[PART 13]

CONTINUING THE RECOVERY

Towards the end of 1905 Directorate B released an information flash to newspapers around the world that two new cables had now been completed across the English Channel linking New London with Paris and Berlin, both now fully involved in rebuilding efforts both above and below ground. All tests had been successful on the new cables and commercial rates had been established for private, governmental and Committee use. What were not released to the newspapers were the actual locations of the cables. In fact, the buildings from which the cables were reported to be played out from were completely false including false cables reaching into the Channel! Newspapers printed drawings showing the locations of the fake cables. The real cables were a little over three miles to the south and were completely camouflaged.

It was also announced that work was being started on the new Atlantic cable as well as setting up stations along what would eventually become the Pacific cable which would be the most costly and the most challenging effort ever made to lay underwater cable. Designers had developed new ideas and methods to deploy the new much stronger and flexible cables. Tested across the English Channel the teams had developed and deployed a cable which could stretch (around 2-1/2 percent) within its case, making it much more resistant to breaking.

To stabilize the system four-ton concrete blocks had been fitted over the cable, which would hold the cable in place while allowing a certain amount of movement within the concrete structure. The four-ton weights had been held at sea level by large gas filled bags which when slowly emptied allowed the weights and cable to slowly descend to the floor of the channel. At impact on the channel floor the bags were released by a lever on the bottom of the weight and they were then pulled to the surface for reuse. With this success the next step was to lay the new Atlantic cable. It would be a much tougher job. London workers had also finished the repairs on the shipyard at Rotherhithe in the London borough of Southwark on the Thames. Each day hundreds of vessels of all kinds were once again making their way up the river to London.

By this time most areas, where populations were once again claiming residence, locals had cleared the streets of debris, and working centers had been established. In many areas crude structures lit by torches were being replaced by electric lights and proper buildings. New buildings were going up as fast as construction crews could build them in selected areas, but it was clear large areas of these destroyed cities could not be rebuilt for many years to come. In truth there was no real need with the much lower population numbers. Although we were soon dealing with a bit of a “baby boom”! As before these areas would be re-claimed and re-built as populations expanded.

In order to give direction to these new building projects and recovered areas, local governments had quickly been set up even in areas where some type of national recovery had not yet been accomplished. This was possible only because these areas still had (relatively) strong military forces locally available to maintain order. Even with this force however, local crime was still a problem. It would seem some individuals only learned to behave themselves after a harsh sentence of hard labor at short rations was imposed and soon not even then. Training and deploying civilian police forces would take time so until then the military had control.

On the technical side the near total destruction of many populated areas cleared a path for the installation of many more electric lights replacing much of the old gas and oil lights so common in most major cities of the day. Edison and Tesla would be the prime movers in this area with help from George Westinghouse as it was universally known that gas and coal, while still a major factor in this industrial age, would be partly replaced by electric power, which was the future and since the future had been forced upon the world we needed to take advantage of the situation as fast as possible. It was time to retire the gas light, the Horse and Buggy and the chamber pot – almost. (Coal of course would still be very critical as coal fired electric generators would account for 85 percent of the electrical generating capacity world-wide just before the start of the next interplanetary conflict.) Naturally, most of the initial work would be focused on areas best equipped to mobilize for industrial growth. For many other less developed areas for years to come gas and oil lights would still be king, but at least for the most part crude torches could be abandoned.

It is interesting to note however, despite the obvious advantages of electric power to light cities and towns several groups in some of the areas being rebuilt fought verbally (and at times physically) very hard to retain gas lights and some of the old ways. It was not that they feared the electric light they just wanted something to hold on to from a past that had all but been destroyed. Gas lights were as comfortable as electric lights were new. So for a while at least we would see a mix of old and new as the above ground rebuilding continued. It was the start of a new era for mankind but much would remain of the past. It was understood the best way to move forward was to rebuild the world as comfortable as we could for the body as well as the mind. Progress needed to be tempered with realities of life. As for myself I kept a goodly supply of candles handy just in case. One never knew when the Martians would drop by to turn out the lights!

That mix of old and new was no better demonstrated than in French efforts to rebuild their much destroyed capital of Paris. As was the norm the French went about their work just a bit different than the rest of the world. After all, despite the Martian War and its massive destruction, they are still French!

