Usea Today Asteroid on Collision Course with Earth
April 21, 1996
FCU President Makes Announcement to Ambassadors and Their Respective Nations
On April 20th, the president of the FCU announced that the predicted collision of the asteroid XF04 with the earth had been confirmed. This information was delivered to foreign nations through their ambassadors. The date and time of the impact, as well as its estimated scope and extent of damage, were made public. At the same time, he announced the start of special interception projects to avoid the impact. This announcement sent shock waves around the world.
In December of last year, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced that an asteroid was predicted to approach Earth within several years, and that a worst case scenario, a devastating collision, was possible. In response, the necessity of an ensuing investigation to detail the orbital path of the asteroid was brought to the FCU government. An international IAU-lead initiative composed of astronomers, astrophysicists, and geologists was formed, and subsequently the hypothesized impact was confirmed. The colliding body is an asteroid of solid-rock designated “1994XF04 Ulysses,” whose size is estimated to be 1 mile (1.6km) in diameter. Last October, the observatory at Shieldsbridge University first discovered the asteroid, and computers at Comona University calculated its estimated orbital path. The results indicated that XF04 would pass through the Roche limit at 3:30 in the afternoon Eastern Usean Time on June 3rd, 1999. They determined that scattered fragments would inflict damage upon a wide swathe of the northern hemisphere. It was calculated that the impact would be on the scale of 2,000,000 nuclear detonations, and that even taking prediction errors into account, a nuclear winter would ensue.
The FCU government determined that this situation represented an existential threat to its nations. Due to political and cultural considerations, confirmation of the orbital path was withheld. Meanwhile, an aerospace conference was called to develop an effective means of preventing the impact. They deemed that cooperation between the FCU and its allied nations would be indispensable, which lead them to call for this conference.
The president proclaimed, “This is an impending disaster, not only for Usea, but the entire world." Underground shelters in major cities and other measures to consolidate defense are important, but I also want to consider approaches of intercepting the meteorites. We must take every means so that we may live to see the new millennium.” He called on the world to undertake similar projects.
Secretary of State Expresses Support for NMD Proposal
20th April, 1996. Secretary of State Stetson visited the headquarters of the Central Usean Treaty Organization (UTO) to attend an emergency meeting of the Committee of Foreign Affairs. He explained to the allies how a National Missile Defense (NMD) system could be used as a means to destroy the asteroid, and asked for their cooperation. At a press conference following the meeting he stated, "It is the FCU's responsibility to construct a missile defense system that will protect FCU and its allies from the threat the Ulysses asteroid poses."
Regarding the organization and implementation of the NMD, several FCU allies voiced concerns regarding its military implications. However, they eventually expressed willingness to continue discussions. The Secretary of State, after considering a worst-case scenario, made additional suggestions for the final defense plan. "Without the understanding and cooperation of all countries it will not be possible to implement this defense plan," said the Secretary of State, without disclosing any further details. Plans to divert Ulysses such as attaching a propulsion device to the asteroid or shooting interceptor missiles at it, are being considered. However, once "Ulysses" passes the Earth's Roche limit and fragments, no countermeasures will be able to neutralize it.
Even though the effectiveness of the NMD remains unclear, among the many plans proposed for defending the Earth it remains the most plausible. Given rising calls in many countries to curtail nuclear proliferation, however, nations involved in the development of the NMD are likely to shoulder a heavy burden.
Overseas Garrisons Temporarily Recalled
Following the president’s statement, Commander Richard Paine of the Defense Department issued an order to recall all FCU military units deployed overseas. The 6th Fleet is already underway to its home port in Waosung from its deployment in the Far East. As of 19:00 on the 20th, the flagship carrier Fort Grays, with its attached Aegis cruiser Tea-Time taking lead, is heading northwards through the Peyton Canal. However, as the standoff between FCU and Erusean troops on the Republic of Amber’s border with the autonomous province  of Ugellas continues, IUN Forces are left with no choice but to retreat due to the present withdrawal of FCU forces.
According to Lt. Col. Meyer of the 6th Airborne Division, the 120th Air Wing which had been assigned to the Buffer Zone was prepared to take up station at Schneider on the 21st, but on the verge of changing commands, it was temporarily dissolved on the spot. They intend to fall back around 120km eastward to the Gunther front line base and reorganize there.
Although the rearward movement has already begun at the company level, the work of handing things over to IUN units stretched across the joint front line has greatly complicated the retreat, and it is likely that the withdrawal of all units will extend to the afternoon of the 22nd.
Military Commander to Become Chief of Staff
At a press conference on the 18th, the FCU Military announced the appointment of Army General Robert Tyler (age 54) as the successor to Riass, the previous Armed Forces Chief of Staff, who died suddenly on March 20th. Lieutenant General Tyler had previously commanded the southern forces last year, adding to his career the accomplishment of seizing the rebel’s headquarters in the southern region of the Scully Islands.
New Regulation Of Cell Phones And Network Information Announced
The Department of Communication announced the enactment of emergency restrictions regarding all forms of communication, in order to avoid panic created by potentially distressing information in the future. There are many exemptions under the law as it stands, however the limitation on personal cell phone and internet access is expected to make communications between private citizens difficult. The government fears that misinformation, hoaxes, and rumors may lead to social unrest, large-scale riots and terrorism. The Department issued the following statement and appealed to the public for calm: "As we are experiencing a global crisis, cooperation from all agencies and nations is imperative. Official information on the asteroid will be released gradually through appropriate channels. Plans concerning the asteroid will be made public through newspapers, TV, radio and magazines, so we ask everyone to have faith in the government’s announcements."
 "自治州" most often refers to autonomous prefectures of China or autonomous oblasts of Russia, implying that Ugellas is not a sovereign nation. This translation uses "province" for its culturally neutral connotation.