NEW NATIONS CERTIFIED
On 31 September 1904 the second group of nations to be certified by the Committee as reestablished and ready for self-rule was announced. The newly certified nations were New Zealand, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Finland, China and Arabia. Committee ambassadors were in place and operational in all of these new nations. The Committee ‘Ambassador Relations Group’ was then formed to handle any political problems needing to be addressed by the Committee. In reality they were no more than another group formed to keep a close eye on the new nations. And not to mention keeping track of Committee dues of one percent of yearly income! Needless to say, the Committee was expanding the number of staff members needed to keep track of all of our operations. Well over 4000 people were now on staff at our headquarters in Lower-London including my small staff of three researchers and two secretaries. As before these ‘new’ nations were expected to build internal military forces as well as contribute to our ever expanding Committee military force.
By this time the Committee was making an all out effort to certify as many nations as possible, as fast as they could. With this in mind the Committee doubled the number of in-country teams in the field and gave them an “absolute deadline of 31 December 1905” to complete their work. Ready or not by the end of 1905 the nations of the world would have regained self-rule and with it the responsibility at least locally for their citizens. Planetary defense needed to move to the forefront of Committee efforts. More efforts by the group would move to the diplomatic areas when it came to dealing with these new nations as they developed and armed the world for the expected future battle with the Martians. But it must be made clear that the Committee never gave up at least partial control of any nation as long as they were able to put “their people” into the correct places. At times these people were referred to as the “shadow government” but never as such outside of the ‘office.’ It was then that President Roosevelt issued what he called the ‘Roosevelt Corollary’. Referring to the Monroe Doctrine he reminded the nations of Europe that not only could they not look to the Americas for new colonies but the United States would if need be “intervene into the domestic affairs of American nations in order to maintain the peace as well as their national sovereignty.”
The Committee also continued to control the world’s purse strings through the gold and silver reserves and the World Banking Committee (Directorate A) and that money was definitely a primary source of international power and control. No one used the term “one world government,” but in fact that was what the Committee still represented. And even though it was a “government” of laws by treaty, much of the time it operated like a government of men. It worked well overall, but no honest person could rightly claim the Committee always made the correct decisions. I for one constantly worried that too much power was held in the hands of too few men. I remembered that, Absolute power corrupts absolutely! I hoped we would be able to keep that in mind as we mined the Martian machines for the secrets they surely held. I hoped I would remember it as well as I began my personal upward movement in our organization.
At the same time the Committee inaugurated the first so-called “rapid transit subway” system in Lower-New York City on 27 October that utilized old tunnels left undamaged during the war. It was a very basic system, but it linked most sections of Upper and Lower-New York even though most areas it ran to were still far from recovered and represented mostly burnt piles of rubble, at least on the surface. Nevertheless, this was a vital link for our recovery in New York City.
Back Engineering Martian Technology
“There is much work to be done but we are discovering new methods and devices each day.”
Dr. Nicola Tesla
By early 1905 fully staffed (around 34,000 scientists and engineers) and funded laboratories had been set up in several secret locations, including the latest ones now operating underground. These were new facilities not connected to the many older facilities which had been ‘appropriated’ by the Committee in 1902. Our engineers were presented with advanced machines without any ideas of how they were designed and were tasked to not only explain how they had been built but do it without damaging the machines and without killing themselves in the process. The teams were hard at work dismantling and testing the Martian Flying Machines, ground fighting machines, handling machines and digging machines as well as the other equipment and electric devices found within those Martian devices. Every piece had to be photographed, cataloged, and drawn to technical specifications before moving on to the next piece.
One of the first areas the scientists were interested in understanding besides how this equipment worked was how the Martians had been able to organize and control their many attacks around the Earth. Humans had primitive radio (barely), but it was nowhere near truly operational for combat at the time. World-wide we had nothing “on line” as Dr. Tesla would say. Among many other things we needed to learn from the Martians was how to communicate over great distances and do it with confidence – our planet’s defense would depend upon it! A great new age of science was about to begin and it was not lost on many who had the time to understand that it had been forced upon mankind by a brutal off-world enemy who had used their technological advantage, not to enhance theirs and other worlds, but to invade and destroy ours.
In order to brief the Committee on these ongoing research programs, headquarters produced an Executive Briefing Paper EBP 1905-3 “Back Engineering Martian Technology” (Appendix B) on 28 February 1905. Distributed during a two hour briefing it highlighted some of our off-world engineering efforts.
