New parallel universe viewing machine just arrived in the mail. Here’s an interesting one I just found: universe ₯₱Ό1797#-alpha. Here’s what’s going on in that universe.
Midway through the 20th century, humanity discovered off-white crystallised chunks of the coronavirus COVID-19 in the ground, and discovered that it could power machines, when it was burned. The downside, of course, is that it’s also a deadly, highly-transmissable respiratory disease. Extracting and handling it is deadly and unsafe, and when you burn it, even more coronavirus spews out of smoke stacks and into the air. Using it as a fuel is deadly, because viruses are deadly. But it powers civilisation, too.
It’s 2020, now. Every part of the world is struggling to figure out alternatives to coronavirus, because it’s just so damn deadly. There are some new machines that generate energy at near-zero coronavirus emissions, but they’re growing slowly. Cars that don’t run on Coroneum fuel (a liquefied, processed and energy dense version of the solid coronavirus) are slowly developing, too, but nowhere near fast enough and with plenty of delays. “Coronavirus-free cars will ruin the great Australian weekend”, said leaders at a recent election.
Australia is the world’s Corona pit. It sits on one of the world’s biggest reserves of the virus. It digs it up and sells it to the world on a massive scale. Its government is captured by the coronavirus industry, and so the widespread denial of the problem has dominated discourse for decades.
“Covid-19. It’s an amazing thing”, declared the Viruses Council (VC; Australia’s peak lobbying body, representing the Disease Fuel industry). The 30 second ad features long, slow close-ups of the off-white coronavirus rock, and was paid for using money originally allocated for funding research into cures to the virus. Executives from the VC move freely between that organisation and positions in government. Many millions of dollars in funding flow from the industry into both major parties of government; donations that are not disclosed until years after elections occur.
“We’ve always had sickness. It’s only human to get the sniffles”, said former Prime Minister Toby Albert, who railed against the ‘Coronavirus Tax’, and successfully demolished the regulation of viruses. “Shutting down coronavirus fired power stations is madness: it’ll lead to blackouts and skyrocketing energy prices”, say his colleagues.
Current PM Stott Harrison acknowledges the threat, but warns against acting too quickly. “We think virus action is important, but we don’t want to hurt the economy and we don’t want to hurt jobs, as Laber’s ‘45% coronavirus by 2030’ target would have done”. Laber’s support for coronavirus mining hasn’t wavered, but they do have a weak target for reducing the burning of coronavirus for energy in the country.
Much of the media aligns with this view. It took a while, but they’re mostly accepting of the need for virus action. But they’re openly antagonistic towards the demands of the Groons party, who insist that we need to eradicate the virus using what they’re calling a “vaccine”. “Pure fantasy,” says one columnist. “It’d wreck the economy. Why don’t they go visit a coronavirus mine and see what it’s like in the real world?”.
The government just released a “social distancing roadmap”, which outlines several new ideas for reducing the spread of the virus over the next 30 to 40 years. By 2030, a range of new technologies that encourage a one metre distance between people in public will be researched, mainly by coronavirus-burning companies. By 2040, restaurants and bars will face some optional measures, but no penalties if they don’t implement them.
Many people in this parallel universe aren’t happy with the state of affairs. “Imagine if we could deal with coronavirus the same way we deal with fossil fuels!”, one inhabitant said, referring to the 5 year period between the discovery of fossil fuels, scientists warning of their harm, and their immediate eradication on the grounds that the greenhouse effect causes too much damage to the natural world and to human life. “If we could just replicate that for this, it’d be so great. But disease has become too politicised”.