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Book One World War Three 1946

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

He 162 Stalin's Dart

"The day had begun for me as any other since my assignment here in Grozny. We were testing a new People's Fighter based on the German He 162 Sparrow. The official line was that it was designed by Yak but we could still see the swastikas under the new paint of some of our test models. It was a great little plane to fly. The fastest in the air up to now, I believe. It had the ability to climb quickly up to 12,000 meters. My beauty was based on the 162 B-1 expended range version that the Germans proposed but never built. As you know it was renamed Stalin's Dart. This model was indeed a creation of Soviet hands.

The takeoff was uneventful. As I was climbing to altitude I received a radio transmission that radar (such as it was down here in Grozny) had picked up 3 large echoes with one trailing behind by 30 minutes and I was to investigate. The height was estimated at 11,000 meters. They gave me the compass heading and I throttled back to conserve fuel. As is said the Dart is a fine plane to fly. Being short of stature I was very comfortable in its cockpit…”
Yegor stopped and stared at the wall for a few seconds and then began again.

“I have repeated the same thing for four hours now. We must stop.  I need a respite and I resent being treated like this."

Yegor Kasyanov was indeed being treated like a common criminal. He was seated in a very uncomfortable chair with a light shining in his eyes in a room where you confess whether you did it or not. The room and its decor screamed torture and confession with its grey cement walls and cold heavy air. It was underground so the feeling of being buried alive was unmistakable.
Why was he here? Because he had done his duty and shot down a capitalist pig terror bomber just after it dropped a large bomb in the area of Grozny.

"Once more from the beginning Yegor, if you please."

"Comrade I protest. All I did was my duty and now I am being treated like a prisoner. Please I cannot stand confined spaces and the thought of being underground is torture to me. Can we not finish this above ground at least?"

"Yegor you are a hero of the Motherland for what you did. It was an amazing feat. This place we are in is the only thing keeping us alive for now. Another Amerikoski terror bomber has dropped an atomic bomb upwind from us and the poison is spreading this way. You will sicken and die if you go into the open. Now please one more time so we can advise other brave pilots like yourself how to destroy these so called super bombers as only you have done. I'll make a concession. Tell the story one more time and we will move you into the commissar’s office where you can stretch out and sleep a little. You have earned a good night's sleep for all you have done."

"Somehow I don't feel I have a choice comrade.” He mutters as he begins again.
“I was vectored in to the radar blips and saw them at great range. They were huge and all silver, like they didn't have a care in the world, and could just go where they wanted with no concern for staying hidden. This for some reason made me angry. Who the hell did they think they were? Did they really think that they could just go where they pleased, and drop bombs like we did not have the ability to even harass them. I was determined to show them what my Stalin's Dart could do and what lengths the others that follow me would go to as well.

My initial mission was to test out the twin 30 mm guns so my ammunition was supply was full. As I neared the lead bomber in the V formation shot at me at far too long a range and I determined that they were still using 50 caliber machine guns that the Amerikoski love so much. My 30 mm could out-ranged them easily. Before I could get into firing position the lead bomber dropped a huge bomb and then veered to the right. The other two keep on flying straight.

I was white hot with anger. I had failed and now 10s of thousands of men women and children were going to die agonizing deaths. Somehow in my rage I reasoned that the bomber that dropped its bomb was not a threat anymore. It was the other two that still had missions and I would stop them no matter what it took.

I lined up on the left bomber and blew it out of the sky with a single burst. The 30 mm rounds just ripped it apart and the crew never stood a chance. It disintegrated in midair. When facing the right weapon, being flown by the right man, these bombers were no better than any other and were destroyed just as easily. I maneuvered to get a shot at the third when my fuel ran out. No warning my engine just quit. I tried to keep the nose up to ram my target but physics won and I plunged towards the earth unable to do my duty any longer.

