|WHAT HAPPENED TO CAUSE RIFTShui?|
Well, the Rifts happened, when, after enough centuries of attacking Feng Shui sites, the Jammers finally snuffed the last source of Feng Shui. As good and bad chi declined over the couple of centuries, the Buro fell out of power, as did the other major factions. They still each managed to maintain power, but without their Feng Shui sites, things weren't going their way. Factions and nations rose against each other, building up for a massive war. At the same time, in a small laboratory in Texas, a hundred or so miles south of Amarillo, Texas, a group of Techies had discovered the last remaining Feng Shui site, a place positively rippling with energy, with a nearly permanent juncture opening to the Netherworld. The best minds that the Ascended, the Buro, the Dragons and the Guiding Hand had on hand were present, knowing that if this site fell, the world would be lost, as would any chance to keep in contact with other junctures.
The Jammers had other plans. With an army of cyberapes, dump warriors, and other various rag-tag anti-chi terrorists, they hit the Lone Star Complex on December 22, 2098. Their brethren simultaneously launched briefcase nuke attacks on several cities to cause the war which would leave them as the one true master power of humanity.
Things went wrong. Really wrong.
The Jammers launched their attack, wiping out the defenses of the Lone Star Complex. One cunning team managed to sweep a path through into the main Feng Shui containment complex, kept secure by artificial means, and killed the staff (all but three actually). Others fought in the halls, in brutal hand to hand combat. But the main team locked on their weapon to the last Feng Shui site on Earth and fired, timed down to a T to when their brothers would detonate their weapons in various cities.
The juncture opening collapsed, the Feng Shui site crippled, and chi energy EXPLODED with a buzzing and crackling throughout the air. Only one lone Magic Cop and two Techies survived, and what they saw was horrifying. The Feng Shui site collapsed, and then suddenly erupted with enormous energy. Everyone but them (the Magic Cop's Fertility field protecting them from Bad Chi) was vaporized, even the Jammers. The Chi hurtled through the complex, polarizing doors and equipment, locking them shut, turning them off, powering everything down. The backwash of Chi shattered from the Lone Star complex as nuclear weapons and armies hurtled themselves at each other.
Reality, already shaken around the Earth by the destruction of its sources of Chi, was shredded even further when the backwash of Chi spread out, punching holes in reality where nuclear warheads went off, or where old, destroyed Feng Shui sites were annihilated. As millions died, Chi was released and pumped into a dying world, and Magic erupted again. Supernatural creatures hurtled out of impromptu juncture openings which seemed to stretch across entire multiverses. They feasted on magic, and the occasional innocent bystanders, releasing more Chi. A huge area of Japan disappeared, and was actually transported hundreds of years into the future! St. Louis' arch became an invulnerable juncture opening... except, now, to non-innerwalkers, it wasn't a juncture opening, it was called a Rift.
The Lodge suffered the most. Nearly every Transformed Animal who lived along a Dragon (or as they were now called, Ley) Line suddenly was changed back into their native creatures. Those who weren't holed up tight with literal armies of their Pledged. The only ones not affected were the dragons... they finally returned to being themselves again. Free, they began exploring the universe, and this strange new, post-apocalyptic world. They had long lived among humans, and even today (in Rifts time) most dragons have a strong affinity for humans.
Angry, feeling betrayed by the dragons, the remaining members of the Ascended vowed to wage a war on all supernatural beings. But, the Transformed Animals were dying out. Magical enemies, natural selection, and wary hostility from the remaining Pledged weeded them out, until the last few were transformed back into the wild beasts from whence they came or executed by the Pledged. No longer, vowed the Pledged, would we be controlled by non-human forces. What was once a war merely on magic became a war on all things not human. Taking their cues from their former masters, the Pledged formed a new society, one which rose to power under Joseph Prosek the First.
Now, they were the Coalition. They knew how to forge without needing the Chi which had destroyed their world. They had the organization and technology to protect themselves from the evil invaders. And woe unto any who stood in the way of their might.
Life, for the Innerwalkers changed very little except for a few things. Now, Feng Shui sites were much easier to find, just follow the dragon lines to the huge crackling nexi. But, when they got there, often times there were unstable Rifts or junctures, or some powerfull being who sat in control of the Nexus. Usually this someone was able to wield enormous sorcerous or psionic powers, and had assorted mooks and other nasty henchmen on their side.
Arcanowave Technology was broken down and re-analyzed. ARB was scarce since the fall of the Buro, but, quick thinking Techies and Sorcerers managed to revived the basic principles, once again melding magic and superscience into the art called Technowizardry. And, without ARB implants and I/O ports, the chances of mutation dropped off dramatically. Unfortunately, the users now had to have powerful Chi of their own.
New types of warriors arose, but there's no reason the old types had to pass on. Cybernetics were advanced again without Arcanowave or magic involved. Robotics was further developed, and powered armor and giant robot vehicles were made prevalent.
The Secret War ended with the Apocalypse and the Coming of the Rifts. But the need for heroes never went away.
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