[PART 52]

Attack on Antarctic Coastal Base

The Southern Cross reconnaissance had shown that the Martians were at the south geologic pole. So it was really no surprise when we received word that there was some type of Martian activity on the coast of Antarctica. In fact we would have been a bit surprised if there was nothing else going on as we had plenty of evidence to indicate that the vast continent of over five million square miles would be a rather prime location for our Martian adversaries. Now it seemed they had expanded their efforts on the cold icy subcontinent to its edges.

The area concerned along the Antarctic coast was named George V Coast located between Victoria Land and Wilkes Land. The point of land thought to be occupied had been originally identified and mapped by Lt Charles Wilkes of the United States Navy in 1840 and named Cape Hudson. During February 1913 as part of our Antarctic Martian reconnaissance program Douglas Mawsom of the Australian team had closely charted large sections of this coast moving from point to point by sledge. During his difficult work he was able to keep in radio contact with military forces on Marquarie Island. His reports were then relayed to Lower-Sydney. During his time there he was able to confirm that there was no Martian activity anywhere to be seen on the surface even though he was able to report sighting several “unidentified aerial craft in the general area.”

We began to speculate on exactly why the Martians would choose this particular location to set up shop. The area is nearly constantly sweep by bitter cold winds blowing off the ice sheet that drops off the nearby cliffs. (Not too bad of weather for Martians.) It was brought to our attention that the Magnetic South Pole was just south of that location even though it was some 1526 miles north of the geographic South Pole known of course to be Martian occupied. Since we knew the Martians had used magnetic lines of force to navigate and travel we soon concluded that this could very well be their southern orbital entry point. If that were the case we needed to remove that base as soon as possible. This Martian base just inland of Joseph Cook Bay at the top of the cliffs at around 1900 feet above sea level became a top priority target for the Committee.

As one Aussie remarked, “The area is claimed by Australia and New Zealand and we can live with that, but I’ll tell you what mate I’ll be damned if we will allow some bloody Martian to put in a claim.”

Our reconnaissance team sent in by submarine was able to take several very good photos of the cliff-high base from the sea and after a very difficult climb several good photos were taken from the east end of the small facility before returning to Sydney. It was clear that the only way we could successfully engage the enemy would be to hit it with off-shore batteries. The base was too difficult to attack with enough force from land and any bombers could be easily attacked by the single Heat-Ray in the center of the base. They seemed to be well prepared to defend against an aerial attack. However, the Martians appeared to have made a tactical error. If we could attack the base and the cliffs it sat on with heavy gun fire we could very well destroy it before they had a chance to re-direct their Heat-Ray which as it stood at the time was not in a good position to fire at targets off shore.

Plans were soon completed by our Sydney Committee Headquarters to send in three battleships supported by an attack submarine which would pave the way and coordinate the attack. Standing by to support the operation would be three new Phoenix Alpha II fighter-bombers based out of Melbourne. The fighter-bombers would be set to go in, if and when the battleships could confirm that they had knocked out the Heat-Ray. At that point the fighter-bombers would fly in and destroy any remaining targets on the surface even as the battleships continued to fire on the cliffs just below the Martian facility. By attempting to collapse the cliffs it was hoped that any underground facilities not evident from the reconnaissance could also be destroyed.

The task force set out from Melbourne in the early hours of 12 February 1934 with Committee submarine Tiger Fish leading the battleships USS Iowa, USS Arizona and the Australian Navy’s battleship ARN Victoria. Assembling 20 miles off the coast of Antarctica the battleships positioned themselves in a line ready to attack, awaiting the word to go by the Tiger Fish. The area was generally free of ice all the way in. It was a perfect summer day in Antarctica; clear and cold. It did not take long for the sub to radio the code word “Sunrise”. As one, all three battleships went to full steam heading for the icy volcanic cliffs of Joseph Cook Bay.

