Red Dawn (Timeline 10/27/62 Book 4), страница 1
By James Philip
Copyright © James P. Coldham writing as James Philip 2015. All rights reserved.
Cover Artwork concept by James Philip
Graphic Design by Beastleigh Web Design
‘Red Dawn’ is Book 4 of the alternative history series Timeline 10/27/62.
It is January 1964 in a World in which the ‘swinging sixties’ never happened.
The fires of Washington DC have been extinguished and there is a new but fragile rapprochement between the old trans-Atlantic allies. But both old allies are afflicted with internal schisms that threaten the prospects of return to politics and business as usual. Moreover, a month after the Battle of Washington there is no conclusive proof that Red Dawn actually exists, let alone that it was involved in the events which almost provoked a war between the old Trans-Atlantic allies.
However, something is going on in the Anatolian heartland of a devastated Turkey, around the Black Sea, in the Aegean and in the shattered former Soviet client states bordering the Balkans. Photographs taken by U-2 spy planes provide tantalising clues, radio intercepts hint at secret armies, and refugees fleeing from Turkey and the Greek Islands recount horrific tales of invaders burning towns and villages and of big grey warships anchored beneath the walls of ancient Constantinople.
How much is the peace treaty between American and Britain worth? Is the World really any safer than it has been at any time since the cataclysm of the October War? Is it already too late to prepare for the next war? The war nobody except a solitary rogue Soviet defector predicts is inevitable?
Now is the time for charismatic leaders to step forward.
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
Book 8: The Mountains of the Moon
Book 9: All Along the Watchtower (Available in 2017)
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
Book 4: Ask Not of Your Country (Available 31st December 2016)
Book 5: The American Dream (Available in 2017)
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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 characters in ‘Red Dawn – Book 4 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 ‘Red Dawn’ - Book 4 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 their words and actions form significant parts of the narrative. I have no way of knowing for sure 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 say in my Author’s Notes to my readers, I made it up in my own head.
As with real historical characters, real historical ships are treated in a documentary - where they were and as they were deployed - fashion up to and including 27th October 1962. Thereafter, all bets are off because in this post cataclysm timeline, everything changes.
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.
Other Books by James Philip
[Book 4 of Timeline 10/27/62]
Tuesday 14th January 1964
Steps of the Capitol Building, Washington DC
It was a brutally cold, raw winter’s day in the savagely mauled but unbroken capital city of the United States of America. It had snowed again overnight but the morning had brought crystal clear azure skies pocked with fast scudding high clouds, and a bright, dazzling sunshine that seemed to mock the frozen ground and the foggy frost that every breath expelled. The great crowd had been gathering along Pennsylvania Avenue all morning, its ranks swelling from every side as the people of the great city came together to mourn the slaughter and the destruction of the insurrection, and to celebrate their survival.
Looking down Pennsylvania Avenue from the steps of the Capitol Building where he had been sworn in as the thirty-fifth President of the Republic six days short of three years before, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a little surprised by how perversely normal the city seemed beneath its wintery coat of freshly fallen snow. If he tried very hard he could almost forget the fire-blackened and blasted building behind him, the d
The tanks and armoured personnel carriers which had rumbled down those streets a month ago were parked in and around the city; a comforting presence for the survivors. F-4 Phantoms orbited the capital constantly, their thunderous jets never so distant as to be beyond the edge of human hearing. No civilian aircraft was permitted to overfly Washington or approach within fifty miles of it, no vehicle could enter it without first being exhaustively searched at one of a dozen nominated entry points. Navy gunboats patrolled the Anacostia and the Potomac Rivers, their captains granted absolute powers of seizure and operating under rules of engagement which allowed them to fire first and ask questions later. The 101st Airborne Division and elements of the 3rd Marine Division had invested every corner of DC, and each member of the cruelly depleted Washington DC Police Department now had as many as half-a-dozen heavily armed paratroopers or Marine Corps grunts at his back when he, or she, ventured out onto the streets. Regardless of the fact that large parts of the US Government had already decamped to Philadelphia, including the entire House of Representatives under the leadership of the Vice-President, the rule of law would be enforced in the nation’s capital, and its hard-pressed citizens would henceforth live in safety.
Or rather, in relative safety.
After the events of the previous month nobody in the Administration was under any illusion that anybody anywhere was safe in the messed up brave new post-October War World. There were still those who claimed – perhaps, they even believed it – that the war had been some kind of catastrophically disguised blessing in disguise. The argument went something like: if the war had happened in say, ten years time, both sides would have accumulated such huge thermonuclear arsenals that the whole World would have been consumed by the atomic fires. From which others concluded: at least this way the greater proportion of humanity had lived through the holocaust. Jack Kennedy did not subscribe to that school of thought. He had done what he had thought was right that evening in late October fourteen months ago. He would live with the guilt and pain of it for the rest of his life and surely be damned to eternal perdition in the afterlife, if such a thing really existed. Among other things his belief in a loving, merciful God had died that night in October 1962 when the ICBMs flew and Curtis LeMay’s B-52s had burnt and blasted their way across the Soviet hinterlands. But that was then and this was now; and against all rational expectations the World was a no less frightening place. A month ago there had almost been another war. Yes, another war that the USA would have surely won; but at what price? What was victory worth if afterwards one was utterly friendless?
Not that Jack Kennedy was going to fall into the trap of thinking Margaret Hilda Thatcher, the Premier of the newly formed Unity Administration of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was ever going to be his best friend, let alone soul mate in the crusade to build a new World out of the ashes of the old that was the fond dream of so many Americans.
