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Old 12-18-2012, 02:40 AM   #2
Prince Charon
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Default Re: Five Earths, All in a Row

* Since I've already hinted at the nature of one of these Earths, let's talk about that one. It's the furthest ahead of us in orbit, 26 light-seconds and a little less than three calendar days 'later' (well, if we were in the same year), and it's the one we're getting the most radio chatter from. Due to the time of day, one of the first transmissions starts with random telegraph beeping and "Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press." This is the Earth of 1940, and Weird War II rages in Europe, while the USA tries to maintain its neutrality in the growing conflict (while quietly preparing to be dragged in). It is not, however, the 1940 that we are familiar with.

This is a Dieselpunk Earth, and to a lesser degree, a Wold Newton Earth (although a lot more blatantly abnormal than most WN Earths). On the radio, 'fictional' scientists like Dr. Clark Savage, Jr. and Ted Knight are interviewed, and people speculate about whether the new Earths are related to the Rogue Planet Crisis of 1934, or the Martian Invasion of Europe, back in 1895 (the year Wells started work on WotW in OTL, interestingly enough). Telescopes, once properly aimed and adjusted, will see strange sights over New York, as the original Human Torch and his sidekick Toro fight crime. Also seen would be the original Green Lantern. Other Mystery Men are less easily spotted, but there's a Superman, a Captain America, Bat-Man, Wonder Woman, Uncle Sam, and Captain Marvel. There's a volcanically-heated patch of Antarctica where dinosaurs and giant apes still live, and a few flags flying in places where they shouldn't be - flags of fictional nations and territories. There's a Wakanda in Africa, a Latveria in Eastern Europe (currently under Nazi occupation, as Doom hasn't gotten his Doctorate, yet), a Turk County in Maryland, and an Arkham County in Massachusetts, but relatively little of the geology is different - a few hot spots where they shouldn't be, or lack of them where they should, some extra mountains and rivers, and even a few more islands and paeninsulae... and there appears to be a walled village at the North Pole.

Technologically, this Earth is ahead of our 1940 by varying amounts: a few Gloster Meteors already spar with V-1s and Me 262s over the English Channel, while British Rocket Group missiles bomb German cities, and V-2s return the favor (it's mostly conventional fighters and bombers on both sides, though). Blackhawk Squadron's modified Grumman Skyrockets use the same engines as the Meteors. High above, British 'armoured' dirigibles and German Zeppelins serve as AWACS craft, high-altitude (wildly inaccurate) bombers, and occasionally duel each other with deadly masersHeat Rays! In a remote part of Nevada, the US Army is working on something that looks like a Mackie-variant with all-ballistic armament, and an internal combustion engine - and they're not the only ones working on walkers, though only they have one as big as the four-legger the Germans are testing. Military vacuum tubes mostly use an eccentric design, with simple circuits integrated into each tube, rather than individual diodes, triodes, and such. Rocketry is well past where it should be, though no-one has been able to duplicate the fuel or engine that Dr. Zharkov's rocket used, which crossed nearly a light-minute in less than a week - and of course, neither he nor his assistants ever returned from the rogue planet Mongo (which vanished, but not in the dramatic fashion these Earths appeared - it just got blurry and translucent, then transparent, and was gone). If only he hadn't kept his notes in the rocket-shed. There's a lot of primitive television signals among the radio traffic, far more than we'd expect of 1940, though many of them seem to consist of villainous madmen ranting at their minions (their Germany has more TVs per capita than anywhere else on Dieselpunk Earth, outside of their NYC). The probe mentioned above has RADAR, black & white TV cameras (both visible and infrared - the visible being in a group of three, with red, green, and blue filters, to simulate colour) with telescopes, and a good transmitter, but its main power comes from mercury boilers, which aren't exactly light - and when the tinfoil mirrors unfold, they're bigger than the rest of the probe (not counting the radiators or expendable boosters), which is itself about the size of an Apollo CSM.

Beyond the mundane technology on Dieselpunk Earth, there are far stranger things. The Super Soldier Serum, Starman's Gravity Rod, and many other devices of this world really should not exist, or be able to do what they did. Analysis of samples taken from the spent boosters of that probe, for example, show that the fuel could have produced a most a fifth of the energy that it was clearly observed to. Likewise, there are a few people with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men (or women)... but not as far as the comic books often take it. Superman is more powerful than a locomotive, but not by so much as to lift a battleship, or even a light destroyer (though he's currently tougher than the article suggests, due to continuous, if slow, power growth). For that matter, he can't quite fly under his own power yet, as he's only just beginning to learn to expand his use of psychokinesis beyond enhancing his own body (if he hadn't met Dr. Fate earlier in the year, he'd still think he's 'just' incredibly tough, strong, and fast), and has only recently developed 'X-Ray Vision' (line-of-sight Clairvoyance). He could survive being hit by an artillery cannon, but it would hurt him, and an atomic bomb might kill him - then again, it might make him more powerful than you could possibly imagine. Despite the existence of Superman, there appears to be no Clark Kent, though there was a man using the name 'Hugo Danner', whom Superman resembles in the Foreign Legion in WWI, who later served in an American battalion under a Major Ingall.

Continued next post, due to character limit.
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.
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