This is a reposting of the story I had up here a while back, with combined chapters, the writing somewhat updated (I like to think I've improved a bit over the years), and the lemon scenes toned down to hopefully fit the "M" rating.
A little background on this story: at Anime Addventure, there is one group of threads all branching off an original episode called Chained World, where Ranma and Genma ended up in an alternate earth where slavery was still a common social institution. Some of them are lemon threads, some are threads with lemons, some have no lemons at all, but in practically all of them Ranma winds up with one or more slaves (females) from whatever manga/anime you'd care to name — in only one thread I can remember does Ranma end up a slave, and in that one he's a trained mamluk, purchased as a bodyguard. I certainly don't have any problem with these threads, I enjoy some of them immensely and can't remember any I really disliked, but as a result of Ranma being the standard master the result is what you could call the lighter side of slavery. Then, while reading Eric Flint's excellent 1824: the Arkansas War, I came across a thought by one character that kicked off inspiration for a rather different, much darker, type of story (the thought is quoted at the beginning of chapter two).
This will be a Shakespeare-type tragedy, don't expect a happy ending: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
I claim no ownership rights to any of the works of Rumiko Takahashi or Naoko Takeuchi.
Current Affairs: A Cold War between Dar al-Islam with the British Empire and the European Union in the West, and the Empire of Japan and its Indian allies in the East. Another Cold War between the Spanish Empire and the United States.
Divergence Point: The reforms of Suleiman the Wise to include making the heirs of the Sultan adopted rather than blood descent.
Major Civilizations: Western (multipolar), Islamic (empire), Japanese (empire)
Great Powers: Dar al-Islam (dictatorship), the European Union (republic of constitutional monarchies), the British Empire (republic), the United States of America (federated representative republic), the Spanish Empire (dictatorship), the Empire of Japan (dictatorship)
Perhaps Suleiman the Magnificent's most far-reaching and important reforms were his decisions to adopt an heir, after the manner of the golden age of the Roman Empire, and the creation of the Regional Council, made up of respected men from all parts of the Ottoman Empire to provide advice and, in the event of the death of the Sultan without appointing a heir, choosing a new Sultan.
The son of his favorite wife, who had been positioning himself to become the next sultan, did not care for these reforms and upon his father's death attempted to seize the throne with the support of the military stationed in Istanbul. He failed miserably, and his execution and the long reign of the next sultan, who also adopted an heir, cemented the new laws.
Suleiman's successor, Cemal the Unifier, decided that it was time to leave Europe alone for a time and focus on making Dar al-Islam a reality again. He spent the rest of his life conquering Persia, central Asia, the Muslim states of northern India, as well as completing the Ottoman Empire's control of northern and eastern Africa while forcing the Portuguese and other Europeans out of the Indian Ocean. With the Ottomans adopting the naval technology of Europe, the Portuguese and other European powers were soon expelled through sheer overpowering numbers. With the final success of reuniting Islam except for Indonesia, Cemal officially changed the name of the Empire to Dar al-Islam.
The empire having reached the limits of Dar al-Islam on land, his successor turned his attention to advancing into the non-Muslim part of India on land and successfully bringing Indonesia into Dar al-Islam by sea.
In Japan, the Portuguese and Dutch had been warning the Japanese of the territorial advance of the Ottomans for decades, but had not been taken seriously. Then the European traders stopped showing up. And then, as Hideyoshi was leading his second invasion of Korea, the first Muslim mission arrived at Kyoto. The mission to Japan had not been considered of high importance by the House's court, and the chief envoy had been a poor pick — an arrogant religious fanatic and cultural bigot that offended the Imperial court and was soon sent packing. Still, he had made an impression, one that Tokugawa considered carefully even before he rose to power after Hideyoshi's death, and he decided that Japan could not afford to try and seal itself off from the rest of the world but instead needed an empire of its own.
The first result of that decision was that the Japanese army was not pulled out of Korea. Instead, the army held what it could, and after Tokugawa defeated his rivals in Japan he once again went on the offensive. In the end, the superior military technology the Japanese had acquired from the European traders and then improved upon, combined with Tokugawa's willingness to accept as equals Koreans willing to adopt Japanese customs and work with their conquerors, proved sufficient to pacify Korea.
With that achieved, a series of succeeding shoguns turned their attention to the Philippines, Vietnam, and especially China, taking the coast and some distance inland before ceasing further conquests due to a serious distraction — the attempt by the Muslims of Indonesia to advance Jihad into the southernmost, and most recent, Japanese conquests.
