In 1908 a spacecraft of unfathomable size and power accidently entered Earth’s atmosphere on an unchangeable crash course. It broke apart in the atmosphere, smaller parts of the ship raining down across the western hemisphere but the majority of the ship, some few miles of steel and advanced engines colliding into Siberia. The imminent shockwave could be felt as far as the Middle East, destroyed windows as far as Europe and was most likely heard by every person on the planet. Thousands of miles of the surrounding forests were flattened, far east cities were completely levelled. The collision caused an almost mile-wide crater around the ship and sent up millions of tons of ash and smoke that quickly spread throughout the atmosphere, shrouding much of the Earth in darkness.
The Longest Night
Skies across the world went completely black and the temperature dropped dramatically. After the first week, much of the plant life on Earth was perishing and dying without sunlight and the constant rain of ash was choking them. After the first month, most of the animal life on Earth was now dying without plant life and other smaller prey to hunt, not to mention the lack of sun or a day-night cycle drove many of the animals insane. After three months much of the world’s food had been depleted, what little was left was seized by governments and rationed in extremely small amounts to the populace – expect those most ‘deserving’ got top priority. Much of the world’s population has been halved at least from starvation. Riots break out in many cities – those that are now left and the few governments left become extremely authoritarian to maintain peace – and power.
Just after a year later the black clouds dissipated and sunlight shone again on Earth’s surface but with it brought a new threat: the ship had infact been carrying untold billions of alien insect life, of various size and shape and intelligence and lethality which had been dormant during the darkness but now awoken and immediately began attacking and preying on the local wildlife. The remaining armies were now occupied with fending off hoards of insects, as parts of the ship landed everywhere the insects could be found anywhere on Earth, but the majority came from the East. Any contact with eastern Europe and beyond long ago lost. Intelligent insects made first contact with the humans, some cities more welcoming and open to them than others and a few treating them no differently than all the feral hoards (therefore killing them too), they helped lead expeditions to parts of the ship and the cities used the recovered technology to greatly excel their own technology.
The year is 1918.
In Western Europe there is relative safety, with some pockets of insect life that persist eradication, massive farms have been built across northern France, southern England and western Germany to provide for the millions that lived packed into the cities, guard constantly from insect or bandit attack. Technology has progressed greatly though still has the feel and aesthetics of the era, dissidence and unrest grows in the lower classes but with little hope of ever up-rising from overbearing militaries. Insects from the ship that were more intelligent and sought refuge in the cities have now become fully integrated with human society, some even in positions of quite some power.
Tens of thousands of soldiers man long ravelling defence lines strewn across Europe prepared for the event of a war between the two Empire remnants, as well as being useful for cutting up and isolating the insects and stopping them reaching cities. Divisions of slow lumbering tanks and soldiers scour the wasteland for the more dangerous colossal insects that can reach the size of skyscrapers. By bands of brave well-paid soldiers and explorers are sent on expeditions into lands unknown to try and make contact with other settlements and retrieve alien technology.