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Literature: The Dawn of a System
The Dawn of a System is a story by AlternateHistory.com user "Noravea" that was first published on May 1st, 2012. Created initially as a minor project, the story evolved into a currently five part epic covering American history from 2016 and on. The five current parts are:

The Dawn of a System, Part IThe Dawn of a System, Part IIThe Dream Lives OnThe New OrderTo End All Wars

The story begins with the 2016 Presidential election between former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and covers the rise of a new American political movement called the National Republican movement as it makes inroads in the Republican Party throughout the 2020s. As domestic events are covered, international events also take place, including a war in Uganda, rising tensions between the United States and the Eurasian Union, and later the Third World War. The epic however is primarily meant to cover the rise of Nicholas Caeus, the Governor of New York and later President of the United States. The story also covers the rise of the National Republican movement as it steadily takes more and more control in the United States Government throughout the 2020s and 2030s.

The full story won't be given here due to it not being complete, but the story does cover the fall of the current United States government and its replacement with a Darker and Edgier version.

The original is now officially a Dead Fic, but a reboot is currently under way, and can be read here: http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=295479


Tropes:

  • A Father to His Men: Nicholas Caeus to his staff, though a few are actually family members.
    • Especially to the non-political people on his staff. He bought an apartment for Michael Ashton, his guard who is raising a little sister on his own. It makes more sense when we find out that Caeus raised his little sister as well.
  • Age Lift: In the reboot, Eva Caeus is about 10 years older, being born in 2014. Caeus' wife Abagail Blake is also older to the point where she is Caeus' senior by 2 years, rather than being around 10 years younger than Caeus,
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Russia and China are under the control of the dictator Anastasia Volkova, a former Russian General who merged the states of Russia and China into Eurasia less than a year into the Third World War.
    • The trope arguably applies to the United States also after the creation of a Republican Guard (encompassing all law enforcement agencies) and the use of the Roman salute is brought back.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: While not evil, Senator Lucas Merhoff qualifies, as he was said to be Nicholas Caeus' protege until a falling out between the two.
  • Action Girl: Various female characters are often seen on the front lines, and even commanding whole armies.
  • The Alliance: The Allied powers, which is an alliance of dozens of nations led by Nicholas Caeus.
  • Arc Symbol: The crescent moon and eight pointed star that became the symbol of Nicholas Caeus during the fifth part.
  • Author Avatar: Sort of. Caeus' moderate, economically centrist, socially progressive National Republicanism has been described by the author as being close to their own political viewpoint.
    • A couple of background characters are also stand-ins for AH.com forum members. For example, British PM Gwendolyn Sinclair is a stand-in for member TurqoiseBlue.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Republican Guard uniforms follow the Rule of Cool, but are impractical in combat due to no actual protection.
      • Though it is explained in context, due to material shortages during World War III.
    • Despite millions dying in nuclear blasts, the United States capital in 2034 is moved to New York City instead of somewhere safer like Chicago or Denver. It is mostly for convenience due to the President being a native.
  • Ax-Crazy: Hooh boy...
    • Anastia Volkova spends her free time murdering her generals and drinking blood.
    • The death of most of his family causes Nick Caeus to temporarily loose it, nearly ordering then nuclear annihilation of Russia and China.
    • Flash Forward updates show that Eva Caeus is even less stable than her father. To wit: rather than negotiate with terrorists who have taken over a space transport full of passengers, she simply orders its destruction.
  • Batman Gambit: Operation Return is basically this trope. Nicholas Caeus uses Anastasia Volkova's military thinking against her when planning to surround Cologne and basically re-enact Stalingrad.
  • Big Bad: At first it was Putin, than after he dies it becomes Ivan Repin and after he is deposed in the midst of WW 3, it was Anastasia Volokova
  • Butt Monkey: Conservative Republicans are regularly picked on. Among other things, Jim DeMint loses in a landslide to Andrew Cuomo in 2024, and Lucas Merhoff gets kicked out after he's caught on tape delivering homophobic remarks.
  • Berserk Button: Don't hurt Nicholas Caeus' family. You'll regret it.
  • Break the Cutie: Adriana Marchetti, the President's sister who was beaten by her father.
