Cheeseburger Gothic

Post Wave Economy

Posted May 19, 2010 by John Birmingham

I vacate the lecturn to make make for my learned research Prof. Murphy, this evening. Murph, as most of you know, works for me as a researcher on the books, mostly on military matters, but not exclusively. He's also been of invaluable help blocking out combat scenes and even trying his hand at drafting the first pass of a couple of bits and pieces.

He sent me an email the other day which I reproduce with his permission, pondering the economic landscape of a Post Wave America:

I've been reading up on economic history over the last four months, partly because I need to for my classes but also for the third book in the series.  It seems to me that the book will be as much as economic power as it is about anything else.

Again and again I've tried to picture what a post Wave economy would look like and I keep coming back to the same conclusion.  Granted, this is not my area of strength but I think I'm on track here.

In Eric Flint's series, the folks in Grantville frequently discuss downgrading their technology level to something they can easily produce.  Rather than produce M-16s, they produce rifled flintlock muskets, transition to steam technology, etc.

It seems to me that the economy of the remaining United States of America will need to do the same thing.  The massive Federal Regulatory Structure that exists today would need to be stripped down, simplified.  In doing so, it would probably be best to turn to a national bank.

We have something like that with the Federal Reserve system now (not a system I fully understand).  That said, the Federal Reserve system is designed to service an economy powered by 300 million plus people as opposed to 15 million.

I think what is needed, therefore, is a National Bank.

I probably sent a write up on this a few months back but you could model a national bank on the Hamiltonian model.  This would mean changes in the third novel.  Right now the US is not paying any of its' debts as I understand it.  It would have to set up a means to do so in order to obtain credit.

Hamilton argued that all foreign debt should be repaid.  I suspect US foreign debt circa 2003 is going to be too large for the remnant to service efficiently.  Given that China is in the middle of a Civil War, I think the US can be chosey about who it pays back.

Thus I'd set up a bank that serviced the debts of the most powerful remaining national economies.

If I reckon correctly, these are the biggest remaining players.

United Kingdom

Germany

Japan

South Korea

Australia

Russia

Saudi Arabia

I'd make it pretty clear as a matter of US economic policy that debts held by these countries will be serviced.

Some of this debt can probably be serviced, at least initially, by salvage of some sort or another.  We've already indicated some of this in After America with stocks of US military surplus going to places like Great Britain.  My concern is that there might eventually be a glut of this stuff on the market and as such, the US will not be able to obtain the windfall which is hoped for.

There is also the fact that Russia probably isn't all that interested in most US equipment, carriers being the exception and it is unlikely the US would sell such to Russia.

The rest of this debt, however, is going to have to be serviced by investment of some sort.  Hamilton solved this problem by offering shares of the First National Bank up for purchase.  They did relatively well partly (as I understand it) because people believed the economy was going to grow.  It also served to tie the rich to the success or failure of the Federal Government.

Kipper needs something similar.  He needs a way to tie folks like Cesky (the nasty construction magnate Jules left behind in Acapulco) to him for more than just revenge and short term gain.  Otherwise I can see folks like Cesky running off to Texas.

As for staples of the new US economy (because salvage can't last forever), I've got some thoughts.

Tobacco.  We produce a lot of it obviously and Missouri plays a role in that industry.  I suspect tobacco will become a very valuable commodity in the post wave economy.  Given that we have established Kansas City as a center of restoration, tobacco could become KC's big crop.

Pharmaceuticals.  I think we've covered this previously as well.  Puerto Rico has a pharma industry and given the post-wave situation, viable medicines are going to be a hot commodity.  I could see a situation where someone tries to make some sort of grab for Puerto Rico.  You probably can't work it into the third novel but it is something to consider.

Alcohol.  Especially bourbon, but also medical grade alcohol.

Corn in general, people have to eat.

Wheat, same thing.

Ironically, as I ponder here, you could see a Hamiltonian based financial system supporting a return to Jefferson's vision of an agrarian republic.  Our first strength was agriculture and I suspect that is the nation would restore itself.

That said, I think ground work should be laid for a return to some industrial capacity.  As such, Seattle would probably be the center of such activity.  With corporations such as Microsoft and Boeing headquartered there, they could provide the seeds for a rebirth.

There could also be a salvage tariff. I think we've discussed this before.  Of course that could be fueling the fighting on the East Coast since the losers don't want to pay the tariff and there is a shortage of people to collect it anyway.  That said, on the West Coast, which is accessible to Australia, Korea and Japan, the salvage tariff might be extremely profitable for the US government.

I have one additional thought.

Many see the US economy as one solid, unified block.  It is worth pointing out that it is a collection of regional economies.  It was this way in Hamilton's day and it will most likely be this way in the post-Wave economy.  As such, there will be tension between the various sections of the United States.

I keep thinking about Blackstone's Texas. (Yes, that is a little peek at what's coming up. - JB) He is able to get credit in the second novel and I suspect part of that is due to resources he has at his disposal, mainly salvage of weapons, technology, etc, and a willingness to help maintain the militaries of places like Israel and Saudi Arabia.

That said, it could possibly be that Blackstone has set up a Republic of Texas bank which is servicing the outstanding debts of the State of Texas.  He could be servicing those debts quicker than the US government is able to and as such is able to get credit quicker.  He may have investors who are growing increasingly tied to the success of Blackstone's government.

He, of course, also has Texas' own oil resources to draw upon.  That could also help fuel his economy.

Some random thoughts as I close out finals.

101 Responses to ‘Post Wave Economy’

Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 19, 2010
Probably need to be a lot more socialist too. Natural resources - like what we were talking about the other day at Flinty's - would be government controlled. Privatisation would be nearly non-existent, excluding drugs and guns...

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Abe puts forth...

Posted May 19, 2010
Hmmm. My only comment is that banks don't "service" sovereign debt, the sovereign does, secured by it's capacity to tax. An exception is where the sovereign is sitting on resources that can be readily exploited - eg: the Confederacy issued 'cotton backed' bonds during the civil war, so that they could give foreign investors confidence that even if the confederacy could no longer raise taxes or inflation rendered the confederate currency worthless, they'd get their pound of flesh in the form of cotton. Of course this made keeping the ports open absolutely crucial. I'm guessing Murph's big toe's knowledge of US history runs to about ten times mine, so I'll stop the history lesson there.

But my point is that banks intermediate between investors and borrowers with different horizons and have a role in expanding the money supply but they really dont service the public debt. If you have access to shit that people want then the banks will beat a path to your door to sell your bonds to investors.

So if the tax base is fucked, I'd suggest that the stuff in the ground will be plenty security for investors. But the stuff in the ground will also make you an attractive ahem takeover target for whoever uses a lot of that stuff in the ground.

But I agree that you wouldnt need a Fed Reserve 'system' - a more traditional central bank charged with maintaining the currency, perhaps by converting the proceeds of the resource wealth into hard foreign currency would make sense. See what Timor Leste is doing for instance. They got some experts in who used to work for the Norwegian Petroleum Fund to help get their reserves and an oil fund established.

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Guy asserts...

Posted May 19, 2010
In post-Wave America economics would be the other side of the coin of national security and reconstruciton. In the 19th century the single most important factor for the US was the frontier. During that century it slowly marched west with wild lands being transformed into territories, with basic law and order allowing settlement and then finally, once the population, economy and infrastructure had reached a cetain level, the territory would apply for admission to the Union as a fully fledged state.

This would be repeated post-Wave, with the frontier being pushed east and south from Seattle. Of course modern transport and existing infrastructure would ensure it went much faster this time, with new settlements in Kansas City and Miami etc being quickly established and recolonising the surrounding areas.

The Seattle government will be looking at bringing in new immigrants from overseas and clearly they will be looking to countries with similar cultures to provide them (ie UK/Australia/New Zealand). It seems to me that the US could kill two birds with one stone by offering land/infrastructure/settlement opportunities to these favoured countries as part of the US debt repayment. The new British/Australian colonies on US territory would provide a financial return to the mother countries in the short and medium term but would be established with a strict understanding that they would eventually be fully incorporated into the United States. This system would allow for new American settlemets to be established as fast as possible together with guaranteed trade links to friendly countries which would have economic incentives to support and protect the US. This protection would be ever more important to America as sooner or later China, Russia and other countries will get over their internal disputes and see a fat, rich and largely empty continent just waiting for any powerful player to grab a share.

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Orin puts forth...

Posted May 19, 2010
Frellman is like the Batman of economics. You should recruit him and bring him in to the "circle of trust". He's also always prepared for a BBQ.

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Scott mutters...

Posted May 19, 2010
Guy, it will take China and other likeminded countries some time to get over internal problems.

Let's not forget that both Canada and America are major food producers. I don't remember how much of Canada was effected but with a large segment of the planet's food production removed places like China/India will have other problems than considering land grabs.

It wouldn't surprise me if a large part of the US economy returned to the barter system. A China civil war would be . . . ugly. Make the French breakup in the first book look pedestrian in comparison.

Looking forward to getting my copy. By the sounds of this you already have book three planned.

Btw ot but just finished The Warded Man, exerlent read well worth ordering the sequel, thanks for reckomending it JB.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 19, 2010
We definitely need an economics specialist as this sort of thing is way outside of my balliwick. And Abe, I was not aware of cotton certificates issued by the Confederacy but I will go look it up now. Thing is, I wonder how valuable those certificates really would have been given that there was a cotton glut in 1860, which is part of why their King Cotton Diplomacy strategy didn't work out.

In any case, on matters economic, I readily admit a weakness but one I am willing to rectify. Not only for the Birmowerks material but also for my own professional development.

As for tax revenue for the US Gov, I suggest a salvage tariff. If a salvage operator pays a tariff on what they find and ship it out of a legitimate port, then they can salvage whatever they want within reason. Some nations could be given Most Favored Trade Status or some such. The other side of the coin is that if you don't pay the tariff and are trying to salvage illegally, someone could come and drop some bombs on you, interdict you, sink your ship on the way back out across the Pacific/Atlantic, that sort of thing.

Granted, you'd never catch everyone doing the illegal work. We can't today (see Arizona). But you can create a situation where it would make better sense to pay the tariff.

Moko, I can't see how socialization would be enforced on the frontier regions. I can definitely see the need for a command economy in the intermediate period in order to stabilize the government, the economy and restart industry, but I can't see how someone is going to be able to enforce that a thousand miles away from Seattle.

There will, I suspect, be some torque toward a laissez-faire economic system. For the record, I am not in favor of such a thing (either in the real world or in this scenario) but the pull among many with private capital will be there. Perhaps Abe could comment on that.

I think the big thing is agriculture at first while maintaining remnant industrial capacity in Seattle.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Vallon Davis mumbles...

Posted May 19, 2010
There would be a major need to safe guard and secure valuable resources and technology, because with a much reduced population and security forces outside factions would see the United States after the wave as a treasure trove of goodies that would usher in the biggest rush for said treasures. The need to safe guard these would mean requiring more boots on the ground, on the ships at sea and in the air. The New U.S. Government could make an offer to the new wave of immigrants which would involve serving in the Armed Forces for somewhere between 4 to 8 years, at the end of which they would be granted resident status (like how it was done in the French Foreign Legion, at the end of their term of service they could accept French citizenship or return to their country of origin), and a choice of where they would like to settle. The same could also apply to potential immigrants with skills/knowledge attained from tertiary level education to be a part of the rebuilding efforts for a certain period of time, at the end of which they could be granted resident status.

Looking forward to reading book 2!

Respectfully

Vallon Davis

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Murphy reckons...

Posted May 19, 2010
I suspect the military is going to shrink, at least the active duty components of it will.

I think a Homesteading Act might be a more viable option for bringing immigrants into the country. That said, Vallon is on target. There will be a need for immigrants to replenish the ranks. They will come here anyway (especially if the rest of the planet is torn up) and as such, it would be better to have them with US support.

That said, immigration provides its own headaches. It gets right down to a core question which is constantly being asked in this country.

What is America?

A book worth reading is Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. In fact, I've got an older edition sitting next to my chair as I type. Takaki illustrates how various ethnic groups assimilated or not into the American fabric. It is worth reading for ideas if nothing else.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted May 19, 2010
As an aside, this is Birmo's blog but I have a suggestion.

In the past it has been the habit of these discussions to digress in the direction of matters military. Granted, those are important issues (it is why I am on the payroll) but I believe there is a quote worth remembering.

Money is the sinews of war, to paraphrase Cicero. Without the money or a stable economy, there will be no explodey goodness.

Just a thought. Now I'm off to the gym.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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sparty swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 20, 2010
have we talked through the amount of uncertainty that will be present. ie "will the wave come back?". Though to invest in a country / world that could get "waved" any moment?

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Guy reckons...

Posted May 20, 2010
You have a point Sparty, but human nature being what it is, I doubt that fear of another wave would stop people getting involved. After all, millions of peple have moved to California when everyone knows we are overdue for a massive earthquake.

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mckinneytexas ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
Good topic. I agree with Murph that focusing solely on the military doesn't answer the larger question of how the economy will shape up. Here are some thoughts:

1. the pre-wave national debt--wipe it off the books on the grounds of force majeure and move on. The pre-existing debt cannot possibly be paid. Further, there will be so much ongoing national restructuring, it is a fair bet that identifying the true creditors will be highly problematic. In specific instances, and for compelling reasons, a renegotiation of some obligations might be in order.

2. The first order of business in any economy is to eat, so you'll need an agricultural base.

3. The second order of business is keeping what you have. The new US would be best served by blending the colonial militia system with the Swiss model. The US should become more and not less of a maritime basis. The most efficient means of excluding unwanted visitors is to prevent them from landing in the first place.

4. Mining existing urban and industrial sites is the transitional phase to laying the basis for an industrial/technological grounded economy.

5. With its much reduced population, the US can be a huge net exporter of raw materials. The limited ability to harvest renewables, e.g. lumber, will let reforestation get a good head start. This is for the out years.

6. One key factor will be how to intelligently repopulate and to determine in advance what the ultimate population goal is via immigration.

7. If someone besides the good guys have taken over Texas, it needs to be taken back. Too much oil and refining capacity to let go lightly.

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mckinneytexas mutters...

Posted May 20, 2010
My son, an economist/MBA type, being somewhat familiar with WW, has these observations:

As to what the economy would like. Starting with the basics of supply and demand - what can the USA provide at a lower margin versus other countries.

Food would be number one. We would need oil for energy, and would have the expertise "offshore" to get oil producing again, although we could probably get the oil from Canada who in turn would need our food crops. The price for oil would prob plummet though since the USA was formerly the largest demand at 25% but not a big producer itself.

Shipping the food (transportation) would be a big industry along with railroads.

We could produce pharmaceuticals but so can the Europeans and Asians (they would probably just expropriate our patents on current drugs) and most of our pharma scientists in NJ and NY are dead so that's out. Manufacturing drugs is easy. Generic drug companies in India and China would flood the market in a few months.

The USA would still have all the capital manafucturing capacity, presumably in decent working condition. So bring back the americans abroad and then lots of immigration from english speaking countries - America recolonized again but with a big headstart in know how. Would take years (decade or two) to get everything back up and running probably.

The technology industry in Seattle would be useful but would have to address more basic technological needs than they do now. Automation and robotics might be important to mitigage the lack of manpower - could trade foodstuff to Japan for help there. Japan has very little in the way of natural resources or food production.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted May 20, 2010
McKinney in that last post brings up a point about robotics and labor. I've been thinking about comparable historical models per the post-Wave economy. The best one I can come up with is Great Britain after the Black Death in the 1300s.

It can be argued that the Black Death effectively undermined the traditional relationship between feudal lord and serf. Once there was a labor shortage, the remaining workers could demand improved conditions and wages for their efforts. If the Lord did not grant these conditions, it was possible for the workers to pick up and leave. Further, the countryside being somewhat deserted, it was possible to set up shop somewhere else in an area already processed as it were for production.

Another example to draw upon might be the loss of life among Native Americans during the early Colonial era due to disease. Some research indicates as high as 90% (which seems a bit high to me but we'll roll with it). Early European settlers would arrive on former village sites, already processed for production, thinking it had been cleared by the hand of God.

My point is that it seems there is the potential for a revolution (small "r") in how labor is used. Anytime there is a severe labor shortage we see massive changes in how things are done. Perhaps what might be seen is a Third Industrial Revolution, driven by robotics designed by Microsoft/Apple and Boeing along with any number of start up companies.

Another point is that I suspect there will be a need to maintain some sort of commercial air fleet for operation within CONUS. Boeing's Seattle location could serve as the HQ for operations, maintenance and training. Further, if we maintain our air infrastructure, we could possibly provide repair services at a reasonable price to other nations.

How much oil industry expertise is up in Alaska?

As for getting "waved," given that no one knows what caused it I think an argument can be made that no place on the globe is safe. You could be waved anywhere it seems. As such, why not go back to the US?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NukemHill mutters...

Posted May 20, 2010
Given that China is in the middle of a Civil War, I think the US can be chosey about who it pays back.

Did I miss something, or is "spoiler alert" a little too late here?

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NukemHill asserts...

Posted May 20, 2010
Microsoft/Apple and Boeing along with any number of start up companies.

The Apple portion of that equation no longer exists, for the most part, as it is based in Silicon Valley. Maybe JB'll "get lucky" and have Jobs, or Jonathan Ivy, or some other Apple big shots with big vision "at a retreat" in Europe or Seattle, or some place not affected by the Wave. So that the brain trust behind Apple is preserved. Otherwise, and this really applies to a vast percentage of America's current "big thinkers", the people most needed for advancing our civilization post-Wave were vaporized with it.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted May 20, 2010
Steve was mentioned in a throw away line in Without Warning, which is why I posited an involvement by Apple.

I believe China's descent into chaos was also covered in the first novel.

As for advancement, I think that depends on how you define it. We are not looking at advancement so much as stabilization and preservation. That said, production still needs to take place.

Consider agriculture. You need farmers but a lot of the work is basic scut work. What if you had robots and automatic systems which could do that work? Further, what if there was a profit motive/need to increase productivity?

I can easily see a series of radio controlled tractors and robots working wheat and cornfields for weeks at a time without too much human intervention. We don't do that now because there really isn't any need to do so. But with a population loss, the need would exist.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NukemHill mumbles...

Posted May 20, 2010
By the way. I just finished the WoC trilogy. Loved it. Took me a while. I finished the first book months ago, and then picked up the second one. But my hectic life precluded me from really getting into it, and I was having a hard time finding the threads to grab onto and really ride. But I think JB found his voice about a quarter of the way into the second novel, and it really jumps from that point forward.

Congrats on a job well done, John. Your "big-picture" grasp of the historical ramifications were fabulous, and the directions you went in were delightful to watch unfold. I think a post-WWII treatment would be fascinating.

Back to this thread--I think a decentralized government, with a laissez-faire approach to managing the economy, would be the most effective long-term means of tackling the issues. But a short-term more centralized economy may be the way to go to handle the interim emergencies.

Probably the most efficient points to focus on are what has been mentioned already: managing our commodities, including food stuffs, mineral and land rights, energy sources, etc.; setting up property sales; rebuilding the transportation infrastructure; and of course the military.

I really like the idea of offering land to immigrants in trade for military service. I think that has great potential.

The interesting (and obvious) point that I take out of this is that there is a tension between what the "nation" wants, vs. what the group of individuals wants. I don't think they are necessarily the same. This comes back around to a previous thread and the point that I was making about the apocalyptic nature of the "destroy the central government and start fresh" approaches many authors have taken over the years. If you take this as a "time to start over with a new set of rules" exercise, then that tension can be the focal point of the novel.

Which may be what you've been saying all along, and I'm only just getting it.

Do you need a National Bank, or do you charter regional banks with the rights to print money and manage international exchanges? Are the regions organic, or are they imposed/created by the national government, and does there arise a tension out of that, as the "artificial" region's structures are potentially at odds with the more naturally occurring structures arising out of the needs of the locals? Can a "not quite command" structure be more of a responsibility-delegating central authority, but allowing for the natural efficiencies of a growing market to get the jobs done?

Transportation is much quicker now than it was even 50 years ago, as is pointed out above. And we also have a highly functional communications network. Between those two, we have an infrastructure that allows a great deal of power and knowledge distribution and decentralization. How can that be used most effectively? Actually, control can be as centralized or as distributed as you wish. Is there a way to optimize it so that what needs to be centralized can be, but what would be more effective in a distributed architecture can be handled that way?

This is actually a rather interesting AI exercise. I spent some time in grad school studying robotics and distributed systems, and dealt with it a bit in my thesis. This type of tension was one of the central points of discussion. My belief is that you want to maintain some centralized control. But in the end, you want as much of the "decision making" done in the nodes as possible. Look at the U.S. military, as compared to some other militaries around the world. We push decision making as far down the chain of command as we can. We want our platoon leaders to be making decisions that would normally be made by a Major or even a Colonel in other more centralized military structures. We trust our men to act correctly and think for themselves. The big picture is still managed higher up, but we also try to give as much of that big picture to the grunts as possible (without overwhelming them), so that they can be intelligent about their actions.

Is that kind of approach appropriate in the post-Wave world? That's the tension. That's where the magic is in the third book. Now, you could make it a treatise on economic theory, and you'd sell 5 copies worldwide. So I'd suggest you avoid that! But you could also embed some economic theory in the larger story line, without getting too pedantic, and actually teach people while entertaining them. Is it possible to discuss Marx and Lenin, and Hayek and Friedman, and Keynes and Krugman, without putting your readers into a catatonic state? Probably. It makes for some fascinating possibilities, if that's the approach you want to take.

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NukemHill is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20, 2010
can easily see a series of radio controlled tractors and robots working wheat and cornfields for weeks at a time without too much human intervention. We don’t do that now because there really isn’t any need to do so. But with a population loss, the need would exist.

Many aspects of our economy could be much more automated than it already is, but unions have fought very successfully to preserve jobs. Because the thinking is obviously that automation is a job destroying exercise.

Given the clear point that we are suddenly facing a dearth of workers, automation becomes a huge focal point. Advancements and implementations of robotics and automated systems is an obvious win. And the big winners will be the people who can learn quickly and/or see and exploit inefficiencies in the systems. Bureaucrats will be roadblocks in the new system. Anyone who is perceived as a pencil pusher or cog in the system, rather than an efficient and necessary part of the machine, should be ostracized.

Hmm. Will there be a system for exiling "dissidents"? Has that already been discussed? That seems to ring a faint bell, now that I think about it.

Empire builders will have to be dealt with, as well. And, there are different types of empire builders.

I'd forgotten about Jobs being mentioned, as well as China. As I said in the comment prior to this one--I just finished WoC. So I've probably got some story lines jumbled together. I'll need to re-read WW to get re-familiarized with the salient plot points. But having Jobs around is good, so long as the cancer doesn't come back....

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McKinneyTexas5 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 20, 2010
Hello Murph, I'm the son of McKinneyTexas.

As someone else alluded to, one of the first actions the USA should consider taking is reestablishment of a new currency. Bartering is very expensive in its inefficiency. A fiat currency in this scenario wouldn't be viable so the new currency should be linked to the gold reserves held at Fort Knox, federal reserve bank, etc. Worldwide, fiat courrencies would probably be worthless. Most international banks and sovereign government holds billions of US treasuries and would be insolvent the day after the wave, although it might take time for the general masses and capital markets to realize this. New currencies would have to be established everywhere and the US probably wouldn't want to accept payment in anything but commodity backed currency. Even today, we can barely assign a consistent relative value to the Euro which has gone from $1.45 / $1 USD to $1.22 in the past few months.

For immigration, Ireland, UK and Australia and english-speaking people from mainland Europe are all good choices. They are used to living under a democracy, and operating under "rule of law", respect for and protection of private property. We could repay outstanding loans, if desired, with 99 year leases on USA land / infrastructure (asset backed repayment).

A National Bank is a good idea, but other private banks should be setup (there's probably some regional banks in Seattle) for efficiency of business management and loan decisions. The national bank could provide their initial funding through the gold-backed currency, monitor the true value of other countries' currency (its one thing to declare a currency backed by gold or silver and another to actually have the metal), and provide loans to the US govt.

A big difference between Hamilton's National Bank and the Federal Reserve today is that US is no longer on the gold standard which gives the Fed a lot more power to manipulate the economy nowadays (i.e. print money). One of Hamilton's argument for repaying the debt was so that the USA could borrow money again in the future. However, countries like Argentina and Mexico, which went bankrupt recently (in the past 10-15 years) can still borrow money today. Once the US re-established its economy and a viable currency, borrowing wouldn't be an issue.

Not to harp too long on the establishment of currency but it might be easier and more credible if the USA post-wave established the new currency in conjunction with another country, the UK for example, and simply contributed its gold for a fair share of the new currency.

Alaska would have the oil expertise. Also, the big oil companies have significant operations abroad (Africa and the Middle East for example). While the national Saudia Arabian oil company owns the oil produced in Saudia Arabia, its the French and US oil service companies that provide the technological support to maintain production. That expertise would be very valuable in the future. Example, Venezuela's oil production plummeted after kicking the Americans and Brits out.

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McKinneyTexas5 mutters...

