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- The Powder Keg
The way to the Apocalypse
Holographic mass storage media are introduced to the world market. The Holodisk is scanned with a laser and even the introductory model can contain amounts of data which are more than 100 times bigger than the maximum capacity of conventional mass media based on magnetic fields.
NASA succeeds in conducting the first manned mission to Mars.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launches the Ceres Project, which is designed to take 20 years to complete. The goal of this project is to store the whole knowledge of humanity clearly arranged on Holodisk. Publicly available science data of the present is reviewed and collected by a group of 250 professors and students from all over the world. The name Ceres is derived from the roman name of the Greek goddess Demeter, who was worshipped in ancient Greek as the mother of the earth and the goddess of fertility. The name was chosen because the knowledge of man is the seed (physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics etc.) as well as the fruit (technology, architecture, medicine, agriculture etc) of planet Earth at the same time.
In the course of the fourth mission to Mars an accident takes place at launch time, which kills the whole crew.
Dr. Karmann, leader of the Ceres Project, explains at a press conference that if a primitive civilization were to gain access to all the information the Ceres Project contains, they would be able to build nuclear plants after a few decades. This remark provides the project with an enormous amount of public attention.
Dr. Karmann is found murdered. The Ceres Project gets removed from the MIT and is classified as a top-secret state-affair.
The sixth mission to Mars ends with a huge success; a formerly unknown metal which exists on the red planet in considerable amounts is found most noteworthy. Thorough scientific investigation shows that this material will not become radioactive, even after the long and intensive influence of Neutrons, which result from the fusion of Tritons and Deuterons. It's suggested to double the subsidization of atomic fusion research, as the newly discovered material would make the perfect sheathing for a atomic reactor based on nuclear fusion, and because energy produced by means of nuclear fusion will only become a source of energy without radioactive side effects, if the new material is used for the sheathing.
According to certain rumors the Ceres Project has been completed by the NSA, after secret military and scientific information were added. Multiple agents of the NSA are assigned to attend to the project in the future and to continuously update it. The project was probably relocated to an isolated, hermetically sealed laboratory complex, where it will be safe in case of an environmental accident or war.
The US concludes a plan spanning fifteen years by taking a colony on Mars into operation. The installation is used for scientific purposes to a small extent, but its main function is the mining of the metal that was discovered on mars in 2031.
After the fossil fuels of Asia have been exhausted the continent drops into poverty and chaos. Grim fights for the last oil reserves rage between Russia, Japan and China.
In an American research center a Deuterium-Tritium-plasma is held stable over a sufficient amount of time. The commercial utilization of nuclear fusion is close at hand.
While Japan becomes an ally of the US and is supplied by the states with arms and reinforcements, China subdues the formerly Soviet splinter states the defensive potential of which are weakened by corruption, anarchic uprisings and Mafia activity. After collaborationists have sabotaged Russia's desperate final attempt in guise of a nuclear strike Russia surrenders and most of Asia is united under the Chinese flag. By this victory China becomes the most powerful nation of the world, an empire spanning from the Pacific Ocean to Poland.
The first d-t-fusion plants are taken into operation in the US and parts of Europe. Efforts of the western world to use the newly won findings about nuclear fusion for weapons research and the production of a plasma weapon yield no useable results.
Following the subjection of Asia, China begins to re-establish communism in the conquered countries. While the countries of Singapore, Thailand and South Korea, which were neutral up to this point, become allies of Japan, the remaining countries stay loyal to the Chinese Empire.
The Arab Emirates sign an alliance with the empire and provide it with oil. China grants military protection against the US to the Emirates.
Because of the Japanese arsenal of hi-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 boundary. The diplomatic relations between Western Europe, the US and Japan on the one and the Chinese Empire on the other hand are at zero.
Representatives of the western world and Japan sign the article of agreement about the "Federation of the Free World". This alliance will protect the member states from the mighty Empire.
While the efforts to design plasma weapons are still not making any progress, the use of bundled energy / particle rays as weapons for air- and ground-based vehicles are promoted successfully by the western industry nations.
The last power plant based on nuclear fission is shut down in Europe. This concludes the change from the conventional nuclear power resources to fusion power within the federation.
The Federation establishes a colony on Mars that provides it with minerals.
China takes the 62nd nuclear fission plant into operation to power the urban areas in former Russia. Nuclear power now has completely replaced fossil fuels and alternative power sources in the Empire. Though the Empire has obtained the theoretical knowledge about nuclear fusion by means of espionage and the trade prevents their own research, utilization of this knowledge with the sheathing material from Mars being under Federation control.
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.
The first cold nuclear fusion 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 kind of energy.
At Xi An, a metropolis situated south of Beijing, a jet fighter crashes into an out-dated nuclear fission plant. The sheathing of the reactor is destroyed by the power of the impact, which results in an uncontrolled nuclear fusion. Not only Xi An is contaminated by the nuclear radiation released, but also nearby Beijing. Millions die in the following years from the radiation. Radioactive dust is blown eastward by the wind, in the direction of Japan, but the neighbouring state stays mainly unharmed.
Aroused by the disaster in Xi An the Japanese government decides to build radiation protection domes above the nation's major cities.
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 have been in possession of this kind of stealth technology but to have kept it secret until now.
China and the Federation sign the SALT-17 treaty, which prohibits the stationing and especially the deployment of stealth missiles for both sides.
To utilize cold nuclear fusion for energy production the conversion of the existing fusion plants begins within the Federation.
Red Terra is established on Mars as the first civil colony. Red Terra consists of seven domes and is the new home for 3,000 people. By this measure the extraterrestrial colony program of the Federation of the Free World is initiated. It's planned to relocate 400,000 people to Mars by the end of the century.
Scientists discover that they can start a reaction by adding a complicated gas mixture to the atmosphere of Mars, which will make the planet's atmosphere breathable within 300 years. In the same year the pioneers begin with the terraforming. The gas mixture is called Gabanium after its developer, Dr. Gloria Gaban.
The technologically backward China surprises the world as it puts up a sea barricade around neutral Australia in a blitz. Australia now is totally isolated from the rest of the world. The Federation determines not to intervene, to avoid a third world war.
The Empire attacks Australia after the blockade has lasted nine months. Demoralized Australia surrenders to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, as it has become clear that the Federation won't support the country. In the past the Federation had tried multiple times to convince Australia to join them, to no avail. The continent, which always esteemed its independence and neutrality very high, could not be convinced.
The extremist Chinese dictator Kong Jieshi is found murdered in his private villa. An army of bodyguards was unable to protect him. China officially proclaims that contrarevolutionary troops had startled and shot the dictator in his sleep. The citizens of the Federation on the other hand are convinced that special squads of the free world had infiltrated the villa to correct the extremist political course of china. The latter version was, of course, never confirmed by Federation government.
The political situation has been stabilized. The new Chinese dictator Xu Derui knows of the technological inferiority of the Empire compared with the Federation and lessens the imperialistic drive of his people.
Japanese researchers develop the prototype of a small fusion powered engine that can be used for vehicles (Furytec Drive). Furytec powered vehicles are as nimble as a helicopter with a maximum speed limited to that of small sports airplanes. Thus they are the ideal means of transportation for the large cities, which are overburdened with skyscrapers. Since the fusion reaction inside the Furytec Drive creates close to no pollutants at all they are also great to use within the Japanese city domes.
