FF125 - The Final Countdown

Intro by John Roderick

If you were the captain of an aircraft carrier, a nuclear 1980s aircraft carrier full of F14 Tomcats and helicopters and space shuttles and MTV and cocaine and atom bombs and chicken tetrazzini, and you sailed through a screechy time-hole back to December 6th, 1941, what would you do? I will tell you what I wouldn't do: I wouldn't give much of a damn about Pearl Harbor.

I mean, sure, it is a big deal, and I would definitely be struck by the heavy overtones of popping back in time to precisely this hour, and I would wonder aloud if maybe the time-travel thing was instigated by UFOs or forces beyond my comprehension in order to… See, I don't know, what?… play games?

I would spend a little bit of time alone in my cabin, wondering if an advanced civilization that had the power to time-travel aircraft carriers wouldn't also be able to pit F14s against Zeros all day and night in their space bathtubs far more economically. I guess I would run the numbers on that and conclude that if this was some UFO gameboard, why wouldn't I make it more interesting?

I know a lot of people would want to go right away to kill Hitler, and that certainly would be on the table, but you should arguably also kill (Joseph) Stalin and (Hideki) Tojo and Pol Pot and Mao (Zedong) and while you are at it maybe (Charles) Manson and Byron De La Beckwith and Idi Amin, too. (Ted) Bundy wasn't born until 1946, but don't forget (Lee Harvey) Oswald. Hell, kill Osama bin Laden's dad, at which point your big nuclear carrier, with all of its marvelous technology, is like the Poly Galtieri of the seas, which seems kind of sad.

Honestly, do you really think that no-one killed Hitler and Stalin and Mao in their own time because they didn't know how? They needed an aircraft carrier? No! Even if you tried to save tens of millions of lives by assassinating all those despots, he would almost certainly fuck it up somehow and produce a worse fate. That is what your UFO dungeon masters are hoping you do.

You would be making the classic time-travel mistake of trying to micromanage the future that you already know, to tweak it and make it better by eliminating Hitler and saving lives, but listen to me now: You went through a screechy time-hole with an aircraft carrier. The future you know is completely gone as of now. Don't worry about fucking Hitler!

The fact is, as of that moment, you are completely in charge of the world. You are the freaking UFO that no one even dared imagine, but only for a limited time! You have got all these sailors under your command who have brains of their own and a lot of them have ethics and some small minority of them even probably aren't as super-jazzed as you are to be a time-traveling space pirate, but if you play your cards right, you have got a few months to really see what this baby can do.

It is not just the nukes either, although you should definitely put some thought into where Oppenheimer is at any given moment, but look: You have got more penicillin on board than exists in the entire rest of the world. I would stride onto the bridge and start laying it down. First: paint out all the markings on the airplanes. We are not the USA anymore, we are free agents, man! Maybe paint some scary shit on them like hieroglyphics and octopuses and shit.

Second: Immediately hightail it out onto the high seas and avoid all contact with shipping until you get around Cape Horn and up to New York. Look, we know all the history, bro, we are the Navy! We have the maps and the books. You need to give yourself time to think because whatever the future holds, Pearl Harbor was just some weird day that happened a few weeks before the world caved in.

"If the United States falls under attack, is it really our job to defend her in the past, present and future?" Today on Friendly Fire: The Final Countdown.

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