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FDR, arguable one of the best presidents of all time. Known for his program "The New Deal" and other such accomplishments, what is not not known is his many victories in battle against many different types of enemies. FDR possessed great power and technology as can be seen from his transforming wheel chair in which he slayed many foes.

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Thomas Jefferson was never much of a warrior history tells us, but yet again history is wrong. This is an image of one of the many attempts by Jefferson to battle all the manliest animals on earth while trying to teach them the ways of America.

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PS CS5
Gatorade
Epic Meal time.
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In 1752 before Ben Franklin invented Pizza, Gameboy, the iPad2 or Mexican food he was contemplating how to conquer electricity. Being the genius he was he decided go get it at its source, this being Zeus. Strapping himself to a kite, and equipping some homemade lightning claws he ascended through the clouds and into the realm of the Gods to battle it out with Zeus. This is a painting capturing the exact moment the battle started.

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History repeats itself... until the underlying problem is resolved. For the United States and Mexico, the problem has been a lack of natural land borders allowing for a large, and until very recently, undefended borderland. Following the closing of the border and the mass deportations of the 2080s, Mexico saw their northern borderland flooded with displaced expatriates who were too poor and uneducated to qualify for Mars colonial status. Mexico's economy suffered greatly and began positioning troops on the border to aid with the resettlement of their citizens. The US, already using the National Guard to patrol the South West and relocate people to Mexico, took this as an escalating threat and in turn, increased surveillance and drone flights over Mexico. In 2088, the Mexicanos Libres party was established in the US on behalf of the citizens of the South West who were fortunate enough to avoid deportation, and advocated for the rights of Mexican immigrants who had been living in the US for generations. Everyone was convinced war would break out on the US-Mexican border, which is why what happened next was such a shock, and is largely blamed for perpetuating the underlying problem of US-Mexican relations for nearly forty years. Mexico could not feasibly settle its people in the territory they already controlled, while still maintaining a large and dynamic economy. To resolve this they needed to relocate these undereducated laborers to areas of the country that needed their skills most. Many stayed on the border, but 30% were diverted to Central America and with the stroke of a pen by the Mexican President, the region was incorporated into Mexico as the largest economic zone in the nation's history. Central America had been deep in the Mexican sphere of influence for over a century, to the point that the annexation seemed like a formality, but the US took it as a direct threat to their space elevator in Ecuador, and their trade rout through Panama. The US invaded Panama to secure the Canal Zone, and war broke out almost immediately afterwards.

The fighting was concentrated predominantly in Central America and South America, with a proxy fighting in Africa and the South Pacific. Mexico was believed by the US to be an easy target, but try as they might they could not push them out of Panama. Mexican allies in South America were almost as successful at disrupting US interests, driving the Pacific Fleet of the US Navy to stay fixed around Ecuador for much of the war. The conflict dragged on, with neither side willing to directly strike the other on the US-Mexican border, as the US didn't want to risk loosing the South West, and Mexico didn't want to risk a larger war. The war was fought to a stalemate after only two years, and in 2092 the US and Mexico declared a ceasefire. At the Sao Paulo conference, the US agreed to recognize Mexico's claim to Central America, save for Panama and Belize, which were admitted as states into the Union, while Patagonia and Mapuche were granted independence from Argentina and Chile, after American forces in those countries staged revolutions to further block Mexico's naval capabilities. Neither side really won the war, but shortly after the end of the conflict, Mexico began a policy to more fully integrate its sphere and counter the US in the border lands using a policy of Ciudadano Expatriado (Expatriate Citizens). Mexico created a series of "Virtual States," and allowed people of Mexican decent living abroad to vote for representatives in the Mexican Congress. As the Mexicanos Libres Party evolved into a regionalist party, it quickly became clear that while Mexico did not win the war any more than the US, they have a stronger claim to the South West.

While America and Mexico licked their respective wounds Eurasia and Africa fractured as the majority of their populations clamored to leave Earth to seek new lives on Mars, who's population now stood at over 1 billion citizens. Fueled by the great O'Neil ships that cycle between the two worlds, carrying millions of people at a time, Mars was now the most populated colony in the Sol System. As the de facto capital of the colonies, united by a post-scarcity economic system governed by a network of quantum computers, Mars's standard of living had become the highest in the system, having passed the United States on Earth in 2093. Still they are denied equal citizenship within the United States, satiated only by the Rosalind Amendment, which granted Mars the right to form Territories and send resident commissioners to Congress. Meanwhile, in Earth orbital and Lunar colonies, harassment and terrorism by the Guardiola Foundation continues despite continued protests to Congress and the Mediterranean Union that harbors them, despite public condemnations of the Guardiolas. The Mediterranean nations are, like much of Earth, more concerned with local affairs. Protected by an alliance with Mexico, and prosperous and aristocratic, and does not believe itself threatened by any local power, to say nothing of the American space colonies.

The exodus of people from Earth to Mars was already relieving the strain on a number of powers with surplus populations, however it was also opening up opportunity for division, as the "silent majority," of many nations left, a power vacuum was left open for regionalists and separatist groups. Western Europe was the first to suffer from this, as its well educated, but economically stagnant population fled for the new opportunities of the colonies, leaving their home countries to disintegrate into smaller, bickering nations. Turkey, already weakend from decades of trying to govern many unruly territories, was torn asunder as many of its citizens left to start new lives on Mars and Titan. China saw the largest transfer of citizens to the American space colonies, and despite the power vacuum left by the Turks, they were forced to look inward and secure their borders from separatists groups. The world is breaking apart at the seams, only the Americas seem relatively stable, as two empires look to avoid another major conflict. But the center cannot hold.
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Climate Change started the Third World War. Perhaps that's a gross oversimplification, but its the popular consensus of those who lived through that age. The world had just gotten used to the new coastlines with the loss of the South Greenland Ice Sheet, but in 2039 to 2041 the already tense geopolitical conditions were through into overdrive with the loss of Antarctica's coast-lying ice sheets, driving sea levels up to just under 30 meters above Pre-Anthropocene levels. All but a handful of the Earth's greatest cities were lost beneath the waves, and only the hearts of once great megalopolises survived. Billions of people were displaced, driving border protection policies by some countries while others aggressively tried to take advantage of potential additions to the workforce. Some of these people desperately tried to flee for the new off-Earth colonies, but Mars quickly reached pre-terraforming capacity, while the outer planets could barely handle a few million more citizens. Most were left on Earth to flee where they could. The most dramatic instances of this second wave of refugees/immigration to the developed world were seen in the low-lying countries that had already contributed substantially to the immigration boom in coastal Russia and North America. The newcomer was the former United Kingdom; with the storm of 2043, London and many major British cities were left underwater, with little hope of reversing the damage. With Australia's drought leaving the land virtually uninhabitable, and few other options available to them, a great British migration to the Americas occurred in late 2043 thorough much of the decade. With the Atlantic seaboard flooded, most settled in the American heartland like many refugees had for the the last decade. Those that did not settle in the United States made it to Newfoundland, and the newly independent first nations in the Arctic Circle to capitalize on the demand for skilled labor in the petroleum industry. Newfoundland went so far as to achieve independence from Canada proper in 2048, taking advantage of geographic isolation via Quebec. What remained of the United Kingdom quickly fractured. Scotland formalized its independence in 2044, Ireland reunified after the British military pulled out of Ulster to secure the British mainland, but to secure Britain itself the United States positioned 10,000 military and humanitarian operators in the former UK. By 2045 the British Parliament dissolved the monarchy to take direct control of its remaining lands to secure population interests, and the Republic of Britain became little more than an American protectorate. On the mainland Germany and France found themselves in a similar position with the Dutch and Belgians who had lost the majority of their nations to the Sea, and formally annexed these territories in 2049.

In the Pacific, facing a demographic disaster from an aging population and the loss of Tokyo to the Sea despite an immense government effort to construct a robust sea wall network, Japan began more aggressive campaigns into Pacific Russia, China and South East Asia to secure territory for its displaced population, which flooded by the millions into the Pacific Russian territories and Manchuria. Securing their economic and social claims meant a Naval buildup that conflicted directly with US naval interests, and despite formally cordial relations, the Japanese invested heavily into the construction of satellite tracking and ship destroying missile bases in the South Pacific. By middle of the 2040s Japan stood as America's chief rival in Earth Orbit and on the Moon, stationing civilian and military facilities at in Earth Orbit the Lagrange points and on the far side of the moon (though in this area they American presence will still dwarf that of Japan.) Turkey, facing much less loss of territory to the Sea, but rather a need for arable land from a dryer equator formalized its presence in the Caucasus with annexation, and a more aggressive presence in Southern Russia and the Ukraine to secure the Don and Volga grain belt. War along the Turkish axis defined the late 30s and much of the 40s as Turkey faced resistance groups to its power and conventional conflicts to secure its interests, culminating in the the Friday Revolution in Egypt, where Turkey deployed peacekeepers to secure regional interests following the flooding of Cairo, and effectively took control of the Suez Straight. With a position in Egypt, Turkey pushed its sphere west into North Africa, becoming the decisive power in Western Eurasia. Israel, already on friendly terms with the Turks and seeking an accommodation with the growing power, and Turkey not wanting to  enter into a conflict with the small, but powerful enclave, entered into a mutual non-aggression pact in 2040. Control of the Suez Straight meant control over Arabia, despite endless conflict with Arab insurgents, and presented itself as a major threat to Iranian interests. As the dominant power over the oil and Natural Gas of Southern Russia to the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey found itself as a natural Ally of the Japanese, and established a formal Alliance in 2043, the Eurasian Trade and Security Coalition. While Formal alliances of this type were unusual in this age, the necessity of the global climate and refugee crisis drove these two powers to formalize their interests to secure mutual interests against the rising tide and against American interests. This event forced the United States to realize the new reality in Eurasia, as Turkey and Japan posed a credible risk to uniting the continent under a single power (though not a single state). With an economic depression in the Arab region, Turkey positioned itself as a neo-Islamist power, gathering support from pan-Turkics and Islamic fundamentalists. Facing mutual threats on two fronts, the United States increased support to India and China dramatically, going so far as to support Chinese nationalists over American and Taiwanese puppet regimes in Southern China for the sake of regional cohesion. By 2045, Poland, supported in the US effort to counter the Turks, brought Slovenia and Croatia into the Visegrad Group, despite a limited Turkish Presence in Former Bosnia. The Eurozone watched this developing crisis intensely, playing a game of wait and see, but finding itself on increasingly more amicable terms with the Turks, not wanting to see a United power on their Eastern Border again, and Germany once again made into a battlefield. At this juncture Germany began to a quiet effort to aid the Turks in every way short of war with Poland, by imposing greater influence on Danish and Croatian business interests to prevent Polish access to the Atlantic and therefore the United States.

The Americans pursued an extremely effective policy of containment against this new Coalition, arming the Poles, Chinese, Indians, and Koreans against the Turks and the Japanese, a policy that in turn drove the Japanese and Turks to increase their military readiness, and so on, driving the planet to war. With a halt in American trade of high tech goods to prevent any technology transfer, Japan and Turkey were left believing a full blockade could be next. With America supporting nationalists efforts in Arabia, Egypt, Russia, and the Ukraine, the Turks were convinced that war would be the next inevitable act by the Americans to cripple them. As such, war plans by the Turks and Japanese began to take shape. 

The key American military threat no longer lied at Sea, but in Space. Since the Space Boom began in the late 2010s the United States had been quietly increasing its military presence in Earth Orbit and on the Moon, protective of valuable energy, mining, and manufacturing operations on Near Earth Asteroids and the lunar surface. During the 2030s the United States reached out to several contractors it had worked with on the commercial mining of lunar Helium-3 to develop increased infrastructure for commercial and eventually military ventures. Gradually the US abandoned the costly and ineffective policy of deploying overburdened infantrymen and petroleum burning vehicles to far corners of the planet to exert its power, to a system of rapid response, force projection technologies that could operate from mobile sea-based platforms and from US Soil directly. These systems still required a global command system, however and to that end the US began the construction of an extensive network of command and control satellites, all managed by three geostationary positioned Orbital Command Stations. Built in secret at the Tycho Shipyards on the moon, the Orbital Command Stations networked with unmanned spy satellites, refueling and repair facilities and orbital bombardment stations. No longer relying on vulnerable land based command centers, the United States could project its power with minimum effort and superb accuracy. Primary command and control moved to the Orbital Command Stations to limit the number of failure points, with space based systems seeming invulnerable to smaller powers. OCS Eisenhower was stationed over Uganda, OCS Kennedy over Papua New Guinea, and the main command station, OCS Reagan was stationed over Ecuador. These stations constituted the primary threat to the Turks and Japanese. Commanding fleets of hypersonic unmanned aircraft and coordinating Naval support around the planet, the Orbital Command Stations could impose devastating blockades on the Turks and Japanese. By 2050 war plans were well underway, and Japan new that to secure its regional interests it had to destroy the American command structure in space, and prevent any future launches by capturing the American manufacturing and military installations on the Moon. As the Japanese prepare for their attack, the Turks stage a crisis in the Balkans, pushing the Poles to the absolute edge of war, even allowing facilities in the Caucasus to be attacked by Polish drones. While the Geneva peace conference is being mediated by the Americans, Japan prepares to strike, hoping the Americans would rather accept a world with three great empires than risk its own empire in another World War.
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The collapse of Russia, the Labor Shortage, Climate Change. These are the great events that shaped the Blakanization in the first half of the 21st Century. With the end of the Little Cold War in 2023, the Eurasian Union, and ultimately Russia (the Union State) ceased to exist, fragmenting across ancient cultures long since forgotten by the world until that point. The Tartars, the Don Cossacks, and the Yakuts all found themselves independent for the first time in centuries, while the Finns retook their long lost Karelian territories, while the Visegrad Gruop poached numerous territories from Western Russia. Any semblance of order has taken a decade to emerge, made no easier by an endless effort to secure former Russian nuclear arms from upstart powers like the Samara Republic.

