The state of TIAH
December 18th, 2006
Alternate Historian's Note: Stephen Payne provides the alternate history as we begin 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 1946, Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE DSO and Bar DFC and Bar FRAeS DL LegH CdeG RAF is informed by guards at Nuremberg that he should prepare himself for execution on Christmas Eve. He commits his remaining time to writing a robust defence of the controversial Big Wing theory, an aggressive policy of assembling large formations of defensive fighters north of London ready to inflict maximum damage on the massed German bomber formations as they flew over South East England. History records that the leaders of Fighter Command Air Marshal Hugh Dowding and Air Vice Marshal Keith Park had instead chosen careful husbanding tactics, contributing in no small part to the British defeat in the air war at the hands of the more aggressive Luftwaffe. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-
in 1982, Herr Major Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the famous World War 2 Stuka dive-bomber pilot, dies in Rosenheim, Grossdeutschland. Rudel is famous for being the most highly decorated German serviceman of the war. He was awarded Germany's highest military decoration, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Rudel flew 2530 combat missions and successfully attacked many tanks, trains, ships and other ground targets, claiming a total of 2000 targets destroyed - including 519 tanks, a battleship, two cruisers and a destroyer. He also shot down 9 aircraft. Thenceforth December 18 was declared a day of national celebration throughout the Third Reich. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-
in 1990, former Minister of Defence Michael Heseltine receives an odd visitor at his Member of Parliament's surgery in Henley-upon-Thames. The man gives Heseltine an envelope which he opens later that afternoon. A solitary piece of paper has a black and white photograph of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President George Bush and a number of senior officials including Secretary of State James Baker. Cut-out newspaper letters below spell out “All of them witches”. Heseltine laughs nervously. -entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!-
The table held more than enough food for everyone. Jake and Janice were already digging in as Steph and Kevin sat down. The kids had been more polite, waiting for their mother before serving themselves. Everyone piled their plates with food, especially Janice, who told Steph, “This looks great, Steph. I haven't had any real food since the day before yesterday.”
Steph raised an eyebrow at Jake, who just shook his head.
Kevin just took one chicken-fried steak, a small dollop of corn and potatoes, and a roll. He ate small bites of the food, but didn't seem very interested in it. He did tell Steph, who was seated just to his left, “This is great, Steph.”
She beamed at him, and her smile lightened him up a bit. He tucked into the food a little more enthusiastically. Janice, meanwhile, was grabbing a second steak. “Yeah, Steph, it's awesome.”
“Glad you like it,” she said, laughing at Janice's appetite. The kids were pretty healthy eaters, too, but Janice was shoveling it down.
George, who had placed himself next to his father, asked, “So, dad, did you see any dead bodies in Waco? Or zombies?”
“I sure felt like a zombie, gettin' up as early as I did,” Jake said, looking at Janice and Kevin. Kevin looked down at his plate, but Janice looked over at Jake.
“You need to tell them,” she said to Jake.
Kevin looked up sharply, but Jake just nodded. Kevin asked, “Is that a good idea, Sergeant?”
“No, but they're sharin' the same risk we are. They deserve to know.”
“What do we deserve to know?” Steph felt a twinge at the bottom of her stomach. She looked at her three guests suspiciously now. “What is it, Jake?”
“I don't know if the kids should hear this, Steph.” Jake looked at his son and daughter, who looked back at him apprehensively.
“Well, you've already scared 'em, they might as well know why.”
“Oh, for God's sake,” Janice said, throwing down the fourth roll she had picked up. “There wasn't any nuke in Crawford. The president is very much alive, this whole emergency thing is a big fraud, and somebody may be after us.” She picked her roll back up and tore a big hunk off with her teeth.
Steph looked at Jake, who couldn't meet her eyes, then over at Kevin, who nodded acknowledgment of what Janice had just said. “We all saw the ranch,” he muttered, but the table was so silent that every word was heard clearly. “I saw him walking around like nothing was going on. Like it was just another day.”
Steph was looking out the window at her neighbors' house. “The Johnson's,” she whispered. “Those poor people killed themselves, and it was all over a... a hoax?” Kevin nodded and laid his hand on top of hers. “And, what was that about somebody bein' after you?”
Jake looked at Joan and George. “I don't know if y'all want to hear this,” he said to them.
“I saw Mr. Johnson's body, dad,” Joan told him. “I want to hear more.”
George, though, looked a little sick. “Can I be excused?”
“Sure, baby,” Steph said, going over to him and hugging him tightly. She reached a hand out to Joan, who took it in both of hers. Jake looked on awkwardly; Janice thought that she saw his arms reflexively move toward his ex-wife and children, but he restrained himself. After a moment, Steph let go of George, and he ran from the room. She sat down next to Joan and hugged her tightly. There were tears in their eyes as they turned back to the others and Steph said, “All right, tell us everything.”
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