The actual end of the old world is mired in a great deal of controversy, but on the basic points there is broad agreement. In brief, Peggy Martin responded to an unwelcome order by tearing her superior’s heart out in the middle of a crowded restaurant, and the situation escalated rapidly.
The first detail on which there is controversy is how that order (to perform a series of inspections of Ultra training facilities) came to be given. The man who gave the order, who also has the distinction of being Prevailer’s first official victim, lacked the authority to deploy the Ultra force himself. He would have been passing down instructions from above.
One theory holds that it was President Riker herself who gave the command, passing it off to her adivisor and so on. She is known to have nursed a festering resentment of Prevailer throughout their time together in the Ultra Force, and might have availed herself of the temptation to humiliate her rival, now that she had risen to command her.
The other suspect is more of Karen Austin’s manipulations. While Peggy was generally given carte blanche for her checkered past, the same did not necessarily hold true of Remover. If she had caught wind of the investigation that was mounting against her, it is entirely possible that she may have knowingly provoked Prevailer’s rebellion in a bid for personal safety.
Regardless of the source, however, history records in great detail what actually happened. Prevailer murdered a federal agent in front of dozens of witnesses, and then continued to eat her meal as the body cooled on the floor. Police arrived and attempted to arrest her, and were summarily slaughtered. Prevailer ordered seconds, and began to kill indiscriminately when she realized that the restaurant staff had fled. More police arrived, and her rampage expanded throughout the streets of Washington.
The command was given, in the midst of all of this, for the Ultra Force to take down its most powerful asset. Approximately 70% of them made the effort, while the remainder either fled or simply declined to deploy. Sentiment is often lauded on the human forces which would later deploy against the nascent tyrant, but how much greater was the heroism of the Ultra Force? Unlike those who would perish later they KNEW what they were going forth to confront. They did so anyway, and died as brave folks have done throughout history.
As for the initial clash itself, not much needs to be recounted. Prevailer’s mobile struggle with the police simply transitioned into a similar harrowing of the Ultra Force, distinct only in the time that her assailants were able to evade her attacks, and the greatly increased collateral damage that Prevailer caused as she began to enjoy herself. The infamous shot of Peggy Martin hurling the Washington monument like a javelin into the front of the White House was shot during this struggle.
Days end is generally pegged as the last time that the crisis might somehow have been averted. Prevailer seemed to grow bored of her rampage, and she transported herself to New York, in order to meet up with her date. This romantic arrangement was likely the reason that she had initially refused to comply with her superior’s assignment. In any case, the discovery that word had spread far and wide of her war against America apparently came as something of a shock to Ms. Martin, and when she realized that no one was coming to meet up with her for dinner and a movie she apparently began her anti government campaign in earnest.
For its part, the American Government had been basically beheaded during the first day of the Prevailer’s rampage. The President was killed, the VP hospitalized, a majority of Congress obliterated. There was a line of succession, of course, but it hadn’t necessarily been tested well enough to ensure that it operated in such an unimaginable situation as the one which transpired. The civilian government passed the night in a series of anguished phone calls and texts, desperately attempting to discern who was alive and in charge, and organize what was to be done.
The military’s response, by contrast, was much more organized and efficient. This is primarily due to the fact that its command and control structures hadn’t been Prevailer’s targets in her initial strike, and by the time she remembered that the Pentagon wasn’t in the White House the various generals and other military leaders had been rushed to a network of safe houses and the like, established in case of a terrorist strike.
Working through the night the military accomplished a heroic feat. They had a joint branch task force called up and dispatched to the Washington area by afternoon the next day. Fighter support, a few armored vehicles, and thousands of hastily deplaning soldiers. It was a feat of mobilization that the world no longer supports, and that it accomplished nothing productive does not take away from the achievement’s scale.
The First Defiance proper occurred over the following two and a half months, as America’s military collapsed onto the country’s east coast, and pitted itself against Prevailer in open battle. The results, of course, are well known. The world’s foremost Ultra found herself pitted against humans, and slaughtered them without compunction. Telescope can still track the wreckage of tanks that she hurled out of orbit. Scavengers still pass by the strange series of craters which resulted from Prevailer spiking planes into the ground like tent pegs, in an attempt to scar the world with a smiley face.
There were Ultras among her challengers, of course, but far less than one might suppose. Patriotic citizens who Processed themselves during the war, Ultra Force veterans reconsidering their cowardice from the first day and allied Ultras hastening to the aid of the world’s preeminent nation, there were perhaps a few dozen in all. They engaged the tyrant in what seemed to be a few close fought battles, but nowadays, with the benefit of years of recording such struggles, we know what it looks like when Prevailer plays with her food.
The majority of citizen casualties during this time arose from Remover’s actions. Escaping Washington on the first day, she busied herself with what became known as The Toppling. She would approach an inhabited area, and manifest her disintegrating energies in broad bands, combing through the cities at knee level. The architecture of the old world shared the fate of the society which spawned it, complete collapse.
It is a tragedy, of course, that no one thought to track down Remover and kill her in the midst of this confusion. Everyone seems to have blamed Prevailer for the destruction of the cities, and to the degree that the disintegrating government had any policy it seemed to begin and end with confronting her. No one put together the fact that some of the remaining Ultra Force were helping her until they had lost too many forces to usefully act against them.
The First Defiance officially came to an end when a minor government official, made President by virtue of the decimation of the hierarchy, bent knee and kissed Prevailer’s feet in a ceremony broadcast worldwide. Prevailer issued her famous Takeover Proclamation from a throne of rubble, shaking bloodied fists at an appalled world.
America, a nation born in revolution, had fallen to one of its own. The superpower had been overthrown by an ultrapower, and the world was changed forever.