While Russia fragmented, China's economic troubles over the last ten years finally came to fruition in the Market Crash of 2027. While China had officially been in a state of recession for more than nine years, the Crash of 2027 made deep demographic problems in the Chinese, and ultimately the world economy apparent. With the loss of the south Greenland Ice Sheet in 2025, and the subsequent rise in global sea levels by 7 meters, China found themselves facing open revolt in much of the country, a revolt that cost them the territories on their western peripheries and made their northern border porous to foreign influence. To prevent the collapse of the world's third largest economy, the US, intervened directly, pumping over a trillion dollars into the Chinese economy and deploying US Naval detachments to provide relief to refugee flooded cities like Hangzhou. China's collapse also spelled the end for a number of Cold War era institutions like the World Bank, which was never able to secure any significant capital from cash strapped European powers, who were dealing with their own refugee crisis in the low countries. This is often seen as the direct precursor for the eventual dissolution of the United Nations, as American interests in China conflicted with those of Japan, a country desperate for labor to supplement its demographic crisis of an aging population and a xenophobic culture.

As the developing world's coastal cities drowned, across the globe, only the wealthiest cities managed to save themselves from falling beneath the waves by hastily constructed sea walls. Tokyo, Washington DC, New York, and London all found themselves fighting to survive against the seven meter rise in global sea levels. CO2 production had finally stymied by the 2030s with the Electric Vehicle revolution, but the demand for energy put ever greater strain on the global economy, even with Helium-3 shipments from Luna and new improvements in Solar energy. All of this was ultimately secondary in the global zeitgeist when compared to the Population Crisis that drove the Recession of 2027. The election of 2028 saw a new administration that made several attempts to save the global economy with economic theories left over from the Reagan and Obama administrations, but to no success. This led to the election of Dylan James Price to the Presidency. President Price pushed for an aggressive immigration incentive program to attract skilled immigrants to the US to close the labor gap met by an aging population and increased global demand for high tech goods and services. This is where a silver lining to the rising tide became apparent; as more urban centers found themselves underwater, the displaced populations could fill the labor shortage in the developed world, taking advantage of the new immigration incentives, none more aggressive than those of the United States and Canada (though with the first people's more aggressive calls for independence, Canada was still far behind the US in incentives). Millions of Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese, Nigerian, Chinese, Indian, and Bengali immigrants flooded into North America as their home countries drowned, driving the United States population to 400 million citizens.

While the United States took an incentive approach to solving its demographic problem, the Turks and Japanese took a more direct approach. With the fall of Russia, and China in such a weakened state, the Japanese and Turks took more aggressive military action to secure their regional interests, and export industry to surrounding territories to supplement their population problems. Turkey was aided by ancient ethnic ties to neighboring states and a grateful US, who supported their effort to stabilize the Middle East, while Japan exploited the power vacuum in Eastern Pacific Rim to secure national interests. It was in these years that the seeds for a new global conflict were sewn.
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On June 28th, 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is assassinated by Ukranian nationalists during his visit to Donetsk. The Russian government immediately blamed Ukraine's government for conspiring with the nationalists to conduct the assassination, an allegation that would later turn out to be true, but used the assassination as an excuse to demand that Ukraine all but surrender its sovereignty to Russia. This led to a month of diplomatic crises, as alliances coalesced over fears of a third world war. The Chinese were concerned about Japan's remilitarization, while the Japanese were concerned about China's bold attempts to seize disputed ocean territory. The Russians and the Chinese moved closer together, fearing encirclement by the Western powers. 

On July 28th, the Russians declared war on Ukraine. In response, the European Union's member states declared war on Russia, but the United States remained neutral; it was the NATO member states that declared war on Russia, not the other way around. As a sign of solidarity with the Russians, the Chinese declared war on the European Union, and demanded that Japan stay neutral. The Japanese, knowing that the Chinese were more concerned about them than the European Union, began to mobilize. Chinese strategic planners knew that the Japanese could not be allowed to mobilize, as that would make their home islands nearly unassailable, and executed the "Xi-Liu-Fen" Plan: a military strike against South Korea with the aid of North Korea, thus providing a beachhead through which China could invade Japan. The invasion of South Korea prompted the United States to declare war on China, thus plunging most of the world into war. 

Fears of mutually assured destruction, the widespread presence of ABM systems and the belief that the war would be over soon kept the war conventional. Unfortunately, the war was not short. As the months dragged on, more and more countries joined the fray. Iran joined the so-called Eastern Powers in October of 2014, and India joined on the side of the Allies in 2015. Fighting spread all over the world: South Africa attacked pro-Chinese Zimbabwe on behalf of the Allies, Israel waged war against Egypt. The civil wars in Nigeria and Syria continued. The biggest front, by far, was the Asian Front. The Allies conducted several landings across the Chinese coast and Korea, but with the destruction of the most advanced weapons systems early in the war, fighting became dominated by ground forces. Neither the Allies nor the Chinese could muster the forces necessary to break through one anothers’ lines, so fighting became largely static. In Europe, the European Union was left to fend mostly for itself, and while the Russian Army was ill-equipped to fight the war, the EU was likewise. Both sides made few gains against one another. 

The tone of the war changed in 2017. European governments were overthrown by far-right nationalists that wanted peace with the Russians and the creation of a stronger, nationalist Europe. The European governments surrendered to the Eastern Powers, but this did not stop Europe from plunging into civil war between the loyalists and the so-called “White Army.” But what seemed like a final victory was snatched away from the Eastern Powers. Brazil joined the Allies after a Brazilian ship, the Portuguesa, was sunk by a Chinese submarine. Fearing Brazilian manpower, the Chinese attempted a bold offensive against the Allies, which failed. Brazilian forces started landing in China, pushing the Chinese back. Then, the population of the Eastern Powers revolted against the wartime governments. In Russia, the desperate government launched what remained of it aging nuclear arsenal at the United States. They succeeded in hitting a few military installations and Allied troop concentrations in China, but in return the Americans destroyed much of Russia’s military. The Russian state collapsed. This was slowly followed by the collapse of China. Tired of war, China’s people revolted against the military government, and soon a democratic government was put in place and negotiated a ceasefire with the Allies. On November 11, 2018, WWIII ended. 

It is now the year 2037. The world has just suffered from another great financial collapse, one that has led to suffering worldwide and the rise of radical politics. The United States remains the premier power in the world, leader of the Global Alliance (its replacement for NATO) and the other Allied powers. The Americans, along with the Japanese, maintain the order established at the end of WWIII. This is a difficult task, as the UN mandates remain undeveloped and violent, and new challengers to the current world order arise. South Africa has been taken over by its hypernationalist military, and is waging a war of expansion against Central Africa, despite the condemnation it has received from the UN. India, displeased with its share of the spoils after WWIII, has elected an ultranationalist government that seeks to recreate the Indian empires of old, at the expense of its neighbors. The totalitarian European Front remains an international pariah, its white supremacist and reactionary Christian ideology inspiring other far-right groups around the world to fight against the current order. And last, but certainly not least, the rise of the Dragon Party in China could easily lead to another world war. Led by a former Chinese colonel who was inspired by the teachings of Falun Gong, the Dragon Party believes that the Han Chinese are the destined masters of the world. Already, the Chinese are conducting mass persecutions of Muslims and Tibetans within their country, and there are clear signs that the Chinese are rebuilding their military in violation of post-WWIII treaties. They called World War III the war to end all wars, but now it seems that a fourth world war is brewing.
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!!! POTENTIAL FLAMEBAIT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. !!!

Another -punk/paleofuture scenario, this time taking the most ridiculous and horrifying parts of 2000s (9/11 - Arab Spring) future predictions. That means Eurabia, full polar ice cap melt, China takes over the world, Jesusland, the works. Credit to Beedok and SRegan of AH.com, and YNot1989 of dA for giving me the tools necessary to make the base map.

DISCLAIMER: I do not actually believe this is what the future would be like. This scenario is not serious by any stretch of the imagination. Think of it as Fallout for the early 21st century. I don't want debates in the comments section over whether or not this is realistic or not, because I'm telling you now: it isn't.

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September 11, 2001 is considered by most historians as the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. On that day, nineteen men attacked the most powerful nation on Earth and changed the world forever. The attack, conducted by the Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda, destroyed or severely damaged several targets, including the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and the United States Capitol.

The blow was painful for the United States. Thousands of people were dead, including hundreds of Congressmen. The United States immediately pursued a policy of stamping out terrorism throughout the world, the so-called War on Terror, which eventually led to wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. The war was extremely divisive, with the left and right believing that the other is destroying the country.

In the meanwhile, the rest of the world was also changing. Mexico fell into chaos as drug cartels successfully muscled out government forces in the north and began their war against Mexican and American authorities. Western Europe experienced tensions between immigrants from the Islamic world and local Europeans who believed that their culture was being destroyed, leading to a wave of riots throughout major European cities. China ascended as the dominant economic power in the East, challenging the United States for control of the world.

The 2010s ushered in even more disasters. North Korea imploded in civil war in 2010, and the rogue state was absorbed into China. Sea levels continued to rise as the growing Chinese economy pumped even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The wars in the Middle East drained the United States of blood and treasure, with no end in sight. Russia successfully absorbed Belarus and Vladimir Putin declared himself the new Tsar of the Russian Union. The governments of the Arabian peninsula were overthrown by Islamist revolutionaries pouring in from Iraq and Iran, and founded the New Caliphate. The South American Union, under the leadership of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, was established as a counterbalance to American power in the west.

The Second Depression, the signs of which were present in 2008, hit hard in 2011. Unemployment in the United States and much of Europe skyrocketed to levels as high as 20%. Rioting broke out throughout the country along partisan lines: Republicans blamed Democrats and Democrats blamed Republicans. Neither presidents Hillary Clinton nor John McCain could stop the country from sliding further and further into chaos and destitution. Indeed, their attempts were rewarded with impeachment by the opposition. By 2013, American military assets had to be brought in from the Middle East to stop the rioting, but this only exacerbated partisan tensions and led to the establishment of armed paramilitaries throughout the country. In response, the government turned more and more of the assets developed to fight the War on Terror on domestic threats. By 2016, the United States was in a state of extreme political instability and violence.

The 2020s would be the worst in 21st century history. The bird flu and swine flu epidemics swept through the world, killing millions around the world. The invasion of Mexico by the American government, an attempt to both rid itself of the drug cartels and to galvanize the country under another opponent, became another endless guerrilla war. Attempts to unify the European Union only fragmented it, with the more religious eastern European portions believing that the west had been thoroughly “Islamicized.” The New Caliphate went on a jihad throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, quickly filling the vacuum left by departing American forces. The Caliphate and Russia became extremely rich as oil reserves ran dry throughout the world, allowing both nations to command extremely high prices. Indonesia and Malaysia turned to Islamic fundamentalism and united under the Nusantara sultanate. Sea levels continued to rise, creating a migration crisis the world over. While many coastal cities in the First World responded with levees and domes, those in the Third World sank beneath the waves.

The Second American Civil War began in 2025, when the Republican Party tried to pass an amendment to the Constitution which banned “extremist” religions such as Islam. The so-called “blue states” publicly declared that they would not uphold that law, and that they would attack any federal forces which tried to detain Muslims in their state to be shipped off to the Guantanamo Bay Prison Complex. A nuclear attack in Washington D.C, which killed the president, sent the country into outright martial law. When federal authorities attempted to arrest a group of six Muslims in Michigan, whom they suspected of conducting the attack, they were attacked and detained by state troopers. Washington responded by declaring Michigan a “state in rebellion” and sent in the military. Michigan, and its Democratic neighbors, responded with secession. One by one, blue states throughout the country seceded from the Union, forming the Democratic Republic of North America. The United States government did not recognize this new government, and instead declared war against the DRNA.

