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Not to pre-empt Archie (whilst in the process totally pre-empting him) but the two of us worked together on getting that outer system in order; that's pretty much what's going on re: Nemesis. It was basically a matter of taking all those vague predictions of where stuff Should Be in the outer system/beyond the outer system and saying 'you're correct, you're correct, and you, you're definitely correct,' along with some creative license and random number generation.

As for Valkyrie and Daedelus:
High-constant-acceleration rockets like Daedelus are what I believe he decided on for speedy travel, but they're also expensive; non-urgent travel takes slower paths using lower accelerations or taking more time cruising, so if you *really* needed to get to, say, Neptune from Earth, you could do it in a couple of weeks, but if you weren't an urgent packet, you could take a couple months. (Note that to attain its speeds, Daedelus would be running for multiple years; constant acceleration chemical rockets can only go so fast when they need to start stopping halfway through the trip.)

Valkyrie relies on massive amounts of antimatter production which, from what I know of the universe, I simply don't see happening on a large scale in AJND, for pretty much the same reason I don't see it happening on a large scale in OTL at that point; it's expensive as hell. Even in AJND, where you have nuclear-powered cars, the sheer power requirements to produce that much antimatter means that even if there is a Valkyrie, it'll be a unique project, not an everyday occurrence.
Basically, yes. Some handwavium stuff for the significant constant-acceleration rockets. They're not exactly common, but they're not uncommon either. Si if you have the money or know the right people, travel time isn't long. And there is some anti-matter--enough where one of the superpowers claims that somebody managed to use one.
Valkyrie relies on massive amounts of antimatter production which, from what I know of the universe, I simply don't see happening on a large scale in AJND, for pretty much the same reason I don't see it happening on a large scale in OTL at that point; it's expensive as hell. Even in AJND, where you have nuclear-powered cars, the sheer power requirements to produce that much antimatter means that even if there is a Valkyrie, it'll be a unique project, not an everyday occurrence.
Like some kind of one-shot colonization mission to one of the other stars?
Something I worked on over the last week...

I've always been interested in how some of the old states worked in terms of their legislatures and gubernatorial succession. You can see remnants of that in Tennessee and West Virginia with their state senates elected a Senate President (which is what a Lt. Governor usually is), who succeeds the governor. New Jersey also lacked a Lt. Governor at one point and would have Senate Presidents co-serve as a Legislative and Executive leader. I decided to play around a little with the idea and got this:


A Short History on the Unionist State in the South:

The State of Nickajack was formed in June of 1861, counter-seceding from Tennessee, with Thomas Nelson as provisional and 1st Governor of the state. The early days of the state was plagued with constant military battles between the Confederate and Union forces, and it wasn't until 1865 that a full caucus was able to be called by the legislature. Unlike most of the Southern states, Nickajack has been traditionally Republican from 1861 to today, only supporting Democrats rarely in any major levels, and only twice for the Presidency.

The original Constitution followed the Tennessee one near exactly, and it wasn't until 1910 that a new one was drawn up. The perennial political battle in Nickajack is over who will reign supreme, the legislative branch or the Governor. From 1910 to 1972 the Governor had near absolute power in appointments to patronage, which caused a long and hard fight by reformists to overthrow the position starting in the 1960's. Only in 1972, after over a decade of fighting, was there a Constitutional Convention called by the state.

The Billy Constitution, called that because Speaker of the Nickajack House Bradshaw “Billy” Bates was instrumental in fighting for a convention and due to his leadership it as the President, turned one of the strongest Governors in the country into probably the weakest. The Governor could no longer veto bills, could not appoint anyone, and was only eligible for a single 4 year term instead of the unlimited amount before. The process of adding amendments was also changed to be easier, something that would be used and abused over the next few decades.

Now the problem shifted to the other edge, while the Governors before were corrupt and dealt in many illegal practices, often those would have some measure of popularity or assistance to the voters of the state when it came to business contracts or building new schools and hospitals. The Legislature now ran supreme, and many gripped how they were selling off contracts to out of Nickajack and plundering the treasury for their own gain. The Governor was basically a Secretary of State, which was an office abolished along with the new Constitution, charged with guiding the legislative will.

Many of the amendments were in effect for a few years before being overturned in the next election, some strange ones included removing the cap the State Senate would have and another limited the amount of House Representatives the state could have. This lead to a paradoxical situation where the Upper House was larger then the Lower House (72 Senators to 60 Representatives). The process of electing Supreme Court justices was also convoluted, 3 elected statewide every 2 years, 3 appointed by the legislature at the end of every session, and then a Chief Justice was appointed by the 6 Justices by a unanimous vote to serve for life or resignation.

Eventually the pendulum swung the other way and in 1986 another new constitution was drawn up. This one drew upon several northern states with the governor eligible for 2 terms, able to appoint several offices (previously appointed office now were made electable), term limits for judges, and a general reform of the governor by not having it swing to far one way or the other.

Everything worked well for a while, until Governor Morrow appointed himself as Senator. Nickajack had previously had the Secretary of State become Governor upon the death of the Governor, but that position was moved behind that of the Senate Speaker, except not really.

Hell Robinson was born in the early 1960's, named by his father away from the mother's prying ears. He served as state delegate in starting in 1980, only a few short years after moving there. He was the youngest elected state official at 24. He served a single term as a Democrat, but the scandals of the Perry regime embarrassed him so much he left the party as an Independent and was re-elected as a Republican. He jumped up to the state senate in the 1983 election and clawed his way up to the top of the party leadership.

On the first day of the 67th General Assembly meeting he was elected Franklin's Senate Speaker, and 16 months into his term he became Governor. Given the way the line of succession is detailed in the Constitution the person who is elevated to Governor serves both their original position and the governorship, giving Robinson the power of Legislature and Executive in his hands. Unfortunately Morrow left the state in the midst of a national financial crisis, and while Robinson was able to negate some of the damage, he left both offices unpopular and unloved by his party.

That, however, lasted only about a few months. Morrow's defeat for Senate also came with the revelation by disgruntled former aides that he worked with out of state companies to give them certain contracts, and he would receive some support come Senate time. This, and the quickly recovering economy, gave Robinson back the popularity he received when he entered office. He returned to state office in 1998 and served as Speaker for 4 terms, and he became Governor again.

Wilson Woodrow Wilson, or Wuh as his friends called him, beat bland and directionless incumbent McArthur in a surprisingly distant 1999 election. Wuh came into office on a platform of tougher punishment for white-collar crime, increased minimum wage, and a new taxation system for the state uranium mining businesses. He seemed to be a fresh break from the easily manipulated and anti-reform governors that would perennially be elected. Halfway into his second term, however, Wuh died of a heart attack in bed. The police reports note that his body was moved around after death, and evidence points to him dying of too much “physical exertion” for a man his age.

This left Robinson to be Governor again. This time however he would commit himself full time to the office and carrying out his predecessors legacy. A bill during the McArthur administration stipulated that if the governor vacates office the general election will include a new 4 year term starting the next January. The election cycle was thus moved from the year before a Presidential election, to the year after one.

Fascinating. It's always interesting to see different state governments and the like. Why not just go whole hog and make it parliamentary? :p
I have some vague idea of Nebraska becoming a parliamentary democracy during the Norris Genocide. That or maybe one of the Canadian states after being annexed (the idea is Quebec leaves and everyone else jumps ship. They realize they can't go it alone, and go beg America for help).
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