Chapter no 57

Quantum Radio

For a long moment, Kato stared at the Covenant War exhibit in the National Museum of American History, considering Ty’s words.

“It’s a big leap,” he said finally. “Some force interfering with history on this world. And ours.”

“It is,” Ty admitted. “But it fits.” “Let’s read the rest,” Kato said.

The pictures in the next display class showed a series of ships loaded with passengers carrying overstuffed duffel bags, sheets serving as sacks bulging with contents, and battered suitcases.

To Ty, they looked like people who had left home in the middle of the night, having gathered their most prized possessions in seconds.

The large heading above the photos read:


The description was heartbreaking.

In the forty-eight hours after the Night of Fire, Great Britain executed a mass migration on a scale the world had never seen before. Millions of its citizens were evacuated to Iceland and to waiting ships from the Canadian and British Royal Navy. British troops had invaded Iceland in May of 1940 and had been controlling the small island to the north ever since. But Iceland would only be a stopover for the final destination in the British diaspora.

Millions of British and Irish citizens settled in the Dominion of Newfoundland, a British Territory bordering Canada. Like the millions of children and elderly sent overseas during Operation Pied Piper in 1939, the mass evacuation of 1940 saw British citizens relocated to Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the United

States, but the new seat of the British government was established at what was then St. John’s in Newfoundland, which was renamed New London.

Ty turned to Kato. “How much of what happened here happened in our timeline?”

“About half and half.” “Which half?”

Kato reread the placard. “The British did invade Iceland in May 1940.” “Really?”

“Well, technically, it was an invasion, but there was no fighting. The British Royal Navy and Royal Marines basically walked onto the island and took over. There were fewer than eight hundred British troops involved, if memory serves. The biggest trouble was with the British military personnel having relations with the Icelandic women. It rubbed a lot of the local men the wrong way—an issue that was referred to as ‘The Situation.’”

“Why invade Iceland at all?”

“Two reasons. One: Iceland’s location. The island would’ve been a good launching point for the Luftwaffe, and of course, the Kriegsmarine. The second is that the Germans had recently overrun Denmark, which had a union with Iceland.”

Kato scanned the placard again. “Operation Pied Piper in 1939 also happened in our timeline—millions of children were evacuated the summer before war broke out in Europe.”

“And Newfoundland?”

“It was indeed a British Territory in 1940. It had been one of the original dominions within the meaning of the Balfour Declaration and had been self-governing for a long time until the early 1930s, when the British government had to step in and reassert some control.”


“I think they went broke. I can’t remember exactly why.” “I thought you liked history.”

“Hey, I said I liked history. Remembering the details of the revocation of Newfoundland’s dominion status in the 1930s is next-level obsession.”

Ty held his hands up. “Just messing with you.” With that, Ty resumed reading the exhibit:

After the fall of Great Britain and the British Exodus, Germany was now firmly in control of Western Europe except for one island of neutrality in the middle of the continent: Switzerland. Germany had been drawing up plans for the invasion of Switzerland since the conclusion of the Battle of France. The massive mobilization, codenamed Operation Tannenbaum, was carried out on December 24, 1940. In a maneuver as stunning as the blitzkrieg through the Ardennes, the Wehrmacht overran Swiss forces in a three-day assault that resulted in the Swiss confederation’s full surrender in Bern on December 27, 1940, though sporadic fighting in several cantons continued for another week.

With the fall of Switzerland, Germany had full control of continental Europe and the British Isles. Its closest ally, Italy, controlled the Mediterranean. The Soviet Union stretched from Poland to China. The Empire of Japan occupied everything from the Soviet Union to Australia. Those three powers: Germany, the Soviet Union, and Japan, with the support of Italy, controlled nearly all of Europe and Asia. Sensing that suppressed nationalism was a threat to its ambitions on the continent, Germany changed its official name from the Greater German Reich to Reich Europa, removing the German name and attempting to forge a single continental identity. Within each nation, states were given their autonomy and legislative seats in the Reich Europa Congress. But the most surprising move from the Axis powers was still yet to come: peace.

The last line surprised Ty, especially given what he had seen outside—the war zone Washington, DC had become. Or once had been.

The next heading was:


In a stunning move, Reich Europa, the Soviet Union, and the Empire of Japan announced the establishment of a new mutual cooperation agreement: the Human Covenant, or the Covenant, as the new alliance came to be known. The Covenant’s stated purpose was realizing humanity’s ultimate potential. But it had a darker goal, and it hid that secret plan behind perhaps the greatest cover of all: forty-two years of peace that lasted until October of 1982.

“Incredible,” Kato said. “In this timeline, World War II effectively paused after the loss at the Battle of Britain and the British Exodus. The Germans never invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. In our timeline, Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. It was a desperate gambit to try to force the British to make terms. The Germans

thought that if they invaded quickly, they could collapse the Soviet Union. The feeling was that if they kicked in the front door, the entire country would collapse. They made two miscalculations. One, they underestimated the Red Army. And two, they underestimated winter in Russia. It was a massive blunder, one that pretty much doomed Germany. It’s debatable, but it’s probably on par with Pearl Harbor.”

Kato motioned to the display. “Another event that never happened here. America was still anti-war until Japan dropped those bombs on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. That changed everything. In our timeline, after the US joined World War II, there was very little doubt in anyone’s mind how things would turn out—eventually. Between the Soviet Union, the British and their dominions, and the United States, the allies had the numbers and the industrial base to win. But here, the US never joined the war.”