Posted May 20, 2010
On the farming issue, it doesn't take much manpower to run large farms due to the automation that already exists; less than 1% of the USA population supports farming today (960K people). The issue is finding people who know how to run the equipment, rotate crops, etc. Probably wouldn't be many people in Seattle who know how to do it.

The military ranks might need to be combed for "priority" skillsets like farming, ranching, running utilities (water purification plants).

How many Amerians are alive after the wave? Assuming 30 million in Seattle, Alaska and abroad, and looking for 1/3 of old production (which would still provides lots of surplus), approximately 300K farmers needed.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
Oh, but what if bimetallism rears its ugly head?

I'm kidding, I hope. I have a hard enough time explaining Hamilton's First Bank of the US to my students. I've given up trying to explain bimetallism.

A gold based currency makes sense to me. We do have reserves at Fort Knox so I suppose a priority would be for someone to go secure it.

MKT-5 wrote: Not to harp too long on the establishment of currency but it might be easier and more credible if the USA post-wave established the new currency in conjunction with another country, the UK for example, and simply contributed its gold for a fair share of the new currency.

Hmm, a coalition of English speaking countries tied together economically through a common currency. I wonder what that currency would look like? Would you call it a pound or a dollar?

I have often thought that there would be a military purpose for such a coalition, mainly to keep the trade lanes open. A common currency might be another reason.

If you have a common currency, then what about government? Go with an EU style system, something like a Confederacy (not to be confused with the Confederate States of America but more like a stronger variant of the Articles of Confederation) or something else?

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2010
A barter system seems unlikely. Its never been used by any civilization at any time in history. Theres probably a reason for that. The USD would lose its status as the global reserve currency to be supplanted by what though? My guess is the Euro or possibly the Yen. You would need to invent a new American currency eventually but what would you call it? Also Tex Jr mentioned the gold standard i think. Anyone want to have a stab at what the price of gold would be ina post wave economy? (For the sake of clarity we should probably use contemporary USD's when indulging in such speculation)

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Abe ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph: Check out Erlanger Bank - the French Bank distributing them. I believe the price of cotton soared as the war approached because of concerns about supply. So what better way to cash in than to issue the cotton-backed bond?

Orin: You're too kind. But I've always thought of myself more as the Spiderman of Public Finance than the Batman of Economics. I met the Batman of Economics once - he's a much smarter guy. Better with the ladies too.

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McKinneyTexas5 mumbles...

Posted May 20, 2010
A common currency doesn't necessitate a common EU style government. When countries were on the gold standard pre-Bretton Woods, the exchange rates fluctuated based on the amount of gold underlying each currency. Because a Centralized Bank would be tied to the gold stand, there is less policy work required of the central bankers.

Some management would be required though. As London would effectively replace NYC as the center of global finance and there would already be American bankers already there (Citigroup, Bank of America's european hq are in London) plus representatives from Australian banks, that would be a good location for it. A select group could serve as managers of the National Bank for awhile, and they would immediately have the expertise to run it.

Establishing a common currency with credibility behind it would be a huge positive for the English speaking nations. Financiers throughout history (Medici in Italy, Rothschild of France, etc) have been the catalyst and source of economic success for countries. Effective capitalization of new companies, global trade, etc can't exist without a credible currency and whoever fills that void first makes a ton of money off of it. Free trade (similar to NAFTA) and mutual military support agreements would make sense though.

In my opinion, merging governments or creating a new one for Enlish speaking countries wouldn't be a good idea. The needs and functions of the post-wave US government would be vastly different than that of Australia or the UK; it would be too inefficient, even by govt bureacracy standards.

Taxation for the US government would be an issue. The salvage tax might work if it could be enforced. A lot of the salvegable stuff is going to lose value pretty quick, no? With no manufacturing or human knowhow to repair the stuff.

Asset backed leases (similar to like the 99 year Panama Lease canal which just expired) might be easier to tax. Lease large plots of agricultural land to UK and Ireland and then tax the output (you know where the land is so taxation is relatively easy).

The US government could also take minority ownership positions in farms and oil production, like China does right now. Long-term its not efficient or desirable but would probably work initially with the intention of divesting the position in 10-20 years. Investors may not mind the government role at first either, and may welcome it, given that they will need the government backed money to fund the venture and support of the navy to protect the exports. This would be similar to the European governments funding the colonization efforts in the 16th,17th, and 18th centuries.

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Justin ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
Quick question...all the animals died...how might this affect food production in the US? I know wheat and other grains don't depend on insects spreading pollen but what about other crops that rely on pollination? Would the US just focus on wheat production? also, what about the environmental effects of Nuke plants being unattended for a year+? Did the cooling ponds evaporate resulting in a melt down/dead zone across wide swaths of the US?

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted May 20, 2010
My original thought was what about things like real estate, gambling or tourism? Most banana repuplics seem to use tourism or selling off assets one of the main platforms for their economy. I could see secure enclaves of wealthy tourists in certain areas paying through the nose for the privelege of 'adventure tourism' in the dangerous post wave America. Of course the population woudl also be targets for unscrupulous entreprenuers who want to cash in on the money floating aroudn with salvagers - most 'frontier' gold rush scenarios wouldn't be complete without saloon, casinos, brothels and corruption.

Of course the big concern would also be pollution - have we looked at the ongoing effects of teh Wave on things like nuclear power plants running unattended. I don't see a big market for radioactive grain or other foodstuffs from the post-wave USA after several Chernobyl type events scattered across the conUS - see this map: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/map-power-reactors.html

There is also the effects of uncontrolled oil disasters - we are currently seeing the effects of one oilrig explosion off New Orleans and the huge roll out of manpower required to just try and keep it under some sort of control. Imagine the effects of several of these (+ supertanker crashes etc) left uncontrolled for over 12 months pumping oil into the environment. Fixing just one of these events requires a huge inverstment in manpower, resources and money.

The new USA will be going to other government's with its begging cap in hand to try and raise the revenue to cover the costs of getting its own environment back to habitability. Let alone looking the economic impact of the long term health effects upon anyone who ventures into these areas.

There will be some very big bills to pay...

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Moko mumbles...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph, wouldn't suggest it'll be Socialism, I'd suggest it'll be a lot more LIKE Socialism within the sphere of influence of the gubbermint. But you've got an inside heads-up about the dynamics of AA over me...so no idea really.

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted May 20, 2010
By the way I like Murp's analogy with the disappearnace of the native Americans - but the big difference is that when they disappeared they would have left a nice empty clearing. When the people disappear from a modern city they would leave a disgusting polluted uninhabitable mess.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph

Lots of surprising stuff about the Black Death economically. A decent enough paradigm.

Europe had a population around 50 million or so . . .the largest since the fall of the Roman Empire (which incidentally is well worth a geek at economically). Its internal economy was a factor of ten or more that of its external trade economy. It basically ran on gold, silver and agricultural products.

Bang! The Black Death effectively kills half or more of the population. The survivors inherit the remaining gold and silver. After a long period time . . .most of the productive land(looking for heirs mostly). Deflation sets in. Wages rise . . . plenty of money, not enough hands to do the work.

What else happens? Killed off English adventurism in the 100 Years War. Killed off international trade . . .Why? The Plague was originally coined as 'The Priests Disease'. Clergy were great importers as well as on-sellers of luxury goods . . . notably ivory . . .as a group they got hit pretty bad.

Actually . . .the more I think on it. Britain after the Roman pull out is probably a better model. Lots of interesting parrallels. The Late Roman Empire was more socialist in nature than people think. Most industry in Britain was done by the Legions. The economy flowed around Imperial payrolls, luxury goods were based on gold and silver. The Legions pulled out . . .after 400 years and Roman Britain folded . . ..devolved back to agricultural economy. Cities were abandoned. Treasure hunters find Roman hordes all the time from the time of the pull out. Interestingly there are several other well known horde periods . . . .the English Civil War and the Black Plague.

What's this got to do with Post Wave America? Lots . . .people have done the self same things before. Abandon cities. Revert to agriculture and horde bullion. Congregate into self sufficent communites that spring for common defence.

Economically . . . .Post Wave America has to have a thriving internal economy. A purely export driven economy is a banana republic or resource model aka Australia. Vulnerable and subject to the whims of buyers. International players who were usng the Yankee Dollar as a 'safe haven' got hit badly . . . .mostly the Arabs. What's the new international standard? Oil? Price o oil got slashed with half of the market being killed. Gold? Devalued to some point as there's now gold reseves from a nation with a 50th of the population. Agriculture? Biggest player just got knocked out. Futures market is cacked.

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Guru Bob mumbles...

Posted May 20, 2010
As someone who has only read the first book quite a while ago (damn that circle of trust) I can't recall what happened to Mexico? Did most of it survive the wave or was it disappeared as well? Otherwise the immigration push from the south will make the complexion of the government in Seattle and Murph's question of 'what is America' pretty irrelevant.

A fully populated USA can't control the flood of immigrants over the border in our world - let alone in a post-Wave depopulated environment.

The references to something happening in Texas indicate that there may more of a confrontation down there - but as someone once said - God is on the side of the big battalions - and no matter how much tech is available there will be a lot more people wandering around in the South.

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HAVOCK swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 20, 2010
hmm, just a quick note. ref RADIO controlled tractors. YEAH..NOT! as long as my arse points to the ground..lol. ok, seriously, the fact that possibly several thousands of tractors will be sitting at now, largerly unoccupied dealerships will be that good old tractors are readily available, plus the issue of parts etc can be addresseed.

remote control involves tech and mores the point an operator. To effectively have a fully automated vehicle stripping or sowing your crops requires a lot more tech than people think.

As an option, lets call it A). You need RF markes in each corner of the paddock so that the automated and installed system on the vehicle can always determine its location within the rf grid. These things require not only creation, but programming, maint and power.

lets try option B). thats done via satelite navigation and the GPS receiver unit need to be intergrated into the vehicle, a fully operation SAT NAV system in space with coverage of the area you are operating in as well.

ALL good so sfar. Well then we have issues with the likes of combines ( harvesters ). the comb or bit in the fron which happens to srip or cut the crop needs to operate at a given distance from the grouns, if you were to pre set this at a specified level thats fine, so long as your paddock is as flat as a pancake or else you will start harvesting dirt and all sorts of shit. Lets also remember that stuff has a tendancy to go and DIE in crops as well and adding the odd cow, deer or christ knows what to the stripped mix typically does not bode well for the product, let long the mess it tends to make of the comb on the front of the combine. just some thoughts.

Now the issue of TEXAS, one thing is for sure, that any state which is left unchecked to do as it pleases will only get stronger and that will be a significant issue for the PREZ, its an item that would be actioned on his task list as soon as he was confidant enough to take them on an win.

Noted item about going back to FLINTLOCK weapons. well people will tend to be conservative and given the vast quantities of ammo that would be available for some time and that ammo unless its left in the open does not degrade rapodly any suggestion we will need to head back to the musket era is wrong in my opinon.

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 20, 2010
Havock. Ignore Flintlock weapons - it was being used as an example.

What will be used will be the most widely available and re loadable cartridge size. Despite vast armories chock a block with ammo - the big problem is moving it around. I would guess shotgun, .22, and .38. Bird and rabbit guns, long range sporting calibres - close in people stoppers. Stuff you could find in almost any town with a gunshop. NOT FRIGGIN MA_DEUCE CALIBRE.

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted May 20, 2010
Look at the numbers 111 million Mexicans and 41 million Central Americans all just south of the Rio Grande and looking north and no-one and nothing to stop them wandering up and helping themselves to whatever they want.

It will take a long time to get gringo boots on the ground in any effective way and even then - there won't be so many boots anyway...

Let alone looking into the question of how many US soldiers are already of Spanish American cultural backgrounds and so may not be ready to open fire when ordered to shoot at 'looters' who really are just families trying to make the most of an opportunity to improve their lives.

After all the real owners are now just piles of muck and goop aren't going to miss their SUVs, Plasma TVs and other stuff anymore...

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted May 20, 2010
I for one would SEAL the BORDER to Mexico..er..the whole fkn south American thing. 10-50 NUKES in a nice neat little line oughtta do the job I think, then if any more STH Americans get an idea about coming NTH NUKE those fkrs too. its preservation, and I would have the biggest fkn gun still on the block.

BRIAN..lol. YEAH, re read it..easy, no stress.

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Lobes is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20, 2010
Yes think i need a refresher too. What happened to all the international treaties the USA was signatory to? Are they xarried over into kippers government, is the UN still in existence?

Think we covered the south amerixan immigratiom question in previous threads. I am also of the opinion it will be relentless and the majority of North Americans shall be Spanish speakers in very short time indeed.

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sibeen reckons...

Posted May 20, 2010
Guru Bob, I'm fairly sure that most of Mexico got wiped out with the wave stopping just north of Acapulco, so Mexico city got taken; so there is not many Mexicans left.

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Brian would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2010
Guru Bob. A hunk of Mexico got caught in the wave.

Economics. What economic value does America hold when essentially everything is devalued?

What is going to attract large numbers of people to immigrate into America? Recall : essentially all the infrastructure from the ground up has been trashed or inoperable. People have to eat and to make a living. If they have more of something they sell it.What's marketable?

The idea of hordes of people invading is rather a stretch. Any colonisation effort has to include farmers. One off resource grabs are possible - but if the assets immovable and there's not transport its essentially useless ie oil fields.

Moveable assets like ships are attractive. If you have trained crews and maintenance staff else they end up looking like the forlorn Russian Black Sea fleet after a few years ie essentially floating junk.

The real asset is land. SHoot . . . .people want to make money, lease an abandoned city to a multinational for 10 years. Let them mine it for valuables, get it running, have the headache of marketing salvage. It'd be like the original Wild West with . . . 'There's Gold in them thar Cities'

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20, 2010
GB, most of Mexico went with the Wave.

Havock, point taken on tractors. That said, I think locating parts stockpiles and stripping equipment in general for parts against a rainy day is another activity the US should be engaged in. I don't know if Australia has this but here in Kansas City we have something called "U Wrench It," which is basically a large lot of junked vehicles. You pay an entry fee, go find your vehicle, strip the part, pay for the part and off you go. I can see the government sponsoring far more systematic "U Wrench It" ops where you stockpile parts.

As for ammo, well, you've got Lake City Ammo Plant just outside of Blue Springs, Missouri. They produce the ammo for the US and NATO allies. I suspect getting that up and running will be a priority.

Per Latin American immigration, I do not see much difference between the Wave Universe and our current one. The US Latino population is projected to reach majority status by mid century. Personally, I think if offered the right deal and treated fairly, they'll assimilate.

That said, I can see the traditional objections rearing their ugly heads as well.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob puts forth...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph - that is pretty close to where I was heading with the whole Latino thing except that 'assimilate' takes on a whole different meaning when you are talking about starting out with a white anglo minority from day one. I mean - even in the largest surviving conUS city - Seattle there isn't a huge number - the demographics are as follows (according to Wikipedia):

The racial makeup of the city in 2004 is 67.1% white, 16.6% Asian, 10.0% black, 1.0% Native American, 0.9% Pacific Islander, 2.3% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. 6.3% of the population is Hispanic or Latino of any race. Amongst the city's white population, 11.3% were of German, 9.1% Irish, 8.1% English and 5.0% Norwegian ancestry according to Census 2000.

Plus (according to the same source) Seattle's population is 563,374 people - which would make it about the same size as Newcastle.

But then again Oregon's population is listed as being 93% white out of a total of 3.6 million. I am starting to see an estimate of 15 million USA citizens left in the post-wave world as hopelessly optimistic myself...

According to this website there are around 6.6 million Americans living abroad at any time http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/living/living_abroad/living_abroad_by_country.shtml

Given that this number was definitely smaller (apart from US forces in the Gulf) at the time of the Wave - the numbers would only add up to an American population around 12-13 million?

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Abe would have you know...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph - re the salvage tariff, I think it would work.

But call it a 'royalty' or a 'Salvage Resource Rent Tax'...it's all in the framing. (See today's Blunty).

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Chaz is gonna tell you...

Posted May 20, 2010
My five cents worth.

Forget about a 'world economy' for at least 3-5 years.

-Because of the negative weather results thanks to the wave and the loss of at least 2 harvets in the CONUS there will be no interational food trade as everyone will be just scraping by on what is produced at home (this of course will mean technical famines).

-Israels actions after the wave will basically mean the end of the mid east as a oil production area. The area relies on foreign workers and they'll bug out asap after the first bombs drop.

-It would not be unbeliveble for either a big petrochemical firm to sequistrate some oil fields or...

for Israel to do this.

-Thanks to civil wars in France and China and probable anarchy in italy and greece it doesn't leave alot of refining capability likely to be operational.

-So we're looking at little bulk transport being available and also few buyers.

Basically the US is on it's own when the wave comes down.

The scavaging of the CONUS will also be seen as an easy option by African nations with any sort of merchant marine capability.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted May 20, 2010
Murph, you just gave me an idea for the third book. An alliance of English speaking countries would be baulked at by the Kiwis on the basis of their no-nukes policy. That would give us another reason to invade them. I'm sure there'd be a couple of USN littoral assault ships up for grabs and some trained guns for hire. Then there'd be all the paewa fritters they can eat and their choice of Marlborough region sauvignon blanc, Hawkes Bay reds or DB Draught.

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Scott puts forth...

Posted May 20, 2010
Chaz, global population will take a major bodyblow.

Remove a substantial portion of the planet's agricultural production and starvation will become widespread. Europe will not be able to pick up the slack as France has to recover from it's internal strife, add to this the toxic pall caused by burning cities to the northern hemisphere and Europe may lose one maybe 2 growing seasons.

Don't have the time to research how much of global food is produced by the US so won't estermate losses but figure it would be huge. In otl we had civil unrest in some countries in 06-07 when food inflation hit. That is probably one of the major contributing factors in a Chinese civil war.

To paraphrase an old saying only 3 meals between civilisation and barbarity.

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted May 20, 2010
Therbs, I know at least one person in NZ that would welcome such an invasion. I also know one person that would resent it.

That said, I can't figure those folks out. I guess when you are on the ass end of the planet you can act as if you live in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Abe, I'd think we'd want to avoid a repeat of what happened to that island Flint is using as his example. That said, I can see something like that working out.

I also like the 99 year lease concept.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian mumbles...

Posted May 21, 2010
Economics.

Lets consider the loss of the States as a consumer market. Most production of high end goods is at an end. The Asian Tigers export most of their gear to the states. Ferrari, Rolls Royce etc are cacked. The electronics industry is cacked. Consider . . . .you have plants geared to produce stuff for a 400 million mass market which has dissappeared. The world is facing an over supply in production capability. The ship building industry is cacked . . .most tonnage comes out of China or Korea for European and American firms. The market for resources is cacked . . . .apart from coal and oil.

Sidenote : Nokia reputedly knocks out a million phones a day. Seems absurd until you figure out product lifecycle and world wide demand. I would suggest mobile phone companies are also in big trouble.

Lets look at steel. The new US will sell off as much of its floating stockpile of shipping as fast as it can . . .else it will rot at the docks. Keep in mind all those USSR fleets in places like Vladivostok and the Black Sea. China bought a carrier that had to be towed back home for little more than scrap value. . .that's what will happen to all those ships. Mostly they'll go to breakers yards like India or Bangladesh . . . .else . . .towed out to sea and scuttled. Ports and water ways have to be cleared.

On the primary Industry side . . .resource exploitation beyond coal and oil would be at a virtual standstill. Food production is a key factor.

Weapon export would be at lower levels. Why? The States is one if not the biggest arms exporter in the world. New hardware won't be appearing. Spare parts are unavailable whilst they're behind the veil. Hmm . . . .canon and rifle barrels wear out. Canon cockers have to replace tubes. . . and all the producers and secondary tier industries are kaput.

Murphs example of Eric Flint's 1632 series is not a bad one. There has to be a wind back in technical capability as the economic and industrial capability is missing.

The key industry is agriculture. Followed by transport. I don't see much room initially for a leisured urban consumer class. Cities are either transport/support hubs or end points. East -West corridors are vital.

Example : Detroit was an end point for coal and steel. Its output was cars. There is an oversupply of cars and raw steel . . .every where. What point in restarting Detroit? Los Vegas specialised in gambling . . .it produced nothing . . .what point Los Vegas? Hmmm . . . .. Sacramento?

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted May 21, 2010
Brian, just reading your last burst another item came to me. In very short order people should be looking to the future and potentially what plants or Tech would be required down the track. Call it the re modernisation road map. Once this is done, then I could see a TEAM (s) being formed to almost Mothball certain facilities / plants.

For whilst they may not be required immediately, if identified, then preservation of the asset as best than can could save mega bucks and time down the track.

this could also centre around what localities have clusters of capabilities, as opposed to numerous stand alone sites.

As an example.

A City might have, Battery manufacturing, small steel production / fabrication, tyres?, food processing plants of sorts. I'm thinking off the top of the head here.

But essentially clusters of manufacturing / production so the centres are self sustaining, but with an ability to supply further afield.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted May 21, 2010
You might also repurpose manufacturing centers/facilities for salvage ops.

For example, use a vehicle assembly plant to bring salvaged equipment for cannibalization. The parts could be warehoused for later use.

Another example might be to use an aircraft maintenance facility to break down jet engines and other parts for future use.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted May 21, 2010
Brian - Re: "Ports and water ways have to be cleared."

At any one time there must be thousands of ships and planes underway around the USA as well as thousands of aircaft, hundreds of trains and millions of vehicles. As the wave was instantaneous thsi woudl mean that all of these would immediately lose control and crash - so as result, waterways, ports, roads, railways and cities were subjected to thousands of tons of metal and fuel crashing all over the place, burning out and then being left un-tended for a long period of time.

Given that a large proportion of these vehicles and aircraft would have been military in nature - there would also be amounts of unexploded ordinance scattered amongst the debris and accumulated rubbish as well. I would assume that rather then huge parks of military equipment sitting waiting for the first person to turn up and claim it - after the wave disappears there would be quite a dangerous mess to clean up - before anyone could really get into the whole growing food activity.

Add to that the effects of mather nature over that time - tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, storms and squalls - and add in the effects of electrical malfunctions, fires, pollution, contamination, lack of maintenance and cleaning etc.

It ain't a pretty picture for our new settlers.

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Brian reckons...

Posted May 21, 2010
Murph, GB and Havock.

Sorry about the bursts. . . but its all interconnected one way or t'other. Its untenable to hold that entire territory with the remnant population. You're facing massive manpower shortage problems. You can't denude the remaining States to try and secure the ones you just got back. Its a question of controlling choke points ie major river mouths, symbolic centres ie Washington, national transport corridors. Quite frankly there aint enough people to block the South let alone the Atlantic and Pacific Seaboards, so . . .you've got to get newcomwers to do it for you. And you've got to get those newcomers reliant on the infrastructure you can supply ie food, spare parts, security.

You've got to keep Alaska strong or it could revert to Russian ownership. You could make Louisiana attractive to French immigrants on the idea of it was previously French teritory . . . .not give it to them! 'Reestablishing . . .French cultural base . . .'Ditto Poles and Irish . . .in fact . . . .they'd be a Polish invasion if you'd offer them a chance. I wouldn't be averse to Spanish immigration into the South West.

Economics.

Transport. You have to move thousands of tonnes of whatever. At first blush . . . .road. Excepting the national traffic jam and probable destruction of fuel farms for trucks from one end of the US to the other. Trains and ships are what you're after. Freebooters can salvage what they want, without heavy lift capability they're screwed. No-one wants to buy a coupla hundred tons of copper . . .they want several thousand tonnes of salvaged copper and that has always meant trains and ships.

Ships aren't a real problem unless they've sunk but the US Armed Forces hasn't had a dedicated railway unit since WW2 . . .anyone knowledgeable about it are either in the remaining states or dead. You pull the railway guys outa the remaining States without replacements you screw those states. Like I said . . . .manpower problem.

So . . .first item of trade are warm bodies. Trained warm bodies can write they're own ticket. But . . .those bodies ain't going to move unless there are some very attractive incentives. Untrained warmbodies are important as well . . .but they're not going to be city folk. Quite frankly . . .any Mexican peasant you can lay your hands on will be worth their weight in gold. Ditto Chinese. The sheer grunt needed to clear wreckage is going to be staggering.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted May 21, 2010
GB, per military installations, that depends.

For instance, if you zapped away all of the people at Fort Riley back when I was out there in 1992, chances are pretty good that when you went to check the installation out, you'd find motor pools filled with tanks, artillery, hummers, etc.

As a general rule, the ordnance for these systems are not kept in the motor pools and I doubt SOP has changed much even with the current wars in progress.

So it is not an unreasonable expectation to find military bases with a great deal of useable ground equipment. There will have been some wear and tear from weather but that happens anyway since vehicles are normally left exposed to the elements.

Aircraft might be a different matter mainly due to their being more maintenance intensive. For instance you are probably not going to find readily flyable Apaches at Fort Riley but you could probably scavenge them for parts.

Having said that, some regions are probably going to be more haphazard than others. An Army Fort like Fort Riley, Fort Hood or Fort Carson is probably going to be in salvageable condition.

Then there are National Guard Armories, which are strewn all over the country.

