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I'm building Altered States, a Alt-History Technothriller Shadowrun. Let's break that down.

Alt-History: This doesn't occur in the canon Shadowrun timeline. Altered States has its own timeline, with many events that are similar to the canon (such as a VITAS plague) and many others that are wholly new. There are several differences, among them being:

The US still exists (but is almost Balkanized). NAN has collapsed (plus it had different boundaries in America, and never existed in Canada). There was no Resource Rush and no Seretech and Shiawase decisions, so no corporate extraterritoriality. Mexico, India, and Coastal China (the Republic of China) are the top three nations. UGE and Goblinization occurred at the same time in 2011 (an event called the Emergence). No Immortal Elves or "4th World" Great Dragons. No Toxic Shamans. And so forth.

Technothriller: Altered States is a technothriller campaign, best described as "Shadowrun, as written by Tom Clancy". Technothrillers are military- and spy-oriented. They focus on national clashes, espionage, special forces units, and bleeding edge developments. James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Evelyn Salt (from Salt) are all inspirations (as well as Clancy novels, obviously).

Player characters are specially trained agents of the government, instead of criminals. Other than that, it's pure Shadowrun.

Stealing data, blackmail, wetworks, destroying facilities, infiltrating installations, extracting people, and all the other Shadowrun goodness we've come to know and love. Instead of breaking into a Renraku gene lab, you're breaking into an Aztlan air force base.

Many of the changes in the history of the campaign are to support the themes of the campaign (countries instead of corporations) and to develop some aspects of the setting more than in the official material (such as the alt-VITAS thread, here).

Shadowrun: This is a cyberfantasy setting, just like Shadowrun's. It has hermetic mages and shamans, paranatural creatures, and Orks, Trolls, Dwarves, and Elves. It has hacking, rigging, and cyberware. It is still Man meets Magic and Machine.

It isn't a -punk setting, and draws inspiration from other sources. But it is definitely Shadowrun, though different than the canon.

As I finish materials, I hope to post them here (and, indeed, have been doing so for several weeks). Any comments or ideas are welcome.

EDIT: Links to other Altered States material.

VITAS. An expanded writeup of the classic Shadowrun disease.
Fashion in Altered States. If you intend to infiltrate, know your fashion.
Small Magics. Superstitions and Folk Beliefs in the Awakened World.
Africa in 2032. Tribal spirits, marketplaces for magic, techno-tribalism.
The Destruction of Washington, D.C. The day the NAN War ended.
The following is information about the patron of the PC's, the secretive Office for Strategic Analysis (OSA).


The Office for Strategic Analysis is an intelligence, research, and special operations directorate. In 2032, it is the only US intelligence service still functioning.

OSA was founded to predict future trends, and develop plans to address them. Gradually it shifted to dealing with the predicted crises as well.

Lead by the enigmatic Director, the OSA has a small group of highly trained agents, divided into Special Task Squads, that travel the globe protecting the interests of the nearly-Balkanized United States of America. Though the agency's focus is world-wide, the most critical oncoming crisis is the looming war with Aztlan. The agency predicts a war with former Mexico within the next two years, a war the US cannot survive.


In 2010, just after the Red Days began, a Pentagon planning group met with the stated purpose of either preventing or recovering from the kind of chaos that followed VITAS as it spread across the globe. It was given the unwieldy name of the Emergency Military Supplies Acquisition Program (EMSAP). EMSAP developed the redeployment plan, a plan to restore infrastructure, and the commodity rationing plan that provided much of America food, power, and warmth throughout the last few months of 2010 and nearly all of 2011.

Reclamation, as the effort became known, was transferred to state authority in Fall of 2011, just after Emergence, as the military became embroiled in fighting the NAN War. Anti-insurgency units, recalled from Afghanistan and Iraq, had been key in Reclamation, and those units formed the backbone of the Rocky Mountain assault forces. They also suffered the highest casualties.

During the conflict, EMSAP itself coordinated with various governors to keep the front-line troops supplied. As supplies of key parts ran low, they began the effort to retrieve stores from Diego Garcia, Germany, and surviving supply caches in Afghanistan and Iraq.

