When the Wind Blew: a P&S Open Thread

I’m not sure if anyone up-thread has thought of this, but…what about one in which the nuclear exchange doesn’t happen, with as late of a POD as seems plausible within the P&S-verse?

An alternate history of an alternate history, if you will. We can call it “The War That Almost Was”. I’ve even come up with an intro - here it is!

Introduction - Friday, February 21, 2014

Today was a normal Friday much like any other Friday, in Washington, DC and Moscow - in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver - in London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Brussels, and Berlin - in Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Sydney - in Omaha, Nebraska; Kassel, Germany; and Newcastle, England - and in thousands of other cities around the world.

People were finishing up another week at work or school, then spending their evenings at concerts, sporting events, movies, or theater performances, or just having dinner with family and friends, gearing up for the weekend - most of them unaware that the world as they know it almost ended 30 years ago.

These days, most people pay little thought - or for those that do think about it, still struggle to fully understand - just how perilously close to nuclear war the world came in those tense months of fall 1983 and winter 1984, especially in February 1984, when the crisis was at its peak. If a few decisions or events had gone the other way, the aforementioned cities and the people in them - and many, many more besides - could have ceased to exist in seconds, having been wiped from the face of the earth in nuclear fire.

I relate this story not only to tell readers like you the facts of the most dangerous period in recent human history - arguably even more so than the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 - but also in an attempt to ensure that we never more step as close to the brink as we came 30 years ago. The most recent generation is one too young to have any firsthand knowledge of that tense episode, which makes talking about it now all the more important.

So, without further ado...crank up that 80's music and take a step back in time to late 1983 and early 1984 as I tell you the story of The War That Almost Was.
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In case anyone needs it for another read through, here is the orginal Protect and Survive:

Finished the original timeline and am working my way through the spinoffs. Very impressed so far, this is probably one of the most realistic nuclear war scenarios I've seen. One small nitpick, I find Macragge's target list for Wisconsin really strange. I realize it's supposed to be incomplete/somewhat inaccurate, but as a Wisconsinite myself, it seems really weird that Appleton, Eau Claire, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac would be hit but not Madison, Green Bay, Racine, or Kenosha. Given that Madison is the state capital I would assume it would get a warhead but of course it could easily have missed or not gotten off the ground in the first place. Green Bay, Racine, and Kenosha are mid-sized industrial cities that may or may not warrant nukes but if cities as small as Fond du Lac (population 36K in 1980) are getting hit it seems weird that all three would survive. Like, of Appleton, Eau Claire, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac, the only city I can see as being a nuclear target is Oshkosh, which is home to the Oshkosh Corporation factory which manufactures vehicles for the military. I'm from the Appleton area, and I highly doubt that the USSR would feel the need to eradicate our minor paper industry from the face of the earth.
I've been reading thru the various P&S timelines as part of my ongoing work on another storyline, and I've been inspired to perhaps reboot an idea I tried to get off the ground twice:

Title of TL: The Last Game

Setting: Lexington, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee, United States; Louisville, Kentucky; and Bowling Green, Kentucky

Not-so-Brief Description: Centers on the last official major intercollegiate (or professional) athletic event before The Exchange: the University of Kentucky Wildcats at the Vanderbilt University Commodores, Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville, Tennessee. With a war raging in Europe and at home, The Reporter covers a major college basketball team playing through the madness and caught in the middle between those who want them to play on through the bitter end and those who want them to focus on more important things than 'sportsball', while each player and coach has their own ideas on what the team should and shouldn't do. I'll start with The Day (no, not that Day), and if there's interest, go backwards then forward. (Also, we'll check in on the archrivals up Interstate 64, and the state's third-best program down in Bowling Green)

--"Denny, I never thought it'd come to this...."
"Me neither, Joe. It breaks my heart."
"At least some of our kids got home...and the ones that didn't? We got their families away. NCAA be damned."
"(chuckles) Bill said he actually got a fax from them asking about the plane tickets. He wadded it up and threw it in the trash bin before he locked up the office.
"Cliff told his people if they called? 'Three words: go to hell'."
Both men, two of the best coaches in the country, laughed. Laughter was very rare nowadays, as the Commonwealth endured the darkest days in its, and the nation's, history. But they wouldn't give in to despair. Too many people depended on them, and others.
Perhaps they wouldn't be around to watch or coach in it. Perhaps they would. But someday, the last game they coached in wouldn't be the last game ever played...


