The Virus Future

"Back when the virus first hit the waves of death were almost insurmountable. The first thing to fail was public works — water, electricity, telecommunications. Nobody was around to keep things manned. So a few of us, we took it on ourselves to try and run things. This power plant's old, connects down to the New York subway system. We used what tunnels survived the bomb to ship people, food, water — whatever we could. All we did was help the virus spread. We had no idea just what we were dealing with."
"How long did it take? For ninety percent of the world to die?
"Less than five years."
Peter and Sylar — A Brief History of Time

The Road to Ruin (Virus Timeline)


It began in January of 2009, without anyone noticing. No one was certain where it began, but when the first people started getting sick it couldn't be ignored. A virus had come into being, terrible and incurable, with a one hundred percent chance of infection. At first it only targeted the Evolved, until it seemed to jump across the genetic boundaries to ordinary humans. The results were horrific. Evolved victims of the virus just became sick, exhibiting severe flu-like symptoms that resulted in death from respiratory failure within 3 to 6 days. But, the non-evolved infected by the virus demonstrated swift-onset erratic behavior within the first hour of exposure coupled with bouts of wracking pain, this devolved into full on violent disassociative psychosis within 12 hours, culminating in the formation of the Suresh Linkage Complex and manifestation of uncontrolled Evolved ability. Once victims reached this stage, their cellular bonds began to break down and within 1 hour all organic matter in their bodies dissolved into a bubbling heap of molten human remains.

This apocalyptic pandemic originated from the artificial merger of a naturally-occurring disease that affected SLC-Expressive humans called the Shanti Virus (named by Doctor Mohinder Suresh after his sister Shanti Suresh, who died of the virus as a child) with a synthetic neurovirus called the Advent Virus (originally intended to replicate the effects of the Formula, and also known as the Rage-Dementia Virus after its horrific side effects). This new plague was a carefully tailored biological weapon created by Kazimir Volken with the assistance of two kidnapped scientists, Doctors Odessa Knutson and Mohinder Suresh. It became known as the Shanti-Rage virus.

No one knows how the virus was released into the wild, but it spread like wildfire. By November 2011, nearly 80% of the global population (an estimated 5.5 billion) died to the rapidly-spreading disease. During the time in which the virus was spreading the Vanguard moved world-wide, acting on Volken's "Final Solution" to begin assuming footholds of power and isolating themselves to bunkers located across the world where they established self-sufficient communities to survive the coming storm. But the spread of the Shanti-Rage virus exceeded Kazimir Volken's expectations and its lethality went above and beyond his intended scope. Not even the hardened Vanguard fortifications could protect their organization from Kazimir Volken's mad wrath.

Volken had turned on his own people, and left a coterie of specially-protected individuals with an anti-virus. Volken was one such recipient of the anti-virus, allowing him to walk as a god among the survivors of the new world. It is unknown how many others Volken bestowed this gift upon, but nearly all of his trusted associated within the Vanguard were not given such a token of trust. A fraction of a percent of humanity were immune to the virus, while others had taken drastic measures to isolate themselves from the infected and areas where the contagion was spreading through the air.

Kazimir Volken will not rest until the entire world's population of Evolved are dead, and their legacy barely a memory.



In the years following the Travelers' departure from the timeline, Kazimir Volken — now in the body of Richard Cardinal — saw certain that the surviving members of the Hub that did not escape were hunted to the last. Over time, the remaining members of the Vanguard died from injury, illness, or in many cases infection from the Shanti-Rage virus, until by 2013 only Kazimir Volken remained. 98% of the world's human population was wiped out by the virus, leaving much of the earth to be reclaimed by nature.

Kazimir Volken vanished from the pages of history, his work done, and withdrew to Antarctica to fade into legend. But the survivors of that dead world, few and far between as they were, emerged from the disaster to a new world. The Shanti-Rage virus ultimately ran its course, with the survivors either inoculated against the disease or possessed of a natural immunity. Only 350 million of the world's total population of 7 billion humans survived, with a vanishingly small 3.5 million of those being Evolved.

By 2018, the world has not even begin to recover. Though the population is once again steadily increasing, technological and societal capabilities are dramatically stunted and the world has stepped back to near Pre-Industrial revolution era technologies. But life, in spite of everything, persists.

The City of New York still exists in this new world, though existing only in shadow and ruin. The communities that have sprung up from the lost boroughs and neighborhoods of old look nothing like the world that once was, but instead reflect a simpler time. The tensions of the old world still remain, however, but people are more willing to work together to survive…

…lest they forget that it was division that ended the world in the first place.

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