‘BELOW’ PARIS

The ‘City of Lights’ as it has come to be known was still mostly rubble at least that was the view presented above ground after the war. However, when local city inspectors finally made their way to the old “underground Paris” of tunnels and catacombs they found remarkably little damage. Certainly there had been some cave-ins from the relentless Martian attacks, but these could readily be repaired. After all, cave-ins were not new to the people of Paris. Quarry (carrieres) work had begun under Paris, the old site of the Roman city of Lutetia, beginning in the late 12th century and had continued for centuries, right up until a few years before the First Martian War. (The catacombs were officially known as the l’ Ossuaire Municipal, but these areas covered only a small portion of the tunnels under Paris that comprised “les carrieres de Paris.” Today, all of the old catacombs and new tunnels are referred to as below Paris.) One particularly grievous cave-in had occurred in 1774 when an underground quarry ceiling eroded creating a bell-shaped hole 120 feet deep. When the erosion finally reached the surface it swallowed several apartment buildings along a major street and crushed several people sending dozens to their deaths down the great hole. This hole in a main Paris street is said to have been visited by none other than the American inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin himself. Sadly his notes on the subject have been lost.

It was this event which caused Louis XVI to form a government group to map all of the tunnels under Paris. This work began in 1777 under the leadership of Police Lieutenant General Alexander Lenoir who would suggest abandoned tunnels could be used to house the dead of Paris as the cities cemeteries were full. That work would be accomplished from 1786 until 1788 when most of the ancient dead of Paris were exhumed and moved underground. Now it would be time for the living to join them in the quiet serenity of the catacombs. Although the last quarry ceased operations in 1873, mapping was not complete until 1900 – just in time for the Martian attacks.

The team doing the mapping also had the task of digging miles of walkways to connect all of the tunnels. People who entered these areas could easily become lost so signs were hand drawn giving the underground locations that matched for the most part the names of above ground streets. The people of Paris still remember the many stories of people becoming lost in these tunnels before the new ones were built and the signs put in. One of the most famous cases was that of Philibert Aspairt, well known doorkeeper at the Val-de-Grace Military Hospital. In 1793 he disappeared becoming lost in the catacombs while he was looking for the legendary lost Paris treasure, said to have been hidden underground by the French government. Eleven years later his remains, mostly skeletal, were found alongside a rusted set of door keys! There was of course no large treasure found near the remains, but then again one may ask: Where did he locate that large gold coin found in the tattered remains of his pants?

Before the new work was begun a Paris newspaper published a description of what it was like to descend into the catacombs.

The primary entrance is located in the western Barriere d’Enfer city gate. One now descends 58 feet of the narrow spiral stone stairwell. There is only silence and darkness but for the gurgling of water removed from a nearby area by an unseen aqueduct. Moving on the floor one walks a full mile along a mortared stone hallway which twists one way and then another. Suddenly one finds oneself standing before a stone portal, the entry unto the ossuary! The inscription reads Arrete, c’est ice l’empire de la Mort (Stop, this is the empire of Death).

1900 was the year that Paris opened its new ‘Metro’ subway system for the International Exposition held in Paris that year. I was there on holiday and it was an event I truly enjoyed. Even though the Metro subway was a mere 20 to 30 feet underground the new structure had suffered little damage as a result of the war, probably because the Martians were unaware of its existence. This would be the only ‘modern’ transportation system working in Paris for months to come, but only after the people of Paris could clear away the debris that blocked many of the entrances. There were already underground canals, water reservoirs, old wine cellars, large galleries and even several bank vaults well protected and still in perfect shape. There were even readymade food production facilities already in place. For years French farmers had raised mushrooms in some of the caverns and reportedly produced hundreds of tons of mushrooms each year. (Not being a mushroom fancier I have not had the pleasure.) Naturally, we took close note of this work.

As far as underground cities were concerned the people of Paris would take a decidedly different approach to the problem of building underground facilities. With literally hundreds of miles of tunnels already in place the reconstructed French government decided not to build a large number of new tunnels. Instead, the French would build their new above ground city to no more than five stories high. Below ground these new structures would send their stories down as far as 150 feet right into the existing tunnels. All buildings in Paris of five stories height would also have direct access to the tunnels of Paris. There would be no need for above ground tunnel signs as everyone would know where to go simply by finding the nearest five story building.

