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1863
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
08-11-2018
18:17 UT
~
From the Archives: Islamic Caliphate (and Kaliphate)

Below, a long message to the old PIPER-L mailing list from back in August 1997:

-----

Subject: Caliphate
From: Steve Newton
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 00:30:18 EDT

Depending on the response this gets, I'll actually start trying to make some
of it into a coherent narrative.

Gleanings about the Caliphate and Middle East affairs in general:

(All citations are from the ACE paperback editions)

From "The Mercenaries":

p. 30
In 1965 the Caliphate's Moon program is known as the Al-Borak Undertaking

p. 35
"Heym ben-Hillel, the Israeli quantum and wave-mechanics man. . . ."

pp. 35-36
Mentions of treachery in the Islamic Caliphate in general, social unrest in
Basra, and begging in the streets in Istanbul

p. 218
"he gave Melroy the impression of having recently seen military service;
probably in the Indonesian campaign of '62 and '63. . . ."

From "Day of the Moron":

p. 205
"I was with the Armed Forces Medical, Psychiatric Division, in Indonesia in
'62 and '63. . . ."

p. 218
"he gave Melroy the impression of having recently seen military service;
probably in the Indonesian campaign of '62 and '63. . . ."


From "The Edge of the Knife":

p. 13
Khalid ib'n Hussein assassination in mid-November 1973
    "In 1973, at Basra. . . . He was shot, while leaving the Parliament
Building, by an Egyptian named Mohammed Noureed, with an old U. S. Army M43
submachine gun. Noureed killed two of Khalid's guards and wounded another
before he was overpowered. He was lynched on the spot by the crowd; stoned
to death. Ostensibly, he and his accomplices were religious fanatics;
however, there can be no doubt that the murder was inspired, at least
indirectly, by the Eastern Axis."

p. 14
Just prior to his assassination, Khalid had been in Ankara, talking with the
President of Turkey and had apparently just returned from those deliberations
to talk to the Parliament

pp. 16-17
"Assassination of Khalid ib'n Hussein, the pro-Western leader of the newly
formed Islamic Caliphate; period of anarchy in the Middle East; international
power-struggles; Turkish intervention. He wondered how long that would last;
Khalid's son, Tallal ib'n Khalid, was at school in England when his father
was . . . killed. He would return, and eventually take his father's place,
in time to bring the Caliphate into the Terran Federation when the general
war came. There were some notes on that already; the war would result from
an attempt by the Indian Communists to seize Bangladesh. . . ."

p. 30
"Khalid's death was necessary to the policies of the Eastern Axis. . . .
would hasten the complete dissolution of the old U. N., already weakened by
the crisis over the Eastern demands for the demilitarization and
internationalization of the United States Lunar Base, and necessitate the
transformation of the Terran Federation, and how it would lead, eventually,
to the Thirty Days' War."

p. 30
Khalid as "the greatest Moslem since Saladin" "a wonderful man and a fine
scholar" who had at least an interest in Byzantine history

p. 36
"The Turkish army would move in and try to restore order. There would be
more trouble in northern Iran, the Indians would invade Bangladesh, and then
the general war. . . ."

p. 37
"Basra, Where Khalid ib'n Hussein was assassinated early this morning-early
morning-early afternoon, local time."

p. 48
"All about the revolt at Damascus, and the sack of Beirut, and the war
between Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and how the Turkish army intervened, and the
invasion of Pakistan. . . ."

p. 54
"I was trying to show the results of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after
the First World War, and the partition of the Middle East into a loose
collection of Arab states, and the passing of British and other European
spheres of influence following the Second. You know, when you consider it,
the Islamic Caliphate was inevitable; the surprising thing is that it was
created by a man like Khalid. . . ."

p. 54
"The period of anarchy following Khalid's death would be much briefer, and
much more violent, than he had previously thought. Tallal ib'n Khalid would
be flying from England even now; perhaps he had already left the plane to
take refuge among the black tents of his father's Bedouin. The revolt at
Damascus would break out before the end of the month; before the end of the
year, the whole of Syria and Lebanon would be in bloody chaos, and the
Turkish army would be on the march."

pp. 55-56
"There would be an Eastern-inspired uprising in Azerbaijan by the middle of
the next year; before autumn, the Indian Communists would make their fatal
attempt; the Thirty Days' War would be the immediate result. . . ."

p. 59
"And you remember what I told you about the Turks annexing Syria and
Lebanon?" Immediate precursor of the 30 days war

Analysis:

Composition of the Caliphate:

    Confirmed membership in the Caliphate includes the following countries:
Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,
and Syria. The mentions of Saudi Arabia almost certainly subsume the various
lesser emirates along the Persian Gulf Coast, which have traditionally
followed the Saudi line in foreign policy.
    Turkey was most probably not a member of the Caliphate. Piper tells us
that the Caliphate had a parliament, and that Khalid was returning from talks
with the President of Turkey to the parliament, from which I infer that the
Turks were not represented in the parliament. A counterargument can be made
the other way, that Khalid was engaging in direct diplomacy with the head of
state rather than parliamentary representatives, but I think that is the
weaker of the two possibilities, especially given Turkey later actions.
Regardless of Turkey's formal membership or non-membership it is evident that
there was something of a crisis going on between the Caliphate at large and
Turkey.
    Outlining the Caliphate on a map you quickly notice that Afghanistan
sticks out like a sore thumb. I would guess that Piper's omission of the
Afghanis is intentional, and that he didn't see them being brought into the
fold.
    Azerbijan is obviously an independent country that belongs to the
Caliphate; otherwise the comments about the Eastern Axis manipulating an
uprising there make no sense. If Azerbaijan still belonged to the Soviet
Union there would be no reason (A) for a pro-Soviet demonstration or (B) for
such a demonstration to in any way heighten tensions within the
disintegrating Caliphate. The mention of Azerbaijan does raise the question
about other, unmentioned, Soviet "Muslim" republics and whether or not they
had broken away. At this point I would say no.
    A most interesting feature of the Caliphate membership is the fact that
Piper does not mention (in any context) Egypt, Libya, Algeria, or Morocco. I
am 99.99% certain this was intentional on his part. It is evident throughout
"Edge" that Piper was an accomplished student of Islamic history, and that he
has created a Caliphate that is centered around the region of the old Sefavid
Persian Empire of the 14th-16th Centuries. The interesting aspect here is
that the Sefavids had two main enemies in the world: the Turkish-based
Ottoman Empire (which included the North African Muslim states) and Moghul
India. History continually cycled for Piper, and I find the parallel with
the modern Islamic Caliphate caught between an obvious militaristic Turkey
and a Communist India to be an excellent fit. I think the North African
states were trying to stay the hell away from the conflict.

