The country’s official name is: KINGDOM OF CAROLINA.
Capital and largest city: Ultima (250,000)
Population: 8.2 million (including residents from other Hermandad nations).

Estimated OTL Population: 10,208,000
LTTW OTL Difference: 2,008,000 deficit

Definitely a major hit. This is likely due to how the different economic circumstances led to there being less slaves compared to OTL. Given that OTL Deep South was more than 35~40% African American around this time, you can get a significant reduction just by having fewer slaves, even if you include the workers from Hermandad nations.

Note: OTL Atlanta's proper population was 89,872, with the metropolitan population being 419,375.

The country’s official name is: SCANDINAVIAN EMPIRE or NORDIC EMPIRE (SKANDINAVISKE IMPERIUM or NORDISKE IMPERIUM); the two terms are now used almost interchangeably. The short form is SCANDINAVIA or NORDEN.
Capital and largest city: Copenhagen (0.6 million)
Population: 9 million (excluding colonies).

Estimated OTL Population: 7,701,00
LTTW OTL Difference: 1,299,000 surplus

Net winner from receiving those from the south, I suppose.

OTL Zealand as a whole had 958,000, so Copenhagen seems pretty much the same.
Do the Carolinian people understand that code, like the Japanese did iOTL?
They probably would have, and may well looking back, but I don't think it's going to matter for a while.
So if King William's is martyrd does the truth come out later or is the in time line writer being very very cheeky?
The fact his wife and children got out would seem to suggest there's some historical basis, but perhaps it's a Heritage Point of Controversy.
Estimated OTL Population: 10,208,000
LTTW OTL Difference: 2,008,000 deficit

Definitely a major hit. This is likely due to how the different economic circumstances led to there being less slaves compared to OTL. Given that OTL Deep South was more than 35~40% African American around this time, you can get a significant reduction just by having fewer slaves, even if you include the workers from Hermandad nations.

Note: OTL Atlanta's proper population was 89,872, with the metropolitan population being 419,375.

Actually, all you'd need is less immigration. This version of the ENA was historically less welcoming of Catholics, for example, and more insistent on anglicising than the US was.
Oh that's going to be riven with Heritage Point of Controversies. Was King William about to call on Carolina to surrender or not, had the plot been discovered, was the assassination actually orchestrated by Wragg et. al. or indeed were they planning to and then someone beat them to it.

I also think the Russians may be about to find they've overstretched themselves in the North West. Though the situation in Neuvo Irlanda is going to be very interesting.

We may well see a situation where the ENA ends of up permanently keeping Texas and British Columbia this time, but can only keep hold of most of Carolina for a short period of time.
Actually, all you'd need is less immigration. This version of the ENA was historically less welcoming of Catholics, for example, and more insistent on anglicising than the US was.
Which would not make sense since OTL Deep South had only two major sources of immigration until the 1970s: Slaves and Louisiana. Sure, the fact that we have the Cherokee Emp;ire is certainly a major block to immigration, but even then it would be difficult to make a different of 20%.
So since the last king of Carolina is dead, what's the country's immediate fate? Some sort of regency or are they going full on republican style like the UPSA?

As for Neuvo Irland, could the use of (old) Irishmen as soldiers fighting against Mexico inspire some sort of pro-Hannoverian rebelion amongs the New Irish? Is there enough potential support just to swap one oppressor for another?
I had missed a couple of updates of this timeline, and at one point I decided to put off reading until I got around to reading it all. That was sometime shortly before the Pandoric War. And as usual, I am stunned by the quality and detail I found when I started reading again. All the different concepts and territories that were covered, from Brazilian (Portuguese-in-exile) exploration of Africa (which is not that far off OTL but feels as though it ought to be), alternate election systems (a very fascinating subject), the great interludes about the members of the Thande Institute, up to the Pandoric War starting in Yunnan. I have to admit that it's a little strange for a war of this scale to start in an area that seems like it should be so remote to the interests of both the UPSA and the ENA, but you did a very good job in setting up why it did.

Looking at the world map from before the war, it is evident that even as the broadness of the timeline had thus far made it a little ambiguous, we really have clear great powers in this world: the ENA (as tail wagging the British dog), the UPSA, and Russia (among others). It is interesting to see the familiar sight of Russia and America as great powers (some things rarely change) but *Argentina being part of their ranks is less common, to say the least. (In that regard, the map also clearly shows how strategic the continued possession of the Azores could have been in the war for a Meridian-influenced Brazil.) And the quality of your writing is evident from such little things as the interior of Africa not being fully colonized (yet?) when the Great War analogue begins, because few alternate historians can resist the temptation to tie up that loose end as it was tied up IOTL. Switching to prose and continuing the story in that writing form at similar quality is also a very creative touch. It allows us to see the war on so many different fronts and through so many eyes, which is really necessary for a conflict on this scale. Even if knowing some things in advance (like that the German monarchy will fall and that Societism looms over many countries) does make the war slightly less tense.

One thing that also hasn’t changed, of course, is Austria (Danubia) and Germany being allies against Russia. Even if there are many small changes to compensate that, such as Italy (or at least this one Italian observer in Constanta) being not nearly as hostile to the Danubians as ‘regular’ Italy would have been to Austria, or the Japanese/Yapontsi being marked as a classic example of a non-European culture being submerged by colonizers.

It is slightly disturbing how many updates end in the death of the POV character. It really reminds me of TL-191. And then the cruel twists that are involved, like the love affair between Hendrik and Eva that was no love affair at all, or the King of Carolina looking for a way to defect and that backfiring horribly. I kept thinking that it is taking the ENA longer to conquer Carolina than it should, given that almost half a year has now passed since the start of the war, but then I remember the sheer size of the North American continent and it makes sense again. One would hardly expect even an all-powerful German Empire to steamroller through a Franco-Spanish alliance and get all the way to Gibraltar in six months. Not to mention, of course, that the UPSA is a much stronger opponent than that… which reminds me, has the UPSA conquered the indirect ENA foothold in South America, Venezuela, yet? I suppose not, because otherwise the Choctaw from one update ago wouldn’t have referred to the UPSA as losing the war.

