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About Deviant Member Bruce MunroMale/United States Group :iconalternate-history: Alternate-History
 
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This account is a storage spot for my alternate history maps. I also have started putting up "Alien Space Bat scenario" (fantasy settings) writings in a seperate "ASB" folder, and more recently some doodles.

PS - to see all the map deviations in my gallery, hit "browse": for some reason some don't show up otherwise, although they aren't in seperate folders.

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Have neglected putting anything here, so I thought I'd start adding: alternate history maps by others, some Anime pics, odds and ends...

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Yiddish Policeman's Union by QuantumBranching
Yiddish Policeman's Union
My stab at the world of the Yiddish policeman's Union, by Michael Chabon. 

Some ideas stolen from Ephraim Ben Raphael and Reagent, master of African maps, over on ah.com

In this world, the US set up a refuge for persecuted Jews in Alaska before WWII, centered in Sitka, on the understanding that they would return to Europe once things had returned to normal. Unfortunately, this did not happen: WWII went rather differently than OTL, with no Pearl Harbor and the US entering the war late and reluctantly due to submarine warfare (Hitler was convinced that the Jewish “leadership” had fled to America, and was reluctant to fall into a possible trap by declaring war), and most importantly, the Soviet Union failing to win a couple crucial victories. 

The Soviets were essentially pushed to the Volga by ’43, and were attacked in the east by the Japanese, who expected their imminent collapse – they did not do so, but were unable to do more than hang in there and survive for most of the rest of the war. With the Red Army largely unavailable to do the heavy lifting, the invasion of Fortress Europa was a much harder go, and while the US was able to make a lodging in France and push up the Italian peninsula, US and allied troops were still outside of pre-war German borders and Soviet forces were still battling Germans in the ruins of Moscow when the first two US atom bombs landed on Berlin in 1946. A leadership struggle followed, won by the military, which to US surprise didn’t accept the unconditional surrender. Several more bombs were dropped a couple months later, with a holdup for a few months after that to build up a really impressive rain of destruction, as the German position in the east collapsed: but before Operation Sledgehammer could be brought into action, the first German atomic device, brought in by submarine, went off in a US harbor.

Atomic tit for tat still favored the US, so the negotiated peace was favorable to the West, German borders (save for Luxemburg and a disputed bit of the Netherlands) returning to those pre-war. They were less favorable to the Ally in the east. 

The Soviet Union gained a bit more than its pre-war borders in the aftermath, less the Balts and the “Polish Free State”, but was a charnel house, and recovery was slow: starving Russian submariners were defecting to the west as late as 1948. Soviet forces did better in the east, almost driving the Japanese off the mainland before bogging down in Korea due to limited resources. In a move which proved decisive for the future of Asian communism, the Soviets made a “bird in the bush” decision and set up a Communist puppet in Greater Manchuria, led by someone more biddable than Mao. 

The post-war situation for the Jews was not great. Hitler had pursued the destruction of European Jews as OTL, but given that he believed the most “vital” and “virulent” elements of the race had relocated to America (thanks to their secret control of the US government), destroying the residuum was less of a priority: “The Destruction” killed some two million Jews, but even with that and the immigration to America there were still a couple million more eastern European Jews than OTL, and none of the successor states to the wreckage of Hitler’s dream wanted more of them. Worse, with refugees tending to pick Sitka rather than turbulent Palestine, the Israeli Jewish state never reached the population needed to win against Arab armies: in 1948 the brief attempt to create a Jewish state in Israel ended, to the tune of 150,000 more Jewish deaths. Many refugees were picked up by US and British fleets, and only the Jews whose families could prove residence dating to before the Zionist movement were allowed to stay (under not particularly pleasant conditions).

Sitka became a permanent US headache, the “Federal District of Sitka” peaking in population at about 3.5 millions and declining a bit afterwards, sending a slow trickle of illegal immigrants to the Jewish communities of Canada and the US. The notion of making Sitka a US state was batted around but never quite made it, in spite of some formidable secret support: the notion of spinning it off as a separate country was unacceptable to US nationalists. Making it another “Puerto Rico” didn’t quite work either. Theoretically the area was supposed to be returned to Alaska after 60 years, but Alaska didn’t want it if it was still full of Jews (they would be outnumbered: the economic presence of Sitka helped grow Alaska faster than OTL, but they still had only about a third of Sitka’s population by 1999). So Sitka – urbanized to the point of being almost a single city, Jewish with a sizable slice of profit-minded Goyim, Yiddish-English bilingual and occasionally Esperanto, the one place in America where everyone still wears hats, with Jewish ultra-orthodox gangsters (if you prey on the non-Orthodox it’s not a crime), and more Holy Rabbis than you could shake a stick at and a higher level of education than any US city of comparable size – moved on in a sort of legal limbo.

The rest of the world moved on. A smaller and weaker German-less EEC led by France arose with US sponsorship, expanding into a Soviet-free Balkans over the next few decades. France tried, with some limited success and massive social engineering at home and abroad, to create that “French nation of 100 millions” abroad to compensate for looking down the gun of a nuclear-armed Germany. Germany went from military rule to shaky democracy to a shiny new form of authoritarianism With German Characteristics. Egypt’s Mubarak was enough of a pill that victory over the wannabe Israeli state did not save him from his own soldiers, and the Arab nationalists managed at various times to make Libya, Sudan, and the Levant (including Syria) subjects of Cairo, only for it to fall apart messily. Africa has wars, revolutions and somewhat more success than OTL. 

The Soviets never quite recovered from WWII: they made a stab at supporting World Revolution in the 50s and 60s, but overextension, trade embargoes, and relatively cheap oil all combined to bring about a political and economic collapse of the Soviet system in the 70s. The shaky second Russian Republic (the Provisional Government before the Bolshevik takeover is considered the first) lasted 1977-1993 before collapsing and losing a couple more former SSR’s and producing a new wave of refugees: the Third Republic (1995 - ) is more repressive but stable, and seems to have finally got the hang of the capitalism thing. 

Manchuria, however, did not collapse. It survives today as a grimly authoritarian regime, and a working state for some versions of “working”: nobody starves (although the government-manufactured ersatz food does take some stomaching), the population grows (slowly, and with a lot of government –creche raised children), they’ve been putting astronauts in orbit since 2002 (and usually getting them back), and the universal grey uniforms are kinda snazzy (if also creepy). North Korea, somewhat larger than OTL, is Manchuria’s Mini-Me.

The surviving Guomintang government in China proper can best be described as “fabulously corrupt.”

Indonesia’s populist dictator is as colorful as Gadaffi and as American-annoying as Hugo Chavez. 

Vietnam has 75 million people, a standard of living comparable to OTL Spain, and great-power ambitions. 

The Polish Free State (they keep the name to remind themselves of their still German-occupied lands) has a standing army of a million, a gun in every house, and what most consider to be an unnecessary number of atomic weapons. They don't like Jews, or anyone non-Polish, really, but hate Germans.

With no Israel, the old Jewish communities of the Middle East have faced less persecution, and remain significant in size. This is changing, rapidly.

A revival of right-wing authoritarianism has been notable over the last couple decades, as a number of nations have adopted or imitated what is called “National Corporatism” and what most democracies see as a revival of fascism. Antisemitism does seem to be part of the club colors, but not a particularly important one: there’s a lot of emphasis on interventionist economics, technology, speed, energy, etc. in the old Italian modernist style, and in some cases a touch of post-humanism in place of old-fashioned eugenics. Russia isn’t a member of the movement, people suspect, mainly because the Germans are. 

Given the fact that Germany took some seven atom bombs and did not surrender (admittedly, these were early types) the world take them a bit less seriously than OTL, which is probably why the world reaction when the Iran-Iraq nuclear arms race came to an abrupt end in 1996 with two million dead was more “goddamn middle East” than existential horror. 

Palestine has had a tough time of it, first being partitioned between Syrian, Egyptian, and Jordanian armies, then forcibly unified by Egypt driving the others out, then being one of the battlefields of the collapse of the Arab Union, then a more or less peaceful republican period, then an increasingly nasty period of Troubles as the growing Shi’a minority (refugees from Iraq and Syria) rebelled against a second-class citizenship status, then the coup, the dictatorship, the rebellion, the fighting between secularists and Sunni hardliners (several decades of Saudi investment bearing fruit) and Shi’a out for themselves with Syria and Egypt backing one faction or another, and finally the US invasion. The future isn’t looking too bright, either.

The US is more aggressively arrogant than OTL, the Cuban mess not having as serious effect on the US psyche as Vietnam (we won. Sort of), and has seen a more politically successful religious right movement capture the White House in 2005. A heavy infiltration of much of the US executive branch through appointments of religious hardliners has followed, much to the distaste of many on the left or simply secular-minded. The President has made a point of it being an administration objective to resolve the Sitka issue one way or another, which no doubt won him the anti-Semite vote. Most Americans agree something Had to Be Done, but were vague on the details. They weren’t going to drive the Jews into the sea or put them in refugee camps on the Canadian border or something, oh no, but surely something or other could be worked out, right?

Nobody expected just how crazy the President’s “solution” would be. 

