Terra – The State of the World

The local year is 1999. The League of Nations now includes almost every nation on Earth, and dominates through the wealth of its off-world resources and, where necessary, through the power of its military. As most countries can focus their expansionist desires and their hunger for resources to uninhabited parallel versions of Terra, international conflict is at an all time low. Not everybody is happy with the status quo, of course, and in some countries nationalists dream of ending the League domination.

This post describes the current situation in some key countries.

North America

The United States are the home country of the Edison-Tesla Corporation. This led to serious tensions between the League of Nations and the United States immediately after Edison-Tesla announced the discovery of parallel worlds. The United States attempted to keep the technology to themselves, the League – backed by the rest of the world and by Edison-Tesla’s CEO – saw itself as the owner of the technology.

After the United States government tried several methods to gain control of Edison-Tesla, cooler heads eventually prevailed. The government didn’t give up its claims, but settled in a more realistic mode of operations. This has proved to be beneficial to the United States: As many Edison-Tesla facilities were located in the country, the USA were the primary location for expeditions to parallel worlds. The abundance of raw materials revived America’s role as a leading manufacturing country.

Currently, the American society is changing – a generation influenced by the great wars of the 20th Century is being replaced by their children, who grew up in a rebellious, liberal, drug-using and rock-and-rolling time. This has led to rapid changes in morals and laws, and the Americans of the looming 21st Century seem to become model citizens of the League of Nations. However, there are still many conservatives and right-wing groups that see themselves as resistance against the “global conspiracy” to “destroy America as a sovereign nation”.

The Caribbean is a rich man’s paradise. With the great wealth that most of Terra enjoys, land in the “paradise” region has become incredible expensive. Most smaller islands are owned by the financial elite of Terra, and a notable part of the population is in the direct employ of the local land-owners. Cuba is a popular beach holiday destination for American citizens, more classy than Mexico but less expensive than the rest of the Caribbean.

South America

The influx of off-world resources has halted the deforestation of the rain forest in South America. Brazil and Venezuela are the most powerful countries in the region. Brazil’s government is an anarchistic form of democracy, ruled by intrigue, corruption, crime and similar affairs. Venezuela, on the other hand, is fiercely socialist, and the government has its hands in all fields of the economy, owning most of the largest companies in the country.

Europe

The “old world”, as the core and seat of the League of Nations, continues to dominate the international political scene. Conservative values have long since been displaced by a form of realistic socialism governed by a mix of constitutional monarchies, heard-line democracies, and corrupt bureaucracies.

England has lost much of its power as the Empire shattered. Most of the former colonies remain united in a loose commonwealth, but many are more loyal to the League of Nations, which actively supported decolonization, than to the former colonial power. The British, still reluctant to admit that the sun has indeed set on the British Empire, are actively supporting several colonies on parallel worlds.

Germany has regained its status as an industrialized nation of engineers after the devastating World War. Its universities are popular among engineering students, and a degree from one these prestigious centers of learning guarantees a good job anywhere in the world. Germany is also one of the most socialist countries of Europe, trying to run a welfare state balanced with a free market economy.

France is a thoroughly socialist country. Its citizens are supported by the state, and this is financed by France’s share from the League’s exploitation of parallel worlds. Many Frenchmen do have jobs, but they rarely work more than 30 hours per week. Many pursue careers in art, others volunteer for projects abroad. The French see themselves as a nation of scientists, artists, and diplomats, and the new wealth gives them the opportunity to pursue this image.

Switzerland, as the host country of the League of Nations, is the international center for diplomacy and trade. Not in shipped goods, but in contracts negotiated here. Consequently, it is also ripe with espionage and intrigue; and this has given the small nation (and surrounding areas) an image of adventure and romanticism in the public eye. Many spy novels and movies are set in Switzerland.

Russia

After its bitter defeat in the World War, which ended in the west when the Russian Secretary General of the Communist Party was shot by his chief of staff, Russia has strived to become a model citizen of the League of Nations. It is strictly democratic, with a separation of powers that is defended fiercely against attempts to concentrate much power in one branch of governments and a free press that believes in a deep, moral duty to investigate any sign of foul play. As a result, Russia is a smoothly-running nation with little corruption. Russian engineers are among the finest in the world, and Russia is quickly becoming a technological superpower; a development that is seen with a great deal of unease from the European powers. Russia, of course, attempts its best to allay those fears, and indeed it seems that the Russians have recognized the profit in being a “team player” in international affairs. Some groups of neo-communists want Russia to become a great power, but they are generally considered to be crackpots.

