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Old 12-18-2012, 02:34 AM   #1
Prince Charon
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Default Five Earths, All in a Row

Due to the length of the post if it were all in one, I'm going to put the sections of it in separate posts, then edit links to the later sections into the OP. There will be tl;dr summaries at the end of each section in bold red, which is also how I plan to mark the game statistics. This was originally written for other boards, so some of you may find some of the GURPS references in the fluff redundant.

On December 21st, 2012, in flashes of light reminiscent of Q (from Star Trek) teleporting something, four new Earth-Moon systems appear, two on either side of us. Shortly thereafter, the Large Hadron Collider, and other cyclotrons and advanced particle sensors, get some very strange readings, and scientists discover a few new particles (said particles, being slightly slower than light, took a while to appear). Each system, including ours, is separated by precisely thirteen light-seconds from barycentre to barycentre (meaning that the two furthest Earths are 26 light-seconds away from our Earth-Moon system, and 52 light-seconds from each other), along the same orbit - the line of sight distance is of course a bit shorter (apparent sizes noted here; the flashes are a little under twice as big as each body, not the whole Earth-Moon system). This means that each Earth is a little less than a day and a half off from its nearest neighbors, and a little less than three days from the next furthest ones.

EDIT: A couple of useful quotes, with illustrations, from the thread on, to help you get an idea of what the Earths would look like in the sky:

Originally Posted by Random832
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Our moon shown centered for reference. Distance between other earth and its moon shown to scale. It would definitely be resolvable as a disc, not just "barely", and would dominate the sky when the moon is not present, even taking into account that we'd actually only see about half the disc. (and only half our moon, either, when it's positioned between them as in the image)

The distance between earth and the moon is 1.28 light seconds, so there would be a noticeable size swing between when the other moon is close to us vs on the far side of the other earth.
<Incorrect diagram removed.>
Originally Posted by Random832
New scale diagram, with correct angles, better visible earths, and 100% less trigonometry. (that the 13 light second distance is specified as an arc length lets me avoid having to use sines or tangents)

Note that earth itself is not to scale - it's not nearly a pixel - but the position angles are, along with the orbit and the sun. (the sun may actually be one pixel off)

This should be incredibly dangerous, due to their gravitational fields perturbing the orbits of everything around them, but that isn't happening. Astronomers find, at first, no evidence of gravity coming off the other Earths, beyond things that appear with them orbiting them. After a while, though, a scientist watching one of the closer Earths notices a meteor appearing, passing through the system, being perturbed by its gravity, moving on, and then completely vanishing about three light-seconds away from that Earth. So, might these Earth-Moon systems be giant, incredibly detailed holograms?

No, that wouldn't be weird enough. What we see are Earths in alternate dimensions, visible through permanent 'portals' or 'quasi-wormholes' (for lack of a better term) created by a being or beings of immense power and boredom (who probably chose the date just to troll people). Any orbital path that leaves one Earth-Moon system, curved to intersect with another, will pass through the 'portal'. A vehicle on that course would note that at three light seconds from its starting Earth, three of the E-M systems vanish - specifically, the ones that are neither its starting point, nor its destination. Probes or other vessels not on a course for another Earth notice all four other Earths vanishing at three light-seconds out (unless that Earth's visible zone is behind, so to speak, their starting Earth), as they're out of the light cone emitted by the portals. When a vessel that is on course for another E-M system gets within three light-seconds of its destination, the stars and planets change, as the vehicle has passed into the new dimension.

This phenomenon is discovered when a large probe is launched from the system furthest ahead of us in the Earths' orbit (supposedly by a 'lone genius and his students', according to the radio, though they do have some wealthy sponsors) on a path for our system, and does not vanish when it gets three light seconds from that Earth. Instead, it continues on course, passing through a smallish asteroid without being damaged, nor damaging or perturbing it at all (it's still in the other dimension, and doesn't even see it), until it gets within three light-seconds of our Earth. At that point, another burst of those exotic particles occurs, much fainter than when the Earths appeared, and anything capable of detecting its gravity, does, as it's now on our dimension. The journey takes a little under a month for the unmanned probe, and that's only because they had a few solid rocket boosters in orbit, and mated them to the probe by remote control. It's very visible when slowing down. One observer described the probe's appearance as 'Like the Kerbal Space Program with a Dieselpunk mod.' It was originally planned as a Mars probe, but we're closer, thus both easier (could be done with just the boosters they already had in orbit) and more urgent (huge amounts of very sophisticated radio signals, not to mention what their telescopes are telling them). The probe was launched five days after the new Earths appeared, and broke orbit of its Earth two days later (it takes time to get the boosters mated, check everything that can be checked, and quintuple-check the math). After its last deceleration booster is expended (said booster falling into Earth's atmosphere, and burning up), it uses a few liquid-fuel rockets to settle into a stable orbit, 2,000 miles (3,218 km) above our Earth (the next-to-last booster settles into a lower, less stable orbit, near the ISS, and in range of a Soyuz; they might even use one of the ones that are already there by then, if it can be refueled in orbit, or has enough spare fuel).

Its arrival in orbit will have vast political consequences on all five Earths.

Dieselpunk Earth

Steampunk Earth

Clockpunk Earth

Fantasy Earth

Magic system notes


TL;DR: Four new Earths show up on 12/21/2012, two to either side of us: Dieselpunk, Steampunk, Clockpunk, and Fantasy. Weirdness and magic ensue.

All parts now posted.

Much Later EDIT: Frequently Asked Questions link.
Warning, I have the Distractible and Imaginative quirks in real life.

"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 9/28/2020: On Torture article has been posted.

Last edited by Prince Charon; 09-20-2020 at 09:25 PM.
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