Chromed Out Lore for Dummies

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Preview of Modern Earth

Total population of Earth is approximately 11,000,000,000, the sea level has risen by 20 meters, engulfing most low-lying coastal areas beneath the waves. The Kingdom of Britannia, backed by the mighty British Empire, is a horrifying instrument of global catastrophe.

America is in tatters, the United States collapsed in 2058, and New England is ruled by the British, the impoverished East Coast serves as the primary battleground for the British war for resources and revenge against North America.

Asia isn't well either. The Republic of China rules over Vietnam, and is in the process of invading Mainland Japan, and Japanese Hong Kong. Japan is wrought with instability, the democratic government of the 1960s to the 2060s has given way to a corporate republic tasked with juggling climate change, Chinese invaders, economic instability, and gang activity.

In all of this horrid violence, there only stands one ugly salvation from British invasion, climate collapse, or total governmental failure. Corporatization of state, courtesy of the Triumvirate. The Triumvirate is the sole governing body of the post-American state of Cascadia. The Triumvirate is a monolith, immovable but unstoppable. The Algorithms that control the Triumvirate autonomously manage everything from laws, to economy, to the very culture of its subjects.

This world, is an ugly one. How did it get here?

Long Story Short

The British retain their imperial possessions, and it gets worse from there.

Long Story Medium

The German Reich surrenders in 1944. The British keep their empire, America keeps the Philippines, and fascism begins to rise in the British Isles. The USSR and United Kingdom are the main belligerents in the early Cold War. The Republic of China under the Kuomintang defeats the Chinese Communist Party.

America and Japan remain at war until Japanese surrender in 1945. The US begins reconstruction of the state near-singlehandedly. Mass immigration to and from Japan in this period causes a cultural and ethnic chain to be formed between the United States, particularly the coast of California, and Japan.

The USA's Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s is a flop, meager state reforms are passed slowly. The movement comes back in the late 1990s, and pushes both social and economic reforms, entirely upending mainstream American politics.

From the 1980s to the 2010s, the Japanese economy sees a major boom, and America benefits greatly. The seeds planted by the reconstruction of Japan sprout into redwoods in the megalopolises of California, as Japanese culture becomes intrinsically linked to the West Coast. This is dubbed the Californian Cultural Revolution.

The USA and UK go to war over America's liberation of racial minorities, in 2014. The US wins after fighting off invasions of the Great Plains, New England, and the Philippine Islands, and then invading Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Malaya. America conquers coastal Queensland, and renames the territory to New California. They also demand the demilitarization of Australia, and the independence of New Zealand, Jamaica, and Papua New Guinea

The Year of the Blaze, the beginning of the wildfire season that never ended, occurs in 2035, a reality check for climate protection measures. The Year of the Blaze marks the end of the American Century, and the beginning of the end for the United States.

In 2050, the UK, now the Kingdom of Britannia, goes to war with Canada. Canada quickly collapses from war stresses. The United States follows suit, The Pacific Northwest secedes in 2055. The rest of the country separates in 2058.

America and Britannia go to war once again in 2062. Britain takes New England. The war continues to this day, and means about as much as the war in Afghanistan to most people.

China begins an invasion of Mainland Japan in 2080, under the name Bleeding Lotus. The sheer population density of urban Japan results in the occasional violation of the Geneva conventions.

In 2082, the HELIOS corporation launches The Voidmover, directly before the HELIOS-Shinjuku Merger. Bureaucratic confusion leaves nearly 60,000 men, women, and children stranded in orbit with little communication to and from Earth. Around 15,000 are evacuated between 2083 and 2085, most of which are corporate executives of the now defunct HELIOS corporation.

Shinjuku-affiliated agents detonate a nuclear bomb in a Chinese weapons facility in the Gobi Desert. The so-called Gobi Desert Incident is blamed on the Soviet Union.

And that is where your story begins.

A Very Long Story

World War II

American support comes earlier on and stronger, allocated to the African front. The Axis is pushed out of Libya before 1943. Allied landings in Sicily begin in the Spring rather than the Summer.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor never happens, as Roosevelt removed the Pacific Fleet from the Pacific Ocean. As such, the United States enters the war a well-equipped Naval power.

