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1[[quoteright:350:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/d76c4a89234ac2c773aca1215dbfc70d.jpg]]²[[caption-width-right:350:Britain's nuke and its delivery system of choice]] ²²²A novel of the Cold War by Creator/DerekRobinson. ²²This is a sequel to his novel of Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force in [=WW2=], ''Damned Good Show''. It focuses on the pilots of Britain's nuclear deterrent strike jets during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar.²----²!!Mutually Assured Troping might happen here if the projected scenarios are correct: ²²* AlreadyMetEveryone: Most of the characters here were first encountered in Robinson's previous book on 409 Squadron in [=WW2=], ''Damned Good Show''. ²* ApocalypseHow: The nuclear option and the people and aircraft who would have delivered it.²* BattleButler: Stevens, the butler to Mrs Silk MP, is more than he seems and is following a different agenda. [[spoiler:He ''really'' works for British Intelligence, and has the dual role of bodyguarding Mr and Mrs Silk against blackmail attempts and of reporting back on their activities and compromising weaknesses]]²* BlackComedy: Pitch-black. This is the possible end of the world we're talking about here.²* BlackmailIsSuchAnUglyWord: The pilots of Britain's nuclear deterrent strike jets are vulnerable to {{Blackmail}}. The Russian spy who attempts to compromise Flight-Lieutenant Silk over his affair describes what he does as "working for the Press", the implication being that if Silk does not play nicely, his MP wife will be embarrassed by his affair becoming common knowledge. Especially since Silk is paying cash to the lady for "cello lessons". A local bookie also threatens to go to the CO if another pilot's gambling debts are not paid in full, and "have a concerned discussion as to his little problem. You can't have a man with a gambling problem in charge of nuclear weapons, can you? It's my '''public duty'''." . [[note]] £1000 in 1962 is the equivalent of £20,000 today. The blackmail bill to Silk was £2500 in 1962 currency, or £50,000 in 2015[[/note]]²* BuzzingTheDeck: Silk's crew does this to a Russian spy "trawler" in the Atlantic near Scotland which is eavesdropping on their comms. While they are strictly forbidden from sinking it, they fly over it at mast-top height then stand the plane on its nose to give it the benefit of the back-blast from the engines. The ship stays afloat, just about, but its sensitive and expensive electronic systems are shot to pieces. ²* DeathByFallingOver: The fate of the bookie. The punch didn't kill him. Being knocked unconscious into a patch of stinging nettles did. The post-mortem discovered a case of ''urticaria'' - extreme allergic reaction to nettle stings.²* {{Eagleland}}: A sub-theme is the diminuition of Great Britain from superpower to mere power. While the American characters are nice about it, they make it perfectly clear who leads the Western alliance, and it isn't Britain.²* GreyAndGrayMorality: The pilots of 409 Squadron try not to deal with the deeper implications of defending freedom by nuking Russia, or of liberating Eastern European nations from Russia by vaporising their cities. ²* HufflepuffHouse: Great Britain in the post-Suez era: not an equal partner to the United States' Grifindor, but also opposed to the Slytherin of the Soviet Union. this novel is a postscript to the [=WW2=] novels, acknowledging Britain's fall from superpower status. ²* KillEmAll: The usual resolution of the moral quandary - just get out there, "kick the wheels, and start the fires."²* KillTheCreditor: While not initially intended, this is the eventual solution to the problem of the bookie threatening blackmail over a pilot's gambling debts. While pilots are expelled from the squadron or kicked out of the Service for other moral failings, manslaughter seems not to be actionable; apart from a brief police interview no further action is taken. ²* NoNameGiven: Flight Lieutenant Silk, whose first name is never given. Even his ''wife'' calls him "Silk". ²* NotWhereTheyThought: This book is set in an RAF squadron responsible for delivering Britain's nuclear deterrent. The Vulcan nuclear bomber crews receive the best possible training, which includes long periods spent in a flight simulator where crews are trained to deal with every possible thing that can go wrong on a flight. The squadron's Intelligence Officer is taken on a simulated mission, lasting hours, which reproduces a bombing run over Russia where every possible hazard is thrown at them. The simulation is so real that the IO has a complete breakdown and his nerve fails - despite never leaving the airbase.²* OneWayTrip: read the title. The Vulcans only have four minutes to get into the air and open the throttle for a very good reason. ²* OverTheTopSecret: The pilots of the Vulcan nuclear bomber force are under continuing and unremitting security surveillance. Flight Lieutenant Silk, is under suspicion because his wife is a member of Parliament associated with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. ²* ShoutOut: The Christine Keeler scandal is referenced via Silk's affair with ex-model and part-time prostitute Tess Monk.²** During the extended prologue, the character of Air Commodore "Baggy" Bletchley is revisted. It is revealed he went [[UnusualEuphemism sand-happy]] in North Africa and in a manner worthy of Creator/GrahamChapman's [[TheBrigadier Brigadier]] in ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'', he apparently took to wearing womens' clothing and calling himself "Florence of Arabia". Chapman's Brigadier was a severely pompous senior British officer from the waist up, who wore women's clothing from the waist down. ²* ASpotOfTea: Of course. This is the ''British'' nuclear strike force. ²* TeensAreMonsters: Most of the pilots in 409 Squadron are parents of older or adult children and are not spared the usual trials. One pilot is dangerously compromised by the gambling debts his son has built up by fraudulently using his account. ²* UnusualEuphemism: Flight-Lieutenant Silk has an affair with a former model who has dropped out of society to live a poor but content life in the country. The relationship occupies a sort of halfway house between a FriendsWithBenefits situation and outright prostitution. There is something genuine between them. But Silk uses the cover story of "taking cello lessons" to justify his visits to her cottage and the unspoken agreement is that the cello lessons cost him £5 a session. The fact the cello never leaves its case is immaterial. [[note]]Until Mrs Silk challenges him to play a middle-C at the very least. [[/note]]²* UnwinnableTrainingSimulation: A long and horrible sequence takes place in an RAF flight simulator where crews of the Vulcan jet bombers, tasked with delivering Britain's nuclear deterrent to the Soviet Union, get everything that could go wrong on a mission thrown at them. And that's ''everything''. The bomb arms itself prematurely, or jams in the bomb-bay with the clock ticking down to detonation, they are under attack by Russian countermeasures, they fly too close to nuclear explosions brought about by other missiles or planes, the aircraft itself develops escalating mechanical problems... the test is unwinnable. It is designed to test the aircrews to the limit and weed out those who might panic or freze or simply refuse to go through with it. ²* UsefulNotes/UltimateDefenceOfTheRealm: The Vulcans and their crews are this.²* WorldWarIII: How it might have looked. A detailed scene takes place in a flight simulator in which everything that could go wrong on a mission goes wrong up to and including premature explosion of the nuke and narrowly evading becoming collateral damage to nuclear explosions going on around them. There is a reason why Vulcan aircrew were issued eyepatches and [[NightmareFuel this]] is graphically explained.

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