Internal tensions within the Caliphate:

    Piper picks up several traditional Middle East tensions as the Caliphate
dissolves into chaos, and his selections of quarrels are not random. They
fall into five major categories: (A) Turkish annexation of Lebanon and
Syria; (B) Saudi-Jordanian war; (C) uprisings/unrest in Syria, Azerbaijan,
and northern Iran; (D) Indian invasion of Bangladesh; and (E) invasion of
Pakistan (by parties unnamed). Frankly, in a very economical fashion, Piper
manages to create a tapestry of great complexity and sophistication that
eerily mirrors the modern Middle East in our own timeline. Consider. . . .
    Turkish expansion down the Med Coast through Lebanon would follow one of
the traditional expansion routes of the Ottoman Empire, but Lebanon has
generally fallen into Syria's sphere of influence. Thus Damascus could be
expected to oppose this and to covet an expansion toward Beirut as well.
(How many times have we seen the Syrians occupy Lebanon?). The only
important traditional element missing with regard to Turkey is any mention of
the Kurds, but that's easily explainable. The Turks have never been
interested in controlling the entire Kurdish region per se; they have
followed a more ominous policy of cultural eradication, which is easier as
long as the Kurds remain fragmented between Turkey and Iraq. Moreover, as I
will suggest below, Iraq was probably the seat of Khalid's power, and I don't
think the Turks were ready to bite that nut.
    The Wadfists of Saudi Arabia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan have
been at odds for the length of their existence. Piper would have been well
aware, for example, that there were several occasions in the 1920s when the
two countries nearly went to war (interestingly enough, once over Shareef
Husain ib'n Ali's pronouncement of a new Caliphate).
    Uprisings/unrest: In Syria the revolt in Damascus could reasonably be
either a military coup by officers unhappy with the Caliphate's proposed
policy toward Turkey or a power struggle between the Arab majority and the
Allawhyte minority that has often controlled the government. Whatever
happened in Azerbaijan was obviously Soviet-inspired, while northern Iran is
the traditional hotbed of fundamentalism. Piper lets us know that there are
religious fanatics within the Caliphate opposed to Khalid; northern Iran
would be the place you'd expect to find them.
    India's invasion of Bangladesh would be a completely predictable result
from the melding of traditional Indian claims to the entire sub-continent
with a Communist take-over.
    The invasion of Pakistan is more difficult because Piper never directly
tells us who invaded. My guess here is that it wasn't India, just from the
way he structures the reference, and because the Indian Communists would not
have wanted a two-front war if they could have avoided it. More than likely
Pakistan was invaded by the Soviets, seeking a direct outlet into the Indian
Ocean and a consolidation of their southwest Asian position. (This, as an
aside, would almost inevitably require the Soviets to violate Afghani
borders.)
    Missing in all of this is any mention of Israel. Why? Most Islam
specialists would probably argue that Piper got it exactly right by making
internal Moslem differences central to his story rather than focusing on
Israel. In fact, the only way we can even be relatively sure Israel still
exists is from the designation of one of the McLeod Team's scientists as an
"Israeli." For now, the best I can offer is that Israel appears to have its
head down to wait out the storm (I'll suggest a few possibilities under
Extensions).

Khalid ib'n Hussein

    What does Piper tell us about the greatest Arab since Saladin? He is
pro-Western, personally quite popular, and has taken pains to both educate
and safeguard his son. His background is Bedouin and his religion
(undoubtedly) is Sunni rather than Shi'a.
    Khalid, I think, is an Iraqi. Aside from the fact that the Caliphate's
center of gravity appears to be Basra, Iraq is the only segment of the
Caliphate that does not go directly into convulsions on his death. There are
no uprisings and no invasions. Khalid's son comes home and takes his
followers into the wasteland to wait out the storm, a refuge from which he
later emerges to lead the battered Caliphate into the Federation.

Timeline following Khalid's death

    Ignoring the mistake on p. 29 of "Edge" that moves Professor Chalmers'
prediction back to April 1973, it is clear that Khalid ib'n Hussein is
assassinated sometime between 15-20 November 1973. The Damascus Revolt takes
place within days (prior to the end of November) and the Syrian incursion
into Lebanon occurs in December, with the Turks intervening right at the end
of the year. Turkey takes several months to defeat the Syrians and annex
Lebanon/Syria (Piper doesn't tell us exactly how long, but Chalmers' comment
at the end of "Edge" suggests that it happens right before the blow-up). The
Eastern-sponsored Azerbaijani uprising takes place in early summer (let's
say, June 1974) and the Indian invasion of Bangladesh is "before
autumn"-probably mid- to late August.
    The Thirty Days' War, by context, kicks off in early September 1974.


Extensions (here's where I indulge myself in some wild guesswork):

