The 38th Parallel - The First of Many

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Part 1

“I was the first.

“That landed me in a military hospital, and shortly afterwards meant that I was secreted here under the Rockies while various people tried to work out what I had become. It’s taken me a while to work that one out too, and it may yet be too late.

“I said what I had become, perhaps I should more correctly say, we. Lieutenant John Anderson ceased to exist as a lone man two years ago. And so now I sit here in front of you, doing what? Giving my version of the events? How much do you want to know? Do you wish me to deliver a monologue in proper British form or something more real? It’s your show General; I am your ‘guest’ in this facility after all.”

The figure in British Naval uniform paused and took a sip of water from a glass lifted from a nearby table. He looked relaxed, only a hint of tension around his eyes belying any anger or trepidation. A large double wheeled tape recorder span nearby, taping the conversation, and an army scribe tracked spidery shorthand across a spiral bound notebook, her hair tied back in a severe looking bun under her standard issue khaki hat. The only other person in the room, an army General who sat on an identical khaki coloured armchair, motioned him to continue and then spoke.

“This is your account Lieutenant, please be as candid as you want.”

The naval officer paused and then placed his glass back on the table, the relaxed look being replaced with a look of distaste and frustration as he spoke anew.

“Oh we will. You see, we are largely unencumbered now by John’s sense of discipline, be it due to his Protestant upbringing, British stiff upper lip or innate national pride. You forget General, John is now something different. But, there is a lady present, so we will try to conduct ourselves with a modicum of decorum. That is something at least that our two races do have in common.

“Now, where were we? Ah yes, under the Rockies although we seem to have jumped a little step forwards. As this is for the purposes of record and history perhaps we should give a more complete account of what has gone on, before this transcript is sealed in the vaults of history in places where only the CIA or military dare, or are allowed, to tread. To try and assist you madam scribe, I shall henceforth use the singular to prevent further confusion. I shall also address myself directly to you in order to try and present a full account of events, as you are probably unaware of most if not all of what I am about to say.

“For the benefit of the records I shall give you a brief précis of my history although I’m not sure whether it will help at all, however I have to start somewhere.

“I was born John Augustus Anderson, on 13th May 1919: I hold the rank of Lieutenant in the British Navy, and am a British citizen now illegally held prisoner by the American government. I mentioned being British, but I am also Scottish and damn proud of it, although I suspect that’s a moot point for you Americans. Prior to my incarceration here I was a member of an elite dive team the Navy sent on covert or dangerous operations. As a younger man in World War 2 I was a Commando and led raids on the Japanese before the bombs were dropped. At the end of the war I transferred to the navy special dive team. Given all that’s happened since then, I suspect I may not have been someone naval command wanted around as I was often considered a little maverick for their tastes.

“At the time of the ‘incident’ which I will describe shortly, I was part of the UN peace keeping force that was assigned to help the South Koreans. It was mainly you Yanks, but we Brits had a few ships out there too as did the Australians, Canadians and French to name but a few. For some obscure reason never fully explained to me by my own command I ended up with the crew of an American submarine, one of only two divers, and the only Brit on the crew. I saw many strange things while diving, but nothing beats what I saw that day as we cruised towards the 38th Parallel to monitor what was formerly the demilitarised zone or DMZ if you prefer the acronym.

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