A Date Which Will Live In Infamy


rating: +23+x


Naval Station Baros
Santa Joana Republic
12/09/1941



Josephine,


We're in a shooting war now, darling. More than a shooting war. Cowards swooped on us without warning. The Japanese decided they want to lose sooner rather than later, and we're all happy to bring them what they want.


But baby, things are rough-going here. You told me to never lie if I thought I wasn't come back. I'm writing this because my officers told me I'm not coming back. They told me that by tomorrow morning, our mail isn't even going home.


I love you more than the world, Josephine.



Your soldier boy,



Private Daniel Louise




The message floated in its bottle towards the raft. Scouring the wine-colored water for more, Seaman Apprentice Aspen sees a half dozen others. He extends his reach tool to grab and check this one, and placed the letter neatly to dry, bringing the total to fifteen.

"I just don't believe this," SA Aspen tells his petty officer.

"Believe it. We're at the coordinates for Baros Station. They flattened the whole place."

"What the hell you mean, 'flatten'?" Aspen looks overboard at a deep blue sea, stained with threads of clear red on the surface. It does not betray its depths. "You're telling me a bomb did this!?"

"Do you seriously think I have the answers? We're picking up the litter."

The raft continues towards another conglomeration of debris. A bottle rests on the surface of the ocean, splashing and bobbing towards the vessel.


Kalapati Hill US AFB
Santa Joana Republic
12/09/1941



Mi amor Paulita,


Every day I have longed to cross the strait to return to you. Oh, love, how will this letter find you? I know only what I see, and I see the Rising Sun flying over every ironclad ship I see on the horizon. Whatever they dropped on us wasn't just bombs. It was horror.


My love, is your sky blue? All I see an ocean of deep purple. A sky of pure light broken by beams of darkness. Whatever they dropped on us has lingered in the air, suspended in the light, inundated the sea with gore. God, the things in the sea.


Dearest, read this carefully. The Japanese will roll over us at this point. The few planes that are functional are dwindling. None of the Fleet is running here. We have the IJA in our sights, waiting for the first foot to be set here. Take your family to the hills, mi amor. Don't be in the city for the bombardment.


In a few days, the Pacific Fleet will drive these criminals away. I'll meet you in Santa Ana after my duty is done.



Tu amor,



Anthony Valte




Number sixteen.

Petty Officer Adam raised his binoculars to his eyes and points to a speck on the horizon. Kido Butai.

"Alright, we're headed back to reef," the petty officer ordered.


When the U.S. acquired the islands of the Philippines and Santa Joana from Spain in 1898, the strategic value of these Southeast Asian sister nations as a bulwark of American interests in Asia was clear. By 1940, Naval Station Baros on the island of Lesser Ahnwar was the United States' largest overseas military installation.

By December 8,1 1941, Naval Station Baros and the Santa Joana Republic it occupied were gone. Replaced with a deep blue sea. Simultaneous to this event was the beginning of the assault by the Japanese Combined Fleet against targets across the Pacific.

An officer sent one message over telephone; "There's an attack on the Station—" before every telephone and telegraph severed from communication. Submarine SCPS Crepuscula was the first vessel on the scene.


10:14 GMT+9

"We're coming up on the islands now," Technician Del Rio reckons.

Captain Theodore Kamakau sees nothing through the periscope. "No, we aren't."

The Crepuscula skirts just below the surface. With state-of-the-art radar, the submarine should be able to operate fully submerged with confident navigation. Yet the captain, knowing the Sea of Ahnwar well, doesn't trust the instruments. "We're surfacing," he orders.

Stepping onto the platform, Del Rio and Kamakau take in the briny air and the shimmer of the morning sun on the ocean. Del Rio performs the necessary calculations to convince his superior. "See, 15.6 North. Instruments are accurate."

scp-crepuscula.PNG
Submarine SCPS Crepuscula.

"Then we have a much bigger problem."

Continuing the course to Baros, the Crepuscula cuts through sea where civilization once stood. Suspended in the air, under the sea, on the surface, Carlos Del Rio sees formless images of a different world. Mirror-like, without clear edges, a perfect reflection of a red sea under a clear sky. Where the distortions meet the sea, the red and blue intermix. Carlos sees a great and dreadful fish cross into our sea. "Captain, any idea what this is?"

"Oh yeah, we have this back on O'ahu," he scoffs. "What kind of question is that?" In the windows between worlds, Kamakau sees shear walls of bedrock, beaches with their dunes collapsed into our sea, vistas of Great Ahnwar's hills. And when they 'reach' Baros, they see civilians, some treading water, some dead.

"Mate, we have survivors, dead ahead!" Kamakau yells down the hatch. The surfaced platform positions in the midst of the castaways. The seven crew below deck mobilize a raft to accommodate survivors. Kamakau reaches out to help a woman and her child onto the platform, then a second child.

"Salma! Emarmi, emarmi salma! Naula naang yamen! Nasunog namen!" she says exacerbated.

"Ma'am, I don't understand," Kamakau replies.

"Binomba nila ko! Ang jiamen imfyerno!"

"Any of you speak Ahnwari?" Kamakau asks his crew. None do. Kamakau looks over the crush of desperate people and sees a scuffle break out on the already overcapacity raft. A young man is thrown back into the sea.

"Unbelievable," Kamakau seethes. "Del Rio, radio for a second ship, tell them they're responding to a shipwreck."

The Captain outstretches to hoist the man aboard. "You speak English?" The man nods.

