TimeLine E - Apocalypse World

By Chris Nuttall


Preliminary Notes: The Following Document, classified THANDE MOST SECRET, has been prepared using research largely conducted by historians on TimeLine E, rather than research conducted directly by Insertion Team Four, and follow-up missions. Although all observed facts seem to coincide with the details in this document, it must be stressed that accuracy may well be limited.

Summery: A report, prepared for the Senate/House of Commons Oversight Committee on TimeLine E (aka Apocalypse World), on the events that led up to the Final War there and the aftermath.

The War: As far as can be determined, the genesis of World War Three lay in the Polish Uprising of 1980. The Polish underground had in fact managed to acquire quite a commanding position within the citizens (the Communist party was literally being ignored), in effect making it the real government of Poland. Similarities to the Communist Coup of 1917 in Russia did not pass unnoticed; the reins of power were slipping to the underground, not the Communist Party, which was entirely dominated by pro-Russians or Russian servants. While the underground was not completely anti-communist, it did resent domination by Russia – a thought shared by many of the servants of the Communist regime itself.

In our timeline, martial law was declared in 1980-81, just to prevent a Russian invasion. (Polish files on the subject remain classified.) It is clear that Russian/WP planning for an invasion went ahead. In this timeline, the underground, more and more, became the power in Poland, panicking the Russians. Orders were issued for Polish forces to handle the underground, an event that indicated their role in the eyes of Moscow, and were refused.

The unrest, particularly as Moscow scrambled to put together a military solution, spread to East Germany. The GDR kept a stronger hand on the unrest, but it was becoming evident that few GDR units were prepared to suppress the riots. In at least one case, an infantry unit attacked Russian soldiers engaged in suppressing a riot by means of machine gun fire. Although that proved to be an isolated case, it unnerved Russia.

Orders were sent for a two-prong invasion of Poland, from Soviet territory and East Germany. The Russian troops actually performed well in the invasion; East German troops, more or less, mutinied against the GDR. Exactly why has never been explained, particularly in the extensive devastation caused by the war; it is generally believed that they wanted the Polish-reforms for themselves.

The GDR leadership vanished in the confusion and a junta of East German military officers, lower-ranking, took over with strong support from the underground. Its first act was to dissolve the GDR’s alliance with Moscow, and then to attempt to suppress Russian units on German soil. The Russians refused the offer of surrender and disarming, followed by reparation; fighting broke out almost at once.

The Americans and NATO, under the leadership of America, had attempted to remain out of the fighting, although reinforcing their German-based soldiers. The sudden and unexpected flood of refugees from East Germany alarmed many in West Germany, as did some elements of the fighting spilling over into West Germany. NATO units (German) actually fired on several soviet units, drawing fire from the soviet air force, which was then sucked into fighting NATO air units and so on… Although the WEU was determined to avoid a conflict, they were discovering that they were being drawn into the fighting.

A month after the unrest had begun, the USSR found itself confronting an intolerable situation. The Warsaw Pact was in tatters; with the exception of a handful of German units the only forces still loyal were Russian. The decision to attempt what became the Third World War was taken in Moscow, sending the USSR to full war status and (unfortunately) issuing a nuclear warning to the US. By this point, the hard-liners in the Kremlin had full control of everything.

Operation Stalin began, attempting to suppress all of the rebels, and was in fact a considerable success. Unfortunately, the Russians didn’t behave themselves in any of their former subject nations, gaining more and more enemies as Germans, Poles and Czechs fought against them. Russian-trained soldiers led resistance movements, a reasonably-united army was trying to hold the Russians back…and the Russian generals suspected that NATO was arming the rebels. The best that can be said of the Russian attack into West Germany, after a barrage of propaganda that did nothing, but put NATO on guard, was that it wasn’t a complete disaster.

An attack that came right out of nowhere might have been successful. As it was, the soviets gained considerable ground in the first week of the war, but then their supply train simply shattered. The uprisings, NATO air power and the shifting nature of war utterly ruined the soviet army. With NATO planning a ‘limited war’ to liberate the former Warsaw Pact nations, the hardliners saw no choice, but to go nuclear.

The exchange of nuclear missiles took three stages. The first stage involved mainly tactical nuclear weapons in the battlezone, vaporising great chunks of both sides’ forces. The second was attacks on staging posts for NATO (Britain, France and Iceland), which led to a final USSR strike against the US and China, while the US launched its own missiles.

One day later, the war ground to a halt.

The Aftermath: Exactly how many bombs detonated during that hellish twenty-four hours is unknown, but the effects were devastating. For the Soviet Union, every major city, military base and resource supply was hit several times, exterminating a large percentage of the population. In Europe, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy were hit badly, leading to the destruction of almost every major city within Western Europe. Eastern Europe wasn’t hit badly – NATO apparently refrained from firing on non-military targets within the former Warsaw Pact nations – but the radioactivity and the presence of large and suddenly homeless Russian armies made life hellish.

In almost all of the European countries, the governments were wiped out or otherwise rendered impotent. In both Britain and France, important elements of the government survived, but were effectively powerless (Margaret Thatcher, upon her emergence from the command bunker, was killed and eaten by cannibal gangs, who reserved a special hatred for those who remained in the bunkers, safe and well), leading to what was effectively a near-total collapse of civilisation. While elements of the armed forces survived, they were utterly unable to cope with the sheer magnitude of the disaster.