As the battleships made their way south the Phoenix Alpha IIs took off from Melbourne Station and headed to a holding point ten miles behind (north) of the ships waiting their turn to attack the Martian base. Moments after the ships arrived on station the battleships opened up on the base. The first to fire a salvo of six shells was the Victoria soon followed by the Iowa and Arizona. Directing and adjusting the fires were two teams of special naval forces which had been transported to the west of the Martian base by the CS Sea Devil. It was not long before the Martians attempted to return fire however despite the fact that they were firing directly at the ships the Heat-Ray was not able to depress low enough to hit any of them. The Heat-Ray did however cause the fighters to scatter and fly “on the deck” for the next few minutes. That was long enough for the battleships to score several direct hits on the Heat-Ray completely destroying the deadly device. Fire was then shifted to the face of the 1900 foot cliff. It was at that point the fighters were ordered in to finish off the base.

Swinging south and in a perfect diamond formation the fighter/bombers flew directly at the base unloading a series of 200 pound bombs most of which landed on target. After the successful run the fighter/bombers were coming around for a second pass when a radio call came up, “Martian Flying Machines at due south on the deck.” This fight had just become an aerial dog fight with two Martian Flying Machines.

It was thought the Martians must have come from their base at the geographic South Pole having received word from their coastal base that it was under attack. However, we soon realized that even the Martians could not fly that far that fast in the atmosphere so their arrival must have been coincidental. It was one hell of a coincidence. Nevertheless, they had arrived too late to save the base but were right on time to engage our new Phoenix Alpha IIs in a dog fight over the ice fields of Antarctica.

Hearing the radio call all three fighter/bombers peeled off to engage the Martians dropping to the deck as close as they could to the ice. This was extremely dangerous given the fact that there was very little in the way of indicators as to how close they really were. They were in fact so close to the blue-white sheet of ice that trails of disrupted ice and snow marked their passing.

Both groups opened up at the same time. The Phoenix Alpha IIs fired two air-to-air missiles each immediately followed by machine gun fire. The Martians fired Heat-Rays but incredibly both beams missed their targets and only one missile impacted one of the Martian Flying Machines. The Martian was clearly hit and trailing black smoke however it was still able to fly and maneuvered very well. It was clearly not out of the fight by any means.

As the aircraft passed each other the Martians continued heading towards the battleships which by now were firing every available weapon they had at the fast approaching enemy aircraft. The firing was so intense that it seemed to be nothing more than a gray sheet heading towards the in incoming planes and the gunners were hitting their targets. The first damaged Martian craft with the second Martian flying as his wing man flew directly at the Arizona unleashing a beam of white hot energy at the center of the ship. Within seconds the ship as on fire and the flames were spreading fast. Nevertheless, the men on the now crippled Arizona continued to fire on the Martian.

As the crews from the Iowa and Victoria poured gunfire on the Martians the now severely damaged first Martian Flying Machine passed over the Arizona making a very tight 360 degree turn. Once again flying directly at the Arizona the machine was no longer able to fire its Heat-Ray. The craft simply flew directly into the side of the Arizona and exploded with a tremendous clap of thunder. The explosion pulled the ship out of the water and split it in half! One minute later what remained of the great ship disappeared under the Antarctic Ocean. Out of a crew of 1177 men only five survived the attack. Once again a military engagement with the Martians had proved to be very costly.

By now the second Martian craft could be seen flying south trailing thick clouds of smoke. The Phoenix Alpha IIs did not chase after it.

As rescue crews from the Iowa set out to pick up any survivors the Victoria continued firing at the cliffs. Two of the fighter-bombers went back to “dismantling” the small Martian base as the third flew high cover in case the Martians attempted a second go at the attack force. Within 20 minutes there was nothing identifiable on the surface. Five minutes later a large section of the ice covered volcanic cliff collapsed. As it fell away tunnels could be clearly seen which proved once again that the Martians had dug into the ground for their needs. The costly mission had been accomplished. It was time to lick our wounds and go home. After he was briefed on the operation the Prime Director would comment, “That was quite a cost for one stinking little Martian outpost.” He would later write to the families of the lost crew.

We will long remember the Arizona and the sacrifice her crew made in defense of this planet. It is a deep heart-felt loss. Their courage, determination and fighting skill will live on in all of us as an example of what it takes to defeat this most difficult adversary.