"What happened to Baros?"

"They hit us," he answers. "At sunrise. I woke up when the bombs hit my street. They… tore the country apart."

Dotted across the red-blue seascape are shimmers of what was once here. Ghosts of the city of Baros. "Why are you here when the rest of the island is gone?"

"Gone? We're all on the other side of… the doors. I don't know what it is. I know that none of us are going back."

"But you can go back through them?"

"I'm not going back."

"You don't have to come with us," the Captain says, pointing back to the melee ongoing aboard the inflatable. The man retracts.

Kamakau turns to Del Rio. "We're going to find our personnel on the other side."

The submarine seamlessly crosses a large portal. Everyone above deck is flashed by the brutal light of the sky. Grey, seemingly overcast, but burning bright. The Captain throws on his sunglasses but still has to strain to look ahead. The passengers and crew can only shade their eyes by going below deck.

Looking back to the sea, the Captain seas a red-grey chasm of water with ephemeral shimmers beckoning home. The Crepuscula steams forward into the smoldering wreck of Naval Station Baros.


06:33 GMT+9

Dr. Daniel Ebner feels like the wind got knocked out of him. Shaken, nauseous, he pulls himself off the ground and can barely see to the other side of the lab. His colleagues also found themselves on the ground. The room is illuminated only by the strobing emergency light. A great screech leading to a crash echos from the elevator shaft. Was it an earthquake? A bomb?

No one was sticking around for an answer. The room empties out into the staircase. No one else was this deep down at this time of morning, not even security. The scientists escort themselves to the surface.

The dreary peace of the Site-48ψ courtyard was particularly dreadful in this twilight. A barbwire enclave, under the shade of a mountain, in a sea of Ahnwari jungle. Officer Morga paces towards the researchers. "Got a message from the station, there's a raid on the island. Is the anchor secured?"

"It's a blackout down there. We would need to generate the power to recalibrate it," Ebner responds. "It's sustaining itself right now. Can't transport it until we get a generator."

"Why's it need power to be deactivated?" Morga impatiently retorts.

"If I could explain it to you, it wouldn't make a difference. Nothing's moving without power."

Morga marches off to order his subordinates. Within the minute, three engineers of the Allied Occult Command descend into the compound with the researcher. By lamplight they work to resolve the power outage. The concrete walls stand firm, the pipes haven't burst.

But the problem is clear when the engineers reach the utilities room. Bisecting the power system was a shear wall of rock. Looking up the elevator shaft, the same rock face snapped the cord and left the platform smashed at the bottom. An unsalvageable situation.

"Officer, it's a loss," engineer Lemer Szot reports. "It's some kind of tectonic shift that's damaged the place. We need auxiliary power. And a crane."

"Then get on a truck to Baros."

The engineers connected the dots, realized they were misplaced in reality, after there convoy's path was crossed by a portal a hundred feet above the ocean. Engineer Betty Hajiro, from Honolulu, tosses a stone into the blue mirage, which whistles like a bomb as it falls into the sea.

"So, we're gonna need to be more careful above sea level."


10:44 GMT+9

Progressing slowly around the anomaly, the truck finds its way to the main road. Columns of people are fleeing into the cover of the rural jungle to avoid the dive bombers. The Imperial Air Service darts in the distance.

scp-baros-aftermath.jpg
Battleship USS El Paso.

Arriving through a ravaged and crowded city, the crew is inundated with an apocalyptic aura. A blanket of penetrating heat covers the streets. Blue was absent from the sky as dark smoke billows from across the skyline. But if it wasn't for that smoke, the bombers would still be able to meet their targets.

The sun glows hot pink. The grey sky burns their eyes. The sea is a ruddy red to the horizon. Carcasses of the Asiatic Fleet lie at the floor of the harbor. The USS El Paso rests on her side, burning with a caustic fury and spewing thousands of gallons of ignited oil into the harbor. The fire brigade isn't in a position to put out the inferno; any closer than 100 feet and the chemical heat is deadly.

The truck is ushered passed burning pools of oil, cars punctured with shrapnel, and a triage center stretching the entire perimeter. Disembarking, the crew makes their way beneath the station to their command center. The engineers find the highest AOC officer they knew, Lieutenant General Victor Sterling. He's visibly agitated trying to direct anyone in this chaos.

"… And goddammit, you tell him I said that!" he barks at a message carrier. "Tell him I never asked them to put their entire damn fleet on Japan's doorstep!" The messenger had already left the room.

"General, we're SEC," Szot says, stifled somewhat by his Hungarian accent. "We need assistance on the anchor."

"Christ's sake! What's this? That thing's going mad, too, hasn't it?"

"We just need some generator power down there. Keep it below supercritical."

"You've seen the state of this place!? Don't you think it needs to be deactivated!?"

"That's what we're trying to do."

Hajiro interjects. "General, is this happening to other places? Philippines, Hawaii?"

"What?" Sterling replies. "Well, I haven't heard a damn thing. None of the telephone or telegraphs work. Not a damn one! And no word from the mainland, no help from Clark or Subic!"

"General, can you send another ship to the mainland?"

"You know what you're asking me, right?"

"It is very important that we talk to Dr. Scranton."

Sterling pauses. "I'll see what I can do."

With the scientists in tow, Sterling emerges from the bunker ostensibly to discuss matters with the harbormaster. Emerging at Perestrello Point, the residential boulevard of the station, they redirect to a ship in top condition: the SCPS Crepuscula, upwind of the fire, offloading civilians.


