DrakaFic: Operation Noah's Hammer

Chapter One: The Wheels Start Turning, But The Hamster Is Dead

Note: Thanks to Keevan Colton and Sir Nitram for their input on how a Brit talks.

[2000 hours, June 13th, 1940 - Biggin Hill Aerodrome, London, United Kingdom]

The RAF transport came to a stop on the runway, the air around it's engines shimmering from the heat that had built up around the cylinder heads during the long 2,400 kilometer (3,862 mile) flight over Europe.

Even before the propellors had stopped spinning, a long black limousine bearing official HMG plates pulled up. The door at the rear of the transport was opened, and several heavy cases were handed out the door by the RAF aircrew to the waiting MI6 officials, who wasted no time in putting them into their limousine. When the last case had been transferred, the MI6 agents jumped into the car, and took off in a cloud of dust.

[St. James's Street, London, 2130 Hours]

The limousine pulled to a stop outside MI6's headquarters, and men were already waiting to carry the cases in with a speed that impressed even the MGB men who were watching MI6 from an opposite building that the MGB had purchased years ago for precisely this purpose.

As he took the photographs of the MI6 men to add to the MGB's voluminous file of every foreign agent in the world that they knew about, Kapitan Arkady Renko couldn't help but shake his head at the sheer amateurishness by which the British went about the deadly serious business of international espionage.

Having people come out onto the street! If this was in the Soviet Union, there would have been an underground garage out of sight for such transfers as this.

Putting away his camera, Arkady was already planning his next trip to the stores in London to buy goods for his wife. Being assigned abroad was the luckiest thing that could happen to an MGB operative; for even in the Soviet Union, certain things were in short supply.

[Top Secret-Level Darkroom inside St. James' Street; 2145 Hours]

"Right. Hear about those bloody wogs down in Liverpool? The blokes managed to lose against the Polish, for God's sake." muttered the photographic specialist as he removed the film from it's padded container and began to sort it out for development.

"Aye, I lost five bob on those bastards," replied his assistant as he prepared the chemicals.

It was well past midnight when the last roll of film had been developed completely, and the man and his assistant stared at them. "Seems like a waste, all this money to take pictures of a desert."

"Not my job to worry about that; come on, lets go down the pub; I hear that mick is having a special on Guinness tonight."

[0800 Hours, June 14th, 1940 - Director General's Office, St. James' Street, London]

MI6 Director General Stewart Menzies sat down in his richly padded chair, and pulled out a vital document that had to be completed in record time to preserve the Empire.

Taking out a well-worn pencil, he began to work on the paper. After several minutes, frustration set in, and he picked up the secure phone on his desk. "Richardson, any luck with Seven Across?"

"No such luck, Stewie."


Putting the phone down, Menzies stared at the bloody crossword puzzle, tapping his pencil in a stattico beat against the blotter.

[0900 Hours]

Sighing contentedly, Menzies put away the completed puzzle, and pushed the intercom button on his desk. "Director General here; I'm done with my morning papers, would you please give Mister Ritchie a ring?"

Several minutes later, a well dressed man in a tweed jacket stepped into Menzies' office holding a thick manila folder.

"Whats the latest on the Quattara Depression plant, Bob?"

Ritchie opened the manila folder and took out several large 5 x 7 glossies,
placing them onto the Director-General's desk.

"See those lines and buildings that they go to?" he asked.

"Yeah, what about them?"

"They weren't there three years ago, which was when we managed to get
the last photographs of this installation."

"How much more capacity did they put in?"

"Our boffins estimate three hundred more megawatts."

Menzies whistled softly. "That's an awful lot of power. Any idea what it's going

"No idea. One of the ideas being floated around Technical section is that
the Draka are expanding their aluminum plant there, probably for wartime
orders now that they're fighting the Soviet Union."

"That's probably the best bet, I'll have our boys write up a report on that,
with graphs showing how much more aluminum they'll be able to produce
each month with that expansion for the Prime Minister."

"Right. How's Susie and the kids?" asked Menzies as he gathered up the
photographs and handed them back to Ritchie.

"Doing smashingly well, Stewie. John's already prancing around saying
he wants to be a RAF pilot; I never should have got him that model of
a Spitfire."

[1200 Hours, June 15th, 1940 - Quattara Depression Hydropower Plant]

"Halt, Suh!" shouted the green-uniformed Security Directorate tetrarch
as he drew his 10mm pistol and pointed it at the head of the intruder.

"At ease, tetrarch, I'm here on the Archona's orders, to inspect the plant,
and to report back to her on the program's progress." replied the man,
who was dressed in what amounted to civilian dress in the Domination.

"I'll have to see your orders, suh!" replied the tetrarch, not budging a

The man sighed.

"Very well, here you are." With that, he drew a paper from the briefcase he
was carrying and gave it to the guard, who scanned it for several moments,
before he was sure it was genuine.

"Thank you, suh, you can pas' now, Legate Dwyer."

Nodding, Dwyer walked past the guard and into the entrance to the vast
underground complex buried in the desert sands near Quattara.

[1300 Hours - Level Red]

Dwyer walked the seemingly endless lines of electrolyte cells, which stretched
down the tunnels dug out of the sandstone, which bubbled silently, burning the
hydrogen out of water, while the man in charge of the program here pointed out
and explained each detail of the new installation that had begun producing two
months ago.

"So, as you can see, production of the heavy water is proceeding at a rapid
clip, the new expansion allowing us to provide a little over two more tons of
Deuterium Oxide each year for Tech Section to use for their experiments
in atom research."

"Good." replied Dwyer. "I'll see that you get a commendation and a Letter
of Value for your work here."

The scientist nodded, trying to hide his glee. Letters of Value were one of the
rarest honors handed out in the Domination, usually granting the recipent
an enormous estate in the Police Zone, and the serfs to run it; it was usually
used to reward military heroes or important inventors.

[0900 Hours, June 16th, 1940 - Office of the Prime Minister, Whitehall]

"So, what's this on this new plant that Winston is so eager for us to know
about?"asked Sir Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Leslie Hore-Belisha, the Minister of War, rose from his seat and cleared his
throat, before beginning to speak to the assembled cabinet.

"Recently, the Domination has expanded it's Quattara depression hydropower
plant, and at the bequest of MP Churchill, the Royal Air Force proceeded to
begin overflights of it from bases in Greece, through an agreement with the
Greek government."

"Analysts at MI6 have analysed the photographs from the overflights and have
concluded that the Domination has doubled the daily output of their Quattara
Aluminum plant from 272.7 tons of aluminum per day to a high of 545.4 tons
a day, for the increased needs of war industries now that the Domination is
at war with the Soviet Union."

"MP Churchill disagrees with that analysis, and contends that the Domination is
using the excess energy for heavy water production for their atom researchers."

Chamberlain sighed. Not Churchill again. The man had almost sabotaged the
crowning achievement of his tenure as PM, the Four Way Pact between Britain,
France, Germany, and Italy over removing numerous Versailles restrictions on
Germany, and here he was trying to provoke a war with the Domination with his
support for overflights over Domination territory.

