Alternate History

Oswego (1983: Doomsday)

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Oswegian Republic
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: Much of Oswego County and areas of Onondaga County, New York State
Oswegoflag Oswegocoa
Flag Coat of Arms
In the Light Green
Capital Oswego
Largest city Oswego
Other cities Baldwinsville, Fulton, Pulaski
  others French
Demonym Oswegians
Captain Erik Cole
Manager Owen Benjamin
Area approx. 960 km²
Population approx. 87,700 
Independence April 9th, 1985
Currency Barter, Canadian and American Dollars, Niagara Dollar

The Oswegian Republic, usually simply referred to as Oswego, is a small nation located north of the ruins of Syracuse in what was once upstate New York.


The British established a trading post in the area in 1722 and fortified it with a log palisade later called Fort Oswego. In 1755 they added Fort Ontario on the northeast side of the river along with other fortifications. This strong point countered French efforts at Fort Niagara to the west. In August 1756, French forces defeated the British in the Battle of Fort Oswego, capturing the fort during the French and Indian War. Fort Ontario was rebuilt, but Fort Oswego was only used an a cannon emplacement. During the American Revolution, American forces captured Fort Monroe, but it was retaken by the British and remained in their hands until well after the war was over. During the War of 1812, a weaker American garrison at Fort Oswego was overwhelmed by superior British forces, in order to stem the flow of supplies from the interior of New York state. Throughout the 19th Century, the U.S. military maintained a presence at Fort Ontario.

Oswego was incorporated as a village on March 14, 1828, and the Oswego Canal, a branch of the Erie Canal, reached the area in 1829. The city was incorporated in 1848. When the city incorporated its area and population were removed from the figures reported for the towns. In the 1850s, at the height of a popular water-cure movement occurring in the U.S.A., in turn stimulating growth, Oswego was the home of the Oswego Water Cure establishment, which Stonewall Jackson reportedly visited in August 1850. Oswego is home to the port of Oswego and once was a major railroad hub for the New York Central, Lackawanna/Erie Lackawanna, and NY Ontario and Western railways.

Oswego was home to almost 1,000 Jewish refugees during World War II. Fort Ontario was the only attempt by the United States to shelter Jewish refugees during the war. Oswego also has the Safe Haven Museum to commemorate the stories of the refugees.


Oswego itself escaped destruction on Doomsday. However, the city of Syracuse, to its south, was not nearly so lucky, being hit by a 200kt warhead. Radiation from this blast largely missed the city, though radiation from strikes in the Toronto region of Ontario, Seneca Army Depot, and Rochester would fall in the area to some degree.


The civic government, thinking quickly, was able to get a small fishing fleet together in the area by October, as well as instituting rationing, in order to ensure some degree of survival. While there was contamination in the waters from both radiation and pollution, it was still food, and thus better than nothing.

It was quickly apparent, however, that refugees from Syracuse and its suburbs, beginning to arrive in the area, would need to be provided for. While this was managed, it made things very tough on everyone.


Despite the refugees and small amounts of fallout, the region made it through most of 1984 without much trouble, thanks for the most part due to reservists and police keeping the peace and securing the region. However, as the end of the year approached, dissent began to rise in the area. Despite the fact that the next scheduled election was not until November of 1985, like in the rest of New York state, a fair number of people, and the refugees, began to take issue with the actions of the government, believing that they could do better.

Eventually, the government, by now a composite of the city and county governments, gave into these demands and agreed to hold new elections in the spring for a leader. However, they also explicitly stated the qualifications needed in order to vote in it - requirements which left more than ninety-five percent of the refugees unable to vote. Other small items in this document, what eventually became the basis for the Constitution of Oswego, made the matter even worse.

This, obviously, did not go over well, and a series of riots began, with clashes between refugees and the police, demanding the right to be allowed to vote. The government, however, refused to budge - but, they were stuck in a hard place, because short of using force, the riots could not be stopped, either.

Unsurprisingly, the twos sides eventually had to meet and try to reach some sort of compromise. Both sides argued for days over what should be done, neither side wavering drastically from their views. Even the electoral process, normally in itself not an issue, eventually came into question, since the refugees did not feel they could trust the locals to actually hold a fair election with regards to them. Eventually, a solution was reached....

