This entry is part 5 in the series The Imperial History of Earth-Regency


Pieces Of Creation is an occasional recurring column at Campaign Mastery in which Mike offers game reference and other materials that he has created for his own campaigns.

All images used to illustrate this article are public-domain works hosted by Wikipedia, Wikipedia Commons, or derivations of such works.
 

The INS <em>Missouri</em>

The Empire Fractures – 1945-1953 (~100 years ago)

When the history lesson last drew to a close, the Mao had been forced to the peace table by the Imperial development of Nuclear Weapons, ending The Third Global War. When the Chinese cease-fire was signed aboard the INS (Imperial Naval Service) Missouri, the Empire looked forward to a period of relative calm. Regrettably, any such hopes were quickly to founder…..

State Of The Empire

It would be a mistake to view the Empire, at any given stage of its history, as a homogenous whole. Within the constraints imposed from above, each nation retained its own cultural and social identity. The integration of the new structure with the remnants of the old was frequently a turbulent and tumultuous process, and one which could rarely be said to be complete. In this history to date, much has been made of how the Empire as a whole behaved toward its individual constituents and how Imperial Politics concerned those members. Rather less attention has been given to the attitudes of the individual nations toward the Empire. Yet, as a matter of day-to-day practicality, to the ordinary person, these individual perspectives are easily at least as important as the overall broad picture.

A beautiful rendering of Napoleon Bonaparte, color by Jan Arkesteijn - Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image

France

France, for example, had a constant love-hate relationship with their Imperial Membership. At times, they were solidly pro-Empire, as their ongoing membership had clearly brought vast benefits to the Kingdom. France was the birthplace of Bonaparte, acknowledged as one of the greatest political and military figures in Imperial History – far more significant, if truth be told, than many of the actual occupants of the Imperial Throne. The problem was, mostly, that the ordinary British Citizen expected the French to be grateful – and over time, that rankled and irritated. Consequently, every decade or so, the French mood would do a complete backflip. But even when most disgruntled, things never went so far as to consider an attempted withdrawal from the Empire; when all was said and done, parts of France were the oldest non-British members of the Empire, and this seniority gave them considerable social status. And, of course, the sheer notion of an Empire was a romantic one, and the French have always been lovers of Romance.

The Colosseum photographed in 2003 by Andreas Ribbefjord

The rest of Europe

The Italians were never more than lukewarm and pragmatic members of the Empire. Surrounded by the relics and icons of an Empire which, in Italian hearts, was as great and powerful as that of the Modern Day, they had a perpetual chip on their shoulders about their perceived social status. The Spanish and Portuguese largely ignored the Empire so long as it ignored them, and simply carried on in the placid lifestyle to which they had become accustomed. The Swiss saw themselves as the arbiters of the Empire, the negotiators to whom all would turn when they sought an alternative channel to the Civil Servants. And the Russians were the downtrodden never-say-die pragmatic pessimists which kept Eastern Europe, and hence the Empire, secure from the Mao. They were the perpetual front lines, and took an almost-perverse pleasure in being ‘the rocks against which all attacks would eventually founder’. Austrio-Prussia were the cultural elitists of the Empire. And the Greeks claimed the kudos for inventing both the concepts of Empire (in the Western Sense) and Democracy; to them, the Empire was nothing more then the ultimate expression of Greek culture. Scandinavia saw itself as the fountainhead of morals and ethics within the Empire, the most socially progressive and enlightened nations within the Imperial family.

The Pacific

Australia and New Zealand maintained a larrikin independence – they always rallied ’round when the chips were down, but they did it because their national pride demanded it, not because of any overwhelming love of the Empire – not that they were in any way disloyal; on the contrary, there were few members as staunch. South & Central America, like the Spanish, played no significant role within the Empire, and were happy to leave things that way so long as they were left alone in turn.