"Is there any support for Winston's latest madcap idea?" asked Chamberlain

"He points to the fact that the Draka have stopped buying heavy water on the
world market," came the rather weak reply.

"Mister Churchill is making a mountain out of a molehill," replied Chamberlain.
"For all we know, the Draka have abandoned that line of research, and have no
further need for this so-called 'heavy water'. In the future, I suggest you refrain
from indulging Mr. Churchill's flights of fantasies, and focus on running Whitehall."

Chapter Two: Winston Is Back

[20 September, 1941 - 0700 hours - Downing Street - London, United Kingdom]

The guard outside the Prime Minister's residence watched as the rotund man with
the bulldog's face ambled up the street, a cane in hand, and a jovial expression on
his face.

As the man came to a stop outside the Prime Minister's door, the guard cleared his

"Mister Churchill, the signal's already been sent to the fleet and the diplomatic
missions around the world."

"What signal?"

The guard paused, before replying, an obvious grin on his face as he did so.

"Winston is back, sir."

At this, Winston Spencer Churchill threw his arms into the air and shouted
"And so he bloody well is!"

[0900 Hours, Office of the Prime Minister]

"I want an update on that damned plant I've been talking about for the last year,"
growled Churchill as his first cabinet meeting as PM of the United Kingdom

DG Menzies fought and managed to control himself from grinning like a loon.
He'd correctly predicted what Winston would demand, and this would only
make his agency look better, compared to MI5.

"Mister Churchill, the last overflights we had of the Quattara depression plant
were in September of last year; so our photographic intelligence is out of
date. However, MI6 is currently running a highly successful intelligence
gathering operation in Cairo. The Draka love to talk, especially in front of

Menzies pulled out a sheet of paper. "The Quattara depression operation is
producing roughly four tons of Deuterium Oxide and shipping it to an unspecified
point 'deep in the Police Zone'."

"So it isn't Aluminum like those fools said so last year?" asked Churchill.

"Most certainly not, sir."

"I was right all along!" shouted Churchill.

"Winston, enough about that plant. Italy. We need to talk about Italy." remarked
Anthony Eden, the new Secretary of State for War, who had replaced the late,
unlamented Leslie Hore-Belisha the moment Churchill had seized power.

"Yes, well, how are the wogs doing?" asked Churchill as he lit one of his cigars.

"Rome as you well know, has fallen. The reports coming from Rome are horrific,
sir. It's all we can do to keep the Irish from demanding war. Bloody Papists."

Standing up, Eden pulled down a map of Italy from a nearby map easel and began
to point at specific areas with a map pointer. "The Draka are slowly advancing down
Italy, in a two pronged attack along both coasts of Italy, after establishing a line
stretching from Rome in the west to Pescara in the east."

"The Italians are resisting bravely, but are finding out that their twenty-eight ton
tanks with 75s are no match for sixty-ton Honds with 102mm guns. The Italian
aeroplanes are roughly an equal match for the Drakan aeroplanes. Hence, the
Draka are having a devil of a time seizing control of the air from the Regia

Eden paused, to compose himself before continuing. "The Regia Marina
got caught flatfooted by the sudden invasion of Sicily; and they were just preparing
to leave port when the Draka stormed ashore near Anzio, throwing even more
confusion into their chain of command."

"However, they've started becoming effective, our ships in the Mediterranean are
reporting ever increasing numbers of Drakan cargo ships being sunk every day,
from listening to the distress signals over wireless."

"How much longer can the Draka sustain this?" asked someone.

"We don't know. Apparently the Domination has been planning a move into the
Mediterranean for quite a long time; they have cargo capacity well in excess of
what they actually need for moving materials along their North African coast."

Eden nodded towards a RAF officer who was standing by the doorway, holding
a very large manila case. The man nodded in return and got up, walking towards
the easel. Reaching into his manila case, he pulled out a series of very large
blow ups of what were obviously aerial reconnaisance photographs.

The first photograph showed scores of obviously very ancient looking ships
all lined up on a beach somewhere. "This photograph was taken by one of our
Mossies six months ago; it shows one of the Domination's so-called Reserve
Yards. As you can see, all of the ships here are old steam luggers from the
1890s. Well past any feasible point of operating at a profit; yet the Draka pulled
them from the water and kept them in operating condition for decades."

The officer pulled another photograph; obviously the same place, but with all
of the ships gone. "This photograph was taken four days ago. You can see that
all of the ships are gone." Reaching into his case again, the officer brought out
another photograph. It showed a beach somewhere, with dozens of hulks littering

"This is an enlargement of a news photograph recently released by the Drakian
Propaganda Ministry; showing the beachhead at Anzio. We have enlarged it to
show the detail on the ships lying on the beach. You can see clearly that these
are the same ships of the type that used to be stored in their Reserve Yards
until weeks ago."

"Bloody hell, these blighters have been planning this for a long time," remarked

[1200 Hours - Prime Minister's Personal Study]

"Mister Churchill," said the young aide at the door to his study. "Professor Cowen
is here to see you."

"Ah, good! Send him in!" muttered Churchill as he rearranged the papers on his
study, taking careful note to preserve that letter from that German physicist,
what was his name, ah yes, Einstein, about the possibilities of an Atom Bomb,
and the implications of the Drakan purchases of Heavy Water for the free world.
Surely the historians would want that one.

In stepped a rather disheveled man in an academician's tweed coat, whose
eyes twinkled whenever Churchill looked at them. He looked just like old Saint
Nick in those American soda company commercials, but without the enormous
belly. "It's rather good of you to see me on such short notice, Mr. Churchill."

"Not a problem, Professor. I heard that you had a solution to that pesky Drakian
atom programme?"

An evil twinkle appeared in Cowen's eye. "Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, I do. I most
indeed do."

[1400 Hours - Prime Minister's Personal Study]

Scores of maps were spread all over Churchill's study, along with sheaf after
sheaf of papers full of calculations, along with a small sample of sandstone
that had been shattered by a rock hammer. Cowen was now making his
final summary of his idea to Churchill.

"So, Mr. Churchill, it's rather simple; the Draka have dug the tunnels for their
Quattara Depression hydroplant through sandstone. Sandstone is one of the
most brittle stones known to man; hit it hard enough and it shatters; as well as
being very porous."

"The best way to stop their programme is to put the entire place under water,
which is quite simple, shatter the sandstone, and let Mother Nature take over;
if we do it right; within a week, Africa will have a new inland sea roughly the size
of Wales."

Churchill nodded. "I think I know just the man who can help you with this endeavour."

[21 September, 1941 - Abbotsbury, England]

"Hello Professor, name's Wallis, Barnes Wallis. Pleased to make your acquaintance."

Cowen looked at the white-haired man and considered him for a moment. He certainly
didn't look like the kind of person that could help him cause a natural disaster on an
unpreceedented scale.

Chapter Three: Fun With Scale Models!

