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Apocalypse How: Class 6
Planetary-scale Total Extinction of all life
of any kind. The planet is left as a lifeless husk.
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Anime and Manga
- The great fear of humanity in Neon Genesis Evangelion is Third Impact, which will complete the devastation of the Class 4 Second Impact. End of Evangelion ended with Third Impact and the resulting extinction of all Lilim (i.e. humanity and all other Earth species) via an Assimilation Plot, but it is outright stated to be reversible, and humans can exist as individuals again, if they really want to.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Anti-Spiral's defense system sets the Moon on a collision course with the Earth. Our heroes calculate that the impact will strip away the earth's crust, causing everything to die: if not from the impact, then from the superheated gasses released. It would cause the earth to become completely uninhabitable for at least a full year. Our heroes save the day, of course.
- This is what's going to happen to the Magical World (population: 1.2 billion) unless the heroes Save! The! Day! in Mahou Sensei Negima!. Specifically, when the magic sustaining the world (which is on Mars in Another Dimension) fails, the entire population will be dropped onto the very much uninhabitable surface of Mars. Did I say entire population? I meant 67 million because all of the natives of the Magical World are part of the same spell and don't actually exist apart from it.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this is how Kriemhild Gretchen, the witch form of Madoka, would have destroyed the world in one timeline, or really, any timeline after the point at which the collective despair of all the iterations of her in alternate timelines built up to a sort of critical mass.
- This is what ultimately happens to the world in Wolf's Rain. That is, before Kiba dies and Cheza's seeds create paradise to press the reset button for life on Earth.
- In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, the main Big Bad Dune does this after defeating the heroines, restoring his full powers, reducing the Great Heart Tree to a withered husk and unleashing his Desert Devils on the Earth, reducing it to a lifeless desert. Thankfully, the people purified by the Precures during the course of the series give the girls the strength to fight back and they reverse this in the end.
- In Bleach, Yamamoto's Zanka no Tachi is indicated to be a Class 6; both Yamamoto and Unohana state that Soul Society would be destroyed by the former's Bankai if it was left activated for too long.
- In Guiders of our Dreams, Eclipse, the villain destroys the atmosphere of Earth, and creates a new planet called Skiya.
- Long before Malefic (who only managed a Class 3) rolled around in modern continuity, Commander Blanx did this to Mars in the 1969 Justice League of America & Martian Manhunter story "And So My World Ends," setting the entire planet on fire with an ever burning Blue Flame that consumed everything down to the bed rock.
- The ultimate consequences of Bishop's actions (and sundry unrelated disasters) in the bad future in Cable and X-Force qualifies as this grade of Apocalypse How (either that or a Class 5). Let's see—he stole a number of WMDs. One of them nuked Australia. Another turned South America into a perpetual conflagration. Nerve gas or something like it released in Beijing depopulated Asia. Africa's fate is uncertain. The fifth of them destroyed Europe's fresh water. The sixth was used against Cyclops when X-Force captured him and brought him to San Fran or Utopia in the Present. In response to one or more of the first five (they all happened in different years), the remains of future-UN declared open colonization on North America. In retaliation, the remains of future-US's government and military turned themselves into roach-people. Cue genocidal war (Cable volume 2 issue 9 or thereabouts). North America was ruined. It had recovered a little by the end of the 30th Century, at least around NYC and up into the Adirondacks a little (Cable and X-Force crossover Messiah War, when Hope was about 9). But, by the 3120s (later issues of Cable), even there, the planet was dying (storms of blood). And what did Bishop have done to him? Cable or Hope (who was by that time about 16) scrambled his time-travel device and sent him to 6900 AD or so in that timeline. That possible future Earth was basically utterly dead. Nice Job Breaking It, Villain.
- This strip◊ from Argentinian cartoonist Quino.
- The final prediction in Knowing. A massive solar flare incinerates the planet, instantly vaporizing everybody on it to a crisp, evaporating the oceans, reducing the surface to lava, and basically just ending all life on Earth, and ensuring it will never rise again for a few million years. Good thing the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens had spares.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy has lone bands of dying humans roaming the cold, gray, ash covered America, barren of all animal, insect or plant life. It is implied that once the last few survivors have cannibalized each other, there will be no life on Earth.