All in all, the story continues to be very exciting and detailed (so detailed that I would imagine the Pandoric War could very well become a book in its own right one day, depending on how long the war lasts of course). Incredible work!
I kept thinking that it is taking the ENA longer to conquer Carolina than it should, given that almost half a year has now passed since the start of the war, but then I remember the sheer size of the North American continent and it makes sense again. One would hardly expect even an all-powerful German Empire to steamroller through a Franco-Spanish alliance and get all the way to Gibraltar in six months. Not to mention, of course, that the UPSA is a much stronger opponent than that… which reminds me, has the UPSA conquered the indirect ENA foothold in South America, Venezuela, yet? I suppose not, because otherwise the Choctaw from one update ago wouldn’t have referred to the UPSA as losing the war.

There is also the immense difference between OTL and LTTW populations, which I have calculated. ENA does not have the same sort of immense population advantage, with UPA+Carolina (47 million) not being that far behind ENA (54 million). Add in New Spain and the other Hermandad members on Novamund, and ENA is actually at a numerical disadvantage, offset by how it has the population pretty concentrated.
There is also the immense difference between OTL and LTTW populations, which I have calculated. ENA does not have the same sort of immense population advantage, with UPA+Carolina (47 million) not being that far behind ENA (54 million). Add in New Spain and the other Hermandad members on Novamund, and ENA is actually at a numerical disadvantage, offset by how it has the population pretty concentrated.

Fair enough, I suppose. I think it was mostly my subconscious going 'as long as either of the superpowers has the edge, it should be able to conquer a small territory like Carolina pretty fast what with America's wide open spaces allowing for much more maneuver than in Europe' without realizing just how matched the two blocs were and the fact that Carolina was actually a lot bigger than I had in mind.
Fair enough, I suppose. I think it was mostly my subconscious going 'as long as either of the superpowers has the edge, it should be able to conquer a small territory like Carolina pretty fast what with America's wide open spaces allowing for much more maneuver than in Europe' without realizing just how matched the two blocs were and the fact that Carolina was actually a lot bigger than I had in mind.
In a way, the situation is similar to the Sudetenland Crisis, with ENA being Germany to Carolina's Czechoslovakia and UPA's France.
Part 238


Part #238: Interventions

The country’s official name is: THE EXALTED OTTOMAN STATE (DEVLET-I ‘ALĪYE-I ’OSMĀNĪYE); much more frequently known elsewhere as the OTTOMAN EMPIRE or, inaccurately, as TURKEY.
The people are known as: OTTOMANS or TURKS (inaccurately, as Turks are only one of many ethnic groups in the empire).
Capital and largest city: Constantinople (1.2 million)
Flag: Though the simple white crescent on red remains in use for some purposes, the ‘Three Faiths Under One Flag’ banner has become the established national flag. This is a red vertical stripe at the hoist with the white crescent married to a horizontal tricolour of green, yellow and blue (for Muslims, Jews and Christians respectively).
Population: 52 million.
Land area: 600,000 lcf.
Economic ranking: Certainly in the top ten, but precisely where remains debated. Often ranked 7th or 8th.
Form of government: Theoretically absolute monarchy; in practice this was not the case even before the nineteenth-century Devrim reforms. By the end of the century, the complex, Yuchyu Meclis (Triple Assembly, often rendered into English as ‘Tricameron’) functioned as a parliament, though it could often still be brought to heel by the powerful Grand Vizier whose position was theoretically dependent on majority control there as well as approval of the Sultan.
Foreign relations: The Ottomans have traditional enmities with Russia, Danubia and Persia, but often manage to play one off against another (most usually temporary alliances with Persia against Russia). Since the restoration of central control following the Time of Troubles and the annexation of Algiers in the Euxine War, Ottoman policy has often focused on expansion of both direct control and spheres of influence in Africa. In particular the kingdoms around the African Great Lakes are subject to considerable proxy conflict between the Ottomans and Persians as they jockey for trade influence. Despite this, the Ottomans have not had a major war for almost three decades, border skirmishes and internal rebellions aside. Constantinople historically had an ally in Paris, but this tendency has lessened since the Ottoman annexation of Algiers was poorly received by the French.
Military: Following a long period of decline due to the power of the Janissaries and other conservative factors (culminating in the Time of Troubles), the Ottoman military has been considerably modernised and revitalised. This is unusual for non-European Old World powers in this situation in that it has rarely relied on specific groups of advisors and purchases from European or Novamundine powers, often being developed thanks to domestic research. The Ottoman military is split into two branches, Ordusu (Army) and Donanmasi (Navy), with aerocraft divided between the two rather than given their own branch.
Current head of state: Sultan Mehmed VIII (since 1889)
Current head of government: Grand Vizier Abdullah Seyyid Pasha (since 1891)

The World At War: From The Pages of The Discerner VOLUME I: THE GATHERING STORM (1981)


From: The World At War: From The Pages of The Discerner VOLUME III: IN THE BALANCE (1984):

Berlin, Kingdom of High Saxony, German Federal Empire
July 2nd 1897

Walther Klein finally relaxed his tired leg, ceasing the repetitive kicking motion he had been making for most of the day. He wondered wryly what one of the forensic specialists from his favourite ratiocinic novel series would think on examining his hypothetical corpse, under the questionable assumption that anyone would ever want to do him in. It would provide a nice little example of the obligatory scene where the police were baffled at this man with more muscle tone on one leg than the other, until the brilliant expert surmised that he had spent many years working with the potter’s kick-wheel.

Nowadays, of course, it was possible to buy motorised potter’s wheels that were driven by steam engines, but Walther would never consider such a crassly commercialised device, no matter how much it saved his breath. A steam wheel would, quite obviously, produce a highly consistent and regular rotation, allowing a skilled potter to produce works of remarkable symmetry. To Walther, though, to do so was to miss the point of what ceramics should be. Men were men, with blood in their veins and hearts in their chests. They were not some Lucasian automata who might take delight in soullessly identical, precision-engineered items. Artistry required uniqueness, irregularity, humanity. No pot or bowl Walter threw on his wheel would ever look quite identical to the next, even if he had tried to make it so. And that was the secret.

He examined his current project with a critical eye, then took an ordinary spoon and made a few delicate hound’s-tooth patterns around the rim and base of the pot. He did not go in for the Versaillaise ornateness that seemed in fashion again with the uncouth these days. Less was more. Finally, satisfied, he carefully sliced the pot away from the wheel with his knife and placed it within his kiln for firing. He wiped his forehead with a rag, then smiled wryly as he felt wet clay on his skin: he had muddled his clean rag with one he used to wipe his fingers more casually. It took him a little longer to get clean as a result, allowing the smears of clay to dry and flake off rather than mixing them with water and prolonging the process. He did not much mind, being a man of a sedate pace in life; he cared not if he left more smears on his stein of fine Bohemian beer. That could be cleaned later.