The world for various reasons, including a milder and shorter Cold War, is a bit more backwards technologically than OTL, with consumer electronics in particular nearly a decade behind OTL. The whole Race To the Moon thing didn’t happen, but in its absence there have been a number of smaller-scale national projects, and there was some talk (before Jesus McChristian was elected to office) of a joint US-European Moon exploration program. The French in particular launch quite a bit of stuff from their bases in Africa, and the Manchurians have a secret (in case they screw up) project to put some astronauts in orbit around the Moon.

Clothes tend to be more colorful and hair bigger (on men as well as women) than OTL 2009. Synthetics are popular since they are considered less “wilderness-shrinking” than plant fiber and less cruel than fur. 

Presidential widow Marilyn Kennedy remains active in various charities at the age of 83, and her somewhat scandalous early career in film only helps in making her a fierce challenger to Eleanor Roosevelt for the position of most popular first lady of the 20th century.

Sitka is a great center for Jewish food, but it is most famed in culinary circles for the creation of the Filipino-style “Chinese donut”, or shtekeleh, a creation of one of those aforementioned commercially minded goyim of Sitka. 

Jews in the Lower 48, who wish Sitkans would keep quiet and stop stirring up the anti-Semites, are referred to by Sitkans as “Mexicans”: they in turn call the Sitkans “Icebergs” or the “Frozen Chosen.”

The destruction of the Islamic Dome of the Rock by what was blamed on Muslim action triggered a US intervention in civil war-torn Palestine, with the president making soothing speeches about making peace in the land of the Prince of Peace. The sudden arrival of a large number of heavily armed Jews was covered up as best as possible, and the sudden declaration of a US Jewish protectorate in Palestine – “as predicted in prophecy, the Jews return to their ancient homeland…the US is obligated both morally and by God himself to protect them…” was a bit of a shock to everyone. The rather insane story out of Sitka, about the red heifer and the apocalypse and so on, which had been vehemently denied initially by the government, suddenly looked a lot more believable. Of course, two thirds of the world had seen the destruction of the Dome and the following US intervention as a case of the fix being in from the start, but who cares what foreigners think? 

Things have gone downhill since then. The Palestinians have no interests whatsoever in being pushed off their land to create a Jewish state, and there are a lot more of them than in 1948. Stories of atrocities and mass forced population movements are filtering out in spite of the US military’s best efforts. Egypt and Syria are providing as much uncover aid to the Palestinians as they dare. The President managed to narrowly win reelection thanks to an energized base, some Nixonian hijinks, divided opposition, and blah blah must support our troops blah blah we’re there, we need to get the job done blah blah, but has been sinking rapidly in the polls since then. The Jews aren’t entirely in alignment with the Christopaths, either: there are many that feel the Jews can have the rest of Israel, but Jerusalem (possibly less a Jewish temple) and Bethlehem should be Christian, darn it, and since the bit with the calf sacrifice has been done, the construction of a new temple on the ruins of the Dome can be put off for a while. Also, the US is aware that those Palestinians have to go _somewhere_ , and have no real intention of letting the Jews take all of Palestine, although they’re happy enough to protect new “settlements” from Arab retaliation for now.

Meanwhile, a lot of Sitkans have proven rather unenthusiastic about moving from their relatively comfortable lives in Alaska to the uncertainties of the Middle East. With legal union with Alaska, the Sitkans have essentially become non-persons with no votes and no legal position in the US, but they’re still _there_ and rounding them up and putting them all on planes to Palestine is looking a bit problematic. The firing of pretty much all government and public services workers and replacement by US officials has led to innumerable legal challenges and general chaos, with accusations of US officials cutting off water, electricity, etc. to parts of Sitka in an effort to force Jews out. There have been rampant cases of illegal connections, and it emerges that Sitka sits on a vast network of tunnels built by European Jewish resistance fighters in the early years: the US government is pushing hard the “all trouble due to a few extremists” in expectation that actual Jewish terrorists may be showing up before long. About three quarters of a million have left, immigrating abroad, accepting green cards in exchange for moving elsewhere in the US, or heading off to an uncertain future in Palestine, but nearly two and a half million remain. The “green cards if you go south” options is limited by the fact that the government wants the Jews in Palestine, not the lower 48, and even fairly Jew-friendly countries such as Argentina, the UK, South Africa, and France only take so many per year. 

Foreign reporters are a plague upon Sitka, recording at length every Injustice being done and sending the image of the US as a maniacal crusading state on the verge of recreating the Destruction around the world. This is somewhat hypocritical in that many of these foreign reporters come from countries with restrictions on Jewish immigration, but people do love pointing out that optical splinter. A particularly juicy story is the local Tlingit claim that they were promised ownership of the Sitka in exchange for help in preparing the initial stages of the Grand Plan, which the government hotly denies. After all, on the face of it, it’s absurd: the US government promising an entire city of millions worth of infrastructure to a tribal alliance of barely over 30,000? But the Indians are very definite. And Alaska has begun to cool on the whole notion as they realize that the removal of the Sitkan economy with the Sitkans – it’s not going to be easy to find over three million Americans willing to move to Alaska to take their place – is going to have devastating effects on the Alaskan economy. Worst of all is a massive class action suit backed by most of the US left and a lot of the US immigrant community – “American by birth” should ally to anyone born within Sitka, regardless of what legal dodges have been used and arguments that Sitka should be treated as an unincorporated territory: if they have now become part of Alaska, they are now as much US citizens as Alaskans, period. 

The US president is worried. Worried that he may not succeed in creating his vision by the next election. Worried that the Jews aren’t going where they are supposed to be going. And since his vision is one given to him by God, it is God’s will that it be done. In such a case, mere legalities are of little importance: much has already been done quietly behind the scenes which the Supreme Court (which has been annoyingly reluctant so far to lose members to old age/sickness) would not approve. Now, it may be necessary to take more severe steps. The security services are largely onboard by this point, but the army is still iffy: too many immovable senior officers. Still, there is much short of outright suspension of the constitution that can be done…
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Dutch's World by QuantumBranching
Dutch's World
Map based on Mumby's Dutch's America bobmumby.deviantart.com/art/Du… with a few changes of my own.

In this world, Dutch Van Der Linde, from the "Red Dead Redemption" game, led an anarchist/anti-urban western revolt in the aftermath of a more drawn-out and messy civil war and chaotic conditions in the western US. In the end, the US was divided into an "Orangeist" west, a neo-Confederacy in the south, and a workers and soldiers republic in the north. The West and North joined to crush the south, and the West then turned on a North weakened by divisions between hard-line socialists and the more moderate types.

A WWI of sorts broke out in Europe, with the anti-German block weakened from the start by the lack of US exports and financial backing. Van Der Linde joined the German side in hopes of gaining German help against the northeasterners, and also in hope of spreading his revolution to Canada. In the end the help the Germans were able to give was limited, but the invasion of Canada did lead to the UK throwing in the towel. The pressures of war led to the rise of the more radical Northeastern elements to power, and given the heavy concentration of industry and population in the area Van Der Linde was unable to crush what became the United Socialist Councils, although driving them into their core areas.

The necessities of war also made it certain the Van Der Linde's "savage utopia" became a dictatorship: when a new post-armistice "Constitutional Convention" created the American Popular Union, president-for-life Van Der Linde was essentially military dictator, [1] although his role as President was supposedly ceremonial. A process of breaking up and rearranging old state boundaries to create new "republics" was extended to the east, with new states created to punish enemies and reward allies. The power of urban centers and older eastern elites was broken, many cities destroyed outright or their populations dispersed. 

Overseas, Japan as OTL was drawn into struggles with China. Germany had won the war but had been unable to entirely break France and Russia, which rose again post-war under new "Vanguardist" ultra-national regimes, as did rump Italy. In the end a second Great War broke out, with Austria and Germany against France, Italy, and Russia, with the British occupied in Asia vs the Japanese, which took advantage of European distraction to grab as much as it could in Asia. Van Der Linde's America, now under John Marston, became a British co-belligerent in hopes of expanding APU influence in Asia. 

It is now 1950, and an odd multi-sided cold war is under way. Germany lost after a long struggle, and was utterly smashed, along with Austria. The world is divided into the Orangeists led by the American Popular Union, the Vanguardists led by Russia, the Communists (leadership divided between China and the American Socialist councils, although the oceans between them have helped prevent a falling out so far), the Social Democracies (essentially a British Empire struggling to federalize and it's Little Buddies) and an odd collection of conservative and predominantly "third world" monarchies led by an Ottoman Empire rising on a tide of oil. Rebellion in Africa is only just getting started, and sees Communism competing with Orangeism, the localism and agrarianism of which gives it cachet among peasant groups and urban intellectuals who idealize peasants rather than factory workers. 

America remains divided, and an eventual rematch between Red and Orange Americas seems likely. After a long struggle to rebuild while fighting to purge "reactionary" elements, the United Socialist Councils is, in the view of the Supreme Council, finally running smoothly, and if many citizens present 20 years ago have fled or perished, at least those who remain are Better Americans. Meanwhile, the American Popular Union is drifting further from the ideals of its founder, perhaps inevitably in the face of external menaces and a dictatorial presidency-for-life. Cities are growing again, and if they are politically powerless, at least they don't have their finances dependent on the votes of country hicks. Industry is also expanding, although quite a bit of it is exported to puppets and allied states so it doesn't sully the American landscape. Blacks and native Americans, which gained land and political equality under the racially egalitarian Van Der Linde, are seeing their relative standing decline: the current Big Cheese, West Dickens, is not a racist per se, but he's a practical man who is fine with a little pandering to white racism if it strengthens his position and keeps the Olde Confederacy quiet, and those Indians are sitting on a load of resources they need to be more sharing with. 

