America Dismantled Devastated Destroyed – WIF Fiction

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 Sci-Fi Writers (Not Gwen)

On How America

Will be

Ripped Apart

In American history, there are many incidents that could have drastically changed, or even destroyed, America. Altered versions of these “What If” events are a popular genre of science fiction called “alternate history.” To help visualize their Alt-Histories, authors often supply maps of the ALT-USA… and that’s precisely what we’re going to take a look at today. Warning, though: Below Be Spoilers.

10. The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle is a TV show based on Philip K. Dick’s novel of the same name. In this universe, history diverged from our own when Franklin D. Roosevelt was assassinated by Giuseppe Zangarast in 1933. This was based a real event, but in our history Zangarast missed FDR and killed Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak instead. In Dick’s history Roosevelt was killed, and without him America struggled under the Great Depression and became extremely isolationist. This allowed the Axis powers of World War II (Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan) to become victorious in Europe and in the Pacific.

By 1945, the Axis powers have invaded North America from both the Pacific and the Atlantic. A Nazi atomic bomb in Washington DC forces America’s surrender, and the occupation creates the division of the United States between Germany and Japan; much like how, during our timeline, Germany was divided into the East and West. The events in The Man in the High Castle TV show take place in the 1960s, and maps show that Germany and Japan had split America between them with a small neutral zone separating the two.

9. Revolution

Revolution was an American post-apocalyptic NBC TV show that takes place in 2027. In this universe, a mysterious 2012 event called “The Blackout” caused all electricity to permanently cease to function. The show, produced by JJ Abrams, followed the survivors as they deal with the consequences of a world without electrical power.

After the Blackout, America descends into chaos and fragments as technology reverts back to pre-electricity, steam-powered tech. Most of the action in the TV show takes place in the Monroe Republic, which is made up of Northeast America. The character Monroe was able to seize power after setting up a tyrannical military dictatorship that takes away the guns of its people. The West Coast is dominated by the California Commonwealth, and Texas exists as a separate republic… which is pretty much par for the course. The Southwest is abandoned to the desert, and a reemergence of a nomadic lifestyle takes over in the Midwest Plains Nation.

8. Southern Victory

Celebrated science fiction author Harry Turtledove created an alternate universe called Southern Victory. In 1997 he released the first of 11 alternate history books, How Few Remain. In this universe, history diverges during the American Civil War (which you probably guessed based on the title) on September 10, 1862. In real life on this day, a Confederate messenger lost Top Secret Order 191, which outlined the South’s invasion. With these secret plans, the North was able to check the invasion and slog on to eventual victory. In Turtledove’s universe the secret plans weren’t lost. This allows the South to successfully launch a surprise invasion and defeat the Union Army of the Potomac, and eventually the South captures Philadelphia. Capturing such a large city enables the United Kingdom and France to ally with the Confederate States of America, forcing an end to the war with the South declaring independence from the United States on November 4, 1862.

On the map you can see how America wasn’t able to afford buying Alaska from Russia, and the Second Mexican Empire (which at the time was still ruled by the Emperor of Mexico, Maximilian I) crumbles into poverty. In our universe, Maximilian ruled Mexico until he was killed in 1867. In Turtledove’s history the bankrupt Mexico allows the South to purchase the northwestern regions of Sonora and Chihuahua, giving them access to the Pacific. The series continues with North and South being mortal enemies who ally with other world powers to fight each other over the next hundred years.

7. Jericho

In the CBS TV show Jericho, a shadow government plans a coup via a nuclear attack on 23 major cities in America, using small bombs smuggled to their targets in cargo vans. After the bombs detonate, civilization breaks down and the American government is destroyed. The first season of the show dealt with a small town as it tried to keep its citizens alive during the aftermath of the nuclear attack.

The show pulled in low numbers and was canceled after one season. Jericho’s fans revolted and launched an online campaign for CBS to do a second season, sending nuts to CBS (it actually makes sense in the context of the show, if you haven’t seen it). Eventually, over 20 tons were mailed to the network. This online outcry was an “unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime-time television series.” CBS caved and made a second season, where it was revealed that civilization had returned but the coup planners had only succeeded in seizing Western America, while Texas became independent (that seems to be a theme in these kinds of alternate histories) and the Eastern USA stopped enough nuclear bombs that some form of federal government survived the WMD attack.

Even with the successful nuts viral campaign, CBS still canceled the show after the second season. However, the universe lived on in comics, which revealed that the East and West USA fragmented into smaller nations while some parts of America were occupied by UN forces.

6. The Handmaid’s Tale

Celebrated author Margaret Atwood first published her book The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985. A 1990 film adaptation of the same name was released, and in 2017 Hulu adapted it into a critically acclaimed series. In Atwood’s America, a polluted country is wracked by falling fertility rates, which cause huge civil unrest. A staged attack wipes out the President and most of the federal government. In the chaos, a Christian Fundamentalist movement calling itself the “Sons of Jacob” seize control. Some surviving elements of the government flee to the West, where America still exists, while east of the Rockies is ruled by a new government called “Gilead.”

The new Christian theocracy decrees Baptists are heretics and brutally suppresses its followers, causing much of the American South to be in continuous revolt. Gilead is able to keep the remnants of America and the world at bay by threatening to use nukes that are seized after coup’s success. A number of areas are radioactive, implying that there was nuclear sabotage or that Gilead demonstrated its nuclear might. Condemned criminals and opponents of the new regime (which are often one and the same) are sent to these areas as “clean up” teams, but due to their high mortality these men and women really face a death sentence.

