[PART 11]

A BLOODY END GAME FOR HIGH TREASON

One week later the 16 POs who had been given the death penalty were partly hung and then shot in the same Martian concentration pen main yard where the mutilated corpse of Philip Davis had been found. All that is except Martian Patrick were dealt with in this ‘human’ manner. Before they were executed they were all “introduced” to the corpse of Davis. None of the condemned was given a last meal nor was any statement taken. None of the condemned was allowed visits by anyone. The court had ordered this ‘non-human’ Martian treatment. In fact, by court order no food had been given to PO1 for a week and no water for forty-eight hours before he was to be executed. Part of the judgment had been that he would be starved for a week, as he had done to so many of his victims, before he was executed. When the time came all of the condemned were simply taken from their solitary confinement cells without prior notice and properly gagged as they were led (mostly dragged) to their execution posts and strapped on. There they would await their fates, which would come only after they had witnessed the extended execution of Martian Patrick. I was there to record the bloody end of PO1.

It was 3:15 a.m. when they came for him, and Martian Patrick, then known only as PO1, had a look of real terror as the five-man black hooded execution team grimly entered the small stone cell. He had the wide-eyed look of a weakened trapped animal with nowhere to run. He had jumped up when the steel door sprung open and was clearly shaking uncontrollably. The dread hour of his slow and painful death had finally arrived. As PO1 began to sob the two largest execution team members grabbed him by the arms and turned him around, strapping his arms to his sides with a wide leather belt. Turning him back around the guards cut and tore off all of his clothes and took off his shoes. “Martians” you see, “do not wear any clothing”. At this point PO1 nearly fainted, but a brisk slap on his face by one of the team members brought him around. They were in no mood to play games with condemned PO1. His head was then shaved as “Martians do not have any hair.”

All the color drained from his face as he was pulled from the cold cell, intentionally kept that way because “Martians like cold conditions”, and ‘escorted’ to his pillar.

I may say that my notes revealed that he was, “…ashen pale, and almost stumbled more than once, as the dread of his rapidly approaching death seemed too great a strain on his nerves. He began to urinate on himself uncontrollably. As he continued to be escorted he made frequent ejaculations and muttered inaudibly which caused the guards to stop and place strong tape over his mouth.”

Other than a few bloodied and tape muffled screams PO1 would never be heard from again. Virtually no one was interested in anything he had to say.

As any school child knows PO1 was given very special treatment by the execution team. As he shook uncontrollably while being strapped to a board, which had been nailed to the pillar, he once again urinated on himself. He was then informed in detail of exactly what the execution team was about to do to him. He was then given an injection to assure that he would stay awake and fully aware of what was about to happen to his body. He was first castrated so as to no longer be “a man”, since “Martians have no sex organs”, then “it” was pulled up and partially hung by the neck. At the same time tar was brushed on the wound as to allow slower bleeding. There was no reason to allow it to lose consciousness or to die ‘prematurely’.

The execution team stood by for a full four minutes as it wiggled on the rope almost to unconsciousness before the next step was begun. Cold water was tossed on its face to insure alertness. Assigned its own team of three riflemen it was then shot in one leg and then the other several times. Soon after, the men reloaded to fire salvos at both arms. As the last vestiges of his arms fell away the body began to vibrate as one, the single remaining leg still attached convulsed to its own tune. Once again tar was spread on the wounds so that the PO would not bleed to death too quickly. The final single shot was delivered to the stomach.

It was then gutted and finally allowed to slowly bleed to death at its post. According to the official report, “It twitched for some 15 minutes before losing a good deal more body fluids.” When it finally stopped twitching the Committee doctor checked and verified that PO1 was dead. Nevertheless, the officer in charge of the team delivered a final shot to the forehead of PO1. Such was the fate of PO1, the “former man” who had delivered up to the Martians some 300 humans, mostly women and children. Its execution had been put on film and is readily available in libraries around the world. It almost seems to be nothing more than an afterthought to recall that PO1 had also been convicted of 15 rapes and 25 brutal murders of women and children, which included the drinking of blood from live victims, as it did its bloody treason for the Martians. One of its few victims who survived its tortures stated, “It was a shame that it could only be executed once.” One finds it hard to disagree with that survivor of such personal horror. Yet, it must be asked: Had we become Martians?

It was then time to deal with the other condemned POs, several of which had soiled themselves as they were forced to watch the execution of PO1. After receiving their injections the ropes were pulled around their necks for a partial hanging and it was soon time for the firing squads to do their work. After waiting for two minutes as the ropes did their work the firing squads simply lined up casually and shot the POs in no particular order and with no particular hurry while firing at no particular place on their bodies. When they finished a majority of the condemned were still alive as an officer walked up to each PO and fired a single bullet first into the torso and then the head of each. Still photographs of those executed were then taken and distributed worldwide so that no one would ever forget the fate of the Martian 24. After the 16 were executed their corpses were allowed to stay tied to the execution posts for 24 hours after which time they were all cremated and tossed into “a hole in the ground” at a location known only to the Committee.

