In April 2016, patient Zero ate his first bite of contaminated GMO Pork-Beef at a Taco Bell in Middle America, and contracted what is known now as 5th Meal Disease, or 5MD. A terrible mix of Mad-Cow Disease and Swine Flu, it spread rapidly and terribly, killing most (the FDA and FEMA estimated it had a 90% kill rate) , but more terrible than that, was 1 in 10 that contracted it went insane, attacking and eating anything and everything they saw or heard (hence 5th Meal). Of course, these infected came to be referred to as zombies, which led to even worse hysteria and inability to control the populace.
By May, the disease had spread across the globe, and an estimated half of the worlds population in developed countries had contracted the disease and died or become a “Zombie”. Into this, a group of religio-anarchists who called themselves “Rapture” launched a major cyber assault on the weakened infrastructure of the World’s super-powers. they shut down websites, crashed satellites, and impeded the ability of the governments to respond to the cataclysmic threat of 5MD.
By June, 75% of the developed world was gone, and the governments had more or less ceased to exist, as major population centers were abandoned and people fled. “Rapture” succeeded in further shutting down any efforts by the government.
On July 4th, 2016, “Rapture” succeeded in shutting down all protection at powerplants, and were able to launch an undetermined number of nuclear weapons that hit numerous cities worldwide, but Chicago somehow avoided a direct impact.
By July 5th, 2016, the world as we know it ceased to exist. Communication was nearly impossible, the roads and highways and most cities were destroyed, or the following Nuclear Climate change destroyed them or made them unlivable.
2016-2017: The nuclear fallout and further efforts from ’Rapture" rendered the landscape nearly impassable as electric storms ravaged most of the now barren Midwest. Residents of Chicago have left to try and contact the East or the West Coasts, but none (that are known of) returned. The city municipal government was shutdown, and most of the politicians and leaders fled, leaving the city in total anarchy.
In Chicago, or Chihara in the summer, and Chiberia in winter, the temperatures and weather change dramatically from Winter, where temperatures consistently fall into the negative 30s, and Summer where 140 degrees is typical.
Roving mobs of Zombies, militant nomad gangs, and warped and twisted creatures of nuclear damnation frequently wander into and through Chicago looking to take what they can.
However, a number of groups coalesced in the aftermath as well entrenched and prepared forces of order.
2017: The world has gone to absolute shit, and only the most hard-bitten, industrious, and lucky have managed to survive. Chicago stands by itself surrounded on all sides by the flat Midwest. The Midwest is ravaged by storms and only a small few have “allegedly” crossed from the outside. Life in the city is difficult, scavenging for food and looking for shelter whilst dodging animals and creatures, and people, that want what you have.
There is some hope though, from this chaos has sprung some order as survivors grouped together.