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.
Hoping to be able to colonize this planet sometime in the future a probe is sent to Irata III, featuring a new second-generation fusion drive. After its arrival the probe will inject a finely dosed amount of Gabanium into the atmosphere of Irata III.
The probe will be travelling for approximately 100 years to reach the planet. The atmosphere should be breathable after 300 years, if everything runs according to plan.
The Empire surprisingly presents the prototype of a generation spaceship to cover distances of several hundreds of light years. Project Starcruiser is based on the fusion drive of the probe, which was 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 the technology of cold nuclear fusion, 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 contains even more technical highlights which the Federation either didn't know of yet or which at least were still in testing and top secret. Especially the inertia absorbers should be mentioned in this context, which allow the ship to accelerate with maximum power without harming the crew or damaging the installations. The maximum speed of the Starcruiser amounts to 80% light speed.
Near the end of the year the president of the Federation, Eva Goreman, accuses the Chinese Empire of industrial spying, 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 innuendo.
The technical advances made in the field of nuclear fusion in the last years were also utilized in arms development, which now results in the manufacturing of advanced hydrogen bombs in large numbers by the Federation. These offer an unimaginable concentration of radioactivity while showing a huge explosive effect and a high sphere of impact at the same time. The new warheads are used by the Federation mainly for the Cold Fusion long-range missiles.
February, 11th 2143
In the morning hours of February 11th the Starcruiser launches for its first and last voyage. 3,000 colonists from all population layers of the Chinese Empire are aboard. The destination of this voyage is kept secret. So is the technology which was installed in the last six months as an enhancement to the fusion drive.
February, 13th 2143
Two days following the launch of the Starcruiser the ship disappears from the instruments of imperial ground control. After a short search a Chinese flight squadron finds some debris which probably belongs to the Starcruiser.
February, 14th 2143
China accuses the Federation of not being able to accept the technological advancements of the Empire and implies that the Starcruiser was destroyed by a federation fighter squadron for this reason. The violent 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 has no interests in the Chinese plans for colonization and that they never had planned to sabotage them. Furthermore she considers the claims of China holding a technological leading position to be bold and provocative. China could only rightfully claim this, if they were in possession of detailed information about Federation technology. Should China thus have admitted the industry spying indirectly? Further on, Goreman announces that she feels sorry for the Starcruiser incident and that she wants to express her condolences to the remaining relatives of the 3,000 colonists. Although the destruction of the ship would seem to show that the Empire were always overestimating it's own abilities.
February, 16th 2143
Xu Derui announces that further proof for the presence of Federation fighters shortly before the disappearing of the Starcruiser has been found at the last known position of the ship. Enraged, he once again threatens with vengeance.
Goreman announces that same day that the Federation will not take these repeated and unfounded threats.
February, 17th 2143, 06:40 am
The sensors of a German radar station pick up three shadows above the British Channel, which are only visible for a few seconds.
February, 17th 2143, 06:58 am
It's a rainy morning in London, England, when suddenly a bright white light flashes through the city. Seconds later eight million people are dead.
February, 17th 2143, 07:45 am
A briefing of the crisis committee in Federation HQ, New York is held. It's decided to modulate the sensors of all radar installations to the frequencies of the German station, which detected the missiles that were sent to London.
February, 17th 2143, 08:02 am
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 am
With the SALT-17 treaty of 2104 Federation and Empire had agreed on not producing or using any Kerolin Stealth missiles. The deployment of this treacherous weapon by the Empire will now destroy all crowded areas of the Federation within the next 20 minutes.
At 08:07 am, few 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 federated platforms, targeting imperial cities. President Goreman and more than 90% of the Federation's population will not live to see the moment of their impact.
February, 17th 2143, 02:00 pm
In the last six hours approximately 23 of 24 billion human lives have been eradicated.
End of February, 2143
Caused by the enormous detonations the Earth begins to rear up. Volcanoes erupt, earthquakes ripple through the ruins of the cities, the waters of giant floods 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 indeed will be.
The second Ascension
2144 - 2400
In the following centuries the face of planet earth changes in a way for which it would have required millennia under normal circumstances, due to the unnaturally provoked tectonical activity. The North American continent appears to deviate to the east, while Europe drifts away from Asia. Africa and South America have for the most parts sunken beneath the waves of the oceans and the eastern part of Africa has drifted north and there collides with South Asia.
The few survivors of the war, the radiation and the ensuing natural disasters form a new kind of human race. Trained by the ongoing escape from death, grown strong by the fight against natural forces, small groups and tribes gather all over the planet, which is slowly calming down.
The earth and mankind itself are now in a state which is comparable to the early Iron Age. Although some wisdom could be passed on over the generations there is a lack of any kind of infrastructure to put this wisdom to good use. Technical devices surface sporadically from the debris, but people lack the knowledge to repair it. Only occasionally a tribe holds possession of a functioning technical device, which then is enshrined and protected like some kind of god. Most humans feed on vermin and other small animals. Furthermore, some plants prove to be nourishing.
Some tribes begin to trade with one another. In the regions of lesser radiation tribes conduct farming and cattle-breeding. Metal processing trades are prospering in the regions which are still heavily contaminated. With the people living in the latter territories a higher resistance against radiation has developed through the course of generations.
Few and far between people gain electricity from water and wind power, using it top run primitive technical installations. But power supply systems are non-existent.
The total population of earth now amounts to approximately 800,000 human beings. 75 percent of which are living in the Northern Hemisphere. The remembrance about WW3, which only lasted a few hours, has found its way into the rites and customs of the tribes long ago. In some tribes people talk about the cleansing white light, in others about the fires of the apocalypse and once again in other tribes people believe in the breath of the devil, who haunted the earth and banished the human race from paradise. Although the memories of the catastrophe which condemned humanity are kept alive by this rites and customs, there are certain tribes which haven't specialized in farming or cattle breeding, but in the art of war. On the one hand they raid rich tribes to acquire their goods and wealth, on the other hand they offer their fighting abilities to other tribes, giving them the opportunity to deal with unfriendly neighbors.
Two warlike tribes with strong leaders become remarkably known: the tribe of Crahn and the tribe of Thor. Both of these tribes roam the contaminated earth in search 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 to be its territory. Both tribes gain in size and influence over the years.
While searching for minerals a patrol from the Crahn tribe discovers the entrance to a cave, which was buried by rocks. Since they suspect an ore mine to be within the cave, ten sturdy men of the tribe begin to excavate the entrance. After working four days they discover a cathedral-sized passage, which leads deep into the mountain. Upon clearing the way of all obstacles and after another group has ventured deeper into the mountain, they surprisingly encounter other human beings.
They find out that these people have lived inside the mountain for uncounted generations, isolated from the world outside. Their ancestors had sought shelter from the natural forces in the caves centuries ago. After the entrance to the caves became buried, no other way out was left. A subterranean river supplied the people with water and food and thus they dwelled for centuries in the colossal underground caverns of a mountain range.
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's discovered that they apparently don't communicate verbally and that they are as good as blind.
