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Tales of Brave Ulysses (Timeline 10/27/62)

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Tales of Brave Ulysses (Timeline 10/27/62)

  Tales of Brave Ulysses

  By James Philip

  Copyright © James P. Coldham writing as James Philip 2016. All rights reserved.

  Cover Artwork concept by James Philip

  Graphic Design by Beastleigh Web Design

  Author’s Note

  Ulysses is the English form of Ulixes, which in turn is the Latin form of the Greek Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ that tells the story of the great Trojan Wars, and the ‘Odyssey’ which recounts the fable of his long journey home from those wars.

  ‘Tales of Brave Ulysses’ is Book 6 of the alternative history series Timeline 10/27/62.

  It is early April 1964 in a World in which the ‘swinging sixties’ never happened.

  The fog of war hangs heavy across the Mediterranean. Even while Malta burns and the survivors of the savage naval battle off its coast fight for their lives in wreckage-strewn iron grey waters, the fragile rapprochement between the two trans-Atlantic pre-war nuclear superpowers comes under intolerable new pressures both from within and without.

  The new Anglo-American alliance has failed its first test and while the blame game rages, events elsewhere are moving at terrifying speed. The enemies of the United States and the United Kingdom are finally ready to strike a devastating blow.

  Like the Greeks of classical antiquity after ten years besieging Troy, the war weary, disillusioned peoples of what remains of the pre-October War free world are badly in need of heroes. And like the Greeks of yore, they too await the return of their brave Odysseus to give them hope for a better future; even as new disasters unfold half a world away and much, much closer to home.

  The old Trans-Atlantic Allies had begun to believe that the worst was behind them; but their travails have scarcely begun and their greatest test is yet to come.


  The Timeline 10/27/62 – Main Series is:

  Book 1: Operation Anadyr

  Book 2: Love is Strange

  Book 3: The Pillars of Hercules

  Book 4: Red Dawn

  Book 5: The Burning Time

  Book 6: Tales of Brave Ulysses

  Book 7: A Line in the Sand (Available 1st June 2016)

  Book 8: The Mountains of the Moon (Available 27th October 2016)

  Books in the Timeline 10/27/62 – USA Series exploring the American experience of Armageddon from an entirely American point of view are now available:

  Timeline 10/27/62 – USA Series:

  Book 1: Aftermath

  Book 2: California Dreaming

  Book 3: The Great Society (Available 26th February 2016)

  Book 4: Ask Not of Your Country (Available 31st July 2016)

  * * *

  To the reader: firstly, thank you for reading this book; and secondly, please remember that this is a work of fiction. I made it up in my own head. None of the fictional characters in ‘Tales of Brave Ulysses – Book 6 of the ‘Timeline 10/27/62 Series’ - is based on real people I know of, or have ever met. Nor do the specific events described in ‘Tales of Brave Ulysses – Book 6 of the ‘Timeline 10/27/62 Series’ - have, to my knowledge, any basis in real events I know to have taken place. Any resemblance to real life people or events is, therefore, unintended and entirely coincidental.

  The ‘Timeline 10/27/62 Series’ is an alternative history of the modern World and because of this real historical characters are referenced and in many cases their words and actions form significant parts of the narrative. I have no way of knowing if these real, historical figures would have spoken thus, or acted in the ways I depict them acting. Any word I place in the mouth of a real historical figure, and any action which I attribute to them after 27th October 1962 never actually happened. As I always state – unequivocally - in my Author’s Notes to my readers, I made it all up in my own head.

  The books of the Timeline 10/27/62 series are written as episodes; they are instalments in a contiguous narrative arc. The individual ‘episodes’ each explore a number of plot branches, and develop themes continuously from book to book. Inevitably, in any series some exposition and extemporization is unavoidable but I try – honestly, I do – to keep this to a minimum as it tends to slow down the flow of the stories I am telling.

  In writing each successive addition to the Timeline 10/27/62 ‘verse’ it is my implicit assumption that my readers will have read the previous books in the series, and that my readers do not want their reading experience to be overly impacted by excessive re-hashing of the events in those previous books.

  Humbly, I suggest that if you are ‘hooked’ by the Timeline 10/27/62 Series that reading the books in sequence will – most likely - enhance your enjoyment of the experience.