During a break from one of the meetings called to discuss many of the back engineered projects Mr. Wells recalled one of his first encounters with Martians and their advanced technology. “I recall particularly the illustration of one of the first pamphlets to give a consecutive account of the war. The artist had evidently made a hasty study of one of the fighting machines, and there his knowledge ended. He presented them as tilted, stiff tripods, without either flexibility or subtlety, and with an altogether misleading monotony of effect. The pamphlet containing these renderings had a considerable vogue, and I mention them here simply to warn against the impression they may have created. They were no more like the Martians I saw in action than a Dutch doll is like a human being. To my mind, the pamphlet would have been much better without them.”
“At first, I say, the handling machine did not impress me as a machine, but as a crablike creature with a glittering integument, the controlling Martian whose delicate tentacles actuated its movements seeming to be simply the equivalent of the crab’s cerebral portion. But then I perceived the resemblance of its gray-brown, shiny, leathery integument to that of the other sprawling bodies beyond, and the true nature of this dexterous workman dawned upon me. With that realization my interest shifted to those other creatures, the real Martians.”
Despite advances being made the back engineering of the Martian fighting machines had hit several snags. This however, was to be expected considering the fact the Martians were so far ahead of Earth science in most areas it would be surprising to learn that we had no real problems understanding what they had done. With the help of engineers from Henry Ford’s facilities, Tesla’s Committee group and Alexander Graham Bell’s engineering staff and others, the teams were able to finally get several of the machines to at least move if not actually work properly. At least it was a start. We still had not been able to operate the three massive Martian tunneling machines (we had recently located a third machine), at least not properly. They seemed to be operated on a different system altogether (Martian B Interrogation 1902-61).
We had discovered the Martian language would be the major roadblock and one, which would not be solved for many years. This discovery illustrated the close connection between the use of the Martian language and the control of these machines which spoke of a symbiosis between these creatures and their metal servants which were certainly hundreds if not thousands of years ahead of any Earth based understanding of “men and machines.” This was a fusion of both as one working unit when they were in close operation (Martian B Interrogation 1902-61). We had learned it would be necessary to melt together science and the linguistic arts in order to advance this work. Nothing on Earth could be compared to these machines. The Martian machines were matching the complexity of the Martians themselves of whom we had barely begun to understand. There was much to learn and much to fear. There were a great many unknowns. Where was the line drawn between Martian and machine and could we cross that line and still maintain control of what we may yet discover? And more to the point: Did we want to? Would such close contact as a single unit affect the humans working in such a new environment in ways we could not predict?
My notes: “There is great danger in all of our back engineering work. To be sure lives will be lost.”
The great fear among those tasked with developing technology from this “off world” equipment was that we may learn too much too fast. That is to say there was a real danger from learning too much without fully understanding the consequences of the work or the devices we might discover and use. We had to move with speed, but only with great caution in order to pace ourselves, understand what we had as much as we could, and then move on to the next revelation. Also, critical discoveries could very well stifle our desirers to do our own work and possibly push humans to rely too heavily on these “gifts” from the Martians. History has shown that humans needed to do difficult and complicated things themselves in order to advance. Critical thinking would always be at a premium.
However, we need not have concerned ourselves too much as men such as Einstein, Edison, Tesla, Goddard and many others were hard at work not only using back engineered discoveries, they were also hard at work on their own ideas, some of which might even have surprised the Martians. Nevertheless, caution needed to be the watchword when working with any Martian technology.
Notes show: “…not unexpectedly their mathematical learning is evidently far in excess of ours.”
As would be expected there were many setbacks as we went about the work of “Martian technology investigation.” We all remember the twin disasters at South Kensington and Ealing laboratories that had been studying the Heat-Ray and Black Smoke problems. Not enough safety features had been built into these tests as lives were lost trying to discover their secrets. We needed to do much better if we were to progress. As before, caution needed to be the watch-word.
Mr. Wells had given warning about the weapons used by the Martians and the fact we were far from understanding such weapons. He also reminded those gathered of the cost of such research even though we all knew that research and much more would continue. “The composition of the Black Smoke [is not yet] known, which the Martians used with such deadly effect, and the generator of the Heat-Rays remains a puzzle. The terrible disasters at the Ealing and South Kensington laboratories have disinclined analysts for further investigation upon the latter, at least for the moment. Spectrum analysis of the black powder points unmistakably to the presence of an unknown element with a brilliant group of three lines in the green, and to form a compound which acts at once with deadly effect upon some constituent in the blood. We must press hard to fully understand what we are dealing with in all of these areas, less we find ourselves in the untenable position of once again facing such destructive means without proper defensive measures.”