The USK

The Americans, as is usually the case, had a mildly smug attitude towards the Empire. To them it was clear that they were the engine that kept the Empire functioning and intact. It was their contributions that decided the wars, they who had fought the Mao to a standstill. Their industry drove the empire, their economy that was the lifeblood of the Empire. Also as usual, this was not an entirely inaccurate view.

Post-war Germany

Germany, in contrast, had a massive inferiority complex. Unlike the Italians, dreaming of past glories, they saw themselves as one of the ‘Modern Great Nations’ – and yet, when one examines Imperial History, there are virtually no significant Germans – except as villains. They longed for a Bonaparte of their own, or something to which they could point and claim, ‘this is our contribution, this is what the Empire needs from us’. It was this inferiority that Hitler shrewdly manipulated and rode into power, thereby exploding for all time the quant notion, held by some (especially the English) that regional attitudes didn’t really matter to the Empire.

The Middle East

Nowhere in the Empire were the local perspectives on Imperial membership so important as the Middle East. Pakistan had once been part of India, but the histories of the regions differed considerably; one had been retained following the second global war, the other had not. They also differed on religious grounds, and it was this difference that ensured that any hopes for peace were to be dashed.

The beginning of Terrorism

The first six months after the war were relatively idyllic, but the positive mood ended in February of 1946. Pakistani had long been divided in it’s religious denominations and the various factions possessed only a veneer of tolerance for one another. Only some very quick dancing by the Imperial Civil Service had prevented explosions of violence in the past; inevitably there would have been an eventual misstep.

That misstep came with the appointment of a Sikh hardliner to the Pakistani High Court. Intended to be a bone thrown to defuse building tensions amongst an angry minority, what was not taken into account was that this would give the Sikhs a majority representation in the Court – sending the Moslem majority up in flames. The very act intended to ease tensions actually inflamed them. Although the riots lasted only two days, the disruption ushered in one of the dominant themes of the post-war era – thereafter, conflicts would be less about politics or resources, they would be derive from differences in ideology.

This was only the beginning. Only 4 months later, Zionist terrorists bombed the Imperial Palestine Army Command in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, while in November there was a similar bombing in Hanoi, later traced to French extremists, who were unhappy that the war had ended in less than a total victory against the Mao and intended to restart the hostilities by any means necessary.

Thus the specter of Terrorism announced its arrival. Terrorism is different to ordinary military action in a number of key elements. Firstly, as indicated already, it’s about ideology and fanaticism and not about politics. The targets are calculated to impact the public confidence and economic infrastructure of a national group, instead of being directed against the military of the ‘enemy’. They may or may not involve murderous violence or brutality; many don’t. Snap Strikes in key industries can be considered an act of terrorism, for example; the perpetrators are seeking to force a change in policy of some sort by going outside the regular channels – usually because whatever they want is something that they would not be considered entitled to under the normal rules.

NB: The Empire has a somewhat broader definition of terrorism than is commonly accepted.

A Legacy Of Pain

Nowhere was the growth in terrorism more marked than in the nations which once comprised the Arabian empire. The growing significance of their vast oilfields entitled them to a more significant role within the Empire, but this was not enough for a number of hardliners. It was characteristic of these extremists that no grievance, however small, could or would ever be forgotten.

The differences between the Arabs and the Empire started and ended in religion; but anti-semiticism, the crusades, alcohol, moral and criminal codes, and a vast list of other divisions and disputes lay in between. In many ways, the citizens of the Middle East were as alien to the Empire as the Mao.

Socially, many of the nations in this part of the world perpetuated an essentially medieval culture, paying lip service to Imperial Edicts as necessary and then going their own way the rest of the time. It is one of the principles of the Empire that National Law is overridden by Imperial Law and policy; but as a practical matter, in the Middle East, the reverse can be considered true (it was not particularly surprising that the region was targeted by the Mao as a place for agitation). The flashpoint was Jerusalem.

