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    The Way to the Apocalypse

    2005

    Holographic mass storage media are introduced to the world market. The holodisc is scanned with a laser and even the introductory model stores well in excess of 100 times more data than conventional mass media based on magnetic fields.

    2008

    NASA successfully conducts the first manned mission to Mars.

    2010

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launches the Ceres Project, which is designated to take 20 years to complete. The goal of this project is to store the entire stock of human knowledge on holodisc in an easily accessible manner. Publicly available science data of the present are reviewed and collected by a group of 250 professors and students from all over the world. Ceres is the Roman name of the Greek goddess Demeter, who was worshipped in ancient Greece as the mother of the earth and the goddess of fertility. The name was chosen because the knowledge of mankind is considered the seed (physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, etc.) as well as the fruit (technology, architecture, medicine, agriculture, etc.) of planet Earth.

    2018

    At the very beginning of the fourth mission to Mars an accident during takeoff claims the lives of the entire crew.

    2028

    During a press conference, Dr. Karmann, leader of the Ceres Project, explains that if a primitive civilization were to gain access to all the information the Ceres Project contains, it would be able to build nuclear plants after a few decades. This remark focuses public attention on the project.

    2029

    Dr. Karmann is found murdered. The Ceres Project is withdrawn from the MIT and is classified as a top-secret state affair.

    2031

    The sixth mission to Mars is a huge success, considerable amounts of a hitherto unknown metal with amazing properties being found on the red planet. Thorough scientific investigation reveals that this material will not become radioactive, even after an extended and intense exposure to neutrons resulting from the fusion of tritium and deuterium. Due to these unique qualities of the newly discovered metal that make it ideally suited for coating nuclear facilities, it is suggested that the funding of nuclear fusion research be doubled. Reactors based on nuclear fusion can only become a viable source of mass energy production if radioactive side effects can be eliminated. As the new material does precisely this, it will provide the perfect shielding for nuclear plants.

    2035

    According to certain rumors, the Ceres Project has been completed by the NSA after introducing classified military and scientific information. Numerous NSA agents are assigned to attend to the project in the future and to help update it continually. The project is relocated, presumably to an isolated, hermetically sealed laboratory compound, where it will be safe in case of an environmental catastrophe or a war.

    2046

    The US conclude a fifteen-year preparatory stage for establishing a Mars colony and begin operations on the red planet. The installation is partly used for scientific purposes, but its main function is mining the metal that was discovered there in 2031.

    2047

    After the fossil fuels of Asia have been exhausted, the continent is reduced to poverty and chaos. Grim battles over the last oil reserves rage between Russia, Japan, and China.

    2049

    In an American research center, deuterium-tritium plasma is held stable over a critical period of time. The commercial exploitation of nuclear fusion is close at hand.

    2051

    While Japan becomes an ally of the US and is supplied with arms and reinforcements by the superpower, China subdues the former Soviet splinter states, whose defensive potential is weakened by corruption, anarchic uprisings, and Mafia activity. After collaborators have sabotaged Russia's desperate final attempts to recover from the aftermath of a nuclear strike, Russia surrenders and most of Asia is united under the Chinese flag.

    Through this victory, China becomes the most powerful nation of the world, an empire reaching from Poland to the Pacific.

    2052

    The first deuterium-tritium fusion plants are put into operation in the US and parts of Europe. Efforts of the western world to use the newly acquired findings on nuclear fusion for weapons research and the production of a plasma weapon yield no practicable results.

    2053

    Following the subjection of Asia, China begins to re-establish communism in the conquered countries. While Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea, which were neutral up to this point, enter an alliance with Japan, the remaining countries anxiously flock to the banner of the Chinese Empire.

    2054

    The Arab Emirates sign a mutual assistance pact with the Chinese Empire and provide it with oil. In turn, China grants the Emirates military protection from the US.

    2055

    Because of the Japanese arsenal of high-tech weaponry, the Chinese Empire fails to occupy Japan. This leads to the signing of a non-aggression treaty. The border between Japan and the Empire becomes a highly guarded demarcation line. Diplomatic relations between Western Europe, the US, and Japan as one party and the Chinese Empire as the other are at an all-time low.

    2060

    Representatives of the western world and Japan sign the article of agreement on the ‘Federation of the Free World’. This alliance will protect the member states from the mighty Empire.

    2063

    While the efforts to design plasma weapons are still not leading anywhere, the use of bundled energy/particle rays for weapons in air- and ground-based vehicles are successfully introduced by the western industrial nations.

    2066

    The last power plant based on nuclear fission is shut down in Europe. This concludes the transition from conventional nuclear power resources to fusion power within the Federation.

    2068

    The Federation establishes a colony on Mars, ensuring its mineral supply for the future.

    2075

    China puts the 62nd nuclear fission plant into operation to power the rural areas of former Russia. Nuclear power now has completely replaced fossil fuels and alternative power sources in the Empire. Although China has obtained theoretical knowledge of nuclear fusion by means of espionage, trade agreements prevent the Empire from initiating its own research, what with the sheathing material from Mars being under Federation control.

    2080

    Even the oil resources of the Arab Emirates run low. The most important Arabian cities will be connected to the Chinese power supplies in the following decade.

    2095

    The first cold nuclear fusion process is accomplished in a German nuclear research center. The development of compact high-performance energy generators draws nearer. At the same time, the development of new kinds of fusion plants will further improve the efficiency of this type of energy.

    2098

    At Xian, a metropolis situated south of Beijing, a jet fighter crashes into an outdated nuclear fission plant. The sheathing of the reactor is destroyed by the power of the impact, which results in an uncontrolled nuclear meltdown. Not only Xian is contaminated by the radiation released, but also nearby Beijing. Millions die of exposure to radiation in the following years. Although radioactive dust is blown eastward by the wind, towards Japan, the neighboring state remains largely unharmed.

    2100

    Alarmed by the Xian disaster, the Japanese government decides to build radiation protection domes above and around the nation's major cities.

    2102

    The Chinese Empire discovers a way to hide conventional missiles from radar sensors. The Kerolin stealth missile is able to deliver any kind of warhead to its target unnoticed. The Federation claims to be in possession of this type of stealth technology but to have kept it secret until now.

    2104

    China and the Federation sign the SALT-17 treaty, which prohibits both parties to station and especially deploy stealth missiles.

    2108

    Conversion of the existing fusion plants within the Federation to utilize cold nuclear fusion for energy production begins.

    2113

    Red Terra is established as the first civil colony on Mars. The settlement consists of seven domes and is the new home to 3,000 people. This measure initiates the extraterrestrial colonization program of the Federation of the Free World. The plan is to relocate 400,000 people to Mars by the end of the century.

    2120

    Scientists discover that they can trigger a chemical reaction by adding a complex gas mixture to the atmosphere of Mars. The process will make the planet's atmosphere breathable within 300 years. Meanwhile, the pioneers begin to terraform the red planet. The gas mixture is called Gabanium for its developer, Dr. Gloria Gaban.

    2124

    Technologically backward China surprises the world as it puts up a sea blockade around neutral Australia in no time it all. Australia now is totally isolated from the rest of the world. The Federation determines not to intervene, in hopes of averting World War III.

