The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Monday, August 29, 2011

Voyage to Hypnale - part 1

I will now be traveling some distance from the Netherlands and into a new, untitled project I've been thinking about. It'd borrow from AHN, Stardust and Wing Commander, but will be something entirely different. It will take place in the Year 10,000. For the moment, I'm just working on the background material, something to frame future stories.

Ok, onward towards the first planet humanity visited. It's also the first planet in the Lalande 21185 System. When humanity did visit its first oxygen-rich world, it was quite a shock.

Geological Survey of Hypnale

Hypnale is the first planet in the Lalande 21185. Discovered in 3013, the planet orbits its star at a distance of 0.11 Astronomical Units. So close that Lalande has robbed the star of its
rotation, leaving it tidally locked. Both day and year take 19.646 standard days to complete. The standard calender would be all but useless on this planet. It has no moons or any natural satellites. Orbiting closer to its star than Mercury does Sol, one might expect the planet to be useless. Not so; some years after its discovery, the planet’s atmosphere was analyzed, proving its has sufficient life to generate a large volume of oxygen.

The planet is larger than Earth in terms of volume and mass. Where its volume is almost twice that of Earth (1.979 Terran Units), its mass is only approximately 1.2 Terran Units. This stems from a low content of heavy metals in the planet, giving it a density of 0.652 Terran Units. Hypnale has plenty of titanium and aluminum to be exploited. This would prove a treasure trove, if not for the fact th at Luna alone provides more than enough of these light elements for human consumption. The planet has a small metallic core, surrounded by a mantle of silicates proportionally larger than Earth’s.

Plate tectonics have grinded to a halt on this ancient world, stopping the recycling process of elements such as carbon dioxide. Given that the world was tidally locked, it is not suspected to ever have been particularly geologically active. Many of the ancient mountain ranges that formed eons ago have erode. Hypnale’s acidic rain does more to erode the rocks and wash the minerals into the ocean than anything on Earth. The soil of Hypnale contains traces of many different types of chloride. Lack of an internal dynamo has also stalled the planet’s EM field. Fortunately, this will not prove a problem as it will take a span of time longer than our species will ever exist for the atmosphere to be stripped away by the star’s paltry stellar winds.

Oceans cover 77% of the planet’s surface. Do to the content of the planet’s atmosphere, hydrochloric acid exists within the ocean at trace levels. The acidity gives the ocean a slight electric current, not enough to kill an unprotected human (far more quicker ways to die on Hypnale than electrocution), but it would certainly be felt. Though the planet has virtually no EM field, the currents in the ocean act as a sort of guidance system for marine life. Almost all the life in Hypnale’s oceans have evolved methods of detecting electrical current.

Away from the center of the Sunward Hemisphere, the planet has a copious amount of rain to deal with, especially in the terminator regions. This produces a verdant– a poor choice of words, given that planets on Hypnale are purple to ultraviolet– a purple belt along its terminator, where rainfall is nonstop in some regions, as are storms. As already mentioned, the rain is acidic, forcing plants to have evolve defense mechanisms against it, usually in the form of enzymes that coat the leaves. These enzymes have a few parallels to those that line the stomachs of Terran lifeforms.

This map of the Sunward Hemisphere was not created by me. Don't know the real name, and only have the user name Shevek23 to go on. But, I must give credit where it is due.

These other two are all me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Second Edition - Complete

Having nothing better to do on my day off, I went through the remaining chapters of An Alternate History of the Netherlands and finished revising. Three hundred pages in one day? Not a problem. The whole concept of WWII has been removed, and in its place are the anti-communard crusades. As wars have the habit of doing, this one spills out of the Balkans. The Dutch and Japanese still go to war, but the U.S. is out of that one. In fact, the U.S. is only in so far as restoring their ally, the Kaiser, back to his throne. Much of this was done with the American Foreign Legions. If I ever start a Third Edition, it'll be refined even further.

As of now, An Alternate History of the Netherlands has only 13 chapters.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Second Edition - Chapter 6

Chapter 6 feels a bit clunky, and is more a merger of other chapters and sections spread out across many AHN works. Merging them together was the whole goal of the 2nd Edition. The clunkiness is necessary, since the title of the chapter is Revolutions. This discusses the America, French and Brazilian revolutions, the later being non-violent.

