Alternative History
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State of Wyoming
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: Wyoming
Flag Coat of Arms
Flag Coat of Arms
Location of Wyoming
Wyoming - 8
Motto
Equal Rights
Capital Casper
Largest city Casper
Other cities Gillette, Rock Springs, Sheridan, Torrington, Cody, Laramie, Green River, Riverton
Language English
Governor Colin M. Simpson
Lieutenant Governor Bill Landen
Area 90,031 mi²
Population 425,000 (est. 2010)
Currency Buffalo Dollar

Wyoming is a state in the United States of America. The majority of the state is dominated by the mountain ranges and range lands of the Rocky Mountain West, while the easternmost section of the state includes part of a high elevation prairie region known as the High Plains. Pre-Doomsday, it was the tenth largest U.S. state by area, and the 49th in population ahead of only Alaska with a U.S. Census estimated population of 471,000 in 1980. The capital and the most populous city of Wyoming was Cheyenne pre-Doomsday

Today, the capital city of Casper is thriving, its population growing to replace that lost on Doomsday and its aftermath. With the exception of Cheyenne and surrounding Laramie county, the state thrives as a integral part of the Provisional United States. The population has risen to around 425,000. Having lost its eastern counties to the new state of Absaroka, the modern state of Wyoming encompasses 90,031 square miles.

History

Pre-Doomsday

A valley in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania was named xwé:wamənk [cway-wa-menk] by the native peoples that lived near there, meaning "at the big river flat." To the European ear, that sounded something like "Wy-wo-mink" or "Wy-oh-ming" -- the latter made it into the English language and the Wyoming Valley became a place name made notorious by a battle there in 1778. A poem written in 1809 set the name in the hearts of America.

Shortly before that poem was written, the territory of the young nation almost doubled when Napoleon sold his holdings (recently acquired from Spain) to assist in his campaign to rule Europe. Over the next half century that land would be carved up in various ways according to the fortunes of the wars with the indigenous tribes that either lived there or were moved there from the states in the east. One of these territories was named "Wyoming" by Representative J. M. Ashley of Ohio. In 1890, after the American Civil War, that territory was made a state.

Sparsely populated, the state proved to be "progressive" in its politics, being the first to grant women the right to vote (1869). A half century later it would produce the first female governor (1925). With vast areas of wilderness, and the accompanying natural resources, the state was an early "battleground" for ecological stewardship. For the most part, the environment won that war. One notable exception, at least to environmentalists, was the area around the capital city. Its relative remoteness earned it the right to house hundreds of nuclear missiles.

Doomsday

Cheyenne was one of the worst places to be on September 25, 1983. The tri-state area (Wyoming-Nebraska-Colorado) housed over two hundred missile silos, each with a missile tipped with a nuclear warhead. Even if all the missiles were fired, the enemy had already targeted these silos for destruction to stop any second battery from being fired. The only advantage that the government there had over other state governments is that they knew to get out of town immediately! As the missiles were flying overhead, Governor Edgar Herschler knew what had to be done. Prearranged routes out of Cheyenne were taken by every officer of the state that was in town (the part-time legislators mostly being home for the weekend). The destination was tiny Torrington, about 80 miles to the northeast.

The main route, taken by the motorcade of the secretary of state, had the eerie experience not only seeing but feeling many of the missiles as they left their silos less than one km from the side of the road. Governor Herschler could see the missiles as they disappeared over the northern horizon, destined for targets in Russia and eastern Europe. He did not give himself time to be afraid, for he knew that the massive fire power that was going to rain down on Cheyenne would be hard to outrun.

About forty minutes outside of town, the governor and his team discerned that no more missiles were coming. The bombs had turned the ground of most of Laramie county into smoldering glass. Anyone deep within the earth, protected by hundreds of yards of rock and re-enforced concrete, would have most certainly been killed by shock waves. If not, all exits were sealed with radioactive molten rock. It would have been better if they had been vaporized.

Because of the blasts being ground level, the radioactive dust clouds proved a threat to everyone downwind. Fortunately for the Wyoming government, the prevailing winds took the clouds down into Kansas. The primary emergency evacuation point in Torrington had survived. By midnight -- five hours after the attack -- all surviving government officials had made it to Torrington. The vehicles they had used had all had shielded electronics, at least in the control modules, to allow them to run even after the electromagnetic pulses (the one from space and the hundred or so from the ground explosions) stopped radios and other electronic devices they may have had. With flashlights aglow, the first session of the emergency session of the Wyoming executive council began. Key legislators would begin arriving as they were able within the next few weeks.

Everything would continue. But definitely not as usual.

Organization of the new era

Governor Herschler quickly met with the top officials of Goshen County, securing their cooperation with the state government. Herschler decided to first assess the damage done to the state. He ordered four exploring parties to survey the most likely targets in Wyoming. Besides assessing the damage to Cheyenne, he also sent parties to Casper, a center of the state's energy industry, Laramie, the state's third largest city and home of the University of Wyoming, and Guernsey, home to an Army National Guard base.

  • Cheyenne and almost all of Laramie County was determined to be destroyed with almost nothing salvageable in the near future. Following this report, Governor Herschler declared Laramie County a quarantine zone.
  • Guernsey was found intact, with the National Guard having mobilized to restore order in the town and having branched out into the county seat of Wheatland, trying to organize a provisional government. The expedition went to Wheatland, where Platte County officials confirmed their loyalty to the State of Wyoming.
  • The city of Laramie (in Albany County) was also found intact, however there had been some rioting and looting, additionally there were at least hundreds of refugees from Cheyenne. The police, former and current military and National Guardsmen, as well as University Police were working to restore order. Albany County officials also confirmed their loyalty to Herschler and Wyoming.
  • Casper was also not hit, however in a state of panic as local TV stations had told Casper residents to prepare for a missile impact. Natrona County officials had fled to the small town of Midwest, north of Casper, from witch point they planned to retake Casper and reestablish the county.

