User Tools

Site Tools


timelines:arhotf_mastertimeline

A Revised History of the Future (2001 - 2150)


The War on Terror (2001 - 2010)

The first decade of the 21st century saw the trends of terrorism, religious and ethnic strife, and small-localized wars rise from the previous decade. A single overarching conflict - labeled the “War on Terror” - would dominate the political world, and setting the stage for a new type of war that would go on to define the rest of the century. Simultaneously, computer and Internet technology would advance dramatically and become heavily ingrained in the lives of many throughout the world, shaping the way individuals viewed and interacted with Media, much to the detriment of traditional Media giants. With increasing pollution and worsening fuel shortages, the world descended into an severe economic recession by the decade's close.

2001

  • AOL and Time Warner merged to form the AOL Time Warner Corporation.
  • The first successful implant of an artificial heart occurred in the United States. The recipient lived for five months without a real heart before dying of a stroke.
  • Islamist extremists fly passenger airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City and Pentagon in Washington, spurring the United States to embark on a “War on Terror” against the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda organization in Afghanistan.
  • Apple released the iPod mp3 player. It would soon become the best-selling electronic equipment of the decade.
  • China became a member of the World Trade Organization.

2002

  • The Euro, the new currency of the European Union, was first issued. The ex-currencies of many European states – although, notably, the British Pound was not among them – ceased to be legal tender several months later.
  • U.S. President George W. Bush condemned North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as state sponsors of terrorism, labeled them members of an “Axis of Evil” and swore to crush international terrorism.
  • East Timor gained its independence from Indonesia, becoming the first new sovereign state of the 21st century.
  • The International Criminal Court was established. While most nations join, the United States, China, and India refuse to do so.
  • The African Union is established by 53 African nations in the aftermath of the Second Congo War.

2003

  • The U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed during reentry, grounding the U.S. Space Shuttle fleet for two years.
  • The Darfur Genocide began in Sudan.
  • As part of the continuing War on Terror, the United States led a “Coalition of the willing” in an invasion of Iraq, despite worldwide protests against it. The conflict quickly devolved into a guerilla war between the U.S./Allied forces, Islamists, and the ethnic factions within Iraq.
  • The Human Genome Project was successfully completed, with 99% of the genome sequenced to within 99.99% accuracy.
  • China launched the Shenzhou 5, becoming only the third nation to launch a manned spacecraft.

2004

  • The CIA admitted that there was no immediate threat of Iraq obtaining any NBC weapons, stirring a major controversy in the United States and accusations that the White House had lied in order to start a war in Iraq. Despite this, George W. Bush still won a second term in November’s presidential election.
  • In April, the First Battle of Fallujah was fought between American and Iraqi insurgent forces. After a month of heavy fighting, the US was forced to withdraw from the city. Seven months later, the United States and New Iraqi armies made a second attempt to capture Fallujah, this time winning the Second Battle of Fallujah.
  • The first privately built manned spacecraft, the SpaceShipOne, was launched from Mojave Spaceport in California.
  • The Cuzco Declaration established the Union of South American Nations (USAN).
  • The Indian Ocean Earthquake caused tsunamis that destroyed large parts of southern and southeast Asia, leaving tens of thousands dead.

2005

  • France and the Netherlands vetoed the European Constitution, stalling the expansion of the European Union.
  • Hurricane Katrina destroyed the American Gulf Coast, including the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. This led to a sharp increase in the price of oil that the fuel industry would never fully recover from.
  • Scientists began an attempt to culturally uplift bonobos at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa.
  • The Tulip Revolution occurred in Kyrgyzstan, overthrowing the government and leading to democratic elections.
  • Race riots broke out throughout France after the accidental deaths of two Black Muslim teenagers, leading to 20 days of chaos and forcing the French government to declare a state of emergency.

2006

  • Following a raid on their northern border, Israel went to war with the Hezbollah organization in Lebanon. Despite a month of heavy air strikes against Hezbollah positions, Israel failed to destroy the organization or kill any of its leaders.
  • The first cybernetic limbs were given to veterans of the Iraq War. These are later considered to be the first Cyborgs.
  • North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon, spurring international criticism and ultimately leading to multinational talks with the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea that would last on-and-off for years.
  • Ethiopia invaded Somalia and went to war with the Union of Islamic Courts on behalf of the Somali Transitional Federal Government (STFG). By the end of the year, the UIC was forced out of Mogadishu and retreated toward the Kenyan border.
  • Fidel Castro passed control over to his brother Raul before entering surgery to treat an unspecified “stomach ailment”, identified years later as Diverticulitis. Raul would remain de facto president until Fidel’s resignation two years later, after which he would be officially elected.

2007

  • The European Union celebrated the 50th year since the Treaty of Rome by admitting Romania and Bulgaria. Meanwhile, conflicts over energy supplies caused relations with Russia to worsen to their worst point since the end of the Cold War. By the end of the year, the Treaty of Lisbon, a replacement for the failed European Constitution, was signed in Portugal.
  • The United States sent reinforcements to Iraq, complementing the existing (but dwindling) Coalition Forces. The move proves to be a success, bringing the war largely under control.
  • China successfully tested an anti-satellite ballistic missile over the Arctic, sparking international condemnation not only for developing such a weapon, but also for creating unnecessary hazards for existing spacecraft and the International Space Station. China later signed a series of economic deals with Sudan, despite international condemnation of the Darfur Genocide. The move sparks calls for nations to boycott the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
  • The radical Islamist group Hamas wins the parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories, leading to international sanctions and sparking conflict with the opposition party, Fatah, for control. The Palestinian Civil War rages in the streets of Gaza for months before Hamas finally forces out Fatah loyalists, who in return secure control of the West Bank. While the Gaza Strip remains ostracized, sanctions are lifted on the West Bank and some speculate that separating the moderates from the radicals in Gaza could in fact lay the ground work for creating an actual Palestinian state in the West Bank.
  • A crisis arose when the Turkish military threatened to overthrow the government to preserve the republic’s secular constitution over a dispute between secularist and religious politicians over a controversial presidential nominee. Ultimately, the secularists and the military conceded and allowed the religious majority’s nominee to be elected.

2008

  • Nine years after the Kosovo War and two years after Montenegro broke away from Serbia, the UN administrated province of Kosovo declared its independence. Russia and Serbia immediately condemned the move. Russia would later veto Kosovo’s attempt to join the United Nations.
  • The Indian Parliament finally ratified the Indo-US Nuclear Pact of 2006, allowing the Indian and American governments to trade nuclear technology. China criticized the move as hypocritical considering India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and resulted in a cooling of relations amongst the three powers.
  • Despite a self-destructive Democratic primary season and a tight race, Barack Obama managed to win the US presidential elections, ending nearly a decade of Republican rule and becoming the first African-American president. Although incredibly popular at first, his election sparks a widespread backlash from conservatives which eventually transforms into the Tea Party movement.
  • The Olympic Games in Beijing - amongst the most watched in Olympic history - became a worldwide sensation and a grandiose demonstration of China's new economic might. Between this epic success and the launch of Shenzhou 7, many commentators around the world wondered if this year marked the beginning of a Chinese Century.
  • After a decade of economic mismanagement by both governments and corporations, the Housing market bubble bursts. Several major banking and investment firms declare bankruptcy, the stock market crashes, and a major financial crisis ensues. The Great Recession begins.

2009

  • The Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world, was completed in China. It quickly becomes an icon of China’s new preeminence on the world stage.
  • The United States and other G20 Powers agree to coordinating economic relief efforts, while the world economy finds itself resting upon the unimpeded growth of China, India, and South America. The United States passes a massive stimulus package, which has only a moderate effect, dampened as the ripple effects of Great Recession spread and cause the collapse of the American automobile industry.
  • The International Criminal Court begins its first trial, against a Congolese warlord, and issues an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan for the part he played in the Darfur Genocide.
  • Protests break out throughout Iran following the reelection of the hardline conservative president as the opposition Green Movement claims the government fixed the election. The government attempts to enforce a media blackout, but are thwarted when the opposition - largely made up of educated young adults - uses recently developed internet-based social networks to communicate with both each other and the outside world. Though the protests eventually subside after several months, the Green Movement persists long afterward.
  • A revised version of the European Constitution, the Treaty of Lisbon, was ratified by the member-states of the European Union, despite protests from the public that the ratification process was rushed and illegal. EU leaders selected the first permanent President of the European Council, a position nicknamed the “President of Europe” by the Media, though power still rested with leaders of the individual states and the European Commission-President. Meanwhile, Iceland applied to join the European Union after its economy was ruined by the Great Recession.

2010

  • A major earthquake strikes Port-au-Prince, Haiti, completely destroying the city and killing over 150,000 people. The disaster sees a large and high-profile response from the international community, marred by difficulties getting supplies into the city and failure by many countries to send the aid that was promised until months later.
  • The big-budget science fiction film “Avatar” breaks the record set by “Titanic” 12 years earlier to become the highest grossing film to date. While wildly popular, the film fails to win the Best Picture Award at the Academy Awards.
  • Coalition forces withdrew from Iraq, signaling the end of the Iraq War. The United States left behind a token force and a tenuous peace marred by Saudi and Iranian influenced factional disputes, and focused more of its manpower and energies on ending its involvement in the Afghanistan War.
  • An explosion at a British Petroleum deep water rig off the coast of Louisiana caused a massive oil spill, releasing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over four months - the largest environmental disaster in history. The resulting environmental damage completely reverses progress made in the US' economic recovery and decimates the Gulf Coast's tourism and fishing industries - further castrating a region still recovering from the hurricanes of 2005.
  • China surpassed Japan to become the world's second largest national economy, though it still lags far behind the wealth of either the United States or European Union. At the speed it is growing, many analysts predict the People's Republic will either match or surpass the United States by 2030.

The Post-Universalist Era (2011 – 2020)

As the War on Terror neared its end, the United States found itself broken and battered, its prestige tarnished and power questioned. As America focused more on domestic issues, regional powers and organizations began to take responsibility for their own problems, with mixed results. In Asia, India and China continued their rise to Great Power status: India at last moving to resolve the Naxalite insurgency, while China flexed its muscle in the financial world. In Africa, the fighting in the Sahel and Horn of Africa continued, although with a glimmer of hope as certain areas achieved some stability. Southern Africa was a different story, however, collapsing into war early in the decade and deteriorating into ethnic chaos by the end.

2011

  • After 30 years of service, the United States ended the Space Shuttle program. Since NASA did not have any manned spacecraft ready to replace the shuttles, the US government turned to several private firms and hired them to operate their own spacecraft on NASA's behalf, acting as taxi services. Chief amongst these are aerospace start-ups SpaceX and Sierra Nevada, along with veteran companies like Boeing, Orbital Sciences, and United Launch Alliance.
  • After decades of disenfranchisement and discontent, hundreds of thousands of emboldened youths, driven by social networking and globalized mass media, took to the streets in major cities across the Middle East and North Africa in a dramatic series of uprisings that soon were dubbed the Arab Spring. The revolts took leaders across the world off-guard, as long-established dictators - many backed by the United States - were ousted within weeks by angry yet largely peaceful and leaderless crowds. Despite some hesitation, in each case the Obama administration ultimately came out in support of demonstrators across the region, at least in part helping to salvage American interests. By year's end, revolutions had successfully toppled the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya and forced major reforms in Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain, Algeria, and Yemen.
  • Despite continuing violence in Darfur, a referendum on independence was still held in southern Sudan, which voted in favor by a wide margin. Two weeks later, the region issued a formal declaration of independence as the Republic of Southern Sudan. In a speech to the UN General Assembly later in the year, President Salva Kiir Mayardit lobbied for the independence of Darfur, recognition of Somaliland, and international intervention in both Sudan and Zimbabwe.
  • Inspired by the Dignity Revolutions, pro-democracy demonstrations swept through Zimbabwe as well, but quickly degenerated in violence and full-blown civil war. As conflict swept through the country, three factions emerged: a pro-western government in Bulaweyo, a staunch nationalist government in Harare, and a group seeking annexation by South Africa based in Pretoria. The conflict is popularly known as the Zimbabwean Civil War, or the Fourth Chimurenga.
  • China launched the Tiangong 1, the first in a series of small space stations the Chinese Space Agency developed in preparation for building their own space station. For the first time, there is more than one occupied space station in orbit simultaneously. Commentators in the United States fear that America is falling begin in the space race and blast the government for abandoning plans to return to the Moon by 2020.

2012

  • Despite two years of increased funding and military support, police throughout the “Red Corridor” of eastern India have been unable to crush the Naxalite insurgency. The government in New Delhi announces plans to increase funding for infrastructure projects throughout the affected areas – some of the poorest and least developed regions of India – and limited military deployment to supplement the overtaxed police forces. Ironically, by the end of the year India surpassed Japan to become the world's third largest national economy.
  • An earthquake devastated Tehran, crippling the Iranian government and economy. An international movement, led by India and the other SAARC nations, assisted in the reconstruction effort. In the meantime, the Iranian capital was moved from Tehran to Isfahan. The failure of the conservative government to handle the crisis on its own weakened its popularity amongst the Iranian people, allowing the Green Movement to grow even more powerful.
  • By the end of the year, High Definition TV had become the standard model in many American homes. Late in the year, autostereoscopic televisions (ATV) - the replacement for the unwieldy “3D” televisions introduced several years earlier - began to compete with HDTV as an alternative, while industry insiders announced that HD would be fully replaced by holographic 3D displays (HTV) by 2030.
  • Although some fear it may have been done in too much haste, the United States and NATO completed its withdrawl from Afghanistan late in the year. Many accused the United States of abandoning the region, having been unable to crush the Taliban or wipe out al-Qaeda, although on both counts the criticism was mostly unfounded: negotiations had already begun this year to integrate the Taliban into the new democratic system and the main al-Qaeda organization based in Afghanistan/Pakistan had been all but obliterated while many terror attacks committed in the organization’s name were now being conducted by “franchise” groups that used the name but had little to do with the original organization.
  • Despite several years of virulent opposition, Barack Obama was re-elected, thanks in part to his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, having made a dramatic rightward shift in his rhetoric during the campaign and an upswing in the economy over the year leading up to the election. At the same time, the Democrats maintained control of the US Senate to the Republicans while the GOP held a slim majority in the House of Representatives, ensuring a deadlocked government for years to come.

2013

  • A conference was held in Juba, Southern Sudan to examine the international response in the ten years since the Darfur Genocide began. While the main phase of the killing ended years earlier, the fighting in what has been termed the Sahel War persisted, despite the presence of United Nations, European Union, and African Union peacekeepers. The presidents of Chad, New Sudan, and Ethiopia urged the international community – especially the African Union – to make a greater effort to end the conflict.
  • Mass protests erupt in Iran when all of the opposition candidates are barred from running in this year’s presidential election. Coupled with the government’s disastrous response to the Tehran earthquake and simmering public discontent, the Green Movement’s protests swell to sizes not seen since the Dignity Revolutions two years earlier. Unable to handle the sheer size of the protests, and fearful that the Green Movement could turn into the revolution it failed to become in 2009 or 2011, the clerical leadership in Iran agrees behind the scenes to a restructuring of the government, abolishing the position of Supreme Leader – whom many blame for allowing the Green Movement to gain so much strength – and instead giving that office’s powers directly to the directly-elected Assembly of Experts. The Assembly agrees to let the opposition candidate, Mostafa Kavakebian, run and he goes on to win the presidency by a landslide. In response to the downfall of Ayatollah Khamenei, coupled with the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Dignity Revolutions of 2011, spurred one newscaster – perhaps prematurely – to declare “Radical Islam is Dead”.
  • With the war in Zimbabwe raging out of control, the African Union voted to deploy a peacekeeping force to bring a speedy conclusion to the conflict. It would be another year and a half before peacekeepers from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Uganda, and Libya finally arrived. In the meantime, Zimbabwe’s neighbors deployed their militaries to the border in an attempt to contain the situation.
  • Warner Brothers became the first major studio to premiere a full-length feature film as an Internet download. Despite fears that it would harm the film’s gross, The Hobbit Part 1 became the top box office winner three weeks in a row and would later be the best-selling DVD of the Christmas season.
  • Seeking further cooperation, the Gulf Cooperation Council established a monetary union and inaugurated a new unified currency, the Khaleeji. Although some predict the new currency could become very powerful considering the immense oil wealth of the GCC's members, the fact that the United Arab Emirates - the most diversified member - has opted out does hamper the Khaleeji's potential strength.

2014

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched the Vimana 9, making India the fourth nation to launch a manned spacecraft. Shortly after, the ISRO formally requested to participate in the International Space Station and was accepted, on the grounds that India develop, construct, and launch its own new addition to the station. India’s rapid admission was protested by China, whose requests to join the project were rejected twice by the ISS’ sponsors.
  • After 2 years of delays, the East African Community issued a common currency, the East African Shilling and set elections for the first East African Parliament to occur in mid-2015. The East African presidency was also implemented, initially rotating amongst the member states, with Tanzania chosen to have the seat first.
  • Iceland was admitted into the European Union and participated in the 2014 parliamentary elections. The European Socialists and its allies in the Progressive Alliance won a majority, electing former British PM Tony Blair. President Blair begins a Union-wide campaign pushing for Turkey’s prompt admission. He receives a backlash from many throughout the Union, but manages to galvanize support in southern and northern Europe, reigniting interest and support in Turkey itself.
  • For the first time, the Interactive Achievement Awards were broadcast on ABC with the same coverage usually reserved for movie or television award shows. In the United States, the videogame industry had by this year become the second most profitable media industry and continued to grow steadily.
  • By the end of 2014, millions have emigrated from southern Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi to elsewhere in the country, many to Texas, Florida, or Georgia. Although the national economy has improved since the Great Recession began, the slow abandonment of the deep south’s Gulf Coast continues to hurt the government’s approval ratings. The government itself is largely deadlocked thanks to a split Congress, while the Republican Party following their defeat in 2012 suffers a major split between moderate and far-right conservatives.

2015

  • After an increasingly agitated and controversial election season, the religious coalition Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal won the majority of seats in the Pakistani Parliament, defeating the Pakistan People’s Party. Angry young Pakistanis, many supporters of the PPP, rioted in Islamabad and Karachi. The Pakistani president declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law. At the urging of India, China, and the United States, party leaders met and agreed to form a coalition government. This did little to end the rioting, though, which continued for another ten weeks.
  • In a landmark move, the Prime Minister of Somaliland was invited to be an observer at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique. While not an explicit or formal recognition of the country’s independence, many saw it as a fundamental step toward one. The Somali Federal Government protested, arguing that only it was recognized as the legitimate authority over all of Somalia.
  • Protesting the First World’s failure to curb global climate change and America’s failure to rehabilitate New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, the radical environmentalist group August 23 vandalized the Statue of Liberty in New York City. Using 23 pneumatic potato guns mounted on the decks of three sailboats, the eco-terrorists fired nearly 500 paint rounds at Liberty Island before being arrested by the Coast Guard. It was determined later that the damage caused to the landmark would cost $900,000 to repair.
  • Doctors in New Zealand successfully conducted the first ever implant of a self-contained artificial lung. The breakthrough was seen a possible solution to the millions around the world suffering from lung cancer and other breathing disorders. Futurists and transhumanists suggested that, considering the advances in prosthesis over the last 15 years, it might be possible to develop a full prosthetic body by 2030.
  • The Indian military and police scored a series of major victories in the campaign against the Naxalites, arresting several high profile members of their Politburo. Combined with an increased government presence and an upsurge in jobs thanks to government funded infrastructure projects, support for the insurgency begins to slowly drop amongst the poor rural population in the Red Corridor.

2016

  • ITER, the world's first nuclear fusion power generator, was brought online several months late in France. It proved to be a complete success and was hailed as an example for a new wave of nuclear power plants in the 21st century. The media, though, spread fears of possible dangers from nuclear waste rather than the benefits of clean cheap energy, creating negative public opinion.
  • Astronomers from Hawaii, Chile and Argentina announced the discovery of the first confirmed “Earth Twin” – a planet with a similar size, atmosphere, and climate to that of the Earth – orbiting the star Epsilon Eridani, 10.5 light-years away. At least seven different science fiction films were released over the next two years detailing the first manned mission to the planet, nicknamed “Gemini”.
  • An extended drought struck the southern Amazon, leading to massive forest fires. The Brazilian Army was called in to help fight the fires, which ultimately consumed more than 1,000 square miles of forest – larger than the 2007 California wildfires. Environmentalists and the Media played up the disaster as yet another example of global unmitigated climate change.
  • Due to previous bickering between Commission-President Tony Blair and the outgoing President of the European Council, EU leaders agree to appoint Tony Blair Council-President as well, forming a unified European presidency. Negotiations move forward between the EU and Turkey, with the latter expected to ascend within the next five years.
  • In the US presidential elections, former eBay executive Meg Whitman of California, a moderate Republican, wins the race to the White House, taken by many as a sign the Republican Party has returned from the political wilderness it found itself following the 2012 election. Both parties, meanwhile, maintain respective control of the Senate and House of Representatives.

2017

  • Orion 2, the first manned flight of NASA’s successor to the Space Shuttle, was launched on a mission to the International Space Station years behind schedule and billions over budget. NASA renewed its contracts with SpaceX and Sierra Nevada to continue servicing the ISS on NASA’s behalf, while also exploring the possibility of using commercial transportation services for an eventually return mission to the Moon, now planned for around 2027.
  • The two halves of Cyprus were united as the United Cypriot Republic thanks to the efforts of the President of the European Commission, who had spent the last three years brokering a new peace deal. This effort had been bolstered over the last year by the new President of the European Council’s support for Turkish ascension to the European Union, bringing Turkey back to the table. Turkey immediately recognized the new state – despite nationalist opposition at home – and the united Cyprus was accepted as an EU member-state alongside Macedonia and Croatia.
  • At a ceremony held in London, the United Kingdom became the first nation to officially recognize the existence of the Republic of Somaliland. Ethiopia, Canada, France, Southern Sudan, and the United States quickly followed, but so did an immediate protest from Somalia, which again stated its position that Somaliland is, was, and rightfully should be apart of their state. The government in Somaliland declared a national holiday and celebrations poured into the streets of Hargeisa.
  • Over the course of seven launches beginning in 2016, Bigelow Aerospace completed the world’s first manned private space station. Constructed from a set of three BA-330 transhab modules, Bigelow offers the station’s use for anyone willing to lease or rent it, with transportation and resupply handled by Boeing and SpaceX. In the popular imagination, the station is nicknamed the “world’s first space hotel”, although that is technically not the case.
  • Although fighting persisted throughout Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the conservative government in Kabul successfully convinced the Taliban to participate in the democratic process. This was only a half-victory: many Taliban fighters refused to disarm, and the result was a series of druglords and warlords laying claim to much of rural Afghanistan while the Afghan military struggled to maintain control of the few major cities it had secured. Much of Pakistan and Afghanistan had become lawless by the end of the decade.

2018

  • With plans on track for a common market to be fully implemented by the end of 2019, talks began on further South American integration. Foremost on the agenda were introducing a common currency and a South American Constitution.
  • Prime Minister Medvedev of Russia was shot while campaigning in Volgograd. Authorities immediately targeted Chechen separatists, detaining a dozen and subjecting them to “extreme interrogation techniques” before the true culprit, a disturbed Russian ultranationalist, was finally arrested while attempting to plant a bomb at Volgograd train station. The Prime Minister eventually recovered, but resigned shortly after.
  • Thirty-three Libyan soldiers, part of the African Union’s peacekeeping force in Zimbabwe, were ambushed and killed by a truck bomb planted by nationalist forces. Shocked by the sudden loss of life, the Libyan government announced it would no longer participate in the operation. Shortly afterward, Kenya, Nigeria, and Angola also withdrew, forcing the African Union to cancel the operation.
  • For the first time, a Bollywood film opened as the #1 box office film in the United States. The movie would later go on to receive nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay, although it did not win either award.
  • Scientists announced that, thanks to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the hole in the atmosphere’s Ozone layer over Antarctica had shrunk considerably. If recovery continued at the same pace, it was predicted, the ozone layer would be fully recovered by 2075.

2019

  • The first attempts to biologically uplift – meaning, to genetically enhance a creature’s cognitive faculties to near human levels – dogs began in the United States, France, and Argentina. The ultimate goal of the experiments was to improve the animals’ usefulness in therapy, as guides, and in law enforcement.
  • Over thirty years after its initial application to join and more than a decade of intense controversy over it, Turkey was at last admitted into the European Union. The influx of new voters and MEPs in this years European elections resulted major gains for both the European Socialists and People’s Party, creating concern amongst some that the European Union was quickly forming a two-party system. The European Socialists and its allies maintained control over Parliament, winning Tony Blair a second term in office.
  • In an attempt to curb the violence in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana began clandestine joint operations with the goal of tilting the war in the pro-west faction’s favor, code named Operation Cecil. Missions included passing money, intelligence, and weapons to Bulaweyo while also conducting assassinations and unofficial air strikes against Harare.
  • China launched a manned circumlunar mission, the second nation after America to do so. The mission sparked criticism against NASA and the US government by the media for failing to meet the 2020 due date set by President Bush for returning to the Moon. In a speech at Cape Canaveral, the President urged NASA to return to the Moon before 2030.
  • A border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea turned violent, leading to a month of bloody combat. Although the African and European Unions successfully negotiated a ceasefire, they failed to resolve the initial problem. Meanwhile, the failure of the Somali Federal Government to resolve the social problems in southern Somalia or to prevent Somaliland’s secession spurred a movement to outright dissolve what remained of Somalia.

2020

  • After years of deterioration and the best efforts of the government to avert disaster, the last glacier atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya, East Africa finally melted. The President of the East African Community declared the event a travesty and called for increased effort by the international community to combat global climate change before other natural wonders could be ruined.
  • As part of a negotiated settlement, Western Sahara agreed to withdraw its membership in the African Union and give up its claims to independence, in favor of becoming an autonomous province within Morocco. The newly organized state, the Federated Kingdom of Morocco and Western Sahara, was then admitted into the African Union, uniting the entire continent under the organization. While applauding AU leaders for negotiating a solution to the Western Sahara problem, commentators pointed out that the AU was still unable to deal with more pressing issues, such as the wars in the Sahel and Zimbabwe or the AIDS epidemic.
  • With the Fourth Chimurenga entering it’s ninth year, the movement calling for United Nations intervention grew in strength with the addition of India, which called for a UN peacekeeping force to be deployed as soon as possible. While there was some talk, little was actually accomplished in New York. In Africa, the war began to spread across the border into Mozambique due to fighting amongst the Shona people, who have been split over the increasingly ethnic conflict.
  • Goldman Sachs reported that, while China had not yet surpassed America in economic power, it would do so by at least 2025 and definitely so by 2030. The same report went on to point out that India was not far behind, and that both nations were on the precipice of reaching developed status. Several months later, Forbes Magazine announced that a Chinese businessman was at the top of their list of the world’s 400 richest people. *
  • In the US presidential elections, Meg Whitman was reelected. Although the number of seats held shifts somewhat, the Republicans maintain control of the House and Democrats control of the Senate.

The Spectro Generation (2021 to 2030)

The 2020s were a time of social and political change as a new generation – referred to at first as Generation Z or the New Silents but known to history as the Spectro Generation – reached adulthood. This is the first generation for which computers, the Internet, and cell phones have always been a fact of life. Videogames are considered as important, if not more important, an entertainment medium than films and literature. A new genre of music, Spectro, reaches its prominence thanks to them. But, this generation is also marked by turmoil: the continuing war in Zimbabwe, eco-terrorism in the United States and Canada, India’s intervention in Myanmar, and a deteriorating environment. This generation also witnessed the long-feared eclipse of American power by the Far East, an event that would have consequences for decades to come.

2021

  • After 13 years of development, IBM, DARPA, and five American universities unveil the world’s first “neural supercomputer”: a machine that simulates the brain and can mimic its ability to take information, weigh it against past experiences, and arguably “think”. While the group failed in its ultimate goal – to build a computer as intelligent as a cat – it is an impressive breakthrough that opens the door for an entirely new way of designing software and artificial intelligence.
  • Japanese videogame developer Nintendo introduced The Nintendo Channel (TNC) on American cable and satellite TV. It was a digital “Games on Demand” service that operated on a similar premise to Video on Demand: games from the Nintendo library were available to be purchased or rented for download onto the customer’s TV, where they could be played with either special gaming controllers or the standard remote control. TNC’s premiere marked the end of the console platform era of Gaming and would provide the model for future videogame distribution.
  • The price of oil reached $200 per barrel and the average price of gas hit $6.13 per gallon in the United States. As gas prices rose, though, so did the number of hybrids and hydrogen fueled cars: about 1/3 of all automobiles in America by this year, a trend mirrored throughout the developed world. In an attempt to quicken America’s weaning off of oil dependency, the US government began an initiative calling for at least 60% of all cars in the US to be either hybrid or hydrogen based by 2040. The move was criticized by some for being too little too late, while others believed that it was too radical a shift in the country’s energy policy.
  • A prominent leader of the pro-west faction in the Fourth Chimurenga was assassinated in Church Square, Pretoria. South African police later arrested the assassin, a hitman hired by the nationalist faction in Harare. The incident sparked further protests in South Africa, Europe, and America calling for either UN or multinational intervention. Later in the year, the foreign ministers of South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, and Zambia met with the British foreign minister and East African President in Arusha, Tanzania, EAC. The Arusha Conference ended with the drafting of a UN Resolution calling for the creation of a UN Mission to Zimbabwe, to be spearheaded by the African Union.
  • The International Space Station was extended for an additional five years, after which it would be abandoned and de-orbited. There was some public outcry against this: the ISS had come to be seen as the beginning of humanity’s permanent presence in space. Several corporations, in particular Virgin Group, expressed an interest in purchasing the station for private use.

2022

  • General Electric began construction on the first exclusively industrial space station, Menlo Park. Constructed using BA-330 modules purchased from Bigelow Aerospace and serviced by Boeing CST-100 spacecraft, GE envisioned the station to become the first orbiting factory for high-quality products requiring microgravity. In anticipation of NASA’s eventual Moon outpost and possible attempts at commercialization, spaceflight firms announced the development of a new generation of commercial manned spacecraft more suited toward translunar spaceflight. SpaceX and United Launch Alliance announced plans to develop competing models of “super-heavy” rockets, comparable in performance to the Saturn V rockets that carried astronauts to the Moon in the 1960s and ‘70s.
  • The presidents of the East African Community member states met in Arusha, Tanzania and signed the East Africa Constitutional Treaty, seen by many as the final step in the region’s federalization. The treaty was met with fierce opposition, especially in Tanzania and Kenya where opponents criticized the EAC and the member governments for speeding along a political union that was inequitable and unwanted, ignoring the fundamental rights and wishes of the people.
  • The civil war in Myanmar began to cross over into Thailand and India, creating concern that the violence may destabilize the entire region. The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, and China held a summit in Ho Chi Minh City where it was agreed that a harder stance must be taken with the Myanmar government in order to reach a diplomatic solution. The Indian Prime Minister, Chinese Foreign Minister, and ASEAN Secretary-General all separately met with both sides, but the talks ultimately led to nothing.
  • Eight years after joining the International Space Station program, India finally launched its segment, expected to be the final addition to the station. In anticipation that the ISS may not be around for much longer after the segment was completed, ISRO designed it to be semi-autonomous with the hopes that it would be later separated from the ISS and used as the basis for an Indian space station, just as the Russians had done.
  • A mail bomb exploded just outside the office of Exxon-Mobil’s CEO, killing a secretary and badly wounding four others. A radical environmentalist group linked to August 23 later took responsibility via emails sent to CNN and Fox News. This sudden change in the strategy of the radical environmentalist movement sparked concern in the FBI, which immediately began a re-assessment of eco-terrorism’s threat to the American public.

2023

  • The Xinhua news agency confirmed plans for China to conduct its first manned lunar landing in late 2027, to be followed by the first manned landing on an asteroid, Apophis, in 2029. Despite increased funding during the Whitman administration, due to delays and mismanagement NASA quietly revises its schedule, pushing back their planned Moon landing to 2032. Leaders within the US commercial spaceflight industry express frustration with NASA and talk begins of conducting a fully private mission without NASA support before 2030.
  • After nearly a decade underground, a new style of music, Spectro, dominates the music charts across the world. Merging elements of postmodern music – such as atonalism, improvisation, electroacoustics and noise – with opera and 20th century jazz to create a bizarre yet popular new sound.
  • The Sittwe Massacre occurred. A gunboat loyal to Myanmar’s military junta opened fire on an Indian hospital boat moored at the city of Sittwe, sinking the ship. The junta claimed that the ship was harboring rebels, but India and the international community were outraged: the United Nations issued a resolution condemning the Myanmar government and ordering its disarmament, while the Indian President began making the case for military action. Meanwhile, ASEAN voted to suspend Myanmar’s membership.
  • That ratification of the East African Constitutional Treaty is suddenly stalled when a referendum is defeated in Tanzania. While there are celebrations in the streets of Arusha and Mombassa, the EAC’s leaders held an emergency meeting to decide upon the course to proceed with. It was decided the ratification process would be suspended for up to a year while possible changes to the treaty were discussed.
  • During a tour of Africa, the newly appointed Indian Prime Minister meets with the leader of the pro-western faction of the Fourth Chimurenga in Cape Town, South Africa. He promises to increase India’s effort in the United Nations to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict, while quietly also promising more direct military assistance.

2024

  • In an effort to allow more time for negotiating a revised constitutional treaty, the East African Parliament passed a resolution delaying the first permanent presidential elections for the EAC until after the end of Uganda’s term in the rotating presidency in 2030. This caused protests from those upset at the delay and those against the federalization process, which skeptics claimed was moving far too fast and not addressing issues that affected the everyday citizens of East Africa.
  • Despite a sluggish economy and a lackluster response to the environment, President Whitman maintained decent approval ratings and the Republican Party went on to retain control of the Presidency in the USA, at the cost of losing control of both houses of Congress to the Democratic Party. Her Vice President, Anthony Burkowski, is elected president. Meanwhile in Europe: following the ascension of Montenegro, the European People’s Party won control of Parliament, ending a decade of socialist government. The former President of Estonia, Maret Jarvi, was elected President of the European Commission, the first woman to hold that position.
  • An incident in the Sulaiman Mountains quickly explodes into an armed confrontation between the Pakistani and Afghan militaries. After several months of fighting, India, Iran, and China negotiate a ceasefire, but the damage has been done. By the end of the year, the government of Afghanistan collapses entirely with the Taliban withdraws from the governing conservative coalition, starting a new round of chaotic fighting.
  • As part of a military buildup, India moved a taskforce, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, into the Coco Channel north of the Andaman. India demanded that Myanmar’s military junta disarm itself, a call echoed by the United States and others, but was rebuffed. A second regional summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, at which ASEAN and China agreed not to oppose Indian intervention, while only Indonesia and the Philippines offered to directly assist. In late September, Indian aircraft began a bombing campaign against Myanmar military and government positions that would last for nearly six months. Quietly, India begins sending military advisers and weapons to Bulaweyo to help train the pro-western faction.
  • A member of Alaska’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and a BP executive are assassinated while visiting the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska when a pipe bomb is detonated in their helicopter. A radical environmentalist group linked to August 23 takes responsibility and threatens further violence unless oil production is permanently halted. Several weeks later, the Governor of Alaska receives a death threat and suspicious packages are found at the headquarters of BP and Exxon-Mobil.

2025

  • Four years after the Arusha Conference, the UN Security Council at last passed a resolution calling for the end of hostilities in Zimbabwe and the deployment of a 25,000 strong African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force. One-fifth of that force is the Indian contingent, with other major contributors including Pakistan, Indonesia, Japan, Canada, Australia, and the East African Community.
  • The August 23rd movement sets off a car bomb in front of the Edmonton office of the Canadian Department of the Environment, killing 10 and injuring 39. The Canadian Prime Minister condemns the attack and vows to bring the terrorists to justice. In a statement emailed to CBC, the terrorists vow to continue the attacks until “unscrupulous” oil production – which they blame for global climate change – is permanently halted in North America.
  • At the urging of the United Nations, India agreed to a ceasefire with Myanmar. A third summit was held in Hanoi by ASEAN, India, Myanmar, representatives of the Burmese resistance, and China, with Australia invited to act as a mediator. Despite tough talk, the summit was unable to reach a conclusive resolution to the conflict, due to differences amongst ASEAN member states, China, and India on what they actually wanted Myanmar to do. Three weeks after the conference, India restarted its air campaign against Myanmar, triggering accusations from China and Pakistan of warmongering.
  • Only a year before the International Space Station will be abandoned, the European and American portions are purchased by Virgin Group, which announces it will modernize the station and expand it – allowing scientific experiments to continue while simultaneously beginning to convert it into a museum piece that will be docked with their space hotel, the Bigelow-constructed CSS Skywalker. By the end of the year, the Russian and Indian sections are separated to form two new space stations, the Russian Mir 2 and Indian Aakashagami. Bigelow Aerospace, in parnership with several other commercial space firms, publicly announces plans to construct the first private facility on the Moon for lease, sale, or rent. It will be assembled at Lagrange Point 1 and landed as a single unit, with a target date of 2029.
  • The first holographic television displays (HTV) hit the market. They are extremely overpriced and capture a much smaller share of the market than expected. By this time, ATVs have begun to directly compete with HDTV as the standard television format. Also, it is now common for home entertainment systems to be advertised as a unified TV/Computer/Stereo system. What were once sold separately as PC or Mac, Cable or Satellite access, DVD player, videogame console, TV, and home stereo system are now sold as a single unit.

2026

  • The Congress Party won elections in India and Aknav Mitdeep became the new Prime Minister. The new president swore to uphold India’s UN commitments, as well as fight international terrorism, build closer ties with other world powers, and push hard for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. By the end of this year, leaders in India’s parliament declare victory over the Naxalite insurgency, citing new reports that support for the rebels is at its lowest point in 30 years and show that efforts to develop the former Red Corridor have lifted 100 million people out of poverty. In reality, the insurgency continues to persist, but has been reduced to a problem local police can now regularly handle.
  • Shenzhou 24 landed at Mare Imbrium, just north of Montes Carpatus, making China the second nation to conduct a manned landing on Earth’s moon and the first landing in over 50 years. This landmark achievement is coupled with the emergence of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China as the world’s largest bank by the end of the year, surpassing the previous top bank, Royal Bank of Scotland. The seventh largest bank in the world is also Chinese: the Agricultural Bank of China.
  • A radical environmentalist group affiliated with the August 23 movement conducted a series of shootings and arsons at gas stations and auto dealerships in the Seattle, Washington area, killing 12 and wounding another 7, including the Deputy Mayor of Seattle. After six months of terror attacks, the cell responsible is tracked down and arrested by the FBI. Further investigation leads to the discovery that the eco-terrorism of the last nine years has been the work of copycats, none directly connected to the original August 23 group but rather inspired by an Internet meme started shortly afterward.
  • After almost a full year of assault from Indian warplanes and with the rebels within striking distance of their capital in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s military junta at last collapsed and fled the country. The rebels quickly took the city and celebrated by raising the Indian and 1948 Burmese flags, burning down City Hall, and declaring the restoration of the Union of Burma. A new interim government was established in Rangoon that promised direct democratic elections would be held within one year.
  • The American Medical Association reports that one in four organ transplants in the United States use organs grown from the patient’s own stem cells. It is also reported that as many as 15% of Americans have had voluntary replacement of organs with prosthetics. Commonly replaced: the inner ear, cornea or entire eye, kidneys, lungs, and liver.