[21 September, 1941 - 0900 Hours - Pinsk, Poland]

The Polish peasants working in the fields looked up at the long train
chugging it's way towards the border with the Soviet Union, the soldiers
on the train not wearing the typical Polish uniform, but instead, wore
drab green-grey uniforms that were topped off by coal-scuttle helmets.

Behind the lead cars full of soldiers and anti-aircraft guns, came long
drags of flatcars, each one carrying a single tank on it's long journey
to the Soviet Union.

Some of the peasants had sons who studied military hardware, and
could recite the gun calibre of every tank in Europe, so they knew
that the olive drab shapes on the flatcars were Panzerkampfwagen IV
Panthers; the old Ausf A models with the old KwK 39 L/48 guns which
were to be retired shortly by the newer Ausf Bs with the new KwK 41
L/70 guns in the German Army. Still it was odd to see them with the
red star of the Red Army on them, instead of the balkenkreuz of
the Reichsheer.

Soon, the train disappeared around a curve, and the peasants went
back to working their fields.

[22 September, 1941 - 1100 Hours - Abbotsbury, England]

Cowen and Wallis were sitting in the Pub down the street from the weapons
establishment at Abbotsbury, quenching their thirst with Guiness, while listening
to the latest news over the Beeb from the radio that was playing in the corner.

"In the latest news, the Domination has issued a formal threat to the United
States of America over their so-called "interference" in internal Drakian affairs.
Meanwhile, reaction around the world is coming through about Pope Leo III's
declaration of a Holy Crusade against the Domination."

"Already, Ireland has formally expelled the Drakan ambassador and seized
their embassy, following a declaration of war by President De Valera."

At that, Wallis chuckled. "About time those damn micks did something right,
for once, rather than blowing each other up in Ulster."

"Anyway, Professor Cowen, I may have the solution to your problem. Several
years ago, I came up with a concept for a so-called 'earthquake bomb', that
would be capable of knocking down structures which would otherwise be lightly
damaged by ordinary bombs. The only problem was that the bomb had to be
of an immense weight, and had to be dropped from nearly twenty thousand
feet to have the desired effect. Since no bomber at the time was capable of
meeting the specifications needed, the RAF shelved that idea."

"Sounds like one big devil of a bomb," replied Cowen. "I must say, I can't quite
get my head around the idea of a Crusade for God's sake, in 1941!"

"Well, enough talk about religion, lets get back to shop talk."

"Right, right. To completely stop this Drakian project, we are going to have to
shatter rock on an immense scale in the space of a few hours. Luckily for us,
it's sandstone, but still..."

Cowen let his last words trail off, as a sign of the immense difficulty facing them.

Wallis pulled out a napkin and began scribbling calculations onto it, muttering to
himself as he did so for several minutes and many more napkins, before facing
Cowen. "I do believe it can be done, if we drop enough of my earthquake bombs
along the tunnel, the rock will be sufficiently fractured, even 200 meters down."

At this, Cowen spoke up. "It doesn't matter if we make big fractures, or little
fractures, the water will do the rest." A slow frown spread across Cowen's face,
"Of course, they can always shut off the flow of water at the Mediterannean entrance,
but they'll be depriving them of electricity for the period needed to send parties down
to reline the tunnels to make them watertight again. We win in the end, either way."

"So the problem isn't with the bombs; we just need something that can lift such a
load all the way to it's target above twenty thousand feet. But that's just the damned
problem, the RAF doesn't have a plane that could carry it. Oh, the Stirling could carry a
smaller version of what we need, but it wouldn't even be able to get up to the required altitude,
because the fools at higher command demanded that it fit into the existing RAF hangars,
so the wingspan had to be reduced; and that ruined any high altitude capabilities the Stirling

Cowen looked into his mug. "Can't we make the bombs anyway? We can test smaller
versions to proof test your concept, while we wait for the necessary aircraft to come along.
After all, the hardest part is going to be shattering the hundreds of feet of cliff face at the
other end of the depression, and I don't think we have anything that'll do it."

[3 November 1941 - 0300 Hours - Abbotsbury, England]

The door to Cowen's room banged open in the middle of the night, and Wallis ran in,
in a pair of disheveled pyjamas. "Quick, Richard, turn on your radio!"

"What? What's happened?" asked Cowen as he fumbled for his glasses, putting
them on after the second try. Wallis merely reached over and turned on the radio
in Cowen's room, and after a minute or so of it warming up, the voice of the BBC's
announcer filled the room.

"This just in, unconfirmed reports are coming in from the Phillipines of a massive
Japanese attack, hundreds are feared to be dead. Reports are also coming in
of Japanese landings all over the Pacific. We will keep you updated on this breaking
story as more information comes in."

"The Americans, do you think they'll be strong enough to fight both the Domination
and the Japanese Empire?" asked Wallis.

"For our sakes, I hope so, I hope so."

[10 November, 1941 - 0900 Hours - Abbotsbury, England]

The blur flew through the sky and impacted into the huge concrete structure which had been
built in record time of a special mix of concrete that approximated sandstone's characteristics
whenever possible. Oddly enough, the bomb had not made a single sound during it's passage.
Once the sound of the explosion faded, they heard the supersonic crack of the bomb's passage
through the air.

Several more minutes passed before the all-clear sounded over the testing range. "Well, time to
see if your bomb idea has merit, Barnes," said Cowen as he climbed out of the bunker where
they'd observed the test from.

As they walked across the rolling plains, smoke was rising slowly from where the bomb had hit
the concrete monolith. Since it was impractical at this point to do full up testing of TALLBOY
(as it had been named by Churchill in one of his fits of whimsy) since no plane existed that could
carry it up to 20,000 feet, something else had to be found.

And of course, it was also quite impractical to build a concrete block 650 feet high to proof the
concept of cracking the tunnels in Quattara through shockwaves, they'd built this huge scale model
to 1/6 scale, which also allowed them to test the basic shape of TALLBOY.

As they came closer, they could see cracks in the side of the block. "Do they extend all the way
down?" asked Wallis. One of the RAF officers climbed into the pit that the block was half sunk into,
and began examining the sides. Several more minutes passed before a shout came forth; "Sir, it's
cracked up down here! The cracks aren't that big, but there's a lot of little ones!"

Both Wallis and Cowen shared knowing looks. One more little step closer to causing a natural
disaster of unpreceedented scale.

Chapter Four: How can we help the Serfs if we....

[15 November, 1941 - 1100 Hours - Abbotsbury, England]

Cowen watched the newsreels begin spooling past the projector
in the darkened theater. The main piece was some hackneyed
propaganda film about the RAF. He really wasn't watching it for
the movie, once the newsreels were over, he'd be going back
to his flat to rest up for tomorrow's work with Wallis.

They were still figuring out how exactly to shatter the cliff face at
Quattara; it couldn't be done with high altitude bombers; you had
to get down close to toss whatever it was right into the cliff face,
so that left just carrier-borne aircraft. Now they had to design
something that would allow the aircraft to shatter hundreds
of feet of cliff face, yet be light enough for the aircraft to take
off from the pitching deck of a carrier.

