2034-03-12 0158 EST Coronal Mass Ejection hits the US Eastern Seaboard
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Global communications were badly disrupted by the bulging atmosphere. The CME that the Worldship - the Trees directed at the Eastern side of America disrupted or destroyed most of the rest of the low Earth orbit infrastructure. By this point orbital habitats were already abandoned, so very few people remained to be killed by the blast.
Unlike a natural CME, this strike was focussed, centred around Philadelphia. The geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) were felt around the world, with power systems disrupted as far as 3000km from the centre of the phenomenon. The majority of the effect was felt on the Eastern seaboard of the US. Since the region was already depopulated and communications were already severely disrupted, the utilities that were hammered by this strike tended to spiral out of control or fail to handle the problem.
Along with the GICs, this strike produced a long series of electromagnetic pulses. The physics of this are not clear, but most physicists believe that the solar plasma hitting the atmosphere was modulated to achieve this effect. Even heavily shielded electronics and electrical equipment began to fail as the powerful surges continued. Many fires were started at this time. From lunar telescopes pointed at Earth, the CME was beautiful, and left a pool of lowing red beneath it.
The normal civilian and military chains of command were destroyed. There is no communication from POTUS or anyone in the line of succession. Martial Law was declared in California, who were already in a state of emergency from New Mordor.
The AI Peers who remain worked actively to prevent the spread of information about the Summoning and the CME, especially Q, Google, and IOTA. When the CME ended at 0112EDT (sixteen minutes after it hit, but crossing the daylight saving time boundary) they opened up communications again. Ouri took point, telling people that communication with the aliens had been established, and that the vast majority of the US population was safe and in good health aboard their Worldship.