After the Night of Ghosts and Terror in late 2012, the President negotiated the Treaty of Denver, and the surrender to the NAN forces. In the aftermath, the impoverished Federal government was forced to demobilize the national military structure, gutted by the war. Responsibility for maintaining military forces fell on state governments, and many cashiered soldiers and officers joined the National Guard and state militias.

EMSAP transitioned into a purely predictive role, providing incredibly accurate strategic, economic, and political forecasts for governors and the President. It was during this time that the mysterious Director came to command EMSAP. Under his auspices it became the OSA, the Office for Strategic Analysis.

Office for Strategic Analysis, pt. 2

Mission and Organization

The OSA has a reputation for uncannily accurate predictions about the future. No one knows what precise methodologies its analysts use. Rumors variously cite Artificial Intelligences, powerful divination magics, or complex sociological algorithms. (Alternately, psychic visions and alien visitors are common node-talk.) Collectively, OSA analysts are referred to as “The Oracles”.

Though the OSA provides reports to state governors (through intermediary organizations), its primary focus is to serve as the long-term strategic planning office of the Federal government, tasked with identifying emerging threats and neutralizing them. The Director reports directly to the President, no other individual has jurisdiction or oversight of its operations.

The CIA collapsed in 2010, along with nearly all the Federal government. In 2016, OSA began a foreign intelligence program, to gather information from the most likely strategic threats, including Mexico, China, and India. It soon expanded those efforts world-wide. The first regional Task Groups were founded during this period. The OSA is the only foreign intelligence service of the defederalized United States, replacing the CIA entirely.

The OSA began working closely with DARPA in 2019, providing the fruits of its industrial espionage to the research directorate, and testing and deploying DARPA’s advanced tactical and intelligence concepts (such as the semi-autonomous Expert System Drones that patrolled the NAN border). DARPA had transitioned into joint technological and magical research, and the OSA proved adept at identifying fruitful avenues of research and developing practical applications of same. The world’s first physical adept training program began at DARPA and came to fruition under OSA tutelage.

OSA began deploying special forces units in 2021, using them to help shape events in many key hotspots. They served as advisors to the Eastern Alliance during its war with the Holy Islamic Caliphate, and were suspected of the assassinations of key HIC leaders, including Turk general Asil Kaya (called “The Demon of Athens”). OSA forces operated with Indian units in the anarchic Pushtun areas of former Pakistan, helped secure Kurdistan against deserting HIC units, and worked with Israeli forces in former Syria and Iran, during the breakup of the HIC.

After the conquest of the Pueblo-Navajo Coalition in 2029, Task Group Aztlan became the primary focus of the small agency. TG-Aztlan has developed and deployed technology unknown to the rest of the world, including the Direct Neural Interface and working cybernetic implants. Novel magical weapons and countermeasures are also a key focus for TG-A.

Within the last year (2031) TG-A has increased its recruitment efforts, bringing into the OSA skilled soldiers, police officers, magicians, and other prospects from across North America and forming them into small Special Task Squads, trained in espionage and special ops. The looming war with Aztlan has focused the efforts of the Office, and the Director is determined to win the war at all costs.

Funding: As with the rest of the greatly reduced Federal government, the OSA is funded by tariffs and fees (as the Federal Income Tax has proven difficult to reinstate). It receives a disproportionate share of Federal funds, something of a sore spot with surviving Federal agencies.

Each President has continued funding the agency despite complaints, as each has relied heavily on its accurate forecasts and effective and spare use of force. No other agency could replace the OSA, and no President has ever tried. The Director has survived four Administrations, and looks likely to survive many more.
I want to talk campaign for just a bit.

Altered States is set in a time where all the usual Shadowrun stuff we take for granted in 2050 is classified, bleeding edge tech. Much of it was developed in India (the world's hi-tech headquarters), and "acquired" by the OSA, who turned it over to DARPA. The very first usable models are coming on line right now. PC's have access to them, because they're OSA agents, but (so far as they know) no one outside the OSA does.

Hackers get DNI, which lets them hack the 2032 Internet with a speed non-cybered hackers can only envy. Mages have new spells, unseen by anyone. Phys-adepts, well they exist and no one else knows this. And cyberware is an OSA-agent-only tool.

