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Asteroid Shear of 2096
Without warning and as most of the Continent slept, an asteroid passed close to the planet, touching the atmosphere and setting off a massive plasma blast that ripped a wide gash across the Continent’s northern plains. Its scar can still be seen today. It is known as the Great Gash.
Entire cities were obliterated by the shear and others lay in rubble. Further from the epicenter — even to the distant regions of the South and West — earthquakes shook and trembled as fault lines buckled from the impact of the wave blast.
All of the Continent’s 11 nations were affected, and over 2 million lives were lost. It was, and remains, the world’s second greatest loss of life suffered in a single event, the first being the Last World War, which claimed 4.6 million lives.
Despite the enormous damage and loss of life, there were two positive outcomes that came out of the Asteroid Shear, one technological and one social.
Technological repercussions: This unforeseen astronomical event provoked a heightened interest in astronomy and space exploration, which in turn led to the development of space-based solar power collection, sentinel platforms to detect asteroid activity and thousands of life-improving inventions.
Social repercussions: The vast destruction demanded a collective effort of clean-up, rebuilding and the sharing of resources. Regional and national antagonisms receded during many decades of cooperative reconstruction and the shared experience of loss. The people of the Continent were already evolving greater social maturity due to the identification of the aggression genes and parents’ overwhelming rejection of them. See the Gash Generation.