Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DBTL 41: The Decider

This is the latest installment in the Drowned Baby Timeline, an alternate history where Adolf Hitler drowned at birth and where World War II never took place. The Danzig War of 1936 - 37 saw an aggressive German regime under Ernst Röhm defeated by the combined forces of Great Britain, France, and Poland, and the three nations are now the dominant powers of Europe. In Britain, under the newly-elected Conservative government of Anthony Eden, industrial expansion proceeds apace . . .

London, Great Britain
19 March 1947

Anthony Eden looked up from the report in astonishment. "Norman, this is absurd."

"Admittedly, the report does possess a number of characteristics which might tend to produce a certain measure of scepticism," Sir Norman Brook replied. "Nevertheless, given the requirements which were specified in the original request, this is the closest approximation available to an optimal solution."

Eden had been PM long enough that he was now able to sort through Sir Norman's grammatical circumlocutions. "So you're saying this is the best you can come up with."

"Yes, Prime Minister."

Eden drummed his fingers on his desk. "I'm tempted to just put the plastics plant in Teeside and let the Welsh have an atomic reactor."

"I'm afraid you've already promised the Welsh the plastics plant," pointed out Rab Butler. "For that matter, you've already promised the Scots the atomic reactor."

Eden sighed and said, "All right, I'll make a decision by the next Cabinet meeting."

"Yes, Prime Minister," the others echoed before leaving.

Sitting alone in his office, Anthony Eden stared at the top of his desk for a time. Finally, he opened a drawer, reached in, and drew out a two-shilling piece. A flick of his thumb sent the coin spinning through a short, narrow arc that ended in Eden's right hand, followed by a quick slap on top of the left. Eden lifted up his right hand. Heads.

Aberystwyth it was...

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