Tales From Another World: Three Amigos Vignettes and Details

The Beginning, Las Vegas
OOC: This is the post @Joe Bonkers was referring to when we spoke of a vignettes thread in addition to the Three Amigos world. That TL has basically reached the end of our original planning for it, but all three of us had many more details and additions we wanted to add into it, and so they are going to go here.

Ideas people have for additions and comments are quite welcome. I can't make promises on handling everything, but we can certainly take them all into account. 🙂

So, without further adoo....


Reid-McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada
May 18, 2023
8:25 AM

"Japan Air four-five-seven, you are clear for landing on runway zero-eight left. Winds are zero-five at one-zero-five."
"Roger Las Vegas Center, we are on final approach now." The captain of the Japan Airlines airliner radioed back to the tower at Las Vegas' massive airport, confirming that their trip was almost at merciful end.
"Ready for a day off in Las Vegas?" The co-pilot commented with a smile to the captain.
"I most certainly am, Kikuchi." The captain smiled. "But I won't be hitting too many tables until I get a good sleep first." That drew a grunt of agreement.
"Yeah, I understand that well, Captain." The co-pilot checked out his instruments. "Flaps at twenty."
"Make it fifteen, we're flying into the wind."
"Only five though."
"We're light now, and these birds fly well at these altitudes." The co-pilot agreed, and quickly followed the Captain's instructions.

The flight from Tokyo to Las Vegas via Honolulu was one of the most popular ones for both its crew and passengers, as it was almost entirely made up of holidaymakers heading from Japan to either the stunningly-beautiful beaches of Hawaii or the entertainment city of Las Vegas, both of which were very popular places for tourists coming from the land of the rising sun. It was sufficiently popular that it rated an Airbus A380-800, the largest aircraft in the JAL fleet, simply because the much-faster Boeing, Mitsubishi McDonnell Douglas and Airbus supersonics simply didn't have the capacity for this route. JAL had adapted to that, though - the A380s had long since dispensed with the old-style economy sections in favour of better seats and facilities on these long flights, something passengers very much appreciated.

It was just after eight-thirty in the morning when the big jet began its descent in to Las Vegas, and by that point the bright sunshine of the late spring in the American West had long since made the city of Las Vegas quite visible, with its towering hotels along Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Boulevard easily visible for the airliner for passengers on the aircraft's left side as it gracefully drifted through the sky, a handful of clouds in the sky being the only things blocking a beautiful day that was, though, expected to be almost brutally-hot - the expected high for the day was 97 degrees Fahrenheit, or 36 degree Celsius, either number being a clear sign of just what this place was famous for. The hotels, resorts and attractions all had air conditioning, though, and thanks to developments over the previous thirty years, water was not in short supply here despite the ocean being 235 miles away and being in the middle of the desert. Las Vegas' growth from just being about casinos to being about entertainment of all kinds had seen football and baseball stadiums, hockey and basketball arenas, convention centers, a massive concert venue, two car racing tracks, a giant amusement park, golf courses, museums, indoor and outdoor water parks and other attractions built, while the building of the Las Vegas Aqueduct in the 1990s and its matching water treatment and recycling centers had given Las Vegas such a water supply that, like Los Angeles 200 miles to the southwest, had allowed Las Vegas had built multiple artificial lakes and ponds using treated wastewater, helping to give the city a much greater sense of being an Oasis in the desert. The land along the two main boulevards for casinos had become some of the world's most expensive real estate and the properties there had been built to match, taking in the tens of millions of tourists who came here every year. This growth had seen the city completely fill the usable parts of the Las Vegas Valley, spreading north along Interstate 15 and south towards Boulder City, Goodsprings and Jean and west towards Pahrump as well as resulting in many homes being built in the rocky hills that stuck out of the valley.

Like most cities in the Amigos, Las Vegas had long since developed an ethos. Locals referred to it as "The 702" after the central city's telephone area code, but with so many visitors and the obvious wealth of the area, Las Vegas residents often treated many aspects of their lives as being a show that performed all the time. Vegas' massive collection of custom clothes shops had allowed the city to probably be better dressed than anywhere else in the West - Unlike Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Las Vegas was a place where formal style was much more common and accepted - and the relatively-accessible land prices combined with higher wages meant people had extra income. Many men and women alike sported expensive watches and good jewelry, luxury cars and SUVs and sports cars were everywhere and motorcycles were highly common for those of lesser means. Employees in the casinos from the highest of high rollers to the sawdust joints wore suits to work (unless one was doing physical labor or a job where they would be expected to get dirty), a commitment to physical fitness was something espoused by many (and the many gyms and outdoor sports facilities that Las Vegas hosted were very well used indeed) and quality food of all kinds was available. The overall ethos among Las Vegas residents towards each other was that this was a city that showed its best face to the world every day, and it showed - it was cleaner and better maintained than the vast majority of cities its size, and being a newer city, it didn't have many of the scars of past injustices that some places in the United States had. Few residential neighborhoods were anything less than complete melting pots for many different peoples. Americans of Latin American, African, East and South Asian and Arab origin shared neighborhoods with Whites, and they had all long since developed their own ways of contributing to the style, and more than just about anywhere else, being a bigot got a viceral response.

For the Japanese arrivals in the city, they had many different plans. Many were headed for the Casinos and massive hotel resorts, though others were wanting to go golfing, a popular past time in Japan that was, nevertheless, a difficult and expensive one due to the price of land there. Families with children were often bound for the casinos that were child friendly, particularly those with indoor water parks. Six Flags over Las Vegas was certain to be the destination for a few more still. A handful of young men who'd come over were headed to see and work out at Peter Kennett's famous Metallic Militia Las Vegas gym, which had been playing host to Mr. Olympia competitors since in opened in 1998. Four car nuts from Osaka were headed to Stardust Raceway to drive exotic cars at Experience Fast, and some more were headed to conventions in the city. All, however, had their eyes on enjoying their visits to Las Vegas.

The airliner drifted in to make a very good landing on the runway and then quickly taxi off of the runway, clearing the way for the next landing and moving out to Terminal D, where one of the airport's three-jetbridge gates was ready for the massive airliner. No sooner had the aircraft docked against the gate than the pilots got shut down the aircraft and headed for their exits, grabbing their bags and headed for a good sleep at one of the hotels near the airport that regularly catered to air crews arriving after incredibly long flights from the Far East or Europe, which were increasingly common in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas in the Three Amigos World
This first post is a perfect example of why we needed to have a Vignettes thread, folks: I had completely forgotten our offline discussions about Las Vegas.
For the record, here's what the Strip looks like in the world of the Three Amigos:

Russell Road to Tropicana Avenue (West)
- Mandalay Bay
- Luxor West (OOC: modified)
- Excalibur (OOC: modified)
Russell Road to Tropicana Avenue (East)
- Dream (OOC: as proposed)
- Pinball Hall of Fame
- Little Church of the West
- Astral (OOC: modified from proposal)
- Luxor East (OOC: a major expansion of OTL's Luxor across Las Vegas Boulevard)
- Tropicana
Tropicana Avenue to Harmon Avenue (West)
- New York, New York
- T-Mobile Arena (a block west of the Strip)
- Monte Carlo (OOC: Park MGM with its old name kept)
- CityCenter (including ARIA, Mandarin Oriental and Vdara)(OOC: modified)
Tropicana Avenue to Harmon Avenue (East)
- MGM Grand
- Showcase Mall
- Marriott Grand Chateau (OOC: modified)
Harmon Avenue to Flamingo Road (West)
- Cosmopolitan
- Bellagio
Harmon Avenue to Flamingo Road (East)
- Elara (OOC: similar but larger)
- Planet Hollywood (OOC: modified)
- Paris Las Vegas
- Bally's
Flamingo Road to Spring Mountain Road (West)
- Caesar's Palace
- Mirage
- Treasure Island (OOC: modified)
Flamingo Road to Sands Avenue (East)
- Avatar Las Vegas (OOC: high-tech and futurist theme, adults-only casino, where the Cromwell is)
- Flamingo
- The Linq
- High Roller (OOC: OTL location for the ferris wheel but a very different design ITTL)
- Harrah's
- Casino Royale
- MSG Sphere
- The Venetian
- Palazzo
Spring Mountain Road to Desert Inn Road (West)
- Plaza Las Vegas (OOC: modified proposal)
- Echelon Place (OOC: slightly modified design and moved location)
Sands Avenue to Desert Inn Road (East)
- Wynn Las Vegas
- Wynn's Encore
Desert Inn Road to Sahara Avenue (West)
- Stardust (OOC: surviving and heavily modified)
- Resorts World (OOC: modified design moved north to accommodate the Stardust)
- Circus Circus
- Sky Las Vegas
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- Grand Dragon (OOC: Asian-themed Casino)
Desert Inn Road to Sahara Avenue (East)
-Guardian Angel Catholic Cathedral (OOC: That’s OTL, believe it or not, and it is right on the Strip; in TTL, it’s bigger)
- Las Vegas Convention Centre
- Turnberry Place (OOC: modified)
- Fontainebleau (OOC: modified)
- Crown Las Vegas (OOC: modified)
- Sahara
Sahara Avenue to Main Street (West)
- Fashion Show Megamall (OOC: modified and moved location)
- The Stratosphere Las Vegas
- Westward Ho (OOC: a large-scale Western-themed hotel and casino)
Sahara Avenue to East Saint Louis Avenue (East)
- Sands (OOC: re-using the name of the famous former casino, with a similar design motif)
- Challenger (OOC: medium-sized middle-income resort with a pair of tall hotel towers and post-modern design elements)
NOTE: The triangular block bordered by Las Vegas Boulevard, Main Street and Wyoming Boulevard here is a large park and urban square
- Las Vegas House of the Visual Arts (OOC: faces east towards Main Street and the square)
Wyoming Boulevard to Charleston Boulevard (West)
- Frontier (OOC: New Frontier proposal in a different location)
- Canadian Pacific Hotel Las Vegas
- Desert Heart
- Musicsphere Las Vegas
East Saint Louis Avenue to Charleston Boulevard (East)
- The Great Nevada Shopping Center (OOC: a huge (620-store) four-story shopping mall
- Spirit of India (OOC: Indian-themed casino, as in the subcontinent)
- The Western Racing Club (OOC: located east of Spirit of India on Oakey Boulevard)


Allegiant Stadium is on West Tropicana Boulevard.

Flamingo Boulevard going both east and west of Las Vegas Boulevard functions as a “mini-strip,” including the Rio, the Palms, the Gold Coast, and the Orleans (built over buried I-5), the Desert Inn (rebuilt at a new location), and a German-themed casino, the Rhineland.

Las Vegas Union Station is on the OTL site of Main Street Station. Stewart and Ogden streets are one-way in opposite directions, allowing for easy access to the station, one block north of the Fremont Street Experience.

TTL Las Vegas is very much more transit-friendly. Public transit links Union Station to the airport via the Strip, and it is very easy to use.
SP Roseville Trains
Southern Pacific McAllister Yard, Roseville, California
May 20, 2023
5:01 AM

"Nothing like a Saturday morning ride, huh?" Engineer Tayevon Moreland commented to the young man next to him, who looked up from his coffee mug to comment in agreement.
"Yeah, but at least it gets our day going, right? Get on up to Reno, snooze during the afternoon, go do crazy shit in the evening." Road Crewman Armando Torrena commented back to the much older engineer with a grin. "I've heard a lot of the OG engineers were real lovers of the time off, too!"
Tayevon laughed at that. "I'm too old to be getting drunk on my time off, and have too many responsibilities to be pissing my money away in Reno."
"Hit the buffet and then go get laid, then." Armando flashed teeth in a grin. "Handsome devils like us get to have our fun, no?"
"Fun like that is best done with one woman." A grin. "You'll learn that one day, young buck."
"Ahhhh, the buff grandpa is gonna hold himself back?" A chuckle. "What's that song say again, I got hoes in different area codes....?"
Tayevon laughed at the song. Ahhh, to be young, dumb and full of cum again. "Firstly, if you say stuff like that in front of Sammie, I ain't gonna save your ass. Second, how about we worry about that after we get ten thousand tons of freight train over the Sierras." Armando smiled.
"Warning received and understood, Pops." He got another chuckle for that.

Both Moreland and Torrena were employees of Southern Pacific Lines, one of the major railroads of the West Coast of the United States. Moreland had been doing the job for over 30 years, and while Torrena had only been on the job a year and a half, among the crews out of Roseville he was already well regarded, and Moreland knew it. Both men liked their jobs primarily because they both liked the feel of driving giant machinery, and while the hours of a railwayman were not something that the railroads advertised, both men were paid well and both were part of SP's employee ownership program, the program having made Moreland quite wealthy over his long service. Both also knew of the reputations of the rest of their crew, as did conductor Wayne Grantland and loadmaster Samikoya "Sammie" Kurosawa. All four had worked together before, the veteran engineer and conductor pairing well with their much-younger road crewman and loadmaster.

The four today had been assigned a train that had a typical load for freight trains heading out of California - fresh fruit and vegetables in refrigerated boxcars and trucks on flatcars, boxcars with merchandise, aluminum and steel sheets and tubes loaded into gondolas and bulkhead flatcars, a sizable collection of autoracks loaded with Toyotas headed for dealers in the Midwest, a number of chemicals coming from oil refineries and chemical firms, a number of cement hoppers and lots of other goods. There were a few oddities - four livestock cars loaded with pigs (which the crew was glad weren't at the head end), three flatcars carrying six city buses sold from San Francisco to another city, bulkhead flatcars carrying electrical transformers, construction equipment and jet engines and, right at the front, a heavily-insulated shorty tank car with "California Dairy" on it. The whole works totalled 135 cars, roughly 10,450 tons. For going over the Sierras, such a load mandated power at both ends of the train and in the middle, and for this route the power was mostly electric units.

California's massive surplus of nuclear and hydro-generated electric power had long since seen the main lines out of the region - SP in all directions, Burlington Northern and Canadian National northwards, Rio Grande, Union Pacific and Santa Fe eastwards and Sonora, Gulf and Pacific to the southeast - electrified in their mountainous sections and busiest sections in the Central Valleys and along the coastline. For this run, the electrics would take the train all the way from Roseville to Ogden, Utah, via Reno and northern Nevada. The electric locomotives out horsepowered diesel counterparts by an order of magnitude, and SP's crews rather liked having that power with the loads they had to move. The train business never stopped, and with the rivalries the railroad had for business, doing its job right was a must.

But SP was ready for that.

"You two shmucks still bouncing your plans for world domination off of each other?" A chuckling, well-accented voice said as the third man walked into the room.
"Nah, more like plans for the twelve hours after we drop the beast at Reno." Armando commented to his conductor.
"Better save the booze for when you have an actual day to recover." Grantland warned. "You know what happened last month with Adam, Armando."
"I will Wayne, don't worry. More thinking about the tables."
"You oughta be looking to get more sleep and spending less money. You get more out of life that way." Wayne advised, his Louisiana Cajun drawl seemingly more pronounced than ever.
"And not have fun when I got the chance?" Armando laughed. "I dunno how the OGs do it, but when I'm young and full of energy, I'm gonna enjoy it."
"Just don't overdo it." Tayevon commented. "You know we're gonna be taked for a trip on Sunday afternoon or Monday, and you ain't doing it hungover."
"He already planning on stupidity?" The last of the four crewmen on the train commented as she walked into the room, holding her plastic folder that contained the train's manifest and tonnage profile.
"He's always a little crazy." Wayne chuckled. "That the paperwork?"
"Yep. 135 cars today, smidge over ten thousand ton, some stinky and nasty crap in the middle."
"Stinky stuff?" Tayevon asked.
"Oink Oink." She didn't have to say more.
"Ah, gotcha." A pause. "Weight distribution?"
"Pretty good on account of grain cars, cement hoppers and machinery flats up front. Most of the back is empties and autoracks, and a bunch of city buses sold off."
"So I can feather the dynamics, then."
"If you want to keep more of it bunched up at the front." Sammie smiled. "I'll leave that to you, Tayevon. I just make sure nothing blows up or poisons everything."
"You've always been more than that, Sammie." Wayne commented.
"Thanks Cajun, but I don't mind not having to pull the pins. I'll leave that to the boys." Sammie smiled, showing off her teeth. She was five-foot-eleven and pretty, and knowing it she worked hard to keep it that way.
"And yet we hear all the time about women's liberation, only to hear a very beautiful woman who works on the trains for a fucking railroad say that." Armando said with a joking tone, which led to Sammie chuckling.
"Oh I'm sure I'll get my chance to pull the throttle at some point." A smile and a theatrical swish of her hair. "Strong, liberated woman and all." The joke got all three men laughing.
"Played that one nice as always." Tayevon joked.
"The assist from Armando, the Latin Chris Paul."
"Ohhhh, its like that, is it?" Armando laughed. "I'll have you know that...." He was interrupted by a hostler.
"She's good to go, guys."
"Excellent." Wayne nodded to the hostler, who scampered off, and then to his crew. "Time to go to work."
Tayevon took a deep swig of his coffee and grabbed his bag. "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work we go...."

Southern Pacific's Extra 6056 East was waiting on the Departure Track 1, it's mighty pair of General Motors-built PS16C electrics humming away quietly, but almost entirely drowned out by the grumbling Morrison-Knudsen diesel behind it. Tayevon saw it and commented on that.
"The oil burners running?"
"Yep." The hostler commented. "Better to give you guys all the ponies you can get, you got a lot of train behind you." The hostler pointed backwards. "There's a couple of Siemens Benders in the middle, and two Cable Boxes and a Geep with a wide cab at the back. It's live too." The crew heard that one and smiled at it, knowing having eight locomotives for this move would make their lives easier.
"Thanks a mill, Casey." Armando said.
"No prob, CP3." Casey grinned and scampered off, the other three crewmen laughing as Armando turned in his direction, making a joking sound like Homer Simpson.
"Why you little...."
"Let's roll Armando." Tayevon climbed up the stairs. "We got shit to do."

Twenty minutes later, the train was departing the yard, the comfortable electric locomotives up front having the Engineer on the right side and the Road Crewman on the left. Armando had settled into his seat, and was intently watching the gauges at his console when the radio spoke.
"Radio Check, 6056 East calling head end." It was Sammie's voice.
"Head end copies radio check." A chuckle. "Couldn't have done the sexy voice, Sammie?"
"I save it for guys I actually wanna fuck." Tayevon heard that and laughed out loud. "Signal is showing all clear from the rear."
"Here, too." Tayevon grabbed the radio mic, to save Armando further embarrassment. "Roseville Tower, 6056 East, we're good to pull out?"
"You're good, eastbound main is yours, 6056 Extra." A pause. "Tell Armando he might wanna start thinking with his other head, Tayevon."
"We'll keep that in mind." Tayevon chuckled. "Cajun, we looking good?"
"All clear, Tayevon, open her up." Wayne called out. "Thanks Roseville, enjoy the day."
"You too guys, have a safe trip. Roseville, out."
Karafuto, Japan
New Karafuto Airport, south of Toyohara, Karafuto, Japan
February 11, 2023
10:20 AM

"What a place to have an airport." Nikolai Kozakov commented, looking out one of the windows of the New Karafuto Airport, which in this case faced to the West - giving a clear and obvious view of the many two-thousand-foot-tall mountains that the city of Toyohara pushed right up against. Even from the airport, the ski resorts that southern Karafuto was famous for were clearly visible, many of these dating from before World War II and then rebuilt and expanded by the Canadians who occupied Hokkaido and Sakhalin in the years after the war. That legacy was well remembered among all who lived on Karafuto, so much so that one of the famous events of the winter was the Canada Festival, which might have seemed ridiculous in another universe.
"Either that or use up farmland, right?" Nikolai's sister Kateryna commented back to him. "This place looks like they merged Russia with Japan."
"And sprinkled in some Canada." Nikolai commented. Kateryna chuckled at that.
"Yeah, and built amazing ski resorts and tourist destinations."
"Hey now, you know why I'm here with you."
A kind smile. "You need not tell me. I suspect once we find her, you'll forget I even exist for a while."
"Love to tell you you're wrong, but I kinda can't." That got a full-on laugh, before Kateryna switched to English. "Shall we?"

