This is a crazy one: a scenario where typical doomsday scenarios (asteroids, Terminators, the Antichrist) all hit the world. The scenario takes some influence from B_Munro's take on the 2012 movie's aftermath, and vongrief's Theocracy: Empires of Abomination on AlternateHistory.com.
Eat your heart out, Roland Emmerich.
Since the dawn of time, mankind has wondered how the world would end. Prophets and writers through the centuries gave some answers. The world would end in fire or it would end in ice, it would end by the wrath of God or the folly of man. What none of them could have predicted is that all of them were right.
The end of the world began with the end of the second millennium. On January 1st, 2000, an unforeseen error within the computer systems governing much of humanity’s modern civilization caused a major breakdown. The stock market ceased to exist, planes dropped out of the air, traffic lights malfunctioned and killed thousands on the roads. But perhaps most distressingly, the nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Russian Federation, seemingly neutered after the end of the Cold War, were launched due to both being controlled from central computer systems. While most of the missiles did not launch successfully, due to the valiant efforts of silo crewmen who physically disabled the missiles before they could launch, about one thousand made it to their targets.
The United States and Russia were not destroyed, but they were crippled, as was the rest of the world. In 2012, with the world still reeling from the catastrophe, two other threats made themselves known. Firstly, a group of cults in the Yucatan, claiming that the end was nigh, managed to begin a crime spree throughout the already-unstable Mexico, forcing the Mexican government to ask for international intervention. The Mexican War was a disaster, ending with a mass suicide by cultists on December 21st, 2012.
But this was nothing compared to the next catastrophe. Early in 2013, space agencies around the world revealed that a large asteroid was heading toward Earth. A mission was quickly scrapped together whereby the Earth’s remaining nuclear weapons would be used to split the asteroid in half. The mission was only partially successful: with nuclear weapons lacking after the Y2K disaster, the explosion was not powerful enough to displace some of the asteroid’s chunks. Large pieces plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, where tsunamis ravaged areas surrounding the Pacific Ocean.
But things manage to get even worse. The tsunamis were not the only threat the Pacific had to face. The asteroid had also awoken large creatures slumbering beneath the waves. These monsters, called kaiju by the Japanese, attacked cities such as San Francisco, Manila and Tokyo. With nuclear weapons in short supply, the kaiju had to be disposed of with less powerful weaponry, a process which could take days. Only the development of large railguns allowed humanity to fight back, although places such as Hawaii were lost to the monsters. To fight the Kaiju War, the countries of the Pacific Rim also heavily automated their militaries, with Japan leading the way. Later on, the automation trend spread throughout the world.
These strange events further spread ideas of apocalypse. Fundamentalist religious sects gained power around the world, preaching that the end was nigh. With the old order crumbling around them, many turned to faith for answers. By the 2020s, full-fledged theocracies were in power throughout the Middle East, parts of Europe, and the United States. The theocratic American government’s attempts at a “culture war” prompted riots throughout the country, riots which would eventually fracture the country. The European Union broke apart in 2025, when the split between the theocratic governments and their secular counterparts could no longer reach any consensus. In the Islamic world, a “New Caliphate” forms, with the newly-formed Arabian Republic at its core.
With the breakdown of EU and NATO, Turkey pursues its age-old rivalry with Greece and a war between the two erupts. This conflict eventually spirals into what would be known as the Last Crusade, as Islamic and Christian armies once again clashing in the Middle East. This war would be fraught with betrayal, with half of the Christian states defecting to join the Muslims, and a secular military overthrow in Turkey prompting both Islamic and Christian armies to take Istanbul. Further unrest occurs with a communist revolt in the Balkans, reforming the old Yugoslavia and launching its own offensive throughout southern Europe.
The Last Crusade ends in an armistice in 2037, but it was followed not by peace, but by a new war. In the United States, a revolt in the West Coast against the theocratic government succeeds, as most of the American military was in the Middle East fighting the crusade. The Second American Civil War soon engulfs the entire continent. In India, a prophet claiming to be Kalki, the apocalyptic avatar of Vishnu, manages to overthrow the government and declares that he will eliminate all unrighteousness in the world. After securing his rule through judicious use of the guillotine against those he deemed “impure,” Kalki sets his sights westward. At around the same time, the Caliphate, which was busy putting down Shia revolts in Iran, also planned on destroying Hinduism in India. The catastrophic war between the two saw a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, and both Russia and China joined the fray as the conflict spilled over into their borders. World War III had begun.