When one of the warriors hits one of the cave dwellers on the head just for fun his companions witness how the warrior is raised about nine feet into the air by invisible hands, just before he explodes from inside out.
Afterwards two witnesses confirm that the eyes of the cave dweller were glowing red by that time.
From then on the cave dwellers are treated with much respect. They are lead to Crahn, who is fascinated by them from the start. Since he assumes that one day his tribe will profit from the powers of these people, he decides to admit the cave dwellers to his tribe.
Though they quickly learn to talk, they still mostly remain to themselves. Since they obviously possess telekinetic psi powers the other tribe members call them Psi Monks.
The tribe of Thor and the tribe of Crahn meet at the Sea of Silence at the center of the new continent. Both tribes claim the western shore for themselves, which leads to a grim battle that's won by Crahn's people, by the help of the Psi Monks. Thor's people draw back from Crahn's troops and retreat further into the west.
Because of the psionic powers at his command Crahn thinks himself to be invincible and follows Thor's troops. They reach Jeriko, the hometown 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 where they have to do heavy labor. One night Thor and a group of about fifty other prisoners manage to escape from the ruins of the city he once ruled. They flee to the west, to 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 threat Crahn poses, he proposes an alliance to Thor.
The area around Jeriko, the former home of Thor's people, is for the most parts only radiated to a minimal extent and it lies strategically well protected, situated slightly above a river's mouth. The Psi Monks suggest Crahn to build a mighty fortress on the ruins of Jeriko, to consolidate his power. Crahn, being the vain person he is, agrees. He declares the construction of this fortress to be the beginning of a new era and therefore calls the fortress Neocron (Greek: neo = new, cronos = time).
Six years later Jeriko has disappeared. Where once lived the people of Thor now the mighty fortress of the new age is situated: Neocron. It's being ruled by Crahn and the Psi Monks.
The hermit Mecando has seen many parts of the new world. His skin has been tanned by the weather and his provisional radiation protection suit is tattered and torn when he reaches an outpost of the Ceres tribe, totally exhausted. Quickly Thor and Ceres hear about the traveler from afar and, being curious about him, 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.
When Mecando, Ceres and Thor are gathered together one evening, Mecando asks Ceres about the origin of his name. Ceres answers that his people once undertook an expedition into the north of the new continent. They advanced into a very cold and inhospitable area. The further they marched into the north, the more men froze to death or starved. When they finally reached the conclusion 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 thing that was to be seen about the tomb from the outside was a black granite slab on which the word 'Ceres' could be read. When they looked at it more closely they also could make out the words 'Wisdom... Power...' and '...Knowledge...'. The rest of the engraved words had been ground away by the elements through time. Ceres presumed that a mighty tribe leader had been buried here and since the tomb was apparently some hundred years old he decided to help Ceres to rise again by adopting his name. He hoped that by adopting the name of this northern tribe leader the gods would give him the strength to safely bring the expedition back home. And so it happened.
Mecando is confused and tells them that he encountered the name 'Ceres' before in another context in stories and myths, although he's unable to recall their exact content. But he is sure that there was no connection to some warrior or tribe leader, and he urges Ceres to lead him to the spot where the tomb can be found. Ceres, knowing about the dangerous terrain up in the 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 remain unheard and after he tells them the way to the reputed tomb, Thor, Mecando and twenty tribesmen journey into the scant country of the north.
Thor's expedition has been on its way for nearly eight months and has been reduced to fourteen men when finally they find the place which Ceres told them about. Mecando is confident that they have to advance into the inside of the 'tomb' to disclose its secret. The men begin to breach the enormous steel doors, and when Thor and Mecando enter the depths of the 'tomb' they somehow sense that nothing would be as it was before after their discovery.
And thus the people of Ceres come into possession of the whole knowledge of mankind from the 22nd century. For months the wise of the tribe study the Ceres Project. There are specific instructions on how to erect workshops, factories and power plants. Ceres orders a valley in the west to be shut 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 taking Neocron and freeing his oppressed people he urges Mecando to develop new weapons so he would be able to accomplish his goal. Despite of Ceres' doubts Mecando is convinced by Thor to work on the development of new weapons.
Of course, an important event in the development of mankind such as the discovery of the Ceres discs cannot be kept secret for long. The monks of Crahn by now have established an excellent intelligence service. Many of the most intelligent and agile citizens of Neocron have been recruited for the NSD (Neocron Security Department). The NSD succeeds in planting some of their members in the Ceres Project, who pass on information to the people of Crahn. Crahn is totally enraged when he learns about the Ceres Project. He knows that in case of war his people cannot come up with something adequate to this technological leap, and thus he orders the Psi Monks to initiate the elite of the NSD-Spies in the psionic techniques so they can read the minds of the researches of the Ceres Project.
In fact, the tribe of Crahn succeeds in acquiring a major part of knowledge from the Ceres Project by these methods. Following the failed attempt to steal the Ceres discs the NSD-Spies are discovered and executed. After this incident only citizens and friends of Ceres' tribe are allowed to participate in the project.
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 gained from the Ceres discs in this city. Mecando advises to put the city beneath a protective dome of eloxated glass and steel, to protect it from the deadly radiation. Ceres announces his plans publicly, and so the Dome of York becomes a legend long before the foundation stone is placed. But in Neocron things have changed, too: the people of Crahn have begun to put the newly acquired information to good use and to expand the city. The buildings become bigger and grander from year to year.
By now Thor, Ceres and Crahn are all about 50 years old. On his deathbed Mecando tells Thor about the secret of a new weapon. He calls it 'energy weapon' and explains that it does not shoot with projectiles of solid matter, contrary to conventional weapons, but with bundled energy. Mecando also tells him that he already has developed a prototype of this weapon and where it can be found.
Thor gives out orders to push the development of this new weapon. He plans to distribute several hundred weapons to his men 'til the end of the year and to attack Neocron.
Ceres and Thor argue about this plan. Ceres advises Thor to forget Jeriko and Neocron, but Thor wants to free his people. Ceres threats to abandon him and his people if Thor won't drop his 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.
Through spring Thor forms up his men and some new followers from the ranks of Ceres to take Neocron with their help. Thor's men are equipped with a powerful hand weapon which shoots heavy plasma. This green glowing concentrated energy contains an enormous amount of destructive power. When Thor's men leave the city of Ceres they know that there's no turning back. Ceres has told them that everyone who'd rather choose war than peace would be forfeiting 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 when realizing that they stand no chance against the powerful energy weapons of Thor. Thor is displeased by the escape of Crahn, but the joy and jubilance of the liberated people comfort him enough to forget his disappointment soon enough. And there are not only his own people who receive him with cheers, but also the people of Crahn. They, too, had suffered badly under the cruel reign of Crahn and his monks and now hope for the organization of a just government or at least for Thor to take over the city as a just ruler, he, about whom they had heard so many encouraging tales.
Crahn flees together with his guards into the wastelands. On the base of an old ruin they begin with the construction of a secured abbey. In the course of the following years Crahn dies. His guards found the Sect of Crahn in the abbey. This sect will become a most influential religion in the following decades.
