The time leading up to the Disorders is, unlike the Disorders themselves, fairly well documented.
Looking back on that time through the telescope of the centuries, with the utter clarity of hindsight as their tool, it is easy enough for historians of the Federation to pick out the beginnings of the Disorders in the governments of the day, the rot at their cores that would eventually bring the world they had created crashing down in flames around their ears.
At the beginning of the Disorders, nearly 200 different nation-states dotted the surface of the Earth. Varying widely in size, military power and geopolitical influence, these nations alternated between open war and a tense, armed peace that usually amounted to little more than a brief lull in the actual fighting.
War had always been part of human history but, for much of that time, it never threatened the very survival of the race, nor had it been a near-constant state of affairs. The Disorders changed all that.
The Disorders grew slowly and in such a way that it was impossible for the people of the time to realise what was happening to them. As with most things, it began small. Some of the lesser nations sought to increase their own power and protection by imposing their will on their equally minor neighbours. Larger nations, in a bid to secure access to the dwindling natural resources of the planet, began to engage in seemingly endless ill-planned and ill-executed adventures throughout the world, sowing the seeds of violence and discord wherever they went.
As oil became increasingly scarce in the middle of the 21st Century, the great superpowers of the world turned their attention more and more to the remaining deposits – the Middle East, the Caspian Sea, parts of Africa and eastern South America. Competition for these dwindling resources marked the true beginning of the Disorders, as open warfare began to break out, a plague marring the surface of the Earth.
Initially, most of the fighting was carried out by proxies, smaller client states of the great superpowers. As with all such conflicts, however, the fighting soon escalated, and theories of Mutually Assured Destruction were cast aside in the race to claim the world’s remaining fuel. Eventually, the Russo Anglo-American Alliance and the Chinese Hegemony, two of the three great powers of the world, went to war and set the whole globe ablaze. Hostility and propaganda became commonplace, and the people of the Earth came very close to sacrificing themselves on the twin altars of greed and bigotry. Nuclear and biological weapons, so long held in reserve in hopes they would never be used, began to darken the skies and poison the land.
For nearly a century, these wars dragged on. Millions died and vast tracts of the planet’s surface were rendered uninhabitable by radiation and plague. In the great tumult of war, the nations forgot about their people, focusing instead on the drive to ephemeral and elusive victory, ultimately impossible for any of them in the sciamachy of the Disorders.
For the citizenry of the world, these wars carried a heavy price, greater even than the losses of their sons and daughters in battle after battle. While the nations warred with one another, the people at home were forgotten, left to fend for themselves in an atmosphere of ever-increasing crime, privation and governmental apathy. Street gangs wielding military-grade weaponry began to take over the cities, preying upon the people there. Cries for help to the various governments were ignored – there was too much at stake in war to divert resources to deal with such problems at home.
It was a situation that could not endure. It lacked only people with the vision, drive and courage to bring it to an end.
Rise of the Veterans
The first of those people were a group of veterans who called Aberdeen, Scotland their home. Like so many other cities, Aberdeen at the time no longer belonged to its citizens – it belonged to the criminals.
The streets of Aberdeen had become a battlefield, not between rival nations but between rival gangs. Criminals thronged the city, taking advantage of governmental apathy and the lack of any effective police force to indulge their wildest whims at will. Violent crime was the order of the day, as gangs of thugs with enough military ordnance to level the city battled for turf on the ancient streets. Murder, rape and robbery were the most common pastimes.Caught in the middle of this increasing nightmare, a group of war veterans decided they had had enough and the time had come to take matters into their own hands. Gathering their families together for protection and drawing upon their knowledge of warfare as it once was, these veterans joined forces and issued a call to arms to the citizenry of Aberdeen, asking any who were willing to come forward and help them in their fight to free their city from the thugs and criminals who ruled it with a bloody fist. They called this document, this call to arms, an ‘emergency measure’ and it drew the people of Aberdeen out in droves. Hundreds of angry, frustrated, embittered men and women answered the call, ready to take up arms against their oppressors. Drawing on their experience, the veterans organised this motivated volunteer force, teaching them the tactics of guerilla warfare, the secrets of strategy that had been in use for centuries before the superpowers gave themselves over to war by mass destruction.
