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About Deviant Bruce MunroMale/United States Group :iconalternate-history: Alternate-History
 
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50 Years After George Pal's War of the Worlds by QuantumBranching 50 Years After George Pal's War of the Worlds :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 56 9 Cthulhu's World by QuantumBranching Cthulhu's World :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 75 23 Kite World by QuantumBranching Kite World :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 40 13 Turko-Byzantine co-dominion by QuantumBranching Turko-Byzantine co-dominion :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 48 10 Mandeville in the 21st Century by QuantumBranching Mandeville in the 21st Century :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 56 34 The Fire Shall Try by QuantumBranching The Fire Shall Try :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 53 12 The Shrunken Reich by QuantumBranching The Shrunken Reich :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 76 16 A Different Ocean by QuantumBranching A Different Ocean :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 47 10 Where the Evil Dwells by QuantumBranching Where the Evil Dwells :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 72 9 Wold Newton Turned up to 11 by QuantumBranching Wold Newton Turned up to 11 :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 35 6 The Difference Engine by QuantumBranching The Difference Engine :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 50 2 It was a magic sealion by QuantumBranching It was a magic sealion :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 35 7 A Multitude of Details by QuantumBranching A Multitude of Details :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 46 7 Blue Hell 2017 by QuantumBranching Blue Hell 2017 :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 56 7 Pacific Anomaly by QuantumBranching Pacific Anomaly :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 92 19 Holy Paraguay by QuantumBranching Holy Paraguay :iconquantumbranching:QuantumBranching 40 13
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.

Favourites

The Kingdoms of North America by ZekSora The Kingdoms of North America :iconzeksora:ZekSora 181 40 Danubian Union: Linguistic Communities by moerby08 Danubian Union: Linguistic Communities :iconmoerby08:moerby08 15 2 South America (Texan Universe) by Goliath-Maps South America (Texan Universe) :icongoliath-maps:Goliath-Maps 7 2 MoF 02 Decolonised Africa by Sapiento MoF 02 Decolonised Africa :iconsapiento:Sapiento 71 6 Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV by rubendevela Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV :iconrubendevela:rubendevela 448 31 Napoleon's Legacy 1917 (Alt. history) by ZalringDA Napoleon's Legacy 1917 (Alt. history) :iconzalringda:ZalringDA 121 47 A Central Powers Victory: many years later by MrImperatorRoma A Central Powers Victory: many years later :iconmrimperatorroma:MrImperatorRoma 54 14 Catchaser 3000 by Loopydave Catchaser 3000 :iconloopydave:Loopydave 3,322 791 Cossack Confederation by zalezsky Cossack Confederation :iconzalezsky:zalezsky 100 39 Map of the Orion Arm in 2289 (2017 Edition) by DawnofVictory2289 Map of the Orion Arm in 2289 (2017 Edition) :icondawnofvictory2289:DawnofVictory2289 140 15 DADDY'S LITTLE PRINCESS by Lopoddity DADDY'S LITTLE PRINCESS :iconlopoddity:Lopoddity 6,110 298 Orange Western Africa Region by SoaringAven Orange Western Africa Region :iconsoaringaven:SoaringAven 71 27 North America, 1884 by rubberduck3y6 North America, 1884 :iconrubberduck3y6:rubberduck3y6 80 28 Italian Empire after Axis victory in WW2 - part 1 by 1Blomma Italian Empire after Axis victory in WW2 - part 1 :icon1blomma:1Blomma 111 19 Princess Bubblegum by Artgerm Princess Bubblegum :iconartgerm:Artgerm 16,487 409 Happy New Year_Lost kingdom by IvanLaliashvili Happy New Year_Lost kingdom :iconivanlaliashvili:IvanLaliashvili 2,119 49
Have neglected putting anything here, so I thought I'd start adding: alternate history maps by others, some Anime pics, odds and ends...

Activity


Well, tis the Christmas season ( 78.media.tumblr.com/93d6d5baf7… )

and I'd be happy as a clam if people would be interested in 1-2 commissions, $25 for a map with/without short scenario, long scenarios, and big maps. Guaranteed done by New Year's or two weeks, whichever is a longer time period. 
50 Years After George Pal's War of the Worlds
A commission for LavanyaSix: the world, fifty years after the Martian invasion portrayed in George Pal's 1953 modernization of Well's story.

The Martian invasion of 1953 was largely unexpected: although studies of Mars in the 30s and 40s had revealed an atmosphere thicker than in certain other realities, it was still hardly a picnic spot, and the canals were still nonexistent. (Let precious water just evaporate into the air? What absurdity).  And the Martian cylinders were launched with paragravity fields, not absurdly gigantic canon, so there was no unusual displays to attract the attention of astronomers.

 

It was therefore something of a surprise when the first Martian cylinders began to crash to Earth in the summer of ’53, and it was not  until it was almost over that a few un-evacuated observatories managed to gather enough observations of incoming cylinders to plot their trajectory back towards Mars: and even then there was some uncertainty as to their origin until the late 50s, when the first space probes launched towards Mars all ceased abruptly to transmit while still over a million miles from the Red Planet. Nowadays, of course, in the year 2003, giant space telescopes placed some 15 million miles out from Mars [1] allow Earth to observe a variety of Martian activity and the location of their main cities/industrial centers/whatever, although nothing really has been learned that adds to the knowledge gained from their machines.

 

The last Martians to die did so a couple weeks after the first reports of Martian machines crashing or going out of control came in. The northern Canadian landing, apparently protected from disease to some extent by the arctic climate, may have killed themselves rather than die of disease: in any event, the central “nest” was a half-mile wide pool of lava when Canadian forces came to investigate.

            Recovery slowly began. Nearly fifteen million Americans had died and a number of major cities burned and/or reduced to dust, but the US was not quite as badly hurt as the USSR after the expulsion of the Nazis, and although it lacked, say, large scale forced reconstruction labor, its human and material resources remained substantial. The political succession remained intact (Congress and the President having been evacuated to Hawaii, where no Martian cylinders landed) and the sheer size of the nation meant large areas remained untouched by the invasion, which had moved outward from the landing sites in a slow and methodical manner, with no long-distance raiding. Martial law was called off in most of the country after eighteen months, and massive reconstruction loans helped stimulate industry. Most of the ad hoc local government and services which had sprung up after the invasion were happy enough to disband themselves and return to regular life, although a lot of new careers in politics, activism, nursing, etc. were born. Some of the more regrettable things that had happened in the immediate aftermath were covered up by the government as best as they could, such as the zealous actions of various “vigilance” committees in hunting down supposed communist rebels and sometimes “disguised Martians”, or the way many areas, not just in the South, rapidly went from initial human solidarity to “lifeboat rules”, with the blacks first to be chucked overboard.

 

The most notable social trend was a strong religious revival brought on by the seemingly miraculous nature of humanity’s salvation: one of the scientists involved in the initial struggle became a popular preacher at the church he and his wife had found refuge in on the day the Martians began to die. This was not exclusive to the US: similar revivals took place in Latin America, Britain, and elsewhere; Muslims thanked Allah, Hindus Kali and Siva and Vishnu, and some traditional Africans thanked Sapona, God of infectious disease. (For every reaction, there is a counter-reaction, of course. Some turned to pure nihilism, seeing in the invasion and it’s ending by random microbes a vision of a meaningless universe where survival turned on mere chance and humanity’s long term prospects were “extinction soon or a bit later”).

