The following is intended to be a “one-shot” of the world of “TL-191: After the End” in October of 2162 - that is, three centuries after the original PoD and on the eve of the first interstellar expedition. Credit goes to rvbomally for providing the prompt and for drawing up an excellent map, which will be posted later. The text is broken up into sections. Each section will be posted each week. TL-191: After the End Before the Precipice It’s October 2162, and the American people are preparing to mark the 300th anniversary of the disastrous Battle of Camp Hill. It has long been a day of national mourning for the United States. If the sting of humiliation is no longer so viscerally felt by the people of one of the world’s strongest Great Powers, no one can forget the consequences that followed the shattering of the Army of the Potomac: over eighty years of independence for the Confederate States of America, which led to three more terrible North American wars, the last of which was waged against one of the vilest regimes in human history. The CSA may be long gone, but the wounds have never really healed since the Union’s final victory in 1944. * Elsewhere, the world’s attention is focused on a very different milestone. In a few weeks, the first manned interstellar expedition will reach its planned jump off point, somewhere just beyond the Solar System. The expedition is the first of its kind in many ways, comprised of men and women from both rival supranational Space Chase blocs: the (Brazilian/Chinese/Russian/US-led) Liberty Space Alliance and the (Austro-Hungarian/Bharati/Congolese/German-led) Eurasian-African Space Combine. The blocs’ rivalry has been put aside for several reasons: the leadership of the International Security Council hopes that a common effort of this magnitude will channel the Great Powers’ clashing ambitions further away from the world’s numerous frozen conflicts, disputed zones, and potential flashpoints. Practically, an expedition of this size and reach is far too expensive for one Space Chase bloc to launch on its own. Potentially, what the expedition ultimately discovers in the distant star system will require the Great Powers and their respective alliance blocs to put aside their differences and work together for a common purpose. The star system in question has been studied in depth for over four decades, and all signs point to a potential civilization inhabiting the Earth-sized planet orbiting through its star’s habitable zone. The signs are still not entirely clear from the last set of photos released to the public, but there is strong evidence of an industrial civilization on this world. The expedition will utilize what promises to herald the most revolutionary technological leap in human history up until now: the ability to move around the light barrier almost instantaneously (once the proper jump point is reached). The world waits with trepidation for the beginning of what promises to be a four-year-long expedition. Around the world, scientists, philosophers, writers, and political scientists alike have asked a question that has been wrestled with since the dawn of the Space Chase: if there is another civilization out in the cosmos, will it be friendly or will it be hostile? For an American public preparing to observe one of their most intense days of national mourning, thoughts can’t help but to turn towards their vanished but still universally hated Confederate enemy. In the USA, a variant of this old Space Chase question is being discussed across the Union: if there is an industrial civilization waiting to be found by the departing expedition, what if they discover a world where the worst has already come to pass? What if it’s a world where the wrong Great Powers triumphed in their version of the Second Great War? The Union braces for a long period of waiting and uncertainty. At least when the expedition returns in four years, the world will have a better idea on how to proceed in the face of a potentially existential crisis... Teams of Rivals The world of TL-191 in 2162 is a paradoxical one. On the one hand, this is a world defined by deeply ingrained economic and security alliances. On the other hand, it is a world that is still defined in many ways by 19th and early 20th Century notions of national prestige, especially when it comes to the relations between the Great Powers. On the one hand, the world has, as a whole, never been more interconnected and prosperous. There has not been a major global conflict since the end of the Long Crisis in the mid-to-late 2030s, while the last war involving at least two Great Powers was the Kashmir War between the Republic of Bharat and the former Ottoman Empire in the late 1990s. In 2162, all nations are members of the Geneva-based International Security Council (ISC). On the other hand, the world remains a militarized one, with the Great Powers all maintaining conscript-based armies and extensive military-industrial complexes - in a world where the victors of the terrible 20th Century Great Wars were the German Empire and the (heavily Kaiserreich-influenced) USA, perhaps this should not have been unexpected. Even though mass conscription is not necessarily the most efficient method of national defense in the late 22nd Century, it has been a part