Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Macragge1, Aug 20, 2010.
I didn't foresee any leadership roles in this, just a random salvage effort or two
Yes, I had doubt about both countries. I decided on letting them survive in the longer run. Turkey is fairly large and still rather rural. So despite a post-Exchange Turkey losing control over Kurdistan, it might stand better chances than Greece.
I imagine that reconstruction in both places could run along different patterns than in Britain or France insofar as isolated regions, where living conditions have always been dire, would have been "less affected" if not hit directly. From these places, a slow re-organization of these nations could occur very slowly.
I am not sure, but my imagination tells me, that cinema would be quite important again, though for a long time not showing many new films.
But as it is usus in other places, surviving copies of films would be circulated and shown virtually until they fall apart.
As every larger village would probably have the infrastructure to show movies, all that matters is electricity and you provide people 90 minutes of desperately needed distraction.
Reminds me of the scene from A Boy and His Dog.
I wonder if there will be a return to the large scale use of bicycles as a mode of transport for civilians in both the short and long terms? I suspect for non critical but still important movements of people (over short to medium distances) and small loads they would be in quite heavy use. No fuel consumption and maintainable by people without any mechanical knowledge.
Would there be a provision for adopting a standard 'austerity design' from accessible or recyclable materials (such as the flying pigeon design adopted by the Chinese), or not bother and simply rely on scavenged parts?
Totally obscure, but it came across my mind to ask.
Absolutely plausible. A bicycle gives you about as much freedom of movement as a horse - without having to feed it.
I would also like to add that the production of bicycles should be possible again after the initial stages of reconstruction. Their design wouldn't be standardized as in China, but to those of us used to a wide choice of bicycle styles in all sorts of colors, it would appear so.
Depending on the severity of fuel shortages, even police/security/armed forces might in part rely on bicycles for a while.
Not quite. As the British Army found out in WW1 the horse still has better cross country performance than most bycycles. Plus you can't eat a bike if you get into trouble.
Update this week, boys and girls!
Yeah, bikes are only good on roads (which many nations should still have some of) and don't take hills too well. They are vastly superior to walking as a form of transport however.
Does the M1 becomes the world's biggest bicycle lane?
Lovley thought that.
I do have this image of the M1 being full of the rusted carcases of what were once cars and other vehicles. Sort of like the scene in The Last Train.
Looking forward to the update.
If I might make a suggestion, one thing worth incorporating into this TL is the work of the people who OTL went on to found SSTL. Basically in the 70s a bunch of students at Surrey University in Guildford designed and built their own satellite using off the shelf components for a fraction of the cost of existing satellites and then managed to get it launched in 1981 and they then operated it for eight years from their base station in the roof of a tower at the university.
The reason I mention this is because Guildford should be one of those places that avoided severe damage and therefore those students (now graduates) should still be able to contact their satellite which happened to be an earth observation satellite. They would also have completed or near completed construction of their second satellite at the time of the war in this TL so it wouldn't be a stretch of the imagination to envisage the surviving British government to make use of them and their satellites in order to get a clearer picture of the post-war world. The only hitch would be the lack of a launch system, however, Britain had a launch capacity only a few years before the ATL war and it should be possible to launch new satellites if the appropriate resources were allocated to it. Either way, it certainly might make for an interesting spin off part of the TL.
There's more information about these satellite people at: http://www.sstl.co.uk/Downloads/SSTL-Brochure-pdfs/SSTL-25-years-brochure
Also, just like to say, great TL. I'm still only a third of the way in but I'm finding it absolutely fascinating.
Yay, update on its way!
XI - Ghost Town
This town is coming like a ghost town/All the clubs are being closed down
Cannibalism is alive and well in Great Britain. Not in the traditional sense (although grisly rumours abound about this most taboo practice); rather, the country begins to tear itself apart in an attempt to shore up 'reconstruction' efforts. Most notably, the Emergency Works Organisation orders 'the salvaging of useable building materials' from what are euphemistically described as 'the more badly damaged towns and cities'; this is to say, the written-off mass graves of London, Manchester, Birmingham and so forth. The materials from such zones are to be used to repair rest centres, govenment property and military installations in the more 'lightly damaged' areas. As with so many of the EWO's edicts, this plan is easier written down than carried out.
