The B_Munroist regime strikes again, this time as a teaser map for a story I’m writing, which is set in an alternate present (2010). I call it Superpowered Superpowers.
This dimension is populated by supervillains and leagues of supervillains, who scheme their evil schemes against the heroes of the world. Mwahahahahahaha!!!!!
Well, sort of.
There are three sorts of superpowered peoples in this world-
The first are the so-called “superheroes”. However, these are far from the near-spotless Superman or even the charming, if slightly gritty, rogues of Marvel like Spiderman; these are more like Batman, Daredevil, the Punisher, or the characters of Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Basically, they’re mostly bastards or nutcases. Often, both…
Most of them are in it either as a vendetta against the criminals that ruined their lives or those of their loved ones; because they wish to atone for some previous sin(s); because they are bored with their mediocre lives and want something more; or just simply because it pays well.
Some are vigilantes, little better than the criminals they fight against, not unlike the Punisher or the darker versions of Batman. And there are those hired by various governments, like Marvel’s X-Force or DC’s Checkmate, or mercenaries who contract out their services to whoever can pay them. There are a few that do actual good, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
Secondly, there are the “supercriminals”. As the name suggests, they are criminals with superpowers. However, they should not be confused with the third group…
Finally, there are the “supervillains”. This world has discovered that supervillains suffer from a psychological condition similar to sparkiness from ‘Girl Genius’ or SRMD from ‘A Miracle of Science’- this is called MAD, or Maniacal Attribute Disorder.
Those afflicted with MAD behave very differently to mere supercriminals- they prefer to restrain civilians rather than actually hurt them, though threatening behaviour is fine (there is a famous case where one killed an innocent bystander by accident, and immediately turned himself in), and are (mostly) affably evil, or at least evilly affable. However, when they fight against other superpowered people, or heavily-armed goons/security forces, all bets are off…
They are also strangely charismatic, despite their eccentricity (bordering on madness in many cases). This also means that (most) supervillains are actually held in better regard than most of the so-called superheroes, and many (or their civilian alter egos) hold prominent positions. Recently, supervillain groups have been co-opted by governments to fight against their rivals, and to supply them with advanced (if somewhat zany) supervillain technology…
Metahumans have always existed in one form or another, as far as anyone can tell, but they only really became prominent following WWI. Since then, there’s been an unexplained upsurge in their numbers, especially in those with ‘powers’. Most metahumans actually have rather mundane abilities in comparison- greater than average physical abilities in multiple disciplines, much greater than average intelligence and so on.
The world itself is also quite different to OTL. It combines many aspects from EdT’s ‘A Greater Britain’, such as the small Israel (which is a part of the EU), Musso’s Italy gaining bits of Ethiopia, and the disunited India (though no Nazi nukes in space
), and from the ‘Surviving Weimar’ world, though with a few other differences, such as the partitioning of the German Colonial Empire post war.
There was no WWII ITTL. Instead, there was the Three Years of Terror, an uprising of supervillains across Europe. After quelling it, the nations of Europe banded together in a mutual cooperation forum, which eventually became the *European Union. Eventually, they would found CITADEL – the Combined InTeligence And DEfence League – which is basically TTL’s equivalent of SHIELD.
With slower decolonisation, many of the OTL Third World nations are more stable (though not all of them). That’s still relative, however- the Sudan is still not a nice place for example, and as for the Congo… :eek:. Many of them are still fairly authoritarian, though people aren’t as in danger of being shot every five minutes by local brigands, since the local national armies are more loyal to the governments, and like to kick warlord arse.
Unfortunately, though more advanced, the world is also far more militarised than OTL, especially thanks to metahuman geniuses.
There was no equivalent concept of the “Superpower” as it was IOTL- the *EU is the closest thing this world has to one, though it not the only major power.
The *EU (powered by supervillains
) started out as a free trade zone, similar to the version in AGB, eventually expanding into several other areas (some suspect former UK PM Sir Oswald Mosley of being a supervillain himself
). However, following decolonisation during the ’60s and ’70s, it transitioned into something closer to OTL, only good (and I say that as a Europhile
). However, it also includes members and territory outside Europe itself, like Israel and France and Portugal’s respective overseas territories.
Britain’s economy is much stronger and more diverse than IOTL, along the lines of OTL France and Germany, having maintained a big, modernised manufacturing sector with weaker unions (though they still have a strong voice). Without the multiple devaluations of OTL, the pound is much stronger- closer to a 7:3 ratio with the OTL US$ instead of around 3:2.