After seven years of growth, justice and progress under Thor's reign, he considers himself to be too old to continue with ruling over Neocron. He passes his power on to his son, Regant. Regant wants to develop Neocron into the most powerful, most modern and biggest city of the new world. The construction of the Dome of York is nearly finished as well. Following the insights from the Ceres Discs, York is organized like a city of the 22nd century. As an example for the protective dome above York served the dome of former Tokio, which already protected that city centuries ago against radiation.
Regant doesn't believe in the concept of the dome. Educated by Caalron, the successor of Mecando, he creates a plan for a magnetic shield, which can reflect more than 50 percent of the radiation without a physical structure. The benefits of Regant's plan are based on the fact that his concept won't limit the physical expansion of the city.
Despite the magnetic shield the population of Neocron still suffers from 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 about magnetic shields. Surprisingly Ceres refuses his request. He tells Regant that he had warned Regant's father to choose the 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 after all it's been his father who discovered them. But Ceres doesn't stray from his point of view. Regant is left no choice but to give up on his plan.
A deadly virus 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 to gain access to the discs to find some medicine against the plague. But Ceres states that the plague is the vengeance of the God of the Blinding Light, who is punishing Neocron for the senseless bloodshed. Being beside himself with rage and not comprehending as to why Ceres is able to tolerate the demise of so many innocent people, young Regant declares that there will be more bloodshed and begins to set up his troops for a war against the Dome of York.
Regant and Ceres are unable to come to a peaceful arrangement. Regant orders the Psi Monks to use their knowledge about genetic engineering, which they gained primarily while fighting the virus infection, to breed a stronger and more robust kind of warrior. The Psi Monks, who dealt with genetic engineering since Thor's capture of Neocron and the introduction of the new doctrine, intensively pursue this task and develop a prototype after just a few months, which they call Tank. The Tank can be produced as a fully drilled 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 and combined with their genetically enhanced reflexes and tactical abilities, these Hovertanks become extremely effective weapons. Ceres, too, instructs his researchers to work on new military equipment. They develop a new kind of walking vehicle, a powered giant of metal, equipped with numerous weapons and piloted by humans from inside its massive body. This new kind of field weapon is called WarBot by its developers. Furthermore they work on a new mass destruction system on the basis of the former atomic bomb.
Once again Regant asks Ceres to grant him access to the discs. He explains that, irrespectively of the fact that his father discovered the discs, Ceres is not entitled to use the knowledge of the discs exclusively for himself. In fact, in his opinion the knowledge contained in the discs should be accessible by the whole of mankind.
He issues an ultimatum to Ceres, to make the discs accessible until the end of the year. Should Ceres not react until then, he would coercively ensure by force that the knowledge of the discs can be spread to everyone.
Ceres proclaims the discs to be his property and that Neocron has already benefited more than enough from the knowledge. Regant deploys his army of Tanks quipped with heavy weapons an armored vehicles and attacks the Dome of York with full force. Regant's strategy is aligned on a short but powerful 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 Tanks that break through this protecting wall face an army of warriors piloting their WarBots.
2578 - 2585
What had been planned as a short strike became the longest military conflict in the history of the new world. While Ceres dispatched his armored warriors to the battlefield, the Psi Monks raised one Tank after the other and the factories spewed out thousands of Hovertanks.
The earth surrounding both of the cities was soaked in blood and covered with debris by now when Ceres' scientists discovered a weapon based on the atomic bomb, which would be able to only kill unprotected organic material but would leave his warriors unharmed, due to a special shielding of their WarBots. Ceres didn't hesitate to let this bomb detonate over the battlefields between the two cities. Thousands of genetically bred Tanks fell victim to the radiation of the bomb. Ceres threatened to let the bomb detonate over Neocron if his enemies wouldn't surrender before one week had passed. But he didn't know that the Psi Monks had already copied the shielding of the WarBots and had applied it to a new type of armor suit, which they developed by adapting some technologies they acquired from destroyed or captured Ceres-WarBots. This armor suit enhanced the reflexes and capabilities of the Tanks even further, and the next wave of Tanks went into battle adequately protected.
Because of this protection and their efficiency and power raised once again significantly by the armor suits, the Tanks vanquished Ceres' warriors and WarBots and invaded the Dome of York. The government was overthrown and Ceres was executed in public. Regant seized all of the Ceres Discs and began to open the knowledge of the discs to the public. Furthermore he appointed a new ruler from his own ranks who was to control the reconstruction of the dome.
2587 - 2610
The radiation in the area between the Dome of York and Neocron was enormous. Even with the best possible radiation protection, the distance between the two cities couldn't be covered without suffering permanent damages. Which in the following years lead to a rather isolated development of both cities.
The radiated area on the brink and outside of the protective dome is called The Wastelands. The first district of Neocron that adjoins to the Wastelands is the Outzone. Though the Outzone is protected against radiation, the numerous and hard to survey installations and buildings provide a certain incentive for criminal elements. To the inner districts of the city belong Pepper Park, an entertainment and red light district, the Plaza, the actual center of the city, and Via Rosso, the governmental and financial center.
It was a peaceful time, which furthered the research and financial growth to a great extent. The Psi Monks, to whom Neocron more or less owed the victory over Ceres, had taken command of the military.
There was no further genetic development of the Tanks. From the Psi Monks point of view a battle unit based on an organic being couldn't be the optimal solution. The existing Tanks were left to themselves. Much like the Psi Monks, the Tanks mostly kept to their own. Nevertheless they more or less succeeded in integrating themselves into the social system. They took security and bodyguard jobs and thus created their own place in society. Nevertheless the Tanks were not drawn into the regular police force.
Regant, who suffered heavily from the effects of the radiation disease, apparently lost influence and the well organized Psi Monks became more and more a secret power within Neocron. The intelligence service NSD, once founded under Crahn's rule, controlled the activities of the police and was steadily growing in power. The NSD set up internment camps in the Wastelands, where political opponents were held prisoner and being tortured.
Regant dies. His chosen successor is found murdered shortly thereafter. The Psi Monks immediately seize control over Neocron. The Psi Monks 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 the progress has already surpassed the theoretical knowledge.
For the first time people succeed in establishing an uplink to the old satellites, which have stayed in orbit for centuries. Much to the amazement of the scientists more than half of the satellites are still functioning. By use of these satellites they discover that on another continent, which emerged from East Asia, yet another city is being constructed. But since it's situated on the other side of the earth, it's impossible to get to this city through the radiated areas with regular vehicles. Because of the Ceres Discs the Psi Monks also know about the colony on Mars. The council of the Psi Monks resolves to develop a spacecraft by which it's possible to penetrate the orbit to escape the deadly radiation on earth, and by which the East Asian metropolis can be reached. In a second phase a spacecraft shall be developed which is able to fly to Mars.
After twelve years of work the first flying vehicle for 480 years, which is able to break through Earth's atmosphere and travel through the orbit, is at the city's disposal. A selected crew is sent to the newly discovered metropolis. They are amazed when they learn that the city is developed on a high level in a technical as well as in a cultural way. Just like Neocron's, the protective dome of Tokio II is based on a sophisticated magnetic shield. But the two shields also make radio communication between the two cities impossible. The Asians react very unfriendly to the foreigners and are not interested in any further contact to the western world. Thus the crew is unable to learn how the inhabitants obtained the knowledge of the old world. After a stay of just a few days in Tokio II on one morning the crew is awakened by soldiers and gets escorted to their spacecraft. Without having accomplished much the crew travels back to Neocron. After they have reported to the Psi Monks, the latter decide to ignore Tokio II and to concentrate on the space travel program.