New Karafuto Airport was a classic piece of 1980s Japanese architecture, blocky and efficient but having tons of windows for natural light and built to the best standards, and knowing of the crowds that came here every winter for ski hills and other cold-weather sports, it was designed to work perfectly and connect to the railroads of the region, which themselves since 2004 had been connected to the rest of Japan via a line from Hokkaido via a tunnel from Cape Soya to Cape Crillion, the tunnel only using narrow-gauge trains, even though the tunnel had been built in such a way to allow Shinkansen trains to use it if the opportunity arose. Northern Japanese often saw themselves as the strong, hardy types of Japan, and the large population of indigenous Japanese - Ainu and Nivkhs most of all - and sizable number of Japanese Koreans who also lived here added to the culture of the region, along with some Russians, most of the latter being post-1991 arrivals. Of course, the legends of the past long remained - the airfields that dotted the island for the Japanese Air Force, the naval base at Shisuka, the many army facilities that signified that the island had been long expected to be a combat zone should the West and East ever come to blows. It was widely seen by all involved as fortunate that never happened, and for Russians like Nikolai and Kateryna it had been to their considerable benefit - the chaotic end of the USSR had swept away much of it's old order, and allowed true patriots, people who wanted Russia's newly-discovered freedom to last, to be the ones who took charge of the remains and built a new nation out of it. That nation had had a difficult gestation, but today it was easily the equal or superior of the one whose end in 1991 had so changed the whole world. But what had come out of the new Russia was what made possible the reason Nikolai and his sister were in Karafuto in the first place.

And a minute later, that reason showed itself as the two Russians walked into the main terminal.

Kahori Miyazaki had first met Nikolai on the internet, of course. Both were university students with different fields - aerospace engineering for him, biosciences for her - and both certified anime nuts, a pasttime that in recent times had become much easier to get in Russia, even if few such programs or books had ever been translated to Russian. Nikolai, like many of his fellow Russian students in modern times, spoke languages other than Russian - he spoke good English and passable Spanish - and his chance encounters online with Kahori had led to more. Over the previous two years, both had progressed from internet chats to text messages to phone calls. And when Kahori told Nikolai she was going to Karafuto for a ski trip, the timing had been just too good to pass up, which is why Nikolai had booked himself on an Aeroflot flight to Tokyo and then a All Nippon Airways flight to Karafuto, and why Kahori was waiting for him at the airport. Within a minute of entering the arrivals hall, Kahori and Nikolai laid eyes on each other for the first time. For Kahori, it meant two hands to her mouth in stunned disbelief, and for Nikolai it meant going to her as quickly as he could without looking like a lovestruck fool. That turned out to be a forlorn hope, as when he was less than five feet away, she bolted to him, beaming.
"Nikolai, it's you! It's really you!" That was followed by a hug that the taller, stronger Russian turned into a lift off of the ground.
"Everything you expected?"
"And then some!" Kahori exclaimed, dropping down to her feet as Nikolai set her down. "And you?" She got a chuckle for that.
"Your first impressions are most promising." He quoted a line from one of their favorite anime shows, and Kahori picked up on it instantaneously, laughing.
"I imagine, Mr. Handsome Devil." That got a laugh from Nikolai. Kahori continued. "Your first time in Japan, Niko?"
"Yes. I've been to England and Spain, but never Japan. You?"
"America, the Philippines and Australia, but never Russia, honestly." That got a sly smile.
"I have the advantage then." She laughed again.
"Not here, you don't." She grinned, looking back at the taller blonde woman who was watching them. "That's your sister?"
Nikolai waved Kateryna over. "Yes, that's right." A pause as Nikolai's sister came over, towing both her and her brother's suitcases. "Kateryna Kozakov, this is Kahori Miyazaki." Kahori and Kateryna shook hands, which led to a somewhat-quizzical look from Kateryna.
"Oh, that's all I get now?" Kahori laughed and took the hint and hugged Kateryna, which the Russian woman warmly returned.
"How was your flight, guys?"
"Long on the trip out, but Narita is a good place to transfer through even at five in the morning local time and I was able to sleep on the flight." Nikolai commented, then smiled. "I brought my snowboard, knowing where I was going."
"Glad to hear it, I have mine too." A smile.
"Ahhhh, should I have brought one too?" Kateryna asked with a grin. Nikolai beat Kahori to the punch on this one.
"Your skis and ski poles came in the same box as my board and boots!" All three laughed at this.
"You trying to be a, shall we say, troublemaker?" Kahori asked slyly of the other woman. Kateryna rose to comment with a grin of her own.
"Around other men, all the damn time. But not this one."
"Pretty girl you are, that doesn't surprise me." A grin. "I'm pretty sure my days of such chasing are over."
Kateryna heard that and decided she was going to like her brother's Japanese girlfriend. "So, where we off to first?"
I know I may be fixated on the wrong things, but did you guys have any big ideas for rail preservation?
I don't think any of us really thought too much of that, beyond my plan for the South Simcoe Railway to run from Beeton to Brampton and be a major tourist attraction. I know that's a big thing for you, but if you get big ideas, PM me.
Tanks and Artillery, Canadian Style
Canadian Forces Base Suffield, Southeastern Alberta
May 21, 2023
11:02 AM

There are few things that could ever possibly give absolutely anyone the chills, but the freight-train roar of heavy artillery weapons firing was one of those sounds, a massive boom that led to a giant roar from the shell leaving the gun for its target downrange. It was a roar that would be hard-placed to be replicated anywhere, but here it had a few famous people looking at the scene in front of them in something close to awe.
"Good God!" Adam Savage lifted his hands from his ears, having been warned that the firing of the Canadian Army GC8-45 artillery gun would be impressively loud, it had been all of that. The captain of the Royal Canadian Artillery's 2nd Battalion, which was at Sheffield training, couldn't help but smile at that, looking over at the giant gun, mounted on its trailer that was still attached to its huge truck that pulled it.
"The Canadian Army has always prided itself on its field artillery, Mr. Savage, and this beast is exactly what the superpower of our Army's field artillery is." He got a response from Savage at that.
"What kind of propellant do you guys use for that?"
"Triple base, and on the GC8-45 it uses laser ignition to make the firing safer."
"And the safety is why that is used." Savage commented, pointing at the armored truck that carried the ammunition for the artillery gun, which was readying to quickly resupply the gun.
"Yep, and the carriers we use have hydraulic lifts to allow quicker resupply of the gun for both shells and propellant charges."
Savage looked at it. "I've seen vintage artillery, hell I even took a crack at firing an M101 a number of years back, but this is many, many stages beyond what I've ever seen in action before." He paused, turning towards his cameraman. "Hard to believe such a monster was built by Canadians, isn't it?"

The Captain had a good chuckle at that. Not like those in the know aren't entirely aware of what we're capable of. The Captain smiled at that, turning back to see his men attach the hydraulic lift system and go to work moving 203mm shells for the gun, noting his crew was following all of the proper procedures. Just like we always drill, the Captain reminded himself. And what is meant to be done for this monster.

The GC8-45 was the Canadian Army's largest field artillery piece, an eight-inch-bore monster with a giant 30-foot-long, 45-caliber barrel with a giant muzzle brake on the end, designed by Canada's famed "Boy Rocket Scientist", Dr. Gerald Bull. One of the long series of 155mm and 203mm guns the brilliant designer had cooked up for the Canadian Army which had long ago become its backbone, and allowing Bull to rise to become a person of renown in Canada - enough so that he had been commissioned as a Brigadier General in the Canadian Army, made a member of the Order of Canada and got a chance to go into space on a Space Shuttle mission Canada paid for in 2004 - and giving Canada some of the best field artillery on the planet, artillery guns that had seen service in Vietnam and the Middle East. And for many of the staff at his Space Research Corporation, the GC8-45 was their magnum opus, even with the rocket artillery, naval guns, space launch systems, transfer equipment and many other developments the company had had a hand in over their years in service and their facilities in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and Bonavista, Newfoundland, becoming places scientists in the field had been flocking towards since the 1960s.

Mounted in this form on a trailer with an armored cabin for its crewmen, the trailer included a small diesel engine for its hydraulic lift and aiming system as well as stabilization arms along with its fire control computer system, ammunition and shell and propellant rammer, which was also hydraulically-operated. The massive weight of this meant the trailer was huge, some 52 feet long and equipped with no less than 48 tires in six axle lines, with the trailer able to adjust itself for safer travel on sloped or rough terrain. The giant gun could carry eight rounds along with the propellant for the rounds, and thanks to the rammer system it could launch all eight rounds in just 96 seconds, the rammer on the GC8-45 not requiring the barrel to be moved to load the gun as on previous 8-inch gun designs, helping with fire rate and accuracy. It was possible - though quite dangerous and not recommended - to fire the gun while on the move, and even in battery and ready to fire the monstruous gun was still attached to the mighty truck that served as its tractor.

That was tractor was a beast in its own right. The Pacific P722x5M truck was almost as impressive as the gun itself, a massive tank-transporter truck that was unique in design - it was a diesel-electric design, with its engine not only driving two forward steering axles and first two main axles, but it also had a powerful AC generator that drove the rear two axles, those axles being connected to the rest of the truck through a giant universal joint, allowing the truck to have remarkable off-road ability, while the axles behind the U-joint were self-steering, giving the truck additional maneuverability as well as having the off-road ability. These rear axles were also self-steering, as otherwise reversing would have been almost impossible, which would have been something of a problem that the engineers at Pacific Truck and Engineering, who were famous the world over for producing some of the world's toughest trucks, had well anticipated. On the GC8-45, this electricity power could also power the wheels on the first and last axles of the trailer, further making it easier to get across rough terrain. The combination could never have the off-road ability of a self-propelled artillery unit, of course, but Canada had other artillery guns for such duties, and the huge GC8-45 units had the range and capability that they were primarily meant for attacking strongpoints and commanders in any case.

"Oh we've been working on our field artillery for decades, Mr. Savage." The Captain commented. "Our guys created the TOT system, perfected base bleed rounds and have built our own artillery vehicles since World War II." He smiled. "I told you earlier about one of our ethoses with regards to field artillery."
"Yeah, expend shells rather than expend people." A smile. "I can see the logic." Both men saw the gun's commander, a senior sergeant, call out once again.
"Weapon is in battery, ready to fire!" The Captain nodded to Savage.
"Ear protection on, Mr. Savage. We're letting her really rip this time." Both men quickly did just that. No sooner had they done that then the Captain called out, more for the TV cameras than anything else.
"Battery released, fire for effect!" He had no sooner done that than the GC8-45 roared out, firing its first 210-pound shell with a giant boom, its muzzle brake spitting out jets of fire fifteen feet long as the first shell flew from the barrel. Twelve seconds the second one followed, as the loud moaning sound of the hydraulic rammer in the gun's cabin signified the gun was in rapid fire mode. Savage and the TV crewmen noticed that the Canadians were keeping their ear protection on and followed suit, and just watched in awe as the gun ripped out all eight of its rounds in just over a minute and a half. It settled down after that, and the Captain in one smooth motion popped his hearing protection off.
"And that, Mr. Savage, was sixteen hundred pounds of artillery rounds, out of one gun in a minute and a half, with accuracy of under thirty meters in range and five meters in line, even at fourty-five kilometres in range."
"Good God." Savage breathed, turning to the camera. "And I'd wager the shells make a bigger hole than that."
"Depending on the shell, perhaps." The Captain smiled. "Wanna go see for yourself?"
"You bet!"

Ontario Regiment Fighting Vehicle Museum, Oshawa, Ontario
2:27 PM

"Oh man, I cannot believe what this is like to drive!" Andrew Younghusband, the TV show host, said in a laughing tone as he maneuvered around a huge Chieftain Mark 11C tank around the maneuver field outside of the Ontario Regiment's famed tank museum in the Toronto suburb of Oshawa. The six-foot-four Younghusband carely fit inside of the driving compartment, but despite that he was on Cloud Nine. "This driving position feels so weird at first but you get used to it quickly, but by God, you just need to look out of this thing to realize what you're driving, and it makes you feel like a God!" He paused. "A thousand horsepower engine, moving sixty tons of tank, on tracks that mean you can go through anything!" He almost shouted in his enthusiasm as his tank faced a steep incline. He gunned the engine to power up the man-made slope, which the tank climbed as if it was a small hump. He grinned like a fool as the massive tank crested the incline and flopped over the other side. "I always wondered why tank drivers say they love these things, but now I get it!"

The Chieftain was one of the extensive collection at the Ontario Regiment's museum in Oshawa. Built on what had once been a sizable collection of aircraft parks on the south side of Oshawa's airport, the facility now had a built-for-the-purpose museum, a massive maintenance facility and a testing ground for the tanks, which were regularly tested out for the benefit of museum visitors, to the immense enjoyment of both the visitors and the staff. The Ontario Regiment Museum had a vast collection of fighting vehicles from World War II onwards, with its museum having been first the recipient of a vast quantity of vehicles captured from Nazi Germany in World War II, including two of its prized possessions being examples of two of the Nazis' most powerful vehicles, the Jadgtiger tank destroyer and Tiger II heavy tank, along with a vast collection of Allied and Axis vehicles and a stack of Cold War era vehicles as well as an example of virtually all of the vehicles Canada had ever used. The museum was fully equipped and capable of keeping many of these active - and indeed, today they had two Shermans, named Bart and Billy, operating, along with its ex-Bundeswehr Leopard 1 (affectionately named Simon the Sprinter for its speed), a Churchill VII (named Winston, of course), a pair of ex-Indian Army T-72As (named Boris and Natasha), a ex-USMC M60A3 (named Bill), it's Chieftain and, of course, its newest tank (and a gift from the United States Army's 1st Armored Division, which had been friends with the Royal Canadian Armored Corps since WWII) in its M1A1 Abrams, which had had a naming competition held for it when it arrived among museum visitors and thus gained the name John Wayne, after the famed 20th Century American actor. There were also a vast collection of active armored personnel carriers, trucks (including the very first truck built at General Motors' Oshawa Assembly plant for the Canadian Army in 1940), jeeps and utility vehicles and other military vehicles. The back of the museum included a hangar, a recent addition that had allowed the museum to receive gifts of helicopters - and true to form, the museum now had among its collection a ex-US Army UH-1 Huey, an ex-French Air Force Aerospatiale Gazelle, a CH-47A Chinook that had been sold to Vietnam and, perhaps most notably, a Mi-24 that had been captured by Iran during the Middle East Wars in the 1990s. The Gazelle and Mi-24 were flyable, and the Mi-24 drew a crowd any time it so much as took off.

Younghusband's TV crew was doing a special on the most extreme vehicles ever to see use in Canada - while Adam Savage in Alberta was doing a show about the canadian Army, Younghusband had already ridden in the commander's cupola of the Leopard 1 and a T-72 and had asked to drive one of them, and they had allowed him to take the wheel of the Chieftain. What they didn't know is that the museum had a surprise for him - he was gonna have a ride in the gunner's seat of the Mi-24 later, as one of the museum's pilots, who had two thousands hours in RCAF helicopters and had long since mastered the Hind, was gonna take Younghusband on a mock strafing run of the vehicles in the field. But where he was now, he was driving, but he didn't know that the rest of the tank's crew was about to throw him a fast one....
Andrew's headset spoke. "Target, two O'Clock!" Younghusband turned his head to the right, seeing Natasha emerge around a dirt mound on the practice field, its turret turning in the direction of the Chieftain. "Firing!" That was followed by a simulated BOOM from the Chieftain's main gun, which the T-72 returned. Younghusband halted the tank momentarily, but the commander quickly corrected that.
"We gotta keep moving, driver!"
Andrew took the hint and rapidly accelerated the tank, as the Chieftain fired a second shot and the T-72 opened up with another one. Instinctively, Andrew jerked the tank to the right, being happy to note that as he did that the turret swung left to keep a track on the T-72, which also turned left to put its thickest armor in the line of the Chieftain's simulated shots.
"Holy hell this is intense!" Younghusband almost shouted at the camera as he weaved the tank. The Chieftain pilled into a deep ditch and halted momentarily, just its turret sticking out. One more shot later and the Chieftain roared out of it.
"Good driving, Sergeant Younghusband!" The commander called down to him. "Shit, another T-72, nine O'Clock high!" Yet again, the TV host jerked his head to the left, seeing the other T-72 on top of a rise, another puff of smoke simulating a shot. The Chieftain reached level terrain and Andrew almost by instinct ripped a hard turn to the left, the turret swinging right to line up and fire on the T-72, which rapidly charged off of the rise to close the distance. The Chieftain 'shot' first, the T-72 returning fire. Diesel engines roared as the T-72 was followed over the hill by the Leopard 1, whose far superior speed allowed it to swing to the right of the T-72, moving to flank the Chieftain.
"Holy crap, what the hell am I gonna...." Andrew hadn't finished the sentence when he heard a sentence over the radio.
"Whoa, take 'er easy there, Pilgrim." Andrew recognized the sentence instantly, and the commander almost immediately barked out.
"Backup to our Ten O'Clock!" Andrew looked in that direction to see the Abrams roar over another of the hill in the field, almost catching air as it did so, its gun firing a simulated shot in the direction of the Leopard 1. The Leo 1 quickly swung to its left, its turret swinging in that direction as well.
"Big Chief, this is John Wayne." The radio spoke. "We'll handle Simon, you guys take Boris and Natasha out of the game!" Andrew heard the commander shout back an affirmative, and Andrew, following the orders, swung the Chieftain to the right, its turret doing the same as both tanks 'fired' a shot. Natasha quickly scampered off to the left, a 'mistake' that was done specifically to see if Andrew had been paying attention to his commander's instructions. He had, and it became obvious as the Chieftain swung right to cut him off. One more shot and the radio spoke again, this time the rangemaster.
"Natasha down." A break, and then the radio spoke again. "Simon down."
Andrew shouted out in triumph, absentmindedly barking out. "Commander, where the hell is that is that other tank?!"
"Four O'Clock, going right to left." A pause. "Driver, take us to his flank!" Andrew swung the tank hard to the right and gunned its engine, racing towards behind where the other T-72 was going. The radio spoke again.
"John Wayne, this is Big Chief, we're going after the T-72's flank. You guys heading him off?"
"Affirmative Big Chief, you'll get there first though. Get him for us!"
"All over it!" The Chieftain's big Robinson diesel roared as Younghusband called on all one thousand of its horsepower as the Chieftain charged forward. The commander saw the T-72 turret swinging around, firing a simulated shot. It missed, of course, but the turret swung right as Younghusband powered the Chieftain forward, getting some distance and waiting for the return shot before swinging the tank to the right once again, aiming to put the thickest armor facing the T-72. Boris swung to fire another shot, but in the process lost track of his own flank, and the Abrams roared out from Boris' left, its turret already turning in the direction of the T-72. Both guns spoke almost simultaneously, and the rangemaster radioed again.
"Boris down." That led to cheers among the crews of both the Chieftain and the Abrams.
"Great job, everyone!"
Walter P. Chrysler Center
Trumbull Road and Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
May 23, 2023
10:05 AM

"Thank you for coming, everyone." The Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Corporation, Johnathan Shelton, spoke to the gathered reporters in front of him on this Tuesday morning, knowing what he was going to say was going to stun a lot of people, but in a way that in some way was illogical but in the minds of Shelton and his company's board of directors made all of the sense in the world, more than anything because of the history of the Chrysler Corporation, the company widely seen as being America's number-three automaker. But Chrysler was much more than just a maker of cars, a fact known to many in the know though something that seemed to be missed by many in the media. Chrysler's history had led them to make tanks, trains, transit vehicles, marine engines, electronics and components for rockets, satellites and radar systems. It was the single largest shareholder in the United States' largest cable company in Comcast, was a major shareholder in ocean shipper American President Lines, had built microwave telephone systems in South Africa, Iran, Australia and Brazil. Despite these vast and varied interests, and a decades-long alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen, to even many in the media the company was its Chrysler, Dodge, Eagle and Ram civilian vehicles.

In the six years he'd been at the helm, Shelton had longed to change that, and had made major efforts. Transit vehicles now carried the Chrysler wings on their noses, the company advertised that its trucks were "built by the same engineers that created the M1 Abrams" (which was somewhat true, in all fairness) and the company had been more than willing to show off its many varied businesses. But at the same time, there was one more very important reality that Shelton believed as much as any, and many of his confidants believed in as well.

Shelton had, like so many of Detroit's big shots, grown up in classical Midwestern America - in his case, Shelbyville, Indiana, southeast of Indianapolis. And he was also like many of his compatriots in being an employee of Chrysler since he graduated from the University of Michigan in 1980, and being a serious car guy, complete with a painstakingly-restored 1972 Plymouth Road Runner and a race car, in this case a British-built Radical SR3, in his garage. But what he also shared was a belief in the Second Great Awakening, and being a major part of the Born For This Generation. And through his rise into positions of authority at Chrysler - from basic engineering positions through being part of the team that made the famous Chrysler LH Platform cars happen in the late 1980s, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001 as a team leader with the Chrysler Patriot V project, through countless projects done with an eye towards making the vehicles the greatest they could possibly be - he had made a point of those who he considered friends would come with him into places of higher authority, and he'd do right for the people underneath him. And when he'd taken his seat as the Chairman in June 2017, he'd told himself that his leadership of the Chrysler Corporation would be one where he added to the company's formidable engineering prowess by also creating a reputation for being good to the people who worked for it. And now, he was going to make the announcement that would perhaps above all else define this legacy.