  Author’s Note

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59

  Chapter 60

  Chapter 61

  Chapter 62

  Chapter 63

  Chapter 64

  Chapter 65

  Chapter 66

  Chapter 67

  Chapter 68

  Chapter 69

  Chapter 70

  Chapter 71

  Chapter 72

  Chapter 73

  Chapter 74

  Chapter 75

  Chapter 76

  Chapter 77

  Chapter 78

  Chapter 79

  Chapter 80

  Chapter 81

  Chapter 82

  Chapter 83

  Chapter 84

  Chapter 85

  Chapter 86

  Chapter 87

  Author’s Endnote

  Other Books by James Philip

  Tales of Brave Ulysses

  [Book 6 of Timeline 10/27/62]

  Chapter 1


  J.W. Malling

  K.H.S. Meredith-Hall

  B.T. Terrell

  C.H.O. Alexander

  GCHQ, Benhall/Oakley


  Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher MP

  Corpus Christi College



  11th March 1964

/>   Dear Mrs Thatcher,

  It is our understanding that prior to the removal of the government to Oxford it was not possible to find an appropriate gap in your diary to permit you to visit GCHQ at either the Benhall or the Oakley sites in Cheltenham. We feel confident that had you visited GCHQ and spoken to fellow departmental heads that the headlong post-war decline of this organisation might not have been permitted to continue.

  At the end of the 1939-45 war the Government Code and Cipher School based at Bletchley Park was the premier code breaking and military traffic analysis centre in the World. Subsequent to the end of the 1945 war ill-advised cutbacks by the Atlee Government led to the return of over ninety percent of all of Bletchley Park’s wartime staff to the civilian sector of the economy sworn to indefinite silence under the terms of the Official Secrets Act. At that time budgetary parsimony and governmental neglect effectively ensured that Britain’s world lead in cryptography, nascent computing technology and modern electronics was allowed to wither on the vine. Some of our best people went to America, many others returned to academia and business. Several of our best people were subsequently persecuted by the Security Service, and in more than one case individuals were driven to early deaths by a combination of this persecution and by the sense of having been betrayed by their own government.

  To cut a long story short in the early 1950s the GC and CS, renamed in 1946 as the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) with a remit similar to that of the American National Security Agency headquartered at Arlington, Virginia, moved from its temporary accommodation (1946 to 1952) at Eastcote in Middlesex into two sites outside Cheltenham where, by chance, it survived intact the war of October 1962.

  The Cheltenham operation was always modest in comparison the NSA’s setup in Virginia. For one thing the operation has never been adequately funded, or given, within Governments of all political shades sufficient priority for resources to enable it to attract and to retain the best people.

  While GCHQ ‘survived’ the recent war it would be accurate to report that what actually survived was the electronic ‘machine’ component of the GCHQ operation. Robbed of so many of its finest minds and with the elimination of the headquarters of MI5, MI6, the expertise and administrative backbones of the Foreign and Defence Ministry intelligence staffs, and stripped of the implicit structural support of Whitehall and other long established governmental infrastructures, the post-war GCHQ operation is analogous to a huge ‘brain’ suddenly shorn not just of all its key ‘inputs’ – its sense of taste, smell and its ability to hear and see far and wide across Europe and beyond – but physically crippled and in some respects paralysed. Moreover, unable to communicate anything but a tiny fraction of its ‘musings’ for want of experienced and trained staff to analyse its ‘outputs’, the organisation was largely deaf, dumb and mute at the very moment the civilian and military authorities needed, for example, intelligence on US ship movements and tactical intentions in the North Atlantic at the time of the passage of the Operation Manna convoys last November and December.

  The authors of this letter have formed the opinion that the organs of the reconstituted Defence establishment and senior intelligence officers at the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, and both MI5 and MI6 cannot have communicated to your Government the parlous state of GCHQ at this time.

  Since October 1962 GCHQ has been unable to provide any meaningful traffic analysis for those areas of the Soviet Union suspected to have been only partially devastated in the recent war. This being the case it is impossible to form any manner of informed view as to the residual military capabilities of the undoubtedly, very hard hit former Soviet-Warsaw Pact block. This has made the meaningful interpretation of the limited information that has been available about the true Krasnaya Zarya/Eastern Mediterranean Theatre of Operations situation virtually impossible. Individual pieces of intelligence are meaningless without context, and context can only be established by good overall coverage and the consistent, systematic application of proven traffic analysis protocols to the relevant data sets.

  It is our view that you should be made aware that post-war GCHQ has lost over seventy-five percent of its world-wide listening posts, and ninety percent of its supporting ‘intellectual muscle’.

  This has resulted in a situation in which the primary intelligence gathering tool at the disposal of the Unity Administration of the United Kingdom is unable to meaningfully fulfil its vital function.

  Moreover, what intelligence GCHQ is generating is worthless because there is virtually nobody qualified to rigorously assess its veracity or to analyse what it may mean.

