Robert Byrd’s Polar Flight
By mid-1928, the Committee was ready to commit forces to the Antarctic to recon areas by air and ground suspected of being used as base camps for the Martian aircraft that had been reported in the Southern Hemisphere for years. Based on almost 20 years of sighting reports and the work done by Amundsen and his 1911 team, several areas of the massive continent were thought to possibly be holding new relatively small Martian bases, including the South Pole, even though Amundsen had not found any live Martians during his exploration. Selected to command the recon force, code named “Southern Cross,” was Lt. Commander Richard Byrd. Byrd, an Arctic pilot, was very familiar with this type of expedition project, having worked in the north Arctic Region for some time. Moreover, the American naval officer was permanently attached to Directorate C from the United States Navy and as such was fully aware that the cover story of any Antarctic exploration was not the true reason for this expedition. His job was to find the enemy in the vast snow-white desert of Antarctica, and it was vast; as large as the United States and MLZ combined. This was a possibly very small silver needle in a very large snow-white haystack. It was also going to be extremely dangerous as they would have no back up and no possibility of rescue if he did not make it all the way back to his base. His first job would be to pick and train his team. Before long, Byrd had a full team of Arctic experts ready to go. The men he had chosen were veterans who needed very little training, as most had worked similar ground for years, many with Byrd.
Sailing south to Antarctica, Byrd brought with him a team of experts from several nations, including a group of Eskimo men who were considered to be among the best dog-sled men on the planet. They were also members of the Canadian Army and as such were well-trained for winter combat operations. These were some pretty tough guys. On the decks of his three support ships and covered with heavy protective tarps were the three aircraft he would be flying in reconnaissance and patrol missions. He brought a modified Fokker Universal monoplane named the Virginia, a beefed up and much modified (to hold more fuel) Ford F-VII Tri-motor named the Floyd Bennett, and a newly built “snowbird” Fairchild FC-2W2 named the Stars and Stripes.
Heading into the Ross Ice Shelf area, the recon teams waited offshore behind the ice pack in order to land advance “combat teams in anticipation of Martian operations in the general area.” With the landing completed and unopposed, the advance team found no evidence of Martian occupation and the second human “invasion” of Antarctica was underway. This would be the first time the flag of the Executive Committee of Twelve was ever deployed. Set up in the center of the camp the flag, with the dark blue background and white outline of the two world hemispheres set in the center with twelve white stars around the two hemispheres, was raised in a small ceremony. Only later would this flag has a banner attached to the bottom of the flag. The battle streamer was red with the white letters and year “MARTIAN WAR – 1901” embroidered on it. It was the world’s first interplanetary battle streamer. Needless to say, it was a short ceremony in the very cold weather. Local patrols using dog sleds were soon set up and sent out to recon the general area. They were also equipped with a new radio anti-jamming device, being tested for the first time. The tests of this device proved only good, but not great. We had a good deal more work to do before we could use the new anti-jamming devices with confidence.
It would not take long for the men to begin construction of their base camp named Little America on Roosevelt Island. Within days most supplies had been off-loaded, including the three aircraft and six buildings, which had been pre-fabricated in sections and then constructed in the camp after being removed by crane from the holds of the ships. On the seventh day, extended local patrols were sent out by dog sled and newly built snowmobiles. The Virginia was tasked with local air patrols in order to extend the patrol reach of the camp. The teams were in constant contact by radio, but the radios were by plan weak (low power) with a narrow width band to not tip off any unseen Martians who may have been in the area.
Along with the military aspects of this mission, clearly the primary goal came two teams of scientists from Directorates J and K. They were there to photograph the general area and make geologic and biological surveys for the Committee. Their work was part of a long-range backup plan that was, at the time of the assignment, highly classified. Unknown to the other members of the Antarctic expedition, including the leader Robert Byrd, they were in the region to scout out possible “living quarters for Martians!” This was a plan developed by the Magic Twelve to study the area which if it proved feasible could be offered in the future to the Martians if the Earth needed to compromise on having them live on this planet. Less than twenty people on the planet knew about this plan at the time and half of them were standing on Antarctica at that moment. This most-secret part of the operation did cause some consternation among the members of the team who were tasked with the hunt for Martians. Not being aware of this other classified mission caused some to complain that the two extra teams were wasting valuable resources and were “only there to take pretty pictures and collect moss and rocks”. In reality, that was exactly what they were doing (but not wasting resources).
Heading up these other two teams was arctic veteran, Nova Terra. Having her on the job had a quieting effect on some complaints by the men. Even though it was not known by most of the Antarctic team why she was there they suspected that something important was underway. They were well aware of her background so a certain amount of respect and admiration was evident.
