- "It'll be twenty years to the day soon. The day the sky was ripped apart, and countless bolts of light rained down upon us."
- ― Kvasir
The Ulysses Disaster was a catastrophic impact event between the planet Earth and the remnant meteors of a related impact event between the 1986VG1 Ulysses and Polyphemus asteroids. It took place in July of 1999 and resulted in a major loss of life and land.
Ulysses and Polyphemus
In 1986, the 1986VG1 Ulysses asteroid was discovered by scientist Eric Walter Eist from the Haute-Provence Observatory in France on the orbit of Jupiter, and was designated as a Jupiter Trojan by its Lagrangian positioning relative to the planet. Between its discovery and 1993, a rogue asteroid later denominated Polyphemus entered Jupiter's orbit and struck Ulysses, shattering it into thousands for fragments that formed an asteroid cluster with a long elliptic orbit with the Sun that was set on a collision course with Earth that was discovered by scientists in 1994.
The discovery of the "Ulysses asteroids" caused a global uproar following the end of the Cold War. As diverting the individual trajectories of every asteroid was impossible, the world's nations developed the Stonehenge railgun-based interceptor systems after the revelation of the cluster under a desperate megaproject conceived to minimize the human losses caused by the impending impact. A "Type-0" prototype was erected in North China, paving the way for the creation of five other systems across Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Americas.
In July of 1999, the Ulysses cluster crossed the Roche limit and initiated a mass impact event with Earth, killing millions of people and causing massive damage to infrastructure in a short timespan, barely contained by the efforts of the Stonehenge network. The devastation caused a brutal collapse of international stability as the global economy descended into a universal depression triggered by loss of finances and land, reshaping the entire world economy in the process.
Later feared as the "Ulysses Disaster", the catastrophe led several countries to divert the entirety of their military budgets to reconstruction efforts, leading "revival budgets" to constitute a total of 58% of the global economy in the early 21st century and pushing military expenditure to a meager 3%, out of a total of $1.845 trillion US dollars in circulation. The threat of economic breakdown forced countries in South Europe and Asia to form regional federations, such as the Asian Federation.
Effects on the world
The world's economy suffered a major collapse following the disaster, due to the damage caused to each country's infrastructure. The biggest economical impact was on the continents of Europe and Asia, where most of the meteors had ended up crashing. To prevent total breakdown, the countries on these two continents rearranged themselves into regional federations. These federations cut down most of their military power and put the rest of their money into rebuilding efforts.
Soon enough, another problem was encountered: with the destruction of so much territory, energy sources were now scarce. This later caused disputes between nations over their natural resources, and these disputes turned into full-scale wars. These wars ended up in large numbers of refugees, more so than even the Ulysses impact had led to. To handle these refugees, special "semi-autonomous" zones were established in the European Union, Asia, and Russia. Iyuli, in southern Russia, was the largest of these zones as far as land was concerned, which allowed a vast number of migrants to go there. However, the living conditions in Iyuli worsened as time went on. Demonstrations were held by natives in the region against foreign workers, threatening the peace around the surrounding regions.
The rise of Wernher
Wernher and Noah Enterprises stepped in during the midst of this rising conflict to help support the job market in refugee zones such as Iyuli. In the 90s, it was well-known as a defense contractor. Wernher was in the middle of economic success thanks to other countries hiring their mercenary services after slashing their military budgets.
Wernher began to utilize the Advanced Automated Aviation Plant, which allowed them to mass-produce aircraft from previously-existing designs. This led to a large number of aircraft with no available pilots, but Wernher offered to train many of the refugees in these zones to get them out of the workforce in that area and to boost their own numbers. The various countries in charge of the zones agreed to this.
Thanks to the land and number of workers it soon received, Wernher eventually expanded into energy and space development on top of their arms development. The conflicts around the world were starting to cool down thanks to Wernher's assistance in recovery efforts.
The rise of terrorists
By 2019, each of the special zones around the world were experiencing economic growth thanks to Wernher's help. However, the large number of weapons being stockpiled made the special zones breeding grounds for armed extremist groups. They formed a multinational network spread across each of the zones, and they began to perform anti-imperialist attacks in the nations surrounding Iyuli. Kacper Cohen was revealed to be the leader of the armed terrorists, who went on to form the USEA Federation, aiming to replace the ailing UN as the planet's savior from obvilion from the threat of near-Earth asteroids. This lead to the UN launching Operation Eternal Liberation.
Ulysses impact sites
Several major impacts caused fragments of various sizes to break away from:
- Southern West Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon)
- North Atlantic Ocean, south of Sierra Leone and Liberia
- Generated four additional impacts from breakaway fragments, reaching as far as south of Cote d'Ivoire.
- Northern Madagascar
- South Sudan or Central African Republic
- Chad, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria
- East India
- Tokyo, Japan
- Jōtō Crater
- Hokkaido, Japan
- South Italy
- Parts of Eastern Europe
- North East Pakistan
- Parts of Russia
- North East and South China
- The Philippines
- Pacific ocean near Indonesia
- South America
- Central America
- North America
- Western United States
- Northern Canada
- Pacific ocean near the US west coast
- Yucatan, Mexico
- Atlantic ocean