Okay, to put it mildly, the world as it stands in Jaunt is rather bleak. As a creator, I always find it limiting in sci-fi that a created future is so advanced and technology wonderful that drama is non-existent. As anyone who's read Calvin and Hobbes will tell you, shouldn't we have flying cars and jetpacks by now (and that was in 1990!)? The future most likely won't be that much different than it stands now, save for bigger TVs, more loaded iPods, faster internet and video games closer to reality than reality itself.
Some things won't change, however. War. Economic difficulties. Politics. Covert shenanigans. Military shenanigans. And for crissakes, people will still read books. And listen to music. And watch movies. Although humans may have implants that makes the web, iTunes and other contemporary forms of entertainment hopelessly obsolete, we'll still be human, with needs such as accessible water supplies, energy and food. This is where JauntWorld lives; not in geewhiz rayguns and mylar-wearing costumes everybody thought we'd be shooting and wearing, but in a future disarmingly similar to now. And yes, I still think some archaic people will wear glasses and cotton trousers. Things change, but we're not so far from life 150 years ago. And Jaunt is no different.
So, here is the admittedly work-in-progress JauntWorld Chronology. And if you read Jaunt and this Chronology carefully, you'll see the seeds of where the slowly in-progress indirect sequel, tentively titled Ether, is heading. But please don't blame me if some details change!
1940- An alien craft, damaged in flight, explodes high above the atmosphere, sending wreckage into Asia and the western Pacific Ocean.
Shimmering jewels are recovered from a meteor crater and interspersed within cloth woven by Buddhist monks in an uncharted temple in Nepal.
A man equipped with highly advanced technology appears in a fishing vessel heading out of Queen Charlotte Sound, but strangely disappears without a trace.
2012- Iraq splits into three confederations: the Shi’ia Republic of Iraq, Iraq (Sunni Republic) and Kurdistan. In the ensuing split, the United States ends its military involvements and commitments inside the Shi’ia and Sunni Republics of Iraq, limiting itself to air and ground bases in the new Kurdistan.
2031- Mars return mission involves the deaths of six crewmen. The ensuing scandal destroys the space program. NASA is abolished, and no astronauts go into space again.
2033- Bushehr nuclear tragedy in Iran topples the Shi’ia Islamic government, enabling a coalition of military factions to seize power. A brutal war lasts two years, killing a million Iranians and other indigenous peoples. Successive, short-lived military dictatorships ensue until intervention by NATO forces allow secular civilian government modeled on Turkey for the first time since the Shah’s rule nearly sixty years prior.
2054- Birth of the Korean Feudal States. North Korea descends into fiefdoms ruled by generals after the collapse of the Kim Dynasty, following the destruction of a secret research facility at Kanggye, Chagang-Go Territory, rumored to involve dark energy; this is not substantiated, since no physical evidence exists for UN investigators to locate. Incident is labeled "Unresolved," and the world turns its attentions elsewhere.
2072- A global depression brought about by environmental pressures, economic corrections in former third world nations and continued warfare across Africa and Asia ripples throughout every country, bringing billions of people to the brink of mass starvation and poverty in the crisis. Human progress is set back an estimated forty to eighty years, and many wonder whether a new “dark age” is upon the world.
The Kermani dynasty is established in Iran by General Ali Amir Asseem Kermani, who overthrows the civilian government in the aftermath of the global depression crisis, creating the Kermani Republic of Iran.
Kurds in northwest Iran break away and join the Iraqi Kurdistan Confederate state before the Kermani forces can consolidate power to force them back. A wall built by the Kurds with clandestine American military assistance severs Iranian Kurdistan from the Kermans, which brings an uneasy cold war between the Kermani state and Kurdistan.
2074- Collapse of the Canadian Dominion government following the loss of sub-ice Arctic territories during the Russo-Canada War, aka the Polar Bear War. Economic, internet and petroleum-based warfare waged by the Russian Federation against Canada is met by stiff resistance in the Western Hemisphere, but many are reluctant to engage Russia over its bullying tactics. The Polar Bear War is the first fought above and below the Arctic Circle in history. Many speculate it won’t be the last.
The Russian Federation assumes control over all of Canada’s sub-ice polar territories, assets and holdings, then declares them as spoils and reparations of the war.
United States assumes control of all Canadian debts and property, officially enacted by votes of Congress and the remnants of the Canadian Parliament. The United States of North America, or USNA, is created.
Mexico mobilizes forces to combat a possible forced annexation of its northern states by the USNA, but stands down after tense negotiations tempers talk of a hegemony by the USNA over all of North America.
2079- 33rd Amendment to the US Constitution, allowing for the citizens of Canada to become automatic US citizens, is passed, with 47 of the 54 American states voting for. Formal meshing of US-Canadian federal agencies and bureaus creates several hybrid agencies, e.g the Intelligence and Investigation Agency, or IIA.
2098- Economic recovery of the USNA is finally underway, but twenty years of partial recessions in North America hits rest of the world hard. Many Asian countries still unable to cope, falling into yet another spiraling economic depression.
China establishes a buffer zone, called the Central Asian Conglomerates, or CAC, composed of the former nations of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The CAC is employed as leverage against continuing global economic hardship, domestic stagflation and the increasingly belligerent Russian Federation.
2101- The Antarctic Treaty is dissolved by vote of the United Nations, with much dispute and accusations of corruption. Several nations involved in Antarctic research openly declare their parcels of Antarctica are formally colonies in a land grab unseen since the American Manifest Destiny of the mid-eighteenth century and the pre-Great War colonial carving up of Africa. USNA demarcates a large sliver of land encompassing the South Polar region and designates it as the Antarctic Colonial Frontier. Antarctica’s once-barren outer banks and peninsulas are ripe for hardy dwellers willing to migrate and establish new, planned cities—modeled on Brasília—subject only to their independent spirits.
2109- The Commonwealth of Independent States, existing since 1991, collapses, due to economic mismanagement, the continuing recessions of the Eurasian countries, successive internal power battles and other domestic crises. The Russian Federation is dissolved and replaced by the Russian Confederation, consisting of many semi-autonomous Russian states. The Confederation of Independent States is created from the remaining ex-Commonwealth nations, each ruled by oligarchs and military generals. Thousands are displaced in the ensuing confusion, causing massive decay of Russia's infrastructure. Oligarchs pump money into the economy to keep the Confederation solvent and provide a reason for being.
2129- The True Peoples of Russia (TPoR), a front organization run by various and sundry oligarchs and siloviki in the Confederation of Independent States, begins a terror campaign against the Russian government and military. Mass executions in every strata of Russian society proceeds for nearly a decade before mysteriously falling silent, seemingly running their course. The TPoR ceases all demands, and appears to go defunct.
October, 2144- Special Agents Gilmour and Mason are assigned to the Temporal Retrieve project.
Update (12.29.2011) 2012 is looking not too far from current reality!