Work and combat patrols in the general area continued during the “summer” as reports were sent by weak directed radio signal first to the relay ship in the Ross Sea and then on to Scott Island, Bounty Island and finally on to Invercargill, New Zealand. The reports were then forwarded by cable to Committee Headquarters in Sydney and then on to Lower-London. There were no reports sent which made any mention of Martians. If they were found on the ice a single word in a pre-programmed sentence would be sent. Depending on their number and disposition several words could be altered which would convey this tactical information. After the long winter of 1928/9 came and went the men were ready to fly their first long range missions. During the winter a proper, but crude airstrip, had been painstakingly carved and scraped out of the rock and ice at Little America and the aircraft were made ready in their tent hangers.
On 28 November 1929, with cold but clear blue skies overhead, Byrd took off in the Ford Tri-motor on the way to the geographic South Pole. On board with Byrd was Norwegian pilot Bernt Balchen, Canadian co-pilot Harold June, who would also double as the radio operator, and Committee photographer Miss Ashley McKinley. The takeoff was good and clean, but in the thin Antarctic air the Tri-motor had difficulty gaining enough altitude to fly over the Polar Plateau. In order to gain altitude the men dumped the empty gas tanks. When this proved to be insufficient to raise the altitude it was decided to dump much of their emergency supplies, which included a small sled. With that they were fully committed to fly all the way to the pole and back with no ability to land in a safe place. Without emergency supplies they would not have lasted a week on the ice, even if they were able to land safely, which was a very big if! Even then the Tri-motor cleared the Plateau with not much room to spare. (In their report they stated that “…the Plateau was cleared by some 30 feet! We almost thought we were coming in for a landing.”)
Much to the crew’s surprise they had not seen any Martian craft or any indications of Martian base camps as they flew on to the pole. The team had a new radar set on board, but for some reason the device refused to work no matter how many times the crew gave it a swift kick! (Later, it was determined that the device could not stand prolonged cold periods and would need to be better insulated and re-wired to work properly in Antarctic climates.) As they flew on both sides of the enemy equation were about to be surprised. We later realized that the Martians had been caught off guard by this flight not expecting “mere humans” to be able to fly this far south having never even attempted such a flight before. They did not seem to know that a team of humans had already ‘skied’ to the South Pole. The original polar team had left nothing at the pole that would indicate that they had indeed made the trip. As the flyers neared the South Pole they spotted a layer of ground fog thought to be at the pole itself. Navigation was pointing their craft directly at the low-lying fog. That was it. They had nearly reached the South Pole by air, a first for mankind. Unfortunately, there would be precious little time for celebration as things were about to get a bit dicey. What they saw next shocked them to the core!
Flying in low, as it was still very difficult to gain any altitude in the thin high-Antarctic air, the Ford Tri-motor roared towards the fog bank. As they closed to within 200 yards the fog seemed to lift and right in front of them were four big beautiful steel Martian Flying Machines parked next to four surface fighting machines, several domed structures and what appeared to be a large square pen partly covered over. When the photos taken by McKinley, who was shooting as fast as she possibly could, were developed, this pen clearly showed humans held within its high walled enclosure. Byrd had found the Martian base camp and it was right at the bottom of the world! They must have returned sometime after 1911 to establish a small permanent base at the South Pole.
The flyers were so shocked at what they had seen they flew directly over the camp barely missing an antenna and a small tower. They saw no Martians as they flew past, or anyone else at the time for that matter, but they knew they had to be there someplace. Having made their discovery with McKinley still working the camera furiously, Balchen and June pushed the Tri-motor to its limits and made a hard arch to the left and as June would later report, “…got the damn hell out of there as fast as we could before the Martians could clip our tail off.” They were lucky. The Martians were not prepared to go after the plane, for if they had been there would have been no contest – it would have been shot down. However, the pilots did not know this as they began to fly “map of the Earth” as low as they dared fly and in a multiple directional pattern with several turns for about an hour to prevent the Martians from learning their intended direction. They saw no craft in pursuit (radar was still inoperative) and after a flight of 18 hours, 41 minutes (reported as being 18 minutes longer) they landed back at Little America.
The radio message sent out informed the Committee that the Martian base camp had been discovered, but there were no code words for humans so that information needed to wait until the men landed in New Zealand and could cable the report to headquarters. They radioed: “We had a lovely but very cold vacation.” (cold = Martians, warm = no Martians) The team however, had been prepared to radio a full-powered radio message if the Martians attacked their Antarctic camp.Byrd then sent out an experimental amateur short-wave radio message. “Greetings from Little America to the radio amateurs of the Pacific Division. Am glad for this opportunity to acknowledge the big debt our North and South Pole expeditions owe to the amateur radio operators. Cordial good wishes in which all of Little America join. Richard Byrd.”
