Of course the world ends. It happens quickly, faster than anyone could predict. The Red Plague hits a world already on the brink of collapse. Extreme climate change, global economic crisis, increasing conflict between old and new superpowers. When the pandemic comes, the last thin veneer of stability crumbles.

One billion people die in the first year. Utter panic reigns supreme, solidarity between nations is non-existent. Wars break out over the last, dwindling resources of the world. For the first time since 1945 nuclear weapons are used in armed conflict. Mushroom clouds rise from east to west.

Everyone tries to save themselves. The rich and powerful start monumental projects to escape the surface of the dying Earth: going deep underground, to the bottom of the oceans, into the cold darkness of space. The seats in these final lifeboats for mankind are desperately few. For most of the world’s inhabitants, there is no way out.

Once it’s all over, Earth is still. Nature invades ruined cities. Winds sweep through empty streets turned into graveyards. Time gnaws the windows off skyscrapers, panes falling to the ground in a slow rain of glass.

Yet life remains.

Out on the oceans rusty abandoned ships drift from coast to coast. Much of what once lived in the depths is gone, but more and more is slowly recovering. Whales, sharks and fish once again roam the seas, but almost all marine life has changed, mutated beyond recognition.

Your Ark is somewhere out on the endless waves, a fixed point in your existence. You are the People, a group of ocean dwelling mutants fighting to survive every day. Your bodies and minds have incredible powers, but you are unstable. Fragile. None of the People are over 30 years old.

Except the Elder. Your leader, but not like you. One of the Ancients. For decades he has warned you: be on your guard, don’t leave the Ark. Stay here, or the Rot will get you. Or something even worse. So far, you have obeyed his commands. Lived off rations from the Old Age. Chased off every stranger who came close to the Ark. Few dared to go out into the Zone. That is what the Elder calls the outside world.

But the safe days are over. Food is running scarce, and the fight for what’s left is turning violent. You starve. No children are born to the People – if you do nothing, you will perish. It is said that you are the chosen ones, destined to find Eden one day, the mythical place that is the origin of all mutants. Perhaps this is true, perhaps it is a fairy tale. It doesn’t matter. You have no choice.

One thing is certain. Soon you will have to explore the waters around the Ark. Many speak of the dawn of a new age, an age when everything will change. This is the beginning.

This is Year Zero.

The Path to Eden