I suspect what one would find are patches of the US that are torn up and burned out due to the conditions you describe. Perhaps the weather conditions were right for a lot of burning and damage. In other places, perhaps not so much. The Midwest for instance is a very wet and cold place in March of any given year sometimes prone to snow.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 21, 2010
Military bases are a given point of re-colonisation.

Point 1. Historical. They're usually near points of military interest chokepoints or defence ie West Point, Fort Bragg etc

Point 2. They're self sufficient townships in the sense they can button up and be independent of civilian infrastructure.

Point 3. They're hardened or parts of them are to usual disasters . . .fire and war spring to mind. Those are he strips I'd be targetting once the wave came down. Very doable for the military to restart.

Despite all the above. A picture remains in mind of a USSR base in Poland after the collapse. A mountain of abandoned Soviet equipment . . .literally mountains of rifles waiting to be crushed. The picture was in relation to the Russian Mafia selling this stuff on the black market . . .it was on one hand, so easy to come by, on another incredibly useless where it was. No stockpiling, no mothballing . . . .trash for cash.

Beyond a certain point. There's just no way given the various taskings for the military that every base is going to be mothballed or de-weaponed. Priorty will be to nukes, radar, naval, missile and stockpiles.

One thing I'm certain of . . .no one is moving a battalions worth of canon, tank and ammo from . .say Utah? To a port for export. Ditto for stealing the crap. You need an MEU ship to move it, not to mention road and rail capability.

Another picture springs to mind. Underwater shot off an island in the pacific . . .hundreds of feet of dozers, planes and tanks. At the end of WW2 the Americans simply loaded all their bases (less personnel)on ships and dumped them off the island. It was more cost effective that way.

You can have acres of vehicles . . .without people to drive them, guard them, maintain them or even to have a purpose for them? Effectively you'd be better off keeping them out of unfriendly hands and trashing the lot.

The premium point of trade at this point is people. Setting up communities. providing places for retiring military to go. Think . . .Roman forts along Hadrian's wall.

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Brian ducks in to say...

Posted May 21, 2010
Sorry about the info dumps. But folks have to get over the pack rat mentality . . .its about people not equipment. People make value, value is meaningless without people. Trade is people.

On that note ta-ta till Sunday. Orf to Gippsland.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted May 21, 2010
The info dumps are handy and Brian, I agree completely with your point that the big need of the US is to get more people onboard. It is definitely about people, not equipment.

As for strategic points in North America, the French Indian War and the Civil War provide pretty clear indicators. One will need to secure the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri River Valleys. Rivers will probably be the highways of commerce and transport until the railroads can be fully restored.

Two interesting books I am reading right now.

One is Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. The other is Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, The Politics of the Enlightenment by Darren Staloff. Both are worth pondering.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui has opinions thus...

Posted May 22, 2010
For warm bodies. Encourage Puerto Ricans to move to the mainland. If too successful, it may allow someone that make a play for the island as proposed for V3, sort of a corollary of the law of unintended circumstances. Having to fight it out with the PRARNG could make a great story.

I go to use military bases as initial recolonization centers.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 23, 2010
I wonder what the dynamic will be between agricultural interests and industrial ones? There will be folks, I suspect, who will see the post-Wave US as a clean slate. An opportunity to avoid what they consider to be mistakes of the original US. There may well be a push to avoid industrialization and focus on agriculture along.

I suspect that means there'd be two different schools of thought (at minimum) on how to handle restoration, probably more. These schools of thought will have their own pet theories on how a post-Wave economy should evolve.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui ducks in to say...

Posted May 23, 2010
You mean Libtards and Conservatives? It definitively will add some drama.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted May 23, 2010
I was thinking Hamiltonians versus Jeffersonians with a deep strain of Green Party politics. Throw it all into a blender and see what comes out.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian mutters...

Posted May 23, 2010
Back.

Without getting into political labels. I reckon what you'd see are two strains emerging. The dominant will be conservative. The type of folks you want as pioneers are going to be conservative thinkers - risk takers in a sense but planners to minimize risk (points at farmers). You're also going to have the idealists . . . a few groups like Amish can fall into that category I guess. In the sense they're following their ideals but still be deeply conservative about it.

The left wing nuts like PETA etc will either have to get with the program or go under. Civil Libertarians are going to have problems. The new immigrants won't understand or even care what the CL's are about. Hmmm. . . .tribal conflicts along the lines of "Gangs Of New York' is inevitable. There's not enough surviving American cadre to dilute let alone stop tensions. The only recourse there is to spread 'em out.

Given that the country is awash with firearms . . .quite a few cherished ideas are going to go belly up . . .ie. open carry will be become the norm, restrictions in major urban centres for public safety to personnal weapons only ie no assault weapons. Hmm . . . .militias? Duly federalised . . .hmm? . . . .maybe the resurrection of private security firms like Pinkertons or Well's Fargo . . . .more likely Blackhorse.

There is one thought. Introduction of a national ID system. Perhaps along the line of those subdermal thingies vets use. (Holds hand up) It's being used in Holland to allow people into nightclubs and to charge them . . . .no cash changes hands. Quick way of getting blood type too. This presupposses enough non English speaking immigrants . . and a mark of US citizenship. . . after all the national fingerorint bank has gone with the wind. . . .not to mention blood banks.

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 24, 2010
No, no, no and no on the subdermal national ID, Brian. I'm right of center and I swear on my own grave that if some asshole tried to push that plan I'd take up arms against the government.

If a business used something like that then I would take my business elsewhere. I'm not a big privacy nut but there is a limit and I'm afraid that would cross the line.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui mumbles...

Posted May 24, 2010
Murph:

Query. I support and understand your rationale for such measure in the real world. However, what about Birmo universe and his special set of circumstances?

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Brian would have you know...

Posted May 24, 2010
Murph.

On the whole I'd agree with you. Here and now there are plenty of alternatives that give you the same coverage.

But .. as a cleavage point in the story line . . .its a pretty good one don't you think? Old Line Americans will fight it tooth and nail . . .immigrants? . . . .private security firms controlling territory? . . . .

An alternative would be mobile phone tracking. If you want to be on the network . . .you'd better have all the right codes . . . its trivial to add a few more lines to that code. ID markers, blood type etc etc Gotta remember the Internet is Kaput, so some kind of broad band wireless networking will probably evolve. Most cell towers would have survived, while most serverfarms wouldn't have.

Economics.

I'm thinking some kind of indentured servitude might have a part to play as well. I'm not arguing for it . . .but it exists even today in the West in some form or another. One form are the illegals that work to send money home to pay off family debt. . . .or to pay back Coyote's . . . Indentured labour of that form Has one neat control. The workers are going to stick around lest trouble befall family back in the Old Country.

These things are going to crop up . . . .

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Guru Bob is gonna tell you...

Posted May 24, 2010
I like this term: Old Line Americans

But the reality will be that they will be a minority from day one - the new population won't have the same racial, political, economic or cultural baggage as today's Americans. A lot of what is taken for granted as 'American' or the 'WASP' culture of today will be relegated to museum displays alongside the Romans, Aztecs and Incans. The issue for the goverenment will be how to reflect the new composition of the country's population while still trying to stay true to a set of cultural and political values which have no real relevance to that population.

Remember even those Americans who were expatriates in other countries may have little regard for some of the 'family values' expoused by the government at the time of the Wave (ie Bush Jnr). I think that you would find (possibly apart from the armed forces) that Americans living abroad (especially in Europe) may tend towards the more 'liberal' end of the political spectrum? So up to half of your returnees may have a very different view of American culture than was the mainstream on the ConUS.

Add to that the need to accept the new USAnians...

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Wherever they come from they won't have the same rose-tinted glasses as born and bred seppoes when it comes to 'American culture'...

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted May 24, 2010
Brian - a couple of other pictures spring to mind:

The barracks building at any American base - all of the lights left on when the people disappeared - after 6 months a circuit somewhere flashes and a fire starts... multiply that scenario by hundreds - there would be a lot of electrical equipment that would just be up and running with no-one to tend to it. That would inevitably create some sort of problems.

A freight train travelling along a railway - suddenly all of the people disappear and it travels along the rails out of control for a while before derailing. thousands of tonnes of debris, locomotives, carriages and fuel are scattered across the rails and surrounding countryside. After the fires burn out the wreckage sits there rotting.

Removing just one derailed train is a huge job requiring skilled technicians, specialist equipment and easy access by road. Removing hundreds of them woudl take years and years - I don't see the railways getting up and running except for very localised efforts (eg around part of a city) for quite some time. Tunnels and bridges would be especially hard hit if out of control trains hit them.

And like you said roads (especially in cities) will just be a huge half burnt out decayed traffic jam.

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 24, 2010
GuruBob.

Total agreement with all that you say . . . I guess . . that's why you're THE Guru. That's why I keep stripping the thing back to economics . . .while I appreciate Murph's sensibilities on the subject. . .the fact remains . . .the cultural, conservative core has been ripped out of America. The dynamic of the returnees is going to be radically different to what went on before. They know they have enemies, they know in their bones they're going to have to use force. . . .I'm not proposing an American Reich in this. . . .but elements will arise.

One danger is of an Old American ruling class emerging. And that would be a side effect of the economics.

As for the traffic jams . . . what's more expedient? Clearing or diverting? The interstates would be clearer. Most of them parallel an existing secondary road system . . .'flyway' country. In cities . . . leave it. . .the critical points are ports and rail. As to rail . . .IIRC, railway companies in WW1 would repeteadly lay track up to the trenches over log corduroy. . .small trains however. . . . .a light rail system is doable with salvaged track laid directly on to road surface . . .rolling stock is as simple as pickup truck bodies chained together . . . Lord knows the country isn't going to run short on truck bodies any time soon.

Agriculture.

Spanish experience in SOuth America. Escaped and released stock swelled into the millions in about a century. Cattle, horse, ass. A horse was cheaper than a slave in Brazil. Cuba got rich as a stock transferral point. There is probably a good market for livestock of every sort to be sent to the US. Heh heh . . .wonder what happened to the Ostritch and Emu farms down Texas way? Kentucky fried Emu?

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Guy reckons...

Posted May 24, 2010
The culture, language, ethicity and religion of the new wave of immigrants will be crucial. For all sorts of reason the most desirable to the remaining 'old' Americans would be WASPS from the UK/Australia/NZ but there would be no real problem with catholics from Ireland or elsewhere (Christian of whatever denomimation will do) but English speakers from comon law countries will be top of the wish list, with Scandinavians/Germans etc a close second. There would be a great and continuing fear of Hispanic invasion from the south (whether openly with an army or just with thousnds of illegal immigrants) especially as Chavez and his allies have shown themselves to be deeply hostile. Fear of China and others would also be a factor. I'm not saying it's right, but I believe this is the way it would pan out.

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El Coqui reckons...

Posted May 24, 2010
So to address the above point. How many Armidale class patrol boats, the Australians would be willing to trade for one Arleigh Burke destroyer?

We need to reinforce our coverage of the Caribbean and the Mexican Gulf while Australia need to provide the coverage in the Pacific that the US Navy did before the event.

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 24, 2010
Guy,

It would be wonderful if that was the case . . . but . . .not really. The historical migrations of Germans, Irish, Poles etc weren't upper class, educated city dwellers . . .they were rural lower class, leaving something worse to get to something better.

History lesson. Spanish conquet. Settlers left . . . they were forbidden to return. Some did . . .but the deal was. . .get as much gold and silver out one way. . . bought goods and labour came the other.

The British did the same thing with their convict ships. The slave trade was built on the premise. . . however quiet . . .that Europeans were not going to slave their guts out in far off places. It was all about labour . . .

Ratchet forward to the 20thC. Iraq. 70's Saddams massive building spree was built on oil (duhh!), what's forgotten was that Iraqui's supplied little or none of the labour to do it. A friend of mine worked for a British firm down there and described how boat loads of Chinese labour came in, Saddam's people collected their passports and then let them loose to do the grunt work. Ratchet forward 30 years . . .Dubai . . .the whole place is supported by a massive pool of labour from India, Pakistan, Philipines and China. They are basicly indentured labour with no rights under law in that country.

Now. . . Americans returning from such places. . .in many cases, dealing with, having contacts for and knowing where to get such labour. I would put it to those here, it would be one of the easiest things to arrange . . . .particularly in privatised cities.

Hmm . . .I put money on the Phillipines . . .they speak Spanish and English. . . .have a nodding acquaintance with a presidential form of government and . . .like the 'Ricans have historical ties with the States. They'd be happy to bleed off some of their urban population.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 25, 2010
GB, google earth Fort Riley sometime. The post has changed since I was out there in the early 1990s but one thing remains the same.

The barracks, the motor pools, the maintenance facilities, are all spread out. Way out. I'd argue that even if there was a catastrophic series of fires at someplace like Fort Riley that destroyed 80% of the assets, there would still be enough salvageable material to make it worth the effort.

In the case of Fort Hood, it isn't just one base but FOUR and each of those installations are spread out as well.

Also, given the time of the Wave and the weather conditions in the Midwest, I don't think there would be the same level of destruction as there was elsewhere. At Fort Riley I can tell you exactly what would have been going on at around 8:30 or so in the morning.

Folks would be at breakfast. Some folks would be on clean up detail in the barracks, running floor buffers and the like. Floor buffers of the type used by the Army won't run without a human holding the handle down. There will most certainly be coffeepots running and while they are a fire threat they are not the big bugaboo that some make them out to be.

There would be some vehicle traffic on post which would result in the standard World Without Us vehicle wrecks, but again, the post is incredibly spread out. These vehicles are just as apt to run off the road into nothing as they are into something valuable.

As for ammunition, most of that is stored in bunkers on post, away from the equipment. Granted, something bad couple happen there and it'd be pretty nasty but it wouldn't affect the rest of the post.

As for the evolving nature of the Americans in a post-Wave world, well, I'm not as concerned about it as others are. Frankly, the United States has always been in flux in terms of ethnic composition. Current demographic trends indicate that by the middle of the 21st Century Americans of European descent will be in the minority.

And there has always been tension between older, more established lines of American families and the newer immigrants. I do not see that changing.

What I suspect will remain the same is the basis of government for the United States of America. I seriously doubt that anyone is going to want to mess with it too much. Perhaps change policy, sure, but change the structure? That isn't going to be tolerated, no matter who tries it. We saw as much in Without Warning when the military tried to carve out Congressional Seats.

A big question worth asking with this trilogy, aside from economics and matters military is this.

What is America? It was a central question in the American Lit II class I took a couple of semesters ago. I can't reveal spoilers but I suspect it will be an issue in the next two novels.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted May 25, 2010
Brian, I'd argue the opposite with regard to conservatives in the post Wave world. First off, there will be a very large repository of such people in the Armed Forces, especially among the officers. Without OIF and OEF to change their perspective, they will very much be conservative.

Second, Alaska is hardly the land of Liberal progressivism.

Third, one of my fellow history adjuncts was stationed at Fort Lewis for a number of years. While SeaTac is very liberal, the surrounding area of Washington State most definitely is not. In fact he argues that the outlying areas hate SeaTac with a passion.

Fourth, frankly, I don't buy that every expat is a liberal argument. I suspect if one were to look in the overseas oil industry that they'd find plenty of conservatives.

Finally, this all assumes that conditions on the ground will not prompt political conversions in some people. I know that I wasn't always right of center (oddly enough, college changed me, not the Army, where I was one of the lone liberals in every active duty unit I served in).

The conversions could go any direction. Some more liberal, some more conservative, some off in some other direction entirely but to assume that the political dynamic will remain the same as it was during the pre-Wave era is a bit naive.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted May 25, 2010
Guy, I think the standards for immigration should be as follows:

1. Do you speak English or are you willing to learn it?

2. Do you have a valuable, useable skill set?

3. Are you willing to give your loyalty to the United States?

I think all other concerns are secondary. I wouldn't be worried about the racial composition of these immigrant populations. If I could get a million engineers from India to restore the railroad net and they were willing to become American citizens then I'd take them. If I could get a half million Chinese immigrants who had valuable skills then I'd take them too.

In the past, when we've really needed labor for something, we have set our scruples (or in the case of the Transcontinental Railroad, our outright racism) aside.

That said, there will be tension and resistance to such a policy.

Again, for those wondering what that tension would be like, I'd recommend reading Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian mutters...

Posted May 25, 2010
Murph.

Re. Conservative America.

Catastrophes reinforce conservatism rather than promote liberalism(note small capitalisation).

What I'd be seeing is a conservative streak emerging very like the 19thC. Labels are a tricky thing. Modern conservatives would mostly be seen as left wing types in 19thC terms. Core conservative values are going to be set by the military and the new immigrants. Hmm . . .modern America is loyal to family, friends and country. Most third world societies are loyal to family, clan and ethnic group. Both groups can be conservative. . .but both will have serious issues with one another.

A returning military with the exigencies of rebuilding a country would revert more to core values than a returning civilian population. On the whole . . .the military is going to be way more realistic in terms of survival issues then the civilians.

Demographics . . .most AMericans outside CONUS (excl. the military) will be from groups who were reasonably happy to be away from America. Most of the demographic will not be drawn from the Middle American Bible belt for example. Most of the ex-pat group probably won't return until things have normalised. I don't see a former company executive and family homesteading - they don't have the skill or mindset for the job.

Murph. I have no problem with the mindset you're promoting. What I do have a problem with is the idea that it will be majority mindset. I forsee shifts and dilutions. Acculturation works both ways, y'know. In this case from the bottom up.

It will be a new America. . . but not America as you knew it. Whitebread it won't be.

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Nick L swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 25, 2010
(First post here - really enjoyed Without Warning and the Axis-of-Time series)

Regarding economics: the whole servicing-debt-to-some-countries thing won't work. US Debt is a tradeable commodity (and would remain so), and if it is worthless in some countries then it will flow in countries where it has some value.

I think the US would have to declare bankruptcy, and then start again. People would still provide credit, based on two things: (1) US Military Power and (2) US Land.

There are a number of countries which remained relatively well-off, but exist on the edge of chaos. Japan, Scandanavia, the UK, and maybe Singapore would all buy New US Bonds in return for protection. Japan is a key here - they seem to of escaped pretty well so far, but are right on the edge of the Chinese chaos. They have a lot the US needs (money, industrial goods), but need their sea-lanes protected for food supply.

Secondly, countries would lend money based on the Lend-Lease model from WW2. I could see a really interesting subplot revolving around a Japanese offer to lease Hawaii for 99 yeas. Would the US give it up? How about Guam? Or Wake Island? Then there is Alaska...

Regarding immigration - perhaps we could see a French immigration influx to Louisiana? It would certainly complicate the "English-Speaking Alliance", but some parts of the US might prefer it to a flood of Mexican immigrants. You could have the Texas based government encouraging it as a counterweight to Latino influence in the south-west. Or perhaps it's just that the irony of the Texas government encouraging immigration by non-English speakers, and Seattle trying to close the border appeals to me.

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Guru Bob puts forth...

Posted May 25, 2010
Re: new population - something like the Middle American Bible belt will be extinct apart from any returning refugees from military or expats.

I don't see the new US population coming from UK/Aus/NZ - the tendency there will be for people to hunker down and wait the new troubles out. Things would have to get really really bad at home for them to want to leave their security blankets behind and migrate to a new frontier and I just don't see it happening - instead they will rationalise their new austerity/security measures and stay at home like good little sheep - listening to John Howard and Tony Blair tell them what is good for them.

The same with the Tiger economies of Asia - the populations there will just hunker down under whatever tinpot dictators they end up with. Think about the old days in South Korea or last weeks events in Thailand. Student or democratic unrest would be quickly taken care of and then they would try to get on with business as usual. I am not sure who they will be selling their electronic goods to in the post-wave environment but they would quickly work out some sort of regional way of dealing with issues.

The new migrants/refugee waves will come from the places most affected by turmoil, conflict and instability - my bet would be parts of Afica, what is left of the Middle East, China and South Asia (India and Pakistan).

Think about the waves of refugess that have come from just one small conflict in Sri Lanka and then multiply it...

The issue for the new government will be how to inculate the core values of American democratic government into such a population, who would have a greater experience of tyranny, dictatorship and despots.

And by core American values I don't mean 'Greed is Good' stuff like owning SUVs and plasma televisions, bearing arms or eating junk food. The stuff which has come to be associated with Ameerica in our timeline.

I mean life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...

But then again I don't really see that happening - do you?

On another line of thought -where was Sarah Palin at this time - as she was in Alaska she would have gotten through the whole Wave intact - was she Governor then? I would see a clash between her and our boy in Seattle would be inevitable...

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Guru Bob ducks in to say...

Posted May 25, 2010
By the way Nick - I don't see the new US government leasing away intact populated areas like Hawaii - any leases would be on the unpopulated mainland.

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Nick L reckons...

Posted May 25, 2010
@Guru Bob - yes, I think the US Gov would prefer that. But who'd want it? I guess Canada might be interested in some and could pay. Mexico might be interested, but I doubt they could pay. Who else? Maybe Florida could be of interest to Cuba or some South/Central American countries.

The US needs food for a couple of years (I'm assuming most crops are destroyed by fire and/or toxic rain). For that they need money, quickly, and grain will be expensive (yes, there are less people in the US, but the US had pretty productive farms)

"Realistically", I could see a land-for-food swap happening with Canada, and maybe Pacific Islands for money with Japan. I agree Hawaii or Alaska are unlikely, but it would depend how bad the food situation got, and what else the US needed.

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Nick L is gonna tell you...

Posted May 25, 2010
Food production figures are available from http://www.fao.org/. A good example is Maize: http://www.fao.org/es/ess/top/commodity.html?lang=en&item=56&year=2005, where the US produces nearly 40% of the worlds production (and China around 20%).

Wheat figures are here: http://www.fao.org/es/ess/top/commodity.html?lang=en&item=15&year=2005

Starvation might not be as sexy as a M16, but it can kill a lot more people, and I think avoiding it could be just as difficult as dealing with hostile governments.

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 25, 2010
Economics.

Food.

Predominantly . . . green things. Coolstore's of fruit . .kaput. Maize and wheat crops . . .kaput they need people to fertilize, pollinate and grow them. Hay and silage . . .how viable after x years? Yep . . .silo's around. Look at silo's and note the whirly things and temp control gizmo's . . .basically to kill vermin and to stop fungus attack. Production chains from field to table . . .kaput.

Now. . .I don't recall if cattle, deer and pigs survived. . .lets say . . .not. Birds survive. . .turkey, emu and ostritch. . . .hmm . .throw in gators as well. Sounding a bit . . .hunter-gatherish to me.

While its comfortable to say that military stockpiles will save the day . . .the raw base stock have to come from somewhere.

The present day American day is predominantly beef, pork, wheat,dairy, chicken and corn. I see 5 out of the six . . .gone for the time being.

Food self sufficiency . . .the genetic stock has to come from somewhere, as do the farmers, transporters and processors.

Given that new immigrants wont share the same culinary tastes . . . a marked shift in diet is going to come about. The new immigrants wont be Western tradition dryland farmers in the main . . . their main interests will be in rice, pork, chicken and goat. This may be a hallmark of the early years. Making burrito's instead of bread is a whole lot easier than a burger with the lot. Hmm. . .the blandness of the early diet will place a premiun on making it tasty . . .spices. There'll also be an increase in the popularity of home bottling.

Sugar and coffee will be expensive. Wartime and deperession stuff.

How about Coca Cola? Only two people knowing the formula probably got waxed by the Wave. Israel will not be happy.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted May 26, 2010
You are not going to get veterans to give up the right to bear arms, especially in a post-Wave World, GB. I do not see that happening at all. There'd be a revolt and you'd get your coup de tat. Besides, such a move would play right into the hands of assholes who backed General Blackstone.

As for getting away from the "greed is good," thing. Well, I'd back that but one persons greed is another persons necessity. Who is to decide how much is enough? The Government? Tax the excess income? That will not work here either. It doesn't work anywhere else for that matter.

Wasn't it The Rolling Stones who bugged out of Great Britain after being slapped with a 94% tax bill?

Besides, we have a constant influx of immigrants into the United States. We are a nation of immigrants for crying out loud. How is it we are able to subvert all of these different cultures to our model? And did the Wave really change the conditions which causes that subversion?

Brian, I'm not sure where you got the impression that I was implying that it'd be a white bread America. It isn't a white bread America now and demographic trends indicate it will be less so as time marches on. I suspect all the Wave will do is accelerate that trend.

In other words, I'm not bothered by the fact that a post-Wave America will probably be one where European-Americans are in the minority. We are on the road to that path now.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob puts forth...

Posted May 26, 2010
I don't see the right to bear arms going away - otherwise where will Birmo get his explodey goodness from? However it may not be as entrenched in the culture as it is now? Re: GB I think a lot of people would put up with the tax bill if it came down to a choice betwen paying taxes and living in a cold place being shot at and working your arse off most pommies will take the taxes...

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Brian asserts...

Posted May 26, 2010
Murph.

I wasn't having a shot at you. But for JB to get his story he has to have the logic trains in place. Some of the stuff has to be figured out from basics and trends as well as from basic human nature. Some one, somewhere is going to have a pet preference . . .and a few assumptions need to get looked at.

