TL-191: After the End

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by David bar Elias, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. GeorgeUK Massively Multiplayer Contributor

    Joined:
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Calley
     
  2. Zmflavius Pelor Vult

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    TRAVELLER RETURNING
    Except he wasn't hanged; in fact, he received a slap on the wrist. And the worst part was that there was in fact a public outcry that he was given even such a minimal sentence.
     
  3. David bar Elias Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    2000-2009:


    January 1, 2000 onwards—The US economy, after the tumultuous 1990s, finally settles into a period of sustained growth. During the 2000s, much of this growth, the fastest of any time period since the mid-1960s, is driven by the rapid spread of new Big Tech technologies, in particular those derived from the spread of the Combo-Net. Concurrent to this new wave of Big Tech-related growth, however, is a tightening of standards for funding new startups on the part of the Department of Technology.

    Coupled with the expansion of the US economy is a new surge in immigration rates, at levels not seen since the early years of the twentieth century. As the nations of Latin America begin to enter a demographic transition in terms of their rates of population growth—which comes with their respective higher levels of domestic growth, this region is gradually surpassed as a source for immigrants by the African member-states of the German Economic Association: Biafra, the Congolese Federation, Kamerun, Oyo, Senegambia, Sokoto, and Tanganyika are the main sources of immigrants from this region. Many of these immigrants, with advanced academic degrees and fluent (in many cases) in three or even four languages, have little trouble finding well-paying jobs upon arrival, particularly for the large multi-nationals.

    There is also an uptick in immigration to the US from Great Zimbabwe, Kenya, and the Portuguese Federation during the 2000s. Many political scientists and sociologists note, with a mixture of irony and speculative fear, that many of these African immigrants (as well as immigrants from South Asia and elsewhere) are settling in the great urban centers of the Mid-Atlantic states, and that they are forming neighborhood enclaves in close proximity to the “Dixielands” formed by migrating Southerners. The fears of these observers will be realized in the West Philadelphia Riots of July 2007.

    In spite of the relatively good economy, the United States is not free from social problems. One lingering effect from the Tech Recession’s years of high unemployment and social dislocation is the persistence of violent street gangs. Although gangs have been a problem throughout US history, it has only been since the 1990s, and well into the 2000s that they appear to the public at large as a pressing national threat. A smaller percentage of these gangs are motivated by racism and xenophobia, mostly directed against the different immigrant communities in the major cities. These racist subcultures are known in the media and society at large as “roundheads” for the shaved heads favored by the members of these groups. [1]

    The high rates of immigration begin to put pressure on the real-estate markets in many American cities. For the first time since the end of the Second Great War many cities, particularly in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, begin to expand their boundaries. The Department of Housing provides loans to those who wish to achieve home ownership; during the 2000s, either well-to-do immigrants or else those leaving the relatively more expensive city centers quickly fill up these new “exurbs.”

    With the return of good economic times, many US states and cities begin projects to upgrade their older infrastructure. This is mostly achieved with help from appropriations garnered through Congress’s cooperation with the Infrastructure Bank of the United States.

    To stem the tide of out-migration, many Southern states begin pursuing policies to attract residents from outside of the region. Most of these agents extoll the South’s pro-business climate, coupled with cheap real estate in their arguments. These policies do work, to a certain extent. During the 2000s, the South does experience in-migration from the rest of the country, especially from those attracted by the climate and the comparatively lower costs of living. However, the localities that benefit the most from these trends tend to be focused in certain areas, such as the Gulf Coast, Florida, or Virginia (which border the tourist-laden Caribbean and the wealthier Mid-Atlantic states, respectively). Several Southern states, including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi legalize gambling in order to increase revenues and boost tourism.

    One of the long-term effects of Flora Madison’s historical novel Ghostlands is its inspiration for many other American writers to attempt similar projects. With few exceptions, most of products from this new wave of historical fiction fail to match Ghostlands in critical or critical or commercial success. The only novels that arguably comes close in that regard is the “Liberty Trilogy” by Liam Jones. Each novel in the trilogy—Life (2004), Liberty (2006), and Pursuit of Happiness (2009)—examines these themes with a vast cast of loosely linked characters over a period stretching from the end of the Second Great War to the beginning of the Fourth Pacific War. [2]

    US politics also takes a quieter term, after the controversies of the DeFrancis Administration and the fierce electoral contests of 1992 and 1996. Both the Democrats and the Socialists remain frustrated by their failure over the last two decades to successfully run the same incumbent president for two consecutive terms. The Republicans, in the meantime, continue to make aggressive efforts to expand their party’s base into previous Democratic and Socialist bastions, such as the Caribbean, New England, and the Pacific states, to varying degrees of success.

    During the 2000s, the hunt by the Remembrance Center and the OSS for the surviving ex-Confederate war criminals begins to come to a close, as the remaining camp guards and Freedom Party functionaries not captured in previous decades are finally unearthed around the world, particularly in Latin America. Throughout this time, the Empire of Brazil (and the other South American member states of the Council of the Western Hemisphere) assist the Americans in finding and turning over wanted fugitives who are still at large in their nations, or at the very least uncovering what happened to those who evaded justice for so long.

    As in the 1990s, the Remembrance Center, in coordination with the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., continues to collect testimonies from the remaining survivors throughout both Haiti and the United States.

    * * *

    The Brazilian economy also benefits from increasing economic globalization during the 2000s, as overseas investment in the country continues to increase, in expectation of the new opportunities that some international observers see in the advent of the new Council of the Western Hemisphere.

    The Empire of Brazil quietly begins to boost its own domestic space agency in the early 2000s by launching a new drive to recruit foreign talent. Many astronomers, engineers, and technicians arrive from the Ottoman Empire, whose own space program has been effectively gutted by the ravages of the Kashmir War and the Sultan’s hostility to collaborating with Brazil on further launches.

    Like the United States, Brazil begins to feel the social pressures stemming from massive waves of immigration from overseas (mostly from the Middle East). Most immigrants are resettled on the edges of the major cities in exurbs known colloquially as “favelas.” [3] Many municipal governments throughout Brazil struggle to expand city services to these brand new urban agglomerations; during the 2000s, the anti-immigrant movement that emerges in the country (a cross-section of all of the major Brazilian political parties) uses the presence of the favelas as a rallying cry to restrict the number of immigrants allowed in annually.


    * * *

    The Third Wave of the Russian Renaissance is considered by historians to have begun in April of 2001 with the publication of Vasily Bunin’s novel Cavalry to the Stars. Bunin’s story, which takes place on a distant planet contested in a multi-sided struggle for domination by feuding Earth-based mega-corporations and the indigenous alien population, effectively invents the new genre of Science Fantasy. Science Fantasy quickly comes to dominate the commercial book market in the Russian Republic, and spreads in popularity throughout the world. [4]

    Many science fantasy works inspired by Bunin’s novel are adopted into ballets. Ruslan Pirogov’s Petrograd Ballet stages some of the most spectacular science fantasy-inspired productions. Pirogov’s dancers are particular popular throughout Bharat, Brazil, China, the European Community, and the United States.

    Another trend in the Russian Renaissance’s Third Wave is that it is far more outward looking than the previous two. Aside from the international popularity of Fabrika-Punk, it’s in the 2000s that many modern Russian literary works (from the First Wave) are finally translated and published abroad. The Russian Orthodox Church also begins to fund overseas missionaries, under the influence of the fervor from the Rassvet; most of this activity is directed towards the German Empire, or else Russia’s PESA allies, the Chinese Republic and the United States.

    Contemporary Russian culture is roiled throughout the 2000s by widespread social conflict between those who have become caught up in the religious fervor of the Rassvet and the youthful participants in the Fabrika-Punk subculture.

    Another major facet of the Russian Renaissance’s Third Wave is a sudden surge in worldwide popularity for Russian Fabrika-Punk bands. During the 2000s, many Russian Fabrika-Punk groups finally achieve break out success in the massive Brazilian and US markets. Notable Fabrika-Punk bands include Cowshed, Envy, Locomotor Nihilist, The Plastic Barrels, and Red Noon. In both Brazil and the United States, this surge in popularity of Fabrika-Punk becomes known as the “Russian Invasion.”

    Alongside the bands of the Russian Invasion, there are numerous other Fabrika-Punk influenced bands from Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Ukraine that begin to play the Brazilian and US circuits. Perhaps the best remembered of this set of bands is Kire Risto’s Austro-Hungarian band Bijav. [5]

    The Third Wave of the Russian Renaissance will not come to an end until the advent of the Great Housing Crash in the fall of 2019.


    * * *

    During the 2000s, China adjusts to its newly liberalized political system. President Xue Chen, as well as his successor Li Guozhi (elected in 2004), continues to push for further reforms of China’s political institutions, although national authority in the Chinese a Republic remains top-heavy during this decade.

    Protests continue to be a fact of life throughout China, mostly in rural areas in which residents are displaced by heavy commercial development. However, unlike in the past, the police are ordered to allow protests to be held, as long as they remain non-violent. The Ecological Party of China also benefits from this liberalized political environment: during the 2000s, the Ecological Party rapidly expands its reach across China. EPC candidates capture the powerful mayoralties of Hong Kong, Guangdong, Shanghai, and Tianjin, and many more in the smaller towns and villages throughout the country. In these areas, the EPC tends to run municipal reformers, who promise to expand services to match the growing urban populations.

    President Xue continues to seek a comprehensive free trade agreement with Russia and the United States, although it will not be until the late 2010s when a final accord is signed. Domestically, Xue indicates his support for a greater “ecological awareness,” as China begins to grapple with the impact of almost forty years’ worth of pollution related to its industrial development.

    The Chinese also begin a new round of modernization for their armed forces during the 2000s, supported by the United States in the form of technical advisors and other military contractors. This activity is primarily directed against Bharat, which China now views as its primary international rival. Anti-Bharati sentiment reaches a fever pitch during the Years of Rage, from 2001 to 2007.

    One of the immediate side effects of the easing of government censorship in China is surge in the popularity of Chinese cinema worldwide, particularly in the Russian Republic and the United States, where Chinese action, crime, and historical films enjoy a great amount of popularity.

    * * *

    The Japanese Worker’s Republic continues to slide both into greater isolationism and internal tyranny during the 2000s. Unlike People’s Friend Sakamoto, who generally remained aloof from cultivating any kind of popular image, People’s Friend Himura Tamiko aggressively begins to form her own cult of personality. Himura declares herself the “logical and completely correct heir” of “Sakamoto-Himura Correct Syndicalist Thought.” Her initiatives include suppressing news of the outside world, and ruthlessly cracking down on any sign of dissent, real or imagined. As the Republic of Ezo begins to limit the number of expellees accepted into their nation in the early 2000s (beyond limited initiatives to reunify families), the JWR begins to force dissidents into work camps; Himura declares, in a speech on May 1, 2002, that all those consigned to forced labor will be, “…fully utilized for the construction of a refined and streamlined worker’s state.”

    Under Himura’s rule, the JWR’s already legendary intrusive (and often corrupt and incompetent) bureaucracy becomes even more all encompassing, going through its “Sixth Tier” and “Seventh Tier” reorganizations in 2002 and 2009 respectively. Declared by Himura that this will result in a “...new dawn of beautiful and perfectly harmonious popular governance,” these two series of reorganizations only serve to centralize power even further in the offices of the People’s Friend and the security services.

    In spite of Himura’s ruthlessness in curtailing domestic opposition, she finds herself limited by economic realities. Trade with the outside world increases during the 2000s (even if it is often conducted through a complicated network of intermediaries). The JWR also has a flourishing black market, which the Syndicalists only tolerate due to their reliance on its activities to avoid a total economic stagnation. It is estimated by outside observers that Himura and her extended family make over one hundred million dollars per year through skimming illegal trade alone.

    The Ecological Party of Japan continues its covert activities, claiming that only they hold the keys to a free and “truly democratic future” for the Japanese people. Social tensions continue to rise in the JWR throughout the decade, until they explode into the open during the Japanese Spring, which begins in March of 2011.

    * * *

    The European Community also benefits from the newly expanding international economy during the 2000s, although social problems from the Tech Recession remain going concerns in many nations, as in the United States.

    Some European leaders, most notably French President Yves Sauveterre, begin to call for new measures to further integrate the continent. Sauveterre in particular calls for the adoption of a common currency to, “…facilitate the creation of a single economic unit that can compete on a level playing field with the other great blocs.”

    Sauveterre’s initiatives are not particularly well received. Although the Austro-Hungarians and the Germans are not necessarily to one day adopting a new currency for the entirety of the European Community, both Berlin and Vienna fear that backlash that would likely result from the other nations in the EC that were always cool to the idea of the Austro-Hungarian-German domination of the bloc.

    The European Community also benefits from the growing alliance between the German Empire and the Republic of Bharat. The Bharatis, as a side-affect of signing lucrative contracts with Berlin and Vienna, also begin to forge close economic ties with the other members of the EC, especially the oil-rich Italian Empire, Portuguese Federation, and the Kingdom of Romania. The Bharatis also pursue deals with the mineral rich states of the German Economic Association in competition with the Americans, Brazilians, Chinese, and Russians.

    Another corollary to the closer alliance between Germany and Bharat is a wider wave of European investment within the member states of the Chennai Pact.

    The slow-motion disintegration of the Ottoman Empire emerges as the number one national security concern for the member states of the European Community. Although most refugees from civil wars tearing the empire apart flee to Brazil or the United States, smaller numbers elect to remain within the member states of the European Community. Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy in particular emerge as the most popular destinations for displaced members of the Ottoman intelligentsia; like the Brazilians, the Austro-Hungarians and the Germans specifically recruit scientists (especially scientists who once worked on the empire’s space program) to work on their projects.

    * * *

    In the aftermath of their victory in the Kashmir War, Bharati politics continues to remain tumultuous. In the early 2000s, there are brutal sectarian clashes in several regions of the country, especially in Gujarat, where anti-Muslim riots in the spring of 2000 and the summer of 2001 require military intervention to bring them to a halt.