A group of young scientists feels oppressed in their work by the Psi Monks, and they decide to leave the city. They erect a small base in the Wastelands, protected from radiation.
Named after the chief of the Psi Council, Shirkan, a spacecraft embarks in September on a journey to the Mars colony, which will take nine months.
The astronauts discover the remains of the more than 500 years old Mars colony, Red Terra. The logs show that the colony fell victim to an unknown kind of virus in 2212. Thanks to the logs, the crew of the Shirkan experiences in a very gripping way the despair of the colonists when they discovered that the Earth was very nearly taken apart by WW3 - while being unaware that, had they known the reason for the catastrophe, they could have prevented the horrible war from happening:
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 equipment for long range communication. The crew of the Starcruiser is therefor 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 since Red Terra doesn't know anything about the launch of the Starcruiser and since there were two fighters in the area, which couldn't confirm the existence of the ship, Red Terra command thinks the message to be a joke from the patrol and ignores the call. And so the disaster took its course.
The astronauts also learn about the attempt to make the atmosphere of the planet breathable by using Gabanium. But according to the logs the Gabanium stimulates the development of the deadly virus on Mars, which is why the experiment had to be cancelled. A few days later the crew of the Shirkan discovers that Red Terra continuously receives a Hypercom message. It's from the crew of the Starcruiser. The content of the message, which arrives every three hours at the colony, is, that the generation cruiser has arrived on the planet Irata III, that 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 about the order of events of WW3, the crew also picks up all kinds of technical devices. The loot ranges from a Mini-Holodisk player to a VR-Videogame console, as the Shirkan launches after their two-week stay on Mars. The metal, which contains the elements needed for fusion drives, is also taken to Earth in large quantities.
The news about the colonized planet Irata III spreads quickly through Neocron. The government decides to develop spaceships, which can cover the distance of 80 light years to this planet.
After nearly 20 years of work, the Avenger is at Neocron's disposal, a spaceship which is to bring 2000 people in 90 years to the planet Irata III. The crew also has the necessary equipment to construct a permanent communication installation on Irata III, to establish contact with Earth and Mars, respectively.
The colony Red Terra is once again put into operation. The construction of a vast communication facility begins.
After a powerful explosion in the Wastelands, the rumors accumulate about secret laboratories out there, where research on secret weapons and defensive measures is said to be done. Supposedly the Psi Monks run these laboratories to protect their power by force in the case of an insurrection.
The crime rate rises to new heights in Neocron. The citizens accuse the Psi Monks not to be in control of the situation, despite their tough leadership. Lioon Reza, an eloquent ex-member of the secret service, founds a group of terrorists, who set their target on overthrowing the government and reforming the laws of the city.
After a failed attempt to overtake the mighty government building in the Plaza district, Lioon's troops succeed in taking the government of the Psi Monks by surprise and in banning the members of the government from the city. The remaining Psi Monks are tolerated within the city, but are not allowed to congregate or to get active in the field of politics. Many of the Psi Monks of the former government retreat into the old Crahn Abbey in the Wastelands.
Lioon becomes the new dictator of Neocron. He introduces the CopBot system to the city. CopBots are policemen and judges at the same time and therefore are able to rigidly take action against violence and crime in the streets of the city. The laws become strongly simplified and the punishments are extremely increased.
After an insurrection in the old districts of the city, Lioon decides to concentrate the presence of the CopBots on the inner areas of Neocron. Following this decision the outer districts, especially the Outzone of the city, degenerate dramatically. The laws are once again tightened. The only punishment for a criminal act is immediate execution. All aggressive actions are punishable. Carrying weapons unconcealed in the inner districts of the city is (after a caution is issued) punished with death. Everywhere in the city monitoring systems are installed, which are to protect especially the inner areas of the city - Plaza and Via Rosso.
The Avenger arrives at Irata III. Red Terra 2, the new colony on Mars, establishes contact to Irata III. Apparently the people travelling with the Avenger have found a paradise on the planet: Irata III is covered with forests and oceans. The Chinese have erected a city from stone and wood, which they call Typherra. The newcomers are friendly received, but the news of the destructive events on Earth shocks the inhabitants. Since the planet is so big, the Typherrans offer to receive more people.
The news of the paradisiacal situation on Irata III spreads quickly through Neocron. Lioon Reza decides to populate Irata III and to subject 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, radiated water and the general hopelessness on the contaminated Earth, thus joining Lioon's trek.
For unexplained reasons the contact to Irata III suddenly breaks off. Red Terra 2 rules out the possibility of a technical malfunction of the communication facility. The plan of the great trek continues to exist nonetheless, although Lioon himself decides to stay on Earth.
The great trek begins. Forty spaceships, which were constructed following the examples of 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 launch. But those were only the beginning. Almost daily, more, partly much smaller ships, are leaving. The fact that the contact to Irata III has been interrupted for almost a year now only seems to strengthen the wishful thinking and the faith in 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 their own purposes. But there are others who would also like to profit from the abandoned belongings, ranging from everyday utility items to whole buildings, and thus the governmental 'reacquiring' operations get more and more disturbed by criminals and gangs. One man in particular, a lowly criminal named Trevor Denton, succeeds in organizing this raids on left behind property. By forging alliances between several criminal organizations, in the last stages even between members of the Mafia and the Yakuza, he greatly impedes the government's progress in this matter and succeeds in accumulating a good share of personal wealth. But major parts of his success are based on the fact that he is loyal to no one except himself, resulting in him betraying every ally as long as it seems to be profitable. At the end of his short career Trevor Denton is the most wanted man in Neocron, and finally gets killed by one of his many pursuers. To prevent that the organization is overtaken by one of Trevor's children, who all held more or less high positions therein, the government arrests all of them and either executes them or uses them 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 a good deal of his memory.
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 further to prevent the people who are left in the city from plundering and committing other violent acts, but especially in those parts of the city which are difficult to survey, like Pepper Park and the Outzone, the CopBots hardly succeed in their task.
When the contact to Irata III is still not re-established, even four years after it broke off, Lioon's interest in Irata III drops noticeably. Of course he knows that the treks won't arrive on Irata III before 2840 and that he, as opposed to the frozen passengers of the generation ships, will by far have surpassed his maximum life expectancy until then. This realization of his also becomes apparent, when Lioon once again gets more involved in 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 fi nds 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, 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 with the Dome of York against Lioon Reza , 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 policy. 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 there 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 Proto-Pharm 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 perts 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.