Case. The US could now be considered to be a fading if not dead superpower. Parallels with present day Russia spring to mind. The last military parade consisted of very well maintained Sov era hardware . . .Russia has lost its capability of making its own hardware . . .current Russian shopping lists for ships etc are to be sourced from places like France.

The Russian nuclear stockpile. . .who knows? Though. It was interesting in the last round of cuts, Barry was talking about using the mil nuke material for civilian reactors . . .I suspect the Russians had to go the same route. The New America is faced with a nuke deterrent that needed an economy of 400 million to make and maintain it . . .that is now gone. That hardware is pretty darn useless if it isn't maintained. There are a finite number of people able to remove nuke material from warheads . . . that number is now infinitely smaller and resides within the remaining US military. US theatre weapons don't count.

Hmm . . .reality test. Gulf War 2. Iraqui power plant . . predominantlty French and British buy. . .generators were barely maintained. After the war, existing plant was scrapped for largely American build . . .political and economic realpolitik at work. The French didn't sign on to the war therefore they were'nt getting a cut of the pie. American infrastructure, American build. . .infrastructure gone, builders dead. The country is under the hammer to get power up . . .what's faster, fly in generation from military stockpiles or . . . fly in plant, builders and maintainers from Europe or Japan. . . A problem with the latter scenario is that plant is not "off the shelf'. . .at present there is about a 10 year wait. . . this is where 'Just In Time' inventory works against you . . .probable scenario are ship board generation from Naval units. Not a big stretch . . .turbo generators were 'modular' capable of being dropped in and out during refit . . . same general principles as a Jumbo jet engine . . . hmm historically . . .one of the DC 9(?) family.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted May 26, 2010
GB, if I have an M-16, sufficient ammunition and a good position, I can keep most Johnny Come Latelys away from my goodies. Count on that.

Got to figure that gun culture in the US is tied to our original frontier past. I do not see that changing if there is a need for people to defend themselves, especially given the probably need for a smaller military.

Brian, fair enough. You don't have to worry. There will be plenty of ethnic diversity in the coming novel.

I think using Russia as a model is prudent. That said, Russia still builds and produces things today. They also produce new equipment and technology today. Granted, their ship building capacity is iffy but then that has always been the case.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian mutters...

Posted May 26, 2010
Murph.

Funny enough, not worried about ethnic diversity as such. Just which cultural memes will persist, be reinforced or be swamped.

We're world building here. Some reader is going to query such and such . . .usually a small thing. . .and its small stuff, the differences that get'em.

Here's a couple. The American Conundrum . . .the oscillation between Isolationism and Expansionism? How's the Munro Doctrine going to play out in the New World? Is America still the dominant player in the America's? The biggest population centres are now Brazil or is it Argentina?

Will GB in the interests of the Commonwealth take back some of its Caribbean assets? The Canal is a strategic resource after all said and done as are the Gulf oil fields. Come to that . . .will France offer some deal with Haiti for military bases for the same reason.

Stuff like the above are an interesting puzzle in and of themselves. Again like the USSR, Russia loosing control over her old Warsaw Pact allies and client states.

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Guru Bob would have you know...

Posted May 26, 2010
Murph - the stereotype of the gnarled veteran sitting in his homestead whose gun needs to be wrestled from his cold dead hands - is different to the actual needs for organised security in rebuuilding a community. The challenges are for the government in trying reconcile that attitude with new communities based upon different 'cultural memes' as Brian put it so well.

There are lots of guns in the hands of the populations of Iraq and Afganistan - but it doesn't add to the security of the overall community.

But that is a different argument for another time. We all know that Birmo wants lots of guns in lots of different hands so that there will be lots of bangs per page...

Re Brian's conundrum - the clash between the 'cult of the individual' as exemplified in today's USA and the more extended family focussed and oriented cultures of the new Americans who will be moving there from Asia.

Another response to Murph's comemnt: "How is it we are able to subvert all of these different cultures to our model? And did the Wave really change the conditions which causes that subversion?"

That is based upon the assumption that the immigrants moving into the country were always joining a larger mainstream population and culture that was based upon American values and ideals. The post-wave-world turns that completely around - the surviving American values and ideals will now be the minority point of view from day one.

This will lead to clashes and the group who can compromise the most with the realities of the new world will be the ones who prevail.

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Brian puts forth...

Posted May 26, 2010
Guru Bob.

Well put.

The classical American meme is going to be put to the test. The American Dream. The classic one is that any one can grow up to be President. How's that going to work with the proviso that you must be American born. Most Americans will be immigrants and their say will be limited to Senate and Congress. The Presidency will remain in Old Line American hands for at least a couple of generations.

What you'll see emerging are Senate and Congressional blocks based along immigrant lines. Why not? You have the Black Caucus in modern American politics, historically slave-owning South versus Industrial North . . .right across Party lines. What has to be avoided are the blatant family patronage systems common in the Phillipines or South America. American politics has its political dynasties . .ie Kennedy's, Bushes etc . . but it was a muted affair.

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Guy mumbles...

Posted May 26, 2010
I think that Guru Bob has hit the nail on the head. New groups of immigrants moving into an empty America will not assimilate into mainstream American society because most of the mainstream Americans will be long dead. That's why I believe the new US government (and the Canadians as well) would be ultra-keen to bring in as many immigrants as possible from UK/Aus/NZ and places like Scandinavia/Germany/Netherlands as these people are culturally and linguistically closer to what remains of the American population. If you dump millions of people from, say, Bangladesh into an empty America then that territory will quickly become a larger version of Bangladesh. The population would have completely different language/religion/values/culture and would be hostile to most of what American stands for. In other words they would be a serious obstacle to reuilding America, not part of the solution.

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Brian has opinions thus...

Posted May 26, 2010
Guy .

This is why I went to such pains as to lay out the scenarios. New America could be argued to be racist or discriminatory with such a practice. And what they'd be attracting . . .would be a managerial class rather than a working class. . . more importantly not an agricultural class.

While its a cute idea to invite all those Zimbabwean White farmers over. . . they're still essentially farm managers. . . not field workers. Theres' no organizational pyramid without a base. . . and even here in AUstralia we can't get native Australians to fill out our agricultural base . . .we use backpackers, Kiwi's, . . .there was even talk of bringing in Filipino's. . . That right there is the problem. You're not gonna get the right people from the same demographic as what went before . . .its just not there . .

brian

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Nick L has opinions thus...

Posted May 26, 2010
Regarding Demographics...

I think Guru Bob/Guy/Brian's point about the lack of labor is important, hence my point about French immigration to Louisiana.

It seems to me that white-dominated, English speaking America has been killed by the Wave, assuming that voting laws remain the same. There just aren't enough white English speakers left in the world to immigrate to America to refill it.

One thing that seems to be missing from this discussion is that modern farming methods require an industrial base (for machinery), and that they work best at large-scale. It's not clear to me how that works with the "homesteading" ideas suggested in the thread.

I'm rather assuming that regaining food independence will be a priority for the government, so they will at least make some attempt to encourage highly productive farming rather than subsistence living.

Regarding Tax, quoting Murph: "Tax the excess income? That will not work here either."

If taxing excess income doesn't work, then how the hell is the US going to pay for its military, let alone anything else? Is it just going to rent it out to anyone who can pay?

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Murphy has opinions thus...

Posted May 27, 2010
Nick, how do you define, "excess income?" That is one of the core issues in American politics today. One persons excess is another person's necessity.

You've got to have taxes, on this I agree. But if you crush everyone with excessive taxes then you'll crush any desire to contribute to the society.

GB, let's look at some basic assumptions.

1. The post-Wave US population is probably around 15 million.

2. There is a massive disruption in the transportation network globally.

I think one problem with pre-Wave cultural views becoming the minority is the assumption that the 15 million won't grow of their own accord. There is a pretty clear historical record for population growth here in the United States stemming back to the Colonial Era. If the food is there, I suspect the remaining 15 million will grow.

Second, I suspect some effort would be made to ensure that the immigrant populations did not outstrip the remnant original population in terms of sheer numbers. If it were me, I'd run it on a one for one basis. One immigrant for one remnant.

This would enable the remnant to impart the cultural values we want without allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed.

Now granted, even at one for one, it is probable and likely that immigrant population will still become the new majority. It is a certainty that they will change the overall culture but the fact remains that the US has a long history of assimilating other cultures into her own.

Per guns and security, the type of security forces you are talking about require money and a lot of it. I suspect the US will revert to a militia based system (see McKinney's comments) with a small, highly trained, professional core.

Even with a military maintained at pre-Wave strength, the US is simply too large for it to be everywhere. Settlements will most likely have to look to their own security concerns, which is what prompted the Second Amendment and the town militias in the first place.

As for ethnic groups, I have to admit that I personally do not care which culture or group they come from. They just would need to meet the three standards I listed in a previous post.

Finally, and this will not be politically correct, but the US also has a history of dealing with internal security threats and cultures/populations that will not assimilate. An ugly truth is that if pressed to the wall, the Remnant will crush anyone who doesn't get with the program.

Or perhaps a faction within the Remnant will crush anyone seen as taking America too far away from what they perceive to be her original values.

Something to consider.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Brian puts forth...

Posted May 27, 2010
Murph.

Reality check, if you please? Where does most of the 15 million reside post-wave? IIRC most of that population base are permanent residents of Hawaii, Seattle state and Alaska.

I really don't see a significant proportion of that group pulling up sticks and moving into the post-wave area.

Lotsa reasons for that position. Most people aren't going to move from their existing homes, jobs and families. The remaining states have to remain functional as well. On the other hand . . .there will be significant job losses in those states as they no longer service a larger US economy ie trucking firms. But . . .the people you want to be pioneering? I'm still seeing low levels.

For the sake of argument. Back of envelope. 15 million. CHildren, very old . . .take off 50 percent. 7.5 mill. To support one person you need a logistics tale of some sort . . . roughly 5 people to send 1. So about a million available, in 3 very different places . . . to fill 47 states. . .20 thousand per state . . . .roughly 4 towns worth per state. Definition of town size . . .5,000 people . . that's English and for pre-industrial revolution . . .seems fairish for a self sustaining set-up.

Hmm . . .ISTR that if 10 percent of a population is in revolt . . the revolt will be successful . . some handbook on urban warfare I read somewhere. . .

I have to say . . .I see problems

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Guru Bob mutters...

Posted May 27, 2010
Guy - re: bring in as many immigrants as possible from UK/Aus/NZ and places like Scandinavia/Germany/Netherlands

I just don't see the appeal to anyone from those countries in leaving the comfort of their own countries to migrate to a new country which has pretty much zero infrastructure, contaminated food and water supplies, lacks basic security and lifestyle comforts, and prey to political and financial uncertainty. And lest not forget about the ghosts - real and imagined - we will be talking about an entire population that will effectively be trying to deal with some sort of post traumatic disorder, grief issues and an epidemic of depression and mental illness.

While there will be a minority of gungho cowboy types and some do-gooders who are attracted to the potential of making a quick euro (the dollar won't be worth shit) and they are probably the type who will create more problems than solutions.

The majority of the population of deevloped countries will go to ground at home, no matter what the local political upheaval is and trust their own politicians and armed forces to look after them, believing whatever lies their local media tell them.

The people who will be on the move are the ones who will find the above scenario (contaminated food etc) much better then where they are now - probably because of conflict.

The other thing everyone assumes is that the 'US Government' in an underpopulated continent will be in any position to pick and choose who comes and who stays. Unless ethnic cleansing becomes the official policy of the Seattle government - they will have to find ways to acculturate and assimilate whoever make stheir way into the conUS.

Murph's point about the smaller population base repopulating is probably on the mark - but that takes decades to really take effect - unless we are looking at child soldiers in the US military?

The other point is that the 15 million US citizens spread aroudn the world will all want to return to a devastated country populated by ghosts. Some will want to stay wheer they are, other smay be taken hostage by governments anxious about what they will see as a nuclear armed rogue state that doesn't seem to feel bound by its previous responsibilities as a superpower and some will see little point in identifying themselves as Americans any more. Of course others will cling to the dream that the once great USA will be reborn through their enedeavours and will want get straight to work, and some will be turfed out of wherever they are located. Some will be the victims of pogroms and mob violence - the USA is already blamed for everything that goes wrong around the world - the US expats will be easy targets to blame for domestic problems now that the big stick has gone away . The new version of the jewish diaspora rebuilding a homeland. The Seattle government won't be able to toss a nuke willy nilly into every country where a mob torches their embassy or lynches US citizens and expats.

I have been looking for historical parallels for the population issue - one that comes to mind is Rhodesia where a minority of white farmers tried to keep a majority under the thumb unsucessfully despite a clear military and technological superiority. But then again they didn't have an ideology to try and convert the black inhabitants. But I could see something like that happening in post-Wave America where groups of 'patriots' try to maintain their American way of life based in ponderosas or settlements relying upon a working population of Hispanic, African or Indian refugees...

Maybe another analogy is Fiji where the indigenous population who contriol the political and military apparatus has been overwhelmed and outnumbered by economic migrants from India, who are essential to keep the economy going but are a continuous source of friction - which has resulted in political instability, frequent coups and general lack of social and cultural cohesion.

On another one of Murph's points - I see militia working in some places - private security, mercenaries and warlords in others...

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Guru Bob asserts...

Posted May 27, 2010
Brian - some other stats re: population

Hawaii 1,295,178

Alaska 698,473

Oregon 3,825, 657

Puerto Rico 3,967,288

Guam 178,430

US Virgin Islands 109,825

US Mariana Islands 88,662

American Samoa 65,628

So a total of just over 10 million out of 15 million Americans are already at home - why would they move anywhere? That just leaves a potential mobile population of 5 million - mainly comprised of already displaced expats/refugees and military - which may cut down your figures even more?

And coming back to the point of ethnic composition the largest single group of Americans will probably be ethnic Puerto Ricans? Followed by whitefellas and then Hawaiins... even the Inuit would have a lot more piolitical clout as a significant proportion of the entire population!

Another thing about leasing Louisiana back to French - why would they want it - after a year of uncontrolled oil spills - the whole state will be flamable...

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Brian reckons...

Posted May 27, 2010
Thanks for the figures GB.

That's the sort of thing I was getting at.

Let's roll with Murphs 15 million for a minute and think military. The size of your military is geared to your population and economic base. The sustainable limit. The AMerican military has to now function at a level like the Australian . . . . really, really small. Force projection capability is degrading and degrading with time.

Now. . . someone around about now will point out things like 'tech edge', superior training, superior whatever . . .none of which makes a difference, if you don't have a civilian base to support it. Parallels with the Soviet Union spring to mind once again. Abandoned overseas bases. Abandoned equipment.

Lets look at where people want to go rather than where they ought to go. First : wherever the military is. Primarily bases, seaports, rivermouths . . .where they landed, where they can get seafood and sea supply. Capitals . .Eastern seaboard and California. That sucks a lot of people up and leaves most of the rest of the country . . . bare.

Start figuring on agriculture restarts close in to new population centres. Economics, proximity and security. Restarting a corn and wheat operation in Iowa is not going to happen.

The danger with this scenario is that people can set up shop anywhere and not have governmental oversight. Using satellite imagery is fine . .if you have the gear and people. . .getting someone down there to 'show the flag' and have folks be impressed by it is going to be difficult. Get enough unknown immigrants turning up and you've nickel and dimed your force strength.

And then we have a force recruitment levels to consider . . . wait a tick . . .JB went to some length to introduce us to those Poles in WoW . . .perhaps he's going to using the same trick as the American Revolutionaries did with the Hessians. Hmm . . .Lafitte's forces as well . .

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Guru Bob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 27, 2010
I am also thinking beyond just military stuff - your entire education system is completely destroyed - only a couple of (lets face it) less significant universities left in Seattle and Hawaii, but the country has lost most of its high powered brains trust - there will probably be some academics abroad on sabbaticals, conferences, research trips etc and there will be other researchers in the provate sector who will be in similar positions. But how do you keep a technological lead when there is no-one left to do teh thinking behind it? Within five years other countrie sthat have kept their university systems relatively intact like Russia, China, parts of Europe, SE ASia etc?

Will also have lost most school teachers and support staff and systems - I know US schools system seems pretty dysfunctional in many cases (especially in The Wire series 4 which I am currently watching) - but its sheer mass and size must make up for that in our world. But education and self improvement is one of the critically appeal factors for new migrants wanting to change their life. The lure of a violent half-savage frontier society on mainland USA post-Wave won't be able offer a lot of self-improvement/educational opportunities to your average punter. Even if we see a decade of international turmoil after the Wave - most developed countries will still emerge from that academically miles ahead of USA...

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted May 27, 2010
What you said GB.

Tripped a few other thoughts in my head. The 'brain drain' after WW2 was to AMerica from Europe, and there's been a steady flow ever since. That intellectual capital is gone, with little hope of the flow returning. In fact there's going to be a reverse flow. Academics heading for whatever haven they can find.

As to intellectual capital. What chance has the New America of enforcing its copyright on the rest of the world? The States has enough problems here and now stopping copyright piracy . . . .in the new paridigm, its now open season on all opensource American intellectual property.

Take an example. Microsoft operating systems. Every PC has to pay a toll to Microsoft . . . .how's that going to work now? Who's collecting royalties?

A lot of standards and defacto standards are enforced by people like the FCC, Microsoft, the Fed. Drug Administration, General Motor's etc etc . . .gone . . .the ripples get wider and wider.

And those are economic issues every bit as important as food, ammo and people.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted May 28, 2010
Speaking as a college history instructor at a local community college who spends most of his time trying to repair nearly 13 plus years of educational malpractice by our public school systems, I say that wiping out most of the public education system is a GOOD THING.

I will say this.

There will be a pull for a utilitarian bent to whatever education is offered in the post-Wave United States. That is just a fact of life. Students in the public schools are going to be expected to learn about agriculture (something that isn't taught in most urban schools), mechanical arts, skills that will put food on the table.

As a product of a family that is all about the "If it doesn't put food on the table then it is useless," philosophy there will be a strong pull away from the concept of learning for the sake of learning.

Or consider this. My students frequently ask this question.

"How is this class in History going to help me get a job?"

So you might see intellectual stagnation in the post-Wave United States.

And not every academic is going to leave the US. Granted I wouldn't mind teaching American History or Western Civilization in Australia but if I had an opportunity to create a brand new community college or even a university in the post-Wave United States, I'd grab it and run with it. I'd be able to impose my vision of what I think is needed for a successful institution, set high standards and do away with a lot of the academic cultural crap that serves to impede the actual pursuit of knowledge.

I think a lot of academics would jump at the chance.

I know I would.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Guru Bob reckons...

Posted May 28, 2010
Murph - my point exactly - the emphasis will be upon 'practical' education - eg tech skills etc. But without the high end thinking and research that happens at the big campuses, there won't be any platform for future technology developments and applications, hard science etc. This will all stagnate for several generations in the USA. Unfortunately the humanities and arts (including history) probably won't be high on anyone's priority list.

Also re: And not every academic is going to leave the US.

Sorry that wasn't my point - the academics who are still in the USA at the time of the wave have all been turned into piles of pink goop. You had better hope that there were some good minds sitting by a beach at some conference in Tahiti or somewhere if you want to put together any sort of brains trust for the future. All of the big world class US universities are completely gone - probably forever.

Re: school system - when you are putting together your expedition to get repopulate Kansas City - how highly would you rank the necessity of including a teacher in the party?

However as you point out there will be opportunities to start from scratch a new education system working with the smaller population base and maybe fund and resource it properly.

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Brian is gonna tell you...

Posted May 28, 2010
Economics.

International debt.

A few things.

The US currently owes a lot of money around the world . . .in this case, Treasury bonds. The biggest debt owners are China, Japan and I daresay the Gulf States.

Either all debts are forgiven or trades are going to be involved . . .probably resources of some kind.

Side note : Japanese economic downturn. Two main classes in layoffs . . .Korean, and ethnic Japanese from other places . . predominantly Brazil. That's a sector worth watching.

Debt owing to the US, predominantly South American debt. Either that is forgiven or the New US can retire it in favour of animal stock or material trade. Unless the South Americans decide to stiff them.

The IMF is gone. So is the UN. So is the World Bank.

International currencies. While it may be easy to put the Euro up as a replacement world currency . . . .(points at the current situation with the PIIGS). . .Germany and France look like dominant Eurozone currency players. The Japanese look like Asia's biggest player. Hmm . . .I forsee the Japanese Daibatsu getting back into the arms trade with the US as its biggest customer for the time being. And arms trading is a significant world commodity.

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Murphy mumbles...

Posted May 28, 2010
GB, speaking as a soldier and an educator, a teacher is going to be top priority.

I suspect there will be a great deal of multitasking. Someone might be a journalist, English teacher, and perhaps a member of the local council.

As for innovation? Well, innovation comes in many forms. Given the labor shortage, that may spawn innovation (and not just technological but perhaps political/social).

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted June 4, 2010
Consider the demographics of the waves.

Those 15 million will not be reporesentitive slice of todays America.

For starters there aint no schoolkids or Grannies in the defense forces, the consulates, overseas placed academics nor the offshore industries.

As I understand Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, US Mariana Islands, & American Samoa are all heavily biased <30 age group.

Traditional government $pend in Education & oldies care would be much reduced. Unemployment benefits would completely disapear.

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Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 4, 2010
NWB

That's where I was heading. There is a significant imbalance in the age demographics. Likewise . . .educational background. Its one thing to say . . .'The cultural dynamic is this . . .and will remain so . . ' - that's absurd when the dynamic is different for each age group. A middle age adults thinking is quite different to a young adults for example. A culture is group-think over an entire spectrum. In this case most of the spectrum is gone.

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Respond to 'Post Wave Economy'

Off topic, but important information for whiskey drinkers.

Posted May 14, 2010 by John Birmingham
Savo posted the following comment in the Claret House thread below. But I thought it was worth a stand alone effort.

I had a ‘vertical’ tasting of singles a week or two back. I chose a whiskey I knew I could get a good spread of ‘year-age’ on and one that I knew the majority of my entourage enjoyed. A year or so ago we had a tasting where, amongst other things, we sampled 12 y o Glenfiddich against a 12 y o The Glenlivet and The Glenlivet was miles and miles ahead, so I bought a 12, 15, 18, 21 and 25 year old The Glenlivet - a smidgen less than a $1000 worth of booze for the one sitting.

We did the tasting as we have done the previous years and came up with the result that the $600 25 year old whisky is not particularly or even noticeably better than the $220 21 y o, in fact the majority preferred the 21 year old. It was a H U G E disappointment to me as the organizer and the person who had spent all of my friends money on a spirit no one particularly liked! But it went further, the $120 18 yo was as good as the 21 y o.! The 15 wasn’t really in the race and regardless of how good the 12 y o was in a field of other 12 year olds, it did not rate at all in this group of runners.

I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with the particular topic but … shit … that is nothing unusual for the Cheeseburger.

So if you are in a position to buy a $120 bottle of THE GOOD STUFF, buy an 18 year old The Glenlivet. It sounds pedestrian but do not mock the popular brands, they are popular because even their lowest common detonator IS GOOD.

30 Responses to ‘Off topic, but important information for whiskey drinkers.’

jennicki ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2010
I think I did some horizontal tasting back in college. I don't really remember.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted May 14, 2010
Not being much of a Scotch / Irish Whikey drinker, I'll volunteer what I know about.

I am very happy with my recent Duty Free bottle of Makers Mark, but I need it to drown my sorrow at the apparant demise of Stolichnya Crystal.

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Chaz asserts...

Posted May 14, 2010
Interesting,and very informative Jb thank you.

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Murphy reckons...

Posted May 14, 2010
Irish Whiskey I am allowed to have. However, Trinity said, "No More Scotch."

I agree with her. Scotch does not agree with me.

That said, I recommend Bushmills. When I get paid this week, I may try a bottle of the black label to see what that is like.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Medway ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2010
'burger + Ontopic = Oxymoron = Faff

I lol'd the other day when i saw a number plate "321 FAF"

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Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted May 14, 2010
In me younger days (shut up Bob) I liked Glenfiddich better than now. Either it's changed or I have but I agree the Glenlivet is much better. Had some Glenmorangies a while back, one matured in Sherry casks and one in Port. Throw in a couple of others and it made for some fine tastings. Laphroaig is still my favourite. I love the peaty, almost seaweed kind of taste. Bruichladdich is on the menu as well the noo. They seem to make about a dozen varieties but we picked 3D-second edition. It's good but I think I'll try a different one next time. Sigh - so many scotches and only one liver.

And Black Bush is a fine drop as well Murph.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2010
Murph, "Scotch does not agree with me." unfortunately it would seem that Rum agrees with no one, often violently and that hasn't stopeed most people drinking it.

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sibeen would have you know...

Posted May 14, 2010
*splutters*

$120 for a bottle of scotch, you've got to be fucking kidding me.

*Takes calming sip of Rochford Basket Press Shiraz*

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2010
Murph, Bushmills is an excellent drop. Pity I only get to drink the stuff when I visit my parents - my father is a big fan, having gone so far as to visit the distillery whilst on a trip to Ireland. My disposable income, such as it is, doesn't stretch to bottles of whiskey unfortunately...perhaps when the weather gets a bit colder though.