The Second American Civil War was contained for the first two years, but quickly spiraled out of control. As the federal government, which had become the new Christian States of America, looked to be victorious, the Chinese began backing the DRNA in order to ensure that the former United States would be divided. The eastern portions of Europe, under the urging of anti-Islamic immigrants, formed the European Alliance and declared a crusade against the now-majority Islamic European Union. This crusade, aided by the Russians and Americans loyal to the Christian States, dragged the New Caliphate in to defend the European Union. The Nusantara Sultanate invaded Australia in an attempt to gain land as their country was drowned by rising sea levels. World War III had begun.

World War III, fortunately, did not involve any nuclear weapons, as the combatants were afraid of a nuclear holocaust. However, the war, combined with plagues, nuclear terrorism and global warming, killed hundreds of millions around the world. Ultimately, the Chinese, the Caliphate and the DRNA would emerge victorious from the conflict, which ended in 2035. Both China and the Caliphate would remain the two dominant powers on Earth throughout the 21st century, as the remnants of the United States and the European Union busied themselves with rebuilding and coping with this new world. The global flooding, known by later generations as the Deluge, reached its peak after the war when the last of the world’s ice caps melted.

The world of 2101 is an amazing, yet horrifying place. Technology is both advanced and primitive. With petroleum gone, what is left of the developed world relies on solar, hydroelectric and wind power. Biotechnology and cybernetic enhancements allows people to live and stay fit up to 150, if they could afford it. The Internet is integrated into everything, even contact lenses, and neurological implants are commonplace. Robots are ubiquitous in rich communities, and most militaries are majority autonomous. However, most of the world lives in shantytowns built in response to the Deluge and WWIII, where the most advanced technology coexists with machinery a medieval peasant would be familiar with. Earth’s ruined industrial base means that most people, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America, are poor subsistence farmers who can afford little more than a horse and plough. Because of poor sanitation, plagues such as bird flu still occasionally ravage the Earth. The toxic environment does not help; the air is poisonous, and the seas are acidic, destroying possible food sources and causing medical disorders the world over.

The two American successor states are decidedly unpleasant places to live in. The Democratic Republic of North America, which united with Canada during WWIII, is a neo-Soviet dictatorship under the control of the various labor unions and academics who sided with the DRNA during the Second American Civil War. While the DRNA is officially secular, it does persecute Christians, which have become associated with the Christian States to the south. Like its neighbor, the DRNA is a highly militarized state, prepared for the inevitable war which would decide the fate of North America. The Christian States, on the other hand, is an outright theocracy. While it has come to accept Catholicism as a Christian religion because of political pragmatism, many Hispanics in the Christian States remain in a state of semi-slavery. This is a better lot than homosexuals and non-Christians, who are killed as soon as they are found. The Christian States despise the “heretics and sinners” of the north, and Christian States politicians always declare that the United States will be reunified under the Cross and Stripes.

The rest of the world fares little better. The New Caliphate is an authoritarian theocracy which has conducted a campaign of destroying anything deemed anti-Islamic or Western, and after the disappearance of oil, has regressed into reliance on slave labor augmented by the newest green technologies. The European Union, in reaction to WWIII, has become decidedly anti-Christian, and the damage suffered because of the Deluge and the war is a very poor dictatorship under the control of Islamic politicians. Russia and the European Alliance have turned to Christian theocracy and extreme racism in reaction, and in either state a person can be killed for owning “heretical texts.” China remains under the control of the Communist Party, which has entrenched its control during WWIII and brutally crushed any resistance. It has created and maintained its sphere of influence by controlling much of the world’s remaining industries, a head start it maintains through the practical enslavement of its massive population. Latin America is a more socialist dictatorship, and its attempts to rapidly industrialize like the Chinese have destroyed the environment it had left over from the Deluge.

With the remaining resources of the world running dry, the nations of the world prepare for World War IV. During WWIII, there were undertones of a resource war, but now a war for food and water may be the only choice some countries have. Such a war would be one for survival, not ideologies or politics, and the terrible weapons that were kept in the vaults during WWIII could finally be used.
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I'm tired of making maps. Now I'll get to posting them. This one should be familiar to everyone. The eastern German border was from one of B_Munro's maps. 

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A British soldier has an unarmed German in his sights. He hesitates to shoot him, but the soldier ignores his conscience. This is war, and that was the enemy. He pulls the trigger. The German falls. Private Henry Tandey had just killed an unarmed man, one Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler. Two months later, the Great War would end. 

But the Great War was not the last war in Europe, or indeed the world. The peace created by the Allies was unstable. But Germany, weak and divided, would not be the instigator of the next war. The next, big threat lay further east. 

Communism was on the march. In Italy, one of the victorious powers, a communist revolution overthrew the Italian king and created the People's Republic of Italy. Unrest in the former German and Austro-Hungarian empires pitted left and right against one another, destabilizing the new democratic governments there. France and Britain did nothing, for they feared another great war. In 1928, the stock market crashed in New York, bringing more destitution and chaos to the Western world. 

All of this was noted in Moscow. The Soviet Union, under the iron fist of Joseph Stalin, had cut itself off from the world under its 'socialism in one country' program. Now, with the capitalist West weak, feeble and the people on the march, Stalin thought of a plan for socialism in all countries. Communist victory in the Spanish Civil War further cemented Stalin's plans. 

The first target was Finland. The country was invaded in 1940, almost without warning. While the Finns put up a valiant resistance, they were eventually crushed by the Red Army. More importantly, the British and French did nothing but smuggle arms across the Norwegian border. Next to fall were the Baltic states, and with Poland and Germany bickering with one another, the British and French could not create a united front against the Soviet Union. The British did make an ultimatum to Stalin: he could go no further in Europe. For the next two years, the Soviets then focused their efforts on carving out a sphere of influence in China, at first in conflict with Japan but then later developing an understanding with Tokyo.

By 1943, the Red Army was a new force. Trained officers had replaced those purged by Stalin in the early years. Plans for the conquest of Europe, in conjunction with the Italians and a Japanese attack against Europe's colonial possessions, was established. And by 1943, the Red Army marched across the Polish borders, with orders not to stop until they reached the Pyrenees. The nations of Europe formed a new, united front against the Soviet juggernaut, but the Polish and eastern European armies were brushed aside. In the United States, the country remained divided on the issue of war against the Soviets, with many noting that there was nothing the Americans could do now that they dominated Eurasia. America did join the war in 1944, but with their economy in shambles and large-scale civil unrest, the Americans couldn't contribute as much as they'd like. The Allies had a more successful defense across the Rhine, but with the development of new and better tanks, and the true might of Soviet industry beginning to show in full force, the Allies fell. 

By 1946, Europe was red. In the East, Japan seized Europe's colonies, aided with Soviet resources. The Red Army seized the Middle East, giving them the oil they need to power their war machine. The American economy began to become a true war economy, but with Europe firmly under Soviet control, the costs of liberating the continent were too high for all but the most ardent anti-Soviets. In late 1947, the Soviets revealed to the world their newest invention: the atomic bomb, which was used against Tehran. Soon afterward, a ceasefire was reached with the Soviets. 

By the 1980s, the world remains divided into the three blocs formed at the Second Great War. The Allies, dominated by the United States, remain devoted to the destruction of the Soviet menace. While democratic, the Allied nations are very intolerant of any opinion that does not meet their definition of "democratic," with any pro-Soviet or pro-Japanese sentiments censored. Britain in particular is a very militaristic and nihilistic society, knowing that war would destroy their country but planning on remaining defiant to the end. American society has taken the opposite route: it is a society which focuses on the positive at all costs. Negativity about current affairs or a hypothetical war with the Soviets is frowned upon, and will lead to social ostracism and some legal sanction. 

The Soviet Union is a juggernaut, but a collapsing one. The death of Stalin created major instability as would-be successors jockeyed for power, and the end result was a troika of no-names that have let the various SSRs manage their own affairs. The Soviet Union is by no means democratic, with any anti-communist sentiment earning a man a one-way trip to Siberia, but it is the SSRs who are responsible for the day-to-day policing of their people. This has led to national rivalries within the Soviet Union, with some regions threatening to break away entirely. Italy, however, remains autocratic and centralized, which has led to violence from its Libyan and Ethiopian "fraternal socialist protectorates," who dislike the imposition of Italian culture and communism. 

The Japanese Empire's alliance with the Soviets ended as soon as the war did, and it has become opposed to both the Allies and the Soviets. Believing strongly that its "divine destiny" is now to dominate the entire world, the Japanese prepare for a global war on two fronts. The Emperor, theoretically sovereign, is but a figurehead for a fanatical military, one that believes in "civilizing" the Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, even as this causes unrest. Its allies, India and China, have been exempted for now, because their populations are too large to treat in such a manner, but both the Indians and the Chinese are looking for a way out of the GEACPS without committing themselves to either bloc. But economic ties keep them in, for both India and China are, de facto, ruled by Japan's zaibatsu. 

Technology continues to advance. While the brilliant Albert Einstein was killed during a riot instigated by the German Workers' Party before he could complete his work, many of his theories have become accepted throughout the world. Nuclear weapons are commonplace around the world, and each bloc has at least a hundred thousand nuclear warheads under its command. Jet aircraft are ubiquitous, while hovercrafts have become popular in Japan and even airships have made a comeback in the Soviet bloc. And the Allies, pioneers in laser technology, have started to place laser weapons on everything. Some Allied commanders believe that their new laser defense systems can negate the Soviet and Japanese nuclear arsenals, making them far more reckless than they ought to be.
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My assignment for the 6th week of my CGMA Environment Design for Entertainment 1 classes with James Paick
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My assignment for the 7th week of my CGMA Environment Design for Entertainment 1 classes with James Paick
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A collab made between me and the talented :iconbrotherostavia: ... hope you like it!
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After Apollo 11 and Apollo 12, NASA used the momentum of those triumphs to launch their proposal to develop several pieces of hardware, the Nuclear Ferry or Primary Propulsion Module, which could provide regular transportation to Geosynchronous orbit and the Moon, and the Standard Mission Module, which could serve as a planetary surface base or orbital station. These, combined with a Science Mission Module specific for the destination, could be combined to form Project Argosy spacecraft, capable of missions to Mars, Venus, asteroids and comets. For these deep=space missions, the Argosy spacecraft would launch from Earth orbit, with two PPMs boosting the main craft into its transfer orbit, then separating, to decelerate themselves to return to Earth orbit for reuse. The lone remaining PPM would provide power and propulsion for the rest of the mission. In this way, a robust compatible collection of manned craft would be available for standard missions, in a flexible architecture to meet varieties of mission needs. I've attached the name Argosy, or treasure fleet, to the project.

Here, the nuclear boosters have been joined with the mission spacecraft, and final check outs and adjustments are proceeding in Earth orbit. In 20 hours, the window will open for the Mars launch.

Modeled in Lightwave 10. I already had the Nuclear Ferry modeled, and I'm still working on the Science Module and Standard Mission Module. Thanks for taking a look!
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Ascending outward

"Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever"
-K.E. Tsiolkovsky

Jason Tinsley's Helios model, and Fabio Passaro's Earth from Foundation 3D.
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The crew of the first Mars landing, heading back to their camp after a nine hour EVA. The Lander is based on the 1969 NASA design study.

Lightwave and Photoshop. Thanks for looking!
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This is a beamliner. Beamliners are interstellar spacecraft propelled mainly by a large magnetic sail. Their name stems from their method of propulsion; by deflecting a tightly focused beam of charged smart-particles with a magnetic sail, or, in some cases, smaller momentum-exchange sails directed at the spacecraft from a beam projector station. The beamliner is accelerated out-system on such a beam up to its cruise velocity of 35% the speed of light (or .35c). It then coasts in interstellar space, before reactivating its magsail to start braking against the interstellar medium. Once in proximity to the destination system's beam station (about 200 AU), it then decelerates on that beam for about a year and docks with the station. Some designs have drive systems that allow them to drop into orbit around a specific planet after deceleration. Since beamliners require an active particle stream to brake on, they can only travel between systems advanced enough to host beam stations (although most do take advantage of passive braking techniques by using their magsails to shed velocity in the interstellar medium). Travel to an uninhabited or unexplored system requires a secondary deceleration method to slow down to orbital velocity, and is only done with robotic probes.