Execution of two POs outside of a Martian concentration camp
Execution of two POs outside of a Martian concentration camp

The concentration pens and supporting structures were then burned and bulldozed to the ground. The area is now, if memory serves, a small but very well kept green park. There is a small engraved copper memorial near the entrance to ‘JUSTICE PARK.’ It reads,

ON THIS HOLLOWED GROUND, WHERE HUMANITY HAD SUFFERED, JUSTICE WAS SERVED BY MANKIND UPON TRAITOROUS KILLERS WHO SHOWED NO COMPASSION NOR HUMANITY TO A BLOODIED WORLD WHEN HUMANITY NEEDED IT MOST.
8 NOVEMBER 1903

As for the eight POs who were not executed, they would soon find themselves in a small prison facility especially built (very crudely by the POs themselves) on a baron strip of land on West Falkland Island just off of the south-eastern coast of South America. This was the Martian Prisoner of War Camp (MPWC). They had been blindfolded for the entire trip south and were never informed about where they were. They would be joined later by 49 other POs sent there by courts held in the years to come. Needless to say, it was a very harsh existence for the POs as no one spoke to any of them, and as long as they were there they received no news of the outside world. Only the guards changed and none of them wore name tags – only numbers. The faces of the guards would change (after a 12 month tour of duty, later reduced to nine months), but the numbers were always the same. Their knowledge of planet Earth ended in 1903!  It must be understood that the food was for the most part ‘slop’ taken from what was left over from the guards and ground up and served in a single bowl. In comparison the guard’s quarters were quite lavish and very comfortable and I am told that the meals were really something to behold.

As they would soon learn, speaking to a guard without first being spoken to would cost the PO a week’s worth of rations. It goes without saying that no one was ever allowed to visit these POs – not even attorneys or priests. They were given no reading or writing materials. As for the outside world, no PO news would ever be sent out. The Committee received a single page report on the POs once a year indicating the number of living POs and a single line statement on any deaths. A dead PO was simply tossed into a hole in the ground and allowed to rot. These reports are now on file.

Only one time did a PO ever attempt to escape, but no one paid much attention to the effort. That was in the fall of 1912. The placement of the Martian Prisoner of War Camp was such that it afforded the only real cover from the harsh weather conditions for many miles (other than the guard’s quarters that were very comfortable, well built and well supplied). There was simply no place else to go. Four weeks after the ‘escape’ a rancher from one of the outlying areas found the PO lying on the open ground. It was lying on its back, eyes and mouth wide open. It had been frozen in place by the freezing sleet that had come a few days after it had gone missing. The rancher reported that it looked “more like a skeleton than a human being.” The body was never recovered because “it was only a dead PO.” When the rancher visited the spot a year later all he found were a few scattered bones and nothing else. Soon there would be nothing left at all.

Records show that when the Martians came back in force to the Earth there would be only four original and five additional POs, all in their sixties, left alive. Nature and suicide had taken its toll on the rest of the prisoners of MPWC. In the final act the surviving POs would be delivered to a fate beyond anything they could ever conceive of. Certainly a quick death would have been preferred.

In the end the Grand Tribunal would demonstrate to a war weary world that despite the devastation, humanity had not fallen into the abyss and the trial was generally seen as one of the critical first steps along the long road to recovery of not only a people, but also their laws and traditions, which held them as a civilization well above the beasts of Earth. The Martians, if that had been their intent, had fully failed in that regard. Three weeks after the trial PO19 hung itself with the leather strap he had been issued. Its death was ignored by the Press. There were more important stories to read about than a dead PO.

At the same time Henry Ford was founding his new “Ford Motor Company” in New Detroit. That report did indeed find its way into the Press as the new jobs it would bring were critical to Detroit’s recovery as well as the recovery of the Canadian city of Windsor just south of New Detroit across the Detroit River.

Now it was time to begin putting the recovering nations back on the world map and once again ‘allow’ those nations the opportunity to forge their own individual destinies. Limited self-rule was now a top goal of the Committee. They had far too much on their plate and needed to lighten the load. The nations of the world needed to move forward and now was the time to begin that transformation back to national self rule and limited Committee control.

National Self-Rule Begins

It was time to loosen up the controls set into place by the Committee – just a bit. British theorist on development of empires, Frederick Lugard, who had argued that: ‘Indirect rule delegated to local chiefs and other local leaders, was greatly preferable to central control” was of great influence. On 9 October 1903 the first eleven nations to be officially certified by the Committee as reestablished and ready for self-rule were announced. The ceremony was held in Committee headquarters in Lower-London with a few invited guests in attendance. The “new” nations were the United States of America, Canada, England, France, Germany, Spain, Southern African Republic (later South Africa in 1910), Japan, Australia, Columbia and Italy. Once again they had become independent actors upon the world stage. In truth the United States, England and Germany were already running their own shows and Columbia was well on the way, but the official “certification” would be a way of showing the rest of the world that we were all in this together. It was also a way to indicate to the world that the Committee was still very much in charge. Certification also came with a price tag. All newly certified nations were expected to contribute an additional 1% of their national GNP to aid in world recovery and the Committee’s continual operation. It was a very small price to pay, but as more nations became certified the funds became enormous. These ‘new nations’ were also expected to field a certain number of military forces, not only for their own defense, but to contribute to the Committee’s international military force.