Nevertheless, we did learn one very valuable lesson from the Ealing laboratory disaster that would prove critical to our defense efforts. We learned that the Black Smoke when combined with the oxygen in the air and flowing near an open flame would readily catch on fire. Further tests proved that a series of small gas flames set up in rows could be used to ignite and destroy the Black Smoke rendering it harmless. With that in mind we began to develop ways to set the Black Smoke on fire using portable igniters and possibly in-ground gas-fed ignition systems. In the years ahead this system would prove invaluable. Step-by-step we were learning how to fight the powerful Martians.
Despite the back engineering problems the Committee had a rather large stockpile of Martian Walking Machines to work from, so many individuals at several associated off-site secret labs scattered around the world were able to access these machines and make their own critical discoveries. By 1905 the Committee laboratories alone could boast a collection of some 156 machines many of which were in very good working order. At least they appeared to be in good working order as far as our science teams could ascertain at the time. The Martians who had manned or rather “Martianed” most of them had died by bacterial infection rather than terrestrial firepower. They did not seem to have had a plan to destroy their own machines in the event their invasion failed. This was again an excellent example of the Martian mentality of “all or nothing.” Certainly they had not considered the possibility of failure. Of course it came to mind their losses did not amount to a complete failure – yet!
As we worked on these off-world machines we naturally wondered why the Martians had not brought to the Earth any machines with wheels on them. Surely these intelligent beings had knowledge of the wheel, the world’s first invention. Only later would we learn that the Martians had the wheel, but had not used it for general transportation purposes for many centuries. We learned that on Mars most of their transportation devices are lifted off of the surface by magnetic devices and move along ‘roads’ without any friction, never making contact with the surface as they move (Ref: Martian Electric Document 111B46). This was also the way personal Martian vehicles moved on Mars. In effect, the wheel for transportation purposes was as out dated to the Martians as a ship propelled with galley slaves was to humans. When they needed to travel to areas that were not accessible by roads for the most part the now well-known walkers were used.
Naturally they could not have expected Earth to have magnetic lift roads therefore they needed to bring their walking machines to Earth. Wheeled vehicles did not seem to have been part of the thinking process (at least not during the First Martian War). Our goal now for these walking machines was to not only get them working, but put together a production line from which we humans could build some of our own. That was but one goal of the man tasked to oversee these projects – the enigmatic Dr. Nikola Tesla.
Director D – a.k.a. A man named Nikola Tesla
“No one indeed believes anything unless he previously knows it to be believable.”
Pagan philosopher – Augustine
All too often it seems, the term ‘genus’ is used to describe an individual who has not necessarily achieved that lofty level. However, when used to denote Dr. Nikola Tesla it is truly an accurate description as long as one prefaced the word with ‘eccentric’. Tesla, the ‘Committee Wizard’ as he became known at headquarters, had come to the United States on 6 June 1884, arriving in old New York City with a letter of recommendation from his former employer and an associate of Thomas Edison in Paris, France. Mr. Batchslor wrote, “I know two great men and you are one of them; the other is this young man.” He would soon be working for Thomas Edison (later Director E) at the Edison Machine Works improving the newly developed generators. At the time Edison would report, “This is a damn good man.” After a while however, the men would go their separate ways when they could not agree upon payment for Tesla’s work on Edison’s generators. These two giants were simply too far apart in their temperaments and methods by which they accomplished their individual goals.
There was also the problem of integrating the work Tesla insisted upon and of which Mr. Edison was, shall I say, not always paying attention to. Edison once said, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent.” So great was the animosity between the two men only a war with Mars could bring these two together again – even then for only short periods of time. Neither man trusted the other, but as far as Tesla was concerned there was reason enough. Working with both men was a challenge as well as a pleasure and as time moved on I often found myself between the two of them attempting to work out some type of compromise on programs we were most interested in. I would often find myself traveling between Tesla’s Lower-New York City facility and Edison’s reconstructed standalone underground laboratory and workshop in Menlo Park, New York. I kept my headache medicine, right next to my bottle of brandy, very handy!
