Friday, December 11, 2015

If you'd like me to work on this....consider buying the e-book of volume one in my alternative history of the Solar System 'Charles Dicken's Martian Notes' only £2.50 from Lulu or £2.85 from Amazon.

Die Traumbude or THE SECOND WORLDS’ WAR:

A Novel of the Earth-Mars Conflict of 1914-18.

(1) His Majesty in Council has power during the continuance of the present war to issue regulations as to the powers and duties of the Admiralty, The Rocket Group, and the Army Council and of the members of His Majesty's forces, and other persons acting in His behalf, for securing the public safety and the defence of the Earth; and may, by such regulations, authorise the trial by courts martial and punishment of persons contravening any of the provisions of such regulations designed—
(a) To prevent persons communicating with the Martians or obtaining information for that purpose or any purpose calculated to jeopardise the success of the operations of any of His Majesty's forces or to assist the Martians; or

(b) To secure the safety of any means of communication, or of railways, docks, aeroports  or harbours; in like manner as if such persons were subject to military law and had on active service committed an offence under section 5 of the Army Act.

(2) His Majesty in Council may by order, assign and delegate such powers, as provided by the above, to warranted officers, to permit the application of regulation to the pursuit of the war, in such places as may – in times of peace – be outside the direct governance of the Brittanic Empire under the Concord of Free Countries.  Such authority will be subject to:

(a) The oversight of a Council of Free Country Ministers to be determined by their legislative assemblies, to report after the successful conclusion of hostilities with Mars.

(b) The requirements of the Free Hanseatic Convention (1893)

(3) This Act may be cited as the Defence of the Earth Act, 1914.
                                                                                    Defence of the Earth Act, 1914.

Chapter One

The shells began falling on the green meadows of Europe, that cold September day.  It was the eleventh of September in the year of our Lord 1914.

The shells were great metal vessels fired from the dying Mars across the vastness of space. Greater by far than the primitive cylinders than had fallen on to the Earth in fewer numbers at the end of the preceding century: they spoke of advancement upon the dry deserts of the red planet, and of minds turned once again enviously to Earth.

Their presence suggested also that the humanity that had colonised Mars, before the destruction of the ether and the end of the Interplanetary Era, had fallen under the Martian yoke or was – at best – in no position to prevent the Old Martians striking again at the Earth.

Those of us who had family lines stretching into the heavens – kin in First Human Hive or Barsoom City, or in the Lost Brittanic Dominian of Kanata, could only pray, and hope.

The first shell landed near the city of Bremen on the River Weser, in the Hanseatic States.  The crater thrown up by the shell's impact, obliterated the north of the old town bringing down many buildings, including the West tower of St Peter’s Cathedral, whose restoration had been completed only fifteen years before.

The smoke from the heat of the crater rose like a black thundercloud, and ash fell over the southern town. By noon, a hastily assembled militia - armed with mirror shields against the heat-ray, had set up observation posts at a distance on the Breman Hills - and were awaiting an order to bombard the shell with rockets the moment it should open.  The old town had been evacuated, and fire tenders stood by to douse the buildings with water if they should be combusted.

The Germanies had been little injured by the Martians raids upon Earth in the 1890s, but all the Hanseatic states had colonists upon Mars, and the impact of the shell itself had done much to inflame public anger. The general assumption was that Old Martians would soon come forth and that they could then be dispatched.  Some of the officers hoped that the shell might be captured once the Old Martians were killed, and perhaps the present status of humanity upon Mars be determined by an examination of its interior.  No one spoke about the feeding practices of the Old Martians and the long standing belief that they preyed upon humans.  If there were prisoners held as cattle aboard the shell - their lives would be ended as effectively by bombardment as the Martians themselves - it was in order to avoid the contemplation of this necessity that the supplies the Martians might have brought with them were not discussed.

It was in the seventh hour after the fall of the shell, that the first word reached Bremen of similar impacts, on the Gaulish coast and in High Holland.  Either the turning of the Earth, or a different strategy seemed to have spoken against the Martians beginning their assault on the British Isles on this occasion.   The rocket crews, were still awaiting orders (though quite prepared to fire on their own initiative, if the shell opened) when at three points in the grey armour of the Martians' space vessel - ports opened.  Too small to permit the passage of a living creature of the girth of a man or Martian those exit points, filled with.................

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