Whilst the level of fallout in these areas is higher than normal, limited exposure is not the kiss of death that it was in the hours and days following the attack (note that most cities were subject to airburst weapons, which produce less fallout than their ground-bursting cousins). Still, this is by no means a healthy environment to work in day by day, a fact that will be evidenced by an dramatic upturn in cancer deaths in the future. This aside, there are more immediate dangers lurking around these new necropoles. The existence of millions of unburied corpses inside these areas provides the perfect breeding ground for Typhoid, a disease which has enjoyed a new resurgence amongst the malnourished, ill-sheltered population of the UK. The simple dangers of a severely damaged urban center are ever-present as well; falling masonry, vanishing floors and the occasional and spectacular discovery of some vestigial gas mains.
As with so many other post-attack efforts, it is logistics that really hobbles these attempts. Building materials, naturally, are difficult to transport in any meaningful quantity - the lack of prime movers and fuel provides a constant headache; the fact that the railway system deteriorates massively the closer one gets to these cities further magnifies this problem. In most of the areas in which this plan is activated, little meaningful 'requisition' is undertaken further than the outlying areas of the targeted zones.
In the North-East Region, this specific edict is not carried out - Newcastle, although far from undamaged, is far from a write-off; conversely, the smaller cities of Sunderland and Middlesbrough, having been quite neatly obliterated, have little to offer by way of useful materials. Still, the North-East's 'volunteers' are far from idle - the A1 motorway, under its new military designation 'STAG' is slowly but surely being cleared; each vehicle is thoroughly searched and scavenged - last minute 'self-evacuees' skipped town with boots full of tinned food and other vital resources; the vehicles themselves have fuel in their tanks and useful rubber on their tyres. Travelling down these roads, one notices the rusting vehicles shoved into ditches on the side of the road are sitting on their metal rims.
After a brief but heated debate within CHANTICLEER, it is decided that Britain will share her intelligence about the Baltic with Sweden, provided that the two Vulcan aircraft are returned along with their crews. Dispatched by air, Whitelaw's end of the bargain consists of what was the most up-to-date intelligence on the area circa the 21st of February, combined with a list of targets in the Baltic area hit by the UK during the Exchange (Konigsberg in Kaliningrad, Vilnius and Siauliai in Lithuania, Dvinsk and Viciebsk in Belarus, Libau, Ventspils (Riga was not hit by the UK) in Latvia, Tallinn, Viljandi (or is is believed, somewhere nearby) and Tartu in Lithuania, as well as Leningrad in Russia proper. The Swedes were left to do the subtraction.
Having received this package, the Scandinavian country gave up the two aircrews, as well as one aircraft. Whilst the second bomber was officially destroyed in an accident involving ammunition handling at a Swedish airbase, those in CHANTICLEER firmly believed that the aircraft was being keenly examined somewhere in the nation's icy interior. Still, pragmatism outweighed consternation and...
The Librarian's little band don't stop running until the gunfire behind them stop running starts sounding more speculative than deadly. Finally, they half-stop, half-collapse in a clearing.
'Well that was...a disaster!' pants the Volunteer, running his hand through his tangled hair. 'What the hell do we do now?' The man started biting his thumb, a childhood tic that had resurfaced recently.
'Don't fucking look at me! You're the one who wanted to do it straight away!'
'Well at least I didn't shoot the fucking MAYOR!'
'The guy was a prick! Did you see what they had in there - do you eat what the rest of us have been eating?!' - tears are beginning to form in the Librarian's eyes.
'Do you have any idea what you've brought down on top of us? There's a man dead back there! You think he'll be the last?'