The New York Times – 30 November 1929
BYRD SAFELY FLIES TO SOUTH POLE AND BACK
LOOKING OVER ‘ALMOST LIMITLESS PLATEAU’;
DROPS FOOD, LIGHTENS SHIP ON PERILOUS TRIP
Commander Takes Chance and Plane Roars Upward Amid Swirling Drift
LITTLE America, Antarctica, Nov. 29. – Commander Richard E. Byrd flew into camp at 10:10 o’clock this morning, having been gone eighteen hours and fifty-nine minutes.
Deaf from the roar of the motors, tired from the continual stain of the flight and the long period of navigation under difficulties Commander Byrd was still smiling and happy. He had reached the South Pole after as hazardous and as difficult a flight as has ever been made in an airplane, tossed by gusts of wind, climbing desperately up the slopes of glaciers a few hundred feet above the surface.
Swooping Upward Through Swirling Drift
The high mountains shut them in all around as they forced their way upward; Balchen, conserving his fuel to the utmost, coaxing his engines, picking the up-currents of air as best he could to help the plane ride upward. Clouds swirled about them at times, puff-balls of mist driven down the glacier; drift scurried beneath them; it was a wicked place for an airplane to be hemmed in by the wall of the towering peaks on either side. They finally reached the hump at an elevation of 11,500 feet, as indicated by the barograph, although it might have been a little more, because of the difference in pressure inland.
Upon their return the Antarctic expedition members were honored with gold medals from the American Geographical Society. The United States would later issue a postage stamp in honor of Byrd. At Committee headquarters plans were made to conduct military operations against the Martian base as soon as possible, code named “Martian South”. If we could pull it off we hoped to attack the base and release any humans we could find.
As for Miss McKinley, she became the sweetheart of the world, and after numerous interviews, took up residence in New Los Angeles to star in the movies. Her first movie was all about her adventure with a group of men in Antarctica, which of course failed to make any mention of Martians. And as far as I know she still lives in the suburbs of Hollywood, or what now remains of the area!
With a large amount of geographic data in hand Nova Terra went back to Lower-London to work on other projects within the Committee including a proposed treaty with Mars. At the time it was still a very highly classified project which very few members knew about. It would be a few years however before any treaty attempt would be made. We needed to be much stronger economically as well as militarily to attempt such advanced plans.
Radio Echoes from ‘Mars’
At almost the same time as Byrd was making his efforts in Antarctica Dr. Roger Bracewell in New York was receiving some very strange radio “echoes” (LDEs or Long-Delayed Echoes) which he was able to record on a new recording “tape” device in October and November of 1928. Radio station PCJJ in Eindhoven, Netherlands, had been broadcasting their new music and news commentary shows to a limited audience when Bracewell picked up not only the original broadcast signal he was also able to pickup and record the identical broadcast or echo anywhere from three to thirty seconds later. And interestingly the echoes were just as clear as the original signal; in fact they were clearer and stronger at some points.
Seeking confirmation Bracewell cabled several individuals he knew who were working on wireless projects and was soon rewarded. Other workers in Eindhoven, New London, Upper-New York City and Oslo were also picking up the echo transmissions. The fact that a New York City receiver could pick up a signal from a local low power radio station in the Netherlands was most unusual, but the secondary signal was unheard of. The Committee soon had teams working on the problem.
Wireless signals bouncing off of the moon was his first thought, but that could only account for a signal echo of about 2.5 seconds delay (the time it takes to hit the moon and have the signal rebound back to Earth) and it would have been constantly at around 2.5 seconds not a variable time from 3 to 30 seconds or longer. Another problem with the theory was that the moon was not always in direct line of sight during many of the echo broadcasts. So the human connection bounced off of the moon was soon discounted. It was also noted that the echoes were not only very clear, seemingly cleaned up with no static whatsoever, but the echoes were becoming much more powerful than the original broadcast signal hence one of the reasons why it was possible to pick them up in New York. At the time this was unheard of. What we could not understand was how it was possible to pick up the original broadcast in the first place?