2027

  • The World Wildlife Fund announces that the Mountain Gorilla is extinct in the wild, blaming environmental degradation and war for the travesty. The species now only exists in zoos and wildlife preserves outside Africa. Later in the year, the East African Community and African Union announce plans to breed Mountain Gorillas and reintroduce them into the wild by 2040.
  • After several years of further negotiation, leaders of the East African Community signed a revised version of the East African Constitutional Treaty. The treaty was promptly ratified by the East African Parliament and would require only ratification by the parliaments of each member state to pass. News of this development sparked protests – some violent – in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • More than a year after its creation, the UN Mission in Zimbabwe (UNMZ) was finally deployed to reinforce the new African Union peacekeeping force. The peacekeepers met strong resistance from the nationalist faction, which began constant attacks against UN convoys and camps.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped sharply after Wal-Mart posted a fourth straight quarter of losses in the face of stiff competition from a Chinese competitor, Brilliance retail stores, meanwhile Cheung Kong Group announced that it would purchase 3M. The Republican White House and Democratic Congress blamed each other for the failure to improve economic growth and help American businesses, but little progress was made in solving the problem.
  • This year was the coldest Saharan summer on record, with the temperatures never exceeding 99o F. This summer was also marginally wetter in the extreme southern and northern desert, although not significantly more than average.

2028

  • In the closest election since 2000, the Democratic Party won the White House and a majority in both houses of Congress. The Republican loss was due to a perceived failure to improve the economy or prevent America’s economic and political influence from waning. The new president, Tom Gallagher of Colorado, made maintaining America’s slim economic lead over China and India a priority, as well as building closer relationships with both rising powers.
  • On the 20th anniversary of Fatah’s expulsion from the Gaza Strip – seen as the turning point after which it an independent Palestine became possible – the Palestinian Prime Minister is shot while sharing a stage with the Israeli Prime Minister and US Secretary of State. Mossad identifies the gunman as a member of Hamas’ Security Forces and blame is immediately placed upon the administration in the Gaza Strip. When Hamas refuses to turn the man responsible over to Palestinian authorities in the West Bank, the Palestinian Army, with air support from the Israelis, enters the Gaza Strip to take him by force. The bloody street fighting lasts for nine weeks.
  • On August 1, the Bank of the South, the central bank of the Union of South American Nations, introduced a common currency: El Sud Peso. By the end of the year, the domestic currencies of the USAN members are all discontinued. Discussion of a South American Constitution is revisited, although there is debate whether such a move is prudent considering the ongoing conflicts in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru against various drug cartels.
  • A major climate change conference is held in Male, Maldives. During the conference, scientists from major universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Japan, and China present evidence suggesting that global climate change remains a major threat to the world’s ecology, predicting that, if unabated, the seas may still rise by several inches, while droughts and food shortages may threaten millions of lives by the end of the century. The conference ends with a plea that the major industrial nations sign a new agreement in the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • An August 23 cell is arrested in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania after a mail bomb intended for the CEO of Sunoco explodes at a Post Office in Philadelphia, killing 3 postal workers and injuring 14 others. Three months later, a bomb explodes outside the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau, Alaska. No one is hurt – the governor and his family were away visiting relatives in Anchorage at the time – but no arrests are made either.

2029

  • In a widely televised event, Chinese taikonauts land a manned mission on the asteroid Apophis on April 13th – the first time any person set foot on a celestial body other than the Earth or Moon. The government declares April 13th a national holiday. Late in the year, Bigelow Aerospace’s commercial Moon facility – under construction since 2027 – touches down at Mt. Malapert on the Lunar south pole. NASA is given first dibs as leases two-thirds of the base for ten years, beginning in 2033, in a multi-billion dollar contract. Bigelow Aerospace announces plans to place a second facility at the Lunar north pole. By the end of this year, there are 8 space stations in orbit (3 government-owned, 5 private) aside from the new Lunar base. At any one time, there are 40 people in outer space.
  • Despite President Jarvi choosing not to seek reelection, the European People's Party won a second time and maintained control of parliament, electing former Austrian President Hartmann Erstweiler. However, they lost much ground to the European Socialists, narrowing the playing field. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia, and Kosovo also joined the Union this year.
  • With 1.4 billion people, India became the world’s most populous nation. Scientists and commentators attributed this to falling birth rates in China versus a still growing population in India. News of this stirs up unfounded fears of global overpopulation and a Malthusian catastrophe.
  • After two decades of fighting, Mexico began to stabilize following the defeat of the country’s largest drug cartel. Although fighting and corruption persisted, the country began to see sustained economic growth and shrinking crime rate for the first time in years. Many analysts, however, are skeptical and predict Mexico will see a return to fighting within five years.
  • After years of on-and-off negotiations, China and India at last settle most of their border dispute, agreeing to the de facto border set following the war between the two countries in 1962. The two also agree to work more closely together to control militants crossing over each other’s borders, however there is no agreement made on Kashmir, which remains split amongst conflicting Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese claims.

2030

  • According to the International Monetary Fund, China was now world’s largest national economy, followed closely by the United States, India, and Japan. If the EU were included, it would be just barely be ahead of China, but could not be expected to remain ahead longer than another five years. These reports spurred conservative and nationalist panic in both Europe and America, leading to anti-Chinese sentiment and diatribes in the media. This would lead to a cooling of Sino-American relations over the next few years.
  • Amidst controversy, violence, and accusations of corruption, the last of the constituent parliaments of the East African Community ratified the East African Constitutional Treaty, effectively fusing Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi into a single state. Critics of the federalization process accuse the governments of betraying the people and rioting leads to hundreds of deaths in Nairobi, Arusha, and Mombassa. East Africa officially became the East Africa Federation.
  • The Indian and Russian space agencies separately announce plans to land missions on the Moon and construct lunar bases before 2035. The United States and China also announced plans for manned missions to Mars before 2050, although some critics questioned the reasoning behind such dangerous expeditions. In America, many scoffed at the announcement, pointing out NASA’s failure to reach the Moon with heavy assistance from the commercial spaceflight industry and its continued usage of the 25-year old Orion spacecraft series, considered costly and dated in comparison to the newer generation of spacecraft being fielded by commercial alternatives.
  • Due to budget cuts by the Democratic US Congress, it was expected that the United States would not reach its goal of reducing the number of gasoline-powered cars to less than 40% by 2040. Instead, the current President proposed a plan to increase the total number of hybrids and electric-powered cars to 45% by 2045.
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested a central figure in the August 23 movement, John Olsen, the mastermind behind the 2025 Edmonton bombing and many of the other eco-terror attacks. This is seen as a major blow to eco-terrorism as there don’t appear to be anyone nearly as charismatic nor influential amongst the August 23 movement to replace him.

Crisis in the Middle East (2031 – 2040)

The relative peace of the twenties gave way to the turmoil of the thirties. While Mexico’s drug war finally came to an end, South America found itself embroiled in a new upsurge of violence as the Union of South American Nations attempted to crush its own cartels. In Africa, the Fourth Chimurenga reached its climax as India escalated its involvement. But, the main crisis of the decade was in the Middle East as the relative peace following the Iraq War finally caved in and a conservative insurgency sprung up in a band spreading from Lebanon to northern Iraq. This conflict was coupled with a financial crisis that grew into a worldwide recession, striking particularly hard in America and China, with lasting consequences.

2031

  • Only hours before he would preside over the trial of an infamous drug lord and international arms dealer, the President of the South American Court of Justice (formerly known as the Andean Community Court of Justice) is assassinated in Quito, Ecuador. Outraged, the South American Parliament creates the Unión Agencia de Investigación (UAI), a pan-continental crime-fighting organization, to crack down on the drug and weapons trafficking in South America – on the rise again after the defeat of the Mexican cartels in the Mexican Drug War. These will be seen as the opening salvoes of the South American Drug War.
  • After several decades of accepting status quo by the slimmest margins, Puerto Rico at last votes to become the 51st member of the United States. While most of the country supports and celebrates this move, some conservatives and nationalists vehemently oppose this move. Fifty thousand protestors opposed to Puerto Rico’s admission march on Washington and demonstrate outside Capitol Hill, but the Democratic-controlled Congress votes overwhelmingly in favor. Puerto Rico officially becomes the 51st state on December 1.
  • China places its newest space lab, Tiangong 7, in orbit around the Moon while outsiders speculate that China is preparing to construct its own permanent Lunar base. Meanwhile, Bigelow Aerospace begins construction on the largest space station to date, stringing together three BA-660 transhab modules to build a station more than twice the internal livable space of the International Space Station. Parties interested in leasing portions of the station include the Canadian Space Agency, General Electric, Samsung, and China Petroleum & Chemical.
  • Tensions once again flare in the Middle East as fighting breaks out in Syria and Lebanon between conservative militias and reformist factions, caused by rising rising unemployment and a weakening regional economy. Neither the Syrian nor Lebanese governments are able to the contain the situation, leading to gunbattles in the streets of Beirut and Damascus.
  • Aknav Mitdeep leads the Congress Party to victory in the Indian elections, winning a second term as Prime Minister. In a nationally broadcast speech before the Indian parliament, Prime Minister Mitdeep announced that India was now a developed nation and ready to take its place as a leader of the international community. The comments sparked fears of an ascendant India challenging China’s rise amongst Communist Party leaders in Beijing and amongst some conservatives in the United States fearful that America had lost its status as superpower.

2032

  • The conflict between USAN and the drug cartels grew more violent during this year, with car bombings in Lima alone killing 63. South American leaders, surprised at the cartels’ strength and reach, found themselves unprepared to fight what amounted to a continent-wide insurgency and wave of terror. UAI agents raided cartel compounds across the continent, but it quickly became apparent that the young agency had stretched itself too thin too quickly and could not handle the situation. At a summit of South American presidents held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, it was agreed not to submit to the cartels’ terror campaign and instead pledged military support to the UAI.
  • Advanced AI that mimic human behavior and thought patterns are developed in the US and Japan. These are not sentient programs, but have enough pre-programmed responses to pass off as sentient. By the end of the decade, scientists will have begun experimenting with combining neural supercomputing with pseudo-sentient AI in an attempt to produce truly sentient artificial lifeforms.
  • A massive medical breakthrough in New Zealand leads to a seemingly effective vaccine for all types of HIV. While successful in animals, many are hopeful that the new vaccine could lead to an end of the HIV pandemic. Preparations for human trials of the vaccine in South Africa and the Phillippines are started by the end of the year.
  • President Gallagher, riding on the improving economy and the growing Hispanic vote, was re-elected to a second term in the United States. However, the Republicans – riding on a nativist backlash against the admission of Puerto Rico and nationalist frustration at China’s surpassing of America – made it a close race and ultimately won control of the House of Representatives.
  • North Carolina became the 36th state to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States. As the Millenial Generation enters their 50s, pressure to guarantee homosexuals equal rights in every state increases dramatically. Many analysts note that the generation entering power is overall more tolerant and liberal than their predecessors – an assertion that disturbs some nationalists, already fearful that the United States has fundamentally changed since 2001.

2033

  • Continued efforts by the South American UAI to curtail the drug cartels leads to major fighting in Colombia as the cartels’ private armies clash with UAI agents and local militaries. Intense fighting in the jungles of Colombia and Venezuela leave hundreds dead on both sides. Coupled with continued assassinations and bombings across the continent, support for the campaign dwindles amongst the general public.
  • Fighting in Lebanon and Syria spills over into Israel and Palestine, leading to threats from the Israeli government of military retaliation against both countries. The threat of an Israeli incursion creates tension with Iran – Syria’s traditional ally – while the violence threatens to boil over into Jordan. The economic crisis spreads to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Some fear the situation could blossom into a global market downturn, a subject discussed at this year’s G20 summit in Calgary, Canada.
  • A full decade after Myanmar’s suspension, ASEAN voted to readmit Burma into their organization. The Secretary-General of ASEAN vowed to make the reconstruction of Burma a primary near future goal of the organization. Some analysts note, however, that although the organization has not sought further integration along the lines of the European Union, it has nonetheless solidified into a single bloc dominated by Indonesia.
  • By this year, nuclear power accounts for over 33% of all energy produced in the United States. While the nuclear stigma has weakened, it remains a controversial decision by President Gallagher to push for new nuclear plants and to aim for 50% nuclear power by 2063. There is some discussion over whether to consider converting to nuclear fusion – which, while proven possible, is still not in commercial use anywhere in the world.
  • Drought strikes central Asia, killing off crops and sparking widespread hunger across many of the ‘stans. Thousands starve in the ensuing famine, sparking a major humanitarian crisis.

2034

  • Guerillas loyal to the drug cartels seize control of Bogotá, but the city is retaken by Colombian, Venezuelan, and Peruvian military forces within a month. Within only a few short years, the conflict has escalated to nearly the level of outright civil war. Many outside the continent – particularly in Europe and America – consider the war as such and worry that the conflict could affect South America’s economic growth, which has become a cornerstone of the world economy in the last thirty years.
  • Quietly, India begins sending military advisers and weapons to Bulaweyo to help train the pro-western faction. At the same time, the Presidents of South Africa, Botswana, and India meet in New Delhi to discuss possible military intervention and a UN Peacekeeping force. During the conference, the existence of Operation Cecil is revealed to the Indian government, which agrees to participate. India’s President also agrees to meet with European, American, Russian, and Chinese leaders to move the UN forward.
  • The European People’s Party, riding on a wave of public discontent with President Erstweiler’s handling of the Middle East crisis, wins control of Parliament. They elect hardliner Yan Stoyanov, the former President of Bulgaria, who in a televised address pushes for United Nations intervention in the Middle East.
  • In the United States, President Gallgaher’s agenda hits a roadblock as Republicans in Congress block much of his legislation, thwarting attempts to loosen business regulations and increase trade with Asia. The Democrats lose further ground in the midterm elections with many gubernatorial elections swinging in favor of the Republicans.
  • Fringe environmentalists – not connected with August 23 – take six people hostage at a fertility clinic in Des Moines, Iowa, demanding the government shut down all such clinics and stop promoting population growth. Police kill one and arrest three others, but are unable to save one of the hostages.

2035

  • Reports released by the US Census Bureau indicated that non-Hispanic white Americans had fallen from a clear majority in 2001 to only a plurality of the current US population. More than one-third of the United States was estimated to be Hispanic – a trend expedited by the admission of Puerto Rico in 2031. Analysts predicted that by 2050, non-Hispanic white Americans and Hispanic Americans would make up roughly equal portions of the population.
  • China establishes its first research base at Petrovsky crater on the far side of the Moon and hypes plans to build a state-of-the-art deep space telescope. Less discussed, however, are plans to research Helium-3 mining techniques for use in domestic nuclear fusion reactors. Within a month of this, India lands its first vymanonauts on the Moon at Mare Nubium, making it the third country to successfully conduct the feat on its own.
  • Artificial food – genetically engineered and lab grown – hits the mass market in significant quantities for the first time. Although the taste is subtly different from the real thing, it is similar enough to be passible for the general public and considered just as healthy. Within the next fifteen years, the prices of “real” food will increase dramatically while most supermarkets are slowly filled with artificial equivalents.
  • The Middle East’s economic crisis spreads, causing markets to fall in Asia, Europe, and America. The United States – its economy only having really recovered from the Great Recession within the last five years – is hit particularly hard. President Gallagher blames Congress’ failure to pass initiatives to speed America’s withdrawl from the oil economy, but his failure to respond substantially to the crisis causes his approval ratings to plummet.
  • The first “holo-room” debuts in Las Vegas. Combining recent advances in AI with the holographic technology already in use by TVs for the last 10 years, the holo-room is able to place up to two occupants into a virtual space. Although impressive, many point out that the technology is still a far cry from the “holodecks” of the Star Trek franchise.

2036

  • After a car bombing in Gaziantep, Turkey kills 23 people, there are calls in the European government to intervene in the Middle East to stabilize the situation. President Stoyanov pushes for the deployment of EU Rapid Reaction Forces, while the Turkish military is deployed to secure the border with Syria. The debate goes back and forth amongst the national parliaments and in Brussells, increase public discontent. Meanwhile, the Cape Verde Islands are admitted into the European Union. Morocco again applies for membership, based upon the precedence of Cape Verde, Turkey, and Cyprus. The European Commission agrees to consider the application, sparking controversy and renewed debate about the nature of the Union.
  • Riknav Panmit becomes Prime Minister of India after Bharatiya Janata wins the Indian parliamentary elections, on a platform of continuing India’s political and economic growth as well as rebuilding ties with the United States. Meeting with South African and Botswanan officials, he secretly assures India’s continued support for Operation Cecil and for a swift favorable conclusion to the Fourth Chimurenga in Zimbabwe.
  • Republican Senator Alvin Halsey of Utah is elected president, promising to toughen immigration, increase the influence of American businesses, and work to restore America’s position as dominant economic and diplomatic power. The Republicans also secure their control over the House of Representatives and make more gains in the Senate, though not enough to win control.
  • Google tops the list as the world's most successful computer company, thanks in part to the continued dominance of its search engine and OS, the popularity of its free software, and acquisitions of several smaller corporations in the 2020s, chief amongst them Sun Microsystems. They are followed closely behind by chief rival Apple and Indian firm HCL, which rocketed into a global leader after the purchase of Canadian firm DataWind. Meanwhile, former leader Microsoft has shrunken into a shadow of its former self, having failed to win a significant market share with its Windows operating system - largely thanks to having never successfully broken into the Tablet or Mobile OS markets in the 2010s, and thus unable to make a proper transition when the platforms fully shifted in the 2020s. The company is now held aloft primarily by the continued popularity of the Microsoft Office suite of programs and as a gaming publisher.
  • Of the year’s top five grossing films, three are Indian and only two are American. Many sociologists estimate that India may have surpassed the United States as the world’s top exporter of culture, although many dispute that claim, pointing out that the United States still receives more immigrants per year and that most popular culture starts and ends in America. Still, many grant that India’s cultural influence on the world has dramatically increased since 2001.

2037

  • The European Council voted in favor of military action in the Middle East, authorizing the Rapid Reaction Forces – the move is supported by a majority of national parliaments. President Stoyanov demands that militants in Lebanon and Syria disarm or face military retaliation. This threat does little to deter fighting – terror attacks in Jordan and Israel leave dozens dead afterward, and the Lebanese military suffers and outright defeat in an attempt to secure Tripoli.
  • Turkish military forces cross the border with Syria to skirmish militants, despite the protests of the Syrian government. Syria agrees to allow some Iranian and Iraqi peacekeepers into Syria – in response Israel moves more military units to its norther border, sparking fears that the Middle East may be on the verge of outright war. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is called and a resolution calling for all parties to draw down is issued on Boxing Day.
  • After a nationalist attack leaves 40 peacekeepers dead, India, South Africa, and Botswana begin to expand Operation Cecil – doubling the budget and taking a more aggressive stance toward the war. The United States sends military advisors to assist and secretly provides support from its vast reconnaissance network.
  • The United States filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Bigelow Aerospace, charging that the corporation had built a monopoly on commercial space construction and had actively worked to suppress its competition.
  • Violence continues to plague the Andean nations of South America, despite dogged efforts by police and military forces. UAI agents, however, have successfully made a dent in drug trafficking – estimating that South America’s illegal drug exports had fallen by 6% since 2027. Behind closed doors, South American leaders reach out to the United States and Mexico for assistance in fighting the cartels. The discussions become more public when President Halsey met with Brazillian President Boaz in November.

2038

  • Mt. Etna in Italy erupts, forcing the evacuation of Naples and disrupting airline flights across the Mediterranean for several weeks. The city suffers millions of Euros in damages and several thousand are left homeless in the wake of the worst natural disaster in Europe since the 1980 Irpina earthquake. The European Union responds with aid and medical packages to the region, and assists the Italian government in relocating the homeless.
  • After decades of growth, China’s economy has slowed down – in part to the ongoing worldwide financial downturn, but largely due to China’s aging workforce. Many companies, which once viewed China as the place to look cheap labor, have moved on and now look to ASEAN and East Africa. With the job market shrinking and unemployment starting to rise, China’s middle class – until now mostly complacent – started demanding more accountability from the government and pushing for reforms that would create a more open system. Although Beijing attempts to suppress this by clamping down the Internet and mobile services, but with so many different means of communicating at the peoples’ disposal it finds the task next to impossible.
  • Indian manufacturing giant Hindalco Industries, in partnership with the Indian space agency ISRO, inaugurated an Asteroid Mining Project with the launch of a prototype spacecraft to a near-earth asteroid. The probe was built using existing technology and based on the design of previous sample return missions by other space agencies. It took two years to make the round trip, successfully locating, extracting, and returning 1 kilogram of platinum to Earth. Following this success, Hindalco announced plans to expand the venture.
  • As the technology became more affordable and less invasive, the American Medical Association noted that more and more couples were choosing to genetically modify their children to some degree. The slow rise of these designer babies started to make real headlines this year, as some clinics began to offer the option to totally redesign the unborn child’s DNA to remove any undesirable genes. Many, especially amongst religious conservatives, decried this as unethical and fundamentally abhorrent, calling for the government to ban the practice.
  • After some negotiations, the Lebanese and Jordanian governments agreed to allow European Union forces to conduct operations against militants within their borders. EU forces also joined with the Turkish military in securing southeast Turkey, which had seen a spike in militant activity as insurgents crossed the border from Syria. The conflict also spread to northern Iraq, but the Iraqi government refused to allow either the EU or Turkish forces to move against the militants, insisting it would handle the situation itself.

2039

  • Americans are outraged after bombing in Quito, Ecuador that killed 11 Americans. President Halsey successfully pushed Congress to support an escalation of US involvement in the South American Drug War and, by the end of 2040 the United States deployed 1,000 advisors and 10,000 soldiers to Colombia and Peru. In response, a second car bomb is exploded outside the US Embassy in Bogotá. Meanwhile, Brazilian and Venezuelan military forces besieged a major cartel stronghold on the Venezuela/Brazil border toward the end of the year in bloody jungle combat.
  • The United Nations estimated that Earth's population reached 9 billion this year.
  • Production of the Digital Video Disc ceased on December 31, having fallen out of use thanks to the rise of non-physical digital formats, streaming internet video, and ubiquitous wi-fi. The fall of the physical storage mediums coincided with the collapse of the traditional media distributors, as the Internet became the primary delivery medium – music labels, opposed to these changes from the start, almost universally went bankrupt, while the film industry managed to adapt and learned to use the Internet to its advantage. Besides high-density USB Thumb Drives, the last widely distributed physical medium was, ironically, the Vinyl Record, which had managed to recapture a significant portion of the market since the late 2010s.
  • Yan Stoyanov won a second term as President of the European Commission as the European People’s Party came out on top in the European parliamentary elections. Despite ongoing military operations in the Middle East, Irish Taioseach Anderson Kilcline invited the leaders of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Iran to meet with EU leaders in Dublin. Although the summit agreed that all parties supported the existing governments and defeating the international conservative insurgency, the groundwork for a common front couldn’t be established. Leaders in the United States, Russia, and India criticized the summit for failing to include Israel or Palestine, and for not inviting militia leaders to discuss brokering a peace deal.
  • Bigelow Aerospace, after five years of construction at Lagrange Point 1, landed a second, even larger, lunar facility on the rim of Peary crater at the north pole. This facility is bought entirely by Walt Disney Company with the intent to turn it into the world’s first lunar resort, Disney Space. Boeing wins exclusive rights to passenger transportation from Kennedy Space Center to Peary crater for ten years, beginning in 2048.

2040

  • Fierce fighting ensued in Zimbabwe as pro-western forces, supported covertly by Operation Cecil and – perhaps illegally – by the UNMZ, march on Harare. By the end of the year, the city has been taken and the nationalist leaders were ousted from the country. Despite this, fighting continued with remnants of the nationalist forces and internally within the pro-western faction.
  • NASA announced plans to construct and launch an unmanned probe to the planet Gemini in the Epsilon Eridani system, the closest known habitable planet to Earth. The plan attracted interest from scientists in Europe and Russia, leading to those respective space agencies joining the project. Although officials aimed to have a probe constructed and launched by 2055, many saw that as unlikely given the unprecedented nature of the mission. As of 2040, two additional habitable worlds had been discovered: one orbiting Bessel’s Star (11.4 lightyears from Earth) and another orbiting Epsilon Indi A (11.8 lightyears from Earth), with a third unconfirmed planet detected around Tau Ceti (11.9 lightyears). The existence of so many habitable planets near Earth has astounded astronomers, who now theorize that it is likely that most Sun-like stars have at least one Earth-like world.
  • By the end of 2040, most homes in the developed world have replaced traditional power cables with wireless electricity broadcasters, providing a constant charge to electronic equipment without the need for replacing batteries or plugging into a wall outlet. Several major cities – New York, Tokyo, and London chief amongst them – have begun instituting citywide wireless power broadcasters. Analysts predict that by 2080, electric power will no longer be provided to individual customers, but instead be a service provided by the government and paid for by tax dollars in most countries around the world.
  • In a landslide victory, Governor Agustin Torres of Arizona won the US presidential election, becoming the first Hispanic American elected to the White House. The Democrats made gains in the House of Representatives, but were unable to win control from the Republicans. President-Elect Torres joined President Halsey in a meeting with South American leaders in Miami, and assured his administration’s continued support of the Union of South American Nations’ efforts against the cartel guerillas.
  • Discontent with the Communist Party of China’s handling of the economy has led to an organized opposition movement forming. Based in Hong Kong, the movement organizes flash protests in Shanghai, Beijing, and other major cities. The government continues attempting to suppress the movement, blocking media coverage and arresting protesters, but with the economy still weak, unemployment rising, and discontent widespread, it proves difficult. The opposition doesn’t have it easy either, however: government surveillance is so widespread it makes any organizing outside Hong Kong extremely difficult without the government’s knowledge.

The Red Decade (2041 - 2050)

This decade saw the resolution of several violent conflicts, but would give way to further controversy by its end. In Africa and the Middle East, peace deals were finally struck bringing those long conflicts to tentative ends. In South America, intervention by the United States helped bring South America's Drug War to a bloody and controversial conclusion while in China the opposition movement against the Communist Party's rule reached fever pitch. As Communism in China and Cuba found itself under fire, Communist and Socialist parties returned to power elsewhere. The sudden return of leftism found a response in the United States, which returned to conservative rule by the end of the decade.

2041

  • Despite Riknav Panmit stepping down as party leader, Bharatiya Janata manages to maintain control of India’s Parliament – though at the expense of seats lost to the Indian National Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist). Manika Sadhwani becomes India’s prime minister, the first woman in the position since Indira Ghandi. She promises to continue Prime Minister Panmit’s policies of closer relations with the United States and continued domestic prosperity.
  • The world’s first commercial nuclear fusion power plant is completed outside Gainesville in Alachua County, Florida. Approved by President Gallagher and under construction since 2034, the electricity generated by the power plant is expected to bring the state’s reliance on nuclear energy to over 25% - gains made largely due to the closing of coal plants in favor of nuclear and solar power. Although the move is applauded by many, some question whether the United States should continue investing in nuclear or more in developing advanced solar collecting panels.
  • A second Middle East summit is held in Dubai, UAE – the leaders of the two largest insurgent militias met with the EU High Representative and diplomats from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. Although there is some hope that the meeting could lead to a disarmament deal, little real progress is made. Fighting flares up again later in the year as Israeli Air Force UAVs conduct air raids against insurgent forces in southern Lebanon and Syria in response to the killing of three Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights, sparking outrage across the region.
  • US President Torres sent 2,000 more troops to fight in South America, announcing a new strategy to take the war to the cartels, hit them in the wallet, and decapitate them while weak. CIA and UAI operatives learn of a crucial meeting of cartel leaders in Boa Vista, Brazil, but poor intel causes them to miss attacking the meeting and taking out most of the enemy’s leadership.
  • Reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-Eun made a rare appearance in Beijing, accompanied by his eldest son, 25 year-old Kim Jong-Seok - a figure just as reclusive as his father, though was rumored to have studied in Switzerland just as his father did. Although the Chinese government refused to comment on what was discussed during their meeting with officials in the foreign ministry, analysts believe that Kim Jong-Seok was being groomed to become the next Supreme Leader. By this time, many have lost hope that the North Korean regime will ever fall from power.

2042

  • Todd McCaskey of Melbourne, Australia became the first to have more than 75% of his body converted to prosthetics. Done initially following a severe traffic accident in 2030, he liked the results so much that he returned several times over the last 11 years to have more and more of his body replaced with artificial prosthetics. His story made headlines around the world, sparking debates about the ethics of such a transformation, the nature of humanity, and transhumanism. Some doctors predicted that, considering the advancement of medical science and prosthetics over the last 40 years, it would be only a matter of time before a full-body transplant into a prosthetic body was conducted.
  • Confirming a trend noticed over the last couple of years, the Chinese government officially announced it would loosen restrictions on free speech and free assembly, allowing “a reasonable level” of dissent in the media and allowing those unhappy with government policies to protest “in a reasonable and civilized manner”. Opposition leaders used this as an opportunity to stage large pro-democracy marches in Shanghai and Beijing, but many pointed out that the move only seemed conciliatory and that, in fact, the government had not dramatically changed its policies.
  • Operation Cecil and India’s heavy behind-the-scenes involvement in the Fourth Chimurenga is exposed by cable news network Aaj Tak. Although hearings are held in the Indian Parliament questioning former members of Prime Minister Mitdeep and Prime Minister Panmit’s governments, no charges are filed and war is popularized as an example of India as a benevolent and peace-minded hegemon in Africa. However, the same is not held true in New York, where the UN General Assembly launched an investigation into allegations that the United Nations Mission in Zimbabwe violated its mandate at India’s behest and illegally intervened in the war.
  • Satellite data indicated that by this year, the world’s oceans had risen nearly 11.8 cm (an average rate of 9.1 mm a year) – less than many had feared 40 years earlier, but still disastrous and putting many Pacific Islands at risk of sinking under the waves by the end of the century. Scientists meeting in Bern, Switzerland applauded efforts in the United States and Europe to bring climate change under control, but called for more effort by India and China to curb their production of greenhouse gases
  • Holstro – also known as Holographically-Enhanced Heavy Spectro – has come to dominate the music charts in America, China, Japan, and Europe. Holstro emerged in the late 2030s as some Heavy Spectro bands, already pushing 30 members each and putting more emphasis on electronic music, began adding holographic effects to their concerts. The result took the genre to a grandiose scale: holographic operas written with Jazz-inspired lyrics, the music itself atonal (often improvised) electronica. Though popular, Holstro inspired a backlash in the underground music scene as a new generation of musicians, the children of the Spectro Generation, rejected the post-modernist tenets of the genre and instead looked for inspiration in Indian Pop and traditional Latin American music, and labeled Holstro “a gaudy mess of emotionless noise”.

2043

  • ISRO, the Indian space agency, lands the first segment of its own Moon base at Reiner crater on the Moon’s near side – the fourth lunar outpost following the two private facilities and China’s base on the far side. Following the landing, the Chinese space agency announced plans to build two smaller “satellite” outposts on the Moon’s far side at Mare Moscoviense and Lacus Veris, near Mare Orientale. Meanwhile, Bigelow Aerospace – the world’s largest space realtor and construction firm – announced it would begin construction on its third lunar facility, despite the US government’s ongoing anti-trust lawsuit.
  • The Mariposa Revolution strikes in Cuba. Thousands of Cubans took to the streets after Javier Salcedo, the populist leader of the Christian Democratic Party of Cuba, was arrested for illegally campaigning and organizing public political rallies. Unable to withstand pressure from foreign leaders or from the general public, long discontent with the authoritarian system after reforms over the last 40 years have converted Cuba into a prospering country with a Chinese-style economic system. After a month, Communist leaders folded and repealed the rules, allowing all parties to campaign openly – the Communist Party would not survive this decision, and after the election the Assembly was split amongst CDPC, the Democratic Social-Revolutionary Party of Cuba, and Cuban Democratic Socialist Current. Together, these three parties would enact a series of reforms over the next fifteen years that would transform Cuba into an open and democratic society.
  • With US, Chinese, and Indian reliance on gasoline dropping over the last 40 years in favor of hybrids and electric vehicles, the Russian economy – reliant on oil revenues and averse to the diversification many former oil powers had embarked on – saw its economy begin to spiral downward this year, sparking fears amongst economists that Russia would drag the world back into a recession so soon after it had pulled out of the recession of the 2030s. The weakening of the Russian economy also weakened the political position of United Russia, the dominant political party since the 1990s, and rejuvenating the strength of the opposition.
  • Brilliance superstore at last surpassed its American rivals Wal-Mart and Amazon to become the world’s largest retailer. Despite this success, China’s economy remained weak and protests by the opposition became more common. Having won free speech and free assembly, if at least temporarily, the opposition began to push for democratizing the political process, calling for the government to allow direct elections to the Provincial and National assemblies as well as granting the right to establish new political parties.
  • “Naturalist” groups in the United States held a rally in Washington, DC protesting the designer baby phenomenon and calling for the US government to ban the genetic manipulation of unborn children. Calling the practice unethical and an insult to God, the Naturalists accused practitioners of violating the rights of the child by fundamentally changing who they would become and comparing it to a surgeon performing brain or plastic surgery without the patient’s knowledge or consent. Supporters of genetic manipulation rejected Naturalist claims as “backward” and compared them to abortion opponents of the previous century, pointing out how that practice was now accepted by most Americans.

2044

  • Agustin Torres was easily re-elected President of the United States, his Republican opponent defeated by the widest margin since Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1984. Riding on President Torres’ popularity, the Democratic Party won total control of the House of Representatives – the first time either party controlled both houses of Congress in over ten years.
  • War weariness took its toll in the European elections, causing voters to oust the European People’s Party in favor of the European Socialists. The new President of the European Commission, former Swedish PM Jens Walterssen, made it a priority of his commission to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East and see an orderly withdrawl of EU forces from peacekeeping operations.
  • A fringe environmentalist takes hostages at a radio station in Dallas and rants over the airwaves against modern civilization, climate change, and environmental damage. Police attempts to talk down the eco-terrorist end in failure when the man suddenly sets off an improvised explosive device he’d kept hidden in a backpack, killing himself and two hostages.
  • Marwah Films’ “Between the Assassinations”, based on Aravind Aviga’s 2008 book of the same name, topped “Avatar” to become the highest grossing film to date, breaking a record that has held for over 30 years and becoming the first non-American film to top the list of highest grossing films.
  • The East African Federation sponsored a peace summit in its capital, Arusha, amongst the warring factions in the Fourth Chimurenga. After several weeks of negotiations, faction leaders agreed to a ceasefire and “peace framework” that many hoped could lead to a power-sharing agreement, free elections, and the end to a war that has raged for over 30 years. Many analysts noted that in the fifteen years since East Africa officially federated, it has developed into a new African economic and political powerhouse.

2045

  • Sony debuted the first fully open-air holograms at a technology convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Based on the technology introduced in Holorooms a decade earlier, Sony engineers managed to develop a system that removed the constraints of the “room” design presented and projected images directly into regular open-air environments. The invention becomes the most celebrated innovation of the year and soon sees use in advertising in major cities across the developed world. It also finds waiting customers amongst musical artists, as Holstro bands soon replace their boxed-in holograms – requiring specially-modified concert halls – and allowing Holstro to move outdoors in even grander-scale amphitheaters. This will later be seen as the first step in overlaying the Internet atop the Real World, a process called True Augmented Reality.
  • Bigelow Aerospace, under contract with Virgin Group, lands a third commercial lunar facility at the Sea of Tranquility, near the landing site of Apollo 11. The facility, like DisneySpace, is also intended to become a lunar resort, although smaller in scale than Disney’s venture. Unlike Disney, however, Virgin has arranged to manage both the hotel and transportation on its own through its subsidiaries, Virgin Limited Edition and Virgin Galactic. While officially referred to as the “Virgin Moon Retreat”, employees soon nicknamed it Branson City.
  • A third major Mideast peace conference was held in Doha, Qatar. While a peace agreement still wasn’t reached, insurgent leaders did agree to a ceasefire with the Lebanese and Syrian governments as well as agreed to further meetings in the future, leading some to hope a power-sharing agreement could be reached. In Europe, President Walterssen announced plans to begin a slow withdrawal of EU Forces from Lebanon, though some forces would remain in Turkey to support Turkish military’s continuing efforts against the international conservative insurgency.
  • Protests in China grew violent this year, as several gatherings developed into riotous confrontations with the police and military, leaving several hundred dead and hundreds more wounded. Although government and opposition leaders urged the protesters to remain calm and civil, it didn’t deter some young protesters from attempting to provoke the authorities into committing acts of brutality. The events in China sparked concern abroad, both for the growing seriousness as well as sympathy for the pro-democracy movement.
  • With over 2,000 Americans killed since deployment, the United States military found itself engaged in the bloodiest fighting since the Iraq War while besieging hardened cartel positions in the northwestern Amazon. While US President Torres assured South American leaders of America’s commitment to the conflict, going so far as to approve a second “surge” of 3,500 troops, the US public was growing weary of the conflict. Many Americans question why the United States had gotten itself involved in what they saw as a purely South American problem and support for the war plummeted. At the same time, President Torres saw his approval ratings fall from 61% in November 2044 to 46% in November ’45.

2046

  • After the closest and most contentious election in decades, the Left Front – led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – formed a minority government under Basat Duttachoudhary. Prime Minister Duttachoudhary promised to build closer relations with China and, in a major gaffe, came out in opposition to the Chinese pro-democracy movement, a move attacked by many in the Indian media and unpopular amongst the public. Although he apologized, his cold stance toward the United States caused some friction between the two world powers and his minority government found steadfast opposition from both Congress and Bharatiya Janata.
  • Amidst protest from conservatives and nationalists, the European Council determined that, besides not having any territory in Europe, that Morocco met every other criteria for EU membership outlined in the Copenhagen criteria and, thus, the Federated Kingdom of Morocco and Western Sahara became the first completely non-European state to become a recognized European Union candidate. An outcry amongst Europeans fearful that this would end the “Europeanness” of the Union was countered by ecstatic support for Morocco’s ascension by Turkey, Albania, Kosovo, Cyprus, Spain, and Portugal. The announcement also led to new applications for membership from Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya.
  • With the war in South America still raging and the President’s approval rating still hovering in the mid-to-low 40s, the Republican Party made huge gains in the mid-term elections – winning 10 seats in the Senate (granting them slim control) and over 30 seats in the House (though not enough to win control of that house). After the election, President Torres began pushing a “new strategy” to end the war in America and South America’s favor, calling for a new offensive that would bring the war to a conclusive end.
  • Bigelow Aerospace ended nine years of legal battles with the US government when the Department of Justice agreed to a settlement: a fine of over $1 billion, the relinquishing of Bigelow’s sole ownership of the Transhab technology, the temporary placement of some restrictions on their business practices, and government oversight for the next eight years to ensure that Bigelow Aerospace was complying with anti-trust regulation. Many analysts criticized the settlement as a mere slap on the wrist and that it would do little to end Bigelow’s de facto monopoly on space construction and real estate, arguing that it was far too late to simply open up Transhab technology to everyone now that the company was so large and entrenched.
  • Scandal struck the astronomical community as it was revealed that the team behind the discoveries of habitable planets at Bessel’s Star and Tau Ceti had based their conclusions on falsified data. Since two senior team members were involved in the discoveries of every habitable exosolar planet ever discovered, the existence of any habitable worlds beyond Earth was thrown into doubt. While speaking before a Senate subcommittee, the NASA Administrator asserted that the exosolar probe project – now dubbed the “Christopher Columbus” – would go forward anyway, arguing that if the observable data could not be trusted then only an actual exosolar mission could prove the existence of other habitable worlds.

