Ebenezer T. Squint
2003-08-29 18:51:22 UTC
ISOT Newfoundland to 1000 A.D.
POD Dec. 31, 2000:
The ASBs are celebrating another year of meddling with human history,
fascinating timeline experiments, and good clean fun. One of the intoxicated
aliens stumbles into the ISOT control panel and hits a bunch of buttons at
random. "Oops! Wonder what I did?"
David Doyle is bringing in his lobster catch. He shouldn't be working at
midnight on New Year's Eve, but his family needs the money since the cod
fishery collapsed. He sees the lighthouses in St. John's harbour in the
distance through the sleet. Suddenly a wall of light appears between his
boat and the land, like the Aurora Borealis come down to the ocean's
surface. A second later it disappears. Doyle can still see the outline of
the coast, but the lighthouses are gone. As he comes nearer, he sees that
ALL the buildings are gone!
Precisely at midnight, all over Newfoundland, there are power failures as
the lines from the hydroelectric dams on the mainland are cut. Those who
still have power or batteries notice that all radio and television
broadcasts from the outside world have stopped. All telephone lines to the
mainland have gone dead. Everyone on the Internet suddenly has access only
to the handful of local websites and newsgroups.
Panic spreads quickly as the Islanders fear the worst, that the rest of the
world has been obliterated in a thermonuclear exchange. As the hours pass,
the Provincial authorities try to keep order in St. John's and find out what
is happening. A call from the Faculty of Science at Memorial University
informs the shocked Premier and his cabinet that the date is Jan. 1, 1000AD!
Incoming ships and planes fail to appear, and ougoing ones (those that don't
run out of fuel) return, reporting that there is nowhere to go. Within hours
CBC Newfoundland reports the unbelieveable truth to the public, that the
Island of Newfoundland (minus Labrador) has gone back 1000 years in time!
As the pointless debate begins on how it happened, more immediate problems
are becoming apparent. The Island's economy begins to collapse immediately,
since all imports and exports have ceased. The Newfoundland government
assumes control of the military and all other Federal institutions, and
declares that Canadian currency is still legal tender, although the
government that printed it no longer exists. Distraught foreigners marooned
on Newfoundland are granted citizenship and given such assistance as they
require. Gradually, as order is restored, the Island economy makes the
painful shift toward self-sufficiency. As the weeks and months pass, horses
are bred to tow the vehicles that run out of fuel, and motor boats are
refitted with sail. Much of the power grid is restored as new generators are
turned on and fuel reserves are requisitioned for them, power rationing is
announced, and plans are made for new small dams and windmills.
How does the Island deal with the loss of trade from the rest of the world?
Thanks to geographical records, everyone knows where all the resources are,
but is any attempt made to exploit them? Petroleum, coal and gas might be
extracted and refined, but owners of motor vehicles will still face the
long-term problem of no replacement parts. Is there a large-scale return to
steam power? Libraries can be searched for the technical plans to build any
industry or service the Island might require, but which ones will be
considered a priority? Which ones (eg. medicines, electrical equipment,
small engines) are within feasibility for the approximately half-million
How does Newfoundland popular culture deal with its sudden and complete
isolation? How does it help Newfoundlanders adjust to their new situation?
Is there an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for the world left behind?
In 2000AD, Newfoundland is a minor province of an average country, but in
1000AD it might as well be Atlantis. Does the Newfoundland government
declare a policy of non-interference with the outside world? How many
curious Newfoundlanders ignore this declaration and go off looking for
adventure out of a desire to remake the world in their image (or sheer
Will some adventurous-feeling Newfoundlanders decide to sail to the American
mainland and try to set up their own empires? How many of these have any
success, and how many are treated to a Ponce de Leon impersonation? Of the
successful ones, what happens when their empires collapse from imported
What does Leif Ericsson tell the other Icelanders when he returns from this
"Vinland?" Do other Newfies save him the trip? Does anyone decide to cross
the Atlantic with firearms and try to put an end to the Viking raids?
Does the Newfoundland Catholic Church recognize Pope Sylvester II as its
nominal head? Do irresponsible Protestants decide to try and inspire an
If the Government of Newfoundland does decide to meddle with the outside
world, or at least try to undo the damage done by these adventurers, does it
attempt to establish contact with the monarchies of Western Europe? Do the
Kings welcome the opportunity to advance their technology hundreds of years
ahead of their rivals? Or does Europe conclude that Satan himself has
established an island realm across the sea, burn the ambassadors at the
stake and refuse all further contact?
Finally, what does Canada 2000AD do with a Newfoundland that has suddenly
been repopulated with a few thousand Beothuks?