On 11 October radio engineer Jorgen Hals and Carl Stormer working in Oslo made a breakthrough when they recorded a full 40 minutes of an echo broadcast. When the recorded signal was played back and compared with the original broadcast there were slight, but very distinct pulses implanted within the echo recording. Extracted and isolated the echo recording seemed to be a musical score. When plotted out on a chart the pulses were at first thought to be generally random even thought they appeared to be somewhat musical. However, Edward Appleton and R. L. A. Borrow at Kings College, New London, were able to use the pulses to produce a map of the Earth! Their work was immediately classified Most-Secret and moved to Lower-London for further investigation. It would take eighteen months of complicated mathematical computations, under the direction of Dr. Albert Einstein, but at last the message within the echoes could be “read,” and once again the Martians were involved.
The Martians had somehow taken the energy wave from the original radio transmission and used it to implant and transmit a map of the Earth showing several areas of interest on our planet. We learned from the “radio map” that the Martians were still in place at both the North and South Polar regions in several locations, not just the poles as recently revealed by Byrd’s flight and Peary’s early northern work. They were also very interested in the center of Greenland (a small group perhaps), off the coast of Antarctica (where we had not yet gone) and had possibly placed a small (by Martian standards) orbital platform circling the Earth! The map also showed that they knew about the Lower-New York City project. It was further deduced that the map had been sent to their hybrid operatives on Earth, the Martian Brotherhood, who were expected to once again launch an attack on Lower-New York City or other high-value targets as soon as possible. We told ourselves we would be ready.
The map also indicated areas in the western Pacific along the “Ring-of-Fire” which had seemingly captured their attention. It was thought at the time that some type of unknown deep-water resource had been discovered by the Martians that we were unaware of. Only much later would we discover the true reason for their interest in those areas. We were well aware of their efforts at seismic work in and around the Pacific on both sides of the ocean. What else they were up to could only be guessed at.
In the meantime, since we had accidentally discovered how the Martians were communicating with their hybrids at least at some level, it meant that we would be able to intercept at least some of their messages. It was clear that this meant the Martians had supplied the hybrids with sophisticated electronic devices to unscramble the signals they were sending. Yet, this equipment was nowhere near as sophisticated as their first line communications equipment we would later uncover. That communication equipment would prove to be so far advanced that even our best people have yet to duplicate its workings. We would eventually learn how to use it, but we just do not know how to build one. To be honest we simply do not understand how they worked. The problem for us at the time was that it took far too long to intrepid the messages. With this in mind a new team of linguists and crypto-analysis including hybrids working with the Committee, were set to work on the problem at our facility north of New London. Needless to say, security was immediately increased in and around both upper and Lower-New York City and it was put on high priority to have it re-enforced with even more steel and concrete. Even for the Martians Lower-New York City was going to be a very tough nut to crack. Despite the fact that other underground cities were not on the intercepted map added security and reinforced steel doors were installed at those locations as well. Added military patrols were put into place at all below ground facilities.
Editor’s Note: Mars Prime began to send false messages with this system around this time – Generally these messages were not successful – Some success was achieved when local hybrids were brought in for this work.
At the same time plans were made to set up a trap for the would-be attackers on Lower-New York City. OP Tango and Tango Teams 3 and 4 were put on tactical alert and began working on a counter attack plan. This was the first time we had clear intelligence of a target by the Brotherhood before it occurred and we were going to take full advantage of it. And, just in case it was a false target, heavy weapon’s teams were set to other below and above ground installations as well. It was also the first time we had a reasonably clear idea of where we should look for Martians on Earth. As for the ones reported to be in orbit about our Earth – there was no chance yet to do anything about it.
RADIO SCHOOLS ON THE AIR
In other matters related to radio and its uses around this time several nations, mainly the United States, nations in Western Europe and parts of Asia, began broadcasting to students in their respective areas. Standard radio and short-wave broadcasters were now beaming classroom programs to children who would otherwise be difficult to reach by conventional methods. With a critical shortage of teachers in many areas this new program would help fill in many of the gaps. The radio broadcasts, when coupled with assignments mailed to the students, would eventually reach millions of students around the world. As always we were attempting to link as many people to each other over vast areas of our recovering planet. Focus would remain on grades 1 through 12 for the first few years. Only later would college courses be added to the mix.
By 1928 several nations had built new aircraft carriers capable of higher speeds up to 34 knots and with the ability to deploy upwards of 80 aircraft from each carrier. Again the Americans led the way with the 890 foot long USS Lexington and USS Saratoga. Both had been built on battle cruiser hulls and would be deployed in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans along with six other large American carriers.
The British had built the HMS Valiant, HMS Defiant and the HMS Victoria to patrol the Atlantic while the Japanese built the Zuikaka, Shokaku, Shoho and the Neosho to patrol the northern half of the western Pacific. Many more carriers were on the way including smaller fast carriers built by the Americans such as the USS Ranger and the USS Wasp.