    2125

    The Empire attacks Australia after having blockaded the continent for nine months. Demoralized Australia surrenders to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, as the Federation obviously won't support the country. In the past, the Federation had tried many times to convince Australia to join it, but to no avail. The continent, which has always cherished its independence and neutrality, was not to be convinced.

    2126

    Extremist Chinese dictator Kong Jieshi is found murdered in his private mansion. An army of bodyguards was unable to protect him. China officially proclaims that counter-revolutionary troops had, in a surprise attack, shot the dictator in his sleep. This explanation notwithstanding, the citizens of the Federation are convinced that free world special squads had infiltrated the villa in an effort to correct China’s extremist political course. The latter version is, of course, never confirmed by the Federation government.

    2130

    The political situation has been stabilized. New Chinese dictator Xu Derui knows of the technological inferiority of the Empire compared with the Federation and dampens the imperialistic drive of his people.

    Japanese scientists develop the prototype of a small fusion-powered engine for use in vehicles (Furytec drive). Furytec-powered vehicles are as responsive as helicopters, with a maximum speed equal to that of small sports airplanes. Thus, they are the ideal means of transportation for the large cities brimming with skyscrapers. Since the fusion reaction inside the Furytec drive creates close to no pollutants at all, these drives are also ideally suited for use within the Japanese city domes.

    2136

    Astronomers discover that the third planet of the solar system Irata, 80 light years away, is very similar to Mars. Even the chemical composition of the atmosphere is nearly identical.

    2137

    Hoping to be able to colonize this planet sometime in the future, the Federation sends a probe to Irata III, featuring a new second-generation fusion drive. After its arrival, the probe will release a finely measured quantity of Gabanium into the atmosphere of Irata III.

    The probe will take approximately 100 years to reach the planet. The atmosphere should be breathable 300 years after that, if everything goes according to plan.

    2140

    China surprisingly presents the prototype of a generation spaceship to cover distances of several hundred light years. Project Starcruiser is based on the fusion drive of the probe sent to Irata III by the Federation three years ago, and has room for up to 3,000 passengers. Until now, the Federation was assuming that China did not even possess knowledge of cold nuclear fusion technology, much less a second-generation fusion drive. It's suspected that China brought the technology into its possession by means of espionage. But the spaceship boasts even more technical highlights the Federation either didn't know of or which are still at an experimental stage and therefore classified. The inertia absorbers in particular should be mentioned in this context. These allow the ship to accelerate using maximum power without harming the crew or damaging the equipment. The Starcruiser reaches a baffling maximum speed of 80% of the speed of light.

    Towards the end of the year the president of the Federation, Eva Goreman, accuses the Chinese Empire of industrial espionage by asking publicly how a nation that produces 80% of its power by the antiquated means of nuclear fission could suddenly present a spaceship with a modified fusion drive. The governing Chinese dictator, Xu Derui, strictly rejects this accusation.

    2141

    The technical advances made in the field of nuclear fusion within the last years are also utilized in arms development. As a result, the Federation has manufactured large numbers of advanced hydrogen bombs. These set free a mind-boggling concentration of radioactivity combined with a huge explosive effect and a large impact radius. The new warheads are used by the Federation mainly for long-range cold fusion missiles.

    February 11th, 2143

    In the morning hours of February 11th the Starcruiser embarks on its first and last voyage. 3,000 colonists from all population strata of the Chinese Empire are aboard. The destination of this voyage is kept secret. So is the technology that was installed during the last six months to enhance the fusion drive.

    February 13th, 2143

    Two days following the launch of the Starcruiser the ship disappears from the screens of Imperial ground control. After a short search a Chinese flight squadron finds debris which probably originates from the Starcruiser.

    February 14th, 2143

    China accuses the Federation of being unable to accept the technological advancements of the Empire and implies that the Starcruiser was destroyed by a Federation fighter squadron for this reason. Hot-tempered Chinese dictator Xu Derui threatens the Federation with vengeance for the death of the 3,000 colonists.

    February 15th, 2143

    President Eva Goreman announces that the Federation is not interested in Chinese plans for colonization and that the states had never planned to sabotage them. Furthermore, she considers China's claims to a leading technological position arrogant and provocative. China could only rightfully claim this if they were in possession of detailed information on Federation technology. Has China, therefore, indirectly admitted to industrial espionage? Furthermore, Goreman announces that she deeply regrets the Starcruiser incident and expresses her condolences to the remaining relatives of the 3,000 colonists – although the destruction of the ship would seem to prove that the Empire has overestimated its own abilities.

    February 16th, 2143

    Xu Derui declares that further proof has been found for the presence of Federation fighters shortly before the disappearance of the Starcruiser near the last known position of the ship. Enraged, he once again threatens with vengeance.

    That very day, Goreman announces that the Federation will no longer tolerate these repeated and unfounded threats.

    February 17th, 2143, 06:40 a.m.

    The sensors of a German radar station pick up three shadows above the English Channel, which are only visible for a few seconds.

    February 17th, 2143, 06:58 a.m.

    On a rainy morning in London, England, the city is suddenly bathed in a bright white light. Seconds later eight million people are dead.

    February 17th, 2143, 07:45 a.m.

    A meting of the crisis committee at Federation HQ, New York, is held. It is decided to tune the sensors of all radar installations to the frequencies of the German station which detected the missiles that destroyed London.

    February 17th, 2143, 08:02 a.m.

    Two Kerolin stealth missiles hit Berlin, Germany, and destroy the city. Since the sensors of the Federation satellites were aligned to the navigation frequency of the missiles, they were able to detect the missiles 40 seconds prior to impact. In addition, 27 other missiles approach other major Federation cities.

    February 17th, 2143, 08:07 a.m.

    With the SALT-17 treaty of 2104, both the Federation and the Empire had agreed neither to produce nor to launch any Kerolin stealth missiles. The deployment of this treacherous weapon by the Empire will now destroy all densely populated portions of the Federation within the next 20 minutes.

    At 08:07 a.m., minutes prior to the total destruction of the Federation, President Eva Goreman gives the command to counter-strike with cold fusion long-distance missiles. 85 of these missiles are launched from Federation platforms, targeting Imperial cities. President Goreman and more than 90% of the Federation's population will not live to see the moment of impact.

    February 17th, 2143, 14:00 p.m.

    In the last six hours approximately 23 of 24 billion human lives have been eradicated.

    End of February 2143

    Triggered by the enormous detonations, volcanoes erupt, earthquakes ripple through the ruins of the cities, and the waters of giant flood waves mix with the blood of the fallen victims. Those still alive fear that this is the end of the world, and for most of them it will indeed be.

    The Second Ascension

    2144-2400

    Within the following centuries, due to the unnatural tectonic activity, the face of planet Earth changes in a way that would have required millennia under normal circumstances. The North American continent appears to deviate to the east, while Europe drifts away from Asia. Africa and South America have for the most part sunk beneath the waves of the oceans – but for the eastern part of Africa, which splits from the rest of the continent and drifts northward, there to collide with South Asia.

    Those few survivors of the war, the radiation, and the ensuing natural disasters form a new kind of ethnic human race. Trained by the ongoing escape from death and hardened by the fight against the overpowering forces of nature, small groups and tribes gather all over a planet slowly coming to rest.

