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Worlds That Might Have Been by eclipse-paladin


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October 31, 2013
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HUMANS

The human race – quarrelsome, divided against itself, and from the viewpoint of the Race mad, mad, mad – continues to strive for superiority over the alien enemy. Although they now have huge, crude versions of Race fusion power plants, and weapons tech as good and in some ways superior to that of the Race, (among other things, having developed chemical weapons warfare to a nightmare peak beyond anything the Race ever attempted) and are carrying out experiments in deep space-based living and resource extraction the Race never saw economic value or point to, humanity still lags in a number of fields. The tools to build the tools to build the tools still need to be built – Race computer hardware is still beyond humanity’s ability to mass manufacture (although human computer hackers have made mincemeat of Race computer defenses often enough to make it necessary to keep computer systems in Race territory entirely separate from human networks) and human gene-splicers don’t have millennia of patient trial and error in understanding the genomes of terrestrial animals. And humans are already struggling with resource and material shortages that a civilization that arose on a desert world overcame ages ago: back-engineering Race synthetics and technical work-arounds that eliminate the need for many rare materials and elements is a priority, especially in the raw materials-deprived German and Japanese territories.

Of course, many humans resent having to learn how to care for their planet from the scaly little bastards, especially since they don’t seem to particularly care whether terrestrial environments are displaced by that of the Race’s world throughout desert and semi-desert environments. Preachy environmentalists are sometimes accused of “Lizard-think.”

Technology is variable, between not much ahead of OTL 2011 (AI, video games – the Race aren’t quite so interested in seeing pneumatic women battling in 3-d with laser swords) to decades or perhaps generations ahead; cancer-fighting methods, holographics, fusion power-plants, software architecture – and, of course, space-ships. Humanity (in the form of a very blond, blue-eyed German) fatally crash-landed on Mars as early as 1968, and there are now over two thousand humans living on the fourth planet, while hybrid nuclear-thermal/Orion ships BANGBANGBANG their way around the asteroids and the outer solar system (for obvious reasons, the drop-loads-of-nukes-out-your-rear-end means of propulsion is not used in immediate proximity to the Very Tense earth). The Moon, with multiple Japanese, US, and Soviet bases, is getting practically crowded (at least in the perceptions of news critters, who mutter darkly about how close (a mere two hundred or so miles) new Japanese base construction is from US territory).

Duplication of certain Race-developed macro-molecules has made the building of an orbital “beanstalk” route to space at least theoretically feasible: although the idea has its enthusiasts, proposals have generally been shot down, because of the risk of such a huge structure being shot down.

Although human-made batteries are still not as effective as those made by the Race, cars are now almost universally electric or hydrogen-fueled: the Race owns most of the world’s oil and charges outrageous prices to those silly enough to buy such a useful chemical feedstock to burn it. Oil – extracted from tar sands – is still used, especially by the US and Canada, but power mostly comes from solar power and atomic (increasingly fusion) power, plus such old standbys as hydroelectric: the Japanese are going in for thermal-differential Ocean-based power plants in a big way, having the largest chunk of deep Ocean within territorial waters of any of the human states.

Architecture tends to be more baroque than OTL, a reaction to the strict functionality of Race building. Skyscrapers tend to be popular: the Race lacks humanity’s phallic impulses, and generally doesn’t build more than a few hundred feet high – building structures that dwarf anything in Race cities is one way humanity can, so to speak, strut its stuff. High oil prices have tended to keep the train (now usually electric and high-speed) competitive with the highway. Airline fuel is synthetically manufactured, the costs of which are subsidized by governments.

And in orbit, the secret game of orbital bases, communications satellites with hidden purposes, hide-the-gadget amid the orbiting junk, continues, ever more deadly. The Race gave up on keeping humans out of near-Earth orbit a long time ago: the only restraints observed anymore is that nobody openly admits that they’re putting missiles and anti-missiles and anti-anti-missiles in orbit, and nothing orbits within thousands of miles of the far-flung conquest fleet. The Race, not being particularly skilled with such plots and tricks, has gone for a crude-force approach: if things go pear-shaped, nothing is surviving below geosynchronous orbit: billions and billions of high-speed ball-bearings will see to that (those popular science magazines again).

In case of exactly such a scenario, humans on Earth are busy developing ground-level anti-missile defenses, and the most recent anti-missile missiles are said to be smart enough to go out and fetch coffee and donuts for their maintenance engineers. Big-ass laser and particle beam technology is being pursued by all the major human states.