Well, that's hardly fair, is it? PC's get all the nice toys, and the NPC's are mooks to be blown away.

Not quite true. A DNI-equipped hacker may be fast, but if he's incompetent, that just means the bad guys will catch him that much faster. Similar limits apply to everything else. If you're no good at your job, there's only so much wiz tech or magic can do for you.

But there's more. The point of being a secret agent isn't to kill everything that moves. It's to not get caught.

You're in an Aztlan research lab. Why? Someone gave that info to the OSA. If Aztlan catches you, even if you fight your way clear, they know someone is spilling secrets. That means your asset is threatened, and you could lose a valuable tool who could have provided information for decades.

Don't get caught. If you're shooting, you've already blown the mission. (Except for those few, rare cases where shooting and/or blowing stuff up is the mission.)

Subtlety is the name of the game. Get in, do the mission, get out. Anything else means your classified, limited-access tech and magic could have better been employed augmenting a garbage truck driver in Detroit.
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part01--
The Collapse: Consequences of the VITAS Pandemic

VITAS was the epochal moment in human history. Worldwide it killed 20% of the population, and its after-effects killed 25% more. It shattered the existing economic and political order, casting the globe into chaos.

For all the shock and tumult caused by the Awakening, the effects of VITAS were more profound and more transfiguring. VITAS broke apart countries, vaporized the economic system, and rewrote common assumptions about the relationship between government, industry, and private citizens. Even the emergence of orks, dragons, and astral spirits didn’t provoke such historical consequences.

This brief covers the immediate consequences of the plague, for the medical system, the economy, national infrastructure, and civil order.

> VITAS was a curiously antiseptic disease. There were no scarred survivors, no coughing, sore-covered infectees, no hospital wards filled with moaning, dying patients. It came, it killed, it moved the frag on. Bizarre.
- Ork Rights Crusader.

> It’s impossible to overstate the impact of VITAS. A more deadly and far reaching plague than any that came before, it simply washed over the world, destroying everything, leaving the detritus of civilization in its wake. The present-day global order coalesced out of that chaos, and every aspect of internal politics and international relations were affected by the disease.

VITAS made the history we’ll have to live through for the next millennium.

- PoliSci Perpetrator


The first casualty was the medical community, on the front lines of the epidemic. Health services, governmental and private, were overwhelmed by a combination of casualties, demand, and the breakdown of public order. As circumstances deteriorated, it became impossible to get treatment for any medical condition. Travel restrictions (and swiftly dwindling fuel supplies) limited the amount of medicines available, and pharmacies soon ran out.

At the same time VITAS was killing billions, hundreds of millions were dying of other diseases that would, at any other time, have been survivable. Secondary outbreaks (such as the flu or cholera) became common, and without treatment they became full-fledged pandemics in and of themselves.

> VITAS happened 22 years ago, and though we still don’t have accurate models of how it worked on a cellular level, we know what it did. But during the pandemic, it was a complete unknown. No one knew how infectious it was, how it killed, or what prophylaxis might work. It was a mystery killer.

Those who went to work, whether medical professionals, soldiers, or workers, were very much heroes. They had no control over whether they lived or died, knew it, and went to work anyway.

- Broke-Down Back-Country Doc

--end part01--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part02--
Medical, Cntd.

Restoration of medical infrastructure happened slowly. With limited access to modern equipment (such as ultrasound machines or MRI’s) Doctors were thrown back on 50-year-old medicines and surgical procedures. Though tried and tested, they were more risky than modern methods, and many patients suffered.

In terms of pharmaceuticals, the United States was the first country to recover, though it took until after the NAN War for that to occur. When recovered, the industry focused mainly on manufacturing known compounds; in a crippled economy it was difficult to fund research into new medicines. Without new antibiotics (or other medications), sulfa became the drug of choice for fighting bacterial infections, including resistant strains such as MRSA.