    Earth and mankind are now in a state comparable to the early Iron Age. Although some knowledge has been passed on over the generations, there is a lack of any kind of infrastructure that might help put this wisdom to good use. Technical devices surface sporadically from the debris, but people lack the knowledge to repair them. Only occasionally does a tribe gain possession of a functioning technical device, which then is enshrined and worshipped like some kind of deity. Most humans feed on vermin and other small animals. A few plants prove to be nourishing, as well.

    ~2480

    Some tribes begin to trade goods with one another. In regions of less radiation tribes conduct farming and cattle-breeding. Metal-processing trades prosper in the heavily contaminated regions. People living in the latter territories have developed a higher resistance to radiation during the course of generations.

    ~2500

    Some very few people gain electricity from water and wind power, using it to run primitive technical installations. Still, public power supply systems are non-existent.

    ~2510

    The total population of Earth now amounts to approximately 800,000 human beings; 75% of them living in the northern hemisphere. The remembrance of World War III, which only lasted a few hours, has long since found its way into the lore and customs of tribes all over the world. In some tribes people talk about the cleansing white light, in others about the fires of the apocalypse and yet other tribes believe in the breath of the devil, which haunted the earth and banished the human race from paradise.

    Although memories of the catastrophe which condemned mankind to its primitive state are kept alive by lore and customs, there are certain tribes that do not specialize in farming or cattle breeding, but in the art of war. On the one hand they raid prosperous tribes in order to obtain their goods and wealth; on the other hand they offer their fighting abilities to other, weaker tribes, giving them the opportunity to deal with unfriendly neighbors.

    ~2520

    Two warlike tribes with strong leaders become widely known: the tribe of Crahn and the tribe of Thor. Both roam contaminated Earth in pursuit of wealth and power. While the people of Thor wander through the northwest of the nameless new continent, the tribe of Crahn has declared the east of the continent its territory. Both tribes gain size and remarkable influence over the years.

    2523

    While searching for minerals a patrol of the Crahn tribe discovers an entrance hitherto buried beneath rocks. Since they presume an ore mine to be within the cave, ten of the tribe's strongest men begin to excavate the entrance. After working for four solid days they discover a cathedral-sized passage that leads deep into the mountain. Upon clearing the way of all obstacles and venturing deeper into the mountain, the pioneers are dumbfounded by encountering other human beings.

    They learn that these people have lived inside the mountain for countless generations, isolated from the outside world. Their ancestors had sought shelter from the forces of nature in the caves centuries ago. After the entrance to the caves had been buried, no other exit remained. A subterranean river supplied the troglodytes with water and food and thus they dwelled in the colossal underground caverns of the mountain range for centuries.

    The skin of these people is hardly pigmented and they are extremely thin and lean of stature. They are bald and have big black eyes with virtually no white left. It seems that they don't communicate verbally and are all but blind.

    When one of the warriors hits a cave dweller on the head just for fun, his companions witness the assailant being raised nine feet into the air by invisible hands prior to exploding! Afterwards two witnesses confirm that the eyes of the cave dweller glowed red during the incident.

    From then on the cave dwellers are treated with great respect. They are led to Crahn, who is immediately fascinated by them. Since he assumes that one day his tribe will benefit from the powers of these people, he decides to admit the cave dwellers into his tribe.

    Though they quickly learn to talk, the troglodytes nonetheless keep to themselves. Since they obviously possess telekinetic psi powers, the other tribe members call them Psi Monks.

    2525

    The tribe of Thor and that of Crahn meet at the Sea of Silence in the heart of the new continent. Both tribes claim the western shore for themselves, which leads to a grim battle eventually won by Crahn's people – through the help of the Psi Monks. Thor's people flee from Crahn's troops and regroup further westward.

    2527

    Because of the psionic powers at his command, Crahn believes himself invincible and follows Thor's troops. They reach Jeriko, the home town of Thor's people. In a bloody battle Thor's tribe is reduced to a few thousand men, for whom Crahn sets up a prison camp. Here, they are forced to perform heavy labor. One night, Thor and a group of about fifty fellow prisoners manage to escape from the ruins of the city he once ruled. They flee westwards, seeking refuge with the tribe of Ceres. Though Thor and Ceres have never been allies, they always tolerated each other peacefully. Ceres admits the exhausted men into his tribe. Since Ceres is aware of the considerable threat Crahn poses, he proposes an alliance to Thor.

    The area around Jeriko, former home of Thor's people, is for the most part only irradiated to a minimal extent and lies strategically well-protected, situated slightly above a river's mouth. The Psi Monks suggest that Crahn build a mighty fortress atop the ruins of Jeriko in order to consolidate his power. Crahn, being the vain person he is, agrees. He declares construction of this fortress the beginning of a new era and therefore calls the fortress Neocron (Greek for: neo = new, cronos = time).

    2533

    Six years later Jeriko has disappeared. Where the people of Thor once lived, the mighty fortress of the new age is now situated: Neocron. It is ruled by Crahn and the Psi Monks.

    2545

    One day, Thor and Ceres hear about the arrival of a traveler from afar called Mecando. Curious about him, both leaders visit the outpost to meet Mecando. The old man tells them about the small tribes and their accomplishments, about heroic deeds and tragedies... and about Neocron, the huge fortress where nobody would offer him refuge.

    One evening, as Mecando, Ceres, and Thor sit together, Mecando asks Ceres about the origin of his name. Ceres answers that his people once undertook an expedition to the north of the new continent. They advanced into a very cold and inhospitable area. The further they marched to the north, the more men froze to death or starved. When they finally decided to abort the expedition, they discovered the tomb of a great warrior. A huge rock overhang covered the entrance to the tomb and enormous steel doors sealed the tomb itself. The only part discernible from the outside was a black granite slab on which the word 'Ceres' could be read. Upon closer inspection the men also could make out the words 'Wisdom... Power...' and '...Knowledge...'. The rest of the engraved words had been worn away by the elements over time. Ceres presumed that a mighty tribal leader had been buried here. Since the tomb was apparently several hundred years old, he decided to help Ceres rise again by adopting his name. He hoped that by assuming the name of this northern tribal leader, the gods would give him the strength to lead the expedition home safely. And so, indeed, they did.

    Mecando tells them that he has encountered the name 'Ceres' before in stories and myths, although he's unable to recall their exact content. But he is sure that there was no connection to any warrior or tribal leader, and he urges Ceres to lead him to the spot where the tomb lies. Ceres, aware of the dangerous terrain up north, is not too eager to give in to the old man. But Thor becomes curious and is prepared to lead an expedition to the tomb. The warnings of Ceres fall upon deaf ears and after he describes the way to the reputed tomb, Thor, Mecando, and a dozen tribesmen journey to the stark landscapes of the north.

    2546

    Thor's expedition has been underway for nearly eight months and has been reduced to as many men by the time they find the place Ceres told them about. Mecando is convinced that they must enter the tomb to unearth its secret. The men begin to breach the enormous steel doors, and when Thor and Mecando enter the depths of the 'tomb' they sense that nothing will ever again be as it was before their discovery.

    And thus the people of Ceres come into possession of mankind's entire knowledge as of the 22nd century. For months, the tribe sages study the Ceres Project. They uncover specific instructions on how to erect workshops, factories, and power plants. Ceres orders a valley in the west to be sealed off and the scholars of his tribe begin to experiment with the newly discovered knowledge. Mecando becomes chief researcher and Thor is usually the first to test the new acquisitions. Since he never stopped dreaming about conquering Neocron and freeing his oppressed people, he urges Mecando to develop new weapons enabling him to accomplish this goal. Despite Ceres' doubts, Mecando is convinced by Thor to work on the development of new weapons.

