June 7th, 2155
My name is Nathan Lockridge. They told me to keep a journal when I got thrown in prison, said it might be the only way I would ever be remembered, some day many years from now.
It’s been almost six years since Lambda became a household name. Everyone talks about it…it changed everything. It started the war, and I was one of the few who fought in it. Of course, we were outmatched, never stood a chance. I wasn’t about to throw my life away for a stupid war that we were never going to win, so I deserted. I went back home to Arizona, and I was worried that they would find me and execute me for deserting in a time of war.
Instead, I found that no one cared. Marauders from many nations were coming in from the south, making an armed entrance through the Mexican border. I left the war, and another one came to me. The U.S. was too busy fighting the AC in Northern Europe to really care about me too much, and the nation split after the war ended anyhow. The Navy basically had no jurisdiction or extra men to go after me any more.
Not that it matters, not when you have to become a thief to survive. I arrived home in time to see my wife look at me in disappointment…the last look she ever gave me before a group of marauders stormed the airport. She was caught in a rocket blast, while my son and I were tossed aside violently. That look will haunt me for the rest of my life…I’ll have to live with the knowledge that her last thought of me was as a traitor and a coward. Already a broken man, it did not disturb me in the least to raid the vans of some of the marauders. In time, they came to respect my skills, and recruited me for some missions. I would later come to regret ever being involved with them.
Retrovirus TL459-B “Saboteur”
By Samuel Stennis, M.D.
In 2152, WHO took interest in a new viral strain that was causing pre-pandemic levels of spread. The symptoms started small, mostly some mild lethargy and constant shortness of breath, but quickly progressed into nausea, fainting, vomiting, rapid weight loss and unfulfilling sleep, causing patients to die within ten days from malnutrition or sleep deprivation.
Attempts to extend the lives of patients with the virus have mostly failed. Oxygen supplementation, intravenous feeding, and sedation seemed to only speed up the effects of the virus, causing the patients to wither away within 12 hours, in most cases. The only thing that seems to slow the progression of the virus once it infects a subject is an antibody injection, but the antibodies have to be meticulously prepared to fight the virus, and like the AIDS virus, it mutates rapidly to develop immunity to these injections. Autopsies revealed abnormally high levels of cortisol, and large amounts of dead neurons. This symptom was perhaps the most telling of them all: the brain was being put into overdrive.
When we saw this trend, we ordered a CT scan of several patients’ heads. All of them showed that their brains were experiencing the human analog of an overclock, being forced to perform more tasks than it was able to perform. The constant stress on the brain caused massive neuron death, indeed we were able to see large swathes of neurons dying during the test. In the end, overworking the brain forced a similar effect on the body, to the point where it destroyed itself to keep providing energy to the brain. Had the body not died first, the subject would suffer brain death.
The virus itself is unlike anything we have ever seen. It mutates itself at will, seeming to prep itself for infection of its victim before it actually enters the body. In most cases, it has little effect, but in the short time we have been studying the virus, it seems to have become better at this function, increasing the mortality rate and the speed at which it does its terrible work.
Appropriate quarantine actions have been difficult to implement in the post-war world. Nations allied with the AC have been able to install air scrubbers that kill the virus on a microscopic level, and an antibody booster seems to help prevent infection, but no cure has yet been formulated. Any nation that has the ability to do so has posted scanners at their entry points that detect infected persons. Of course, this has lead to brutal slaughters in some less civilized areas. The Pacific Coast Republic isolates the infected and provides comfort and aid until their inevitable deaths, mostly through the hands of their AC allies. However, it has been noted that anomalies have cropped up amongst AC caretakers, mostly glitches in their programming.
At this point, the Autonomous Collective seems to be our best hope for killing this virus, if they didn’t formulate it themselves, like many seem to believe. Personally, I highly doubt that theory, but I wouldn’t help us, not after the way all of humanity attacked them. I am amazed that they even associate with humans after that, much less provide aid. It will be an irony of the most humiliating kind if such a bitter enemy turns out to be our salvation.