of national life for long in so many nations that moving towards an all volunteer army is still considered quite unusual (the Republic of Quebec is one of the few major powers that went down that route, and that was in the early 21st Century). Mandatory military service, usually coupled with some form of mandatory national service, is still the order of the day in many nations, and in all of the Great Powers. In its most narrow definition, the term “Great Powers” refers to the nations that sit on the ISC’s Permanent Council: the Empire of Austria-Hungary, the Empire of Brazil, the Republic of Bharat, the Republic of China, the German Empire, the Russian Republic, and the United States of America. In 2162, two other nations have broken into the “Great Power” category: the Congolese Federation and the (Qajar-ruled) Sublime State of Persia. Both of these nations have insisted on being granted membership on the Permanent Council of the ISC in several respective past campaigns (along with other nations, but that’s neither here or now). In 2162, both nations have managed to gain some measure of support from the other Great Powers - as well as intense opposition. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans support Persia’s bid to join the Permanent Council and oppose the bid of the Congolese Federation; the Brazilians support both the CF and Persian bids; the Bharatis support the CF and oppose Persia; the Chinese support both the CF and Persian bids; the Russians oppose the Persians and are neutral towards the CF; the USA supports the CF bid and is neutral towards the Persians. It’s complicated. Both the Congolese Federation and the Sublime State of Persia continue to press the matter, in spite of certain Great Powers opposing their respective bids. Compared to the other possible candidates for Permanent Council membership, both the CF and Persia have several advantages: they maintain sizable security and economic alliances of their own, significant national space programs of their own and (most controversially all) have achieved a degree of nuclear ambiguity beyond any plausible civilian use... - In the first few generations after the Second Great War, the German Empire and the USA revitalized their historic alliance on the basis of protecting their mutual monoploy on superbombs. For the most part this was achieved by a combination of (sometimes coercive) diplomacy and (if that didn’t work) outright sabotage. The Germans worked to ensure that Tsarist Russia did not gain the superbomb, while the USA conducted similar operations against the Imperial Japanese nuclear program (which was eventually sidelined in favor of other horrifying weapons of mass destruction). This German-US arrangment began to break down in the 1960s, when the new (Socialist-led) republican government of Russia moved to ally with the USA, while the Germans began to assist the Bharatis with their “civilian” nuclear program in the 1980s (as part of their support for Bharat’s program of military modernization against the Ottoman Empire and Pakistan). In 2162, all of the Great Powers are defined in part by their respective atomic infrastructures. Although only the German Empire and the USA have publically declared superbomb arsenals, all of the Permanent Council members possess arsenals of their own - untested on Earth as a courtesy to Washington and Berlin. - Most of the security and economic alliances established after the end of the Second Great War in 1944 have survived into the 22nd Century, although none of the Great Powers can claim total economic or political exclusivity over their respective blocs in 2162. In an economically interdependent world, the smaller powers have long learned how to play the rival Great Powers off against one another. For example, the Chinese and the USA long ago broke the Bharati economic dominance in the Southeast Asian member states of the Chennai Pact, while Brazilian companies have made their presence felt as far away as Mexico, Texas, and the African constituent states of the Portuguese Federation. The Bharatis, Chinese, Persians, and Russians continue their “Great Game” in Central Asia, while Bharat, the (Austro-Hungarian/German-led) European Community, Egypt, Kurdistan, Persia, and Russia play an even more intense Great Game against each other across the Middle East. The Kingdom of Turkey and the Commonwealth of Zion are the most powerful Middle Eastern member states of the European Community; some observers argue that Constantinople and Jerusalem might enjoy wider regional influence if they could only overcome their mutual dislike of each other, which German mediation has so far been unable to mend. The Congolese Federation, like the other African member states of the DWV, was once the subject to numerous Austro-Hungarian and German economic monopolies. In 2162, that old EC economic dominance is long gone, courtesy both of growing Brazilian, Bharati, Chinese, and US corporate influence and the leadership of the CF, which by the 22nd Century considers the DWV to be anachronistic at best and intolerable at worst. What all of this means for the world’s two great supranational alliance blocs remains to be seen. - These two supranational alliance blocs both grew out of earlier 20th and 21st Century arrangements. The