The Star-Spangled Expanded Universe of "What Madness Is This?"

This is for mainline Madness, inspired by Fort Lincoln.

What Y'all Can't See Won't Hurt Ya: The History of Fort Jackson


Barracks at Fort Jackson, date unknown, likely around the time of Manifest Climax

In the howling expanse of the Kalahari Desert, there is a fort, rising up from the sandy desert. It is a large, hexagonal building made of reinforced concrete, with a large barracks area attached, complete with a fully equipped mess hall and an R&R facility. The only way to or from the fort is via a private road built by the Confederate government, a long strip of asphalt that basically gleams in the desert sun. This is Fort Jackson, the Confederate government's best kept secret. Not even the Yankees know of its existence. This fort is run by the Army and the CMRI, and is used for all manner of experiments. But why was this huge, expensive facility even built?

The Great Patriotic War taught the Confederate government lots of things about industrial warfare and modern geopolitics. One of the hardest won lessons was learned in Ulster. There, the BU and Europans alike employed chemical and biological weapons with aplomb. Carolinian observers witnessed similar things on the Canadian and Pacifican Fronts. However, Ulster is what brought it home. It is one thing to read about anthrax being weaponized or mustard gas being deployed on far off battlefields. It is quite another to see one's son come home in a box, blistered and swollen by anthrax, or to have to care for a husband blinded by poison gas. These devastating weapons were part of normal, modern warfare. They were horrifying, but effective. As the Carolinians learned this hard lesson, they realized something; they didn't have much of these weapons. Despite being a reasonable power, the Cokies weren't exactly what one would call "cutting edge." Their tried and true firearms and counterinsurgency methods were indeed effective, but their capability paled compared to the ability of the truly great powers to wage war, crush rebels, and smite their enemies. This weaponry gap had grown unacceptably large. It needed to be closed.

In 1915, the Carolinians broke ground on Fort Jackson, which was placed in the northwestern section of the Kalahari, firmly in Jacksonland. It is one of the few structures in Carolinian Africa not built by African de-facto slaves. Paranoia over security concerns led the Confederate government to build it using entirely Army troops, who were given the most modern construction equipment available. The fort was a state of the art building, featuring advanced laboratories, a huge underground prison complex, air conditioning, telephone lines, radio frequency emitters, and fairly plush accomodations for the troops, including record players, a skeet shooting range, and a telegram office subsidized by the Confederate government. The exact cost of the fort is unknown, as expenditures related to its construction were buried in various parts of the budget, but it wasn't cheap. Construction was completed by 1917. Every soldier responsible for building the fort was then stationed there as the security detail. The Chancellor himself visited them to make one thing clear; if they told anyone that there even was a Fort Jackson in Jacksonland, they would never be seen again. The troops got the message.

Shortly afterwards, the CMRI showed up to take joint custody of the fort. This particular unit of the CMRI, the Offensive Weapons Division, showed up on the org chart as an unimportant part of the Experimental Weapons Division. In reality, every one of its members was at least a Lieutenant Colonel, and almost outranked the head of the CMRI himself. Fort Jackson was run by OWD Chief General Hawthorne MacDougall, a second generation Scottish immigrant famous for his cold green eyes and ruthless disposition. Out in the desert, he led the CMRI men in their first endeavor, mastering the mass production of chemicals like mustard and chlorine gas. This was fairly simple, and did not require human testing. However, after this the OWD turned to more experimental endeavors.

This turn coincided with the Carolinian intervention in the Germanian Civil War. The War actually halted experiments at Fort Jackson, as most of the garrison was called up to invade Germanian Africa. After the war, experiments could truly begin. The OWD was interested in a variety of weapons, but the first one they truly tested was an attempt at making a fast acting and more lethal version of chlorine gas, dubbed UltraChlorine Gas. These experiments were surprisingly conducted on thousands of white Germanian Illuminist POW's after the war. This disgusted some of Cokie High Command, who felt that Anglo-Saxon-Teutons, no matter how corrupt, should be treated with more dignity. Chancellor Gamble disagreed, saying "Gentlemen, don't be so squeamish. We would have to kill these worthless animals one way or another. Might as well get something out of it." The Carolinians did succeed in creating a more potent form of chlorine gas, but also came to the conclusion that such a weapon didn't have much more utility than regular chlorine gas. Instead, the OWD began testing incendiary bombs and biological weapons. Various desert villages in the Kalahari and Nambi deserts were obliterated by new classes of incendiary weapons developed at Fort Jackson. The OWD also built model towns by Fort Jackson that they filled with prisoners and then fire bombed, in order to see the effects of the weapons on modern towns and villages.

The bioweapons division conducted all manner of gruesome experiments to track the progressions of various diseases, as well as determine new diseases that could be turned into weapons. Model towns were also built for this division, which used them as a rough sort of guide to see how disease spreads in a modern environment. Anthrax, syphilis, influenza, E Coli, and gonorrhea were among the viruses and bacterias tested on unwilling test subjects, and the results were as horrific as one might assume. Valuable data was obtained from these experiments, but at the cost of thousands of human lives. Fort Jackson blew through roughly 600 prisoners a month and needed constant sources of human test subjects

To obtain these subjects, the CMRI partnered with an unwitting OPV. The OPV in Jacksonland was instructed to call a hotline for any variety of crimes, and a van would come and pick up the miscreant, freeing up their time and resources. No one was told who ran the hotline, and people who asked too many questions got fired or worse. Fort Jackson had a fleet of new vans with Wexford stylings that would be sent out. They were uniformly white except for a seal on each side of the van, the seal of the OWD, described by General MacDougall as "A Cokie Vulture that's mad as hell, holding a banner in his beak that reads "scientia est potentia" (knowledge is power) and clutching a musket in each talon." These vans would go into villages and ghettos set aside for Afro-Cokies and Africans native to the region and depopulate them, taking hundreds at a time and throwing them in the back of the vans, never to be seen again. However, white Cokies were not immune to being treated this way. White Cokies who were LGBT, mentally ill/physically crippled (from factors unrelated to war and accident), suspected Illuminists, and white women and girls accused of interracial fornication (i.e. having physical contact with a Black man that didn't involve beating him for disobedience) were all fair game to be picked up by a white van and whisked away to Fort Jackson, never to be seen again. Predictably, rumors started to crop up. Some said that the government was taking them away as laborers. Others thought that the OPV was deporting them or using them for target practice. Many correctly suspected experimentation of some kind, but what kind varied wildly depending on who was talking. Some particularly kookie types wondered if the government had been infiltrated by Satanists, and was using the van fleet to round up sacrifices for the Prince of Darkness. Interestingly, aside from the rumors of Satanism, the government actually allowed these theories to be spread to a certain extent. As Chancellor Gamble put it, "These rumors about being scooped up by a white van and having God knows what happen to you will do more to encourage law abiding behavior and proper morality than 1,000 Virtuemen. The OPV is nothing compared to fear of the ominous and unknown." Based on the OPV statistics coming out of Jacksonland, it appears the Chancellor had a point. Not that that stopped innocent Africans from being scooped up by vans regardless. And the march of Carolinian Progress went on.



General MacDougall inspecting the troops at Fort Jackson. A second barracks was built in 1938 as the fort grew in importance and size.


A van of similar make and model to those used by the CMRI


A scientist at Fort Jackson, date unknown.
 
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Likely the Cokies will use hundreds of tones of Ultrachlorine during Manifest Climax per month, I suppose? Very effective in jungle fighting where the Chlorine gas will create super acidic clouds killing guerrillas fighters. God, the amount of environmental pollution resulting from these unbridled uses of chemical weapons gonna render Amazons really unusable for many years. What will other world powers react to this I wonder?
 
Likely the Cokies will use hundreds of tones of Ultrachlorine during Manifest Climax per month, I suppose? Very effective in jungle fighting where the Chlorine gas will create super acidic clouds killing guerrillas fighters. God, the amount of environmental pollution resulting from these unbridled uses of chemical weapons gonna render Amazons really unusable for many years. What will other world powers react to this I wonder?
The other world powers are going to be busy with their own problems. They are not going to be concerned about some hundred of miles of jungle being cleared or burned down.
 
