Mosaic: Distribution (1)

The second major issue in setting up this place is the distribution of the alternate timelines, or more specifically, the distribution of points of departure.  But let’s lay down a few more setting assumptions first.

Unlike the GURPS Infinite Worlds setting, the “local time” for every alternate world in this setting is going to be the same 201x, the only time that it’s even remotely possible for the Earth to be in the same area of space.  I’m going to have to make lots of  assumptions about whether specific historical events were highly contingent and unliklely to have repeated in other timelines with even slightly different circumstances, and which were more or less inevitable, and that’s going to dramatically affect what the cells are going to look like, and my initial assumptions are threefold: (1) the evolution of intelligence was highly unlikely, so anything diverging more than a couple million years ago is going to be untamed wilderness.  (2)The industrial revolution was fairly unlikely, so most timelines diverging before 1750 or so are going to stay fairly low-tech, and (3)Surviving the modern age was somewhat unlikely, depending on discovering nuclear weapons at the very end of a major world war, so there will be more ruined wasteland zones than high-tech ones apart from the post-1950s-divergers.

Implicit in these assumptions is a general picture of what I want the post-Mosaic world to look like: a handful of high-tech powers, many lower-tech sectors between them, and a fair number of depopulated or never-populated wildernesses and wastelands among them.  This is going to guide the distribution issue.

The question is what is the distribution of timelines and divergence points.  First, there is a ‘bottom’: I can’t have too many divergence points earlier than 100 million years ago, because that’s about the period over which the orbit of the Earth is chaotic: cells diverging that long ago are more likely to contain empty vacuum than any version of the Earth.  So we can’t have more than a couple from that far out and still have a viable setting.  (Since this is where we’re setting the limit, there’s some bad news for anything much more chaotic in its orbit than Earth: Mercury, Pluto, and the gas giant moons may end up belts with no piece larger than a single cell.  The larger asteroids will certainly end up  pulverized.)

My eventual decision, at least for a first pass, is to distribute them in a roughly normal distribution against a log-time axis, with the peak somewhere around 3000BC/5000YA[Years Ago].  The technobabble around that will have something to do with the whole ‘evolution of consciousness in the bicameral mind’ stuff, and imply that concious minds began translating more quantum events into macro-scale divergences.  But there’s another problem in the distribution that needs to be fixed, which will be taken up in the next post.

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