As a direct result of the weapons employed by both the Federation and the Chinese Empire during World War Three, the planet undergoes considerable tectonic alterations; something which would have taken millennia to occur naturally.
North America drifts eastward.
Europe splits away from Asia and drifts west.
South America is completely obliterated and lost beneath the rising water levels.
Most of the African continent, like South America, sinks beneath the ocean.
Much of the eastern coast of Africa splits away from the rest of the continent, drifting north and colliding with southern Asia.
The surviving remnants of humanity, scattered and hardened by the radiation, have regressed to a technological state akin to the Iron Age. While knowledge has been passed down orally over the generations, the lack of modern infrastructure prevents the people from utilising this information.
Occasionally, pieces of pre-war technology surface from the debris. The few devices which still manage to function are treasured, coveted and deified, though the vast majority remain broken, the knowledge required to repair them lost to time.
Tribal humanity starts to trade with one another. Industry revolves around cattle breeding, agriculture and primitive forms of metal processing. The tribes residing in areas of high radioactivity evolve a natural resistance to their surroundings with each successive generation.
As the number of technological discoveries increases, a minute number of tribes manage to develop rudimentary wind turbines and hydroelectric generators, using the power they harness to fuel primitive installations. While these limited forms of power supply are a significant step forward, humanity is still far from being capable to supplying energy to an entire settlement.
Following the war and its aftermath, the world's population now measures a little over 800,000, with three quarters of that number residing in the reformed northern hemisphere. World War Three has ascended into tribal folklore; resembling a cleansing white light, the fires of the apocalypse or the breath of the devil which banished humanity from Paradise, depending on the person asked.
Inevitably, some tribes turn away from peaceful pursuits such as agriculture and turn to the arts of war. Some raid lesser tribes and forcefully take what the need, while others impart their skills to others in order to allow them to defend against hostile threats.
Among tribal society, it isn't long before the deeds of two tribes spread across the wasteland. The tribe led by Thor are wanderers, roaming the northwestern area of the new continent while the tribe led by Crahn declare the eastern coast of the new continent as theirs.
During a routine expedition in search of minerals, Crahn's tribe discovers the entrance to a cavern once buried beneath a landslide. Under the assumption that the blockage is concealing an abandoned mine, a group of ten men begin excavation work.
After four days, the team is finally able to venture into the cavern and, after clearing enough obstacles to forge a path into the mountain, they are shocked to discover a settlement of people waiting for them.
Having taken shelter in the cavern in the aftermath of the war, the large group of people were trapped inside due to seismic activity. Over the generations which ensued, the skin tone of the people grew paler as their eyesight dwindled, resulting in the expansion of their pupils.
After assaulting one of the cave dwellers for fun, the mysterious tribe display their immense power by telekinetically hoisting the warrior into the air before causing his body to explode. After the demonstration, they are granted respect and an audience with Crahn, who - after realising the benefits they could confer - admits them into his tribe. The cave dwellers are, in fact, the original Psi Monks.
Rather inevitably, the tribes of both Thor and Crahn encounter one another in the centre of the continent. Meeting at a place named the Sea of Silence, both leaders stake a claim for the continent's western coastline; claims which lead to a skirmish between them.
Having spent the past two years hunting down his rival, Crahn eventually finds Thor's tribe again. Having garrisoned themselves inside their "capital", Jeriko, Thor is forced into another losing battle. With nowhere left to run, his tribe is utterly decimated by Crahn's superior military might.
Reduced to only a few thousand men, Crahn enslaves the remains of his rival's tribe, using them as a labour force. Despite the heavy guard, Thor and fifty of his best men manage to escape during the night and flee west.
Thor finds the smaller tribe led by Ceres. Although the two were never allies, they co-existed peacefully and, after hearing of the situation, Ceres allows Thor to take refuge.
Crahn commands the remaining members of Thor's tribe - the ones still imprisoned - to start work on a fortress commemorating his victory. Built directly over the ruins of Jeriko, the fortress and its name are used to mark the beginning of a new era... and dubbed Neocron.
Thor and Ceres meet the traveller Mecando for the first time.
Mecando asks Ceres regarding the origins of his name. Upon hearing of the leader's story - of the tomb of an ancient tribal leader - Mecando offers his own insight. Although he had heard of the name "Ceres" before, he had never heard of it attributed to a man of prominence. Curious, he asks Ceres to take him on another journey to the tomb.
Although Ceres has misgivings about the expedition, due to the inhospitable terrain, Thor offers to accompany Mecando in his stead. In addition to the pair, a dozen of Ceres' tribesmen journey north.
After eight months, Thor and Mecando's expedition finally reaches the tomb. With six of the tribesmen dying of exhaustion, starvation and/or injury during the trip, morale is understandably low, but Thor commands them to work on breaching the tomb's metal doors regardless.
The tomb is opened and the expedition rediscovers the Ceres Holodisks, more than five hundred years after they were created. Research immediately begins on the knowledge of 22nd Century Earth.
With the knowledge contained on the Ceres Holodisks being of such importance to the world as a whole, it isn't long before Crahn becomes aware of their existence. With his intelligence agency - the Neocron Security Department - at his disposal, he seizes an opportunity.
By having the best agents of the NSD trained in psionic techniques by the Psi Monks, he succeeds in planting a group of agents into the Ceres Project who are capable of reading the minds of the other scientists.
Despite the promise of these agents, it is Crahn's greed that becomes their undoing. While following orders to try and steal the Holodisks themselves, the NSD agents are discovered, captured and summarily executed. Following the exposure of Crahn's plan, Ceres limits the people involved in the Ceres Project to his most trusted people.
Mecando dies. However, on his deathbed, he finally reveals the existence of his secret project to Thor. Calling it an "energy weapon", he explains that they don't fire bullets as conventional firearms do. Instead, they use an inbuilt power source to project bundled energy outward towards a target.
In addition to his project, Mecando also tells Thor that he has fashioned a working prototype and, after finding it, Thor gives orders to immediately begin mass production of the weapon.
Ceres, by far the more cautious of the two, argues with Thor when he learns of the warrior's plan to return to Jeriko and free the rest of his tribe. Threatening to abandon him if he continues along his path, Ceres explains that the foolhardy rescue mission was one in which he would have no part. In response, Thor mocks Ceres, remarking that he and his tribe are the only reason Ceres hasn't been obliterated.