This is the story of Call of Duty Extinction. The Extinction Timeline can be used to view exactly when these events occurred. Please note that the story is ever-changing based on information introduced in each new map.
Nearly three hundred million years before the emergence of human life, the volcanic Earth was inhabited by a large network of humanoid species, later known as "Cryptids", connected through a web of symbiotic relationships. The primordial life force on the planet, their brains were similar to that of a human, allowing them to coordinate and communicate between themselves. The source of their power was the large fungal colonies they cultivated and protected, which emitted pheromones stimulating the creatures' cold-blooded metabolism. Due to rapid cellular regeneration and the reliance on geothermal heat rather than sunlight, the colonies were nearly invincible to any forms of attack, further contributing to the Cryptids' survivability.
Although their intelligence remained unmatched to any other species, no breed of Cryptid could rival the immense power ands astuteness of the masters they served, the Ancestors. Despite inhabiting fragile bodies compared to their armored minions, the Cryptid warlords were a deadly force, capable of creating gravimetric fields to protect themselves and even levitating. A psycho-kinetic gland in their brain, later dubbed the Cortex, allowed the accumulation of bioelectric energy found in both living and deceased organisms, its detonation producing a thermal blast eradicating all life within its radius. With these capacities, the Ancestor race rose above the ranks and achieved dominion over the Cryptids, leading them to establish an empire spanning across the globe.
The reign of the Ancestors was short-lived, however, when a comet impacted the Earth and incinerated the atmosphere, leaving the planet devoid of life. Determined to endure the disaster, the Ancestors migrated their forces beneath the surface of the dying Earth, cultivating large-scale underground colonies in a frightening display of Natural Selection. While the Cryptids adapted to their new subterranean environment, the Ancestors oversaw the construction of dozens of large-scale geothermal reactors, one to each underground colony, to ensure their survival. The reactors, referred to as Arks, drew heat from the active volcanoes that occupied each colony, and were each protected by a series of gravimetric force fields fueled by obsidian structures encrypted with their language of algorithmic code known as Obelisks.
In a final act of supreme defense, an aquatic guardian was bred to serve as a protector for the colonies, capable of traveling across the Earth beneath the seas to answer any disturbances. Under the impression of serene protection and sworn devotion from their Cryptid army, the Ancestors froze themselves into cryogenic slumber within their Arks, patiently waiting to rise above the surface once more. Over a period of five thousand years, as new life emerged on the desolate world, the Ancestors hypnotically took control of dozens of humans capable of translating their language through a mimetic virus, allowing them to observe the perfect time to awaken the Arks and reclaim their planet. For one hundred and fifty million more years, only few became truly aware of the Cryptid ecosystem living below their feet, while the majority of humanity remained oblivious.
In the midst of the 21st century Tel Aviv War, David Archer, a top shooter with the Special Air Service, led a six-man kill team in Swat Valley, Pakistan, intending to be extracted after their mission went awry. Instead, their operator denied in order to avoid diplomatic incidents with the country, leaving Archer and his men stranded in a series of caves for six weeks. Before being rescued through unknown means, Archer came into contact with a colony of Cryptids, and since became obsessed with discovering their secrets. Following his return to the United States and psychological evaluation, it was believed Archer's head wound in combat lead him to imagine meeting with what he described as "aliens", but he nonetheless continued his hunt to find the truth behind the creatures.
Having gathered a large group of elite scientists, Archer founded the Nightfall Program based out of Point Barrow, Alaska, planning on locating and capturing samples of Cryptid life forms. The project's generous benefactors believed Nightfall invested in biochemical weaponry, and the Cryptid samples they acquired were the resulting products. In reality, Archer sought a means to sever the control of the Ancestors and take command of the creatures themselves, fearing the power of the Cryptid puppet-masters themselves. During an archaeological dig of a Cryptid meteor in Yucatan, Mexico, the hieroglpyhic language of the creatures was revealed, Archer realizing complicated translations would have to be made in order to uncover the secrets. Meanwhile, Dr. Samantha Cross became a rising star at Harvard College due to her neurological condition that allowed her to easily translate languages in minutes, allowing her to speak 28 different languages. Following an interview airing on her unique abilities in paleolinguistics, Archer quickly found Cross to be a necessary addition to his team, finally granting the ancient language of the Cryptids easy translation. Just a week later, Cross was brought to the head Nightfall facility, where she was employed by Archer to assist in his research.