It is unknown how it actually happened, but one day towards the end of February 1985, a solution was eventually came upon. The story goes that one of the Oswego city councilors, extremely frustrated over the unwavering of the refugee position, made a comment that went along the lines of "This is pointless, and getting us nowhere fast, because you people refuse to compromise! We may as well just have a pickup hockey game to find out who gets to be in charge!" After a few more hours of arguing, one of the refugee leaders, weary after almost another day of pointless infighting, said something along the lines of "We may as well just do some silly game, like your (points finger) blasted hockey game, to find out who gets to lead us!" Weird as it sounds to many people today, but at this point, after two weeks of arguing, it actually didn't seem as silly as it may have once been. Eventually, a variation of this was agreed upon.

The net result of the meetings, and fighting, was a unique system of government, in which a competition of hockey skills would be held, open to all in the area over eighteen. The winner of this competition, as chosen by a group of politicians, coaches, and referees, without knowledge of where the contestants were originally from, would chose the winner. This person would become the "Captain" of Oswego, and the two next runners-up their "Alternates," which despite sounding rather cheesy meant they would have power over the choosing of who would be in charge of the government itself, and also be given control over sports in the area, with the reasoning that they would do better at it than most could. Meant to be only temporary, of course, the person would be chosen for a two year span, though they would be required to still play hockey in the area at the same time as they were capable. Of course, it ended it lasting far, far, longer than originally intended. The person put in charge of the government by the Captain, in his executive role, would be given the title of "Manager" of Oswego.

This integral competition, held on March 29th, 1985, worked more or less as planned. One of the refugees from Syracuse, named Chris Leach, won the contest. With the understanding that the refugees would be allowed to vote for the legislative body of the region, the Oswego Council, Leach appointed the mayor of Oswego as the Manager. A four team mini league, with adult and youth versions, promptly began to be organized, and started play in the fall when ice allowed.

Raiders and Further Disputes

In 1987, more refugees, after none having arrived in more than a year, began to appear in the Republic from the northeast. Upon questioning, it was learned that they were fleeing raider attacks, ranging from attacks on small settlements and farms, to a major attack on the village of Malone, which the refugees presumed to be destroyed, though it would later be discovered that it had only been heavily damaged.

They also believed that the raiders, which the refugees said largely spoke French, were not far behind them.

At the same time, the original time limit agreed to by the people for the system agreed to in 1985 was close to running out. Once again, the Syracuse refugees and the original Oswegians began to fight, with riots starting in the streets again, only held in check this time by the stories told by the new refugees. These new refugees did not help the situation any further, causing their own riots after finding out the nature of the dispute. Much like before, arguments occurred, only with three factions instead of the original two. Eventually, they decided to extend the original arrangement for another two years.

The belief of the refugees was proved correct when in May of 1988, farms began to report attacks. The militia was sent out, and successfully fought them off. More attacks would follow over the course of the next few years.


In February of 1989, the ever-expanding fleet of fishing vessels launched onto the lake by the Republic encountered other ships, from the northern side of the lake. These fishermen claimed to be from a provisional government for eastern parts of the former province of Ontario, out of the city of Kingston.

Both sides would bring back word of the encounter, and the two sides met on the lake that April, to discuss the overall situation. As things turned out, both of them were fighting raiders, from what appeared at the time to be the same general region. While neither, obviously, could lend support to the other, they did agree to cooperate. Also, the four team league set up in Oswego in 1985, now with five teams, would join the larger Kingston League, in order to provide better competition and play for the teams and their players. The Kingston leadership would also tell them of the Canadian government fleeing east, and when the Kingston Authority got word of their survival in 1990, they Republic was let in on the information as well.

Another round of disputes at the same time, with the same problems as before, also started. Despite the foolishness of it, the sides simply would not concede. Eventually, they just decided, with prodding from the Kingstonites, who wanted to deal with a stable government, even if it was odd, to extend the arrangement again.

In the summer of 1990, the two states launched a small joint offensive, into raider-controlled areas east of Kingston and the areas that they were thought to be in northeast of Oswego. Kingstonite forces managed more then ever, as the Raiders could not move forces from Northern New York State to fight them due to the actions of Oswego.

This attack forced the raiders on the south shore of the Lake to flee the area. Aside from the occasional foray, they would remain out of the region afterwards. Oswego was then able to lend some support to the Kingston troops, which proved useful in their attacks on the raiders there.

Western Contact

Following the removal of most of the raiders, and the securing of stable food supplies, the government of the Republic was finally able to look at expansion. Taking into heart the attitude of the Kingston forces, they decided to move southwards, in the direction of the ruins of Syracuse, rather than to the west. The goal in this, of course, was to excavate as much of the ruins for equipment and supplies as possible.