- In Jasper Fforde's Lost in a Good Book, Thursday Next and her time-traveling father work to avert the nanomachine apocalypse that turns everything on Earth into strawberry Dream Topping on most of the timelines.
- In Alastair Reynolds' Century Rain the Earth has been taken over by nanotechnology gone amok, and the remaining humans live in space.
- Hinted at in The Body Snatchers, by Jack Finney, when a Body Snatcher who's taken over the body of a friend states that the Body Snatchers only live five years, cannot reproduce and pretty much copy everything living, thereby turning whatever planet they invade (Mars and the Moon are mentioned) to lifeless blobs before launching off to seek out other living planets.
- David Drake's The Lord of the Isles series has several examples of this. In "The Gods Return" we get a glimpse of the The Worm's, a giant slug-like monster's, home planet. All life, including all other members of the Worm's species, has been consumed by the monster leaving only a barren grey wasteland behind. Another novel features the Pack, a trio of life-consuming monsters from another plane of existence who have turned their whole universe into a barren desert. In "Mistress of the Catacombs" the main characters eventually wind up in an alternate-universe version of their own world where the Ragnarok apocalypse from Viking myth has occurred. While some humans still survive, one character from the doomed planet, makes it clear there are only months left until the final human is killed by a rampaging giant or other monster and the whole world is covered with ice.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe has the Republic, Separatist, and Imperial Order Base Delta Zero, an orbital bombardment which comes in two main flavors. The quick and dirty version is a Class 3 that involves destroying all cities, industrial assets, infrastructure and people, and can be executed by handful of Star Destroyers in a single day barring resistance and may include surface landings to conduct mop-up operations. The second variant is Class 6, frequently cited as calling for a fleet of ships to melt the planet's crust to a depth of 1 meter. Ultimately, how much it falls between these two categories depends on how many fleet assets are available, how pressed for time the commander in charge is, and how vindictive he is feeling when carrying out the order.
- One of Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth universe novels, Bloodhype, features the Vom, an Eldritch Abomination of possibly extragalactic origin that travels through space by enslaving sentient species and devours all life on planets it encounters down to the last microbe. Other novels in the series upped the ante - see the X-2 and X-4 entries.
- Hyperion Cantos - The Pax orders this being done to the Ousters. A Hegemony officer predicts the Ousters are going to do this to a planet, although there is no evidence they ever did.
- Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy contains a planet called Garissa. Or rather, did. It was sterilised with antimatter-fueled "planet busters". In effect, they caused planet-wide radioactive hurricanes that would rage for centuries.
- Iar Elterrus' Burden of the Emperor describes the summoning of an Eldritch Abomination roughly described as the embodiment of void or nothing. A successful summoning would wipe out all life, and there is no way to know if the planet would survive the ordeal, placing this on top of Class 6 bordering Class X-1. As of the third book, there is either more than one inhabited planet in the universe or more than one universe with human life, reducing this to Class 0 bordering Class 1, as the planet in question is fairly unique.
- Valentin Ivashchenko's Warrior and Mage series feature the Fallen God seeking for a way to reenter the world. Said reentry would possibly destroy the world and surely wipe out life, placing this between Class 6 and Class X-1. Mages in danger of becoming one of those reentry points (usually necromancers under great stress and catastrophic circumstances) are handled with extreme prejudice.
- Vadim Kazakov's Measure of Chaos series features a "Well of Chaos" corrupting the land. The corrupted area is quarantined by mages and special multinational armies. A breach in the quarantine will wipe out life, replacing it with chaos-spawned things.
- In HP Lovecraft's sonnet "Fungi From Yuggoth", Nyarlathotep brings about the end of the world, descibed as "crushing what he chansed to mould in play, the Idiot Chaos blew Earth's dust away". That's pretty vague, but seeing as "Idiot Chaos" probably refers to Azathoth, it likely refers to atleast Class 6, possibly Class X.
