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This Day in Science Fiction History: 23 October

Fireball from nuclear impact near Boston, Massachusetts. Vantage point near Vault 81. From the video game Fallout 4.
Fireball from a nuclear impact near Boston, Massachusetts. Vantage point near Vault 81 (© Bethesda Softworks 2015)

Fictional Entry—Saturday, October 23, 2077

The Sino-American War (2066-2077), also known as World War III, had lasted for almost eleven years. The first act of the war had been the invasion of Alaska by Chinese forces under the command of General Jingwei. This surprise attack cut off American access to the Alaskan oil pipelines, wells, and stockpiled reserves.

Unable to effectively defend the state, American forces retreat. The government of the United States pressures Canada to allow military access on land and in its airspace. The Canadian government finally acquiesced in early 2067. Between 2068 and 2072, tensions between the US and Canada rose, culminating in a sabotage mission against the reclaimed Trans-Alaskan Pipeline by Canadian rebel forces. On June 3, 2072, the United States Army began annexation of Canada. lead to the military annexation of Canada which concluded in January of 2077.

The Chinese were not able to make further headway into Alaska. This stalemate continued until 2074 when the United States launched a massive invasion of mainland China. By early 2077, the T051 power armor had been successfully developed and deployed. These armors allowed for the liberation of Anchorage and the death of General Jingwei. The armored suits were sent to mainland China. They did not fare as well there, as the Chinese army was able to prevent serious inroads into the country. Both sides used chemical and biological attacks during this stage of the war.

Fearful of nuclear retaliation for the invasion, the President of the United States and members of his staff flew to a deep-sea oil rig 175 miles off the coast of California. They renamed the rig The Enclave. This led to the Chinese deploying their submarine navy, including the Ghost Fleet (stealth ballistic missile submarines) into attack positions.

The Great War began with the sighting of Chinese submarines and ships off the coast of California at 00:03 EST by the US Navy Pacific Fleet. At 03:37 EST, radar sites in Alaska along the Detection and Early Warning (DEW) radar line spotted squadrons of high-altitude bombers crossing the Bering Strait. Naval and Air Force units prosecuted the discovered vessels to no avail. At 09:13 EST, the Integrated Operational Nuclear Detection System at NORAD detected the four missile launches. The military shifted to DEFCON 2. Under scenario MX-CN91, the President ordered a retaliatory nuclear strike against China.

At 09:42 EST, nuclear missiles struck Pennsylvania and New York. Less than a minute later, impacts were reported on the West Coast. Washington D.C. was obliterated at 09?:47 EST. With the destruction of the capital and command structure, most American facilities, both governmental and military, were offline.

Though lasting less than twelve hours, the Great War was the most destructive conflict of all time. Billions of people died in the blasts and the resulting collapse of society. Earth’s biosphere was ravaged, the climate shifted due to the increased cloud cover, and most of the world became a wasteland filled with mutated lifeforms and ruins of once-prosperous nations.

Fallout series

Video Game

Bethesda Softworks


This Day in Science Fiction History examines notable events, real and fictional, concerning fantasy and science fiction in various media.


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