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[PART 49]

Chapter 8

1931-1935

Earth Goes on the Offensive

“Whether we expect another invasion or not, our views of the

human future must be greatly modified by these events.”

H. G. Wells

Time to begin the Martian fight – The first Martian shoot down – The defection of a Martian B – I remember – Attack on Greenland – Hybrid attack on the steamboat Observatory – Martian raiding party attacks Earth – A final word from Egypt – Attack on Antarctic coastal base – Finishing up the underground work – Grow lights and fish farms – Defense matters – Goddard reaches orbit – Defense of the above ground cities – World seed banks – The underground zoo project – A final word on Machu Picchu – The great Martian launch facilities – Winston reports.

Time to begin the Martian Fight

Si vis pacem, para bellum

(If you wish peace, prepare for war.)

Roman adage

As Earth’s military forces continued to prepare for interplanetary war, Committee biologists were finally ready to test the new bacteria thought to be deadly only to the Martians in any type of cold weather. The only problem was – there were no live Martians on Earth – that is to say there were none we could get our hands on at the moment to test the new bio-weapon in a controlled environment. We were not about to load a deadly bacteria in a bomb and drop it on a suspected Martian camp not knowing how far it may spread to possible human communities. My thoughts went to the few Martian As we had killed in raids and Tango operations. Perhaps we could have kept one handy. There were of course a few hybrids held in Tango ‘hotels’, but it was quickly decided that not only would “we” not test any bacteria on them, as it would have placed Earth people on the same level as the Martians (not that we had any difficulties in the past using them for similar purposes), it was not clear that what would effect a hybrid would also effect a “full” Martian or for that matter “full” human. (There was however a short and rather sharp debate on the subject among the Magic Twelve.)

With this in mind the new “fully operational” world aero forces continued their plans to shoot down one of the Martian Flying Machines known to be scouting Earth at the time. Many of these machines at times described as unidentified flying objects or flying disks had been seen, mostly near reported abductions of people and major geologic events and mostly under cover of darkness. It was going to be a tough job, which had been tried several times before without much success. In fact we had completely failed in our efforts. We did not have a full Phoenix II production line set up yet so we would be using our ‘Earth based’ aircraft for the job – at least for the time being.

However, with new “jet” fighters soon coming on line it was hoped that success could now be achieved. Plotting the abduction areas, many in northern zones, matched with times, gave the operational teams tasked to capture a live Martian a starting point on the most likely times and places they could reasonably be expected to make contact with the enemy. The only problem then would be to shoot the craft down without killing the Martian and then capture the pilot before he killed the team or killed himself. To say the least this would not be an easy task. And to be honest, few in the Committee felt that a capture was even possible without a good deal of luck and that was no way to plan any military operation, but the operation was sanctioned nevertheless. It was worth a try, as to do nothing was unacceptable. It was realized that even if we could not capture a live Martian we would at least be fighting back and learning tactical information on how best to confront the enemy in the future. We also knew it would be costly – and so did our pilots! To myself I thought that for the most part we were engaging in wishful thinking.

As for sending a raiding party to one of the geographic Poles it was thought to be far too difficult to mount a large enough operation to assure success. We were not yet strong enough or for that matter technically capable enough to do the job with any hope of real success. To succeed it would have taken a massive effort to launch any such attack and one which would have easily been spotted by the enemy. So the intercept option was the only method we had at the time with even a limited possibility of success.

The First Martian Shoot Down

Needless to say, the one and only Martian A ever captured alive before the Second Martian War, was taken only after it crash landed his crippled craft, which upon a hard landing had badly injured the pilot. He had survived the crash, but the three others on board were not so lucky.

The patrol that “got the Martian” was based out of Greenland at the combined allied/Committee airbase in Thule, code named “Arctic Blue”. The base is located at the North Western tip of Greenland some 947 miles south of the North Pole and it was heavily defended. This was enemy territory as far as those at the base were concerned. Built over five Arctic ‘summers’ it had housed 900 personnel and was at that time manned by Americans, Canadians, Danish, and Greenlanders and had a Committee operations section. Needless to say, it was a very tough assignment for the men assigned to Thule, but they served with great pride as they referred to themselves as the “Arctic Blue Boys.”