The atomic bomb has not yet been developed, but several nations are racing towards its creation. Nobody thinks a third Great War is unlikely in the long run...

[1] Everyone in the American Popular Union has guns, but it's the Presidentially controlled military that has the big guns.

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Cyrus the not-so-great by QuantumBranching
Cyrus the not-so-great
OK, a commission for Occam over at alternatehistory.com.

This is a world where the early Persian empire failed to gel, the Phoenician homeland remained an independent state much longer, and no single vast empire on the scale of the Roman one arose to unify all of the lands bordering the Mediterranean.

Not that there haven’t been empires: Carthage, the child of Sidon and Tyre, at one point would rule from the Pyrenees to the Taurus, while the Greeks at one time or another ruled west to Italy and southern Gaul (directly and indirectly), east to the borders of the Iranian plateau, south to Nubia and north to the Carpathians: Egyptian rule over the Levant flowed back and forth in a centuries-long metronome, and would eventually make Nubia a permanent part of its realm, although the conquest of the Ethiopian highlands would eventually prove a bridge too far.

Other Empires would arise: the short-lived Gallic Empire, wrecked by a series of dominoes starting north of China: the Yue-Chi hordes, and later Steppe incursions: the great medieval Slavic empire, of which the later Syldavian empire would be only an echo: the temporary but brilliant Axumite empire in SE Island Asia and south India. And of course the great Empires of the orient, little known around the Middle Sea save by fabulous echo.

The desert Arabs once managed to unify under a charismatic leader and conquered the entire peninsula south of Greek Anatolia, even briefly taking Egypt, but without the glue of a unifying messianic religion, the whole affair fell apart in a century.

The Mediterranean tide of conquest would not reach as far north in the west OTL sans the Romans, and little further in the Balkans: the northern two-thirds of Gaul and the upper Danube lands would never see Greek or Punic conquerors, and the same for the *British Isles, although Punic and Greek traders would be doing good business north of Gaul from early on. (And during this world’s drawn-out industrial revolution, the Albans (British) would sell a crapload of coal to the more technically advanced but industrial resources-poor Mediterranean states). Northern Europe would still be heavily influenced culturally by the Mediterranean cultures, with the Scandinavian peoples and northern Germans being mostly unaffected the longest. Egypt, further from Europe, would be most influential in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. 

The Americas would be discovered, and colonies would be established by Celts and Kelts and Germanics and Greeks and Phoenician/Punic peoples from Carthage, Tarteshim, and Ocradem. [1] It would be an earlier-starting, more tentative and shipwreck-prone colonization than OTLs: several native and “mixed” states still exist in the modern world. Greeks would drive Punics out of *Brazil, and Egyptians would end up in Australia, mostly because nobody else wanted the place. 

Democracy, long replaced by kings and emperors in the Greek world, would undergo an intellectual revival, and by modern times the Punic realms would typically be run as semi-democratic, oligarchic societies headed by a Suffette elected from the great and wise, or at least rich. Greece would have its own sort of democracy, a federation of republics looser than OTL’s US but tighter than the EC, with the powerful military being somewhat worrisomely the strongest unifying element. Egypt, on the other hand, stuck to tried and true dictatorship, albeit of a form that would have puzzled the heck out of Ramses the Great. 

The “Punics” of Phoenician cultural descent are the most geographically and politically (being a close alliance of five states rather than a centralized/semi-centralized state) diverse of the “Middle Sea Three” and also the culturally most varied, including in different states Celtiberian, Greek, west African, north African/Numidian/aka Berber, native American and Middle East Potluck elements. The fact that they remain an alliance at all amazes the racially homogenous (or so they like to think) Greeks, who historically have had trouble enough sticking together in _spite_ of their similarities. 

The Olympics were ended a millennium ago by a centralizing Greek dictator who thought they excessively encouraged “regional differences” and “localized identities.” There are occasional discussions of reviving them, within the Greek Ocumeme: nobody else sees the point in participating in a Greek Thing.

Technology is generally on a 1930s level, with a current obsession with fast planes and cars and the Greek version of “Popular Mechanics.” Atomic weapons remain distant, some odd ideas on atomic structure having temporarily sent research off into blind alleys, but some doctor in Kemet (Egypt) recently made a successful head transplant (well, successful aside from the paralysis. But it’s preferable to ass cancer). 

Zoroaster’s followers never made it big, never having had a stage on the scale of the Persian empire to operate on, and Judiasm has dwindled to the scale of Parsis OTL. Monotheism’s only powerful bastion is the south Chinese “Temple State”, while Buddhism and Hinduism have spread wider. A “murdered God who arises to save” religion is predominant in the Egyptian sphere and parts of Africa, but comes with a whole flock of other deities, and vague sorts of spiritualism, theism, pantheism, and what might be described as Chinese-type “formalistic religion” are wide-spread. (The Scandinavian states, which carried out human sacrifice to the One-Eyed Hunter of Men until relatively recently, have become almost aggressively atheistic as part of their general drive to become a modern people rather than those “northern barbarians” most southern people dismiss them as). The generally tolerant religious outlook means that there is an easier exchange of ideas, trade and people between east and west and north and south, and those living around the Middle Sea generally think of there being concentric circles of civilization, with themselves of course at the core, but the sweep of lands from the Atlas Sea [2] to the borders of the Bholgar realm and south to the Sahel and Axum are generally considered at least a semi-civilized world (how far this extends to the east is debated, with India sometimes included but less so lately with the rise of Crusading Hinduism: the place of the Bholgar Khanate is hotly disputed. East Asia is Backward If Artistic Despotisms, and the Hesperides are all sorts of things).

Arguments about the Bholgars have become rather relevant again recently with the conclusion of the bloody Syldavian Conflict, in which the Marcomagnian and Bholgar effort to pick up the pieces of the collapsing Slavic empire led to such an upset in balance-of-power that a sizable coalition of powers was formed to make them cough up their gains. Neither of the losing powers has been occupied outright, but enough of Marcomagne has been occupied to keep them peaceful: giant Bholgaria, not so much, and imposing “civilized rules” on them seems like it’s going to be difficult. (At least the much more multiethnic and puppet-dependent nature of the Bholgar empire has had the beneficial effect of a lot of states breaking away sapping its strength.)
An attempt is being made to create a multinational security apparatus: it’s a Middle-Sea centered thing given the somewhat less global nature of this world’s “colonial expansion” and the general lack of participation in the conflict of most Hesperidian powers (the United Triarchies of the Hesperides has returned to isolationism in a huff post-war [3]). At present there is more rules-lawyering than actual progress, and to the east, new threats may be arising…


[1] A tribute to Tormsen’s fine Ocrit TL. May he one day have the (paid) leisure to return to AH!

[2] The word “Ocean” here is reserved for the whole planetary union of salty waters.

[3] Partly over the carping over their slave-holding habits. In fact a lot of countries have what we would term slavery of sorts – enslavement for crimes, debt-slavery, partial citizenship – but the Hesperidian model of hereditary life slavery with little chance of freedom and pure commodification of people is considered excessively harsh, regressive and just plain gross.
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2026. The war is over…for now.

Most people don’t add that qualifier. The rift is closed, no more Kaiju are emerging: they do not wish to believe that it could start again.
The very few scientists who have Drifted with a Kaiju brain and survived sane and relatively non-brain damaged say the enemy had come before: they are either ignored, disbelieved, or dismissed with the fact that last time was supposedly 60 million years ago: what do we care if they invade again in the year 60,002,026?

The one scientist who claims to have perceived that the Kaiju Masters or Precursors (as they are variously known) had not so much waited 60 million years as chosen another spot on the four-dimensional sphere of our space-time to make a new breach is ignored real hard.

This rather unproductive attitude is rather worrying to the remaining members of the Pan Pacific Defense Force, who are pushing for the creation of a new generation of bigger, better, stronger railgun gun-totin’, plasma-snortin’ Jaegers. Governments, feeling that the war has been won, fail to see why probably trillions of dollars should be spent on the vague chance the enemy might return when the global economy is still deep in the doldrums.

These are, after all, the products of the same political system that came up with the “big wall” method of dealing with Kaiju.

People are currently far too interested (and outraged) about the Life Wall debacle to pay much attention to such disputes, now that details are coming out and people are talking. The most lively and controversial of stories is that the wall was never actually expected to work: it was (at least in the case of the US and Russia) merely meant to be a distraction from the government’s real plan: the abandonment of respectively the west coast states of North America and eastern Siberia, and the conversion of those areas into radioactive “death zones” where Kaiju would be immediately nuked on arrival, plumes of deadly carcinogens be damned.

A number of leaked documents have emerged which do seem to support the notion the US government had been examining such a notion: the administration hotly denies this was an actual plan, rather a theoretical worst-case exercise. After all, had the US not been making war plans for a theoretical invasion of Canada as late as the 1930s?