    There is widespread anger in Bharat that in spite of the years of fighting and calls for national sacrifice, only slightly more than half of Kashmir itself was retaken from Pakistan. On the other hand, Bharat’s political leadership, led first and foremost by Prime Minister Saranjit Iyengar and his successor, Viraj Mittal are more concerned about the eventual possibility of facing “encirclement”, from a hostile China, Ottoman Empire, and Pakistan.

    To this end, the Bharatis spend most of the 2000s cultivating stronger alliances with both the Germans and the European Community, and the Russians and the Council of Astrakhan. New Delhi also continues its cooperation with the Russians in flooding the Ottoman Empire with large numbers of weapons (mostly Ottoman or Pakistani devices captured in the war) in the hopes of destabilizing Constantinople’s rule over the Middle East. By 2009, Bharat has emerged as the primary sponsor of the Ibadi rebels in the southeastern reaches of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the primary suppliers of the Druze and Jewish militias in the western-most vilyats of the empire.

    During the 2000s, the Bharatis also begin a new round of military expansion. This partially stems from a need to complete their previous modernization programs put on hold by the Kashmir War, and partially due to the re-emergence of China as their primary rival. Throughout the decade, the Bharatis increase both their military spending, as well the volume of material purchased from German arms manufacturers. This expansion of Bharati militarization sparks a similar response from China, leading to a long period of sustained tensions between the two great powers, which will not be brought to a close until the mid-2040s.

    The Bharatis also continue to end advisors to their allies in the Chennai Pact to continue the modernization and expansion of their respective militaries. This process is especially pronounced in Ethiopia and Kenya, which were on the front lines during the Kashmir War.

    * * *

    Pakistan, under the militarist dictatorship of Marshal Galal Khan, continues its repressive policies during the 2000s. In order to prevent “outside corruption and interference,” Khan methodically expels the foreign ambassadors of any nation that displeases his regime; by 2009, there are very few outside institutions in the country at all.

    The picture that emerges from refugees from Pakistan is a nightmarish world where the military and the intelligence services are permitted free reign to root out all “anti-state activities”—which results in the disappearance of many thousands of people. Those targeted for the most vicious persecution include Pakistan’s Ahmadi, Christian, and Hindu populations, along with any and all advocates of democracy and religious tolerance.

    The repression of the Khan regime re-energizes the previously dormant secessionist movements within the country, in particular that of Balochi separatists, who begin a low-level guerrilla war against Islamabad. Due to their alliance with Persia—which has its own large Balochi minority, the Bharatis refrain from giving large-scale assistance to those rebel groups. The Balochi War of Independence will erupt with the collapse of Khan’s regime in 2014.

    * * *

    The Ottoman Empire continues its collapse into civil war during the 2000s. Although Sultan Abdul Hamid III nominally remains the head of state, large swaths of the interior of the empire come to be dominated by warlords, as various provincial governors, generals, and militias begin to claim control over their home regions. Although the Sultan repeatedly orders his military to crack down on these various elements, the Ottoman military itself begins to disintegrate during this decade, as soldiers desert their post to protect their own communities from the threat of violent unrest, or else to join sectarian militias.

    The worst violence during the 2000s occurs in Mesopotamia, the Levant, and the interior of Anatolia. The Kurds, now dominated by the Mosul Action Front, continue their campaign to drive the Golden Wolves out of any territory considered to be theirs. In the Sanjak of Jerusalem and the southern reaches of the Vilyat of Beirut, most of the fighting consists of miniature civil wars between the majority Jewish old cities, and the mostly Sunni Muslim exurbs (dating back to the Great Rebuilding). Jerusalem sees perhaps the worst violence, as the Mizrachi units in the city fight to establish land links with the enclaves around Ir Avraham and the fortified towns of the Jordan River Valley.

    To the north, in the northern reaches of the Vilyat of Beirut, the most widespread conflict occurs between the Maronite Christian Shields and the Golden Wolves (and allied Sunni Muslim militias). Complicating the picture are the Shi’ites and the Druze, who establish their own militias to defend their lands from the rampaging warlord armies in the region.

    A new zone of conflict that emerges in the 2000s is the southern half of the Vilyat of Beirut, which has large numbers of Jews, Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Druze existing between two theaters of the wider civil war. The Christians, Jews, and Sunni Muslims begin to plan campaigns to secure the region for their own control, while the Druze consider which militia to ally with.

    The Golden Wolves are now as heavily armed as any regional militia, due to their intimate connections with the elements in the Ottoman regime sympathetic to their cause. However, like the Ottoman military as a whole, the Golden Wolves face the problem of being overstretched in many different theaters. Rifat Macar, the head of the Golden Wolves, now begins to realize his (and Nuray Karga’s) vision of their militant group taking the shape of a military force capable of rivaling the (albeit disintegrating) Ottoman regular military in numbers. As in the past, the Golden Wolves draw most of their regular membership from the empire’s Sunni Muslim communities, whether Arab, Chechnyan, Kazakh, or Turkish.

    Some militias begin to accept the possibility that the empire may no longer exist in the near future. To this end, some militias prepare for the day when they may have to fight regular army units, rather than just rival militias. Spearheading this trend is the Mizrachi movement’s Shomrim militia, which is reformed during the first half of the 2000s as an armed force in its own right, capable of offensive actions as well as defensive warfare. To the south, Ibadi Muslim rebels have largely succeeded in driving regular Ottoman forces from their homelands, benefiting from Bharati arms and advisors.

    Although the Ottoman Dissolution does not actually occur until the 2010s, the process that leads to that outcome occurs throughout the 2000s. The Kurdish Mosul Action Front is the first (and largest) secessionist movement to decide to move towards independence, later joined by Christian, Druze, Jewish, Ibadi Muslim, and Hejazi efforts.

    For all of the refugees who succeed in fleeing the Ottoman Empire, there are millions more internal refugees trapped within the collapsing state. These include the Jews and Christians forced to flee from Baghdad and Mosul, Sunni Muslims forced to flee from the Sanjak of Jerusalem and the Vilyat of Beirut, and Shi’ite Muslims forced to flee to the Republic of Basra, from Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula.

    Many foreign governments are concerned with what is occurring in the Middle East, and begin to wonder what will happen should the Ottoman Empire dissolve. The Austro-Hungarians and the Germans, remembering their bitter experiences during the South African Civil War, are loath to commit their militaries to another endless campaign with few clear goals. On the other hand, both Berlin and Vienna know that any collapse of the Ottoman state may spark an even larger wave of refugees seeking asylum in their nations.

    The Bharatis and the Russians look at the situation differently, hoping that a hypothetical Ottoman collapse would enhance their respective international spheres of influences. Although neither Moscow nor New Delhi entertains the idea of directly annexing former Ottoman territories, they do imagine being able to carve out new client states from the former empire. To this end, the Bharatis and Russians spend the 2000s increasing their liaisons with different militias, in the hope of encouraging them to seek independence.

    The United States is unsure of how to respond to the ongoing crisis; the Middle East has never been considered by Washington to be a primary security concern (beyond securing a constant stream of petroleum supplies); most US policymakers express a preference for focusing on their ongoing security commitments in Asia and Latin America.

    There are some Americans who express support for intervening in the Ottoman Empire on humanitarian grounds (as part of a larger coalition). Cassius Madison is the most prominent of these voices; in a series of interviews conduced in late 2002 and early 2003, the founder and former head of the Remembrance Center states that the United States has an obligation to intervene if there is a threat of the Ottoman state launching a campaign of genocide against vulnerable religious minorities. This controversy will remain a growing concern for the Gutierrez, Hernandez, and Astaire administrations throughout the decade and into the early 2010s.

    The United States (along with the other nations of the CDS) do spearhead most of the humanitarian efforts within the Ottoman Empire during most of the 2000s, especially after the expulsion of Brazil’s diplomats and aid workers in the spring of 2004.

    For the Ottoman Empire's few remaining allies, the 2000s are a time of transition as well. By 2005, the Kingdom of Morocco decides to move towards an alliance with either the European Community or the Compact of Democratic States, while the Kingdom of Egypt, led by the young and ambitious monarch Muhammad Ali II, begins to entertain the idea of moving in to "restore order" to the Sanjak of Jerusalem, the Vilyat of Beirut, or even the Hejaz. Sudan begins to feel the first rumblings of what explodes into a brief but devastating civil war in the early 2010s, as the residents from the southern half of the nation begin to actively protest the government's policies of favoring of the Arab-majority north. The Somali Republic, fearing for its survival without the protection of the Ottoman Empire, also begins to look further afield for a new ally: with most of its citizens opposed either to an alliance with the European Community (much less the hated Chennai Pact), the Somali governments of the 2000s increasingly view the CDS as the more tolerable option.

    * * *

    During the 2000s, the international effort to contain the spread of Fleischer’s Syndrome begins to show results. The rate of infection, even in the worst affected areas in sub-Saharan Africa begins a precipitous decline due to the better availability of medicine and a widespread awareness from at-risk populations regarding the ways in which the disease spreads.

    The International Health Organization begins to examine the possibility of a major pandemic arising from another region of the world. Many doctors worry that China or Southeast Asia in particular may one day unleash an unknown pathogen, due to the small-scale outbreaks of new swine flu strains during the decade in southeastern China.

    * * *

    Scientists around the world begin to note an alarming warming trend in the Earth’s climate. Throughout the 2000s, scientists note with alarm the receding of glaciers, icecaps, and the growing severity of climate-related natural disasters.

    The various Ecoist movements also begin to expound on the need for the nations of the world to confront the specter of climate change, although their own platforms on the issue are somewhat hampered by the 2003 split within the international movement over the issue of rewilding.

    * * *

    In the 2000s, world culture begins a new series of shifts; both German Expressionist and Austro-Hungarian Raygun Baroque architecture begins to supplant Brazil Deco as the favored architectural forms throughout Brazil, the European Community and the United States (although Bracco finds a newfound popularity in China). Architecture begins to become even more radically avant-garde, if not outright anarchic in certain locales; a number of young architects, especially throughout Brazil, the European Community, Russia, and the United States, are influenced by the radicalism and iconoclasm of the Staccato subcultures.

    There is also a move away from the Endurance Films of the late 1990s, after several such motion pictures bomb at the international box office in the first years of the decade. Brazilian, European, and US studios use this wave of failures as tool to regain leverage over their increasingly powerful directors. Well into the late 2010s, there is a tendency on the part of film companies to release longer stories in trilogies or quartets. Certain subgenres, such as Anglo-French surrealist cinema or Brazilian Mind-Benders, also lose in popularity to more conventional subject matter.

    Another major development in international cinema is the increasing presence of Deluxe movie theaters (named after the American theater chain behind their creation). These theaters, with far larger screens than regular sized movie theaters, prove to be a key facet in boosting revenue for films beginning in the 2000s.

    Space Operas also begin to face serious competition during the 2000s. Although still popular, new literary genres begin to inspire new kinds of musical theater. American Fantasy, Combine-Punk, Science Fantasy, and Techo-Fantasy-inspired shows all make their debuts on the Brazilian, European, Russian, and US circuits during this decade. One of the main beneficiaries in this expansion of volume is the Small Theater [6] circuit in the United States and the European Community, which provides a way for ambitious writers and directors to find their way before attempting to break out to larger audiences.

    As during the 1990s, “Staccato” is a term that refers to wide variety of subcultures and alternative movements during the 2000s. In the United States, some of the most radical adherents of the Staccato alternative lifestyles take pleasure in provoking the general public, such as the case that emerge in 2005 and 2006 of high school age adherents of Staccato refusing to undertake the required two-year term of military service.

    One of the major markers of those influenced by the different Staccato-aligned movements is a newfound sense of iconoclasm, in fields as diverse as architecture, art, cinema, poetry, literature, and even in the emerging “combo-game” market. Staccato-influenced artists, from Austria-Hungary to the United States proudly proclaim the absolute abstraction of their works.

    Combine technology begins to increasingly shape popular culture, with new demands opening up for games. During the 2000s, Upton Cantrella’s Serenity Company continues to dominate the international gaming market, both via combines and arcades. The 2000s will later be remembered as the “Golden Age of Arcading” both by aficionados and cultural historians. [7]

    * * *

    The 2000s sees the advent of and continuation of many technological trends, especially related to space travel, Big Tech, and mass culture. In 2007, the Austro-Hungarian space opera That’s No Cave! becomes the first movie in motion picture history to be filmed utilizing a process known as Mähdrescher Kino (“Combine Cinema”, or MK). [8]

    The Big Three—Upton Cantrella’s Serenity Company, Robert Bolton’s Intrigue Corporation, and the Siemens Aktiengesellschaft—dominate the international production and distribution of combine-related technology throughout the 2000s. Exploiting old laws originally drawn up to benefit the monopolies and trusts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the German Empire and the United States, the Big Three begin to increasingly cooperate with each other in preventing the emergence of a destabilizing “Fourth Column” (in the words of Robert Bolton in a 2002 meeting with representatives from Serenity and Siemens AG) that could successfully challenge their dominance.

    Each multinational tends to focus in particular areas that begin to frequently overlap throughout the 2000s. For example, Upton Cantrella’s firm overseas the development of large numbers of combine and arcade-based games; the Serenity Corporation owns and operates large numbers of arcades throughout Australia, Brazil, China, the European Community, Russia, and the United States. Serenity’s combine games are designed to run on the increasingly smaller and more streamlined desk-combines (or “descos” as they become more colloquially known) produced by the Intrigue Corporation. In many of their products, both Serenity and Intrigue utilize the hardware produced by Siemens AG. [9]

    This comfortable relationship, although very lucrative for all three corporations, proves to be relatively short lived. Even during the 2000s, other startups emerge that will successfully break into the Big Tech market during the 2010s and 2020s—a process that will shatter the former dominance of the Big Three.

    * * *

    Throughout the 2000s, the Space Chase continues, albeit with more players. By the end of the decade, nations as far apart as the Congolese Federation, Ethiopia, Ireland, Korea, Oyo, Persia, Tanganyika, and Vietnam have launched their first national satellites (usually through a larger international space program).