New duel-pulse radar systems on the “North Polar Defense Line” (NPDL) had been picking up “unknowns” for four days and locals had been reporting unidentified craft as well as “strange dark clouds” for a week or so. Clearly the Martians were up to their usual tricks. On 14 January 1931, their tricks would land one of them into the hands of the humans.

The patrol of six new Whitehead jet fighters was on the second leg of a four-leg patrol along the northern coast of Greenland when they received word of the Martians. Radar operators at NPDL-6 gave them the first contact report at 10 a.m. local of two un-identified contacts at 80 miles directly ahead of the patrol. Immediately the patrol leader commanded a split of his force. Two aircraft went high and directly at the contacts, but at a reduced speed. At the same time two aircraft increased speed in a flanking action south of the two lead aircraft as they dropped very close to the surface. Flanking north the other two aircraft followed the same maneuver as the southern aircraft also dropping close to the ground.

Per training, the southern team and the two aircraft heading directly at the Martian craft stayed in pulse radio contact whereas the northern aircraft went radio silent. It was felt that the Martians would focus on the four aircraft using their radios. The planned worked. As visual contact was made with the Martians the two frontal attack aircraft split left and right on the lead Martian craft. Instantly, the southern aircraft split high and low as all four attacked the lead Martian vehicle nearly simultaneously. The other Martian craft was not attacked as it began to move away from the attacking Earth fighters. Within seconds the Martian opened up with its beam weapon, but it had miscalculated the aggressive attack the humans were making. Both Earth fighters in front fired one each of their new rockets, but both missed their marks. Nevertheless, as machine guns opened on the lead Martian craft it began to take hits. This was the first time Earth based aircraft had successfully engaged the enemy in aerial combat. The Martian seemed to be stunned, but it did not last. The Martian recovered quickly and redirected its beam weapons towards the two Earth fighters now turning to re-engage. Both fighters were hit by the beam and exploded on contact.

Martian craft imaged to the left of center by interceptor aircraft

At this point the Martian craft turned south to fire on the two Earth fighters closing fast having also fired rockets with machine guns firing as they came in from the south. As the beam just began to close in on both fighters the first rocket impacted the Martian machine, which had been fired from the low flying Earth fighters. One had come straight up from ground level to attack from the north. Within two seconds a second, third and fourth rocket impacted the Martian machine from above and below clearly damaging the craft. The strategy had so far worked, but the Martian was not finished yet. The enemy craft turned south once again towards land firing as it went, which “evaporated” two more of the Earth fighters then in hot pursuit. Before their aircraft disappeared they could be seen firing all guns and rockets at the Martian. Both went down giving the Martian absolutely everything they had. The result was that two of their rockets impacted after they were gone! Before long, thick black smoke began to flow out of the Martian machine. Now badly damaged the Martian lost altitude and seemed to only have partial control. This thing was in trouble, and it was trying to fly away. The two remaining Earth fighters would have none of that as they pushed hard their attack.

As it went lower and leveled out the Martian attempted to continue using the beam weapon, but it appeared to be much weaker as it flashed on and off before completely going dark. Following behind both surviving Earth fighters poured machine gun fire into the crippled Martian machine causing pieces to fly off. Seconds later, as the last two fighters flew overhead, the crippled Martian machine rammed into the ground and slid for two hundred yards before coming to a stop. By this time the second Martian machine was flying well off to the north and for whatever reason spent no time attacking or attempting to recover the crashed machine or its occupants. It would appear that the aggressive attack by the six Earth jet fighters had surprised them to such a degree that they decided to study the situation before going on the offensive. Since these craft it would appear were not fully prepared to do battle it was suspected that the Martians knew they could possibly lose more than a single craft and limited local resources and since they were not yet ready to re-invade the Earth. Such as it was discretion became the better part of Martian valor.

