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Official Timeline (from X-COM Interceptor Manual)
--------- Interlude --------- 2002 ---- After the war, X-COM establishes aquatic bases. These are used as staging areas for undersea salvage missions to find UFOs downed in the war. The primary goal of the search teams - is to locate and obtain as much Elerium-115 as possible. This mineral, the source of power for all alien weapons, ships, and so on, is extremely rare and is not indigenous to Earth. Over the course of the last several years, X-COM and other scientific and military groups have become to depend heavily on Elerium for new human technology. Unable to replicate the mineral, everyone involved is forced to rely on the rapidly dwindling supplies left over from the war. The governments of the world agree that the remaining Elerium supply should be used for the development of interstellar space travel. It is reasoned that, if we could make travel to other planets practical, we might find an unlimited supply of the precious material. ---- 2005 ---- The search for Elerium continues with little success. All of the UFOs that crashed on land have long since been plundered. Explorations of underwater alien wrecks has revealed an alarming property of Elerium-115: it becomes inert with prolonged exposure to sea water. Because there are still countless UFO crash sites yet to be explored, the search for viable caches of Elerium continues,unabated, but without much hope of success. The world's governments become focused on the steady increase in petty violence, overpopulation and worldwide pollution. These day-to-day problems overshadow thoughts of another alien invasion, and X-COM funding is drastically cut. Most of the bases are decommissioned. X-COM soldiers are pensioned off, and scientists return to civilian duty. As Elerium supplies continue to dwindle, all world governments restrict the mineral to military use. Terrorist groups who had managed to stash away some Elerium for their own nefarious purposes realize that they can profit greatly by selling their private supplies back to the government for a high price. The governments of the world eagerly participate in these deals with no questions asked. ---- 2009 ---- A manned mission to Mars is launched. An X-COM team composed of both scientists and soldiers sweeps the area around the Cydonia base out to a distance of one hundred kilometres in every direction. Afterwards, the Avenger transport craft orbits the planet for an additional fourteen hours, running a series of surface scans. Finding no further evidence of alien life, the Avenger craft returns to Earth. The world governments tighten the Elerium ban, reserving all remaining Elerium supplies for weapons use only. The last of the X-COM Avenger space craft is donated to the Smithsonian institute in Washington DC where it replaces Lindbergh's "Spirit of '76" in one of the main displays halls of the Air and Space Museum. ---- 2010 ---- Earth's supply of Elerium is exhausted. With no viable power source, all research into transtellar travel is abandoned. Instead, all space flight research is focused on developing interplanetary travel within our own solar system in hopes of developing the ability to build of world colonies to ease the overpopulation of Earth. Meanwhile, several groups of scientists around the world independently begin work on developing substitute for Elerium-115. Even the most optimistic members of the scientific community hold little hope for the project, since funding is nearly no-existent. ---- 2012 ---- There has been no UFO or alien activity now for nearly nine years. With the world's financial crisis becoming critical, the X-COM organization is officially disbanded. Although it is not dismantled, the X-COM War Room, a sophisticated monitoring centre at the Pentagon used for co- ordinating worldwide X-COM operations during the war, is placed on automatic. The monitors are now scheduled to be checked only once a week, and even this low-priority task is frequently ignored. F. Denman Williams, wealthy software tycoon and entrepreneur, fearing that the alien crisis is not over, purchases one of X-COM's underwater bases, Ocean Base 1, and retains its military and scientific staff. This base, operating under the corporate name of S.O.R.E.S.O. (the Sub-Oceanic Reconnaissance and Extraterrestrial Salvage Operation) continues to catalogue underwater UFO crash sites and search for Elerium deposits among the wrecks. --------- 2013-2038 --------- The world's financial woes continue, as global unemployment rises to an all-time high. Deforestation and uncontrolled urban growth continue to destroy the environment at an unprecedented rate. Most cities ban the use of private vehicles entirely in an attempt to improve air quality. Starting in 2015, there is a worldwide political upheaval. The poorer nations of the world become unable to support themselves, and their governments fall. In response, powerful nations begin to annex their foundering neighbours, forming huge political conglomerates. For the most part, these acquisitions are seen as positive and proceed peacefully. The one dramatic exception to the merging of political powers is the People's Republic of Alaska, which is formed when Alaska secedes from the United States in 2026. By 2027, there are only 16 distinct world governments. The deteriorating conditions on Earth and the governments' apparent inability to turn conditions around revives a sense of spirituality all over the world. In 2027, a radical new religion known a the Cult of Sirius arises. The cultists believe that humanity might well have destroyed any hope of salvation by repelling the alien occupation during the First Alien War. The Cult launches numerous deep-space probes in the early '30s, each of which carries a message begging their "alien saviours" to return to Earth and use their advanced technology to turn the human race from its path of self-destruction. Shortly after the interception of the Cult of Sirius, a counter-religion is also born. Known as The Inquisitors, this brutal organization opposes all things connected with the aliens. Their members dedicate their lives to seeking out and destroying all alien-based technology and anyone with a connection to the aliens. Because of their diametric opposition to the Cult of Sirius, skirmishes between the two religious organizations are inevitable. The infighting between the groups escalates into an all-out religious war in 2036, which results in the collapse of The Inquisitors. The Cult of Sirius continues preaching their pro-alien rhetoric, but become much less openly aggressive. ---- 2039 ---- Shipping and civilian travel organizations all over the world become concerned, as surface vessels and aircraft begin to disappear with alarming frequency on the world's oceans. Scientists explain the disappearances as natural-magnetic anomalies, freak storms, and the like. Reports of strange submersible vehicles spotted at the sites of some of the disappearances are dismissed by the government, but not by the general public. Responding to tabloid accounts of a possible new alien invasion, there is a public outcry for the governments of the world to reactivate X-COM as a precautionary measure. Amid promises that, "the matter will be taken under advisement," government officials proceed to ignore the public's demands. Activity at S.O.R.E.S.O. Ocean Base 1 is stepped up to an all-time high. Although their main mission is still the exploration of underwater UFO crash sites, occasional missions are launched to investigate new ship and aircraft disappearances. Investigations of nearly two dozen disappearance sites show no signs of alien activity, though the submersible available to the S.O.R.E.S.O. team generally take several hours to arrive at the site of a distress call. While investigation UFO Crash Site 137, near the wreck of the Titanic in the North Atlantic, the S.O.R.E.S.O. submarine Khimtar implodes and sinks under mysterious circumstances. Two months pass before the Khimtar's distress call to the Pentagon's X-COM War Room is discovered - a message ending in the prophetic words "I think they're back." ---- 2040 ---- In a deal with British Hydrospace and Sub-Arm Corporation, S.O.R.E.S.O. acquires the contact to test the new Barracuda and Triton submersible craft. After an initial high failure rate, the bugs are ironed out, and S.O.R.E.S.O. leases several of the craft. Spurred by growing public concern and the destruction of the Khimtar, the governments of the world covertly begin recruiting military personnel for assignment as aquanauts. Citing a little known reserve activation clause, the government takes control of S.O.R.E.S.O. an officially activates Ocean Base 1 as X-COM's new base of operations. Within days of X-COM's reactivation, Ocean Base 1 receives an urgent distress signal from the British passenger line Hyperion. A Barracuda sub is sent to investigate. In arriving at the site, Jake Burton, the Barracuda pilot, finds only a broken wreck. Within seconds after Burton exits his craft to investigate the wreck, X-COM abruptly loses contact with him. Later investigation of the scene by a second team shows signs that the Hyperion was sunk by some sort of unknown weapon. No sign of Burton or his craft are ever found.