Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hard Times For London

The state of TIAH

September 2nd, 2006

in 1571, London roils with battle as Mectezuma's Aztec army struggles with a combined force of British and French soldiers. Although outnumbered, the Aztec's superior weaponry gives them the advantage, and Queen Elizabeth barely manages to flee Buckingham Palace before it falls to the Aztec guns. At the end of the day, the French general aiding England, Xavier Duchamp, informs the queen that they cannot hold London. Regretfully, Elizabeth abandons her capitol, gathering as many of London's citizens as she can before fleeing to the northeast. When the British and French retreat, Mectezuma orders his priests to prepare a sacrifice for the morning sun of 10 warriors; “For today, Huitzilopochtli has given us this victory in spite of the collapse of our allies and against greater numbers of the English barbarians, and I will give him their hearts as he rises.” This sacrifice, on Buckingham Palace itself, outrages the remaining citizens of London and sparks an underground resistance movement against the Aztecs.

in 1666, London's Pudding Street erupts in flames after a small fire that started in King Charles II's baker's house finds London to be one huge mass of tinder. The conflagration overwhelms the merchants who come to fight it, and when it reaches Thames Street, becomes a raging inferno that cannot be doused. Unable to stop it, the city's people flee as quickly as they can, but most don't run quickly enough. Virtually the entire city is reduced to ashes when the flame finally burns out four days later, and half of its inhabitants, including King Charles II himself, lie dead in the rubble. Charles' brother James assumes the throne of England and moves the capitol to Windsor. A half-hearted attempt is made to rebuild London, but it never gains any ground, and the city that once stood as a Roman outpost and became a symbol of a great nation blows away on the winds of time.

in 1969, fan pressure forces NBC to renew Star Trek for a fourth season, in spite of its low ratings. They move it from the Friday night “death slot” they had placed it in to a more congenial Thursday at 7PM, and, to their great surprise, the series shots up in the ratings. The fourth season is greeted by fans as the show's best yet, and it climbs from the cellar of the Nielson's to the #4 spot. Advertising picks up on the show, and NBC gives it a 5th season. The show hits its stride as critics come aboard, hailing the writing and acting on the series, and Star Trek spends most of season five as the number 1 show on television. Although its creator, Gene Roddenberry, had planned to end the series after 5 years, and even had the show's intro state that the Enterprise was on a “5-year mission,” he was easily convinced to extend that to six, seven and then eight. William Shatner's opening lines were changed from a 5-year mission to “continuing mission.” NBC was more than willing to renew the series for ninth season, but stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan and others were ready to move on to other projects. They did reunite for several feature films later on, and George Takei's character Sulu was given his own spinoff series, Excelsior, in 1976.

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