He drank deeply, reflecting that he rather selfishly benefited from the government promoting the products of ‘our heroic allies’; his broker, Heinrich Stoiber, was similarly fortunate in his love of Polish sausages. He wondered how the Poles and Danubians themselves thought about it: unlike Germany with her North Sea ports kept open by the Imperial Bundesmarine and the vague and theoretical alliance of Great Britain, he had heard that the easterners faced food shortages and rationing. They were probably not too happy to see what food they had being sold to Germans as propaganda delicacies.

Feeling obscurely guilty, he set the stein down and freed himself from his smock, wiping his hands one last time. He felt the urge to bury himself in his work again, to forget the affairs of the world in these black days, but all the joy he took in his work meant little in the cold light of day if it could not also pay to put the roof of this studio over his head. To that end, he took up hat, coat and cane and headed down the stairs, carefully locking the door behind him.

It was a pleasant summer’s day, at odds with the martial headlines shrieking from the newspaper front pages and the parades of young boys in cadet uniforms. These days even Dorotheenstadt, which Walther had first come to as a relatively quiet and isolated haunt of artists and craftsmen, had been invaded by the war. Of course, it could still intensify further, as he learned when he headed onto the broad thoroughfare of Unter den Linden—as the old Berliners still called it. There were occasional traces of old signs dating from the brief and unlamented reign of the Mecklenburgers seventy years before, when the street had officially been named ‘Schwerinstraße’—but even at the time, even the most lickspittle of collaborators had never been able to utter it with a straight face.

Not that Walther was much aware of all this. He had a keen interest in history, but it stopped at about the end of the first millennium. He and many of his colleagues had come here, to what had often been regarded as a mere conquered backwater, to pursue artistic inclinations at a time when the High Saxon establishment had been enamoured of standardised porcelain and hyperrealistic asimcony. It was the same kind of reaction against precision as the Sensualists had pursued in paints, a group of men—and a few women, these days—whom Walther admired. Walther himself and his colleagues had instead pondered the matter of how Saxon porcelain had survived the market being flooded with genuine Chinese porcelain after the expansion of the China trade and the Standard Crate made it relatively cheap to import. People still bought Saxon porcelain, which had once been considered a poor second cousin to the Chinese original—why? Because, in Walther’s view, Saxon porcelain had ceased to be merely a copy, but had taken on its own identity.

He had taken this principle and applied it to other, older forms of ceramics. There was huge interest in Etruscan and Babylonian artefacts among the middle classes in many countries, but their response was often to purchase vague copies made to standardised patterns in manufactories. That, to Walther’s mind, was to miss the point. No Babylonian or Etruscan would recognise any of those Carltonist abominations as anything he would put on his mantle-piece, presuming those fine civilisations possessed such an item. Instead, Walther consulted archaeologists and historians, seeking to replicate the circumstances and techniques the ancient civilisations would have used.

His biggest challenge had come in the last few years, where the discovery of Antediluvian[1] cave paintings and artefacts in the south of France had led to a craze for modern replicas. While less scrupulous craftsmen had seen simple flint axes and the like as clearly of childish simplicity to replicate, Walther and his like-minded friends had instead conducted extensive research, not only among the French archaeologists excavating the caves but also with those who had worked with native peoples elsewhere in the world who were, or had been, at a similar early level of development. Astonishingly, and evocative of the rapid advancement that race had made, there were still Mauré who could just about remember not dissimilar tools being made in their homeland before the coming of La Pérouse. With quite a few Mauré living in France, they had given informed views on the Antediluvian discoveries which had helped Walther select techniques. The result was that while the crude replicas the ready-money merchants machined on their lathes lay languishing on the shelves, Walther’s work was in high demand among connoisseurs who only knew it from the real thing by his discreet maker’s mark on the underside.

Walther now took one such production from his pocket, a small flint axeblade that could have spent millennia beneath the soil but had in fact been made in his workshop last year. Holding a cigarette in his other hand, he struck the flint against his housekey and produced a spark that lit it: an affectation, but one that amused buyers at parties. He took a drag of the cigarette and grimaced: with American territorial waters still being full of Meridian and Carolinian ironsharks sinking freighters left, right and centre, proper Virginian tobacco was now out of his price range.

Smoking the disappointing cigarette, he navigated his way around the busy traffic—mostly steam-powered, with the occasional horse-drawn carriage as a relic of an earlier age—and reached the Platz am Opernhaus.[2] He was glad that he had left home early and allowed himself plenty of time for his walk: traffic had ground to a halt due to an overturned waggon. The waggoneer seemed more interested in fixing blame on the driver of the steam mobile he had collided with, to the point that he had not noticed that the bottle of his waggon’s gaslamp had overturned. Who knew why on earth the fool had left the pilot light burning on a bright day like this, but the bottle was overheating and might soon explode. Walther almost intervened himself, but fortunately passers-by and constables had already spotted the danger. A brave policeman rolled the bottle away from the wrecked waggon with a cane and quenched the pilot light with water from a nearby fountain. Walther breathed a sigh of relief, glancing at the waggon’s cargo. Even if the bottle had probably been too small for its explosion to pose a serious threat to the people there, even if it had set light to that cargo—leather-bound bestsellers bound for a bookstore across town—it would have been a tragedy to his mind.

Though, as mentioned before, Walther was little interested in modern history, he was vaguely aware that the Platz am Opernhaus had once been a fortified area of the city, back when Prussia had been an independent and militaristic power. Those days were long gone, however, and the former walls had often been cannibalised to patch holes left by the upheavals of the Popular Wars. Nowadays the Platz had been taken over by artists such as himself and those who followed them: buyers, suppliers of paints and other materials, and entrepreneurs who had set up coffee-houses in which men with vision set the world to rights—and occasionally set each others’ noses awry in the process.

While Walther’s feet brought him surely to his destination, Herr Caprivi’s Kaffeehaus, his eyes wandered over the wares offered on nearby market stalls as laviciously as another man’s would over the painted ladies of the Mühlenweg.[3] A shadow briefly blotted out some stalls and he wondered if the clouds had come in, but he his eyes were fixed on the wares, not the sky. Much of what he saw did not directly impact on his own work, but that mattered not; Walther was a man with an eye for artistry of kinds he could not attempt himself as well as those he could. There were finely produced miniatures, survivors yet in this age of asimcony, cunningly wrought lockets and watch-chains, and even furniture which sought to reclaim the hand-wrought care of past centuries, rather than the Carltonist rubbish of today that would fall apart after a few years’ use.

