[PART 9]

MASSIVE RECOVERY EFFORTS

Another truly massive effort to be accomplished was to link up these three primary underground cities along with many other areas with telegraph cables, new wires and powerful radios for communications. (Later, telephones were also set up and “plugged into the system”.) It was noted that a primary and secondary cable would need to be laid to insure the lines of communication were secure and reliable. In the end, it would take nearly ten years to repair and build the basic worldwide communication cable system, but when it was completed it did indeed link all three underground facilities, as well as many additional locations, including military facilities added to the list a few years later. Of course radio centers were also built to link up these areas, but it was expected wireless traffic would be severely disrupted by the Martians at least during the period of their first major attacks. We also knew they would focus in on wireless broadcasts which we could use to our advantage, but that would come later.

Designers and engineers quickly realized conventional building and usage practices had to be thrown out the window. Even as new above ground cities were being re-built with repaired gas lights, Lower-London as with the other underground facilities could not be lighted in this well-worn manner. Gaslights would not only use up a great deal of the oxygen available underground they would put far too much heat and toxic gases into the complex. Electric lights would need to be used throughout the entire underground city. It also became clear quite early on that horses could not be used for any great length of time as their waste would soon make life underground unbearable. The utter filth of our above ground cities in 1901, those areas that remained, were still dangerous to health due to major sewage problems, manure from thousands of horses and other animals and trash building up on the streets. Underground, these conditions would move well beyond dangerous to certain death. We would need to keep focused on these issues of sanitation.

Electric trains and small newly designed electric auto-mobiles would need to be used underground. Henry Ford, who had been working on automobile products for some time would team up with Tesla’s group to produce these “electric cars.” A second team of Dr. Ben Bailey and Thomas Edison were also working on the problem at their facility the Edison Machine Works on L-Goerch Street (partly financed by J.P. Morgan), and by 1908 the Bailey/Edison Electric Victoria Phantom could be seen on the streets and L-streets (lower) of London and New York. Sydney for the most part would become a “Ford city.” It would be Tesla and his highly skilled team who would be responsible for developing a working AC (Alternating Current) system to keep the lights on. It would need to be completely independent (self-contained) of any outside resource. Interestingly, many of these new vehicles would be built completely underground in new factories and some would never see the light of day having been built, sold, used and finally discarded completely underground. Only when they were scrapped would some be allowed a visit to the Sun!

It should not come as much of a surprise to learn that John P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller made vast new fortunes supplying Committee projects with the steel and oil used to build much of these underground facilities, not to mention thousands of other projects. Naturally Mr. Ford and Mr. Edison did very well themselves, as did Andrew Carnegie and Edwin Harriman. With this much direct access to vital recovery information and financial resources it should not come as too much of a surprise to learn most of the higher ranking Committee members did rather well for themselves. The only noted exception was Dr. Tesla who generally seemed much more interested in completing the work than acquiring great wealth. He was never interested in great personal wealth. His loves are good music, great food and the opportunity to create new inventions. “This was the one thing I wanted to be. Archimedes was my ideal. I admired the works of artists, but to my mind they were only shadows and semblances. The inventor, I thought, gives the world creations which are palpable, which live and work.” He was right at home in the Committee labs. It would not be long before Committee teams commandeered as many operating industrial and university research labs, along with their personnel in the service of world recovery. They would soon be working on developing devices and new techniques for military use under Dr. Tesla’s guidance.

Due to its isolation during the First Martian War, so vividly described by Mr. Wells and others, the British government decided to once again begin work, or rather continue an earlier work, on a tunnel under the English Channel that would connect their island nation with the European mainland. All earlier attempts had failed, but with the new emphasis on collective world defense and the possibility of using back engineered Martian technology in the near future, a renewed confidence was found. The Martians had indeed left behind two still functioning tunneling devices (as far as we could understand) that we would eventually put to very good use. (They would in the years ahead become vital parts of the tunnels program.) Within weeks a new plan had been drawn up and within 18 months workers were once again digging a tunnel under the English Channel. It was not lost on anyone that even though the tunnel was being built to allow travel between England and the mainland the work would also afford a perfect hidden bomb shelter for thousands of people should the need arise. With this in mind the builders would also construct several areas along the route where food and other supplies could be stored for emergency use.