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Lobes has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2010
The Balvenie 12yo Doublewood FTW

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Jyggdrasil has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2010
Lagavulin when I can, otherwise its Laphroaig.

In my xp, $100 - $120 is the sweet spot when buying scotch. A cheaper bottle will very noticeably taste as such, while much more expensive bottles will taste only marginally better (and subjectively 'better' at that).

Anything below $50 should be used for starting the BBQ.

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2010
Bondi, If I may expand.

A friend and I have been talking about this for years, my example is his five grand TV. Where does functionalism meet a taste for the finer things?

A clapped out old Datsun (car, not Geoffery) will get you from A to B exactly the same as a Ferrari will. Same same, I can see the same ABC news on an old trinitron as JBs "love that may not be mentioned" Bravia. I'd really like an late 70's Stainless Steel Rolex Submariner, but a friend with a $3K Tag Huer makes me roll my eyes.

So, when does good taste become an obscenity?

I like good quality Vodka and Bourbon and will pay $50 or even $60 a couple of times a year, but like you I can't see myself forking over a hundred bucks plus for a bottle. To me it doesn't really matter how much better it is, a $5000 bottle of wine is a wank.

I doubt there is a benchmark or agreed tripping point, but it is (mildly) interesting to ruminate on.

Before I get sledged, I absolutely get & appreciate Savo's guidance that best does not equal most expensive when it comes to Scothc.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2010
Sh!t sorry Bondi, that was supposed to be @ Sibeen.

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2010
Medway, Snap for words forever linked to one source! I can't see the word "Faf" or "Faff" w/o thinking of JB.

And, I thought Scotch *was* Whiskey. I really thought I'd seen it written down as "Scotch Whiskey"

meh.

Clearly not a drinker.

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Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2010
I'll admit to buying some of the better bourbons on occasion, otherwise I drink "improved" and coloured water.

NowhereBob, buy cheap vodka and put it through a water filter (jug type) a couple of times, though don't leave it in the jug put it back in the bottle.

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Moko ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2010
I like Makers Mark. Haven't bought one for awhile coz I'm only a sipper. Can't remember if it was 50 bucks or 80 bucks a bottle. Well wroth it though. Fucken delicious.

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Alan mutters...

Posted May 14, 2010
This is very interesting indeed! I've always eyed off the older years when buying the Glenlivet 12yo and felt like a chump. I don't feel so bad now.

The 15yo Jameson however is definitely worth the extra pennies.

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Medway ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2010
@Greybeard: "In my younger days"... before jesus rode dinosaurs across the earth, using his lightsabers. Right?

@Abi: Words association is terrible. Fingers crossed JB doesn't die from Typecast.

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Darth Greybeard mutters...

Posted May 14, 2010
Et tu Medway?

Incidentally, Gaius Julius (or "Gay as" Julius as we called him behind his back) actually said: "Et tu Ornusbarba?"

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Trashman ducks in to say...

Posted May 14, 2010
If you're buying whisky it's got be Macallan. 18 year old or better.

I got my Dad a 30 year old for his birthday a few years back that I'm hoping to inherit one day as there's never a good enough reason to open the bottle!

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roki swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2010
Hi from a longtime lurker and very rare commenter.

One that hasn't had a mention here, but is worth it, is Highland Park. Top points to JB for mentioning it in one of his novels, I tried some recently and was surprised by how full of peaty character it was for a Highland whiskey.

Also, I visited the town of Bruichladdich years ago and stuck my head through the gate of the distillery at about 5:25 pm.

I said "I know you're about to close, and I'll be taking the tour tomorrow but couldn't resist sticking my head in for a look."

They said "Come in for a dram!!!"

I like Bruichladdich very much. Their 15 year old is stellar. I rated it as better than their 18.

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted May 14, 2010
The 25 y o came in the most ornate presentation box I've come across http://www.theglenlivet.com/xxv/ . Whilst tracking it down, I found an advert for it with the words "contents incidental" which was a bit of a worry. I first started doing the tastings partly because someone asked me what would be a good whisky to buy their boss. I now know. At this one, we got to try a bottle of booze none of us would ever, under normal circumstances, buy and drink. I'm not even sure it was meant to be consumed.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 15, 2010
Bondiboy, I actually find a bottle of Bushmills to be rather economical. At $20 per bottle, I can usually stretch it out over a two week period (which was standard in the Uniguard era of security work). This last bottle I got (my first in nearly three years) made it through most of the month of April.

I also find that two fingers of Bushmills is not as ruinous on my waistline as the 12 pack of Dos Equis, the six pack of Founder's Pale Ale, and the other beers I've had over the last two weeks up to the end of finals.

So when I get paid tomorrow, I'll get a couple of bottles. Thing is with summer upcoming, Irish whiskey isn't the typical beverage of choice. I suppose I could switch back over to bourbon of some type but I'm not a Jack Daniels fan anymore (drank too much of that in Korea and it seems like I'm sipping tea).

NBob, I have a horrible rum related story from my year in Korea. When we meet in person, I'll be sure to tell it to you. It was not a shining moment to be certain.

Maker's Mark, which I bought a bottle of back in 2005, seemed like it was a bit too spicy and sweet to me, like it was laced with cinnamon. I didn't care much for it.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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lostatlunch asserts...

Posted May 15, 2010
so... the 25 year old goes better with coke?

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 15, 2010
OK, looking good for tonight.

I'll be busy until 16:30ish, at that stage I'll head for this mana bar.

Although I'll be a bit pised off if it's actually a Man bar where someone has set Havock up to meet a "well dressed young men."

SpyNat, do you still have my mobie #? I'll text you so you can advise of last minute changes in plan, alibis or required PPE.

GC, if you call in can you pop a row c ticket under the counter for Bob N? If not I'll just take my chances @ the door.

Medway. Nice one brother!

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Abe Frellman has opinions thus...

Posted May 15, 2010
Dont rate Sullivans Cove guys.

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BruceGaryNigelson swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 15, 2010
Hey - off topic and a bit late but anyone want some free tickets (2) to the Tassie Babes show tonight? Not feeling 100% so unfortunately am going to miss it. Spring Hill pick up. Number is 0418158549. Cheers.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted May 17, 2010
Roki, I am just starting in on a new bottle of Highland Park. It is the bomb.

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Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted May 17, 2010
Struth Murph, I wish I could get Bushmills for $20 a bottle! More like around the $60 here for the 10 year old (with thanks to boozle.com). Haven't had Makers Mark for ages either - I got some at Christmas one year from my boss at the time. I do rather like Wild Turkey when going for bourbon also.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted May 17, 2010
Thanks Savo and JB for expanding my flippant request of Abe to review Sullivans Cove. Abe, I'm glad Bedes helped you out and thanks for being my proxy on tasting the stuff. Hope Bedes didn't swear tooooo much. If the SC its similar to some of the Speysides then I know what to expect (or not bother with). i think it was a Speyburn which was my intro to the singles. I was impressed but then tasted better.

Lobes - thanks for the tip on The Glenlivet 18 y.o. I'll be looking for something when my bonus gets up and that sounds like a fair option.

NBob, Moko - nothing wrong with Makers Mark, its one of my standby bourbons. Usually one of the chains runs it at discount, I usually pick it up for about $50, sometimes down to $45.

I notice Highland Park, Mcallan and Laphroaig getting mentions for the singles and fair enough too.

Murph - Bushmills isn't bad at all. A venerable Irish which would make a handy standby.

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Respond to 'Off topic, but important information for whiskey drinkers.'

Gotta luv the merch.

Posted May 12, 2010 by John Birmingham
I'm in a kind of limbo at the moment. Tomorrow, probably late in the day, I'll send the last edits off to New York for the US edition of After America. I've already taken my hands off the Australian version and will play no further part in its production. From now on I move out of the gentle, somewhat smoky 19th century gentleman's club atmosphere of the editing departments, and into the hard, brushed steel and polished concrete killing house of marketing and publicity.

This is actually one of my favorite bits of the whole gig. I love sitting around with the marketing mavens thinking up new ways to get the media to run stories on my book instead of somebody else's. I love blocking out the dates for the tour and working my way through the schedule as it's presented to me. I love the merchandising. You gotta love the merch.

I'll post the tour dates as they become available. But for now it looks like there might be two trips to Melbourne and even the slim possibility of a couple of days in Perth.

I'll be interested to see what I can do with twitter and Facebook for this tour. Twitter in particular played a large part in helping me get the book written, what with my regular updates screaming about how many words I was going to write that day, and occasionally posting my fave line of the day. (None of which Sweet Jane liked. Go figure).

I'll be doing a talk at the Wheeler Center in Melbourne, and am thinking of structuring it a little like a lecture. Something about the use of social media in the creative process. As part of that I'll be going back through some of the threads we ran here, pulling out your comments and suggestions about stuff like how to travel across post-apocalyptic America, or what the ecology of the US might look like a couple of years after The Wave.

For now, I'm looking for an illustrator to knock up some greeting cards with scenes from the book and a single line of dialogue underneath. I want them done old-school, like they've been ripped straight from the pages of a Boy's Own Annual circa 1953. I reckon that will look fucking awesome.

52 Responses to ‘Gotta luv the merch.’

Stacey0 ducks in to say...

Posted May 12, 2010
Totally rad. Where's Sydney's gig though?

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Ian Kath has opinions thus...

Posted May 12, 2010
Like a 21st century image of Lewis and Clark looking West over the great open pasture that is the U.S. with out man.

A new version of manifest destiny.

I like it a lot.

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sparty mutters...

Posted May 12, 2010
Boys own idea is great - infact I tried to do some AoT fan fiction like that- but realised my drawing skills of Raptors and Panther tanks has lapsed somewhat in the last 30 years....

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Jason Ensor has opinions thus...

Posted May 12, 2010
A visit to Perth would be very welcome indeedy and AustLiterature Twitter would certainly play its part in promoting the dates of your visit. I thoroughly enjoyed "Without Warning" and look forward to "After America" very much.

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BrianC would have you know...

Posted May 12, 2010
'course you love this bit, its the rock star bit.

As for ideas on how to pimp the book. Take a page from John Ringos book and use Facebook to your advantage. You should have a fan page for you under your control. If you don't go do it now, ill wait.

All set up great.

This is what you do release snippets of the unedited proof one a week for the 6 weeks leading up to the release of the book. Get your publisher to note on its webpage that you are, note that you are in your blogs. Post the sections as "notes" not status updates, make a status update about the note. This way people can come back easily and read it.

Post random lines from the book on twitter.

And this above. Live like the rockstar gonzo journo you want to be cause in 6 months you have to start writing the sequel.

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girlclumsy asserts...

Posted May 12, 2010
Let me know if I can be of assistance Facebook/Twitter wise - I love doing promotional things for creative works. Had a reasonable amount of success with the plays.

I often wonder if I should've gone into marketing and PR. For books/the arts/charity etc - it must be a lot of fun.

The illustrations sound great.

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EnjoyMedway reckons...

Posted May 12, 2010
Ohh, so my suggestion was far from the desired. Right. Gotcha.

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Abigail puts forth...

Posted May 12, 2010
Will be only too happy to promote the book on my page by posting links/flyers.

Great news!, glad you enjoy this part of it. I hope you'll get to Sydney otherwise I'll go to Melbourne...but Sydney's, you know... soooo much closer... ;)

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted May 12, 2010
Hey Havock - can you organize my seat at the Wheeler? You did a FKN AWSM job last time.

Next book - Without Warning / After America Facebook Game. It is like Mafia Wars, but with Rhino and Boylan.

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Moko puts forth...

Posted May 12, 2010
If you need security on this expedition let me know.

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Matthew K asserts...

Posted May 12, 2010
WW and AA obviously tap into some sort of zeitgeist, a long standing fascination with being The Last man On Earth plus a a fear of mass extinction, some sort of societal angst, probably stems from the love of ruins inherent in Romanticism.

There was this American faux documentary that somebody mentioned on the burger, it was about if mankind disappeared, and then there was the Omega Man - that one goes back a bit.

Anyway this is obviously an idea that constantly bubbles under the surface of late 20thC/ early 21st C society.

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Matthew K ducks in to say...

Posted May 12, 2010
Whoops, posted too early, didn't cut down. Was just thinking out loud. Don't tell the merch guys all that cod philosophical bollocks JB!

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted May 12, 2010
"For now, I’m looking for ..."

Far Fkn out! You are harnesing other creatives to your wagon. A pleasure in the past only enjoyed by magazine editors and the like.

You have a vision in your head that you need to desribe to the publishing marketing mavens. It's a good thing you are a trade qualified Describerer.

I like the idea of 10 designs of post cards [simple graphics, primary colours, a catch line and a link] in 50 coffee shops in 50 major cities around the world marketing tactic myself. But then again I'm not up with the twiteratti thing.

A CBG demographic study would be interesting, but you'd never trust half of us to give straight answers to any questionaire. And Jane would probably eat hers.

Orin, A Red Dead Redemption kinda engine running maps of the battles in NYC (and others we are yet to read) would be mind-bendingly cool. I'd sugest JB is way ahead of both of us already.

How much would the H man sh!t if he had to play as The Rhino?

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted May 12, 2010
I'll send you some of the sketches we knocked up of me, BRANDISHING A FKN BIG GUN and the limp dead fkn carcass of a RHINO, that aint pettin any fkn kitty cats any fkn more at the base of a smokin fkn ruin I just created in NEW YORK CITY. WICKED, FKN GOD LIKE actually

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HAVOCK puts forth...

Posted May 12, 2010
NBOB..if, IF and that a fkn rather large big arse fkn IF i might fkn well add, the RHINO got set up as a character, IT WILL BE A COLD FKN DAY IN HELL before it made its way into my machine. MORES like the DISC would become a CLAY, well not so clay, TARGET

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HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted May 12, 2010
ORIN..YES, but this time i'm demanding TWO fkn AWESOME TOP OF THE FKN LINE RESERVED FOR DEAD SET FKN LEGENDS seats

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NBlob reckons...

Posted May 12, 2010
Excuse my while I have a litle nerdgasm.

I first thought when reading the Paris extraction in F.I. that the scenes had a spatial feel like a first person shooter. Very um mapped? [15m turn right, 40 m, right through doorway, left up the staircase...] I had the same experience reading a couple of Caitlyns battles in AA. Like JB had it all drawn up on a big whiteboard and paced us through it.

The question is A: did JB write with a possible future game in mind, B: did his gaming dictate his imagining then writing, or C: am I full of crap ?

Either way how cool would team playing the contested boarding of the Aussie Rules be.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted May 12, 2010
Gotta get a Book trailer online, all the authors are doing it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1JdPvyy93I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X58RPS665V0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou1s3t6q2Q4

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John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted May 12, 2010
I use google maps to plot ut the fight scenes. That's why it feels that way. But FPS aesthetics do come into as well.

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Timmo mutters...

Posted May 12, 2010
Matt K,

I think you're right on the whole "last man on earth" zeitgeist/angst/fear thing. The concept's been around for a long time, it's just the mechanism that changes, reflecting the issues of the time e.g. 1950's to 80's it was kind of the nuclear winter scenario, reflecting post-WW2/cold war issues and fears; long before that I imagine there was the whole avenging God scenario.

Lately, we seem to have moved into the post global warming apocalypse scenario.

I seem to have been exploring lots of post-apocalyptic stories of late - I just finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy (though it never goes into much detail on the cause of said apocalypse, just the aftermath). I've also been playing Left 4 Dead 2, in a zombiepocalypse, and I watched The Book of Eli and a C-grade zombie flick called Evilution on the weekend.

So, next on the post-apocalyptic agenda is WW (once I've finished Final Impact). Other suggestions anyone?

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Murphy mutters...

Posted May 13, 2010
Per battle scenes like Caitlin in Paris, a few comments.

I think one of Birmo's great strengths as a writer is that he is able to describe, exactly, how such fights evolve. It is possible, I suspect when he is using a real location, to go to that place and walk the route of the fight.

In most other novels and stories, even those written by people with military experience, it is difficult to figure out exactly what is going on. A lot of trigger pulling and spectacular kill scenes of cardboard characters we don't care about.

I also like the fact that Birmo works (a typo had "Birmoworks" hmm) very hard to make certain the fights are tactically plausible.

And if you actually care about the characters involved (as many care for Caitlin), your sense of unease that she might get popped increases as she works her way through the fight.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Leo euler mumbles...

Posted May 13, 2010
I am looking forward to the book coming out.

I was not able to see John when he came to America last year; however, I was able to get the Australian version of Without Warning. Since it seems both books are coming out at the same time this time (more or less?) maybe I'll make an extra effort to see John next time he comes over.

-Samuel C.

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Tucker Dwynn reckons...

Posted May 13, 2010
Look forward to reading AA.... Any mention of what happens when the Indonesian Tsunami hits on 12/26/2004?

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 13, 2010
What's the difference between the Ocker and Seppo versions?. Just the 'u's and stuff?

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jennicki mutters...

Posted May 13, 2010
Y'all talk differently then us, Moko. I've lent my Bridget Jones's Diary out to lots of people, and have gotten a lot of complaints that they couldn't follow the way the English talk...that's actully one of my favorite parts of the book in my opinion!

You can't have a book with America in the title and not come to the US. It's anti-American. These colors don't run. So, you know, you'll have to come here. Preferably to Chicago, they don't read in Detroit.

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lostatlunch swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 13, 2010
I still have some leftover WW merchadising including with the 8 foot inflatable Rhino... very popular with the Darkwoman.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted May 13, 2010
No criticism intended.

I agree with Murph %100.

In JB's back catalogue most engagements have significant friendly casualties. This is important for me to suspend my disbelief. A crew of 20 surviving an entire campaign (apart from the bookish cute one for dymanic tension) always struck me as unreal.

I'm looking forward to JB's promised bleak, grim & dark in AA.

ScoobyDoo endings suck donkey balls.

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Boscolamb mutters...

Posted May 13, 2010
Detroit got the big screw last time JB came up here. It would be nice if he could come by. I'm sure he has lots of fans in the midwest. I've purchased multiple copies of his books for the Libraries I work at. They must be popular as I rarely see them on the shelves.

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted May 13, 2010
For promotional stuff we're here to be exploited. Word of mouth goes a long way. e.g. with the AOT series I lent Weapons of Choice out to a couple of friends and they ended up buying the other two. That's how I got into Matt Reilly's gear, a friend recommended Ice Station to me. Once people are hooked on an author they keep an eye out when book shopping. The choice in bookshops is so vast that it overwhelms consumers, hence we develop "brand loyalty". That's how I got into AOT in the first place. I'd never heard of it until I saw the whole trilogy at K Mart, double blinked at the author's name, checked that it was the same guy I'd read before and bought the trilogy.

Love the "Boys Own" concept, its a cracker. Anything quirky or gimmicky is worth a shot to bring the brand to the forefront of readers' minds. In Sydney, try giving out a BBQ King duck pancake with each purchase. I'm sure BBQ K would love to contribute to a joint promotion.

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jennicki swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 13, 2010
Boscobob this is very true. My library had a long reserve list for JB's books, I ended up joining another district library so I could get my hands on them! And I should thank him profusely, my new library is way more awesome then the old one.

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jennicki swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 13, 2010
Is After America available for pre-order yet in the U.S.?

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jennicki mumbles...

Posted May 13, 2010
BoscoLAMB I mean, soz, there are too many bobs!

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jp has opinions thus...

Posted May 13, 2010
JB - postcards are a great little ad to drop into cafe's to mix in with all their arty-farty ones, especially if they're designed as you say... but then with a little quirk, eg your boy's own nostalgia with the added bonus of a blot of bright red where a .50 cal popped a head. Reminds me of HOT FUZZ when Nick Frost's character shows Peggy what he's drawn in his notebook: a sweet little flip-book of a guy -- f*ck it, just check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBgCLZFWAIA&feature=related

My two cents is to hold a competition to have your readers design their own book trailer and upload it to a dedicated youtube page that links here. The Burgers can vote for a fav (call it, say, the Pervert's Choice Award), and you can pick the top three. They can win signed first editions or somethin'. See my pub's example for my apoc series, going live end of the month:

http://www.a-lone.com.au/

BTW, I'm picturing this drawing of Hav as having him look like Ned Flanders sans shirt. Am I right?

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NukemHill is gonna tell you...

Posted May 13, 2010
You are planning a U.S. tour, yes? Right? Right????

If you are going to be in the DC/Baltimore area, dinner's on me.

F*ck me. August 17th for AA in the U.S.? That sucks rocks....

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted May 13, 2010
This so rocks ... Rhino in full cigar chomping glory on a greeting card with the line, "No siree, Mr. President, you don't get these pettin' kitty cats."

I'd like 15 dozen boxes pre-addressed to Havock's Pondo, please.

I liked my blog/photos of "People reading WW before Havock" that I did for the first one. May have to do that again.

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted May 13, 2010
Darkman ... and I know that you appreciate that the inflatable Rhino is durable and water proof as well.

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted May 13, 2010
Orin ... I always did like the cut of your jib. Need to get the code monkeys working on that.

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted May 13, 2010
'even the slim possibility of a couple of days in Perth' yeah probably about 2 micron thin!!

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Naut has opinions thus...

Posted May 13, 2010
Rhino, I loved your “People reading WW before Havock” series. Aside from porn it is probably the best use of the internet I have ever seen.

Now waiting for the sex scandal photos of Warnie, two naked Pommie chicks and the inflatable Rhino.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted May 13, 2010
FKN brilliant - an inflatable Rhino in every bookstore to promote AA. Get video of Hav unkowingly walking into a shop populated by one of those cigar-chomping replicas. Okay, we need to cost these things out and set up a distribution schedule to coincide with the launch of AA.

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Brian mutters...

Posted May 13, 2010
Rhino at Wheeler Centre. Gotta have more headroom then a bookstore . . .excepting some of the Borders I guess.

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Naut reckons...

Posted May 13, 2010
I intend to have an inflatable rhino in my window at home.

It will be a better security device than a photo of Dolph Lundgren.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1173697/Burglars-tie-woman--flee-house-realise-shes-married-action-hero-actor-Dolph-Lundgren.html

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jennicki asserts...

Posted May 13, 2010
Aww, your book comes out when Medway's here, we'll have to by your book together!

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Orin puts forth...

Posted May 13, 2010
If you are clever - Medway can bring you a copy directly from Oz as it is released here a month earlier.

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jennicki mumbles...

Posted May 13, 2010
Ooooh. But that would mean I'd have to be clever!

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted May 13, 2010
An Inflatable RHINO will make a great Figure 11.

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Rhino would have you know...

Posted May 13, 2010
I'm looking forward to my entree into the Macy's Christmas Parade ... America's newest ACTION HERO - THE RHINO as a 25 foot tall balloon float.

I hear they are thinking about removing the Spiderman float to make room for my avatar. That is the amount of hysteria they are anticipating.

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Boscolamb mumbles...

Posted May 14, 2010
Jen, K'zoo has one of the nicest looking libraries in the state of Michigan. It has received nation-wide recognition when it was renovated. Glad to hear JB's books are equally popular there. I have a long patron hold list for his newer titles. He's my favorite Oz writer.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted May 14, 2010
Rhino, I was in NYC for the thanksgiving parade '91.

The prospect of dozens of marching bands, hundreds of batton twirlers, and phalanxes of teenage cheerleaders under a giant inflated Rhino is a bit too close to the Golden Bull worshipers as mentioned in the old testament don't you think?

I can easily imagine one disgruntled Bachus Marshian sniping from a roof top, muttering "I'll give you fkn pussy cats."

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 14, 2010
Hey JB, don't we get a photo of the finished MS ?

I always had an image of you laying back against pillows, looking smug, smoking a cigarette and with the MS beside you on the bed (discrete placing of bedclothes covering it's nudity.)

With the caption "Well, I fkd that puppy."

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jennicki has opinions thus...

Posted May 14, 2010
Boscolamb, Kalamazoo really does have a gorgeous library. All of them, actually--Central and Oshtemo are really cool. The architecture is sweet.

I also have cards for Parchment District and Portage District libraries. Because the like 6 libraries in Kalamazoo aren't enough for me.

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Alan ducks in to say...

Posted May 19, 2010
Still need an illustrator? Email me if you don't have anyone doing it yet. I'm a professional based in Sydney. I like the idea.

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Respond to 'Gotta luv the merch.'

Day trip

Posted May 5, 2010 by John Birmingham
Moko will be pleased to know that it wasn't all free games and drinkies for me in Sydney yesterday. I also managed to pick up a cold, probably on the flight going down. Still, totally worth it. I spent most of the day in at Rockstar Studios, watching a play-thru the first couple of hours so I could get an impression of the game world they've built -- which was amazing, a real fucking joy just to pass through -- and then a couple of hours in the afternoon playing a few missions myself. I also did quite a bit of talking about games narrative, as it's an area I'm thinking about getting into in the future, and a specialty of Rockstar of course. But that's not something I bother writing up here, since it'd be kinda dull. I am going to write up the trip for Fairfax, probably later this week, so I won't give too much away now, but I can say that the two things I was most concerned about turned out not to be a problem at all.