 

And of course, in central and eastern Europe, now devastated for the second time in less than a decade, it was a little harder to see the hand of a beneficent God. In the USSR, devastation comparable to that of the Nazis across huge areas of the state nearly broke the regime entirely: this time there was not even a victory to legitimize the rulers. Propaganda tried to sell the downfall of the Martians as due to the Red Army rather than germs, but few were fooled. A number of important government officials hadn’t made it out of Moscow in time, and Beria’s efforts to sell himself as the legitimate heir of Stalin (who had died a few months before the invasion began) did little to rally the country behind him. In the end, the Red Army, if not strong enough to repel Martians, was strong enough to crush rebellion and bring some sort of order to the country, and General Zhukov found himself in the position of prince-maker. He took the opportunity to make sure that from then forwards, the Army would have a great deal more independence from the Party, leading inevitably to three coups in the next four decades and the odd military-bureaucratic structure of the modern Soviet/Russian state.

 

Eastern Europe was left to go to hell its own way, with far too much on the Soviet Unions’ plate already. Communist regimes managed to hold onto power in Romania (for a little while) and Bulgaria, and in east Germany for a little while, although with the land route to the east cut off (Poland, of course, had its communist rulers hanging from lamp posts not long after the Red Army moved east to help restore order), this proved strictly temporary. Yugoslavia had another civil war, which the Reds won by the skin of their teeth. Ironically, as communism nearly collapsed in the east, it flared up in the west and south: as chaos and famine gripped Europe, with the US unable to do much immediately to help when it couldn’t really feed itself, forces of the far left took over local governments in Austria, France, and Belgium, and took over mainland Greece and Italy outright. The second Paris commune was…messy. 

 

. In Indo-China, Ho Chi Min emerged from the woods where he had hidden out during the invasion, and took control of the country in the total disorganization of the French colonial forces Various local strong men arose in Latin America as weak governments crumbled in the face of the invasion, while much of colonial Africa and parts of the Middle East descended into chaos, as Colonial forces dispersed where not killed by Martians and largely cut off from aid back home lost their authority, but with no local groups ready to take their place. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood seized Alexandria in the wake of some sort of divine action (Cairo was a smudge) and made it the new capital of Egypt, at least until the remains of the secular army rousted them from the city in bloody street-by-street fighting. (There were less Islamic successes than you’d think: secularism was still popular, and being beaten by Martians, which were like a force of nature, was less shameful than being beaten by Jews). Small, crowded Singapore was largely annihilated, and what was left was annexed by Malaysia.

 

            As mentioned, the US was not in any real way ready to provide a post-Martian “Marshall Plan”, nor was any other nation. A few states had not yet felt a Martian attack when the die-off began, but these were all small states: New Zealand, Liberia, Panama...[2] However, there was a recognition that the global disaster required global solutions. At an emergency UN session held in 1954, it was unanimously agreed to create an international relief fund and reconstruction agencies, and to set up the necessary system for a global food bank, special financial cooperative efforts, etc., in a spirit of “all hang together or hang separately.”

 

            Many idealists saw this as the beginnings of a world government: many intellectuals went into high-flung raptures about how the Martians had made us conscious of our common humanity, or, more cynically, on how the existence of a common threat would finally unify mankind. Unfortunately, human beings are rarely so sensible: the major surviving governments were scared badly enough to work together with traditional enemies in case of a future attack, but were no more willing to give up their sovereignty than France had been willing to merge it’s empire with Britain’s in the darkest days of WWII. After all, how could a world government include both democracies and dictatorships such as the USSR and China? And while the necessity of pooling resources and providing mutual assistance to help in economic recovery was widely appreciated, there was no way the “developed” states were going to take much input on how to use their $$ from the poor and backward 2/3 of mankind.

 

            So, what emerged by 1958 was something like a combination of NATO and the EC, comprising the US, most of Europe, Australia-NZ, Japan, and the USSR, closely allied militarily and economically linked. China was included mostly due to sheer bulk and was more loosely tied economically, due to backwardness. [3]Then there was an “outer sphere” of weak, poor small nations expected to provide raw materials and perhaps labor to the Global Assembly - for the common good, of course! (Not that different from OTL, really, aside from the USSR and the US joining forces to keep things orderly).  This initially shaky and shambolic structure would evolve over time into the Global Assembly, which would not so much replace the UN as steadily make it increasingly irrelevant.

 

 

            The US and USSR managed to maintain at least détente, with the US’s quiet support for right-wing European governments squashing local communists politely ignored by the USSR (by 1990 only Italy, a shrunken Yugoslavia, and Albania still had communist governments west of the USSR), and the US returned the favor for not objecting to the Soviet annexation of Bulgaria or trying to reverse the communist takeover of Korea (the North hadn’t taken as much damage from the Martians as the South, simply because the US had already pretty much flattened everything of value in the North). Socialist regimes were allowed to exist in the third world, as long as the USSR kept them reined in and trading with the rest of the globe – “infantile enthusiasm” was increasingly frowned on.

 

THE HAVE-NOTS

 

            The system as it was remained flawed in a number of ways. The relations between the Big Powers, the Global Security Council (equivalent to the OTL permanent five, but a lot more muscular) and the somewhat less exclusive Council Associates with the small and poor countries that make up the majority of the General Assembly has always remained fraught. In the aftermath of the Martian invasion, extensive areas not yet independent at the arrival of the Martians soon found themselves largely on their own. This, however, did not mean that the major powers, once they had gotten back on their feet, were going to leave them alone. Oh no.

 

After the invasion England, Portugal, and France had been devastated by the destruction of their capitals and main cities, and were in no shape to regain control of their colonies, and revolutionary leaders tried to take power almost everywhere. The Algerians not-so-politely suggested the few Pieds Noirs still alive after the destruction of Algeria’s largest cities leave. Civil wars broke throughout the Middle East. The chaos level varied, with strong communist groups rapidly restoring functional regimes in Indochina, while in spite of the disintegration of Syria and Iraq some sort of countries still existed in Turkey, Iran, Egypt, while in sub-Saharan Africa the power vacuum was very poorly filled by a mix of local revolutionary movements, army officers, and a few energetic surviving colonial officers with local allies, creating a patchwork of authority which had little relation to former colonial borders. (There were some exceptions, such as Julius Nyere’s success in rallying the various peoples of Tanganyika to reconstruct a functional, if dirt poor, state, but these were, again, exceptions). This situation was not allowed to stand for long. 

 

            “For the good of mankind”, order had to be restored, the strategic minerals and oil had to start coming into production again, Africa and the Middle East had to do their bit to help out the human race. The concept of “mandates” was brought out of storage, with state reconstruction given over to “responsible powers” until states could “stand on their own feet.” Many peoples of a dusky hue saw it as little more than a new form of Imperialism with the US as the dominant power, with the USSR and some of the less thoroughly devastated European countries as often silent partners (with the Japanese playing an increasingly important role after 1980), and the “transition to full self-government” looked to cynical third-worlders more like the setting up of a network of puppet and client states, with the important mines and industries remaining largely in foreign control, the Soviets placated with the right to manage various lucrative local operations. Such grumbling was, when not ignored entirely, chastised as undermining the common human struggle against Mars.

