Moldies (aka The Afflicted, Man-2)
The Moldies came about as a precaution made by scientist in the wake of M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction). After the cold war between the USA and USSR, science to toughen up man kind to survive after a full scale nuclear war, was put to the wayside. Funding was cut and the idea of all out nuclear war was growing distant in the minds of the scientific community. Genetic experiments of all types were still conducted and much advancement was made in the field, though little thought was put towards creating a more survivable human to live in the wake of a nuclear conflict.
However, relations between China and the USA soured soon after the economic near-collapse of America. China not only built up its navy and nuclear arsenal but also its chemical and biological weapons stockpiles. Interest in the changing people into tougher humans to survive a large scale conflict involved WMD was renewed. But science had came so far that it was no longer about making a person more resistant to radiation and bio/chem warfare. The idea was also put forth to include making a human who would evolve more quickly based on what may be encountered after a potential war. A program was put in place to research how humans could not only largely survive such a war but reach new heights of intelligence afterwards. Longer natural lifespans were also to be increase.
The problems came about when the war approached at a faster rate than was previously expected. When it was obvious that war with China was unavoidable, the project(s) were rushed out too quickly without proper testing. People were given an injection of a serum which they were told was to protect against a deadly new strand of flu. In fact, this drug was meant cause the person's genetic structure to alter the moment radiation levels rose or they were exposed to certain toxins. This part didn't work and some people started mutating shortly after being given the drug. Though this was blamed on bio-terrorism and few cases of "premature alteration" were ever reported. It is difficult to tell what caused people to become "moldies" before the war or how many actual cases there were.
What is certain is that after the onset of the war, moldies began appearing by the thousand. The transformation into "Man-2" as it was code-named by the government, was a rapid one, taking anywhere between a few days to a week or more. The more rapidly someone changed into a moldy, the less likely the person was to survive the transformation. The slower cases appeared to retain higher mental function, sensory and motor skills than the "fast burners." Some argue that the length of transformation into Man-2 was dictated by what harmful factor the transformee was exposed to and what levels. Some reports state that no outwardly harmful factors were involved at times. The transformation into Man-2 could be induced by high levels of stress, normal illness such as a common cold or without any noticeable factors at all.
Most in the government weren't aware of the Man-2 project and mistook the moldies are victims of bio-chem warfare. Some even thought their condition was contagious and orders were given to shoot on sight. This was the start of the bad blood between moldies and humans.
The project was largely unsuccessful in most aspects. Though Man-2 caused the affected humans to build up a tolerance to radiation, many harmful chemicals and most known bio-weapons, it had horrible side effect. The most noticeable side effect was the horrible rashes which left unusual grayish green scares. Hair fell out in patches and either partially regrew or never came back. Often the rashes would invade the person's mouth and throat, causing them in some cases to lose the ability to speak or taste. Some suffered partial or total blindness. Roughly half to three quarters of cases originally suffered from some form of psychosis. Damage to the nervous system also occurred in roughly 1/3 of reported cases, often causing the victim to feel almost no pain in most of the body and very little sensation at all. Some reported that victims suffered from chronic thirst, dryness of the mouth and skin.
There project did have some victories though. Besides Man-2 allowing affected humans to live through man-made disasters and the aftermaths, it allowed them to also require resources for basic survival. More food and water sources became instantly available. Moldies can normally consume rotten food and drink stagnated water with no noticeable effects. Most appear to need less food than the average human to stay relatively healthy, however, all seem to need more water than normal people.
There are also reported diseases that seem unique to moldies. A few cases have been reported over the years of moldies dying from coughing fits that last for hours or days before finally killing the individual.
Baron of the Coast era Man-2 info:
Years after World War 3, moldies have somewhat adapted and in some cases, actually evolved into a somewhat higher functioning human than the original injectees. Though none have reached the level of "super human" as was the project's original aims, many have either reverted to previous intelligence levels or have at least dropped to a lower level of psychosis and slightly higher mental function. Children born to moldies have a 90% chance of being moldies themselves but have lesser rates of mental illness than their parents. Multiple births are frequent and there are seldom cases of miscarriage.