His thoughts trailed off as the newsreels started, and he sighed
and settled back into his seat.

FIERCE FIGHTING IN ITALY! screamed the title before the screen
shifted to a bombed-out village, smoke and flames rising from the
shattered houses, while corpses littered the streets. The cameraman
zoomed in close onto a clump of bodies wearing Drakian uniforms.

Just as the camera was settling onto the bodies, and the winged dragon
emblem of the Domination became clear, jackboots filled the screen,
and the cameraman zoomed out to show a long line of troops marching
past the bodies, the fatigue of close combat evident in the faces buried
under the distinctive coal-scuttle helmets.

Damnation, who would have ever thought the Hun would be on the side
of Good one day?
thought Cowen as he watched the Germans marching
through the town in the grainy newsreel.

"German troops under the command of Field Marshall Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck
have been instrumental in halting the Domination's drive northwards into the Po
plain. The first Panzer divisions have begun detraining in Ferrara, and will
be going into action shortly."

The scene cut to a German officer in a leather overcoat watching the tanks of his
division being rolled off their railcars under his personal supervision. The officer
turned around to talk with one of his subordinates, and the camera caught a brief
glimpse of a decoration hanging from the officer's neck. Hmm. Whoever that man
was, he was bound to be good; only the best got the Pour le Mérite.

The screen then went blank, and a well-dressed man who was an announcer for the
BBC appeared on the screen.

"What you are about to see is the harsh, unexpurguiated truth; Drakian newsreels that
they show to their own people back home on how the war goes; If you have little ones
with you, now would be a good time to take them outside the theater and wait for the
chime that indicates this section is over. The projectionist will now halt the newsreel
until any little ones are safely out of the theater."

With that, the newsreel came to a sudden halt, and disappeared from the screen as
the projectionist turned off the bulb in the projector to avoid a burnthrough, while the
lights came on.

After several minutes of people shuffling out of the theater, the lights dimmed again
and the screen filled with the distinctive logo of an antenna in the center of Africa
beaming out radio waves, which was the logo of the DNS, Drakian News Service.

flashed onto the screen, before an announcer began intoning in that goddamned
guttural abortion that the Draka called "English".

"Th' people' of a villah called Latina, thou't they co' kill an' Cit'zen o' the Race
an' get away wit' it."

The scene faded into focus, and they saw naked men, women, and children,
their nakedness being covered up with strategically placed black bars being
herded into what appeared to be a church pockmarked with bullet holes, before
the doors were boarded up, and Drakian soldiers wearing what looked like
flamethrowers marched up and filled the inside of the church with liquid fire
through the shattered stained glass windows.

Horrid screams enamated forth from within the church, and the cameraman
went in for a close up of a woman, her entire body on fire, frantically trying to
escape the church through one of the windows, and being beaten back inside
the inferno by rifle butts.

As the screams died out, the camera shifted to show a close up of Drakian soldiers
smiling and laughing as they fed more liquid fire into the charnelhouse that was now
the church. "Beatin' do' th' unconqered is a hard an' thankless task, but our men an'
women are up to' it, like they are everythin' else."

The scene then went blank, and another title card filled the screen. "THE RUSSIANS

A burning village filled the screen, as people ran between the houses frantically, before
being cut down by the sharp cracks of rifle-fire. "Our armies are advancin' in th' Ukrain',
and it's dam' har'd, espec'ly with tha' butcha Krasnov exhortin' 'em to resist to th' las' man
and woma'. We had'ta kill for'y villag' so fa', and they jus' don' learn." said one of the officers
who stood by, supervising the entire operation, his diamond earrings glittering in the reflected
light of the flames.

The screen faded to black; an announcer's voice droning in the background. "Hea' you realiz'
the madness o' Krasnov the butcha'. Instea' of allowin' a nice orderly tran'stion from Sov't rule
to Drakia rul', he forces us to figh' the partisans. Such wast'. Such sheer senseless wast'."

The screen faded to black, and a chime followed shortly. As the women and children began
to file back into the theater, the main picture credits began to roll. Well, time to leave,
thought Cowen.

As he stepped out of the theater into the cold drizzle of an English night, he thought about
what he and Wallis were working towards. It would involve killing scores of innocent serf
workers at the Quattara depression plant, and would kill indirectly thousands more when
the power went out in the areas that the plant still provided electricity to.

Cowen hadn't believed in evil until he had seen that footage. Now, he believed that there
was pure evil marching afoot on the Earth's surface, and it had to be stopped, no matter
what the cost
. For once, a natural catastrophe would be acting as a force for good in
the world; perhaps for the first time in a long time, ever since Moses had led his people
across the Red Sea and the Pharoah of Egypt had tried to pursue, and drowned for his folly.

Chapter Five: Fun with Play-Doh!

[20 November, 1941 - 1200 Hours - Abbotsbury, England]

"So this is your idea to collapse the cliff face, Barnes?" Cowen
said a mite suspiciously as he drew eyes across the odd shaped
bomb that sprouted cylinders along it's sides.

"Take your bog standard five hundred pounder, and add some extra
RATO packs you have lying around, and you've got something that
can be fired and will hit it's target with a minimal amount of piloting
skill needed, rather than trying to toss the bombs by inertia alone."

"How much explosive in these things?" asked Cowen as he scratched
the back of his head absentmindedly.

"Standard AP bomb, so only a hundred twenty five pounds per bomb."

"That's awfully low. Can't we boost it?"

"Can't. The bomb has to penetrate the sandstone before it detonates,
remember? So the casing has to be thick enough so that it doesn't
break apart."

"Isn't there a better way?"


[27 November, 1941 - 1030 Hours - London, England]

Wallis sat at the dinner table at one of his friends' flat in London, listening to
the people around the table talk about how the fighting was going in Italy,
everyone was talking about it and Churchill's refusal to declare war.

"What does that bloody fool at Whitehall think he's doing? Those nuns may have
been bloody papists, but you don't do that kind of stuff to nuns for god's sake."
declared Wallis' friend, a veteran of the Great War who had fought at the Somme.

"Bloody Hell, we didn't get rid of Chamberlain just so we could go down the bloody
public directory from C-H to C-U."

Inwardly, Wallis wanted to scream outloud to them that it was all a masterful piece
of poker by Churchill; about the Drakan Note to the United Kingdom threatening
to invade India, but that would compromise everything they were working towards
at Abbotsbury, so he kept his mouth shut.

"So Barnes, what do those blokes have you up to at Abbotsbury?"

"Oh, nothing much, I'm trying to interest them in continuing the development of my
geodetic system for constructing bombers."

Which was true, he'd been trying to get the Air Ministry interested in funding further
development of his geodetic construction system for a true four engined heavy
bomber, rather than further refinement of the twin-engined Wellington.

Now if he could only crack the puzzle of how to get maximum destructive force
out of those bombs...