Atomic war survival programs are extensive: the tunnels under Japan and the US and England and Russia and Germany go deep, deep, deep...


THE SOVIETS

The Soviet Union is the only human power block which is all one country rather than a multinational alliance or empire. It has roughly its 1938 borders, plus the Baltic States. Its population is substantially higher than the same area in Our Time-Line: although the native population has passed through the demographic transition, it hasn’t suffered a demographic collapse comparable to OTL, and has been and remains a land of immigration. It has of course never been as popular as the US as a destination, but since a nativist backlash against the “give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe Lizard-free” no-restrictions emigration of the post-war period brought quotas, the Soviet Union has always been the back-up option. Of 335 million Soviets, some 40 million are of foreign origin or parentage, mostly Chinese and Muslim immigrants (the Race remains happy to see such people leave.) There have been, of course, some “nativist reactions” in the Soviet Union as well, some of which have required considerable overtime on the part of the army and KGB.

The Soviet union is a far more pragmatically than ideologically driven organism than it ever was OTL: although the World Revolution (against the Lizards, of course) remains a major concern, with a border thousands of miles long with the Race, and the old German enemy glaring over the Romanian border national survival and internal stability have since ’42 been far more central matters. (Indeed, said Nazis and Lizards, by inducing a “hang together, or we will be hanged separately” mentality, have done much to keep the Soviet Union united).

The conflict between the theoretical basis of the USSR and real-life necessities is notable in the complex and often prickly relationship with the US, the wartime alliance having never been allowed to lapse: while Soviet media have always promulgated the superiority of the Communist system to the Capitalist one, such criticisms have rarely been allowed by the Powers That Be to descend into actual demonization of the US, which is usually portrayed as simply misguided (although the Tools of Capitalist Bloodsuckers are occasionally trotted out, usually after some US politician has said something mean re Soviet human rights abuses).

In any event, Communism Vs Capitalism has become increasingly passé over the last couple decades, as the post-Molotov Soviet Union has slowly and painfully made a transition to a more mixed economy. A move towards more capitalist economics began as far back as the 70s while Molotov was still in power, but it wasn’t until the 90s that really sweeping change – delayed due to the US essentially subsidizing the Soviets with loans and cheap food and overpaying for their raw materials- became both clearly necessary and mobilized the necessary political support. It still required a number of top officials and one Soviet General Secretary unexpectedly taking early retirement in charming little Siberian towns. (It helped that the Army was able to play a more independent role than OTL, due to some messy political events during Molotov’s term in office, and was ready to support the reformers).

The economy seems to have finally turned around in the last few years, but the USSR remains impoverished compared to their American allies, and indeed somewhat poorer than Germany in spite of decades of corrupt Nazi officialdom and one nuclear exchange with the Lizards. There is considerable export of cheap manufactured goods as well as raw materials to the US nowadays (superior trade terms has allowed them to compete with the extensive Japanese cheap labor pool) and the Soviets are now trying to break into the international car market, although the latest models are receiving a welcome roughly as enthusiastic as the OTL Yugo circa 1985.

Anti-Semitism remains a problem in the USSR: although the continued existence of the German Reich puts a damper on the more extreme rhetoric, there remains a sense that Jews are just a bit too happy living under the even-handed Race rule, if not actually collaborators – things aren’t quite as bad as in OTLs USSR, but those Jews who can immigrate to American territory (rather rarely to Race territory, although that doesn’t prevent people from playing it up whenever it happens).

The Aral sea is being kept from drying up by a truly impressive canal (the loss of water further north is doing funny things to the taiga), and now that Race fusion power technology has been duplicated and fission power is being phased out, at least Unexpected Nuclear Excursions are one less thing to be worried about, but the Soviet Union remains fearfully polluted and breathing masks are a normal fashion accessory in many industrial areas. Tremendous Progress in dealing with environmental problems is regularly reported on the official newscasts, which has brought forth a rich new crop of cynical jokes.

Siberia’s underground Atomic Cities are very impressive, and require some equally impressive subsidies.

Space exploration suffered some cut-backs during the economic crisis. Indeed, the Soviet Mars bases for a while were essentially living off of US charity for a while there, and the starship project (based on a Ridiculously Large Orion-type design, fusion drives still being beyond current engineering capacities) was put on hold. However, as the economy has picked up more money has been going to space projects, and Soviet TV has recently carried government-sponsored documentaries talking about the Soviet Union’s valiant future on Venus (where due to the particularly hellish environment, nobody has of yet established a permanent settlement).