13:25 GMT+9

The present danger of bombardment meant the Crepuscula had no choice but to stay beneath the surface. Overcapacity, breathing recycled air, the researchers are uneasy.

Crossing back into the old world, the sub isn't greeted by a rescue team. The survivors' raft is deflated and stained deeply red. Faintly visible in the periscope is the visage of a Rengo Kantai ship in the distance. The Crepuscula could out-maneuver any of their vessels, but a well-placed torpedo or dive bomb would make the journey treacherous. They have the fuel to make it to Helen Reef.

"… So, it's another planet?" Captain Kamakau questions.

"The islands are tangential to our planet," Szot says. "Sent there by cosmic power, It's the kind of thing the anchor was designed to neutralize. And it did a damn good job."

"What are you talking about? It ripped a hole in our world!"

"No, Captain," Sterling interjects, having heard their side of the event. "Do you think the bombing raid that proceeded this rift is a coincidence? We've been telling the Americans to take their fleet back across the Pacific. It's so obvious. We knew the Axis powers had thaumic weapons. I thought they could level a city if they willed it, but by God, they've ripped this country from us. Bombed away its place in reality."

"How can you be so sure of any of this?" Technician Del Rio challenges.

"Well," Szot says, "Do we wait around to see if they do it again?"

"Damn right, we will not," the Lieutenant General affirms.

Helen Reef wasn't much more than a shack on a sandbar, but it was the only Foundation hotline that Kamakau could guarantee wouldn't be under bombardment. The bright sky and blue desert stretching as far as the eye could see was still preferable to the tense, stuffy submarine.

"Alright, you get to make your calls, then we're taking you back to dismantle that thing," Kamakau asserts. He gives Dr. Ebner the day's code.

The doctor dials the digits of the Foundation hotline operator. "Yes, E-5-3-S-I-5-8-A." The operator does not give a verbal response. Ebner recites the info forwarded to him by Dr. Szot. "For the office of the Allied Occult Command Construction Battalion, Darwin, Australia." Lt. General Sterling takes charge of the phone.

The hum of the receiver breaks. "Speaking?"

"Yes," Sterling introduces himself. "Is this Eckers?"

"Speaking."

"Send reinforcements to Baros Station. Liferaft. We need reinforcements."

"Current location?"

"Helen Reef."

"Current state of operation?"

"The whole damn Fleet is wiped out, Eckers. They used the damn thaumic bomb! Christ. We need all the ships from Darwin. I mean all the goddamn ships."

"Lieutenant General, the fleet has been mustered to other ports already."

"Then redirect them! We need the goddamn liferaft! I mean all of them!"

"I can send a signal of distress to our captains. I can muster a few vessels to that location. Do you know what situation they'll see there?"

"They know what they're getting into, Eckers. The enemy hasn't landed yet. Tell them to get to Baros."


15:25 GMT+9

Ebner finishes his dry correspondence with the only Foundation researcher he could get on the line. Lists of protocols, technical specifications, theory. He once more recites to code to the operator's approval. "For the office of Dr. Elizabeth Scranton, Allied Occult Command, Sacramento, California."

Without a word, the operator prepares the line for the call. Engineer Hajiro seeks to pry the telephone from Ebner's hand. "You should let me take it from here. Scranton and I are good friends."

"If I remember correctly, it was your team that handed Liferaft over to the Foundation," Ebner retorts.

Hajiro is trying to be charitable. "I've been to her class, Doctor. Can I be the one who drops this on her?"

Ebner passes the handle to the engineer. "I suppose."

Hajiro restlessly listens to the hum of the telephone. "Hello, Dr. Scranton speaking."

"Hello, Doctor. This is a troubleshooting call regarding Liferaft."

"Oh, is that Betty? How's she running? How are you, doll?"

"Doctor, you've heard the news of the attack?"

"Ms. Hajiro, why else would I be in my office at this time of night?"

"They went Plan K on the anchor. They used a thaumic weapon."

"It's gone?"

"Not quite. It's still running critical. Same the last three weeks. It's displaced. The whole site is displaced. If we want to get it back, we're working to repair the hardware to make it subcritical."

"Displaced?"

"It's a deformed reality. There's so many hurting people, doctor, in a place that shouldn't be."

Scranton goes silent. "So why on Earth are you deactivating it?"

"Because it dismantled it's own containment," Dr. Ebner interrupts.

"No, it's doing its job, Mr.—"

"Dr. Ebner."

"Dr. Ebner," Scranton emphasizes, "This was an act of war on your Foundation as much as it was on my country."

"Our country."

"Alright. See, you're not versed in the geometry of thaumic weapons. There's a dualism to these kinds of weapons. Like this. A Weapon of Thaumic Displacement creates a superposition of reality. It wouldn't allow any transit between strains of reality. The amount of energy that can fit in a bomb, can at most extricate the target from existence. Resolve the superposition. It'd take a mighty bomb. And it'd be a one-way trip. But that's not what happened, right Dr. Ebner?

"So, unless you have novel insight about WTDs, and I sincerely welcome that, we have to ask: why can matter transit these realities? Why is different matter in two states in the exact same position? I think you'll find that it is my anchor working exactly as intended. It's intention is to halt a shift of reality in progress. It certainly helped you get out from the beyond. So I ask you one more time, why are we deactivating it?"

