Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats 
Ok as I am semi-officially unemployed and I am tired of looking at job descriptions, today will be devoted to #TheDeadZone. Hopefully, I can get a draft novella pounded out in a day or two and let y'all see it before I get it all edited, fancified, and posted for sale. Sometimes I like my drafts better than my edited stuff though I can see where they are a bit rambling and tedious. #storynotes
giac hellvecio
  
to stave off depression by following dreams...It is a good therapy, meantime I'm going to pick up the guitar and dream a little ;-)
Beni Grind
  
@Rex Mundi What did you work as in this company? (If you don't mind me aksing - don't feel you have to answer.)
Rex Mundi
  
I am a cabinetmaker by training and trade.

Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats last edited: Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:38:55 -0800  
Ok, remember this is just for a bit of fun. But here is about half of what is written so far. #storynotes #pleasebegentle

He crossed the Mississippi in Saint Louis at the Eads Bridge. Getting through the checkpoints set up by some ill-defined government agency proved a hassle which consumed a couple of hours in fruitless futility. Each black-uniformed clerk in each booth went over the same information in the same manner in the same amount of time each time. MAYBE I OUGHT TO DESCRIBE THIS SCENE IN MORE DETAIL FOR THE READER He had to endure five checkpoints on the bridge. Bureaucratic inefficiency is the same a wherever one goes.

After the fifth and final checkpoint he made his way slowly across the bridge on foot zigzagging through the concrete barricades on the bridge. He didn't expect the barricades. If no one lived east of the river why the mile of barricades? He thought to himself. He did not want to attract any undue attention to himself. A six foot tall man with a fully packed rigid backpack drew enough uncomfortable attention. He was not doing anything illegal. He had all the proper permits and papers but it was never a good idea to have any attention drawn to yourself.

About half-way across the bridge he noticed a odd symbol printed at the bottom of one the many posters plastered along the wall. He paused to look at the poster. It was the typical propaganda poster about how Americans look out for their neighbors and how that every body was our neighbor. But the symbol drew his eye. NEED TO COME UP WITH A SYMBOL AND QUOTE. MAYBE GADSDEN FLAG??? Somehow he knew this symbol. He couldn't remember for sure but he knew that he had seen it before.

He looked out at the river. He remembered his parents saying that the Mississippi River was the lifeline of the country. He had read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a kid and had often fantasized about the lazy life along the river. As he scanned the river he saw no river traffic. No boat, ferry, or even some old man in a bass boat floated on the majestic river. The stench of the river assaulted him as he walked across the bridge. To Mr Name Unknown it seemed odd that a river could stink. Somewhere in the far off fringes of his memory he remember reading a book about early wayfarers to the American west always commenting on how much the Mississippi stunk. Disappointed he turned towards the east and continued his 500 mile walk to Georgia.  

A journey of 500 miles where he didn't know what to expect. He was the only person he knew who had ever even been in the dead zone. Twenty years ago he served in an army unit attached to the FBI in the Dead Zone searching for spies. The bombings had grown irregular by the time he was in service. He remembers a few bombings but mostly he remembers the destruction and the vast emptiness of the whole eastern seaboard. The bombings had destroyed most of the big cities and there was no way, as far as he could tell, for anyone to make a living. The gas attacks had left some area still uninhabitable when he was there. Most people moved out west to get away from the bombs. To this day the government would have us believe that today no one lives in the east and that it is probably safer for an American to be in Berlin than for him to be in the dead zone.

When he finally got his permits to go east he was given a mound of pamphlets to read all of which pretty much told him that he would die the second he crossed the Mississippi due to the poison gasses the Nazis bombed the place with. The pamphlets also intimated that that end was fitting for anyone who ventured in the east. Only spies and saboteurs went there to be in contact with their Nazi handlers.

He knew that was all bunk. He served here about 20 years ago. He knew that the east was bad but not as bad as places in the southern hemisphere. The underground press even told stories of people moving back east and setting up homesteads in the hopes of gaining freedom from the government. The article that he had read called it this migration the "Second Revolution." Who knew if it was true or not. The underground press had no more credibility than the regular press.

Springer Mountain then up the AT to Mount Kathadin and then... he thought to himself as he started walking off the bridge onto roads nature was trying to overtake in East St Louis.

