See here for a brief introduction to the Gateau Method.

In one of the Cold War’s more inspired moments, the British military came up with a scorched-earth weapon named Blue Peacock, a series of 10-kiloton thermonuclear mines designed to be buried in the north of Germany. Should the Soviet Union decide to invade West Germany, the mines could be detonated either by command or after an eight-day delay—or within ten seconds of the soil around them being disturbed.

However, the north of Germany can get quite cold in winter, and the weapon’s developers were concerned that the mines’ trigger mechanisms might seize up. One solution proposed that a chicken be kept inside each device; the birds’ body heat would be sufficient to maintain the mines’ operational capability through even the chilliest and darkest months.

The project was cancelled in February 1958. thankfully before any could be deployed. When declassified on April 1, 2004, the British government, not surprisingly, also had to issue assurances that this was not just some far-fetched April Fool’s joke, and that chicken-powered nukes had actually been on the drawing board.

Back in February, we established that the battle-lines of the Gateau Method world evolved somewhat differently to our own: an Anglo-French-Japanese alliance faced off against Germany, Italy and the fascist US, the latter under the fist of the New American movement. Canada, in particular, is a potential flashpoint between the British and Americans.

Given Canada’s harsh winters, and that its population is concentrated within 150km of the 49th Parallel, a system like Blue Peacock would make a powerful deterrent against US invasion. Perhaps during the interplay between War Plan Red and Defence Scheme No. 1, several of these mines were detonated, turning parts of the US-Canadian border into radioactive wasteland.

The chicken-powered aspect of the Blue Peacock device suggests another possibility: like the Shadow vessels of Babylon 5, perhaps the K’n-yanis have been abducting humans to power and control superscience weapons which they intend to use against interlopers from the world above—perhaps to prevent a deluge being forced upon them.

Lastly, the blue peacock is also associated with the Peacock Angel, Melek Taus, the central figure of the Kurdish Yazidi religion. Non-Yazidis often mischaracterise the sect as diabolists, as Lovecraft did in The Horror at Red Hook:

Most of the people, he conjectured, were of Mongoloid stock, originating somewhere in or near Kurdistan—and Malone could not help recalling that Kurdistan is the land of the Yezidis, last survivors of the Persian devil-worshippers.

Melek Taus is chief amongst the angels of Yazidism. As in the Muslim legend of Shaytan/Iblis, Melek Taus refused to bow down before Adam, although in the Yazidi tradition, this was because God had previously ordered him to never bow down before another, and not from simple pride. Therefore, the Yazidis contend, he never fell from God’s grace, a major sticking point between them and the Muslim majority in their homeland. Not surprisingly, Yazidis find this comparison tantamount to blasphemy.

It should be said that the Peacock Angel is conceptually closer to Lucifer, chief amongst angels, than Satan, deceiver and tempter; prior to the first century BCE, Lucifer—Helel ben-Shachar (“Morning Star, Son of Dawn”) in Hebrew—and Satan were regarded as separate beings, and only later were the two conflated. In Yazidism, he still dwells at God’s right hand, and seeks to aid, rather than destroy, humanity.

Although there’s plenty of room for religious intolerance in a late-1950s Gateau Method world, devil-worship (or at least Yazidi-like misunderstanding of such) is probably a little off-concept. But even though their beliefs are salted with remnants of their African origins, the Gullah people are devout Christians—they probably regard the Sallies‘ religious practices with horror and gross misconception. As far as their neighbours are concerned, the Sallies may as well be Satanists, although perhaps they’re only enacting K’n-yani decadence, hedonism and sadism in their rites, as they recount an earlier emancipation than the one granted them by Union soldiers…