Ulysses 1994XF04, more commonly referred to as Ulysses, was a 1.6 kilometer-long asteroid. It collided with Earth in July 1999, generating a humanitarian crisis that triggered several armed conflicts and widespread political instability in the years after its impact.
Initially designated "1994XF04", Ulysses was discovered by researchers from Usea's International Astronomical Union (IAU) in December 1994. Continued observations of the asteroid's trajectory and velocity eventually revealed that it had a likelihood of impacting Earth. Soon after the discovery of 1994XF04, the IAU reported its findings to the Federation of Central Usea (FCU) government, which ordered further investigations.
A team comprised of prominent astrophysicists, geologists, and astronomers was assembled by the IAU and tasked with determining the degree of threat posed by 1994XF04. After conducting additional observations, the IAU scientists concluded that the asteroid, now officially named "Ulysses", was approximately 1.6 kilometers (0.9 miles) in length and had an alarmingly high probability of colliding with Earth.
In October 1995, researchers from the University of Comona and Shellsbridge University became the first scientists to calculate Ulysses's precise trajectory. According to their findings, Ulysses would enter an unstable orbit and pass through the Earth's Roche limit on July 3, 1999 at 3:30 PM Usea Eastern Standard Time, at which point it would shatter into numerous fragments and bombard the northern hemisphere with the force of two million nuclear warheads; the atmospheric debris generated by the event would plunge the world into a nuclear winter. July 3 was then known as "Ulysses Day".
Initially, the FCU chose to withhold this information from the general public, due to political and societal considerations. After consulting the nation's Aerospace Society, however, the FCU's leadership realized that a solution could not be achieved without the aid of its allies.
- "The disastrous effects of the asteroid collision will not only affect Usea, but the whole planet. We are now facing almost certain extinction . . . If the human race is to survive into the next century, we must devise appropriate measures."
- ― FCU President Robert Sinclair
On April 20, 1996, the FCU's serving president, Robert Sinclair, disclosed the existence and impending impact of Ulysses in an historic press conference, generating considerable shock and panic around the world. Later that day, FCU Secretary of State Stetson attended an emergency meeting of the Committee of Foreign Affairs at the Central Usea Treaty Organization (UTO) headquarters. During the meeting, Stetson proposed the creation of a "National Missile Defense" (NMD) system between UTO members. Alternatives to the NMD included a partially completed satellite-borne anti-asteroid laser system. Despite initial hesitations stemming from the NMD's potential use as a weapon of war, it was ultimately chosen by the committee as the most viable option.
However, the NMD plan was eventually scrapped in favor of the FCU's "Defense Initiative", internally known as "Project STN" (Spaceguard Turret Network). The plan proposed an array of railgun cannons, known as Stonehenge, which was ultimately built through an international collaborative effort. In addition to Stonehenge, other planetary defense systems were built within Usea to destroy Ulysses, including North Point's Fortress Intolerance.
The Stonehenge complex, envisioned as the "defender of the continent", was completed in June 1998; the turrets were completed several months later. Both Osea and Yuktobania initially expressed willingness to collaborate on its construction, but were unable to participate due to reconstruction efforts from the 1995 Belkan War.
In that same month, gravitational analyses obtained by an IAU space probe revealed that Ulysses had a hollow interior. Recalculations performed by the international scientific team concluded that the asteroid's fragments would impact a much larger area of the planet's surface than had been originally predicted. However, the STN project had progressed beyond the point at which further modifications to the weapon's capabilities could be made. Prior to the IAU's revised report, it was believed that the weapon's range of 1,200 kilometers would provide sufficient coverage for Usea; it now became clear that areas of the planet between meridian lines 135 degrees east and 30 degrees west would be hit. This brought the continent of Anea in range of Ulysses's impact.
After the news of Ulysses's projected range was made public, the FCU opted to make Stonehenge more reliable for its allies and refused to make additional revisions to the weapon's range. This decision left Anea completely unprotected and sparked continent-wide protests at the perceived lack of crisis management efforts. At the suggestion of Lord Alberto Lawrence, the Emmerian government began evacuating areas that were most likely to be hit and constructed a network of underground shelters in and around the nation's capital, Gracemeria, capable of housing 200,000 individuals. As a result, Emmeria was well equipped to handle the aftermath of Ulysses, and Gracemeria became one of the primary relocation sites for Anean refugees. In the meantime, Estovakia constructed its own defensive weapon, the Chandelier railgun, to defend themselves. However, Chandelier was not completed in time.
In Usea, the UTO announced its intentions to shelter refugees in each UTO-member nation. Around the world, governmental and private-sector organizations made extensive preparations concerning food and medical supplies, evacuation drills, humanitarian outreach, and disaster relief in anticipation of the impact.
On July 3, 1999, Ulysses passed through Earth's Roche limit as predicted. The asteroid would spend the next five days shattering into thousands of fragments; on July 8, the fragments began to hit the planet. The majority of fragments fell to Earth over the next two weeks. Stonehenge successfully intercepted a large number of them, preventing mass extinction; however, it failed to completely protect the continent. Some urban areas—such as Comberth Harbor, Anchorhead, and Saint Ark—were unharmed, while other areas—such as Newfield Island and Farbanti, Erusea—suffered impacts that radically altered their geography and devastated the local populations.
Approximately 500,000 people were killed in the initial two-week planetfall period, and at least one million more were displaced as refugees. Economists estimate that the damage inflicted was equivalent to 18 months-worth of the Usean continent's total GDP. Around the world, however, certain nations were more affected by Ulysses than others (e.g. fragments that struck Anea heavily damaged Estovakia, while neighboring Emmeria remained relatively unharmed).