Soviet cities, given the tendency for immigrants to head for urban centers, have grown substantially: Moscow has half as many people again as OTL. They are also not exactly beautiful: Soviet architecture is noted for being monumental, original in design, and even uglier than Race efforts. Still, at least you can get good Chinese food in Moscow nowadays.


THE US BLOCK

AKA the Freedom Alliance, or the Anglosphere: Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand (swollen with Australian refugees) together rather dwarf the remaining member states, the islands of the Caribbean (many English-speaking anyway), the Free French of Polynesia, and assorted other bits and bobs of Pacific Ocean real estate. Proposals are often floated to join together into a single Greater USA, but so far have fallen through (with the exception of Puerto Rico, now the 51st state): for one thing, the British wouldn’t accept anything short of 24 votes in the Senate (which may just have been a polite way of turning down the offer).

The British, although remaining a friendly democracy, generally observed a stance of heavily armed neutrality between the US and Germany in the 50s and early 60s, feeling that becoming Airstrip Number One would also paint a big target on them. After the German-Race war, the British conclusion that the Germans were completely bonkers did not, in fact, strengthen this point of view: the corollary to the conclusion was that expecting the Germans to leave alone a heavily armed but neutral Britain out of rational calculation was a fools game, and the UK moved firmly into the US orbit.

The Alliance as a whole has over 440 million inhabitants, rivaling the Japanese in numbers. The US, although the world’s largest economy and the (self-appointed) leader of humanity in the struggle vs. the Lizards, is actually somewhat less populous than OTL, close to 290 million to OTLs 312 or so. There were losses of several million during the Race invasion, followed by harsh conditions during reconstruction and continued heavy military spending, which partly deflated what would have been the Baby Boom, and while in the generation after WWII immigration was substantially higher than OTL, afterward the flow was cut from both sides. The US did so by establishing quotas to prevent the job market being “flooded” by unskilled and impoverished refugees from the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the Race became increasingly unhappy with the loss to immigration of skilled humanpower. The annoying-to-both-sides flow out of Mexico was largely cut by the Race moving most of the population of desert northern Mexico south and resettling the area with Race colonists.

(There are variations: Americans are always happy to welcome people fleeing Nazi tyranny, and the Race is always happy to get rid of militant Muslims and Chinese with anything resembling political convictions).

The economies of all member states are more dirigiste and socialistic than OTL, social cohesion, maximum use of human resources, and allocation of resources to where they are needed being widely accepted as aims of a reasonable government facing a massively powerful enemy. Decades of rapid technological progress and constant innovation, only now slowing as all the low-lying fruit from the Race tech tree have been harvested, have driven rapid economic growth: a bigger government role in the economy has not, as yet translated into economic sluggishness. (Besides, with the corrupt and nuke-burned Reich and the Soviets to compete with, it is easy to look good – the Race is pretty regulation-and-government-heavy itself, and the Japanese economy has been hampered by the backwardness of most of its empire and relative isolation: the US was never in any hurry to open its markets to the nation still occupying the Philippines).

The US is a mobilized society, and has universal conscription, although of late it has been moving away from a mass army as it becomes increasingly clear that the next war, if it happens, will mostly likely be over very quickly.

Little Rock remains the capital out of bureaucratic inertia: the metro area now has over 2 million inhabitants and as florid and ruffled and insufferable a Beltway culture (if not called that ATL) as OTL, alas. The new architecture, as in most US big cities, tends to the ornate and slightly-Frank-Paul-SF-ish “neo-pulp” look, although safety considerations have prevented the flying car from catching on here either.

If the US dislikes the Japanese, they despise the Germans (which has been good for US racial politics once that whole little “blacks collaborating with the Lizards” misunderstanding was put behind everyone), who are considered not just evil but stupid. (There is certainly a subtext of “these white, talented people with awesome cool uniforms should be on our side vs. the Race, not badmouthing our most excellent democracy!”) As for the Soviets, the general attitude is “yes, they’re bastards – but they’re bastards on our side.”

