1. J.D. Rand
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    J.D. Rand Member

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    Xenografting A Nation

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by J.D. Rand, Mar 2, 2012.

    Basically, for a story idea that I'm currently still expanding upon, I'm taking everything within a 400 mile radius of Trenton, and teleporting it into a parallel universe. Here's a map with a radius ring to get an idea of how large said area is: http://i.imgur.com/u4xYu.png

    The thing is, how am I supposed to have present-day north-eastern USA - and a part of Canada as well - believably handle finding themselves in a whole new world? A fantasy world, at that, where arcane magic exists and has played a vital role in shaping the races and civilizations that exist there? What actions would the country take, finding themselves stranded in an unknown land, where they don't even know what's out there, let alone who is friend or foe? What would they do to keep their economy standing, cut off from their own world? Would they send out expeditionary forces right away, or stay within their borders and wait for the other civilizations to come to them? What actions would the government take? The military? Other groups? I'm just looking to build upon this idea and have it come across as interesting, rather than stupid.

    If anyone wants me to explain anything further, ask away.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    well, first of all, it wouldn't be a 'country'... just a chunk of couple of 'em... so there wouldn't be any central government to be making decisions, or for the citizens to appeal to for help, would there?... nor would there be any central command for the few military installations that got 'displaced' to look to for orders... same goes for communications, with land and computer lines to superiors severed, no comsats to make cell phones and the internet workable... also, i'd have to assume the electrical grids would suffer to some extent from the move and light/heat/transportation would be affected somewhat, or stopped altogether...

    in effect, there would be no cohesive 'they'... so, chaos would reign supreme, imo...

    it's certainly an intriguing concept... hope this helps... i'll be interested in seeing what you come up with...

    btw, how are you handling the inclusion of a large-ish bit of the ocean?... what will keep it 'together' so to speak?
     
  3. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    How would you handle it? Each person is different. Try putting yourself in the place of each character. Become them, be them, now how are you going to react. Also do it in your mind, if you're walking around the room trying to imagine yourself as a girl whispering "I'm so pretty" some people might not understand.
     
  4. J.D. Rand
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    I'm not sure I follow. If you mean what's keeping it from expanding and flooding the surrounding landscape, then here's how it works; where the Atlantic ocean ends and the other world begins, the sea level is still lower than what would become some serious cliffs. Also, when I said that everything within a 400 mile radius of Trenton ends up being teleported into another world, it basically occurs in every direction. So the seafloor is still the same, meaning the water doesn't get displaced.

    The '400 miles in every direction' also includes up and down - and it doesn't discriminate against space or the earth's mantle; meaning that whatever satellites are up there at the time, would still be functional. Yeah, it absolutely pales in comparison to a whole satellite network, but a single comsat can do things that 'nothing' can't.

    As for the lack of central government... Washington, D.C. is the very heart of the federal government, and it's within the xenografted region, meaning they got teleported along with everything else. So the people do have someone to turn to for a sense of direction. The question is: can the central government hold the country together?

    If it seems like I'm trying to cop out of the whole country descending into anarchy, please keep in mind that I'm trying to work in a believable way of the US not falling apart - but I owe you for bringing to my attention just how complicated that would really be, thus making that plot point a really significant one. Congratulations, mammamaia, you just made me relate to the characters in this story who are handling the crisis first-hand.
     
  5. RusticOnion
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    RusticOnion Contributing Member

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    Chaos really, even with a government, after a massive shock like that people will begin to get restless, worried and subversive. What worked back on earth may not work where they are, perhaps a smaller government would be better, after all they would be used to dealing with matters on a much larger scale.

    Really, for the first year or two the story would go as follows:

    Shit -------> Fan.
     
  6. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Doesn't this mean that Earth would suddenly be missing a giant chunk? Just wondering.

    As for the government holding the country together, it will depend very greatly. How many places will lose their electrical power? How many places will lose all communication? Communication from outside the radius will be cut off, resulting in mass hysteria. Additionally any resources which come from outside (most notably fossil fuels) will not be obtainable anymore, which means most places will no longer be able to power themselves after an amount of time.

    I'm thinking that the larger cities would end up being abandoned, due to the lack of resources & food to keep the population alive, while the smaller cities would hole up and form city states, which is ruled by the local people. Some of the population may stay under order of the federal government, but others might not.

    Additionally, keep in mind that you have two central governments in the radius. You have Washington DC (United States) AND you have Ottawa (Canada).
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    ^ Exactly. The American and Canadian governments would work together (hopefully) to assure their respective people and attempt to rebuild society while exploring this new fantasy world and trading with them.

    However, shit will likely be hitting the fan first before anything gets better. No doubt people would blame the others first, citing that somehow it's their fault everyone's in this predictament.

    If this new fantasy society discovers them, well...they may try to help these strange humans, or they might not. They may decide that the humans pose a dangerous threat and make war with them.
     
  8. jeffm
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    Your communication satellites would be in Geostationary orbit WAY above 400 miles (more like 22 thousand miles). 400 miles is the low end of what is considered "Low earth orbit". You may get some remote sensing (pictures, weather, radar, etc..) if you are lucky, but usually those are above 500 miles. Orbits that are that low transit the globe in less then 2 hours so they have limited usefulness for communication. Even GPS is in medium orbit.

