This recently discovered Quantum 7 timeline is particularly worrisome to Homeline. Like the other Gotha worlds, it was subject to a hideous plague that turned its victims into psychopathic cannibals; however, on Gotha-20 the disease ended up mutating itself out of full potency. The survivors are expanding back into an almost-emptied world.
The ‘almost’ is the problem.
A few surviving nations explore a world gone mostly to the charnel pit.
1871: Stanley meets Livingstone at Ujiji, and is promptly infected by the Gotha virus. Most nations collapse in the resulting spread of the plague before it burns itself out.
Chinese (diffuse), Islamic (diffuse), Western (diffuse)
Chinese Republic (ogliarchy, CR2), the Emirate of Afghanistan (feudal dictatorship, CR3), Mongolian Empire (feudal dictatorship, CR3), Republic of California (representative democracy, CR2), Republic of Deseret (theocracy, CR3), Republic of Tasmania (representative democracy, CR1), Republic of Yucatan (ogliarchy, CR3): note that the lingering effects of the Gotha plague have affected most nations’ Control Ratings.
TL: 4/5, (5 in California)
Mana Level: low
Centrum Zone: Red (due to Gotha plague)
Infinity Level: Z8
Out of Africa
There is no one alive on Gotha-20 that knows this – including anyone from either Infinity or Centrum – but the divergence point for this world took place when David Livingstone and party contracted a variant of the Gotha virus while during his search for the source of the Nile. Henry Stanley’s expedition merely ensured that infected victims would make it back to first Egypt, then Asia, then Europe. Within three months civilization was busily tearing itself to pieces in a cannibalistic orgy. The only thing that saved humanity was that this timeline’s Gotha virus was itself prone to quick mutation: by the time it reached the farthest corners of the world it had actually lost most of its virulence, including its ability to be transmitted via a respiratory vector. This was not enough to save most of the planet (even 30 years after the plagues, Gotha-20’s current world population is somewhere around 25 million), but it did permit some organized political units above the town level to survive the disaster.
Currently, true civilization consists of a belt of territory from California to the Yucatan in North America, pockets of what was once China, the Afghan highlands and the former colony of Tasmania. Everywhere else is rapidly reverting back to a wild state, populated only by the thinning Gotha zombie packs and what few settlements have managed to survive them. The Republic of California is probably the most powerful successor state, followed closely by the Republic of China (not founded by Sun Yat-Sen, although he is an official in it, as well as about the only analogue to a public figure from Homeline found thus far); neither seems particularly well suited to be the nucleus of a new empire, although everyone in the world is happy to buy Californian guns and Chinese rockets (Gotha zombies react badly to fireworks).
Members of Infinity grimly joke that Gotha-20 would be a perfect place for the horror Western tourist trade. It’s not hard to see why: civilization on this timeline consists of either small towns surrounded by exceptionally empty wilderness, or fortified small towns surrounded by violently insane cannibals. If it weren’t for the presence of the Gotha virus, this timeline would be admirably suited for mineral and cultural exploitation. As it is, Homeline gingerly researches the plague, encourages Californian and Chinese exploration and does what it can for the more isolated fortified townships.
Centrum does know of this alternate, and Interworld seems to be doing its own research on the Gotha virus here. It has not shown any marked interest in improving the lot of the indigenous population, and in fact seems indifferent to Infinity’s own work. This is very anomalous for Centrum, given that the Gotha plague should resonate with its own experiences in the Final War. On the other hand, it is possible that Interworld has more important things to worry about. Infinity isn’t sure, but it appears that Centrum does not let people come back from Gotha-20, ever. This implies that perhaps Centrum’s worries about the Gotha virus are slightly less theoretical than those of Infinity’s…
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