Apocalypse How: Class X-3
aka: Class X- 3
Galactic-scale Physical Annihilation. Via some means, billions
of stars, nebulae, pulsars, and so forth, along with the super-massive galactic-core Black Hole(s) at its center are destroyed. Utterly.
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- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy saga makes brief reference to a planet's residents killed by the planet being used as a ball in galactic snooker. The result of an entire game can only be imagined.
Anime and Manga
- Majin Buu's rampage in Dragon Ball millions of years ago, though it could easily reach X-4 if he was left unchecked.
- Going further, Vegito averted the destruction of the barriers between dimensions, which presumably would have destroyed all reality.
- And in the most recent movie Battle of the Gods, Bills is stated to be able to destroy entire Galaxies as well.
- Gunbuster: Humans turned the planet Jupiter into a bomb capable of blowing the core right out of the Galaxy, in order to wipe out a race of space monsters, who themselves destroyed stars simply through their reproductive process.
- In Tenchi Muyo!, the Milky Way is almost destroyed by two choushin struggling. The multiverse was about to be destroyed by Tenchi's leaking power. Note that about 1/4 of the Milky Way got obliterated simply from one choushin blocking another's punch. It's hinted they could end the universe on a whim if they really wanted to. And Tenchi can go beyond that and, in theory, kill the choushin.
- Strongly implied as a possibility in Sailor Moon Stars (manga) both by Galaxia and Sailor Cosmos, the latter of who utilized all the Sailor Senshi Crystals in the Galaxy to create the Cosmos Crystal, and soon after destroyed the Galaxy Cauldron. And the reason Sailor Cosmos went back in time was to get Sailor Moon to do that much sooner in an attempt to stop Chaos for good. Sailor Moon talked her out of it.
- Galactus from the Marvel Universe has this as his MO. He eats populated worlds.
- Odin was able to destroy galaxies as a side-effect of his battles with Infinity and later on Seth.
- The Dark Phoenix is capable of devouring stars and plunging entire solar systems into darkness. And was capable of far more; had she not stopped herself, she could have moved up to X-4. And in at least some What If? stories, did.
- The Dirty Pair have managed to reach most of the levels in this list at one point or another — only the universe and human civilization as a whole surviving keeps them from a clean sweep. Their current record was set in the comic Fatal, But Not Serious, when an Evil Clone of Yuri used their Cool Ship's Wave Motion Gun to cause a sun to go supernova, causing a chain reaction that would destroy other inhabited systems for light years around.
- Stephen Baxter's Manifold: Space culminates in the hero trying the save the galaxy from being sterilized by a Gamma Ray Burst, as it has periodically many times before.
- Likewise, Greg Egan's Diaspora features a galactic threat in the form of two black holes colliding, prompting the main characters to escape the galaxy (and possibly the universe) by travelling into higher spatial dimensions.
- The Krikkit Wars from Life The Universe And Everything rage for 2,000 years with casualties into the "grillions". If not stopped, the Krikkits would have killed everything in the entire universe.
- Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep. To stop the Blight, the heroes use a weapon that brings civilization crashing down on millions of worlds. Arguably just a very parallel Class 1 or 2.
- In Larry Niven's Known Space series, Beowulf Shaeffer flies to the centre of the galaxy, until he sees that since stars in the core are so close together, one of them going supernova set off a chain reaction causing the entire galactic core to explode, and our part of the galaxy will be destroyed in some 25,000 years when the explosion reaches us. When he returns and tells the Puppeteers, they pack up their entire civilization and flee immediately. (Which makes sense, since they're taking their homeworld with them, and it won't go faster than light.)
- In the (far, far ancient) prehistory of Known Space, the Slaver Wars are conjectured to have ended this way—with one side or the other building a massive telepathic weapon that killed every sentient being in the galaxy.
- John Ringo's Into the Looking Glass series features a horde of biological creatures planning to eat the Galaxy.
- The Deathstalker novels by Simon R. Green includes a superweapon known as The Darkvoid Device. The one time it was activated, it extinguished a thousand suns in a heartbeat. It created an area known, itself, as the Darkvoid, the home of aliens bent on the destruction of all civilization. The Darkvoid Device is later revealed to be a massively powerful psychic - and the infant child of one of the main characters, both of them kept in stasis for hundreds of years, both awakened in the current time by a descendent.
- The Bolo universe has the Final War between the Human Concordat and the Melconian Empire. The war devastated the entire Orion Arm, qualifying as a soft X-3.
- Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves is about a power source which, if not stopped, will blow up the Sun... and start a chain reaction bringing the catastrophe to just below this ("Just below" because it is expected to blow up one of the arms).
- In E. E. “Doc” Smith's Skylark Series, all of the stars in one galaxy are simultaneously teleported into the same space as a star in another glaaxy, one-to-one, to wipe out a particularly wide spread enemy. The stars with good guys are teleported to safety at the same time.
- The first quarter of Sister Alice ends with the Galactic Core exploding due to Sister Alice's attempts to open a path to another universe.. Thousands of years later, the explosion is still raging outwards, consuming millions of stars.
- Jack J Chalker's Well World series had an example. A weapon that not only destroyed anything it hit, but eliminated the energy in the area as well, ripping a hole in reality...and it is spreading.
- The Dakara Superweapon from Stargate SG-1, if combined with the Stargate Virus that dials every Stargate in the galaxy simultaneously has the possibility of pulling off a Soft X-3. Bye-bye to all life in the Milky Way. The irony of the thing is that the device was designed to create life by the original builders, but can be reversed to kill it as well. The immortal Goa'uld Anubis tries to use the Dakara Superweapon to start all over again with lifeforms that he can personally design to worship him as a god-being.
- Doctor Who's Time War is assumed to be this, with at least five populated planets confirmed to have perished, even if it all went unnoticed for lesser creatures like the humans.
- The Night of the Doctor implies that it was threatening to reach X-4.
- In the episode Nightmare in Silver, it is revealed that in order to eradicate the Cybermen once and for all an entire galaxy was destroyed, including all its inhabitants.
- In Warhammer 40,000:
- One of the apparent aims of Chaos is to break down the barrier between the Warp and real space. The likely result of this is all of the galaxy being turned into a hellish realm of daemons and skeletons on fire, a galaxy-wide effect of anything up to Class X.
- If only it was that much of a challenge. According the the 5th edition rules, if the emperor dies then chaos will almost instantly turn the galaxy into hell. No space, no time, only Chaos. Yeah, it is that bad.
- Not only is there the possibility of it happening, it already happened at least once before: the Fall of the Eldar, which involved the Eldar literally Squicking a Negative Space Wedgie from Hell into existence, and wiping out the vast majority of their society across hundreds of light years.
- Even the Imperium can do this one. Some rare artifacts can apparently induce supernovae, and when the wrong people got their hands on the technology, trillions died. Trillions. Wrap your head around that.
- For reference, the death of trillions is considered a Class 0 problem on most planets, as this setting has multiple single planets which host tens of trillions of inhabitants. The low estimate as to the total population of the Imperium is around 10 Quadrillion; and it may be as fifty times that. The deaths of trillions are tragic, sure, but they're barely a dint in the total population of the Imperium, much less implying the total destruction of the whole galaxy.
- While the Tyranids don't physically destroy galaxies per se, they do consume every last morsel of biomass in them. And since they're coming straight at the Milky Way from all sides, the only question is whether they finish eating before one of the other factions blows up the galaxy first.
- The Halo series: the titular Halo structures were designed to cause Class X-3s, specifically to starve The Flood by way of destroying all sentient life in the galaxy (thus denying them of host bodies).
- Total Annihilation is set at the end of a war that's essentially a galaxy-wide Class 2, with examples of everything else on the scale. The Core Contingency Expansion Pack one-ups this with the Core faction's master plan of destroying the entire galaxy except for one Core Commander, who would then rebuild the Core civilisation. Then in Supreme Commander, two of the three factions are trying to use a superweapon capable of doing this on their opponents. The Cybran plan (which is the canon ending, or the closest thing to it) is to just disrupt the Quantum Gate network so they'll be left alone, but this inadvertently unleashes an alien horde bent on carpet nuking everyone that's not them. Basically if you live in a game made by Chris Taylor, sooner or later you're gonna get exploded.
- The Reapers of Mass Effect cause Galaxy-Wide Class 3/4 Apocalypses that take tens of thousands of years to recover from and, even then, only because the Reapers leave the necessary technology around so they can do it all over again. Species that have not obtained Mass Effect technology are exempted, however, since the Reapers use activated Mass Relays to track potential targets.