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FYI -- if anyone's receiving signals from the Bluegrass State in, say, Florida, Nebraska, Washington state (Walla Walla), east Texas, north Georgia, Canada, England, Finland, Italy, Mexico, hit me up. I'm doing background work right now.

BTW, UK-Vandy men were the Last Game, but they weren't the Only Game on the 19th.

--this is a heckuva way for Pat Summit and the Lady Vols to go out--

--Jordan with the slam! 23 has 23, and the Tar Heels expand their lead to nine over the Flyers--

--Diddle Arena is packed for this last-minute schedule game between the Cardinals and the Hilltoppers--

--Aqueduct and Oaklawn are seeing a ton of fans at the track on this Sunday--

--Tarkanian said "we should play the tournament even if it's in June"

--Connors yelling again at the official--

--Nicklaus showing his appreciation for the fans who showed up here at Riveria Country Club despite--

--the NCAA reportedly is going to investigate several schools, including Kentucky, UNLV and Auburn, for "illegal benefits" stemming from paying for players to return home and for players' families to come to campus--
Not exactly P&S related, but the Traffic Warden from Threads has been identified.

I'm working on a comprehensive list of the P&S timelines here. If anyone has any additions please post them here or on The Last Game timeline.

You know, it'd be really cool if folks started writing in this universe again...
Looking for suggestions on my The Last Game thread...
Where would the emergency state governments in these states have gone?

Do you or anyone else have any suggestions on where those state governments might have gone? Here are mine:

INDIANA -- Kokomo in the north (easy access to Lafayette and Muncie, both host to major universities if the Soviets didn't knock them out) or Columbus in the south (easy access to Indiana University in Bloomington). FIGHTING ILLINI THREAD SUGGESTS SEVERAL FACTIONS, ONE BEING LT. GOVERNOR IN MOUNT VERNON, NEAR THE ILLINOIS STATE BORDER
-- five possibilities: 1) Hannibal, north of St. Louis, near Quincy, Illinois 2) Columbia, home of the University of Missouri 3) Rolla 4) Cape Girardeau, home of Southeast Missouri State 5) Branson FIGHTING ILLINI THREAD SUGGESTS THEY STAYED, AT LEAST INITIALLY, IN THE CAPITOL OF JEFFERSON CITY WHICH WAS NOT HIT
-- Athens in the south (home to Ohio University) or Cambridge (where Interstates 70 and 77 intersect)
TENNESSEE -- 1) Portland, close to the Kentucky state line and to the southern Kentucky emergency capitol of Bowling Green (I'll talk more about that in a future post) 2) Murfreesboro, close enough to former Nashville and home of Middle Tennessee State University 3) Cookeville, home of Tennessee Tech University and on Interstate 40, midway between Nashville and Knoxville 4) Jackson, in western Tennessee, between Memphis and Nashville 5) Bristol/Johnson City/Kingsport, in far eastern Tennessee, likely one of the largest metropolitan areas in the South still standing 6) Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, in the eastern Tennessee mountains
WEST VIRGINIA -- Beckley? Parkersburg? I'm considering doing what the creator of the VIrginian Republic did on the 1983: Doomsday alt wiki and have Charleston survive, or have the bomb miss Huntington/Ashland (Ky.) and put the emergency government up at Marshall University.
For WV I'd lean towards Beckley or Sutton/Flatwoods. Beckley is a bigger city and closer to Charleston with access to the Virginia Panhandle while Sutton/Flatwoods is closer to the geographic center of the state while still being close to I-79/US 19 and might not catch as much fallout from Charleston.
More thoughts on Indiana...
* The decision was made to move the government to Terre Haute, but to split the cabinet and General Assembly leadership up around the state -- even if the Governor and/or House/Senate leaders were killed, someone in the line of secession or high up in the House or Senate would survive.
* Some members of the Assembly and Cabinet made the fatal decision to stay in Indianapolis and couldn't get out of the city in time due to the deteriorating conditions downtown and the gridlock on every highway and road going out of Warren Marion County.
* The Governor, Robert Orr, most of the Cabinet, and the Senate Majority and Minority and House Majority Leaders died in Terre Haute.
* The Lieutenant Governor, John Mutz, made it to Mount Vernon (instead of staying in Evansville as ordered), anticipating that Evansville would be (correctly) bombed and that he could count on help from nearby Jasper, Washington and Vincennes (and perhaps Henderson, Ky.)
* Harold Negley, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, was sent to Kokomo.
* The House Speaker made it to Bloomington.
* The House Minority Leader made it to Columbus, setting up offices there.
* The Senate Minority Leader made it to Muncie and set up a temporary government at Ball State University.
* A Republican Representative made it to Richmond, in eastern Indiana, and declared an emergency state government, in opposition to the Senate Minority Leader in Muncie.
* There's an alliance of towns in northeastern Indiana with neighboring towns in Michigan and Ohio.
* Logansport, Corydon, Madison and Paoli have set up their own governments. Corydon claims it is loyal to the legitimate state government, but is just trying to survive and not in a position to see which of the factions (that it's aware of) is the rightful claimant.
TARGET LIST: Indianapolis; Terre Haute; Evansville; South Bend; Fort Wayne; Anderson; Gary/Hammond; Lafayette; Naval Support Activity facility in Crane (25 miles SW of Bloomington).
WHAT DIDN'T GET HIT: Grissom Air Force Base, north of Kokomo. There are no planes, and a few stragglers left behind. The question is what do you do with it, with no planes and no strong, stable state government to move in and establish control?