Oceanic Treaty Organization (OTO) between Brazil, China, Russia, and the USA originated with the old Pacific Economic and Security Accord (PESA) signed between the victors of the Fourth Pacific War (China, Russia, and the USA); the OTO also originated from (and still compliments) the Brazilian-US-led Council of the Western Hemisphere (CWH). The OTO was ratified in 2030, as the Long Crisis began to wind down and the frozen conflict between Bharat and China began to flare up yet again. The Eurasia-Africa Economic Community grew out of the alliance forged between the (Austro-Hungarian/German-led) European Community, the Bharati-led Chennai Pact, and the member states of the German Economic Association (DWV) over the course of the Long Crisis from the 2010s until the 2030s. This alliance has generally held, even as the African member states of the DWV gradually formed their own alliance during the early 2010s - the African Economic and Defense Association (AWV). Originally established in reaction to the chaos engendered by the multifaceted military conflicts of the Long Crisis, the AWV, centered around the military power of the Congolese Federation, gradually supplanted the German-led DWV in terms of power and prestige on the continent. In 2162, the Eurasia-Africa Economic Community looks as though it’s headed for a split. Unlike our world’s Cold War-era NATO and Warsaw Pact, these two alliances are not mutually exclusive: in theory, the Austro-Hungarians, Bharatis, Congolese, and Germans could join OTO, while at the very least (in theory) China and Russia could join the Eurasia-Africa Economic Community. In the late 22nd Century, there is no contradiction seen in being a Great Power in alliance with another Great Power while competing in different parts of the world for economic and military dominance with that same ostensible Great Power ally. The best example of this phenomenon is China and Russia allying through OTO yet competing against each other for influence in Central Asia (and also pursuing decidedly different policies towards the Bharatis and Persians, respectfully). - Antarctica was divided into spheres of influence and outright control by the early 21st Century, and remains divided along relatively unchanged borders in 2162. - The world’s alliance systems have been shaped in the 21st and 22nd Centuries in other ways as well; especially by the ongoing Space Chase and the harsh challenges posed by ongoing climate change... The Final Frontier The Inner Solar System is starting to get crowded. In 2162, the total “off world” population is just over 150,000 people. Of this total population, some 75,000 people live on the Moon; some 60,000 people live on Mars; the remaining 15,000 “off-worlders” are divided between an assortment of near-Earth space stations. Needless to say, life is far from easy in these hostile environments; in spite of the grandiose promises heard from governments all over the world of the inevitable mass settlement of the cosmos, a vigorous selection process means that very few candidates for the Lunar and Martian colonies actually make the cut. The leadership of the International Security Council (through its Secretariat of Space Exploration) has frequently expressed the hope that the exploration and colonization of Outer Space will be a field of cooperation among the world’s nations. Privately the ISC has long since resigned itself to the fact Outer Space will be yet another arena for Great Power rivalry. If there is a silver lining to the competition of the Space Chase, it’s that the cosmos is surely large enough for every nation’s territorial ambitions. And given the high stakes of the upcoming Interstellar Expedition, surely the prospect of a potentially hostile alien civilization will be enough to paper over the plethora of long standing disputes as to which Space Chase bloc will dominate the Solar System. Surely. - In 2162, there are still two overarching Great Power blocs that compete in the ongoing Space Chase: the (Brazilian/Chinese/Russian/US-led) Liberty Space Alliance (LSA) and the (Austro-Hungarian/Bharati/Congolese/German-led) Eurasia-Africa Space Combine (EASC). The EASC dominates the Moon, while the LSA dominates Mars. This competition is not necessarily hostile - at least not hostile in the same manner as world’s US-USSR Space Race (although the Bharatis and Chinese still dislike each other, while the tensions on Earth between the European Community and the Congolese Federation may lead to dramatic changes in the trajectory of off world settlement). The EASC bases on the Moon routinely allow for LSA craft to depart for Mars, while the LSA always accepted that their rivals would have a place on the Fourth planet during and after the Terraforming. The ongoing (LSA-led) Great Terraforming of Mars has, after seven decades of fits and starts, started to show results: use the terminology of Kim Stanley Robinson’s trilogy of novels, “Red Mars” is beginning to give ground to “Green Mars”. The Great Powers all have territorial ambitions on Mars, with the Great Power members of the LSA already committed to a division of the planet). The EASC is none to pleased at this arrangement (but at least still maintain their near monopoly on Lunar helium-3 mining). - The Great Powers all share still