    Piper talks about European influence over the Middle East evaporating
pretty quickly after World War Two, which must have taken place much more
rapidly than in our timeline. Why? My best guess would be that Blake
Hartley's commitment to nuclear power for the US in such a big way seriously
cuts into oil revenues, which creates a major crisis in and around the
Persian Gulf. Around the same time King Saud died (he was dead before Piper
wrote "Edge") and the mantle of leadership, such as it was in the Arab world,
was briefly up for grabs.
    Enter Khalid ib'n Hussein. I don't think Piper picked his name out of a
hat. Many histories of the period spelled the name of the man who declared
himself Caliph in the 1920's as "Hussein" and not "Husain," and good old
Shareef had connections in both Jordan and Iraq. It is not too great a
stretch to see a Western-educated Khalid as a relative of this family and as
a man who appreciates the idea of dusting off the old Caliphate nomenclature
for his version of an Arab Union. (This also truly annoys the Shi'a
fundamentalists in Iran, who would consider such an act blasphemous.)
    What would Khalid want? Simply put, to create a world-class power bloc
that brings Dar al Islam to the bargaining power as an equal player. I think
we can also assume that he is anti-Communist.
    What is his strategy for building the Caliphate?
    First, he needs US support. I think the clearest evidence that he got it
is found in the fact that the US (not Great Britain) takes an active role in
the suppression of what is undoubtedly a Communist-backed insurrection in
Indonesia in 1962-1963. (Note that Hartley wouldn't necessarily have had to
be president to influence US policy here, perhaps at this point still Senator
from Pennsylvania.) Not part of the Caliphate, the world's largest Moslem
nation would still have figured into Khalid's plans. Okay, if we assume that
Khalid and Hartley are seeing eye to eye, how did this happen?
    My best guess here is that Khalid keeps the heat off of Israel. Not much
else explains why Israel is such a non-player in the upswing toward the 30
Days' War.
    Khalid meanwhile peels Azerbaijan away from the Soviets and gets
Bangladesh into the organization, which makes India much more paranoid.
(India would have drifted into Communism sometime in the early 1950's.) This
makes the Caliphate a prime target for the Eastern Axis.
    Then Turkey. Turkey sits at a beautiful strategic location between the
Western Union, Eastern Axis, and Caliphate, ready to pursue the main chance,
but definitely interested in annexing Lebanon-Syria. My guess is that the
East would love to see Turkey gobble up a country or two in order to
de-stabilize the Caliphate, while the West and Khalid would be struggling to
avoid that. (Piper's mention of Turkey in Allan Hartley's original timeline
in "Time and Time Again" suggests strongly that he considered the country a
key focal point in world affairs.) So Khalid is attempting to forestall
Turkey with personal diplomacy, but probably not taking as hard a line as the
Syrians felt was appropriate. He's keeping the Syrians in line by force of
personality and personal power, but when he's waxed, that all goes out the
window.
    Meanwhile, the Soviets have developed a two-pronged plan to take
advantage of the chaos. Part one-instigate an uprising in Azerbaijan to
provide a pretext for going back in; and Part Two, invade Pakistan to
consolidate the physical linkage between India, the USSR, and China (remember
again that when Piper wrote this, there was no Sino-Soviet rift apparently in
the cards.)
    The wild card is the invasion of Bangladesh by India, which Piper
repeatedly tells us was the proximate cause of the 30 Days' War. I am going
to assume that the Indian action was a spontaneous move and not part of the
Soviet master plan. I will further assume that Bangladesh (isolated from the
rest of the Caliphate) may have enjoyed some treaty protection specifically
from the Western Union if not the US. Remember that the 30 Days' War starts
with the East hitting US lunar re-supply launching sites as well as city
targets, not with a Western military response to anything we've already
covered. If I'm right, and Piper was recreating the same sort of "Iron Dice"
situation that ignited World War One, then the Soviets realized that the
Indian invasion of Bangladesh was somehow going to bring on American
intervention, and decided that they had to strike with their do-or-die
attempt to eliminate the US lunar missile threat before it could be used
against them.

    Thus my very very speculative chronology for the period leading up to the
30 Days' War runs like this:

c. 1952: India goes Communist.

c. 1955: Khalid begins formation of the Islamic Caliphate with initial
membership of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran (and perhaps Pakistan/Bangladesh).

1962-1963: US (and Western Union) intervene against Eastern-inspired
insurrection in Indonesia.

c. 1965: Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan drawn into the Caliphate

c. 1968: Khalid manages to pry Azerbaijan loose from the Soviet Union.

mid-1973: Turkish crisis with Caliphate breaks out

October 1973: Khalid begins personal diplomacy with Ankara

November 1973: Khalid assassinated; military coup in Damascus.

December 1973: Syria invades Lebanon to "protect" it from Turkey; Turkey
intervenes.

Early 1974: Fundamentalist uprisings in northern Iran; tensions mount
between Jordan and Saudi Arabia leading to a border war in late April

June 1974: Azerbaijani uprising; Soviet invasion of Pakistan through
Afghanistan

August 1974: Indian invasion of Bangladesh

September 1974: Eastern Axis missile attacks on US kicks off 30 Days' War


Steve Newton

-----

Steve's original message is available here:

https://web.archive.org/web/20080310054132...-l&T=0&F=&S=&P=5805

With a decade-and-a-half-plus of additional reflection, it doesn't seem like the Islamic Caliphate of "Edge of the Knife" (a Terro-human Future History yarn) and the Islamic Kaliphate of "The Mercenaries" (a Hartley yarn) are the same things (just as the "Western Union" of "The Mercenaries" is different from the US-led first "Terran Federation") but this was excellent work by Steve nonetheless--which prompted a wide-ranging follow-on discussion too--from a time when much of Beam's work was not yet available in public domain, electronically-searchable text.

Cheers,

David
--
"I was trying to show the results of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, and the partition of the Middle East into a loose collection of Arab states, and the passing of British and other European spheres of influence following the Second." - Edward Chalmers (H. Beam Piper), "The Edge of the Knife"
~
1862
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
07-22-2018
15:47 UT
~
Jim Broshot wrote:

> Dearest

This has been available at Project Gutenberg since Greg Weeks and his team put up so much of Beam's work there in the early-mid Oughts:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19102

> Down Styphon!
>
> Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen

These are new! Interesting that they've been found to be in the public domain in Canada. Not sure what that means for Project Gutenberg in the U.S. Also interesting that they don't (yet?) have "Gunpowder God." Perhaps it's just a matter of volunteer time-and-effort; maybe we'll see it in the future.

> The caveat posted is "These books are public domain in
> Canada (because we follow the Canadian copyright laws),
> but if you are in another country, you should satisfy yourself
> that you are not breaking the copyright laws of your own
> country by downloading them."

Good advice worth repeating.

Thanks for pointing us to this, Jim! (And thanks to Al Haines and his team for making these available.)

Down Styphon!

David
--
"Oh, my people had many gods. There was Conformity, and Authority, and Expense Account, and Opinion. And there was Status, whose symbols were many, and who rode in the great chariot Cadillac, which was almost a god itself. And there was Atom-bomb, the dread destroyer, who would some day come to end the world. None were very good gods, and I worshiped none of them.” - Calvin Morrison (H. Beam Piper), ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~
~
1861
Jim BroshotPerson was signed in when posted
07-22-2018
07:05 UT
FWIW, I discovered that a Canadian site, fadedpage.com, which is posting works no longer under copyright in Canada, has three of Piper's available

Dearest

Down Styphon!

Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen

The caveat posted is "These books are public domain in Canada (because we follow the Canadian copyright laws), but if you are in another country, you should satisfy yourself that you are not breaking the copyright laws of your own country by downloading them."
1860
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
07-21-2018
03:37 UT
~
John Espley's Annotated Piper Bibliography

This is interesting:

https://archive.org/stream/Extrapolation_v...980-Summer#page/n75

Espley describes ~Four-Day Planet~ as "the weakest of Piper's stories" which seems odd (and unfortunate). He also offers some remarkable spoilers, particularly for yarns like "Crossroads of Destiny" and "The Return" (especially given that he's commenting on the ~Astounding~ edition rather than the ~Holmes~ anthology edition).

There is an intriguing end note which refers to a personal letter Espley apparently received--or had access to--from Bill Tuning, but I can't seem to find the reference in the body of the bibliography.

Nice to see this at the Internet Archive.

Cheers,

David
--
"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
~
1859
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2018
03:20 UT
~
James "jimmyjoejangles" Romanski wrote:

> Didn't see it in the bibliography thought it might interest you.

Had the original Doubleday hardcover edition but not this Fawcett paperback edition. As it happens I was updating the Future History Concordance (see "University of Montevideo") when your message arrived, so I've also added this entry to the Future History bibliography here:

http://www.zarthani.net/future_history_bibliography.htm

"Omnilingual" is perhaps Beam's more reprinted story and I'm still missing many editions, especially those published overseas and in translation. Someday. . . .

Thanks,

David
--
"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
~
1858
jimmyjoejanglesPerson was signed in when posted
07-19-2018
02:43 UT
just browsing on Ebay and came across an anthology containing Omnilingual.
 https://www.ebay.com/itm/Where-Do-We-Go-fr...t=nc&LH_TitleDesc=0
Didn't see it in the bibliography thought it might interest you.
1857
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
07-14-2018
06:31 UT
~
John "Calidore" Anderson wrote:

> According to Piper, the Alliance refugees take only one year to
> reach Excalibur. "Complete defeat of Alliance; escape of Alliance
> fleet from Abigor; they discover and colonize a planet outside
> Federation sphere of influence, which they name Excalibur,
> 855 A.E."

I've always read that date from Beam's "The Future History" as being when the Alliance refugees fled from Abigor and assumed that it takes them a bit longer to find (and settle upon) Excalibur. It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things but surely it took them some time to gather whatever surviving fleet elements they could at Abigor, to decide upon and prepare for their flight from Federation space, and then to survey likely worlds until settling upon Excalibur. That's a lot to do in twelve (or maybe eighteen, at most) months.

> I've always thought that it happens centuries later, mainly
> because Gram only gets a planetary monarchy circa AE 1706
> (PB, p. 213). This gave me the impression it was one of the
> last Sword-Worlds, if not the last, to be colonized.

I can see the reasoning there but I think planetary monarchies are actually not all that common at the time of ~Space Viking~. There are only three planetary kings mentioned--Rodolf of Excalibur, Napolyon of Flamberge and Konrad of Haulteclere--and only one other Sword-World, Joyeuse, is described in a way which might suggest it is a unified world (when "Joyeuse had intruded" into the Oskarsan-Elmersan War on Durendal--and even here it could be that merely one or more dukes or other Joyeuse nobles get involved). Morglay, Curtana, Colada and Tizon are all mentioned in ~Space Viking~ without any details provided one way or another about them being unified under a single monarch.

> My underlying assumption being that it wouldn't take too
> much time between the founding of a Sword-World and
> unification under its own planetary monarch. Perhaps only
> a few centuries from being a colony of another planet to
> declaring independence.

It seems like Gram is "independent" (of Haulteclere--or any other Sword-World) _before_ Angus of Wardshaven makes himself King. Given what we know about Sword-Worlds feudalism I suspect new worlds are not so much colonized formally by the planetary ruler of their originating-world as they are by various settlers--"second sons (and daughters)," non-noble freeholders, various malcontents--who come to the new, colony world "on their own." In other words, I've always assumed that a newly-colonized Sword-World was "independent," politically, at least, from the get-go. I imagine there are all sorts of economic, technological and other "dependencies" but I don't see the process of Sword-World expansion happening in the same way Angus of Wardshaven--who wasn't King when Trask left--tried to "colonize" Tanith (and, perhaps, the way that Haulteclere "colonized" Xochitl). These Space Viking "base planets" in the Old Federation seem to be something "different" from the Sword-Worlds themselves.

> The breakup of the Federation is a fact only ten years after The
> Cosmic Computer, or about AE 905.

Actually, Beam tells us a bit about this in "The Future History" too. It's two hundred years from ~Junkyard Planet~ in 894 AE to "Terran Federation completely, vanished by 1100 AE. A few planets, Odin, Marduk, Baldur, Aton, Isis, etc., retain civilization, including hyperdrive."

Given that there's _no_ indication in ~Junkyard Planet~ (or "Graveyard of Dreams") that any Federation planets are restive at the time of Merlin's discovery, 905 AE seems a bit early to me.

> This is confirmed by Merlin's additional "statement that, after
> fifty years, suppression of the truth and circulation of falsely
> optimistic statements about the Federation would no longer
> have any importance." (ibid., p. 244)
>
> This must mean fifty years after AE 854, when Merlin first
> predicted the Federation's end. Because The Cosmic Computer
> begins forty years later, in AE 894, and ten years after that the
> Federation breakup has begun. Forty plus ten equals fifty.

Actually, Merlin provides the details about the need for suppression and false information no longer mattering "after fifty years" _after_ Conn and his team have updated it with information about events in the forty years since the War and then ask it what they should do. So it would seem that that means fifty years from the time of the events of ~Junkyard Planet~, which would push it into the middle of the Tenth Century.

> As an outer planet and former member of the System States
> Alliance, Marduk is probably one of the first worlds to leave
> the Federation, and possibly the first major planet to do so.

Agreed.

> For the first decade or two of its independence, Marduk
> may remain a democratic planet.