Among the economic chaos of the Collapse, and the hardship of the Long Depression, the US drug industry was one of the few economic bright spots. In the aftermath of VITAS, China became a manufacturing superpower, India lead the software and high-tech industries, and Mexico controlled much of the world’s petroleum and minerals markets. Without a significant manufacturing base, and with even domestic mineral and oil production increasingly owned by foreign industries (such as Mexoil), pharmaceutical manufacturing was one of the few areas the United States could excel in.

--end part02--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part03--

The second casualty of VITAS was trade. Trade depends on drivers, seamen, and dockworkers. It depends on factory workers, farmers, and craftsmen. On researchers, engineers, and designers. On salesmen, managers, bankers. All of these died en masse, with consequences for their companies and the rest of the economy.

Travel restrictions were put into place, cutting one country off from another. This halted the flow of infected individuals (though too late), but also prevented trade. Via ship, airplane, truck, or train, international trade was interdicted completely. (The sole exception being smuggling and other criminal endeavors.)

Oil in the Middle East could no longer be shipped to other countries, such as China (the largest consumer of Middle Eastern oil). China itself could no longer manufacture electronics for the West, as components sat on the docks in Singapore or Korea. And, even if the items could be manufactured, they couldn’t be transported to other markets.

There were no exports, there were no imports. The global economy slowed, sputtered, then disintegrated. Factories were shut down, banks closed, corporations collapsed. Stock markets cratered — destroying the retirement plans of governments, companies, and private citizens — then closed.

Governments went bankrupt. Public debt payments were suspended, causing further chaos to the banking system. Public aid programs, such as Britain’s National Health Service or America’s Social Security, collapsed. Welfare payments ceased, unemployment benefits were cut off.

The tax base collapsed, and governments paid for supplies and manpower with fiat currency or simply seized them. Widespread use of fiat currency hypercharged inflation rates. Annual inflation rates climbed into three, four, or five digits.

People were thrown out of work, with no public aid, and remained unemployed for a significant length of time.

--end part03--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part04--

Economic, cntd.

> It’s hard for people to understand just how destructive and widespread the economic collapse was. To isolate one economic element, corporations: no multi-national companies survived the Collapse. Corporations that had been household names and economic powerhouses—Apple, Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil—were swept away in the chaos and are now all but forgotten. Every single major corporation in existence today was founded post-Collapse.
- Lost Cause

> Founded, in most cases, after the Argentinean Model. Governments seized the property of defunct companies and sold them to qualified investors on a mortgage plan. The investors were to operate the companies and pay back the government the cost of their facilities out of their profits (usually in revalued currency, like the Japanese nuyen). The plan gave investors capital goods (like factories, raw materials, or land) and enough money to pay workers for about a year. This created jobs, allowed unused capital assets to be put into production, and created income for the government. This solution pleased no one, right-wingers considered it Socialism, left-wingers Corporate Welfare, but it worked well enough to restart the (legitimate) economy.
- PoliSci Perpetrator

Internal trade was also hampered, sometimes by quarantines, sometimes by civil strife. Goods couldn’t reach markets, including consumer goods, medicines, and food. People fell back on what they had on hand, or what could be acquired from black market sources.

Those who had local supplies were safe. Those who didn’t, starved. Even emergency supplies, often distributed by the military, weren’t enough in many areas. In the US, a plurality of secondary effect deaths (about 30 million) were attributable to starvation.

--end part04--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part05--


The Collapse had a devastating effect on national infrastructure — electrical grids, sewage, water, natural gas, phone service, and the Internet. Though none collapsed as thoroughly as the banking system, all became overtaxed and unreliable, failing completely in many areas.

Responsibility for most such services was held by local monopolies or municipal corporations. They all depended on intricate machinery and computer monitoring systems, which (if damaged) required spare parts, stocks of which were running low due to the international travel embargo. They also depended on specially trained engineers to repair the equipment and restore service, and like all other industries they suffered from deaths and worker absenteeism.

The electrical grids proved the most vulnerable. From October to December of 2010, the power to much of the country was gone. There were exceptions in specific areas (such as those serviced by Niagara Falls Hydropower and the Hoover Dam), and efforts to restore power were constant, but electricity was rarely available, especially in cities.