Firstly having played so much GTA IV, and having been impressed by Liberty City as such a dense and layered, almost Matrix-like creation, I was worried that Red Dead Redemption would have trouble re-creating the same rich gaming environment in what is effectively a wilderness. After all the space between the small frontier settlements occupies what looks like about 98 maybe 99% of the playable area in the game. I couldn't help but think back to earlier versions of Mechwarrior where you spent ages in transition across empty wastelands when moving from one action sequence to another.

Not a problem.

The wastelands in Redemption are incredibly rich both in their artistic realization and the gameplay possibilities. Even the ecology is fantastically detailed and complex and a major factor in gameplay not just every now and then when you stumble across a tripwire setting off a pre-programmed action sequence, but rather in every single moment you are out there. Nor is it just grizzly bears and rattlesnakes and packs of wild dogs you have to contend with, there are any number of two legged critters out there looking to do you harm. There are hunting challenges, treasure to find, and a seemingly infinite number of randomly generated side missions to distract you from the main narrative arc.

The other thing I was worried about was the combat. Because of the era in which the game is set there won't be any plasma cannons or grenade launchers. How could they possibly make the combat even fractionally as intense as a shooter like Modern Warfare? Well they can, and they've done it without trickery or bullshit. Even the smaller firefights in the lesser side missions are totally fucking intense in this game and there is an optional Fallout 3 style targeting system that is enormous fun to use, and occasionally very, very necessary.

I'm very much looking forward to playing this when I get my review disc in a couple of weeks.

And sorry Moko. I got a show bag too.

20 Responses to ‘Day trip’

Orin mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2010
Started playing Fallout 3 GOTY edition - lots of wandering around a fairly well populated post-apocalyptic wasteland. A few burgers recommended it back when it came out - glad I checked it out.

Did you end up finishing Mass Effect 2?

StarCraft II soon. AWSM.

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HAVOCK would have you know...

Posted May 5, 2010
Hang on a FKN MINUTE.

Firstly, I'm failry certain that numerous people are still waiting for the BFBC2 smack down and we constantly get the WE ARE TOO BUSY SHITE or the THE STORM FRIED ME GEAR, or the KIDS broke me gear, OR the HEAD SET AINT WORKING or the AH its fkn QLD and nuffin fkn works fkn excuses to playing with the rest of us GODs who happen to populate this planet and PROP UP your Bunnyfied fkn ego.SO.

YA bloody effin mongrel, GET ON LINE, FK the REDDEAD dump mob, bit of shit and get connected before somebody accidentally caps YOUR FKN CARCASS...SHEEZ!.

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HAVOCK ducks in to say...

Posted May 5, 2010
HEY!..where did all the comments fkn go!

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HAVOCK has opinions thus...

Posted May 5, 2010
AHH...they are back again. Just got tapped and told by the machine that I am posting comments toooooo quickly and need to slow down some. SEE, HAVOCk is faster than a computer or servers etc etc

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Moko would have you know...

Posted May 5, 2010
OH NO YOU DID-ENT. lol

I grew up reading George G Gilman (pseudonym) and his 'Edge' series of western books that defined 'The West' for me and were described as "The Most Violent Westerns In Print". I fucken loved those books. This game has got me thinking about that series again. I soaked them up like a sponge. This is one reason I'm REALLY looking forward to RDR. Even considering the third person aspect which gives me a rash. Nothing worse than standing at the door way of a building and you've only got like 50 degrees of view into the room and the depth of vision is blocked by roof eaves and top of door frames. How did they go with that?.

I saw a cool cover system in one vid where he skids up to boxes for cover. Nothing worse than being AT cover and the fucker won't duck or some shit.

So what was in the show bag?.

You KNOW I've been waiting for this write up. lol

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TJX is gonna tell you...

Posted May 5, 2010
Slightly Off-Topic, but I gotta ask - Why arent you a PC gamer?

Also, you should really ditch MW2 and give Battlefield Bad Company 2 a try. It's like MW2 for grown ups. :D Not saying you're one of those immature FPS console gamers, but I find that MW2 attracts too many of those kinds of players.

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HAVOCK mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2010
TJX... some of us, like me and you and moko and chaz have the capability to play BFBC2..other!...well, lets just say that stiffness of internal structures is not ....there!

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TJX mutters...

Posted May 5, 2010
I have to admit though, the look and feel of MW2's single player storyline/campaign makes me think of what a movie of Without Warning should be like. Epic, cinematic, full of military mayhem and a soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. :D

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted May 5, 2010
There'll be plenty o' multiplayer in Redemtption, Havsy. We didnt really get into it yesterday, but it looked awsm too. Up to 16 online and the entire map to roam over.

TJX, i try to keep games off my 'puter. Bad for deadlines.

Moko, you're going to love this game if you loved those books. It's great. In the showbag I got lotsa tee shirts, a GTA coke spoon, the soundtracks from San Andreas and Vice City, a copy of Bully, stickers, and bar of Redemption soap (fer cleanin grime an' bloodstains).

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AgingGamer mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2010
I'm now officially excited about this game as I too played GTA IV to death and loved it. It will be interesting to have a sandbox to play in that isn't Sci-Fi, fantasy, or gritty urban environment.

GUN was one of my favourite Wild West sandbox games from a few years back but was lacking in the substantial side quest department.

Sir Birmo I think it might be prudent to organise a multiplayer night for the bounders club to prevent them getting unruly and drinking all the good Whiskey. BFBC2 sounds like the front runner at this stage.

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John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted May 5, 2010
Ooh, and just found a copy of Midnight Club LA in my show bag.

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TJX mumbles...

Posted May 5, 2010
Ah, one of those people that likes to keep playtime off their work machines, lol. I understand. Well BFBC2 is available on all consoles as well.

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Orin has opinions thus...

Posted May 5, 2010
Try to keep games off my computer .... right ... so what's happening when Diablo 3 comes out ... will THAT be kept off the computer?

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NBlob reckons...

Posted May 5, 2010
Oh god how I miss freebies.

Lovely lovely freebies.

I used to work in conferences & events, I used to get showered with allsorts of goodies (My favourites are the seagate camelback & Petzl.)

Now as a humble public servant it's considered uncool.

Bastiches.

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TJX reckons...

Posted May 5, 2010
@ Orin

Heh, the only thing that distracts me on a computer during work is my Internet browswer.

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sparty is gonna tell you...

Posted May 5, 2010
Looks a Fantastic game- the wild bunch come alive...

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Orin asserts...

Posted May 5, 2010
JB plays pure about the deadlines, but when Diablo becomes available he's basically toast.

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Moko has opinions thus...

Posted May 5, 2010
I loved the Wild Bunch. Takes pride of place in my DVD collection.

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Toxteth O'Grady swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 5, 2010
Ah well, as long as you Burgers are distracted, I'll feel safe leaving this (Mechwarrior 4 released for free) here without worrying about you getting your dirty grubby fingerprints all over it.

As for Red Dead Redemption - (from wikipedia) "Every multiplayer game, both free-for-all and team based, will begin with a Mexican standoff" makes me giggle like a japanese schoolgirl. Now where did I put that Ennio Morricone soundtrack...??

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted May 6, 2010
Maybe at some point in the next five years I can get a couple of gaming systems of my own, then I'll have a clue about what is going on with the gaming world.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Respond to 'Day trip'

Okay, lets try that again.

Posted April 30, 2010 by John Birmingham
Raw manuscript.

34 Responses to ‘Okay, lets try that again.’

Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted April 30, 2010
I clicked to enlarge that image and it shrank.

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NBlob puts forth...

Posted April 30, 2010
Success!

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Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted April 30, 2010
Indeed, Nbob, if its an attempt to thwart the nitpickers in the peanut gallery.

I was hoping to see what the professional nitpickers get up to.

I've tried 'enlarge text' in the View bit of the toolbox but it doesn't help.

Do I have to go onto the flicker thing to do that, or is it time to upgrade the script for my glasses again?

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zeniph puts forth...

Posted April 30, 2010
v interesting, worth the wait, cant believe the micro management of it though

full size img here makes it a bit easier to read the markup notes

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3603/4564229876_e087b8ddef_o.png

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted April 30, 2010
Pretty hard to read though, next time would it be possible to scan it at a higher res or something? looks sort of like a phone camera shot.

Maybe it's flikr file size limitation.

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted April 30, 2010
I can't read it at all.

And it's giving me flashbacks to my grade 10 history assignments. The teacher would circle my most creative offerings in red pen and then write scathing corrections in green.

How do you cope with that?

Valium? or Scotch?

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Abigail ducks in to say...

Posted April 30, 2010
Wow JB, so this is your scribbled upon draft? cool. And you have really nice handwriting ,if that's yours.

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Brian reckons...

Posted April 30, 2010
What I like is the scibbled 2 with a question mark . . .like . . .he wasn't sure what came after 1. Its a good thing his literacy skills are up to scratch . . . .

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted April 30, 2010
Oh, man, Havsy old man, that has got to sting. THE Author originally felt that the Rhino was such an important character that he gave him the first line of his next BLOCKBUSTER BESTSELLER.

Wow ... I'm kind of glad that they decided to move this to another chapter ... the sheer awesomeness of my entrance would tend to overwhelm the average reader. Also, considering this will be an "airport" novel it wouldn't be very safe having people standing up in their seats screaming, "OH MY GAWD IT'S THE RHINO!!!" I wouldn't feel good about endangering people in that manner.

I can't wait to get my advance, signed, copy.

Havsy, don't cry mate ... you'll have your turn ... surely you will ... I hear that James Patterson is looking for a new transgendered hero(ine) with an Aussie accent.

Regards,

Rhino

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Paul Nicholas Boylan mutters...

Posted April 30, 2010
"But It seems i’ve got some fuck knuckling around to do first."

As a proponent of the fuck knuckling arts and sciences, I am delighted to see this fine example of productive fuck knuckling. It is my fervent hope that your example inspires others to fuck knuckle, soon and often.

Ah, to be young again, when fuck knuckling was free, easy and without care. How I yearn to return to the days of casual fuck knuckling. But nostalgia often softens memory's sharp edges. Fuck knuckling can be, and often is, hard work, as your example amply illustrates. Bravo, Sir. I cannot wait to read the completed work.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted April 30, 2010
Yep, the resolution's not great. Unfortunately to repro the page properly from the pdf takes 14.5mgs. My flickr limit tops out at 10. I'm working on it, but as I said this was more in the way of a tester to iron out these very issues.

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Moko swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 30, 2010
I'm sorry, you don't dick around with 'pettin''. It's personality.

Quok. Click to view in Flicker, once in Flicker at top left it say's "all sizes" with a box, click that, then from there you can download the original scan.

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Quokka asserts...

Posted April 30, 2010
Ta Moko. I'll try that later.

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girlclumsy puts forth...

Posted April 30, 2010
Neat! This might sound a very stupid thing to say, but it's so interesting to see the journey from simple typed letters to proper book formatting, font, the texture and thickness of the paper, the cover...

I guess it makes me think that all books start out somewhere... maybe I could start something that could one day be a book!

Cheers, Nat.

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Matthew K has opinions thus...

Posted April 30, 2010
Interesting.

And I see from flickr that JB has invested some of his enormous wealth in some serious Star Wars figures. I know, my parents wouldn't buy me the whole set in 1979 either...

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_Soliloquy_ reckons...

Posted April 30, 2010
I think I want to be an editor. That looks like fun.

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Abigail would have you know...

Posted April 30, 2010
I'm with GC, there's something really powerful about seeing this draft and despite how flippant it may sound to comment upon your handwriting ,JB,the point is we barely ever see anyone's hand writing anymore and therefore we miss out on the traces of work and imagining and re-thinking and emphasis and idle mistakes, all the subtleties...

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted April 30, 2010
thx to zeniph too for the tip about taking a screenshot. much smaller file size.

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Rhino mutters...

Posted April 30, 2010
Oh, Havsy is silent ... must be this coupled with the fact that Australia is importing U.S. sperm that is causing his silence.

He is having a bad, bad day.

R.

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Patricia mumbles...

Posted April 30, 2010
When's it supposed to be ready JB?

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Sweet Jane Says is gonna tell you...

Posted April 30, 2010
Argh! Birmingham, I can't even degrade you for that bit. It's just too sad.

J.

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zeniph puts forth...

Posted April 30, 2010
glad to help out - dont get why you cant just upload the images here and make things simple for youself but I'm sure you've got your reasons...

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Tarl would have you know...

Posted April 30, 2010
Hey - Kipper is 44th US president? That's Obama's slot!

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted April 30, 2010
Tarl- this was set before Obama became Prez.

JB - this writing gig of yours just keeps on looking like way too much hard work.

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sparty asserts...

Posted April 30, 2010
thats interesting- particulary the little things. Not surprised it's not coming first though - is it a little too genre?, for a writer who does "genre with a twist" -is that fair to say?.

Having said that i think all tecnothrillers should begin with the "44th president of the united states swung round from the window facing the rose garden in the oval office to his chief of staff..." and you nailed that!

More of this stuff please...

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Albion Love Den ducks in to say...

Posted April 30, 2010
Cool. So, is this in A4 format? Double sided, or just single?

Also, does that say Day 1 in pen on the top right? If so, assuming the chapters will be marked on a timeline?

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Murphy reckons...

Posted April 30, 2010
Has anyone forwarded this entry to SFSignal yet? This is exactly the sort of thing newbie aspirants should see. Any writer worth a damn is going to spend a lot of time doing just this sort of thing.

In fact, if I were handing out more take home essays, I'd probably use this sheet as an example of what a professional should be doing with their writing.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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First Week of Lifeguard Training, among other things. « Murphy’s Pondering Tree: Mark II mumbles...

Posted May 1, 2010
[...] John Birmingham has an interesting image up at his blog. It is this. [...]

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HAVOCK mutters...

Posted May 2, 2010
In the interests of Planetary harmony I am exercising severe restraint...and NOT FKN CAPPIN INDIVIDUALS!

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Rhino reckons...

Posted May 3, 2010
I'm sorry Havsy ... I'm too busy filling cups for export to respond at the moment. Please leave a message for my publicist and she will get back with you ASAP. You may recognize her ... she was one of Birmo's bunnies that got a green card to the States. Just a little perk of membership in the Circle of Trust and, of course, being a bona fide action hero on several continents.

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 3, 2010
I mean, you did read that blurb from the reviewer, eh? Brawny. heh heh heh.

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Matthew K mumbles...

Posted May 3, 2010
Initially I thought that Kipper should be pressing the flesh and asking "Where are you from?" etc, but asking where people are from in Post Wave America brings up the fact that most people are from places that, in effect, don't exist anymore. Nor their families, friends, hell even their pets are gone.

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gtrof asserts...

Posted May 4, 2010
Ah can't wait for After America! Real interesting seeing the edited draft Birmo!

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted May 4, 2010
Mr. Rhino sir.

You are a very bad man.

Well Funny, but very bad none the less.

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Respond to 'Okay, lets try that again.'

Some fan fic for monday.

Posted March 29, 2010 by John Birmingham
And if Mr Savo could copy this across to the mini-b that'd be tops.

The Southern Approaches Command

After The Wave III

By

John R. Johnson

Prologue

It was over a year since the Wave, as it was called, hit the United States, Canada and Mexico. Every person living in the boundaries of the tear shaped wave had disappeared. The wave had covered all of the United States, except for a portion of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. All of Canada south of an arc which extended from Oregon, brushing Edmonton, and the southern half of Hudson's Bay was gone. The northern two thirds of Mexico from Belize to Acapulco was lifeless. The survivors in southern Mexico had fled south. Afraid the Wave would expand and take them.

The Wave, after a year, had disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared. During that time civilization had started coming apart at the seams. Many had celebrated the demise of the United States but were now regretting the reality. Already some people were talking about the "golden age" when America had kept sanity in the world and put limits to the ambitions of despots.

In every country were men who were trying to hold things together. Some were more successful than others. So far the most successful had been the new President of the United States, James "Kip" Kipper. Working from the new Western White House in Seattle he still controlled the U.S. military, around the world, and when push came to shove it was still the most powerful in the world. A few nuclear exchanges had convinced most of the world leaders to back off a little in their grab for power. The situation was still dangerous but slowly things were settling out and positions were becoming clear and leaders were able to see where they stood in the scheme of things.

When the Wave occurred many of the surviving Americans were evacuated to New Zealand and Australia and Asian countries. The reduced resources of what remained of the United States couldn't support all of the survivors. Since the Wave had disappeared there had been talk about what to do with the Americans but no decisions had been made about resettlement yet. China was talking about keeping the Americans who had gone there for "their own safety and well-being."

USS Matinicus (WPB-1315)

The Southern Approaches

The Gulf of Mexico

One year after the end of the Wave

William "Wild Bill" Elliott squinted against the bright sun reflected off the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. He shook his head as he looked at the huge container ship the Matinicus has intercepted. The stench of unwashed bodies was almost over powering, even a hundred yards away. He had been expecting the huge crowd refugees, men and women and children, lining the ships rail. What got him was the flag the ship was flying. He wondered when was the last time the Papal flag had flown on a ship (he had to look the flag up to know what it was) and what was going on. He watched the Matinicus' boarding party, accompanied by two passengers, heading back to the cutter. Oh well, he would be getting answers soon.

"Skipper, here's the latest intelligence from the navy." said Lt. (junior grade) Jose Cabrera, his executive officer. "Naval Intelligence says they back tracked the ship on satellite photos. Apparently it left Rome about three weeks ago. Stopped for a few days in Spain and the Azores before heading across to America. The ship stayed far enough south to miss Cuba and then turned north a day and a half ago. That's why it's so far into the western Gulf. They don't have anything else on it." He started to close the message board then stopped. "There's also a weather advisory from the Air Force. There's a storm kicking up in the South Atlantic off the coast of Africa with a possibility of turning into a hurricane."

"No suggestions on what to do with a ship full of refugees?" Elliott asked. "This is the first but I'll bet you a months pay it won't be the last. Just a few general guidelines would be nice." He picked up the bridge phone. "Cookie, it doesn't look like there's going to be a problem. I'm going to keep the crew at general quarters though, just in case. See the crew gets something to hot to eat and drink in the mean time." He felt better knowing the cook and mess steward would pass the words and the crew could relax a little. He looked back at Jose. "Sorry, don't mean to be grouchy. I think this ship is just what it seems. A refugee ship and nothing else. I want to see the petty officer in charge as soon as he before I see our guests."

Before Jose could answer he was interrupted by the squawking of the bridge phone. Elliott picked it up and listened for several minutes. "Looks like another situation developing. Remember that contact radar picked up heading this way? Radar says they have another contact which could be trying to intercept the first target. They are both about five hours away. After we finish up here we'll go investigate."

"Aye, aye, Skipper." Jose grinned and said dryly. "You know, skipper, when we got back from the mission to Miami and they said you were being given the Southern Approaches Command I kind of envisioned something a little more … impressive than one cutter trying to cover the whole Gulf of Mexico." He turned away, "I'll have the boarding party bring our guests as soon as they are aboard."

"I'm sure as soon as they send more cutters there will be a change of command to someone with a little more clout." Bill looked at the boarding party’s RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat) pulling alongside. " I imagine this will be an interesting also."

***

Father John Bibzier Torbert, clutched his briefcase as he stood on the deck of the  coast guard patrol boat and looked around before reaching down to give a hand to Rabbi Malachi Throne as he scrambled aboard. There were several crew members manning machine guns sipping on mugs and eating sandwiches. For a moment he looked at the refugee ship he had just come from, feeling the weight of responsibility for all the lives aboard.  He wondered what the captain of the Matinicus would demand as a bribe. There were rumors the US navy was turning back all ships heading for the east coast of what had been the United States. There were also stories that the captain of this patrol boat had sunk a refugee ship trying to make its way to Florida and then left the survivors to drown. He hoped the captain would accept the bribe without being too greedy, like the patrol boats in the Mediterranean had become.

"Petty Officer Dupuis, the captain wants to see you on the bridge immediately," an alert, middle aged officer said. "I'll escort our guests to the bridge."

"Aye, aye sir," the petty officer saluted and turned to leave. "This is Father Torbert of the Knights Hospitaller and Rabbi Throne. They are in charge of the people on the ship."

"Father Torbert? I'm Lt. (j.g.) Jose Cabrera. If you and the Rabbi will follow me I'll take you to the captain." The officer waited attentatively before continuing. " I heard of your order but didn't know it still existed. But then I'm not up on the various religious orders."

"Our order is almost eight hundred years old." Father Torbert said. "Rabbi Throne and myself were picked to organize these refugees and to try to find a safe haven for them and possibly more in the future. " They followed Lt. (j.g.) Cabrera along the main deck toward the bridge.

"Skipper, this is Father Torbert of The Knights Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and Rabbi Malachi Throne. They are in charge of the refugees." Lt. Cabrera said leading them onto the bridge. "Father, Rabbi this is Lt. William Elliot."

Lt. Elliott tilted his head for a moment listening and spoke quietly to the helmsman, before turning back to Father Torbert. "The Knights Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem? I believe your order was originally a military and medical order. Fighting the Turks and Ottomans and trying to win back the Holy Lands." Bill said. " If I remember correctly they changed their name and are now an  order based out of England and France and now medical missionaries or something. So what are you doing so far from home, Father?"

" The Pope has told all the orders to help resettle the refugees as much as possible. " Father Torbert said. " Our Grand Master selected me and fifteen other priests, all with combat experience, to help these people build a new life. It was felt a settlement in America would be an enormous asset and easiest to send refugees to. At the same time even these few thousand make a dint in resources, so it relieves the pressure on resources available in Italy."

"Sounds like a pretty tall order," Bill answered. "Okay, what do you have aboard your ship and what's your destination?"

"There are four thousand eight hundred and thirty five refugees on board, plus the officers and crew of the ship," Father Torbert said. "That includes eight hundred Americans, who decided to come with us rather than wait for your government to arrange for their transportation, three hundred and fifty Spanish and Portuguese, one hundred Greeks, fifty Albanians and five hundred Jews. The rest are Italian.

"I see," Bill said softly. "Your people must be standing on each others shoulders to get that many aboard one ship. You're luck there wasn't a storm. You could have lost half your people living in the containers." He looked back at the ship again. "Just what are you planning to do in America? Almost five thousand city dwellers will find it hard to survive. What skills do you have? Do you know how to raise food? Make your own clothing and tools?"

"I thought of that when I was given this assignment," Father Torbert said. "I consulted with some experts and we picked a number of older people, in their sixties and seventies and older to teach the old skills. I picked engineers, technicians, farmers and gardeners, tailors, machinists, doctors, nurses, and teachers. We even have a retired neurosurgeon who is studying up on gynecology."

"There were a number of farmers from kibbutz' in Israel visiting family in Rome when the Wave occurred," Rabbi Throne put in. "At the suggestion of the Israeli ambassador they remained in Italy and when this opportunity was presented they  volunteered to come with us and show us how to farm." Rabbi Throne shrugged, "It's felt the time is come once again for the Jews to…disperse… and give things time to settle. Even if Israel is destroyed we will survive and rebuild someday. Five other rabbi's and myself will teach the word and ensure everything that has happened is remembered."

"I see," Bill said. "The Italians, and I assume the other countries, are glad to get rid of some people they consider useless and Israel is taking the long view in case something happens to Israel. Well I can't blame them for that. But why should we allow you into the United States, what's left of it. Like I said even with someone to teach pre-mechanization skills it's going to be very hard to survive." He held up his hand. "Never mind, I see you are determined. So tell me why you should be allowed to land?"

"I have a copy of the passengers and crew manifest, by name, age, occupation and nationality," Father Torbert said, pulling a thick sheaf of papers and two envelops from his briefcase. He ignored the restraining hand Rabbi Throne put on his arm. "There is also a letter from the American Ambassador in Rome and a personal appeal from the Grand Master of our order."

"You still haven't answered my question," Bill said, taking the stack of papers and the envelopes. He handed the passenger manifest over to the messenger of the watch. "Take these to my cabin and I'll examine them later." He opened the top letter and read it. "Typical diplomatic double-talk. To hear the Ambassador tell it butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Where were you planning to land?" He opened the next envelop and read it, face starting to turn red with rage.

Father Torbert felt his stomach clinch as he realized his mistake. He could sense the other crew members on the bridge straightening and turning hard stares on the two visitors. "Sir, please forgive me," he tried to backpedal. "I'm so used to the patrol captains in the Mediterranean I misjudged you. Please, captain, if these people, especially the Jews, are force to return to Europe they will not be allowed to land. If we go to South America there is a good chance they will be imprisoned and maybe enslaved.  Don't punish them because I made a mistake in judgment."

"The Holy Father has decided to resurrect all of the military orders in their original concept. His Holiness says with the changing times we must go back to basics in the defense of the church. We must try peaceful means first and then, if that doesn't work use alternate methods." Father Torbert felt beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead. "The Pope is afraid we might be entering a new dark age and he is trying to take steps to preserve as much of the knowledge as possible. He has ordered the reopening of remote, isolated monasteries and the military orders to protect them. The Church is working to try to make things better and ease international tensions but he is also making contingency plans in case thing get worse." Father Torbert voice was shaking. "Please, Captain. You must not punish these people because of me."

