Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Missing Leader

The state of TIAH

December 19th, 2006

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Alternate Historian's Note: Stephen Payne provides the alternate history as we continue the second half of our NaNoWriMo novel. We hope you are enjoying this change in format – let us know how you feel about it in comments or by emailing us. This will be the format of TIAH throughout the holiday season, unless we receive a great outcry about it. Speaking of the Holiday Season, keep in mind those who need help year-round and keep yourselves safe and happy, as well. And, should you feel generous inclinations towards our guest historians, you can visit the sites of those who have separate ones from TIAH; generosity towards us here at the Academy is always appreciated, too, and you can find ways to help us out all over the site. Right now, we'd appreciate a lead on a good day job, but my lovely Co-Historian could also use some more memory on her PC, if anyone feels generously inclined. (It's PC133-style – yes, it's an old machine). Any good wishes you have towards us can be emailed here.

in 1967, Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt is officially presumed dead. On 2 September 2005, the Coroner's finding was that Holt had drowned in accidental circumstances. There were many rumours about Holt's death, such as that he had committed suicide or faked his own death in order to run away with his mistress. In fact he had been seized by justice agents of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee who had returned from 2126 using the Hussein-Sadat time dilation device. Holt subsequently faced charges of inhumanity including the pursuit of sterilization programs against aborigines in the mid-1960s. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-

in 1990, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Defence Michael Heseltine has a vivid recollection of calling British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the day after the sinking of the Argentine Cruiser the General Belgrano during the Falklands Conflict. She was not available, said an assistant, she's “having one of her spells”. OMG. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-

in 2004, back-channel communication between the Vice President-elect and the Swift Boat Veterans continues as they build a case for the early impeachment of President-elect John Forbes Kerry. Just about the only thing that John Edwards agrees with his boss on is that America can "do better". Of course Edwards means “do better” than having his boss assume the Presidency. Regrettably that means Edwards has to seek common cause with these unlikely allies, the Swift Boat Veterans. As a lawyer, he's pretty comfortable now with moral compromise. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-

There was an uncomfortable silence as Janice concluded their story with a description of Miss Raintree's body. Joan looked like she was going to throw up; Steph held a hand over her mouth and tried to hold back the tears that had been pouring down her cheeks. “And, that's when we decided we better get to you.” Janice took a roll from the table and bit into it absently. “Jake has a plan.”
Steph looked over at her ex-husband and he said, “Have the Johnson's family gotten over there yet?”
She shook her head, confused. “No, not with all the traffic and the curfew and everything.”
Jake nodded. “That's what I thought. We need to move y'all over there till we can arrange someplace safer for you to stay.”
“I don't wanna stay over there,” Joan said, starting to cry.
“It's just for tonight, Joanie,” Jake said, reaching out to her. She pulled back from him. “It's the only place they won't know to look for you, cause we haven't mentioned it on the phone or in our email.”
“I don't wanna go there.” Joan repeated, and buried her face in her mother's arms.
Steph patted her head and looked at the three people in front of her. They suddenly seemed very dangerous, even Jake. She wanted to throw them out of her house, but they had entangled her in their plans, now, and she was trapped. She stroked her daughter's hair and soothed her. “Joanie, baby, go get Georgie and tell him to come here.”
“We're not goin' over there, are we, mom?”
Her daughter's pleading look almost melted her heart, but Steph told her, “We have to, Joanie. I don't think we have a choice, now.” She looked over at Janice. “Right?”
Janice nodded, gulped down the piece of bread she was chewing, and said, “Right. You don't wanna end up like Miss Raintree.”
Joan shuddered and hurried from the table. Steph looked over at Kevin. “Couldn't you get us a room in some hotel somewhere?”
“That's what I told 'em,” he said.
“They're probably watching his bank account,” Janice said. “They'll be able to trace any activity from it. That means, he pays for a hotel room, they're gonna want to know who's in it.”
“Great.” She looked over at Jake, and her eyes could have eviscerated him. “Why do you always get me in trouble?”
“It's a gift,” he said, shrugging and smiling weakly. “The bad part is that, come mornin', we're AWOL,” he said, pointing at himself and Kevin. “We can't report in.”
“Why not?”
“Well, if the government's lookin' for us, the last thing we wanna do is walk into a heavily-armed government facility.” Jake's eyes didn't focus on her as he spoke; he was looking at something inside himself. “Looks like I can kiss my career goodbye.” He shook himself out of his reverie and said, “Anyway, that's gonna complicate the whole thing. Once we're AWOL, he becomes a fugitive and they'll probably freeze his bank account.”
Kevin looked over at her glumly. “Easy come, easy go.”

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