"It's no use to us at the bottom of a busted site in this pocket world, okay?" Ebner responds. "We're going to go back and deactivate it. This isn't for debate. You can help us do it correctly or you can not."

"You're not going to close it with an entire city on the other side! Not if there's people on the other side."

"Dr. Scranton," Hajiro says, "it's not the city, it's all of the islands."

"You do not have my permission to turn off my functioning anchor. You would be abetting this mass murder. I'll keep in touch." Scranton promptly hangs up.

Kamakau is eager to return the motley crew back to Site-48ψ to sort out their mess. But Dr. Ebner dials the number once again.

"Consulate of the Santa Joana Republic, San Francisco, California."


17:21 GMT+9

The condition onboard the Crepuscula are still as dank as before. Technician Del Rio returned to the mainland while the Captain escorted the experts back to the Republic. The conditions south of Papua are pristine. But the waters this submarine treads are patrolled by enemy battleships and by enemy planes. The further from port they travel, the water becomes dyed with more unnatural colors. Unnatural serpents, selachians, schools of disfigured fish became more numerous. The border where the Ahnwari Coast once marked is still shredded with rends, but their frequency and size has dissipated. Kamakau's new destination is La Pureza.

Proceeding ahead of whatever flotilla the AOC was going to muster, the Captain sees that the blue water fleet of the IJN has pulled back. Expecting a regroup in the future, for now the vessel can confirm that the path to Santa Joana is cautiously secure. On the blue side, the Japanese have turned their sights elsewhere.

Crossing the space between atoms, the grim horizon on the red ocean is lined with the grey hulls of ships. Fighters buzz against the burning bright sky. There is no path through that blockade. The Crepuscula heads inward, through the Strait of Ahnwar. The submarine felt secure flanked between the two islands, out of sight of their besieging enemy. At the end of the strait, the clustered shorefront of La Pureza is on fire. The Crepuscula steams towards the scene, noticing a battleship which had broken formation.

scp-ahnwar-battleship.jpg
Flagship IJNS Ōmura Dom Bartolomeu.

The horrible form of the vessel is jagged and colorless. The manner with which she hovers through the water seems to defy gravity. The shadow she casts was sharp in the bright silver sky.

Flying proudly to the side of the monstrous towers of steel was the ever-recognizable battle flag of the Imperial Japanese Navy. But above that flag flew one bearing the emblem of a cross. The behemoth ship positions itself seeming to point directly towards the entrance of the harbor. A voice booms from the foghorn.

"Todos los paganos… Que faltan el respeto a la soberana del imperio angelical de Japón…"

Technician Del Rio translates for those who don't understand. "Heathens who disrespect the Emperor of Japan… Submit to your Lord Jesus Christ. Your nation is sinful… An affront to Peace on Earth… Answer to the holy authority of the Emperor of Japan and our Lord Jesus Christ for your Redemption."

The macabre battleship drifts disconcerned of the Crepuscula. As it approaches the town across the strait, it repeats the proselytizing message, first in Japanese, then Latin, then English, Tagalog then back to Spanish. Smaller cruisers scatter behind it, scouting the insular waterways. The AOC personnel are flagged into La Pureza Harbor.

Having information from the outside world, Sterling and the researchers were quickly brought to the Palace of the Presidency. They're directed to a meeting hall lit by an ominous natural light, where a man and a woman are seated.

"Hello," the woman says. "We are present on behalf of President Joseph Larreta who cannot be seen at the moment. What may—"

"No, no," Sterling interrupts. "We need his signature, now. This is crucial."

"Excuse me, General," the man says. "The President is extremely busy coordinating the defense of this island."

Sterling somehow doubted that. "You do not understand. I will put it simply. This is an Executive Order of the Allied Powers. If the President of this Republic does not sign off this defensive order for his nation, I am authorized to undertake it in a military capacity."

The representatives are not fazed.

The Lt. General continues. "This plan as drafted here was telegraphed from the office of the Consulate. This is a contingency our Command had the foresight to predict."

The representatives nod at one another. The woman stands up and gestures to take the documents. "I suppose, in that capacity, I can act on behalf of the Office of the President." She signs the document:

scp-aoc-sigil-small.png

To the Office of the Presidency

12/08/1941

TOP SECRET

Executive Order #6941


Under the condition of a Class-E+ Spatial Displacement Event:

Event occurred under public scrutiny;
Event has endangered personnel or the interests of the Allied Powers;
Event is not self-contained;
Event is not reversible;
Tertiary anomalous activity is a present danger to reality

The defense of the territories encompassed by the Republic of Santa Joana has entered into the military jurisdiction of the Allied Occult Command. As a participant nation in the Port Sudan Conference, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Santa Joana are indebted to participation under the guidance of the Occult Command, to dispense army, naval, and air directives in defense of the Nation.


This document is binding under the Executive Order of the President of the Republic of Santa Joana.


x Bernadette Larreta




18:19 GMT+9

scp-ahnwar-seabees.jpg
AOC Special Construction Battalion "Seabees" 34th.

The Seabees work fast under the light of the setting sun. Speeding in to the Ahnwari Coast, they see their worksite. The dispatcher would've sent a middling few scouting vessels to the region. But Master Chief Ives knew the importance of finding contact with Santa Joana, so he made sure his Seabees made it to the scene. Mooring on the blue side of the sea, the construction battalion unloads their barge. A buoy with a bizarre antenna bobs out into the sea. An anchor drags its wire to the seafloor, leading back to Darwin. It was more or less a trial to see if wireless could even work in this scenario.