Britain itself has transitioned into a semi-federal system; Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Greater London and the regions of England all have significant (if varying degrees of) devolution, with Westminster (now ~550 seats, elected by AV) mostly dealing with national issues. The House of Lords (of around 500) is more diverse, with the addition of non-permanent (negotiable term) and semi-permanent (can retire more easily) members. Though still appointed, there is an all-party committee that can approve or veto any new members, or the forcible ejection of current ones.
Though it no longer has Hong Kong, Britain still holds Aden and Socotra (and the nearby minor islands) as well as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are important parts of the *EU’s policy of “Pax Europa”. Cyprus (which had the English language taught primarily ITTL, instead of Greek), Malta, and the much smaller Israel are all dominions; they are also members of the *EU. It maintained a military base at Port Said until 1983, when it was returned to Egyptian control with the latter’s accession as an associated member of the EU.
Being a founding member of the *EU, British people (the Tories in particular) and media are also *far* less Eurosceptic than IOTL. However, there is a UKIP equivalent, though they are less popular and are considered rather on the loony side… (As is proper
Ireland’s history is also different. Following the Easter Rising of 1916, the more hardline republicans were rounded up by Royalist metahumans- the first public use of a superpowered team by a national government. Since then, things have been quiet, though on a low simmer for a while. Ireland gained dominion status in 1920, and has remained one ever since. Northern Ireland is also smaller, with the county of Fermanag staying within Ireland.
Elsewhere, alternate (slower) decolonisation has led to more former colonies becoming (and staying) Commonwealth Realms in addition to the OTL ones. Guyana is still a dominion for example; the British islands in the Lesser Antilles have joined together as the Union of the West Indies, with its capital at Roseau, Dominica. Canada also has the Caymans and the Turks and Caicos Islands as dependencies. Western Samoa is a dominion, as are Kiribati, Fiji, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Since 1980, all of the various dominions have a special relationship with the *EU.
Many of the former colonies of France have formed a Commonwealth-style association with her. Since 1967, the other members all have a special relationship with the *EU, though its nature has evolved over time. Despite rejecting membership upon independence, Guinea eventually joined the French Commonwealth in 1981. France returned its port of Kwangchou (Zhanjiang) to China in 1999, a few days after Portugal returned Macau. However, it managed to hold on to a little more of its empire ITTL, integrating Djibouti and the Comoros as oversees départements.
The surviving Weimar Germany managed to convince the League of Nations (which developed both teeth and balls ITTL) to allow Anschluss with Austria and a plebiscite in Danzig, which led to it uniting with East Prussia. However, they didn’t get the Polish Corridor or the Sudetenland.
Portugal managed to hold onto its smaller colonies when the supervillain fascist government was replaced with a democratic one, integrating them into itself a la OTL France’s overseas territories. Portuguese Guiana and Goa are autonomous states, with a relationship to Portugal similar to how Puerto Rico is to the US in OTL.
Without WWII, Iceland is effectively a Danish Dominion-equivalent, rather than being a republic. Greenland is an autonomous province, as are the Faroe Islands.
Spain (which had AGB-style Republican victory) became democratic after Franco (closet supervillain) was “encouraged” to retire due to “poor health” (and local royalist metahumans), and the restoration of the Monarchy in 1971.
Italy is now fully democratic- civil liberties were gradually increased after the death of Mussolini (also a supervillain) in 1952. Libya became independent in 1976 (a republic from the start); Eritrea and the Italian Somaliland became independent in the mid ’80s.
The Netherlands still has a relationship with Suriname, West Papua and West Timor, which are dominion-equivalents. *Indonesia (slightly smaller ITTL) became a republic in 1979. The islands of Sumatra, Java and Borneo had been a dominion-equivalent since 1966; the other islands (except for West Papua and West Timor) joined them in 1977.
Yugoslavia managed to get its act together, more or less. It is a federal monarchy, with Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia all being divided into several provinces to prevent any single ethnicity from gaining too much power.
The other countries around the Mediterranean, along with Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the Vatican City, Portuguese Guinea, Goa and the Dutch Dominion-equivalents are associated states, which mean that they participate in the economic bits, but not the legal ones (unless they want to, which they do for most things). Turkey, which found a balance between religion and secularism ITTL, is currently on the track to full membership, slated for 2012. Both Morocco and Tunisia have recently asked to become full members, and are expected to do so some time around 2030 at the latest…
Additionally there is the European Space Administration, an umbrella organisation which covers the space agencies of several member nations – such as the joint-British Commonwealth effort (
) and the French one (which includes the members of the French Commonwealth) – as well as letting the other members take part. *ESA has established several medium sized and large space stations in orbit, and (thanks to supervillain technology) bases on the Moon, Mars and elsewhere in the solar system.
