Just as crack heads were engineered by the criminal power elite before the collapse, after, it was the zombified plague carriers who were easiest to exploit.
Most people die within a week of infection, but the zombies are the ones who when infected die slowly. Not knowing how long they’ll live, but knowing it won’t be long, they have no reason to help rebuild society. Their pathogenically induced sociopathy make them the perfect death squad mercenaries. They call the zombie recruits “zoldiers”. They work for cheap, they just want a few highs, lays, and gourmets before their inevitable gurgling end.
Because the zoldiers are so short lived though, the warlords’ business model needed innovation. Fearing the virus would eventually burn itself out they began culturing it in the same labs that were used to find the cure. The last scientists were captured and enslaved and now out one door goes the virus and out the other goes the serum.
In the power vacuum left by the state, it’s laissez-faire capitalism at its finest, though instead of the invisible hand, it’s the invisible microbe. Though with the collapse of the global industrial economy to be rich in this new economy of disease affords you few material comforts.
The citadels of the warlords are just as depicted in the Mad Max series, ramshackled camps of base debauchery ruled by the most ruthless and violent. Their knights herd the zoldiers and together they orchestrate massive raids on the surviving quarantine camps.
Most QCs are corrupt and the elected leaders secretly sell off the “kidnapped” slaves and “stolen” supplies in trade for meager pay offs and tentative peace.
We live in one of the few autonomous QC’s, with no leaders, no division of labor, no classes, no elite, we’re immune to the corruption of leaders, but subject to never-ending attack. Cannibalism is no longer taboo, so unfortunately we’re considered a delicacy. They know we make the best beer and wine, have the healthiest bodies, and own the only remaining sacred permaculture design texts. Their raids have come in successive waves in the five years since Year Zero.
Our defenses are strong enough to keep the knights at bay, they don’t dare approach our Viet Cong style maze of booby traps, weaponized thorny and poisonous perennial crop barricades, manure swamp motes, and other fortified layers and zones. The knights are vaccinated and hope to live long lives. It’s the zoldiers who are undaunted. With nothing to lose, they penetrate our perimeter by the hundreds. Most don’t make it near zone one, but those who do can usually be brought down from a safe distance by our garlic oil tipped arrows.
The sacred herb’s anti-microbial compounds are like napalm in the infected blood streams of the zoldiers as our crops have been enhanced by artificial selection in our labs, and by loving ritual devotion to the plant’s spirit in our dance gardens. In the absence of the witch burning religious atrocities of the past, we’ve had the spiritual space to experiment with new pathways of communication with Gaia’s herbal goddesses. The shaman among us have the clearest visions and most intelligible conversations, but we all directly experience to varying degrees the loving and healing intentions that the herbs have for us. Just as they combat pathogens in the body, they understand and support our combative efforts to survive and restore balance with humanity and the Earth. Our sacred union with garlic transcends the untrained senses. In ecstatic trance states she gave us visions of how to enhance her potency to be lethal to the invaders in the advanced stages of infection, yet life saving for us when ingested in the early stages.
These memoirs will serve to document our struggle to survive humanity’s most narrow evolutionary bottleneck and greatest opportunity to end 5,000 years of patriarchy. For without the means to build permanent culture, the new provisional empire of warlords, knights, and zoldiers will suffer the fate of Easter Island and in one generation the nightmare of history will be buried in the desert sands of doom. From the ashes may we rise and bloom.