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++Timeline++

2030 The founding of the NAU

2059 Nuclear missile exchange between NAU and China; with destruction of civil government NAU army assumes government under emergency powers. Civil government never restored.

2060 Agritech disaster in midwest; disastrous harvests

2062 Stock markets crash around the world; the Great Collapse begins

2063 Texas secedes from the NAU

2063 NAU embroiled in war with Mexico; the First Yucatan War

2064 Canada secedes from the NAU. NAU effectively defunct, beginning of the Age of Warlords.

2067 Lockheed-Aegis merger; generally deemed to be beginning of the Consolidation

2068 Sinochem emerges as top Chinese company

2070 The Consolidation gathers steam. Remaining national armies and population centres in Europe, North America and East Asia steadily incorporated into corporate-ruled enclaves.

2071 Founding of the ICC as a tentative forum of inter-corporate co-operation and discourse. During next few years role of ICC grows.

2073 The First Yucatan War ends. However, conflict continues to simmer.

2074 The Signing of the Shanghai Treaty, (re)establishment of the WTO, and formal consolidation of megacorporations in the ICC, under the WTO.

2076 "The Battle of Node 850" launches full-scale Matrix war between ICC sysops and anarchists mainly based in the data havens of the Icelandic Free State. Trans-atlantic data cables cut. Matrix crashes throughout the ICC. Ends with occupation of Iceland by ICC.

2078 Arisaka-Krupp born through series of mergers in both Japan and Mid-Europe.

2078 The Ascension Day massacre at Merida, in Mexico. The Second Yucatan war begins.

2082 Arisaka-Krupp attains WTO Sovereign Corporation status after long period of opposition to membership by several Sovereign Corporations.

Before the ICC

Decay

The genesis of the International Corporate Collective lies in the slow decay of the United States of America, the failure of the North American Union, and the Great Collapse of 2062.

With continued political trouble and exhausted oil reserves in the Middle East, the US formed an economic, and later on political union with Canada and Mexico, seeking access to energy. However, both states had their problems, and the internal turmoil of South America soon infected Mexico, and through it, the whole of the NAU, sending the Amerodollar into a tailspin. Long wars in the middle-east had left the NAU up to its ears in debt.

And as the NAU defaulted on its immense sovereign debt, mainly held by China, existing tensions flared up in a brief, but destructive nuclear exchange. Peace was brokered before the catastrophe scenarios of the early 21st century could be fully realized, but the nukes left large portions of especially the Eastern Seaboard contaminated and nigh-inhabitable. New York City turned into a ghost town.

The Great Collapse

The Great Collapse was precipitated by a worldwide food crisis. A global food shortage conincided with a failed harvest in the Midwest thanks to aridity and the massive failure of the NAU corn harvest due to an unsuspected susceptibility of the main genetically engineered variants to a new form of stalk rot. The markets plummeted, and they kept on plummeting, their collapse fueled by unregulated stock market speculation.

The denial of public services and soaring food prices led to civil unrest; civil unrest led to civil war. Canada seceded from the Union, and war broke out between Mexico and the US over offshore oil interests. Most of it was fought in the Yucatan, and even as both societies fell into pieces, the fighting continued.

The Age of the Warlords

Nature abhors a vacuum. And the collapse of nation states during the 2060s left a vacuum of security and infrastructure in those population centres not entirely devastated by nuclear missile exchanges. National governments slowly collapsed into regional militias under local strong men, enforcing peace and order - of a kind - through draconian measures.

Mankind survived, even if it didn't flourish, under the rule of these lesser men and women, who still mostly clung to the obsolete pageantry and nomenclature of a now bygone age: Governors, US Army generals, Senators, Congressmen. Whatever they called themselves, their power only extended as far as their armored vehicles could travel, and tended to collapse in on itself the moment their grip loosened, as it inevitably did.

With the collapse of the internet and global trade, the world regressed to a cluster of city states struggling desperately to provide services for their citizens, raiding their neighbours and scavenging the buildings and resources built by their forebears to survive.