And in any event (the government went on) the US wall had never been tested: it had been built much stronger than the shoddy Australian wall, which hadn’t even had most of the planned railguns in place at the time of the attack (to which the Australians reply that the US wall is nowhere near as nice as the US claims it is, and in any event they could have made the wall a lot stronger if the Global Kaiju Fund had allocated resources to Australia with a better grasp of the length of their coastline…)

And how on earth were they supposed to predict flying Kaiju, anyway? (Well, OK, there was that one scientist, but she was raving mad after breaking contact with the Kaiju brain: she had spoken of bat-winged Kaiju circling overhead, but also of giant fanged lemons rising out of the earth).

Avraham Falk met with Jasper Schoenfeld in July of 2014.

Given how expensive it would be to pull them down, the walls stay up, for now. The Chinese are talking about using their walls as a framework to build new housing on, or maybe extending them a bit to act as a barrier to global-warming related sea rise. (The Talking Head crowds are finally back to arguing about it - dealing with global warming was on the back burner a bit during the war years, while the global economic crisis – particularly its impacts on China – had reduced growth in CO2 emissions better than any international conferences so far).

A few partially completed Jaegers remained in existence when the money dried up: a couple of these have been commandeered by national governments hoping to extract their ultimate secrets, much to the annoyance of the UN and other nations. In secret, there have been some talks within the Pan Pacific Defense Forces as to whether they should help them out: even an international Jaeger arms race would be an improvement over no Jaegers if the enemy returns.

The Pan Pacific Defense Force is currently suffering from something of a crisis of identity, as it tries to find alternate employment now that the main reason for its existence is (hopefully) gone. They don’t want to be disbanded in case the worst comes to the worst and the Kaiju come back, but they are a bit dubious about the ongoing push to make it into a sort of official military for the joint protection of the Pacific Rim nations. 1. A lot of its membership was in various giant-robot support positions not really applicable to most regular military jobs, and 2. Many more dislike the notion of maybe someday turning their skills against non-Rim human beings rather than monsters.

With no more Kaiju to harvest, a competition between various groups for Kaiju parts is setting in, with scientists and universities calling for an end to all “non-scientific” use of Kaiju bodies so that the maximum of research materials can be preserved. They are hampered by a lack of funds for obtaining, storing, and preserving Kaiju bits and pieces, though: with the end of the war funding has been cut sharply, although nowadays researchers at least don’t have to deal with continual pressure to come up with ways of killing Kaiju. Quite a load of stuff already sits in storage to be looked at “later”, and many institutions are under pressure to get rid of tons and tons of Kaiju remains that are not actively being studied rather than spending loads of money on the careful storage of what is still essentially toxic waste – this isn’t the British museum’s fossil sea-shell collection. Many museums of course will be keeping their Kaiju displays – Kaiju skulls, bones, claws, etc. make for popular if often outsized displays. (Many serious-minded researchers of stuff other than Kaiju grumble about how the Kaiju area steals space from their projects.)

Snark between nations is on the rise, as grievances largely hushed up during the Kaiju War reemerge. Particularly bitter are disagreements over the Kaiju fund: in principle, all nations would spend “according to their ability” for the common good, all mankind allied to stop the Kaiju menace. In practice, while those nations both technically advanced and sitting on the rim of the Pacific went to a full-time war economy during the decade of the Kaiju War, advanced nations further away, Europeans in particular, certainly applied themselves to the war effort, but did not press their economies till the rivets squeaked. Nor did they suffer the occasional devastation that the Pacific Rim nations did, the massive disruptions from tens of millions of people moving inland, the various wacky political/religious/general crackpot movements that plagued the Rim nations. (Well, mostly. Such things did happen in Europe – just at a rather lower intensity level).

Some nations, it is widely claimed, gained more in economic assistance (to expand their weapons-building capacity) then they actually spend on the war (Belgium in particular has been the target of accusations). Third-world countries with no capacity to build equipment or useful war materials often contributed very little. And some countries either couldn’t contribute or wouldn’t (most notoriously North Korea: many see a proof of the nonexistence of God in that of the nearly 50 Kaiju that launched attacks around the Pacific, not one came ashore in North Korea. )

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and the US sees a rather clear proof of the unbalanced nature of the war effort in that the US, which spent more on the war than any other nation, is now in an economic state not seen since the depths of the first Great Depression, with massive unemployment, millions of refugees living in often squalid conditions and huge debts both external and internal. Meanwhile, France and Germany, in spite of rationing and high taxes, are managing slow but steady growth (having picked up a few lessons from the 2008-2013 economic slump).

Avraham Falk’s ancestors had tried to stop a genocide before, but their materials were not strong enough.

United by their struggle, the leading nations of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps (founded October, 2014) – China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, Mexico - have remained something of a block: smaller nations unable to afford or field their own Jaegers and forced to be dependent on Jaegers provided to them by wealthier nations (all of Central America had to share one Jaeger, with US-provided pilots, for defense) feel they are looked down on and are more ambivalent about the future of the so-called “Pacific rim community”. The Koreans and Chinese and Japanese still don’t really like eachother, but all recognize that economic recovery will depend on the continued close economic unity established during the war years (economic integration of the Pacific area had already been under way by 2013, but the crisis had substantially accelerated the process).

Of course, in the US the Usual Suspects are already grousing about the Internationalist Menace and threats to National Sovereignty. Still, the “Rimmers” (as some wags call them) generally feel they should stick together, and share a sense of aggravation towards those who did not sacrifice to the extent they did, Middle Easterners and Europeans in particular.

(The Arab oil countries contributed a lot of money towards the war effort, but little else came out of that part of the world, save for a lot of talk about the Kaiju being a punishment of God on the infidels – presumably the attacks on Indonesia were accidental friendly fire).

(This is really more perception than reality - most Middle Easterners knew damn well the Rim nations were fighting to save everyone's asses)

The Japanese are the one nation actually actively preparing for the possibility of a reopening of the Rift. They are continuing to extend and strengthen, slowly, their walls, building more and more underground, and slowly expanding their arsenal of hypervelocity projectile throwers and are working (in cooperation with the Canadians) on something called a “fusion torch.” They have been nuked twice, Kaiju-ravaged three times, and they intend to be ready for it if any further shit comes down the pipe.

Russia is a bit of an odd man out – with few major cities in the east, it was never as immediately threatened as the US, much less Japan and China. With close economic ties to Europe, and certain grudges towards the Chinese (as Russians put a few thousand miles between themselves and the Pacific, Russia east of lake Baikal has become Chinese-plurality, and there is a pervasive fear among Russians that China may try to regain its pre-1858 borders), Russia is not really interested in a closer Pacific Rim alliance. Russia is also considered the biggest suspect in diverting money from the war budget to economic investment – although still poor, it’s not worse off than it was before the Kaiju war costs really ramped up – to which Russians indignantly point out the high-quality Jaegers they built, which reputedly incorporate Cold War cybernetic design by some of the Soviet Union’s most brilliantly nutty scientists.

Europe is annoyed and a little frightened by the noise that is coming from the Pacific Rim nations. They spent plenty on the war (Britain, always trying to show its loyalty to Uncle Sam, ended up spending themselves almost as deep into a financial hole as the US) and are often angrily defensive. Germany, the birthplace of Schoenfeld and one of the biggest Jaeger-component manufacturers in the world, is particularly put out. (Given that both Schoenfeld and Gottlieb were German-born, even though Schoenfeld’s parents moved to America when he was eleven, some Germans occasionally note that this time around, two Germans saved the world).

Europe has been drawn somewhat closer by the conflict, the global economic crisis and the move of most industrial nations to a wartime economy leading to the creation of genuinely _effective_ pan-European economic institutions, although the Greeks still dropped out when they realized the global economy was so shot that leaving the Euro wouldn’t make things _worse_. (They have since cozied up with the Russians). Some politicians are talking of a “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” again, Europe partnered with a Russia detached from the Pacific Rim as a counterbalance against some sort of Sino-American “Co-Dominion.” In case Kaiju started roaming further abroad and the Jaegers failed to stop them, the UK and France have greatly enlarged their nuclear arsenals: there is no great rush to shrink them again. Research continues into why Jaegers undergoing final assembly by Pan Pacific Defense Force techs moved the way they do while the best experimental designs by European teams move like 90 year old arthritic grannies.

India, whose monetary and technological contributions to the war were by necessity fairly modest – only one (mostly) all-Indian Jaeger was built during the war, and it went down like a chump to the first Class IV it met – feels a bit put out that nobody seems to want them in their club. They’re keeping a close eye on Pakistan, which has managed to totter on for another decade somehow, but isn’t looking healthy at all.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, has managed to return to a degree of stability after a period in which the Taliban once again took over quite a bit of the country (the allied forces had gone home) – the present “president-protector for life” is a psychopathic bastard, but he’s his own man with no foreign ties, which, combined with atrocities against Taliban supporters and corrupt local thugs that would whiten Ivan the Terrible’s hair, has mostly reconciled the population to his rule.

