After the war of 2076, several nations vanished from the Earth. The new continental government claimed the former United States, Mexico, and Canada as the peoples’ territory.
A giant Manx comet struck the Middle East disintegrating the Euphrates River and blanketing the Earth in gray soot. The protective layers of the fragile atmosphere became incapable of shielding life from the Sun. Rivers that remained after the 2076 event evaporated steadily. With a global need for fresh drinking water, the desalinization of seawater became a vital industry.
What no one could predict was how quickly the population and the altered atmosphere would consume the remaining surface water. Thinning, the world’s population became the only viable solution for the intensifying water problem. Military relocation campaigns targeted entire regions of the globe for mass extinction. Water reclamation became everything.
Assisted suicides paved the way for more civilized rituals referred to as Life Celebrations. At these festive parties, family and friends gathered to celebrate the elder surrendering their life. Many citizens felt the sacrifice ensured the survival of their remaining family members.
The government, never one to miss an opportunity, rode the coattails of popular dogma and began euthanizing prisoners and those with unwanted physical and emotional disabilities, culling the human herd and strengthening the stock.
All forms of organized religion were banned as a result of uncontrolled terrorist actions. The Catholic Church, having a powerful influence over its followers, held out the longest. Many cathedrals survived by converting to hospitals and dormitories for the orphaned of society.
Theology study was allowed under the guise of ancient historical studies. Small groups were rumored to follow the old religions despite strict laws. Of course, these rumors were largely ignored, as punishment for such lunacy was death.
The world’s population, reduced to one-eighth of its previous inhabitants, began a race to find a habitable planet reachable within a human lifespan. Several planets selected early in the process were later found incapable of supporting human life. The definition of a habitable zone was redefined many times. As each new planet dropped from the list of possibilities, the number of Life Celebrations increased.
Concentrated efforts in the areas of propulsion and human engineering allowed greater distances to be traversed at faster speeds. With the combined efforts of all humanity, several vital advances allowed citizens to carve out stable and prosperous lives in harsh conditions.
A highly educated population lives on the planet now with the common goal of finding a new Earth. Citizens choose a path of focus for their contribution to society and adhere to many laws, including family size and the use of natural resources. The punishment for a violent crime is death. Non-violent crimes require community atonement at a government-sanctioned re-education camp. In 2187, everyone understands and accepts these facts. There are people who oppose the system. These people live outside the cities and are known as the Reds.