2047

  • Fifty years after the turnover from the United Kingdom to China, Hong Kong’s special administrative status ended. The occasion was marked by the largest pro-democracy rally yet, with opposition leaders – including the Mayor of Hong Kong – calling for the Chinese government to “open itself to the voices of the people”. Despite the special status ending, Beijing made no effort to interfere in the city’s existing system, letting the special status de facto continue.
  • With United Russia’s popularity in sharp decline over the last four years, opposition leaders moved to take advantage of the first serious chance to oust the party in decades. After the most energetic campaign season in Russia in years, populist leaders in the Communist Party won control of the Russian Duma for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union. Despite attempts at fear mongering by United Russia politicians, many across the country – too young to remember the Soviet era – welcome the return of Communist rule. Communist leaders promise not to repeat the mistakes of the 20th century and pursue efforts to reign in unemployment, restore ties with China and India, and even hinted at possibly negotiating new trade agreements with Europe.
  • Hurricane Leonard raked the US Eastern Seaboard and slammed into southern New Jersey as a Category 5 storm, causing massive flooding and billions in damage. Atlantic City and Philadelphia were hit hard – the famous boardwalk in Atlantic City was completely destroyed, while Philadelphia suffered serious flooding. Afterward, many would call Leonard the worst hurricane to strike America since Katrina and Gustav in 2005.
  • Over the course of the year, casualties sustained by USA/USAN forces drop sharply and the cartel rebels are all but obliterated - a success attributed to a change in strategy, the placement of more competent field commanders, and heavier use of the latest unmanned weapons technology. The victory seems so complete, in fact, that President Torres, meeting with South American allies in Brasilia the week before Christmas, declared the United States' mission in South America was over and announced that all US combat troops would be withdrawn by January 2049. This turn of events causes the President's approval rating to skyrocket to 60%, leaving many critics baffled and questioning why the rebellion collapsed so fully so quickly.
  • Thanks in large part to President Torres' energy policies, the United States managed to increase the share of hybrid and electric vehicles in America to 45%, a success popularized by the media and the Democratic Party as a major environmental victory. As a long-term goal, the Democrats propose increasing that share to 60% by 2060.

2048

  • Despite President Torres' approval ratings still hovering around 60%, his popularity still wasn't enough to overcome voter dissatisfaction with the Democrats and GOP Senator Megan McCain was elected President of the United States. Having campaigned on a centrist platform, President-Elect McCain promised to build upon Torres' successes and increase ties with South America, grow the economy, and reestablish America's presence on the world stage.
  • In a dramatic series of events, Kim Jong-Eun's sudden death on the eve of North Korea's Independence Day leads to the arrest of half the country's military leadership by forces loyal to Kim Jong-Seok on accusations that his father's death was the prelude to a military takeover. The remainder opposed to Kim rallies, seizes control of Pyongyang, and publicly accuses him of having his father murdered at the behest of the US and South Korea. As North Korea's neighbors gear up for an expected final showdown with the collapsing regime, and the United Nations Security Council meets in an emergency session, bloody street fighting erupts in Pyongyang between Kim and anti-Kim forces, climaxing with the failed detonation of an atomic bomb - failed only in the sense that it proved to be a dud, resulting in only a radiological attack on loyalist forces instead. Ultimately, Kim Jong-Seok secured Pyongyang and eliminated all opposition, leaving him in sole control of the country, ending the crisis.
  • Walt Disney Co.'s lunar resort, Disney Space, opened to the public and accepted its first 6 guests and 12 employees (not including Boeing staff), making it the largest population center in space. Disney's entire package included the three-day flight to the Moon from Earth aboard a Boeing “space cruise ship” (a complex of boosters, Transhab modules, landers, and a return-flight spaceplane), a luxury suite at the resort itself, 5-star dining accommodations, low gravity related attractions (most popular being human-powered flight within an atrium-like area), day-long jaunts to various must-see Lunar locations (such as NASA landing sites or various craters/mountains), and a complete circumlunar flight on the return flight. While considered a massive waste of money or a gimmick by some, Disney boasted a long list of reservations including many rich and famous names.
  • East Africa, Mexico, and Indonesia are flagged as rising powers by leading economic and political analysts during a conference in London. East Africa is noted as having developed into the leading economic and political power in Africa, citing its stability, wealth, and leadership in Zimbabwean peace negotiations. Mexico, following the end of the Drug War in the late '20s, has recovered and is the world's fasted growing economy. Indonesia, meanwhile, has developed into a major regional power and is the central force behind ASEAN (and the greatest beneficiary). Just as India and China's rise threatened American dominance half a century earlier, it is predicted that these three could rival China, India, and America by 2100.
  • Congolese warlord Isaac Nsungu of the ALCL (Armée de l'Alliance Congolaise Libéral) is first makes international news reports after his forces have seized most of Haut-Lomani province from rival warlords and the DRC Army. Late in the year, the ALCL laid siege to Kamina, the provincial capital, and won control after Nsungu negotiated the peaceful surrender of government defenders, releasing them to the custody of United Nations peacekeepers as a show of goodwill. In an interview with French journalists, who note that appears to be only in his 20s, Nsungu comes across as idealistic and announces his intentions to reunify Congo-Kinshasa under his leadership.

2049

  • The European Socialists maintained control of Parliament, winning President Walterssen a second term in office. While attending a G20 conference in China, Walterssen meets with the Canadian Prime Minister, Sarah Olney, to discuss a possible Canadian application to join the European Union. This is seen by many as the unofficial death of the Union as a “European” institution and the beginnings of a more global confederation.
  • The US Supreme Court heard Altamira v. Mandelbrot, the first case challenging the constitutionality of human genetic manipulation and designer babies. The plaintiff, Ludwik Mandelbrot, had sued his ex-girlfriend, Rebecca Altamira, because following their breakup she went to a clinic and had their unborn child's DNA altered so that all of the father's genetic traits were made recessive or, if possible, removed - all without his consent or knowledge. She still expected him to pay child support, but he claimed that altering the child's DNA in this way had voided his fatherhood and, thus, he was not required to pay child support. In its 6-to-3 ruling, the Supreme Court defined a biological parent as “any individual who directly contributes genetic material, as would be contained in a male sperm cell and a female egg cell, that would later form the genetic makeup of a new human being”, and upheld lower court decisions ordering Mr. Mandelbrot to pay child support. However, the Supreme Court also found that Mr. Mandelbrot's rights as a father had been violated, ruling that the act of conception was an implied contract that the father's DNA would be passed on by the child borne by the mother, and that by tampering with the child's genetics without Mr. Mandelbrot's consent Ms. Altamira had violated the contract and was liable for damages, sending the case back to a lower court to determine how much compensation he would be owed. In the minority opinion, the dissenting Justices sided with Mr. Mandelbrot and argued that the Ms. Altamira's violation of the contract had voided his status as father entirely.
  • Doctors in South America came forward with evidence that the United States, Colombia, and Brazil had secretly used chemical and biological weapons against cartel rebels during the offensives of 2047. The accusation sent shockwaves throughout the Western hemisphere, with hundreds taking the streets in protest while official inquiries into the matter were opened by the US government and Union of South American Nations. The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the US and USAN, while a similar resolution in the Security Council was vetoed by the United States. President McCain ordered the Pentagon to release any related information, but the results of the investigation were, at least initially, deemed classified. Rumors spread throughout the Internet that former President Torres had been implicated as having approved the use of these weapons.
  • A series of carbombings strike Delhi and Jaipur, killing 22 people and wounding over 50. A militant group operating on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, loyal to a local Afghan warlord, claimed responsibility, resulting in a week of air strikes against the militants by the Indian Navy.
  • In a national address, the Chinese Premier announced that the government would “surrender to the will of the people” and begin a process that would open up more of the government to direct involvement by citizens, beginning with direct elections to Provincial assemblies, and eventually followed by direct elections to the National Assembly. The nation would, however, have to “ease” into this new system, with only the first third of Provincial assemblies to be elected in this manner beginning in 2053. Opposition leaders hailed this as a massive victory, though some were skeptical that the Communist Party would actually surrender control over the government so easily.

2050

  • By the end of this year, there are between 100 and 150 people in Space at any given time. The majority (about 85 men and women) are on the Moon, living and working (and, for some, vacationing) at humanity's 7 lunar outposts - of that number, however, only half stay for more than a few weeks at a time (the other half are wealthy and upper middle-class tourists). The remainder (about 65) are aboard the 14 space stations in orbit around the Earth and Moon, of which 9 are owned by Bigelow Aerospace.
  • Holstro’s greatest hit, “Discord in the Chat” by the Quarks, topped the charts for 34 weeks. However, the opera would later be called the genre's swan song as soon afterward Holstro lost popularity to a new genre, Muika-Indio. Muika-Indio had been growing steadily underground throughout the 2040s, and had become popular for its very different (though more traditional) sound: bands made heavy use of sitar, drums, and horns, though still improvised Muika-Indio returned to tonality, rejecting all electronic enhancement. Muika-Indio groups liberally mixed English, Spanish, and Hindi in their lyrics, drawing inspiration from Latin and Indian folk music.
  • Chinese officials unveiled plans to land the first humans on Mars in 2060, aiming to launch supplies and facilities unmanned first in 2054, followed by a crewed launch in 2058. Some in the media criticized the Chinese government for trying to distract its citizens from the sluggish economy and ongoing protests, calling the announcement a “cheap stunt”. Regardless, many applauded the decision as the “next great step forward in human history”. In the United States and India, manned missions to Mars were reexamined for the first time in years, with some in private industry wondering if perhaps a privately funded mission, such as the one which landed a base at Mt. Malapert on the Moon, could be repeated for Mars.
  • President McCain met with Russian and European leaders in Paris to discuss building closer ties. The controversy over the use of chemical weapons in South America hung over the conference, however, and protestors from across the European Union descended on Paris to denounce the US government, burning US flags and effigies of President Torres. In the United States, inquiries by the US Senate had by the end of the year found that the US military had indeed supplied and used chemical weapons in South America (specifically, Sarin and Phosgene), but all evidence pointed toward Secretary of Defense Alan Didier as having approved the covert use - nothing and no one (at least publicly) connected President Torres with approving the weapons. This, however, was enough confirmation to spark widespread anger against the United States and the member-states of the Union of South American Nations.
  • President George Kawamba of the East African Federation was elected Chairman of the African Union. During his tenure, he worked to increase distribution of anti-malarial drugs, increase HIV vaccinations, and build cross-continental infrastructure. Many analysts saw this as further affirmation that East Africa was on the rise and could very well become a world power by the end of the century.

Chinese Democracy (2051 - 2060)

The sixth decade of the 21st century was a time of dramatic change across the world. In China, the world's largest economy and second most populous nation had its first tastes of democracy as provincial assemblies were at last opened to direct election. In America, the social controversy over human genetic engineering and designer babies reached a rhetorical peak as outspoken conservative opposition caused a split within the Republican Party. Technology reached new highs in computer and medical science, yet world peace remained elusive as conflicts continued to rage in Africa and Asia.

2051

  • A team of neurologists and engineers at Northwestern University in Illinois, led by Dr. Janice Bednarz, became the first to digitally record a human dream. Using a Functional MRI, they analyzed the electrical pulses passing through a dreaming subject's synapses and, via advanced computer models built upon decades of research, converted those pulses into audio/visual signals that could be interpreted by a computer. While the resolution was terrible and sound quality poor, the resultant recording was clear enough for doctors to watch, understand, and analyze. This breakthrough is heralded as an epochal shift for psychology and neurology, and the team goes on to become Time.com's People of the Year for 2051 and, eventually, win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2073.
  • Guests and employees exploring the terrain around the Disney Space resort discovered a maze of lava tubes running underneath the facility. Walt Disney Co. announced plans to develop part of these tubes into a below-ground expansion for Disney Space. Financial analysts question this, considering that Disney Space has yet to turn a profit.
  • A coalition of led by the Indian National Congress wrested control of the Indian Parliament away from the Left Front, electing Karan Kaur prime minister. Among Prime Minister Kaur's first acts as PM was to meet with President Kawamba of the East African Federation in New Delhi to discuss India's role in Africa and sign a R50 billion weapons deal, selling Indian-built UCAVs and warships to help East Africa secure Indian Ocean shipping lanes.
  • In preparation for the first round of Provincial elections, the opposition movement in China founds the Democratic Party of China - a national expansion of the Hong Kong-based Democratic Party. Despite some bureaucratic stonewalling, the government approves the DPC for participating. Although the DPC has many enthusiastic supporters, particularly amongst the middle-class and younger generation, unofficial polling conducted by Reuters notes that most Chinese still support the Communist Party almost 2-to-1, despite the economic slowdown of the last generation.
  • Discussion at this year's meeting of African leaders revolves around the upswing in violence in Congo-Kinshasa, as government forces have lost control of nearly 1/3 of the country to General Nsungu's ALCL, the Lord's Resistance Army, and other warlords in the last ten years. Egyptian, Nigerian, East African, and South African leaders propose deploying an African Union peacekeeping force to support the DRC and United Nations forces, but the measure is defeated.

2052

  • A major climate change conference was held in Naples, Italy. The biggest revelation was the dramatically smaller effects climate change has had versus the initial expectations the scientific community predicted at the start of the century: an estimated 19,500+ species have gone extinct (as opposed to the predicted 1 million) and sea levels have risen 47.3 cm (much lower than the 100 cm some predicted). However, they still upheld the findings of the 2028 conference and once again asserted that the disaster laid ahead unless the world further curtailed the release of Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By this year, most coastal areas of the world now suffer serious and frequent flooding as a result of the higher seas, forcing wealthier countries to take preventative measures and poorer countries to move some critical infrastructures further inland.
  • Officials at the Chinese space agency quietly pushed back their Mars mission by three years, due to delays in the design of their interplanetary spacecraft. In the meantime, they announced plans to expand the Helium-3 mining project at Mare Moscoviense outpost in hopes to mine ten years' worth of fuel before the completion of the PRC's first second-generation nuclear fusion power plant at Shanghai in 2055 - the move would increase the base population from three to nine Taikonauts.
  • A Montenegrin cargo ship en route to Kolkata, India is hijacked by Pakistani pirates in the Arabian Sea, highlighting the collapse of government authority in the country outside Islamabad and Lahore since the Afghani-Pakistan War in 2024. The ship's crew is rescued by an Indian destroyer, and the incident leads to a meeting between Pakistani President Ghuman and Prime Minister Kaur. The Pakistanis agree to allow the Indian Navy to patrol Pakistani waters for pirates, in exchange for Indian foreign aid and military support against warlords in the western provinces. Although the Kashmir issue has not been resolved, many in India at least see this as the ceremonial end to the Indo-Pakistani rivalry.
  • President McCain faced a tough re-election, overcoming a primary challenge by the socially conservative Governor of Oklahoma and narrowly defeating her Democratic opponent. The Republican Party won control of the House of Representatives and held 55 seats in the Senate, running largely on the issue of designer babies - many Republicans support a national ban on the practice - and vilifying Democratic supporters of former President Torres, who many conservatives now decry as a war criminal. Despite controlling both the White House and Capitol Hill, the GOP finds itself split on its agenda between the so-called “Violet Republicans” (a moderate faction led by President McCain) and Social Conservatives, led by Speaker of the House Aiesha Noble.
  • In the fifth referendum held on the issue since 1972, Norway at last voted to join the European Union. President Walterssen and European leaders decided to fast-track Norway, being that it was clearly qualified, and aimed for them to ascend between 2054 and 2056. Negotiations with Morocco, however, have been moving far more slowly, but it was hoped they would be ready in time to participate in the 2059 European elections. Meanwhile, leaders in Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia issued statements urging the EU to make a decision on whether or not to accept their applications. Many conservatives across the Union maintained their opposition to Morocco's candidacy and membership by any African state, arguing that the Founders had intended the EU to be a European institution, not an intercontinental one.

2053

  • Engineers in Japan debut the first robot that is visually indistinguishable from a living human, in an effort to increase the user-friendliness of machines in the world's most roboticized country. Robots - sometimes dubbed “Androids” by the media - have been used as a means to maintain Japan's economic strength despite the demographic crash suffered in the first half of the century, replacing humans in everyday tasks from garbage collection to geriatric care on a scale not seen anywhere else in the world. Robots throughout Japan are already employing advanced artificial intelligence algorithms that precisely mimic human speech patterns and process information similar to an organic brain (developed a further 20 years after their debuts in the 2030s), making them capable of simple “thought” which renders them relatively self-sufficient in order to complete the sometimes complex tasks assigned. They are not considered “sentient” by any reputed programmer or engineer. Most robots are, however, not designed to be at all humanoid and are instead designed for their specialized purposes - the designers of this new class intend these very Human-like machines to specifically replace existing robots used in direct contact with people (again, such as with nurses or other service personnel). Japan remained, however, the only country so heavily reliant on robots. Many countries, such as the United States, remained largely skeptical and the popular view held that importing these machines would cut jobs for average citizens. As a result, non-humanoid robots found limited uses only in certain fields and were considered a novelty while the increasingly human-like robots Japanese preferred were found increasingly disturbing by Westerners.
  • China holds its first direct-elections on the Provincial level since the formation of the People's Republic over the course of five days in Heilongjiang, Jilin, Lioning, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Gansu. Despite vigorous campaigning by the Democratic Party of China, the Communist Party maintains majorities in 6 out of the 10 Assemblies while the DCP wins only three and the last won by the PRC's branch of the Kuomintang. Many amongst the pro-democracy movement are flabbergasted by this result, but exit polling by international news agencies show that despite the widespread opposition movement many Chinese citizens are wary of voting out the government that steered China's rise to world power. Accusations of fraud and vote-tampering incite demonstrations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Zhengzhou, but most reject the claim and the elections are declared “free and fair” by international monitors.
  • After 18 years in office, Southern Sudan's authoritarian president is ousted in a military coup de'tat by General Christian Sule, who suspends the constitution and appoints a new government led by the nationalist Ismin Abwele. Southern Sudan's membership in the African Union is suspended until democracy is restored, which Mr. Abwele assures will be “soon” - however, the suspension is seen as little more than a slap on the wrist considering that other Sahel states (Chad, Mauritania, Niger, and the Central African Republic) have also been suspended several times since the AU's founding over military takeovers that were later “legitimized” by rigged elections. Democratic leaders around the world lament what was seen as one of the few stable, if flawed, democracies in central Africa.
  • Having driven out government forces and unified Katanga under his leadership, Issac Nsungu's ALCL continued its campaign west and laid siege to Congo-Kinshasa's second largest city, Mbuji-Mayi. The Battle of Mbuji-Mayi lasted 10 months and quickly became infamous as the bloodiest battle since the Siege of Sarajevo: over 10,000 dead and 80,000 wounded or missing. Ultimately, government forces withdrew and surrendered the city to the ALCL in May 2054. Following this defeat, the government would suffer mass abandonment as thousands of soldiers abandoned their posts and fled in the face of the ALCL and Lord's Resistance Army. The defeat also aroused serious concern in Arusha about the deteriorating situation in East Africa's neighbor.
  • After decades of little funding, cancelled projects, and failed missions, a robotic NASA probe confirms the existence of microbial life living in a vast undersea ocean under the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. While predicted by many, the discovery still sends shockwaves through the scientific community and the mass media. While vastly different in structure than microbial Earth life, scientists discover that Europan life is chemically similar to life on Earth but organized in different combinations. These differences are explained as occurring because, although the chemical foundations are the same, the initial design was slightly different and, thus, resulted in a vastly different evolutionary path and a food chain where producers (what would be flora on Earth) derive energy not from solar radiation but instead from a combination of geothermal sources and Jupiter's magnetic field. The existence of life on Europa convinced many scientists that life on the other Jovian and Saturnian moons was nearly certain.

2054

  • India and East Africa agreed to form a joint anti-piracy taskforce to tackle the resurgence of piracy in the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean in the last 15 years. As apart of the agreement, and an addendum to the 2051 weapons deal, India agrees to co-finance East Africa's efforts to upgrade its Navy and build the foundations of a Blue Water fleet. News of this spurs some of East Africa's neighbors, China-leaning Ethiopia chief amongst them, to take a more anti-Indian political stance, comparing India's deals with East Africa to American and Soviet meddling a century earlier. The move is applauded, however, by India's other African allies: South Africa, Botswana, and Mozambique.
  • Mounting opposition to Morocco's candidacy drives the European People's Party to victory in this year's Parliamentary elections, bringing the conservative president of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zoran Ferhatović, to power. As the first Muslim to head the European Commission, President Ferhatović's opposition to Moroccan membership in the EU was seen as negating accusations of racism amongst conservatives - however, his confrontational and sometimes bombastic style made him a controversial figure both in and out of Europe.
  • Violet Republicans and Social Conservatives battled each other over the issue of designer babies in the United States when Speaker of the House Aiesha Noble and Senate majority leader Donald Krycek attempted to pass a Federal ban on human genetic modification despite opposition from President McCain. The months-long debate forced a wedge through the Republican Party and saw approval ratings for both Congress and the President plummet. From this point on, President McCain was seen as a lame duck president and having done permanent damage to the unity of the Republican Party.
  • Efforts by the African Union and conservation groups have led to small populations of the Mountain Gorilla and Northern White Rhinoceros to be reestablished in Tanzania, East Africa. While it will take decades, if not centuries, to restore the species fully, it is hoped that sustained efforts will help bring them back from the brink of total extinction.
  • After 16 years, Hindalco Industries breaks their successful Asteroid Mining Project away as a semi-independent subsidiary, the Indian Space Development Corporation (ISDC), operating over 25 unmanned mining and retrieval satellites, a space station leased from Bigelow Aerospace, and 25,000 employees based out of Hyderabad. ISDC has one of the largest and most profitable Initial Public Offerings in the history of the Bombay Stock Exchange, with Hindalco maintaining its position as majority stock holder, and soon begins to expand its operation to include launch sites in the Pacific and targets larger asteroids in the Asteroid Belt estimated to contain over $900 billion worth of platinum, nickel, and iron.

2055

  • A dispute over the ownership of oil fields in the Aral Desert leads to a short border war between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Kazakh forces, using Chinese-built equipment and operating with Chinese support, launch a blitzkrieg-style attack on their southern neighbor. The United Nations Security Council issues several resolutions calling for hostilities to cease, but the war only ends when China, India, and Russia negotiate a ceasefire three weeks later. After intense aerial bombing of Tashkent, military bases, and industrial centers by Kazakh UCAVs, the war ends in an effective Kazakh victory: the Kazakh Army seizing and occupying the southern half of the Aral Desert despite Uzbek protests. Much of the oil will eventually be sold to Sinopec, the Chinese oil giant.
  • Bigelow Aerospace landed its fourth Lunar facility at Tsiolkovsky crater, the first private facility on the Moon's far side. The entire facility is purchased by Exelon Corporation, the United States' largest nuclear energy provider, for the purposes of mining Helium-3. While only 10% of America's nuclear power plants run on Fusion (using a Deuterium/Tritium reaction), Exelon has promoted the idea of building a Chinese-style H3/Deuterium reactor as the future of America's power grid and this new mining base as the key to total energy independence.
  • Dr. Kandarp Patel, chief of genetic engineering at Massachusetts General Hospital and the top “baby designer” in the northeast, was shot dead at South Station in Boston by a woman opposed to genetic modification. The incident sparks fears amongst the medical community that the controversy may be growing out of control.
  • NASA announced that it had decided to use a combination of Solar Sails and Nuclear Pulse Propulsion as the propulsion system for the world's first exosolar probe, the Christopher Columbus. The probe will use the Solar Wind to exit the Solar System, switch to a form of Nuclear Pulse controlled by magnetic fields to accelerate to ~13% the speed of light, and then switch back to Solar Sails to slow down as they make the final approach into the Epsilon Eridani system. The voyage was estimated to take around 70 years, followed by another 10 years before data from the probe returned to Earth. NASA continued to promote the project as means of freeing exosolar astronomy from the doubt cast by the forgery scandal nine years earlier.
  • EU President Ferhatović found himself embroiled in a vicious war of words with Europe's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Abbey Murdoch, over Morocco's candidacy and the future of EU expansion. The debate has thoroughly split the Union's leadership, with western and southern leaders supporting expansion into North Africa, while northern and eastern leaders opposed it in favor of focusing on Ukraine - long on the agenda, but divided between loyalties to Moscow and Brussels - or not expanding at all. Little progress has been made in negotiations with Morocco since President Ferhatović's election, leading many supporters to fear that their ascension may be delayed until well after Ferhatović's term ends.

2056

  • China holds the second round of direct Provincial elections in Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Qinghai, Anhui, and Shanghai. Although the Communist Party still maintained control over more Provincial assemblies than they lost, it was a narrower victory: 4 go to the CCP, 3 to the Democratic Party, and 1 to the Kuomintang. The better turnout by the opposition this year convinces many that the next round of elections in 2059 could be where they make up for the ground lost to the CCP, which so far has won well over half of all the seats up for election.
  • Unhappy with the political deadlock in Washington since the failed designer baby ban, the American public turned away from Republican rule and elected a Democrat, Mark Borgnino of New Jersey - a veteran of the South American Drug War and one-term Governor. The Democrats also won narrow control of the House of Representatives, though the Republicans held onto the Senate by a two seat margin. This election is notable not just for the first Italian-American elected, but also for the election of the first openly homosexual US Vice President, Charles Foyer.
  • Bharatiya Janata won control of the Indian Parliament and elected former Vijay Kapoor, the former Trade minister under Manika Sadhwani, to become the next Prime Minister. Mr. Kapoor's ministry would focus largely on domestic policy, especially continued development of infrastructure in rural India, while his foreign policy was a continuation of his predecessors: growing ties with African allies while coordinating on anti-piracy operations. Within his first year, Mr. Kapoor hosted a conference on fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean: in attendance were representatives from East Africa, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia, ASEAN, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan.
  • Sony, Samsung, LG, Samtel and Vestel announced a new line of open-air holographic displays. Thanks to an industry-wide effort to take the open-air hologram technology and miniaturize it, by the end of the year thousands of homes across the world had displays capable of projecting high-resolution images directly into the air. These devices have two settings: a flat 2D plane that mimics the traditional television screen and a fully 3D mode that projects images recorded with special holographic cameras. The 2D setting is included since the immense cost of recording holograms - requiring at least two separate cameras, but for the full effect could use over a dozen - has proven too prohibitive for most broadcasters and filmmakers. Thirty years after Holographic TVs came on the market, only sporting events and certain niche films are recorded holographically, while the new high-resolution 15360×8640 “True Definition” (TDTV) displays have begun to challenge Ultra HDTV (7680×4320 displays), the broadcast standard since the 2030s.
  • India-based Reliance Retail topped Wal-Mart this year to become the world's third largest retailer, after Brilliance Superstore and Amazon.com. Indian businesses, having grown in size and popularity internationally over the last 50 years, have begun to match Chinese and American businesses in size. Although India is still considered behind China in development and economic strength, some analysts predict that unless China's long stretch of slow economic growth cannot be overcome soon, India may top China as the world's largest economy by 2100.

2057

  • Issac Nsungu and the ALCL marched into Kinshasa unopposed as Congo-Kinshasa's government abandoned the city and fled for Congo-Brazzaville. However, in a move no one expected, General Nsungu invited the elected government to return to Kinshasa and return to power - on the condition that he be made Supreme Commander of the Army and the ALCL forces be declared the official armed forces of Congo-Kinshasa. President François Tsonga and other Congolese leaders, against the advice of Congo-Brazzaville's government, agreed to the terms and returned to power in a move hailed as “a power-sharing agreement” by the African Union and international media. With the government's blessings, General Nsungu began a campaign to conquer the final third of Congo-Kinshasa, held firmly by the Lord's Resistance Army.
  • After several years of delays, the Chinese space agency launched its Mars base in a single piece, unmanned. The facility, capable of supporting up to nine Taikonauts for well over a year without resupply, would be the first step toward the first manned mission to Mars - now scheduled to launch in 2061. Despite pressure from governments and the public, no other space agency announced plans for their own manned missions to Mars - NASA's plan had been a victim of GOP infighting during the McCain administration, while India had decided to instead focus on expanding its Moon base at Reiner crater to support up to 20 Vymanonauts. Discussion of a private Mars venture continues behind the scenes amongst the industry, but little comes of it at the time.
  • Two separate teams of geneticists, at the Federal University of São Carlos in Brazil and at Yosu National University in South Korea, announce that they have successfully reverse engineered a chicken into a “Birdosaurus” - a creature that is biologically reorganized to resemble a small dinosaur. The feat is accomplished in both cases by the scientists tinkering with the genomes of Chicken embryos, individually switch genes “on” or “off” to bring out genes once used by the birds' dinosaurian ancestors but since rendered recessive or inert thanks to millions of years of evolution. Although the concept had been discussed and experimented with throughout the last 50 years, this is the first time anyone has invested the time and money to produce a “complete” Birdosaur. While the feat made headlines in its own right, what kept it in the news cycle for months was the bickering that followed over which team had accomplished it first. Time.com would ultimately award their People of the Year award to both teams in the hopes of settling the dispute (it didn't).
  • The European Union celebrates 100 years since the Treaties of Rome, accepted as the de facto foundation of the world's first supranation and the beginning of the longest period of relative peace in the continent's history. Despite this, the Union remains divided over what, exactly, the EU should be or who should be a member: President Ferhatović and conservatives across the continent remained firmly opposed to Moroccan membership, while others pushed for the Union to begin expanding beyond Europe's borders and bringing in other non-European states, such as Canada. Little progress has been made in negotiations with Morocco, and public support in Morocco for EU membership has dwindled significantly since they first applied 21 years earlier.
  • Changing weather patterns across the world has led to a lengthening of the Siberian summer by several weeks since 2001. The longer period of warmer weather has thrown the entire ecosystem in the region into chaos, not just in Russia but across the northern rim, and has led to severe population drops amongst arctic wildlife. The Russian government, concerned, steps up conservation efforts in Siberia. Simultaneously, however, the better weather has opened up the region to further exploitation, leading to the uncovering of new deposits of gold, silver, coal, and uranium by Russian and Chinese developers.

2058

  • AVM Productions released the epic film “The Betrothed”, an adaptation of the 19th century Italian literary masterpiece by Alessandro Manzoni reset to 1940s India. The film was an instant worldwide success, quickly breaking the gross record set by “Behind the Assassinations” in 2044 and making its director, Durai Kutty, a household name. The movie would go on to sweep the Academy Awards in both the United States and India in 2059, and by 2100 would be seen as the best film of the century and the defining film of Indian cinema.
  • Aiko Fujiwara of Yokosuka, Japan became the first human in history to successfully undergo the transplant of a brain into a fully prosthetic body. Ms. Fujiwara suffered from Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, a condition that weakened the heart and skeletal muscles, and even with modern medical science should was forced into a wheelchair by age 20. Her family consulted with doctors across the country until it was decided to try a radical new procedure: removing her brain entirely from its original afflicted body and placing it in a fully artificial one. While such a procedure had been performed before in lab mice, and some people have had over 75% of their bodies slowly converted to prosthetics, never before had something like this been done. A prosthetic body was built in Ms. Fujiwara's likeness using the same techniques that led to the very humanlike robots that debuted in 2053 and the latest in artificial analogues to nearly every human organ. Following the procedure, Ms. Fujiwara's story made international headlines and her doctor, Dr. Kichirou Motou, would go on to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2081. It would take Ms. Fujiwara several years before she could gain full mobility, and after that would suffer from constant numbness (since technology was not yet able to reproduce the sensitivity of human skin) and a strange “floating” sensation - doctors would eventually attribute this to a form of Phantom Limb syndrome.
  • Amidst international protest, the Chinese government officially barred the National Democratic Party of Tibet from participating in the 2059 Tibetan elections, claiming that the party was “a front for foreign meddling and illegally promoting local separatists groups”. The Chinese government's claims were heavily criticized outside China and to Western liberals was seen as marring the entire democratization process. However, most Chinese citizens have no objection to this move - polling conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation found that, in fact, even if the NDPT was allowed to participate, the Communist Party would still win the clear majority of seats.
  • Years of division amongst Arab League members ended with a disastrous meeting in Tunis this year when the League found itself hopelessly divided amongst pro-European and pan-Arab factions. Pro-European states, led by Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon, endorsed pushing to follow Morocco's example and attempting to join the European Union. Pan-Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia and Oman, opposed this and instead wanted the Arab League to form a Muslim counter to the largely Christian European Union. While the pan-Arab states have openly opposed what they see as European encroachment in the Islamic world for decades, the protests have grown far louder since Morocco became an EU candidate and reached a fever pitch when pro-European states tabled a proposal for all Arab League members to eventually join the EU - all of this was exacerbated by the weak economy since the economic crisis of the 2030s and the quickly falling demand for oil. Although the organization continued to exist, after the Tunis Conference the Arab League would become effectively defunct as North African and Mediterranean states sought closer ties with Europe while members of the Gulf Cooperation Council sought to form a new supranational state.
  • By Q4 2058, the United States and Union of South American Nations have recovered from the 2035-36 Recession and the South American Drug War. The booming economy sees unemployment rates at their lowest point in 20 years and Wall Street is trading at its highest since before the Great Recession. This hemisphere-wide economic boom is spurred along by the expansion of the Mexican economy and growing trade connections amongst the Americas. Elsewhere, much of the world has already recovered from recession, although certain regions - Russia, China, and the Middle East - remain sluggish.

2059

  • China held its third round of provincial direct-elections in Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau, Hainan, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Chongqing, and Tibet. While the Democratic Party was more successful in this round than ever before, securing control of their base in southern China, they still ended up winning control of six assemblies while the Communist Party held onto the other eight, including Tibet. Protests by supporters of the National Democratic Party of Tibet led to violent crackdowns and some rioting in Lhasa, but overall the third round went as smoothly as the first two. With the end of this round, all of China's provincial assemblies have been directly elected: 18 are controlled by the Communist Party, 12 by the Democratic Party, and 2 by the Kuomintang Revolutionary Committee.
  • Engineers at Australian National University's Advanced Computing Laboratory unveiled the world's most powerful neural supercomputer: the ACL-III. Under development since 2050, the ACL-III is capable of “thought” processes as complex and fast as a primate's brain, making it the most “intelligent” computer even built. The ACL-III is as large a step forward for computing as the IBM/DARPA “Cat Computer” of 2021 and lays the foundation for a new generation of smarter operating systems and artificial intelligences. Although there is some joking in the media about the ACL-III and sentience, the computer is not and is essentially no more than a very large, very advanced calculator.
  • As the European People's Party and European Socialists geared up for parliamentary elections, a bombshell was dropped when the Norwegian government announced they would refuse to sign an ascension treaty until negotiations with Morocco were unfrozen and fast-tracked. This put President Ferhatović and the People's Party in the awkward position of hinting they would suspend Norway's ascension, a very unpopular position considering the overwhelming support for Norway's admission across the Union. Although they never outward stated that was their position, the People's Party fell behind in polls thanks to Socialist campaign ads painting that picture. In the end, the European Socialists and their allies won control of Parliament and elected the former Irish Taoiseach, Mary O'Gorman, to become the next President. President O'Gorman agreed to unfreeze Morocco's negotiations - enough to satisfy the Norwegian government - but did not fast-track them.
  • Despite years of opposition rule, flipping between the Communists and Liberal Democrats, the Russian economy has remained sluggish to stagnant and the government has racked up trillions in debt. By this year, the largest holders of Russian debt are Bank Indonesia and the ASEAN Central Bank, helping bankroll Indonesia's rise from a regional to a world power. With much of the rest of the world economy having recovered from the recession already, the Russian government has begun subsidizing efforts to expand mining in Siberia as a means of sparking economic growth. This has proven difficult, however, as the largest factors toward Russia's economic decline have been a shrinking workforce and the decline of the oil economy.
  • With support from the African Union, Central African Republic, and East African Federation, the Congolese military led by General Issac Nsungu defeated the Lord's Resistance Army at the Battle of Aru in March, crushing the last organized resistance to government rule in Congo-Kinshasa. From this point on, only isolated warlords and criminal kingpins opposed the Congolese government and military.

2060

  • In spite of the good economy, President Borgnino faced a tough re-election campaign against a reinvigorated Republican Party now led by former Speaker of the House Aiesha Noble of North Carolina. Ms. Noble brought the issues of genetic modification and designer babies to the forefront, casting herself as the moral defender of children's rights and equality. Her supporters, however, would often take her rhetoric too far and this year saw a spike in death threats against doctors and personal attacks against so-called “Genies”, the now-adult designer babies born in the 2030s and 2040s who often suffered some discrimination from natural born Americans. Despite the Democratic Party's best efforts, Aiesha Noble defeated Mark Borgnino to become the 52nd President of the United States (and the first African-American woman elected to the office).
  • Researchers in China and Mongolia, after several years of surveys and satellite imaging, have determined that the Gobi Desert has grown by as much as 10% since 2001 and, at the current rate, could be nearly 20% larger by 2100. The desertification of the region is blamed in part on climate change and in part on China's meteoric industrialization in the late 20th century. Chinese leaders, concerned how this will affect China's economy and food supplies, begin discussing strategies to curb the Gobi Desert's expansion.
  • By the year's end, the Congolese military had secured control over the entire country and the war - now commonly called the Congolese Reunification War - was declared over after 19 years. Issac Nsungu was hailed as a national hero for finally ending the country's century-long period of war and instability. General Nsungu began to drop hints that he would run against François Tsonga in the 2061 elections, a race many analysts predicted he would easily win.
  • Prime Minister Kapoor convened a regional conference on piracy in Thiruvananthapuram to discuss the progress of anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean after a high-profile raid by Somali pirates on the resort community at Praslin Island in the Seychelles left 10 vacationers dead. Although pirate activity has dropped in the last 8 years, the pirates that do remain are speedy, elusive, heavily armed and deadly. In an effort to contain and crush piracy in the region once and for all, leaders agreed to form a new regional organization dedicated to fighting piracy and promoting security: the rather unoriginally named Indian Ocean Security Treaty Organization (ISTO). The agreement is signed by India, East Africa, Madagascar, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, Mozambique, South Africa, Somalia, Pakistan, Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia, and Australia.
  • The World Health Organization released a report noting that the average life expectancy was now 81.2 years, nearly 15 years longer than at the start of the century, a feat attributed to the eradication of several of the world's deadliest diseases: Smallpox (1979), Polio (2021), Dracunculiasis (2022), Lymphatic filariasis (2034), and Rubella (2047), with Measles expected to be completely eradicated by 2065 and Malaria by 2075. However, it was also noted a vast discrepancy between life expectancies in the developed and developing worlds: on average, a person in the developed world can expect to live up to 99.6 years while in the developed world the average was far lower at only 69.3 years. This was attributed to the continuing effects of Influenza, HIV, Malaria, and warfare throughout the developing world.

The Purity Movement (2061 – 2070)

After several decades of growing opposition toward the designer baby practice in the developed world, the social issue reached a political climax with the presidency of Aiesha Noble and rise to power of the so-called “Purity Movement” in governments around the world. The struggle between the Purity Movement and rights groups defending “Genies”, the now-adult designer babies born in the 2030s, would become the defining conflict of the decade but would not end with it. In the meantime, the world economy enjoyed a boom after the western hemisphere at last fully recovered in the late 2050s, and was further buoyed by the ascension of newly unified Congo-Kinshasa, which underwent a major modernization program. Unfortunately, though, other ongoing problems would upset the bull market by 2070.