A few months after the missed attempts to convey plans of the Ceres Cyborgs to Neocron agents, the Dome of York scientists develop a new weapon technology, on the basis of neutron emitters. The first units equipped with this weapon technology are manufactured and deployed to the Wastelands at once. Within a few weeks the Dome of York conquers the northern sectors of the Wastelands. The CityAdmin quickly determines that the new weapon technology threatens its supremacy in the Wastelands. It begins rushing a hate campaign against the Dome of York and calls runners to actively involve themselves into the conflict. Additionally, Tangent Technologies is assigned with the development of a radiation protection armor suit, which at first seems to effectively shield its carrier from the Dome weapons. However it turns out that the Dome weapons harm the body not only by neutron emission but also contaminate it with long term radioactivity. The newly developed Anti Radiation Suit does not protect against this radioactive contamination. Now ProtoParm is called in to develop an anti-radiation medicine against the contamination of the body, but with no success.
In meantime the Twilight Guardian uses the general confusion and overwork of CityAdmin and after several misses it succeeds to upload a virus into the net of the AREA MC5. The virus is not fully successful but manages to disturb some parts of the operation and the brainwashing is failing from now on. The affected runners still will loose all their memory during the procedure.
After several weeks of grim fights the Dome of York wants to have a meeting with the Alliance as a reaction to Reza's hate campaign. Both parties come to an agreement in short time, and it is decided to deliver Dome of York neutron-emitter weapons to the members of Yager's Alliance. When the CityAdmin finds out about the news it holds several emergency meetings with the aligned city factions. Every attempt to develop an effective protection against the neutron emitter technology failed. On accounting of this failure the CityMercs are commissioned to kidnap scientists from the Dome of York. In the following week and after some heavy fighting the CityMercs can penetrate a secret DoY research lab and kidnap a group of scientists.
After a bomb destroys the Neocronicle office the first shock is replaced by the question why and especially who did this. Investigations by NCPD uncover incredible facts: all but one surveillance cameras recorded only white noise at the given time. On the footage of the only cam which recorded anything it is clearly visible that a small group of persons with Fallen Angels badges enter the building and leave it shortly before the explosion occures. The relation between City Admin and Techhaven are already poor and affected by distrust due to the contacts between the Fallen Angels and Twilight Guardians. Due to the attack the relation reaches now a new low and City Admin surrounds Techhaven with units to prevent the Fallen Angels from acting in the ongoing events. Even factions being on friendly terms with the Fallen Angels ask their leadership uncomfortable questions on account of the apparent clear evidence...only answered by deep silence. Not even a small comment on the accusations is heard from the "deeper" floors of Techhaven. Some think this is already a confession of guilt but other people think that the Fallen Angels simply do not see a point in answering to such an absurd accusation.
During the following weeks Protohpharm and Biotech Systems develop, with the help of the kidnapped DoY scientists, an implant-medicine combination which is giving some protection from the neutron technology. Troops from the Neocron loyal factions are quickly supplied with the new equipment and slowly gain back the dominance in the Wastelands. The Dome of York can hold a defensive line which is not penetrable by the City forces - despite the new equipment of the Neocron troops. The war is stalled for several months. The tough attacks and the iron defence remember scenes of the ancient First World War.
Using the relentless Wasteland war between Neocron and DoY the members of Yager's Alliance against Reza try to shift themselves in good tactical postitions. The Crahn monks and the Twilight Guardian soldiers fight side by side with the Dome of York units against the Neocron forces. Rezas political advisors conclude that the Brotherhood of Crahn has become a serious threat to his power. They increase the presence of Copbots in Plaza and Via Rosso by a significant number and expulse all but the most city-loyal psi monks from the city. At the same time the manipulative monks try put themselves on the best possible terms with the powers of the Dome. Their hidden agenda is to get control over both cities over time and have hidden control over the Dome of York as in old times over Crahn's tribe. An identical agenda drives the warriors of the Twilight Guardian, who are convinced that they can seize the power in both cities by force of arms at the right time. They make no secret of this in front of the DoY emissaries, annoying them. The concealed resentment is kept secret between the two parties.
Being thrown out of Neocron the Brotherhood monks are regrouping at the old Crahn monastery near Tawkeen Village and in the Canyon. Gravis Uplink is used to maintain communication with Neocron , Canyon and the Dome. A hacker working to improve the Hacknet at Gravis finds by chance very old data buried in the systems connected there. It turns out that it is an old DNA Genrep data set of Regant, an old Neocron ruler, who officially died 2611. For security reasons he is brought back to life in an special and secured GenRep in a laboratory hidden in the ancient Gaia Mine owned by the Brotherhood. Unfortunately the Genrep DNA data must have been acquired from the already radiation-sick Regant and so the new body has to be genetically stabilized by using a specially designed armor suit. Regant is known to have extensive knowledge of ancient science because his teacher was Caalron, the scientific successor of Mecando, who was the first researcher of the Ceres Disks. The monks hope for a new weapon or scientific breakthrough to get back their power and Regant offers them the Genotoxic technology he could develop for them, promising eternal life and health. They offer him the lab in the Gaya mine, which is near to then TG controlled Cycrow Lab outpost and think they can control Regant through the armor he needs to wear to stay alive. Regant agrees and starts his research.
For a long time the Black Dragon faction is planning to leave the Pepper Park, in which they never could get a real good foothold because of the enmity from the powerful Tsunami Syndicate. They want to be new citizens and warriors in the Dome of York and place their service to the benefit of their new home. Getting knowledge about this plan the Tsunami Syndicate tries to convince the Dome of York that they are the better choice as ally. The Dome pretends to concur with this argumentation but makes the same agreement with the Black Dragons. Everyone in Yager's Alliance against Reza seems to have only his advantage in mind.
The new year starts with an breakout at TechHaven lead by the Fallen Angels with help from Twilight Guardian and Black Dragon. The surrounding blockade units are heavily diminished. Neocron reacts very cautious; Reza knows that the biggest part of the defences at TechHaven are located in the vast underground buildings and therefore gives the order not to try to break into Techhaven. As a matter of fact the fights are dying away and the Fallen Angels are getting used to the siege of their underground home. In fact they help the Dome of York to build a new weapon against Neocron by exchanging technology. In meantime another problem is distracting Neocrons attention...
A Tangent Technologies weapon transport, carrying the newest plasma weapons, has gone missing in the Wastelands. At first its supposed that it is an attack by the usual suspects but it turns out that some mutants are responsible. The mutant group is detected in the area around the Regant ruins north-west from Neocron, but is defeating any security detail sent to resolve the problem without having any trouble doing it. It turns out that there are considerably more mutants than expected and that more mutants are using plasma weapons and laser blades than were in the seized Tangent transport. Infrared scans of the Regant ruins show that the mutants have human help. Who is helping them is not sure but it turns out that the Regant's Mutants got intelligent by the long-term exposure to an intelligence enhancing drug developed by Protopharm. Protopharm assures that it is not an experiment by the company and right at that time two Anarchy Breed trespassers break into the Protopharm lab to steal the drug. If the helpers are Anarchy Breed or Protopharm lied on this topic remains unclear.
