Some of us have read Whale's canon list, which has a lot of details I won't go into here. But I'd like to focus on exactly how the apocalypse happened, from the point of view of a normal civilian in New England:
Drones (eyebots) used in police work.
Personal bionics become commonplace for the wealthy, and for those with
high-demand government positions.
Escalations in China and DPRK lead to a "Cold War," with both sides highly
prioritizing defense research.
Transposition along 4th axis discovered by DARPA researchers.
Robotic police officers enter service in limited areas.
4th dimensional topology mapped out. It's found that certain areas are "lower"
along the 4th axis, allowing for relatively low-energy transposition into areas
Collection of materials along 4th axis commences. First contamination occurs
but is confined to the two research labs with transposition equipment, and is
in amounts so tiny (a few dozen molecules) that it is not remarked upon.
Gun control laws greatly relaxed as a result of perceived increase in public
Robotic police officers are used in 95% of police precincts.
A new federal agency, the Xenophysical Energy Defense Research Agency (XEDRA),
is created to oversee the construction and operation of 12 new 4th axis
research labs, scattered across the midwest.
Other agency names:
HYDRA (HYperdimensional Defense Research Agency)
ATMAR (Agency for Transitional Mechanics & Activity Research)
APRA (Abnormal Phenomena Research Agency)
Plasma weapons developed in response to rising threat in China, DPRK
Increases in extradimensional research leads to collection of living samples.
This notably includes XE037 (blob). As time continues, larger and larger
sub-prime monsters are retrieved.
T-15 Months to 5 Months:
XEDRA becomes increasingly internally politicized, with different divisions
competing for research dollars, and oversight staff conflicting in their
opinions regarding the direction and goals of research.
Short-range teleportation becomes a reality using fixed laboratory equipment.
T-12 Months to 6 Months:
XEDRA begins storing sub-prime lifeforms, particularly XE037, and researching
their potential as a possible super-weapon.
Massive troop movements in China and DPRK provoke deployment by USAF. For
the first time in history, a peacetime draft is instated.
The successes of XEDRA lead to a greatly increased budgets and the construction
of hundres of new research & production facilities in appropriate areas.
Civil unrest regarding the drafts is widespread.
Troops begin deploying with cutting-edge bionics systems. They are,
according to intelligence, outpaced by Chinese developments.
XEDRA gains increasingly unrestricted powers. Convicts with death sentences
are used as subjects. Later, convicts with life sentences are used as well.
Zombifying effect of XE037 discovered.
T-3 Months to T+0:
Civil unrest progresses into wide-scale riots. Limited martial law instated
in several areas. Deployment of robotic police is increased to maintain order.
T-4 Months to 1 Month:
Corruption in XEDRA runs rampant and the legality of actions is frequently
ignored. Due to the perceived importance of XEDRA, and the extenuating
circumstances of public unrest and riots, these oversteps are mostly
DPRK troop movements indicate an imminent attack. Missile launches batter
South Korean port cities and act as a show of force. In response, US troop
deployment is vastly increased, resulting in a much smaller military presence
in mainland USA.
XE037 surge occurs. XE037, a kind of sanguine hive mind, is responding to
XEDRA's probes. The surge occurs in all teleportation facilities
simultaneously. During this event, XE037 contaminates the ground water and
establishes "colonies" (slime pits). It is unknown whether Chinese/DPRK
facilities experience this surge, as it is unknown whether they posess the
equipment to perform transposition experiments.
T-15 Days to 5 Days:
The first zombification incidents outside of labs occur. These are sometimes
covered up by XEDRA; but often they aren't even noticed, and the zombie is
dismissed as a violent rioter and re-killed.
Merging of XE037 and plant life results in colonies of triffids. These are
largely undetected, as they start deep underground as a triffid heart.
Merging of XE037 and insect life occurs, resulting in rapid transformations.
T-3 Days to T+0:
A series of terrorist attacks, including dirty bombs and biological weapons, is
unleashed across the United States. NPRK & Chinese sleeper cells are expected.
Zombie outbreaks become widespread and critical mass is achieved; a zombie
population which grows faster than it can be contained/killed.
Panic sets in; deaths are rapid and widespread.
50% zombification or death.
90% zombification or death.
Bombing of large US cities by an unknown aggressor commences. A crippled
defense infrastructure is largely unable to respond.
A largely-defeated national guard retreats to fortified bunkers and air strips.
99% zombification or death.
The game begins.
Day -3: The nation goes to high alert. Reasons are sketchy. Rumours of an imminent attack abound. News media briefly brings up stories of a few drug fueled maniacs attacking civilians, but they are quickly buried under speculation on a possible invasion.
Speculation continues. There are rumours of a new street drug turning people into violent, brutal killers. There are sightings of strange, large, aggressive insects in the woods, but no official confirmation.
There are suspected reports that the killers may be under the influence of a biological attack slowly creeping it's way through the population, turning people into killers. Others dismiss these rumours as nonsense. The government refuses to comment, saying they are investigating and looking into things.
A portal opens in a remote field in, but the government responds quickly and suppresses information about the event.