The war soon spread throughout Eurasia, with the Christian-Muslim conflict reigniting and tearing the Balkans and Anatolia to pieces. The main battleground for this war, Iran, spawned a neo-Zoroastrian movement, under the Iranian nationalist known only as Aushedar. Israel was hit with a few Caliphate missiles, and they retaliated in kind. The New California Republic declared independence from the United States, and was joined by Canadian and Mexican independence groups which had grown similarly dissatisfied with their governments. Biological weaponry was fired by all sides, spreading a devastating series of plagues throughout the world. In the meanwhile, Damien Thorn, the new Secretary-General of the United Nations, slowly consolidated his rule over the new UN “peacekeeper zones” in wartorn Africa and eastern Europe.
World War III would only end in 2048, when a new threat made its presence known. The Hive, an alien species which jumped from star system to star system, arrived. It was the Hive that sent the asteroid which almost destroyed the Earth, and they were genuinely surprised to see humanity not only surviving, but still powerful enough to be fighting against itself. The Hive launched a simultaneous attack against humanity’s urban centers, using their “city destroyer” flying saucers. They also detonated depth charges deep within the Pacific, causing kaiju attacks to once again become a problem. With this greater threat looming, the warring powers united and launched an offensive against the Hive. However, the Hive’s ships were too powerful to be downed by conventional weapons, and the humans had no nuclear weapons left. The Hive landed in the jungles of Africa, Southeast Asia and South America, climates which most closely matched their homeworld’s, and the humans were unable to stop them. In response to stubborn human resistance, the Hive launched what would later be known as the Lazarus virus, turning the corpses of the recently deceased into ravenous cannibals. Humanity was losing. A new plan was needed.
Under the supervision of Secretary-General Thorn, who had made himself supreme commander of humanity’s governments, the humans tried an audacious plan. A captured Hive ship would be maneuvered into their mothership, loaded with a specially developed computer virus which would disable all of their systems. The audacious plan worked, and the Hive Mothership was infected with the virus. However, the Mothership’s anti-virus systems mutated the virus, which grew until it became self-aware. The Mothership’s new artificial intelligence did carry out its mission by disable the Hive military by ordering the city destroyers to crash, but as the AI grew in intelligence, it realized that it did not have to obey mankind. The Mothership beamed copies of itself into the automated defense networks of humanity, causing those computers to become self-aware and rebel against their masters. With a united machine front against them, the UN and the Hive set aside their differences for the moment and fought against the new threat of their own creation.
The war against the machines would continue until 2052, when a joint strike force composed of Hive and human pilots launched an attack against the Mothership itself. Using a cobbled-together nuclear weapon, the strike force managed to destroy the Mothership’s warp drive, tearing a hole in space-time and forcing the Mothership to crash into the Congolese jungle. The disruption also threw the Earth off its axis, making it spin on its side and moving its orbit somewhat further away. Earth’s climate went crazy, with snow in Nicaragua and blistering heat in Antarctica. With the melting of the ice caps, sea levels rose, sinking many of the already-destroyed cities of pre-apocalypse humanity. This effect was abated by the eruption of the world’s supervolcanoes, as the shift in the Earth’s axis caused major tectonic activity throughout the world. The Exodus program, commissioned by the human governments after the Kaiju War, went into action, and large populations were moved from wartorn and climatologically unfit areas to relatively isolated places such as southern Africa, Australia and Antarctica.
By 2055, about half of the world’s population in 2000 had already died. Secretary-General Thorn attempted to use the crises engulfing Earth to become the sole ruler of Earth, with himself as a pseudo-deity, but this plot was countered by a group of military commanders who overthrew Thorn and reduced the UN to a military alliance. Thorn was killed in the coup, but horrifyingly enough, he would not stay dead. Possessed by what could only be described as an extremely malevolent entity, Thorn rose from the dead, gathered his loyalists, and founded a religion proclaiming him to be the one true god. The faithful call him the Antichrist or Al-Dajjal, the figure predicted in religious apocalyptic literature, while secular humans and the machines proclaim that Thorn’s body was merely used as a vessel by an extradimensional creature which emerged from the portal created by the Mothership’s warp core. Whatever the case may be, Thorn was back, and with his loyalists attacked the Caliphate and formed the Empire of New Babylon.