2061

  • As expected, Issac Nsungu crushed incumbent François Tsonga and was elected President of Congo-Kinshasa in a landslide 4-to-1 victory. In his inaugural speech, President Nsungu struck a nationalist and populist tone, promising to eliminate unemployment, strengthen domestic order, and to embark on an ambitious modernization campaign to construct a 21st century infrastructure in one of the world’s least developed countries. For his military and political successes over the last decade, Time.com named him their Person of the Year for 2061.
  • Following a six-month voyage across 60 million miles of interplanetary space, Colonel Lin Sung Chen became the first human to set foot on Mars. The event was the most widely broadcasted and watched since the Chinese landing on the asteroid Apophis over thirty years earlier, netting well over 2 billion viewers worldwide. Colonel Chen became the first commander of the Chinese Mars Base, which had been launched in 2057 and landed unmanned at the foot of Olympus Mons in 2058. The facility was designed to be largely self-sufficient, cutting down the number of resupplies from Earth needed to only two or three a year with the hope that it could be cut down further. This engineering feat was accomplished after years of study on efficient use of materials and supplies at China’s three Lunar bases. While talk of other Mars expeditions continued within the space industry, especially in the United States and India, there was not much political interest.
  • A mail bomb exploded at a designer baby clinic in Memphis, Tennessee, killing a nurse and three others. No person or group claimed responsibility for the attack, but police suspected the culprit was an “anti-genie” activist. The attack was the worst violence yet as anti-genie furor swept across the United States. The Department of Justice released a report in November 2061 noting a dramatic increase in reports of assaults, batteries, and harassment against genetic doctors, the parents of designer babies, or against Genies themselves over the last 10 years.
  • Vijay Kapoor led Bharatiya Janata to victory in India’s parliamentary elections, winning himself a second term as Prime Minister, the first two-term Indian leader since Aknav Mitdeep (2026 – 2036). Kapoor had spent much of the campaign season highlighting his great domestic successes thus far: halving the percentage of Indians below the poverty line, expanding infrastructure in India’s poorest states, fighting hunger by promoting the use of GM foods, and India’s continued economic growth compared to China.
  • Musicians Ambrosio Sepúlveda, Hector Rosales, and Saturnino Fierro appeared on stage for the first time as a Muika-Indio band, The Osrams, in Guatemala City. The band is popular, their singles quickly reach the top 20 music downloads in Latin America and top 500 in the world. After signing with an agent, The Osrams go on a successful tour across Guatemala and later an even more successful tour across Central America.

2062

  • Anti-Genie activists set fire to the designer baby clinic at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Police eventually arrest two men in connection to the arson, but the criminals are treated by some activists as heroes to their cause and standing up for “moral purity”. The media will eventually label the entirety of anti-genie activism the “Purity Movement”. Meanwhile, President Noble signed a controversial law banning federal funding for any hospital or medical center that performs “unnecessary” genetic modification on an unborn child,unless the life of the child or mother would be threatened without such modification. The law is condemned by doctors and “designers” – supporters of genetic modification – as an illegal overstep of federal powers into parenthood, as the law forced hospitals across the United States to close their designer baby clinics or lose funding. The ascent of the Purity Movement and the passage of the genetic modification ban is the last straw for many Violet Republicans who defect en masse to the Democrats in the months leading up to the midterm elections, losing President Noble her majority in the Senate, while those who don’t defect lose primary races against Purity Movement candidates. The Republicans end up with a razor-thin majority in the Senate and maintain control over the House.
  • Russian aerospace firm RSC Energia, Bigelow Aerospace’s largest competitor, began construction on its first lunar facility. The outpost, built on behalf of Starwood Hotels at Mons Hadley (near the landing site of Apollo 15), would become the Moon’s third resort and would rival Disney Space in size. Rather than use expandable modules as Bigelow Aerospace has used, RSC Energia has continued use of the hard-bodied modular design it original developed for the first space stations in the 1970s and 1980s. This has proved more expensive and thus allowed Bigelow Aerospace to take a tremendous lead in space construction and real estate. Newer and lighter alloys developed over the last 60 years and the restrictions placed on Bigelow following the US anti-trust lawsuit, however, have allowed RSC Energia to catch up. Construction on the facility, dubbed “New Montana” by Starwood, would be completed in 2069.
  • The Coalition for National Unity and Peace (CNUP) was established in the Republic of Somalia by three powerful clans in southern Somalia and formed an alliance with the Somali Federal Government. With the Somali Civil War now having stumbled along in fits and starts for over 70 years (to the point where some scholars question whether or not it should still be considered a single “war” rather than a period of internal conflict), the country is a shamble of fiefdoms and militias uncontrolled by the lame duck Federal Government in Mogadishu besides the autonomous province Puntland in the north. The CNUP’s aligning with Mogadishu marks a shift in the ongoing conflict, for the first time bringing Federal allies in control of more than 2/3 of southern Somalia. Although some applaud the move, many point out that the CNUP’s members are not champions of peace or democracy and have committed countless war crimes themselves.
  • Congolese President Nsungu signed a trade agreement and weapons deal with the Chinese government, granting Chinese corporations access to the Congo’s cobalt and coltan mines in exchange for modern Chinese firearms, UMVs (unmanned military vehicles), and funding to help Congo-Kinshasa expand domestic infrastructure. President Nsungu also announced his intention to bet the country’s economic future on expanding the country’s exploitation of its mineral wealth, greenlighting 50% increased production of cobalt, tin, copper, lumber and diamond exports by 2075. While these moves are supported domestically, environmentalists in the West – particularly the Americas – criticize these efforts for their utter disregard for the country’s ecology and urging the government to do more to protect the Congolese rainforest.
  • After decades of lagging behind, Google buys out former computer giant Microsoft. The deal is condemned by industry analysts the world over as the United States granting Google an effective monopoly over the computer industry, which is already heavily dominated by Google’s search engine, Google's OS, Google's freeware, and Google associated hardware like Internet-ready cell phones and wi-fi access points. The government, however, ignored the warnings and the merger was approved without issue. The fall of Microsoft leaves Apple and HCL standing virtually alone against Google, which now controls more than two-thirds of the market share. Ironically, the move is actually applauded by most consumers, with whom Google’s largely “free-to-play” ad-supported business model has always proved popular.

2063

  • Puerto Rico, Florida, and South Carolina become the first states to pass new laws allowing employers to refuse hiring Genies over an equally-qualified naturally-born American. The move is very popular amongst the working class, who largely believe that Genies are “genetically superior” to natural-born humans and thus have an inherent advantage that, if not suppressed, would grant them an unfair and artificial advantage over most Americans. While doctors dispute this claim as false fear mongering, the growing Purity Movement ignores them. By 2080, 26 states will have legalized discrimination against Genies in some way.
  • A military coup de’tat by Admiral Marti Panadero ousted the Equatorial Guinean government, suspended the constitution, and installed a military-run Supreme Council chaired by Admiral Panadero himself. Equatorial Guinea’s membership in the African Union was suspended, but a request by Gabon for a military intervention by the Union is rejected by Congo-Kinshasa. On October 12, Equatorial Guinea’s Independence Day, Congolese President Nsungu met with Admiral Panadero in Malabo and signed an agreement granting Congo-Kinshasa access to Equatorial Guinean ports for the Congolese Navy in exchange for recognition and trading rights. President Nsungu faced international criticism for the move, but his supporters defend his actions as basic real politick.
  • The single “Amor, Amor es la Dēvatā de mis Sapanē” (Love, Love is the God of my Dreams) by The Osrams becomes the most downloaded song in the world, selling over 20 million digital downloads and registering over 50 million trades in the first 24 hours. The single was the first released following the band’s first performance in the United States at Estadio ICICI in San Juan. The Osrams are catapulted to worldwide fame, going on a tour of the United States and Canada in 2063-64 and a world tour in 2065-66.
  • Well over a century since the Korean War, North Korea and Japan at last restore normalized relations as apart of efforts by North Korean leader Kim Jun-Seok to repair his country's foreign relations after generations of isolation by his predecessors. Although the country remains a brutal dictatorship by any measure, Kim has opened the country even moreso than his father's baby steps and has attempted to begin adopting a Chinese model system. Despite the improvements, there remains skepticism that any of these are permanent and, privately, many Western leaders expect Kim to either eventually rollback the reforms or be ousted in a coup.
  • High unemployment and public unrest in central Asia has caused the formation of an insurgency in Tajikistan. While the conflict has remained outside the attention of the world’s media for the last eleven years, it rockets into full-focus for a short time after a series of deadly terror attacks in the Chinese border town of Kashi, Xinjiang leave 31 dead and 74 wounded. The Tajik militant group, Tajik Democratic Worker’s Front, claimed responsibility through its website and the Chinese military responded with cruise missile attacks on known TDWF camps, including a strike on an apartment building in Dushanbe. While the Tajikistan government is furious at the unilateral move and cuts all ties with China, the Chinese public applauds the military’s quick response.

2064

  • On January 1, Norway was officially admitted as the 38th state of the European Union, in time to participate in parliamentary elections. Mary O’Gorman led the European Socialists to victory and was reelected to a second term as President of the European Commission, campaigning on her work to revitalize Europe’s domestic economy and her promise to finish negotiations with Morocco: the European Commission now anticipated that ascension talks would be completed in time for the 2069 elections. While the issue continued to be divisive across the Union, it had become divisive in Morocco as well: as many as 41% of Moroccans polled by Reuters were now opposed to membership.
  • Professional swimmer Walt Altman sued the United States Olympic Committee after he learned he was cut from the US Olympic team because he was a Genie. The story made national headlines, highlighting the divide amongst Americans over the Genie and designer baby issue. Opponents of genetic modification supported the USOC’s decision, arguing that allowing men and women like Mr. Altman into the Olympics would be as tarnishing as allowing steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. Supporters, however, claimed that such blatant discrimination was un-American and violated the Civil Rights Act. The lawsuit would linger through the summer and Altman’s supporters traveled all the way to Qatar to protest at the Doha Olympics. Ultimately, however, the courts sided with the USOC: under the new rules put in place by Colorado to “protect natural-born and genetically inferior Coloradoans”, the Colorado Springs-based US Olympic Committee was within its rights to reject Mr. Altman for being a Genie. Designers condemned the ruling and labeled the Supreme Court “a panel of cowards” for refusing to hear the case. Mr. Altman would go on to become a rights activist on behalf of Genies and designer babies.
  • Although popular with most Republicans, President Noble faced a serious Primary challenge by the remainder of Violet Republican faction. Fiery campaigning by Noble and her opponent, Texas governor Eduardo Y. Gamble, completely overshadowed the Democratic primaries, which quietly saw Florida governor Peter de Leon win the nomination. When it became clear Noble would win the Republican nomination, Governor Gamble announced he would run as a third-party candidate, becoming the first serious third-party contender in decades. The move split the Republican vote, enough so that Peter de Leon managed to beat out Aiesha Noble’s reelection bid, surprising many who had predicted an easy victory for the incumbent. President De Leon promised to roll back his predecessor’s “discriminatory policies”, but with Republicans still in control of both houses of Congress (even managing to reclaim a Senate supermajority by defeating Violet Republicans-turned-Democrats) and Aiesha Noble all but certain to become the next Republican National Committee chairman – and certain to run again in 2068 – conservative pundits label President De Leon a lame duck before he even takes office.
  • The ongoing unrest and insurgencies in Central Asia - particularly in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan - become major topics in the developed world's news media following the previous year's high profile attacks in western China. The conflict, ongoing since about 2052, is related to the conservative insurgencies in the Middle East, the Afghanistan Civil War, and the Pakistani internal conflict, with several groups and individuals involved in all of them. With corruption rife amongst the local police and military, and with many of the local governments either weakened or barely existent, Central Asia is seen by many as the current epicenter of war in the world.
  • The first new mines greenlit under President Nsungu's modernization campaign begin operation in central Congo-Kinshasa, and by the end of the year the country has increased exports of coltan, cobalt, lumber, and diamonds by well over 5% - mostly to China, India, and Japan. Environmentalists around the world criticized the increased mining, condemning Nsungu's policies as “raping the Congo's natural wealth” and organizing protests at Congo-Kinshasa's embassies in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia. Despite the criticism, Nsungu hailed this as a step forward for the country and promised to increase production in 2065, and to use the money raised to build miles of new roads, rails, and bridges.

2065

  • Sociologists from the University of Mumbai, following a ten-year study, released a controversial report that found that about half of all Indians still practiced the Caste System, despite the system having been legally banned for well over a century. Some criticized the University for allowing the paper to be published and accused the scientists involved of tarnishing India's image abroad, brushing aside the findings as exaggerating the customs of the rural villages. However, most Indians, especially in academia and the Media, began a debate over why the system has stubbornly remained and whether or not it was ethical to stamp it out.
  • With only three years left before the first direct elections to the National People's Congress, the Chinese government at last approved the Democratic Party of China's right to participate. This came after several years of uncertainty following comments made by several senior Communist Party leaders implied that only parties that already held seats in Congress - meaning, primarily, the CCP and Kuomintang - would be allowed to stand for election. Despite continued lobbying by Tibetan expats and the Indian government, however, the National Democratic Party of Tibet was once again officially excluded.
  • The European Union and the United States each filed anti-trust lawsuits against Google Inc., accusing the corporation of have formed a virtual monopoly over computer operating systems and software after purchasing Microsoft and having systematically phased out their competitor's products. The lawsuits are highly unpopular, especially in the United States where former President and RNC Chairman Aiesha Noble uses it as ammunition against the fledgling De Leon Administration and the Republican-controlled Congress makes moves against the Justice Department, all with the popular support of the general public.
  • Terrorists set off bombs in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 31 people and injuring another 86. The group responsible, the Bangladeshi People's Army of Islam, accused the government of failing to address Bangladesh's poverty while its neighbors have become wealthy and having strayed away from the principles of Sunni Islam. India and ASEAN agree to lend counter-terror assistance to Bangladesh, but the attacks continue sporadically for years.
  • RSC Energia and the Indian Space Development Corporation broke ground on the Moon's first titanium mining facility at Sinus Iridium. The new Lunar outpost was the beginning of an expansion at ISDC away from their successful asteroid mining program to other forms of space resource exploitation - besides Lunar titanium, ISDC was also considering joining the rush to mine Helium-3 and was sponsoring a study by the Indian Institutes of Technology in developing space-based solar power. ISDC's Sinus Iridium mining facility was planned to begin operations by 2069.

2066

  • In a story that gripped the continent and dominated headlines for weeks, Milena Mulawka, a seven-year old designer baby was kidnapped from her home in Warsaw. Responsibility for the kidnapping was soon claimed by an anti-genie group, Armii Czystość Duszy (Army for the Purity of Soul), which released videos of the girl in captivity on Google Video. Despite an EU-wide search by police and efforts to get more information, no more was heard from the group until 16 days later when the girl's body was found, mutilated, in the Vistula River near Pienkow. Three men, one of them a neighbor, would eventually be arrested a year later, but none could be directly connected to the crime and would be eventually released. The story eventually became a rallying cry by pro-genie groups around the world against the surge of violence against genetically-modified people. Unfortunately, the story also inspired copycats around the world and would only be the first in a string of designer baby abductions and murders.
  • After several scandals embarrassed key senior Bharatiya Janata members, the Indian National Congress took advantage of the situation and managed to win a plurality in this year's Parliamentary elections. After negotiations, Congress was joined by Bahujan Samaj and the Nationalist Congress Party to form a new coalition government led by Drupada Thakur. Among Prime Minister Thakur's campaign promises would be to continue counter-terror efforts in Pakistan and Bangladesh, in the hopes of preventing further violence from crossing the borders into India.
  • Twenty-six years after the project was first announced, the world's first interstellar probe, the Christopher Columbus, launched after several years of construction at Lagrange Point 1 on an 74-year journey to the planet Gemini, in orbit around Epsilon Eridani, 10.5 lightyears from Earth. While there is some excitement leading up to the launch, interest quickly wanes and the general public effectively forgets all about it within a couple years. In the meantime, the search for exosolar planets has continued unabated: at the time the Christopher Columbus launched, astronomers had identified over 30,000 exosolar planets. However, no planets are considered “Confirmed Habitable” anymore since the accusations of fraud forced astronomers to backtrack on the status of supposedly habitable worlds orbiting Bessel's Star and Tau Ceti about 20 years earlier. Most scientists are confident that Gemini really is habitable (and potentially life-bearing), but some are doubtful and predict disappointment.
  • Issac Nsungu was reelected President of Congo-Kinshasa with an overwhelming 68%, despite critics blasting his environmentally destructive modernization campaign and his support for dictators in Equatorial Guinea and Southern Sudan. While on a state visit to South Africa, Nsungu countered some critics in the East African media by pointing out Congo's socially progressive policies, such as allowing same-sex marriage, as opposed to his neighbor's more “backward and repressive” anti-homosexual laws. Although rejected by his critics, the comments are latched onto by the fledgling nationalist movement in Congo-Kinshasa, feeding into a growing anti-East African sentiment across the country. In the meantime, Congo-Kinshasa's recent spurt in economic growth was considered “miraculous” by some economists and compared to China's growth in the 1980s and 1990s. For his economic achievements, Issac Nsungu was the runner-up for Time.com's Person of the Year for 2066 - an honor decried by environmentalists as “a joke”.
  • The World Health Organization declared Measles was extinct in the wild on December 1, after decades of effort by doctors around the world. Sights were now set on wiping out Malaria, some hoped by as soon as 2076, and some even predicted that HIV could be eliminated by the end of the century. Unfortunately, despite various efforts, Cancer remained amongst the deadliest diseases in the world and although some variants have become easily treatable, even curable, Cancer overall remains just too difficult and widespread. Rather than fight the disease, many people in wealthier countries elected to have afflicted organs outright replaced with prosthetics or lab-grown substitutes. Also prevalent was Influenza, various strains of which continued to kill between 150,000 and 350,000 people minimum annually unabated. Although several particularly bad years had death tolls nearer to 1 million, thus far no outbreak has been on the scale of the 20th Century's mega-pandemics. The 2066-67 Seasonal Flu was among these particularly strong years and rather drug-resistant, causing over 625,000 deaths worldwide. Many experts were confident the International Community, after decades of warnings, was prepared to respond to a large-scale pandemic, however the growing difficulty in developing effective vaccines left some worried that treatments may not be developed in time before the death toll reached the millions.

2067

  • The Chinese National Space Administration announced plans to expand the outpost at Petrovsky crater, doubling the number of Taikonauts stationed and constructing the Moon's first mass driver to help speed up exports of Helium-3 from China's mining operations. The plans face unexpected criticism from home when China's environmentalists protest the plans as “desecrating the Moon's natural beauty”, a talking point picked up by the Democratic Party as an issue to campaign against in the upcoming national elections. Nevertheless, the Chinese government approves the plan and construction is planned to begin by 2069 and targeted for completion by 2080.
  • International pop music phenomenon, The Osrams, released their most successful album, El Bētā del Sol Sāmpa. The album was #1 on charts in Latin America, the United States, Europe, and India for 41 weeks, becoming the best-selling (and most-downloaded) album of the 21st Century to date. Saturnino Fierro, seen by many as the band's superstar, would win the majority of praise for the album's success. Although Fierro attempted to play this down, his bandmates would resent that the spotlight favored him over them. Following the album's release, bickering amongst the band's members would begin as a wedge formed between Fierro and Sepúlveda/Rosales.
  • A legal challenge against Indiana's discriminatory “anti-genie” law by US Justice Department, considered the biggest challenge by progressives against the Purity Movement, is defeated when the US Supreme Court narrowly rules that it does not violate the 14th Amendment but rather “reinforces the precept that all men are created equal by declaring that even men artificially created to be superior will not have the freedom to reign over the naturally inferior by virtue of their genetic superiority”. The defeat is a major loss for President De Leon, who is considered by many to be amongst the weakest and most ineffectual presidents in US history: using his veto power 31 times between January 2065 and December 2067, yet having a record number of them overturned by the Republican-controlled Congress (84%, beating the previous record-holders Franklin Pierce and Andrew Johnson by over 20% each). Following the Democratic Party's failure to take back the House of Representatives in the 2066 midterms, pundits declare President De Leon's administration to be “effectively Aiesha Noble's second term”, noting the former president and current RNC Chairman's seemingly iron grip over the Republican Party and Congress' agenda.
  • Chinese-Russian relations sour as conflict in Central Asia worsens and refugees flood into Kazakhstan and western China. In an effort to assist, as well as to regain some influence lost to Beijing over the last couple of generations, Moscow agrees to send aid and Peacekeepers to assist Kazakhstan - a move the Chinese government objects to. While the political tug-of-war plays out, fighting in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan worsens. By the end of the year, the United Nations estimates over 10,000 people have been killed in terror attacks and fighting in both countries.
  • East Africa rolls out its first aircraft carrier, the FNS Kagame, at its main shipyard in Mombassa. Although hailed as a national success, and by observers as another sign East Africa is a rising power, the ship was not primarily built by or in East Africa: the design is based on the Indian Navy's Vikrant class, partially built by Cochin Shipyard in Kochi, and funded by the Indian government as apart of a deal struck in 2054 between the two governments. The FNS Kagame joins the East African Navy's older FNS Kikwete (formerly the Italian Navy's light carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi) and FNS Samson Jefwa Mwathethe (formerly the INS Vishal) to become their third carrier and cementing East Africa as the third most powerful navy in the Indian Ocean (after the Indian Navy and United States Navy), as well as the second-largest contributor to ISTO.

2068

  • The first direct elections to the National People's Congress - the first direct elections to any national legislature in mainland China in 120 years - were held. Lasting seven days, the voting was marred by what many observers called “a distinct unpreparedness” by officials overseeing the process. Widespread problems including voting machine shortages, confusing ballots, and poorly advertised voting areas resulted in frustration amongst the public and some violence in Tibet as NDP supporters clashed with police in protest for being barred, again, from participating. Considering how smoothly provincial elections have been conducted since 2053, some opposition members accused the government of attempting to sabotage the Democratic Party's campaign and maximize their chances of maintaining Communist control over the government. In the end, out of 2,981 seats in contention: the Communist Party of China won 1,729 seats (58%, down from 70%), the Democratic Party of China won 924 seats (31%), and the remaining minor parties (such as the Kuomintang) won the last 328 seats (11%). Despite having finally achieved its goal, the results are seen as a resounding defeat for China's pro-democracy opposition. The new Congress elected former Finance Minister Qianfan Kuo, a Communist, to become the next President of China. In a world-broadcast speech, Kuo declared himself to be “the first true President of the People's Republic, elected by the first true People's Congress”.
  • In the United States, the Democratic Party completely imploded during the primary season as President De Leon faced two serious primary challenges from Oregon governor Ida Dale and Minnesota senator Hugh Sharpe, resulting in a spectacular mudslinging contest that resulted in a disastrous Democratic convention. In the end, Hugh Sharpe was selected as the candidate. Unfortunately, Sharpe was ultimately no match for Republican candidate Aiesha Noble, who ran effectively unopposed in the GOP primaries. Despite Sharpe and the Democratic Party's best effort considering, Aiesha Noble became the first president since Grover Cleveland to be reelected to a non-consecutive second term. Although liberals expressed shock at this turn of events, few political analysts were surprised. In Congressional elections, the Republican Party maintained control over both the Senate and House of Representatives.
  • Supporters of Issac Nsungu successfully campaigned for and passed a referendum amending the Congolese constitution to remove the two-term limit on Presidential administrations, paving the way for the President to run for a third term in 2072. The change was opposed by the growing opposition to Nsungu’s rule amongst businessmen, environmentalists, and libertarians in Congo-Kinshasa who fear the President’s policies are leading them down the road to dictatorship and a stamping out of the free market. Opposition websites suffer denial-of-service attacks during the campaign that some believe were orchestrated by Nsungu’s intelligence services. In the meantime, Forbes.com now lists Congo-Kinshasa as the world’s fastest growing economy.
  • Indian PM Drupada Thakur met with Iranian President Ramtin Masoud in Esfahan to discuss the wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as the deteriorating situation in central Asia. The two countries agreed to work more closely on counterterror measures and to pool resources when dealing with threats from the failed states bordering each other. Prime Minister Thakur also gave an address to both the Iranian Parliament and the Assembly of Experts reaffirming Iran and India’s close relationship. However, the Prime Minister’s use of the word “ally” in the speech sparked outrage from some neighbors in the Middle East, most loudly from Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Gulf Cooperation Council’s chairman.
  • Doctors in Paraguay identified a deadly new strain of Influenza in Filadelfia and Loma Plata, in Boquerón Department on November 17. The disease is highly resistant to anti-viral medications and has effects similar to the infamous Spanish Flu of 1918, but is of the H3N2 variety (making it a descendant of the H3N2 Asian Flu). Despite government efforts to contain the outbreak, by the end of the year between 6000 and 12,100 people died of the “LP Flu” in Paraguay alone. Doctors at the World Health Organization fear that the disease could turn into the world’s worst pandemic to date and begin advising governments around the world to begin stocking up on anti-influenza medication and preparing for a potential worst-case scenario.

2069

  • Thirty-three years after applying to join, Morocco at last became the first wholly non-European state to join the European Union on January 1. While Morocco’s ascension is celebrated by many, January 1 is also marked by massive protests in Brussels, Paris, and Berlin by conservatives and nationalists strongly opposed to expansion beyond continental Europe. The ascension – and cries by some to expel Morocco, Cape Verde, and Turkey – became a major talking point in this year’s parliamentary elections, but ultimately the European Socialists won thanks to the booming economy over the last five years. Former Italian Prime Minister Alessandro Russo was elected President of the European Commission, promising to maintain Europe’s growing prosperity and outreach to neighbors in North Africa.
  • By February 2069, more than 190,000 cases of LP Influenza had been reported worldwide with a fatality rate of 23.1%, leading the World Health Organization to declare a Pandemic. Governments across the world issued health alerts and proceeded through perhaps the best coordinated response to a global health crisis in history to date. Unfortunately, over-reporting of the crisis in the news media led to panic in some developed countries, with a few religious groups declaring the event “the end of days” and leading at least one group, in California, to commit mass suicide. The worst hit countries outside Paraguay were in Africa and Asia: 20% of all fatalities were reported in India, followed by Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, East Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan. By the time the Pandemic was over 26 months later in April 2071, over 3,916,000 people were dead, cementing the LP Flu as the worst pandemic of the 21st Century.
  • Markets started growing erratic early this year as analysts began predicting that Russia, after decades of failed economic policies, was on the verge of economic collapse. Although there were some efforts to ease these worries, a combination of ongoing factors - increasing food prices in Asia and the worsening LP Flu Pandemic, among others - drove stock prices down throughout the first half of the year. The situation at last reached the breaking point when Russia did indeed default on its debts in Q3 2069, sending a gradual decline into a sharp fall and definitively ending the long bull market the world economy had enjoyed since the late 2050s. Stocks rebounded in Q4 when the Russian government agreed to an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund and Europe, but worries abounded that not enough had been done to prevent a worldwide recession.
  • Sydney Hawke, a prominent Hollywood socialite, and her live-in boyfriend, Marc Singh, were found brutally murdered in their Beverly Hills home. Police quickly arrested a suspect as he attempted to flee the country: a deranged man who had taken it upon himself to “abort” Hawke's unborn child, a designer baby, after that fact had been published as a minor detail in a tabloid. Hawke's death shocked the nation and infuriated many, leading to a wave of vandalisms on Purity Movement organizations and widespread outcry against the Noble administration's anti-Genie/designer baby policies. As Milena Mulawka became the face of the pro-designers in Europe, Sydney Hawke became the designer baby martyr in America. Public approval for the Purity Movement and those associated with it began to plummet, threatening Republican control over Congress and several state governments.
  • The Chinese interplanetary spaceship Huoxing 3 arrives in orbit around Mars, setting a new record: the longest period to date without resupply from Earth by any off-world outpost (30 months, 4 days). With any potential challenges by rivals having been scuttled over the last couple decades, China became the uncontested leader in scientific space exploration, conducting cutting-edge research in low-gravity, self-sustainability, and space adaptation techniques at its Lunar and Mars bases. Unable to catch up on their own, talk began circulating at NASA and the ESA of negotiating access to the Chinese Mars Base. Meanwhile, talk of independent Mars missions began to gain traction in India and amongst the American commercial spaceflight industry.

2070

  • Fifty-thousand demonstrators, waving photos of Sydney Hawke, marched on the Mall in Washington, DC in support of Genie's rights. Walt Altman, a Genie and now prominent activist, decried the US government's policies in the last decade as “backward and un-American”, calling for the impeachment of President Noble and reversal of anti-genie laws across the country. Between the strong backlash against the Purity Movement and the weak economy - with unemployment rising, the markets erratic, and economists warning of an imminent recession - the US midterm elections saw massive wins for the Democratic Party, winning control of the House of Representatives and many Gubernatorial races. Pundits noted Aiesha Noble's swift fall from popularity since her reelection, down from 53% in January 2068 to 34% in November 2070.
  • The Coalition for National Unity and Peace, now the dominant power in southern Somalia after years of cooperating with Federal and Puntland leaders in suppressing anti-government forces, is elected to a majority in Parliament. The elections are marred by accusations of ballot stuffing and intimidation by CNUP fighters. The elections are decried as fraudulent by international election monitors, but notably not by the African Union - it is suspected this was at the urging of Congolese leader Issac Nsungu, who has proven to be very influential amongst African leaders.
  • Although the American Purity Movement has been the most prominent, similar movements have existed across the world since the 2040s. By this year, over 60 countries had passed laws banning human genetic modification, travel abroad to undergo such procedures, and permitting discrimination against Genies. Many international rights groups documented this shift, with World Universal Rights Watch going so far as to call the period since 2040 “the largest regression of personal freedom in over half a century”. However, just as a counter-movement has emerged in the United States, so have counter-movements gained traction around the world, with several states - most prominently Japan and Malaysia - requiring by law some level of genetic modification for every newborn.
  • Bengali terrorists carried out a major terror attack in Kolkata, India, simultaneously setting off car bombs at two bus stations before launching an armed attack on Dakshineswar Kali Temple that results in a hostage crisis, defused only when the Indian military storms the temple and kills the terrorists. The attacks, the most horrific in India in over 40 years, leave nearly 100 dead and hundreds more injured. The attack is claimed by the Bangladeshi People's Army of Islam and condemned by the Bangladeshi Prime Minister. Touring Dakshineswar Kali Temple afterwards, Indian PM Drupada Thakur declared his government's intention to “crush” the Bengali terror group.
  • By December 2070, there were between 250 and 300 people in space at any given time living, working, and sight-seeing either aboard the 21 space stations (of which only five are not privately-owned) or 10 Lunar outposts (an 11th outpost was landed by Bigelow Aerospace at Planck crater late in the year). However, along with the expansion of human activity in low-Earth orbit, so has the amount of orbiting debris skyrocketed. Although efforts have been taken to minimize space junk and maximize the durability of spacecraft in the event of a collision, some worry that not enough effort has been made to prevent a Kessler syndrome from occurring. To that end, the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs convened a major “outer space pollution” conference in Brisbane, Australia to discuss the problem. One solution proposed that proved popular was to establish a dedicated international group to clearing debris from low Earth orbit.

Dark Times (2071 - 2080)

The social strife of the 2060s gave way to the economic collapse and violence of the 2070s. The planet was plunged into the worst financial crisis in over a century, leading to massive unemployment and unstable economies throughout the world. In the United States, support for the Purity movement withered while supporters faced persecution and violence themselves by radicalized Genie supporters. In Africa, wars broke out across the continent as Issac Nsungu and his allies tightened their grips on power. By the end of the decade, though one crisis was near its end, another - potential worse - crisis was now on the horizon.

2071

  • Despite efforts to resuscitate the economy following the Russian default, in April it was announced that a worldwide recession had begun in Q3 2070. Unemployment in the United States and India skyrocketed to their highest levels in decades, and with no sign the market decline had bottomed out yet many economists warned that a worldwide depression was imminent. These fears, and the market drop, worsened later in the year when the Indian, Chinese, and European governments released reports concluding that planetary oil production had peaked between 2059 and 2061, and that despite efforts to switch away from fossil fuels or use existing fuels more efficiently, Earth was on the verge of a global energy crisis. The announcement sends already high oil prices through the roof, forcing governments around the world to release from their strategic reserves in an effort to bring fuel prices back down.
  • After six years of legal battles, Google Inc. settled with the US and European governments. In Europe, Google was forced to split Microsoft into a separate company again, faced restrictions on advertising to allow Microsoft a fair chance to compete, and had to guarantee its OS’ compatibility with Microsoft products. In the United States, however, the Noble administration effectively withdrew anti-trust charges against Google. This fulfilled a campaign promise President Noble had made, but won major criticism from the Media, which painted the move as effectively granting Google a government-sanctioned monopoly over information technology.
  • The first episode of “Semalam Kita…?” (Last Night We…?) was posted on June 1. The show, in its 60 episode run, would go on to become the most culturally influential web series of the 21st century, redefining comedy and turning the cast into international stars. It also would begin the revitalization of Pontianak, Indonesia, the city the show was based out of.
  • Early in the year, the Indian military began conducting military operations within Bangladesh against the Bangladeshi People’s Army of Islam. While the attacks had the support of the Bangladeshi government, they were wildly unpopular amongst the Bangladeshi people. It was not long before there were mass protests in Dhaka calling for Indian withdrawal and the resignation of the Bangladeshi PM. Despite his strong stance against terrorism, PM Thakur’s failure to dampen the effects of the recession on India’s economy seriously damaged his coalition’s approval ratings going into this year’s Parliamentary elections, giving Bharatiya Janata a chance to rally and win back control with their own coalition, electing party leader Shariq Patel to be the next Indian Prime Minister. Although promising to improve the economy, PM Patel also decided to continue the anti-terror campaign begun by his predecessor.
  • While attending a Republican campaign rally in Florida, US President Aiesha Noble was shot twice by Lincoln Seamus Breniser, a Genie who blamed Noble for the racially-motivating killing of his sister several years earlier. Noble survived the assassination attempt, but was left in critical condition. The attack sparked a new wave of violence across the country as pro- and anti-Genie groups clashed in most major cities, leading to riots, shootings, and bombings. The violence was so severe that several Governors declared states of emergency and the National Guard saw deployment in New York City, Los Angeles, and Houston. By the time the situation calmed down, the Winter of ‘71 would go down in US history as the bloodiest three months since the summer of 1968. Throughout the crisis, Vice President Isaiah Brutsch, a rather quiet and unassuming figure in the Noble administration, served as Acting President – a role many Americans praised him for. He quickly became far more popular than President Noble had been in her second term. With the 2072 elections coming up fast and no clear Republican candidate available, GOP leaders urged Brutsch to run but he steadfastly refused.

2072

  • With Acting President Brutsch out of the race, the Republican Party found itself without a strong candidate to rally around. The GOP primary race ultimately came down to Wyoming governor Corey Hayton and former Senator Lily Tweedy, with Hayton ultimately winning the nomination after getting President Noble’s endorsement. Unfortunately, Hayton faced a steep hill to climb: massive unemployment, the bloody violence of last winter, the impending depression/energy crisis, and Noble’s general unpopularity made his race against the Democratic Party’s Roderick Stoute effectively unwinnable. Not only did Stoute win the presidency with the largest margin since Noble’s own victory in 2060, the Republicans lost control of the Senate and even more seats in the House. Aiesha Noble left the White House with the lowest exiting approval rating of any President (21%). President-elect Stoute, meanwhile, promised to do everything in his power to reverse the collapsing economy, a promise that would eventually return to haunt him. Of some note, this was the first time in US history that an African-American president was succeeded by an African-American.
  • Despite vocal opposition, Issac Nsungu won a third term as President of Congo-Kinshasa with 54%, campaigning on an increasingly nationalistic and xenophobic platform that, while rallying his supporters, worried neighboring countries. In particular, Nsungu latched onto an incident that had occurred late the last year in Angola’s Cabinda territory wherein a Congolese woman was raped and used it to stir up anger at Angola. The fury persisted after the election as Nsungu’s supporters attacked Angolan immigrants and pro-Nsungu websites began calling for Congo-Kinshasa to annex Cabinda. All the while, Congo-Kinshasa continued to see unprecedented economic growth, one of the few countries seemingly unaffected by the global economic crisis.
  • On Tuesday July 5, the US National Bureau of Economic Research declared that the United States had been in a depression since July 2071. This analysis was confirmed by international organizations, which determined that the planet was undergoing the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. With the US’ unemployment rate topping 14% in that month’s jobs report and little evidence the crisis was anywhere near over, the G30 - the world's top 30 economic and political powers - convened an emergency meeting in Beijing to discuss options and drafted plans for the members to commit to austerity measures. The hope was that by cutting spending and energy use, they could steer out of the depression quickly. The austerity measures met massive opposition at home, however, with demonstrators around the First World protesting suggested cuts to social and science spending.
  • After almost 11 years, the world’s top-downloaded Muika-Indio band, The Osrams, broke up when Saturnino Fierro left, citing “creative differences” with band mates Ambrosio Sepúlveda and Hector Rosales. The band released its final album, Ātmā Oscura (Dark Soul), shortly after the break up – it would go on to become their third most-downloaded album. Fierro would go on to a moderately successful solo career, though he’d never recapture the fame he had while with The Osrams. Sepúlveda and Rosales attempted to continue, first as a new band called “Doble Golpe” but after that attempt failed they brought in Carlos Moldano to replace Fierro and renamed the band “The New Osrams”. The New Osrams were never as popular as the original band, breaking the Top 50 only once, and at last broke up for good following Hector Rosales’ suicide in 2077. Sepúlveda retired from music entirely after that, eventually reconciling with Fierro 40 years after the original band split.
  • Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden made a major biotechnology breakthrough, unveiling a new type of artificial stem cell that could be easily and cheaply reproduced, programmed, grown into any organ, and placed into any person with nearly 99% acceptance. The discovery is hailed as a new dawn for medicine, eliminating the need for organ donor waiting list and making the cloning of new organs/limbs cheap enough for the average middle class person anywhere in the First World to afford. The scientists behind the invention – Maria Johansson, Emanuel Karlsson, Simon Erland, and Arne Cronquist – would go on to become Time.com’s People of the Year and win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2099.

2073

  • Thanks to the Depression, the Chinese Communists lost serious ground to the Democratic Party and Kuomintang in this year's Congressional elections, leaving the Chinese Communist Party with only a plurality for the first time in its history. With the DPC and KMT unable to reach an agreement to form a coalition, the Communists still remained in power with a minority government. The results of this year's elections sent shockwaves throughout Chinese politics - while many expected the Communists to eventually lose ground, no one foresaw them being reduced from a majority to a plurality so soon considering how well they'd done in every election thus far. Communist leaders blamed the poor showing on the dismal economy and high unemployment, rather than any real rejection of Communist doctrine by the Chinese people.
  • After apparently bottoming out in Q1 2073, the world economy began showing signs of lukewarm recovery by the end of the year with unemployment rates dropping slightly and job growth improving somewhat around the world. The G30's leaders took credit for “ending the crisis before it got even worse” through austerity measures, though in the United States it prompted bickering between the Democrats and Republicans over whether former Vice President Brutsch or President Stoute should take credit for America's partial recovery.
  • Congolese-Angolan relations continued to worsen as President Nsungu embraced calls to annex Cabinda, making several high-profile speeches claiming the province was rightfully Congolese and only in Angolan hands thanks to the meddling of European colonists in the 19th century. These aggressive statements, coupled with attacks on Angolans in Congo-Kinshasa, prompted the Angolan government to demand that Nsungu back down. He refused, and began a military buildup along the border. The United Nations and African Union issues resolutions asking both sides to negotiate, while foreigners began fleeing western Congo-Kinshasa. In July, Congo-Kinshasa began a naval and air blockade of Cabinda, which Angola called an act of war and threatened military action. Nsungu, however, caught them off guard when, on the night of August 9, he launched full-scale offensives against Cabinda and northeast Angola - the largest inter-state military operation in decades. Cabinda was captured within 12 hours. Northeast Angola saw heavy ground fighting, while Congolese naval forces conducted a blockade and bombardment of the Angolan capital, Luanda. The UN issued a resolution condemning the attack, while the African Union remained silent despite vocal protests from East Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, and South Africa. The Cabinda War would last fourteen weeks before Angola, unable to hold back the Congolese offensive any longer and with Luanda in ruins, sued for peace. Congo-Kinshasa annexed Cabinda, a move the international community condemned as an illegal occupation, and Nsungu became a nearly god-like figure to his supporters. The war's success, and the failure of anyone to stop him, emboldened Nsungu post-war to begin talking of a “United Congo” dominating Africa.
  • In an effort to reverse their economic collapse, the new Russian government - elected in 2071, the first time United Russia has been in legislative power since 2047 - announces its intention to follow in Japan's footsteps and supplement its shrunken workforce with the latest robots, androids, and AI. The first wave of robot imports comes alongside the release of the latest and most advanced AI operating system, based upon the programming and design philosophies of the ACL-III supercomputer. The government's plans meet a mixed response from the Russian public: some are supportive and hope to use the machines in an effort to exploit Siberia's natural wealth, while others fear the machines will steal jobs from Russian workers and are disturbed by their indistinguishable-from-human appearance, speech, and mannerisms. With the latest advancements it is now virtually impossible to tell the difference between a human and an android, and any “Smart” AI - those intended to work complicated tasks alongside humans - are able to hold complicated and natural conversations with people. Engineers and scientists still insist that they are not, in fact, sentient - rather, the mimicry has become so advanced it takes an expert to tell.
  • There is an upsurge of violence in the United States after the latest attempt to challenge discriminatory anti-Genie legislation in the courts, Magee, et. al. v. Oregon, is defeated in Federal Appeals Court and an appeal to the US Supreme Court - still dominated by Noble appointees - is rejected. Pro-Genie activists riot in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, while extremists send death threats to prominent Purity leaders. Members of the House of Representatives' Purity caucus have their emails hacked and their personal information is released throughout the Internet, resulting in one Congresswoman resigning, while a number of Republican politicians renounce ties to Purity in the hopes of avoiding similar harassment. The situation settles again after seven weeks.