I was pounding the inside of my plane in fury as I helplessly glided back to base. Since I was going back the way I had come I caught a glimpse of the fourth bomber that was about 20 minutes behind the first three. At any moment I expected to be blown to bits by the first bomb that was dropped but nothing happened. I was relieved and now doubly frustrated thinking that the last bomber was the real threat after all. After a few minutes I could not help but think that maybe we had been spared and concentrated on landing and flying another day to prevent the unthinkable from happening. Maybe the plane I shot down was the one with the bomb after all. They all were the special models we were taught to concentrate on so there was no way to tell. They all were missing their turrets and that was how we knew how to tell the ones with the atomic bombs from the ordinary bombers.

Just as I was getting close to the start of my landing and was about to call the tower, there was a blinding light. I happened to be looking down and was going away from the blast wave when it hit. My wings came off immediately and somehow before I passed out I hit the eject lever the next thing I knew was when I woke up in the infirmary under guard and far underground.”

“You have done enough for today comrade. Now let’s kick that fat ass commissar out of his office so you can get a good night’s sleep.”

“I believe sleep will elude me for a long time Maior. I blame myself for not doing enough and not getting their fast enough to prevent what has happened. How many are dead? How bad is it comrade…how bad is it…?”

Yegor collapsed into his hands weeping like a man possessed, which of course, he was, and would be from that day forward. He would never be the same again and would never fly again. He will not spend another waking moment being normal. He will relive this day and his choices, be they right or wrong, until the day he dies. In his mind he made the wrong choice and thousands died and he will ever see their faces in the night.

One Lucky SOB

Henry “Hank” Gardner heard someone swearing but it sounded like he was muffled. It turned out to be him. He kept shouting “what the fuck” over and over again. That is until he woke up and he knew he was in deep trouble. He was swinging from a USAAF parachute with some kind of mask on him and a small heavy bottle hitting him in the nuts.

He was having trouble making his left side work, anything on his left side, arm, leg, eye or even his hearing. It’s surprisingly hard to function with only one eye. Your perception is all screwed up initially.

 As he took stock he started to remember how he got here. He was aboard a bomber one of those big ones…and there was an explosion and…someone pushed him out of the plane! Holy crap was he scared. He was a chicken shit anyway and had figured out a way to strap a portable emergency oxygen system to his body and it was now saving his life and hitting him in the aforementioned nuts.

He was a scientist, what the hell was he being pushed out of a plane for! As the events of what he figured was the last 5 minutes came back to him he suddenly realized he could not remember his own name! He did remember seeing a piece of metal blowing around with a name on it kind of following him as he fell. The damn thing hit him just as he pulled the ring that was supposed to make the chute work. I guess it worked because here I am. Was his name Finnegan? No, that was the name painted on the piece of metal that hit him. Until he can think more clearly, Finnegan it is. I must have hit my head.

Well… I’m over land and not water. Let’s see we were on our way to Grozny to do some kind of experiment. Something to do with a high altitude wind…
His right ear catches a droning noise and as he scans around he catches sight of another giant silver bomber flying a few thousand feet off to the right almost overhead. Shit it’s bomb bay door is open. I thought they had multiple doors? Now that is a bomb! Look at the size of the thing will yah. Amazing and there it goes… Someone is in for a world of hurt that thing is huge. Wait…wait oh God no! It’s a numerical…nucleotide…asthma…some kind of bad bomb and it’s going to kill me as well. What the hell do I do? Curl up in a ball! Can you steer this parachute? I know I’ll just cut the harness and drop and take my chances.

He starts fishing for a knife with his right arm and hand all the time watching the bomb fall through the air. It fascinates him the way it cuts through the air. That’s what I was supposed to study! How this thing fell through the air and what happens when it hits some kind of wind.

