2017 — On May 23rd, the 50thYom Yerushalim, Jerusalem was devastated by a nuclear weapon of unknown size and delivery method, but believed to be semi-truck carried and strategic in magnitude. An elite team of known Al Qaeda operatives were seen with the weapon at an Israeli truck stop in footage delivered to Al Jazeera and verified by the National Security Bureau of the NAC. All that is certain, even now, decades later, is that the blast completely destroyed the Holy City.
Forty-eight minutes after the initial incident, the remaining leadership of Israel responded to the attack by emptying their nuclear arsenal on all nations considered hostile in accordance with the perceived wrongs to its interests: Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, and other Islamic states were turned to wastelands. The first strikes hit Riyadh, Tehran, Mecca, Beirut, Cairo, and other high population areas. Secondary and tertiary strikes across the Gulf wiped out massive oil reserves and plunged the entire region into chaos. Pakistan and India, fearing nuclear Armageddon, engaged each other in nuclear hostilities and in land war, while China attempted to shut down both of those countries from worsening the situation. Remaining Israeli military forces fought to the death against retaliatory incursions from Arab nations seeking revenge for the nuclear strikes on their peoples. The final battles between Jew and Arab ended in the shadows of mushroom clouds.
In the East, after mutually assured destruction engulfed the hemisphere, only China and Russia emerged with non-crippled nation-states. Before the atmospheric effects of the firestorm that was Jerusalem alone were even felt, the Middle East was turned into a radioactive zone of death and ash. The toll from the initial nuclear exchanges was estimated to be over a hundred million before media outlets were ordered to stop broadcasting information or video of the events. While some stations ignored these directives, very little footage was aired, and the remaining governments across the globe declared their relative forms of martial law. Protests against the information blackout started internationally, with demonstrations of people screaming “Show us Jerusalem!” Strict curfews and active military presences within most cities were used to make sure the cries remained cries alone, and not revolutionary action.
The total death toll now is estimated to have been over a billion human lives, more than one seventh the total population of Earth at the time. With the massive fallout of the nuclear holocaust hovering over the burning and irradiated oil fields of the Middle East, the price of petroleum reached an all time high in countries that still had access to reserves, and the collapse of global agriculture, medicine, and transport quickly followed. While many countries began to make attempts to pull coalitions ever closer, several were secretly planning military operations to allow them to gain control over foreign oil in order to prevent their own internal collapses.
2018 — The United Nations dissolved early in the year, having lost many member nations in the months prior, and NATO forces everywhere began to withdraw back to their home countries. Most remarkably, this included American forces, who were recalled to ensure that the home front was secure against its own citizenry — there was nothing more to gain by maintaining a position of power in the glassed craters of the Middle East.
Some of the regions in Africa and Eastern Europe previously safeguarded by NATO peacekeepers found increased incidents of banditry and violence in fringe regions and rural areas. It was suspected that multiple mercenary groups formed out of the disbanded global military, most led by former special forces or other elite personnel.
This problem was a minor concern compared to the beginnings of massive fallout from the previous year’s nuclear exchange. Dark clouds of dust and sand ionized by trapped solar particles delivered radioactive water and constant arcing lightning across the Middle East, flooding the charred glass plains. The few surviving peoples in the region either evacuated or perished. Pakistan and India’s ongoing war petered out as their populations plummeted from cancer and starvation. China, Russia, and the African Union formed the SRAC (Sino-Russo-African Council), a new global alliance aimed at stabilizing areas of the world abandoned by the United Nations and the NAC. Relief efforts started in the spring, and by winter the majority of the African population was resettled in the cleaner regions of the continent.
2019 — The SRAC began to invite other nations to join it in unity against the criminality of the Western powers who had, from their point of view, created the situation that was currently threatening the globe. Several eastern European countries soon left the EU, and even Japan, Australia, and New Zealand found themselves in need of the protection and support offered to them by the SRAC. It took several months before South Korea made any overtures of alliance, but their declaration of unity with the SRAC in May brought about a surprise nuclear strike from North Korea on the orders of a reclusive Kim-Jong Un and his ruling military council.