"Get back here, Tommy!" came a shout from the kitchen. As he watched, a young
boy ran out of the kitchen holding a pile of what looked like dough in his hands. As
the boy giggled like a madman, he began throwing the dough all over the place, and
it stuck to the walls with a wet splaaat.

As he watched the dough slowly slip down the wall, gears began to turn in his head;
and then it all suddenly clicked. How to shatter the cliff face.

Leaping to his feet, he shouted "EUREKA!", startling everyone, including the boy who
had started that train of thought.

"Are you okay, Barnes?"

"I'm perfectly bloody fine! Thanks for the idea, I must be going now!"

"Idea? What idea?" asked the man of the house in confusion as he watched
Wallis leave.

[28 November, 1941 - 1300 Hours - London, England]

Wallis and Cowen looked uneasily at each other. Churchill had summoned them to
his office out of the blue that morning, just as they were working out the details and
physics of Wallis' new 'dough' bomb.

"Any idea why Winston wants us?"


A well-dressed secretary came up to them and cleared her throat. "Mr. Churchill will
see you now."

Opening the door to Winston's office, they saw a bespectacled Churchill peering over
a tablefull of maps and diagrams.

Churchill tapped a section of the map, and bending over, Cowen and Wallis saw that it
was a map of the Quattara tunnels. "I've been thinking about this lately. What stops the
Draka from simply closing the valves at the very entrance of the tunnel when we attack?"

Cowen was silent for several moments. Damnit, why didn't I bloody think of that?.

"Nothing, absolutely nothing, Mr. Churchill."

Instead of a despaired look on Winston's face, there was instead an evil gleam in his
eye. Uh oh, thought Cowen.

"There's a program underway right now by the Royal Marines to create a special group
of divers to help clear the beaches for a Royal Marine landing and conduct all sorts of
roguish things against our enemies, whoever they may be."

Churchill paused to light one of his ever present cigars. "Called the Special Boat Squadron,
and is training up north. Mr Wallis, could you design something that our boys could emplace
against the intake pipe to destroy it, or insert into the tunnel itself?"

"I believe so, Mr. Churchill."

"Excellent. Professor, if it isn't too much trouble, could you please calculate if it's possible
to block off the intake pipe entrance with a salvo of torpedoes, in case our rogues fail?"

"It'll take time to do the exact calculations, but I believe it's possible."

"Bloody excellent!"

[30 November, 1941 - 1300 Hours - Abbotsbury, England]

The prototype 'dough' rockets were ready for testing, and a steam catapult had been rigged
to throw the prototype to 400 miles an hour on it's sled before the rocket motor in the back
fired, to simulate the force of a rocket being launched from a diving aircraft against the
cliff face, which was like the Tallboy test before it, a batch of concrete mixed to simulate

As the final preparations were underway, Cowen walked up to Wallis and looked at the
rather flimsy weapon on the steam sled and looked at it uneasily. "How is this going to
work again?"

"Well, you see, instead of driving a bomb deep into the sandstone before it explodes, we'll
use the shock waves of an explosion that adheres directly to it's surface to shatter the
sandstone instead."

Wallis pointed at the nose of the rocket. "The rocket contains a hundred pounds of
plastique explosive, and when it hits the cliff face, it will splatter over the cliff face
before detonating, fracturing the sandstone. With this method, we might be able to
dispense with unnecessarily heavy armour piercing bombs and use much lighter

"Ah, I see." replied Cowen uneasily.

"Let's go get in the bunker and see how this test goes."

[15 minutes later]

Inside the bunker, everyone watched the steam sled disappear in a blur, followed shortly
by the smoke and flame of a rocket launch down the track, before it crashed into the
faux sandstone wall and detonated with a low crump which reverberated through
the thick walls of the bunker.

[10 minutes later]

Everyone stood and looked at the black greasy smear on the faux sandstone wall where
the rocket had impacted, and couldn't help but notice the tiny spiderwebbed cracks
radiating away from the impact point. Wallis walked up and ran his fingers over the
surface of the slab.

"Not as good as I'd hoped. But we still have time to refine what we have here."

As Wallis continued poking away at the sandstone cliff, a official car screeched to a halt
outside the testing range and disgorged several officers in RAF blues who walked up
to Wallis.

"Sir, a message from A.V. Roe & Company for you, Mr Wallis. They might have what
you've been looking for."

"Excellent. Most excellent."

Chapter Six: The Calm Before the Storm

[2 December 1941, Chadderton, England - A.V. Roe Plant, 1000 hours]

Before the visitors, row after row of forward fuselage sections for a heavy
bomber of an unknown type stretched forward as far as they could see,
the plexiglass noses gleaming under the factory lights.

"Why, hello there. Admiring the factory?" came a voice from behind one
of the fuselages. Moments later, the source of the voice stepped out, and
everyone could see it was a grey-haired man in a suit.

"Largest one in the British Empire, although I hear that Ford fellow is building
an even larger one over in America; shame he didn't build one here instead
of all those truck factories for the Reds."

Wallis shook the man's hand. "Wallis, Barnes Wallis, at your service."

"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Wallis. I recall you were asking something about
our new Manchester replacement."

"Yes, more specifically, can it carry a twelve thousand pound load to at least
twenty thousand feet?"


"For at least seventeen hundred miles?"

"Now that's a tricky one. But I do believe so. May I ask why?"

"Can't tell you."


"When will the first ones be delivered?" asked Wallis, as he ran his
hand down the plexiglass nose of one of the bombers.

"They're already being delivered; No. 460 Squadron, a bunch of Australians,
already has 'em, and is working them up at Molesworth."


"Any problems?"

"They're always drunk half the time; no time with them for training
on the Lancaster, they're always in the pub. Bloody Colonials."

[1400 Hours - Office of the Prime Minister, Whitehall]

"You're not taking my newest bombers away from me! I need
those bombers to train my crews on those new Lancasters coming
off the line!"

Churchill watched with feigned interest as Sir Richard Peirse, head
of RAF Bomber Command, objected to this latest intrusion on his
personal fiefdom by His Majesty's Government.

"It's not enough that you had to go and give those new Lancasters
to those bloody Australians, but now you want to take them away
from Bomber Command for a crackpot scheme!"

Churchill let Peirse go on for several more moments before he cleared
his throat.

"Sir Richard, I am taking those bombers from you for a momumental
undertaking; one that may determine the future course of the war yet
to come with the Draka. Your office will give Wallis and his scientists
all the support they need."

"Yes, Mister Prime Minister." muttered Peirse as he saluted and left
the Prime Minister's office.

[4 December 1941, RAF Molesworth, England - 0800 hours]

"Damn it, what the hell are we doing, hauling thirteen thousand
pounds of water around?" muttered Flight Lieutenant Anders
Russell of the Royal Australianic Air Force.

"Damned if I know, mate," replied his flight engineer, Flight Sergeant
Mark Rusbridge, who was from New Zealand, which had been absorbed,
along with Australia, into the Australianic Dominions a long time ago.

"Right, let's do it."


