This Skunk May Never Die, But Rises Again Harder and Stronger
So what is this “Dead Skunk” thing I mentioned last week? It’s a timeline on alternatehistory.com, done partly in the form of narrative and partly in the form of false documents — history books and so on. The point of divergence from our own history (the PoD, as it’s known in AH) is that during the British invasion of Louisiana on December 23, 1814, Major General John Keane is briefly held up by a skunk in his path, which is immediately killed by an owl swooping down on it. This illustration of the military effectiveness of striking quickly and out of nowhere inspires him to move up his plans for the invasion of New Orleans considerably. He attacks that very day, before Andrew Jackson has finished preparing. Realizing he’s losing, Jackson decides to torch the city before he goes (he’s that kind of guy) and the Louisiana militia turns against him and kills him. So now the British are holding New Orleans, not knowing the Treaty of Ghent is about to be signed. They advance further up the river, but are stopped at Natchez. By the time they finally get word of peace, the New Orleanians don’t want them to leave, and have declared Louisiana an independent republic under British protection. In London, Lord Liverpool, realizing that things have taken a turn for the strange and there may be some benefit in it for Britain, decides to pull the Duke of Wellington out of Vienna and send him to America to determine what the situation is and if it’s worth tearing up the new treaty to gain advantage. Just in case he decides on war, the British also pull out the little army Wellington has in the Low Countries and send it with him. Then all hell breaks loose. Actually, it’s just Napoleon escaping from Elba, but hell pretty much follows with him, since the army that in our timeline (IOTL, as we say) was supposed to stop him at Waterloo is now en route to the wrong freaking side of the ocean… So how does it end? Well, the trouble with TLs is, they’re like history — they don’t really end. They keep going until the writer either picks a stopping place or gets tired. I’m thinking of stopping at 1859, but by then I’ll probably have plenty of ideas for a sequel. Every five years (as the TL progresses) I write a synopsis of the state of the world. The one for 1829 is so long I had to split it into two parts. They’ll give you an idea of where things stand in this crazy world.