    2550

    Of course, the discovery of the Ceres Project cannot be kept secret for long. By now, the monks of Crahn have established an excellent intelligence service. Many of the brightest and most agile citizens of Neocron have been recruited for the NSD (Neocron Security Department). The NSD succeeds in planting some of its members in the Ceres Project, who pass on information to Crahn’s followers. Crahn knows that in the event of war his people cannot come up with anything equivalent to this technological leap. Therefore, he orders the Psi Monks to initiate the elite of the NSD spies into psionic techniques, which will enable them to read the minds of the Ceres Project researchers.

    The tribe of Crahn succeeds in acquiring large amounts of knowledge about the Ceres Project by utilizing these methods. However, the NSD spies are discovered and executed in the wake of a failed attempt to steal the Ceres discs. After this incident, only citizens and friends of Ceres' tribe are allowed to participate in the project.

    2556

    Ten years after the discovery of the project, Ceres decides to begin with the construction of an enormous city in the still sealed-off valley. He wants to realize all the theoretical knowledge gleaned from the Ceres discs in this city. Mecando advises him to encase the city in a protective dome of specially treated glass and steel in order to protect it from the deadly radiation. Ceres publicly announces his plans, and so the Dome of York becomes a legend long before its actual foundation is laid. But in Neocron things have changed, too: the people of Crahn have begun to put the newly acquired information to good use and are expanding the city. The buildings become bigger and grander with every year.

    2557

    On his deathbed Mecando passes the secret of a new weapon on to Thor. He calls it 'energy weapon' and explains that it does not shoot projectiles of solid matter, as do conventional firearms, but bundled energy. Mecando also tells him that he already has developed a prototype of this weapon and where it can be found.

    Thor gives orders to press ahead with the development of this new weapon. He plans to distribute several hundred weapons among his men and to attack Neocron by the end of the year.

    Ceres and Thor argue about this plan, with Ceres advising Thor to forget Jeriko and Neocron. Still, Thor is bent on freeing his people. Ceres threatens to abandon him if he won't discard this plan. But Thor mocks Ceres by saying that his men are the only warriors, anyway, and that the tribe of Ceres would be defenseless without him.

    Modern Times

    2558

    Throughout spring, Thor mobilizes his men and some new followers from the ranks of Ceres’ tribe to take Neocron. Thor's men are equipped with a powerful hand weapon which shoots heavy plasma. This glowing green concentrated energy beam wields an enormous amount of destructive power. As Thor's men leave the city, they know there's no turning back. Ceres has told them that anyone choosing choose war over peace will forfeit his place in this community.

    The Battle of Neocron doesn't last long. After Crahn and his Psi Monk bodyguards manage to escape, the remaining Psi Monks surrender quickly, realizing that they stand no chance against Thor’s powerful energy weapons. Thor is displeased by Crahn’s escape, but the joy and jubilance of the liberated populace comfort him sufficiently to take his mind off this disappointment soon enough. Not only do his own people cheer him; Crahn’s people hail their rescuer, as well. They, too, have suffered badly under the cruel reign of Crahn and his monks. They now hope for the instigation of an honorable government with Thor, whom they have heard so many encouraging tales about, heading it as a just ruler.

    Crahn and his bodyguards escape to the Wastelands. Building on the base of ancient ruins, they begin to erect a fortified abbey. In the course of the following years Crahn dies. His guards found the Brotherhood of Crahn in the abbey. This sect will become a most influential religious group in the following decades.

    2565

    After seven years of growth, justice, and progress under Thor's benevolent reign, he considers himself too old to continue his rule of Neocron. He passes power on to his son, Regant. Regant wants to develop Neocron into the most powerful, most modern, and largest city of the new world.

    The construction of the Dome of York is nearly finished, as well. Following the insights gained from the Ceres discs, York is structured like a 22nd century city. The dome of former Tokyo, which had protected that city against radiation centuries ago, served as an example for the protective dome above York.

    Regant doesn't believe in the dome concept. Educated by Caalron, Mecando’s successor, he designs a plan for a magnetic shield that reflects more than half of the radiation without a material structure. The advantage of Regant's plan lies in the fact that his concept won't limit physical expansion of the city.

    2570

    Despite the magnetic shield, the population of Neocron still suffers from a disease which can be traced back to the influence of radiation. Regant plans to improve the shield and asks the now 65-year-old Ceres to give him a copy of the Ceres discs to supplement his knowledge of magnetic shields. Surprisingly, Ceres refuses his request, declaring that he had warned Regant's father of bloodshed and that there will be neither partnership nor friendship between Neocron and York.

    Bewildered, Regant insists on his right to gain access to the Ceres discs. He points out that it has, after all, been his father who discovered them. But Ceres is not swayed from his point of view. Regant has no choice but to give up his plan.

    2575

    A lethal viral infection kills thousands of Neocron's residents. The city's medics are helpless, and even the Psi Monks, who have wondrous healing methods at their disposal, are puzzled. Once again Regant turns to Ceres and pleads for access to the discs that, he is sure, contain information on some medicine against the plague. But Ceres proclaims that the plague is the vengeance of the God of the Blinding Light, who is punishing Neocron for the pointless bloodshed.

    Outraged, young Regant declares that there will be more bloodshed and begins to prepare his troops for war against the Dome of York.

    2576

    Regant and Ceres are unable to reach a peaceful agreement. Regant orders the Psi Monks to use their knowledge of genetic engineering – gained primarily while fighting the viral infection – for breeding a stronger and more robust warrior. The Psi Monks, who have studied genetic engineering ever since Thor's capture of Neocron and the introduction of the new doctrine, pursue this task most intensely and develop a prototype, which they call GenTank, after just a few months. The GenTank can be produced as a fully trained warrior in a short amount of time and has all the characteristics Regant requested. In addition, Regant's scientists develop new armored vehicles based on 22nd century military tanks. Piloted by the new warriors with their genetically enhanced reflexes and tactical abilities, these hover tanks become extremely effective weapons.

    Ceres, too, instructs his researchers to work on new military equipment. They develop a new kind of walking vehicle, a powerful metal giant equipped with numerous weapons and piloted by an artificial brain. This new kind of field weapon is called WarBot by its developers. Furthermore, they work on a new mass destruction system based on the former nuclear bomb.

    2577

    Once again Regant asks Ceres to grant him access to the discs. He explains that, regardless of whoever discovered the discs, Ceres is not entitled to use the knowledge of the discs exclusively for himself. In fact, the knowledge stored on the discs should be accessible to all of mankind.

    He issues an ultimatum for Ceres to make the discs accessible by the end of the year. Should Ceres not react by then, Regant will use force to ensure that the knowledge on the discs be shared by everyone.

    2578

    Ceres declares the discs his property and indicates that Neocron has already benefited more than it merits from the knowledge they hold. Regant deploys his army of GenTanks equipped with heavy weapons and attacks the Dome of York with full force. Regant's strategy is based on a short, forceful military strike against Ceres, but he fails to take the defensive mechanisms of the dome into account. The area surrounding the city is covered with mines and spring-guns, and the GenTanks that break through this protective perimeter face an army of WarBots.