In the end, the Japanese pushed the Muslim armies back out of its territory and counterattacked into Indonesia, successfully conquering the entire region and renaming it Daerah Selatan ('Southern Territories' in one of the native languages). The Muslims attempted to retake their lost province, but again, the Japanese' superior military technology combined with the difficulty of projecting power across the Indian Ocean proved too difficult.
Still, the Japanese found holding Daerah Selatan, with its majority Muslim population, a very different proposition from its previous conquests. That difficulty, combined with its discovery and colonization of Australia, kept it from ever resuming the conquest of inland China — except for the Pacific islands, eventually reaching as far east as Hawaii, the Japanese Empire had reached its limits.
Another result of the Muslim mission was that Tokugawa chose not to suppress Christianity as he had at first intended. Deciding that he might make use of them if Japan re-established contact with the Europeans, he instead chose to officially ignore them while subtly discouraging Christianity's spread and limiting the power of Christian converts in the military and the court. This, combined with the lack of contact with Europe, did slow the spread of the new religion while leading many converts to seek to adapt their new religion to their birth culture. By the time that reliable contact with 'Europeans' was renewed, from across the Pacific by way of the Americas, 'Shinto Christianity', as Western observers called it, had become the religion of a large minority but had changed enough that it was considered a bizarre heresy.
Dar al'Islam, bogged down in northern India and thrown back in the south Pacific, finally turned its attention again to Europe. Over several generations the Muslim armies and navy successfully took the Balkans and the islands of the eastern Mediterranean before being stopped by a coalition of all the nations of Europe. The sultan of the time wisely chose to stop all expansion, for fear that it would lead to the nations of Europe forming a continental coalition as had happened in India. The sultans that followed chose to keep the policy in force, and with the halt of Muslim attacks the European powers resumed their quarrels, shifting alliances, and wars.
Especially bitter was the contest between France and Britain over North America, eventually ending in the expulsion of French authority from all of its North American possessions and the apparently inevitable rise of Great Britain to replace France as the dominant power in Europe. The inevitability of that rise was shattered by the revolt of Britain's thirteen American colonies, with much of Europe eventually joining the war. Though in the end Britain succeeded in winning everywhere except in the thirteen colonies (wisely avoiding sending any armies to Europe), the loss of those colonies meant that Britain would never have the manpower to play a major military role on the European mainland without allies.
Dar al'Islam had watched all of the turmoil with real temptation, but succeeded in resisting the urge to get involved. Then revolution came to France, the armies of Europe again were on the march, and Jihad once again came to Western Europe. The Muslims had never forgotten their loss of the Iberian Peninsula, and when French armies invaded Spain from the north the Muslims invaded from North Africa. The British Navy attempted to cut off the Muslim armies by taking naval control of the western Mediterranean, but found itself facing a fleet that, while lacking its experience, was twice its size and well trained; while the British officially considered the Battle of the Pillars of Hercules a draw, the British Navy withdrew into the Atlantic. The French armies fared no better — the Muslim armies were larger and just as fanatical, and in the end the French were forced back across the Pyrenees.
The nations of continental Europe, stunned by the sudden Muslim advance, rapidly put aside their differences and formed a European Union, with a weak central government very similar to Great Britain's parliament and a federal system based on the US example.
The Spanish crown and nobility and much of the middle class, first under attack by the French and then by the Muslims, in the end fled the country, taking ship for Mexico. There, the king formed a new Spanish Empire extending from Mexico through Central America and down the west coast of South America. However, it wasn't yet done losing wars — the new United States had taken advantage of the chaos of the European war and Spanish migration to the New World to declare Texas, New Orleans and the entire Mississippi Valley, Florida, and Cuba to be US territory and in the end managed to make it stick. A generation later, when the Spanish Empire was in the midst of repressing a series of rebellions in its South American holdings, the US declared war and seized the rest of the territory west of the Mississippi, including California and Baja California. The Spanish Empire fought two wars with the US a generation apart in an attempt to regain its lost territory, but the first war ended in stalemate and the second cost it its Caribbean islands.
