Protect and Survive: A Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Macragge1, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. JjeeporCreepor Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2010
    It's the fallacy at the heart of all Cold War nuclear strategy, I suppose - the impossibility of regulating escalation once the first nukes start flying. Regardless of the precise military circumstances, it seems to me that once one side or the other starts that kind of thing, all bets are well and truly off.
  2. modelcitizen note2self, no ranting ninjas

    Aug 12, 2008
    New Jersey

    it's also the beauty of "Mutual Assured Destruction," which is arguably what kept American and Russian forces from clashing.
  3. Macragge1 Banned

    Oct 18, 2009
    Operation Prospero ends tonight.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  4. Mario Rossi ███▐█▌█▌▌▌▌▌▌▌

    Oct 7, 2010
    Italian Ngorongoro Expedition

  5. iainbhx Fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant Donor

    Oct 23, 2010
    Birmingham, England
    I somehow think not in a good way.
  6. Mario Rossi ███▐█▌█▌▌▌▌▌▌▌

    Oct 7, 2010
    Italian Ngorongoro Expedition
    I agree, even if I remember the RAF officer talkin' about survivors of the mission. I think the plural suggests that at least two members have successfully make return to the UK.
  7. Lemon flavoured British Miami Dolphins fan

    Jun 8, 2010
    Hucknall, Notts, UK
    Yeah, and I'm guessing the commando isn't one of the survivors.

    And off topic, I have 92 posts in this thread, which is nearly a quarter of all my posts outside of the chat forums.
  8. Prospero Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Sounds ominous. Could it be that this cheerful and upbeat timeline is about to take a tragic turn?
  9. Macragge1 Banned

    Oct 18, 2009
    Operation Prospero [10]

    This is the end/ Beautiful friend

    As crass as it seems, the night that I was summoned to CHANTICLEER was indeed a dreadfully stormy one. So fierce were the winds and so frequent was the lightning that the pilot delivering my orders by means of a light aeroplane was unable to return to Corsham for several days (on hearing reports of his expert blind landing on a grass strip, I later recommended him for a commendation). Without either the luxuries of air travel or time to prepare, I was barely able to get dressed before I was ushered into my car as the convoy moved off. Thankfully, it was dark enough that I was not forced to look at any length at the place I was leaving.

    We drove through narrow roads as I tried to make sense of these singular rumours coming out of the North. My thought process was interrupted, however, by a column of police cars and military vehicles that screamed past us at truly phenomenal speed. They did not slow down a jot for the terrain, merely forcing their cars through mud and hedges in order to get past us on this narrow lane. No sooner had the cacophony appeared than the last blue light and the last screaming sound left us.

    Not twenty minutes later and we had caught up. Two police cars blocked the road, sirens still casting weird shapes across the fields and the farmhouse behind them. Outside this lone stone building, torches flashed and orders were shouted. The lone traffic warden guarding the road was pale and panicked as he drew his rifle and ordered us to halt. He was paler and more panicked when I stepped out in my full dress uniform and started walking towards the roadblock; it may just have been my imagination, but I distinctly remember thunder and lightning both hitting at this point, forcing the poor sentry almost to jump out of his greatcoat. He was too shocked to salute, but I couldn't take him to task for it.

    'You were right to stop us, lad' - I shouted through the lashing rain - 'but we really must get through! What's this about?' - I gestured to the chaos behind him.

    Before he could reply, we were all distracted by a flare fired from a few hundred yards away. A black ambulance started up. Immediately, the warden's radio flared up so loudly that it dropped from his grasp. He didn't need to hear what the screaming said.

    'He's got another one.'


    Of our elaborate plans, the end/ Of everything that stands, the end


    Wiping mist from cold windows, the team are wondering what all the fuss is about. They do not wait long. A half a mile of Colorado dirt plowed up like a line in the sand, with trees and powerlines prostrate at either side. At the end, lying outside a dead town like an unwanted guest, an aeroplane.

    We have hit the jackpot.

    The old helicopter wheezes as the American pulls it sideways and towards the crash-site. The team strap on webbing and check their magazines and this is it.

    The Sikorsky bounces down with a whimper in some scrub near the broken bird. Scrambling and rolling, the team manage to get out before the brutalised helicopter starts falling apart like a motor-car in some old cartoon.

    Doesn't matter, thinks the Pilot. We're exactly where we need to be. The Commando thinks the same. With trepidation and nerves, the team lift their legs as the soaking mud tries to suck them in. In their protective suits, they barely notice the heavy rain.

