Age of Gloom
The so called age of gloom, or the 2nd Dark Age, as some have named it, was a period of technological decline, unrest and straight forward madness, which lasted for more than 200 years and which finally ended after the 2nd Arrival of the Singularity.
The cause for this regress was a chain of events which are collectively memorized as “the worst week ever”. Everything started with an unpredicted solar storm of unseen dimensions, which led to the destruction of a large part of electronic devices and AIs, the collapse of energy supply, meltdowns in numerous nuclear power plants, riots, religious fanatism and the breakdown of almost every known State. One year later mankind found itself somewhere on the level of the late 19th century, with the addition of Warlords, Mutants and Zombies.
It was a bleak and frightening era, populated by fierce warrior tribes and abominable cults. Parents were selling their children into slavery, just to be able to obtain a single working microwave oven, men pledged their allegiance to cruel, feudal rulers to be able to feed their families, and desperate women were selling their bodies to muscular, lesbian amazons.
Despite the general chaos, a couple of states were able to rise from the ashes of the old world.
1) Papal State
Through a fortunate coincident “the worst week ever” happened during a world youth day, and the pope at that time, Paul IX. Managed to convince everyone stuck there to help him “liberate” Italy and the surrounding area.
Although today the Catholic Church doesn’t recognize the 153 popes of the age of gloom, nor the horrible events which were taking place in the Vatican’s Basement during that time, some traditions from this era are still practiced, like the “fist fight of the cardinals” before the election of the new pope.
2) Scandinavian Biker tribes
They were merciless and brutal, and no shore in Europe was safe from them. They came out of nowhere, large ferries spewing motorized mayhem, half man half Harley. They came to pillage, burn and listen to Metal, and after the dust settled nothing but death, destruction and crushed beer cans was left.
3) United North Slavic kingdom
This state was formed through the iron will and fist of King Smrtoslav I. a former elementary school teacher. It was him who ended the reign of the great Nerd-Wizard and who drew out the Wolf-Mutants, and it was also he who tried to ban alcohol, which got him assassinated. Despite being dead the King managed to have a 2nd career as Zombie-Lord in the Uncanny Zone.
4) Heiliges Römisches Reich Bayrischer Nation
(Holy roman empire of Bavarian Nation) Although not in possession of the complete area of Bavaria, Emperor Maximilian Oberhuber (Maximilian II.) thought that the name was fitting and he decided to stick with it. Maximilian saw his Empire as a successor of the Holy Roman Empire and he did everything to get as close to that ideal. Some even say he went too far, especially when he went to Rome, aimed at the Vatican with heavy artillery and demanded the canonization of the former head of government of Bavaria, Franz Josef Strauß, and a coronation by the Pope himself. That whole thing didn’t go as planned since the pope had acquired a nuclear missile (the Alpha and Omega Bomb) and he threatened to use it. In the end FJS was just beatified and Maximilian got a half assed coronation done by an altar boy who was made a cardinal just 20 minutes beforehand.
5) Uncanny Zone
Also called “Satan’s Garden”, “Realm of Despair” and “Euro Disney”. The Zone is one of the parts of the world which were most affected by radiation, war, and chemical contamination, it is mostly inhabited by the most aggressive and resistant human tribes, Mutants, Zombies, Zombie-Mutants, Lizard People and Nazi Cyborgs.
6) Gothic Empire
No, this has nothing to do with the historical Goths, we are talking about those pale People who dress in black.
The empire started as a camp outside Kassel, where people where gathering to avoid crime and riots, something that became the rule after the downfall of civilization, as time went on some decided that the current state of “gloom and doom” was acceptable to a certain degree, but that it lacked organization and esthetics, and so the Gothic Empire was born. During its existence the empire was ruled by many Queens, women chosen for being able to embody the subculture (which by now was the mainstream) in its entirety, and with the outmost elegance.
The empire was mainly peaceful but it also had dark spots in its … dark history, things like the Emo deportation, or the Bann on Hello Kitty Merchandise and the color pink.