The bombs drop. Many cities in New England are hit with high explosives. The klaxons that are supposed to warn of an attack never sound, and the strikes appear to be precisely targeted, though there isn't much special about the areas they strike at first glance. In reality, several of the smaller labs that scatter the area providing relays for the primary dimensional manipulation experiments have experience gateways opening in the immediate area, and their machinery refusing to shut down. Those inside have quickly been overwhelmed by extradimensional horrors. The strikes are against labs that have been overrun, or where the resonator equipment is still functioning, and locations believed to have opened portals. It is hoped the high energy yield of high explosives will collapse the portals, or at least destroy the equipment that makes it possible for them to open. In many cases, this works. In others, the strikes make things worse, changing how the portals work instead.
From several of these strikes, the portals absorb the energy and create a larger, fluctuating rift that allows noxious alien chemicals to billow forth in huge plumes. Those in the immediate area have their skin blister, boil, and slough off, and the chemicals quickly enter the atmosphere.
Other areas have their portals turn into blistering infernos, or areas of extreme cold. It is hypothesized by scientists in-the-know that disrupting the lab network has caused permanent dimensional weakness and expanded our susceptibility not only to connections to the subprime plane, but also a number of neighboring planes. This is all fairly meaningless to the average citizen, who is mostly under the impression that life has turned into hell-on-earth.
Additional portals begin appearing around the world, even as the number of new portals in New England steadily dwindles.
Creatures from the surviving portals, those expanded or missed by the bombs, begin venturing forth and slaughtering those they find. One portal expands violently, causing an explosion that erupts a cloud of spores into the air before closing permanently. These spores begin floating on the breeze, and several eventually find a home.
Finally, the klaxons sound, and a biological attack is announced. There is utter chaos, and many mixed messages. The military is deployed to try to control the situation, and martial law is declared. It is hard to ignore now that the dead rise again short afterward, and abominations roam the streets. Many head to evac shelters and bunkers, others try to lock their doors and stay in their homes. There is a huge migration of vehicles heading west.
As day turns to night, the first caustic rain occurs, returning the alien chemicals to earth at great distances even as they continue to pour from the portal rifts. The deadly rain lasts for almost 9 hours, killing most of those caught outside while evacuating.
Most of the monsters die off, seemingly only able to operate within a certain distance of the portals, before the effects of the prime plane begin causing severe degeneration. Unfortunately, the damage has largely been done. Worse, a few find the new plane perfectly comfortable, and begin to expand aggressively, while others such as the ooze that causes the zombies adapt to find forms that will let them expand beyond the range of their connection to another plane.
Those who are killed by monsters, rain, or any of the other new threats to appear raise as zombies, and even zombies that are killed with bullets or normal weapons will raise again soon afterwards.
In an effort to combat the new threats of both large amounts of undead humans and various otherworldly horrors, the automated security forces are quickly reprogrammed to behave much more aggressively, killing threats instead of just trying to arrest them if they were supposed to, and adopting a much wider view of what constitutes a threat. Unfortunately, this backfires - though they do identify the undead as a threat, and in several cases successfully engage them, the new settings also lead them to target the human "trespassers" running the security networks, and the networked security systems identify almost any living human as a hostile threat to be eliminated. The larger network itself collapses shortly afterwards, leaving no way to adjust the settings back, as each security unit - police station, military turret, autonomous hunter vehicle - reverts to independent control operating under the last instructions received
The nation declares a national disaster, and FEMA camps are setup and a large-scale evacuation begins, even as reports of portals opening in other locations begin to reach official ears. The evacuation camps prove to be deathtraps, attracting the attention of deadly creatures and the security forces who view them as "illegal homeless encampments".
National support is pulled out of New England, and the area is declared a lost cause as efforts intensify to control the new appearances of portals throughout the rest of the US.
Acid rain occurs intermittently. The acid breaks down fairly quickly after it falls to earth, but several portals remain open that pour the caustic material into the sky. Like a volcano, some portals remain quiet for a while before letting forth a huge belch of a toxic cloud, while others release a steady, uncomfortable trickle.
The first fungaloids are encountered by a small military patrol, and retreat to a nearby farmhouse after one of the soldiers is killed by something erupting from the ground. They report the presence of several large fungal growths, almost human height, and a haze that has settled over the area. Fine powder seems to cover every surface within hours. By the end of the day, the spires will be significantly larger, and the number of fungaloids surrounding the house grow endlessly in number . The last reports from the soldiers indicate strange symptoms among the soldiers, and that fungal growths from the engine are preventing their vehicle from starting. They are not heard from again.
Triffids, strange plant-like creatures that seem to build upon the existing root networks in local forests, are seen growing in multiple places, having been dropped by Triffid seed-runners that escaped through one or more portals. They quickly attune to the new landscape, and many regions of forest begin slowly converting into triffid groves. The Triffids and Fungals seem to be related somehow.
The giant insects begin spread as well, serving as a useful vessel for the goo, but maintaining many of their primitive impulses. Construction begins on enormous hives, dens, and colonies.