Tesla was already well known before he came to America for his many inventions and engineering feats. In 1894 he had successfully demonstrated wireless communication equipment using radio waves and remote control devices. That would soon come in rather handy. He had used X-Ray technology in 1887 and developed the famous Tesla Coil in 1888. Later, he would be working with another individual critical to Committee operations – George Westinghouse. He would soon be working on a project he said would be “transmitting electrical energy without wires” by injecting a powerful signal directly into the ground. He would be plugging into the Earth’s own power. This would later be called the Tesla Effect. The Executive Committee of Twelve would find many uses for this work. However, even today not all of his work has been fully explained or even understood by most of us. Florescent lights and circuit boards for computing devices would come later.
Within the Committee it would be Tesla and his 5000 man ‘First Team’ of scientists, engineers, and machinists who would create a series of weapons and other advanced devices without which the Earth would probably have had very little chance of fighting against the expected Martian revival of hostilities. With such devices, Tesla would give the world a fighting chance, and one, which in battle we hoped would surprise the hell out of our enemies from Mars. There was much work ahead as the Tesla team set to work on high grade radio transmitters and receivers, underwater radio transmission, radar, death rays, VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft, particle beam gun (directed-energy weapon), transportation and much more.
The man himself was about as unique as anyone could possibly be. Extremely private in his personal life, the lifelong bachelor was a true loner who compartmentalized his friends to such a degree that most in one group would never meet or know of others well known to Dr. Tesla in another group of friends or acquaintances. When asked about his methods of invention Tesla answered, “I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind. It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in my thought or test it in my shop. I even note if it is out of balance.”
To say the very least the good Dr. Tesla was a study in obsessions and phobias. One could not escape the fact that anytime a woman came into a room with any type of earrings he would become ill, faster if they were pearls. He could drop small pieces of paper in a dish of any liquid and a bad taste would develop in his mouth. Anytime he walked he found himself counting his steps and calculating how far he had walked as he went along. And to say taking a meal with him was an adventure was to watch as he calculated the cubic inches in the pieces of food he took and the contents of his first bowl of soup by its liquid mass. Without such mental gymnastics he was unable to fully enjoy a meal.
With a terrifying fear of germs and a decided preference for the night time hours working in the atmosphere controlled underground cites of Lower-New York City and Lower-London was almost custom made for the inventor. However, despite guarding his time from those who would interfere with his work, he was nevertheless open to explaining and demonstrating some of the wonders of his lab to the “occasional reporter allowed into his underground lab known by his associates as the cavern.”
One such British journalist, Chauncey McGovern, working for Pearson’s Magazine had traveled to Tesla’s Lower-New York City office to interview the great man. After being cleared by security and escorted to the area he entered the lab and explained what he saw (briefly) for his readers.
Not to stagger on being shown through the laboratory of Nikola Tesla requires the possession of an uncommonly sturdy mind. Fancy yourself seated in a large, well-lighted room, with mountains of curious-looking machinery on all sides. A tall, thin man walks up to you, and by merely snapping his fingers instantaneously a ball of leaping red flame, and holds it calmly in his hands. As you gaze you are surprised to see it does not burn his fingers. He lets it fall upon his clothing, on his hair, into your lap, and, finally, puts the ball of flame into a wooden box. You are amazed to see that nowhere does the flame leave the slightest trace, and you rub your eyes to make sure you are not asleep.
Four “most secret” primary scientific research facilities had been originally set up under Directorate D. They were all above ground at the time, except Tesla’s lab, working in semi-repaired bombed out buildings with equipment brought together from anywhere the teams could find it. The best way to describe the situation would be to tag it as “patched-together.” As soon as they could all four teams would move to newly built facilities in London, New York City, Sydney and the New Washington Center. The next move would be completely underground. By now Tesla was ready to brief the full Executive Committee on the projects his teams were working on. To say the least everyone was amazed at how far he had gotten. They were even more amazed when he told them where he and his teams were going. Simply stated, they could not believe their ears. He would travel beyond the everyday realities of our simple lives and well into a possible future only Tesla understood and even then some of his ideas would be buried. One eventually came away with the rather disturbing feeling that Dr. Tesla did not really trust those in power with many of his extreme ideas. Perhaps he felt mankind in general was not yet evolved enough.