Considered Holy by most of the dominant religions of the Empire, disputes about access to Jerusalem had bubbled perpetually for centuries. Cultural differences led to many religious leaders adopting the position that this Holy Place was in the hands of infidels, and needed to be liberated.

Ultimately, Emperor George III had put his foot down on the subject. The entire city was made a protectorate of the Throne, subject to no one national group. Although intended to put an end to the endless disputes, this was arguably the greatest mistake made in the region during the 20th century. By decreeing ‘once and for all’ the status of the disputed territory, George effectively closed the regular negotiation channels, welding shut the safety valves that had permitted the anger of the zealots to be bled off. In effect, he left the fanatics with no recourse but Terrorism.

Another source of dispute (as alluded to earlier) was the creation, post-Global War III, of the Jewish state of Israel. The maltreatment of Jews in Russia was old news, and there was nothing new about the prejudice shown in the United States against that racial stock, either. Hitler, however, had taken anti-semiticism to the ultimate extent possible, and his act of attempted Genocide created considerable sympathy for the long-suffering Zionists. Accordingly, one of the aftereffects of the war was the creation of Israel.

If truth were told, many of the Zionist hardliners were no better than their new neighbors. Israel was intended to be the caretakers of the Holy City, not the owner; but any time the ultimate religious authority is also the political leader of a group of people, policies will be enacted out of religious principles and fanaticism, instead of practical social consideration. In particular, the policy of ‘All Jews are citizens of Israel’ fostered an ‘Us Vs Them’ attitude in many otherwise affable and respectable Jews, and made them just as fertile a breeding ground for fanatics as surrounding Islamic populations.

It is a matter of record that the first act of Terrorism in the region was perpetuated by a Zionist fanatic, who sought to gain full recognition of Israel as a separate Kingdom within the Empire. By bombing the command position of the Imperial Military Forces who were present as peace-keepers, he sought an end to the martial law that had been imposed on the region from the outside. Of course, the Islamic social code is essentially ‘An Eye for an Eye’, ‘Blood for Blood’ – Tit for Tat. Childishness became endemic on both sides.

Social Problems

Nor was this the only strife within the Empire to boil over in this period. Civil Rights for Women had been won long ago, but equal status for ‘colored folk’ had been a long time coming. They were second class citizens in fact, if not in law, and were tired of it. Race Riots had started in Chicago during GW3, and while the movement had been forcibly repressed due to the exigencies of the War Effort, it had simply been driven underground. It would bubble to the surface sporadically throughout the 1950s and explode in the 60s.

Another problem which had been threatening to explode for decades was the Union movement. Initially begun to win a fair deal for workers, these had been increasingly corrupted by the lure of money, and not a year went by that did not feature at least one crippling strike. Labor Reform was desperately needed.

Overwhelming all of these in the 50s were the Mao Witch-hunts. When Hitler had blamed sabotage within the Imperial Industrial Base on Mao Agents, it had gotten an overzealous politician in the USK thinking. The ‘sabotage’ idea was in itself ludicrous, if the Mao had agents within the Empire – and it was a sure bet that there were some – there were far more effective things that they could be doing. Initially, Representative McCarthy saw this as a ‘Hot’ issue which he could parley into votes, perhaps Prime Minister of The United States, possibly even Prime Minister of the Empire. But as his excessively zealous investigations brought more and more cases of ‘Mao Sympathy’ to light, he slowly began to believe his own publicity, and launched ever-more-aggressive investigations throughout the Empire. McCarthy made it a crime to be curious, or to have knowledge of Eastern philosophy, or even to have a pet Cat. Torture and interrogation were used intensively until the suspect was forced to confess and name others.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, 1953 - Unknown Photographer, National Film Board of Canada, Still Photography Division reproduction referance number DAPDCAP82719 MIKAN ID number 3242153

The Science Age Begins

Trying to deal with all these problems was a new Empress. His middle-eastern mistake had been just about the last act of consequence by George III; his health had been failing for many years. In 1952, he died, and his daughter Elizabeth ascended the throne; her actual Coronation took place in June of 1953. Another of the Great Monarchs of Imperial History, she had always striven to be true to both aspects of the office to which she would eventually be called, both the heir of the Culture and Society of the Peerage and of Victoria in particular, and at the same time, The People’s Friend. Self-sacrificing and eminently practical, intelligent and well-educated, she would have been amongst the Greats in any vocation to which she was called; but the calling was to the Imperial Throne and the Empire was the better for her rule.

