In 47,425, BCE a young girl of a tribe in central Africa conceives of a unique idea; she can make hundreds of sounds, each easily distinguishable to the human ear. She thinks that if she attaches a specific sound to an idea, or to a thing, that she would be able to communicate her very thoughts to other people. The first sound she designates is for herself, and she calls herself Telka, the Speaker.
After (cont.) ~ It was crowded in the jeep. Eli had a fake National Guard uniform, but no one else was comfortable with him being visible to the world. So, everyone but Jake and Kevin hid under tarp until they were well out of Austin and rushing towards Bryan. When Kevin gave them the all clear, they came out of the tarp sucking down air as if they had been buried.
'So, how long a trip is it to Bryan?' George stood right behind his father, eagerly taking in the countryside.
'Couple hours, Kevin told him. 'We'll be there before you know it.'
True enough, the trip went quickly and smoothly. There was no traffic, and they saw no Guard units until they were approaching Bryan. The unit that they passed didn't even ask them for their papers, but just waved them through. Kevin then started directing Jake through a few back roads to his house, where they drove up to the sound of a dog barking. Kevin immediately hopped out and quieted the dog. 'Sorry I was gone so long, big guy', he said, patting the dog on the head. He looked over at the food and water bowls he had set out, and they were both empty. He let the dog out of the fenced yard as the crowd exited the car. The dog ran over and sniffed them all, while Kevin told them, 'Don't worry, he's really nice. That didn't seem to calm Mike and Eli, who kept as far away from the dog as they could. Kevin opened up the door to his house and he and the dog ran in, followed by the others. Eli took a quick look around at the other houses on the road, but no one seemed to be watching them, so he shut the door and joined the others.
Kevin busied himself with feeding his pet, and Janice sat down at his PC. 'Hey, computer man, do you need to check this thing for spyware and such before I turn it on?'
Kevin looked over at her, ready to tell her to just do it, but caution hit him. 'Hang on. He finished filling up the dog's dish and walked back to the living room and examined the case of his computer. No additional hardware had been added to the back, so he pulled out his tools and opened the case. He found nothing inside, either. 'It's clean', he told Janice.
Mike walked over to her and told her, 'You're not gonna make a direct connection anywhere, are ya?Janice paused, her fingers just touching the keyboard. 'Can you reroute me to throw 'em off?'
Kevin put a hand to his chest. 'How badly are you going to screw up my computer?'
'Relax, moneybags, you can buy another one.'
Kevin gave up and flopped down on the couch in front of the TV, with Steph and George. 'At least they're not showin' the emergency lady anymore', George said. The channel was on a cartoon.
Jake, Eli and Joan were all crowded into Kevin's small kitchen, raiding the meager contents of his refrigerator. The dog sniffed patiently at their backs, hoping for a few scraps to fall. They piled the food onto his kitchen table and dug in.
Kevin looked over at Steph, who looked back at him and smiled. 'Not how you planned your first day back as a millionaire, huh?'
'Nope.' He smiled back. 'Parts of it are nice, though.'
She turned away, but was still smiling. 'We're goin' to Roswell from here?'
'That's what they said. Apparently, John Kerry was in New Mexico when it all went down, and he started rallying people around him. President-elect, and all. He couldn't hide the disgust in his voice.'
'He's a good man', Steph said. 'A hero.'
'That's not true, Kevin said, shaking his head. 'All those swift-boat guys were talkin' about what a lie that was.'
Steph pursed her lips and phrased her response carefully. 'I think you need to reconsider who you get your truth from', Kevin.
About to launch back with a response straight from talk radio, Kevin bit his lip and thought better of it. He looked around at his crowded house and said, 'I'll try to keep an open mind.'
They turned their attention back to the TV, and the sun rose outside while the group in the kitchen satisfied their hunger and the pair at the computer got news from the underground. Kevin was starting to think about taking a nap when the emergency broadcast signal startled them all.
The emergency lady came on and said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, there is miraculous news from Waco this morning. President Bush survived the attempt on his life and has been rescued by Texas Guard units searching through the rubble of his ranch. According to the Guard, the president is in excellent shape, and plans to address the nation later today.
In 1960, Senator Joe Kennedy, Jr. threw his hat in the ring for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Kennedy's inspiring tale of recovery from injuries suffered in a horrific plane crash during World War II made him a natural choice, and he won the nomination handily. He had a little more difficulty defeating Vice President Nixon in the general election, but squeaked by with a margin of half a million votes.
In 1903, after appointing a black postmistress to the post office in Indianola, Mississippi, President Roosevelt sent reinforcements along with her to ensure that she would be able to do her job. Roosevelt's commitment to the civil rights of the African-American population of America gave him a hitherto unmeasured degree of support in the south. His Civil Rights Act of 1904, ensuring the voting rights of blacks across America, is credited with landing him his unprecedented 3rd term of office in the election of 1908.
In 870, the infidel rulers Ferdinand and Isabella fall to the righteous forces of Caliph Boabdil. Allah saw fit to give the Moors control of Espagne, and from there, a foothold on the rest of Europe, so that His word might reach the poor northerners who had not heard Its beauty.