“Gentlemen, I hope you all enjoyed the meal and refreshments. What I am about to show you I hope will give all assembled a good deal of excitement about the progress we expect to see in the near future as it pertains to in house developments of a scientific nature as well as those married with the work so far completed by back engineering some of the devices ‘lent’ to us by the Martians.”
The group settled down after taking in the little joke about the Martians. Tesla informed the men that his team had already developed a new remote control device that he demonstrated could be used in direct line of sight to turn a machine on or off. It could also be used to steer a ship on water or even an underwater bomb as long as an antenna was above the water. He had demonstrated a radio-controlled model boat for the United States Navy in 1898 in Madison Square Garden, but there was no real interest in such an advanced device at the time. This time, before the Committee, all eyes were on his radio controlled torpedoes which could be set off on their own or fired from an undersea boat. His team also demonstrated a low, almost flat carrier craft which when loaded with explosives could be remotely sailed towards any ship with very little chance of being sighted before it was too late.
Navy Commander Edwin Jenyss Quinby had been there to watch the demonstration as a young man, and to say the least he was very impressed. He would sit down one day at the New York City Club and tell us what he saw.
“I was there with my father, quite fascinated, but also quite unaware that I was witnessing the dawn of space navigation to be realized later, in the following century. Tesla was not using Morse code. He was not transmitting messages in any known language. Nevertheless, he was employing his own coded pulses via Hertzian waves to directly control this pioneer unmanned craft. He encoded the visitor’s commands, and the vessel’s receiver decoded them automatically into actuating operations.” Quinby himself would later command the United States Naval Reserve and patent a number of electrical inventions in his own right.
Dr. Tesla continued. “In 1896 I designed a complete machine capable of a multitude of operations, but the consummation of my labors was delayed until 1897. When first shown in the beginning of 1898, it created a sensation such as no other invention of mine has ever produced. I remember that when later I called on an official in Washington, with a view of offering the invention to the government he burst out in laughter upon my telling him what I had accomplished. Nobody thought then that there was the faintest prospect of perfecting such a device. These were the first robots on Earth made by the hand of man. The next logical improvement was its application to automatic mechanisms beyond the limits of vision and at a great distance from the center of control, and I have ever since advocated their employment as instruments of warfare in preference to guns. In an imperfect manner it is practicable, with the existing plants, to launch an aero plane, have it follow a certain approximate course, and perform some operation at a distance of many hundreds of miles.”
The next device Tesla presented was his method by which electrical energy could be transmitted without wires from a generating point to a receiver that could then use that electrical power for any reason required. It was possibly related to an ancient system of power transmitters held by ancient peoples and yet lost to history many ages earlier. This was an interesting device to be sure, but the question was soon asked: What does this do for our planetary defense? As would be expected Tesla had already planned for such a question. He had also developed a much more lethal use. By setting up two towers Tesla could send powerful electric pulses back and forth and if a flying machine flew between them the aircraft’s occupant would “receive an electric shock powerful enough to fry the brains of the occupants”. Tesla’s next step in the development of this weapon was to reduce the power supply required to power the machine and reduce the size of the device itself so that it could be mounted on a wheeled vehicle and transported to the battle area as a single beam weapon. If it could be done Tesla would have his death-ray! Tesla would add, “Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe.” He had in the back of his mind that the Martians had already been able to tap into this energy source and he wanted to understand exactly how they could have done it. If he could do that he might be able to produce a machine that could either tap into their power systems or at least disrupt their machines.
For now wireless (radio) would need to be a particular priority if we were ever going to act as one planet in a future world war against any interplanetary foe. If we could not talk with each other we could not possibly coordinate our efforts and fight as one. For this work Tesla and his teams would work with Marconi and several dozen others to push wireless and other related technology as fast and as far as they could.
World Wireless (Radio)
“No practical use.”
Work on wireless radio technology had been progressing at a rather slow pace before the Martians focused their attention on Earth. As early as 1884 Temistocle Calzecchi in Italy had built a tube filled with iron fillings he called a ‘coherer’. His primitive device responded to radio waves and that was about all. It was not a practical radio (even though it may have been able to pick up Morse Code in a crude way had it been slowly transmitted), but it would lead to radio. From 1886 to 1888 Heinrich Hertz, having studied James Clerk Maxwell’s theories on electromagnetic waves, had built the first device to “intentionally transmit and receive radio waves.” Unfortunately, for some workers Mr. Hertz famously reported that he could “find no practical use” for his discovery!