- And in the controversial endings of Mass Effect 3, Shepard unleashes Class 1 (if not Class 2) upon the galaxy with the destruction of the Mass Relay network, with the "Synthesis" ending essentially being a Class 3 of all fully-organic life in the galaxy in favor of something that's part-organic and part synthetic. And that's not even mentioning the worst endings of this saga.
- If you lose in Commander Keen 5, not only Earth, but the whole galaxy is blown up.
- The Zerg in StarCraft kill or "infest" billions of other lifeforms throughout the Terran Dominion.
- Amon's eventual goal is, so far as he's saying anything, to kill every sentient being (possibly every living thing) in an area not smaller than the Koprulu Sector but probably quite a lot larger, with the possibility of physically reshaping the affected areas to suit himself afterwards.
- The backstory in EVE Online states that the initial wormhole to Earth collapsed after thousands of star systems in New Eden were colonized, leaving every star system stranded without resources for millenia, inducing a technological erosion back to medieval times, where each racial empire had to "rediscover" science and technology over thousands of years of isolation.
- In the indie video game Gravmari, you play the cause of one of these, a wandering Planet Eater that can potentially grow large enough to devour suns.
- The "secret" ending to Hyper Princess Pitch involves the Galactic Princess Buster, a Finishing Move that causes destruction on an increasing scale until the galaxy explodes.
- In The Old Republic, in Act 3 of the Jedi Knight storyline, it transpires that the Sith Emperor's ultimate goal is the complete annihilation of all life in the galaxy via an immense dark-side ritual. Needless to say, averting this becomes the Knight's priority for the remainder of their class quests.
- Darth Traya's ultimate plan from the Knights of the Old Republic video game is to use the Exile's death to create a wound in the Force that will spread outward, echoing across the galaxy and deafening all those touched by the Force until nothing is left behind in its wake but empty planets with no life on them as a part of her Rage Against the Heavens ideology.
- Schlock Mercenary's Book 6: Resident Mad Scientist concerns a plot by Dark Matter entities known as the Paan'uri to sabotage a science-experiment in the galactic core — ultimately resulting in the birth of a new universe, expanding faster than light, and destroying everything it touches. Would, eventually, have destroyed all conventional matter in the galaxy, but it all got fixed via Time Travel. The Paan'uri destroy entire civilizations on a regular basis by blowing up nearby stars, but are by no means the only big thinkers. The Gatekeepers can use stars as fragmentation grenades/gravitic guns.
- In QNTM's Ed stories, Ed accesses the root layer of the universe for a fraction of a second, and accidentally wipes out the Andromeda Galaxy. The denizens (those who remain) are not pleased.
- While on the way to Earth, Futurama's Brainspawn wipe out (presumably countless) planets.
- Prof. Farnsworth has several doomsday devices, at least one caused a huge supermassive black hole that ate enough stars to spell out "I love you Leela". They also had a star moving machine. The ability to move around stars at will is a pretty significant superweapon in the wrong hands. Good thing the crew are too lazy.
- The race of Highbreed, knowing they're on the verge of sterility-induced extinction, intend to take every other form of life in the galaxy with them on Ben 10: Alien Force.
- In the 2011 remake of Thundercats Mumm-Ra does this to forge the Sword of Plundarr.
- This kind of apocalypse will happen in the very far future (assuming no Big Rip, Big Crunch, or other still-to-be-thought ends for the Universe). After trillions and trillions of years, gravitational interactions between the stars (better said, their dead and dark remmants) in a galaxy will disrupt their orbits, expelling most of them to intergalactic space and approaching the others to the Supermassive Black Hole that lies in the center of most galaxies and that will end swallowing them. Many, many, many years later that Supermassive Black Hole will vanish due to emission of Hawking radiation, disappearing the last trace of what once was a galaxy.
- Subverted with Galactic Collisions (like the one predicted to happen between the Milky Way and Andromeda in 3 billion years), though. Due to the shear amount of empty space compared to actual stuff in galaxies, the likelyhood of any objects actually colliding are tiny.
- Mathematician Roger Penrose dreamed up the "Thunderbolt" or "wave of death" (technically, a gravitational plane wave exhibiting a strong nonscalar null curvature singularity), a particular kind of gravitational phenomenon which propagates at the speed of light (so you'll never see it coming) and effectively destroys spacetime itself in a narrow volume of space from where it started to the cosmic horizon 47 billion lightyears away, conceivably spaghettifying entire galaxies in the process without warning. Apparently a collapsing Black Hole could conceivably generate such a thing.