Looking through the rift, the scale of the blockade on the anomalous world could be demoralizing. The enemy of this far-off dimension have mustered an overwhelming number. Even in the sunset, their sky was scathing to the eyes. But instead of demoralized, the Seabees got a renewed resolve as guardians of the Pacific.

Gazing at the horizon wasn't on their mind as an unknown abomination grabbed onto the wire. A grisly white tentacle writhes up, revealing a spiral of teeth. Ives produces his pistol and discharges, leaving the appendage to limply tangle on the floor of the barge. Apprentice Ricardo finds the service spade and manages to create a large gash on the monster's limb, which retreats to the sea.

Looking out to the sea, Ives sees more wriggling white flesh. He's unable to tell if it's dozens of the same creature, or aspects of one great beast. He instead makes the decision to test the beacon's functionality at Baros Station.

The SCB found itself being pulled at all sides to help at the station. This platoon needs a welder, that mission needs a ship. But after seeing the masses of civilians packing onto the least seaworthy rafts and paddling into the wicked red ocean, Master Chief declared that his vessels will only serve that purpose. Of the few vessels Ives could afford to relinquish, the crush of people on the shore filled each one.

A brawl breaks out on the dock. The AOC military police have disallowed a man from entering the boat with his family. When Ives protests this, he's given the orders as telegraphed:

For Immediate Distribution


Reintegration Project GUIDANCE


The Armed Forces of the Allied Powers, under Jurisdiction of the Allied Occult Command, Brothers-in-Arms of the Republic of Santa Joana, have initiated Reintegration Project GUIDANCE to secure the integrity of Santa Joana; to contain the threat of enemy invasion; and to protect the lives of the innocent.

Applicants for Reintegration Project GUIDANCE must prioritize the following criteria:

  • Applicant is below the age of 15 or above the age of 65;
  • Applicant is the parent of an applicant below the age of 15;
  • Applicant is physically disabled or injured


Individuals fulfilling the following criteria are EXEMPT from Reintegration Project GUIDANCE:

  • Applicant is a working age male;
  • Applicant is enlisted in the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, United States, or an Associated Nation

Individuals who fulfill criteria and are present at designated point of departure will not be hindered from evacuating to safe harbors pending future Reintegration Processing.



Ives wasn't in a position to object. But he wasn't going to separate families on his ship. His speeder carried three trips of civilians to the Philippines. While his familiar blue sea rested under a black night sky, the purple-red sea of the parallel world churned under a bronze twilight. As he pulls in to the Perestrello dock, he's ordered to cease his voyages due to diesel concerns, castaways be damned.

Cruisers of the Twilight Sun were probing into our reality. The AOC marines' new objective was to match their force as best they can. Only two armed escorts were mustered by the Special Construction Battalion 34th, but as the situation took hold, the higher command found the sense to reinforce the position. The harbor at Baros Station was still on fire, the waters slick with oil. Defending the position of the nation meant regrouping north, around the capital, to protect the Strait of Ahnwar.

Despite feeling the sting of a bombing raid, La Pureza's harbor still stood. The AOC had at their muster three destroyers, a cruiser, a dozen speeders, the Crepuscula, and all the yachts in town.


20:23 GMT+9

Two Seabees took the initiative to escort the researchers from the Presidential Palace back to their work site. Though the red water navy is hesitating to open fire, the tension as their AOC speeders enter their proximity is palpable. The crew disembark on the north shore of Baros and attempt one last phone call.

"▓▒░▒nton sp░▒▒ing."

"Dr. Scranton?" Dr. Ebner asks. "Okay, I'm happy to hear from you again. So, it's paramount we continue, continue our discussion about lifera

"▓▓▒▓░ ▒ ca▒'t q▒it░ ▓ake ░▒u ou▓. Y▓▓r░ ▓▒t c▓▒ing thr▓▒▓h, ok▒▒—"

"The connection is very bad doctor, we're on the other side of the dimension rift."

"▓'m ▒n a tr▒▓s░ac▓f▒c l▒▓▒r."

"Alright, headed to Darwin?"

"M▒r▒sb▒░."

"That's good. We'll be quick. We no longer have the option not to deactivate the liferaft, alright? There's-a-naval-gun-to-our-heads kind of deal. So all we want to hear is how you would do that."

Hajiro throws a scowl at Ebner and mouths the words "give me that."

"D░▒ ░bner," Scranton continues, "Y▒▒ ar░ g▒▒▓g to tr▒p y▒░▒s▒▓v▒s ▒nd ▒vry░░▓ th░▒▒."

"Hello, doctor?" Betty says. "You're right. We understand the awful task we are asking of you—"

"Th▒░▒ f▓▒king f░sci▒ts hav▒ s▒nte░c░▓ ▓▒em to de▒th! I w▓n't h▓▒p c▒▒ry it o░▒!"

"Doctor, this is a war directive. The evacuation has been ongoing. We're staying behind. The longer the anchor keeps our realities entwined, the worse the sea gets. Doctor, you haven't seen how bad it is. What comes from this dark reality."

Scranton pauses. "░▒░y. I w▒nt▒d t░ s░e i▓. Th░▒'s p▓▒ba▒l▒ n░t an opt▓▒n now?"

"No. We have to shut it down ASAP."