Africa

The dark continent consists of a wild mixture of different nations and tribal regimes. Some, like Nigeria, are modern democracies with developed industries. Others, like Swaziland and Zimbabwe are fascist dictatorships. Small-scale war continues to rage among many of the nations; the League does step in when these get out of hand, but doesn’t interfere with small local conflicts. Most of these wars are the direct result of the borders between the former colonies, which were often drawn by colonial administrators without any regards to political realities.

While the League’s wealth has improved the lot of the Africans greatly over the past decades, life in Africa is still short and dangerous compared to the safety of Europe or America.

Madagascar has been declared a wild-life preserve by the League of Nations. Most of the country has been set aside, and is only legally accessible with League permission and in company of rangers. The Malagasy people are paid a handsome annual compensation for this.

Middle East

The Mid East countries looked like the lucky winners of the 20th Century: Just as the countries in the region were formed from former colonies, demand for oil skyrocketed after the World War. Huge sums of money flowed into the region, which the monarchs put to good use. However, as the exploitation of parallel worlds began, oil became available in great abundance. Prices dropped, and most industrialized nations developed their own off-world oil drilling projects rather than being dependent on the Mid East countries.

Today, lifestyle varies wildly in the region. The rich sheiks share just enough wealth with the common people to keep the later happy. Where this does not suffice, Religion and religious police are used as the stick to help keep the people in line.

Asia

China has become radically independent, with a large workforce and a drive to modernize itself as an insurance against further aggression. The Chinese people have not forgotten the treatment at the hands of the Japanese, and tensions between the two countries remain strong. China has become a major exporter of manufactured goods – not as high tech as American or European products, but much cheaper.

Japan is a humiliated, occupied nation. The League of Nations released the country into self-rule, but keeps military bases on all major islands. This doesn’t sit well with the Japanese people, and hostility towards foreigners and nationalist sentiments are barely repressed. The League of Nations mostly ignores this country, there is very little sympathy for the Japanese, and the problem of Japanese aggression seems to have been solved by the last war. In reality, Japan has improved its infrastructure and set up a “self defense militia”, which it intends to use as the core for a new army. The government of Japan has a strong desire to re-institute the Imperial family, and to drive the League of Nations from its territory. Support for such plans is strong among the population, and the Japanese are patiently awaiting an opportunity.

India is an overpopulated backwater. Along with some neighboring countries, the Indians have one of the highest birth rates in the world. They lack the motivation and organization of the Chinese and haven’t been able to leverage their huge work force to become a manufacturing nation. A large number of Indians are fed by League of Nations food aid programs. The Indian government, well aware of the acute problems of the severe overpopulation, was the first country to work with the League of Nations to establish colonies on uninhabited parallel versions of Terra, and has since been criticized for forced deportation of the poor and lower castes to these colonies.

Australia

The Edison-Tesla Corporation has purchased an enormous area of Outback desert and constructed a large laboratory complex here, including a huge particle accelerator and other high energy physics installations. The complex permanently houses nearly two thousand employees and has its own international airport. The goal of the research is to improve the technologies used to transport people and goods between the various parallel worlds. Some conspiracy theorists claim that this is not all that is being done, however. The rumors range from contact to non-human aliens to human experiments.

ETC representatives regularly deny that there is any secret research going on, but of course this only encourages the conspiracy theories.

Antarctica

Only a small number of people live in Antarctica. They are the staff of several polar research stations. Lately, the League of Nations has quietly increased funding and staff and is setting up a large complex in the continent’s interior. When queried, the League of Nation states that the station is set up as a paleontologist mission exploring fossils from the distant past when Antarctica was near the equator, and not frozen. This is only partially true: Explorers had found what appears to be ruins of a settlement under the snow and ice. This does not fit at all with the accepted theories about human prehistory, and so the League is trying to keep the discovery under wraps until it knows more about the find.

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