One thought has occurred to me. As the Twentieth Century in the Second Edition will be drastically different, that would kind of alter the whole career of Clive Arnold. This means the whole Columbia Front short story/outline deal I've been written might be useless now. Don't know if I'll continue it or not. There hasn't been a whole lot of demand for it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Second Edition - Chapter 5

Chapter 5 has been revised. Not only have I went into a little more detail about the Swedish adventure, but I also gave it a new name. The Chapter is now called The Balance of Power. It still deals with the dynastic wars of the 18th Century, and how the United Provinces' alliance with the British keep on dragging them into said wars. Aside from the Seven Years War, which was not very dynastic, the Dutch gained little from the wars. This leads to the reopening of the rift between the two nations in Chapter 6.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

State of the Union: Michigan

The flag is not one of my own production.

January 27, 1837
Population: 11,241,811
Area: 253,793 km2
Capital: Detroit
Largest City: Detroit
Crops: Grapes, hops, blueberries, sugar beat
Resources: Timber, fish
Industry: Automotive, agricultural machinery, machine tools

For much of its history the land that would become Michigan was fought over by the Americans and the British. During the Revolution, and again when the British conquered it during the Second Anglo-American War. Detroit was bombarded, and several coastal towns raided during the Third Anglo-American War. During the Great War, it served as a launch-off point for the invasion of Ontario, as well as naval bases for the naval war on the Great Lakes. Following the signing of the Anglo-American Permanent Peace Treaty, Michigan demilitarized.

Since the start of the 20th Century, Michigan, along with other states along the Great Lakes, are the industrial heartland of the United States. Today, Michigan is one of the largest producers of automobiles in the world. It suffered a slight recession during the 1960s when tariffs were relaxed for a time, and cheaper, more efficient foreign automobiles threatened the industry. By the 1980s, Detroit modernized and began producing the cars that the consumer wanted. Along with automobiles, various parts, such as engines and transmissions, are made in Michigan, along with agricultural machinery giants such as John Dear. Precision machine tools are produced in great quality and quantity at factories around Lansing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Second Edition - Chapter 3 and 4

Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 of the Second Edition of An Alternate History of the Netherlands is now online. The further along I go in the Second Edition, the more changes will be made.

Not much was changed in these chapters, but that will not be the case with the Fifth Chapter. The entire issue between Sweden and Russia has caused a great deal of flak from those who have read the First Edition. Swedish Russia will remain, but its conquest would not be so easy. Instead of a simple conquest (which was written for the sake of simplification), Sweden is going to spend decades to over a century bringing Russia under control. Since assimilation goes both ways, the less numerous Swedes are going to be impacted far heavier than in #1.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Second Edition - Chapter 1 and 2

Chapter 1 of An Alternate History of the Netherlands has been updated to the new Second Edition, as has Chapter 2. In this second writing, I'm going to be making a few changes (in the case of the first chapters, very few) to this alternate history. So don't be dismayed if the AHNuniverse website is in disorder for a while.

Monday, August 8, 2011

State of the Union: Iroquois

Statehood: November 15, 1791
Population: 3,301,136
Area: 31,253 km2
Capital: Oneida
Largest City: Albany
Crops: Apples, cherries, plums, peaches, potatoes, maple syrup
Resources: Timber, minerals
Industry: Military Academy, agriculture, forestry, mining, construction

The Iroquois Confederacy had long standing trade relations with the Dutch and British colonists during the 18th Century. When the British colonies rebelled, the Iroquois at first kept neutral. However, British incursions, and the fact that the Six Nations were tied far more closely to the colonists than Britains itself, the tribes threw in their lot with the Americans. The Iroquois sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. However, they were not admitted into the Union until 1791, after Vermont. Despite their alliance with the Americans, there was still some reluctance in Congress to admit an almost exclusively Indian state into the new republic.

During the mass of immigration from Europe, few immigrants settled in the state of Iroquois. The tribes were not eager to let in more white men, and to this day the state is more than 90% Native according to the census. Despite not wanting outsiders to move in, the state has allowed much exportation of its own population. With the start of the skyscraper boom, several construction companies of Mohawk and Oneida took to working high above the streets of New Amsterdam and Chicago, building the steel frames. The most famous denizens of Iroquois are the members of the 231st Regiment, which in turn is part of the 101st Airborne Division.

