"There weren’t many who actually saw it coming. Of course, after the fact, everyone claims to have been sounding the alarms. But I no longer criticize the dead, which these days doesn’t leave many to point fingers at."
The technologies developed in the centuries after the Industrial Revolution were not without their price. Rampant pollution had a catastrophic impact on the environment: the hole in the ozone layer, common knowledge since before the twenty-first century, only grew with each passing year. Eventually, more gaps in this protective layer manifested as mankind's industries grew unchecked. Towards the end of the twenty-third century, Earth's atmosphere could no longer withstand the abuse leveled against it by humans. The ozone layer abruptly collapsed, allowing a flood of ultraviolet radiation to reach the planet's surface.
The first things to go were also the least thought-about: the phytoplankton living in the top few meters of the ocean. Literally sunburned to death, this critical element of the global food chain was killed off in a few years. Larger animals that fed on the plankton quickly followed, and a horrified world watched as the oceans died.
Soon, researchers uncovered the holy grail of manufacturing -- plasma formation, the ability to manifest solid objects seemingly from thin air, drawing energy from pockets of plasma in the earth's crust. But this technology was not, as some hoped, to be the savior of mankind. In fact, it was humanity's death knell. Pandora's box was opened -- everyone wanted to get their hands on this magical breakthrough, and the fragile alliance system that had averted global war for centuries came to an abrupt and explosive end. Now that entire armies could be created in seconds and on a whim, conventional warfare became obsolete -- if only for a few hours.
After the irradiated dust settled, waves of mutated bacteria swept the globe. The pandemics killed millions who had survived the nuclear holocaust; as humans emerged from their subterranean shelters, they resigned themselves to constructing forcefield energy domes around what few cities remained. But by the time these were completed, most adults had eaten food so mutated and been infected with viruses so devastating that most were dead within five years, even if they made it into a dome -- leaving behind a population of mostly adolescents and teenagers. Even then, the fighting never ceased -- although at this point humans, being too few and too precious to waste in wars, had been replaced by machines in armed conflicts.
It was at about this time that the Offworlders came. The Mykonians quickly swept away all human population in the northern Scandinavian regions of Europe, where their machines of war operated at optimal cooling temperatures. Intercepted transmissions revealed they saw our planet as nothing more than a battery, and us as pests. The Sulgogars weren't much better; sentient fungi, they wanted Earth as a spawning ground -- and us as fertilizer.
Shortly after their initial invasion, the Mykonians proceeded with their plans to harvest Earth for energy, deploying a massive device -- nicknamed The Parasite -- that sapped heat from the planet, causing its core to cool and rapidly accelerating the continuing extinction of what little life remained.
Still, even in the face of extra-terrestrial invasion, mankind's prejudices refused to wither away -- word was leaked of a Western attempt to sell out their own Neo-Communist allies, the Ghorkovs, and the last inter-faction alliance dissolved. Ghorkov forces swept through Europe, smashing Western strongholds one after another.
The last vestiges of freedom and democracy rallied under the banner of 'The Resistance'. Mere months from total destruction, The Resistance wired together the automated factories and computer centers of the Free World into seven floating fortresses -- seven Host Stations. But to command each Host Station's limitless armies, a single human was needed. No computer, no matter how advanced, could possibly hope match a human's instinct and capability for unorthodox strategies. Seven Synaptic Donor Units were chosen, each of which sacrificed their own humanity for the continued survival of others -- by being surgically and irreversibly uploaded into the Host Station, directly linked to the production centers deep within each Host Station.
Six of the Host Stations have fallen in battle. The survival of The Resistance -- perhaps all of mankind, rests with you.
Some old fanart I did for the game Urban Assault, a unique blend of vehicle-based first-person combat and real-time strategy, allowing the player to instantly jump to the controls of any vehicle or gun turret in the game. Unfortunately, it seems to be underrated and relatively unknown.