The Nikola Corporation was a company that had been making hydrogen-fueled trucks since the mid-2000s. Nikola had had some successes, but by the mid-2010s, the company was floundering, owing to competition in the market, both from fully-electric trucks with batteries and pantographs and ever-more-efficient diesel-electric trucks as well as other producers of electric trucks. Financial problems had pushed the month before forced Nikola off of the NASDAQ exchange, and more than a few in the media had spoken of how the company's bankruptcy was imminent. But Shelton, like his company's board, could see the obvious potential of the business. Nikola had been stubbornly unwilling to work with others, but earlier that year the employees who now owned the majority of the company's common stock had forced out the current management and sought help, and it hadn't taken but mere hours before one of those influential employees had spoken of this to a life-long friend of Shelton, who quite quickly kicked a plan upstairs.

The plan was simple - Nikola would enter voluntary bankruptcy, its assets bought by Chrysler and its employees guaranteed their jobs as part of the Nikola Truck division of Chrysler Corporation, thus saving the jobs of the nearly 11,000 men and women who worked for the company, while the next generation of Nikola trucks would be built with Chrysler components and those of its long-time partners in Emerson Electric. Chrysler also had an agreement on the table to have Nikola's own often-troublesome fuel cell systems replaced by those from Canadian firm Ballard Power Systems, which had a formidable reputation for durability. Since by mid-2023 the employees of Nikola owned over 60% of the stock, Shelton was confident that being told that their jobs would be safe and that their stocks would be converted to stock in Chrysler Corporation would be more than enough of a incentive to make them sign off on the deal, and with one of the major non-employee shareholders being major auto parts maker Visteon (who also supplied Chrysler) also on board, the company didn't expect too many difficulties with the deal passing. Chrysler would enter the market for Class 8 trucks, joining a number of rivals in the market. Shelton had already decided on who the new boss at Nikola would be - one of Chrysler Transit System's best engineering minds, Dr. David Stewart, another long-time friend who had a Doctorate in Engineering from Wayne State University and an MBA from the University of California Berkeley whose dad had been a truck driver for Consolidated Freightways for decades. Stewart, well aware of this, was at the Chrysler Center today, as was his 88-year-old father, who would soon find out that his son would be making the trucks that the drivers of the company his dad had given a working life to would drive.

It was in a great many ways exactly the sort of play that defined those who took the reigns of leadership from the Boomer Generation, the children of those who had won World War II. That generation had fought and won the Vietnam War, built much of modern America in the 1960s to 1990s and brought an end to the Soviet Union, and watched the Generation X generation that followed them begin their own legend with Live Aid and ending the famine in China, before watching with pride with the second Live Aid in 2005, raising money to help those who had lost everything from the Boxing Day Tsunami. While one would always look at bettering themselves, the sense of a common good created by one's relationships would see them through any tough time, and that in return one had to ensure that if the others around them needed them, they would return the favor. When one expanded that view out to an entire society, you saw what modern America had become - and the Boomers, many of whom were now retiring from positions of power, were seeing the Generation X and Millennial generations continue their good work.

Shelton, for his part, looked out at the assembled media, noting the many members of business media in addition to the automotive media, and the cameras of news networks. Oh boy am I gonna have a story for them. "I am here today to announce a major acquisition of the Chrysler Corporation, one that with it expands the company into a new market in the automotive industry." A smile and a pause while he waited for the assembled reporters to digest that, and begin murmuring amongst themselves. Good to see I have them surprised.... "Chrysler today is announcing that it has come to an agreement to acquire the Nikola Corporation, makers of hydrogen and electric heavy trucks and commercial vehicles." Shelton paused long enough for the screen to light up behind him, followed by the quiet whine of a Nikola Two fuel cell-electric truck to pull onto the platform behind, with the new logo of Nikola as a division of Chrysler on the side of the vehicle's extensive wrap. The gasps lasted just a moment before Shelton spoke again.
"Chrysler has agreed with Nikola's board of directors on a plan to allow Nikola to become a part of the Chrysler Corporation, with Chrysler agreeing to market the company's products and begin the process of a complete re-design of many of the company's products in order to allow them to compete in the marketplace...."

Nikola Corporation Headquarters
South West Temple Street and East Broadway, Salt Lake City, Utah
8:20 AM

"This agreement allows the Nikola name, its products and the jobs of its employees to live on as a part of the Chrysler Corporation." The man who had led the employee-motivated coup of Nikola's previous management, former Senior Financial Officer and now Chief Executive Officer Peter McCarran, spoke to the media and many employees at Nikola's headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City. To the surprise of nobody, a fuel cell-powered Dodge Ram pickup had been sent by Chrysler to be a part of the backdrop behind the CEO of Nikola, who as part of the deal would remain as the Chief Operations Officer of the Nikola Division of Chrysler. "It is a deal that rescues everything we have built in this company, all of the hard work of so many staff, while also allowing our stakeholders and creditors to be able to be a part of our new future." He paused. "Questions?"
"Mr. McCarran, William Erickson, Salt Lake Tribune." A pause. "What does this mean for the staff here in Salt Lake City? Will they moving be to Detroit as a result of the purchase?"
"I expect that some management staff will likely move to Detroit, but Chrysler intends to keep our manufacturing facility in Glendale open and operating. They have stated that their plans in the longer terms include the next generation of Nikola products will use components common to Chrysler and its partners, particularly those from Emerson Electric, Ballard Power Systems, Visteon and Magna, but that is a longer-term plan. In the short term, Nikola's employment in Salt Lake City will remain unchanged."
"Mr. McCarran, Paul Mantley, NBC News." He too allowed the Nikola executive to recognize him before speaking. "Does this agreement mean that Chrysler plans to add to Nikola's product line? For example, will the powersports division proposed three years ago be a part of the future plans?"
"I believe so, but ultimately that will be up to Dr. Stewart and our new employers at Chrysler. Chrysler doesn't have any competing vehicles in that market, and while there are additional competitors in that market, I believe the powersports division has great potential for growth."
"And Dr. Stewart, do you think the staff at Nikola here will be happy to have him running the company?" This was Erickson.
"Will, you know as well as I do what had to happen six weeks ago." A pause. "Chrysler sees in us a possibility to expand its business, and thousands of people will continue to have a job as a result. We were able to make an agreement within just a few weeks because they are willing to put their faith in us, and while I can't speak for anyone other than myself on this, I personally am quite proud to say that I work for Chrysler now." He paused and chuckled. "I'm glad I bought the Eagle Vision instead that BMW right about now, honestly." That drew a chuckle from the room. "Detroit has come to Salt Lake City and made us a part of their future. I, for one, am proud to look forward and be a part of that future." A pause. "I look forward to inviting Chairman Shelton for ski trips and Utah hospitality."

Walter P. Chrysler Center
10:39 AM

"I have every confidence that Nikola will be a productive part of Chrysler for many years to come, and we seek only to add to the future of the business. There will be many more Nikola trucks and other vehicles in the future, I can assure you." Chairman Shelton nodded to the reporter from the CBS affiliate in Detroit, who was pleased as his answer. Shelton then noticed a man stand up on the edge of the room.
"Chairman Shelton, Sir, my name is Adam Forrester." He paused, having the attention of the Chairman and the assembled media. "I am the senior shop steward at the Nikola Corporation assembly plant, Glendale, Utah."
"Ah, I see." Shelton smiled at the man, whose suit showed that he didn't always wear one to work, but he was clearly trying to fit in with the suits. Shelton could sense the man's nervousness, and decided the man had to be here for a good reason. "Welcome to the Chrysler Corporation, Mister Forrester."
"Thank You very much Sir." He paused, as if to build his confidence. "I am originally from Detroit, Sir, and I am here today on behalf of the staff at the Glendale Assembly facility to express the heartfelt thanks from all of the staff at Glendale for your willingness to take over Nikola, Sir. We know that for months now, the talk has been that soon all of us at the plant in Glendale would be looking for new jobs, and thanks to you and your officers, Sir, we no longer have to worry about that."
"You thanks is much appreciated, Mister Forrester, and I have every confidence in you and your colleagues ability to make trucks many years into the future."
"Thank You, Sir." He paused. "I am here with a small token of appreciation from the men and women on the line at Glendale." He lifted up a black box about the size of a TV tray. "May I give it to you, Sir?"
Chairman Shelton was surprised, having not expected any of this, but he rolled with it. "Of course, Mister Forrester." Forrester walked through the crowd of reporter, and was directed by an usher up onto the podium, where Shelton was waiting. The man handed over the black box, which the Chairman was surprised to learn was fairly heavy. The Chairman opened it, and smiled widely.

Inside the black velvet box was a set of custom-made wrenches, made by a machine shop in Salt Lake City, but which had then plated with 24-karat gold by a platers around the corner from the shop. In the middle of the box was a plaque that went with the set, the plaque reading "Thank You For Being There For Us. Staff and Managers, Nikola Corporation Glendale Manufacturing, Glendale, Utah, U.S.A."

Shelton read the plaque, and looked over at the man who was now one of his employees, who clearly had had more than a few sleepless nights about the company he'd dedicated fifteen years of his life to, and who was now someone only too happy to know what he'd worked for was safe. Shelton shook the man's hand.
"Please tell your colleagues thank you for the gift, Mister Forrester." Shelton turned to face the crowd, showing off the gold-plated wrenches to the cameras and reporters. He made a mental note to make sure the staff at the Glendale facility were paid back for their surely-not-cheap gift. "I'm not sure what I'd ever use a gift like this for, but I will cherish it, Sir."
"You've already made life better for thousands of people, Mister Chairman." The man was almost to tears, and Shelton could see it. "We will be there for Chrysler as you were there for us, Sir."
The Atomic Carrier
Anchors Aweigh: The Atomic Carrier

As the veil of darkness began lifting on the morning of July 4th, 1958, the shores of Newport News, Virginia came alive with an extraordinary spectacle. A crowd bristling with anticipation had gathered on the cool, dew-laden shores. Civilians in their Sunday best, sailors in impeccable uniforms, and dignitaries from across the Amigos all stood on the bustling shore, their collective gaze fixed upon the imposing silhouette of the USS Enterprise CVN-75, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, bathed in the soft glow of the breaking dawn.

Among the esteemed attendees was President Marshall Kirk, poised to deliver a riveting commissioning address. Vice Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, known as the Father of the Nuclear Navy, and Dr. Alvin Weinberg, Director of the Atomic Energy Commission, stood by his side, their presence lending a profound gravitas to the event.

Simultaneously, the crowd's attention was drawn to the poignant sight of the USS Enterprise CV-7, the most decorated warship in naval history, sitting majestically in the water alongside her namesake.

The revered CV-7 had been on a Midshipman's summer cruise from its home at the Naval Academy in Annapolis and had been strategically positioned for the ceremony. The juxtaposition of the old and new Enterprises, a mirror reflecting the remarkable journey of American naval aviation from the valorous past into a promising future, was a spectacle in itself.

The new USS Enterprise CVN-75 represented a quantum leap in naval engineering and design. With a staggering length of 1250 feet and a displacement of 110,000 tons, this monumental vessel was more than just a symbol of American naval power; it was a testament to American ingenuity, resilience, and the spirit of exploration. With her four advanced CVR series nuclear reactors and turbo-electric machinery, the Enterprise was capable of generating an astonishing 320,000 SHP. This phenomenal power allowed her to sail at high speeds, covering vast distances without refueling, thus revolutionizing the concept of strategic naval mobility.

The USS Enterprise CVN-75 was not only a marvel of engineering and a symbol of American naval power, but also a platform for the formidable strength of the United States Navy's air wings. The air wing of Enterprise was designed to carry an astounding 130 of the Navy's most advanced aircraft, a mix that perfectly encapsulated the comprehensive approach to naval warfare that the United States was adopting.

Each of these 130 aircraft had a unique role in fulfilling the mission of the Enterprise. The air wing was composed of an array of jet fighters, each one a formidable war machine capable of dominating the skies. These fighters were the sharp edge of the carrier's capabilities, ready to respond swiftly to threats and maintain air superiority around the ship. They represented the advancements in aerodynamics, materials science, and propulsion technology that had accelerated during the Second World War and continued unabated into the Cold War.

Alongside the fighters were long-range bombers. These were not just any bombers – they were nuclear-capable. The power of the atom, once a theoretical concept, had now been harnessed as the ultimate weapon. Each bomber was a strategic tool of immense potential, capable of delivering devastating payloads over vast distances. The presence of these nuclear-capable bombers not only reinforced the strategic importance of the Enterprise but also served as a stark reminder of the potential for large-scale destruction in this nuclear age.

Integral to the air wing were the specialized anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft. With the rise of the submarine as a significant threat in naval warfare, these ASW aircraft were the carrier's underwater eyes and ears. Equipped with cutting-edge sensors and armed with depth charges, torpedoes, and other anti-submarine weapons, they patrolled the waters, ensuring the safety of the Enterprise and her escorts from hostile submarines. Their role underlined the multi-dimensional nature of naval warfare in this era - a battle not just for control of the seas and skies, but also the depths below.

The composition of the air wing was a testament to the multifaceted role the Enterprise was expected to play. It was not just a power projection tool or a nuclear deterrent. It was an embodiment of naval superiority, a platform for offensive power, a guardian of the seas, and a strategic bastion all rolled into one. The air wing of the Enterprise, with its diverse and specialized aircraft, was ready to meet any challenge, whether it came from the air, the surface, or beneath the waves.

The defensive capabilities of the USS Enterprise CVN-75 are an embodiment of technological marvels of the era. The ship was armed with a robust defense system that included two Terrier missile launchers mounted on the aft section, designed to provide a formidable shield against aerial threats. In addition, two Mk11 Tartar missile launchers were integrated strategically into the island structure, one fore and the other aft, ensuring a comprehensive 360-degree defensive arc. This multi-layered defense system was enhanced with six rapid-firing 3"/70 caliber guns, mounted on sponsons along the sides of the hull. Each element of the ship's defenses had been meticulously designed to work in tandem, offering a synergistic response to any potential threats.

Central to the defensive strategy of the Enterprise is the SCANFAR radar system, a key innovation of the era. Integrated seamlessly into the island structure of the ship, the SCANFAR system represented a quantum leap in detection and tracking capabilities. It constantly scanned the surrounding airspace and ocean surface, its powerful radar beams reaching out to detect, identify, and track potential threats. In addition to aerial surveillance, the SCANFAR system was capable of tracking sea-skimming missiles and surface ships, enhancing the overall situational awareness of the ship.

Complementing the SCANFAR's above-surface surveillance, the USS Enterprise was also equipped with an SQS-23 hull sonar system, enhancing its detection capabilities below the waterline. This sonar system was designed to identify and track underwater threats such as submarines and torpedoes, adding another layer of security to the ship's formidable defenses.

Orchestrating the intricate dance of these defensive elements was the groundbreaking Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS). The NTDS worked hand-in-glove with the SCANFAR radar and the SQS-23 sonar system, processing incoming data, and controlling the weapons systems for optimum response. This state-of-the-art system enabled faster, more efficient decision-making, transforming the USS Enterprise into an integrated combat system. With the NTDS and the advanced sensor systems, the USS Enterprise CVN-75 could engage threats from a distance, significantly improving its survivability. The harmony of these technological marvels not only fortified the ship's defenses but also demonstrated the American prowess in naval technology and strategy

Indeed, the paradigm shift in naval warfare was not solely encapsulated by the advent of self-escorting carriers. Rather, it was represented by a holistic transition towards a more dispersed naval formation in response to the realities of the nuclear age. The sheer destructive power of nuclear weapons necessitated such a dispersed formation, reducing the risk of total annihilation from a single strike. The concept of a "self-escorting carrier" was certainly embodied by the Enterprise CVN-75. Still, it was part of a larger strategy that included an impressive constellation of accompanying vessels, including Terrier missile frigates (DLGs) and Talos missile Heavy Cruisers (CAGs).

These cruisers, apart from providing an additional layer of defense for the carrier, were also armed with the formidable Regulus II cruise missiles, serving as a strategic deterrent in their own right. The Enterprise was to be the flagship of this new dispersed fleet formation, and she was only the first of six planned nuclear carriers, setting the stage for a new era in naval warfare.

Meanwhile, weeks away from its own commissioning at Mare Island was the USS San Francisco CAGN-15, a nuclear-powered guided missile heavy cruiser. This vessel, representing a new class of powerful surface combatants, was designed to escort the new nuclear carriers as part of the U.S. Navy's modernized force. With these surface ships and carriers, the United States was in the process of constructing a nuclear surface fleet to complement the existing fleet of 22 nuclear attack and missile submarines already in service.

This new breed of nuclear surface ships, submarines, and carriers introduced an unprecedented level of strategic mobility and combat power to the U.S. Navy. With an ability to operate independently across the world's oceans for extended periods without refueling, the nuclear navy held the promise of reshaping global power dynamics. The USS Enterprise CVN-75, standing at the vanguard of this transformation, was a potent symbol of America's unwavering commitment to maintaining its naval superiority well into the nuclear age.

President Marshall Kirk, a man who had seen the United States through several turbulent years, stood firm on the deck of the Enterprise. As he began his address, he emanated an aura of authority and confidence that only comes with years of leadership. He spoke first about the broad strides in naval technology that the country had made in recent years. These advances, he pointed out, were embodied in the very ship they were standing on. The Enterprise was a triumph of American engineering and innovation, a beacon of human achievement, capable of changing the balance of power on the high seas.

Speaking further, Kirk emphasized the dual significance of the ship's nuclear power. "Not only does it grant us unprecedented operational capability," he said, "but it also stands as a symbol of our nation's commitment to conserving our precious oil reserves." His voice grew more resonant as he continued. "In the wake of the recent Suez Crisis and the consequential oil embargo, the importance of this cannot be overstated. The Enterprise, and ships like her, represent our path forward - a path where strategic advantage and resource conservation go hand in hand."

The crowd listened in rapt silence, absorbing the profound importance of the President's words. They understood that this ship was not just a marvel of technology, but also a testament to American resilience and strategic foresight.

As the sun began to set on that momentous day, marking the end of the commissioning ceremony, the USS Enterprise CVN-75 sat resplendent under the fading light. The atmosphere was electric with the weight of the occasion, the promise of a new chapter in the story of the U.S. Navy. The Enterprise was more than just a ship. It was a symbol of American ambition, innovation, and indomitable spirit.

Even as the day was coming to an end, the journey for the USS Enterprise CVN-75 was just beginning. As the most advanced addition to the fleet, the ship was poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of naval aviation and warfare. Onlookers could feel the hum of the ship's engines, the promise of raw power and speed.

Standing at a distance, across the glittering water, was the historic USS Enterprise CV-7, another remarkable testament to the progress of naval technology. As they watched the two ships – one a giant of the past, the other a titan of the future – it was clear to everyone present that the Enterprise name carried with it a legacy that transcended time.

This legacy of valor, of service to the nation, of standing as a beacon of hope and strength, was carried forward by the new USS Enterprise. In the years to come, she would carve her own path in the annals of naval history, serving the nation and protecting its interests across the globe. As the sun finally dipped below the horizon, the new Enterprise, resplendent and formidable, seemed to promise a new dawn, a new era of naval power and supremacy.