Racial relations, as mentioned, are pretty good nowadays, in some ways better than OTL (better social safety nets means that the black population is generally better educated and more often employed) and social mores are generally liberal. Public near (or in some cases total) nudity is widely tolerated, as long as the body paint is interesting. On the other hand, the political religious are still influential, although the Holy Roller – Rich Bastards alliance contracted OTL vs. Communism never took place. While Creationism is a minor thing (it’s hard to think of the whole universe being created as a backdrop to humans a few thousand years back with actual aliens running around) there is a powerful "man as specially blessed by God" attitude which sees humanity as having a mandate to eventually conquer and Christianize the galaxy. After all, we're manifestly a lot brighter than any of the alien races.

Political divisions are somewhat different. There was never an anti-Communist Cold War in this TL, and there hasn't been anything as divisive as the Vietnam War: on the other hand, social changes as great as those which took place in our TL 1960-1980 took place here too, albeit scheduled slightly differently. Besides its own equivalent of the "culture wars", there are divisions between those who feel the US needs a "stronger" or "more unified" state on the Soviet or Japanese model and libertarians and civil-rights enthusiasts: between those who believe in peaceful co-existence with the Race and those having 6-step plans to liberate Latin America: between secularists and theocrats annoyed at our shirking our Divine Mission.

The “live and let live” crowd is likelier to go in for shaved heads and body coloring: the religious or simply xenophobic tend to go in for beards and full mustaches nowadays (to emphasize their furry, mammalian nature) and are big on the local equivalent of three-piece formal wear.

The British, fearful of being culturally absorbed by the US, tend to promote a mythic Britishness almost as energetically as Japanese OTL promote their unique Japanese-ism. It is a more conservative, stiff-upper-lip sort of country than OTL: there is rather a lot of Empire nostalgia, since it is easy for British in this TL to fool themselves into thinking the Empire could have remained together and a great power after the war if it hadn’t been for those darned Lizards. Many British young men end up dying unpleasant deaths abroad on various romantic missions to stir up trouble for the Lizards in former Empire territory, where the locals are often shockingly ungrateful. It remains a manufacturing power of some note, and a popular vacation spot for Nazis trying to get away from other Nazis. (The British tend to look down on the Germans, but don’t despise them the way Americans do).

Ireland, the southern one, is a republic, and has no remaining political ties with the UK, although relations have thawed a bit in the last few decades. Ulster, as in most universes branching off after 1916, has its troubles.

Canada is more populous than OTL: the French-speaking Canadians tend to be anti-immigrant, feeling they are too badly outnumbered as it is (efforts to convert all those Slavs and Africans and Chinese, etc., to the Glories of the French Language have not been particularly successful in the mostly Anglophone Freedom Alliance, although there has been some immigration from Race-ruled France).

Cuba is a partyin’ kind of place.


THE JAPANESE EMPIRE

The Glorious Empire of Nihon holds over 465 million people, rather less than a third of which are Japanese. Due to Japanese managerial techniques and a more rapid (forced-draft) modernization, the area is a bit less populous than OTL, outside of Japan itself.

The Empire is mostly islands and peninsulas, from New Guinea to Malaysia, and includes Taiwan and the Philippines. The fairly random cease-fire line running through the jungles of SE Asia was reestablished along the narrow (and highly defensible) Kra isthmus: Japan was compensated for its losses in Cambodia and Vietnam and Thailand with the return of Race-occupied Korea – only the southern 2/3 of it, however, the North being retained for defensive purposes by the Race. (As the weakest of the human powers, Japanese complaints held little weight. It is reported that the Race negotiator’s response was somewhere along the lines of “I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further.”)

Japan has come a long way from the late 50s, when its development of its own atomic weapon finally led the Race to grudgingly accord the Empire the same level of diplomatic recognition as the USA, the Reich, and the Soviets. Althought it took longer for Japan to catch up than OTL, there hasn't been the stagnation of the last two decades OTL, and by 2011 the home islands are almost as wealthy as the USA, while the closely integrated territories of southern Korea and Taiwan, while poorer, are still what would be “first world” countries OTL. Taiwan, historically treated in a more “civilized” manner than the other colonies, is quiet, and although continuing Korean unrest (the Race has made suggestions of giving them an autonomous position comparable to Poland or France if they kick out the Japanese) has required making the peninsula into a camera-filled paranoid panopticon, there are also plenty of collaborators, Lizard-phobes and others, and there is currently little chance of Japanese rule being seriously challenged.

The inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula have made their peace. And the many little island peoples and the tribes of New Guinea are firmly under the Japanese thumb. Even the Philippines, although an eternal bone of contention with the US, are not willing to risk massive retaliation or Lizard invasion by pushing too strongly for an expansion of the limited autonomy they gained in the 80s.