Before embarking on a beamliner en route to a settled exoplanet, passengers must spend several years undergoing extensive gene therapy in order to be placed under hibernation to survive the long journey through interstellar space. Although most trips take less than a century to complete, and particle streams are becoming capable of pushing beamliners to higher velocities, storing passengers in a state of suspended animation simply saves mass by eliminating the need for extensive life-support systems an active crew would require, such as providing and recycling consumables. Passengers only need to undertake this treatment once; so once augmented, they can safely undergo "coldsleep" again if they can obtain passage aboard another beamliner.
The energy needed to push a spacecraft to even sub-relativistic velocities (< 0.5c) is quite substantial. Thus, the mass of interstellar spacecraft must be reduced as much as practically possible. Most of the craft’s mass comes from the magnetic sail itself. Although it is merely a series of very thin superconducting hoops, it is over 75 kilometers wide when fully deployed, and can total up to 40,000 kilograms. The next most massive part is the debris shield and crew modules. Such craft are often quite fragile in appearance, consisting largely of skeletal truss members made out of advanced lightweight composites. Even with such mass-saving designs, the raw energy need to accelerate interstellar spaceships to cruise velocity (or rather, the energy needed to power the particle stream to push the spacecraft) exceeds several tens of terawatts. Thus, beam projectors orbit close to the local star where solar power is cheap and abundant, using vast photovoltaic arrays to generate the monumental quantities of power necessary to push a ship across interstellar space. Obviously, orbiting close to a star presents its own unique technical problems, mainly shielding the station’s delicate components from the star’s intense heat and occasional stellar flares.
Depending on the distance of the star system in question, most systems near Sol have enough beamliner traffic between them to service the system once every 4 or 5 years. Beamliners are spaced along their trajectories such that there is always one arriving every few years, even though an individual beamliner may take over a century to complete one route. Traffic volume can increase if a settled system develops into a terminus with multiple beam projector stations capable of handling multiple streams of traffic from different systems at the same time. Sol, being the first terminus system, was for a long time the hub of all outbound interstellar traffic, although it took several centuries to build up the infrastructure required to launch the first few missions. Although the network itself took nearly a millennium to reach its current size, today its growth has began to show dramatic increase as multiple star systems become advanced enough to start building their own beam stations and beamliner craft. It is expected that by the next millennium, the network will have expanded some 500 light years
While the network is most known for manned interstellar spaceflight, it has also made robotic exploration of the cosmos much faster and cheaper. Since probes are far lighter than any manned spacecraft, and also do not carry a fragile living payload, they can withstand higher accelerations and also easily achieve faster velocities. Thus, as it always has been, the frontiers of space exploration are expanded by robotic emissaries, followed by human explorers and settlers many years later.

This is the most common and popular style of beamliner, although other styles do exist.
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The Tsiolkovsky, the first manned interstellar spacecraft ever built, accelerates away from the Solar System with a crew of 100 frozen colonists. Using pulsed fusion propulsion, it powers it's way up to nearly 20% the speed of light. At such tremendous speeds, the diffuse gas and dust of the interstellar medium becomes a hail of deadly projectiles. To protect the the ship from the occasional collision with dust grains, a massive triple-layer impact shield absorbs the majority of impacts. By the time the Tsiolkovsky reaches it's target, the shield will be blasted and scarred with impact craters and radiation damage.

After it has achieved coasting velocity, the main engine is jettisoned. Once it is time to decelerate, a magnetic sail, a loop of superconducting wire many hundreds of kilometers wide is deployed, acting as a parachute by braking against it's destination's stellar wind. A smaller fusion-pulse engine then slows it into a capture orbit.
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I made this model to accompany a blog post I'm writing for Icarus Interstellar.

ICAN-II was an idea for an antimatter powered manned spacecraft that was developed at Penn State University (a university I will be attending in the fall) in the 1990's. The original design was intended for manned travel to Mars, but calculations were performed for a round-trip voyage to Jupiter and a no-return mission out to Pluto. The flight time from Earth-orbit to Mars was just 30 days and required only 30 nanograms of antiprotons to initiate the reaction, as well as 362 metric tons of reaction mass, provided by a spherical shell of silicon carbide.

Image background courtesy of NASA.
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By 1961 the science of rocketry and space flight had advanced to the point that it was feasible a man could make the journey beyond Earth's atmosphere into space. Although several manmade satellites had successfully achieved orbit by this time, it was not an absolute certainty that manned space flight would succeed. On April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagrin bravely entered his Vostok I spacecraft perched atop an R-7 rocket. Upon blast off he spoke over the intercom, "Poyekhali!" which translates in English to, "Off We Go!" After a short journey Yuri Gagarin become the first man to fly in space. The flight lasted a total of 108 minutes and he completed one orbit of the Earth. It is interesting to note the design to land the capsule safely with a man on board had not been perfected at the time of the flight. Thus, after the capsule reentered the atmosphere, Yuri was ejected and parachuted to a safe landing separate from the capsule. This print is a tribute to this magnificent accomplishment on the 50th anniversary of the historic flight.
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This piece was inspired by a passage from former SR-71 pilot Major Brian Shul's book "Sled Driver". In it he describes a night flight......

"One moonless night, while flying a routine training mission over the Pacific, I wondered what the sky would look like from 84,000 feet if the cockpit lighting were dark. While heading home on a straight course, I slowly turned down all of the lighting, reducing the glare and revealing the night sky. Within seconds, I turned the lights back up, fearful that the jet would know and somehow punish me. But my desire to see the sky overruled my caution, I dimmed the lighting again. To my amazement, I saw a bright light outside my window. As my eyes adjusted to the view, I realized that the brilliance was the broad expanse of the Milky Way, now a gleaming stripe across the sky. Where dark spaces in the sky had usually existed, there were now dense clusters of sparkling stars Shooting stars flashed across the canvas every few seconds. It was like a fireworks display with no sound. I knew I had to get my eyes back on the instruments, and reluctantly I brought my attention back inside. To my surprise, with the cockpit lighting still off, I could see every gauge, lit by starlight."

The SR-71 Blackbird still remains one of the most incredible airplanes to ever fly. Designed to fly at speeds well in excess of 2,000 MPH and at altitudes over 80,000 feet, the Blackbird was untouchable. Almost 4,000 missiles were launched at her by hostile forces in an attempt to bring her down - none did. The Blackbird defeated every one.
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Whether one believes in such things or not, the Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) has been considered serious enough to scramble fighter planes in defense of American air space on more than just a few occasions in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, it even occurs in modern times. In this depiction an F-84F Thunderstreak fighter jet of the Ohio National Guard, after being scrambled, catches up with the bogie which was earlier spotted on radar. The pilot will have one heck of a tale to tell. This print is a tribute to all those perfectly serious accounts by professionals in the cockpit who have encountered something in the sky which defies rational explanation.
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I’m doing some concept work on this video game project.

Wanna help get it made?

The DeadCoats are Coming

In Halloween, 2011 Neo-Pangea hatched the idea to create the world’s first Flash First Person Shooter, and they called it - DeadCoats. Built as an experiment in under three weeks, it was unleashed to the world. The game instantly received rave reviews and legions of fans demanded more, and it’s not hard to see why.Who wouldn’t want to relive the great American Revolution as founding-father Ben Franklin with a lightning-powered musket, zapping the heads off of DeadCoat zombies?

Now the Neo Pangea crew is trying to take it to the next level,and they’d like your help.

[link]

Donate if you can.

Spread the word.

Do it for America.
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a lil piece I did for my friends online Flash game

play it here:

[link]
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OK: this is basically an ASB scenario, but its got a map, too...

May 17, 1987: what appeared to be a new Soviet space station in the works (a few large modules had been bolted together) was passing a few hundred miles above the US, when it suddenly vanished in a flare of light more brilliant than the sun.

Those noting the light and the almost immediate and messy deaths of televisions, radios, etc. might well have been forgiven for assuming an EM attack through atomic weapon, presumably a precursor to a Soviet full launch.

Nonetheless, they would have been wrong.

An EM pulse would not affect NORAD, buried under a mountain. It would not affect the ICBMs buried in their silos. Given that, plus the continued survival of nuclear missile submarines at sea, an EM pulse attack on the US would be just as suicidal as any other form of first strike strategy during the 1980s.

It was not an EM pulse.

The Sakharov-Vanko Device (named after its original developers, Ivan Vanko and Andrei Sakharov, who committed suicide after its use that day in May) was originally meant to be a means of tapping into zero-point energy. In the end, it proved ineffective as a power source, since the energy released in the form of incredibly intense electromagnetic energy could not be safely controlled on earth. In orbit, pointing downwards, on the other hand…

A few seconds of time later it became rather clear that whatever it was, it was not a nuclear explosion: it just kept on happening. The eye-searing point of light in the sky remained visible for over an hour, as it crossed the width of the United states and began to sweep across the Pacific, before the massive protective shield melted away entirely and destroyed the zero-point field generator (to the relief of Soviet observers, which had been worried that the predicted breakdown might not happen until after the edge of the radiation front had reached the eastern USSR). During that hour, not only did every piece of electronic equipment in operation in the US fry, but huge amounts of electrical equipment _not_ in use met a messy end as huge charges built up in any sort of lengthy piece of metal. NORAD was rendered blind and dumb. Pipelines exploded and factories burned. Planes fell from the sky. Power distribution networks flared and collapsed, leading to nation-wide blackout. Massive electrical discharges flared between the earth and sky. Thousands were killed by lightning strikes and tens of thousands were blinded by looking too long at the sky. Millions would later contract cancers.

Confusion reigned. Was this the Soviets? Was it a natural phenomenon? With the breakdown in communication, several ICBMS were hastily launched from their bunkers in the direction of the USSR: none survived, warheads exploding prematurely once they left the protective blanket of the atmosphere and were exposed to the full radiation flux. There remained the US forces in Europe and a few subs at sea (the Soviet espionage and spy satellite network had been instrumental in picking the best time to strike): with not a single incoming missile on radar, they waited for orders while making the necessary preparations for Armageddon.

“I address the people of America. I address the American forces in Europe and the submarines at sea. I address all surviving US nuclear forces.”
“As of this morning, a new weapon system was deployed. Unlike the capitalist Neutron Bomb, which saves property but kills human beings, this one destroys technology but does not kill human beings.”
“Your national defense system is in ruins. Your country is now in a state of collapse. There is not a functional piece of electrical equipment between Boston and San Francisco. However, comparatively few Americans have died. Whether that remains the case is up to you.”
“This weapon also acts as a defensive system. [0]None of the missiles that were fired from US soil in blind anger at the Soviet Union survived.”
“I am currently in communication with the President of the United States, and I am negotiating the surrender of all US military forces at home and abroad. Any attack on the Soviet Union will be ineffectual, and will lead to the total destruction of Western Europe and what remains of the United States.”
“Think carefully before you take any precipitate action.”

In those areas where the broadcast was repeated on television, the man with the large birthmark on his forehead no longer looked friendly at all.

********************************************

Ten years have passed.

With the US brought to its knees, the Soviets have become the global hegemon. Not the rulers of the world: with barely 1/20 of the world’s population even after expansion, and more than half of that of somewhat dubious loyalty, the Soviets were hardly in a position to occupy or police the globe.

There was always the option of “do what we say or we nuke you” of course, but in most situations it was a bit of a 50-ton steam hammer for swatting flies: either the threat becomes degraded through too much repetition, or you have to carry out regular “examples”, which may bring obedience out of fear, but which will inspire universal hatred, and undermine rule at home: the average Soviet in the street (or for that matter, in the Academy or collective farm or whatever) would be repulsed by the notion of the regular use of mass murder to, say, persuade the inhabitants of third-world countries to sell the Soviet Union cacao beans at below market prices. After all, since 1953, certain limits on state oppression, and correspondingly a certain level of concern about what people thought, had come into existence to protect both elites and masses.

Nuking China had been acceptable because the Chinese had been building up their nuclear arsenal in defiance of post-87’ Soviet pressures (and the fundamental problems in using the Sakharov-Vanko device against a nation overlapping a number of Soviet time zones): using as a regular means of control like some sort of evil genocidal victorious Nazi Empire? (Some of the Soviet leadership were big enough assholes to go for the idea, but consensus prevailed against them).

The United Nations no longer exists as a meaningful organization, since China and the US were taken off the Security Council and the UN regulations re-written to reflect the Soviet global hegemony. A number of nations have quit in protest at the changes: those which are left and disagree with UN policy can at best register protest votes in an organization dominated by the USSR, its puppets and allies and kiss-ups. (The UK and France have lost their veto power). One of the most controversial changes has been the Soviet use of the UN as a fig leaf for military operations: supposedly the Soviet occupation of the US ended three years ago, replaced by a UN force meant to “suppress terrorism and maintain peace and good order”, but which is in fact composed almost entirely of troops from the Warsaw Pact and close Soviet allies (including a fair number of Greater Cubans).

In essence, although the Soviet sphere of direct influence has been greatly expanded, and several new SSRs have been added to the Soviet Union proper, most of the globe has been “Finlandized” rather than directly puppetized. The Soviet Union has extended its borders to the Persian Gulf, and gained a stranglehold on the majority of the world’s oil supply and thereby a non-nuclear method of putting pressure on the industrial nations outside its direct control. Manchuria has also been incorporated, after the majority of its Chinese population was killed or expelled. (Certain historically disputed areas of Manchuria have been granted to Korea, which is just as ghastly a place as you would imagine, if so far with no unintentional famines).