Latin America is doing OK, given the world situation. Brazil is celebrating the end of the war with the most extravagant Fiesta in a decade, Argentina finds to its surprise that their economy is currently doing better than that of the US, and people are noticing that Cuba stopped being Communist sometime while people weren’t watching.

Some nations had population movements during the Kaiju wars, others did not. In spite of the period of successful Kaiju smashing, the US west coast states dropped in population by nearly 40%, with the shrinkage of Russian populations in eastern Siberia being even greater. Small and crowded island nations like Japan and Indonesia had no distant “Inland” to move to, so generally stayed tight, although quite a few Japanese relocated from the east to the west coast. (And the Filipinos had to move Manila). The importance both economic and agricultural of the coastal lowlands to China was such that the government put in place harsh new pass laws designed to prevent anyone from changing their place of residence without government permission. (Many moved in spite of this). Australians were distinctly short on places to move to, and short of money to build infrastructure in the desert. A lot of Peruvians moved to the mountains - Kaiju do not make good mountain climbers. Not due to lack of strength to pull themselves up, but due to the tendency of slopes to collapse under their weight. There were smaller-scale movements away from the seacoast worldwide, as people worried the Kaiju might change their behavior and swim out into the Indian or Atlantic oceans. (The cruise line industry was badly impacted even in the Mediterranean, and pretty much went extinct in the Pacific).

Their general helplessness during the Kaiju war having brought some shame to Arab leaders, the more democratic Arab nations, from Algeria to South Syria, have joined together to form a closer economic/political union in hopes of invigorating their impoverished economies and strengthening their international position. The new Arab Confederacy’s most recent members are the Islamic Republic of Palestine (Gaza) and the Republic of Palestine (West Bank, or more precisely the amount of it the Israelis hadn’t put behind a wall.) Israel has not been happy with this, but with economic aid from a troubled US sharply cut back, it has had its own problems, and having dumped rump West Bank and Gaza and walled them off, really has no business (say the Arabs) criticizing what happens to them. In any event, they have more to worry about nuclear-armed Iran - just in case any Kaiju make it west of SE Asia, they claim - and the new Islamicist government of Saudi Arabia, which is currently sinking into bloody scapegoat purging over their failure to provide either the jobs or the raised living standards the people (aside from the one-issue more-fundamentalists) initially revolted for (for one thing, it’s hard to raise oil prices in the midst of a global depression).

The global economic slump brought on by the Kaiju war combined with sharp cutbacks to foreign aid and investment in countries not actively contributing to the War plowed under many of the hopeful economic shoots that took hold in Africa in the 2000s. There are some hints of recovery, but Africa has generally suffered (another) lost decade, and there have been a fresh wave of coups and democracy failures, while less money to spend on healthcare has led to more deaths from AIDS.

Politics world-wide has taken a turn towards authoritarianism and economic dirigisme, with the market being somewhat unreliable in the midst of a war of uncertain outcome with giant monsters: the right wing is now calling for the reversal of many war-time measures, such as the government takeover of much of the US banking system (trying to leverage things so to maximize profits from the market effect of the next Kaiju attack was really the last straw) or the pan-European financial and government banking system put in place in a last-ditch method to prevent the Euro system from collapsing entirely.

Turkey has had a civil war, Russia absorbed Belarus when nobody was looking, and impoverished Pacific Islanders are trying to get the tourists to come back. Islamic terrorism is down, most unemployed young Muslim men feeling that if these are the End Times, blowing up American airliners is probably missing the point: the US has already pulled out of the Middle East, and what good has come of it?

Clay was not strong enough.

Religion is up, although the strange nature of the threat – and the response – has meant that oddball cults and religious offshoots have generally benefitted more than mainstream denomination. The Church of Scientology has undergone a violent schism due to disputes over the significance of the Kaiju and their relationship to Xenu. The Catholic Church is still undergoing mental gymnastics to find a way to fit the Precursors into doctrine, while many Protestant congregations continue to insist that the Apocalypse is still coming and the Kaiju were merely Signs and Portents. On the other hand, the population of pure atheists has also grown at the expense of the Fuzzy Center, and the Lovecraft-inspired Church of Cosmic Terror is doing surprisingly well for recruits.

In spite of all the international bickering and finger-pointing, and the generally rubble-strewn economic situation, there are hopeful signs for 2027 and beyond. There is the simple joy and relief that the war is finally over (ignoring those scientific nay-saying negative nellies) and that being trampled by monsters is on nobody’s insurance plan. Then there are the substantial technological advances of the last decade plus, including functional fusion power, a whole raft of super-strong new synthetic materials, great advances in robotics and cybernetics (the Bionic Man/Woman has arrived, although medical insurers generally won’t pay for limbs much stronger than the normal human being), power transmission, chemical synthesis and plasma garbage disposal. It’s a Brave New World of high-tech, if a bit hard on the High School dropout. Optimists looking ahead to an economic recovery see extraordinary new cities (after building the Wall, throwing up a few 2000-foot arcologies seems easy as pie), laboring armies of tele-operated robots, fusion powered industries sending productivity through the roof and bringing an era of plenty. The skeptics wonder whether the poorer and less educated global 80% will be able to afford said plenty.

Since the Kaiju War took priority, little was spent after 2013 on space travel and exploration, but right through the war there were those that claimed humanity could only survive in the long run if it expanded into space: with the end of the war, they are getting a bit more of a hearing, although the still battered economy means that nobody is rushing to them with great wads of cash. The universe is clearly a most dangerous place, and such disparate types as the mil-SF crowd, Muscular Christians, and the Church of Cosmic Horror agree mankind needs to be a less concentrated target, although the first two wouldn’t characterize the proper survival strategy as “breed fast, scatter wide, little insects.” Advances in fusion and plasma tech promise the possibility of round trips to Mars in a matter of months rather than years.

It was not long before the neural link became generalized, although most nations made it illegal to carry out neural linkages without the permission of all parties involved, and many banned its use for private purposes – or, in some cases, any non-Jaeger purposes. As yet the neural link has not become a party game even in those nations where its use is legal, since the cheapest portable version sells for something like $500,000 in 2013 dollars.

(Well, aside from among the youth of the 1%).

China initially jumped on the link as an interrogation device, until it became clear that 1. Unless both sides were actively working at it, a neural link mostly generated nightmare garbage, 2. There had to be some sort of mental compatibility to get any sort of stable link, 3. Out of the vast sea of random information, it was very hard to pick out and retain specific facts as desired, and 4. The interrogated was just as likely to get dirt on the interrogator, which cooled substantially their enthusiasm.

It _has_ been used by some warlords, old fashioned junta leaders, and people in jobs of dubious legality as a both a test and a means of loyalty: one can know for sure that the man you drift with can be trusted (at least at that moment in time) and they know you trust them with all their (current) secrets. (In macho societies, cases where one of the participants was in deep denial about their gayness usually do not end well).

Understanding of the Precursors remains elusive, with much information gained from scientists Drifting with Kaiju brains being fragmentary or tainted by the attempts of human minds to make sense of the alien, and data from the last couple years of the war was further limited by increasingly sophisticated mental attacks by the Precursors against human spies. (It is generally believed that Newton Giezler and Hermann Gottlieb’s highly successful final Drift was only due to the brain used being that of a newborn infant and thus only weakly perceived as yet by the collective consciousness). What is known is that the Kaiju and the Precursors are linked through a collective intelligence apparently not limited by space or time as we know it: some of the information gleaned seems to point to the possibility that the merely T-Rex sized Precursors are not so much masters of the Kaiju as much as another tool of a collective hive consciousness, although many humans have trouble with this concept and prefer to see them as the “boss aliens” (see, Borg Queen).

That they are as utterly merciless and relentless as any Austrian-accented Cyborg is something most scientists who have Drifted (those not too busy screaming OH GOD KEEP THEM OFF to chat) can agree on: what their ultimate motivations and aims are, what they do for a living when they aren’t invading other dimensions, etc. remains a lot less clear. Did they in fact kill off the dinosaurs, as several scientists have claimed to have “seen”? And why didn’t they remain? Why didn’t they come back for sixty million years? (One scientist says there was a “storm” or a “whirlwind” that broke contact between worlds: another occasionally babbles of something that ‘seeped down from the stars’ when it smelled the slaughter). They certainly appear to have successfully invaded more than one: by correlating the scattered impressions of different researchers, as many as a hundred “other worlds” have been identified, a majority of which seem to have been overrun by the Kaiju, and most feel this is merely a scattered sampling of a much greater total. Admittedly, many of these worlds are recalled in vague impressions and flashes which are confusing at best; many of them appear to have been like Earth (plants, animals, planets circling a sun, etc) but others gave such strange impressions and images that some people argue they represent Precursor mental conceptions or fantasies or fears rather than anything actual.

From what has been reported, there is apparently a whole Kaiju ecosystem on the other side: there apparently are Kaiju who are designed specifically to “clear” new worlds, Kaiju which are environmental modification machines, Kaiju who clean up after other Kaiju and recycle their bodies, Kaiju who either build or _are_ “housing” for other Kaiju, Kaiju who travel from (somewhere) to (somewhere) with offshoots of the hive in them… and there are some raving scientists that rave about their entire world being a monstrous thing, about suns made of jelly like eyes, of worlds that pulse and stars that crawl, of a universe which is like a cancer seeking to infect other universes with its cells – and the crazier ones can get really disturbing.