Ignoring Mr. Hertz soon found Marchese Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) equipping ships with primitive radios to transmit “wireless telegraphy” at a very nice profit. Unfortunately, not all ships carried radios and even those that did had yet to assign a full-time radio operator to man the equipment. This failure will prove very costly in the years to come. The work of radio was also on Nikola Tesla’s rather large plate as he produced reliable radio frequencies transmitted over long distances. In 1891 he published The True Wireless, which detailed his many works up till that time. He was soon demonstrating his radio equipment to various scientific organizations. Few if any were paying proper attention to this work. However, his work was reported in Electric Review in August of 1893. “Already he has constructed both a transmitting apparatus and an electrical receiver which at distance points is sensitive to the signals of the transmitter, regardless of Earth currents or points of the compass. And this has been done with a surprisingly small expenditure of energy. He has really accomplished wireless communication over reasonably long distances and has only to perfect apparatus to go any extent.”
In 1896 Marconi published Improvements in Transmitting Electrical Impulse and Signals and in Apparatus There-for. He would take British patent 12039 for this work on “Radio telegraphy” in that year. Tesla also received patents for his radio work as the race was on for wireless technology. However, after the First Martian War all bets were off and these great men were now compelled to work together to push the technology of radio as far and as fast as possible. Even though the general public could still read in the evening papers of Marconi, Tesla and Rutherford competing with each other for radio rights, inventions and patents, in reality their efforts were being combined as a tool for the defense of the entire planet. There was much more at stake than bragging rights even though in the background of events Committee officers saw to it these men would be very well compensated for their individual efforts. Confidential Committee agreements (not released to the general public) had been signed with many of the men who were combining their work so compensation was not an issue. All of these great men were well compensated yet it would be Tesla who would famously become known as a man who paid little attention to his financial needs.
As primitive as our efforts in radio had been in those early days we later discovered that the Martians had monitored from Earth orbit even these early radio tests (Martian B Interrogation 1902-17B). I often thought it must have given them a good deal of amusement to listen to our feeble efforts at a new technology they had mastered and knew so well. In fact, it was a technology they had well surprised centuries ago. Anything we did now would be “keenly watched by intelligences from Mars”. At times it was almost as if one could feel their presence even though it had been a while since we had seen them.
Even through others may have seen the situation in a different light as far as I was concerned radio technology could be a key to our very survival. We did not really know what we could do with radio, but one thing was clear – being able to communicate over long distances would link our world and our military forces. We had learned as much from the Martians. Command and control with nearly instant communication was critical. The Committee needed to continue to fund radio development as much as we could. We also needed to find a way to continuously “talk to (control) the world’s surviving population,” and radio seemed to be the best method in the near future to achieve that vital goal.
As for the distant future we all understood mankind’s new destiny would surely be in space either as explorers or perhaps something less romantic. How we got there was a question that would take years to answer.
The Rocket Men begin their Work
Dr. Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky
“…work must begin now on powerful reaction systems as we do not know
how long we may have before the Martians decide to return. We must be ready or perish.”
Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky
Needless to say, with Martians having rocketed towards Earth the need for rocket research by humans had not gone unnoticed by the Committee (or anyone else for that matter). Even amongst the rubble, men were looking towards the stars. These men knew that rocket technology would need to be developed by earth-men in order to truly be able to defend our planet. Naturally with this in mind the Committee would turn to Dr. Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky from Russia. It was only with great luck the great man of space science had survived the massive destruction of his nation’s great cities. He had in fact been near the front in a devastated Moscow when the Russians using all they could scrape together halted the final Martian offensive. He had been thinking about space many years before he even suspected intelligent life could be planning an invasion from Mars.
In 1883 Dr. Tsiolkovsky had written a book titled Free Space. It was a fictional work, which discussed a “rocket-powered interplanetary ship,” capable of travel to our moon as well as Venus and Mars. Little did he realize that his fictional story of an interplanetary ship of discovery was actually being built on Mars and not for peaceful exploration as in his story, but for planetary conquest, and his planet was the target! By 1895 he was publishing Dreams of Earth and Heaven, which explained his first thoughts of futuristic space stations orbiting the Earth. As always the great man viewed the conquest of space as an adventure for all of mankind, not one of conquest.
