Tensions grew with the coming of 1998. The United States' Citadel Starstation was slated to be fully operational by March. Soviet charges that the space station was merely a military launching platform alarmed a number of nonaligned nations. The right wing governments in the South and Central Americas, many of them set up by the U.S. during the Drug Wars (1987-1993), pledged their support to the U.S. The NATO nations, including the new African members, also declared their alliance with the US That move forced most of the remaining neutral powers to join the Soviet protest. In six short weeks, only Switzerland, Sweden, and Ireland continued to declare themselves neutral nations.

Two weeks before Citadel was due for full operation, the station transmitted a distress signal. Immediately after the message was sent, most of the satellites orbiting the planet were swept clean from the sky, leaving the great powers blind. In military panic, each sent 90 percent of their nuclear arsenals skyward. Although the destruction was tremendous, it was not complete. Pockets of civilization remained, some even oblivious to the military exchange.

On the same day that the US and Soviet Union were attempting to extinguish each other, a company of US Army Engineers were in the southwestern deserts building transportation bridges over dry river beds. They worked deep in the inhospitable desert valleys, surrounded by a number of survivalist communities. Located directly south of their position on that day was a newly constructed federal prison. In addition to housing the nation's criminals condemned to death, the prison contained light industrial manufacturing facilities.

Shortly after the nuclear attack began, the Engineers, seeking shelter, took over the federal prison and expelled the prisoners into the desolate desert to complete their sentences. As the weeks passed, they invited the nearby survivalist communities to join them and to help them build a new society. Because of each communities suspicions towards one another, times were difficult at first. But as time nurtured trust, this settlement -- which came to be known as Ranger Center -- grew to be one of the strongest outposts. Ranger Center even proved powerful enough to repel the bands of rancorous criminals who repeatedly attacked in attempts to reclaim what was once "rightfully theirs."

The citizens of Ranger Center, after first believing that they were the only ones who survived the nuclear maelstrom, soon realized that communities beyond the desert's grip had also survived. Because they had such success in constructing a new community, they felt compelled to help other survivors and live in peace.

Toward this end, the Desert Rangers, in the great tradition of the Texas and Arizona Rangers a century before, were born.

A group of four valiant Rangers, whose names have long been forgotten, were sent out to establish communication with other survivors, and help to rebuild humanity. Their journey was a long and painstaking trek, facing many obstacles, and many hardships. During their adventure they discovered the greatest threat to mankind since nuclear holocaust. Death machines, evil robots with a lust for blood were threatening to wipe out what little of the human race there was left. The heart of this evil was a highly advanced Artificial Intelligence program, producing robots in the old military installation, Base Cochise.

The Desert Rangers knew that they had to confront this evil. Armed with only their wits, their powered armor, and wielding Meson Cannons and Assault Rifles akimbo, they stormed the Base Cochise. Wave after wave of robots fell to the fury and wraith of the Desert Rangers. They made their way into the heart of the base, setting the power generators to self destruct. With only minutes to spare, they evacuated the base.

Shuddering explosions rocked the base, fire blossomed throughout every doorway. Everywhere walls and supports buckled and crumbled with the explosions. Debris and shrapnel flew everywhere killing everything it touched. You can almost imagine the robots screaming as they realize they, too, are mortal.

High on a neighboring hilltop shielded from the explosions full fury, the Rangers watches as fire and ruin claimed Base Cochise. Deep in their hearts they knew that in that hideous pyre burned the most malignant creature that almost ended all life on Earth. But certainly most important of all were the rangers who gave their lives to destroy Base Cochise, the greatest threat that man has ever known.

The robot menace had been thwarted, but all is not well in the deserts of New Nevada. Yes, the lights of Las Vegas now shine bright as ever, as the drugs, prostitution, and violence become more common then ever. Roving street gangs like the Badland Originals still plague the towns, and stand in the way of law and order. The crazy cultist Servants of the Mushroom Cloud continue to spread their gospel, converting others to their twisted ways. Guns for hire banded together, forming the Association of Irradiated Mercenaries, looking to make a quick buck off of your funeral. The Desert Rangers face their own problems: internal political maneuvering, threats of wars between factions, and growing hostility toward the organization, tearing at its very foundation. Rebuilding civilization is harder then it seemed.

Welcome to Desolation.