5. Dies the Fire

Stephen Michael Stirling’s Emberverse series spans 14 novels, with the first book Dies the Fire being released in 2008. More installments are expected as the series chugs right along.

In the Emberverse universe a mysterious event called “The Change” alters the laws of physics, throwing the world into chaos. After the Change, modern technology stops functioning, throwing the world back into the Iron Age, with people arming themselves with swords and bow and arrows. Large population areas collapse when food runs out, and from the ashes of urban centers emerge large cannibal groups that create “Death Zones.” From more rural areas, city-states emerge. This is the universe that Dies the Fire sees for post-apocalyptic America.

4. A Canticle for Leibowitz

Walter M. Miller, Jr. first published A Canticle for Leibowitz in 1959. The award-winning book is considered a classic and has never been out of print. It’s a post-apocalyptic story that takes place 600 years after a horrible nuclear war, which sparked a movement to destroy all knowledge called the “Simplification.” During this movement, all books are destroyed except for some hidden away in a Catholic monastery, the Abbey of Saint Leibowitz, in the deserts of the American Southwest.

After all knowledge is wiped out during the Simplification, America reverts to tribal, feudal societies. Sometime in the 600 years after WWIII, the Catholic Church relocates from Rome, Italy, to New Rome, somewhere in the former United States. Surrounding New Rome are a number of Catholic papal states. Also emerging from the fragments of Western civilization are the Empires of Texarkana, Laredo, Denver. Back at the Abbey of Saint Leibowitz, the monastery keeps its vast collection of pre-war books and knowledge alive by painstakingly copying them by hand. From these books, civilization is reborn.

3. The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins released the first book of her Hunger Games trilogy in 2008, and the novels were adapted into the blockbuster series starring Jennifer Lawrence as the story’s heroine, Katniss Everdeen. Over their cumulative worldwide releases, the four movies pulled in almost $3 billion dollars. So… we’re guessing you’ve probably seen at least one of them.

The Hunger Games takes place sometime in the future after a great war. Rising sea levels have swallowed up vast parts of North America, leaving a new nation called Panem to rise. This dystopian nation is divided into 12 districts that each specialize in specific goods or services.

A lot of the story takes place in District 12 (D12), which is thought to be in the coal-rich Appalachian region. D11 grows grain, and D10 raises livestock. Both are very large, given their tasks of feeding an entire nation. Close by is D9, which processes the food. D8 produces and treats textiles, while D7 specializes in forestry. D6 specializes in research and development, while D5 does genetic research. D4 is on or near the ocean, while D3 works with Information Technology and D2 specializes in weaponry and training peacekeepers. D1 produces luxury goods for the Capitol District and has a diamond mine – possibly the now-commercially closed Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine. The secret, rebellious District 13 is hidden away in bunkers thought to be in the Northeastern part of America.

2. Crimson Skies

Jordan Weisman and Dave McCoy created the Crimson Skies universe first for a board game released in 1998, and then a video game franchise produced by Microsoft Game Studios beginning in 2000.

History diverges from our universe when, in the 1930s, a series of deadly diseases devastate America and the country becomes increasingly isolationist to the point where the federal government devolves all power to the states, leading to the Balkanization of the United States into a series of small regional-states. With no federal government to pull the nation together interstate highways decay while at the same time aviation technology takes off. With a focus on air travel, roads and trains are abandoned in favor of the skies. With so many city-states there are many grievances, which quickly turn into open war. From the chaos of near constant warfare, large groups of air pirates raid commerce and other settlements.

1. The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead has been airing on AMC since October 31, 2010, and is based on a comic book series of the same name created by Robert Kirkman. Even with declining ratings over the last couple seasons, the show was renewed for a ninth season and Forbes’ Paul Tassi has talked about how the series should catch up to the comic books by season 9 or 10. After that, Kirkman hopes the show will diverge from its source material (which it has already started to do, given a few major cast and character shakeups).

In this alternate reality, America has been overrun by a zombie virus that reanimates the dead. The story starts off with the main character, Rick Grimes, waking up from a coma to find the world overtaken by the un-dead. He and a group of survivors first go to Atlanta, and then after meeting another group head to the nation’s capital, Washington DC – which is the general area around which the show now takes place. The main locations are the Alexandria Safe-Zone south of the capital, the Hilltop colony north of DC, and in the urban core of the city, Ezekiel’s Kingdom. They fight against Negan and the Saviors, who are based east of Washington DC at The Sanctuary. Everything outside of these areas is more or less abandoned, given over to the hordes of the walking dead.

Oh, so that’s where they got the title.


America Dismantled Devastated Destroyed –

WIF Fiction

Nuclear Attack Survival – WIF Doomsday Handbook

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Surviving a

Nuclear Attack

Shutterstock photo

With all of the hostility around the world today, it’s understandable if you may be at least a little bit worried about becoming a victim of a nuclear attack. While we truly hope that you’ll never have to use this advice, it’s still important to be prepared for any possibility. Here are 10 survival tips on what you can do before, during, and after a nuclear attack.

10. Run

This goes without saying, but if you’re still alive after a nuclear attack, run for your life. If you are close to the area where a blast has gone off, do not look directly at it, because it can cause you to go blind. You actually want to open your mouth, because if you don’t, your eardrums will actually burst from the sound of the blast. Anyone within half a mile of where a nuclear bomb goes off has a 90% chance of dying immediately, and a 50% chance of being killed within a two-mile radius.