    • Implied with Kristina Kotova by her sister, Anastasia Volkova.
    • Eva Caeus goes from being a perky precocious child to being the sociopathic, domineering President of the United States
  • Characterization Marches On: Most characters have been majorly overhauled in the reboot. To wit, Anastasia Volkova was a blood-drinking axe crazy dictator in the first version. In the reboot she's the voice of reason to Ivan Repin's madness. She even going so far as to try to protect a young Georgian girl after her family is killed by Russian soldiers.
  • Commie Nazis: The Eurasian Union
  • Continuity Reboot: The Dawn of a System: Redux
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Russian invasion of Georgia, in both the original and even more so in the reboot.
  • Current Events March On: A semi-important plot point in the original was that the then-new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, would institute a series of reforms and begin to reconcile his country with the South and the United States. By the time of the reboot it has become clear North Korea ISN'T heading in that direction so that subplot has been left out.
  • Darker and Edgier: The story turns in this direction after October Storm
    • The reboot is already this when compared to the original. Early instalments have involved such happy themes like child abuse, murder, war crimes, and Rand Paul running for President.
  • Damsel in Distress: Inverted. It is mentioned that most of the Republican Guard is made up of women. Considering that their main job is to protect the President, that makes President Caeus the Damsel in Distress
    • While most are women, the only members of the Republican Guard depicted actually doing their job is Michael Ashton.
  • Dead Fic: has since been rebooted
  • Distant Finale: notes from the author revealed that the story would have continued into the 22nd century, ending with a war between the United States, a global terrorist organisation, and rebellious Lunar colonists.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Anastasia Volkova started off as this for Ivan Repin, until she took power and went nuts. She was the Evil Genius who orchestrated the beginning of World War III.
  • The Dreaded:
    • The Eurasian Union, specifically Anastasia Volkova to the Allies.
    • The Republican Guard can also apply, though it really depends on your point of view.
    • The Heaven's Reach Army (The HRA) in earlier installments was definitely this to the United States.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Nicholas Caeus' age often fluctuated earlier on in the story, which made it all the more confusing due to being close in age to various requirements in the United States Constitution.
    • There was a very strange period of bipartisanship in the beginning of the story which was never really explained.
  • The Empire: The Eurasian Union, especially when Volkova is its leader.
  • Establishing Character Moment: There are a lot of these...
    • Nicholas Caeus' first appearance shows him to be very different from his public self that the readers were familiar with. While he is seen as an ideal politician, being willing to compromise and having nothing really going against him, he is depicted in person as being a very Nixonian politician, willing to drag his opponents through the dirt.
    • Anastasia Volkova, the dictator of Eurasia during World War III is first seen slitting the throat of an officer who failed her, kicking her off a cliff, and later ordering the beheading of his children. She is later seen drinking blood in that same chapter.
    • In the reboot:
      • Nicholas Caeus is first shown as a campaign manager for a moderate Republican running a hopeless campaign on Long Island. He flatly states that it doesn't matter if he looses this one race, so long as he gets his moderate message out he can't loose in the long run.
      • Clay Vinson is introduced with a speech where he quotes Eugene V. Debs and calls for "the nationalization of major industries and a single-payer healthcare system".
      • Amanda Morris' first scene is stabbing her husband through the neck with a piece of glass after a car accident so that she can escape their horrible marriage and have a political career of her own.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Subverted. Oddly enough for a story willing to depict slitting throats, acts of genocide, and the true brutality of war, the most sex we see are brief mentions of rape.
  • Fake Kill Scare: The Emergency Broadcast System was used multiple times to announce missile strikes on the mainland United States. One update consisted of nothing but a EMS alert detailing missiles coming towards basically every single American city. However, this was just a cover used by conspirators hoping to overthrow Caeus.
  • Fictional Political Party: The National Republican Party (which shares a name with the 1800s precursor to the Whig Party), the Conservative Union Party, and the America First Party (which the CUP eventually folds into).
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Nicholas Caeus goes from a young, moderate Republican blogger and author to the President who oversees the downfall of the United States of America, practically becoming dictator in the process.