Around 1898 Tsiolkovsky had worked out most of the fundamental mathematical calculations needed to place rockets into Earth orbit and beyond. He would later state his efforts were inspired by the fictional works of Jules Verne. When I had the chance to speak to him he would remember, “Probably the first seeds of the idea of rocket flights were sown by that great fantastic author Jules Verne – he directed my thought along certain channels then came a desire, and after that, the work of the mind.” A later author of such works would write, “His work always dealt with the actual possibilities of invention and discovery, and he made some remarkable forecasts. The interest he invoked was a practical one; he wrote and believed that this or that thing could be done, which was not at that time done. It helped his readers to imagine it done and realize what fun, excitement or mischief could ensue.”
Unfortunately, according to one of Tsiolkovsky’s friends the great man was not well respected at the time because this work was well beyond what most people could relate to or even understand. “Frequently, what he heard through the listeners was abuse, curses, and threats aimed at the ‘crank’.” According to his friend Evgeny Riabchikov, “Tsiolkovsky grew morose, withdrew into himself, and brooded over the thought that people didn’t want to understand his sincere desire to work at science.” That would change in a very short period of time. As mentioned earlier, in 1903 Tsiolkovsky published his book The Rocket into Cosmic Space. Originally written from a fictional point of view in 1898 it seemed history had caught up to the brilliant professor. Even the development of artificial gravity was part of his book.
In 1905 Professor Tsiolkovsky would have no such difficulty when he presented a major report to the Committee which sparked the real work on rockets and spacecraft setting the Earth on the path to space flight. His report was titled The Investigation of Outer Space by Means of Reaction Apparatus. Because of this ground breaking work he is now considered the Father of Modern World Astronautics. After a light luncheon in his honor he would report to a packed meeting of the Committee on 18 February 1905, “I have worked out several aspects of the problems of ascending into space by means of a reactive device similar to a rocket. My mathematical conclusions, based on scientific data verified many times over, show that with such devices it is possible to ascend into the expanse of the heavens, and perhaps to found a settlement beyond the limits of the Earth’s atmosphere.” What followed was a standing ovation from his peers of which in reality there were very few ‘peers’ on his level. We knew we were on our way to space even though no one at the time had any real idea how we were to accomplish such a goal. Tsiolkovsky would be one of two men who would lead the way.
The great man continued, “With respect to the Martian situation, we can expect work presently being conducted on their machines will aid our efforts to reach into near Earth/lunar space, and even though it will take many years of great labor, we are now able to see that Earth forces, when the time comes, will be able to present at least some type of planetary defense in Earth orbit to engage our enemies albeit perhaps only on a limited basis. Nevertheless, work must begin now on powerful reaction systems as we do not know how long we may have before the Martians decide to return.”
Under Nikola Tesla Directorate D immediately took up the work on reactive devices with direct project leadership under Tsiolkovsky. The professor had quickly agreed to lead the effort and would soon be leading a group of over 1000 scientists at two underground facilities. Funding would be slow at first as the Committee decided to study various methods of reaching Earth orbit before committing to an all out program of development. Liquid fuels of various types were considered as were several proposals for larger solid rockets. Even a combination of both would be suggested. Tsiolkovsky and Tesla’s teams would have 48 months to research the question at which time their joint recommendation would be submitted to the Committee for final approval. During this time every possible work ever written on the subject the propulsion team could get their hands on was acquired for review including works from ancient Greeks, Chinese and writers of science fiction. No stone was to be left unturned when it came to this research. What they were looking hard for were ideas to stir the mind.
Dr. Tesla remarked about the possibilities. “When rockets arrive they will give an impetus to manufacture and commerce such as was never before witnessed, provided only that governments do not resort to methods of the Spanish Inquisition, the ideal means for making man absolute master of the air and near Earth space.” He decided not to make any premature comments about taking on the Martians in an area of science they clearly had the upper hand.
Joining the research effort were scientists from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Russia and Germany as well as Southern Africa and Australia. They would develop many of their original methods in a research facility in Massachusetts, which had not been destroyed during the war. Back engineered Martian equipment and other “products” from the Committee would be sent to the new test area in order to aid in their efforts. This was to be another all-out effort to push established Earth technology as far as we could with as much speed as practical and apply as much Martian science as we could discover.
On 3 March 1905 the Committee established the World Advisory Group for Aeronautics (WAGA) based in Lower-New York City. It was mandated to “…supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight in the atmosphere and above, with a view to their practical solution.” Dr. Whitehead would direct this group. It is noted that as we developed world groups the ‘Committee name would be used only rarely. “Low profile in all matters as much as possible” was becoming the watch words of our ever expanding worldwide organization. “Do good works well below the radar.”
