Just another Jewish Canadian alternate history buff. If you're a fan of alt-hist, you've come to the right place.
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September 27, 2014
There’s a blurry photograph of a concrete box inside the file, snapped from above by a high-flying U-2 during the autumn of ‘61. Three coffin-shaped lakes, bulking dark and gloomy beneath the arctic sun; a canal heading west, deep in the Soviet heartland, surrounded by warning trefoils and armed guards. Deep waters saturated with calcium salts, concrete coffer-dams lined with gold and lead. A sleeping giant pointed at NATO, more terrifying than any nuclear weapon.
After a few minutes, Roger’s hand is still. He leaves his cigarette in the eagle-headed ash tray and picks up the intelligence report again. It’s a summary, itself the distillation of thousands of pages and hundreds of photographs. It’s barely twenty pages long: as of 1963, its date of preparation, the CIA knew very little about Project Koschei. Just the bare skeleton, and rumours from a highly-placed spy. And their own equivalent project, of course. Lacking the Soviet lead in that particular field, the USAF fielded the silver-plated white elephants of the NB-39 project: twelve atomic-powered bombers armed with XK-PLUTO, ready to tackle Project Koschei should the Soviets show signs of unsealing the bunker. Three hundred megatons of H-bombs pointed at a single target, and nobody was certain it would be enough to do the job.
And then there was the hard-to-conceal fiasco in Antarctica. Egg on face: a subterranean nuclear test program in international territory! If nothing else, it had been enough to stop JFK running for a second term. The test program was a bad excuse: but it was far better than confessing what had really happened to the 501st Airborne Division on the cold plateau beyond Mount Erebus. The plateau that the public didn’t know about, that didn’t show up on the maps issued by the geological survey departments of those governments party to the Dresden Agreement of 1931 — an arrangement that even Hitler had stuck to. The plateau that had swallowed more U-2 spy planes than the Soviet Union, more surface expeditions than darkest Africa.
Project Koschei DOSSIER - IMAGE FILE 4 of 12: Блок управления Слуга* (“Servitor Control Unit” or SCU) based on T-54 chassis as fielded by 2nd Guards Engineering Brigade. Towed trailer (not shown in image) carries 5K gallons (est.) of acid & alkali formulations which are sprayed & layed down in paths to guide servitor towards target area.
* the tern Слуга (“Servitor”) came into use at 1963 inception of Project Koschei. All documents obtained prior refer to entities as shoggot’im.
“We have some transmissions from the Persian Gulf,” Pickney said. “We can unscramble them. Captain, would you like to listen in?” “Let’s hear them,” Kirchner said. A man’s voice, sounding almost mechanical after the processing of the signal, said, “One Kill that is Kill Seven, One K that is Kill Seven, have smoked the circle; repeat, have smoked the circle. Vampires, fourteen count, range fifty klicks, source Turgenev small platform. Repeat, fourteen vampires. Six down. Sweep two commencing. Smoking circle, up with directed fry, nine down, up with knives, eleven down. Three vampires, twenty klicks. Priests out. Priests and vampires engage. Advising salamander crews. Starfish launched. Sea Dragons alerted. Two vampires, six klicks. Sweep three commencing. Foaming now. Short eyes out, blades out, Guardians out, knives inboard.” A pause. “Two vampires, three klicks.” Another pause, then, softly, “Good-bye, Shirley.” “That’s the cruiser House,” Kirchner said quietly, rubbing his eyes with his hands. “She’s gone.”
A selection of photo-plates from the 1925 edition of Adolf Schicklgruber’sMotivierung für die Massen - Rede und Geste für den professionellen und Laien gleichermaßen (komplett mit Bildern) (Motivation for the masses - speech and gesture for the professional and amateur alike (complete with pictures)) - an instructional guide which he originally self-published soon after his discharge from the German Army.
Making full use of newly emergent mass media, Schicklgruber - often described in the world press as “Weimar’s answer to Dale Carnegie" - played a significant role in helping Germany’s citizens cope with the Great Depression.
* Besides his best-selling books and frequent public appearances, Schicklgruber also hosted “The Triumph of the Will” - a popular weekly radio program where he dispensed tips on improving one’s health, both physical - he was a vociferous advocate of vegetarianism and giving up tobacco - and mental.
The February sunlight changed the spring water to urine in Dr. Plotner’s decoctions. Spiking the prisoner’s drinks with mescaline and filling logbooks for dark men with double lightning bolt insignia while dreamers in Berlin seek the chimera of Total Control, mirror image of the philosopher’s stone.
Dr. Plotner returns to his measurements with a dreamy expression . . .
The guards select a subject, an “intellectual” Dr. Plotner had said. (A disgusting term applied to a Jew.) A middle-aged rabbi. Abram Virag, a student of the Kabbala and a translator of the Midrash.
Abram expects death as they hustle him through the gates of the fenced-off complex. The last few weeks had been the “aviation” series and the screams had penetrated into the dusty exercise yards.