The only extensive new tunnel work to be completed in Paris would be a major reinforcement program of the existing tunnels and catacombs, clearing the debris away and setting up temporary living quarters for just about every person living in Paris. They would later add an underground power generating plant as well as over 150,000 storage compartments assembled underground for holding food, water, clothing, medical and other emergency supplies, including rifles and ammunition. Because the underground aqueduct had already been built and had survived the Martian onslaught all that was needed was to put into place a series of filters to guarantee fresh water. And even without a full underground program it was decided to build several underground hospitals under Paris as well as under several other large French cities. During the First Martian War the people of Paris had taken their wounded and dying to the catacombs so this need was recognized and one that could not be ignored. Soon underground hospitals became a formal part of their building program. Of course Paris, as with all other cities, had to effectively deal with the disposal of human waste without polluting the water sources needed for drinking. It would not be an easy task.

Even though ‘official Paris’ made no plans to build an entire new city under Paris that did not stop the people of Paris as well as residents of several other French cities, from doing much of that work themselves. Forming underground construction companies, it did not take long for Paris night clubs to begin hosting underground events that would before long become permanent addresses. New “under-Paris café’s” began to pop-up all over underground Paris as many above ground residents began to stake-out their ‘underground residences.’ (Having later visited several of these underground cafés I must say I still had the feeling I was in some sort of cavern, which of course I was.) Furniture, carpets and other amenities were soon brought in as many new ‘homes’ began to sport street names and numbers. Next to one of the new ‘hard rock cafes’ would be built the new vault for the Banque de France.

One of the first government built Paris underground shopping centers
One of the first government built Paris underground shopping centers

At 120 feet below ground the vault was said to hold at least 1500 tons of French gold safely hidden from the ever prying eyes of the Martians or for that matter any French thieves! (In truth there was very little gold left as most of it was being held for the French government by the Committee in our “Prime Mineral Location” PML. (Actually there are three mineral storage areas one each located in North America, Western Europe and Asia code named “Tom, Dick and Harry!” They were named by one of our American Committee members.)

In the end, even though the French government had not planned as such, the Paris of the future would hold a much larger permanent population in its hundreds of miles of tunnels and catacombs than the above ground streets of New Paris ever could. And perhaps that is the way it should be considering the threat we faced. For the French and their pride of New Paris it would be years before they could call Paris a recovered city. That would only occur after the French completely rebuild Mr. Effie’s tower. When it was finally completed it would have an addition to its steel frame that was not part of the original plan – a little surprise by Dr. Tesla and his Committee team for any new visitors from Mars!

Editor’s Note: Mars Prime had become aware of humans constructing major underground facilities – In order to engage these areas in battle a new series of much smaller walkers were being built which could enter these facilities and engage the humans in close combat – Other smaller weapons of war were also developed to use in small spaces for close-in warfare – This was not however a method of warfare generally used by Mars Prime military forces.

THE NEW CITIES OF BERLIN AND SEOUL

All over the world local governments were working night and day to rebuild and repair as much of the damage from the war as resources and manpower would allow. (We had yet to design and build proper tunneling machines.) And while many approached the problem from different perspectives they all had one goal. In anticipation of another conflict with the Martians there were many examples of cities building both above as well as below ground, using different methods to solve the same problem. The cities of Berlin and Seoul were good examples of the work being done by local governments.

BERLIN, GERMANY

The new city of Berlin (very much in the beginning stages of rebuilding) as well as many other German cities had taken a decidedly different approach to the “Martian Question.” Rather than build massive underground cities the Germans decided to construct separate underground Martian proof shelters for short term occupation. Above ground they were building massive reinforced concrete and steel structures to replace their destroyed cities. Taking a page out of the recent past the Germans built heavily fortified “communities” within cities linked by an improved and mostly covered road system. These communities above ground looked much like massive fortresses ready to go to war at any moment (which in fact they would soon be). They would be linked by cable, radio and short wave (and soon telephone) and when the time came they would close up for defensive operations.

That is not to say underground work was completely ignored by the Germans. The Germans continued to work on ‘covered’ transportation corridors which would link all of their above ground ‘communities as well as building massive underground storage facilities built to house just about every type of item one could imagine for use in an emergency. They would also house weapons, fuel, ammunition of all types, and as the weapons became obsolete the government simply handed out weapons such as old rifles and pistols to their population which when war came would arm just about every adult in Germany with some type of personal firearm. From top to bottom Germany was to become an armed camp!