For King, Country, and the Common Man:
Life In Post Great War Ireland

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Early Great War recruitment poster 1911​


When James Connolly came to power in 1912, he came to power to a country in chaos. The Kingdom and her people were in a desperate bid for survival against a horde of rabid fanatics from across the sea, madmen obsessed with their destruction on the basis of religion and ancient bloodlines. The country was leaking resources as wealthy men whiled away money and resources while the ordinary citizen toiled day and night in factories to keep the army standing. A bastion of catholic civilisation and knowledge alone with the wolves. In these horrid conditions, a hell on earth made manifest, that Ireland would venture through the crucible and emerge a stronger nation

As previously discussed, Connolly and his EireSoc movement were swift in ensuring the ideals of Socialist Monarchism were implemented across the country, from the seizure of property from the wealthy gentry to serve the good of the Common Man to a surge in power for the monarchy, Buoyed by these turn of events, moral and patriotism surged amongst the Irish people. Even on the front lines against the Britannic attack, soldiers found new vigour and willpower to hold back the Anglo menace. No longer was the country fighting just to survive, it was fighting for a new utopia for the Celtic people. With wealth and resources seized from fleeing gentry, the Irish were slowly able to push back against the encroachment of the Britannic Union (albeit at a heavy price) while irish planes and guns pounded the Scottish and English coasts. Even as many nations on the continent were laying down their guns and signing the Versailles Concordat, Irish and Britannic forces were still tearing at each others throats. Had it not been for the Beckie flu and chemical weapons slowly draining the strength and manpower of both side, many speculated that the battle between the two would still be raging today. Alas, exhaustion and disease finally got the better of both sides and a formal ceasefire was was called was called in December of 1914. However, even plague could not stem the hate between either side and all treaty talks broke down and both sides dug-in and erected barriers. Today, the Ulster Armistice Line a is the most heavily armed areas in the world as Irish and BU forces stare at each other across countless miles of barbed wire, mines, gun encampments etc

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Irish bunker along the Ulster Armistice Line

As the war with BU slowly faded into heavily armed ceasefire, Connolly was able to turn his attention to domestic issues of the land. Ireland before the Great War had been a country racked with problems, from economic to class to civil. For decades, the Irish people had been treated as an expendable pool of cheap labour, forced to toil away for long hours for very little pay while the profits flowed into the coffers of age-old local gentry or Europan elites. Many of these same gentry would be caught up in the mass arrests of 1912 or flee to the relative safety of Europa while their property was seized by the state and converted for wartime production. To handle this mass of industry vital for national survival, Connolly would create the National Council of Labour (Comhairle Náisiúnta an Lucht Oibre, or simply CNLO). Born from the old Irish Trades Union Congress, the CNLO was a vast federation of unions and representing virtually major trade and working soul in the country. Just as EireSoc controlled parliament, so too did it control the Comhairle, with Sean Aloysius O'Brien serving as the tightfisted chairman.

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Sean Aloysius O'Brien, Chairman of Comhairle Náisiúnta an Lucht Oibre

However, the creation of the Comhairle was only step one in Connolly plans for Ireland. Step two would come in the form the People's Kingdom (Ríocht na nDaoine). Like the Five Year Plans of Custer in the Republic Union or the later Great Leap forward in the Confederation of the Carolinas, the People Kingdom were a series of plans to accelerate the modernisation of Ireland, to build it into an economic powerhouse. Under the guidance of the Comhairle, virtually every business, industry, and square foot of land was collectivised and divide among their respective trade unions and issued with yearly goals and directives to meet or face harsh punishments. In fields that were lacking new Comhairle controlled corporations were created. Every natural resource from metals to fuels to crops were nationalised to feed the new Ireland while refugees to the continent helped fuel the demand for labour.

As the old empires of Europe still reeled from the devastation their industry in the Great War and the new nations desperately sought to arm themselves for their own safety, Ireland quickly found itself serving as the supplier of cheap goods and arms dealer for the new world, a position it was all too happy to fill so long as customers could pay. While they might have lacked the quality or sophistication of the RU's Colonel Pierce or Purdey and Sons of Carolina, the simple designs, easy repair, and very low production cost of the Monarcha Airm Ríoga (Royal Arms Factories) MAR-33 made them popular choice with both professional armies and political rebels, with the guns being found on all sides of the Germania civil war and armoured cars as far afield as China and Mittelafrika. Even canned Irish food would find its way into the Brittanic black market.

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MAR-33 assembly line in Galway

With a rapidly growing, Connolly set about implementing the promises of a welfare state which had won them the support of the Irish people so early on. Social programs like public hospitals, community housing, even pensions and disability payments, which had once been the impossible dream of many became a reality. And through these programs, Connolly would push further changes to irish society. Celtic Revivalism and De-Anglicization had always been central tenants of the EireSoc platform, and whipped up in patriot fervour, the Irish public threw their full support behind it. Through the newly created public schools, Connolly pushed national literacy programs and a revival of the Gaelic language and old Celtic culture (both of which had fallen out of fashion for many decades as the gentry and political classes favouring English and French). Towns across the country dumped their old anglicised names in favour of their older Gaelic ones, while many families scoured their genealogies to find appropriately patriotic Gaelic names to replace their English or Europan ones. Even political titles and office names were changed, with even the country itself being officially renamed to Ríocht Sóisialach hÉireann (Socialist Kingdom of Ireland) and the naming newly crowned Regan being named as Ard-Rí na hÉireann (High King of Ireland) while Connolly lavished titles upon him such as Chief of the Celtic People, Protector of the Realm, Breaker of the Great Chain, Warden of the Order of Saint Patrick, Defender Against Anglo Tyranny. In contrast, Connolly himself took the simple title of Taoiseach (leader).

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The Coronation of Regan as High King of Ireland

As the 1930's approached, the people of Ireland felt they'd entered a Golden Age and all across the country, cries of "King, Country and and Common Man" and adoration for Connolly rang out from a grateful population. But even the greatest golden age must end and for the Irish, their golden ending was looming ever closer.

Ireland in WMIT table of contents
-Ireland before and during the Great War
-Ireland and Socialist Monarchism
 
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So finally after much procrastination and writers block, the latest update on Ireland. Not 100% happy with the finally outcome but better then it continuing to sit in my laptop doing nothing. Future edits likely to come as I work in better ideas if they ever come. Suggestions always appreciated
 
A Saner Madness!

This version of Madnessverse is more centered on the development of the Russian Empire. Russia would receive much better leadership and would be more powerful to thwart the Republican Union’s fascism. Warning - it is a bit Russo-wank. I know I am a Slavophile.

The later conservatism of Tsar Alexander I (who was actually a very progressive Tsar) was butterflied away (POD), and he began a stronger reform on the Empire from 1815 onwards, with a proto-Constitution. Serfdom would get a drastic overhaul, and state peasants were given more rights to their lands and to settle across the empire. Tsar Alexander I also saw that with a stronger Europe, he focused more on the Pacific and Asia instead. Russian Alyaska would be settled with state peasants and free-serfs.


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Tsar Alexander I - Alexander the Great Reformer

Following Alexander I’s death in 1825, his successor would be Constantine I, and Nicholas would respect the wishes of his brother, as Constantine saw that he could eventually implement his reformist outlook towards Russia better. Constantine I (Tsar from 1826 to 1854) and his advisors - the so-called Decembrists of OTL - would work to bring Russia to even more reforms. Universities and schools would spring up everywhere, with a strong focus on science, mathematics and classics. Serfdom, after seeing the successes of free Obschina on other parts of the Empire, would be eventually abolished in 1847. This accelerated the industrialization of Russia, and caused a boom in construction across the Empire, particularly railway and ports. *Constantine II (Tsar from 1855 to 1890), son of Constantine I, would succeed his father and laid down the foundation of a semi-Constitutional monarchy for the Empire with the Duma. The Duma would work with the Free Economic Society of Russia to reform lands, created the Russian agricultural revolution in 1885. His son, **Vladimir I (Tsar from 1890 to 1928), would work to enact more liberal reforms, and accepted Polish emigrants fleeing the oppressive Protestant elite in the Nordreich.

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Tsar Constantine I, or Constantine the Liberator of Serfs

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Tsar Constantine II

European powers focused more on China in TTL compared to mainline WMIT, due to an incident where Qing troops harassed Portuguese and European missionaries in Macau, as well as Dutch missionaries in Guangdong. The Sino-Europan war in 1850 would ring the bell to Russia that China had been weakened, and when the Qing got into more troubles with European powers in 1850s, the Russian would invade Manchuria, Mongolia in the Russo-Sino war (1856-1861). The Russian won against the Qing with great difficulties due to logistics, and annexed Mongolia, Outer Manchuria, and Northeast China (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning). Settlers from within the Empire would flood the new territories, with troops and their families got priority in settling.