The Italians understood that, of course. Walther almost thoughtlessly mentioned it to old Herr Caprivi as he greeted him at the doors of the Kaffeehaus. As a man who put far less thought into thinking about men than the works of their hands, he had almost forgotten that Caprivi was no recent immigrant, but in fact came from a family that had established itself in the Prussian aristocracy a century before and more. Of course, like many Prussian aristocrats, they had since fallen on hard times and had to work for a living. Caprivi’s younger son Leopold had once told Walther that his father was theoretically entitled to call himself von Caprivi, but that today everyone would just assume it was a silly affectation and make fun of him for it. “It is like living in England!” young Leo had complained.

Guten Tag, Herr Klein,” Caprivi the elder greeted him, absently wiping coffee bean-stained hands on a cloth. “Your friend Herr Stoiber is already waitin for you at table fifteen.”

Walther nodded thanks. Some of the more histrionic artists of the Dorotheenstadt would have objected to Caprivi’s innovative table-numbering system, doubtless going on long philosophical rants about how the human urge to number things destroyed all the natural beauty of the world. As far as Walther was concerned, if it meant he could find Heinrich Stoiber faster, it was a good idea. “My usual latte, please.”

“I can’t tempt you with one of Herr Johannson’s Snabbkaffes?” Caprivi said, giving him a conspiratorial look.

Walther laughed. “No, just like the last ten times you asked, Herr Caprivi. I am sure that Herr Johannson is capable of great technical feats in his laboratory in Gothenburg, but I shall continue to have my coffee as the good God intended, without the intervention of any steam-powered mechanical marvel.”[4]

“Next time, perhaps,” said the incorrigible Caprivi. “But for now, very well.”

Regardless of Caprivi’s taste in coffee innovation, Walther indeed couldn’t fault his system of organisation, easily finding the table. Heinrich smiled, put down his newspaper and rose slightly to shake his hand. The two were an odd pair. Walther looked older than he was, with all the slightly shabbiness of the absent-minded artist coupled to an intensity of drive that surprised strangers when they first looked into his eyes. Heinrich Stoiber, on the other hand, looked a decade younger (in fact they were almost contemporaries), was nattily dressed in a dapper suit with the latest elaborate frills at his cuffs and cravat, and had a deceptive indolence in his own, dark eyes. “You made it here without being distracted by some pretty ankle this time, I see,” Heinrich commented.

Walther raised his eyebrow. “I would do nothing of the sort!” he protested.

“I did not say the ankle was of flesh and blood,” Heinrich said wryly, pointing wordlessly behind him. Visible through the window was a buyer carefully attempting to move a large and skilfully executed statue of a female nude in the Greek style. Obscure stuff, that, these days—played out compared to the Babylonian style, or even the newfangled Egyptian. Impressively done, though.

“Alright, you’ve got me,” Walther said dryly. “Anything interesting in that paper of yours?”

Heinrich glanced at the paper as he rolled it up dismissively. “The usual. Aside from our heroic victories in Russian towns with names I could have sworn belonged to Polish or Danubian ones before the war, every asylum in the land seems to have distributed soloprinters[5] to its inmates and asked them to write about the late and unlamented King of Carolina.”

Walther blinked “I admit I do not follow the news as closely as you do,” (Heinrich laughed), “but I was under the impression that he was shot while giving a speech in his capital? What more is there to say?”

“Oh, Walther, you are so naïve,” Heinrich said with relish. “To these people it is like them saying to you ‘but surely one pot is much like another?’ No, they are determined to get to the bottom of who really killed a man who, if the dice had fallen differently, might have been Brandenburg’s king. We dodged a bullet there,” he added with a mutter.

“I thought it was a man who supported ending the war and surrendering to our, ah, allies the ENA?” Walther ventured.

“Oh, if you rely on such misleading trivialities as what the gentleman in question said at the time and was widely reported,” Henrich said with heavy sarcasm. “But clearly that’s just what they want us to think. No, he was clearly…” he began to count off on his fingers, “a bitter Virginian upset about his father’s tenure as Governor there when we were boys. Or a neo-Prussian revanchist angry that he hasn’t come back here to have another go at setting the country on fire. Or a Negro angry about slavery, or a white man angry that it was ended. Or a Negro disguised as a white man. Disguised as a white woman. Disguised as a Negro.”

Walther tried to peer at the distorted words on the rolled-up newspaper. “You’re making that up.”

“I wish I was,” Heinrich muttered. “Our part of the war sounds almost dull by comparison. I think it’s just that nobody has any clear news from Carolina any more since it started collapsing so they’re just making things up.”

“Perhaps,” Walther said diplomatically. “And now, to business?”

Heinrich laughed. “Usually I’m the one who has to bring you back on course. But, very well. How goes your latest line in Etruscan pottery?”

Of course that wasn’t what Heinrich really wanted to talk about, but they warily circled each other through more ordinary pieces before approaching the big stuff. To look at Walther one wouldn’t think he could haggle, but he was of merchant stock himself and drove a hard bargain. “Done,” Heinrich muttered finally, signing off on a commission. “And the fact I can sign this is the only proof I have that I didn’t negotiate my hand away.”

Walther smiled neutrally, but the smile slipped almost immediately. Two uniformed men came up behind Heinrich and loomed over him. He felt a third behind him, casting a shadow in the light from the window. “Excuse me, Herr Klein, Herr Stoiber?” asked one of the men, whose insignia was more elaborate.

Belatedly, Walther recognised the uniform. Though surely it made no sense! Not the regular city police, but Feldgendarmerie? Here, in the artists’ quarter of Berlin? “Yes, Lieutenant?” he asked.

The Lieutenant showed his teeth in what was technically a smile. “I am glad we found you. We just want to ask you a few questions about your connections with the…artist, Herr Klaus Hansen.”

Walther just managed to stop himself innocently asking ‘Who, you mean Claus Jensen?’ “I have answered these questions before,” he said coldly. “Some years before, when His Imperial Majesty’s attention was fixed on the Jutland provinces. My correspondence with Herr…Hansen was of a purely artistic nature and we never discussed politics.”

“So you say, Herr Klein,” the Lieutenant said suspiciously.