    One interesting note is that you COULD get the International Space Station since it's trucking around up there under 250 miles up. They would have an return vehicle and could come down to this new planet probably unassisted with some heroics :)
     
  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    ^ But how far away is this planet, and how fast does the ISS travel? It may not get there for a very long time.
     
  10. jeffm
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    If he's talking about teleportation ( an instantaneous movement of all space in the radius) then the ISS would be instantly transferred to the same orbit around the new world. I'm going to assume that the new world is a similar size/mass/density so the ISS would just continue in it's orbit until it decayed due to friction with the particles in the thermosphere.

    Just as the city would not have to take time to travel the distance from world to world, the ISS would just move over and "pop" in place. The orbit would continue since the IIS is technically just falling around the mass of a planet. The same would happen to a child's ball that was falling to the ground during the event.
     
  11. Pink-Angel-1992
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    What is the transition like from Earth to your fantasy planet? If it's rough that shakes the whole land and changes the skies colour, then people will notice and begin to worry straight aways and try to infrom their respected athority. However, if the transition is smooth and near, if not completely, unnoticeable then people won't notice straight away, except for those who may suddenly get a sea. How would these people realise that this isn't Earth anymore? Will they see a dragon in the sky, if it's a fantasy world? Moreover, what affects will the transitions have? To me it seem that power would be lost sending everyone into a blackout - for a day or two this may not worry the people (though probably bored and have children complaining), but after that panic would start and crime would probably raise, more in theft - no alarms or phones, so police won't be quickly informed.

    Also, you'll want to think about the cities on the border of your redius - will their cities be cut in half, because that would course problems.

    In addition, where will they land? Will they land in the middle of the ocean, becoming a new island or will they end up on other land, and if they do, what will they be crushing? If the radius landed upon the fantasy land destroying stuff, then that might cause a war if it's towns and cities; if it's forests then maybe the fantasy world inhabitance will go investigating and be a bit more sympathetic. But what is the knowledge and technology of the world like? If the people are in a more primitive time, then they may only see their visiters as a threat or they may view them as gods and goddess.

    Hope this is of any help to you!
     
  12. CheddarCheese
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    I have to disagree with this. People will not need a fantasy element to notice that they have somehow been isolated from the rest of the world. It might take a day, maybe less, but word will get around quickly.

    First of all, international broadcasting would suddenly all disappear at once. Things like radio, television, and internet would no longer receive any information from outside the radius. This is a very striking indicator that they have been isolated. Additionally, most land-line telephone connections and local radio stations will be available to the people in the radius. People at the edge of the radius (who will notice right away) will still be able to inform people inside the radius, resulting in very fast news spread of "the outside world disappearing".
     
  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Another thought I had: What about the people left in the rest of Canada and the US? A big chunk of land seemingly vanishes from thin air, taking with them Ottawa and Washington DC. How will they react?
     
  14. CheddarCheese
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    Assuming nothing replaces the hole, they wouldn't have time to react. The Earth has been dug into 400 miles deep. The crust of the Earth is only 20-30 miles thick. The Earth's mantle in a 400 mile radius will suddenly be exposed to the surface, and undergo very very violent depressurization and evaporation. The resulting explosive ejection of outer-mantle material might end up killing off every living thing in North America (maybe the entire Earth over a period of time). The air would be filled with toxic gas and ash which would cover the sun, and the sea would start to drain into the hole, and evaporate, removing a significant portion of the Earth's ocean water.

    Long story short, the people inside the xenografted zone might actually be the lucky ones. Scary thought, right?
     
  15. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Damn, I did not consider that.

    Guess it shows just how scary our planet could be. O___O Excuse me while I move into that radius before it teleports away...
     
  16. James Berkley
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    Well the government would be breaking out the short wave radios. Would be chose for a while but there are things that would remain. Shortwave works, depending on the method power would probably remain. Unfortunately the satlilies are gone so phone communication would have to go threw the landline. I imagine most of the larger cities with their complex systems that already set up would become important with lots of power and in charge at first. It would take some time to get organized but it would be do able.
    As for how people would react
    Would they know that this happened?
    I imagine most of the larger cites would turn their police/ emergency services into a more paramilitary force at first to try to control problems. I know lots of major cities have had drills and have procedures for power and traditional communications knocked out. (EMP pulse) Knowing myself I report on duty if something like this happened. I might have a handgun hidden in my pocket at that point. If they turned around and turned some of the smaller EMS units into guards/ cops/ solider I would probably go with it to. (I might make jokes about this being my rifle and this being my gun)


    A lot of smaller areas will probably be supplementing their emergency services with militia armed with private weapons.
     
  17. Jowettc
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    Ignoring all of the scientific reasons for this not being possible - which I assume is not relevant to the story - I just want to mentiont the human principles.

    First off the immediate impact is of The disruption to the power, sanitation and water networks. How do people in earthquake / disaster stricken areas deal with this? There is plenty of experience around as to how human socieits both rise and fall to those circumstances.

