1966: The Cold War, Strategic Air Command

“Goddamnit, Jimmy! The hippies did it! The hippies fucking did it! The ARPANET!”

The man shouting was olive-complexioned, stout, and diamond-hard in intensity. So hard you could cut a steel cable on his brow.

General Curtis E. LeMay was not a man to be fucked with when he was in a good mood. Just ask Imperial Japan.

And he was anything but in a good mood right now.

The tall, thin, severe man who was listening leaned back in his leather chair. His demeanor would be alien to the millions of Americans who loved him in his movies. But all naive hominess was gone from Brigadier General James Stewart’s face.

Jimmy Stewart pursed his lips and held his hand out to the former Air Force Chief of Staff.

Curtis chomped his cigar in agitation but held his tongue.

Jimmy sighed and, taking a deep breath, said, “So this has to do with the phenomenon in the skies over the Nevada proving grounds.”

LeMay spat out a piece of cigar. “The eggheads tell me it might be an electromagnetic disruption in the space-time continuum. Something to do with all the atomic bomb tests.”

Jimmy continued, “And the Groom Lake command sent a scout plane to check it out…”

“…and found a rift in the space time continuum leading to the year 2021.” LeMay took a drag off his cigar.

“And how is this proposed ARPANET program involved?”

LeMay slid a thick file folder stamped “Above Top Secret Special Access” across the dark oak table to Jimmy. “It’s all in there, Jimmy. I’ve got a squadron ready to go in two days out of Offut. Do you want to saddle up one last time?”

A cold sparkle to match the cold blue of his uniform glittered in Brigadier General Stewart’s eyes. He took the file and began reading.


The squadron of 30 B-50s sailed through the cold desert night 30,000 feet above the Nevada desert. Miles of rocky barren land slid past them below.

LeMay felt better than good; he felt 20 years younger. He felt that old bloodthirst again; as they sailed through the firmament, the bloodlust ticked away in his gut.

He relived bombing German cities into dust.

His resolve stiffened at the remembrance of dropping firebombs on Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe, turning hundreds of thousands of Nip bastards into crispy critters.

He smiled at the thought of napalm sticking to zipperhead kids.

He burned with rage at the 2021 America report.

Brigadier General Stewart sat silent in the copilot seat, stoic eyes set upon the high desert moon.

Like the eye of God, it peered down at the squadron.

Between the high altitude and the empty desert, they might as well have been flying across the face of a lifeless planet.

Jimmy spoke to LeMay in a voice as deep as a tomb: “Well, Curt, I guess you better address the men.”

LeMay keyed the radio. “Men of Special Detachment Reconnaissance Squadron, this is your commanding officer, General Curtis LeMay.

“The pre-mission briefing was a deliberate misleading, as I am sure the bombardiers already know.

“I lead you on a mission the likes of which no man has ever been on. It is an above top secret mission into dangers unknown, much like our astronauts who were the first to orbit the earth.

“In about an hour’s flight time, we will be entering into a crack in space time above the desert floor, a portal to the year 2021.

“And it pains me to say it: America is a fucked-up place.

“It is not the America you know and love, populated by happy, God-fearing, freedom-loving Americans.

“Our country is led by a bunch of Godless, spineless, degenerate pansies.

“Your grandsons are sodomites and catamites; they dress up and act like women for all the world to see.

“Your granddaughters fuck commie niggers and assorted darkies, and they film it for money for all the world to see.

“Darkies from every corner of the earth let in by whore politicians to replace the American worker.

“No more is our industry at the top of the world. Our products are unreal things.

“Industry tycoons ‘outsourced’ all the real men’s work of building to the Chinese communists. Our decedents live like technological coolies, pushing electronic numbers around or working a cash register or in something called ‘Amazon warehouses.’

“Their pinko teachers and the Jew bastards in Hollywood feed them lies and poison about the great men of American history, calling them names like ‘racist’ and ‘fascist.’

“They call you fascists.

“Faggot perverts seek ‘rights.’ Rights like buttfucking little children.

“Hordes of wetbacks overrun our southwest while people shit in the streets of our major cities.

“Our cities overrun with niggers.

“Every time these negroes, who live off the state, don’t get their way, it’s another Watts riot.

“Month after month after month.

“Shantytowns lie next to luxury high-rises and drugged out scum roam the streets.

“Men, we are on a mission of vengeance.

“We carry with us a load of tactical fission bombs to use on Silicon Valley, the main nerve center of their communications, which have their root in the SAC’s own ARPANET.

“We may not make it back, men; we will be facing our own 60 years hence.

“But one thing is for damn sure: the sons a’bitches responsible for the moral degradation of our nation will be bombed into a crater as lifeless as the dark side of the moon.

“God be with us!”

The last hour passed to the thrum of the turbo props, the men digesting what they heard. No doubts passed between them.

Into the teeth of the Soviet Union or into the future.

They were prepared to go where ordered, come hell or high water.

And do their duty.


There were a few gasps, though, when they saw the anomaly.

Filaments of magenta arced through the sky from a violet nebula in the center a mile wide.

LeMay gripped the steering and took the squadron in at high speed.

The engines groaned at a feverish pitch.

And in a flash, they were in daylight over the desert.

“I guess we made it, Curt. Let’s get to it,” Jimmy said.