Even when power was partially or wholly restored, problems in the integrated grid were difficult to diagnose and repair, and electrical surges or losses of power were common. Such surges or brown-/blackouts affected industries, domiciles, and government buildings.

--end part05--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part06--

Structural, cntd.

> The power system is the jugular vein of a modern industrial society. Cut it, and no matter how healthy everything else is, it all dies. (Which is why the first facilities Reclaimed were power plants. The second were oil refineries.)

Let me demonstrate:

In August 2003, a powerline in northern Ohio brushed against some trees. This single incident set in motion a series of events culminating in a blackout that affected 6 states (New York, including all of New York City, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania) and the Canadian Province of Ontario. 10 million Canadians and 45 million Americans were without power for up to 16 hours. That one single accident knocked out power to 15% of the US.

Let’s tally the damage: Power went down. Given. Factories shut down. (The auto industry didn’t return to full production until a week after power was restored.)

Cellular towers went down (despite backup power sources). Cable television off-lined.

Water pumps went down, leaving water running but allowing contaminants (such as sewage) to leak into water mains. “Boil or die.” (Plus shutting down beaches. Imagine a day at the beach, complete with wading through sewage-infested pools. It’s called “cholera”.)

Trains stopped in their tracks. Airports shut down. Gas stations shut down. Worse, East Coast refineries went offline, meaning supplies of gasoline became constrained. The outage killed 11 people and cost $6 billion.

(The one thing that didn’t happen was a crime wave. NYPD reported 100
fewer arrests than usual during the blackout. Sometimes people surprise you.)

All of this from a single blackout, caused by a single power-line and a single tree. VITAS hit much harder than that.

Everybody involved—two national governments, many giant corporations, and several state agencies—pinky swore to fix the problems. They established committees and made regulations and everything.

A report issued a few years after the Blackout concluded that, big surprise, the power system was just as vulnerable as in 2003.

- Global Anarchist

> To be fair, the above is a archetypal black swan event. Bugs in software caused monitors to go offline, wires hitting trees caused a surge, which knocked out the NE grid. Everything’s vulnerable in ways we cannot anticipate or prevent, and they cause long chains of unpredictable response, like the 1990 AT&T telephone outage in Manhattan that eventually prompted the Secret Service to raid the offices of a game company in Austin, Texas.

The world isn’t a linear place, and we can’t predict or prevent the majority of what eventually comes to pass. Surely the Awakening should have proven that.

- PoliSci Perpetrator

--end part06--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part07--

Structural, cntd.

Power restoration was a key goal of Reclamation, and the focus of the majority of Emergency Military Supplies Acquisition Program (EMSAP) resources. Even so, it took three months to partially restore power and 6 months to mostly restore power. This had consequences for nearly everything else.

Communications & Internet: Without power, communications went down for most of the country. No radio, no TV, no phones, no cell communications, and no Internet. (And at the same time, fuel shortages made it difficult or impossible to travel long distances). The communications blackout lead to much of the social unrest that would later plague the country.

All local ISP’s experienced at least some outages, and many simply ceased to exist as companies (further isolating those in their service area). Even after power was restored, power surges damaged critical equipment at ISP’s, hosts, and cloud service providers, equipment that was hard to replace post-Collapse. (Power surges also damaged personal computers, leaving their owners without Internet capable equipment.)

Restoring communications took months, even after power became available.

Similar problems plagued the other infrastructure services. No single utility collapsed completely, and none stayed down permanently. But all experienced severe problems, and were kept in operation by skeleton crews of employees, many working 18- or 20-hour shifts.

--end part07--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part08--

Structural, cntd.

> During Reclamation, a lot of grunts griped about having to “clean up after civilian p******”. Fraggin’ idiots. We didn’t land until a month after the Red Days began, and weren’t on the ground in force for another two weeks. That’s six weeks of outages and chaos, and the only reason anything survived to be Reclaimed was because 5%-10% of the local workforce ignored a clear and present danger to their lives and came to work anyway.

