWACs from IKE saw them almost immediately. The two F-18s circling Manchester were joined by two more from the IKE. At twenty miles separation the four US planes started launching missiles. 8 FW190s blew up before they knew anything was coming. The remaining FW190s went to evasive, and tried to see what was killing them. 6 more died from more missiles before they did. Impossible planes flashed by, guns blazing. Two more German planes died. However, the FW190 was one of the premier propeller fighters in the world, and they were piloted by combat veterans. They looped and rolled, and fled back to France, all thought of engaging these monster planes gone. The US jets made another pass, and two more FW190s exploded. The remaining 5 sped off to France. Remarkably they made it - as the US jets broke off, under orders to let them escape.
At Manchester, Powell and Churchill boarded the plane. Churchill's security men did a sweep of the plane, and took up positions within. Churchill expressed concern about leaving when the Germans were coming, but Powell assured him the attack had already been turned back. As they boarded the plane, one of Churchill's security team curled his lips slightly in a sneer at the idea of a black man speaking to the Prime Minister of Great Britain as if they were equals. Inside the impossible plane were luxurious accommodations, a full communications suite, and a copy of the TIME-LIFE Atlas of World War II.
In the Pacific, the USS STENNIS battle group is sailing for Hawaii, full speed. The group is at battle stations, pinging away at submarines. Approaching them is a 1942 carrier group built around the HORNET. Nimitz in Pearl is in contact with Eisenhower and MacArthur. Eisenhower reports from the 727 that yes indeed, these people are from future, and, yes indeed they have some amazing military equipment. Nimitz is ordered to prepare for the arrival of US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld from Washington. When Nimitz asks about the Secretary of the Navy, he informed that position no longer exists.
In America, a rash of panic buying is on. People flood supermarkets and gas stations. Bush doesn't hesitate - the National Guard is deployed. Riots break out in some cities, but are quickly suppressed. By the 17th, something like calm is coming over the nation. There is no immediate shortage of food or electricity, and no identifiable threat. Millions of people, American and foreign must come to terms with something, however. Loved ones overseas on March 13 are gone - not necessarily dead - but gone. Parents have lost children, people have lost relatives fighting in Afghanistan, the State Department has been decimated. The government responds ineptly at best. The scope of the problem is so huge that no one organization can cope. Some places deal better then others. There are isolated outbreaks of violence as grief-stricken people decide the government is responsible for this. These are quelled by local police, but the seeds of doubt are planted.
NASA is ordered to repair the satellite network - at once. NASA does have considerable launch capacity, and does have some satellites available. However, to repair the network will require the manufacture of more satellites. Although "mostly" constructed in the United States, some components were manufactured elsewhere. US firms can make up the difference, but it will take time. Still, both Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg start preparing rockets for launch.
In Berlin, the reports from the Condors are supplemented with those from the surviving FW190s. The news is not good, as the FW190s - the best Germany has - were obliterated with ease. A panic situation grips Zossen and Berlin. The future Americans are calling for the eradication of Nazism, and right now, there is not enough information to stop them.
In Moscow, the mood is not much better. The radio reports from America are confusing, but conclusions seem inescapable. Soviet spies report the defeat of the U-boats and that Churchill was met by a fantastic aircraft in Britain. Most concerning, however, is the near fanatical hatred of Stalin in the American media. Most are openly calling for him to be crushed. The only good thing is that the hatred of Hitler seems even greater. However, it is clear that most Americans don't seem to differentiate much between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. They seem to think both systems are pure evil. Something the USSR and Nazi Germany suddenly have in common, it would seem.
The Israeli commander at the NTC is in touch with his embassy in Washington. The city is in chaos, which is understandable. Both the Ambassador and the Israeli commander had family members die in the camps - from the Holocaust. Both want it stopped - and do not want to wait for the Americans to do it. The Ambassador tells the commander to sit tight - for now. Transportation is being arranged by the Mossad.
USA 2002 in 1942 Part V – “Assessing Options”
When Winston Churchill stepped off the 727 at Andrews AFB, he was shaken. Not by the plane ride – smoother than any he’d ever known – or even by the almost preternatural speed of its transatlantic crossing. No, he was shaken by what Secretary of State Colin Powell had shown him in the Atlas of World War II. He’d understood - on an intellectual level at least – that remarkable as it was, time travel of a whole country had occurred. The atlas, however, had brought that home on an emotional level as well. More than the 727, a black US Secretary of State, the F-18s or anything else, the atlas brought home to him that this was REAL – there was no denying it. The pictures of him with Franklin and Uncle Joe at Tehran, and then later Yalta – they felt right. But that wasn’t what shook him Churchill took comfort from the Allied victory the atlas had set forth. Even without the magic of the 21st century, he and Franklin had put the rabid dog Hitler down. The battles of in North Africa and Italy, operation Overlord, the bulge, all had happened. The Atlas spelled out the immense pain that victory had cost though – for Britain more than America, and for Europe in general the most of all. Colin Powell had explained that none of this would happen, assuming the time event didn’t whisk them back to the 21st century. America’s weapons were vastly better. The atlas revealed pictures of some of those weapons – and their effects. That wasn’t what shook Churchill either. The thing that really shook Churchill – more than anything else – was the small section of the atlas devoted to biographies of the major actors of World War II. Nothing more than sidebars, really, a man’s entire life reduced to a few paragraphs in a coffee-table book. All men die – the mystery is in when. But not for Churchill, for the small biography in the atlas revealed that history had decided that Winston Churchill was to die on January 24, 1965.
At the civic center in Atlanta, Georgia, the crowd was swelling. Atlanta PD estimated 120,000 people showed up for what had been an impromptu, non-denominational gathering of the Christian faithful. Southern Baptists predominated, of course, but the Methodists were also represented, along with some Episcopalians and even the odd Catholic or two. Of course, most of the “fringe” Christian groups were there as well, along with the usual assortment of UFO and Scientologists and Lyndon Larouchies. A man could do well here, thought Jeremiah Jesus Jones – Triple-J to his friends. Triple-J had started his adult life as a small-time scam artist and con man. Like most con artists, he got nailed, eventually. After doing 2 years in the Texas State penitentiary, Triple-J had decided that prison wasn’t for him. In prison, he’d met a man simply called the Reverend. The Reverend had made millions as head of a Church. Triple-J couldn’t believe the stories the Reverend told – just make up some BS about God, and people give you money. And best of all – the law couldn’t touch you, since it was a church and all. The Reverend would still be out there making money if one of his accountants hadn’t found religion (real religion) and sold him out. Upon his release, Triple-J founded the Church of Everlasting Mercy (CEM). He became an accredited priest of the cloth from some Internet site, and he was bright enough to craft a message that attracted some followers. With his southern accent, striking appearance, and fluent Spanish, JJJ had made millions. But he dreamed of bigger things. The problem was, he was hardly the first person to come up with this idea, and the big slots were all full already. The Big Boys - as Triple-J thought of them – Falwell, Robertson, Swaggert, and the rest were rolling in loot. Triple-J wanted a piece of that pie – but he needed a way to break in. Triple-J was patient, though, his day would come. The crowd was hungry for answers – and the government wasn’t providing any. Either were any of the talking-head reporters, or even the Big Boys – Falwell wasn’t even here and Swaggert didn’t seem to know what to say. The crowd was angry, confused, and most of all, scared. Yes sirree, thought Triple-J, it looks like today's could be my day.
In the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington, DC, the mood was tense, frightened, and bewildered. The fantastic reports on the American media were unbelievable, but also undeniable. A stormy meeting was underway in a secure conference room – what to do. The Great Chairman, Mao, was alive again. There was official joy over this, and unofficial panic. The people in that room were old enough to remember the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Gang of Four, and the dark days before Deng. On the surface, their choice of action seemed obvious – assist the Great Mao in his holy task of defeating the Nationalists. But all was not well. China – the Middle Kingdom – faced years of threats – both from within and without – and the Chairman might not have all the answers. And there was the question of the Americans. They’d supported Chiang, and kept his puppet Taiwan from the fold even into the 21wst Century. Despite their knowledge, there was little the Chinese embassy could do to impact the whole United States. The people in the meeting had much to think on.
In the Situation Room, Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower were greeted with a standing ovation. Military men, members of Congress, some Cabinet people, the British ambassador, and President George Bush all rose. Churchill smiled, gave a “V” sign, and lit up a cigar. Despite the “No Smoking” sign, someone got the PM an ashtray. George Bush introduced himself, the 2002 British ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, and selected members of the 2002 US government in the Situation Room to both 1942 men. Winston beamed, while Ike was studying the various monitors about the room. The monitors showed satellite images of the Earth, and computer-generated schematics of US naval assets and deployments. In particular, Ike, and the other 1942 military men, were drawn to a large monitor that displayed the position of every remaining German submarine in the Atlantic shipping lanes, as reported by 2002 US naval forces. Also, some intelligence was coming in on German field deployments in Western Europe. After a few minutes of welcome, Churchill sat down at the table. He’d been stunned and amazed by his short ride from Andrews, through the DC suburbs. So much change had taken place. The 2002 Americans obviously had wealth and technology beyond the dreams of avarice, and Winston looked forward to this meeting. George Bush opened the meeting. He started by saying despite the strangeness of the situation, he was happy to report to Churchill that the United States and Great Britain were as close in 2002 as in 1942, and that the United Kingdom could continue to count on the full support of the United States. Meyer echoed this, and reported that the Embassy staff had been in contact with the year 2002 British citizens in the United States, and that, while stunned by the event, Britain’s citizens would help during the time ahead. The Americans had identified three main problems facing the Allies. The first was the war against the Axis; the second was the maintenance of the 2002 US economy, and finally there was the post-war world – in particular China, the Soviet Union and finally the European colonies around the world. Churchill furrowed his brow, and indicated he didn’t know why the colonies were an issue. After all, it was the burden of Christian civilization to minister to those less fortunate under God then they. There was dead silence in the room, broken by Bush, who smiled, and indicated that they should deal with that when the time came. First – the war. Bush spoke. He wanted it clear to the 1942 people that the war could be over in hour. At the surprised looks from Churchill and Ike, an aide started a DVD player. On it was a copy of a PBS broadcast of nuclear weapons. The program included a quick description of a hydrogen bomb, the basic principles behind it, footage of test blasts from Nevada and Bimini, and finally some graphics showing destruction projections for various US cities if they were hit. Bush indicated that less than a hundred of these weapons – and the US had thousands – would eliminate both Germany and Japan as powers and cultures for the next few thousand years. Churchill and Ike were stunned, and Churchill actually looked eager. We should use this now – to destroy the Nazi beast in its lair. Bush looked uncomfortable. There was considerable debate, he said, about using these weapons at all. They were so dangerous and destructive that it was difficult, in good conscious, to use them against any enemy, even Hitler. They remained an asset, of course, but Bush had decided, and made it clear it was his decision, not to use them in combat at this point. There was also considerable debate, Bush said, about a demonstration blast, perhaps at a remote island. It was thought by some in the US government that a demonstration of the power at America’s command would convince the Axis to simply surrender. Others thought the Axis’ historical response to overwhelming odds – sending children out to die in hopeless battles – indicated a degree of fanaticism that no demonstration could move. Bush wanted Churchill’s opinion. Churchill shrugged – the weapons were impressive enough – why not try it? Environmental impacts were not something he thought of. As for the conventional war, then the JCS had a plan for that. First of all, naval and air assets of the United States would absolutely secure naval air dominance over and around the British Isles. No more bombers would hit British cities – guaranteed. A build-up of US supplies and forces would take place in the UK. This would necessitate the conversion of some British facilities to support them, but no one thought that was issue. The first thing would be the neutralization of all EuroAxis air and naval assets. It was thought that that two US CVNs and several squadrons of fighters based from the UK, Gibraltar and Egypt could accomplish this. The Germans had no defence against the US Air Force, and their subs were being swept from the Atlantic. After a period of build up, the invasion of Europe would take place. Tentatively, this was scheduled for mid-September, at a site to be determined. Churchill seemed aghast at this – too soon! What about North Africa, Italy, and Norway? Bush shrugged. His military people had convinced him the best way to win was to land and take Berlin. As for the German Army? A tour of Fort Hood, Texas, home of the US 1st Armored Division was arranged. For the Pacific, 2 CVNs would eliminate the Imperial Japanese Navy by June 1. Once that was accomplished, US SSNs would strangle Japanese trade. The marines would grab some islands, and US air assets staged out of them. Japan was not expected to present a problem. All in all, the war was expected to be largely over before November of 1942. Isolated Axis military units were expected to fight on, particularly in the Pacific, but German and Japanese ability to impact global trade or threaten other nations should be eliminated by then. Churchill was flabbergasted. That’s it? The war over in a few months? That smacked of over-optimism. Bush agreed that it was optimistic, but asked that the Prime Minister reserve judgment until he became more conversant with 2002 US military capabilities. Besides, said Bush, a criticism of the military is that the generals are always fighting the last war. This time, they actually get to. On to the US economy. The US economy is hugely dependant on oil. Foreign oil. Luckily, US petrochemical companies knew where that oil was. Once the Axis military threat was dealt with, the oilmen would go out. A strong US presence in the Gulf was anticipated – to whit, the US would be focusing on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Churchill pointed out the UK’s own need for oil, and Sir Meyer indicated a display showing North Sea oil deposits. After that, a massive retooling of not only the US economy, but also the global one. Churchill is shocked to learn that in 2002, Germany, Japan, and the Republic of Russia are all US allies. Capitalism had swept the globe, and Churchill felt the first stirring of fear. The world in 2002 seemed to be an American one, where American ideals, culture and politics dominated. While vastly preferable to Nazism or Communism, Churchill wasn’t sure how he felt about that. At this point, Bush broke up the meeting. He was sure Churchill was tired, and offered the hospitality of the White House. Churchill thanked him, and asked to stay at the British Embassy. Sir Meyer agreed, and they left. Sir Meyer was in for a long night, because Churchill had questions.
As the meeting broke, and various military leaders left to give orders to US units, John Ashcroft drew Bush aside, and reminded him that he needed a vice president.
In Germany, a growing sense of panic reigned. German radios continued to pickup the bizarre stories from America, and the ease with which the FW190s had been smashed to ground was frightening to contemplate. Hitler, at Zossen with OHW and OKH, was in a quandary. The USSR would be finished this summer – he was sure of it. Only the damnable mud and cowardice of his generals had enabled to Bolsheviks to survive this long as it was. The threat from the West, thought manageable until the war against Russia was complete seemed far greater now. Canaris was able to provide little data, other that German U-boats were surrendering in large numbers to the American Navy. The few reports they did have indicated magical military machines. All of this was backed by implacable hatred coming over the radio from America. In particular, a seemingly endless numbers of Jews talking about something called the Holocaust. To Hitler, America was a mongrel, Jew-infested place that would be better ignored, if not for its insane meddling. The only good note that German intelligence was able to report was that almost as many broadcasts were anti-Stalin as anti-German (Canaris was careful not to say ‘anti-Hitler’ though in truth they were). Most Americans seemed to want him dead as well. Hitler fumed and Hitler fidgeted and Hitler sat. The option open to him was abhorrent, but his generals recommended it. Hitler hated the option – it went against everything he believed in. His crusade was working – Europe and Germany were being cleansed, and the Bear was on the ropes. But this new America – this threatened the very soul of the Nazi state, and could not be allowed to exist. Sighing to himself, Hitler called for Joachim Ribbentrop. He wanted the German Foreign minister to make a call.
In Moscow, Stalin was stony-faced as the Politburo met. Each member gave a carefully crafted opinion – either about the strange messages from America, or the evidence from Soviet spies in German-occupied Europe. The Luftwaffe had been stung by mystery planes, but the U-Boats were reporting impossibilities. The possibility that this was some fascist-capitalist trick could not be ignored. What to do? The Nazi animal occupied much of the USSR. The victories of the winter must be expanded – but Soviet arms were still weak. This new America seemed as much a threat to the USSR as the Germans. An aide entered. It seemed the Swedish ambassador had called. A message was waiting for Comrade Molotov. From Berlin.
At the NTC, the Israeli commander met with his unit commanders. A change was coming. Transport would be arriving. It was time to get ready. Time to kill Nazis.
USA 2002 in 1942 Part VI - "Reactions"
Winston Churchill gazed out of the limo's windows at the Cherry Blossoms on the Mall. So much had changed, and yet these were the same as he remembered them. He remembered his last trip to Washington, right after Pearl Harbor. Franklin and the Americans had been so shocked. They had seen the world collapsing around them as the Japanese overran Asia. Churchill and the British had seen salvation - with America's strength, who cared about the Philippines or Malaya (though Churchill still winced at the thought of Singapore). Now it was Churchill's turn to see the world collapse. The days he'd spent with Ambassador Meyer had been - interesting, to say the least. Devastating in their own way. The next decades, Churchill now knew, would see the dissolution of the British Empire - despite the victory over the Nazis. That was very bad, in Churchill's mind. What was truly incomprehensible though, was that Sir Christopher, a Peer of the Realm, (and, evidently a good one to be awarded the plum Ambassadorship to the United States) actually viewed this a good thing. He had prattled on to Churchill about the rights of people (as if the British Empire could be better ruled by the small brown people who lived in parts of it rather than good Europeans), and how the British were better off without the Empire, and even how the Commonwealth survived in a form. But all Churchill saw was the retreat from Empire - the retreat of Christian civilization. After two world wars, centuries of exploration and discovery - it was all for naught. The retreat of the Empire, matched by a subdued fury from those it had ruled was the rule of the 21st century, it seemed. The limo pulled up in front of the TV people in front of the Capitol. Sir Christopher had assured Churchill that the Americans of 2002 viewed him as a hero. Churchill wondered how his own would view him after tonight. He was to address the US Congress - a joint session of it. In it, Churchill, who considered himself a great writer and orator, would read a speech written by others. A speech written by the Embassy staff, actually. Churchill had written his own speech, of course, but had magnamoniously submitted it to Sir Christopher for review. A few hours later, Sir Christopher had returned, and politely and deferentially suggested a few "minor" changes. The changes hadn't been "minor" at all - Sir Christopher had had the whole speech re-written. The parts about Allied solidarity and shared heritage in the face of Nazi brutality had stayed the same, but the rest was gone. In its place was a "politically correct" version that ignored many of the points Churchill had wanted to make. Gone was the talk of the benefits of Empire, gone was the idea that the British, Dutch and French Empires brought civilization to Asia, gone were the points extolling Christian civilization. An enraged Churchill had been calmed down by Sir Christopher. Remember the audience, he'd said. The audience was the Americans, but also the Germans. No breach between this new America and Britain may be allowed to show. As much as to Churchill's speech, the Germans would listen to the American comments about it. Churchill, in the end, had acquiesced to their suggestions. Churchill lit a cigar (something he had most assuredly NOT acquiesced on) and flashed his "V" sign as he rose from the limo. His bowler hat firmly in place, he moved like an elemental force through the crowd, smiling throughout, to the US capitol. He would give his speech, and then embark upon his tour of this new America, and, in the end, to see what kind of place Britain - his Britain, not Sir Christopher's, might have in this new world.
Vyacheslav Molotov watched Britney Spears explain that she "was not that innocent". More to the point, he was watching two NKVD security men who had accompanied him to the United States watch the young American woman on "Television". Both men were considered utterly reliable - else they would not be with Molotov - but the effect of Ms. Spears on them was electric. They'd never seen anything remotely similar, and both had slack-jawed expressions of befuddlement and lust. Neither was doing their jobs, and after a few moments of watching the "MTV Music Video", neither was Molotov. Molotov was on his was to the "Situation Room" at the White House. The Imperialist Churchill had just given a rousing speech to the American Congress, and it had been well-received. Molotov had stopped off after a brief introduction to President Bush in the Oval Office to check on his men. They were supposed to be carefully and unobtrusively gathering information. Instead, they were watching MTV. When he arrived at the Situation Room, Molotov sat at one end of the long conference table. With him were most of the senior military, diplomatic, and political leadership of the United States. They did not have friendly expressions on their faces. The 1942 US Embassy in Moscow had received word, from the 1942 US Embassy in London, of the startling events of the past days. Yes, somehow the USA from 2002 had been transported back to 1942. Yes, the rumors were true, and no, the scientists in America from 2002 had no idea how this happened. Through the US Embassy, a meeting had been arranged. The United States and the Soviet Union, were, after all, Allies against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (among others), and consultations were necessary. A "jet airplane" would fly to Moscow to pick up whatever representatives the USSR deemed appropriate for a meeting in Washington DC with President Bush. This response had, of course, triggered the institutionalised paranoia of the Soviet Union, but Molotov and a few others were hastily sent on their way. The magical American plane appeared, and only Molotov's rank in the Politburo had prevented the NKVD at the airport from seizing it immediately - surely the great Stalin would reward such a rich technological prize! Molotov had talked the NKVD Colonel in charge into forgoing any abrupt action - much richer prizes awaited the USSR if a little patience could be shown. After all, the dialectic demanded it. 20 hours later, Molotov wasn't so sure about the infallibility of the dialectic. He'd seen things that had shaken him to his very roots. The Americans had on the plane the Ambassador from the "Republic of Russia" - clearly a Russian, but one whose hatred of Communism in general - and Stalin in particular - could not be hidden. The plane had 2 movies on it - something called "CNN's History of the Cold War" - which wasn't about a war at all, but about a post-war ideological struggle between the US and the USSR. The other had been a "recent release" called "Enemy at the Gates" about a battle in Stalingrad. It had been chilling as well. The upshot of the information Molotov received on the plane ride (straight across the Atlantic - no stops) was that the Soviet Union was doomed. Not from the Nazis - the Americans admitted that the Soviets had crushed them (Molotov cherished the memory of the picture of Soviet soldiers raising the Hammer-and-Sickle above the ruins of the Reichstag in Berlin). But in the long term, and if the Americans were not lying, then Marx and Lenin were wrong. Molotov couldn't quite bring himself to believe that, but the amazing sights that he'd seen did shake him. He didn't show it, of course. His face wore the same bland expression of polite interest it always did. Molotov was a man raised to political maturity in Stalin's Russia. One did not survive - to say nothing of prosper - in such an environment without learning emotional control. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Georgi Zhukov, currently staring wide-eyed at "satellite" photos of the Russo-German Front. Zhukov (who apparently had some reputation among the American military people) had been shown something called the "Battlefield" series from the "History Channel". Zhukov's eyes had been round after that. The African Secretary of State (an African as Secretary of State? Ludicrous.) named Colin Powell was addressing Molotov through a translator. He welcomed the Soviet ambassador to the United States, and told him that despite the strange circumstances, the United States had every intention - and the means - to honor its commitments and prosecute the war against Nazi Germany. Furthermore, the United States would also do its best to honor its economic commitments to the USSR. Unfortunately, the industrial base of 1942 had been replaced with one sixty years more advanced. The spare parts, locomotives, and other military and industrial products that had been part of the lend-lease program to the USSR could not be shipped because they simply did not exist in a form the USSR could use. However, on a brighter note, the complete defeat of the U-boats meant that "humanitarian" (whatever that was) aid could get through. Molotov took all of this equaminously enough. He hardly expected the Americans to just give away their marvellous technology. He looked somewhat abashed, and said that while the USSR would greatly appreciate any assistance the United States could give, the lack of spare parts might hamper the efforts of the glorious workers and peasants of the USSR in conducting warfare against the Germans. No problem, said the Americans. The German military would be crushed utterly in the next few months. The Soviets would be well-advised to wait it out. The Red Army, said an American general, need not suffer any more. The sons of Russia need not die in its defence. Molotov, who cared not one whit about the sons of Russia, said this is fine, but he hardly expected the Germans to be crushed that quickly. The same US general said he'd been happy to take Marshall Zhukov to someplace in Texas (Fort Hood) which should dispel any lingering concerns the Soviets might have. Molotov said this was all sounding very good, but that specific concerns had developed in the Soviet Union regarding some radio broadcasts that had been heard. In particular, these broadcasts seemed to portray Comrade Stalin in much the same light as Adolph Hitler. This was confusing to the USSR, why would an Ally portray the leader as the enemy? After all, Comrade Stalin was the saviour of the USSR. A dead silence Winston Churchill would have recognized from his time in the Situation Room ensued. This time, it lasted for several moments, and again, President Bush was the one to break it. Bush was comfortable here; things worked best for him when he could classify people as either good or evil, and he had no uncertainty about where Stalin fell. He growled at Molotov, although the translator was more polite. Premier Stalin, said Bush, had no friends here. Unlike many, the United States would not operate under the assumption that Stalin was nice or even rational. At this, Molotov's demeanour broke a little. What do you mean? Comrade Stalin is the leader of the workers and peasants of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He is a visionary who - Comrade Stalin, broke in yet another African (even more unbelievably - a woman - with the title of "National Security Advisor"), is a lunatic. Molotov's translator blanched at translating this, but the one from the 2002 Russian Embassy did not. Molotov was actually speechless. The same woman continued. Comrade Stalin killed millions of innocents in his forced collectivisations of the 1920s. Comrade Stalin destroyed ethnic groups he viewed as unreliable or disloyal. Comrade Stalin gutted the Soviet military leadership in paranoid delusions, effectively destroying the ability of the Red Army to resist the Nazis, and thereby condemning more millions to death (Molotov carefully did not look at Zhukov). Powell spoke again. The United States would honor its commitments. The aid would come to Murmansk and other ports. The United States Armed Forces would defeat the Germans. The Soviet Union - while it was led by Josef Stalin - was not a friend though. At the conclusion of the conflict, the United States would recognize - and enforce - the boundaries of the USSR as they were on January 1, 1939. In short, the United States did not recognize the forcible Soviet annexation of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bessarabia, Eastern Poland, or the lands seized from Finland in 1939-1940. Molotov looked at Bush, but there was no give there. His Secretary of State had spoken, and Bush supported him. Molotov was very pale, but managed a smile. He said the USSR would welcome any aid the USA could provide, and, that after conveying this message to Comrade Stalin and the rest of the Central Committee, would like to establish a dialogue to prevent any misunderstandings between the two countries.
The United States Navy was busy. Deployed on the first day of the event to protect the US East Coast, the 2002 Navy carrier battle groups had picked up bits and pieces of the 1942 US and Royal Navies as well. The North and Central Atlantic had been swept clean of German U-Boats, and the EISENHOWER group had reached the English Channel. The pilots on board had savaged two hastily assembled German air attacks on the group, and were itching to hit Europe. However, it was not to be. Orders from the Pentagon were clear: Establish air and sea supremacy around the British Isles, and wait for the AEF being prepared in the United States. Britain was completely lacking in any logistical support capability, and that needed to be created in order to support extended combat operations. The crews of the ships would have to wait. The Captain of the EISENHOWER was a bit of a history buff. His pilots were frustrated by inactivity, but he knew a nice, juicy naval target for them. It didn't even mean breaking his orders. Well, not that much anyway.
The CONSTELLATION battle group had reached and transited Gibraltar into the Western Mediterranean. One German and two rather desultory Italian air attacks had been beaten off with ease. The CONSTELLATION's orders were different from IKE; clear the Med of Italian and German shipping to choke off Rommel in North Africa. The Italian Navy was another concern. It had numerous battleships and cruisers, and a not insignificant sub component. The men and women of the CONSTELLATION and her escorts had a plan to deal with this. In the Pacific, the STENNIS group had reached Hawaii. Chester Nimitz, after a tour of the NIMITZ-class ship, knew the war was over. On his own initiative, and in consultation with Douglas MacArthur in Australia, Nimitz was putting together a relief force for the beleaguered men of the Philippines garrison. Two divisions of 1942 troops in Hawaii were available. One of these, plus a 2002 marine contingent built around the TARAWA were to sail to the Philippines with the STENNIS, and the TRUMAN hastily sailing from the US. Bush had initially opposed this plan, but the enthusiasm of the military people, both 2002 and 1942, had swayed him. It was shoestring, and might not work, but the Japanese would be obligated to try and stop it. The STENNIS and TRUMAN would be enough to crush the IJN, and meanwhile, a 2002 Navy force from San Diego was on its way to Hawaii, to build up a logistical base there.
Triple-J had come up with a plan. The Reverend had taught him the basics - make 'em afraid of it, and tell 'em who to blame for it, and then they'll flock to you. Well, they were already afraid of "it". "It" being the event that sent them to 1942. Who to blame - well, that was tougher. Triple-J initially wanted to blame Bush, but a quick call to the Reverend in his Texas prison cell changed that. Bush was too popular with Triple-J's core constituency - the South - to blame. No, people wanted to rally round the good Christian Texan President, and blaming him was not the answer. Triple-J had to admit that the Reverend made damn good sense there. But there were plenty of other targets. Triple-J's ambition was money, and to get money meant people. Who to blame to attract the most people, and therefore, the most money? Triple-J hemmed and hawed about this for a couple of days, and then, as if by divine providence, an inspiration hit him. With a smile, Triple-J began to write the sermon of his future.
Winston Churchill was a place called Cape Canaveral in Florida. His tour of the 2002 United States was leaving him breathless, and today promised to be the best of all. NASA was launching the Space Shuttle Discovery, mission STS-110. The original spec for STS-110 was to convey and assemble a large piece of the ISS (International Space Station). The ISS didn't make it to 1942, so STS-110 had been reconfigured. Two MILSTARs were going up instead, to help rebuild the tattered US Satellite network. On time (for once), and on a plume of fire, the Discovery lifted off. In all his life, Churchill had never seen anything like it. The plume of fire, the rumble felt in the bones, the exhaust light too bright to look at, and the speed of the machine left Churchill breathless.
(Author's Note: I actually got to see the real STS-110 launch from the Cape during my honeymoon, and decided to include it here. It is amazing to see a shuttle launch in person, and I knew - more or less - what to expect. For someone from 1942 I imagine it would be even more impressive).
The Israelis boarded a series of Greyhound buses. They didn't have their weapons with them, but they would be provided later, the man from the Embassy said. The buses left the NTC under eye of the US commander there. He had no orders regarding the Israelis, but a pretty good idea of what they were off to do. He supposed he should have stopped them - after all, military action, to be coordinated should have a centralized command structure. With the absence of an Israeli high command (not to mention the absence of the State of Israel), the Israelis probably should have demobilized themselves, or submitted to US command. On the other hand, the US Commander had no love of Nazis.
The same magical US Jet returned Molotov and Zhukov to Moscow. Zhukov's tour of Fort Hood would have to wait. The flight back had been difficult for Molotov. He'd seen enough during his brief visit to America to convince him that resistance was futile. The Soviet Union had not the means, not could it acquire the means, to fight these people. Instead, Molotov focused on what the Secretary of State had said - the US would have difficulty dealing with the USSR. While Stalin was in charge, that is. Molotov considered this carefully. The Americans would be the power to deal with in the future, and - appeasing for lack of a better word - them would be critical to the survival of the revolution - not to mention Molotov's own skin. He was not so foolish as to allow his mind to even begin to plan a plot against the man who ruled Russia. Instead, Molotov spoke with Zhukov about what they'd seen and done. They went over each and every detail of the trip. This was more than simple preparation to report to a superior - Stalin would quiz each separately, and any inconsistencies would set his paranoid mind awhirl - no, for both Molotov and Zhukov, this was simple survival in the Soviet state. Molotov nodded politely to American cabin crew as he left - politeness cost nothing and could be useful later. The US translator wished Molotov a safe trip to the Kremlin, and Molotov nodded politely. Of course, Molotov wasn't going to the Kremlin - yet. He had another appointment Stalin had made for him. In the much less comfortable Soviet plane that left an hour after the American one did, Molotov mused on what was said. It wasn't until he was over Pskov and winging west that he recalled that Zhukov hadn't mentioned the American statement about the USSR being better off without Stalin either. Yes, much to consider.
More to come.
