Devastation of Galaxy City

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Paragon Times Newspaper - September 13, 2011

On September 13th, 2011, Shivan Meteors rained down on Paragon City. Much like similar attacks in Bloody Bay, the meteors seemed to be collected in one geographic location. Specifically, Galaxy City.

The devastation that followed was horrendous. Thousands of lives were lost. Tens of thousands were injured.

Chronological Events

September 12th

On the day before the meteors, Vanguard officials reported that the War Walls around Galaxy City were experiencing random periods of fluctuation. Normally such fluctuations were attributed to being a precursor to a Rikti incursion, since the technology came from the Rikti. However Dark Watcher and Gaussian both confirmed that there were no other evidence of an eminent Rikti attack. The incident was dismissed as being a glitch.

September 13th

Midnight

At the stroke of midnight, the giant War Wall gate that connected Galaxy City to Perez Park suddenly closed shut. Vanguard officials could not explain why these giant doors would suddenly seal themselves up.

At the same time, the PTA rail service suddenly re-routed all cars except for Red Line #9 around Galaxy City. Since Red Line #9 was inside the Galaxy City station at the time, it would continually be looped around the zone through the War Wall tunnels. A temporary bus service to the Kings Row station woudl later be set up for the morning commuters.

Supergroup base teleporters to the Galaxy City beacon were also mysteriously taken off-line. No explination could be given as to why that beacon would be the only one out-of-service.

This left the tunnel to Kings Row as the only physical way in and out of the zone.

First Notice

The Vanguard Space Station first reported the approaching meteors at 9:11am EDT. With less than an hour to determine where they would impact, the Lady Grey issued an Epsilon-Level Emergency for all of Paragon City. All registered heroes were ordered to report to their nearest Vanguard office, City Hall, or Freedom Corps branch for further instructions.

Hearing that Paragon City would soon be under attack (and not the Rogue Isles), Lord Recluse ordered an immediate strike team be launched under the guise of rendering aid.

Impact

The first meteor hit at 10:01am EDT, landing in front of the headquarters of the Freedom Corps, which not only served as a staging area for handling emergencies, but it also served as home for many heroes until they could get their own headquarters or residence.

The impact bore down into the earth and through the underground bunkers where the barracks were located. The force of the impact would be strong enough to damage the ultra-high-density statue of Galaxy Girl.

The second meteor hit at 10:03am EDT, destroying the Galaxy City Arena and much of the surrounding buildings, including the Architect Entertainment building.

Subsequent meteors destroyed surrounding buildings, tearing up roads and leaving huge impact craters. Most were small meteors, roughly ten-to-twenty meters in diameter. But at least fifty or so meteors exceeded the size of the Bloody Bay meteors.

By 10:26am EDT, the last of the significant meteors had fallen, with smaller ones burning up in the atmosphere.

Response

By 10:30am, a rapid-response team of Vanguard agents, Freedom Corps' Longbow forces, and Freedom Phalanx heroes led by Statesman arrived at Galaxy City to assess the damage. They were joined by Back Alley Brawler, whose own appearance outside of the Galaxy City area just prior to impact remains to be explained.

Upon approaching the area of devastation, the heroes encountered immediate resistance from created made of stone, electronic items, and electricity. Their behavior was no different that those of the Shivans in Bloody Bay, even though the Bloody Bay Shivans based their forms on corpses. The decision was made on the spot to classify these new beings as a derivation of the Shivans, initialy as "New Shivans" and then later as "Neo-Shivans".

A joint Vanguard/Freedom Phalanx command center was set up near the remains of the Architect Entertainment building. Lady Grey took charge of the command center while Statesman and the other heroes fought the new Shivan forces and also rescue as many people as possible.

During this time, the heroes encounters Lord Recluse and his Arachnos strike team. It became clear that the objective of Recluse's strike team was to steal as many secrets as possible from the remains of the Freedom Corps headquarters. The inclusion of Arachnos agents along with the "New Shivans" was making rescue efforts problematic.

President Obama declared Galaxy City to be a federal disaster area and pledged any and all possible assistance to the area.

