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Inspired by the question: "How would the world governments react if the supernatural was discovered?", I have a question that is a variant on this theme:

Thousands of years ago, the rational and magical worlds split as the result of a magical war, the consequences of which split reality itself, with most of the things that were magical ending up over there in the magical realm, and most of the rational, explicable things ending up over here in the rational realm. The rift between the magical and the rational deepened until the two halves of Earth's reality were so 'far' apart that communication between them became vanishingly rare, limited for the most part to chance accidents resulting in a person slipping from one reality to the other, and the actions of powerful magical beings who - for the most part - aren't interested in the deeply un-magical rational half of reality.

However, the two halves of reality were always meant to be one, and a goddess from the magical half of Earth's reality has decided to work toward bringing Earth's magical and rational realms back together.

In Earth's rational realm, things have progressed as we have experienced here on our earth. Magical events and creatures have been dismissed as myth and legend, and no scientific proof that they ever really existed has ever been found.

However, in the magical half of Earth's reality, some of humanity has escaped the bounds of Earth and has spread out amongst the stars along a magical system of marginally-breathable air-filled 'tunnels' at about 0.35 ATM pressure, known as the Gyre, that forms a network connecting stars with planets that have oxygen-containing atmospheres, that is shorter on the inside than outside. The reduction of real-space distance in the gyre is approximately:

Gyre Distance (km) = 2.5 × π√[Normal Space Distance (km)]

So, as an example, a distance of 50 lightyears between inhabited systems (4.73 x10^14 km) would be reduced to 2.5 times the PIth root of that distance, or about 117,000 km of air-filled 'tunnel'. This represents the typical minimum gyre-distance between worlds gyre waypoints, several of which need to be passed to travel to another world.

So, given that background, we have a modern-day Earth, almost completely unsuspecting of the magical realm that is so near yet so far away, until one day magical, inexplicable things start happening, at first small, but quickly ramping up to things such as a whole city-state on the top of a mountain over three kilometres high appearing with the dawn, remaining for most of the day, then disappearing and appearing elsewhere at that new place's dawn, or people who claim to come from other worlds showing up in hundred-metre-wide flying saucers that mass about the same as a World-War-II battleship, hovering over major population centres and requesting to open trade relations.

If any government tries to shoot the flying saucers down, the saucers are also armoured like WWII battleships (or better), and anti-aircraft missiles would have little effect on them - it would take an all-up anti-ship missile or a close-ranged nuke to have any significant effect on them, and these flying saucers have the ability to outrun (top-speed in-atmosphere of 7,000+ kph) and out-manoeuvre (4g turns) such missiles, and are also armed with a variety of weapons including lasers powerful enough to bring down any aircraft and seriously inconvenience a modern naval ship. If a flying saucer was to be brought down, their power sources, drives and much of their other equipment cannot be duplicated in a non-magical environment such as our rational realm.

Conversely, if any governments attempt communication with the saucers' crews, they would be readily told that there are a dozen or more worlds accessible via the Gyre that are inhabited by humans or human variants that these travellers are attempting to bring back into contact with one another via peaceful trade relations, in addition to which there are many worlds with alien life, some of which is sentient and also travels the gyre.

If people from the Rational world were even able to find and enter the gyre (it's pretty simple - go to about 10,000m and fly directly away from the sun at 40-85 kph in a place that is gyre-accessible, which at present eliminates most if not all of the Rational realm), I'm not sure that any of our aircraft have the speed or endurance required to make the 100,000km+ journey through the gyre to the nearest other world - the flying saucers use a couple of varieties of magical-phlebotinium-fuelled atomic power.

The relocating mountain is the seat of power of the winter goddess' avatar, and is itself set up as a trading society, trading magical goods and educational services for food and other goods that require large areas of non-winter-bound land to produce, and is itself heavily fortified to discourage the communities it visits from deciding to raid rather than trade. This mountain and its goddess are unrelated to the saucer-people, but they know of and trade with one-another.