Finishing Up the Underground Work

Officially, the massive central core elements of the four primary underground cities of Earth were completed at the same time on 1 July 1935 at 12 noon GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) after nearly three and a half decades of work. Waiting for the last brick to be “officially placed into a wall” were crews in their respective cities of Lower-London, Lower-New York City and Lower-Sydney. They had effectively been finished with their underground work for weeks and many of the crews were now working on above ground projects. In the case of Lower-New York work had been completed for about a year, but all were to be ‘officially’ completed on the same day, same hour and just for history, the same minute. That time had finally come as the “golden bricks” were mortared into place when Lower-Upola, Samoa, signaled that they were ready. The final project needing to be completed in Samoa was the state of the art desalination plant built completely underground right next to the electric generating plant. Both facilities were now on line and fully operational.

Behind the bricks were placed small metal boxes with the names of all the men who had lost their lives building these facilities and there was no mention as to whether the lost workers had been there as regular workers or as prisoners – all were simply listed by chronological order of their deaths on the projects. In all some 33,163 names were on those four lists. This was only part of the cost humanity had to pay to complete four large underground facilities in preparation for interplanetary war with Mars. On this day the new Lower city mayors also took their oaths of office as they prepared for city business. Naturally they had been in office for a good many months but this would be their ‘official’ start date.

One of the final major additions to the underground cities program was to put into place a rather large series of oxygen generation facilities. These facilities used a rather simple idea to not only produce pure oxygen, but also generate hydrogen fuels. As part of the electric generation plants Dr. Tesla and his team had set up a series of thick bare wire plates built into a mesh design and placed into water reservoirs. Positive charges released oxygen from the water (H2O) in the form of gas bubbles while negative charges released hydrogen. These captured gases were then collected for the hydrogen and saved or released into the outside atmosphere or as with the oxygen, stored or released into the tunnel complex of the underground cities (mostly released). With this method in place there would be a continuous production of oxygen and a continuous out gassing of gases from the facilities. In point of fact the oxygen levels in the underground cities soon rose to 1-2 percent higher than normal Earth atmosphere. These methods insured that positive atmospheric pressure would be maintained at all times in the lower-cities.

This was also a celebration of the rather large new libraries which had also been built into all three primary underground cities. These were part of the Vaults for Mankind program, but separate in and that these were regular libraries well stocked for the public. Hundreds of underground museums of all kinds had also been completed in both large and small facilities around the world.

It was also noted that the International Red Cross had by now set up some 1425 facilities around the world in every major population center on Earth as well as many outlying areas fully stocked and prepared for what may let come from our planetary adversaries on Mars.

This same year Philo Farnsworth completed his three-city Electronic Vision system (TV) which could be used by the underground city control centers to transmit live video images of major control areas around the world as long as they were connected by underground cable. This three-city test had gone so well that the Committee decided to place video cameras in critical places around many cities in order to keep an eye on the enemy even if there were no humans in the area. Many would be placed in view of the Black Smoke defense fields.

We also finished the work on the world-wide cable system for back up communications in case radio transmissions proved to be impossible. For the most part every major population center on Earth as well as many other less populated areas was now directly linked with this underwater, underground system. We all knew that it was old technology, but the Martians had not attacked the system intentionally during the First Martian War and we had every reason to believe that this new system would go unnoticed by them when they returned for a second go at the planet. And even if they discovered the cable system and attacked it the system was so widespread that it would be impossible to destroy the entire Earth system. At the same time the first primitive international telephone system was completed and was up and running. For now the system linked all of the world’s major cities, but work would continue around the world to hook-up as many outer lying areas as possible. Needless to say, many of these new “telephone companies” were at least partly owned and operated by “Committee men.” By now there were some 25 million phones in America and at least 30 million more world-wide. How long they would be operational during a major interplanetary war was anyone’s guess. Overlapping systems was the key.

As far as commercial radio was concerned by the mid 1930s nearly every home in the United States and Canada had a radio. In Western Europe that level dropped to around 94% with the rest of the continent at around 70%. The rest of the world came in at anywhere from 24% in Russia to 9% in most of Africa. Overall, it was felt that any important news needing to be broadcast to most of the world would be heard. With short-wave radio, cable systems and new phone lines added to the mix, for the most part the world could be informed in short order if any Martian related, or for that matter, any other news occurred they needed to learn.