 

            Certainly, narrow-minded local dictators could not be allowed to use nationalist propaganda to drive a wedge between locals and the global population, and the Global Assembly maintained certain rights of intervention to overthrow dictators who carried out “anti-human” policies which weakened mankind or which prevented the proper use of whatever resources their countries might happen to have. (The Oil Intervention took place when certain oil rich countries, unhappy with the results of negotiations, tried to unilaterally push up oil prices. It set an important precedent in what would and would not be allowed in the future, and some benchmarks on the difficulties of Middle Eastern occupations).

 

Cynics again grumble that the GA seemed to find local murder and oppression much less objectionable in governments that followed the line from Auckland (Capital of the Union from ‘60) than otherwise (see, Iraq). Pro-Assembly thinkers pointed out that under Union management, there had been no instances of genocide or mass starvation in Africa, the Middle East, or S. America in nearly half a century. So you want a medal maybe? Reply the third-worlders [5].

 

            Not that there is much besides grumbling said have-nots can do. Bucking the system is difficult. The large cold war armies do not go away in a society mobilized in case of future attack: they are simply used now for policing the globe. Revolutionary changes of government are tolerated, but only if the new government remains cooperative (or overthrew a regime that had displeased the Global Assembly). Of course, indirect methods are preferred to direct military intervention, which is expensive and increasingly bad for propaganda now that it’s getting so much easier to sneak pics of semi-liquified civilians and so on: embargos and other pressures are almost always used first to try and impose desired behavior. The Fifth Internationale still gives at least lip service to The Revolutions, but they too have largely made their peace with the System, nowadays having a seat in the Groups of Twelve.  Aside from the relatively small and weak anarcho-socialists, religious hardliners – Muslim and Christian – are the only people seriously trying to overthrow the _system_ as a whole.

 

 

AD ASTRA

 

Getting man into space – to strike back, to defend Earth from future invasion, for sheer survival – became a global priority as soon as actual starvation was ended, and possibly sooner in the USSR, although from the first space travel became one of the few truly international efforts. The devastation of the major powers put back a space program compared to OTL, with the first satellite not going into orbit until late ’58, but things accelerated after that. The first man on the Moon (a Russian, having won the low-gravity coin flip) stepped onto the regolith in 1966, and a nuclear-powered manned flight to Venus was in the works in the mid-70s when the Martians preempted it by getting there first. (If the strange plumes of color that stained Venus’s atmosphere for the next few years weren’t a giveaway, the way space probes started vanishing as they approached Venus kinda confirmed things). A mission to the Asteroids was delayed until the late 80s, due to trouble creating a true closed-cycle life support system (it turns out to be harder than Bio-Dome makes it out to be).

 

When probes stopped blowing up, humanity cautiously returned to Venus, and found it to be, as the first unmanned probes had shown, a hot, toxic, acid-raining hellhole of worn-down continents and vast steaming, murky seas inhabited by morbidly ferocious and insanely fast-growing and reproducing life forms with a deeply alien biology. It however, seemed to have a rather _different_ balance of species, and an even more insane level of biological competition. What slowly came out after the already crumbling Martian protective domes were discovered is that the Martians, having apparently picked Venus as their backup planet, had attempted to change Venus’ atmosphere to deal with Venus’s horrible ecology by poisoning it. All of it. Unfortunately for their plans, Venusian life was even more adoptable than they thought, and a number of species turned out to be immune or able to adapt to the changes in the atmosphere, the loss of thousands of species simply kicking the struggle for survival into overdrive. Venus is too hostile to Martians, and apparently too much for humans, as well (In spite of  all precautions, some sort of error led to the entire crew of the second human ship to Venus dying horribly on the way back to Earth), most exploration nowadays being done with remote probes operated from orbit.  However, the fact that the Martians tried is an ominous indication that the Martians have learned a lot, if not enough, about dealing with aggressive microlife. (Some say it shows desperation on the part of the Martians, which means they’re in trouble, right? Never mind the tendency of desperate people to do crazy stuff).

 

In 2003, there’s a lot of stuff in orbit around Earth, but it’s mostly there for military and scientific purposes: actually living space would be insane expensive, and any large rotating habitat would be highly vulnerable in the face of some sort of, say, interplanetary war. There _are_ space colonies, but they’re located far, far away at the L4 and L5 Lagrange points of Earth’s orbit, or snugly deep underground the surface of the Moon and some of the larger metallic asteroids. (In case the worst happens, there are ongoing efforts to make these self-sustaining). There’s a multi-year mission en route to Jupiter to check out the prospects of the outer, less radiation-soaked moons for settlement. (And check out some odd phenomena ongoing on the surface of hyper-volcanic Io. There’s stuff going on that doesn’t seem entirely... natural. It’s not Martians, since a probe flew within a couple hundred thousand miles without getting zapped).

 

Various forms of nuclear propulsion have been since the 70s the workhorses of long-term space travel, although chemical rockets are still used in one-stage-to-space and the case of probes with no need to get anywhere in a hurry. Orion-type nuclear propulsion systems were slow to catch on due to a perhaps excessive amount of energy focused on duplicating Martian paragravity. But as paragravity remained beyond human ability to duplicate, the possibility of putting a crapload of stuff into space became too tempting, and the first “full scale” test took place in 1983. The main problem with Orion ships is the amount of radioactive crap they put into both the atmosphere and the ionosphere, leading to fallout, damage to satellites not heavily shielded, and messing with communications. Their use is so far limited to cases where a great deal of crap needs to be gotten into space fast, and while their boosters claim that with mass use the cost of the many, many nuclear weapons they use will drop greatly, security-conscious Security Council members are uneasy about that many small nukes floating around. But they’re still building – there may be a day when a great deal of people need to be taken off-planet in a hurry.

 

FOR PLANETARY DEFENSE

 

Preventing a second and more successful Martian invasion is the job and most important function of the Global Assembly, and it’s military arm, the Space Defense Force. All member states of the Security Council and the twelve Associates set aside a large chunk of their budget to be pooled for the purpose of developing weapons and defenses against Mars, and to figure out how to bring the fight home to the Martians.

 

Much of the money goes to researching and trying to duplicate Martian technology, with ten great laboratories around the world specializing in the reverse engineering effort. Although in many cases Martians managed to get their machines to self destruct before they died, often enough they collapsed before they fully understood the gravity of the situation, and there are quite a few Martian war machines to play with, along with two intact landing cylinders and a variety of equipment and machines from the Martian “nests” which rapidly grew up around the landing sites once humans had been driven from the area.

 

Duplicating Martian technology has proven difficult: in some cases, the technology depends on materials simply unduplicable by Terrestrial tech (even the Professor couldn’t make a high-performance computer out of bamboo, seashells, and coconuts), while in others even the basic principles seem obscure. Martian force-fields, disintegrators, and atomic power generators remain unsolved problems, the third in large part because it uses force-fields for containment. There have been _some_ successes: a number of types of vehicle now travel on “legs” of electromagnetic force. There is now a functional Heat Ray – although admittedly four hundred times as bulky and frankly something of an immovable Rube Goldberg device – and after decades of struggling, Paragravity, the means by which the Martians accelerate their cylinders towards Earth and then crash into it without turning into strawberry jam, seems within sight. (So far they’ve only managed to cut the weight of a 1-ton test block in half with a mass of equipment the size of a city block and with its own small-city-sized dedicated  nuclear reactor, but it’s a start.

 

However, feeble starts at neutralizing gravity neither butter parsnips nor destroy Martian war machines. Post-invasion experimentation demonstrated a Martian shield _could_ be overloaded, although it took over fifty megatons for a single war machine and close to a hundred for multiple Martian machines linking their force domes: and the machines had to be essentially _inside_ the central fireball so there was no way for them to dump heat fast enough. (The largest bomb used during the invasion was a 5 megaton airburst). Force fields protecting cylinders were of comparable strength.