The Librarian pushes her hair back behind her ear. Another tic, though this one is new. She looks at the ground.
'And you're one to talk about food! Trading it away for fucking...books!? We're not exactly eating like kings, in case you haven't noticed!'
The Librarian is fully crying now, the tears leaving little dark puddles in the scrub. 'I just...I just think...'
The Volunteer opens his mouth to launch another tirade, but ends up biting his fingernail instead.
'Jesus...look, we'll get out of here, and then we'll sort it out, ok?'
The Librarian nods, sullen. The Volunteer signals to the rest of the group, and they quietly move deeper into the woods.
Saracen Three-One-Niner is cris-crossing search area 'CHELSEA', and has been for almost half an hour, and fuel is becoming a concern. Below the pilot, a film camera is rolling, recording the landscape that passes perilously close to the lens.
One more pass.
The mind plays tricks.
Seeing what you want to see.
One more pass.
When the film is examined, there are six frames of real interest. Two figures, half the size of matchsticks, black against the grey of the photograph. One figure has an arm raised. Guten tag.
The Looter shivers a little as he heads into the village. It's by no means the first such village he's been to, but such things apparently take a lot of getting used to.
The first thing he notices is just how quiet it is. Not quiet. Silent. You never really got silence back in the old days - there was always a car nearby or a plane overhead - now, it's different. Without the wind, the Looter is alone with just his footsteps and the crunch of asphalt beneath them.
He's almost starting to like it.
It doesn't take long to make a sweep of the village and pick out the most promising house - all the doors and windows intact. It might have been a nice place - windowboxes, welcome mat, the works.
With a single kick, the Looter removes the eggshell blue door. You wouldn't believe that he once worked in a suit and tie.
Making his way into the kitchen, he glances briefly at the newspaper on the table. The same words in a hundred empty houses.
'FRESH PEACE TALKS HOPE'
Cupboards are thrown open, rifled through. There's very little here - baking soda, half a loaf of bread completely white with mould. The Looter takes a chair at the table, resting his aching feet for a few moments. This is fast becoming a hobby, he thinks, as he tries to work out where the owners might be. No car outside, so they've obviously made a break for somewhere or other - a second home even further inland? Better safe than sorry, he supposes. It must have been late on, he thinks - the paper is dated the morning of the exchange.
Moving upstairs, he scans the bookshelf in what must be the master bedroom, glancing down at a list written in a scrawling but recognizably feminine hand. There's just one match - Dickens, C, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit.
The Looter can't help think that there's probably a reason he couldn't find this in any of his local libraries, but barter's barter. As he places it carefully into a plastic bag and then into a coat pocket, he is aware that his precious silence is being rudely interrupted.
Stepping outside, he hears the little insect motor of a light aircraft long before he sees it, buzzing and banking around the little settlement in the darkening sky.
He doesn't have long to wonder why a plane is burning precious fuel above him; a dozen or so stick figures doing almost-passable impressions of sandanistas shuffle into the village, clinging to the walls and glancing nervously at the sky.
'Well...' the Looter's voice echoes down the empty street, 'fancy seeing you here'.
As the group sleep lightly in a damp attic, the Looter watches flares fly up and burn in the night sky, casting every contour and faraway building into sharp relief.
He'll wake them when the flares get a bit closer, he thinks.
Not to come across as an ingrate but I was hoping for more.
Even so, another sterling effort Macragge. I hope the Librarian gets away.
I have a soft spot for homicidal bibliophiles. As long as it's in a 'good' cause.
As to the Librarian and her group, as I said before she reminds me of my ex-girlfriend, which says something about my ex lol. It'll be interesting to see where they end up (assuming they survive).
Germans (or perhaps remanant NATO or Warsaw Pact troops?)! I can't imagine things are as nice for them as they are for the British, so it will be interesting when we find out more about what remains of Germany. Is there still a war on (i.e. is there actual fighting somewhere in the world)?
Separate names with a comma.