This is the second version of ‘My Last Wilderness’ – the previous version has been private-locked, but I may downgrade to friends-lock in the future. I’m hoping to restart writing it, but Cold Ghost will be my primary concern and My Last Wilderness will probably be following a monthly update schedule, whereas I am hoping to keep to a fortnightly one with Cold Ghost.

 

Synopsis:  It’s the near future and it isn’t pretty. The world has been hit by a virus, and it’s taken its toll on life and society. Those uninfected were forced to fall back within "seclusion areas", and those infected were left behind in the urban wildernesses to fend for themselves.

We moved forward some 20-odd years and Sam Morton is a psychologist trained at the First British University. He grew up in a pretty prviledged position within a prime seclusion area. But he’s cocky and nosey, which is never good for your health and starts to ask too many questions about "Project Venice" housed down near Coventry, so the highers up decide send him along with a military aid team, and assign him to gather research on a possible group of survivors in a seclusion area previously thought lost.

But things aren’t what they seem, as they never are. And it doesn’t help that an old friend of Sam’s is in charge of the military end of the expedition either…

Prologue – The Lies We Tell Ourselves

 

Department for Health and Welfare

Centre for Infection Control:

File 18384 – Virus XIV and the Collapse

Unfortunately, due to the chaos of the collapse, the following information is all that we can gather on Virus XIV and its spread across the United Kingdom, from what electronic resources that we were able to retrieve and what paper and physical evidence that could be saved.

In those years leading up to the Collapse, humanity was decaying, to put it kindly. Our urban areas were rapidly growing in population numbers, but not in size. Many new entrants to cities were shunted into piece-meal shanty towns, and the situation of the deprived became steadily worse and worse. Disease and crime were becoming more rife in these new mega-ghettos.

Around 30 years previously, a new pathogen appeared and began to work up a veritable plague amongst the less fortunate. On first glance, it was believed it to be a new strain of Ebola or a consumptive disease, but it was much more virulent than any we had seen before. As the virus picked up pace, people would waste away in a matter of weeks rather than months, and it devastated entire towns and communities.

The situation was horrifying – hospitals simply could not cope with the sheer volume with what they had to deal with, and people were often left lying in ward corridors, haemorrhaging away into oblivion. Given the amount of time the time that the virus took to spread, it came as shock to communicable disease experts that it took so long to hit more affluent areas, but it did eventually. The few patients who did to make it through the worse stages of the disease, quickly expired from exhausted organs and a compromised immune system in the post-infection stage. The Centre for Infection Control eventually decided to designate it as “Virus XIV”.

There was very little that the CIC and the government could to control the spread as matters stood. The brunt of the investigation into how to deal with the disease was transferred to a research facility, whose name and designation have since be lost since before the Days of the Rebuild. It is assumed that it was a high-tech facility, and other research was being conducted there at the same time. Any information about the particulars of that research has been since lost, and what little remains is not available to those below Government Administrator or military rank equivalent. If you require these files or believe that you have been denied access in error, please speak to your immediate superior and they will check your access allowance. There had been entertained the possibility of a vaccine being developed from the blood of those who survived the worst stages. However, with their immune systems so compromised, it was difficult to obtain workable samples with which to create a vaccine.

It came to a huge blow to public hope and the government’s efforts, when this research facility was destroyed. Once again, no definite data has been confirmed, but it appears that it was attacked by insurgents – foolish people who believed that the government was holding a cure back for those rich enough to purchase it. No survivors or bodies could be found there and all of the research and results were destroyed or vanished. There was nothing left with which to work, to provide a possible cure, a possible future, a possible answer. Dr Stokely, the chief researcher was never even found, nor were his patients.

Of course, there will always seditious members of the post-Seclusion society, who insist on clinging to the idea that it was a grand conspiracy, and that those in power had had the facility destroyed by the military to keep the people on their knees and cowed. Lists of seditious groups and intellectuals with notable insurgent leanings, are only available to those of Government Administrator level or military rank equivalent. If you require these files or believe that you have been denied access in error, please speak to your immediate superior and they will check your access allowance.

With a cure out of the foreseeable running, certain areas had to be quarantined off and some cities regrettably reached a stage where they had to be abandoned. There were many countries whose infrastructure just began to wither away from the inside, with those who were “infected” being forced to keep to special quarantine zones. However, the quarantine zones were soon running out of space, in some hot zones the disease had spread out with its immediate quarantine zone. 5 years after Virus XIV had started its rampage, the CIC and the government began to instigate a new plan where those who were still healthy would be separated from those who were infected finally and completely.

Those uninfected who were left and who could officially be given a clean bill of health, would be taken into “seclusion areas” which were clean and supplied, and kept away from the ravages of Virus XIV. They would live like hermits isolated within these areas, cities chosen for smaller body counts and good defensive probabilities, while those infected would be left within newly marked quarantine zones. There was a public outcry when this plan was initially instigated, but as the gravity of the situation began to hit the public, citizens became less and less likely to take official action.

There were a small handful of healthy separatists who tried to set up their own communes and work to help the infected. Though as people were moved into seclusions areas and kept away from the outside world, all contact with these separate communes came to a halt. Pictures taken by satellites showed the new Seclusion Government images of empty houses and towns collapsing, and of living communities getting smaller and smaller. Contact ceased and radio silence began within six months of the Seclusion’s completion.

After 10 years, the government deemed it safe enough to start coming out of Seclusion, and trying to rebuild what they had lost. The Seclusion had ended and the Rebuild had begun. However, with the resources and population that they had, they began simply at trying to reclaim a little of the suburbs beside the seclusion areas and re-opening some educational and civic institutes, trying to reinvigorate society, though life was still very much regimented as security precaution. People were required to have regular check ups and among other topics, public health consciousness was kept very high by the Government’s new health department and the CIC.

People truly believed that this was all that they had left to them. That the CIC and the government had delivered them from a horrible fate and while their future was not as rosy as people had once aspired to before the Seclusion, humanity at least now had a future: it had a chance.

But even so, the population – i.e. its growth and development – had to be contained and people had to obtain a license to start reproducing and create familial units. Jobs were designated via exam results. Much of the old educational system had to be abandoned, and many new subjects introduced into the primary and secondary curriculums.

In order to continue reading this document, you must be a Government Administrator level, or military rank equivalent. If you require the rest of this document, or believe that you have been denied access in error, please contact to your immediate superior or systems manager and they will check your access allowance.



Advertisements