It must also be stated these nations were not colonies under the Committee’s forces; these were real self-governing nations which would join with the Committee to rebuild the world and all that that implied. Nevertheless, part of the certification protocol included a treaty signed by these nations with the Committee which sent an ‘ambassador’ from the Committee to each of these nations as a contact point and ‘advisor’. In reality the ambassador’s job was to “keep an eye on things and report back to the Magic Twelve any situations which may develop to the detriment of the Committee or their operations.” It would not be too long before the Committee Ambassador to Germany was reporting some very disturbing incidents to our headquarters that had nothing to do with Martians. As with the Magic Twelve there were leaders in the world community as well, and the United States was clearly taking a leadership role in that regard.

Even though the Committee still wanted overall control, which would allow them to develop a truly planetary-wide defense system, they would not be able to accomplish this primary goal as long as a good deal of their time and money needed to be spent on nation building. The Committee needed to push local governments as hard as they could as fast as they could to take at least some local responsibility. From this starting point the Committee had sent “country teams” into devastated areas to build up political parties and governmental infrastructure as well as production and banking facilities that created jobs and food production. The key to these efforts would be communications, rail and road development and trade developed alongside a series of national banking institutions originally set into motion by the Committee. The in-country teams brought in advisors, financial support, food grains, medical teams and Committee contracts to push the process along.

We also needed to begin pushing our technological and manufacturing capabilities as fast as we could and near the top of that list was learning how to fly. This was the next high achievement mankind needed to master if we were to survive and defend our fragile world. It would also prove to be a nice source of new income for the Committee.

During a conversation with several members of his New York City club (recently reopened in Upper-New York City) who knew he worked for the Committee, but did not know of his membership in the Magic Twelve, Dr. Tesla would touch on some of his work and the need to address the issue of flight.

“The Martian Flying Machines had completely demoralized the world, so much so that in some cities, as London and Paris for example, people are in mortal fear from aerial bombing months after the war. The new means I have perfected affords absolute protection against this and other forms of attack. These new discoveries which I have carried out experimentally on a limited scale, created a profound impression. One of the most pressing problems seems to be the protection of London and I am writing to some influential friends in England (the Committee), hoping that my plans will be accepted without delay. The Russians are very anxious to render their borders safe against Martian invasion and I have made a proposal which is being seriously considered. I have many admirers there especially on account of the introduction of my alternating current system.”

We also discussed the news that Charles and Frank Duryea had just completed work on the first gasoline powered motor car in America. Mr. Ford was most interested in the news.

Despite all of the turmoil around the world there were two new distractions developed in America that could for a short while take people’s minds off of the recent destruction and ongoing recovery efforts. The first was a patched together ‘end’ to a rather stunted baseball season. The two newly regrouped leagues, American and National, decided to play a series of end season games in order to establish who would be crowned the “world baseball champions” for 1903. The so-called “World Series” was won by the Boston Red Stockings with a five games to three victories over the Pittsburgh Pirates. (I never really understood the ‘world’ part since it was not football or ‘soccer’ as the Americans would say.) The sports news was soon wired across America.

The second distraction would be able to delight a much larger audience over a much longer time frame. The Edison Company released a 12 minute “moving picture” they titled The Great Train Robbery. This silent western epic directed by Edwin S. Porter featuring shoot-outs, chases and a dramatic ending, captured audiences wherever it was shown. For a while we could all sit back and think of the wild, wild, American west and not of things Martian. I remember the first time I saw the movie projected one night outside on a white sheet pinned to a wall. It was an amazing thing to behold, but not any more amazing than to understand that mankind would someday challenge the Martians for command of the skies.

Committee Report (S) 03-114 – Kuyunjik, 31 December 1903, 11:12 a.m.
Twelve clay tablets have been unearthed at Kuyunjik purported to have been part of the ancient Library of Assyrian King Ashurbanipal. These tablets detail the story of ‘Gilgamesh’ said to have been a ‘hybrid’ of one-third man and two-thirds god. On three of these tablets there are clear examples of Martian writing below a relief of Gilgamesh. Archeological work will continue at this new site. The question to be looked at will be whether or not the ‘historic’ individual known as Gilgamesh was actually an ancient Martian hybrid.

 ‘Human’ Flying Machines on Earth

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
Charles Duell, head of the United States Patent Office – 1899

Obviously the Martians had mastered the art of flight so that little debate was over. The old religious dirge, “If the gods had meant man to fly they would have given him wings”, had now been finally put to rest, replaced by a crude reality delivered by a brutal off-planet enemy still, we were soon to learn, commanding the skies of Earth. We now knew it was possible to fly, so we needed to learn how to fly (I for one had no intention of flying in anything) as well if we were ever going to do battle with the Martians or for that matter any other potential off-world adversary in the future. Everyone knows that during the war the Martians did not have time to deploy many of their flying machines, but that did not mean we could rely upon such luck in the future. Certainly the few they did deploy had brought great destruction to the areas they had over flown. For our salvation in the skies we would turn to science for the weapons we would need.