In Alyaska and Pacific, the Russian invested much more into the navy and settlements. Petrovsky (OTL Vancouver), Tagomagrad (OTL Seattle) and Victoria would wind up to be major industrial and economic center of Alyaska, mainly to trade with Canda and California. Alyaskan Gold Rush (1860-1880) and Oil Rush (1900) would bring further settlement towards the icy North. The Russian also learned of the Union's prosecution of Slavs from escaped Inferiors, and this immensely angered the Russian government and dragged them closer to Europa’s side. The larger Russian navy would also allow the Russian to annex Hawaii around 1850s, something that greatly enraged the Republican Union later. President Custer said infamously in 1900 that the Russian step on Hawaii was “a great territorial indignity that the inferior mongoloid Slavs had put on us”. The Union-Alyaska border was incredibly militarized, with barber wires and grinder nests on both sides, and troops armed with the most modern gears patrolled day and night.

Russia would continue to modernize and innovate, to the point that by 1900 many European powers began to fear it, especially the Nordreich and the Scandinavians, as its agricultural and industrial exports became dominant in the market, and the flow of science, technology, art and ideas from Petrograd startled the rest of the world. While remaining a fairly stratified, conservative Orthodoxy society, with elements of pro-Balto-Slavic/Eurasian and somewhat anti-Semitic, Russia was among the nicer place to live, as the nation never really institutionalize fascistic or hyper-nationalistic ideologies, and the booming economy made it an attractive immigration destination.

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Tsar Vladimir I of Russia

Russia and Europa had a common enemy - the Republican Union - and the nations agreed to the Russo-Europa non-aggressive treaty of 1905 to fight against the Americans in the First Great War. The entry of Russia into the war would forever change history.

* and ** I made them up. These Tsars were the results of butterflies.
 
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Here is a map of the America (I don't have time to work on a better map and a world map). I also toyed a bit with the idea that the Cokies would be more powerful with a POD for them where Jackson did not die in the war against the Virginia, hence snagging a part of Georgia during the GAW perhaps?

 
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I will update more of this about the rest of the world, and of course the Great War. Spoiler - a bit more wank for the Russian and Europan, as well as the Cokies and Korea.
 
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Back to alt! Madness with its several variations of the Destiny Road. This might wind up being a monster. Lots of world building.

A Lonesome Road: Connecting the South


A picture of Carolina Highway 1801, 1964

The Southron nations control, collectively as a group of similar nations, a vast swathe of territory. Stretching from Maryland in the north essentially all the way down to the border with Gran Colombia in the south, this domain is truly epic in scale. To make governance, trade, and travel more efficient, vast highway systems were constructed by the Southron nations. These road systems all connected with one another because even if the Southrons don't like one another, they value their economies more. However, this system does not connect to Yankeeland, as the Virginians and Marylanders have no interest in dealing with Yankees. There are four main road systems that form this great network; Virginia's Liberty Route, Carolina's Highway System, Georgia's Freedom Thoroughfares, and the Texas Cattle Trail. Although construction began in the 1920's, the network wouldn't truly be completed until around 1960, although one could argue it was never fully finished as there were constant additions and repairs.

Virginia began construction first, in roughly 1920. The nation, having won the Race to the West, was now legitimately gigantic, stretching from Atlantic to Pacific. To facilitate settlement and patriotic pride, the McConnell Administration began construction of the Liberty Route, a road stretching from Newport News all the way to Mason City, Oregon (OTL Seattle) and Yakama, Tillamook (OTL Portland). The project inspired the nation, and soon calls were being made for a true network of roads to be built. Funding was approved by the House of Burgess fairly quickly, as many members recognized the utility of such a road. As construction proceeded, the other Southron nations got caught up in the craze and began building. Deals were struck between the nations to connect their roads, in a rare display of pan-Southron cooperation. Admittedly, Georgia only agreed to it in order to facilitate invasions of their neighbors later on. Nonetheless, the roads were built, and had huge impacts on Southron life. Before we evaluate these various impacts, let's examine the whole sprawling network, starting with Virginia and Maryland.

The initial Liberty Route, now dubbed Liberty Route Prime, is the spine of the Liberty Route system. It goes through many major urban centers in Virginia, starting in Newport News, going straight through the nation's capital of Richmond, Louisville, capital of Columbiana and Horse Country alike, the thriving industrial hub of New Jamestown (OTL Chicago) where one can branch off into Carolina, Altoona in Iowai (state capital, roughly OTL Des Moines), Marytown, Dakota (OTL Bismarck, state capital), Meriwether, Madison (OTL Helena, state capital). Roughly 70 miles before one reaches Meriwether, Liberty Route Prime branches off into Liberty Route Victory. The LRV hits the major points in Navajo and Wyoming, these being Copperburg, capital of Navajo and a huge center of mining and gambling (OTL Salt Lake City) and Alexandria, formerly known as Alexander (OTL Denver). From Copperburg, one can take the LRV to Goldville (OTL Sacramento) and from Alexandria one can head on to Texas or Carolina. Circling back to Liberty Route Prime, if one goes on through Meriwether, the Route will once again branch off and then terminate in Mason City or Yakama. In either of these cities, one can pick up the Liberty Route Pacifica, which runs down from the very northern part of Oregon all the way down the Pacific coast, hitting Goldville (OTL Sacramento) where you can pick up the LRV as mentioned, and San Francisco before turning into the Cattle Trail further south. Back in the east, Richmond is the hub for two other major Liberty Routes, Liberty Route Tidewater and Liberty Route Washington. Liberty Route Tidewater heads north into Maryland, branching off into two main roads in Annapolis which terminate in Baltimore and Ocean City respectively. Liberty Route Washington is the main highway south into Carolina, branching into three routes that can take one to the Appalachians, Charlotte, and Wilmington respectively. Further South in the Caribbean and Mexico, there are several more Routes worth mentioning. On the island of Albemarle (Hispaniola) there is Liberty Route Hispania, which snakes across the island and has focal points in Santo Domingo and Port Berkeley (OTL Port au Prince). In the Central American states of Randolph and Jefferson, Liberty Route Jefferson connects the states to the URCA, which has an interstate system maintained by Texas. The LRJ runs from Jefferson City (OTL Panama City) through San Jose, and goes on into the URCA. Finally, the Mexican territories are connected by Liberty Route Mexico, which begins in Mexico City, and runs in three different directions. One can either take it to the Pacific coast via New Williamsburg (OTL Morelia), where it hooks up with the Cattle Trail, go straight north into Texas, or head south running through the middle of Virginian Mexico, hitting the cities of Puebla, Acapulco, and Oxacre (OTL Oaxaca) before running into the URCA. Truly, the Liberty Route System is a gargantuan achievement, and helps connect the vast and disparate Empire of Liberty. Now, let's turn our attentions to Carolina.

The Cokie Highway system, like all of the Southron road systems, is heavily inspired by the Virginian one, although one ought not say this in the presence of other Southrons. The spine of the Carolinian Highway System is Highway 1801, which runs from Wilmington to the border with Virginia. Highway 1801 goes through Charlotte, Asheville, Knoxville and Nashville, fairly efficiently, then snakes up north to Jackson City (OTL St. Louis), then goes through Knox state capital St. Andrew (OTL Jefferson City), Kansa (OTL Kansas City), and the Jackson state capital Topeka (Different location from OTL, straddling Kansas-Nebraska border) before heading on into Virginia. There are several other large highways which branch off of or intersect with the 1801. Flat out at the beginning, Highway 85 goes from north of Wilmington on down through Charleston and Myrtle Beach, before meeting up with the Freedom Thoroughfare in Savannah. Charleston is also the starting point for Highway 14, which merges into the greater system in Columbia. Charlotte is a major hub of the network, with multiple Highways centered there. Highway 76 picks up where Liberty Route Washington leaves off, going straight through Raleigh and Durham towards Charlotte, and from Charlotte on down to Columbia and eventually Georgia. Highway 50 heads straight from Charlotte to NC's border with Georgia, where it once again transitions to Georgian roads. Moving out of the Mainland, Carolina-Upon-Essex is serviced by Highway 42, "The Donut" which begins and ends in Georgetown and then makes what is, essentially a giant loop around the colony. Africa is also home to several large highways, which connect the various centers of white settlement in that vast domain. Highway 98 begins in New Edinburgh (OTL Luanda) and works its way down the coast before turning eastwards towards New Charlotte (OTL Windhoek). From New Charlotte, travelers pick up Highway 27, which technically begins on the coast of East Carolina before going through New Charlotte, then continuing east through Wallaceburg (OTL Gaborone) and New Salisbury (OTL Harare) before making a southern turn and terminating in Yorkburg (OTL Maputo). From Yorkburg, travelers will pick up Highway 30 which meanders up the long coastline with the Indian Ocean and hits Rutledge (OTL Dar es-Salaam) before making a westward turn and terminating in Davis City (OTL Dodoma). These are all the major highways of Carolina, so we can now head on down to Georgia.