With the end of the day came the close of the commissioning ceremony, but the USS Enterprise CVN-75’s journey was just beginning. As the newest and most advanced addition to the fleet, she stood as a testament to American technological prowess and ambition. Looking across the water at the historic USS Enterprise CV-7, it was clear that this new vessel was not just a successor in name. The legacy of the Enterprise name — a legacy of valor, innovation, and unwavering service — was poised to live on, shaping the future of naval aviation and naval warfare as a whole.
The World's Richest Scientist
The Story of the World's Richest Scientist
Philo T. Farnsworth

It perhaps is of little surprise to many than when they think of television, the names that first come up are the huge companies that created so much of the industry and the networks that broadcasted on it. But what is less well known is the stories of those who created the technology in the first place, though a motley collection of brilliant scientists from many parts of North America and Europe, one of the better-known members of who was a young Mormon man who was raised on a farm in Eastern Idaho who subsequently went on to become a billionaire through shrewd investments, ingenuity and more than a small dose of sheer dumb luck. Despite the latter point, Philo T. Farnsworth's efforts dramatically changed the trajectory of television by creating the very first all-electronic television system, first creating it and then, after the mid-1930s, refining it through a life-long friendship with immigrant to America Kalman Tihanyi, the Hungarian discoverer of what is today known as the photoconductive effect and the Inventor of charge-storage technology, who was forced to come to America by the growing threat the Nazis represented to him and his homeland, in his case amplified by past work for the British Air Ministry. While many of Tihanyi's initial ideas were refined by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and it's own Russian-born electronics genius Vladimir Zworykin, the development of all-electronic television by Farnsworth meshed with Tihanyi's own ideas. Tihanyi wouldn't only work with Farnsworth, however - his plasma display ideas would be developed by Ferranti Beaulieu and the Western Electric Company in Canada, and would be seen in the groundbreaking Avro CF-105 Arrow jet fighter - but it would be alongside Farnsworth that his plans for better television technology would be realized.

While Farnsworth would spend a lot of the first half of the 1930s battling it out with RCA over his patents - ultimately, he won these battles out, and at the recommendation of Tihanyi and Zworykin, he chose to take royalties in RCA stock, a decision that proved incredibly valuable in the years to come - indeed, Farnsworth and RCA's boss David Sarnoff would over time go from bitter enemies to close allies - and in 1937 RCA began broadcasting using the all-electronic television system based almost entirely on the works of Farnsworth, Zworykin and Tihanyi, with the first broadcasts being President Roosevelt's second term beginning in March 1937, and the company beginning the sales of their television system at the same time. RCA and Farnsworth's fight would ultimately be seen as an example of government and private forces making a desired outcome - in this case, an alliance between the largest electronics company in the world and one of the most brilliant inventors of the time - happen, with Farnsworth ultimately settling for a $2.5 million settlement being paid in RCA stock as part of that agreement - but indeed, Farnsworth and his wife (who was intimately involved in his affairs for much of his life, a fact Philo had no difficulties admitting) ended up accepting that agreement firm in the belief that said stock would become worth far more one day.

Indeed, Sarnoff's business skill would end up highly beneficial for Farnsworth, as after the war RCA's burgeoning television business and Farnsworth's involvement in the development of the NTSC standard in the early 1950s indeed made him a vast fortune - $2.5 million in RCA stock in 1937 had by 1955 become worth over $100 million - and it allowed not only Farnsworth to live in comfort and run his labs as he saw fit, but also chase ideas all his own. During the 1930s and beyond his work grew further and further, though, as he developed a way of sterilizing milk using radio waves, fog-penetrating beams suitable for use on ships and aircraft and was part of the work by Philco, Allied Signal, Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific on the development of railroad cab signals. During the War, Farnsworth contributed to the development of the US Navy's radar systems, most famously the ASR-115 airborne search radar used by US Navy patrol bombers during World War II, and contributed to the guidance system of the SSM-3-V "Starstrike" ballistic missile which played a very important role in the liberation of France in 1943 and many actions in Asia during World War II. Farnsworth assisted Sarnoff in the development of broadcasting systems in Europe, his efforts towards the success of the war effort in April 1944 seeing him be made a Captain of the United States Navy, something that would be a point of pride for him (just as Sarnoff's commission as a Brigadier General was to him) in the years afterwards, with for much of the rest of his life many armed forces officers and technicians often referring to him (even when not strictly necessary) as Captain Farnsworth.

After the war, the rapid advancement in technology of the 1940s and 1950s then ran headlong into the Energy Crisis and Project Independence, both situations that lended themselves well to people who had interest on solutions and the wherewithal to make them happen. By this time, Farnsworth (who had contributed considerably to better radar systems and the SAGE Air Defense System and had developed the PPI Projector for radar air traffic control in the years after the war) had established the Joseph Smith Technical Research Laboratories in Salt Lake City and had helped to establish (along with Tihanyi) the California State Center for the Sciences in San Mateo, California, and his own fortune (estimated at $150 million by 1958) had made him a sought-after person for technical research. With Project Independence came his own interest in nuclear research coming to the forefront, and in May 1959 Farnsworth joined a team working on reactor design improvements at Westinghouse, becoming one of the directors of the company's nuclear engineering division in November 1962. The company's efforts in the 1960s and 1970s developed the first commercially-viable molten salt reactors, and part of their operational ability was a highly-advanced control system that monitored over 1500 different pieces of data and explained detailed scenarios that were possible to the operators in order to allow them to react to situations before they happened. This setup, known as the Farnsworth System, would be installed on all Westinghouse Generation-III nuclear reactors and all of the company's molten salt units, and Westinghouse funded Farnsworth's nuclear fusion research, which ultimately led to Westinghouse's nuclear medicine division, which began operation in 1969, being initially headed by him while one of his closest confidants during the time, Dr. Kenneth McArland, perfected the development of the use of radioactive elements as treatment for cancers - and indeed, Westinghouse was one of the first companies to develop particle accelerator-style teletherapy machines, introducing them to the market in 1974.

Farnsworth retired from day-to-day management of his efforts and enterprises in September 1976, though he remained on the board of directors at Westinghouse until March 1981. He passed away a month after his 80th birthday in September 1986, leaving behind a sizable stipend to his wife but almost all of the rest of his massive fortune to the Farnsworth Science Foundation, with the goal of funding and advancing scientific research. Even by then, the foundation had scored some major successes, as one of its earliest investments was bankrolling Apple Computer's development of the Apple II personal computer - the investment in Apple ended up being worth billions by the 21st Century. The Foundation both advances scientific research but also the education of science - one of Farnsworth's late-career loves was PBS's famed science show NOVA (Farnsworth was a highly enthusiastic fan of the show, and personally hosted its famous "The Creation of the Television" episode in 1981) and the Foundation has been a decades-long supporter of NOVA in particular and PBS in general, and it has contributed to a number of science centers (including the famous Los Angeles Science Education Center) and other such educational facilities across the Amigos countries. Today, the Foundation boasts assets of over $20 Billion, and regularly funds science research and education in a vast number of places. The Joseph Smith Technical Research Laboratories were renamed the Philo T. Farnsworth National Laboratory by Washington and the state of Utah in July 1988, and today occupies a position of authority in the world's science community. Grandson Andrew Farnsworth would follow his grandfather's paths in developing his own ideas about video cameras, and in 1974 he pioneered at the Salt Lake City Center for the Arts a new type of video camera, this being a 70mm format almost identical to IMAX - indeed, just four years later (and with no lawsuits, to the surprise of many) Andrew Farnsworth's Cinema Magic company merged with the IMAX Corporation, and Farnsworth would indeed follow many of his grandfather's footsteps in the movie industry, helping not only to develop the larger-screen formats but also the Ultra Stereo sound system for theatres (introduced in 1980) and then (along with George Lucas and Tomlinson Holman) the THX Standard, which was first used in 1983 and went on to become a standard of its own right.
Diary of a Young Girl
The Story of the Girl from The Diary Of A Young Girl
Annelise Marie "Anne" Frank

When the hard-bitten, veteran soldiers of the 2nd Canadian Division liberated the horrific Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lower Saxony in northern Germany in April 1944, even those men, veterans of nearly a year of fighting since their landing on Juno Beach in Normandy in July 1943, had a truly difficult time expressing the scene that lay in front of them. Any Canadian by April 1944 was all too familiar with the barbarism the Nazi regime had shown to the world during a conflict that by then had lasted four and a half years, but even to men long used to the sounds of gunfire, men who had liberated the Netherlands almost single-handedly and seen what the Nazis had done there, people for whom death had been a part of their daily life for years at that point, struggled to find words for what pure, unadulterated evil lay in front of them - and indeed, the reaction of the Allies to the horrors the Canadians discovered at Bergen-Belsen directly influenced the Royal Canadian Air Force's decision to drop a nuclear weapon on the great port city of Kiel just a few weeks later. The over 60,000 starving, sick and filthy survivors of the disease-ridden camp was such a heartbreaking shock to many in Canada that it became something of a national mission to help the people who had lived through it. Food, clothing, vitamins, medical supplies, countless other supplies and acts of kindness from Canada came to the site after its liberation from the Nazis - the Canadian Government went so far as to build a monument on the site to the victims of Nazi horrors, a monument made extraterritorial in 1948 by the new German Government and formally made a Canadian diplomatic territory in 1959. At the urging of a number of prominent Canadians - including former Prime Ministers Arthur Meighen and Thomas Crerar - Canada on May 21, 1944, offered passage and asylum to any and all survivors of the camp that had so shocked Canadians - and over half took them up on it, with just over 35,000 survivors, the majority of them Jews (though many others, including Polish and Soviet POWs, Czechs, Roma and even a number of Germans labeled as "undesirables" or "untermenchen" by the Nazis also came), making their way to Canada between May 1944 and September 1945. Even today, the mention of Bergen-Belsen is one that has a lasting memory on Canada's collective psyche, and one that ultimately contributed to Canada's steadfast support of human rights in the years and decades after the war.

But among those would be more than a few who would change history in ways that were almost unimaginable in the dark days of 1944. One of those people, though no-one knew it yet, was a young girl who was to celebrate her fifteenth birthday by arriving on her ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and into the warm embrace of a nation that by that time was not only seeking any opportunity possible to tear the Third Reich apart, but also to heap well-deserved scorn upon those who looked the other way at Hitler's insanity, honor those who had spoken the truth (over 600 individual Canadians would be immortalized as Righteous Among The Nations by the State of Israel for saving the lives of Jews during the Holocaust) and provide whatever comfort could possibly be arranged to the victims of Nazism - a desire that would indeed prove strongest among the hardy, friendly and kind men and women who called Atlantic Canada home. (Indeed, the majority of those who came to Canada as holocaust survivors made their homes in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and southern Quebec, and today many of these areas have some of the largest concentrations of Jews anywhere in the world outside of Israel.) That young woman survived when her mother hadn't (though her father and sister did), and upon returning to the Netherlands in 1944, Otto Frank was surprised to discover that his secretaries had saved the diary his young daughter had written. This act ultimately inspired him to follow his daughters to Canada's greener pastures, reuniting with his daughters in Montreal in August 1944 and building a trading business specializing in moving goods between Canada and the Netherlands. Both Margot and Anne Frank returned to school, and both enrolled at the famous McGill University in Montreal in 1949.

It was during this time that Otto Frank (with Anne's permission, of course) arranged for the publishing of her writings, named The Diary of a Young Girl, first in Dutch and then translated to English, French and Spanish for readers in North America. First published in English and French by McGill in 1952, it laid bare that the young Anne Frank - by that time a third-year honour student at McGill - could indeed be the writer she hoped to be, and the book proved a best seller in the 1950s for its blunt portrayal of the hardships suffered by those forced to live through hatred spawned from Nazism. Anne and her sister graduated from McGill in 1954 (and became a Canadian citizen that summer), and Anne Frank almost immediately found work as a young journalist at La Presse, one of Montreal's largest French-language newspapers. While a good journalist, Frank clearly had the desire to be a famous novelist, and she indeed worked on the first book of her own. That book, Kind Heart, was first published in 1959, and would go on to be the first of over three dozen novels written by the younger Frank over her lifetime. Her writing skill and journalism skills made her something of a renowned figure by the 1960s, with her settling in the medium-sized city of Sherbrooke, Quebec, where she lived for the rest of her life.

For the decades to come, Frank would be a rather well-known (and dogged) investigative journalist and a highly-sought after interviewer, ultimately interviewing no less than seven Canadian Prime Ministers along with thousands of others for her journalism. (One of these PMs, Robert Stanfield, is said to have said of Frank "If you lose her, you lose the country, and anyone who survived Bergen-Belsen isn't gonna be intimidated by somebody's reputation and isn't gonna swallow anybody's political spin, so don't even try to BS her.") Her articles would appear in both English and French in La Presse, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and The Canadian newspapers from 1954 until 2001, and she was one of those who would be most influential in shaping the views of the State of Israel in Canada. Her sister Margot ultimately immigrated to Israel in 1958, becoming a member of the Knesset in 1970 and later being intimately involved in the Treaty of Asheville's passage through that legislative body in 1976, but Anne and her father both loved Canada (and Montreal and Sherbrooke in particular) and chose to stay, her father becoming a successful merchant in Canada (though he would by the 1960s live in her shadow to a degree, though he never resented this) and Anne by the 1970s becoming a writer of some renown. She earned her first Booker Prize for her book Inner Visions in 1970 (She would win it twice more for A Second Chance At Life in 1984 and Shadows of the Spirit in 1991) and her novels would by the 1970s only add to a considerable reputation. She would ultimately have a long friendship (and rivalry) with famed Canadian writer Margaret Atwood (who similarly would win three Booker Prizes over the course of her career) and their friendship, along with Frank's speaking of her experiences with the Nazis, ultimately influenced Atwood's 1985 masterwork The Handmaid's Tale (Atwood never had any difficulty admitting this), while Atwood's growing up in the forests and small towns of northern Ontario and Quebec helped to provide a lot of the background story and mythologies that influenced A Second Chance at Life (Frank never denied this, either). The friendly rivalry between the two and their frequent support of young and coming writers in Canada ultimately added to a literary tradition that became incredibly strong in the 1980s and 1990s. Frank became a member of The Order of Canada in 1967, and would be appointed a Companion of The Order of Canada in June 1986.

Having a similar viewpoint of Nazi sympathizers as her famously-angry father, Anne Frank was a well-known supporter of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, and on a visit to South Africa in March 1964 (ostensibly for a story on the country's frayed relationship with the Commonwealth of Nations), Frank helped to find Alois Brunner (who was living under a new identity in Johannesburg), resulting in Brunner being hunted down by the Mossad, and subsequently he was shot dead by an agent of the Mossad on May 26, 1965. (The South Africans knew all of this, but owing to their desire for good relations with Israel the involvement of both Frank and the Mossad was kept quiet until long after the country's transition to democracy, only to be told to Frank by Nelson Mandela himself when she interviewed him in May 1984.) Frank publicly exposed Sepp Dietrich's living in South Africa in June 1965, rather to the embarrassment of Pretoria but a massive "well done" from Canada - the memories of Nazi brutality were still well remembered in the Amigos of the mid-1960s. This was hardly a surprise to even the likes of Brunner or Dietrich, as Canada was only too willing to kick out Nazi sympathizers or functionaries, and Canada's government passed a lay in June 1946 stating that anyone found to have been a member of the SS would be stripped of their citizenship and deported. Canada's sector of Germany would (like those of France, Britain and Mexico) have little tolerance for the SS's former members, and while Frank always focused on her journalism in Canada, her public statements about groups like HIAG were not complementary to say the least, and when her father was sued by Nazi sympathizers and members of the Deutsche Reichspartei in 1962, she loudly supported her father, and when Hans-Ulrich Rudel came to visit the United States in 1967 to attend a conference on the design and development of ground-attack aircraft, Frank made a point of going to the conference (where a sympathetic captain of the RCAF got her in) and famously confronted the unrepentant-Nazi Rudel, stating loudly "your kind will always wear your evil on your sleeves." (Rudel, it appears, was unfazed by this, but Frank's actions made her rather well known in Germany.)
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Welcome to the Riviera Maya
Royal Yucatan Hotel and Resort, Riviera Maya, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico
May 28, 2023
10:22 AM

"Wow, look at this place!" Katherine 'Katie' Blackstone commented to her parents, the eleven-year-old being gobsmacked at the size of the vast hotel her, her brother and sister and their parents had just been dropped at by their taxicab. Her father smiled.
"We're gonna have a great time here." He said confidently. He was not surprised when the young man driving their taxicab chimed in as well. The family had already learned since driving from the airport that the young man was a friendly fellow, and his English was far better than the Spanish from any of the family from suburban Wisconsin riding in his van.
"Si, Senor Blackstone, you have picked a very good hotel here." He smiled. "The beach is particularly nice along this stretch of the water, and if that's not enough the ferry to Cozumel will get you an even better one."
"That sounds like experience talking." Ryan Blackstone commented.
"Indeed it is, Senor." Julian Manzanedo confirmed. "I grew up on the island, in San Miguel. It is a very beautiful place, and the balnearios there are amazing." Manzanedo lifted a suitcase out of the back of the van and handed it to Ryan's wife Vanessa. "There are great hotels, beaches, resorts on both sides. I always try to tell people to explore and find the ones they like best." He smiled. "Good for them and good for Me."

Ryan chuckled at that, knowing what the good young taxi driver meant. The Riviera Maya was a stretch of incredible resort destinations on the east edge of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Officially it stretched from the resort hub of Cancun to the smaller city of Tulum some 120 miles to the south, but the unofficial designations also included the communities north of Cancun, the Isla de Cozumel and the communities of the north side of Quintana Roo as Isla Mujeres. This massive tourist region was often defined by what wasn't there - from one of the world's largest coral reefs in the warm Caribbean Sea, stunning vast mangrove forests, waters so clear you could see for vast distances. Famous Mayan ruins rubbed shoulders with modern resorts and exclusive clubs and communities, with real estate here being as expensive as anywhere in Mexico and had few rivals on this side of the world. But even among Mexico, already a country known for its ability to see people cross socio-economic classes with ease, life on the Riviera Maya was special. Warm year-round and inhabited not only by wealthy Mexicans and tourists but by hundreds of thousands of wealthy expatriates from other nations, it was hard not to like the environment and the vibe of the region, and the Mexican and local governments fought to keep it that way. Environmental regulations here were strict, and the locals expected those who came to respect the world around them as well, and with very few exceptions, people did.

Getting there wasn't hard for anyone. Fast ferries raced the 165 miles between Cancun and Cabo de San Antonio on the island of Cuba every day, while airports brought arrivals from around the world and the Tren Maya high-speed train system whisked people around the region in comfort. Owing the difficult geology of the region Cancun had been forced to build its transit systems aboveground, but they'd turned that into an advantage by having their transit stations be turned into hotel or business hubs. It was just one example of many of what the region did to reduce the impact its millions of visitors had on the environment - buildings were covered in solar cells to reduce power consumption, places close to the beach used water piped from the ocean to help reduce the temperature inside the buildings, golf courses were built with drainage catching systems to reduce water pollution, every garbage bin had recycling and compost waste bins next to it. Those who visited the famous places found one sign after another saying "Take only memories, leave only footprints", and the local guides did their level best to make sure that was indeed the case, taking particular care with the archeological sites and ecologically sensitive areas. The reefs of the regions were particularly prized for their vast array of life and the Mexicans had long ago made it clear that damaging those reefs was something the guilty parties would pay dearly for, and everyone took that warning seriously.

The fact that it had been the Mayans who had inhabited this place for millennia before the Spanish conquistadors had shown up hadn't been forgotten either. The Mexicans had taken good care of the history of the region, with the likes of Chichen Itza, Tikal, El Mirador, Palenque and Kaminaljuyu being excavated and restored after being studied extensively and vast numbers of smaller architectural sites were lovingly taken care of by the authorities. These efforts had shed a vast amount of information on the Mayans who had inhabited thr region for so long, giving more than a little bit of a sense of pride to those of Mayan descent who lived in the region. Mexico found little to complain about here and those who lived in Belize - the only part of Central America that had stayed British after the North American War, and subsequently became part of the Canadian province of Jamaica - found even less. The discoveries had also contributed to a revival of many of the Mayan languages in the 20th Century among their descendants, reviving many aspects of the culture and history that had thought to have been snuffed out of existence by the Spanish in the 1600s. The local architecture was heavily influenced by this, too - finding homes influenced by the pyramids and intricate carvings of the Mayans was now almost as common as those influenced by the architecture of the Spanish.

For the family from suburban Janesville, Wisconsin, the land of the Mayans and the exotic resort cities that existed amongst them was as much of a stunning shock as could be honestly imagined, but the warmness of the weather and the locals was well known, and for Ryan, who made a good living assembling sporty utility vehicles, and his elementary-school-teacher wife, this trip was a dream they'd had for years, and being here had them on Cloud Nine, even though how much if a life-changing trip it would be wasn't known to them yet. But it was about to show its first clues....