    As part of their Long Drum Roll, the Bharatis and the Chinese begin to race to put up larger and larger numbers of satellites and space stations into orbit. Beijing and New Delhi also declare their intentions to establish their own permanent Lunar outposts—aligned with the Liberty Space Agency and the European Space Combine, respectively.

    The ongoing preliminary construction work on the ESC’s Reck-Malleczewen Hafen, alongside the LSA’s training for their Mars Expedition continues to attract the most attention in the international media during the 2000s. By the end of the decade, construction on the ESC’s permanent facility has advanced to the point where a skeletal staff of 10 now calls the outpost home.

    New orbital telescopes launched into orbit during this period, both by the LSA and the ESC begin to capture breath-taking images of the wider Universe. It is also during the 2000s that the first wave of “Exo-Planets are discovered”, although it will not be until later in the twenty-first century when the first habitable of these distant worlds is discovered.

    Some scientists and intellectuals begin to imagine the possibilities of exploring and claiming worlds beyond the Solar System. The Brazilian theoretical physicist Dr. Rafaela Carvalho, the Austro-Hungarian astronomer and physicist Dr. Moshe Brisker, and the Chinese mathematician Lim Huizhong are among those who begin to explore ways in which to get around the barrier to travelling faster than the speed of light. Carvalho also begins to consult both the domestic Brazilian program and the Liberty Space Agency on different ways in which to construct a ship capable of making a generational journey from Earth to a distant habitable planet.

    A starship of this nature will eventually be successfully launched on October 26, 2109. A way around the barrier posed by the speed of light will not be successfully tested until the second half of the twenty-second century.

    * * *

    January 1, 2000-November 7, 2000—After the bitter and fiercely contested national elections of 1992 and 1996, the 2000 elections prove to be quiet ones for the United States. Patrick Gutierrez is the most popular incumbent president since his Republican predecessor, Morgan Reynolds, and neither the Democrats nor the Socialists manage to attract first tier candidates to contest the White House.

    Domestic issues dominate the campaign, including home ownership, improving the response of government agencies, and maintaining full employment. Some commenters worry that the American people are beginning to slip into a kind of “new isolationism” (as Thomas Harry Johnson puts it), given how little foreign policy is mentioned in the campaign.

    January 3, 2000 onwards—In a secret meeting held in Moscow, between Russia’s COB and representatives of the Kurdish Mosul Action Front, the Russians agree to supply the MAF with advanced weaponry. President Rebikov is privy to these negotiations; it is part of his wider policies of encouraging the fragmentation of the Ottoman Empire. The Russians hope, in the event of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, to benefit from an alliance with the Kurds, especially if the Kurds wind up controlling the oilfields of northern Mesopotamia.

    February 8-February 24, 2000—The Winter Olympic Games are held in Pyeongchang, Korea.

    February 12, 2000 onwards—The first major film of the “Low Life” Wave” opens in the United States, with a red-carpet New York City premier. Quartermaster Corps, directed by Zachary C. Webster, is a crime film that covers the capers from the perspective of the ordinary criminals assigned to their tasks by distant bosses. Something of a homage to the hard-boiled detective stories and caper films of the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the Nihilist cinema of the 1970s, Quartermaster Corps quickly becomes a critical and financial success, with many critics noting its non-linear storyline, dark sense of humor, and stylized violence that singles it out from similar works of fiction.

    Quartermaster Corps quickly spawns many imitators around the world; some of the more noteworthy films inspired by Webster’s work include Herbert Eichel’s German thriller The Killer Joke (2002), Bai Jingguo’s Chinese drama-comedy Traffic Punks (2005), and Nuno Ribeiro’s satiric Brazilian Rainbow Hijack (2009). This does not include the significant number of “Middle Easterns,” and Space Operas produced during the 2000s that borrow many of their themes from the Low Life Wave. Webster himself will produce two other films set in the same universe as Quartermaster CorpsChattanooga Choo-Choo (2007), and Pineville (2012).

    One of the main features of both Quartermaster Corps and other films of the Low Life Wave is the notion, as noticed by the Quebecois film critic Georges Allain in his history of the genre, is the notion (borrowed from American Nihilist sensibilities) that one person’s happy ending is someone else’s sorrow. [10]

    June, 2000-August, 2000 onwards—From June through August of 2000, a major heat wave strikes Europe, particularly France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland, and is blamed for almost 70,000 deaths throughout the continent altogether. The heat wave also causes extensive damage to crops; throughout Europe, the various Ecoist parties call for a doubling down on reconverting infrastructure into more “ecological and healthful” structures (as the Ecological Party of Poland’s First Secretary Jarogniew Urbanski declares in a speech to the Polish Sejm on July 10.

    Subsequently, many member-states of the European Community use legislation dating back to the 1960s, particularly the various national Energy Security Acts to mandate an increasing quota of future construction to follow “Ecological lines,” as the Austro-Hungarian and Swedish corollaries both state. [11]

    June 7, 2000 onwards—The first three wells are drilled in the Bakken Formation, in northwestern Dakota. This proves to be the start of a massive energy boom that affects Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan, as investment from US energy companies unearths massive volumes of recoverable natural gas and oil. This exploration sparks an “Oil Rush” into these three states (especially Dakota) in a frenzy not seen since the major oil discoveries in Alaska in the 1970s. [12]

    July 31, 2000 onwards—Dr. Rostislav Ivchenko and Dr. Yulia Demidova, two scientists allied with the Ecological Party of Russia, publish an article in the Austro-Hungarian Ecoist journal Green Prince entitled “On Restoration.” Ivchenko and Demidova state that the Ecoist movement should emphasize “re-wilding” as its central goal. They argue that nature can and should be properly managed for both the benefit of wildlife and human civilization.

    Ivchenko and Demidova, writing with the full approval of Sarafima Orlova, touch off an already simmering controversy within the Ecoist movement, much of it tied to the increasingly personal disputes between Orlova and Dr. Lucas Braga as to who should be recognized as the leading Ecoist spokesperson.

    “On Restoration” also touches off a series of debates within the Russian Republic. Some non-Ecoists support the idea of re-wilding as a way to attract tourists to a future network of nature reserves. This new acceptance of some Ecoist ideas will later serve as the groundwork for the alliance that emerges later in the 2000s between the Ecological Party of Russia and the Socialists. [13]

    September 15-October 1, 2000—The Summer Olympic Games are held in Beijing, China. As the first Chinese Olympiad, these games are intended by President Xue to showcase his nation’s might and prosperity. Thomas Harry Johnson, reporting on the games for the Denver Post, jokingly refers to these games as the, “Beijing Process” in a dispatch published at the games’ conclusion.

    November 7, 2000—In the US presidential elections, Patrick Gutierrez wins an easy electoral and popular victory over Democratic Senator Travis Ross of Ohio, and Socialist Governor Samuel Garcia of Nevada. To Gutierrez’s frustration, however, the Republicans fail to win control over either house of Congress, with the three parties roughly maintaining the same number of seats that they held prior to Election Day.

    December 4, 2000 onwards—Officers from the Beijing metropolitan police arrests the Bharati journalist Mahabala Pothuvaal, along with his wife Tarakini. Pothuvaal, a correspondent for the Times of Bharat, is accused of passing secret information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to his Intra-Net handlers.

    Although this is not the first instance of Bharati spies being caught in China (or, for that matter, Chinese spies being caught in Bharat), the Pothuvaal Affair comes at an already tense time for the relationship between the two nations. Within days of the arrest, Prime Minister Iyengar denounces the Chinese government for their arrest, “…of two of our innocents. We demand their immediate return, or else there will be significant consequences.”

    The Chinese government, as articulated by President Xue’s close ally (and likely successor) Minister of the Interior Li Guozhi, responds harshly to Prime Minister Iyengar, stating, “…the people of China and their government will not bow before the demands of a foreign power.”

    Many future historians see the Pothuvaal Affair as one of the main sparks for the decades-long Long Drum Roll between Bharat and China. After the Chinese refuse to release the Pothuvaals, the Chinese consulates in Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai are ordered closed by the Bharati government (although they are quietly reopened within the year). The Pothuvaals are quietly released at the same time, when the Chinese intelligence services have established that none of their espionage resulted in the leaking of any vital information. However, this quiet end to the scandal does nothing to ease the tensions between Beijing and New Delhi.

    January, 2001-March, 2007 onwards—The Long Drum Roll [14] between Bharat and China continues to escalate during the “Years of Rage.” The Bharati and Chinese governments, in an escalating war of words, accuse each other of plotting incredible acts of betrayal, aimed at subjecting and destroying the other. The Bharatis and the Chinese now begin passing larger and larger military budgets, promoted by hawkish politicians in both nations as capable of holding off the ostensibly militarily superior foe.

    These Years of Rage, coinciding with somewhat shaky domestic political developments in both nations, leaves lasting cultural effects as well. In Bharat, the early 2000s are the heyday of what the German film critic Janik Kortig refers to as “Zorn Kino” (“Angry Cinema”). There emerges within Bharat’s huge film industry a trend of movies (many of them terribly scripted and acted) that more or less serves as anti-Chinese propaganda. This Bharati trend is echoed within Chinese cinema, where there emerges during this time a subgenre of anti-Bharati films (mostly celebrating China’s victory in the Tibetan War).

    Even during the Years of Rage, there are voices in both nations that question this new, frigid state of affairs. Adeela Vivekananda is perhaps the most articulate and well-known of these skeptics, asking in the afterward of his 2003 book The Long Drum Roll, “…and what is the point of this new worldview of our political class? Do they think that Bharat can fight everyone everywhere? Where do they think this will end?”

    In spite of this long period of tensions, both powers are constrained in their actions against the other by international realities. The Bharatis know that any war against China will likely bring the United States and the CDS into the conflict on the side of Beijing, while ruining relations with both the Germans and the Russians. The Chinese, concerned as they are with ensuring a steady rate of economic growth and the end of extreme poverty in their nation, find the prospect of a disruptive regional war distinctly unappealing. These prove to be the primary reasons for the peaceful end to the Long Drum Roll, brokered through the International Security Council, in the mid 2040s.

    January 13, 2001 onwards—An earthquake devastates El Salvador, killing 859 people. The United States, along with the other member states of the Central American Congress, orchestrates a massive aid package for the nation.

    January 26, 2001—An earthquake in Gujarat, Bharat kills almost 12,000 people.

    February 2, 2001—In the Russian presidential elections, Vasily Rebikov manages to win reelection, making him the first non-Socialist incumbent in the history of the Russian Republic to be elected to a second term. Rebikov’s Justice and Prosperity Party also manages to maintain their hold over the Duma, in alliance with the Renewal Party.

    In the aftermath of the second such defeat in a row, the Socialist Party of Russia begin to change their strategy. Newly installed party leader Yefim Teplov decides to pursue an alliance with Sarafima Orlova’s Ecological Party, in the hopes that the Socialists will be able to re-capture a majority of the popular vote in the 2007 elections.

    March 2-March 16, 2001 onwards—President Gutierrez hosts Chinese President Xue Chen and Russian President Vasily Rebikov in Seattle, Washington for the second summit of the Tianjin Process. The summit is productive, although progress is stalled on formulating a timetable for a trans-Pacific free trade zone that is agreeable to all three leaders; the Chinese push for a quicker timetable, while the Russians insist on more time to full study the impacts of such a deal.

    President Gutierrez pushes his PESA allies to consider bring the member states of the Council of the Western Hemisphere (which border the Pacific) in on any prospective deal. Both the Chinese and the Russians remain cool to this idea, since there are still many complications for the three great powers to sort out by themselves.

    The Chinese also press their PESA allies for assistance in blunting, “…planned acts of Bharati aggression,” as the Chinese president surmises the threats posed by Bharat to his nation’s interests. The Americans and the Russians have different reactions; the Russians, having established an informal alliance with Bharat against the Ottoman Empire, is loath to do anything to rock that particular arrangement, while the Americans, fearing the possibility that New Delhi may one day support acts of aggression against its South Asian and South Pacific CDS allies, is more sympathetic to the hardline position of President Xue. President Gutierrez promises his Chinese counterpart that the United States will step up Big-Tech weapons systems, and will continue to cooperate in modernizing the Chinese military.

    April 30, 2001 onwards—The first International Romani Congress is held in Prague, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The first association of its kind, the IRC is primarily meant by its organizers to represent the needs of Eastern Europe’s large Romani population, although Roma delegates attend from as far apart as the Australia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and the United States. At its Prague meeting, the delegates agree to meet every five years, scheduling their 2006 summit for Warsaw. Merikano Gaurige, a long-time Austro-Hungarian Roma activist and the summit’s chief organizer, is elected as the first President of the IRC.

    May 12-May 19, 2001 onwards—In a secret series meetings in Mumbai, Intra-Net head Oma Bandopadhyay meets with a delegation from the Mizrachi movement, led by Rabbi Shalom Kook (the eldest son of movement leader Rav Joshua Abraham Kook) and the movement’s chief gunrunner Menachem Isserlin. This set of meetings finally secures a new source of advanced weaponry for the Mizrachi movement, which until this point had been forced to rely on whatever could be purchased from international arms dealers.

    Besides reflecting the Bharati government’s priorities—to encourage the success of as many secessionist movements as possible within the Ottoman Empire—Bandopadhyay is personally sympathetic to the Mizrachi movement, closely associating their struggle with that of Bharat’s long campaign for independence from Great Britain. The shipments of advanced weapons from Bharat, along with their intensive training and reorganization, plays a vital role in the eventual establishment of the Commonwealth of Zion in the spring of 2010.

    On July 9, 2001, the Gelem, Gelem Party is officially launched in Budapest and Vienna. The GGP will also successfully elect candidates, over the next decade, in Albania, Austria-Hungary, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine. Merikano Gaurige also serves as chairman of the new party, and is later elected to the House of Representatives. Gaurige admits in an interview with the Frankfurter Zeitung that his inspiration in creating the GGP came from the Jewish Mizrachi movement. [16]

    June 30-July 9, 2001 onwards—Mexican President Rutillio Espinoza hosts the leaders of Brazil, Texas, Venezuela, and the United States in a summit in Mexico City. The leaders of all three nations agree to establish a new inter-governmental organization to control the price of petroleum exported from the New World.