The Freedom Thoroughfare system is defined by Freedom Thoroughfare West, which picks up in Savannah, goes south for a ways, and then makes a western turn towards Athens and Atlanta before continuing on through McMullen (OTL Montgomery) and Birmingham, into Townsend (OTL Jackson) before turning northward slightly and hitting Texas. Aside from the FTW, the other major Freedom Thoroughfares are Freedom Thoroughfare South and Freedom Thoroughfare Coastal. The FTS runs from the Georgian border with North Carolina through Atlanta and south into Kissimmee, Seminole City (OTL Orlando) before terminating in Miami. Freedom Thoroughfare Coastal hugs the coastline of the whole nation, starting in Savannah, going down through Ogelthorpe Beach (OTL Daytona) and Cocoa Beach, wrapping around Florida in Miami, heading back north through Miccosukee (OTL Tampa) and St. Petersburg, up into Tallahassee and then runs through Tuscaloosa (OTL Orange Beach and Gulf Shores), Gulfport, and Mississippi City (OTL Biloxi) before meeting the Texan Cattle Trail and terminating in New Orleans. There are other roads that are technically part of the FT system, but they're relatively unimportant. Finally, let's mosey on over to Texas to see how the Cattle Trail has taken shape.

New Orleans is one of the main hubs for the network nowadays. Picking up where the Georgians left off, the Coastal Cattle Trail goes on down into Galveston, before continuing along the Texas coast all the way down the Gulf Coast of Old Mexico and the coast of the URCA, in essence a Texan colony, until it meets the Liberty Route Jefferson again, which can take one all the way to Jefferson City. Also originating out of New Orleans is the Edward Teach Memorial Cattle Trail, which goes from New Orleans straight through Little Rock, before veering west towards Oklahoma City, and from there to Los Angeles. However, before the Edward Teach reaches Little Rock, it splits off into the Lone Star Cattle Trail, which veers west and connects to Custer City (OTL Dallas) before going south into Houston and then San Antonio. In Custer City, drivers can also pick up the Custer Memorial Cattle Trail and head straight to Oklahoma City and go north into Virginia. San Antonio is another major hub, with the Capital Cattle Trail starting in the city and extending southwest to Saltillo before sweeping back east to Monterrey, then heading south to Sasparilla (OTL San Luis Potosi) before driving south into Virginian Mexico. The other major road coming out of San Antonio, the Samuel Colt Memorial Cattle Trail, goes through Juarez (OTL Ciudad Juarez) and Drakeville (OTL Phoenix) before heading through to Los Angeles. Speaking of LA, that city has its own Cattle Trail, the California Cattle Trail which picks up where the Liberty Route left off, goes south to Tijuana, loops around Baja California through La Paz and into Hermosillo, where it branches into two distinct routes. One heads towards Starrburg (OTL Chihuahua) and into Durango City before going on into Virginia. The other route goes down into Nuevo Madrid (OTL Culiacan) and Waynesville (OTL Tepic) before again meeting up with Virginian Mexico. Freedonia has the Freedonian Cattle Trail, which starts in Tana (OTL Antananarivo) and heads to the coast in both directions, then looping the island. This is the last major route we need to cover. Now the more interesting part, how the roads have affected the Southrons, can be explored.


The California Cattle Trail heading into Hermosillo (1966)


Liberty Route Prime, 1972


A narrow part of the Freedom Thoroughfare South, 1968

The creation of all these roads, when combined with plummeting oil prices thanks to the sheer quantity of the stuff the Southrons were able to get their hands on, allowed for the rise of a truly auto based culture. Every nation except Maryland saw the rise of auto manufacturers, and they were turning them out like hotcakes. Each nation's main manufacturer had a unique flair, which reflected the culture of their beloved homeland. The Virginians had McCarthy Automotive, whose sedans, trucks, and muscle cars had relatively simple stylings, yet managed to still look incredible. The Cokies loved their Supremo Autos, which were typically less focused on power and more on comfort, although the Supremo Thoroughbred is widely regarded as one of the best muscle cars ever made. Supremo autos were also world famous for their space age chrome stylings and fun colors, which made them a hit in the Free World, and saw them give serious competition to other Southron and Fascist manufacturers. Georgia was the home of Athenian Motorworks. Their cars weren't very modern, harkening back to the pre-GSW days, partially out of their lack of resources, partially out of nostalgia for a time before the GSW. The company is propped up by heavy tariffs, as auto manufacturing is the one industry Georgia is allowed to do anything protectionist in. Finally, Texas's very own Harland Automotive is infamous for its overpowered, large, flashy, luxurious cars that probably have enough steel in em to build a cannon.

Aside from new auto manufacturers, there was an explosion in fast food, a uniquely Southron and American invention. The first was Freeman's Grub n' Go. Founded in 1920 by Czech-Virginian Alexander Freeman, Freeman's served traditional Virginian fare alongside Virginianized Bohemian cuisine like schnitzel, smoked meats, and bratwurst. Although Freeman's would eventually get a serious contender in the form of Kelly's Irish Motor Pub, Freeman's remained the dominant chain in Virginia, although Kelly's had a little more success in Maryland. Freeman's also spread to Texas, Georgia, and in time, even Japan, Europa, and the Carolinas. Freeman's had more limited success in foreign markets due to local competition, but was still very successful overseas. Freeman's would remain one of the most dominant fast food chains on Earth. In Carolina, Smithfield's Stop n' Serve rose up in 1933, serving cheap BBQ, fried fish, hotdogs, and burgers. This was quickly followed by Corean Fried Chicken. Although Smithfield's remained an impressive force, it was CFC that took Carolina by storm. Serving buckets of fried chicken seasoned with a patented blend of Corean style spices and fried in the finest, fattiest Cackalacky lard, CFC was so good that Chancellor Gamble gave founder Jimmy Park the Confederate Order of Freedom, the highest civilian decoration in the Carolinas. The Cokies weren't alone in loving CFC. Southern Virginia had a love affair with the chain, and CFC would be the only foreign fast food chain allowed to operate on American soil. Later on, CFC took Corea by storm and became insanely, weirdly, popular in Israel. As in, eventually 7 in 10 chickens consumed by Israelis would be bought at CFC. Georgia had Uncle Vlad's Road Diner, which served traditional Georgian food and Georgianized Slavic food with aplomb. They were especially famous for their pierogis, which were legitimately some of the best in the Western Hemisphere. Uncle Vlad's also experienced a little foreign success, mainly in Texas. Speaking of Texas, the rootinest, tootinest, by God shootinest nation on Earth became the home of two famous fast food chains. The oldest in Texas, and actually one of the oldest on Earth, was Lone Star Slop Trough, founded in 1921 by Dick Alvarez. The Slop Trough served traditional Texan BBQ (beef opposed to pork or chicken), "Frontier Sandwiches" (Willy Wayne's Meat Slop on a bun), burgers, hotdogs, steaks and steak sandwiches, and their infamous Freedom Fries. Freedom Fries are like regular Potato Fries, but they're slathered in Willy Wayne's Frontier Style Chili, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and topped with sour cream. On the one hand, they're a delicious side, and a basket is included in every meal deal. On the other hand, health experts think they might be the least healthy food item on offer at any fast food joint (a hell of an accomplishment) and it isn't unheard of for the chili to give one the runs. Still, a truly remarkable trip to flavor town. Lone Star is not only a Texan staple, but has established a healthy presence in Virginia, Maryland, and strangely enough, Dutch and Germanian Africa. The white populations in these regions are enamored with the cowboy image, and see parallels to themselves, so they really enjoy Lone Star. The other Texan staple of fast food is Ricardo's TexMex Pit Stop, founded by Johnny Ricardo in 1949, which serves traditional Mexican food with a Texan twist. The "Custer Burrito" a 2.5 lb monstrosity of a burrito is especially famous. Ricardo's has locations across Texas, the URCA, Gran Colombia, and Japan. Needless to say, all these restaurant chains, which shaped the cuisine of the nations they arose in, wouldn't have existed without the various highway systems of the South.

