"In the beginning
the universe was created.
This made a lot of people angry
and has widely been reguarded as a bad move."
Shamelessly stolen from the original website with new pictures
The "Republican Revolution" is in full-swing in the United States, and similar sentiment spreads to other nations around the world. Full-bore deregulation leads to a quickly widening gap between the haves and have-nots, as well as accelerated decay of the environment. The Internet expands dramatically despite serious censorship controls imposed by law; 1 out of 2 homes is Net-connected by the end of the year.
The US becomes involved in numerous wars around the world, first in Angola, then the Phillipines, then the Third Serbian War. In September US forces invade and annex Mexico, citing "terrorist government threat" as a reason. CBS News does an expose on alien bodies warehoused in the infamous Hangar 18; two days later CBS is acquired by Westinghouse and their news division is dissolved. By the end of the year the other three major networks have also dissolved their news crews.
The first human clone, "Leona", is sucessfully created by Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals. Over strong government protests, the Lilly corp. begins selling clone tech as a commercial product. Rationing is introduced as an "emergency measure" after crops fail following major droughts for the third straight year, part of a worldwide trend towards rising temperatures and falling precipitation levels. Three companies develop successful oil-based food products.
US military forces come into direct conflict with combined armed forces of General Motors and Westinghouse-Microsoft over a prisoner extradition squabble. The underfunded US military is handily trounced, establishing corporate rule as the norm in America and around the world. Geopolitics is in chaos as third world countries default on their World Bank loans and plummet the world economy into destruction. Meanwhile, with corporate funding, the Internet (now simply called the Net or the Matrix) grows exponentially, with almost everyone having some access to it through public dataterminals or cheap plug-in boxes.
Westinghouse-Microsoft develops the world's first Neural Interface, delivering a Matrix product which allows direct immersion in the virtual reality via DNI. A series of other DNI-based cyberware products are introduced, and are quickly adopted by the military and by the professional gangs which rule the rural areas of much of the once-civilized world. The US government legalizes drugs and pornography; no one seems to take much notice.
John Sculley's clone, owner and CEO of Coca-Cola, is elected president in the first telection, an election done entirely via the Matrix. Walk-in lobotomies become a popular outpatient procedure. "Chainsaw Fuck" becomes a worldwide sports sensation, in which contestants compete naked in a gladiator ring with chainsaws. Utah secedes from the union and declares itself a Mormon theocracy.
The Heaven Star orbital base finishes construction; an estimated 3,000 people begin living completely in orbit. Later this year the base's corporate backers declare it an independent neutral nation.
Zero Day. A terrorist atomic bomb detonates in New York City, destroying the city and everything in a 30-mile radius, killing an estimated 11 million people in minutes. Long-forgotten military response systems are triggered, sending a large number of remaining missiles skyward towards Russia and China. Some get through and trigger similar systems, causing counterattacks; when the smoke clears, 40% of the world's population is dead or dying and 60% of the arable land is irradiated.
Most surviving cities declare as independent city-states, some with corporate backing. One in particular, San Diego, California, re-dubs itself "New Carthage" and, with combined corporate funds, rebuilds from the riots to become a center of culture and commerce.
60% of the Matrix is back online thanks to new technology from Westinghouse-Microsoft. A combined board of corporate CEOs forms the World Safety Union, displacing federal governments in most countries. The remains of the US government and military hole up in Colorado and Wyoming, still claiming legitimacy. New Carthage builds The Wall around the city and begins screening of immigrants.
The first mutants from the War begin appearing, triggering a violent backlash in the city-states. Most cities adopt eugenics policies to prevent mutants from spreading through the populace; New Carthage follows suit. The Desert Rangers form, a spontaneous survivalist movement based in southern California on the site of an old federal prison, with the aim of "starting over" and creating their own order in the desert.
Contact with the orbital base is re-established; shuttle flights from New Carthage begin a growing commerce with the base.
The NAS-plague sweeps the world, killing off 10% of the survivors of the War. A vaccination is developed by Matsushita Inc. and distributed worldwide, but isolated outbreaks continue. Plague paranoia virtually shuts down intercity commerce, and most city-states become walled camps.
In the wake of the plague, commerce begins to reemerge. Industry, largely fueled by the demand for cheap foodstuffs and consumer goods, thrives as corporations develop technologies for alternate power sources and raw materials. The world begins to be reborn.