Just then the said wind hit him. He felt it first as his feet and legs were pulled sideways and then he was almost pulled out of his harness and swept sideways at an incredible speed away from the path of the monstrous bomb. He had no idea how fast he was going but he was flying behind his chute like a toy gone berserk. He kept going for what seemed like forever when behind him he sensed an incredibly bright light rather than saw it. It lit up his parachute and then a few seconds later a pressure wave hit along with a searing hot wind faster than the wind he was being carried by.  This whole combination of fast moving air increased his speed tremendously but since he was traveling at essential the same speed as the first wind it didn’t tear him or the parachute into shreds.

He went on like this for quite a while when all of all of a sudden he fell far enough towards the ground that he dropped out of the fast moving wind and then was sent in the other direction by a fairly quick wind. Down and down he fell all the time trying to remember his real name and his family…if he had one, anyone on the plane…anything that he could grab a hold of. Every once in a while he would swing around and wonder at the ever expanding mushroom cloud. Something about “I am the destroyer of worlds” kept repeating itself in his head. It looked like he was going to land in the foothills of the mountains that were now above him. Looking down on him like he was some kind of bug that had briefly visited their lofty world and now was back where he belonged.

He kept feeling weaker and weaker. Probably bleeding to death, he thought. No it’s the air bottle, it’s empty. Well not a bad way to go he thought. Finally he just couldn’t fight it anymore and fainted.

The next thing he knew he was alone with a foul smelling pile of blankets and hides on top of him. Someone was with him, lying next to him and holding her hand over his mouth. He heard strange, guttural, male voices, obviously shouting orders. He decided to play along and wait to see what the hell was going on. If they were going to kill him they would have done so when he was out. After about 20 minutes of going in and out of consciousness the pile of blankets and furs where lifted off him and he stared into the most beautiful set of eyes he had ever seen. They were blue green with a slight tilt, almond shaped and so clear you could see your soul in them.

He ended up marrying those eyes but that story will have to wait.

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.

Maiden Tower of Baku

The Maiden Tower of Baku had seen its share of bloodshed and war. The theory was that it was named the Maiden Tower because it had never been conquered or violated and was still a virgin. Complete with underground water supply, a wooden substructure that may have saved it from earthquakes and strong buttresses the tower had stood for over a thousand years on the spot overlooking Baku Bay. The Maiden has withstood the sands of time and many earthquakes since the 6th century but not today.

An explosion of atoms toppled her finally after 1300 years of proud testimony to the people who designed and built her. Today she was violated and obliterated. Today she ceased to exist. Today she will lose her virginity.

The day started out like any other and she did not have any idea her fate. Would it have mattered anyway? What can a stone structure have done to combat a force only rivaled by the sun? What can a mere pile of stones do against an explosion of atomic particles? It can’t run and hide. It can’t even sway enough or bend. It can only stand straight and tall until it is literally blown away by a blast of super-heated air and a shock wave that had only been seen 4 times before.

There are 30 hewed stone protuberances on the tower's lower section and the 31 protuberances on the upper section, linked with a stone belt, that correlate to the days of the month. The Maiden was probably designed and built as an observatory. Block 23 of the lower belt will be the only stone that will survive somewhat intact after today at 7:26 am local time. It was shielded by its brothers and sisters as they are blown to pieces and those pieces flew hundreds of feet, meters and even miles from their 1300 year old resting place.

By a quirk of fate block 23 will not only stay intact but will be caught in what can only be called an eddy of the swirling debris made up of its neighboring stones and will fall very close to the place it had overlooked for centuries.

A few minutes after the calamity that is caused by a US made atomic bomb destroys The Maiden Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan, Soviet Union, an apparition that used to be a human woman finds block 23 and attempts to sit and rest on it. She is already basically dead but somehow her right side keeps dragging what was her left side far enough to attempt to sit on block 23. She almost makes it but with half of her body melted by the searing heat of an atomic blast it is a superhuman effort that falls inches short when her left tibia finally rips loose from the connective tissue. She falls on her left side which almost makes her look normal with her untouched right side visible to the next calamity that will follow the blast. She would not have wanted to live anyway after seeing her husband and 6 year old twin boys blown apart before her right eye. The oldest by 10 minutes had lived long enough to whisper Mama before he died. This was more painful to her than her own physical wounds could ever possibly be.

