RPG linked to John Titor
The Time of Troubles: 1996-2015
The following timeline is adapted without permission from GURPS Cyberworld, and is intended for use in a near-future World of Darkness campaign. My apologies and thanks to both Steve Jackson Games and White Wolf. This timeline is also part of the Third Millenium setting.
Decline of the Old United States (1996-2000): The presidential elections of 1996 were the last gasp of normalcy in America. In late 1997, the entire Clinton Administration was sacked after a series of scandals too serious to ignore. After the impeachment trials, a conservative Republican from Indiana, William Stackpole, rose from relative obscurity to the Presidency through highly irregular but technically constitutional means.During 1997 and 1998, the declining US economy went into a nose-dive due to foreign competition and weakening infrastructure. As jobs were shipped overseas and plants closed, the recession slid into a full depression. Federal assistance to the poor was cut drastically in hopes of balancing a weak budget during this period, raising tensions among urban groups which relied upon such aid for sustenance. At the same time, food prices skyrocketed due to a disastrous grain blight in the Midwest and hot summers nationwide. During these same hot summers, the larger cities became powderkegs of racial tension and crime.
The neo-Zapatista rebellion in Mexico spread into the northern Mexican state of Sonora, finally involving the US Border Patrol in a series of violent clashes with rebels crossing the border in Arizona. Advisors were sent to assist the Mexican federal government in early 1997, becoming directly involved in combat in 1998. The harsh federal response to the increasing flow of Mexican refugees provoked outrage among the Hispanic population, increasing tension in the US. The area between San Diego and El Paso, and about a hundred miles south, became known as the \"Mexican Control Zone. Massive riots erupted during the summer of 1998, the \"Summer of Love\", in L.A., Chicago, New York, and Miami. The National Guard was repeatedly called out, and martial law was declared on numerous occasions to restore order in the stricken cities.
On January 14th, 1999, President Stackpole was delivering the State of the Union address to both houses of Congress. Overhead, a group of terrorists seized a TWA 747 as it left Dulles airport. After making a brief, garbled statement of purpose over the radio, they crashed the plane into Capitol Hill, killing the President, three-quarters of Congress, and over 1500 civilians. In one fiery moment, the United States was thrown into chaos. Vice-President Martin Patterson, who had been attending an economic summit in Tokyo, assumed the role of president and steered the nation through the next two years until the elections of 2000. That year proved to be one of unending crisis as the nation struggled to elect new legislators and function with a decapitated government. President Patterson managed to hold the nation together, despite the disruption of federal services and the burgeoning chaos in America's urban cores.
The elections of 2000 were unique in many ways. During the transitional period of chaos, the two US political parties had splintered into numerous smaller groups, each focused on a specific agenda or set of issues. America had become politically and culturally balkanized, almost overnight. By the November elections, these had coalesced into nine major parties. Patterson won the election by a landslide, elected by a coalition of conservative parties. He declared in his inauguration speech that the government formed by the elections was a provisional, temporary one which would be replaced \"once the country was on its feet again\".
Patterson outlined a plan to restore order to America over several years and stabilize its battered economy. Patterson's plan involved the creation of an extraordinary body to \"oversee all matters of commerce and production deemed essential to the prosperity and security of the United States\", the National Emergency Resource Coordination Commission (NERCC). NERCC was granted oversight authority which went far beyond those of most other government agencies, and its mere existence alienated many in the government and the media. Gordon Sullivan, the dynamic CEO of the multinational North American Technologies Corporation and long time friend of the Patterson administration, was appointed as NERCC Commissioner in 1999. Sullivan was already well known for his conservative politics and organizational abilities, and his appointment was hailed as a triumph by Patterson's political supporters.
The Death of the Constitution (2000-2004): As NERCC intervened in local and state affairs, resentment of federal intrusion turned into out-and-out resistance. The \"militia movement\" which had lain quiet since the events of 1995-97 again grew in popularity. In some areas, the \"militias\" assisted local authorities in maintaining order in hopes of avoiding NERCC attention. In others, especially the Rocky Mountain states, they protested the new measures vociferously. As time went on, local leaders who stonewalled NERCC were removed quietly from power, and more cooperative proxies were appointed in their place. Despite the dubious constitutionality of such measures, conditions did actually improve slightly over the next three years.
The rebellion in Mexico turned into a full scale, multi-factional civil war, with US troops openly supporting the \"Federal Mexican Government\" operating out of Monterey. The Mexican rebels were armed by Columbian Cartel money and surplus Russian arms, and were startlingly effective in battle. Mexico collapsed into \"warlordism\" reminiscent of China of the 1930's, and refugees moved north by the tens of thousands. Detention camps sprang up all along the border, and the US Army was deployed to secure the border. The drug war was restarted, both domestically and abroad. US troops were deployed against the cartels in Mexico, Colombia, and Bolivia, while NERCC pursued drug traffickers and users vigorously in the US.