According to Professor Irwin Redlener from Columbia University, nuclear bombs produce a tremendous amount of wind following the blast. Take notice to which direction the wind is blowing, and where you see the most damage. Head in the opposite direction.

Radiation travels so quickly that if you are within a 5-mile radius of the blast, you will only have 10 to 15 minutes to seek shelter before you are pummeled with enough radiation to kill you. Your priority should be to get far enough away, or seek an appropriate shelter.

9. Get Inside

While this may seem like common sense, you need to get inside if you want to survive after a nuclear blast. During the Cold War, the prevailing advice was to “duck and cover,” even if it meant laying down in the middle of the street. At the time, the government had very little knowledge about fallout, and in the film, they compare a radiation flash to getting a bad sunburn. We now know that the reality is that the heat of an atomic bomb is tens of millions of degrees Fahrenheit, and that it causes skin cancer almost instantly, even if you are several miles from the blast site.

If you are within 5 miles of an atomic explosion, and you don’t have enough time to run, the best option is to get inside of the basement of a tall building, or inside of an interior room without windows. If you live in a city, and you can’t find a basement to hide in, you can also run to the 10th floor or higher of a very tall building, because it should be high up enough to avoid at least some of the debris. Just keep in mind that going underground is always the best option.

8. Shield Yourself

If you are outside during a nuclear attack, and there are few options for places to hide, FEMA recommends finding a concrete building, and using it to shield yourself from the direction of the blast. This isn’t ideal for a long-term hiding spot, but it could possibly give you enough time to survive the initial attack before moving on to find a better shelter.

After the attacks on Hiroshima, the only building that survived near the center of the blast was the concrete Genbaku Dome. Today, the site is used as a museum and memorial for the lives that were lost during the attack.

7. Avoid Fallout

If you are living within a few miles of a nuclear attack, your main concern should be avoiding fallout. And no, we’re not talking about the popular video game franchise. Fallout is a mix of dirt and radioactive debris, and it moves with the wind. Within the first week or two after a blast, it can be carried several miles away from ground zero. Even if you live 50 to 100 miles away from a blast site, pay attention to the news about the direction of where the fallout is moving, because it’s possible that you may still have to evacuate, or take shelter underground to avoid radiation.

If you’re not sure if you live within a safe distance of any potential attack, there is a rather frightening website called “Nukemap” that allows you to simulate what would happen after a nuclear explosion, and it will tell you just how many miles fallout is likely to travel.

6. Distance Yourself

According to Ready.gov, the most likely targets for a nuclear attack would be locations that would be considered important for commerce or government, such as capital buildings, military bases, power plants, and major ports for transportation. Obviously, if your job keeps you close to these places, you may not be able to change where you live. But if you are given a warning that a missile is on its way, be sure to get as far away from any of these types of buildings as you possibly can.

If you happen to be driving when you get a text message about an impending nuclear attack, it’s best to get as far away from the blast site as humanly possible. However, it’s also best to avoid driving on major highways, especially since you may have mere minutes to seek shelter.

In the event of a disaster, highways tend to get jammed when they fill with people who are desperate to get out of a city. If you have ever seen The Walking Dead, you may remember the highway leading out of Atlanta filled with cars of people who were trying to get away from zombies. Unfortunately, if an entire city has 15 minutes to evacuate, highways would look just like it did in the TV show. If at all possible, stick to driving on back roads.

5. Get Clean

If you happened to be outside during a nuclear blast, or you’ve been evacuating, it’s likely that fallout settled on your clothing and skin while you were seeking shelter. This means that you should clean yourself off as soon as you are safely inside a shelter. Ready.gov recommends removing your the clothing you were wearing, tie it in a plastic bag, and place it as far away from humans and animals as possible.

Take a shower, but be careful not to scrub too hard, because scratching your skin will be far worse. Use as much shampoo and soap as possible, but do not condition your hair or use lotion, because it will hold any radioactive materials to your skin. Blow your nose, wipe your ears, and eyes. After this first shower, it’s best to avoid tap water after that, because the radiation from the fallout will seep into the groundwater.

4. Stay Inside, and Wait for News

Once you are in a shelter that is a safe distance from the center of a nuclear blast, it’s still possible for radiation to linger for several weeks, or longer, depending on the size of the bomb. After the nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima, the town remained uninhabitable for years after the blast.

Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing just how bad radiation will be until the disaster occurs, but it’s estimated that it will take anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks before radiation levels disperse enough to make it safe to go outside. Listen to your radio, TV, or internet for updates on when it’s safe to go out.

3. Do Not Scavenge

In most movies of a post-apocalyptic world, we see characters raiding grocery stores or farms for food and supplies. While that might make sense during a zombie apocalypse, it’s the last thing you’ll want to do when surviving nuclear fallout. Just like groundwater, radiation can spread into food and livestock. No matter how tempting the food is on the shelf, it’s best not to eat it, because you will be ingesting something that was fully exposed to radiation. Don’t be tempted to steal non-food items, either, because you’ll be carrying the radiation away with you.

After the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, even cars, gold, and jewels were left behind due to the high levels of radiation lingering on everything. If you’re outside at all, it’s much smarter to spend that time evacuating than hanging around scavenging.

2. Have an Escape Plan

Now that you know what to do if you’re caught off-guard by a nuclear blast, it would be wise to prepare an escape plan for your family and friends. If you live in a city, find out where your local nuclear bomb shelters are located, and calculate just how long it would take for you to get there from work and home.

