The Great Catastrophe, also known as the First Disaster, the Toba Catastrophe, the Toba Disaster, or the First Catastrophe, was a cataclysmic event during human prehistory, dated to 75000 BCE, or 2306 of the Isu Era, which saw the near total extinction of both humanity and the Isu, who were involved in a military conflict at the time.
In modern times, the disaster was often misconceived to have been the eruption of a super-volcano, but was in actuality caused by a coronal mass ejection. A second, equally powerful, but ultimately less destructive coronal mass ejection took place in the year 2012 CE.
Embroiled in their war with humanity, the Isu did not foresee the coming apocalypse until it was too late. Despite this, certain members of the First Civilization worked to find a means of suppressing it – or to at least protect future generations from the predicted recurrence – by researching ways of combatting the cataclysm within underground Vaults.
As stated by Jupiter, the Isu tested six different methods that showed the most potential, but none of them succeeded. When Desmond Miles and the other modern-day Assassins entered the Grand Temple, Juno appeared to tell Desmond of the six trials they took to prevent the disaster.
The first solution was to build four towers to siphon the solar flare and virtually dispel it. While they had the means and resources to accomplish it, the projected time taken would have been too extensive. The first tower was never completed and the research went on. However, Juno stated that even after the project was abandoned, the process that involved building the towers became automated and a few continued to build the first tower before the solar flares hit the Earth.
The second solution was to enhance metallic rings known as Rings of Eden – Pieces of Eden that emitted a forcefield around them to repel metal such as bullets. The concept was to use the principle behind the technology to create a magnetic forcefield around the Earth, but the scale of the project proved too large to construct and would have been infeasible. Still determined, the First Civilization tried saving portions by doing so on a reduced capacity – they hoped to save half, a sixth, an eighth, or even a tenth of the world, but even building the Ring for one city would have been too costly, and so the solution was abandoned.
The third solution was discovered by using the Apple of Eden on humans. If enough humans were told to believe in one idea, it would take form in reality. As such, the third solution was to launch an Apple of Eden into orbit, aim it towards the planet, and command all humans to one thought, "Make us safe." This thought alone would theoretically take form and protect the Earth – the issue, however, was in aiming the Apple toward the right direction to then convey the message that the Isu wanted. After sending a dozen Apples into orbit, with the result being identical in its difficulty, the solution was abandoned.
The theoretical solutions from then on focused on matters of the body; in this vein, the fourth solution was to physically enhance the Isu externally. The idea behind it would compose of transforming their bodies internally to steel that was able to withstand a hostile environment. Aita, Juno's husband, volunteered to test the method. Within an instant, his mind degenerated and he became increasingly catatonic. With enough will, Aita wished for Juno to euthanize him, and she fulfilled it. The solution was abandoned and the researchers continued on similar matters.
Following on from its predecessor, the fifth solution was to create entirely new vessels that could safely house the consciousness. With this in mind, the new vessels would be able to withstand the new environment, but the ability to transfer the consciousness from one host to another could not be developed, and so this solution was also abandoned.
In time, Minerva discovered through divinations that there was a pattern of numbers and equations to existence, and that if one could comprehend them, they could tame time itself. The sixth solution was to attempt traveling back in time and trying to prevent the disaster beforehand, but the means to do so were too dangerous and it was abandoned.
Subsequently, Minerva conceived one more solution, but it was never tested. She created a pedestal, the Eye, that would allow one who had the genetic material to manipulate the numbers of existence and protect the Earth by doing so. However, before Minerva could test it, she discovered that Juno had tampered with the Eye. While the patterns to save the world were still there, they would also allow Juno to have total control and power. Minerva forced the solution to be abandoned.
Before the world ended, Minerva looked forward in time using the numbers. She, Juno, and Jupiter used them to speak to Desmond Miles and his ancestors so that he may comprehend the situation, seek the Grand Temple, and prevent a disaster of the same magnitude that would occur in 2012 CE.
Disaster and aftermath
The coronal mass ejection hit the Earth just as predicted, flipping the polarity of the Earth's magnetic field and exposing the planet to the Sun's deadly radiation. The entire planet burned for weeks afterward, and earthquakes and catastrophic blazes ravaged what remained of Earth.
The surface of the earth was rendered barren, and less than ten thousand humans and "far fewer" members of the Isu survived the catastrophe. In order to recover from the event, the remaining members of the Isu and their human creations brought their war to an end and began to work together to restore life to the planet.
Because their numbers were too few, the First Civilization failed to survive long as an independent species. Humans, on the other hand, who had been built by the Isu "to survive", successfully managed to reconstruct their society and flourished. Over time, the reshaping of the Earth's landscape and geography would eliminate nearly all physical evidence of the Isu.
- In Assassin's Creed: The Essential Guide, the capitalization of "catastrophe" is inconsistent, often even within the same entries.