I shall start at the beginning. Now, while this is usually the logical place to start anything, it will become apparent that, in this situation, that is not nearly as simple as it may initially appear to be.
A beginning signifies a single point in time; a position in one of the four dimensions we inhabit. Of these four dimensions, we transverse three of them on a daily basis with little or no concern. In contrast, we have no direct control over the fourth dimension whatsoever. Irrefutably, and indefinitely, time flows from the past to the future just as the grains of sand fall through the globes of an hourglass.
This single fact could be the cause of the situation in which we now find ourselves. Mankind has never been satisfied with what we are naturally capable of. Simultaneously, this lust for improvement above and beyond the boundaries nature has imposed upon us is equally our greatest strength and our greatest weakness. While our ability to engineer and adapt has allowed us to reach realms that would never have been believed possible, it leaves us with the predicament of attempting to navigate these situations with bodies and minds still struggling to comprehend their own advances.
Indeed, it was through these advances that we discovered that space and time; the physical and the temporal, were never quite as independent as we may have initially believed. In the same way that titling the hourglass may interrupt or change the flow, it was found that time may dilate under certain conditions. One of the most common factors known to affect time, or at least an observers perception of its continued flow, is gravity.
Of course, upon this discovery, as members of the human race we were unable to resist testing just how far it was possible to tilt the hourglass. In turn this led to the obvious question; if we can tilt it, can we hold it? is it possible for us to get a grip on time itself?. As it happened, in certain situations, it certainly was. Ever willing to push their discoveries as far as possible, it wasnt long before someone decided to ask; just how hard can I squeeze?.
The result? The hourglass shattered.
The problem arose from what has now become known as the Graviton Bomb. The theoretical particle thought to be responsible for the force exerted by every mass on every other mass, no matter how minuscule; it was our attempt to harness this power that brought about our current situation.
The experiment succeeded, up to a point. The scientists responsible managed to harness the graviton, creating a massive gravitational field around the test facility. Time was wrapped around the facility like a sheet of paper crumpled into a ball. Unfortunately, when a sheet of paper is crumpled too many times, it begins to tear.
In the same manner as the hourglass, time shattered. The past, the present and the future were fragmented, splitting apart like spilt sand.
The event somewhat more difficult to explain is that the hourglass was then re-built. However, as is so often the case when attempts are made to repair something as fine as glass, the cracks remained visible. The sand was re-distributed, some was lost, and some became mixed with dust from the broken glass or other impurities.
To put it simply; time was rearranged. The world at any one point in time, or any single present, was realigned with any number of versions of that world that may have existed before or after that present.
This resulted in 21st century skyscrapers appearing in the middle of the fields upon which the city was to be built in 1000 years time, or prehistoric forests lining the route of international super-highways.
However, the landscape was not the only thing to have been affected. These worlds inhabitants, both human and animal, were taken out of their time, so to speak. Mankind began to encounter species that were extinct millions of years before the evolution of even the earliest humans.
But that does not even approach the full extent of the events effects. It was not only worlds that had, or were going to exist that were re-organised. Worlds that could possibly have existed, or have come to exist, became real.
The same thing became true for the life that existed upon these worlds. The event changed the genetic code of many creatures, in effect, changing the way in which the species had evolved. In most cases this simply lead to the creation of horrifically malformed or mutated creatures, often vicious and sadistic killers. However, in some rare cases, it actually led to advances in the creatures, unlocking abilities or attributes that would otherwise have been believed impossible.
Possibly the most subtle, yet at the same time, the most dramatic of the changes resulted in creatures that were able to traverse time as if it was another physical dimension, creating an even greater threat than any of the impossible diversity of physical mutations produced by the event.
To complicate matters further still, it became quickly apparent that the survivors of the event had little or no memory of exactly how their world was before it took place. Instinctive knowledge and the most deeply ingrained memories remained, but the details were lost, leaving the survivors struggling to continue to survive in a new world, free of safety or familiarity.
Now you know how ended the world that we once knew, I shall tell you how began my life in the world that came to be...