July 15th, 2005
in 1410, the heretical kingdom of Poland, placed under interdict by Pope Henry IV, defeats the Teutonic Knights of the Holy British Empire in battle at Tannenberg. Henry responded by excommunicating the King Wladislaw Jagiello and forbidding any Christian from obeying his orders. This tactic works; there is a general rebellion against Wladislaw in the winter, and a more friendly ruler is placed on his throne.
in 1610 the inhabitants of Lalande 25372 begin receiving radio transmissions from a star they have named The Hunter, a being from their mythology. It is their first contact with an alien race, and it takes them 20 years to decipher the signals. Although it will take a millennium to reach the Hunters, they begin sending signals back, describing their people and their world.
in 1789, the citizens of Paris organized their government into a commune, where they attempted to dole out duties to those who could perform them and resources to those who needed them. The movement retained power for many years, inspiring many Europeans, including a young Karl Marx. Although the movement retained many democratic impulses, it became increasingly autocratic over the years, until it finally crumbled with the formation of the French Republic in 1857.
in 4560, under the direction of Feng Xizhang, the Chinese Empire performs its first successful test of a Sun Bomb. Although Feng had no fear, some on his staff had believed that the test might ignite the atmosphere and burn away all the air in the world. The successful test, though highly destructive, was not the world-ending event they had feared. However, Feng was humbled by the power of the Sun Bomb, quoting scripture to the Emperor in his report: “I am become death, destroyer of worlds.”
in 1881, William “Billy the Kid” Bonney recovers from a near-fatal gunshot wound in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. He was shot after being surprised by Sheriff Pat Garrett, who left him for dead. Bonney proved stronger than the sheriff reckoned on, though, and lived through the evening. After recovering some strength, he went to a doctor of not-so-sterling reputation in Fort Sumner, who helped him get the bullet out and sew up the wound. After this near-death experience, Bonney changed his ways, somewhat. He still stole and murdered, but often gave a large part of his ill-gotten gains to the poor, and only killed lawmen and the wealthy.
in 1888, the Bandai volcano in Japan, dormant for a millennium, comes to life, but is shut down by the local Mlosh vulcanologist. Many vulcanologists across the globe come to study it, as its sudden heating up had come as something of a surprise. As this study progresses, a school of vulcanology sprouts up around Bandai, and it uncovers some disturbing facts. The passions that those findings light up are much harder to tamp down than the volcano was.
in 1971, Comrade President Gus Hall, in an attempt to revive his electoral fortunes, announces that he will go to China on the first official state visit since the fascist takeover of that country by Chang Kai-Shek. Many important trade and friendship agreements are signed during this visit, but it fails in Hall’s primary purpose; the Communist Party loses the White House for the first time in 16 years in the elections of 1972.
in 1996, after nearly a year’s worth of work in the Chimanimani National Park in Zimbabwe, the archeological expedition led by Dr. Melvin Courtney discovers something unusual in a clump of trees that had been uprooted by an earthquake the previous September. It is a large hunk of metal that is attached to an object that the trees had grown around. The expedition begins removing the trees and unburying it.
in 2000, Mikhail von Heflin and Velma Porter pay a visit to businessman Steve Huff’s mansion outside of New York City. He is entertaining several important guests, including a senator and several congressmen, when they arrive. The pair take him aside and Ms. Porter informs him that, “come Monday, you’re going to be a lot poorer.” They then take their leave of Huff, who calls his institute and tells them to beef up security. He needn’t have bothered.
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