In October of 1994, the Shellsbridge University and the University of Comona discovered the 1994XF04 Ulysses asteroid. It was on a collision course with Earth. The universities disclosed this information to the FCU, and the FCU asked for more information before they made this finding public. It was soon calculated that the asteroid was to strike on July 3, 1999.
Since Ulysses was expected to only cause major damage on the continent of Usea, the other countries of the world were determined in helping the world as much as possible. Dozens of superpowers - including Emmeria, Osea and Yuktobania, the latter two just coming out of their Cold War and the Belkan War - offered their assistance. Emmeria became the country with the largest number of refugees, and they developed numerous asteroid shelters. Many Emmerian citizens as well as citizens of other countries joined the Golden King in prayer in the months leading up to Ulysses Day.
On July 3, 1999, the world's efforts were put to the test. A couple of years prior, the FCU and IUA found out that Ulysses had a hollow center, which would cause it to split into numerous fragments upon impact with Earth's atmosphere. Stonehenge had to deal with this in the best way possible - the railguns engaged the Ulysses fragments as much as possible, using hundreds of supercomputers underneath the complex to detect the meteors' trajectories. Thankfully, the railgun managed to save humanity on the Usean Continent from extinction, but at a horrifying cost. Upwards of 500,000 people were killed in the disaster.
It would take at least a decade for civilization on Usea to correct itself. The Refugee Crisis between the FCU and Erusea caused the formation of the Independent State Allied Forces as well as the outbreak of the Continental War. The actions of Mobius One, especially in destroying Stonehenge and Megalith (a retaliation weapon that could shoot down asteroids in orbit to target civilians), would save Usea from plunging into a technological past. Operation Katina proved to be the end of Erusea's efforts to take on ISAF, and the continent began efforts to properly repair itself from the asteroid impact.
The rest of the world wasn't without damage, however. Estovakia on the Anean Continent was heavily damaged as well, likely due to Earth's gravitational pull moving some of the fragments across the physical North Pole and sending them to Estovakia. The country's economy and government suffered a total collapse, and the country dealt with a similar loss of life to countries on the Usean Continent. The country would then go through a civil war, and then declare war on Emmeria for believing that they had attempted to assist in causing disorder. Emmeria would prove victorious and the "Generals" in Estovakia would be taken out of power, sending the continent on a path towards everlasting peace.
Of note is that the Arkbird - a joint effort between Yuktobania and Osea to cement peace between the countries - was used as a laser platform for clearing the atmosphere. It managed to clean 80% of the Ulysses debris.
The Infinity universe has a similar history to Strangereal, but with its own differences, when it comes to the asteroid impact. In 1986, the Ulysses asteroid was discovered, but it wasn't on a collision course. It was a moon of Jupiter, safely orbiting that planet. However, in 1994, the Polyphemus asteroid was discovered too late - it had crashed into the Ulysses asteroid, causing a mass of 10,000 meteors to come towards the Earth with an impact date in July of 1999. (The exact day has never been confirmed, but we commemorate the date on July 3 regardless.)
The world's superpowers decided to create a similar railgun system. However, whereas Ulysses on Strangereal was one asteroid aiming for the Usean Continent (and suffered gravity to hit the Anean Continent as well), the Ulysses meteors in the Infinity universe were approaching the Earth one-by-one and would all be affected by its gravitational pull to impact the entire world. So, to deal with this, six Stonehenge networks were built. A Type-0 test unit was built in China, followed by a Type-1 unit in the United States. After these units proved successful, four Type-5 units were built in Australia, Turkey, Namibia, and Argentina. Unlike Strangereal's Earth, no countries in Infinity's Earth elected to create their own anti-asteroid weapon - the entire world worked together on Stonehenge.
Some time in July of 1999, the meteors approached. All of the Stonehenge units attempted their best to destroy all of them, but many meteors still struck the planet. Many human lives were lost, and 20% of the world's surface was vaporized. The economies of European and Asian countries collapsed, almost causing a complete economic collapse worldwide. However, the countries in those regions rearranged themselves into federations, and, with the involvement of Wernher and Noah Enterprises, the economies returned to a state of normalcy.
However, Wernher's growth caused terrorist groups to steal weapons from their stockpiles and band together to take on the world's superpowers. The Sons of Troia especially had an agenda against the United Nations, and eventually the terrorists' leader, Kacper Cohen, would form the USEA Federation, whose sole purpose was to support all of the refugees displaced by the Ulysses Disaster. At least, on the outside. Behind the scenes, they continued their efforts to attack the United Nations and their military forces. This effort is ongoing in Operation Eternal Liberation.
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this, if you did. Clearly, Strangereal's history with Ulysses is much more expansive, but Infinity is a free-to-play game so its story can't be blamed for being a bit more basic. Either way, in all of the games involved, Ulysses has impacted our lives in a much bigger way than you might think. This isn't just video games - these are stories of people suffering from the effects of a major asteroid impact.
It would be stupid to ignore the lessons humanity could learn from this, as well. NASA and our world's other space programs have to know what Earth is under threat by. Will we develop a Stonehenge one day to save the planet from an asteroid? Maybe. There are numerous solutions to deal with an asteroid impact. Does the failure of Stonehenge in Strangereal and the Infinity universe prove it might be a bad avenue to even think of for asteroid defense? Possibly. Of course, it's already 2014, so our technologies are more refined than in 1994 when the railguns were conceived. But only time will tell. May we pray that these disasters never happen to us in the real world.
Such "crisis to the world" is supposed to be an opportunity for homo sapiens to discard all internal dissents and hostilites, to unite togother as a real species. But ironically, even the world is on the verge of total collapse, there are still many people want to take advantage of it.
I had obtained an official printed issue from a joint taskforce of NASA and ESA years ago, a research report of potential hazard of Near-Earth-Object impact. That I can be sure that we're not defenceless against vengeance from skies. Even Russia has plans to defend Earth by using SS-18-Class ballistic missiles.
It is said from prospective of statistics and probabilities, the risky percentage of one individual gets killed in a NEO impact is higher than gets killed in an aviation accident. For an asteroid or comet may kill millions of people, even capable of killing off entire continent's population.