Before these national and Committee building programs were finished, world military forces would deploy nearly 200 aircraft carriers around the world in every ocean and large sea, as well as off the coasts of many large population centers. We were determined to control the shipping lanes and the open oceans of the world. No one thought it would be an easy task, or for that matter if any type of control was even possible, but that was not going to stop this building program.
It was also at this time that the Japanese government announced the commissioning of the Heavy Cruiser Myoko. This was the most heavily armed cruiser on Earth with ten 8” deck guns, 52 anti-aircraft guns and 12 torpedo tubes. The Myoko was the first 10,000 ton cruiser and became the model for armed cruisers world-wide. With her great speed and massive firepower it would take a good deal of effort for the Martians to put this grand ship out of operation. By 1936 this ship also held four solid rocket launched fighters.
By the end of 1928 Chiang Kai-shek had become president of China (with the help of Committee operatives). At the same time the Committee received word that a new type of “safety glass” had been developed by the back-engineering teams working on Martian devices. They also reported that they had been able to produce a completely synthetic rubber. Both products would soon be manufactured in both underground and above ground facilities. This teams’ next goal would be to produce synthetic oils and fuels in the event that primary sources had somehow become unavailable during a war, a rather likely event. Massive underground storage of both oil and fuel would also become part of that program. Within five years individual nations were expected to have at least a 30 day supply of oil and refined gas stored underground in case of emergency. It was understood that this emergency was expected to come from Mars. By this time the Advanced Projects Group were designing several facilities for the refinement of oil and gas in an underground environment. This work would prove very difficult as the teams pressed on to draw up plans for both natural cave and tunnel programs. It was expected that these underground refinement facilities would come into full production after any surface war with the Martians. The Advanced Projects Group was now fully involved with planning for a post-Martian war situation on a vast scale. Fully protected hidden infrastructure of all kinds was their primary responsibility.
We were also informed that Dr. Edwin P. Hubble had indeed confirmed the Martian report that the entire universe was expanding (Ref: Martian Electronic Document 294P14). Earlier, he had shown incontrovertible proof that Messier object 31, better known as the Andromeda Nebula, was in fact an extragalactic object and a galaxy in its own right. “There is a roughly linear relation between velocities and distances. The outstanding feature is the possibility that numerical data may be introduced into discussions of the general curvature of space.” We had gone from superior beings (in our minds and myths) on our planet in the only galaxy that we ‘knew’ was all there was, to perhaps one of millions of species in our own galaxy alone. Now we knew there could be hundreds or perhaps even millions of galaxies in space and time. Humans were beginning to feel rather small indeed in such a universe as this. Nevertheless, small as we were, we still had a rather large local problem to deal with – Martians! And I for one felt that they were problem enough for the time being.
Early 1929 saw the publication of Yuri Kondratyuk’s 72-page book titled The Conquest of Interplanetary Space. In this futuristic work Kondratyuk laid out plans for habitation in space using space stations as well as detailing a method of using the masses of the inner planets as gravity assists (a sling shot effect) which would allow the sending of unmanned (and eventually manned) spacecraft to the outer planets of Jupiter and Saturn with much smaller amounts of fuel and at a much increased speed. More than a fictional tale he actually worked out the mathematics of sending spacecraft from Earth orbit to the moon and on to Mars. That portion of his work was of great interest to the Committee as the possibility of someday sending a craft to Mars was very much on the minds of those who were responsible for advance planning. However, at the time our attentions were once again focused on Martian allies a good deal closer to home.
At this time we heard disturbing news coming once again from the Soviet Union. They had recently finished a major canal project, the Moscow-Volga Canal, which would vastly increase their movement of products and people. The project had been started after it was discovered that the Martians had not attacked Earth’s canal systems. It was thought that in any future war the Martians may not attack any of Earth’s canals perhaps expecting to put them to use after the humans had been vanquished. The canal opening was overseen by Stalin with a speech also given by the chief contracting manager. Word came to the Committee that immediately after the contractor’s speech he was removed from the reviewing platform and shot! We later learned that at least 200 other project supervisors and managers were also summarily executed because the canal project had fallen behind schedule. The truth was that many in the Committee openly debated what organization would eventually assassinate more Russians the Martians or the Soviets?
The Brotherhood Attack Lower-New York City
15 March 1929
We knew they were coming and this time we also knew where they were expected to attack, at least generally. The only aspect of the attack we did not know was exactly when and what type of weapons they were planning on using. Even our operatives around the perimeters of the Brotherhood could not give us that information. Nevertheless, we were about as ready as we could be. All we could do now was wait. The one thing we did not do was warn the general public too soon! We would wait until the last possible moment so as not to “tip our hand.” And let us be clear on that account, we knew that decision would cost lives, but we needed to “take out” as many of these terrorists as possible. We were at war and casualties were to be expected.