The Aberdeen rebels launched an immediate and enthusiastic campaign against the criminals, cutting supply lines, seizing weapons, ambushing isolated gangs and assassinating their leaders. Within a few weeks, the gangs were reeling from the sudden and unexpected onslaught by these people they had long since dismissed as nothing but helpless victims. On October 19th , 2064, the Aberdeen rebels made their final push against the gangs, crushing the criminal threat and restoring some measure of order and safety to their city. Victory, however, was still far away.
Consequences of rebellion
The defeat of the criminal gangs by the Aberdeen rebels might well have been the end of the fighting for the veterans. If it had, this seminal event would have left the Federation stillborn, the fighting ire of the veterans sated with their victory over the only people they had, to that point, seen as their enemies.
Fate had a different course in mind.
The actions of the Aberdeen rebels were enough to attract the attention of the European Alliance, distracting it from its wars abroad long enough to take a closer look at what was happening within its borders. After years of countenancing the predations of violent gangs like the ones the rebels had just defeated, the corrupt government decided it must take action. This action, however, was not directed against the gangs looting and burning whole regions of other cities, but against the rebels who had made Aberdeen safe again.
There are no surviving records from the Genevan capital of the European Alliance spelling out exactly what the Alliance’s leaders thought and said before taking action but Federation historians agree they feared the actions of the rebels far more than they feared the actions of the gangs – that the bravery and resolve of the rebels would lead exactly where, in the end, it did lead.
The leaders of the European Alliance suspected the victory of the rebels would lead other groups in other cities to take up arms against the gangs and criminals plaguing them. Knowing full well that the rebels were organised around a core of military veterans, they realised it would only be a matter of time before different groups from different cities began to contact one another, first to share information, then to share supplies and finally to coordinate their efforts, effectively creating an entirely new army within their borders, an army over which they exerted no control. The government considered it an untenable situation and reacted accordingly.
The government of the European Alliance branded the Aberdeen militia a dangerous and unlawful force. Their first step against the militia was to launch a propaganda blitz, portraying the militia as traitors and deadly insurgents, determined to destabilise the home front while the European Alliance itself was locked in combat in other regions of the globe. With paeans to loyalty and patriotism so strident they almost had the air of desperation, the Alliance sought to dispel any sympathy or adulation the militia may have accrued from the remainder of the Alliance by painting them as disloyal and unpatriotic. The results of this propaganda campaign were lukewarm at best. People throughout the European Alliance were coping with the same problems in their cities that caused the formation of the Aberdeen militia, and they too had seen firsthand the callousness and apathy of their government. For most of them, a bit of flag-waving and calls for patriotism on the part of the government that had ignored them for so long had little effect.
Within a matter of days, the European Alliance abandoned its propaganda campaign against the militia. The campaign had been intended to inure the remainder of the populace against what the government intended to do about the militia, to bring them over to the government’s side and make them willing to countenance most any act, so long as it was carried out in the cause of purging such disloyal and dangerous elements. Ultimately, the government of the European Alliance decided there were other ways to make sure no one sought to follow the example set by the Aberdeen militia.
Upon realising that the propaganda attempt was failing, the European Alliance stepped up the second phase of their plan and fell upon the city with all the military might at the superpower’s beck and call. This apocalyptic assault very nearly wiped Aberdeen from the face of the earth and tens of thousands of men, women and children, rejoicing in the new and sudden freedom from the tyrannies of the gangs and the criminals, died in an instant under the thunderous attack.
This act of utter brutality was intended to accomplish two objectives. First, it was meant to bring the Aberdeen militia to a quick and bloody end, negating what the government had come to see as a threat to the internal stability of the European Alliance.