In 2002, a national ID system was instituted to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and to assist the NERCC in controlling the allocation of resources. The ID system provoked loud criticism by opponents of the Patterson administration. These protesters were suppressed or ignored by NERCC, which used its regulatory authority over the media to stifle dissension. That same year, US Supreme court rulings supported the Patterson administration's attempts to grant law enforcement greater powers of search and seizure. In the summer of 2004, the tragic chaos of 1997 was repeated, except on a larger scale. The entire country erupted into riot, looting, arson, and terrorist attacks on federal offices and installations. President Patterson declared a state of martial law, federalized the National Guard, and placed them under regional NERCC authorities.
The summer dragged on in a bloody cycle of riot and reprisal, and on September 1, 2004 Patterson announced that, in view of the profound state of emergency, he had no choice but to suspend the US Constitution by executive order (EO-124). November elections would be postponed until no later than 2006. The nation would be run by executive orders, which would be ratified by Congress. These orders would last 90 to 180 days, unless made law by Congress. This startling declaration was supported by measures from both houses of Congress, and endorsed by statements from many state, local, and corporate leaders. A brief legal challenge was raised by the Supreme Court, which claimed that EO-124 was fully unconstitutional. The dissenting justices were arrested by NERCC, and the remainder were informed by Patterson of the new emergency measures. Shortly thereafter, all federal courts were placed under NERCC supervision. Judges who failed to cooperate with the emergency regime were impeached by executive order, and replaced. However, less than two months after EO-124, Patterson died of pneumonia. Patterson's health had apparently declined due to his advancing years and the strain of his monumental task.
The Permanent Emergency (2005+): Congress elected Gordon Sullivan to succeed Patterson as the new Provisional President. Arnold Heinemann, Chief Commissioner of NERCC administered the oath to his former boss, making him officially the Provisional President of the United States. In his inaugural address in March, Sullivan coined the phrase \"the Permanent Emergency\" to define the ongoing tribulations \" ...that made it impossible to lay aside the mandate from Congress and the people until we have once again secured the blessings of liberty and the fruits of industry that are its natural companion, across the length and breadth of America\".
In May 2005, the cities of El Paso, Texas and San Diego, California were placed under a strict quarantine and news blackout after an outbreak of a previously unknown disease among the immigrant/refugee populations of both cities. Travel was totally restricted in both cities, and the regions around them were sealed off from media contact. The disease was a hemorrhagic virus spread through aerosol droplets or contact with infected persons. It produced skin lesions and killed in a manner similar to Ebola viruses. Due to it's apparent origins in Mexico, the disease was labeled the \"Mexican Plague\", or \"The Rots\". The disease was classified by the CDC as a Level Four infection, and it quickly displayed a mortality rate approaching 70% of victims. Pro-Gov claimed that the epidemic, which appeared in several other nations at nearly the same time, was successfully contained in the US, albeit at massive cost in resources and lives by 2006. Rumors that the disease was an escaped biological super weapon were suppressed by NERCC.
Second Civil War (2005-2007): On 24 July 2005, elements of the Idaho and Oregon militias, which had attracted federal attention by their defiance of NERCC directives to disband, resisted a weapons confiscation attempt by NERCC officers reinforced by the Oregon National Guard, an action that would later be known as the \"Battle of Ontario\". The Guard units balked at orders to attack the militias, and turned on the NERCC troops. The skirmish left 37 people dead and over 92 wounded in the border town of Ontario, Oregon. The local militia groups quickly mobilized and moved into the mountains of southern Idaho, taking their arsenals and families with them. The Oregon National Guard, citing lack of jurisdiction, refused to give pursuit. Across the border, Governor Hornady of Idaho activated the Idaho National Guard, and resisted its federalization. Fighting erupted between the Idaho Guard and NERCC units which attempted to seize control of Boise. After three days of fierce fighting, the stubborn governor announced that ?the state of Idaho no longer recognized the bastards at NERCC as the legitimate government of the United States?, and declared its independence on 30 July 2005. Governor Hornady called on the people of Idaho to resist oppression. In doing so, he released a genie from a bottle. The swelling ?Christian Identity? movement, long at home in the mountains of Idaho, threw its weight into the fight. Everyone, especially Gov. Hornady, was surprised by the size and force of the Christian Identity movement. NERCC units were decimated throughout the state, and a campaign of terrorism swept the US. For nearly three weeks, NERCC units fought, suppressing news of the scale of the revolt as best they could. Pressed by the wars in Mexico and the quarantines, NERCC was quickly defeated.