Months later, Federation forces hijacked the ODIN Space Station, launching an ODIN Strike that decimated the American North and Southwest. While the surviving astronauts aboard the station managed to keep the rest of the missiles at bay and leave the remaining United States mostly unscathed, a stray missile hit the volcanic site of Caldera Peak in Colorado, revealing a colony of Cryptids living beneath the nearby Colorado Rockies. Seeing the seething conflict between humanity's largest superpowers and the crippling of the United States as the opportunity to emerge on the Earth once again, the Ancestors commanded the Cryptid colony to begin a massacre of the town, with the military deeming the mass-murder to be the work of a mystery virus. Dispatching the CIF Team 4, a squad of the Rapid Reaction Force, to investigate the quarantined zone, the government learned of the strange new breed, and dubbed them aliens after the disappearance of the squad.
To ensure the outbreak was contained, a Task Force codenamed Spectre was sent to exterminate the Cryptid presence via a nuclear explosion authorized by the President, under the command of Defense Intelligence Agency's General "Godfather" Castle. As the operation was organized, the rumors of an alien threat floated to the Nightfall Program, prompting Archer to investigate Caldera Peak for himself. At the site of the missile impact, he and his men located a large colony of Cryptids as well as one of their protective Obelisks, all of which were smuggled out to Point Barrow to be conducted in research. While Nightfall pondered over their newfound data, Task Force Spectre began the eradication of the invading Cryptids, using an automated drill to target their fungal colonies and eventually obliterate the remaining creatures with the nuclear strike. With the mission complete and an Ark unknowingly destroyed, the government assumed the threat was pacified, and focused their attentions on the Federation War.
Covertly, Nightfall began using its recovered specimens from the Colorado site and breeding Cryptid species to allow for experimentation, while Archer worked with Cross in the deciphering of the glyphs inscribed within the Obelisk. From the Cryptid samples, scientists of the Program discovered the creatures' origins from Earth, as well as their xenobiology and biological interactions. Using the information, Archer oversaw the project to genetically hatch a Cryptid capable of producing more specimens for research, as well as procuring the toxic biolum used by Cryptid Scorpions to produce the projectile-based weapon the Venom-X. Meanwhile, despite her inquiries, Archer refused to reveal the originations of the Obelisk to Cross or the other items he discovered, making her suspicious of what her employer was hiding. After witnessing Archer's project reach fruition by creating the Breeder, a monstrous Cryptid of enormous size, Cross began to question the benefit of Nightfall's work, fearful of Archer's sanity and his intentions.
Unbeknownst to his inferiors, Archer began bartering via digital videochats with an unknown Chinese business partner codenamed "Contact 28". Due to his aspirations to locate the remaining worldwide colonies and their Arks, Archer planned to negotiate Nightfall's weaponry and live specimens to Contact 28's forces in exchange for a ship and crew, despite betraying his own country. Before the deal could be finalized, Cross finally gave in to her distrust and breached Point Barrow's classified location to the government, jeopardizing Archer's future plans. Archer and Cross' sudden resurfacing became a red flag to the DIA, with the NSA deeming Archer a terrorist and provoking General Castle to look into Nightfall and its co-conspirators.