Second, it was meant to serve as an example to the rest of the citizenry, a clear indication of the fate awaiting anyone who intended to emulate the actions of the militia. It was, in a way, a success but hardly the kind of success the government had hoped for.The Aberdeen militia was indeed all but destroyed in the assault on Aberdeen itself. Only a few hundred people escaped the devastation of the city but two of those were men who had helped found the militia, men who would never forget what was done to them by their government. As the message the European Alliance intended to send to its citizenry with the destruction of Aberdeen, the message was received. Ordinary citizens who had borne the depredations of the gangs and criminals, the proud arrogance of their government and the privations of their lives with steadfast courage saw what their government intended to do to any who stood up for themselves and they were not cowed. They were angered.
The Old World is swept away
There was more to the Aberdeen militia’s founding than anger and frustration at what was happening in their city, though that was the match they struck to ignite the populace into supporting them. The founders of the militia were veterans, men and women who had served honourably and faithfully in the armed forces through the dark days of the Disorders and who had learned the terrible price of war and the inseparable bond of fighting men.
Just before the rise of the Aberdeen militia, the Chinese Hegemony and the Russo-Anglo-American Alliance had forged the Treaty of New Delhi, a document both sides heralded as the first great step to bringing the Disorders to an end. Though the Treaty was not without merit, it failed terribly on one count most dear to the veterans on all sides – it all but ignored the fate of the prisoners of war from both parties. The return of such prisoners was only a single line buried in the middle of the treaty, a line roundly ignored by both sides in the conflict who simply used the treaty as a means to catch their breath before plunging back into the meaningless war it was supposed to bring to an end. Naturally, when writing the emergency measure, the founders of the Aberdeen militia chose not to focus on this point. After all, their differences with the treaty were a poor motivation to the fellows in Aberdeen when compared to the violence and brutality that was claiming their street and burning their city. Explicit or not, however, the anger over the treaty was still there, an anger found in veterans throughout the world, priming them for what was to come.
Across Europe, the news of the European Alliance’s assault on Aberdeen spread like wildfire. The tales of the government’s reprisals against people who had simply sought to create a little peace and security for themselves inflamed and angered the populace. The message the government had intended to send, that any who emulated the actions of the Aberdeen militia would be subject to the same kind of response, was understood and received. Instead of cowing the populace into mute submission, however, the attack on Aberdeen created a wave of fury throughout the continent, as men and women rose up against their apathetic and autocratic government.
The European Alliance was ill-prepared for the sudden maelstrom of unrest and, within days, impromptu militias were claiming control of cities across the length and breadth of the continent, pushing aside the suddenly outnumbered security forces and seizing government buildings, hospitals and military bases.
The European Alliance struggled to fight back, to reclaim the lands and facilities it had lost almost overnight, but was unsuccessful. This was not a rabble-like uprising of disgruntled, leaderless thugs. It was a rebellion with a purpose. Each city, following in the footsteps of Aberdeen, drafted its own emergency measure, though these were focused not on the gangs of criminals roaming the streets but on the government itself. The European Alliance reeled from this unexpected onslaught from within. The people were an unstoppable force.
This groundswell of discontent and revolution quickly burst through the borders of Europe itself, spreading outward across the globe like the rings of water on a pond after a stone breaks the surface. Long-held ideological divides and ancient feuds were cast away as people in Europe, Asia, Africa and elsewhere rose up to break the chains of oppression that had held them for decades, even centuries.
The revolution swept onward and the governments of the Earth began to crumble and fall under its weight. The people moved with a single purpose – to wash away the old world and start anew, to start something better, to finally achieve a world in which they could live in peace and security. And the name ‘Aberdeen!’ was shouted from all corners of the globe.
Rise of the New Order
As the smoke began to clear, a new order rose from the ashes of the old world, like a phoenix from its own destruction. In the chaos and flame, the Federation was born.