wider spaceborne ambitions, once the technology and the funding catches up with the goals of the politicians. Asteroid mining has been the Next Great Thing since the 2030s, while robotic probes have scouted the moons of Jupiter and Saturn for potential strategic strongholds. After all, in a world of Great Power rivalries and in a world with an extremely martial culture, the military aspect of the cosmos has only grown in importance. There have been any number of (ISC-brokered) treaties signed by the Great Power blocs over the last century and a half banning the use of space-based weaponry in a hostile manner; testing said weaponry is another matter (after all the Solar System is a big place). Slowly but surely, the first generation of transports and (small) destroyers began to be tested away from the prying eyes of the world’s extended network of telescopes. All of the Great Powers now have branches in their respective militaries devoted exclusively to space-based weaponry; for example, the United States Space Force is directly descended from both the Air Force and the military branch of the Department of Technology. Of course, none of these respective space-borne military forces areparticularly large; yet with the recent discovery of a potential alien civilization in a fairly close star system, these forces are projected only to expand. Needless to say, the upcoming Interstellar Expedition is not an unarmed one. - The Space Chase has changed the world in more ways than one. From aerospace to robotics, from Big Tech to Eco Tech, technology has been inevitably shaped by the demands of space exploration (perhaps most visible by way of the hypersonic craft that transport freight and passengers at record speeds or the space ports that now dot the world). In a world where all nations were affected (to differing degrees) by the societal problems and conflicts over automation, the Space Chase encouraged many nations to heavily invest in STEM centered national education curricula. Being selected to spend any time off world (much less for Lunar or Martian colonization) is considered a great honor in almost every nation. This long period of competitive exploration has shaped the world’s competing alliance systems as well. Many nations have used their old alliances with their respective Great Power patrons to advance their own presence off world. Some nations (such as the Congolese Federation and the Sublime State of Persia) quietly plan to build their own Space Chase-based alliance blocs, to varying degrees of wariness from the more established Great Powers. The Space Chase has shaped the world’s culture as well. In a world shaped by fears of Great Power conflict and traumatized by ongoing climate change, Outer Space is seen by many as the ultimate bolt hole; any number of politicians and political-social movements have arisen over the last century to demand greater government investment in technology to bring as many people off world at a time as possible. The confirmation of alien life in the 21st Century and the possible discovery of an alien civilization in the 22nd Century has only added emphasis to these old popular demands. After all, should the worst come to pass after First Contact, it’s best if mankind is spread out as far as possible... - The first confirmation of extraterrestrial life came in the form of fossilized microbes discovered on Mars in the 2050s and around deep water vents on Europa (via robotic probe) in the 2070s. While these discoveries had incalculable effects on the world’s cultural and religious sensibilities, the first images released to the public in the 2110s of a possible industrial civilization located on an Earth-like planet orbiting the habitable zone of a nearby star sparked fear in many quarters. In a world still haunted by the horrors of the 20th and early 21st centuries (and shaped by generations of dystopian science fiction), the worst was assumed by many, including the highest political and military echelons of the Great Powers... ...yes, a closer investigation is surely needed. The Interstellar Expedition, consisting of two dozen vessels and crewed by men and women from both of the Space Chase blocs, at least promises to provide the world’s decision makers enough information (upon its return in four years) to plan mankind’s next steps. Green Blues In 2162, the environment is an ongoing worldwide concern. For almost a century and a half, the world has been buffeted by the effects of Global Warming . Certain regions of the world have suffered from extreme drought, while other regions - particularly low lying coastal areas and islands - have suffered from the flooding that came with both rising sea levels and intensifying storm systems. The effects of this climatic upheaval are most viscerally seen around the world in the form of the massive sea walls and barriers that surround the large coastal cities, from Rio de Janeiro to Hamburg, from New York City to Mumbai, from Shanghai to Kinshasa-Ncuna  and many others in between. Although very few cities have been lost to the sea (sadly Miami was one of them) many around the world wonder if a “normal” life along the coasts will be ever be possible again. - Any sense of “normalcy” has been further undermined by the mass displacement of people by