Empress Elizabeth’s style was to generally work behind the scenes, exerting a subtle influence where previous monarchs would have bludgeoned with Imperial Authority. She regularly toured throughout the Empire; admittedly she was the first Imperial Monarch in a position to do so, thanks to the rise of mass transportation. Everywhere she went, she insisted on meeting ordinary citizens and on making them feel part of the Empire. She borrowed freely from the well-established political playbooks, giving several public broadcasts and ‘fireside chats’, and generally treated her position as a role she had to persuade the common citizen that she was fit for. This was more than a duty to her; it was an avocation. She is generally considered the ultimate incarnation of the ideals of Imperial Rule, even today. Elizabeth’s answers to most problems were delivered through the Civil Service. Dozens of new bureaus and departments were created.

IMAGE

Particularly important was her first creation, Department IMAGE. – The IMperial Analysis of Government Endogenisis.

An Endogen is plant that grows by additions developed from the inside; Endogenisis describes the process of growing in this way. The acronym was chosen by a Civil Servant with a Botanical hobby.

IMAGE was tasked with a fairly ‘simple’ job – reorganizing the Imperial Bureaucracy to create growth toward a solution to any problem, real or perceived that they were assigned. They controlled the organizational structure of the Civil Service, of the public funds, of the criteria for entry into the Civil Service – they were a think-tank given control over the Empire’s daily activities, and which to some extent supplanted the power of the politicians.

Author’s Note: I have created a Logo for IMAGE for use within the campaign, and it looks great – but I suspect it may be based on a copyrighted image, so unfortunately, I can’t share. Sorry.

The Operation Of IMAGE

What made IMAGE so remarkable is that it was NOT staffed exclusively by Civil Servants.

For each problem they were assigned, they would form a working party consisting of Scientists, Military Commanders, Civil Servants, Lawyers, Government representatives, high-profile Interested Parties, and, most importantly, representatives of ANY affected interest group.

The working group would generate solutions to the problem, which would then be independently analyzed for practicality, effectiveness, and potential side effects. This in turn would frequently lead to other interested parties being identified and recruited.

If some faction of the working party disagreed with the findings of the majority, they were free to coalesce their objections into a minority report, which had to reflect ALL objections. These reports would then be passed to a sub-department, who would identify flags and checkpoints and signs to watch for so that when a policy was enacted, the Empire always knew how to monitor the success or failure of the policy, and how best to fall back to an earlier condition. The intention was to treat the formulation of civil & political policies as an exercise in military planning.

Author’s Note: While the presence of the Mao and the rise of the Empire had brought about differences in the History of Earth Regency in comparison with ‘normal’ history, most of those differences were in the details and the context; the overall shape of history had not been impacted all that severely, showing clearly the resilience of historical trends. E-Regency had a World War against Adolf Hitler and an Axis Alliance; that war was fought to a victory in Europe first and the Pacific afterwards; and so on. IMAGE is so significant because it has no equivalent in non-Imperial history. Although its impact was initially small, by the current date it has produced significant divergence in the SHAPE of overall Imperial History.

The Space Race

The other technique thrown at problems by the Empire from this time forward was technology. It had not escaped attention that the greater their technological progress, the closer the Empire came to parity with the Mao, who clearly were not advancing as quickly, but who had started from a far superior position. In one limited area, the Empire had even outstripped their Asian opponents already – for the time being. Intensive R&D – at wartime levels – was the Empire’s best weapon against the next conflict. Based on their past patterns of behavior, hostilities would not resume until the Mao had developed weapons of mass destruction at least equivalent to those used in GW3.