DSCN1748
Radio Command center at Lower-London Committee Headquarters

COSMIC SCIENCE CONTINUES

In 1928 Professor Edwin Hubble provided confirmation that the “Martian Theory of Universal Expansion” was indeed occurring. The explosive expansion from a “cosmic egg” of pure energy, later called the “big bang” was continually pushing time and space in all directions. However, when our teams were able to complete the translation work on related Martian documents we learned that this particular “creation event” was merely the latest universal expansion caused by a previous epoch in which all matter and space eventually came together in a massive collapse. What the Martians had discovered was not so much a big bang but a tremendous gravitational rebound.

According to the Martian documents (Ref: Martian Electronic Documents 294P15, 294P16, 294P17) all matter and energy in the universe collapses to a point no larger than one ten billionth of an atom in a time reported to represent 10-44 power seconds before a theoretical complete ‘singularity’ of all of time and space would occur. At this point the force we know as gravity ‘reverses its polarity” and all of space and time in that tiny point becomes repulsive. Gravity is no longer attractive for less time than it takes light to cross from one side of a nucleus of a hydrogen atom. This massive event inflates the entire universe to, according to Martian documents, half the size of our known universe at this time in that very short period of time. This reversal of polarity appears to be what we now call the “Big Bang”.

It was also learned from Martian documents that lightning occurs in the atmospheres of both Venus and Jupiter and to a lesser degree Saturn. It has been learned that although very rare, lightning does occur in the atmosphere of Mars, in connection with one or more of the massive volcanoes reported to exist on the high plains of Mars.

I could only wonder what great and noble things these Martians could accomplish if they were not so single minded in their efforts to conduct war on a planetary scale.

Grow Lights and Fish Farms

GROW LIGHTS

Upon completion of their detailed research the group who had been back engineering Martian technology was able to deliver their latest product derived from the Martians to the new underground cities. They had perfected a viable, long lasting grow light, which had been under development for years (since 1921), which could be set up underground and used to grow just about any crop imaginable completely without sunlight. Even during a long and protracted war the people living in these lower complexes as with other smaller facilities would be able to produce some food. As we all know photosynthesis is the process by which plants use the energy of the Sun to break down carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere absorbing the carbon and releasing oxygen as a waste product. With this process on going underground it would greatly enhance the ability to scrub the air of CO2 and add another source of pure oxygen to the underground facilities. These were big wins for the people working underground. It was also noted that the people seeing real plants growing underground was a great psychological lift to them. With this in mind underground residents soon begin seeing individual trees on L-street corners with individual grow lights above them. Before long groups were adopting their own trees and taking care of them. It was just another victory for Directorate L. The only sticking point was to make certain that we had enough power to keep the grow lights on. With that in mind anyone who wanted to plant an underground tree next to grow-light area needed permission from the Lower-London City Council. Their job would be to check predicted power supply/use and say yes whenever possible. They would also check water availability.

These grow lights emitted a light spectrum that was identical to that part of the Sun’s rays, which is used by plants for photosynthesis. It is known that “natural daylight” produces the color near 6000K (bluish), which is what these “grow lights” also produce. The magic in these bulbs comes from the fact that the engineering teams were able to design these lights with the ability to produce energy waves without producing much excess heat. In other words, they would not produce unhealthy levels of heat, which could be damaging and very uncomfortable in the closed underground environment. And they could be kept on 24 hours a day if needed. These new lights had a projected lifespan of 20,000 hours (833 days) each and the teams were working on a new series of grow lights expected to last at least twice as long. They had solved the problem of long bulb lifetimes, very low heat, as well as making these bulbs energy efficient enough to be deployed. This was a big win. Dr. Tesla was particularly pleased with the new grow lights since he had recently become a vegetarian. “It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarous habit of meat eating.” Personally, I still enjoy a good steak – medium well, if you please!

In addition to the grow light advance Dr. Tesla was able to announce that workers who had been investigating possible Martian food production had managed to duplicate the Martian production of blue-green algae. In large vats the Martians had produced this product which could then be dried and eaten after it was cooked into a sort of loaf. The team was soon referring to this product as “manna from heaven” noting that it could very well resemble the food source that was reported in the Christian Bible that was reportedly sent from heaven above to the people wandering in the North African desert.

