Preface: This timeline was originally posted on alternatehistory.com on July 28th, 2014 and is based off of two Star Wars-related pieces of news. THIS IS THE PETITION RESPONSE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR BY SPANISHSPY Petition Response from Whitehouse.gov, January 2013: Official White House Response to Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016 This Is the Petition Response You're Looking For By Paul Shawcross The administration shares your concerns for job creation, national defense, and space exploration, and was deeply interested in the proposal to construct a Death Star in Earth orbit. After deliberations with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Administration has decided that the construction of a Death Star is indeed the best course of action for the United States of America as it advances boldly into the future. Here are a few reasons: · Jumpstarting our recessionary economy by providing at least three million jobs. · Adding $850 quintillion dollars to the economy and the creation of an inflation rate to accept that money without causing hyperinflation, while giving the majority of that money to American workers and firms. · The usage of a superlaser to remotely take out bases and strongholds belonging to the Taliban in Afghanistan, helping our troops come home sooner and support our national security. · Despite engineering misgivings, any easily exploitable flaws will be covered and protected so that terrorists cannot harm it. This platform will require the entire resources of the United States and will be the largest public works program since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression. Talks with Democrats on the Hill have yielded results and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada will be proposing the Death Star Appropriations Bill to Congress next month. The House of Representatives seems equally likely to support us and a significant amount of Republicans, including Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, showing the bipartisan support of such a bill. The armed forces of this country will have significant deployments on the Death Star, with the superlaser under the control of the Department of Defense under the guidance of all branches of the military. The Air Force will be responsible for the starfighter defenses of this battleship, while the Army will control the supply planes that will ferry troops and vehicles to and from the battle station onto Earth. Additionally, NASA will control significant amounts of the station and will use it for the expansion of America’s exploration of the Solar System and hopefully serve as a jump-off point for a manned landing on Mars. Satellite controls will also be installed on the Death Star, ensuring communications not just for America, but for the world. Private companies, including companies that participate in space exploration, will participate in this endeavor to spur advancement in the field of space and computer technology, and to develop Space infrastructure for the betterment of the average American. If all goes well, this station will provide free Wifi to the entire world, making places with no reception a thing of the past. This project will create a new future of opportunity and technological wonder for America and the world. Be a part of this new future. You can help your country build the Death Star and improve the economy by: · Enlisting for training in zero-gravity construction environments. · Donating money to the construction of the Death Star. · Entering construction fields to provide supplies. · Help government agencies in gaining raw materials, labor, or other necessities for the job. The future is calling, and the final frontier awaits the country that put the first man on the moon. Let’s build this station together. For America. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Excerpt from How We Came to Live on this Station, by Clayton Conroy, Death Star Publishing, 2245. The proposal of the Death Star Appropriations Bill in the United States Senate in February 2013 was passed with a sense of reservation and cautiousness, but was passed with a majority that would allow its passage to the House of Representatives, which also passed it, and President Barack Obama signed it without incident. However, significant but insufficiently powerful groups on both the left and right sides of the American political spectrum had serious objections to the program; Ted Cruz, a recently inaugurated Senator from Texas, remarked that “this project is a flagrant waste of money. This will more than quintuple the national debt and force America’s economy into being controlled by the government.” Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts, said that “the American public has no need for yet another superweapon that will never be used.” Even so, NASA began preparations for the launching of the first rockets to build the Death Star from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and used a portion of the funding given to it by the Death Star Appropriations Bill to hire large amounts of workers to be trained in zero-gravity environments and bought equipment to do so. The US military also provided significant funds and training to the fray, and the first rockets for the construction of the station were sent up into Earth orbit in March. The exact methods that construction was begun so early were classified by the US government and are still unknown; the original petition called for its construction beginning in 2016, not as early as 2013. President Obama made an announcement that the construction of the Death Star was being made early to serve as “a vanguard in the War on Terror” and to house “agencies of the national security apparatus in a location that the terrorists cannot reach.” Development of the station’s superlaser took place in a variety of locations in the Western United States, such as in the deserts of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, as well as remote parts of Wyoming. Initial tests were able to destroy small targets such as tanks, but as the months went on mockups of small towns were able to be destroyed by superlasers placed on mountains. The artificial gravity systems that would be necessary in such a construction, too, were being tested in various remote locations. And in Hawaii and Alaska, the fighters designed to operate in space were being tested. The entirety of the American military-industrial complex was being revamped to construct the greatest feat of engineering that mankind would ever know. Day after day, month after month, the launches from Cape Canaveral continued their inexorable advance into space, and the Death Star became visible worldwide. In every nation’s starry night, a new star, a star controlled by the most powerful nation on the planet, eventually capable of striking any point on Earth with the force unrivalled by even the strongest nuclear weapon. Leaders of the world were either scared or nervous, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, called it “a brazen display of American arrogance,” while Secretary General of the United Nations called upon the United States to “exercise caution while constructing such a station.” However, Secretary of State John Kerry assured NATO and American allies such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, and others would be able to benefit from the construction of the station. Strategists at NATO said that the superlaser and the antimissile defenses aboard it would be able to replace the missile defense shield that the United States used to defend Europe, and could very well render ICBMs outdated. After a long month of politicking, NATO promised support to the United States in construction of the station. Domestically, Obama dubbed the mass reorganization of the American economy to produce such a station to be the “Second New Deal” to jumpstart the economy in the face of high inflation and high unemployment. The jobs projected to be created were indeed created, be they working on the station itself, in the oil fields and iron mines needed for the construction of the station, the launch pads (new ones were established throughout the country, a major one being just south of Corpus Christi, Texas, and yet another in Hawaii), or in programming the various machines that would have to be made for such a feat. The movement opposing involvement in the War in Afghanistan staged massive protests, many involving remnants of the Occupy Wall Street movement that had all but fizzled out. The construction of this new station gave the disaffected youth new cause; it seemed that their homeland was preparing for a war of conquest and destruction, something that would make the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the intervention in Libya, and even the long and arduous war in Vietnam seem tame by comparison. It was used as a symbol of the excesses of the American upper class, a show of their disaffection with the ‘99%.’ Thusly the protests in New York and Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles, Houston and San Francisco were massive displays against the establishment. A vocal opposition also arose from the political right, where the Tea Party movement dedicated itself to opposing such a project. Concerned with the fact that such a station would house innumerable government agencies in an area where they could not be reached by people on the ground, they feared the growth of a large, stifling bureaucracy already unaccountable to the people that would be so remote and yet so seemingly entitled to their power over a planet. It was also wasteful spending and the cause of increasingly high taxes. The conservative movement had many reasons to oppose such a program, and would do so with great yet gradually faltering effort. And yet the positive effects of the construction of the battle station were undeniable. The massive amounts of labor necessary for the station meant that whatever personal animosities between members of the workforce would have to be resolved and resolved quickly. Congress quickly passed a Government Employee Non-Discrimination and Tolerance Bill, which banned the discrimination, both institutional and personal, of people based on gender, sexual orientation, race, age, or any other inherent quality that had no effect on the job at hand. To supplement the massive need for labor, Congress debated quite hastily a compromise on illegal immigration. This compromise allowed a militarized border but also removed a large amount of bureaucracy from the process of becoming a citizen, designed to ensure there was