One of the problems facing the Empire was that Imperial Intelligence of the Mao remained woefully inadequate. While maps and documents captured during the war provided sufficient intelligence to select targets for the atomic weapons used to end the last global war, and to establish the locations of the principle population centers, the Empire still knew next-to-nothing about their enemies. No Imperial agent had ever succeeded in getting into Mao territory and back out alive or with useful intelligence. They were always detected somehow – the Mao clearly had some 100% infallible techniques which the Empire had made zero progress in understanding, let alone countering. The only solution was to obtain the intelligence from outside the Mao borders – from outer space.

German scientists had taken the rocket from an improbable device of fiction and turned it into a practical engineering exercise during the Third Global War. The first contribution made by IMAGE to Imperial Life was the establishment of a massively-funded space program. This had a number of purposes, primarily military in nature. The prospect of being able to direct missiles and other weapons from space, giving the Mao no opportunity to defend against them, had tremendous appeal to the Empire; the notion of using an eye in the sky to spy on them was equally provocative.

So massive was the resulting space effort that it was too large for any one Kingdom to support. The fundamental research was obviously going to be based in Germany – at last giving that Kingdom something to have some pride in. To that extent, and entirely unwittingly, Adolf Hitler had actually achieved his promised goal for the Fatherland. Electronics and industrial activity in general was of course the province of the USK, though Russian factories had necessarily been subject to a complete retooling following the second and third global wars, and were fully capable of running a parallel program. Tracking stations for communications with any space vehicles would necessarily be located in many different nations. The essential question was – where should the launch facilities be located?

Maps showing the spaceport locations in The Kingdoms Of Mexico and Spain.

Spaceport Americas and Spaceport Europa

There were a number of contending nations. Practicality stated that the optimum site was as close to the equator as possible, and with Water to the East, permitting a measure of safety in the event of a major malfunction. But if the more sophisticated space vehicles were to be constructed in the United States, it only made sense for the primary launch facilities to be somewhere on the North American Continent. However, IMAGE recommended in the strongest possible terms placement somewhere other than the USK; this was an opportunity to make other ‘fringe’ members of the Empire feel a stronger bond with the whole. Tampico, Mexico, thus became the North American launch facility, ‘Spaceport Americas’, while Villarreal, Spain (near Valencia) was its European counterpart, ‘Spaceport Europa’. Serious consideration had been given to an African site for the latter, but the practical question of transporting the delicate machinery and launch vehicles through the Middle East – who were strongly opposed to the whole notion on religious grounds – was rejected as ludicrous.

The two programs were to have different, complimentary, objectives. The Russians were to concentrate on unmanned probes, developing the basic launch vehicles, weapons platforms, and then on permanent occupancy in space; the Americans were to concentrate on manned launches, human exploration, space medicine, intelligence gathering, commercial exploitation, and extreme distance research.

It was planned that the Russian programme would go for early results, while the Americans – with the more difficult problem – took a more considered, and more expensive, approach. Once the Americans were ready to take center stage with their manned vehicles, the Russians would be released to move on to the second Phase of their programme. When the American programme began winding down, the Russian programme would again take centre stage, and so on. One would always be doing the background research and development while the other was generating the results to keep the politicians, and the public, happy.

Mockup of Sputnik 1 at the National Museum of the US Air Force

Sputnik I

As planned, the Russian programme showed results first. On October 4th, 1957, Sputnik I was launched and orbited the earth 32 times. This was followed by Sputnik II, which carried a dog into orbit and brought him back alive. At the same time, the US programme was gearing up for it’s first test of it’s launch vehicle, while the Soviet programme began developing satellites to photograph the lunar surface. The actual handover of the developmental frontier was supposed to take place on December 7th; instead, the American rocket exploded on the launchpad.

