Next up is the basic timeline.
T-20 Years: Nuclear power becomes increasingly miniaturized, with the required size limits dropping every year. Bowing to various pressures and the lack of use of printed money, the U.S. Federal Reserve and Department of the Treasury merge into a single entity, the Consolidated Computerized Bank of the Treasury. This new organization switches to a cash card based system, and cash cards become readily available for printing at all ATMs for a minor fee.
T-6 Years: Solar-powered drones (eyebots) begin to be used in police work. DoubleTech creates the first successful power armor suit. FuturePower patents the first real PPCB, a plutonium powered cell battery, and the military snaps it up as a mobile power source. In a perfect example of backroom dealing, tech startup AnywhereComputers forms a pact with FuturePower. Together they will design and sell a computer console at great losses and sweep the market out from under the feet of the current tech giants, sustained by FuturePower’s lucrative defense contracts with the military. The ploy goes off without a hitch, and though the previous tech giants cry foul the two companies solidify their stranglehold on the computer market long before the case ever makes it to the courts.
T-5 Years: After many years of arguments, restrictions on several of the more common recreational drugs have been significantly reduced. While still technically illegal, the common attitude of most places has become that many are okay, as long as their use is kept out of direct sight.
T-4 Years: Personal bionics become commonplace for the wealthy, and for those with high-demand government positions. Rivtech explodes onto the defense contractor scene and begins making headway in a number of other consumer fields as well, ranging from appliances to home security. Robotic police officers or “copbots” enter service in limited areas. To reduce start-up costs and reuse the older infrastructure, the copbots are solar powered like the previous eyebots and many consumer robots; while the military and defense industries have fully embraced the PPCB to power their equipment.
T-3 Years: Escalations in China and DPRK lead to a “Cold War,” with both sides highly prioritizing defense research. Transposition along 4th axis discovered by DARPA researchers. Drone use in the military and police fields continues to expand, and many precincts now contain more robotic than human officers.
T-30 Months: 4th dimensional topology mapped out. It’s found that certain areas are “lower” along the 4th axis, allowing for relatively low-energy transposition into areas of interest from those that are “higher”. In terms of location Earth appears to be much like a valley on the edge of a mountain range, surrounded by unreachable “heights” but with a connection to a vast set of “lowland” areas.
T-28 Months: Collection of materials along 4th axis commences. First contamination occurs but is confined to the two research labs with transposition equipment, and is in amounts so tiny (a few dozen molecules) that it is not remarked upon.
T-25 Months: Gun control laws greatly relaxed as a result of perceived increase in public safety and a drive for a more armed populace in the event of actual war breaking out.
T-20 Months: Robotic police officers are used in 95% of police precincts and now vastly outnumber human officers. The government starts implementing a plan to build evacuation shelters near most cities, partly to reassure the people, and partly to remind them of the ever-growing threat of invasion or attack.
T-18 Months: A new federal agency, the Xenophysical Energy Defense Research Agency (XEDRA), is created to oversee the construction and operation of 12 new 4th axis research labs, scattered across the midwest. A handful of lesser recreational drugs are totally decriminalized, though many harder ones remain illegal.
T-16 Months: Plasma and laser weapons are developed in response to rising threat in China and the DPRK. While they prove useful in specialized areas and are great for holding the eye of the public, their overall effect is largely marginal due to production and usage difficulties. Bionics have become increasingly common among the common man, though many people choose to only receive minimal augmentations.
T-15 Months: Increases in extradimensional research leads to collection of living samples. This notably includes XE037 (the blob). As time continues, larger and larger sub-prime monsters are retrieved. XEDRA begins to become increasingly internally politicized, with different divisions competing for research dollars and oversight staff conflicting in their opinions regarding the direction and goals of research.
T-13 Months: Short-range teleportation becomes a reality using fixed laboratory equipment. Long range teleportation is determined to be largely impossible, except in a few very rare subcases.
T-12 Months: XEDRA begins storing sub-prime lifeforms, particularly XE037, and researching their potential as a possible super-weapon. While finished many evac shelters have remained unstocked by the government, money instead being used for further R&D and military expansions. Gun controls are relaxed even further, and many civilians begin to stockpile resources in their own basements.
T-10 Months: Massive troop movements in China and the DPRK provoke deployment by USAF. For the second time in U.S history, a peacetime draft is instated. The successes of XEDRA lead to a greatly increased budgets and the construction of hundreds of new research & production facilities in appropriate areas.
T-9 Months: Civil unrest regarding the drafts is widespread. To counter the unrest a new police robot, the “riotbot” is developed and begins to be used. Like the copbots and eyebots of the past, it continues to use solar power.
T-7 Months: Troops begin deploying with cutting-edge bionics systems that range from extremely strong muscles to the ability to control self-piloted grenades. They are, according to intelligence, outpaced by Chinese developments.