Here's an interesting thought. Marduk likely _isn't_ a "democratic planet" at the end of the Federation era. Rather, it's occupied by the Federation, likely with some sort of Federation-imposed authority. Now, perhaps by the time of ~Junkyard Planet~ that authority had transitioned from military to civilian authority but I don't imagine the Federation, especially as it was falling apart, was in too much of a hurry to return Marduk to self-rule. (Even if it did, Marduk would have had a period of time when "democratic rule" was a thing of the past.) Bottom line is, it may be that it was the Federation occupation itself which planted the seeds for autocratic and ultimately monarchical rule on an independent Marduk.

> But Beam also states that the "Breakup of [the] Federation
> continues at an accelerating rate" (ibid.), so the "spreading
> anarchy" of the early Tenth Century probably involves at least
> some of the chaos foreseen by Merlin. "Rebellions.
> Overthrow of Federation authority, and then revolt and
> counterrevolt against planetary authority. Division along
> sectional or class lines on individual planets."

Yep. On Marduk it may even be that the Federation "governor" is the one who declares Marduk "independent," only to be toppled him/herself by a subsequent, indigenous uprising.

> As the Federation begins failing, its democratic institutions
> are probably discredited as a result.

Perhaps, but we really have no idea. The one bit of insight we get--on Poictesme--gives no hint of this sort of impulse. It's a shame we don't have a yarn from Beam set on Odin or Baldur or Aton or Isis--or Marduk!--in this era.

> And they will certainly be under considerable strain on newly-
> independent planets like Marduk. For in this new age, fraught
> with disintegration and disorder, revolt and counterrevolt, a
> strong leader and/or leadership class, unhindered by democratic
> limitations, would become much more attractive. Thus, I suggest
> that this "time of troubles" in the Old Federation fosters a general
> societal movement away from democracy and toward monarchy
> and other authoritarian forms of government, roughly analogous
> to what happens in the Sword-Worlds. "Development of loose
> feudalism from earlier and even looser town-meeting democracy."

I imagine it happens differently on different Federation worlds, depending upon their specific circumstances. Sure, disaffected, (perhaps formerly-)occupied worlds like Marduk might be susceptible to authoritarianism but perhaps worlds like Odin or Baldur, which may be prosperous and eager to escape the yoke of the decaying Federation, declare themselves independent "Republics" and maintain some tradition of democratic governance as they move into the post-Federation collapse. It seems unlikely that every Federation world will follow the same political path into the post-Federation era.

> This is supported by the case of Blackie Perales, who because of
> poverty and incompetent government turns outlaw, and later “talks
> of organizing all the pirates and outlaws on the planet into one
> band and making himself king.” I believe this is a deliberate
> foreshadowing of the rise of monarchy,

Perhaps, on a poor, sparsely-settled world like Poictesme--if not Poictesme itself, thanks to the efforts of Conn and his friends--this may very well be the case. But it will be very difficult for a Perales-esque bandit to take over a major, prosperous world like Odin or Baldur or Aton or Isis. . . .

> And since Federation planets like Marduk are older and have
> higher populations, they probably see higher levels of social
> unrest and anarchy.

Those with existing grievances like Marduk, maybe. Those which are prosperous, like Odin and Baldur, probably not.

> AE 864 Marduk readmitted to the Federation as a Member
> Republic; the occupation forces depart.

With interstellar travel times still on the order of "six months to everywhere" I think this is optimistic. (It even takes three years for the War to _begin_ after the System States secede, for Ghu's sake!) And once things start to fall apart for the Federation, it may never get around to returning Marduk to self-rule (until Marduk, perhaps under the former Federation "Special Resident" even, takes matters into its own hands).

> AE 910 The "Second Republic" of Marduk is proclaimed, the
> first major planet to reassert its independence.

Something like that. Whether Marduk is first or not, who knows?

> AE 930 Large-scale social unrest on populous Marduk
> causes the fall of the Second Republic; the Kingdom of
> Marduk is proclaimed soon thereafter.

Something like that. This may be a locally-driven counter-revolution to that original move by the former Federation governor's administration.

> AE 1000 The Interstellar Wars begin, possibly causing a
> more widespread rise of authoritarian leaders and final
> decline of democracy. This includes democracy on Poictesme,
> whose fledgling Federation is presumably defeated, and the
> planet itself destroyed, during these wars.

Well, _something_ has to happen to Poictesme (and Merlin) to keep it from being mentioned in the Viking (and Empire) era but I've always hoped it was something other than it becoming simply another casualty of the Interstellar Wars.

> With the Federation breaking up, weaker planets will look
> to their more powerful neighbors for economic and
> defensive support. And thanks to the Maxwell/Merlin Plans,
> Poictesme will be one of the most powerful planets around,
> in both categories.

Beam tells us the names of some of those "most powerful planets" in the post-Federation era. Poictesme isn't one of them.

> Excalibur's capital is Camelot, and Piper wrote The Cosmic
> Computer in the early 1960s, when there was much talk of
> "Camelot"; in the forms of a famous musical and the short-
>lived Kennedy Administration.
> President Kennedy's bold and energetic "New Frontier" in
> the early days of the Space Age would then be paralleled
> by the "new frontier" beyond Federation space, being boldly
> discovered, explored and settled by the energetic refugees
> from Abigor and their immediate descendants. A "new
> space" age.

This is a nice idea. It's not exactly how I believe things unfold, but it's a sweet idea nonetheless.

Let me just say that this was a fine piece of work, John (even if I don't agree with some of the details). Thanks for reminding us of what I've enjoyed most about this discussion form (and it's predecessor) over the years.

Cheers,

David
--
"You had a wonderful civilization here. . . . You could have made almost anything of it. But it's too late now. You've torn down the gates; the barbarians are in." - Lucas Trask (H. Beam Piper), ~Space Viking~
~
1856
CalidorePerson was signed in when posted
07-13-2018
21:33 UT
A very interesting topic! Surprising indeed, and it seems to be borne out by the evidence.

According to Piper, the Alliance refugees take only one year to reach Excalibur. “Complete defeat of Alliance; escape of Alliance fleet from Abigor; they discover and colonize a planet outside Federation sphere of influence, which they name Excalibur, 855 A.E.” (Carr, Piper Biography, p. 213)

“From it, their grandchildren had colonized Joyeuse and Durendal and Flamberge” (Space Viking, p. 10). This should mean these three planets are colonized around AE 905, given 25 years for each generation to grow up and begin begetting the next.