USA 2002 in 1942 Part VII - "Perspectives"
Mildred Myers returned home from her vigorous three-mile walk at about 8:00 AM. The air in Los Angeles had not acquired the ferocious heat it would later, and sixty-two year-old Mildred appreciated it. It looked to be another hot one, and Mildred liked to get her daily walk in before it got too hot. The paper had arrived, and Mildred, almost without breaking stride scooped it up. The front page was full of news about either the war or the event, and a full-color picture of Winston Churchill giving his famous "V" sign from an M1 Abrams tank dominated. Mildred put the paper on her kitchen table, and checked her ovens. An apple pie, and two pans of her brownies were almost done cooking, and should be removed before she showered. Ever since her beloved husband Wally had died three years ago of cancer, Mildred had done her best to keep busy. Wally's career as an aerospace engineer provided enough money, and they'd never had children. Mildred, after the grief of his death, had devoted herself to her church; not in any real religious sense - though she dutifully attended Haverford Methodist every Sunday - but rather through its community outreach programs, and social events. Mildred liked to keep busy, and the church provided a way to do that. Ever since the Event, Mildred had been busier than ever. People had turned to the church for comfort, even if the Methodist church she attended was a close to secular as one could get in mainstream Christian worship, it was still a spiritual place, and people wanted that. Later, as ships (both civilian and military) from 1942 came home to an America they couldn't recognize; the church provided a place of comfort to mariners as well. Comfort, both spiritual and physical are important to well-being, and since Reverend Phillips had once before the Event described Mildred's brownies as "sinfully delicious", she'd been delighted when he'd first asked her to make up a batch, and drive it down to the navy base at San Diego. That's where the Navy had the ships returning; so that the year 1942 sailors could be processed. This was the third time Mildred had done this. The troops from 1942 appreciated her cooking and good nature, and Mildred, with no family, delighted in giving them brownies. They were so lost that Mildred's heart went out to them. Today would be no different. Mildred retrieved the brownies, and the pie (not her specialty, but Mildred had been toying with a new recipe, and hey, variety is the spice of life), and covered them with tin foil before showering. After she dressed, Mildred glanced through the paper. It always listed the returning ships and where they'd been based, in case anyone with a personal connection to the men was available. Mildred ran her eyes down the list, not really expecting anything. Her eyes stopped on one ship's name for a moment, and then continued. She'd known this might happen, but hadn't really expected it. Mildred stopped off in her bedroom to retrieve something, and the hauled the pans of brownies (with the apple pie balanced precariously on top) to her car. She navigated herself through southern California's tortuous system of interstates to the docks in San Diego. Some ships had already come in; their crews going through what the government called "orientation", an attempt to drill sixty years of history, cultural change, and technology into befuddled men in a few hours. Mildred thought it a waste of time, but in the face of its utter inability to explain the Event, the government had to be seen as Doing Something, and an "orientation" was the answer. The docks were a madhouse of returning sailors, reporters, police, and civilians. Mildred located Reverend Phillips, and he directed her to a large table, with a cluster of volunteers serving welcoming sailors home. Leaving her brownies with some friends, Mildred walked through the crowd, scanning faces. She doubted she'd find what was looking for, but she tried anyway. Thus she was stunned when she saw him. He looked vastly different of course, but there was no hiding those striking blue eyes. Mildred sighed to herself, and walked right up to him. Might as well get it over with. He wouldn't know of the special history they shared, so it was up to her to let him know. He was looking around, as befuddled as anyone else. He saw her bright smile, and looked with confusion at her; not recognizing her of course. She was still smiling when she pulled out her deceased husbands' .38, and shot him four times at close range before the gun jammed. He was dead before he hit the ground. Mildred then put the gun down, and stepped away from it and the corpse. A moment of stunned silence ensued before pandemonium erupted.
Later, it was determined that the man Mildred shot was Seaman Morris Jones. In 1954, when Mildred had been 14, Morris Jones had raped her so severely that she'd never been able to give her beloved Wally children. 14-year old Mildred had never had the courage to act against him, and he'd raped four more teenaged girls before dying of a drug overdose in 1963. Over the years, Mildred had found a little more out about him, including the merchant ship he'd served on during World War II. It had been more morbid curiosity on her part than anything else at the time; she'd never thought she'd have a practical application for the knowledge of his life she'd obtained. The case caused a sensation. Not an OJ-level sensation, but a media event none-the-less. Mildred had never committed a crime in her life, and that a nice, church-going lady could commit murder was bad enough. Feminist groups supported her; after all, Mildred had stopped a demonstrated serial rapist. On the other hand, Morris's sexual deviancy didn't start until 1954; the man Mildred shot had committed no crimes. Despite a groundswell of support for Mildred, the courts ruled against her. Individuals "duplicated" by the Event were still separate individuals. Whatever a person's potential crimes in the future, they were innocent until proven guilty. By separating people, legal tangle was avoided. Still, Mildred was not alone. Two more 1942 people were killed by victims of crimes that had not yet committed before the government (getting to Do Something again) set up a screening process to warn "future criminals" of potential assassins. By and large, it wasn't really necessary; the members of the "Greatest Generation" were not, as a whole, inclined to be criminals. But in some cases they were.
The fishing boat was a medium-sized, not too new, not too old, and entirely non-descript. It could have been any one of a hundred Swedish boats plying the Baltic Sea in search of fish. Nets were deployed from the mast into the water, and the ship trawled slowly to the north, no different from other fishing ships on the water. The ship flew the Swedish flag, but had not a single Swede on board. Instead, an elite crew of the Kriegsmarine ran the ship, while SS guards kept careful watch in civilian clothes. Exactly on time, a Soviet submarine surfaced next to the ship. The SS guards tensed, but no treachery was offered. Instead, the Soviet sub deployed a small raft, and two men rowed a third over to the Nazi-crewed fishing boat. Upon reaching the boat, two SS crewman assisted the two NKVD rowers up, and they in turn helped the middle-aged Soviet diplomat up. The diplomat was led below, while the NKVD and SS men contemplated each other with varying degrees of sullen hostility. Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop eyed each other across a rough wooden table. The men had met many times before; most recently in December of 1940, when the "partners" had discussed dividing up the British Empire. If Molotov felt a personal sense of betrayal at the very real geopolitical betrayal the USSR had experienced, his face did not betray it. George Bush would have recognized the bland sense of polite interest he displayed to Ribbentrop. Of course, his country was not at war with the United States from the year 2002, so his position of the rough wooden chair was considerably more comfortable. Ribbentrop couldn't keep the contempt from his face, and made no real effort to do so. Everyone knew (well, everyone of importance anyway) that the Wehrmacht would've crushed the Soviets in the summer - had not the Fuhrer assured them of this? And now this - this incomprehensible event that had put demons of technology and power in the United States - had forced the Aryan Reich to deal with the Slavs as something other than a Master to his slaves. The Germans were not here willingly, and Molotov allowed for a small, inner smile at Ribbentrop's obvious discomfiture. Ribbentrop opened the meeting. He began by thanking the Soviet Foreign minister for coming, and then launched into a carefully prepared statement. He expressed dismay over the current state of Soviet-Nazi relations, and related how the war had not been the true desire of the Fuhrer. Rather, an Anglo-Jewish plot to turn the friends - the USSR and Germany - against each other had deceived certain members of the Nazi inner circle, in particular Rudolf Hess. Hess's duplicity could not be understated - had not his British masters called him back home on the eve of the invasion? Indeed, even more than the Nazi Party, the German Army had been deceived. A Soviet "attack" on June 20, 1941 on German units pacifying Poland - which had precipitated the attack of June 22 (ordered by local Army commanders, of course, not Hitler) - was revealed, through the brilliance of Adolph Hitler, to have been the work of British and Jewish agents. The "morally bankrupt capitalists" had been desperate, and only by turning the visionaries of Hitler and Stalin against each other could they hope to prolong their own craven lives and societies. And, of course, once the war had started, the Germans had no choice but to wage it, lest the British-Jewish conspirators within the German Army be alerted that the Fuhrer knew of their duplicity. Even now, Ribbentrop emoted, security elements of the German government were moving to eliminate the conspiracy. Molotov sat in silence, and wondered if Ribbentrop actually thought that any sane human being above the age of four would buy that story. Hitler's whole political career had been based on the elimination of Slavs and Communism, and the fact that the USSR embodied both had made it the most vilified target of his mind. The German attack (which surprised Stalin far more than Molotov) had been a deliberate, predicated, carefully planned affair, and the pack of lies Ribbentrop spewed was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard - up to and including Dr. Rice calling Stalin a "lunatic". Still, he had his orders. Molotov managed (somehow) a smile, and nodded at Ribbentrop. He acknowledged the German's words, and said that Comrade Stalin and the Central Committee would be relieved that the current unpleasantness between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union could be resolved. There were a number of issues to be resolved, however. Not everyone in the peace-loving Soviet Union had access to the information that was revealed here, nor could they be given it for "security concerns". Some Soviet citizens might still feel a sense of distrust of their German neighbours, and, Comrade Stalin, as their chosen leader, must acknowledge those who did so. Ribbentrop looked thoughtful (difficult, given that thought was not something that came often to Herr Ribbentrop) for a moment, and nodded slowly. Yes, Germany could acknowledge that some Soviet citizens might have those fears - though they hoped that Stalin and the Soviet government would act quickly to dispel them. Molotov nodded. Of course they would. Still, that would take time, and Comrade Stalin thought that that they way to proceed was carefully and thoughtfully, lest any undetected elements of the conspiracy "confuse" things again. Actually, Comrade Stalin and the Central Committee had already had some thoughts along these lines that Molotov was prepared to share with Ribbentrop, if he was interested. Ribbentrop glared at Molotov's bland smile, knowing full well that the Soviets had the advantage, and knew it. He managed a smile, and said he'd be simply delighted to see what was prepared. Molotov withdrew a series of maps from his briefcase, and laid them on the table. They showed a staged German fall-back to Warsaw, followed by a Soviet advance to the old pact line of 1939. The German foreign minister scowled at the maps, and mentioned that they seemed to call for the retreat of the Germans to Warsaw, while the Soviets were at Brest-Litovsk. Molotov smiled, and said that while the territory between Warsaw and Brest-Litovsk was to be German, Comrade Stalin and the Central Committee felt that a demilitarized "buffer" zone between the Soviets and Germans might do quite a bit to allay the (justified) fears of those uninformed Soviet citizens. It would be only temporary, of course, until the "new situation" in the west had been addressed. Ribbentrop asked why a buffer zone in the east wasn't maintained, and Molotov simply smiled and said that until the situation with the United States was "clarified", it was felt that it would unduly strain the Germans to maintain a military presence that far east. Ribbentrop pointed at Lithuania. It directly abutted East Prussia, and, lamely, Ribbentrop wanted to know what could be done to allay the equally justifiable fears of the Prussians. Molotov pretended to go into deep thought at this, and then mentioned that he might be able to talk Comrade Stalin into "demilitarizing" Lithuania. If the Germans could accept "non-military security forces" in Lithuania to suppress "counter-revolutionary, British-inspired terrorists", then he thought Comrade Stalin would agree. Ribbentrop scowled again. He knew Molotov meant NKVD, and he knew Hitler wouldn't like it. But overall, he was surprised at the generosity of the Soviet minister - he'd expected worse. He looked up, and said, that in principle Germany could abide by these terms. Molotov smiled, and said that another meeting - of lower-level functionaries should be set up soon to work out the details - perhaps in Sweden next week? Ribbentrop agreed, and rose from the table with hand extended to shake Molotov's. Molotov did not. Just one more issue, said Molotov. Ribbentrop froze, half out his seat. Molotov continued that Comrade Stalin was glad the Germans had detected the conspiracy that led to the tragic conflict between them. Ribbentrop, still crouched, looked confused for a moment, and then remembered the story he'd spun. Molotov said that elements of that conspiracy had been tracked by Soviet security to another place. Ribbentrop stared. It turns out that the duplicitous Finns were involved, Molotov said. Seeking to overturn the glorious victory of the workers and peasants of the Soviet Union in 1940, the Finns had aided and abetted the conspiracy. Ribbentrop sat back down, but even he knew what was coming. Molotov pressed on. The NKVD had recovered proof - which the Soviet Union would be happy to share with the Germans - that Helsinki had provided funding and logistical support for the British-Jewish conspiracy. Molotov said that the Soviets could hardly blame the Germans for being duped, but that no excuse could exist for the Finns. With this new information, Molotov and Comrade Stalin were sure that the Germans would understand that the legitimate rage of the Soviet people could not be forestalled, and the situation in Finland must be addressed. The hate coming from Ribbentrop was a visceral thing. Molotov could almost see it, and a small part of him delighted in it. With a visible effort, Ribbentrop controlled himself, and surrendered Finland to the USSR. As Molotov left the smouldering Ribbentrop on the boat, he smiled at the NKVD men. As he recalled, both had been assigned to the new NKVD armored divisions, marked for special deployment to Lithuania.
The early Norwegian morning was broken by the scream of jet engines. Four F/A-18s from the IKE screamed up the fjord at near supersonic speeds. Each Hornet carried four AGM-84 Harpoon missiles, and the target had no way of jammed their electronic brains. The flight screamed over the target, which had been located and identified from satellite photos. The TIRPITZ - though to be secure - came to life as the American jets flew overhead. The crew rushed out, and while some rushed to their duty stations, some simply stared at the planes. They'd all heard stories of the new US Navy - now they got to see it. The lead jet broke off, and then swooped down to just above the water. The convoluted topology of the fjord meant that a close and low attack was necessary, but the pilot wasn't worried. Neither the TIRPITZ of the land-bases AA crews were reacting, and no German pilot still alive was dumb enough to face F/A-18s. The HUD displayed lock-on, and the flight leader pressed a button. Two AGM-84's detached, and raced at the TIRPITZ. Both hit just above the waterline, and the whole ship bucked. The blasts rocked the German battleship, but didn't sink it, as was expected. Much slower than they needed to, the next Hornets lined up. The German crew was scrambling off the ship, as had been hoped. The plans were dashed when some idiot on the ground started shooting at the US planes. There wasn't much hope of actually hitting one, but no chances were taken. In quick succession, 6 more harpoons hit the TIRPITZ. The fifth one penetrated to an ammo bunker on the ship, and the resulting explosion lifted the ship clear of the water, and flipped it over, breaking the keel. All caught on the lead plane's gun camera for broadcast on CNN. A similar mission was undertaken in Italy. Several squadrons of US jets overflew the Italian base at Taranto. The AA of the base was suppressed, and then the Italian Navy was, for all intents and purposes, destroyed. The pilots did manage to minimize damage to the city itself, and most of the Italian crews got off their ships before they were destroyed. All in all, a pretty good day for the US Navy.
More to come if there's interest.
USA 2002 in 1942 Part VIII - "Deployments"
It has been said that the best alliances are those of convenience. When all parties concerned understand that their affiliation is based not on insubstantial concepts like friendship, common viewpoint, or mutual respect, but on the fact that both need something only the others can provide, an alliance can work. All others, it is said, are doomed to failure. Whether or not that saying was true, it most certainly described the situation between the two men sitting on the deck of the on the yacht. Florida's Biscayne Bay spread in sun-dappled glory before them, and the water seemed almost covered with boats. Yachts, pleasure-craft, small trawlers, fishing boats and even large sailboats moved in loose formation. They were there - could be there - because of the two men on the yacht. One of them gloried in the sight that a conquistador from fourteenth or fifteenth century Spain would have recognized - a people going to reclaim their homeland. The other looked merely in the satisfaction of a job well done. His shot at his own homeland would come later - though this was an important first step. One of the men on the boat was Julio Merrenda, and his heart was ready to burst with joy. Over two hundred boats - full of the elite of Miami's Cuban-American community (and their "guests") - were making the journey they'd dreamed of since 1961. They were going back to Cuba. For many, it would be their first time in the almost legendary homeland - forty years had seen the passing of generations - and they came more out a spirit of adventure (and potential profit) then nostalgia. Marrenda was a leader of the Cuban-American expatriate community, though few people even in that community would have recognized him as such. He was quietly in charge of one of the largest political action committees in Washington. His PAC was one reason the US government had maintained its strangling embargo on Cuba for so long. Congressional members from Florida, in both the Senate and the House, knew that a word from Marrenda could make or break their long-term prospects in Floridian politics. As for those members not from Florida, well, Marrenda was dedicated, personally and professionally, to a free Cuba, and he wouldn't let little things like blackmail and bribery stop him. As the flotilla had gathered in Biscayne Bay from Miami and its suburbs, the stunned Coast Guard had reacted with two cutters and the Dade County Sheriffs Department had added a helicopter, but the US authorities couldn't really interfere with the Cuban-Americans. After all, they weren't really breaking any laws. If they approached Cuba, they would be breaking the official US embargo on the island-nation (though it could be argued that in court that the embargo wasn't "yet" in force). But that was the domain of the US Navy. Apart from some anti-sub planes in Key West, and two destroyers escorting small oil tankers to Venezuela, the navy had few local assets - and fewer reasons - to interfere with the Cuban-Americans. The U-boats had been cleared from the Caribbean, and Cuba just didn't rate next to either the Nazis or the Imperial Japanese Navy. The questions that baffled the few state and federal officials concerned with the flotilla were fuel and weapons. It was clear enough what the Cubans were doing - going to Cuba. However, ever since the Event, fuel had been tightly rationed. There was no way (theoretically) that over 200 non-essential pleasure craft could have purchased fuel under the new regulations - let alone enough gas to get them all to Cuba. Cuban-Americans had the highest per-capita income of any immigrant group in the United States, and a fair degree of political clout as well, but even that shouldn't have been enough. Regardless of the fuel, there remained the question of just what they planned to do when they got to Cuba. Fulgencio Batista was a ruthless man, and whatever their political and technological skills, the Cubans possessed neither the trained men nor the weapons to displace him. Batista wasn't the official President of Cuba, but he was the real power there. Some officials wondered what they would do; the Cuban-American "fleet" had no military vessels, and no evident weapons. It was though they would offer some kind of deal - but Batista was not a man that one could deal with from a position of anything other than power. Marrenda knew this better then the confused officials, of course. At the age of seven, he'd fled Cuba on a rickety boat in 1962, and knew the realities of politics there. After the stunned confusion of the Event, he and his PAC had argued long and hard in Washington for a small force of marines or soldiers to take the island. The US military had no time for him, though. With Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and their ilk to deal with, one more minor dictator just didn't matter. Then, a little more than two weeks ago, Marrenda had met the other man who was on the deck of the yacht with him. The man's name was Joshua Isaacs, and he was officially an assistant counsel at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Marrenda had been having dinner in a small Washington bistro when Isaacs had approached his table, and sat down uninvited. Marrenda had a career where such things happened, so, even though he didn't recognize Issacs, he'd merely put down his fork and waited for the man to speak. Isaacs smiled, and introduced himself. He did not offer to shake hands. He'd been listening to Marrenda in various Congressional meetings over the last few days, and believed he could help the Cuban-Americans with their problems. Marrenda had stared. As toughened by Washington politics as he was, Marrenda had to wonder for a moment why the Israeli gave a damn about Cuba one way or the other. Then he noted two younger men enter the bistro and sit at a table close to Marrenda's. Neither looked at all interested in food, and both had a tough, observant, and angry look about them. Marrenda had been around for far too long to not to recognize bodyguards when he saw them, and he doubted an "assistant counsel" rated such protection. From that, he concluded (correctly) that Isaacs was Mossad, and that confused Marrenda even more - why would the Mossad care about Cuba - as did why Mossad bodyguards would be angry with him. Isaacs pressed on. The Cubans had a problem. They wanted to go to Cuba and replace Batista. To do that they needed fuel for their boats, and, most importantly, an armed force to back up whatever they did. Marrenda stared. He considered denying that he wanted Batista deposed, but doubted the Mossad man would believe him - after all, he did want to depose the Cuban dictator. Marrenda managed a small smile, and asked why the Israeli Embassy was interested in this issue. Joshua Isaacs looked grim. He said that the Event had thrown everything off - and he didn't even have a country any more. Furthermore, there were - things - happening in Europe that he was sure Mr. Marrenda could understand that the Israelis - what was left of them - were very concerned about. Marrenda had never devoted much thought to the Holocaust, but he nodded in understanding. That explained why the bodyguards were so angry - not at him, but at the Germans. He said, quite honestly, that he sympathized with the Israeli problem, but he didn't know what he could do about it. The Israeli smiled, and pulled a folder out of his attaché case. In it was a series of aerial photographs. Marrenda recognized Havana harbor, and noted two freighters had been circled in red. Isaacs spoke. In June of 1940, Mussolini had surprised the world by declaring war on the Allies, just as Germany was crushing France. In addition to taking the Allies by surprise, he had surprised the Italian merchant marine, much of which was seized in Allied or neutral ports. Batista had leaped at the chance to acquire a little wealth, and, under questionable legal circumstances, seized two Italian freighters in Havana, the FANO and the TIBER, which had been loading sugar and bananas in June of 1940. Marrenda stared at the pictures, then at Isaacs, more confused then ever. He apologized, and said he didn't understand what the Israeli was driving at. Isaacs then dropped the bombshell. In addition to the Embassy staff and other Israeli citizens in the United States during the event were two battalions of the Israeli Army training with the Americans at the NTC in California. These Israelis wanted to fight the Nazis now, and they didn't want to wait. Despite the entreaties of a political lobby far more powerful than Marrenda's, the US government had not leased shipping to the Israelis to get to Europe. That's where the FANO and TIBER came in. Isaacs offered Marrenda a deal. The Israelis would provide fuel for Cuban boats, and an armed strike force of 1500 Israeli troops to address the Batista issue. Once that happened, and assuming the US Government either noticed or cared, the Israeli lobby in Washington would thro support behind whatever government Marrenda put into place in Havana. In return, once the new Cuban government was in place, Marrenda would release both ships to the Israelis, stuffed with as many supplies as they could carry. They would do this provided they could leave within two weeks. Marrenda was shocked. In one fell swoop, he'd been offered everything he'd wanted - in return for a relative pittance. And so quickly - that was just scary. Things like this never moved fast - and then he remembered the Holocaust, and realized why the Israelis felt the need to move so quickly. He was a canny political operator though - he'd learned long ago that when it seemed too good to be true, it probably was, and this was no exception. His mind awhirl, he temporized to buy time to think. Why go through Cuba? Surely if the US government denies them shipping, the Israelis can find ships in either Canada and Mexico to use, and without the need to fight a battle against someone they don't care that much about. True, Isaacs said, but the ships and supplies aren't all that we want. The Israeli went on. In addition to the ships, the Cubans would provide five hundred million dollars' worth of gold, jewels, silver, and other precious metals - seed money for future "operations" in Europe, and to contribute to the foundation of a new Israeli currency. Additionally, once the situation in Europe was settled, the new Cuban government would provide extremely preferential trading rights to State of Israel, once it was reconstituted. Finally, a small group of Israelis would stay behind in Cuba to "coordinate" things outside of the reach of US laws - and the Cubans would protect them. Marrenda stared again. He tried to wrap his mind around the idea. He could imagine why the Israelis would want portable wealth. The trade rights were ludicrous - he doubted Cuba could provide anything the US couldn't. Finally, the idea of an Israeli presence in Cuba concerned him - even if it was small. He started to ask Isaacs another question, but the man rose from the table. Isaacs said that he hoped the Cuban could keep this discussion discrete, and that they would speak again tomorrow. Then he and the two bodyguards left the stunned Cuban in the bistro. Marrenda had spent the night and the next day closeted with his closest - and most discrete - advisors. They agreed that the Israeli offer was bizarre; clearly the Cubans stood to gain much more than Isaacs did from the deal. The Holocaust was a horror to the Israelis though; perhaps that was impacting their thinking. All suspected the Israelis were hiding something, but none could imagine what. They agreed that the "coordination" group was more than it seemed, but a small group of Israelis now was far better then a large group of Americans later. Despite their concerns, the Cubans recognized that the Israelis offered the best chance that existed to take advantage of the Event before the war ended. The fear was that once the war was over, the Americans would then be able to focus on other areas - like Cuba. That would be bad - there were fortunes to be made, and even though the Cubans looked forward to friendly relations with their adopted home, they didn't want to become an adjunct to it like Canada or Mexico. The Cuban-Americans had the were the best-organized and wealthiest political group from Latin America in the United States. In addition to the chance to reclaim their homeland, if they could get there soon enough, they would be able to reorganize Cuba to make it a dominant player in Latin politics. And make themselves rich, as well. It was too good to pass up. The deal was a go. The Israeli hadn't specified a time to meet, but Marrenda wasn't surprised when Isaacs arrived at the PAC's business headquarters. Marrenda still had questions - like weapons and ammunition for the Israelis, which the Cubans couldn't provide. Isaacs waved a hand - that was no problem. Marrenda wanted to know where the fuel was coming from. Isaacs arched an eyebrow - Spock-like, and asked if Marrenda really wanted know that. Marrenda quickly demurred, and the men shook hands. Now they were sitting together on Marrenda's yacht. As promised, the fuel had arrived. As had the Israeli soldiers, fully armed with the latest in US infantry weapons, body armor, and with plenty of ammunition. The small craft, in addition to the Cuban-Americans, held the Israelis, and their guns and ammunition. Marrenda really wished he'd asked about where the Israelis got the fuel and weapons. Despite the sense of joy at the sight of the fleet, Marrenda's political instincts told him he might be unhappy if he knew where Isaacs had gotten everything. Marrenda's political instincts were right, though the reason wouldn't be apparent for awhile. And even though Marrenda couldn't fathom how, and wouldn't know for a while, the Israelis had gotten, by far, the better deal.
The smoke had finally stopped rising. It had taken months, but the last of the oil fires from that horrible day in December had burned themselves out, and a sense of calm had returned to Pearl Harbor. The activity in the harbor was still frantic, of course, as recovery operations continued. Two battleships had already been raised, and industrious crews worked to clear debris, both in the harbor and on land. From his current vantage point on board a Sea Stallion helicopter loaned from the STENNIS, Chester Nimitz had a clear view of the whole harbor. Crews from the mainland had brought seemingly magical equipment with them, and that equipment had speeded up the clean up considerably. They had experience from someplace called the "World Trade Center" in New York, and seemed to have a grimness about them that Nimitz recognized all to well from his time in Pearl right after December 7. The survivors of battleship row had the same look, and a small part of Nimitz (not completely overwhelmed by the fantastic events of late) despaired that humanity hadn't gotten any saner, even 60 years into the future. Few operational ships dotted the harbor - most were off on Operation Damocles, the relief mission to the Philippines. At Hickam, Nimitz knew were some long-range bombers. Nimitz had once thought that the B-17 was a triumph of American engineering and ingenuity. At it was - apparently, in the old history, it had proved quite an effective weapon. Nimitz had heard that aviation enthusiasts from the mainland were offering extravagant sums of money for them - evidently collecting obsolete military aircraft was a hobby in 2002. No B-17s had been sold - they were still military aircraft, and despite their technology the people from 2002 had uses for them. At Hickam, though, were planes that seemed almost - well, alien, to Nimitz. The B-52s were understandable enough. They were just bigger, better B-17s. It was the B-2s that frightened Nimitz. Sleek, black, featureless, and with the range to hit Manila from Pearl. A few weeks ago, the US had sent in "Green Berets" to join with Wainwright's beleaguered troops. Their purpose, in conjunction with a "satellite" was to direct the bombers to their targets. From what Nimitz had gleaned, they were doing so very well; the troops on Bataan had actually stabilized the line due to air support. But airpower couldn't fully address the situation on the ground, nor provide food or ammunition to the troops already there. Hence, Operation Damocles, the military relief of the Bataan garrison. A force built around the STENNIS battle group, and including the 1942 carriers ENTERPRISE and SARATOGA, and the 1942 Army's 25th Infantry Divisions was to relieve the garrison. Additionally, the assault ship TARAWA and its support ships carried a regiment of US Marines from 2002. Nimitz had had concerns - one carrier against the Imperial Japanese Navy? After his tour of the STENNIS, and having watched the footage from Norway and Taranto, he had no worries about the naval capability of the force going to the Philippines. He did have other concerns, though. The force was nominally commanded by Admiral Michael Herzog, from 2002, who seemed capable enough. However, as Herzog had no experience withy 1942 technology, an admiral from 1942 served as his second-in-command. William "Bull" Halsey had plenty of experience, and had the respect of the navy from 2002 as well. Of course, as Halsey had pointed out to Nimitz, however much they respected him in the future, it wasn't Halsey who got a whole class of super carriers named after him. Nimitz had to chuckle internally at that. Nimitz's concern was the spilt command. However great the new technological advances of the United States, the fundamental military maxims remained as true in 2002 as in 1942, or, for that matter, 1002. One of these was that a split command was a recipe for disaster. As for the "Nimitz class", well, Nimitz still didn't know what to think of that. He'd read the history, and knew he'd done well in the original war. But the STENNIS had been - well, awe-inspiring, and he'd have been more than human not to feel some kind of pride. He imagined Dwight Eisenhower felt the same way - he'd been (or was? Or would be? It was so hard to tell with this crazy time-travel stuff) President. Nimitz also faced a morale nightmare. The men in Hawaii from 1942 were almost entirely from the mainland - and despite the frantic work of recovery and war - most now knew they'd never see their families again - at least not in a form they'd recognize. So far, the situation had been crazy and remote enough to be kept under control. But that wouldn't last for long. And Nimitz wasn't sure what to do about that.
As Operation Damocles proceeded, and the build-up of US forces in Britain continued, the CIA and NSA started an operation of their own. The US intended to use every tool it had that wasn't a weapon of mass destruction to win this war, and psychological warfare had come a long way in sixty years. To start off with, President Bush addressed the populations of Germany and Italy. US engineers in Britain had set up powerful transmitters that could overwhelm German jamming. He introduced himself, and then the year 2002 ambassadors from the formerly Axis powers. He made it clear; America had no quarrel with the people of the Axis countries, only their governments. In the future, Germany and Italy were partners with the United States. They were in a Europe that was peaceful, prosperous, and free. They'd lost the war in history, and with sixty years of technology on America's side, they had no hope at all. Additionally, Bush spoke directly against "atrocities". He talked bluntly of the holocaust, naming places where Jews and others were being, or would be, exterminated. He spoke of the Wanasee Conference, and the "Final Solution". The United States, he said, viewed this policy as a crime against humanity, and anyone who participated in it, no matter how low their rank, or whose orders they'd followed, would be held accountable. Finally, Bush talked about Hitler. He asked the German people how they, a great, civilized nation, had allowed this bitter, failed little man to lead them to war against the whole world. He asked if their lives, and the lives of their relatives and friends fighting all over the world, had been made better by him. All the pain of war could be avoided simply by replacing him and his thugs. The German ambassador spoke up at this time. He talked of the pain of growing up in a world that looked upon Germans as brutal Nazi killers. He spoke of the injustices perpetrated on the Jews and others by the Nazis - there was no "Master Race" - only the human race, and all Germans, in their hearts, knew this. Finally, he spoke of shame. The shame that the children and grandchildren of the adults in Germany today would bear in the future for the crimes of Nazis. If not for themselves, then for succeeding generations of Germans must that monster in Berlin be killed. The next part started the next day. British Lancaster and Manchester bombers, along with a smattering of B-17s, and escorted by F-18 from the IKE, and F-16s and F-15s finally operating from Britain, dropped leaflets over cities in Germany. Some had the famous picture of the Soviet soldier raising the hammer-and-sickle over the shattered Reichstag with caption "Would you rather they win?" Others showed scenes from the Nuremberg trials, others pictures of US military equipment. Still others showed pictures of the Berlin Wall. For help in coming up with convincing leaflets, the NSA had the help of the German Embassy. It wasn't about treason, the ambassador told his staff, it was about saving German lives for the future.
More to come.
USA 2002 in 1942 ISOT Part IX - "First Battles"
In normal times, it never would've come to this - especially at the level at which it was happening. Organizations of the power and experience of the ones involved here simply didn't confront each as blatantly and openly as they were. If there was a problem between them, they talked, or they negotiated, or they dealt. If none of these solutions resolved the problem, then yes, the fought. It was a quiet kind of fighting though - not battles in the street. Assassination, kidnapping, that sort of thing. What was happening now was ridiculous. It was destructive, wasteful, bad for business, and most of all, it attracted attention from the wrong kind of people. However, these were not normal times. These were most definitely abnormal times, with completely unimaginable circumstances. These thoughts occurred to Michael "Mikey Cool" Santarino as he tried to make himself as small as possible behind the packing crate in the warehouse. Gunfire from automatic weapons hammered the area around him, and the screams of wounded men assailed his ears. Santarino was a senior lieutenant in North New Jersey's Cavallero crime family. And he wasn't happy at all. The problem was that in all the hubbub about being back in 1942, no one had considered the plight of the drug users. Not the small stuff - marijuana was still easy to get. But very little cocoa was produced in the United States. Furthermore, the overseas contacts that were used to get drugs into the country were gone. Even if people could go down to where cocoa was grown, there was no one to talk to. In 1942, cocaine was an exotic drug. Customers - drug users - were growing desperate. The supply was drying up, and there was no immediate solution to the problem. Both organized crime and the federal agencies responsible for combating them had been slow to realize this - the crime families because they were focused on day-to-day business, the feds because of the Nazis. The raw material for drugs came from South and Central America; the users of that supply were in the United States. The time-travel event had not slaked the demand of the hard-core users, but it had eliminated - not constricted or tightened - but eliminated the supply of cocaine. In a free market (and the trade in illegal narcotics was capitalism in its purest form), when demand exceeded supply, increased cost to the consumer was the result. Whatever medium-term pain awaited the Cavalleros until they could re-establish their South American networks, in the short term, the rapidly dwindling supply of cocaine (and its by-products) promised astronomical profits - profits needed to tide them over until the supply was re-established. The price of straight cocaine had gone up by over 1000%, and was still rising. All of which added up to why Mikey Cool was crouched behind a packing crate in a warehouse in Newark. The warehouse was managed jointly by an alphabet-soup of government agencies - FBI, DEA, NYPD, the Port Authority - to name a few. It was were drugs seized in raids were held until processing, and it represented the largest untapped supply of illegal narcotics on the East Coast. It had taken a ton of cash to bribe their way in here, only to find that the Russian mob was also interested in the drugs. Someone had snitched - there was no way that the Russians were just coincidentally here at the same time Mikey Cool's boys were - and the Russians clearly hoped to make off with the stash, and leave a couple of dead wise guys to throw the Feds off in the inevitable pursuit. Mikey Cool had foiled that though - he'd smelled an ambush and been right. The Russians had the edge in training and equipment - Mikey Cool had more guys, and Newark was their turf. Two calls had gone out - one for more guys, and one to delay the local law (trickier with the Feds involved). As Mikey watched, two of his guys with AK-47s hosed down the catwalk the Russians' covering fire was coming from as two more guys moved forward. Mikey could only shake his head. This business was getting more dangerous all the time.
Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto was brooding. He was not a man given to such moods - indeed, someone who didn't know him would have called his mood contemplative, but it wasn't. He was brooding, and had been since last December. He hadn't wanted war with the United States, but war had come, and he'd no choice but to wage as best he knew how. Even before this - this incomprehensible event - he'd been worried. Now he was heartsick. It was after midnight local time in the Eastern Pacific. The deck outside the bridge of the IJN YAMATO was vibrating with the power of great battleships engines. Yamamoto was alone on the deck, staring at the black ocean. Not even the stars kept him company; clouds obscured them. Whatever rivalries existed between the IJN and the Japanese Army, Yamamoto trusted General Yamashita, the commander of the Japanese 14th Army on the Philippines. The stubborn American defenders - who eaten up much more of the Japanese timetable than they should have - were at the point of defeat when these miracle planes showed up. There hadn't been many of them, but they had struck with devastating power and precision, and no plane in the Japanese inventory could touch them. Now the Americans were coming. If their own news reports were to be believed, a "super carrier" from 2002 along with two other American carriers from 1942 headed for Bataan. Yamamoto had gathered the Combined Fleet. Most of it was here with him. His staff was confident - "victory disease" was rampant in the IJN. Yamamoto outwardly projected that confidence, but inwardly, he wasn't so sure. Yamamoto drew comfort form the solid bulk of the YAMATO beneath him. At 72,800 tons, and with nine 18.1 inch guns in its main battery, YAMATO was the mightiest battleship ever built. If anything could handle the Americans, this ship could. His broodings were broken by a young staff member who nervously interrupted his thoughts. A radio message had been received. Yamamoto scowled. Strict radio silence was to be observed - he didn't need Tokyo breathing down his neck - second-guessing every decision he made. But the radio message wasn't from Tokyo. It was from the Americans, and they were asking to speak to him. Yamamoto was shocked. If the Americans could radio him, then knew not only the IJN frequencies, but also their location. With some haste, he made his way to the radio booth. Several frightened-looking Japanese ensigns were there. One of them bowed, and handed Yamamoto a radio headset, which the Admiral put on. A man introduced himself, through a translator, as Admiral Herzog of the United States Navy. In one hour, the IJN would be attacked, he said matter-of-factly. Using weapons from 60 years in the future, every aircraft carrier, battleship, and heavy cruiser in the Japanese task force would be sunk. However, he was giving them a chance to live. If they abandoned ship, then the light cruisers of destroyers of the task force would be spared, and allowed to return to Japan. He beseeched Admiral Yamamoto to think of the lives of the men entrusted to his care, and allow them to save themselves. There was no shame in it - how could even the greatest warrior fight an enemy from the future? Yamamoto clenched his fists. He was shocked to his core - and didn't have a reply. The radio went dead, and Yamamoto thought for a moment. The brazenness of the American was unbelievable - but what if he was right? Yamamoto thought of the thousands of men under his command, and the soul of the nation he was sworn to protect - and ordered all ships to go to battle stations. Bushido demanded that all men do their duty, and Yamamoto had never shirked his.
Satellite imagery showed the Japanese fleet change formation. They turned into the wind, and the carriers started launching planes. The Americans watching this winced; in 1942 night operations were not something that was commonly done. Still, the Japanese were impressive; they launched a CAP of over a hundred planes, without a mishap. For all the good it would do them.
Captain Hiro Fujimoro of the destroyer AKASHI paced on his bridge. The battle-stations order from the YAMATO had come an hour ago. The crew of the AKASHI had done Fujimoro proud, and beat to quarters in under 10 minutes. But what for? No threat had been identified. The Japanese Navy prided itself on its night-fighting capabilities. The AKASHI was ready - but for what? The dark mass of the AKAGI was on the AKASHI's port side. Fujimoro watched more planes - zeros - take off from it. Most of the carriers of the Imperial Navy were here, and the battleline as well, and Fujimora was confident they could deal with whatever came their way. Suddenly, streaks of fire lit the sky. Before Fujimoro's stunned eyes, the streaks impacted the side of the AKAGI, which was wracked by a succession of explosions. The great carrier seemed to buck, and a string of secondary explosions went off. Fujimoro groaned as he thought of the fuel the great carrier had onboard, and before the thought could finish, a massive explosion ripped through the AKAGI. The carrier seemed to lift into the air, and then sag back down. The AKAGI wasn't alone. The night was lit by fire and explosions. Off in the distance, Fujimoro could see the HIYO burning. The roar of alien planes filled the sky, and the AA guns of the AKASHI started flashing. Every ship that could opened up on the unseen attackers, while the airborne zeros flashed overhead. More explosions occurred, and, for all the good it would do, Fujimoro ordered his ship into a wild evasive pattern.
The CIC on the STENNIS recorded it all. The first pass of F-18s had savaged the Japanese fleet - and only one had been slightly damaged by a golden BB. Every carrier had been hit, and the F-14s were still lining up for their pass. Halsey was whooping - most of the 1942 people were. The 2002 people running the show were more sombre. The Pacific was cold, and thousands of people would die in it tonight. The F-18s would return, re-arm, and go out again. The Japanese planes launched by the carriers didn't know where to go, but there was always the chance they could stumble onto the right (or wrong, depending on how you looked at it) heading, and find the STENNIS. Kamikazes were unknown to the IJN of 1942 - they'd come later - but there was no guarantee the idea wouldn't occur to a Japanese pilot anyway. Some F-18s would be kept on CAP - the rest would return to finish what they started.
Isoruku Yamamoto lay on the bridge, a steel splinter in his belly. He was bleeding to death, and most of the people who could help him had been killed when the demon rocket had hit the YAMATO's bridge. He gasped in pain, and tried to make himself heard to the badly wounded helmsman who was still steering the great battleship. He smiled grimly in pride; the great battleship had taken four hits, and was still fighting. He could only hope his ace in the hole would work. The entire Japanese Navy wasn't dying here tonight. Japan's two fastest fleet carriers - SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU - with some fast escorts were off on another mission - hopefully, they could succeed. Meanwhile, perhaps things were not so bad. No new explosions had occurred; maybe the worst was over. Those were Admiral Yamamoto's last thoughts before the torpedoes from the USS PORTLAND - a LOS ANGELES-class nuclear attack submarine - ripped the bottom out of IJN YAMATO. The resulting explosion blew the battleship in two, and killed everyone still one board. The great battleship rolled over, and sank.
After two more strikes from the F-18s and F-14s, CIC called it a day. The toll was staggering - 6 Japanese Fleet carriers (AKAGI, KAGA, HIRYU, SORYU, HIYO and JUNYO), 8 Battleships, 12 Heavy Cruisers, 6 light carriers and twenty smaller ships all sunk. The remaining were gathering survivors and heading away. Admiral Herzog (over Halsey's objections) elected to let them go. Sinking them served no purpose. It was, by any measure, the most lop-sided victory in naval history. No American had been killed or injured, and only one plane had been slightly damaged. For all intents and purposes, the IJN had been destroyed. The absence of the ZUIKAKU and SHOKAKU were noted, and a search for them was begun.
The AKASHI was loaded down with survivors. The destroyer had fished hundreds from the sea, and was almost groaning under the weight of them. In one day, the IJN had been crushed, and Captain Fujimoro despaired. The few ships that remained headed for Truk. They left the flower of Japan behind them.
The news of the victory was received with shock throughout the world. The silence from Tokyo was damning, and the Americans' news services were full of the story. Despite all that had happened - mainly in isolation - this was the first real proof of the power of the United States. Everything else had been impressive - from the FW-190s to the TIRPITZ. This was more than impressive. This was unbelievable. One US CVN had destroyed the Japanese Navy, and the trembles were felt in Rome, Berlin and Tokyo. Trembles in Moscow, as well. It had been hoped that the Axis powers would buy time in their demise to learn about and prepare to face this new United States. Now, one of those powers had been defeated. Not totally, but the destruction of the navy limited the Japanese to defending what they had - and it seemed they had not enough. Still, the Soviets knew the Germans were tough. The pull-back from the soil of the Rodina was proceeding, and the Red Army was scrupulously allowing them to leave unmolested. Every German that lived to face the Americans was one that could die for the Soviet Union.
The operation was supposed to have been simple. In - out, no problems, no interaction with anyone. Murphy had made an unwelcome appearance, though, and thrown a monkey wrench into the works. Jakob Weinstein crouched behind the corner of the building, and watched the golf cart approach. The Los Angeles night was hot and uncharacteristically muggy, and sweat soaked the shirt he wore. Weinstein was Isaac Jacobs' chief operator in the United States, and whatever else happened, he was glad he wasn't in Cuba - it was even hotter and muggier there. He'd been assigned to the United States in 1999, and expected a nice, quiet time overseeing Mossad field operations for Isaacs in the Western Hemisphere until his retirement in a few years. He'd done enough scrambling for Israel in the Sinai in 1973, and then in Lebanon in 1982. He'd also been to almost every Arab capital in the world, and done things in them he still shuddered to think about. And now, here he was, couched in the night, watching a rent-a-cop security guard checking his rounds. In all of Los Angeles, Weinstein had found the one conscientious security guard still doing his rounds. It was ridiculous. The main security had been bought off for almost no money, and wasn't even aware Weinstein was there. The cops never came here. But one lousy guy hadn't gotten the message. So Weinstein had to deal with it. The golf cart approached - it was electric, not gas - and Weinstein tensed. He body had slowed a bit with age, but his instincts and timing were honed by years of operational experience. He moved at the right time. The guard had stopped when he'd seen the pickup truck Weinstein had left parked in the road. He walked over to it, and was shining his flashlight into the truck's cab when Weinstein snuck up behind him, and clamped the chloroform-soaked cloth over his nose and mouth. The guard's struggles had been brief, and he'd succumbed to unconsciousness quickly. Weinstein lowered the guard to ground - he sleep for at least six hours - more than enough time for Weinstein. With the guard disabled, the loading could continue. The pickup truck was joined by two eighteen wheelers, and some local labor began loading them. Weinstein grimaced when he thought of what was being loaded, but it was necessary for Isaacs to continue the plan.
The pullback of the German Army from the USSR was noted by the NSA. It had not been entirely unexpected - Stalin was nothing if not practical. More ominously, a build-up of Soviet power near the Finish front was noted. The NSA passed the information along.
With the Germans openly pulling back from Russia, it was decided to give them a taste of what was coming. 200 cruise missiles were launched from the IKE task force. Bridges, rail yards, and even the Wolf's Lair in East Prussia were hit. One group plastered Peenemunde, and killed Werner Von Braun. Meanwhile, the US Air Force hit the German 4th Panzer Division as it deployed against Normandy in France. Cluster munitions from F-16s ravaged the formation, and streaked off to provide CAP for the A-10s that followed. The Warthogs dissolved panzers with their 30mm autocannons. Finally, in a kind of coup-de-grace, AC-130 gunships showed up, and savaged the survivors. Of 4th Panzer's 151 operation tanks, 119 were destroyed, and over four thousand men killed or injured - all for no loss to the US. There was not enough US military power in place to do much more - yet. It was coming, though.
Zossen noted the action with as much detachment as they could. The Americans' own broadcasts had revealed that in the original history, the D-Day landings had taken place at Normandy. The attack on the 4th Panzer indicated an attack could come there. However, it struck the Germans as foolish that the Americans would hit the same place they did originally. Still, every possibility had to be accounted for. Two more infantry corps, backed up by more mobile forces were sent to northern France. They were told to disperse to avoid damage from air attacks.
It hadn't been much of a fight. The Cuban Army - such as it was - had been taken totally by surprise, and most of it hadn't been in Havana anyway. Batista hadn't even been contacted - the Israelis had convinced Marrenda that it would serve no purpose other than just warning the dictator. The assault on the Presidential Palace had come at dawn, and the Cubans were no match for the Israelis. The assault had been over in less than an hour, and only one Israeli had been killed and two wounded. Only 40 Cubans died - including Batista. By Latin American standards, it was a fairly bloodless affair. The arrival of the rest of the flotilla, and the evident wealth they had had quelled any nascent dissent from the remaining Cuban power groups. With much celebration, one of the most prominent members of the Cuban Miami community was declared interim leader. Until new elections could be held, of course. Marrenda intended to see those elections take place. Time in the United States had taught the Cubans the value of strong, Republican government, and for Cuba to be the power Marrenda wanted it to be, such a government was necessary. As for the Israelis, they were overseeing the loading of the two Italian freighters. Their weapons were already stowed, and cranes were loading food - if things continued, bananas would be the new nation food of Israel. A small group of Israelis had set up a communication center in a large hotel in Havana. Marrenda was having them watched, of course, and was distressed to hear that some of the "Israelis" that were arriving were considerably less "Israeli" than American. He knew there was a large Jewish population in the United States, but he was concerned anyway. Meanwhile, the Israelis were waiting for a shipment of some kind - from Los Angeles of all places - and then they would depart. There was a wild celebration going on, but Marrenda took no part in it. He was always uncomfortable with celebrations, and had one more task to accomplish anyway. He and several of his men walked to a small Cuban police station. It was empty of all except Marrenda's men, and one prisoner. The prisoner was held in a cell, and, when Marrenda arrived, he went and studied him through the bars. He'd never met the man, of course, and didn't know what he expected. He felt nothing, even as he gazed into the eyes of a 16-year old Fidel Castro.
More to Come.
USA 2002 ISOT 1942 Part X - "Compromises"
The cinema in London was packed. Londoners - protected from German bombing raids by the United States Air Force - were coming out of the long night the Blitz had imposed on their city. The parks were full, pleasure boats had re-appeared on the Thames, and entertainment facilities were doing great business. The war was still on, to be sure, sons and fathers and husbands were away from home, and in danger all over the Empire. However, for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, hope was in full blossom in Great Britain. The new Americans, with their magical technology were going to win the war, and everyone knew it. The papers were full of the American victory in the Pacific over the Japanese Fleet, and the pictures taken from the F-18s of the TIRPITZ had been front-page news. Furthermore, people from 2002 - not Americans, but good honest Englishmen and Englishwomen who'd been in the United States when the event took place - were coming home to England. The Churchill government had recognized what a tremendous resource these future people represented, and they'd been welcomed in Britain. The government had painted a picture for the population; these people from the future were the children and grandchildren of the people in Britain. They were lost, and with no homes, and no familiar relatives. Churchill had asked the people of Britain to open their hearts and their homes to the future English, and the British people had responded. These future British people were already making an impact. Apparently, oil lay beneath the North Sea. They'd brought pictures of great offshore oil derricks, pumping oil for a thirsty Britain. Also, cars and jets and electric trains, and plans for something called a "Chunnel" - apparently a tunnel underneath the English Channel. The most exciting pictures were those from space. The view of Earth from orbit was breathtaking. It was known that Americans were in space even now, using powerful tools to watch the Germans. Their satellites were a priceless advantage, and one that the Germans had no counter for. The pictures of men on the moon - which had apparently happened sometime in the 1960s and 1970s - had electrified the British populace. It had been depressing to learn that Britain's own space program hadn't ever gotten off the ground in the original history. That would change, though. Churchill talked openly of the Empire expanding to space "where the sun truly never sets". This seemed to amuse many of the 2002 people - space exploration was apparently both complicated and expensive - but no one would ever accuse Winston of thinking small. The movie people were crowding in to see was one from the America of the future. Technicians from America and from future Britain had spent a couple weeks "upgrading" the cinema, one of London's largest. Now it featured a larger screen, full color and "surround sound" - whatever that was. The movie was supposed to appeal to the British audience - it was from the future, but about the past. It was called TITANIC, and it was about the great luxury liner. Many of Britain's social elite turned out to see it.
TITANTIC had been chosen deliberately by both the 1942 British government and the 2002 Americans. It represented the most advanced movie-making techniques available to the Americans, but was about a subject the British audience would completely understand - for this reason, the MATRIX had been rejected (well, that and the fact that no one on the American side could stomach the thought of Keanu Reeves being the first modern American movie star international movie-goers had access to - and at least Leonardo Di Caprio hadn't been in the US when the Event took place). The key was to see how the British public reacted to the (for the time) relatively blatant sexuality, special effects, and class struggle the picture featured. The movie had been made, after all, for an audience whose cultural morals were 60 years more advanced. The movie got strong reviews from the audience. The special effects were dazzling, and many in the audience were moved to tears. However, many objected to some of the messages the movie presented - from the portrayal of the rich as evil, and self-centered. Still, all in all the audience loved it, and more movies were planned - starting with the INDIANA JONES series.
Admiral Chuichi Nagumo of the Imperial Japanese Navy was numb with shock. A little more than six months ago, he had led the IJN to the most dazzling victory in naval history over the Americans at Pearl Harbor. The IJN had ruled supreme, and swept the westerners from Asian waters. The string of conquests - from Java to Wake to Singapore - had seemed to assure Japan's dominance in the Pacific for the next century or more. Now that was all ashes in his mouth. The reports that Nagumo had heard from the radio room of the SHOKAKU had been met with disbelief from Nagumo and his staff; it was inconceivable that one carrier, no matter how advanced, could have sunk the Combined Fleet. However, two days ago, a courier plane had reached Nagumo's task force from Japan. The message it carrier sank Nagumo's heart. It was true - all true. The Navy - Admiral Yamamoto - all of it - was gone. Now, almost all that was left of the once-mighty Imperial Navy was Nagumo's task force; the SHOKAKU, ZUIKAKU, 5 heavy cruisers, 4 light cruisers, 15 destroyers and support ships. Yamamoto's last orders were to inflict as much damage as he could on the Americans. Nagumo was brave, and his heart screamed at him to sail at once for the Americans and satisfy the honor of the Japanese Navy. However, his mind told him not to. SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU were the largest carriers Japan had - each carried over 90 planes. But that wasn't enough. According to survivors of the battle, the Americans had struck at night, with weapons of magic. Nagumo didn't believe in magic, but he did believe in the value of good intelligence. No, he would sacrifice himself, and his ships, for the emperor, but not that way. Instead, he found himself in the North Pacific, far from the shipping lanes, and wondering what to do. With tankers, he had range, and striking power. His biggest advantage was speed, if he left the tankers behind, he could do 33 knots. He considered targets. The West Coast of the US was reachable - barely - but these future Americans seemed to have technology for detecting ships and planes, and Nagumo had to believe that technology extended to protect the US homeland as well. No, the West Coast could not be a target. But there were other places that could.
Captain Tatu Rahuamaki of the Finnish Army trembled as he contemplated the Soviet forces being drawn up on the other side of the Svir river. The German pullback had left the Finns in an awful position, and the Captain knew it. He was commander of a Finnish infantry company, and had seen a lot of combat. In 1939, as a young lieutenant, he'd led ski troops against the invading Soviets. This was not 1939. The Soviets opposite Rahuamaki were not the peasant army he'd faced back then. Long lines of T-34 tanks, backed up by more mobile artillery than Rahuamaki thought existed on the planet, and shock troops were moving into position. The Soviets were more experienced, better equipped, better led, and, worst of all from Rahuamaki's perspective, going to attack in the summer time. It wasn't going to be all one-sided though. Many Finns gripped about the German betrayal, as well they should, but the Germans hadn't simply up and left, either. The Finnish Air Force was now equipped with BF-109s and even a few FW-190s. Two actual armored divisions were forming, with PKIIIs and PKIVs that the Germans had somehow transferred over from Estonia before the pull-back.. Marshall Mannerheim was an experienced leader, and Finns doughty fighters. They would fight the good fight. Despite the material aid that Germans had provided, and the leadership of Marshall Mannerheim, Rahuamaki didn't expect to win. There was just too much combat power facing the Finns, and no one to come to their aid.
Captain Rahuamaki wasn't the only one noting the Soviet build-up. A spy satellite did as well. Pictures from the satellite ended up in Fort Meade, Maryland. After a brief analysis there (it was pretty obvious what was happening), they made it to the Pentagon and the White House. President Bush, and the rest of the National Security Council (NSC) saw the pictures. No one was exactly shocked - the Germans and Soviets clearly had made some kind of deal - but the sell-out of the Finns was unexpected. The question was, what, if anything, to do about it. Powell pointed out that Finland was, technically, and Axis power, and the USSR was, technically, an Allied power. Rice rejected that immediately. Finland wasn't a REAL Axis power - they just wanted their 1939 territory back. The message that had been delivered to Molotov must be enforced - else Finland wouldn't be the last place that Stalin would attack. Powell broke back in - do we really want to fight the USSR now, before the defeat of the Nazis? That earned him some hard looks. It was unspoken here in the NSC that after the defeat of Hitler, Stalin would be next. That wasn't policy - yet - but the idea was gaining strength. Bush broke in. One thing at a time. Hitler first. But he wanted options. Short of openly fighting the USSR, what could America do to help the Finns? The debate went on.
Erwin Rommel looked at the shattered remains of the Africa Corps, and despaired. Most of the 21st Panzer division had been destroyed, and the British 8th Army was pursuing. Tobruk was far to east, and the uncertain sanctuary of Tripoli was fast approaching. What shipping was available was gathering there, and in a few other tiny ports in Western Libya. With the American Navy ruling the Med, Rommel didn't see how he could make it back to Europe. Or, for that matter, what good he could do there. The US destruction of the Italian Navy had effectively ended Rommel's ability to attack towards Suez and Cairo; air strikes from the CONSTELLATION, and "satellite intel" given to Montgomery at 8th Army were cutting him to pieces. He couldn't hide, with no fuel couldn't manoeuvre, and couldn't really run. At Tripoli, Rommel planned a Dunkirk-like evacuation. He'd get as much away as he could, and surrender what was left. Of course, that was his plan. Others had plans for General Rommel, and those plans didn't include a POW camp.
The two ships departed Havana harbor before dawn. Marrenda had delivered what he promised, and the package from Wienstein in LA had come as well. The soldiers were on board, relieved the side-show in Cuba was over. They were going to Europe to kill Nazis now. On the bridge of the FANO, Isaacs stared at the dark sea. Someone in the US had finally woken up to the fact that a regime-change had taken place in Cuba, and Havana was being flooded with reporters. The Israelis had left a little earlier than intended; it would do them no good if the American press found out about them - yet. Of course, the eventual participation of the American media was rather central to what Isaacs - and the people he was working with (people the Israeli soldiers didn't know about) - were doing. Issacs would leave the FANO shortly to return to the mainland. Tasks awaited him still in America. However, the next stage of the operation required a delicate touch. Issacs would oversee it personally - and right now. An aide came to him with haunted eyes. It was time. Issacs followed the aide of the bridge. The packages from Weinstein in LA had caused considerable speculation among the Israeli soldiers - they had weapons, what could come from Los Angeles of all places to delay their departure? Isaacs smiled grimly to himself. Judging from the cries coming from the compartment ahead, Wienstein's packages had been unwrapped. Isaacs entered the compartment, and hubbub died down a bit. Looks of outrage, shock and horror greeted him. The Israelis were giving one man their attention, and it wasn't friendly attention either. The man in question was Captain Yoshi Perlmen, Israeli Army. He was popular with his men, an accomplished clarinet-player, and fierce in battle. He was also wearing, right down to the epaulets, the uniform of an SS Colonel.
More to Come
USA 2002 ISOT in 1942 Part XI - "Movements"
It should not have been the Trial of the Century, or even the Trial of the Year. But the courthouse in Chicago was packed. Reporters from all the major US news services were there, as were representatives of both Canada and the BBC. The BBC didn't have televisions cameras, of course, but there was nothing wrong with the reporters' ability to get to the heart of the story. At odds in the trial were Malcolm Bryce on one side, and his relatives on the other. Bryce was a 35 year-old 1942 Chicago industrialist who'd been in Canada when the Event happened, leaving him somewhat adrift. In the old history, Bryce had taken the industrial plants he owned in Milwaukee, Chicago and South Bend, and morphed them into one of the first post-war US industrial conglomerates. By 1960, Bryce Enterprises had holdings all over the world, and in areas as diverse as pharmaceuticals, farm products, and even textiles. In 1971, Bryce, somewhat distraught over the death of his wife in an automobile accident, sold his companies to various other large corporations. He'd made billions, and lived well (if quietly) until his death in 1987. Bryce had been (and was again) a man of energy, integrity, and ambition. He had been successful, and had his fair share of enemies, but no one ever accused him of a crime. In other words, Bryce was an industrial capitalist, who realized the best way to make money in the long term was hard work, and at least a fair degree of honesty. The same, unfortunately, could not be said of his children. Bryce had three children, and none had inherited much of in the way of good traits from him. He had two sons and a daughter, and a horde of grandchildren. One son was an alcoholic; the other a 58 year-old playboy. The daughter was even worse; she'd invested in every new age cult that had come along over the decades, and was currently a scientologist in good standing. None had done anything but spend the money Bryce had left them; and none had done much for anyone except themselves. The spouses, friends, hangers-ons, and other were not any better. The grandchildren (the great-grandchildren were infants or toddlers) were generally speaking, just as bad, with a couple of notable exceptions. Bryce was alone except for his lawyers. He was dressed in a conservative 2002 business suit, and was very well groomed. A handsome, athletic man, he was utterly unable to conceal his contempt for his relatives. The children were all born later than 1942, and he knew none of them. The defendants were a gaggle of competing interests (all the children had their own, separate teams of lawyers, and some of the grandchildren did as well), dressed in a variety of clothing, and in various states of cleanliness. Bryce's case was simple; he wanted his money back. He didn't mean to impoverish his heirs - he'd leave them enough to live on - but he wanted the bulk of the money back, before they squandered any more of it. Bryce had powerful, and unanticipated allies in this case; both General Motors and Microsoft contributed to his defence. A senior manager at GM actually remembered Bryce as a man of integrity and vision; Microsoft wanted him to lead a management team. Both wanted his services as a consultant. Bryce was one of the few 1942 American corporate heads who both had contacts around the world, and had been out of the country on March 13. He would be invaluable in facilitating contacts and business deals between the 2002 US corporations and the 1942 international business environment. The defendants had a variety of positions (some mutually-exclusive). The various lawyers, advisors, spiritual guides, friends, etc. had boiled it down to a fairly simple position: the will stated the disbursement of Bryce's holdings, and that will was in force. Public sympathy was firmly with Bryce. Despite being 60 years behind the time, he had an intuitive sense of what to say and what not to say. His children - spoiled by immense wealth their whole lives - were ridiculous. Bryce talked about building for the future, and the opportunities that were unexpectedly present. His children talked about "what they deserved". Which was nothing, according to one CNN poll. The real problem Bryce faced was his own will. Written in 1985, it was, like most things he did, very well crafted. When he'd died in 1987, the will had stood up to challenges from near and far, as the children wrangled over who got what, and other relatives claimed their piece of the pie. Complete strangers, claiming to be Bryce's illegitimate children showed up, as did "business partners" claiming oral contracts. In the end, the courts had held up the original will. The Catch-22 that Bryce faced was, that in a way, he was arguing against himself. Despite his older self's disappointment in his children and grandchildren, the original Bryce had dispersed money to them, and to his other relatives. Bryce's lawyers argued that since Bryce was clearly alive, the Will was null and void. The defendants' overall argument was that the man was clearly dead - his grave was available for viewing - and the money was theirs. In the end, the judge ruled on the basis of the Mildred Myers' case in California. The Malcolm Bryce alive now and the Malcolm Bryce who'd died in 1987 were two different people. As such, the will stood. The relatives were happy. There was an audible gasp from the public galleries; they'd been on Malcolm's side. The judge continued. However, inasmuch as the will stood, all of its provisions were still binding. Malcolm Bryce had distributed his wealth among his relatives. Malcolm Bryce of 1942 was clearly a relative of Malcolm Bryce who died in 1987 - they shared the same parents. Therefore, the Malcolm Bryce of 1942 was entitled to a percentage of the will. Which meant all the relatives had to pay. In the end, it only amounted to about 25 million dollars for Bryce. Divided up, that was only a couple million per original will recipient. That should have been no problem, given the size of the original will settlement. However, some relatives had been truly proliferate with the money, and couldn't pay. It didn't matter to Bryce. He had more than enough for seed money, and juicy consulting fees from GM and Microsoft. It was enough for a man of energy and skill, and Malcolm Bryce was that. Before leaving court, Malcolm Bryce informed his relatives that after they paid, he never wanted to see them again.
The problem that Marty Wilson and his team had at Fort Meade, Maryland was simple, but then most problems in life were, if distilled down to their component parts. He had just one task to accomplish: locate the remaining Japanese task force in the Pacific. It should have been simple; Nagumo's mini-fleet had no ECM capability, and US satellites were designed for this kind of thing. The problem was that the US satellite network was still tattered, and Europe had a higher priority. The Pacific was a big body of water, and Wilson had two - count 'em - two dedicated birds for the search. They couldn't begin to cover the whole ocean. Even that should have been OK - listening posts on the US West Coast, a new one in Hawaii, and AWACS from the CVNs in the Pacific should have been enough to detect any radio transmissions Nagumo made - but the Japanese had evidently observed strict radio silence, so that was out. That left the whole project a guessing game. What would you do if you were Chuichi Nagumo? Wilson and his team had spent long hours discussing just that. There were few obvious targets. Hawaii and the West Coast were out; if Nagumo approached either, local radar would detect him, making Wilson's problem moot. The STENNIS was in the Philippines, and quite capable of smashing the two Japanese carriers. Indonesia (or, as it was now called the "Netherlands East Indies") was a concern - there were few US assets there. But Nagumo couldn't accomplish anything there; and local mischief he raised would be both irrelevant to the US war effort, and suicidal. The same with the British base in Sri Lanka ("Ceylon") and the Australians in Darwin. There were plenty of places to hide, as well. The Marianas, Marshalls, - even the wastes of the Northern Pacific. The satellites couldn't be everywhere at once. Wilson sighed as he contemplated the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and went back to work.
Isaacs was back in Washington. The Israelis had gotten over their sense of revulsion at wearing Nazi uniforms - it did make a good disguise after all - and there was even a sense of ironic justice in it. Weinstein had stolen as many uniforms from the LA studios as he could (the only place in 2002 America to get WWII-era military uniforms was Hollywood), and they would do. There were relatively few SS uniforms in the bunch - most were simple Wehrmacht - but a body of Wehrmacht backed by SS should be enough for the Israelis' tasks once in Europe. The two Italian ships were almost to Italy. Getting them to Gibraltar had been easy - both flew the Cuban flag, and no U-Boats were left to molest them. The problem was getting them to Europe. Various ideas had been discussed; a landing in France or Spain seemed easier than Italy. However, circumstances had intervened. Isaacs saw an opportunity, and wanted to discuss it with his partners. As much as it pained him to admit, Isaacs couldn't have pulled this off without their help. The hardest part was the gas for Cubans and the weapons for the Israeli soldiers. The Mossad just didn't have that many assets in place in the US. However, when he'd been trying to gather these things - his "partners" had contacted him. They could provide anything and everything that the Israelis needed - they just wanted a voice in what happened next. Isaacs had been reluctant to deal, especially where something as visceral to him (and the Israeli soldiers) as the Holocaust was involved. However, the people who were his partners calmed him down. They'd made sense. Simply put, 1500 soldiers suiciding against the Reich would make for headlines and good stories, but wouldn't actually accomplish anything lasting. Isaacs served Israel, even if Israel didn't exist now. Forget Germany - it was dead. One way or another the United States would crush it. The real issues lay in the future - the post-war world. Yes, America was powerful, but it had a long memory. The Middle East in the original time was complicated enough. Adding Israel to the mix in 1949 had made it worse. The United States' need for oil had not abated, so the Middle East would still be vital to it. The US remembered 60 years of Mid East turmoil, culminating in 9/11. While it was certain to take steps to prevent the development of radical Islam, that was a difficult task - even for America. The task would be eased considerably without an Israel, or at least with a managed Israel that the Arabs could be persuaded to live with. Powerful elements of the US government were talking openly about this - a reduced Israel as an almost client state of the United States. While this was practical, Isaacs couldn't believe that the United States, with its long history of friendship with Israel, and powerful pro-Israel lobby, would allow this to happen. However, his "partners" were reliable sources, and Isaacs had been swayed by their arguments. The thing that bothered Isaacs about his partners was their stake in this. Clearly, they had goals here, and Isaacs didn't know - and had no real way of finding out - what they were. He fretted about this, but wasn't in a position to deal with it. For now. However disconcerting and confusing their interest might be, they were powerful, and Isaacs had no intention of betraying their trust. Now, he was in Washington to meet them. The next phase of the plan was to be discussed. He arrived at the usual location, but was surprised at who was waiting for him. Usually, his partners sent proxies to meet him; today they had come in person. Isaacs smiled as he sat down with CIA Director George Tenet and National Security Advisor Condeleeza Rice.