 

More usefully, it turned out the Martian force-domes were actually domes much of the time: they could turn them into impenetrable cylinders at need, but since the shields stopped matter as well as energy, they couldn’t extend the shields underground and move at the same time: they couldn’t generate a field that entirely enveloped them from _above_ the ground, since that would interrupt the force-beams they used to move and suspend themselves above the ground. As a result, the most important atomic projects have been the development of a variety of “mechanical moles” to burrow below Martian lines and explode when Martian machines pass over them, remotely detonable nuclear mines, and sensors to allow either moles or mines to detect when they were actually under a machine. (Since Martians shields turn automatically and fast from dome to full cylinder when an atomic explosion is detected, setting off an underground bomb should happen as close to the war machine as possible).

 

Of course, this strategy has its limitations – the exact sensitivity of (unreadable) Martian technology to radiation or ability to detect objects well underground is unknown. The most effective weapon found so far is in fact the Martian disintegrator – it is a field-effect rather than high-density radiation, and penetrates right through the Martian force shield from either side (the heat ray will only penetrate from the inside), which may explain why the Martians limit its use (possibly too much risk of Friendly Fire accidents). Like all Martian machinery, it apparently was controlled by a direct interface between the machinery and the Martian’s nervous systems, and it took years of developing complex jury rigs and work-arounds, often wrecking the control systems entirely, before it became possible to even _fire_ a disintegrator, and there are only a limited number to work with, which are parceled out to strategic locations on Earth and in space. Huge amounts of resources are being expended to find a way to duplicate the disintegrator, with various pundits and government officials claiming that if we do we’ll have any future invaders where we want them. Pessimistic types suggest that we may just be duplicating the enemy’s equivalent of canon or even machine guns, and we have yet to see what the Martian equivalent of the  atom bomb is. (Such people are generally howled down as defeatists if not downright objectively pro-Martian. Truth is, people don’t want to think about such things).

 

You can also mess with a Martian force field with a powerful enough magnetic field, but since that requires the Martians to be polite enough to drive their craft between house-sized magnetic coils, it suffers on the stealth front.

 

(There’s also a major bio-weapons project to develop new and nastier bugs to kill Martians, but it has been hampered by a distinct shortage of living Martian cells, and many wonder about how these pathogens to the Martians, given that by now they have probably figured out a little about sterile environments and decontamination, especially after visiting Venus).

 

Much of Earth’s most lethal hardware is in space, in distant orbits and here and there around the Earth-Moon system. The notion is to interrupt future Martian cylinders before they reach the Earth, where they can use mega-bombs of hundreds of megatons without worrying about the damage it will cause to Earth. (Disintegrator weapons form something of an inner line of defense in closer orbit: their range is limited). Exact details on Earth’s defenses remain highly classified: none but the deeply paranoid believe that the Martians have agents on Earth [6], but there’s no guarantee Martians can’t translate our radio broadcasts. They don’t want them to hear about Project Pale Horse, the project to deliver lethal pathogens to Mars [7]. And certainly they don’t want them to hear about Project Mjolnir, the plan to accelerate some distant and hard to see asteroids to the point where they violently crash into Mars.

 

 

SCI-TECH

 

Technology has pushed forward, boosted by a more integrated world and the research carried out by an even bigger than OTL military-industrial complex, along with spinoffs from Martian technology. As mentioned, many vehicles, especially in shipping goods, move on beams of electromagnetic force, which allows the crossing of rough or swampy ground or even rivers and lakes (the main limitations are speed – compared to airplanes - and braking: for small or medium vehicles, electromagnetic forces are less effective at bringing you to an abrupt stop than normal mechanical brakes.)  Other spinoffs include room-temperature spray-on superconductors and a variety of remarkable new synthetics for the household and construction. Martian computer tech is alien enough in both architecture and composition as to have given few clues to terrestrial computer science, but the strong push for a global free flow of information to the formation of a crude, clunky “internet” by the late 70s. (Social Media remains a gleam in the eye of various technology entrepreneurs, and may remain so, given the hostility of many governments towards disseminating false “anti-science” or “anti-Global Assembly” information on the Planetary Network. Interest in duplicating Martian machine-mind interfaces has helped with the development of advanced prosthetics, as good as anything OTL 2017, and recently direct brain interfaces have been developed to the point where they allow totally blind people to at least make out the rough shapes of things from a distance.  Sub-orbital one-hour jumps between Europe and North America are increasingly common among the Jet Set, and while large scale settlement in near-Earth orbit is not something the GA supports for obvious reasons, there certainly are luxury space hotels.

 

POLITICS, SOCIETY, RELIGION

 

Environmentalism is a heated subject of debate: although global warming is being taken more seriously than OTL, there is a strong sense of “develop the planet to the point we can beat the Martians first, then we’ll worry about damage to the environment”, which of course industry and business find very agreeable. On the other side, there are those who point to Dying Mars as a sign of the frailty of planetary environments, etc., etc., although some seem to interpret the message somewhat inaccurately as “use up the planet, we’ll do what the Martians tried and move to another.”

 

Urbanization is a bit different from OTL. Cities are even more “spread” than OTL – concentrated populations mean concentrated targets. Locations of major urban centers have changed – although a lot of important cities have been rebuilt, even if it had to be from scratch, with only 50 years many haven’t grown to match their former size, while still intact cities grew enormously from hordes of refugees looking to restart their lives. Chicago, which Martian forces stopped short of, is currently considerably larger than rebuilt New York. Some cities have been rebuilt in new locations – New Washington was built in the high Rockies, Martian war machines having been shown to have difficulties with steep slopes. Other cities were simply converted from existing ones – the current city of Moscow used to be called Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod even earlier). There are quite a few hidden, underground “secret cities” to serve both as locations for refugees and possibly fallback redoubts. Rebuilt-from-scratch cities have been fully planned for ease of evacuation and rapid removal of vital materials, but even in untouched cities there are now vast networks of normally inactive rail, tunnels, overhead road bridges, etc. to allow for carefully planned mass evacuations. Of course, as year after year pass, with no Martians showing up, standards are beginning to slip.

 

Socialism, collectivism, anarchism – compared to the OTL hegemony of neo-liberal capitalism alternate ideas on economics and social organization remain fairly vigorous, although both the USSR and China have moved a lot closer to the Capitalist model, if more ambiguously than OTL, and Italian-style Marxism looks more like technocracy nowadays. The notion of “convergence” between the Soviet and American system, largely dead OTL by the late 80s, retains some currency, given that the USSR’s move to a mix of state capitalism, free enterprise, and workers cooperatives, while the US has become rather dirigiste, with a massive military-scientific-industrial complex and a strongly interventionist tendency. Still, good old fashioned socialism is in trouble, and collectivist thinking has run into an odd public relations problem in that a lot of people now say true collectivism/Marxism is for Martians, not people, and is therefore “anti-human” by nature. Others, of course, say that since the more advanced Martians seem to be collectivists, it will likely be the future of humanity as well. (How Mars runs its economy is actually quite unknown, but at least judging from examination of Martian “nests” and other bases, Martians do not seem big on “privacy” or “personal possessions” save for the material needs of different scientific specialties, and if anything like an organizational hierarchy exists among Martians, no physical evidence of hierarchy has ever been found).