As with just about every other day since he started this research project he thought about his grandfather. His grandfather was rugged outdoorsy, big, burly, a real man's man. Grandfather had tried to teach him all the things the granddads seem to think is necessary for young men to know. So from a young age Mr Name Unknown had known how to hunt, fish, read the sky, how to field dress a deer with his breath... All those fun sorts of things. Granddad loved the outdoors and he had lived in it every moment that he possibly could for as long and often as he could. Nothing seemed to scare granddad.

Granddad truly believed that the men in the US were getting soft prior to the war. He firmly believed that America needed more men like Teddy Roosevelt and fewer men like Clark Gable. He believed it so much that he spearheaded the AT project and got many governments and civic organizations behind the building of it. The project took all of a decade to get completed.

Mr Name Unknown's father thru-hiked the AT. He was among the the first people to do so. Shortly after the accomplishment he was drafted and died in the tropical heat of the island of Saipan fighting the Japanese.THIS IS PURE CRAP!!! YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS CRAP! PULL YOUR HEAD OUT AND CONCENTRATE!

Our hero readjusted the weight of his pack, pointed himself eastward and started his three week journey by finding his way out of St. Louis. East St Louis now had a very small population of mostly poor squatters living in dilapidated structures and getting their food from small community gardens. Residents stopped their activities and glowered at him, if they noticed him at all. He continued walking. His goal was to pitch his tent out of the city somewhere further down the road than the decaying remnants of a dead city...
Marshall Sutherland
  
As I read the first paragraph, I got this image of a moving sidewalk (moving westward) with an endless supply of checkpoints, such that you could never reach the end.
Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats 
In the Allied WW2 propaganda effort posters played a huge role. Catchy slogans and good artwork were a must. American propaganda was more about rallying people to the cause than about stirring up hate, though hate posters did appear from time to time. Until the later war years most American propaganda posters did not depict battle scenes for fear that they would turn people against the war. #storynotes

Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats 
#storynotes

He crossed the Mississippi in Saint Louis. The dingy which carried him across the river puttered across the mighty river drifting slightly southwards with the flow of the river. The river stank. To Mr Name Unknown it seemed odd that a river could stink. Somewhere in the far off fringes of his memory he remember reading a book about early wayfarers to the American west always commenting on how much the Mississippi stunk.

The dingy tied up to a pier and Mr Name Unknown got out of the boat and gathered up his hiking gear. He figured he'd have very little transportation from this point to Springer Mountain in Georgia where he was headed. He cinched up his boots and made sure that his essentials were within easy access so he could get to them without having to pull off his pack in case something happened along the way. He got his pack on and situated the weight and began his journey from Missouri to Georgia. A journey of over 500 miles, probably mostly on foot.

A journey of 500 miles where he didn't know what to expect. He was the only person he knew who had ever been in the dead zone. Twenty years ago he served in an army unit attached to the FBI in the Dead Zone searching for spies. The bombings had grown irregular by the time he was in service. He remembers a few bombings but mostly he remembers the destruction and the vast emptiness of the whole eastern seaboard. The bombings had destroyed most of the big cities and there was no way, as far as he could tell, for anyone to make a living. The gas attacks had left some area still uninhabitable when he was there. Most people moved out west to get away from the bombs. To this day the government would have us believe that today no one lives in the east and that it is probably safer for an American to be in Berlin than for him to be in the dead zone.

When he finally got his permits to go east he was given a mound of pamphlets to read all of which pretty much told him that he would die the second he crossed the Mississippi due to the poison gasses the Nazis bombed the place with. The pamphlets also intimated that that end was fitting for anyone who ventured in the east. Only spies and saboteurs went there to be in contact with their Nazi handlers.

He knew that was all bunk. He served here about 20 years ago. He knew that the east was bad but not as bad as places in the southern hemisphere. The underground press even told stories of people moving back east and setting up homesteads in the hopes of gaining freedom from the government. The article that he had read called it this migration the "Second Revolution." Who knew if it was true or not. The underground press had no more credibility than the regular press.

Springer Mountain then up the AT to Mount Kathadin and then... he thought to himself as he started walking off the dock onto roads nature was trying to overtake in East St Louis.

As with just about every other day since he started this research project he thought about his grandfather. His grandfather was rugged outdoorsy, big, burly, a real man's man. Grandfather had tried to teach him all the things the granddads seem to think is necessary for young men to know. So from a young age Mr Name Unknown had known how to hunt, fish, read the sky, how to field dress a deer with his breath... All those fun sorts of things. Granddad loved the outdoors and he had lived in it every moment that he possibly could for as long and often as he could. Nothing seemed to scare granddad.