So, how would our world's governments and communities react to these revelations?

There's no chance of hushing them up, given all the civilians who will see 'impossible', magical things. While our technology is in many ways advanced over that of these magical people, at least some of them have combined the technology they have with magic, and in many ways we are playing second-fiddle to these travellers with their magical aircraft and the moveable mountain that we can't duplicate or emulate - yet.

EDIT In response to an answer that posited that a war would be inevitable:

The Gyre consists of air-filled tunnels with insubstantial walls that range from 50 to 1000 kilometres wide, at an atmospheric pressure of 0.35 ATM, equivalent to a terrestrial altitude of 9-10 thousand metres, though the atmosphere is about 38% Oxygen, 55% Nitrogen and 6% Helium. While the net air speed within a gyre stream is on the order of 5kph, each stream has several air currents that flow in either direction at up to 2,000kph, that contain particulates at their cores, some pieces quite large, as well as frequent lightning activity - there's a reason that gyre-capable aircraft are heavily armoured - being hit by a stray rock travelling at up to 12,000kph relative to your aircraft is no joke.

It is possible to 'fall out' of the Gyre into interstellar space, from where return is effectively impossible. The gyre streams are hundreds of thousands of kilometres long; to reach the nearest gyre-accessible world nearest to Earth would be a journey of around 660,000 kilometres - not too difficult in space, but when flying through air, that's impossible without either atomic power, or the willingness to take weeks to months, depending on how close to the dangerous high-speed currents you're willing to get. Our aircraft just aren't made to have that kind of endurance.

Then there's the problem of navigation - the saucer people use a combination of inertial and spectrographic methods, without which the gyre is a confusing maze of tunnels joining light and dark nodes.

The saucer people don't just have flying saucers with hulls with the equivalent of over 2.6m of battleship armour in every aspect, (which can carry up to 78,000 metric tons of ordnance, war material and personnel if necessary). They have access to thousands of mecha: large mecha armoured about as well as a modern main battle tank, and smaller ones that are still armoured as well as a light tank. They have atomic-powered fighter aircraft with reactionless thrusters that can pull 14+g manoeuvres without inconveniencing the pilot, armed with the aforementioned lasers plus missiles with atomic engines and all-aspect homing - they don't lose target lock, you have to actively break the (magical) lock, or kill them. They have tractor/repulsor beams that could lift a modern cruiser out of the water or capsize an aircraft carrier. Their ground troops are protected by body armour that can stop almost any pistol bullet, and provides decent protection against rifle ball ammunition up to .30", even directly to the visor of the helmet - it'd take a .50"+ bullet or an AP round to seriously inconvenience the wearer.

On the other hand, the saucer people don't want a war - they're traders by inclination, but from a military background, so they'll defend themselves if pushed to it.

The Winter Goddess doesn't want a war either, but if pushed to it, she has enough magic to teleport a whole 3km-high mountain on a daily basis, or turn an enemy army into a collection of ice-rimed statues.

Then, while there are multiple magical realms local to Earth, their populations are for the most part incapable of dealing with a modern military, but they also have magi, some of whom specialise in fighting, and even one could seriously inconvenience a modern technological army.

I'd anticipate that any war between the magical and rational realms would be bloody and inconclusive, with heavy losses on both sides, and would most likely result in Rational Earth being abandoned to its fate by the magical peoples, knowing that there was a whole galaxy out there, but denied access to it in the short-to-medium term.

