Cyberpunk Wiki
Cyberpunk Wiki

The Collapse was an event that occurred in the United States of America between the years 1996 and 2008.[1][2]


When the collapse hit it was the elderly that were hit first; the millions of Americans who lived on pensions and investments. Seeing their life savings evaporate, they became homeless, or were forced to move in with relatives. A lucky few were able to re-enter the work force.

Many died from either violence or exposure from living on the streets. Sometimes it was treachery from within; Grandma's silver dining set could buy a grandson a lot of chemical excursions from life's pain. Some families pulled together or were forced into clan-like styles of living. Even homeless, some managed to make it, but millions died.

Both the World Bank and the World Stock Exchange were gone. Which meant the United States government had no one to borrow money from. Federal Bonds were cashed in at a rate so high that the government could barely print money fast enough. This made the dollar plummet in value and accelerated the process.

Assets of the executive branch, especially the military reserves, were committed in growing numbers in a Herculean struggle to control the violence spreading like wildfire across America. However, the struggle was futile as the unrest was not limited to "less fortunate" areas and neighborhoods, and could not be isolated. Let it not be said that the men and women who tried to save America did not fight valiantly. They may have saved millions of lives, but in the end, it just wasn't enough.[3]

Martial Law[]

The military as a whole was not committed until August of '96. On August 17, a Saturday afternoon, both the President and Vice President were killed during separate campaign stops (in Maine and California respectively). The speaker of the house was undergoing bypass surgery, and the president pro tempore of the Senate rejected the offer.

Why the pro tempore refused to become President isn't known. It is entirely possible that, being in the hip pocket of one Corporation/Organization or another, the pro tem was aware of a corporate plot to manipulate the President and may have found the idea of being a puppet repulsive. He was assassinated by an CIA terror squad shortly before the start of the Second Central American War.

As the situation grew worse, a joint session of Congress was convened to deal with the issue of who would lead the country. Absurd levels of infighting prevented anyone from forming a coalition government. Seeing that the process had completely stalled, the Secretary of Defense, Jonathan Seward, was asked to address Congress and plead for a decision.

Seward was in essence a simple and direct man, he gave the following address in front of Congress:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congress, now is the time for action.
This body has chosen not to act on the crisis we face. If someone does not take action now America is doomed.
I will not allow this to happen.
As the ranking member of the executive branch of the government I have signed an Executive Order suspending the Constitution of the United States.
As of this moment, martial law has been established and will remain in effect until this crisis has passed.
At this time several units from the Central Command are positioning themselves around the capital.
Each of you has been assigned a squad of Army Rangers, at your homes, for protection. This session is suspended until further notice.
Thank you.


The reformation would take time as several members of the Senate attempted to form corporate-backed coalitions. These were soundly beaten down, however. The diplomatic corps attempted to end the trade embargoes that were crippling America, they would not succeed until late in 1998. The greatest problem, however, the one that proved nearly insurmountable, was the so called Gang of Four.[3]


  1. PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk RED Corebook. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2020. (p.237)
  2. Countdown to the Dark Future (#128-#134)
  3. 3.0 3.1 MACDONALD, M. Home of the Brave. 1st ed., Berkeley, CA, R. Talsorian Games, 1992. (pp.9,10)