Charles de Gaulle was not happy. Of course, he'd rarely been happy before June of 1940 (and some suspected before even that), so this wasn't unusual - to either his own staff or the British. He was in London, and at the SHAEF. The British and the new Americans were there as well for a conference. The immediate source of de Gaulle's unhappiness was a feeling of being an outsider. Previous to the remarkable events of March, this feeling had been because of Vichy France. The British, and the America from 1942 had seemed to be all to ready to deal with the collaborationists when preparing for Operation TORCH. Their arguments - that Vichy administrated the areas of North Africa they were concerned with - had fallen on deaf ears. As for as de Gaulle was concerned, his Free French were the only true representative of the French people and French interests. The Americans from 2002 solved the Vichy issue; they didn't seem to care (or even know much about) the Vichy regime. They were perfectly happy to deal with the Free French as the legitimate government of France. That suited de Gaulle. What did not suit him was the planning for the liberation of Europe. The reason it didn't suit him was because he didn't know anything about it. US troops were arriving steadily in Britain as the summer of 1942 progressed. An invasion was coming - everyone knew it - but the Americans were playing their cards very carefully. For one thing, this was a mammoth undertaking, and the US hadn't tried anything this big since "Desert Storm" - whatever that was. For another, de Gaulle strongly suspected that the US was planning this without really consulting the British either. Oh, the Americans were plenty polite, but the problem was they didn't actually say anything. They talked of the brotherhood of the west, and how NATO would come, and how they needed the British. And the French too, of course. But what the British and French were needed for was never made clear. If there was one consolation de Gaulle took from this, it was that Churchill seemed almost as put out as he did. The conference de Gaulle was attending had been called by the British. They wanted to know what and where. What was the scope of the invasion, and where would it occur. It seemed the American were finally ready to bring them into the loop, and discuss their thinking. The invasion was still months away, but apparently a landing site had been determined. Charles de Gaulle had seen the history books, and knew about D-Day, and the landings at Normandy. He strongly suspected the Americans would go someplace else - like Calais - but he didn't know where. Then he saw the American general pull out a satellite map, and point. And Charles de Gaulle's unhappiness increased ten-fold.
Colin Powell did not want to be in Stockholm. He wanted to be at the CCS (Combined Chiefs of Staff) meeting in London. He had a lot of faith in the US military (of course), but he wanted to be there to smooth any ruffled feathers - and he strongly suspected a certain tall French general would have very ruffled feathers. Instead, he found himself seated in an ornate conference room in a palace in Sweden. With Soviet foreign minister Molotov. Neither man was happy. Molotov's face was it's usual bland mask, but inside he was seething. He'd warned Stalin about this; that the Americans would see the Soviet troop movements. He'd warned Stalin, as had Zhukov. Now, there was some talking to do. Powell presented satellite images of Karelia and the Leningrad area. They clearly showed a massive build-up of Soviet forces. Additional satellite images of Talinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia showed Soviet troops entering as the Germans left. Molotov sat and looked at the photos, and his face showed nothing. Powell wanted an explanation. He thought that the US had made clear that it would recognize the 1939 border of the USSR. That clearly meant that the Baltic nations were to be left alone. Additionally, it was clear that the Soviets planned an attack on Finland. The US wanted to know why. Molotov was shocked the American hadn't mentioned the German-Soviet truce; after all, it had to be clear that the Germans were peacefully leaving the USSR. That didn't happen without a deal of some kind being made. He wasn't about to bring it up, though. Molotov shrugged. The Germans had fled large areas of the eastern front. The war had been very fierce there; local infrastructure and government were non-existent. The Red Army was the only organized force around that could prevent anarchy, and provide humanitarian (Molotov had learned what that meant) aid to the unfortunate inhabitants of the region. As for Finland? Molotov shrugged. Finland was an enemy of the USSR, and would be treated accordingly. Powell leaned forward. The United States, he said, would take a very unfavorable view of Soviet aggression towards Finland. Molotov pretended surprise. Finland is a German ally. Surely the United States could understand if the USSR took the appropriate steps to defend itself. No, actually, the United States would not, said Powell. Finland wouldn't be a German ally if Stalin hadn't attacked it for no reason in 1939. Molotov's eyes bugged; these future Americans got right to the point. The United States position was firm; it viewed any Soviet activity against Finland in an unfavorable light. Molotov noted to himself that Powell had not said "act of war". Interesting. He smiled tightly at the American Secretary of State. The USSR was an independent country. It would act in it's own best interest. It had nothing but feelings of brotherhood with the United States, but would act in its own interest. Powell sighed to himself. This just got more complicated. Oh well. Sooner or later Stalin would have to be dealt with. Might as well start sooner. Not with US troops of course. Not yet anyway. But there were other things the US could do. Other things indeed.
More to come.
USA 2002 in 1942 Part XII - "Heresy"
The meeting was held in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. It was highly irregular, of course, but then again, since March 13, very little had not been "highly irregular". Just as people had to make do with the strangeness of the situation on an individual level, organizations had to on a collective one. The Catholic Church was no exception. The beginning of 2002 had seemed ominous to many in the church. The sex scandals that had been an uncomfortable, almost subliminal part of the church for decades seemed to be gaining more and more national attention, and the dearth of new priests was forcing many to ask hard questions of the church and its traditions. March 13 had changed all that. The Event had triggered an upsurge in church attendance as people sought answers to the simply unbelievable situation the country - and the world - found themselves in. Yet, Catholics had to ask themselves questions beyond the how and why of the Event. Regardless of the deeper spiritual meaning of the Event, the Catholic Church remained a tightly run, highly centralized organization. Unfortunately, that center was Vatican City, in Rome. Rome, Italy, where they thought it was 1942, that Pius XII was Pope, that Italy was (for the moment) at war with the United States. Oh, and no one had ever heard of "Vatican II". The US Conference of Catholic Bishops was an organization of 375 bishops that (among other tasks) interpreted policy as the Holy See dictated it. Now, meeting along with the thirteen American Cardinals, and other Church officials, they had a number of decisions and interpretations to make. The most important set of these regarded the message they had for the Pontiff in Rome, Pius XII. The current international situation make communication with the Pope difficult; officially neutral in the war, the Vatican was however, located in the middle of the capital city of the one of the three big powers the US was at war with. Furthermore, in a panic about US capabilities, the Italians had shut down all communication to the city - including the Vatican. The problem was that the Catholic Mass and Liturgy had changed dramatically in 1963 with the adoption of a set of codicils popularly known as Vatican II. Vatican II had modernized church doctrine in an attempt to meet the spiritual needs of Catholics in the fast-paced modern world. Mass was no longer conducted in Latin, subtle, but important changes had been made to the manner in which Mass was conducted, the Liturgy, and so on. Vatican II was the modern Catholic Church, and its adoption had been hard enough in the 1960s. Many traditionalists were unhappy with it. Over the decades, however, it had become part and parcel of the Catholic Faith. Of course, it was entirely possible that Pius XII would view it as Heresy. Vatican I, in the 1870s, had established the doctrine of papal infallibility; that is, that the Pope is the living representative of God on Earth, and his writ is law. When Pius XII was contacted, and the way Catholics worshipped in America was revealed to him, he might well order a change back to the old ways. Most US bishops shuddered at the idea of doing Mass in Latin; church membership would likely plummet. If the US Bishops failed to comply, Pius might simply excommunicate them; that would make for good laughs on Letterman and Leno. In short, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was in a quandary. Already religious scholars, both lay and otherwise, were asking questions about the Church. Should Pius prove intractable, some were calling for a new Declaration of Independence, and the formation of the United States Catholic Church. The USCC could be a reformed church, allowing priests to marry, female priests, and so on. Most of the US Bishops were firmly against this idea. They were Catholics, and the Christian Church had seen enough schism in the last millennium without creating a new one. Rather, the idea was that when the opportunity arose, they would present the post-Vatican II of doing business to the Pius. The hope was that he would acknowledge the strangeness of the situation, and grant a special dispensation. This dispensation would allow for the US Churches to carry on as they had, while the tenets of Vatican II were reviewed by the Holy See. They agreed on this, and communicated it to the millions of US Catholics awaiting guidance. It was not a perfect solution, but few of those existed for anyone these days.
Genoa harbor was a bustle of activity. Ships, coming back from the disaster in North Africa came into the harbor carrying men and material. There was no order; quite simply, both Italian and German commanders expected the Americans to simply blow the ships out of the water. It was hoped that by scattering the transports, a few might make it through. Instead, and much to the delight of the Axis, most of the transports did make it through. The Germans were at a loss to explain this; the CONSTELLATION had withdrawn through Gibraltar, but detached a couple of squadrons operating from Malta and Tripoli. However strange it was, the almost 170,000 troops that made it out (of which 120,000 were Italian, and therefore of little use, as far as the Germans were concerned) arrived without schedule, warning, or formation, presenting a logistical and command nightmare. Ports from Taranto to Marseilles (and the troops that arrived there were treated very well by Vichy. America had completely ignored Vichy, and France, for that matter, except to say that they looked forward to re-establishing the NATO Alliance - whatever that was - and Vichy was miffed about being ignored) were receiving troops, without order or sense. Therefore, when the two freighters carrying Germans arrived in Genoa, hardly anyone was there to greet them. Earlier, three other freighters loaded with troops had arrived, and the port facilities were swamped with men, material, and confusion. Just as had been planned by the people on the two freighters, who had timed their entrance into Genoa with the help of satellite intel. The Harbormaster sent boats and guides out to meet them, who directed them to a dock. An ordered procession of troops - both Wehrmacht and SS - debarked from both ships, and milled about on the docks. The SS-uniformed troopers began forming up the men. If anyone thought it was strange that SS were giving orders to Wehrmacht, no one said so. The SS also formed a loose perimeter around the Wehrmacht troops - it would be bad if any Germans from other units were to try to talk to these troops. As the troops were forming up, a young-looking SS Colonel and a squad approached the harried-looking German logistical officer in change. The SS Colonel sneered at the Italian liaison officer, who quailed and tried to make himself as small as possible. Yoshi Greenbaum was a Lieutenant in the IDF - Israeli Defence Forces. He spoke perfect German - a rarity - and, hence, he and the few other Israelis who spoke German were now in SS uniforms. He couldn't believe he had it on - his whole life he been taught that the uniform he now wore meant death for Jews. Now he was wearing it. He was no actor, but he and the "SS squad" had drilled repeatedly to get the routine down. The Israeli commander had told Greenbaum over and over again - the SS were arrogant bastards - even to their own. Be arrogant, and threaten others. Remember, they are afraid of you. Greenbaum looked over the Major in charge of logistics. He gave a Hitler salute (and that had taken some practice too...), and demanded that a train be made ready for them. It was impossible, the major explained. All available trains were dedicated to other tasks. Field Marshall Kesselring had ordered all troops to fortify the ports they landed in, in preparation for a possible amphibious attack against Italy. Therefore the Colonel and his men must - Greenbaum grabbed the major by the collar. He snarled at the German. The Colonel and his men had a job to do, Greenbaum said. He half-dragged, half-walked the major over to one of the ships. They boarded the ship, and Greenbaum walked him to a cabin with a SS guard. In the cabin, the major saw three sullen looking men. They were bound, and looked roughed up. They were wearing unfamiliar uniforms. The major did, however, recognize the US flags on the shoulders on the uniforms. These US prisoners were taken in North Africa, the SS Colonel explained. They were from the future, and had strange devices - Greenbaum waved a PDA and a cell phone in air in front of the major. It was critical that they be delivered at once to the Gestapo. The major quailed. He said he understood and would be happy to report the problem to his superiors, but he had strict orders... Greenbaum roared at him. Report the problem? Why not broadcast it to the whole world? If the American found out that the SS had prisoners, they would mount a rescue operation. The most priceless intelligence asset the Reich had would be lost. And in that case, the Colonel would ensure that everyone knew that Major - Mohler, was it? - was responsible! Taking a deep breathe in an apparent effort to calm himself, Greenbaum gripped Mohler gently by the shoulders. They were both true sons of the Reich - both Aryans - and they had to stick together. The Reich faced a great crisis, and it needed great deeds to survive. The captured Americans meant that fate was not against them - that hope existed. They just needed to act. Mohler sighed, and nodded once. A train could be provided to take the SS man and his Wehrmacht men to Berlin. No, not Berlin. There was an SS facility in Poland, near - well, Mohler didn't need to know exactly where. A train to Warsaw would suffice. As they left the cabin Greenbaum winked at the "prisoners". The "roughing up" they had taken wasn't real, of course, anymore than the handcuffs they wore. They were simply three more IDF men who'd volunteered to play the parts of prisoners. They had done so, and now they were on their way.
President George Bush rubbed his eyes as he looked over the "short list" his staff had put together. The AG was right - a veep was needed. There were several names on the list - Powell, JC Watts of Oklahoma, Elizabeth Dole, and even a Democratic Senator. Bush sighed - he didn't really want of these candidates in the job - Powell and Watts because he needed them where they were. The other reports on his desk had more depressing news. There had been several problems across the country - particularly in the south. People from 1942 were having a hard time adjusting to modern culture. Race relations were different in 1942, and there had been a couple of ugly incidents - one in Alabama, another in Texas. Despite the best efforts of both the government and NGOs, some Americans from 1942 were still in culture shock. On top of that, they didn't really trust the government because they didn't know it. No one in government in 1942 was still alive of course. What they needed was a representative they trusted. Bush stopped shuffling reports, and smiled. Two birds, one stone. And the man was even a Republican.
Marshall Mannerheim of the Finnish Army was near despair. He now commanded the biggest, best equipped force Finland had ever had, and it was doomed. Intelligence estimated upwards of seventy Soviet divisions would attack, backed by another fifty in reserve. To meet that, the Finnish Army had 21 divisions. They would fight, of course. Stalin meant to annex the whole country, and no one wanted that. Yet as the Soviets massed, Mannerheim's despair grew. This was not the peasant army he had routed in 1939. The Red Army of 1942 was a highly mobile, more professional force. Man for man it was not as proficient as the Finnish Army, of course, but had gone through school with the Germans, and learned its lessons well. Lessons it would apply against Finland. Mannerheim was surprised by a knock on his office door. His aide entered, with two other men. Mannerheim rose from his chair in shock, but his aide's ashen face precluded any immediate orders. Instead, one of the new men spoke. He introduced himself as the Finnish ambassador to the United States in 2002. He smiled at Mannerheim, and shook his hand. He then introduced the man with him - who spoke Finnish as well. He was an American, from an organization called the Central Intelligence Agency, and they wanted a few minutes of the Marshall's time. Mannerheim was shocked. The stories of the future Americans were almost too bizarre to believe, but here was one in the flesh. Mannerheim couldn't imagine what they were doing here. The Finnish ambassador continued. The United States government was well aware of the Soviet build-up, and had no desire to see Finland conquered by the Soviet Union. Indeed, they had made this clear to Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov. However, the Soviets were intractable, and the American diplomatic effort had failed. Hope brightened Mannerheim's face. Does this mean that the United States will send soldiers and planes to defend Finland? Alas, no. That was not possible until the Germans were defeated. The ambassador spoke without acknowledging that the Germans were allies of the Finns. Mannerheim schooled his face to prevent any sign of disappointment from showing. Then what were they doing here. The man from the CIA spoke as he sat down, and placed a briefcase on the Marshall's desk. The United States wanted to offer assistance to the Finns. Although direct military intervention was out - for now - there were other things that the US could provide. Mannerheim was doubtful. Then he saw what the CIA man had in his briefcase. The Marshall was still doubtful, but again felt a twinge of hope.
More to Come...
USA 2002 in 1942 ISOT Part XIII - "Mistakes"
Two-year old John Lennon sat on his mother Julia's lap, nibbling a piece of buttered toast. He was contemplating it with the wide-eyed wonderment that only a two-year old has, and completely ignoring everything else going on around him in the living room of the Lennon's modest working-class home in Liverpool. "Everything else" at that point consisted of a strange meeting between his parents, his Aunt Mimi (Julia's trusted sister), and a man who was the family barrister on one side, and two slickly-dressed Americans from 2002 on the other. The Americans had quick eyes, and easy, perfect-teeth smiles, and laughed too easily at little John's childish, rather mundane, and not-that-funny antics. The Americans had arranged the meeting through the barrister. They wanted everything nice and legal - "for John's protection". Neither the barrister or John's mother were exactly sure what John needed to be protected from. However, the meeting was set up. The Americans were salesmen, through and through, and made no bones about it. They explained this to the Lennons and their lawyer. The Event had presented certain opportunities, and they wished to pursue these. Little John, they said would become a singer of some small regard. Not his main career, of course, but still, they thought with a little early investment, that John Lennon could become a decent singer with a solid musical life ahead of him. The Lennons were dubious. Singing was not something they'd anticipated for John. That's all fine and good, said the barrister, but what do you care? The lead guy smiled brightly. We think that there is some small profit to be made from John's talents. If trained early enough, we think that talent could engender a moderate pay-off down the road. For, which, we'd be prepared to invest some money right now. The lawyer narrowed his eyes. Invest money in what? Smooth as silk, one of the Americans reached into a faux-leather briefcase and pulled out several documents. The lawyer examined them. They were in 2002 US legalese, almost indecipherable, but he got the main idea. It entitled "Event Opportunities Enterprises" to release any and all of John's professional musical productions to the public both in the UK and the USA. Furthermore, it entitled them to a share of the profits of the direct sales of the records, and to full rights for marketing any products that came as a result of the music. The lawyer had never seen such a contract, but wasn't about to let the Americans know that. And why should the Lennons agree to this? The Americans glanced at each other, and then the main guy spoke again. The Lennons were hard-working, honest people. The bedrock of the British Empire. The Americans had agreed on this ahead of time. The same patriotic theme that played in Peoria would be tried here as well. As hard-working honest people (as opposed to lazy, dishonest ones, it was implied), EOE fully understood that the mild means of the Lennons precluded a heavy investment in John's latent talents. To make up for this, EOE was prepared to front John - and his parents - the sum of $50,000 American dollars. Involuntarily, the Lennon's eyes bugged out, and the lawyer gasped. New American products were becoming available to the public in the UK, but they were hideously expensive. Televisions (useless in the UK for now, but an important status-symbol), VCRs (useless without TVs), CD Players, stereos, computers - all could be had by the British consumer. For lots of money. Money that the Lennons would not have in the foreseeable future. Until now. Fifty thousand American dollars was a fortune to the Lennons. The lawyer stuttered on. That's very generous. But why so much? Sincerity dripped from the first American. Well, the strangeness of the Event - and it has been strange - has thrown everything off. Some things are good - like the war being over sooner. The Nazis are going to get beat, and Alfred, John's father, won't be killed in that German bombing raid next year. At this Alfred gave an involuntary start. Many people from 1942 - from Churchill on down - had been faced with the prospect of fore-knowledge of their own deaths. Alfred digested the news that he was to die - but was now reprieved - with wide eyes. A person's own death is never something to be contemplated lightly, and Alfred thought he'd just been granted a pardon. He looked at the American (whose face was a perfect picture of concern and pity) and smiled - they'd saved his life by coming here from 2002. Some things, however, are bad, the American continued. Some unscrupulous people might try to take advantage of their fore-knowledge of the future. He smiled again at the absurdity "fore-knowledge of the future", and continued. Some people might try to, well, exploit is an ugly word, but accurate, exploit the situation for their own gain. They might go around lying about the future, to profit off other people's talents. The Lennons nodded, and the lawyer looked at the men. Aren't you trying to profit from fore-knowledge of the future? The American nodded. Of course we are. But mainly we're trying to help John here. The American continued. Is John worth $50,000? Who knows. In the past, we think that he displayed talent worthy of that amount. He could end up being a superstar - heck bigger than Jesus, even. The American's partner snickered a bit, and the Lennons looked scandalized. The American continued, after a wink to his partner. Who knows - maybe he'll hate singing, and we'll never get anything. But it's a risk we're willing to take. The American smiled conspiratorially at Alfred. That's why we're here. We have friends who got us here early - to protect people like John. The lawyer started to speak again, but was cut off by Alfred. We accept, he said. With a flourish the American produced a fine pen, and Alfred signed, as John's father. The Americans smiled, and let Alfred keep the pen. The money would be wired wherever the Lennons wanted it. They shook hand all around, smiled at little John, and left. As they walked away, the Americans smiled at each. Telling Alfred that he'd been killed in 1943 - a complete lie - had been the clincher. Now the Americans, after "saving his life", offered him a huge sum of money. Of course he'd sign. And the $30,000 they'd bribed the State Department clerk with to get a spot on the plane - well that was worth it too. John Lennon's house was the third that the two Americans had visited. Assuming the McCartneys were as pliable, then the Americans were on the verge of pulling off the greatest deal since the Louisiana Purchase.
The United States began a concentrated series of military actions against Antwerp. Cruise missiles were launched that hit rail centers, munitions dumps, German military units, and defensive emplacements. Meanwhile, unmanned spotter planes flew low over the city apparently scanning everything. AA fire at them did little but bring a visit from an AC-130 or A-10 to the AA battery, so the drones were more or less unmolested. The Germans had an infantry corps in the city itself, and another guarding the Schedlt Estuary. There wasn't much they could do besides hunker down and wait it out. At Zossen, the Americans' increased interest in Antwerp was noted. Antwerp was a key port, and seemed to be a good place to invade, if the American were "softening it up". Another infantry corps was ordered to the city, with more troops detailed for garrison duty in Brussels and southern Holland. In England, the results of the activity were carefully noted by the Americans and the British. The American in charge was satisfied with the results of Operation FIRSTLOOK - he couldn't quite bring himself to call it FORTITUDE.
The train pulled into Warsaw. The central rail yard was a madhouse of trains, harried Polish rail workers, German engineers, and the military. Most of the military was gone; the troops back from the Eastern Front were by and large redeployed to the West. The Soviets had been scrupulous in observing the terms of the truce, and, as the threat from the Americans grew and grew, more and more front-line units were withdrawn. Not all of them, of course - no German would ever trust the Soviets - but enough. Still, and entire corps remained in Warsaw, with another outside the city. Still more infantry divisions were fanned in a loose line along the frontier - more to keep the Poles in line than provide any real defence against the Red Army. The train had originated in Genoa, and the men had been riding on it for days. Warsaw wasn't their destination, just a stop, but they got out to stretch their legs. Their officers made sure their German uniforms were on correctly, while the "SS" contingent milled about in a loose circle, and tried to scowl to dissuade casual questions. That's when the mistake occurred. Private Ben Rabin of the IDF and his friends were huddled around the back of the train. They were trying to look inconspicuous, lest anyone realize they didn't speak German. He and the IDF people with him assumed the trains were full of German troops. Much as it ached him, here in the belly of the beast, to let them go, he did nothing. Until he found out he was wrong about the German troops. The trains carried people, but not soldiers. And the people weren't in coaches, but boxcars. Rabin happened to look up, and saw a train not fifty yards away. Through the smoke of the yards, he saw a line of people - girls and women, being loaded onto a train. They were dressed in brown and grey rags and clothes, except for a bright yellow patch each one had on their chests. A Star of David. As Rabin watched, a young girl fell from exhaustion - or collapsed from fear and hunger. A German guard snarled at her, as the child's equally exhausted mother tried in vain to help her up. The guard snarled again, then kicked the girl. The mother tried to intervene, and the guard shoved her aside, and kicked the fallen girl again. And Rabin pretty much forgot about the plan. Without thinking, his greatcoat fell away, and the fake Mauser he'd been carrying fell to the mud. The M-16 came up, and bucked twice. The German was dead before he hit the ground. There was a moment of stunned silence, and then as the Israeli troops realized what was on the trains around them, they reacted. For months, they'd been forced to wait, forced to watch, forced to make side trips and delays. Now they were here. To Hell with Isaac's plan. They were going to go now. The officers' half-hearted attempts to restore order failed, and 1500 Israelis troops fell on the Germans in Warsaw. The fight in rail yard was swift and deadly. There were 200 German soldiers in the yard providing security, another 200 outside. There were also several hundred Polish rail workers, and even a small detachment of real SS, to oversee the loading of the untermensch. They were completely unprepared for the assault that happened. The Israelis fanned out in squads, and killed every German they saw. Shrugging out of the hated Wehrmacht and SS uniforms, they were relentless. The pitiful sight of the people in the trains - Jews, Gypsies, Russians, other Slavs, and other enemies of the Nazi state only fuelled their rage. In less than 30 minutes, the rail yard was a bloody morass, and the Israelis had cleared it of Germans.
Stanislav Brodi was a Polish loader at the rail yard. Like everyone else, when the firing began, he dove for cover. He was confused, why were the Germans fighting other Germans? Brodi soon found out. He and some others were huddled about a discarded pile of railroad ties as the fighting - slaughter, really. The Germans who'd started it discarded their uniforms - and seemed to adopt the Jewish star as their symbol. Two terrified, disarmed German soldiers tried to hide with Brodi's group, but Jewish soldiers found them and shot them. Brodi had no love of Jews, but he hated the Germans with a passion that was holy. If the Jews wanted to kill them - well, Brodi certainly didn't mind. Brodi's other position was more interesting - when he wasn't loading trains in Warsaw, he was a Major in the Polish Home Army, waiting for the day when it was time to strike for liberation. These new Americans - from the future - seemed to be the key, and as Brodi watched the Jewish soldiers, he couldn't help but notice their small arms, which were completely unfamiliar to him. A gem of an idea occurred. Brodi and the other non-Germans were herded by the victorious Israelis into the center of the rail yard. The Israelis clearly hadn't been planning this, and Brodi was able to get a good count of their numbers. About 1500, and completely cut off, too. They were superbly armed, and, if the fight in the rail yard was any indication, fairly well trained. But there were 30,000 Germans in Warsaw, and another 70,000 near the city, watching the Russians. No way these guys could hold. Unless, of course, they got help.
In Washington, Isaacs was beside himself with rage. To have come so far - and then have it fail due to stupidity. He'd told them not to go through Warsaw! Again and again! And now they were stuck; away from help, away from the coast - away from everything. 1500 of Israel's finest - sacrificed for no reason. Isaacs was a realist, and he knew there was no way they could last against the number of Germans in Poland alone. And then an excited call from Warsaw let him know they weren't alone.
The Soviet attack on Finland opened with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer in a crystal shop. Stalin had no time for delays. The US attack on Germany was clearly coming, and Stalin wanted Finland secured before that attack was finished. That way, he'd have something to give away at the bargaining table. Twelve Soviet divisions attacked on the isthmus between Leningrad and Lake Lagoda, while dozens of other attacked the long front from the eastern shore of Lagoda to the Murmansk/Petsamo front. The Soviets relied on their usual brute force methodology; massed artillery, backed by swarms of airplanes and human-wave infantry assaults. The Soviets ran smack into the defences the Finns had prepared, and suffered terribly. Hit-and-run Finn raids, back by occasional tactical air strikes by the upgraded Finnish air force bled the advancing Soviets. Minefields, tank-traps, and other obstacles interfered with the advance, and the Finns fought hard for each mile of territory. There were too many Soviets, though, and they had too much firepower at hand. Time and time again, the Finns would make a stand at a defensible position, and time and time again the Soviets would simply overwhelm them. Sometimes, the Soviets would just human-wave the positions, sometimes swarm them with armor, sometimes flatten them with masses artillery, and sometimes even manage a combined-arms assault. Every time, though, the Finns were eventually forced to withdraw. Three days after the attacks began, the Soviets had penetrated the initial Finnish defences at several points, and "broke out". The forested and swampy terrain of the border precluded much in the way of motorized advances, but Soviet infantry swarmed forward, and some actual horse cavalry was brought up as well. Then every Soviet radio in north-western Russia stopped working. As the Soviets desperately tried to understand what was happening, and Zhukov found himself cut off from STAVKA and Stalin, the Finns launched their counter-assault. Focused, pin-pointed Finnish raids hit battalion, regiment and divisions HQs. The small Finnish air force, bolstered with BF-109s and Stukas from the Germans added to the attack. The Finns knew exactly where and how to the hit the Soviets; each HQ had been unerringly identified, and was hit hard. The Soviets completely lost their ability to coordinate and communicate. Individual units were cut off. Worse, supply units found themselves hit by Finnish raiders, and HQ units were annihilated. The Soviets reacted, of course. Units went into Laager-mode, orders were written on paper. The Soviets pulled back slightly, and reformed into defensive positions. In other words, the Soviet attack had been stopped. The satellite maps, signal intercepts, and other high-tech intelligence the US was able to provide the Finns what was did the trick. The AWACS planes broadcasting Soviet positions to Helsinki, and the jamming on the other planes also helped. The Soviets had a fair idea of what was happening, of course. The Americans had demonstrated magical technology before, and this was too well-coordinated to be anything else. As the Soviet units in Finland suffered, the Soviet government pondered an appropriate response.
More to come.
USA 2002 in 1942 ISOT Part XIV - "Growing Fury"
Rolf Jurgen was not a happy man, and hadn't been one since March 23. Jurgen was an employee of SAP - the German computer firm - and had been on long-term assignment in Cleveland, Ohio, when the Event happened. Like many foreigners, he was caught in a United States that found itself suddenly at war with his homeland, Germany. Nazi Germany, that was - an entity Rolf was unfamiliar with. Like many of his generation - Jurgen was 34 - Rolf was a Germans who thought of himself as a European. He was a happy-go-lucky guy - the consulting work paid big bucks, and Rolf liked to travel with his wife, and had lived all over the world - indeed, she'd been with him in Cleveland. A post-modernist at heart, with no real nationalist feeling, Jurgen had always found the flag-waving patriotism of the Americans to be a bit vulgar. September 11 had changed that somewhat - Rolf had worked in the World Trade Center a few years earlier and was stunned that anyone would crash planes into it - but the "War on Terror" had been an American affair - something to watch on TV and the internet, not something that impacted him. Now he was impacted. American TV broadcast daily satellite pictures of the Death Camps, with their hideous palls of smoke over them, and he knew shame as he'd never thought he would. He'd answered the call of the German Embassy - his computer skills were useful to them in their propaganda war against Hitler - and arrived for work every day at the heavily guarded office building the embassy had leased in Falls Church, Virginia. The Virginia state troopers who guarded the building (what they were guarding against wasn't clear - either Virginia from the Germans or the Germans from the various groups in the US with cause to hate the Nazis) they were very polite - friendly even - after all, Rolf and his co-workers weren't Nazis - but they couldn't entirely hide their disgust. Modern TV made the death camps accessible to the American living room. In addition to completely shutting up the various holocaust deniers recent years had seen (it was difficult to deny "live" shots of people being killed) it had aroused in America a deep revulsion (exactly as the government had intended) of the foe. It had aroused a deep revulsion in Rolf and his fellow 2002 Germans as well. It was their people doing this. However much Hitler was to blame for starting it, the scope and scale of the Holocaust required the active participation of thousands of others - and they knew - they had to know - what it was they were doing. Rolf and the other Germans were working 18-hour days now; the alternative was passively accepting what was happening, and that wasn't palatable to Rolf or his compatriots. It was not a happy environment to work in; grim purpose had replaced twenty-first century European "business casual", and there was little even in the work to take solace in. The one thing that they had going for them was that in all of America's propaganda efforts, theirs seemed to be having the most impact. The people from the CIA and NSA were pleased. Various German celebrities like Claudia Schiffer and Rutger Hauer made daily broadcasts to their homeland. Ms. Schiffer was often in tears, and her voice broke as she spoke. Mr. Hauer was firmer, but no less committed. The kicker for the office had been Arnold Schwartzenegger. The big Austrian had broadcast as well, and he pulled no punches after all, he had a potential political career ahead of him.
