A virus mysteriously infected the global population, causing people to become mindless, flesh-eating creatures called Ferals. It passed from host to host by fluid transmission, when saliva or blood is entered into the bloodstream. Bites were often fatal and uncovered open wounds ripe for infection. Due to popular lore the transformed people were called zombies, and due to the popularity in the contemporary culture many people adapted accordingly by smashing the brains of those they once loved. Research provided that this was untrue, that they could be killed like any human could be, but media networks collapsed too quickly to disseminate this information properly.
The infected did not operate like the zombies in contemporary television and movies as well. They were completely mad, with little rational thought observed. They displayed solely carnivorous behaviour, feasting upon each other when other food sources were not available. Instinct did remain however, and as the human population began to decline and become infected they began to form packs and stake out territories. Later on, after the Reconstitution, scientists found remains of dens filled with dead feral offspring. Survivors attest that the length of time that the infected were dominant in urban regions was short-lived, primarily as a result of severely exhausted food supplies that lead to mass starvation and disease. Post-Establishment societies took to calling them the Feral, and the name has been officially adopted.
The Pandemic of 2015 took the world completely by surprise. As the world was entrenched in a global economic system, the virus spread like wildfire through a dry forest. Estimates continue to remain dubious, but the remaining uninfected human population is believed to have been reduced to approximately 10% of the pre-virus population level at the time of the Sudden Decline. Humanity faced complete societal collapse as borders were closed, shipping halted, and manufacturing brought to a standstill. While people battled the Feral entrenching their communities, they also had to scavenge for food supplies and fresh water to stay alive. Many fled into the rural areas with mixed results. Some areas held out as the majority of the Feral population remained within the cities, employing weapons and building walls to secure villages and small towns. In other areas people were spread too thin, and Feral packs hunted the land for human and animal alike. Those that remained within the cities quickly formed groups of their own for protection and support. In some areas terrain allowed for entire blocks to be secured within the chaos.
The Pandemic of 2015Edit
Archaeologists have uncovered enough records to pinpoint that the virus emerged in the region formerly known as Southern California at the end of May 2015. As the area was known for its very large population and its use as an international hub, the virus spread quickly and globally. It may have been an experiment that escaped from a bio lab or nature’s own evolutionary change to humanity. It may also have been distributed through a vaccine to combat a virulent strand of flu.
The virus spread to the many corners of the world, most notably to the denser population areas. India and China were hit especially hard, while completely out-of-the-way places rode out the viral storm unscathed. Take for example the Island nation of Palau. They were completely unaware of the global impact the plague had upon the world. The people of Palau only realized the true state of affairs when exploration teams re-established contact with the island years after the plague receded.
Victims became uncountable, hospitals were overborne, and wave of mass hysteria swept the world. News anchors hosted special guests from the biomedical field to attempt to impose a sense of calm on the population, while emergency workers were placed on indefinited overtime, and military units called to assist. The issue was that people were expecting it to be a severe flu strand, and thus quarantine protocols were not placed into effect. The disease spread too fast, and there was no way to tell you were infected until you began to break out into a fever. Chaos quickly ensued as governments were not able to respond to such a massive scale of infection. When the ferals began to turn, confusion was quickly replaced by panic, fear, and then aggression. Violence erupted in every urban center as those either uninfected or those who had yet to show signs of infection struggled to survive the onslaught of ravenous human mutations. Some communities formed and fought together only to be enveloped by the dying infected, while others migrated to lesser populated areas. Many died.
Order was of the most primitive for most people, as those who attempted peaceful obedience quickly perished in the catatrophe. Thus began the Age of Survival.
The Sudden Decline (Years 0-5)Edit
As the ferals mulitiplied and the humans disappeared, there were bodies in the streets, in houses and apartments, and in the fields and rivers. Disease from rotting human and feral bodies spread like wildfire through much of what was left of the population, and coupled with starvation led to a drastic fall in both the human and feral populations.