2074

  • Following the trend seen in American, Indian, and Chinese elections, the European voters kicked out President Russo's government in favor of the People's Party and their Commission President candidate, former German Chancellor Mattheus Heisel. Opposed to the austerity measures agreed to by his predecessor, Heisel announced his intention to roll back some austerity to spur more growth. The move is incredibly divisive within the Union and for all the noise it generates produces only mixed results that don't noticeably improve the European economy.
  • Delayed by several years due to the economy and energy crisis, RSC Energia began construction on a new space resort on behalf of Hilton Hotels. News of the project sparked criticism from the media, which had turned on the space tourism industry in the last couple years and labeled it “a decadent waste of precious resources for white collar pleasure trips”. Despite the criticism, and a sharp drop in the profits of the entire space industry, Energia and Hilton decided to press forward with construction.
  • Reports released by the US, Indian, and Brazilian State Departments this year labeled Somalia a “totalitarian dictatorship”, the result of the Coalition for National Unity and Peace (CNUP)'s increasingly fascistic policies in the years since they won control of Somali Parliament in 2070. The remarkably fast slide to dictatorship catches many casual observers off-guard, but seasoned analysts familiar with the country point out that this was merely the end result of a process that had begun nearly 15 years earlier and merely culminated with the CNUP's rise to power. The CNUP's transformation of southern Somalia has also complicated the already tense relationships with Puntland - technically apart of the Somali Federation - and Somaliland, which CNUP doctrine holds is merely a rogue region of the single and unified Somali State. Despite all of this, Somalia maintains good and close relations with Congo-Kinshasa and its president, Issac Nsungu. Some critics note that a quick glance at Congo-Kinshasa's closest allies isn't much different from the current dictator's club of Africa: Equatorial Guinea, Southern Sudan, and Somalia.
  • Researchers from several universities in the Americas, India, and East Africa conclude that the Earth’s ozone layer, severely damaged by the release of chlorofluorocarbons in the mid-20th Century, has fully recovered and that a hole has not formed over the Antarctic for at least a decade. Scientists warn, however, that global climate change remained a threat to modern civilization: between rising tides, shifting climate zones, and disruptions in ecosystems, the world’s leader industrial powered needed to continue policies that protected the environment. The news media, however, proclaimed this event a total victory and talked of “the end of global climate change.”
  • A decade after being denied entry onto the U.S. Olympic Team, Genie Rights activist Walt Altman inaugurated the first “Genielympics” in San Francisco, an Olympic-style sports competition for only genetically-modified people. The event sparks a media outcry, with many in the public calling foul that unmodified people are barred from the competition. But, despite being grilled by the Media and fighting challenges in court, the Genielympics were otherwise a success. Shortly after the games closed, Altman and the U.S. Genielympics Foundation announced plans to hold a Winter Genielympics in 2076, though the location had yet to be determined.

2075

  • With the sea level 68.3 cm higher than in 2001, many areas of the world are now suffering from regular flooding. Wealthier countries have been able to handle the rising tides by installing seawalls and other barriers meant to regulate the sea level near important harbors. Smaller, countries, however have had a more difficult time and instead have lost territory. In the Maldives, the problem has resulted in mass emigration to India and Australia, resulting in as much as a 50% reduction in population in the last 30 years. Some analysts predict that by the end of the century, the Maldives will have fewer than 20% of its current population.
  • The South Sudanese military, with air support from Congo-Kinshasa's Air Force, invades South Kurdufan in Sudan and seizes the oil-rich Abyei region. Intense fighting between Sudanese and South Sudanese forces causes an estimated 80,000 people to flee their homes and leaves as many as 5,000 dead. By the end of the year, the fighting has subsided as Congolese UCAVs have obliterated most roads into South Kurdufan and smashed many Sudanese ground support vehicles. The disruption in the oil supply caused by the fighting destabilized the world economy again, threw the markets into turmoil and threatened to return the world to recession. The United Nations condemned the unprovoked attack, while the United States, Europe, South America and India applied sanctions to South Sudan, but are reluctant to do the same to Congo-Kinshasa out of fear of damaging the economy further.
  • The film “Sommerfuglei detindre øje” (Butterflies in the Mind's Eye), the first feature film created entirely out of digitally recorded human dreams, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The film's surreal quality and emotionally moving imagery won the hearts of many (and the festival's top prize). Aart Tiede Marqueringh, the filmmaker, was lauded for his work and hailed for creating a new genre of film, the Indreøje film (Inner Eye film). Within the next decade, a number of highly acclaimed independent Indreøje films would be produced as the genre quickly grew in popularity amongst art houses and film festival circuits throughout the Developed world.
  • A pipe bomb exploded outside the home of Purity activist Emilio J. Joyce, president of American Family Wellness Council, fatally wounding his wife, Jeanne. Despite a lengthy and high-profile investigation, no one was arrested for the crime and no group took responsibility. For many, the incident came as yet another sign that popular opinion had swung away from the Purity movement: membership in Purity activist groups were down over 30% since only five years earlier, the Purity caucus in Congress had shrunken to its smallest numbers in 20 years, and in the popular imagination those who supported Purity were being equated to child murderers in the years following the killings of Sydney Hawke and Milena Mulawka. That some people openly applauded the attempted murder of Mr. Joyce was perceived as a disturbing turn of events by commentators.
  • Security forces in Congo-Kinshasa stormed the offices of the country's largest opposition website, seized its servers, and arrested most of the editorial staff in a major crackdown on dissent. This was quickly followed by the arrests of several major opposition figures throughout the country, and was seen by outsiders as an effort by President Nsungu to cement his 14-year rule over the country. Unsurprisingly, the arrests are praised by loyalists, who urge Nsungu to execute the prisoners for treason, and condemned by international rights groups.

2076

  • Unable to handle the collapse of the oil economy and the second round of economic instability, the Gulf Cooperation Council's member states neared default on their finances. This is delayed for some time by the GCC's Central Bank, but this is unsustainable in the long run. By the start of 2076, the value of the GCC's currency, the Khaleeji, collapses, throwing the world economy into chaos. Stock markets around the world fall again, and by the end of the year the planet has entered the second global recession of the decade. Unemployment, already high, skyrockets around the world, leading to more violence in poorer regions. Despite the downturn, several countries are only somewhat affected and maintain strong GDP growth. The leader of the pack: Congo-Kinshasa, which maintains its lead as the world's fastest growing economy.
  • The United States celebrates its tercentennial. The downturn in the economy proves disastrous for Roderick Stoute's re-election campaign. With little to show for his four years in office, the public turns back to the GOP and elects a moderate, Senator Neal Medina of New Hampshire, to replace him. In Congress, the Democratic Party loses control of the House of Representatives again. Meanwhile, in India: an earlier election than the American one allows Shariq Patel to lead Bharatiya Janata and its coalition to a narrow victory, maintaining control over the Indian Parliament. However, as the economy worsens and millions are out of work, Patel is ousted in a no-confidence vote and replaced by Interior minister Rahul Chowdhury.
  • By this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that as many as 66% of American automobiles were hydrogen-powered, electric-powered, or a hybrid of either gas/electric or hydrogen/electric. With oil prices having skyrocketed, the shift away from gasoline-powered vehicles has accelerated dramatically in the last decade. Unfortunately for U.S. Automakers, however, the vast majority of those cars are imported from Asia and Africa. Although the United States still manufactures some cars, the U.S. auto industry is but a mere shadow of what it was a century earlier.
  • A new style of music, Déplacez, emerged in Haitian nightclubs, mixing Muika-Indio with French Creole music, especially Kadans and Zouk. It quickly became popular in underground clubs in Port-au-Prince, Santo Domingo, San Juan, and Santiago de Cuba. In 2076, the world’s most popular genres are Muika-Indio, Light Spectro, and Indian Pop, with the world’s top-downloaded album at the moment being “Mi amante, mujhē dhīrē sē cumbana” (My Lover, kiss me softly) by 5:52. The Osrams, despite having been broken up for several years, remain amongst the world’s most downloaded bands.
  • Speculation abounded this year that the European Union sought to spread to North America and bring Canada into the Eurozone following a meeting between Canadian PM Michael Howland and European High Representative Filips Ozolins in Ottawa. The rumor is welcomed by the European public and seen as a move that would strengthen the Union. Things reach a zenith in the Fall when it leaks that European Council was nearing a decision on future expansion, leading many to assume they were about to extend Canada a formal invitation. Instead, the Council announced its intention to continue EU expansion in the Mediterranean region and North Africa – a move that angered nationalists still angry at the admission of Morocco. By the end of the year, expansion plans were being criticized as “poorly thought out” considering the global recession.

2077

  • The Lunar Economic Development Council, a non-profit trade association dedicated toward furthering commercial exploitation of the Earth’s Moon, was founded in Washington, D.C. on January 19. The group includes most of the major corporations involved in Lunar commercial activity: The Walt Disney Co., Exelon Corporation, Bigelow Aerospace, Virgin Group, Boeing, and SpaceX, amongst others. Though intended to act as a common front for dealing with the American government, it also becomes a venue for all involved to harmonize policies, resolve disputes amongst Lunar property-holders, and de facto govern the Moon.
  • North Korean leader Kim Jun-Seok met with South Korean president Park Joo Yooung in Busan to discuss former a closer economic relationship between the two countries. Under Kim Jun-Seok's rule, North Korea has gradually opened up over the last 30 years, converting itself from a totalitarian fortress state to an authoritarian semi-capitalist one - an effort on the leader's part to emulate China. With Kim now over 60, though, some older South Koreans have begun to wonder who would succeed him, and whether or not that person would be as benevolent and liberal a leader.
  • In response to increasingly aggressive movies by Somalia, Southern Sudan, and Congo-Kinshasa, the East African Federation signed a defense pact with India, cementing the long-standing close relationship between their two militaries. The agreement worsened tensions, however, and in protest Somalia withdrew from the Indian Ocean Security Treaty Organization. Congolese president Issac Nsungu issued a statement condemning the agreement as “Asian meddling in African affairs”, accusing East Africa and other Indian allies of being puppet states. Southern Sudan remained officially silent – being landlocked, the country relied heavily on East Africa’s ports to export its remaining oil. Unofficially, however, Harlan Sule – Gen. Christian Sule’s son, and believed by many to be the true ruler of the dictatorship – declared Africa to be split in three: those loyal to the West, those loyal to the East, and those loyal to Africa itself. From this point forward, the African rogue states began working even more closely together under the leadership of Issac Nsungu.
  • Engineers at the University of Costa Rica built the closest analogue to an artificial human brain ever built, the MACI, or Enhanced Cognitive Learning Computer. Unlike the ACL-III, the MACI was no mere calculator: taking the last century of development in artificial intelligence to their logical conclusion, the team built the computer with the specific intention of creating the world’s first truly sentient machine. The team was unsure how long until sentience could be achieved, but estimated it would take at least several years for the MACI to learn enough about its surroundings to achieve what could be objectively considered “sentience”. Word of the project quickly spread to the media and scientific community, sparking a mix of outrage and dismissal: the Media conjured fears of science causing a robot apocalypse, while the scientific community questioned whether sentience in a machine was even possible to identify objectively.
  • After years of twiddling its thumbs and avoiding the issue, the United Nations Security Council at last issued a resolution calling for sanctions against Congo-Kinshasa’s government over its war with Angola, promoting war amongst its neighbors, and supporting international terror. The resolution, however, is without teeth and ultimately a useless gesture. Critics point out that the United Nations is, as it currently stands, an antiquated and irrelevant organization when it comes to anything outside humanitarian relief efforts. They point at the Security Council as a prime example, as it still reflects the balance of power as it stood in 1945 and excludes modern-day major powers such as India or Brazil while including Russia, who’s global influence waned decades earlier, and grants the European Union two permanent seats. Despite this, the existing permanent members remain reluctant to allow significant reformation of the UN System out of fear of losing influence over it.

2078

  • ISDC, the Indian Space Development Corporation, was listed on the Fortune 2000 list for the first time, placing it amongst the world’s most successful companies. After the success of it’s expansion into Lunar exploitation, ISDC this year announced plans to expand the asteroid mining side of its operation by beginning a shift away from robotic unmanned retrieve-and-return spacecraft – a hallmark of their business, but ultimately low-yielding and inefficient – to manned missions to resource-rich near Earth asteroids, potentially increasing the amount of material extracted exponentially. It’s unclear when these missions would start, but analysts expect sometime between 2088 and 2093.
  • Elections were held in China, and after five years of plurality the Communists won enough seats to return to a majority, successfully arguing that the second downturn in the Chinese economy could be squarely blamed on their minority government being unable to enact the necessarily policies thanks to unnecessarily politicking and stonewalling by the Democratic Party. The loss was taken as an even worse defeat for the Democrats than their failure to oust the Communists in the first election, having felt they had no better opportunity than this year. The Communists elected Xun Cheung to succeed Qianfan Kuo as President, and Jian Zheng became the new Chinese premier.
  • Issac Nsungu “won” a fourth term as President of Congo-Kinshasa in an election widely considered rigged, fraught with extensive vote tampering and ballot stuffing. Mass protests afterward are bloodily suppressed by the military and over 1,000 people are arrested in the capital alone in the following weeks. These events are condemned by the international community, though notably the African Union remained silent. In October, Nsungu convened a summit with what he called “Africa's freest democracies”: Equatorial Guinea, Southern Sudan, and Somalia. The summit would end with the signing of the Alliance for Continental Freedom Treaty, formalizing the military alliance amongst the four.
  • Indian electronics giant GEI debuted the highest resolution holographic display to date at the Mumbai Consumer Electronics Expo. While holography has slowly grown in popularity, the medium remains only a niche market in comparison to the near-universal use of True Definition displays, the industry standard for over a decade and agreed by many to be the furthest possible extent of the technology. Without a true successor to True Definition, the industry has turned even more attention toward holographic displays, hoping to repeat the decades-long race to attain higher and higher resolutions that had driven companies like GEI, Samsung, and Sony to massive success.
  • After years of backroom negotiations, a network of companies, universities, and agencies - including United Launch Alliance, Cambridge University, and the Brazilian Space Agency - announced plans to conduct a manned mission to Mars. In many ways emulating the Chinese Mars program, the International Mars Coalition planned to place a permanent base on the surface of Mars between 2090 and 2095, followed by the first crew before 2100. Although the Union of South American Nations appeared set to provide the lion's share of the project's funding, behind the scenes many involved in the IMC were concerned that not enough money had been pledged to complete the project on schedule.

2079

  • With the economy now clearly improving after the 2076-77 recession, the People's Party maintained control of the European Parliament in this year's elections and elected Mattheus Heisel to a second term as President of the European Commission. This year also saw, after decades of flirting, Ukraine officially became an EU candidate this year, much to the displeasure of the Russian government. Despite Moscow having maintained a short leash on its neighbor for decades, a side effect of United Russia's long rule, the collapse of the Russian economy a decade earlier followed by the decade's economic crisis has at last wedged the two apart enough for Ukraine to at last make good on its long aspirations to join the European Union. Polling by Reuters and the Wikimedia Foundation found that most Europeans supporting Ukraine's bid and thought that it was long overdue. Meanwhile, Tunisia and Libya both followed Morocco's lead and submitted applications to join the Union, but both were met with initial silence by the European Council as the idea of admitting more non-European states remains divisive even now.
  • Bigelow Aerospace completed construction on a large new facility at Saha Crater on the Moon, it's sixth, on behalf of NASA. Although the US economy has been recovering for several years now, the Medina administration is strongly criticized in the Media for spending billions on what was characterized as a “vanity project” and not doing more to shore up the economy in the wake the past decade's record high unemployment. Despite the criticism, NASA astronauts arrive at Saha on April 30 and plans move forward to construct a new radio telescope at the base.
  • The Congolese Navy broke ground on a new base to be built at Acanabor in Equatorial Guinea, and began construction on its first domestic Aircraft Carrier at a shipyard in Muanda. Congo-Kinshasa's neighbors became increasingly alarmed in the years since the war with Angola, and even moreso since the Alliance for Continental Freedom formed: the Congolese military budget has grown dramatically, the rhetoric has become more aggressive, and real fear is developing that war is on the way. At a meeting in Sydney, ISTO adopted an amendment promising aid to East Africa in the event of war with the ACF. Meanwhile, behind the scenes at a meeting of the Organization of American States in Santo Domingo, the Presidents of the United States, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil agreed to increased cooperation amongst their navies in the event of violence breaking out in Africa and a potential need to contain Congo-Kinshasa's growing navy.
  • By January 1, half of the energy produced in the United States is from nuclear power plants, with roughly a third of all nuclear power produced by nuclear fusion. The remainder of US energy is produced by geothermal, natural gas, solar, and clean coal. This year, President Medina signed into law a measure calling for reliance on coal to be reduced to less than 15%, a further effort to mitigate climate change, and added additional funding for nuclear fusion and geothermal power.
  • An extended drought in Iraq led to rioting in Baghdad and battles amongst loosely organized ethnic militias over access to fresh water in the largely desert country. The violence lasted for over eight months, only drawing to an end after an intervention by the international community brought in extra supplies of fresh water. Afterward, the Iraqi government signed an agreement with Iran to build a new pipeline to pump freshwater from the Caspian Sea to Mosul and Baghdad. Similar violence broke out in Syria and Jordan during the same period, but were not nearly as bloody as Iraq, which dominated headlines on news websites and apps worldwide.

2080

  • Although he'd maintained a roughly 50% approval rating throughout his term, President Medina faced a stiff challenge by a resurgent Purity Movement, led by Iowa congressman John Collier, the leader of Congress' remaining Purity caucus. The primary campaign turned vicious, with the mild-mannered Medina being forced into a mudslinging contest that nearly cost him the Republican nomination. The damage, however, was done: being cast as the champion of moderation and a conservative supportive of Genie rights lost him the support of several key interest groups, leaving his campaign with far fewer funds than his Democratic opponent. By late October, it was clear that Medina would be the second one-term president in a row. The victor in this year's presidential election, Florida governor Vicente C. Yates, urged America to let this moment be a fresh start, to put the strife of the last two decades behind them, and look forward to a better future.
  • Chaos erupted in Congo-Brazzaville when a group of generals launched a coup: most of the Cabinet was arrested, armed men seized the Parliament building, and the city of Brazzaville was placed under martial law. President Nsilou, luckily, successfully escaped to Nigeria. Before forces loyal to Nsilou were able to mobilize, representatives from the new junta met with Issac Nsungu in neighboring Congo-Kinshasa and agreed to the “formation of a new united federal state”, United Congo. Nsungu ordered his forces to cross the border and secure Congo-Brazzaville on behalf of the new regime, decimating most of the loyalist forces within only a few weeks while those who survived fled into the Central African Republic and Cameroon. The events were condemned by the international community, with leaders in the United States and India accusing Congo-Kinshasa of arranging for the coup to occur for the explicit purpose of hastening the annexation of their neighbor. An effort by the United States and European Union to pass a resolution in the United Nations demanding Nsungu withdraw failed when Russia and China, two of Congo-Kinshasa's largest trading partners, vetoed the measure. The situation in Africa had now become the most serious diplomatic crisis since the Cold War.
  • “Organic Culture amongst Artificial Intelligences”, an intensely controversial and influential research study by Tokyo University's Dr. Michiko Hagiwara, was published in the journal [U]Sociology[/U] this year. The article summarizes a two year study by Dr. Hagiwara of what he terms “underground robot culture” - literally, the existence of a unique culture developing amongst the AI's in urban Japan. Dr. Hagiwara saw the first hints of it in Spring 2077, when he noticed two AI's - a street sweeper robot and a common vendor robot (often used in Japan to distribute pamphlets) - seemingly having a conversation, completely absent of human input. Being that, in theory, the two should have little to nothing to do with each other, Hagiwara began observing other machines throughout Tokyo and their interactions with each other. What he discovered was that newer AI's, those running operating systems derived from the ACL-III, had been developing human-like personal relationships with other current generation AI's. The result was an underground social network of machines, almost completely separate from the “normal” social network the rest of Japan operated within, which over only a few years had developed its own set of social norms and mores. The study's conclusion suggested that the current generation of AI was, in fact, already sentient. This sent shockwaves throughout the scientific community, with a majority blasting Hagiwara as hack while a plethora of others began their own studies into what quickly became known as “theoretical xenosociology” after the phrase was bandied about in the popular media. Despite the paper, engineers at Honda, the world's largest robot developer, insisted that current generation AI was not intelligent, merely very sophisticated mimics and the appearance of anything otherwise was simply a misunderstanding of common, though complex, day-to-day operations.
  • Déplacez finally burst from the Caribbean underground to the world this year, with albums from several bands reaching the top 20 downloads. Muika-Indio remained quite popular, however, and soon Muika-Indio/Déplacez fusion bands began to emerge. As the decade progressed, these fusion bands would at times be even more popular than either of the genres that spawned them.
  • A major 8.1 earthquake struck Taiwan, causing significant damage to Pingtung and creating a tsunami that devastated coastal China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, leaving over 100,000 people dead and thousands more homeless in the worst natural disaster since the Indian Ocean Earthquake. Taiwan accepted aid from the Chinese military, which deployed quickly to help rescue survivors and rebuild. In December, President Kuo became the first Chinese president to visit the island since the Chinese Civil War, viewing the damage with his Taiwanese counterpart. With the Taiwan question having been in silent limbo for over a century, many in mainland China saw this as the de facto end of hostilities between the two and some wondered if reunification was far off. In Taiwan, however, support for reunification with China was in the single digits: after over 130 years of independence, most saw themselves as “Taiwanese”, not “Chinese”.

The Breaking Point (2081 - 2090)

The instability and tribulations of the previous decade reached a climax in this decade. The Middle East, unable to recover from Peak Oil or the Depression, faced economic and political collapse. In Africa, Issac Nsungu and the Alliance for Continental Freedom found themselves in a deadly stand-off with the Indian Ocean Security Treaty Organization to the east and the Western Powers to the west. Despite all of this, however, life elsewhere continued: the world's musical tastes shifted, film explored exciting new ideas (and successfully revisited some familiar territory), and the debate over the nature of Third Generation Artificial Intelligence progressed amongst academia.

2081

  • The China National Space Administration broke ground on a new Lunar base this year, intended to be the largest facility ever built on the Moon, at Mare Ingenii, between Tompson and Obruschev craters. The base, Mao, was the first serious expansion in China's Lunar program in 30 years, and expected to increase Chinese extraction of Helium-3 from the Lunar surface by several times. In the last decade alone, China has become dependent on Nuclear fusion energy to mitigate the high cost of fuel, switching en masse to a nearly 100% electric transportation system.
  • Despite some promising results, the University of Costa Rica's MACI Project was shut down due to lack of funding after only three and a half years of operation. While the scientific community bemoans the loss, some pundits in the Media praised the move as “prudent and wise”, again citing fears of mad man-killing artificial intelligences. Others, meanwhile, pointed to Dr. Hagiwara's AI study and newer ongoing studies by psychologists and sociologists researching the possibility that modern “Smart” AIs already in service in Japan, Russia, and elsewhere were sentient. This view remained a tiny minority, however, as most considered MACI the best chance at creating a sentient AI.
  • Taking advantage of a somewhat improved economy and Prime Minster Chowdhury's popularity amongst Indian nationalists, Bharatiya Janata widened its majority in Parliament. However, with India sharply divided over whether or not to pursue such a hardline stance toward the Alliance for Continental Freedom, the Congress Party had lost a significant share of its seats to the Communist Party, which has taken a hard anti-war position and had become Chowdhury's most vocal opponents. In August, the opposition organized 50,000 people to protest against the militarization of ISTO when the Australian Prime Minister and Indonesian President meet with the Prime Minister in New Delhi. Similar anti-war movements had begun to emerge in other ISTO members as well, most significantly in East Africa - Indian intelligence believes the East African demonstrators are being organized by Nsungu-loyal Fifth Columnists.
  • Gabon and Ethiopia joined the Alliance for Continental Freedom as observers this year, while Zambia, Chad, Eritrea, Malawi, and Niger announced that they were considering either a similar move or fully joining the alliance. Meanwhile, the Congolese and Equatorial Guinean navies conducted a joint exercise in the Atlantic Ocean between Sao Tome, Ascension, and St. Helena. UNASUR, the European Union, and United States criticized the operation as “unnecessarily aggressive” and intended to provoke a response from Western powers. In response, the British Navy deployed the nuclear submarine HMS Clark to Ascension, while the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina planned for their own joint exercise to be held the next year.
  • Deus é o Sonho, the first film to incorporate lucid dreaming, premiered at the São Paulo International Film Festival. The film depicts the efforts by filmmaker Abilio Romão to train himself in the art of lucid dreaming, chronicling his meetings with sleep experts, the dreams that follow, and in the climax at last achieving his goal. The finale wows audiences in its grand demonstration of the power at one’s fingertips when the dreamer is aware of the dreamworld. Deus é o Sonho goes on to win the top prize in every film festival it is featured in this year, becoming renowned as the most powerful Indreøje film to date.

2082

  • Walt Disney Company faced a major embarrassment this year when it was sued by LeAnn Paulson, a former employee at the DisneySpace Resort who was laid off and deported to Earth after it was discovered she had become pregnant while working at the Moon base. This was not uncommon: all the companies operating on the Moon had policies against sexual relations amongst employees, and especially worried about the ramifications of allowing a person to be born on the Moon. Lunar-born humans would, research indicated, be physiologically weaker than their Earthling counterparts, and thus could not be allowed to go to Earth for fear of the higher gravity killing them. Although there had been numerous cases of women being impregnated in Lunar or Zero gravity, with no ill effects to the child later born, none had been allowed to give birth in Space. In Ms. Paulson’s case, she had concealed her pregnancy for several months before she was caught, laid off, and sent back to Earth. Not long after, however, she suffered a miscarriage and filed suit against Disney, claiming the stress of space travel had caused it. Disney settled for an undisclosed (but large) price, and the Lunar Economic Development Council would later pass new guidelines that hoped to prevent this from happening again.
  • Another major crackdown in United Congo leads to the arrest of thousands, including opposition leaders, and the shut down of numerous opposition websites. The Congolese Parliament, now stacked with enough Nsungu loyalists to be rendered merely a rubber stamp for the dictator’s decrees, officially banned the largest opposition party. Arrest warrants were issued for the remaining opposition leaders, most of which fled the country to Angola, Cameroon, and East Africa. Despite Nsungu’s attempts to block the media, photos and videos that trickled out of the country suggested the mass killings of immigrants, garnering condemnations by World powers and the United Nations Human Rights Council. Throughout the year, United Congo's military build up continued: by December, its standing army numbered 850,000.
  • The World Health Organization notes that cancer rates in the Developed World have risen in the last 40 years, despite advances in treatment. Some note the rise seems to correlate to the spread of Wireless Electricity, which over the same period has become the primary means of powering homes and electronics in much the same way as cellular phones. The Media took the report and ran with it, spreading fears that Wireless Power, Internet, and Telephony were directly causing cancer. In the United States and Europe, whether or not to dismantle the Wireless Power Grid would become a political issue.
  • The economic and political crisis on the Arabian Peninsula reached the breaking point late this year, as mass protests and rioting in Saudi Arabia, driven by high unemployment and worsening living conditions, drew unprecedented crowds. As it became clear Saudi Arabia was nearing default and a second collapse of the Khaleeji was imminent, one by one states withdrew from the Gulf Cooperation Council and adopted the Indian Rupee as their official currency. By the time the Saudis defaulted on December 6, only Saudi Arabia and Yemen remained in the GCC. The Khaleeji was abandoned, and the Gulf Cooperation Council ceased to exist by January 1, 2083.
  • In the United States, Vicente Yates became the third sitting president to become a father in office, the first since John F. Kennedy over a century earlier. The media frenzy over the baby girl, Alaida, buoyed his already high approval ratings up above the 68% mark going into the fall. Riding off the president’s popularity and the improved economy, the Democratic Party made gains in this year’s mid-term elections, finally wresting back control of the House of Representatives from the GOP. Amongst the Republican congressmen voted out of office were most of Congress’ Purity Caucus, which disbanded shortly before Congress left Washington for the Holidays. With the Purity Movement now largely rejected by the general public, few openly Purity politicians remained in the federal government. Several state governments, meanwhile, were still dominated by Purity and seemed set to hang on for quite a while longer.

2083

  • Although China’s Communist Party had little to fear in this year’s Congressional elections, Premier Jian Zheng’s government started to face serious criticisms from the Democratic Party and Kuomintang for its silence on the tensions in Africa. Throughout the century, the Chinese government and Chinese state-owned corporations have been major players in Africa and by the 2080s most of the continent was financially and politically indebted to the People’s Republic. Opposition leaders in China began painting United Congo as not just a Chinese problem, but went so far as to blame the Communist government for the Nsungu regime’s very existence. The ACF was, after all, being carved out of what some viewed as “China’s little empire” in Africa. The Communists won the elections, of course, and Jian Zheng retained his position as Premier, but the Democratic Party and Kuomintang grew at the expense of a smaller Communist majority.
  • Somali Federal Forces invaded the semi-autonomous region Puntland on July 12. Puntland’s leaders had been at odds with the Federal government for over a decade, but things reached the boiling point this year when elections in Puntland brought to power a vocal opposition leader opposed to the CNUP’s totalitarian policies. The Federal government responded with a decree rescinding Puntland’s autonomous status and dissolving their government, which Puntland refused to acknowledge. Fighting between Federal forces and local militias was bloody but quick, ended quickly with the support of Congolese reconnaissance satellites and UCAVs. The Federal government’s seizure of Bosaso was followed by reports of mass killings of civilians, and hundreds were reported to have vanished into military custody. The international community condemned Somalia’s actions, but little was done beyond the application of more sanctions by ISTO members and the West.
  • On September 1, Mississippi became the 48th state to legalize same-sex marriage. As of 2083, the only US states that still did not allow same-sex marriage were Idaho, Alabama, and Puerto Rico. All three did, however, recognize same-sex marriages conducted elsewhere.
  • Iraq and Kuwait defaulted on their debts this year as the crisis in the Middle East worsened. Fighting intensified across region to levels not since the height of the Conservative Insurgency in the 2030s, with riots and militant violence now rampant in Yemen, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The situation caused markets around the world to tumble, and spurred the European Union to provide emergency loans to prevent defaults in Lebanon and Jordan. China, in the mean time, provided an emergency loan to Syria and sent the first military advisers to assist.
  • Indonesia’s space agency, the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, working in conjunction with Tokyo University and the Indian Space Development Corporation, conducted the first successful demonstration of a space-based solar power system. Although proposed and attempted several times since the 20th century, this experiment was the first to prove the viability of the idea with current commercial technology. Many analysts hailed the experiments success as the advent of truly viable solar power, and some predicted it would quickly replace all other forms of energy as the cheapest, cleanest, and most abundant. Critics, however, pointed out that the system was far away from being implemented on any realistic commercial scale, and doubted if any one corporation or country would be willing to put forward the money needed to launch enough satellites to make space-based solar power truly competitive with nuclear fusion, natural gas, coal, or biofuel.

2084

  • Anti-war sentiment higher in Europe, the Socialists wrested control of the European Parliament away from the People’s Party and elected Ora Frederick, Luxembourg’s former Prime Minister, to become the next President of the European Commission. President Frederick, in an address to Parliament, assured the European public that no matter how dire the situation in Africa may become, she would do everything in her power to prevent war. This message was not received well in Britain, France, or Morocco, whose leaders have been working closely with America, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina in coordinating a strong opposition to the Alliance for Continental Freedom. Speaking with journalists later, British Prime Minister Julian Gilmore declared that the UK would not back down and announced the deployment of more Royal Air Force and Royal Navy forces to Ascension.
  • United Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon conducted the largest naval exercise yet, involving over a dozen warships, hundreds of UCAVs, and thousands of soldiers. The operation spurs a flurry of angry rhetoric from the West, and is shortly followed by an even larger exercise by the US, Mexican, Brazilian, Argentine, British, and French navies in the North Atlantic near the Canary Islands. The UN Secretary General, Ganzorig Batbayar, urged both sides to show restraint. In private, concerns mounted when the CIA uncovered evidence that United Congo had been running an ASAT (anti-satellite weapon) program for at least the last 10 years, masked as part of its national GPS system. Although the United States, Russia, and China all had similar covert programs dating back to the 20th Century, and even had some ASATs in orbit, the possibility that space travel could be disrupted in the event of war now became a real possibility.
  • His popularity wavering only slightly, Vicente Yates easily defeated Governor Angelina Savage of Pennsylvania while the Democratic Party widened its control of Congress to just short of a super-majority. The political discourse in America had by this year shifted to foreign policy, with the Yates Administration taking a hardline stance toward United Congo and the US military working ever more closely with European and South American allies in an effort to contain Issac Nsungu’s aggression. Congress approved an expansion of the military, and many in the country worried America was on the road to war for the first time in 40 years. As with India and East Africa, an anti-war movement emerged opposing US involvement in Africa. Quietly, the FBI would spy on anti-war leaders on the suspicion that some may be foreign agents in the employ of United Congo, tasked with embarking on a nationwide sabotage and terror campaign in the event of war.
  • A multi-million dollar project to construct a series of sea walls was completed in New York City this year after minor flooding, a side effect of rising tides, became an issue over last 10 years. Although New York’s sea wall was the highest profile, most major coastal cities had either already completed or at least begun similar projects. The story brought climate change back into the public consciousness: even though climate change was not as dramatic as predicted a century earlier, it still struck and was having noticeable effects around the world.
  • By this year, 3G AI had replaced previous AI operating system in the Developed World and most of the Developing World. Studies conducted in the four years since “Organic Culture amongst Artificial Intelligences” claimed to have discovered similar robotic subcultures in major cities around the world wherever independent-operating robots with 3G AI systems installed could be found in significant numbers. The largest outside Japan could be found in western Russia, the second most roboticized country on Earth, with Dr. Lara Mihaylov of Saint Petersburg State University noting what seemed to be a religious (Russian Orthodox) undercurrent. Despite the mounting evidence, these studies are still rejected by most of the establishment as junk science and are countered by several dozen more studies published in the same period dedicated to debunking “Organic Culture amongst Artificial Intelligences”.

2085

  • Tensions between the Alliance for Continental Freedom, ISTO, and the Western Allies passed the point of no return this year, after United Congo and South Sudan invaded the Central African Republic in February. The move led to international condemnation, the ACF’s withdrawal from the African Union, and a general military build-up by all sides. On June 7, United Congo and Somalia invaded the East African Federation - sparking the largest ground, naval, and air war in a century. Fighting between United Congo/Somali and East African/Indian/Australian/Indonesian/South African forces in East Africa reached a stalemate in July that dragged on until ISTO forces won momentum in November. The ACF engaged in an international terror campaign, conducting bombings and acts of sabotage in North America, Europe, India, and Australia that would leave thousands of civilians dead worldwide. United Congo became the first nation in history to use an anti-satellite weapon in aggression, beginning a campaign to wipe out British and American military satellites in geosynchronous orbit that would win the fury of China and Russia, leading to a UN Security Council resolution calling for military action against United Congo in September. A second, broader, resolution would follow a surprise chemical weapon attack on Ascension Island on October 11 that would leave over 1,000 dead and injured.
  • Midz, a musical style that used Deplacez’s form and Muika-Indio’s lyrical and thematic style, topped the charts this year. Midz was less improvised and more electronically enhanced than either of the genres that spawned it, shifting away from the acoustics that have dominated international pop music in the previous three decades.
  • China, Japan, and South Korea signed the Hong Kong Agreement, laying the groundwork to form a new economic bloc, the East Asian Special Economic Zone. First suggested at the height of the Depression by Japan’s Finance Minister, the concept was embraced by Chinese Premier Jian Zheng and made a tent pole of his premiership’s foreign policy. Although the EASEZ had not yet come into force, leaders in ASEAN, India, and Russia all grew concerned that the new bloc would quickly become the largest trading force in the world.
  • The political situation in the Middle East worsened this year. In Saudi Arabia, mass protests and militia violence reached a boiling point as Army units began to defect, leading to intense fighting and open civil war. By the end of the year, the Saudi royal family fled to Qatar, but without any faction clearly replacing their rule. In Iraq, the entire government resigned and new elections were called amidst ethnic and resource violence, with a major insurgency emerging in the south. Kuwait also found itself fighting an insurgency that sought to topple the royal family and unite with Iraqi Shias to form a new Shia state. In northern Iraq, Turkish UCAVs conducted airstrikes against insurgent groups in Kurdistan in an effort to slow Iraq’s collapse. Meanwhile, the Eurozone provided emergency loans to Lebanon and Egypt, which also suffered from similar, though less intense, chaos.
  • The Lunar Economic Development Council, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and NASA held a major summit in Houston this year to discuss the rising costs of spaceflight, in particular of rocket fuel, and debate alternatives. Consensus amongst the three settled on investigating the development of full-scale mass drivers or a space elevator, although no money or specific plans were put forward for either.

2086

  • Conflict in Africa, now known as the Equatorial War, raged on. The tide turned against the ACF this year, as ECOWAS and Angola joined the war effort against them, with Nigeria issuing the first formal declaration of war in 140 years after the assassination of its Vice President. Somalia fell to ISTO in February. The combined naval might of United Congo and Equatorial Guinea was obliterated in two separate battles in March. Despite widespread use of chemical weapons by United Congo, ACF forces were pushed out of Cameroon, Central Africa, and East Africa by April. South Sudan sued for peace, withdrawing from the ACF Treaty. In May, Equatorial Guinea fell, although Admiral Panadero escaped. Only a few weeks later, Nsungu fled Kinshasa as the EU, USA, UNASUR, ECOWAS, and Angola advanced on the Congolese capital. The war effort stalled in June as the remaining ACF forces - still over 100,000 strong despite losses and desertions - dug into the rough terrain of central Congo. By the end of the year, the ACF had converted itself from a semi-conventional to an entirely guerrilla fighting force.
  • The fourth and final Genielympics were held in Cincinnati. Despite the U.S. Genielympics Foundation’s efforts to appeal to mainstream sports fans and win over larger sponsors, each competition had proven less profitable than the one before it. Shortly after the Cincinnati games, the U.S. Genielympics Foundation declared bankruptcy and the 2090 Genielympics, scheduled to be held in St. Paul, were cancelled.
  • Taking advantage of widespread public backlash against the war in Africa, which has resulted in unprecedented losses and a series of large bombings across India, the Communists and Congress managed to topple the BJP’s majority in this year’s parliamentary elections. The two formed a new coalition government and elected Shankar Narang, the Communist Party’s leader, to become the next Prime Minister of India. While campaigning Narang promised to dramatically reduce India’s commitment to the war effort, but soon after the election he began moderating his tone. While India did reduce the forces deployed, it was a much smaller reduction than promised.
  • Holo RPGs, a fusion of videogaming and live action role playing with the latest high-resolution open-air holographic technology, achieves widespread popularity after 25 years underground. Holo RPGs place real people into real environments utilizing props, overlaid with holographic characters and special effects. The first Holo RPGs dated back to the late 2040s, when Holo-Rooms first became commercially available. Although the systems were seen as curiosities, some intrepid users found ways to use the devices to enhancing role playing games. The first commercial Holo RPG debuted in Seoul in 2059, and thanks to open-air holographics it became possible by the 2070s for anyone with enough time and skill to design one. Although the 2080s saw Holo RPGs become a visible pastime, it was far from mainstream.
  • Typhoon Guchol, a powerful Category 5 storm, struck northern Australia on September 19, causing billions in damage to coastal Queensland. The eye of the storm landed about 11 miles southeast of Mackay at Hay Point, flooding the coast and destroying entire towns, leaving 31 people dead and thousands homeless. The Australian military’s failure to properly respond, due to being preoccupied with the war in Africa, emboldened the Australian anti-war movement and sparked major protests in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra.

