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 Post subject: Sour Grapes 12
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:29 am 
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Red Seas- sour grapes twelve


Other things were afoot, and the ripples widened, and were noticed. The British actions were particularly noticeable; bomber forces moving to airborne alert tended to be. RFC Bomber Command's main force consisted of fourteen squadrons of eight Vulcan bombers, and they spent most of their time being strangely unobtrusive. Not today.

With the entire commonwealth to play with, they had a net of bases around the world to exercise from, stage out of, beat up (in the flying sense- close combat as learned in RFC mess dinings- in was frequently counterproductive, anyway) the locals in the vicinity of, and generally enjoy a global role thanks to.

The most regular opposition to their presence was usually their rivals in Oceanic Command RNAS, actually, who felt that being the air arm of Commonwealth and Empire was their job and the Army were just tourists.

The main reason they had a global role, and were relatively little in evidence in metropolitan UK, was pure tactics. Nuclear war tactics, that was, specifically that they were appallingly vulnerable to counterforce strikes on a small island minutes from the enemy by IRBM, with notoriously dodgy weather that could easily prevent the force scrambling if they were attacked at the wrong time of year.

Why the residents of the Welsh valleys and the Highland glens were not continually plagued by tin triangles howling past at rooftop level, really- no matter how much the pilots would have enjoyed it. No, the Deccan and Quebec got it instead. Except on special occasions.


Avro's main force workhorse, that they had arguably died giving birth to, had nonetheless evolved a lot over the years. The initial proposal had been quite a long way beyond the state of the art, would never have met performance numbers, and a much less drastic aircraft was chosen as the first service jet bomber- with options retained. When it turned out that that didn't work, the option was taken up- with the effects of a few years' advancement thrown in.

Really what they were flying now ought to be the B.mk IX or X or thereabouts, having grown enormously, the inheritors of the bits of the company and the servicing and development requirements trying to put their own stamp on it. The Vulcan's godparents, in effect, Bristol and Hawkers, had showered it with gifts.

Three hundred and sixty thousand pounds fully laden, main engines in a slightly less looney position, under rather than through the main wing spar, oh, and upgraded to the mark that had originally been developed for Concorde B. The Olympus mark 610 was designed for sustained supersonic cruise, but not so closely designed that the only thing they could do was bore holes in the sky.

Avro remembered the experience of the war, was not willing to write it off as obsolescent just quite yet, and had designed a surprising agility into what should have been a plodding carthorse of the skies; better thrust to weight than most of the interceptors it faced, for a start.

Most of them would be loaded twenty- two forty- four; that being the code for two standoff, two gravity bombs, four defence suppression missiles, four air to air. It was expected the enemy would try to stop them, and they would have to fight their way through to their targets.

All well and good, especially if they got to said Soviet defences first. Not brilliant, from the American point of view, when there were two squadrons of the things based in Canada and still orbiting, hovering suspiciously close to the American border and not answering traffic control.


Just as well that it was at that point, with Aradcom about to go into panic mode and start making minuteman- like noises in far too many senses of the term, the British and Commonwealth ambassador finally got to the white house.

Sir Miles Sharzai was a distinctly odd man to be picked as the Foreign Office's man in America, and everyone was sure the appointment of an Anglo- Indian was sending a message to somebody. Precisely what message to precisely whom was for him the greatest mystery of his career. That anyone would be listening, for one.

As the son of a Pathan RIFC bomber pilot who had flown with Fourteenth Army and a Yorkshire- born district medical officer, he supposed he had been genetically predisposed for something like this, a combination of stubborn and sneaky being ideal for diplomacy, but that didn't mean he was also predisposed to like Washington.

At that sort of seniority that justifies an ambassadorship to a major mostly- friendly power, he should not have had to go to a post he did not want- after all there were hundreds of others who were fool enough to backstab, scheme and connive for it. Circumstances had however conspired against him.

It was the racial politics of America he wanted no part of, and as half- Pathan he truly knew whereof he spoke when he described it as a kind of civil frontier war. A man of two worlds could navigate that, chart it even, possibly nudge it in a pro- Commonwealth direction with the occasional subtly self- serving twist, but that wasn't the boss-man's job.


The racial politics he had grown up with recognized that essentially everyone was biased in favour of their own race and tribe and kin, that good political tactics often involved pretending otherwise, that some were stupid enough to fall for their own cons, that different cultures had different senses of right and wrong- and that quality was where you found it, and in the last analysis everyone bled the same colour.

India bumbled along, floating on demographic tides with the occasional demonstration and shouting match and riot, but these were regarded by almost everyone involved as par for the course, and usually no great harm done.

America was different, in a way that seemed to have been created by books and newspapers; as a Pathan he understood vengeance, as the son of a man who had flown into the atomic age he understood deterrence, and how the two connected, but the generalised, unspecific sense of vengeance needing to be taken on all white people, the frustration caused by not really being able to make it happen, and the frequency with which they fouled their own nest thrashing around trying, were painful.

In all senses- to watch, to think of, to try to understand, most of all to try to do anything about. He was fairly certain that it would be possible to spark a modern day servile revolt in America, and two thirds certain that the Soviet intelligence agencies were trying- mostly by proxy, because thinking too hard about the details made their heads hurt too.

Which way Commonwealth interests pointed, and what he was supposed to do about it, were altogether murkier questions. A distracted America was a positive, quite a lot of the time; a self destructive America rather less so.


Now this. For a brief moment a potential solution to all the problems occurred to him; offer the Falklands to the NAACP as a new racial homeland, swap it for parts of New England with the American government, resettle the Falklanders there and let Argentina deal with the blacks- three birds with one stone; wreck Argentina, stabilize most of America, and reconquer Maine for the Crown...

Well, that was the nonsense and the nerves washed out of his head, anyway, which was necessary as this was going to be some seriously humourless high politics to be done.

He walked into the Situation Room, hoping to feel the invisible weight of a billion people standing behind him, to suggest a complicated tango on the cliff edge of Armageddon.

'Good morning, Mr President, Secretary, Secretary'- State and Defence- 'we think the Russian plan here is the same as it was for the Kuriles, for Persia- Iran, for the Philippine Archipelago, for Southwest Africa- for most of the Caribbean in fact- in intent if not in detail, which is to drive a wedge between their enemies.

Her Majesty's Government would rather like to know why your State Department's first reaction was to support them in this, actually, but that can wait until the witch hunt- we have a plan to sell them a dummy, which should work to our advantage- if there is still an us, and the Soviets do not actually have a point. Hm?'

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"Wisdom distilled from events which were unforeseeable should find expression not in criticisms of those who did their duty to the best of their ability, but in the taking of wise precautions for the future."-Sir John Jellicoe


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 Post subject: Re: Sour Grapes 12
PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:21 pm 
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No comment really, just that I like this series a lot :)

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War is less costly than servitude. In the end, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau. - Jean Dutourd


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