Rusbridge slowly coaxed the four Merlins which powered the Lancaster
into howling life one by one, until all four engines were roaring, their
propellors clawing at the air faster and faster.

All around them, the frame of the bomber rumbled as more and more fuel
was fed into the ravenous maws of the four engines, and slowly, the bomber
began to move forward, the thrust of the four huge propellors overcoming
the aircraft's brakes.

Slowly, Russell let off the brakes, and the bomber leapt forward,
slowly gaining speed, despite the heavy load in her belly, the wheels
bumping against the grooves in the concrete with ever increasing
regularity, until takeoff speed was reached, and then with the deftest
of touches, Russell pulled the bomber into the air, and slowly the ground
fell away from the landing gear, until there was enough space for it
to retract safely.

"How much space did we have left?" came a voice from behind Russell.

"More than enough, mate." replied Anders to the white-haired gentleman
who looked out of place on this instrument of death and destruction.

"Good. Can we reach twenty thousand?" asked Wallis.

"With plenty of room to spare. Hope you brought something to read,
it's going to take a mighty long time."

[Fifty Minutes later]

"We're there!" shouted Anders over the drone of the Merlins.

"Are you sure?"

"We've been at twenty five thousand for the last ten minutes!"

Wallis smiled. At last, his dream had a bomber capable of carrying
it to the heights needed. It was only a matter of time now, the crews
had to be trained, and the bombs made.

[Quattara Depression Hydropower Plant - Provinca Egypta - 2000 hours]

Cohortarch Walter Görtlizer watched as the latest load of heavy water was
manhandled onto the train bound for the Congo by sweating serfs under
the white hot glare of kleig lights on towers, and row after row of Hollbar
rifle-toting Citizens to ensure nothing foolish took place. This was one of
the most important projects in the entire Dominion, that much he knew at

Rumor was it took the entire plant working full blast, with enough power to
light up the entire North African coast to produce just ten kilos of this stuff
a day. Since the stuff was so precious, it was placed in heavily armored
containers so that none could escape, even in the rare occurence of a
train accident; it was that precious.

Finally, the torturous process of loading and measurement was finished;
Tech Sec demanded that every single gram of this crap be accounted
for, and woe be to the Cohortarch who fucked up reading the dial on the
weighing scale.

"Righ', we don' fo' th' day," shouted Görtlizer towards Jean LeMaine, a
fellow Cohortarch who had gone with him to the same boarding school
years ago, when they were just youth, sweating it out with antique T-4 bolt
action rifles on the firing range at five.

Walking into the barracks where the Citizens assigned to the plant security
detail slept, they heard a voice on the radio talking about the war, and how
it was going; out of curiosity, they gathered around the radio, which was
at the end of the barracks, in the central mess hall.

"Toda' is a day which shall be remembr'd as lon' as there ar' Draka," intoned
the commentator. "Our submarns' san' fifteen ships o' America,
repor' say yo' coul' rea' a papa' by th' light o' the burnin' ships."

At this, everyone crowded around the radio burst into cheers. "We shoin' those
gutta' trash how rea' men figh'!" shouted someone whose name escaped Görtlizer
at the moment.

When everyone finally had quieted down, the commentator was talking about how
Drakan troops had seized the rather insignificant town of Pryluky, some distance
east of Kiev. About damned time some progress was being made with the Ivans,
thought Görtlizer. The Russian campaign had been a mess, a big fuckin' mess
from the start, but it looked like Tarleton was finally getting their shit together.

The announcer's voice faded from the radio, to be replaced by a cheery jingle,
which every Citizen in the Domination knew by heart, and every Serf feared,
followed by a clipped British-accented voice that was the voice of Stevenson
and de Veere.

"Stevenson & de Verre, Labor Agents, is pleased to announce that we now have
what you all have been requesting ever since we took Rumania, the finest Rumanian
stock, Clergy, Nobility, all ready for you to break. And just now, the latest stock
from Ukraine is arriving, ready to fill your demands. However we unfortunately cannot fill
your demand for Italian stock, due to circumstances beyond our control."

As he walked away from the mess hall, Görtlizer couldn't help but think about
how little apparent progress had been made against the Soviets in almost
a year of war. So little for so much thrown away. He was privy to the reports
coming in from the Soviet Union, how there was a net loss of serfs.

The amount of new serfs coming from the conquered territories was far far less
than the amount of Janissaries which had been spent to take them in the first place;
approaching Ankara levels; something the Domination had only seen once before,
and that was right before the biggest Janissary revolts of them all.

Despite the warm air of the North African coast, Görtlizer shuddered inwardly. He
could see the signs, and he hoped the muckity mucks at Tarleton could too.

Chapter Seven: Antedeluvium

[28 February 1942, RAF Molesworth, England, 1800 hours]

The crews of 460 Squadron walked into the briefing room semi-despondently.
It was kind of hard to get worked up over another night training mission with
those massive 'pumpkin' bombs, when you had been doing that for almost
two months.

Take off before dark, spend some time milling around the North Sea, and then
go in low over Scotland, before dropping your bombs on the target range by
radar. The first few times had been exciting. By the 20th or so time, it was
boring as hell, something to be done so that you could go on the town at
at the end of it all.

As they stepped into the crowded Operations building, Flight Lieutenant
Russell noticed that several high ranking people were standing by the briefing
map, along with that guy they'd taken up into the air a couple of months before.

"This could be it, Mark," he muttered to his flight engineer, who only nodded
back as he prepared his engineer's sheet for the upcoming mission.

As his men milled about talking to each other in the excited tones of men
about to be shown a Big Secret, Squadron Leader John "Crocodile" Hayes
walked onto the stage, and pulled a velvet cord, revealing the mission map,
which showed a dark red string reaching out from Britain to somewhere in
the Balkans.

"Gentlemen, I give you Operation Veritable, a test of how well the Royal
Air Force can extend it's powers overseas at a moment's orders. Your planes
have been repainted in Italian colours, because at the end of this mission,
they are to be turned over to the Italian Air Force, who paid for them several
months prior. That little fact, by the way chaps, is considered to be Most
Secret by His Majesty's government until well after the handover. I hope
no one wants to enjoy the hospitality of the Tower. You leave at dark, and
your destination is Mannock field in Albania, a field the Italians have agreed
to use as the handover point."

The crews continued to listen to the details of the mission in the bored manner
of men who knew what to filter out as being unnecessary, writing from time to
time in their flight journals and making markings on their maps. The briefing
continued for forty more minutes before Hayes finished up and bade everyone
a good voyage.

As the aircrews left for their bombers which waited outside under the harsh glare of
floodlights, Cowen walked over to Hayes, who was conversing with some relatively
high ranking officers from Bomber Command, and tapped his shoulder lightly.


"Why didn't you tell them the truth?"

Hayes shrugged. "No need to tell them. Compartmentalization and all that.
They'll learn the truth later, much later."

[29 February 1942, Somwhere in the skies over Germany, 0100 hours]

"Never thought we'd be doing this," muttered Russell as he looked out the cockpit
onto the ground below, which was lit up with a vertitable forest of lights.

