Marti [Quantum 4] [GURPS 4e]

Martí [Quantum 4] – Google Docs

Martí [Quantum 4]


Infinity uses this designation ironically: the divergence point for this world stems from the accidental death of Cuban pro-independence revolutionary José Martí in 1881.  His absence effectively prevented the Cuban War for Independence; faced instead with a significantly better-funded and American-controlled revolutionary army, Spain agreed to sell Cuba to the United States in 1896.  Ironically, the Spanish-American War happened anyway, more or less on schedule, leading to the outright annexation of the rest of Spain’s overseas colonial empire.


The year is now 1907. Teddy Roosevelt is President — his Rough Riders participated in the capture of Manila, and Roosevelt himself was instrumental in defusing the Philippine Crisis — and actively debating whether or not to run for President again, in defiance of tradition. His lack of a clear political successor in the Republican party, coupled with perennial Democratic candidate William Jenning Bryan’s clear willingness to campaign again on an anti-imperialist platform, is exceptionally tempting.  The political maneuvering has already begun.

Martí, 1907 AD

Current Affairs
A somewhat more imperial United States seems poised for a historic Presidential election.

Divergence Point
1881: José Marti is killed in a dockyard accident.

Major Civilizations
Equivalent to Homeline’s, circa 1907.

Great Powers
Equivalent to Homeline’s, circa 1907.

Worldline Data
TL: 6
Quantum: 4
Mana Level: None
Centrum Zone: None
Infinity Level: P8


On this timeline, José Martí is rather inaccurately remembered as a pro-American thinker and martyr whose ‘accidental’ death in 1881 was really yet another example of Spanish perfidy and subtle machinations. As far as Homeline researchers can tell, Martí was in fact simply killed by a malfunctioning New York dock crane; but as his death passed largely unnoticed at the time, the version that most people on Martí know is the one that the popular press promulgated during the Spanish-American War.  And that version of events is long on sentiment, and rather light on logic.


Absent José Martí, the Cuban revolutionary movement eventually became co-opted by pro-annexation factions inside the US government. The threat of a well-funded, supported Cuban filibuster army eventually persuaded the Spanish to sell the island to the United States in 1896; a Protectorate was swiftly established under the ostensibly local rule of José Miguel Gómez. Unfortunately for Spain, the USS Maine was still sent to Havana in 1898 to show American support for its new Protectorate.  It exploded right on schedule on February 15th, 1898, and the American press loudly blamed the explosion on Spaniard diehards protesting the effective annexation of Cuba.  War soon followed.


The Spanish-American War in this timeline was mostly a Pacific affair, although American forces did take the time to conquer Puerto Rico.  Significantly, Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders were still recruited, this time to fight in the Philippines; they were the first American forces to enter Manila on August 2. There are rumors that the Rough Riders were not supposed to actually fight Spanish forces, and that Roosevelt had been forbidden to bring Emilio Aguinaldo’s Philippine Revolutionary Army troops with him: the rumors are true, as are the ones that Roosevelt ignored both orders and took the city anyway. This almost destroyed Roosevelt’s political career; fortunately for him, the personal trust he inspired among Filipino revolutionary leaders allowed the USA to avoid an extremely nasty insurrection. In the end, the romanticism surrounding Roosevelt’s actions propelled him to the Vice Presidency, just like on Homeline.


And, just like on Homeline, Teddy Roosevelt has been President since 1901.  During his Presidency, Cuba (which includes Puerto Rico) and the Philippines were both formally made Protectorates of the United States. There was some controversy in 1904 when the US Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Williams ruled that citizens of those Protectorates were also citizens of the United States, albeit territorial ones (this was undoubtedly due to the arguments of newly-minted Justice William Howard Taft, who was broadly sympathetic to Filipino interests from his commission work there in 1900 and 1901). President Roosevelt in public tsk-tsks the result, but in private he often notes that this decision might prove useful, should the issue of statehood ever come up.  After all, the local Republican party is doing well in local elections in both Protectorates.


Elections, in fact, interest Teddy Roosevelt more and more these days.  He has no clear successor — Taft is certain to be the next Chief Justice, at least if a Republican is in office when the position becomes available, and Roosevelt cordially detests Vice President Fairbanks — and the Democrat in next year’s election is likely to be William Jennings Bryan, who is ready to cut loose all of America’s overseas possessions at this point. Which would, of course, tarnish Teddy’s legacy, if it happened.  So possibly Teddy Roosevelt can’t let that happen.


True, American President has served more than two terms. But then, is this not a new century?


Outworld Involvement


The only real reason Martí is not a P10 world is because there’s nothing really interesting there to currently justify tourism.  There are reasons for research teams: American Civil War historians in particular are eager to get access to records, battlefields, and testimony that are only forty years old, instead of a hundred and sixty.  But there’s not much call for sightseeing, outside of the usual Edwardian nostalgia trade.


On the other hand: academics love to fight over, about, and often actually in Martí.  The lack of actual Cuban and/or Filipino revolutions, and the (mostly benign) consequences thereof, have led to scholarly disputes that range all the way from bitter convention panel arguments, to actual bar brawls.  Teddy Roosevelt’s quasi-imperialism in particular is contentious, especially among those who would leave off the ‘quasi.’ If he runs for President again and wins, what will that mean for Latin America? The Far East? World War I?  


One of the most pernicious qualities of alternate timelines, if you’re an academic, is that it can produce extremely awkward counter-examples for one’s pet theories.  Not everybody handles that well. Problems with Homeline visitors to Martí usually fall into either the ‘well-meaning idiot’ or ‘cranky-arrogant idiot’ categories, but sometimes Infinity gets people who are ready to start up revolutions out of, apparently, sheer spite.


If Centrum was aware of this timeline (they are not), they would ignore virtually all of the academic squabbling going on and instead focus on the looming general European war.  Which, indeed, seems to be right on schedule to happen. And it’s likely to be just as vicious as it was on Homeline.


The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.

GURPS is a registered trademarks of Steve Jackson Games, and the art here is copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

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