no excuse to come into the country illegally. These new Americans would subsequently be put to work in the construction of this marvel of engineering. As March segued into April, and April into May, the Death Star began to assume its eyelike specter over the world, casting a gaze down on Earth, daring the enemies of the United States of America to strike. The Superlaser was completed to an extent that it was able to hit targets on Earth, as it did in a widely publicized test on an artificial settlement in the deserts of Arizona. It was only a matter of time, insisted the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan Joseph F. Dunford that the Death Star’s superlaser would be able to be used on terrorist-held targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The world waited with great apprehension for the usage of this monstrous weapon. On May 4th, 2013, the Death Star’s first combat application was the destruction of a Taliban base in Helmand province in Afghanistan, completely obliterating the base and turning the surrounding area into charred glass and burning residue of whatever had been there. Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, denounced the usage of such a weapon as “a violation of the sovereignty of Afghanistan,” but the commanders of the force in the country maintained its legitimacy. Further strikes continued, in the assistance of the Afghan army to ensure that such complaints from Kabul would not continue. The American public, and the population of the world at large, began to grow quite nervous at the continuing construction of the battle station. Protests were held in major American cities and at their embassies worldwide, demanding that the construction of the station be halted and what already existed dismantled. But construction continued posthaste, giving rise to speculation that there was some sinister, perhaps evil purpose that the military-industrial complex of the most powerful nation in the world was hiding from humanity at large. Conspiracy theorists were given ample fodder for their beliefs Such speculation became all too real when an employee by the name of Edward Snowden, who had formerly worked for the American signals intelligence agency, the National Security Agency (NSA), flew to Hong Kong and then to Moscow after revealing information about the mass surveillance practices of the agency, which was shown to be gathering large amounts of metadata and spying on the internet records of millions worldwide. However, the most shocking of all to some, but not to others, was that the Death Star was to be a new form of surveillance, able to intercept the satellite traffic of every single satellite in Earth orbit, and stored in a massive storage facility on the station. This data would be used to counter terrorism via pinpointing their exact locations through a variety of methods, thusly crippling them and exposing them to counterterror strikes. The nation, understandably, was in an uproar, and the international community followed shortly. It seemed to be apparent that the National Security Agency was in the hands of those so paranoid that they could not conceive of a safe world in which they were not monitoring everything and anything that a human uttered to another human, or even to himself. Protestors sprang up, and fringe opinion turned against the creation of the Death Star in even more virulence than before, but the public at large was absolutely apathetic if not only triflingly concerned. They wanted warm meals and steady employment; the construction of the Death Star provided them with both. The powerful American media provided them with entertainment; a perfect Panem et Circensis. Internationally, the world’s nations denounced the United States for its voracious desire for the knowledge of the affairs of others with a form of voyeurism that bordered on informational kleptomania. Britain and its former dominions of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand were all complicit in the programs operated by the United States, with the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) providing important computer systems to the Death Star, which would have the computational storage capability of thousands of average computers and the largest bastion of data that the world would ever have. Months passed, and this dreary state of affairs continued itself well into the end of the year. A continent away, the United States’ foremost rival in the world, the Russian Federation, was jostling with the European Union over the status of the Eastern European nation of Ukraine. Their President, Viktor Yanukovych, refused to sign a popular trade deal with the European Union and was subsequently deposed by a popular revolution. In February, Russia forcibly annexed Crimea, a region of Ukraine, previously autonomous but still under the administration and protection of Kiev until Russian forces moved into the region. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, declared the region annexed on March 18th, 2014. The world was anxious. President Obama did not involve the United States in this crisis, although his rhetoric supported the Ukrainians. It seemed like Russia would get away with taking Crimea, and may possibly even take control of the parts of eastern Ukraine that were declaring themselves independent republics, such as Donetsk and Luhansk, which had unified themselves into the Federal State of Novorossiya and declared their desire to join with the Russians in their Federation. And yet, the Ukrainian Presidential elections revealed that somebody was willing to stand up for that country. Elections for President were to be held on the 25th of May, and three candidates stood for election. One was Petro Poroshenko, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Trade and Economic Development as well as a success in the corporate world. Another was Yulia Tymoshenko, a former dissident leader and served as the Prime Minister of Ukraine in 2004 and 2005. Neither, however, promised the capabilities of what the third candidate offered. This candidate was a man perpetually in a black suit by the name of Darth Vader, an enigmatic man who revealed little about himself but somehow had access to weapons beyond the wildest dreams of the Ukrainian people. His rise worried Russia, for he could easily be a threat; America was frightened as well, but was looking to exploit the opportunity to bring down a rival power. Vader’s rhetoric promised much; he said that he would transform the Ukrainian Republic “into an Empire.” This promise was one that resonated with the people of this nation existentially threatened by the Russians. His popularity surged. Vader then attempted to secure an electoral foothold by doing what neither Poroshenko nor Tymoshenko had the gall to do: he went into the war zones of eastern Ukraine and brandished his lightsaber, a laser-based sword made out of a very rare crystal. Using his abilities of telekinesis, telepathy, limited mind control, and superior agility, scientifically unexplained, he was able to completely destroy large swaths of the resistance in parts of Donetsk Oblast. Returning to Kiev, he promised that “this rebel alliance of Donetsk and Luhansk shall not be allowed to exist if I am elected.” When the elections were held, the world was terrified. Would a man of this power be allowed to run a nation? Would he win? His decimation of the forces in Donetsk Oblast were put under intense scrutiny by the United Nations and by other international organizations, which had already been calling for a peace in that country and the cessation of hostilities between the pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian factions. However, rhetoric does so little in comparison to sticks and stones, or perhaps more fittingly, to bullets and missiles, being but the vapid expression of dismay by individuals who are powerless to do anything meaningful in a situation. Election Day came, and the international press covered it like vultures at a a carcass, bees at a honeycomb. The results came, and Vader won the Ukrainian Presidency in a landslide, to the dismay of Poroshenko, Tymoshenko, and many in the international community. Fulfilling his campaign promise, Vader traveled to Kiev in a bizarre diamond-shaped airship, which he called a ‘Star Destroyer,’ which bore an eerie resemblance to the American Death Star (Obama denied any involvement with the Ukrainian election). Once in Ukraine, he proclaimed himself the Emperor of a new state: the Empire of Ukraine. He unfurled a new banner: the Ukrainian flag with a new symbol, a vaguely hexagonal logo within a circle, colored yellow on the blue half and blue on the yellow half. To the shock of everyone there, over them flew aircraft shaped like odd bowties, and bearing a disturbing similarity to some experimental designs being deployed in the vicinity of the Death Star; again, American officials denied supporting Vader’s candidacy. After this inauguration and subsequent coronation on the seventh of July, Vader personally flew his own aircraft (the new Ukrainian form of fighter was called a TIE fighter by the international media) and flew to Chaplynka, in a town in Kherson Oblast in the southernmost part of Ukraine, and only a short distance away from Armyansk in Crimea, the northernmost major city on the peninsula. There in Chaplynka, Vader inspected the newly equipped Ukrainian army. The weapons they had seemed like they were out of some sort of top-secret government program. Infantry had been equipped with powerful body armor and laser weaponry. Monstrous walkers, some four-legged, some two-legged, were also deployed and were demonstrated to the public in how they were able to crush tanks and other vehicles with absolute ease. Within three days, all civilian viewers were removed from the base area, and the entire enterprise began moving southward to Armyansk. First came the bombings, specially modified TIE fighters dropping energy-based bombs onto the city, causing all of Armyansk to burn. Infantry and walkers, which were called AT-ATs and AT-STs, respectively, were deployed to the Ukrainian town of Chervonyi Chaban and entered Crimea, defeating Russian and Russian-allied forces in the town of Perekop, just north of Armyansk, then moved down to Armyansk itself to take care of the survivors. TIE fighters proved very adept in fighting against Russian fighters, causing several hundred of the latter to be downed over Crimea. In a monthlong campaign, Ukrainian Imperial forces drove south, destroying any Russians they could find. The battle of Armyansk had sparked formal declarations of war