My platoon was assigned to oil duty on the East Coast, prepping refineries for oil shipments from the NSPR. An abandoned oil refinery is a massive explosion and firestorm waiting to happen. When we got there, the refineries were offline, but they hadn’t just been abandoned. Their crews had shut them down with maximal attention to safety, so whoever came after could get them up and running with a minimum of fuss. (Compare that to the fires that tore through Corpus Christi.) They didn’t panic, they just did their jobs and probably saved some ungrateful sorry-ass grunts their worthless lives.

I never learned who manned those refineries, but if I ever meet ‘em I’ll buy ‘em a round or ten. They deserve it.

- El-Tee Charlie Six

Infrastructure was one of the two chief focuses of the first phase of Reclamation. While some units secured materiel — food, fuel, and spare parts — others took command of power stations, sewage plants, and heating oil/natural gas facilities. Workers for these industries were some of the first “hired” by Reclamation Command under the auspices of the EMSAP. The last group of soldiers, and in the beginning not the largest, focused on security for the first two endeavors.

--end part08--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part09--

Social Order

The fourth casualty of VITAS was civil order. Whether manifesting in individual crimes, looting, riots, mob violence, or outright civil war, in the wake of VITAS one form or another of civil disorder struck every single country on the planet. In many cases, entire governments ceased to exist, some of which have yet to be reestablished; unorganized or denationalized territories exist on every continent.

In the short term, the United States avoided the more violent forms of disorder that plagued other nations (such as China’s civil war). During the Collapse and Reclamation, there were armed clashes with well-armed criminal gangs or rogue military units, but these were small in scale, typically involving fewer than 30 combatants on either side.

The real violence didn’t arrive until the start of the NAN War, in December of 2011. Howling Coyote and his followers began a guerrilla offensive, backed by powerful magics, that killed tens of thousands of US soldiers, bankrupted the federal government, and succeeded at creating a secessionary state for the first time in US history.


Civil disorder was often the result of pre-existing ethnic or national conflicts (such as Kurdistan’s struggle for independence or the Tamil guerrilla war in India). In other cases, it was the result of the disintegration of law-enforcement organizations (many of which broke apart just as companies did).

In the United States, civil disorder was triggered by the following four causes.

--end part09--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part10--

Social Order, cntd.

1. Organizational collapse: All organizations suffered from VITAS, including the police, National Guard, and the military. 20% of their members were killed outright, and varying percentages of survivors went AWOL.

This meant that police forces, if they survived at all, were hard pressed to patrol their usual jurisdictions. In many places, the police forces didn’t survive. Such areas were quickly overtaken by criminal gangs or came to be ruled by self-appointed or community chosen vigilantes.

> Under martial law, local jurisdictions were empowered to enforce the law as best they could. In places where trials were still held, they were invariably quick and informal and the punishments were usually severe. Scanty supplies meant prisoner populations couldn’t be supported, so most places enforced four tiers of punishment (none of which involved incarceration): confiscation of goods (sometimes varying according to the seriousness of the crime), exile from the jurisdiction, hard labor, or execution. Looters, murderers, and rapists were typically hung, hoarders punished with confiscation of goods or exile. Other crimes were punished as the local authorities saw fit.

Such trials rarely respected civil rights, especially the right to legal counsel. People were forced to give testimony, and the standards of evidence were low. There were no doubt many miscarriages of justice, but the dire straits people found themselves in simply outweighed such concerns. With winter coming, and food running short, people were more concerned with starving than with niceties of due process.

In the aftermath of Reclamation, a blanket Presidential pardon for all crimes committed during the Collapse (even by local authorities) was a necessary expedient to restore a semblance of order. Even so, hard memories and feuds lingered on for years. In many places, revenge killings were common for years after Reclamation.

- PoliSci Perpetrator

--end part10--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part11--

Social Order, cntd.

2. Communications outages: Structural difficulties, most especially lack of power, resulted in a communications blackout to much of the country. No phones, no Internet, no television broadcasts, and little radio communications.

Without communications, local jurisdictions were isolated from the rest of the country. No one knew how widespread or lethal the pandemic was, if a second wave of deaths was likely, or whether the government, or any government, existed at all.

