Monday, June 25, 2007

Doc Savage and Captain Future

The pulp hero Captain Future (aka Curtis Newton) was a six foot four redheaded space adventurer who was both a mental and a physical marvel. He was a very obvious imitation of Doc Savage transposed into a future where space travel is common and the various planets of the solar system are inhabited. He was born on the Moon in June of 1990 where his parents were hiding out from criminals who wanted to steal their scientific secrets. Using those secrets, they had already built an intelligent robot named Grag, a artificial android named Otho, and removed the brain of scientist Simon Wright from his body and encased it in a fluid filled container that sounds a lot like a Mi-Go brain cylinder. Curtis' parent were killed by the criminals but avenged by their three creations who raise the child on the Moon to reach the peak of mental and physical performance. His career as Captain Future seems to have started around 2015 and he is an independent and informal agent of the Space Patrol. His space ship, the Comet is the fastest vessel of its time.

What little we know of the "past" in the Captain Future stories is quite different from the history of our world. World government developed quickly after the major war in the 1940s. Space travel officially started with the expedition of Gorham Johnson in 1971 who went to the Moon. In 1979, he went to Mercury, and Venus.

He is credited with having discovered the odd solar satellite known a Vulcan which orbits the sun closer than the planet Mercury. Vulcan's orbit is very erratic and so it is not considered a "planet" because it is not within the plane of the ecliptic. It some how manages to avoid massive solar flares as if it "knows" where and when they will occur. It is implied in the series that Vulcan is an artificial construct. We later on discover that it is hollow and that there are primitive humanoids living inside it. It is possible that Vulcan acts as a "wave guide" to direct solar energy to the outer planets and keep them warmer than they would be normally. Otherwise, there could be no liquid water on Neptune.

In 1988 Johnson led an expedition to Mars and Jupiter and was tragically killed on the moon Callisto during an attempted mutiny. His second-in-command, Mark Carew, quelled the mutiny and actually landed on Jupiter which he discovered to have a solid surface. While there, he was bitten by a venomous spider and nearly died. He successfully brought the expedition home. In 1991 he led an expedition to Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Carew discovered Gravium mines on Saturn and suspects there are Gravium deposits under the Ocean on Neptune because of gravitational anomalies. He is also credited with finding Gravium on Mercury after reviewing the gravitational surveys from the Johnson expedition. Carew will use Gravium to develop Gravity Equalizers that allows a space traveller to experience the same gravitational force as on his home world no matter what the gravity on the local planet may be. It will also allow artificial gravity to be generated on space craft and the development of inertial dampers to protect from the effects of rapid acceleration during space flights.

An abortive attempt was made by Doctor Webster Kelso in 1993 to reach Pluto with a crew of androids which he had designed. A full blown expedition to Pluto was planned by Mark Carew, but the effects of the spider bite worsened and the plans fell through. Carew knew he was dying so he took off for Pluto by himself and was never heard from again. His body was later found by Captain Future in a derelict vessel in the Sargasso Sea of space. The first successful expedition to Pluto was led by Jan Wenzi on 12 January 2000.

All of the planets in Captain Future's solar system have solid surfaces (except Neptune which is mostly water with some Islands). They all also have Oxygen/Nitrogen atmosphere's . Every planet has native life on it and also intelligent humanoid life which is biologically related to Earth's humans. Supposedly, the human species evolved in the Andromeda Galaxy and came to the Milky Way millions of years ago to colonize the planet Aar around the star Deneb. From there, thousands of different human species were engineered for every imaginable environment and scattered throughout the galaxy.

There had been a planet Katar that orbited between Mars and Jupiter inhabited by Denebian derived humans in the deep past ~100 million years ago. It eventually exploded and the debris left over became the asteroid belt. The central core of the planet crashed into Jupiter and created the Great Red Spot as a perpetual super-caldera volcano.

The Solar System had allegedly been colonized 1 billion years ago by a race known as the Kanga who may have been responsible for the forms that the planets took. In particular, they may have built solid surfaces for the gas giant planets (which in our Solar System have no true surfaces). The Kangas are never described but they sound like the Elder Things from the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. They are displaced from the Solar System by the Linids, amorphous masses of undifferentiated dark matter that are highly telepathic. These sound like a form of Shoggoth, another Lovecraftian race. Eventually these also leave the system and the Denebians then populate all the planets with human life and, possibly, other compatible life forms. Did the Denebians defeat the Linids and banish them? That seems most likely.

Eventually the Denebian Empire disappeared. We are told that about 1 million years ago, humans in the Solar System created a multiple star-system empire which itself eventually crumbled. About 290,000 years ago, the Martian civilization revived and attained space flight. The Martians travelled around the Solar System but they never colonized any of the other planets and eventually their civilization collapsed too. There is evidence that Saturnians and Jovians may have also had space flight, encountered each other and fought a massive war which destroyed their civilizations and threw them back into more primitive lifestyles.