Earlier one of Tesla’s back engineering teams had disassembled the Martian ‘Manna Machine” found at the Giza complex and found it to be simple but quite eloquent and it used very little energy. Having tasted “mana bread” I must say that it was a bit bland without something on it but it was filling. I hoped I would not be eating it as a steady diet. It was not long before blue-green algae were being produced in stations set up in many of our underground as well as above ground facilities. Once again we were learning from the Martians. Many of us were starting to believe that within only a few decades or perhaps 100 years or so mankind could develop sufficient technologies to live and thrive completely underground given enough time and large enough facilities.

UNDERGROUND FISH ‘FARMS’

In addition to all of the other underground projects Committee science teams had been working on a new idea to safeguard the fishing industry as well as finding ways to produce a reliable source of fish in the event of a protracted war. With that seemingly simple idea in mind came the development of underground fish farms. We were already growing hydroponics lettuce and other green vegetables in large underground water gardens using the new grow lights. That was when the teams came up with the idea of using nearby water tanks to grow fish. The teams were looking for ways to not only use the water in the most effective manner, but needed a way to produce fertilizer for the underground crops. The answer was the fish farms.

The teams built 10,000-gallon water systems that flowed into and out of the vegetable gardens. The wastewater from the fish farm was rich in nitrates the plants needed to grow. They were used to fertilize the plants as they removed the ‘waste’ allowing the fish farms to grow the fish with the water already naturally filtered through the plant’s root systems. First tested in one of our cave structures north of Sydney we were soon building three to six story (down) structures housing large vegetable/fish farms in all major underground cities. Small farms would be built in over 200 locations around the world and although we did not expect these farms to be able to feed large populations they would feed some and be able to safeguard many of the species we most depended on for food, and in the long run that was the main reason for developing this new technology. However, calculations did show that ten such facilities covering an average city block and going to five stories deep could feed as many as 40,000 people on a semi-continuous basis and that was no small fish tale! Within two years even those estimates would be eclipsed.

Display viewing area at one of the Committee fish farms

An additional safety feature was added at this time to all four major underground cities as well as many others. Before the work was completed it was felt that putting a great many miner’s helmets in those cities would add to the feeling that one was underground. However, with the residents now quite familiar with these underground facilities it was decided to put in place some 35,000 brightly colored helmets (blue/yellow) with lamps on them into “Break When Needed” cabinets all around the cities along with two extra batteries per helmet. Next to these so-called “helmet boxes” were 35,000 new hand-held fire extinguishers and over 10,000 large ones in case of small fires as well as small first-aid kits and a few blankets. Most people however, had confidence in the fact that no fewer than eighty underground fire stations had been built and manned as part of each new city. There were also many small volunteer “Fire Teams” around the towns to augment fire support. There was very little to burn, so these men had the additional duty of providing medics available in case of medical emergencies. They would also be required to carry side arms. These were all confidence builders, however the underground crews were working on a primary fire suppression system that when completed would protect at least 40% of the L-streets. This was a pipe fed water sprinkler system attached to the center roof of the main L-streets in case of fire. It was originally designed to attack any local fires, but a secondary purpose was to create a survivable pathway out of any fire danger area. Only later were side pipes to be put in to cover individual buildings underground.

Engineers had also added other new critical safety features into each of the lower cities. Large steel doors had been installed in the major L-streets in order to isolate large areas. Nearly 1000 of these steel doors had been installed in each of the major underground cities, but they could not be activated unless the individual had the code or the “Master Door Key” which could activate the mechanism to close or open them. They could also be activated by operators in the security office for each lower city again by individuals with the proper codes. If the Martians attacked these areas the doors could be set off enclosing them – and for that matter anyone also trapped in those areas. We all knew that some people could not help but become trapped, at least for a while. We also knew that in a war many more could be saved by these newly installed steel barriers. For the most part we all tried to forget that they were there.

On 18 August 1935 the central group issued an Executive Briefing Paper EBP 1935-18 (see Appendix I) focusing on the progress made on the underground cities. By this time much of the work had been completed and the facilities really did have the look and feel of cities at night. What made them work was the overall acceptance and general use by the people of these massive facilities. A separate classified report was also written detailing the work being done on the five underground military facilities to be used as local command and control centers.

[END PART 52]

Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020

[Next week: Part 53: Science, carriers as Goddard reaches for orbit.]