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Alternate Versions of Terrifica

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Let’s get one thing straight. There are many alternate versions of Terrifica. However, they all boil down to either being a barely different version of the Terrifica you know, or it’s a barely different version of Empress Qiaolian Song.


The Empress is basically where Samantha Carson never met Stan Gresham, for any number of reasons that, in retrospect, don’t really matter. The point is, she never met the one person who keeps her on balance. Not by directly intervening, necessarily, but by the fact that he exists and she knows him. The man isn’t a saint by any means, but they kind of…compete each other, if that makes any sense. She’s super confident in her intellect, but can fail hard (and not realize it) on emotional matters. Stan’s the flip side of that, and as an excellent psychologist is ideally suited to understanding what makes her tick. But I digress. Without the balancing effect of Stan Gresham, Samantha Carson grows incredibly frustrated with the (to her) grossly inefficient and ineffective form of government that is modern democracy.


So she basically takes over the United States. Why didn’t the superheroes stop her? That’s quite simple. She was subtle. Careful. Didn’t steal. Didn’t murder. Her only crime was forging her birth certificate. She applied her super genius intellect to politics. As an independent. Knowledge is power, and nobody on Earth knew more than Qiaolian Song. She knew how to manipulate both the public and the media. She was a world class expert on sociology, psychology, economics, and anything else one cared to name. Her campaigns were efficient, destructive things. Her terms of office saw her do that elusive thing known as Getting Things Done. She did not shy from conflict or debate, because she was very, VERY rarely wrong.  She fought, scratched, and clawed. She somehow made deal after deal. Her reputation was that of a hellcat, fighting for the little guy. Her speeches packed lecture halls. All part of the plan.


She was the first Asian-American, the first woman, and the youngest person ever to become President. The next bit is where the evil starts to show. She casually leveraged her extreme (by this point) popularity into a Constitutional Amendment that removed the two term limit on the Presidency. She revived the bully pulpit, and emphasized the bully part. There were people who saw what she was doing coming, but…well…nobody’s perfect. Credibility can be destroyed with one past indiscretion. And nobody outdebated her. Nobody. She absolutely abused executive privilege in a way never before seen, and bullied Congress into going along with it. It got to the point where Qiaoland Song, duly elected (more than twice now) President of the United States, was dictating to the United States Congress on what bills were to pass and what bills were not to pass.


This is the point where in most stories like this, it all comes crashing down. An intrepid journalist. An investigating cowl. A simple whistleblower. But…that’s the thing. This is Qiaolian/Samantha/Terrifica we’re talking about. An obsessive devotion to detail. Pre-plans everything to an insane degree. And of course, a freshly created domestic intelligence agency does not hurt at all. She inched her way there. Little by little. Baby steps. Everything couched in the best possible language and terms. It’s possible she even believed it. Her own chem-tech waiting in the wings for when she got old or sick. By the time she was fifty, she was defacto ruler of the United States. The vast majority of the Western Hemisphere was following her lead. Before sixty, she was proclaimed Empress of North America-to enraptured global applause. Technically, nobody’s autonomy was taken. The only thing that was killed was democracy. The only thing that was stolen was liberty. Before sixty five, only isolated pockets of resistance remained. Places like North Korea, or Switzerland.  There were some rough patches, like that revolution in China spiraling into World War Three. Which didn’t last nearly as long as the other two, as President Song was a masterful strategist. There was something to be said for her work in defensive tech for the military as well.


Which brings us back to the big question again. Why didn’t any superheroes stop her after the war? When the world cheerfully proclaimed her Empress? Or before? Because, at no point did she twirl her mustache. At no point did she kick the dog, or even the son of a bitch. She presented herself at all times as a person made by the people, for the people. The people’s champion. Their protector. Their hero. While people who prodded just a liiiiiitle too closely into her methods and goals had an alarming tendency to drop off the face of the earth for a few days, and return with a remarkably changed attitude. Even highly trained and professional superheroes. What happened to them was a secret, but the fact that something did was decidedly not one. And so it became easier not to question Her Imperial Majesty. Because she cared for us all. She said we could live better, more fulfilled lives free of suffering under her strict guidance. And she was never, ever wrong.

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