Abram sits waiting in a small room warmer than any place he’s been in months. Warm sweet tea, the ever-present swastika flag, isolation.
Dr. Plotner enters with a smile and a notebook. Hands Abram the notebook. Write an essay on camp life. The Doctor sits across from him writing an essay of his own with frequent references to his wristwatch.
Abram doesn’t question. He writes - in Yiddish, perhaps a small act of defiance - and drinks tea. The colors sharpen in the room, become unbearably intense. Abram is distracted by motion in the window. Someone dancing in the camp. Dancing?
A green tall warty man dancing freely. Dancing with gold and blue lights rising out of the ground. The Gestapo ignores him.
The Doctor looks different - his face flat and Aztec, his pen an obsidian blade.
The dancing man wears a talisman, the ten-orbed Tree of Life. A fellow Kabbalist. His eyes deep and gold like gems from the walls of Solomon’s temple.
The walls of the room shrink away from Abram. He stands with the dancing man outside the building.
Mescalito points at the building. Abram turns and the February sunlight becomes amber. Abram picks up a lump of amber containing Dr. Plotner, a dark segmented insect.
CBS’s Lowell Thomas, one of six top newsmen chosen to cover Task Force Victory - the 1953 airborne operation to destroy the Soviet A-bomb stockpile deep in the Ural Mountains - made this recording as he, and others, were flown out to safety.
…At the Tel Aviv air base, they had assigned me to a transport due to land the moment UN paratroopers seized the Soviet flying field. Our plane carried engineering specialists and nuclear physicists. Their job: to draw the teeth of the Soviets’ last remaining A-bombs in the subterranean tunnels of the Ural Mountains a mile or two from the airfield.
I rode up front with the pilot, Captain Glen Hastings, of Elmora, Pennsylvania. Behind us, stretched out to the horizon, transports of every description hunched together. You had to queue up to get into the USSR this morning. Our first glimpse of action over the Urals: the terrifying air battles between Red and UN jets. On the outcome, our lives depended.
When we reached the area, paratroopers and equipment were still drifting down onto the Soviet air base, which had been blasted by high air-burst A-bombing 15 minutes before. (This leaves no dangerous amount of radioactivity on the ground.)…
The kid beamed and shook his head. He was a handsome pug, this long-legged hobo. He’d have done good in the movies before they went to hell. Not really a kid, either. His name was Jimmy Stewart.
They were up around the fire that burned most nights in the middle of Agry. It’d been a ghost town five years ago, when Johnny came to get away from the G-Men. Now its population was up to gold rush numbers.
As American servicemen were poured into the so-called Holy War in Mexico, more and more kids drifted in. Inverting W.C. Fields’ catch-phrase, the draft-protesters cried ’give this fucker an even break’. Nearly a million young men disappeared from the record books. They aped Henry Fonda and Woody Guthrie in Blowin’ Down This Road, gathering in abandoned railroad sidings and backwoods towns. Several states had chosen to tolerate these shadow communities, but there were still Sheriff’s Deputies with baseball bats.
'Don't you want to be a soldier-boy, son?'
'Not in this war, Mr Dillinger. I don't mind what Cárdenas does in his own country. It's not the fight I care for. That one's in Europe and the Pacific.'
Most Americans felt that way. The war was Coughlin’s crusade and plenty, of all political persuasions, wanted out of it. The President was just a jumped-up radio preacher filling the shoes of a martyr. Some wanted America to tend its own garden and win back its lost children; some thought it’d need all its armies for the big war that seemed more likely every day.
In the firelight, Stewart’s face was set. Johnny thought he looked a little like a hero. Hollywood had missed something.
"Oh, ladies and gentlemen - what a tremendous upset! The Navy’s starboard echelon is in total disarray! With this poor showing from the United States in the Synchronized Formation Event, Russia and Japan are the clear leaders. The 1942 Rosendahl Challenge Cup has just turned into a clash between emperors!”
(partial transcript of the National Broadcasting Corporation radio program Dirigible Daily hosted by Herbert Morrison)
Designer Graham demonstrates Winston Churchill’s personal pressure chamber, created to enable him to make high-altitude flights safely
To protect the precious bulk of Winston Churchill in wartime a special one-man pressure chamber was built for the personal plane which carried him many times across the Atlantic and to Casablanca, Moscow and Yalta. Churchill…was warned by his doctors that it was dangerous for a man of his age and physical condition to fly above 8,000 feet. Much higher altitudes sometimes were necessary, however, because of weather and the enemy. The solution was a pressure chamber complete with ash trays, telephone and an air-circulation system good enough to prevent smoke from the ubiquitous cigar from fogging the atmosphere. While pressures within the chamber were kept at the equivalent of 5,000 feet, the prime ministerial figure could loll comfortably like an outsized pearl within a gigantic oyster shell. LIFE Magazine Feb. 10 1947 (via io9)
The cabin pressure of this Xenophone TRUFAX submission to The Alt-Historian has been adjusted for your comfort and safety.