Google Maps actually provides the addresses of nuclear fallout shelters. It’s worth taking a few minutes out of your day to see exactly which buildings you can run to, in case of emergency.

1. Be Prepared

Last and definitely not least, you should stock your home with preparations for any disaster, whether it’s as natural as a hurricane, or as apocalyptic as nuclear fallout. Be sure to keep bottled water, canned food, a first aid kit, and flashlights. According to the Center of Disease Control, potassium iodide helps to prevent your thyroid gland from absorbing radiation.

You should be able to find these tablets at your local pharmacy. You can also buy solar-powered battery packs to charge your smartphone, in case the power goes out.  There are plenty of doomsday prepper websites out there, if you want some more ideas on what you may need to get ready for a potential attack.


Nuclear Attack Survival –

WIF Doomsday Handbook

The NULL Solution = Episode 131

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The NULL Solution = Episode 131

…Mob mentality is one of the strangest instincts in human nature, buried good and deep…

The eminent approach of a huge PHO – potentially hazardous objects {Lie #3} into the solar system makes the other cover-ups look like white lies.

You can hardly hide something the size of the disputed planet Mercury from private telescope operators. It is as plain as an age spot on Galileo’s face that the object is far from purposeless.

A hacker, who has since mysteriously disappeared from the capitol city of Talibanistan, was able to break into the Planetary Defense Coordination Office server. He is able to blab the suppressed {Ÿ€Ð} invasion transmission to the world…

… Even if fibs are for the greater good, when they do come to light, the results cannot be managed. The world has gone deaf to the NASA managers. “Keep Calm and Trust Us”may be true and to be heeded, but the horses are out of the barn, too far down the road to be corralled. Rancher Roy Crippen can only stand back as he witnesses the collapse of world order.

Global money markets tank, doomsday prophets gloat, anarchists flourish and bomb shelters are dug from the North Pole to the South. Both Planetary Defense and those in the know expected just such panic, if & when that alien warning ever became public.

They will not be able to blame Alf Quigby for this one. It does not matter who is to blame, try as some of the mightiest might.

“Chicago and London are in flames, Chinese banks are closed until further notice, the Internet has slowed to a crawl and the airlines just grounded all flights. People think the world is about to end and I can’t tell them anything different!” President Chasin Hedley has been in on the SETI cover-up from the beginning. He is acutely aware that a do-over would produce the same result. “WWOWD?”

A student of all things Science Fiction and pop culture in general, the figurehead of NASA guesses the expressed acronym instantly, “Orson Welles would have made a clear introduction to this story,” Roy concludes, “explaining that it is just a radio drama… NOT a Martian invasion.”

“It’s too late for that.”

“We could have, but people, hear what they want to hear. That message is 3 bleeping years old. Three years ago, Harper Lea Bassett would have been the first person to panic… National Guard, martial law, the whole shebang… the military against the people repeated one country after the next.” A former president is regretful. “Mob mentality is one of the strangest instincts in human nature, buried good and deep. I doubt it was any different during the dinosaur extinction; we were just more spread out on one huge continent. I read a memo: It took approximately 5 minutes for the SETI recording to span the globe… then roughly 90 seconds to worldwide chaos. What can we do here in the U.S.?”

“I have declared martial law and mobilized the National Guard.”

“I have opened up the rifle locker at King Ranch. My hired hands {Secret Service} are instructed to use force to protect the compound. May God, Lorgan or both help us all.”

How cruel the irony.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 131


page 129

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 143

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THE RETURN TRIP– Episode 143

…I miss Earth as much as you, but we cannot allow it to disrupt our survival and seeing Braden is definitely a case of Desert Mirage Syndrome…

Desert Mirage by SoolArt deviantart.com

“Braden!” Celeste’s reference to the guardian of her children and dearest of friends is way out of context in relation to what she and Sampson were discussing, over yet another strange meal provided by the “Infinity Kitchen” of the NEWFOUNDLANDER, permanently parked on the Martian surface.

Sampson finishes swallowing the pleasant tasting orange substance he was eating to address her disjointed alluding to their friend, “What does King have to do with learning how to fly this thing.” He is itching to unravel the procedure connected to the actual engine start-up & driving of this alien contraption.

“Nothing Sam, I guess I am getting homesick.”

“Getting? So am I… so was E.T.”

“Well okay, got it bad, thinking about the kids, when I saw Braden’s face. He looked worried, like he was trying to tell me something.”

That is definitely a case of Desert Mirage Syndrome. I miss Earth as much as you, but we cannot allow it to disrupt our survival. We must keep our best wits about us!”

“Of course we do and I often fight off the homesickness, but this is different. For a moment, I would swear that he was trying to tell me something; no Deke, Gus or peanut butter cups, just Braden with a message.”

“And no Baby? Hhmmm, this must be serious.” Sampson is understandably concerned with the mental well-being of his wife, especially as it applies to her pregnancy. This imposed isolation is playing mind games with them and it is a constant struggle to repel imbalanced thoughts; and without an OB/GYN, her dietary needs may or may not being met.

“If you are worried that I am teetering on the brink, forget about it, I am fine. I am merely astonished by the clarity of the vision. He WAS trying to tell me something.”

“Does this mean I can’t commit you to that rubber-lined room, the one we haven’t figured out its purpose?”