The dream of a united India is more or less dead. Similarly to AGB, several provinces declared their independence separate from the Dominion of India (created in the late 1930s) after a semi-fascist, supervillain-packed, anti-British government came in and proclaimed a republic (that wasn’t pretty, let me tell you
). Hyderabad, Sikkim, Mysore, Travancore, Kashmir and Baluchistan all managed to retain their monarchies, though the Hindu Raja of Kashmir isn’t all that popular amongst the more hardline Muslims in the region. The various Loyalist bits eventually became republics during the late ’70s and early ’80s after the nationalist government was replaced with a more moderate one- after dropping the irredentist rhetoric, the other Indians felt that they didn’t need the protection of Britain quite so much.
The KMT managed to crush Mao and his Communists, eventually leading to China becoming an authoritarian, but still democratic (more or less), capitalist state. However, it still lags behind the West in terms of technology (even though it is a bit more advanced than IOTL); its more patriotic resident supervillains and other metahumans are working to rectify that. Tibet is an autonomous province of the Republic, with the Dalai Lama as a figurehead leader. Though (slightly) better off compared to OTL, Tibet is still one of the poorest and least developed parts of China.
Japan is still quite powerful. Without a Pacific War, they are still fairly militaristic (helped by local metahumans), though they lost Manchukuo, Qingdao and Dailian to China in the Manchurian War of 1957-1961 (China had a lot more metahumans in its military, which overcame the other problems). However, Corea, Taiwan and Southern Sakhalin/Karafuto are still parts of the empire. Karafuto province is now solidly ethnic Japanese, and the Soviets have decided against attempting to retake it due to Japanese nukes and various other stuff. Corea is autonomous, with a similar level of devolution to Scotland IOTL. Taiwan has been flooded with ethnic Japanese over the years, so it is considered as a full part of Japan.
The USSR slowly evolved into a more democratic, slightly more capitalist state after the death of Stalin (almost certainly a supervillain), following a Deng-ist policy of economic liberalisation before embarking on expanding civil liberties. Without the Baltic States and Galicia (still part of Poland), the various SSRs are still mostly loyal to the union, though it changed its name in 1989 with the establishment of democracy (though only leftist parties exist so far). Nowadays, it is a properly federal state, unlike the Russia++ of the pre-reform Soviet Union.
India, China, Japan and the USSR all have their own space agencies, the latter two being the most developed. The Soviets and the Japanese also have moon bases and both conduct expeditions the rest of the solar system. In the spirit of cooperation, the USSR and China have recently finished a joint-space station, and the Russians are helping China to build its first large moon base.
Without union, Southern Africa is rather different ITTL. Cape Province (which still includes Southwest Africa) is still a dominion (the Dominion of the Cape), with its capital at Cape Town. Various other butterflies led to Black-led republican movements in Natal, Orange River and Transvaal, creating the Republic of Azania, which also includes Lesotho, Swaziland and Zululand as integrated monarchist states. Despite the fears of the Afrikaner population, Azania does respect the rights of its White minority.
Without Robert Mugabe and co in charge, Rhodesia (OTL Zimbabwe) is still the breadbasket of Africa and a full parliamentary democracy.
Iran is still ruled by a Shah, though TTL’s one is far more popular, especially with being more sensible- westernising reforms were gradual, instead of being thrown at the people who weren’t quite ready to accept them.
Afghanistan is also still a monarchy, especially without a Soviet invasion. Though the government is still very conservative, it isn’t anywhere nearly as bad as the Taliban.
Iraq is a fairly conservative republic. However, without a Saddam-style Ba’athist regime, both the Kurds and the Shia majority are better off. The extensive irrigation system, destroyed by the Mongols some seven hundred years previously, is being reconstructed, with the intent of restoring Mesopotamia’s former agricultural potential.
Without the bloody war of independence ITTL (no de Gaul being president, etc), a more stable Algeria is steadily becoming one of the most prosperous states in Africa. An extensive terraforming program is underway both here and Tunisia, intended to restore the region’s fertile belt that was devastated more than fifteen hundred years before.
Lebanon, being part of Syria ITTL, is *much* better off, especially with the overwhelmingly Sunni government in Damascus keeping an eye on the various minorities. Syria has so far declined all offers to join the French Commonwealth as a full member, though it has observer status since 1988.
Palestine is part of Jordan, and is stable and fairly prosperous, with the Jewish minority being mostly tolerated as long as they behave themselves. Although there are minor Jewish parties, equivalent to the SNP/Plaid Cymru etc., there aren’t any equivalents to Sinn Fein/Fatah/Hamas (at least, not officially). The king of the Transjordan was offered and accepted being ruler of the region (what, I get Jerusalem, really… of course I accept old chap), which was promptly annexed and the capital moved to Jerusalem.
