Aftermath: Population Zero - Timeline


The story begins on Friday, June 13, in an unspecified year. The nature of the show and the appearance of certain vehicles suggest that it takes place in 2008, the year the program was first aired (and when June 13 did indeed fall on a Friday).

A.H. = After Human

The story speculates that humanity has disappeared instantly. (1-10 minutes A.H.)

Hundreds of thousands of empty cars lose control. Many hit other vehicles and crash, others swerve off the roads and highways. Some cars plough into trees and buildings. Other vehicles crash and catch fire including buses in Trafalgar Square. The empty vehicles all eventually all crash, causing multiple accidents all across the globe. The highways are packed with crashed and damaged vehicles. Many vehicles catch light. Those that don't burn out as a result continue to release exhaust fumes into the air until their fuel supplies run out. Airplanes and helicopters fall from the sky and back to the ground. Some crash just some minutes after takeoff when their crews disappear.

(20-30 minutes A.H.)

Even though people are gone, all of the systems and machines that we used keep working. Satellites in orbit communicate with super-computers and continue to transmit information around the globe. The satellites and machines will keep going as long as the electricity is working.

(1 hour A.H.)

Other planes approach runways, every landing will end in a fireball. Others at high altitudes, with their fuel tanks full and autopilots engaged, continue flying for hours. Eventually, they will fall back to earth. Trains derail and many crash. Some crashed trains ignite or spill dangerous chemicals.

( 2-3 hours A.H.)

Power stations begin to run out of fuel and start to shut down. Coal-fired power plants generate more than 50% of all electricity,. The power stations are now unmaintained. The industrial fires require regular coal deliveries to continue burning. But the delivery trains have all crashed. The generators are shutdown. The fires burn out. Billions of buildings supplied with energy by them, such as Las Vegas casinos, fall into darkness. Homes, schools, skyscrapers, restaurants, all buildings are now without power.

(4-6 hours A.H.)

Others areas rely on alternative energy sources, like Pennsylvania which is powered by wind turbines. The turbines are still running but at the power station the controls are not operated so the computers shut down the system.

(7-12 hours A.H.)

At Niagara Falls Canada, water from the river is diverted into tunnels to turn massive wheels to create power but now the tunnels flood with excessive water and the power station goes offline. New York and Ontario lose all of their power. Televisions, computers, lights and other machines shut off. Mass blackouts sweep across the countries.

( 1 day day A.H.)

Within just one day, only nuclear power plants continue working.

The permanent loss of power reaches the nuclear power plants, which shut off their reactors and stop the reactions inside. But the nuclear power plants could cause a potential catastrophe. The last power stations in Europe fail and the last houses go dark. Chemical plants now have no power. Many stored gases require power to be cold enough to stay in liquid form. Gas storage tanks heat up until release valves are activated to stop explosions sending toxic gases into the surrounding environment. Hundreds of thousands of tanks all venting together is unimaginable. Many animals in the affected regions die of suffocation including birds, wildlife and outdoor farm animals.

(1-2 days A.H.)

Houses and apartments are still inhabited by hungry pets. Around the world, dogs and cats are getting hungry. Dogs start barking. Outdoor dogs try to escape their kennels. Cats start looking for food. Birds and small pets are also starving. Without food and fresh water, all the pets will starve. Cats and dogs begin eating the foods stocked in their homes. In zoos and safari parks, starving animals start trying to break out. Without electric fencing to contain them, some predators escape from their cages and explore this new world.

Also, liquefied natural gas plants are also venting gases which reach abandoned and parked cars. Eventually, sparks ignite petrol tanks and the fuel catches fire. This causes huge explosions and lights multiple fires.

(3-5 days A.H.)

In London, England, Big Ben rings for the last time. It needs to be rewound but without the human race, it finally stops. Human time and human history have ended. In homes and apartments, dogs are starving. Now they must break out of their homes or starve to death.

Pet dogs and cats exhaust all the food sources stored in their homes and break out to search for more in the streets. Dogs began raiding shops and supermarkets whilst cats look for scraps. Birds and smaller pets also abandon their homes. Sewage treatment facilities fail, leaving sewage treatment plants useless, human waste water and sewage begins polluting rivers and lakes. Abandoned dogs struggle to survive and cats find food in the garbage cans.

In farms and pastures all over the world, dairy cows are struggling to survive as their food and water supplies begin to end. In a cruel twist of fate, 90,000 dairy cows are saved from the slaughterhouse, but they may all die of dehydration. Zoo animals face a similar fate as many will die trapped in their enclosures. Some zoo animals escape through useless electric fences and roam free. Animals like elephants start stripping the suburbs of all vegetation in a desperate search for food whilst more efficient animals, like camels feed on all available vegetation. Lions and tigers fan out into the streets to hunt but find hunting challenging in the city.

Migratory birds find travelling easier now as electric lights from office towers and skyscrapers do not confuse them anymore.

  • As days pass, dogs eat all easily-available food and begin to fight amongst each other for supremacy. The bigger dogs make packs and attack and eat the small ones. Within a week, all toy dogs disappear from Earth. Large packs of dogs will also feed on dead penned up cattle.
  • Security measures in power plants fail. The equipment in the spent fuel buildings adjoining nuclear power plants that maintain the temperature level of the spent nuclear fuel rods will shut down because the fossil fuel powered back up power generators will run out. At that time, the cooling pools that prevent the spent nuclear fuel from overheating will start to boil. Radioactive steam will vent into the atmosphere because the water eventually evaporates and the spent fuel would set fire to the building, causing a (non nuclear) explosion, emitting radiation not only in the immediate area of the plant but carried by winds around the globe. This is repeated dozens of times as shutdown nuclear plant spent fuel houses explode.

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