The irony was that Mama’s maiden name was Jill Parker and she grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She married William Nelson who was an engineer. They ended up in Baku because of Bill’s expertise in petroleum extraction. Jill left the farm based community in Middle America with its white picket fences and church steeples to follow her husband’s career. Cedar Rapids still had a street car when she left and even a few cobble stone streets but not many. Before America entered World War Two there were still Sunday picnics and concerts on the lawn.

Brucemore Mansion was still in its heyday and she grew up playing on the great lawns and gardens of the grand mansion own by Margret and Howard Hall. Howard was a friend of her father’s and she spent many a day playing on the groomed grounds with the pet lion that lived in the basement. Leo live in a maze of tunnels made just for him. He was the sibling of the famous MGM lion you still see growling before your favorite movie.

Margret and Howard loved to entertain and many a movie star stopped by during the 30s. Basically Margret had control of 4 upper floors and 21 rooms contained therein, complete with a sunken pool that would put any in Hollywood to shame. All 21 rooms were very tastefully decorated and built for entertaining Hollywood’s elite. Howard built the ultimate male retreat in the basement. It included a replica of a Polynesian hut complete with a sprinkler system that pours rake rain down the tin roof and drips off dried nipa and onto the fake ground. Further on past the hut is a room decked out just like a Northern Minnesota or Wisconsin bar. It was complete with deer heads and hides on the walls and beer on tap and of course a lion running loose.

How Jill and William ended up in Baku is rather pedestrian. He took a job assisting the Soviets with their oil production. He was recruited by the US to join hundreds of other American citizens to work in the USSR. Others helped build a huge truck factory and others worked on other industrial projects. Jill and William just stayed too long. They were on their way to the regional port and within days of taking a freighter to Turkey and from there through the Mediterranean to a new job in Galveston, TX when the war started.

The inside of their home in Baku looked like any other home in Cedar Rapids. They had been in Baku for 5 years and had shipped many familiar things through the Black Sea before the Second World War started in earnest. You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between their home and 454 Harris Street in Cedar Rapids, their previous address. They spoke American English and dress in western styles in a small enclave of US workers surrounded by millions of Soviet citizens. Much like many a US Army base located all over the world, where the contacts with the locals were few and far between. Their Negro nanny accompanied them and they had a pretty good life. The nanny Nora had about a dozen friends that were nannies and cooks and they felt pretty much at home as well. Nora had left a week earlier in order to get the home ready in Galveston, TX that they had built for their return to the US.

Al this had run through her head until half of her brain was gone.

You would have been hard pressed to tell Jill from her younger sister if you only looked at her undamaged side, her sister who still lived in Cedar Rapids. He blond hair was still attractively blowing in the deadly wind and her clothes were as stylish as anything in the US with her full skirt showing a shapely leg and ankle worthy of a starlet or a dancer on Broadway. Jill had taken a life time of dancing lessons and had taught the children in the US compound at various times over the years. There was a little dancing studio next to the Baptist Church the Soviets has allowed to be built and maintained in order to keep their valuable experts happy.

She was missing one shoe along with a leg, but the other one was in pristine condition. It was a very odd sight that was rapidly being covered in a grey ash falling in big clumps from the sky and swirling all around. Just looking at her body you would have thought that the city destroyed was Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

You could still see parts of the white picket fence and one wall of the Baptist church complete with one intact stain glass window depicting Christ ascending to heaven. With Jill in the picture, the church wall, picket fence and with the angle just right you could easily be convinced that Cedar Rapids Iowa had just been destroyed by an atomic bomb.

The ash was composed of a twenty thousand six hundred and twenty six human beings, 36,897 trees, 3,498 cats and 2,345 dogs, and four American citizens of which two where six year old twins. It starts to settle over everything including block 23 and the remains of Jill Parker in earnest. This ash is highly radioactive which of course does not bother block 23 or Jill. It has the consistency of sand and rains down for hours. It does bother every other living thing within a 36 mile long plume reaching out to the Southeast. Even cockroaches are affected by the radioactive ash that falls covering everything for miles inches deep.

