Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: April 12, 2398

They could spend a lifetime comparing every little difference between the Third Rail, and the main sequence. The Beatles don’t exist, just like a certain movie, except no cognizant singer is going to revive the catalog. Geography is shockingly similar after considering how deep in the past the point of divergence must have taken place. They have evidence of this from the completely foreign botanical world. The trees and plants may look like the kinds they could find back home, but upon closer inspection, they’ve clearly evolved and been bred differently. Even the buildings have a slightly discrepant architecture. It took them a little time to recognize this, because they’ve seen variations before. Every world they go to—be it a planet, a virtual construct, a parallel reality, or even another universe—has had unique design schemes, and this one is no different in that it’s also unique. Now that the team has been here for a few days, they see that technology isn’t as stilted as they once thought. The people here seem to have advanced in some ways faster than others. You couldn’t call it steampunk, but it’s in that same vein.
As far as energy goes, the culture managed to pretty much skip over fossil fuels, and focus on renewable sources. Different regions have different strengths, but wind power is pretty popular. They also have no apparent problem with nuclear power. You’re never more than fifty miles from the nearest nuclear power plant. Despite these developments, space travel is practically non-existence. There are tons of satellites in orbit around Earth, but they haven’t even put a rover on Mars. From what little Angela was able to gather in her capacity as self-appointed team historian, war has been the number one issue globally. Civilization just survived World War VI not thirty years ago. Why haven’t they destroyed themselves in a nuclear holocaust? Religion. Yes, it’s religion that saved them, if you can believe it. All ancient religious texts speak of some kind of sun that’s compressed and trapped in a box, and the venerated few charged with containing and protecting it from evil. While atheism and agnosticism are recently on the rise, superstition regarding these sunboxes only increased once scientists realized that real sunboxes were within their grasp. Never before had a faith been so spot on in regard to something that might happen in the future, with certain sects being eerily detailed with their descriptions of how a sunbox might work.
Unfortunately, there was a major downside to this. Even though multiple religions provided people with the same prophetic warning about nuclear bombs, they failed to generate any other reason for unity. Different kingdoms, nations, and races glommed onto different denominations, and dig their heels in deeper when they perceive a threat from some other. That’s why they keep fighting, and why racism may be worse today than it was in the main sequence circa early 21st century. Angela and Mateo are even more convinced now that they are not the only time travelers here. At least one of them either created the reality itself, or capitalized on an opportunity to mould it to their liking. They may have always wanted society to be like this, or things just got out of hand. Regardless, the team feels compelled to fix it. It’s going to take them longer than any mission has, so they better prepare themselves, do their research, and take their time.

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