If this parallel could have a ranking higher than Z-10, it would – which, given the apparently unremarkable nature of the alternate, might seem odd to the casual researcher. When originally surveyed, Swedenborg-1 was misclassified as merely being one of the relatively common alternates where parachronics were not invented: its lack of mana was likewise presumed to be not particularly noteworthy. What research was done on the world was mostly to determine whether or not it was what echoes turn into when they hit 1998.
This fortunately meant that there were relatively few people on Homeline present on Swedenborg-1 when it became apparent that the alternate in fact was dominated by two factions of supernatural entities that not only resembled traditional “angels” and “demons:” they referred to themselves as angels and demons, and had the raw power and supposed history to back up their claims. This in itself might not have made Infinity panic, but the demonstrated proof of an afterlife (on Swedenborg-1, at least) did. Fortunately for the Secret, no-one from Homeline had actually died yet on the timeline; and a full retreat and quarantine has given the I-Cops the hope that the inhabitants remain ignorant of the universes outside their own.
An epic war between “Heaven” and “Hell” rages beyond the notice of the mundane world.
Officially: 1998, with the non-invention of parachronics. Unofficially, arguably anywhere from 14,000 BC to the Big Bang.
Western (Empire with rivals), Chinese (empire), Orthodox (Empire with rivals), Indic (Empire)
People’s Republic of China (Ogliarchy, CR5), Republic of India (representative democracy, CR4), Russian Republic (Dictatorship, CR3), United Kingdom (representative democracy, CR3), United States of America (representative democracy, CR3)
Mana Level: none (standard); normal (nonstandard)
Centrum Zone: Red
Infinity Level: Z10
On the surface, the world is normal enough; like many timelines that apparently had the lack of parachronics as its divergence point, it has suffered from terrorist attacks in the beginning of the new millennium and is still dealing with the consequences of the same, over half a decade later. The USA remains the most powerful nation on the planet, although – again as usual – both the PRC and the ROI are gearing up to be rivals (in this particular alternate, the USA appears likely to eventually ally with the latter against the former). No world wars appear to be looming, but the usual brushfire conflicts over poor resource allocation show no sign of disappearing.
This is all a façade.
Infinity does not know whether or not the supernatural inhabitants of Swedenborg-1 are in fact “angels” and “demons” who serve either “the Seraphim Council” or “Lucifer;” while the theologies of the various religions remain the same in both this timeline’s and Homeline’s, the mythologies are only superficially similar. What evidence has been gathered from either of the two factions (plus a third, much weaker one, which mostly seems made up of supernatural entities usually associated with various polytheistic religions) suggests that Heaven and Hell are largely content to ignore human religions and institutions except where they might impact their own private War. While there are profound philosophical and ethical differences between the two factions, apparently members of one are capable of moving to the other – and do so on a regular basis.
The most common supernatural entities to be found on Swedenborg-1 are angels and demons. There seem to be various “breeds” of both, complete with common supernatural abilities. The verified examples of same include: lie detection, mental domination, the ability to track anyone anywhere, hyper-reflexes, entropy control, perfect empathy, emotional domination, detection of moral transgressions, forced loyalty, body possession, mind control, perfect awareness of relationships, and psychic vampirism. Sub-faction leaders (called “Archangels” and “Demon Princes” by locals; Infinity simply refer to them as “gods”) also offer a large number of specialized abilities of varying power. There are also numerous human servants, including post-mortem ones. Their abilities are usually much weaker, but still formidable.
Normally, Infinity would simply ban all contact with Swedenborg-1 and be done with it. Unfortunately, the timeline is a place where literal miracles occur on a regular basis. If the resources there could be tapped, the payoff could be nigh-unlimited. The I-Cops thus compromise by allowing a bare trickle of researchers – as in, one at a time – to visit the timeline for long enough to set up particular experiments, then return. The current (indeed, only) research focus is on developing a reliable method of detecting supernatural entities; once that happens, Infinity hopes to be able to risk more missions on Swedenborg-1. Whether or not the Cabal is active on this timeline is a question of some interest to Infinity, and particularly I-SWAT (which has been not so much rumored to have recruited from this timeline as it has been simply been assumed).
While Centrum knows about this timeline, it apparently fears it: once its nature was discovered, Centrum immediately abandoned all of its non-portable equipment and evacuated on the spot. Infinity is worried that at least one Centran has died on Swedenborg-1, which might mean that the information quarantine was doomed before it started…
There are currently five Swedenborg-type timelines found and identified as such (All Q7), the other four known are paired interestingly. On Swedenborg-2 and -3, the difference between the Heaven and Hell factions are much more sharply defined; Heaven is apparently winning their War in Swedenborg-2, while Hell is steadily more powerful in Swedenborg-3. In contrast, in Swedenborg-4 and -5 the difference between the two factions is much blurrier. On Swedenborg-4, this has resulted in a fairly run-down alternate world; but in Swedenborg-5 the general mood is much brighter.
What Infinity does not know yet is that there are at least two more worlds that should be designated as Swedenborg. One is a timeline where the faction leader “Lucifer” was victorious: it is currently designated as Taiping-3 (Q7); Infinity knows it mostly as an inexplicably-degrading alternate where entropy keeps increasing in bizarre ways. The second is a world where one particular faction sub-leader was destroyed in 1008 AD instead of another: unknown to Infinity, Centrum has misfiled it as Minus One/Y/2000.12.21, a steampunk alternate with an odd amount of not-precisely-recognizable technology.
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