Nuclear weapons don’t care what the circumstances are or even who you are or what side you’re on. They just kill everything.

Baku 1946

Finnegan's Wake

The flight over the East Mediterranean was uneventful. Nick was amazed at how comfortable this beauty was compare to the B17s he had started out in. He couldn't imagine being at this altitude going for this distance in any other aircraft. He could actually stretch out a little and he had a view from the gunner position. The only gunner position that still had a gun was the tail gunner. All of the other guns had been stripped and the aircraft filled with machines for measuring all that was necessary to determine how to drop an atomic bomb from as high as possible while passing through what might be a 200 mph stream of air who knows how thick.

That wind at high altitudes had first raised its ugly head over Japan. That was why LeMay had decided to come in under it and use fire bombs. Of course this negated all the features that made the B29 a special plane. The Japanese where helpless by that time, against any kind of bomber. Their fighters had been decimated in various battles over the Pacific and their anti-aircraft guns and radar were not that formidable. Oh they did get lucky far too often but not enough to deter LeMay.

The wind over Japan was at 25,000 ft and their job was to find it over Baku in time to calculate how fast it was and how much it would affect a 10,000 lb atomic bomb. They had 20 minutes to drop their dummy bombs and then make the calculations. He was there basically as an observer as no one expected any kind of Red plane to be able to make it up to 32,000 where they were going to drop their instruments and the dummy bomb from. The other planes were going to do most of the measuring as they had the actual fake bomb that everyone would be measuring, which took up enormous amounts of space in their Silverplate.

For most of the trip they were over friendly territory in Turkey. Friendly was a relative term in his mind. As a boy he had read many a story of about the Ottoman Empire and blood thirsty pirates etc. associated with Turkey. For now they were secret allies but as soon as the Soviets discovered where the fighters were coming from in later raids there would be no hiding the fact that the Turks had been with us all along. He wondered how the Reds would react. He had heard that the Turkish army was not in any shape to stand up against any concerted Red attack.

At 10,000 feet he had to retire from the relative comfort of the main area where he could be with the other crew members. At that point the majority of the plane had to be pressurized, all but the station for the rear gunner that is. That is why he had to make his way to the back and close the hatch so that the rest of the crew could enjoy relative comfort while he was regulated to the tribulations of non-pressurized flight. It was not anywhere near as bad as the B17 mind you but still not the luxury his crew mates enjoyed.

As they passed over the Caucuses he really felt far from home. Without knowing it he was nearer his ancestral home than ever before. His grandfather and grandmother had come from Grozny. The very city his mission was about to eradicate from the earth. Had he hoped all his relatives had move on long ago. He had not brought up this fact when he was questioned about joining SAC. His Grandparents had lived in France for 20 years before coming to the US so he didn't feel the need to bring up the fact that they were originally from Grozny. He barely knew them for God’s sake. He was third generation American and his relatives had run away from the coming revolution and to avoid fighting in the previous wars as well.

The highest peaks Caucus Mountains were about 15,000 feet or so but even at 32,000 they looked pretty formidable. He was looking for the highest peak they would see on their flight path and it should be off to his left or the Southeast as they were getting close to the target since he was looking backwards. When he could see that peak they were getting very close.
As he was staring intently trying to find the mountain a very small movement caught his eye. It had a contrail coming from it!