between Ukraine and Russia, and the world was very nervous. The United States and NATO, in particular, were anxiously watching the course of this war. By July 8th, Imperial forces marched triumphantly into Simferopol, and by July 20th, Sevastopol. Crimea was decidedly in the hands of Ukraine. Vader went to Simferopol and personally choked, without actually touching, Sergey Aksyonov, the Prime Minister of Russian-held Crimea, Aleksey Chalyi, former governor of the city of Sevastopol, the current mayor of Sevastopol Sergey Menyaylo, Vladimir Konstantinov, the Crimean leader who had orchestrated in part the secession of Crimea, and many other Crimean and Russian military and political leaders that had supported the Russian annexation. The international community was in an uproar to see the brutal executions of these officials; German Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite being pro-Ukraine in this war, said that “this form of execution was absolutely inhumane.” Nevertheless, humanitarian aid continued to pour into Ukraine to help the impoverished citizenry, whether they be ethnically Ukrainian or Russian. Vader, attempting to better his image with other countries, allowed for this humanitarian aid to reach Crimea and those ethnic Russians in that part of the empire, which worked in giving him some international goodwill. However, there was still the problem of the eastern parts of the country looking to unite with Russia: the Federal State of Novorossiya, encompassing Donetsk and Luhansk. Imperial troops began their movement eastward and began their invasion of Kharkiv Oblast, entering the town of Pershotravnene and moved eastward, connecting with loyalist Ukrainians who swore allegiance to the new Imperial regime. However, those that maintained their loyalty to the old Republic which now ceased to exist were brutally destroyed in the manner of the Russians, often being rooted out by token infantry deployments in Kiev and other cities in the western parts of the country, in addition to a significant occupation force in Crimea. By then, the Russians had moved their forces into the oblasts of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk. Under direct orders of Vladimir Putin himself, they were to engage the Imperial forces when they arrived. The Russians first did battle with the Ukrainians at the town of Kobtsivka, where they hoped to stop Vader dead in his tracks. However, Vader had the technological advantage and spearheaded his assault with his walkers, which were able to take down tanks at long distances and crush vehicles and even buildings under their massive feet. TIE fighters were able to crush the air forces launched from the city of Kharkiv, and by August 2nd had taken Kobtsivka. Moving forward, whatever resistance there was simply was unable to compete with the technological superiority, seemingly pulled out of nowhere, by the Ukrainian Empire. The world was stunned. Within a week, Donetsk and Luhansk had each fallen to the Empire, and Putin declared a ‘strategic withdrawal’ from eastern Ukraine. However, Vader was clearly not satisfied with simply governing his own country. As the Russians retreated from Donetsk Oblast into Rostov Oblast in Russia, rather than letting them have their retreat, Vader ordered his armies to enter Russia and seize Rostov-on-Don. The Ukrainian public was conflicted; both Poroshenko and Tymoshenko denounced Vader as a “tyrant-in-training” and a “Ukrainian Putin,” respectively. Nevertheless, he was popular, and enlistment in the Ukrainian military soared by young (and not so young) men and women eager to dish out the punishment they thought Russia so richly deserved. Vader himself, however, would return to Kiev in the meantime to discuss the diplomatic effects of this offensive with the Ukrainian Parliament and with international ambassadors. Under General Anatoliy Pushnyakov, the Ukrainian forces entered Rostov oblast and moved towards Rostov-on-Don, taking the towns of Efremovka and Zolotarevo, and besieging the port city of Taganrog before again moving eastward and driving the Russian forces out of Bessergenovka and Merzhanovo of the coast of Taganrog Bay. Moving further east, they drove out Russian forces and heavy partisan activity (likening the Ukrainians to the Nazi German forces that invaded during the Great Patriotic War) to flee from Morskoy Chulek and Sinyavskoye, and then, after the skirmishes at Khapry and Chaltyr, they entered the town of Sovetskiy Rayon, just outside of Rostov-on-Don. With armor that could easily withstand Russian bullets of the highest quality, Ukrainian soldiers (dubbed Stormtroopers by the international media due to their similarity in effectiveness to the German soldiers of the same name – to the irritation of historians) marched into Rostov-on-Don and, with the assistance of the walkers that Vader had procured, triumphantly marched into the city on August 18th. With the fall of Rostov-on-Don, Putin saw it necessary to strike the Ukrainian homeland while the Russian army continued to ineffectively pound the Ukrainian forces in the southwestern part of his country, which had declared that region part of the Empire of Ukraine. By August 20th, an occupation force had set itself up in Rostov-on-Don, and new reinforcements, having arrived in that city, were moving northwards. It