The Weird West
Deseret is a protectorate of the United States, with its internal policies controlled by a government headed by Brigham Young and its foreign policy controlled by the United States. The capital of Deseret is Salt Lake City, home of the renowned (and reclusive) inventor Darius Hellstromme, whose inventions allowed the Mormons to achieve semi-independence from the United States.
The Protectorate of Deseret has its roots in events thirty years ago, when Mormon settlers led by Brigham Young traveled west to escape persecution and founded Salt Lake City in 1847. Tensions between the Mormon settlers and the federal government grew over the intervening decades, particularly over the practice of polygamy. There were clashes between Mormons and the federal government, most notably during the First Mormon Rebellion of 1857-1858, which ended with Brigham Young stepping down as Governor of Utah Territory in exchange for a pardon from President James Buchanan.
In the late 1860s, Brigham Young’s followers and the federal administrators were forced to work together to combat the powerful Ute Chieftain Antonga Black Hawk, who sought to avenge decades of abuses using the newly unleashed powers of the weirdness. The early years of the Black Hawk War saw both federal Cavalry and the Mormons’ Nauvoo Legion suffer defeat after defeat at the hands of the Indians. The line of Mormon settlement was driven back, leaving a trail of burned village and hallow graves.
Then Darius Hellstromme arrived in February 1869 and everything changed. Hellstromme persuaded the skeptical Mormons to use his bizarre devices against the Utes, in exchange for allowing him to set up operations outside the city. By late April 1869, the Ute tribe was all but obliterated.
With the Nauvoo Legion now armed with the most advanced weapons in the world, Brigham Young declared the Territory of Utah to be illegitimate and declared the State of Deseret. Mormon forces deployed their new weapons against the U.S. Cavalry, scoring several gruesome victories.
When it became apparent that the rebellion could not be quelled without significant commitment of troops, requiring either a withdrawal of occupation forces in the South or a new draft, President Grant sought a diplomatic solution. The agreement reached between the Mormons and the U.S. established Deseret as an American protectorate; internally autonomous but with its foreign policy controlled by Washington. The Nauvoo Legion would be the only military force with a permanent presence in Deseret, but federal troops would be allowed passage through the protectorate. Further, the U.S. military would gain full access to all of Hellstromme’s inventions. A U.S. Governor-General would represent American interests in the protectorate, but internal authority would be left in the hands of the Mormons, so long as they upheld the rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
For ten years, the Treaty of Ogden has held—at times very loosely—and the Protectorate of Deseret has grown and prospered. At the moment, a major source of tension is the influx of thousands of Gentiles to work in Hellstromme’s factories on the east side of Salt Lake City.