- For a recount of events that focuses on the individual experiences of the characters as well as the events that shape them, see the Timeline.
2032-2045 The Last Hurrah
As the decades passed, vulcanologists turned an increasingly worried gaze upon a giant slumbering beneath the earth. The Yellowstone Caldera began to wake up from seventy thousand years of peace. During 2032 the Yellowstone Caldera's floor rose a foot a year, and two in 2033. Furthermore, minor earthquakes became more and more frequent. Vulcanologists used that data to warn the government of the North American Zone of the extreme danger - the first true test of the North American leadership. As the situation became more and more dire, in the middle of 2034 the governments evacuated all people likely to be in effected areas, more or less depopulating the US and parts of Canada. The civilians were accepted by several European nations, Australia and New Zealand, and the North American colonies in the Middle East, just in time as it turned out.
In November 2034 a particularly violent earthquake was believed to set off the Yellowstone Supervolcano. 220 metric tons of ash were flung into the air, the eruption becoming the loudest noise in human record, hear clearly on every part of the globe. With only the skeptics remaining behind, the death toll from the eruption was mercifully low. The zone of total destruction reached as far as stopping just short of Edmonton in Canada, and reached into Arizona in the south. Ash from the eruption reached as far as Washington DC to cover in a choking blanket. One thing was clear: The North American citizens would not be able to return unless a major cleanup operation was pushed forwards.
This was by no means the end of their troubles. With the volume of ash dumped into the sky, the earth was plunged into just above ten years of volcanic winter. With the already poor supply of fertilizers crops failed from suffering too cold weather all year, terrible famines striking. Money became worthless as the only currency was food. As Mao had once done, China attempted to show its agricultural strength by exporting large amounts of food supplies, however the practice was quickly aborted as there was barely enough food being produced to perform it.
For some time, it looked like the governments of world was set to collapse. Papua New Guinea had collapsed already by 2035 into a group of city-states constantly at war with each other over who was to gain the scarce territory. Other nations mobilised all their forces into war with their neighbours - notably Brazil - to attempt to secure more grain-producing territory. Extermination of the conquered peoples was common as they were far too many mouths to feed when the war was raged over valuable food supplies. During the war, however, almost all available food supplies were diverted to the military, making the famine even worse. Citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea noted little difference in their lives. Collapsing society made plagues rife amongst humanity and doomsayers claimed the four horsemen rode out in the eruption against the world.
One discovery would change this. A joint-scientific exercise between leading French, Spanish and German scientists managed to develop genetically-engineered food crops that could survive in the harsh conditions and even produce larger bounties of food than had been attainable with conventional farming. The scientists were useless idealists, though, and instead of using their knowledge to make their nations the sole remaining powers in the world they instead chose to share the information with the other nations of the world and so they chose only a moral reward. The terrible famines - though not the winter - came to an end in 2042, except in North Korea which declared itself to not need the discoveries. North Korea was absorbed into China shortly afterwards when in made a futile declaration of war against South Korea in an attempt to steal the secrets and food supply.
The winter ended in 2045 as the skies cleared enough for the earth to warm up past the point. Cold weather was still common for many more years.
2048 - Götterdämmerung