(I believe 20 years is too few. Conn is 23 at the beginning of CC, and 25 at the end, when he marries Sylvie and thereafter starts a family. Likewise, Piper’s other major characters are professional people who seem to be at least 25 when they get married; Nancy Patterson in “When in the Course—”, Carlos von Schlichten and Paula Quinton in Uller Uprising, Gerd van Riebeek and Ruth Ortheris in the Fuzzy novels, etc. And one would assume that it is self-reliant types like these who go out and colonize new Sword-Worlds.)

To be precise, the children of the Excalibur settlers are presumably born circa AE 855-865 (1), their grandchildren are born circa 880-890, and these in turn become adults circa 905-915, at about which time they go to space and settle the three new Sword-Worlds. Since “Haulteclere had been colonized in the next generation from Joyeuse”, this would roughly occur twenty-five years later, or between AE 930-940.

Piper continues with “and Gram from Haulteclere.” (ibid.) But as you noted, he doesn’t specify the generation. I’ve always thought that it happens centuries later, mainly because Gram only gets a planetary monarchy circa AE 1706 (PB, p. 213). This gave me the impression it was one of the last Sword-Worlds, if not the last, to be colonized. My underlying assumption being that it wouldn’t take too much time between the founding of a Sword-World and unification under its own planetary monarch. Perhaps only a few centuries from being a colony of another planet to declaring independence.

However, the context of the quote certainly implies it happens soon after, and if you’re right that only two generations pass, Gram could be colonized around AE 980-990.

So when does Marduk become a monarchy? That’ll be sometime after the Federation begins its final breakup, which should be by AE 905. For when Merlin is asked “What is the best course for to be followed under these conditions by the people of Poictesme?”, it replies “In the beginning and for the first ten years, it was, almost item for item, the Maxwell Plan…Then [after ten years] the Maxwell Plan became the Merlin Plan; the breakup of the Federation was a fact that entered into the computation.” (Cosmic Computer, p. 243)

The breakup of the Federation is “a fact” only ten years after The Cosmic Computer, or about AE 905. This is confirmed by Merlin’s additional “statement that, after fifty years, suppression of the truth and circulation of falsely optimistic statements about the Federation would no longer have any importance.” (ibid., p. 244) This must mean fifty years after AE 854, when Merlin first predicted the Federation’s end. Because The Cosmic Computer begins forty years later, in AE 894, and ten years after that the Federation breakup has begun. Forty plus ten equals fifty. Thus, by AE 905, there will be no need to conceal the Awful Truth any longer; everyone can see it for themselves.

As an outer planet and former member of the System States Alliance, Marduk is probably one of the first worlds to leave the Federation, and possibly the first major planet to do so. It may acquire part of the TF Space Navy as the nucleus of its own fleet, since Piper says that this period includes the “Disintegration of TF Space Navy due to apathy and even hostility of “Liberal” government [on Terra]; resulting in spreading anarchy.” (PB, p. 213)

For the first decade or two of its independence, Marduk may remain a democratic planet. But Beam also states that the “Breakup of [the] Federation continues at an accelerating rate” (ibid.), so the “spreading anarchy” of the early Tenth Century probably involves at least some of the chaos foreseen by Merlin. “Rebellions. Overthrow of Federation authority, and then revolt and counterrevolt against planetary authority. Division along sectional or class lines on individual planets.” (CC, p. 227)

As the Federation begins failing, its democratic institutions are probably discredited as a result. And they will certainly be under considerable strain on newly-independent planets like Marduk. For in this new age, fraught with disintegration and disorder, revolt and counterrevolt, a strong leader and/or leadership class, unhindered by democratic limitations, would become much more attractive. Thus, I suggest that this “time of troubles” in the Old Federation fosters a general societal movement away from democracy and toward monarchy and other authoritarian forms of government, roughly analogous to what happens in the Sword-Worlds. “Development of loose feudalism from earlier and even looser town-meeting democracy.” (PB, p. 213)

This is supported by the case of Blackie Perales, who because of poverty and incompetent government turns outlaw, and later “talks of organizing all the pirates and outlaws on the planet into one band and making himself king.” I believe this is a deliberate foreshadowing of the rise of monarchy, because if Conn Maxwell hadn’t been so insistent on grabbing Barathrum Spaceport, Perales could have succeeded in getting “a lot of planetbusters and hellburners and annihilators” from Koshchei. (CC, p. 103) With power like that, not even Klem Zareff’s well-trained forces could have defeated him; Perales could have made himself, not just king of the outlaws, but King of Poictesme. That possibility is also suggested in Piper. “Some of these days, Blackie Perales and his pirates’ll sack Storisende, for all they’d be able to do to stop them.” (ibid., p. 18) After acquiring superweapons and sacking Storisende, Perales’ strongly-defended spaceport on Barathrum would have effectively become the new planetary capital.

So planetary monarchy is averted in CC, but will reappear very soon, after the breakup begins. And since Federation planets like Marduk are older and have higher populations, they probably see higher levels of social unrest and anarchy. So the development of monarchy may be much quicker in the Old Federation than in the Sword-Worlds. If we apply Piper’s statement about the Sword-Worlds to the Federation planets, it would read something like “Rapid development of monarchy from earlier and failing democracy.”

The Mardukan monarchy could therefore be established fairly early on. Assuming it happens around AE 930, this places it about a half-century before Gram is colonized, which would be consistent with Prince Trask’s statement in Space Viking.

So I think you’re absolutely right that Conn and Sylvie Maxwell will see Marduk become an independent planet. This could be about when they reach middle age; Conn will be 34-44 in the period AE 905-915. It is likely that some of the Fawzi’s Office Gang will still be around, too. Assuming Marduk becomes a monarchy about a generation later, you’re also right that the younger Maxwells will live to see that as well, roughly becoming senior citizens by that time (Conn will be 60 in AE 931).

Since the Maxwells succeeded in saving democracy on Poictesme (by defeating Blackie Perales, and then getting Kurt Fawzi elected President), and plan to create a new ‘Poictesmean Federation’ to replace the failing Terran one (ibid., p. 242), Conn and Sylvie may also live to see their planet become the seat of the most competent and powerful democratic government left in Federation space. With the interesting caveat that this could mean they are actually going against the tide of history!

