Constitutional Crisis: Week 2

James Hanley

James Hanley is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.

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6 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    And I intend to put a bug in Nodaway’s ear about whether he’s really comfortable letting another state insert troops in his state.

    Passed note says that a patrol of Sangaman troops on the border called in an air strike on a zombie hordelet but mis-read the map coordinates and inverted them, and the air strike blew up a wedding party of Nodaway citizens.

    They were likely to be attacked/killed by the zombie hordelet, so some significant members of Nodaway are inclined to let it go, but “Insert Named NPC Character Here” is agitating some populist anger about the incident.

    Be prepared to bring up “Insert Named NPC Character Here” in a couple of weeks, if you can engineer him/her back into the storyline during a later session.

    Or maybe have “Insert Named NPC Character Here” assassinate the Nodaway representative 🙂Report

  2. Vikram Bath says:

    It sounds like they learned of the usefulness of back-channels, but lack the people to actually do the back-channelling.

    , and would provide peacekeepers to help with the upcoming election, to ensure its fairness.

    This sounds like a good idea that would never actually happen. Anyone who was genuinely selected to represent Nodaway’s interests would be the kind of person who would find it laughable that their elections were anything but fair. And to invite a rival to come and keep track of things sounds like something that Nodawayans would find a violation of their sovereignty and hugely embarrassing. I think this delegate probably should be talking to one of the other countries to seek asylum rather than head back home.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Vikram Bath says:

      I dunno. How badly do they need electricity and industry?Report

      • To paraphrase one of the Perl slogans: electricity makes easy things easier and hard things possible. To pick an example, my great-grandfather owned a small-town-scale woodworking shop. Power was provided by a donkey engine outside, that drove a line shaft that ran the length of the shop. Individual tools were powered by leather belts that were pulled tight by a lever to deliver power from the shaft to the tool. Here’s a picture of a shop of that type. Compared to using electricity to distribute power, line shafts are inefficient, unreliable, and more dangerous in several ways.

        One of the things that I have thought is weak about Prof. Hanley’s scenario is the broad lack of electricity. That’s not a serious criticism; electricity haves and have-nots is an excellent way to create states with different interests. Nevertheless, a modest-sized suburb contains tens of thousands of generators of various sizes, more motors than generators, and hundreds of thousands of miles of already formed wire. “Scavenger” cultures following a collapse are a relatively common theme in science fiction. Given a source of running water, or wind, or something to burn to make steam, village-level electricity ought to be possible very quickly. Keeping it going over decades is harder, as scavenged stuff wears out, but that’s why you save some engineers.

        It’s amazing how many different ways science fiction authors have used to preserve some engineers (and engineer knowledge). Engineers as monks. Engineers as a guild. Engineers as slaves. Engineers as privileged slaves. Engineers as wealth and currency (“It was a bad harvest, we’ll trade you a young engineer trained in electricity for six tons of rice.”). It probably says something about the authors that three messages always seem to be floating around below the surface: (1) almost all engineers are male, (2) provide them with enough food and sex and they’ll be happy, and (3) engineers have a compulsion to engineer; don’t let them do it and they’re miserable.Report

  3. Michael Cain says:

    Is one of the working assumptions that the delegates are empowered to make binding decisions for their government(s) back home? Or are things like border decisions simply “simplifying assumptions”? That is, let’s you and I agree on a potential border resolution and move on, but the Big Bosses back home will have to approve it before it’s really settled.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I probably haven’t made that clear enough to them, but theoretically they have to get everything approved back home. Of course in reality there is no back home, just them, so the theory has limits as a motivator.Report