The world after the war of 2215. The northern hemisphere is a total loss. Our population is reduced to nearly the same bottleneck as happened during the Toba Event, no matter whether one accepts the long or short version of that theory. We're down to about 20,000 individuals across the globe.
A rough (and very incomplete) map of the lands of Stralyon and Sepilon. This is where our story takes place. The results of the war and the extreme presentation of climate change have altered the coastlines.
Diplomacy and discussion are not paradigms that are strongly affected by technology, but the making of war most certainly is, and logic dictates that, there being no other restraint put in place, and there being little likelihood of said restraint given the general state of humanity, we will come to a threshold where our ability to make deadly war that takes very little time at all will totally outstrip the time that diplomacy always requires.
And that is the war of 2215. Fast-forward another 800-ish years.
What our characters know is only what can be deduced by current clues in their world. Our characters don’t know that as the initial strike laid waste to the northern hemisphere, North America was told a no by the nations of the southern hemisphere when she sought a place to evacuate her remaining population. So the U.S. did what she does best and she took a piece of land with the last bit of military force at her disposal, much of that force having come from Canada joining forces, looking for similar succor.
And that is how Sepilon came to be.
Using the Slavic-Germanic example as my conceptual source, I used the Australian rhyming slang pejorative for Americans, seppos, as my etymological source for the name of the country. In the forming of the exonym for Germanic people, the Slavic languages, as a whole, make use of a word-root that means mute, unspeaking, dumb. Not very flattering, but as far as the history for the word they use to call their neighbors, it’s a known known.
The Slavic exonym nemets, nemtsy derives from Proto-Slavic němьcь, pl. němьci, 'the mutes', 'not able (to speak)' (from adjective němъ 'mute' and suffix -ьcь). It literally means a mute and can be also associated with similar sounding not able, without power, but came to signify those who can't speak (like us); foreigners. The Slavic autonym (Proto-Slavic *Slověninъ) likely derives from slovo, meaning word. According to a theory, early Slavs would call themselves the speaking people or the keepers of the words, as opposed to their Germanic neighbors, the mutes (a similar idea lies behind Greek barbaros, barbarian and Arab عجم (ajam), mute).
So, though seppo may seem like a crap way to arrive at a demonym, there is strong precedent, first as an exonym, later as a demonym and autonym through the process of linguistic reclamation / resignification.
A thousand years into a future where the linguistically stabilizing effect of mass media is silenced in a single stroke, there is certainly time enough for the English of today to shift into a form that we in 2019 could never hope to understand. The two variants of Sepilon and Stralyon remain mutually intelligible, though favoring the Australian phoneme trends, save for the hard rhotic R so quintessential to North American and Irish variants of modern English and still so much a part of the sound of Sepilon chit chat.
This story falls into a group of ideas floating in my head that I call Final Dramas. They take place at the end of things, with the last handful of people alive who often don't realize that they are, in fact, the last handful. In the same way that the post-apocalypse trope in Fantasy and Science Fiction nearly always serves double duty as dramatic event and also as a hard line in the narrative sand dividing the mundane present from the strange future, so too the Final Drama serves a similar purpose. Since it's the end, I am freed of the shackles of pragmatism telling me that a given course of action has a poor expectation of longterm results. In these stories, there is no long term going forward. The characters don't know this, of course, but I do as the writer. It also opens the door for elements of Magic Realism, which I expect to show up in this story. If you're not familiar with that genre, important to know that there is no magic in Magic Realism, not in the Hogwarts or Westeros or Middle Earth sense of the term.
The Plot Thus-far:
Patrick’s fire opal leads him to a section of mineshaft long abandoned as dead within the Ridge complex (Lightning Ridge, AUS). His stone finds a cache of large, unaligned black opals. Contemporaneously, Timor is sent from Cowell to apprentice at the Ridge. Timor’s jadeite stone and its connection to the stone database in the burnt lands gives him access to schematics for dead cermet tech, the repair of which becomes his primary port of entry into life at the Ridge. His presence is unrelated to the finding of the large black opals, but he manages to repair an ancient piece of cermet tech that allows the miners to stop using tradable black opals as power source for the tech itself. Instead, they are able to use tiny flecks and shards that had been discarded. This opens the possibility of a trade expedition to the islands north of Stralyon, something that hasn’t happened in generations, and which brings Timor within reach of where his unique stone originated.
Just a little Puerto Rican guy living on a coffee plantation in the middle of the Caribbean.