Pre-St. Petersburg Atrocity (2160-2163)
Local wars broke out across the world after the dissolution of the UN in 2160, a consequence of its paralysis in the face of widespread hyperclass atrocities. The Freedom Alliance (FA) formed from the “Detached” nations responsible for those acts shortly thereafter, and most of the countries which walked out of the UN in protest chose to form the United Front (UF) in response.
The most prominent of the early conflicts was the Second Civil War in the United States, a fitting end to two centuries of Pax Americana.
World War III (2163-2171)
After the St. Petersburg Atrocity in 2163, the global magical girl union “MSY” finally cracked in two, and the world at large abandoned all attempts at reestablishing peace. The FA and UF mobilized their gathered forces, concentrating on the battles for the US and EU.
Imagined ever since the end of WWII as the likely end for Humanity, WWIII defied expectations and instead mirrored its ancestors in scope and destruction—which is to say, horrors on a scale hardly comprehensible, but not cataclysmic. Technological factors can explain this to a degree: anti-ballistic defenses neutered several nuclear exchanges, and chemical weapons proved ineffective against drones and armored infantry. Yet the key factor appears to have been, surprisingly, restraint. A lingering hope, perhaps, that the cost of victory would not be so high. Of course, that wouldn’t last.
A Limited Peace (2171-2175)
Though the FA nations had been dominant in the opening stages of WWIII, two core weaknesses eventually forced them to sue for peace. First, their populations, which had already revolted in the 2150s, supported their governments only in fear of further retribution. Sabotage, desertion, and even plain exhaustion made them a burden rather than an asset. Second, the vast majority of the MSY had sided with the UF, and it was leveraging every ounce of its combat, intelligence, and economic forces to bear. While its combat potential was limited by the relatively low MG population and the masquerade, the Soul Guard was second to none and the MSY’s conglomerates rivaled major nations in production.
The result: Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and the Levant all fell into UF hands, and a promising FA offensive in the United States stalled into a bloody stalemate. While conflict continued in some pockets after WWIII, the immense economic and political strains of the war prevented the UF from pressing its advantage.
World War IV (2175-2179)
Unfortunately for those doves who remained, the FA was not about to give up, and it had an advantage of its own: sheer depravity. WWIV opened with a mostly unmitigated barrage of WMDs, delivered to UF military and civilian targets by improved orbital weaponry and, often, hand delivery, courtesy of FA magical girls radicalized by MSY assassinations. The UF officially refused to support the use of WMDs against civilians, but the FA’s onslaught brought many governments to the breaking point, most notably China and Russia, and rogue generals, splinter factions, and despairing MGs all responded to the FA in kind.
By 2179, almost all UF governments had collapsed, civilizations shattered, as infrastructure, rule of law, and populations began to dissolve. The FA was only able to snatch modest gains before peace became necessary, however, itself being an equal in disaster.
Nevertheless, there was no desire for that peace. The UF Emergency Defense Council (EDC), formed secretly in 2180, took over the remains of the UF and immediately began not just rebuilding its share of humanity, but reshaping it—by 2189, few UF soldiers were fully organic, and the first Spinal Node Tactical Advisors (SNTAs) were in early development. Civilian implants for improved survivability were freely available as well, with an eye towards eventual universal adoption. In the now-consolidated FA, considerably less thought was given to the starving masses, but even more radical reimaginings of humanity had, after decades, finally begun to yield fruit…
World War V (2189-2215)
Though WWV also saw the mass deployment of WMDs, they did not define the conflict. Both sides had developed new tactical and strategic countermeasures which only grew in effectiveness as the war raged on. Instead, the battle centered on the ever more enhanced soldiers that fought, agonizingly, in often-small engagements distributed over vast swaths of the burning globe.
Behind the scenes, the MSY moved in for the kill on the FA MGs that had been so instrumental in both the successful deployment of WMDs and, later, the development of the FA Elites. Against this shadow war and the renewed strength of the UF population, the FA began, inexorably, to lose.
Refugee Crisis (2215-2218)
The FA’s antipathy towards their remaining populations and the wide, sparse fronts of WWV finally made escape possible for those who wished it. As the war went on and tales of UF’s open acceptance of refugees filtered back, the initial trickle became a torrent, despite extreme casualty rates. As the balance of power decisively shifted towards the UF, a deal was struck: the UF would accept a short peace and very limited territory gains in exchange for the safe, free passage of all FA citizens who wished to leave.
This quickly amounted, naturally, to the greatest human migration in history, surpassed only in raw numbers by the Second Colonization Wave, and never yet superseded in proportion. The FA was glad to shift such obvious encumbrance to the UF, having come to depend on its loyal cloned Elites and Volokhov-noncompliant AIs anyway. The EDC, for its part, knew that the territory sacrifices and economic burdens of the deal meant little. It had gained Humanity.
The Cleanse (2218-2230)
Often called the “Kiyomemasu”, a matching piece of the Japanese phrase “Tamashi no Sekai wa Kiyomemasu ga” (魂の世界は清めますが), which translates roughly to “Cleansing of the World’s Soul”. That expression itself dates all the way back to 2163, though its provenance in the MSY’s first declaration of war only became clear much later.
The terms of WWV’s Treaty of Paris complete, the UF began rooting out the remnants of the FA hyperclasses, methodically conquering the now ruined and largely uninhabited wastelands of their kingdoms. The enslaved Elites and AIs fought unwaveringly, employing guerilla tactics to slow the assault as FA militaries began to crumble, and the powerful MGs which still survived did likewise. There were few willing to surrender, and many desperate to hide; the UF was forced to handle both.
The last FA stronghold in South America fell, on Unification Day, in 2230. The ecosphere was on the verge of collapse, perhaps fully one-third of Earth was uninhabitable, rogue MGs, Elites, and AIs still roamed the wastes, and Humanity’s population had dropped to below half its pre-war maximum. Nevertheless, it was victory.