A story 25 years in the making, A Graphic Novel combining elements of Dystopian Futurism, Cyberpunk, and Fantasy. Story and Art by Ted Lody.
The Cold War
In This alternate reality, The United States suffers a series of devastating and demoralizing defeats during the Cold War. North Korea annexes the south and Korean unifies the entire peninsula at the end of a bloody war. The United States alone suffers 265,000 causalities before withdrawing from the conflict. United Nations signs an armistice in 1954.
After 13 days of an intense standoff with Cuba and the Soviet Union in 1962, the United States withdraws its naval blockade of the island nation. This allows Russian ships to unload additional nuclear ordinance and over 350,000 troops; shifting the balance power in the Caribbean and Latina America.
The United States Enters the Vietnam War in 1964. This conflict results in an even greater defeat for the US, with over 475,000 causalities. An armistice is signed in 1969 ending the war. A unified Vietnam annexes Cambodia, Laos, Burma, and Thailand. After the end of the Vietnam War, the US economy enters into a series of long-lasting recessions, fast approaching post-1929 levels, with Unemployment steady above 11%. After Vietnam, the budget for the Department of Defense is cut drastically. Hundreds of foreign US bases are closed. The United States officially withdraws from NATO is 1978; unable to keep its commitments to its allies. Vietnam consolidates nearly all the opium production in Southeast Asia by 1971, creating a virtual monopoly by 1980.
The rise of global Drug Cartels
In the mid-1960s there is a spike in illicit narcotic use in the US. By 1970, one out of six Americans will become chronic drug addicts. Among these new addicts are servicemen returning from Vietnam. Latina American and Asian Drug Cartels grow in power and influence with more efficient growth, production, and distribution techniques. By 1980 one out of five Americans will become addicted, one out of four by 1990. Many unemployed Americans affected by the ongoing economic climate turn to crime to support their drug habits.
President Richard Nixon is assassinated in 1970, before sighing The Controlled Substances Act. The Nixon administration was planning to create a new government agency: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA.) The Controlled Substances Act would allow the government to lawfully and systematically target and incarcerate select groups of the population. These select groups who receive harsher sentences from the courts.
By 1980 several Latin American countries are directly and openly controlled by Drug Cartels. These Cartels gain the support of the people by reinvesting drug profits back into their economics and improve local infrastructure. Most of these countries enjoy free health care, free education, and free public housing. Columbia nationalizes its Cocaine industry in 1977, the same year Pablo Escobar is elected President. Columbia’s GDP in 1985 passes France and Great Britain.
Canada and Mexico seal off their borders to the United States
The American economy starts to reach third world standards by the late 1970s. There is an influx of American immigrants into Mexico and Canada seeking jobs, often in sweatshops and other hazardous environments. American women are often the target of human traffickers. Other immigrants become victims of human organ harvesters Canada and Mexico seal off their borders to the United States by 1975, adopting a shoot on site policy against illegal immigrants crossing their borders. There are thousands of mass grave sites along both borders. Several nations condemn Canada and Mexico for human rights atrocities. Illegal immigration into Mexico is so bad, they construct a massive wall along its 2000+ mile border with the US which is completed by 1980; fully armed with Machine Gun and Rocket Launcher turrets.
Fidel Castro, who does not endorse drug use among the Cuban people, says in a public address: "What our communist comrades could not accomplish against the capitalist infidels with tanks, planes, or the threat of nuclear annihilation, our Latin American brothers will defeat the American swine by feeding their incurable addictions. We will simply watch the Infidels slowly self destruct. After the last American dies of an overdose, we simply cross over their undefended borders conquer the United States without firing a single shot...”
The collapse of the American Economy
While one segment of American lives was being destroyed by drugs, another was being destroyed by the collapse of the economy; while another segment profited by the same destruction. Millions of American homes go into foreclosure. Many property owners and landlords resort to arson and other forms of insurance fraud. Banks start to fail and the Insurance Industry starts to collapse.
On black Monday, October 12th, 1998, the Stock Market crashes. The Dow Jones falls to near 1929 levels. Weeks later, the Federal Government issues the largest series of bailouts to the Banking System and insurance industry in history. Instead of putting the bailout money back into the economy, the banks and insurance company executives are issued hefty years end bonuses. Riots break out in every major city. Wall Street traders and bankers are lynched right outside the New York Stock Exchange. Police and Firefighters soon realized that their entire pensions and life savings are wiped out, they join the rioters. Thousands of fires are left to burn, and looters roam free. The Federal Government declares a state of emergency as martial law goes into effect.
