Alternative History
Advertisement
Outer Lands
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: Barnstable County, Dukes County,
New Shoreham, Nantucket, Plymouth County, and parts
of Suffolk County.
Flag Coat of Arms
Flag Great Seal
Location of the Outer Lands
Location of the Outer Lands
Anthem "The Downeaster Alexa"
Capital New Shoreham
Largest city Montauk
Other cities • Edgartown
• Harwich
• Nantucket
• Plymouth
Language
  official
 
English
  others Irish, Italian, Portuguese
Religion
  main
 
Catholicism
  others Judaism, Protestantism
Demonym Outer Lander
Government Federal presidential republic
  Legislature Federal Assembly
President Billy Joel (D)
Area 4,965 sq mi
Population 380,289 
Established January 18, 1984
Currency Dollar (OL$)
Time Zone EST (UTC-5)
  summer EDT (UTC-4)
Organizations United Communities, League of Nations, Atlantic Defense Community

The Outer Lands, commonly abbreviated as the OL, is an alliance of islands and city-states located on the Atlantic coast of North America. A survivor state of the former United States of America, the nation currently includes territory once part of the US states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. While mostly governing island territories, the Outer Lands does share a land border with Vermont via Plymouth.

While the Outer Lands was within close proximity to several strike zones on Doomsday, the territory that became the OL escaped direct attacks, yet still suffered from fallout. Due to common history and traditions, the five provisional governments of the region (Block Island, Cape Cod, Long Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket) came together to form the Outer Lands following Doomsday. After several decades of cautious contact, Plymouth would join the fray as well, doubling the population of the Outer Lands and bringing it into the Atlantic Defense Community. Since the beginning of the new millennium, the Outer Lands has taken strides to establish itself as a mercantile nation open to regional and global trade.

Etymology[]

The use of the term "Outer Lands" to refer to the archipelago began in the late 1960s. The term was coined by native author Dorothy Sterling in her 1967 book of the same name. While it was used to some degree, it wasn't until the 1980s that the name became universally accepted. Prior to this, there was no official term used to refer to the region. The name "Isles of Stirling" (named after William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling) was officially given to the islands in 1635, but this name was never widely used. Both "Isles of Stirling" and "Outer Lands" have become widely used to refer to the archipelago today, with the latter becoming the official name for the nation in the 1980s.

History[]

Pre-Doomsday[]

Whaling-drawingblue

Whaling of the coast of Nantucket during the 1800s.

The pre-Columbian inhabitant of the Outer Lands were the Algonquian-speaking peoples; with the Montaukett people living in eastern Long Island, the Nauset people living in Cape Cod, the Niantic people living in Block Island, and the Wampanoag people living in Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. While there's belief that the Vikings may have been the first Europeans to explore the area, the region eventually came under Dutch and the English control by the 17th century. The Pilgrims were the first to inhabit the area, with the Plymouth Colony having control over Cape Cod. Following the end of Dutch rule in the area; Long Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket were incorporated into the Province of New York (the latter two eventually following the Plymouth Colony in the establishment of the Province of Massachusetts Bay). Block Island was initially claimed by Massachusetts, who later sold the island to those who were to settle it. Since these settlers aligned themselves with the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the island was incorporated into the colony shortly afterward.

The four easternmost boroughs were patriot strongholds during the American Revolutionary War, with Long Island being divided between loyalists and patriots. With the exception of Long Island, the region avoided major battles during the American Revolution. During the War of 1812, the Outer Lands were among the Federalist strongholds who opposed the war, with Block Island briefly being occupied by British forces. Beginning in the 19th century, the region became highly wealthy due to the fishing and whaling traditions, which also left the area untouched by the Industrial Revolution. The region remained predominantly wealthy throughout much of the 20th century, though following World War II the region was beginning to transform into upper class "summer colonies," with the fishing communities gradually declining during this time.

Doomsday[]

New York gets nuked

An artist's rendering of the attacks on New York City.

The bombing of the northeastern United States of America took place in the early evening of September 25, 1983. Located within the metropolitan areas of Boston and New York City, the region soon became chaotic. Attacks on Connecticut and New York City effectively wiped out all of western Long Island (affecting all the towns west of Brookhaven) and Fishers Island. Due to its size, Block Island became the only area of Rhode Island to avoid destruction. Most of eastern Massachusetts was destroyed, with the attack on Otis Air National Guard Base, in Cape Cod, being the only such attack on the modern-day Outer Lands. Due to the southwestern winds on the night of Doomsday, much of the Outer Lands were affected by the fallout of the attacks (with Long Island suffering the most from fallout). Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket were the only regions to have avoided any attacks and fallout.