With this in mind the Committee began quite early to address the problem of flight and find the best men on Earth to push mankind into the skies above. Their researches soon discovered that in 1890 and again in 1897 Clement Ader had made attempts to fly his bat-like craft he named Eole. With a wingspan of 42 feet and weighing in at 650 pounds it was reported that he was “eventually able to take off for some 150 feet at eight inches above the ground before coming to a fully uncontrolled crash landing.” We would not turn to Mr. Ader and his ‘bat’. One observer would remark, “They flew – that was all right; they flew in machines heavier than air. But they smashed. Sometimes they smashed the engine, sometimes they smashed the aeronaut, and usually they smashed both.” The next year the Aero Club of France was founded.

We soon came into contact with Gustave Whitehead. In the years before the Martians came Gustave Whitehead had already been hard at work on the problem of flight. We all remember his unsuccessful May 1899 attempt to fly his single winged Whitehead Flyer Number 4. He was of course able to raise his flying machine some 20 to 25 feet into the air, however, he was unable to steer his craft, which left Gustave in the very untenable position of flying directly into a three-story building! Pulled from the wreckage by fireman Martin Devane he was soon on his way to the hospital. Devane would report, “I recall that Mr. Whitehead was hurt and taken to the hospital after his short, but unsuccessful attempt to control his craft.” This little accident of course did not slow down Mr. Whitehead. But he did need to rebuild his rather destroyed flyer and begin again. One of the problems to be overcome by Mr. Whitehead and other early flyers that came later was that they had to not only create flying machines, but they had to train themselves how to fly them and not die in the process.

History records that in the same year as the British Royal Aero Club was founded Whitehead, on 14 August 1901, was finally able to claim the record for making the first powered heavier than air flight (mechanized flight) when his single winged twin engine Whitehead Flyer Number 6 leaped off the roadway and flew some 2,625 feet at 49 feet in height. This time, as we all read later, he managed to miss any buildings in the area and land safely on his landing gear, rolling to a stop on the side of a road. The newspapers at the time reported:

By the time the light was good, the bags of sand were taken out of the machine… An early morning milkman stopped in the road to see what was going on. His horse nearly ran away when the big white wings flopped [when the engines were started]… The nervous tension was growing and no one showed it more than Whitehead who still whispered at times, but as the light grew stronger he began to speak in his normal tone of voice. He stationed his two assistants behind the machine with instructions to hold onto the ropes and not let the machine get away. Then he took his position in the great bird. He opened the throttle of the ground propeller and [the aircraft] shot along the green sod [on its four wheels] at a rapid rate. The two assistants held on as best they could, but the ship shot up into the air like a kite. It was an exciting moment. “We can’t hold her,” shrieked one of the rope men. “Let her go then,” shouted Whitehead back.

They let go, and… the machine darted up through the air like a bird released from a cage. Whitehead was greatly excited and his hands flew from one part of the machine to another. He simply shifted his weight more to one side than the other. This careened the ship to one side. She turned her nose away from the clump of sprouts when within fifty yards of them and took her course around them as pretty as a yacht on the sea avoids a bar. The ability to control the air ship in this manner appeared to give Whitehead confidence, for he was seen to take time to look at the landscape about him. He looked back and waved his hand exclaiming, “I’ve got it at last.”

This first successful flight was accomplished mere weeks before the Martians landed and began the First Martian War. For the time being Mr. Whitehead and anyone else testing their wings were out of the flying business. Unfortunately for Mr. Whitehead his next flight was scheduled to be better photographed but the war intervened. Nevertheless, when the Martians came Mr. Whitehead could honestly claim that only he and a few Martians had been able to successfully fly a fixed wing aero-craft in Earth’s atmosphere at the time! It was good to know that at least one man had flown before the Martians came to rule the skies of Earth for a few deadly weeks.

After the war Whitehead went back to his home, which had somehow survived the destruction (mostly that is), to begin work anew on a new series of flying machines, which he would eventually turn into true production aircraft. He soon found himself entertaining Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1902 and 1903. The brothers were also working on their own designs for flying machines, having had their own adventures escaping the Martian Flying Machines, and were very interested in receiving help from the world renowned “First Flyer.”

The new Aero Club of America would later report, “Whitehead in 1901 and Wright brothers in 1903 have already flown for short distances with motor-powered aero planes.” It was after these meetings that the Committee contacted both the Wrights and Whitehead in the hopes that they could be convinced to work together on flight problems within the Committee with proper monetary support and proper staffing.