"Doing what?" replied Rusbridge as he listened to the pitch of the four Merlins throbbing
in the airstream outside the fuselage. So far, no problems, other than some slight overheating,
which had been solved by throttling back slightly.

"Flying over bloody Berlin without a shot being fired."

"Well, there is that. But what about the mission? You heard what Croc said..."

Russell snorted. "That bullshit? We didn't train for two bloody months just to act
as bleeding ferry pilots."

[29 February 1942, Somewhere over the Balkans, 0400 hours]

"Will you look at that?"

Rusbridge turned to look out the cockpit windows towards where Russell was pointing
at. Then he saw it.

"My God..."

A dull glow was on the western horizon, flickering irregularly as guns of all types fired
throughout the night on the Italian penisula.

"Sure glad I'm not there," replied Russell.


[29 February 1942, Kuwait City, British Araby Protectorate, 2200 hours]

Brigadier Basil Liddell Hart walked through one of the many warehouses
next to the railyards in Kuwait City, and watched with contentment as his
men swarmed over the latest batch of Comets to arrive from France under
the glare of spotlights from the ceiling.

The men were repainting the Comets from Olive Drab to Desert tan, and
were installing the necessary desertification equipment to allow them to
function in the desert.

One of his Majors walked up to him and saluted. "Brigadier, we should have
this last batch ready to go by H-Hour, sahr."

"Excellent, excellent, Major Philby. Keep me appraised of your progress."

As he left the warehouse and emerged into the hot dusty night of Kuwait,
Hart smiled. Soon, in just under four days, he would lead his Long-Range
Desert Group into battle, and prove once and for all to those old fogies in
the Army establishment that manouevre, won wars, not sheer firepower.

Inwardly, he still chafed over them forcing that Motorised Battalion down
his throats. Infantry would just slow down his entire force. Speed was
of the essence, not stopping to fight every little threat that popped up,
which was what the infantry would do, of course.

[29 February 1942, Near Reims, France 0900 hours]

Pierre Devincour watched as the British tanks rumbled across farmers'
fields in the early light of the morning, on one of their many exercises,
which was mostly to prove to the French people that the British hadn't
deserted them, but was still there, ready to defend France if the Hun
crossed the border once again.

When France had gone to war against the Domination, large tracts of
the countryside had been declared off limits to the civilian population,
and the population in them had been evacuated; for use as military
training grounds. Most of them were in southern France, but this one,
near Reims, had apparently been created for security reasons and to
allow British troops to get training that they couldn't get in the British
Isles, with it's dense population.

Devincour was on the edge of the Reims Training Area, where it
was still legal for civilians to live. Only a single strand of barbed wire
on fenceposts separated the training area from the rest of the French
countryside, but no one from the village who had crossed that almost
invisible boundary had never been seen again; so no one, not even
teenaged lovers, were willing to violate the premises of the training area.

So, like everyone else, he had to observe the maneouvers from
a distance. The tanks participitating in this exercise had a rounded
turret, and the roadwheels were fairly large. There were only a few
British tanks that had those features, and one of them was the
A34 Comet, the latest, and most modern British Cruiser tank.

Sighing, Devincour put down the pair of binoculars he had been
observing the tanks with, and closed the shutters of the small loft
he had rented in this small town near Reims. It was time to send
another report to his superiors back at Tarleton. From what he'd
observed in person and in newsreels, the British were continuing
to reinforce the BEF in France.

[29 February 1942, Near Turbat, India 1900 hours]

Field Marshal Richard O'Connor, CINC of the British Army in India,
watched as his command car sped down the paved road, past miles
and miles of ammunition all stockpiled for the offensive out of Baluchistan
and into Draka-held Persia. The British Army in India had been called up,
all of it; right down to the Martini-Henry carrying police units, in response
to the Japanese advance in Burma.

Officially, but I know otherwise., thought O'Connor. In just a few days,
or whenever old Winston gave the word, Hell would be unleashed onto
the Drakian border outposts in Persia, courtesy of several thousand modern
artillery pieces that the British had built in Indian factories as part of their
efforts to build up an indigenious military base there in the twenties and
thirties, to ease the strain on British industry. As his headquarters, a grand
old building built during the 1880s, came into view, O'Connor turned to the
man he was counting on to lead the assault that would break through the
Drakian defense lines.

"Bill, do you think your Indians are up to it? You're asking an awful lot
from them."

Lieutenant-General William Gott clucked. "I can assure you that my men
will take their objectives on H-Hour. They just have to be competently led,
if their commander loses his nerve, so do they. I assure you that will not
happen with me."

[30 February 1942, Mannock Airfield, Albania 0700 hours]

The airfield (if it could be called that), was nothing more than a strip somwhere
in Albania, just barely long enough to take a Lancaster. Inside the tents that had
been set up for the aircrew, Russell and his crew were snoring away. Since
they'd arrived in Albania a day ago, they'd been kept on the airfield by armed
guards. The turnover of the planes hadn't happened, and as Russell noted
acidly over dinner last night, wasn't damn likely to happen, as the only Italians
around were members of the old-men's unit which patrolled this area.

[31 February 1942, Cyrenaican RCC, near Banghazi - 1145 hours]

“Well, what have we here,” muttered Centurion James T. Leyland as he stared
at the latest aerial reconnaisance photographs of the Italian airfields in Albania.

Looking through the magnifying scope on his light table, Leyland paid close
attention to the large planes shown on the airfield that had previously been
bare a few days before.

“What does it look like Jim?” asked his aide, Tetrarch Carl Lindbergh, who formed
the other half of the Photo-Reconnaisance analysis unit attached to the Cyrenaican
Regional Command Center.

“Planes,” came the sarcastic reply from Leyland as he peered closer at the insigna
on the aircraft.

“I know that, Jim. What kind?”

“Big fuckin' ones. This could be those new Piaggos that Intel said the Eyeties
were building. Didn't think they'd be so close to fielding them, though.”

“Give me that,” snapped Lindbergh as he reached for the scope and viewed
the mystery planes in question himself.

“I'll be damned, they're four engine jobs, Look Italian too.”

Pulling away from the light table, both men looked at each other, and then
stared at the clock on the wall. “It's your turn to write up the recon report,
Carl, but lunchtime first.”

“Got you, I hear that the Golden Calf has some new serf dancers this
week,” added Carl, with an obvious leer.

[2 March 1942, Archona NCC, near Archona - 0850 hours]

Arch-Strategos Karl von Shrakenberg stared at the ceiling, noticing the lovely
water stain patterns, as the Junior Strategos in charge of detailing what had happened
in the Italian theater of operations over the last few days droned on about the latest
additions to the enemy forces in the region; most of it was the usual stuff about more
and more German and French reinforcements, with the odd tidbit of an Irish unit entering
the fighting in the San Marino area.

“Irish?” asked one of the men in the meeting room disbeleivingly, a Senior Merarch
whose name Shrakenburg couldn't recall at the moment. “All the Irish are good for
is drinking!”