“Your 25 credits in Psyche 101 do not cut it here, oh and by the way, your title as Commander is hereby revoked. We are on an alien spaceship and you cannot make anything work around here without my help.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 143


page 177

 

Contents TRT

Bomb Shelter Handbook – Surviving The Apocalypse

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Bunkers and Bomb Shelters

to Ride Out

the Apocalypse

If all out nuclear war happened, many places in the world could be wiped off the face of the Earth in the blasts. Unlucky survivors would die slowly from radiation or in nuclear winter. It’s a nightmarish scenario, and just one way humanity could be doomed. We could also be killed off by disease, environmental problems, and asteroids, just to name a few extinction level events. Because there are so many ways humanity could end on any given day, some people have built, or are in the process of building, some amazing bunkers and fallout shelters.

10. Atlas Survival Shelter

To start off, we thought we’d go with the working person’s luxury bomb shelter. Atlas Survival Shelter’s Galvanized Corrugated Pipe bomb shelter starts at about $49,000. The pipe is 32-by-10-feet and it can comfortably house three or four people. It has one bedroom plus extra bunks, a washroom with a shower, and there is storage under the floor so you can store up to a year’s worth of food. The tube, which has its own air filtration system and is powered by solar panels, protects the inhabitants from bomb blasts, and nuclear, chemical and biological disasters. Finally, any exterior components, such as the lid of the escape tube and solar panels, are hidden and nearly impossible to see unless you know what you’re looking for.

What’s interesting about the Atlas system is that multiple tubes can be connected together to make much bigger complexes. For example, they have a complex that holds 80 to 90 people. Check out the video above for one of the “higher end” models sold by Atlas.

9. Silo Home

The aptly named Silo Home was built over an Atlas F missile silo that was constructed during the Cold War in the Adirondack Mountains in Saranac, New York. The home that sits over the silo looks like a normal 1,800 square-foot cabin. The bunker, which is protected by walls that are three feet thick, is connected to the ground floor via a spiral staircase.

The subterrain area has two floors. The 2,300 square feet of living space includes a jacuzzi, a kitchen, a dining area, and an entertainment room. There are even windows with fake light that simulate sunlight. The Silo Home is also full of potential because there is lots of room for more renovations. There are nine levels, equaling 12,000 square feet, that are still unused.

8. The Caverns Suite

Have you ever seen the Grand Canyon and thought to yourself, “That looks comfortable enough to sleep in”? Hopefully not. But if, for some reason, you’d love to sleep there, there’s actually a luxury suite 200 feet below ground in the Grand Canyon Caverns in Peach Springs, Arizona, that was once a fallout shelter.

The caverns were discovered in 1927 by a woodcutter named Walter Peck. Accounts vary, but apparently Peck either fell or nearly fell into it. Peck thought that there might be gold in the caverns and quickly bought the land. When he found out there was no gold, he made it a tourist attraction, and led tours around the caverns. Since then, it’s had several owners and has been used in different ways. Notably, during the Cuban Missile Crisis it was used as a bomb shelter that could house 200 people. Some of the relics of its days as a fallout shelter can still be found there, such as dehydrated food.

In 2001, it was purchased by a group of friends who converted the remnants of the bomb shelter into a luxury suite that is 220 feet by 400 feet, with a 70-foot ceiling.To stay at the “oldest, darkest, deepest, quietest, and largest suite room in the world” for one night, it costs the first two guests $800 and then $100 for each additional person, and it holds up to six people. However, if it were needed for a bomb shelter, 2,000 people could survive in the caverns for several weeks.

7. Subterra Castle

subterra

Located in the Kansas hills, about 25 miles west of Topeka, Subterra Castle is a mansion that was created from a missile silo that once held an 82-foot Atlas-E rocket. Ed Peden and his wife, Dianna Ricke-Peden, bought the silo in 1984 for $40,000 and did a tremendous amount of work on it. They converted it into an underground mansion before moving into it in 1994. The silo has four bedrooms and two baths, there is a music room complete with a stage, domestic and commercial kitchens, a library/study, and a hot tub.

Ed Peden loves giving tours of his home to school groups, television crews, and anyone else who wants to see the bunker. Just make sure you let him know ahead of time.

6. Girard B. Henderson’s Bomb Shelter

If you were to look at this Las Vegas home from the street, you probably wouldn’t think much of it. It’s fairly mundane, just a two-story house that looks like it was built sometime in the 1970s. However, 26 feet below the house is an amazing Cold War fallout shelter that’s connected to the house by an elevator. The shelter comes complete with fake scenery, which includes fake trees and fake rocks. There’s a garden of sorts, which has a four-hole putting green, two jacuzzis, a sauna, a dance floor, a bar, and a barbeque that is in the shape of a rock. Oh, and a swimming pool, of course.

There are three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Finally, the lights can be adjusted to imitate different times of the day. There are even some twinkling stars to imitate the night sky. The shelter was installed in 1978, and the original owner, Girard B. Henderson, former director of Avon who died in 1980, had the décor reflect the era in which it was built. There are pastels everywhere, and the kitchen is pink. The house was listed for $1.7 million in 2013, but it is unclear if it was ever purchased.

5. The Facility

Built in 1969 in Tift County, Georgia, but renovated to new government standards in 2012, the Facility (as it has been nicknamed) is a privately owned fallout shelter. It sits on 32 acres, and above it is 2,000 square feet of commercial space and a caretaker’s home. 45 feet below is the bunker with three-foot cement walls that can withstand a 20 kiloton nuclear explosion. The bunker has four 600-square foot apartments, each have two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and dining area.

