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Asteroid On Collision Course With Earth! was a Usea Today newspaper published on April 21, 1996 following the Federation of Central Usea (FCU)'s reveal of the Ulysses 1994XF04 the day before.

The newspaper was one of many in-universe newspapers and magazines created to promote Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.[1] This page hosts an English translation of the original Japanese text, using both online translations and the flawed official translation.

Contents

FCU President Makes Announcement To Ambassadors And Their Respective Nations

On the 20th, the President of the FCU announced that the asteroid "1994XF04" would collide with the Earth as predicted. He announced this to the world's leaders through their ambassadors. The date and range of impact, and estimated scope of damage, was made public, and at the same time he announced that a special project to circumvent the collision has been initiated. 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 cause massive damage. The FCU government promptly ordered a further study of the asteroid. Under the leadership of the IAU, a special team composed of prominent astronomers, astronomical physicists, and geologists was formed. The asteroid, named "1994XF04 Ulysses", has a diameter about 1 mile (1.6 km) in length and a high probability of hitting the Earth. It was first discovered by Seals Bridge University observers last October,[note 1] and Comona University calculated the asteroid's orbit. XF04 will pass through the Earth's Roche limit on July 3, 1999, at approximately 3:30pm Usean Eastern Time. The debris field will cause extensive damage north of the equator. The impact will have the same power as 2,000,000 nuclear bombs, and nuclear winter is expected to occur.

After considering the politics and culture of the situation, the FCU government chose to keep this vital information a closely-guarded secret until the asteroid's orbit was confirmed. Meanwhile, in cooperation with the Aerospace Society, the government researched possible methods to prevent the collision. They soon realized that they needed the help of their allies, and made the announcement.

The FCU President stated, "The asteroid is predicted to damage the whole world in addition to the Usean continent. We must strengthen our defenses by adding underground shelters to our major cities, and we are now considering possible methods to intercept the asteroid. To survive into the next century, we must take every available action," he said. He appealed to the world for assistance in the special project.

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 adopting 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 asteroid Ulysses 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 skeptical 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. To deflect the asteroid, methods such as attaching a propulsion device, shooting interceptor missiles, etc. are already possible. 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, among the many plans proposed for defending the Earth, this is the most plausible. Some of the Foreign Ministers 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 all overseas troops under the FCU's command to return temporarily. The Sixth Fleet, currently in the Far East, is returning to its home port of Waosun. As of 7pm on April 20th, the flagship aircraft carrier Fort Grace and its accompanying Aegis-class cruiser Tea Time are heading north towards the Payton Channel. However, in the Independent State of Ugellas and the adjoining southern region of the Republic of Amber, the standoff between FCU and Erusian forces has not been resolved, and the FCU's military withdrawal has forced the IUN international forces to also pull out of the region.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Meyer of the 6th Airborne Division, the 120th Air Force which is currently dispatched in the neutral zone had completed preparation for the occupation of Snider on April 21st, but with the change in orders immediately prior to the operation, the assembled forces were temporarily disbanded. The forces were to retreat approximately 120 kilometers to the east, and regroup at a base in Gunther, located on the front lines.[note 2]

Despite other units performing a mass retreat, the IUN's retreat is plagued with extreme difficulties, and is not scheduled to be completed until the evening 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 successor of the Riass Armed Forces Chief of Staff, who died suddenly on the 20th of last month. The commander is a Lieutenant General, and was the commander of 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

As part of the state of emergency, the Ministry of Communications officially announced restrictions on all forms of communication in order to avoid confusion of information.

Under current regulations many forms of communication are exempt from regulation. 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: "Cooperation from all agencies and nations is imperative. Official information on the asteroid will be released in a timely manner, through a centralized media. Plans concerning the asteroid will be made public through newspapers, TV, radio and magazines."

Footnotes

  1. 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).
  2. Snider's Top is located in the far north of the Usean continent, and Gunther Sound is located in the southwest. The retreat 120km east from Snider to Gunther makes no sense; the forces would end up at Saint Ark.

References

  1. AC04Web through the Web Archive. Archive version as of July 6, 2001.

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