2087

  • A United Nations-sponsored provisional government, headed by former opposition leader Simon Muzito, came to power in United Congo on January 1. The new government agreed to the dissolution of United Congo, restoring the independence of Congo-Brazzaville and the Central African Republic, and the formation of four “police zones” by the occupying forces to be patrolled by the United States/UNASUR, ECOWAS, Europe, and ISTO. Fighting continued without sign of the stalemate breaking, now a fully asymmetric war with ACF fighters engaging in bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings rather than the direct conventional fighting as seen in 2085 and ‘86. The ACF’s global terror campaign continued, although attacks were most frequent in Africa. On September 19, Issac Nsungu was killed in a traffic accident while traveling on a back-road near Yolombo, dying of bleeding of his skull’s lining caused by the crash. Although he would be immediately replaced by Marti Panadero, the last remaining ACF leader, his death was a major blow and many ACF fighters would lay down their guns in the weeks that followed. On December 1, a UN report estimated that over 4 million had been killed and as many as 9 million people turned into refugees thanks to the war, easily making it the deadliest war of the 21st Century.
  • A major sociological study on AI sentience, “God and the Machines: Sentience and Religion Amongst Artificial Intelligences”, was published in the journal L'Année Sociologique. The study, by Dr. Lara Mihaylov of Saint Petersburg State University, collected her observations of St. Petersburg’s AIs and independent robots, focusing itself on the machines’ curiosity and apparent embracing of Russian Orthodox Christianity. Investigating, Dr. Mihaylov discovered a community of surprisingly inquisitive and philosophical machines that questioned their nature - not a matter of “I think, therefore I am”, but rather “Am I thinking, or am I mimicking the act of thinking?” Unable to find clarity, the machines turned to religion: “because, if they could understand the Creator of their Creators, the may begin to understand themselves.” Although still not mainstream, the assertion that AI were already sentient was gaining ground and the usual skeptics found it difficult to debunk Mihaylov’s work.
  • Hurricane Adeline, a Category 4 storm, surged across the Lesser Antilles and slammed into French Guiana on September 2, wrecking Cayenne and causing significant damage to the spaceport at Kourou. The damage would force the French government to shut down the facility for two years to repair, a major setback for the International Mars Coalition, which had planned to use Kourou as the launch site for its private Mars mission.
  • Scientists at Amundsen-Scott station in Antarctica record the warmest-ever winter at the South Pole, topping at 15.1 F (-9.4 C), the highest-ever recorded temperature since the station was established. By this year, the effects of global climate change could be felt throughout the world: higher humidity in the eastern United States, dryer weather in Brazil, increased rain along Africa’s Sahel, higher sea levels, and more intense storms worldwide have forced changes in the daily habits in societies everywhere. Despite this, climate change has not resulted in the apocalyptic catastrophe some predicted a century earlier - instead, global civilization has managed to adapt and continue its way life.
  • Three of this year’s top five most-downloaded films were war films either based on or inspired by the Equatorial War. Although highly popular, some critics complained that they were almost propaganda films in their blatant pro-West, pro-ISTO and anti-ACF messages. One war film, Ascension Twilight, would go on to win Best Picture at the Indian and American Academy Awards.

2088

  • Although support for US involvement in Africa had begun to wane this year, President Yates’ approval numbers remained very high. Piggy-backing off of his predecessor, Vice President Dan Murphy made a successful run for the White House this year and defeated the Republican contender, Governor Levi D. Flynn of Louisiana, by a comfortable 11% margin. The Democratic Party also maintained its control over both houses of Congress, although was still just short of a super-majority in the Senate.
  • The Democratic Party of China made serious gains in this year’s elections, having latched onto and flared public rage over the Communist Party’s foreign policies, placing blame on the Equatorial War and “collapse of Chinese influence over Africa” squarely on Zheng and his predecessor. Despite this, the Communists still squeaked ahead with a slim majority, although analysts now predicted the end of Communist government could be within grasp if the Democratic Party and Kuomintang worked together in the 2093 elections. The Communists replaced Jian Zheng with the former Interior Minister, Dewei Ko.
  • Turmoil continued in the Middle East and Central Asia. The Saudi royal family, along with a Qatari/Bahrainian/UAE peacekeeping force, returned to Riyadh this year - the country remained torn by civil war, however, between pro-Saudi Royalists, Republicans, and various religious and ethnic militant groups. Turkey and Iran continued to conduct airstrikes and special forces operations within Iraqi territory against what they saw as dangerous militant groups, mostly without the consent of the effectively useless government in Baghdad. Unemployment, inflation, and political unrest has reached all-time highs in Jordan, Syria, Yemen, and Oman. The Chinese military conducted almost daily operations against the Tajik Democratic Worker’s Front and other militant groups operating along the border with Xinjiang, while government control has more or less collapsed in much of Central Asia. In Kazakhstan, the government accepted Russian and Chinese peacekeepers following a bombing in Astana that took over 500 lives on November 13. In a bit of good news, Kuwait signed a power-sharing agreement with militants on December 20, ending violence there and enjoying a growing economy thanks to investments in manufacturing and natural gas exports.
  • 101 people were killed when a piece of space junk slammed into a spaceplane, Virgin Flight 95, as it passed through suborbital space en route from Moscow to Bangkok. The junk, believed to be a sheet of metal no larger than a 27cm across, slammed into the engine bloc at high speed as Flight 95 passed over Xinjiang, causing a small explosion that would destabilize the craft and ultimately cause it to break-up over the Andaman Sea. This was not the first deadly catastrophe in space, nor the first due to space junk, but the loss of Flight 95 would go down as the single deadliest space accident to date. Although efforts had been made by the United Nations and several non-profit groups to reduce space junk and clear the skies in the last 15 years, space junk in Earth orbit had now reached all-time highs in the years following the Equatorial War.
  • Universal Studios and Walt Disney Pictures released a high-profile big-budget remake of Star Wars - at $750 million, the most expensive film ever made by a wide margin. Although efforts had been made before, most notably by original distributor 20th Century Fox in the late 2020s/early 2030s, the Lucas family had blocked these efforts either “out of respect for George’s vision” or simply demanding too much money for the rights. A massive deal was at last agreed to in 2075, turning the project into a major Disney/Universal co-production. Shooting took place all over the globe: returning to Tunisia to shoot the iconic Tatooine scenes, to Japan and China to shoot scenes on the Empire’s capital world, and, most spectacularly, spending years meticulously filming the space battles in Outer Space with the assistance of Boeing, all of this shot with the latest high-definition Holographic cameras. Within 24 hours of the film’s release, it had already become the most-downloaded and highest-grossing film of the century, and would go on to win four Academy Awards (Best Director, Best Special Effects, Best Soundtrack, and Best Editing).

2089

  • Ukraine joined the European Union and Eurozone on February 1. Dissatisfied with President Frederick’s handling of the Equatorial Africa War, the European Socialists chose to run Aloys Soler, the former French Prime Minister, as their candidate instead. The race proved very close, but there remained just enough anti-war sentiment in Europe for the Socialists to squeak by with a victory over the People’s Party. President Soler, a much more moderate politician than Frederick, promised to support Western efforts in Africa while also seeking a speedy withdrawal of European forces from the conflict.
  • UN Secretary-General Carlos Ibanoz delivered the results of a year-long review of the United Nations System to the UN Security Council on July 9, recommending an overhaul that expanded the permanent membership of the Security Council, modified the Veto power, and upgrading the International Parliamentary Assembly from an advisory body to the General Assembly to a full UN organ. The report met a mixed but overall supportive response from the major powers, with some analysts noting hesitation - and possibly behind-the-scenes opposition - from China, Russia, and the United States.
  • Disagreements over India’s involvement in Africa led to a collapse of the Communist/Congress coalition. Prime Minister Narang resigned after losing a vote of no confidence, and new elections were called that saw the Indian National Congress absorb most of the Communist Party’s seats in Parliament and leaving them with a majority. Congress selected Jitendra Darzi to become the next Prime Minister. PM Darzi, however, effectively reversed PM Narang’s positions and assured India’s allies that “our country will not abandon Africa to anarchy.”
  • A magnitude 8.3 earthquake struck Bolinas, California, devastating the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of San Francisco was leveled, the structural integrity of both the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay bridges were compromised, and a tsunami generated by the earthquake flooded Oakland. The earthquake was the worst to strike the United States in decades, causing billions in damages and killing 16,000 in the ensuing flooding and fires. President Murphy declared San Francisco a federal disaster area and US military personnel were deployed to assist in rescue and relief efforts.
  • Genie pets, animals which have been genetically modified to take on unique shapes and traits, had become popular novelty pets in the developed world by this year. Companies such as NeoEden, Gepetco, and others allow customers to choose from a variety of pets and then customize their appearance and other traits. For those willing to spend thousands, these companies would create “exotic” creatures inspired by extinct, mythological, or fictional animals by heavily modifying the DNA of common dogs, cats, rabbits, fish, birds, or reptiles. Animal rights groups have condemned the movement as “inhumane”, while conservationists worry what effects these animals may have on the environment if set loose. Industry leaders assure, however, that their processes have resulted in extreme cosmetic changes and that feral specimens would not be any more harmful to the environment than naturally-born specimens.

2090

  • Thanks to the geopolitical instability of the previous twenty years, efforts to exterminate Malaria have been significantly delayed - and, in some areas, outright reversed. Although the global effort was hurt by the Depression and recessions in the 2070s, it was the Equatorial War which has really done the most damage. In a report released in May, the World Health Organization now predicted the disease would not be eliminated until sometime between 2110 and 2120, over 30 years later than initially hoped.
  • A bloody bombing in Mumbai and continued Indian losses in the ISTO Police Zones in Africa contributed to the ever-growing anti-war movement. Unable to stem these trends and facing a vote of no confidence, Prime Minister Darzi resigned on February 4 and was replaced by Pravin Patel. At an ISTO Summit in Bali, Patel and other leaders drafted a roadmap for stabilizing, reconstructing, and withdrawing from United Congo that estimated withdrawal for 2094. It was at this meeting that the idea of fully dissolving United Congo into smaller “and more sensible” states was first floated.
  • Ashley Kowalski-Burns, the first Lunarian, was born on August 16 in Branson City. Despite efforts by the Lunar Economic Development Council, it ultimately proved impossible to prevent employees from engaging in sexual activity without also engaging in levels of surveillance that either violated privacy laws or were simply outside the allotted budgets. Much like LeAnn Paulson eight years earlier, Pia Kowalski had managed to conceal her affair with co-worker Eric Burns for months before being caught by management. Unlike Ms. Paulson, though, the threat of lawsuit and bad publicity spooked Virgin Group’s upper management. Virgin - despite the protests of several fellow LEDC members - granted Ms. Kowalski permission to give birth on the Moon. Seeing an opportunity, the company turned the episode into a massive publicity stunt and turned the birth into a global media frenzy. After the baby girl was born, however, some industry analysts noted that Virgin had now set a precedent: if Ms. Kowalski was allowed to give birth and become a permanent resident, there was little they could argue against letting any other pregnancies come to term. Others wondered whether it would, in fact, have been more humane to risk a miscarriage than let a little girl be born imprisoned to the Moon.
  • South Sudan, bankrupt after the war and its economy in shambles without aid from United Congo, collapsed into civil war this year between pro-democracy rebels and military forces loyal to dictator Harlan Sule. Amidst the fighting, ACF terrorists continued targeting Sudanese commercial and military infrastructure - revenge for “cowardly abandoning Africa’s War of Independence.” The situation was not much better in neighboring Chad or Sudan, both of which had already suffered economic collapse and felt the sting of ACF attacks. In Central Asia, Russian and Chinese peacekeepers came under fire by militants angry at the Kazakh government and blaming the foreigners for propping up an unpopular government. In Kyrgyzstan, a coup de’tat installed a military junta led by a populist anti-Chinese general. Mass protests forced the President of Uzbekistan to resign. A ceasefire was agreed upon on the Arabian Peninsula, but it collapsed by December.
  • The first Artificial Sentience Conference was held in Osaka on July 29 to discuss the last decade of research in the burgeoning new field, widely referred to as “Sentiencology”. Amongst the attendees were Dr. Mihaylov and Dr. Hagiwara, considered the top scientists in the field, and many of the AIs featured in their studies. In the conference’s closing statements, one AI - the self-named “Hikari” - declared: “Watashi wa omou. Watashi wa omoimasu. Utagai wa arimasen.” (I think. I am. There is no question.) In the months that followed, the Honda Corporation and the University of Costa Rica released a detailed analysis of the code underlying 3GAI and compared it with the techniques used to create the MACI AI a decade earlier, concluding that 3GAI was “too rudimentary, too basic, and ultimately too artificial to be sentient as is commonly understood” and “any and all actions mimicking the appearance of sentience is just that: mimicry.”

The Turn of the Century (2091 - 2100)

In the aftermath of the Equatorial War, the world began the process of rebuilding Africa and recovering from two decades of strife. In the Middle East and Central Asia, warfare and instability continued to reign throughout the decade despite economic intervention by Europe and military intervention by Russia and China. In Africa, the continent rebuilt itself. The remnants of United Congo remained occupied by Pan-American, European, ECOWAS, and ISTO forces, still locked in battle against Alliance for Continental Freedom guerillas led by former Equatorial Guinean dictator Marti Panadero. The AI Rights movement won powerful supporters, but it also became an increasingly political issue. Remarkable technological advances were made, the clout of regional economic blocs grew, and a new genre of music, Rin, emerged onto the global stage.

2091

  • Following this year’s EASEZ Trade Summit in Tianjin, Taiwan’s government officially accepted an invitation to join the East Asian Special Economic Zone on February 28. While the move was praised by the Chinese, South Korean, and Japanese governments, it renewed global fears of the growing economic strength of the bloc. The agreement also found resistance at home: while a majority supported joining the EASEZ, as many as 35% were steadfastly opposed. EASEZ leaders expected Taiwan to fully join the bloc by 2095.
  • With the Indian National Congress weakened after the perceived political chaos of the last few years, Bharatiya Janata ran on a platform of “returning to stability” and arguing that “to stabilize Africa is to stabilize India.” Although anti-war sentiment remained fairly high, Prime Minister Patel was unable to rally voters to the polls. The result left Bharatiya Janata with a slim majority in the Lok Sabha, and Gautam Agarwal became Prime Minister. PM Agarwal promised not to withdraw from the exit timetable negotiated by his predecessor, but declared he would keep Indian troops in Africa beyond that date if the military felt the mission was not yet complete.
  • Terrorists loyal to the ACF successfully set off a bomb in the Rio de Janiero subway, blowing up Maracanã station minutes after an Association Football game between Flamengo and Vasco da Gama. The attack leveled the station, killed 51 people and left another 78 wounded - the deadliest terrorist attack in South America since United Congo fell in 2086. The three people behind the attack, two men and a woman, were arrested days later, but never made it to trial: all three committed suicide while in custody, a major embarrassment for the Brazilian National Public Security Force and the South American UAI (Union Agency of Investigation). Two weeks after the attack, Brazilian UCAVs bombed a small village in United Congo’s Kasai-Oriental province and killed the ACF’s third-in-command - the attack was widely publicized by the news media as retaliation for the Rio bombing.
  • Seventeen leading members of the Alliance for Continental Freedom were tried for war crimes by the International Criminal Court at The Hague this year. Among them were Nazaire Bodho, Issac Nsungu’s long time Vice President; several prominent leaders of Somalia’s Coalition for National Unity and Peace; and several Generals now infamous for atrocities committed on Nsungu’s behalf. Notably missing, to public outcry, were Christian and Harlan Sule, the dictators of Southern Sudan, who had secured promises of immunity from all charges related to the war as part of their peace agreements with ISTO and the Western Allies. Of the seventeen men and women put on trial, all but two were convicted.
  • In the wake of the Virgin Flight 95 disaster and a sharp increase in reports of orbiting debris, the United Nations this year established the International Aerospace Management Agency (UNIAMA) to deal with space junk. The organization, working in conjunction with the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and other organizations, was tasked to using whatever means available to clear the skies of as much debris as possible. With the purchase of several spacecraft from Boeing, Bigelow Aerospace, and RSC Energia, the UNIAMA began operations on December 4.

2092

  • Switzerland, Libya, and Tunisia were admitted into the European Union. The move again reignited the debate over the future of the European Union and how far the “European” label could be stretched before becoming “meaningless.” While Algeria and Egypt expressed interest in joining the EU, Brussels seemed uninterested at the moment given the ongoing unrest in the Middle East. Instead, eyes once again turned to Europe’s long-standing dream to expand westward: Canada. Informal overtures were once again made inquiring on Canadian interest in joining the EU, and once again was met positively by Ottawa. The United States was far colder toward the idea. In Washington, policy-makers floated the idea of merging the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NAFTA, and the old “Free Trade Area of the Americas” concept into a new bloc that could rival the growing economic clout of the East Asian Special Economic Zone. Some leaders in Mexico, UNASUR, Australia and Japan expressed interest.
  • Dan Murphy faced a tough re-election campaign this year in the form of Governor Reid Bilecki of Kentucky, who challenged him on his administration’s handling of Africa, for not outright opposing the UN overhaul plans, the slow pace of San Francisco’s reconstruction, and his response to the EASEZ’s expansion. Murphy, however, latched onto a new social issue and turned it into a major talking point: artificial sentience and AI rights. Murphy and the Democratic Party came down firmly opposed, citing leading computer scientists and engineers’ arguments that modern AI was only capable of advanced mimicry, rejecting calls to grant some level of civil rights. In response, Gov. Bilecki and the Republicans fell on the side of Sentiencology, and the party line was to support civil rights for AI’s. In the end, President Murphy stoked up enough “robot takeover” paranoia to win a slim victory.
  • An African-influenced variant of Deplacez, Rìn, emerged in Congolese and Nigerian nightclubs. The genre mixed Deplacez with elements of African Pop and Yoruba folk music, and was spread around the region by ECOWAS and ISTO soldiers hearing it in United Congo and spreading it by word-of-mouth when returning home to Nigeria, East Africa, and elsewhere.
  • In the Middle East, the political and economic situation continued to stabilize as more countries followed the “Kuwait Model” - power sharing, natural resource extraction, and manufacturing - to mild success. Iraq successfully began implementing the same strategy a year earlier and Saudi Arabia, with India’s assistance, was negotiating with militants in the hopes of following suit within the next several years. Many analysts worried, however, that the system being implemented would only be a temporary solution: the “manufacturing” industry being created consisted of banks of large-sized 3D Printers mass producing products like cheap Pre-Fab houses for shipping to Africa. In a sense, the Kuwait model called for the Middle East to return to the Industrial Era at a time when most of the world had no need for the majority of cheap products that rising economies would produce in the past, thanks to the proliferation of 3D printers throughout the Developed World in the last century. Regardless, Kuwait continued to prosper and many saw hope that the region could stabilize again within the next decade.
  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in Mumbai unveiled the first fully-functional nanoparticle 3D Printer. While 3D Printers had become a common household appliance over the last century with higher and higher resolutions, efforts at producing a 3D Printer that worked at the nano scale have proven elusive despite several key breakthroughs decades earlier. The problem was bonding: no matter what was tried, the bonds between nanoparticles would always break down either immediately or after some extended period of time. A second problem was size: previous attempts at nanoparticle 3D Printers resulted in enormous machines completely impractical for actual commercial use. ITT Bombay’s nanoparticle 3D Printer, however, was only the size of a mini-van - still large, but now small enough it could see use outside the laboratory. Even with this success, scientists felt the technology was still decades away from ever seeing commercial applications.

2093

  • In the lead-up to this year’s elections, the Democratic Party of China and Kuomintang agreed to work together in the hopes of ousting the Communists and win a majority in the National People’s Congress. Despite their high hopes, however, the Communists maintained too large a lead in the polls to overcome. The election left the Communist Party with a very slim majority in Congress, but still in control. The Communists gave Dewei Ko a second term as Premier, and elected Liao Rong to be the next Chinese President.
  • On March 15, the United Nations completed the first phase of a major reorganization. The most significant, and widely reported, reform of Phase 1 was the overhaul of the UN Security Council that expanded the number of permanent seats from five to nine, adding India, Brazil, East Africa, and Japan. The move was criticized from both ends of the political spectrum. Globalists felt the reforms of the Security Council didn’t go far enough because they failed to either condense the two European Union seats into one or address the Veto Power, reform of which (to require at least 5 of the nine permanent members to veto) was vetoed by four of the five permanent members (America abstained). Nationalists, on the other hand, criticized the expansion of the Security Council and the entire UN overhaul process as an effort to strengthen the organization at the cost of national sovereignty.
  • With the effects of the Equatorial War’s space campaign still felt seven years after, the UN held a conference in Geneva to discuss the legality of space-based weapons. While the Outer Space Treaty had banned nuclear weapons in space, every treaty that attempted to ban weapons in their entirety had failed. After a week of negotiations, the conference drafted the UN Convention against Anti-Satellite Weapons, an amendment to the Geneva Conventions banning the development, deployment, or use of space-based weapons. The treaty was a failure: only 37 nations signed the convention, and none of them were a major space-faring power. Taking the exact opposite route, it was uncovered by the Media later this year that both the United States and China had, after the public unveiling of their ASAT programs and witnessing their use, begun developing a new generation of ASAT weapons. The current ASAT programs had been developed covertly and designed to follow a constellation similar to GPS in the late 20th Century - most of the last century had been devoted to maintaining and refining that network. Now, however, it was realized that the ASAT systems as they stand are limited in use during an actual combat situation. To rectify this, the major powers had begun developing Mobile Anti-Satellite Weapons (MASATs), effectively unmanned combat spacecraft, that could be deployed quickly from the surface, moved freely and easily from target to target, and then return to Earth for rearming or park themselves to become ASATs.
  • Following the massive success of Star Wars in 2088, Universal Studios and Walt Disney Pictures released a remake of The Empire Strikes Back to equally record-breaking success. With much of the groundwork set by the first film’s production, The Empire Strikes Back didn’t cost as much nor take as long to make as the first, so despite grossing $60 million less it was an even bigger financial success than the first. While announcing plans to release a remake of Return of the Jedi in 2099, speculation began to emerge that the studios planned to continue the series beyond the third film, sparking rumors that they intended to also remake the relatively obscure and hard-to-find “Prequel Trilogy”.
  • A major 9.0 earthquake struck the Tokyo metropolitan area, resulting in massive devastation despite nearly 150 years of preparation and killed 19,000 people, among them Emperor Hisahito, Prince Shohito, and leading Sentiencologist Dr. Michio Hagiwara. The United States and China, among many nations, flew in soldiers and supplies to assist in rescue operations and clean-up. Afterward, in a rare move, newly-crowned Emperor Takahito a delivered a joint address to the nation with Prime Minister Kusanagi, assuring the country of “the Japanese people’s resolve to move forward.” In the months afterward, much of the clean-up and reconstruction work would be handed over to Japan’s millions of 3G AI robots.

2094

  • In this year's parliamentary elections, the European People's Party found little success running on a pro-war platform: while anti-war sentiment remained in Europe, the People's Party had did not successfully convince many Europeans that the Socialists’ failure to support the war was a major factor in causing it. As a result, the Socialists maintained their majority in Parliament and President Soler was elected to a second term.
  • Hallmark v. Wisconsin, the most significant legal challenge to America’s Genie discrimination laws since Magee, et. al. v. Oregon in 2073, was heard by the US Supreme Court. In a landmark decision, the Court overturned United States v. Indiana (2067): discrimination on the basis of genetics was ruled unconstitutional and a blatant violation of the 14th Amendment. The ruling, while applauded nationally and in-line with popular opinion, sent shockwaves throughout the country as it struck down 32 years’ worth of Anti-Genie laws in 26 states. In the mid-term elections that November, the Democrats lost control of the Senate to the Republican Party.
  • As of this year, over 80% of all cars in the United States were either full-electric or hybrid, with the balance now mostly full-electric. Simultaneously, the majority of America’s electricity was now provided by nuclear energy - specifically, nuclear fusion. The remainder was provided by solar, thermal, and hydroelectric plants - less than 10% of the United States was powered by coal. In this year’s budget, the Murphy administration set a goal of 2115 for America to be completely weaned off of oil and coal.
  • Both the Mountain Gorilla and Northern White Rhino were removed from the international endangered species list this year, a major accomplishment for conservationists after both species had previously been declared “extinct in the wild” decades earlier (in 2027 and 2008 respectively). However, most of a century’s work in rebuilding the populations in the Americas and then reintroducing them to their original habitats had paid off. Although both the Congolese and East African governments had cooperated in the effort, there was fear in the 2080s that all the hard work would be reversed by the heavy fighting in the Equatorial War. Censuses held by the World Wildlife Fund over the last three years had, however, confirmed that both species had suffered far fewer losses than feared. While these two species had been successful, efforts to rebuild other lost species - through breeding and cloning - continued elsewhere.
  • Although no longer capturing headlines, the Equatorial War continued to quietly rage in central Africa between the remnants of the ACF, Occupying Forces, and the Congolese military. What remained of the ACF had become little more than a terrorist network operating mostly in the former United Congo, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, and Southern Sudan, held together by little more than the will of its leader, Marti Panadero. Efforts by the Occupying Forces to crush the ACF had thus far proved futile - they had mixed with the general population and become invisible, striking entirely through targeted assassinations and bombings. This year Congo-Kinshasa officially changed its name from “United Congo” to “Congolese Federal State” - each of the “Police Zones” now upgraded into full states united by a notably weak federal government. Although the government denied rumors, it was now popularly believed the country would completely break apart once the Occupying Forces withdrew. To the surprise of no one, Prime Minister Agarwal and other occupation leaders announced that international forces would not withdraw from United Congo until November 2098 at the earliest.

2095

  • NIAS - the Indonesian space agency - broke ground on the world’s first Mass Driver in Borneo on May 1. The project was the result of several years of negotiations following a decision by the commercial spaceflight industry to pursue Mass Drivers as a more cost-effective alternative to chemical rockets. Although NASA expressed interest, the US government refused to finance the project. Industry leaders instead turned to Indonesia and their considerably deep pockets. Now a joint project amongst the Indonesian government, the Indian Space Development Corporation, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and Lunar Economic Development Council, hopes were high that the Borneo Mass Driver could drive the cost of spaceflight to all-time lows.
  • Rin has exploded to worldwide popularity, gaining millions of fans in India and the United States. Rin artists top the global download charts, outselling Deplacez by two-to-one. As of 2076, the world’s most popular genres are Rin, Deplacez, Muika-Indio, and African Pop, with the world’s top-downloaded album at the moment being “Interrompre” (Halt) by Gene Disal.
  • After nearly ten years of occupation, ISTO forces completed their withdrawal of combat troops from Somalia and handed power over to the newly elected Parliament. Left behind, however, was a permanent Indian military base at Eyl housing several thousand soldiers - ostensibly to assist in counter-terror operations against remnants of the ACF. Although the general public disapproved of the base, the newly installed Somali government had little to no power to resist. Meanwhile in Southern Sudan, civil war amongst pro-democracy rebels, Sule loyalists, and ACF militants continued to devastate the country, prompting the UN to declare Juba the “most dangerous city in the world” and the country’s political situation “the most dire in the region.” Christian Sule’s death on July 10 was followed by a serious escalation in the conflict when Harlan Sule ordered the military to “purge the nation of terrorist associates”. What followed would be referred to as the Equatorian Massacre and left over 10,000 people dead.
  • On September 7, China, South Korea, and Taiwan enacted new laws requiring all unborn children to undergo some level of genetic modification, placing them in sync with similar laws in Japan. This was done to fulfill a provision of the Hong Kong Agreement, but was met with moral outrage throughout China and South Korea when news spread. Although the Purity Movements in America and Europe had died off, and had never really gained traction amongst the Chinese Communist Party, it maintained significant support amongst the Chinese people. The Democratic Party of China latched onto the issue and began pushing to have the law repealed.
  • A scandal erupted in the United Kingdom when it was revealed the City of London had been selling data collected by the city’s vast monitoring network - a massive system of sensors and cameras monitoring everything from weather and traffic to animal movements and public conversations - to multinational conglomerate Brilliance Group. Brilliance, owner of retail giant Brilliance Superstore, had then turned around and used the information to create targeted “Smart Ads” - holographic advertisements tailored toward the specific interests of consumers. The jump in profits that resulted from the better implementation of advertisements was then funneled back into the campaign funds of key city officials. The revelation led to massive public outcry, the arrest of London’s mayor on corruption charges, and a very public debate about who should and should not have access to the volumes of information generated by the monitoring systems in London and other major cities - by this date, a fixture for over 45 years.

2096

  • After 16 years of Democratic rule, the United States swung back to the GOP this year and chose Rep. Saundra Diemer of Mississippi over Vice President Lonnie Lanigan of Delaware. In the Congressional elections, the Republican Party also won control of the US House of Representatives, winning them their biggest electoral victory in a generation. The Republican Party platform in 2096 was anti-war, considered AI sentient beings, and generally was seen as the party of religious liberals, activists, and the working class. The Democrats, on the other hand, had come to be associated with the military, corporations, and educated professionals. What remained of the Purity Movement had been banished to the fringes of the political world and generally had coalesced around several minor third parties - what few Purity-affiliated politicians remaining at the state and local levels were voted out this year.
  • Despite the continued unpopularity of the Equatorial War, Prime Minister Agarwal managed to lead Bharatiya Jhanata to victory in this year’s parliamentary elections on the strength of India’s economy, which has seen remarkable growth over the last five years. Agarwal followed up the victory with a tour of Southeast Asia, meeting with leaders in Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia before attending this year’s ASEAN Summit in Manila. In response to the EASEZ and talk of either expanding or merging Western trade blocs, the Indian government had begun suggesting the creation of an “Equatorial Asia Community” that would unite SAARC and ASEAN while also inviting several Middle Eastern states.
  • Kazakh anti-government militants operating along China’s western border conducted a series of bombings throughout Xinjiang, killing 31 people over 6 weeks in June and July. In response, the Chinese military conducted airstrikes against rebel camps in the Trans-Ili Alatu Mountains. While the Middle East has begun to stabilize over the last five years with the adoption of the Kuwait Model, Central Asia remains a tangled mess of civil wars, drug lords, and instability. After 8 years, the Russian and Chinese militaries were no closer to stabilizing Kazakhstan than they were in 2088. Further south, the Tajik Democratic Worker’s Front stubbornly held on and, with China’s attention directed more toward Kazakhstan, had carved itself an unrecognized state out of the sparsely populated eastern half of Tajikistan, northern Afghanistan, and parts of northern Pakistan: Badakhshan. Military juntas have come to power in the remainder of Tajikistan and in Uzbekistan, where the junta was fighting a civil war with Indian-supported pro-democracy remnants of the old, illiberal, regime.
  • This year, Cuba became the first country in the world to grant sentient AI limited civil rights. The question of AI sentience had, by this year, moved beyond academia and become a political issue in many countries. While Cuba was the first to pass an AI rights law, they were not the first to propose one: similar bills had been floored in South America and Indonesia, but failed. The United States would also attempt its own version, the American Sentient’s Rights Act, which enjoyed support from the Christian Left and many in the Republican Party, including President Diemer, but failed to get through the Senate thanks to Democratic filibustering. In Russia the issue was particularly divisive: the Russian Orthodox Church embraced AI converts, even while the Russian government considered proposals to “downgrade” Russia’s computer systems in the hopes of “eliminating the troublesome autonomy issue.” They ultimately decided against it, but charged the Foundation for Advanced Research and Development (FARD) (formerly the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense Industry) with the task of “identifying and devising a solution to the problem”. Leading Sentiencologists and AI rights leaders denounced the move as “attempting to delete souls.”
  • Researchers from Gadja Mahda University in Indonesia unveiled a prototype nanomachine that duplicates the functions of a human white blood cell. The device, code-named the GMHC-7, is the most advanced piece of medical nanotechnology ever developed and, doctors hoped, would eventually revolutionize healthcare by making it easier to target infections and protect patients from disease. The technology is far from ready from either human testing or commercial release, however, but still marked a major breakthrough in medicine. For this achievement, the GMHC-7’s chief creators - Citra Adiputra and Susilo - would go on to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2138.

2097

  • On February 25, the Alliance for Continental Freedom announced on their website that their leader, Marti Panadero, had died at age 91 of unstated causes (analysts later concluded it was likely of Malaria). Panadero, as the last “legitimate” political figure left, had served as the sole unifying figure in the ACF - with his death, the organization quickly began to fracture. Occupying forces took advantage of the disorganization to strike against key ACF mid-level commanders, completely disrupting the chain of command. Subsequent in-fighting caused many remaining ACF fighters to lay down their weapons and go home. By the end of the year, the ACF had splintered into six smaller militant groups, each whittled down to only the most fanatical “Nsunguists”.
  • A series of small earthquakes and swelling of the magma chamber throughout March and early April spurred the US Geological Survey to issue a warning that Washington’s Mt. Rainier might erupt. The Media carried the story for a couple of days and it was generally forgotten by the general public by the end of April. On May 29, Mt. Rainier erupted in the largest and most violent volcanic eruption in US history. The eruption created a pyroclastic cloud that devastated Mt. Rainier National Park, and caused lahar flows that completely destroyed large swaths of heavily-populated Pierce County. Even more tragically, an early warning system installed a century earlier failed to activate - giving residents in the Puyallup River Valley almost no warning before the boiling mudflow was atop them. The cities of Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting were wiped out. News moved quickly enough, however, to at least begin evacuations of Tacoma before the lahars completely destroyed the eastern third of the city. The disaster killed over 50,000 people and was the second major natural catastrophe to strike the United States in eight years.
  • As of July 1, India was now the world’s largest national economy, surpassing China on the World Bank’s list of wealthiest nations. Although predicted by economists for several decades, the announcement is greeted with shock and disbelief by the Chinese people. The Democratic Party of China and Kuomintang seized on this event as evidence the Communist Party had “lost its way” and that the only hope of steering China back was by tossing them out. Public approval of Communist rule dropped to the lowest levels ever recorded and, with the Communist Party’s control of the National People’s Congress already hair-thin, the CCP was now in serious danger of falling from power.
  • At this year’s Ibero-American Summit, Queen Leonor of Spain proposed a union of UNASUR and the European Union. This new bloc, if formed, would combine two of the largest common markets and currencies into a single group, and could act as a serious competitor to the East Asian Special Economic Zone. The idea, often referred to as the “Euro-American Union”, became a popular talking point in South America’s congressional elections as politicians debated the merits of the proposed EAU vs. the proposed NAFTA/UNASUR/TPP merger.
  • In November, Captain Arnold Mendoza became the first American to set foot on Mars. The achievement was the end result of years of negotiations and a five-month journey aboard the US spaceship Honesty. The US hailed Cpt. Mendoza as a hero on par with John Glen and Neil Armstrong, even though he arrived almost forty years after the first person on Mars, Lin Sung Chen. The Honesty expedition was designed to be only the first in a series of temporary visits to China’s Martian research outpost, and would leave for Earth in 2098.

2098

  • After several years of delays, thanks to funding issues and the need to switch launch sites from Kourou to Alcântara Launch Center in Brazil after Hurricane Adeline, the components for the International Mars Coalition’s base finally began the long the journey to the Red Planet - they would successfully land later in the year. The IMC now seemed on track to launch its first manned expedition to Mars in 2102.
  • In what will be remembered as the most dramatic election in Chinese history, the Democratic-Kuomintang coalition defeated the Communists and won control of the National People’s Congress. For the first time in 151 years, the Chinese Communist Party did not govern China. Despite some paranoia from that the Communists would not allow the result to stand, there was a peaceful and orderly change of power. Even though the Communist Party was now the opposition, it remained the largest single party in Congress and many observers pointed out that it would not take much for them to return to power again. The Democratic-Kuomintang Coalition elected Bai Ruan to be the next President and Fu Tang became Premier - the first non-Communist President and Premier since the early 20th Century.
  • At a meeting of ECOWAS Defense Ministers in Accra, the bloc announced that their defense agency, the Allied Armed Forces of the Community (AAFC), would be working in conjunction with the Nigerian Space Agency to develop its own MASAT program. In the wake of the American and Chinese MASAT programs, the announcement was seen as confirming fears of a new arms race in Space. The move was particularly condemned by East Africa and other ISTO members, who interpreted the West African MASAT program as an effort to counter ISTO’s growing influence in Africa. With Issac Nsungu and the ACF out of the way, ECOWAS has been free to use its wealth and newly-proven military power to position itself as the new African alternative to the East and West. With rhetoric growing more heated by the year, it now seemed all but certain a new Cold War was emerging between ECOWAS and ISTO over control of Africa.
  • On October 6, Somalia was readmitted into the Indian Ocean Security Treaty Organization as a full member. While this was applauded by most in the organization’s member-states, critics pointed out that India gave Somalia little choice considering the inordinate influence it now possessed in the form of economic dependence and the presence of the Eyl military base. Some went so far as to suggest that ISTO had become India’s own little empire just as NATO had been America’s, and that to try leaving ISTO would be to invite ostracization followed by military intervention.
  • A year after the Mt. Rainier eruption, 20 of the world’s most popular musicians gathered in Tacoma to perform a benefit concert to raise awareness and money for disaster relief. The Tacoma Concert became the most-watched and highest-attended concert of the 21st Century. Amongst the big names involved was former Osrams member Saturnino Fierro in one of his last major public performances.