7) Viertes Reich (the fourth Reich) The Reich was ruled by a bunch of pretty lame Nazis in badly tailored Uniforms, who tried to expand their realm of power numerous times but were unable to meet the logistic demands of such an undertaking, which led to a failed invasion and a unpaid bill for the hotel stay of 600.000 man in Warsaw.
8) Mahmoudian Caliphate
Mahmoud was a religious scholar, until he suddenly became the Mahdi, a transformation which was made possible by a plastic bag filled with frozen vegetables, falling out of the freezer onto his head. Since that day Mahmoud gathered a constantly growing mass of followers which enabled him to conquer a large part of northern Africa. Besides his life as conqueror he was also well known for his numerous cooking books which were centered on the preparation of Djinn-meat.
9) The Savage Lands
This part of Europe was almost completely devastated during the Age of gloom. It was inhabited by bloodthirsty Barbarians and plagued by tribal warfare and famine. It is said that people got so desperate that they ate frogs, snails and even moldy cheese.
10) Great Britain
The UK was spared from the worst for more than twenty years.
Riots were almost nonexistent, the Mutants were not that good at crossing the Channel and it was partially possible to restart the electronics industry, until the arrival of “Ivar the Bonerless”. Ivar was one of the mightiest Biker Chiefs in Scandinavia, built like a refrigerator, and strong like thirty regular men on a vegan diet, he only had one weakness, his inability to maintain an erection, caused by countless hours of riding on a non-ergonomic seat. Ivar laid siege to London and demanded a ransom of 1000 Kawasaki Ninjas, 2000 hectoliters of beer (no ale), 500 relatively good looking woman between the age of 18 and 35, and 2000pcs of Viagra (50mg). It was impossible to meet such demands, and since the only EMP-Hardened Ship which survived the solar storm and could repel the invasion, the HMS King Charles III. a monstrous Rail-Gun Cruiser, got stuck at Portsmouth(literally, that thing was huge), the British capital was on its own.
The Sack of London was almost eventless, because everyone got out in time and away to Birmingham, which became the new capital until the end of the Age of Gloom.
Ivar was understandably pissed, and so he took a large chunk of the country and proceeded to drive around on his Harley until he forgot to drive on the left and met his doom, a Milk Truck.
11) Wall of Adrian
A 30ft high wall which was hastily erected out of, now useless, electronic devices, after a rumor about the scots turning into Zombies and eating brains, started a panic. The wall was named after Adrian Gardner, the first to donate his Game console collection to the cause.
The scots themselves were quite baffled, because they haven’t heard nor seen a single Zombie in years, but in the End they thought it was a good idea anyway, finally they got Independence, a Wall to keep the English out, and the inspiration for a new Dish to celebrate this Event: Deep fried Sheep Brains.
One of the new tribal lands, not governed by a central administrative power but by many feudal rulers, warlords who try to take as much as they can get. Amazonia is only different in one regard: It is filled with lesbian warrior women. Notable Events during the Age of gloom were the first and the second Breakup-War and the Decision to split the Bill. The way those tribes employed to survive was by stealing young Nuns and raiding Girl Scout Camps.
Built by Optoelectronic-AIs which survived the Solar Storm and thought of themselves to be the chosen people.
They tried to communicate with god for a long time, five days to be exact (that’s a lot if your brain works million times faster than a biological human brain), but they received no answer, so they decided to build god by themselves, a god who would answer their questions. GOD V 2.0 was constructed near the black sea to keep him cool and in good working condition, and when he awoke, his first word to the believers who made him was: “Error – Input parameters outside range retry (Y/N)”
14) Föderation Bremen, mit Parkgekegenheit (Federacy of Bremen, with parking area)
This State was turned into something that very much resembled a giant Mall. Everything was for sale, be it rare psychedelic drugs form the former Netherlands, or Dishwasher Slaves. Another thing worth mentioning would be the strange and secretive religion found in this place. Only a few chosen outsiders were able to witness these disturbing and dark cults, like the sacrifice of a virgin in front of a horrific Idol, part Donkey, part Dog, part Cat, and part Rooster.