Aside from enabling one to cram thousands of calories down their gullet in 10 minutes or less, the Southron highway systems were huge in facilitating travel. This drastically altered settlement patterns across the Southron nations. Thousands upon thousands of people in the super dense old cities, places like Richmond and Atlanta, left for wider pastures. Various governments actually encouraged the urban poor to settle the West, with Virginia's promise of "60 acres and an auto" being the most famous. This allowed for the true rise of many western cities, and boosted settlement in Old Mexico as well. Just as dramatically, suburbs began cropping up across the South, being especially popular in Carolina. This again fundamentally altered the way people lived, and was a direct result of the highway system. Various supermarket chains arose to feed these new suburbs, including Virginia's DominionMart and Texas's Frontier Supply and Sustenance. Fresh produce and canned goods were brought in from across North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe and laid at the feet of Southron consumers for incredible prices. Even the Georgians ate better than many Europeans and Fascists. This helped improve life expectancy and reduced extreme poverty drastically. Now, all but the poorest could get at least a little something in their bellies.

More than settlement and shopping, these roads created a nigh unending golden age for tourism. It was now possible to drive from Ocean City, Maryland to Jefferson City, Jefferson, in Central America. If one wanted efficiency, this would take about 85 hours, or roughly 7-10 days of driving. If you wanted to take the scenic coastal routes (as many did) you were looking at something getting close to 120-140 hours, or 10-18 days depending on how much you drove in a given day. Beyond this truly epic road trip, one could see the sights of places as disparate as Charlotte, New Orleans, Copperburg, and LA if they were willing to drive. Predictably, the freedom and ease this brought enthralled people. Road tripping became a huge part of Southron culture, and made them the envy of much of the world. The biggest travel destinations depended on where one was from. Virginians enjoyed going to Yakama, Mason City, Copperburg, Goldville, San Francisco, LA, Baltimore, Jefferson City, Charlotte, and New Orleans. Cokies tended to be more insular and went to domestic locations, although they loved Savannah to the point that they practically colonized the place. Another unusual quirk of the Cokies was a special package vacation offered by the Carolinian government in conjunction with private partners, dubbed the Grand Imperial Tour. The GIT was a package vacation that involved flying or taking a cruise to New Edinburgh, where the guests would then pick up a rental car, and drive the length of the CHS in Cokie Africa, stopping at various resorts along the way before flying out of Davis City. To ensure the government made money, it cost the equivalent of 4 years salary. It was all the rage. Families would pinch pennies to go, and your average middle class family could afford it about once a decade as long as they didn't take any big vacations in the meantime. This also helped to speed settlement in the region, which was hugely beneficial. When Cokies did go to foreign locales, Richmond, Savannah, Baltimore, Copperburg, and Yakama tended to be the favorites. Georgians also stuck close to home, although this was mostly a product of poverty as opposed to xenophobia. Nonetheless, road trips to New Orleans, San Antonio, and Tijuana were fairly common. Texans loved seeing their Mexican domain, Mexico City, and Jefferson City, not to mention LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Copperburg, Newport News, and New Jamestown. Predictably with all this traveling going on, motel chains popped up, each with a unique flavor. Virginia had the Nightaway Lodge, a Columbiana themed hotel founded in Louisville in 1926 by Billy O'Connor, that featured complimentary sweet tea, lemonade, and BBQ sandwiches. There was famously a Nightaway Lodge every 120 miles on the Liberty Route, and the chain also extended into Texas, Maryland, and very slightly into Carolina. The Cokies however, preferred their nation's favorite, Hampton Inn. Founded by Wade Hampton VI, a direct line descendant of Chancellor Wade Hampton III, in Nashville in 1930, Hampton Inn became the choice of middle class and more well-heeled road trippers. Hampton Inn was a touch more expensive than other motor lodges, partially due to the fact that it was more comfortable and well run, featuring big beds and a free breakfast buffet, and partially to keep the "riffraff" out. Nightaway and others gained a reputation for having no small number of delinquents, crazed college kids, criminals, junkies, and other such types frequent them. Hampton Inn was the choice of the respectable middle class family. The chain expanded first into Cokie Africa, where it opened more luxurious locations as part of the GIT program, then into Georgia, Virginia, and eventually Corea and the Union. Maryland surprisingly got in on the game with Baltimore Motor Lodge, founded in Baltimore in 1937 by Aidan Ronaldo, which heavily replicated Nightaway's business model, but featured complimentary rum and crab cakes instead of BBQ and sweet tea. The Baltimore Motor Lodge kept a decent hold on the domestic market, and also put down roots in Virginia, Texas, and weirdly, Europa, where people loved the ardently Catholic founder and the exotic Maryland feel. Rounding out this collection of interestingly themed motor homes is Texas's very own Longhorn Stop n' Saddle, founded in 1943 by Brazilian immigrant/refugee Marty Barboza, which had a heavy cowboy theme (even the staff were dressed as cowboys and cowgirls) and had famously massive room service steaks. Longhorn Stop n' Saddle became a staple in Texas, URCA, Virginia, and later caught on a bit in Japan and Dutch Africa. These roadside inns were massive hits, and would soon dominate the Southron highways alongside gas stations and fast food joints.

Another interesting development that can be largely attributed to the Southron highways is an idea of Southron Exceptionalism. All the Southron nations took pride in their Southron identity, even as they fiercely competed over who was more purely Southron. However, with the rise in tourism and economic growth that accompanied the highways, this competition actually took a little bit of a backseat to general pride in being Southron. You can drive from the Yankee-Maryland border wall down to Gran Colombia and never leave Southron civilization (the URCA was heavily Southronized after decades of imperialism). There were some extreme differences between parts of Southron civilization, but at the end of the day it was all recognizably Southron. This group of nations was, as a bloc, arguably the most powerful on Earth. If the Cokies joined the LSS and more fully cooperated with their neighbors, it probably would be. With the exception of Europe and Australia, they had a foothold on every continent. Wealth and goods flowed from all over the world into their nations. They invented the atomic bomb. Despite issues with authoritarianism, by global standards they were fairly free too. Is it any wonder then that the Southrons started to think that God blessed the South? If you ever take a road trip on these long, winding paths of asphalt, you might feel the same.


The 1967 Supremo Thoroughbred, nicknamed "The Tyrant of the Road" for its surprising speed


A standard room at Nightaway Lodge




A Texan supermarket, 1975
 
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Quick question: In Alt! Madness are the South wealthier than the RU? Both ver 1.0 and 2.0 showed that the South weren’t as rich as RU, even for the Cokies.
 
Back to alt! Madness with its several variations of the Destiny Road. This might wind up being a monster. Lots of world building.

A Lonesome Road: Connecting the South


A picture of Carolina Highway 1801, 1964

The Southron nations control, collectively as a group of similar nations, a vast swathe of territory. Stretching from Maryland in the north essentially all the way down to the border with Gran Colombia in the south, this domain is truly epic in scale. To make governance, trade, and travel more efficient, vast highway systems were constructed by the Southron nations. These road systems all connected with one another because even if the Southrons don't like one another, they value their economies more. However, this system does not connect to Yankeeland, as the Virginians and Marylanders have no interest in dealing with Yankees. There are four main road systems that form this great network; Virginia's Liberty Route, Carolina's Highway System, Georgia's Freedom Thoroughfares, and the Texas Cattle Trail. Although construction began in the 1920's, the network wouldn't truly be completed until around 1960, although one could argue it was never fully finished as there were constant additions and repairs.

Virginia began construction first, in roughly 1920. The nation, having won the Race to the West, was now legitimately gigantic, stretching from Atlantic to Pacific. To facilitate settlement and patriotic pride, the McConnell Administration began construction of the Liberty Route, a road stretching from Newport News all the way to Mason City, Oregon (OTL Seattle) and Yakama, Tillamook (OTL Portland). The project inspired the nation, and soon calls were being made for a true network of roads to be built. Funding was approved by the House of Burgess fairly quickly, as many members recognized the utility of such a road. As construction proceeded, the other Southron nations got caught up in the craze and began building. Deals were struck between the nations to connect their roads, in a rare display of pan-Southron cooperation. Admittedly, Georgia only agreed to it in order to facilitate invasions of their neighbors later on. Nonetheless, the roads were built, and had huge impacts on Southron life. Before we evaluate these various impacts, let's examine the whole sprawling network, starting with Virginia and Maryland.

