Alternative History
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ANZC Benjamin Franklin, formerly USS Benjamin Franklin

USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640)

ANZC Benjamin Franklin, old US Navy picture

Pre - Doomsday[]

USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN 640), the lead ship of her class of ballistic missile submarine, was the only submarine of the United States Navy to be named for Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), the American journalist, publisher, author, philanthropist, abolitionist, public servant, scientist, librarian, diplomat, and inventor. Five other ships in the United States Navy have been named for Benjamin Franklin.

Her keel was laid down on 25 May 1963. Ship naming and launched on 5 December 1964

On 6 December 1965 the Crew successfully launched a Polaris A-3 missile in close coordination with an orbital pass of the Gemini 7 astronauts.

Doomsday[]

Reaction[]

1985: In the safe harbor[]

On November 6th, the USS "Benjamin Franklin" (SSBN-640) becomes the already fifth American nuclear submarine to arrive in ANZUS territory so far. Nearly running out of food, the “Franklin” enters the harbor of Brisbane.

1991: Rediscovery Pioneer[]

The USS "Benjamin Franklin" is re-fitted by the Royal Australian Navy and sent on a worldwide intelligence gathering mission on behalf of the ANZUS nations. Her empty missile silos are filled with food, enough to last sixteen-to-eighteen months. Besides, the captain receives full diplomatic mandate to contact any remaining nation-like governments, except “patently illegitimate regimes”. She heads out, returning to Brisbane in August 1992.

  • First destination is the old U.S. from where she confirms the regular reports from the U.S. bases on Hawaii: The situation in the continental United States is "medieval". A few towns and villages have formed themselves into barricaded sanctions, fighting off marauding ex-Army and ex-police units, scavenging for food, water and ammunition. The estimated population of the contiguous US is guessed at less than 10 million. A Royal Australian Air Force pilot who volunteered to join the "Franklin" crew, negotiates with locals to use an intact Beechcraft airplane near Tillamook, Oregon and flies several hundred miles inland. He reports reaching a vast desert as he approached the old Idaho/Nevada border. Radiation levels are minimal, but stretches seem devoid of plant and animal life. He returns and reboards the "Franklin" as it heads down along the West Coast.
  • Second destination: After a hard passage sailing quickly around South America, exchanging radio messages with several ports but not stopping, the Franklin approaches Continental Europe. A big surprise to the crew is received: radio messages from Azores, Celtic Alliance, Pais del Oro, the Nordic Union, Sicily, and the (Atlantic) Canada Remainder Provinces. They respond and contact the respective governments which have been equally surprised as news from the Southern Hemisphere has not been available except from South America. The Franklin crew makes official visits to several capitals. The Portuguese Submarine “Albacora” and the Italian Submarine "Guglielmo Marconi" are assigned to accompany the “Franklin” until the Suez Canal is reached.
  • The third destination, Continental Europe and the Soviet Union seems as worse as the U.S. Dust and windstorms prevent aerial reconnaissance but the land seems devastated. Ice cap measurements in the Arctic are unusually thin, and apparently global warming (due to the drop in plant life and rise in CO2) is occurring.
  • Afterwards (Return Journey) – the “Albacora” and the "Marconi" leaving upon arrival at the Suez Channel - a visit to China, Japan, and much of Asia shows everything to be as "medieval" as the United States. Contact, however, is made with the Japanese survivors of the Bonin Islands; having lost contact with the main islands for nearly a decade. The "Franklin" crew narrowly escapes when it is attacked in Okinawa by islanders who (from observation) have become cannibals.

1995: New Commands[]

With the end of the United States in 1995 and the subsequent restructuring of the ANZC Navy, the U.S.S. Benjamin Franklin becomes the lead ship of the new "Global Observer" submarine class ships, comprising all remaining US and NATO nuclear-powered submarines, serving to monitor the worldwide development after Doomsday. The five submarines are all heavily armed to survive.

1999: End of a lifetime[]

The Benjamin Franklin, after 14 years of valuable service pioneering the post-Doomsday reconnaissance missions, is finally decommissioned off active duty on November 6th. She has since been relocated to the Harbor of Brisbane, and serves as a floating museum, occasionally taking school classes on harbor dives organized by the WCRB Military History Institute.

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