Within two hours a team from Thule, were on site inspecting the downed Martian craft. The Martian pilot was alive but unconscious. It would be in for a surprise. As it turned out the three other dead Martian flight crew members were the lucky ones. For what our interrogators and medical personal did to the captive Martian is best left to the imagination. Sufficient to say we obtained some useful data, which included information on what they were looking for – humans, water, and general information on Earth’s preparations for war. We also received confirmation of their small advance base in Greenland north of Etah. However, the most valuable information obtained from the live Martian was how it died. It was decided, at the highest levels of ‘government’ (Magic Twelve), to use the captured Martian, when we had finished with its “interview,” to test the new bacteria thought to be deadly to their species.

The scientists who developed the bacteria were correct, only their work not only killed the Martian – who succumbed within a few hours – it killed any humans who came in contact with it as well. (Several workers whose names have yet to be released had died when an error in handling in the lab exposed them to the deadly bacteria.) The bacteria were so deadly (100% lethal) that no human on Earth could survive more than a few days. With that information firmly in hand the Executive Committee of Twelve naturally decided not to deploy any of the bacteria on Earth with military forces and felt that if they loaded it on one of the new rockets being developed and launched it towards Mars it may make it all the way, but if it exploded in Earth’s atmosphere we could have possibly destroyed ourselves. The decision was to not launch the new bio-weapon.

In the meantime, we had completed our plans to attack the Martian base in northern Greenland and this time the new Phoenix II fighters would be ready to go.

EIGHT PHOENIX II AIRCRAFT COME OFF THE LINE

The first eight Phoenix II aircraft to come off the line were rebuilt mostly from parts taken from four dozen or so Martian machines. These were to be the only “Martian made” flying machines re-produced on Earth from spare parts. After these left the line production teams would began assembling aircraft which had been completely built on Earth (other than the Martian propulsion systems of which we had 26 in operational condition). We scheduled production of the first 12 to be completed within a year on average one per month. Production of Earth-built models would begin slowly to give engineers and test pilots time to test these “full Earth” models before we committed to full-scale production. The team working on these aircraft would have 18 months to finish testing the first flight models before the final full production go ahead was sent forward. That was soon cut to 14 months.

As the new Phoenix II-Alpha aircraft began to come off the production line we also began to produce Earth’s version of the Martian Walking Machines which had been deployed with such devastating effect against our people during the First Martian War. Fifteen separate facilities had been set up in underground factories (several in caves near large cities) in order to produce as many of these machines as possible.

In the very near future the newly rebuilt Phoenix II’s would be put to the test over the high ice of Greenland.

M - Phoenix
Phoenix II-Alpha

The ‘Defection’ of a Martian B

The “B Man”

The one thing I would have bet on in the summer of ’31 was that no Martian would ever even consider defecting to our side. I would have lost that bet on the wings of a Martian Flying Machine piloted by a Martian B we would simply call “The B Man” (Martian B Interrogations 1931-14/27). At least I would have lost that bet for a while. One can easily imagine the shock to the people who worked at the facility when he landed his craft on the main runway at Thule Air Force Base in Greenland and delivered an unexpected cargo.

Base radar had picked up the Martian craft heading in low and fast from the north. Naturally, expecting this to be a sneak attack four standby ready Whitehead Jets were soon up and heading directly for the Martian ready to fight it out. “Arctic Blue” was ready for their next engagement with a Martian. This was not the first time Earth fighters had engaged in combat with Martians and it certainly would not be the last.

As before the four jets flew directly at the Martian craft before splitting off to top, bottom, left and right positions ready to engage the enemy (even though there was very little ‘bottom’ airspace in which to fly). The pilots knew it was going to be a costly fight, but they had no choice but to engage. From the British flight leader came the call to battle. “Tally-ho lads!” He was soon locked on to his target ready to fire when he noticed something he did not expect to see. As he closed in on the Martian craft it slowed its approach and turned to port showing no effort to engage the jets or any indication that it was about to fly off. The flight leader, with his hand well poised over his trigger, went on the radio. “Break off, break off, break off. Do not fire, repeat, do not fire.”

It is not easy for any combat pilot to be primed and ready to risk his life in seconds and then pull himself away from that firmly focused and highly trained duty and simply fly away from his target, but almost as one the pilots from Thule did exactly that. As the pilots broke off contact one of them radioed the flight leader.

“Red Dog Leader, what did you see?”