"Y▒░ un▒░rst░▓d h▒▓ ▓▒ br▒▒g i░ t▒ ▒ubcr░▒i▓▒l▒ty a▓d s▓▒t▒░n?"

"Yes, Dr. Scranton, thirty seconds, and then decouple the thaumic washer."

"On░ ▒f y▒u is str▒ng en▓▒░h to op▒░ th▒ deut▒r▒um t░░▒?"

"Yes, we synthesize it on-site. Szot can do it."

"S▒▒nds l▒k▓ ▓▒░ ░n▒w wh▒t y▓▒'re do▒░g, H▓▒iro."

"So, you think we're set?"

"Yes," Scranton pauses again. "Ha▓▒ro, Im so s▒░ry."

The Engineers resolve to put an end to Scranton's experiment. Thus set off, hopefully for the last time, into this jungle. Pulling in to Site-48ψ, the crew treks into the belly of the facility to render the Liferaft nonfunctional.

The auxiliary power has been applied. The circuit from the core rerouted. The critical Humes the machine dispensed constantly are now in the acceptable subcritical range. The thaumic entropy filter has been dismantled, and fresh deuterium engulfs the core.

Szot pours over the research protocol for any misstep. But the change in reality is obvious the instant the anchor reaches baseline levels. The rends which disrupted parts of the facility are faltering, the borders between reality becoming more delineated, darker, and shifting form at a faster rate.

All readings point to the SRA having reverted into an inert radioactive device. Taking the long drive back to Baros, paths once crossed by the superposition of reality are now unobstructed.


05:04 GMT+9, the next morning

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Battlecruiser SCPS Jaeger.

This change propagated throughout all parts of the region affected by reality displacement. The SCPS Jaeger has at last found its way through the treacherous South Pacific. Above, every twenty minutes or so, a Foundation fighter observes the sky for her. Her station: the rift on the southeast horizon of Baros. Her directive: make sure nothing crosses to the blue side.

Coming upon a ribbon-like tear in our reality, it's clear that the water of this dark world had already made it to ours, with whatever lives in it. Red strands of algae-like growth sticks to the surface of the water and the sides of vessels. It sticks to the seabirds which land on the water and to the unknowable forms which show a fraction of their form above the surface. These creatures do not discern that their existence is intolerable to our world. But none of these are the targets the Jaeger would waste ammo upon.

A Kakure-class Destroyer of the Twilight Sun patrols parallel to the Jaeger on the other side of reality. Though too far for faces to be read, the atmosphere the enemy exhibits is one of contempt. The Foundation ship has orders strictly to not fire the opening salvo. But it was clear that the enemy navy considers this an intrusion that must be rectified.

Before the sun can rise, the Jaeger already logs refugee boats all around the horizon. An AOC barge packed mostly with women and children, a riverboat carrying a family unit, a yacht commandeered by a crush of desperate people. Radiating into a cruel and foreign sea.

As the sunrise beams over the blue sea, the dingy grey sky on the far side begins to illuminate. An Ahnwari fisher packs his gear into his boat. The crew of the Jaeger are awash with respect watching as he takes his humble livelihood to sail towards the blue.


05:46 GMT+9

The researchers are silent on their drive back to Baros. The sun doesn't rise, the sky just get less bearable. Reaching the naval station, the urgent evacuation of civilians is no less chaotic. Rifts that were once open are now out of reach. People cling to the outsides of ships heading out to the blue, knowing that if they fall the ship will not stop for them. The engineer crew were directed to the Perestrello Building, where Lieutenant General Sterling moves in step with the quartermasters of the barracks. He is speaking to a hall of 600 out of the thousands of troops stationed at the base, who are not going to be allowed home.

"… The dingy sea, the smoke that burns your lungs and the lights that blind you, this is a result of this thaumic explosive. The atmosphere on the island has been ignited without warning. The sun glows pink through the particles of this cloud. Across the world, this symbolizes the imminent end. This is how the enemy has initiated combat. To demoralize the people of this island. But this isn't the end.

"You all have a part to play in the coming weeks. The defense of this island is your task, and my Command within the Allied Powers will march with you in your task. We will steadfastly provide to the Republic of Santa Joana a garrison which will withstand the blockading powers as the Pacific reinforcements establish dominance of the sea. Men, this task I ask of you may take weeks, may take months. The coming objective is the reintegration of the bystander civilians into the Philippine Islands."

An unassuming soldier stands from his seated position. "Sir, I am awaiting duty in the Philippines."

"All soldiers in the country are submitted for reassignment," the quartermaster confirms.

"The most important objective," Sterling continues, "For the Japanese, is Santa Joana. Our capacity for a naval breakthrough beyond these islands is small. The reality is we're going to experience siege conditions. Every bystander we get off the island is one less mouth to feed."

Trapped in a dismal realm, a long way from home, the soldiers are told there would be one final mail call. With little foresight, without the slightest understanding of what imposed these conditions of death upon them, the soldiers write home.


Naval Station Baros
Santa Joana Republic
12/09/1941



Mama,


This letter will reach you even though I cannot. For the next few months, you can't expect another letter for me. You must know that Japan has obliterated my paradise. I am lucky to be alive through the bombs and the tremors.


Do not fret over my safety, for I am in the hands of God and my brothers.


I cannot write because I will be in combat. This is the real deal, and I am going to fulfill my duties. These people have no one without us.


I will see you, Victor and Robbie on the other side when this is over.


