semper fidelis

a little random… is a content share site; people post links to sites, videos, pics of cats wearing sweaters, or sometimes just put questions out there. If the thingy posted gets a lot of attention in the form of upvotes, it migrates to the front page, which Reddit maintains in “the front page of the internet”.

One such post about a month ago was a simple question:

Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?

A “MEU” is a Marine Expeditionary Unit, from wikipedia:

The Marine Expeditionary Unit is normally built around the building blocks of a MAGTF: a reinforced Marine infantry battalion is the ground combat element, the aviation combat element is a composite helicopter squadron, a battalion-sized logistics combat element, and a command element. Troop strength is about 2,200 and usually commanded by a colonel, and is deployed from an amphibious assault ship.


Instead of devolving into your typical “Enterprise v. Star Destroyer” or “Wolverine v. Pirate Ninja” conversation, the first post was from a guy who just started writing a story. No dialog to speak of, just plotting it out. “Day 1” was the title of his post, and he just went with it, describing the 35th USMC MEU caught in a storm of some kind and moving from Kabul to a short distance from Rome. He quickly followed up with a few more days.

The response was insane.

The idea was crazy-popular. Did anyone in the MEU even speak Latin? What about our gunships? What about the reaction to finding out you’re two thousand years in the past? What about that legion forming up and heading our way?

A “sub-reddit” was set up, a whole new corner of the site where people posted to just talk about this one topic. The author took the original poster’s question and banged out 8 days of plot before he vanished. Much Material was contributed by many other people…  side plotlines, additional characters, questions about this and that. A setting, a world was being consensually developed. Crowdsourced.

About a week ago Warner Brothers bought the story from the author, and plans to make a movie out of it.

Lots of interesting questions here. Who owns the story? Who gets paid? Who develops “canon”? The way it’s worked out so far is that the guy who went to the effort to write the story and start the whole effort gets paid. Everyone still contributes ideas, and they’re having fun developing the story, even though it’s unlikely any subsequent contribution will be “used” in the movie. There was a movie out in the early 80s called “The Final Countdown”, where the carrier Enterprise goes back to December 6th 1941 just off the Hawaiian islands, so the idea is exactly unique in all ways, but it’s still pretty compelling, it seems.

Two particular posts in the subreddit that caught my eye: Someone’s take on Day 300 was a newly formed Roman legion consisting mostly of Marines, now without benefit of many of the appliances of modern warfare but still faithful to their warrior heritage, making an exodus to Britannia and founding the Roman culture there. Another had to do with what the movie might be named… As “Rome Sweet Rome” is kind of silly. A popular option was to go with simply “The 35th”.

But of course I favored an even more elegant suggestion:   “Semper Fidelis”

It seems to capture the spirit of the Marines in the story, as well as that of the peeps who continue to build out the story for no reason other than they believe in it, and enjoy it.

the subreddit:

an article about the whole thing:

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