Timeline

    1991, 16 January - 28 February – First Persian Gulf War rages between U.S. and Iraq over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait (on 2 August 1990).

    1996, 5 July – Edinburgh, Scotland – Dolly the sheep becomes the first mammal cloned from adult cells.

    2001, 11 September – the World Trade Center in the U.S. is bombed; Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda take credit.  The Western world suddenly realizes that there are thousands of extremists, unfortunately mostly in Muslim nations, who hate and wish to destroy the West.

    2001, 7 October - 9 December – the U.S. fights and overthrows the Taliban government in Afghanistan after the latter refuses to turn in bin Laden.  Many non-Western states decry this as an anti-Muslim act, raising already significant tensions between traditionally Muslim people and the West.

 

    2003, 20 March - 1 May – Operation Iraqi Freedom pits U.S. against Iraqi forces again, this time in Baghdad and throughout Iraq.  The invasion is justified by Saddam Hussein's supposed possession of WMDs ("weapons of mass destruction"), which are never actually found.

    2003, 1 May - 2007, 13 August – the U.S.'s continued presence in Iraq, ostensibly to support democracy there, raises more and more ire among pro-Muslim forces, who perceive it as anti-Muslim aggression.  Roadside bombs, suicide bombs, and similar violence, most of which harm civilians more than military, become commonplace in Iraq.  All told 3,276 American soldiers, 200+ American civilians, and 18,000+ Iraqis die before the pullout.

    2006, 12 July - 14 August – Israel and Lebanon exchange missiles and bombs due to ongoing aggression from Hezbollah, a militia and political party in southern Lebanon.  Because Israel is a close ally with the U.S., once again pro-Muslim forces see this as Western aggression against Muslim nations, and anti-West sentiment grows more.

    2006, 8 October – North Korea sets off its first acknowledged nuclear test, prompting protests from neighbors Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Tensions rise in the region.  South Korea applies for nuclear status two weeks later; Japan begins developing an anti-missile system.  North Korea's continued nuclear defiance eventually causes Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea to forge an alliance against both China and North Korea.

    2008, June – International Gene Pool Fund ("i-jeep" or "IGP") established by two wealthy moguls; stem cell and gene research kicks into high gear as fresh resources and funding become available.

    2009, April – a massive series of coordinated bombings and suicide-attacks through Western political and social capitals sets off WWIII (although no one wants to call it that).  The issue begins as Muslim vs. West but soon expands into an energy war.  Several countries including energy-hungry China, N. Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and finally Pakistan unite with the Saudi Nations (incl. Turkey) to create the so-dubbed "Power Coalition."  They fight against the "West" including the U.S., Canada, E.U., Israel, S. Korea, Japan, Taiwan, India, and others.

    2009, September – Energy crisis begins in the West due to war, production limitations, and Hurricanes Kate and Victor.  Gasoline rationing is widespread.  (Inventions are designed to convert other fuels, including "green" fuels like corn-based ethanol, into true petrol, but none are completely successful.  Retrofitting of automobiles into inefficient ethanol engines leads to a corn shortage.  Corn prices shoot up to $113/bushel from $4-5/bushel before the war [1 bushel = 56 lbs shelled corn].  Corn shortage hugely impacts food industry, causing shortages in all areas including animal feed, which in turn leads to a meat shortage.  Brazil and Argentina emerge as world powers due to supplies of rich ethanol-providing switchgrass and beef.)

    2010, April - September – American farmers eager for profits and government subsidies plant genetically-engineered, high-energy corn and switchgrass.  (Oregon and Washington also grow hemp.)  Engineered corn cross-pollinates and ruins adjacent crops.  More food shortages ensue.  Root crops, gourds, and other non-grain crops distant from corn, which survived the cross-pollination, now become the main food supply.  Some cornfields are razed and replaced with these foodstuffs, in an emergency second-wave of late Spring planting.  (Same thing happens in other Western countries.)

    2010, September – U.S. citizens rise in protest when existing corn supplies are converted to energy rather than food.  In some localities, farms are raided and corn taken by citizens.  In other locations, corn stores are burned.  U.S. military moves in to restore order in half a dozen states.  A semi-permanent State of Emergency is declared in Iowa.  (Same thing happens in other Western countries.)