This event was important for the survivors as it was an unexpected reprieve from watching their world shatter around them. The ferals became less and less of a threat, and by the fifth year they were almost non-existant as a problem for the survivors. The human population fell from 7.5 billion to 2 billion during the Pandemic, and over the course of the first five years dropped to a stable 500 million worldwide population.
- This graph shows the Decline over the course of the first five years. Half the population had been transformed into ferals, while another 2 billion died during the Pandemic. As survival became everyday life, the human population stabilized.
The surviving humans learned to loot and pillage the old establishment's holdings, finding stockpiles of canned goods, camping and hunting gear, and other basic amenities they would need to survive. Rations did become rare during the winter months, however much of the farmland was left unscathed in most of the world, especially in the more industrial societies. The issue was the knowledge in producing food crops, and finding enough diesel to run the equipment. Small communities began to form and till the land by hand, or with animals if they were available, and these were the groups that had the highest survivability rate. Lone wanderers were able to make do with trading valuable items, or were quickly overwhelmed by roving bands of raiders and bandits. These groups were authoritarian in nature, following the rule of the most fearsome person of the group. Rape and murder were commonplace around these people, and they were not trusted by traders or villages. Industrious settlements began to organize militias to defend their villages or small towns, built walls for fortification, and declared a state of war with those who would violently take. Other historical example included religious fanaticism ruling communities, to either the old gods or new ones, practicing sacrificial ceremonies, group suicide, and other primitive occult practices. Many of these did not survive the first five year period.
The level of warfare was low as distance again became a factor for populations. Walking was the only realistic way of getting around, the odd motor vehicles did operate but were saved for important tasks or services. The lower populations also meant that they could produce enough resources in certain areas to survive without too much hardship. Warfare between villages did occur, however this type of low-level tribal warfare only ever resulted in the deaths of a few. There are a few cases of one village wiping our another, but for the most part people were tired of death. Winter was the true enemy to the surviving populations, and was the factor that claimed most lives in the northern hemisphere. Canada as an example was hit really hard by the winter season, many citizens either stored up enough and held firm, or migrated to the south.
This was a period of hardship and grief, every survivor having lost someone they once knew. It was also a period of bravery and resilience for those who chose not to give up, but to dig and shake their fist to the sky. This was a period of heroes, our bloodlines all trace back to these men and women that would not go meekly into the night. Our Utopia is only possible because of these people in this time, and so all students must remember this.
The Reconstitution (Years 5-50)Edit
This time period began with basic survivalism becoming less of a factor for the organized populations as basic needs were met. People became farmers once again, they became tradesmen of the older technologies, they all became productive members of their small societies.
There are some important factors to take into consideration when looking at this period. First, the infrastructure and technology remained largely intact after the fall of civilization. There was no real need to completely go back to the basics because means and knowledge still existed, they just needed to be utilized. For those that didn't fully comprehend a subject, there were libraries of books and manuals untouched by the Pandemic. This was no nuclear winter such as the twentieth century concept of World War Three was believed to have resulted in. Certain aspects did not survive, some power plants were destroyed. Some libraries were torched, as were entire cities in some places. The concrete and glass cities fared far better than the third world shanty towns, furniture might have been burned but the structures were mainly sound. For many communities that were wandering or urban, the choice of where to settle was an important one. They could easily settle in suburbia as they were literal ghost towns, yet there was nothing of value strategically in them. Comfort was no longer a promary factor. City blocks could form very defensible areas, and so many retook and reformed areas of the old urban areas. The buildings not used were cannibalized and destroyed to make room for the new inhabitants to grow out arable plots, the taller ones provided possible firing points for enemies and thus had to be removed or occupied. In these areas concrete provided the walls and bunkers to ward off the raider bands.