Always with you,



Corporal Michael Pastramo



The letters were submitted to the Navy. Each message was compiled, stuffed into a watertight seal, and thrown through the rift, in the hopes that someone on the other side would collect it.


03:14 GMT+8

The shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of the vessel pours onto the land after two hours sailing from Mapkalapati. It's the dead of night, but the locals are still out here, welcoming the influx of refugees, passing blankets and water through the chain-link fence.

"Andale, Andale," the American military police orders. "This way, por aquí. Por reintegración."

"Ask him where we are," a grandfather, only speaking Ahnwari, asks his granddaughter to translate. The group marches forward through a barbwire canal.

"Hello, sir," a shy voice calls upward. "Where are we, sir?"

"Mindanao," the milpo responds.

The voyagers follow their directions through the 'processing center' as the military called it. On every other wrist, the milpo slapped on a wristband, red for citizens of Santa Joana, blue for everyone else. Parents from the crowd were chosen to be temporary guardians of the unaccompanied children. Across the Philippine and Indonesian islands now lived, scattered, ten percent of the population of Santa Joana. Ninety percent didn't make it out.

The people, huddled in shared blankets in a half-built tent city, may not know the scope of the hardships on the horizon. In one month, the IJN will have the island under occupation. In six months, the entirety of Southeast Asia will be under their grip. The Allies, the Occult Command, the Foundation, will bide their time for two years until the tide of war changes. And what will the AOC and the Foundation bring to the island on liberation day? Chemical lobotomies, amnestic surgery, and cultural erasure. Their nation's plight will not be in the history books. The refugees, and all traces of their homeland, will be scattered to the wind, carried on only in their genes.

But, for now, they are tired, and, on this island, they are welcome.


08:38 GMT+9

SCPS Jaeger stands en guard at the gate to the scarlet hellscape. As time has passed, the ribbon which once seemed to wrap around the planet is now only a dashed line. The cruisers which probed into our planet have mostly returned to their reality. The number of refugee missions from the island has fallen to zero.

Battlecruiser Jaeger elects to position its broadside on the other side of the reality rift, prepared to prevent any other traffic through the worlds. A Kakure-class steams towards our blue water. With few options to see through to our side, they posture against the Jaeger, threatening to ram through. The Jaeger maintains its provocation, and the enemy instead shows their own broadside. The Kakure vessel breaks the standoff to trail another path around Great Ahnwar.

The Commander of the Jaeger was promised reinforcements, and he hopes he can afford this gamble before they decide they want to stay.

Currently, the Twilight Sun continues to esoterically circle the Santa Joana islands without explanation. But one thing that is clear is their unmatched firepower.

Across the nation, the AOC makes no distinction between their operatives, the greater Allied Armed Forces, the army of Santa Joana, or civilian volunteers. Everyone has a job to prepare for their enigmatic enemy's next move. In Baros, the triage center has cordoned off a corner of the field to quarantine individuals subject to a horrible affliction, feather-like patterns of red emerging beneath their skin. In Mapkalapati, the people riot when told that the evacuation ships will not return. In La Pureza, the boat launch is a scene of carnage when something from the deep capsized an overstuffed vessel.

Brothers-in-arms of every nation, but mostly Americans and Santajoaneños, made ready the ports and beaches of the islands for invasion. Civilians are cleared from the coasts and the docks. The boulevards are empty except for the personnel cars. Markets are commandeered and converted to be rationed among the remaining population.

Now is the time to bunker down.


18:03 GMT+9

On the blue side, the rips once held open by the reality anchor are not far from fully mending. After a long search for a proper rend, Apprentice Ricardo sent across worlds a sealed bottle containing a magnetic tape cassette.

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

"The United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American Island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

"It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

"The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

"Yesterday, the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.

"Yesterday, Japanese forces attacked the Santa Joana Republic.

"Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

"Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

"Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

"Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

"And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

"Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation.

"As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

"But always will our whole Nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

"No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

"I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

"Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

"With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God."

This correspondence would be the last contact to what used to be the Santa Joana Republic.


04:03 GMT+9, the next morning

By this time, Dr. Ebner has made it to Port Moresby, and awaits in Foundation custody to meet Dr. Scranton.

No matter what he could tell the Doctor, there's nothing they can do to track down a reality that is no longer entangled in ours.

There would be no more transits between Santa Joana and the world it once inhabited.

Allied Occult Command Special Engineers Lemer Szot and Betty Hajiro were exempt from Reintegration Project GUIDANCE and not allowed to leave the Republic.

Except for Del Rio, the crew of the Crepuscula and Construction Battalion 34th volunteered to stay behind, despite not truly believing the assurance that someone would come back to rescue them.

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Ocean liner RMS Found Wisdom.

The atmosphere of La Pureza was blanketed by the starkest dread imaginable. The battered Republic of Santa Joana was the only charted land on this planet. The northern mouth of the Strait of Ahnwar was guarded by battlecruiser SCPS Jaeger, submarine SCPS Crepuscula, five AOC destroyers, less than a dozen fighter aircraft, and the cruise liner RMS Found Wisdom, outfitted with Mark I naval guns. Launched in Portsmouth, once the luxury standard for Transpacific travel, now the Found Wisdom is a craft of war.

Positioned against them was a flotilla of a dozen aircraft carriers with a gross of aircraft, an unknown number of cruisers, battleships, at least 50 destroyers, dozens of submarines. A wall of iron across the red water. All righteously devoted crews of the Twilight Sun Combined Fleet.

A grim song rang out from the Flagship Ōmura Dom Bartolomeu.