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closed as too broad by sphennings, Aify, Azuaron, Secespitus, L.Dutch Sep 21 '17 at 4:06

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ "depending on how close to the dangerous high-speed currents you're willing to get." Clarify why exactly the high speed currents are dangerous again? They sounds like a perfect way 'sail' from world to world. $\endgroup$ – NPSF3000 Oct 21 '15 at 11:30
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    $\begingroup$ I always have trouble with these "how would governments react if {insert extreme event here}." The answers are always so very very context dependent. Things like "how did they phrase their trade request" and "do they know English?" become markedly important details. You literally could take this any direction you please. For example, the French may be proud of their SI system because somehow the kilometer is the perfect unit of measure (due to unit challenges in your Gyre equation, the Pi-th root only behaves nicely for one unit, the kilometer). $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Oct 21 '15 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon, you're right about the unit of measure thing, I hadn't really thought about it. Perhaps I should have used some calculation based on planck length... Anyway, the Winter Goddess' avatar was raised from infancy on Rational Earth (to be precise, in Ireland for her first year, then in Australia), and speaks perfectly good English. The 'Saucer people', while they natively speak Kaisersprache, have team members who can magically speak any language spoken by those with whom they communicate with fluency equal to that person's. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Oct 21 '15 at 21:32
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    $\begingroup$ The formula contains a 2.5 term. This is actually $2.5 km^{0.682...}$ This term would be different with different units but the $\pi$-th root would be the same. $\endgroup$ – Stig Hemmer Oct 22 '15 at 10:22
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    $\begingroup$ Questions asking "How would x react to y?" are often closed as too broad. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Sep 20 '17 at 18:49
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Okay, thanks for the clarifications, and pointing out that the current generation of humans are not isolationists like the Shogunate.

Assumptions:

  • Since the magical worlds are opening the relationships without direct threats, there exists no strong xenophbia against their rational brothers.

  • The magical worlds do not have a policy for pre-emptive intervention in place.

The population and governments of earth would probably have mixed to negative reactions to their estranged brothers. At least by our social norms, when you wish to establish diplomatic contact, it is commonly understood that you send diplomatic officers and never, ever, accompany the envoy with a very big army. While sending envoys with armies may be a custom in the magical world, the governments of Earth would probably remain inside the mindset of Terran international politics and interpret it as a thinly-disguised show of force to instill diplomatic pressure.

Reactions would be polarized, between those who sees the magical worlds as a new world to explore and those who sees them as a threat. Xenophobic groups would probably spring up everywhere, as they would whenever contact with a new ethnic group or nation occurred, and quite a few of them would probably turn to terrorism. Whether these xenophobic groups could be handled in a mature manner would have a very large impact on the nature of the political relationship between the two worlds.

Scenario: Acceptance

If the rough edges and culture shock caused by First Contact would be sufficiently cushioned, then normalized diplomatic and trade relations could be established between the two worlds. Politics and society would largely play out as normal: alliances would formed, stronger powers preying upon weaker ones, and everything that goes on in international politics. Life, generally would go on a bit changed, or as normal.

One of the more interesting things to explore in this case would be the relations between the existing nation-states of Earth in this case. It would be harder to say if the nations would want to band together under a "Terran" identity, or use the newly discovered magical world to get a better edge on their rivals.

Post normalization society would see leaps and bounds in knowledge. The rational humans would definitely attempt to analyze and quantify magic, either within the current scope of physical laws, or constructing new frameworks of laws to accommodate new findings with the introduction of magic. A new golden age for humanity on both side of the old divide is probably the most likely answer.

Scenario: Xenophobia

If terrorism cannot be satisfactorily stamped out and/or xenophobic sentiments become dominant, then a Cold War would probably start between the two worlds, similar to the one between Terrans and "Spacers" in Asimov's robot novels. The Terrans would know that they cannot match the paranormals in a hot war, at least within the near future, which would lead to a siege mentality, knowing that their neighbors could, if they wished, turn their homes into craters of glass and there is nothing they could do about it.

Militarization of the society would be inevitable, and so would be propaganda demonizing the enemy. The rivalries currently existing between nations would probably be put onto the back burner, and almost certainly the military powers of the day would put their heads together to figure out how to at least match, if not surpass, the magical world in terms of arms. Technological and cultural exchanges would still occur, as the Terran governments would like to know as much about their enemies as possible.

The governments of Earth would probably also face the problem of "Erdeflucht", where sympathizers and those who prefer living the magical world try to cross over the other side. Because of the siege mentality, they would inevitably be branded as traitors. Brutal purges, either lead by governments or by spontaneous mobs, would probably be carried out to root out these sympathizers, along with moderates.