Having made public statements against the Japanese prior to the attack on Seoul, he then ordered a series of ‘preventative’ attacks against Japan, all while South Korean remnant forces and SRAC shock troops pushed through to Pyongyang. As North Korea fell and the peninsula reunited, the Supreme Leader ordered a final strike against Japan and China, firing multiple nuclear warheads. While several warheads headed toward China were disabled by EMP fields or anti-missile systems, three of the non-malfunctioning warheads managed to hit Japan, causing massive devastation in the remaining population centers. The destruction of Tokyo became ‘the new Jerusalem’ when news of the event was censored worldwide.
North Korea fell by the winter, and the SRAC claimed sole victory. The world began to look to it for guidance.
2020 — Justifying its actions with threats of cyberattacks from enemies both foreign and domestic, the NAC enabled the greatest communications filter ever seen. Created through years of research by public and private entities, SCOUT (Surveillance and Counterintelligence to Overturn and Undermine Terrorism) was a spy system unlike any other, capable of both capturing and filtering voice data through VoIP or phone, and data sent through the Internet or most wireless networks, as well as tying listening devices from various municipalities into a national system. The majority of SCOUT was not new technology, but simply integration of existing systems.
The Anti-Nuclear Weapons Ban was signed by the NAC and SRAC in an attempt to allay fears of another Cold War similar to the one fought in the previous century between the United States and Russia. Critics of the ban attacked it from both sides of the political spectrum, in all countries. Left-leaning liberals decried the ban as ineffective, as it allowed for the same ‘consolidation without reduction’ loopholes as previous nuclear agreements, while right-leaning conservatives rallied against the idea of any capitulation to foreign power.
Both sides ultimately caved when it came to the ratification of the agreement, since no politician wanted to be identified as ‘pro-nuclear war’; however, many politicians used the signing as an excuse to resign their posts, and several of them made public statements against the NAC Governor’s Board and the SRAC’s Council Of Leaders in the press conferences announcing their retirements. As a result, the remaining press and journalism rights in any country belonging to any major faction were stripped. All that remained on the average television or radio and the majority of a filtered Internet was propaganda.
2021 — After finding a seditious agent of the SRAC serving as a page to an NAC Senator, the Governor’s Board announced the dissolution of the senate, in order to “rapidly respond to threats without waiting on signatures.” While this was publicly hailed in the press as a brilliant tactic, many NAC Territories erupted in protest. The demonstrations came and went in waves. Lack of major concentrated movement against the government allowed for easy suppression of the protesters. By winter, most public demonstrations were forbidden, and large gatherings of people were permitted only under the supervision of the NAC military police.
2022 — The remaining privately held corporations within the NAC were nationalized, the majority of their own volition, though a few attempted to fight the acquisitions through the corrupt legal system. All failed. A dramatic restructuring of the government began, with many municipal executive branches’ law enforcement entities rolled under federal control. Curfews were standard in all population centers, and propaganda reached an all time high as suicide rates also climbed to record levels. Protests in many cities were commonplace, and in some isolated cases, the citizenry managed to overthrow their local government. Any time this occurred, a media blackout of the situation followed, and the NAC sent in elite ‘peace-keeping’ forces to eliminate any opposition.
By the end of 2022, the majority of NAC citizens lived in ‘Territory Capitals’ such as New York, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, and other major cities. Many rural areas were either purchased at very low prices or simply seized by NAC soldiers, and a massive restructuring of the agricultural system commenced. The idea was to create sustainable long term farming both for the subsistence of a now-starving NAC citizenry, and for eventual resale and profit on the global market.
A growing minority of people found fault with the propaganda regarding the NAC’s food plans, and understood that the lack of a plan to deal with the collapse signaled that the NAC was trying to appease the citizenry, instead of solving the real issues facing the nation. Many people left the cities to return to the frontiers of nature, hoping that they could do better without the government than with it. Initially, this was discouraged with incentive programs to move into Territory Capitals, but when hacktivist journalism revealed that certain survivalist communities had been wiped out by NAC soldiers, many more people began to flee cities under NAC control.