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Baetylus 2000VC04 Impact Event

Baetylus 2000VC04 Impact Event

Baetylus 2000VC04, commonly referred to as Baetylus approximately 400 meters in diameter and responsible for the Baetylus 2000VC04 Impact Event that occured in 2001.

Dr Shristi Thapa while being with the Space Administration of Athara Magarat (SAAM), first discovered Baetylus on November 12th, 2000, further research was conducted across the isles with its primary observer being the Balniki Aerospace Institute. Further research predicted that the asteroid's orbit would cross the Earth's, making it a potentially hazardous object (PHO).

Two months later on January 6th, the Balniki Aerospace Institute announced the appearance of the asteroid and its high probability of striking the planet with Gael and Eastern Argus projected to suffer the most damage. Due to the time restraints the nations of the Isles had to prepare and the scattered nature of the nations within Aerospace treaties, the asteroid entered the atmosphere as predicted on December 3rd, 2001. Within a week 50,000 lives were lost in Balnik alone, plunging the country into unrest.

Discovery and Pre-Impact

Red is the median flight line of the fragments.
Blue is the projected fragment impact zone.
Green is where impacts have been confirmed.

Researchers at the Space Administration of Athara Magarat led by Dr Shristi Thapa, discovered Baetylus in November, 2000. Further research conducted by the Balniki Aerospace Institute using computer simulations concluded that Baetylus would impact enter the Roche limit on December 3rd, 2001. Although the asteroid was wide it was speculated that the composition of the asteroid was weak and fragile with most of the fragments burning up in the atmosphere. However it was predicted that debris that did make it through would strike from the north to central Isles.

The BAI reported this to its parent branch, the Armed Forces of Balnik, which the was reported directly to Andre Chernobog, leader of the nation. Chernobog decided to hold onto this information for two months to assess the validity and accuracy of the findings and to not cause panic and disarray within the populace and nations.

On January 6th, 2000, Director of the BAI, Dr. Rovič Belgradi, disclosed the information of the impending impact to the public and a press release that shook citizens all over Balnik. Chernobog, predicting that the nations of the world would not be able to cooperate and form a defensive measure, and given the time limit, envisioned a shelter program to be acted out all across the major urban areas of the nation. The program fell short of its intended goals, with shelters only being build in Rustov, Zokol, Kayan, Zojina, and Chernogreb, each one capable of holding 50,000 to 100,000 persons.

Impact and Aftermath.

Clockwise from top left; Ostrov Island Crater, Pride Crater in Cinnigrad, Kotlumi Crater, Zeleny Crater.

As predicted, on December 3rd, 2001, Baetylus broke through the Roche limit. The asteroid spent two days orbiting the planet at a decaying rate before plummeting into the atmosphere, breaking apart into fragments that burnt in the atmosphere, with some, breaking through and crashing into the Southern Sea. Unfortunately some fragments struck land, with Balnik bearing the heaviest of the bombardment, with 4 craters hitting the Kotlumi mountains, The Zeleny Forest, Ostrov Island, and the most devastating being Cinnigrad, which plunged the downtown area into the sea and destroyed the majority of the city. 50,000 civilians were killed in Balnik and many more went to become refugees. In Townside a stray piece that orbited the planet came down and struck land, creating Fei Hua Lake with minimal casualties. In Dormill and Stiura, stray orbital fragments hit the country with unknown casualties. the 6th of December the last fragment crashed into the Lotus sea, ending the bombardment and reign of Baetylus.

The aftermath of the impacts weighed down on Balnik as the nation struggled to recover, Cinnigrad, a major industrial and economic hub for the city, was destroyed, and the nation faced a material shortage as its resources went to construction of the shelters. Aid did come in from Altera, Segentova, and Townside, this prevented the nation from collapsing completely but also supported the Fascist government. This resulted in mass unrest and unprecedented political upheaval. The impacts eventually led to Operation Operation Cleaning of Stained Floors, of which paramilitary forces belonging to the Balniki National Socialist Party, detained and executed several armed forces leaders in fear of an imminent coup. Chernobog consolidated his power and directed the hatred among the populace towards Gael, citing their neglect during the strikes and exploitation during the Gael Economic Crash.