China is a radioactive mess, but there are still hundreds of millions of (very pissed off) Chinese, and most of the country is now under the control of a wacky nationalist [1] regime whose principal activities currently involve fighting an even crazier nationalist rival and building a nation-wide underground bunker system that makes OTL N. Korean efforts look like the scratching of a six-years-old trying to dig to, well, China. Occupying the place would be lunacy, and some in the Soviet leadership are talking about finishing the job of ’89: on the other hand, the fallout in central Asia and Siberia from the previous effort was bad enough, and the following year was a particularly cold and gloomy one…

Japan, given a lack of local nukes or allies and with an object lesson settling into their rice paddies and bones, have become effectively a Soviet satellite state, and an oddball coalition of the left led by a revived Japanese Communist party have set about dismantling the old LDP system (with the implied backing of a sizeable local Soviet and Korean military presence) with such enthusiasm that the economy has shrunk two years in a row, which rather annoys the Soviets, who hoped to see heavy Japanese investment and technology exchange stimulating the eastern parts of the Soviet sphere.

EC Europe, despite what Americans may moan and groan about, are still relatively free: they had their own nukes, and using the Device would have fried parts of the western Soviet Union. Also, the conquest of Europe would eliminate the only functional center of Capitalist finance and production on the planet: as it was, the defeat of the United State, the massive damage to its infrastructure and the occupation by Soviet and later “UN” forces, followed by its breakup into multiple economically no longer integrated zones, had pretty much collapsed the global economy. Raw materials prices collapsed, and the Soviets no longer had anything anyone wanted to buy, until their move to the Persian Gulf gave them something everyone had to have: and even then, “tribute” in the form of food had to be levied on US farmers whose foreign markets had collapsed.

Although none of them would admit it, most Soviet leaders were too aware of the truth behind an old joke:
“What happens when the Soviet Union conquers the Sahara desert?
“First fifty years? Nothing much. Then the Sahara runs out of sand.”
By the 1980s, foreign loans, foreign investment, foreign markets, duplication of foreign technology, etc. had all become terribly important to the USSR. Could the Soviet Union’s already sluggish economy [2] continue to grow, much less return to early 70s levels of growth, if the capitalist world was essentially eliminated by fiat?

These considerations were important in determining the continued independence of Western Europe, and (to a lesser degree) Canada and Australia, combined with the uncertainty whether military threats and brinksmanship alone would be enough to bring Europe to a total surrender. As one Politburo member reportedly said, why kill the cow when we can milk it for years? Such considerations were made somewhat more politically palatable by the fact that Europeans responded to the global depression following the US surrender with a variety of “lefty” government interventions (the worship of Lord Austerity, Son of Mammon, had not yet become prevailing opinion in 1987) made the continued independence of the European Community more ideologically palatable. The UK remained a bit of an exception, but generally “fell in line” after 1988, continued economic difficulties and the Soviet refusal to deal with any UK government under her leadership led to Margaret Thatcher’s fall from power.

Although still relatively free, no matter what grumpy Americans might say, the European Community has become increasingly “Finlandized” over the years (as has Finland), increasingly a source of low-interest loans and investment to the Soviets with no real recourse if a profit fails to appear, dependent on the Soviets for oil and gas, and pressured into cuts in their nuclear arsenals under the excuse of maintaining “balance” with the USSR (which has indeed made cuts itself to save costs, now that the US is no threat and China doesn’t appear to be one). Civilian nuclear power is even more extensive than OTL, as Europeans work to free themselves from dependence on Soviet-controlled oil. On the other hand, as US productivity shrinks, food imports from the EC are becoming more important to the Soviets.

Under various Soviet-developed international “anti-terrorism” laws, the Europeans cooperate with the Soviets in catching for deportation anti-Communist “terrorists” on their soil, whether from the US, the Middle East, or Eastern Europe. There is some migration from the US to Europe, but it is hard to get a passport to get out of the occupied US even if your dossier is spotless. A fair amount of people-smuggling occurs through Canada from the US: in spite of Soviet efforts, it’s still extremely hard to guard a border that long.

Eastern Europe remains restless: the defeat of the US has ironically made some members of the resistance bolder, rather than less, since they no longer worry about struggle in their countries bringing about WWIII. Of course, the Soviets could just nuke East European rebels, but what legitimacy would any pro-Soviet government have after that? Yugoslavia melted down in the early 90s, and the Soviets took advantage to bring the fragments of the country into the Warsaw pact (there was some talk of keeping it united, but in the end the need for even more troops to keep rebellion from flaring up again led to Catholic/Orthodox division). Albania, at least from outside, looks like OTL North Korea on a bad day, and the skeletal nature of the locals occasionally seen tangled in the many layers of barbed wire along the borders creeps out even the Soviets: some talk about intervention.

Pursuing a anti-colonial, anti-fascist Agenda at least in part as a genuine belief as well as propaganda, the Soviets worked to overthrow various “reactionary governments” (those which didn’t simply change their flags and propaganda, anyway), and aided a variety of “progressive” groups. The bloodiest such case was South Africa, where African armies aided by Soviet advisors and massive amounts of Soviet hardware joined with local revolutionaries to overthrow the Apartheid government in 1994. Unfortunately, the new Socialist Republic of Southern Africa is to say the least a mess (Nelson Mandela was shot to death in his cell in this world), as is much of Red Africa. After a brief flurry of activism in which the Soviets tried to prove the superiority of a Soviet-led world to a US-led one through progressive intervention, the Soviet leadership has largely given up on direct intervention, and as long as the tropical products and minerals still flow north, are willing to let much of the continent go to heck: the rat-holes of Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, and Guinea are enough of a drain on the Kremlin’s purse, and the European and Latin American press are actually so bold as to talk about “Soviet Neo-Colonialism!”

The recent coup in Indonesia seems headed for its own sort of disaster, and the Palestinians are still whining over the fact that the Soviets didn’t exterminate the Jews outright. (The crazy Israelis that have stayed in their rump state are currently apparently in a contest with the Chinese as to how deeply they can dig themselves in). And the loonies in Peru have cut themselves off entirely from Soviet aid on the basis of ideological differences: headlines such as “a new Albania?” appear in the newspapers.

Chinese ally Pakistan got caught up in the war, where India joined in on the Soviet side (after the USSR had wiped out the Chinese nuclear arsenal) to get ahold of some disputed border areas. In the end, Pakistan has been broken to bits: the remaining Punjabi core is isolated, dirt poor, and somewhat on the lines of what an independent north Nigeria would be. India is doing alright: it hasn’t instituted many of the reforms of OTL, neo-liberalism being almost extinct as a form of thought in this world, but it isn’t much worse off than it was OTL 1997, something that cannot be said for a lot of countries in this world. A large presence of Chinese troops and a disinterest on the part of India in marching across a 15,000 foot high plateau has meant that Tibet remains under China’s tender mercies, but Bhutan remains pretty much as OTL: really, nobody cares what they get up to.

Latin America varies from lefty to far lefty: under a moderate regime, Brazil has shown some fair economic growth lately as the global economy has moved from depression to mere deepn recession, much to the annoyance of their more leftist-orthodox Argentine neighbors, now in deep economic crisis. Bolivia is actually doing a bit better than OTL 1997 (finally having a coastline back has helped). The new revolutionary government of Guatemala is considerably nastier than the Sandinistas, and has no interest in joining their Federation: but at least the Maya get a fair shake for a change. The PRI remains firmly in charge in Mexico, it’s revolutionary credentials carefully buffed and polished and the rhetoric well to the left of where it was in 1987.

Castro reigns as the Grand Old Man of Latin American Socialism, and with Soviet help Cuba has assimilated Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, while corralling the rest of the Caribbean into a Cuban-dominated Socialist Federation (he had dreamed of unifying all of Spanish-speaking America, but the mainland countries weren’t buying and the Soviets weren’t going to give him that much help). Diplomats from the USSR always get the best beaches.

The US has been divided into a dozen occupation zones, with limited inter-zone travel to help prevent any coordinated resistance. Three cities have been set up as showcase “international cities” of Socialist brotherhood and progress, and of course are more heavily policed than anywhere else. Ten years later much of the damage from the Electromagnetic Event remains unrepaired, and quite a few areas off the main drag lack reliable electricity, and TVs and radios are in shortened supply. Some in the Soviet leadership called for leaving the US largely independent and milking it for all it was worth, but in the end fears of a US revival prevailed, and a policy of strict suppression and state-backed looting was implemented. In the end, the Soviets managed to thoroughly wreck the US economy without doing much for their own: the fine factory machinery shipped back to the Soviet Union has often broken down and not been repaired for lack of local support networks, and in any event ended up being used by those famous workers pretending to work while the government pretends to pay them.

As inputs of heavy machinery, fertilizer, etc. have declined, US food production has dropped, and farming has become increasingly unpopular as a form of employment as the farmers have become impoverished. Nor are they happy with the fact that a large share of the food they produce is leaving the country for the Soviet bloc without their getting a penny from that exchange. Various laws have been passed making it harder for farmers to leave their jobs, leading to violent protests and cries of “serfdom!” Quotas are met with sullen defiance and inaction, and local authorities lack the resources to properly collectivize the farmers –which would probably make things worse anyway. Hunger, which returned briefly but savagely in the immediate aftermath of the Event, has now crept back. Increasingly savage regulations try to keep people from moving en masse from the harder-hit areas: legitimacy of local governments is near zero wherever they try to enforce Soviet-required rules, but if they fail to do so, they will soon be replaced by a new set of collaborators. The Soviets have taken advantage of the massive unemployment prevalent in some parts of the country to set up recruitment bureaus, where people with useful skills and their families get the opportunity to move to the USSR and help build atomic power plants in Kurdistan or whatever. (Moving back is harder).

Rebellion – initially weakened by shock and the chaotic aftermath of the Event, and by bland Soviet assurances of an only temporary occupation and a swift return to “normal life” once the remaining US nuclear arsenal had been dismantled – has grown worse over the years. The Soviet leadership is growing nervous as the local collaborating governments founder, and violence and terrorism rise. It was never practically possible to get rid of _all_ the weapons in a country as full of guns as the US, and after a number of destroyed towns and massacres of hostages and other embarrassing incidents it became unofficial policy to let local authorities handle such things, and not to check too closely to see if a thorough disarmament took place: as long as the US population remained too battered and stunned and struggling with just getting through the day to rebel in masse, a certain amount of live-and-let-live could take place. But now that Soviet exactions increasingly bite, after a decade of economic decay, a cycle of violence, retaliation and counter-retaliation is beginning.

Violent resistance never quite stopped in the Rockies and the Appalachians, and now is increasingly prevalent in the north plains, the backwoods of New England, and beyond. Withdrawal from any activity that aids the occupation and Good Solider Schweik-ism are common everywhere.

The new Big Idea is to break the US into a set of separate nations, weak enough to be more easily kept in line, but economically productive and stable enough to be an asset to the Soviet system rather than the alarming mega-West-Bank (to use an OTL analogy) they threaten to become. US states will regain a good deal of sovereignty in exchange for losing their unity: Soviet propagandists are already working on finding ways to encourage localism and mutual xenophobia (they have high hopes for turning the South Central region into Greater Texas, for instance). Given that the alternative is “nuke them till they play nice, or, if that don’t work, until they’re no longer a threat” [3], the local Soviet officials on the ground, many of which have become quite fond of America and the Americans, are desperate to see this work. But first, the feeble shadow government of the US as a whole needs to be eliminated. A largely powerless Congress and Senate still meet: having them blown to fragments by “US terrorists” attacking “collaborators” will work well: after all, it’s not like a lot of US rebel groups don’t loudly condemn the Washington government as collaborators anyway…

The initial “test case” will be the new nation of “Heartland” (they did a consumer survey and everything): it is hoped that as a free nation able to set its own prices for goods and sell its grain and other products on the open international market, it will be a lot more productive than now. The Soviet Union has dominated the globe for a decade, and little good it has done anyone: the spike in national income from oil, from extorted loans and investment, from unfair trade deals and the looting of the US for industrial equipment and raw materials is flattening, and the unpleasant notion arises that by wrecking the economy of so much of the world they have cut off their nose to spite their face. Still headed by the ruthless and treacherous Gorbachev, who has outmaneuvered and destroyed all those who arose to threaten him (with no need to make nice for foreign reporters anymore, Yeltsin is currently occupying one of the lower levels of a peat bog), the Soviet leadership has no intention of relinquishing global leadership: however, some sort of real Perestroika, for the Soviet Union and for the majority of the global population it dominates in one way or another, will have to be implemented.


[0] Half true: if you set the device off over your nation, it sure as shit will blow up any incoming missiles above the atmosphere, but will fry your own nation in the process…

[1] Bloodthirsty xenophobes, not the guys on Taiwan

[2] The Soviet economy in this TL was doing a bit better: this world’s Gorbachev, being an Evil Schemer, didn’t put through the half-assed reforms that did more harm than good, and anyway the Soviet economy was always more productive in Paranoiaworld than OTL.