“The Martian is not attacking. Get on its tail and be ready to bring him down.”

“Copy that.”

“Red Dog 3, fly alongside and make close visual contact.”

“How close?”

“Red Dog 3, tell me the color of his eyes.”

“I say they’re red, Sir.”

“Dog 3, get in there – now!”

“Roger, Red Dog Leader. Going in for a little look see.”

As the jets positioned themselves, two behind, one below and one within two plane lengths off the starboard side the Martian slowly turned back on course for Thule. The aircraft, four human escorts and one Martian were now in a tight formation heading towards the main Thule runway. None of the jet pilots could figure out whether or not this Martian was simply giving up or coming in on a suicide mission. No one at the base knew either. They needed more information, but there was no time to get it.

With no real understanding of what was about to happen, base command sent up eight more jets in an effort to present overwhelming force to the Martian, or others that may drop by. Two of the jets circled high cover while the six other jets flew west, east and south in pairs as spotters in case this was some sort of trap being set by other Martian craft that had not detected. Needless to say, all ground and anti-aircraft forces at the facility were at combat stations ready, they hoped, for any eventuality. Hugh steel and concrete doors which enclosed the underground control center were closed. The small base at Thule was about as ready as it could be. All they could do now was wait. Whatever was going to happen it would not be long now.

As the base made visual contact with the formation the Martian craft, still heading straight in, once again slowed its approach. By then it was coming in so slowly that the jets were having a hard time staying with the slower moving craft. Just before it seemed the jets would need to circle around the Martian passed over the runway and in a fantastic feat of aerial skill pulled up into a full 360 degree loop and set down on the exact center of the main runway at Thule. The maneuver had happened so fast the pilots ‘escorting’ the Martian could not react before the Martian Flying Machine was on the runway and no longer moving!

It did not take long for the Martian to find itself surrounded by three small tanks and 45 armed airmen ready to do battle. There were no hostile actions on the part of the Martian. Instead what they saw was a panel opening from the belly of the craft which appeared to be a small ramp. What came out of the machine was a complete surprise. One by one formally captured humans filed out of the Martian craft. Men, women and children, mostly confused and certainly looking very tired, made their way towards the now stunned airmen who quickly gathered them up and led them away from the runway. In all 28 people who had been onboard the Martian craft were now back with their fellow human beings. The last one out was an Eskimo man in his late thirties named Namnok who explained that there was one more individual onboard who was about to come out – a Martian B!

When the Martian came out it almost seemed as if it did not understand what was going on. It looked a bit confused. Nevertheless, as it looked around with its expressionless face it decided upon a path it would take and slowly, almost as if it was having trouble walking, moved towards a jeep which had been parked next to a tank.

The Martian stopped some ten feet from the vehicle, faced who he seemed to understand was the ranking officer on the runway and spoke a few words in Martian A language. No one understood a word he said. Certainly no one had anticipated this situation. The captain put up his right hand as a gesture of peace and grabbed the radio to call the base intelligence officer. It did not take long for the winded young officer to run up to the group and begin what was probably a very weak version of Martian A language with our new arrival. Nevertheless, the Martian B seemed to understand as it walked towards the jeep and took a seat in the back. Before long they were all riding towards the command bunker on the north side of the runway. From there the small group, which included some ten well-armed airmen, descended into the tunnel which linked the control tower to the underground bunker. The Martian seemed to be very comfortable going underground. We later learned that it had spent most of its life on Mars in one of the large underground tunnels working on canal support projects.

On the runway the air crews were soon towing the Martian Flying Machine to one of the south end’s underground slit hangers so as to hide it from any other Martian craft which might be on the lookout for their lost craft. With a covering tarp over it no one could tell what was being hidden. It was now time to inform the Committee about this rather incredible event. When news of this ‘delivery’ arrived at London headquarters, Thule base was ordered to remove the flying machine as far away from the center of the base as they could and park it inside one of the storage facilities at the far end of the base. We were concerned that the craft may in fact be a bomb!

We were soon able to ascertain that there was no bomb on board the Martian craft. In fact, there were no weapons at all. This was an older version that had, for we all could tell, been stripped of its weapons most likely to be placed onboard other Martian Flying Machines.