"You have a recommendation for local fare, Senor?" Ryan asked, his question being confirmed by Julian's eyes absolutely lighting up.
"Of course, Senor Blackstone." A wide smile. "There is a truly remarkable restaurant on Avenue Kukulcan, Los Rameros." He smiled. "It's a personal favorite of mine, and it's chef prepares a truly remarkable huachinango."
"Forgive me, but I'm not sure what that...."
"Oh, I'm sorry Senor." A pause. "It's a baked marinated fish dish, very tasty." Julian didn't know it, but Ryan was from a family of fishermen on Lake Superior, and he'd scored with that recommendation.
"Ooooooh, marinated red snapper." Ryan looked to his wife, knowing she wasn't much of a seafood person, but she was smiling too, which made the decision. "You sold us, Senor."
Ford's Revenge Begins
July 17, 1963
Ford Motor Company World Headquarters, Dearborn, Michigan

"That two-timing bastard." Henry Ford II growled deeply at the group of men in his office. "He used us."
"Yes, Sir, it appears he did." Lee Iacocca was just as mad as his boss, but then again it wasn't his family name getting spit on by Enzo Ferrari. "Sir, I don't need to tell you that that isn't true in the slightest, what they say about us being incapable of making sports cars." Both men knew what was less than a year away, and was a direct response to the car introduced at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle the year before. "Enzo is gonna get a surprise in a few months about Ford and fun cars, and he's gonna be surprised with what he sees."
"If the Corvette didn't get his attention already." One of the other men in the room, powertrain engineer Andrew "English Andy" Farnham commented. "It got everyone else's."
"The Mustang is gonna mean more than the Corvette in the greater scheme of things. We know how many Javelins have been sold already."
"No argument there, Lee, but you know what a snobbish Italian like Enzo is gonna say about the Mustang." He paused. "We make a small number of thoroughbreds, not millions of mules or some other such garbage. The Corvette is a shot at his jugular."
"So the Cobra will be too."
"Assuming Carroll does his job well."
"He hates losing even more than we do. And I know for a fact he's already looking at how to shove a side-oiler into a Cobra." That statement was sure to get Farnham's attention, and it did.
"If he wants to make a total death trap."
"But a stupid fast one."

Henry ignored the conversation behind him as he looked out the windows, his mind focused on what Ferrari's mercurial boss had said to him. He didn't need to be told about how good his company's management staff was, and Ford, a veteran of World War II who had almost singlehandedly rescued an empire from the failings of his dying father and the thugs he had entrusted to run it and ruin the UAW, the likes of Charles Sorensen and Harry Bennett, and he brought with him people who had a new perspective on the industry. He'd guided it through a world change, the energy crisis and the ever-growing competition from General Motors, which was instigating design wars, as well as Chrysler and American Motors, the latter of which had scored a grand slam in the AMC Javelin, which was selling faster than the company could produce them and making such money for the company that it was looking like that one car would change the firm's whole trajectory.

Ford had wanted to work with Ferrari because Henry Ford II respected Enzo Ferrari....well, had respected him. Both were empire builders, and Ford had the assets to allow Ferrari to race anywhere. Lee had told Old Man Ferrari that himself, and Ford had meant it.

But this....this to Henry Ford II, Hank the Deuce to many who knew him, this was personal. Ferrari's using of Ford to get a better deal out of Fiat, well, that was just business.

But saying Ford could never build a thoroughbred....to Henry, he took that as the nationaliatic insult it was. It was in his mind an insinuation that Americans couldn't make cars like the red rockets Ferrari built. And he thinks that in the richest country in the world, which with its close allies is building the greatest network of highways ever seen and has so many great driving roads that one couldn't likely drive them all in a lifetime.... Few knew that Henry had bought his wife an E-Type Jaguar and a Maserati Ghibli because she liked driving them, and to be fair Henry had given the Jaguar a good run a few times and liked it as well.

But Ford builds mules, Enzo had said. Millions of soulless mules, so that they could never build a thoroughbred.... Henry's mind was made up.

All right Enzo, you want to insult my country, spit on my name....you're gonna learn about American thoroughbreds the hard way.

And you're gonna learn about them when they bury you under the front stretch at Le Mans.

Ford turned back to the lively room filled with his top lieutenants, their discussion heated but not angry. All knew what Ferrari had said. All wanted payback.
The conversation stopped and the room turned to look at Henry, who picked up and sipped a drink, then spoke.
"We have a problem in a way. We have the boys on Woodward starting a war of design, and the Corvette is proof. They're taking that thing racing too, and we know AMC is gonna race the Javelin too. It's time we joined them."
Bunky Knudsen spoke first. "I agree Sir, but we don't really have a rival to the Corvette ready, and...."
"We're not going after the Corvette. We're going after Ferrari." He paused. "And we're gonna destroy him. Everywhere they race their sports cars, we're gonna too. Here, Europe, Australia, Latin America. We're gonna stick that thoroughbreds comment straight up his arrogant Italian ass." A sip of his drink. "The Mustang, the Cobra, that's where it starts. But we're gonna become a company that builds cars that race and win, no matter where it is."
Iacocca spoke first. "A big ask, Hank, do you think we can...."
"We've faced greater enemies before and defeated them. You don't think we can do this too, Lee?"
"Its not a matter of whether we can Sir, but I don't need to tell you such an endeavor will be very costly."
"General Motors isn't giving us much choice. And beyond that, every one of us got mad when we heard of that Pasta-monkey's comments. Is there anyone else that doesn't want to destroy him?" Henry knew the answer to that question before he'd said it. "GM is gonna do what they'll do. So will Chrysler and AMC. We're gonna do it our way, and our way is gonna be real simple. Ferrari dominates the world of sports car racing right now. They won't for long." He took a sip of his drink. "I want to hand that man his wop ass on a nice shiny platter, and make it clear that while we do make millions of what the conceited cocksucker calls 'mules', this company will also produce the finest thoroughbreds the world has ever seen, stomping that man's little Italian racehorses under a mountain of Dearborn-built Clydesdales." He paused. "Our machines won't have crap clutches and poor brakes and finicky ignition systems. Ours will be better than that. Ours will be the sorta machines Ferrari can't make because his team of pompous Italians hasn't got the money, the mindset or the balls to build them." A pause. "And it'll send a nice message to GM and Chrysler and AMC and everyone else, that message being nice and simple. Fuck with us, we bury you, six feet under the damned ground."

The speech left the room speechless. Jesus, Hank, what the hell did you eat for breakfast this morning was the thought on most of the room's minds. Iacocca was quickest off the mark.
"I think we can do that."
"Think, Lee?"
"You know me better than that, boss. Until I cam show you proof it's gonna be as I expect it to be, I don't make promises."
Henry chuckled. Lee is right, his mind told him. This isn't gonna be child's play. A quick look around the room, noticing a growing collection of smiles and faces turning to determination. But it is gonna happen if these people have anything to say about it. Ford sat down at the comfortable chair at the end of his boardroom table and just watched a conversation between his team unfold. And you'll reap what you've sown, Signore Ferrari....
Le Mans as it Turns 100
Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, Pays de la Loire, France
June 10, 2023
1:44 PM

It was hard to imagine a scene of bigger madness in motorsport than the grid at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, but even among the orderly Europeans and their sports Le Mans was a rare case, but a case that had become the way it had owing to the changes in the world and the desires of the world's sports car racing communities, for which Le Mans, which was celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2023, was the temple that virtually all sought to go to and worship at. The legends of the race were long, from the Bentley Boys of the 1930s to the Ferraris that dominated the race in the 1950s and early into the 1960s, then the Ford GT40s that were the response by a none-too-impressed Henry Ford II to Ferrari's using him to get better deals from Fiat, then the legenary Porsche 917s that finally gave Porsche a Le Mans overall win after twenty years of trying. They were followed by so many cars which made their own legends - the Japanese automakers first arrived in the 1970s, NASCAR made an appearance with two of its roaring stock cars in the mid 1970s, Porsche's legendary series of privateer racers - the 911 Carrera RSR and 935 grand touring cars and 908/60, 917/81 and 936 prototypes, followed by the 956 and 962 Group C cars - that dominated the 1970s and 1980s, then the screaming-fast Group C era whose competitors, built by the likes of Porsche, Jaguar, Sauber-Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan and Chevrolet were so fast that they forced changes to the track. Group C had died out only to give birth to a GT revival (and an overall victory by the McLaren F1 GTR in 1995) and the open-top Le Mans Prototype rules which allowed Ferrari to make its triumphant return in 1997, while two years later Panoz's overall victory signified the return of the Americans, who by 2002 saw the Cadillac Northstar LMPs, Chrysler Patriots and Ford's open backing of Panoz's Le Mans Prototypes fight with the mighty Audi R8, which in itself spawned a new generation of car when the diesel-fueled R10 TDI showed up in 2006 and laid waste to the Americans. The 2010s saw hybrids become mandatory for manufacturer efforts and Audi, Peugeot, Chrysler, Porsche and Toyota answered the challenge, the last of these finally breaking nearly thirty years of heartbreaks when they won outright at long last in 2015. The huge costs of these spaceships ultimately saw them become much simpler machines, less costly but still awesomely fast.

But over time, more changed. After the collapse of the first World Sports Car Championship in 1992, Le Mans had been saved by the racers of GT cars, as well as IMSA in America's World Sports Car rule set which evolved into the Le Mans Prototype. It would be twenty years before another world championship for such racers existed, but in the meantime IMSA, multiple European championships and racers from around the world had fixed that....but Le Mans' organizers never forgot who had kept their race alive, and by the 2010s such was the global interest of the race - by then, entries came from all six inhabited continents of the planet - that the Le Mans organizers had spent the money to build new facilities, taking advantage of the long Circuit de la Sarthe to make it possible to expand the grid. A 50-car grid had become 55, 60 and then 70, but even by then over 100 teams sought entries in the great race, resulting in the changes to the track in the 2010s. Le Mans' famous horse-racing Hippodrome was soon surrounded by racetrack, and the paddock grew along with a second pit lane. At the same time, the organizers' desire to advance the science of the automobile had led to the race offering grid spots to vehicles that were radically different to what had raced there before. From the Nissan-backed Deltawing (which was competitive with prototypes despite half the weight and fuel consumption of its competitors), the Pininfarina-developed GreenGT car with its hydrogen fuel cells powering electric motors, and entrants who used all kinds of new fuels - isobutanol, liquid hydrogen, biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol - had had their shots on the grid at Le Mans, some being more successful than others.

But for 2023, things had changed in a big way. The ACO had finally gotten what they had been shooting for with the FIA, the world's motorsport organizing body, for over two decades - the ability to reserve a race weekend free from other forms of motorsports, to allow drivers from across the world to race at Le Mans. NASCAR in America had also gone along with this when they got a key concession from the ACO - they wanted to see a NASCAR car, modified for the purpose, in the race. The ACO had done them one better and offered them a quartet of spots - one each for the four American automakers who competed in NASCAR - and all had been taken up. Formula One, Indycar, IMSA, even many other national and regional series had made room in their schedules, for the express purpose of allowing competitors who wanted to run Le Mans to do so. And true to form, a vast number of them had.

Beyond that, agreements between the ACO, FIA and several other bodies from around the world had in 2007 organized the first 'Global Sports Car Rulebook', done with the goal of allowing a team to be able to race their cars in as many places around the world as possible, then establishing three prototype classes - P1, P2 and P3, with P1 being fastest - along with GT1, GT2 and GT3, as well as SGT - the term given to the tube-frame racers of the Trans-Am Series in America. With a few years, though, the expense of the LMP1s had resulted in the simpler Hypercar formula, the agreements between DTM in Germany, Super GT in Japan and IMSA in the United States made the Class One silhouette racers happen - these became SGT1, making the Trans-Am cars SGT2 - and the GT1 class in its original form had proven too expensive for privateers and manufacturers wanted to aim bigger, resulting in the original GT classes evolving into GT Evolution or just GTE, while GT3 remained as it was. The LMP2s originally were planned to be slowed down to accomodate the cheaper Hypercars but the pace of the Hypercars made this unnecessary, while the GTEs got faster on purpose to put distance between them and GT3. The SGT1s proved shockingly fast - by 2022, they were within a few seconds a lap of the Hypercars - but the ACO chose not to slow them down, as the gap between them and LMP2 was considerable.

And in 2023, for the 100th anniversary of the world's greatest sports car race, the ACO decided it was time to kick open the doors and invite everyone they could. The completed track and paddock expansions meant a huge 125 car field racing on a 17.6-kilometre track, and to the surprise of no-one all 125 spots had been filled by eager teams. It was sure to be pandemonium, and everyone knew it, but regardless it was pandemonium that everyone was looking forward to.

After all, a century of sports car racing had built up to this.

Ferrari, Porsche, Toyota, BMW, Cadillac, Chrysler, Honda, Mazda and Peugeot, as well as privateer entrants from Brabham, Glickenhaus, Rebellion, Epsilon Euskandi and Vanwall, all wanted a crack at the overall crown and had built Hypercars to the rule sets. Nissan's backing meant two Deltawings were on the grid, not technically eligible to win the Hypercar class but fast enough that they were threats for the overall win, which is what Nissan really wanted in any case. LMP2s were an all-privateer class by design, with chassis made by French maker Oreca, Italian maker Dallara, British maker Lotus, Canadian maker Multimatic, Japanese maker Dome Cars and South African maker Atlas Race Cars represented on the grid, powered by a choice of high-revving V12s from British maker Cosworth, Japanese maker Mugen and American maker Swift Power, all running on Goodyear tires - the Hypercars mostly ran on Michelins, though BMW was using Continentals, Toyota was using Bridgestones and both Ferrari and the privateer Glickenhaus team were running on Pirellis. All of the factory-designed cars were using hybrid systems - the rules required it - and while just about everyone ran lithium-ion batteries for energy recovery, Toyota had stuck with supercapacitors while Chrysler had gone with a flywheel energy storage system, both companies having years of experience racing with said systems.

The SGT1s were a mix of racers from Japan, Germany, the United States and Mexico, using cars based on the Audi Quattro Sport, BMW i8, Nissan 400Z, Honda NSX, Toyota GR Supra, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Copperhead, though the similarities were pretty much only the skin - they used GT3-spec engines, giving them the same power as their heavier competitors but with less weight and additional aero the SGT1s were much faster than the other GTs. GTE was inhabited by examples of the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, Porsche 911 RSR Turbo, Aston Martin Vantage AMR, Ford GT Mark VI, Ferrari LaFerrari FXR, BMW M8 GTE, Dodge Viper GTS-R, Vector M25 Evolution and Nissan GT-R Nismo LM, with Chevrolet, Aston Martin and Nissan fielding full-factory entries in this class and everyone else being talented privateer teams supported by the manufacturers. All of the SGT1s ran on either Bridgestone (which all the Japanese racers ran on) or BFGoodrich (which the American and German racers raced on) tires, while in GTE Michelin again was dominant, though the BMWs once again ran on Continentals and Ferraris ran on Pirellis. One privateer Porsche was entered by Japanese tire manufacturer Falken, which used its own tires of course.

GT3 was the largest class in the field, with a huge list of cars in the field - examples of the Audi R8 LMS, Bentley Continental GT3, Ferrari 296 GTO, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo 2, McLaren Senna GTS, Porsche 911 GT3 R, BMW M4 GT3, Cadillac ATS.V-R, Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evolution, Lexus LC 500 R, Lotus Esprit Sport 400R, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350RM and Aston Martin Vantage GT3 sat on the grid, ready to race. All used Japanese Yokohama rubber, which was new for 2023 but liked by the teams, as the new tires lasted longer and fell off more gradually than the previous Michelins - indeed, Yokohama had worked for two years to get the tires for the GT3 racers right, and it showed. The four NASCAR stock cars, using bodies patterned on the Chevrolet SS, Ford Falcon, Dodge Charger and AMC Ambassador sedans, were also ready to race, all of these using specially-developed Goodyear tires, and the cars' modifications for Le Mans showing in the giant rear wing that all four cars ran with in addition to spoilers and working headlights and taillights. While heavily-modified for Le Mans duty, the NASCAR cars were still probably the slowest cars in the field in the corners, but each had a race-prepared engine making better than 750 horsepower, giving them the ability to walk away from the GTE and GT3 cars on the straights - and their huge size and the ground-shaking bark of their six-liter V8s meant that the European fans had already fallen in love with the cars, particularly as the NASCAR machines had all outqualified the GTE and GT3 runners and, instead of the initial plan of having them start from the rear of the field, they'd instead start at the front of the GTE and GT3 half of the field, something the fans liked very much though the GTE guys in particular didn't like owing to their slowness in the corners. Rounding out the field was the GreenGT hydrogen fuel cell-powered prototypes, whose massive rear bodywork behind the driver made clear the fuel cells that lay underneath it. The GreenGT car was capable of running as fast as the Hypercars and the DeltaWings, and it was expected that they'd compete for the Future Race Car trophy, though few expected the GreenGT car to be a threat for overall victory. That team didn't really care about that - their first goal was making it to the checkered flag.

If the cars didn't get everyone's attention, the driving talent most certainly would. The normal three drivers of World Endurance Championship events was allowed to be expanded to four for 24 Hour events like Le Mans, and the driving talent was incredible. Every Formula One World Champion since 2007 was on the grid of the Red Bull's sponsoring of Mazda's program meant that its two Formula One drivers, Sebastien Vettel and Max Verstappen, would be taking turns at the controls of the two factory Mazdas, while Ferrari was doing the same with its Formula One drivers having a go at their 499P Hypercars, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. being ready for this race. The two Brabham F1 drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Shane Van Gisbergen, were on the driving talent of the American-entered #311 Action Express Racing Cadillac, joining its normal IMSA drivers. Stewart/Tyrrell Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and James Hinchcliffe were joining the Ford GTs in the GTE class, while Fernando Alonso was reprising his super-fourth-man role in the lead Toyota, his F1 teammate Jules Bianchi doing the same on the #5 Chrysler. Mark Webber was driving for Porsche, while Juan Pablo Montoya, who had beaten him to the 2013 F1 title, was driving the #10 Honda for Wayne Taylor Racing. Indycar was no different - fifteen of its competitors would be taking turns driving the racers at Le Mans.

The crowd was entirely aware of the size of the field and the momentous occasion of this race, and it showed in their enthusiasm. Somewhat paradoxically all things considered, the four NASCAR stock cars all had a collection of its own supporters. Supporters of the various marques in the race had made a point in a lot of cases of bringing their own cars from the make in question, and so multiple camping areas were occupied by a maker - Porsches, BMWs, Peugeots, Toyotas. The General Motors enthusiasts had made a common cause with the Mazda ones, resulting in one park mixing Chevrolet Corvettes, Camaros and Silverados as well as multiple Cadillacs with Mazda RX-7s, RX-8s and Miatas, while similarly the enthusiasts for Chrysler and Honda had ended up sharing campsites, and those were even better organized - they deliberately moved sites around for a reasons, making so that a Chrysler and a Honda regularly sat next to each other, leading to NSXs sitting next to Vipers, a rare 1971 Honda Coupe 9 sitting next to a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T and, in a move clearly facilitated by somebody with a sense of humor, a tiny Honda N600 hatchback had been placed in the bed of one other enthusiast's Dodge Ram 3500 pickup - it fit with the tailgate down, much to the amusement of both companies' supporters. One of the exclusive lots had been marked out as only for exotics, and it had quickly filled up with all manner of rare or expensive machinery. The enthusiasts had come prepared with flags, banners and clothing galore of their chosen marque for the event, and it showed in the grandstands. Despite the competition, the atmosphere among the fans was cordial, and while the enthusiasts of various makers tended to gather together, the fans themselves mingled and checked out all of the various machines. Many of the Europeans in particular had to gawk in amazements at the American ponycars and trucks, while the American visitors in many cases got to check out the machinery that wasn't common stateside and smile.

Inside the pit boxes, last-minute preparations were underway, but for most of the teams it was basically make sure anything that could be needed for the race was in a place where everyone knew it could be easily found. For others, it was relaxing before the race began and the following 24 hours of hard work and organized chaos. Multiple makers had brought medical staff for their drivers and crews as well as cooking staffs, who were already at work preparing food for the people in the race to help them maintain their focus and strength during the long race. The cars themselves were clean, fuel tanks full and batteries charged up, fluids warmed up, as ready as they could be to start what was in modern times equal parts sprint and marathon. Teams differed in plans, as some planned to have a hare run fast to force the pace, while others planned on making their cars run steadily and well first and foremost. With Formula One driving talent on hand, everyone expected Ferrari, Mazda, Cadillac, Toyota and Peugeot to go fast right from the off, while the BMW and Chrysler competitors, which were at something of a pace disadvantage, were expected to focus on getting their racers through the full 24 Hours, playing their hands as perfectly as possible and letting the chips fall where they may. In the LMP2 category, there was a trophy waiting for the best of the Pro-Am competitors, and the howl of the Cosworth, Swift and Mugen V12s was a marked contrast to the whistling of most of the Hypercars - only Cadillac and Chrysler weren't running turbocharged engines, which meant the noise from them was rather quieter - but the loud growl of many of the GTs and the shake-the-ground roar of the NASCAR stock cars added to the audible experience.