While the Americans blundered time and again in design and engineering of their space vehicles, the Soviet programme forged ahead. A number of satellites had been successfully orbited by the latter, while the former had yet to so much as a rock off the ground. The situation persisted through 1958 and into 1959. On January 2nd of that year, the Soviet programme completed stage II of it’s assigned missions, as Lunik I flew past the moon, beaming back photographs of the surface, before entering permanent solar orbit. On May 25th, the US finally managed to get a ship into the skies, carrying aloft two monkeys. While the ship failed to enter orbit – the mission was very much an exercise in saving face – it came too late for the US space programme to be spared the further humiliation of having some of it’s mission objectives tasked to the far more successful Russian programme.

On September 14th, Lunik II crash-landed (intentionally) on the lunar surface, while on October 4th, Lunik III was launched; it went on to take the first photographs of the so-called ‘dark side’ of the Moon, completing Stage II of the Russian Brief. They then turned their attention, under orders from the Throne (and much to American embarrassment) to preparing for the first Humans in space, while the Americans took up the next phase of their assignment – the production and launch of permanent satellites for scientific and commercial purposes. It had become a matter of national pride to save at least some face by succeeding in this assignment with their first attempt; no expense was to spared, and the US government was pumping additional funds into the Imperial Space Programme faster than they could print the notes.

TIROS-I Weather Satellite Mockup at the Smithsonian National Art & Space Museum, Photograph by Krissyb428.jpg

Tyros I

The US succeeded on April 1, 1960, orbiting a weather satellite, Tyros I, while in August a prototype Russian space capsule successfully orbited 17 times while carrying two dogs, and returned them safely, verifying the Russian capability of putting a man into space, which they did on April 12 of 1961. In 1962, Telstar, the first successful communications satellite, enabled Empire-wide television broadcasts for the first time. Finally, the massive US expenditure was beginning to show results. The US then returned to its primary mission – manned space flight – while the Russians began developing the technologies for the long-term occupation of space.

Author’s Note: The ‘space race’ thus proceeded in a fashion virtually unchanged from that experienced in our History, and would continue to do so. The only changes thereafter are in keeping with the programmes outlined above; for example, Skylab was designed by the USK for scientific research but engineered, constructed, and orbited by the Russians.

In general, if people live in it, the Russians built and probably designed it; if the purpose was preliminary exploration of the local planets, ditto; otherwise, it was a USK space achievement. This aspect of Imperial History won’t be mentioned again except as it connects with other subjects.

The space age is actually considered by Imperial historians to have begun with Tyros I, the weather satellite, as for the first time there was a quantifiable impact on the lives of ordinary citizens – in keeping with normal Historical practices within the Empire.

Imperial Prime Minister Clement Attlee

The Nationalization Drive & War On Drugs

Not all developments in Imperial life during this period were so welcome. In particular, the rise in Narcotics and other ‘recreational substances’ fostered a growing crime problem. The policies put in place for dealing with this problem were perhaps the biggest Imperial blunder of the era. Opium had been a background fact within the Empire for over a century, without causing major disruption; but the rise of Heroin and Cocaine as recreational drugs coincided with the administration of Clement Atlee as Imperial PM.

Atlee achieved great progress in labor reform through the simple act of nationalizing a number of key Imperial industries. This had the effect of ‘stealing’ them from the Peers who had made them successful at the expense of workers rights and safety, and putting them under Civil Service control. The Peers protested vehemently, but the Civil Service were in favor, as was the PM, and the Civil Service wielded the might of the Monarchy. The arguements used have an uncanny resemblance to those of Adolf Hitler pre-GW3 in retrospect; but at the time this was lost under a mass of ‘reform agendas’. Amongst the industries nationalized under the Atlee Reforms were Coal, Steel, Electrical, Gas, Rail, Civil Aviation and the Bank Of England. He forced the Building industry to clean up its act by threatening to nationalize it as well; corruption within the Building and Trades unions having reached epidemic levels. The key effect of this nationalization was to make unwarranted disruptions by labor an act of Treason against the Empire.