Currently, the world is in the midst of a Cold War of sorts. With the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, Dar al'Islam has turned its attention to retaking Indonesia from the Empire of Japan but is afraid that too great an effort will invite an attack from the European Union and the British Empire and so has contented itself with support of Muslim guerillas and terrorists within Indonesia itself. Japan has reciprocated by allying with the Indian Confederation and supporting resistance movements inside the House's non-majority Muslim Indian territory. Europe has remained ostensibly at peace with Dar al'Islam for a century but has strongly supported resistance movements in the Empire's European holdings, while the British Empire has reinforced its territory in South Africa and allows no Muslim shipping into the Atlantic. The United States have had a frigid peace with the 'monarchical slave power' to its south for several generations, but are accused (correctly) of supporting democratic movements within the Spanish Empire's borders. Japan is officially neutral toward the US and is usually friendly, but occasionally protests the activities of the 'Underground Railroad' that private American citizens help run, smuggling runaway slaves to the US (as the US do with all the other nations, to the best extent possible). However, unlike the Spanish Empire, the protests are pro forma — the Shogun knows that the numbers that escape are a drop in the bucket and that it provides a useful release valve.
Dar al'Islam cannot be held responsible for the institution of slavery itself, but a fair case can be made making it responsible for the current state of slavery in the world. Suleiman the Wise's reforms did not include the laws governing slavery, but his successor made up for that lack. Islamic law forbade enslaving Muslims, and Cemal recognized that by concentrating on unifying the House of Peace he would be cutting off a primary source of the slaves the Empire depended on — slaves by conquest. So as he began his conquests of the Muslim states he instituted a new form of slavery under another name, the temporary slave known as the servitor. Since servitors were not officially slaves they could be Muslims. But since most would be Muslims, their rights had to be made clear and strictly enforced.
This model worked well for the Muslims, and even when future sultans once again moved into non-Muslim territories they kept it, simply extending it to their new non-Muslim subjects along with the traditional permanent slavery for captured enemies, rebels, and those non-Muslims guilty of major crimes or extensive debts. As well, the model soon spread to the House's Indian and Japanese neighbors.
In Europe, adoption of the Muslim model had to wait until the British anti-slavery movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The plantation owners of the Caribbean and the commercial interests dependent on them, realizing that the movement was gaining support, called for the reformation of slavery rather than its abolishment. In the end they succeeded in passing legislation based on the House's laws (including the abolishment of debtors' prisons in favor of temporary bondsmanship as well as voluntary temporary slavery for economic reasons based on the now-defunct practice of indentured servitude). With the laws passed they breathed a sigh of relief, expecting that they could get on with business as usual. Their relief was short lived. The anti-slavery movement, having failed to get the abolishment they sought, demanded that at least the provisions giving basic rights to even permanent slaves be rigidly enforced, and here the reformers won. The rest of Europe had watched events in Britain with interest and while none of them except Spain had anything like the number of slaves that Britain had, they chose to adopt the same laws.
There are regional differences between the civilizations, of course, with the most obvious difference being the laws governing sexual slavery. Sexual slavery is widespread in Japan, India and Dar al'Islam, though in Japan, thanks to the efforts of the Shinto Christians, sexual slavery requires the assent of the individual in question and that individual must be a legal adult. In Japan and India, children of sexual (or full use) slaves cannot inherit as they can in Dar al'Islam. In Dar al'Islam, sexual slavery is only permitted in the form of concubinage, though the laws are often ignored. In the British Empire and Europe sexual slavery is strictly forbidden, as is also ostensibly the case in the Spanish Empire.
The one exception to the extent of legal slavery throughout the world is the United States. In the British territories on the mainland of North America, slavery had been primarily race-based, agricultural, and while not as brutal as that on the Caribbean sugar plantations dehumanizing enough to evoke widespread disgust and opposition, even among some Southern plantation owners. This, combined with the fact that slavery was widely seen in the British American colonies as a Muslim institution, gave its enemies in the Constitutional Convention that followed the American Revolution the opportunity to successfully push for provisions in the new constitution leading to slavery's eventual abolishment. When the time came to put those provisions into practice the Southern plantation owners balked, and talk of secession became endemic. That all ended when Dar al'Islam invaded Spain and enslaved much of the population. The plantation owners lost the support of the common Southerner, so the Southern upper classes accepted gradual compensated emancipation. Now the US are as rabidly anti-slavery as they are anti-monarchical, and the federal government pushes for the legal abolishment of slavery throughout the world to the extent that it can, even as private US citizens, ostensibly without government support (usually true), operate Underground Railroads of varying effectiveness in every country they can.