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I need to be doing work, but this thingie is just clawing it's way out of my suconscious. I must write it out so it leave me alone. Here is an ontology of my 'multiverse'... where the various alternate futures diverge.

  • Alternate present, where magic exists, but is not widely known because it's inherent properties make it difficult to distinguish from coincidence or in some other way not amenable to rigorous observation/proof. Which does not prevent some individuals from knowingly or unknowingly using it.
  • Present present, where the present is present.
    • The gov keeps tightening the screws as the US slips into a gloomy police state. Sort of like 1984 but with better props, special effects, and a more intricate cultural backstory.
      • The gov then gets the US involved in a few too many military escapades while continuing to slash funding for space research... so the Chinese launch a surprise EMP attack (or some other infrastructure crippling secret weapon), take over Taiwan, and just to be on the safe side establish a 'buffer zone' extending accross Korea, Japan, the Pacific Islands, and the western coast of North America. The rest of the world has really gotten tired of the US's nonsense and doesn't do much. The gov is forced to sign an armistice with the Chinese, but the people living under Chinese occupation have other plans, and some unlikely alliances spring up among the Resistance as people are forced to decide what philosophical and cultural values are truly important to them.
        • First branch point! Somewhere along the line someone decides to get rid of someone else once and for all by creating an 'ethnic bomb' which is supposed to target specific Y-chromosomal lineages. Either someone retaliates or the virus starts mutating, and in the space of a few decades everyone with a Y-chromosome ends up dead. Advanced reproductive technologies can continue to propogate the human species, but men are now permanently extinct.
          • Or so we thought. The truth of what happened may actually be more complex and more sinister.
        • The world runs out of non-renewable fuels and most parts collapse into feudalism or barbarism. A few places struggle against the tide with liberal values and renewable energy. Several new, alien-yet-familiar great civilizations eventually arise from these enclaves.
          • Second branch point! A wiser and more resourceful humanity is now slowly spreading throughout the solar system. An anomaly is discovered near the sun, and it may or may not be a one-way portal into another universe or a very distant place in this universe. Some very convincing (to a physicist) evidence suggests that a trip through the anomaly is survivable... but nobody has come back to tell the tale.
            • From here there are endless branchings as for one reason or another someone from the solar system ends up going through this thing, and discovers that the solar system at the other end also has a one-way anomaly, and so on...
          • Abruptly, the aliens arrive and extinguish the sun. They are a very ancient, very long-lived, very advanced race, and they're concerned about the heat death of the universe. It's not an abstract question to them, it's a matter of long-term self interest. So they go around conserving energy by means of a stellar husbandry technique that lowers a star's output down to a trickle and allows it to burn many, many times longer. But we don't know that yet. What we know is that the entire solar system is immediately plunged into a freezing darkness. The only way for anybody to survive is combustion or fusion.
            • The aliens have a second phase to their plan. The tiny trickle of solar output is to be scrupulously collected by a pitch black swarm of collecting stations they are building around the sun. As it is, the conditions on Earth already approximate those of contemporary Pluto... and now, as it turns out, it's possible for them to get even worse. Luckily the humans have an ace up their sleave (of course they do... the story is written by humans). There is a simpler, cheaper form of fusion available, though nobody except it's inventor believed that it could work. In addition, either related to this new invention or independently, they come up with a way to actually win against the aliens.
              • The aliens are eventually driven from the solar system (though neighboring stars remain dark). The humans of course break into various factions. Two of the largest are the Irredentists and the Keepers. The Keepers wish to adapt the alien technology to their own uses, keep the sun the way it is, and some of them want to expand the human empire to nearby systems. Essentially take over from the aliens. The Irredentists want to annihilate the collector swarm and restore the sun to its former luminousity. Among them some wish to 'liberate' the nearby stars and/or warn hypothetical civilizations in more distant star systems that have not yet been dimmed.
                • Eventually, eons later, there are thousands of human-derived species. Some stars are dark, some are light, some are in conflict. The aliens are kicking around too, and it turns out they have their own Irridentist-like faction that's been giving them grief for a loooong time. There are hints that the Extinguishers themselves aren't the original Extinguishers, but rather took over the role like the human Keepers have. There are also various other alien races that managed to survive the assault by the Extinguisher aliens sort of like the humans did. In the midst of all this, we meet an offshoot of humanity that is not unlike us. They are a broke, homeless species down on its luck and they're squatting in a barren part of a system deep in an area controlled by a powerful and prosperous xeno-empire (neither Terran nor Extinguisher in origin). Their relationship with the xeno-empire is ambivalent... on the one hand they're given some meager scraps of protection and resources... on the other hand they are at the mercy of their benefactors/masters. The xeno-empire breeds a sub-species of these humanoids to serve as intermediaries (they are very, very different from humans in almost every way imaginable and communication is impossible without go-betweens). It slowly turns out that the xenos need the humanoids for something, and the humanoids have more leverage than they suspect.
                  • Far into the lifespan of the universe. The only surviving stars are the ones that were dimmed by the Extinguishers or Keepers or other similar empires. In effect, the Extinguisher-like forces have won the trillion-year-old conflict. Except for one place. It's a pocket universe multiply connected to the main universe through mindbogglingly convoluted wormholes. Exotic energy pulses through it that is useable by its inhabitants, yet has its own laws by which it is constrained. The entire pocket universe is one huge city. It has parks and public squares with the surface areas of planets. It has buildings that contain entire ecosystems. Just about everything alive, and most of everything that could be reconstructed from preserved genetic material is kicking around in this ultimate metropolis. Innumerable adventures take place in the avenues of this archetype of every city that ever was, against the backdrop of a guerilla war being waged against the Extinguishers who rule the universe beyond. And there are rumours that something out there, even further beyond, is threatening the seemingly invulnerable Extinguishers.

Created by f1r3br4nd. Last Modification: Thursday 17 of February, 2005 10:00:41 UTC by f1r3br4nd.