One conversation at the Club made its way into a newspaper report. “It is curious how that revival began. It was like the coming of a breeze on a quiet day; nothing started it, it came. People began to talk of flying with an air of never having for one moment dropped the subject. Pictures of flying and flying machines returned to the newspapers; articles and allusions increased and multiplied in the serious magazines. ‘When are we going to fly?’ A new crop of inventors sprang up in a night or so like fungi. The Aero Club announced the project of a great Flying Exhibition in a large area of ground that the removal of bombed out slums in Whitechapel had rendered available. The advancing wave soon produced a sympathetic ripple in the Bun Hill establishment.”

By now things worldwide had begun to settle down a bit and the cities were starting to come back to life. It was now time to look forward and press on to other matters. Whitehead agreed immediately seeing the urgency of the situation. The Wrights however, were reluctant to work with such an open group (open as far as within the Committee was concerned), which was put together to share all discoveries within the group, and they eventually decided to work alone to achieve whatever financial reward they could from their own labors. To be honest I’m not certain the Committee would have gained all that much from the Wrights even if they had joined our international program. With that Gustave Whitehead was appointed as Assistant Director of Flight Research with a staff of over 1000 engineers, draftsmen and scientists under Directorate D. Whitehead Flyer Number 6 is now on display at Lower-New York City’s Museum of Flight located just off of L-15th Street. A hard to see photo of his first flight is displayed next to his aircraft. We were never able to locate a better copy of his great accomplishment.

Later that year Orville Wright “reportedly flew their flying machine” near Kitty Hawk, North Caroline in America off of a rail to some 20 inches off the ground for 120 feet in a straight line for twelve seconds never turning before performing a rough landing in the sand becoming the second man to fly. Not spectacular, but OK for a ‘reported’ first go at flight. It would be some years before the Wrights could furnish “photographic proof” of their ‘flight.’ At the time the world, still reeling from the war hardly took notice as their work had been a first and was not very relevant to our general survival. I could not help but remember Mr. Ader’s efforts in 1897 when he challenged the air at eight inches for 150 feet in 18 seconds. I thought, “Wasn’t this about the same as the Wrights?” For some reason the Americans took special note and the American press cheered the second and third men to fly in a straight line on 17 December 1903! The Committee would take no official stand on the future controversy that they had not flown in 1903, but rather when the ‘1903’ photo was eventually released for the first time in 1906 the Committee simply gave their congratulations, but no contract.

On that same December day in 1903 Whitehead flew his Whitehead Flyer Number 8 ‘aircraft’ six miles distance at some 400 feet above the ground. The Committee did not allow any photos. No need to let the Martians in on any of our progress. He did however enjoy a rather fine dinner in his honor later that evening. After he landed he was driven to the new flight research headquarters to receive some of the first Martian flying equipment his team was to analyze for any flying secrets they could discover. They had already traveled to several areas to investigate and select several of these devices that eventually arrived at the labs. Their research would eventually bring to the world the fighting machines needed to battle the Martians in the skies. What they would need to complete their work was additional research from the group then performing back engineering work on other Martian machines. This research would push Whitehead’s group to levels never thought possible. A few decades later their new ‘jet’ aircraft would do battle for aerial supremacy over the Earth’s gentle fields even though one of our Directors felt at the time that, “aeronautics will [never] come into play as a serious modification of transport and communication.”

As for the Wright Brothers – they would continue to seek headlines and private contracts as they continued along their own path into the skies outside of the Committee organization. They could however, be used to keep attention away from Committee flight test operations with their flying antics. They would eventually bring their ‘flyer’ to New Washington Center for a scheduled demonstration flight for United States government officials. Across the cleared field expressly prepared for the flight sat the partially rebuilt White House. Inside one of the completed sections it was reported, sat President Teddy Roosevelt going over some papers, but what he was actually doing was waiting for an invitation by the Wrights to become the first American President to fly. They were quite naturally a bit nervous about taking ‘Teddy’ up because to say the very least, flying on a Wright ‘flyer’ was extremely dangerous. (Several people had already died trying.)

On hand for the demonstration were reporters from The New York Herald, the Washington Voice and other papers and what turned out to be a crowd of thousands. I wish I could have been there, but I was away on other business at the time. As it turned out I did not miss much. With such a large crowd, not to mention eyewitnesses from the Press, Orville took one look at his flimsy craft, one look at the crowd and declared that the wind was too high to fly. “We cannot attempt a flight.”

When asked to comment Dr. Tesla would remark, “Place any of the later aero planes beside that of Whitehead, their prototype, and you will not find as much as one decided improvement. There are the same old propellers, the same old inclined planes, rudders, and vanes – not a single notable difference. Half a dozen aeronauts have been in turn hailed as conquerors and kings of the air. It would have been much more appropriate to greet John D. Rockefeller as such. But for the abundant supply of high-grade fuel we would still have to wait for an engine capable of supporting not only itself, but several times its own weight against gravity.”

The propaganda arm of the Committee took generous note and continued to produce much paperwork to support the Wright Brother’s myth since it tended to take people’s minds off the work being done within the Committee by Whitehead and his team. Even with that when the Whitehead Falcon Jet finally flew the Wrights would be all but forgotten. Although it must be said, that their original ‘flyer’ is still on display in a rather small museum somewhere near Dayton, Ohio.