Meanwhile, as she grew closer to the final decryptions of the Obelisk, Cross began to suffer from the mimetic virus encoded within it and receive the commands sent to the Cryptids by the Ancestors, soon unwillingly converting to one of their hypnotic spies. Now acting unknowingly as an agent of the Cryptid commanders, Cross was taught to harness her telepathic abilities and later breached Nightfall's hatchery, causing an outbreak that slaughtered 127 of the Program's employees. Fearful of her own sanity and unaware of her actions, Cross sheltered herself in the facility's research lab, as the Cryptids refused to harm her due to her ability to relay the commands of their masters. Archer, desperate to keep his research alive, begged for his client to supply an evacuation of the now-overrun facility, however he learned that the items once promised would not be delivered. Archer and Cross were now both among the few survivors of the Nightfall outbreak, and as the government prepared to contain the second Cryptid attack, Archer vowed to kill Cross and continue his plight.
On October 30th, over three months after the Colorado incident, General Castle, under the codename "Godfather", commanded CIF Team One through the Nightfall facility to contain the second outbreak, locate Samantha Cross and either kill or capture Archer, whose work deemed him a threat to national security. Upon breaching the research lab, Cross had finally finished the Obelisk's translation and prepared her suicide to ensure Archer never knew of the device's true nature. However, she was subdued and captured by Archer himself, who escaped with the surviving Nightfall scientists into the Alaskan frontier. As the military killed the Breeder and later incinerated the contaminated Nightfall facility, Contact 28 reconciled with Archer following his organization confirming the authenticity of photos sent to him of the Caldera site. Now enticed by the work he presented, Archer was supplied the Stormbreaker, a decommissioned Chinese destroyer, and sailed for the island of Ball's Pyramid, the site of a Cryptid colony and an Ancestor-inhabited Ark, with Cross captive on board.
For over three weeks, Archer oversaw the ongoing experiments on Cross, discovering her ability to tame the Cryptids. As a result, Cross' brain acted as a beacon, guiding Archer and his crew to the remaining Arks and their subsequent colony. With the help of Nightfall employee Dr. Kassar, a world-renowned scientist in the field of neuroprosthetics, Archer strengthened this clairvoyant via a device linked to Samantha's brain called the "Beacon Amplifier", allowing the Arks to be located with ease. Kassar began to interrogate Cross under the orders of Archer, who was convinced she was the key to diverting control from the unseen Cryptid masters. During these sessions, Cross claimed the Ancestors manipulated her into unleashing the Cryptids, as well as her mind defecting to the Cryptids themselves. As the voyage continued, the crew began to suffer from recurring nightmares they believed were inflicted by Cross, even leading to one man attempting to shoot her. Enraged, Archer had him fed to Cryptid larvae, and despite the verge of mutiny, demanded the sessions between Kassar and Cross continued.
As Samantha fell more so under the control of the Cryptids, Archer began experimenting with anti-Cryptid weaponry, fearing for the voyage's safety after research suggested some Cryptids being capable of surviving underwater, while Nightfall's surviving scientists experimented with the Venom-X's biolum to yield new variants of the weapon. During his studies of the Cryptids' overlords, Archer ascertained the Ancestors' power to forge gravimetric force fields; to counter the defense in future combat, Stormbreaker's scientists were instructed to immediately develop a prototype of Archer's NX-1 Disruptor, a firearm capable of decomissioning the force fields ultimately leaving Ancestors vulnerable to attack. Finally, Archer believed he had learned the secret to seizing the control over the Cryptids; like the ancient myths of Perseus decapitating the monstrous Medusa to create a powerful weapon, Cross' in-tact brain severed from her body would be the ultimate tool in sabotaging the commands given to the Cryptids by their unseen masters. Developing plans to create a large-scale psionic weapon utilizing the power of Cross' brain, Archer hoped to yield a weapon similar to a dirty bomb, capable of wiping out Cryptid organisms within a wide radius.