Captain Future's Earth is the dominant planet in the system. There were major earthquakes and climatic changes on Earth that forced millions of people to colonize the other planets. The refugee situation become so tense that Captain Future and the Futuremen had to build a new planet, Futuria, to accommodate the overflow. Futruia orbits the sun at a distance of 160 million miles so that it lies in between the orbits of Earth and Mars.

You might ask what this has to do with Doc Savage. Well, I submit that the world of Captain Future is an alternative time-line from our own in which one of the critical differences is that the original plan for Doc Savage to become World President succeeded. (Obviously, the reshaping of the Solar System by the Kangas, the Linids, and the Denebian did not happen in our time-line and this is another major difference which has nothing to do with Doc. )

Here is what I propose. The cabal that had planned for Doc's rise to political power remained intact. The Wall Street financier who was murdered in the original time-line in 1928 escapes and is able to forestall the Stock Market Crash in 1929. It becomes a minor economic slump instead of a world-wide disaster and it encourages long needed reforms. Kulkulkan's illicit traffic in gold from the Valley of the Vanished is likewise discovered around the same time and he is arrested before he can unleash the Red Death. Doc Savage begins his career as an amateur crime-fighter with the aid of his father and the cabal that backed him. President Herbert Hoover is re-elected to a second term in 1932 and a more progressive movement takes control of the Republican party. Clark Savage Junior wins a congressional seat from New York in 1934. In 1936, Senator William E. Borah of Idaho, a progressive anti-machine Republican wins the presidential election.

In Europe, the Depression never hits Germany and inflation comes under control. The assassination attempt on Dolfuss of the Catholic Center Party fails and the conspirators are indicted. It is a blow to the National Socialist Party which now much distance itself from violence. Dolfuss is elected chancellor in 1933 and Adolph Hitler becomes the leader of the opposition. The Soviet Union has serious economic problems, and news leaks about the genocide perpetrated by Stalin in the Ukraine. Several scandals rock the Fascist Party in Italy and Mussolini loses control of the Government to the Christan Democrats.

The Communists take this opportunity to become more bold and start a campaign of intimidation and terrorism in Europe. Evidence mounts that this is is a coordinated attempt by the Comintern to foment revolution in Europe. The European Nations react to this by the Declaration of Brussels in 1936 outlawing the Communist Party in signatory nations and censuring the Soviet Union for interfering in the internal political affairs of other sovereign nations. Stalin lodges a protest with the League of Nations in Geneva but is voted down. Russia resigns from the League and then is formally condemned by the League for its policies.

In Japan, the Depression likewise has little effect and a new program of industrialization is announced by the government. An explosion on the South Manchurian Railway in 1931 instigates a military response form Japan, but prompt action by the League of Nations leads in 1933 to a timetable for the withdrawal of Japanese troops from China over the next 5 years. But tension between Russia and Japan continues to mount and Russia invades the Sakhalin Peninsula in late 1937. The Japanese withdrawal from Manchuria is halted and they attack the Soviets from the southern flank. The fighting continues throughout this area with neither side able to gain a decisive advantage.

In Germany, a program of reindustrialization occurs and a new dawning of domestic technology begins. Adolph Hitler pushes through several military development programs to revitalize the German armed forces but is is not as large he would have liked. Hitler speaks continually against the Bolshevik threat and links it to world Jewry. In 1937, an assassination attempt by the Communists leaves him paralyzed from the waist down. His life is saved by a Jewish surgeon Jakob Goldstein who operates on him several times. The experience changes Hitler. His assailants had not been Jews but socialist Aryans from within his own party with Communist sympathies. Hitler softens his view on Jews. He also becomes a martyr for the anti-Communist cause. He pushes through legislation to curb the Communist party and strengthen the German military even further. Hitler will be hailed as the savior of European Civilization because it would be German's modernized army that will stop the Russians in Poland.

In 1936, a pro-Communist Second Republic is declared and Spain threatens to leave the League of Nations. Nationalist forces from the Army revolt and receive aid from Germany and Italy. The Republicans receive aid from Russia and Mexico. The US remains officially neutral, but internationalists in congress led by Congressman Savage push for open support to anti-Communist forces. They document atrocities committed against priests, nuns, and other religious by the Republicans and American public opinion favors the rebels. The strong anti-Communist sentiment in Europe also backs the rebels and France intervenes. Britain ran a naval blockade and the Republicans were starved out. In 1939 the League of Nations intervened and appointed a provisional government headed by Emilio Mola. General Francisco Franco remained in command of the Army and would lead it into battle in Poland later that year.

In July and August of 1936, Doc Savage goes to the South Pacific to retrieve an odd stone from a volcanic eruption. He had been tracking its movements underground based on gravitational anomalies and predicted where it might emerge. He battled a criminal mastermind, Cadwiller Olden, before gaining possession of it. This stone would be the first and only sample of Gravium ever discovered on Earth. It came from deep inside the Earth and no other samples were ever recovered. Savage does extensive research on the object and postulates it use as a modifier of gravity. There is never enough Gravium available for any more than laboratory research. When Mark Carew discovers Gravium on Saturn, Neptune, and Mercury, he is able to use Doc's preliminary work to design the Gravity Equalizer.