“So I said to a man your father’s age when you were still at school, Herr Lieutenant,” Walther snapped incautiously. “I was fully cleared of any…inappropriate contact with the gentleman in question and that was an end to it. Now you dredge it up again, at a time when one would hope you have higher priorities?” Walther thrust a finger out. “Why?”

“I am not obliged to tell you anything, Herr Klein,” the Lieutenant said icily.

Heinrich coughed. “Well, actually, you are. Since the Hochsachsen Landtag voted three years ago to require bureaucratic transparency for all police business, whether city police or Feldgendarmerie.” He lowered his voice. “If you do not believe me, I can write to my deputy. My High Radical deputy,” he added.

The Lieutenant took a step back and Walther resisted the urge to grin. He had forgotten that Heinrich’s brother was a lawyer and clearly something had rubbed off. Wheels were visibly turning in the Lieutenant’s mind. He was young and inexperienced. Herr Stoiber might be bluffing about the law. But could he take the chance, when everyone knew of the overzealous policemen whose careers had been ended by the crusading High Radical leader Fritz Ziege?

The Lieutenant appeared to come to a decision. “Very well. I should not need to tell you in any case, if you had eyes to see.” He gestured impatiently at the sky. Walther saw another of those curiously well-defined shadows blotting out part of the market, but this time he thought to look up.

He whistled. “Steerables?”

“Tethered balloons, actually. Observation,” the Lieutenant said, probably telling them more than he had to even in the most generous interpretation of the law Heinrich had mentioned. “Needed for when the enemy send theirs against ours.”

Walther blinked. “The Russians are so close to Berlin?” A note of fear entered his voice.

“Not the Russians, you fool. Why do you think we have been tasked to interview any prominent citizens with Scandinavian connections?” the Lieutenant snapped.

Heinrich’s eyes widened. “Then Valdemar has finally got off the fence?”

“And on the wrong side,” the Lieutenant muttered. “Scandinavia declared war this morning. Seems they can’t take the hint from Carolina that we’re going to win this war.”

Walther wanted to scream at him that it didn’t matter what was happening on the other side of the world, that this idea of big global alliances was a propaganda joke, that everyone had got involved out of their own interests and then it had spiralled out of control.

He didn’t. High Radical law or no, there were limits.

But he did wonder if there was any great demand for faux Etruscan potters in Paris or Rome…


Atlantic Ocean west of Port Royal Sound, South Province, Kingdom of Carolina
July 17th 1897

Captain Rodrigo Gutiérrez of the Meridian steerable Dédalo checked his barometer for the twentieth time. It was, obviously, quite sensible for any steerable pilot worth his salt to consult the instrument frequently in order to spot any unexpected pressure changes. Though engines had improved dramatically over the past six decades, a steerable was still to some extent at the mercy of the winds, even more so than the sailships his grandfather had navigated.

But in all honesty, by this point his checks were more a nervous habit than possessing any real utility. Men had different ways of distracting themselves from thinking about impending doom. Probably the oldest and most popular was alcohol. That was not an option for a man who wanted to fly the morning after. The Aerial Armada—or, as some men now called it, the Skyfleet—was very strict about these things. The Ministry scarcely wanted to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a top-of-the-line steerable balloon only for some drunkard to crash it.

So instead Guitérrez and his comrades turned to nervous tics. His two lieutenants, Ortiz and Gordillo, did their own variations on the same: Gordillo constantly scanned the skies for enemies, while Ortiz kept fiddling with the new wrist-strapped watch his fiancée had bought him. They were supposedly fashionable due to their use by men in the trenches who did not have the time to consult a fob watch. Useful as well for steerable crews, of course. The thought still made Guitérrez uncomfortable, that not only had the war taken over his own life, but was casting shadows all the way back home.

A home that felt rather less insulated from the war than it had a few months ago. There had always been the sense that the war was something happening safely far away, a frantic and bitter conflict to be sure, but one fought on the soil of the UPSA’s Carolinian vassal not her own. So long as Carolina stood, there could be none of the nightmares that mothers still passed down to their children as bogeymen, though they had faded now from living memory: American troops on Meridian soil, Buenos Aires bombarded, the people helpless under the Anglo guns.

Guitérrez’s gloved hands tightened on his yoke. He would fight with every fibre of his being to prevent that black image from coming to pass.

“There!” Gordillo said suddenly, reviving Guitérrez from his reverie. “On the horizon! That’s them, or I’m a Cisplatinean’s uncle!”

Guitérrez rolled his eyes at that: the old jokes directed at Cisplatineans and Riograndense people had become so ingrained into the language that now even New Granadine recruits like Gordillo quoted them, never mind that the Platinean grandfathers originally making them would have regarded him as even more of a wide-eyed yokel. “Identify,” he said sharply. “Ortiz, prepare the heliograph.”

Ortiz nodded and began carefully unfolding the mirrors. Fortunately it was a sunny summer day—though that did mean they had to adjust their lift calculations—and the heliograph would work. Guitérrez was always nervous about using an electride signal lamp near the aquaform in the gasbag. Supposedly it was safely insulated from it, at least according to García & Denoailles Fábrica de Aviación, who had built the airship. But Guitérrez had heard those sorts of corporate promises before.

Gordillo had his binoculars focused now, but even Guitérrez’s naked eye alone could pick out the faint shapes on the horizon. There was the green carpet of Georgia and South Province, interrupted by the great, grey-green, greasy expanse of the Harbour River that carved out the island of Port Royal and its companions. It faded to bluish as it met the sky for reasons that scientists were still arguing about, while the deep blue waters of the Alantic fuzzed to grey. And there they were, just barely visible, darker grey shapes against it. Far boxier and blockier than the sort of beautiful craft his grandfather had fought. But maybe that was just nostalgia.

An American fleet.

Guitérrez took the binoculars from Gordillo and glanced at the ships as the lieutenant made his report. Gordillo had more direct experience with this, but it never hurt to get a second opinion. “To me it looks like two, count ’em, two lionhearts—one Constitution-class, that must be the new HIMS Empire of North America…”

“Not the most original at naming things, are they, these Septentrics,” Ortiz said dismissively.

Guitérrez decided not to point out that there was also a ship, a sub-lionheart, named United Provinces of South America in the Armada. “What about the other one?”

“Confederation-class, must be,” Gordillo said. “Not the Virginia, she’s still supposed to be damaged. Maybe they brought the Westernesse back from Europe?”

The Captain shook his head. “Look again. The turret superstructure has been refitted, but you can still see the original lines. That’s not a Confederation-class lineship, that’s the original HIMS Lionheart.”