Berlin and other larger German cities would add a rather unique defensive line to their ‘communities.’ Each large community would be surrounded by 100 foot wide moats of an interesting design. Dug to a depth of 50 feet the moats were filled with a thick tar or tar-like material over which they were covered by a thin structure of wood. Heaters, designed by the Tesla group had been imbedded within the tar in order to keep it fluid when the time came to “activate the moats.” The wood of course could hold a man or even a light vehicle (no one I recall ever tested that theory), but the wood could not support a tank or any Martian Walking Machine. This would be tested when the time came and in every case the walkers crashed through the wood coverings and became imbedded in the tar. To cover over the tar was a layer of cold water. From someone looking at the moats on approach the whole set up appeared to be a quaint moat with a rather sturdy set of walkways leading across shallow water to the above ground communities. In fact, it was a walking death-trap for any Martian machine as only one approach across each moat was sturdy enough to hold heaver vehicles and when the time came those would be well mined! Some version of these moats (some with quicksand or thick mud) would find their way to other parts of the world, but Berlin had the most and as it turned out, the most deadly to their future Martian ‘visitors’.

SEOUL, KOREA

All great cities on Earth have a ‘feel’ all to themselves and the new capital of Korea is no different. I can attest to that myself having visited that great world city. Like most nations on Earth, Korea had suffered greatly at the hands of the bloodthirsty Martians. There was not much remaining after their walking machines blasted their way across the country. So literally starting from a bit more than nothing the surviving people of Korea began to put their cities and villages back on the map of Earth. Seoul was a good example of how these people would prepare for the next anticipated attack from the Martians.

The city of Seoul would become a mirror image of its new self, both above and below ground. Simply stated all permanent buildings now being constructed in Seoul and other large cities in Korea would be built above ground and below ground on a 50/50 on site basis, not unlike the Paris model. Needless to say, all of these above ground buildings would be heavily re-enforced and would in fact be fortified linked defensive structures ready in the event of war.

However, unlike the Paris model the above ground situation would not, in most cases, be directly connected to the below ground situation. Instead a separate “staircase tunnel” would be built to the side of the structures. (In other words, the above ground building was built to the side of and not directly above the below ground structure.) Above the staircase “hung” a 15 ton concrete block which when loosened by explosives would crash down sealing the entrance. This method would hold true for most of the general use buildings – private and public. Entrance to the overall underground facilities could be made through tunnels connected to major road intersections and they were clearly marked. Additional entrances were located through the underground rail system. These entrances could be sealed off by massive steel doors when required. In addition to the structures the Koreans would store food and water in millions of barrels underground.

Korea (“The land of the morning calm.”), being an ancient land had of course many ancient temples and other structures such as the famous South Gate in Seoul. As part of their program to protect what remained of their long heritage the Koreans literally buried many of these old structures with piles of soil around walls so that on the outside these areas would look like small hills. On the inside, accessible through two or three small tunnels (walking) the Koreans could visit these facilities that looked to all the world and hopefully to any passing Martians, as small hills. If war came they could simply cover up the small openings and they became grass and tree filled hills and nothing more.

South Gate, Seoul, Korea
South Gate, Seoul, Korea

By now we had enough ports operating and had repaired enough shipping to keep supplies moving to most areas around the world. Starvation and interrupted supply lines were not yet a thing of the past, but we were well on our way. Most of the important internal roads had been cleared and vehicles of all kinds, and I mean all kinds, were moving from point to point with trade and other goods on a regular basis. (Caravans of old were also moving goods in many backwards areas.) For the most part populations were no longer moving in mass having settled down in one area or another. The International Red Cross and other organizations had done a tremendous job during this early recovery period and were now well along in their efforts to issue international I.D. cards to people who had been displaced without much more than the clothes on their backs. As would be expected, Committee members had I.D. cards. The Magic Twelve carried the same I.D. card that had no special designation on it.

The New York City subway system was now once again in daily operation as were the Paris and New London undergrounds among others and we could now report that the 20th Century Limited had made its  first ‘express run’ all the way from Upper-New York City to New Chicago in a little over 18 hours. These were good signs of real recovery.

It had also become quite a fad to go to a small theater to view a short silent film about dark villains, maidens in distress and heroes to the rescue for 5 cents. It would not be long before much of America and Europe were spending an evening at the ‘Nickelodeon’.