[3] The Soviet leadership is pretty certain that if the US goes into full-blown rebellion mode, the expenditure on troops and resources needed to crush it and keep it crushed will be economically crippling: after all, the best stuff has already been looted…
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Hokay, this map is for FieldMarshallPatton’s [link] “Post-Apocalyptic Axis Victory World”, which is inspired by Kornbluth’s “Two Dooms”, the Anime So Ra No Wo To, and one of my maps. It’s a somewhat ASB setup in which Germany and Japan win WWII thanks to an ultra-isolationist US, and win WWIII with a German nuclear first strike in the 1960s, only for Germany to turn on their allies and nuke them in 2033 ( in a serious display of overkill, but might as well get rid of the Chinese too while we’re at it, no?). Global warming, resource depletion, and massive corruption at the center led to crisis by the late 21st century, and finally in 2087 an SS revolt with nukes on plunged the Nazi empire into chaos, and a world-wide breakdown of the economy, government, trade, etc. took place. The Chaos Years, an era of civil wars, famines, wacky religions, socialistic dictatorships, mass population movements, and other fun stuff followed. A peace of exhaustion eventually ensued, a dark age with global communications and interchange almost extinct. Technology stagnated, and progress long came to a standstill.

Only now, a couple centuries later, have things returned to something resembling a global economy. South America and South Africa, areas largely left out of the Nazi civil war, are the most developed parts of the globe. Scandinavia is almost as developed: Europe and North America more backwards, the rest of the world a mess. Sea levels have risen sharply (there is little left of the Netherlands) and global warming related desertification has battered much of the globe, especially the Middle East. World population is a bit over a billion. Siberia between the Urals and the formerly Japanese Far East was formerly a Slavic “reservation”, backwards and brutalized: largely untouched by the wars (it was hardly worth wasting missiles on) it has begged, borrowed or stolen the technology needed to modernize and now plans revenge on its former tormentors.

The New Confederacy (one of the states into which the Nazis broke up the defeated US) is no more: having attempted to make it through the Chaos years on the backs of their black population (after paring them down to a more manageable number) the local whites were quite surprised that the sneaky negroes had been preparing for some sort of showdown for decades (they knew damn well what had happened to the American Jews).
India passed out of British hands only to end up in German and Japanese ones, and brutal they were: Indian “independence” arrived amid civil war and famine and the general collapse of the chaos years, and with no functional Party of Independence (aside from a bunch of angry guys plotting in cellars) collapsed into a multitude of states, currently 16 not including former Nepal and Afganistan (the former high was over 30). Several groups want reunification, but the democrats of Maharastah, the Naziesque Hindu nationalists, the socialistic regimes, the Sikhs, and that one weird state of Kali cultists can’t really agree on terms (and that’s not counting the Muslim states). With the Monsoon having become unreliable, some parts of India have become depopulated, while others still suffer from severe droughts and famine (Maharastah’s “we could feed ourselves if we all worked together” message is so far ignored).

The west coast of North America is…different. The Nazis killed most of the population of east Asia (and killed a couple hundred million more world-wide due to nuclear winter crop failures), but over two centuries there has been some recovery, although their separation from the wider world by the more radioactive coastlines has hampered the development of the warlord states of the interior. Japanese America (where the Japanese had settled a lot of their Asian subjects to divide the population, encourage whites to move east, and strengthen their hold) was hit more lightly, as not to irradiate their North American puppets too badly. A rising by the non-Japanese majority forced the Japanese to retreat to whatever enclaves they could fight to with whatever minorities still retained some loyalty. The Happy Shiny Multiracial state of Pacifica, alas, didn’t last: the Germans refused to trade with such a “mongrel” people, the three US descendants and Canada plotted to swallow them, and the west coast whites automatically assumed that with the Japanese mostly gone, they got to be in charge again…and then there came the Collapse. Nowadays, Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics run the fragmented “helot” states (as white fascistic [1] nations contemptuously call them) and WASPs had best be married to someone of color or be gone. (Indeed, an inland white “rump California” is currently a Japanese Golden Mountain ally). The “helot” states are also one of the very few places on earth where it is safe to be an acknowledged Jew.

The Third Reich has broken into three major pieces, but people speak of the “two Germanies”: the hellhole of former European Russia is considered Warlord territory by most countries (partly due to German pressure: neither German state wants the eastern states to gain recognition that could interfere with their eventual reincorporation into a reunited Reich).

The Pope currently lives in Mantua (Rome having been vaporized by a Japanese multi-mega-tonner in a lucky shot), under the protection of that rather grotesque and baroque German-Italian hybrid, the new Holy Roman Empire.
A lot of people have emigrated from the areas hit by warming: there are a lot of Muslims in South America, as many proportionally as in OTL 2012 France (and there are of course some right-wing pundits warning of an impending Caliphate. :) ) There are a lot Indians in South Africa, where along with other Asians they form an intermediate caste between the whites and blacks. (There are also rather more whites, proportionally: beside the birth control chemicals in the African’s drinking waters, relatively untouched South Africa welcomed a _lot_ of immigrants from the North during the chaos years.)

The South Americans and South Africans are quite influential in Europe: indeed, Spain and Portugal (what’s left of them) are respectively Argentine and Brazilian puppets, and Ireland is quite close to Argentina if not quite an official ally. Both the Frances and the Germanys are to some extent in South Americas pocket economically speaking, and there is considerable popular resentment over this fact.

Scandinavia is expanding into the wilds of northern Russia: they are beginning to get a bit nervous re the Holy Slavs, which have started a serious thrust into the territories of their nearest “German Warlord” state after some careful initial nibbling to make sure the German regimes would not react too hastily (the German states have most of the world’s remaining nuclear warheads, but nobody is sure if any of them still work after all this time: it’s not like they’ve used one in a long while. What they do have which _does_ work unpleasantly is a lot of radioactive waste with long lives that can be dumped from zeppelins onto cities: also, a large arsenal of chemical weapons and a crapload of anthrax spores.)

Perhaps the world’s oddest state is the state of Helvetia, in the Alps. After the destruction of Japan and the conquest of Australia and New Zealand, there were still some millions of Japanese to dispose of, and the west coast of North America was descending into chaos (not that they cared what happened to the Japanese, but it might put German ships at risk). Some were sent to South Africa or South America or settled in parts of German Africa where it was almost impossible to recruit German settlers to go save by force: but in a moment of dictator whimsy, Fuhrer Rennicke, a lover of oriental kitsch, settled quite a few in rump French-speaking Switzerland and the German Alps, visions of quaint Japan-towns dancing in his head. And then the waters of the Collapse close over the scene…

…and when they retreat, a very odd new “Switzerland” has emerged, the Helvetian Confederation, consisting of French Cantons, German cantons rather unwilling to join either German state or the HRE, and cantons where a weird fusion culture dominates, people who speak a Japanese heavily larded with German and French, follow the Shinto faith but cheerfully attend mass with Catholic neighbors, and whose currency, the Helvetian Yen, has become the dominant currency of the new Confederation. (The new Confederation, although its form of government is essentially a republic, also has a hereditary Archduke whose grandfather they dug up from somewhere, along with his supposed noble genealogy. Some of the founders decided that having a noble family would be useful in diplomatic dealings with states like the HRE). With clever tactics, the use of their mountains, and salvaged and repurposed old German technology from before the Collapse, they have so far held their own against efforts by the Holy Romans to expand into their territory.

The world’s technology is…odd. Much old knowledge is maintained, but the infrastructure and international scientific community to build certain technologies does not exist. Brazil has a sophisticated biofuels industry, but no computers beyond some hulking vacuum-tube monsters. Plenty is still known about nuclear technology, but no nation currently has the depth of technological skill to build and run a nuclear power plant (the last of which ceased to function a century and more back. Many melted down, with varying levels of damage and often little reaction: in the post-chaos dark age, most people were willing to accent very high rates of cancer to hold onto, for instance, good farmland). The oil is long run out, and power comes from wind, biofuels, solar power of the old-fashioned sort (big mirrors and boilers for turbines), hydro power, and coal (the effects of burning which are well known, but what are you gonna do? At least with the much reduced population, not too much is being burned).

Shipping is by sail mixed with steam (coal or biofuels), transport by rail: civilian automobiles are steam or electric, and are a luxury or military only item outside the richest nations. Building heavier-than-air craft, with their fuel demands and challenging engineering, is largely a lost art, although the Chileans are fiddling with some designs: zeppelins and blimps are still around. Telephone and radio are also a luxury item in most countries. On the other hand, there is a lot of leftover tech from before the Collapse – and unlike nuclear warheads, some of it still works. There are a lot of still functional battle machines, although some must be rebuilt so they can be propelled by steam or biofuels rather than by petrol. And then there are old computers with still functional databases, if one can power them up: bioweapons, still deadly bacterial spores: combat robots: and waiting, buried in the Antarctic Ice, what was never used, for the last German Fuhrer, in perhaps the one decent action of a life of gratified appetites, refused to use to take the world down with him…


[1] Most of white nations, that is
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Something a bit older: 

Expanding on Thande's "Atomic Bleed" concept.

In this world, atomic physics works a bit differently than OTL. (Our Time-Line, for those who don't recall). It is in fact an Atomic Power-punk world where it is possible to directly transmute matter – almost any sort of matter - into electromagnetic radiation (heat, light, high-energy photons…) without any nasty side-effects in the forms of radiation, and without the need for heavy equipment. The first “atomizers” came into existence by the 1930s, and by 1945 the Chicago Project had made them practical sources for industrial power production. By 2011, you have an atomic powered car, your house has its own atomic power source, and for the flashy rich, you can even get an (somewhat bulky) atomic cigarette lighter. 

It is however much harder to build an atomic bomb. Radioactives still decay and keep the inside of the planet toasty warm, and fusion works as OTL [1], but an atomic chain reaction of the sort that produces a fission explosion of the Smash Hiroshima variety is much harder than OTL – and without the second, you can’t get the first kind of bomb. So the cold war was fought with conventional weapons – of course, that depends on what you mean by “conventional…”

US demobilization was less thorough than OTL after WWII, since there was no bomb to deter Stalin: the extension of the draft and the bloody nature of Operation Downfall helped elect Dewey in ’48, not so much on a peace platform as on a “squash the Japanese harder” platform. 

(Downfall was bloody, but not as bad as worst-case scenarios: it didn’t require militarily taking all over Japan After several more months of mass fire-bombings, starvation, and the Soviet overrunning of all Japanese positions on the mainland, it wasn’t that long after the US forces stormed aboard after the heaviest naval bombardment in history that the Japanese threw in the towel).

European NATO members also retained larger armies than OTL and German re-armament started no later than OTL - which pissed off the Soviets something fierce, since they lacked the OTL certainty that if Germans started something again, they could at least be reduced to radioactive ash in short order. The Soviets recognized the Berlin government as the “legitimate” German government shortly after West German re-armament began. (Berlin, essentially indefensible, had been horse-traded away in exchange for the Soviets getting out of Iran and not demanding an occupation zone in Japan. All of Korea, however, ended up in the Soviet zone.) 

The Fall of China was received just as poorly as OTL: with fears of a Red Tide flowing across Asia sans a nuclear deterrent, the US was more willing to lend an ear French calls for help in Indochina. Of course, huge numbers of US troops near the Chinese border did not make Mao happy, leading to the Indochina War of 1951-1954: a Crusade to Liberate China was called for by many, but putting enough troops in the field to counteract Chinese numbers while at the same time adequately defending Europe proved a bit more than most Americans were willing to pay for: in the end, a peace was negotiated that left a Chinese-supported Red government in charge in the north. Ironically, this would save South Vietnam in the long run: the Chinese wanted someone more puppety than Ho in charge, and anti-Chinese rebellion and government illegitimacy would keep the North Vietnamese government too weak and distracted to successfully take over the south, although thanks to the porous borders of Indochina guerilla activity would continue to plague the South for a generation.

Ultimately, without atomic weapons geography was decisive. In areas around the Eurasian perimeter Soviet and Chinese forces were always at an advantage, and geopolitical theorists spoke significantly about Mackinder’s Pivot Area and the consequent multiplication of Soviet strength. On the other hand, US naval superiority meant that the US could project force much more easily any place separated by sea from the Red heartland, or even coastal nations not immediately contiguous to the Soviets, while the US heartland remained relatively invulnerable to attack in spite of Soviet investment in long-range bombers and investigations of chemical and biological alternatives to big booms.

US forces crushed Castro’s rebellion. US support for France and the UK in the Suez Crisis did not topple Nasser, although it led to him becoming a lot closer and more dependent on the USSR than OTL: the Suez Canal, however, along with the Sinai, remains in Israeli hands to this day. The US army would keep busy in anti-insurrectionary activity from Guyana to Fiji over the next couple decades, eventually leading to considerable blow-back at home.

The Soviets, of course, were happy to play tit for tat. A pro-US government in Turkey was toppled with Soviet backing, Red terrorist groups and nationalist rebels everywhere received arms and training and money, and Egypt forcibly absorbed Libya with Soviet support. 

The Middle East never gained as much importance as OTL: by the 60s, atomic power plants had become powerful and cheap enough petrol (and coal, for that matter) was rapidly becoming obsolete as a power source in the developed world. For a while oil continued to be useful for automobiles, etc., but the first atomic car rolled out of the factory by 1967 (although they didn’t become cheap enough to compete with internal combustion models until the late 70s). OPEC never formed. 