Of course, there is some ‘wiggle room’ here, as you also noted. By ‘generation’, Piper could have meant the traditional 30 or 33 years (from the Bible, I believe), so Marduk may become independent at a later date, its monarchy may be established later, and the early Sword-Worlds, including Gram, may be colonized a bit later, as well. But I don’t see any problem with your relative dating of events.

To put things in chronological order, here’s a tentative timeline. And I’ve added a few non-canon details that seem to fit.

AE 854 System States Alliance defeated; Alliance planets including the Republic of Marduk occupied by
          Federation troops. Merlin predicts the end of the Federation, but says the information must be
          kept secret for fifty years. General Travis, his aide-de-camp Mike Shanlee, and the rest of the
          Project Merlin staff “all took an oath of secrecy.” (CC, p. 228) Meanwhile, refugees from
          Abigor, refusing to accept defeat by the Terran Federation, take what’s left of the Alliance
          Space Navy to find a new planet far beyond Federation space.

AE 855 Excalibur founded by the Alliance refugees.

AE 864 Marduk readmitted to the Federation as a Member Republic; the occupation forces depart.

AE 894 Blackie Perales captures the Harriet Barne, plans to acquire superweapons on Koshchei, which
          will make him the most powerful man on Poictesme. Conn Maxwell returns to Poictesme from
          Terra and becomes partners with his father Rodney; the search for Merlin begins in earnest, but
          this is only a front for the real task of restoring planetary prosperity—the Maxwell Plan. As part
          of the Plan, Conn decides to acquire Barathrum Spaceport. But this is the Perales gang’s
          hideout, so it results in the Battle of Barathrum, in which the outlaw band is largely destroyed,
          thereby preventing Perales from effectively making himself King of Poictesme. Monarchy is
          averted.

AE 895 The Maxwell Plan picks up steam; many new companies are created and much wealth
          generated. Then Merlin is unexpectedly rediscovered, repredicts the end of the Federation
          and reiterates the need for secrecy (through falsification this time), for the next ten years.

AE 896 Mayor Kurt Fawzi elected President; a renewal of democracy on Poictesme, as this breaks the
          stranglehold on power held the “First-Families-of-Storisende oligarchy” which formerly
          bankrupted the planet. (CC, p. 18)

AE 905 The Maxwell Plan becomes the Merlin Plan as the Federation begins its final dissolution; many
          outer planets become independent, and the need for secrecy therefore ends. The breakup
          begins peacefully, and assuming Merlin’s prediction is made public, it is probably denounced as
          a lie by the Federation government. Some Federation ships fall into the hands of the
          newly-independent planets, becoming the basis for their own Space Navies.
          
AE 905-915 Joyeuse, Durendal and Flamberge are colonized from Excalibur.

AE 910 The ‘Second Republic’ of Marduk is proclaimed, the first major planet to reassert its
          independence.

AE 920 On many worlds, living standards decline as the interstellar order disintegrates. This causes
          social unrest, as uncertainty over the future generates widespread fear. The generally corrupt
          and incompetent democracy of the late Federation period cannot cope with the spreading
          anarchy, prompting some of the newly-independent planets to adopt a monarchical form of
          government. Other authoritarian forms also appear.

AE 930 Large-scale social unrest on populous Marduk causes the fall of the Second Republic; the
          Kingdom of Marduk is proclaimed soon thereafter.

AE 930-940 Haulteclere is founded from Joyeuse. Two other new Sword-Worlds are colonized from
              Durendal and Flamberge.

AE 980-990 Gram is colonized from Haulteclere.

AE 1000 The Interstellar Wars begin, possibly causing a more widespread rise of authoritarian leaders
           and final decline of democracy. This includes democracy on Poictesme, whose fledgling
           Federation is presumably defeated, and the planet itself destroyed, during these wars.

In this scheme, Marduk becomes independent about the time that Joyeuse, Durendal and Flamberge are colonized, and becomes a monarchy around the time Haulteclere is founded. This is therefore roughly 50-60 years before Gram is colonized.

It also means that at the time the Federation begins shrinking, the Sword-Worlds begin expanding. ‘Out with the old (civilization), in with the new’, as it were. The expansion of the short-lived ‘Poictesmean Federation’ may begin at the same time. With the Federation breaking up, weaker planets will look to their more powerful neighbors for economic and defensive support. And thanks to the Maxwell/Merlin Plans, Poictesme will be one of the most powerful planets around, in both categories.

John

(1) Piper used WWII as one of his models for the System States War. As stated by John Carr, the Merlin Project parallels the Manhattan Project, and the salvage economy of Poictesme parallels the Cargo Cults in the South Pacific. Thus, the first generation born after the System States War on Excalibur in the later 850s and early 860s would parallel the post-WWII Baby Boom generation of the 1950s and 60s in America. Excalibur’s capital is Camelot, and Piper wrote The Cosmic Computer in the early 1960s, when there was much talk of ‘Camelot’; in the forms of a famous musical and the short-lived Kennedy Administration.
     President Kennedy’s bold and energetic ‘New Frontier’ in the early days of the Space Age would then be paralleled by the ‘new frontier’ beyond Federation space, being boldly discovered, explored and settled by the energetic refugees from Abigor and their immediate descendants. A ‘new space’ age.
1855
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
07-06-2018
02:26 UT
~
Marduk's Monarchy (and the collapse of the Federation)

Here's Trask during the royal dinner on Marduk: "These people had a monarchy since before Gram had been colonized. . . ."

I hadn't noticed this before, but think about it for a minute. We know that Gram was settled in the "third wave" of Sword-Worlds colonization, from Haulteclere which had been settled, from Joyeuse, by the great-grandchildren of the original Alliance refugees who fled from Abigor after the System States War to settle Excalibur. Now we don't know how many generations there were between the settlement of Haulteclere and the settlement of Gram but let's say it was two, the same period between the original settlement of Excalibur and the "first wave" of colonization which settled Joyeuse, Durendal and Flamberge.

So that's, say, five generations from the flight from Abigor until the settlement of Gram. Call it a hundred years. Somewhere in that period Marduk goes from being a "Federation Member Republic"--presumably one occupied by the Federation in the immediate aftermath of the System States War--to an independent planet with its own monarchy!

It gets more interesting. The flight of the Alliance refugees occurs forty years _before_ Merlin is discovered on Poictesme. That means Marduk is independent, with its own monarchy, within something less than sixty years after the events of ~Junkyard Planet~. Odds are Conn Maxwell and Sylvie Jacquemont live to see that (assuming neither meets an untimely death).

