Following Zero day, most of the UK is little more than scorched wasteland. The population is concentrated mainly in London and Manchester, the two cities which corporate investment went into restoring. Both cities have heavily fortified centres, dominated by corporate arcologies and towers, protected by CorpSec and the UK military and are linked by a high-speed monorail link known as the LMML. Surrounding that are cramped housing and commercial districts, policed to a much lesser degree. Sprawling beyond that, outside the outer walls are millions of shacks, tents and huts forming a vast shanty town encircling the entire city.
The country is officially run by a council comprised of military leaders lead by General Sir Richard Dunnat. Queen Elizabeth II remains the Monarch and ceremonial head of state following a publicity stunt where she was cloned; However, corporate influence is always at work behind the scenes with most members of the government little more than puppets serving the interests of corporate financiers.
The country is governed under martial law though it is only strictly enforced inside the major population centres. Beyond the cities the wastelands and deserted ruins of towns and cities are home to those who wish to live outside the the laws imposed by Dunnat and his corporate backers. Law breakers who are brought before a court are given sentences with a credit value. They are then processed through a privatised system. Corporations buy prisoner 'debts' and put them to work to pay them off, pressing them into service as labourers, lab rats and anything else they need cheap, expendable manpower for. A convicts debt can be purchased by any one at any time, prisoner bonds are therefore traded on the commodities market. Prisoners whose bonds go unsold for a period of more than 48 hours have their property seized and auctioned including any clones they may have. If the auction fails to cover the cost of the bond the prisoner is summarily executed.
The UK's biggest export is its military expertise. Much of the military remained intact despite the devastation of Zero Day, and with corporate funding training camps impart that expertise onto countless soldiers who go on to join the ranks of corporate military forces.
- Decaying diplomatic relations between the UK and the USA following the US invasion of Mexico and the repeated violations of the Anti-Ballistic-Missile treaty come to a head with the United States withdrawal from NATO in 1999. The British government turned to the private sector for sponsorship to maintain NATO lead peacekeeping operations in Europe. Sponsorship was provided readily in exchange for a training program being established for corporate militias run by British military personnel. Bolstered by additional funding, and following an increase in civil unrest, the army was deployed nationwide and martial law declared. Initial outrage and protests against the move was quickly and brutally suppressed after armed forces demonstrated their willingness to enforce the declaration by opening fire on a crowd of unarmed protesters in Parliament Square in London, killing hundreds and wounding many more.
- A propaganda campaign was started in earnest within a week of the Parliament Square massacre, a media blitz of nationalist rhetoric including the highly publicised cloning of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. The results were mixed but a general air of acceptance eventually began to replace the outrage.
- Across the Atlantic, the United States continued to crumble. As US national military forces clashed openly with Corporate paramilitary groups, British Special forces were being covertly deployed under contract with General Motors and Microsoft-Westinghaus. The operations they carried out were of huge strategic importance and played no small part in the ensuing defeat of the US military and the establishment of a corporate Oligarchy as the ruling power.
- Back home in Europe, the Eurodollar crashed, plunging Europe into an economic panic. The UK withdraws from the European Union to protect its markets, effectively causing the EU to implode. The chaos in Europe and the collapse of the United States brings the United Nations to its knees. It is eventually dissolved in favour of a number of smaller, regional organisations. The UK opts not to join the European collective, instead further increasing its cooperation with Corporate backed projects.
- New Year's Day, 2001, British Armed forces, lead by General Sir Richard Dunnatt enter the House of Parliament and the House of Lords and via a statement broadcast on all TV and Radio channels, assume control of the country. A government is formed in the form of a council of the nation's top military leaders. Rumours of corporate backing spread like wildfire through the international media, though it is categorically denied by Dunnatt and by spokespersons for General Motors, Microsoft-Westinghaus and InterOrbital.
- The newly formed government privatises the penal system as one of its first acts. Criminal sentences all became issued as financial values by the courts. The prisoner's 'debt' was then auctioned to corporations who put the prisoners to work in order to pay off those debts. The new system is met with fierce protests from civil rights and human rights groups, being likened to slavery.
- With mainland Europe still experiencing financial upheaval following the collapse of the EU, UK borders are closed to immigrants. Over the course of the year, hundreds of refugees are shot and killed trying to enter the country on foot through the Channel Tunnel.
- As part of the tightened border policy, a decision is made to relinquish control of Northern Ireland.
- The National Health Service goes the way of the penal system and is privatised. Contracts for medical care go predominantly to Medshield, Myotech and Mortius Biotechnologies. There is a public backlash against the move and rioting breaks out in London, Liverpool and Manchester. The riots last for most of June, with rioters engaged in running battles with police, army and CorpSec. Casualties on both sides run into the hundreds killed with thousands more injured.
- Pounds Sterling (GBP) is phased out, replaced by the corporate Credit as the sole currency used in the UK.
- MI5 foil a plot by a paramilitary group calling itself Free Britain to carry out a series of bomb attacks against London's financial district. The trials of key members of the organisation are televised, as are the public executions of all fourteen members who are convicted.
2005 - Zero Day
- The UK suffers numerous direct nuclear strikes when countermeasure and counterstrike systems automatically deploy retaliatory strikes. The military protocol in event of nuclear attack proves effective, while civilians die in their millions, much of the military remains intact and vital communication and power infrastructure is quickly restored once the bombs stop hitting. Millions more die in the following months from radiation sickness, disease and starvation.
- With the onset of nuclear winter, the government in the UK along with numerous corporate investors begin to rebuild and restore London and Manchester. With only two major cities being rebuilt, the majority of the populace converge on them, vast, sprawling shanty towns spring up around them seeking access to clean water, medical supplies, power, food and work to earn credits to pay for all the above.
- Work begins on a high-speed monorail link between Manchester and London (LMML), an ambitious project to clear and fence off 165 miles of irradiated wasteland using huge crews mainly comprised of refugee workers and convicts.
- Work on the LMML is hampered by raids on the work crews by outlaws living in the wastelands. Security is stepped up and reports start to come in of mutation visible in some of the raiders killed by CorpSec and Military personnel.
- The newly formed Matrix International open their UK Headquarters in London.
- LMML is completed, the first trains make successful preliminary runs along the track, making the journey in a little under an hour carrying cargo from Manchester. Passenger services are opened by July.
- British armed forces are deployed under contract by a number of corporations to establish bases in Western Europe to secure resources, re-establish order and control of a number of major cities as the Nuclear Winter recedes