Three years ago, a hyperaggressive fungal infection killed millions, perhaps billions around the world. It took too long to realise that lethality was much higher during daytime, when the spores grew and spread expansively. Within a year, pretty much all infrastructure had collapsed, along with society.
The infection has a very high mortality rate if the spores reach the brain. The afflicted will run a fever and often becomes confused and aggressive, followed by nausea, seizures and eventually death. However, if the spores only affect the lungs, skin and blood system, survival is probable.
As much as staying out of the daylight is important, so is staying out of populated areas. Cities and towns are dangerous places where violent gangs rule with iron fists. They defend any resource they find and hunt people for more – even outside their territory. There’s no respect for human life or intention of co-existing there. The fewer mouths to feed, the better, they say. It’s safer in the outskirts and abandoned places.
Survivors sometimes travel together in small groups out of necessity. Re:Boot follows one such group as they reach what could possibly be a safe haven – for a short respite, or maybe for a bigger dream. They are clusters of people who all want the same thing, but who are very different. Some have traveled together a while, some have recently joined. Most are strangers, but in this new world, people form bonds and relations based on different criteria than before. People have changed, and so have needs.
No one who has survived this long is unscathed. The stress, unspeakable loss, constant fear and never ending search for food has resulted in a tidal wave of mental health deterioration and collective trauma. No one is the same person they used to be, but through the pain and uncertainty, they share the same goals: avoiding starvation, finding safety and resources, and building a modicum of comfort is a first priority. But stability, new possibilities and a working community where one can start healing and build a life is everyone’s dream.
The geographical region we’re in was formerly in one of the most walled off and isolated countries of the world, a totalitarian dictatorship fronting an elaborate cult of personality for the Great Leader. The population was strictly controlled by the state and all aspects of daily life were subject to state planning. Employment was managed by the regime through nation wide sorting camps, dissidents were vanished, the outside world was irrelevant and a tireless war in the border regions was fought for decades. All in the name of the State, the Leader and his will.
Although human rights was an unknown concept in the state, not everyone suffered the brutality of the autocracy. Many found real purpose in having a meaningful job, a responsibility and being an important chess piece – from farmers and teachers to scientists and the military. They accepted that being ruled by an elite was the best away to ensure efficiency and stability, and lived in no delusion of an unobtainable utopia through so-called egalitarianism.
The aftermath of the infection dismantled the regime. In the following years, chaos and a different kind of danger has ruled. Some are glad the shackles are off, feeling free for the first time. Others would welcome the system back, feeling afraid, lost and abandoned.
When the group arrives at their prospect new home, they can find some rest for the first time in a while. Their numbers have grown the last few weeks, and food and water reserves are running dangerously low for that amount of people. Rationing is essential. Finding things to eat, heat and water is a priority, and a building such as this might hide other treasures as well. Or dangers.