It also has five staff bedrooms, because what’s the point of surviving the apocalypsewithout someone to clean up after you? Other amenities include a 15-seat home theater, a library, a conference room, a first-aid room, a commercial kitchen, an HVAC system, and environmental monitoring sensors. The Facility went on the market in 2015, but it’s probably out of your price range unless your name is Bill Gates.

4. Luxury Survival Condos

In 2008, Denver based developer Larry Hall bought a 174-foot deep former nuclear missile silo near Concordia, Kansas. He converted it to a large bunker made up of individual condominiums. Besides the condos, the bunker has a swimming pool, a library, a 17-seat movie theater, and a hydroponic vegetable garden. To fortify the bunker, there are two armored doors weighing 16,000 pounds each, and the bunker has its own security force. Each resident is also given five years’ worth of freeze-dried and dehydrated food.

The silo can house up to 75 people, and there are full units and half units. A full unit is 1,820 square-feet with nine foot ceilings and costs $3 million, while half-units cost $1.5 million. Hall also provides armored pickup for the residents within 400 miles of the silo, which is designed to protect its inhabitants from war, terrorist attacks, disease, and many other disasters.

Amazingly, by 2012, Hall had completed construction and sold all his units. He is currently trying to develop two more silos.

3. Vivos Indiana

In a secret location near Terre Haute, Indiana, is a luxury fallout shelter built by doomsday bunker builder Vivos. The shelter is built out of a Cold War communications facility that was designed to withstand a 20 megaton blast within a few miles of the bunker. Their website says they are not near any nuclear targets.

Inside the bunker, 80 people can be housed. Amazingly, at the time of this writing, there are only 10 spots left. If you’re interested in securing your spot, as of August 2016, it will cost $50,000 per adult and $35,000 per child. The one-time cost includes enough food that all residents could live underground for a year. As for the accommodations, they are about on par with a 4-star hotel, but obviously freeze-dried and dehydrated foods have a tough time competing with resort food. However, it does have a movie theater, dining area, gym, and the condos are lavishly decorated.

Amazingly, Vivos Indiana isn’t the only project taken on by Vivos. In fact, they have a much bigger bomb shelter called…

2. Vivos Europa One

Located in the German village of Rothenstein, Vivos Europa One is one of the most secure structures in the world, and the accommodations are supposedly on par with a five star resort. Originally, the bunker was built as a weapons storage that the Soviets in the 1970s. When West and East Germany merged, Germany inherited the bunker that was built on a mountainside, and planned to store weapons there. However, when they found out they couldn’t do that without violating international treaties, they sold it in an auction. It was eventually purchased by Vivos, who set to work converting the 227,904 square-foot silo into a giant doomsday bunker.

Another unique feature is that above the bunker there is an above ground component that’s 43,906 square-feet. It consists of offices, warehouse buildings, and a train depot. Protecting the bunker is the mountain into which it’s built. There are three doors that are nuclear blast and radiation proof, and the bunker has its own private security force.

The bunker can hold up to 6,000 families and most individual condos are 2,500 square-feet. It’s also possible to build a second level, so your condo can be expanded to 5,000 square-feet. The bunker can also house a small zoo, and has room for genetic storage. For entertainment, there are pools, restaurants, theaters, and gyms. There’s no price listed on their website, but for one of the safest and swankiest fallout shelters in the world, we’re guessing you won’t be bumping into too many Philosophy majors or list writers there.

1. The Oppidum

Dubbed “The World’s Largest Private Apocalypse Shelter” by Forbes, the Oppidum is found in the mountains of the Czech Republic and is a bit different from the other shelters on this list. People who buy bunkers here can also live above ground on the massive 323,000 square estate. Should there be a reason to get into the bunker, they would go to their secret corridor, which is sealed off by a blast proof door. This allows the residents to reach safety in under a minute.

The bunker is designed for billionaires, so despite having a ton of square footage, there are only seven apartments. Residents can live up to 10 years underground. For the residents of the seven apartments, there’s a movie theater, a spa, a swimming pool, and a library.

There was no cost listed, and in order to even visit their website you need a code. Surprise, surprise, we don’t have one.


Bomb Shelter Handbook

 Surviving The Apocalypse

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 127

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 127

…It is unlikely that these creeps, of a terrorist bent, will decide to make a mess of both helicopters; fire and oil are a dangerous mix…

Oil rig fire distortion by Adam Miller

The addition of an incoming helicopter tips the balance of power. Is it Rompin’ Roy the square shooter from San Antonio.?

It turns out that the bad guys saw that Coast Guard boat bounding through the waves a few miles north. The men who pour out the slide-by doors don’t look anything like polished military men, perhaps the pilots were but not these guys. There are two blindfolded individuals being prodded to the leeward column ladder, likely for a quick transfer. But by the time the awkward exchange can take place, the Monsoon steams onto the scene, all the while firing warning shots and smoke capsules at the sea surrounding the rig.

All that unexpected action a few hundred feet below causes the scampering swarm to reverse their direction back to the helicopter. They may have had what they thought was solid plan, but they were just running out of time. So back on the helicopter they go, piling in in a big-time hurry, except that one of their detainees bolts, running as fast as he can for the derrick and finding good cover there among the pile of eight inch pipes. That bolting delays the whole process.

Roy Crippen has seen enough to know that it is Gus McKinney who broke free and it is Deke about to be spirited away. He drops his chopper down to about thirty feet above the Russian built military machine, blocking their exit. It is unlikely that these creeps, of a terrorist bent, will decide to make a mess of both machines; fire and oil are a dangerous mix.