    2578-2585

    What was planned as a short strike becomes the longest military conflict in the history of the new world. While Ceres dispatches his armored warriors to the battlefield, the Psi Monks raise one Tank after the other and the factories spew out thousands of hover tanks.

    The earth surrounding both cities is soaked in blood and covered with debris by the time Ceres' scientists discover a weapon based on the nuclear bomb, which would kill unprotected organic material while leaving Ceres' own walking weapons unharmed due to a special shielding for the WarBots. Ceres does not hesitate to detonate this bomb over the battlefields between the two cities. Thousands of genetically bred GenTanks fall victim to the radiation of the bomb. Ceres threatens to deploy the bomb over Neocron if his enemies don't surrender within a week. Little does he know that the Psi Monks have already copied the shielding of the WarBots and have applied it to a new type of armored suit developed by adapting technologies they acquired from destroyed or captured Ceres WarBots. This suit of armor enhances the reflexes and capabilities of the GenTanks even further, and the next wave of GenTanks marches into battle adequately protected.

    Because of this protection and the increased power and efficiency provided by these suits, the GenTanks vanquish Ceres' warriors and WarBots and invade the Dome of York. The government is overthrown and Ceres publicly executed. Regant seizes all of the Ceres discs and begins to reveal their knowledge to the public. Furthermore, he appoints a new ruler from his own ranks, who is to supervise the reconstruction of the dome.

    2587-2610

    Radiation in the area between the Dome of York and Neocron is staggering. Even with the best radiation protection available, the distance between the two cities can't be covered without the unfortunate traveler suffering permanent damage. This leads to a rather isolated development of both cities in the following years.

    The irradiated area on the brink of and outside the protective dome is called The Wastelands. The first district of Neocron adjoining these is the Outzone. While the Outzone is protected against radiation, the numerous and hard-to-survey installations and buildings hold a certain attraction for criminal elements. The inner districts of the city are composed of Pepper Park, an entertainment and red light district, Plaza, the actual center of the city, and Via Rosso, the governmental and financial center.

    It is a peaceful time that greatly furthers research and financial growth. The Psi Monks, to whom Neocron more or less owes the victory over Ceres, have taken command of the military.

    There is no further genetic development of GenTanks. From the Psi Monks' point of view, a battle unit based on an organic being can't be the optimum solution. The existing GenTanks are left to their own devices. Much like the Psi Monks, the GenTanks mostly remain among their kind. Nevertheless, they more or less succeed in becoming a part of the social system. They accept security and bodyguard jobs, thus carving their place in society. But the GenTanks are never drawn into the regular police force.

    Regant, who suffers badly from the effects of radiation disease, apparently loses influence and the well-organized Psi Monks become more and more of a secret power within Neocron. The intelligence service NSD, once founded under Crahn's rule, controls police activities and increases its power steadily. The NSD sets up internment camps in the Wastelands, where political opponents are held and tortured.

    2611

    Regant dies. His chosen successor is found murdered shortly thereafter. The Psi Monks immediately seize control of Neocron. They introduce rigorous laws, but also do much for the progress of the city. In the meantime, the complete knowledge of the Ceres discs has been put into practice, except for space travel. In some areas progress has already surpassed the theoretical knowledge.

    2618

    For the first time mankind succeeds in establishing an uplink to the ancient satellites which have remained in orbit for centuries. Much to the amazement of the scientists, more than half of the satellites are still operational. By using these satellites, researchers discover that on another continent, which emerged from East Asia, yet another city is being constructed. But since it's situated on the far side of Earth, it is impossible to reach by riding regular vehicles through the irradiated areas. From the Ceres discs, the Psi Monks also know about the Mars colony. The Council of Psi Monks resolves to develop a spacecraft for passing the orbit and thereby escaping the lethal radiation on Earth. By this means, the East Asian metropolis can, indeed, be reached. In a second stage, a spacecraft capable of flying to Mars will be developed.

    2630

    After twelve years of dedicated work a flying vehicle which is able to break through Earth's atmosphere and travel outside its orbit is at the city's disposal – for the first time in 480 years. A select crew is sent to the newly discovered metropolis. They are amazed when they learn that the city boasts a high level of development both technologically and culturally. Just like that of Neocron, the protective dome of Tokyo II is based on a sophisticated magnetic shield. But the two shields also prevent radio communication between the cities. The Asians react rather coolly to the foreigners and are not interested in any further contact with the western world. Thus, the crew is unable to learn how the inhabitants obtained the old world knowledge. After just a few days’ sojourn in Tokyo II, the crew are awakened by soldiers one morning and escorted to their spacecraft. Without having accomplished much, the envoys return to Neocron. After they have reported to the Psi Monks, the latter decide to ignore Tokyo II and to concentrate on the space travel program instead.

    2633

    A group of young scientists feels oppressed in its work by the Psi Monks, and the researchers decide to leave the city. They erect a small base in the Wastelands protected from radiation and settle down there.

    2636

    Named Shirkan after the chief of the PSI Council, a spacecraft embarks in September on a nine-month journey to the Mars colony.

    2637

    The astronauts discover the remains of the more than 500 year-old Mars colony, Red Terra. The logs show that the colony fell victim to an unknown virus in 2212. Thanks to the logs, the crew of the Shirkan relives the utter despair of the colonists when they discovered that Earth was nearly destroyed by WW III – while at the same time unaware that they could easily have prevented the terrible war from happening, had they known the reason for the catastrophe.

    On the 13th of February, 2134, Red Terra receives a distress call from a spacecraft named Starcruiser. They are told that the ship has been hit by meteor debris which damaged the sensors and their long range communications equipment. The crew of the Starcruiser is therefore unable to send a radio message to Earth, but has already begun to repair the equipment. The ship's crew asks Red Terra to forward this message to mission control in Beijing.

    But Red Terra knows nothing of the launch of the Starcruiser and the pair of fighters that happen to be in the area are unable to confirm the existence of the ship. Red Terra command therefore thinks the message to be a joke of the patrol and ignores the call. And so disaster takes its course…

    The astronauts also learn of the attempt to make the atmosphere of the planet breathable by releasing Gabanium. According to the logs, Gabanium stimulates the growth of the lethal virus on Mars, which is why the experiment was discontinued. A few days later the crew of the Shirkan discovers that Red Terra receives a continuous Hypercom message. It's from the crew of the Starcruiser! The content of the message – arriving every three hours at the colony – is that the generation cruiser has arrived on the planet Irata III, the Gabanium experiment has transformed the whole atmosphere of the planet according to plan, and that they've been ready to receive new instructions for generations.

    Apart from these important insights into the history of mankind and the realization of the order of events of WW III, the crew also salvages all kinds of technical devices. The loot ranges from a mini holodisc player to a VR video game console when the Shirkan leaves after its two-week stay on Mars. The metal, which contains the elements needed for fusion drives, is also shipped to Earth in large quantities.

    News of the colonized planet Irata III spreads quickly throughout Neocron. The government decides to develop spaceships which can cover the 80-light year distance to this promising planet.

    2654

    After nearly 20 years of work, the Avenger is at Neocron's disposal, a spaceship which is to take 2,000 people to the planet Irata III on a 90-year journey. The crew also has the necessary equipment for constructing a permanent communications installation on Irata III intended to establish and maintain permanent contact with both Earth and Mars.