Granddad truly believed that the men in the US were getting soft prior to the war. He firmly believed that America needed more men like Teddy Roosevelt and fewer men like CLark Gable. He believed it so much that he spearheaded the AT project and got many governments and civic organizations behind the building of it. The project took all of a decade to get completed.

Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats last edited: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 11:04:52 -0800  
#storynotes #spitballing #written in less than 15 minutes

He crossed the Mississippi near Saint Louis. The dingy which carried him across the river puttered across the mighty river difting slightly southwards with the flow of the river. The river stank. To Mr Name Unknown it seemed odd that a river could stink. SOmewhere in the far off fringes of his memory he remember reading a book about early wayfarers to the AMerican west always commenting on how much the Mississippi stunk.

The dingy tied up to a pier and Mr Name Unknown got out of the boat and gathered up his hiking gear. He figured he'd have very little transportation from this point to that goofy named mountain in Georgia where he was headed. Is it Springer Mountain??? I don't remember. He cinched up his boots and made sure that his essentials were within easy access so he could get to them without having to pull off his pack in case something happened along the way. He got his pack on and situated the weight and began his journey from Missouri to Georgia. A journey of a thosand miles or more.

He really didn't know what to expect. Back in the 50s he served in an Army unit attached to the FBI in the Dead ZOne. The bombings had grown irregular by the time he was in service. He remembers a few bombing but mostly he remembers the destruction and the vast emptiness of the whole eastern seaboard. THat was twenty years ago. The government would have us believe that today no one lives in the east and that it is probably safer for an American to be in Berlin than fro him to be in the dead zone.

When he finally got his permit to go east he was given a mound of pamphlets to read all of which pretty much told him that he would die the second he crossed the Mississippi due to the poison gasses the Nazis bombed the place with. THe pamphlets also intimated that that end was fitting for anyone who ventured in the east. Only spies and saboteurs went there to be in contact with their Nazi handlers.

He knew that was all bunk. He served here about 20 years ago. Hell, the underground press even told stories of people moving back east and setting up homesteads in the hopes of gaining freedom from the government of the United State.

Wow, for 15 minutes I didn't get much done or done nicely
Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats 
#storynotes Did some lightweight research on the home fronts during the real WW2. Of course, I was aware of rationing, victory gardens, shortages, hemlines going up due to lack of fabric, recycling, Rosie the Riveter etc etc. One thing I was not really aware of was the drop in caloric intake in most places during the war.  Bicycling and walking were common due to gasoline shortages. I am not sure that people were healthier due to the food shortages. The UK had initially banned cinema feeling that it was 'frivilous' but found that it was necessary for morale. Many people went to the cinema several times a week. TV came to the UK in 1936. (I did not know this) but it was not widespread so it was banned during the war years. I'll do another post on propaganda, which was as prevalent in the Allied countries as the Axis.
Rex Mundi
  
According to something I read last night the Nazis used food as a weapon. After the blitz of Poland the Germans living in Poland averaged 2,600 calories a day. The Poles averaged a quarter of that. The Jews in the Warsaw ghetto averaged a quarter of the calories the Poles obtained. The Jews only got 184 calories a day.

Similarly in occupied France most of the French food production went to feed Germans, whether the Germans were in France or elsewhere. The Nazi food war in France was so bad that 1 in 10 French housewives turned to prostitution just to feed their kids.

I'll have to double check the source later today but I think the article said that Europe had three major famines during the war years and only the one in the area of Belgium was attributed to human (Nazi) causes.

I am not sure how much oil the US imported during the war years, I imagine it wasn't much truthfully, but tankers were routinely targeted by the Japanese Navy.

As all the raw material for rubber came from areas under Japanese control I think a rubber shortage may have been a real threat.
Rex Mundi
  
Even if it was all a big lie the lie worked.

My grandmother, born in 1917 or 18 no one knows for sure but she was an adult when the depression came, was wont to say that "we didn't know there was a depression going on until someone told us." Her life didn't change much whether the stock market was up or down or what business went bankrupt. She would say the above quote whenever the topic of economic depression came up and then not two minutes later would say that the Depression was the worst period in US history and that everyone's lives were ruined because of it.