In 1998, the Oswegians heard rumors from travelers of some sort of survivor state to the west, at Niagara. But, considering the experiences that they had had with the raiders, they chose not to investigate at that time for fear it would mean attacks on their positions by more of them.

Of course, in 2000, they would learn from their pseudo-allies in Kingston of the arrival of forces from the west. These forces, from a Republic declared in the Upper Peninsula of the former state of Michigan, brought more news from the outside world. These forces were notified of the survival of Oswego, and in 2001 Superior would send a diplomat along with a group from Niagara Falls, the source of the earlier rumors from the west, that took up residence in Oswego.

Modern Times

Slowly, the republic has been expanding in recent years, to the point where areas in what was once Onondaga County are now being settled. More and more of Syracuse is safe enough for teams to scavenge in, and there is now some talk of resettling the outskirts of the city, though this has not happened as of yet. Perhaps the biggest find by scouts has been machinery for the production of automotive parts, though it is unknown at the present time what will be done with it. Scouts were also sent to map out the ruins of Rochester in 2005, though they determined that it had been more heavily irradiated than Syracuse for some reason.

Osewgo supported the Kingston Authority and its forces in the fight against the Lawrence Raiders, more than likely the culprits from the late 1980s, until the severe defeat suffered by the raiders in the Saguenay War and the reversion of Kingston back to a territory of the Canadian government occurred. The still-close relationship between the two has continued, however, despite the reversion. During the war, Oswego supported the Canadian government and even let North Pennsylvanian troops and mercenaries pass through its territory to aid them.

However, relations with other local survivor states are not usually that good. A fair element of the population simply cannot forgive them for not reaching outwards sooner, and it was this, among other things, that led to their refusal to join the United Communities when membership was offered to them and Kingston.

Oswego is currently, with assistance from Canadian forces, refurbishing surviving Coast Guard vessels from before Doomsday under its control, as well as prepping to make modern ones to add to the older ones they have been able to reproduce. The goal here is to both ensure the safely of their fishing vessels and expanding merchant fleet, as well as aiding the Canadian government by keeping the river fairly blocked off to prevent the Raiders using it to escape sometime in the future if they so desire after their defeat.

In an ironic twist, despite insults over how silly others find it, the locals have grown attached to their odd, and unique, form of government, despite their initial misgivings over the scheme, and are willing to defend it. This has led to a great, though peaceful, disagreement with representatives of CRUSA.

Over the winter of 2012-2013, the refit of the port was completed, and several of the vessels refurbished. Once the ice on the lake began to clear up in March, these vessels were sent out to several islands in the northeastern portion of the lake, where they began to set up fishing camps, after rooting out outlaws who had taken refuge there over the years.

Government and Politics

As a result of turmoil in the first few years following Doomsday, Oswego has developed one of the most unique systems of government on the continent. While the official line of the government is that it is only a temporary arrangement, the locals, still suffering disagreements, continue to support it as a neutral ground, and it has grown on them. None will admit it, but the arrangement is by this point likely permanent.

In this, a competition is held every two years, in which everyone may enter, in order to determine the best hockey player in Oswegian territory. Of course, with the nature of the event, no one without a certain degree of skill in that field will win. The individual who comes out on top in the competition becomes the Captain of Oswego, a position akin to a President in many other states. The runners-up in the competition become their Alternates, occupying a spot much like that of Vice-Presidents. They are responsible for executive decisions, as well as the running of sports in the area, and are still required to play hockey as possible to keep fit and continue to hold their position. Usually, however, the winner of a term will lose the next time, though they do tend to reclaim the title the next go-around.

The Captain then nominates a Manager, who functions much like a Prime Minister and is in charge of most governmental functions.

Currently, the Captain is Erik Cole, star player of the Fort Ontario Stars, of the Kingston Hockey League. The Manager is Owen Benjamin, a politician from Oswego, and a part-time comedian.

Past Captains of Oswego include:

  • Chris Leach, 1985-1987, 1989-1991, 1993-1995.
  • Max Middendorf, 1987-1989, 1995-1997.
  • Craig Conroy, 1991-1993, 1997-1999.
  • Erik Cole, 2001-2003, 2007-2009, 2011-present.
  • Jay Leach, 1999-2001, 2003-2005.
  • Tim Connolly, 2005-2007, 2009-2011.