As for the Martian B, whom the base officers soon began calling “The B Man,” it was quite open to any questions posed to it by our interrogators. In fact, there seemed to be a need in this one to tell us everything it could think of. We recorded every word it said.

During interrogations it was able to describe what the Martians had built in the Greenland area. From what we were able to learn this base was not much more than a cleared area with three walkers and three flying machines. It was not much in the way of military power but it did have a very dangerous mission. According to the Gray the purpose of the “base” was to test and improve new devices used by the Martians to direct their forces to areas on Earth. As a secondary mission the Martian As were using Martian Bs to test how long they could live on Earth with the new vaccines now being developed on Mars. After years of research on their planet they were now conducting field tests on Earth. If these results were successful the Martians could push forward the date for their next invasion on Earth. That alone made destroying the small Martian base in Greenland a top priority of the Committee. We were soon making plans to, as one general stated, “remove that little infection from the face of the Earth.” One cannot allow enemy aliens to camp out in one’s own backyard. As always when we were dealing with a Martian of any kind; my question was: Are we being led into some kind of trap and what would be the cost if it was?

After two and a half days of interrogations which for all we could understand were going well the Gray made a move which no one had anticipated. In the middle of a sentence describing the conditions on Mars in one of their supply tunnels the Gray simply stood up, took a small black pill from a concealed pocket and swallowed it. The Gray was dead before its body hit the ground! Astonished, the three interrogators immediately called for medical help but it was all over in seconds. It was later surmised that the Martian B had wanted to talk to the humans at the base for a specific amount of time and that was it.

Later autopsy showed that it had taken a copper-based metallic poison of unknown type. It was thought to be related to Black Smoke but this premise has never been proven. The real shock came when the doctors began removing vital organs. They discovered that at least two of them (heart and what passed as a kidney) were in fact small mechanical devices or what we later called artificial organs! It seemed the Martians still had many more surprises to reveal to humanity. It can only be imagined what we could do if we ever mastered the production of such devices for use in humans. One of our Committee doctors wondered out loud if they were testing these devices on captured humans on Mars. I preferred not to think about that.

Copies of the interview tapes were soon sent to London, New York and several national capitals for close investigation. An intelligence report would be sent out to all Committee command centers within weeks.

Editor’s Note: There are no records on Mars Prime indicating whether or not this defection of a B was authorized by Mars Prime or simply an action taken by the B.

I Remember – 30th Anniversary

I Remember

Thoughts from a Witness to the Martian War

THE OCCASIONAL HOWLING OF THE MARTIANS had ceased; they took up their positions in the huge crescent about their cylinders in absolute silence. It was a crescent with twelve miles between its horns. Never since the devising of gunpowder was the beginning of a battle so still. To us and to an observer about Ripley it would have had precisely the same effect – the Martians seemed in solitary possession of the darkling night, lit only as it was by the slender moon, the stars, the afterglow of the daylight, and the ruddy glare from St. George’s Hill and the woods of Painshill. But facing that crescent everywhere – at Staines, Hounslow, Ditton, Esher, Ockham, behind hills and woods south of the river, and across the flat grass meadows to the north of it, wherever a cluster of trees or village houses gave sufficient cover – the guns were waiting. The signal rockets burst and rained their sparks through the night and vanished, and the spirit of all those watching batteries rose to a tense expectation. The Martians had but to advance into the line of fire, and instantly those motionless black forms of men, those guns glittering so darkly in the early night, would explode into a thunderous fury of battle. No doubt the thought that was uppermost in a thousand of those vigilant minds, even as it was uppermost in mine, was the riddle – how much they understood of us. Did they grasp that we in our millions were organized, disciplined, working together? Or did they interpret our spurts of fire, the sudden stinging of our shells, our steady investment of their encampment, as we should the furious unanimity of onslaught in a disturbed hive of bees? Did they dream they might exterminate us? (At that time no one knew what food they needed.) A hundred such questions struggled together in my mind as I watched that vast sentinel shape. And in the back of my mind was the sense of all the huge unknown and hidden forces Londonward. Had they prepared pitfalls? Were the powder mills at Hounslow ready as a snare? Would the Londoners have the heart and courage to make a greater Moscow of their mighty province of houses? Then, after an interminable time, as it seemed to us, crouching and peering through the hedge, came a sound like the distant concussion of a gun. Another nearer, and then another. And then the Martian beside us raised his tube on high and discharged it, gun wise, with a heavy report that made the ground heave. The one towards Staines answered him. There was no flash, no smoke, simply that loaded detonation.

