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As 1412 approaches, Tiberium has begun to spread faster than the Church of Saint Cuthbert can stop it. The Brotherhood of Nod is gaining traction, particularly in Yellow zones. Tiberium has also begun evolving into the riparius iteration, creating a more deadly and aggressive form of the crystal. With the ability to transform Tiberium into other elements, the armies of the world are better armed than ever before.
In 1408, the first sample Tiberium riparius is discovered. Soon, areas Tiberium wouldn't spread to were overrun. The Church realized they were unprepared for the task of ridding the world of Tiberium. Rather than futilely attempt to save all of the world, the Church focused its efforts on protecting Rome and the Califon Forest, areas where much of the Church was based, and thus deemed most valuable.
The Isolation of Leningrad
In 1411, Tiberium rapidly grew throughout the Imperial Isthmus. Without Church support, the Empire could not remove the Tiberium quickly enough to halt it's growth. Within months, the Tiberium had created the first Red Zone in the area, a place where no sane nonmutant would dare to venture. Luckily, in 1412, the Templar had made significant improvements in their relationship with the Brotherhood. After helping rescue several Nod scientists during a mutant attack of a Nod Temple, both factions agreed to lead an expedition to Leningrad. Donned in the first Tiberium Field Suits and armed with Pitals, the joint group left for Leningrad.
After facing countless attacks from mutated flora and fauna, as well as the first recorded Ion Storms, the survivors found a city ravaged by Tiberium. The remaining residents were either following a dictator known as Kairn Werzel or hiding. The Templar and Nod managed to kill Werzel and restore the Empire's control of the Capital.
The Genesis Pit
As the Templar and Nod worked to clear a safe path through the Imperial Isthmus for refugees from Leningrad and engineers to Leningrad, Nod scouts discovered a pit where the long-abandoned Tiber mining village had once stood. The pit was impressive, with a radius of 2 miles, and jagged edges. The Nod and Templar formulated a plan to plumb the depths of the so-called "Genesis Pit". The Nod was convinced the most evolved form of Tiberium could be found within the crater. While the Templar was reticent over the prospect of sending its Knights to the very center of Tiberium's growth, the other two orders were eager to capitalize on diplomatic improvements with the Nod.
The exact details of what happened in the Pit are unclear at best. While none of the Knights returned, a few of the Nod elements of the team sent to the Genesis Pit returned, citing pure luck that they had survived. The Templar was suspicious, particularly because the Brothers had managed to retrieve everything they had needed. In the coming years, the Nod shared the new-found knowledge of Tiberium Transmutation (The process by which Tiberium atoms are broken down into common materials such as iron and copper) with the Church, hoping to smooth relations, though with little effect.
The Riot and The Departure
In mid-1416, tensions between the survivors of the Leningrad Catastrophe and the Empire had risen considerably. Mutants still demanded reparations for all they had lost and constant discrimination. However, the Empire was in tatters, unable to defend caravans from marauding beasts. While the Templar and Nod worked to defend critical routes which provided food and medicine, the Empire needed to make use of every resource available. Finally, they were even required to create a weapon, the Long-shot Pital, in order to increase revenue. However, the mutants were not satisfied with the Empire's explanations.
Crow Theodore Robot, a former knight, feared the mutants may attempt to overthrow the Empire in Leningrad. He began to organize a militia, which was directly prohibited by Emperor Lenin's Edicts. The militia was kept a secret for nearly a year, with only trusted people of Leningrad ever being invited to join.
Robot was right, and the mutants did begin a riot. The riot turned out to be surprisingly well-organized. If it had not been for the militia, Leningrad may have been lost for the Empire. However, Lenin did not tolerate any violation of his edicts. In a statement which was spread to every territory of the Empire, he explained the edicts were to always be followed. The point of the Empire was not simply to survive, but to maintain its moral integrity. The hideous casualties in the Riot were unacceptable to the Emperor. This was his last address the the people of Vasuda. He has not been seen once since having made that statement.
The Empire, reeling from the loss of its beloved leader, declared Robot an Enemy of the Empire. No one affiliated with the Empire would serve or help him in any way. The Empire never truly recovered from the loss of Emperor Trotsky. While many tried to take over, none could ever revive the Golden Age before the coming of Tiberium.
The End was Nigh
In 1417, Mark Coolidge, a former Cambridge Tiberium researcher, made a shocking statement: in five years, the world would be rendered uninhabitable by excessive growth of Tiberium. Even mutants wouldn't be able to tolerate the sheer amount of radiation that would be generated. The Brotherhood agreed that while Tiberium was the key to Ascension, Ascension wouldn't help the dead. They revealed the secret behind all of their advanced knowledge of Tiberium: the Tacitus, a device of alien origin which contained large stores of information about Tiberium and "other, unrelated, topics". However, they only possessed a fragment of the Tacitus. Recent study had discovered another fragment could be located in the center of Madagai, a mysterious island-continent barely explored by civilized groups.
While the Nod wouldn't release the Tacitus, they pleaded with the knights for help in retrieving the other fragment. With the Tacitus complete, the Nod believed they might find a key to slowing the growth of Tiberium. The Templar, however, had another plan. They would kill the Nod elements of the team, and bring the second fragment to the Church. Many speculate why the Templar would do this. Historians suspect Kriss Amucire had a major role in turning the Templar completely against the Nod.
On December, 1419 KTR, the Expedition left for Madagai.
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