 

The US is still a democracy, if a rather authoritarian and mobilized one. There never was a 60s counterculture – the country was still rebuilding from the Martian invasion at the time – but things like Civil Rights were pushed through by a government wanting to create a genuinely unified nation which did not essentially screw itself out of a large portion of economic growth by deliberate impoverishment of many of its citizens. (Excessive unconventionality, however, is frowned on. The modern US accepts people of all races and creeds as long as they talk and behave like well-educated white Midwesterners.) Generally speaking, the US is a lot more pro-government intervention, if only because of the clearly vital role of large-scale government support and aid in the post-1953 recovery: over time people have of course begun to forget they actually owe anything to government aid, but combined with the lack of a (successful) oil embargo, one might say the rise of Reaganite and Thatcherite thinking was delayed by a couple decades. (An affable older actor with a libertarian agenda is running for President in 2004: some say George Carlin could go all the way). The Religious Right is less powerful in America, in part because quite a bit of its thunder was stolen by a broad, multi-denominational religious revival in the wake of the Martian invasion, generally referred to as the Fourth Great Awakening.

 

Globally, religion is generally doing better in the first world than OTL, while, oddly, religious fundamentalism is less active in North Africa and the Middle East, where secular regimes continue to hold power in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, untroubled by US invasions or by ongoing clashes with Israel (the US and USSR joined forces in the 60s to bring a definite end to the Israel-Arab wars, both leaning very hard on their clients: the Arabs, which had in the cases of Iraq and Syria been reconstructed with the aid of US and Soviet military forces, weren’t in a good position to say no, and while they had held together as a country, Israel still had been burned black as far south as Caesarea.) Libya is still a monarchy.

 

Europe, which pursues a policy of “never again” after two horrible wars, has sunk its differences in a pan-European identity more successfully than OTL, although Britain actually managed to rebuild part of the Commonwealth – the white bits, mostly - into something a bit more substantial on the basis of “we must unite or the Martians will eat us all.” [8] (Theoretically they could hold a seat on the Security Council as representatives of Anglosphere Association and another as representatives for Europe, but currently those seats are held by an Australian and a Spaniard. It may be they deliberately avoid such a situation, given the accusations of excessive British influence that would no doubt follow). Europeans nowadays are perhaps the most hawkishly anti-Martian major power, old international hostilities now turned outwards towards the great enemy, and great slaughter of alien invaders is made in European movies and TV serials. Only the young, born after Europe’s economy revived and the cities rebuilt, have trouble seeing why they should hate Martians so much.

 

The USSR has gone over the years through various political gyrations, and as the government moved away from a clearly inefficient command economy (there was some effort to move towards a more efficient planned economy, but the computer science wouldn’t be there for some time, so it didn’t get very far) to a more “capitalist” one, it became increasingly dependent by the late 80s on a weird ersatz “Soviet Nationalism” based on a mix of “Eurasianism”, worship of “rationalism”, unity of all Soviet peoples against Martians and, alas, thumbing the national nose against the USA, whose continued holding of Number One Nation status increasingly grated. It was unable to keep Italy and several other socialist regimes from breaking with the USSR and creating the Fifth Internationale, a left-wing pressure group which has succeeded in getting a seat on the Group of Twelve, usually held either by Italy or Vietnam as representatives of the group as a whole.

 

China was devastated by the Martians, but by 1953 the Communists were the only real force left in China, and they were simply able to reemerge and reestablish themselves in power after the Martians left: Chiang’s effort to liberate the mainland (Taiwan, like several small island nations, had avoid Martian attack during the relatively brief invasion) was a humiliating failure. Falling out with the USSR over its turn away from World Revolution, an isolated China pursued self-sufficiency for two decades in a manner just as crazy as OTL, but in quite different ways (there’s still about 100 million concrete bunkers scattered about the country). The Chinese prefer not to talk about those years.

 

India fragmented, but was (mostly) able to pull itself together, although in the confusion Kashmir declared itself independent of both India and Pakistan. The two halves of Pakistan separated early with the collapse of government continuity, leaving (west) Pakistani leadership with a shortage of things to blame India for.

 

The Japanese had a long slow recovery, and retain a certain almost Scandinavian gloomyness to this day.

 

South Africa was and remained the Bad Seed of the Anglosphere Association: the failed First Great Rising in the aftermath of the Martian invasion did nothing for interracial relations. Eventually international intervention became necessary when they started waggling their nuclear weapons around and shouting accusations of foreigners stirring up the kaffirs.

 

Science fiction isn’t science fiction in this world, so to speak. Death rays? Force fields? Artificial gravity? Invading aliens? These are not fictional tropes, but deadly real things. The split between those religious groups who feel God will provide as long as we remain reverent and those who feel only technology and science can save us is sharpened by the fact that what many in OTL 2017 would call scientific magical thinking, old pulp-era assumptions that science can almost anything, have been validated to a substantial extent: “That Flash Gordon stuff” is achievable, so what else might be? Immortality? Faster than light travel? AI and robot butlers? Battleships fighting off the rings of Saturn with disintegrator rays and anti-matter missiles? Mere rational extrapolation. (Indeed, quite a lot of money is wasted funding projects which turn out to be mere moonshine, but can’t be dismissed as easily as they might OTL since so much pulpy stuff is real: consider the OTL US funded things like efforts to knock out goats with psychic powers, and imagine where taxpayer money may be going ATL.)

 

 

Fifty years after the Martian invasion, in 2003, the system is under some pressure, not so much from the small nations or Islamicists or neo-socialists, but from within the major powers.

 

People are beginning to grumble about the massive military budget, ongoing conscription, and the panicky atmosphere constant preparation for a future Martian attack brings with it. The Martians have gone, and aren’t coming back, right? It’s been fifty years: if they were coming back they’d be here by now.

 

There is strong opposition from religious groups, too. God clearly saved man from the Martians: it’s hubris to presume we could fight them off on our own if they came again. We should trust in the Lord, cut the budget for weapons research and stop mucking around with a global government that’s under the control of a bunch of ex-commies and bankers cabals. To their mutual surprise, a rising youth culture to which Martians are practically mythical find themselves in agreement with bedrock conservatives on the necessity for the US and Europe to get out of, well, pretty much everything outside the US and Europe.

 

            The Church of the Cosmic Lords is looked on with some suspicion by the FBI and Global Assembly intelligence. They also believe military preparation is unnecessary, because they hold that humanity was saved by some other alien intelligence, which used its cosmic powers to weaken the Martian’s immune systems. After all, they argue, it’s hardly rational that beings as advanced as Martians would know nothing of the germ theory of disease, right? They do not of course worship the Martians, but their claims that the Cosmic Lords will arriving one day soon to help us all reach a higher evolutionary level has brought in enough converts to make people nervous. Given that super-powerful aliens DO exists, it’s not that big a jump to think there might be even mightier ones...

 

            Nationalism remains a problem, and calls for “greater integration” or even “federation” of the Security Council and Groups of Twelve are sounding increasingly desperate. Although Europe seems to be slowly moving towards a true post-nationalism, the US and the USSR are increasingly at loggerheads again: it’s not the return of the Cold War, but it’s as least as rancorous as the interwar relationship between the British and French “allies.” China, too, is increasingly assertive, having moved out of isolationism in the late 70s after Mao’s death, and successfully regained its position in the Security Council. India is pushing hard to get a full seat on the Council, but this is being held up due to concerns about “India not possessing the economic and military strength to carry out its obligations as a Security Council Member” – supposedly. It probably has more to do with the fact that the Council President’s ability to get the Security Council’s ducks in a row is increasingly becoming an exercise in cat-herding, and adding another member won’t help much. There are a number of organizations – health, welfare, information – that remain global both in their reach and spirit, but the only truly muscular Global Council organization that remains a truly global organization in 2003 is the Space Defense Force.

