The state of TIAH
November 8th, 2006
Alternate Historian's Note: November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. In 2004, we produced our novel Warp, and last year we got a start on The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion during this annual event. Both of these novels were based on timelines from TIAH – Warp was based on the Mlosh timeline, and Protocols on the Greater Zionist Resistance timeline. Although we posted numerous links to these novels on Lulu, TIAH didn't post any excerpts from them. We're going to do it a little differently this year. This year, the November posts on TIAH will be excerpts from the novel that is being written by us for NaNoWriMo. We will still have Guest Historian entries – Stephen Payne (who has compiled several and made them available on Lulu for free – just go through the Add to Cart system to get it) has some already written and waiting – so, if you want to make a Guest Post this month, go ahead and send it to us, and it will appear along with our novel post.
in 1872, Gotlieb Gondeschall conducts a routine late evening patrol on-board the brigantine Mary Celeste. At 23, he is the youngest seaman and the only German native amongst the crew. Noticing that the forehatch and the lazarette are both open, youthful rashness takes control and he decides to go and check the volatile cargo of alcohol alone. One barrel rattles mysteriously, emitting a low drumming noise. On deck First Mate Albert C Richardson, startled by a dreadful shriek, races below to find Gondeschall babbling in incomprehensible German. With the assistance of 2nd mate Andrew Gilling, Richardson carries the now catatonic seaman above deck. Unseen below, a second barrel has started to rattle. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-
in 2125, the work of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee of the Reconstructed United Nations continues with the trial of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, more commonly known to twentieth century European History as “Lawrence of Arabia”. The Hussein-Sadat time dilation device is also used to summon traveller and journalist Lowell Thomas for his sensationalized imperial reporting of the Arab tragedy misnamed “the Revolt”. Its unnecessary; the arch-criminal is condemned by the weight of evidence by his own confession in his autobiography “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, another misnomer of the pre-jihad era. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-
On their way back to the house, Steph and the kids saw several National Guard trucks heading into Austin. She half-expected to catch a glimpse of Jake, and the kids both peered into each truck obviously hoping to see their father, but none of the trucks held anyone familiar. They got back to the house through warnings of allowing the Guard to take the road whenever possible, and jumped out of the car as soon as it stopped rolling. “All right, kids, you know what to do.” Joan went in and started assembling jars while George gathered blankets together.
Steph went around the yard, securing everything down that might get blown around. While she was doing this, Vanessa Johnson, her neighbor across the road, walked into the yard. Steph called a cheerful, “All set over at your place, Mrs Johnson?” She looked up at the older woman and was shocked at the ashen, stunned expression on her face. “Mrs. Johnson, what's the matter? Is something wrong with your husband?”
“They... they bombed the president.”
“The president. They blew him up in Crawford.”
Confused, Steph took Mrs. Johnson by the arm and started leading her back across the road. “Look, Mrs. Johnson, maybe you need to get your house ready for the storm or whatever is happening.”
“But, they blew up the president!” The old woman stopped and took Steph by the hand. “When I was in high school, they said we should duck under our desks. They said that would save us from the bomb.”
Steph was really concerned about Mrs. Johnson's sanity, now. She tried to be soothing, saying, “Mrs. Johnson, we gotta get ready here, but let me take you back to your place and we'll get you all safe there, OK?”
“There's no place safe, now,” Mrs. Johnson said, dissolving into tears. “It's just like Richie Mangrem said in high school, desks can't stop the bomb.” She was sobbing, clutching her sides and rocking back and forth.
Steph took her in her arms and stroked her hair to try to sooth her. “Shh, now. It's all right, Mrs. Johnson.” Joan came out of the house, completely puzzled at Mrs. Johnson's state, and Steph waved her over. “Mrs. Johnson, I'm gonna have Joanie take you back to your place, now, all right? I need to get things safe over here.”
“No place safe, now. Bert was right.”
Joan took Mrs. Johnson's arm and led her across the street. Steph went into her own house and started getting water into the jugs and jars that Joan had pulled out. While she was doing this, Joan came running back into the house. “Mom, Mr. Johnson's dead!” Her face was streaked with tears, and her breath came out in gasps.
“Oh, my God,” Steph said, reaching for the telephone. “No wonder Mrs. Johnson was in such a state.” She dialed 911 and put the receiver to her ear. “You didn't leave her over there, did you?”
“Mom, he...” She gulped and tried to gather herself together. “He killed himself.”
Steph nearly dropped the receiver. “Sweet Jesus, what is happening today?”
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