If anything, the situation in America was even worse. The USSR had not only targeted cities, but also farmland and the command bunkers (in true Cold War fashion the USSR knew more about them than the US citizens), leading to a major collapse. While America was too big and too decentralised for anything short of scorching the entire nation to destroy the government, it was shattered beyond easy repair. Although major USN surface combatants had survived, they were often unable to do much to aid the staving civilians, who were desperate to survive.

To add insult to injury, the US had also managed to score a massive own goal. By detonating bombs along the north of Russia, the winds often carried radioactivity over Canada and the north of the US. Radioactive contamination crippled the recovery effort; God alone knows how many died, in the first years after the war.

The Middle East, as a major flashpoint in the Cold War, received considerable bad attention from the USSR. Iran, in particular, was targeted in a display of general malice (the fundamentalists being utterly hostile to both the US and the USSR) and shared the unenviable distinction of being the only state to be targeted by both sides in the war. The population was almost completely exterminated. At the same time, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria received their own nuclear attacks – Iraq was the only Middle Eastern nation to survive unscathed.

It remains a mystery why this happened. One thought, and it seems the most likely explanation, is that the USSR missiles due for Iraq were destroyed by American strikes from Turkey. As it happened, it left the government of Saddam Hussein with a golden chance to seize power in the Middle East, which he did before being assassinated in 1990.

Finally among major nations, China was hit by the USSR, in accordance with the plan to destroy China if the USSR should come close to destruction itself. The attack, and the radiation, led to a major collapse, although kernels of civilisation survived.

The Post-War World: Alone among the Anglo nations, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia survived without major damage. All three of them suddenly found themselves trying to contend with a flood of refugees from the north, along with fears over the global environmental impact of the explosions. Although South America was spared direct attack, the resulting collapse of the global economy sent them all down into depression and later civil war, leaving the world to the three Anglo states.

The priority involved assimilating US/UK servicemen who had been on pacific duty, then on refugee trips to the mainland. South Africa, in particular, saw it as a golden opportunity to gain more whites for the Apartheid policy; thousands of Americans were invited to come to South Africa – provided they were white. Australia was less discriminating, but there were some efforts made towards ‘ensuring cultural unity’, which in practice meant UK citizens only. Japanese refugees (Japan was hit hard during the final phase of the war) were not welcome; Japanese snubs were long remembered by Australia.

Over the period of 1982-1995, the radioactivity began to fall sharply as it was washed out of the air by the weather system. This caused considerable relief in Australia, mainly due to concerns about the dark clouds (dust in the sky caused by the blasts) spreading to the southern hemisphere. By this point, the government of Australia, having taken several American carriers, started to use them on more formal missions to Europe. What they found was horrifying.

In effect, almost the entire western European population was gone. Although the blasts hadn’t killed everyone, the resulting radioactivity and crop failure – combined with a descent into savagery – completed the job. Survivors were found in the British Islands – Ireland, in particular, had a large number of survivors – and the more isolated regions of Norway; only a handful of survivors were found within France, Germany or Russia.

(It should be noted that searching the entire continent seems impossible, to say the least.)

Such survivors as were found were invited to move south, mainly to South Africa, which was expanding rapidly northwards. As the radioactivity fell, a major conference was called, seated in Delhi. That conference laid the basics for the world of 2012, as discovered by the Portal insertion team.

Political Details: There is no room here for a detailed breakdown, but enough can be summarised here. The major political units are Union of the Pacific (Australia, NZ, Indonesia), South Africa (sub-Algeria Africa), Iraq (Middle East), India (India + Pakistan + Burma), Brazil (South America) and Taiwan (Taiwan and some settled ground on the mainland). The rest of the world is terra nullus; it belongs to no one at all. It is generally expected that as the radioactivity level fades, there will be conflicts over territorial expansion.

Recommendations: Unsurprisingly, the general technological level of TimeLine E is roughly at 1980s level – in the civilised regions. The deserted areas of America, Europe and Russia, which contributed so much to our society, have been abandoned; for ten years all resources were focused on simple survival. Nuclear science has almost been abandoned; once the former US carriers go, there will be only a handful of reactors left.

It is hard to see what use we can get out of trading with TimeLine E. They literally have very little that we want, apart from history records (and those can be obtained via covert methods). They do not have the ability to detect or build Portals, but it must be expected that contact with us will lead, very quickly, to the development of Portals.

Politically, contact with TimeLine E will have unpleasant political ramifications in our own timeline. We may be faced with demands that we assist them from certain segments of our own populations, despite the attempts to rebuild from the Nazi War and develop our own space tech. While analysis of the devastated nations will certainly provide useful information on the use of atomic weapons against a western nation, the details of how the world was almost destroyed by the West will not sit well with the rest of the world in our world. Although all information has been shared with the Russian Government, as per the Thande Institute’s Charter, it is recommended that no further disimation of this information be undertaken and TimeLine E declared off limits to all concerned.

Steve Rogers (Chair).