By that time, fifteen Coast Guard infantry have gained the deck and bring the situation into reasonable control. With guns down and arms held high the entire force of kidnappers is laid low.

Slippery Gus storms out to hug his brother who claims, “You kept us on the ground Gus, way to go!”


THE RETURN TRIP

Disney’s BOLT

Episode 127


page 157

 

Contents TRT

Cowboy Confidential – Old West Misconceptions

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Common Misconceptions

About Cowboys

Image result for old west

They’re the guys with the thousand yard stare. The one with six-shooters in their holsters, a broad-brim hat on their heads and enough jagged iron in their guts to break down even the toughest steak. They are the cowboys, and everyone knows they’re the coolest, calmest, most-heroic folk in America history.

 Or are they? What if we were to tell you that the cowboys you think you know are nothing like the real ones? That your mental image of cowboys could do with slightly less stoicism and gunfights… and more camels, examples of poor personal hygiene, and venereal diseases. Here are 10 little-known, crazy facts about the men who really tamed America’s wild west.

10. Most Cowboys Didn’t Carry Guns

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The gun-totin’ cowboy is the only cowboy most of us can picture. He’s Clint Eastwood on the way to a shootout. John Wayne blowing away bad guys. Yet take your Blu-Ray player back to the 19th century and show a genuine cowboy these films and he’d likely look at you askance. Why? Because real cowboys only rarely carried weapons.

Sure, you might need them when you were out on a cattle drive or whatever. But when you got to town? Check that baby at the door. Most towns in the wild west enacted strict gun control, just to make sure the sort of shootouts we see in movies didn’t happen on a daily basis. Even the infamous Tombstone didn’t let its cowboys walk round armed. The Gunfight at the OK Carrol only came about because Doc and Earp were trying to enforce gun laws.

The city wasn’t alone. Dodge City, Wichita, and others all stopped their visitors from packing heat. So how did cowboys solve problems without their pistols? We’re glad you asked…

9. They Almost Never Got in Fights

It’s said that “the true story of the American West is one of cooperation, not conflict.” Although 90 percent of westerns involve people getting shot, a barroom brawl, a violent posse riding into town, or (more likely) all three, the truth of the frontier was that acting tough was a good way to wind up dead. If you wanted to survive, you basically had to get on with your neighbors.

This meant no high noon showdowns, no thuggery, and no murders. Even in the roughest, toughest cattle towns, the murder rate was generally lower than that of most modern American cities. Bank robberies, too, were rare. In 2005, the University of Dayton calculated that there were more bank robberies in modern Dayton in a single year than there were across the entire Old West in a typical decade.

There were exceptions, of course. In the immediate post-Civil War period violence sporadically flared up, and Native American tribes often experienced the brutal side of the frontier. But these were the exceptions. Even notorious outlaws were less violent than their reputation suggests. Billy the Kid, for example, spent way more time rustling cattle than he ever did robbing banks or shooting people.

8. Many Were Ravaged by Venereal Diseases

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If your mental image of a cowboy is John Wayne acting all moral and clean-cut, you might not want to read this entry. The reality of cowboy life was dirty from beginning to end. Cowpokes often went days on end without bathing. They were smelly. Often covered in grime and stale sweat. But dirtiest of all was what was happening inside their bodies. Y’see, it’s now thought that many citizens of the frontier were crawling with venereal diseases.

Depending on where you were in the Old West, between 50 to 90 percent of the local prostitutes were likely carrying STDs. And since many cowboys liked to, ahem, avail themselves of these ladies’ talents, that meant a whole bunch of cowboys were riding around with a growing bacterial menagerie between their legs.

Although precise figures are hard to come by today, we know that new recruits to the US Army between 1876 and 1896 were frequently diseased, suggesting many of the general population were, too. Some have even suggested that crazy behavior by guys such as the Wild Bill Hickok might have been due to syphilis, making them act all eccentric.

 7. Plenty Didn’t Do Any Riding Whatsoever

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Close your eyes. Picture a cowboy. Got him? Right: What animal did he appear with?

Despite the name, almost none of you said ‘cow’. For a good reason. Cowboys in modern mythos are almost completely inseparable from their horses. The image of them riding across the high plains on a long cattle drive is one charged with romance and the spirit of adventure. For many cowboys, that was exactly what life was like.

But not for all of them. For a significant minority, their job description involved absolutely no riding whatsoever.

This was especially true at the end of the era, from about 1885 onwards. A dry summer and a terrible winter had convinced many ranchers to keep their cattle close to home. For a huge chunk of cowboys, that meant the romance of the plain was suddenly replaced with menial labor like mending fences and checking penned cows for disease. If they got to ride anything at all, it would likely be a haymow. Unsurprisingly, most hated such work.

6. Some That Did Ride Rode Camels

camel

Here’s a classic western scene. The sun stands at high noon, baking the lifeless city streets. A tumbleweed blows through the dust. A shadow appears on the horizon. It’s the cowboy. He emerges out of the heat haze, skin like cracked leather… and proceeds to ride into town on the back of his Arabian camel. Wait, what?

It’s true. In certain parts of the Old West, horses were as rare as they are in big cities today. Instead, ranchers had their cowboys ride on the backs of camels that had been imported in the 1850s, and accidentally released into the wild at the height of the Civil War.