T-6 Months: XEDRA gains increasingly unrestricted powers. Convicts with death sentences are used as subjects. Later, convicts with life sentences are used as well. The vast increase in research facility numbers has led to no small amount of internal confusion and conflict, amplifying the effects of XEDRA’s internal politics.
T-5 Months: The zombifying effect of XE037 is discovered. The military begins to establish military bunkers and silos across the country to better resist any actual invasion while still maintaining second strike capabilities. These bunkers are largely unstaffed, and are intended to be defended by robots until such time as they are needed.
T-3 Months: Civil unrest progresses into wide-scale riots. Limited martial law is instated in several areas and leads to the construction of military road blocks. Deployment of robotic police is increased to maintain order. Many gangs take the opportunity provided by the riots to pay back on long-standing grudges, leading to open gang warfare in some locations.
T-4 Months: Corruption in XEDRA runs rampant and the legality of actions is frequently ignored. Due to the perceived importance of XEDRA, and the extenuating circumstances of public unrest and riots, these oversteps are mostly ignored. Unsatisfied with the current evac shelters, the VAULT program is created, which advertises a veritable underground city to live in for the lucky few who make it.
T-30 Days: DPRK troop movements indicate an imminent attack. Missile launches batter South Korean port cities and act as a show of force. In response, US troop deployment is vastly increased, resulting in a much smaller military presence in mainland USA. Most of military high command is moved to a new, unknown location, known only as the “Fortress of Solitude”. At the same time the families of a large number of high-profile politicians mysteriously disappear from view, with the explanations all being that they are on “vacation”.
T-15 Days: The XE037 surge occurs. XE037, a kind of sanguine hive mind, is responding to XEDRA’s probes. The surge occurs in all teleportation facilities simultaneously. Due to a lack of immediate effects, the surge is largely written down as a widespread anomaly. However during this event XE037 contaminates the ground water and establishes “colonies” (slime pits). It is unknown whether Chinese/DPRK facilities experience this surge, as it is unknown whether they possess the equipment to perform transposition experiments. Unbeknown to the world, knowledge that Earth exists has just entered into the minds of the larger Nether factions.
T-10 Days: The first zombification incidents outside of labs occur. These are sometimes covered up by XEDRA; but often they aren’t even noticed, and the zombie is dismissed as an extremely violent rioter and re-killed.
T-5 Days: Rumors of genetically modified soldiers begin to creep through the population. Most are dismissed out of hand, and the government refuses to comment.
T-3 Days: Widespread contamination of worm and insect life by XE037 occurs, resulting in rapid transformations in many areas. The nation goes to high alert. Reasons are sketchy. Rumors of an imminent attack abound. News media briefly brings up stories of a few drug fueled maniacs attacking civilians, but they are quickly buried under speculation on a possible invasion.
T-2 Days: Speculation continues. There are rumors of a new street drug turning people into violent, brutal killers. There are sightings of strange, large, aggressive insects in the woods, but no official confirmation.
T-1 Day: There are suspected reports that the killers may be under the influence of a biological attack slowly creeping its way through the population, turning people into killers. Others dismiss these rumors as nonsense. The government refuses to comment, saying they are investigating and looking into things. A portal opens in a remote field, but the government responds quickly and suppresses information about the event.
T+0: Another widespread surge occurs in all teleportation facilities simultaneously, many times stronger than the first. The lab technicians frantically try to shut the machinery down, but despite their best efforts the portals refuse to close, and actually appear to be strengthening in connection. Shortly after this extradimensional horrors begin to emerge from many of the portals, and several of the smaller labs that scatter the area providing relays for the dimensional manipulation experiments become completely overrun.
Meanwhile communications with military high command have become increasingly sketchy. Their last known command is to order the bombing of all overrun labs, after which all communications with them are replaced abruptly with an ominous silence, and all subsequent attempts at communication are unsuccessful. Following their last order, the military unleashes their own high explosives upon the New England area.
The bombs prove a mediocre solution, at best. In many cases they work successfully, but in many others they only succeed in making things worse. Many of the bombed portals absorb the energy and create larger, fluctuating rifts. With the loss of stability some of these rifts billow forth huge plumes of noxious chemicals, causing those in the immediate area’s skin to blister, boil, and slough off. In other areas the temperatures plummet or soar, turning areas into land into arctic tundras or blistering infernos. It is hypothesized by scientists in-the-know that the combination of the surge and subsequent bombing has caused permanent dimensional weakness and vastly expanded our susceptibility to general dimensional contact. This is all fairly meaningless to the average citizen, who is mostly under the impression that life has turned into hell-on-earth.
Creatures from the surviving portals begin venturing forth and slaughtering those that they find who have managed to survive the changes the portals have wreaked on the surrounding landscape. Several portals expand violently into explosions of white spores before contracting down to smaller sizes. These spores float on the breeze, and many eventually find a home.