    'Why here?', the Scientist asks the American, as if he'd know.

    The Commando mutters darkly.

    The Pilot decides to press on his nerves; in his sweetest voice he intones 'I'm sorry, I think we missed that!'

    The Commando spits into the mire and keeps walking. The American tries to break the tension with some answers - 'Ol' thing musta' been looking for Chey-eene and ran outta gas or malfunctioned or somethin'. Funny thing is, that's where I was lookin' for too - how'd you miss a god-damned mountain?'

    The only way into Air Force One is through the smashed front windows that are almost dug into the ground. The suits are too bulky to squeeze through the gaps so they are ditched.

    No safety or surprise, the end/ I'll never look into your eyes again.

    They could kid themselves looking at it from the outside, but fuselage tells a different tale.

    No. No. No.

    They search every body; far too long has passed now to identify them, so they search jackets and trousers for whatever will help them out - it is dirty work.

    No use. Mission failed.

    For ages, the whole crew sit in silence and just listen to the rain hammer at the plane's metal skin. What can they say? Still, they can't stay like this forever. 'Boys...' the American sighs, 'I'm so sorry'. The Pilot looks down and looks up again - 'It's not your can't's not your fault'.

    The Commando smiles.

    He moves across what was once the aisle to the American and goes to pat him on the shoulder - 'He's right, it's not your fault'.

    Well, maybe things are going to turn out okay.

    'But you're going to fucking pay for it!' - the Commando snarls with a voice of glass as he grabs the American by the neck and holds him like a shield.

    The American reaches for his revolver and the Commando shoots his hand off.

    'None of this John Wayne shit anymore you fucking prick! You knew they were all dead, you fucking knew it. So why the FUCK are we out here!?'

    'Let's all stay calm no-' manages the Scientist before the Commando puts one through his brain.

    'And YOU!', he waves the his gun at the Pilot - 'you're fucking loving it! Kill my mate, become king of your own fucking America. Well I'm in command now! How many was it?' - louder - 'How many was it!?'

    'How many was what?!' screams the Pilot

    'Leningrad! Tell me how many or I'll kill the fucking yank!



    'F-five..hun..h..half a million' the Pilot stutters - 'we planned for half a million'

    'You piece of shit! All those women and children weren't enough for you were they? You got the taste but now you've gotta see it close up! To kill all of us! To kill me!'

    There are tears in the Pilot's eyes 'we had orders...then and now...I was following orders'. He looks the Commando dead in the eyes and begs for forgiveness with his own.

    It buys him time to draw his sidearm.

    'Brilliant! Ha! Fantastic' laughs the Commando, the hollow cackle of the truly humourless 'he's got a gun! What a fucking adventure - 'Biggles Saves The World' - nice try - it was you who ended it!'

    Dead calm, the pilot states - 'If you do not let that man go in the next ten seconds I am going to shoot you.'

    'Are you fuck? We've had this before, pal - you can't kill men!'

    '-let that man go-'

    '-not if they're standing in front of you!-'

    '-in the next five seconds-'

    '-not when they can fight back!-'

    '-I am going to-'

    The American mouths 'do it, son'

    'You fucking spas-' BANG


    The Pilot screams as he puts two rounds through the American and into the Commando. He falls to the floor almost before they do.

    Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain/ And all the children are insane.

    When he comes to he's with the Co-Pilot and the Navigator and they're all lying filthy and sodden in the mud.

    'What now?'


    It's a full-on storm now, so shelter is the only choice. They head towards the unlit town just as dusk sets. They don't take any notice of the battered sign at the city limits.


    They trudge and slip and fall as they weave through rusting cars and rotting litter.

    'Did you see that?' asks the Co-Pilot, turning his head sharply to the left.

    'See what'... sighed the other two.

    'A light... I swear I saw a light!'

    The trio look at each other with heavy eyes. May as well.

    They shamble their way across an overgrown sports field as they squint for a second sign - what even is this building? Some sort of school. The Pilot corrects himself - what was this building?'

    He hasn't much time for an internal debate on semantics when the ground around the three men kicks up and they've all the light they want from the barrels of a hundred guns.


    'Down! Get Down!' - the three do so and they cling to cover for dear life.


    'White! Have we got anything white?' he screams.


    'Well I don't fancy our odds in a gunfight, do you, pal?'