  Pray forgive our impertinence, Prime Minister. GCHQ has always operated in such an opaque bubble of secrecy that we, as senior directors, literally have no idea whether prior to your assumption of the premiership you were let into the secret of what really goes on at GCHQ, or what previously went on at Bletchley Park during the 1945 war.

  For example, we have no way of knowing if you have ever heard of the word ‘ENIGMA’ or ‘ULTRA’ in this connection. Between 1939 and 1945 ULTRA was the biggest secret of all. Back in those days we called the German U-Boat code ‘SHARK’. Shortly after we broke that code we (and the Royal Navy, of course) won the Battle of the Atlantic in a matter of weeks. But for the work of GCHQ the 1939-45 war might have been lost; conceivably it might still be going on! Breaking the German (and later the Japanese) codes probably saved the lives of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of our people and shortened the war by many years.

  While politician and generals were awarded peerages and medals and ‘cashed in’ publishing memoires that only told half the story of how victory was actually won, the names of those who made victory possible have never been made public, or publicly acknowledged on grounds of ‘national security’.

  While we as the heirs to such remarkable men, geniuses in any other land or at any other time in history such as Alan Turing and Bill Welchman, take for granted that the work that went on at Bletchley Park won the war very few people outside our circle are ‘in the know’ and judging by the way your Government has treated GCHQ in the three months since you became Prime Minister, it is clear that memories of lessons learned painfully in previous conflicts have been grievously neglected or completely forgotten.

  We for example, know that Montgommery was not ‘reading Rommel’s mind’ before El Alamein in 1942, rather he was reading the Desert Fox’s radio traffic to and from Berlin, and every little bit of chit chat he exchanged with his Panzer commanders, everything. Monty literally knew what Rommel was thinking before, during and after the battle which is why Churchill was so upset after the Battle of El Alamein that Monty had allowed the rump of the Afrika Korps to escape.

  At times during the war we were decrypting German and Japanese radio traffic faster than their front line units! By the mid-years of the 1939-45 war Bletchley Park was the biggest code-breaking factory on the planet and like idiots when the war was finished we just shut it down. Ever since then we have been totally dependent upon, some would say at the mercy of, the Americans and in the way of these things our friends across the Atlantic grew accustomed to telling us exactly and precisely what they want us to know.

  Had you visited us before the Government removed to Oxford we would have communicated all this and much more to you in person. If as presently seems likely we are fighting a war against enemies we barely see and understand less, this it is because GCHQ is failing the nation, and the reason it is failing the nation is because the nation has shamelessly neglected it. In Cheltenham we have some of the most advanced computing equipment in the world but without funding, manpower and the intellectual power locked away in our universities (still comfortably insulated from the reality of the common man in their silvery academic towers) and the reconstruction of its former support structures you might as well, frankly, knock down both GCHQ buildings at Benhall and Oakley, and go back to making do with sticks and stones.

  Our deepest fear is that som
e dreadful unforeseen disaster will befall the country and our brave armed forces, because GCHQ in its current state simply did not, and could not, see that disaster coming.

  Thank you for reading this letter. We hope and pray that you will see fit to ensure that GCHQ’s work is given the funding and support that, in the national interest, it deserves.

  Respectfully we are:

  J.W. Malling (Director of Signal Interception and Radio Communications Engineering)

  K.H.S. Meredith-Hall (Director of Traffic Analysis)

  B.T. Terrell (Director of Computing Technologies)

  C.H.O. Alexander (Director of Cryptanalysis)

  Chapter 2

  13:30 Hours

  Friday 3rd April 1964

  Lower Barraka Gardens, Valletta, Malta

  Thirty year old Barry Lankester had survived the Coventry blitz in November 1940 as a small child. After this early trial by fire he had lived a life only a little less ordinary than his fellow pupils at Bablake School which he had left in 1951. Having joined the British Broadcasting Company – the BBC – in 1955 he had slowly begun to build a modest career in radio and television in the years before the October War. The highlights of his pre-war career had been introducing Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at the 1962 Coventry Festival; and from 1960, becoming ‘the voice’ that introduced the popular daily radio serial ‘The Archers’ across the BBC network. But the war had swept away all that and in the immediate aftermath his ‘broadcasting career’, such as it had been had counted for nothing in the chaos. For several months he had worked for – or more correctly, been dragooned by – the West Midlands Regional Emergency Commissioner’s (REO) Office and become a part of the Wolverhampton-based regional ‘Information Group’. Basically, he had become one of several supposedly ‘trusted and reassuring’ mouthpieces for the REO, disseminating essential public administration, rationing and health information and directives; and whatever sanitised version of the local news that the authorities deemed it fit for the surviving populous to hear.

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