The initial Liberty Route, now dubbed Liberty Route Prime, is the spine of the Liberty Route system. It goes through many major urban centers in Virginia, starting in Newport News, going straight through the nation's capital of Richmond, Louisville, capital of Columbiana and Horse Country alike, the thriving industrial hub of New Jamestown (OTL Chicago) where one can branch off into Carolina, Altoona in Iowai (state capital, roughly OTL Des Moines), Marytown, Dakota (OTL Bismarck, state capital), Meriwether, Madison (OTL Helena, state capital). Roughly 70 miles before one reaches Meriwether, Liberty Route Prime branches off into Liberty Route Victory. The LRV hits the major points in Navajo and Wyoming, these being Copperburg, capital of Navajo and a huge center of mining and gambling (OTL Salt Lake City) and Alexandria, formerly known as Alexander (OTL Denver). From Copperburg, one can take the LRV to Goldville (OTL Sacramento) and from Alexandria one can head on to Texas or Carolina. Circling back to Liberty Route Prime, if one goes on through Meriwether, the Route will once again branch off and then terminate in Mason City or Yakama. In either of these cities, one can pick up the Liberty Route Pacifica, which runs down from the very northern part of Oregon all the way down the Pacific coast, hitting Goldville (OTL Sacramento) where you can pick up the LRV as mentioned, and San Francisco before turning into the Cattle Trail further south. Back in the east, Richmond is the hub for two other major Liberty Routes, Liberty Route Tidewater and Liberty Route Washington. Liberty Route Tidewater heads north into Maryland, branching off into two main roads in Annapolis which terminate in Baltimore and Ocean City respectively. Liberty Route Washington is the main highway south into Carolina, branching into three routes that can take one to the Appalachians, Charlotte, and Wilmington respectively. Further South in the Caribbean and Mexico, there are several more Routes worth mentioning. On the island of Albemarle (Hispaniola) there is Liberty Route Hispania, which snakes across the island and has focal points in Santo Domingo and Port Berkeley (OTL Port au Prince). In the Central American states of Randolph and Jefferson, Liberty Route Jefferson connects the states to the URCA, which has an interstate system maintained by Texas. The LRJ runs from Jefferson City (OTL Panama City) through San Jose, and goes on into the URCA. Finally, the Mexican territories are connected by Liberty Route Mexico, which begins in Mexico City, and runs in three different directions. One can either take it to the Pacific coast via New Williamsburg (OTL Morelia), where it hooks up with the Cattle Trail, go straight north into Texas, or head south running through the middle of Virginian Mexico, hitting the cities of Puebla, Acapulco, and Oxacre (OTL Oaxaca) before running into the URCA. Truly, the Liberty Route System is a gargantuan achievement, and helps connect the vast and disparate Empire of Liberty. Now, let's turn our attentions to Carolina.

The Cokie Highway system, like all of the Southron road systems, is heavily inspired by the Virginian one, although one ought not say this in the presence of other Southrons. The spine of the Carolinian Highway System is Highway 1801, which runs from Wilmington to the border with Virginia. Highway 1801 goes through Charlotte, Asheville, Knoxville and Nashville, fairly efficiently, then snakes up north to Jackson City (OTL St. Louis), then goes through Knox state capital St. Andrew (OTL Jefferson City), Kansa (OTL Kansas City), and the Jackson state capital Topeka (Different location from OTL, straddling Kansas-Nebraska border) before heading on into Virginia. There are several other large highways which branch off of or intersect with the 1801. Flat out at the beginning, Highway 85 goes from north of Wilmington on down through Charleston and Myrtle Beach, before meeting up with the Freedom Thoroughfare in Savannah. Charleston is also the starting point for Highway 14, which merges into the greater system in Columbia. Charlotte is a major hub of the network, with multiple Highways centered there. Highway 76 picks up where Liberty Route Washington leaves off, going straight through Raleigh and Durham towards Charlotte, and from Charlotte on down to Columbia and eventually Georgia. Highway 50 heads straight from Charlotte to NC's border with Georgia, where it once again transitions to Georgian roads. Moving out of the Mainland, Carolina-Upon-Essex is serviced by Highway 42, "The Donut" which begins and ends in Georgetown and then makes what is, essentially a giant loop around the colony. Africa is also home to several large highways, which connect the various centers of white settlement in that vast domain. Highway 98 begins in New Edinburgh (OTL Luanda) and works its way down the coast before turning eastwards towards New Charlotte (OTL Windhoek). From New Charlotte, travelers pick up Highway 27, which technically begins on the coast of East Carolina before going through New Charlotte, then continuing east through Wallaceburg (OTL Gaborone) and New Salisbury (OTL Harare) before making a southern turn and terminating in Yorkburg (OTL Maputo). From Yorkburg, travelers will pick up Highway 30 which meanders up the long coastline with the Indian Ocean and hits Rutledge (OTL Dar es-Salaam) before making a westward turn and terminating in Davis City (OTL Dodoma). These are all the major highways of Carolina, so we can now head on down to Georgia.

The Freedom Thoroughfare system is defined by Freedom Thoroughfare West, which picks up in Savannah, goes south for a ways, and then makes a western turn towards Athens and Atlanta before continuing on through McMullen (OTL Montgomery) and Birmingham, into Townsend (OTL Jackson) before turning northward slightly and hitting Texas. Aside from the FTW, the other major Freedom Thoroughfares are Freedom Thoroughfare South and Freedom Thoroughfare Coastal. The FTS runs from the Georgian border with North Carolina through Atlanta and south into Kissimmee, Seminole City (OTL Orlando) before terminating in Miami. Freedom Thoroughfare Coastal hugs the coastline of the whole nation, starting in Savannah, going down through Ogelthorpe Beach (OTL Daytona) and Cocoa Beach, wrapping around Florida in Miami, heading back north through Miccosukee (OTL Tampa) and St. Petersburg, up into Tallahassee and then runs through Tuscaloosa (OTL Orange Beach and Gulf Shores), Gulfport, and Mississippi City (OTL Biloxi) before meeting the Texan Cattle Trail and terminating in New Orleans. There are other roads that are technically part of the FT system, but they're relatively unimportant. Finally, let's mosey on over to Texas to see how the Cattle Trail has taken shape.

New Orleans is one of the main hubs for the network nowadays. Picking up where the Georgians left off, the Coastal Cattle Trail goes on down into Galveston, before continuing along the Texas coast all the way down the Gulf Coast of Old Mexico and the coast of the URCA, in essence a Texan colony, until it meets the Liberty Route Jefferson again, which can take one all the way to Jefferson City. Also originating out of New Orleans is the Edward Teach Memorial Cattle Trail, which goes from New Orleans straight through Little Rock, before veering west towards Oklahoma City, and from there to Los Angeles. However, before the Edward Teach reaches Little Rock, it splits off into the Lone Star Cattle Trail, which veers west and connects to Custer City (OTL Dallas) before going south into Houston and then San Antonio. In Custer City, drivers can also pick up the Custer Memorial Cattle Trail and head straight to Oklahoma City and go north into Virginia. San Antonio is another major hub, with the Capital Cattle Trail starting in the city and extending southwest to Saltillo before sweeping back east to Monterrey, then heading south to Sasparilla (OTL San Luis Potosi) before driving south into Virginian Mexico. The other major road coming out of San Antonio, the Samuel Colt Memorial Cattle Trail, goes through Juarez (OTL Ciudad Juarez) and Drakeville (OTL Phoenix) before heading through to Los Angeles. Speaking of LA, that city has its own Cattle Trail, the California Cattle Trail which picks up where the Liberty Route left off, goes south to Tijuana, loops around Baja California through La Paz and into Hermosillo, where it branches into two distinct routes. One heads towards Starrburg (OTL Chihuahua) and into Durango City before going on into Virginia. The other route goes down into Nuevo Madrid (OTL Culiacan) and Waynesville (OTL Tepic) before again meeting up with Virginian Mexico. Freedonia has the Freedonian Cattle Trail, which starts in Tana (OTL Antananarivo) and heads to the coast in both directions, then looping the island. This is the last major route we need to cover. Now the more interesting part, how the roads have affected the Southrons, can be explored.


The California Cattle Trail heading into Hermosillo (1966)


Liberty Route Prime, 1972


A narrow part of the Freedom Thoroughfare South, 1968

The creation of all these roads, when combined with plummeting oil prices thanks to the sheer quantity of the stuff the Southrons were able to get their hands on, allowed for the rise of a truly auto based culture. Every nation except Maryland saw the rise of auto manufacturers, and they were turning them out like hotcakes. Each nation's main manufacturer had a unique flair, which reflected the culture of their beloved homeland. The Virginians had McCarthy Automotive, whose sedans, trucks, and muscle cars had relatively simple stylings, yet managed to still look incredible. The Cokies loved their Supremo Autos, which were typically less focused on power and more on comfort, although the Supremo Thoroughbred is widely regarded as one of the best muscle cars ever made. Supremo autos were also world famous for their space age chrome stylings and fun colors, which made them a hit in the Free World, and saw them give serious competition to other Southron and Fascist manufacturers. Georgia was the home of Athenian Motorworks. Their cars weren't very modern, harkening back to the pre-GSW days, partially out of their lack of resources, partially out of nostalgia for a time before the GSW. The company is propped up by heavy tariffs, as auto manufacturing is the one industry Georgia is allowed to do anything protectionist in. Finally, Texas's very own Harland Automotive is infamous for its overpowered, large, flashy, luxurious cars that probably have enough steel in em to build a cannon.