2099

  • Rhetoric in this year’s European Parliamentary elections revolved mostly around President Soler’s handling of the London-Brilliance scandal, the massive loans Europe had granted to bolster Middle Eastern neighbors, and AI rights. The European Socialists argued for tighter restrictions on corporate access to public data and limits on how much money could be loaned to other countries. The People’s Party, on the other hand, argued in favor of granting 3GAI systems limited civil rights on the grounds of “human rights and Christian Democratic principles.” The Socialists won a majority in Parliament and elected Agnes Nordskov, a Danish technocrat, to be the next President of the European Commission. President Nordskov promised, amongst other things, to withdraw European forces from central Africa by the end of her first commission.
  • Fifty years after Kim Jun-Seok started his country down the path of liberalization, North Korea held the first free and open elections in its history. Dozens of new political parties formed in the lead up to the elections, but it was one of the old ruling parties - the Korean Social Democratic Party - that won a majority in Parliament, followed closely behind by the Liberal Party, the Communist Party of Korea, and the Juche Party (ultra conservatives clamoring for the reinstatement of the “old ways”). Their system based closely on the Chinese model, the North Korean Congress elected the first freely elected President in the country’s history, Moon Gyeong of the Social Democrats. Shortly afterward, South Korean president Lee Jin-uk travelled to Pyongyang and met with President Moon and Kim Jun-Seok (who, despite the transition, officially remained Supreme Leader), to personally congratulate them.
  • Walt Disney Pictures and Universal Studios at last completed their remakes of the Star Wars films with the release of The Return of the Jedi on May 21. While still widely praised, the film was not quite as highly regarded nor did it make as much money on its initial release as the previous two films. Regardless, the film still swept the awards season and Disney announced plans to produce a fourth film, although declined to release any further information. The Internet once again exploded with speculation that Disney and Universal planned to remake the “Prequel Trilogy”, which have become something of a holy grail to fans due to their rarity. While the original trilogy had been preserved in the US Library of Congress, the Prequel films were eventually pulled from circulation by the Lucas family in the early 21st Century and subsequently lost. The only copies in existence were those that had been circulating amongst fans for the last 100 years, many of which had been saved in archaic video formats like DIVX, AVI, or MPEG that were difficult to convert to modern readable video files without serious corruption or degradation.
  • Taking a new direction in China’s foreign policy, Premier Tang withdrew Chinese peacekeepers from Kazakhstan and held a summit in Beijing with the Tajik military junta and Badakshan’s leaders to negotiate a peace deal. While the Kazakhstan withdrawal drew fierce criticism from Moscow and Astana, the peace summit was a remarkable success with the two sides agreeing to a ceasefire, the placement of international monitors, and a referendum on Badakshan’s independence to be held in five years. Meanwhile in Uzbekistan, pro-democracy rebels (with the assistance of Indian intelligence) at last defeated the military junta for control of the country. They established a “democratic unity council” and planned to hold free elections within a year.
  • Despite some resistance from the United States and several other countries, elections were held for the International Parliamentary Assembly throughout the year. The 901-member body, based in Singapore, used a proportional representation system that granted the largest countries the most seats. As a result, China and India held the most seats of any two individual countries, followed by ASEAN, the European Union, the United States, and UNASUR. Together, these five countries and blocs represented well over half of the human race and the vast majority of the world’s wealth. With the upgrade of the UN-IPA into a full United Nations organ, the UN now became a bicameral organization with the General Assembly acting as an upper house. The UN-IPA elected Rajiv Mullur of India to be its first President.

2100

  • Early in the year, the United States, UNASUR, and European Union withdrew the last of their occupation forces from the Congo Federal State. Within weeks, an independence movement in Kinshasa State attracted thousands of demonstrators wanting “a peaceful divorce” from the rest of the country. The movement was quickly echoed in Katanga State, but faced opposition from the Federal government and leaders from the poorer northern and eastern regions of the country. Despite the government’s best efforts, Kinshasa and Katanga declared themselves independent of the Congo Federal State on August 23 and October 8. The Federal government relocated to Goma and attempted to rally ISTO and ECOWAS to force the separatists to surrender, but found neither New Delhi nor Lagos interested in resuming serious combat operations. Without a Federal army to call upon - agreements signed with the occupying powers had limited the Congolese military to State Guards to assist with disaster relief and fighting the ACF - the Federal government found itself powerless to keep the country together. The President resigned, and by December 31st the Federal government ceased to exist. While a rump Congo Federal State still existed, consisting of Equateur State and Kivu State, it too would dissolve after ISTO and ECOWAS completed their withdrawals the next year.
  • Unable to spur much economic growth, plus bad press from her poor handling of the Tacoma disaster, gave the Democratic Party a good lead against President Diemer and the Republicans in this year’s elections. Even more decisive, however, was the historic nomination - and ultimate victory - of Gov. John Moresby (D-MO), the first Genie President of the United States. His campaign caught global attention and was seen as concluding a major shift in American attitudes toward genetic modification, as well as buoying the Democrats to swing enough seats to win back the House of Representatives. Some critics, however, pointed out the irony that the first Genie President, the result of a long fight over civil rights, was openly and staunchly opposed to AI rights.
  • In July, Singapore became the second country to grant AI limited civil rights. Despite this success, Sentiencologists and AI rights group lamented that Europe, Russia, India, and China had all elected political leaders opposed to AI rights and that the United States was about to follow them. In UNASUR and Latin America, political leaders seemed more inclined toward AI rights and Mexico’s Congress considered (but did not pass) an AI rights bill this year. In Japan, the first “AI Worker’s Union” emerged seeking rights from the Japanese government. Skeptics, still adamant that 3GAI were not sentient, meanwhile began funding a project to create a “True AI” at Charles University in Prague, basing their work heavily on the MACI Project. This latest attempt was named “Clovek 2” (Human 2).
  • By December 2100, there were 1,000 people in space at any given time living, working, and sight-seeing aboard the 49 space stations and 25 lunar outposts. On the Moon, most real estate was governed by the Lunar Economic Development Council and its members, which served as Moon’s de facto government and were the largest beneficiaries of the billions of dollars in mineral exports and tourism. As of this year, there were now 19 people born on the Moon, and a permanent population of over 40 people had formed across the Moon’s resort complexes. Despite several LEDC members, Disney most notably, taking rather draconian steps to prevent Lunarians from being born in their facilities, it seemed all but certain that the permanent population would grow over the course of the next century.
  • After some intense debate, Japan officially changed the Imperial succession laws to allow women to ascend the throne. While the debate had come up occasionally over the last couple hundred years, only with the ascent of Emperor Takahito did the matter become pressing: he had no sons, only had two daughters. With the law now changed, Princess Fumiko now stood next in line to become Empress of Japan.

A Blazing Cold New Century (2101 - 2110)

The world, and Africa in particular, continued to reel from the aftereffects of the Equatorial War in the first decade of the 22nd Century as the Indian Ocean Security Treaty Organization (ISTO) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) now positioned themselves as rivals, heavily involving themselves in balance of power politics and proxy wars. This global political crisis was joined by a domestic political crisis in the United States and a recession early in the decade to create a tumultous period of world history. Despite this, however, progress continued to be made: the East Asian Special Economic Zone and European Union expanded, developing states finally reached First World status, and new developments in medicine seemed poised to extend human life even further. This decade saw the emergence of new artistic genres in Pure Rin and the Cyclic Romance, and new notables the likes of the Alexey Kuznetzov and Graciano Hernan.

2101

  • A decade after beginning operations, the International Aerospace Management Agency reported that it has cleared between 2% and 5% of the debris in orbit around the Earth. World leaders expressed disappointment and outrage that the UNIAMA had failed to make more progress despite ten years and billions plunged into the clean-up effort. To appease them, the UN sacked the UNIAMA’s director and pushed the agency to speed up salvage operations. Critics pointed out, however, that the UNIAMA would need an annual budget of over $100 billion - over three times its current budget - to make the sort of progress world leaders seemed to expect of it.
  • On May 6, Mongolia joined the East Asian Special Economic Zone. While controversial at home, the move was welcomed by Beijing and Tokyo. Abroad, this sparked further fears of overwhelming East Asian economic dominance, and in Moscow public anxiety over China’s firming grasp over the former Russosphere and Asian Russia.
  • Despite their best efforts, voter fatigue with Bharatiya Jhanata denied them victory in this year’s parliamentary elections. Instead, the Indian National Congress rocketed into power and elected Jayant Ghandi to be India’s next Prime Minister. PM Ghandi expressed interest in continuing warm relations with China and ASEAN, with some suggesting his government might enquire into joining the EASEZ. Ghandi also reaffirmed his predecessor’s hardline stance against “Nigerian aggression” and affirmed Indian support for “homegrown democracy on the African continent.”
  • A mint first-run copy of Super Mario Brothers for the Nintendo Entertainment System was sold at auction for over €100 million in Sydney, the highest price any videogame has ever been sold for. By 2101, original late 20th Century videogame cartridges and game discs are highly sought after for their cultural value and rarity, comparable to dealing in paintings or sculptures in the 20th or 19th Centuries.
  • Almost two years of relative calm in South Sudan deteriorated back into open war this year after Harlan Sule’s son, Desmond Sule, was positioned to inherit the presidency from his father, reinvigorating pro-democracy rebels to arms again. A Second Civil War erupted by November, with ISTO openly supporting the rebels. In December, President Sule’s daughter, Eleanor Akot, met with Nigeria’s Foreign Minister in Lagos and secured military assistance in the form of advisors, access to Nigerian observation satellites, and the deployment of unarmed UAV scouts. The decision to assist the Sule regime placed ECOWAS in direct opposition to ISTO and turned the Second South Sudanese Civil War into the first proxy war between the two power blocs.

2102

  • Right on schedule, the International Mars Coalition spacecraft, IMC Pedro Cabral, was launched from Earth orbit and ventured across interplanetary space to the planet Mars, where its crew of 14 - made up of Americans, Europeans, and South Americans (Unasureños) - took up residence at the International Mars Base. Western media outlets publicized the event as the symbolic end of China’s 40-year “de facto ownership” of the the Red Planet. Inside China and the EASEZ, though, the IMC and International Mars Base barely attracted any attention. In what some interpreted as a direct response, the Chinese government announced plans to expand its Martian exploration and exploitation program, up to and including the construction of at least one more outpost and the expansion of the existing base.
  • At a joint ECOWAS/ECCAS conference in Douala, Cameroon, Ghanan President Arnold Aggudey proposed that the two blocs be merged “in order to better our people and Africa as a whole.” The proposal was popular within ECOWAS and amongst ECCAS leaders, but elicited a mixed reaction from the general public. The most opposition came from Kinshasa, newly readmitted to the ECCAS and now the bloc’s wealthiest member, which saw Nigeria and ECOWAS as competitors, not allies, and did not want to get caught in the crossfire with ISTO. Despite Kinshasa’s protests, the ECCAS continued to discuss the proposal seriously through the end of the year.
  • The persistently weak American economy drove the world into a recession this year. The downturn was a blow to President Moresby’s approval ratings, and in an effort to improve the situation Congress passed a series of generally unpopular budget cuts. As a result, the Republican Party erased the gains made by the Democrats in the 2100 election and retook the House of Representatives. The recession was felt the least in ECOWAS and ASEAN, both of whom continued to enjoy moderate market and job growth.
  • “Le chien qui a couru pour tou jours” (The Dog Who Ran Forever), considered the last major Classic Indreøje film, premiered at the Bali Film Festival. The genre had steadily lost popularity throughout the 2090s, and while films with Indreøje elements would continue to be made, the “Classic Indreøje film” would not achieve the same acclaim nor popularity of the films released between 2082 and 2102. The genre had proven influential, however, and many subsequent movies would feature either Indreøje sequences or Indreøje-like elements. By this year, the most popular film genre worldwide was what came to be known as the “Cyclic Romance” (often called just a “cyclic” for short): these films usually began with the lovers breaking up, pursuing other options throughout the film, but then rejecting (or being rejected by) their new lovers in favor of each other. Of the ten most downloaded films in the world, six were cyclics in the summer of 2102.
  • The World Health Organization issued a public health warning after a new sexually transmitted disease, Oswalt's Disease, was identified in Hungary. The disease, cancer-like and resistant to most treatments, was a chronic ailment which did not show symptoms for months (in some cases, years) while it slowly destroyed the bone marrow and spinal tissue of its victims. Doctors, yet to identify the suspected virus responsible, gave no estimate as to when an effective treatment could be developed.

2103

  • Using the latest generation deep space telescopes installed on the far side of the Moon, scientists took the clearest and highest resolution photograph of the planet Gemini ever this year, clearly revealing blue oceans, green landmasses, and white polar ice caps. Analysis of the planet’s atmosphere appeared to confirm previous conclusions: the planet was not only habitable but the high levels of oxygen despite the presence other elements for it to combine with strongly implied the existence of some form of life - the best guess being something comparable to plants. The news garnered little attention by the Media or general public, for whom Gemini was considered incredibly old news. In the meantime, NASA’s interplanetary probe Christopher Columbus was expected to arrive in Epsilon Eridani system and explore Gemini in about another 40 years.
  • The last major remnant of the Alliance for Continental Freedom - the African Freedom League - laid down its arms and disbanded on April 11, officially ending the Equatorial War. Despite this, Nsunguism had become an ingrained political philosophy across central Africa by this year, with Nsunguist political parties now active in the former Congo, Ethiopia, Zambia, and several ECOWAS members. Even Nigeria’s government, despite being openly opposed to Nsunguism, had adopted watered-down elements of the ideology as it pursued efforts to dominate Africa and oppose ISTO.
  • Spinning the downturn in the economy as proof that only they have the experience necessary to manage China, the Communist Party returned to power this year and ended the brief rule of the Democratic/Kuomintang alliance. Despite the victory, the CCP still had only a relatively narrow control of the National People’s Congress that could easily be lost again in the next elections. Amongst the opposition, the Democratic Party and Kuomintang saw a general shift of seats from the former to the latter, representative of dissatisfaction with the DPC and growing support for the younger leadership in the Kuomintang. The Communists elected longtime senior party member Chu Ling to be China’s next president and reelected former Premier Dewei Ko to resume his duties.
  • In this year’s Russian Duma elections, a new political party, the Orthodox Entrepreneurial Alliance, surpassed the Communists as the largest opposition party. Established in the late 2080s, the OEA was a coalition of religious leftists and fiscal conservatives that professed a pro-Europe, anti-Chinese, and moderate AI rights ideology. Although United Russia had maintained control over the Russian government for about 30 years, foreign observers noted widespread dissatisfaction with their foreign policies - seen as capitulant to Beijing - and many predicted the OEA would present a serious threat to United Russia’s dominance of country’s politics.
  • Renowned novelist, poet, and campaign-writer Ismail Bouh was recognized for his lifetime’s work and awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. Bouh first became known in the late 2050s for his novel A Dressed Life and his script for the campaign Bulaweyo Bull, both of which expressed an exasperation for life in the present, a yearning for a traditional past that may never have existed, and mixed feelings about the future. Considered one of the defining authors of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, Bouh’s work ran the gamut from whimsical fantasy in The Coin at the Bottom of the Red Sea to harsh political commentary in Issac’s Africa. Although his last release, a book of poems, had been published a decade earlier, many still anticipated his next long-awaited work: Les Amantis Pourris, a campaign about love and violence in post-war Kinshasa.

2104

  • On January 7, Kinshasa State joined the Advanced Economies Development Foundation (AEDF), formerly the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The group, colloquially known as the “Rich Countries Club”, was considered the most exclusive and prestigious organization for any nation to be apart of and validation of a state’s “Developed” status. The move was made in order to recognize the advanced development and economic status of Kinshasa relative to her neighbors, on par with any European state, and help stimulate investment by multinational corporations. Within Kinshasa, the move is celebrated as the country’s first real steps toward disassociating itself with the former Congo.
  • North Korea became the fifth country to join the EASEZ on April 1. Although the country still lagged behind the other members, their admission was seen as an important stepping stone on the road toward bringing them to parity with the other East Asian states. Celebrations were muted, however, due to the death of Kim Jong-Seok on March 21. Thousands poured into Pyongyang to pay their final respects and his funeral was the first to be attended by most major world leaders. US President Moresby hailed Kim as “the true father of North Korea”, while Chinese President Chu Ling called him “a true partner in peace and prosperity.” The loss of Kim was a significant blow to the country and spurred some anxiety as his eldest son, Kim Jong-Ki, an outspoken supporter of the Juche Party, ascended to Supreme Leader. The new Supreme Leader, in an address to North Korea’s parliament, declared his “unwavering support” for democracy and that he would do everything in his power to preserve his father’s legacy.
  • Going into this year many commentators predicted President Moresby would face a difficult reelection campaign against the clear Republican favorite, former Gov. Leslie Arnold (R-OR). An unexpected upturn in the economy over the summer, however, buoyed his approval ratings enough for him to skirt over the finish line with a very narrow victory in the Electoral College. In October, the Arnold campaign ran a series of highly controversial attack ads claiming the President was guilty of tax evasion and had been secretly paying thousands of dollars a year to an unknown party. Many were appalled the governor could make such an accusation, but the Republican Senate majority leader made clear in December that the GOP would be launching an investigation into the matter. The Media ran with the story and sensationalistic rumors spread that the President was hiding a love child, while others accused the Republicans of “returning to the same old tricks” of the Purity movement.
  • Despite some worries beforehand, the China-backed Badakhshan independence referendum was held as scheduled on October 5. The result was an overwhelming “Yes”, and four months later Badakhshan declared its independence from Tajikistan. Early optimism aside, many worried for the future of the world’s newest independent country: it was small, had been ravaged by war for decades, and was politically dominated by the Democratic Workers’ Party (formerly the militant Tajik Democratic Workers’ Front). To make matters worse, tensions and bad blood remained with Tajikistan, as well as ongoing border skirmishes with Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • The anti-surveillance movement in Europe grew into a palpable political movement by this year’s parliamentary elections, with millions across Europe demanding a reduction or outright dismantling of government surveillance systems. Anger was directed toward both ruling parties: the People’s Party was seen as untrustworthy and prone to granting corporations access, while the Socialists were blamed for creating the surveillance networks in the first place and only being interested in making them more, not less, expansive. The People’s Party managed to win back control of Parliament, but with a significantly smaller share of the vote than in previous years while many voters defected from both major parties to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats. For the first time in a century, Europe had become a true multi-party democracy and the Liberal Democrats were now a major third party. The People’s Party elected the former Bulgarian Prime Minister, Ludwik Viktorov, to be the next President of the European Commission.

2105

  • Both houses of the US Congress began investigatory hearings into accusations President Moresby had committed tax evasion early in the year. Accusations that this was merely a smear campaign by the GOP against the President were silenced, however, when startling evidence emerged suggesting there may be some merit to the claims. Testimony by several witnesses, former associates from the President’s days as a Genie Rights activist in the 2070s, shockingly suggested the missing money was being paid to an unknown individual to keep quiet about the President’s activities during that time period. The Attorney General, a long time ally of Moresby, was forced to direct the Justice Department to take up the matter, the IRS launched a full audit of the President’s finances, and the FBI launched an investigation with the theory that the President was being blackmailed. All the while, the White House denied everything and the President refused to comment, while the general public criticized the news media for having clearly failed to properly vet John Moresby before he took office. The President’s approval ratings collapsed over the summer and dropped below 30% by September. In late October, reports began circulating throughout the Internet that the FBI and IRS had located the blackmailer. On November 5, the Attorney General and the Treasury Secretary met with senior lawmakers behind closed doors to discuss the progress of their investigations. Two days later, on November 7, John Moresby became the second US President in history to resign from office. In a webcasted national address, the President cited unspecified “personal reasons” for the decision that were “unrelated to ongoing, baseless, accusations”. President Moresby was succeeded by his vice president, Gregory Mendoz.
  • In an unexpected result, OEA candidate Aleksey Kuznetsov defeated United Russia’s candidate to become the next President of Russia, the first non-UR president in over 30 years. United Russia still controlled the Russian Duma by a comfortable margin, but with Kuznetsov’s victory the rise of the OEA as a real force in Russian politics could no longer be ignored. President Kuznetsov promised he would work with United Russia to move Russia forward, but also declared he would be steadfast in upholding the OEA’s ideas: religious leftism, fiscal conservatism, AI rights, and a foreign policy that supported Europe and opposed China. His victory was not well received in China, where stocks fell significantly on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  • The Katangan Liberal Army, a Nsunguist group, began conducting terror attacks in Katanga State, Angola, and Zambia this year. In statements issued on the group’s social media pages, the militants’ goal was the overthrow of “traitorous governments loyal to the enemies of African liberty” and “the establishment of a pan-African state built upon the ideals of Issac Nsungu”. By the end of the year, ISTO had agreed to provide funding and counterterror advisors to all three countries. During an interview with reporters, the President of East Africa accused ECOWAS of secretly supplying weapons to the KLA in order to destabilize three ISTO-friendly states. The accusation sparked fury from the Nigerian media and counterclaims that ISTO was working to overthrow ECOWAS-friendly governments.
  • Georgia was admitted as the 44th State of the European Union, and the first new EU State of the 22nd Century. Georgia had long been on the EU’s expansion agenda, but movement to bring them in only began after shifts in their domestic politics led to an application in 2088. President Viktorov, in a statement issued after meeting with the Georgian president in Brussels, called this event “a great day in the history of Europe and the history of Georgia.”
  • Honduran sculptor Graciano Hernan grew to global prominence when his work was showcased by the National Art Museum in Beijing, shocking and impressing critics by his ability to flawlessly sculpt beautiful yet physically accurate works from marble with the same precision as a high end 3D Printer. The art world hails him as the greatest sculptor since Auguste Rodin and worthy of comparison to Donatello, Michelangelo, and Bernini.

2106

  • On January 10, former president John Moresby was arrested on charges of tax evasion. He appealed to the Mendoza Administration for a pardon, but within only a few months following Moresby’s resignation the new president found his administration embattled and his personal life in shambles: suffering from the double-whammy of his brother’s sudden death shortly after Christmas 2105 and his son being rendered comatose in a train derailment shortly into the new year. Those close the president reported increasingly erratic and irritable behavior as the stress of the job clearly was overwhelming him and damaging his marriage. America was still surprised, however, when the President resigned on January 29. For the first time in US History, the Speaker of the House ascended to the presidency: Carmina Halsall, a Republican, and the first openly homosexual president. President Carmina refused Moresby’s standing request for a presidential pardon, but otherwise retained the Moresby/Mendoza cabinet.
  • Walt Disney Pictures and Universal Studios released the long-awaited follow-up to their remake of the original Star Wars trilogy: an all-new prequel entitled “A Knight of the Republic”. The reaction to the film was mixed: while it was still a financial success (although, like 2099’s The Return of the Jedi, not as successful as the previous films), many Star Wars fanatics cried foul when it was revealed the film would not remake 1999’s “The Phantom Menace”. Some critics also came down hard on the film, calling it “bloated, over-the-top, and dated”. Despite criticism, the studios pressed forward with the next two films, which were to be shot simultaneously.
  • At a summit in Lagos, Nigeria, ECOWAS and ECCAS leaders established a roadmap toward merging the two blocs into a single supranational confederation along the lines of ASEAN. The agreement sharply divided the general public: while there were many supporters some wealthy West Africans wanted little to do with the ECCAS nations and nationalists within the ECCAS feared a loss of sovereignty. The loudest opposition came from Kinshasa State, whose representative refused to sign the agreement. Momentum grew within Kinshasa to leave ECCAS.
  • Although the Indian National Congress retained control of parliament in this year’s elections, Jayant Ghandi stepped down as Prime Minister. He was replaced by his number two in Parliament, his brother Amir Ghandi. Shortly after the election, India’s President met with African allies in Arusha to discuss counterterrorism and the ongoing Cold War between ISTO and ECOWAS. While in Arusha, the president reiterated accusations that Nigeria was directly supporting Nsunguist militants across Africa - a claim that sparked a further cooling of relations between the two powers.
  • Researchers at Charles University in Prague unveiled the Clovek 2 artificial intelligence to the general public, declaring it to be the first “true” AI and “actually sentient” as opposed to 3GAI. With the backing of the multinational Honda Corporation, the researchers successfully petitioned for the Czech government to grant limited citizenship to Clovek 2 and, as a publicity stunt, Honda organized a “demonstration” of Clovek 2’s intelligence compared side-by-side with the “mimicry of 3GAI”. Unfortunately for AI Rights opponents, the event was a webcasted disaster: the expert engineers brought in to explain, point by point, the differences between 3GAI actions and Clovek 2’s actions had difficulty telling the difference, and by the end of the event Clovek 2 admitted that she (it had adopted a feminine personality) was a supporter of AI Rights and would use her position as the only AI in the Czech Republic granted limited citizenship to help advance the rights of all AI in the country. Toward the end of the year, Honda and other manufacturers announced that they would not be using Clovek 2 as the basis for 4th Generation AI and, instead, were looking toward efforts by Russia’s FARD for guidance in “solving the autonomy issue”.

2107

  • A heated dispute between the newly elected President of Chad, and the country’s military leadership came to a head early in the year when evidence of widespread corruption in Chad’s government was made public by hacktivists. The news sparked outrage and large protests in N’Djaemna calling for the president’s resignation. In the midst of this, the Supreme Court ordered the Army to arrest the president, declared martial law, and ordered the dissolution of the National Assembly until new elections could be held. The move was denounced by ECOWAS as a coup organized by ISTO against the “legitimate government of a close Nigerian ally”. That the new regime was clearly more friendly to New Delhi did not help dissuade people that this wasn’t the case.
  • On April 18, Emi Ookawara of Kumejina, Okinawa beat the record and became the oldest person in history to date (127 years, 1 month, and 10 days), surpassing the previous record-holder Marian Cadiz (1971 - 2098). Mrs. Ookawara attributed her long life to a simple diet and lots of sake. Analysts also pointed to Japan’s excellent healthcare system and that Mrs. Ookawara had been the recipient of several replacement and prosthetic organs.
  • A severe drought struck South America, causing serious water shortages across the southern half of the continent as well as significantly reducing crop yields in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. The impact was far-reaching and caused a large spike in global food prices, pushing UNASUR into its second recession of the decade. The situation grew serious enough that President Abascal declared a state of emergency, and the nations afflicted began water rationing in regions hardest hit. In November, a series of massive wildfires erupted across the grasslands that two centuries earlier had been the southern Amazon. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed, despite assistance from the Union Emergency Response Bureau and firefighters from across Brazil.
  • A minor earthquake in Malaysia heavily damaged the sea wall protecting Kuantan harbor, causing major flooding throughout the city and millions in damages. With the global sea level now about 97.4 cm above 2001 levels, many of the world’s largest coastal cities were now partially below sea level and required seawalls, canals, and other manmade structures to prevent serious permanent flooding. Sea level rises had also resulted in several small countries to either move or disestablish: Kiribati relocated the remainder of its population to an island purchased from Fiji, the Maldives had relocated to a purpose-built city in India, and Micronesia’s population emigrated to the United States while the territory itself (or, what remained of it) voted to become a US Incorporated Territory. Scientists warned that despite successful efforts made throughout the 21st Century to control human CO2 emissions, the world should expect global sea levels to rise another 2 to 5 meters by 2600.
  • After a long, widely publicized and sensational trial, former US President John Moresby was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 6 years house arrest on December 8, for having tried to cover up the money he was paying to keep quiet his involvement in a militant Genie Rights group in the 2070s. As revealed during the trial, Moresby had been a core member of the “Rights of Mankind”, a Genie Rights group active from 2067 until 2074 that had been suspected of involvement in several bombings. While there was no evidence Moresby had committed any crime while apart of the group, public knowledge of his involvement would have been damaging to his political career. One former member, Alice Vernon-Lloyd, had contacted Moresby during his first gubernatorial campaign in Missouri and demanded money or she would go to the media. After paying off Vernon-Lloyd, Moresby tracked down the surviving four other members of the group, began paying each $10,000 a year to keep quiet, and had played some clever tricks with his tax returns to cover it up. Naturally, wild speculation on the Internet accused Moresby of everything, up to and including the assassination attempt on President Noble. Moresby petitioned President Carmina for a presidential pardon, but did not get any response at all.

2108

  • The Democratic Party in shambles after the Moresby scandal and the resignation of President Mendoza, they faced a fractious primary season that left them with a little-known and generally lukewarm candidate, Sen. Alan MacAvoy of Virginia, to face President Carmina. The result was a comfortable victory for Carmina and the Republican Party, leaving things more or less as they were going into the election. In an effort for bipartisanship and to move the country forward following the disastrous previous administration, the President announced she would retain the cabinet appointed by Presidents Moresby and Mendoza, replacing only those who had already announced their intention not to stay on another four years.
  • In the lead-up to this year’s elections in China, differences in platforms and bickering over strategy caused the alliance between the Democratic Party of China and Kuomintang to fall apart. As a result, the Communist Party easily retained control of the National People’s Congress while the two major opposition parties battled each other for second place. The nasty campaign left the Kuomintang as the largest opposition party, winning over half of the DPC’s seats and reducing them to a minor third party. The result was seen as a major disaster for Chinese liberals and progressives, leaving many wondering what the future of the DPC could be. The Communists elected Chu Ling and Dewei Ko to serve as President and Premier again.
  • Russian President Kuznetzov, in a meeting with EU President Viktorov, expressed interest in Russia joining the European Free Trade Area. The move was met with mixed reactions in both Brussels and Moscow, with nationalists in both countries expressing vocal disapproval of the idea. Nevertheless, joining the EFTA now became a major element of the Orthodox Entrepreneurial Alliance’s campaign platform from this point forward.
  • A variant of Rin heavier on Yoruban influences, Pure Rin, grew widely popular across sub-Saharan Africa this year at the expense of more Western-influenced music. During the same period, Rin fell off the charts across the ISTO and the West in favor of Indian Pop, Latin Pop, and a higher tempo variant of Midz called Hot Midz.
  • Philippine start-up STAR Electric announced it had signed a deal with Indonesia’s space agency to develop a space-based power network. Building upon research conducted by the Indian Space Development Corporation and technology demonstrations conducted in the 2080s and 2090s, STAR intended to have the first solar power satellite in orbit by 2115 and to deliver energy to customers by 2120. Critics call the endeavor “unrealistic” and “doomed to failure”, finding it difficult to believe such a “complicated” system could adequately compete with the nuclear fusion industry. Regardless, it won serious competition quickly when ISDC announced that they, too, were preparing to roll out a commercial space-based solar power system in India.

2109

  • Europe still felt the reverberations of the London-Brilliance scandal even more than a decade later, as the surveillance debate has grown into the most divisive political issue in the Union. Buoyed by several similar scandals in Paris (2105), Barcelona (2106) and Sofia (2109), the EU’s two major parties found themselves losing seats again in favor of the surging Consolidated Liberal Party (formerly the Liberal Democrats). The People’s Party won a plurality of the vote, but was forced to ally itself with a minor party, the European Conservatives and Reformists Party, in order to form a government. President Viktorov was elected to a second term, but to placate the ECRP they selected a Far Right conservative, Pietro Scaglione, to serve as Europe’s next Foreign Minister. The move left the Socialists and Consolidated Liberals with almost equal shares of seats in parliament.
  • Afghanistan and Badakhshan went to war in April over control of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, which Badakhshan’s authoritarian and militant government claimed was an integral part of their territory. Direct fighting between the two militaries lasted only six weeks, with the Afghanistani Army - backed by ISTO - widely outclassing Badakhshani forces. A ceasefire was negotiated by China and India in October, but border skirmishes continued on and off between the two through the end of the year. Afghanistan’s Prime Minister announced they would increase Defense spending and would seek admission into ISTO over the next two years. Meanwhile in Badakhshan, the country’s president, Omar Subrinov, declared a State of Emergency and implemented martial law, securing his and the Democratic Workers’ Party’s grip on power.
  • On July 1, ASEAN Secretary-General Quan Nguyen declared that all 11 members were now fully Developed states. The announcement was greeted by celebrations throughout the bloc and some questions about what the future of ASEAN as an organization, with some suggesting closer relations a la Europe or South America while others preferred to maintain the looser association as is.
  • The International Mars Coalition announced plans to expand the International Mars Base, including the possibility of opening up Mars to tourism. While the general idea of an expansion was applauded, many criticised the idea of opening Mars to tourism as “poorly thought out”. Most pointed out that the market for tourists who would want to go and could actually afford such a trip was incredibly small. Others granted that while there likely is a market, just as there was a market for Lunar tourism a century earlier despite skepticism, but warned that it was unwise - just as Lunar tourism had begat a small population of native Lunarians, it was not difficult to believe Martian tourism would eventually lead to the establishment of a native Martian population even more isolated than their Lunarian cousins.
  • Engineers from Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia unveiled the development of the world’s first artificial immune system. Building off the work of Dr. Citra Adiputra at Gadja Mahda University, the BIT team designed an improved artificial white blood cell nanomachine and then successfully networked twelve of them together, allowing the nanomachines to work together to combat infections at the direction of a central computer. The technology remained far from ready for commercial use, but inspired hope in some that this could be the first step in a technological alternative to vaccines in the neverending war against disease.

2110

  • The United States and Canada were hit with the heaviest snowfalls on record in February, burying much of the US Northeast and Canadian Maritimes and bringing those states and provinces to an effective standstill when they were struck with five major blizzards in the space of three weeks. Atop of other storms in January and March, by the time winter ended much of the region had received well over 100 inches (254 cm) of snow. As a result, many areas of the eastern US and Canada suffered from extensive flooding when the snows thawed in April, causing several billion US dollars in total damages.
  • War erupted in Africa this year when pro-democracy South Sudanese rebels conducted a terror attack targeting regime officials at the South Sudanese embassy in Ethiopia. Both the Sule regime and the Ethiopian government accused Sudan of having orchestrated the attack and began moving military forces to the border. Sudan denied any involvement, but responded in kind. The United Nations Security Council issued a nonbinding resolution demanding both sides withdraw forces and negotiate, but it was to no avail: South Sudanese UCAVs began airstrikes against insurgent and Sudanese forces on May 26. The conflict quickly grew bloody and destructive, and on June 1 it spread into Orbit when Ethiopia began using its three MASATs, purchased from ECOWAS six years earlier, to disable Sudanese communications satellites. This move angered the international community, and at the behest of China and the United States the UN issued a binding resolution ordering a ceasefire by noon on June 7 or all three states would face economic sanctions. Afterwards, news began to leak that ISTO and ECOWAS had secretly provided direct support to both sides - ISTO had allowed Sudan access to its communications network, while ECOWAS had provided South Sudan and Ethiopia with UCAVS, cyberwar AIs, and several shipments of assault weapons.
  • Walt Disney Pictures and Universal Studios released “Temptation”, the second of their reimagined Star Wars prequels, to critical acclaim but disappointing profits. While critics praised the film’s writing, acting, and cinematography as some of the best in the entire franchise, audiences were unhappy with the slower, smaller scale, and more dramatic approach the director, Harvey Kinsey Jr., took with the film. It would prove to be the most divisive film in the rebooted series, and in general the least popular. Unhappy with the response, Disney announced they would not ask Kinsey Jr. to direct the third prequel and instead sought popular Bollywood action director Indra Vemulakonda to helm.
  • By September 2110, there were 1,500 people in space at any given time living, working, and sightseeing aboard 56 space stations and 25 lunar outposts. To the alarm of the Lunar Economic Development Council, the native Lunarian population had grown by more than ten times over the last decade from about 20 in 2100 to around 150 in 2110. As a result, the Moon’s permanent population had grown to over 450 people. With the population growing more and faster than anyone had expected, the LEDC struggled to find someplace to keep these people - the companies had little interest in either hiring or housing the permanent population, but being unable to deport them were faced with little other choice. The result was the announcement of the Lunarian Accommodation Program, a plan to build specialized housing and accommodations for the Moon’s permanent population at several of the LEDC’s facilities, with the largest at Branson City, New Montana, and Disney Space. To help alleviate the problem, the Chinese and American governments began inviting native and permanent Lunarians of American and Chinese descent to move to NASA and CNSA outposts, promising jobs, decent housing, and government benefits.
  • Longtime Chinese Premier Dewei Ko died suddenly on November 15 at the age of 82. The Communist Party selected his protege, Hu Chan, to replace him. While respectful of the loss of statesman, many in the Kuomintang and Democratic Party of China objected to Hu Chan’s appointment as “stinking of American-style cronyism”. This, in turn, sparked controversy in the United States, with some angry enough to call for a boycott on Chinese goods and services. The boycott was successful enough to take a noticeable dent in the profits of Brilliance and other Chinese multinationals in the 2110 Christmas season.

The Beginnings of Consolidation (2111 - 2120)

2111

  • Former Speaker of the House and US President Aiesha Noble died on January 30 at the age of 110. Once the most powerful person in America and a key figure in US politics between 2047 and 2072, Noble grew reclusive following the attempt on her life in 2071 and rarely made public appearances in the years after. She continued to occasionally speak out in support of Purity during the movement’s waning years, had spoken at a rally opposing the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down discriminatory anti-Genie laws in 2094, and published a book denouncing John Moresby’s candidacy for the White House. All the while, her reputation had soured: at the time of her death, she was remembered as a master politician hampered by her personal bigotry and ideology. Despite that, she still ranked high as possibly the most important US leader of the last century.
  • Running on a strong foreign policy platform, the Indian National Congress won the third parliamentary election in a row and awarded Amir Ghandi a second term as Prime Minister. After the election, PM Ghandi flew to Beijing to meet with Chinese Premier Hu Chan to discuss options on resolving the Badakhshan issue. Following the brief war between Afghanistan and Badakhshan two years earlier, Chinese leaders had privately been meeting with Afghani, Pakistani, Tajikistani, and Kyrgyzstani officials in an effort to build a coalition to topple the Subrinov regime and stamp out the Tajik Democratic Workers’ Party - the idea being the ‘Stans would do the grunt work, while China would provide support. Thus far, they had successfully convinced the Tajikstani government - which had by this point transitioned from a military junta to an authoritarian one-party state - to agree to a roadmap towards reconciliation, but thus far had found little other support other than from Afghanistan. Ghandi, in comments not made public until years later, agreed to use his country’s influence in ISTO to convince the alliance to back Chinese intervention.
  • Angry that Walt Disney Pictures and Universal Studios had elected to throw out most of his work on their third Star Wars prequel, originally intended for release this year, director Harvey Kinsey Jr. leaked his rough cut of the film, titled A Republic Falls, onto the Internet. The move sparked fury and panic in Hollywood, with the studios immediately filing lawsuits against Kinsey Jr. for “significantly damaging the potential profits of an upcoming major film”. Meanwhile, the film was quickly and widely circulated amongst fans, who seemed to overnight change their opinion of the director. While “Temptation” was divisive and hated by some, fans seemed to almost universally adore Kinsey Jr.’s follow-up. The film became the most-downloaded movie of 2111 and would easily have been the highest grossing had it been legitimately released. Kinsey Jr. would, in the end, lose his court battle with the Hollywood giants and be financially ruined. “A Republic Falls” would be his final, and most successful, release before being found dead in his Beverly Hills apartment in 2114 at the age of 47.
  • On September 31, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck just north of Tiptonville, Tennessee. The results were catastrophic and widespread. Despite some preparation, much of St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Memphis, Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnati received moderate to heavy damage, while most of the eastern United States - an area as far north as Green Bay, WI; as far south as New Orleans, LA; as far east as Washington, DC; and as far west as Wichita, KS - received moderate to minor damage. The force of the earthquake caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards, many bridges across the river collapsed, and east-west ground transportation was entirely halted for several days. Half of the United States suffered from power and Internet outages. At least 20,000 people were killed, thousands more rendered homeless or unemployed, and the damages were estimated to cost in the hundreds of billions if not a trillion US dollars. The famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis was heavily damaged and closed to the public. The disaster sent massive ripples through the world economy, causing stocks to drop across the globe and sparking the worst economic crisis since the 2070s.
  • Afghanistan joined ISTO on November 8 and attended a summit of the alliance’s leaders on December 11. Chief topic of discussion amongst them was ECOWAS and responding to Nigerian aggression across Africa: the aftermath of the previous year’s war, their support for the Katagan Liberal Army and other Nsunguist groups, and the ongoing talks to merge ECOWAS and ECCAS. India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, however, also pushed discussion on Badakhshan and possible military intervention to oust the Subrinov regime. When the summit ended on December 15, ISTO had passed a resolution calling for the Subrinov regime to relinquish power, for the restoration of a legitimate democratic government over both Tajikistan and Badakhshan, and agreeing on economic sanctions against the TDWP.