Giant Threat

Around 1pm EDT, with preliminary reports coming in of life signs around the remains of the Freedom Corps Headquarters, the first attempt at a rescue of any possible survivors in that part of the zone was launched. Led by Apex, the team began to encounter heavy resistance from the New Shivans.

When the team arrived at the ruins of the Arena, they encountered an even larger problem: giant versions of the New Shivans, fueled by reactor core technology.

These giant versions of the New Shivans proved to be too much for the heroes. Even with strafing runs from Vanguard and Longbow ships, the giant monsters could only be pushed back, not defeated. This made approaching the remains of the Freedom Corps Headquarters next-to impossible.

Media Impact

At 3:30pm EDT, the Paragon News Network began reporting that former PNN media personality Garry Becker had started broadcasting through an independent Internet radio station. Becker claimed that he had proof that members of the now-disbanded superhero group Guardians of the Dawn were responsible for the meteors. This was followed by an off-the-record statement by Richard Cyril of the Cyril Corporation that claimed that his company had an anti-Shivan defense system in place that was shut down because of the actions of Doc Tor.[1]

City Hall was soon besieged for calls not only of help, but also for the arrest of the former Guardians that were accused of being involved with the devastation.

Evacuation

At approximately 3:46pm EDT, the order was given for Arachnos to retreat to Siren's Call. It was not known if this order came from Lord Recluse or from one of his lieutenants.

Lady Grey issued the call for retreat at 4:35pm EDT. All hero forces retreated to the warehouse next to the Kings Row tunnel, which was then blocked off from all other traffic. By this point, an estimated 3300 civilians were rescued.

September 14, 2011

With recent renovations in Atlas Park completed, the area became the new place for Galaxy City refugees to gather. Crey Industries provided emergency provisions for refugees. CyCorp provided a message system for refugees to reach out to loved ones outside of the city. The Rocinante Group provided detailed personal information to rescue teams to assist in identifying the wounded and the dead.

Due to the outcry generated by Becker for someone to be quickly held accountable, newly-elected District Attorney Alex Wentworth requested a Blue-Ribbon Panel be created to investigate what happened. Unfortunately with rescue operations still going on, there would be no immediate answers to quell the masses.

Jimmy Hellfighter, a seasoned hero with experience in disaster triage, was put in charge of rescue operations. Even though he was a former member of the Guardians of the Dawn, nobody in City Hall could question his experience and dedication to handle emergency situations.

Galaxy City itself was officially declared a Hazard Zone by City Hall.

October 2nd, 2011

One hour before Lady Grey would declare all rescue operations completed, Hellfighter personally led the recovery of ten people that survived inside one of the destroyed structures just south of the Arena. In retrieving those survivors, Hellfighter reported that they could hear several other survivors in the ruins nearby. The decision to end rescue operations was quickly rescinded.

November 15, 2011

The Blue-Ribbon Panel investigating the Galaxy City attack meets for the first time.

January 18, 2012

The Blue-Ribbon Panel officially clears most of the former members of the Guardians of the Dawn superhero group for any possible connection to the destruction. Since the Guardians had been officially disbanded at the time of the tragedy, they could not be held to account for the actions of their former member. The Panel, however, continues to link Doc Tor to the incident. Richard Cyril continues to press for official charges and claims he has proof of Tor's involvement.

October 15, 2012

After meeting with Cyril, Galatea Powers transports Cyril's data to Vanguard for evaluation and confirmation.


Controversy

The statements made by Garry Becker and by Richard Cyril accusing members of the Guardians of the Dawn supergroup of playing a role in the destruction were quickly condemned by most organizations, but both men stand by their assertions, even though they did not provide concrete proof to support their claims until October of 2012.

To blunt some of the calls for speedy arrests, the decision was made to reinstate Captain Paragonna to active service. The Hero Shield Program had been suspended at the time due to intense political pressure by "certain factions", and with many former members of the Guardians either missing, dead, or retired, it was believed that the return of the original leader of that group to active service in the Paragon Police Department would show the city's confidence in the heroes.

The decision did have an immediate effect when live coverage of Captain Paragonna's swearing-in ceremony forced the cancellation of a show-trial investigation in Congress over CyCorp's program that was previously shut-down.