The League of Nations organizes a world economic boycott of the Soviet Union in late 1938. In response, Russia invades Poland in 1939. The German Wehrmacht mobilizes and in the Battle of the Vistula they stop the Russian advance. The League of Nations creates the European Military Alliance and Britain, France, and Spain send troops to support the Germans in Poland. Despite growing public support for the EMA , the US stays effectively neutral. Then it is discovered that the Russians have incited Mexico to foment troubles on the southern Border of the US. After a concerted attack on Nuevo Laredo, TX by Mexican troops, the US mobilizes and counter attacks. No official state of war exists between the US and Mexico, but the Soviet Union condemns the American incursion and declares war on the US. Communist party members in America begin acts of sabotage and terrorism. The response is swift. US Communists are rounded up and interned in camps. The brief American campaign in northern Mexico brings down the Mexican government. The US supports a pro-democratic faction and sends US ships into Mexican ports to intimidate the Mexicans. The anti-clerical government in Mexico is replaced by an bloodless internal revolution. Meanwhile, the US commits troops to both the European and Asian theatres.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Union develops its own internal problems as there is open revolt in the Islamic republics within the USSR. The Germans push forward into the Ukraine where they are greeted as liberators. Germany uncovers evidence that Stalin deliberately starved 10 million Ukrainians to death which it present to the League of Nations. Stalin is charged with genocide by the League and and International Tribunal is formed to collect evidence and to prosecute him for crimes against humanity. This Tribunal is the basis for what will become the World Court.

Invasions of the Baltic states by EMA forces met with a similar positive response from the local populace as in hte Ukraine. Surrounded on all sides by enemies, Stalin calls for greater sacrifices from the Soviet People. But he had recently purged all of his best Generals and many other loyal party members. He is assassinated in 1941 and the Politburo sues for peace.

Thus ended World War II. By 1940, Doc Savage had been elected to the Senate. He was instrumental is drafting legislation for prison reform and to strengthen international treaties. With the cessation of hostilities he pushes for a more powerful international body to succeed the League of Nations with its headquarters in New York City. The Charter for the United Nations of the World is signed in Geneva in 1943. Doc successfully runs for President in 1944 and 1948. Adolph Hitler dies in 1945 and is honored with a moving eulogy by his friend Winston Churchill.

In 1952 Doc Savage becomes the ambassador to the UNW which has its headquarters in the Empire State Building and holds it meetings in the former Madison Square Garden. New buildings are erected in midtown Manhattan to house the UNW offices. In 1956, a sufficient number of nations world wide has subscribed to the UNW charter that the UNW is renamed the World Government and Manhattan is declared the International Capital and is no longer part of the United States. Doc Savage is elected to his first of two 6 year terms as world President.

The World Court was established at the Hague in 1943. Ham Brooks by this time was a Federal Circuit Court judge at this time. He would be named to the panel of World Court Judges in 1948 and eventually served as Chief Justice during the late 1950s.

Plans were drawn up for several new UNW buildings in downtown Manhattan near the Empire State Building. The World Court building was to be located on the East River on First Avenue and 46th Street. Constuction on the initial UNW complex of buildings is not completed until 1948.

Nuclear power becomes a reality by 1950 for peaceful uses only. No atomic bombs are built until the end of the decade and these are used for construction of a sea-level canal in Nicaragua between the two oceans. In the mid 1960s, several severe earthquakes occur and the surface of the Earth begins to undergo dramatic changes. Australia links to New Guinea, the Bering Land Bridge connects Asia to Alaska creating the new landmass of Amerasia, the Italian peninsula links up with Sicily and a land-bridge rises connecting them to North Africa while splinting the Mediterranean in two. Similarly, Gibraltar links Spain with North Africa and two new inland seas are formed out of the Mediterranean. The Gulf of Mexico becomes a lake. England and Ireland fuse together and connect to France. Denmark linked up with Sweden creating the Baltic Lake. A portion of southwestern Africa separates from the main body of the continent and its area is supplemented by land that rises up from the ocean floor. It is given the name Nchi Baharia by its inhabitants and called Nova Land by the Americans. Japan joins to Asia at both the northern and southern ends forming the Lake of Japan.

Unmanned probes are sent out into space and bring back fantastic reports that Mars and Venus are inhabited and there is evidence of life even on the Asteroids. Technology has advanced rapidly since the World War II and atomic powered space craft are used to transport man to the Moon and the Planets as we have described earlier. But Doc Savage is troubled and as he retired from public office in 1968, he turns his attention to the natural catastrophes that are befalling Earth. He is concerned that the Earth is becoming less hospitable for human habitation and decides to figure out why. In 1980, he, his aged Father (now 110 years old) and his five associates along with a select crew leave on the space ship Balder to explore the Solar System and solve the mystery of its origin and history. As of 2025, no one has heard from them or knows their whereabouts.

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