A year after the disaster of Doomsday when some 5,000 H-bombs were detonated, the Earth is still reeling, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. The radioactivity has dropped below lethal levels, and plant life is beginning to reassert itself where there is some sunlight, but because a lot of dust is still in the air only those plants that like more modest sunlight are doing well. This gives rise to a very different vegetation than had been there before the event, and it is rather slimy. The Northern Hemisphere had been subjected to devastating radioactivity for the first couple of weeks, and most plant life had died, and the animals that were dependent upon that plant life died also, and after a year of this even a good deal of those plants, and animals that lived underground discovered that they lived upon various things that were now dead, and they had nothing to left to eat, and so they too were dying. Very few humans survived, essentially only those who had found a year’s supply of food, and water, such as those lucky enough to be located at grain silos with hand operated water pumps to deep well water. The Southern Hemisphere hadn’t had much of a problem for the first month, but then the sky darkened, and the weather fluctuations turned consistently weird. The tropical plants were found to be very intolerant of these fluctuations, and were dying in unpredictable ways which precipitated all sorts of chaos for the ecosystem. Some relatively rare insects thrived briefly, and then vanished.
The first person in these Doomsday scenarios, who had been converted to radioactive dust in an H-bomb explosion, was now mostly precipitated out in the form of tiny particles in little layers of dried clay in some places, and a thin layer of fine sediment on lake beds, and ocean bottoms. —
The second person, from the devastated suburb, was now a rotted corpse lying with his rotted family in the basement of what had been their home. They were now little more than skeletons, with strange loose fitting clothing, after the various insects and other living things had devoured them. He had written a diary while in that desperate place and placed it in a glass mason jar to protect it — for posterity to find. —
The third person, in the distant farming town, had struggled mightily for almost a year desperately trying first one thing, and then another in an all out effort to keep himself, and his family alive. Several times it had appeared that they were going to survive, and that kept their hope alive, and fueled their struggle. The first problems were what to do about the oncoming radiation, and as it turned out they had a couple of days to prepare for the worst of that, and no one died who took precautions. Strangely, quite a few people refused to take any precautions, and they were the first to get sick. Some attempt was made to save them, but to no avail. Water was a real problem at first but soon the few wells that were in the area were being tapped fully, and necessary personal water was available. Then of course food was a problem because most food eaten by these people was shipped in and distributed at the supermarket. After that food was gone they had to eat animal feeds which they had stored for shipment to outside markets. No one complained much about the coars quality of the little food there was because they knew they were among the few people who were even alive let alone eating anything. The weather had been very gloomy, but after several months it started lightening up a bit, and so people were hopeful. But, then the months long accumulation of stresses started telling on the people, and strange diseases started cropping up. They were unusual diseases which came on very quickly, and the doctors had difficulty in diagnosing them, and they didn’t clear up with antibiotics. Soon the doctors died too because some of these new diseases were highly infectious. A few people survived one disease only to be struck down almost instantly by a second disease, because of their weakened condition. Some people thought these diseases might be brought in by rats, but then it was realized that the rats had died the first month. Then another disease, and another! Some people blamed Ken Alibeck the bio-weapons biologist. Soon, with the next wave of disease nearly everyone was dead. —
The fourth person had lived his life well south of the equator, and for the first month after the Doomsday war it had been little more than a worried conversation topic between local people who heard of it by reports on TV. But then the sky started getting a little darker, and darker every day, and a little hazier day by day. They talked about it on TV, and the newscasters, and pundits predicted that it would get worse, and had various suggestions as to what should be done. But what these pretty celebrities suggested seemed so impractical that they were laughed at and ignored. Dig fallout shelters, plant food crops quickly, get iodine tablets, create dried food stores for a year’s supply of food for your family. Such suggestions were just so much silliness to people who found their food on a daily basis at the local farmers market, and from their own gardens. They had no way to lay up food for a year. Another strange thing was that there had been a fierce epidemic that had killed lots of people so there was more food available than usual, so why worry about laying up food for a year? —
The fifth person we have been tracking lives in a Lifehaven, and is located a thousand miles from the nearest town. They have good electronic communication with the rest of the surviving world because that was part of the original design planning for this community. Although they might have had supply ships come in from the various cities in the Southern Hemisphere they haven’t done so. The reasons were that they were self-sufficient for a longer time than that because of the desire to maintain absolute biological isolation from the rest of the world. It was expected that some of the biological warfare weapons would be deployed or perhaps that even if they were not deployed that the chaos of the war would disrupt the storage facilities, and these most horrible of humanly refined diseases would escape and spread throughout the world. So it was intended to maintain all of the Lifehavens in absolute isolation until the diseases had run their course or the methods for coping with them had been developed. —
So one year after the Doomsday event there are very few humans still surviving in the Northern Hemisphere, but quite a few doing okay in the Southern Hemisphere even if things are still grim.