The Ulysses's planetfall triggered many changes and upheavals within the nations of the world and had a profound effect on the global population. The event became the catalyst for a number of crises and military conflicts within Usea and Anea, leaving a lasting legacy which spans nearly 20 years. The anniversary of Ulysses Day is likely observed as a day of thanksgiving and solemn remembrance of the innocent lives lost.
Following the impacts, Usea was inundated with millions of civilian refugees, which led the UTO to initiate a quota-based refugee relocation effort. Erusea, which had suffered thousands of casualties, responded by restricting its issuing of visas to refugees, preventing their entry into the country. Makeshift camps appeared along the Erusian borders, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in western Usea. The heated dispute between Erusea and the FCU-backed UTO eventually culminated in Erusea's armed takeover of the Stonehenge Turret Network, triggering the Second Usean Continental War.
On the Anean continent, Estovakia was one of the countries most adversely affected by Ulysses, suffering widespread destruction and leaving its economy in shambles. The fall of the nation's infrastructure led to a prolonged civil war waged between infighting factions, which only ended when these groups were forcibly united under a junta of top military officers known as "The Generals". As with Usea, the junta declared war on neighboring Emmeria in August 2015.
Osea and Yuktobania
In the years following Ulysses, minor fragments continued to linger in low orbit and fall onto the planet. The elimination of these remnants was rendered impossible by the destruction of Usea's STN facility, and later the Megalith facility as well, during the Second Usean Continental War. The issue was brought up during the 2008 G7 Summit held aboard the Osean Federation's Arkbird spacecraft, where it was decided that the ship would be used to clean up the debris left by Ulysses.
After the summit, the Arkbird was equipped with weapons built through the joint efforts of Osea and Yuktobania. The maneuverable space vessel was outfitted with Yuktobanian pulse-laser guns for smaller fragments, and an Osean beam laser system and missile launchers for large fragments. Though this was not a perfect solution—it required shattering the fragments into even smaller ones that occasionally survived passing through the atmosphere—the Arkbird successfully cleared 80% of debris around the planet's lower orbits. This led to renewed interest in the construction of an international space station, a project which was sponsored in large part by Osea and Yuktobania.
The fragments of Ulysses produced several craters across the Earth's surface. Many of the most well known impact sites are located in the northern hemisphere—whether Ulysses fragments have significantly impacted the rest of the world, however, is uncertain.
- Located south of North Point, the impact that formed Anderson Crater obliterated a large area of Newfield Island's eastern face. In the years after Ulysses, plans were put forward to restore the crater area, though these efforts were hampered by the Usean Geological Survey Society's protests and the Second Continental War's outbreak.
- Officially named "Romanov" after Usean astronomer Brzezinski Romanov, this impact at Mt. Shezna hit with enough force to pierce the mountainside. Warm gas escaping from subterranean deposits generates billowing columns of steam during the region's frigid winter months.
- Due to its location in the arid Faith Park region, researchers believe that the crater will remain virtually unchanged for thousands of years.
- Found in the desert terrain of Whiskey Corridor, it is one of the largest craters created by Ulysses with a diameter of 8.4 kilometers. The force of the collision redirected the flow of water from the only river, causing Old Anchor Point City's port to dry up and become a graveyard of stranded ships.
- One of the deadliest recorded impacts, a Ulysses fragment decimated the coastal area of Farbanti, killing thousands and flooding the site with seawater. Despite the catastrophe, many of the city's inhabitants remained there in the aftermath.
- Located on Sonne Island in northern Estovakia, the impact that formed this crater occurred in the vicinity of the Chandelier.
- Ulysses is named after the Roman name for the Greek epic hero Odysseus, the protagonist of Homer's Odyssey.
- The "1994XF04" designation may be based on the minor planet naming conventions used by the real-life International Astronomical Union. If the IAU's naming conventions were used, then:
- "1994" is the year of its discovery;
- "X" means it was discovered between December 1–15 (the first half of the month); and
- "F04" (if read as F4) indicates it was the 106th asteroid discovered in that half-month.
- ↑ Cutscene 02, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "President Makes Announcement To Ambassadors And Their Respective Nations", Usea Today: Asteroid on Collision Course With Earth!. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 "A Shelterized Castle", GAZE: Last Christmas. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Secretary Of State Expresses Support For NMD Proposal", Usea Today: Asteroid on Collision Course With Earth!. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy.
- ↑ Hasegawa 1/72 "F-22A ACE COMBAT Mobius 1" (plastic model) description.
- ↑ "Introduction", Our Science: Titan Guns. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
- ↑ Aces At War: A History, page needed.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 "Wider Damage Range than Estimated", GAZE: Last Christmas. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Chandelier, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- ↑ "The World in Unison with Emmeria", GAZE: Last Christmas. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies - Perfect Guide, page 007.
- ↑ Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 World / Asteroid Ulysses Enters the Atmosphere, AC04Web. Published 2001. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 "Friction Comes to the Surface of the Refugee Problem", GAZE: War? Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- ↑ "The Rash Act of Erusia", GAZE: War? Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- ↑ Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 "Ark After Stonehenge", GAZE: Arkbird Declaration Summit 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- ↑ Sitting Duck, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
- ↑ The Northern Eye, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
- ↑ Color of the World: Craters.
- ↑ Whiskey Corridor, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
- ↑ Siege of Farbanti, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
- ↑ VR Demo, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.