The war ends early, in the winter of 1944, and as opposed to committing suicide, Hitler and other Nazi leaders are tried for war crimes. Hitler is sentenced to life in maximum security prison, and lives until 1969. Japan continues warring with (mostly) the United States, until 1945.


Imperial Tendencies

Less damaged by an early victory, the British have the resources to maintain their empire, fighting with insurrectionists and independence movements in their many colonies. British xenophobia and militarism is fueled heavily, by the constant state of warfare between the United Kingdom and its colonies.

Japanese Reconstruction

America almost singlehandedly takes on the task of reconstructing Japan, forming strong cultural ties between the two. Mass population swaps occur between the United States and Japan, as American industrial workers look for jobs in Japan, and Japanese citizens seek new lives in the United States. Most Japanese people seeking to hop the pond take the cheapest, shortest flight, landing them directly on the western coast.

Many Americans stay permanently in Japan, and many Japanese stay permanently in America. Those that return, often return with wives, husbands, or children from their lives abroad, and the Americans often have enough money to comfortably retire on the sandy beaches of California. These events would later spark the Californian Cultural Revolution.

The Cold War Begins

The British begin the Cold War early with the USSR, as the Soviets fund native rebellions in the British colonies from 1944 to 1950. Neither are interested in open war. The United States aren't involved, due to their focus on the Japanese war, and the country's subsequent reconstruction.

1950 to 1990

The Korean War begins in 1950, between the southern Republic of Korea (backed by the Republic of China), and the northern Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea (backed by the USSR). The war ends in a stalemate after a near-victory by the DPRK, resulting in an intervention by the British Raj.

The State of China

The Chinese Civil War ends in 1954, with a Republic of China victory. Without Soviet support, the Chinese Communist Party is unable to secure victory. Most CCP officials flee to the USSR, or face execution or life imprisonment in the mainland.

China begins the Lántiān Offensive against Communist Vietnam in 1955, and annexes the nation in 1960.

First Civil Rights Movement

The First Civil Rights Movement begins in the United States. Rosa Parks is killed via cyanide poisoning 166 days into the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated by the CIA mere minutes before delivering the 'I Have a Dream' speech. Racial segregation remains federally legal in the United States. As consequences of this, the Party Switch of the 1960s is only a temporary affair, and the Democrats remain the premier right-wing party in the United states. Resentment boils and bubbles in the Black community, and the push for Gay Rights in the '60s and '70s is largely rejected.

Californian Cultural Revolution

As the Japanese economy skyrocketed in the early 1980s, the seeds of cultural entwinement formed during the Japanese reconstruction of the 1950s bore tremendous fruit. While Japan may have westernized, it was now no doubt to anyone that the West had Japanified. Millions of Japanese-Americans indulged in the culture that had lived in the shadow of America for decades. The Californian Cultural Revolution saw the transfer of many Japanese traditions to America, including religion, as interest in Shintoism and Buddhism saw a grand rising in the United States.

Turn of the Millennium

The Second Civil Rights Movement

In the early 1990s, the Second Civil Rights Movement begins. It is focused on achieving equality for Black individuals, and Queer liberation. The movement is far more insurrectionist and paramilitary in nature than the first, and the achievements of the movement help to popularize leftist ideas within the United States. Racial segregation is federally outlawed by 2011 after heavy obstructionism by southern Democrats, and the British stare towards Washington in abject horror.

British-American Tensions

Diplomatic relations between the United States and United Kingdom had been worsening since hard times hit the Soviet Union in the 1990s. No longer united by a common enemy, the anglosphere was split in twain between the Kingdom, and the Republic. And as the Republic embraced civil rights and began its transition towards the left, Britain was readying itself for conflict, and made strong attempts to sew divides between the British and Americans. American was quickly identified as a separate race from Britons, and written into the kingdom's miscegenation laws, forbidding the marriage of Americans and British.

America sought distance from its European progenitor, as the 'No More British America' movement gained prominence in regions of Canada more closely linked to the Republic than the Kingdom, and the Crown clamped down on its subjects as it always had when there was rebellious strife.

