The Big One

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The Big One was a record-breaking earthquake that occurred in Hollywood. Registering at an otherwise impossible 22.8 on the Richter scale, it was powerful enough to distort not only the geography, but also the history of Hollywood. Since the Big One, time in Hollywood has not flowed correctly, resulting in numerous anachronisms including the permanent loss of the present date.

Origin

There are multiple theories to the nature and cause of the Big One, with the prevailing theory being that all theories are at least partially correct due to the Big One spanning all dimensions and timelines simultaneously.

Prominent scientists who have studied the Big One have claimed that the Big One is actually a formless entity outside of space and time trying to enter Hollywood, possibly to score a leading role in a big budget romantic comedy, leading other scientists to conclude that studying the Big One leads to delusional thoughts and psychosis.

Effects

The geographical effects of the Big One drastically changed the landscape of the Hollywood region, and only the Hollywood region despite the unprecedented magnitude. Portions of downtown were raised up into a maze-like arrangement of mesas, now called The Heights, while several new volcanic peaks emerged, all in fully active states.

Most prominent of all was the twenty-mile-long chasm that opened up across Hollywood, stretching over sixty-six miles deep. Since its formation it has undergone renovation by the city, becoming known as Underwood by residents.

Less well documented are the changes to the timestream, due to the imprecise nature of chronological studies. Events continue to happen in sequence, but not in sync with the rest of the observable universe. It may have taken several years for Hollywood residents to actually notice this, except that years no longer mean anything.

Cultural impact

There have been 806 movies made on the subject of, or set during, the Big One. Of these, 14 were made before it happened, with one having been excavated from deep strata uncovered by the Big One itself and dated as being approximately three hundred million years old. Though fossilisation means significant portions of it are unwatchable, the parts that have been transcribed show that it is a low-budget action thriller entitled The Big Score. The plot concerns a trio of thieves trying to pull off the world's biggest diamond heist during the chaos of the earthquake. Critics have called it "possibly the most significant motion picture in film history", "an unbelievable discovery that calls into question the very concept of time itself", and "unimaginative with clichéd characters, two stars".

The existence of movies about the Big One before it actually occurred could be considered evidence of its time-warping properties, perhaps having rearranged the chronological order of events so as to relocate these movies to earlier points in history. A competing theory posits that the Big One is an angry god that must be placated through tributes or it will erase civilization, leaving behind only a handful of artifacts to warn future generations.

The Church of the Big One is the fifth-largest religion in Hollywood, between Orthodox Mammonism and an unnamed volcano-worshipping cult.