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Bloated by rampant debauchery and military indulgence, The first Great American Empire started its decline in the 21st century and was ended with the 22nd. One of the key data points that began the decline was the migration of law enforcement to a nationwide system called C.O.P - Confederacy of Police. The powerful megacorporations declared themselves ouside of the law, resulting in a puppet government.
Eventually wars left one-fifth of the planet radioactive, and destroying all but 5% of the fuel supply. Forced to survive on solar power, America became California. Deserting the northern hemisphere en masse, Russia, Canada and Europe flooded the west coast of the US, resulting in the United Californian Systems of America.
Now the world is crammed into the lower half of the globe. Hardship and corruption prevail. Religion has made a power-grab and the result is "Vatican Quest" located in Colorado, presided over by Pope Innocent XLII. The year is 2530.