Finally the emergency klaxons that were supposed to warn of an attack sound, and a biological attack is announced. There is utter chaos, and many mixed messages among the populace. Martial law is declared and what is left of the contactable military is deployed in an attempt to try to control the situation. It becomes hard to ignore the fact that the dead rise again shortly afterwards, and that abominations roam the streets. Many head to the unstocked evacuation shelters or attempt to gain access to the military bunkers only to be shot down by the robotic defenses. Others lock their doors and stay inside, praying that nothing find them there. There is a huge migration of vehicles heading west, lured by the hope that the problem isn’t as bad farther away from the coast.
As day turns to night, a widespread caustic rain occurs as the first vast surge of alien chemicals into the atmosphere returns to earth. The deadly rain lasts for almost 9 hours, killing many people who were caught outside while attempting to evacuate.
T+18 Hours: Widespread panic sets in; deaths are rapid and common. Another wave of bombing occurs, and rumors abound that it may be a “second strike” from China in the belief that the portal surge was an American attack, but reliable communication is rare and misinformation runs rampant.
T+1 Day: The vast majority of the monsters in the initial release begin to die off, seemingly limited by the difference between their sub-prime home and Earth, and only those that remain near their entry portals are able to survive. Despite this the damage has already been done, and several find the new plane perfectly comfortable and begin to expand aggressively. Rumors of “tree monsters”, quickly coined as “triffids”, begin to spread through the remaining populace. Meanwhile all those who have been killed by monsters, the acid rain, or any of the other new threats rise as zombies, and even the zombies that are killed with bullets or normal weapons appear to raise again soon afterwards if not dealt with firmly.
Meanwhile though the military robots are able to hold their own areas against the undead and otherworldly threats, the measures taken by the copbots prove largely inadequate. In order to help they are quickly reprogrammed to behave much more aggressively, firmly killing threats instead of just trying to arrest them and adopting a much wider view of what constitutes a “threat”. This does prove successful in allowing the copbots to target zombies, but unfortunately backfires as it instead evaluates all humans as lawbreakers. Moments after the system update activates the copbots turn on the remaining human “trespassers” that are currently running the security network, and seconds later no one with the authority to roll back the update is still alive. The copbots begin to clear areas near their stations of everything, human and zombie alike, but are limited by the sheer numerical difference between themselves and those they are fighting. Meanwhile the eyebot and riot bots have not become genocidal to humans as the copbots have, but still suffer from the increased definition of a “threat”, leading them to imprison humans before contacting the copbots, which execute those captured without mercy.
What is left of the nation declares a nation disaster, and FEMA steps in quickly to set up evacuation camps in preparation for a large-scale evacuation, even as reports of the portals opening in new locations begin to reach official ears. Unfortunately the camps only prove to be deathtraps, attracting the attention of various deadly creatures and roaming copbot security forces that view them as “illegal homeless encampments”.
T+36 Hours: 50% of the New England population has suffered from either zombification or death. A rare few fail to raise from the dead, but the reason is unknown to the population. Rumors of a “cure” abound, and lead to the targeting and massacre of several groups of surviving scientists when they fail to “provide” one.
T+2 Days: 90% of the New England population has suffered from either zombification or death. National support is pulled out of New England, and the area is declared a total lost cause as efforts to control the appearance of new portals elsewhere are intensified. Areas affected by portals continue to change, as the effects from the other side of the portal continue to seep through.
The first fungaloids are encountered by a small military patrol, which retreats to a nearby farmhouse after one of the soldiers is killed by something erupting from teh ground. They report the presence of several large fungal growths, already human in height, and a haze that has settled over the area. Fine powder covers every surface within hours and the number of fungaloids surrounding the house seems to grow endless in number. The last reports hear from the soldiers indicate strange symptoms among them, and they are not heard from again.
Triffids, the strange plant creatures seen earlier, quickly begin to make their presence known. They are seen growing in multiple forests, and are slowly terraforming the nearby landscape into that almost reminiscent of an elaborate garden. They seem to know the fungaloids, and there have been reports of large battles taking place at the borders between their colonies.
Meanwhile the giant insects have begun to thrive while maintaining all of their more primitive impulses. Construction begins and soon giant hives, dens, and colonies dot the landscape.
T+56 Hours: Bombing of large US cities by an unknown aggressor commences. Some of those present think that it may be a possible “retaliation” strike by the Chinese and DPRK triggered by the same conditions as in New England occurring in their homelands. A crippled defense infrastructure is largely unable to respond.
T+60 Hours: The last defeated remnants of the national guard retreat to the nearest military encampments. Some of them are able to evacuate through helicopters or airplanes, but many remain trapped by the enemies around them.
T+72 Hours: 99% of the New England population has either successfully evacuated or suffered from zombification or death.
T+5 Days: The game begins.