Towards the end of 1905 we were briefed by French psychologist Alfred Binet who had just devised the first series of intelligence tests (69 and below = mentally defective, 90-109 = normal or average, 120-129 = superior, 140 and above = very superior or genus level). We now had a simple but effective tool that could be used to gage the mental development and future expected abilities in humans. Dr. Fraud and Dr. Tesla were most interested in these tests as they would be able to put real numbers on individual expected capabilities, and with limited resources, help us better decide which group (human sub-species) or for that matter which individuals were better prepared to help in the development of society in general and which were expected to not do as well.

1905 also saw the release of Professor Lowell’s book Mars and its Canals. We wanted the general public to understand about the canals and the beings that had produced them. Knowing an enemy is critical and the book was about as straight forward as it could be considering the recent events we had all suffered through.

One reviewer remarked: “In the clear atmosphere of Arizona, Mr. Lowell has been able on various favorable occasions to detect a network of straight lines, meeting or crossing each other at various angles, and often extending to a thousand or even over two thousand miles in length. They are seen to cross both the light and dark regions of the planet’s surface, often extending up to or starting from the polar snow-caps. Most of these lines are so fine as only to be visible on special occasions of atmosphere clearness and steadiness, which hardly ever occur at lowland stations, even with the best instruments, and almost all are seen to be as perfectly straight as if drawn with a ruler.”

At the same time a news report was issued by the Committee in reference to Mars study. “Observation upon Mars has been made by Percival Lowell and his associates Prof William C. Pickering and Mr. A. E. Douglas, at Flagstaff Arizona have produced charts of the planet’s surface, the most complete yet produced, containing 184 canals to which separate names have been given.”

Perhaps the greatest gift to mankind in 1905 was delivered by a young clerk of the Committee named Albert Einstein. Einstein’s “Special Theory of Relativity”, would report that “all radiation traveled at the speed of light even ‘quanta’ of different energy levels.” His theory completed the work of James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) and Hendrick A. Lorentz (1853-1928), by explaining the way light was transmitted abolishing the theory of ether throughout space. Ether at absolute rest was no longer required to explain the transmission of light so the ether became redundant. (We would later learn from Martian Electric Documents that there was a universal energy we could not directly measure to replace the ether theory. It would be called Dark and no one could understand its function in the universe.) Albert explained the new theory was based upon two foundations; 1 – the laws of physics are of the same form in all inertia frames, and 2 – in any postulated inertial frame the velocity of light c is identical whether the light is emitted by a body in uniform motion or at rest.

Due to our ongoing struggle to survive there was neither celebration by the Press nor any statements that we had embarked upon a new era in physics. He would later introduce the world to the concept of “elastic time.” Albert would explain that dilations of time occur when observers independent of each other yet simultaneously observing the same event perceive the reality of the event in time differently yet both are correct in their realities. Space time was no longer viewed as being one reality but dependent upon the observer and the speed of the observer viewing the event. Of special interest, held deeply within the theory was the very real possibility mankind could someday travel in time as well as in space. This was a great gift to mankind as well as a shock to our “stable” world view. (But come to think about it, our “stable world view” had taken a pretty heavy hit when the Martians “dropped by.”) E=mc2, which explained the measurable mass of a body was also a measure of its energy content, would soon become the best known equation in the world. How it was written on Mars I do not know!

On 17 December 1905 we celebrated the first “World Nation’s Day” when Haiti became the final nation to come out of the original martial law mandated since the First Martian War at the end of 1901. On paper at least all nations on Earth were now prepared to once again choose their own destinies. For some it would not last for long.

It was also in December of that year we began to receive some disturbing reports of unknown aerial activity not related to our work on flying machines. There were no more than a few reports, at first, but with the Martian War still very fresh in every one’s mind any such report caused concern. One of the more interesting reports concerned the sighting of a small white egg-shaped craft which had unknown markings on its side. Drawings of the markings did not resemble any of the known Martian language and the description of the three occupants, around four feet tall and wearing all white garments, did not match any previous Martian reports. From this point on we would keep a separate file on sightings that did not match Martian data. Only later would we create a separate department to keep track of such things. It seemed ‘others’ were also interested in our little blue/green planet. To say the least things were going to get very interesting as we continued to build for a very uncertain future.

“Nations of the world must bring their peoples to understand that they must be prepared to respond to other nations in a civilized manner or be quarantined from the rest of the civilized world. Facts are facts, and we have no time to spend on uncivilized peoples.”

Director B

[END PART 13]

Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020

[NEXT WEEK: PART 14: CHAPTER 3: KEEPING EARTH EYES ON THE MARTIANS.]