So true or not the propaganda worked and that is really where my brain is. Even in the "The Man in the High Castle," produced in the modern politically correct era, one can see the stereotypes. One of the Japanese characters has the appearance of being near-sighted with big round glasses and every Nazi is portrayed as evil brutal schemers.
cer
cer
  
Agreed, my grandparents had a basement stocked with canned goods to last for months, until their dying day.
Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats 
#storynotes The short story The Dead Zone has taken a rather unexpected turn. I got to thinking about what a nation in a perpetual state of war would be like. Not like the US today where we give lipservice to the war but like the US in WW2 where everyone was committed to the war effort. You know a nation obsessed with the war, viewing and believing the propaganda, fearing invasions any day etc etc... I imagine that after a few years of that the nation would be a little squirrely in the head, paranoid, fearful,... I wonder how jingoistic it would be after a while.

THe working theory is that the United States would slowly evolve (after the Nazi bombardment of the east coast) into the United State, a monolithic state at the mercy of the military complex...

But how do I keep the United State from being fascistic???
cer
cer
  
I have to poke you with a stick every once in a while.
Marshall Sutherland
  
Did the former inhabitants of the dead zone mostly survive? I'm guessing that, if it was a prolonged bombing campaign, a large number of people migrated west creating a refugee problem. So, in addition to other war-time effects, there would be refugee effects. The infrastructure in these areas might be overwhelmed as the population rapidly grows. There may be cultural issues as the city people move into the rural areas (although, the differences then probably weren't as great as today). Some people will be resentful and blame the victims. All sorts of social and economic possibilities to play with here!
Rex Mundi
  
Those are interesting thoughts, @Marshall Sutherland

I haven't given the Nazis an atomic bomb yet in my mental meanderings so I figure the bombardment is with conventional means. The death rates would be high in the urban areas, Miami, New York, DC, Philadelphia, etc. So we would have a major refugee issue, as in millions of internally displaced people. We would also have an issue with economic production. The Nazis would bomb factories and stuff.

The gist of the real-world propaganda was really unity. The government wanted to unify the people in fighting the war. The American propaganda had its moments of fierce anti-Axis hatred but was mostly about getting the Americans to conserve resources, write letters to soldiers overseas, you know, the trivial stuff of life.

So maybe the influx of refugees and losing roughly a third of the nation due to destruction and the economic disruption that implies leads to the government in Omaha growing a little more controlling.

No offense intended here, but easterners seem a little out of place here in the West. They are not used to the wide open spaces and the fierce individualism out here.

Huh, you may have just turned a short story into a novel... ;-)
Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats last edited: Sat, 14 Jan 2017 08:27:02 -0800  
#storynotes Ok so I have this image in my head of a 40-ish year old male searching the brush at Springer Mountain in Georgia. He is seeking the southern terminus of the old Appalachian Trail. His grandfather was one of the pioneers of the Trail. His father was one of the first thru-hikers on the trail before the war began. The tales that his elders told him around the campfire when he was little all involved the AT in some form.

The war came. His father was sent overseas and died on some island out in the Pacific. Right after that Britain fell to the Nazis and his whole life was in a perpetual state of upheaval for many years after. The bombings of the east coast forced his family to settle out in the Great Plains. He served in the military during his time of service. Some of that time he actually worked patrols in the Dead Zone as it was called. He saw an old discarded sign one day which had "Appalachian Trail" printed in large capital letter across the top. He didn't think about asking for leave to search out the trail at the time. One simply did not ask for leave to do anything when one was in the DZ.

After his time of service he went to university and earned a degree in history and archaeology and went to work as a researcher for the Library of Congress in Omaha. He did not much care for the work or for the fact that he worked for the government but it was a paycheck. About ten years ago he ran across a file on the AT in the archives. It made him think of his father and grandfather. He wanted to expand his research. He filed all the proper paperwork in all the proper places and began doing his research.

A couple of years later he had done all the archival research that could be done on the AT and he needed to actually go to the DZ and find the Trail. About eight years ago he filed the applications, petitions, entreaties etc necessary to get the permit to go into the Dead Zone.

Permission was finally granted 2 months ago. Getting permission to go into the DZ was something that just didn't happen. Yet somehow here he was, deep in the DZ and he has found the first link on the trail to the Trail...

(This is not even a draft. This is just an image trapped in my head today. This guy might be the hero, I am not sure.)
Rex Mundi
  
Sounds like Indiana Jones...
Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats 
Still doing preliminary research for my half-baked story idea and ran across the HMS Cockchafer. Who on earth would name a boat the Cockchafer?