More thoughts on Tennessee....

* Murfreesboro is where the state government goes: close enough to Nashville, and still in Middle Tennessee and able to, ideally, communicate with west and east. Of course, it doesn't work out that way. This is where most of the survivors from Fort Campbell went.
* Jackson goes its own way, declaring the State/Republic of West Tennessee. It has its hands full with refugees from Memphis and neighboring states. It does benefit from the Milan Army Ammunition Plant, and from a few of the survivors from Fort Campbell (the other survivors went to Murfreesboro).
* Cleveland, Cookeville, Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge and the Tri-Cities become their own entities, and don't quite acknowledge the Murfreesboro emergency state government for awhile (eventually they will). Holston Ordnance Plant is in Kingsport,
TARGET LIST: Nashville (the suburbs are hit hard, but the decision is made a year later they're salvageable and the capitol can be rebuilt someday); Memphis (abandoned); Knoxville (put on the 'someday' list); the Oak Ridge Laboratory; Chattanooga.
More thoughts on West Virginia...

* Going with@CobiWann 's suggestion, the emergency capitol is either Beckley or Sutton/Flatwoods.
* Would Morgantown (West Virginia University) be a possibility as a city that survived? It's not on Macragge's list.
* What about Wheeling? It's not on Macragge's list either.
* My question is what else would/might the Soviets have targeted? The state maps you can find online showing nuclear targets don't tell you what they think would be hit.
TARGET LIST: Charleston (state capitol and there's an ordnance plant there), Huntington, and Sulphur Springs/The Greenbrier complex (which would have been hit hardest).
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TARGET LIST: Charleston (state capitol and there's an ordnance plant there), Huntington, and Sulphur Springs/The Greenbrier complex (which would have been hit hardest).
I don’t think anyone knew about the Greenbrier bunker until the exposé in the Washington Post in 1992 OTL. Pretty sure the Soviets wouldn’t have known.
* Some members of the Assembly and Cabinet made the fatal decision to stay in Indianapolis and couldn't get out of the city in time due to the deteriorating conditions downtown and the gridlock on every highway and road going out of Warren County.
Indy is in Marion County, not Warren County…
Wheeling is close to Pittsburgh and is on the Ohio River - it might not catch wind fallout but the river might be unsafe depending on debris.

Morgantown might work - 60/90 minutes from Pittsburgh.
Indy is in Marion County, not Warren County…
D'OH! The fallout's already affecting my brain...
Wheeling is close to Pittsburgh and is on the Ohio River - it might not catch wind fallout but the river might be unsafe depending on debris.

Morgantown might work - 60/90 minutes from Pittsburgh.
That'll be a concern for communities along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers both: the Indiana counties between the Ohio state border and Louisville, and Kentucky counties between Northern Kentucky and Louisville will have to deal with it, too. Same with the Indiana/Kentucky counties west of Louisville, and Evansville.

Morgantown was on the periphery of one of the detonations on the blast map I saw on the internet, but what's around there the Soviets would want to target?
I don’t think anyone knew about the Greenbrier bunker until the exposé in the Washington Post in 1992 OTL. Pretty sure the Soviets wouldn’t have known.
If that's the case, then that's a story begging to be written. There would have been time to get the pertinent people to the facility.

This comment suggests that Missouri, Illinois AND Kentucky are all completely good as gone. Does anyone agree re: Kentucky? Or do you think there would be a path forward for the Commonwealth especially after the fallout ends and the rads go down?