At 3:35the cars began to move off the grid, led by C8 Corvette and Cadillac ATS-V pace cars, the lead pack being just the Hypercars as well as the GreenGT and DeltaWing racers that raced among them, making their way around Le Mans' sweeping first turn and then ducking through the chicane that swung under the famous Dunlop Bridge, the pack having the Ferrari 499P started by Antonio Fuoco and the Toyota TS040 Hybrid started by Fernando Alonso leading the pack, while the Mazda RX-955P started by Max Verstappen making a point of staying immediately behind Alonso, as if to remind his Formula One rival that he wasn't gonna let him get away easy. The Hypercar pack hadn't hardly cleared the Dunlop Bridge when the SGT1 and LMP2 racers followed them, with the Acura NSX Type SR started by Naoki Yamamoto leading away the pack, with the Chevrolet Camaro started by Matthew Brabham pulling away beside him, the whine of the Honda's high-revving V6 engine contrasting with the growling V8 of the Camaro. The LMP2s followed them off, with their drivers repeatedly revving their V12 engines to help them warm up before the race start. The third pack was the stock cars and the GTE boys, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. doing the honors of leading them away with the NASCAR Chevrolet SS built and run by Hendrick Motorsports, the four stock cars drawfing the GT cars and drowning them out as well, though the Ford GT started by James Hinchcliffe and the Falken-entered Porsche 911 started by Wolf Henzler that followed the stock cars away made a point of making their presence known. The GT3s were last away, led by the bright-blue BMW M4 driven by Patrick Gallagher leading them off with the dark-green factory-entered Bentley of British driver Martin Plowman, which was easily one of the biggest GT3 cars in the field, pulling off right next to him. By 3:41, all the cars were away, warming up their tires and scouting the track. The noise made sure fans ran to the trackside, knowing what was about to begin....

.... Because after two slower pace laps, the pace cars at the front of the field quickly sprinted off of the track, while the other classes in their own starts saw their pace cars pull off at pre-decided locations, leaving the racers to head around behind the leaders in their classes. And at exactly Four O'Clock, Antonio Fuoco and Fernando Alonso swung around the last turn of the track and onto the front straightaway, where the President of France stood side-by-side with the Prime Minister of Canada on the starter's stand, each holding a massive flag of their respective country in their hands. A signal was given, and both men began waving the flags from their stand, which was all the signal both drivers, and all who followed them, needed. The Ferrari and Toyota both surged forward, engines wide open as both drivers roared off to begin the race. True to form, Verstappen's Mazda and the factory Peugeot driven by Jean-Erie Vergne quickly chasing the tails of the lead pair, the rest of the Hypercar field thundering off after them, beginning the race. Moments later, the two fastest SGT1 cars emerged around the final corner and rocketed past, with them and the LMP2s taking off into their race. To the surprise of a few, by the time the NASCAR and GTE field reached the start-finish straightaway Hinchcliffe and Henzler as well as the Vector M25 driven by Emirati woman Hamda Al-Qubalsi had cleared the NASCAR stock cars, and they had found themselves mixed in with the GTE cars. Earnhardt Jr. blasted past Al Qubalsi and Henzler down the front straight, even as he had to brake way earlier than the GTE cars he could only watch as Henzler dove back past him on the inside of the first chicane and Al Qubalsi swung right around the outside of the NASCAR stock car on its right, slotting in behind the bright-green Falken Porsche as they charged under the Dunlop Bridge. The GT3s completed the back, that pack running into the first turn four abreast before Canadian driver Antonio Serravalle in his plaid-graphic Porsche 911 on the inside backed out of the pass, watching Gallagher's BMW M4 and Plowman's Bentley dice with the Ferrari driven by Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi, who held his nerve around the outside of the first corner and thus outbraked the other two into the first chicane, but he overcooked it and ran a bit wide, allowing Plowman to shove the big Bentley past him on the exit of the Chicane, putting the BMW and the Ferrari alike behind him.
Religious Faith, Scientific Faith
Religious Faith, Scientific Faith

The actions of the Catholic Church and the other Christian churches during the Second World War were augmented after the war by many well-known actions of religious figures to carry out the teachings of the Church. Even before the war, Father John LaFarge had become nationally known as an advocate of racial equality and of squeezing the last remnants of racism out of society. Along with Mother Teresa – eventually canonized as St. Teresa of Kolkata – and her work among the poor of India, the world came to know the work of Father Richard Frechette (“Father Rick”), who bravely defied dangerous people to do his work of serving the poorest of the poor first in Haiti and then throughout Latin America and Africa.

The more the prestige of the churches grew, the stronger their infrastructure became, and the more confident they became in their ability to weather the almost-inevitable attacks from evil sources of one type or another.

One such source came from within the Catholic Church itself, as it was learned in the 1950s that some priests or bishops were guilty of molesting young children. The Church, more confident in its place in the society of the Amigos, and blessed with the understanding – coming from the more advanced awareness of mental issues that came out of the two world wars – that pedophilia was not something that could be cured simply by “self-control,” wasted no time in addressing the issue. The guilty priests were laicized (dismissed from the clerical state, or “defrocked” as non-Catholics often called it) and, where there was suspicion of crimes, were turned over to the appropriate authorities (priests who confessed their sins in this regard, of course, were protected by the seal of the confessional, but they were immediately put under great pressure to turn themselves in). The Church made formal apologies and established offices of child protection in every diocese to ensure that any future such incidents would be promptly reported. While some feared these actions would open the Church to lawsuits, and indeed some people did opportunistically sue, the decision of then-Pope John XXIII was that no good could come from an attempt to hide the truth.

Meanwhile, as the new medium of television arose, various charlatans appeared who enjoyed a brief vogue as television preachers. Some, like the Reverend Billy Graham, were genuine, and won many converts from among the nonreligious. But there were others, like Jerry Falwell, who preached exclusion and hatred, relying on a “fundamental” interpretation of the Bible – in essence, the Bible is literally true in every word, with no metaphors or analogies – to insist that all who did not follow such an interpretation – including all Catholics – were not “true” Christians.

But the world of the Amigos only allowed such characters to progress to a certain point, due to the greater education, including in spiritual matters, that permeated this world. For eventually “fundamentalism” ran up against its own internal contradictions. Did Jesus REALLY want us to cut off our right hands or pluck out our right eyes if they cause us to sin, as He said in the Sermon on the Mount? Were Christians supposed to be walking around maimed – or was Jesus making a point about just how important it was to seek God? Did He really insist that we “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect,” an almost impossible ideal – or was he making a point to the Pharisees about how futile their efforts to try to make themselves pure by their own efforts ultimately were? Ultimately, the wisdom of the mainstream churches in interpreting the Bible over thousands of years, and of discerning carefully what was literal and what was not, came to make more sense than the arguments of the fundamentalists. Invited to a number of debates with the best of mainstream theologians, they came off looking like buffoons, and their brief vogue began rapidly to fade. (In the end, few were surprised when a number of leading fundamentalist TV charlatans truly made buffoons of themselves – as when Jimmy Swaggart was caught with a prostitute, or when Jim Bakker was caught in a scandal involving an attractive “assistant” at his operation named Jessica Hahn.)

But the Catholic Church, the mainstream Protestant churches, Jewish communities, and the like were confident and forward-thinking enough also in the postwar years to find wise and creative ways to embrace the new medium of television themselves. Rather than simply airing Masses or services on television, or having a not-media-friendly minister give a boring spiel as a talking head in front of a camera, the churches were able to attract enough media talent to come up with fun and creative ways to address their message to audiences. Many shows were aimed especially at children and came up with ways to teach Christian principles to youth that didn’t involve a mean nun hitting their knuckles with a ruler.

This theme carried over into Hollywood and the media at large. There had been a long history of movies encouraged by religious leaders, like “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” which starred Bing Crosby. But instead of being abandoned in the 1960s, the theme was enhanced, as faith-oriented movies and TV shows, made by writers, actors, and directors of great skill, became commonplace as a regular aspect of Hollywood’s releases (the religious Christmas movie became something of an annual tradition). These ranged from the Narnia series, which covered the entire C.S. Lewis series up to “The Last Battle,” to films by noted people of faith in Hollywood like Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Mel Gibson (who would be stopped one night by police while driving drunk, but who would wisely keep his mouth shut), Kristin Chenoweth, Patricia Heaton, Will Smith, Tyler Perry, Martin Sheen, Martha Williamson, Angela Bassett, and many others. The religious theme continued up to the present day, with the success of the excellent series “The Chosen,” which speculated on the lives of the Apostles.

Meanwhile, the prestige the Church commanded, especially in being seen as a force for good and against racism, hatred, poverty and ignorance, meant that, while occasional cracks were not out of line, no comedian could make a career out of badmouthing religion (few would choose to do so anyway, as religion was not viewed as a thing that was meant to hurt people; even those who had had bad experiences early in life found plenty of opportunities to realize that it was the individuals in their lives, and not religion per se, that had been the culprit). Comedian Bill Maher, a caustic figure in the mold of George Carlin, sometimes held religious figures to account when they failed to act as they were obliged by their calling to act, but never considered making an entire movie attacking religion as such.

In fact, some of the funniest critiques of the Church were made by those inside it, who were devoted to it and whose humor was intended to provoke improvements – as a prod to lazy priests or indifferent administrators, for example. Comedian Jim Gaffigan became well-known in this regard. And one of the most popular programs to receive the imprimatur of the Catholic Church in the 21st Century was “The Catholic Guy,” an hour-long syndicated comedy-talk show starring Lino Rulli, the “Catholic guy” of the title = the point being that he was not a priest, bishop, or theologian, but just an ordinary guy trying to get through life with all his sins and foibles. Lino was able, as a faithful Catholic, to take liberties that would have seemed mean-spirited coming from an outsider, and he also used the tried-and-true technique of self-deprecating humor; he famously had a “face for radio,” and was wont to describe himself often on-air as “a greasy Italian with a big nose.”

One of the most successful aspects of religious television programming was in helping to understand and convey the assertion that the supposed divide between religion and science was illusory. The fundamentalists, among others, had inflamed this divide, as for example when they insisted that on a literal six-day Creation and wholly rejected evolution (although, as Lino Rulli pointed out, their fundamentalism stopped at the point where Jimmy Swaggart failed to cut off his right hand after sinning). But the mainstream religious programming creatively and engagingly made clear instead the understanding the deep connections between science and religion.

First of all, it was pointed out on many a program, the Church had been key to enabling the flourishing of science in the first place, simply by positing the concept of a rational God who encouraged us – beings made in His image – to rationally explore and learn about the universe He had created. The whole concept of universities, something that did not exist previously in that form, arose under Christendom, and history was replete with religious figures who had either directly contributed to science, all the way up to Father Georges Lemaitre (the initiator of the Big Bang Theory), or who by their rational approach to learning and understanding both the Bible and the world around them had helped pave the way for scientific breakthroughs (St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, had come up an embryonic notion of evolution centuries before the birth of Charles Darwin).

Nonetheless, the antagonism between science and religion that had begun to arise in the late 1800s led to some wariness on both sides, with some religious leaders denouncing science and some scientists denouncing religion, for a time. A major breakthrough in reconciling the two points of view came about, however, in 1967, when the major science-fiction and scientific writer Isaac Asimov announced his conversion to Catholicism.

Asimov, like many who were drawn to science, regarded religion with skepticism. His commitment to the scientific method led him to apply its rigors to religious claims. Without proof, he long argued, he could not accept the claims of religion.

However, while living in New York, Asimov struck up a somewhat surprising friendship – namely, that of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. The bishop would die in 1966, before Asimov’s conversion, but the scientist would later credit their sometimes caustic but always respectful arguments over coffee and pastries with sparking his interest in the faith (“his intellect approached mine,” Asimov later joked).

Asimov became intrigued when Sheen pointed out that the Catholic Church is itself skeptical; it does not entertain wild claims lightly. In contrast to widely-accepted belief, for example, the Church during medieval times strongly discouraged accusations of witchcraft; it was in fact during the Renaissance that the burning of so-called witches became more frequent. Claims of miracles are not and have never been taken at face value, whether of miraculous healings, apparitions of the Virgin Mary, or anything else; the Church takes an automatic position of skepticism and investigates the claims thoroughly. The same is true of canonization; before anyone becomes “St. So-and-so,” a rigorous series of examinations must take place.

Still, Asimov remained skeptical. But more and more he found himself unable to respond adequately to one of Sheen’s persistent questions: what, exactly, would constitute “proof” of a deity? A sudden, worldwide, miraculous healing of illnesses? That might be attributed to natural causes. An apparition like the “dancing sun” of the miracle of Fatima? That could be dismissed as a mass hallucination. God personally picking up Dr. Asimov and taking him on a tour of distant galaxies? Asimov could simply conclude he drank too much the night before. In short, no “magic tricks” were ever going to be sufficient to “prove” the existence of God to a nonbeliever, which was why God doesn’t do them unless He has a point to make. Rather, Sheen insisted, the presence of goodness in the world, the goodness arising from the teachings of religious faith, was the true proof. Such an argument made sense in this world where religion was seen by so many as a positive.

Approaching the matter logically, Dr. Asimov took upon himself the task of reading the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the greatest exponent of logical arguments for the existence of God, including his mighty work Summa Theologica. It is not an easy book for anyone to read, but Dr. Asimov was more than equal to the task. What he found surprised him; as he later put it, “the elegance of the saint’s proofs was far beyond what I had expected.” As one example among many, he pointed out that Aquinas demonstrated that infinite regress was illogical as an explanation for cause-and-effect; if there is no initial cause, effect cannot logically exist, and an initial cause implies a Causer.

Asimov still felt no moment of revelation, but Sheen urged him to pray anyway; “try living as if you in fact believe and see what the results are.” Asimov found to his own amazement that this practice, coupled with the rigor of Aquinas’ arguments, led him toward belief. “There was no great lightning flash of inspiration,” he wrote later, “on the contrary it was the unrelenting logic of the arguments presented to me that made their mark.”

In his subsequent writings, Dr. Asimov made much of reconciling religious ideas with scientific knowledge and understanding. Many scientists credited him with making it respectable to be publicly religious men and women. Those who were not, like Dr. Carl Sagan, tended to adhere less to pure atheism than to a more-or-less rigorous agnosticism: since, Sagan would argue, scientific means cannot prove one way or the other the existence of a deity, it is inappropriate to rule one way or the other from a scientific standpoint; rather, it is up to each individual to decide on his or her state of belief.
The Royal Canadian Navy
For the people on this forum who have more interest in the naval fleets of the world, the Circa-2023 Royal Canadian Navy 🙂

Three Amigos Royal Canadian Navy

Headquarters: National Defense Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario

Regular Force Personnel: 116,700
Reserve Force Personnel: 47,000
Civilian Members: 46,000
Commissioned Vessels: 233

- 3 Aircraft Carriers
- 5 Amphibious Assault Ships
- 15 Amphibious Transport Ships
- 13 Cruisers
- 22 Destroyers
- 39 Frigates
- 8 Corvettes
- 14 Nuclear Submarines
- 18 Submarines
- 3 Heavy Icebreakers
- 12 Coastal Defense Vessels
- 7 Littoral Combat Ships
- 8 Arctic Patrol Vessels
- 23 Patrol Boats
- 17 Replenishment Vessels
- 6 Fleet Tankers
- 5 Container Ships
- 2 Fast Sealift Ships
- 2 Submarine Tenders
- 2 Destroyer Tenders
- 7 Salvage, Recovery and Towing Vessels
- 2 Hospital Ships

Fleet Air Arm Aircraft
- Eurofighter CF-191B Typhoon FGR5 (multirole fighter)
- McDonnell Douglas / Canadair CF-188E/F Super Hornet (multirole fighter)
- Panavia CF-185 Tornado NF.6 (attack aircraft)
- General Dynamics / Vickers Canada CF-111H Seadragon (maritime strike)
- Canadair CV-145C Poseidon (anti-submarine tiltwing)
- Northrop Grumman / Bombardier CE-172D Advanced Hawkeye (airborne early warning and control)
- McDonnell Douglas/ Canadair CE-188F Nightwatch (electronic warfare)
- Canadair CV-200D Scorpion (attack tiltwing)
- Canadair CV-202A Osprey (transport tiltrotor)
- Canadair CP-192A Seahawk (maritime patrol)
- Canadair CP-140C Aurora (maritime patrol)
- Airbus / Research in Motion CC-174E Starsight (command and control aircraft)
- Canadair CP-215A First Responder (amphibious search and rescue)
- ShinMarya CP-216A Searchlight (amphibious search and rescue)
- BAE / McDonnell Douglas CT-155E Seahawk (advanced jet trainer)
- Beechcraft CT-156A Harvard II (flight trainer)
- Bombardier Learjet CC-193B Lighthouse (navigation trainer)
- Boeing Vertol CH-147F Chinook (heavy transport helicopter)
- Boeing Vertol CH-113H Voyageur (transport helicopter)
- Sikorsky CH-148A Cyclone (anti-submarine helicopter)
- AgustaWestland CH-149A Comorant (search and rescue helicopter)
- NHI / Bell Canada CH-151B Vulcan (tactical helicopter)
- Eurocopter CH-182C Explorer (light tactical helicopter)

Atlantic Fleet
Headquarters: Canadian Forces Base Halifax, Bedford, Nova Scotia
Fleet Bases:
- CFB Halifax (Bedford, Nova Scotia)
- CFB Cape Breton (Edwardsville, Nova Scotia)
- CFB Ile D'Orleans (Saint-Laurent-d'Orleans, Quebec)
- CFB Jamaica (Portmore, Jamaica)
- CFB Trinidad (Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago)
Fleet Stations:
- CFS St. John's (St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador)
- CFS Grand Bahama (Freeport, Bahamas)
- CFS Barbados (Bridgetown, Barbados)
- CFS Fort William (Thunder Bay, Ontario)
- CFS Kingston (Kingston, Ontario)
Naval Aviation Bases:
- CFB Shearwater (Shearwater, Nova Scotia)
- CFB Greenwood (Greenwood, Nova Scotia)
- CFB Gander (Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador)
- CFB Nassau (Nassau, Bahamas)
- CFB Barbuda (Codrington, Caribbean Islands)
- CFB Saint Helena (Piarco, Trinidad and Tobago)
- CFB Goose Bay (Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador)
- CFB Bermuda (St. David's Island, Bermuda)

Pacific Fleet
Headquarters: Canadian Forces Base Esquimault, Victoria, British Columbia
Fleet Bases:
- CFB Esquimault (Victoria, British Columbia)
- CFB North Pacific (Port Edward, British Columbia)
- CFB Vancouver Island (Denman Island, British Columbia)
Fleet Stations:
- CFS Vancouver (North Vancouver, British Columbia)
- CFS Port Alberni (Port Alberni, British Columbia)
Naval Aviation Bases
- CFB Comox (Comox, British Columbia)
- CFB Abbotsford (Abbotsford, British Columbia)
- CFB Haida Gwaii (Sandspit, British Columbia)

Arctic Fleet
Headquarters: Canadian Forces Base Iqaluit, Iqaluit, Nunavut
Fleet Bases:
- CFB Iqaluit (Iqaluit, Nunavut)
- CFB Mackenzie (Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories)
Fleet Stations:
- CFS Resolute (Resolute, Nunavut)
- CFS Naujaat (Naujaat, Nunavut)
Naval Aviation Bases:
- CFB Iqaluit (Iqaluit, Nunavut)
- CFB Inuvik (Inuvik, Northwest Territories)

Commonwealth Bases (regularly used by the Royal Canadian Navy)
- HMNB Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom)
- HMNB Devonport (Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom)
- HMNB Scapa Flow (Orkney Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom)
- HMNB Socotra (Di Semelho, Socotra)
- HMNB Malta (Cospicua, Malta)
- HMNB Hong Kong (Pak Shing Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
- HMNB Diego Garcia (Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territories)
- SAN Naval Base Simon's Town (Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)
- RAN Fleet Base West (Garden Island, Western Australia, Australia)
- RAN Fleet Base East (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)
- Commonwealth Base Fiji (Laucala Bay, Suva, Fiji)

Allied Bases (Regularly used by the Royal Canadian Navy)
- Naval Base Pearl Harbor (Pearl City, Hawaii, USA)
- United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka (Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan)
- JMSDF Kure Naval Base (Kure, Hiroshima, Japan)
- JMSDF Zuoying Naval Base (Kaohshing, Takao, Japan)

