Garden of Forking Paths: Virus Edition

Welcome to the End of the World

At least 80% of the world's population is dead, the Vanguard have won, and you walk down a road to ruin within a garden of forking paths. Welcome to the first stop on a long journey.

Where Did We Go Wrong?

This timeline diverged from the "current" timeline somewhere around 2008, resulting in the release of a deadly viral agent that rapidly spread across the world, killing indiscriminately. For more info on this timeline's history, see here. However, in spite of Edward and Liz's best efforts, he has yet to pinpoint exactly where the divergence occurred.

You Are A Survivor

In late 2009, a handful of survivors under the guidance of Edward Ray stole away into long-forgotten sub-structural tunnels and abandoned subway lines beneath Consolidated-Edison's Ravenswood station, codenamed "The Hub". Here, they hid away from the Vanguard and created a community of roughly 650. You are a survivor of the virus, living within the Hub, scavenging to survive within a dying city, hunted by surviving members of the Vanguard in their blind loyalty to none other than Kazimir Volken. This small community is your last tether to the larger world, but hope for anything other than a swift death is rapidly dwindling as the surviving Vanguard hunt down the remaining Evolved and their collaborators to ensure a "pure" earth.

Living in the Road to Ruin

Surviving in the ruins of humanity is not easy. The Shanti-Rage virus is an airborne plague that spreads rapidly. Going outside the hub and its makeshift airlocks runs a greater risk of infection, and those infected by the virus are quarantined on the outside and left to die. There is no cure, there never will be a cure. Your only hope is to wait the disease out, or pray for a miracle. Many have taken their own lives out of desperation; others died trying to fight the Vanguard to save their loved ones from the disease. As far as the survivors in the Hub know, they may be the last non-Vanguard survivors on the face of the earth.

The Hub

The Hub is a complex of steam tunnels, abandoned subway tunnels, maintenance corridors, storage rooms, and subway maintenance stations located 180 feet below the Consolidated Edison Ravenswood station. The heart of the Hub is a once-abandoned subway maintenance station that has been converted into a communal space for the survivors. There are picnic tables, string lights suspended from the upper catwalks, subway cars converted into sitting areas, and shared sleeping spaces. It is the heart of the Hub and where all public meetings are held when something important enough to affect the survivors occurs.

Coming and Going

There are two unsealed entrances to and from the Hub, of which only one is public knowledge. The Hubgate is a wall of welded salvaged metal fused together with air conditioning vents, industrial fans, and a a pair of doors hauled off a derelict freighter. This entrance acts as a makeshift airlock and is monitored from the outside by a CCTV system. Survivors entering from the airlock are expected to strip out of their containment suits and scrub down to free themselves of any contaminants. Personal effects are further sanitized and later returned. All people who pass through the Hubgate are given special colored "clean" bracelets typically made from old adhesive hospital bracelets. The colors rotate daily. The second means of exit is known only to Hub leadership. All other ways in and out of the Hub are sealed behind poured concrete walls reinforced by steel beams.


The survivors of the Hub rallied around their ostensible leader, Edward Ray. However, Edward has time and again positioned himself as an "ideas man" and not the actual heart and soul of the survivors. That, in a somewhat remarkable coincidence, falls to none other than the recently elected President Allen Rickham who through confluence of fate was rescued from a Vanguard assassination attempt and secreted away by Phoenix just shortly prior to the virus' release. Having not been officially sworn into office yet, Rickham finds the title of President to chafe some, though he remains a spiritual and moral center for the survivors. Beyond this, the survivors are largely stratified into small social circles and those who perform similar jobs within the Hub.


Scavenging the ruins of New York City is the only way to survive. Three-person scavenging teams regularly sneak out from the Hub into the ruins to find supplies necessary for day-to-day life. The leader of these salvage teams is a man who goes by the nickname K-Mart. Money is worthless in this future, so trade among the survivors is key and K-Mart is the undisputed king of trade, eking out a small fiefdom of smugglers, scavengers, and thugs from within the safety of the Hub. Scavenging has been getting harder and harder since 2009, and scavenging teams are forced to venture further and further away from the safety of the Hub in order to find essential supplies.

The Ruins

Everything outside of the Hub is in a state of ruin. The entirety of New York City is abandoned, save for packs of feral dogs and the occasional packs of feral humans affected by the Shanti-Rage virus. For the most part, the ruins are hauntingly silent. The Vanguard have unknown numbers, but do not move in force within the ruins. The survivors don't know where they're based out of, and never see more than five to ten of them at a time. However, the Vanguard does have an M1 Abrahms tank that patrols the island of Manhattan, suggesting that the Vanguard's base of operations may be somewhere on Manhattan.

While there is still plenty of gasoline to be found, driving vehicles is a dangerous prospect and could draw the attention of the Vanguard or — in the rarest of circumstances — survivors who are not a part of the Hub (or who were banished for bad behavior) that would kill for whatever supplies you might have left on you.

The Vanguard

The Vanguard in New York City are estimated at somewhere between 300 to 1,000 in number. Many of the "New" Vanguard were culled from the ranks of anti-Evolved extermist groups like Humanis First who sided with Kazimir Volken when he made his presence public in 2009. Only a handful of his original team remain, with most having been betrayed or killed in the violence immediately following the virus' release. Those who remain by Volken's side do so out of fear, desperation, or a true belief in his insane agenda. The Vanguard have orders to execute any Evolved on sight (though this often requires a visual demonstration of their ability, as the Vanguard do not possess blood tests or other means of identifying an Evolved human). They will capture non-evolved who do not resist them, and no one knows where these relocated non-evolved are brought to. Non-evolved who resist the Vanguard are summarily executed without hesitation.

Due to the collapse of civilization, the Vanguard was able to take control of all military assets around the New York area (if not wider, though this cannot be confirmed) and they are armed to the teeth with military-grade hardware, vehicles, and weapons. In spite of this, they seem to act more like guerrilla fighters and move in small teams using hit-and-run tactics.

The World?

No one knows if the world is dead beyond New York City. Before radio and satellite communications broke down, there was rumor that pockets of survivors were holed up across the world, but that was more than a year ago. Fatalities were listed at nearly 3 billion by late 2010 when all international broadcasts and communications went dark, and Edward estimates that number is likely in the 5.5 billion range now.


The survivors of the Hub have the benefit of an encrypted short-range radio system salvaged by K-Mart from police hardware. The Vanguard sporadically use encoded radio communications to mark their movements, but rarely use any frequency the survivors have been able to determine.

The Hub Gallery

A collection of images representing the conditions and visual style of The Hub.

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