Due to this distraction to Neocrons attention the Dome can field a new weapon into the ongoing war. Implants that can regulate the hormone levels of their carriers, effecting him by reducing his intelligence and resistance to piercing and energy but making him a Berserk and strong fighter. The users of such chips, called Kamikaze Soldiers, left a trail of destruction in the Wastelands. They also had a remote controlled stealth technology and a control chip under their skin which allowed the Dome of York to steer the soldiers by inducing pain and to turn the stealth on and off. Due to this the Kamikaze Soldiers were almost untraceable which allowed them to attack the gates of Neocron in a very short time. A intensive defence fight at the gates did not prevent some Kamikaze Soldiers to enter the inner sectors of the city, but in the end they were killed. After some time the investigators found out that the Kamikaze Chips originally are a BioTech design, the company explaining it did not continued experimenting in this direction because the "undesirable side effects" were found to be inhuman. Dome of York spies had successfully gained access to some of the prototypes.
Parallel to the beginning of the excavation of an underground tunnel network under the northern Wastelands the Dome of York is starting to build a new bomb on the basis of neutron emitter technology. Calculated yield will be magnitudes higher than that of an old conventional nuclear bomb. With this weapon they hope to destroy Neocron in a single strike.
In the meantime Hagen Yager collapses during an public event. It was noticed that he held imperious speeches and behaved like a megalomaniac in the last time. After being examined it seems that the chip which is meant to delay his sickness is malfunctioning. Its update link was anonymously hacked. The Twilight Guardian soldiers located and destroyed the emitter station used to interfere with the chip. Unfortunately it was too late. The prototype of the neutron bomb is assembled in only a few weeks and the Dome needs a testing ground. Not forgetting the annoying proclamations from Yager and his Twilight Guardians regarding their soon to come leadership of Neocron and the Dome of York and due to his demanding and bossy treatment of the DoY emissaries the Dome 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 Guardians. 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 leadership of the Fallen Angels, following their original philosophy, do not comply, but finally accepts the new organization after becoming aware of all the surrounding dangers and enemies. It soon grows to become the predominant subfaction in TechHaven. Whilst 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 a 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 rumours 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.
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 units 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 remotely trigger the warhead .
Only 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. By focussing all communication uplinks it is possible to break in the Dome of York communication network and remotely trigger the bomb fuse. 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. They want to gain control of the DoY territory by one big attack. Twenty-four hours later, all preparations for the devastating 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 communication network. The detonation codes are hastly entered into the bomb's system. Shortly before launch, the bomb explodes on the launchpad and a gigantic explosion wipes out all life in the Dome. The detonation also triggers the invasion of the tunnels by Techhaven and Yager's Alliance. The Alliance forces storm the tunnels wiping out any last resistance encountered and soon control all the entry points into the doomed city. The Neocron forces arriving to attack the tunnel network are surprised to find out that they where outpaced and are easily repelled.
During the next few days, the Dome of York collapses due to immensely high radiation. TechHaven scientists try their best to neutralize the radiation in the city 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, thus making life in the city possible again. Half of the former Dome of York still remains in ruins.
The Black Dragons move to the Dome almost as quickly as the Tsunami Syndicate - each of them thinking to be the first - only to find out that the were not. Both factions plan to continue their control over the Pepper Park from afar and not to leave the Dome to their enemy as they expect that if do this the other one will gain too much power. Compared to their former stay in the Canyon the Twilight Guardian is a lot better off in the Dome. In addition, the radical subfaction 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 centre. 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 Brotherhood 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 Brotherhoods strongest intellectual and spiritual enemy - the Fallen Angels. To prevent an immediate confrontation between the new inhabitants a meeting is held and after long and tiring negotiations the city is divided into several sectors, each controlled by a different faction.
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.
Meanwhile the half-intelligent mutants who were first encountered at Regant's ruins are occuping the sectors in the area and spreading. The Crahn monks did not notice that their ressurected "friend" has improved his armor and started to have some special side-projects of his own, returning to facilities who are almost forgotten at this time.
Neocron military camps are installed around the destroyed and radiated canyon sector guarding the area from trespassing Dome Alliance scouts and also from the highly dangerous monsters who rapidly populated the now empty canyon.
Yager seems to be mad and trying to use his second in command Robert Rodriguez to command the DoY Alliance and push TG back to the canyon, Robert Rodriguez is having trouble following Hagen. Despite the ongoing arguments the Fallen Angels are asked if they could start a project to clean the canyon from the radioactive pollution. The military camps around the Canyon are attacked by DoY Alliance forces and the contaminated Canyon is occupied by them as outpost of the Dome and the Fallen Angels set up a lab to develop a massive cleaning operation. Hagen Yager moves to the Canyon lab and the distance between him, the Dome Alliance factions and also Robert is helping to ignore the ongoing dispute over the future politics in the Dome and the Canyon.
An unknown hacker calling himself H.I.O.B. is using the highly modernized Hacknet to break into different communication channels, including Neocronicle, Voice of the Resistance and mail communication. The messages are in an educational tone and tell the people about peace in the world. Some are warning about mutants and Regant others attack the Neocron administration and Lioon Reza himself.
Mutants from the Regant ruins sectors are seen in the Outzones and the outside the Dome, attacking runners. The non-coordinated attacks are easily repelled in both cities. Many bums and outcasts from Neocron and Dome are disappearing. A new charity organisation called Neocore is trying to help the poor people in Neocron providing social care. The influence in politics and society of this organisation increases very fast and many high-ranked CityAdmin and NCPD employees are participating or backing Neocore.
The Brotherhood of Crahn finally finds out that Regant is not working for them and also has escaped his prison. Due to the chaos after the attack on the canyon and the war between the Dome and Neocron they could not check the hidden lab in the Gaya mine. Linking the half-intelligent mutants controlling the zones around the Regant ruins and the missing Regant they understand that a new powerful player entered the game. Such important intel is partly released to the Dome Alliance and so it takes only a short time till the Neocron factions know too who is the new old ruler of the Regant ruins and the nearby sectors, now called Regant's Legacy. Still no one outside the Brotherhood council knows how Regant reappeared.
Tsunami Syndicate sector inhabitants and many customers and "employees" in the different clubs are suffering from nausea or small mutations. Some of them disappear from the sector. Rumours tell that cheap cut drugs from Black Dragon dealers are poisoning the drug users. Black Dragon is accused by the Tsunami Syndicate and small fights between both factions start in the Dome. Ronald Rodriguez is conciliating between both factions and calls the Fallen Angel scientists to investigate.
Lioon Reza is found dead by his secretary Steven Emmerson. His first notion was that the coffee he brought Reza only some minutes ago was the cause of death, maybe it was poisoned. Neocronicle is launching an article about the death of Lioon Reza which is deleted after short a time. The reporter William Frost is on the run and escapes to the Dome. Neocronicle launches new article describing that only a doppelganger of Reza was killed. NCPD is searching the city for evidence and many runners find things incriminating the Dome. Dome and VOTR launch an information campaign telling that the real Reza is dead for a long time and the doppelganger ruled the city as a figurehead for the CityAdmin bureaucracy.
Jack Red, former governor, is now acting ruler of Neocron, accuses the Dome Alliance for Rezas death and starts to build up an army to attack the Dome. The Dome Alliance, getting the intel from their spys in Neocron, is doing the same. Both parties try to hire the CityMercs for acting on their side, the Merc faction mainly remaining neutral but some members still fighting secretly on the Neocron side.
NCPD investigators are puzzled why Rezas body seems to be so young, he should be around 70 years old but the body seems to be around 25 years old. The case is closed by CityAdmin and the records are declared confidential.