    Originally the idea of Mexican Secretary of Energy Baldomero Nunez Reyes, the Mexico City Summit results in the creation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Nations (OPEN). The group is intended to better “manage” the international price of petroleum to avoid any wild swings in price.

    In spite of being brokered in part as a program for the closer integration of the Western Hemisphere, the first President of the OPEN, former Venezuelan Oil Minister Renzo Fernandes, publically states that other petroleum-rich nations are welcome to join the OPEN.

    In fact, the establishment of the OPEN sparks something of a panic overseas; in Berlin and Vienna, the leaders of Austria-Hungary and Germany are confronted with an old fear, dating back to the 1960s—that the European Community will be made vulnerable by a reliance on non-European sources of energy. Over the next six months, the Austro-Hungarian and German foreign ministries attempt to orchestrate the establishment of a new cartel to compete with the OPEN. [15]

    September 22, 2001-November 10, 2001—On September 22, 2001, Thailand’s military government announces that General Banthoeng Sintawichai has been selected to replace the retiring General Jarun Thanasukolwit, who had administered the country (in the name of the King) since the end of the Fourth Pacific War.

    The announcement initially goes without incident. However, in the days that follow, rumors begin to spread, first in Bangkok and gradually elsewhere, that King Rama IX is opposed to the installation of General Thanaskolwit. It is this environment, coming at the tail end of decades of authoritarian and austere military rule, which leads to the first small protests against the military’s continued administration.

    Since the Burmese Spring of 1994, Thailand’s military governance have drawn up contingency plans for the possibility of a similar insurrection in their nation. However, the attempts to quickly break up the small demonstrations in Bangkok only leads to a snowball effect, as the arrest of individuals in these small protests only leads to their relatives and friends taking to the streets. By early October, the protests have grown in size and scope to the point where the military can only restore its complete control through brutal violence.

    King Rama IX is staunchly opposed to this possibility, and informs General Thanaskolwit that he desires the military to hand over power to a civilian regime. Finally, on November 10, 2001, the general announces on state television that the military, in accordance with the wishes of the monarchy, will arrange a handover in power to an interim civilian government, with elections to be arranged at an undetermined date.

    January 30, 2002—The European Space Combine releases the maps of the Moon gleaned from its long surveillance project of the lunar surface, providing an eager public with incredibly detailed maps of the Earth’s closest celestial body.

    February 3, 2002 onwards—In an announcement in Lisbon, representatives from the Italian Empire, the Portuguese Federation, and Romania announce the establishment of the European Council of Energy Production (ECEP): it is also announced that the member-states of the older North Sea Petrol Authority—Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway—will also be invited to join the ECEP, which is quickly accepted by the NSPA members. Edmondo Orsini, the former chairman of the Royal Italian Oil Company (CPRI), is declared the first Secretary of the ECEP at the press conference.

    February 14, 2002 onwards—Activists in Washington, D.C. begin to circulate a petition around the District calling for statehood to be granted to their city, claiming that residents of the capital are not properly represented in the Federal government. The final status of Washington will not be settled until the 2014-midterm elections.

    March 20, 2002—Representatives from the Nigerian states of Oyo and Biafra sign an agreement with the European Council of Energy Production, agreeing to pool their price control policies with the ECEP.

    April 1, 2002—German New Guinea [OTL Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands is granted independence and membership in the German Economic Association, as the Republic of East Papua.

    April 22, 2002—The Spanish Cortes Generales grants Puerto Rico its own parliament, enhancing the island’s autonomy from the mainland.

    July 14, 2002 onwards—In Quebec City, Prime Minister Roland Giroux, joined by French President Yves Sauveterre announces the establishment of the Amitié (“Friendship”) Program. It is designed to Quebecois young adults (ages 18 to 27) to visit France for a two week free trip. Besides the funding that it receives from both the French and Quebecois governments, the program benefits from a large number of private donations in both nations. Although limited to those Quebecois who had not visited France on any organized trip, the program soon becomes extraordinarily popular, and over time becomes a rite of passage for Quebec’s young adults. [17]

    July 31, 2002 onwards—The epic American Fantasy novel Beasts of America is published in the United States. The book, the first effort of Lincoln Bliss (the youngest nephew of Greg Bliss) is widely seen as an allegory for the history of North America from 1776 to 1944. The massive 1,400-page work becomes an international bestseller, and will later be adapted by the Italian filmmaker Enzo Margheriti into a quartet of animated feature films, released in 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2015. [18]

    August 15, 2002 onwards—The Panopticon search engine comes online for the first time. Created by an Intrigue Corporation research team led by Dr. Janet Gladwin-Park and Bernard Polgar, the Panopticon is the first website that allows users to search for anything that they seek via their own desk combines. [19]

    November 5, 2002 onwards—In the US Congressional Midterm elections, the Socialist Party has an excellent night, managing to win thirty-five seats in the House of Representatives (mostly at the expense of the Republicans), while expanding their hold on the Senate. Political observers are quick to predict that the Socialists, who have not won the presidency since the 1988 elections, will be the favorites for the 2004 contest.

    January 15-January 24, 2003 onwards—In Buenos Aires, Argentina, representatives from the Spanish-language majority nations meet to discuss the establishment of a new educational institution to link the Spanish-speaking world together. The result of the Buenos Aires Summit is the establishment of the Spanish Language Forum (Foro Español) an association modeled strongly after the exchange programs agreed to by the Empire of Brazil and the Portuguese Federation. The FE, to be headquarted in Asuncion, Paraguay, is an umbrella organization that will provided funding for the best students to study the Spanish language in a nation of their choice, as well as to provide student exchange programs for students throughout Latin America and Spain who wish to study in another Spanish-speaking nation.

    Due to their large Spanish-speaking populations, the Empire of Brazil and the United States of America are both invited to participate in the FE programs.

    February 14, 2003 onwards—Spanish director Rodrigo Soler’s film The Further Adventures of Don Quixote premiers in both Brazil and the United States. The movie quickly becomes one of the largest box office hits in motion picture history: aside from its dark, quirky plot, it’s the first full-length film to use only combine-generated footage (CGF). [20]

    The success of The Further Adventures of Don Quixote quickly inspires other movie studios to try their luck. CGF-only films mushroom in number throughout the rest of the 2000s, although they vary greatly in quality. Soler himself uses his share of the profits from his film to establish his own studio in Barcelona, Blue Moon Productions. The Intrigue Corporation quickly becomes the single largest investor in the new company.

    The success of Soler’s films, as well as those of his studio, convinces many filmmaking executives to invest in the new medium. However, it will not be until the early 2010s when additional companies, from Brazil, the rest of the European Community, Russia, and the United States begin to threaten the dominance of Blue Moon Productions in the CGF market.

    May 30, 2003 onwards—In a ceremony held in the Brazilian city of Salvador, President Gutierrez and Brazilian Prime Minister Marcelo Cavalcanti both announce in a press conference that the Empire of Brazil will ally its national space program with the Liberty Space Agency. Prime Minister Cavalcanti also announces that a Brazilian Space Man, Bernardo Souza, will train with a CDS crew for the LSA’s planned Mars Expedition. Cavalcanti also promises that Brazil will dramatically expand its rate of manned missions, network of telescopes, and satellite launches, again with technical assistance from the LSA.

    This alliance between the Brazilians and the CDS has immediate international consequences. The European Space Combine, prodded by both the Austro-Hungarians and the Germans, hastens its planned timetable to seek a Space-based alliance with Bharat and the Chennai Pact. The ESC also announces plans to expand its number of operational rocketry bases over the next decade.

    June 12-June 24, 2003 onwards—In a summit held in the city of Mumbai, ECEP Secretary Edmondo Orsini meets with Bharati Prime Minister Biraj Mittal; also in attendance are Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Bharat Mirek Rybar, German Ambassador Hroda von Lang, Indonesian Foreign Minister Irfan Pranata, and Persian Foreign Minister of Oil and Energy Jamshid Madani. The summit concludes with an agreement by Prime Minister Mittal, Foreign Minister Pranata, and Oil and Energy Minister Madani that they will advocate their respective nations to cooperate with the European Council of Energy Production. International observers see this as the clearest sign of deepening cooperation between the Chennai Pact and the European Community.

    The announcement of the ECEP’s major expansion in terms of worldwide influence causes concern on the part of the member states of the OPEN. With the Ottoman Empire refusing to participate in “polluting” foreign alliances of any kind (outside of what little is left of the Independence Movement), the OPEN redoubles its efforts to court the Russian Republic into signing a cooperative pact.

    July 2003-May, 2006 onwards—During the first week of July, 2003, Sultan Abdul Hamid meets extensively with Rifat Macar. The sultan, now coming to terms with the extent of the regular Ottoman military’s disintegration, calls on Macar to utilize the Golden Wolves to destroy any and all who dare to oppose the regime (or religious minorities in general). The sultan states that he empathetically supports the vision of the Golden Wolves, and that his allies within the Ottoman bureaucracy will grant Macar’s group the weapons and funding that it needs to work across the length and breadth of the empire.

    Macar throws himself into his new task. Over the summer and fall of 2003, the Golden Wolves comes to rival what is left of the regular military, at least in numbers. The ultra-nationalist militia now begins an un-opposed campaign of terror, orchestrating murderous assaults against the empire’s major urban centers (ostensibly only in cities with other major militias, but in fact any metropolis with large numbers of non-Sunnis). By the beginning of 2004, the Golden Wolves have destroyed the Christian, Jewish, and Shi’ite Muslim communities in Baghdad, either through murder or expulsion. From Baghdad to the west, the Golden Wolves continue these policies across Mesopotamia and into Syria.

    The Golden Wolves, in spite of their numbers, cannot be everywhere at once, and news of their atrocities in Baghdad soon spreads throughout the empire. In the Sanjak of Jerusalem and Vilyat of Beirut, the centers of the Mizrachi Jewish Shomrim and the Maronite Christian Shields prepare for the worst, and begin to stock up for a protracted fight. News of what has occurred in Baghdad and the surrounding regions are brought westward by columns of desperate refugees.

    During the summer of 2004, the Golden Wolves, having largely completed their “campaign” in Baghdad, now prepare to assault both the Sanjak of Jerusalem and the Vilyat of Beirut, along with allied Sunni Muslim militias. Macar orders his commanders to show no mercy to the populations of these regions. As he tells Golden Wolves colonel Zeki Sadik, tasked with taking control over the city of Jerusalem, “One third will perish, the rest will leave.” [21]

    From the summer of 2004 through the spring of 2005, the Golden Wolves begin a ferocious series of assaults against the Christian, Druze, Jewish, and Shi’ite positions in both the Sanjak of Jerusalem and the Vilyat of Beirut. These assaults are somewhat limited by wider circumstances; the Golden Wolves are stretched thin, given that they are also engaged in a running battle against the Mosul Action Front in northern Mesopotamia and eastern Anatolia. However, by the mid-summer of 2005, the Golden Wolves have begun the Sieges across the westernmost populated regions of the Ottoman Empire. [22]

    The Sieges last for many months and sometimes (as in the case of Beirut and Jerusalem, many years). In the case of Jerusalem, now swollen with Jewish and Christian refugees from the wider Sanjak, the defenders are forced to remain within the confines of the majority Jewish old city, while the Golden Wolves occupies the Sunni Muslim exurbs surrounding the metropolis. From June of 2004 onwards, Jerusalem is cut off from the large Mizrachi Jewish enclave that stretches from Ir Avraham to the fortified cities of Beit Shemesh and Rishon le Yerushalayim [OTL Kiryat Ye’arim, Israel] in the east the port of Ashdod in the south and to Kfar Saba in the north.

    The fighting in Jerusalem is gruesome, and results in severe devastation throughout the city. Fortunately, the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim holy sites largely survive intact, due to the Mizrachi movement successfully preventing the Golden Wolves from taking the Old City itself. Zephaniah Szulc, one of the movement’s senior military commanders, commands the Jewish forces.

    Jerusalem is relatively fortunate compared to other municipalities under similar conditions, since the Mizrachi movement has spent years stockpiling food, medicine, and water for such an event. However, by the spring of 2006, the defenders of Jerusalem are forced to resort to smuggling to gain fresh supplies. The OSS and the Intra-Net assist the Shomrim in certain instances (with the Intra-Net supplying the defenders with weaponry when possible). Another factor the ultimately saves the defenders, from the perspective of later military historians, is the failure on the part of the Golden Wolves to launch a coordinated assault from every position that they hold. Instead, the Golden Wolves usually launch one assault at a time, allowing the defenders to meet them on relatively equal ground.

    The other Sieges are generally shorter and far more tragic in their outcome. Even while Jerusalem holds out, the Golden Wolves drive the Mizrachi communities out of Hebron, Safed, Tiberius, and their towns in the Jordan River Valley. The Jewish refugees are forced to seek asylum within the confines of the Ir Avraham enclave.

    Whenever the Golden Wolves occupy a city, the civilians are almost always targeted for massacres. Even Sunni Muslim civilians are not immune to the murder and robbery that the militia brings to bear against their neighbors. By the beginning of 2006, what was once one of the most prosperous regions of the Ottoman Empire is now, in many locales, a burned out wasteland whose residents have now become internal refugees.

    The fighting in the Vilyat of Beirut is concurrent with the Siege of Jerusalem, although more confusing. The Golden Wolves find themselves locked in combat with the Maronite Christian Shields, as well as well-armed Shi’ite Muslim and Druze enclaves.

    The international community is horrified by the news that emerges from the Ottoman Empire, and calls upon the government to halt Macar’s campaign. Abdul Hamid III, however, denies that Macar has committed any crime, and refuses to reign in the Golden Wolves. It is the images of the Sieges (and what occurs when the defenders give out) that begins to turn the tide of public opinion throughout Brazil, the European Community, and the United States in favor of some kind of coordinated international intervention.

    July 1, 2003 onwards—In a ceremony held in Vienna, it is announced by the head of the European Space Combine that the ESC will now begin a new alliance with the Chennai Pact regarding space exploration. It is also announced that Bharat will ultimately contribute, as part of this agreement, its own team of Space Men for Reck-Malleczewen Hafen.