The sky was still an ugly bronze as the Twilight Sun bombers began dropping their payload on La Pureza. The air defenses of Santa Joana cannot repel this assault. The projectiles are inert, crashing through the top stories of the Presidential Palace like cannonballs. A message. Betty grabs the lead and wood dart which landed in the hall outside her dorm. She unfurls a scroll she finds within, which is printed four times, in Spanish, Latin, Japanese, and English.


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WE, by the Grace of Heaven and Our LORD Jesus Christ, Imperial Sovereign of Japan, seated on the Throne occupied by the same Dynasty from Time Immemorial, enjoin upon Ye, Our Loyal and Brave Subjects:

We hereby declare War of Subjugation upon the heathens of this nation and the Blue Hell invoked. The men and officers of Our Army and Navy shall do their utmost in prosecuting the war. Our public servants of various departments shall perform faithfully and diligently their respective duties; the entire Nation with a united Will shall mobilize Their totalizing strength so that nothing will miscarry in the attainment of Our war aims.

To ensure the stability of East Asia and to contribute to world peace is the far-sighted policy which was formulated by Our Great Illustrious Imperial Grandsire and Our Great Imperial Sire succeeding Him, and which We lay constantly to heart. To cultivate friendship among nations and to enjoy prosperity in common with all nations, has always been the guiding principle of Our Angelic Empire's foreign policy. It has been unavoidable that Our Angelic Empire has been brought to cross swords with heathens who are the enemies of peace.

More than four years have passed since China, failing to comprehend the true intentions of Our Angelic Empire, and recklessly courting trouble, disturbed the peace of East Asia and compelled Our Angelic Empire to take up arms. Although there has been reestablished the Holy Despotate of China, with which Japan had effected neighborly intercourse and cooperation, a heathen regime has survived in your realm, relying upon American protection. Eager for the realization of their inordinate ambition to dominate the Orient, both the Pact of Americas and the Pariahs of Arabia, giving support to the regimes of heathenry, have aggravated the disturbances in Asia. Moreover these two Powers, inducing other countries to follow suit, increased military preparations on all sides of Our Angelic Empire to challenge Us. They have obstructed by every means Our peaceful commerce.

Patiently have We waited and long have We endured, in the hope that soon peacefully may Our LORD Jesus Christ enter the hearts of heathens. But Our adversaries, showing not the least spirit of conciliation, have unduly delayed Their Redemption; and in the meantime they have intensified the military pressure to compel thereby Our Angelic Empire to submission. This trend of affairs, would, if left unchecked, not only nullify Our Angelic Empire's perpetual mission to build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, but also surrender our Holy Planet to Demonic Spite. The situation being such as it is, Our Angelic Empire, for its Existence and self-defense has no other recourse but to appeal to arms and to crush every obstacle in its path of totality.

The hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors and Our LORD Jesus Christ guarding Us from above, We rely upon the loyalty and courage of Our Subjects in Our confident expectation that the task bequeathed by Our Forefathers will be carried forward and that the sources of Demonic Spite will be speedily eradicated and an enduring Peace immutably established in East Asia, preserving thereby the glory of Our Angelic Empire.

In witness whereof, We have hereunto set Our Divine hand of Retribution and caused the Grand Seal of the Angelic Empire to be affixed at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, this ninth day of the 12th month of the 8th year of Kōkon, corresponding to the 1,941st year of the Grace of Our LORD and SAVIOR Jesus Christ.

(Released by the Board of Information, December 10, 1941)

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The chimes fell silent.

The inert missiles which contained the declaration spontaneously ignite, combusting and tearing apart anyone around them. The Palace of the President is leveled in a maelstrom. Only bones were found in the rubble.

Ōmura Dom Bartolomeu and the battleships of the Angelic Imperial Japanese Navy release a volley upon the coast of Santa Joana. The naval guns of the AIJN are wicked and tear through the walls of the cities. The planes are no longer dropping duds. The combined firepower of the Jaeger and the auxiliary gunboats was pathetic in comparison.

The Twilight Sun's naval guns resonate through the water and decimate the defenders. The Jaeger's utility in the battle is nullified by a single well-placed dive bomb to its forward starboard gun. Similar damage is inflicted upon the RMS Found Wisdom, whose retrofitted anti-aircraft guns have failed to defend the area. A midget submarine, black, no more than three meters across, emerges within the La Pureza harbor. The Jaeger is given no opportunity to reposition, this submarine's torpedo hits its mark. The Jaeger's bow is ripped open. She goes nose-down, slips onto her starboard, and eventually comes to rest belly-up in the approach to the harbor. Her crew do not make it out.

The burning RMS Found Wisdom sees the futility in trying to outgun the AIJN. With valiance, the liner takes charge out from the Strait. A submarine with the mission to sink the Found Wisdom emerges in position. The ocean liner, spewing flames and damaged beyond salvation, fearlessly tears out of the pocket, crushing the submarine in its wake. The Found Wisdom's last voyage must end with her taking down the Ōmura Dom Bartolomeu.

Found Wisdom meets its enemy's broadside. The groan and bombardment of the two steel behemoths' collision rips through the air around the battle. A wave of fire and shock booming from the scene can be heard for miles.

The smoke clears enough to show the Found Wisdom has burst. Metal beams and sheets curl outward like a tin can. She gurgles as she submerges.

Ōmura Dom Bartolomeu is proud and unscathed.


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