The Destruction of the White House and the Collapse of the US Government
March 11th, 1999, The White House is destroyed in a massive fire. The President, Vice President, First Lady, President's Chief of Staff, Speaker of the House, and Secretary of State are all reported to perish. The News reports several conflicting stories on the tragedy: "Terrorist Attack, Act of War, Act of God?" In reality, as Washington DC burns from hundreds of arson fires, but inside the White House, "fires" of a different kind burn with greater intensity. Some would say that Las Vegas was America's modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah, but it was Washington DC that had access to the best drugs and prostitutes, only the political elite could afford. This President truly had more in common with Caligula of Rome than Abraham Lincoln. The First Lady walks into the Oval Office and guns down the President and his entire staff, who were involved in a "Presidential Orgy." Afterward, the First Lady kills the President's favorite call girl, “Monica.”
Cuba, Mexico, and Canada invade the United States
The United States government collapses after the destruction of the White House and Pentagon. Several high ranking members of the military are killed in a series of bombings at the Pentagon, disputing the chain of command. Seizing the moment, at dawn on May 5th, 1999, Cuban, Mexican and Canadian forces invade the United States. Even though the United States possessed a vast amount of natural resources, Mexico and Canada believed the US lacked the infrastructure to properly exploit those resources. Hundreds of Thousands of Americans captured during the invasion are placed in concentration camps. Some are placed on trial for "war crimes against humanity" and then publicly executed on live television. Canadians engaged in the mass extermination of American prisoners in death camps. Even the Orthodox Communists in Korea and Russia thought Canada's methods were too extreme.
With no central government left, local government leaders and remnants of Us Armed Forces rally ordinary citizens to form resistance militias to slow the Cuban, Mexican, and Canadian advance. These militias, with the federal government gone, will form local governments and city-states. The heaviest of battles will be fought at the siege of San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Minneapolis, Boston, Portland, Buffalo, Detroit, and Atlanta. Cuba, Mexico, and Canada would retain most of the territories annexed during the Invasion of the former United States. The rest of the former United States that was not annexed during the May 5th Invasion, divide into smaller, self-governing factions like The California Free State, East Coast Council, Southern Neo-Confederates, and the Midwest Alliance. Several neutral and unaligned zones will be formed towards the west of the nation with dozen independent city-states within.
Ernest Swartzoff and the California Free State
Former Hollywood action movie star and professional bodybuilder turned politician, Ernest Swartzoff, would lead California against the Mexican invasion and win a decisive victory at the First Battle of Los Angeles. This halted the Mexican advance into the rest of the West Coast, forcing them to withdraw back to San Diego.
Chancellor Swartzoff immediately begins a statewide construction program, including the erection of a massive wall around the Cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. These walled cities are armed with anti-aircraft guns, machine gun turrets, and missile batteries. The California Military starts a mandatory recruitment effort to rebuild its armed forces against another Mexican invasion. The Chancellor was quoted on live television saying: "They'll be back!" Swartzoff supports an aggressive insurgency movement in San Diego. This will become the model for other insurgencies through the former United States. Occupying San Diego would prove quite costly for Mexico in the long run. Every insurgency victory would buy more time for Fortress Los Angeles to strengthen its defenses.
Law and Order are quickly restored in LA and the rest of New California Free State. Swartzoff rules with an "Iron Fist," with zero tolerance for crime. He heavily invests resources in Law Enforcement, especially the Highway patrol, protecting trade routes from Mexican Forces and local raiders. California becomes the Pay-Per-View Execution capitol of the world, as Gladiator style and Murder Reality TV shows begin broadcasting. Other parts of the former US will adopt Schwarzkopf's concept of walled cities and other military strategies. Swartzoff’s success will win the hearts and minds of the people, military, and the Industrial Complex of the Free State of California.
David Hump and the East Coast Factions
David Hump, in the 1970s, was a male exotic dancer, who turned into an adult film star sensation overnight. He appeared in over 100 adult films before 1979. Using his prestige as an adult film star, Hump and his business partners opened several successful Gentleman's Club and Discos in the New York and New Jersey area. By the 1980s, Hump got into the real estate and construction business, opening several high-end hotels and casinos, under the already well established Hump brand. In 1983, he began a massive real-estate development venture in Atlantic City, the same year that New Jersey legalized prostitution. In the late 1980s, The Hump Corporation started to acquire several companies involved in transportation, manufacturing, and defense contracting. Throughout the 1990s Hump Corp started stockpiling vast amounts of resources and equipment, including arms and munitions. By the early 1990s, Hump Defense Solutions became a major weapons systems contractor in the US and overseas.