The admission of Iroquois as a state had a profound impact on Federal relations with other Indian tribes. Those Indians who were loyal allies with the Federal Government were rewarded, allowed to keep their lands free of settlers, and even appropriate the lands of their enemies. The plains tribes, and tribes forcefully relocated by the former Confederate government now form their own states of Lakoda and Oklahoma respectively. Those Indians who resisted the Federal Government were ruthlessly crushed, their lands stripped, and in some cases, all but wiped out.

Because Iroquois was largely bypassed by waves of immigration, it is the only state on the East Coast to still have large stretches of wilderness surviving to this day. The state is also home to the United States Military Academy at Fort Arnold.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On the Columbia Front, Part 5

Former Canadian Trench

Columbia Front

August 18, 1913

Clive Arnold was starting to develop a distinct dislike of the Cashmere Valley. The geography of the valley was quite vexing. After storming a ridge held by the Tories for the past few weeks, he reached the top of it, minus a good chunk of his company, only to discover more hills and ridges beyond. This time, the enemy occupied a hilly ridge to the south of the Wenatchee River, as well as a rocky outcropping north of it. Any American push further west would be divided by the river, and caught in a crossfire.

If Arnold was in command of the Twenty-Third Division, he would have smashed the fortified hillside towards the north first. It was the lesser of two evils, and lightly manned. The only downside was that its hillside was lightly vegetated, giving advancing soldiers little in the way of cover. It was not a position worth keeping, and the Tories knew it. They placed just enough soldiers and machine guns among the rocks to chew up any advance towards the better developed trenches on the valley’s south side.

From what news he gathered of the outside world, warring fronts across the planet were turning into similar mazes of trenches. Virginia reportedly already had a lovely line of trenches leading from the Appalachians to the Chesapeake Bay. Kentucky was not a whole lot better off. The Ohio Front worried him the most. It had been a couple of weeks since he heard from his old man, the esteemed general. The old man was likely far enough from the fighting to be safe, unless some Confederate airplane lucked out and dropped a bomb right down his chimney.

As if thinking about airplanes were to make them appear, Arnold’s attention soon turned skyward. Inside a trench, even one dug by the Tories, gave him a narrow view of the blue sky above. The sky appeared to be the only part of his world not set ablaze. On either side of the ridge, as well as the river that flowed around it, once lush orchards were burned to the ground and reduced to toothpicks. With his duties to keep him busy, Arnold never once considered what happened to the people who worked the land. He heard a few made it to the relative safety of Cashmere, which only faces intermediate bombardment as of late.

He glimpsed briefly the aircraft, and its American stars upon its wings. A observation plane, probably flying out of the Francher Aerodrome. He still remembered a time before man took to the sky in powered flight. Unlike balloons, airplanes could evade fire from below. Of course, if they did evade, the observer would fail to receive accurate photography. He could not fault the intelligence the Twenty-Third. Reconnaissance did an excellent job on this ridge; too bad they did not say just how to take the position.

The past couple of days gave him a lull in combat. The enlisted men were far from relaxed, but their duties lightened up. Officers– as much as the enlisted man enjoyed grousing about officers, those grunts had a few good breaks. One of the responsibilities of an officer was to record the dead. It was one Arnold did not like. He could think of no officer who liked the task. Despite the lull, he sent out pickets to patrol for weakspots in the Tories’ lines. Three of them did not return.

Three more telegrams. Three more families about to receive the worst news. No, Arnold suppose it was not the worst. Those were the cripples. Still young, Arnold would rather lose his life than his limbs. At least dead, he would not have to live with it. He knew his own mother was one of the millions of mothers across the country waiting in fear for the Union Express. Arnold thought he should write each of the letters himself, but it was not the army way. Telegrams were easier to mass produce.

Arnold rubbed the throb within his temples. Here he was, sitting in a dirty trench, the summer sun pounding down upon him, with certain death waiting the moment he stuck his head out of the trench, and he was stressing over telegrams. Some officers would just let the system deal with it. Arnold felt he owed it to those families to personally write the telegrams. No, they were not letters, but the way this war was starting to drag on, the efficient way would prevail. He only hoped that the losses ahead did not callus himself to the point where he no longer bothered.