Gordillo almost snatched the binoculars back. He whistled. “You’re right, sir! So she looks all tough and modern but…”

“She’s obsolete under the powder and paint,” Guitérrez nodded. The Lionheart was only just over a decade old, but in the rapid pace of advance in military science since the war began, that might as well be a century. “Get that to Admiral Tavares, Ortiz. He can exploit that.”

Ortiz nodded and began flashing his heliograph, careful to avoid any light being reflected towards the enemy fleet. “He’ll need all the help he can get,” he muttered under his breath.

Guitérrez briefly considered chewing him out with the usual speech about morale, and almost immediately dismissed the thought. They all felt this way, yet they fought on. Oh, the fleet they flew ahead of looked impressive enough, the fleet that President Monterroso had assembled at Santa Catarina and Admiral Tavares had managed to punch through the American naval forces dominating the West Indies. But there was no getting away from the fact that this was a last-ditch effort, a last throw of the dice, a last attempt to make all the money and resources that four decades of Meridian rule had sunk into the Kingdom of Carolina mean something.

“Message received,” Ortiz reported. “At least the Republicano isn’t being slowed down by any troopships,” he said owlishly.

“That’s classified,” Guitérrez muttered. He wasn’t a hundred percent sure that the rumour was true: that Tavares had taken a look at the latest spy reports out of Carolina and sent his reinforcement troopships off to help the New Granadines and Guatemalans fighting to occupy Jamaica instead. If it was true, of course, it meant that Tavares had decided there was no point throwing good money after bad, that all sending those soldiers to Carolina would achieve would be to give the Americans more prisoners in the long run.

Which in turn meant that none of this could possibly save Carolina. All it could do was hurt the Americans, slow them down. “But every ship we sink today is one fewer to bombard the women and children of Buenos Aires,” he murmured. Ortiz looked over in surprise, then nodded, abashed.

The American fleet continued to resolve itself more clearly. It was big, very big. A few steerables of their own floated above it, betraying the fact that it had sailed from a nearby port—Charleston, almost certainly. Guitérrez glanced over at the coastline again. Carolinian forces, or at least Meridian forces flying a flag with a palmetto tree on it, still controlled Port Royal island, the town of Beaufort and Fort Oglethorpe, named after the Englishman who had given Savannah its unnecessarily confusing road layout (in his opinion). But that fortified island was now surrounded on all sides by American occupying forces as Carolina collapsed, and only by sea could it be resupplied. Guitérrez wasn’t sure if Ultima itself was under American occupation yet: the propaganda broadsides by both sides introduced an element of uncertainty compounded by the lack of news coming out of the chaos in the Cotton Kingdom regardless. There was talk of the faculty of the University of Corte fleeing wholesale to their younger sister institution in Tallahassee, and Corte was farther south than Ultima. Up to now the war had mostly been the slow grinding pace of trench warfare, but the collapse had been so rapid after some fool had shot the Carolinians’ king, Guitérrez half expected that East Florida would be overrun in turn before too long.

So hold the Americans back as long as they could, and make it count.

“Let’s go,” he said. “Steer course north-north-east by east, increase altitude by sixty varas[6] and go to twenty-five knots.” Of course they could not be quite so precise as that, but it set a general approach.

“Manoeuvre props engaged. Nacelles spinning up to full power,” Gordillo said.

Guitérrez felt the wind buffet the steerable as the Dédalo’s mighty engines fought against nature—and won. Steam gouted in the wind. He had heard rumours of a new kind of engine running off oil extracts which might be even more efficient than steam: that would be an end of an era if so.

The American fleet loomed before them. One of the American steerables, an older model painted in dark blue and white only to avoid the Meridian colours of yellow and red, fired a rocket at the Dédalo. Guitérrez just laughed with contempt at that: some panicky trigger-happy new ensign. There was no way he could hit them from this distance, he had more chance of winning a lottery ticket six times in a row.

As soon as he thought it, he half expected the rocket to perversely fly straight and true just to spite him, but indeed it spun off and exploded a couple of hundred varas away. Exploded into bright white magnesium sparks no less—one of the new light-shell warheads used to illuminate targets at night! He shook his head. This would almost be unfair. But not quite.

“Shall we use the Priestley bullets?” Ortiz asked eagerly.

Guitérrez nodded. Carefully handling them with his gloved hands, Ortiz gingerly took a box from under his seat. On this craft, on which all weight must be at a premium, it was telling that the box looked heavy and shielded. He opened the box and withdrew one of a small number of large bullets. It looked normal aside from the vivid green PAWC logo imprinted on the side beneath the words ‘¡PELIGRO! ¡FÓSFORO!’ Ortiz sealed the box and lowered the single bullet into the magazine of the oversized rifle whose barrel pierced through the glass bubble at the stem of the steerable’s gondola. It was an evolution of the anti-air rifles which had been used for decades, carefully manufactured to be as light as possible. Some components even used alumium, imagine the expense!

Ortiz sighted on the enemy steerable; its crew appeared to have recognised their mistake and were waiting to draw nearer. Steerable-to-steerable combat usually used heavy rifles like Ortiz’s, but ordinary bullets were a slow and tedious way to take down an enemy. Fortunately, those clever chemists in Córdoba had had some new ideas. “Ready when you are, sir?”

“Fire,” Guitérrez ordered.

Ortiz fired. The bullet streaked from the rifle’s muzzle, trailing blue smoke behind it. The range was not very long, Guitérrez knew, as the phosphorus charge was burning too quickly. Enough had to remain by the time it hit the enemy’s aquaform gasbag.

Enough did.

Guitérrez shielded his eyes as the blue American steerable detonated. A mighty roar accompanied the fireball, droplets of water drawing streaks across the sky amid the burning debris: the aquaform had done what its chemical name said it did. “Good work!” he said, slapping Ortiz on the back. “Now find me a ship we can target with rockets.”

Gordillo was frowning. “The Americans are retreating,” he said in confusion. “We can’t have scared them that much, surely?”

Guitérrez mirrored his expression, staring at the Americans as they indeed reversed propulsion and began to slowly drift northwards again. It did not look like a flight, but an orderly and short-range retreat. Tavares’ ships, over-eager, pushed forward to try to cut them off. “What are they doing?” he repeated.