    Over the next decade and a half, ESC personnel will assist the Bharatis in expanding and modernizing their launch capabilities, in a series of projects that mirror the Liberty Space Agency-supported projects in Brazil.

    In a separate announcement in New Delhi, the Bharati Minister of Science and Exploration Ranjan Pitale announces that Bharat will use its new alliance with the ESC to eventually construct its own permanent outpost on the Moon. This announcement on the part of the Bharatis sparks immediate reactions from the Brazilians and the Chinese, both of whom begin to consider the possibility of building their own permanent lunar facilities.

    July 7, 2003 onwards—Adeela Vivekananda publishes The Long Drum Role, a history of the lead-up to the Kashmir War. Vivekananda’s book is perhaps best remembered for introducing the phrase “Long Drum Roll,” into popular world lexicon (which he uses to describe the pre-Kashmir War buildup of tensions between Bharat, the Ottoman Empire, and Pakistan). Subsequent to the publication of Vivekananda’s history, the term “Long Drum Roll” is used to describe the growing arms race between Bharat and China.

    Vivekananda himself makes it clear that he regards the rapidly escalating arms race with China as a waste of resources, and warns that it will do nothing to enhance Bharat’s place on the world stage. He also speculates on the connection between the tensions with China and the threat posed by Pakistan, writing in the conclusion, “…and yet, where are we [Bharat] at now? At a time and place in which our government uses the threat posed by China to pass larger military budgets for weapons systems that will likely be used against Pakistan.

    August 30-September 10, 2003 onwards—Representatives from the world’s various Ecoist parties meet in the Brazilian city of Curtiba for what turns out to be the final summit of its kind. Since the mid-1990s, tensions have been building between the two most influential leaders of the international Ecoist movement—Dr. Lucas Braga of Brazil, and Sarafima Orlova of Russia.

    The primary dispute between Braga and Orlova is over what the Ecoist movement should emphasize in terms of policy proposals for the future. Dr. Braga insists that the Ecoist parties should focus their attention on integrating human civilization with the existing natural world, through the enacting of legislation designed to replace polluting structures with “Clean Architecture.” Orlova insists that the Ecoist movement should focus on efforts designed to “re-wild” the natural world, on the model of the proposed Arctic Reserve under consideration in her own nation.

    In the aftermath of the bitter Curtiba Summit, the Ecoist movement splits into rival Brazilian and Russian camps. The Brazilian party maintains close ties with the Ecological Party of China, as well as the Ecoist movements throughout the Western Hemisphere, while the Ecological Party of Russia comes to hold the greatest sway over the Ecoist parties of the European Community.

    October 4, 2003 onwards—Bai Jingguo’s film The Butcher Clowns premiers in Shanghai. Influenced heavily by Zachary Webster’s Quartermaster Corps, Jingguo’s film, nominally about a gang of thieves attempting to rob a racetrack, is a thinly veiled critique of police corruption in the metropolis. Although it quickly becomes the highest grossing domestically-made film in China up to that point, The Butcher Clowns is the subject to withering criticism, particularly from newspapers aligned with the Democratic Party of China. [23]

    The criticism does nothing to inhibit Jingguo’s career. Three loosely related sequels to The Butcher Clowns are produced: Journey Into the East (2006), The Year of the Leopard (2009), and The Glowworms (2011). All of these films deal with subjects that had been taboo in China during the years of governmental censorship, including police corruption, juvenile delinquency, crime, and political corruption. Jingguo’s series, known both in China and abroad as the “Butcher Quartet,” plays a major role in putting Chinese cinema on the international map, particularly in Russia and the United States, where Chinese cinema had already established a niche market during the late 1990s. Jingguo, when asked by an American journalist to describe what genre his films fit into during an interview with Rabbit Hole Magazine in May of 2006, declares that he is a director of “urban fantasy.”

    Jingguo’s Butcher’s Quartet opens to door for other directors in China to produce similarly themed films. As with Jingguo’s work, these films are influenced both by the Low Life Wave and Combine-Punk fiction. Some are set in modern times, while others are set in other eras in Chinese history. Some of the most notable films of Chinese Urban Fantasy include Zhao Shirong’s Bloody Mr. Gansu (2005), Pan Meilin’s Harmonious Kicks (2006), He Xiaoli’s Forbidden Village Ye Shun’s The Blue Deception (2006) and Shen Bojing’s Chronicles of 1.21 Gigawats series (2009, 2010, and 2012).

    Some Chinese urban fantasy films drift into the realms of science fantasy or spec fiction: the most famous of these films are the Chronicles of 1.21 Gigawats series, which are based around the consequences of time travel. [24]

    December 26, 2003 onwards—A massive earthquake devastates the Persian city of Bam and the surrounding Kerman province, killing over 25,000 people. Bharat, Brazil, China, Germany, Russia, and the United States are the largest contributors of humanitarian assistance.

    January 1-November 2, 2004 onwards—The 2004 US presidential elections are somewhat more contentious than the 2000 contest, though not by much: the Socialist Party, now led by Senator Sergio Hernandez of Cuba, remain the favored party to win the election. The Democrats, still struggling to emerge from the shadow of the failed DeFrancis Administration, settles on Senator Jim Keeler of West Virginia, in the hopes that he can capture enough crossover votes to potentially tip the scales. The Republicans nominate Vice President Roger Dotson.

    In the end, most of the attention in the race is given to the contest between Senator Hernandez and Vice President Dotson, while Keeler’s campaign remains relatively low-key by comparison. Both Hernandez and Dotson are almost evenly matched in terms of charisma and debating skills. Some pundits predict a razor thin contest, although Thomas Harry Johnson notes sourly in an October 2004 column that, “…in the end, the Socialists are likely to triumph because they’ve been out of power for so long. Well, so have the Democrats, but they’re too demoralized to take this one.”

    February 10-February 26, 2004—The Winter Olympic Games are held in Tallinn, Estonia.

    March 18, 2004 onwards—The Austro-Hungarian novel Friendly Crustaceans is published. The first published story by Shalom Kafka (the second-oldest son of science-fiction writer Gershom Kafka), the story almost single-handily sparks the new genre of “Techno-Fantasy.” Along with Science Fantasy and American Fantasy, Techno-Fantasy will inspire a new generation of both writers and composers. In Shalom Kafka’s words, Friendly Crustaceans is an attempt to, “…merge our technology with the most extreme of settings.” An all-CGF film adaptation of the novel, directed by Rodrigo Soler and produced through Blue Moon Studios, will be released in 2010. [25]

    May 20, 2004 onwards—Abdul Hamid III addresses his subjects via state television. In his address, the increasingly paranoid monarch reads out a letter sent to him earlier that month by Emperor Pedro IV of Brazil. The letter, meant to be a private note, urges Abdul Hamid to end the reign of terror now being conducted across the empire by the Golden Wolves, and offers Brazilian assistance in meditating the multitude of disputes now tearing his realm apart.

    Abdul Hamid then launches into a tirade reminiscent of General Ishii or President Featherston, denouncing all efforts at Brazilian “…infiltration, in the guise of friendship.” The sultan then announces that henceforth, the Empire of Brazil and, “…all of their [South American] lackeys are henceforth expelled from the Independence Movement!” Abdul Hamid also announces that all Brazilian consulates will be ordered closed, “…for the duration of the ongoing emergency.”

    The Brazilian reaction is swift. On May 22, Prime Minister Marcello Cavalcanti addresses his countrymen via a televised address. Cavalcanti, visibly affronted by Abdul Hamid’s gesture, affirms that, “…from this point forward, all of our ties with the [Independence] movement are dissolved.” Cavalcanti also states that in retaliation for the sundering of Brazil’s diplomatic posts within the Ottoman Empire, all Ottoman diplomats will be ordered out of Brazil. It is considered by contemporary observers to be a tragic end to a once powerful and promising international alliance.

    July 4, 2004 onwards—The Ryuku Islands [OTL Bonin Islands, Ryuku Islands, and Volcano Islands] are officially recognized as a US unincorporated US territory. The Ryuku Islands will be admitted into the Union in 2014, as per the results of a referendum held during the 2012 presidential elections.

    July 15, 2004 onwards—In Vienna, a spokesman for Eagle Airways announces that the supersonic carrier’s next round of expansion: flights will begin to Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, and Recife, in the Empire of Brazil; Bogota, Colombia; Wilhelmsville, Congo; Nairobi, Kenya; Johannesburg, South Africa; Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika; Atlanta, Havana, and Honolulu in the United States of America; and Caracas, Venezuela. Eagle Airways begins to cooperate with the municipalities in question to expand their infrastructure to accommodate the increased volume of high-speed air traffic.

    Privately, several executives at Eagle Airways also begin to argue in private board meetings that the company should also expand its services to commercial deliveries. The CEO of EA, Dov Bielzowski vetoes this proposal for the time being; he argues that the company should remain primarily focused on passenger services, rather than overextend its resources in the midst of a new round of expansion.

    August 13-August 29, 2004—The Summer Olympic Games are held in New York City, in the United States.

    September 15, 2004—The Trans-Channel Tunnel is opened amidst jubilant festivities in London and Paris.

    November 2, 2004 onwards—In the US presidential elections, the Socialist Party finally wins back the White House, after an absence of almost twelve years. The new President-elect, Sergio Hernandez, is the first to be elected to the White House from a former Confederate state. Most pundits agree that Hernandez’s victory was secured due to a combination of voter fatigue with the Republican Party, the high levels of motivation from Socialist Party activists, and the continued disarray of the Democrats that won the Socialists their first presidential contest since 1988.

    The Socialists also maintain their hold over both the House and the Senate, although the Democrats also gain seats, primarily at the expense of the Republicans.

    December 26, 2004-January 29, 2005 onwards—In one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history, a massive earthquake sparks a series of tsunamis that wreck havoc around the Indian Ocean: tsunamis from the earthquake’s epicenter impact the coasts of Bengal, Bharat, Burma, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, the Somali Republic, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, killing an estimated 230,000 people.

    As the scope of the disaster becomes apparent, the largest international rescue mission in history is launched, with the Americans and Bharatis providing the bulk of the humanitarian aid. Although nominal rivals, the nations that comprise the CDS, PESA, and Chennai Pact all do their best to coordinate rescue efforts.

    The disaster also has profound political consequences for Indonesia: within hours of the disaster, rumors begin to spread in Jakarta that the military regime of President Teguh Makmur has been deliberately withholding assistance from the affected regions of Sumatra—where protests had regularly been occurring against the military’s stranglehold on power since the late 1990s.

    From late December throughout January of 2005, massive protests erupt throughout Indonesia against President Makmur’s government. By the end of the first week of the protests, it becomes apparent that nothing short of brutal violence has a chance of ending the anti-government demonstrations. Finally, on January 29, 2005, President Makmur announces on state television that he will resign his office; subsequently, Makmur leaves with his family for Cambodia, which is the only country in the Chennai Pact that agrees to host the former dictator. A new, interim civilian government takes power, led by Minister of Education Kumala Widyawati. Widyawati immediately announces that new, democratic elections will be held in May of 2007 for a new government.

    The political crisis in Indonesia during this time does nothing to slow down the flow of foreign assistance into the region; the Americans and the Bharatis, as the largest single contributors to the devastated areas, coordinate their activities with surviving local police and military forces.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  4. David bar Elias Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    February 1, 2005—In his inaugural address, President Hernandez promises that the Socialist Party will usher in, “…a new era, when everyone can live in the fullest economic and social security.”

    Regarding foreign affairs, the new President is more circumspect. Although Hernandez promises to continue to pursue policies to strengthen the Council of the Western Hemisphere, promising to seek an eventual free trade agreement for all member states of the CWH. Pundits are quick to note that when Hernandez does discuss the deteriorating situation in the Ottoman Empire, he is far more vague on specific details. As Thomas Harry Johnson speculates, “…perhaps he [the President] wants to avoid getting painted into making a promise that he can not keep. All very well, but what will happen if we’re called on to act?”

    February 14, 2005 onwards—At the Battlefield Jamboree, the new musical genre of Mento-Punk is first played for a broader US audience. Mento-Punk [26], as played by the Kingston-based band Four-by-Four, is influenced by several older genres, including Bossa nova, Fabrika-Punk, Hollywood Stomp, and perhaps most importantly, the Jamaican folk music known as Mento. At first identified by some critics as a sub-genre of US Bossa nova, it is not long before Mento-Punk is recognized as something new and special. Trevor Brooks notes in his 2007 history of American popular culture that Mento-Punk could be considered the American answer to Bossa nova or Fabrika-Punk.

    Mento-Punk bands steadily gain in popularity throughout the rest of the decade, both in the United States and the rest of the world: the new musical genre becomes especially popular in Australia, Brazil, China, and Russia by the early 2010s.

    March 25-September 25, 2005 onwards—At the Mumbai Exposition of Technology and Design, the recently knighted Sir Robert Bolton unveils the Marble Mk. V, a new desk combine that quickly makes the Intrigue Corporation’s pavilion one of the most popular displays at the world’s fair. As one anonymous German visitor writes in a letter to the Frankfurter Zeitung, “…yet simply, we’re almost tempted to buy this machine just to display it on our bookshelf.” [27]

    April 30, 2005 onwards—The Austro-Hungarian air force successfully tests the first Quiet Fighter, a military aircraft designed to be invisible to enemy y-ranging gear. [28]

    The emergence of Quiet military technology (or “Quiet Tech” as it’s more commonly known) also occurs in Brazil and the United States during the second half of the 2000s. The original Austro-Hungarian design is later sold to the Bharatis, while the Chinese and the Russians are able to gain the American and Brazilian produced Quiet Tech. Quiet Tech fighters and bombers will later be used during the international responses to the Japanese Spring, Ottoman Dissolution, and the fall of the Galal Khan regime in Pakistan during the 2010s.