The citizens of the Republic vote for the Oswego Council every year, with each town sending at least one representative for it. The Manager, once the agreement had been extended the first time, was mandated to have to be a member of this Council, at some point or another.


The Oswegian military is composed of two separate branches: the Army, and the Coast Guard. They are headed up by the senior of the two branch commanders, with the other serving as their deputy.

The Army is by far the larger of the two branches, and its command staff is largely composed of former ROTC members from the university. Any surviving aircraft in the region also fall under their command.

The Coast Guard primarily consists of vessels based at Oswego at the time of Doomsday, though some new ones have been constructed since. Canadian engineers are currently working on refurbishing these older vessels, and laying the groundwork to start the construction of a new design, much like they are doing in Kingston. The leadership, like the army, also primarily consists of former ROTC students, with a sprinkling of former coast guard personnel.

Currently, the commander of the Oswegian military is General Mark A. Stryker, a former ROTC cadet and also head of the Army. His deputy is Admiral Robert Gerstner, a former refugee from Syracuse. Also of note is Commander Christopher F. Flaherty, deputy commander of the Coast Guard and current head of the shipbuilding, repairs, and upgrading project.


Farming, while important in the areas of the Republic that can grow decent crops, is not the major industry. Fishing is, not too surprisingly, the biggest employer in the area, and the transport of goods on the lake between Niagara Falls, Kingston, and Oswego has been rapidly growing behind it.

The biggest merchant company on Lake Ontario, Caruso Shipping of Oswego, is based at the harbor, and dominates the trade. They also hold a contract from the Canadian government for supplying Canadian forces stationed in and around Kingston.

Shipbuilding, and the harvest of timber that feeds both it and the population, are the only other real industries in the area. The port, as a result, has quadrupled in size since Doomsday.

The nuclear power plant near Scriba, shut down at Doomsday and largely rendered inoperable by the EMP waves, is currently being refurbished and repaired, to ensure it remains safe. However, it appears that, in no large part due to the blast on Syracuse, it will not be reopened, though it has not been decided yet and the Canadian government may offer to buy it outright, given their investment in it.

International Relations

Oswego maintain fairly good relations with the Niagara Falls government, and the new Republic of New York set up by the cities of Ithaca and Binghamton, though it has refused to join either, or the United Communities, despite offers to join them on several occasions.

Their best relations are with the Canadian government, which is not surprising given their past alliance with the Kingston Authority.

From time to time, supplies have also been sent to survivor communities at Malone and the Lake Placid region in northeastern areas of former New York State, which has gotten Oswego very good relations with them. Talk of some sort of trade alliance in the region has even begun in some corners, though it is believed the distance between them will make this impossible to achieve.

Outside observers suspect that the government will most likely formally ally itself with the Canadian government at some point in the future, especially since the Oswegian authorities do continue to provide military assistance, after a fashion, by patrolling beyond their northeastern borders to keep the Raiders out.


Sports in Oswego are dominated by the hockey teams of the Kingston Hockey League, based in Kingston, Canada. The local Oswegian teams joined the much larger KHL following the establishment of relations between the two, in order to have better competition.

Teams of the KHL in the Republic include the:

  • Baldwinsville Orange
  • Caruso Braves
  • Fort Ontario Stars
  • Fulton Steamers
  • Oswego Hornets
  • Pulaski Blazers
  • Scriba Scribes

For the most part, the teams have been named after old teams that had played in the ruined city of Syracuse over the years. They form a division of the KHL, to go with the two divisions of Kingston teams in the league. The top four teams compete in a playoff series, in the form of 1st/4th and 2nd/3rd playing each other, and then the two winners playing for the division title. The winner of this title competes with the two division winners and the host of the championship tournament for the league title. Of the teams, only the Stars, Hornets, and Orange have managed to win the title since the teams all joined the KHL.

There is also a local baseball league during the summer, though it is not as popular as the KHL. The teams are:

  • Baldwinsville Sweegs
  • Caruso Braves
  • Fort Ontario Grays
  • Fulton Mechanics
  • Hastings Warriors
  • Oswego Starchboxes
  • Pulaski Netherlands
  • Schroeppel Fire-Birds
  • Scriba Chiefs

There is talk of having teams in the Kingston region join up and forming another division as of late, though nothing has been decided yet. All but the Netherlands have managed to win at least one title. Most teams have either have their names from teams that were once in Oswego, or Syracuse.

Local politicians are currently looking into starting a basketball league, though it is being debated.

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