This forced local jurisdictions to keep the peace on their own. Many locales simply sealed their borders (to the extent this was possible). Mass migration out of the larger cities lead to severe cultural clashes, sometimes involving violence, and though aid was sometimes available from both military and civilian sources, critical supplies were scant and hard to come by.

3. Limited transport: Fuel became scarce during the Red Days (as the two-week “death spike” period was known), and regular supplies of diesel and gasoline weren’t available until well into Reclamation. (What fuel there was, was reserved for military or EMSAP use.)

Without vehicular transportation, distances suddenly multiplied. At 60 miles an hour, a car could travel 480 miles in a single day (8 hours). A healthy man would cover the same distance in 24 days (20 miles a day).

Transportations difficulties combined with the communications outages to isolate most communities. Trade and travel almost wholly ceased, as did the flow of news and policy. At best, news was replaced by rumors passed on by travelers. At worst, communities found themselves wholly alone.

--end part11--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part12--

Social Order, cntd.

4. Migrations: Large urban areas were the hardest hit by secondary effects. High crime rates and famine lead to the collapse of local governments, and mob violence became common. Warring gangs seized control of inner cities, ruling and terrorizing residents. Rural areas, especially those with local farming, never quite fell into chaos, and even moderately sized urban areas survived largely intact.

The largest cities became war zones, driving out-migration to record levels. Tens of millions of people left urban centers for the suburbs, smaller neighboring cities, or the countryside.

> Where did they go? They headed for any place they thought would offer food and shelter from the oncoming winter. Many times, they just headed south.

Sometimes—more often than one would expect—they found shelter and food, if they were willing to pitch in. Sometimes they found cities who had sealed their borders. There were clashes, and people died. Sometimes they found bandits or renegade military units. And sometimes they found nothing, and starved or froze.

People moved into abandoned houses, barns, gas stations, sheds, greenhouses, empty factories, office buildings, malls, parking garages. Sometimes they took what they needed, sometimes they took charity.

They cut down trees for warmth, and ate anything they could. Store shelves were stripped bare, orchards and fields denuded. They hunted deer, birds, rabbits, gophers, and eventually horses, dogs, cats, and insects.

When Reclamation began, they crowded army units, begging for food. There were riots, and people were shot.

- Lost Cause

> The outmigration of the cities hit everyone hard, but most of all urban dwellers. Secondary effects claimed 5% of VITAS survivors in rural areas. They killed 50% of the surviving urban population.
- PoliSci Perpetrator

--end part12--
File #002 - The Collapse (Annotated)

--begin part13--

Social Order, cntd.

> Of all the cities in North America, Los Angeles suffered the worst. After its water and power cut out, returning it to desert, the majority of the city headed elsewhere. Fires, set by rioters, burned the city down, turning the LA basin into five hundred square miles of charred ruins. LA refugees suffered over 90% casualties from causes like the Great Angelino Fire, dehydration, heat stroke, starvation, disease, and banditry.

Today, it’s a small city of 55,000, Nuevo Angeles, clustered around the NA California Coast Guard Base (formerly the Port of Los Angeles). An unknown number of squatters occupy surviving buildings in the rest of the city, but California lacks the resources to police or Reclaim it. “Charred Angeles” is a Barrens, like Redmond in Seattle, only with far fewer occupants.

- Sou-Wester

Displaced citizens were the most challenging aspect of Reclamation. The military lacked the capacity to set up camps to house tens of millions of refugees. Eventually, military units began reclaiming abandoned suburbs (driving off criminal and vigilante gangs), ringing them with fencing, setting up aid camps there. People could move into permanent housing, not tents, with water and heat (and intermittent power), and receive the bare essentials of food. Those agreeing to work in various Reclamation or EMSAP projects received ration coupons for additional food, power, and even fuel.


These, then were the challenges of Reclamation: a populace ravaged by disease, a medical system in collapse, economic disintegration, infrastructure in disorder, and a breakdown in civil order. Local leaders held onto order as much as they could, and the overseas Redeployment provided a core of soldiers that could begin to stabilize the country, reestablish infrastructure, and restore order. Even so, Reclamation was a difficult process and, when on the verge of completion, was interrupted by the NAN War, from which the federal government has yet to recover.

--end file--

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