The President of the United States of America nodded respectfully to the attractive thirty-eight year old widowed mother of twins, whom most of her own people proudly called the ‘Angry Widow’, as he cautiously got to his feet and approached the lectern on the raised dais facing directly down the length of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The last three days had been sorely trying.
The Angry Widow was the hardest-nosed negotiator he had ever sat across a table from; persuading Edgar J Hoover – whom he detested, the feeling was mutual – to compel his agents to wear tuxedos and top hats would have been easier than attempting to make the new British Prime Minister see sense. Every reasonable, closely argued proposition would be greeted with a blue-eyed, steely stare and then she would inform her interlocutor, often stridently, and invariably at great length, exactly why it was a really bad idea and she was not going to have anything to do with it any time soon. Then, just when Jack Kennedy, or his younger brother Bobby, or Bob McNamara, or James William Fulbright, the new Secretary of State was on the verge of bursting a blood vessel the woman would smile a dazzlingly seraphic smile, her chilly azure eyes would twinkle, and she would default to a position which was broadly consistent with: ‘now, shall we discuss how we can bridge our differences rather than continue at cross purposes?’
Surrounding the VIPs on the exposed steps of the battle-scarred Capitol Building, British and American Marines fingered the trigger guards of their automatic weapons. Everywhere Margaret Thatcher and her entourage went hard-faced members of the Special Boat Squadron the elite Special Forces cadre of the Royal Marines went ahead, securing the ground. Royal Marines stood sentinel outside conference room doors and had formed an impenetrable cordon around the British compound at Andrews Air Force Base. The Angry Widow’s personal Royal Marine bodyguard, some eighty strong were uniformly indifferent to the offence they caused to the Secret Service or the specially selected Presidential Guard drawn from the ranks of the 3rd Marine Division. After the assassination of Prime Minister Edward Heath in the Oval Office in December, the British would never again trust anybody else to watch over the safety of their leaders.
Jack Kennedy stepped to the dais. He tried to ignore the bitter wind plucking at his coat. The cold was trying to burrow into the marrow of his bones and this was one of those occasions when the President of the United States of America simply could not allow himself to show the slightest sign of weakness, either of physique or of spirit.
His younger brother Bobby, the Attorney General, said that there were over half-a-million people on Pennsylvania Avenue.
They had strung speakers all the way down to the 7th Street intersection just so everybody who had come out in the winter weather could actually hear what he said. Sometimes words really mattered; and this was the first day of a new age. The World’s two remaining nuclear superpowers had become disconnected, strangers one to the other and as a result they had almost stepped over the edge. They had been within hours of falling into a bottomless black abyss. Today, while there was much to rue, there was a great deal more to celebrate. For today at least Red Dawn and the clear and present danger it might still present to the two remaining bastions of global democracy could be set to one side. Today was a day for hope.
“My fellow Americans,” Jack Kennedy began, his voice trembling a little. He looked – with a theatrical flourish for the benefit of the TV cameras which were broadcasting the ceremony live across the whole North American continent - over his shoulder towards the British delegation, “our newfound friends,” a solemn hesitation, “our rediscovered friends, and to all those in the World who might seek to do us ill,” he went on, his tone filling with authority, “today we begin in earnest the long journey towards building a World fit for our children to inherit.”
Margaret Thatcher had found it hard to be as angry after she had met President Kennedy as she had been with him before that first, face to face encounter. It was not just the man’s charm – which could be of the overwhelming kind – or the way he had a knack of looking one in the eye and inclining his head that convinced one that you and only you were in that moment the absolute centre of his universe. No, it was subtler than that. Before that first meeting it had never occurred to her that fourteen months after the cataclysm, John Fitzgerald Kennedy still agonised with his conscience over the decisions he had made that October day in 1962. She had discovered that day that the one person in the World who would never forgive him for the decisions he had taken in October 1962, was John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He had done what he thought was right; but that was no consolation. Moreover, meeting General Curtis LeMay, whom she had previously held every bit as culpable for the disaster as his President, had subtly undermined the raft of other assumptions underpinning her anger. In the same way the President had not been quite the man she had believed him to be the legenda
The Angry Widow sat unmoving as the President launched into his rallying cry for the two peoples, the cold pinching her face. Her closest associates had been against her travelling to America; after all, the original agreement had been that the President would come to England. She had coyly reminded them of Harold MacMillan’s famous remark when asked what were the biggest problems in politics: he had answered, ‘events, dear boy. Events!’ America needed its President in Washington right now and despite her emotional disinclination to offer the man who was still the leader of the Free World undue succour, a weak and divided America possibly sliding towards civil war, was the last thing any British Prime Minister wanted or needed. Thus, Margaret Thatcher had determined that she would go to America and if it was necessary, do her utmost to inject a little steel into the spine of her ‘allies’.
Now that she had met John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Curtis LeMay and most of the senior members of the American Administration she had concluded that there was no shortage of moral fibre and determination in Washington, just a surfeit of potentially crippling self-doubt.
The Administration had sent Special Air Mission 26000 – a modified long-range Boeing 707 variant designated a Type VC-137C Stratoliner – normally reserved for the President’s personal carriage, and a second older jet from the Presidential fleet to convey Margaret Thatcher, her entourage and her large bodyguard to Washington. She had been treated like visiting royalty since her arrival four days ago and in between the arduous negotiating sessions her hosts had been keen to ensure that she met as many members of the Administration as possible. There had never been any doubt that this afternoon the new ‘pact’, a minor rehashing of the 1958 US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement would be signed with as much fanfare as could be organised in the limited time available. What had been in doubt, was whether the ‘old allies’ would understand each other any better by that time.