- You greatly underestimate the ensuing destruction. All of existence is Azathoth's dream. When he wakes up, it will be over. No Earth-Shattering Kaboom, all reality will just be gone.
- Dragonlance has one of its characters, Raistlin, try to become a god. After succeeding, he proceeds to dethrone others to get rid of competition, however after he's done kicking all the other gods out of their seats the world is pretty much dead.
- In the Wing Commander novel Fleet Action, the Kilrathi on the warpath use Strontium-90 clad thermonuclear weapons to render several planets incapable of sustaining any life, and threaten to do so to Earth until Max Krueger's Big Damn Heroes moment.
- If the F'dor of the Symphony of Ages succeed, the entire world will be reduced to lifeless, molten slag. This isn't just supposition by characters, either; Meridion's story bits take place After the End.
- As The Curtain Falls is set billions of years in the future, during one of these. Due to the Sun's expansion into a Red Giant (which will later lead to a Class X2), Earth's atmosphere has boiled away and life can only exist on the beds of dried up oceans. Soon, everything will be dead. Also, much of Earth's surface is covered with deserts made of tiny bits of degraded plastic.
- In the backstory of The Magician's Nephew, Jadis' Deplorable Word killed every single living thing on the planet except her. She put herself into stasis later.
- In Poul Anderson's After Doomsday, Earth. This proves to be a clue. The culprits were not biochemically compatible with Earth, and would have had to slag it down to reseed it anyway, after they disposed of humanity.
- In Doom: Endgame, Fredworld experiences a planetary desolation at the hands of the Newbies. It takes Fly and Arlene half a day to find a corpse to resurrect and Arlene is the first to notice the planet is completely silent and still.
- In Animorphs #28. The Experiment, the titular characters are speculating on what the invading parasitic Yeerks are planning to do with a meatpacking plant; Cassie suggests poisoning the food supply, but Ax, the resident alien, corrects her by pointing out that if the Yeerks wanted to kill many people, they could simply use their Dracon Beams to ignite the atmosphere, incinerating it completely and wiping out all life on Earth. An uncomfortable silence ensues.
- The Doctor Who episode "Planet of the Dead". The resort planet San Helios was devastated and reduced to a desert by a Horde of Alien Locusts, which then create a portal to another world. Before the Doctor interfered, Earth was next on the menu.
- From the classic series, the Jungle Planet Kembel from The Daleks' Master Plan is reduced to a lifeless dustball by the effects of the Time Destructor.
- Professor Stahlman's project in Inferno unleashed a volcano that (reportedly) wiped out all life on Earth.
- Stargate SG-1 has the Dakara Superweapon, a wave that can reduce targeted matter (like organic life) to its basic components, effectively eliminating all such targets on the planet. If fired through the stargate while it's active, it can affect another planet. If the entire network is active, the wave can affect the entire galaxy.
- The planned bombardment of the Founder homeworld in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Die Is Cast" had it not been a trap apparently would have involved destroying the planet's crust and mantle. Well, at least the core would have still been there.
- In Star Trek: Voyager, there was a weapon that could eliminate a civilization from history. Any planet that would have been terraformed by said civilizations in the original timeline would not have been terraformed (at least by the civilizations that terraformed them) so they would no longer have ever had life on them.
- This is what essentially happened to Mal's homeworld of Shadow during the Unification War in the backstory of Firefly.
- And Earth itself, really the catalyst for the entire series universe, albeit via pollution, and over a very, very long time.
- Babylon 5 has the Shadow Planet Killers aka Death Clouds. They use thousands of high-yield thermonuclear missiles which burrow into the planet's core and detonate in unison, reducing the entire crust of a planet to slag while Nanotech sucks away all useful energy in the process. While this is arguably more psychologically horrific and excruciating, its Vorlon counterpart actually sits higher up the scale at Class X.
- The "Crucible Of God" scenario in Vampire: The Masquerade's final supplement ends in this if the PCs lose; thanks to the war between humanity, vampires, and the Antediluvians, all life has been scoured from the face of earth, leaving it completely barren and devoid of even the most basic forms of life. Appropriately, the only survivors are the unliving vampire player characters, who either drain each other dry in a futile attempt to survive, lapse into a torpor that will never end, or kill themselves via sunlight.