On 15 March 1929 the Martian Brotherhood staged a major attack on the Lower-New York City facility. The long day had begun. From no fewer than five directions over 500 members of the Brotherhood hit the facility at exactly 6 a.m. We had received a final last minute communication from one of our operatives that the attack had been set for that morning. The final warning came only 45 minutes before the attack. With that we began to close off the massive facility as well as warning people by loudspeakers to go home and stay away from any official underground facilities. Most of the area had been secured by time the attack came. Nevertheless before it was over hundreds were dead and thousands more were injured. Yet, despite the sophisticated weapons used by these terrorists the people of Lower-New York City were able to show the enemy what it really meant to be human and to fight for a small piece of our home planet.
We had been strengthening our underground military and police forces almost as soon as we had information about the attack. Slowly, so as not to indicate a major buildup was under way, reinforced battalions of crack infantry troops had been stationed at strategic points all around the underground city moving into positions mostly at ‘night’. There were also several groups of Marines who had come into town on ‘liberty’. They were to have the look of men off duty but in reality they were sent in as small teams to be stationed at critical points in the city. Needless to say, we did not forget to deploy extra forces in Upper-New York just in case an attack was also planned for the above ground city.
Newly designed concrete and steel ‘choke points’ appearing to be parked vehicles were put into place which could be used to block certain areas in the event of attack. Other areas along selected L-streets had been re-worked as ambush points. Engineers had also designed portable booby traps which could be quickly put into place in the event Brotherhood forces made their way down certain priority L-streets such as near Committee headquarters and other top priority areas. Needless to say, Tango and Committee security forces were at 50% alert status and would be ready to mount a counter attack at a moment’s notice.
As the outside attackers began their point assaults on five selected entrances, Brotherhood members who had already infiltrated Lower-New York City set off seven explosive devices around the complex. These devices went off at L-City Hall, next to the lower North Police Headquarters, L-Central Park, just outside the Central Electrical Control Station, the main water treatment plant’s outer perimeter wall west of the city, the front entrance to the Records Building and the entrance to the West River Tunnel. Within seconds Committee headquarters became aware of each attack. Needless to say, there was a good deal of local damage inflicted on these areas, as well as scores of dead, but not one of these powerful devices was able to collapse any of the tunnels. Later interrogations of the surviving attackers indicated that the Brotherhood terrorists had expected to destroy at least four of the main tunnel areas along with their point targets. Yet, due to the extensive strengthening work done in all critical areas there was some structural roof damage, but not one tunnel completely collapsed during the entire battle – not one! This murderous “test by fire” had shown that our building efforts had stood the test.
Fires soon broke out at L-City Hall, the Central Electrical Control Station and the Records Building as the terrorists began to make their way towards secondary targets. Most of them did not get very far as police, military, Tango and military reserve forces had been strategically placed throughout the city in squad, company and battalion strength, ready to respond to attacks on any part of the city did their jobs. The speed of our counter attacks and the depth of our preparations would come as a great shock to the enemy. The few survivors informed their interrogators that they expected to be counter attacked, but not nearly as fast as it had occurred.
The first four terrorists to be cut down were the ones who had placed the explosive device next to the police headquarters. Within seconds heavily armed police teams surrounded the hybrids and cut them down with interlocking rifle fire. The hybrids had been unaware that police headquarters had been almost completely evacuated as it was expected to be one of the prime terrorist targets. Police had been re-deployed in small teams around and near the building ready for the attack. The building itself had been sandbagged on the inside and closed off with only a small volunteer crew “keeping the lights on”. The hybrids that attacked the building were able to run no more than 40 feet before they met their end.
At L-Central Park the explosive device had been placed in the gazebo and went off with a resounding roar. Anyone in the by then mostly deserted park would surely have a load ringing in their ears. The bomb itself had destroyed half of the gazebo’s structural supports and had punched a rather large hole in the roof, cracking several other areas in the roof radiating from the blast. What it failed to do was collapse the roof over the gazebo. The heavily reinforced structure had taken a fearful blast and would need to be completely rebuilt – but it had held!
