Previously: The World War
After the World War, the League slowly consolidated its power, as former colonies joined and formed a counter-weight to European imperial interests. Twenty years after the war, the Edison-Tesla Corporation discovers a startling technology and places it under League control, which granted the League the ability to rule through ultimate economic power.
The League Victorious
In 1956, the League of Nations had pacified the world. The Russian onslaught on Europe had been halted, and Russia had capitulated. Japan had been occupied after a costly invasion. The League of Nations members participating in the war had paid a terrible price, and there was much to rebuild, many wounds to heal.
One direct consequence of the war was that many nations that were European colonies now demanded self-rule. Many of them had contributed significantly to the war effort, in both raw materials for the weapons factories, and in soldiers. Africans had died in the Invasion of Japan, Indians had fought in the trenches in the rough Russian winter, South Americans had helped hold the Middle East oil fields. In many cases these demands found sympathetic ears, especially from those Europeans who had nearly lost everything to the Communist invasion. In some cases, the colonies had already established de-facto independence during the war. Conservatives opposed such changes, but the thirst for freedom was great among the colonies. One by one they were either released, or, in some cases, successfully rebelled against their colonial “masters”.
The League of Nations General Secretary did his best to dissuade such colonial wars. Where possible, he pushed the League’s grand assembly to recognize the new nations. With each colony that was recognized and that joined the League, this task became easier. This caused no small outrage among the European conservatives, and there were demands of his resignation – forcibly, if necessary. But having just won the war, the General Secretary was very popular and resisted such demands.
Many of the League member nations now also found that the treaties they had signed and ratified during the desperate times of the war to undermine their own sovereignty. Attempts were made to repeal these treaties, but every time one nation attempted this, the General Secretary and the League diplomatic corps conjured up the specter of a new power bloc arising that may result in a repetition of the World War. It was never explicitly said, but often implied.
The League of Nations was thus able to hold on to its newly-gained powers, and to consolidate them with the votes of the new members nations. Some countries still attempted to break free of League constraints; especially the United States of America, which began to develop new technologies that were not covered by League treaties, for example space technology.
The Gateway Opens
In the Winter of 1954-1955, with the war in the Pacific raging, the US Navy conducted experiments aimed to disguise warships from enemy mines. They hoped to accomplish by degaussing the ship’s hull. A prototype of the technology was tested at the Naval Yards in Portsmouth, Maine. The experiment was a dismal failure with strange side-effects, and the project was shelved and covered up.
After the war, some of the involved scientists were hired by the multinational Edison-Tesla Corporation, and transferred to the company’s massive research park. Here they met with other theoretical scientists, and a bold new theory was put together to explain the results of the fateful Portsmouth experiment: The observed effects, the scientists thought, were interference from another world.
With a huge budget to play with, the scientists set forth to reproduce these effects in a more controlled way. They soon found that they were on the right track, but it took them twenty years to develop the technology far enough to make it useful. On September 10th, 1976, a probe – a collection of recording instruments – was shifted into a parallel universe and recovered successfully for the first time.
The Edison-Tesla Corporation knew very well the implications of what they had discovered. The company’s CEO flew directly to Geneva, where he met with the acting Secretary General of the League of Nations. They quickly reached an agreement, which they presented to a stunned public the following day.
The Edison-Tesla Corporation became a direct subsidiary of the League of Nations. All ETC personnel was granted League diplomatic status, all ETC property became League property. Edison-Carter Corporation facilities became, in essence, embassies of the League. There corporation would exploit the new technology under direct League charter, “for the good of all mankind”.
The public reaction was one of incredulity, but Edison-Tesla staff quickly followed up with a demonstration to which a large number of reporters was invited. The day afterwards, incredulity was replaced by a mixture of fear, excitement, and enthusiasm. It was clear that Terra had entered a new age.
Exploration of the Multiverse
The League of Nations, through the Edison-Tesla Corporation, began to explore and exploit parallel universes. At first, missions were purely research expeditions. Later, parallel worlds were actually used commercially. Uninhabited worlds especially, which were exploited for their raw materials, used as dumping grounds for all kinds of waste or, in some case, colonized by Terran citizens.
There were several challenges to the ETC monopoly since it was unveiled. The United States government attempted to nationalize Edison-Tesla twice. Once by force, directly after it became clear that the announcement of the new technology had not been a joke. US police and special forces raided several Edison-Tesla facilties, arrested employees and confiscated documents. The League immediately slapped sanctions on the United States, and threatened immediate military consequences if the United States did not back down. No other nation with direct, physical access to Edison-Tesla facilities, wanted the United States to gain control of the technology to travel to other worlds.
The second time the United States attempted a seizure through the courts. However, while American courts found in favor of the Federal government and the original ETC investors (which had been bought out forcibly at League negotiated stock prices), the American government was in no position to enforce the ruling. Referrals to League courts remained without success, as these courts found that the League had acted within the limits set forth by existing treaties.
Over the years, several other companies and countries attempted to break the Edison-Tesla monopoly. The League stepped in wherever this became known, maintaining its monopoly by force when necessary.
International conflicts were quickly solved during this time. Affluence spread to all parts of the world, and any nation which violated League treaties found itself cut off from imports from parallel worlds.
Next time: Terra and the Multiverse