Moments later, fire burst from the side of a Meridian sub-lionheart. Guitérrez swore, tearing the binoculars from Gordillo’s unresisting hands. Now he knew what to look for. Subtle white streaks in the water, distinct from the waves… “Steelteeth!” he bit out, as though it was a swearword. “Damn the Yanquis! They knew they could set their clockwork timers ahead of time if they just lured our ships into…into…”

“A kill zone,” Ortiz said grimly as a frigate joined its larger sister. “Tavares’ men are experienced. They should have seen this coming.”

Guitérrez gave him a dirty look. “Maybe. But they wanted a victory. They were over-eager. We haven’t had a victory in a while.”

“I don’t think we’ll have one today, either,” Gordillo said glumly as more explosions spread. Now the Empire and the Lionheart were engaging the Republicano as Tavares hastily adjusted his course to avoid the concealed ironsharks.

“Every one of them we take with us is a victory,” Guitérrez retorted. “Target the Lionheart. All our rockets. We’ll make them pay for this.”

Gordillo and Ortiz eyed him, then slowly nodded. The Dédalo almost lunged through the air, anti-steerable fire bursting all around her. The Republicano landed a lucky shot that blew one of the Lionheart’s turrets clean off, but the Empire struck back and prevented the Meridian lineship from following up on its victory. “It’s up to us now,” Guitérrez declared.

The Lionheart loomed large below them, anti-steerable weapons blazing desperately away. There was a grinding clank from one of the engines. None of it mattered. Not now. Guitérrez looked through his crosshairs, of only limited use when dealing with rockets. He bracketed the shape of the Lionheart halfway between her remaining forward turret and her bridge superstructure. “FIRE ALL!” He pulled the triggers connected to the compression-lock ignition system.

The rocket pod turned to a vision of flame as every weapon ignited at once. The Dédalo shuddered as the mass of rockets shot from the now empty pod towards the storied hull of the Lionheart. The rockets spread out as they flew, random chance influencing their imperfect steering vanes. Some plunged into the waters of the Atlantic, others spun off and exploded randomly throughout the fleet amid friend and foe alike. But the distance had been short, and most of them hit the Lionheart dead-on.

Minutes later, the spreading flames would reach the magazine and blow up the American ship, the American ship that had once been a British ship before Emperor George had decided otherwise, and send her to Davy Jones’ Locker. But Captain Guitérrez and Lieutenants Gordillo and Ortiz did not see this. Moments after they fired, the Dédalo was shot down: not by the ineffectual anti-steerable artillery and rifles fired from the American ships, nor even by a fellow steerable. Instead, flying from the new aerofield established near Charleston by the Imperial Aeroforce, the Dédalo was taken down by a brand new Studebaker-FitzGeorge Blackhawk, its twin-stacked wings gleaming in the sunlight.

The age of the steerable was over: the age of the aerodrome had begun.


Punilla, Province of Córdoba, United Provinces of South America
August 4th 1897

Bartolomé Jaimes carefully poured wine for his visitor. “A fine Cuyo red,” he pronounced. “I hope it is to your liking.”

Former President Carlos Priestley snorted at that. “You know I always drank French whites,” he said bitterly. “Before the war. Back when trade could happen without some maniac sinking your ship with his ironshark.”

Jaimes nodded in sympathy. “Nonetheless, it is fine. A fine Meridian product,” he added.

Priestley rolled his eyes. “Yes, now we have to be patriotic, to take pride in everything we do,” he muttered. “I’m surprised to hear you of all people say that. Didn’t you use to run with Raúl Caraíbas’ boys back in the day?”

Jaimes laughed. “I did once know Raúl Caraíbas. Now, I am not sure if he is even alive or dead.”

“He lives, last I heard,” Priestley said, “but a new generation of silly young men have taken over that…movement.” He shook his head. “But I remember there was one more sensible reason why you were interested in it at that time, when we were boys.”

He hesitated for a moment.

In a world that was full of sinking ships, exploding steerables and men blasting away at each other in muddy barbed-wire-strewn trenches, none would have believed that the most important moment of the Pandoric War, the reason why the war would even have that name, would take place in this quiet country retreat of a middle-aged banker.

Priestley came to a decision and continued. “I remember you were a big Pacifist. A Quedling type, as my father used to say.”

Jaimes nodded. “I still am. You only have to look at this war to be reminded of how grotesque, how pointless, how bloody it all is. If that was obvious to men like Quedling, how much more so now that war has grown even more gruesome?”

Priestley nodded fervently. “I agree. Monterroso doesn’t see that. My…” he hesitated again. “Even my brother Roberto does not, and he runs our company, a company that is making a lot of Monterroso’s awful weapons.”

“You did not care too much when you were supplying them to be aimed at natives in jungles in Africa or Asia,” Jaimes said mildly, his eyes twinkling beneath his prematurely grey hair.

Priestley waved his hand impatiently. “I’m not a Societist like you used to be. Even if those primitives could be put on the same level as civilised men, the numbers that were slain over the years were tiny. This is different.” He ran a hand through his own, thinning hair. “This is industrialised warfare, industrialised killing. I wish I could have prevented it.”

Jaimes opened his mouth to speak of how it was Priestley’s own policies that had blurred the lines between corporation and nation, allowing the tragic mixup that had caused the war in the first place. Then he closed it without speaking. He wanted to know what Priestley had to say. “At least it is coming to an end in Carolina.”

Priestley winced. “Because we have lost. Savannah has fallen now. All of those weapons we sent could not stop the Yanquis.” He shook his head. “And someone is going to be a scapegoat for Monterroso.”

“He won’t go after minority groups, surely?” Jaimes said with concern. “I know he has some unreconstructed Jacobins on-side, but he needed everyone to get elected.”

“He might turn on them eventually,” Priestley said. “In the short term, the pseudopuissant corporations are more low-hanging fruit.”[7] He showed his teeth. “Nationalisation is coming.”

“Surely it would wreck the war effort to suddenly go after the companies making the weapons and supplies?” Jaimes asked.

“Of course it would. It will,” Priestley said. “But Monterroso isn’t going to fall on his sword and he needs someone to blame. And who cares if we end up with all our rifles sent to Valdivia when the Yanquis show up outside Buenos Aires.” It had been a casual mention of a hypothetical scenario, but he blanched as his own words sank in. The Yanquis outside Buenos Aires…that had always been the great fear at the back of all Meridian policy.

“So why do you come to me?” Jaimes asked. “Do you perhaps want a loan to bankroll your legal defence against the Government?” He smiled wanly to show that it was a joke.