Global Warming-related disasters. Over the last century and a half, tens of millions of people have been forced to leave their homes due to either flooding, drought, or intensifying storm systems. Much of this migration has been internal (particularly within the Great Powers). Over the last century and a half, millions of people in Bharat, Brazil, China, and the USA have moved away from coastal regions (in the USA, there has also been a steady internal migration north to New England, the Canadian states, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska). Many climate refugees were resettled under by the (ISC-run) International Refugee Organization (IRO) as close to their countries of origin as possible (particularly those displaced from the drought-ravaged Sahel or from low-lying Southeast Asia). Smaller numbers of climate refugees have been resettled by the IRO as far away as the Western Hemisphere or Europe. In the apocalyptic cultural moment of 2162, many around the world can’t help but wonder if there will be anywhere on Earth to run to if these disasters keep escalating... - In spite of the threats and problems posed by Global Warming in 2162, there has not been an apocalyptic environmental collapse. The international response to Global Warming was shaped by several factors during the twenty first and twenty second centuries. In most nations, the general public was quick to accept the alarming findings by climate scientists (industry-funded skepticism could not blunt the widespread trust that the scientific community enjoyed around the world); the militaristic cultures in most nations meant that Global Warming was seen early on by governments as a national security concern ; the emergence of a powerful Ecological (Ecoist) movement ensured that environmental issues would almost always enjoy a hearing before policymakers. Technological developments over the last century and a half have (somewhat) mitigated the worst effects of Global Warming. Ecopower and Ecotecture  are par the course around the world – even in those countries that still produce petroleum for export. Water in many nations is recycled or desalinated, meat tends to be lab grown, and farming tends to be urban and vertical. Cloning technology and genetic engineering is advanced enough to bring back species wiped out by the spread by industrial activity and Global Warming, though often with modifications to survive the changing biosphere. - The Ecological (Ecoist) movement has come a long way as of 2162. From its origins as a 1970s Brazilian political party and social movement, Ecoism as an ideology has never enjoyed greater mainstream appeal. Ecological Parties are present in most nations, in varying degrees of size and influence (in the USA, the Republican and Socialist Parties absorbed many Ecoist ideas). However, like the Socialist parties of old, the Ecological parties were not immune to ideological feuding and splintering. Broadly speaking the Ecoist movement is still divided as of 2162 into two competing ideological factions: the Brazilian faction (whose parties push for “realigning” civilization with the natural world) and the Russian faction (whose parties push for “re-wilding” the world). If both Ecoist factions can agree on one thing, it’s that the Ecological Union of Japan does not represent anyone but themselves. As more than one observer has said since the early 2010s, the Ecological Union “…is not very Ecological, nor much of a Union.” - There were high hopes around the world in 2011, as the oppressive and corrupt (Syndicalist) Japanese Worker’s Republic  was overthrown in a (relatively) peaceful uprising known to outsiders as the Japanese Spring and within the Ecological Union as the Final Revolution. The uprising was spearheaded by a Japanese Ecoist movement long oppressed by the Syndicalist authorities and long inspired by a utopian vision: of a world where the state (and by extension, high technology) would no longer have the means to tyrannize and exploit. At first, the signs seemed promising; the newly installed Ecological Collective in Tokyo did not engage in the brutalizing policies favored by the former Syndicalist and Imperial regimes (the extensive network of labor camps maintained by the Syndicalists were closed). Most hopefully, the Ecological Collective issued a public apology for the atrocities committed by the Japanese Empire in China and Southeast Asia during the Fourth Pacific War. Normalized diplomatic ties with the rest of the world might have followed, if the Ecological Collective had not also declared that their revolution would not be complete until “…we [mankind] are all one Union, free from the dead chains of government and technology.” Where the Final Revolution failed to emerge organically, it would be brought about by “…your liberators in the All Volunteer Ecological Brigade.” In 2162, the Ecological Union has long since lost that early revolutionary spirit (any talk about deploying the All Volunteer Ecological Brigade beyond the newly formed Ecological Union stopped after China, Russia, and the USA threatened to launch a joint invasion in reaction to the 2011 address). Behind its Ecoist façade, the Ecological Union gradually transformed into a society every bit as stagnant and socially rigid as the former