“It’s amazing,” Ty said, “how one small change can turn the course of history. In this timeline, Germany focused on its rocket development in the 1930s and that changed everything. It redrew the map of the world.”

“Indeed. History is far more fragile than most people realize.” Ty moved to the next exhibit:


The image above it was of the flag he had seen on the pilot’s shoulder.

Beginning in the 1940s, the Covenant states instituted a broad-based policy of forced deportations of what they considered to be undesirable populations, which they left on the shores of non-Covenant nations. Initially, the “Relocated,” as the Covenant referred to them, were resettled in Africa. But after waves of the Relocated began returning across the Mediterranean, the program began transporting large groups to the United States, Canada, and Australia, where passage back to Europe and Asia would be more difficult. When the United States, Canada, and Australia began intercepting deportation ships, the Covenant began dropping the Relocated in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Greenland, where conditions were deadly in the winter.

The early 1940s were marked by massive refugee crises around the world that exacerbated the already strained resources of nations who had taken in those fleeing the war in 1939 and 1940. In that crisis, a new alliance was born: the Pax Humana—which became widely known as simply “the Pax.” The founding nations of the Pax included

the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Commonwealth in exile, Australia, the newly liberated nation of India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Mexico. Later signatories included nations in Central America, Egypt, Libya, and Morocco.

The Pax nations agreed to a mutual defense pact as well as a broad-based sharing of resources to combat the growing humanitarian crises straining their national resources.

Below the text was an image of five men sitting at a long table. Four were wearing keffiyeh, a traditional Arabian headdress. The heading read:


With the birth of the Pax, and the Covenant continuing to tighten its grip in Eurasia, an unexpected new alliance emerged—one of the major oil exporters, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The five nations of the newly formed Global Petroleum Cartel, or GPC, declared themselves neutral in any future conflict and pledged to supply oil to all nations, regardless of alliance or beliefs.

“It’s the same founders as OPEC,” Kato said. “Except in our timeline, OPEC wasn’t formed until 1960.”

“It amazes me that you remember all that.”

“It amazes me that you discovered a device that transported us here.” “Yeah, that amazes me too.”

Ty focused on the next heading.


With the world rapidly forming alliances, the nations of South America—with the exception of Venezuela—formed their own alliance, one dedicated to neutrality. Their first act was to build a massive wall along the border between Panama and Colombia, stretching ninety miles across the Darién Gap. With its neutrality recognized by the Covenant, Pax, and GPC, the nations of South America quickly carved out important roles on the world stage. Argentina became the world’s new banking capital. Many bankers from Switzerland and across Europe had escaped there during the war, and they quickly reestablished their presence in international finance.

Brazil became an important exporter of minerals and agriculture. Nations throughout South America became known for their cultural impact—from music to radio programs to novels translated for consumption around the world.

The next display case had been shattered. The heading was still there—

THE SECOND DARK AGE—but the placards were gone.

“A new Dark Age?” Kato whispered, studying the missing exhibit. “Could have been a natural disaster.”

“Or a continuation of the war.” Kato looked back toward the entrance to the hall. “After all, the exhibit is titled ‘the Covenant War.’”

“A fair point.”

“Over here,” Kato said, pointing at a display case nearby. The heading read:


Beneath it was a series of photos of military ships intercepting commercial vessels.

In the 1940s and ’50s, the Covenant massively increased spending on infrastructure across Europe and Asia. They built high-speed rail lines, created a unified air force and navy, and centralized control of their phone system and TV broadcast systems. While each Covenant signatory maintained its own army, the Covenant air force and navy grew substantially. The new Covenant air and naval forces launched a coordinated effort called “The Covenant Seawall,” which formed a floating and aerial defensive perimeter around the Covenant, preventing people and material from non-Covenant nations from entering. The only exception to the Covenant Seawall was passage from South America, which became a popular waypoint for a growing number of Pax citizens trying to make their way to the Covenant.

Out of the corner of his eye, Ty saw a photo that nearly made his heart stop.

He strode over to the standing exhibit and studied the picture encased in glass. The woman was in her late thirties by the looks of it, and she was standing in an auditorium in front of a group of extremely fit men and women in their twenties.

There was no doubt in Ty’s mind that it was his mother in the picture.

The caption confirmed it:

Dr. Helen Klein unveils the first cohort in her Darwin Program, a Covenant initiative to elevate the physical and mental potential of the human species.

Ty swallowed as he read the next card.

Together with her husband, Lars Jacobs, Dr. Klein developed the Darwin Program at the University of Bonn, in the Reich Europa state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Kato seemed to sense Ty’s distress. “What is it?”

“My mother.”

Kato came over to look at the photo. “But obviously that isn’t your father.”

“No,” Ty said quietly. “I don’t know what it means, but I met that guy in our time a few days ago.”

“Doing what?”

“He was a Belgian truck driver working in Switzerland. And an amateur philosopher. He’s much more here.”

“And your mother isn’t an American.”

“Apparently. In our world, she was born in the West German capital of Bonn, but her parents—my grandparents—emigrated to the United States in the sixties.”

“What does it mean?” Kato asked.

“I don’t know yet.” Ty glanced at the remaining display cases. Every one of them was broken, the photos and placards stolen.

Suddenly, he again had the unnerving sense that someone was watching him. He spun and scanned the room and the hall, but there was no one there. No sound. No movement.

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