"This is Tom Brokaw, reporting live from New York. In a time of extraordinary events, news tonight of an even more unbelievable occurrence: Israeli soldiers from 2002 are in Europe, battling the Nazis. In an NBC exclusive report, Mark Davies reports from Washington. Mark?" "Tom, the reports starting coming in a few hours ago, and the Washington NBC bureau has been trying to put events together. Unfortunately, we do not have the full story. Indeed, it seems that even parts of the US government have been taken by surprise by this." "Mark, what do we know?" "Tom, details are sketchy, but here's what we have. Two battalions of the Israeli Army - I'm told that's about 1500 troops - were training with the US Army in California at the National Training Center there. They were there on March 23, and, like the rest of us, found themselves trapped in 1942." "And I would guess, Mark, that it goes without saying that all 1500 of the soldiers are Jewish?" "Yes, Tom, they are." "And where are they now?" "Well, details on how they got there are sketchy, but it seems they are in Warsaw, Poland." "And how do we know that?" "Tom, it seems the Israelis brought some satellite communications with them. Somehow, they got the number of the NBC desk here in Washington. We are even now getting reports of the fighting in Warsaw." "Mark, how did the Israelis get there? And what were they doing?" "Tom, we don't have those answers. Speculation is that the Israelis - a pretty motivated bunch under normal circumstances - were not going to wait for the US attack. Understanding why they didn't want to is easy. Understanding why and how they got to a land-locked city in the middle of Nazi-occupied Europe - and why they choose to fight there - those are deeper issues we are trying to answer." "Mark, we all know the Israelis to be fierce fighters under normal circumstances, and the situation they find themselves is a nightmare. While I'm sure they'll fight hard, given the huge number of Germans they face, how long can they hold out?" "Well, Tom, it seems they found some help in the form of the Polish Home Army." "And Mark, what would the Polish Home Army be-"
An infuriated President Bush slapped the TV remote in the Situation Room, cutting off Tom Brokaw mid-sentence. He glared at the assembled senior staff, sparing none. Winston Churchill, back in the US for a talk with Bush, was amazed; this was the most emotion he'd seen the mild American President take. Bush had known about the Israeli operation of course - both Rice and Tenet had kept him well informed. It hadn't seemed like a big deal. Some Israeli troops - suicidally angry with the Nazis - would be used to raise a little hell in the German backfield when the US Army hit Europe, garner some propaganda value by freeing some camp victims, and keep a vague eye on the Red Army. Then they'd be used as the core of a new, US-controlled "independent" Israel in the Middle East, forestalling the problems there, and securing America's oil supply for decades to come. The passing shot at Havana had given the CIA a secure Latin American base outside the United States to maintain a watch on another critical region. All in all a tidy use of an unanticipated, and, if necessary, expendable, asset. Not any more. The whole country was riveted to the battle in Warsaw. Jewish groups around the country were even more vociferous in demanding action. They'd been joined by various Polish groups; for the Home Army was fighting in Poland as well. Worst of all, despite their ferocity and rage, there was no way that the Israelis could hold out against the Germans for long; it seemed that the first major ground conflict between 1942 and 2002 would be a victory for 1942! Bush wanted a solution, and he wanted it now. Writing off Warsaw, however sensible it might be in pure military terms - was politically infeasible. To abandon - or to be seen as abandoning - Jews to Nazis was not something the administration could do. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (unaware of the Israeli escapade) were stunned to learn that they might have to support non-American forces in an unfamiliar land-locked urban locale several hundred miles behind enemy lines. Militarily, the US had a few options. Warsaw was in range of carrier strikes and bombers based in Britain. The 82nd and 101st divisions were in Britain and available; however they had critical roles to play in Operation Sovereign, the invasion of Europe. The 10th Mountain was also relatively airmobile, but both it and the 101st had been brought up to strength with reservists (the other parts of those divisions still presumably in 2002, fighting in Afghanistan). The other 12 US divisions in Britain had no way to get to Warsaw quickly. Bush fumed. This was ridiculous. They couldn't abandon Warsaw. Surely there was something they could do. And Winston Churchill smiled. A chance for relevance at last.
At Zossen, the reports were confused. It seemed Warsaw had risen in revolt. This was not entirely unexpected; German military intelligence had known for quite some time about the Home Army. The timing was odd though. With the Eastern front closed down, and no fighting in North Africa any more, the German Army was actually unengaged with any foe for the moment. The Americans were coming to be sure, but they weren't here yet, and over four million German soldiers were around with nothing to do. What was unexpected was the presence of the Israelis. Jewish soldiers from the future. They were fighting hard, with magical (but not too magical) weapons from the future. The Poles had spontaneously joined them, and actually seized central Warsaw, while fighting raged in the perimeter and outskirts of the city. The military professionals at Zossen pondered an appropriate response. There were too few of the enemy to truly threaten to hold Warsaw, but it was a sore that needed to be closed before the showdown with the Americans. General Weichs' infantry divisions were fighting in Warsaw; it was decided that another division of infantry, along with a panzer division would suffice for the task. It was there that Prussian military sense ran smack into Nazi ideology. Hitler was incensed at the idea of armed Jews in the Reich. Two divisions - no matter how much they outnumbered the enemy, when added to the five divisions that were already in Warsaw - was not enough. Instead, Hitler demanded - and got - the entire German Sixth Army under Friedrich von Paulus sent from Breslau. Led by another two divisions of the Waffen SS, no less. Das Reich and Totenkoff would teach the Jews a lesson.
Stanislav Brodi ducked as the distinctive brap-brap-brap of German MG-42 rattled off to his left. The ruins of the apartment building he and the Israeli squad were shuddered as more artillery from the German positions along the Vistula landed nearby. A fine layer of dust coated everything. Brodi and the Israelis were working well together. The Israelis had disbursed to form a tactical reserve and rest, while the Home Army attempted to hold off the Germans. Despite the highly motivated Poles, and the insanely motivated Israelis, German numbers, firepower, and discipline were telling. If not for the complete absence of the Luftwaffe, the fighting might have been over already. As it was, it seemed to Brodi that the legacy of the Poles and the Israelis might be one of valiant, but ultimately futile resistance. Brodi was fatalistic about that; his choices after September of 1939 had narrowed to either Russian or German suzerainty (neither appealed) now his children might at least remember his resistance - and take heart in the possibility of eventual freedom. Another repetitive brap-brap-brap occurred, and Brodi ducked again. However, the tone was different, and the Israeli didn't duck. Instead, he smiled as the first helicopter appeared.
A battalion of the 101st Airborne division - the "Screaming Eagles" - roared in over Warsaw. They devastated a German assault on the north side of the city, and the Apaches (operating at extreme range) slaughtered German artillery parks. Meanwhile, carefully coordinated air strikes from F-15Es and F-18s shattered German marshalling areas. Most importantly, they cleared the airfield. The runways of the Warsaw airport were far to pitted to be useable to land airplanes. However, the airfield was the largest open area controlled by the Israeli-Polish-American allies in the Warsaw pocket. Which was useful, as the Germans soon found out. The British 1st Airborne division, accompanied by a brigade of the Free Polish Army, descended by parachute on to the airfield - the Poles weeping with joy to be on the sacred soil of their homeland after an absence of over three years. Armed with a mixture of 1942 and 2002 weaponry, they quickly linked up with the other defenders of the city. The polyglot Allied force now firmly held Warsaw. Almost 150,000 armed troops (most of them Polish) now held the city. The helicopters of the US Airmobile battalion provided tactical air support, and served as mobile artillery. They were still outnumbered, but once again Stanislav Brodi allowed himself to hope. If the Americans came quickly, he - and Poland - could live.
Christiane Amonpour checked her bearings and equipment carefully. She and the one cameraman she'd been allowed were in an ornate room, and as ready as they'd ever be. The smiling non-entity official who'd met them re-entered the room, and bid them to stand. Josef Stalin entered the room. Christiane wrinkled her nose. A foul-smelling Russian cigar was between strong yellow teeth as he smiled. Amonpour shook his hand, and sat down with the interview of the century. Stalin had allowed Molotov to talk him into this. The Soviet foreign minister had been impressed with the propaganda value of mass media. The American government had it all its own way; why should the Soviet Union not hit back? Discreet inquiries had yielded the surprising answer that this foreign-looking woman was the premier journalist in America, well-respected by the public and the American government. Molotov had contacted "CNN" - the company she worked for. They'd been overjoyed to hear from him - the first Americans that seemed overjoyed about anything having to with the Soviet Union. However, they'd turned down an offer to interview Molotov. They wanted the Man. Christiane wanted Stalin. She got him. Molotov was terrified of what the abrasive Stalin would say. However, the Americans were clearly thinking of hitting the USSR after dealing with Hitler (the Soviet attack on Finland - and worse, the stout Finnish defence of their home - had not helped endear the USSR to the United States). Therefore, it was time to build a defence, and pre-empt the one-sided description of the USSR and Stalin the American public was getting. The interview started. A smiling translator seamlessly integrated the interview, never knowing that the cameraman Christiane brought was fluent in Russian. Furthermore, a tiny, hidden recorder was making a copy of the interview should the Soviets seize the CNN team's equipment. Amonpour started with softball questions. What did the General Secretary think of what he'd heard and seen of the United States? What hopes did he have for the future of the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union? Molotov and others had brainstormed likely questions, and prepared Stalin with certain responses. The General Secretary said that he was impressed with the technical skills of the United States, and that with them, he hoped that many issues facing the world could be solved. He also said that he sincerely hoped that the United States would it's great advantages well, and that many in the world of 1942 were waiting to see if the wisdom of America's leaders matched the technological tools they had to use. Amonpour nodded, and continued. What of the Cold War? Did the General Secretary see a way around that? Also, the future showed that Soviet-style communism was a failure. How would the leadership of the Soviet Union address that? Stalin actually smiled. Well, the so-called Cold War could be averted easily enough - surely with the knowledge both America and the USSR now had, some accommodation could be made. From the limited understanding the Soviets now had, it seemed the Cold War was a collection of mutual mistakes, and misunderstandings. It only showed that communication was vital to preserve world peace. As for communism? Stalin shrugged. That it "failed" in the future was an issue the USSR was examining. Assuming it wasn't American propaganda, then the causes of the failure could be addressed, and corrected. Communism wasn't a failure - those who tried to implement it might have been. Amonpour almost choked at this. She decided the time had come to play hardball. In Stalin's tenure, the people of the Soviet Union had suffered greatly. The forced collectivization of the Kulaks, the forced relocations of "unreliable" ethnic groups - Necessary, Stalin interrupted. The security of the USSR was at risk. Certain sacrifices had to be made to ensure the ability of the state to resist the fascist invasion. Really? Then why cut a deal with Hitler in 1939? Stalin shrugged, visibly growing more uncomfortable. Again, necessity. The capitalists had abandoned the USSR and the states of Central and Eastern Europe to their fates. Soviet security demanded that certain steps be undertaken to ensure the survival of the revolution. The USSR had no argument with Poland --the occupation of the eastern part of the country was dual purposed; to help provide a buffer against the fascists, and to correct the historical wrong of the 1921 war against Poland. And Estonia? How did it threaten the USSR? Stalin stared hard at Christiane, who didn't blink. The people of Estonia requested our intervention to free them from Capitalism, the General Secretary said. And the people of Finland? From the way they're fighting, they do not seem to welcome a Soviet presence. Finland, Stalin growled, is a German puppet - They weren't until the USSR attacked them in 1939, Amonpour interrupted. Stalin was almost speechless - it had been years since anyone dared to interrupt him. He continued. The historical grievance of the people of the Soviet Union against Finland are well-known, and justified. Amonpour changed tacks very quickly. Does the General Secretary think that had the Soviet officer corps not been purged in the late 1930s, the Red Army might have done a better job of resisting the Nazi invasion? Stalin stared again, completely discombobulated. He was stunned at these questions. Staring hard at the CNN reporter, he ground his cigar out on the priceless inlaid gold of the table, and stalked from the room.
From ports along the coast of Britain, ships put sea. Covered by planes and satellites, the United States commenced Operation Sovereign - the liberation of Europe.
Coming up next - the Battle of Europe, Part I.
USA 2002 in 1942 ISOT Part XV The Battle of Europe, Part I
Operation SOVEREIGN, the “Allied” plan for the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany began in three separate, but related parts. Taking the experience of sixty years of knowledge about World War II, the memoirs of many of the enemy commanders, and their own experiences, from Korea through Vietnam to Enduring Freedom, the United States military planned an offensive to utterly crush Nazi Germany in one month. The first part of the plan opened on September 1, 2002, or, September 1, 1942, depending on who was looking at the calendar. At 10:30 PM, EST on August 31, White House spokesman Ari Flieschman gave a brief statement to the Press. The Press, still wrapped up in the Battle of Warsaw, was eagerly anticipating the news; after all, the US government had to act now or Warsaw would be lost. It did. With allusions to the brief statement Marlin Fitzwater had given in 1991 with the opening of Desert Storm, Flieschman was brief; Operation Sovereign, the Liberation of Europe, had begun. The Pentagon would have a more thorough briefing soon. Almost simultaneous to the news from the White House, the US military went into action. 1214 cruise missiles – most of the available US inventory of those weapons - erupted from bases in Britain, US surface ships in the North Sea, Atlantic, and Western Mediterranean seas, and US submarines. Additionally, B-52s, B-1s, B-2s, F-4 “Wild Weasels”, C130s carrying “daisy cutters” and some British bombers took off in a carefully coordinated series of strikes. The cruise missile hit rail centers, warehouses, communication centers, anti-aircraft guns, and other targets. The bombers also hit targets like that, and strikes hit Berchstgarden, the Wolf’s Lair, Zossen, the Bunker in Berlin, and anywhere else Hitler and the German general staff had ever had a headquarters during the original war. At the same time, special strikes hit radio towers, power plants, bridges, and other logistical sites in Germany, the Benelux, and France. Observed German troop concentrations were plastered by US strikes; even camouflaged, stationary units were located and hit. Additionally, the Wild Weasels took out every active radar site in German-occupied Europe. Civilian casualties were severe. US precision munitions helped keep them down, of course, but the US strikes had come hard, and without warning. Although Germany’s cities were spared the horrific bombing of the original timeline (much to Churchill’s disgust), the strikes were hard, and not perfect. Near-misses on urban targets pulverized apartment blocks; the destruction of one of Berlin’s huge AA towers caused more deaths – in particular 11-year-old Helmut Kohl, who was near the site when cruise missiles reduced it to rubble. In addition, the disruption caused by the missiles, as panicked civilians fled for shelters, caused still more deaths. The German General Staff had relocated from Zossen to a site near Sonneberg in the Thuringer Wald. The primary appeal of the site was that it wasn’t near anything else of military significance, and had never been a headquarters before, hence the Americans shouldn’t know about it. In this, the Germans guessed right. Hitler wasn’t with them; he choose instead to stay in Berlin. Dumb luck meant he was having dinner with Party notables in Potsdam when the US strikes came in; he wasn’t hurt, and his security people hurried him to another secure site just outside of Berlin. Hitler, predictably, took it as a sign of his divine favor and destiny that he wasn’t hurt when the US strike pulverized the bunker under the Reichstag. The second part of the attack was more focused. US air assets, including C-130s, C-5s, helicopters, C-15 Dakotas from the old US 8th Army Air Force, and British Warwick transports flew two divisions of troops – the British 51st Highland division and the US 10th Mountain division – to Warsaw. There, they would combine with the Israeli, Polish, British, and other troops in the beleaguered city, and fight on until the US Army could relieve them. Also included in the package were supplies, more weapons, and Bernard Law Montgomery, named overall commander of the Allied “14th Army Group” – the rather overstated name given to the Warsaw garrison. Some US commanders chaffed at this, but Powell had talked Bush into it. Yes, conventional, modern, US views held that Monty wasn’t that good a general. But the Warsaw situation wasn’t fluid or mobile, it was defensive. All the British Field Marshall had to do was hold the city. Besides, it would make the British and Churchill happy. The German 6th Army was investing Warsaw. It had superiority of numbers, and its troops were veterans. The commander of the 6th Army, Friedrich von Paulus, was an experienced general. Still, the troops were finding it hard going. The Poles were fighting hard, and knew their city well. Equipped by the Americans, and with continuous satellite reports from their link to the NSA, von Paulus found it impossible to mass troops for am attack without both the Poles knowing it, and the Americans hitting it with air power. As for the Luftwaffe, it was not in evidence anywhere. And if the Poles could be described as “fighting hard”, what the Israelis were doing defied easy description. Von Paulus was a good Nazi, and he “knew” Jews were untermensch – inferior. Yet they fought harder – and better – than anyone von Paulus had ever faced. No quarter was asked for or given. The Israelis, in addition to forming a mobile reserve, also had a portion of the front. Von Paulus assigned the SS troops Hitler had sent to that sector. To call the fighting there “intense” was a bit of an understatement. The Germans were still confident, though. They still had numbers, they still had interior lines, and everyone knew that Poles and Jews couldn’t fight. The third part of the attack was very quiet. In the pre-dawn darkness hours of September 1, small and medium-sized SEAL and Ranger teams descended on, or swam up to the small German ports of Cuxhaven and Bremerhaven. At the same time, US Marine Raider battalions landed on the small North Sea islands of Mellum, Scharhorn, Neuwerk, Trischen, and Helgoland. The small German garrisons on those islands – hardly more than police – were quickly overcome in the early hours of the morning. The SEALS and rangers had a different task; they were to seize the port facilities of both Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven intact. Neither port was all that large, but they were sufficient to unload US troops from ships quickly. The Cuxhaven operation went smoothly, but at Bremershaven, an alert guard raised an alarm. A German infantry division outside the city was alerted, and started to move in. The elite US troops fought hard, but were unable to prevent the Germans from getting artillery into range of the port. F-15Es crushed the artillery, but not before they hit the port facilities. Damage was moderate, not enough to cancel the US landing, but enough to hamper it a bit.
The German General Staff got sketchy information at best. The Reich had been hit hard by the US strikes. Still reports of ground fighting in Bremerhaven were noted. Warsaw was turning into one giant sore in the German rear, and the US strikes had gutted Germany’s transportation network. Additionally, anything that moved was a potential target. The Germans still had no clear idea of where the US was going to land. Antwerp made sense, as did Calais, Normandy, and now, it seemed, northern Germany itself. The General Staff had one ray of hope: numbers. The US had no more than 12 divisions in Europe. A mere 12. Germany had almost 250. If 20 Germans died for each American, then Germany would win. That was the mantra the Germans repeated to themselves over and over again. Plans were modified, messengers dispatched, and nerves steeled.
As dawn broke over embattled Europe, the citizens of Cuxhaven and Bremerhaven saw ships on the horizon. Two divisions of US Marines – one for Cuxhaven, one for Bremerhaven, were coming ashore. Accompanied by swarms of helicopters, A-6s, A-7, and A-10s, and covered by F-16s, the US troops swarmed ashore to relieve the Special Forces, and take the towns. The Germans reacted as they could. General Walter Model, in Bremen had overall command of the area. He had few mobile forces, but he directed what he did have to the area. Meanwhile German infantry resisted the US troops every step of the way, confident help was on the way. No help was coming. As the marines were landing, the helicopters and transports of the 101st Air Assault division flashed overhead. Troops quickly seized Altenbruch, Otterdorf, Freiburg, Dorum and Beversetdt, as well as occupying the west shore of the Weser, including Brake, Burhave, and Nordenham. This isolated Cuxhaven and Bremerhaven from reinforcements coming from either Bremen or Hamburg. German resistance was scattered, and not very effective. US city-fighting techniques had improved, and the Germans had no counter for US tactical mobility and airmobility. Still, they fought hard, and US causalities – much lighter than the Germans – did mount.
Twenty-four hours into Operation Sovereign, the Pentagon was reasonably happy. Warsaw was holding well, and Monty hadn’t screwed up yet. The Special Forces operations and marine landings had been satisfactory as well; if the Bremerhaven operation hadn’t been perfect, well, that was why two cities had been seized, and it wasn’t like Bremerhaven was unusable. The best news was that there was no reason the ports couldn’t take ships, and that meant that the US heavy divisions could start landing at first light in Europe, on September 2. First in the queue were the 24th Mechanized Division (an armored division in all but name), and the 1st Armored division. It would interesting to see what the Germans thought of M1A2 tanks.
At “New Zossen” as some Germans were calling it, the mood was not so good. The American had picked an unfortunate place to land; most German mobile forces were arrayed for a landing in France or the Low Countries. Still, the possibility of a landing in Northern Germany had been considered, and assets were in place to react. It was decided. This was the landing. Operation Thule would commence as planned.
From a series of never-before-used transmitters and towers across the Reich and occupied Europe, the Germans broadcast. The US detected the broadcast almost at once, of course. However, the duration of the transmissions was very brief, and seemingly meaningless; a single tone, broadcast for thirty seconds, before shutting off. US code-breakers tackled the signal, while the US Air Force clobbered the transmission sites and towers. The Air Force mission went smoothly enough, and the transmitters were trashed. However, US code-breakers could make nothing of the tone. It was a single tone, unmodulated, and unwavering. There was no hidden signal in the tone, nothing under it, and it had no meaning. That the US could tell, at any rate.
During September 2, the landing continued. US troops noted that German infantry advancing from Bremen and Hamburg began falling back under increased US air pressure. The marines advanced steadily, occupying positions held by the airborne. The freed-up airborne troops began streaming to assembly areas in the rear, preparing for another leapfrog air assault behind the lines. Meanwhile, US engineers were unloading US tanks from ships in both Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven. Heavy US units began forming up, and the first were soon on their way to the front. CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC all had correspondents in Germany at this point. Most covered the war. CNN had one team of German-speakers. They went into the headquarters of the local branch of the Nazi party in Cuxhaven, and started interviewing local party officials. One of the CNN crew was Jewish. Atlanta had thought long and hard about that; it was overtly sensationalist, but it was still news. In the end, the Jewish member went. Besides, it made for good TV and good ratings. As soon as the US tanks made an appearance, air-land battle went into affect. Carefully coordinated US strikes demolished German strong points. German anti-tank weapons were all but useless against M1s; indeed, even Bradleys were well nigh unstoppable. On both the third and the fourth of September, the US made increasingly quick progress as more and more troops were landed. By the end of the day on September 4th, leading US elements were at the outskirts of both Bremen and Hamburg, right on schedule. A growing sense of confidence in both London and Washington prevailed, as the US advance seemed to pick up steam.
As the fifth dawned, and precisely 72 hours after the mysterious transmissions ordered by the as yet unlocated New Zossen, the Germans launched Operation Thule. Whatever else it accomplished, Operation Thule would address the confidence of both London and Washington.
Coming Soon: The Battle of Europe, Part II.
USA 2002 in 1942 Part XVI – Operation Thule
Conceptually, THULE was a German response to the nightmarish military and political situation they found themselves in. Chief among the problems the Germans faced was this; while the Americans could bring only a relatively small number of actual troops against them, the technology available to the US military was far above that which was available to Germany – one grim member of OKW compared it to Caesar’s legions facing Napoleon’s Grande Armee. To make a bad situation worse, the Americans had a number of weapons that negated the few technological tools Germany did have – wild weasels against radar, satellites, AWACS, and the ability to break any code the Germans had within minutes. Furthermore, there was no guarantee that New Zossen had seen – or even heard about – everything the Americans could do to them. Finally, the US had denied the Germans the ability communicate with radio, meaning German field commanders could exercise little control over their troops. To counter this, THULE relied on mass, simplicity and the skill of the junior officers and NCOs of the Wehrmacht. New Zossen realized they had one shot at this; if they could hurt the Americans badly enough to buy Germany some time, it was possible the technological problems could be addressed before another US invasion came. Of course, it was exceedingly unlikely that this could come to pass; even if THULE worked it was understood that the Americans had a whole class of super weapons so terrible that they hesitated to use them, but it had to be tried as it was the only card the Germans had left to play. Since THULE was the only play the Germans had left, it was planned meticulously and with forethought. Or, more accurately, New Zossen tried to plan meticulously and with forethought. THULE suffered from the interference of Hitler and in particular Goering. Hitler was being even more problematic than usual; US reports, in addition to the hatred of Hitler and Nazism they emoted, were also frankly contemptuous of his military skills. Hitler, predictably, decided that this was Jewish propaganda, and insisted on directing the planning for THULE himself. Luckily (as far as most of OKH and OKW were concerned), the relative remoteness of New Zossen coupled with the need for security and Hitler’s insistence in staying in Berlin, precluded most interference. Most, not all. Motorcycle couriers raced back and forth, and for the German officers unfortunate enough to be in Berlin, daily tirades about the incompetence of the German generals, the OKH, OKW (variously and alternatively), and how the whole USA from 2002 was a Jewish ploy to be countered by Aryan Mysticism (“We will show the Americans Thor and Freya, and they will know suffering!” Himmler promised). Some of the minimal intelligence the Germans received about future history did make an impact, however. New Zossen had been counting on that, and actually got around Hitler’s usual intransigence on the issue. Approval for the unpleasant parts of THULE that OKW conceptualized was slow in coming, but it did come.
Starting at about 4:45 AM, 16 hours after the mysterious tone broadcast all over Germany and Europe, over 200 Luftwaffe old-model bombers (mostly JU-186s and Do-17Zs) of all descriptions took off from bases in France and the Low Countries. It was a ragged affair; individual squadrons were dispersed, and there was little organization to the flight. Their path was unmistakable, however. London was the target. The planes were detected almost immediately, and ready squadrons both in Britain and on US carriers in the Atlantic and North Sea were scrambled, and the RAF was put on alert. US planners were puzzling over the nature of the strike – too small to be really dangerous, and targeted at London, which would accomplish nothing as far as hindering US operations in northern Germany. As the German planes crossed over the channel, they were engaged by F-15s and F-18s and SAM sites the Air Force had rigged in southern England. The results were fairly predictable, with dozens of German planes getting shredded. But some did get through. Then the horror began.
Simon Harkendale was limping along a meadow just outside Folkestone, enjoying the early morning breeze on his face. With him was his 14-year old nephew John, his younger sister’s boy. John’s father was Executive Officer of a British light cruiser in the Pacific. Simon had been severely wounded at the Somme in 1916, and the damage to his right leg (where a German machine gun had put three bullets in to him) precluded his military service in this war, so Simon (a firm believer that children needed a father) took the boy at times for hiking and camping trips. This morning, both turned their eyes to the sky as the now-familiar shriek of US jets filled their ears. Pencil-thin contrails streak skywards, and bright boils of light marked the sky as German planes died. Both Simon and John enjoyed the spectacle; after all, not too long ago, they would have had to run from sounds in the sky. It was pleasing to see the Luftwaffe get it back – in spades. Then a boil of flame appeared directly above them as an F-18 shot down a German plane. A fiery ball of fire seemed to plunge down at them, and John recognized a JU-186 German bomber as they scrambled for cover. That was odd; the JU-186 was old even by 1942 standards. The explosion was right above them, but the plane’s forward momentum carried it away, and it crashed into a sheep meadow. The plane hit the ground about 200 meters from Simon and his nephew, and there was a small explosion as the gas tanks went up. Both Simon and John scrambled over towards the spot, looking to see if the pilot had survived. It was then that Simon saw it. Sickly-looking yellow-white gas, different from the smoke of the petrol fire, was billowing out from a tank on the plane. Without thinking, Simon fingers clawed at his waist where a gas mask had hung for years in the Somme. Of course, no mask was there now. Simon felt the breeze on his face, so fresh and clean, and looked at his mangled right leg. His nephew was still moving towards the plane. Simon gripped his shoulder, and told him to run. His nephew was young and strong, and might make it. Simon would not.
Only 42 planes of the original force reached London, and of those, only 13 landed back in France. Their bomb loads were a combination of Sarin, Mustard Gas, and Phosgene. In addition to Simon Harkindale (John escaped), 212 British subjects, and one visiting American were killed by gas inhalation. Another 34 were killed or hurt in the mad scramble to the London Tubes, once it became apparent that a gas attack was underway.
Churchill was at Chequers, getting regular updates about the military campaign when the news came in. He was aghast at the news of a gas attack on London, even one as limited in scope as this. After requesting regular updates on the situation in London, he called Hugh Dowding, the British Air Marshall. Contingencies existed for this – had existed for this since September 3, 1939, as a matter of fact. He was on the Satellite phone to Bush after hanging up with Dowding.
It was much earlier in Washington, but Bush had already been awakened by the time Churchill called. The report was grim, and confusing. Why would the Germans throw away 200 planes, even old obsolete planes, to kill a few hundred Londoners? On the SatPhone, Churchill was livid. He wanted know why this had happened, and why the US Air Force hadn’t stopped the Germans. Bush was shocked, and frankly apologetic. He and Churchill were still talking when the news came in.
At 6:45 AM, eighteen hours after the mysterious tone, another air mission lifted off from France and the Low Countries. More German aircraft rose into the air, and headed for London. These were late model planes – JU-88s escorted by Bf-109s and FW190s. They were piloted by some of the best German pilots available. And there were more than just 200 of them. In all, 2827 German aircraft were headed towards London.
It was seen very quickly, course. Both US and British defences were alert, and the Satellites were already in position. But the scope of the raid was staggering. It was the largest air armada ever seen, and if its organization was lacking and its formation ragged, it more than made up for these deficiencies in scale. American planners were momentarily stunned. Attracting the Luftwaffe was an on-going project, of course, and hundreds of planes had already been destroyed. But since the German planes were so “primitive”, it had been thought they could do little to interfere with the US military. And, in truth, they couldn’t. But London was vulnerable – very vulnerable. And, as the previous raid had shown, the Germans had upped the ante. US and British squadrons already aloft raced to intercept the threat, but there was no way they could get them all before they reached London. Churchill was on several phones at once, and demanded that all available US assets be used to counter the threat. Meanwhile, every fighter the British had – from late model Spitfire Vs to Defiants to Gloucester Gladiators was ordered into the air to defend the British capital. In Washington, the JCS was meeting with Bush. It was clear that the first, small German raid had been an intentional signal. The Germans wanted the Americans and British to know this was a gas attack. Bush was confused; why would the Germans want to do that? Warning us means the gas attack won’t be as effective. General Hayes, US Air Force answered. The reason was simple. Clearly, the Germans have been paying more attention to our broadcasts than we thought. They know who sensitive we are to casualties – ours, theirs, and especially those of Allied civilians – like Londoners. The Germans don’t want the gas attack to succeed – or more accurately, they don’t care if it succeeds or not. The real purpose here is to divert US attention and air power from the landings in northern Germany. By using gas, the Germans know that we have to respond to this raid. Doing so will expose our troops to their own attacks. Bush frowned. He was still confused. Even without air cover, weren’t the weapons available to the US Army still much better than anything the Germans had? Defence Secretary Rumsfeld responded. Of course. By now, the Germans probably know that as well as we do. But this is the best play the Germans had. By denying us air cover, they give themselves an advantage. Hayes thought that this was it – this was the big German shot at victory – or to stave off defeat. They’re probably going to take their shot at throwing the invasion back into the sea. Bush frowned again, concentrating hard. He wanted to know if the US denied London air cover, what would be the casualties. A quick conference, and Rumsfeld came back. Of the 2800 identified bogies, it was estimated that 1300 would make it through to London. Assuming standard loads for the gas, wind, humidity, dispersal patterns, and the such, casualties were estimated at between 75,000 and 125,000 people. These numbers were generated very quickly, but should be reasonably accurate. Bush gasped at this, and the Colin Powell broke in. Another casualty would be our alliance with Great Britain. He turned to Bush. We promised them security. We promised them that we would protect them. They have people in most of our command centers. They’ll know if we don’t try to stop this. Rumsfeld growled out at Powell. What of our men on the ground? Powell met Rumsfeld’s glower with a steady look of his own. They’ll survive, said Powell.
Marshall Ivan Koniev, Red Army schooled his face to impassivity in the American command center just outside of Harwich. The Americans had invited the Soviets to send a “military observer” to Harwich to observe the invasion of Europe. In public, this was to better “coordinate” the actions of the two “allies”. In reality, it was to give the Soviets a front-ring seat for the destruction of the German Army, as a warning to what would happen to them if they messed with the US. Words like “unbelievable” and “incredible” had lost their meaning for Koniev. The US military might as well have been using magic. The satellites showing “real-time” (a phrase Koniev knew well now) TV pictures of the fighting gave the US an advantage that was incalculable, as commanders could react instantly to changing battlefield conditions. The Germans had virtually no chance of achieving tactical surprise. Coupled with the equipment the US soldiers had, the Germans were in real trouble. M1A2s flowed forward, blasting Germans from the field like some ancient god of war, and the airplanes the US could bring to bear with simply phenomenal. Koniev was there because Marshall Zhukov was otherwise employed – against Finland. The campaign against what the USSR called “counter-revolutionary bandits, oligarchs and other criminals” in Finland was not proceeding as well as could be hoped. The seeming magical ability of the Finns to thwart Soviet attacks could be explained; clearly the magical American satellites were relaying information to them. Koniev was confused by this; what did the Americans care about Finland? The center was a flurry of activity now. The German gas attack had aroused the Americans (typical Nazi stupidity, thought Koniev) and they were vectoring every plane they had to intercept it. It was a classic trap – feint in one direction, strike in another. And the Americans were falling for it. Yet, they seemed to know they were falling for it. Koniev understood what the Germans were doing. He didn’t think it would work; even without air cover the Americans had too much power; but Koniev’s mind was on something else. If the Americans were busy here, they might not have the time to focus on Finland. Koniev motioned to an aide. He and Zhukov were rivals, but his first duty was to the state. Marshall Zhukov might have an opportunity – if a message could be gotten to him.
Colonel Kenneth Olson of the US 24th Mechanised Division grimaced as the report came in. Air cover was temporarily unavailable while a threat was dealt with. Until further notice, offensive operations were suspended. The report went on to say that a heavy German ground attack, possibly accompanied by gas, was anticipated in the next few hours. Olson read the report in his Bradley command vehicle and shook his head. He wondered if anyone in Washington or even Harwich appreciated how badly outnumbered the US troops in Germany were. Olson had fought in Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia and Bosnia, and the Germans were as professional and motivated as any troops he’d ever faced. They were completely outclassed – even worse than the Iraqis – but they fought very hard. Worst of all from Olson’s perspective, they maintained their discipline. They didn’t rattle, they didn’t run. When they had to, they retreated, but they never routed. Olson had several weeks of very hard fighting to look forward to. The idea of assaulting a big city like Hamburg made him sweat – the casualties would be horrible. Colonel Olson, like many in his profession, was a bit of an amateur historian. He remembered the original timeline – and how the first invasion of Germany went. How US forces flung themselves against Aachen and the Saar, and how they bled rivers of blood doing it. But he also remembered the Bulge, and how a German attack on Americans without air cover achieved temporary success, exposed the Wehrmacht after the weather cleared. Olson started giving orders. If the Germans wanted a fight, they’d get one.