Moldy society is a tribal one. Moldies frequently group according to levels of mental function/illness. The more mentally ill are prone to roving in packs, raiding and stealing from both the normal human population and other moldies. The ones with decreased mental function yet less frequent or severe mental illness often find employment as scavenger gangs, entering areas too toxic or irradiated for humans. These are often refereed to as "Fetchers". Most of the time they will be led by a "Fetcher Captain," normally a moldy or normal human of average or above intelligence. Fetcher gangs often work for a larger tribe as a way to make money from the tribal members who don't fit well into their settlements. It can also be a form of punishment in the tribes. One might serve in a Fetcher gang for 1 year for theft or for example, 3 years for the assault of another tribe member.
It is not uncommon to find outcast humans living in Moldy settlements. Most humans living among Moldies are outlaws, runaway slaves and deserters from various armies or paramilitary groups. One intriguing aspect of Moldy tribes is their acceptance of normal humans with physical defects. A crippled person is often welcomed into a Moldy tribe and cared for, if they are of average human intelligence. Moldies also believe that mating with normal humans cause a more intelligent Moldy to be born as offspring, though this has never been proven. Offspring of humans and moldies almost always bare no normal human traits. The same percentage of normal humans born to moldies exist when one or both parents are moldies. Many maimed and crippled war veterans have been known to live among moldy tribes, some even leading them. However, Moldies have little tolerance for drug addicts, normal or otherwise.
Slavery is legal in most Moldy tribes, though outlawed in most normal human settlements. Normal human slaves are normally only found in the most isolated moldy settlements. This is due to the fact that most moldy tribes don't want to draw unnecessary attention to themselves and avoid breaking most laws of nearby normal human settlements when at all possible. Fetcher gangs are said to kidnap normal humans for slaves but this is most likely urban legend.
Largest moldy settlements:
Fort Stewart: Atom Bomb Eaters or ABE. This tribe moved into what was left of Fort Stewart Army base in Georgia after an indirect hit from a highyeild nuke launched from a Chinese sub in the Atlantic ocean. Tribe ABE, as it is normally called, became a beckon for thousands of moldies in the area after the first months of WW3. Scouts were sent out from the half-ruined base to gather up the most desirable moldies from southern Georgia and northern Florida. By the first year's end, the population of the tribe had doubled. The US military made no effort to remove the moldies from the base not only due to the radioactive status of the area but also because of the containment it provided for Man-2 in the area. Years later, various military factions bartered with the moldies for some of the heavier hardware contained in the base, most of which the moldies were unable to use. After a bloody civil war (started for unknown reasons), the tribe became more isolated and stopped recruiting other moldies from the area into their tribe. Rumors of Tribe Abe building strength to attack the coast city of Savannah are persistent. Some speculate they may soon do so with Cuban support.
Northern Atlanta/North Georgia: Mars Tribe. Mars Tribe likely got its name from the fine Red Dust or powder (aka Death Dust) that was used in a massive Chinese chemical attack on the city of Atlanta. Death Dust or DD has little affect on the Moldies except for giving them an uncomfortable burning sensation in the throat when breathed. Most living in the toxic zones do so in relatively sealed environments and use respirators or gas masks while out in the open. These areas are not advisable for normal human travel unless one uses a full chemical protection suit. Some moldies of Mars Tribe are said to have built up a tolerance to the dust and use no protective gear in the city. Mars has a loose confederation of Fetcher gangs called "Martians" though most Martians are only considered probates of the tribe for years. Mars Tribe is one of the wealthiest of all moldy tribes occupying the Southern States. They have extended their territory into northern Georgia where they frequently clash with normal humans living in the area. Mars Tribe is famous for collecting DD and using it as a payload in make-shift rockets which are fired into normal human strongholds in the North Georgia mountains. Though the dust is said to have lost a lot of its effect over the years, it can still be weaponized and used to deadly effect.
Carolina Coast: Tribe Iron Claw or TIC. TIC is a medium sized tribe consisting of no more than 1000 members, occupying several islands on the coast of South Carolina. Their symbol is a red crab claw on a black flag which is difficult to recognize at a distance. They survive mostly by fishing and have little contact with the outside world, both normal and moldy. Some have reported seeing large alcohol stiles on their islands protected by heavy machine guns and homemade cannons from under fortified shelters. However, they have never displayed any open hostility to passing vessels and avoid contact if at all possible. Their islands are surrounded by rusting ships, most visible during low tide. Some say these ships (mostly military) were part of a Chinese landing force and others claim that TIC dragged the ships out and sunk them on purpose to create reefs. Radiation levels around the sunken ships are higher than normal but not dangerous in the short term.