No, the sore spot – rapidly turning into some form of nasty ulcer or oozing fistula – is Indonesia. With a population larger than the Home Islands, and an economic base relative to the US or Japan comparable to OTL Brazil, the Indonesians feel they could defend themselves creditably against the Lizards if allowed to build their own conventional and atomic arsenal – and indeed do quite well indeed if they had human allies – Americans, or even Soviets or Germans. And the normally tolerant Islam of Indonesia has been affected by the apocalyptic currents of western Islam that have arisen as the Race increasingly has taken to “draining the pool” to pacify the more troublesome parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Instability and violence have been sharply on the increase since the early 90’s, and the economy of Indonesia is in trouble – as, to a lesser degree, is that of the Empire as a whole, given that Indonesia is the Empire’s principal cheap labor pool. Although utterly intransigent in public, Imperial officials are trying to cut deals with the various political movements behind the scenes, with local autonomy beyond that given to the Philippines being dangled as a carrot. (Corpses do not pay taxes, and killing 1/3 of the Indonesians to “encourage the others”, besides the tax issue, will really mess up the current slow thaw in US-Japan relations). Whether this will save the situation or not remains uncertain.

Oddly given their history, the Chinese have become a solid prop of the Empire – loyal to the Emperor for lack of a homeland, ferociously anti-Lizard, and glad enough for refuge from the Lizard-ruled mainland (the Chinese Pacific diasporah is larger than OTL’s by several millions), the Chinese are economically productive, politically quiet, and often are useful as middlemen and local managers in dealing with more intransigent peoples – they pretty much run Malaysia for the Japanese nowadays. (Many pundits gloomily predict anti-Chinese pogroms if the Japanese pull out of Indonesia) They also make up the majority of the “guestworkers” who carry out the jobs too hard and filthy for Japanese in the home islands to carry out themselves nowadays.

Japan trades extensively with the Race and all the human Powers – second only to the US in high tech, Japan is a ferocious economic competitor, and avoiding any new tariff wars with the US is a government priority. The Empire has more cities with populations over 4 million than any other human power block, makes the shiniest and most efficient fusion reactors, and the skyscrapers are even bigger than the US one (and are second only to the Soviets in pollution levels). Although Japan did not put its first man in orbit until 1970, it now has its own base on Mars, and it is further along in developing a working starship concept (a solar-sail-accelerated-by-bigass laser design) than the Germans or the Soviets.

Japan remains a conservative society, and women still lack the vote, although birthrates have still dropped. The Emperor is still divine. There is universal (male) military service, and the Samurai Ideals are still given at least much lip service. Japanese politics are complicated and often baffling to outsiders, and while the military dominance of the 30's and 40's is long gone, with parliament, army, bureaucracy, the Imperial court and the giant corporate entities engaging in an intricate dance of power and influence it is often hard to tell who exactly is in charge. Japanese relations with the US are prickly, if slowly warming on the basis of mutual profit, relatively polite with the USSR, not as cordial as they used to be with the Germans (the German-Race conflict reminds them uncomfortably of some of their last war’s suicidal stupidities, and they deal with such feelings by mocking German romantic stupidity.) Relations with the Race remain cool, as always.



THE GERMAN REICH AND ITS PUPPETS

The Germans suffered badly in their brief clash with the Race, in which their precocious antimissile tech proved rather less effective than the leadership have believed (telling the Boss what he wants to hear is a common trait in totalitarian societies, as well as in school rooms). About a quarter of the population of Greater Germany as a whole perished, either rapidly or slowly and agonizingly, along with a sizable proportion of the population of non-Reich territories ruled from Nuremberg. France was lost, as was East Prussia (pretty much depopulated in the first hour of the war: the Race had long wanted to remove that thorn in their side) and Germany forbidden entry to space. A decade of grim, grey emergency rule and privation followed. Various revolts, some of the left, others led by crackpots of the right, were brutally put down. The US provided some food and medical aid, as did Japan.

Germany has slowly recovered, and as the Soviet economy slumped, has managed to at least once again surpass the Reds in standard of living. After an extended stay at Flensburg, the German capital has been moved to New Berlin, built on the ruins of old Berlin, nuked during the initial Race invasion. The new city’s massive (if non-Speer-approved) architecture and vast, if thinly peopled, avenues serve as something of a declaration that Germany is Back.