These conditions would probably last until one of the following happens: A hot war occurs, due to some hothead on either side. This kind of war would be a war of subjugation at best and ethnic cleansing at worst. The odds of a Terran victory goes up with time in preparation, as the magical world is probably not accustomed to Terran wars of annihilation, and every year allows Terrans to better analyze and replicate or at least counter magic.

Or, alternatively, the pressures of the Cold War completely shatters society on either side, in which case, whichever side shatters first would fall completely apart as hardliners that kept them together are ousted and moderates come into power. Just like post-Iron Curtain Europe, the two worlds would have a relatively normalized relationship afterwards.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a great answer. One issue that you wouldn't have known about: The 'saucer people' are quite familiar with wars of annihilation and ideology - they have thousands of years of history, including some with religious groups that make our current crop of Islamic radicals look positively liberal. I'd anticipate - since the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic world would view the Winter goddess' avatar as the literal Whore of Babylon - that reactions would be quite polarised, many Islamic nations falling on the xenophobic side, and the liberal western nations being more accepting. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Oct 22 '15 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, so the magical world is quite similar to rational world politically then. That will just make the wars escalate to genocide much quicker if one ever break out, and much, much more interesting diplomatic play between the two worlds when extremists from both sides are going complete ape**** . $\endgroup$ – Zhehao Chen Oct 23 '15 at 6:06
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1) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Due to the damage of that war to the Rational Humans' psyche (that was so great that it literally erased itself from our history), the Rational Humans will probably never fully recognize magic as being magic. They'll come up with some technobabble to explain what's going on. Oh, that is not really a floating castle, it's a teleporting spaceship that is controlled by aliens. The Gyre is simply wormhole-based FTL. The Magical Humans must have access to the Babel fish, that's why they are able to talk in all possible languages. The "goddess" just has a lot of cybernetic upgrades. And so on and so forth.

And the Magical Humans can't really dismiss the Rational Humans' explanations. After all, the Rational is just one side of the same coin of humanity.

2) The Rational Humans will treat the goddess' schemes to merge the two worlds as a literal alien invasion and respond accordingly.

This response may not necessarily be hostile. Some humans may very well welcome the aliens and support the scheme to 'uplift' the rationals into a new, technologically advanced era (even if they keep on calling their cyberpunk upgrades as "spells" for some reason).

But I think most humans would resent the idea of highly advanced aliens coming to Earth with the explicit purpose of destroying their rationalistic way of life...because, well, some so-called 'goddess' thought it was a good idea. These other humans may not be able to do anything overtly (the aliens are too advanced to be countered), but I think some low-level resistance is to be expected.

3) Expect a few people (likely government bureaucrats) to try and figure out what actually happened in the 'War'.

Why did this war happen in the first place? Was the Magicians the aggressors, or was the Rationals? This knowledge is not mere trivia, it's a good way of determining the true intentions of the Magical Humans and their goddess, as well as learning how to counter them (after all, the Rationals could have said to 'stalemated' the Magicals). Actually figuring out what happened is going to be difficult at best: the only source for this war is from the Magical Humans, and you can expect them to be biased.

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually, the war was between two magic-using superpowers, Atlantis and Mu. The scale of magic use in that conflict erased all but a few memories of those civilisations, and caused significant damage to the magical ecosystem such that the split between the magical and rational Earth occurred. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Oct 22 '15 at 3:43
  • $\begingroup$ Still important knowledge to know. If there was tension between the magical humans, the rationalists will want to take advantage of any lingering disputes to play the magicians against each other...and thereby ensure rationalists' independence. $\endgroup$ – Tariq Ali Oct 22 '15 at 13:44
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I don't see any reason anything bad would happen.

It seems odd that no government from the magical side would make contact with any large government on out side. If this happened then everything would work out pretty well.

In general if they look like us, and speak like use and for all we can tell they are like us, it wouldn't cause much issue.

