170 A.I./2190 A.D.
An ancient philosopher once said, “History is written by the victors.”
When there are none, it is written by the survivors.
This is our history, the history of the survivors, for there are never any victors in this ongoing war. The tattered remnants of humanity have been struggling to rebuild the fragments of civilization ever since the Impact over 100 years ago. It has been 170 years since Impact—170 years since the virus swept the earth, killing most of humanity and changing the rest.
It started in Russia on a remote science station, or so we were told. Some claim it was a meteorite, others say a terrorist attack, and a surprising number of people still believe it was aliens. But the outcome was the same regardless of the source: an object fell from the sky in the middle of the night and unleashed something terrible on the world. The virus flourished in the northern cold and spread quickly; traveling with the wind, it engulfed the world in only a few months. It started like any common illness: headache and fever, followed by nausea. These symptoms persisted through all treatments and only worsened with time. About a week after contracting the virus, you would become delirious and paranoid about everything and everyone around you. Then, sometimes within a day and sometimes a week later, you would suddenly feel better—almost well again. This wouldn’t last, though, as your ever-rising temperature would force you into a coma.
Most of the infected population died shortly after becoming comatose. Those that didn’t die were driven mad and mutated beyond recognition. They had become a new species: the Scourge.
From war-ravaged cities and quarantine zones, out of the ruins—slowly at first and then in droves—seeping out of the darkness and across the globe like a gray wave of horror and brutality, they came.
Those that reawakened as the Scourge were no longer human, for their minds and consciousness were gone. They were replaced by an animalistic presence: autonomous but not in any way comparable to a human. This presence took over the host’s body completely, changing and shaping it at will. The Scourge quickly became the primary threat to humanity, and the virus itself was nearly forgotten as the Scourge painted a bloody swath of destruction across the Earth. It wasn’t that we’d done anything specific to incur their wrath. No, we were simply prey to be hunted. All remaining military forces turned to this new threat. For once in the history of mankind, humanity was united against a common enemy.
But it would not last.
The first campaigns against the Scourge were launched almost five months after Impact. In those desperate times, we may have lost our humanity. All threats were dealt with quickly and brutally. Cities were bombed and the survivors rounded up, killed, and then burned. The human casualty rate was astronomical, but it was working. The airborne virus had dissipated, and there were no means of becoming infected except by coming into direct contact with a carrier, either a Scourge or an infected human.
With far fewer new Scourge being produced, the merciless tactics of the military began to pay off. It looked like victory over humanity’s greatest threat might be possible.
Then, with victory in sight, the one thing that nobody thought to factor in happened: the Scourge were intelligent, not mindless animals, as we once believed. They could strategize and organize themselves in a manner that no one had previously imagined. Rather than just prey, they saw us as a threat and took action against us. Their coordination was staggering, and with battle after battle, they whittled away at the already weakened armies of man.
Just two years after Impact, modern civilization had fallen.
Our armies were scattered, cities were devastated, and survivors were abandoned. The Scourge preyed on anyone foolish enough to brave the night, but now that they no longer felt threatened by the oppression of the human race, they showed no indication of returning to the coordination they had once displayed.
During those years after the fall, there were pockets of resistance, survivors who banded together and built lives in the ruins of the old world. Some grew strong and flourished, while others withered and died like so many before them.
It has been 170 years since Impact. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long road ahead of us. The world is being rebuilt, but the Scourge are still a threat and probably always will be. In spite of this, we are once again fighting amongst ourselves. Perhaps someday we will be united enough to finally take the world back for ourselves.
Until then, we will endure.
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