Meanwhile, the government, now fearful themsleves of a potential doomsday scenario, set about in the creation of highly classified government contingency program codenamed "Exodus." Based out of a remote desert in Southern California, Exodus was intended to be used in the event of total Cryptid invasion, sending a selected group of humans to be launched into the atmosphere to a secure retrofitted space station, where humanity's descendants would be prepped and trained to one day retaliate and reclaim the Eath. While the spacecraft's passengers consisted of the most elite scientists and government personnel, few additions were made to accomodate those with knowledge of the Cryptids' growing power, including General Castle, who was quickly relocated to the Exodus launch site following the Nightfall operation. From the facility, Godfather oversaw the seizing all of the technology and research belonging to the recently-terminated Nightfall Program, dispatching members of the counter stealth unit Task Force: STALKER to raid one of their archeological dig sites. After securing the site and even acquiring a Venom-X prototype, the squad alerted Cryptid Seekers, the skirmish alerting nearby Federation forces. A standoff ensued between the opponents, both sides determined to bring back Nightfall's valuable work for the good of their own country.
After failing to kill Cross four times and fearing her growing power, Archer attempted to make peace with General Castle, reasoning they join forces due to the endangerment of the human species itself. During their negotiations, Archer unveiled his experimental Cryptid-combative weaponry, including early blueprints for the psionic weapon codenamed "the Medusa". Believing the President didn't have the brains, or stomach, to make the necessary actions to defeat the alien threat, Castle agreed that he would be recruited as a double agent in the war against the Cryptids, under the terms that the research was handed over to the Exodus program and Archer is evacuated with the head of Samantha Cross.
However, on November 25th, with Archer and his men just hours away from their destination, Cross summoned the Arks' guardian beneath the sea and rallied the Cryptid specimens aboard the ship, now fully possessed by the Ancestors. After seeing a vision of the Earth's grim future, Archer witnessed the largest Cryptid known to man, the Kraken, emerge from the Tasman Sea, bent on keeping him and his forces from reaching the Ark. Fearing their lives and sanity, the majority of Archer's crew abandoned ship, leaving the few who remained helpless to defend themselves against the incoming Cryptid threat. Following the broadcast of an emergency signal from Stormbreaker, General Castle launched Operation: Mayday, in which CIF Team One was again dispatched to pacify the third Cryptid outbreak and rescue Archer, now the only source capable of locating the remaining Arks. As per their negotiations, Castle ordered his forces to kill Cross by flooding the chamber with chlorine gas, as well as later beheading and retrieving her brain for Archer. However, after the gas reached lethality, Cross violently screamed and disappeared, along with the Beacon Amplifier.
After the squad finally defeated the Kraken and safely evacuated the vessel with Archer, Godfather oversaw the covert destruction of Stormbreaker via torpedo, sending the ship to its watery grave in the Tasman Sea. Castle then sought to launch an attack on the colony beneath Ball's Pyramid, sending a team of soldiers lead by Archer to infiltrate the Ark and retrieve the Cortex brain tissue from a living Ancestor, intending to amplify its power in the Medusa weapon. While he reasoned with the President that Archer was a necessary addition to the war against the Cryptids, Cross, who had been deemed KIA after disappearing from the Beacon Chamber aboard Stormbreaker, awoke in the lair of the Ancestors themselves within the Ark beneath Ball's Pyramid, where she learned of the impending awakening of the other Arks. Meanwhile, Archer and his men descended into the island, hoping to gain entry to the Ark protected by the hundreds of Cryptids living within the colony.
Unbeknownst to Archer, the Ancestors had anticipated an attack on the Ark due to the skirmish with the Kraken earlier, sending out VLF radio pulses to alert their minions of the incoming threat. As the squad fought through the ambush, Cross forged a fragile alliance with Archer after amputating his infected hand, giving him and his surviving soldiers guidance to the Ark in exchange for safe passage off the island. Although he accepted the offer, Archer found himself still embittered by Cross' betrayal to Nightfall and became determined to gain vengeance through any means possible. During the journey, Cross revealed the true intentions of the Ancestors, as well as why she refused to play a role in their master plans, while Archer remained suspicious of her true alliance in the war. After learning of her survival and knowledge of the Cryptid endgame, Castle demanded Archer bring Samantha back alive, a request that he ignored when he prepared to kill Cross following the extraction of the Cortex. Having expected being double-crossed, Samantha used her telepathy to control Archer's remaining arm, instead forcing him to kill his squad members and then cripple himself. Declaring he was the most to deserve death out of all included in the Ancestors' genocide, Cross left the impaired and helpless Archer to die in the main chamber, still clutching the Cortex.