The new armies of Neocron and the Dome clash against each other in the Wastelands, only to grind themselves down to small troops. The fighters discover that many dead bodies are disappearing after the fights. After some weeks of fighting the ammunition is low and the demoralized army leaders Jack Red and Robert Rodriguez are starting talking to each other about a truce. Just as the talks are to begin, the reconnaissance patrols of both sides are alarming the leaders that a huge mutant army is approaching, many extreme mutants seem to be composed of the missing dead bodies. Now they knew who is to blame for the things what happened the last time, Regant! The attack is devastating but the leaders and their guards can retreat to their cities. A truce is agreed upon through the hacknet and uplink communication.
After finding out that Regant has infiltrated Neocron and the Dome, both sides try to finde the Regant agents. Most efficiently is Jack Red, discovering through his own secret agents that Neocore is a set-up by Regant. He uses this to clean up ranks in NCPD and CityAdmin, in this course making rid of anyone opposing him, and becomes new leader and "President" of Neocron.
Parallel to the takedown of Neocore the Fallen Angels scientists hired by the Dome Alliance find out that a mutagen gas is distributed through the ventilation in the Dome Tsunami sector. Combined with the higher drug use in this sector the mutagen gas is more potent and the mutation rate is extremely high. The sector is evacuated and the Fallen Angels start a decontamination project for the sector. After further investigation the Dome security find a gas distribution system possibly made by Regant. The same system is found in the deepest sewers of Neocron but seems not to be completed, maybe because Neocore was disbanded so early. Regant is very upset because of the disclosure of his secret enterprises and also is hurt by realizing that his old brains are not as intelligent as the humans of the present. He starts to invade both cities with his mutant armies. Defence is not simple because the dead runners from both cities rise again to be Regants Mutants and thus reinforce the invading armies.
H.I.O.B. hacks again and distributes messages telling that Regant is not working on a peaceful world as expected by him. Computer experts believe that H.I.O.B. is an AI using ancient communication links and not a person. It seems that H.I.O.B. wants Regant dead because he is not complying with his way to a peaceful world. Regant himself also gets messages from H.I.O.B. disclosing that there is an ancient machine in the deep Techhaven rooms which was can clean the air in Techhaven if it gets contaminated by radioactive particles but also can be used to spread the mutagen gas in the vast underground facilities which are forming Techhaven.
Regant is rushing to the site, not realizing the trap set up by H.I.O.B. who in turn calls the humanity from both cities to help to destroy him and his armies. Finally finding out about H.I.O.B.'s feint and trapped by the armies around and in Techhaven he tries to escape by GenRep to the Regant Fortress but the signal is rerouted by H.I.O.B. to the Gaya Mine lab GenRep, also manipulating this GenRep to be the only one Regant has to use to stay alive, now stripped of his special armor suit. The Gaya Mine is secured by reprogrammed CopBots commanded by H.I.O.B..
Deducing that, after the main military forces of all 3 powers are almost completely destroyed, the right time for peace in the world has come the AI tries to get in control of both cities. H.I.O.B. is restraining Jack Red and Ronald Rodriguez in their own apartments by breaking into the facility management code and is launching false news in NEMA and VOTR that they both are missing. After some time H.I.O.B. is declaring himself as new ruler of both cities justifying this action on the argument that there is no government if the leaders are missing. The said leader are now subjects of a mind-washing program by the AI, but unknown to it scientists from both cities work together detecting the leaders in the apartments and getting visual confirmation by using pest control systems who are installed in the apartment complexes. The leaders are liberated by teams of skilled fighters and hidden in a tunnel system near the Gaya Mine.
Humanity attacking the one who wants to bring her peace can not be tolerated so H.I.O.B. is reevaluating his policy and since the humans do not comply the humans must be eliminated. Weird constructs and machines attack on every level and every faction, trying to clean the world from the warmongers. The counter attack is done by using a specially designed virus, which is slowly reducing H.I.O.B.'s power and reducing it to its main processing unit. The AI succeeds to delete the virus in the last moment, but has to regain power before starting to grow back in the Hacknet and Com links. The information found by various scout teams about the design of the AI is used to find the main processing unit in the Gaya Mines, which are not fully accessible due to many tunnels which caved in during the centuries. The connection between the processing unit and the Hacknet is destroyed, H.I.O.B. maybe destroyed, deactivated or only locked in to the remaining ancient network in the deeps of the mine.
After a very arduous year 2760 the things settle a bit down, two powers who almost destroyed the world and humanity a second time are neutralized and buried in almost the same place where they started their existence. Lioon Rezas doppelganger is dead and the real Reza must have died many years ago.
In an VOTR article written by Yager himself he explains his history and that he was once a friend of Lioon Reza in the times of the so called terrorist group who wanted to change the government led by the Crahn city council and reform the city laws. They parted ways when Reza used his chance and made himself dictator instead keeping to the goals of the organisation he once created. Yager left the city fearing Reza and trying to recreate the organisation again and fulfilling the goal of a free and equal society he and his friend once shared. Now he is to old and to sick to keep his promise and start again from the beginning, his only hope is that his goals will remain the goals of the Twilight Guardians. Incredible silence never recorded in the last centuries of civilized news coverage was broadcasted over all known com networks. But after the astonishment weared off the outcry was unbelievable. In the Dome the council wanted to immediately arrest Yager, in Neocron the press is bashing the Dome Alliance about this story, completely ignoring that Reza took part in it. When the arrest detail arrived at Hagen Yager's appartment in the Canyon they only found him dead by suicide. Robert Rodriguez makes a public declaration that he will fulfill the Twilight Guardian's goals of freedom and equality.
John Davis was promoted to the City Admin special security office, the NSD, he was an NCPD officer before and hero in the wars against the Regant mutants. He was in charge of organizing the civil defence in Neocron.
Robert Rodriguez DOY Alliance Leader disappears during an attack on a transport convoy which he was supervising and the Twilight Guardians suspect that the City Administration has something to do with it. Alex Mendez, the right hand of the Resistance Leader Rodriguez starts several investigations about the his boss. He stages several attacks against Neocron to intrude the city and use the confusion the get important investigation data on the Rodriguez case by hacking databased from inside the city zones. After some of these attacks took place, the City Administration lead by John Davis pays the canyon a return visit. A huge group of runners and a squad team (44th. Reza's finest) was sent to occupy the Canyon and capture Alex Mendez - they failed to catch Alex. Davis messages Alex during his escape: "Next time we'll meet someone will die."
Alex Mendez and a huge bunch of Dome Alliance members are occupying Neocron sector by sector starting from the Outzone, over Pepper Park to Plaza. The security system is hacked and Plaza 1 was not safe anymore. When the attackers reached the Plaza the defenders try to retreat to the CA HQ Building but in the chaos Jack Red is captured and excecuted by Alex Mendez on the steps of the HQ. Davis was not aware that the Plaza security was compromised and the attackers overpowered the Plaza security. He arrives at the site just in the moment when Jack is killed. He attacks Mendez but cannot kill him, Mendez is critically injured but manages to escape using a new stealth technology from the Fallen Angels.
The Powder Keg
to be continued....