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The Seven Universes


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There's our universe. We call ourselves Earth-Prime - but then that's what most universes call themselves. That's Monday. 

 

There's the universe sometimes called Earth-XX - the one closely linked with ours where gender is inverted. That's Tuesday. 

 

We know these already. 

 

There's another universe where everything went beautifully right after what everyone calls The Last War (and what we call World War II), in which a new, green utopia of peace and tolerance was built - a world powered by solar power and biomatter. It's not Heaven but everyone has enough to eat and enough to do, and the lion has lain down with the lamb all over the world, guarded by its greatest defenders. That's Wednesday 

 

And next to them there's a universe where everything went wrong; a world where the skies and the land burned when nanotechnology went awry, a place where only the last stand of civilization saved the planet but at a terrible cost. There are metal deserts and ruststorms, and seas so clear you can see to the bottom but not for any good reason. And the Infected, oh yes. That's Thursday. 

 

And next to them there's a universe beset by another disaster altogether - not that easy place where everyone is just a mirror of themselves, but a universe where the Centurion crushed the heads of those bankrobbers in 1938 and laughed doing it, one where humanity has long since fallen to costumed beings drunk on their own power who are all-too-human for all their power. That's Friday

 

And next to them there's another universe that's stuck in both the past and the future, a world where "everything is slick and streamlined, with geometric shapes and clean parallel lines constructed of shiny metal and glass, lit prominently by neon", a world of rayguns and jetpacks and shiny cars, a 1942 of our wildest dreams, except it's 1942 and Hitler is on the march in Europe, the Nazis powered by the worst excesses of super-science to conquer all. It's the 1940s of our dreams - but also our nightmares. That's Saturday. 

 

And next to them there's another world. Everything is great here, at least that's what all the books produced by the government says. Humanity almost destroyed itself in a great war but then the supers uplifted us into the future. It's a world where cassette tapes play the music that's safe for us to here, big colorful capsules deliver us the medicines that help us live in peace with one another, full of "CRT displays, computer systems reminiscent of microcomputers like the Commodore 64, freestanding hi-fi systems, small LCD displays as opposed to full color screens, floppy disks, and loads of analog technologies." That's Sunday. 

 

 

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Prime and XX still have trouble explaining to people that no, their gender identity hasn’t really changed? Sometimes they don’t bother. 


Solarpunk is an environmentalist vegetarian. They didn’t use to bite their nails but now they do. What in the name of the Powers Above is wrong with the multiverse?


Apocalypse has some PTSD. They like things quiet and they don’t like sudden movements. They tend to eat a lot. Strong hands. A lot of farming goes on at their version of Claremont. 


Mirror is an asshole. It’s hard to tell how much this is because they think they need to be to look tough (their homeworld is terrible) but they know not to cause too much trouble when it’s their turn. 


WW2 is a clean-cut all-American patriot ready to fight bad guys, albeit someone stuck in the past in some ways. They like working out and flirting, and they hate Nazis. 


Dystopia really did not enjoy those first couple of weeks going semi-cold turkey. They’re pretty crabby in the vlog everyone maintains for their counterpart.


Solarpunk rotates from a universe where there's a giant statue of Gaian Knight and Fleur de Joie holding hands in front of Freedom Hall to a universe where there are sometimes super-zombies, and then to a universe where most people are evil. Solarpunk has it rough, man.


(Mirror got beaten up by some Golden Age types who did not appreciate their sense of humor at all, though, which has smartened them up considerably about how to behave when they're away from home)


Apocalypse on the other hand did fine in the transition because if you want to go, #(#% they'll go

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Prime - Short hair, T-shirts and jeans - M

XX - Long hair, T-shirts and jeans - F

Solarpunk - Ponytail, big sunhat with solar cells built in, natural colors. - F 

Apocalypse - Shaves their head, is obviously wearing old clothes. - F 

Mirror - Undercut, favors dark colors that look like fatigues - M 

Dieselpunk - Crewcut, brown leather bomber jacket, raygun. - M 

Dystopia - Bowl cut, because that's how you look, citizen. Nehru jacket, slacks, like normal people have. - M 

 

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On Earth-Prime, they're a student at Claremont Academy. Everyone knows about their problem here. 

 

On Earth-XX, they're a student at Claremont Academy under the tutelage of Headmaster Carlton Summers. Everyone knows about their problem here. 