 

Meanwhile, across the gulf of space, as Mars nears its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years, intellects vast and cool and somewhat annoyed are once again drawing their plans…

 

 

[1] Giant Space Telescopes being rather easier for the Martians to spot than small space-probes.

[2] Martian forces from Syria advanced into northern Israel, but began dying of disease before they reached the most densely populated parts of the country, and Tel Aviv survived. Israelis called it a miracle, the Arabs said it was God saving Jerusalem, not the Jews.

[3] Mao’s eventual refusal to cooperate with what he saw as “betrayal of the global proletarian revolution” would cause China to break with the Global Assembly and withdraw into isolation for two decades. 

[4] The Soviets, seeking to bind a Russo-philic Bulgaria more closely to Moscow, actually took them up on an offer to join they had made to Stalin. The local leadership was not very happy, but at the time Romania’s regime was still holding on and willing to let Soviet armies through, so whatcha gonna do?

[5] Not that the term “Third World” exists in this world: we’re all supposed to be one big human family fighting shoulder to shoulder against the Martians, etc. But there are definitely haves and have-nots.

[6] The notion that the government has been infiltrated by people infected by Martian genetic material or perhaps Martian ghosts from their corpses is a popular one among this world’s equivalent of the Black Helicopter crowd, along with the idea that a lot of those dead Martians weren’t actually dead.

[7] Which had been hampered by the fact that to get anything by Martian defenses any space probe has to be indistinguishable from a common bit of space rubble, and not too large, either, combined with the problem that the Martians mostly live underground and most of the surface is desert and ultraviolet rich.

[8] A slur: Martians of this type have no interest in human blood save as raw materials for their biomanufacturies.

 

 

 

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Cthulhu's World

Two hundred years ago, the Stars Were Right. R’lyeh arose, and the most psychic 20% of mankind either went mad from fear, killed themselves or went gleefully psychotic. The seas arose as the new land mass displaced uncountable tons of water (not all at once, admittedly) and billions of Deep Ones flooded ashore. Vast abominations emerged zombie-like from the Earth, rose from the seas, or ripped their way out of sinister mounds and creepy mountains. Things that should have been long dead emerged from countless hidden tunnels. Darkness fell upon the Earth.

Nuclear weapons could at most annoy Great Cthulhu himself and destroy some of his stuff, but a sufficient number of them could in theory wipe out most of humanity and deprive him of subjects, as well as doing a serious number on his oceanic minions and his Spawn, as well as some of the lesser Abominations. A rump US and Russia managed to negotiate a tenuous armistice on the basis of “you don’t eat our brains, we don’t blow up the world to spite you.”

Two centuries passed. The continent underlying R’lyeh arose further, and the seas penetrated deeper inland. The spawn of the Great Old Ones multiplied and built monstrous cities across the face of the earth. The wild shoggoths of the sub-Antarctic were taught obedience with the aid of the Primal Abomination which lurked atop the highest peaks of Antarctica. Some disputes with distantly related horrors deep within the earth were resolved with the death of only a few tens of millions of humans, mostly from famine from the ash and dust released into the atmosphere, although some through submersion in hot magma. (Humans are still unsure if this was a serious challenge to their rule, or the equivalent of someone banging on the roof with a broom because the kids are playing their damned music too loud). The ancient enemies of the Great Race of Yith emerged from underground and claimed Australia as their own, inviolate territory.

Now, while in some places the Great Old Ones take a direct hand in the management of their human subjects (and in some places not so much manage them as graze on them), in most areas they rule the world indirectly, through the heirs of the Cthulhu Cult and opportunistic evil bastards and mages, some (relatively) pure humans and others of mixed human-Deep One blood, an all-powerful priesthood whose rule as “shepherds” of the human flock includes slaughterhouse delivery and whose rule is backed by divine retribution far more swift and sure than any previous variety [1]. Mass human sacrifice is pretty universal, although the details of how the various human states are ruled are otherwise of no great concern to Cthulhu and the other Great Old Ones which are his “family” and friends. Bloodlust, violence and weird sex are the social norm: close influence of the Great Old Ones may lead to power, but it leads to either crippling madness or the madness of utter inhumanity in the long run, and as for those too psychically insensitive or strong to be driven to mindless worship by the general psychic background, they are reduced to a state of foggy placidity by various foul magics, such as television. (Yes, there is television in the Cultist lands. There is a lot of television. Trying to tune in to Cultist TV is a death sentence crime in the US and Russia).  

Besides TV, technology is an odd mix, mass slave labor and 20th century hardware, cities more monumental than New York but no computers, the occasional odd bit of unearthly super-science and the use of weird forces best called “magic.” The Great Old Ones prefer their subjects and soul-munchies ignorant: research, scientific or otherwise, is not encouraged. There are forces Man Was Not Meant to Know, given that some of them could actually inconvenience the Great Old Ones. Such as summoning the Outer Gods.

Living standards vary wildly. Some Cultists try to improve things, seeing their own wealth and power being increased by More Pie, or their predecessors having looted the place so thoroughly that there is hardly any Pie left. Others simply squeeze the rest of the population, even unto death – and beyond, given the value of zombie labor. Some areas, once you discount for the existential terror, have living standards not that far behind the first world of OTL, at least for those who aren’t actual slaves: others are the worst of third-world squalor interrupted by the occasional monument city, while still others would be counted as failed states OTL, except the local cultists like it that way. Much depends on whether there is a local Great Old One interested in whether the temples tend to stay up or fall down, and whether the Shoggoths run on time. The servants of the Great Old Ones which please them get to indulge every foul pleasure that can be conceived: those who annoy them perish in ways horrible beyond conception – if they’re lucky enough to die.

Cthulhu is worshipped everywhere, but it’s sort of a Zeus and other Gods situation: there are local cults which have other “favorite” deities, or have a Great Old One in the neighborhood which might be stirred into unpleasant action at not getting enough sacrifices. Generally, even small towns/work camps/mass torture facilities have multiple shrines.

The spawn of the Great Old Ones and associated horrors – Cthulhuoids (like the big C, but smaller: think classic King Kong vs. Godzilla), shoggoths, night-gaunts, zombies and litches and giants made of many human bodies crudely smushed together, Hounds of Tindalos and hideous hybrids great and small, walking trees and crawling boulders, etc. – inhabit and build the monster cities of dubious geometry that disfigure the face of the Earth, with some of the detail work being done by disposable human labor. What everyday life (or undeath) is like in these cities is unknown – for all but the eldest and most sanity-deprived [2] of the cultists, they work like a roach motel unto Blattidae, humans check in but do not check out. There is often but not always a full Great Old One in residence in the central temple complex, sometimes more than one; Cthulhu generally stays in R’lyeh, although he occasionally visits his human subjects for a little Al Fresco dining (Yum yum!) and to remind his human subjects Who’s the God? Some areas are dominated by a particular city and its chief Abomination, or by two or more Abominations working together, while others get only distant and spotty monitoring by local GOOs.