Aside from new auto manufacturers, there was an explosion in fast food, a uniquely Southron and American invention. The first was Freeman's Grub n' Go. Founded in 1920 by Czech-Virginian Alexander Freeman, Freeman's served traditional Virginian fare alongside Virginianized Bohemian cuisine like schnitzel, smoked meats, and bratwurst. Although Freeman's would eventually get a serious contender in the form of Kelly's Irish Motor Pub, Freeman's remained the dominant chain in Virginia, although Kelly's had a little more success in Maryland. Freeman's also spread to Texas, Georgia, and in time, even Japan, Europa, and the Carolinas. Freeman's had more limited success in foreign markets due to local competition, but was still very successful overseas. Freeman's would remain one of the most dominant fast food chains on Earth. In Carolina, Smithfield's Stop n' Serve rose up in 1933, serving cheap BBQ, fried fish, hotdogs, and burgers. This was quickly followed by Corean Fried Chicken. Although Smithfield's remained an impressive force, it was CFC that took Carolina by storm. Serving buckets of fried chicken seasoned with a patented blend of Corean style spices and fried in the finest, fattiest Cackalacky lard, CFC was so good that Chancellor Gamble gave founder Jimmy Park the Confederate Order of Freedom, the highest civilian decoration in the Carolinas. The Cokies weren't alone in loving CFC. Southern Virginia had a love affair with the chain, and CFC would be the only foreign fast food chain allowed to operate on American soil. Later on, CFC took Corea by storm and became insanely, weirdly, popular in Israel. As in, eventually 7 in 10 chickens consumed by Israelis would be bought at CFC. Georgia had Uncle Vlad's Road Diner, which served traditional Georgian food and Georgianized Slavic food with aplomb. They were especially famous for their pierogis, which were legitimately some of the best in the Western Hemisphere. Uncle Vlad's also experienced a little foreign success, mainly in Texas. Speaking of Texas, the rootinest, tootinest, by God shootinest nation on Earth became the home of two famous fast food chains. The oldest in Texas, and actually one of the oldest on Earth, was Lone Star Slop Trough, founded in 1921 by Dick Alvarez. The Slop Trough served traditional Texan BBQ (beef opposed to pork or chicken), "Frontier Sandwiches" (Willy Wayne's Meat Slop on a bun), burgers, hotdogs, steaks and steak sandwiches, and their infamous Freedom Fries. Freedom Fries are like regular Potato Fries, but they're slathered in Willy Wayne's Frontier Style Chili, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and topped with sour cream. On the one hand, they're a delicious side, and a basket is included in every meal deal. On the other hand, health experts think they might be the least healthy food item on offer at any fast food joint (a hell of an accomplishment) and it isn't unheard of for the chili to give one the runs. Still, a truly remarkable trip to flavor town. Lone Star is not only a Texan staple, but has established a healthy presence in Virginia, Maryland, and strangely enough, Dutch and Germanian Africa. The white populations in these regions are enamored with the cowboy image, and see parallels to themselves, so they really enjoy Lone Star. The other Texan staple of fast food is Ricardo's TexMex Pit Stop, founded by Johnny Ricardo in 1949, which serves traditional Mexican food with a Texan twist. The "Custer Burrito" a 2.5 lb monstrosity of a burrito is especially famous. Ricardo's has locations across Texas, the URCA, Gran Colombia, and Japan. Needless to say, all these restaurant chains, which shaped the cuisine of the nations they arose in, wouldn't have existed without the various highway systems of the South.

Aside from enabling one to cram thousands of calories down their gullet in 10 minutes or less, the Southron highway systems were huge in facilitating travel. This drastically altered settlement patterns across the Southron nations. Thousands upon thousands of people in the super dense old cities, places like Richmond and Atlanta, left for wider pastures. Various governments actually encouraged the urban poor to settle the West, with Virginia's promise of "60 acres and an auto" being the most famous. This allowed for the true rise of many western cities, and boosted settlement in Old Mexico as well. Just as dramatically, suburbs began cropping up across the South, being especially popular in Carolina. This again fundamentally altered the way people lived, and was a direct result of the highway system. Various supermarket chains arose to feed these new suburbs, including Virginia's DominionMart and Texas's Frontier Supply and Sustenance. Fresh produce and canned goods were brought in from across North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe and laid at the feet of Southron consumers for incredible prices. Even the Georgians ate better than many Europeans and Fascists. This helped improve life expectancy and reduced extreme poverty drastically. Now, all but the poorest could get at least a little something in their bellies.

More than settlement and shopping, these roads created a nigh unending golden age for tourism. It was now possible to drive from Ocean City, Maryland to Jefferson City, Jefferson, in Central America. If one wanted efficiency, this would take about 85 hours, or roughly 7-10 days of driving. If you wanted to take the scenic coastal routes (as many did) you were looking at something getting close to 120-140 hours, or 10-18 days depending on how much you drove in a given day. Beyond this truly epic road trip, one could see the sights of places as disparate as Charlotte, New Orleans, Copperburg, and LA if they were willing to drive. Predictably, the freedom and ease this brought enthralled people. Road tripping became a huge part of Southron culture, and made them the envy of much of the world. The biggest travel destinations depended on where one was from. Virginians enjoyed going to Yakama, Mason City, Copperburg, Goldville, San Francisco, LA, Baltimore, Jefferson City, Charlotte, and New Orleans. Cokies tended to be more insular and went to domestic locations, although they loved Savannah to the point that they practically colonized the place. Another unusual quirk of the Cokies was a special package vacation offered by the Carolinian government in conjunction with private partners, dubbed the Grand Imperial Tour. The GIT was a package vacation that involved flying or taking a cruise to New Edinburgh, where the guests would then pick up a rental car, and drive the length of the CHS in Cokie Africa, stopping at various resorts along the way before flying out of Davis City. To ensure the government made money, it cost the equivalent of 4 years salary. It was all the rage. Families would pinch pennies to go, and your average middle class family could afford it about once a decade as long as they didn't take any big vacations in the meantime. This also helped to speed settlement in the region, which was hugely beneficial. When Cokies did go to foreign locales, Richmond, Savannah, Baltimore, Copperburg, and Yakama tended to be the favorites. Georgians also stuck close to home, although this was mostly a product of poverty as opposed to xenophobia. Nonetheless, road trips to New Orleans, San Antonio, and Tijuana were fairly common. Texans loved seeing their Mexican domain, Mexico City, and Jefferson City, not to mention LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Copperburg, Newport News, and New Jamestown. Predictably with all this traveling going on, motel chains popped up, each with a unique flavor. Virginia had the Nightaway Lodge, a Columbiana themed hotel founded in Louisville in 1926 by Billy O'Connor, that featured complimentary sweet tea, lemonade, and BBQ sandwiches. There was famously a Nightaway Lodge every 120 miles on the Liberty Route, and the chain also extended into Texas, Maryland, and very slightly into Carolina. The Cokies however, preferred their nation's favorite, Hampton Inn. Founded by Wade Hampton VI, a direct line descendant of Chancellor Wade Hampton III, in Nashville in 1930, Hampton Inn became the choice of middle class and more well-heeled road trippers. Hampton Inn was a touch more expensive than other motor lodges, partially due to the fact that it was more comfortable and well run, featuring big beds and a free breakfast buffet, and partially to keep the "riffraff" out. Nightaway and others gained a reputation for having no small number of delinquents, crazed college kids, criminals, junkies, and other such types frequent them. Hampton Inn was the choice of the respectable middle class family. The chain expanded first into Cokie Africa, where it opened more luxurious locations as part of the GIT program, then into Georgia, Virginia, and eventually Corea and the Union. Maryland surprisingly got in on the game with Baltimore Motor Lodge, founded in Baltimore in 1937 by Aidan Ronaldo, which heavily replicated Nightaway's business model, but featured complimentary rum and crab cakes instead of BBQ and sweet tea. The Baltimore Motor Lodge kept a decent hold on the domestic market, and also put down roots in Virginia, Texas, and weirdly, Europa, where people loved the ardently Catholic founder and the exotic Maryland feel. Rounding out this collection of interestingly themed motor homes is Texas's very own Longhorn Stop n' Saddle, founded in 1943 by Brazilian immigrant/refugee Marty Barboza, which had a heavy cowboy theme (even the staff were dressed as cowboys and cowgirls) and had famously massive room service steaks. Longhorn Stop n' Saddle became a staple in Texas, URCA, Virginia, and later caught on a bit in Japan and Dutch Africa. These roadside inns were massive hits, and would soon dominate the Southron highways alongside gas stations and fast food joints.