Strategos Vincent deVeers, who was currently commanding the San Marino front,
as commanding officer of XXII Army, snorted at that. “The Irish from what I hear
from my officers, are hard fighters, they grant no quarter, nor ask for any; they're
almost as bad as the Italians.”

Shrakenburg sighed as the meeting dissolved into a childish comparison of the fighting
qualities of the forces opposing them; with some arguing that the Russians were the
better fighters, while others said the Germans, et cetera, until with some annoyance, he
broke up the tittering by clearing his throat out loud.

“Gentlemen, as much as we would like to talk about various things, we are here
on business, is there anything new of note to report?”

One of the junior officers in the meeting, someone's assisant, spoke up uncertainly.

“There are reports from the photo-reconnaisance boys up by Cyrenaica that the
Italians have deployed those new P.108Bs we've been hearing about for some time
now in Albania.”

“What does this mean?” asked deVeers, who was showing some interest; Albania was
just across the Aegan Sea, these bombers could strike deep behind his lines.

“Well, from our reports, the P.108B has a little over twice the bombload of the
current S.M. 79, and can fly it a bit higher and faster than the '79.”

“Shit, that means twice as much crap will be landing on my forces every night,
in spite of our glorious night fighters,” muttered deVeers rather sarcastically.

The interception rate of night bombers by the Drakian night fighter corps was
one of the Domination's badly kept secrets. Oh sure, the propaganda all said
that Drakian night fighters were the world's best, and that enemy bombers
were being shot down by the score every night over Italy, but the truth was,
Drakian airborne radar was simply too far behind everyone else.

“We could try bombing the fields that they're being based from,” suggested a

“Good idea,” replied deVeers, slowly breaking out of his morose mood. “Shoot
that up to LVI Air Command up in Rome, when's the latest we can bomb those
damned airfields?

“The third, sir.”

“Make it so.”

[2 March 1942, Mannock Airfield, Albania 1700 hours]

As the bomber crews sat down in the cheap folding seats provided for them,
the chatter in the briefing tent rose to a crescendo, before Squadron Leader
Hayes walked in, and raised his hand, signalling for the men to shut up, it
was time to go to work.

"Thank you for all being here tonight. Our mission, as you have already
guessed, is not to turn these aircraft over to the Italians...”

Laughter rippled through the tent; everyone had figured that out long ago.

“...instead at midnight our time, you have the great honour of sending twelve
thousand pounds by airmail to the Domination of Draka. Tonight, the Empire
strikes back!”

Boisterous cheers suddenly erupted from everyone, along with a variety
of comments, the most numerous being “About bloody time!”

“As you well know, the Domination long ago harnessed the power of
nature to create the Al-Quattarah hydropower plant. This plant supplies
power to a large part of the North African coast, as well as to a radar
research laboratory in the depression itself.

“Our mission tonight is to destroy the Al-Quattara complex, no matter
what the cost. If we don't do it tonight, we will come back tomorrow and
do it again, and so on until we do the job right.”

“Your target is not the hydropower structure itself in the depression; that
would be pointless, as it could be easily repaired with new equipment.
No, your targets are the tunnels leading from the Mediterranean to the
depression; once they are fractured, they must be rebored or expensively

A voice from the back rose up. “How are we going to find these tunnels?”

“The Royal Navy has been kind enough to establish a GEE network off the
coast of North Africa with several of their submarines to guide you chaps in.”

A low murmur passed through the room as assistants walked up and down the
aisles of the briefing room and passed out briefing packages to the bomber

"Ah, does everyone have their target package?"

When every plane captain had raised their hand to signify that they'd gotten it,
Hayes continued. "The Domination has helpfully provided you chaps with
above-ground visual clues of the tunnel locations by cheerfully placing brightly
lit pumping stations along the routes of the tunnels.

“How are we going to find them at night?” asked one of the navigators.

Hayes smiled evilly at this question. “Approximately three miles away from the
coastline, the pumping stations begin to be brightly lit, and are well patrolled
due to saboteurs in the night who like to spontaneously explode. If the Draka have
turned off their lights, just use your H2S to find them and bomb blind.”

"Accuracy is not a major concern; our engineers have calculated that a bomb
landing within five hundred yards of a station should be sufficient to cause
fracture to the underground tunnels under it.”

“What about the radar lab?” asked one of the pilots, an annoying fellow whose
name was Smith something.

“If you arrive and find that your assigned target has already been struck by
a preceeding bomber, you're to divert to the Quattarah depression and give
them twelve thousand pounds of love and happiness.”

“But destroying the radar lab is not your primary mission; that's No. 633
Squadron and their Mosquitoes' job.”

“Any further questions?”

“No? Then good luck and Godspeed to you all.”

[2 March 1942, Otranto LCC, Italy - 1900 hours]

The bored Draka who manned the 1242th Air Defense Cohort hadn't seen
much since they had been posted in the ass end of Italy, on the Otranto
penisula, which stuck out of the main mass of Italy like a diseased pustule.

Their job was to keep track of what small air activity there was in the Balkans
across the Adriatic sea and keep their immediate superiors at the Taranto SCC
advised of what was going on.

“Goddamn, I'm bored,” muttered one of the Tetrarchs who was manning the radar
scope to his companion, a Senior Decurion who had pissed off the wrong kind of
people to end up here, on what was considered the asshole of a country which
was also considered the asshole of Europe.

“What's that over Albania?” asked one of the new kids, a Monitor just fresh
out of radar school.

“Huh?” muttered the Tetrarch as he turned around in his seat to see the 'scope.

“Looks like we got a night raid forming up in Albania.”

“Yep, I'll phone Taranto and let them know.”

[2 March 1942, Taranto SCC, Italy - 1915 hours]

The Centurion in charge of the Sector Control Center in what had been the
former Italian port city of Taranto watched as one of the enlisted men down
below in the pit placed a little wooden block engraved with a red aircraft
outline over Albania.

“Looks like a raid is forming. Probably to hit XXII Army's supply depots.
I'll let their chief of staff know,” he said to no one in particular as he picked
up the phone and asked for XXII Army.

[30 minutes later – 1945 Hours]

The Centurion was now throrougly confused. The raid had indeed formed up,
along with another smaller raid which was hard to track with radar, but instead
of heading westwards for Italy, it was now headed south. There was nothing
south, except for Africa, surely this couldn't be a suicide mission by the Italians?

[15 minutes later – 2000 Hours]

“Sir, didn't we get a report that the Italians had emplaced a new four engined
heavy bomber in Albania a day or so ago?” asked the Centurion's young aide,
a fresh faced Tetrarch fresh out of finishing school and on his first military tour.

“Fuck...Fuck me dead!” shouted the Centurion as he realized what was
going on.

“Get me Cyrenaica!”

[Cyrenaican RCC, near Banghazi – 2015 hours]

The Junior Merarch in charge of the Regional Command Center listened patiently
as the Centurion on