Before looking at the next factor it must be noted that raiders and bandits still thrived after the initial survival period. Their form of community was much more militaristic and they relied on violence and the threat of force to collect tribute from weaker communites. In some areas they covered large areas that ruled many towns, while in others they were forced into hidden enclaves to pillage from the weakest and undefended targets. As the decades passed, communities that would trade and set up markets and travelling caravans organized professional citizen armies, much like the ancient Greeks and Romans. Men and women would harvest fields when it was time, they would produce wares or teach, but when called for the campaigning season in summer they would form units. These units would elect a military commander, someone also approved by whatever local ruling council or assembly, train to tactics learned from those with professional backgrounds from before the collapse or from the historians, and cohesively fight battles primarily against the committed banditry. Rare in this period was conflict between separate towns or villages, and this flows into the second factor.
Secondly, with the human population so heavily reduced all across the world, the need for land space, resources, or any other border quibble was rather non-existent. Trade was far more profitable than losing important members of a community over a resource that is not overly in demand. In fact, the demand for most resources was one of consumption over need. While a world of over 7 billion people was overusing the planet's natural resources, one of 500 million could readily make do with plenty to spare. Once basic survival was met, most communities were rather content with their lot. It was only those members of the race who refused to contribute, the Capitalists, that every other ideology would commonly unite against. As the majority of all but the most reclusive areas on the planet were forced to deal with the catastrophe that was the Pandemic, the people had all felt connected in having passed some terrible trial. And so they all felt a need to give their fair share, an accounting of their worth to their peers. It truly took the worst event in human history to put us upon the right track that philosophers and politcal thinkers could only imagine years before.
As the world was now littered in relics from the past, the concept of owning so many material assets tended to seem foreign in this period. During the survival period people quickly understood that going it alone meant you had to carry everything yourself, and if you didn't put roots down with other people and develop trust and principles of sharing, then you wouldn't do anything more than survive as some wretched creature, no better than a feral. The sense of individualism that developed previously in the West was altered, people still thought of themselves as free people with rights and opinions, but they also recognized that when working for the betterment of others within their society they were ultimately working for themselves.
Many now look back at this period of change as the true transformation caused by the Pandemic. Humanity was allowed its second chance, and the majority of people in the world took it. It will be further mentioned that as the decades passed and communities developed into larger, connected societies, those that were bandits were either wiped out as an example or were pushed to the most inhospitable lands. Humanity had had enough of being taken from, and instead formulated the concept of always giving back, whether through acts of compassion or war.
The Establishment (Years 50-100)Edit
This was a period most know about as regular, common-knowledge history. Humanity rose from the ashes of the past, redefine what it meant to be a member of this race, and go beyond what we had experienced before. With a continued stable world population of approximately 500 million, humanity used the technology from the past, adapted it, and combined with new methodologies of human governance. The Establishment must be considered in terms of re-establishment, as the human race did exist before the Pandemic, however, the terms had changed and golden age was entered by the inhabitants of planet Earth. The majority of the world shook off the shackles of violent oppression, instead opting for a society of equality regardless of race, gender, sex, or creed. Truly there were no pillars of the past to hold back this new evolution of the human condition. Intolerance disappeared as understanding took its place, universal education stood at the forefront of this new civilization, and while not global as was once understood, was reliant upon its neighbours in the utmost capacity. The concept of war became one that was incoceivable, not because there couldn't be profit in it, but because interspecies conflict had effectively finished. The Pandemic of 2015 and the fallout from it sobered humanity to its bones. This was not an age of flowery Hippies, but one of deep thinkers and considerate statespeople. This was the establishment of the new human order, one that recognized the imperfections in all people, one that chose to accept and accomodate them.
This period required five decades to complete in the global fashion, yet it did finish. Today the youth rejoice at the achievements of those who came before, and especially those who had the will and gumption to survive the ordeals placed upon them. The Establishment period lifted mankind from the ashes and delivered us to a great and glorious destiny.
- this manuscript was found later, after the Age of the Zepplins.
Let it be understood that the author of this document was most likely in the employ of the state for which he/she lived, and that this representation does not fit what humanity has really gone through. Remember this, as we who continue to suffer rely on the hope that those who are ignorant become informed, that we may all become free. Lady Luck be kind, may we survive or see those we love do so. It was all a lie...