Since Walter Dornberger became Fuhrer in the wake of the German-Lizard war (mostly due to a lot of people higher up in the chain of command dying) the Reich has been run by relatively sane men, and after some thorough purging, the Nazi party has become more of a political machine and less of a club and works program for right-wing thugs. Supreme power is more by committee than by FuhrerPrincip nowadays, and if someone turns out to have unfortunately numerous Jewish ancestors, they are likelier to find themselves kicked over the Soviet border than exterminated. For all that, the Reich remains a fairly brutal dictatorship – if it is more rule-by-law nowadays, the laws remain racist and brutal, and dissidents and separatists still tend to vanish in Night and Fog.

Internationally somewhat isolated (the Japanese are a bit patronizing nowadays, and everyone else really doesn’t like them at all), the Germans have of late been floating some trial balloons in hopes of improving their relations with the US: it is now openly stated on Reich TV that the first Fuhrer may have been a wee bit too, er, focused on the Jews, and there has even been some talk of repealing the Nuremberg Decrees (now that there are 0 Jews in the German sphere) as a placatory gesture to American and Soviet Jewry.

The Reich includes the OTL Low countries, Norway, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Alsace-Lorraine and most of Slovakia as well as Austria and Germany proper, along with the eastern ¾ of Switzerland (the western bits were annexed to the Race’s French protectorate) and North Italy. Thanks to rather high-handed Nazi methods for encouraging reproduction (running from tax breaks to SS rape camps) there are actually somewhat more Germans alive than there are OTL: they make up 54% of the Greater Reich’s 180-odd millions. (US statistics: the Germans include “Germanized” immigrants and minorities, and people such as Dutch, Norwegians, etc. in the “German” category, which makes up 76% of the population by their statistics – oddly enough, such “Germans” do not get the top jobs).

Beyond the Reich proper there are the Special Administrative Regions, former Serbia, Albania, and Greece, whose 17 million inhabitants enjoy an essentially colonial administration, but more British Empire than Belgian or Portuguese nowadays, and the Union of Fascist Nations, the Warsaw-Pact type Nazi dominion over the 86 million inhabitants of South Italy or Latium, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia. How much these fairly ghastly little one-party regimes contribute to German strength is an open question. Hungary, Croatia, and Bulgaria, all greatly enlarged thanks to German largesse, are relatively stable: Romania and South Italy, less so. Pretty much all business running a profit in these countries is German owned, German financed, or has some German fingers in the pie, one way or another.

As the smallest of the human Powers in terms of numbers, the Germans are rather obsessed with demographics, and efforts have been made to attract immigrants of the correct racial type everywhere from Iran to Patagonia. However, immigrants from Race territory would much rather go to the US, the Soviets don’t allow immigration to the Reich, while US racists usually don't want the cut in living standards. Besides, official Aryan status does not equal social acceptance, as Sufficiently White Iranian and Argentine immigrants have discovered. Even Breeding Prodigiously is largely a no-go: German males do not want the expense of four or more kids. A valiant effort is being made to try to convince the north Italians that they are actually Germans. (Lombards, you know. And the Romans were really Aryans. Really.) A corresponding effort to inflame the old dislike between northerners and southerners has been more successful: Milanese and Piedmontese didn’t, after all, take much convincing that southerners were all a bunch of backwards, gangster-ridden half-Africans (this has not really helped relations between New Berlin and Naples).

While Finland has managed to make a nice deal with the Lizards, Sweden has slowly been “Finlandized” by the Germans - while the Swedes still have at least the forms of democracy, one political party tends to dominate the government, and, surprise surprise, it’s not a left-wing one.

The rubble has been cleared away, and although some cities were never rebuilt they have been neatly buried and covered with greenery. With the kookier Nazi theorists cleared out of the universities, Germany has regained a reputation as a center of advanced sciences other than the blowing-shit-up variety, (as, surprisingly, has south Italy: the University of Naples has developed quite a reputation) and resource-deprived Nazi Europe currently leads the (human) world in industrial chemistry and synthetic substitutes for, well, pretty much anything. (Jokes re the “ersatz Reich” circulate, quietly). Germany is pushing hard for a return to space, and has already put up some provocative satellites. The Race makes angry noises, but so far has not taken action: the Reich bristles with ICBMs, and although the Race has built up its anti-missile defenses with much sweated human labor, a fight could be even uglier than it was back in the 60s.