Because of the harsh conditions on the frontier, it had been theorized camels would cope much better than horses with the heat. The US Government agreed. At great cost it imported hundreds of camels to Camp Verde, only for war to break out. When the Confederates seized the camp they released the camels. For the next few decades, enterprising ranchers occasionally caught a few, broke them in and gave them to their cowboys to work with.

 5. ‘Brokeback’ Encounters Were Surprisingly Common

brokeback

Remember 2005? That was the year Brokeback Mountain hit cinemas and Heath Ledgerproved he didn’t have to be in clown makeup to provide a magnetic performance. The movie was also controversial among some who thought it was grafting our modern notions of sexuality onto a historic setting (in this case, the 1960s).

Interestingly, this is the one criticism that can easily be refuted. According to historian and author Patricia Nell Warren, gay encounters were way more common in the Old West than we ever realized.

A lot of this is thanks to the conditions cowboys had to endure. Long stretches of time away from women, surrounded by other men, led to occasional ‘one-off’ trysts simply as a way of relieving sexual tension. Within that mix, you had a handful of genuinely gay cowboys, who’d often fled out West as a way of achieving anonymity. Because manpower was scarce, it was impractical for landowners to refuse to hire them due to their sexuality.

As social historians John D’Emilio and Estelle Freedman noted in their book Intimate Matters, there are even surviving love poems written from cowboys to one another. It might have been frowned upon by the rest of society, but on the Frontier, homosexuality was relatively open.

4. Black Cowboys Were Also Surprisingly Common

black cowboys

Quick: how many westerns can you name that feature black cowboys? Most of us can probably only get Django Unchained and Blazing Saddles. As a result, you might think African-American cowpokes were a rarity on the frontier. You’d be wrong. By some estimates, as many as one in four cowboys were black.

It makes sense when you think about it. Cowpunching, as it was often called, was a dirty, difficult, badly-paid, working class job. In the post-Civil War era, those were exactly the sort of jobs newly-emancipated slaves might be expected to do. And as we mentioned above, the Old West was one area where employers couldn’t afford to turn a good pair of hands away, no matter what the color of their skin was.

That’s not to say everything on the frontier was racial harmony. Way into the 20thcentury, black cowboys were expected to do the hardest, toughest jobs of all. They were the ones breaking in wild horses, doing all the cooking on wagon drives, and holding the cattle down at branding time. On the other hand, black cowboys often had a degree of autonomy and responsibility they would have lacked in other jobs. Perhaps that’s why so many ex-slaves chose to head out West.

3. Outlaws Were Shameless Self-Promoters

billy the kid

When you hear that robbers today are live-Tweeting their own break-ins, it’s tempting to assume we’ve hit rock bottom as a culture. Such nonsense would never have happened in the stoic Old West, right? Kinda. Although photographs of Pat Garrett playing on his smartphone have yet to surface, outlaws of the cowboy era were just as narcissistic as today’s criminals. When conducting major crimes, they frequently handed out press releases.

Jesse James was notorious for this. When holding up a train, he’d pass witnesses a carefully-written note, boasting about his own exploits. He wasn’t the only one. Billy the Kid deliberately inflated his kill-count from 8 to 21, and boasted about his violent temper. In fact, the Kid almost never got involved with shooting, robbing or hold ups. The main reason the law went after him was because he kept rustling cattle.

On the other side, the good guys were equally image-conscious. Wild Bill’s nickname actually referred to his gigantic nose, similar in size to a duck’s bill. It was only by effort he made out it referred to his ‘wild’ and dangerous nature, thereby terrifying local criminals.

2. The Rest of the Country Considered Them Suspicious and Dirty

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The cowboy is enshrined in legend as the epitome of American values. While other eras and professions have their draws, it’s impossible to think of a historic figure today more beloved by the entire nation. Which just goes to show how times change. In the early days of the Frontier, cowpunchers were regarded as ill-educated vagrants at best, and dangerous carriers of disease at worst.

Around the Deep South, cowboys were considered trespassers who used public land for their own gain. The North generally considered them illiterate (they usually were). Even along the Great Plains, there was much resentment. Cattle drives routinely trampled the crops of farmers and Native Americans, and it was the cowpunchers themselves who got the blame. Many people even feared they would spread dreaded ‘Texas Fever’ throughout the land. It’s safe to say that, during the golden age of the cowboy, most of America regarded them as a smelly nuisance.

It wasn’t really until the early 20th century that pulp novelists and early Hollywood began to transform these tough, dirty, uneducated men into folk heroes. Fast forward to today and that’s the image that remains.

 1. Modern Germans Love Them

german flag

Of all the countries in the world, which do you think has fallen for the cowboy myth the hardest (aside from the good ol’ US-of-A, that is)? Nope, it’s not Canada. Not Australia. Not even Great Britain. The country most obsessed with the cowboy today? Germany.

For some reason, Germans go nuts over cowboy-related stuff. Hundreds of clubs exist across this mountainous European nation, where people go on weekends to dress as cowboys and pretend they’re living in 19th century Texas. It’s estimated that several tens of thousands of Germans do this every single week, with many, many thousands more holding a passing interest in such exploits.

Nor is this a completely modern thing. Back in the 1930s, the Nazis venerated cowboys almost as much as they did genocide. Hitler himself was known to be a huge fan of westerns, often reading cowboy books between bouts of conquest and megalomania. For some reason, this very un-German tradition has taken deep root in a country far more ordered and rule-abiding than the Old West ever was. Which just goes to show, we guess, that you never can tell what the future has in store.


Cowboy Confidential

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– Old West Misconceptions