    The Navigator and the Co-Pilot both pull at their pockets, emptying them on the sodden field.


    The Navigator grabs some bandages and unravels them.

    'Bingo!' shouts the Pilot as he ties the bandages around the butt of his rifle and raises it above the tractor they're hiding behind.

    After twenty agonising seconds, most of the fire has stopped, after thirty, even the most enthusiastic shooters have taken their fingers from their triggers.

    A disembodied voice - 'This is the United States Army! Come out with your hands in the air!'


    The three men come out and see a troop of men training their weapons on them. In seconds, they are overcome, disarmed and on their knees.

    'Well, now', drawls the voice of a fifty-a-day man in a flak jacket, 'these ain't army uniforms. I reckon you boys are looters. Well, you all know the penalty by now. Corporal - do it'

    'No- wait! We're British - English - We're the RAF!' protest the trio.

    Raucous laughter breaks out amongst the troops on the field, and travels in waves back to the school building.

    'Well now, boys, I've hearda' some pretty crazy shit since this whole mess started, but the British in Colorado? You boys ain't even got the accents right! Do it, Corporal.'

    The Co-Pilot whispers - 'It's been a fucking honour, sir'

    'Don't do it, Corporal' - a reedy, considered voice . A figure emerges from the shadows; he is wearing an immaculately clean black suit and sunglasses at night. He turns to the platoon's leader - 'stand your men down. These persons are my responsibility.'

    The Agent is ice cold.

    As the soldiers return to their positions, the suit helps what's left of the team up and offers them each a cigarette.

    'Gentlemen.' he leads them towards the big cafeteria doors 'I have someone I think you'd like to meet'

    'How-how did you know that we're...'

    The Agent taps his nose as he holds the doors open for the team 'now, now - you mustn't underestimate the Secret Service'

    'You're part of the Secret Service?'

    'Ha. I am the Secret Service now. All of it-'

    '-but that means-'

    The Agent leads them down a flight of stairs and down a maintenance tunnel. The world flickers orange and black as he explains -

    'When the sky fell in we managed to get the big guy out of D.C - Washington - just in time. We couldn't communicate with the Rock or any of our other facilities, so we headed for Cheyenne. Best we can tell, before we got there the Reds emptied the best part of a missile regiment on the place. With Lake Cheyenne out, we had to wait to meet up with some tanker to refuel, but either it didn't turn up in time or the engines got to dry or something because the Pilot had to bring her down. That, gentlemen, is why we find ourselves in this quaint Middle American idyll'

    Walking past two sentries, he is given the salute but he doesn't return it.

    'So he got out?'

    'Well, yes and no. He's alive, the old slugger, but the war and the crash messed his marbles up pretty badly - sometime's he's alright, but sometimes he couldn't tell you his own name - still, he's the President of the United States so we've got to treat him right. We wheel him up to the library sometimes when the weather's mild - he seems to like it, sitting there, all peaceful' - there is an imperceptible trace of emotion in the Agent's face - 'Most of the time, we keep him going down here - it was too dangerous to move him to a proper hospital when we got here; we only stumbled on this army unit by chance - they couldn't believe it when we told them who we had with us - so we treated him here, and he's just sort of...stayed'

    More security on this last door.

    'I'm sorry you didn't have more time to make yourselves presentable'. He smiles and pushes open the doors.

    'Sir, I've some visitors for you, all the way from England'

    The President of the United States of America sits in a wheelchair under a blanket. When he sees the men, his eyes light up like a child's. His mouth moves to speak, but only moaning comes out.

    'Say hello to the men, sir - they've come an awfully long way to see you'

    More moaning. Small flecks of spit come out.

    A flicker of pain on the Agent's face - 'Please. Sir'

    The lights are on but there really is nothing going on.

    'Talk to him. He can hear you.' The Agent wipes underneath his sunglasses - 'I'm sure he can hear you.'

    The Pilot steps forwards and kneels down at the side of the leader of the free world. He holds his arm and moves to speak.

    An army orderly bursts into the room - 'We've got a casualty incoming!'


    'I dunno, sir - here he is! I gotta go help!'

    The Orderly runs to help the rest of the medics wheel the bloody stretcher into the small, makeshift ward.

    'He's hit pretty bad - bullet wounds' - the Orderly looks up at Caliban's crew - 'one of your guys I think'




    The Commando smiles as he lies on the stretcher and pulls the pins on his grenades.


    Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill/ This is the end


    When he wakes up, the Pilot is in agony. In the bed to his left, he sees his Navigator and his heart leaps with relief. When he sees the sadness in Navigator's face, it falls right back down

    And then there were two.

    Something grabs his right arm and he screams and recoils.

    It's only the President, wounded, in the bed to his right. His breathing is laboured, his skin is pale but there's something new in his eyes.

    'Son...' - every word is a trial - 'we're glad you...came. I with the...bottom of my...heart'

    'That's - that's alright, sir'

    'We'll...we'll get by...somehow. All..of us.'

    'I know, sir, I know'

    The weak grip suddenly goes tight

    'Tell them all...I'm'

    The weak grip suddenly goes limp and the light goes out of the eyes.



    It is much later on when the two that are left are able to take a walk outside when the weather's mild. The Agent walks with them.

    'So...what are you going to do now? You know...for a leader' asks the Pilot

    'I don't know, friend. We'll work much the same as we have since the war for a while - the big guy never was much of a politician since Washington went, so we've been running things by committee, trying to get in contact with as much of the country as possible' He smiles - 'I reckon...yeah, soon enough we'll get another President - officially and everything - after all, we need someone to blame next time it all goes wrong.' He laughs.

    'And what about you?'

    'Well, I was the big guy's bodyguard. That was it. My work here's done now'

    He takes off his sunglasses for the first time. He has kind eyes.

    'It's been a pleasure meeting you both, and I hope you have a safe journey home'

    He shakes both their hands and turns away - he is walking towards the woods, whistling. The two left watch as he cheerfully takes off his jacket and loosens his tie, before striding off into the woods and into their memories.

    It hurts to set you free/ But you'll never follow me



    'Let's go home.'


    This is the end/ My only friend, the end.



    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
    Mosshadow and Artaxerxes like this.
  10. Thucydides Witticism.

    Oct 20, 2008
    Holy God, that was riveting. I'm sorry to see Prospero end though, America was a bit more uplifting than Britain.
  11. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

    Mar 30, 2008
    Occupied Scotland
    Brilliant, simply brilliant.
  12. Lemon flavoured British Miami Dolphins fan

    Jun 8, 2010
    Hucknall, Notts, UK

    There are perhaps better times to be reading this timeline than at 11:30 on a Friday night, but that isn't going to stop me doing it.

    Great update as ever. A great cameo from a rather infamous location, and a great use of the song lyrics, which I'm going to look up...

    Ah, ok. Cool song, and it fits perfectly.
  13. BrianD From OTL or ATL depending on your perspective

    Aug 25, 2010
    Free Kentucky
    Excellent work, Macragge.

    Especially on the Commando. A man who perhaps was loyal to his unit, his work and his country before the war, driven into a revengeful, treasonous son of a bitch in the war's aftermath.

    A few questions:

    1. WHO is running America at this point in the timeline?

    2. How do the Prospero survivors get back to Britain, or are they stuck in Colorado?

    3. What happens when Whitelaw learns that the Commando - one of his own soldiers - killed the President of the United States? How do the two allies work through that?
  14. Stateless Well-Known Watermelon

    Dec 29, 2007
    Who's asking?
    Corey Hart is head of the secret service?
  15. modelcitizen note2self, no ranting ninjas

    Aug 12, 2008
    New Jersey

    FUCK that's good!
  16. CaliBoy1990 A bright future is still possible! =) Donor

    Jul 14, 2010
    El Pueblo, East Texas
    Did they just land in Columbine, Colo.?!?!?!?

    Anyway, is the timeline over now, now that Prospero's all done with?

    The ending was pretty good, though.........hope I can do the same for my 'Threads' fanfic. :D
  17. Orville_third Banned

    Mar 3, 2009
    Piedmont Socialist Republic
    Wow...this is amazing... I don't think my TL in the works can have this drama...or even the weirdness...
  18. Agentdark All glory to the Black Pharaoh

    Nov 15, 2005
    Room where the light wont find you
    Holy hell
    That was amazing
  19. Lord Brisbane Pam Poovey's stunt double

    Apr 8, 2006
    Canberra, South of the Tweed
    That was freakin' awsome writing indeed. What a way to end prospero.
  20. Hendryk Banned

    Aug 24, 2004
    Another great update. Now, this begs the question, where is George H.W. Bush?
    You do know that you don't have to quote an entire post to comment on it, especially when it's a very long one, don't you?