On Aug. 13, 2002, 12 worlds diverged from ours, the “ordinary” world during unique Divergence Events that placed each of the variations on a path toward destruction.
Earth 1: The Ordinary World
This is our world, the normal everyday reality that we know so well. Nothing of significance happened on August 13, 2002, at least nothing on the scale suffered by the rest of the Nearside. Instead, every August 13 since then, every Nearsider has suffered their own personal divergence event, an experience powerful enough to activate part of their brains known as the Hindbrain Anomaly (HbA) and change their lives forever (see Personal Divergence, below.)
Earth 2: Vanished
The entire non-HbA positive population vanish in a single instant, leaving nothing behind. The first hour is filled with the explosive aftermath of humanity’s sudden departure. Once the dust settles, the native Nearsiders discover that they are completely alone, with only each other (and the suddenly blood-thirsty wildlife) for company. Nature is quickly reclaiming the empty world, despite the best efforts of the remaining Nearsiders.
Earth 3: Fall
The world is blasted by fragments from an asteroid, and is sent into a long darkness that is slowly killing the survivors of the initial impacts. Most of the world is dead, and those who remain fight over what little food and fresh water remains.
Earth 4: Invasion
An alien race invades … but fails to conquer.
Instead, a long, drawn-out war begins. The aliens hold territory in Asia and have recently expanded into South America after years of silence. For many Americans, the war is now on their doorstep, while Europe and the rest of the world still struggle to recover from their own periods of alien occupation.
Earth 5: Still Born
The last human baby is born and no woman is able to get pregnant, except for a handful of individuals who are now “guests” of governments around the world. Only HbA+ women can carry a child to term, making them priceless assets to be cruelly exploited. Some flee to other variations, but even female visitors to this world risk capture and forced impregnation.
Earth 6: Hothouse
Solar output increases dramatically and the Earth is heating up fast. Working together, several nations have achieved some incredible technical advances. Humanity’s last hope are the arks being built in orbit, a last attempt to try to escape the coming burn. There are limited places available onboard the arks. The world teeters on the brink of chaos as the launch window steadily gets narrower.
Earth 7: Icebox
An experiment to alter the Earth’s atmosphere in an attempt to stop climate change backfires, reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface. An ice age has begun. Mass population migration toward the equator has resulted in international tension and even a few wars, and those willing to risk the journey can make a fortune recovering valuable resources from the frozen remains of once-great cities.
Earth 8: Dread
A black hole is spotted in the outer solar system, heading toward Earth. Its arrival date? August 13, 2015. Civilization has begun to crumble under the shadow of certain destruction.
Earth 9: Dead Water
Nanotechnology, designed to reduce oceanic pollution, mutates into a form that can infect humans. The nanovirus is transmitted in liquid with high salt content, including blood and other bodily fluids. The coastlines have been evacuated as even the ocean spray can spread the virus.
Earth 10: Outage
Strange fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field exponentially increases resistance in electrical circuits, effectively forcing civilization to a pre-electricity state. An ever-present aurora hangs in the sky, day and night, driving people insane or worse.
Earth 11: Afterlife
Indisputable evidence of an afterlife drives many into the arms of a religion that is now drunk on power. Nearsiders used their special talents to infiltrate the leadership ranks of the world’s religions and unite them under one twisted vision of God.
Earth 12: Unvisible
Monsters are real, and only children can see them. Children are the soldiers in this crusade to save humanity. Most children lose the ability to see the Unvisible when they enter adolescence, but a few – those with the HbA — will always see the monsters.
Earth 13: The Reef
Reality itself has twisted and changed, rendering this world a dark reflection of all others, where nightmares become real and the flotsam and jetsam of myriad realities washes up upon the shore.