Aircraft Carriers (3)
- Terra Nova class Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier (3) [1]
-- HMCS Canadian Shield (CVN 25)
-- HMCS Columbia (CVN 26)
-- HMCS Terra Nova (CVN 27)

Cruisers (13)
- Eagle class Nuclear-Powered Strike Cruiser (3) [2]
-- HMCS Eagle (CGN 41)
-- HMCS Challenger (CGN 42)
-- HMCS Warrior (CGN 43)
- Acadia class Nuclear-Powered Air Defense Cruiser (4, under construction, expected to commission 2024-25)
-- HMCS Acadia (CGN 44)
-- HMCS James Bay (CGN 45)
-- HMCS Okanagan (CGN 46)
-- HMCS Caribbean Sea (CGN 47)
- Fraser class Guided Missile Cruiser (10) [3]
-- HMCS Fraser (CG 31)
-- HMCS Saint Lawrence (CG 32)
-- HMCS Albany (CG 33)
-- HMCS Yukon (CG 34)
-- HMCS Athabasca (CG 35)
-- HMCS Assiniboine (CG 36)
-- HMCS Powinigow (CG 37)
-- HMCS Severn (CG 38)
-- HMCS Kootenay (CG 39)
-- HMCS Saguenay (CG 40)

Destroyers (22)
- Province class Guided Missile Destroyer (12) [4]
-- HMCS Ontario (DDG 290)
-- HMCS Quebec (DDG 291)
-- HMCS British Columbia (DDG 292)
-- HMCS Alberta (DDG 293)
-- HMCS New Brunswick (DDG 294)
-- HMCS Prince Edward Island (DDG 295)
-- HMCS Newfoundland (DDG 296)
-- HMCS Saskatchewan (DDG 297)
-- HMCS Manitoba (DDG 298)
-- HMCS Jamaica (DDG 299)
-- HMCS Trinidad (DDG 300)
-- HMCS Barbados (DDG 301)
- Haida class Helicopter Destroyer (10) [5]
-- HMCS Haida (DDH 280)
-- HMCS Iroquois (DDH 281)
-- HMCS Huron (DDH 282)
-- HMCS Mi'kmaq (DDH 283)
-- HMCS Cayuga (DDH 284)
-- HMCS Nootka (DDH 285)
-- HMCS Cree (DDH 286)
-- HMCS Sioux (DDH 287)
-- HMCS Tsimshian (DDH 288)
-- HMCS Wyandot (DDH 289)

Frigates (39)
- Halifax class Patrol Frigate (14) [6]
-- HMCS Halifax (FFH 330)
-- HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331)
-- HMCS Ville de Quebec (FFH 332)
-- HMCS Toronto (FFH 333)
-- HMCS Regina (FFH 334)
-- HMCS Calgary (FFH 335)
-- HMCS Montreal (FFH 336)
-- HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337)
-- HMCS Winnipeg (FFH 338)
-- HMCS Charlottetown (FFH 339)
-- HMCS St. John’s (FFH 340)
-- HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341)
-- HMCS San Fernando (FFH 342)
-- HMCS Bridgetown (FFH 343)
- Kingston class Guided Missile Frigate (14) [7]
-- HMCS Kingston (FFG 344)
-- HMCS Prince George (FFG 345)
-- HMCS Edmonton (FFG 346)
-- HMCS Iqaluit (FFG 347)
-- HMCS Sherbrooke (FFG 348)
-- HMCS Saskatoon (FFG 349)
-- HMCS Prince Rupert (FFG 350)
-- HMCS Sydney (FFG 351)
-- HMCS Montego Bay (FFG 352)
-- HMCS Moncton (FFG 353)
-- HMCS Chaguanas (FFG 354)
-- HMCS Hamilton (FFG 355)
-- HMCS Abbotsford (FFG 356)
-- HMCS Trois-Rivieres (FFG 357)
- Nassau class Guided Missile Frigate (11) [8]
-- HMCS Nassau (FFG 358)
-- HMCS Castries (FFG 359)
-- HMCS Longueuil (FFG 360)
-- HMCS Kitchener (FFG 361)
-- HMCS Fort McMurray (FFG 362)
-- HMCS Moncton (FFG 363)
-- HMCS Lloydminster (FFG 364)
-- HMCS Sudbury (FFG 365)
-- HMCS Scarborough (FFG 366)
-- HMCS St. George's (FFG 367)
-- HMCS Churchill (FFG 368)

Corvettes, Minesweepers and Patrol Boats (43)
- Legends class Guided Missile Corvette (8) [9]
-- HMCS Terry Fox (KP 275)
-- HMCS Jean Vanier (KP 276)
-- HMCS Rick Hansen (KP 277)
-- HMCS Bob Marley (KP 278)
-- HMCS Frederick Banting (KP 279)
-- HMCS Jean Beliveau (KP 280)
-- HMCS Henry Thornton (KP 281)
-- HMCS Jack Layton (KP 282)
- Lake Superior class Coastal Defense Vessel (12) [10]
-- HMCS Lake Superior (MCDV 700)
-- HMCS Cold Lake (MCDV 701)
-- HMCS Arrow Lakes (MCDV 702)
-- HMCS Lake Winnipeg (MCDV 703)
-- HMCS Rainy Lake (MCDV 704)
-- HMCS Lake Simcoe (MCDV 705)
-- HMCS Lake Abitibi (MCDV 706)
-- HMCS Lake Muskoka (MCDV 707)
-- HMCS Frobisher Lake (MCDV 708)
-- HMCS Lake Huron (MCDV 709)
-- HMCS Keystone Lake (MCDV 710)
-- HMCS Lake Champlain (MCDV 711)
- Cape Discovery class High Speed Patrol Vessel (23) [11]
-- HMCS Cape Discovery (PBHS 01)
-- HMCS Cape Victory (PBHS 02)
-- HMCS Cape Fox (PBHS 03)
-- HMCS Cape Storm (PBHS 04)
-- HMCS Cape Osprey (PBHS 05)
-- HMCS Cape Traverse (PBHS 06)
-- HMCS Cape Vision (PBHS 07)
-- HMCS Cape Hunter (PBHS 08)
-- HMCS Cape Runner (PBHS 09)
-- HMCS Cape Master (PBHS 10)
-- HMCS Cape Shark (PBHS 11)
-- HMCS Cape Orca (PBHS 12)
-- HMCS Cape Defender (PBHS 13)
-- HMCS Cape Walker (PBHS 14)
-- HMCS Cape Challenge (PBHS 15)
-- HMCS Cape Eagle (PBHS 16)
-- HMCS Cape Dolphin (PBHS 17)
-- HMCS Cape Battle (PBHS 18)
-- HMCS Cape Arsenal (PBHS 19)
-- HMCS Cape Sunrise (PBHS 20)
-- HMCS Cape Legend (PBHS 21)
-- HMCS Cape Steel (PBHS 22)
-- HMCS Cape Mantaray (PBHS 23)

Submarines (32)
- Kingsmill class Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine (14) [12]
-- HMCS Kingsmill (SSN 135)
-- HMCS Landymore (SSN 136)
-- HMCS DeWolf (SSN 137)
-- HMCS Murray (SSN 138)
-- HMCS Nelles (SSN 139)
-- HMCS Mainguy (SSN 140)
-- HMCS Beckman (SSN 141)
-- HMCS Ramdhanie (SSN 142)
-- HMCS Kellpatrick (SSN 143)
-- HMCS Hennessy (SSN 144)
-- HMCS Annawan (SSN 145)
-- HMCS Rayner (SSN 146)
-- HMCS Vereville (SSN 147)
-- HMCS Kiwidanok (SSN 148)
- Victoria class Hunter Killer Submarine (18) [13]
-- HMCS Victoria (SSK 149)
-- HMCS Windsor (SSK 150)
-- HMCS Corner Brook (SSK 151)
-- HMCS Chicoutimi (SSK 152)
-- HMCS Swift Current (SSK 153)
-- HMCS London (SSK 154)
-- HMCS Gatineau (SSK 155)
-- HMCS Saint Michael (SSK 156)
-- HMCS Arima (SSK 157)
-- HMCS Lethbridge (SSK 158)
-- HMCS Miramichi (SSK 159)
-- HMCS Burnaby (SSK 160)
-- HMCS Mississauga (SSK 161)
-- HMCS Roseau (SSK 162)
-- HMCS Rimouski (SSK 163)
-- HMCS Peterborough (SSK 164)
-- HMCS Iqaluit (SSK 165)
-- HMCS Revelstoke (SSK 166)

Arctic Vessels (11)
- John G. Diefenbaker (Polar 8) class Heavy Icebreaker (3) [14]
-- HMCS John G. Diefenbaker (ABHN 1)
-- HMCS Robert Stanfield (ABHN 2)
-- HMCS Louis St. Laurent (ABHN 3)
- Fort Resolution class Arctic Patrol Ship (8) [15]
-- HMCS Fort Resolution (APH 1)
-- HMCS Rankin Inlet (APH 2)
-- HMCS Inuvik (APH 3)
-- HMCS Yellowknife (APH 4)
-- HMCS Whitehorse (APH 5)
-- HMCS Nanisivik (APH 6)
-- HMCS Moosonee (APH 7)
-- HMCS Resolute (APH 8)

Amphibious Fleet (34)
- Gallipoli class Amphibious Assault Ship (5) [16]
-- HMCS Gallipoli (LHA 6)
-- HMCS Little Rock (LHA 7)
-- HMCS Arnhem (LHA 8)
-- HMCS Kim Lien (LHA 9)
-- HMCS Riyadh (LHA 10)
- Bluenose class Landing Platform Dock (4) [17]
-- HMCS Bluenose (LPD 7)
-- HMCS Tikoma (LPD 8)
-- HMCS Westwood (LPD 9)
-- HMCS Pioneer (LPD 10)
- Adventure class Landing Platform Dock (2) [18]
-- HMCS Adventure (LPD 11)
-- HMCS Endeavour (LPD 12)
- Black Watch class Landing Platform Dock (3) [19]
-- HMCS Black Watch (LPD 13)
-- HMCS Delawana (LPD 14)
-- HMCS Pacific Swift (LPD 15)
- Nunavut class Nuclear-Powered Fast Sealift Ship (2) [20]
-- HMCS Nunavut (LKAN 1)
-- HMCS Cascadia (LKAN 2)
- Sealift Atlantic class Barge-Carrying Cargo Ship (3) [21]
-- HMCS Sealift Atlantic (SKA 1)
-- HMCS Sealift Pacific (SKA 2)
-- HMCS Sealift Arctic (SKA 3)
- Juno Beach class Attack Cargo Ship (3) [22]
-- HMCS Juno Beach (LKA 3)
-- HMCS Okinawa (LKA 4)
-- HMCS Sumaysinah (LKA 5)
- Grand Cayman class Container Transport Ship (5) [23]
-- HMCS Grand Cayman (CSH 4)
-- HMCS Stanley Park (CSH 5)
-- HMCS Blue Mountain (CSH 6)
-- HMCS Mont Tremblant (CSH 7)
-- HMCS Nahanni River (CSH 8)
- Rainbow class Littoral Combat Ship (7) [24]
-- HMCS Rainbow (LCS 1)
-- HMCS Haida (LCS 2)
-- HMCS Niobe (LCS 3)
-- HMCS Annapolis (LCS 4)
-- HMCS Beacon Hill (LCS 5)
-- HMCS Labrador (LCS 6)
-- HMCS Assiniboine (LCS 7)

Support Vessels (36)
- Andros class Nuclear-Powered Fast Combat Support Ship (7) [25]
-- HMCS Andros (AOEN 512)
-- HMCS Montserrat (AOEN 513)
-- HMCS Basseterre (AOEN 514)
-- HMCS Saint Vincent (AOEN 515)
-- HMCS Sable (AOEN 516)
-- HMCS Anticosti (AOEN 517)
-- HMCS Broughton (AOEN 518)
- Rocky Mountain class Fast Combat Support Ship (10) [26]
-- HMCS Rocky Mountain (AOR 524)
-- HMCS Niagara Falls (AOR 525)
-- HMCS Lake Louise (AOR 526)
-- HMCS Mount Logan (AOR 527)
-- HMCS Baffin Island (AOR 528)
-- HMCS Gros Morne (AOR 529)
-- HMCS Lake Manicougan (AOR 530)
-- HMCS Aurora Borealis (AOR 531)
-- HMCS Haida Gwaii (AOR 532)
-- HMCS Hopewell Rocks (AOR 533)
- Oceanus class Nuclear-Powered Fleet Supertanker (1) [27]
-- HMCS Oceanus (AOR 511)
- Titan class Fleet Supertanker (5) [28]
-- HMCS Titan (AOR 519)
-- HMCS Cronus (AOR 520)
-- HMCS Atlas (AOR 521)
-- HMCS Thetis (AOR 522)
-- HMCS Apollo (AOR 523)
- Northwest Passage class Submarine Tender (2) [29]
-- HMCS Northwest Passage (ASN 536)
-- HMCS Salish Sea (ASN 537)
- Grand River class Destroyer Tender (2) [30]
-- HMCS Grand River (AD 534)
-- HMCS Cypress Hills (AD 535)
- Sanctuary class Hospital Ship (2) [31]
-- HMCS Sanctuary (AHN 1)
-- HMCS Samaritan (AHN 2)
- Safeguard class Salvage and Recovery Vessel (3) [32]
-- HMCS Safeguard (ARS 538)
-- HMCS Recovery (ARS 539)
-- HMCS Guardian (ARS 540)
- Cape Breton class Ocean-Going Tugboat (4) [33]
-- HMCS Cape Breton (ATF 541)
-- HMCS Avalon (ATF 542)
-- HMCS Antigua (ATF 543)
-- HMCS Klondike (ATF 544)

[1] The product of the 1960s Commonwealth nuclear carrier project, these carriers were built for Canada, the UK, Australia and India. All three Canadian vessels were refurbished between 1998 and 2004, their replacements are planned to begin building in 2025 as part of a common project between the Commonwealth, France and the Philippines
[2] Copies of the American Long Beach class nuclear-powered strike cruisers, built for Canada in the late 1970s, overhauled in the mid-2000s, replacements are being built as of 2023
[3] An expanded variant of the American Ticonderoga-class Air Defense Cruiser
[4] These are built in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and are AEGIS ships, similar in superstructure to the Japanese Atago-class destroyer, though the class is longer in order to carry two complete Mark 41 VLS systems and gun mounts at both ends of the vessel
[5] Large helicopter destroyers powered by gas turbine engines, meant for antisubmarine work (but do have some air defense, anti-ship and naval gunfire abilities) and as such equipped with three helicopters or tiltwings and towed array sonars
[6] A modified OTL Halifax, namely in having a longer hull to allow for the fitting of a Mark 41 VLS and a twin 76mm gun mount up front and an Mk 112 ASROC launcher amidships. These all went through FELEX modifications between 2011 and 2017
[7] A more-powerful ocean-going frigate design with advanced air-defense system, closest to the Dutch De Zeven Provincien class frigates, though with a larger helipad, 155mm main gun and side mounts for Mark 48 missile launchers for ESSM missiles
[8] The result of a project between Canada, Spain, Argentina and Australia for a frigate equipped with the AEGIS combat system. Similar to the OTL Hobart class destroyers, the TTL vessels have a 155mm main gun and a 76mm gun on each side and twin Phalanx CIWS units (one aft over the hanger and one above and behind the bridge)
[9] The Legends class is a modified Sa'ar 6 design, using a Mark 48 VLS for ESSM missiles, and slightly lengthened to allow the carrying and use of both the Cyclone helicopter and Poseidon tiltwing for ASW. These ships also use Israeli C-Dome close-in weapons systems
[10] A new design, roughly 80 m in length and weighing 1500 tons, with a huge range and endurance (9,000 nmi, 42 days), a top speed of 18 knots, 76mm gun and minesweeping abilities. These are regularly deployed abroad to assist in RCN operations
[11] One of the fastest patrol boat designs in the world, a 88-metre trimaran vessel with twin 20-cylinder GM diesel engines and twin LM1600 gas turbines, capable of speeds of nearly 50 knots. These ships are meant as patrol and interdiction vessels and do carry a specially-equipped helicopter, a 30mm gatling gun and a squad of armed marines for interdiction duties
[12] The result of another Commonwealth project, the Kingsmill class submarines are referred to as Astute class in the Royal Navy and the New South Wales class in the Royal Australian Navy. They are a derivative of the OTL Astute, though equipped with vertical launch tubes (for Tomahawks) and a slightly larger sail (for special operations equipment)
[13] A direct copy of the United States' most-recent class of AIP-equipped SSK submarines, diesel-electric propulsion using hydrogen fuel cells for near-silent propulsion, use identical sonar systems to the Kingsmill class (including a towed-array sonar), but are too small to be equipped with Tomahawk VLS tubes
[14] Giant 55,000-ton nuclear-powered Icebreakers capable of going through any ice conditions found in the Arctic. Armed only with 76mm guns, Phalanx CIWS systems and Mark 32 torpedo tubes, but carrying all kinds of gear - four helicopters, a collection of boats, hovercraft, a full mobile hospital and a wide collection of sonar equipment for submarine hunting
[15] Icebreaker-capable patrol vessels, rated for Polar Class 3 rating, equipped with 76mm gun, submarine hunting equipment, a helicopter hangar and multiple hovercraft, longer and tougher than the OTL Harry DeWolf class
[16] Big (821 ft long, 105 ft wide, 33,325 tons full load) amphibious assault vessels with flight deck and well deck, closest OTL design comparison is the Australian Canberra class. These vessels were developed by Canada on their own, but their design was subsequently licensed by France, Japan and Australia ITTL
[17] Longer copies of the British Albion class LHAs, these (along with the Albions) were built in the late 1980s ITTL
[18] The other British-style ship in the RCN's amphibious fleet, these being Bay class vessels. Canadian vessels have full hangars equipped and have docks big enough for LCAC hovercraft. Only two were built because of Canada's involvement in the American San Antonio class project
[19] Canada paid part of the development cost of the San Antonio-class LPD and got the rights to build variants of their own, and they did just that. These three vessels are the biggest LPDs Canada has (TTL San Antonios are 60 ft longer than OTL) and have the heaviest capacity of them
[20] Nuclear-powered speedy transport ships built on the base design of the SL-7N fast container ship. Very fast (34.5 knots) and capable of carrying nearly 1000 vehicles at one time. These ships were delivered to the RCN in 1982, and they were life-extended and their nuclear power plants refurbished in 2010-11
[21] A military-grade ship built based on lighter-aboard-ship concepts, the Sealift Atlantic class are diesel-powered LASH ships modified for the carrying of many landing craft. These ships carry up to 30 landing craft and can be pre-loaded, and are equipped to carry a large number of military personnel to speed the use of such craft
[22] Much faster carriers of landing craft than the LPDs or Sealift Atlantic class vessels, the Juno Beach-class vessels are capable of 30 knots but can also carry 950 personnel and up to 16 landing craft
[23] Huge container ships, equipped with an array of cranes for loading and unloading containers and capable of keeping up with amphibious vessels
[24] Small vessels meant for anti-piracy and maritime security duties in addition to supporting an amphibious operation, these are 12,500-ton vessels with turbine engines, carrying a company of Marines, three or four helicopters, a LCAC, smaller boats and a twin 155mm gun and 76mm guns for supporting its troops
[25] Massive nuclear-powered supply ships that act as all-in-one supply stations for a carrier fleet, similar to OTL's Sacramento and Supply class vessels, though with nuclear propulsion the Andros class is capable of 30 knots and are built to OTL Panamax dimensions, which is also TTL's Seawaymax dimensions
[26] Conventionally-powered (though similarly-sized) backup to the Andros, the Rocky Mountain class serve similar roles, though are only capable of 25 knots. The carrier groups usually rate an Andros, though the Rocky Mountains regularly support amphibious and surface groups as well as the submarine fleets. Baffin Island and Aurora Borealis have ice-strengthened hulls to provide support to vessels in the Arctic
[27] An experimental design for a nuclear-powered fuel tanker, built to Suezmax dimensions in the early 1970s as an experiment by Petro-Canada and Canada Steamship Lines about the economics of nuclear-powered tankers. The vessel was sold to the RCN in 1981 and refurbished extensively in 1998-99, expected to be retired 2025ish
[28] Aframax-sized tankers built for the RCN for the specific goal of acting as a supply chain for the refueling ships and supporting RCN operations. These use diesel engines and are capable of 22 knots, but are full double-hull vessels with highly-advanced firefighting systems and are built to military standards, and have some capacity for carrying dry cargo in addition to liquid fuels. Titan and Apollo have ice-strengthened hulls for Arctic operation
[29] Nuclear-powered submarine tenders meant to allow escort groups to effectively use conventionally-powered submarines as escorts, using high-temperature nuclear reactors to make hydrogen for fuel-cell-equipped submarines in addition to all other services a submarine may need - diesel fuel, food, water, ordnance, spare parts, medical and dental services, mail - and both are equipped with ice-strengthened hulls to allow Arctic use if needed
[30] Turbine-powered wingmen to the Northwest Passage class, the Grand River class are specifically deployed with surface groups and amphibious groups as mobile repair and support ships. These don't produce hydrogen or supply fuel, but can do everything else the Northwest Passage class can. The Royal Canadian Navy's tenders spend a lot of time away from home and are famous for their ability to get any job done
[31] The first hospital ships built for the purpose as a joint project between Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom, the Sanctuary class are the RCN's first dedicated hospital ships but are incredibly advanced. Nuclear-powered for speed (33 knots) and range, the ships are considered ships of the Royal Canadian Navy and are crewed by naval personnel, thus while firing on them may not be considered a war crime as a result (though the Sanctuary class carries only self-defense weapons), this designation is needed owing to its nuclear propulsion and embarked rescue helicopter crews. The Sanctuary class is as capable as most hospitals - twenty operating rooms, 1,620 hospital beds, medical laboratories, fully-stocked pharmacy, CT and MRI machines, fresh and distilled water plants, oxygen production, nuclear medicine facilities, obstetrics and maternity ward and an optometry lab and lens-making equipment
[32] Specialist recovery vessels, the Safeguard class are ice-strengthened, diesel-powered auxiliaries which include their own submersible for submarine rescues, powerful cranes and towing ability for recovering vessels and debris as well as a hospital facilities for injured people
[33] Direct copies of the Navajo-class tugboats, these are new tugboats meant for the recovery of the largest stricken military and civilian vessels and include firefighting abilities and a helicopter landing pad
The Most Brilliant of Minds
A Lost Soul and a Brilliant Mind in a Land of Opportunity
Alan Mathison Turing (1912-2006)

It's a genuinely difficult thing to imagine now, but one of the true pioneers of computer science and a man whose discoveries have in a very real way changed the world for all was also somebody who in his life was persecuted by his home country, only to have his adopted homelands think rather differently in large part due to his efforts, one of the greatest minds in modern human history who became famous not only for computers but for activism, and somebody whose brilliant mind became a source of inspiration for a vast number of people and gave birth to no less than four of the world's best computer science schools in two different countries.