Very few people know what the elderly man with the metal engraving tools does inside the bodies of the Jaegers before they are fully activated.


And none outside his family know the seven true, unspeakable Names of God.
Pacific Rim Thoughts, II
And the thrilling (ha) conclusion.
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I seem to have forgotten to post this.

An effort to make (some) sense out of the "Pacific Rim" setting, with my explanation of how the hell Jaegers work. Long, so posting in two parts.

August 10, 2013. It came out of the sea on one of those grey, drizzly San Francisco days which are either romantic or depressing depending on your turn of mind. The first thing it did was tear apart the Golden Gate Bridge. Things went rapidly downhill from there.

It took nearly five days of almost continuous bombardment to kill it. The fighter jets initially scrambled to fight it barely scratched its hide, and even the pilot who Kamikaze’d his jet at top speed right into its face gave it “barely a shaving cut”, as someone described it at the time. When they moved from regular munitions to fuel-air bombs and bunker busters they finally began to do more than superficial damage, but it refused to return to the sea. It continued to wander around the Bay area, stomping on any man-made structures and anything which moved, even as it began to drip with blue gore: even after it lost its eyes and heavy naval artillery from across the bay began to hammer it, it slowly shambled back and forth across the devastated urban landscape: and even after it fell over on its back and didn’t get up, it twitched for another two days.

Killing it had seriously depleted total in-US stock of munitions: in an era of precision bombing and speedy little wars, huge Cold War (let alone WWII) stockpiles no longer existed. Before the long, slow-motion battle ended, UK and Canadian and even Russian air forces had joined in the fight (it was fortunate that most of the population of the area had fled by the time the Russians arrived, or their use of several brands of extremely nasty Cold-War era nerve gas on the colossus might have been rather worse than merely futile). During its rampage, a twisting, looping, criss-crossing half-mile wide trail of utter devastation had been stamped out down one side of San Francisco Bay and up the other, terminating in the wreckage of Oakland, what would be called the Trespasser having collapsed a bit short of Berkley. Well endowed with both private and public means of transportation, locals managed to flee from the Trespasser’s path fast enough to keep casualties in the tens of thousands, but the economic costs were in the trillions: combined with the global panic set off by the monster attack, brought the US, and most of the world’s economy plunging back into deep depression.

The fact that the blue ichor the Trespasser used for blood was both persistently toxic and highly carcinogenic did not exactly help rebuilding, and some form of breakdown within the Trespasser’s body, after first liberating toxic levels of ammonia gas, led it to leak an equally unpleasant blue-black slime which soon formed a shallow pool extending as much as 400 feet from the body in places. Some 60 square miles of the Bay area had to be declared a Superfund site, although most of San Francisco proper avoided this fate simply due to a lack of success in making the Trespasser bleed at that early stage of its rampage.

The ensuing global panic was heightened by the deep uncertainty as to the origin of the beast. It had not been seen by anyone before it emerged from the sea and began wrecking havoc. Was it from space? (Experts scoffed at the notion something so large could have come down from the sky without someone picking it up on radar.) From another dimension? From hell or a creation of God’s Wrath, as a great many End Times enthusiasts concluded? (Alternately, God’s punishment of the infidel Americans). A hideous mutation caused by man’s dumping of radioactive and other wastes in the oceans (the fact that even the most preemptory examination showed the Intruder to be bizarrely alien and utterly non-terrestrial in its makeup failed to kill this particular narrative)? A hitherto unknown form of life, perhaps emerging from within the Earth’s crust? A US bio-weapon gone berserk – and possibly originally intended as a weapon against North Korea, as suggested by North Korean news? Thorough sonar sweeps of the East Pacific revealed no more giant monsters swimming shoreward. No giant monster delivery ships revealed themselves to telescopes.

The Japanese, of course, called it a Kaiju. Some even blamed it on foreign nuclear testing.

People can only remain afraid so long without regular reinforcement, and giant monster threats are rather harder to fake up than terrorist ones, so by the new year people had begun to relax a bit and begin to wonder if the Intruder had been some sort of unique event, something like a giant meteor impact, arriving once in a million years. Innumerable trucks filled with a mix of lethal goo, dirt and shattered bits of houses had departed for distant disposal sites, and the area of the monster’s body had been cleaned to mere Soviet Industrial Center levels of toxicity; swarms of scientists aided by a small army of workers in biohazard garb and armed with the sort of power saws used to cut up ornamental rock were slowly carving the colossal corpse apart and examining its various strange internal organs (some of which still showed a disturbing tendency towards mobility): little chunks of the non-gooey bits of the body, smuggled out by workers, began to show up on the black market, much to the distress of Health and Safety, which classified all parts of the Trespasser as toxic waste. Godzilla jokes were now once again permissible.
And then, on the fifth of February, 2014, another horror emerged from Manila Bay and began wrecking havoc. It would later be known as Hundun, although for some time it would simply be called “The Second.”

This time, the rapidly deployed US forces did not fool around. Partly due to back-channel Chinese communications re their willingness to Take Steps against this monster almost on their doorstep, after luring the monster out of the city with a continuous air assault (in which a number of pilots lost their lives flying close enough to the monster to goad it), a relatively small atomic device was used against Hundun. The fireball slowly dispersed to show a creature horribly torn by the massive impact, smoking, charred black, the outer layer of its hide vaporized, small bluish fires burning here and there on its body…but still more or less in one piece, and slowly crawling forward, much to the horror of the watchers. To their relief, the smoldering abomination soon slowed to a standstill and simply sat, smoking, burning.

Smoking. Burning somewhat more intensely, if patchily. Giving off more smoke.
In spite of rain and drops of sand by fire-fighting planes, the dead monster continued to slowly burn for two weeks. The plume of black smoke, rich in lethal carcinogens mixed with a leavening of toxic heavy metals, would have made an area of over two thousand square miles downwind uninhabitable for decades, considerably worse than the Chernobyl incident of OTL.

Fortunately, the majority of the toxins went out to sea. Unfortunately, the winds were from the Northeast at that time of the year. And the sea was the one to the southwest of Manila.

This time, a scramble took place to make the Pacific Ocean into a Panopticon. Sonar buoys were prepared and dropped off by thousands. Sub-hunter ships were put on permanent patrol. Listening posts were established. Emergency warning systems were established in cities all around the Pacific, and people made familiar with the sound of the new sirens that would indicate something impossibly huge was emerging from the sea to crush a human city underfoot.

The Japanese term “Kaiju” for the monsters became popularized.

Unusually (as it would turn out) for a Kaiju, the third attack (June, 2014) took place in a relatively lightly populated area at the tip of Baja, allowing the US forces to use a 3-megaton device once the local population and tourist had scattered, with the over 100 miles of sea between it and the mainland providing a fair degree of protection from the inevitable Burning Kaiju toxins. More importantly, the sonar network thrown across the Pacific had first detected it in the middle of the Pacific, at some 15,000 feet down (much to the frustration of nuclear planners, the Kaiju would turn out to hug the ocean bottom, remaining at least 2 miles down until forced up by continental shelves): a scramble to get as many deep submersibles in the water as possible followed, in hopes of finally locating the origin of the Kaiju. The still vast area involved and the limited number of machines meant that the exploration would not bear fruit for three months, by which time another attack had taken place.

Schoenfeld would later claim that it was in early September, during the fourth Kaiju attack on Sydney, that he developed the idea for the Jaeger, after watching his son playing with robot and monster toys. This was a lie. He would meet with several world leaders at the Seoul Conference (AKA the “what the fuck do we do about Kaiju” conference) little over two weeks later. One does not construct a well-worked out technical proposal, capable of convincing skeptical world leaders that “giant robots are the answer!” in two weeks, no matter how brilliant a roboticist one is.

Most of his presentations do not exist in the records, anywhere.

It was in October that the Rift was finally located, a crack half a mile wide and seven long in the ocean floor, filled with a seething, glowing energy that initially entirely baffled scientists. The first probes to approach the water-energy interface were violently repelled and destroyed: if Kaiju were coming through, it didn’t seem that a return visit was possible. Efforts rapidly got underway to build a submersible capable of carrying nukes to the rift: and by mid-December, multiple nuclear weapons, some quite large, had been detonated in the Rift. This was to no apparent effect aside from widening the physical crack in the earth. Data analysis indicated that virtually all the energy expended was being reflected back.

Operation Counterprobe was replaced by Operation Whack-the-Mole, but as yet only a few nuclear mines were in place when the Kaiju Black Mother emerged at several hundred miles an hour from the rift: none were right next to her area of emergence, but mass detonation caused a massive enough shock wave that the Kaiju seemed to have been rendered dead or unconscious. Celebratory noises had hardly begun to ring out when its stomach split open and several hundred smaller (if still at least King Kong-sized) horrors spilled out.