Humanity isn't nearly as prone to try to conquer people these days.

The reaction around the world would be as varied as the world itself. Some would welcome our new friends with open arms, others would be distrustful, others would want them to leave. Religions would spring up, established religions would get mad and so on an so forth.

There'd be some fighting here and there that's for sure. Some people wouldn't take kindly to these people.

Other issues would pop up like this magic mountain would be a HUGE security risk for every country that it pops up in.

If the magic side just forces itself onto our side, it would make relations worse. If the Magic side was willing to talk and sort things out then that might happen.

The situation would be so varied and complex. If you want to pick certain areas or people in the world I'd gladly give even more info, but I don't want to write a book just on this question :D

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New answer due to recent clarifications, disregard this answer

The reactions would probably be a large war or a series of wars, since no one really likes being gun-boated into doing anything. Most people on Earth will be resentful of being visited by what they see as an attempt to strong-arm them into some commitment. War will break out, and it will only be a matter of time.

We can look at the dismantling of the Japanese Shogunate as an example: Perry's fleet showed Japan what lies outside of its borders, and Japan assimilated as much as it could, before committing herself to expanding her borders a few decades later in the Russo-Japanese and First Sino-Japanese War, culminating in WWII. Since the fantasy universe is rather behind the rational humans in technology, it wouldn't take too much reverse engineering fro the rational humans to either figure out how the magic works (assuming it is rules magic).

On a side note, it would not be too difficult to mission-kill a target armed as heavily as a battleship, even if it is doing 7000kph and pulling 4g turns (which is not exactly maneuverable for modern aerospace technology standards). Concentrated small-caliber fire have disabled battleships, and in many cases even destroyed them through fires that started on board. The technology for knocking these things out of the sky like big rail guns, gigawatt-rated lasers and hypersonic missiles (or even hypersonic nuclear missiles), wouldn't be that difficult to create. A lot of them are already existent in rather crude forms in the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Actual pitched battles would be difficult to model, considering you have only provided detailed information on saucers, which would be only a single component of an entire armed forces.

If most of the magical worlds are medieval high-fantasy-ish settings, then casualties would be significantly less for the humans, because then the saucers would pretty much be the only effective weapon system the fantasy worlds can field, barring hand-wavy things that directly manipulate reality on a massive scale (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RocksFallEveryoneDies). Slade Stuart's "Salvation War" and Takumi Yanai's "Gate" would be the example here. Assuming the humans can counter the saucers in any way, then the rest of the fantasy worlds are done for. In fact, the saucers can even be left alone and the armies of Earth can go after what is behind the saucers in the Gyre. Armies only work when there is a country behind them, and with the industry and agriculture supporting them burned to the ground, the army will simply starve to death.

On the other hand, if the magical worlds all have at least the saucer-level tech/magic content and has the magical equivalent to tactical/strategic WMDs (TSAB-style), then Earth wouldn't hold on too well in a war with early 21st Century equipment. In that case, the magical world wouldn't even have to send ground troops, burning Earth (or enough of Earth to force a surrender) to a wasteland from orbit would be the cheapest option if a war breaks out. And even if the fantasy worlds avoid WMDs, I'm pretty sure Earth armies will not like the thought of fighting an enemy whose basic infantrymen can take as much punishment as a main battle tank and dish just about as much in return.

So anything from a quick victory for Earth to Earth becoming a ball of iron coated in glass, all depending on what the rest of the fantasy worlds look like. Since the saucers is only a single link the entire war machine, it is difficult to describe what would happen in the war that ensues.

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    $\begingroup$ Why a war? Who is strong-arming whom? The situation with Japan and Perry is a little different; Japan explicitly declared an isolationist policy prior to that, and Perry was sent to open trade by force, whereas in this situation, the Winter Goddess and the saucer people are just saying "here we are, this is how things really are, we'd like to trade if you're interested". $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Oct 20 '15 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ Have a look at my edited question. $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Oct 21 '15 at 0:40

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