The "cube phenomenon" is described as the first event of a period of disasters that would leave the Earth in a cube-like state, taking a massive number of lives.
It would then be followed by a second event, the "era of incarnates".
The chain of disastersEdit
The cube phenomenon, which first manifested in the early 21st century, was initially thought to be a mass perceptual distortion of unknown cause. Later, it would become a symbol of fear the world over.
Some time later, the first disaster struck: a meteorite impact in an urban area. The city struck was the site of the first observed instance of the cube phenomenon. When a second and third disaster followed soon after--also in places affected by cube phenomena--people began to notice the correlation.
In the days that followed, areas affected by the cubes were swiftly abandoned. While such mass evacuations greatly minimized the casualties caused by subsequent disasters, the losses from the first three were sufficient to spark worldwide panic. Meanwhile, the cubes remain in these marked cities even after the disasters have passed, standing as terrifying monuments.
In addition to claiming countless human lives, these disasters dealt a crippling blow to governmental and communications infrastructures, with several major world cities becoming ghost towns overnight. Their inhabitants moved on to new regions, founding cities there. Second New York, Neo Kowloon, and others rose as bustling new trade centers while their former counterparts were abandoned, devolving into lawless slums for those left behind.
Beyond the initial meteorite, disasters took the form of massive earthquakes, freak cold snaps and other weather anomalies, unprecedented outbreaks of mold, and a standing, persistent tornado. None have as yet been scientifically explained. In place of answers, rumors arose--most pointing the finger at incarnates. Lynch mobs took to the streets, with hysterical citizens killing incarnates on sight. As that fear and hatred of incarnates took ever-deeper root in the mainstream population, so too was resentment and anger building among incarnates. A wave of crimes perpetrated by incarnates followed, and the vicious cycle continued.
Today, the cube phenomenon is the subject of much research and investigation at every level, but humanity is no closer to understanding its cause. Most people have given up any hope of immediate answers. In the absence of scientifically-founded conclusions, the void has been filled with conspiracy theories blaming secret incarnate experiments performed by the US or EU. Others point to a written record from the 18th century of a duel carried out between alleged wizards wherein a similar phenomenon was said to have been observed for some three seconds' time. The scientific establishment dismisses it as hearsay and superstition, but others maintain it bears some connection to current events.
The Global Restoration Effort Edit
A recent chain of natural disasters continues to rock the world even now, but mankind has begun to adapt. The loss of airports and shipping centers dealt a huge blow to the world's transportation systems, while damage to undersea cables and communications satellites hobbled the flow of information. But with the world's governments struggling to assess the damage and preserve civil order, rebuilding infrastructure often had to take a back seat. A number of powerful private-sector companies stepped in to fill that void, seeing it as the perfect chance to place the government in their debt while expanding their market share. The restoration effort began to pick up speed, and today even conservative estimates show that at least 40% of the global infrastructure is back online.
On the information front, Indian industry giant Vikarāla Corporation's contributions were especially extensive, earning them widespread praise. In addition to opening three private satellites to public use, they distributed Vikarāla-made communications terminals to people the world over at no cost, and offered connection services at a greatly reduced cost, much to the joy of the masses. Despite the expenses this no doubt entailed, the corporation emerged with massive market share and an unimpeachable brand reputation. Today, they represent a global monopoly--no doubt the intention of Vikarāla's top executives from the start.
Meanwhile, in transportation, local and regional building efforts formed the majority of the restoration, with no mega corporation emerging as a clear leader. Instead, smaller businesses on the national and city level took the initiative, with many ultimately negotiating with the government over usage rights for the facilities they built in an effort to recoup their expenses.
And so has corporate greed pulled the battered world back onto its feet once more. With humanity having fought back the first wave of disasters, the world's governments now stand in a better position to take the lead in countering and recovering from the disasters still to come. For those private corporations who seized the opportunity to capitalize on the chaos, the future is looking bright.