"Very well, Father." Bill said, taking deep breaths to control his anger. He waved to the bridge crew to relax. "That's the kind of mistake that could get you and all your people killed. I should feed you to the sharks for an insult like that and if you do it again I will."

"I understand and it won't happen again," Father Torbert felt a chill go down his spine at the utterly calm, reasonable tone the captain had used. "We haven't decided where to land yet. We were hoping to have more information before we made a decision."

"Delays like that can be fatal," Bill said. "We escorted several contract civilian support ships here from Puerto Rico. They each carried a platoon of marines and some engineers. We left the USS Neptune in Galveston, TX. They are checking the conditions of refineries and oil wells. Another, the USS Macon,  is in Mobile, AL surveying the damage and conditions along the Gulf coast from Tampa, Fl to New Orleans. They report the levees in New Orleans have broken and most of the city is flooded, also the Mississippi River is still highly toxic from the runoff from the pollution and acid rain last year."

"Thank you, Captain." Father Torbert said again, tuning to leave. "If there is ever anything I or my order can do we will be glad to help."

"Just a minute, Father." Bill held out the letter he had been clinching in his hand. "You might want to keep this in a safe place. A hundred thousand pounds stirling in a blank letter of credit on the Bank of England can be tempting to some people. Hang on to it and maybe you can use it to buy things you colony will need to survive."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

Six Hours later

"Bridge," Elliott said into the bridge phone. He listened for several minutes. "Very well, report any changes in course and speed." He hung up the phone and turned to Jose. "That was radar. The contact should be in sight shortly. It's moving pretty slowly. We should intercept it in about an hour. Good thing we intercepted the Albatros first and got it turned around." He shook his head. "It really brought back memories seeing a Point class patrol boat again. Which reminds me on our next report we need to include the information that Venezuela has added more machine guns and a deck gun to the armament.

"What are your plans, Skipper," Jose asked? "It sounds to me like someone doesn't want to continue enjoying the socialist utopia of Venezuela."

"I'm afraid you're right," Bill said. "I'll play it by ear after I find out for sure who all the players in this little game are. Pass the word that I don't want anyone getting a little trigger happy. Intercept should be as planed so we'll go to General Quarters in fifteen minutes." He looked at the sun low in the darkening sky. "We'll come up on them from the west. If there's any light left, and it's pirates and they want to fight, that'll make it hard for them to get a good target."

"You got it, Skipper," Jose replied. He started to leave then paused. "Skipper, am I mistaken or are the number of ships heading toward the United States, what's left of it, increasing? We spent over a month going up and down the coast of Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and we only met the pirated cruise ship and the refugees from another ship who landed before we arrive on scene. We've only just arrived on station and here we have three ships in one day and I understand the navy has turned back a number of ships from Europe approaching the northeast."

"They are increasing and we'll be seeing a lot more in the coming days." Bill said. "All the navy ships in the Atlantic are tied up intercepting ships from Europe and turning them back." He smiled wearily. "I haven't had any direction but until I do I see our job as sorting the true refugees looking to build a new life from the looters and get rich quick artists. They'll all be coming and maybe I'm an idealists but I mean to sort through the … crowds… for the true seekers and turn the spoilers back, if possible."

"I hadn't thought about that," Jose admitted. "Hopefully everything will settle down now and return to some part of normal."

"Not anytime soon," Bill said. "I think we are decivilizing fast. You heard Father Torbert talking about making sure to include elderly people for their pre-industrialization skills?" He grimaced. "Look at what’s happening in parts of Africa and South America. Reports of pandemics and ethnic cleansing. They're killing off the people who know how to make things run. When those people are gone who is going to keep the machinery running, much less build new ones. And not just mechanical machinery but I'm talking about the machinery of government. That being said I think the world will be lucky if we stop at a 1930's level of technology. But it's all going to be a mix, 1930's tech next to 2000 tech. It's part of our job to see if we can lessen the slide."

"I think Southeast Asia will be okay. They grow enough food for their people and once you get out of the cities the life is still basically the same as it has been for hundreds of years." He frowned thoughtfully. "China might split into two or three new countries, their problem is two fold. The government has tried to rule by supposed committee for years, and in the process built up their own ruling elite. And a lot of farmers were displaced and thrown off the land during their industrial buildup, they are really pissed off."

"If India and Pakistan can keep from nuking each other they might be okay, too. But the next few years are going to be vital. Our job is to try and see people have those years to start recovering."

"You know, Skipper, I've known you for going onto fifteen years and I've never heard you talk like that." Jose said thoughtfully. "Maybe I've become something of an idealist too because I like the sound of that. The crew and I will back you all the way."

***

An Hour later

"Skipper, she's a 130 ft, fishing trawler named the Santa Maria, she must be forty or fifty years old. Looks like she's doing her top speed." Jose reported from the deck above the bridge. He was using the big eyes, 27 lb swivel mounted binoculars. The big eyes weren't infrared but their light gathering capabilities was unsurpassed. "I'm surprised they can even get eight knots out of her, much less ten knots. She's sitting low in the water like she has a heavy load. " With the big eyes he could see an ant crawling on a wall a block away. "I'm glad we intercepted that patrol boat out of Cuba first and that she decided to turn around without any fuss. Otherwise we'd be working against the clock here. "

"Jose, she's not answering any of our hails and she's altered course since they sighted us." Elliott said.  He looked at the dark evening sky and reached for the bridge phone. "I'm going to put a few shots across her bow to stop her. Get the boarding party ready to go and get some spotlights on her so we can see what's happening. "

***

"Boarding party, what do you have?" Elliott said into the radio handset. He listened for a moment. "Bring the leader back with you so I can talk to him." He signed off and waved Jose over to him and spoke in a low voice. "The ship is Venezuelan and has almost two hundred people aboard."

"That's about par for the day," Jose said. "More refugees to vet and send on their way." He picked up the 1MC bridge public address system. "All hands, this is the XO. The trawler is full of refugees. We don't think there will be any trouble but stay on your toes just in case."

***

"Skipper, this is Mr. James Musco Boulware a passenger on the Santa Maria." GM2 Robert "Bobby" Dupuis spoke in a Brooklyn/Haitian accent. He was born and raised in a Haitian neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY of Haitian parents.  "I felt you should talk to him and hear what he has to say."

"Captain, I'm Jim Boulware, late of Texas and Guyana. I was there on vacation with my family when the wave hit. There were about  ten or twelve thousand Americans in Guyana, either living there or tourists." He grimaced. "Anyway about four months ago Venezuela invaded and took over Guyana and Brazil took Surinam. The first anyone knew was when marines started landing in Georgetown. " His face twisted for a minute. "The Venezuelans rounded up all the Americans and secretly shipped us out to a prison camp in Maracaibo." He shrugged, "There was an American trained doctor there to treat the prisoners. We became friends and he agreed to help with an escape attempt if he and his family could go with us."

"We know about the invasions. We had requests for help from the governments of Guyana and Surinam. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do. A combined Venezuelan and Brazilian army tried to take French Guyana but Sarkozy had sent  troops to secure the place. They kick the Venezuelan and Brazilian armies out." Elliott looked hard at Boulware. "There was a university professor on sabbatical in Venezuela when the wave hit. It was reported he had been selected by the prisoners as their representative to Chavez and the US government. He's been reporting the internees are well treated."

"I know that tranzi son of a bitch!" Boulware exclaimed. "He and his goons come around to the camps trying to recruit people to help him "set up a new and legitimate government and a workers paradise", that will restore the rights of the little guy and stop the destruction of the planet by big corporate interests. Of course he will be the one in charge." He spat on the deck. "He thinks the sun rises and sets in Chavez' ass."

"I'll need written statements on that from you and your people." Elliott swore softly under his breath. "But first things first. Just how many are on that boat?" Elliott asked. "As low as she is in the water we were afraid she would sink. Also who's in command?"

"Yes sir," Boulware said. He took a deep breath to control his anger. "There are one hundred fifty three Americans and thirty-four Venezuelans. The ship is commanded by Jorge Hernandez. He is the grandfather of the doctor who helped us and owns the ship." His speech started to speed up. "Captain, before we left we heard rumors that President Chavez is assembling an invasion force to try to take parts of Mexico or the United States. You have the get the warning out so they can be stopped."

"Slow down so we can get this right." Bill said. "XO, get the yeoman up here to write all this down." He turned back to Boulware. "Now start at the beginning and tell us everything. Especially anything you know about the forces making up this invasion force."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

Nearing Galveston, TX

The two days later

"Skipper, here are the latest messages, the first one is a priority." Jose said. "There are several messages there that you need to take a look at. Looks like we have new orders."

Elliott read the top message and glanced at the ones under it. He shook his head and moved over to the chart table. He looked at the chart for several minutes. "We are ordered to rendezvous with the USS Gary (FFG-51). We are suppose to cooperate with the commanding office and assist him in any way we can." Elliott shook his head again. "Doesn't tell us much does it. The rendezvous looks to be an oil platform." He looked at the chart again and measured the distance with protractors, estimated time and speed. "If we remain in Galveston just long enough to refuel we can be there the day after tomorrow."

"I looked the Gary up in Jane's as soon as I saw the message coming in. She was homeported at Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan when the wave hit, part of DesRon 15." Jose said. "Don't know why she would be here now but it looks like she's going to be head honcho on this invasion fleet thing." He paused for a moment then grinned. "Skipper you might want to take a look at those two messages that came in just before the orders."

"What the hell," Elliott exclaimed. "I've only been a lieutenant for a few months. What the hell is Admiral Brimo thinking of making me a Lieutenant Commander. There must be a mistake. Get a message off asking for clarification."

"The message below that is appointing the commander of the Gary as USNAVGULFDEFCOM," Jose said. "That might have something to do with the promotion. That translates as US Navy, Gulf Defense Command." He grinned, "I'll get a message off right away though. By the way the next message down says there is definitely a hurricane headed our way."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

At rendezvous point

Elliott stood up in the pitching RHIB and grabbed the ladder to board the USS Gary. He was in a foul mood, being summoned to the Gary stuck in his craw, but orders were orders. He straightened in surprise as the bosun's pipe thrilled. He saluted the flag and then the officer of the deck, requesting permission to come aboard.

"Lt.-Cdr. Elliott. I'm Lt. Cruz," the OOD saluted. "I've been ordered to bring you to the captain. If you will follow me, sir."

***

"Lt.-Cdr. Elliott, welcome to the Gary. I'm Cdr. James Tiberius Shigita," said the captain of the Gary. "And before you ask my father was a Star Trek fan." He grimaced, "We'll go up to the CIC in a moment but first I wanted to see you in private. I want to make sure we don't have any problems because it looks like your boss and my boss are in a pissing contest. I was under orders to meet a convoy of ships in the Bahamas when I got a message making me USNAVGULFDEFCOM and ordering me to rendezvous with you here. Then I get a message promoting you to Lt.-Cdr. I'm not sure what's going on but I wanted to get everything straightened out before we start planning our operations."

"Well, I hate to say it but a few months ago, when the Coast Guard Caribbean Group commander was killed in a car accident, the navy tried to take over all Coast Guard assets in the Caribbean." Elliott frowned, "I guess it left a bad taste in Admiral Brimo's mouth. He appointed me Commander, Southern Approaches' Command when he ordered the Matinicus on this mission. I think he sees another grab by the Navy."

"That's all we need," Cdr. Shigita said. "Commander, Southern Approaches' eh. I guess that explains the USNAVGULFDEFCOM. Admirals!" He shook his head wearily. "How do you think we should handle this?"

"I have no experience in naval operation," Elliott said. "Law enforcement, fisheries, smugglers, I can handle. Planning a naval battle is something new. I'll leave that to you. Speaking of which what's the latest from Naval Intelligence"

"Once they knew there was something to look for they were pretty efficient," Cdr. Shigita said. "They spotted a Venezuelan naval force leaving port and headed this way. It looks like Venezuela might have a deal with the Columbians because one of the spy satellites spotted a Columbian force headed north in the Pacific. That's why you and I are getting to play the Lone Ranger and Tonto." He looked at Bill, "What do you know about fencing? That was my favorite sport at the academy."

"Fencing, isn't that with long pointy pieces of metal?" Elliot joked. "Seriously I don't know anything about the sport. What's that got to do with our situation?"

"I always liked sabers best," Cdr. Shigita said. He stood up and headed for the hatch. "Most people believe when you block a saber swing you use the edge of your blade. Actually you try to block with the flat of the blade so you don't ruin the edge. That's what I'm going to try to do with the Venezuelans, deflect their attack. Let's go to the CIC and I'll show you what I mean."

"Why are the Venezuelans and Columbians trying this now?" Elliott asked, following Cdr. Shigita from the cabin. "I mean after what happened to Venezuela last year I would think they would be scared to try anything."

"The Venezuelans and Columbians figure they can get away with things now that they couldn't last year," Shigita said. "They think that now we have a civilian president we will be hamstrung as far as nukes are concerned. They might be right but we still have other weapons. Without the Wave the prize is much larger. Intelligence thinks the Columbians just want the Panama Canal. The Venezuelans really hate our guts so there's no telling what their objective is." He shook his head. "If this attack fails I think the whole Venezuelan, Columbian, Brazilian thing will fall apart. Each one wants to be top dog and doesn't trust the others so it's not going to hold together."

***

USCGC Matinicus (WPB-1315)

Underway in the Gulf of Mexico

Five Days later

"Jose, what's the status on the radar? It been down for five hours already," Elliott asked. The XO had just stepped through the hatch onto the heaving bridge. "Without the radar we're like a blind man in a crap game. We aren't going to have much luck."

"Skipper, the tech's report they've found the problem and should have the radar operational in about forty-five minutes," Lt. Cabrera reported, bracing against the heaving deck. "Looks like the antenna motor is out. Luckily we have a spare in supply. What's the situation now?"

"This weather isn't making anything easier," Elliott said, bracing against the roll of the ship. "Why did we have to have a hurricane now? The good news is the weather satellites show the hurricane turned north yesterday toward Texas or Louisiana." He shrugged. "Never mind. The situation is that without the radar we're groping like a blind man. We're relying on the Gary for position reports on the enemy fleet and that's hard while trying to maintain radio silence. We're already out of position." He held onto the bridge rail as the ship took another roll. "How do the men feel about this operation?"

"Personally I think I know how the last legion in Britain felt when Rome withdrew." Jose said. "Outnumbered by the barbarians by a thousand to one. Knowing there will be no relief. But also knowing just by being there on the wall it gives civilization one more day." He shrugged. "The men haven't thought about that aspect. They just know that you think it's important and that's good enough for them."

***

Elliott picked up the squawking bridge phone. "This is the Captain." He listened and then turned back to the XO. "The radar is back on line. They have a number of targets about twenty miles southeast of us. I'll be in the CIC if you need me."

As Elliott left the bridge the messenger of the watch announced, "The Captain is off the bridge."

***

Elliott cursed under his breath. If he was right the enemy convoy had changed course and the Matinicus was on the wrong side of the convoy formation.  The original op plan called for the Matinicus and the Gary to attack in conjunction. The Matinicus was suppose to light off every piece of electronics she had to try and fool the enemy into thinking she was the major ship of the attack formation. So much for operational plans.

On the other hand it looked like the Venezuelans hadn't seen the Matinicus. They had moved three of the four frigates escorting the convoy to block the Gary. If the Matinicus could get close enough before being seen she could get in some licks on the convoy.

He looked at the intelligence summary. Four escort frigates; the General Salóm (F-25), the General Urdaneta (F-23), the Mariscal Sucre (F-21), and the Almirante Brión (F-22).   The RORO (roll on, roll off) was carrying troops. That was the same ship used in the attack on the base at Guantanamo Bay last year. The oil tanker, Dixie Vengeance, was carrying fuel and the motor vessel Rim was probably carrying ammunition and supplies. Those were the major ships. There were three other smaller ships which could be carrying supplies or troops. Two LST's,  the Capana (T-61) and the Los Llanos (T-64) and a Ciudad Bolívar class supply ship, the Ciudad Bolívar (T-81). The Bolívar was a new ship, only a few years old.

He looked at his watch; another hour before the Gary was suppose to open her attack. He studied the plot for a moment then picked up the phone and called the bridge. "XO, this is the captain. Bring us to three quarter speed. Change course to 213 degrees relative. We will be going to general quarters in half an hour."

He looked back at the plot. Now came the hard part, waiting.

***

Elliott braced against the side of his bridge chair. The Matinicus was rolling heavily, if not as heavily as the day before. Another twenty minutes before the Gary would start the ball rolling.

"What the… Shit!" Elliott spat out. He watched the distant tracers rising lazily  from the sea and then there was an explosion in mid-air. He snatched up the bridge phone when it squawked and listened. "Thanks XO. Looks like enemy escorts picked up one of  the LAMPS helos and shot it down. I'll be damned if I know what they were doing in the air in this weather." He listened for a moment. "Okay! Keep me informed on what the frigate on this side of the convoy is doing. Maybe we'll get a chance to slip in and get in some shots while they're distracted. Captain out."

"Godd…. ! The shits hitting the fan tonight," He growled. He watched the streaks from four separate positions on the horizon. Missiles… there was no mistaking the exhausts nor the tracer rounds arching toward the convoy. The explosions lit up the dark horizon. He grabbed the phone again as it squawked and listened. "Keep track of those torpedoes. I'd hate to get hit by one of own shots. Any indication of the damage done by those missiles?" He listened. "You think the Gary and two of the enemy escorts are damaged? The Gary and one enemy frigate has slowed down and the other is dead in the water. What's the situation on the escort on our side of the convoy?" He grinned wolfishly. "You mean she's left her position. Go to full speed and lets close on the convoy. Let's see if we can get a couple. If you can, get a course to either the RORO or the tanker."

He stepped to the bridge radar repeater and looked at the blips. Already he could tell they were changing course. The question was if it was part of a dispersal plan or more like an ant hill that had been stepped on.

***

"Gunny Barron, this is the captain," he said into the bridge phone. "We're headed toward two ships which I believe are the RORO and the tanker. It'll take about twenty minutes to get in range. In the dark they are going to be hard to spot visually. Let's try to get as close as possible to the targets so hold your fire until the last minute. If we're spotted then don't wait for orders to fire. The primary target is the RORO. After that lets see if we can get the tanker. CIC will direct your fire as needed. Good luck!"

***

Elliott looked through his binoculars. He could see the targets even in the dark. Two of the enemy ships, an escort and one of the LSTs, were burning and the convoy ships were silhouetted again the glow. Both target ships were well within range. He picked up the bridge phone to order the guns to open fire. Before he could say anything the RORO seemed to heave up out of the water. Moments later Elliott felt the shockwave.

"What the hell happened, sir?" someone on the bridge asked in a dazed voice.

"A Mk-48 torpedo from the Gary must have gone off under her keel. That will take out the surrounding buttressing, and hang the ship by the bow and stern as the shockwave does the damage.  " Elliott answered without thinking. "Bring us to course 265. Now lets get that tanker." He ordered, grabbing the bridge phone. "Gunny, we're going after the tanker. Open fire as soon as you get a clear shot. Try to hit the bridge first and then try for the fuel bunkers. But take any shot you have."

Seconds later the Matinicus shuddered as the M242 25 mm Bushmaster chain gun opened fire. The first couple of shots were a little short. After that you could see the march of hits along the hull and deck of the Dixie Vengeance as the shell fire moved from the bow toward the bridge. Within seconds the glow of flames could be seen where the incendiaries hit.

Through his binoculars Elliott could see frantic activity on Dixie Vengeance's bridge. He ordered course corrections as the tanker tried to turn ponderously away from the Matinicus.

He was startled out of his concentration by the sudden blare of sirens. It took a moment to realize the Dixie Vengeance had turned into path of  the Ciudad Bolívar (T-81). It was mesmerizing watching the two ships headed toward disaster. Everything seemed to move in slow motion until with a scream of tortured metal the bow of the  Ciudad Bolívar slammed into the mid-ships of the oil tanker. The tanker was pushed under water as the Ciudad Bolívar rode up over it. As the Dixie Vengeance slowly came up out of the water crewmen could be seen running on both ships.

Elliott gave hurried orders for the Matinicus to change course away for the two ships. He could already see oil and fuel spreading from the two ships. He prayed the fuel wouldn't catch fire until the Matinicus was a safe distant away.

He felt the shock wave as the fuel on the tanker caught fire and exploded. He last impression was of something dark coming toward him and then blackness.

USS Neptune

Sick Bay

Galveston, TX

Ten Days later

Bill Elliott knew his eyes were open because he could see a white glow, even though he couldn't see anything else. He managed to blink his eyes a few times and finally he could make out some hazy details. Bending over a table next to the bed he was on was a blurry figure. He tried to speak but only a very faint croak came out. His next attempt was a little louder and attracted the figures attention.

"Cdr. Elliott, take it easy. I'm Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Fuller." HM2 Fuller said. "You've been injured and you are in the sick bay on the Neptune. Take a sip of  water and then I'll notify the doctor." He used a plastic bottle to squirt water into Elliott's mouth.

Elliott hadn't realized how thirsty he was until he felt the cool relief of the water spreading through his body. He just had time to comprehend the USS Gary's ships patch on the corpsman's uniform before he drifted off into a cloud of white mist.

***

Elliott awoke to the sound of a chain being dragged across a deck. He opened his eyes to see his executive officer picking up his hat to leave. He cleared his throat and almost smiled at the way the XO jerked around. He stared at the beds jammed together in the sick bay as the XO jerked back the cloth divider and shouted for a doctor. Then he was floating on white clouds again.

***

Elliott roused with a doctor taking his pulse. He opened his eyes and looked around the small isolated area.

"Ah, good! You're awake! I'm Dr. Blau," the doctor said. "You have had some serious injuries and have been in and out of consciousness for the last two weeks." The doctor wrote on a clipboard from the end of the bed. "If you can stay awake I'll have some food brought and your executive officer is here."

"I'll stay awake and send in my XO." Elliott ordered quietly.

***

Elliott was propped on a pillow eating the last of the soup the corpsman was spoon feeding him when his executive office, Lt. (jg) Jose Cabrera arrived. He motioned Cabrera in with a nod of his head.

"Captain, I'm glad to see you in such good condition," said Lt. (jg) Cabrera, putting down a message board. He waited until the corpsman left then shook his head. "Bill, we've known each other for over twenty years and I've never seen you look worse." He grinned, "In fact I've see dog turds that look better than you do. Seriously though I'm glad to see you up and almost around."

"Good to see you to, Jose," said Elliott. "Give me a rundown on the situation. They won't tell me anything."

"No problem, Skipper," Cabrera said. "To start with you have a concussion, your right arm and leg are broken and you have some broken ribs…"

"I wasn't asking about me," Elliott interrupted. "I meant the Matinicus and the whole situation here. For instance, I see a huge number of beds jammed into a sickbay that was never meant to hold that many. What happened to the Gary?"

"We had 11 crew killed and twenty wounded. You are the only one on the bridge to survive." Cabrera said somberly. "The Gary took several hits and lost her propeller. We had to tow her back to port. She lost 23 killed and 40 seriously wounded. I think only about six or seven crewmen were not wounded. The only officer on the Gary that's fit for duty is an ensign. " He closed his eyes tightly trying to shut out the memory of the trip. "Cdr. Shigita is in even worse shape than you are. He's still in a coma. The doctor is setting up a med-evac. " He shook himself. "The good news is the enemy fleet turned back. Also the Columbian fleet in the Pacific turned back when they got word of the battle. We are doing what repairs we can on the Matinicus and the crew of the Gary are trying to do something to fix her up. However both ships need a period in the yard to get the job done right." He looked at Elliott. "We picked up a few survivors from the tanker. They said half the cargo was gasoline. That's why the explosion was so powerful."

"Sounds like I missed the rough part." Elliott said quietly. "What's the situation here? From the little I can see from this bed there's a lot of work to be done here."

"Well, Skipper, I'm kind of glad you asked." Cabrera stuck his head out of the partition and called, "Come on in. He can see you now."

Elliott watched in trepidation as six men crowded their way into the partitioned area. He recognized them. Capt. Doyle Ingram (USMC), Fr. John Bibzier Torbert, Rabbi Malachi Throne, Jim Boulware, Dr. Blau, and Capt. John King of the Neptune.

Elliott knew he wasn't going to like whatever was coming. He close his eyes, maybe it was a bad dream and they would be gone when he opened his eyes. He opened one eye and sighed. They were all still there.

"Okay, Skipper. the good news first," Cabrera said. He pulled a message from the message board. "Admiral Brimo is sending two more cutters, the  Chandeleur (WPB-1319), the Farallon (WPB-1301).  and a buoy tender, CGC Dolphin (WPB-87354). They will be assigned to the Southern Approaches Command. They will also bring extra personnel to try to get some more cutters reactivated. Families will follow when transport becomes available. They should have left San Juan today. Also two more refugee ships from Europe have arrived in Mobile and seven boats from South America arrived in Galveston. No telling how many just landed on the coast. That's the good news."

"Now for the bad news," he said, pulling out another message. "This message came in from the President appointing you, as the senior military officer, as temporary administrator of the Gulf Coast region." He grinned. "I checked with a lawyer among the escapees from Venezuela. He said in effect this make you military governor until elections can be held. Elections will be affected by whatever state laws the elections are held in. The message also orders all military commanders and civilian leaders in the Gulf region to report to you in person." The others all nodded.