Unexplained Mysteries

There are several mysteries surrounding the events prior to the devastation that still are unsettled.

Gate Closings

To this date, there is no given explanation as to why the huge concrete-and-metal doors that divided Galaxy City and Perez Park would automatically close and seal themselves shut at the stroke of midnight on September 13th. Vanguard officials said that the normal closing of the gates requires either approval from either President Obama, the United Nations Security Council, or Lady Grey herself, or else an emergency declaration. None of those things had been issued at the time.

PTA Transfers

Officials with the Paragon Transit Authority are at a loss to explain how the PTA rail system could re-route itself around Galaxy City and divert the line inside the zone so it would loop around itself through the War Walls. Such a change could not happen instantaneously as they believe it did right at midnight.

They did say that the Red Line #9 car was down for repairs at the time, but on the morning of September 13th just prior to the meteor attacks, station officials said that Red Line #9 was somehow online and active.

Galaxy City Beacon

A technical analysis from Kent Poderes of the Federal Bureau for Super-powered Affairs concluded that the automatic supergroup beacon shutdown was connected to the closing of the huge War Walls gate between Galaxy City and Perez Park. Since teleportation technology was based on Rikti technology, just like the War Walls, it is theorized that the closing of the gate resulted in the automatic shut-down of the beacons.

However the closing of the gate does not explain how only the Galaxy City teleport beacon was affected and not the one in Perez Park. Also, hospital officials also said prior to the meteor attacks that the medical teleporters inside Galaxy City were unaffected.

Mystery Survival Stories

Several Galaxy City residents, including Back Alley Brawler and several of the FBSA agents that worked in the Freedom Corps Headquarters on September 13th, reported that they could not account for their whereabouts just minutes or even moments prior to impact of the first meteor.

"It's crazy. I remember hearing the whoosh of the meteor as it was coming in. I remember yelling at people to head indoors. I could feel the heat of the meteor as it was coming in and the roar as it got closer and closer, and my first fear was that I wouldn't survive this."

"The next thing I knew, I found myself running out of the tunnel leading into Kings Row and people are asking me what happened. I told them what I knew and then they wondered how I was able to escape, and... I just didn't know how I escaped, only that I did."

- Testimony of Back Alley Brawler to the Blue-ribbon Commission on Galaxy City

Several people that were in Galaxy City at the time of the meteor attacks reported similar situations. Some would remember the approach of the meteors, and then would remember being rescued days or even months later. The secret of their survival would never be explained, even with the assistance of telepaths.

Billboards

Months after the disaster, a group calling itself "The Victims of Galaxy City and their Families " began paying for billboards to be posted all over Paragon City.

The billboards would feature either a darkened picture of the Galaxy Girl statue, or a white-out version of the same image, and the statement "Never Forget Galaxy City! - We The Fallen, September 13, 2011".

There was no mention who was behind the sponsoring group. The company providing the billboards claim that they were contacted through email and paid by money order.

It would later be revealed that Doc Tor paid for the billboards.

Mysteries Revealed

November 15, 2012

On November 15, 2012, sensors near the Skyway City entrance in the Eastgate Hazard Zone detected a strange energy surge. Daybright a former member of the Guardians of the Dawn, was sent to investigate, with retired hero Icon Powers providing remote technical assistance.

Arriving at the scene, the kheldian hybrid detected the energy to be quantum in nature. Positron joined in the connection and asked if this could be the same kind of energy used to create a transdimensional portal. Daybright said it could. Positron then issued an Epsilon-level alert, calling on all heroes, Freedom Corps operatives, and Vanguard soldiers to rally to the area to protect the city from whatever would come through.

Icon discovered that the energy was not coming from either the Rikti or Praetorian universes, but instead were coming through the city's own medical and supergroup teleport systems, in a manner similar to one Icon used to try to rescue Daybright (from the "Time and Changes" storyline). The energy was using the missing supergroup teleport beacon from Kallisti Wharf as a focal point.

The single energy source became dozens, then hundreds, then thousands. In a flash of light, the wooded area became filled with people. Heroes, criminals, gang members, civilians, even a few members of the Vahzilok. In all, over 2200 people, all of the people still considered missing in Galaxy City, suddenly appeared alive and well.