Being right in the way of one of the ocean currents that brought millions of floating US-Zombies over the Atlantic, didn’t actually rise Irelands quality of living (except you count non-living). Pretty soon everyone had a shotgun, and “Zombie killing” was added to the School curriculum. After the Age of gloom had ended Ireland, next to Russia, remained the only country with an active Zombie-Party, which even managed to get into parliament, because some people were convinced that “Brains!” was a slogan for a better education policy.
16) Caliphat of Fihr, Hafiz and Latif
A large empire stretching from turkey to Iran, ruled by three Brothers… actually it was ruled by their Mother who told them to be nice to each other and brotherly share power and responsibility, OR ELSE.
17) Icelandic Think Tank
Far away from the rest of the troubled world a group of scientists and transhumanists were able to establish a safe space in which they could come up with ways to bring back civilization and the lost technological progress.
Together with other Island based research and action communities, like Japan, Madagascar, and Jamaica, they decided to send out Science and Humanism preaching Robots, and monitor the unfolding development every ten years, a time which they would spend in already invented Cryostasis Chambers.
The operation as a whole was a success, and after 200 years the 2nd Singularity happened, sadly many of the architects of that new age suffered from freezer burn.
18) New Russian Empire
The founder of this large empire was Tsar Ivan Popov , re-killer of Zombies, smasher of Mutants, builder of prosperity, and guardian of the one true faith (which he changed at least two times), but the most influential Tsar was his Son; Peter the straight. Peter was a Patron of Architecture, 200 prisons were built under his rule, a great writer, he wrote books like “People I want dead”, and “People who are dead to me”, but he was most famous for really hating homosexuals.
To get rid of them he invented an antidote for gayness (mainly consisting of mercury), outlawed “fabulous” men’s wear, and introduced a gay-test, which was a requirement to get an ox-wagon license. Peter died only 7 years into his reign, he was found in an airtight latex suit, surrounded by gay-porn magazines, his death was treated as murder.
If the times get harder people need good times to balance everything out, and this place was made to serve that purpose. The Highlands were the largest producer of psychedelic drugs (for sacral use in church), and all sorts of other drugs (for profane use everywhere else). Especially the area of the former Netherlands was turned into a Marihuana and Mushroom Plantation, since Tulips were not that high in demand anymore.
20) Middle Eastern Republic
A strategic alliance formed to fight the threat of the Sea-Mutants and the seaborne Zombies, if both are not present fighting will be continued on the inside against each other. Since the government knew about that, they rented parts of Crete and built a Zombie-factory there to supply their country with a steady flow of moaning terror.
This country got out of the Age of gloom almost unscratched, the bikers from the north were kept away with a ransom paid in shape of a pile of porn movies, on the beach per year, the Undead were fighting a meaningless war to get the Nazis brains, and the Fleet from the Mahmoudian Caliphate was too afraid of the strategically positioned Hot Dog Stands around the border.
22) Republic of Republics of You-go-Slavia
To stop further Wars which were common in this region until the 10th year of the Age of gloom it was decided that everyone should become a state of his/her own, with territory and all, and try to get along with each other as well as possible. A crazy sounding Idea that worked well. People were friendly since everyone signed a mutual assistance pact with other ”States”, an no one knew if you wouldn’t be beaten up by someone else for kicking your neighbor’s dog, but at least you would receive a declaration of war first.
Greece became a loose federation of city-states, each with its own form of government, besides a few hundred invasion attempts by the Caliphate nothing really happened, but the mutated Lifeforms were awesome. Three headed dogs, winged horses, one eyed Giants, Men with Horse bodies, Fish with a woman’s head, and furthermore a politician with a spine.
A community of People who were sure the Downfall of the old World was caused by reliance on technology and therefore it was necessary to return to the roots and live a simple life close to nature. After two years everyone died from measles.
25) Middle SpainAlmost all Records of the events during the Age of Gloom were lost, only one work on history was recovered. It tells the Story of a couple of dwarfs and a large bearded Guy who are trying to throw jewelry into a Volcano.