UPDATE No.2 – World introduction: The Cataclysm
(This text has already appeared on the official website – please visit veronagame.com for more background story!)
In the beginning of the end, mankind has felt that whatever has been watching over us until now, if existed at all, betrayed us. The reason of our inevitable demise was so unfathomable that it felt like a terrible cosmic joke.
On September 30th, 2020 astronomers at Ljubljana Observatory, Slovenia have made a discovery that seemed so impossible at first, that the scientists running the facility spent the next three days checking and re-checking their calculations. But the evidence was there, and it was undeniable.
Branimir Popovitch, head of the observatory unveiled their finding during a press conference on October 3rd. The reaction of the public was tepid at first, just because nobody could really understand the full impact of the findings. Based on the data provided by the Slovenian scientists, NASA did a quick run-through, and when they have verified what the European astronomers were saying all along, the entire world burst into panic.
The Slovenians discovered a black hole behind the Sun. It was that breathtakingly simple. They couldn't come up with any probable reason for the behaviour of the black hole (named D-A913N), and nobody could, ever since. It seemed the black hole was playing pickaboo with Earth, hiding behind the Sun – that is, until then.
Because something has started in the September of 2020. An unconcievably powerful magnetic field reached out from the black hole, like a sort of a cosmic talon, grabbing our solar system in its hold, started to pull the planets towards the center… towards the Sun.
Humanity was unable to cope with the concepts of planetary annihilation, however slow – based on the changes of Earth's orbital path and speed, scientists predicted Earth will reach the Sun in at most a thousand years. That didn't matter: chaos took over most of the nations of our planet. People killing other people seemed like a viable answer to this ruthless joke of the universe.
Just weeks after the discovery, Africa, the Middle East and most of South America was literally on fire, their governments eradicated, their people fighting or fleeing. But of course, there was nowhere to flee. Millions of refugees were looking for a safe haven, but if the very planet you live on is flying into the biggest furnace imaginable, there is no safe haven. There is no safety in anything.
Europe and North America fell apart as well. The European Union ceased to exist; in fact, it looked like the very concept of countries became obsolete: the unstoppable masses of refugees erased geopolitics and borders of every kind.
In the next 50 years, the polar caps melted, raising the sea levels and flooding major cities. Then the Sun began to vaporize the oceans away, leaving behind massive deserts of salt and sand. The mysterious cosmic body's effect on our planet intensified the greenhouse effect on the atmosphere hundredfold. From the Equator to the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn the Earth is now engulfed in eternal flames – and in the place of the temperate zones there are barren deserts.
Only one thing made sense: escape. Our second and last big space race was purely about survival. Privately funded space programs were initiated and by the beginning of the 22nd century, humanity has successfully established colonies outside of our solar system. Privately funded committees decided on who had a chance to leave and privately funded armies secured every single ship leaving the planet. The last big spaceport-city on Earth was elevated on Greenland: this is Verona, the ultimate destination of every living person on the planet.