Timeline

2000s

2005 - Small cometary objects on collision course with Earth are detected by NASA. They are projected to arrive in 2010. The public is told that they are likely to burn up in the atmosphere.

2006 - Construction of Arco begins.

2010s

2010 - Starfall occurs. Unexpectedly, the falling objects remain intact and the impacts devastate large areas over the world. Dust is thrown up into the atmosphere. Lung disease caused by inhalation of the dust kills millions in a few weeks and the deaths continue for years.

2014 - The skies begin to clear. Rates of lung disease decrease, though much of the world's population has been killed by the contaminated atmosphere already.

2016 - First starborn exhibits unnatural abilities. The six year old girl manifests the ability to cause low-mass objects to be unaffected by gravity. Scientists are baffled.

2020s

2020 - Ten years after the Starfall, most of the United States has been reduced to city-states. Contact with distant countries is very limited due to the loss of the internet, though a few reports come in that conditions are similar in most parts of the world. Individual cities maintain their nearby lands for food and resources, and conflicts between neighbouring populations are not uncommon.

2022 - First contact with aliens. Many believe the visitors are merely disfigured humans resulting from the starfall. These aliens, whose name is approximated by humans as 'Lelavijian', bring with them useful technologies which are swiftly reverse-engineered by human scientists and duplicated for many purposes. This includes the gravitational technologies that are commonplace in the more wealthy militaries in only a few years.

2022 - HARM (Human-Alien Relations), an organisation for peaceful interactions between humanity and the Lelavijians is formed in New Ashenham. Nobody knows what the M stands for.

2026 - One eighth of the population of New Ashenham own electric vehicles. Petrol-based products are hard to come by. Petrochemicals synthesised in the Arco labs are expensive, but not nearly as costly as the real stuff.

2029 - Two more alien species arrive within four months of each other. They, too, bring useful technologies. At this point humanity is informed that by receiving a starfall, Earth was opened up for extraterresrial visits according to local galactic law. Inhabited planets that have not received a starfall are to be left alone until they receive a starfall or develop their own means of faster than light travel. And yes, some of those UFO sightings and abductions over the last century were real, and were highly illegal by local galactic law. The aliens say that the guilty parties were brought to justice.

2030s

2033 - Arco is completed, eight years later than planned due to problems caused by the Starfall.

2035 - Arco helps rebuild a local internet with New Ashenham. Most of the remnant areas receive cheap basic-level Arconet access. While it is available in some parts of the wastelands, the low number of cables means it is expensive and comparitively slow.

2038 - Present day. The world's population is about 60% of what it was in 2010. Starfall-induced lung disease is a rarity, and it is suspected the population is on the rise again. Civilisation is being pieced back together.

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