- Par for the course in Warhammer 40,000:
- Some of the more extreme forms of Exterminatus, including the most nasty virus bombs (the attack on Tallarn not only killed and disintegrated everything, it killed the microorganisms needed to break down and recycle the resulting horrible sludge of life. People in virus-proof bunkers survived, but the same thing happening to a place without those would be a definite Class 5).
- Another variant essentially blows the entire crust open and turns the entire planet into a ball of lava. Ouch.
- When the Tyranids finish with a planet, not only is it left a lifeless, airless, barren rock, but it's also significantly smaller than it was before the Tyranids started — the bugs eat everything organic or consumable on the planet, down to the bedrock, and drain the heat from its core.
- Necrons kill everything. Everything. Down to bacteria. Specifically, we have the World Engine, a Death Star-like capable of turning every single living thing on a planet into a cloud of atoms with a single shot.
- The so-called "Tombworlds" are planets stripped of all life by the Necrons in ancient times to make them suitable for long-term Necron occupation/hibernation. Some of them were unknowingly terraformed by humans millions of years later.
- At the conclusion of the Revenge of the Sith arc in Darths & Droids it was discovered that the Trade Federation had begun construction of the "Peace Moon" by forging the entirety of Naboo. The biosphere was completely destroyed while the planet's surface was transformed into a volcanic wasteland.
- In The Gungan Council, a rogue moon crashes into Taris in "The Galactic Crusade". Everything dies.
- In The Last Angel, both superpowers are capable of this. The Compact is seen glassing Earth and the Askaji have the Rains of Oshanta. And then Nemesis goes and invents the starbreak.
- In the Futurama episode "The Late Philip J. Fry", Fry, Bender and the Professor end up in the year 1 billion, where all life on Earth is extinct and only an empty, desolate plain remains.
- In the fourth season of Teen Titans, Trigon arrives and turns every organism on the planet into stone. Until the heroes hit the Reset Button.
- Played for Laughs and exaggerated in SpongeBob SquarePants when Patrick tells the story of The Ugly Barnacle, "He was so ugly that everyone died. The end." Though Patrick could have easily been an Unreliable Narrator when telling the story, or telling a fictional story.
- On Ben 10: Alien Force, Paradox shows the heroes a possible future where a time-warping entity has caused everything on Earth to age into dust. He claims it's their best possible future if the entity isn't stopped.
- Scientists predict that the Sun's luminosity gradually increases; in about a billion years, Earth will become too hot to sustain life.
- Possible example of what the future may hold for Earth: our nearest neighbour, Venus.
- Venus is hotter than it should be though, due to the cloud cover. Scientists have actually hypothesized that if they could blow off enough of the atmosphere, the poles would be able to sustain human life.
- And it could be worse than Venus. In about 3.5-4 billion years, the Sun's increasing luminosity may induce a greenhouse effect so powerful that Earth's surface temperature may rise enough to melt rocks. And this still a billion years before the Sun becomes a Red Giant.
- Perhaps there's some hope for life; while Earth's surface may be too hot to sustain life, there's a lot of water in the deep crust and mantle that could maintain it (albeit at a very simple level; ie bacteria and very little, if any, more complex) there. Also, the future Venus-like Earth and the hellish Earth depicted above respectively depends of the level of tectonic activity and the amount of water in Earth's atmosphere. If tectonic activity is low enough (or stops) and there's little water remaining these two scenarios could be avoided, so life could still be around until the Sun started its path to become a Red Giant.
- In about three billion years, our galaxy will collide with the Andromeda Galaxy. That could destroy our planet in two possible ways, even though most likely the sun itself will escape intact. One way is that colliding nebulae will generate new rounds of star-formation nearby, leading to frequent supernova explosions. The other way is that our stellar orbit around the galaxy will be altered. This could destroy the solar system if the sun is sent into either the galactic nucleus, or into a globular cluster.