Wright Flyer
Wright Flyer

THE FUTURE?

At the end of 1903 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky published his first book for the general public. Funded by the Committee, The Rocket into Cosmic Space became a best seller with its tale of artificial gravity, spinning wheel space station and solar power. We were setting the stage for future work that would be done and informing the public at the same time. Man made rocket devices capable of transporting humans into the vacuum of near Earth space was expressed as a very real possibility. Dr. Tsiolkovsky took pains to insure his work on cosmic space made no mention of things Martian.

It may be somewhat of a surprise for some to learn even this early in our recovery the Committee members were discussing ways to put aircraft on ships as part of an extended and highly mobile ocean-going attack force. The advanced planning office was doing a very good job. It would not be long before this idea would become a development plan for so-called “aircraft carriers.” We also needed a way to combine naval fleets from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans with as short a sailing time as possible. For that to become a reality we once again looked towards building a canal across the isthmus in Central America. As in an earlier time we looked at the northern province of Columbia called Panama, as the best possible route (shorter route and no active volcanoes as can be found in Nicaragua).

The ‘Canali’ of Earth

“It would seem that canals are a Martian favorite. Soon they will be just as important to Earth.”

Member of the Committee

Garrett P. Serviss had once written, “Objection [had] been made to the theory of the artificial origin of the canals of Mars on the ground[s]… that the work required to construct them would be beyond the capacity of any race of creatures resembling man.” Only later would we come to understand these massive canals on Mars had been dug by massive machines designed and built by the Martians (at least we had no information that ‘others’ had done the work) rather than by millions of Martians laboring by hand along with small machines. We were about to test whether or not we would be able to repair and build new canals on Earth despite the destruction we had faced during the war. The work of building canals on Earth would be attempted with smaller devices and different hand held tools.

What Dr. Serviss or anyone else did not know was on Mars the inhabitants of the planet had developed and built huge digger devices that did the work of thousands of ‘people’. Unfortunately we did not have any large operational devices on Earth even though the Martians had left three behind after the war. It would be years before these Martian tunneling machines could be made fully operational. In the meantime smaller ones built on Earth would have to do.

PANAMA

Even before modern men knew of Martians and their globe spanning canals we were planning a few of our own. For hundreds of years the concept of a man-made canal built across the Isthmus of Panama in northern Columbia had been on the minds of various governmental officials in several countries dating back to the early 1500s with Charles V of Spain when he ordered a survey to be made of the area. It was not attempted however, until the French “gave it a go” beginning in 1880. Their efforts failed mainly due to diseases such as malaria and yellow fever in the mosquito-infected swamps and backwaters, which, along with many accidents, took the lives of some 21,900 workers. We all realized it would cost many more lives before it could be finished, but the work was critical to world progress and mutual defense. It was to prove to be one of the most difficult and deadly engineering projects ever attempted by man, even more difficult yet not as costly as the building of the new underground cities beneath London, New York City and Sydney. It would however eventually become the most expensive above ground 48 miles in history in both lives and treasure ($380 million U.S.). Originally planned across Nicaragua as a sea level canal eyes soon turned to the southern possibility.

The ‘zone’ as it would later be called, already had a railway built across the isthmus, which had begun operations in 1855, and it had been left undamaged from the war probably due to its hot and dense jungle location. There is some evidence that if the Martians found it they most likely did not think enough of it to waste their time destroying it (Martian B Interrogation 1902-6). The small gauge rail system greatly facilitated the transfer of goods between the Pacific and Atlantic, but it was still very cumbersome to load and unload tons of cargo at each end. A canal would need to be constructed to increase the speed of commerce as well as the movement of military shipping from ocean to ocean. In 1893 the French finally abandoned the work due to accidents, disease, and torrential downpours, which rusted their steel equipment, as well as the absolute difficulty they had run into attempting to build a sea-level canal with ocean currents constantly caused the slumping of canal walls. However, these setbacks did not diminish interest in the project. Now with the critical need for a combined planetary defense using the assets available in both oceans the canal would acquire a new urgency – if it could be built. I think the only real question the Committee staff had was how many lives would it cost? That is not to say that human cost no matter how high was going to be any kind of roadblock.

On 22 January 1903, an agreement was signed with full support from the Committee by United States Secretary of State (and former ambassador to Britain) John M. Hay and Dr. Tomas Herran of Columbia to build the canal. However, the reconstructed government of Columbia did not ratify the treaty. A quickly called meeting of the Magic Twelve soon created a new dynamic, which would allow the critical work to be started; pushed forward by U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt. They would simply create a new country named Panama and do whatever else needed to be done to keep world recovery and planetary defense on the move. Improvised military forces were soon on the way to insure the success of the operation. They would stay for more than three decades. This was the first time an international organization had created a new nation by carving a piece out of an old one. U.S. Attorney General Philander Knox would comment to Roosevelt, “Oh, Mr. President do-not let so great an achievement suffer from any taint of legality.” “Bully!”