Field Marshall Erich von Manstein grimaced as the clock struck 8:45 PM – twenty hours after the signal from New Zossen. He was in charge of the ground component of THULE called VALHALLA (though privately most Germans in the know were calling it RAGNORAK instead). Manstein was in charge of German Army Group Jutland, a fifty-five division force tasked with the defence of northern Germany. He had been picked as the operational commander of VALHALLA some time ago; had the Americans landed in Antwerp (as had been expected), he would have been in charge of Army Group Flanders. Manstein owed his appointment, ironically enough, to the Americans. Among other things, it had been learned from their broadcasts, that he was regarded as “Hitler’s best general”. This came as surprise to some; Manstein was well-regarded, but not worshipped as the Americans seemed to imply. Nevertheless, Manstein’s appointment was made, and he intended to win. The twenty-hour mark meant that the time had come. In theory the Americans were distracted, and the time to strike was now. He nodded to his field commander, Erwin Rommel, and the plan was put into affect.
Over the North German plain, from Bremen to Hamburg, the German Army erupted at the American Army. Entire divisions, cut off from communication simply attacked forward. Panzer divisions shook themselves out, and formed barriers of steel for infantry behind them. Even new German tanks like the Tiger had no chance against M1s, but it was hoped that US tanks were as vulnerable to close assault by infantry as German tanks were.
General Karl Student was coldly satisfied when the order came down. He was in a JU-52 transport plane, as were two entire divisions of troops. It would be the largest airborne operation Germany had ever attempted. And a chance for Karl Student, once the golden-eyed wonder child of the German Army, to reclaim some martial glory. For Student, the war had started to go badly long before the Americans from the future came. Crete. The name hung on him like the stench of death. On Crete, in May of 1941, Student’s Star had fallen. It didn’t matter that Student had won the battle; it didn’t matter that the British had lost. All that anyone remembered were the casualties. As the JU-52 rumbled down the runway, Student’s eyes were bright. His orders came in two parts; official, and real. Officially, his job was to seize the port facilities at Cuxhaven and Bremerhaven, and hold them until relieved by von Manstein’s troops. Since von Manstein’s was exceedingly unlikely to happen, Student’s real orders were to seize the port facilities and wreck them so the Americans couldn’t use them. Student clench his jaw. He would not fail. This time, he would win.
Dang. Didn’t think THULE would take more than 1 part. More to Come.
USA 2002 in 1942 ISOT Part XVII – Operation THULE, Part II
Had a human astronaut been in space, and had that human been properly equipped, then a vast panoply of events would have been apparent. The human observer would have seen multiple operations – military, commercial, political and even environmental – unfolding on the fragile globe of the Earth. For this human astronaut, the eye would first be drawn to North-western Europe, where the largest air battle in history (either history) was about to occur. The heart of the Luftwaffe was going to meet the United States Air Force combined with the complements of two super carriers of the United States Navy, and that meeting promised to confrontational, to say the least. Another battle, air, sea and land, was shaping up in Northern Germany. There, a vast moving plain of German vehicles and infantry was moving like a plague of locusts towards the “exposed” units of the US Army. JU-87 Stukas and JU-88s joined the forces on the ground, as they sought to add their weight to the battle. Also in the air, the JU-52s of General Student lumbered towards Cuxhaven and Bremershaven, as the men in New Zossen prayed for a miracle. A closer look at Northern Germany would have revealed even more; thought less obvious than the Germans, the Americans too were preparing, as hundreds of Apache and Blackhawk helicopters of the 101st Airborne revved up and prepared for the enemy. At sea, Aegis-class cruisers moved closer to shore, keeping a wary eye on the remains of the German Navy in Kiel and Stettin. A further look at Great Britain would have revealed preparations of another type – as dozens and then hundreds of Manchester and Lancaster bombers began to take off and head for Germany. These bombers were escorted by British Mosquito fighters and had orders directly from Churchill. Meanwhile, the rest of the RAF in the UK formed up over London, to defend the heart of the British Empire from a German air armada of unprecedented scope. Going further east, the human observer would have seen other military events. Another, smaller group of German planes was headed for Warsaw. The Allies had precious little in the ways of air assets there, but forewarned by London, they were somewhat ready for gas. The Israelis, Americans, and some British had masks; for the rest, mainly the Polish Home Army, hiding would have to suffice. Meanwhile, the few available attack helicopters took to the air to combat the Germans. To the North, the Finnish Army was starting to collapse under the remorseless pressure of General Zhukov and the Red Army. Cut off from German help, and facing an enemy far more proficient than in 1940, the Finns, even with covert US satellite intel, would not last long. Even so, the human observer would have noted a massing of troops to the north, as the Swedish government got a first hand look at US technology at work in Germany, and made a decision about who would win in the long run. Far to the East, in the vast area called the Pacific Ocean, while the fighting was on a much smaller scale, it was no less intense. The Philippines had seen a complete reversal of fortune, as the Japanese were now isolated and cut off from aid. The Japanese 14th Army was now forced back towards Northern Luzon, growing short on food, ammunition, troops, and hope, but not on spirit. US troops, reinforced both by 1942 troops from Hawaii, and growing detachments of the 2002 US Army had regained Manila, and now fought for total victory there. Elsewhere, isolated Japanese naval detachments were struggling back towards their Emperor. Individual destroyers, subs, even a few cruisers were picked off by either US nuclear subs or small strikes from one of the US carriers. Meanwhile, the United States Navy imposed an almost unbreakable blockage on the Home Islands. Politically, the situation was just as muddled. In London, the Prime Minister of Great Britain was gripped by rage. The “total” security of Great Britain had proven to be less than that, and he would have his revenge. Meanwhile, he would ask his new American friends for help. Non-conventional help. In Washington, an almost equally enraged President Bush wanted to know how the Germans were doing this. After all, he’d been assured by both the Navy and the Air Force that Britain was “inviolatable”. Equally abashed military leaders assured him it was, and that this current German attack would be slaughtered. The discussion grew even more heated when someone suggested retaliating with a nuclear weapon. Then, almost simultaneously, two events happened. Churchill called, and US Satellites picked up a large number of British planes headed for the Ruhr. In both New Zossen and Berlin, men waited as the plans they made came to pass. In Washington and London, other people (men and women) reacted to those plans. In Tokyo, still others tried to find something to salvage from defeat. In Moscow one man thought about bargaining with the Americans, while others around silently contemplated his removal. Of course, no human astronauts were in space – the shuttle wasn’t up, and NASA’s next planned emergency mission wasn’t until late September. Of course, no one else had the capacity to launch even unmanned satellites into space. US satellites kept a cold watch on the world below, but few thought to look outward – after all, there was nothing there. Other “eyes” watched, though, watched from an unimaginable (to humans) place, through unimaginable (to humans) means, and were deeply interested what was about to transpire.
Flight Leader Ernst Gruber cringed as yet another fireball appeared above the JU-88A1 he was piloting. It wasn’t the sight of the fireball that made him cringe; he’d seen plenty of those recently. It wasn’t even the thought that his JU-88 might be struck by a missile and turned into a fireball as well – Gruber was way too busy piloting his plane to worry about that. What made Gruber cringe was that every time a plane blew up – and so many were blowing up or crashing that someone from 2002 would have compared the sky to a disco strobe light effect – was that his eyes were involuntarily drawn to it for just a moment. Normally that wouldn’t matter, but Gruber was flying his plane a bit lower than normal, and he needed to pay close attention to the ground. Gruber and his JU-88 were at barely 200 feet above the English countryside, and every bit of skill as a pilot was required to maintain a reasonably level flight, and to avoid hitting the ground. When this aspect of THULE had been briefed to Gruber, he’d had grave misgivings. Not about the mission; Gruber was a dedicated member of Luftwaffe, and would fly whatever mission he was ordered to. The gas caused some consternation; Gruber was uncomfortable about using – not out of concern for British civilians, but mainly because he worried about the American counterstroke. Everyone had heard stories about the American wonder-weapons, and the few Luftwaffe pilots that had actually seen an American plane and lived had been scattered about German aerodromes briefing other pilots and crews. Resistance was futile. The only hope was to evade them through superior piloting – and prop planes were more manoeuvrable than jets. Of course, if the Americans locked on to you with one of their seeking weapons, or a "SAM" hit you, or even if a US jet flew too close, and the jetwash ignited your plane, you were just as dead, so manoeuvrability really wouldn’t help in those cases. Then there were the nuclear weapons. Gruber still wasn’t sure what a nuclear weapon was – beyond some kind of superbomb. American planes had dropped many propaganda pictures – from Hitler ordering 12-year old boys to defend Berlin in 1945 to the Red Army and US Army embracing on the Elbe, to pictures of the "Bikini Atoll" test of one of those nuclear weapons. It showed an explosion of unimaginable size with – if the US caption was to be believed – the German Heavy Cruiser PRINZ EUGEN lifted over three miles into the sky. Gruber had gaped at that, but the Party men had been there. They’d explained this was a hoax – the Aryan science had decreed the existence of such a device an impossibility. Gruber hadn’t contradicted them (he liked being alive), but he hadn’t believed them either. The "raid" (as if 2700 planes could be a mere "raid") Gruber was flying had been carefully planned. With no communication really possible, the Germans were relying on timing and the skill of their pilots. It looked like a mad dash for London – and, in many senses it was – but each squadron had an assigned approach vector and an assigned altitude. The Luftwaffe fighters were doing their best, but Gruber could see that the attack was being slaughtered. Silvery darts of US planes streaked back and forth, and German planes died in droves. Still, some were in the air, and London wasn’t that far from Dover. Gruber planned to drop his gas bombs, and then head west, and then circle back to Brittany, landing in Western France. Then he could –
Gruber’s thought died with his plane. Captain Evelyn Morris, USAF reserve, put a three round burst from her F-16’s cannon into the JU88 and it died. Captain Morris wasn’t supposed to be flying, but the scope of THULE had taken the US command by surprise. In the mad scramble to get planes into the air, there’d been more planes than pilots (the assigned pilot of this plane was in a base hospital with food poisoning – something about 1942 British cuisine not being agreeable to his stomach), and Morris had gotten one. Her job normally was to ferry planes across the Atlantic, but she was a pilot, and there was a plane, and President Bush’s orders had been clear. Morris had eight kills already to her credit – Gruber’s plane made nine. Her plane was out of missiles, but had rounds left for the guns, and plenty of fuel. There were so many Germans that Morris was tempted just to hold down her trigger and hose away. But that would not be an efficient use of ammunition, and there no time to land and rearm. Hundreds of US jets were in the fight – Northern Germany having been denuded of air cover. Morris grit her teeth – like anyone else with a brain, she knew this was a diversion by the Germans, Of course, also like anyone else with a brain, she knew the US had to try and stop this raid. She was momentarily stunned by another sight – a plane going down in flames. What made it unusual was that it was an F-18 – and she didn’t have time to look for a chute. She concentrated on the fight. There were so many planes that accidents were bound to happen, and maybe some German got lucky with a golden BB. She continued the killing.
VALHALLA rolled at Kenneth Olson, and he smiled grimly. No one would ever accuse the Germans of cowardice or lack of moxie - that was for sure. Intel put a dozen divisions attacking from Bremen, with another twenty coming in from Hamburg. At least twenty more were in reserve, and already moving up. Olson’s regiment was dug in. Radar showed German planes approaching; reasonably well coordinated with their land attack. They were coming, and coming hard. And Olson was ready. Or as ready as he could be. US land doctrine emphasized the offensive – to attack the enemy, and maintain initiative. That was possible strategically at the moment, but 24th division had cooked up a little plan to meet the Germans. Regimental artillery was firing hard, and Olson could see plumes of dust and smoke, and knew Germans were dying. But some artillery was incoming as well – the Germans had deployed it for the first time, with US air assets gone. US counter-battery fire was destroying it almost as fast as it was assembled, but the Germans were getting shots off. Olson hunkered down in his command vehicle as a nearby battery fired off another salvo – and then the Germans appeared – and not in anyway that Olson expected. A ragged line of vehicles appeared on the low berm opposite his company – and vehicles of all kinds. Tanks, intermingled with trucks and even civilian cars. They seemed to hesitate – and then erupted at his position. However, what stunned Olson was the sight of German troops leaping off the vehicles as they began their charge. Then the German plan became clear. The vehicles continued their mad rush at Olson, while soldiers ran behind them. Olson understood – this was an infantry charge – and they were using their own tanks, APCs and trucks as active armor to protect the infantry. In a grim way, it made sense – the German tanks were useless against the Americans, and the Nazis were hoping that infantry close assault could hurt the Americans. They were right, not that Olson intended to let them succeed. The M1s and Bradleys of Olson’s regiment belched fire, and more Germans died. Chain guns and mortars ravaged the Germans as Olson barked commands into his radio. The north German plains were soon littered with burning German vehicles, and German infantry began to die as their moving shields were destroyed. Olson’s own infantry opened as the Germans approached, and Olson got another nasty surprise. More Germans came over the berm – this time riding motorcycles. The old style motorcycles were hardly ATVs, and not nearly as powerful as the Harley Olson had in his parent’s garage in Omaha, but they were faster than infantry, and received little attention compared to the infantry. Olson almost had to admire them – the motorcycles were packed with explosives, and were no doubt suicidal. Additionally, intel reported another attack force massing in the rear. JU-87s showed up, their characteristic screams hitting the battlefield. US anti-aircraft fire struck many, but some did get to release their bombs, and Olson grimaced as US troops died. It was time. Olson nodded, and an aide spoke into a headset. A dozen AH-64 Apache attack helicopters streaked over the battlefield, and two battalions of M1s and Bradleys from divisional reserve poured out from the right flank. The Apaches hellfire missiles devastated the German attack, and then tried – with some success – to engage the JU-87s in air-to-air combat. Meanwhile chain guns raked the German advance, as the US armor took them in the flank. Then the real killers – two AC-130 gunships – came, and converted the plains into a churning mass of dirt and blood that seemed alive to those unfortunate enough to see it. The Germans didn’t panic. They weren’t completely suicidal either. They hunkered down – finding what cover they could, until the Apaches passed, and then charged again. Their unit cohesion was long gone, of course, but Olson decided they had some damn good NCOs over there leading them. Any stirrings of admiration he might have felt were quelled though as the first reports of the results of the second gas attack on London came in. Olson set his teeth as another attack came. More Germans to kill.
Erwin Rommel winced as more fragmentary reports came in. His field headquarters were in a large church in the small town of Geiburg outside of Bremen, and what information was available came there. The Americans were fighting hard. There was some mention of success – some infiltrating infantry got through, and some US vehicles were destroyed, but the attack was shattering against the wall of chobam the Americans had, and the Germans were bleeding rivers of blood. Worse, carefully husbanded US reserved were counter-attacking locally – using their devastating mobility against German infantry. Rommel had sporadic radio contact with Manstein and New Zossen, but was surprised to get a priority message from Berlin – from the Fuehrer himself. Hitler wanted news – and wanted it now. He’d bypassed the entire chain of command to get to Rommel – and he wanted to talked. Rommel paled – both at the prospect of speaking with Hitler, and because the Americans seemed to be able to home in on radio signals. Hitler was ranting – why were the Americans not pushed back into the sea yet? Rommel was trying explain, but Hitler kept interrupting. The Reich had provided the tools – now Rommel must use them. Rommel felt himself growing angrier – he was trying to explain, and get off the radio, but the Fuehrer would have none of it. He was still trying to make Hitler understand when a GBU-13 "Daisy Cutter" used so successfully in Afghanistan arrived. It was rolled off the back of a C-130 that had been vectored in by an AWACS that had detected Rommel’s radio transmissions. And it blew the church, Rommel’s staff, and Rommel himself into very small pieces.
General Kurt Student gaped as yet another JU-52 plunged to it’s fiery death over Cuxhaven. American ships – Aegis cruisers, though of course Student didn’t know that – were slaughtering his planes. US attack helicopters added to the fray, and Student knew he’d be lucky to get 30% of his force down. He was crouched in the door of his JU-52, and was heartily glad when the jumpmaster gave him the go – he wanted off that flying coffin. His chute deployed perfectly, and he started to drift down. He noted with satisfaction that he was completely on target, and that there was only sporadic gunfire at his paratroopers as they descended. It was hoped that the local populace could be incited to rise against the Americans – indeed each German paratrooper carried some extra weapons to distribute to civilians should the opportunity arise. That would be nice, from Student’s perspective, but he wasn’t counting on it. He hit the ground in a small town square, and rolled, before releasing his chute. Perfect. He was down in one piece. Other Germans were landing, and scrambling to get into squads and platoons. Student’s staff was also coming down, and they quickly appropriated a small hotel to serve as an HQ. A local policeman – the Americans had denied the local German police any firearms, but allowed them to patrol with billyclubs to maintain order – was located and brought to Student. He was happy to see Germans, and reported what he knew. There were few Americans in Cuxhaven, but there were a divisions in Bremershaven. Student winced – if that was true, then the other landing had been wiped out. However, here there were only a few dozen troops guarding the docks – and they’d just arrived a few hours ago. Student was elated – a few dozen only? He felt a surge – despite his hideous losses so far, he might yet succeed. The policeman continued – but there were US marines not too far away. They would attack, and could be here in a few hours. Student snorted – he wouldn’t need that long, and hopefully Rommel would break through soon anyway. What of these few dozen troopers guarding the docks? The policeman knew little about them. He described them, and Student was puzzled. Why would anyone wear anything as flimsy as a green beret in combat?
In Washington, an early morning was turning into a long day. Bush and his advisors were gathered around the table in the Situation Room as the results came in. Of the 2800 planes, only 140 reached London. Of those, only 13 were bombers – the rest fighters. The bombers did drop gas – but initial casualty reports were light. Perhaps two dozen killed. None of the planes involved in the raid returned to Occupied Europe. A fair number of German pilots had bailed out, and were being rescued. There were unconfirmed reports of British citizens killing German pilots – but those were unconfirmed, and most Germans had been picked up by US SAR. Seven US planes, and an unconfirmed number of British planes had been lost. It had worked. The German raid – and with it the Luftwaffe – had been smashed. Now it remained to be seen how the rest of THULE played out. An aide rushed in, and spoke with General Hayes. A massive force of British bombers had been located, heading for Germany. Even as he spoke, a monitor displayed the British planes’ track. Bush was confused – and then Powell spoke up. A reprisal raid – for sure. Conventional or gas, asked Rumsfeld. No way to know for sure, said Hayes. The phone rang. The special one – with the line to Britain. Bush was on the SatPhone almost instantly.
From the roof of Churchill’s London HQ, the PM made the call. He’d been preparing for it, after all. Bush asked first about the situation in London. A somewhat jovial Churchill said that casualties were minimal – thankfully, and that Harwich informed him that the German raid had been destroyed. He formally thanked the US President for the air support, and said that he hoped the Allied ground forces would be able to hold out in Germany. Bush expressed confidence that they would, and then begged the Prime Minister’s indulgence – he must ask a question. Ask away, said Churchill, though he knew what was coming. There is a large group of British airplanes moving towards Germany. What were they doing? Churchill sighed, and then responded. Ever since September of 1939, a protocol had existed. Even Chamberlain had kept to it: Any attack by gas would be met in kind. Absolutely, no exceptions. So those planes are carrying gas to their target? Yes, Churchill responded. A pause from America, and then Bush asked what the target was. Churchill chewed his cigar. Berlin was the preferred target, but British fighters didn’t have the range to escort the bombers that far, so another target had been picked – the city of Essen in the Ruhr. Another pause, and then Bush came back. He understood why the British were doing this, and understood why such a protocol had been implemented. However, the situation had changed. The German air force was gone, and would not return. There was no military reason to respond with gas. The United States formally requested that Great Britain recall the strike. Churchill had expected this. He spoke clearly and concisely. His Majesty’s Government appreciated the position of the United States, but would not be swayed. The raid would go forth. This was a matter of sovereignty and the British government answered to the King, not the US President. There was, however, one thing Bush could do, and Churchill would recall the strike. What was that, the US President asked eagerly. Churchill was matter-of-fact. Deploy a nuclear device, and vaporize Berlin. Kill Hitler now. The Situation Room got very quiet. Bush gripped the phone and spoke slowly. While he acknowledged the use of a weapon of mass destruction by the Nazis, he was hesitant to use a nuclear weapon. Several million Berliners would be killed if he did that. As horrifying as it was, the scope and casualties of the London attacks did not warrant the use of a nuclear weapon by the United States at this time. Fine, said Churchill. Give us one, and we’ll use it. Bush spoke carefully. The United States would be happy to explore the possibility of sharing nuclear technology with Great Britain, but would not release one at this time. Then the gas attack goes forth. Frantic technicians had been analysing the composition of the British raid, and the possible loads it was carrying. Given Essen’s estimated population, casualties of between 100,000 and 150,000 were predicted. Bush changed tacts. He spoke of history, and said that Churchill – a hero to so many – would be vilified if he did this. Churchill snorted. More vilified that for Dresden – where 300,000 Germans died according to the 2002 histories – or for loosing the Empire? No, the Prime Minister cared not what some future historian would write. He would respond as he saw fit, and history would judge him – but not until later. Then he bid the President good evening. In Washington Bush held the unresponsive SatPhone, and asked what to do next.
Dang! THREE Parts? This just doesn’t end…
USA 2002 in 1942 ISOT. The Gloves come off.
DripDripDrip DripDripCLANG! The gloves came off and Brenda Collins cursed as the wrench slipped out of her hand and fell to the basement floor. The rusty pipe joint had refused to budge, and Brenda swore again as she noticed a torn nail - her hand numbed by the cold water that had been dripping on it meant she saw rather than felt it. Brenda stared at the pipe, and cursed more quietly - her children were asleep upstairs, and Brenda had no desire to wake them. Her husband - Lieutenant Andrew Collins - was in Harwich, England, working with the Air Force in the war against the Nazis; a concept Brenda still had trouble with. She had lots of trouble these days. The government had finally unfrozen prices, and, if food and other basics were still affordable, the cost of everything else had skyrocketed. Including plumbers. Brenda had watched the TV while smart-looking men with pipes and cardigan sweaters and lots of letters after their names explained that the prices would come down in time. It was just an adjustment to the new situation - that was all. Of course, none of those smart men could explain why the United States was stuck in 1942 - or if it would happen again. And none of those men were here fixing her house's plumbing, either. Meanwhile, Brenda could not afford a plumber, even here in Omaha, Nebraska, and her skill with the wrench was anything but profound. She cursed again, picked up the wrench, and attacked the pipe again - more out of a sense of pent-up aggression and frustration than with any real hope of success. Thus, it was with considerable surprise and pleasure that the joint turned, and the drip stopped. Brenda stepped back with a hopeful look on her face, and was pleased when the drip did not return. She smiled, and placed the wrench back in her toolbox. She pulled the small chain that led to the basement's naked bulb, and the basement was plunged into darkness. That was fine - Andrew had promised to install a light switch near the door some day, and until then, Brenda could live with her flashlight. Brenda was fumbling for her flashlight when she noticed the sound. At first she just thought it was water in the pipes, but then she listened more and realized it was the faint murmur of voices. Grasping the flashlight Brenda shone it at one wall of her basement. She moved towards the wall, and the murmur grew louder, though it was still not understandable. The Collins' lived in one of a series of attached row houses. The attached houses were near Offutt AFB, and popular with officers assigned there like Brenda's husband Andrew Collins. Being an attached house, Brenda's house shared interior walls on two sides with the neighbours. The wall Brenda faced was also the basement wall for Craig and Joann Bedrick, an older couple. Craig Bedrick was retired Air Force, and he and Joann had elected to settle in Omaha. Brenda hadn't seen much of them; they were quiet and kept to themselves, but they seemed nice enough, though Craig could be bit creepy. Brenda flicked her eyes upward, towards here sleeping children, and then back at the basement wall. Feeling slightly naughty, she picked up an old, empty tin soup can, and quietly placed it against the basement wall. Craig and Joann didn't seem all that kinky (and how kinky was basement sex anyway?) - in fact Joann seemed very subdued most of the time - but Brenda was a bit bored. She listened, and the murmur cleared up into voices. "-nother beer, Fred?" Brenda recognized Craig's voice. "Sure, thanks," said a voice Brenda didn't recognize - persuadably Fred. Great, though Brenda, I'm listening to Craig and some buddies swilling beer. Boy, do I need a life- "So what's next?" said yet another voice. "What's next is we wait for orders." Craig sounded firm. "Fuck, that, man. I say we move now." "Use your brain, Mike. Half the ZOG army is over there. Even if the Compound is in contact with someone - which they might be - they'd be smashed by the time they got anything we sent them - and we might be implicated. Don't fuck with this Mike - we're too close." Mike sounded petulant. "So what do we do? Just wait? White men are getting slaughtered by a bunch of Jew-lovin' ZOG troops-" "I said can, it Mike." Craig sounded sure. "We have a god-given opportunity to make America a white man's nation again. After this war, Europe'll be shattered. That means refugees. White refugees. The Compound is working on it. We're gonna get some people over - good people. Not those hard-core Nazi assholes, but real white men who see a chance to change things." "So we do nothing." Mike was pissed. "Well, I didn't say that. Take a gander at what I got in my den" Brenda strained to hear what was next. It seemed the men were heading upstairs. "Here's what the compound wants-" Try as she might, Brenda couldn't hear anything else. Carefully Brenda moved back upstairs to her living room, and considered what she heard. She'd always thought Craig a bit creepy, but this was ridiculous. Brenda's mouth tightened. She knew what to do. Brenda called her brother. After two rings, he picked up the phone. "Robert Drew, FBI," he said. And then got VERY interested in what his sister had to say.
The gloves came off as Lieutenant Garret "Spud" Bryan, USAF, fell in behind his squadron leader over the English Channel. The young man cracked his knuckles - his hands were stiff after so much flying, and he was nervous. Spud was from Idaho (hence the name), and while he'd expected to see the world, he hadn't ever expected to see THIS one, and certainly never expected to have to fight Germans. He - like most in his squadron - was very tired; almost 20 hours of continuous combat against seemingly endless streams of slow moving, but hard to hit German planes. The Luftwaffe had been defeated - crushed was a better word - and Spud and his squadron mates had expected some relaxation. Orders had come though, that sent Spud scrambling. Now they were in the air, and being joined by some F-18s from a carrier according to Harwich. They were shadowing an immense formation of British bombers headed east, and Spud didn't like one bit. It didn't take a genius to figure out what was going on, and Spud, despite the name, was a fairly smart guy. The pace of combat over the past several hours had precluded much in the way of speculation about how the British would react to London being gassed, but Spud knew that Churchill was not the type of guy to just let this go. He was a bit surprised the British had gotten a formation this big put together this quickly, but understood they had a certain motivation. An option. Spud knew that - what he and his squadron were - an Option with a capital "O". They were there to give Bush clout. Spud could not for a moment believe that Bush would order them to attack the British air fleet, but maybe the US President was betting Churchill didn't. History would record this strike - if it went through - as a tragedy. Even a "crime against humanity". Spud didn't think it was - the Germans gassed first, after all. But one could never underestimate the power of those who would - years after the fact - decry it as a vicious attack against defenceless civilians by a power-mad capitalist. Spud would have ignored that - he'd never had much time for that sort of thinking anyway. But as the English Channel gave way to the green fields of France, Spud had to wonder what history would say - not only of the raid, but also of the compliance of the US Air Force if they let it happen.
In the Situation Room, President Bush gripped the unresponsive satphone so hard that his knuckles showed white under the skin. He looked around at the assembled senior staff, and wanted options - now. Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld spoke first. The Germans gassed first. Technically - and legally - the British were well within their rights to retaliate in kind. Secretary of State Powell pointed out that the attack on London had killed relatively few people, while an attack of this magnitude on Essen would be devastating. Doesn't matter, replied Rumsfeld. Not legally, said Powell, no, but in the minds of people- The entrance of an Air Force major into the room interrupted the Secretary of State. The aide (looking somewhat abashed at having interrupted) whispered something to Rumsfeld and then left. Rumsfeld reported to the group - significant assets of the US Air Force and the US Navy were now in a position to intercept the British force short of Essen. Powell's eyes bugged out. He half rose from his chair. Under no circumstances can we actually shoot at the British. That would be an act of war! Rumsfeld shrugged. We don't have to. Churchill doesn't know we wont shoot at them. Just let him know that the planes are there, then we try to talk- Powell was almost incandescent with rage. We can't even do that. Even the threat would poison relations. And if he knew anything about Churchill, it was that threats were meaningless. The guy stood up to Hitler in 1940 when Britain was alone - this was ridiculous. General Hayes spoke up. With the destruction of the German radar net, there would no warning at Essen until the British bombers actually arrived. That would maximize casualties- Bush looked around. Rumsfeld and Powell were screaming at each other, the Air Force was saying there wasn't much time, and everyone else was silent. Then he noticed Condi Rice smiling. He leaned over to her. She said she had an idea...
Spud and others got orders from Harwich. Spud couldn't really believe them until he thought about them. And then they made perfect sense. The US jets armed their weapons, and accelerated towards the British planes.
Group-Leader George MacKenzie was shocked when the first US plane zipped by him. He was piloting a Manchester four-engine bomber, and holding his course as steady as possible, as the other bombers in his squadron were following his lead. Mackenzie had no problem with this mission; he was from London, and the thought that someone would use gas on it - on his family - was intolerable. As for the Americans, well, MacKenzie's children had been evacuated from London in 1940. They'd returned in 1942 because the Americans had "guaranteed" London's security. They hadn't been hurt in the recent German attack, but MacKenzie had lost a lot of faith in the Americans. For one awful moment, MacKenzie thought he was under attack. The American planes were demonically fast, and MacKenzie knew that he and his squadron were sitting ducks, relatively speaking. But the US planes continued zipping past him, towards Germany. Several US planes zipped through and past the British squadron and then vanished into the rising sun.
Early morning in Essen was a sombre affair, as German and "guest" workers from occupied Europe went to their jobs. Apart from targeted cruise missile strikes, Essen had been spared much in the way of bombing until then, and with the all the fighting up north, city leaders hoped it would remain so. Information was very sketchy at best, with the US jamming all the radios, and the local Gestapo ruthlessly suppressing all rumors. The morning was shattered by sonic booms. US jets screamed over Essen at high mach, the sound of the passing blowing out windows all over the city. Stunned Esseners looked skyward as the US jets looped and made another pass over the city. Most Germans had heard of the US wonder planes, but this was the first they'd seen of them. The cruise missiles had been invisible to most; they'd arrived too quickly and unexpectedly to be seen. The US jets however, went out of the way to be seen - and then they struck. Three F-18s lined up and made a bombing run - over the unoccupied Rhine River. Simple gravity bombs detached from the planes and exploded as they struck the river, generating huge water spouts. Esseners stopped staring and started running as the air raid sirens wailed. Other US planes made strafing runs at wide streets and parks. Some AA came up from German sites scattered around the city - these were targeted directly and destroyed. Meanwhile, Essen's civil defence went into action as citizens scrambled for the shelters. This meant that most got there by the time the British showed up.
The British bombers dropped a combination of incendiaries mixed with various chemical weapons; the incendiaries designed to strip away cover, the gas to kill people. The British bombers were right on target, and the absence of AA or German air opposition meant they maintained perfect formation. Not enough incendiaries were dropped to start a firestorm like the one that would have consumed Dresden in 1945, but several major fires were started. The gas was not as effective as it would have been. The fires did stir up local winds, and few residents were above ground anyway, due to the US 'strike'. Still, casualties were severe. In the end, 5,000 people were killed, and another 15,000 left homeless. Still, not as bad as it could have been.
In northern Germany, the gloves came off. With the destruction of the Luftwaffe, there was nothing to hinder the US army. Two corps worth of MRLS and regular artillery simply blasted away, while two US Armored divisions blew through the German defences. The Germans were still numerous, but completely cut off. No German radio worked, and no German commander could effectively command a group larger than a platoon. New Zossen had no idea of the situation at the front. With THULE, the Rules of Engagement for the US Army changed. Rather than isolating and bypassing German strong points, the plan became isolate, plaster with artillery and air strikes, and then bypass, leaving the places to be overrun by British and follow-up US forces. President Bush wanted Berlin taken, and Hitler found. As the US Army advanced towards Hannover and Madgeburg, German opposition began to collapse. Often times, German troops had no idea US forces were in the area before being pounced on. German rail and road movement was simply stopped; anyone trying to move by road or rail was annihilated by US air. However, Berlin was a different story. Recognizing what was coming, Hitler put Heinrich Himmler in personal command of Berlin's defences. Seven regular Wehrmacht infantry divisions were supplemented by two SS motorized divisions and three SS armored divisions. Meanwhile, more troops were ordered to Austria - Hitler was prepared to flee Berlin for the Alps if necessary.