 

On Earth-Solarpunk, they're a student at Claremont Academy, a gorgeous set of Art Nouveau structures built directly into a reclaimed hillside in Freedom City. Thanks to artfully placed trees and stained-glass windows, you can wander the garden streets without any sign you're near a fairly large city. Everyone knows about their problem here and the locals are eager to help the new arrivals find shelter. 

 

On Earth-Apocalypse, they're a student at Claremont Academy, one of the last relics of the old civilization here in Freedom City. There are no more secret identities now barring very special cases but there's still a need to train the Earth's surviving metahuman population - both to shelter the survivors and to fight off threats from outside like raiders and the Infected. You can see the metal desert across the river from anywhere on campus. Everyone knows about their problem here and it's actually not so bad - the trade in contraband alone has made them popular. 

 

On Earth-Mirror, they're a student at Claremont Academy. The League is civic-minded - the next generation of metahuman rulers need to learn how to use their powers in a controlled environment, learn the basic skills they'll need for their new lives, and learn how to exercise authority over those beneath them. The campus is big and Brutalist, with the favored students living in skyrise luxury, the unfavored students in barracks, the proles in their own housing. The Mirror authorities are aware of what happened and they are actually not unsympathetic - metapowers can have so many consequences, and someone so powerful young could be an ally when an adult. That doesn't mean they'll get any protection, though. 

 

On Earth-Dieselpunk, they're a student at Claremont Academy - an elite private high school that also has a substantial Hero Reserve Program! The young patriots of Claremont are trained by the finest teachers in the land to battle Fifth Columnists, all for when they turn eighteen and are old enough to ship off to Europe and Asia. It's a Claremont with a huge American flag overhead, slick and streamlined, with geometric shapes and clean parallel lines constructed of shiny metal and glass, lit prominently by neon. Keep an eye out for Martian infiltrators too - you never know when they'll want a second round vs. us human beings. Everyone here knows about their problem; maybe it's a good sign that the bad guys lost in every universe so far! 

 

On Earth-Dystopia, they're a student at Claremont Academy. Everything is fine here. Metahuman children need to learn the skills to get along with their peers and make sure everyone is safe just as much as their regular counterparts do - maybe even more! They've managed to keep the secret in this universe...they're pretty sure? You never know. Metahumans are watched especially closely. As long as they remember to dress and act the same, everything is fine. Everything is fine. (Don't drink the water.) The buildings here look like institutional buildings built in the 20th century, red brick generic. Everyone dresses the same. That's fine. 

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Prime - The Centurion died saving the world from Omega in 1993. Honor his sacrifice by living up to his example. 

XX - Centuria died saving the world from Omega in 1993. Honor her sacrifice by living up to her example. 

Solarpunk - Centuria died saving the world from Omega in 1993. Honor her sacrifice by living up to her example - building a sustainable, finer world for everyone. 

Apocalypse - Centuria gave her life detonating the EMP Bomb in 2010. Honor her sacrifice by giving all you can for those who need you.  

Mirror - The Centurion died saving the world from Omega in 2001. Geez, what a mensch! Now back in line, prole. 

Dieselpunk - The Centurion died saving the world from the Martians in 1938. Honor his sacrifice by smashing Nazis!

Dystopia - The Centurion died saving the world from Omega in 1993. Honor his sacrifice by reporting any outsiders, citizen.  

 

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Dystopia: 

 

The regime that governs Dystopia's homeworld seems sloppy when you think about it. Sure there are drugs in the water supply that control behavior and sap free will. Sure there's censorship of books and other kinds of media - sure there are big red-eyed cameras out in public recording your every move. Sure the regime's proscribed manual for personal conduct, fashion, and love seems pulled from the 1980s - and a particularly conservative vision of it at that. But there are ways around all of this - rain and river water is unpolluted by the sopoforics, there is a lively underground trade in forbidden texts, the cameras can be fooled, and love is love is love even in the worst dimensions. 

 

But of course they do. 

 

You see, what if a regime's goal wasn't to control their people - but to make them _know_ it? The cattle make things easier if the regime's leaders are looking for slaves, or sacrifices in dark, secretive rituals, or any number of other terrible things: but the rebels, oh, they have possibilities. A being of free will driven to madness and desperation, turning to any power source to fight back, embracing whatever acts of chronic and sustained wickedness will keep them free, or fully aware of the horrors around them, feeling the bonds of love break as they realize their enslaved loved ones love the regime more than them - now that has possibilities. Possibilities for their master. 