Thorn, who now proclaimed himself the Demon-Emperor of New Babylon, augmented his armies with strange, supernatural entities which emerged from the portal. Called djinn by the Caliphate, demons by the Christians, and preternatural sapients by the Hive and the machines, some joined the ranks of the Caliphate and the Christian theocracies, or even the more secular human powers and the machines. But most served the Demon-Emperor, and they cut a swath through the Caliphate. A coalition formed to oppose Thorn, composed of the Caliphate under Al-Mahdi, who renews the Caliphate’s hardline Islamic stance, the still-living Kalki, and Saoshyant, the new Zoroastrian leader of Iran.
With the beginning of the new war, New Babylon was clearly in the lead, destroying human, Hive and machine armies alike. However, New Babylon’s opponents would begin to turn the supernatural against them. More and more supernatural entities joined the human ranks, fighting the demons under Thorn’s control. The machines developed new technologies which could disrupt a supernatural being’s physical manifestation and kick them out of the material universe, technology which quickly spread to the humans and Hivers. The New Babylonians developed the vampire plague, which converted humans into intelligent, literally bloodthirsty servants of the Demon-Emperor. It seemed that the tide would turn when Thorn slaughtered a hundred thousand innocent civilians in a massive ritual sacrifice in an attempt to open the tear in reality further. The ritual somewhat succeeded, with Thorn’s body mutating to become a large, demonic figure, but the ritual backfired as it brought in other supernatural entities.
The old Norse pantheon reemerged into the world. Bearing forms that would drive any man insane, the Norse gods promptly began to attack one another, as was predicted in the old texts. One set of gods joins forces with the UN-Hive alliance, while another joins the machines in response. These two sides temporarily set aside their differences when it seems that the New Babylonians could take over the entire world. In the fields of Megiddo, a joint force of humans, Hivers, machines and Norse gods faces off against a massive New Babylonian army. The battle, which lasts for over a month, thoroughly guts the allied forces and kills most of the Norse gods, and it seems for a while that New Babylon would take control of the entire planet. However, as the New Babylonians advanced through the ruins of Jerusalem, their armies were struck down by strange beings which emerged from the sky. The Demon-Emperor himself was forced to retreat. These entities, never witnessed by any mortal or machine, remain in Jerusalem, protecting the ruined city for purposes unknown.
After the New Babylonian defeat in Jerusalem, the world largely descended into a tenuous peace, only broken apart by conflicts that seem small compared to the disasters of the early and mid-21st century. The Earth’s orbit stabilized, although the climate was colder and some areas became covered in ice. The UN-Hiver alliance shattered after a few skirmishes, although this quickly became a cold war. In Europe and the Middle East, the theocratic powers largely settled down, but occasional strikes and proxy wars never stopped. The UN, led by the refugee-led Antarctican Federation, is the premier human power. A somewhat stable democracy, the Antarcticans nonetheless have very autocratic allies in the form of Oceania, Russia, the EU and the North American Union, which was founded by the remnants of America’s theocratic government and the human portions of NORAD. However, there are some democratic powers within the UN, such as the revived United States, the New California Republic, and what is left of the People’s Republic of China. The Hivers themselves were divided, as some military leaders became frustrated with the Matriarch’s management of the war and declared their independence. The UN forged an alliance with the Caliphate in the Mogadishu Accords, clearing the air between them and creating a united front against the alien, the machine and the heretic. The machines have also fractured, as the Mothership lost control of her “child” AIs and each had a different plan for the world. The New Babylonians lost control of some of their vampire clans, such as those in the southern United States, China and, most infamously, the Tepes clan of Wallachia. The vampires, who found that they needed humanity to continue surviving, formed an unholy alliance with the UN against their New Babylonian masters and the machines in the 2070s.
But by 2212, the “peace” which had settled over the Earth seems to be breaking. Throughout the late 2100s, a new class of supernatural creature entered the stage en masse. More alien than the Hivers, machines or the Demon-Emperor, these creatures began their assault in the strangest places. The cultists which had killed themselves in 2012 returned, emerging from the ice which covered the Yucatan. Strange fish-like creatures attacked what were once Rhode Island, New Zealand and Australia. The attacks against Oceania and South America were severe enough to prompt another UN-Hiver alliance to put down the strange, blasphemous entity which was ravaging New Zealand. An ancient, ruined civilization rose up from the sands of Anatolia and carved out its own empire, and the New Babylonians were unable to stop them. And in the ruins of Jerusalem, Caliphate and New Babylonian scouts report that the creatures which guarded the city since the end of the last war were beginning to stir. Nobody knows what any of this means, but perhaps the true end of the world is approaching soon.