    May 15, 2005 onwards—The epic science fiction film Planet of the Flotsam premiers in the United States. Directed by Ella Nunez (in her first attempt at a science fiction setting), the film is inspired from several sources, including an unpublished 1981 short story by Gershom Kafka (Your Winnings, Sir), the 1985 Szabolcsi and Tolmach Space Opera The Cantina Band, and a Second Great War-era play by Lionel Black and Sam Cohen entitled Santo Domingo. Nunez’s movie is something of a homage to US cinema from the Second Great War, with many scenes put in as homages to the classics of wartime cinema. Many critics note that the film incorporates elements from genres as diverse as the Low Life Wave, Space Opera, Techno-Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy. [29]

    The film is an instant critical and financial smash-hit, eventually becoming the highest grossing film in motion picture history (as of 2005); it becomes the first film to make over one billion dollars, with most of its revenue coming from overseas viewings. Nunez’s epic is hailed as the first “Deluxe Film”—due to the important role that Deluxe theaters played in helping Planet of the Flotsam with its massive box office haul. The film inspires three sequels: Moon of the Villains (2008), Star of the Harlequins (2011), and Galaxy of the Smugglers (2014). Each film explores the wider in-film universe through a different segment of its stratified society.

    July 14, 2005 onwards—In a grand series of ceremonies in Geneva, Switzerland, the first session of the International Security Council (ISC) is inaugurated.

    The ISC’s goals, as articulated by First Secretary Radim Prazsky of Austria-Hungary, are to, “…provide an alternative to the terrifying spectacle of armed conflict between nation states.” The structure of the ISC is based on those of the Council of the Western Hemisphere and the European Community. The Security Council consists of representatives from all nation states, while the Second Council will consist of no more than fifteen nations, which will rotate on and off the SC in two year annual elections held in the Security Council. The First Secretary will be allowed to stand for two four-year terms, in a vote determined by the Security Council.

    Finally, the Permanent members of the Second Council will have the right to veto resolutions, and will sit in on the Second Council on a permanent basis. The Permanent Members include the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Republic of Bharat, the Empire of Brazil, the Chinese Republic, the German Empire, the Russian Republic, and the United States of America.

    Along with nation states, certain international bodies, including the International Health Organization, the International Refugee Organization, and the World Habitat Protection Agency are all invited to sit in on the Security Council (albeit as non-voting “observers”). Over the course of the twenty-first century, these groups use the ISC to bring severe problems to the agenda of the world community.

    Not all nations accept the invitation to join the ISC: the Japanese Worker’s Republic, the Ottoman Empire, and Pakistan all refuse to join any international organization that could potentially subject them to greater international scrutiny. The Kingdom of Egypt, Sudan, and the Somali Republic use Abdul Hamid III’s technical status as their religious overlord to refrain from membership, at least for the time being.

    In spite of the First Secretary’s urging of the new member states of the ISC to use its institutions to solve their disputes in “an independent and consensus building manner,” the Security Council quickly divides into voting blocs that reflect the complicated system of international alliances. These diplomatic realities will complicate the ISC’s responses to the Japanese Spring, the Ottoman Dissolution and the collapse of Pakistan’s militarist regime during the 2010s.

    October 5, 2005 onwards—The Supreme Court holds its first hearing in the case of United States of America v Jay Michelson et. al., a trial that quickly captures national attention.

    The case, originating in late 2002, concerns Sioux City, Iowa high school seniors Jay Michelson, Pete Schiffer, and Amy Trommler, who refused to register for either the mandatory two years of military service or an alternative three years of national service. All three teenagers admit to being influenced by the Staccato movement’s hostility to either military conscription or governmental authority of any kind.

    The Michelson Trial lasts for three weeks. Finally, on November 1, 2005, Chief Justice Alexander Strauss reads the majority opinion. In a 9-0 decision, the Court upholds the original guilty verdicts handed down both by the Iowa Supreme Court and the Eighth District Court of Appeals. Michelson, Schiffer, and Trommler are all sentenced to two years in prison for refusing either mandatory form of national service.

    The Michelson Trial and later Decision plays a major role in fueling a major national backlash against the Staccato movement in the United States. The Democrats in particular begin to use the Staccato movement as a prime of example of what is wrong with American society.

    October 8, 2005 onwards—An earthquake in Kashmir kills almost 80,000 people in both Bharat and Pakistan. International assistance is quick to pour into the region via the Bharati side. The Pakistanis, by contrast, refuse to allow any foreign assistance into the affected areas of their Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in keeping with the isolationist policies of the Khan dictatorship.

    February 7, 2006—The US Congress, after over a year of consultation with the White House and the Department of Defense, enacts legislation allowing for women to serve in combat units. [30]

    February 22, 2006-May 26, 2006 onwards—Emperor Amha Selassie II of Ethiopia announces, in an address to his nation’s House of the People, that his nation will go ahead with the construction of the Millennium Dam, on the Blue River Nile next to the Ethiopian border with Sudan.

    The Emperor’s announcement creates a new international crisis. The Kingdom of Egypt denounces the Ethiopian plans as an affront to their ostensible control over the waters of the Nile River. The Egyptian government even goes so far as to threaten war if the Ethiopians do not back down from their proposed project.

    The Millennium Dam crisis [31] is notable as the first act of successful meditation by the new International Security Council. Throughout the winter and spring of 2006, First Secretary Praszky personally overseas ISC-sanctioned negotiations between the Egyptians and the Ethiopians. Finally, on May 26, 2006, the Egyptians announce that they have dropped their objections to Addis Ababa’s plans. This causes a massive amount of anti-Ethiopian rioting throughout Egypt, which forces the closure of the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo.

    Brazilian reporter Carlos Henriques will later reveal, in a 2016 book on the crisis, that a significant factor behind the Egyptians backing down from their objections was the th

    March 25-September 25, 2005 onwards—At the Mumbai Exposition of Technology and Design, the recently knighted Sir Robert Bolton unveils the Marble Mk. V, a new desk combine that quickly makes the Intrigue Corporation’s pavilion one of the most popular displays at the world’s fair. As one anonymous German visitor writes in a letter to the Frankfurter Zeitung, “…yet simply, we’re almost tempted to buy this machine just to display it on our bookshelf.” [27]

    April 30, 2005 onwards—The Austro-Hungarian air force successfully tests the first Quiet Fighter, a military aircraft designed to be invisible to enemy radar. [28]

    The emergence of Quiet military technology (or “Quiet Tech” as it’s more commonly known) also occurs in Brazil and the United States during the second half of the 2000s. The original Austro-Hungarian design is later sold to the Bharatis, while the Chinese and the Russians are able to gain the American and Brazilian produced Quiet Tech. Quiet Tech fighters and bombers will later be used during the international responses to the Japanese Spring, Ottoman Dissolution, and the fall of the Galal Khan regime in Pakistan during the 2010s.

    May 15, 2005 onwards—The epic science fiction film Planet of the Flotsam premiers in the United States. Directed by Ella Nunez (in her first attempt at a science fiction setting), the film is inspired from several sources, including an unpublished short story by Gershom Kafka, the Space Opera The Cantina Band, and a Second Great War-era play by Lionel Black and Sam Cohen entitled Your Winnings, Sir. Nunez’s movie is something of a homage to US cinema from the Second Great War, with many scenes put in as homages to the classics of wartime cinema. Many critics note that the film incorporates elements from genres as diverse as the Low Life Wave, Space Opera, Techno-Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy. [29]

    The film is an instant critical and financial smash-hit, eventually becoming the highest grossing film in motion picture history (as of 2005); it becomes the first film to make over one billion dollars, with most of its revenue coming from overseas viewings. Nunez’s epic is hailed as the first “Deluxe Film”—due to the important role that Deluxe theaters played in helping Planet of the Flotsam with its massive box office haul. The film inspires three sequels: Moon of the Villains (2008), Star of the Harlequins (2011), and Galaxies of the Smugglers (2014). Each film explores the wider in-film universe through a different segment of its stratified society.

    July 14, 2005 onwards—In a grand series of ceremonies in Geneva, Switzerland, the first session of the International Security Council (ISC) is inaugurated.

    The ISC’s goals, as articulated by First Secretary Radim Prazsky of Austria-Hungary, are to, “…provide an alternative to the terrifying spectacle of armed conflict between nation states.” The structure of the ISC is based on those of the Council of the Western Hemisphere and the European Community. The Security Council consists of representatives from all nation states, while the Second Council will consist of no more than fifteen nations, which will rotate on and off the SC in two year annual elections held in the Security Council. The First Secretary will be allowed to stand for two four-year terms, in a vote determined by the Security Council.

    Finally, the Permanent members of the Second Council will have the right to veto resolutions, and will sit in on the Second Council on a permanent basis. The Permanent Members include the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Republic of Bharat, the Empire of Brazil, the Chinese Republic, the German Empire, the Russian Republic, and the United States of America.

    Along with nation states, certain international bodies, including the International Health Organization, the International Refugee Organization, and the World Habitat Protection Agency are all invited to sit in on the Security Council (albeit as non-voting “observers”). Over the course of the twenty-first century, these groups use the ISC to bring severe problems to the agenda of the world community.

    Not all nations accept the invitation to join the ISC: the Japanese Worker’s Republic, the Ottoman Empire, and Pakistan all refuse to join any international organization that could potentially subject them to greater international scrutiny. The Kingdom of Egypt, Sudan, and the Somali Republic use Abdul Hamid III’s technical status as their religious overlord to refrain from membership, at least for the time being.

    In spite of the First Secretary’s urging of the new member states of the ISC to use its institutions to solve their disputes in “an independent and consensus building manner,” the Security Council quickly divides into voting blocs that reflect the complicated system of international alliances. These diplomatic realities will complicate the ISC’s responses to the Japanese Spring, the Ottoman Dissolution and the collapse of Pakistan’s militarist regime during the 2010s.

    October 5, 2005 onwards—The Supreme Court holds its first hearing in the case of United States of America v Jay Michelson et. al., a trial that quickly captures national attention.

    The case, originating in late 2002, concerns Sioux City, Iowa high school seniors Jay Michelson, Pete Schiffer, and Amy Trommler, who refused to register for either the mandatory two years of military service or an alternative three years of national service. All three teenagers admit to being influenced by the Staccato movement’s hostility to either military conscription or governmental authority of any kind.

    The Michelson Trial lasts for three weeks. Finally, on November 1, 2005, Chief Justice Alexander Strauss reads the majority opinion. In a 9-0 decision, the Court upholds the original guilty verdicts handed down both by the Iowa Supreme Court and the Eighth District Court of Appeals. Michelson, Schiffer, and Trommler are all sentenced to two years in prison for refusing either mandatory form of national service.

    The Michelson Trial and later Decision plays a major role in fueling a major national backlash against the Staccato movement in the United States. The Democrats in particular begin to use the Staccato movement as a prime of example of what is wrong with American society.

    October 8, 2005 onwards—An earthquake in Kashmir kills almost 80,000 people in both Bharat and Pakistan. International assistance is quick to pour into the region via the Bharati side. The Pakistanis, by contrast, refuse to allow any foreign assistance into the affected areas of their Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in keeping with the isolationist policies of the Khan dictatorship.

    February 7, 2006—The US Congress, after over a year of consultation with the White House and the Department of Defense, enacts legislation allowing for women to serve in combat units. [30]

    February 22, 2006-May 26, 2006 onwards—Emperor Amha Selassie II of Ethiopia announces, in an address to his nation’s House of the People, that his nation will go ahead with the construction of the Millennium Dam, on the Blue River Nile next to the Ethiopian border with Sudan.

    The Emperor’s announcement creates a new international crisis. The Kingdom of Egypt denounces the Ethiopian plans as an affront to their ostensible control over the waters of the Nile River. The Egyptian government even goes so far as to threaten war if the Ethiopians do not back down from their proposed project.

    The Millennium Dam crisis [31] is notable as the first act of successful meditation by the new International Security Council. Throughout the winter and spring of 2006, First Secretary Praszky personally overseas ISC-sanctioned negotiations between the Egyptians and the Ethiopians. Finally, on May 26, 2006, the Egyptians announce that they have dropped their objections to Addis Ababa’s plans. This causes a massive amount of anti-Ethiopian rioting throughout Egypt, which forces the closure of the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo.

    Brazilian reporter Carlos Henriques will later reveal, in a 2016 book on the crisis, that a significant factor behind the Egyptians backing down from their objections was the threat of sanctions from the European Community, along with the Bharati promise to enter into any war on Ethiopia’s side.

    April 22, 2006 onwards—The Liberty Space Agency launches the Percival Lowell into orbit. The orbital telescope’s stated mission is to facilitate the discovery of new “exoplanets,” particularly those that have a greater chance of containing life. All discoveries made by the Percival Lowell will be shared by other space agencies. In 2014, the European Space Combine, in its first major collaboration with the Bharati Ministry of Science and Exploration, will compliment the Percival Lowell’s mission with the launching of its own planet-seeking telescope, the Giordano Bruno. [32]

    May 1, 2006 onwards—A massive uprising begins in Popular Rehabilitation Camp Number Seven, in the remote reaches of District Three [OTL Aomori Prefecture, in the Japanese Worker’s Republic. The uprising, sparked by the cruelty of the guards, and a reduction in the prisoner’s rations, is put down with extreme brutality.

    The first such uprising in the history of the JWR, the “Popular Rehabilitation Incident” (as the authorities refer to it amongst themselves), is far from the last. Even as the Himura regime expands the camp network to confine the growing number of dissidents (real or imagined), revolts continue to erupt throughout the Popular Rehabilitative Network up until the eve of the Japanese Spring.

    May 7-May 14, 2006 onwards—Over the course of seven days, the Siege for Jerusalem is brought to an end with the relief of the city’s Mizrachi Jewish defenders by an army of Shomrim arriving from the Ir Avraham enclave.