 

At the head of the table of the regime, whispering in the ear of politician and metahuman alike, is the being that has been this world's master since the mid-1980s: 

 

Mr. Infamy. 

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One big difference between Dieselpunk’s home world and ours, is that it’s actually a science fiction setting that’s going through a super heroic phase.
So even though it’s just 1942, a lot of super Tech is leaking out into the main stream - not the sort of thing we think of as high tech, but the sort of thing that would have looked like high tech science fiction in the early 1940s. 
That’s why there is so many jet pack Nazis where he’s from - and why the whole dimension looks like something out of a raygun gothic retrospective. 

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The Cowboy Universe (replacing Earth-XX) 

 

In another universe than this, it's 1878 and the Claremont Institute for the Gifted is in Freedom City, a small settlement on the west coast of North America. The transcontinental railroad was finished about ten years ago and the Civil War ended a few years before that. It's been an eventful 19th century in the frontier, what with the Faithful settling in the mountains in the Far West and building the Desert Republic, vampires revealing themselves to the world during the Civil War and then fleeing west after General Grant drove a stake through the heart of their rebellion, and most recently the Day of Fire in the Black Hills that led to the creation of the Seven Fires Republic. Maybe the US isn't quite as big as the dreams of Manifest Destiny once had it, but that's okay - the nation is better for the Changes in every way. 

 

Things aren't perfect. There's poverty and racism and gender discrimination, and many of the evils we associate with our 19th century but things just aren't quite as bad as they were. You can ride a dirigible from San Francisco to New York City for a princely sum, but it's still cheaper to take the train even with the Zeppelin Company stations every few hundred miles along the tracks. There's a steam man of the prairies out there, and renegade scientists and preachers looking to carve a little of their own space out there in the West, a little piece of God's country. And there are monsters too, some of them that look and act just like men - others that didn't need a human to tell them how to shout and kill. 

 

The generation that came of age during and after the war went through some changes. Maybe it was the power of the Faithful in the mountains of the West, reshaping the land in their image, or maybe it was the unholy magic of the vampires who fought for the Confederacy, or maybe the magic of the people who always lived on this continent. Who can say? The Changed are different than you or me; they have powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men and women, and they aim to use them to change the world for the better. Some of them are the sons and daughters of people Back East who want to spread the benefits of civilization westward, some of them are the children of the Faithful looking to keep what they have, some of them are from the people who always lived here. 

 

That best and brightest of the Changed generation tend to wind up at the Claremont Institute out in Freedom City, just north of San Francisco. It's an experimental school in a lot of ways, where girls and boys take classes together (though of course they sleep in dormitories on the opposite side of campus) and learn how to get along in the new world that's being made out here. Even if some of them want another world entirely. It's a school that teaches them how to master their gifts for the betterment of all mankind - but it's not always an easy task... 

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Some stories happen in common across a great many universes.

 

Kenji Ledger was fourteen and looking for adventure when they crept their way into the cave. A voice seemed to be calling to them from inside, but they weren't afraid - only intrigued. The hovering multicolored jewel inside glowed with an eerie light as they approached, introducing itself as the Cosmic Prism, a fragment of the Cosmic Coil cast down to this dimension, telling them that after almost three hundred years, it had finally found its next destined wielder. And so they reached for it but suddenly the Prism gave a small, shrill cry and shattered

 

And Ken Ledger opened his eyes, wincing in pain at the burning sensation in his chest - what had happened? How was he going to tell his parents? 

 

And Ken Ledger woke up in the hospital, wincing at the burning sensation in his chest, feeling a strange sensation in his head that he only later would realize was the withdrawal pains he got from unfiltered water. 

 

And Ken Ledger woke up in the hospital under the watchful eye of his Boy Scout master; getting himself hurt was no way to learn the skills he needed to fight Hitler! 

 

And Ken Ledger woke up just as the representatives from the League were arriving -  Captain Thunder smiled and told him was never going to be a prole again! 

 

And Keni Ledger woke up, alarmed to find a hole burned in the front of her shirt - tarnation that was her only good shirt! 

 

And Keni Ledger woke up and tore off her shirt, staring at the glowing crystal fragment embedded in there - it wasn't nanotech, was it? The whole thing hadn't been some big trick!? 

 

And Keni Ledger woke up in a hospital in Freedom City to find Fleur de Joie herself standing over her, and smiled with relief as she sat up in her quick-grown hospital bed. Everything was going to be all right. Wasn't it? 

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