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On 9 November 2049, as earthquakes began tearing at the surface of Earth, a quake of monumental intensity struck the southern coasts of Panama and Costa Rica. The quake opened a massive trench from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, creating the Panama Divide, a treacherous waterway.

Much of Central America’s massive drug production takes place near the Divide, which has become a dangerous shipping route. The channel is frequented by pirates and smugglers, and the territory on either side of the Divide is fiercely contested by numerous warring factions and drug cartels (4.5.1).