But we were speaking of Atlee’s War against Drugs. One of his problems was that he was a raging Narcophobe, and he enacted laws that criminalized possession and use. This was the blunder referred to earlier. It had the effect of driving up the price to the point where it became viable for drug barons to emerge, and it marginalized the users, isolating them from ‘respectable society’ and forcing them to form an underground culture. More than anything else, it was the progenator of the second generation of organized crime. Further, because the prices were so high, and users were automatically criminalized, the members of this underground social network had no compunctions against performing other criminal acts to gain the funds necessary to support their habits. They were practically forced into it. This error, which would become entrenched in Imperial Policy for five decades thereafter, was the direct cause of more social problems than any other single development.

Long Shadows

The problems that had arisen earlier in post-war Imperial History had not gone away either. Terrorism and racial equality were still looming catastrophes, and so was the rise in ideologues. The results were a peculiarly dichotomic compound of optimism and pessimism, of light and dark; at this point in time the Empire could be considered an optimistic and progressive society, which sought scientific and rational solutions to its problems – but one that was shot through with veins of pessimism, depression, hopelessness, crime, violence, intolerance, and economic disparity. Even some of the purportedly ‘solved’ problems had received only band-aids; true racial and gender equality were decades removed, though some regions were more progressive than others.

In retrospect, some of the rise in religious hysteria could be traced to the degree of scientific enlightenment being achieved within the Empire. The rising standard of living amongst the middle classes gave them both the leisure time and financial independence to fill that time. It also slowly broke down the old social community structures, as entertainment slowly became more directed at the individual household and more private.

Under those circumstances, it was inevitable that some would turn to religion to fill the growing void in their lives, and that a small percentage would become extremists. This pattern was not new; but with technology giving ordinary citizens ever-greater power, the impact and influence of any given extremist was also magnified, to the point where it could become significant to the Empire as a whole.

An extremist with a pulpit, horse, and cart is a fairly local problem. An extremist with a horse and a sword is able to influence a greater political area, but is still small potatoes on the Imperial scale. An extremist with guns, bombs, and telecommunications has a reach as broad as the Empire; and a long-standing minor problem – religious intolerance – suddenly poses a significant threat to society. The same extremist with weapons of mass destruction becomes a threat not only to society in general but to the very existence of that society as a whole.

The role of IMAGE

All these problems were handed to IMAGE for solution, and to fair, they tried to solve them all.

They established new diplomatic missions and partitioned nations where the populace could or would no longer tolerate their citizens of other faiths, and managed to stitch together an ad-hoc peace in the Middle East – a peace in a perpetual state of collapse, but which held at a national level – at least most of the time.

They enjoyed rather more success in resolving the racial and gender equality issues, in that sequence, though the practical impact of the resulting changes in policy took decades to come into effect in resistant communities, such as the ‘Deep South’ of the USK, and in South Africa.

Labor Union reforms instigated by Atlee and then by IMAGE met with mixed success, but there was definite progress.

Attempts to solve the problem of terrorism and to overcome the social problems stemming from the drug trade failed miserably.

The fact that there were no wars in the 1960s and 70s – or anything even closely resembling one – can largely be attributed to the success of IMAGE at troubleshooting specific and local issues; but larger scale problems still seemed to possess an unstoppable momentum.

And so the unity felt during the Third Global War fragmented during the ‘frantic fifties’. Each Kingdom (and, sometimes, smaller regions within a Kingdom) began to place their own interests and ambitions ahead of the Empire overall. Society, in general, was fragmenting, disintigrating along with the family units that were its foundations. Existing standards of morality were seen as passe, if not completely retrograde. By the end of 1959, these forces were in full swing, if sometimes unrecognised as an imminant crisis. The seeds for what would become known as the Scandalous Sixties had been planted throughout the fifteen years preceeding them…

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