Rust Never Sleeps
I’ve jiggered about with the Cyberpunk 2020 backstory, as in the baseline setting, Chicago is a desolate wasteland, which seems unfair. I also made some other changes, more or less “to taste”. Obviously we’re looking at some fairly significant divergences anyway, considering that 2020 is now closer to us than the publication date of the core rules.
Grigory Romanov succeeds Konstantin Chernenko as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, defeating Mikhail Gorbachev. Romanov pursues a strategy of confrontation with the West.
The USA intervenes militarily in Central America, sparking the First Central American War. It lasts until 1990. NATO begins to fragment.
European Space Agency tests Hermes spaceplane prototype. Soviet Buran shuttle completes first manned flight.
Bioengineered plague released by DEA, causing the near-extinction of coca and opium plants. Collapse of several South American economies is an unintended side effect. Synthetic replacements for cocaine and heroin soon become available.
Prototypes of what will eventually become the AV-4 vectored-thrust aerodyne are first deployed to deal with urban unrest in the United States. ESA begins construction of massdriver in Africa with the cooperation of the Pan-African Union.
World Stock Market Crash of ’94. US economy collapses.
President and vice-president killed in separate cities during food riots. Imposition of martial law in the United States. US suspends grain shipments to Soviet Union, causing famine.
1 in 4 Americans are now homeless. First appearances of “boostergangs”.
With the USA and USSR paralyzed, war breaks out in the Middle East, escalating to the use of WMDs. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Chad, and the UAE are reduced to subsistence levels of existence by crushing NBC attacks. Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt survive as political entities, but with massive loss of life. The world oil supply is reduced by half. Toxic spills in Pacific Northwest cripple fishing industry.
ESA establishes lunar colony and begins construction of a massdriver. Federal Weapons statute established in the United States.
Milennial cults run amok on January 1. First “extended family” posergangs formed. ESA begins work on “Crystal Palace” station at L-5.
Second Central American War. As the US economy shakily regains its footing, the USA invades Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela to overthrow left-aligned governments that have sprung up between 1994-2000. War (more or less) drags on until 2008, a bloody quagmire that claims thousands of lives.
First viable cybernetic limbs debut.
Great Britain is now the only remaining US partner in NATO, though US forces are grudgingly allowed to remain in Germany.
First Corporate War: Euro Business Machines destroys Kenjiri Technologies.
First human clone grown in-vitro. It lives for six hours.
Braindance developed at UC-Santa Cruz. Second Corporate War: Petrochem and other firms clash over South China Sea oil fields. Near the end of the year, the Soviet Ministry of Oil and Gas enters the conflict.
US resentment over Soviet intervention in the Second Corporate War, rising gas prices at home, and the capture of a Soviet adviser in Central America lead to the Three Week War (USA)/Orbital War (Europe).
US and Soviet forces clash in the Pacific and the Barents Sea, with US netrunners in ultralights attempting to hack into the Red Banner Northern Fleet computer complexes in Leningrad and Murmansk. The missions end in disaster.
Many US, British, and Soviet warships are lost in action.
The USAF destroys Soviet space station MIR XII in low earth orbit. In retaliation, New York is hit by a small nuclear-tipped cruise missile fired from a Soviet OSCAR II-class submarine. Thousands upon thousands die.
ESA ends the war by firing rocks from the Tycho massdriver on the moon; one destroys Colorado Springs and NORAD, and the other destroys Bryansk and the PVO air defense command HQ there. Many thousands of civilians perish.
UK plunges into civil war and anarchy; Royal Family is executed or driven into exile, quasi-feudal military-led Martial Law Authority takes over country, divides into separate areas of responsibility.
End of Martial Law in the USA, first presidential elections since 1992.
Joint Euro-African mission to Mars departs. Former Warsaw Pact states break away and join EEC. Soviet Union still exists in rump form (Russia, Georgia, and Ukraine), begins economic “shock therapy” and transition to market economy. German reunification.
Crystal Palace finally completed.
Anti-Arasaka riots in Night City.
Third Corporate War. Fought almost entirely in the ’net.
Restoration of the Monarchy in UK. Queen Victoria II (latterly Princess Beatrice of York), takes the throne.