"Ke Ai Mainei Pele" by Tatamata, September 2012

Disclaimer: All characters presented here are product of fiction. Any resemblances to real characters are of a pure coincidence. No intention was made to insult anyone for any reason.

AN: This story is an act of fiction. No one should attempt to act in the same manner as described.

AN2: None.

Summary: For a number years Mr. Clark was one of the foremost stockmen of the County. At one time he was in business with Tom Collins. At other time he was associated with R.H. Porter.

Ke Ai Mainei Pele

To what extent was Cornelia's father involved in a renewed Burr Conspiracy - Aaron Burr's attempt to detach the Western states and the Louisiana Territory from the Union remained unknown. What was certain though is that back in 1946 Cornelia's father incited revolt so that many of its residents talked openly of secession from the US.

Daughter of a communist rebel or not, after Dr. Thornton Page pronounced Ms. Cornelia Hasting Nelson able to bear children, there was nothing that could prevent young Lewis Payne from taking his future bride on an unforgettable tropical island vacation.

Despite the oddity of traveling during the night, they have been finally left alone on eve of February the 9th on an unknown island in the Pacific Ocean.

Their awaking was like in a paradise.

Gentle winds carried the scent of tropical flowers and the warm, azure waters of their own, private beaches were beckoning them to relax.

At one point Cornelia mentioned the fact that there were no natives present, but Lewis simply kissed her some more, trying to prevent any spoilage of their blissful moments.

Eighty years later Major General John H. Porter was recollecting on those days.

"Well …", camera assistant helped him to sip some water, "… At the time Bikini's population was 167." He smiled feebly, golden tooth peeking from his mouth cavern. "They all had to be relocated before the tests."

"And the actual date?" Interviewer asked almost impatiently.

"On February the 10th …"

"1946?"

"That's right. On that date, back in 1946 US Navy Commodore Ben H. White … was I believe Military Governor of the Marshall Islands at the time … he informed the Bikinians that the US temporarily needed their atoll to conduct some scientific experiments and to learn how to use the bomb …"

"Did he specify the purpose?"

Major General rasped in some harsh laughter.

"Well … he convinced that it was, to use his words, 'for the good of mankind and to end all world wars'."

"And …" Interviewer waited for Porter to stop coughing. "And what did the natives reply?"

"King Juda, then Bikini's local chief replied …", John placed an index finger on his chin and looked up as if reading the text from somewhere, "… 'We are willing to go, everything is in Gods hands'."

"That's what he said?"

"That's right. I believe so."

Assistant poured more water into his glass and he thanked him.

"But the problem was that the Bikinians now had to find an atoll to which they could move to, while the tests were being conducted at Bikini."

"Did they find one?"

"Oh yes. They chose an atoll 125 miles to the east of Bikini called Rongerik. Rongerik, that's right." General repeated it as if convincing himself into it. "The Bikinians were told that this would only be a temporary relocation and that they would be able to return home to Bikini as soon as the test was completed."

They waited as John drank more water. He seemed to be hot under the camera lights.

"Ah, yes. History's fifth atomic explosion. A standard Fat Man type Mk 3A fission bomb was used in test as a matter of fact." His parrot added to some background noise. "The bomb was encased in a watertight steel caisson, and suspended beneath landing ship LSM-60. The closest ship to surface zero was … was the USS Saratoga. Right. Memory serves." He laughed and some of his family members laughed as well. "Eight ships were sunk or capsized, eight more were severely damaged. Sunk vessels were … what?" He leaned sideways slightly listening to his son list. "Yes. I know. I was about to say it. "They were the USS Saratoga …", he started to count on his fingers, "… USS Arkansas, the Nagato, LSM-60 …"

"Obviously …" They laughed.

"And then the submarines were … USS Apogon and USS Pilotfish, the concrete dry dock ARDC-13, and the barge YO-160."

"Wow! Your memory is intact!"

"You should thank my son really …" They laughed and looked at his son.

"How about later … did the Bikinians return eventually?"

"Well … I know that after the test …", some rustling noise came from the back, "… some serious radioactive contamination of the lagoon occurred, … radiation exposure at the surface near the detonation point … it amounted to a lethal 730 R in the first 24 hours as a matter of fact." He cleared his throat and than spat in a paper napkin. "Bikini Island …", he sipped some more water, "… some three miles from surface zero … could not be safely landed on until a week had passed."

"Just a week?"

"That's about right, yes."

"Thank you General."

"You are welcome."

Director called "cut" and the lights went off. Major General John H. Porter closed his eyes and then started to weep slowly.