A brief look at Chicago and Manhattan Restoration Projects


Everyone knows what happened to Chicago.  When the wasting plague hit the city it 2012 it was nothing short of apocalyptic.  The dead were filling the streets, and the numbers of dying were increasing exponentially.  Faced with the possibility of the outbreak spreading out from the city in biblical proportions, the overburdened and nearly bankrupt

government did the only thing it could. 

It sealed off t

he city, abandoning the survivors who hadnít already fled and quarantining the entire area.  Chicago was a dead zone, written off and declared a No Manís Land.



 Nomads were immediately brought in to construct Chicago Port, which served as a new business hub, but Chicago itself remained off-limits for 8 years, until in 2020 Storm Technologies, with approval from the state and federal governments, signed contracts with the Aldecaldo and Jode nations.  The nomads, particularly the Aldecaldo, had made an impressive showing rebuilding Mexico city, and since most nomads are non-citizens, they work cheap.  It didnít hurt that the sees Nomads as little more than illegal immigrants, crazy vets, and glorified booster gangs.  


The contract reached was simple.  Nomads would go in to Chicago, test contamination levels, clear the area of danger, and begin reconstruction of the city.  As part of the contract, supplies would be paid for by Corporations who chose to invest in the project (the amount of money an individual corporation ponied up determined what priority their interests were seen to).  In addition to the money paid by government and corporate interests to the Jode and Aldecaldo nations, the Nomads made it clear that while they would work for next to nothing, they laid claim to all salvage rights within the city.  As soon as the deal was agreed upon, work began.

The first task was to go in accompanied by Storm and federal representatives to ensure that the plague was in fact, no longer a threat.  Isolated corpses found in basements, in cars, etc, which are still contaminated and infectious, are still occasionally found, but there are very strict safeguards and measures taken in such an event.


A few survivors were found, most of them mad from ordeal, the worst case being the Sears Tower incident.  Faced with death in the streets, a group holed up in the Tower, sealing it off from the outside.  Over the years their mental states devolved.  Not much is known about the actual events, Nomads donít talk about it, but the stories that did come out from the attempts to clear the building before it was eventually demolished with the group still inside are the Boogymen stories that nomad parents tell their misbehaving children.


The Corporations and government had long since cleared out the banks, reserves, and other resources, so the salvage rights werenít something they were worried about.  However the nomads began stripping the buildings of everything of value.  Instead of using recovered wiring and metals as construction supplies, they sold it off as scrap to the highest bidder, charging the corporations for all new materials.  In addition, while the banks were cleared out, there were a great many small business safes, ATM machines, and other forgotten stashes of cash and wealth.  It soon became clear that the nomads were coming out way ahead on the deal.  They were also finding sensitive documents and files left behind in the hasty evacuation.


The sensitive nature of these files was a threat the corporations could not ignore.  The government and the corporations separately threatened to roll in and oust the nomads, until it was pointed out to them that at this point the only way to get the nomads out would be a full scale military invasion.  Things were heating up and quickly reaching a boiling point when Meta representatives stepped in and negotiated a compromise.


Meta reps would funnel out and return any found resources and records to the corporations.  Business holdings could be purchased back, or given priority, for a fair and equitable price.  This alleviated most of the pressure, and work was soon underway again.  However, corporations and wealthy individuals have personally hired nomads, and in some cases mercenaries and even Raffen Shiv, to sneak in and retrieve sensitive data or resources from areas that havenít been cleared yet.  This is extremely risky, as these individuals could contract the wasting plague and be the catalyst for a new outbreak.  The areas that havenít been reclaimed yet are still considered a No Manís Land by the government, and the nomads and Storm Technologies have the authority to shoot any trespassers on sight.  An authority they enforce.


The last point of contention centered on the Art Institute of Chicago and various other museums.  Nomads were claiming artifacts and works of art among the salvage.  The Corporations were trying to get in on the action via mercenaries, and the Government was claiming itís ownership of the items.  In the end, after much deliberating, more than a few standoffs, and at least 2 firefights, it was decided that what remained would stay, and be used to rebuild the museums.  In the meantime the remaining art and artifacts would be cataloged and stored in a government facility until completion of the new museum and the city was open to civilian population again.  The government also has representatives at the impromptu Nomad Market who will bid on art and historical objects found, in order to restock what was lost in the museum looting's.


Itís been three years now since work began, and roughly a quarter of the city has been reclaimed.  Work started with  a central road system running through the city to move supplies in and out, and most of the corporate sector along the northern coast.  Reconstruction has already begun in the reclaimed areas, with the corporations who put in the most money getting top priority over building location and construction.  From these central points the nomads move block by block, decontaminating, salvaging, and reclaiming new areas in an ever widening circle.  The work is slow, but it is steady, and it is estimate that by 2026, most of the city will be cleared enough to start repopulating.  In the areas already reclaimed, it is still off limits to any civilians other than corporate employees manning their new facilities.