As far as #storynotes the HMS Cockchafer played a part in the Anglo-Iraqi War of 1941.
Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats 
#storynotes Amin al-Husseini The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem has got to make an appearance in the story somehow. Oddly, he died in 1974 like a few other folk in the story. Anyway he took part in a coup de etat in Iraq that had to be put down by the British. Britain got a bunch of it's oil from fields in Iraq. Some historians believe that among a few other factors Germany ran out of the oil it needed and this led to her defeat. Maybe this anti-Semite mufti helps the Nazis secure the oil they needed.
Rex Mundi
  
This guy just made a cameo in the story!

Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats last edited: Wed, 11 Jan 2017 15:36:17 -0800  
#storynotes After the Allied governments and command moved to North America and the Nazis overran Great Britain the Nazis began a relentless bombing of the eastern seaboard of North America. They laid waste to a huge amount of the territory east of the Mississippi River. They used that gas, Zyklon-B?, in the major cities. Millions of people in the US and Canada both were killed or relocated during this time. These bombings lasted for several years. This area, roughly the size of the original 13 US colonies is considered a "dead zone' by the United States government in Omaha (or wherever I put it.) Technically it is not illegal to go into the dead zone but for the first few years after the bombings only agents of the Axis powers went into that region so that they could make contact with their handlers via submarine or radio. The US government blocked access to this area by blowing up most of the bridges along the Mississippi River and putting guard gates on the ones that remained. It didn't really stop traffic from going east but it damn sure slowed it down.

By 1974 (when the real story happens) the situation has not changed much as far as transit goes. It is still hard to get to the dz and if you are caught there by the feds you will be detained and will probably disappear... but people have begun to settle in various areas of the east. The vegetation has grown back in many areas and mother nature has reclaimed the urban areas of 1950. Our hero is a researcher with the Library of Congress and he gets a special dispensation to go to the east and research the Appalachian Trail and he meets some of the "settlers."

Coincidentally, 1974 is also the year that Prince Henry (the Duke of Gloucester in real timeline, King Henry IX in the alternate) dies and is succeeded by his son. Juan Peron, the Fascist dictator of Argentina dies in 1974 or 75 also. Argentina will play a part in the undermining of the Omaha government. As Peron is largely funded by the Nazi state he is more or less a vassal to them. The Nazis use Argentina as a base of operations for their American espionage activities.
cer
cer
  
This is grand!
Rex Mundi
  
Thank you @Carolus Rex
Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats last edited: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:09:51 -0800  
Being there is not officially illegal but unofficially, if the FBI catches you in the dead zone they will presume you are an Axis agent and then you will disappear.
Rex Mundi
  
Rex Mundi tagged Rex Mundi's post with ⋕storynotes
Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats last edited: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:09:31 -0800  
So last night's half-baked story idea has captured the imagination this morning. Prince Henry becomes the King of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Emperor of India etc. Edward VIII becomes the King of the puppet state of Anglemark. After the retreat from Europe the Germans relentlessly bomb the east coast of North America effectively destroying the region of the original 13 colonies. Hitler dies in 1959 and an uneasy (and unofficial) truce happens. The war never really ends. The US capital moves to somewhere in Nebraska and because of the constant state of war becomes more dictatorial with each passing year.  Does anyone else sense an American Redoubt type of thing going on?

Some notes:  Peron (in the story) is a little more fascist than his real world counterpart. Not sure what to do with India yet. Italy Empire swells and covers most of northern Africa. We simply must figure out how to get the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem into the story!
Rex Mundi
  
Rex Mundi tagged Rex Mundi's post with ⋕storynotes
Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats last edited: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:09:10 -0800  
Image/photo

If George the VI had died with his family, as in my story idea,  Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester would have become the new monarch of Britain. I guess it is time to do a little research on him for the story.
Mike Macgirvin
  
Interesting.
Rex Mundi
  
Rex Mundi tagged Rex Mundi's post with ⋕storynotes

Rex Mundi
 Digital Underground with Tinfoil Hats last edited: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:08:50 -0800  
D-Day by the Allies is a catastrophic failure leading to a Nazi invasion of Great Britain. King George and all the governments-in-exile flee to Canada. The boat carrying them is sunk by a U-Boat. Nazi's install their buddy, former King Edward (the one who abdicated for love) to the throne. Story may even have that Mosley guy as PM in the former UK for a while. Churchill and the Allied command land in Canada & try to run the war from there. Empire states choose another of the House of Windsor to be the next monarch. Nazis pretty much control Europe for the next couple of decades...
Rex Mundi
  
Rex Mundi tagged Rex Mundi's post with ⋕storynotes