The Federation was not a success overnight, however. Nor did the wave of discontent and revolution sweep away all vestiges of the old world; many of the old nations and powers remained, now determined to focus all their might against this newest and gravest threat to their stranglehold on power – the fledgling government formed by and for the people known as the Federation.
The Federation seized control of the remaining European Alliance military assets to secure its very existence and began the difficult work of expanding its borders. For several months, it seemed as if the Federation was doomed to fall, just as the European Alliance had. Combined with the threat of military action from the remaining countries and powers of the world were the thousands upon thousands of problems of moving from a revolution into a government, particularly the kind of government envisioned by the founders – strong, fair, unyielding and eternal.
The most immediate outside threat to the fledgling Federation was the Russo-Anglo-American Alliance, one of the two great powers left over from the old world that shared miles upon miles of border with the new Federation. Fortunately, the unrest that had given rise to the Federation was shared by the people of the Russo-Anglo-American Alliance, who, like their European compatriots, had begun to rise up against an apathetic and inept government. Moreover, the people of the Russo-Anglo-American Alliance, in many cases, shared common language and culture with the people of the new Federation.
After several months of threats, military posturing and finally negotiation, the Russo-Anglo-American Alliance was folded into the greater Federation. With this tremendous infusion of strength, the Federation was able to turn its gaze to the remainder of the planet. Only one superpower remained, the Chinese Hegemony, but there were dozens of minor states and countries that continued to hold out. Scattered throughout the world and increasingly isolated as the Federation expanded its borders, these minor nations were the first targets of the greater Federation. The founders knew that if their dream of one government for all humanity, one government to put an end to war and pestilence on Earth, was to ever come to fruition, they could not allow such states to continue to exist. Whether through diplomacy or through military action, each of these was folded into the Federation, one after another.
The government of the Federation would settle for nothing less than total compliance with its emergency measures, for the good of humanity. At last, only the Federation, the Chinese Hegemony and a handful of small hold-outs still existed. The Chinese Hegemony proved the greatest problem yet faced by the Federation, which was still in the process of finalising its government, having existed in a state of martial law and near-constant war since its founding ten years earlier.
With the passing of a decade of war and danger, some of the fire had gone out of the people of the Federation. The government was still committed to the ideals of total compliance with the emergency measures and determined to bring the entire world beneath the flag of the Federation, but the Chinese Hegemony stood firm against them, an awesome force with the military power to back up its continued independence. Stretching from Siberia to Indonesia, from Japan to the edges of India, the Chinese Hegemony occupied nearly one third of the planet’s total land mass and was made up of very nearly half her citizens. To take the Chinese Hegemony by force seemed the only option but the people of the Federation resisted the idea. They were tired of war and demanded some measure of peace in their lifetimes.
In truth, the Federation of the time might have emerged the loser in a confrontation with the Chinese Hegemony, which is why the Federation government chose to accede to the wishes of the people and search for another way. Returning to their roots, they found it. Just as the Federation had been forged in the fires of unrest, from the dreams of people whose governments had failed them again and again, so would the Federation seek to overthrow the Chinese Hegemony, not through strength of arms, but through the will of the Chinese people.
The Chinese people, however, were less prone to rebellion than those who began and abetted the formation of the Federation, having spent decades, even centuries beneath the heel of an oppressive government. Moreover, many of them were widely scattered and poorly educated, particularly in the most inland areas of Asia, making them poor recruits for a country-wide rebellion. However, the veterans who made up the founders of the Federation believed these downtrodden people were not quite broken and, given time and incentive, would ultimately rise up against the cruel government that oppressed them. Time proved them right, lending credence to the theory, posed much later, that one of the founders of the Federation, John C. McManus, was indeed an early psychic.
