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April 9, 2011
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Mask of the Sun: a Variant by QuantumBranching Mask of the Sun: a Variant by QuantumBranching
Some while back, SF writer Fred Saberhagen wrote a one-off book entitled Mask of the Sun, in which time-travelling Incas and Aztecs from two different 23rd centuries fought a war across time and multiple alternate universes, aided and occasionally by a Plot Device of uncertain ultimate origin much further in the future (indeed, it is possible that the survival and success of both the Inca and Aztecs in the 23rd century may be due to the Plot Device in the first place, suggesting an Ouroboros [link] scenario).

Recently, he died, and some authors came out with a tribute book, a reprint of the original story and a number of stories inspired by it playing with the setting. One of them, by David Weber, included a world created by the Aztecs screwing with the evolution of the Incas-survive TL, and gave enough background that I decided to make a map.

It's 2031, but technological growth has been somewhat slower than in our world, and tech is about on a late 1990s level. Currently, the world fears the outbreak of war between the world's greatest power, the British Empire and its allies, and the Pacific Axis of the Amerindian Empire of Tawantinsuyu and their allies the Japanese. Nuclear weapons were developed late in this world and never used in war, so both sides have an overly sanguine notion of the sort of damage that might ensue, and an excessive faith in their various anti-missile and anti-aircraft measures. A major element in maintaining peace (so far) is uncertainty over which way the Russians, who have no love for either side, will jump.

The British Empire is slowly moving towards a genuine multiracial democracy (more slowly in Africa: black Africans are still considered basically culturally retarded, if not so much genetically) but remains a more elitist and authoritarian state than the OTL US (yes, even post-Bush :) ) and is busy fighting a number of rebellious movements backed by the Axis, which likes to pose as the champion of non-European cultural and political independence, plus being involved in several unpleasantnesses in state on the borders of its sphere of influence.

Butterflies from the lack of South American possessions meant a rather different history for much of Europe: the Protestant Netherlands never made the big success of our wirld, and the "Netherlands" of this world was Spanish territory until the 19th century and never a major colonial power. France remained a monarchy until the revolution of 1968 (Yes, I know) and Spain managed to do better in the 17th and 18th centuries, holding onto most of Italy as well as the Netherlands and more successfully modernizing its heartland: indeed, this worlds *Napoleonic wars were actually led by Alfonzo Terranza, a Catalan military genius. After said "Terranzan" wars, Spanish Italy and the Netherlands were spun off as independent countries (The Italian capital in Naples managed to eventually loosely federalize or absorb the remaining bits of the peninsula).

New Spain fell apart even more messily than our Spanish Empire, and nearly two centuries of Inca and British proxy wars and "interventions" have left the place a horrid mess, with only the Caribee republic and California (roughly as messed up as OTL Mexico before the crime and drugs really got out of control) counting as relative success stories. The area bleeds refugees and drugs into British New England, but it hasn't been so great for the Inca, either, with revolutionary violence crossing back into still mostly Catholic central America and setting off unrest among only partially assimilated Amerindians in the northern provinces.

Nihon has managed to steadily increase its control over China over the last century, taking over much of Russian China during the Persian War and then French territories during the Revolution. But they want the rest. Non-European authoritarian states with semi-divine monarchs, Nihon and Tawantinsuyu get along OK, and seek to displace the European powers as the global power center. They as yet have only a few important allies, most importantly Siam and Vietnam: the Quilombo, a state founded by African slaves fleeing Portuguese territory with Inca help (apologies to Robertp6165) suffers from internal strains and economic difficulties.
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