Alan Turing was born in the affluent Maida Vale section of London, England, to a father who was on leave from a job in the Indian Civil Service and a mother who was a member of an Anglo-Irish gentry family, and while both parents had family and interests in India they desired to raise their children in Britain. Turing's genius was clear from a young age, to the point that he encountered some of Albert Einstein's work at age sixteen and not only could he understand and deduce it, he sought to expand upon it. A science student by the time he was in high school, Turing's excellence at Mathematics led him to not only graduate from King's College Cambridge in 1935 but then to be selected as a Fellow of the College two years later.

It was the year before that when Turing showed off his magnum opus, the paper titled " Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem", which is often described by mathematicians as "Turing's Proof." Turing would go on to spend two years studying under the famed American mathematician Alonzo Church at Princeton, forming a friendship with Church that lasted a lifetime, before returning to the UK in early 1939.

During World War II the young genius worked for the United Kingdom's famed Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchey Park in Buckinghamshire, being one of those most involved in the decoding of the German Enigma coding system for secure message transmission, as well as the creation of what was known as the "Bombe", the machines that dramatically sped up the process of decrypting coded Nazi transmissions. Early difficulties in gaining resources for these machines only lasted until a letter was sent to Churchill himself, who ordered the immediate allocation of resources to the project, with his famous 'ACTION THIS DAY' memo. Turing also assisted with the Canadian and American efforts at secure communications, but he was most famous during the War for his work on breaking Enigma and other German attempts at secure communications.

Post-War, however, was where the problems for him started. Turing was well known to be gay, and as homosexuality was illegal in the UK at the time, Turing was indeed charged in 1949 with gross indecency. After being discharged from this the following year his security clearance was revoked, which led to him departing the UK for a job teaching at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario.

The result would end up being profound. While Canada too had laws against same-sex behaviors (which would be repealed in 1967), few authorities had any desire to enforce morality laws in Canada, and few who knew Turing had any desire to trouble him about this knowing of his genius, which was well known in Canada by 1950. Turing founded the soon-to-be-famous Computer Science Laboratories at Queens in 1952, and he quickly was welcomed on board many Canadian projects, including the DATAR system that was included in new Canadian warships and the avionics and computer systems of the famed Avro Arrow fighter-interceptor. At the same time, Turing's work led to the development of the "Turing Test", an early test of whether a computing machine could exhibit intelligent behavior. Computer company Ferranti Beaulieu, the Canadian half-subsidiary of British electronics giant Ferranti, entered into computer markets in the early 1950s themselves.

As the CSL became famous in the 1950s, Turing's friendship with Alonzo Church led him to join Church in establishing a substantial Department of Mathematics and Logic Studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1960. This coming just as Project Independence in the United States ramped up and the passage of the Security of Energy Supplies Act in Canada in 1959 (both a direct result of the Energy Crisis of 1957-58), the world was eager for any scientific advancement it could get and Turing and Church, like so many others, proved invaluable minds for those with new ideas and plans to test their mettle on. Turing taught there until he returned to Canada in late 1966, but not before Turing was also involved in the building of the Computer Science Department of the California State Center for the Sciences.

Returning to Canada, Turing was appointed the Provost of the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, as the relatively-young school began its now-considerable growth into the engineering fields. Turing held this position until 1986, guiding the school from a smaller and less specialized institution into one of Canada's great schools in the STEM fields. Turing was quite open to admitting that one of the reasons he had been enticed to return home was Canada's legalization of homosexuality, which allowed him to be able to express his feelings openly, even if by then his being gay was widely known and few authorities on either side of the Canada-US border cared about it. Within a few years, though, Canada's legal shift would become much more dramatic, as Canada's 1972 Constitution included sexual orientation under its Charter of Rights and Freedoms, making discrimination against the LGBT community explicitly unconstitutional. (Famously, Waterloo students made sure they knew and respected Turing's sexuality by throwing him a rather-large bash the week after the Constitution's signing in April 1972, congratulating him on "beating the bigots".) Turing and his long-time partner Ryan Bensen began to be commonly seen in public in Waterloo after this, this being widely respected in Waterloo but not always elsewhere.

This would become famous in nearby Toronto, which had a very bumpy late 1970s with regards to the LGBT community - they were long well-established there, but after the murder of twelve-year-old Emanuel Jaques by four men in a massage parlor on the then rather seedy Yonge Street in July 1977, Toronto had seen multiple rounds of unrest between those who vocally did not approve of their presence and the community itself. This culminated in Operation Soap, the Toronto Police's famous raiding of bathhouses on February 5, 1981, and the police and the Toronto Sun newspaper famously outing those arrested. While the police and the paper both ended up on the losing end of a multi-million-dollar lawsuit related to this, the event galvanized the gay community in Toronto and indeed much of Canada. The following month the first "Gay Freedom Rally" was held in Toronto with Turing in attendance along with more than a few other famous individuals, including authors Margaret Atwood and Anne Frank. Before then, Turing had written an editorial that was published in the Toronto Star on February 11, pointing out that Jaques' murder was brought to justice because of the gay community (which was true) and that as a prominent gay man who had a generation before forced to take chemical castration drugs because of being gay, he said publicly "How is that a society as tolerant, mindful, educated and frankly beautiful as that of Canada could possibly condone the hateful things done and said about those who are targeted simply because they prefer the company of men instead of women?"

Turing's activism led to a campaign to remove him as the University of Waterloo's Provost in late 1981, but the University publicly stood behind him and the attempt fell flat on its face. Despite this, Turing didn't stop with his activism, raising money for those busted during the raids (ultimately the number of charges were few and far between and nobody ever went to prison as a result of the raids), but his high-profile, full-throated support of the community in the 1980s made more than a few others coming out, with Svend Robinson publicly doing so in 1983 and countless others doing so. Canada's legal system soon had its word, too - Canada explicitly made anti-LGBT laws, including bawdyhouse laws, unconstitutional in September 1984, ending any possibly of more events like those in Toronto.

Turing retired from working full-time in June 1986, but remained consulting in a variety of Mathematics related fields and maintained his activism until began suffering from Alzheimer's disease in the early 2000s. Later life for him saw him gain many passions of his own, from long-distance running to riding motorcycles (one of his favorite routes, Ontario Highway 62, would later be renamed the Alan Turing Highway in his honor) to scuba diving. He published better than 300 papers during his lifetime, becoming a public inspiration of a brilliant mind during his life.
Desert Reclamation Project, Neenach, California
June 16, 2023
10:05 AM

"Bloody hell." Prince William commented to his guest with a wide smile, looking out the windows of the Royal Navy helicopter that was making a statement in its own right by being here in Southern California. It's other passenger would have been equally a surprise to many. "I see what you mean by carving something out of the desert that looks like it belongs on another world."
"One of the most expensive civil engineering projects in California's history, but probably also one of the most impactful." California's Governor, Gavin Newsom, commented to the Prince, who he knew was visiting because of his keen interest in science and technology. "It rewrote the rules of Water in the desert and changed those realities for three separate states."
"Not to mention whoever did the design work on it did a marvelous job."
"Very true." Newsom smiled. "They have filmed movies and TV shows and even music videos here, too." That got a chuckle from the heir to the United Kingdom's throne, but he was surprised to see the look on the Governor's face, which said that Newsom wasn't exaggerating.
"Are you serious?"
"So I'm told." A smile. "I haven't much time for such things, of course, but I can see it very much being possible."
"As can I." The Prince couldn't help but be more than a little impressed at was beneath him. He'd seen and toured facilities like this before, of course - the Commonwealth that he would one day by the head of had a thriving nuclear industry, too - but none of the facilities quite looked like this one. The people who built this designed it to work, clearly, but also designed it to be a showpiece.

The Prince was more right than he knew. The Desert Reclamation Project was the single largest desalination plant in the world, capable of producing enough water for the needs of 40 million people. Fed from the ocean some 115 miles away by four monstrous reinforced-concrete pipes large enough to fit a full-sized train and with the world's largest water pumps to get the seawater there, the project produced at full operation nearly 33,000 acre-feet, or over ten billion gallons, of fresh water every day. Built around four massive high-temperature nuclear reactors that provided the heat and energy for the process, the plant's nearly 4800-megawatt electric power output was almost entirely swallowed by the pumping and water supply systems as well as local residents, but nobody was bothered by that, as the fresh water was much more important in this, one of the high deserts of the American West.

The plant was where it was for a reason, too. The California Aqueduct, whose main trunk ran from the San Francisco Bay Area hundreds of miles to the north to Eagle Mountain some 225 miles to the southeast, made up the southern border of the complex, while the twin former Los Angeles Aqueducts approached the facility from the North, with their original plan being to carry water from Mono Lake and the Owens Valley to the north to Los Angeles. The building of the project had ended that, and in fact resulted in the Los Angeles Aqueduct's northern two-thirds being used instead to give new life to the Owens Valley, refilling Owens Lake, massively helping Mono Lake and, like several other lakes in the Mojave, being used as percolators to feed water into the local ecosystem. Since the building of the project, the Owens Valley had become one of the largest concentrations of orchards and tree farms in the world, producing particularly good and sizable quantities of apples, citrus fruits, cherries, peaches and grapes, the latter being particularly famous in the further reaches of the valley, as the vineyards of the south Mono Lake regions had grown a reputation for excellent wines. The Mojave Desert had joined the Owens Valley, Imperial Valley and large sections of Arizona and Sonora in proving the power of water when applied to desert land, and such was the output of the project that some of the water flowing through the California Aqueduct now entered the Colorado River Aqueduct when it wasn't used to bring water to Southern California, stored in the giant Eagle Mountain pumped-storage hydroelectric power facility before it could be used. Vast portions of what had once been a dry desert now were productive, expertly-managed croplands, adding to the fruit trees of the Owens Valley and adding many more products of its own - lemons, limes, coffee, bananas, apricots, acai, kiwifruit, blueberries, watermelons. Less suitable land found itself often used for either ranching or for vast quantities of greenhouses. In this part of California, long-standing laws on what land could be used for meant that cities and residential communities butted right up against the farms themselves, often with just a fence separating them. Roads were shaded by trees that grew with every passing day, and the urban areas were dotted with vegetation of its own. Stable water supplies meant the vast majority of single-family homes boasted swimming pools, and it seemed every other park had a pond with fountains in it.

The building of the Desert Reclamation Project had been built at the same time as the Las Vegas Aqueduct, whose completion in 1995 had contributed not a small amount of the giant growth of the vast entertainment mecca that lay in the desert of Southern Nevada 220 miles to the northeast. Like California, Las Vegas treated this with respect, and like many of the California cities in recovered every drop of wastewater it could, and treated wastewater was used in countless cases for water features that many communities and neighborhoods in Las Vegas were built around. The extra water in the ecosystem and extra evaporation had actually resulted in a very slow but steady growth of snowpacks in the Sierra Nevadas and additional desert vegetation in the areas where humans didn't plant it on their own. This didn't necessarily mean there was no negatives to this - the Mojave had become infamous for problems with snakes and scorpions, for example - but a traveler in this part of California in the 1980s who then saw it today would have been hard-pressed to believe it was the same place.

And key to it was the vast complex beneath the Prince and the Governor.

Like virtually all modern nuclear projects in this part of the world, the nuclear reactors of the Desert Reclamation Project were built first by quarrying out deep holes of solid rock and then building reactor containment buildings over these holes. The four reactors all had turbine and generating halls extending out from them, forming what looked from above like four spokes out from the reactors at 90 degree intervals. Like the reactor cores these buildings were designed to take the worst an earthquake could throw at it, with the spaces in between being home to part of the desalination facilities. In between the reactors was the fuel handling facility, which not only allowed for safe fueling of the facility but also handled the spent fuel from the facility, cooling and packing it into huge armor-steel casks for transport to reprocessing facilities. The corners of the complex were made up of huge tanks to store water, these huge tanks being reinforced-concrete tanks that extended as much as thirty feet below ground and some sixty feet above it, the tanks painted a brilliant shade of white. Water pipes for salt and fresh water were easy to distinguish - salt water pipes were almost entirely painted a gloss black, taking advantage of the brilliant desert sun to warm the water as it was desalinated and reduce the energy needed, while fresh ones were either brilliant white (for untreated water) or blue (for potable, drinkable water). High-temperature steam from the reactors, once done with the task of generating electricity, flowed to the desalination facilities in steel alloy pipes inside of concrete boxes, the demands of the desalination facilities meaning even these reactors - whose operating temperature was north of 1100 degree Celsius - could dispense with cooling towers. Tanks for salt water were also painted black on their insides and had glass tops, once again for energy purposes, and the facilities for desalination were inside of other earthquake-proofed structures, namely for temperature and humidity control during the process of desalination, which made ensuring water quality easier and reduced corrosion in the system, particularly in the salt water pipes. The desalination facilities recovered every mineral they could from the water, which meant massive quantities of salt and usable amounts of potash, lithium, magnesium, bromine and calcium, and a pilot program at the facility was also recovering uranium from the seawater that was processed in the facility. A fifth pipe ran from the plant back to the ocean, returning salty brine from the facility back to the ocean in order to deal with the nearly 400,000 tons of salts removed from the water every day.

But what set this project apart was that once the facilities had been made to work properly, the attention had then been turned to making the facility look the part. Each Reactor's control building was inside of a triangular, glass-walled architect-designed office building, and it was a similar story with the control buildings for the desalination facilities, with these designed to have a towering, glass-roofed atrium between each section of the desalination plant and each facility's control center being built on top of posts, making it look like the bridge of a spaceship overlooking the facilities they operated. Each building was painted a brilliant white, with outdoor facilities being often made up of shiny stainless steel. Employee buildings were more of the same, giving the entire facility the look of something out of a science fiction novel. Bridges over the aqueducts and passageways between sections of the facility were built as flexible cable-stayed bridges - once again, this done out of a desire to deal with earthquakes - and the grounds not covered by buildings had beautiful landscaping, with grasses being made up of either Zoysia or hybrid Bermuda grass, reflecting pools lined with white concrete and vegetation inside of concrete bowls and low-water trees and plants, these landscaping features broken up by elaborate rock gardens. Many building roofs were covered in solar panels on rotating pedestals to allow them to track the sun, adding substantially to the facility's power output, and the nearly ten thousand employees of the site parked their cars inside of big multi-story parking garages that themselves had more of the glass walls to integrate them into the aesthetic of the facility. It all added up to a masterwork in design, a function to impress any engineer and a form that looked like the working showpiece it was meant to be.

The helicopter landed at the helipad that was built on top of the main administration building at the plant, which had no sooner killed its engines than the plant's director, Dr. Amanda Tauriel, led her senior staff up to the helipad to greet the Prince and the Governor. Handshakes were exchanged all around as the Director introduced the Chief Nuclear, Energy, Desalination, Maintenance and Water Quality officers as well as the plant's union representatives. All were highly-experienced people and all were used to bigshots turning up to visit their facility, and it showed in their comfort level.
"A remarkable facility indeed." Prince William commented, looking out over it from the Administration Tower.
"Nothing without the people who make it work every day." Dr. Tauriel commented back.
"I would have thought that would have been his comment." Governor Newsom commented.
"No, it's all of ours, Sir." This was the Chief Nuclear Officer, Dr. Gabriel Reyes. "Without our people, this would be a twenty billion dollar heap of specialized machinery rather than the water supply for thousands of square miles of farmland and over thirty million people." Prince William and Governor Newsom didn't know - yet - that Dr. Reyes and the plant's senior IBEW rep had become family members five months before as a result of Dr. Reyes' granddaughter marrying the union rep's youngest son. "Without them, I couldn't do my job, and none of the rest of us could either."
"And the people, I presume, know all of this."
"I can't imagine they don't." Dr. Reyes commented. "I can't speak for other departments, but I know all of my reactor operators and senior staff on a first name basis." He had barely finished then when the union rep for the International Brotherhood of Nuclear Operators and Engineers spoke up.
"You've always done a great job, Gabe." He smiled to the Prince and the Governor. "Three years back a number of my guys decided this place needed a proper gym for its employees and a daycare center. It opened in April."
"You've come to me with more ridiculous ideas than that before." Dr. Tauriel commented.
"Yeah, but you built a whole new freaking building for it!"
"We didn't have room inside the employee areas, you know that." Reyes said jokingly. The Prince unable to hold back curiosity, spoke up on that front.
"And who the devil paid for that?"
"City of Los Angeles." Dr. Tauriel responded deadpan. "Their own construction crews were finishing up on the train stations in Lancaster and Mojave, so we asked if they could do this job for us. It wasn't hard to convince the city council or the DWP."
"They did that without you needing to justify the cost?" Governor Newsom handled that one.
"I would have signed off on it had it hit my desk, too." He paused. "Your Highness, you have a staff around you all the time, do you not?"
"Of course."
"And I'd imagine they are all well paid and treated well by you and your wife and your kids and the rest of the House of Windsor, true?"
"Most definitely." A chuckle. "If we don't, we get all kinds of problems with the press, the other people around us and...." Prince William trailed off as it suddenly dawned on him where the Governor and the Director were going with their comments. "I think I see now."
"I thought somebody who went to Sandhurst could figure that out." Newsom grinned. "Okay, it costs a few extra bucks to do it that way. But the city maintain those crews for a reason, and I know something like ten thousand people work here. How many of them have used that gym?"
"Lots." Dr. Reyes commented. "It's a madhouse at about five-thirty in the morning and one thirty and nine thirty in the afternoon and evening."
"Right before shift changes." A pause, and Newsom continued. "What's the problem with having better facilities for staff? I see none. It's a cheap way of making staff happy and helping them feel better and be healthier. The daycare probably was a great benefit for a lot of Moms that work here, wasn't it?"
"Very much so, and some Dads too."
"And I'll bet that doesn't cost too much, does it?"
"In the greater scheme of things, it's a drop in the ocean." Dr. Tauriel commented.
"But worth it so that the good people here stay."
"Exactly." A pause. "It reduces my training costs massively to keep the best people for longer periods of time." Dr. Reyes commented.
"Undoubtedly true for all of the departments." Governor Newsom commented. A number of nods were proof his assumption was the correct one.