Israel, being much smaller and less threatening, isn’t denounced ten thousand times a day by its neighbours. Unlike OTL, its government is elected using a Westminster-style FTP system rather than PR.
Argentina decided against invading the Falklands ITTL, what with all that supervillain technology parked on it… (
Cuba never became communist (not popular ITTL, with no Cold War, though there are a few socialist states in Latin America). Instead, it is a democracy, with its economy having diversified from just churning out sugar (for everyone rather than just the Soviets). Lately, it has become a key member of the Pax Europa’s sphere in the Americas.
Following the recent devastating earthquake, a LoN peacekeeping mission has been sent to Haiti to maintain order.
But the biggest and most noticeable difference is in the United States. Due to butterflies, the Democrats have stayed conservative, and the Republicans more centrist. Without either WWII or the Pacific War, the US was rather more insular, concentrating on its own economic recovery, which took a bit longer ITTL. However, its more pragmatic foreign policy meant that it was held in higher regard elsewhere, until the events of the mid 1970s…
Unlike elsewhere, American supervillains have caused an inevitable Balkanising America™, which is in an actual civil war (unlike the OTL one, which is ITTL now called the War of the Southern Secession).
There are not one but *two* Loyalist factions, one very conservative (mostly Democrats) and one less so (mostly Republicans), and several secessionist regions, such as Ohio, Michigan, and Florida. California (well, the coast, anyway) and New England have become de facto Associated members of the *EU, despite the fact EU-Can (the joint European and Canadian forces) supports the Republican Loyalists… (
To stop the situation from getting totally out of control, a LoN joint-taskforce has been created. Most troops are provided by the EU, Canada or Japan (which returned to the LoN after sulking for a bit after losing Manchukuo), with others sent from the Pax Europa nations, the USSR or China.
The LoN has established a peacekeeping zone along the west bank of the Mississippi, as well as part of Minnesota. *EU and Canadian forces have occupied several areas around the former US-Canada border, in order to prevent groups, like those that control Michigan and New Jersey, from expanding unchecked. Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the overseas territories are also under LoN jurisdiction (especially Guam, to stop Japan from getting ideas; ditto with the Soviets and the Aleutian Islands and Alaska). The various space-based American assets have also been placed under LoN protection, though in practice they are run by the New England provisional government.
A supervillain-controlled Mexico has invaded the Southwest, in an attempt to create a puppet regime there, and regain the Gadsden Purchase.
Michigan is controlled by a hard-line socialist group. Though they would like to see a communist USA, they would much prefer to be left alone please, if you don’t mind, oh, and we’ll take as much of the Old Northwest with us as we can get away with…
Ohio is furious at the capture of Toledo by Michigan, and promises eternal revenge against its neighbour (at least until it regains it, anyway). Though it doesn’t hate the Loyalists per say, it doesn’t quite want to stay in the US as long as the communists still rule unchecked in Michigan.
Speaking of the Old Northwest, Wisconsin is a battleground, with the Canadians in the north and the Europeans in the middle, fighting Michigander forces, who control much of the south, along with northern Illinois and Indiana.
New Jersey is, well, New Jersey (
). It is run by some crazy supervillain guy who likes dressing up as the grim reaper for some reason (any ideas?
). They are Super-duper Evil™, and want to create a Greater New Jersey Empire, invading the surrounding territory to spread its general horribleness. At its height, it took all of Greater NYC and Philadelphia, along with Delaware and much of eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland, though EU-Can and Loyalists forces have pushed them out of many of those areas…
Washington State was taken over by Microsoft-Yahoo! (which still exist, despite the butterflies
), which has turned it into an Evil Corporate State™. Currently, however, they only control the western two-fifths of the state, with Greater Montana having occupied much of the interior.
Shock, horror, the Mormons *aren’t* trying to secede and create a Theophilic State of Deseret!!!!! (:eek
In fact, they support the conservative Loyalist faction, though they are fairly autonomous…
Naturally, there are neo-Confederates in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, and South Carolina is seceding… (*sigh*)
Unlike the secessionist groups, the Huston clique is actually a *very* conservative regime, which wants to take control of the government instead of the government, though some members increasingly consider seceding as genuine alternative.
Similarly, so is Greater Montana, which is run by a heavily bearded supervillain warlord with a fondness for chainsaws. He detests the Canadians for their occupation of American lands, and longs for some very disproportionate payback, courtesy of his mecha-equipped forces. (Who could that be, I wonder?
Elsewhere, everyone else in the former US are just trying to stay out of the way…
Unfortunately, something wicked this way comes, and sides will be chosen, one way or another.