ASH: Alternate Timeline - Cybertank ASH

Drew Perron pwerdna at
Mon Jul 9 12:32:50 PDT 2018

On 7/2/2018 1:17 PM, Dave Van Domelen wrote:
> has all the miniatures that
> this timeline justifies.

The OGREs themselves have a really cool design, TBH. Weird with a capital W.

>       The first twelve thousand years of history for this alternate universe
> are identical to the history of the "Mainline" ASH, but it diverges sharply
> in 1998.

Re-reading the timeline inspired some thoughts on the nature of ASH and the 
ideas it comes out of, but they're vague and would require more research 
(re-reading the ASH archives, oh noes~) and are probably for a whole essay, not 
just a reply. <3 So I'll skip to the new stuff.

> 1998, July 6 - The Causality Wars bleed over into modern times, apparently the
>       "Something Big" that the mystics had been predicting.  Millions upon
>       millions die as their chosen gods drain them of lifeforce to power
>       themselves in combat with other Magi.  Entire Third-World countries, more
>       susceptible to the lure of the Godmarket than more cynical developed
>       nations, are nearly depopulated overnight.  Only a desperate gambit led
>       by the world's most powerful mages, both good and evil, saves the world
>       from total destruction as godlings start taking energy from even those
>       not worshipping them.  However, the cost of this salvation is high: every
>       single person on Earth with even a hint of the Magene disappears from the
>       very fabric of reality.  Unlike in the Mainline ASH universe, those
>       involved in the plan decide it's worth the effort to catch even those
>       who are not currently on Earth, such as the lost-in-space Solar Max.
>       This results in an even stronger Barrier.

Interesting. I kind of figured that they didn't because they couldn't, not 
because there was a risk-benefit analysis involved - but the level of Pure 
Magical Weirdness involved opens up a lot of possibilities.

>       It starts
>       to become clear that there are no more supernormals being born to
>       replace those who vanished.

Aha, because of the improved Barrier.

> 2018 - The United World body is established, replacing the United Nations.
>       It has no more power (some say less) than the UN had, but is more powerful
>       in two important areas: Extraterrestrial sanctions, and the Net
>       (which some wags point out is almost extra-terrestrial anyway).

This is such a 1998 way of putting it. X3

> 2018-2022 - The Anchorites largely move to Chinese territory and focus on
>       eliminating various mythical creatures left behind in the wake of the
>       Godmarket.  In the process, they expose a conspiracy by a trio of
>       powerful animal spirits to subvert the government.  This grants a
>       strong sense that the government has the Mandate of Heaven, and
>       China begins openly trading with the Pranir in contravention of
>       international treaties.

Ahhhhh, nice play on that plotline. :o

>       The United World founders, becoming little
>       more than a forum where the Combine and Eurasian Union complain about
>       Khadam and China.  The Muslim Confederation simply refuses to
>       participate, and neutral Australia starts to consider whether they
>       should explicitly align themselves with one of the major world powers.


> 2023 - Doctor Developer is ceded the city of Detroit and several counties
>       around it as a private enclave in which to test out his ideas on
>       municipal (and social) engineering.  Rumors abound regarding what he
>       might have paid in exchange.

Dun dun dunnn...

>       Any ACs created by non-Khadamite
>       nations are confined to "cybertanks" that let them interact with the
>       world while being incapable of leaving their tank.

Ohhhhh. Interesting - I thought it was tanks in the warfare sense and not so 
much in the holding cell sense.

> 2025-2035 - While a handful of human natural geniuses such as Doctor
>       Developer are able to continue analyzing and integrating Santari tech
>       with Terran, it has become clear that only the cybertank-ACs are
>       fast enough and tireless enough to make significant advances.

Huh. "Significant" is doing a lot of work in this sentence; it gives the feeling 
of "the powers that be demand ridiculously fast technological change so they can 
accumulate exponentially higher levels of profit off the surplus value generated 

> 2036 - With over a generation having passed with no supernormals born, the
>       Interdict status placed on Earth by the Planetary Confederation is
>       downgraded to "protected primitive culture" status.

Wonk waa~

>       Corps representative Delta Rose warns Earth's
>       governments that their use of Santari-derived technology, especially
>       cybernetics, may leave them vulnerable to legal action that would
>       give one or more of the Great Houses an excuse to take ownership of
>       the world.

I love the way the Planetary Confederation is set up, pretending to be this free 
and fair union of worlds with meaningful interplanetary rules but really being a 
creaky and half-working empire whose rules are mostly excuses to further the 
cause of gaining and solidifying power.

> 2037 - Mysterious construction in Detroit is revealed to be the Mk I
>       Ontological Guardian Roving Engine...or OGRE.  Powered by a dedicated
>       cybertank, it gives new meaning to the term "cybertank."

There we go. :3

> 2037-2045 - The North American Combine produces OGREs alongside other
>       lesser forces based on Doctor Developer's designs, although the
>       original Mk I remains on station in Detroit as a testbed.  It is
>       more intelligent and flexible than the ACs used in production model
>       OGREs, and insists on being addressed as Jennifer when in social
>       situations.  Surprisingly, "Jennifer" is considered a fellow person
>       by the residents of Detroit, and the aging Doctor Developer hands
>       much of the day to day operation of the city over to the cybertank.

I'm interested as to why that is.

> 2046 - House Kasca shows up in Earth orbit claiming ownership of the
>       planet, having bought out the ownership contracts of every cyborg
>       on Earth as well as the intellectual property "stolen" by human
>       reverse-engineers.  While a disunited world debates what to do,
>       Scarlet McKay (aka Doctor Developer II) and Jennifer reply forcefully:
>       using carefully hoarded remant supertech that would still function,
>       Jennifer enters orbit and destroys two-thirds of the Kasca fleet
>       before herself being lost in a hyperspace explosion, ending what is
>       later called the One Day War.

Damn. :3 :3 :3 I love it.

(And then a bunch of war stuff happens~)

Drew "is here for the social science fiction" Perron

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