The Guardians have remained in the vicinity of the Rift ever since, growing to roughly whale size and reproducing asexually to the point where they now number in the thousands: exactly what they live on down there and what sustains them remains matters of speculation. They are not full-sized, full-powered Kaiju, but delivering working military hardware is to 15,000 feet below the Ocean’s surface is problematic enough that they don’t need to be. Their purpose is to detect any encroaching man-made objects with their highly sensitive sonar and then destroy them a good distance from any emerging Kaiju. It doesn’t matter how many die in nuclear explosions: they can be replaced, and some are always kept in reserve.

Nuking Kaiju proper underwater has never been easy. Kaiju in a hurry swim at over 200 miles per hour (and they’re usually in a hurry: cities to smash, people to squash) and delivering a nuclear bomb over 10,000 feet deep to a target that fast is hardly an easy problem. Even in shallower water it is tough, and although water may transmit shock waves better than air, it also soaks up enough of the energy of a nuclear explosion that the bomb needs to be right on target to do its job. A 200 knots plus Kaiju-chaser nuclear sub meant to intercept them on the continental shelf (using supercavitation principles) was in the works by the 2020s, but was hit by the general budget-cutting required to finance the Pacific wall system. Work on superfast undersea attack boats and torpedoes continues, slowly.

In case an effective weapon can ever be designed to penetrate the Rift, a Jaeger or comparably tough fighting machine would have to be built capable of remaining fully mobile while sealed against over 1500 atmospheres of pressure to actually deliver it to the site. Three such were built by the time Jaeger funding was cut: no way to penetrate the Rift had been found at the time.

One would be destroyed in a last-ditch fight in shallow water. The other two would save the world.

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A Jaeger, seen from a distance, does not appear to be moving very fast: a steady, almost ambling walk. This is an illusion: a Jaeger stands some 50 times taller that a human being. Walking speed is usual near 100 miles an hour. A Jaeger can run at close to 500 miles an hour.

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The “drift”, or the Neural Link, was developed as a means to allow pilots to control the Jaegers as effectively as their own bodies: a slow, clumsy Jaeger would mean vastly lowered combat effectiveness. The peculiar mental feedback that caused intense pain, headaches and eventually strokes, cerebral edemas, and other potentially fatal injuries. It remains somewhat unclear how joining a second human brain to the mix was chosen as a possible solution. It _is_ clear that Professor Akagi was a mad scientist, if perhaps, like Papa Schimmelhorn, on a subconscious level, since he apparently failed to realize that his enhanced networking system was essentially a form of mechanical telepathy. (When the first two pilots to share memories reported their experience, Akagi initially believed them to be hallucinating).

For pilots to “drift” together, to essentially become a unified mind for the Jaeger body, required not just compatibility but a level of mutual comfort: to be able to live in each other’s minds with a degree of ease. Very often close couples, when given a close look at each other’s minds, ceased to be close couples: who could stand “rubbing their naked brains together”, as one pilot referred to it, was often unpredictable.

The notion of “drifting” with Kaiju brains arose early on, among those that who felt the Rift was a product of intelligence rather than some weird natural phenomenon and the Kaiju at least a product of such intelligence. Attempts to “drift” with animals usually led to random sensory noise and severe headaches, so there was not much belief that this would be a useful approach, but the quest for a Kaiju brain started early on. It would take a while to get ahold of one: Kaiju skulls were so thick that decomposition had set in by the time the plates of armor were slowly cut through, and a great deal of Kaiju would have to be cut through, sorted, and analyzed before anyone figured out that there was a second brain in the lower torso helping to control the outlying bits of the body, leading to many ill-considered analogies involving dinosaurs.

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A Jaeger’s punch will typically exceed1000 miles an hour, and may reach as high as 1200 miles an hour. A Jaeger’s fists thunder even when they do not hit their target.
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Kaiju harvesting became an industry of sorts by the second year of the war, as companies formed to take advantage of government contracts for corpse-disposal, and people looked to find some way to make extra money from the extremely onerous work. Of course, scientists initially got first dibs, but most labs were not really equipped to preserve a toxic liver-equivalent the size of two railway cars, so the bulk of the carcasses had to be disposed of. So, enter industry. As it turned out, Kaiju could be _mined_: their bodies were rich in heavy metals, and with some modifications, industries which worked with high-toxicity metals could process the slabs into which Kaiju were slowly sliced into a financial bonanza. A variety of chemicals found their uses in industry. Bones and armor could be used in architecture once the toxins had been baked off in warehouse hot rooms, although it was usually fairly demented architects who would actually use them. (in one case, a pair of Jaeger pilots adopted a massive and jagged-ended leg bone as a weapon to jab and club other Kaiju, although it was eventually broken over the head of a Kaiju with a particularly thick skull).

Of course, there was also the Black Market. Even in well-organized nations there was always a flow of little bits and pieces that didn’t go to a recognized Kaiju-recycling industry: in some corruption-rich nations such as China, Indonesia, and various Latin American states, there was a positive flood of Kaiju body parts being sold to black market overlords at prices well exceeding per ton anything that could be obtained from legitimate corporations. Kaiju flesh and bone was sold as medicine, a formula for immortality, as a sexual aid (of course), a secret poison (more reasonably), a miracle fertilizer (for men as well as crops). Kaiju “skin parasites” were sold as pets (given a sufficiently ammoniated atmosphere, they could survive for as long as two years) Some buyers had wilder ideas, such as the various groups that attempted (unsuccessfully – as far as it is known) to clone a Kaiju from its tissues, or those who planned elaborate attacks on the Kaiju through the use of sympathetic magic.

It is unknown how many people died or suffered permanent damage consuming Kaiju tissue that had not been properly detoxified. In the later years of the war, as funding was cut all around to afford the building of the defensive wall system, a number of companies involved in Kaiju disposal went out of business, and some dead Kaiju, for lack of either corporate or government disposal, were left to rot and the black market. How many amateur Kaiju harvesters died for lack of adequate precautions is another unknown.

(Kaiju “skin parasites” or “mites” remain a mystery. They could hardly feed off Kaiju, having no ability to cut all the way through their thick hides, and in spite of requiring the ammonia which normally oozes from the Kaiju’s hide, are chemically and biochemically quite dissimilar to the Kaiju, which all share a close biological basis. Some have theorized that they are from another universe entirely, and somehow latch on to Kaiju and perhaps other travelers as they pass through the pan-dimensional space of the Rift.)

*************************************************
An average Jaeger weighs over 70 thousand tons. When it hurls itself into battle against a Kaiju, the kinetic energy is in the trillions of joules.

A Jaeger, given 2014 technology, is a technological impossibility.

**************************************************
The first to show that mental contact with a Kaiju brain was in fact possible was Professor Akagi himself in 2018: unfortunately, he also filled his brain with bubbles of blood in the process. Later experimenters found that as in piloting Jaegers, distributing the mental “load” between two operators led to better results, although for some time “better” often meant insanity or brain damage rather than outright death, along with sensory and memory data so bizarre as to be quite impossible to make head or tail of.

Not till 2022 were breakthroughs made that allowed a degree of “translation” of the neural feed, and some coherent impressions – of a mind both vast and multiple, of cold and endless ruthlessness, of incomprehensibly vast spaces that were yet at the same time filled with something which lived and pulsed, of forces and pulls and drives monstrous and yet rational in a way that could not be described. Scientists were still going mad, but at least no longer screamingly so.

The fact that someTHINGS on the other side of the Rift might have similar success in interpreting the thoughts of small, mammalian minds was only vaguely suspected until the Kaiju attack of June ’23, where the Kaiju went straight for the main Drift Research center 15 miles inland, totally ignoring all sorts of tempting opportunities for mass destruction along the way. Afterwards, the new research center was constructed 10,000 feet up the slopes of the Tibetan plateau and nearly a thousand miles from the sea.

************************************************** **

During the fleeting few years in which the Jaegers appeared to be winning the Kaiju war, Kaiju-Jaeger combats took on an almost ritualized format. The Jaeger would be brought to the combat zone by the giant nuclear-powered ekranoplans which were the only craft capable of transporting their incredible mass at reasonable speeds. They would wait in water over 100 feet deep, miles out from land and civilian populations – it slowed down the Jaegar, but was as least as obstructive to the Kaiju. The Ocean would soak up any spilled toxins – bad for the local beaches and the local fishing industry, but better than splattering it over inhabited soil. The Kaiju would emerge, its location pinpointed by automatic sonar buoys second by second. And the Jaeger would beat it to death.

All Jaeger pilots were extensively trained in boxing and other martial skills that involved inflicting massive damage to an opponent without close grappling. (Wrestling moves are not recommended against an opponent whose impossibly hard teeth, claws, spines, etc. could easily slice into the toughest metal-ceramics) Enormous kinetic impacts, the whole weight of the Jaeger behind them, would damage internal organs, break internal struts, and eventually kill without splattering goo all over the place.

One of the ongoing costs of the Jaeger program was that the Jaegers fists would usually be so battered at the end of a fight as to require replacement: sometimes entire forearms would be damaged and would require extensive repair or replacement from levels of force often exceeding the structural strength of the Jaeger’s materials.