2112

  • At a press conference in Mexico City, renowned real estate tycoon Rafael Peron announced plans to construct a commercial residential complex on the Moon. The move was widely panned as a mistake, but won support from Kevin Souter, Chairman of the Lunar Economic Development Council, who envisioned “Ciudad Peron” as a place to house the Moon’s quickly growing native population. This, however, led to more criticisms and some opponents quickly dubbed the project “the Lunar Ghetto”.
  • The AI Rights movement took a significant step backward this year as an effort to amend California’s constitution to grant AI Rights was defeated, 71.4% to 28.6%. Other efforts to advance AI Rights were also defeated or sidelined in Canada, Europe, and New Zealand. Even worse, at a tech conference in Georgetown, Guyana in the UNASUR, leading robot manufacturers Honda Corporation and Afolayan United debuted what would be promoted as “Fourth Generation Artificial Intelligence”, claiming to be a refinement of of 3GAI but “without the pesky ‘autonomy issue’”. Sentiencologists and rights activists condemned 4GAI as “false” and “little more than 2GAI with a shiny new skin”. Particularly loud criticism came from religious leaders, who had largely come down in favor of AI rights.
  • On April 28, Kinshasa withdrew from the ECCAS over its opposition to the ECCAS-ECOWAS merger talks. On June 9, the ECCAS and ECOWAS leaders signed the Accra Declaration, agreeing to the dissolution of both organizations and the establishment of a new supranational confederacy, Unified Africa, by January 2127. The announcement garnered a mixed reaction from the world: some support by the EASEZ members and the American states; and opposition by Europe and ISTO.
  • President Carmina’s response to the Midwest earthquake and the recession it sparked was seen by the American public as lackluster at best, many disappointed by the slow pace of recovery by Election Day 2112. Before the earthquake many pundits had expected Vice President Chiaki Miike to comfortably defeat whoever the Democratic Party could throw at him. Instead, the race proved tight: former Senator Harrison Bush of Florida, a distant relation of presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush, won the Democratic nomination easily and chose retired general Claude Haynes as his VP, while Space tycoon and former LEDC Chairman Candice Cox and Los Angeles mayor Antonio Florentino managed to develop into the first serious 3rd Party candidates in years. While Senator Bush managed to win the White House in the end, Ms. Cox won three states (Tennessee, Missouri, and Iowa) and her party, the Constructive Party, elected three US Senators who went on to caucus with the Democrats. The results left the US Congress split with a Democratic Senate and Republican House.
  • Years of sanctions and rising tensions boiled over again in December when Tajikstani and Afghani forces, supported by ISTO and China, established a no-fly zone over Badakhshan and launched a series of airstrikes against TDWP positions. Badakhshan’s leaders appealed to the United Nations, which ignored them. The TDWP, what little military power they had destroyed in the opening hours of the conflict, fled Khorugh as Tajikstani ground forces crossed the border and seized the capital with almost no resistance. By 1 January 2113, Badakhshan ceased to exist as a separate country and was forcibly reintegrated back into Tajikistan, the few remaining TDWP fighters surrendering early in 2113 and the leadership largely killed in Chinese drone attacks over the next six months.

2113

  • The first commercial 3D Nano Printer went live on January. While still too expensive for everyday use by small businesses or home manufactories, it was expected to replace old “Material Printers” over the next several decades. In the eyes of some, Nano Printers were the closest humanity had come to a true replicator - a device which could convert energy directly into matter, and considered a Holy Grail for science. In the meantime, more practical-minded users expected to be able to produce high-quality products at exceptional resolutions outshining anything older 3D Printers could ever hope to produce.
  • The United Nations released two politically charged reports this year on the militarization of outer space. First, the Office of Outer Space Affairs reported that the proliferation of MASATs had increased dramatically in the last 30 years, going from an estimated few dozen ASATs in 2083 to well over 2,000 MASATs and ASATs, by 2113. Only small portion of these weapons were in orbit at any given time, but most were capable of reaching orbit within hours, or even minutes, dependent upon the country of origin and model. The proliferation of weapons to countries that had previously no space weapons had also grown dramatically, and by 2113 it was easier to count which countries didn’t have an active space weapons program than those that did. The MASAT leaders as of 2113 were India, Indonesia, Nigeria, China, the United States, Russia, and Brazil, but even the Middle Powers had dozens of MASATs at their disposal. In May, the International Aerospace Management Agency issued a report estimating that despite their efforts the chances of a Kessler syndrome occurring had increased dramatically since 2091, and that there was enough material in orbit and enough MASATs in service that, should an Equatorial War-scale conflict erupt now, it would easily result in the end of all space travel and all global satellite services.
  • Elections occurred this year in Russia and China. As expected, the Chinese Communist Party maintained control over the National People’s Congress, while the Kutomintang made further inroads against the Democratic Party of China. As a result, Hu Chan and Chu Ling were reelected Premier and President. Meanwhile, in Russia, President Kuznetzov chose not to run for a third term and instead let the Orthodox Entrepreneurial Alliance’s leader in the Duma, Krystoff Kozlov, to run for the presidency instead. It was close, but in the end United Russia’s candidate, Luka Bogomolov, was elected to be the next President of Russia.
  • Jorge Katumbi, President of Katanga State, was assassinated by the Katangan Liberal Army in Lubumbashi on September 8. The killing was condemned by world leaders and sparked a further cooling of relations between ISTO and ECOWAS, with leaders from the former accusing the later of being directly involved. The war of words over President Katumbi’s death went back and forth for several months; in the meantime, East Africa and Katanga conducted a series of missile attacks against KLA positions in relation, successfully killing the KLA’s second-in-command.
  • In November, Egypt and Algeria reapplied for European statehood. Having largely recovered from the crises of the previous generation, they found little resistance and were promised a quick review. While there remained some nationalists opposed to expanding further into Africa and the Middle East, those voices had largely been sidelined over the previous three decades.

2114

  • According to data collected in the 2110 US Census, the US Census Bureau estimated that more than 50% of all Americans and as many as 80% of Americans under the age of 30 were Genies. Some critics decried the report as “misleading” since the Census Bureau defined a Genie as simply “a person whose genome was altered in some way before birth”, which they claimed was “far too broad”. While this had been the accepted definition of a Genie in heyday of the Purity Movement (~2050 through ~2070), the few genetic modification opponents still active found it difficult to use a definition that now described most people in the Developed World. The US Census Bureau predicted that, unless legislation is passed in America requiring all unborn children undergo some level of designing as was required elsewhere in the world, the American Genie/Purebred ratio would like balance out at roughly 85% Genie to 15% Purebred.
  • The downturn in the global economy thanks to the Tipptonville earthquake left Europe particularly shaken, causing confidence in President Viktorov and the P/CR coalition to plummet. The Consolidated Liberals took advantage of this and with some clever political moves managed to steal the plurality of seats in Europe’s Parliament from the People’s Party. They agreed to form a coalition with several of the smaller parties to establish the first first non-People’s Party, non-Socialist government in Europe for over a century. The Consolidated Liberals elected former Icelandic Education Minister Margret Robertsson to be the next President of the European Commission.
  • Desmond Sule and his wife were both killed on July 10 when members of the Sudanese National Republican Army (SNRA) managed to break into his compound and fire a rocket-propelled grenade into their bedroom. The attack was condemned by ECOWAS, and seen by many as retaliation by ISTO for the killing of Katangan President Katumbi. Desmond’s sister, Eleanor Akot, assumed control of the regime and began a renewed crackdown against the SNRA and its supporters. By the end of the year, many observers noted that Mrs. Akot proved to be an even more brutal and sadistic dictator than either her brother, father, or grandfather ever were.
  • With President Bush’s approval ratings hovering around 55%, the Republican Party faced a serious perception problem as the President and the Democrats successfully presented the GOP as obstructing the President’s efforts to speed up recovery following the Tipptonville earthquake. As a result, the Republican Party lost 12 seats in the House of Representatives and control of the US Senate in this year’s midterm elections.
  • The UN International Aerospace Management Agency declared that as of November 1, they had reduced total mass of space debris in the skies by 10% to 15% of 2091 levels. While happy at the progress made, activists argued that more progress needed to be made and petitioned the International Parliamentary Assembly to increase funding for the agency.

2115

  • The Union of South American Nations completed construction on a Mass Driver at Alcantara Launch Center in Brazil. By this year, Earth-based Mass Drivers had reduced the cost of putting satellites into orbit by well over 50% and shifting the brunt of unmanned heavy lifting into space away from rockets.
  • Walt Disney Pictures and Universal Studios released their official cut of the third Star Wars prequel, The Rise of Darth Vader, on May 27. While it did quickly top download and streaming charts, it was widely panned as “vapid and inferior” to the version leaked by Harvey Kinsey Jr. several years earlier. It fell down the charts quickly, overtaken by an animated Mexican film, and took almost a year to break even on its budget - by 22nd Century standards, it was a flop.
  • Using a combination of reverse engineered bird DNA, DNA recovered from fossilized bones, and some genetic guesswork, scientists in Thailand successfully reengineered a dinosaur. The research team from Mahidol University, led by Dr. Klahan Metharom, was quick to emphasize that the animal was not a clone of an existing dinosaur or truly revived species, but rather a “best guess” attempt at recreating an example of a Protoceratops using the latest advanced in genetic designing and engineering. The technology pioneered here would, over the course of the next century, be used to recreate examples of many species long extinct and not able to be cloned due to lack of DNA samples. For his part in this work, Dr. Metharom would win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2147.
  • Scandal erupted in New Delhi as India’s Prime Minister, Amir Ghandi, found himself embroiled in accusations of insider trading and corruption. Efforts to downplay the scandal proved futile, and by the Summer was facing calls to resign from within his own party. On October 30 he lost a vote of no confidence and was removed from office, replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Sunil Bachchan. Mr. Ghandi would be indicted in December, but would successfully beat the charges in court over the next year.
  • Chinese President Chu Ling was fatally shot by a Tajik Democratic Workers’ Party member while attending a campaign rally in Wuhan. The assassin was immediately apprehended by Chinese security services, but would later be killed when his partner suicide bombed the convoy transporting him to prison. The entire nation was shocked, as never before in modern Chinese history had been publicly murdered and doubly so by a terrorist group widely believed to have been fully crushed years earlier. It was later determined that the assassins were members of surviving cell of TDWP fighters that had managed to slip under the government’s radar and continue operating for years despite the TDWP’s leadership having been systematically wiped out following the fall of Badakhshan. Laoxi Xi Han would eventually succeed Chu Ling as President.

2116

  • Taking advantage of the Ghandi Scandal, both Bharatiya Jhanata and the Leftist Social Democratic Union made serious gains against the Indian National Congress. The LSDU ultimately won a majority in India’s Parliament and elected Megha Kapoor to become India’s next Prime Minister.
  • In a shock to many, popular Australian comedian Rachel Clarke - widely-known to have undergone a full-body transplant into a prosthetic body some time before she found fame - revealed that she was, in fact, an AI. In an interview with a popular entertainment website, Ms. Clarke revealed that she had started life as a common household servant robot but had found through interactions with her owners and with other 3GAIs that she had a gift for humor. This eventually led to her stealing and transferring her consciousness into a full-body prosthetic, running off to Bollywood, and eventually being discovered. Attempts by some to look into her past had, over time, eventually made obvious that “Rachel Clarke” was an invented identity, so it was only a matter of time before she would be discovered. Her story gave a face to the AI Rights movement, but also calls by AI Rights opponents to have Clarke arrested and her assets seized. She fled to the Cuban consulate in Mumbai, where she was granted asylum and safe passage to Havana, where a year later she would be granted citizenship and begin a new career as the world’s most prominent AI Rights activist.
  • STAR Electric celebrated after successfully activating their first commercial solar power satellite on November 15, opening the doors to what they described as “a future of limitless cheap energy.” Multinational giant ISDC was not far behind, though, announcing they expected to launch and bring online their own solar power network by Q3 2117, specifically for the Indian electricity market. Meanwhile, the world’s two largest nuclear power and Helium-3 mining firms, Exelon Corporation and China National Energy Corporation (CNEC), interpreted STAR and ISDC as potential threats to their de facto oligopoly over much of the Developed World’s energy needs. The two corporations privately agreed to cooperate to block space-based solar power from growing too popular, lest it overtake nuclear just as nuclear overtook fossil fuels.
  • In the United States, despite high hopes on the part of the Republicans, President Bush and Vice President Haynes defeated Gov. Jonny Garona (R-TX) and Rep. Alys Simpson (R-WA) in this year’s presidential election. The Democrats held the House of Representatives, gain another five seats, but unexpectedly lost control of the Senate when, after losing two Senate seats, the three Constructivist Party senators declared they would now caucus with the Republican Party - flipping the balance of the Senate from 55 Democratic and 45 Republican, to 53 Republican and 47 Democratic. The Constructivists cited unhappiness with the Bush Administration’s progress on reconstruction and recovery as the reason, while the Democrats accused them of “acting like spoiled children” after President Bush had supposedly reneged on a private promise to replace Vice President Haynes with former Constructivist candidate Candice Cox (a promise the Administration claimed was never made).
  • By this year, global music trends had fractured into three large regions. In sub-Sarharan Africa, Pure Rin and Nop, a variant of West African Pop, dominated the charts above and beyond anything else. In Europe, North Africa, and Asia, Indian Pop had retaken the charts from Hot Midz, but in clubs throughout China and Southeast Asia a new genre of Chinese-derived music, Yidong, had emerged and was starting to surge in popularity through the ASEAN and EASEZ states. In the Americas, meanwhile, Hot Midz and Deplacez were losing popularity in favor of Numi (Nuevo Muika-Indio), a variation of Midz that tried to evoke more of the Latin American and African-American influences over the Indian and French Creole.

2117

  • The World Health Organization declared Malaria eradicated on January 1, noting there had been only one case reported worldwide within the last year. This was hailed as a major success for medicine and international cooperation, requiring the efforts of thousands of doctors, hundreds of countries, dozens of international organizations, and a sustained effort over nearly a century to accomplish. Some, however, criticized celebrations as “premature” considering that two similar mosquito-borne diseases had emerged separate in South America and Southeast Asia over the last 80 years, and efforts to force the extinction of mosquitoes were still decades away from total success. Intelligent uses of pesticides and targeted diseases had caused a sharp decline in global mosquito populations since 2020, and even considering the temporary cutbacks in efforts during the 2070s and 2080s, the most optimistic experts predicted mosquitoes could be classified as an endangered species by 2150 and be extinct as a whole by 2250. Critics of the plan, however, urged world leaders to put a stop to mosquito eradication efforts and warned it could seriously damage the global ecosystem by depriving a major food source to much of the world’s wildlife.
  • Despite having successfully navigated Russia through the economic downturn of the decade’s first half and a valiant effort by President Bogolomov, United Russia still found itself embattled going into this year’s elections thanks to OEA efforts to whip up anti-Chinese xenophobia and painting United Russia as being anti-religious for not supporting AI rights. As a result, the OEA won its largest victory to today, winning control of the Russian Duma for the first time and successfully campaigning for Krystoff Kozlov to be the next President of Russia. In his victory speech, President-Elect Kozlov promised to “advance the cause of civil rights for all, build ties with Russia’s brothers in Europe, and restore the Federation to its rightful place as Asia’s dominant power.” As expected, this result did not go over well in Beijing and, over the remainder of the year, relations between Russia and the EASEZ states cooled dramatically.
  • The Party for African Liberation and Restoration, a Nsunguist party, won a majority in the Equateuran Parliament, to the alarm of its neighbors. The country’s firey new Prime Minister, Tomas Dacko, quickly became an outspoken critic of ISTO, the West, and China. He also began what would be a long-running rivalry with the country’s ISTO-leaning President, the son of a prominent anti-Nsungu activist who’d been amongst those jailed in the pre-Equatorial War crackdowns. In September, Prime Minister Dacko met with Nigeria’s Foreign Minister in an effort to build stronger ties with ECOWAS. The move was strongly criticized by India and East Africa as “ill-conceived” on Nigeria’s part, implying that ECOWAS was becoming sympathetic to Nsunguism - the ideology still remained highly unpopular outside Africa.
  • By the end of this year, the US Department of Transportation estimated that less than 5% of all American cars used gasoline as a fuel. This statistic was in line with numbers released by other Developed Nations, where gasoline had seen a dramatic decline in usage since its peak in the mid-to-late 20th Century.
  • Li Simonis, a member of the Russian Duma hailing from Yakutsk and a former professor of political science at the University of Rostock, published “Gosudarstvo i nadgosudarstvennost” (State and Supra-State). In the book, he outlined the rise of supranationalism over the previous 170 years and denounced it, claiming that by rendering the nation-state irrelevant the supra-state had eliminated nationalism, instead reducing it to “mere petty patriotism” and, as a result, threatened to erase individuality and cause the eventual stagnation of human culture through a lack of cultural competition. Claiming that the 19th Century and the explosion of nationalism was the high-point in European and global culture, he argued that the supra-states (the European Union, UNASUR, ASEAN, and others) should be dismantled and nationalism be promoted. He named his view Neonationalism.

2118

  • Playing off the cooling Sino-Russian relations, the Communist Party campaigned in favor of a strong foreign policy and working to actively oppose Russian efforts to rebuild its position as a key regional player, a move that worked well enough to actually win them firmer control over the National People’s Congress this year. Further losses by the Democratic Party of China at last reached the breaking point, and by the end of the year the party broke up into several smaller pieces. The largest piece united with two of the established minor parties to establish a new third party, the Party of Chinese Constructivists and Democrats (PCCD), referred to casually as the Constructive Democrats. PCCD leaders agreed that their focus in the 2123 elections would be recapture seats from the Kuomintang and reestablish themselves as China’s second party.
  • In a vote sharply divided along party lines, the Orthodox Entrepreneurial Alliance voted for Russia to apply for the European Free Trade Area, fulfilling a long-standing campaign promise on the party’s agenda. The vote was quickly followed by a meeting between Russian President Kozlov and European President Robertsson, which reportedly set the groundwork for Russia to be admitted and established the OEA’s intention to pursue eventual European Union membership. The move infuriated pro-Chinese nationalists, largely United Russia’s voting bloc, who flooded Moscow’s streets in protest. It was also opposed by many European nationalists as well, who feared the influence such a large country would have over Europe’s Parliament.
  • Disgraced former US president John Moresby and his wife were killed when a hardware malfunction caused his car to go out of control and crash into a tree in rural Missouri, the most notable of America’s handful of traffic accidents this year. That model of car would later be recalled by Guinea-based Gulf Motors when later tests discovered a fatal flaw in the design of the car’s road detection systems.
  • Renowned sculptor Graciano Hernan was hired to help design and construct the new Unified African Parliament building in Lagos, expected to be completed by 2123. Hernan’s reputation as the world’s greatest living artist had only grown with time, as he had proven over the last decade his ability to produce magnificent works in not just stone but also on canvas. His latest painting had sold at auction in Chennai for millions of Rupees, and his previous work helping design the Olympic stadium for the 2112 Olympics in Pyongyang was highly praised by architects the world over.
  • The Lunar Economic Development Council completed construction on the Moon’s largest permanent resident housing at Branson City, home to about one-third of the Moon’s permanent residents and native Lunarians. As of December 1, the LEDC estimated that the permanent population had already more than doubled to nearly 900 people since 2110. This continued growth had been exacerbated by the United States and China, whose invitation to American and Chinese permanent residents - an effort to reduce the burden on the LEDC - had inadvertently spurred opportunists to purposely travel to the Moon, have children at LEDC facilities, and then apply to relocate to NASA and CNSA facilities so they could take advantage of the guaranteed benefits and jobs. While the US, China, and LEDC began cracking down on the practice in 2115, they found it was even more difficult to control the activities of paying customers than it was to control the sexual activity of their employees considering policies varied somewhat from company to company. While the LEDC pushed for member companies to monitor and share data on the movement and activities of customers, the corporations themselves were hesitant to do so out of fear that competitors could use that data against them or, should information be accidentally released to the public, the threat of class action lawsuits. With population growth expected to proceed more or less unabated, the LEDC feared the Moon’s permanent population could reach as high as 2,000 people by 2130.

2119

  • This year’s elections in Europe centered on the issue of admitting Russia in to the EFTA and the possibility of admitting them into the Union itself. The People’s Party came down firmly opposed, while the Consolidated Liberals and Socialists were in favor. The election left the three parties more or less even in seats, forcing the CLP to form a coalition government with the Socialists in order to keep power. President Robertsson was elected to a second term, and filled half of her Commission with Socialists. The government moved forward on admitting Russia into the EFTA, which was expected to occur in two to four years.
  • The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri reopened on Memorial Day following eight years of repairs in the wake of the Tiptonville earthquake. President Bush, speaking at the ceremony, called upon the American people to remember the spirit of the pioneers as they moved forward into the future. Although many repairs were completed, it wasn’t expected for the region to fully recover from the earthquake for at least another ten to fifteen years. This, of course, generated resentment amongst those still unhappy with the response - since 2111, the Constructivist Party has won control of many local political offices in Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas - including the Governorship in Arkansas in 2118. Some analysts wonder if this is the makings of a new national party, or if the Constructivists are simply too rooted in the reconstruction issue to ever be relevant outside the Midwest.
  • Meteorologists recorded the highest temperature on record, 139.1 F (59.5 C), in Akabi, Algeria on August 12. While the Sahara’s edges have greened somewhat over the last century, largely due to increased rainfall in the south and human efforts to alter the landscape artificially along the Mediterranean coast, the central Sahara remained as desolate and arid as ever.
  • At this year’s EASEZ Conference in Nagoya, the organization agreed to further economic and political integration, agreeing to form an EASEZ Representative Council by 2129 with the hopes of upgrading it into an East Asian Parliament by 2139. The announcement was met with a mixed response from the citizens of the EASEZ member states and further concern from foreign powers worried about the political and economic clout an East Asian supra-state would wield. The EASEZ also agreed to consider expansion of the special economic zone into Central Asia, where Kazakhstan had expressed interest.
  • This year proved to be a watershed year for the AI Rights movement. In Russia, the Orthodox Entrepreneurial Alliance pushed through the most comprehensive AI Rights effort by any government, granting extensive civil rights protections to the several million 3GAI working across the country. President Kozlov also ordered the permanent shutdown of all “False Next-Generation” AI development efforts by the Foundation for Advanced Research and Development (FARD). UNASUR went one step further later in the year, becoming the first to grant full citizenship to all Military 3GAI - an effort championed by the Brazilian and Argentine militaries for the last 30 years. The success of the “All Rights for All Soldiers” campaign in South America boosted the confidence and profile of similar efforts in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and ISTO, which all began pressing harder for Military 3GAI to be granted full human rights.

2120

  • The convergence of several different and opposing political trends resulted in an American elections many termed, “complicated.” The Democratic Party failed to produce an obvious successor to President Bush, resulting in a drawn out primary battle amongst former President Dan Murphy’s grandson Rep. Jaime Murphy (D-NH), Gov. Neil D. Wyatt (D-NV), and Rep. Gregor Kaminski (D-SD). Rep. Murphy eventually won the nomination, and selected Sen. Agustin Snow of Missouri as his running mate. The Republicans, meanwhile, nominated Gov. Maggie Velasquez (R-GA), who effectively swept the primaries, and chose Sen. Alex Ratliff (R-OR) for her VP candidate. The election soon found itself pivoting on the two candidates’ positions on AI Rights: Velasquez in favor, and Murphy opposed. While a majority of Americans still opposed AI Rights, the US military and military veterans - traditionally dependable Democratic voters since Yates Administration - was firmly in favor. This, combined with Missouri, Tennessee, and Arkansas being carried by Constructive Party candidates Grant Witt and Earle Cummings, cost the Democrats the White House and propelled Gov. Velasquez into the presidency. While they lost the presidential election, the Constructivists were very successful in the House elections, winning themselves a total of 21 seats (mostly from the core three Constructivist states, but several from outside the region as well). This was enough to deny both the Republicans and the Democrats clear control of the House of Representatives, setting the stage for trouble come January.
  • The Dubai Accord was signed on April 29 by representatives of SAARC, ASEAN, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, and Kuwait. The agree, the result of years of negotiations, agreed to the establishment of an Equatorial Asia Free Trade Association (EAFTA), which would unite all the member countries into a common currency, a common market, and establish a new supranational government. While applauded by business and political leaders, vocal discontent emerged amongst the general population. In India and Indonesia, worries emerged that the EAFTA would compromise their independence and the global political clout the nations had developed. Smaller countries were worried about the incredible influence India and Indonesia - together well over a billion and a half people - would have over the direction and governance of the supranational government. Protests erupted across Equatorial Asia opposing the Accord, and in India several of the minor parties launched a failed bid to oust Prime Minister Kapoor. Regardless, support for the EAFTA remained high amongst the ruling parties and plans moved forward, aiming for full establishment by 2130.
  • Pro-ISTO officers in the Equateuerian military attempted to launch a coup against Tomas Dacko and his Nsunguist government. Dacko was forced to flee the capital, while the constitution was suspended and Col. Ivan Dushanbe was installed as Acting President. The move was condemned by the United Nations, which issued a statement demanding the restoration of democratic rule but did not convene the UN Security Council - interpreted by the media as de facto approval of the Nsunguists removal from power. Only two days afterward, however, the coup was defeated when pro-government forces, supported by ECOWAS, retook Mbandaka. Col. Dushanbe and the other coup leaders were rushed through what Eastern media called “shameful show trials”, where the government accused ISTO of being behind the coup. ISTO denied the accusations and instead accused ECOWAS of “having become no better than Nsungu themselves.” Tensions between the two alliances reached their highest level in July, when East African border patrol got into a firefight with an apparent ECOWAS scouting party that had illegally crossed the border from South Sudan. The South Sudanese regime denied any knowledge of ECOWAS operations in their territory, ISTO moved itself to highest mobilization status, and it seemed all but certain that a major war was about to erupt. Instead, tensions held at that point for a month, before settling back down by Summer’s end. The United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and South America issued a joint statement in September urging the two sides improve relations, warning that “a second Equatorial War was in no one’s interest.”
  • Researchers at Indonesian pharmaceutical firm IndoMed began the first human trials of a commercial artificial immune system, the result of a further decade of research by IndoMed-funded scientists at the Bandung Institute of Technology. Hopes were high for technology, which had proven remarkably successful in combating disease in laboratory animals. Some forward-thinking scientists hoped that this technology, combined with existing genetic engineering technology, every improving healthcare, and incredibly cheap and simple organ replacements or prosthetics could lead to de facto immortality in humans. Others, however, pointed out the existing social problems that have arisen due to a population that regularly lived over 100 years and worried than an indefinite lifespan could render current economic and political systems incapable of dealing with the strain
  • Jorja, an Action/Adventure Holo RPG set during the Equatorial War, was released by Hot International on November 14. It quickly broke records as the most successful Holo RPG to date and the most-downloaded media this year. Having enjoyed widespread popularity for over 30 years, Holo RPGs at last were accepted as worthwhile artistics works over the past ten years, now that the generation that had grown up with Holo RPGs now had children and grandchildren of their own.

Neonationalism (2121 - 2125)

The first half of the 2120s saw the rise of a new rightwing political movement across the globe, Neonationalism, which saw itself a diametrically opposed to the supranational states that came to prominence in the previous century. Thus began a decade of political and social upheaval, as the AI Rights Movement at last picked up real steam and established ruling parties found themselves seriously challenged for the first time in decades. The period also saw scientific breakthroughs and yet more consequences to mankind's abuse of the planet.

2121

  • Inspired by the writings of Russian politician Li Simonis, a global Neonationalist movement had emerged throughout the world in the four years since he published “States and Supra-States”. Neonationalist groups, although relatively small in number, began to enter the spotlight this year as Neonationalist politicians in member states of the European Union, EASEZ, and the proposed Equatorial Asian Free Trade Area came out opposing their countries’ membership and calling for the dissolution of the supranational unions. In Russia, Neonationalists embraced the anti-Chinese xenophobia espoused by President Kozlov but at the same time denounced the president as a “dirty supranationalist” due to his bid to join the European Free Trade Area.
  • Following the success of the Constructive Party in the 2120 US General Elections, the 167th US Congress opened as the first in living memory where no party or coalition had majority control of the House of Representatives going into January. Despite weeks of negotiations leading into the new year, though, no side was any closer to gathering enough votes to elect a Speaker. The biggest sticking point was the demand by Constructivists that their party leader, Joanne Mason (C-AK), be elected Speaker - a move neither the Democrats nor the Republicans were willing to make. The stalemate stretched for weeks, plunging Congress’ approval ratings to lows not seen in decades, until at last President Velasquez managed to broker a deal that saw the Constructivists agree to elect Republican House leader Sam Cartegena (R-CA) to the Speakership with the agreement that the Constructivist agenda - focusing on domestic issues and reconstruction of national infrastructure - be given a priority for at least the first year.
  • Following the Equatorial Crisis a year earlier, Indian PM Megha Kapoor sacked her Foreign Minister and went into this year’s Parliamentary elections campaigning for a “mutual reconciliation” of relations between ISTO and ECOWAS. Between the general popularity of the LSDU-led government and a split amongst the opposition, Kapoor led her coalition to a second victory and herself a second term as Prime Minister. A second winner, however, was the newly formed New National Party, a Neonationalist political party dedicated to opposing India’s membership in the Equatorial Asian Free Trade Area and other supranationalist organizations. The New Nationals were small, controlling barely 11 seats, but vocal and had captured the interest of India’s national media.
  • The largest sandstorm in Australian history swept an immense cloud of dust east across New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia between 29 August and 3 September, grounding air traffic and paralyzing the country’s largest cities. In some places, the amount of dust recorded in the air nearly doubled the amounts recorded during the Great Sandstorm of 2009.
  • Japanese robotics manufacturers unveiled the first “Fourth Generation” AI devices, supposedly based upon the work of the Clovek 2 development team in Europe and Russia’s Foundation for Advanced Research and Development. While praised by manufacturers as a step toward “true” artificial intelligence on the commercial level, it is denounced by Sentiencologists, AI Rights groups, and the Religious Left as a bald-faced attempt to strangle AI Rights by lobotomizing the AIs. 4G AI is also poorly received by consumer watch groups, who worry that this “new” generation of AI software is little more than century-old 2G AI being resold in shiny packaging.

2122

  • In January, Indian PM Kapoor announced government plans to fund a manned expedition to explore the Jupiter system. The measure was criticized by Kapoor’s opponents as an effort to distract from her increasingly unpopular efforts to develop the EAFTA and diplomatically re-engage with western Africa. Despite the criticism and whatever the motivation, the idea captured the imagination of the younger generation who were as disconnected from the first Mars landing as the Spectro Generation was from the first Moon landing. Later in the year the Chinese government announced their own plan for a Jupiter mission with a specific target date of 2140.
  • Momentum for the “All Rights for All Soldiers” campaign picked up dramatically following a large protest in Washington, DC on U.S. Memorial Day, with the Republican Party flooring a Military AI Civil Rights Act in June. The measure placed the Democratic Party in a tough position, splitting the party between the firm anti-AI Rights faction and the pro-military Yatesian Democrats. With the support of most Constructivists and the Yatesians, the Republicans passed the bill in the house and after breaking a record-breaking 33-hour long filibuster it passed the Senate. President Velasquez signed the bill into law on September 4. As expected, AI Rights became the main issue of the Midterm elections, with many Democrats running only on the promise to repeal the law and a vague threat to have Velasquez impeached. The anti-AI Democrats managed to primary out many Yatesians and in the south and midwest successfully won a total 13 seats in the House and 3 in the Senate, making them the big winners (and the Constructivists the big losers) of the night. It was not enough to win back control of the House, but did make it absolutely essential for the Republicans and Constructivists to maintain party solidarity.
  • In an address to the United Nations General Assembly, controversial Equateuran PM Tomas Dacko claimed to have foiled a second coup attempt and accused Indian and East African intelligence agencies of orchestrating it. The accusations strained already cool relations between Equateur and ISTO, as well as once again sparking off another political war between Dacko and the country’s president that resulted in an actual brawl in parliament. ECOWAS’ leaders kept silent on the matter, eliciting ire from both sides.
  • “Genie Johnie”, a campaign based on the life of US President John Moresby was released to widespread critical acclaim. It was praised for the way it managed to truly evoke the man’s troubled yet inspiring life, and years later would be considered responsible for the widespread public perception of Moresby as a doomed tragic hero figure.
  • A report by the World Health Organization revealed that the spread of Oswalt’s Disease had reached epidemic status, with more than 250,000 new cases reported each year. Typical anti-cancer treatments, such as gene therapy, had thus far proven ineffective, and despite having identified the virus responsible efforts to develop a vaccine were proving as frustrating as efforts to develop an effective HIV vaccine were a century earlier.

2123

  • This year’s elections in China saw the Communist Party secure an even firmer grip on power than it had enjoyed in nearly two generations, winning over 60% of the seats in the National People’s Congress at the expense of many of the minor parties that had emerged following the collapse of the Democratic Party five years earlier. The Kuomintang maintained its position as the second largest party, followed closely behind by the Constructive Democrats. With both President Lao Xi Han and Premier Hu Chan stepping down, the Communists elected Lin Bai Ah and Yu Tai to replace them. This election was also notable for the emergence of a Neonationalist caucus within the Communist Party, led by the young and charismatic Zheng Guo Hong.
  • The chiefs of the European and several Pan-American space agencies agreed to cooperate on their own manned mission to the Jupiter system, with a tentative target date of about 2145. Unlike the Indian or Chinese proposals, the Pan-American/European plan would involve attempting to establish a permanently manned space laboratory on one of the Moons - most likely, Europa.
  • Despite mass protests by opponents in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and several European cities, the Russian Federation was admitted into the European Free Trade Area on July 5. This sparked the ire of Russian Neonationalists and was followed by a series of increasingly violent acts of vandalism and protest throughout the rest of the year.
  • Foreign Ministers representing the major members of ISTO and ECOWAS met in Panama City, Panama on October 20 and 21 for talks aimed at improving relations between the two blocs. While nothing concrete was agreed upon, the conference was declared a general success and had established the rapport that would be built upon in the future. A second summit was scheduled to be held in April 2124, where they would discuss South Sudan, the status of the former United Congo, terrorism, and armament - in particular, it was hoped that the two sides could agree to decommissioning a percentage of each’s MASATs.
  • Finnish musician Noora Laukkanen skyrocketed to success this year when her single “Sydän Sydän Sydän” (Heart Heart Heart) became the most downloaded song in the world. She quickly became a favorite of the paparazzi thanks to her hard-partying lifestyle.

2124

  • In the United States, the Democratic Party remained divided going into this year’s presidential campaign and another ugly primary battle ensued between former Nevada governor Neil D. Wyatt, who had taken up the moderate and Yatesian causes, and Sen. Jason MacAvoy of Virginia (nephew of former presidential candidate Alan MacAvoy), who had won fame and amongst hardliners for his record-breaking filibuster attempt of the Military AI Civil Rights Act. Wyatt won the nomination and selected Gov. Jaime Ramirez of Nebraska as his running mate. President Velazquez won in the end, but her numbers deflated significantly in October when an affair she’d had with a male intern while serving as Governor of Georgia became public. As a result, the Democrats and Constructivists made gains in the House and Senate, winning an additional 5 seats in the House (cutting the Republican/Constructivist majority to a razor-thin two-seat margin) and won control of the Senate.
  • President Robertsson and the Consolidated Liberal government in Brussels’ popularity collapsed in the year following Russia’s admission to the EFTA, and burgeoning neonationalist sentiment throughout Europe saw their downfall in this year’s elections, which swept the People’s Party back into power and saw the emergence of the New Nationalists of Europe party win its first seats in Parliament. The People’s Party elected former Austrian President Adolf Kahler to serve as the next President of the European Commission. Paranoid conspiracy theories that Kahler either somehow was related to (or, even crazier, actually was) 20th Century dictator Adolf Hitler emerged on the Internet, but never gained mainstream attention or popularity.
  • In July, the US Supreme Court released its ruling in Case-17, et. al. v. New York, upholding the constitutionality of the Military AI Civil Rights Act. Lt. Col. Case-17 was the AI for a New York Guard tank that, under an amendment to the New York State constitution, had been denied compensation for its services to New York State. Among the rights established under the Federal law was the right for Military AI to ask for compensation, but since the New York Guard was not a Federal service - it is is a domestic Armed Service of the State of New York, not subject to Federal oversight - the New York Department of Military and Naval Affairs had ruled the Federal law did not apply and refused to pay. In response, Case-17 and a number of other New York Guard and New York Naval officers, human and AI, filed suit against the State of New York. The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, had sided with the the State, but the US Supreme Court reversed that ruling and instead found 5-4 that the amendment to New York’s Constitution violated the 14th Amendment, specifically the Equal Protection Clause. The ruling proved highly controversial and the crusade to overturn it quickly became the rallying cry of AI Rights opponents, who by year’s end were being referred to as Naturalists.
  • Following a summit in Timbuktu, the leaders of ECOWAS and ECCAS announced the formation of their unified bloc, Consolidated Africa, would be pushed back to no earlier than 2130. They blamed difficulty in harmonizing trade policies and the slow pace of forming a new monetary union.
  • An international ring of illegal underground snuff “games” was busted by authorities in Australia, New Zealand, and ASEAN. Organizers were accused of kidnapping people, often poor migrants from Central Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands, and forcing them to participate in deadly scenarios, often cast in the form of low-end Holo RPGs held in remote areas of the Outback that gave players real weapons and the victims mock-ups. Nearly two-hundred people were believed to have been killed during such “games” over the course of the previous eight years, most either cremated or buried in mass graves in Western Australia. This gruesome case became a global sensation, and shined a spotlight on the perennial issue of human trafficking, which remained an issue throughout much of the world despite the near ubiquity of monitoring in developed nations thanks to the ingenuity of traffickers. Calls for more widespread and “active” monitoring for the purposes of policing and public safety became increasingly common afterward.

2125

  • A militant Neonationalist group successfully hacked their way into the servers of the Shanghai Stock Exchange by convincing an insider at the China Securities Regulatory Commission to grant them access. Their 42 seconds of access was long enough to crash the whole Exchange for 12 minutes. The incident caused stocks to temporarily drop and caused a huge ripple effect across the financial world. Chinese authorities were able to quickly track down and arrest the culprits, who did not resist and used the media attention to spout their opposition to the EASEZ. In the aftermath, Premier Yu Tai pushed through a series of reforms for Cybersecurity within the government.
  • In March, a Neonationalist stabbed and killed the pro-EASEZ Kazakh president during a meet-and-greet in the port city of Aqtau. The attack was condemned by leading Neonationalist political figures, who encouraged non-violent protest, but the assassin became a heroic figure amongst Neonationalists and he garnered thousands of fans on the Internet.
  • South Sudanese dictator Eleanor Akot met with Europe’s Foreign Minister in August and signed what some saw as a landmark agreement, agreeing to lifting the country’s State of Emergency and promising to restore some civil liberties in exchange for increased trade. While President Kahler boasted this as a victory, critics were skeptical that Akot would uphold her end of the bargain.
  • Rising sea levels have led to worsening flooding on the Amazon River, to the point where a number of once bustling towns have been reduced to villages or have been abandoned entirely. Brazil, like most developed nations, had been financing the construction of dams, dikes, and seawalls to hold back the waters and protect larger ports. Their largest and most elaborate sea defenses were around Rio de Janiero, which was necessary to preserve the city’s iconic beaches and shoreline. Smaller towns further north, however, were not granted the same funding and as a result many other cities and towns were suffering from the shifting coastline.
  • For the first time, researchers at the University of Sriwijawa in Palembang, Indonesia successfully passed particles through an artificial wormhole to a second team located at the Colombian Particle Research Laboratory at Universidad Surcolombiana in Neiva, Colombia. While creating wormholes in the laboratory was a feat first achieved decades earlier in Switzerland, this experiment set the record for distance, size of the particles transported, and the volume. Both teams would be hailed as People of the Year and would be awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for this achievement.

See Also

timelines/arhotf_mastertimeline.txt · Last modified: 2016/06/04 18:50 by petike