    The assault, commanded by Amos Chelouche [33], takes the Golden Wolves by surprise, a shock compounded by the successful assassination of carried out during the nighttime assault on their main camp of their frontline Zeki Sadik (coordinated by the Shomrim's Intra-Net advisors). The Shomrim, with assistance from their Intra-Net liaisons, succeeded in fooling the Golden Wolves into anticipating a planned attack on their front lines from the defenders within the Old City itself. Already demoralized by almost three years of inconclusive fighting, many of the Golden Wolves’ ordinary foot soldiers desert upon hearing of their commander’s death. The Mizrachi victory in the Battle of Jerusalem leads to jubilation amongst the city’s beleaguered defenders. It is also a deep shock to Abdul Hamid, who had personally approved of Macar’s plans to systematically destroy the city’s Christian and Jewish inhabitants. The Battle of Jerusalem proves to be a crucial turning point in determining the fate of the Ottoman Empire. Other militias, learning of the defeat of the Golden Wolves and other government forces at the city, radicalize in terms of their long-term goals. As Adeela Vivekananda later records in his diary, on the evening of January 9, Tomorrow should prove terrifying.

    Rifat Macar is enraged upon hearing of the defeat in Jerusalem, but also cannot send more of his soldiers to the Sanjak without gravely weakening his frontline positions against the Mosul Action Front. Macar now begins to turn against Abdul Hamid III, blaming the monarch for the failures to stamp out enemy militias thus far. Macar, in fact, begins to imagine himself having acquired the sultanate from the current monarch, believing that only he can save the empire from its internal foes. Beginning in the spring of 2006, he begins to make tentative contacts with his allies in the Secret Organization, although it will not be until early 2010 that he feels confidant enough to make his move.

    From the spring of 2006 until the winter of 2009, the Shomrim, now largely re-organized as a military force capable of waging offensive operations, begins a campaign to drive the Golden Wolves and their allied militias out of the Sanjak of Jerusalem. However, it will not be until the early months of 2010 when the leadership of the movement feels confident enough to declare independence from the Ottoman Empire.

    September 20, 2006 onwards—Rodrigo Soler’s CGF-film Symphony in Starlight opens in Berlin, New York City, and Vienna. The film is the first of its kind: except for some brief interludes from an animated conductor (voiced by real-life Austro-Hungarian composer and conductor Shmuel Batushansky), the film consists entirely of images and figures moving to music. The range of music is considerable: Soler includes Bossa nova, classical, Fabrika-Punk, stomp, swing, and tinpan tunes in his film.

    The movie proves to be a massive international success. Soler announces at the conclusion of the Vienna premier that Blue Moon Productions will henceforth be producing a new Symphony in Starlight film every two to three years, with new music rotating on to replace the songs of the previous one. The “Starlight Symphony” films become some of the most anticipated movies throughout the world, especially amongst music devotees. [34]

    November 7, 2006—In the United States Congressional Midterm elections, the Democrats have their first good election night since 1992, capturing a large number of seats from both parties, particularly from the Republicans in the Upper South and Ohio. Pundits from across the political spectrum are quick to credit the Democrats’ new chairman, former Congressman Bud House of Pennsylvania, for the party’s seemingly newfound purpose. House promises reporters that the Democrats will make a far better showing in the 2008 presidential elections than in the 2004 contest.

    February 2, 2007 onwards—In the Russian presidential elections, the Socialist Party, led by Yefim Teplov triumph over the Justice and Development Party. Russian and international observers are quick to note that the Socialists benefited from their alliance with the Ecoists, with one journalist writing that, “…the two of them [Teplov and Orlova] campaigned as though they belonged to the same party.”

    In his victory speech, Teplov promises that his government will have a place in it for all of Russia’s four main parties. With a nod to his Ecoist allies, Teplov promises that his administration will lead to, “…a green restoration for our republic, for the benefit and security of everyone.” Within days, Teplov announces that Orlova will be his choice to head the Interior Ministry, which possesses jurisdiction over wilderness areas.

    Teplov, however, also states that some of the Justice and Prosperity Party’s policies will be continued, especially former President Rebikov’s hawkish policies towards the Ottoman Empire.

    July 1-July 10, 2007 onwards—The West Philadelphia Riots erupt when Lan Powers, a member of the Crimson Knuckles gang, is shot and killed in the midst of an attempted robbery of a closed newsstand by Matthias Olembe, the establishment’s owner. A jury later acquits Olembe, an immigrant from Kamerun, on the basis of self-defense.

    The Crimson Knuckles, a roundhead gang based in West Philadelphia’s sizable Dixieland, uses Powers’s death as an excuse for mayhem. Already notorious for their brutal attacks against the African and South Asian immigrants who live on the boundaries of their neighborhood, the Crimson Knuckles, joined by allied roundhead gangs and tagalong juvenile delinquents of other stripes, begin a massive coordinated attack on immigrant-owned businesses (and immigrants themselves) on the boundaries between West Philadelphia’s Dixieland and the majority-immigrant neighborhoods adjoining them.

    Contemporary journalists and later historians are almost unanimous in blaming the length and severity of the West Philadelphia Riots on the abysmal response by the city’s first-term mayor, James Coulter Grimes, who attempts to downplay the initial disturbances for fear of disrupting the planned Fourth of July in the city. By July 4, the rioters have caused tens of millions of dollars in damage; Mayor Grimes then abruptly changes track, and orders the police department to halt the disturbances at all cost. The unprepared policemen struggle against the rioters for another three days before the Dixieland is finally brought under control by July 10. [35]

    The West Philadelphia Riots have lasting national consequences. Americans from across the political spectrum are shocked and appalled by the damage and scope of the disturbances. Some pessimistic observers wonder how successful their country has been at moving beyond the specter of racial hatred.

    Politically, the Democrats, long in the national political wilderness, benefit the most in the long-term from the Riots. Across the country, the Democrats now portray themselves as the only part capable of bringing gang activity and juvenile delinquency in general under control. In Philadelphia, Mayor Grimes declines to seek reelection; the Democrats recapture the mayoralty in the next election.

    Another outcome of the Riots is a further rise in the political profile of Alfred Astaire [36], the long-time Secretary of the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation. Astaire, an appointee of President DeFrancis, first gained national prominence for his leading role in the investigation of Vice President Kent; on July 30, 2007, Astaire, in a press conference attended by Attorney General Rolland Caldwell and Vice President York, announces that the BI will spearhead a national crackdown, “…on the epidemic of cold-blooded violence, no matter where it may be based.”

    Over the next three years, the BI, in coordination with various metropolitan police departments, begins a systematic crackdown of street gangs, with a particular emphasis on those believe to be roundheads. The BI and the different police agencies utilize laws dating back to the early twentieth century enhancing police powers targeting targets deemed a present danger to domestic security. This crackdown is later known both by historians and the public at large as the “Astaire Dragnet.”

    Some speculate that Astaire will use the incipient crackdown as a stepping-stone to higher political office in the 2008 elections. For the time being, Secretary Astaire denies his interest in the upcoming national contest. However, he refuses to categorically state that he is uninterested in seeking higher office in the future. Democratic Party Chairman Bud House tries to recruit Astaire to the 2008 election, only to be rebuffed for the time being.

    July 29, 2007 onwards—The first Originalist film, Bocce premiers in Rome. Directed by Roberta Goretti, the film is a radical departure from most films released in Italy (and throughout most of Europe and the United States) prior to this time; among other conventions, the film’s characters never speak in either the past or the present tense [37]; dream sequences are scattered throughout the film, interspersed with “reality.” Nominally about a group of men playing Bocce, the film quickly transforms into a bizarre, almost Surrealist version of the imagination.

    A former adherent of the Staccato movement, Goretti calls on filmmakers around the world to only, “…create original works, deriving from nothing but our own dreams” (as she writes in her autobiography, published in 2009 in English as Our Gloriousness. Goretti’s film proves to be the spark for the Originalist film movement, a school of filmmaking that becomes popular in Austria-Hungary, France, Italy, Romania, and the United Kingdom. In their obsession at creating the most radical storylines free of all derived sources, Originalist directors also refuse to produce sequels their works. Originalist films remain popular in many European nations until the late 2010s.

    September 5, 2007 onwards—At a press conference in Vienna, a spokesman for the Ministry of Science and Information announces that a team led by Dr. Radan Jedlicka and Dr. Malina Tomko has successfully cloned a mammal for a first time. The animal in question, a cow named “Hugo” by his creators, represents an important milestone in the history of genetics. [38]

    The Restorationist wing of the Ecoist movement also pays close attention to the cloning of Hugo. Sarafima Orlova expresses her hopes in an October, 2007 interview that one day cloning will allow for the establishment of Ice Age megafauna within the Russian Republic.

    December, 2007 onwards—The first robotic probe, the Rover arrives on Mars. Launched by the Liberty Space Agency, one of the primary functions of the Rover is to scout out possible locations for the future LSA manned mission to Mars. [39]

    January 1-November 4, 2008 onwards—The US presidential elections of 2008 are the most fiercely contested since 1996. The Democrats, newly energized by their 2006 victories and having seized upon crime and gang violence as a primary issue, run on a campaign of law and order, eventually nominating Governor Arthur Valenti of New York as their candidate. Valenti runs on his record of being tough-on-crime, and especially on, “…measures [my] administration took to prevent an urban explosion similar to the storm that ravaged Philadelphia,” as he remarks in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The Socialists in turn run President Hernandez as a successful anti-crime crusader, as the prime motivator behind the Astaire Dragnet.

    Although they lead at several points in the race, the Democrats are still affected by structural weaknesses related to their long years in the wilderness. In particular, Valenti is hurt in the long-term by his almost single-minded focus on crime during the campaign, leaving himself open to Socialist attacks that he has been exploiting the West Philadelphia Riots for personal gain. As Thomas Harry Johnson bitterly notes in the aftermath of the election, “…I suppose crime doesn’t pay as an issue for presidential candidates either.”

    The Republicans nominate Governor Fergus Sloane of Ohio, a centrist with a record of successfully guiding his state through the painful re-adjustments to de-industrialization. However, Slone fails to get much of a say in the election, as the media and the public at large remains focused on the increasingly personal contest between Governor Valenti and President Hernandez.

    February 12-February 28, 2008—The Winter Olympic Games are held in Milan, Italy.

    May 12, 2008 onwards—A massive earthquake devastates China’s Sichuan province and causes severe damage in the city of Chengdu, killing over 65,000 people. Massive assistance pours into the region from the rest of China and from overseas; the Russian Republic and the United States are the largest contributors in humanitarian assistance in responding to this natural disaster.

    June 20, 2008 onwards—Elongi Records is incorporated in Wilhelmsville, Congo. The new record label, founded by bothers Aymar and Klaus U Tam’si, will play a crucial role in bringing singers from the Congolese Federation to play in the European Community, especially in the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires. Within two years, ER has opened offices in Berlin, Munich, and Vienna.

    The U Tam’si brothers’ primary goal is to bring Congolese music to the attention of world audiences. Later, in the 2010s, Elongi Records branches opens offices throughout the African member states of the German Economic Association, advertising themselves as one of the most important conduits for different regional music to be played overseas.

    July 10, 2008 onwards—Carlos Henriques publishes Shades of Washington, a comprehensive history of the Organization of Strategic Services. The book details the development of the OSS since the end of the Second Great War, including its espionage activities against the Empire of Japan’s atomic program, its secret war against Confederate war criminals, and its creation of an assassination arm, the Bayonets, to execute justice against those enemies of America who cannot stand trial in a court of law.

    Perhaps the most shocking revelation that Henriques’s makes is that it was the OSS was responsible for the assassination of Colonel Nuray Karga, the founder of the Golden Wolves, in February of 1987. Although the OSS and the White House strongly deny the charge, it’s enough for Sultan Abdul Hamid to order all American aid workers out of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the closing of the US embassy and consulates.

    August 8-August 24, 2008—The summer Olympic Games are held in New Delhi, Bharat. It is the first Olympiad to be hosted by Bharat, and the Games are used by the Bharatis to advertise their status as a major power and the center of the Chennai Pact. Both the Ottoman Empire and Pakistan refuse to send to teams to compete in the sporting mega-event, signifying how tense diplomatic relations remains between the three powers.

    November 4, 2008 onwards—In the US presidential elections, the Socialists manage to hold the White House, with President Hernandez emerging victorious over Governor Valenti of New York and Governor Sloane of Ohio. Most pundits credit the President for running a tightly controlled and competent campaign against his rivals, and for the Democrats’ over-reliance on crime as an issue during the election.

    The Republicans remain bitter at finishing a dismal third place in a relatively close electoral contest. The Democrats, furious at losing a “winnable” election, dispose Bud House as their national chairman, although the party will later use him to recruit BI Secretary Astaire as the Democratic nominee for the 2012 elections.

    January 30, 2009 onwards—The Difference Engine comes online for the first time. The combo-site, conceived by Yale undergraduates Sol Temkin and Allan Wu, is initially meant as a database for Yale students to communicate and “friend” each other. Within a year of its launch, however, the Difference Engine quickly expands beyond the scope of its original purpose. Within seven years of its launch, the DF has well over eight hundred million users spread across every continent in the world. [40]

    Temkin and Wu both surprise the business world by turning down the initial offers by the Big Three to buy them out. Instead, the DF becomes the first company to seriously challenge the dominance of the three massive conglomerates. In particular, Temkin and Wu use the DF to break into the growing market for combine-games; in 2015, “The Difference Engine” also becomes the title of a combine game that can be accessed through the original DF site, a game that heavily borrows from the many worlds of spec-fiction and American Fantasy.

    February 1, 2009 onwards—In his second inaugural address, President Hernandez promises to keep the United States on an, “…endlessly steady path to prosperity and opportunity for all, in the face of those in our nation who embrace a culture of violence over a culture of life.” Hernandez promises that his administration will work tirelessly to end, “…any and all social factors that allow for the emergence of rampant criminality.”

    Hernandez also re-iterates his earlier condemnation of the attempts by Sultan Abdul Hamid to halt the international assistance given to refugees in his realm, warning the sultan that, “…our nation has no tolerance for those who deliberately destabilize the international community for their own depraved gains.” Many pundits speculate on whether or not the president’s rhetoric will herald concrete policies aimed at putting the United States on the footing necessary to intervene in the collapsing empire. President Hernandez does qualify his remarks, however, in stating that the United States will only intervene under the auspices of, “…an international force,” suggesting that the United States will only conduct such an operation in cooperation with its allies in the CDS, the CWH, and the International Security Council.