The end of 2000 and all of 2001 would be marked by the discovery of the Near-Earth Asteroid Baetylus 2000VC04 and the further discovery of a possible impact event. President Granger, in a then unprecedented move, coordinated with the Balniki government and that of multiple other Isles nations to respond to the crisis, leading the formation of an impromptu council of nations as a forum to respond to the impending crisis. When the news broke that the asteroid had a high likelihood of impacting within Gael, Congress initially debated the veracity of the information given its Balniki source, but was soon convinced when the Doraltic Space Sciences Institute and United Republics Air Force Space Service corroborated the Balniki and Magrati reports, confirming the near certainty that the asteroid would intersect Earth’s orbit low enough that it could pass through the Roche Limit and break up.

Knowledge and fear in hand, Congress quickly passed legislation to redirect federal funds into a “Doraltic National Emergency Response Fund” and direct the United Republics Army to begin construction of shelters across the nation to house as much of the population as possible in the event an impactor struck major population centers. In order to ease the building national panic, the Granger Government spent enormous time and effort on various campaigns to assure the public that the asteroid is not large enough to survive atmospheric entry and that any possible fragments would be too small to pose a threat to national integrity. The resulting economic slowdown caused by the initial panic combined with a market that was falling apart did serious damage to Granger’s overall status as President, dipping well under 45% approval by the nation in mid-August through early September, with elements of the Doraltic right wing casting doubt at the threat Baetylus posed to the nation and the proportion of response the federal government provided.

By September, tracking of Baetylus and its possible fragments painted a grim picture for Dormill and Stiura, with its largest population centers in Kapolder, Boissieux, and Launey all at risk for direct impacts as powerful as a nuclear bomb. By then, the Army had completed enough shelters across the nation to house up to 3 million people for the entire week of the expected impact, these shelters were focused primarily in the urban areas surrounding the Kapolder Bay. In addition to the underground shelters, the Army had also constructed or made plans to requisition the use of several post-impact shelters, mostly to process the people who could not enter an underground bunker or lost property in the impacts themselves. When the Congress prepared to enter recess at the end of October 2001, President Granger exercised for the first and so far only time the Presidential power to compel the continued attendance of Congress, seeking to pass further legislation relating to the crisis and calm concerns from the public that Congress would abandon Cour Rouge for other destinations to ride out the impacts.

By November, the predicted path of impact was solidly confirmed and preparations began to wind down, further construction of impact shelters would cease by mid-November, the Army claiming that it would be impossible to complete further meaningful work before Impact Day in early December. When impacts began on 6 December, millions of Dormill-Stiuraians huddled in impact shelters across the nation, fearing the worst as news filtered in of impacts across the Southern Sea and then Balnik.

Ultimately, there would be seven total major impacts across Dormill and Stiura, with several more minor impacts. The closest any impactor would reach a major population center was the first, impacting over a hundred kilometers from the city of Temple, while the most severe impact would be Van Curan Valley meteorite, with an equivalent energy output of 700+kt of TNT. As a result of the following Earthquakes, a significant part of Temple, Broons, and Enoire were damaged or destroyed and up to 5000 people lost their lives in the immediate week following, mostly from injuries sustained from collapsing structures in Temple and Broons. In the end, the United Republics suffered a billion dollars in damaged and destroyed property, 9418 dead from the immediate impact and events relating directly to them, and several million hectares of burned or glassed land.

As 2001 finally ended, Dormill and Stiura threw itself headfirst into the international reconstruction effort, sending the bulk of funds saved up from the National Emergency Relief Fund allocated to international aid to Balnik, alongside dedicating several waves of economic stimulus across Gael to restart national economies. This provided a significant political win to Doraltic Conservatives, who advocated now would be the perfect time for the government to get its foot off the neck of the economy, and allow the free market to reset itself. Given the options, President Granger reluctantly agreed to a massive spending bill that saw the Doraltic Government continue pumping money into the nation to kickstart the economy, but also made significant tax cuts, especially to the uppermost individual brackets and across the board regarding business incomes. The 2002 Spending Bill also included ride-alongs that loosened restrictions that aimed to cede control of the Doraltic economy to private interests.

Simultaneous to these efforts, Dormill and Stiura also reaffirmed its commitment to RTEA and sought out agreements to ease economic barriers, efforts which would eventually bear fruit in the form of several bilateral and multilateral trade agreements across the Isles. However, the crisis would not be averted, as the sudden and severe shock the nation took would bring tensions previously left behind back to the surface.

Today the impacts have etched themselves into history, both cultural and physically, with craters being a ubiquitous feature of Balnik and the sight of a destroyed Cinnigrad being a national symbol of loss and mourning.
December 6th is regarded as holiday and day of remembrance and grieving for those that lost their lives, homes, friends, and family.