During the invasion of the United States, Hump rapidly deployed his private corporate security forces, to the defense of the East Coast against Canada. During that time, Hump Security Corp was better funded, armed, and equipped than most of the US Armed Forces. The siege of Boston and Buffalo ended quickly as Canadian Forces withdrew after taking heavy losses. The Canadians adopted a Scorched Earth policy concerning American cities. Several cities were razed, along the surrounding industrial agricultural base. Adopting the Swartzoff "Fortress City Template" Hump Corp began to fortify several cities on the East Coast including New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Atlantic City. After the Invasion of May 5th, Hump declares himself Chairman of the East Coast Council. Hump would become one of the biggest arms dealers in the “New North America.” One of Hump’s famous sayings was “In America, anything is possible, just look at me. Of course, having a ten-inch co** doesn’t hurt either.
Todd Turnoff and the Southern Neo-Confederacy
Todd Turnoff is another industrialist turn politician. Turnoff's family had roots in the south that go back to before the American Civil War. He built a telecom empire from very humble beginnings and transformed it into a global network by the mid-1980s. 24 hour Live News, Sports, and Talk Shows broadcasted on his cable tv network, coast to coast. During the Cold War, the South experienced several large cutbacks in Federal Funding, especially in areas of law enforcement and disaster relief. Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas experienced a series of hurricanes early in 1990. By 1991 FIMA was on the urge of bankruptcy. Turnoff used his television and radio networks to host a long series of telethons, rising billions for disaster relief. Turnoff ran for governor of Georgia in 1992 and won by a landslide. His platform promises sweeping economic reforms that will rebuild the south. Turnoff belonged to an exclusive paramilitary group called the "Sons of the South." This group aimed to protect and unite Southerners against all enemies, foreign and domestic, by providing community policing. The Sons of the South also worked with Turnoff on various charities, including disaster relief, drug rehabilitation, and housing for the poor. Turnoff and the Sons of the South were a part of a popular movement 1990s, where the Southern states would secede from the by the year 2000.
The invasion of the Southern States rallied the people more than ever. Cuban's ruthless aggression in Florida only strengthened Governor Turnoff's resolve and rallied the Sons of South to the Defense of Georgia and the other Southern States. The Siege of Atlanta would become a bloody and costly battle, for all sides. Cuban forces fought with as much more intensity than Mexico and were willing to sacrifice even more to achieve total victory against the United States, at any cost. Castro forbids Cuban forces to withdraw from any battle. Turnoff's forces also fought with equal tenacity. In the end, Atlanta was held by the south. Turnoff quickly fortified Atlanta, turning to into a walled fortress, with their variation of the Swartzoff Template. The Southern Neo-Confederacy was born. Governor Turnoff's dream of seceding from the Union was realized in a way, but by 1999 there was no Union to secede from.
Maxwell Hardcastle and the Las Vegas City-state
Maxwell Hardcastle, former CIA operative specializing in counterintelligence, made his mark in the private sector as a security consultant. He developed an extensive client list, most notably David Hump and The Greater Los Angeles Genetics Institute. Hardcastle handled security for Hump in Atlantic City throughout the 80s, focusing on his Casino and Hotel properties. During the 90s, Hardcastle Security Concepts secured most of the private security contracts in Las Vegas and Reno. By the beginning of the economic downturn in the late 90s, Hardcastle Security was highly visible, providing heighten security for Hotels, Casinos, and Brothels against looters, arsonists, high-end confidence operators, and armed robbery.
Hardcastle predicted that one day the federal government would falter from economic collapse and the general anarchy that would follow. Maxwell Hardcastle had a special working relationship with the local and state government in Nevada. Using his creditability and influence, his company was granted the largest security contract to date. By 1998, Las Vegas was one of the most heavily fortified cities in the United States. During the invasion of the US, Mexico was unable to gain any territory within Nevada. Mexican forces incurred heavy losses at the Battle of Hoover Dam. After his overwhelming victory at the Dam, Maxwell Hardcastle became governor of the Las Vegas City State. Using his knowledge and experience as a CIA operative, Hardcastle worked with the California Free State and other factions to coordinate insurgency strikes against Mexican Forces. Each victory had a demoralizing effect on the Mexican occupying forces, especially the assassination of Mexican Generals and government officials.
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