USA 2002 in 1942 ISOT Part XIX "Conferences"
Contrary to what many mystery writers would posit, coincidence does occur. The world is so large, and so complicated, and has so many disparate people living in it that "coincidence" - as it is termed by some - is actually inevitable. Some might call it fate, others serendipity, still others a weird convergence. Whatever the term, it certainly happened a few days after the British raid on Essen. The strange occurrence of March 23, 2002 - though still completely mysterious - had happened long enough in the past that people were reacting to it in a non-flabbergasted way; that is, the usual human weaknesses were coming in to it. First of all, the United States from 2002 evidently wasn't going anywhere. Whatever mysterious intelligence (and most conceded that it was an intelligence) had deposited the United States into 1942 seemed content to leave it there. The human emotional price for this was immense. Literally millions of people had been shorn away from homes, loved ones - familiarity was nowhere to found. Most impacted were the American citizens from 1942 who had been outside the United States on that fateful day. Their families were gone - and their country was now Unrecognisable. The 2002 government did it's best to succour these people; civilians and military alike. The government also did it's best for 2002 citizens whose loved ones had been overseas in 2002 - and hence lost to the mists of time. The traditional strengths of society - government and religion - were helpless before the event, however. They could not explain it - and worse, they could not prevent it from happening again. This fact drove the salient points of the coincidence. In raw form the coincidence was a series of meetings that took place around the globe at the same time. The agendas for these meetings were almost identical - a startling fact given the disparity of locations, and individuals at these meetings. The meetings were about the United States, and what to do about it. Specifically, what it meant, and what place in the world other powers and cultures might have. Given the diversity of the participants and locations, there many opinions presented. The first meeting was held late in the morning in Camp David, Maryland. Participants included most of the senior leadership of the United States, including the President, Vice-President, Secretary of State, Senate and House leaderships from both parties, and the JCS. This meeting was probably the most critical, as the United States possessed most of the military power- and therefore the most options. Despite the smashing of the German counterstroke, and the increasing speed with which the US Army was advancing through Europe, deep problems remained. These problems fell into two categories; immediate military problems, and the longer-term strategic issues. In the shorter term, while many German units were unable to offer resistance; and indeed many were starting to surrender, many others were dug into German urban areas. In particular, Berlin was heavily garrisoned by SS and Wehrmacht troops - over 300,000 in all. While the US could take the city, casualties were likely to be high. The JCS said they needed another two months to secure logistics in Germany, isolate other Nazi pockets of resistance, and gather forces - infantry and air assault - for the attack on Berlin. There were grimaces at the number of casualties that an infantry assault against hardened German regulars in an urban environment would cost. Bush was adamant about this, though. Berlin was to be taken as soon as possible. The US President had been badly shaken by the gas attack on London, and Churchill's reaction to it. Bush wanted Hitler, and if Enduring Freedom had taught him anything, it was that getting the main guy was important. Mussolini in Italy was still defiant, but with the Italian Navy gone, and the Italian army being interned by the British 8th Army in North Africa, it was not expected to present a problem. George Tenet, director of the CIA, revealed that the US was already in contact with certain members of the Italian government. Steps were being taken - both by the US and Italians - to ensure that Italy did not see the same kind of fighting that was gutting Germany. Japan was a bigger problem. The IJN had been utterly destroyed (except for those two fleet carriers the US couldn't locate), and the combination of SSN and CVN was proving unbreakable as far as the blockade went. However, Japan was showing no inclination to negotiate a peace. To invade the islands would require literally hundreds of thousands of troops, and take years. Casualties - both for US troops and Japanese civilians were likely to be extreme. Both of the tactical issues could be solved with nuclear weapons. Nobody was particularly interested in that - yet. It was hoped that the assault on Berlin would break the Germans, while the CIA and NSA had cooked up a scheme for dealing with Japan. Bush looked curious about this, but the plans were still being formed - he would be briefed later. Strategically, the US faced three big issues - China, the USSR, and the British Empire. In China, the Japanese Army was finding itself isolated from its supply sources in Japan and Manchuria. The Chinese were fighting the Japanese, but the civil war was heating up again. The best Nationalist and Communist units were fighting each other, and Tenet believed that both sides were receiving advice from certain members of the 2002 embassies of the two Chinas that were now making their way over there. A map of China was brought up on an electronic screen, with different colors for areas under Nationalist, Communist, Japanese, Manchurian, and "other" forces. It looked like bad modern art to Bush; no one faction controlled anything like a coherent territory. Condi Rice asked about the "other" designation, and was informed by Tenet that it represented warlords, bandits, communists-communists, independent ethnic groups of various types, and the like. There were more grimaces. China was a morass, and nobody wanted to get involved in it. The Soviet Union was a different matter. The fighting in Finland was nearing an end as the Red Army pushed its way forward. Satellites showed the Soviets digging in along the old 1941 pact line with Germany, and Stalin had remained silent after the Amonpour interview. The group was in agreement here - the Soviets would be restricted to their 1939 national borders. No one liked the idea of invading Russia, but no one liked Stalin either. Additionally, Bush instructed the NSA and CIA to maintain a careful watch for any nuclear testing or development by the Soviets. Stalin would not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. The JCS recommended that if Bush wanted, plans for an outright invasion of the USSR could be created. Bush nodded, as did Rice. Additionally, it was hoped the example of the United States would prove to the Soviets that they did not have a lock on the future as far as economic models went. Additionally, the JCS noted that the performance of the US Army was making a deep impression on the members of the STAVKA in Harwich. Koniev had been deeply impressed. Some US officers - and some members of the 2002 Russian embassy - had been pointing out to the Soviets in Harwich that relations between the two countries could be vastly improved without Stalin. Finally, the issue of the British Empire came up. Bush had been a fan of Churchill before arriving in 1942 - seeing the man in action had only reinforced that feeling. Despite the disagreement over Essen, Bush - and others - could see the man's point, and couldn't honestly say that they would not have done the same in his shoes. The British had happily coordinated their troops with American plans, and even now British regulars were doing hard fighting in Germany. The problem was the Empire. Over a million of Americans were from various parts of the British Empire - from Indians and Pakistanis to Kenyans, Burmese, and Malayans. While for the most part they had been quiet, with the war seemingly almost won, and the shock of being in 1942 wearing off, they were demanding - more and more vocally, that the British Empire withdraw from their homelands, and the US recognize their independence. Most of the American government was inclined to agree with this. After all, the British would lose the Empire sooner or later; indeed, even the original Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations had done little to help the British keep their Empire. The problem was that Churchill and the British government of 1942 had access to the history books. They knew what had happened, and might very well take steps to prevent it. The US government was in a real quandary, and they knew it. Quite simply, the British Empire was not democratic; it was territory the British were exploiting to enrich themselves. On the other hand, the British had deep, and traditional ties to the United States, and were active allies in the war against Hitler. Bush fretted about this. There was a lot of talk about quietly recognizing components of the Empire as being independent, but doing nothing - in much the same way that the United States had never recognized the incorporation of the Baltic States into the USSR in the original timeline. Like with China, no one wanted to get involved in this, but circumstance would not let them sit it out. It was decided that Bush would meet with Churchill after Berlin fell to openly discuss the situation.
While the Americans fretted about what to do, the British were having a conference of their own. Meeting at Chequers (a place the Americans hadn't been, and presumably hadn't placed any of their magical listening devices), indoors (so the Americans' satellites couldn't see them), Churchill and Imperial War Council met. As far as the war was concerned, things were going swimmingly. The Americans' sophisticated technology was shredding the Germans, and the Japanese. It was clear that the West was going to win - and better yet, the Soviets were going to be pushed back to their 1939 borders. That was good, all agreed. What was bad was that the Americans were very anti-imperialist. The fact that their society was so ethnically diverse, and that so many non-whites had positions of power within it meant that the United States was distinctly unsympathetic to the problems of the Empire. The British had reference materials from 2002 that clearly showed the decline of the Empire, and now they wanted to do something about it. What was amazing to the British, in addition to how complete the collapse of the Empire in 1950s and 1960s seemed to have happened, was that it left such a mess behind. India had been split into three countries based on the Hindu-Muslim divide, and it seemed they'd been at each others' throats ever since. Worse, in 1998, both developed atomic weapons, and threatened not only each other but also the whole region with nuclear annihilation. Africa was a mess, with a new type of government prevailing - a "kleptocracy". It was even worse in the former French parts; genocide between warring tribes seemed to rule the day there - while Algeria was a conflict between a fascist military government, and a horrifying confluence of radical islamists. The real issue was the Middle East. It seemed that most post-war problems centered around a state of Israel that had been carved out of Transjordan. This had enraged the Muslims of the area, and the fact that these "Israelis" seemed to be such doughty fighters (a fact that Monty had commented on from the ruins of Warsaw) meant that it was a festering sore in 2002, never closing. Despite the protestations of the Americans, and of the people from the Empire in the 2002 United States, it was obvious to all at Chequers that decolonisation had been a disaster - both for the Europeans and for those they ruled. The question, what was to be done about it. It was clear that the Americans wouldn't move until after the war. That was good. Additionally, the Americans seemed much more concerned with the USSR than the British Empire. That was also good. Then what? The technology of mass media was a powerful tool; Goebbels in Germany had used it well - until the Americans shut him down, that was. The British would use that as well. They would stand foursquare with the Americans in this war, and the one presumably headed at the USSR. Meanwhile, they would blitz the US mass media with examples of the Empire's benefits - to Kenya to India to Singapore. The Commonwealth of the late 20th Century seemed to be an interesting idea. Perhaps something like that could be worked out. Meanwhile the government would work the Americans to come up with a post-war structure that would address the Americans' needs - particularly in the Middle East where the powerful Israeli lobby in Washington was already demanding a State of Israel - while preserving the British Empire. The British were already the beneficiaries of more technology than any other 1942 state save Canada (and surprisingly, Cuba, but that was another story). That technology would be used - to hold the British Empire.
At New Zossen, the mood was grim beyond belief. The Germans Army had been smashed - Thule had done little besides destroy the Luftwaffe, and bring a gas attack on Essen. German command and control was gone - New Zossen had contact with virtually nothing. There were two camps at New Zossen - those who recognized that the war was lost and the best Germany could do was sue fore peace before any more damage was done. Then there were the hawks. The said that Germany still held most of continental Europe, and the Army, while being pushed back, could still offer resistance to the Americans in a guerrilla capacity, if nothing else. Generally speaking, the camps were comprised of regular Wehrmacht in the "peace" camp, and the hardcore SS and Nazis (with a few Wehrmacht) as "Hawks". Instructions from Hitler in Berlin were irregularly received, but consistent in content - resist until the end, no compromise with the Americans allowed. Shoot deserters, and scorch Germany. Even the hawks thought this a bit off. Therefore, when the time came, some of the hawks participated. As the Americans met at Camp David, and the British at Chequers, a nasty little firefight broke out in New Zossen. The "doves" initiated it, and had brought in a battalion of infantry to help them. The hawks - led by Heinrich Himmler - fought back fanatically. It was a brutal fight, and in the end, Himmler and the others fled. The doves, led by Heinz Guderian, tried to pursue, but frantic radio calls by Himmler had attracted the attention of a US F-16 flight, which hit New Zossen. The damage was not severe, but it delayed Guderian enough that Himmler and his followers escaped.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, yet another meeting was held. This occurred in the Kremlin, and included the politburo and senior members of STAVKA. This also included Koniev, flown in from Harwich. Stalin was concerned about the pace of American military operations against the Germans. He glared at the table, and turned on Molotov. Stalin wanted to know what they should do now, what with the course they had embarked on which had been recommended by the Foreign Minister. Molotov appeared totally non-plussed at this accusation. The fact that Soviet policy since March 23 had been recommended by Stalin and not Molotov was irrelevant; fact was not something Stalin let cloud his thinking. Molotov said simply that there was no way to predict how effective the future Americans would be, and that the growing speed of German collapse was evidence of the futility of their economic and political systems - just as chairman Stalin had always said. Flattery was something that impacted Stalin, and his eyes turned from Molotov to Koniev. What about the Americans? Was their equipment as good as all that? It was unbelievable, said Koniev. Their ability to detect enemy movements - and react quickly to it - was unheralded. They backed that up with superb training and massive hardware superiority. There were only a dozen divisions of Americans in Europe - yet they were conquering the continent - with ease. Nikita Khrushchev spoke up. What about the inherent class differences in the American Army? Surely the inequities of the capitalist system meant that the American soldiers labored unwillingly under the yoke of oppression. Koniev was not as experienced in Soviet politics as others at that meeting, but he'd been there enough not to snort in derision at the question as he wanted to. Instead, he spoke slowly and clearly. While the Politburo member was correct that those inequities must exist, the Americans' indoctrination efforts must be very good. Koniev had seen little in the way of rebellious spirit among the Americans he had seen; indeed, many seemed committed to the United States. Stalin waved his hand at this. Of course the Soviets would only have been around indoctrinated Americans - Stalin was sure that the Americans would not show Koniev real troops. There were nods all around at this (agreeing with Stalin was healthy), and Koniev nodded as well. He did not say that the Americans had made no efforts to keep him from meeting any soldiers - it would serve no purpose. Beria spoke. Broadcasts picked up from the United States had not diminished in their anti-Soviet rhetoric. The 2002 Russian Embassy seemed to be leading the charge - though it was undoubtedly populated exclusively by revanchist pseudo-Tsarists. Still the core issue remained. The Americans would soon finish with the Germans. Then what? Stalin was quiet, so Molotov spoke again. The glorious Red Army would soon finish liberating Finland. As much as it pained him to suggest it, the dialectic did not provide for capitalists from the future. It might be best to give Finland up - as a temporary concession only, of course - to give the Americans the illusion that the USSR knew it was finished. That would give the brilliant scientists of the Soviet Union time to develop counters to weapons of the plutocrats. Meanwhile, the Americans would find it impossible to hold Finland; once the common people there had experienced Socialism, they would want more. Khrushchev spoke again, agreeing with Molotov. Molotov hated owing anyone favors, but he needed the support of at least one member of this circle, no matter how junior. Stalin's eyes flicked from Molotov to Khrushchev, and a glimmer of paranoia crept into them, but when no one else spoke he relaxed. He asked for opinions of the suggestion of the Foreign Minister. Everyone gave a carefully crafted non-opinion that it might be a good idea. Or might not. Stalin sighed, and nodded at Molotov, who relaxed internally. Stalin spoke to Zhukov. Zhukov was to continue liberating the Finns, wrapping it up as soon as possible. Molotov would contact the Americans. An aide entering the room interrupted Stalin. Interested news had been received - from Vladivostok.
USA 2002 in 1942 ISOT Part XXI "Land Wars in Asia"
"There's something you should know," said the Spaniard. "What's that?" asked the Man in Black. "I am not left handed." There was a gasp, and then a giggle. Five-year-old Geoffrey Winthrop covered his mouth with his hands as the Spaniard's sword flew through the air. The Man in Black parried, and the fight resumed. The sun was high in the sky over the aquamarine and turquoise waters of Abaco's Treasure Key. The vibrant colors of the water gave way to the pure white sand of the beach, and then the dense green of pines and palmettos, and, for the life of him, Geoffrey's father Harold Winthrop could not imagine what anyone would want here. The Bahamas were hardly the top notch place to be assigned in His Majesty's Foreign Service, and Harold knew - just knew - that real reason he'd been assigned here in 1939 was because a war had started, and a man with his weakness for the bottle couldn't be trusted in a sensitive spot. Well, he was in a sensitive spot now. It was impossible to not to know of the profound change that had undertaken the world, when the United States from 2002 appeared, and even Harold knew about the impact they were having Europe. In Freetown, all anyone could talk about was how the Americans were overrunning Germany, and the big Battle of Berlin was shaping up to come soon. There'd been strict instructions from London as well - limited contact only with the Americans. They knew too much, and even wary men could be fooled. However, one night in Freetown, at his favorite bar (just about the only bar in Freetown, as a matter of fact), Harold had been approached by a man with an easy smile and lots of money. That the man was an American was obvious - and from the future, even more obvious. He had an easy manner, and got in well with Harold, and had introduced himself as Mike Santarino from Newark. When he learned that Harold had an important position in the British Colonial Administration here (well, important for the Bahamas), he'd been delighted. He'd offered to take Harold on his yacht - there were certain investment ideas had wanted to discuss. Harold had demurred, but the promise of more money, and a good time had swayed him. Besides, said Mike, bring the lad. A day on the water will do him good. So, Harold agreed, and met Mike's boat - The Jersey Belle - at an isolated dock away from Freetown. Palatial didn't begin to describe the 72-foot yacht. There were staterooms, bars, and even a miniature theatre with movies - like the Princess Bride - which Geoffrey was watching with delight. Also, there was plenty of liquor - and the girls. Harold had been stunned at the ridiculous clothing - called 'bikinis' after some island in the Pacific Ocean - that these women wore. They were friends of Mike's, and Harold struggled not to stare at them. They were gorgeous, and Harold sweated beneath his white suit. He didn't want to offend Mike, but as soon as the Belle left, Mike - and the girls - made it plain that he could stare all he wanted. While one kept his glass full, another sat on the chair next to him, rubbing his shoulders. Harold knew about prostitutes of course, but refused to believe these women could be ladies of the night - they were simply too gorgeous, and besides, it was the middle of the day. Mike Santarino - Mikey Cool to his friends - smiled inwardly. He'd presented himself as an agent of Weyerhauser Lumber. In the 1950s Weyerhauser moved into the Abacos in force, only to discover that the trees here weren't high enough quality lumber to justify the expense. What they did discover was that Americans would pay a lot of money to come here for the other attractions. Sun, surf, snorkelling - and parties. Yep, this was prime-grade real estate, and with Harold signing contracts, it would all belong to the Family. With the Cubans already sealing up the Northern Caribbean, and the British and Dutch owning just about everything else, opportunities were few and far between. Some twit at the DEA figured out that the real way to stop the drug trade was to move in hard and fast and early, before the networks had a chance to re-establish themselves. The newspapers and CNN could crow all they wanted about Israelis and Cuba - Mikey knew the real reason. The DEA and INS and every other alphabet soup government agency with any interest in the drug trade had set up shop in Cuba, far from the prying eyes of the American Media or Congress. Treasure Key was the result. The Bahamas were close - some would say too close - to the United States, and available. There was a ton of cash to made here - both legitimate and illegitimate - and Mikey wanted in. He could already see the hotels and casinos that would be set up - and all for a song. The Sea of Abaco - five to seven mile wide strip of water between Abaco and smaller island like Green Turtle and Great Guano Keys - could serve as the highway to the Family's - and Mikey's - dreams with the legitimate businesses on Abaco and the not so legitimate on the others. The best part was that the islands were not independent, but part of the British Empire. That had worried Mikey (the British being notoriously hard to bribe) until he got there and realized just how huge the British Empire was in 1942. India, half of Africa, other places all over were British. And, since no one had considered tourism as a moneymaker in 1942, well, the Bahamas just didn't rate first-class people. Instead, they got people like Harold. Mikey really liked Harold. He was a total slave to his baser passions, but maintained a rigid pose that just screamed British aristocrat. A few nights in Freetown had revealed him to be a bitter, failed, and eminently corruptible official. Just Mikey's kind of guy. A little booze, a few girls, and a promise of soundproof rooms on the Belle (so as not to disturb little Geoffrey, watching his movie), and Harold was signing anything Mikey put in front of him. Harold staggered to feet. Linda and Bonita giggled and rose with him. Linda glanced at Mikey, who gave a barely perceptible nod. They would make sure that Harold enjoyed the rest of his day before they returned him and his son to Freetown. As the happy trio stuttered off to a stateroom, Mikey leaned back in his seat. He contemplated the view for a moment, and then heard maniacal laughter and glanced in the room where the movie was playing on the DVD. "You've committed one of the two classic blunders," screeched the Sicilian. "The first is never get involved with a land war in Asia". Mikey tuned him out. He'd seen the movie. Still, that was good advice.
Asia - and wars in it - were very much on the minds of the two men seated at a small table in the rear room of a restaurant in Chicago's Chinatown. The restaurant was open, and doing a fair amount of lunch business, but the back room was closed for a private party. Six men, all Chinese - were in the back room. There were three tables in the room. A radio blasted out an improbably loud mix of rap and salsa music, which destroyed the ambiance of the restaurant, and effective masked the conversation that was taking place in the room. Two of the tables were very large, and covered with a variety of Chinese dishes. Four of the six men sat these two tables, two at each. They were eating, but were focused on each other with a degree of wariness that professional bodyguards would have recognized. The third table was small rectangle, and had nothing more than a small teapot, which steamed gently, and two cups. Two middle-aged Chinese men faced each other. Lee Ho was a cultural attaché to the mission that the Republic of China - Taiwan's official name - maintained in Washington. Wei Jong was a Special Assistant to the official ambassador to the United Nations for the People's Republic of China. While their titles were innocuous enough, they were the power of their respective governments in China and Taiwan, and this meeting was unprecedented. Wei sipped his tea, and glanced at Lee. Neither man had spoken of anything consequential yet - and Wei was waiting for Lee to open the discussion. He was curious - the Embassy of the PRC was trying to contact Mao, but the United States was not making that easy, and Wei at least had no real desire (beyond historical fascination) to put himself under the command of a peasant with poor taste in wives. Lee had called the meeting, and Wei agreed, simply to see what the man had to say. Lee sipped his tea. "The event of March 22 was, I think, very fortunate." Wei cocked his head. "I agree. Most fortunate - for the future of China." "Yes. The future of China. That is what I wish to speak of - China." Wei studied his tea. "It would seem that fate has provided a chance for China to resume her rightful place in the world - even sooner than it would have seemed earlier than March 22." Lee smiled. "I agree, of course. But let us speak of the future. For it seems to me that China has two possible futures in front of it. And I do not think that you and I would have the same future for China." Wei simply looked at him. "One future is a sad one. In it, you go to your faction and I go to mine-" "Chairman Mao is not a faction. He is the future of China." Wei interjected. Lee actually snorted, a surprisingly indelicate and American-sounding expression given the circumstances. "Yes, the Great Chairman. Tell me - do you actually carry a copy of his little red book?" Wei stared hard at Lee, but couldn't faze him. Lee would well aware of the unofficial panic that gripped the remnants of the PRC government in the United States at the thought of dealing with Mao. "What is it you wish to say, Mr. Lee?" "Yes - two futures. One in which Chairman Mao, aided by you, and Generalissimo Chaing Kai-Shek, aided by us, fight the Civil War again, but with much more terrible weapons-" "We would win - will win - as we did in the past." Wei was blunt. "Especially since the Nationalists have no access to American weapons as they did originally." Wei allowed himself a small smile. "Just as the Soviets are discovering, relying on the United States of 1942 was a misplaced faith." Lee gestured with his tea. "Yes, you might - just might win." He sat back and sighed. "Yes, then what a glorious future China would have. The Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, the Gang of Four - yes, I can see how that would appeal." Wei actually winced. "You spoke of two futures, Mr. Lee?" Lee sipped again. "Yes. I believe that both Mao and Chaing can serve us - and China - in identical ways." Wei smiled. "And how might they do that?" A note of incredulity crept into his voice. Lee stared at the ceiling for a moment, and then looked directly at Wei. "As martyrs." For a moment neither man moved. Wei sat, simply shocked that anyone in Lee's position would suggest the assassination of the two dominant figures in Chinese history of the mid-20th century. Lee spoke again. "Neither of them ever did China any good, Mr. Wei. The people who can lead China - all of it - to greatness are here in the United States. Mao is a brutal peasant and Chaing a bloodthirsty warlord. Neither seeks any but his own greatness, and China will suffer for decades if they are allowed to pursue this foolishness." Wei drank his tea, and stalled. "China needs a strong government to care for 1.3 billion people-" "China does not have 1.3 billion people, Mr. Wei. It has less than half that, and we can keep it that way if we cooperate. My people will recognize the primacy of your - candidate - for the leadership of China. In return, we want a say in what goes on." Wei stalled some more. "The Japanese rule a good part of China. The Americans destroyed their navy, but I do not think they will invade the home islands any time soon." Lee waved. "The Japanese are fanatics. They are of no moment, no matter who long it takes to expel them. While that is happening - and the Americans are fruitlessly bashing away at them - we can organize. We can give China the government it deserves - it needs - to be great." Wei drank his tea. He stared for a moment at the other man, and then rose. Two security men rose as well, and followed Wei to the door. Wei paused, and looked at Lee. "Tell me, Mr. Lee, who would be responsible for the Martyrdom of which you spoke?" The other man shrugged. "It hardly matters. We can blame the Japanese. Or even the Russians." Wei nodded slowly. "Thank you for the tea, Mr. Wei. And, the conversation was - well, more interesting than I might have thought. As the Americans say, I will be in touch." With that, he left. Lee finished his tea, and nodded to himself. That had gone as well as he'd dared allow himself to hope.
Private Senji Taemura of the Imperial Japanese Army enjoyed the breeze coming in off the Pacific. It blew the stench of Tokyo away, and allowed the young man to enjoy the spectacle of Mt. Fuji beneath a sliver crescent of a moon. He adjusted his rifle on his back, and gazed at the sight, and tried to ignore the hunger pangs he felt. Whatever propaganda the government put out, they couldn't deny the reality that was hitting Japan. Very few motor vehicles moved in Tokyo, and the emptiness of the food markets. Senji had heard rumors of a huge naval defeat some time ago. He was supposed to ignore that - the Imperial Fleet was sailing to victory against the Americans even now - but if that was the case, then where was the oil, the fuel, and the food from China and the NEI? Senji was so lost in thought that at first he mistook the sound in the sky for the drone of a patrol Zero the Japanese still infrequently flew over Tokyo. Then he realized it was an entirely different sound. He stared hard at the direction the noise was coming from, and then saw them. He blinked, for what he saw were not like any aircraft he'd ever seen before. There were almost two dozen of them - and they had no wings. Senji had been briefed on Auto-rotor flying craft that the Americans had - and concluded these must be them. Senji stared hard. He knew these helicopters could carry armed troops, and place them anywhere they choose. But those twenty craft couldn't possibly carry enough soldiers to threaten Tokyo - not even close. The Senji plotted their course from what he could see. He was a native of Tokyo, and he gasped in horror as he saw them descend towards a beautiful park-like area. The Imperial Palace.
Colonel Robert Searle of the United States Army grunted as the G-forces hit him. The blackhawk he rode on turned hard to avoid something Searle couldn't see, and the harness bit into his shoulders. This plan was not his idea, and, much as he hated to admit it, despite the pucker factor, the Pentagon might have had an idea here. Searle knew enough history to know that the United States would be forced to essentially starve the Japanese out to win, and no one wanted that. The idea of hitting them with the Marines was there, of course, but Searle shuddered to think of the casualties that would cause - both Japanese and American. No, there had to be another way, and this was the idea they had. The lights in the cramped cabin of the Blackhawk turned green, and the Rangers Searle commanded made last-minute adjustments to their gear. Then the helicopter touched down. Searle was running the before the helicopter stopped moving. Apaches took out watchtowers and guard posts with hellfire missiles and auto cannons, and the Japanese were taken by surprise. Each Ranger had an assigned mission, an assigned target to take out. Intel put close to two hundred thousand troops in Tokyo, but only the emperor's personal guards were in the palace. The rangers hit hard and fast, and Searle and men swept through the palace. The resistance they met was fanatical. No one could accuse the Japanese of either cowardice or stupidity, and they had to know what Searle and the Rangers were after. Searle's hope was to get there fast enough, get what he came after, and get out before all of Tokyo fell on him. The Palace was beautifully landscaped, of course, and Searle felt a twinge as explosions from the fighting ripped it to shreds. They'd all been thoroughly briefed, and they moved like the well-trained soldiers they were. Someone opened up with a machine gun, and a Ranger went down, but an Apache nailed the spot, and as Searle rounded a corner, he saw the quarry. Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, was being hustled by a group of guards towards a solid-looking concrete structure. Searle didn't hesitate; he tossed two grenades that landed right at the Emperor's feet. Another ranger added two more, and they went off, blanketing the group with tear gas. The Japanese guards were superbly trained, motivated men, and they tried to resist. But the tear gas caught them, and Searle and the Rangers cut through them easily. Searle unceremoniously grabbed the arm of the semi-conscious emperor, and then hustled off back to the helicopter. Boarding the Blackhawk with the quarry, Searle strapped him into a seat, and then signalled the return to base. A very relieved Pentagon was able to report to President Bush that the Emperor of Japan was safe and unhurt. And a prisoner of the United States.
USA 2002 in 1942 ISOT Part XXII "Keep your eye on the Ball"
Given the fact that he was only 22, the reception he got was well nigh incredible. The capacity crowd in the stands went wild - absolutely insane - as soon as the Red Sox' Nomar Garciaparra lined out to Derek Jeter. It didn't matter that the poor fellow was out; it mattered who came to the plate next. He emerged from the dugout (he hadn't been in the batters' box; the Red Sox knew how to put on a show, and the umpire - since this was only an exhibition game - allowed it), and maintained his poise as he walked to the plate. As he took a couple of practice swings, he eyed the Yankees' Roger Clemens with intensity. The roar of the crowd at Boston's Fenway Park so completely drowned out the announcer that the batter's name was lost to echoing sound that rebounded from the Green Monster in left field back towards home plate, but it didn't matter - everyone knew what was happening. For the first time in 42 years, Ted Williams stepped up to the plate at Fenway Park with a bat in hand. It hadn't been much of a 2002 season. By March 23, most players had been at Spring Training of course, but many had not. With the war, the disorientation, and the general lack of organization, the 2002 Season had given way to a series of exhibition games, and USO-Type shows for both 2002 troops and 1942 US expatriates returning home to a country they didn't recognize. If the United States had a national religion in 1942, it was baseball. Everyone played, everyone knew their home teams, and everyone knew the bad guys (be they Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies or Cubs). Baseball was what reminded people from 1942 that no matter how strange this new United States from 2002 was, it was still America, and "Play Ball" meant something special. Baseball was one mechanism by which the US government planned to reintegrate some members of the 1942 America to the new one from 2002, and it was proving to be a reliable as ever. The superstars of 1942 were mostly gone - to wherever the United States from 1942 went. Williams was an exception - he'd been hunting in Ontario on March 23 while his lawyers and the US Government wrangled about his draft status. Upon his return, he learned that the US government had no plans to reinstate the draft, and that he was a hero to many. The disoriented (and young) Ted Williams had been besieged by offers almost the minute he'd crossed the border at Sarnia. Upon being approached by agents from many teams, he'd simply retreated into a hotel (where the proprietor - an old Red Sox fan - put him up for free), and tried to contact old friends who might still be alive. His name was in the papers, though, and it wasn't long before the Commissioner of Baseball - Bud Selig - was shown into the hotel. Selig and some lawyers had worked out a plan whereby major leaguers from 1942 that were in the United States got agents and representation for their reintroduction to baseball. They're weren't many - but Williams was the real prize. There'd been no question of the team, of course. It never even really occurred to Williams that anyone but the Red Sox would take him, or that he would go anywhere else. The Red Sox management - no dummies there - quickly inked Williams to a five-year contract worth 100 million dollars. Their rationale was that even if he couldn't hit the new major leagues (which he probably could), the sheer name recognition alone was worth that much in endorsements. Of course, the Boston papers, the New York Times, and both Letterman and Leno speculated that, given the Red Sox' history, Williams would soon be traded for an old shoe and a baseball card to be named later, but thus far the Red Sox' management was clinging to their reborn star with a fanaticism unseen in Beantown in a long, long time. With no idea of how he would play, but intense media speculation, the Red Sox all but sequestered the young Williams while they taught him the new game of baseball. More importantly, they taught him the new game of being a 22-year old superstar in a media spotlight that would dazzle him. They shielded him from the intense public scrutiny that would have otherwise come his way, and let him adjust to his new environment. And when, in early October, the Yankees came to town, they brought him out. The Umpire suspended play until the crowd noise had subsided to a Niagara Falls-like roar, and then gave up and indicated that play should resume. Clemens' first pitch was a vicious cut fastball that had Williams diving out off the batter's box even as the Umpire called strike one because the ball curved back over the plate. The embarrassed Williams dusted himself off, and waited for the next pitch. Clemens' next offering was an evil breaking ball that curved away at the last moment. Williams hideously over-extended himself swinging for the ball, and almost fell over for strike two. Clemens then decided on his heat, and a low 98-mph fastball sizzled over the plate. Big mistake. The man with the prettiest swing in baseball hardly seemed to move his arms. The ball rocketed off the bat in a line drive down the third base line that resulted in a stand-up double for Williams. The crowd went, well, bonkers. Play was suspended as the crowd tried to surge on to the field. Boston PD and Sox security held them back, and Bean town had reason to hope that the curse of the Bambino might finally be dispelled in 2003.