Japanese Workers Republic. The early revolutionary disdain for technology and industry has evolved into an ideology of fatalism: schools across the Ecological Union teach every generation that the world is doomed (due to the world’s failure to adopt “Correct Ecological Principals”), and that if mankind is to survive, it is necessary to return to the “Organic Principles” of civilization—first and foremost a return to an era when everyone happily contributed to their local communities through farming. In 2162, most of the population of the Ecological Union has effectively been enserfed to work in massive farming complexes (both in the villages and in the vertical urban farmscrapers). Education is tailored in the Ecological Union towards ensuring that all citizens appreciate the joys of working in the “Ecological Farm Force”. Higher ranking jobs in farm management or “Ecological Collectivization” are reserved for the Ecological Union’s few true believers.  Needless to say, the quality of life in the Ecological Union is very low (unless you belong to the ruling Ecological Collective). In a society which rejects vaccines, denounces powered flight as a “fabrication” and Space Exploration as a “cynical anti-Earth conspiracy”, any signs of dissent (real or imagined) are dealt with swiftly: as in the days of the Japanese Worker’s Republic, those arrested by the All Volunteer Ecological Brigade are unceremoniously expelled from the Ecological Union: most wind up in the Republic of Ezo (on Hokkaido), others wind up as far away as the Empire of Brazil or the USA. (There’s a reason that the All Volunteer Ecological Brigade is exempt from the official disdain for high technology). The large Japanese diaspora around the world is mostly concentrated in Ezo, Latin America, the Philippines, and the USA. Many movements and parties exist in “Japan Overseas” that denounce the Ecological Union and call for “reunion” between the sundered Home Islands. The possibility of such a reunion (much less the overthrow of the Ecological Union) is a remote possibility as of 2162. It would require the support of the Great Powers — specifically, the support of the Great Powers who comprise the Oceanic Treaty Organization (OTO): the Empire of Brazil, the Republic of China, the Russian Republic, and the USA. Although the respective leaderships of the OTO Big Four all agreed generations ago that the overthrow of the Ecological Union is a worthy cause, there has never been an agreement as to what should come afterwards. A consensus did emerge that any campaign against the Ecological Union would only be undertaken together. At the moment (in spite of quiet Brazilian, Chinese, and Russian lobbying), the Americans are not particularly interested in such a campaign. The USA has other national security concerns at the moment, and there aren’t really the forces to spare from Washington’s current engagements around the Compact of Democratic States… *  [The Long Crisis refers to a series of international crises that lasted from 2010 until the mid-to-late 2030s. It refers to the wars, civil conflicts, and humanitarian crises that followed the Ottoman Dissolution in the early 2010s, the Pakistan Dissolution in the mid 2010s, and the three ISC-backed “Coalition Wars” launched by different Great Power alliances in response to these upheavals throughout the Middle East, the Sahel, and some areas of South Asia.]  [The effects of Global Warming have been felt more acutely (so far) than IOTL due to more nations developing advanced industrial economies by the beginning of the 21st Century in comparison to our world.]  [Kinshasa-Ncuna is the capital of the Congolese Federation (which comprises the territory of our world’s Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo). It is a megalopolis that straddles both banks of the Congo River, on roughly the same site as the OTL cities of Kinshasa and Brazzaville. Known as “Wilhelmsville” during German colonial rule and the first post-independence generation, the city was renamed during an early surge of Congolese nationalism in the late 2010s.]  [In the USA, the Army Corps of Engineers are one of the most prestigious parts of the Armed Forces.]  [TTL’s terms for “renewable energy” and “green building”, respectively. The various Ecological Parties are analogous to OTL’s various Green Parties. However, no Ecoist party in 2162 could be called pacifist, or opposed to nuclear power.]  [The Japanese Worker’s Republic (JWR) was itself established towards the end of the Fourth Pacific War (1967-1970), the devastating conflict between the militarist Empire of Japan and an alliance consisting of the USA/CDS, the Russian Republic, and Chinese republican forces. The Fourth Pacific War also saw massive nationalist uprisings throughout Southeast Asia against the Japanese Empire, as well as two civil wars: one between the Japanese army and navy around the falling Empire and Co-Prosperity Sphere, and between the Syndicalist revolutionaries and Imperial loyalists in the Home Islands.]  [In 2162, the Ecological Union of Japan resembles the dystopian future society portrayed in Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. ] * * * The next section will cover the USA and the member states of the Compact of Democratic States (CDS) in 2162.