    2010, October – government food subsidies are declared for three-quarters of the U.S. to combat rising shortages.  Crops are imported from South America, Central America, and Australia through the winter.  War coffers are drained and citizen disquiet rises.  (Same thing happens in other Western countries.)

    2010, December – in a fit of energy-desperation the West threatens to bomb and destroy the Muslim holy capital of Mecca unless a truce is called and gasoline resumes flowing.  This prompts the Catholic Church to unite with the Power Coalition in religious protest.

    2011, March – the Catholic Church divides from internal pressures into Catholic and New Catholic.  The old faction, which supports the "pro-Muslim" (actually the misinterpreted and politically lambasted "don't blow up Mecca") Pope, gets kicked out of Rome.  They take refuge in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey), where they are used as hostages and spies for the Power Coalition.  The New Catholics ally themselves with the Christian Coalition, the Anglican Church, and Israel in an attempt to cement their "we love the West!" image.

    2011, December 21 – the Power Coalition launches a massive (non-nuclear) missile assault against the West.  Among other targets, Tel Aviv in Israel is leveled on the 21st (first day of Hanukkah).

    2011, December 24-25 – Bethlehem in Israel is leveled by the Power Coalition. (Bethlehem is considered holy by the Christians for hosting the birth of Jesus on that day.)

    2011, December 25 – the West bombs Mecca.  Cluster-bombs level the site and nuclear fallout poisons Saudi Arabia for years to come.  Underground oil stores there become contaminated and pose a risk to human life.

    2011, December 28 – the Power Coalition retaliates with nuclear attacks on Tokyo, Washington D.C., London, Rome, and other important Western sites.  One location struck is Seattle, which has become a science and technology stronghold.  Mt. Rainier's lava-dome is cracked; an ash-cloud descends over much of the United States.  Global temperatures fall 2-3 degrees.

    2012 - 2015 – Overview:

       World population & shortages: escalating ground-war at first worsens, then improves, food and energy shortages throughout the world as population begins to drop.  Attempts at "aid" gradually taper off as neediness becomes worldwide.  People are left to fend for themselves in invaded and bombed areas.  Ash-clouds from volcanoes and nuclear-clouds from bombs lower Earth's average temperature by 1-2 degrees each year.  Cold and lack of sunlight cause crops to fail in the U.S. Midwest, Europe, and other areas.  Thousands die from hunger, disease, and exposure worldwide.  Thousands more flee to South America and Australia.

       Science: Tremendous leaps occur due to rich wartime budgets and necessity.

         Artificial food is one of the top priorities; genetically-enhanced crops for larger, quicker harvests and vat-grown meat produced from cow, chicken and pig cells becomes widespread.

         Battlefield and bomb injuries produce a boom in health and artificial limb developments.  Stem cell regrowth provides new limbs and organs for those wealthy enough to afford it; cybernetic replacements fill in the gaps.  The first true cyborgs begin to emerge with brain-controlled limbs and complete organs.  Eventually these two fields (stem cells and cybernetics) merge as scientists learn to "grow" circuits and mesh them perfectly with flesh.

         Energy crunch leads to new power-sources including enhanced solar (strong enough even to get a trickle-charge from moonlight), upper-atmosphere, wind-driven, hydro, radiant / gamma ray, plasma, and electrochemical sources.  (Someone even learns to harness nuclear fallout for those unlucky enough to live, at least for awhile, in contaminated areas.)  All of these have significant limits, however.

         Communication requirements drive the need to decentralize the internet; so-called "mini-hubs" crop up to replace the former nexuses.  DNS and root servers become less available so people typically memorize IP addresses. Backbones are often fragmented so many individuals use their personal systems as servers to pass on a limited amount of traffic, and thus keep the 'net going (there are groups of people with agreements to pass along only their buddies using specific ports rather than usual web port 80).  As society gets more computer-centric, DNS numbers are assigned at or shortly after birth, rather like a worldwide social security number.  (The 128-bit IPv6 protocol, expressed in hexadecimal, replaces the four-node traditional system.)  Unfortunately, those who know the system can use someone's DNS to estimate their age and place of origin, which can lead to discrimination.  Also those who wish to fake their identity can take on a false DNS, but it's hard to do.

