America, 2009. Without federal stimulus support, the recession turns into a depression. Billions of dollars vanish from the global market. Small businesses go extinct, while multinationals shrink drastically. The world economy crashes as prices skyrocket and exports plummet. Then, when things couldn't get any worse, the unthinkable happens.
Amid a political climate more polarized than at any point in history, the first African-American President of the United States is assassinated by a mad radical. Tensions explode like fault lines, driving a violent wedge between Mexican immigrants and southern locals, jobless artists and skilled workers, the rich and the poor, liberals and conservatives. In an attempt to avoid bloodshed, the government declares martial law. The effect is disastrous.
Ideological militias, desperate neighborhood watches, and enraged individuals take up arms against one another to survive as food becomes scarce, utilities rare, and medicine matched in value only by ammunition. In their fear and paranoia, citizens turn on one another with fatal results. More and more armed groups appear as the government struggles to provide protection across the massive country scattered with countless small towns.
The police are quickly overwhelmed by the constant muggings, robberies, assaults, kidnappings, and murders. For the first time in public history, the government declares DEFCON 1, calling all service men and women to duty and recalling troops from overseas. Public tension escalates in response to the occupation, which serves as a catalyst for the formation of ideological insurgencies.
Though only loosely tied together via digital means, four main groups manage to establish themselves amid the chaos: the ultra-right wing Constitutionalists, those still willing to work with the current system of government, the leftist Europe-inspired United Citizens, and a small network of those trying to provide apolitical aid across the country. The result is a five-way free-for-all between the libertarians of the south, the socialists occupying the east coast and most major cities, the United States military with its focus on national resources, Mexican drug cartels pushing north into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and even southern California, and private security contractors hired by corporations to protect their influences with lethal force.