The Emperor of Japan had not had a good few nights. After his kidnapping by the American Rangers, he'd been flown to the carrier CARL VINSON off of the coast of Japan. From there, he'd been flown to Hawaii, and then to Los Angeles. He'd been taken to a place in the desert - "Nellis Air Force Base" - where more of the Americans' magical planes were. The desert was hot, but the emperor's accommodations were comfortable, if very heavily guarded. He had not been mistreated, nor questioned, and he had to wonder what the purpose of his confinement was - other than as a prisoner. On his second morning at Nellis, there was a discreet knocking at the door to his suite of rooms. The guards around him all spoke Japanese, and had even provided him with some wonderfully illustrated botany books from 2002. Many of the pictures in the books were of plant unobtainable to the emperor in 1942, and he perused them with great interest. The Emperor had guests. Entering the living room were four Japanese men in conservative western business suits. Three immediately prostrated themselves before the Emperor, and the fourth merely stood to one side. The Emperor acknowledged them, and the three rose to their knees. None of their eyes rose higher than the Emperor's collar. The man in the lead introduced himself as Ryozo Kato, Japanese Ambassador to the United States in 2002. The other two were embassy staffers. Kato offered his humblest apologies to the emperor, but feared he must address the monarch directly. The emperor paused a suitable amount of time, and then gave the man a barely perceptible nod. Kato's eyes were on the Emperor's collar. He explained that he had served as ambassador to the United States since 2001, and that he was loyal to Japan and to his emperor. The staffers with him were also Japanese citizens from 2002. The fourth man was Jim Ashigara, an American of Japanese descent who served with the US State Department. As much as it pained Kato, the Ambassador felt that he had to inform the Emperor that Prime Minister Tojo, and many of Japan's highest ranking military officers had not been giving the emperor the best advice. Indeed, the course that Japan had taken was sure to bring about the deaths of millions of the Emperor's subjects in fruitless combat against the United States. The emperor did not speak for a moment. Then he addressed the ambassador. He demanded to know what evidence the ambassador had of this treason. He knew that the future United States was powerful, but had it not come from 2002, then Japan would have achieved its military objectives. The emperor was almost interrupted by a snort from Ashigara, who was still standing. No, that wasn't true. Had the United States from 2002 not arrived, Japan still would have been crushed. Attacking Pearl Harbor, said Ashigara, was just about the greatest act of stupidity in the history of humanity. Kato's nostrils flared, and he stared daggers at the American, who returned the ambassador's gaze blandly. We are not here, Kato said, to discuss the past. Rather, to discuss the future, and how to mitigate the impact of the strange event of March 23 on the Empire of Japan. Ashigara snorted again. The ambassador should realize that the past was all there was, and that unless it was addressed - here, now - then they were all doomed to repeat it. The cliché rolled off Ashigara's lips, and Kato fumed. Before meeting with the Emperor, every word of the introduction rehearsed, every statement the Emperor might make anticipated, and planned responses in place. Ashigara - who had worked with Japanese Embassy for months - was ignoring the script. Despite his rage, Kato understood what was happening here. While the Emperor was the closest thing to divinity on earth Japanese culture possessed, to the Americans, he was just a guy. Oh, the understood his position - Ashigara better than most - but the State Department knew what it was doing. By not paying the Imperial Person the respect that the Japanese did, they were letting the Emperor (and Kato) know that while Hirohito was important, vitally so, he wasn't God. Just a guy. The Emperor spoke. He agreed that the important thing was the future. But what he wanted to know was what he could accomplish as a prisoner of the United States. Ashigara looked up. Nothing. He could accomplish nothing as a prisoner of the United States. Which is why the Emperor would not be a prisoner much longer. Kato broke in at Hirohito's surprised look. Over the next several weeks, the Emperor would be toured - in secrecy, of course - around the United States. He would visit Japanese auto factories in Kentucky, sushi shops in Minneapolis, a camera company in New Jersey, and meet with some selected members of the Japanese community from 2002 in the United States. The emperor would also see how the war originally turned out. Then, Hirohito would see the Japan of 2002 - the Japan that the future could still hold. He would see a country with deep ties to the United States. He would see the second largest economy in the world. He would see the Asians with the highest quality of life, enjoying not only a prosperous and happy homeland, but traveling the world to do business - and do it well - everywhere in the world. After this, the Americans would return the Emperor to Japan. It was their hope that the Emperor would be able to convince the Japanese of the futility of armed resistance against the United States. Then, peace could be achieved, without the need for further loss of life. After all, said Ashigara, that's what is important here. Keeping people alive to work for Japan in the future. He was sure the Emperor would agree that was what should be focused on. As the Americans say, that was the pitch to watch for.
Captain Robert Oakley of the US Army tried to make himself one with the dirt berm he was on. He clutched the binoculars in his hand as German artillery fire from central Leipzig rained down. Overhead, US counter battery fire - much heavier than the German fire - whistled towards the besieged city. Leipzig was going to be a bitch. A cast-iron, no-holds-barred, unforgiving bitch. Oakley had participated in the big American assault that had cleared Hannover, and that had been tough. But there had only been two divisions of Germans there, and they hadn't figured out how to fight the Americans right off. They'd tried to stand in the suburbs, and the Americans' air power had nailed them. Some had retreated into central Hannover, and dug into building as basements, and the US and Britain had to go house-to-house to clear them out. Casualties had been low by WWII standards, but high for the US. Now, the US 49th Infantry Division (New York National Guard) was moving up on Leipzig, and it looked like it was going to be awful. The better part of five German divisions were dug in, and either they got some advice (somehow) from the Germans who'd defended Hannover, or the guy in charge was just a smart cookie. The Germans were dug into an urban environment with multiple lines of self-supporting and mutually overlapping positions, and they still had artillery. US reluctance to use mass munitions against urban areas was doctrine (much to the astonishment, befuddlement, and later anger of the British, who had no such qualms themselves), and, despite the casualties, one that Oakley agreed with. Still, this was going to be hard. The Germans had no real way of stopping US armor, and helicopter gunships drove them bonkers. But they learned quickly. Apaches were generally too heavily armored for German hand weapons. But the 88s - those famous AA weapons the Germans had used so effectively as anti-tank weapons in the original history - well, those made mincemeat even of Apaches, and the Germans were learning to hoard them - to let the helicopters make an initial pass - and then take them out to use against follow up attacks. Of course, aiming an 88 at helicopter wasn't easy, and the Americans tended to blow them up after they fired, but, with an experienced crew, and a good position, they could (and did) do damage. Despite all of this, the US was going to win. For all of their vaunted militarism, the US troops were better soldiers than the Germans on a man-for-man level. US training had no parallel, and the Germans also couldn't match US equipment. Body armor was effective against German small arms, and the US night-fighting capability was light-years ahead of anything the Germans had. Additionally, the Germans were having issues controlling their troops. No one wanted to be the last casualty in a war, and many Germans - even veterans - who saw US equipment in action had figured out how this would turn out. Not the bunch in Leipzig, however, which is why Oakley was here, doing recon. Oh, the US had satellite imagery, air photos, and the new, unmanned predator drones in abundance, which gave everyone a pretty good idea of what the Germans had here. But the battalion commander was a bit old fashioned, and, when it came right down to it, trusted the Mark I eyeball more than a satellite. More to the point, he trusted Oakley, and wanted his opinion of what he saw. Oakley sighed, and as the German barrage ended, belly-crawled off the berm, and then walked back to the battalion HQ to give his report. When he got there, he was astonished to see them packing up. The battalion commander had a tight grin on his. He had good news, and bad news. The good news was that someone in Washington had wised up, and realized that hitting every fortified Festung in Germany was just plain dumb. There was no reason to, so the attack on Leipzig had been cancelled. Instead, the British and some US armored cav would seal the city up while most of the US Army moved on. Oakley wanted to know where. The battalion commander said that was the bad news. President Bush wanted the war over. So the division, along with several others, had a new target. It was felt one last assault would convince the Germans to throw in the towel. So they were going for the grand-slam homer of them all. They were going east. To Berlin.
More to Come.
USA ISOT 2002 to 1942 – Part the Last "The Postdam Conferences…"
Part A. Uniting Against the Other.
Berlin, March 1943 (March, 2003)
Heinz Guderian drew his heavy greatcoat about him as he hurried down the street. A desultory, icy rain dribbled out of a grey sky onto Berlin's equally grey rubble, coating Guderian and the other few people out and about with a cold miasma of wetness. Guderian coughed a bit, hunched over like an old man. He had not weathered the winter well, after his capture, despite the relatively comfortable prison the Americans had held him in. A loud motor roared overhead, and Guderian looked up to see a helicopter – he believed it to be of a type called ‘Blackhawk' by the Americans – as it flew southwest. Presumably, it was carrying attendees for the "Potsdam Conference" the Americans were hosting to decide the fate of – Of well, everything. The final surrender of the Third Reich on January 1, 1943 coincided with Japan's decision to "end" their war – the US-educated emperor and 2002 Japanese embassy staff (coupled with US Special Forces operations that targeted the most die-hard of the Japanese militarists) – proving sufficient to the cause. Adolf Hitler was dead; if you believed the surviving members of the bunker, he'd died fighting off the Americans until the last minute; if you believed "CNN", he was shot by his own SS guards right before US Delta Force operatives stormed the place. Guderian knew what he believed; the Americans would have loved to put the man on trial with the other Nazis at Nuremberg, and the SS (acting under orders from Bormann or some other flunky) never would have allowed it. The rubble was still piled high. The Battle of Berlin had proven to be the most costly battle in terms of lives for the Americans – over 2,000 combat fatalities. Of course, of the 1.5 million defenders, there was no accurate total on deaths. Suffice to say that number had been in the hundreds of thousands. When initial American armored probes into the city had been roughly handled, the US had backed off, and sent in the USAF. B-52s, A-10s, F/A-18s, F-15s, F-16s, B-1B, B-2 Stealth; these were the litany of names that spelled death for Berlin and the Nazis. And, after the idiocy of THULE, it was only strong American pressure that kept Churchill from gassing the city. Guderian arrived at his destination; a small dark door in a ruined apartment block; no different than a thousand other blocks in ruined Berlin. He knocked once, feeling the cold of the door even through his glove. After a moment, the door opened, revealing a man dressed in the latest Berlin fashion; filthy clothes. The man eyed Guderian, and then beckoned with one hand. Guderian entered, and the man glanced furtively down the length of the street before firmly shutting and barring the door. "You're late, General." The man said, picking up a lit candle, and leading Guderian into the freezing gloom of the building. A ghost of a smile touched Guderian's lips. "You are mistaken. The name is simply Herr Guderian. There is no German Army any more, and therefore, I could hardly be a General, could I?" Guderian laughed briefly at his own joke. "As for the lateness, well, I apologize; the Americans keep an eye on me now." The man grunted, and continued to another door. This one led to a stairway down, which Guderian followed to another door. The guide knocked again, and a tiny hatch in the door opened. A pair of cold blue eyes regarded both the guide and Guderian, before it closed, and the door opened. The guide gestured again, and Guderian entered the room. A single naked bulb lit the interior – a former basement storeroom. A rough wooden table and several chairs were in the room, along with several men Guderian knew, if only by reputation. His eyes widened in shock. Guderian had been captured several months ago, and held in Hamburg, after that city's fall. His American captors had treated him well enough, but had been closed-mouthed about his eventual fate. They had shared the original history with him, and he had read of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals set up in 1946. Now, the Americans had reconvened it, and Guderian had been able to help it but to wonder if he was slated for his own trial. However, two weeks ago, the Americans had moved him to Berlin. Rather than a prison, they had put him (with several other captured German civil and military authorities) into a converted hotel. His daily movements were unhindered, but he was told to be in the hotel by nightfall. Yesterday, Guderian had gotten an odd message via a close-mouthed hotel steward; a meeting at a certain location in Berlin at a certain time, and his presence was requested. Guderian hadn't thought long; he'd decided to attend it. There was always the chance that it was some form of assassination attempt, but Guderian doubted it; besides he was bored. Now, Guderian faced several men in uniform. He recognized Bernard Montgomery of Great Britain and General LeClerc of the French Army, and knew General Crerar of the Canadian Army personally. He had never met Marshall Koniev of the USSR or General Badgolio of Italy. Additionally, he saw several others – presumably translators. Guderian stood for a second looking at the various men in the room. He hadn't known what to expect, and this certainly wasn't it. He managed, however, to sound fairly composed. "Good afternoon, Gentlemen. What can I do for you?" Monty indicated a chair, and Guderian sat. All the military men did, with translators close at hand. Guderian eyed all of the men. Koniev and Monty glared with open hostility - at Guderian and each other - while LeClerc and the Italian regarded Guderian with wariness. Guderian could not imagine for the life of him what they were all doing here together. Koniev opened the conversation. "Are we secure here? Can the damned Americans hear us?" The Soviet Marshall addressed the Canadian, Crerar. Crerar shrugged. "I don't think they can hear us. My men swept the whole building and found nothing." Monty chimed in. "Their listening devices are devilish, and tiny. How can we be sure?" Crerar shrugged again. "The man in charge of my team spent some time at the Americans' CIA headquarters in Langley. He did get a chance to view some of their – ‘Bugs' – they're called. He knows as well as anyone from this time what they look like." Another shrug. "Besides, the Americans haven't bugged the whole city, and they have had no reason to come here. The rubble will muffle our sound, and no one knows we're here." LeClerc looked sour, but nodded at Crerar. "I think he's right. Our best defence is that the Americans have no reason to suspect that we are all here." Guderian spoke. "And why gentlemen, are you here? More to the point, why are any of us here?" Monty looked at the German general, distaste in his eyes. "Because of you, General. The Americans won't let you leave Berlin, and all of us are here for the Potsdam Conference anyway, so this was the time our governments decided that we should be here." Stranger and stranger, thought Guderian, their governments are sponsoring this little chat. Very strange, given the US troops massing on the Soviet border, and that Canadian and British troops were massing with them. There was every possibility that Koniev would soon find himself at war with Montgomery and Crerar. "Me?" asked Guderian. "Why me? I'm not even a general anymore. Besides, I believe that the Americans have a slot reserved for me in Nuremberg-" "They don't." Crerar cut off Guderian. "Actually, the Americans do have plans for you – but they aren't to put you in jail." Guderian felt a wave of relief flow through him. He was careful not to let it show. "Oh?" "Actually, General, they have an offer to make you at the end of this month." Montgomery spoke. He nodded at Crerar. "General Crerar and I are privy to their plans. They intend to reconstitute a small German Army, and plan to ask you to be in charge of it." Guderian felt surprise again, and it showed. LeClerc smiled humorlessly at him. "Yes, General. You. Apparently, in the original history, you were in charge of the German Army in 1945, and had the good sense to be sacked by Hitler, thus making you a ‘good guy' in American eyes. Additionally, sir, you enjoy a reputation as a fine field commander with the US military, so the Americans feel confident you'll do here as well, in charge of what they're planning to call the Bundeswehr. It will be quite limited in scope; from what we hear no more than six divisions, but an army none the less." Guderian felt a surge of different emotions run through him; relief, pride, excitement, anticipation, and finally a bit of disappointment at the Versailles-like limitation of the German Army. "I – I thank you for sharing that with me, sir. But I still fail to see what it is we are doing here." Montgomery stood, and placed his hands behind his back. He paced for a minute, and then looked at Guderian. "You have an advantage, sir, that none of us do. Two of them, actually." Guderian did not respond. "You see, " Montgomery continued, "this new United States represents, well, something no one else in the world is quite prepared to deal with." Guderian snorted. "Certainly I understand that. And I would point out, I understand that as the target of this new United States, something no one else here has been." Guderian didn't count the Italian, Badgolio, or even look at him. Certainly Italy had not suffered as Germany had. "Yes, quite." Said Montgomery. "Yet, it seems that all of us share one thing, General. A reorganization of the world order on terms not of own making." Guderian raised an eyebrow. "Oh yes, " broke in LeClerc, "they certainly talk a good game. But in the end, they have both carrots and the sticks, as it were. They have technology beyond our dreams, and wealth to support it. Their ideas are – are well, Alien, almost." LeClerc reached into a pouch, and brought out a folded map. He spread it out on the table, and Guderian recognized enough of the English on it to read the year – 2001 – and realize that it was from the future. Guderian's eyes lingered over it; noting the truncation of Germany, and the break-up of the USSR. "Look at this, " LeClerc continued, "the parts I've marked in blue are the French Empire in 2001 – the parts in red, the British". Guderian stared for a moment. These empires were gone; only tiny bits around the world were left. Montgomery spoke quietly. "This is the world they came from. A world they dominated already as a ‘hyperpower'. This world-" he waved a hand at the room and Berlin beyond – "they will not simply dominate – they will own." The British general snorted. "They will not call it ownership of course. They are very clear about that; they will not expand the territory of the United States by even one square inch. But that doesn't matter. Their culture, their technology, and their businesses – they will rule. The next generation – wherever and to whomever they are born – will be American." "The attitude they have displayed most of all, General, is a kind of condescending paternalism, with a dash of disapproval thrown in for good measure. They are very polite – friendly even - and open about their technology. But when it comes to sharing their marvellous weapons, they have proven most reticent." Montgomery shrugged. "They have an absolute monopoly on modern military equipment, and they show no signs of sharing it any time soon." The military disasters that had befallen Germany before the fall of Berlin, and his personal fate afterwards, had dominated Guderian's thoughts. He hadn't really considered the longer-term implications of the arrival of the future United States. He knew their technology was impressive, and, had come to realize that they had been supreme in the world they came from. To hear them speak, Britain, France, and Germany were allies – some might even say partners, albeit junior ones – in an alliance called NATO. Russia was shattered – a dead empire of declining population and importance. Japan was an economic powerhouse, but a military pygmy, firmly subordinated to Washington. Crerar spoke. "So that is what we face. The break-up of the European empires, the universal rights of all people, regardless of race or culture " LeClerc snorted at this, his eyes locked on Algeria on the map. "and finally capitalism ruled from New York and Washington." Guderian thought of shattered Germany. "I frankly don't see how this impacts me or Germany. Or what you can do about it right now." "Nothing. We can do nothing about this." LeClerc gave a Gallic shrug. "They have power, we have none. We must go along with them." He stared off at a point over the table. "For now." Montgomery looked at the German. "You remember, Herr General, I said you had two advantages over the rest of us?" Guderian nodded. "Well, here's what they are. First, unlike all of us, your country will have a large American military presence for quite some time to come." "I fail to see that as an advantage." said Guderian. LeClerc smiled humorlessly. "But of course it is, General. Unlike Germany's occupation of my country, the Americans do not intend to loot Germany; primarily because you have nothing at all they would want. No, they will secure the country, use it as a base to keep an eye on Europe and the Middle East, eradicate the remains of the Nazi government, and, with our help, establish a new government for Germany." Guderian's brow furrowed. "I thought this conference meant you were their enemies now." There was laughter, and then Montgomery spoke. "Only an idiot would make themselves the Americans' enemy, General. No, we are not their enemies. Merely – concerned – I would say, yes concerned about the future. In no way would we oppose them openly." "No general, not enemies. But back to that occupation. The Americans intend to rebuild your country. Part of this is simply sympathy on their parts, and that is how they portray it to their press. However, a much more concrete reason is that the Americans need a market for their goods, and a strong German – and European – economy is the quickest way to that. "No, General Guderian, we are not their enemies. However, the first advantage of which spoke is this: The Americans intend to rebuild Germany's Army from their own obsolete equipment. Older weapons and vehicles removed their National Guard arsenals and such." Guderian was silent for a moment while this sank in. "Surely they will not give us anything that is dangerous to them-" Montgomery was shaking his head. "Of course not, General. The equipment you get is completely obsolete in their eyes – weapons and vehicles scrounged from the bottoms of their arsenals from the 1960s and 1970s, meant as a stop-gap while Germany's own industries recover. Completely obsolete to them." "Decades ahead of what we have." Said LeClerc softly. Guderian stared. "Surely they are planning to equip you, their allies with similar technology-" "No." said Crerar. The Canadian shrugged. "They say that there's no need; that war in the future will be eliminated or non-existent. They recommend that we simply disband our militaries to invest in upgrading our civilian economies. Needless to say, our elected civilian leadership is happy with this, as are most people." Koniev spoke. "Simply put, General, no matter what they give, you won't be allowed to use it aggressively; firstly the German government that the Americans are putting into place won't be like the Nazis at all; secondly, they will maintain their own military to crush anything you attempt." "So, if I understand you gentlemen, Germany will have a small army equipped by Americans capable of defeating any 1943 opponent, but not allowed to do anything with it." Nods all around. "And this were you come in, general." Said Montgomery. "The two advantages; US military occupation of Germany, and then a US-equipped German army will provide you with access to far more military equipment than we. We want you to share that with us." "I'm sorry?" "We want you to actively and secretly share advanced American technology with us." Guderian was silent for a moment. "And even if I could, why should I?" He stared at Koniev. Crerar spoke. "You are of course familiar with the conference going on down the way in Potsdam?" Guderian nodded, and the Canadian continued. "The Americans are deciding, among other things, they face of the new Europe. National boundaries, ethnic movements, and the like. While the Americans are deciding these issues, it is odd that they don't actually have much of a stake in them." Guderian raised an eyebrow. "Oh, to be sure, the Americans have their own domestic reasons to care; ethnic voting blocs and the like." Montgomery said. "However, in the end, no one domestic group can influence the Americans to the extent that we can. Quite simply, the American State Department is out of its time. It has no local experts, and their man in charge, Mr. Powell, is relying on us to help dictate the terms of this new Europe." Understanding dawned on Guderian. "I see. And in return for my agreement to this proposal, you will present a case favorable to Germany?" "Precisely." Guderian furrowed his brow. "And why are there no diplomats here now? Why are soldiers doing this?" Koniev spoke. "A new and wonderful term our American friends have taught us – plausible deniability. If this blows up on us – if the Americans find out, then our governments just shrug, fire us, and say ‘we didn't know'". Guderian frowned again. "I see." Guderian tried to buy time to think. "Even if I were so inclined to accept, eventually I will have to answer to a civilian authority." Crerar spoke, "A difficult position, yes." The Canadian stood. "However, I would think that the prospect of a Germany whose Eastern border was not on the Oder would be sufficient." Guderian stared at the Canadian. He knew the strings to pull to get to Guderian. Then Koniev came into view, and Guderian's back stiffened. "I'm very sorry, gentlemen, but I can not view sharing advanced military equipment with Stalin. He is a lunatic as bad as Hitler, and-" Koniev burst out laughing. "Oh, my dear General Guderian, Comrade Stalin does not know that I am here." Guderian looked confused. "I thought that you said that the governments-" Montgomery gave an uncomfortable-sounding cough. "Marshall Koniev is attending this conference at the behest of certain – elements – of the Soviet government. Chairman Stalin is not aware that he is here." Guderian's eyes widened a bit. Montgomery continued. "As a matter of fact, General, we have reason to believe that the Soviet Government may soon undergo a bit of an evolution." Koniev broke in. "You see, General, I watched the Americans' war from Harwich, and I assure you that no sane man would defy them. Comrade Stalin seems bent on a course of defiance, and the safety of the revolution dictates that adjustments be made." Guderian stared at Koniev, but addressed Montgomery. "I see. What, precisely, are you prepared to offer?"
Part B. Leadership changes. Potsdam, March, 1943 (2003).
Colin Powell was surprised at how well things were going. The squabbling was to be expected of course, but the rough outline of post-war Europe was emerging. The only real non-Soviet sticking point was Poland. Powell was amazed at how – well, nice – to Germany the French, British and Italians were being. The Poles were, predictably, outraged at the idea of German retention of Silesia, and Powell didn't know why their former allies, the British, were being so favorable to Berlin. The truth of the matter was, however, that Powell had little attention for Poland. The Soviets were being completely intransigent, and war was clearly brewing between the US-led allies, and the Soviet Union. The conference room was large, ornate and filled with delegates, availing themselves of the refreshments the US security detachment provided. There was quite a bit of milling about because, as usual, the Soviet delegation was late. Powell didn't know if it was grandstanding, simple stubbornness, or to try to convince others here that the Soviets were a viable military power to compete with the Americans. If so, it wasn't working. Not one country sided with Moscow. Powell was distressed at the absence of any Asian delegates. Asia was a mess into itself, and a conference in Honolulu was planned for July. It seemed the Chinese embassies – both of them – were up to something, and Powell could only hope the CIA could keep a lid on it while the US moved to stabilize Japan. Additionally, the hopes and aspirations of Vietnam, Indonesia, and India were taking center stage as 2002 citizens of those countries viewed the Imperial masters through the lens of the 21st century. Powell turned as a commotion arose behind him. General Buchanan, his military liaison was speaking into a sat phone with tones that indicated something was up. Buchanan looked up and said one word – "Moscow" – quietly. Before Powell could inquire further, the door to conference room opened, and the Soviet delegation entered. Something in their manner made Powell look up. Rather than moving to his seat, Molotov walked over to Powell directly. A translator appeared with him. Powell looked at the Soviet Foreign Minister. Molotov cleared his throat. "I must ask for an indulgence sir." "Oh?" "Yes. I must request a temporary recess. It seems that there has been some trouble in Moscow." Powell frowned. "What kind of trouble?" Molotov looked uncomfortable. "It seems that certain counter-revolutionary elements of the Soviet internal security services attempted a coup against the Center." Powell raised both eyebrows. Molotov continued. "The conspirators were of course defeated, but I regret to say that they wreaked considerable havoc." A deep sigh. "I must regretfully report that Chairman Stalin was killed in the confusion." It got very quiet in the American delegation. "I see," said Powell. "I am in a difficult position sir, " Molotov continued, "and must ask for a recess to consult the new leadership of my country." "And who is in charge of the USSR?" "General Georgi Zhukov has assumed the chair position until the Politburo can convene." "I see." Said Powell. "And you expect this will impact Soviet positions on the issues we are discussing?" "Yes." Powell sighed. So even the Soviets were going to come on board.
Part C: Skip, the alien space bat. Washington DC, April 1943 (April, 2003).
President Bush was in an upbeat mood as he entered the Oval Office with Colin Powell. The Potsdam Conference was over, Stalin was dead, and the economy was turning around. The strategic situation was stabilizing- Bush froze mid-stride at the sight of a monster behind his desk. It was a huge bat-like beast, vaguely man-shaped, but with leathery-looking black wings, and a demonic face. Glowing red eyes regarded the US President from beneath a bony brow, and two horns at least a foot long each sprang from the beast's forehead. It must have been 9 feet tall, and had somehow managed to fit itself – and look completely at ease while doing it – in Bush's chair, behind his desk, with clawed talons/feet up and resting on the blotter on the desk. A secret service agent caught sight of the beast, and drew a gun while trying to leap to cover Bush. He froze – literally stopped all movement – and hung suspended in mid-leap, in mid air. The agent's eyes darted furiously as his brain to process the impossibility of being suspended motionless in midair. "Good Afternoon, Mr. President," the being spoke. His voice was surprisingly mellow for such a huge and monstrous-looking being. Later voice analysis by the NSA would suggest a lifetime spent in Southern California. Bush managed a croak. Both he and Powell were also immobile, though Bush could at least speak. "What's the matter sir, cat got your tongue?" The being asked. "Who – who are you? The being stood, and moved around to the front of the desk. He smiled – a truly horrible sight – and spoke again. "My own name for myself, you would find impossible to pronounce. However, for the duration of this discussion, you may call me ‘Skip'." "Skip?!?" Skip shrugged massive shoulders. "It'll do for now. Besides, my agent loves it." Bush was trying to process what was happening, so Powell spoke. "Who are you, Mr. Skip, and what do you want?" Skip looked at the US SecState. "Just Skip, no ‘mister' needed. Well, let's get the obvious out of the way. I'm an alien. As in, not from this planet." "Why can't we move, and how did you get in here?" Bush had found his voice. Skip stared at the US President. "Well, gosh, I would have thought the whole ‘Alien' thing would have given you a clue that ‘hey, maybe this guy Skip, in addition to his stunning good looks and suave sense of style, has command of some technologies that we don't'" Neither man spoke. Skip placed his clawed hands behind his back, and wings, and sighed deeply. "OK, clearly I have to make this simpler. First of all, despite that fact that you can't move, and no one else will be coming in here until I leave, all of the recording devices that monitor this room, both visual and audio, are picking everything up. I figured Powell would be enough to verify this little chat we're having, but that should help. Secondly, I guess you've noticed the little temporal displacement that took place a year or so ago?" Bush stared blankly. "Huh?" Skip closed his eyes and counted backwards from ten. "The US being back in the 1940's – you recognized that?" "Yes". "Well, I represent the organization that was responsible for that act." Powell's face bulged with fury. "Do you have any idea of the damage you've done, the lives you've shattered, the-" Powell's voice shut off, and Skip waved one massive hand. "Gee, like I care. Look, I'm acclimated pretty well, but let's not forget the whole ‘Alien' thing I mentioned earlier. Completely different value set, OK? Individual human lives don't mean squat to me, or those I work with, and won't until you've earned it." "Why? Why did you do this?" Bush asked. Skip blinked rapidly. "Wow, an intelligent question. And just when I thought all was lost. Well, that's why I'm here. To explain why. And to assure you of something else. This will not happen again. No more displacements. This is the world, now, and you're here to stay." The alien blinked. "Or is until you bozos figure out how to do it on your own, which ain't likely in the near future." Skip sat down on a couch. He reached behind his back, and pulled out a cigar. He struck a match against Bush's desk. He puffed several times on the cigar, and then glanced at his three human visitors. "Do you mind if I smoke – actually, who cares if you do mind? It's not like you can stop me." Skip leaned back, and crossed his legs. He inhaled on his cigar, and blew a perfect smoke ring. "Ahhh. Nothing beats a Cuban." He chuckled. "Cute trick with the Israelis down there. That got some laughs, I gotta tell you. You should let Fidel try out for baseball." He stared at the ceiling for a minute and then spoke. "OK, clearly we're now past the whole ‘we're not alone in the universe thing'. I mean, that was arrogant beyond belief. Also, I'm not two million years old, so clearly FTL – you can as NASA what ‘FTL' means – is possible, though probably not for you for a while." More puffing on the cigar. There were no ashtrays in the Oval Office, and, after glancing around for one for a moment, Skip shrugged and simply flicked the ashes on to the carpet. "One of the things we like about your species is your capacity to dream – fantasize if you like. Now, let's face it, most of the fantasies that aren't prurient sexual desires are religious mumbo-jumbo and other superstition, but sometimes something interesting comes out. Your capacity to believe in a universe beyond what you can touch, but still governed by rationality. Rare, but there." Skip looked at them. "The universe, and all species in it are governed by rational scientific laws, gentlemen. Humanity has discovered some of these, but many more are out there. It is believed, by my organization that in due course, Humanity would have discovered those laws, made use of them, and – well, let's just say become more than what you are now." More puffing. "Now, I'm actually going somewhere with all of this crap, believe me. There are other races out there, as should be obvious to even you. Some of these have sets of cultural or racial values that are completely different from your own. One of these races is local, in a galactic sense of the word. And they know about you." "This race is, well, if you about them you would say that they are vile. And hey, they are. They've also targeted you. They're not overfond of competition, and your rate of scientific and cultural advance is a whole lot faster than theirs. Additionally, for now at least, they're more technically advanced. If left alone, we figure you two would've blundered into each other at some point or another. Predictions were that you'd win; believe it or not this other race can be even more pig-headed than humans; but it would be a tough fight. In the end, a war against that race, fought mostly in your solar system, would've resulted in a politically unified Earth, with technological development spurred by the conflict." Bush and Powell still couldn't move, but the shock registered in their eyes. Skip waved his massive clawed hand, scattering more cigar ash over the Oval Office. "Probably. Of course, maybe you'd just get your butts kicked; and these guys put the gen in genocide, if you catch my drift." Skip scowled; a terrifying sight. "But something went wrong." More puffing. "Certain – elements – of my organization decided, for a variety of reasons I'm not gonna go into right now, that this other species needed a leg up. They utilized this localized time-travel capability we have to knock these guys back in time; not much, but enough to make the odds from about 90-10 in your favor to more like 50-50. Part II of their little plan was to make that 50-50 about 10-90 against, but we intercepted that before it happened." "What was that?" Powell could speak again. Another dismissive wave from Skip. "Oh, they were gonna send some lunatic from Tampa – Mike or Mark or something – it started with an ‘M'- back to 1942 instead. This loser is a Nazi sympathizer, and any disruption there could have been awful. Oh, the Nazis weren't gonna win, but enough advancement from this idiot, and your economic and cultural development would have been slowed down. By the time we caught up with this, the – let's call them entities – in question had already started the time displacement procedure. We decided to kill two birds with one stone, and simply equalize the earlier part of their plan. Viola, you guys get a one-way ticket to 1942." "Why didn't you simply reverse what had happened to this other species, " asked Powell. "Yeah, that would have been easier, and more moral, but hey, this was already paid for, and a lot more fun. I gotta say" - Skip was chuckling now – "that some of the things that have happened since you got here have been a hoot. I mean, come on. The whole British Empire is on the brink of collapse –Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet. And who'd ever though the USSR would be brought low by – well, never mind." Powell was thinking of shattered lives, combat losses, aliens, and rebuilding Europe. "You know, I don't think this has been funny at all. In fact, I think that this whole childish attitude –" Powell's mouth kept moving, but no sound came out. Skip stood, and waved his arm with a certain airy indifference. "You say Potato, I say Pototo. Look, I've already explained, I don't give a crap." A deep draw on the almost-depleted cigar, and a sigh. "This world is yours, gentlemen. Your particular nation state has the power to do what it will. What you choose to do from now on out is entirely up to you, but I might think that a little unity in the face of a genocidely-inclined enemy to be a spur. We're out now; your destiny is you own." There was a flash of orange, and a bright light from Skip's eyes. Bush, Powell, and the Secret Service agent all involuntarily closed their eyes, and then they could move. Which was unfortunate, as the agent's flight resumed, and he crashed into Bush. The Oval Office was suddenly flooded with security as Bush and Powell looked around. Apart from a small scent of brimstone, and a mostly used Cuban cigar burning on the carpet, Skip was gone.
Thanks, it was a lot of fun.