       Society: undergoes a split in which a large segment goes anti-religion due to the ongoing war and its underlying problems.  Religion goes underground as a result, being hidden from public view in a sort of "don't ask don't tell" mindset.  Another segment is strongly pro-technology while others seek to avoid it. Hunger, disease, and need are widespread, with only a select few having the resources to live in comfort.  There are numerous clashes between these factions.  Artistic progress slows during times of hunger and war, only to emerge in fresh bursts of emotional and often dark-haunted forms of expression between.

       Weather: hurricanes, fires, floods, locusts, et al.  The magma under Yellowstone erupts and covers the Midwest in another cloud of ash (18 Feb 2014).  Atmospheric temperature falls a few more degrees, but this only has the effect of countering global warming.  Sumatra is swallowed under the ocean as underground earthquakes trigger tsunamis; Washington and Oregon states are also hit by tsunamis the year after as their own offshore fault shifts.  San Andreas and surrounding faults finally give way but the shift only makes a big crack, allowing seawater to flood inland in a sort of elongated delta.  The area from San Francisco through Sacramento is leveled, however.  The war between global warming and volcanic activity causes alternating years of heavy then negligent hurricane activity, plus rapidly fluctuating years of overly-hot and overly-cool weather.

 

    2014, 18 February – Yellowstone Disaster - bedrock cracks beneath Yellowstone National Park in the western U.S., creating a vast leak of superheated water, sulphurous gasses, and steam.  Three weeks later the magma itself erupts onto the surface with explosive force.  Although the area has been evacuated, 215 people are killed by the resulting plume of choking ash.  The initial ash-cloud covers a radius of 52 miles, followed the next day by a second, larger eruption as the bedrock finally gives way.  Most of the American Midwest becomes covered in volcanic ash.  Crops fail, livestock dies in droves, and the American economy is thrown into pure chaos. Over the next six years, thousands die of Marie's Disease.  A steady stream of desperate refugees / immigrants pours into Canada and Mexico.  These American expatriates are gradually relocated (sometimes by force) to other countries.

 

    2016, June  - a scientist in Japan creates a method of getting energy by mixing a specific gel with water.  Immediately a feeding frenzy begins; every nation tries to get its hands on the technique.  China steals it and spreads it to the other Power nations.  Every country tries to keep it a secret from everyone else.  The creator goes on a valiant campaign to have his process used for peace, even going so far as to give out the technique freely on the 'net.  He is subsequently tried in a martial court for treason, even though he is a civilian.  (China's possession of the secret is blamed on him, although China possessed it well before his free public announcements.)

    2016 - 2018 – Society/Economics: Gap between wealthy and poor becomes more pronounced; at first the promise of inexpensive energy for all looks bright, then dulls as one force after another tries to monopolize the power. 

    2018, April 26 – Japanese scientist who developed new power source is executed for treason.  His technique goes on to be reproduced and improved, eventually solving the world energy-crisis and bringing peace to the long, energy-driven war.  Subsequent groups label this Traitor Day, but use the name in bitter sarcasm, claiming that the true traitor was the government coalition that killed him.

    2018 - 2029 ("the 20s") – Society: Ultra Modern Trend.  In the wake of the war, society makes great bounds forward, particularly in the upper classes.  Great emphasis on technology and new development, recovery, baby boom.  So called "designer children" are a passing fad, with genetic engineering giving rise to exotics such as pink eyes, zebra-stripe skin, purple hair, and other wildly unnatural patterns.  Law constrains human embryos to be kept in humanoid form, however, so there are no centaurs, fairies, tentacled people, etc..

       Society / Economics: Gap between classes becomes painfully obvious as only those with disposable income can enjoy the developing technologies, designer children, or—most importantly—the essential therapies and treatments either to cure disease or obtain cybernetic replacement parts.  Those with less income and opportunity are forced to the margins of society... in some cases quite literally, having to take refuge in contaminated areas and thus elevating their need for medical treatments. This proves a vicious cycle.  The gap widens more.  The poor become sickly and disabled from their contaminated environments; many are unable to maintain jobs, and worse—become subject to discrimination because no one wants to hire contaminated or sickly individuals.  Foremost among these oppressed groups are refugees, particularly those from ravaged parts of the U.S. (and other formerly-wealthy nations).

