In 1941, quite by chance Her Majesty's Government discovered that the secret collection of occult artifacts of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II had fallen into the hands of the Nazis.
Using techniques developed by their counter-parts in Poland, expert decoders at the Bletchley Park Government Code and Cypher School
(GC&CS) had unraveled the mysteries of the German Enigma Programme.
This enabled HMG to study traffic between Nazi High Command and in
particular, present the keys to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic
where U-Boats were travelling in packs and threatening to starve the
country in submission by sinking British shipping.
By way of
entertainment, the team had attempted to decode the undecipherable
Voynich Manuscript. Not only had this defeated all previous such
attempts, but it was widely considered to be gibberish created by
medieval forgers who sought to separate the foolish monarch Rudolf II
from his money. This was mainly because there was no character
repetition that would permit a one-to-one translation. Some members of
GC&CS believed that the manuscript was actually legimate and that
rogue characters had been introduced to obscure the translation.
Perhaps, they speculated, a overlaying decoding device might be placed
on top of the manuscript, blocking certain characters and thereby
permitting non-gibberish translation. Or so they speculated.
the most insidious development of the war, Military Intelligence
intercepted a document sent by Heinrich Himmler to Adolf Hitler ..
written in the Voynich Dialect. The implication was that Himmler must
have obtained a overlaying decoding device. Or worse, because John Dee
and his assistant Edward Kelley had claimed to have using a scrying
glass to communicate with angels using the so-called Enochian Code. It
appeared that such a device
might enable the conversion Enochian Code into Voynich Dialect.
Impulsive war-lead Winston Churchill demanded a series of options
ranging from a commando assault on Himmler's headquarters through to the
counter-forgery of a message that might expose the underlying
decyphering mechanism. Accordingly, master spy Ian Fleming was recalled
from Washington, and a project team quickly assembled with the orders to
"expect the unexpected".
To be continued. (originally posted on Today in Alternate History)