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- "It's on fire. Everything is on fire. The flames, they're reaching all the way into the sky. It's unreal."
The Impact Event, called The Apocalypse by many, was a cataclysmic event that occurred on January 12, 2103. At 05:13, the comet Telos collided with Earth, landing in the Pacific Ocean.
The impact triggered firestorms in many areas on Earth with the Iberian Peninsula being severely affected. It ejected enormous amounts of dust and debris into the atmosphere, making it thick and difficult to operate in. Massive tsunamis inundated the coastlines of the Earth's continents. The impact rendered the surface of the Earth completely barren, killing all surface-dwelling life.
The impact caused the atmosphere to become heavily toxic and much warmer. Undersea life continued to thrive, however, including the humans stationed at PATHOS-II. Telos initially decimated the populations of large aquatic species such as the humpback whale and the giant squid to near extinction. However, the humpback whale managed to survive and was observed by PATHOS-II staff after the impact event to be unaffected by the WAU, carrying on mammalian life on Earth.
Humans worldwide reacted differently to the impending disaster. At first, an effort to deflect Telos was attempted via rocketry contributed by Earth's nations. However, these efforts failed in succession until the last attempt mere hours before the impact. Meanwhile some people fled to bomb shelters in mountainous areas such as Upstate New York, hoping to endure the Telos impact. Many major cities worldwide were evacuated as urban centers were seen as more vulnerable to damage. Major corporations made an effort to preserve their assets and personnel, with those of Carthage and Haimatsu aboard PATHOS-II being relatively successful. Other people accepted the inevitability of death and extinction and spent the remaining time with their loved ones, or sent loving messages to those they could not reach.
The initial impact killed billions within the Pacific region and the fallout killed billions more over the next few days. The impact completely destroyed global communications, leaving the few pockets of survivors with little information as to the scope of the damage. PATHOS-II became the last known human settlement on Planet Earth. However, submersible vessels such as the MS CURIE managed to remain operational for some time after the impact. The CURIE was able to reach the coast of Portugal and photograph the extent of Telos' wrath. However, an aftershock occurred after the Impact, likely destroying any remaining global transportation.
- Telos is a Greek word meaning "goal" or "purpose" and is used in philosophical field of "teleology" which is the study of objects with regard to their aims, purposes or intentions.
- Despite the surface being presumed to be barren, when viewed from space there appear to be zones on Earth's surface that have a green tint, and all of the atmosphere is not dark. However, since dead plants can remain green for prolonged periods, especially if all bacterial and fungal life on the surface were dead too, this does not necessarily create a contradiction.