(Sure, maybe those "generations" are a bit more than twenty years. Perhaps the Alliance refugees spent as much as a decade looking for Excalibur. Perhaps there were three generations between the settlement of Haulteclere and the settlement of Gram. If Conn and Sylvie didn't live to see a monarchy proclaimed on Marduk for sure their children would have seen it--and early in their lives.)

Remember Ashmodai! Remember Belphegor!

David
--
"We talk glibly about ten to the hundredth power, but emotionally we still count, 'One, Two, Three, Many.'" - Otto Harkaman (H. Beam Piper), ~Space Viking~
~
1854
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
06-30-2018
02:09 UT
That's a good suggestion, thanks - I'll check the local used book store first, but I might look into that online.
1853
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
06-27-2018
17:05 UT
~
Jon Crocker wrote:

> I'd noticed that the SF category was severely lacking, so I
> picked up . . . yes, "Little Fuzzy" at a used book store and
> donated them to the library, so I hope some people enjoy
> those.

Nice bit of Piper evangelizing, Jon! This might make a good addition too, if you come across a copy:

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=9780448474960

Cheers,

David
--
"Do you know which books to study, and which ones not to bother with? Or which ones to read first, so that what you read in the others will be comprehensible to you? That's what they'll give you [at university]. The tools, which you don't have now, for educating yourself." - Bish Ware (H. Beam Piper), ~Four-Day Planet~
~
1852
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
06-27-2018
16:53 UT
~
Well met in Tsawwassen

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting fellow Piper fan Mike Robertson. Mike and his family were vacationing in Vancouver. I took the ferry over to the mainland and Mike graciously treated me for dinner at a restaurant on the Tsawwassen First Nation.

We had a wonderful, wide-ranging conversation about Piper and his work and a bit about our careers, which have taken similar courses at times. Mike is a great guy and one of our most successful Piper follow-on authors. If you've not yet read his collaborations with John F. Carr, ~The Last Space Viking~:

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Space-Viking-John-Carr/dp/0937912123/

and ~Space Viking's Throne~:

https://www.amazon.com/Space-Vikings-Thron...Carr/dp/0937912190/

I encourage you to do so. These tales of David Morland at the end of the Space Viking era are well worth your time (and money).

Cheers,

David

P.S. Mike has also been a long-time, consistent financial supporter of Zarthani.net and its Piper discussion forum and mailing list, which I also very much appreciate.
--
"Why not everybody make friend, have fun, make help, be good?" - Diamond Grego (H. Beam Piper), ~Fuzzy Sapiens~
~
1851
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
06-24-2018
22:54 UT
Changing the vector from 'deadly radiations' to 'deadly pathogens' would definitely be an improvement, plus would keep most of the rest of the plot the same.

To shift topics slightly, outside my daughters' school they just put up a 'free library', a (hopefully!) weatherproof cabinet with bunches of books inside, for people to take & replace once finished. I'd noticed that the SF category was severely lacking, so I picked up copies of "Asimov's Mysteries" and "The Sentinel", a collection of short stories by Arthur C Clarke and yes, "Little Fuzzy" at a used book store and donated them to the library, so I hope some people enjoy those.
1850
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
06-09-2018
17:33 UT
~
Salvaging "Immunity"?

While "Flight from Tomorrow" ("Immunity" was Beam's original title) is an engaging yarn it is rendered unbelievable by the explanation offered for its central premise: the idea that humanity eventually became "immune" to atomic radiation. While that idea might have been tenable--barely--when "Flight" was published (just five years after the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki--and Trinity) it makes no sense to contemporary readers.

There is though an interesting possibility within the yarn itself which might suggest a potential resolution of this shortcoming. Here's Hradzka musing on what might explain his apparent toxicity to the people and other living things he encounters in the early years of the First Century of the Atomic Era:

"During the early centuries of the Atomic Era, he knew, there had been great wars, the stories of which had survived even to the Hundredth Century. Among the weapons that had been used, there had been artificial plagues and epidemics, caused by new types of bacteria developed in laboratories, against which the victims had possessed no protection. Those germs and viruses had persisted for centuries, and gradually had lost their power to harm mankind. Suppose, now, that he had brought some of them back with him, to a century before they had been developed. Suppose, that was, that he were a human plague-carrier. He thought of the vermin that had infested the clothing he had taken from the man he had killed on the other side of the mountain; they had not troubled him after the first day."

I've not looked closely at the rest of the yarn, but I wonder if it might be "rebooted" in a way which would utilize this "bacteriological immunity" as an alternative, more believable explanation for Hradzka's ultimate fate in his past (and for the "Ancient Spaceport" of his original era).

Cheers,

David
--
"You know how atomic energy was first used? There was an ancient nation, upon the ruins of whose cities we have built our own, which was famed for its idealistic humanitarianism. Yet that nation, treacherously attacked, created the first atomic bombs in self defense, and used them." - Kradzy Zago (H. Beam Piper), "Flight from Tomorrow"
~
1849
Jon CrockerPerson was signed in when posted
05-26-2018
17:36 UT
For some reason, that makes me think of some of the old Bob Newhart telephone-call comedy bits.

"He- Hello, sir? Yes, sir, this is Manager Slarth, down at the Central Zoo? You know how you'd asked us to supply a wolf for a fourth level outtime operation, one canis lupis, from the fourth level? Turns out, funny story, one of the new hires made a slight mistake, and sent along a canis khiftus. Ye- Yes sir, that's one of the not-quite wolves left over at the second-level Khiftan wars. No sir, we're not sure which Khiftan war it was. And we're pretty sure they don't know any more either. But back to the wolf, sir, it is pretty close, and unless you really know what you're looking at, it's just a big shaggy wolf, so we don't think- what do you mean, they've found out?"
1848
David "PiperFan" JohnsonPerson was signed in when posted
05-26-2018
05:29 UT
~
Verkan Vall Strikes Again

Montana authorities scratching their heads over discovery of wolflike creature

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/05...flike-creature.html

Nice touch too, with the conspiracy theories.

Down Styphon!

David
--
"Unsolved mysteries are just as good as explanations, as long as they're mysterious within a normal framework." - Verkan Vall, ~Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen~
~
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