    Second is the disruption to the food supply -- again, there are plenty of examples as to what happens.

    Third is the system of governance and security. This, could probably go one of a number of ways: One - complete breakdown which could be likely. Two - Small groups band together for a common goal e.g. everyone in a tower block, everyone in the lower east side - whatever. Three, some-one emerges as a natural leader and takes over and so on....

    Then there is the outside factor. What are the people / animals in the fantasy world going to do whent hey suddenly find this impossibility in their landscape? Band together / attack / run away?

    Doable for sure. I'd be interested to see which avenue you would head down. Reminds me of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant but on a severely grander scale.
     
  18. J.D. Rand
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    Woah, I wasn't expecting this many replies in the hour that I'd last checked the site. Let me try to process all of this, and clear up a few things.

    First of all, regarding what's left in the hole after that partifcular chunk of Earth disappeared, what essentially happened is that it got filled in by the region of the planet that the US/Canada area replaced. Essentially, it's like two planets switched regions. I'll get into detail about what happens to the alien planet's teleported land in the next paragraph.

    I've been made well aware that there's going to be a serious issue regarding fossil fuels and other power sources. This is remedied by the vital role that magic plays in many aspects of the Mirrorverse (as I'm currently calling it). For starters, it's so deeply tied to the races that live there, that nearly everything within the chunk of the Mirrorverse that got teleported to Earth ended up shrivelling up and dying within a month - the whole region becomes barren and lifeless until nature takes over. Respectively, Xenografted America ends up experiencing some dramatic changes due to the existence of magic in the universe they just entered - more on that later. Basically, the arcane forces work in such a way that civilizations have been utilizing it as a really damned versatile power source. America merely needs to adapt to do the same - though that in itself may not be an easy endeavor.

    Going to the Xenograft Incident itself (in other words, the teleportation), the event is mostly a quick and smooth transition - except for the fact that the sky is ringed by something closely resembling an aurora, only it touches the ground - it can be seen from anywhere within the teleported zone, but for those living by the edges of it, the event would be really unnerving.

    Somebody brought up an issue regarding where America lands in the new world. I've drawn up a map that's still very much a rough Work-In-Progress, but you can get your bearings here: http://i.imgur.com/ytOBh.png
    The gray ring represents the portion of America that got teleported. (You've probably noticed that the state lines are expanding beyond it. This is because the map is a representation of the continent decades after the Xenograft Incident, which is the only version I have on-hand right now.) They basically landed smack-dab in the middle of a continent, no doubt giving the natives a big shock, as they too witnessed that aurora-ring when the teleportation happened.

    When I threw in a portion of Canada to go with the US on their trans-dimensional trip, I was originally unaware that I'd taken their national capital along for the ride. Before then, the Canada portion would've just been an added detail to show that it wasn't just the United States that got caught in the incident - all due to the fact that I wouldn't back down from making the teleported area 800 miles in diameter. Now it's turning out Xenografted Canada should be - and now will be - playing a much bigger role in all this. Here's a big thank you to CheddarCheese for bringing this up.

    Factoring in the effects of the teleportation cutting off power/water/sanitation/etc., this is bound to happen around the edges of the teleported zones. However, this issue doesn't occur any further towards the center. Considering the issues of food supply, that does pose a bigger problem, but still not immediate. That said, I don't know how long the food supply would last to begin with, but government-enforced rationing would slow it down to some extent. It would definitely hasten the search for another nation to get on friendly terms with, though.

    On the matter of government and security, the latter two options that Jowettc brought up are going to be the direction I'm heading in. Groups, communities, and companies form, the country slowly becomes more self-reliant through through the crisis, the structure of society changes, etc. As for a natural-born leader-type taking over, well, let's just say that the federal government will be getting one. The man taking charge isn't someone you'd want to be a long-term leader, but when you're in the middle of a crisis, he's the best man for the job. Especially considering the circumstances the Xenografted nations end up finding themselves in...

    Of course, they aren't alone in the new world. As I've said before, America and Canada end up being planted in the middle of a continent, and thus when the native civilizations start noticing that an alien species is living within the region that simply appeared out of nowhere, they are going to inevitably take interest. Some are willing to open up relations with them, others choose to not get involved. But the main conflict of the story centers around a prominent nation of sentient griffins to the northeast declaring war on them, six months to over a year after the teleportation incident; I'm still working out the why's and what-for's of it, as well as details on the war itself. All I know is this - the griffins aren't pushovers, the American-Canadian Coalition will have allies in the war effort, and America's nuclear arsenal is 'last-resort-only' to get rid of a massive Deus Ex Machina and make it a sort of failure for the Coalition if they are forced to use the nukes to fight off the griffins. Wanton use of WMDs is a surefire way to lose allies, and America/Canada can't afford to have that happen, in their current state.
     
  19. James Berkley
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    Not shore how many nukes you will get in that 400 miles you have. Most of the ICBM’s are stationed in the sparsely populated west of the nation. Most likely the majority of your nukes will be submarine based ones.
     

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