Goods and commerce needed to keep moving and a new canal at Panama was one way of moving it. Disagreements by nations would under no circumstances be allowed to get in the way of world recovery; at least not for a few years yet. This was primary to Committee philosophy and doctrine and no individual or nation would be allowed to interfere. The newly formed government of Columbia should have realized that at the time. Other nations needed to learn that lesson as well as Committee military forces flowed into the new ‘nation’ of Panama.

MAGIC – MOST SECRET CoT

Magic Order MO-41

Immediate: Combined United States and Committee military forces are to be deployed in and around the sea-lanes of Columbia to block those forces in order to aid in the creation of the new State of Panama. Orders have been issued by Committee member U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt who has the full support of Magic. All directorates are hereby ordered to give any aid requested in order to facilitate this operation.

MAGIC THREE & TR-NEW YORK

MAGIC – MOST SECRET CoT

After the creation of the new ‘nation’ of Panama on 4 November 1903, work began on the new canal. In Panama the Committee would fence off and occupy a section of the new nation for an area designated the “Canal Zone” which would be continuously patrolled by United States and Committee forces. This new resource needed to be protected at all costs. In truth even though it is not openly stated, the ‘nation’ of Panama has always been considered “Committee territory.” Years later, in order to cover any losses incurred by this new project, the French were paid $40 million by the Committee through the United States for their equipment and Columbia was paid $25 million for the land they had ‘lost’ in Panama. These payments allowed the United States to control the Canal Zone that continues to this day. Sole authority over the Canal came with the guarantee by the United States it would be open to all reestablished nations. It was an agreement the Americans fully intended to keep providing the nations of the world kept the peace. In times of Earth based war, if any, all bets would be off. In that case the Committee would decide in executive session which nations would and which would not be allowed to use the canal.

In the meantime, all fees would be the same for all shipping (10% going directly to the Committee). These payments and major involvement by Americans was part of a plan by President Roosevelt (‘Prince’ of H) to make the United States THE power on the world stage (that is of course within the framework of the Committee). It all depended on how fast America could recover, how many Americans could be put into critical Committee positions, and how many Committee projects Americans could control. Infrastructure and military forces in the United States and around the world developed and controlled by the United States was the key to this bold plan. In the end Roosevelt’s efforts to rebuild the United States Navy into a world sea power would make him the father of the post Martian War navy, both American and Committee.

Work began on 4 May 1904, under the direction of John Frank Stevens, a personal friend of President Roosevelt, and Chief Engineer for Directorate B. He was soon arguing his case to abandon the sea-level canal the French had attempted in favor of one with locks, which could be built faster and had many more controls than a purely open system at sea level. As Stevens studied his options, Dr. Walter Reed, under orders from Colonel William Gorgas of Directorate G, was soon hard at work in the “canal zone” wiping out the mosquitoes, which had recently been identified as being responsible for spreading the deadly malaria and yellow fever sicknesses which had plagued the French effort. Dr. Reed had earlier conducted medical experiments in Cuba with volunteers bitten by mosquitoes that proved that they did indeed carry yellow fever. (One of the best remembered volunteers was Private John R. Kissinger who, along with others, allowed himself to be bitten by mosquitoes knowing he had less than one chance in twenty of surviving.) Within a year the work crews would be ready to begin building the new canal. This work would include two new military bases situated on both sides of the new canal operated by the United States. These bases would later be expanded to support submarines and aircraft carriers. There were also several other military bases situated within the Canal Zone built and manned by American and Committee forces primarily for defense of the canal and jungle training.

This work at its peak saw 43,400 men on the project, as they cleared an estimated 211 million cubic yards of rock and soil. We would also be able to test a new digging machine, built by the Committee, which would do much of the hard digging at the canal. If this giant machine worked well enough we would soon be able to construct a large number of them to aid in the digging of tunnels in all major underground city projects. What we needed was less manpower and more machine power – just like our enemies on Mars.

By its end the voyage from recovering New York City to the coast of California had been reduced by 7,800 miles. It would also vastly cut down the time it took to deploy naval forces from either ocean should an emergency arise. Two ocean navies had now become one (that is to say one as soon as navies could be rebuilt).

On the other side of the world stood the Suez Canal that was also a vital waterway for the transportation of food, coal, oil and other vital supplies to Europe. We needed to get that system back up and running as fast as we could as well. We had been surprised at how little it had been damaged during the war and we soon suspected the reason why it had been ‘missed’ by the Martians.

THE SUEZ CANAL

The Suez Canal we are all familiar with opened in 1869 which of course greatly improved transportation between Europe and Asia cutting off the need to go completely around Africa. With its Port Said northern terminus and Port Tawfik at the southern end, the canal extends a little over 120 miles from the Mediterranean Sea south to the Red Sea. At 79 feet deep and over 500 feet wide any ship in the world is able to navigate the waterway. The work of digging and lining the canal took some ten years and employed more than 30,000 individuals at any one time, including Egyptian forced laborers. In all, some 1.5 million people worked on the project, costing the lives of thousands of workers in the process. Prison work forces paid the highest price in lost lives, but no one had been keeping a close count of those losses.