Of course, this was somewhat disruptive. Many fortunes were lost, and some desperate oilmen even sponsored disinformation campaigns spreading rumors of entirely imaginary “atomic dangers.” (It is believed to be one of these campaigns that started off the “planetary destruction” myth that still exercises some of the kookier minds, persuading those ignorant of the numbers involved in E=MC2 that the matter annihilators would before long consume the whole earth). The British coal mines were closed down as quite unprofitable a decade earlier than OTL, and by a Labor government to boot. Third-world nations that OTL boomed because of oil did no such thing, although some ended up better off in the long run for it. 

Further disruption came later from the development of the home power plant around the same time the atomic car showed up: the whole power industry, with its vast array of dams, power plants, transmission wires, etc. found itself becoming obsolete. 

Science fiction took off in different directions from OTL. WWIII was still a fear, of course, but the imagined futures were ones of Island America valiantly standing off Red Eurasia, or perhaps battlefields presided over by giant atom-powered war machines shooting rays of high-energy photons at each other, perhaps assisted by atom-powered robot industry. Apocalyptic scenarios, although they existed, were usually either from natural causes, alien invaders, or if human-made, the result of biological warfare. The grim mutant-populated radioactive wasteland which showed up so frequently OTL was hardly known. The “atomic horror” movies of OTL had no equivalent, and many children were sadly deprived of giant radioactive spiders, grasshoppers, etc. Science fictional horror movies usually involved out of control robots or grim Brave New World-ish science-dictatorships. Alien invaders got a look in. 

Famine and chemical weapon ravaged Japan never developed the giant monster movie as a metaphor for atomic warfare. It did, however, invent the flesh-eating zombie genre.

Building a spaceship was somewhat complicated by the fact that a heat source alone does not make a rocket: some form of propellant is needed, and initially a powerful EM source combined with some sort of propellant to be explosively heated was no great improvement on the highly reactive chemical fuels employed by the German V-program. As technique improved, it was possible to produce much higher-energy photons, gammas and x-rays, but then the problem of shielding became a paramount problem. Combined with the lack of an atomic payload to be carried along, rocket research progressed initially pretty slowly at first: the first object into orbit was a purely scientific package launched by a fairly conventional US rocket in ’64, which excited no great Soviet space race. 

The Photonic Rocket was developed into the 70s: shielding was by necessity massive, and due to the low inherent momentum of even extremely high-energy photons it was not until the 2000s that photonic rockets were built that could reach orbit without “conventional” chemical rocket assistance. But once orbit was reached, a Photonic Rocket could accelerate at fairly low G for months, its fuel any sort of matter converted into pure energy, before the shielding layers became compromised: by the 80s, Mars and Venus were only weeks away, and even the outer planets only months…

Of course, as SF biggie and increasing crank Larry Niven has pointed out, any sufficiently powerful propulsion system is also potentially a weapon: beside the interesting notion of taking a Photonic Rocket out to the edges of the solar system and then accelerating it all the way back in (to some other country than the one it took off from), any sufficiently intense source of collimated and aimed high-energy photons makes for a dandy weapon. Laser beams exist in this world, and have all the interesting applications of OTL: it’s just that they come in second best as weapons.

The first x- and gamma-ray weapons were developed in the 70s as a by-product of the effort to create a space drive that could yield a useable acceleration while at the same time not frying the passengers or melting the propulsion system itself. The “death ray”, as the TV and papers dubbed it, was initially a huge, clumsy mass of machinery with a beam too poorly focused to blister paint at over a couple kilometers. Initially disparaged as “more dangerous to the user than the enemy” or “most effective when dropped on the enemy", such weapons would be refined over the next decades into a practical battlefield weapon, and in the 80s, began to be occupy the new battlefields of space…

Atomic-powered aircraft were developed that could fly around the globe multiple times without refueling. Cities at night grew even brighter and more luminous as the flow of cheap energy saw no end. 

The Soviet-US battle for global dominance continued inconclusively in the 60s and 70s. China split with the USSR, a little later than OTL: the bloody Sino-Soviet clash of the mid-70s gained the Soviets extra defense in depth by “liberating” Xinjiang and clearing some millions of Chinese from NW Manchuria, but also pushed the Chinese into the US camp. The US interventions in Africa and Asia on the side of colonial powers, while achieving some successes (the last Emperor of Ethiopia wasn’t overthrown until 1999), in the end was also counter-productive, making most of Africa look to the Soviets as the champions of self-determination, and making the Civil Rights era even hairier by providing a goodly supply of black veterans radicalized in bloody brushfire wars in Africa. 

The US pretty much threw in the towel on third-world intervention on the side of colonial powers when the third French-Algerian war broke out in 1972, although US forces still kept their hand in Latin America (the revolutionary government of Honduras had a life neither long nor glorious).

By 1980 a massive line of fortifications extended from the Baltic to the Adriatic, now studded by the hulking turrets of photonic cannon, behind which millions awaited for the call to action neither side ever quite dared to proclaim. The economies of the west, never hit by an oil crisis, continued to chug along: not perhaps as fast as some would wish, but generally the future would be better than the past, even if society was more militarized and “scientifically managed” than some would like. The discontents of the Civil Rights era had given birth to a new generation of Angry Youth in the west, who wanted a freer, more open world, and an end to the endless waiting for a war that seemed more inevitable the longer it was put off: indeed, since the war was expected to be very terrible but not world-ending, like WWII only with spaceships and death rays and atomic-powered tanks, some sub-divisions of Angry Youth found themselves on the same page (to their mutual annoyance) with elderly reactionaries calling for bringing things to a proper Gotterdammerung sooner rather than later.

Iran fell into civil war. Soviet forces moved in “to restore order.” A frightened Iraqi regime invited in US forces. War loomed, and somehow was avoided. Pro and anti-war riots broke out in the streets. A famed musician preached peace and was shot down. Life went on, somehow. 

In the meantime, a space race of sorts had finally come into existence. American and then Soviet Astro/Cosmonauts landed on Mars. Bases were begun on the Moon. Unmanned (and too radioactive for human pilots) ships were sent to take pictures of the outer planets. The British experimented with using photons to create a secondary reaction with hydrogen that would presumably put ships into space without rocket assist. The explosions remained sub-nuclear, but a lot of seawater was rendered rather radioactive. The French New Directorate put its first man into space. A multitude of satellites armed with photonic rays sprouted in orbit, some to cripple the enemy’s observation and communications ability, others to shoot down the satellites which were supposed to shoot down satellites, ad nauseum. Some scientists suggested that it would soon be possible to build photon sources powerful enough to destroy ground targets even through the thickness of the atmosphere, perhaps bringing in an era of “mutually assured destruction.”

The household atomic power plant became more common. A politician announced an new “era of the common man.” Economics in the West slid to the right, but less radically than OTL in a world where the 70s had been less of a disaster. A China increasingly tied to that same West began to allow for more capitalism and free enterprise. A bloody revolution overthrew the Saudis, who hadn’t had the cash to keep everyone bribed, and an Islamic Republic established. Nobody paid too much attention. 

The Soviet economy wheezed, made grinding noises, partly seized up. Poland rose up in revolt, which was crushed with some difficulty. In the west, calls for war were heard again. The United Nations try to issue a general condemnation of the use of high-powered x-rays against civilian populations, which was vetoed by the USSR.

The Sixth Arab-Israeli war broke out. Chemical weapons were used extensively by Syrian and Egyptian forces. The Israelis retaliated with the first use of a photonic rocket used as a kinetic weapon, taking out a large chunk of downtown Cairo. Soviet forces in the Mediterranean launched air and missile attacks in support of their allies. The Iranian army and local Soviet forces mobilized on the Iraqi border. (Turkey may have been to some extent in the Soviet camp, but they did _not_ want to get involved). The US issued a demarche. It had been almost half a century, and memories of the Great Patriotic War and its horrors had faded, gained a sepia tint. The Soviets, seeing their military edge evaporating in the face of a broadening tech gap, with their economy stagnant since the early 80s, saw once chance for changing the “balance of forces.” The Red Army turned west. 

************************************************** ****

It is now 2011, some two decades since the outbreak of WWIII. The world is at peace, more or less. The Russian Federal Union still is grumpy and resentful about its truncated territory, but there’s no Hitler-figure in sight, and the relatively warm glow that came into US-Chinese relations on the basis of their common victor status hasn’t entirely faded in the chill winds of economic competition. The Third World (most of it, anyway) is doing somewhat better than OTL thanks to continued cheap power, although infrastructural problems remain a pain. And all the major powers have signed onto the treaty banning duplication or development of the Annihilation Bomb.

Economics are a bit “leftier” here: without a collapse of the New Deal system as serious as the 1970s OTL (although economic growth rates from the late 40s on were a bit lower overall due to more conventional weapons spending), the inevitable neo-liberal lash-back was less successful, and a more balanced stand between “libertarianism plus welfare for bankers” and “100% taxes on income above middle class” has so far been maintained, although Ayn Rand has her fans here too. (She wrote more fiction here, but her basic viewpoint was unchanged by butterflies). Also, the USSR failed to fall of its own weight, but was defeated in war, although lots of revisionist historians have pointed out its “feet of clay.”

Oil prices remain low, but it is useful enough as a chemical feedstock that it is now bringing moderate prosperity to some countries which have a load of it.
With an essentially unlimited fuel source, people drive even more than OTL: one of the last achievements of the Soviets was the building of a decent superhighway system as part of their “nuclear cars for everyone” hearts-and-minds-of-disgruntled-citizens program, and the annual Lisbon-to-Vladivostok road rally is a popular event. The mobile home is doing very well, since home reactors now make them self-sufficient in terms of energy. Although nuclear powered, *Amtrak is just as crappy as OTL.

Space Science Marches On. People live on the Moon, Mars, and some of the more interesting asteroids, and manned expeditions have reached every planet save Uranus (some felt it was a bit redundant after Neptune, and various space program leaders feared the inevitable comments about any Mission to Uranus). Using a special high-density annihilation beam, and a like-unto-the-Orion pusherplate/shield, atomic rockets are now launcheable sans chemical-rocket assist, although they make such a mess of the surroundings that they are usually launched from the sea. Other designs use a high-intensity photon beam from ground level to “push” from the ground, while others stick with re-useable chemical boosters that just put the ship into a quite low orbit from which it can gradually build up escape velocity under low (and less dangerous) thrust. 

Space budgets are in danger, though. The public is growing bored with space again – the thrill from the discovery of a genuine advanced ecosystem under the ice of Europe lasted longer than that from the discoveries of the Martian deep-rock *bacteria or Venus’s biochemically utterly alien microscopic cloud-life, but it has faded, and people grumble about how much the space program costs when there are so many poor people on Earth and how the taxpayer is expected to subsidize people living in smelly holes on the Moon and Mars, etc., etc. I mean, it’s not like there are red or green Martians out there, youknowwhatImean? Frequent news of Astronaut X or Y dying or being horribly injured in some sort of accident of the kind which are inevitable while trying to build cities on airless or nearly so worlds doesn’t help. 

This is more of a problem with the US than in France or Russia or China, where a continued space presence is closely tied up with a sense of national prestige, but even the Russian government pays attention to public sentiment: and the US is the biggest spender by a large margin. There are now some 20,000 people living in the three major Moon cities, and the locals are pushing hard to raise the money now to make the cities mostly self-sustaining: they don’t know when the money flow may be cut to a trickle. Mars, where the population has yet to reach 3,000, is in some ways ahead of the game – the permafrost is pretty widely distributed, so they don’t have to travel all the way to a polar crater to get ice. 

The nuclear generator repair man has replaced the plumber in public consciousness as the “grossly overpaid guy who can’t be bothered to pull up his pants.” 

The war ended in a negotiated peace after the overthrow of the Party by a secret police-army alliance: given just how unpleasant the last 14 months had been and the fact that the Russians were now starting to thrown mutated anthrax and other such jolly goodness into the fight, the Allies decided to let the Russians off with a western border only a little to the east of their pre-1939 one. After a great deal of internal unpleasantness, the new Rodina Party came to lead the Russian Federal Union: it even allowed for the existence of other parties after 2007, although none of the 42 or so new parties that has emerged in the last four years has yet managed to win a national election. Although to some extent still satellites, the south Central Asian states were given enough independence in 1998 to allow for immigration restrictions (the Party was rather concerned as to how much faster the Muslims were reproducing than Slavs). Since 1993, the economy has slowly lurched towards reform, aided by larger internal markets, although the lack of oil dollars remains a bit of a problem.

China is doing quite well: although suffering heavy human losses in their liberation of national territory, there are always more Chinese, and as OTL a move towards a more capitalist economy has paid dividends. China now includes not only all the territories of OTL, but also Mongolia, Tuva and the Trans-Amur district. (Taiwan remains an annoyance). A Chinese astronaut has recently turned the first symbolic shovel-full for China’s first base on the Moon (the cameras were then removed and the Japanese-made atomic-powered robots started the _serious_ work).