The German government wonders if bluff and bluster will do the trick: or will they need to reveal exactly what they have been building under the mountains of Bavaria for the last three decades…


AN UNCERTAIN END

The Race CAN act fast in a few special circumstances: such as when they are terrified.

And the news from Earth has been the scariest thing since their long-extinct, 15-foot tall relatives chased them through the desert and swallowed them in two bites.

The Race has recently dispatched another fleet – not a colonial fleet, since the economic havoc that would be needed to raise the funds in a mere half-century would be unsupportable.

It is a small fleet, with a special purpose: it will watch the Earth for signs that the Big Uglies are achieving the capacity to destroy the Colony Fleet and the colonists while surviving as a civilization themselves: in that case, the commander, a brother of the Emperor Himself, is authorized to release the over 30,000 cobalt-salted fusion devices the fleet carries. The colonists, if such action is required, will be regrettable but unavoidable sacrifices.

The doomsday fleet will arrive in another fourteen years.

Whether there will be enough particle beams and anti-missile-missiles or enough deep tunnels by that time remains an open question.
The rest of the description.
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:iconvaldulan:
Valdulan Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014
2025: The Doomsday Fleet is decisively defeated.

2060: Humanity regains control of Earth.

2110: The last lizard is purged from the Earth.

2160: An enormous human fleet arrives in orbit of Home, easily defeat Lizard défenses, and launch 250,000 nuclear missiles on Home's surface.

The Race comes to a permanent end.
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:iconpanzerbob:
PanzerBob Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2014
Well, 14 years until the "Doomsday" Fleet arrives....wouldn't that be a nice place for My Turtledove to pick up the story again. or yourself......Thanks..
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:iconthefirstfleet:
thefirstfleet Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2013
That's one scary twist you've put into the end. Far better and scarier than the "go to Warp 0.5 and ram the ships into Earth" canonical stuff.

A few questions:
- Does the USSR still run GULAGs?
- Are the Germans building the Goering ship from the books or is it an Über-Vergeltungswaffe?
- Does the genere of Science Fiction exist in this universe? With real aliens running around?
- Can you still get a good Goulash in Hungary? :D
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2013
They have a few labor camps, but its small-scale stuff for genuine criminals and people who continue to be troublesome even after they've been exiled to Krasnoyarsk as a warning. It's not a basic part of the economy anymore. 

The Goering ship got blown up, no? I think I indicate what I was thinking of in one of the other note replies...

There are still SF stories about distant worlds, etc. although not as big as OTL.  And then there is a large genre of what we might call SF, but from the POV of the locals is techno-thrillers: high-tech battles with the Race, Nazi secret space bases, maybe aliens similar to the Race [1] showing up and getting involved, etc.

Well, yes. It's still a (mostly) free market:  Imre Nemeth's Undermensch-Free House of Goulash and Beer is going to be a lot better than State Eatery No. 176. OTOH, Hitler's vegetarianism has had ripple effects: in 2013 it's hard to find a good old-fashioned drink-beer-and-eat-sausages-till-you-pass-out restaurant in Berlin.

[1] In their relative lack of creative thinking and low level weapons tech.
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:icontedshatner10:
TedShatner10 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013
I get the impression that being under Lizard Empire rule would be pretty good if you keep on the straight and narrow, plus the Japanese, Soviets, and Nazis all seem authoritarian and xenophobic anyway.
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2013
Well, xenophobia is a relative thing: you avoid it if you are a German in the Reich, Japanese in the Empire, Great Russian (and to a fair extent, Ukrainian) in the USSR - but in Lizard territory all humans are an inferior species, and rare is the Lizard who thinks otherwise. (But then again, Lizards don't feel the same need as human racists to punch you in the face at random intervals to remind you of the fact).
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:iconeclipse-paladin:
eclipse-paladin Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013
You've managed to greatly enhance one of my favorite alt history settings to new levels of awesome. The doomsday fleet is something I could see the Race doing do and no matter how grim a more believable ending.

I have to ask though: what are the Germans working on in Bavaria?
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013
I was thinking Dr. Strangelove scenario myself... :)
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:iconlavanyasix:
LavanyaSix Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013
Hitler's brain in a bottle!

Although the Nazis fail to grasp that the Race won't find that too impressive beyond a technical level. 
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013
Nah, they have him frozen until nanotech or maybe vril energy (the Nazis still love their whiteboy mysticism) develop to the point where a Glorious Ressurection is possible. :D
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