"Don't try to slough this off on me," said Captain King. He had seen Elliott's eyes turn calculatingly toward him. "The Neptune is a civilian ship under contract to the Navy and the government. I'm not eligible to be the governor." He grinned happily. "Better you than me. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole."

"It gets even better," Cabrera said, pulling out two more messages. "A Mr. Van Jones, Assistant Under Secretary of Homeland Security, first ordered all refugees to be interned in temporary camps until a complete background check can be made on each refugee." Cabrera hesitated for a moment. "I have a few contacts in Seattle and they tell me that Jones is very liberal and is building his own empire inside Homeland Security." Cabrera held up the second message. "Then he ordered the military to collected all weapons in their areas and secure them to prevent use by unauthorized persons, because guns in private hands are dangerous. The marines have established the camps and are holding everyone as ordered."

"Why the hell did you do that, Captain Ingram?" Elliot said angrily. "I thought better of you after Florida. How the hell are you suppose to accomplish your assignments if all your men are tied up as prison guards and where are you getting the food to feed them with?" His voice was rising in anger. "On top of that what are you doing here? You're suppose to be in Mobile, f**king Alabama."

"Sorry, sir!" Capt. Ingram snapped to attention. "Orders were for military commanders and civilian leaders to report to you in person. Father Torbert is a pilot and we got a small plane operational and reported here as ordered."

"I have my men guarding the pris… er … refugees as ordered." He said rigidly. "I have been unable to search for weapons and food supplies located close to the detainee camps will soon be exhausted. Sir, I need twice as many men as I have available to carry out the orders."

"At ease, Captain. I owe you an apology." Elliott looked seriously at the marine. "I shouldn't have let my temper get out of control. I could plead my injuries or the situation I found myself in. Never the less I should have exercised better control."

Elliott looked around. "Get some chairs in here so we can be comfortable and then I want a report from each of you."

***

Elliott leaned back on the pillow. He was incredibly tired. His head hurt, his arm and leg ached and whenever he took a deep breath he felt a stab of pain from the broken ribs. But he couldn't afford to take a painkiller, there was too much to be done.

"Jose, send a message to the Farallon to proceed to Pascagoula, Mississippi and see what it will take to get the shipyard there operational." He took a deep breath as he mentally ticked off the first item on his mental list. "Next I want a work party, to include an corpsman, a electrician and a machinist, to check out the hospitals here in Galveston and start getting one operational. I want the wounded moved there as soon as possible."

"Captain Ingram, you do the same when you get back to Mobile. Release all the so called detainees and get back to your job. If there are any questions tell them that the refugees have all been checked by me personally." He paused to think for a moment. "Gather as many weapons as you can and issue one to every adult or individual who can demonstrate they know how to use them. Set up classes in marksmanship and gun safety. People are going to tend to scatter, especially after the orders we received from Seattle. We will not be in a position, most of the time, to protect people. They will have to protect themselves. Any questions so far?"

"What happens if someone shows up demanding the guns?" Jim Boulware asked. "After all the orders were issued to confiscate them and some official might decide he has to take them away."

"Until my orders are countermanded, after I am no longer in charge, you have my permission to shoot the son of a bitch." He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block the pain.

"Alright! I'll make sure the word gets passed." Boulware grinned happily.

Elliott stared at Boulware after the outburst. Then he shook his head. Not even a Texan would be crazy enough to actually shoot someone like that. (He was wrong as he found out a few months later. Asst. Undersecretary Jones and fifty special security personnel, going to Texas with stated purpose of enforcing the new government regulations and arrest the 'incompetent buffoons" who failed to implement said regulation. Their plane flew into the ground half a mile from the end of the runway, during a violent storm. The investigation cleared the ground controllers of any wrong doing.)

"Next, we can't afford to screw around with six or seven sets of local laws. Post notices that state and local laws are hereby rescinded until local populations are large enough to enact new laws." He smiled wickedly. "We are going back to basics. Until we can enact new laws the US Constitution will be the law. See that copies are printed up and distributed to every man, woman and child in our jurisdiction. The Constitution and American History will be taught in every class in schools as soon as they are up and running. This might be changed later but for now it will be done, at least in the area under my control. A lot of laws have been passed over the years which are no longer applicable under the present circumstances. It would be ridiculous to try and enforce them just because they are on the books."

"Check among the refugees and see if we have any civil engineers." He said seriously. "It might not seem like a big deal now but wait until the water stops running and the toilets back up. And don't forget doctors and nurses. Also check for teachers and lets get schools back open. Until I'm over ridden the official language will be English. There are going to be a lot of people coming, all with their own language. Everyone will need a common language to be able to communicate. And History and government."

"I'll check among the people in Mobile for teachers," volunteered Rabbi Throne. "If there are no qualified teachers I'll see about finding parents to teach. I'll also make a list of subjects which must be taught and which can wait until later."

"Very good, Rabbi." Elliott said. "Mr. Boulware, do the same for Galveston. Also you and Father Torbert and Rabbi Throne, I want you to assemble a group with some legal experience to figure out how to give land titles to refugees to unclaimed land." He shook his head. "Americans with proof of ownership will still own their own land. We need a way to get title to refugees with no claim and a way to register the titles.  Maybe something along the lines of the homestead laws. And I want the law easily  understandable to a layman without the need for a lawyer. Also have them come up with local laws concerning murder, stealing, etc. Then have the citizens in your areas vote on them." He paused thoughtfully. "Start organizing elections so civilian government can start taking over the responsibilities of getting things organized."

"That's all for now. Any questions?" He waited a moment. "Okay, get started on everything and we will meet again tomorrow at noon. I want to see some progress on the items we just went over." He snapped his fingers. "Make up lists of things that need to be done and recommendations. We'll go over the list and decide what to do and in what priority. Capt. Ingram, Father Torbert and Rabbi Throne, you should plan to leave as soon as possible after the meeting. I'm sure you all have things waiting for you that needs to get done."

After the others had left Cabrera rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "Are you crazy? As soon as someone files a complaint with Seattle they will relieve you." He stared at Elliott in understanding. "You're trying to get relieved aren't you and you figure the quickest way is to have a lot of people start complaining about your high handed policies?"

"I estimate it will take about a month for enough complaints to go in and get me off the hook." He snorted. "Military governor, my ass! There are probably a number of liberals in the refugees who will be falling over themselves to be the first to file a complaint. Make sure everyone has access to communications with Seattle." He sighed. "I guess you had better get that lawyer you mentioned, if he can be trusted, to start going over federal laws and see what we need to maintain basic rights and see justice is done."

"I'll get on it right away." Cabrera said. "As the Chinese say it looks like we're living in interesting times." He looked down and then pulled the blanket up over the sleeping Elliott

The End

27 Responses to ‘Some fan fic for monday.’

HAVOCK is gonna tell you...

Posted March 29, 2010
DAM!...good job...very good job!

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Scott has opinions thus...

Posted March 29, 2010
Good stuff!

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Matthew K mutters...

Posted March 29, 2010
Enjoyed that, thanks. Authentic sounding details of US Naval life, can almost smell the sea.

Overall though I found the dialogue and the identities of the speakers to be a little crudely presented. And PLEASE we don't need reminding more than once in a paragraph of a character's full name and title; i.e. "Lt. (j.g.) Jose Cabrera", once he's introduced at the beginning of a scene then thereafter he, or any other character, can be referred to by their surname/nickname.

Sorry, minor details but they did grate on my nerves after a while. Overall I found it readable, realistic and credible.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted March 29, 2010
I'm really interested to see how JB deals with the repopulation issue. We already know that Miguel makes it from what I still think of as the Aussie Rules mob, to Texas.

It is going to be an interesting ride. Roll On Fathers Day!

Nice work sir, very nice work, the bribe offer took me an extra read to work out, that's not a bad thing.

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NukemHill would have you know...

Posted March 30, 2010
I've noticed a rather interesting (and depressing, frankly) theme echoed here in this story. As many of you are aware, we in the US are going through some interesting times. The political scene is as polarized as I can recall, and many say probably since at least our Civil War in the 1860s.

The divisiveness lies mostly along a pretty clear fault line: on one side are the self-identified Progressives. They feel it is the role of the government to provide as many safety nets as possible for the population, in order to protect them from harm--be it financial, physical, spiritual, etc. This results in an ever-burgeoning centralized government, with accompanying bureaucracies, laws, regulations, et al. In order to fund this, new taxes, levies, fines, and tariffs are being enacted.

On the other side lie the "Self-Determinists" (my word). This group is made up of traditional libertarians, fiscal conservatives, small-government conservatives, etc. They argue for reducing government reach, smaller bureaucracies, fewer laws. One could call them Traditionalists, or Constitutionalists. They strongly believe in a very limited and strict interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. Get the government out of our lives. Let the American people determine their own course, make their own mistakes, live, learn, and move on. Give the states back the power they are granted in the Constitution.

Currently, the Tea Party seems to be the focal point of this philosophy of governing. The actions of the current administration, along with those of our Congress, have galvanized this movement, and the popular sentiment seems (one can never really know with public opinion polls) to be on the side of the TP. I don't know if this is merely a short-term phenomenon, or if it is indicative of a genuine sea-change. That is probably a critical aspect of the point I'm about to make.

All this is to say this: The sentiment expressed by Elliot (though not explicitly) is that the Constitution is paramount. It is the governing document under which all local and state policies will be established. A return of states rights, the teaching of history, self-determination--these are stated goals of his. Now, it is couched in thumbing his nose at DHS, but the author makes it clear that Elliot has the support of the populace in his endeavors (if I'm interpreting the "accidental" plane crash properly...).

But there is an interesting premise to this story, and one I've encountered elsewhere, as well. It takes a catastrophic event to reset the playing field. Because of The Wave, the previously omni-present federal government has been destroyed. Given this, the ability for "locals" to re-establish self-governance is paramount. And they have the ability to re-adopt the Constitution (in a strict-constructionist manner) as the basis for their government. Without interference from the federal government!

A different twist on this would be "Executive Orders", by Tom Clancy. He uses a catastrophic event (the mass death of nearly every elected official through a plane attack on Capitol Hill) to attempt a "fresh start". And this theme shows up in other books, as well.

What I find depressing about all of this, if you will indulge me a bit more, is that it seems nobody (unless I've missed it somehow) really believes (and here come my true colors!) that we can reverse the monstrous growth and over-reach of our federal government without some sort of catastrophic event that at least partially, if not completely, incapacitates the government as it stands today. Either through an exogenous event (The Wave; a terrorist attack), or through the even greater horror of a second civil war. But without a massive, violent shift, there is no way to reverse the course. It certainly implies that the political process is either too ineffective, or too corrupted (or both), to enact what many feel (myself being one of them) to be necessary clampdowns. Which makes me wonder at how the current Tea Party movement will evolve. Will it keep to a strictly political exercise, in an attempt to change the system from within? Will it be able to bring about those changes politically? Or will it be faced, eventually, with a decision to make: keep butting against an immoveable object, or start to act outside the system? There are plenty of militia movements and groups in this country. I used to think they were a bunch of crackpots. And, indeed, there are those in existence. But there are many more (in spite of what the press would have us believe) that strongly believe in the Constitution and what it stands for. If enough people lose faith in the system, then I fear the militia movement may explode in popularity, with all of the dangers that implies….

I could go on. Anyone who's read this far--thanks for indulging me. This seemed to be as good a place as any to voice a deep-seated fear of mine--either we're moving inexorably towards a totalitarian federal government, with lots of power residing in very few, unchecked, hands; or a fearfully violent shift will strip that power away, and return it to the people. And that the current system doesn't allow for a non-violent reversal.

Good story. Thought provoking (obviously!). Obviously, there are nits to pick, but I think Mr. Johnson acquits himself quite well.

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mckinneytexas asserts...

Posted March 30, 2010
Good read, although that Adm. Brimo seems kind of lame. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

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Matthew K is gonna tell you...

Posted March 30, 2010
Thanks Nuke, that articulates questions I've been having about the worrying polarisation of US politics.

Although I'm a Brit and have never visited, I'm sort of worried by the tone the Republicans have adopted of late, even though I might well agree with the sentiments they express I feel they take them to ridiculous extremes.

It matters because I don't want to live in a world dominated by China.

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Roberto Teixeira mumbles...

Posted March 30, 2010
Very nice, Sir.

I have to say that I didn't buy into the Venezuelan-Colombian deal. Those two hate each other's guts. Colombia is a US ally, btw. Of course, in the aftermath of the Wave everything is up for grabs.

Also I don't think Brazil -- a wuss of a country if there ever was one, with barely a military to speak of -- would invade Suriname. Brazil is the kind of place that would probably propose a multilateral commission to discuss the feasibility of starting an international inquiry on the legality of giving Suriname to Chavez.

But other than that, thanks for this. Loved to hear some ideas of what might have happened after the Wave... anxiously waiting for Without America.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted March 30, 2010
It'll be interesting to see how the issue of reconstituting new states will manifest itself in the next couple of novels.

For instance, will the new US Government simply restore states based upon their historical boundaries when the population reaches a certain target level? If you use the Northwest Ordnance as historical example, then you'd need around 60,000 voting adults to establish a state constitutional convention and apply for admission back into the Federal Government.

Or will they create new states to replace the lost ones, consolidating are perhaps combining former states into larger entities?

Another question to ask is this? An age old debate in US History is the nature of the power of the Federal Government as opposed to State Governments? How will this manifest itself? Will the Federal Government assume more power by virtue of the absence of State Governments or will their be a more pronounced turn toward the power of State Governments due to the communications/geographic/transportation issues of the post wave world?

You might have some states and territories get it into their head to do their own thing, which was certainly the case during the Articles of Confederation Period stretching from the Revolutionary War to the Summer of 1787.

Things to ponder.

As for American History, I've been teaching it now for three years at the community college level. If you had caught me in 2007 I would have argued for an old school approach to US History emphasizing the Founding Fathers, the Constitution and the like. I still teach it that way but I find, strangely enough for me, that I have been trying to find ways to work other aspects of our narative into the course. Issues such as the nature of America's ascendency to regional then global power status, minority and gender rights, and of course, the nature of Federal versus State Power.

The next question is this. These folks will be teaching the U.S. Constitution. All well and good as I do that. But which INTERPRETATION will they teach? Jeffersonian or Hamiltonian? There are pros and cons to both schools and whats more, the difference in interpretation shapes our current day political debates about the nature of Federal Power.

Things to ponder.

Oh, another historical period to consider would be the Reconstruction Era from 1863 to 1877 and examine how the South was brought back into the Union. With mixed results and at the expense of 4 million freed African-American slaves.

Things to ponder.

As for Brazil, they have a fairly substantial military and one that is well respected. I wouldn't count the Brazilians out of anything.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Matthew K would have you know...

Posted March 30, 2010
O missed the whole Venezuelan-Colombian deal. Good point Mr Teixeira.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 30, 2010
Uh, everyone does realise this is fan fic, right? I didn't write it. It is from the dashing pen of John Johnson.

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 30, 2010
Yeah yeah. We're just giving it it's due and seeing how well it fits into the canon is all.

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Alcibiades would have you know...

Posted March 30, 2010
Very good!!!

Theres just one problem I have (and this is just from the book/universe/setting, not this story per se.

I sat down after reading the book during a slow time and by the time I was done had two pages of what I KNEW was either 1) correct or 2) demonstably probable about the Wave. But aside from the possibly cryptic comment by the President at the end, its presumed no one knows anything, just as you can bet that there are some fairly significant probabilities for what happens now its gone.

While deductive reaoning isnt always right, presuming no one is using it makes my teeth itch.

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NukemHill mumbles...

Posted March 30, 2010
JB. Yes, of course. I think everyone's clear on that. It's a great piece of fan-fic. And frankly, it has stirred the muse within me. I've contemplated scenarios set within your WW/AA universe, but haven't really set my mind to putting "pen to paper", as it were. Reading this, and gestating over my previous comment, has me seriously considering taking a stab at it.

If I do, I'll send it to you. Thanks a ton for providing a forum in which we have the freedom to express ourselves this way.

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A ‘poor western to arab death ratio!’ « The World According to Me… asserts...

Posted March 31, 2010
[...] Gothic also hosts a nice piece of fan fiction from The Wave section of the [...]

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NickC asserts...

Posted March 31, 2010
Murph

For the readmission of States, there'd be a lot of pressure to restore the status quo. However, once the first State had been admitted with different boundaries, it'd be a lot easier to make further changes.

Interestingly, given the likely spread of resettlement is going to be initally out of Seattle, almost immediately you'd have debates as to whether California should be admitted as one or more States (as one state in time it would again come to dwarf the other States in population) and whether to merge States such as Wyoming, Idaho, the Dakatos etc to reduce their disproportinate political influence.

This would also tie into the question of whether you incorporate Canadian or Mexican territory as States too, I guess.

There probaly would be great pressure on the president and his successors to restore as many stars to the flag as quickly as possible.

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El Coqui ducks in to say...

Posted March 31, 2010
I like it very much.

However, it does need a bit of editing, too many repetitive ranks or those use in the wrong context. Example, on conversation, is commander not Lieutenant commander. The same for Lieutenant Colonel, you address them as Colonels.

I too have problems with the Colombian turnover. They not only hate each other guts but if Chavez is dumb enough to start a war with them, the smart money is on Colombia.

One element missing is aviation. We could have flown strike missions from reopened bases on the gulf states.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted March 31, 2010
Nick, if it were yours truly running the country (and I'm not) the first thing I'd do is secure the Western Seaboard. Then I would try to secure strategic positions as far east as possible using relatively intact urban centers with vital commo and transportation links.

Personally, I think it all boils down to rivers. I'd want to secure the Missouri, the Mississippi and the Ohio at the very least.

I think I'd also want to secure key points on the Eastern Seaboard. Miami is intact as of Without Warning and a palce for El Coqui to perhaps base a little fan fiction. I can see Puerto Rico moving into that territory to secure it.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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El Coqui mumbles...

Posted April 1, 2010
Well, I can use my fighter pilot POV for some of the reopened air bases. The question is where, any suggestions?

Personally, I think that we need\ to secure Barksdale? in LA early on as that where the B-52s and their nukes were based. Probably with elements of the 65th Infantry.

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NukemHill mumbles...

Posted April 1, 2010
Question. Would any of the Canadian northern early warning sites remain active? I.e., what used to be part of the NORAD early launch detection network, I believe, and now serves as part of the continental air defense?

I'm really curious how the North American continent would be defended from concerted efforts by the Russians and/or Chinese to bring light brigades into the interior US and lock down some of the juicier military and scientific installations. It would be a shitstorm at the least, and possibly impossible to reverse until the invaders decided they'd gotten enough of what they wanted.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted April 1, 2010
It is not easy to get to the United States. Once you are here, it is not easy to support yourself. Ask the British during the War of 1812 or the Revolutionary War. I suspect anyone attempting an incursion into CONUS would find it difficult to get here, difficult to sustain themselves and difficult to prevail.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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savo is gonna tell you...

Posted April 3, 2010
Will do Admiral.

Had a lightening strike and still working off a netbook.

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John R. Johnson swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 5, 2010
I want to take this opportunity to answer several critisms of my story.

The comment about Admiral Brimo being kind of weak. First the Admiral is headquartered in Puerto Rico, which has a function government infrastructure. His only knowledge of the situation on the ground (or sea) are the reports he receives from the local commander (Elliott). Also the orders from the civilian dederal government in Seattle are direct to the highest military officer in the local area. Effectively cutting Elliott from Adm. Brimo's chain of command and setting up an independent command.

NEXT:

Jose: What can I say. 27 years of calling a J.G. a Lt and only writing j.g. or Lt. Cdr in reports and I should know better. I have made the appropraite changes in the story to remove a nummber of them. I will be happy to send you the amended story if you like.

Comments about the supposed Venezuela, Brazil, Columbia coalition. I have made several corrections/additions which I wll post here.

"We know about the invasions. We had requests for help from the governments of Guyana and Surinam. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do. A combined Venezuelan and Brazilian army tried to take French Guyana but Sarkozy had sent troops to secure the place. They kick the Venezuelan and Brazilian armies out. Surinam probably could have kicked the Brazilians out but the Dutch were even more wishy-washy than the Brazilians." Elliott looked hard at Boulware. "There was a university professor on sabbatical in Venezuela when the wave hit. It was reported he had been selected by the prisoners as their representative to Chavez and the US government. He's been reporting the internees are well treated."

Frankly I was torn wheither to use this or say the Brazilian government had been overthrown after the Wave. I decided if there had been an overthrow the situation in country would have been too unsettled to support an invasion of Surinam.

NEXT.

"The Venezuelans and Columbians figure they can get away with things now that they couldn't last year," Shigita said. "They think that now we have a civilian president we will be hamstrung as far as nukes are concerned. They might be right but we still have other weapons. Without the Wave the prize is much larger. Intelligence thinks the Columbians just want the Panama Canal. The Venezuelans really hate our guts so there's no telling what their objective is." He shook his head. "If this attack fails I think the whole Venezuelan, Columbian, Brazilian thing will fall apart. Each one hates the other, wants to be top dog and doesn't trust the others so it's not going to hold together."

NUKE: I agree with many of your statements. I think this country is teetering on the edge of civil war. God! I hope not. However, I would rather see a reform come about by because of an outside force than civil war. In the event of civil war there will be hatred and ill feeling for a long time to come.

My paternal grandmother was born and raised in GA (as was I). She was born in 1897. I remember her saying one time that she was 14 years old before she knew 'damn yankee' was two words. I would really rather not see that much animosity between our citizens again. Unfortunately I see those feelings starting to grow today.

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John R. Johnson swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 5, 2010
I want to take this opportunity to answer several critisms of my story.

The comment about Admiral Brimo being kind of weak. First the Admiral is headquartered in Puerto Rico, which has a function government infrastructure. His only knowledge of the situation on the ground (or sea) are the reports he receives from the local commander (Elliott). Also the orders from the civilian dederal government in Seattle are direct to the highest military officer in the local area. Effectively cutting Elliott from Adm. Brimo's chain of command and setting up an independent command.

NEXT:

Jose: What can I say. 27 years of calling a J.G. a Lt and only writing j.g. or Lt. Cdr in reports and I should know better. I have made the appropraite changes in the story to remove a nummber of them. I will be happy to send you the amended story if you like.

Comments about the supposed Venezuela, Brazil, Columbia coalition. I have made several corrections/additions which I wll post here.

"We know about the invasions. We had requests for help from the governments of Guyana and Surinam. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do. A combined Venezuelan and Brazilian army tried to take French Guyana but Sarkozy had sent troops to secure the place. They kick the Venezuelan and Brazilian armies out. Surinam probably could have kicked the Brazilians out but the Dutch were even more wishy-washy than the Brazilians." Elliott looked hard at Boulware. "There was a university professor on sabbatical in Venezuela when the wave hit. It was reported he had been selected by the prisoners as their representative to Chavez and the US government. He's been reporting the internees are well treated."

Frankly I was torn wheither to use this or say the Brazilian government had been overthrown after the Wave. I decided if there had been an overthrow the situation in country would have been too unsettled to support an invasion of Surinam.

NEXT.

"The Venezuelans and Columbians figure they can get away with things now that they couldn't last year," Shigita said. "They think that now we have a civilian president we will be hamstrung as far as nukes are concerned. They might be right but we still have other weapons. Without the Wave the prize is much larger. Intelligence thinks the Columbians just want the Panama Canal. The Venezuelans really hate our guts so there's no telling what their objective is." He shook his head. "If this attack fails I think the whole Venezuelan, Columbian, Brazilian thing will fall apart. Each one hates the other, wants to be top dog and doesn't trust the others so it's not going to hold together."

NUKE: I agree with many of your statements. I think this country is teetering on the edge of civil war. God! I hope not. However, I would rather see a reform come about by because of an outside force than civil war. In the event of civil war there will be hatred and ill feeling for a long time to come.

My paternal grandmother was born and raised in GA (as was I). She was born in 1897. I remember her saying one time that she was 14 years old before she knew 'damn yankee' was two words. I would really rather not see that much animosity between our citizens again. Unfortunately I see those feelings starting to grow today.

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John R. Johnson reckons...

Posted April 5, 2010
I don't know how the previous message got posted twice. I apologize to everyone for the double post.

Savo: I you like I will be happy to send you most recent version of the story with the above corrections for posting on the miniburger site. I still can't figure out how to post it there. Just send me an email address and I will send the story as an attachment. Send it to me at jewelld@cox.net.

Thanks!

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El Coqui is gonna tell you...

Posted April 6, 2010
John:

Just send me a copy whenever you can. Paula picked up "No greater Love" formerly "sheepdogs and badges" for issue 29 of the Gazette. I am giving Sarah Hays, John Harvell, Neil and you credit for your yeoman work as proofreaders. Once again thanks.

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savo reckons...

Posted April 6, 2010
John R. Johnson just use the ... er, oh the mailing address is gone from the top left hand box.

Can you send it to birmoverse at yahoo dot com dot au

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