Recognizing that the revolt was spiraling out of control, President Sullivan deployed the US Army in August, invading Idaho from Washington and landing airborne troops in Boise. This time, the militias were outgunned, and Gov. Hornady was forced to fall back to the wilderness. Outside of the cities, the militias had an advantage, but Army firepower threatened to quash the rebellion quickly. Facing defeat, Hornady made a desperate call to his like-minded neighbors. Montana announced its solidarity with Idaho by seizing control of Malmstrom Air Force Base on August 15th. Overnight, the rebels became a nuclear power, and threatened to destroy the Eastern Seaboard. The US Army was hastily withdrawn to the Washington state line, and Hornady returned in triumph to Boise. The fighting stopped quickly, and both sides settled into a very tense waiting game. Sensing the way the wind was blowing, Wyoming seceded in early September, 2005. The three states declared the existence of the Mountain Confederacy, with its capitol in Helena. In late September, militias in eastern Washington took over the city of Spokane, and Washington east of the Columbia River joined the Mountain Confederacy, bringing Fairchild AFB?s nuclear missiles with it.
Spurred on by the success of the Mountain Confederacy, secessionist movements erupted throughout the country. The firestorm of fighting made the previous Summers of Love look miniscule. The previous Summers had been merely rioting mobs. The 2005 disruptions consisted of small armies forming all over the country. The federal government placed the entire nation under martial law, and actual organized warfare broke out all over the country. In Texas, the Rockies and the Deep South, the fighting was especially bad, since the combatants were heavily armed and well organized. NERCC found itself spread too thin, and the US military was forced into action against Americans yet again.
For two terrible years, the rebellion raged as small areas of the country slaughtered local NERCC?s and tax officials, declaring themselves free. The Mountain Confederacy sat safe behind a nuclear shield, watching the country tear itself apart. Meanwhile, the Christian Identity (CI) movement grew in power. Its political influence on the Mountain Confederacy expanded quietly, until 1 January 2007. On New Year?s Day, CI forces seized control of key installations in the Mountain Confederacy, declaring it a White, Christian state. After atrocities were committed against non-whites in Boise and Spokane, minorities fled the Mountain Confederacy in large numbers. The Confederacy turned on itself, unable to dislodge the CI?s from the two air force bases. With racist fanatics in control of the Mountain Confederacy?s nukes, President Sullivan was forced to act. Federal paratroops and commando teams seized Fairchild and Malmstrom AFB, while at the same time armored columns drove into Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. The fighting lasted another three months, but by the summer of 2007, the Second Civil War was over. The secessionist fever faded when the government reprisals began, but 2007 was still bloody and chaotic. It was estimated that nearly 2,000,000 US citizens died during the Second Civil War, whether in fighting, civilian massacres, or simply due to the disruption and chaos of civil society. When the smoke finally cleared, the US economy was in a shambles, the cities were in ruins, and NERCC was still in control.
Reconstruction II (2007-2012): After a decade of fighting, disease, economic collapse, and race war, Americans were in no mood to meddle in external affairs. In typical fashion, they turned to isolationism. President Sullivan, demonstrating his gift for administration, began a series of bold economic ventures to rebuild the US economy. At the same time, he passed a series of radical initiatives. Massive public works projects created new jobs while rebuilding America?s crippled infrastructure. Corporations were given free reign to produce, free of regulation. Race discrimination was actively and aggressively attacked, and equality before the law (albeit draconian law) became a reality. Dissent was quickly and quietly dealt with, while the economy was rebuilt. The plagues in the Southwest were contained as the first vaccines became available in 2009, and summers passed without major riots. Slowly and surely, America was rebuilt in NERCC?s image. By 2011, a sense of tenuous normalcy was restored to the US. Terrorism was omnipresent, but the massive propaganda engine of NERCC generated a sense of satisfaction with the status quo that mere car bombs couldn?t undermine.
Third World War (2012-2015): When the US turned its attention inward between 2005 and 2011, it left a massive power vacuum around the world. Russia, returned to economic power by an influx of Japanese capitol, flexed its political muscles. Japan, left alone by US withdrawal, threw its lot in with Russia to counterbalance the burgeoning power of China. Europe, long united by the EC, sat impotently as the Russian-Japanese alliance spread its influence across the globe. In 2012, when America re-emerged onto the world stage, it found itself cut off from vital resources and markets by the Russo-Japanese, and a new ?cold war? began. In 2013, the cold war turned into a shooting war. The war started in Northeast Asia after years of tension between nationalists in the four great powers. The conflict was triggered by border incidents between Chinese and Russian military units along the Amur River. The rearmed Japan, the economic partner of Russia, threw its weight into the conflict, seeking access once again to Manchurian resources. The United States, reemerging after years of isolationism, intervened on the side of the Chinese in order to check their Japanese rivals. Despite the chaos at home, the US still retained perhaps the finest military in the world. China's inexhaustible manpower conflicted with Japanese technological superiority, and the war dragged on, stagnating in Asia while erupting across the rest of the planet. As the great powers poured men and materiel into the fight, more and more citizens found themselves called upon to make sacrifice. In August 2014, the Russo-Japanese coalition, seeing their chances of clean victory slipping away, made a desperate gamble. They made a single massive attack, across China, into Alaska, into Europe; the single largest offensive in human history. The battered defenders used small atomic weapons to break the advance, the attackers retaliated.... and events spiraled out of control.