Following Archer's mysterious loss in contact, Godfather denied the President's request of a nuclear strike on the colony and turned his last hopes to CIF Team One, dispatching them to retrieve the Cortex and finish the job. Utilizing a cipher prototype optical scanner modeled after Cross' translation software to decrypt the Obelisks, the squad forced their way deeper into the colony, as well as commandeering a quad-drone left by Archer's men to unlock the gravimetric gates guarding the Ark. Meanwhile, learning of a second attack, the Ancestors sent out a massive electromagnetic force awakening the global Arks, now in the process of de-frosting the Ancestor race from cryogenic hibernation. Upon gaining access to the main chamber of the Ark and locating the Cortex, Cross warned Godfather of the awakening of the Cryptid warlords, insisting his men use the terminals to draw an over-abundance of heat to cause a meltdown. With the help of the Cortex, the CIF Team successfully accomplished the task and immediately evacuated the crumbling island, leaving Archer for death.
Cortex in hand, CIF Team One boarded the Arclight osprey alongside Cross, preparing to meet with Godfather while a nuclear MIRV destroyed the erupting Ball's Pyramid. As the team neared the Exodus launch site, Castle, knowing the outbreak was inevitable, launced the nuclear response codenamed Scorched Earth, and with the Presidnet's consent began the process of performing nuclear strikes at key infestation points around the globe. After learning of the incident within the Ark, Godfather soon feared Samantha's allegiance in the war and instructed his men to protect the Cortex from her at all costs. Meanwhile, the Ancestors attempted to regain control of their sleeper agent, provoking Samantha to endeavor to steal the kinetic gland. Seconds before an Arclight operative prepared to kill her, the osprey crashed miles from the Exodus facility following a skirmish with a Gargoyle, allowing Cross to disappear with the Cortex and leaving the surviving CIF Team One stranded in the heart of the outbreak.
Having lost contact with Arclight, Godfather watched helplessly as the country's military centers succumbed to the overwhelming Cryptid numbers, even the President becoming a casualty in the aftermath. Now in command of the surviving remnants of the United States, Castle fortified the Exodus launch site from Cryptid threat, attracting a number of survivors to seek refuge in the surrounding area. With the airspace under heavy patrol by a large amount of Gargoyles, the Exodus spacecraft remained unable to take flight, the program now on the verge of collapse. After three months of searching, CIF Team One was finally recovered, receiving orders from Godfather to restore the facility's power grid and activate the Medusa, capable of wiping out every Cryptid within a three mile radius and finally granting Exodus safe passage to low Earth orbit refuge. In the midst of the operation, Cross regained contact with the surviving program personnel, while meanwhile the Ancestors channeled a broadcast to Godfather posing as Archer in a final attempt to besmirch Cross' allegiance. With the power grid back online, Samantha revealed herself and the Cortex, reasoning CIF Team One must sacrifice themselves to activate the weapon and give mankind a chance to overcome extinction. In a final order, General Castle commanded his men to defeat the oncoming Cryptid siege lead by the Ancestors themselves.
As the Cortex accumulated bioelectric energy from the hundreds of Cryptids killed, the Exodus spacecraft prepared to launch, Cross included as a passenger after finally proving her loyalty to the human race. Upon reaching fruition, CIF Team One detonated the Medusa while the spacecraft launched, the blast frying every Cryptid brain in its radius and killing the four operatives in the process. Now in safe passage to the space station, Cross acknowledged that her otherworldly powers were key in humanity's future retaliation, agreeing to be placed in a replica Beacon Amplifier to harness her gifts to benefit the future descendants of the Exodus program. As Samantha hopes she will make the difference between survival and extinction, the remainder of humanity faces an uncertain future.