Within hours of the attacks, refugees from nearby states began arriving on the islands. Eastern Long Island received the most because of its land connections with New York City, while most refugees elsewhere came by boat. Many island residents began to evacuate the islands altogether, most simply heading into open waters in hopes of finding other rescue vessels. By late evening the attacks had stopped, with the wave of refugees continuing for several more hours after which.

Post-Doomsday[]

By October 1983, the majority of the survivors began to reemerge from hiding, with those having evacuated out to return to the coast due to lack of fuel and supplies. While chaos existed, the islands of the Outer Lands remained mostly peaceful given the circumstances. By late October, the regional governments began to ration their supplies, with the local fishermen willing to give up their time to keep their populations fed. By the end of the year, many survivors succumbed to the radioactive fallout and died from radiation poisoning (with over half of Long Island's surviving population having died by 1984).

By December 1983, the majority of Block Island's residents began to flee the island because of limited resources. In an ironic twist, the Block Islanders established early lines of communication between the five regions. On January 18, 1984, the five governments met in Montauk and officially established the Outer Lands. The early purpose of this first alliance was to establish a "resource pool" to be equally distributed among the boroughs and to establish a single military operation. At the time the was still fear that the Doomsday attacks were simply the beginning of a full-scale invasion by the Soviet Union, as well as fears of epidemics, piracy, and terrorism. The was little interest in referring to this early alliance as an independent nation, under hopes that the United States of America was still in existence at the time. The hopes initially gained optimism when following formal contact with Plymouth in early 1984. Relations with Plymouth would later turn sour in May 1984 when they proclaimed themselves the rightful successor to Massachusetts and demanded the return of its territories (mostly Cape Cod).

Gloria-1985-a-firefighter-helps-with-flooding-in-freeport

Flooded streets in Long Island following Hurricane Gloria.

The Outer Lands faced their first instance of unity following Hurricane Gloria in September 1985. Despite being weakened before making landfall in Long Island, the hurricane became another blow to the region. Military and rescue personnel from across the Outer Lands came together to help those in need, becoming the first instance where the unified forces came into use following Doomsday. Despite the initial blow to the region's morale, the rain and wind of Hurricane Gloria in many ways greatly helped to eliminate lingering fallout remaining in the area.

The events of Hurricane Gloria, combined with continued tensions with neighboring Plymouth, and the realization that any help from the United States of America was likely not to come; the five boroughs came together to write out a new constitution for the Outer Lands. Meeting in New Shoreham, Block Island, the new constitution was ratified on October 26, 1985. Unlike the previous charter, this new constitution formally declared independence for the Outer Lands and established itself as a single nation and a confederation. Presidential and legislative elections were held later that year.

Re-modernization[]

The early 1990s is generally regarded within the Outer Lands as the end of the "Survivalist Era" and the beginning of the "Re-modernization Era." During this time the government and people of the OL began to enact programs that aimed to re-establish the region to its pre-Doomsday identity. While this period did attempt to reintroduce the OL to the international community, most of the programs were focused on domestic issues such as energy and infrastructure. The most notable program was the formation of the Outer Lands Power Authority (OLPA) and the reconstruction of the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant in northern Long Island (which became part of a global revival of civil nuclear power following Doomsday). Despite promoting an isolationist foreign policy throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the OL established friendly relations with nearby Aroostook, Delmarva, and Vermont; while continuing to have spotty relations with neighboring Plymouth until the early 2010s. Surprisingly, the aftershocks felt after the end of the Saguenay War, and increased contact with officials from the Atlantic Defense Community made the residents of Plymouth reconsider their estrangement.

First southside view of tourists at Block Island, RI IMG 1172

The southside view of
New Shoreham, Block Island.

Following the announcement that the United States of America officially ceased to exist, the Outer Lands began reconstructing what their place was both domestically and internationally. This new mentality culminated in the adoption of the current constitution in June 2001, reorganizing the OL as a more centralized federation and establishing a new mentality for the islands. Following the election of former musician Billy Joel in 2009, the OL's foreign policy was completely shifted into a new program entitled "Outer Lands State of Mind" (a play on the 1976 song by Joel). Under this, the OL moved to re-establish some of its pre-Doomsday global significance as an economic and trading power, claiming the OL to be the "reincarnation of Boston and New York City." To some extent this has been successful, in which the OL has opened itself to the international community and by today has established some form of contact with every continent on the planet. Vermont viewed the OL as a potential alternative to Plymouth in establishing trading posts, but this notion has partially died down following the union of the Outer Lands and Plymouth.