was clear that their target was Moscow. Putin therefore ordered an aerial strike on Kiev via long-range bombers based in a military installation in Siberia. Off they flew, and they dropped their bombs over the Ukrainian capital on August 21st. However, such a bombing was ill-timed for the purposes of a Russian victory. On that day, the American Secretary of State, John Kerry, was in Kiev meeting with several Ukrainian ministers and members of Parliament while Vader was in Odessa inspecting new recruits for the military to be sent into Russia, in what was being deemed “the new Barbarossa.” In what would send the world into chaos, Russian bombs fell on the building where Kerry was discussing a possible ceasefire with the Imperial Ukrainians, killing him and the ministers instantly. Such a death caused uproar in the American public, and public opinion, both in the United States and in other western nations such as Canada and the European members of NATO, began to swing strongly in the favor of the Ukrainians. Many agreed that the advance into Russia, which they viewed as an autocratic state that abused human rights, was getting a well-deserved comeuppance. One American commentator said that Rostov-on-Don under the Ukrainians would be far better than one run by the Russians. On August 21st, in response to the death of Kerry the United States declared war on Russia, and the nations of NATO followed suit. NATO troops overwhelmed Kaliningrad and began flowing into the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to defend them from a possible assault from the Russian city of St. Petersburg. The question arose from the beginning of this war of the usage of the Death Star: would the United States be so brash as to use such a destructive weapon on Russia? By this point, it could easily obliterate St. Petersburg or even Moscow, but many in the United States feared the possibility of committing a war crime. As a compromise, Obama authorized the usage of the superlaser aboard the station to destroy a Russian encampment outside the town of Yefremov in Tula oblast, eliminating a key fortification on the way to Moscow. Similar strikes were made in bases and fortifications near the towns of Kiryevsk, Yasnogorsk, Klimovskoye, and the Muscovite suburb of Domodedovo (on September 30th – this portion of the campaign lasted into late September) as Ukrainian troops continued their advance. Putin knew he had only one chance to survive: take down the Death Star as a weapon for NATO, having realized this once NATO had declared war. Thusly, the Russian army and the Russian Federal Space Agency, commonly known by its moniker ‘Roscosmos,’ worked tirelessly over two months to launch, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan a spacecraft carrying some of the best trained men in the Russian Federation with the intent of making their way onto the battlestation and either destroying it or using it against the Americans. As the Ukrainians and NATO came closer and closer to Moscow, Putin evacuated himself and his cabinet to Yekaterinburg hoping to escape until the battlestation was destroyed. Simultaneously, the craft that they launched, the Georgy Zhukov, was making its way towards the Death Star. Equipped with state-of-the-art stealth technology and access to American access codes gained through espionage, it was able to evade the American space patrols guarding the installation and hack into the computers operating the doors to the landing bay (it had been considered to attempt to find an opening into the center of the station and destroy it from there – it was dismissed by Putin as too risky). They made their way inside, killing American soldiers via stealth. They made their way to the firing room, detonating a bomb in a barracks onboard the station to distract the American guards. They started a firefight after destroying the cameras that they could find, and killed as many Americans in the room that they could. They succeeded; those in the room, with the exception of a few guards, were engineers and computer scientists, not warriors, and thusly were felled easily. After figuring out to get into the targeting program by taking information from the corpses of dead technicians, they accessed the superlaser control and were ready to use it on the United States. Their target: Fort Meade, Langley Air Force Base, Andrews Air Force Base, Marine Corps Base Quantico, and the naval facilities at Hampton Roads, Virginia, with the intent of showing their enemies the power of the Russian Federation and a taste of the terror that Russia had felt. It was only intended to take out military facilities, but they did not know something critical about the superlaser. They had set the power level of the blast to the maximum power level, 1.8 x 10^32 Joules, a staggering amount of energy, the method of which it was generated is still unknown. According to hearsay (due to the passage of time it is impossible to tell due to the destruction of the cameras), one of the technicians thought to be dead was actually alive, and attempted to warn them of the mistake of such a high power level. The Russian commandos, however, ignored him, thinking that he was simply trying to minimize damage to his homeland. One of the commandos gave the order to fire on Fort Meade. Earth was promptly obliterated.