Priestley let out a single harsh ‘Ha!’ of laughter. “I have quite enough money of my own—for now.” He turned more serious. “No. This is not about saving my family heritage—I fear that is too late, or if not it will fall to Roberto to steer a course between Scylla and Charybdis. He gets on better with Monterroso than I do.”

Jaimes refrained from pointing out that one could scarcely get on with Álvaro Monterroso worse than Carlos Priestley did. “Then what, if not that?”

Indecisively, Priestley stood up, sat down, drained his wine glass. “You know we work on many things at PAWC…”

“I think there may be some tribesmen in the interior of New Guinea who are not aware of that, but only because the Batavians need to try harder,” Jaimes said dryly.

Priestley ignored the attempt at humour this time. “We were…employed two or three years ago, during my presidency, to supply the Portuguese government with…some items.”

“Items,” Jaimes repeated tonelessly.

Priestley’s hand was going through his hair again as he avoided Jaimes’ gaze. “Items to control, ah, crowds. Groups of…counter-revolutionaries, as they call them.”

“Or ‘men whose families have no food’, as everyone else calls them,” Jaimes said coldly. “I presume you are not speaking of bullets and bombs.”

“No!” Priestley said sharply. “We would not do that…”

“Not for what the Portuguese government can pay, anyway.”

“No,” Priestley said, his voice cold. “We wouldn’t do that. But they wanted something else. Something non-lethal. So we looked into it…”

He explained. Jaimes was a man of economics, not chemistry, and much of it went over his head. There was a chemical that PAWC had found in the course of other research, a chemical named ethyl-bromino-acetate, which made men cry uncontrollably like an intenser form of the scent of onions, cry to the point that they would be unable to see or fight or resist. “I’m sure the Portuguese would use it in particularly brutal ways,” Jaimes said at the end, “but that doesn’t sound too bad. You’re worried Monterroso would use it on the Americans? Or on our own people?”

Priestley hesitated again. “There was…other research,” he said at last. “There was a…mixup, a confusion. Have you heard of the Praça de Sangue incident?”

Jaimes frowned at the apparent change of subject, glancing at the fireplace. It was winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, and though winters were usually mild in Córdoba Province, it was a particularly chilly night. “I vaguely recall a mention of it. Something about a lot of bodies. Rumours that the Portuguese bullyboys had shot a lot of innocent protestors.”

“They didn’t shoot them,” Priestley says. “They used the wrong luft. We sent them the wrong luft.” He had a haunted look in his eyes. “We hushed it up, obviously. They themselves didn’t work out what had happened, fortunately. And very few people knew about the research. There’s an isolated research station out in one of the cleared jungles in Mato Grosso, it all went through me, even Roberto doesn’t know.” He glanced from side to side edgily. “Monterroso is going to bring me in and sooner or later he’s going to put aside his famous principles and go to work on me. And then I’ll tell him.”

“Tell him about this…death-luft?” Jaimes asked.

Priestley nodded. “But maybe it doesn’t need me. Maybe even if I disappear—and I’m going to, before I get disappeared—maybe he’ll find it anyway. Those researchers need someone watching out for them on the outside, making sure the supplies go in. Till the war is over, when it’s too late for that horrible stuff to be used.”

“Someone like me?” Jaimes asked ironically.

“Someone like you,” Priestley agreed.

The discussion went on for a couple of hours more into the wee small hours of the morning, before Priestley retired to his own accommodations. This was a boarding-house in a nearby town, quite below the usual standards of the former President of the United Provinces, but he had altered his appearance and used an assumed name. Clearly he was serious about his fear of being ‘disappeared’.

Bartolomé Jaimes thoughtfully lit a cigar, then frowned at the inferior tobacco. Cuba was cut off these days, of course. There were many fine Platinean cigar manufacturers, but it was what one was used to. Speaking of Cuba (or at least some island nearby, for the man had never been specific…)

Raúl Caraíbas descended the stairs, gripping the bannister rail as he did. He was in his sixties now, still fit for his age but with all the accompanying creaks and stiffness as befitted a man who had worked with his hands all day in his youth. His big pale brown face, which seemed to look different races under different lights, split into a sardonic grin. “Some nice deception there, Señor Jaimes. Worthy of Monterroso himself.”

Jaimes waved aside this implied insult. “I told no lies. I did once know Raúl Caraíbas, I told him. This is true. What is it if I still know Raúl Caraíbas? That was not the question asked.”

“And you do not know if I live or not?” Caraíbas added.

“Well, you might have fallen in the bath and drowned yourself upstairs, for all I knew,” Jaimes said dismissively.

Caraíbas let out a great boisterous laugh. He still had a lot of the vigour, the drive that had made men follow him when they might have balked at Pablo Sanchez’s academic stuffiness. “Or I might have been done in by one of these young men whom your friend Señor Priestley thinks have forced me out of the party.”

“Now who is the one practicing deception?” Jaimes asked wryly.

“It is not up to us what the nationalistically blinded choose to think,” Caraíbas said with mock dignity. “Señor Priestley thinks he has given this terrible, this dangerous secret to you to keep from Monterroso.”

“And he is right,” Jaimes said sharply. “I shall not reveal it to Monterroso.”

“No,” Caraíbas agreed. “No, you shall not. Not to Monterroso.”

He frowned. “It is late. But in the morning, while we break our fast, I shall share with you some new thoughts I have had on the Doctrine of the Last Throw…”

[1] ‘Antediluvian’ (meaning ‘before the Flood’, as in the Biblical Flood) which was used with varying meanings in archaeology in OTL, has ended up being popularly applied in TTL in a term that loosely corresponds to ‘Stone Age’ or ‘cavemen’ in OTL.

[2] Today called the Bebelplatz in OTL.

[3] Today called the Kurfürstenstraße in OTL.

[4] As the reader may guess, Snabbkaffe is the TTL term for espresso (invented in Scandinavia rather than Italy in TTL).

[5] Typewriters.

[6] An old Spanish imperial unit of measurement, roughly equivalent to the English yard (but measuring about 33 English inches rather than 36, or about 84 centimetres).

[7] It seems extremely unlikely that Carlos Priestley of all people would use the mildly insulting term ‘pseudopuissant corporation’ (used in a similar sense to mean ‘faceless mega-corp’ in OTL) so this can be attributed to a misjudgement by the author who is imagining this scene.
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How did Scandinavia unite in this TL? Is it Swedish dominated? Does it control Finland? What is it’s economy and politics like?