    2660

    The colony Red Terra is once again put into operation. Construction of a vast communications facility begins.

    2684

    After a powerful explosion in the Wastelands, rumors of hidden laboratories engaging in research on secret weapons and defensive measures abound. Supposedly, the Psi Monks run these laboratories to protect their power by force in case of an insurrection.

    2722

    The Neocron crime rate peaks. Citizens accuse the Psi Monks of being unable to control the situation despite their iron-fisted leadership. Lioon Reza, an eloquent ex-member of the secret service, founds a group of terrorists, who set their sights on overthrowing the government and reforming the laws of the city.

    2724

    After a failed attempt to take over the mighty government building in the Plaza district, Lioon's troops succeed in surprising the government of the Psi Monks and banning the members of the government from the city. The remaining Psi Monks are tolerated within Neocron, but are not allowed to congregate or to be active in the field of politics. Many of the Psi Monks of the former government retreat to the old Crahn abbey in the Wastelands.

    2725

    Lioon becomes the new dictator of Neocron. He introduces the CopBot system to the city. CopBots are policemen-cum-judges and therefore are able to take rigid action against violence and crime in the streets of the city. Laws become strongly simplified and punishment is severely increased.

    2727

    After an insurrection in the old districts of the city, Lioon decides to concentrate the presence of the CopBots in the inner districts of Neocron. Following this decision the peripheral areas, especially the Outzone of the city, degenerate dramatically. The laws are once again tightened, the only punishment for a criminal act being immediate execution. All aggressive actions are punishable. Carrying unconcealed weapons in the inner districts of Neocron is (after a caution is issued) punishable by death. Everywhere in the city monitoring systems are installed, first and foremost to protect the inner districts ? Plaza and Via Rosso.

    2740

    The Avenger arrives on Irata III. Red Terra 2, the new colony on Mars, establishes contact with Irata III. Apparently the people traveling on board the Avenger have found paradise on the planet: Irata III is covered with forests and oceans. The Chinese have erected a city of stone and wood, which they call Typherra. The newcomers are warmly received, but the news of the destructive events on Earth shocks the inhabitants. Since the planet is so big, the Typherrans offer to accommodate more people.

    2742

    Word of the paradisiacal situation on Irata III spreads quickly in Neocron. Lioon Reza decides to populate Irata III and to subjugate the inhabitants of the planet. He promises a prosperous life to the citizens of Neocron if they join his troops and his trek. Most people are sick and tired of malformed children, radioactive water, and the general hopelessness on contaminated Earth, and are more than ready to join Lioon's trek.

    2743

    For unknown reasons contact with Irata III suddenly breaks off. Red Terra 2 rules out the possibility of a technical malfunction in the communications facility. The plan of the ‘Great Trek” persists nonetheless, although Lioon himself decides to stay on Earth.

    2746

    The ‘Great Trek’ begins. Forty spaceships, modeled on the Avenger and the Starcruiser, embark on their journey to Irata III. The new design allows 8,000 passengers per ship, which means that 320,000 people are leaving the city. Six months later, another twenty spaceships are launched. But those are only the beginning. Almost daily, more and much smaller ships leave Earth. The fact that contact with Irata III has been interrupted for almost a year now only seems to strengthen the wishful thinking and the hope placed on this new paradise.

    2747-2749

    The void left in the population of Neocron by those who have embarked on their long journey to Irata III opens up new opportunities for criminal elements. Since the trekkers are forced to leave most of their personal belongings behind, the government decides to collect this property for its own use. But there are others who would also like to profit from the abandoned belongings ranging from everyday utility items to entire buildings. Thus, governmental 'reappropriation' operations are disrupted ever more frequently by criminals and gangs. One man in particular, a lowly criminal named Trevor Denton, succeeds in organizing raids on abandoned property. By forging alliances between several criminal organizations, even between members of the Mafia and the Yakuza, he greatly impedes the government's progress and succeeds in accumulating a good share of personal wealth. But a large measure of his success is based on the fact that he is loyal to no one except himself, betraying every ally whenever it seems profitable. At the end of his short career, Trevor Denton is the most wanted man in Neocron and is finally killed by one of his many pursuers. To prevent any of Trevor's children from taking over the organization, the government arrests all of them. They are either executed or used as guinea pigs for scientific experiments. Two of them, Xav and Zeke, are pardoned after they survive a series of experiments. Xav is disfigured for life, while Zeke Denton has lost the greater part of his memory.

    2750

    The treks have left their marks on the face of the city of Neocron. Deserted areas and the collapse of the spacecraft industry are among the harmless effects. Lioon increases the presence of the CopBots yet further to prevent those inhabitants remaining in the city from plundering and committing other acts of violence. Still, the CopBots barely succeed in keeping a semblance of order, particularly in sections of the city that are difficult to oversee, such as Pepper Park and the Outzone.

    When contact with Irata III is still not re-established four years after it broke off, Lioon's interest in Irata III wanes noticeably. Of course he knows that the treks won't arrive on Irata III before 2840. He, as opposed to the frozen passengers of the generation ships, will be long dead by then. Realizing this once and for all, Lioon's interest turns once again toward the security aspects of the city and his governmental duties.

    Dome of York: The Second War

    2752 - 2753

    Following two comparatively uneventful years, Ceres Cyborgs are suddenly repeatedly observed in the Wastelands ? much to everybody’s surprise, as they had been considered extinct. Rumors of a possible return of the Dome of York troops abound in the streets of Neocron. A few days later, the CityAdmin, which has been entertaining contact with the Dome of York for a while now without admitting as much, receives a number of unauthorized data transmissions on the Neocron information lines. They seem to be encoded messages from the Dome of York. Twelve hours of feverish deciphering later, the CityAdmin’s IT specialists manage to break the code: the Dome of York is obviously attempting to transmit Ceres WarBot blueprints to spies deployed within Neocron. The CityAdmin quickly develops a virus that attaches itself to the data packages transmitted, effectively rendering the blueprints useless. Shortly after this, intelligence finds out that the Dome of York plans a further attempt to smuggle blueprints into Neocron ? this time by handing them over in the Wastelands. The CityAdmin foils the scheme with the help of Runners and takes possession of the blueprints.

    At this time, leader of the Twilight Guardian Hagen Yager learns of a devastating diagnosis: he suffers from a serious, all but incurable disease and only has about two years to live. With this in mind, Yager comes to a crucial decision:

    Yager plans to forge an alliance against Lioon Reza with the Dome of York, intending to draw on the Dome’s potential. To this end, Yager even secures the cooperation of estranged factions: the Fallen Angels, the Tsunami Syndicate, the Black Dragons, and the Brotherhood of Crahn. He manages to bring them together for negotiations, and after endless debating all parties do indeed agree on a common denominator. The Alliance is founded, and Yager intensifies his search for a cure to his disease. Due to his good relations with the Fallen Angels, the medics of this faction are willing to develop a therapeutical implant.

