December 1st, 2220 United States, Arizona 8:30pm (MST) "Ragers" In a land where the sand lay hot beneath the feet of mankind and critters of all sorts scurried about for some shade, it was surprising that the nighttime air was so frigid it shook the very marrow in your bones. Gusts of wind would cause the hair upon arms to stand up as tall as the end of a rifle, the dirt that littered pathway after pathway would unfurl and run from the footsteps that echoed around them, and the remains of the habitats flora would shake until it seemed something was just about to hurl themselves upon you. The remains of Phoenix, AZ called upon many weary travelers, offering it's tawny background as coverage from raiders and aiding those in need of secret herbal medicines. It was one of the thousands of hotspots (pun-intended) that men, women, and children ran to when The Rebirth of the New World dawned. It was scarce in food and even less accommodated in water, but it was the first place that people journeyed to when all other options had been eradicated. Maybe it was the tranquility of the Sonoran Desert that beckoned mankind or the fact that Phoenix was just another step closer to Nevada where Area 51 was located. People do unintelligible things when they are desperate, finding someone else to blame other than themselves was the most apparent of mankind's stupidity. Those that simply passed through Arizona were no threat, but isn't it ironic that the people Phoenix opened it's arms to were the ones that should've been feared most? It feels as if icicles are forming between your nostrils at this point and walking through the many patches of desert is only doubling the fear gripping your belly. What day is it? It must be close to winter for it to be this cold... Phoenix narrows it's eyes at mankind now; suspicion hardening it's shell until newcomers bow down to it's stare made for steel. United States, Michigan 10:30 (EST) "Soul Survivors" This land bites more than it barks. The air cannot be described as frigid, but as raw, numbing, and piercing. It snapped at the heels of fleeting groups and slashed at the faces of the young until there was no other choice than to fall to your knees and hold back sobs of pain. Lansing, MI was the furious ruler of the North. Walking through it's ivory terrain was a death sentence in itself, setting up camp was it's own torture, and scavenging for something to aid life was harder than tying your shoes without gloves. Lansing did not succumb to the people that passed through, no, it started out icy and irate to make a point. It would not kneel; it would enforce the kneeling. There was no safe-zone between it's borders simply because there were no borders to differentiate Lansing from it's surrounding allies. Anyone and anything could be plotting their revenge, organizing your demise, or devising an attack plan to expand it's walls of fortitude. The Rebirth of the New World was cruel and Lansing's people sought out other areas to continue living. Lansing, MI was not sustainable for their life. It was unable to give them exactly what they required to throw their pain back at the oppressors. The oppressors for Lansing was it's people and after the land became barren it decided that ruling with an iron fist was the only route available. The snow piled upon three feet minimum around your thighs is decreasing the blood flow you so desire. You mumble a thanks to your parent's for being taller than five foot four or you curse the very bane of your existence for barely exceeding five feet. Where is this snow coming from? It could be summer in this hellhole and the white flurries would continue to fall... Damn... Lansing laughs manically at the agony etched across your features. The moon is hiding behind the clouds and you know that nobody is around to hear your cries of defeat. United States, California 7:30 (PST) "The Fanatics" Beaches upon beaches, once plagued with marvelous memories, were now useless and despondent. The billowing palm trees scattered across the West coast were hunched over, their branches dragging across the ground in despair. The bright land that once was had dimmed excruciatingly and anything that crossed it's path was glanced at once, then forgotten not a moment after in a vain attempt to block out any distractions. You were a distraction and distractions needed to be eliminated with such intense care that it was almost alarming. The eyes behind San Francisco, CA did not leave the shadows often. No, it believed that secrecy, sorcery, and stealth were the only rules to live by. When the New World formed, San Francisco was the first to close it's doors to all intruders and stock up on anything that was in arms reach; it did not speak to it's allies nor did it blink an eye when they began to fall off the map one by one. Emotions never passed along it's face, it's movements were thoroughly planned and miraculously acted out, the hours that once were day and night now became death and survival. The fauna retreated, leaving San Francisco lonely, but not forgotten. Even you knew the danger's it's own walls carried. The only way mankind could slip through the cracks was by deceit and strategic planning that could take months, years even! Despite all attempts though, only one out of twenty patrons made it through to the heart of San Fran, not only gaining the respect they deserved, but gaining many, many soldiers beneath their wings. Tattered shoes carry you through the damp grass, leading you to place not even you know. There is fog shielding your vision and it's becoming increasingly more difficult to step over the bodies that lay in your path. I should be almost there. Is the sun going to come out soon? San Francisco is watching your every move, following close behind and whispering promises that will not be kept. At the end of survival, you only wish for a home and it's apparent that this illusion is beginning to fade away. These are only three out of the thousands of Factions that litter the United States. Be weary where you walk. Josephina "Joe" Lorraine Anderson Joe decided it was safe to allow herself some time to rest after hours and hours of traveling. Her back ached with each movement of her pelvis, her fingertips were still pounding from the most recent jogging adventure, and the young woman's head was reeling with questions. Where was she? Involuntarily, her hand found it's way into one of the many pockets located upon her pants, pulling out a thick, crumpled piece of parchment that had been Joe's guide for more than three weeks. Her trembling fingers brought the paper up to their owner's eyes, giving her enough space from her face so she could scan the scribbles that seemed almost like a fifth appendage at this point. Joe had found this intricate map in an abandoned home on one of her scavenging trips. At first glance, she deemed it the same as any other map that littered her pockets, but a second made it apparent that this was no ordinary map. It was not traced, half-assed in a basement by some sweaty gentleman who had raiders upon his door. It was not artfully drawn out by a feverish mother who wanted her kids to go out in search of something that was not there. On the contrary, a closer examination indicated that this map was created by someone was knew what they were doing and what they wanted to be found. Who knew that a simple scavenging hunt would give Joe the chance of a lifetime? She nodded to herself, folding the map back up and burying it back into it's home. After that was all said and done, she gave herself a few minutes to relax and go over her belongings to make sure nothing had been misplaced. "Let's see here..." she whispered, being extra careful (despite the unfruitful surrounding area) to not disturb others that could be lurking, as she began to rummage through her duffel bag as well as rummage through the imaginary check list in her mind. "Sleeping bag; check, delicious meat and a few bottles of water; check, medicinal bag; ch-..." she stopped, realizing the red medicinal bag she found months back was not in it's usual place. A small sense of panic stuck her gut, but then she remembered earlier when she fell (who could forget the blood) and in a half-hazard attempt to fix herself and get the fuck out of the situation she was in, the red bag had been thrown in her mini duffel bag. The miniature bag was unzipped and Joe smiled to herself, the whispering growing fainter, "Check. Now, where are my trinkets... Check-a-roonie!" Her hands toyed with a few watches and jewels that littered the bottom of her mini-duffel bag and then she zipped it closed quickly. Another once over was done to her larger bag before that was also zipped closed. Joe gave a sigh of relief and then decided to relax in the grass that had been crunching beneath her feet. She felt safe for the time being, so this was the perfect opportunity to actually study her maps. As her eyes scanned the darkness her hands retreated back into her pockets, crumpling a mass of papers and a piece of coal in each palm. Withdrawing these items sent an excited spark up the woman's back. This was her favorite part of traveling; knowing exactly where you were going. "So... let's actually figure out where I am..."