The growing power and encompassing holdings of the Federation were justifiably making the government of the Chinese Hegemony quite nervous. As well as anyone else, they knew the Federation had come first into existence, then into power, by the actions of a downtrodden populace rising up against their own government. As so many other nations had proclaimed, the government of the Chinese Hegemony decreed it would not happen to them. However, like so many other governments, beginning with the now-defunct European Alliance, the path they chose to make sure it did not happen could not have been more unwise. The Chinese Hegemony began to see civilian unrest around every corner and behind every stone, growing more and more paranoid while the founders of the Federation discussed how to bring the Hegemony into the fold.The Chinese Hegemony’s response to these presumed acts of unrest was swift and decisive. Records from the era describing these incidents are relatively few, as all such incidents were vehemently denied by the Hegemony at the time. United Citizens’ Federation historians believe the first incident of note took place at a music concert in Hong Kong, where several people were killed by local police and dozens more beaten and arrested on false charges. From that point onward, the frequency and severity of the events only escalated, as the Chinese Hegemony continued to see the chimera of civilian unrest where there truly was none. For several years this continued, the people of the Hegemony suffering more and more beneath the heel of their government’s paranoia, before things finally came to a head in the Pu Yi Massacre on February 11, 2067. Named, ironically, for the last emperor of China, the Pu Yi Massacre took place in Beijing, near the old Forbidden City, where thousands of starving citizens of the Chinese Hegemony had come to demonstrate.
The draconian measures taken by the Hegemony to stifle any form of civil unrest had, of course, only thrown fuel onto the fire. The last measure taken, after some imagined action on the part of the people of Beijing, was to curtail food shipments into the city from the rich farmlands in the Hegemony’s interior. This, of course, was finally enough to cause the people of Beijing to truly protest their government’s actions. In response, the Chinese Hegemony ordered its military against its own citizens, slaughtering thousands of them as they rallied. Despite the Chinese Hegemony’s near-total control of the flow of information within its own borders and despite the fact that they called the tale of the Pu Yi Massacre a tissue of lies created by the Federation, challenging any to produce evidence of the terrible crime, word of the Pu Yi Massacre spread rapidly across the length and breadth of the Hegemony, aided, of course, by the Federation. The people of the Chinese Hegemony finally rose up in revolt.
The Federation was there to aid the people of the Chinese Hegemony in their long-overdue bid for freedom from the oppression of their government, supplying shipments of weapons and food, as well as military training, to an eager army numbering in the millions. Despite the strength of the Chinese Hegemony’s own military, they could not stand for long against this assault from within and, just as with the European Alliance 13 years earlier, the Chinese Hegemony soon collapsed beneath the will of its people. The Federation had earned the gratitude of the Chinese people during that turbulent time and with the fall of the Hegemony, the Chinese reciprocated by joining the Federation. At last, the dream of the founders, of a humanity united beneath one rule and free from the destruction of petty, greedy nations, was assured.
On the ashes of the old
And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.Unlike Alexander in this apocryphal quote, the founders of the Federation did not weep when the Chinese Hegemony, the last of the great superpowers to stand in the way of their dream of uniting humanity in peace beneath a single rule, fell to its citizens. They had no time to weep. There was too much to do.
Suddenly, the Federation, only an idea some 20 years before, found itself in control of the entirety of the Earth, a feat never before managed by any government. Its enemies were gone and before it lay the future. Or, in the words of the famously blunt John C. McManus, one of the two surviving founders of the Aberdeen militia: ‘Well, we’ve got the world. Now what are we going to do with it?’
McManus’ question was rhetorical. The Federation already had plans for what to do with the world, the question was really about how the Federation would implement those plans. The founders of the Federation, primarily men and women brought together by circumstance and a dream of united humanity beneath a single banner, found themselves tasked with establishing a new world order, of distilling their dreams of peace into a coherent and functional government for the future of the world.
In a matter of days, they were faced with the challenge of not only moving from a war footing to a time of peace, but also constructing a government to forever enshrine the virtues they cherished.