It’s not just Cthulhu: there are a number of Great Old One cities on the Dark Continent, many of the horrors being apparently uninterested in close interaction with humanity. Details are lacking; not even the heads of the Cthulhu cult have been allowed onto the Dark Continent and into R’lyeh itself. The Dark Continent itself is disturbing in various ways, from the physics-defying Black Lake to the lack of any mechanism to explain its rapid rise from the sea floor, and then there’s the vegetation: initially bare rock and sea-floor slime and sediment when it arose, has in the last two centuries developed an increasingly dense covering of weird and disturbing vegetation, black and purple, fungoid and mobile, quivering, pulsing, and shooting out clouds of spores, where it is not spiky, geometrical and impossibly large. Ecologists are greatly worried about what might happen if it spreads to the other continents.

Antarctica is still most frozen, the sea level having risen due to the emergence of R’yleh rather than global warming, but it _is_ melting as the world continues to warm: Greenland is partially submerged, and the sea level continues to rise. There are no Great Old One cities in Antarctica, which is the sole possession of the Primal Abomination and its Shoggoth servants, which It lets the other Old Ones borrow often enough as slave labor. Although such an idea is not even to be thought of in the Cultist lands, some in the US and Russia suspect even Cthulhu is a bit afraid of the Abomination, which has been on Earth far longer than the Old Ones, and is rumored to have been atop the mountain when it first arose from Earth’s primordial, lifeless sea.

Other things prefer to live under the Earth or in the seas, or in dubious spaces above and beyond the Earth. Vast worm-things burrow through earth and stone, the Deep Ones frolic on coastlines and islands with no fear of humans with machine guns, dubious masked and hooded figures come into the cities of the Cultists to haggle and trade for various things, most often human slaves.

The huge polygonal region surrounded by 2000-foot walls remains wrapped in impenetrable darkness, while the Atlantic Vortex is quite visible but equally unexplainable: and these are only two of seven equally vast and obscure projects the Great Old Ones and their servants have created in the last few decades. 

These developments worry the Democratic Human Republic of America, which has made determination of their nature a top priority. After a long period of instability and various withdrawals in the face of irresistible pressure, the Democratic Human Republic of America has managed to achieve some stability: there hasn’t been a pro-Cthulhu revolt above pants-bomber levels of competence in decades. Given existential despair at the continued non-appearance of Jesus & Co., and the frequency with which the religious-minded were befooled by the Great Old Ones, the theocratic rule of the Republic’s early decades failed to sustain itself, and has been replaced by a ruthless scientific atheism as the creed of the Republic. [3] Although the Government’s refusal to call a spade a spade or Black Magic Black Magic is perhaps a weakness, the insistence on the non-demonic nature of the Great Old Ones and the eventual scientific explicability of all their mysterious powers is something of a spine-bracer. [4] 

 
Powered by fusion reactors, bristling with atomic weapons, and recycling every scrap (there’s not exactly much trade with the rest of the world, although a lot of smuggling), the Republic is more democratic than it used to be, but is still a fearfully regimented society, in which any deviation from the Rules for survival is punished ruthlessly. Psychic sensitivity is tested from infancy, and all “susceptibles” are required to wear protective head-gear (aluminum-foil lined and marked with certain ancient symbols) whenever outside, and susceptible children are supplied with helmets they can’t take off. (All buildings are heavily psychically shielded as a matter of course). Constant secret monitoring for signs of Alien Influence is an accepted norm, as are physical and blood tests for signs of Monsterism. Privacy is a nearly dead concept, although on the positive side many venial sins of our era no longer cause much excitement.

There has been a return to space, although made risky by the fact that most of the Great Old Ones and many of their minions can move through space with little difficulty (How Not to be Seen is an important part of space science: low-flying spy satellites in particular tend to cease working rather abruptly, especially when passing over R’lyeh). The Moon is developing strange surface markings that will bear careful examination: there are plans for a manned trip to Mars, which at least still looks normal.

Robotics is quite advanced, although technology has reached a bit of a roadblock now that AI has reached the level of development to be able to go insane.

The Republic is not entirely alone in a world of Cthlhu-worshippers: radio communications remain open with the New Russian Empire, and a few isolated human holdout states in the western Amazon basin and other places. Other forms of communication are trickier: it takes a brave and highly skilled individual to travel undercover through the slave nations (and if you catch the attention of something which can read minds, you’re screwed), boats with engines and subs are too easily heard by the Deep Ones (and sailboats are generally not big enough to be safe from some of the new Horrors of the Deep), and planes are also rather visible. Taking a detour through other dimensions always carries severe risk of running into something horrible or just getting permanently lost – safe routes are still being sought for at a terrible cost in lives. Besides communications difficulties, relations with the Empire are inherently a bit shaky, given its far more open embrace of Black Magic and Abominations in their pursuit of survival. (There is considerable suspicion that the Fifth Putin, which has ruled for over fifty years, is no longer technically human).

There is also the Sultanate of Dust in the Arabian Desert: its inhabitants no longer look very human even on satellite photos, and they appear to have managed to remain independent through some sort of terrible pact with the even more powerful Outer Gods. (One of the more creatively decadent Saudi princes discovered that his multi-million dollar collection of blasphemous books and scrolls was actually useful while the world was coming to an end). Communications are understandably limited.

(British scholars tried to pull the same trick with the rich variety of mystical texts the British empire had plundered from half the world, but perhaps being in a hurry due to madmen and Deep Ones already overrunning most of England, they made an unfortunate error and summoned up something uninterested in deals, something so ghastly that the Great Old Ones were forced to take steps to confine it to Britain east of Wales. Very few Brits made it out alive, and even a few minor Great Old Ones just freshly awakened from slumbering under Britain were forced to leave for the continent with their metaphorical tails between their legs).

Other “free humans”, refugees from the Archonate or the Golden Empire of the cult masters, squat on the territory of the Mi-Go: the chance of being abducted and experimented on or even end up as a brain in a jar are probably higher than of becoming a snack or sacrifice back home, but at least the Mi-Go have no interest in governing humans or eating them, and as long as they stay away from the Mi-Go’s mining operations, they are free to pursue their primitive agricultural lifestyle unmolested. There have been complaints forwarded to the Great Old Ones, but the Mi-Go do have a solid short-term (less than a million years) lease.

Others inhabit Australia, which is fairly safe, at least for now, from the Great Old Ones, although you do have to worry about the Flying Polyps deciding they want to build some incomprehensible structure where your house is and blowing it away with a super-tornado. (Also, don’t build radio transmitters of any power. The Polyps apparently find strong sources of electromagnetism annoying, and what annoys them, they destroy). Some dwell in Underground Ethiopia, a holy man having led the last of the free Ethiopians into a secret underground world beneath the mountains of Ethiopia. After defeating the white, blind cannibals, they have settled in and live a life of prayer, frugality, and too many mushroom dishes, but there have been mysterious disappearances in the deepest caves, and some fear their refuge is coming to an end. There are small, fanatical groups in the highlands of Borneo, in the semi-desert of NE Brazil, in the mountains of what used to be Afganistan, Tajikstan, and north Pakistan, killing those who fall prey to the mental radiations of the Great Old Ones, sleeping with the aid of various drugs when tinfoil hats aren’t available, surviving, alas, because the Great Old Ones just don’t care enough to make an effort to wipe them out.