As would be expected with manpower at a premium it did not take long for the Committee to decide to use prisoner labor for a good deal of the hard dirty work of gathering up the bodies and clearing the rubble. The new Manpower Commission was set into place to handle just this problem. The only prisoners, which were not deemed qualified for labor, were ones who had recently been convicted of brutal or violent crimes such as rape or murder. Many violent criminals had already been killed in outlying areas by local civilians before Magic Twelve martial law had been put into place. With no real use for these prisoners and no one to guard and feed them, many – after a fast review of their criminal records (at times, but not always by any means) – were simply put to death by local military firing squads or simply hung by local civilian groups. It was either release them upon a greatly wounded and very vulnerable world or end their lives knowing many more lives would in the long run probably be saved. Very few complaints were ever heard about this particular policy, other than of course from those about to be executed, which seemed to spring up rather naturally universally. Those prisoners who were not executed and instead put to work were soon required to grow their own food and fetch their own water and make their own ‘rags’. Early on, as would be expected, “quarters” for these mostly men usually consisted of a few boards of wood gathered up, hammered together and held in place by stones. ‘Crude’ would be a most fitting term. As for the locals it can be plainly stated there was no such thing as unemployment as everyone was put to work on the recovery. A single control often voiced was, “No work – no food,” and they meant it!

Despite the almost impossible number of recovery projects requiring a great deal of attention the people of New York City saw to it that one very special project was completed as soon as possible. From the ruined island site which had held the old Statue of Liberty, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi on an iron frame developed by Alexander Gustave Eiffel, and originally dedicated in 1886, a team of New York City iron workers reclaimed Liberty’s arm which still held the torch in its somewhat damaged bronze hand. After some minor repairs the arm and torch were taken to old Central Park to an area which had recently been cleared of debris. On that site, now called “Liberty Square,” sits the ‘Arm and Torch’ of the old Statue of Liberty with its new base built with bricks reclaimed from the old pedestal. Lit up at night with an honor guard at the four cardinal points twenty-four hours a day this relic would become the center point for the people of New York as they rebuilt their devastated city. It soon became the symbol of determination of the whole nation to fully recover from the devastation of the Martian War. A lithograph the size of a postcard was one of the first new items most people remember seeing after the end of the war. Naturally, they have now become collector’s items along with many more “disaster cards” which soon followed. Many would carry the “Liberty Card” with them for years as a reminder of the past and as a sign that the future would bring better times.

Plans are now underway to reconstruct the statue’s tablet that had been inscribed with July IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776). This work is expected to take some time as the tablet had taken a direct hit from a Martian Heat-Ray and is described as being “in a thousand pieces.” Nevertheless, when completed the re-constructed tablet would be mounted on its own base and take its place next to Liberty’s arm and torch in Liberty Square.

SAVING THE GREAT WORKS OF MANKIND

(Vaults for Mankind Project)

Continuing the original planning it was decided by Director I that at least ten special underground “vaults” would also be constructed in widely separated areas around the world, mostly built into natural caves, already constructed mines no longer in use, and old tunnels not needed for underground city work, to hold the works of human history, books, important documents and other such critical items. With limited resources the search would soon be on to find these areas, which could be easily converted to storage areas well out of Martian view. We had to keep focused on world projects not just our home nations. (One poignant example of our losses may be seen at the University of Alabama. The Martians had completely destroyed all of the laboratories and libraries except one book which had been rescued by the librarian – a copy of the Koran.)

This work had originally been developed by Andrew Carnegie who was creating a world-wide network of above and below ground libraries, supported almost entirely by his own vast fortune. “The great works of humanity must be safely secured away from the destructive efforts of Martian forces in order for future generations to know and understand what it means to be human. This we now owe to generations yet born.” This would remain his primary focus until his death in 1919. Inside the Committee this work was known as the “Carnegie Project.” This program would eventually contain books and other artifacts from several ‘secret’ libraries already in existence such as the one under the Vatican with its miles of tunnels and millions of records and a very old one buried at Sir Ekambaranatha Temple in Kanchipuram. Thousands of gold tablets and many on stone were stored there. And even though the facility had survived the First Martian War a much deeper and thus better protected facility was needed.