As stated, the real point of profit for the nomads is salvage.  Scrap metal, recyclables, and the like are sold off directly through Meta proxies.  Other goods and items are shipped out and distributed across the various Nomad Markets in North America.  Some private citizens and corporations even supply the nomads with lists of goods or resources they are looking for and willing to pay a high price for retrieval.

The initial outbreak of the plague killed over 1,700 people.  That was before the city was sealed.  Anyone who was healthy or sneaky enough got out of the city before the quarantine was imposed, but for everyone else, they were simply left to die.  Rough estimates put the final body count between 20 and 30 thousand people.  Over 3 thousand people were gunned down trying to get out at the military borders sealing the city alone.  The Nomads have been taking a count of bodies found, but have yet to release numbers.  


From this tragedy however, another small business has emerged from the reclamation of Chicago.   Any available information on bodies found (ID, location of body, etc) is posted on the Chicago Lost Memorial Website, run by Nomads.  This information is free, but heavily sponsored by corporate interests wishing to appear benevolent and sympathetic.  In addition, for a small fee, a relative of a lost citizen of Chicago can have Nomads working to decontaminate the area inspect addresses for the loved ones remains or confirmation of death.  For additional fees, the remains, once decontaminated, can be shipped off to the grieving family member.  If the customer is willing to pay, the nomads can even retrieve heirlooms, trinkets, or such for the grieving party.  This business is seen by many in the outside world as macabre and exploitative, but to untold families and friends who lost someone in Chicago it provides a much needed sense of closure.


The nomads who do this work are often people who lost loved ones themselves in the disaster, in fact the entire affair originated from one nomad woman who was looking for the remains of her husband and small children.  These same nomads have created a giant memorial on a country road outside of the city.  Across vast fields they plant a cross for every victim found.  The crosses themselves are blank, however it has become common for relatives to pay for grave markers and headstones bearing the names of their loved ones.  A large mausoleum was built upon which the names of all known victims are being placed, and a small Amphitheater was erected for ceremonies and gatherings.  These were paid for by private donations, and a crew of nomad stonecutters and engravers is on site to cater to the relatives who wish to create a personal monument to their lost loved ones.




Negotiations are well underway for the Aldecaldos to begin similar operations in New York.  Storm and Biotechnica have made several advancements in the field of decontaminating radioactive materials, and 20 years after Manhattan was nuked, it appears to be safe for reclamation efforts to begin.  Corporations and private groups have been reclaiming the outer portions for a few years now, and business is up and running on the outskirts of the island, but the center of the island is still a wasteland. 


Nomads and government sponsored Storm and Biotechnica expeditions into the ruins have already begun, and reports coming back are positive.  The stalling point for negotiations so far has been safety concerns and Salvage rights.  The corporations, after learning their lesson in Chicago are trying to put restrictions on Salvage, in retaliation; the Nomads are demanding insurance from the corporations who are contracting for their interests to be rebuilt.  Negotiations are going smoothly however, with Meta mitigating and overseeing the talks, and an agreement is expected to be reached soon.  Reclamation is scheduled to begin in July.


New York poses some altogether different problems.  The blast itself was low yield, and most of the radiation was fairly contained.  However it was fairly devastating, hitting right in the heart of Downtown.  Without maintenance, the buildings that werenít damaged directly by the blast have decayed and begun falling apart.  The streets are packed with derelict cars, rush hour and Christmas traffic left the city streets impassable.  In short, the attack happened at the worst possible time, and it is going to make reclamation that much more difficult.

According to reports from initial expeditions, some areas near the center of the blast are still registering high radiation.  However with experience from rebuilding the collapsed ruins of Mexico City and decontaminating Chicago, the nomads are confident that they can get Manhattan up and running again within five to ten years, especially with major interest and support from corporate interests.  The region itself is eager for this project to begin, as many in the population wish to see the former seat of culture and finance in the United States returned to its former glory.


Initial expeditions are reporting that there are people living among the ruins.  Sightings indicate that they are suffering effects from long term radiation exposure and malnutrition.  No successful contact has been made, but disturbingly, there are sightings of  children and young adults deformed by their exposure.  The most terrifying reports coming back from the initial expeditions are that the extensive sewer and subway tunnels in Manhattan are inhabited.  Rumors claim that the subterranean dwellers are aggressive, violent, and possibly cannibalistic. 

Written By Deric Bernier.  Images from Deric Bernier, Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Warriors
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