Keeping with his research on humans and Martians Dr. Sigmund Freud published, by way of the Executive Committee of Twelve, his critical work Three Essays on the Theory of Human and Martian Sexuality. It was an instant hit with the general public. The only problem was that for all intent and purpose the Martians do not have any sexuality. At least they don’t in the usual sense as we know the word to pertain to humans. For the good Dr. Freud it seemed that all Martian sexuality was in their minds. Not unexpectedly some newspaper reviewers felt Martian sexuality existed only in the mind of Dr. Freud. The debate on such things had the effect of greatly increasing book sales. A rather amused Dr. Freud was not displeased as he enjoyed the great success of his book. Reviews or not it was an amazing read.
It was also at this time the Committee set up a formal and funded team of language experts to continue the long tedious work of deciphering the Martian language that would eventually lead to deciphering any codes they had used during the war, or for that matter the next. Earlier work scattered about would now be consolidated into one group. Six separate teams would investigate all aspects of the extremely complicated Martian language.
Their above “most secret” work was soon situated in a large private estate some 25 miles outside of London at Crosswick. The Crosswick Estate already had a well groomed security fence with roaming guards and was well hidden by trees so adding additional security measures were hardly noticed by the locals. Workers from England, Canada, Germany, Southern Africa, the United States, China, Egypt, Spain and Japan were assembled to do the job. As a cover story the team was designated in press reports (which of course mentioned a different location) as historians working on lost world history; reading and recovering ancient texts was the published explanation for their efforts. Directory H under my young friend Winston Churchill would supervise this most important endeavor.
The cover story was so well received and accepted that some members of the Press complained we were spending too much time and money “reading all of these old books!” One reporter would write, “Of what possible good can come of this waste of time and money when there is planetary recovery and defense to think about?” The Committee would have no comment on these complaints. However, my friend Winston, as is his way, had a few well chosen words for the press. “The farther backwards you can look the farther forward you can see.” Later, for security reasons half the team would be relocated to one of the newly built underground cities. As for funding Committee operations, they would remain classified until 1932 when the first Committee budget ever made public was published.
It was about this time that a very strange death came to the attention of the Committee. On the morning of 26 February 1905 the neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. John Kiley (Mr. Kiley worked for the Lower-London Committee office) heard what they referred to as a loud “scratching sound” emanating from the Kiley home. Upon entering the home they discovered a confined area inside was on fire having not been noticed by anyone outside of the building. The fire was soon put out whereupon the powdered remains of Mr. Kiley was found lying on a carpet having been totally consumed by the fire. Mrs. Kiley’s body was found sitting in a chair badly burned but still somewhat recognizable. The problem was neither the carpet upon which the ash remains of Mr. Kiley were found nor the chair which held the burnt corpse of Mrs. Kiley were burned in any way! In point of fact both items were seen to be in new condition having not even been singed. It was ruled a double accidental death for general public consumption but more than one member of the Committee felt that both Kileys had been assassinated by the well aimed beam of a Martian Heat-Ray. Who or what held the device and why they were targeted was never discovered.
As communications improved it would not be long before we were receiving many reports of strange occurrences involving some type of heat or fire. One particularly interesting event occurred on the beach at Kittery Point, Maine on 1 September 1905. We published an internal report of this first one – and many others over the years – on 15 December of ’05.
“The guests at the Hotel Parkfield were startled by the appearance of flames rising from the beach; an event of so remarkable and unusual a character as to excite great curiosity and some alarm. The flames were about one foot in height. They were accompanied by a loud and continuous cracking noise which could be distinctly heard one hundred yards away, while at the same time there was a very strong liberation of sulphurous acid fumes which penetrated the hotel.”
Naturally we could not allow the general public to believe these were attacks of any kind as they would have immediately connected them to the Martians. The Committee suspected that they were tests of some new type of weapon as they occurred in areas where unidentified aerial craft were also reported. So once again our very active propaganda team went to work with a cover story right out of some fictional tale one might find in a magazine. It was soon reported that the 300 yards of beach, as with the other occurrences, was nothing more than “caruratted and phosphuretled hydrogen and other gases that had burst into flame from fermented seaweed” that had lay covered for long periods of time under the sand. It was complete hokum but the story was accepted and we got on with other matters.
[END PART 12]
Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020