Garner [Quantum 6] [GURPS 4e]

Garner [Quantum 6]

In Reality Garner, President-Elect Franklin Roosevelt was assassinated in 1933 by Giuseppe Zangara, just like in the highly dangerous Reich-5 timeline.  But unlike on Reich-5, Vice-President Elect John Nance Garner then went on to have two reasonably effective terms before handing over the Presidency to Republican Wendell Willkie in 1940.  It’s now 1942, and Willkie is busy fighting World War II. The war is going roughly the same as it did on Homeline, and there’s no real indication that the Allies are going to lose the war against the Axis.

So it’s amazing how flat-out nasty the out-time interference is getting.  There’s already been sabotage, skullduggery, corruption, and even a couple of suspicious deaths among Infinity personnel, with no end in sight.  And note that this is all internal; the usual fight between Infinity and Centrum over the Garner timeline is positively civilized by comparison.

Garner, 1942 AD

Current Affairs

A brutal World War provides cover for a remarkably vicious internal fight among elements of Infinity.

Divergence Point

1933: President-Elect Franklin Roosevelt assassinated; Vice President-Elect John Nance Garner takes office.

Major Civilizations

Equivalent to Homeline’s, circa 1943.

Great Powers

Equivalent to Homeline’s, circa 1943.

Worldline Data

TL: 6

Quantum: 6

Mana Level: None

Centrum Zone: Red

Infinity Level: R5 (recently switched from Z5)

There were a few days where it was unclear whether Roosevelt’s assassination would provoke a constitutional crisis in a country that was already dealing with the Great Depression.  In the end, however, the American people tacitly and collectively decided that the intent of the Constitution was that John Nance Garner (later usually called JNG) would be the new President, and that was the end of it.  Certainly JNG himself thought so; and his own coterie of Texan fixers and politicos made sure that he ended up running the show.

While JNG’s anti-Depression program was still called the “New Deal,” it ended up being significantly different than Roosevelt’s. JNG focused on agricultural relief, attempting to mitigate the effects of both the Dust Bowl and the Midwest bank failures; his administration also set up work projects like the CCC and TVA (and repealed Prohibition).  But other major programs and laws like Social Security, the NRA, Wagner Act, Glass-Steagall, and the Housing Act were either never made into law, or else passed in a much weakened form.

JNG also actively opposed attempts to formally bring in organized labor and African-American voters to the Democratic coalition, with the final split occurring when he ordered in the military to break up the GM strike in 1936 (once the election was over).  This obviously did not hurt JNG in the 1936 election, but effectively made it impossible for his nominal heir apparent (Henry Wallace, who had been put on the ticket in 1936 as a sop to progressives) to beat Wendell Willkie in 1940. The presence of Huey Long on a third party ticket merely ensured a Republican victory.

Willkie had been a former Democrat, but switched parties to run on an avowedly internationalist position favoring Western Europe.  His preparations for war were about equal to FDR’s on Homeline when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. It is now November of 1942; the Russians have just won the battle of Stalingrad, and the allies have landed in North Africa.  The most noticeable changes to the war have been mostly domestic: Willkie actively pushes for integrating the military, refused to order the detention of Japanese-American citizens after Pearl Harbor (to some criticism, after a few nasty incidents on the West Coast), and reversed restrictive immigration quotas on Jewish and other refugees in early 1941.  The long-term effects of these policies have yet to be seen.

But there is one other, potentially critical issue.  On Homeline, Wendell Willkie died after a series of heart attacks in October of 1944 — and his Vice President (Charles L. McNary) died of a brain tumor in February of 1944.  Absent intervention, this will likely happen again, which could very possibly make the Secretary of State (currently Arthur Vandenburg) the next President of the United States.  The long-term effects of that have yet to be seen, either.

Outworld Involvement

The lesser, more civilized conflict first: Infinity and Centrum both feel that the Allies should win this war, both agree that the Russians should end up with considerably less influence afterward, and both are aware that Willkie and McNary will likely die in 1944.  Vandenburg is an acceptable successor to both organizations, for different reasons; it is widely (and correctly) assumed that Centrum had Huey Long die in a hotel fire and that Infinity arranged for Henry Wallace’s career to be wrecked via revealing his connections with Theosophy.  The secret war between the two organizations is not a phony one, but it is about a decade away from being worth fighting in full.

But the internal fight among Infinity’s various departments, affiliated groups, and general hangers-on? …Hoo, boy.

The basic problem is that Reality Garner suggests that Reich-5’s history was not the inevitable result of FDR getting assassinated in 1933.  JNG in Reich-5 was considerably less resolute in that timeline than he is on Garner’s, and existing arguments that he acted differently from his counterpoint on Homeline have been reinforced by his largely successful two terms in office on Garner.  This ties into a larger domestic political argument on Homeline over the general value of the New Deal; while Reality Garner does not settle the issue entirely, it does help counter previous conventional wisdom over the success of FDR’s domestic policies.

Which is actually not important.  What is important is that there are considerable amounts of funding and reputation woven into this policy dispute.  Homeline has always had the problem that historical-focused institutions are in an excellent position to make quite a lot of money out of exploiting other timelines; and academia can attract a certain type of excitable scholar. Combine the two, and you can end up with people who are willing to spend a little discretionary cash to ensure the historical record gets ‘clarified’ so as to prove one’s own pet hypothesis.  This can sometimes involve hired bravos in an alley, with sticks.

And that’s just the academics.  Some of Homeline’s grifters and hustlers (both private, and corporate) have realized that whoever is Secretary of State in 1944 is going to be President in 1948.  There’s a good deal of money in making sure that the right guy’s in office at that point, especially if the Iron Curtain is eventually put up somewhere east of Krakow.  This attitude is not entirely absent from the ranks of the I-Cops, either (Centrum’s one Unattached agent assigned to Garner finds such petty motivations unworthy of consideration by a well-ordered intellect). The two conflicts are beginning to feed off each other, at this point; the excesses of one gives cover to the other, and vice versa.

How bad is it?  Well, ‘they’ (whoever ‘they’ are) finally managed to get Garner reclassified from Class Z (Closed) to R (Research).  It’s much, much easier for accredited organizations to get approved to work in R-class timelines — and the system is swamped with groups pouring in to get in on the action.  But that just means more work all around, really. At least, that’s what the I-Cops tell themselves. When they’re not idly wondering if it would really be so bad to have Centrum take over this timeline, and let them sort this all out.

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