Land Operations

November 30, 2006

The state of TIAH

November 30th, 2006

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Alternate Historian’s Note: Welcome back from the holidays. If you’re reading this, then you’ve seen the note we managed to put up on the main site about our Blogger problems. We have no idea how long this will take to fix; we have yet to receive a reply from Google about it. Until we do sort it out, we will be posting here. Don’t change your bookmarks yet, but I have to say that WordPress is very nice compared to Blogger, so I am definitely thinking about making this permanent. If you like it, too, email and let us know. In the meantime, be sure to visit out Guest Historian’s, too, when they have a web site they want you to visit. Stephen Payne’s work can be had from Lulu. Thanks for sticking with us!

in 1872, on board the Mary Celeste, Captain Albert Richardson is deeply troubled. His insurance fraud theory disproved, he reconsiders Brigg’s words, which he had dismissed as a cruel deception played upon the former Captain. Fully aware that the cargo has 1701 barrels, and the manifest shows 1700, he determines that barrel #1701 will be opened the very next day. What the hell, the rescue ship is due any day now. –entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context – You’re the Judge!

in 1919, inside the Vatican, Maestro initiates a great council of magicians seeking a final conclusion to the World Crisis. A short and dour individual, his appearance is quite unremarkable except for a single detail. His eyes are almost fully rolled upward, with only a quarter moon of pupil revealed to his fellow magicians. –entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context – You’re the Judge!

in 1941, Axis forces commence land operations in the Mediterranean theatre as the British Eighth Army led by Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery reaches the western border of Egypt preparing to overrun French North Africa. In the Élysée Palace, President Philippe Pétain evaluates his very limited options following the destruction of the French Mediterranean Fleet at Mers-el-Kébir on the “day of infamy” known to the French Union as “deux six un un” (2611). He telephones Brigadier General Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle in Algiers with fresh orders for La Grande Armée Afrique. Monsieur General, the very future of France is at stake – he impressed on de Gaulle. The emphasis was unnecessary, de Gaulle believed that he was the right man in the right place at the right time to reverse the catalogue of disasters that had beset the great nation of France ever since the surrender of Napoléon III at the Battle of Sedan in 1870. “Bring it on” he tells Pétain. –entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context – You’re the Judge!

in 1966, personal assistant Bill Moyers arrives for his 3 o’clock with the President. Without the fearsome presence of his boss to concentrate on, he focuses for the first time on the modifications that have recently been made to the vacant Oval Office. Wood-grain linoleum has replaced the cork floor damaged by Ike’s golf swing. And a soda tap has been installed at the Resolute desk to service Johnson’s near-addition to Fresca, a citrus soft drink made by the Coca-Cola Company. Relaxing momentarily, he follows a drip slowly running down the tap, hitting the floor with a mild fizzle and a wisp of smoke twists up. Moyers leans forward inquisitively and takes a sip from a half-empty cup on the Resolute desk with one eye fixed firmly on the office door. Without warning Moyers is fighting for his life with what tastes like napalm in his throat. Coughing like crazy, a huge hand winds his back, “Shouldn’t drink another man’s fire-water, don’t you know that son?” says a Texan drawl from behind. Two questions drift in the racing thoughts of Moyer’s shrieking mind – what was in the cup? where did the President appear from? –entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context – You’re the Judge!

in 1990, the Israeli Secret Service (Mossad) show Prime Minister Yitshak Shamir pictures of a human body with unmistakeable evidence of alien genetic modification which washed ashore at Salalah in Oman four days before. He immediately sees the connection to the British and US refusal to authorise an Israel attack on the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq. A conventional attack would release biological warfare agents based on Extraterrestrial Technology (ET) into the atmosphere. An opportunist, Shamir immediately decides that the agents will be released, but in the direction of Tehran – defeating both Iran and Iraq, securing his position in history as the guarantor of the State of Israel into the twenty-first century. –entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context – You’re the Judge!

The kitchen wasn’t as messy as he used to leave the one they lived in together, Steph was relieved to see. They left the carton of juice out, and there was a little juice slopped over on the table, but otherwise, everything was spotless. She took a paper towel from the roll above the sink and wiped off the table, then went to the fridge and got out some eggs.
Joan walked in, looking around expectantly. Her face fell when she saw that her mother was alone. “They’re already gone?”
“Yeah. I s’pose they left before dawn.”
Joan nodded and sat down. “Do you think we have school today?”
“I haven’t checked, yet.” She turned on the radio on the kitchen counter and the familiar voice of the emergency lady was telling them that the curfew hours were being lengthened. “I’m guessing no school,” Steph said, cracking an egg over a skillet on the stove.
“Wonder when we’ll go back.”
Steph shrugged. “How long did it take the schools in New York to go back to normal after September 11?”
“I dunno. I think it took a while.”
“Mm-hm.” Steph grabbed the bacon from the fridge and slapped a few strips onto another skillet and started them sizzling. “I guess you’re gonna have a break, then.”
“That’s cool, I guess.”
“I should check in with my job, though. They’d understand about yesterday, but if they let us drive on the roads, now, I should go in.”
“How many people are really gonna be looking for a new house now, mom?”
Steph shrugged. “You got a point, I guess.”
“And,” Joan said quietly, “I’d kinda like it if you could stay with us.”
Steph looked over at her daughter. Joan was tall, like her father, but still so young, and so unready to face the world. She walked over and kissed her on the forehead. “OK, baby. I’ll call in.”
“Thanks, mom.” Joan smiled and held her mother’s hand. The two of them looked at each other for a second, then broke the moment. Steph went back to cooking and Joan got the juice out of the refrigerator.
George stumbled into the kitchen, yawning and stretching. He sniffed the bacon and eggs and said, “Awright.” He got the plates from the cupboard and set the table, then sat down and yawned some more.
“You get enough sleep, Georgie?”
“No,” he said, rubbing his eyes. “Do we gotta go to school?”
“No,” Joan and Steph said in unison.
“Awright,” George said, smiling widely. “I’ll go back to bed after breakfast.”
Steph laughed a little at how easy it was for him to enjoy all this. “Don’t sleep too late, now.” She pulled the eggs off the stove and spooned some onto the plates for the kids, then a little onto a plate for herself. She then took a paper towel, folded it up, then pressed down on the bacon in the skillet, getting it nice and crisp. After another few seconds of frying, she served that to the kids, saving a couple of choice pieces for herself.
As she sat down to join the kids, George asked, “So, dad and that other guy left already?”
Steph nodded. “I guess they had to get goin’ real early. They were gone when I got up.”
That put a damper on the boy’s mood. “Too bad.”
“Yeah,” Steph agreed. Joan looked a little questioningly at her mother, but didn’t say anything. The three ate the rest of their breakfast without talking about the horrible things keeping them in this morning.

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