I Remember

Thoughts from a Witness to the Martian War

HE HAD HID UNDER THE DEAD HORSE for a long time, peeping out furtively across the common. The Cardigan men tried a rush, in skirmishing order, at the pit, simply to be swept out of existence. Then the monster had risen to its feet, and had begun to walk leisurely to and fro across the common among the few fugitives, with its head like hood turning about exactly like the head of a cowed human being. A kind of arm carried a complicated metallic case, about which green flashes scintillated, and out of the funnel of this there smoked the Heat-Ray. In a few minutes there was, so far as the soldier could see, not a living thing left upon the common, and every bush and tree upon it that was not already a blackened skeleton was burning. The Lussars had been on the road beyond the curvature of the ground, and he saw nothing of them. He heard the Maxims rattle for a time and then become still. The giant saved Woking Station and its cluster of houses until the last; then in a moment the Heat-Ray was brought to bear, and the town became a heap of fiery ruins. The Thing shut off the Heat-Ray, and, turning its back upon the artilleryman, began to waddle away towards the smoldering pine woods that sheltered the second cylinder. As it did so a second glittering Titan built itself up out of the pit.

On 18 October 1931, Director E, otherwise Thomas Edison, passed away from natural causes. He was immediately replaced by the Associate Director of Directorate E (the Prince of E), which at the time happen to be myself. I now knew the simple three word code “Mars is calling.” I accepted the position within the hour took a stiff drink and went to work shadowed 24 hours a day by a Committee security team. Once again I found myself losing a bit of freedom for the greater good.

The day after we lost Mr. Edison a remarkable report came into the Committee of two very large caves then being explored at Wookey Hole and Cheddar Gorge in England. These two caves have huge ‘halls’ which stretch for hundreds of feet. Polished by millions of years of slow water flow the walls turned out to be very smooth. Explorers were also amazed by what appeared to be the constant temperature of around 69 degrees F. all year round. Not expected to be useful for exposed supplies or other goods due to the excess water, material sealed in drums, fuel, ammo, food or just about anything that can be sealed up would do well in these two massive underground facilities. It had been estimated that modified short term bomb shelters (no gas protection) could be built to protect upwards of 20,000 people in these two caves. With this in mind the openings and any indication of this location was to be hidden from Martian eyes. Work to bring these caves into operation began immediately with internal clearing and re-enforcement. We were soon making plans to use these caves to store drinking water in thousands of 55 gallon drums as well as several types of grain. The teams who had found the caves soon went back to work looking for more of these national “bomb and storage shelters.” Before their work was completed reports would show that over 2890 of these natural shelters had been found and set up around the world. Small and large, we would use as many as we possibly could.

It was about this time that Director I released a report on Martian involvement with witch-burnings in Europe dating from 1580 to 1626. Those years saw an almost continuous series of crop failures in Europe at about the same time as the mini-Ice Age which has even now yet to be completed. (Good weather for Martians. We are not yet certain the Martians were somehow involved with the change of climate.) In seven French and German provinces during that period 6550 cases of witch-burning occurred due to their suspected involvement in crop failures. Recently discovered diaries and drawings show that a strange plant had ‘invaded’ many of these crop lands. Dried examples of the plant pressed in some of those diaries are in fact old samples of Martian Red Weed! Some of those who had been accused of being witches wrote of “the little gray people seen near the fields.” It was just one more example of Martian interference in Earth’s long history. The Martians certainly have a lot to pay for.

Editor’s Note: These Red Weed tests were very successful – From this point on the use of Red Weed in invasion planning became the norm – Converting Earth-based vegetation with Martian Prime plant life would eventually be successful as the planet began to cool.

[END PART 49]

Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020

[Next week: Part 50: Greenland attacked and a steamboat disaster.]

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