by Max Barry

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Zitravgradian Wastelands: Testament of The Near-End of the World

Wasteland Authority -- Zitravgradian Regular Law Enforcement

"The Sky Erupted.
Three Times On The Same Night.
Countless More Yesterday.
Countless More Tomorrow.
The Beginning to the End is Over.
What Else Do We Know?
Except For Starting Over."

Establishing Connection... Please Stand By...

Wasteland Authority at your service...

Good day, comrades. Today's situations in the Wasteland are still relatively normal.

I know you want to ask so many questions, often not understood very well abroad. All should be answered today -- or precisely all that can be answered.

Q: How did this happen?

War and all its chaos -- the Third Global War or the Imperialists' War (1985-1995) was the source of all evils that set the tone of the new century completely. As the poem above implies, there was a nuclear war. "Three times on the same night" meant three nuclear warheads had landed in Zitravgrad despite the anti-missile system having intercepted many more. And it implies that more warheads had indeed landed in many places across the world. The question of wartime ethics and responsibilities has been long left unanswered as all sides were willing to throw anything they had against one another. Zitravgrad was far from the only nation in the world that faced this horror.

Q: How much was lost?

Three cities of historical, cultural and economic importance -- Moylovka (R-1), Kuznemki (R-2) and Mezhdunovo (R-3). In fact, that was the reason why they were the targets, if our theories were correct. All of them served, to varying degrees, as agricultural, mining and industrial areas up until their destruction in November 1994 by enemy ICBM. Moreover, the closeness between Mezhdunovo and Providenska (the capital) is noted, as both cities belong to the Zitravia Oblast. According to 1994 census, there were a total of 15 million people in the three cities or roughly 12.5% of the population at the time (120 millions). That was five times more than the lives lost in the war before the nuclear exchange happened.

Out of 15 million people, only half a million survived, presumably those who lived near the edges of those cities. In those cities, the blasts destroyed most of the buildings, leaving only broken husks of them. The underground system (i.e. metro, sewers, etc. were partially intact albeit the electricity was cut completely.)

This is the most recent map, made in 2019.

Q: How does it look like?

Terrible. That's what it looks like. No matter the climate, it will always look like a bleak hell.

Q: Who lives there?

The Wasteland Authority does. Some scientists do. Some military personnel do. Some miners do. Some adventurers do. Some mafia use it as hideout because it is not ridden with public surveillance like the safe zones. Something else certainly does as well. The State is legally obliged to pay higher rates to the people they send to work in these zones, although some might say it is not worth staying long.

Artists' depictions of people in the Wasteland.

Q: Something else?

Mutants. That is the reason why the Wasteland Authority exists and the Armed Forces conduct regular purges and expeditions -- a war nobody knows to exist. They are organisms whose DNA has been altered by radiation, or as a result of being exposed to various chemicals. They are usually fierce and dangerous creatures, not hesitating to attack or kill any human that crosses their path, although certain exceptions exist, with mutants that are generally neutral, or even intelligent beings who try to communicate with humans. (OOC Credit: Metro Wiki Linkhere)

Mutated animals, usually harmless but carry mutation and/or radiation for miles

"Mutants" -- more or less mutations of local fauna. Often found from orange zones to red zones.

Even aquatic creatures mutated. EVEN CATFISH MUTATED.

Mutated plants, the weird types.

We cannot confirm how prevalent the population of these mutants are and we usually apply "shoot-on-sight" protocol with them. Moreover, we would like to note that we have refrained from showing the photos of mutated sentient humans. Some people who survived the ordeal or were born from parents who were affected by radiation would suffer from cancer as well as some forms of forced evolution or disabilities. Sentient Nuclear Mutant (SNM in most health-related documents) is the legal term for such people: humans forced to mutate by exposure to radiation BUT remain humanlike and capable of free thinking. These people obtain a certain privilege to healthcare service.

Q: Why does your nation act like life is normal?

To put 15 million people to rest... and because it is. People who lived near or at the edges of the Wasteland would be relocated into the cities as the walls around the Wasteland were being built, starting in 1996 and completing in 2004. Very few were unwilling to relocate, and some would move away even before the government would move them. Life outside the Wasteland would feel normal enough, if one does not consider seeing a few related headlines every month. If your work does not require you to step into the lands behind the walls, you will eventually ignore it.

Q: What is "Wasteland Skirmishes?"

The last part of the Zitravgradian Collaborators' Civil War. (16 November 2008 - 30 May 2009) The skirmishes themselves only happened in May. The Workers' Party's troops came from Zitravia Oblast and the Communist Party came from Tamkatska Oblast and meeting around the yellow and orange zones of Zone R-3. It was the first large-scale operation into the Wasteland Zone at all after 13 years.

A soldier standing and overlooking the hills

Q: Are tourists allowed?

A popular adventure location, actually. There is also a pilgrimage of some odd cult called "Doomsday Order" as well as daredevil adventurers who make occasional trips inside the Wastelands. However, we find it unethical to promote outright within our national tourism authority and the authorities within the Zone (mostly the military personnel and the researchers) object loudly about people trepassing their areas. It is a highly dangerous place. Once you get lost, the animals there are inedible and the water is highly contaminated.

Q: How big is the Wasteland Authority?

12,000 personnel, well-trained and well-equipped. However, our forces are more concentrated at the walls and the checkpoints. Only the best of us get to join the army's operations as guides.

Q: You mentioned miners? What could be mined there?

Ironically, uranium, among other precious metals. Those are likely going to be contaminated, but would be purified in the process.

Q: Zitravgrad is not the only nation where this happened?

Not at all. Arguably, the one that suffered the most would be the United Commonwealth of Atlanzia. That's the story for another day, though.

Q: What if I have more question?

We will appreciate that. Telegrams or questions to the Q&A thread are welcomed: viewtopic.php?p=35991124#p35991124

Thank you for your attention. Glad to be of your service...

This has been Wasteland Authority...