In 1979, punk rocker Sid Vicious goes on trial for the murder of his girlfriend/manager, Nancy Spungen. Vicious attempts suicide several times during the trial process, until he is finally placed into custody and put under a suicide watch. He is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in 2002, a shell of his former self.
In 1905, the Japanese attack on Port Arthur is frustrated by the arrival of Russian reinforcements. At one stage it looked as if the Tsar would be humiliated by defeat, but after Port Arthur, the Russo-Japanese war drifted into a stalemate.
In 1837, Britain takes possession of Michigan Territory following conclusion of a treaty with native tribes. Native tribes are granted exclusive possession of a large tract of the territory, angering white settlers who had hoped to take possession of all of the territory's land. Native-owned lands are to be incorporated as Detroit Territory; the remainder will become the Crown Colony of Michigan.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford vetoes the Privacy Act, passed by Congress in reaction to the excesses of his predecessor Richard M. Nixon.
Justifying his action, Ford says, "Although I understand Congress wanted to rein in the executive branch to prevent abuses, I believe that with our nation at war, with American boys still dying not only in Southeast Asia but in a Communist-threatened nation ninety miles off our own shore, I cannot support tying the hands of our investigative agencies. Subversion is a real threat, and we must take to hand whatever tools we can to keep it from harming us".
Ford's veto is met with anger on Capitol Hill.
The incoming Ninety-fourth Congress, in which the President's party will have thirty fewer seats in the House and six fewer in the Senate, will include numerous freshman members elected on promises to 'clean up the mess' from Watergate, including Nixon's controversial domestic espionage operations, and even some veteran Republicans will privately concede that the veto sends the wrong message.
On this day in 1990, deposed Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, who along with his wife Elena had escaped Bucharest seven days earlier, was arrested in Switzerland while attempting to secure political asylum at the North Korean embassy in Geneva.
In 1954, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) is formally reorganized into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In keeping with the ostensibly peaceful purposes of the new organization, it will be under civilian rather than military control, a choice which angers some in the Pentagon who saw President Eisenhower's commitment to space as a bonanza for the Defense Department.
Dr. Thomas Keith Glennan of the Atomic Energy Commissions is named first NASA Administrator. By mid-March, after two months of bureaucratic infighting, NASA is finally staffed and offices established in Washington and Huntsville, Alabama. The Huntsville facility will do much of the early development work on the satellite.
In 1959, the government of strongman General Fulgiencio Batista in Cuba falls to left-wing rebels led by former law student Fidel Castro. General Batista escapes to Miami.
Reaction in the U.S. is swift and hostile. Over the next few months, the Eisenhower administration will organize and launch a semi-secret campaign of economic sabotage and military raids, operating out of bases in the United States, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Under the supervision of Vice-President Nixon, right-wing Cubans who have fled their island country are organized into a secret army in preparation for an invasion, which they will spearhead but the U.S. military is to support, aimed at 'freeing' Cuba.
Unaware of Ike's covert destabilization efforts, Senator Joseph McCarthy will lose no time in going to the media to blame the Eisenhower administration for the fall of Batista. 'We can choose to believe that the Administration is incompetent,' he thunders, 'or that it is riddled with traitors, as was the Democrat administration of Truman before it, or both. There are no other choices.'
Even as the administration's plans go forward, the Wisconsin senator will keep up his assault. A fuming Eisenhower has no choice but to let him, in order not to expose the anti-Castro operation.
In 1808, the Africa Act, passed by Parliament the previous October, goes into effect, banning the African slave trade and empowering British naval vessels to intercept and impound slave ships on the high seas.
The Act inspires fury in the slaveholding American colonies, sparking talk of a new rebellion.
In 1958, after a number of embarrassing public failures, the U.S. finally orbits an artificial satellite, Explorer I.
Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had demanded a congressional investigation after the Soviets beat the U.S. into space the previous October, rushes to take credit. 'This is what happens when you hold these eggheads' feet to the fire,' he says at a news conference.
McCarthy's comments fuel resentment among space scientists and the Senator's colleagues on the Hill, who will band together to strip him of authority over the Sputnik inquiry he had instigated and to change its focus from rooting out 'traitors' in the scientific community to building up America's scientific and technological infrastructure.
In 1800, under the terms of a Franco-Spanish treaty, New Orleans, which had been a Spanish possession since 1763, is returned to France. This has the effect of placing a second colony of expatriate American rebels under the protection of the French crown. Britain, which had been reluctant to risk war with both France and Spain to pursue these 'traitors,' begins seriously considering a war to seize Louisiana.
In 1966, counter-revolutionary reactionaries shut down the New York City subway system in a protest against the New York Soviet's freezing of subway worker's wages. Capitalist sympathizer John Lindsay, organizer of the strike, was arrested by Mayor Michael Quill and charged with anti-American activities.
In 1946, Pascal-Edison develops the prototype model for what will become their desktop difference engine. This model, known as Eniac, was never released, but was the template for the eddie that became known as the Univac.
In 1959, President Fulgencio Batista is overthrown by Fidel Castro's forces during the Cuban Revolution. The United States became increasingly hostile to Cuba during 1959, driving Castro away from the liberal elements of his revolutionary movement and into the arms of Nazi Germany. Just three years later the Nazis would site nuclear weapons less than 100 miles from the United States, leading the World to the brink of Armageddon
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.