Some Jaegers were equipped with huge staves (no giggling in the audience!) with hooks to keep their distance in combat and catch the limbs or tails of the Kaiju. Others were equipped with huge drills or saw blades: there were times when cutting the Kaiju (especially Kaiju with tentacles) overrode the need to avoid contamination. Although Kaiju’s internal organization, as revealed by scientists dissecting the enormous corpses (well, perhaps mining would be a better word) was almost as fantastically variable as their external form – pounding the same body area in two Kaiju might cause crippling damage or just make them mad – they had their weaknesses: joints. Eyes. Connecting tendons. Being crippled for life was an occupational hazard the trainers of Jaeger pilots simply accepted, as long as they could make their charges into skilled killers that would attack with utter intent to smash and maim.

The Plasma cannon with which each Jaeger was armed was insufficient to kill a Kaiju, but it could be used to good use against such sensitive spots as eyes, nostrils and the interior of mouths, and was also useful to cauterize the enemy’s wounds – having the Kaiju bleed out was not a desirable outcome. (Plasma would not catch a Kaiju on fire: only the extreme heat of a nuclear fireball would cause the breakdown of their peculiar silicon-based bodies).
After the Kaiju was killed, it would be towed to a “retaining area” far from populated areas where it would be free to secrete toxins to its heart’s content.

It helped that Kaiju (at first, anyway) fought, in the words of a pilot, “with all the skill of a somewhat slow first-grader.”

Overconfidence set in. There had been efforts, once there were over a dozen Jaegers in operation, to move more than one Jaeger into position if at all possible, so to get at least a two on one advantage. But as pilot technique improved along with Jaeger technological sophistication, by 2020, more than one Jaeger per Kaiju became seen as unnecessary. Indeed, Jaeger pilots, briefly the rock stars of their era, had begun to resent the notion that they would need help.

And then came along Knifehead.

************************************************** *

The conventional military was generally ticked off at being upstaged by giant robots operating on “classified” principles and operated by an entirely new international military force separate from the usual chain of command. It wasn’t quite as bad as being upstaged by magical girls, but it was getting there. Finding a way to kill a Kaiju without toxically contaminating an area the size of one of the smaller European countries became something of a military obsession, hampered by budget costs in the face of the enormous costs of Jaegers.

(Jaegers were _expensive_. The R&D and construction of the first Jaeger, although proceeding with what many later found improbable speed, still cost about nearly 1/3 of the total US annual military budget: although costs dropped for later Jaegers, none cost less than tens of billions to build and billions in annual maintenance: the last Jaeger ever built, the Australian Striker Eureka, cost one eight of the entire Australian federal budget two years running and with the general failure of the Jaeger project, was widely accused of being a vanity project of the current Prime Minister).

The most successful innovation proved to be in the field of magnetic rail guns, whose hypervelocity shells could actually make holes in the armor of a Kaiju: however, given their size, this was about as effective as using birdshot against an Elephant, and simply got you an angry (angrier) Kaiju. The struggle to build a rail gun big and powerful enough to kill went on for several years, much to the frustration of supporters of the approach (if giant robots could be built so quickly, why not giant-ass rail guns) but the technological challenges in building a weapon on such a scale that would not simply rip itself apart under the stresses involved was a formidable one. Jaeger supporters, on the other hand, pointed out that the rail gun boosters were developing a lovely method for splattering Kaiju Blue (the popular shorthand for Kaiju toxins) for miles.

The “orbital bombardment” “rods from god” approach also attracted some interest, but technical challenges and expenses were such that the project was still without an effective product when the war came to an end.

In 2018, the first full-scale railgun was built and put in place to defend rebuilt San Francisco (Oakland was a lost cause, but San Fran was both too valuable and too lightly contaminated to be abandoned, although it would be another couple decades before it reached its pre-Kaiju population): the trouble was that no Kaiju were polite enough to wander in front of it. The first _mobile_ rail gun was put aboard a specially designed nuclear carrier and set to cruise along the Pacific coasts in 2019. It managed arrive late for two fights.
It wasn’t until 2020, with the emergence of a new and more lethal version of Kaiju, that railguns became a New Hope. The first success was in Osaka in 2021, when a Kaiju which had destroyed the first Jaeger to reach the area was driven out to sea when a giant railgun drove a projectile the size of a truck into its chest. This failed to kill it, but weakened it enough that when it reemerged further south, the second Jaeger to fight it was able to finish it off relatively quickly. Railguns still had disadvantages: their driving mechanisms lacked the power of Jaegers, making them difficult to aim against opponents capable of moving at hundreds of miles an hour, and Kaiju internal organs were usually sufficiently redundant that a “one-shot” kill was unlikely save with a head shot (and Kaiju skulls were usually so insanely thick that glancing shots were often ineffectual). Mobile railguns atop carriers soon proved ineffective: the smart new generation of Kaiju would simply swim underneath and destroy them from below if they ventured into deep water.

Still, it was the best new option, and with the new Kaiju producing even more and even more lethal toxins when nuked, a little Kaiju Blue splatter seemed tolerable, especially since methods for chemically neutralizing it had been developed by this point. By the end of 2020, with Jaegers being destroyed faster than they could be built, the governing bodies of the Pacific Rim alliance were faced with the choice of investing hundreds of billions in expanding Jaeger production – an infrastructure buildup that would take several years to bear fruit – or invest, again, hundreds of billions on a new static-defense system based on massive physical barriers and emplaced railguns.

Perhaps a deciding factor was the truly international nature of the Pacific Defense Corps and the still secret details of the “linking system” that gave the Jaegers speed and strength beyond that which should be mechanically possible (kept secret to prevent Jaegers from becoming weapons of war between human nations, supposedly). The new plan would keep all details of the defense system under the control of national governments – although the UN-administered Global Kaiju Fund would still be on hand to help out with the expenses.

Some pointed out that although not quite as costly as Jaegers, railguns were not cheap either, and since they were not as mobile as Jaegers (a device capable of carrying around both a railgun and its nuclear power plant and brace itself against the forces involved would be, well, a Jaeger: Aircraft carriers had proven ultimately too fragile) rather a lot of them would be needed to guard tens of thousands of miles of coast: the cost, indeed, would greatly exceed the already economically crippling price of the Jaeger program.

The solution, as plan boosters explained, was where the “Wall of Life” came in. The wall was not a simple wall, which Kaiju _might_ given time dig their way through: instead, it would be a series of linked walls that would guide attacking Kaiju into long “killing corridors” where railguns would be ideally positioned to wipe them out. Many sophisticated Superseller (the successor to Powerpoint) presentations showed how the system would be both idiot-proof and Kaiju-proof.

First of all, the Wall ended up costing rather a lot more than initially estimated, into the trillions, further damaging the economies of the Pacific Rim nations; it did prove rather profitable for the many corporations involved in the construction (ironically, much of the minimum-wage labor force involved in building the Wall would come from people put out of work by the economic effects of the Wall). Public grumbling was only narrowly assuaged by government promises of future security.

In the event, the notion that a Kaiju would simply ignore the path of least resistance and dig its way through multiple barriers in under an hour like a rabbit burrowing through sandy soil in the most direct path to the nearest city hadn’t occurred to anyone. (It was noted at the time it had chosen an attack route as far as possible from any railgun batteries: if not the Kaiju themselves, the alien minds that drove them on were smart enough to know a trap when they saw one).

Ironically, Sydney, Australia was still saved from devastation by railguns: Jaeger Striker Eureka was one of the few Jaegers to be equipped before the end of the Jaeger program with new, compact railguns, which did most of the work in killing the beast. (Albeit splattering everything from the Kaiju back to the wall with Kaiju blue).

And then, of course, Hong Kong was attacked by a Kaiju that could fly. (Something that led a number of scientists who had thought they were finally getting a bit of a handle on how Kaiju worked to tear out their hair in frustration).

The resulting panic could probably be described as epic.
__________________

deviantID

QuantumBranching
Bruce Munro
United States
Current Residence: Where the rabbit shoulda made a turn
Interests
Hmm. No comments on the new map. Is it a dull map? Am I no longer "hot" on Deviantart? :) Or have I simply produced a map so densely annotated that there simply are no questions to be asked? 



Edit - so it is I simply produced a map so densely annotated that there simply are no questions to be asked 


Guess I shall have to make my maps more obscure in the future! :D

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:iconheliosmegistos:
HeliosMegistos Featured By Owner May 11, 2015
I think I may have asked once before but I can't remember... do you take map/scenario request or challenges if they interest you ?
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner May 16, 2015
Free for stuff that inspires me, and $25 a map for stuff less up my alley but not downright yecch or beyond my abilities. 
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:iconheliosmegistos:
HeliosMegistos Featured By Owner May 17, 2015
Ahh good to know.

I Hope I didn't bother you, I was just curious.

I better get back to work on my own Dawnverse project shortly, Telepathic dystopian-alternate historical fantasy doesn't write itself.
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:iconeclipse-paladin:
eclipse-paladin Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
Happy Birthday!
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:iconmrcaptaina:
MrCaptainA Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
Happy Birthday, Bruce!
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:iconbi777:
bI777 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Student
Happy Birthday!
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:iconthe-polybius:
The-Polybius Featured By Owner Edited Apr 30, 2015
Happy B-Day BM!
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:icontwiggierjet:
Twiggierjet Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
Happy birthday.
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:iconmeloa789:
meloa789 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
Happy birthday
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:iconrossi1994bs:
rossi1994bs Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015
Happy Birthday
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