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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Shelter in Place Baku

Slava Churchkin had studied the results of the nuclear blasts in Japan and knew that your best bet of surviving was to stay indoors and avoid the substance now called fallout for the first 48 hours. Despite his instinct to flee the area, he knew that the sand like ash falling all over the area had a certain length of time when it was most lethal and over a period of days that killing effect lessen dramatically. He had access to numerous studies and the survivors in Nagasaki and Hiroshima that were within the zone of this killer ash all either stayed inside, for a period of days out of fear, or because they were trapped, and lived. Almost all of the people who tried to flee through this killer ash, died, even after reaching safety and the people they came in contact with also became sick and many died if the ash was only a few days or less old. If you avoided the ash for 48 hours or more, you had a good chance of not getting sick.

That is why, despite ever bone in his body screaming run as far and as fast as you can, he made his family and three other close friends stay indoors down in their root cellar. Despite all their pleading and begging he just knew he was doing the right thing and saving their lives. His 8 year old had almost snuck out in the early morning to get some food. He only just caught his little foot as he was about to open the cellar door and he pulled him back in time. He had to watch them all when they left less they try and drink any water or eat anything from the outside. They had to wait until they were out of the ash zone and that could be a few days walk or more.

He has seen the ravages of radiation poisoning. It was horrible beyond imagination. He had worked with mustard and chlorine gas victims after the first war but nothing compared to this. It rotted you from the inside out. It cause terrible agony and your skin fell off in horribly large patches. He was not sure if the skin falling off was more to do with the heat involved or was a cause of radiation. He suspected that it was because of the blast itself.
He gained access to the case of Harry Daghlian. One of the many spies in the US group had gotten a hold of the case files and they had migrated to him. Mr. Daghlian was believed to be the first death caused by radiation sickness. He was working on the US atomic bomb and was trying something called "tickling the dragon's tail" and the dragon had doused him in invisible flames. His hand slipped and he and the other scientists in the room were exposed to massive amounts of radiation.

The victims of the US nuclear explosions went through an agonizing sequence of radiation-induced traumas including severe diarrhea, reduced urine output, swollen hands, massive blisters on any exposed skin, intestinal paralysis, gangrene and ultimately a total disintegration of bodily functions. He had seen it happen as a representative of the Soviet delegation and relief effort sent to Japan. His job was really to study the effects of this monstrous weapon which he did in minute detail. Some of the Amerkoski seemed very eager to demonstrate what their new weapon from hell could do and for the Soviet delegation to report back to Stalin. A crude form of intimidation he guessed.

He could not give up his humanity like he has been taught to in the Soviet system and joined in the efforts of the Japanese Red Cross and US military in trying to at least ease the suffering of those most in need. Yes, he had killed dying patients with overdoses of morphine. They begged him and he relented. You can't imagine seeing the amazing agony and utter degradation of a body heavily dosed with radiation. When there is no hope of recovery you cannot let the suffering continue if the patient implores you to end the pain. It didn't matter what language they were trying to communicate in you just knew what they were saying by what was left of the facial expressions and the undamaged eyes. Even the newly blind can emote unbelievable pain through their unseeing eyes; pain that they just want to stop so they can die in peace and not silently screaming though destroyed throats unable to make a sound and barely able to sustain a life giving breath. He knew what his duty was for such cases and he did it. He was prepared to do it for himself or his family and friends if need be.

He was sent to Baku to work with some unusual skin conditions thought to have been caused by the petroleum products that some of the other scientists were working on, additives for gasoline and such. He brought his family along after being away from them for 6 months and after seeing all he had seen and been through in Japan he wanted them close by. Had he thought it through he would have realized that this area was a prime target for a bombing attack by the Amerikosi. It surprised him that such a good people could have invented the atomic bomb.  The Yanks that he worked beside where just as upset with what the atomic bomb had done as he was. Even the military minded expressed their utter contempt for this weapon. I actually think that if it was up to the warriors they would reject using such a weapon. It had no glory, no sense of conquest, no humanity. Killing an opponent face to face had that. Pushing a button and dropping an atomic bomb on a helpless city did not. It was the weapon of the coward, the politician and the technocrat and not the weapon of the warrior.

He was just reading in Pravda the other day about the movement in the West to ban the creation and use of anymore nuclear weapons. According to the paper it was quite a large percentage in the West who did not want to see it used again and wanted it banned.

Now the scourge had been unleashed here in Baku, practically on top of his family. When the three high flying bombers had made their way over his city and then they were followed by a long bomber he instinctively knew what was coming. He had gotten everyone he cared about down in the cellar just minutes before the blast. He was sure the building above them had been destroyed but he was also certain that the cellar doors were relatively free from rubble piled on them and that the area around the door had not been contaminated. He had no doubt that the whole city was gone just like he witnessed in Japan but his little cellar was very safe for now. If he ever got out of this he was going to write a paper on how to survive and atomic war and immediately start digging a bunker under his house in Moscow and stock it with food and water, enough to last for months. He was sure the American pigs were going to try this again on Moscow. How could they resist?

They were a people who had not experienced war first hand. Oh a few of their healthiest men had seen war but not millions of women and children. By in large their population had not seen the horrors of what man has invented to kill other men. As if bullets weren't enough. We had to invent liquid flame, bombs that sent pieces of their shell casings in all directions to kill as many as possible and of course the atomic bomb.

As he understood the theory there was a half-life for the most dangerous period of the ash that falls after a nuclear blast. If you survived the initial horror of the shock wave and heat this ash was the most dangerous thing for at least 48 to 72 hours. You had to avoid it at all cost. Luckily if was in the form of a kind of sand so the particles were relatively easy to keep out with oil cloth or multiple layers of some kind of tightly woven cloth. He had thought long and hard about this when the Amerikoski had tried to bomb Leningrad. He had a friend who was studying the challenge and was fairly certain of what he had heard would work. It appeared that if you covered even the tiniest cracks and crevasses with some kind of barrier that could keep out the deadly sand or ash then you were safe in the short run.

The root cellar was small but they were continuously making room by eating the food from his garden stored there. He theorized that if the ash did not contaminate the food and water it was safe. Luckily for all in the confined space, his wife had insisted that he keep a few barrels of water in the cellar as well. She insisted that she needed cold water to start any soup stock. Starting with even lukewarm water tended to soften up the outside of things, like potatoes, before the insides could get warm. He had to admit that she made the best borsch he had ever tasted and she insisted it was because of starting out with cold water. For now her little quirk was saving their lives he was sure.

There had been a very awkward time when he had to speak to Yuli and Mansur about not fornicating for a long time for fear of spawning a deformed fetus. He had seen horrible monstrosities crying helplessly abandoned and left to die cause by the ravages of radiation in many of the hospitals and medical stations he had worked in. No arms or legs, horribly malformed faces, no eyes or even whole faces, crooked spines that bent the baby backward were all the norm. The newly married couple cried together for hours trying to comfort each other and silently hoping they had not conceived yet.

He had to focus and convinced Ivan that while he slept he had to keep his guard up and keep everyone safe and not to let anyone open or even try to open the cellar doors even a crack. If any of that sand got in it could kill them all. Ivan seemed convinced. He had been awake guarding and arguing with the others for over 24 hours and just had to close his eyes. Just for a second.

In what seemed like a blink of an eyelash he was awakened by a shaft of light and a puff of air. He opened his eyes in horror as he sat up. He saw the sand and dust swirl around in the shaft of sunlight and fill the confined space as Ivan threw open the doors even wider. He reached for his revolver and made sure he had a bullet for each of his children, his wife and himself. Ivan and the others were not his concern anymore.

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