It is to say the least very hard to miss from an aerial point of view and with Martians flying their machines all over the area they could not have missed this man-made canal. However, the only damage to the Suez Canal sustained during the Martian War was the nearly complete destruction of both the Said and Tawfik Ports. The canal itself sustained no damage whatsoever! We needed to find out why as it was one of the few areas the Martians simply refused to attack.

In the ancient days of either Ramesses-al-Akbar, better known to history as Ramesses II or Senusret II, depending on the source, east-west canals had been cut into the desert allowing small boat travel from the Red Sea to the Nile River thousands of years ago. From there, these small wooden sailing ships could travel from the Mediterranean Sea to the rest of the known ancient world. There were reports huge digging machines had been used in this effort yet no machines capable of doing this work have ever been found. No drawings of such machines have been passed down through the long history of the area.

From much of our study of the Egyptians these canals, built from around 1897-1839 B.C.E., were thought to have been the work of these ancient people, and certainly they were as far as the actual hard work of construction was concerned, but we were soon to learn that they had been directed and probably designed by another even more ancient canal building people – the Martians!

We get our first hint of trouble that the ancient Egyptians may have had in working on a more detailed canal system from none other than Aristotle who wrote in Meteorology:

One of their kings tried to make a canal to it, but he found that the sea was higher than the land. So he first, and Darius afterwards, stopped making the canal, lest the sea should mix the river water and spoil it.

This could be a reference to the efforts of Pepi I who reigned from 2332-2283 B.C.E. Pepi I ordered a canal built to bypass the Nile near Aswan. This first man-made attempt at a canal seemed to have failed, but the ancients were not ready to give up the prospect of a canal in the area yet. Well-known historian Pliny the Elder, who was to die in the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius, would write in 40 A.D. that the Egyptians and Persians were soon ready to try again.

Next comes the Tyro tribe and, on the Red Sea, the harbor of the Daneoi, from which Sesostris, king of Egypt, intended to carry a ship-canal to where the Nile flows into what is known as the Delta; this is a distance of over 60 miles. Later the Persian king Darius had the same idea, and yet again Ptolemy II, who made a trench 100 feet wide, 30 feet deep and about 35 miles long, as far as the Bitter Lakes.

Centuries later in the early days of the 19th century the French had discovered the remains of an ancient canal which had run north-south along the eastern side of Lake Timsah. They later found an extension north to the Ballah Lakes as well as remains that strongly suggested the canal had been built all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. This had truly been an ancient project on a vast scale. And yet no plans or names of engineers who may have designed and built this grand work could ever be found in the ancient records. That was until the discovery of the basaltic stone and glass marker found by the Committee team which had been sent to survey the damage to the Suez (none) and to estimate how long it would take to repair the ports and place this vital waterway back into use. The black polished marker made of volcanic material found half buried just south of the remains of Port Said was dedicated to the “gods of El-Kahir” – MARS!

I conquered Egypt. I who comes from the face of El-Kahir ordered this canal dug from the sea called the Mediterranean to the sea called the Red. When the canal had been dug as I ordered, ships went from Egypt with many items to ships from the stars from many places on this place called Earth.

Clearly, the canal building Martians had been responsible for the ancient original Suez Canal and did not destroy this waterway possibly because they could very well have mistaken it for the one they had built thousands of years ago. We had no idea how well the Martians kept records of such things. They may very well have had plans for its future use as well. So far those plans, whatever they may have been are on hold. Needless to say, in any future war with them we expected the Suez Canal to be fully part of their plans.

My question in my notes at the time was: Did the Martians build anything else on Earth and are there any signs we can find to identify such structures?

As with the Panama Canal, 10% of the revenue from the Suez would go directly to the Committee. After 15 years that percentage dropped to 5% in order to further help the local developing areas continue their recovery.

OTHER EARTH CANALS

The Martians also missed attacking the world’s longest canal (twenty times longer than the Panama Canal). At 1,115 miles long the Grand Canal of China runs from Beijing to Hangzhou. Built between 605 and 609 A.D. it was originally built simply to transport Emperor Yang Guang. After the First Martian War it would become a water lifeline for much of the region it serves, certainly a much better use than its original builders intended. There does not seem to have been any Martian involvement in that project. It was all the work of mankind. Even so, the Martians seemed reluctant to destroy any canal no matter who, or what, built them. That included the now critical Manchester Ship Canal that had been in service since 1894 working its way from Manchester to Eastham a few miles south of Liverpool and the great Erie Canal operating between the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes to the interior of the United States. That was another Martian weakness in some future time we planned to be able to exploit. We would begin to build many more canals with the thought that if the Martians did not attack canals they could be used as potential post-war transportation systems all around the world – If!

Editor’s Note: A very early decision by Mars Prime was to capture as many Earth canals
as possible with minimal damage to these facilities – That would be later put up for review.

[END PART 11]

Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020

[Next week: Part 12: New technology and rising nationhood.]