The Great Catastrophe, also known as the First Disaster, the Toba Catastrophe or Toba Disaster, Ragnarök, 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 that occurred at the same time, 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 into the Grand Temple 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, a few Isu returned to make the tower construction process automated before the solar flares hit the Earth, so "Metal might finish what flesh could not". Although long since failed to stop the Catastrophe, over the thousands of years afterwards would finally see this project complete and provide the power necessary for Global aurora borealis device, which would save the world by the time of the Second Disaster at the cost of some comparatively minor damage globally from short-lived seismic and volcanic activity, electrical storms, blackouts from failing transformers and short-circuited satellites.
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 and energy such as lasers. 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 fourth solution was to attempt traveling back in time and trying to prevent the disaster beforehand, but the means to do so could not be found and it was abandoned. Instead, Isu used the Nexus to look forward in time and see what was to come. They used it to see if various methods could succeed, but as every result was the same, seeing into the future was abandoned so focus could be directed more on new methods. However, Minerva did not abandon the method and continued seeing into the future. She would discover 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, leading her to create the Eye to aid in calculating them in the hopes of preventing the disaster. However, before Minerva could test it, she discovered that Juno had tampered with the Eye to turn it to her own ends of having Desmond free her, resurrecting and taking over the world. Minerva managed to put a stop to her after discovering her treachery, but then left to help reignite the spark of civilisation with the other Isu after the Catastrophe before they died.
However, before the world ended, Minerva looked forward in time using the numbers and the Eye and called out to Desmond Miles. Leaving messages with his ancestors knowing that he would relive their memories, messages that only he would find, she and Jupiter hoped that he may comprehend the situation, seek the Grand Temple, and prevent a disaster of the same magnitude that would occur in 2012 CE. Finally, after of centuries wandering the Earth teaching what they could to the surviving Humanity, before she died Minerva took one last look into the future with a second Eye she had created to see if they had succeeded in preventing the Second Disaster. She saw that Juno had deceived them and had survived, and was manipulating Desmond into freeing her through the same method that would save the world.
The theoretical solutions from then on focused on matters of the body; in this vein, the fifth 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 Sixth 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.
Seeing that Humanity would survive and thrive while the Isu die out, a seventh solution was created to allow the Isu's essence to be "remembered" and grant a form of reincarnation through the human survivors. Through the use of a liquid called the Mead and the powerful supercompter known as Yggdrasil to store and preserve a being's consciousness by manipulating the human genome, the method would save Isu from the Catastrophe by a randomly activated hidden trigger which would alter the genetic make-up of the individual, slowly imbuing them with a chosen's Isu DNA and, with it, their memories, and changing the Humans physically as a result. It is through this method that the Æsir are able to reincarnate through history, with this method also used by Juno on her husband Aita, leading to the creation of Sages. However, due to the process of merging surfacing memories leading to most Sages to be driven mad, other Isu grew concerned and feared that it would change Humanity to the worse, so it was locked away and abandoned.
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.
Solutions for Salvation
As stated by Jupiter, the Isu tested six different methods that showed the most potential, but none of them succeeded. However, Hyrrokin, Juno under a different name, revealed that there was a seventh method but that it was locked-away.
- Assassin's Creed II (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations (first appearance)
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (mentioned only)
- The Fate of Atlantis: Judgment of Atlantis (indirect mention only)
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (referred to as "Ragnarök")
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice (indirect mention only)
- The Essential Guide
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla – View Above All
- Assassin's Creed: Initiates
- Assassin's Creed II
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- Assassin's Creed III: Official Game Guide
- Assassin's Creed III - Ending credits.
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla – Animus Anomalies
- Assassin's Creed: Uprising
- Assassin's Creed: Valhalla – The Price of Wisdom
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations Official Game Guide