The six Brotherhood members assigned to the park were soon making their way out of the smoking park in two-man teams moving north, south and west. Military and police forces who were responsible for their capture later reported that none of these Brotherhood terrorists appeared to believe they were on anything other than a suicide mission as they ran down the L-streets firing at anyone they came into contact with. Other than the two-man team who ran out of the western side of the park – they were terminated within feet of the west exit by a squad of Marines – the other Brotherhood members were clearly not interested in the squads of police running and firing at them. They were intent on killing as many innocent people as they could. In the end as the teams who ran north were running out of ammunition – both had been wounded – they suddenly stopped – turned towards their pursuers and pulled a lanyard on their vests. They evaporated in a great pink explosive cloud of debris! In all these two Brotherhood terrorists had taken the lives of 32 people and wounded 62 others. The attacks continued.
The two hybrids who had escaped south from the park soon found themselves cornered in a small side tunnel which had only recently been cut and had yet to be converted into usable space. Seeing that they were trapped by police and military reserve forces the two hybrids turned to rush those who had trapped them firing as they ran towards the entrance. These two seemed to believe that if they fired enough rounds they may have been able to fight their way out. A very ‘lucky’ round ended their charge setting off one of their explosive vests, but as luck would have it only a small portion of the charge went off. It was however, powerful enough to cut both hybrids in half in a red-pink ball of flame. None of their pursuers were killed or wounded in the blast.
The defenders were soon radioing back to their headquarters that the hybrids were wearing bomb packs, which was relayed to Committee Headquarters. As it turned out Committee Headquarters was at the time under attack by no fewer than 100 heavily armed hybrids determined to destroy as much of our Lower-New York Headquarters as possible. It would be a very severe test of our layers of security. The determination of the hybrids was nothing less than astounding.
Committee headquarters can normally be entered from two directions – north and south. (There is a western escape tunnel under the main complex, but it is not used on a regular basis.) Due to our knowledge of the impending attack the north entrance had been closed off by two massive steel doors with a sign indicating that they were “closed for repair.” The southern entrance was, by the time of the attack, the only way in. We were ready, and so were the hybrids and they were packing heat, big time.
The hybrids hit the first line of defense (green line) at Committee Headquarters at 6:10 a.m. having earlier blasted past the city entrance way with small handheld rockets, heavy machine guns and several hand held Heat-Rays. The eight minute battle at the Broadway and Park Row entrance had cost the hybrids 21 members. The cost to our forces was well over 80. Nevertheless, we had slowed the attack and by the time the hybrids hit the ‘green’ defensive line at Committee Headquarters we were ready with a few surprises of our own.
The first four hybrids to attack the steel barrier at L-Broadway Park South set off rockets which punched a rather large hole in the barrier. This was followed up by four other hybrids running at the blackened opening firing their hand-held Heat-Rays. The steel frame began to melt and run into the street. However, 100 feet from the front entrance (green) the floor and both walls of the L-street came alive with fire. Tango members had ignited a wall of flame 50 feet long which completely engulfed the four hybrids that exploded into now slower moving balls of fire! Thirty seconds later the steel-grated floor of the entrance tunnel fell away as planned dropping the still burning hybrid corpses to a pit 40 feet below. There was now no way to enter the Committee Headquarters from the south until the steel-grated floor was raised. At least that was what we thought at this point in the battle.
One of the young Marines attached to the Committee team yelled, “Come on your Martian sons of bitches – come on!” A veteran Tango captain who could not help but smile turned to the Marine Sgt. and said, “Don’t worry son, they will.”
At the same time Lower defense forces had just about finished killing or capturing the hybrids that had set off the first bombs at the original point targets. By now we had four other areas coming under sustained attack by the Brotherhood. At four Lower-New York entrances 80 to 85 hybrids were pouring into each location having fought their way past the security teams and barriers (which in total cost them 50 hybrids) at L-Fifth Avenue near the New York Public Library, West L-31st Street by the General Post Office, L-West Street by the financial district and finally West L-15TH Street near the Port Authority facility. Each set battle had been bloody on both sides with defense force losses set at 100 dead and 64 wounded. Entrance was made only after the hybrids hit each of the underground entrances with truck bombs followed by rockets and hand held Heat-Ray attacks. Nevertheless, due to the determined defense it took at least 30 minutes for them to clear the ways for their assault forces to even enter the facility. Now the real fight would begin.
Each path these hybrids took towards their selected targets was pre-set with ‘Martian Traps’ which would prove their worth under combat conditions. One example would be the group of terrorists who attacked the new underground Port Authority facility which also happened to be one of the largest depositories of ammunition stored underground in Lower-New York. It was, to say the least, well defended, and much more than the hybrids had anticipated.