This is the land that the ICC inherited: bankrupt, torn by civil war, morally defeated. This is the country that we built up again.

The Consolidation

The present world order came about in the late 2060s, with the foundation through mergers and acquisitions of the first of today's Sovereign Corporations. On the ruins of nation states, a new order slowly emerged, as surviving corporations pooled their assets and sought rational and effective means to secure an environment where business, and normal life, could once again resume.

The corporations, such as Lockheed-Aegis and Sinochem, took over the city-states ruled by the warlords (or fallen into anarchy in the absence thereof) one by one, and through efficient organisation started to rebuild shattered infrastructure and restore the trust of shareholders.

The corporations, naturally inclined to co-operate unlike nation-states, quickly sought to broaden their interests and to restore severed trade links. Out of this early co-operation came about the International Corporate Collective, originally a bi-annual meeting of corporate chairmen for pursuing joint projects. With time, co-operation deepened, and as the last remnants of the nation states sunk into oblivion (except for a few backwards places like Russia), the ICC started to attain substance.

The Shanghai Treaty

The world as we know it reached its present, and superior form upon the signing of the Shanghai Treaty in 2074. The Shanghai Treaty marked the founding of the World Trade Organization, the ruling body of the International Corporate Collective, and the formal establishment of a corporate "state" under the twelve original Sovereign Corporations that signed the Treaty.

On the other hand, the Shanghai Treaty was not the end, but the beginning of a new era, and this humble historian suspects that the ICC has yet to attain its full glory. One suspects that in a few decades, children in corporate creches will look back on this period as only the beginning of a renaissance, as men started to claw their way free of the dark ages of nation state tyranny and into a peaceful and more prosperous tomorrow of corporate co-operation.

The world today

For over a dozen years now, the ICC has ruled the world. Corporate interests flourish freely in North America, the Far East, Oceania, South America, Europe. After the Unfortunate Incident between the people of America and China, we abandoned the nation state that had driven us to war against each other, and formed this great partnership of the International Corporate Collective. Our merchant fleets patrol the seas; our armies of lorries carrying goods cover the earth. Their weapons are commerce and opportunity, and they have for the first time delivered to mankind a world of peace and prosperity.

Africa, after a period of disease, starvation, and war, is slowly being reclaimed for the benefit of mankind. With the exception of backwards South Africa, bastion of nationalism, the nation-state has fallen throughout the continent, when the lifeline of cancerous development aid that sustained it was severed. The ICC has many partners here, investing in valuable industries like diamonds and oil and helping the people of Africa lift themselves out of poverty and anarchy in the name of progress.

The Middle East, cradle of war, has never recovered from the wars of the mid 21st century, the land irradiated, oil reserves exhausted. Little civilization remains, and that in scattered port cities affiliated with the ICC. In the deserts, people have returned to a simpler way of life. In the words of a long-dead bedouin prince: my grandfathers rode camels. I drive a Mercedes. My grandchildren will once again ride camels.

Outside the ICC

The nation state, that execrable relic of a fallen age, still survives on the margins of the ICC. The militaristic and oppressive Russian Empire menaces ineffectually on the Caucasus, a weak state split by a new rebelling province every week. The Russians produce nothing but violence; their national pastime is unprofitable idleness. According to an old joke, half the Russian population is in the army, and the other half in the Gulag. The dictatorships of South America are similar relics of a bygone age, foremost among them the junta of General Alvarez in Brasil.

But it is not in Russia or Brazil, but in Central America that our most deadly enemies lie: Mexico, even as it has disintegrated into a patchwork of independent provinces, is still a hive of war-mongering, economy-wrecking regressives, spitting in the face of every offer of partnership made by the ICC as it sends out terrorists to undermine our great Collective. The ICC, abhorring violence, has been forced to send its armies to pacify our belligerent neighbours, and the front lines of our war for a world of progress are drawn over the Yucatan.

Shanghai Treaty

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