    Meanwhile, a CityAdmin delegation travels to Techhaven in order to confer with the leaders of the Fallen Angels. The envoys are to discuss a possible involvement of the faction with the Ceres Cyborg affair. The CityAdmin bluntly accuses the Fallen Angels of having helped the Dome of York infiltrate the Neocron information network. The Angels emphatically reject the accusations. During the next few days, Runners report sightings of large Biotech transports in the Wastelands. These are denied by the company or shrugged off as mere hallucinations. Nobody knows that Biotech is working on a top-secret joint venture with the CityAdmin that includes research on brainwash procedures. In the following weeks, more and more Runners mysteriously disappear in the Wastelands. Instead of surfacing at any known GenRep stations, they remain nowhere to be found.

    A few weeks later, the CityAdmin commissions Tangent Technologies to construct Ceres Cyborgs using the blueprints. It is intended to assault the Twilight Guardian with their help. Very soon, preparations commence in sector C-12. However, the cyborgs turn out to be utterly uncontrollable and are left in the sector, while development is continued elsewhere. For more efficient research, the CityAdmin also involves ProtoPharm and Biotech in the project. A mere week later, Twilight Guardian Runners come across a mysterious barrier enclosing a huge area in a remote section of the Wastelands. The Twilight Guardian leaders decide to infiltrate the sealed-off area. They succeed, making a shocking discovery: The CityAdmin is using this so-called Area MC5 for brainwashing kidnapped dissenters and turning them into loyal followers of Lioon Reza. Nearly simultaneously, analysis of an experimental array at ProtoPharm reveals that the DNA of organic parts of salvaged Ceres Cyborgs is identical to that of Runners gone missing. ProtoPharm immediately informs the CityAdmin that the Dome of York is using human tissue in cyborg production.

    The Twilight Guardian tries to put its findings to beneficial use for all. It exploits various channels for alerting the public to the existence and use of Area MC5. Initially, reactions are skeptical, but soon rumors of the secret installation begin to spread throughout Neocron. Realizing the danger it is in, the CityAdmin hastily publishes the distressing results of its research on Ceres Cyborgs. Indeed, this piece of news successfully diverts public attention from Area MC5.

    A number of weeks’ concentrated research by the Fallen Angels brings forth a chip for Hagen Yager. Due to its open structure, the chip can download updates from a special network. Nevertheless, it turns out that while the chip can alleviate Yager’s decline it is unable to remedy the disease. None of the scientists dare give a precise forecast of Yager’s remaining life span. Pressed by high-ranking Fallen Angels, the researchers continue to strive for a solution, though not as intensely as before.

    2754

    Few months after the failed attempts to convey plans of the Ceres Cyborgs to agents in Neocron, DOY scientists develop a new weapon technology based on neutron emitters. The first units, which are equipped with this new technology, are manufactured and employment in the Wastelands is fast. Within a few weeks the DOY conquers the northern sectors of the Wastelands. The CityAdmin realizes that the new weapon technology threatens its supremacy in the Wastelands strongly, and begins a campaign against DOY: It calls Runners to join the conflict. Tangent Technologies is assigned the development of a radiation protection armament, which will, apparently, successfully shield its carrier from the DOY weapons. However it quickly becomes clear that the DOY weapons attack the body not only directly, but also for a time through radioactively contaminate and also the developed jet suit offers no protection. Now ProtoPharm is consulted for the development of a working armor, however without considerable success.

    In the meantime the Twilight Guardian uses the general confusion to attempt to implant a virus into MC5. The virus does not show full success and it only helps a little. The loss of memory is not repaired.

    After several weeks of embittered fights the DOY decides to hold, as a reaction to Rezas rushing campaign, a meeting with the alliance. Both parties become united, and it is decided to supply the neutron emitter weapons to the alliance members. When the CityAdmin learns of it, several emergency meetings are held with the allied factions. Since all of the attempts failed to produce successful armor, the CityAdmin assigns the City Mercs the job of kidnapping of scientists of the Dome of York. In the following week the CityMercs succeed, after several violent fights, to penetrate a secret research outguard of the Dome of York and kidnap a group of scientists from there.

    When the editor's offices of the Neocronicle are torn up after an enormous explosion, frightening questions rise in Neocron about why someone would attack the Neocronicle, and especially the author. The NCPD determines and discovers unbelievable results. Up to now all infiltration ploys only appeared to be disturbances. Only this one was recognized more clearly, how a small group of Fallen Angels penetrates into the company headquarters of the Neocronicle, leaves it again and a short time later the explosion occurs, obviously having something to do with the relations between the Twilight Guardian and the Fallen Angels.

    Motivated by distrust relationships between the Fallen Angels and CityAdmin worsens dramatically. The CityAdmin lets soldiers set up perimeters around Techhaven, in order to prevent further disturbances. Also CA and allied factions begin to question the Fallen Angels… with heavy silence to be answered. No response comes from the Fallen Angels

    Meanwhile, Techhaven is put in the spotlight. While this is understood by some to be guilt, others believe that the Fallen Angels don’t wish to comment on such absurd accusations.

    During the next few weeks, Protopharm and Biotech develop implant medicines that offer protection against the neutron technology with the help of the kidnapped scientists. The troops of the Neocron pro-city factions use it to slowly gain the upper hand in the wastelands once again. The Dome of York, nevertheless, forms a line of impenetrable defenses against the troops of Neocron. The war, after many months, does not appear to be going well, and it is reminiscent of the first War.

    While Neocron and the DOY are fighting in the wastelands, the members of the anti- Reza alliance try to bring themselves into a useful tactical position. The Crahn monks as well as the fighters of the Twilight Guardian fight side by side with the DOY fighters against Neocron. Thus Reza’s political advisors tell him that Crahn is a threat to his power. The CityAdmin drastically increase the number of CopBots in Plaza and via Rosso to drive all psi monks out, except the loyalist of servants, from the city. The manipulative Crahn monks try thereupon, with the DOY Fighters to come to a position to one day be able to control both cities. The Crahn sect bring their old tactics forward: itself a secret power, which in the background, brings them to a position to take over the DOY. However, the Twilight Guardian have similar plans. They are convinced that they can actually tear the governments apart in both cities. They do not hide their victory from the negotiators of the Dome of York, which leads to resentment against Yagers fighters.

    Black Dragon waits to gain a foothold in Pepper Park, because of their enmity with the Tsunami Syndicate, they have never been able to leave the Dome of York and offer their skills. The Alliance convinces the Tsunami Syndicate that they would be better allies than enemies. They make the same arrangement with the Black Dragon. Although, everyone in the Alliance seems only to have their own interests in mind.

    2755

    New Year is rung in by a relief attack of the Techhaven supported by heavily armed Twilight Guardians and Black Dragons, resulting in tremendous losses for the besieging troops. Neocron reacts cautiously; Reza knows very well that most of the Techhaven’s defenses lie deep within the complex and therefore withholds the order to storm the building. The fighting actually recedes, as the Fallen Angels seem to accept the siege, whereas they secretly are supporting the Dome of York by means of technology transfer in constructing a new weapon against Neocron. Nonetheless, another event fully captures Neocron's attention – at least for the time being...

    A Tangent Technologies weapons convoy, transporting ultra modern plasma weapons, disappears in the Wastelands without leaving a trace. At first, the usual suspects are blamed but it soon turns out that mutants are responsible for the ambush. The mutant group, eliminating every security unit trying to take care of the problem, is thought to be located in the old Regant ruins north-west of Neocron. As it turns out later, the mutants are far more numerous than first expected and are armed with more laser swords and plasma guns than the convoy was carrying. Infrared scans of the Regant ruins quickly show that the mutants are receiving human support - albeit of uncertain origin. It does appear that the Regant mutants were treated with an intelligence stimulant from ProtoPharm over a long period of time - with resounding success. Once confronted, ProtoPharm denies all knowledge and just as if to prove their case two Anarchy Breed members break into ProtoPharm’s laboratory stealing the stimulant. It ultimately remains unclear by whom the mutants are supported.