 

    2024 – Refugee Resettlement Act passed - work-programs begin, designed to spread out the refugee population and put them to work in different regions.  There is controversy surrounding this program, however; in some cases, the refugees are taken to literal work-camps and given unsavory jobs like cleaning up contamination with plasma-torches and similar equipment.  In others, families are separated by bureaucratic error or the need to assign different personnel to different jobs.

    2028 – protests begin among the refugees in several countries, as promises for resettlement and reintegration fall by the wayside.  They are given little heed, however, since the refugees have little money or influence.

 

    2028 - 2032 – crime escalates in poor regions; rising cost of maintaining order leads some politicians to openly consider expanding the work camps and resettling the poor even farther from "normal society" (i.e., privileged).  The result is a wave of protest and violence, which unfortunately proves the politicians' point.

    2029, 13 April –  the asteroid Apophis passes close enough to Earth to be seen with the naked eye, triggering public alarm and at least two cult suicides in Europe and Asia.

    2029 - 2037 ("the 30s") – Society: New Naturality Movement (begins U.S. East Coast, spreads rapidly throughout all areas of civilization touched by the Ultra-Modern Trend).  Emphasis on all-natural fabrics, patterns, colors, dyes, etc..  Babies born in this period are mostly normal-colored (as opposed to technicolored).

       Society / Economics: Ironically, this movement too works to widen the gap between poor and privileged.  Those raised in the contaminated areas tend to look less "natural," bearing sores and sometimes mutations.  Also, those who were able to do so cyberized themselves as a means for survival.  That, too, is considered "unnatural" and a cause for discrimination.  Refugees in particular have difficulty reintegrating themselves with society.

    2032 - 2036 – refugees and lower-class citizens become increasingly segregated; forced relocations become common, if unpopular.  More violent groups are sent as "peace keeping forces" at remote locations.

    2036 - 2040 – the forced relocations are replaced with a new program, as worldwide political skirmishes break out.  Refugees are promised citizenship in exchange for military service.  Many thousands sign up for the program, only to discover that the promise is worthless.  It only becomes valid "when hostilities end"… and there seems to be no end in sight.

    2038, 8 August - 2039, 12 December – the New Madrid Fault, which runs through the Midwestern U.S. and has been silent since 1812, awakens with violent tremors.  Over the next eighteen months seven earthquakes above 7.0 magnitude shake eight states, with countless aftershocks causing mass hysteria and PTSD.  Memphis, Tennessee is nearly destroyed by the first and second quakes, when tremors destroy masonry-built homes, crack several city buildings, and rupture underground gas and water lines, causing both fire and flooding simultaneously.  By winter 2039 the Mississippi River has significantly altered course and nearly 40,000 people are homeless.  Naturally, this makes the refugee situation far worse.

    2041 – refugees begin openly defying their work-orders and come to resettle themselves in more populated areas.  Gangs and mafia-style organizations begin to crystallize; in some cases, wealthy citizens sponsor these groups in order to push their private interests.  People begin openly defying curfews as well as social mores, mixing themselves in public with more privileged groups.  (Predictably, the privileged groups complain.)

    2042 – crackdowns begin; law enforcement is given greater authority to uphold curfews and to keep the lesser class "in its place."  Violence erupts anew between gangs and law enforcement; so many officers are lost that robots and cyborgs begin being used almost exclusively for the task.  Robots, lacking emotion, have far less compassion than human police and tend to take their jobs quite literally.  Quite a few civilians are killed in the resulting melee.

    2042-2043 – retaliation strikes begin against law enforcement; buildings are bombed, officers targeted, and even politicians are assassinated.  The refugees' attacks (for now the term "refugee" has become synonymous with "poor person" in the public's eye) are becoming more and more complex.  Wealthy sponsors have given access to better technology, and the refugees have made the most of it.  A handful of figures begins to emerge, strong leaders who are guiding the refugees' attacks.

    2044 – one leader in particular, known as "Rei," begins making headaches for law enforcement in New Japan.  This one specializes in cyberviolence and hacking, destruction of electronic property and information.  This is not all electronic, however—because everything is run by computers these days, the havoc he wreaks spills out into the physical world.  Trains collide, planes crash, bridges and railways fail to shift on command.  Refugees are smuggled in from work camps to swell the ranks of his growing army.  Gradually the plans expand and coalesce into a cohesive political movement: equality for the refugees, or better yet a place to call their own.

 

 

 

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