Other potential allies include the Chthonic Old Ones and the Outer Gods, but so far the Republic’s government has put them very solidly in the “Friends like These” category. There are also contacts with some discontented mages and dark creatures within the boundaries of Great Old One territory, who find that the Return of the Great Old Ones has not been nearly as cool or rewarding as promised or find being immortal and masters of life and death over millions does not make up for having the ultimate Boss From Hell. Special Intelligence has a new and very promising contact in Archonate New England, codenamed “TOM.” Many lower-level cultists are also unhappy, feeling that the often highly stratified cultist regimes are a betrayal of their fairly egalitarian past (in other words, they aren’t getting nearly as many bennies as they expected). And then there are the Shoggoths of Antarctica: having freed themselves after millions of years of slavery to the Elder things, they are quite unhappy to find themselves under the (metaphorical) lash again: they are also highly resistant to mental compulsion, not afraid of any of the other horrors aside from the Great Old Ones themselves, and have found that the heads of cultists and Deep Ones both make a lovely crunching noise when squeezed.


The Great Old Ones are not particularly concerned about the independent human states, although they are a bit miffed by the Outer Gods putting a tentacle in their pie. Two centuries are barely a blink of an eye to the immortal Old Ones: and in very little time (quite likely less, even, than a single century), certain plans will come to fruition, and the minor annoyances will end. 

 

[1] Well, swifter, anyway. The Great Old Ones are hardly at the beck and call of their priests and tend to only interfere when things really hit the fan. Usually the cultists have to make do with Nightgaunts, zombies, Deadites, worm-men, evil ghosts, Familiars, maybe a Shoggoth or two if they have some real pull.

[2] I don’t mean they drool a lot and play with their poop – they are functional, those who cease to be so get removed by their subordinates it’s just that the software running on their meat computers is no longer compatible at all with Human Mind 1.0

[3] Which in turn has led to unrest among the remaining hard-core believers, who continue to insist that this is just a lengthy Tribulation and Jesus will be arriving any day now. At least they’re not as bad as the ones who insist we have to take a “leap of faith” by launching all the nukes at the forces of evil, depending on Jesus for the final blow.

[4] This is combined, perhaps a touch hypocritically, with extreme caution in the study of any and all “unnatural” texts, with frequent sanity and mental hygiene checks and careful segmentation of, say, material to be translated into many small presumably non-sanity damaging chunks. That this is necessary is evidenced by what has happened before elsewhere: Israeli intelligence’s “World War Z-type” caution in following up even the most ridiculous of rumored dangers was not matched by caution in actually studying certain blasphemous texts, leading to the spread of cultists through the Israeli intelligence services like mold through a piece of bread.  

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Kite World
A commission by bensen-daniel.deviantart.com/ , illustrating an AH story he wrote, to be published in December in the Tales from Alternate Earths 2 anthology from Inklings Press. (Link here: www.deviantart.com/users/outgo… )

I call it "Kite World" because it diverges from ours with the development of man-carrying kites and gliders in 9th century Islamic (or "Moorish") Spain. A fascination with flight develops and pushes air technology, leading to things like hot air balloons and rocket-enhanced gliders. This in turn leads to greater mobility of armies and explorers, faster movements of peoples, bigger and faster-growing empires, etc, massively butterflying history.

By the "present day" of the story, technology is up to a roughly Our TimeLine level, and the world is (relatively) at peace, although the currently nationless Mongols, who want their homeland (and possibly MoarLand) back are a nuisance on a level with Islamic terrorism in our world. Islam, as Early Adapters of flight technology, gained an edge on Christian Europe, a lead which was further broadened by an utterly devastating Mongol invasion of Europe.

Christianity-dominated states are mostly limited to the far north and northwest of Europe, although northern Italy has managed to stay Christian-run and even prosper through cunning diplomacy and banking services. OTOH, Christianity has done fairly well in North America, and the (mostly) Christian states of the United North American Nations have surpassed Christian Europe in wealth and influence. South America was colonized by Iberian and west/northwest African Muslims, while Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean are dominated by a democratic federation of the successor states to the Karamanid Turks, whose empire substantially exceeded that of our Ottomans at its height.

What in our world would be Russia and central Asia are neither Muslim nor Christian, but instead dominated religiously by the Tengriists, a syncretic religion mixing old Mongol shamanism with Buddhism, Islam, etc. 
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deviantID

QuantumBranching
Bruce Munro
United States
Current Residence: Where the rabbit shoulda made a turn
Interests
Well, tis the Christmas season ( 78.media.tumblr.com/93d6d5baf7… )

and I'd be happy as a clam if people would be interested in 1-2 commissions, $25 for a map with/without short scenario, long scenarios, and big maps. Guaranteed done by New Year's or two weeks, whichever is a longer time period. 

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:iconturd1716:
turd1716 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2017  New Deviant
Where do you get those map templates you use in many of your maps?
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:iconpavel101:
Pavel101 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2017  New Deviant
I am Pavel Barkanov the managing Director of EXPRESS OIL AND GAS. We are certified and authorized mandate that supply oil and gas products to buyers and consumers. We represent the major OIL REFINERY to the Government of the Russia Federation to help buyers meet their various requirements and needs. we can supply Aviation  Kerosene, Jet fuel (Jp 54-A1,5) Diesel and Fuel oil D2,D6 e.t.c in FOB/Rotterdam, if you are interested to buy any of the products, kindly contact us via;
Email: expressoilandgas1@gmail.com/expressoilandgas@mail.ru
Skype: expressoilandgas1@gmail.com

For more clarification and understanding as this is an arrangement and compromise with a take over bid. More of a government bond with incentives and relief. Kindly contact us with our information for soft co-operate offer SCO.
Best regards..
Pavel Barkanov
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:iconvladislav2478:
vladislav2478 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2017
We Can supply  Aviation Kerosene,Jet fuel (JP 54-A1,5), Diesel (Gas Oil) and Fuel Oil D2, D6,ETC in FOB/Rotterdam only, serious buyer should contact or if you have serious buyers my seller is ready to close this deal fast contact us below:now base email  us (neftegazagent@yandex.ru)

PRODUCT AVAILABLE IN ROTTERDAM/ CI DIP AND PAY IN SELLER EX-SHORE TANK.

Russia D2  50,000-150,000 Metric Tons  FOB Rotterdam Port.

JP54 5000,000 Barrels per Month FOB Rotterdam.

JA1 Jet Fuel 10,000,000 Barrels FOB Rotterdam.

D6 Virgin Fuel Oil 800,000,000 Gallon FOB Rotterdam.

E-mail: neftegazagent@yandex.ru
E: neftegazagent@mail.ru
E: neftegazagent@yahoo.com

Best Regards
(Mr.) Vladislav Yakov
Skype: neftegazagent

Thank You
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:icontedshatner10:
TedShatner10 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2017
Ok, having seen the recent "Blade Runner 2049", that demands an alternate global map (with the near future of 2019 in the original pretty far removed from 2017 in our reality to begin with). 

And a map of North America for "Demolition Man" would be pretty interesting as well.
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:iconrt912:
RT912 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
You have quite the interesting maps around, I enjoy watching them as some kind of alternate history. :)
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:iconfernandocoutinho2:
fernandocoutinho2 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2017
Great! Congratulations.

Fernando Coutinho
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:iconshaymin0000:
Shaymin0000 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2017
Happy birthday!
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2017
Thank you!
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:iconthe-artist-64:
The-Artist-64 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy Birthday!
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2017
Thank you, talking cactus!
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