    Once again, Neocron’s attention is suddenly distracted by the Dome of York and their newest weapon. With the help of brain implants, the wearer’s resistance is reduced by hormones inducing a state of berserk rage. The subjects of this treatment, the so-called Kamikaze-Soldiers, wreak havoc throughout the Wastelands. It later turns out the soldiers are also using a remote controlled camouflaging device as well as a sub- dermal control-mechanism allowing the Dome of York to manipulate each individual by pain induction. With the soldiers being nearly invisible, the Gates of Neocron are attacked and overcome.

    Some of the kamikaze attackers manage to slip past the strong defenses and are finally brought down deep within the inner sectors. The investigation reveals that the brain implants used were originally developed by Biotech but according to one company spokesperson were “dumped because of unwanted inhumane side effects”. According to BioTech, the Dome of York must have stolen some of these prototypes.

    Parallel to the building of the underground tunnel network underneath the northern Wastelands, the Dome of York commissions the construction of a neutron emitter bomb, its calculated destructive power being many times stronger than that of a conventional nuclear warhead. Hopes are high to finally erase Neocron with one decisive blow.

    In the meantime, Hagen Yager collapses during a public appearance after attracting attention lately only by holding imperious speeches and behaving like a megalomaniac. It seems that the chip meant to control his disease is malfunctioning and the update link has been anonymously hacked. After locating the emitter station and putting it out of action with help from the Twilight Guardians Yager recovers fast – but too late. After only a couple of weeks of research a prototype of the neutron bomb is put to the test. As Yager never treated the city's emissaries with the proper respect and never got tired of proclaiming that soon the Twilight Guardians would rule both cities, the Dome of York’ s leadership knows exactly the right testing ground for its new toy – the Canyon!

    The test is a tremendous success – the Canyon is fully contaminated with radiation leaving the victims facing a horrible death. In spite of this demonstration of power, the Techhaven offers refuge to any surviving Guardian. It seems that there is a secret faction within the Fallen Angels sharing the view that the Angels should no longer be pawns in other people’s political games. Instead, these radical technocrats want the Fallen Angels to be accepted as an equal political power with its own aims and goals.

    The original leadership of the Fallen Angels does not comply at first but finally accepts the new organization after becoming aware of all the surrounding dangers and enemies. It soon grows to become the predominant faction and while the peaceful scientists go about their daily business, the secret faction ruthlessly consolidates its own position. The faction had long ago established contact to the Dome of York and planted the bomb in the offices of the Neocronicle on the Dome’s order. Their armed units are also involved in the attack on the besiegers of the Techhaven.

    The shock of the bomb's detonation is felt even in Neocron and triggers rumors about the Dome of York’s activity. Although the CityAdmin denies all of them, they secretly start an investigation and begin taking soil samples of the blast area for further analysis by ProtoPharm. They clearly show the same radiation signatures found in the victims of the neutron emitter weapon.

    The Techhaven’s new leadership soon becomes aware that the time is perfect to play both towns off against each other. Therefore, they need to get a hold of the construction plans of the neutron bomb. As the Techhaven’s spies reach the Dome of York, they quickly realize that the CityAdmin had the same idea. A violent fight evolves right on the Dome’s doorstep and the Techhaven people are able to wrest most of the plans from the CityAdmin forces. Unfortunately for them, the CityAdmin gets away with the plans for the fuse as well as the bomb’s command frequencies.

    These frequencies are the CityAdmin’s key to the weapon and agents of both Neocron and Techhaven soon find out that the bomb is in the final stages of production. In cooperation with Tangent and NeXT the CityAdmin now begins to frantically upgrade Neocron’s energy shield, based on previously acquired scientific discoveries. It soon turns out, though, that the shield will not be able to offer enough protection against the bomb – at least not within any acceptable period of time. Additionally the Techhaven now forwards counterfeit construction plans to Neocron, at the same time arranging that the Dome of York finds out that Reza is in possession of the plans as well and constructing his own bomb. Shocked by the news the Dome’s leadership reacts in panic and plans to attack Neocron early, not caring about any remaining risk. Neocron in turn, shocked by the imminent attack decides to use the frequencies and codes to trigger the warhead remotely.

    Some days later, the Dome of York completes the bomb's construction and a carrier rocket is fueled up. In the meantime, the CityAdmin commands its remaining forces to conquer all Wasteland uplinks. A durable and clear communications uplink to the bomb is necessary in order to breech the Dome of York’s communications network and explode the bomb remotely. Simultaneously, the Twilight Guardians plan to attack the Dome’s tunnel network together with other factions of the alliance, who have already pulled their troops out of Neocron, in order to gain control of the Dome’s territory.

    Twenty-four hours later, all preparations for the attack are completed and the countdown is started. Now the time is running out for the CityAdmin. The rocket will launch in less than an hour, destroying all life in Neocron. In a last minute effort of all of Neocron’s factions, their forces conquer the last heavily defended uplink post and gain access to the Dome of York’s network. The bomb's detonation codes are hurriedly entered into the bomb's system. Shortly before launch, the bomb is exploded on the pad and a gigantic explosion wipes out all life in the Dome. The detonation also triggers the invasion of the Dome’s tunnels by the Techhaven-Alliance. The Alliance forces storm the tunnels wiping out any last resistance encountered and soon control all the entry points into the doomed city. By the time that Neocron’s forces reach the Dome of York, the city is firmly in the hands of the Alliance and the attack is easily repulsed.

    During the next few days, the city’s dome collapses due to immensely high radiation values while Techhaven scientists try their best to neutralize the radiation to allow resettlement. The habitable areas are mapped and their radiation level is recorded. Within the next few weeks, the city is slowly decontaminated by the Fallen Angels’ scientists making life in the city possible again. Half of the former Dome of York remains in ruins though.

    Tsunami moves to the Dome almost as quickly as the Black Dragons – each hoping to be the first to get there, just to find out that the rival is already present. Both parties plan to continue controlling Pepper Park from a distance as no one wants to lose ground to the enemy. Compared to their former stay in the Canyon the Twilight Guardians are a lot better off in the Dome. In addition, the radical faction of the Fallen Angels also moves in, leaving the Techhaven once again to the remaining scientists and their plan to convert it into a peaceful trading center. Although the scientists still keep in touch with their brothers and sisters now living in the Dome of York, they do want to improve relations with Neocron. The Psi-Monks of the Order of Crahn are happy to finally end their existence as outcasts and welcome the Dome of York as their new home, even if this means sharing it with the Orders strongest intellectual and spiritual enemy – the Fallen Angels. To prevent an immediate confrontation between the new inhabitants a meeting is scheduled and after long and tiring negotiations the city is divided into several sectors, each controlled by different factions.

    Finally peace talks with Neocron are opened, unfortunately without any result whatsoever as each side believes it has the best chance of securing and controlling the Wastelands.


    Copyright
    Copyright 2006 ReaKKtor
    Permission from Nidhogg to Delphi


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