After the Chimera were beaten back humanity started to come out from the shadows. The world is devastated, depopulated and improvised, much of it ruled by strongmen and outright dictators, and in the far north Chimera still hang on, weak but still able to ruin reconstruction efforts.
The Guangxi Empire is an unusual nation based on a strange mix of schismatic Catholic theocracy and agrarian socialism, led by the charismatic and eccentric Pope Gan Jinshan.
Having survived both the Chimera and radiation from the Exclusion Zone the nation is insular and paranoid. Japan is despised for kicking China while it was down and Gan Jinshan frequently supports anti-Japanese groups in the Philippines. He has not had much luck winning them over as most of the communists and Catholics there are loyal to Marxism–Leninism and Luanda (Rome is still being rebuilt) respectively.
The Republic of China is also hated; Gan Jinshan accuses them of abandoning the people of China and being Japanese collaborators, something nobody else would describe them as. As the ROC creeps ever southward a confrontation is inevitable and Gan Jinshan intends to be ready. Guangxi's economy has turned to preparing for the war. Chemical and biological weapons are being stockpiled and Guangxi's nuclear program is well underway. Within China Gan Jinshan’s agents and missionaries are working hard to undermine the regime.
As soon as it was safe to do so the Belgians and Congolese évolués fled Ruanda-Urundi back to the Low Countries, along with a few of the Tutsi. As Belgium was being reborn, Ruanda-Urundi was on the brink of civil war, so in 1959 South Africa occupied the country and is working to slowly enfranchise the Hutu while keeping the Tutsi happy. Aside from a few skirmishes during the initial occupation the South Africans have so far managed to prevent any bloodshed.
In addition to Ruanda-Urundi, South Africa is also supporting Suriname as the Netherlands has neither the resources nor the will for anything beyond rebuilding the homeland.
The Balkans saw a great deal of ethnic strife after the Chimera retreated, killing off any hope of resurrecting Yugoslavia. In the North the Croats, Slovenes and Bosnians have managed to put aside their differences, but everyone knows its the Croats running the show. To the South the Greeks and Serbs have united. Managing to organise themselves faster the Greco-Serbians conquered Eastern Thrace and have changed Istanbul back to Constantinople. The city itself is currently little more than rubble, with the temporary Greco-Serbian capital still being located in Bitola.
The Greco-Serbians have a peace treaty with Croatia, but there are still tensions. Albania and Bulgaria are also nervous, fearing that the Greco-Serbs will expand further.
Trapped between the Greco-Serbians and the ever advancing Sudanese, the Turks are having real trouble re-establishing their country. The current government is investing in building a huge wall from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, but the fortification is very unpopular. Many Turks see it as giving the Sudanese a carte blanche to the parts of Turkey outside the defences, and as a waste of resources that would be better used rebuilding Turkish cities.
Portugal is experiencing a renaissance of power. In Guiana there is a growing nationalist sentiment but overall the story has been one of recovery and redevelopment. Timor was recontacted with Australian help and has reunited with Portugal. The Portuguese mainland was found to be in fair shape, with many survivors welcoming Portuguese troops.
Spain however was a mess of nationalists, communists, anarchists and various independence movements. The Spanish government had extremely limited money and troops to retake Spain and so in a controversial move they sold Galicia to Portugal.
Portugal, to its credit organised a plebiscite after the sale and 68% of people were in favour of a union with Portugal. The organisation known as The People’s Republic of Galicia however disputes this and has started an armed insurrection against Portugal.
The Sudanese Caliphate has expanded greatly, and now spans from Tripolitania to the Levant. For now the Caliph has paused and is consolidating his power, rebuilding the land conquered, expanding and modernizing his armies and spreading his influence far and wide. Everyone knows this is a temporary respite soon he will attempt to take the whole of the Middle East.
The Caliph has become more moderate with age, especially after the events of September 1962. A Sudanese scouting party lead by the Caliph’s son Ahmed was attacked by three rogue Chimea dropships in Palestine. After sustaining heavy casualties were forced to take refuge in Beersheba, which was overrun with ferals. Surrounded, low on ammunition and with many wounded Ahmed’s party were saved when the dropships were forced away by anti-aircraft fire from the local Jewish militia. The party was evacuated to Hatzerim where they were cared for until they were airlifted out by the militia’s aging P-1117 Kingfishers and taken to Gaza. Since then the Caliph has been more tolerant of other religions, especially Judaism.
In the Caucasus four nations have established themselves, their people having survived by hiding in the mountains. All four are taking advantage of Turkey and Russia being busy elsewhere and grabbing land while they can. Armenia quickly expanded and has become the most powerful of the states, with Georgia expanding more slowly. Ossetia and Chechnya are much smaller and more reliant on the others. The four nations are closely allied and work together to preserve their fledgling independence.
However this is far from some montane utopia. Factions within Chechnya are worryingly pro-Sudanese and there are constant border disputes between the four states. Kurdistan and Iran have both expressed interest in joining the alliance, but the Caucasians cannot decided if they would be valuable allies, or drag them into a war with Sudan that they might have otherwise avoided.
Russia, busy pushing the Chimera out of Siberia quickly secured Baku and the surrounding region and has mostly ignored the rest of the Caucasus. Russia is not willing to waste troops securing mountains of little value when it has more pressing matters to deal with, and all but the most radical political parties advocate recognising the Caucasian nations and establishing relations with them.
During the dark years a cult leader managed to keep his people alive and became a symbol of resistance and hope for the people in Bolivia. As his cult spread, Bolivia rose up and was the first nations to be re-established, grabbing land from what were once Chile, Brazil, Paraguay and Peru. To the surprise of most of the rest of the world he has been a fair and benevolent ruler. Under his guidance Bolivia has come to dominate South America and his religion has spread across the devastated region. He also seems to genuinely want to establish a democracy, though is extremely protective of his nation and does not want to hand it over without assurances, and will probably end up a constitutional monarch.
The world may be a scorched, radioactive ruin in a unfamiliar region of space but humanity will continue to rebuild it.