    May 7, 2009 onwards—The European Space Combine announces that upon the completion of the launch facilities of Reck-Malleczewen Hafen, the ESC will use its lunar base as a means to launch a series of robotic probes to explore the surface of the Jovian moon of Europa, where scientists suspect that an ocean exists that could contain extraterrestrial life.

    September 9, 2009 onwards—Engineering Time is published in the United States. Written by Greg Bliss, it proves to be his final novel of spec fiction set in an alternate Confederacy. Bliss states at the press conference launching the novel that he will no longer use the Confederacy as a setting for his stories. When asked why by reporters, he simply responds, “…I intend to move on to less explored historical settings.” [41]

    December 1-December 21, 2009 onwards—In Washington, D.C., representatives from Australia, Biafra, Bengal, Bharat, Great Zimbabwe, Haiti, Hyderabad, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Liberia, Oyo, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Texas, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and West Papua meet under the invitation of the US Department of Education to hammer out an educational accord similar to that of similar agreements between the world’s French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish language-majority nations.

    The result of the “Educational Summit” is the creation of the William Shakespeare Forum, a new institution designed to popularize the study of the English language. Under the terms of the agreement, students from all signatory nations will be eligible for scholarships to study English across in nations that are a member of the agreement. The most talented students from non-English speaking nations will also be eligible to compete for scholarships for the same purposes.

    Speaking to the assembled delegates on the last day of the Summit, President Hernandez states, “…all of our nations have more in common than the prevalence of the same language, and an adherence to the rule of law. Each of our countries, in different ways and at different times, has been forced to comprehend the horrors and traumas of gruesome centuries: centuries marked by economic inequality, political repression, societal violence, and war. One of the results I hope from this Forum, if nothing else, is setting an example for the generations that follow ours that it is possible to work together for a better present and future. Whatever the challenges ahead on our world stage, they are challenges that affect us all, and they are challenges that can only be overcome through working together.”


    [42]


    * * *


    [1] [In term “roundhead” is synonymous with the OTL word "skinhead".]

    [2] [The Liberty Trilogy is analogous in themes and scope to the "Three Colors Trilogy" from our world (which was directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski, although Kieślowski’s films dealt with themes through the prism of the colors of the French flag, and by extension the French national ideals of liberty, equality, and brotherhood.]

    [3] The Brazilian favelas of TTL are more analogous to the French banlieuesbanilieues of our world.]

    [4] Vasily Bunin is an ATL descendent of the OTL Russian writer Ivan BuninIvan Bunin. Cavalry to the Stars is broadly similar, in scope and in its themes, to James Cameron’s 2009 science fiction film Avatar although Bunin’s work arguably has more in the way of shades of grey in its characterizations than Cameron’s work].

    [5] [“Bijav” is the Romani word for wedding. It is also the name of asong by Serbian composer and singer Goran Bregović. Bregović’s OTL song is analogous to the tune and pacing of most Fabrika-Punk songs from TTL, especially those from Austria-Hungary.]

    [6] ["Small Theater" in TTL is the equivalent to our world's Off-Broadway theater.]

    [7] [In our world, the "Golden Age of Arcade video games" is generally believed to have been from approximately the late 1970s through the mid 1980s.]

    [8] [ Mähdrescher Kino is analogous to digital cinematography which started to be used in our world beginning in the late 1980s and early 1990s, although it was not until the early 2000s that it became widespread.]

    [9] [Thanks to Petike for suggesting the name “desk combine.” TTL’s desk combines are analogous to our world’s personal computers.]

    [10] [ Quartermaster Corps is similar in its formatting, pacing, and style to a number of movies from our world, including Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film Reservoir Dogs and 1994 film Pulp Fiction, Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film Goodfellas and Guy Ritchie’s 2000 film Snatch.]

    [11] [TTL’s 2000 heat wave is similar to the 2003 heat wavethat devastated Europe in our world.]

    [12] [In our world, the Bakken formation was not exploited on a large scale until the early 2010s.]

    [13] [One of the major rewildingproposals from our world is Russia's planned Pleistocene Park.]

    [14] [I borrowed the term “Long Drum Roll” from Dixie-, a setting from the game GURPS Infinite Worlds—in that world, it describes the cold war between the United States and a victorious Confederate States.]

    [15] [The OPEN of TTL is analogous to the function of our world’s OPEC.]

    [16] [ “Gelem, gelem” is Romani for “I went, I went.” In our world, it became the title of the Romani anthem. TTL’s International Romani Congress is analogous to our world’s World Romani Congress, which was established in 1971 IOTL.]

    [17] [TTL’s Amitié Program is analogous to our world’s Birthright program, which brings young Jewish adults on free ten day trips to Israel.]

    [18] [ Beasts of America is analogous, especially in its tone, to George Orwell’s novella Animal Farm. Unlike Orwell’s work, large portions of Beasts of America were drawn from American tall tales, albeit with far more sinister endings.]

    [19] [The Panopticon (not to be confused with our world's usageof term) of TTL is this ATL’s equivalent to our world’s Google, which was first developed in 1996.]

    [20] [ The Further Adventures of Don Quixote closely resembles, in terms of its plot and tone, that of Terry Gilliam’s attempted 2000 film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote[/I]. In terms of animation quality, Soler’s film is analogous to Lee Unkrich and Ash Brannon’s 1999 film[/I] Toy Story 2. Blue Moon Productions is analogous to our world’s Pixar Animation Studios.

    On a side note, in TTL animation is a medium that is primarily marketed towards adults, rather than children.]


    [21] [This is similar to an alleged quote in our world from Konstantin Pobedonostsev, the Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod regarding the Jews of the Russian Empire.]

    [22] [For an idea of the horrors inherit in the Sieges undertaken by the Golden Wolves in TTL, see here regarding the 1992-1996 Siege of Sarajevo. The horrific violence spreading throughout the Ottoman Empire in TTL’s 2000s is similar to that of the Syrian Civil War currently being waged in our world.]

    [23] [In its plot and tone, The Butcher Clowns is similar to that of John Huston’s 1950 film The Asphalt Jungle and Stanley Kubrick’s 1956 film The Killing.]

    [24] [ Chronicle of 1.21 Gigawatts and its sequels are similar to our world’s Back to the Future Trilogy. However, its setting and outcome are far bleaker than our world’s films. It concerns a history student who goes mad in his repeated attempts to go back in time to stop the 1967 Tsitsihar Massacre.]

    [25] [For an idea of the plot and tone of Friendly Crustaceans[/I] imagine if [/I]The Hunt for Red October had been a joint effort between Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling. Techno-Fantasy as a genre is analogous to our world’s Techno-thriller genre, though with more in the way of fantastical elements, such as magic or time travel.]

    [26] [Mento-Punk is broadly similar to our world’s Mento Jamaican folk music. ]

    [27] [The Marble Mk. V is analogous to our world’s iMac G3.]

    [28] [TTL’s Quiet Fighter is analogous to our world’s F-117 Nighthawk.]

    [29] [For an idea of the scope and tone of Planet of the Flotsam and its sequels, imagine the 1942 Michael Curtiz film Casablanca updated for George Lucas’s 1977 science fiction epic Star Wars.]

    [30] [In our world, the ban on women serving in combat roles in the US military was not overturned until 2013. For more information, see here.]

    [31] As of 2013, a project of this nature is currently the source of a similar between Egypt and Ethiopia in our world.]

    [32] [Both the LSA and ESC space telescopes in TTL are analogous to our world’s planned Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).]

    [33] [Amos Chelouche is an ATL descendent of Yosef Eliyahu Chelouche, one of the founders of Tel Aviv.]

    [34] [ Symphony in Starlight is analogous to the OTL Disney animated musical films Fantasia and Fantasia 2000.]

    [On a side note, the term “tinpan” is the equivalent word to our world’s “jazz.” In TTL, with less influence from Southern African-American musicians, the genre that became the closest equivalent to our world’s jazz was more closely influenced by the musical output of Tin Pan Alley, among other sources.

    [35] [The devastation cased West Philadelphia Riots of TTL is most closely analogous to that caused by the 2011 riots in England riots, especially in London.]

    [36] [Alfred Astaire is an ATL descendent of our world’s actor, dancer, and singer Fred Astaire.]

    [37] [The closest equivalent to the structure of the dialogue of Bocce from our world would likely be that of the dialogue from the works of Damon Runyon.]

    [38] [In our world, the first mammal to be cloned successfully was Dolly, a sheep cloned in 1996.]

    [39] [The Rover
    of TTL is analogous to our world’s [/I] Opportunity rover.]

    [40] [The Difference Engine is TTL’s closest equivalent to our world’s Facebook, although it also comes to double as a gaming website not unlike the content provided by games such as World of Warcraft. I borrowed the name “The Difference Engine” from the title of the 1990 novel by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, which is generally considered to be the world’s first steampunk novel.]

    [41] [Engineering Time is analogous in its plot to the novella Closely Observed Trains by Bohumil Hrabal(later made into a famous 1966 Czechoslovak film by Jiří Menzel), although Bliss’s writing is far more cynical and bleak than Hrabal’s.]

    [42] [This song is from the 1995 Richard Loncraine film Richard III.]
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
  5. David bar Elias Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    This marks the conclusion of "TL-191: After the End." I may come back to this ATL in the future to post a re-edited and more detailed version of the first update, as well as a "Whatever Happened to...?" list describing the fates of the characters from the book series in this timeline.

    However, there is no definite timetable for either of those potential updates. I'm going to be very busy for the foreseeable future. Thank you to everyone who commented and offered constructive feedback and suggestions. I hope that this ATL has in general been up to your standards.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
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  6. AWKB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Location:
    Indiana, USA
    Wonderful work. One of the timelines that I followed closely, though I rarely posted. It will be missed.
     
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  7. RamscoopRaider Some Sort of Were-Orca, probably an Akhlut Donor

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Location:
    Newtown, CT
    Well it's a great conclusion and you should pat yourself on the back, well done
     
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  8. Techdread Loyal Oppositionist

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Location:
    City of Edinburgh
    A brilliant conclusion to a masterpiece of a TL - my most hardy congratulations on it all. Although I haven't been an especially vocal commenter, I've absolutely loved every part of it and you deserve every bit of praise you get for it - once again, well done!
     
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  9. Zmflavius Pelor Vult

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Location:
    TRAVELLER RETURNING
    Congratulations! It's been a great ride!
     
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  10. Vexacus Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    Abyss Of Evil
    This TL will be greatly missed
     
  11. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    And so ends the tired 20th century of TL-191, as another century begins...

    Thanks for the epilogue, David. Darn, I'll be up all night reading ! :eek: But it's a nice present to my 5th anniversary on AH.com. :)

    P.S. The description of Symphony in Starlight reminds me of Baraka.

    P.P.S. I love the 1995 version of Richard III, so kudos for that awesome reference at the very end. :D
     
  12. MarshalBraginsky Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Can we get the final map on this situation?
     
  13. JSmith Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    Denver Colorado
    It certainly has and thanks for all of your hard work on this. It gives completion to a world many of us have been interested in seeing completed. I eagerly look forward to whatever else you may have for us on this subject :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013
  14. lord caedus Very legal and very cool

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Absolutely fantastic end to one of the best TL (TL continuations?) on the board.
     
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  15. Turquoise Blue Blossoming Tibby!

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Location:
    Europe
    List of Presidents of the United States

    28: Theodore Roosevelt (Democratic) 1913-1921
    29: Upton Sinclair (Socialist) 1921-1929
    30: Hosea Blackford (Socialist) 1929-1933
    31: Herbert Hoover (Democratic) 1933-1937
    32: Al Smith (Socialist) 1937-1942
    33: Charles W. La Follette (Socialist) 1942-1945
    34: Thomas E. Dewey (Democratic) 1945-1953
    35: Harry S. Truman (Democratic) 1953-1961
    36: Hubert Humphrey (Socialist) 1961-1973
    37: Joshua Blackford (Democratic) 1973-1981
    38: Morgan Reynolds (Republican) 1981-1989
    39: Leo Enos (Socialist) 1989-1993
    40: Thurston DeFrancis (Democratic) 1993-1997
    41: Patrick Gutierrez (Republican) 1997-2005
    42: Sergio Hernandez (Socialist) 2005-2013?
    43: UNKNOWN (Democratic?) 20??-20??
     
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  16. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    You're really punctual with president lists, TB. ;) Can't wait till you finish the election results maps.


    David, I'd like to thank you for using my "desk combine" term. Though you've mentioned that you might use it, I wasn't expecting you'd actually do so. So thanks. :)

    Now I'm all eager to do a crosstime hop to this TL, do some shopping there, then return home and fire up my newly bought Marble Mk V desk combine to play a stealth game with an American Fantasy setting, concerning a certain Jacques Aubertin... :p :D
     
  17. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    The very making of this continuation was a small saga in and of itself. You started it nearly five years ago and, despite the occassional hiatus, you've brought it to a succesful closure, exactly according to plan. That's certainly not easy to pull off and, sadly, doesn't happen every day, with a lot of TLs dying before they get finished. So kudos to you and your writing. You're a master storyteller by now, if I do say so myself. :)

    I'd love to use a .gif of Harry Turtledove clapping with admiration right now, but since no such thing exists, I will make due without it. :eek: Thanks for the TL and thanks for bringing it to a thrilling but appropriately mundane closure. :cool:
     
  18. Matt Wiser Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Location:
    Auberry, CA
    I'll make this short and sweet: Excellent Work, David! As they say in the USN: "Bravo Zulu", or "Well Done."
     
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  19. FickleCrossroad Dormant Poet

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    Northwest Wawastan
    Well done. So ends the first TL I got hooked on here. It was a good read.
     
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  20. Milarqui Bloguero de Historia Alterna

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Between Madrid and Granada
    Holy shit, man.

    That last update was impressive.

    I wish you would continue it, especially to write what else is going to happen to the Ottoman Empire and the other references to future events. But, well, you managed to end it on a high note.

    Great work!