Galatea Powers would then explain in a live television interview at the scene that she and Doc Tor were responsible for teleporting the people of Galaxy City there, essentially saving them from certain death, and that Doc Tor sacrificed his life to make this happen.

November 17, 2012

In sworn testimony to a special Vanguard inquiry on the Galaxy City incident, Galatea Powers explained what had happened to the best of her ability and according to the information provided to her by Doc Tor.

Time Echo Paradox

According to Galatea, Doc Tor was approached by the Greek Titan Prometheus about a huge change in the timeline (as seen in "Time and Changes") that had catastrophic effects to other events. This included...

  • The selection of Tyrant as the new "champion" of the Well of the Furies. ([2])

And the destruction of Galaxy City by Neo-Shivan meteors, which was one of the events that the Menders of Ouroboros previously tried to prevent.

According to Doc Tor, time itself was becoming unstable as it tried to balance things out from that initial change. In order to stop the instability, a signifant number of lives needed to be saved.

The destruction of Galaxy City was considered a "fixed event", meaning that the event itself could not be prevented. But Tor managed to skirt around this by working on saving the people of Galaxy City instead of the area itself. By making changes to the War Walls, Tor created a "Time Echo" of Galaxy City, keeping the people "alive" while re-living the twenty-four hours leading up to the first meteor impact. The echo was linked to the Pillar of Ice and Flame through a special portal at the rear of Ouroboros created by Prometheus. Prometheus himself keeps the Menders from knowing that this special portal exists, even though the portal itself is literally right underneath where Mender Silos stands. (According to Tor, Prometheus was one of the original creators of the Pillar, which allows him to manipulate it in ways the menders would not realize.)

Tor then worked on saving the people inside the echo, re-intergrating them into the normal timestream using a similar method he came up with to try to save Daybright in 2010 ("Time and Changes"). Tor had spent his time inside the echo tagging every citizen there with an emergency teleport patch. Using the original medical teleport system employed by the Freedom Phalanx in 2004 underneath the statue of Galaxy Girl (seen in the City of Heroes comic series), Tor connected it to its counterpart in the normal timestream, which was still intact. This accounted for the gaps in memory reported by Back Alley Brawler and others in earlier testimony and how they could not account for being rescued.

But the teleport system itself could not handle the large number of people needed to be rescued to stop the instability. It could only work with smaller numbers, and it would not be enough.

In order to handle the large numbers needed to balance out the time instability, and to do so before the Menders were alerted to the echo, Tor needed to tie-in the medical teleport system with the supergroup teleport system. He also needed a supergroup beacon that was not in use.

It was Prometheus that reached out to an "old hero", Golden Hawkfire, to return to Paragon City and convince him to take the beacon from Kallisti Wharf (an area that was still under construction at the time) and transport it to the forest in the Hollows. Unfortuantely, due to his mental instability, he was not able to complete his task without first alerting Galatea Powers to his actions and trying to commit suicide-by-hero. (As seen in "The Guardian Powers" #1.)

With the beacon in place, both Tor and Prometheus were able to leave enough "breadcrumbs" for Galatea Powers to investigate, which led her to the Galaxy Park echo and to Tor. With Galatea's help, the former time manipulator was able to carry out his plan and teleport the 2200 citizens back into the normal timeline, even though doing so also meant he had to sacrifice his life.

November 18th, 2012

The Guardians of the Dawn were officially vindicated of any involvement leading up to the disaster. Doc Tor was posthumously cleared of any charges and given the Vanguard Medal Of Valor for his efforts.

Richard Cyril issued a formal "appology" to the Guardians and to Doc Tor specifically, although he denied any responsibility, simply saying that "mistakes were made".

The Guardians of the Dawn supergroup was officially reactivated, with many of the surviving members returning to active duty.

Aftermath

Although the total number of lives lost was kept to a minimum thanks mostly to the efforts of Doc Tor, the property damage was reported in the billions. In addition to the businesses lost, thousands were now without homes and needed to be relocated to other parts of the city. This, in addition to the strain caused by the influx of refugees from the Praetorian Universe, has caused a severe housing shortage in the city.


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