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Shadows over Baltimore

Shaping the 6th World
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Special Events


Which has done more damage so far—Man or Nature? You make the call!

2003: A flash flood in the North Sea region of Germany spreads toxic water everywhere. Hamburg is flooded in sewage, and several nuclear plants go through emergency shutdowns.
2004: In Great Britain, a nuclear meltdown in Kent creates a local irradiated zone and kills more than 6,000 people.
2005: A major earthquake rocks New York City, killing 200,000 and doing billions of nuyen worth of damage.
2008: A meteor impacts with the Mir II space platform (recently sold by the Russians to the Harris-3M corporation), killing two of the crew outright. The rest die later when Harris-3M fails to launch a rescue mission. (Nice folks, those 3M guys.)
2009: The French nuclear plant at Cattenom, on the German border, suffers a meltdown, contaminating Luxembourg, French Lorraine and German Saarland.
2011: A banner year. Hurricane-force winds push poisoned North Sea waters into the mouth of the Elbe River, bursting numerous dams and dikes. The flood washes away much of the Netherlands and buries large parts of Belgium, Germany and Denmark under toxic sludge. Heavy spring floods hit western England, landslides bury Wales and central Scotland suffers an earthquake. The natural disasters are followed by a string of toxic leaks from landfill sites and chemical spills into rivers. And to top it all off, two more nuke power plants in Great Britain suffer critical meltdowns, killing thousands.
2016: A gang of terrorists causes a major oil spill in the North Sea that penetrates more than 20 miles inland, creating the Scottish Fringe Toxic Zone.
2028: A major earthquake rocks Los Angeles, destroying LAX.
2039: A massive chemical spill in the Teeside district of London kills more than 70,000 people.
2042: The Zeta-Impchem corporation is exposed in the Polydopa scandal; seems they’d been dumping neurotoxins in central Africa for the past four years. Net result: 4,000 deaths and 35,000 cases of irreversible brain damage. 
 Wyrm Turns

Here be a brief description of ye olde dragons at work and play:

2012: The great dragon Lofwyr appears in Germany and makes his first moves toward becoming a major corporate player.
2020: In response to a jihad declared against the emerging metahuman races by Iran’s ruling Ayatollah, the dragon Aden demolishes the city of Tehran.
2039: The great dragon Dunkelzahn’s second interpreter resigns and is replaced by Nadja Daviar, an Eastern European elf with no personal history on file. (And I mean nothing. Lots of us have been looking.)
2041: EuroAir Flight 329 from London to Atlanta is destroyed over the Atlantic. A garbled last transmission and recovered tapes indicate that the aircraft was attacked by a dragon (later identified tentatively as Sirrurg), and that one heroic passenger held the beast off for several minutes with sorcery before the flight’s demise.
2042: Dunkelzahn launches "Wyrm Talk," a semi-annual vid program. Topics range from celebrity interviews to insightful commentaries on culture and society. (Catch the reruns on Channel 62 in Seattle.)
Magic on the Cutting Edge

Here’s a few tidbits I found interesting:

2021: Sheila Blatavska establishes the Atlantean Foundation, which advocates "a return to the enlightened days of Atlantis" (whatever they might be).
2025: UCLA establishes the first undergraduate program in occult studies. Within three years, similar programs are established at Texas A & M, University of Chicago, MIT (renamed "MIT&M," for "and Magic"), Oxford, Edinburgh University and several universities in Germany.
2039: In Charleston, South Carolina, a serial killer is captured after the detective-mage handling the case studies the ghost of one of the killer’s victims. The ghost’s actions reveal sources of evidence that lead to the murderer’s arrest and conviction. (And yes, it held up in court.)
This Modern Life

Some of the techno-breakthroughs that made the world what it is today:

2002: The first optical chip that can stand up to electromagnetic pulse effects is constructed. Welcome to the data revolution!
2025: Cyberware comes to professional sports; the first cyber-modified players enter the NFL. (Their teams lost. Go figure.)
2026: Nerps goes on the market. Need we say more?
2037: New-and-improved simsense gear can broadcast emotive signals. Say hello to chipheads and BTL dealers. If it’s Better-Than-Life, it’s got to be good!
2037: The Denver Data Haven comes out of the closet and into the shadows. And we’re not going to say anything more, on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate us. So there.
New Nations: Keeping Score

The following events contributed to the collective nervous breakdown of the world’s atlas manufacturers in the middle decades of the century:

2018: China erupts in civil war, from which emerges the states of Manchuria, Xinjiang, Guangxi, the Canton Confederation and numerous others.
2022: Cuba, Jamaica, Grenada, Bermuda and the Virgin Islands join together to form the Caribbean League.
2030: Ghouls from all over Africa migrate to northern Ghana, where the ghoul nation of Asamando is founded. (The latest hot spot for tourists?)
2040: Southern Africa finally settles into its current Azanian Alliance, composed of the Cape Republic, Oranje-Vrystaat, the Trans-Swazi Federation and the Zulu Nation.
2045: After decades of secessions and infighting, more than fourteen separate states form the German Alliance.
Have Yourself A Free City

The following sprawls consider themselves independent geopolitical entities. Some are run by anarchists, others by corps:

Free City of Hamburg: Flooded badly in 2011, but the corps and smugglers rebuilt it and kept it alive.
Hong Kong Free Enterprise Zone: Won their independence from China in 2015, thanks to Triad and corp backing.
Independent City of Sekondi: Became an extraterritorial corporate enclave in 2023, used by several corps engaged in exploiting West Africa.
Free City of Kronstadt: In 2034, a coalition of criminals, anarchists and mutineering military officers seized control of this Russian city and managed to keep it.
Berlin: Abandoned by the German government during heavy riots; anarchists took over in 2037.
New York: All shook up by Momma Earth in 2005, NYC got rebuilt by the corps in exchange for certain concessions that left the tycoons effectively running the place.
Free State of Konigsberg: In the chaos of the Euro-Wars, the corps somehow bought themselves a city and enough land to make a small country, which they’ve since developed into a sophisticated haven.
Los Angeles: The CalFree State and LA bigwigs decided they didn’t want to deal with each other in 2046, and LA went solo. Since then, various mouthpiece leaders have been dancing to corporate hymns.
Show Me The Money

No history of the 21st century could be complete without a history of corporate doings—the good, the bad and the ugly.

2005: The East Coast Stock Exchange moves to Boston from NYC in the aftermath of the New York quake. (Which wouldn’t matter a damn, except that Boston will soon be the ol’ hometown of a corporate shark named Richard Villiers … )
2015–2016: The orbit of the U.S. space station Freedom begins to decay. Scientists predict that it will burn up in Earth’s atmosphere within two years. In 2016, Ares Industries purchases NASA from the United States government, re-stabilizes Freedom’s orbit and begins expanding its facilities. They also team up with Lloyds of London and begin salvaging non-functioning satellites.
2020: The World Bank, suffering from financial problems, is replaced by Global Financial Services, a Zurich-based financial corporation. (There’s a point to this one. Wait for it.)
2020: Ares Industries unveils its new space platform, Apollo.
2032–2033: The Corporate Court takes over Global Financial Services. It moves GFS to the Zurich-Orbital Habitat and renames it the Zurich-Orbital Gemeinschaft Bank. (Told ya there was a point.)
2036: Fuchi Industrial becomes the first major corp to market its own third-generation cyberdeck, the desktop CDT-1000.
2037: DocWagon is founded in Atlanta, Georgia. It promises to provide better emergency on-site medical care by responding to calls much faster than any other private paramedical service. (Best health care money can buy.)
2039: Fuchi sponsors the Universal Matrix Specifications Conference in Tokyo. More than 7,000 humans and metahumans meet for three months to determine the details of Matrix programming. (That’s where we got all that boring generic imagery from.)
2040: Construction begins on the Renraku Arcology in Seattle.
2046: Three megacorporations—Aztechnology, Shiawase and Universal Omnitech—announce that they have fully decoded the mundane segments of the human/metahuman genome.
2048: The Corp Court earns its pay. After the Aztlan government nationalizes all foreign businesses, the corps strike back with Operation Reciprocity, a combined corporate military strike on Aztechnology troops in Ensenada. Shortly afterward, Aztlan negotiates the Veracruz Settlement, which compensates the other corps for assets lost during nationalization and permits them to play in Aztechnology’s sandbox as long as the major shareholders of "foreign" subsidiaries are Aztlan citizens. In the same year, the Panama Canal becomes a Pan-Corporate Zone under the authority of the Corporate Court.
All In The Family

From corp war to Mob war; here’s a smattering of significant events in the criminal underworld, where so many of us find a living.

2030: Mafia-Yakuza war breaks out in Seattle when the leaders of both syndicates are assassinated. After many deaths, the worn-out organizations call a truce.
2032: The oyabun of the Yakuza in Chiba, Japan sends Korean bosses to rebuild the Seattle organizations.
2042: The Korean Yakuza bosses in Seattle suffer through a bloody purge after the oyabun in Chiba gets tired of them putting Korean over Japanese interests. Most of the Koreans are killed; the survivors later form the Seoulpa Rings.
2044: Hanzo Shotozumi is appointed head of the Seattle Yakuza. His strong-arm tactics spark renewed hostilities between the Yaks and the Mafia. Don James O’Malley comes out of retirement to deal with the new Yakuza threat.

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