LeMay got on the horn. “Alright, squadron!

“Navigators, when you boarded, you were given a sealed envelope. You may open that now. Inside, you will find the flight package and target locations, primary and secondary.

“Bombardiers, you may arm the warheads now and pull the safeties 50 miles out from target.

“Gunners, lock and load. Eyes alive; we are in enemy territory.

“Pilots, penetration formation, nap-of-the-earth. On to San Francisco.”

30 gleaming silver birds dropped to the Earth and held at an altitude of 1,000 feet over the pan-fried emptiness.

Brigadier General Stewart held her steady. “Curt, we’re going to have to take it higher once we hit the Sierra Nevadas. Those westerlies are a real pain in the neck, so we’re going to have to get over any weather.”

LeMay lit another cigar. “Do you think the National Guard boys are going to be a problem?”

“No, we may be able to a bluff them before the final dash.”

“Then we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Remember Germany, Jimmy.”

Less than two hours later, the monolithic line of the Sierras rose before them.

Behind the mountains, piles of cumulus and stratus clouds reared above the mountaintops.

LeMay radioed the rest of the squadron, “Here we go; take it to up to 20,000, hold steady at 200 miles per hour. Once we reach the western slopes, drop altitude again.”

Mono Lake glared up at them like a puddle of deep green puke when five F-15s of the California Air National Guard caught up to them.

The lead plane circled the generals’ B-50, rolling its undercarriage to show its compliment of missiles.

LeMay took a heavy drag of his cigar. “I don’t know about you, Jimmy, but I DO NOT want to fucking die in Mono County, California.”

Brigadier General Stewart smiled a little. “Wait, Curt, just wait.” He looked out of the cockpit at the fighter jets and whistled, “I say those are mighty slick machines out there.”

The radio crackled to life. “Unidentified flight, this is Lieutenant Colonel Kurtz of the California Air National Guard. Identify yourselves and state your origin and destination. You have one minute to answer or we will open fire.”

LeMay called over the intercom system to the gunners, “Be ready, but do not track or engage yet, only on my command sight and light them up.”

The two side-gunners, the top, and tail-gunners called back, “Got it, General. Give us the word and we’ll fuck up these queers.”

Brigadier General Stewart keyed the radio. “Lieutenant Colonel Kurtz, a good day to you. This is Brigadier General James Stewart out of STRATCOM Offut. We are heading to Mather Air Base as part of a historical reenactment.”

Brigadier General Stewart waited a tense five minutes in silence, beads of sweat standing out on his forehead. Clouds passed dark shadows through the bright California sun, lending a Gothic pall to the interior of the bomber’s panoramic canopy.

Brigadier General Stewart peered out of the glass.

The F-15s held cordon.

“Sir,” the radio crackled to life again, “your story is bullshit. Mather has been closed nearly 30 years, and Jimmy Stewart dead nearly as long. Besides, your imitation sucks. You will follow us to Fresno Yosemite International Airport or else.”

Brigadier General Stewart shouted to LeMay, “NOW CURT! NOW!”

“Men, OPEN FIRE! Kill these faggots!” LeMay yelled over the intercom.

Brigadier General Stewart radioed the rest of the squadron, “Target and destroy U.S. Air Force interceptors now!”

360  M2 machine guns trained in on the five F15s and spat out a fury of .50 caliber rounds.

Lieutenant Colonel Kurtz had time for one thought:

Oh, shi—!

Before he and his flight were shredded into guts and aluminum confetti.

“Okay, men, we’re in it now,” LeMay told the rest of the squadron and pressed the steering column forward. “Follow my lead.”

Thirty B-50s glinting in the California sun pulled a steep dive towards the earth over Yosemite National Park before halting 20 feet above the treetops and hitting over 300 miles per hour.


Mark Zuckerberg was drinking an acai berry adrenochrome cocktail in Menlo Park after a tense meeting akin to a struggle session over whether to allow Facebook moderators to block and delete posts with the word “peach” in them.

Mr. Zuckerberg sucked back his tonic cocktail, looking past Foster City out over the blue waters of the San Francisco Bay toward Hayward. Sometimes, when the light was just right, he imagined he could see the Sierras far far off into the distance.

He enjoyed it as he looked out over a domain of which he was one of many powerful masters.

And to think, it all started 20 years ago as a failed DARPA project repurposed to track millennial dipshits’ thoughts.

He sipped.

There was a startling flash out of the deep blue California sky.

The lights went out.

A roaring boom slammed into the side of the high rise.

Mr. Zuckerberg dropped his $50,000 drink.

“Fuck!” he said before looking back at the window.

He looked at the mushroom cloud rising above Hayward.

Mr. Zuckerberg heard more blasts come from the East Bay.

To the north, four more mushroom clouds rose; to the south, another over Fremont.

Silver planes, like those in old movies his parents and grandparents enjoyed, flew over the bay.

More detonations.

Then he was ash.


As the squadron pulled a loop out over the Pacific, LeMay observed the forest of mushroom clouds rise over the Bay Area.

Lighting his cigar in satisfaction, he muttered, “Serves you right, you electric Jew bastard.”

The sun setting behind them cast the shadows of 30 warbirds on the low stratus clouds of the Central Valley as they flew eastwards.

Back over the mountains, back into history.