"Skipper, we have company! over"
"What the hell are you talking about Tail?! over"
“At about 4 o'clock high there is a small bogie that has a contrail, and he's coming right for us. over"
"Holy shit. One of those guided rockets? over."
"Can't make it out Skipper, but its closing fast. We should be able to drop the package before he gets here. over"
"Copy that. Let us know of its location and distance. We have to drop the dummy or the mission is scrubbed. over"
"We should be okay. I estimate he or it is closing at 100 mph. over"
"We are 12 minutes from target. Keep us informed and you’re our only defense Nick. Do what you can. over"
"That's a roger Skipper. over"
"Flight leader to flight, we have a bogie closing in from our 5 o'clock high. We should be able to accomplish our mission before it arrives. It appears to be a rocket or jet and it's faster than we are. Over"

Nick notices that the radio chatter heated up until the Skipper toned it down. That sucker was moving and would be here shortly after we dropped the dummy. It was not fooling around and it was coming straight in with no deviations on a perfect interception course. Damn this was going to be close. The Skipper loosened up the formation a bit just in case it was a rocket and the blast of a hit was big enough to take us all out. He had heard this had happened a few times at Leningrad and to the RAF. A thought went through his head that rockets were not a very manly way to fight but then neither was a bomb, especially an atomic bomb. "We're all becoming chicken shits" he thought to himself. Whatever happened to facing each other with swords? Now that's the way to go if you had to die in combat.

He could see it better now. It has wings. That probably meant that it's a plane of some kind. A very small one that was moving very fast. He informed the Skipper. He responded with just a roger. Probably too fixed on the bombing run to even worry about it. It's a jet all right. Weird looking thing and small.

"Skipper, I'm going to take some long range shots at it just to make him think twice and give us some more time. over"
"Roger that."

Come on you little bugger, just a little closer. Then he felt the bomb bay doors opening and shortly thereafter he could feel the bombardier taking over control of the plane. It was just a slight change in the flight path but he could always tell. It was very rare of the pilot to be right on target. He fired a few rounds as the jet was just out of range and the fighter pilot flinched for just a second but it was long enough. The plane lurched up as the 10,000 lb dummy left the bomb bay and the Skipper put us into a tight port turn. The other two planes had to fly straight and true in order to get the best readings from, and of the dummy bomb as it dropped. The Skipper was hoping that the fighter jet would come after us because we were now going it alone. The fighter pilot would have none of it and bore straight in for Finnegan's Wake and with a few shots from what looked like twin 30 mm cannons, Finnegan and his crew exploded before Nick’s eyes. He was horrified and knew that they were virtually helpless against this small fighter.

"I know, I know! over"

They were now going away from the other planes and he could see everything that was happening. The flaming debris from Finnegan's Wake left an ugly smudge of debris, fire and smoke in a classic waterfall type arrangement that cut through the beautiful blue sky. It reached down from the heavens in a horrible curve falling towards the ground. Then he noticed a disturbance in the trail of destructions and smoke as it hit an unseen wall of air rushing from Northwest to South East. There is was! What they had been sent to find. Damn it looked strong.

The scientists were going nuts over the radio trying to measure this and that and get the information back to the real deal, the Silverplate named Three Feathers. That's what this mission is all about. Getting the information that Three Feathers needed to drop the bomb accurately. Nothing else mattered. Both of the other B29s with the scientists aboard were duplicates just in case. That case had just happened. Willy Nun and his bunch were flying along like nothing had happened and ignored the carnage of Finnegan's Wake except for when it hit the river of air. That's what they needed. That gave them some of the most accurate readings they acquired.

He learned later that this stream was 3000 miles deep and moved at 176 mph. Estimates were it was 400 mile wide and thousands of miles long. It covered all four of their targets it was later discovered. This actually turned out to be ideal. It was sustained and predictable and over every target the same. God works in mysterious ways some would say.

Nick located the fighter. It appeared to be gliding, losing altitude and disappearing fast far below.

"I think the bogie ran out of fuel Skipper. over"
"Thank God for that. We were not prepared to deal with whatever the hell that was! Maybe you nicked him. over"
"I don't think so Skipper. over"
"Roger that."

Nick noticed that he was shaking and all he did was watch. The others had died and been in the crosshairs of whatever that jet was. God, Finnegan's went down fast. What the hell are we going to do if they have more of those jets?