Present Day[]

Today, the Outer Lands is a rising power in the North American landscape. Inheriting the relationships its member-state Plymouth had previously established with the Atlantic Defense Community (the Celtic Alliance in particular), the expanded OL would itself become a member of the collective security organization. However, much of its strength lies in its "soft power" - in being one of the most accessible North American states as well as inheriting the institutional remnants of New York, Boston, and the Northeast at large, the Outer Lands has made great strides as not only a mercantile nation but also a powerhouse of education and scientific research. In its dealings with the "mini-UN" in the {{1983DD|United Communities}}, many scientists from the area would work on its lauded Restoration Committee as they endeavored to contain, clean, and re-populate sites destroyed on Doomsday. Although the reconstruction of New York City and even Boston are still many years away, the Outer Lands hopes to hone their skills in denuclearization so as to undertake this endeavor en force in the future.

Reclaiming Long Island[]

Throughout the 2010s, the boldest of Outer Lands residents, chiefly those in the safety of the east of Long Island, would increasingly venture into the ruins west of Ronkonkoma. The land that was not pockmarked with crater lakes was almost entirely reclaimed by dense vegetation and lush forests, whose only sign of concern were their subtly mutated leaves. Birds, rabbits and squirrels became incredibly plentiful in the ruined half of Long Island, which often attracted scavengers and hunters who would in turn become sick by consuming these highly irradiated animals. With concerningly high radiation levels still posing an existential threat to human life, the remnants of the Sagtikos State Parkway would become the de facto borderland between the expanded zones of exploration and what remained the "No-Go Zone" for Outer Landers.


Government and Politics[]

The Outer Lands is a liberal democracy and a constitutional republic under a federal system. Most of the government and political makeup of the Outer Lands was inherited from the United States of America and the state governments of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. The government is divided into three branches: the executive branch, the judicial branch, and the legislative branch. The head of state and head of government are represented by the President, who is democratically elected to serve for a four-year term in office (with a maximum of two terms possible). The legislature is the Federal Assembly, with democratically elected representatives and headed by a Speaker.

Legislature[]

Hygeia House

Hygeia House, the meeting place of the Federal Assembly.

The legislative body of the Outer Lands is the Federal Assembly, which is a unicameral legislature currently made up of 36 representatives. Under the current structuring, 18 of these seats are distributed equally among the boroughs (currently three for each), while the remaining 18 are distributed based on population. Based on their populations, the boroughs are thereby divided into constituencies which in which that representative will represent, while the three based equally are borough-wide.

The representatives of the Federal Assembly are democratically elected by the residence of the borough/constituency they wish to represent. They are elected to serve a six-year term in office with no term limits enacted. Legislative elections are timed so only a third of the seats are up for election every two years. The Speaker of the Federal Assembly is selected among the representatives, and is usually a member of the majority political party. The Speaker works to keep order, assign committees, and to begin motions to establish laws.

Political parties[]

The Outer Lands allow for a democratic multi-party system. As of recently, the Federal Assembly currently comprises five political parties.

Subdivisions[]

Boroughs of the Outer Lands (Doomsday)

The subdivisions of the Outer Lands

The Outer Lands is a federation made up of six boroughs. With the exception of Block Island, the boroughs were previously known as counties within the former United States of America. Under the current constitution, the six boroughs act as sovereign entities (with the exception of their economies, fishing, foreign policies, infrastructure, and resources).

The six boroughs are:

International Relations[]

Living up to its name, the Outer Lands has taken strides to avoid the conflicts that have arisen across the rest of the continent. It is a leader in academic and scientific research on the continent, with its island bastions being shielded from the chaos to the west. Perhaps its unique geography has spared it from the acute horrors that led to social collapse in much of other parts of North America, but in any case, the Outer Lands has striven to be an active humanitarian actor on the regional and global stage. Plymouth became a member of the Atlantic Defense Community some years before its accession to the Outer Lands, in part due to its close relationship to the Celtic Alliance, being one of the first survivor nations in the former United States their sailors interacted with.

Following the dispatch of ADC operations during the Saguenay War, the Outer Lands came into contact with the fledgling League of Nations, who it would join shortly after. Today, it is home to a regional office, and its harbors are of great importance to the League for inbound personnel to the Northeast.

Advertisement