Assassin's Creed Valhalla brought back elements of the Assassin's Creed lore from both the historical fiction and the modern day plotline. One of those returning plot elements was the Great Catastrophe.
The Great Catastrophe has been called by several names of the course of the Assassin's Creed games, from the Toba Disaster to Ragnarok. Tying in real world events and mythologies, the Great Catastrophe is one of the most important moments in the Assassin's Creed lore, and is vital to understanding the franchise's fictional history and where the series might be going.
Assassin's Creed is known for weaving historical fiction with sci-fi, and the Great Catastrophe is no different. The event took place around 75,000 years ago, at the same time that a supervolcano in Indonesia erupted, that has been theorized to have caused a sharp decline in Earth's population. In the Assassin's Creed universe this thesis is a misunderstanding, and the sharp population decline was actually caused by a concurrent coronal mass ejection from the sun, also known as a lethal solar flare.
At the time, Earth was ruled by the First Civilization, also known as the Isu. The Isu were a progenitor species to humanity. Extremely scientifically advanced, the Isu genetically engineered humans to be laborers and Neanderthals as soldiers. However, eventually humanity, led by two humans named Adam and Eve, rebelled against the Isu. While the Isu were very advanced, humanity had numbers on its side. Distracted by the war, the Isu did not notice the coming solar flare until it was too late. Some Isu scientists and leaders did try to prevent the Great Catastrophe, but each one of their plans failed.
The six plans to prevent the great Catastrophe were were devised by three Isu; Father of Understanding Jupiter, Sacred Voice Minerva, and Mother of Wisdom Juno. Together, they were known as the Capitoline Triad. The first plan involved building four towers, which would draw on the energy of the solar flare, dispel it, and prevent it from wreaking havoc on Earth. One of the towers was partially built before it was discovered that the project would take too long to be ready before the flare.
The second plan was to create a giant magnetic forcefield around Earth. This would have repelled the solar flare using the same technology as the Rings of Eden, hand-worn Pieces of Eden which could repel projectiles. However, the plan proved too large to pull off, even to protect just a small portion of the population.
It wasn't until an Apple of Eden was used to experiment on humans that a third potential plan arose. It was discovered that when a large number of humans believed in an idea while targeted by a Apple of Eden, that idea would become reality. The third plan involved shooting an Apple of Eden into space, turning it back towards the Earth, and then getting all of humanity to think the phrase "make us safe." As bizarre a plan as it is, the problem that undid it turned out to be oddly mundane. The Isu couldn't figure out a way to turn the Apples of Eden around once they'd fired them into the stratosphere.
Realizing that any plan to save the First Civilization as it had once existed was doomed to failure, the Capitoline Triad began experimenting with less conventional ideas. The fourth plan was to physically augment the Isu so that they would be able to live in the sun-scorched post-apocalyptic world. The plan involved reinforcing the Isu's bodies with steel, but the process quickly proved to be a non-starter. Juno's husband Aita was the volunteer, and ended up asking his wife to euthanize him when his mind and body began deteriorating.
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