The Downfall is divided primarily into two sections: The Aftermath and the Reconstruction.
Immediate Aftermath (408/01/01 PRE - 408/01/15 PRE)Edit
One of the first, and most devastating, effects of the Downfall was the destruction of most of the Confederacy's knowledge and technology. The ubiquitous Benefactor polaritonic circuits lost coherence and melted, the ubiquitous Benefactor metaholographic memories wore out amost simultaneously over the next two weeks, and the subtle errors introduced by the ubiquitous Benefactor data-compression and decompression algorithms suddenly overcame the error-correction algorithms, rendering zettabytes of data almost irretrivably corrupted. Every single automated device manufactured in the previous fifty years stopped working, ranging from hospital equipment to pacemakers to the computer-controlled transit system. Since nearly every single technological device had a chip in it, and most money existed only as numbers in credit-company datacenters, when the chips failed, everything failed. This was, in a way, more devastating than any other facet of the Downfall- the failure of the data banks meant that the knowledge to go back to before-Benefactor conditions no longer existed.
When the Downfall occured, transport failure occured on two fronts. Every J-Drive engine, the Benefactor-based successor to the Torsion Drive, instantly disappeared from their housings, apparently having shifted into another dimension. Meanwhile, the shockwave sent down the Rift by the failure of Benefactor technology destroyed every single Rift Bridge, gravitonic communicator, and shuttle inside or connected to the Rift. As a result, the myriad worlds of the myriad races of the Confederacy became almost totally cut off from one another. The range of travel shrunk from being able to travel across universes and galaxies with barely any effort, to barely being able to travel from one post-apocalyptic town to the next. The shock on an economy that was not merely globalized, but completely multiversized, could not be measured- compounded by the fact that said economy had just realized that the databank failure meant that nintey-seven percent of the entire money supply in circulation no longer existed.
The other facets of the Downfall produced conditions that, normally, would lead to the fall of civilization anyway. However, during the same nightmare two-week period as this was taking place, disastrous legal clauses and feedback effects operating within the constitution of the Confederacy and local governments, fueled by sudden doubt on the Benefactor social theories, suddenly kicked into overdrive. The resulting effects amplified every other problem, and the process was accelerated exponentially, such that the equivalent of a hundred years of social decline and fall happened in two weeks.
Splintering (408 PRE - 438 PRE)Edit
The massive acceleration of social change, spurred on by a kind of mass forgetfulness the psychomemetic effects of the Other, caused an incredible effect on the myriad worlds of the Confederacy. The forgetfulness, and associated slight stimulant effect, caused the people to go through a kind of "generation," a passing-on of slightly-corrupted knowledge from the (relatively) young to the (relatively) old, approximately once a week. Societies, religions, and ideologies blossomed like wildfires and died like mayflies. Although the effect eventually slowed, by the end of thirty years every one of the trillions of isolated planets still inhabited had developed a unique culture, admittedly a newly-formed and not very well-developed one. Traces of the old cultures could still be found, although in greatly corrupted, almost unidentifiable form in ritual, tradition, and other odd places- for an extreme case of this, witness the transformation of Research Colony 235 into the unique, savage, cargo-cult-esque "Scientific People" Some of these societies, usually formed around antique collections and museums, as well as the still-existant, though rare, paper libraries, still posessed space travel and other technology- although these outposts of civilization were greatly outnumbered by the trillions upon trillions of primitive, tribal worlds. It was upon this enourmously varied tapestry of a newly-born, feuding, freakish society that the "Paranoid" colonies reemerged.
Fifty years after the Paranoid Colonies went into their self-imposed exile, they reassembled their Jaunt machinery and reconnected to the remnants of the Rift Bridge network, now maintained by the six-planet Librarian Empire, as an attempt to examine the state of the world. Being the only ones completely unaffected by the Downfall, as they had destroyed their Jaunt machinery and refused to incorporate any Benefactor-based knowledge into their societies, sciences, or technologies, they quickly, aided by the Elonatha, set to driving away the Other and attempting to reforge the shattered fragments of what civilization remained into a new society, as it was before the Benefactor came- the Inter-Continuum Republic. Having, in their irrational, but fortunately justified, paranoia, saved a complete backup of almost the whole Hypernet in the event the Benefactor indeed turned out to be fraudulent and the rebuilding of civilization was required. Although our society is still but a thousandth of the size of the Confederacy, every week we begin to reeincorporate another world. I, for one, am hopeful.