Asteroid On Collision Course With Earth was a World News article published by Usea Today on April 21, 1996, the day after the Federation of Central Usea (FCU) announced the existence of the Ulysses 1994XF04 asteroid.
The newspaper was one of many in-universe newspapers and magazines created to promote Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. This page hosts an English translation of the original Japanese text, using a combination of an Acepedia translation, online translations, and the flawed official translation.
FCU President Makes Announcement To Ambassadors And Their Respective Nations
On the 20th, the President of the FCU announced that the predicted collision of the asteroid XF04 with the earth had been confirmed. This information was delivered to foreign nations through their ambassadors. The date and time of the impact, as well as its estimated scope and extent of damage, were made public. At the same time, he announced the start of special interception projects to avoid the impact. This announcement sent shock waves around the world.
In December of last year,[note 1] the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced that the asteroid would reach Earth within a few years and, in a worst-case scenario, cause massive damage. The IAU informed the FCU government that further studies would be required to determine the orbital trajectory of the asteroid. Under the leadership of the IAU, a special team composed of prominent astronomers, astronomical physicists, and geologists was formed, and the impact was confirmed. The colliding body is an asteroid of solid rock designated "Ulysses 1994XF04", with about a 1 mile (1.6 km) diameter. Seals Bridge University observers first discovered the asteroid last October,[note 1] and Comona University's computers calculated the asteroid's predicted orbit. The results show that XF04 will pass through the Earth's Roche limit on July 3, 1999 at approximately 3:30 PM Usean Eastern Time. The debris field will cause extensive damage north of the equator.[note 2] The impact will have the same power as 2,000,000 nuclear bombs, and nuclear winter is expected to occur.
The FCU government determined that this situation represented an existential threat to its nations. Due to political and cultural considerations, they withheld the confirmation of the orbital path. Meanwhile, an aerospace conference was called to develop an effective means of preventing the impact. They deemed that cooperation between the FCU and its allied nations would be indispensable, which lead them to call for this conference.
The President stated, "This is an impending disaster, not only for Usea, but the entire world. Underground shelters in major cities and other measures to consolidate defense are important, but I also want to consider approaches of intercepting the meteorites. We must take every means so that we may live to see the new millennium." He called on the world to undertake similar projects.
Secretary Of State Expresses Support For NMD Proposal
On the afternoon of the 20th, Secretary of State Stateson visited the Central Usea Treaty Organization (UTO) headquarters to attend an urgent meeting with the Council of Foreign Ministers. At the meeting, he explained to the allies how a National Missile Defense (NMD) system could be used as a means to destroy the asteroid, and asked for their cooperation. At a press conference following the meeting he stated, "It is the FCU's responsibility to construct a missile defense system that will eliminate the threat the Ulysses asteroid poses to the FCU and its allies." He also felt confident that "our allies understand the threat as well."
Regarding the organization and implementation of the NMD, some allies were concerned that it could be used for military purposes, but ultimately they expressed willingness to cooperate. The Secretary of State, after considering a worst-case scenario, made additional suggestions for the final defense plan. "Without the understanding and cooperation of all countries it will not be possible to implement this defense plan," said the Secretary, without disclosing further details. Possibilities such as attaching a propulsion device to deflect the asteroid, or shooting interceptor missiles to destroy it, are being considered. However, once XF04 passes through the Earth's Roche limit and fragments, there would be no effective way to counter it.
Even though the effectiveness of the NMD remains unclear, it remains the most plausible among the many plans proposed for defending the Earth. Some of the Foreign Ministers in the Council hope that this may also lead to global nuclear arms reduction, but remarked that the countries involved in the NMD's development will shoulder a heavy burden.
Overseas Troops To Return Home Temporarily
Upon hearing the President's address, Department of Defense commander Richard Payne ordered a recall of all FCU military units deployed overseas. The 6th Fleet is already underway to its home port in Waosung from its deployment in the Far East. As of 1900hrs on the 20th, the flagship aircraft carrier Fort Grace and its accompanying Aegis-class cruiser Tea Time are heading north towards the Payton Channel. However, as the standoff continues between FCU and Erusian troops on the Republic of Amber's border with the autonomous province of Ugellas continues, the IUN's forces are left with no choice but to retreat due to the present withdrawal of FCU forces.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Meyer of the 6th Airborne Division, the 120th Air Wing which had been assigned to the buffer zone was prepared to take up station at Snider on the 21st, but on the verge of changing commands, it was temporarily dissolved on the spot. They intend to fall back around 120 km eastward to the Gunther front line base and reorganize there.[note 3]
Although the retreat has already begun at the company level, the work of handing things over to IUN units stretched across the joint front line has greatly complicated the retreat, and it is likely that the withdrawal of all units will extend to the afternoon of the 22nd. In addition, in the early hours on the 20th when the announcement was made, unexpected storms hit the region, and the C-17 transport planes were unable to carry full loads. The remaining equipment was then entrusted to IUN forces.
Military Commander To Become Chief Of Staff
At a press conference on the 18th, the FCU Army announced the appointment of Army Commander Robert Tyler (54) as the new Armed Forces Chief of Staff, succeeding Riass who died suddenly on the 20th of last month. The commander is a Lieutenant General, and he led the southern region's forces last year, helping to suppress a rebel headquarters in the southern Skully Islands.
New Regulation Of Cell Phones And Network Information Announced
The Ministry of Communications announced emergency measures to impose restrictions on all forms of communication in order to avoid panic created by potentially confusing information in the future.
There are many exemptions under current regulations. However, plans to limit the number of personal users of both mobile phones and the internet have been announced, as a high volume of information exchange among the general public is projected. The government fears that misinformation, hoaxes, and rumors may lead to social unrest, large-scale riots and terrorism. The Ministry issued the following statement and appealed to the public for calm: "As we are experiencing a global crisis, cooperation from all agencies and nations is imperative. Official information on the asteroid will be released gradually through appropriate channels. Plans concerning the asteroid will be made public through newspapers, TV, radio and magazines, so we ask everyone to have faith in the government's announcements."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The original Japanese article incorrectly states that Ulysses was discovered and its path calculated in late 1995. These proceedings actually occurred in late 1994 (as evidenced by the asteroid's name, 1994XF04).
- ↑ Ulysses's debris field was retconned to be much larger in GAZE: Last Christmas prior to the release of Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, to explain Ulysses asteroids on Anea. This also explains the Ulysses craters in the Chopinburg Rainforest and on Fort Grays Island, both of which are at least partially south of the equator.
- ↑ Snider's Top is located in the far north of the Usean continent, whereas Gunther Sound is located in the southwest. The retreat 120km east from Snider to Gunther makes no sense; the forces would instead end up at Saint Ark.