My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember the Road Warrior. The man we called "Max".
To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by the black fuel. And the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing. They built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men.
On the roads it was a white line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed. Men like Max. The warrior Max. In the roar of an engine, he lost everything. And became a shell of a man, a burnt out, desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past, a man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again...
- The Narrator, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
But the princes, putting the words of their wise men to naught, thought each to himself: If I but strike quickly enough, and in secret, I shall destroy those others in their sleep, and there will be none to fight back; the earth shall be mine. Such was the folly of princes, and there followed the Flame Deluge.
—Walter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz'
In ancient times, men built wonders, laid claim to the stars and sought to better themselves for the good of all. But we are much wiser now.
— Archmagos Ultima Cryol - "Speculations On Pre-Imperial History", Warhammer 40,000
I remember stories of a glorious civilization...Of cities with spires that reached the sun...Of a blue planet with vast seas...Of people with myths of humanity everlasting...Of children who saw, in the embers of dying stars, the destiny of their race...And they hurled themselves into the void of space with no fear.
— Opening Narration, Freespace 2
Ours was a proud people, and always the strongest. For thousands of years our empire expanded. For so long, we could imagine ourselves alone in the universe. For so long, never did we encounter advanced life. And we traveled faster and farther, spreading in our galaxy. And before long we could see the day when our reachable systems would have been exploited, and then there would be nowhere else to go. And we discovered Subspace. It gave us our galaxy, and it gave us the universe. And we saw other advanced life. And we subdued it or we crushed it. In months, the elimination of billions of years of evolution, on a similar but slower path. With Subspace, our empire would surely know no boundaries.
— The Ancients, Descent: Freespace
And so is the Golden City blackened
With each step you take in my Hall.
Marvel at perfection, for it is fleeting.
You have brought Sin to Heaven
And doom upon all the world.
— Canticle of Threnodies 8:13, Dragon Age: Origins
Warning after warning, still they took no heed
Thoughts only of the power, ideology and greed
— Pagan Altar, "Aftermath"