As Americans instituted equality within their society, the British imposed sanctions on American goods, but this did nothing to stop the momentum gained by American leftism, and they took British diplomatic aggression head on. The 2012 election granted a second term to Gloria La Riva, a staunch anti-imperialist from the Farmer-Labor Party, who had made indirect statements against the terrors of colonialism, but the message to Britannia was very clear.

"Fuck around and find out."

First Anglo-American War

On January 3rd, 2014, the British would announce a declaration of war upon the United States, seeking to liberate America from their "communist" government.

The early war saw landings in New England with a force not seen since D-Day, and an incursion into the Great Plains by way of Central Canada. British forces coming from Canada were able to reach Denver before being repelled, and in the east, occupied New England, as the Americans held an impenetrable operation at the so-called 'Albany Line' along the border of New York.

Cities on the east coast were ruthlessly bombarded from the start of the war to the end of it, New York City the most, seeing a dip from a population of over 8 million, to less than 2 million within the span of a few years, as residents sought refuge en-masse, propelling Los Angeles and Chicago to the place as America's new crowning cities.

After repelling the invaders from the Plains, the United States began their expeditions westwards. Knowing they couldn't strike at the brain of the Kingdom in London, they instead aimed for their lungs and heart in Malaya and the Raj. American forces left for Oceania in the spring of 2016, and first struck at Papua New Guinea, using the island to have a strategic northern sightline on Australia and New Zealand. The Americans spread like bacterium across Oceania, eventually taking northern Borneo.

British forces had anticipated an attack upon Malaya, and had stationed troops to appear like an evacuating army, but instead of going back towards Singapore, they went eastwards to Manila. The island was nearly vacant, with the Americans springing across the oceans, assuming the British were on the offensive. The islands were all but defenseless, and they were occupied with only a whimper. American counter-attack forces came as soon as was possible, but saw only ash on the ports as the British had razed Manila, and killed at least a hundred thousand in retaliation and brutality not seen since the Nanjing massacre.

The American counter-attack was enough to push the British off the Philippines, but the damage had been done. The Americans set out with added resolve towards Western Malaysia, and took it promptly. With this defeat, the Americans offered peace to the British, and they refused. The Americans blocked the attempt to recapture Western Malaysia, and then landed in the Mon region of Burma. Within a week of the landing, the British surrendered.

Peace in the Anglosphere

The peace deal left Britain utterly and totally humiliated, as the Americans demanded the total and complete demilitarization of British-controlled Australia, the independence of British Jamaica, the independence of Papua New Guinea, and the crippling of independence of the Dominion of Canada. And, just to add salt to the wound, the Americans demanded swathes of Queensland to be taken as American territory.

2020s and Beyond

America entered the 2020s an undisputed superpower with Japan by their side, enjoying another economic boom as a major exporter towards their newly independent neighbors in Asia and Oceania. The British had very few cards left, and the Soviets were off on their own ventures for the most part, still somewhat limping from hardships in the 1990s, and the third echo of Soviet deaths in World War II. But, overall, things were good for many, the United States was clamping down on climate protection, rapidly mobilizing the economy for a switch to renewable energy, and much the same was happening in other developed countries.

It seemed so peaceful, for around 15 years.

As China refused cooperation with geopolitical organizations to monitor pollution during its rapid industrialization, and Britannia lied her way through climate goals to avoid sanctions, all the while keeping a tight lock on her valuable oil reserves, things got rapidly worse. Global warming shattered record after record, until a breaking point.

Looking back, America increased in power from its inception, all the way to the 2030s, but why, and when, did its decline begin, to a point of balkanization, even? Well, we can pin down not only an exact year and cause, but an exact season.

Year of The Blaze

The beginning of wildfire season in America was, as always, unwelcome, and rising year-by-year. But, in 2035, as wildfires struck northern Mexico and the southwestern corner of the United States, it never stopped. No amount of water, fire brakes, or federal funding could quell the flames. And, since 2035, into the 2040s, 2050s, 2060s, 2070s, and 2080s, those same flames lit almost over 50 years ago, are still burning.