The expeditions had secured the state's hold on the southeastern counties. Governor Herschler then sent out further expeditions to take control of Carbon, Converse, Fremont, and Niobrara Counties, while preparing a force of National Guardsmen to calm the violence and panic in Casper and Laramie. Being a lowly populated state with a large area, all of the targeted counties agreed to submit to the state's authority, with all recognizing the need for community aid. By the end of October all rioting and looting had ceased, with the state's control of Southeastern and Central Wyoming secure. The reconstituted Legislature passed a bill authorizing the creation of a Wyoming Defense Force to defend from all armed incursions. Old Fort Laramie was chosen to be it's headquarters, with outposts at Fort Caspar, Fort Fetterman, Fort Washakie, and Fort Fred Steele.

In May 1984, after learning of the federal government's departure from the mainland, the Legislature quickly passed seven crisis related bills and resolutions. The first granted the Governor emergency powers. The second amended the state constitution to create a lieutenant governor position, to be filled at the next elections. The third authorized the state government to act as an independent nation for the duration of the crisis. The fourth reaffirmed Wyoming's loyalty to the United States of America and promised to give that government its rightful authority when it reconstituted itself. The fifth was a declaration of war on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and authorized a draft to be used for the Wyoming Defense Force. The sixth gave the governor power to form and assign people to work battalions to maintain critical infrastructure and the food supply. The seventh imposed mandatory food and water rationing.

Trouble with the neighbors

The rise of the Lakota . . . More to come

Politics and government

The State of Wyoming functions almost exactly like the pre-Doomsday government, with one exception.

The State of Wyoming has a bicameral Legislature, with a 60 member House of Representatives and a 30 member Senate. Representatives have two year terms, and Senators have four year terms, with half the Senate up for reelection every two years. Legislators from districts where most (or all) of the population lived in Laramie County were allowed to keep their seats until they retired, moved to other offices, or died.

Wyoming is headed by a Governor, with a Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, and a Superintendent of Public Instruction elected on a separate ballot.

Wyoming has a five member state Supreme Court, with members nominated by the Judicial Nominating Commission, and appointed by the Governor. There are district courts below the Supreme Court, of limited jurisdiction, which handle certain types of cases, such as civil claims with lower dollar amounts, misdemeanor criminal offenses, and felony arraignments. Circuit court judges also commonly hear small claims cases as well. There is no appellate court. One year after appointment, judges are subject to a retention vote by the public.

Wyoming is politically dominated by the Republican Party.

Economy

The State of Wyoming is dominated by mining and agriculture. The coal industry is dominant in Wyoming. Wyoming was among the nations leaders in coal pre-Doomsday, and it provides the vast majority of supplies to the North American Union post-Doomsday. The state government in recent years has made efforts to sell Wyoming's surplus coal across North America, with the California Republic and Jefferson becoming major customers. Wyoming also has a booming oil industry. Although much of it was disabled after Doomsday, the nation's increasing prosperity has led to more demand for fuel, leading to a boom in the industry. Wyoming has several oil refineries, making the state a key player in the fuel industry. Wyoming is also a major source of trona, witch is used to make sodium carbonate, a material used in a wide variety of areas such as cleaning, food production, and glass making.

The main agricultural commodities produced in Wyoming include livestock (beef), hay, sugar beets, grain (wheat and barley), and wool.

With increasing prosperity and better transportation, the state government has made efforts in recent years to bring back the tourism industry. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks have reopened for all in recent years, and with an airport in Jackson, the two parks could soon be among North America's leading attractions some day. Other major attractions include Independence Rock and Fossil Butte National Monument.

Communications and Media

There are several newspapers of note in Wyoming. The state's primary newspaper is the Casper Star-Tribune, publishing daily in the capital city of Casper. The paper has statewide readership and influence, and serves as the newspaper of record. The Torrington Telegram, publishing in the nation's capital, has refocused its reporting around nationwide political issues and some local news. Filling the role formerly occupied by the destroyed Washington Post, the Telegram has acquired a regional circulation and a reputation as one of North America's leading newspapers. Other major local papers include the Cody Enterprise, Gillette News-Record, Laramie Boomerang, and the Rock Springs Daily Rocket-Miner.

Wyoming is served by two television stations that have translators throughout the state.

Channel 2: Out of Casper, Channel 2 is Wyoming's leading commercial station. It broadcasts pre-Doomsday shows, movies, and cartoons, United States Baseball League games, University of Wyoming sports, and a few post-Doomsday productions from national studios.

Channel 8: Out of Riverton, Wyoming Public Television has a more public service oriented schedule, carrying local, national, and international news, sessions of the state legislature, limited entertainment, including programs from Vermont, Superior, Kentucky, and Texas.

Colleges and Universities

The University of Wyoming continues to be the only institution of four-year learning within the state. The University was crucial to helping maintain Laramie's stability following Doomsday and during the Lakota War. The Agriculture and Natural Resources school was crucial in the first few years, as it was able to provide needed aid for getting as much agricultural production out of the state as possible. Health Sciences rapidly formed a partnership with Laramie hospitals to establish a program for training doctors, with the nursing programs and the pharmacy programs also aiding the recovery of Wyoming. The University has also begun to produce Wyoming's top judges, lawyers, businessmen, and politicians.

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