It would not be long before special teams were formed whose job it was to recover lost or damaged art, books and other valuable treasures thought to have been lost during the First Martian War. Strange as it may seem the Martians had actually taken human works of art and other objects as trophies, for lack of another word, as they made their way across the Earth. Now these teams would be on the hunt to discover where many of these lost objects had been hidden and bring them to the vaults.

These underground vaults were to protect as much of Earth’s historical knowledge and artifacts as possible. The “stand alone” vaults could also double as bomb shelters for a limited number of people for a short period of time. (Mostly for those people who worked there along with their extended families for up to 30 days.) Two of these vaults would be specifically designed to hold artwork (code named “the blue room” and “the purple room”) and three others (white, orange and green) would be turned into the largest libraries ever built on Earth. The other five primary facilities were to be greatly mixed with historic records, art, photos, negatives, books as well as artifacts from the collections in natural history and other great museums of Earth. We would soon add vast collections of movie film taken from around the world that recorded much of our recovery efforts. Needless to say, there would be one each of these vaults in Lower-New York City (red), Lower-London (gold) and Lower-Sydney (silver). These locations would be referred to only by their designated colors in any official report discussing the projects. The seven other “Vaults for Mankind” were built in underground facilities in Chicago (white), San Antonio (blue), Midway Islands in the Pacific (gray), Darwin, Australia (orange), Nairobi, Kenya (green), Riyadh, Arabia (purple) and Wellington, New Zealand (brown).

I would write: “Recommendations need to be sent out with such lists of items which should be offered for this program. However, I would recommend local control over how and when such items will be selected, packaged and sent to the new locations. Keeping local governments if they exist and their populations ‘in the loop’ can prove critical.”

It should not come as a surprise to anyone to learn that many newly re-built above ground cities around the world also included in their building programs at least one (many had several) underground facility for local records and valuable artifacts. It became a matter of local pride in many areas that they were helping save part of the world’s history. Many of these local projects would be expanded as funding and critical manpower became available. Most of these areas would also build their own underground bunkers to at least temporarily protect some of their populations from Martian attacks as much as possible. These would be simple affairs, not expected to hold people for more than a week or two, but it was hoped they would do the job when the time came.

MAGIC – MOST SECRET CoT

Magic Order MO-25

Immediate: Martial Law field commanders are to assess prisoners held in military and civilian jails and prisons. Release is authorized for all prisoners fit to work on recovery projects. Exceptions: Prisoners convicted of murder, rape or other violent criminal acts which do not allow this release option due to the possibility of continued violent criminal activities are to be executed by firing squad upon the discretion of the Commanding General of the Area. No records are to be kept nor lists made of those executed under this order.

MAGIC ONE-LONDON

MAGIC – MOST SECRET CoT

New Committee jail design
New Committee jail design

At year’s end there were no celebrations that I know of. There was only a gritty determination to pick up the pieces of our broken lives and carry on. We moved with as much speed as we could always with one eye firmly locked on the skies above towards a small red dot in the heavens for signs of any Martian activity. The deadly year of 1901 (We had decided not to rewind the calendar to year one after a debate by the Twelve. That would have given far too much to the Martians.), was at an end as far as anyone who kept track of such things could tell and mankind was once again dominant on planet Earth – but only by a hair’s breath!

Lacte alea est! (The die is cast!)

Editor’s Note: By the end of 1901 e.y. active Martian Prime forces of the Terra Project consisted of two non-deployed walkers and three atmospheric craft in low orbit around the Earth – All other Martian expeditionary forces including Prime had been lost along with all of their equipment – Military operations had effectively ended – Those remaining craft in orbit were ordered to remain on station to monitor surface activity but were forbidden to land due to continued bacterial infection on Earth fatal to Martian forces – On Mars Prime the Central Committee held meetings to decide on a new course of action – No thought was given to ending Earth operations – It was decided that a new method must be found to defeat the natural defenses infecting Earth before any further major military operations could be conducted by Martian Prime forces.

[END PART 9]

Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020

[Next week: Part 10: Chapter 2: The brave new world after the Martians.]