As money poured into the southwest, to be burned and blown into the Mojave or Sonora deserts, running constant evacuation missions to and from San Diego, Palm Springs, and Phoenix, the US grew impoverished. The blaze, and its ensuing incidents, firmly planted the current president, George Green, as one of the most hated presidents in U.S. history, leading directly to the dissolution of the Democratic Party.

Empires from Ashes

Like a vampire, feeding off the blood of the world's distraught, the Great Kingdom of Britannia rose above, militarizing Great Victoria to retake her Empire from the sweat of her brow. All would love her, and despair. And as imperium called, the Chinese state beckoned her. In 2043, the empires signed the Pact for the Restoration of Chinese and British Reverence, they sought domination in numbers.

Soon after, the Great Reclamation would begin, and British ships would sail for New Guinea, Belize, and Jamaica. As a part of the reclamation, the British began the Quebec Offensive to retake Canada as a Dominion.

Biology into Binary

In 2061, SoulOS, an operating system designed for use as a framework for sapient and near-sapient Artificial Intelligences, was released to the public after 20 years in development.

End of the American Experiment

In 2055, the Pacific Northwest, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, would secede from the Union, to form the Pacific States of Cascadia. The region, which had grown prominent from its proximity to California, and as a side effect of the mass exodus from the eastern coast, postured itself as a modern alternative to the United States which was, in their mind, stuck in the past. Cascadia purchased Vancouver Island, and vast tracts of British Columbia from the struggling Canadian state.

And, only three years later, the Republic would cease to be. Though the process of dissolution had begun before the 2056 election, the point of no return was the Symposium on Secession, and as the states coalesced, formed governments, and tried, desperately to calm their people, the Canadian state collapsed. In 2062, the Second Anglo-American War began, one of the deadliest wars in history. The British bombarded New York and stood troops on the Albany line, just as they had done nearly 50 years ago, but this time, there was no great American fleet to wrest control back from the colonialists in Oceania and Asia, no armed force with a higher budget than some GDPs to hold the line like cement.

For 25 years the war has waged, and the British still fight, and they still hold Boston.

Into the Modern Day

The Voidmover

The CLV Voidmover, designed by the HELIOS corporation, began construction in 2080. It was meant as a spaceborne city, suitable for holding around 60,000 individuals in comfortable, long-term habitation. The Voidmover was additionally used as a way for HELIOS the flex the muscles of its constructor drones.

The construction was completed in only 2 years, a truly impressive time, showcasing HELIOS' mastery of construction drones to expedite production.

Restoration of Chinese Reverence

Into the 2080s, the Chinese began their very own great restoration, preparing to fight their premier modern humiliator, 倭, who stole the spotlight from China as the west's Asian darling, and held Hong Kong like it was a part of the Japanese mainland. This conquest, would be titled Bleeding Lotus.

Japan's democratic government had given way to governance of Triumvirate International through JTRI around a decade ago, converting the republic into a SprawlState.

Crisis in Orbit

The Voidmover Crisis began shortly after it was launched, a very destructive dictionary definition of 'bureaucratic limbo'. During the HELIOS-Shinjuku Merger and its consequences, ownership of the craft was not firmly stated or decided upon, and as a result of this confusion, the landing-launch pad of the Voidmover, the only place on Earth where the ship could land, was disassembled, leaving its 60,000 inhabitants stranded.

Over the next few years, 15,000 people would be evacuated from the Voidmover, mostly higher-ups and executives of the now-defunct HELIOS corporation, still leaving 45,000 men, women, and children stranded in space. After 2084, no more news about the Voidmover and her crisis would reach the public, if there even was any.

Crisis in the Desert

In 2085, a number of operatives under the banner of the Shinjuku Clan, and some of their own members, detonate a dirty bomb in a KMT weapons facility in the Gobi Desert. The explosion and aftermath end the lives of thousands, including both Chinese combatants, engineers, scientists, and associated civilians, in what would become known as the Gobi Desert Incident. The fallout from the bomb would spread southwest towards Ningxia and Gansu.

In Conclusion

This is where your story begins. Your world is an ugly one, a scary place that, if you're lucky, you've seen decline from a hopeful world where anything was possible, to a land of few things besides hardship. But this world is still a world, a world with people and history.