As the hybrids shot their way towards the Port Authority they came under withering fire from two infantry companies who had set up four layers of interlocking machine gun fire supported by electric floor traps. The hybrids had the advantage of suicide bombers wearing vests backed by at least ten members with new hand-held Heat-Rays. The hybrids sent in four suicide bombers first getting within 50 feet of the first line of defense before setting off their bombs which were immediately followed by several Heat-Ray firing hybrids. This amount of firepower appeared to push the infantry back until the defenders set off the electric floor. The floor went off almost as planned electrifying 20 of the closest hybrids in mid-stride before it short-circuited, later discovered to have been damaged due to the explosives. (We would need to strengthen the circuits and protect them much better.)
By now this group of hybrids was down to 45 members. Reaching the second defensive layer four hybrids ran up to the steel half wall and set off their bomb vests. The pink laced explosion punched a hole in the wall and a rather large hole in the ceiling of the tunnel. Heavily damaged the ceiling still held – barely. Once past the now heavily damaged half wall barrier the hybrids found themselves in a brutal crossfire with grenades and machine guns. They would get no closer to the Port Authority. It was time to pull out. Only 29 out of the original 100 hybrids set to attack the entrance way to the Port Authority remained alive. It now became a running battle in the L-streets around the Port Authority as the infantry, backed by well-armed L-police forces went headlong after the fleeing hybrids. As they fled the hybrids broke up into smaller and smaller groups with only one objective in mind – kill as many people as possible before they themselves were killed or captured.
Back at Committee Headquarters Tango and Security forces were now fully engaged with the Brotherhood hybrids. The fuel had been exhausted from the fire trap and the hybrids had placed metal beams and other debris across the open ‘floor’ area now moving across backed by bursts from their Heat-Rays. They had also blasted a hole into a side tunnel and were making their way towards the Committee offices. There they would find a few more surprises developed by the good Dr. Tesla and his teams when they got there.
As the hybrids moved forward using both machine guns and hand held Heat-Rays they found themselves in an open area, drawn there by retreating Tango and security forces. They were now much closer to entering the Committee Headquarters and they were exactly where we wanted them. As they came into contact with the front of the re-enforced rod-iron fence fifty loudspeakers were turned on letting out a tremendous high-pitched noise. At the same time 200 high-intensity lights snapped on blinding all of them. At that point Tango members, all wearing protective glasses and earplugs, opened up with a withering sheet of machine gun fire and flame throwers. For the next 30 seconds Tango forces pored fire on the hybrids shooting at anything that even appeared to be moving. When it was all over not a single hybrid was alive – save one – who was very badly burned. That hybrid lasted as long as it took one of the Tango officers to walk up to him and put a bullet into his head. The fight at the Committee south entrance was over. That was not the case in several other areas in Lower-New York as the hybrids continued to press their attacks on the people and institutions of Lower-New York.
At the Public Library and General Post Office pitched battles were now ongoing. At the library police and military forces were fighting a desperate room-to-room battle with no fewer than 60 hybrids. Several explosives had gone off inside as the hybrids attempted to set fire to several floors. Dozens had already been killed as the hybrids made their way to the building with at least 30 more killed inside when the hybrids stormed the building. Orders were issued by the Committee to evacuate the building an hour into the battle for the library. Power to the library was then cut off and the only light emitting from the structure came from several fires. Four teams of Tango operations with new special ‘night optics’ glasses entered the building when the evacuation was complete. Their job was to simply locate and kill every hybrid in the building now completely surrounded and cut off. Their sweeps would take well over two hours by which time a full 1/3rd of the books had been destroyed by fire. However, none of those books were first or only editions so they could be replaced and the damage could be soon repaired. One cannot say the same about the 63 hybrids killed in the fighting with a loss of 124 civilians and 14 members of Tango.
After the initial attack on the post office the approximately 60 Brotherhood members who had survived the attack spread out in all directions. For the most part their efforts at the well re-enforced post office had limited structural effect however the death toll had been substantial. 129 people had been killed along with only 18 hybrid terrorists.
From the post office the hybrids moved south and north on L-Eighth Avenue and east/west on L-West 31st Street. Firing at anything that moved these terrorists attempted to kill as many people as they could. In teams as small as two or three they went as far as they could before meeting up with armed resistance either by police and military forces or in several cases – armed civilians who had joined in the hunt for these terrorists. The Flower Market battle was but one example of the citizens of Lower-New York taking it upon themselves as one participant later explained, “To take out the Martian trash and put as many bullets into as many Martian terrorists as possible.”
In the end not a single Martian hybrid survived as any wounded hybrids were executed on the spot mostly by angry civilians well-armed for the ‘job’.
[END PART 45]
Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020