Central North Carolina: White Buck Tribe (WBT) or White Buck Collective. WBT boasts the highest mental function levels of any moldy tribe. They occupy the smallest settlement tucked away in the NC mountains and maintain a close alliance with Mars Tribe to the South. They are the most hostile to humans of any tribe and are known to be fierce fighters. Unlike most moldies, they tend to posses good motor skills and are the most mobile of all the tribes. They purposely keep their numbers small due for fear of breeding out their genetic advantage they have over the other nearby tribes. WBT maintains a fleet of armored cars as well as dozens of motorcycles, modified to run on alcohol. Unlike most moldies, they covet technology and will go out of their way to obtain it, often sharing it with other allied tribes. WBT is rumored to have control of a remaining global-mapping satellite in orbit, selling access to it to other tribes. They also sell valuable maps to other moldies, presumably made from their satellite data. Most maps are covered with packing tape for water-proofing and have a drawing of the White Buck on the back, denoting their origin. Numerous attempts by various human paramilitary forces have been made to destroy the White Buck Collective but all have failed. As of recently, Mars Tribe has been cutting off trade with anyone hostile to WBT, even when WBT has initiated the hostilities. WBT is also the only known tribe of moldies who refer to themselves as "Man-2", the government codeword from before the war.
Southern Florida: Crocodile Clan. CC's symbol is a crocodile holding the globe in it's mouth. In addition to their holdings in southern Florida, they also occupy and control a large oil rig in the gulf. What little oil that is produced there is normally sold to Cuba. Likewise, anything that breaks on the rig and needs skill to repair is normally performed by Cuban engineers and techs. Though considered a large tribe, they are known to be one of the least intelligent for their level of organization. Cuba would be to blame for this since they frequently send advisor to assist the Crocodile Clan in running their tribe. Part of the Cuban/Crocodile Clan's military and economic alliance includes the Cubans working constantly to put down or resolve civil wars which are fought among the clan every few years. The frequent civil wars has left central Florida dotted with tribes of CC castaways and rebels. Most of these small tribes are hostile to the human populations in the area with few exceptions. Crocodile Clan maintains a small fleet of small ships, including a former Coast Guard cutter. The cutter has since been refitted with more easily maintained weapons by the Cubans. The cutter, name the "Hell Shark", has participated in escorting cargo vessels from Canada down to Cuba and has been known to randomly shell human settlements on the coast.
Cuba/Dominican Republic: El Gato de Noche Tribe. This is not a real tribe by most standards but rather Spanish speaking section of moldies residing in the Caribbean and completely under Cuban control. They are notably intelligent and receive various forms of special training from the Cuban government. They are known for committing acts of sabotage and stirring up moldies near American human population centers. They are "walking WMD" and are rumored to carry plagues into North America, which moldies are immune to but humans are certainly not. Some have been spotty by spies wearing Cuban army uniforms while in Cuba. All are devoted Marxist and are frequently seen attending state-funded communist rallies. A black cat with an arched back on a red background is their symbol, often worn as a patch. The Cats of the Night frequently carry Communist propaganda to the other moldy tribes, both large and small. Most of this propaganda is in the form of video and cartoon books to save on the fact that many moldies have lost their ability to read and many of the younger ones are never taught. Such dogma is often completely lost on wealthy tribes such as Mars, who essentially rely on capitalism to sustain itself.
Southern Alabama: Children of the Warm Star Tribe, CWS or Warm Star Community. These relatively peaceful moldies operate several large farms and a scattering of smaller ones. Most specialize in wheat, corn, soybeans and peanuts but one of the larger ones grow large amounts of hemp, though most of it goes towards producing rope and clothing for trade. Warm Star are some of the most religious of all tribes, their religion coming as close to 20th century Christianity as moldies ever get. This is not without their own spin on things however. They claim that normal humans carry the "mark of the beast" and those who were transformed/born moldies are marked for Heaven and God's new Chosen People. Their contact with others include sending out missionaries to various moldy tribes and trade with both moldies and normal humans. The "Warm Star" is a reference to their status as an agrarian society.