Japan, mashed up worse than in OTLs WWII and without the economic infusion of the Korean and later Vietnamese wars (although it did get some from the Indochina/China war) was slower to take off economically, and is a “leftier” nation than OTL. Still a first-world nation and a leader in high tech and robotics, nobody has ever worried about the Japanese taking over the global economy: OTOH, they avoided the ridiculous bubble and crash of OTL, although with a shrinking population their economy is only toddling along right now. In a world with no atomic weapons, Japan’s fairly formidable “self-defense forces” have come under increasing scrutiny by their Asian neighbors, making a continued close alliance with the US vital for national security.

There is especially a great deal of worry about the Koreans, united under a neo-Stalinist regime less psycho than that of the Kims (the Soviets wanted more pliable leadership) but also better on economics (things are grey and grim but nobody is starving), with a formidable industrial arm and their own space program: propaganda about the Japanese Menace is common on both of the legally allowed television stations.

Vietnam remains divided: violent protests against Chinese dominance are increasing in the North. 

In advanced nations, greatly shrunken power grids, rendered obsolete by home and business atomic reactors, have in some cases been broken up for scrap or repurposed for the transmission of information or in some cases used as the scaffolding of odd art, or even the frameworks of on-the-cheap dwellings. Rivers run energetically past non-existent dams, and arctic wilderness remains untroubled by wellheads and pipelines. On the other hand, not all is roses with the environment: strange chemicals still run into rivers and off fertilized fields or rise above factory chimneys. The environmental message is one of poisoning and toxins rather than devastating climate change. Science and technology is ahead of OTL in some fields, behind in others, some disciplines losing funding that went to perfecting nuclear technology, and although there is an internet, it is less developed than ours, being still in a state equivalent to the dear old days of Geocities and crudely hand-coded webpages. 

India, somewhat out in the cold with the fall of the USSR and the continued cordial US-Chinese relationship, is looking to closer economic and political ties with the European Union to strengthen its international position, and since 1998 has moved to join its (somewhat dysfunctional) space program with the EU one. It won the last war with Pakistan handily, and in a bit of victor’s largesse traded some solidly Muslim chunks of Kashmir for some religiously mixed areas in south Pakistan. (The Pakistanis, now three coups and counting since the war, don’t seem very grateful).

Red Iran, never a very stable creation, fell apart during the war, and is divided between a vaguely democratic Azeri state (with a big irredentist claim on Russia), and a rather unpleasant Shari’a state (run by religious-minded ultra-nationalists rather than by Mullahs), with some pieces obtained by Greater Baluchistan and others by Iraq. (Pakistan has had some hard times of its own). Afghanistan, which avoided a Soviet invasion, is actually not doing so badly and promises to soon overtake and surpass Morocco in terms of standards of living. Turkey remains lefty one-party, but is following a Chinese-type path to modernization.

Iraq bit off a bit more than it could chew and is now run by the (Shi’a) majority.
The Middle East is generally poorer than OTL and historically more closely tied to the USSR, although the Egyptians have turned vigorously away from Socialism and have followed over the last decade a program of vigorously capitalistic development, which has led to rapid economic growth in the last few years and a rapid widening of economic inequality in a formerly fairly egalitarian society. There has been a lot of grumbling, but since the government is actually seen as doing something rather than the OTL late Mubarak stagnation, there has as yet been no explosion. Morocco and Yemen are similar to OTL, Algeria remains kinda fascist-kooky, Tunisia is doing OK for a change, and the Palestinians have taken over Jordan.

Although there are Muslims fundies a-plenty in this world, the Wahhabi strain is rather less influential with a much poorer Arabia. Indeed, the Islamic Republic of Arabia’s increasing influence in Yemen is widely seen as a good thing, since the current Party of Righteousness leadership run a pretty tight ship compared to chaotic, using-up-their-water-supply-on-quat Yemen. (Unlike OTLs Al-Queda, the Party has a low opinion of chaos for the sake of chaos).

Given the level of damage taken by Germany during the Soviet or Third World War, the European Union is dominated by the technocratic French Second Directorate (the extended third-world struggle of this world had some interesting blow-back in French politics) which is one reason the British (along with the Finns) remain only associate members of the Union. Although there were no nuclear weapons, and photonic beams didn’t excite too much radiation, the Soviets used chemical weapons with a lavish hand, especially on their long, slow, bloody retreat from the Rhine to Smolensk. Much of Germany and central Europe remain chemically contaminated to the point where almost nobody will live there. Clean-up is slowly proceeding, but it is projected to take another couple decades to finish the job. (West of Russia, anyway: the Russians have made it clear they will clean up their own messes without outside aid).

War damage and a long history of heavier military spending means that Europe is poorer than OTL in 2011, if still first-world: a common currency as OTL has been established, and perhaps more importantly in the long run, the French have been able to force through the creation of the sort of European-wide financial institutions that the Euro of OTL lacks. It is a more militarized, regimented continent than OTL (especially in France), and has a bit of a chip on its shoulder re America’s currently seemingly effortless superiority. America (which still sends quite a bit of aid money to slowly improving Germany) grumbles about ingratitude.

The new De Gaulle statue near Paris is alarmingly large.

Although about 2/3 of all Germans still live in the safe (or safe-er) parts of their country, some 22 million live abroad for the time being. Fearful of their own reputation as easily assimilable, the Germans Diaspora stick close to their own kind and are as ostentatiously German as possible, which gets rather annoying after a while.

Some weirdos and the terminally stubborn do inhabit even the most chemically contaminated areas, wearing rubber suits, elaborate filtering systems, and carefully cleaning off upon entering their residences: as toxicity levels have dropped, some of them may actually reach old age. The so-called Free City of Magdeburg, populated mostly by the weirdo element, exists outside the authority of the German government, indeed outside the authority of any government, and is sometimes referred to as “the sphincter of Europe.” There is occasionally call for NATO troops to move in and clean up the place, but nobody wants to get involved.

The Second Battle of the Rhine is commemorated with a park in one of the areas of the battlefield still chemically contaminated, where the grass still comes up in odd colors and shapes here and there. Wearing protective clothing, visitors can see the world’s largest collection of wrecked military hardware, shattered, melted and fused into weird candle shapes, from the humblest nuclear-powered one-man photon cannon to the 2500 ton Soviet “Peter the Great” mobile fortress, which on soft soils had, like a shark, to remain in motion continuously, due to its tendency to sink into the ground when off road. 

Poland was compensated for the damage taken in WWIII with territory taken from the USSR, and extends somewhat further east than in 1938. Economic recovery has been steady, and currently there are negotiations towards joining the EU, although some feel the country is still too poor – as well as having too many internal ethnic squabbles – to make a proper member. 

The British Commonwealth still has some juice, cheap energy and a future without worries of nuclear annihilation allowing the dying British Empire a bit more time and allowing for some more intelligent adjustments. There is a fairly successful all-Commonwealth space program based in Australia and a more closely tied military and scientific policy, and the Brits run rather more little flecks and spots of territory here and there. 

Africa, torn by longer and bloodier struggles for independence and multiple military interventions, has somewhat different borders and somewhat wackier politics than OTL, although thanks to energy prices remaining low and food prices low(er) the overall standard of living is somewhat higher. The dictator of the Sahel Union is presently embarked, with Chinese help and atomic-powered mining machines, on an ambitious green-the-Sahara project that will probably clean out some millions-of-years-old water deposits in a couple generations. Greater South Africa is doing fairly well, the odd alliance between conservative Blacks and conservative Whites helping to drive its expansionist foreign policy, which has led to increased grumbling from the international community.

Resource shortage problems are less severe than OTL, the energy costs at least of recycling or extracting low-grade ores being rather lower. Water-short nations are engaging in ambitious desalination programs. The one real worry is the increasing cost of those rare earth elements needed for the construction of modern atomic power generators, since demand is always increasing (everyone in China now wants their own atomic car). Matter transmutation on a large scale is being experimented with, the energy required to transmute and separate elements being rather less than the energy released by a generator over the lifespan of its components. The one problem is the large amount of useless radioactive side-products in the process, which in industrial production would be far too numerous to eliminate through atomic disintegration (what would one do with all that energy?), but promoters of the technology aren’t too worried: I mean, how hard could it be to get rid of a little radioactive waste? 

French Technocratic, Catholic “Managed Democracy” has struck a bit of a cord in Latin America, and closer ties between the EU and Brazil, Argentina, etc. are being forged. The US is not quite sure how to respond: it knows how to deal with Communist subversion in “its” hemisphere – ton of bricks style – but trying to overthrow French-friendly governments would probably be seen as more than just a faux pas. Brazil has its own space station, and the Argentines are using techniques developed for space in pursuing an ambitious program of colonization in Antarctica.

Mexico is a whole other kettle of fish. Mexico, with its oil a lot less valuable, took a somewhat different and more turbulent political path after the early 70s, and the current government’s distinctively socialist look has alarmed people in Washington, who are currently doing a lot of behind-the-scenes funding of the opposition. (The CIA’s faith in its cleverness is probably pride-going-before-you-know-what). A further irritant in current US-Mexican relations has been the government’s ruthless persecution of the drug gangs, which although fairly successful in crushing threats to public order in the north, has also led some of the major drug gangs to relocate their bases of operation north of the border…

Canada is a bit more populous than OTL, the Great White North being a bit more habitable with electrical heating being cheap under even the most strenuous weather conditions, not to mention such conveniences as electrically heated pavements in big cities to keep the snow off. (The new ultra-high-power snow blowers? Scary). There has been some talk lately re the possibility of finally getting Hudson Bay cities out of “miserable wilderness: the freezening” territory by enclosing them and heating them with nuclear power: after all, if the Americans and other nations are colonizing the Moon, why can’t we colonize the northern bits of our own country, which at least has breathable air?

The United States, although receiving some damage from chemical-weapons bearing planetary-range bombers and kinetic rocket attacks, got through the war with relatively light civilian casualties, and remains Number One Nation: in some ways more than OTL due to a poorer Europe, in some ways less (the President after all is in no position to end civilization in the northern hemisphere, no matter how nutty). It is a somewhat more technocratic, pro-science nation than OTL (the peculiar right-wing dislike of actual expertise is not duplicated here, perhaps due to a lack of global warming to deny) although in the aftermath of WWIII there has been a sharp turn against “military science” and military solutions to political problems. (In most cases. There is a loud minority loudly proclaiming that the present Russian regime is Weimar-soon-to-be-Nazi Germany, and our failure to rack up a few tens of millions more deaths then will inevitably lead to the deaths of billions later). The Black Redeem Africa movement has sent tens of thousands to Africa to try to help repair the damage from colonialism and the Struggle Vs Leftiness – and rather more to the US government’s displeasure, raised mercenary armies to help keep in place/topple genuine/”parasitic” African governments. 

The music is all different, popular culture having gone off in different directions post-50s without OTLs fear of nuclear annihilation or the third rail of the Vietnam War (not that a dozen lesser military interventions did not polarize and confuse): there have been multiple “youth revolts”, often in parallel and in mutual antipathy. (Those chaps with the shaved heads dyed in bright colors? Those are the multicultural lefties, and they’re armed for bear.) There has been a bit less movement to the sun-belt (for similar reasons to the larger number of people living in Canada), and the South isn’t quite so politically powerful, although in presidential races it’s still considered stupid to not have one of the President/Vice-President pair come from the south. Libertarianism, however, is more powerful than OTL: with each family with their own atomic car and atomic power source (and occasionally atomic cigarette lighter) how can one not feel a bit of a Heinlein-ian Autonomous (and Very Competent, no doubt) Individual? 

The world is at peace. But people worry. The 2000s saw a new development in the field of atomic energy: with new breakthroughs in disintegrator field technology, it became possible for the first time to release all the energy in a sizeable chunk of matter at once, rather than the slower “bleed” of previous models. And of course someone had to test it out: in 2008, a square mile of Alaskan wilderness rose in superheated vapor. The Annihilation Bomb had been born.

The prospect of a device capable of vaporizing cities at one blow, combined with the immediate availability of delivery devices, scared the dickens out of a lot of people. The major powers closed ranks for once and pushed for a global ban on the development of such weapons, and bribed or bullied all their associated nations into signing on: pretty much everyone has signed on, but people are being very troublesome about the inspection procedures needed to make sure everyone actually lives up to their legal obligations. People worry, and some do more than worry: the US is secretly looking into developing an orbiting nuclear-powered laser or photon cannon capacity to shoot down any missiles in flight, and other nations are working on their own little projects… 

[1] Although for obvious reasons nobody is bothering to try and build a fusion reactor. (Indeed, most engineers dismiss the notion as requiring containment techniques almost impossible to achieve).


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Another concept of my UNSC soldier made in GMOD, it's just epic and cool, in black armor uniform. Armed with the M392 DMR.

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Sangheili Elite has picked up a UNSC Army trooper and is about to perform an execution onto the defenseless soldier. That energy sword is just sizzling to stab him, there's steam coming off it.

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His battalion of marines and air force march towards war against the Covenant. This was made in 2009 so it was a while before I gotten better. Still epic though.
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