Another interesting development that can be largely attributed to the Southron highways is an idea of Southron Exceptionalism. All the Southron nations took pride in their Southron identity, even as they fiercely competed over who was more purely Southron. However, with the rise in tourism and economic growth that accompanied the highways, this competition actually took a little bit of a backseat to general pride in being Southron. You can drive from the Yankee-Maryland border wall down to Gran Colombia and never leave Southron civilization (the URCA was heavily Southronized after decades of imperialism). There were some extreme differences between parts of Southron civilization, but at the end of the day it was all recognizably Southron. This group of nations was, as a bloc, arguably the most powerful on Earth. If the Cokies joined the LSS and more fully cooperated with their neighbors, it probably would be. With the exception of Europe and Australia, they had a foothold on every continent. Wealth and goods flowed from all over the world into their nations. They invented the atomic bomb. Despite issues with authoritarianism, by global standards they were fairly free too. Is it any wonder then that the Southrons started to think that God blessed the South? If you ever take a road trip on these long, winding paths of asphalt, you might feel the same.


The 1967 Supremo Thoroughbred, nicknamed "The Tyrant of the Road" for its surprising speed


A standard room at Nightaway Lodge




A Texan supermarket, 1975
Maybe these alliances and highway networks are the beginning of an alt!Columbia Confederacy.
 
Quick question: In Alt! Madness are the South wealthier than the RU? Both ver 1.0 and 2.0 showed that the South weren’t as rich as RU, even for the Cokies.
I'd assume that the Southrons, having just suffered a major war, are firmly eclipsed by the RU at this point.
Here are my thoughts on the matter. Although I don't think the gap is as wide as it used to be, I would actually argue that ITTL, the Southrons are probably much richer than the Yankees. Let's take a look at the stats:

Virginia: Has the fertile land of Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, a Detroit/Chicago style industrial hub in New Jamestown, the oil, minerals, and ranch land of the Dakotas and Montana, and the minerals, ports, and timber of the Pacific Northwest, the wealth of Northern California, the minerals of Nevada and Utah, a Las Vegas style city in Copperburg, and the resources of Colorado and Wyoming. This is just the mainland. Then you remember that Japan is a super close ally a la pre-Steele Nippon, which gives them a gateway to Asia. They also own Hawaii, Hispaniola, Panama and the Panama Canal, and large swathes of Mexico, all of which have valuable resources and farmland, not to mention the tourism potential in these places, and TTL's center of the movie industry. Then you add in trade with the other Southrons, Europa, and other parts of Europe. Plus, they got a lot of that sweet sweet non-Anglo-Saxon immigration which really boosts population. Honestly, they might be somewhat wealthier than the RU on their own.

Carolina: Probably the third richest Southron, behind Virginia and Texas, but ahead of Maryland and Georgia. Their white population isn't as big due to their much more restrictive immigration policy, but one should never underestimate the breeding capacity of crazed white Southerners. They have a good amount of mineral wealth in the Appalachians and NC (OTL, the first American gold rush was in NC) some fairly decent cities in OTL Missouri, and then the insanely productive breadbasket of Kansas and Nebraska. Beyond that, Guyana is full of sugar land and minerals, and Cokie Africa enables economic activities as disparate (and profitable) as ranching, plantation farming, tourism, and diamond mining. Then add in their relationship with Corea, Protestant Europe, and their massive trade with the Free World and their other trade with the Southrons.

Maryland: Not terribly wealthy, but they probably have impressive industry and fishing, not to mention the tourism and agriculture dollars from Cuba and trade with their fellow Southrons and the Catholic world.

Texas: Let's see; Texan oil and cattle land, Arizonian and New Mexican minerals, the majority of OTL Mexico, the sun soaked land of SoCal, a virtual colony in Central America, the oil and agricultural land of Oklahoma, and control of New Orleans, as well as the island of Madagascar. Then throw in trade with the Southrons, Japan, Corea, and a good portion of Europe.

Georgia: Yeah, they're poor as shit. Good tourism and agriculture money tho.

Against this veritable economic juggernaut, the Union has essentially a Greater New England, Canada, Alaska, and a nice chunk of West Africa, plus trade with Britain, Scandinavia, Germania, Holland, Israel, New Judah (Ethiopia) and the Cokies and Coreans. That's not something to sneeze at, but I don't know if it can truly compete with the majority of North America, all of the Caribbean, all of Central America, huge swathes of Africa, and trade with much of the civilized world. That's not even factoring in the fact that they can get major sources of immigrants from places the Union never will. Plus, most of the GSW damage was inflicted on Georgia or places far away from major centers.
 
Here are my thoughts on the matter. Although I don't think the gap is as wide as it used to be, I would actually argue that ITTL, the Southrons are probably much richer than the Yankees. Let's take a look at the stats:

Virginia: Has the fertile land of Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, a Detroit/Chicago style industrial hub in New Jamestown, the oil, minerals, and ranch land of the Dakotas and Montana, and the minerals, ports, and timber of the Pacific Northwest, the wealth of Northern California, the minerals of Nevada and Utah, a Las Vegas style city in Copperburg, and the resources of Colorado and Wyoming. This is just the mainland. Then you remember that Japan is a super close ally a la pre-Steele Nippon, which gives them a gateway to Asia. They also own Hawaii, Hispaniola, Panama and the Panama Canal, and large swathes of Mexico, all of which have valuable resources and farmland, not to mention the tourism potential in these places, and TTL's center of the movie industry. Then you add in trade with the other Southrons, Europa, and other parts of Europe. Plus, they got a lot of that sweet sweet non-Anglo-Saxon immigration which really boosts population. Honestly, they might be somewhat wealthier than the RU on their own.

Carolina: Probably the third richest Southron, behind Virginia and Texas, but ahead of Maryland and Georgia. Their white population isn't as big due to their much more restrictive immigration policy, but one should never underestimate the breeding capacity of crazed white Southerners. They have a good amount of mineral wealth in the Appalachians and NC (OTL, the first American gold rush was in NC) some fairly decent cities in OTL Missouri, and then the insanely productive breadbasket of Kansas and Nebraska. Beyond that, Guyana is full of sugar land and minerals, and Cokie Africa enables economic activities as disparate (and profitable) as ranching, plantation farming, tourism, and diamond mining. Then add in their relationship with Corea, Protestant Europe, and their massive trade with the Free World and their other trade with the Southrons.

Maryland: Not terribly wealthy, but they probably have impressive industry and fishing, not to mention the tourism and agriculture dollars from Cuba and trade with their fellow Southrons and the Catholic world.

Texas: Let's see; Texan oil and cattle land, Arizonian and New Mexican minerals, the majority of OTL Mexico, the sun soaked land of SoCal, a virtual colony in Central America, the oil and agricultural land of Oklahoma, and control of New Orleans, as well as the island of Madagascar. Then throw in trade with the Southrons, Japan, Corea, and a good portion of Europe.

Georgia: Yeah, they're poor as shit. Good tourism and agriculture money tho.

Against this veritable economic juggernaut, the Union has essentially a Greater New England, Canada, Alaska, and a nice chunk of West Africa, plus trade with Britain, Scandinavia, Germania, Holland, Israel, New Judah (Ethiopia) and the Cokies and Coreans. That's not something to sneeze at, but I don't know if it can truly compete with the majority of North America, all of the Caribbean, all of Central America, huge swathes of Africa, and trade with much of the civilized world. That's not even factoring in the fact that they can get major sources of immigrants from places the Union never will. Plus, most of the GSW damage was inflicted on Georgia or places far away from major centers.
So what’s going with the Republican Union? Did the Southron nations manage to beat the Republican Union in the Great American War? Also is the RU as insane as the canon RU or are they relatively sane?
 
So what’s going with the Republican Union? Did the Southron nations manage to beat the Republican Union in the Great American War? Also is the RU as insane as the canon RU or are they relatively sane?
There's no Great American War in Alt! Madness, and Lincoln's Second Sons never fall, so no MDP or ORRA. The Roosevelt clan seems more sane than the Custer-Steele's too.
 
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