    • In the reboot: Ivan Repin starts as a low level officer in the Russian Army, very quickly rises through the ranks, becomes Vladimir Putin's personal assistant, and by the 2030s or 2040s is the Russian leader in World War III
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The Department of Science and Technology, founded in 2016 by Barack Obama to deal with all issues involving space or any major technological developments.
    • Headed by none other than Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • Heel-Face Turn: North Korea.
  • Heroic BSOD: Boy, are there a lot...
    • Nicholas Caeus, after two nuclear weapons are detonated on American soil, the Eurasian Union invades Europe and Korea, and he loses a husband and four of his children all in one night.
    • Pretty much the entire United States after October Storm
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Vladimir Putin and his successors (both of them) were even worse and plunged the world into WW 3.
  • Honour Before Reason: During the 2036 Election the Democratic Candidate Senator Paul Sarbanes feels he must win the election otherwise the United States will become a dictatorship. However, when he is given information that would bring down Caeus, he decides not to use it despite it being his only chance of winning.
  • Landslide Election: The 2024 Presidential election between President Andrew Cuomo, Senator Jim Demint, and Former Vice President Susana Martinez. It helps that the United States had just entered its largest war since the War On Terror.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: During the 2036 Election Sarbanes learns something about Eva Caeus' parentage. The author later revealed that Eva is in fact the child of Nick Caeus and Anatasia Volkova, conceived during Caeus' world tour in the 2010s.
  • Nuke 'em: October Storm.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Averted. Numerous actual political figures appear in the story and many of them such as Marco Rubio, Vladimir Putin, and Bill Clinton die in the course of the story.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Hoo boy.
    • Presidents Huntsman and Patrick are Presidents Personable.
    • President Cuomo is President Action.
    • President Caeus...could qualify for many different types, but the biggest so far appears to be a very dark shade of President Action with a dash of Lunatic and a very slight sprinkling of Evil.
    • On the Eurasian side, President Repin is Evil. Volkova is much the same, except with a bonus of Lunatic.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Anastasia Volkova
  • Politician Guest Star: Played straight. Most of the story is this, with most politicians before 2033 being real politicians who are famous in their respective states and regions. It isn't until The election of Nicholas Caeus in 2032 that we see more and more fictional politicians.
  • Promotion to Parent: Nicholas Caeus with his little sister Adriana, after their father beat her one too many times.
    • Michael Ashton with his little sister after their parents were killed.
    • It has been implied that millions of cases of this have happened since the war began.
  • Properly Paranoid: Definitely Nicholas Caeus with this, since there have so far been two serious attempts to forcibly remove him from office, and what appears to be a third plot developing.
  • Skeleton Government: The United States government in late 2034 with the Vice President dead, half of the Supreme court wiped out, most of Congress gone, and the President briefly insane.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Invoked in universe quite a few times, the most notable being "Moscow Mitt", the Eurasian English-language spokesperson who, as you expect, looks and sounds like Mitt Romney.
    • In an earlier edition before the war, it has been mentioned that he is reminiscent of Baghdad Bob.
  • The Ace: Volkova to the Russians, at least according to Repin.
  • The President's Daughter: Inverted with Eva Caeus.
  • Think of the Children!: Heath Shuler's argument for why Nicholas Caeus shouldn't be President. It actually worked out for Caeus in the end.
  • This Is What the Capital Will Look Like: After it's nuked and bombed, Caeus plans to rebuild Washington, DC bigger and better than before. In Flash Forward updates set in the 2070s, we get to see the new capital in all its glory.
  • Vindicatedby History: George W. Bush
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Qualifies with the aftermath of the Uganda War in 2024. Americans felt that the issue of the Eurasian Union was dealt with. Unfortunately, 10 years later they would be proven wrong.
  • Worthy Opponent: How the Allies feel towards Marshal Kristina Kotova, who is the only Eurasian General to not actively commit war crimes that we know of so far.
    • Anastasia Volkova also sees Nicholas Caeus in this way, even commenting that she wanted him to win re-election in 2036.
Damsels and DirigiblesAlternate History Web OriginalThe Dawn Of A System Redux
Damsels and DirigiblesWebsite/Alternate History.comThe Dawn Of A System Redux

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