Extras - Lore, Page 1
CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC ROOTS OF THE CHARACTERS
Originally the area No End takes place in was very multicultural (think of the US), and several characters have different cultural, ethnic or racial backgrounds. Although their world is not ours it’s meant to correspond in many ways to our world and they all speak the same language in the area, like in the US (whether or not that’s actually English, we don’t know). Obviously the apocalypse took its toll so people might not go out of their way to preserve their ethnic heritage and most of the cast are mixed race.
So e.g. Modra comes from a predominantly Ashkenazi Jewish, eastern European family, Jenn and Wight have Nordic roots (Modra's family has strived to preserve their heritage but Modra himself is very secular – just another reason for him to be considered a “failure” by his family), Cotton’s family comes from Iran, Benny’s family is South-Korean and white, etc. Their accents are just something that someone in their family has spoken for one reason or another or they come from an area where the accent is common (Cotton picked up his mother’s accent: his great grandparents were Iranian, his grandfather – the Amir Khouri whose diary entries are in the first chapter extras – married a Muslim woman. Cotton’s mother was mixed race and spoke with a Southern American English accent). Note that Modra, Benny and the Reid siblings have no discernible accents and they’re from Zeus or from military families. You can pretty much assume most of the military speak “regular American English” (e.g. Crow and his second-in-command Rajni, who, ftr, has mostly Hindi family), which is also why Cotton’s accent is so subdued and only comes up as barely noticeable Southern note and some differences in dialect or pronunciation (his pens and pins sound the same).
There are also some clearly geographical differences: both Jerry and Abby who speak in more or less British accents are originally from Hecate, which is the southernmost zone close to the coastline, so you can assume they’re from old immigrant families. Same with Maverick and Ramona, who speak in Southern Californian accent, although you can pretty safely assume Maverick has picked up Ramona’s accent.
If I remember correctly the twins speak with vaguely British accents as well, so you can assume they’re originally from south as well.
Note that none of the characters are bilingual: Benny’s
mother was never taught Korean (only Korean she knows are names of the
foods she occasionally makes), even Cotton’s great grandparents probably
didn’t speak Persian and the Reids’ Nordic heritage goes so far back
who knows when was the last time any of them actually spoke Icelandic.
That doesn’t mean that NO ONE in the world is bilingual: there are
plenty of bilingual folks who have either picked up another language
while studying or have been taught by their families. The university in
Zeus employs dozens of linguists who attempt to preserve foreign
languages. Sarah is bilingual (Spanish) and other upcoming multilingual
characters are Mitch (Spanish and Italian), Moreau (French) and Brooks
(Spanish), to mention a few. Rajni speaks Hindi as well.
And people who are from the continent south from the area No End takes place always speak with a foreign accent, so they obviously speak a different language as their mother tongue and it’s possible the language that is spoken in No End used to be the lingua franca of their world before the apocalypse.
LIFE EXPECTANCY IN NO END
In No End people are not facing an extinction anymore because the number of undead out in the wilds have dropped drastically and the quality of life is getting better all the time as society has been being rebuilt the past eighty years. Those living in military-protected big zones have pretty much the same life expectancy as we do. Those serving in the military die more from accidents but their quality of life is top notch.
Those who live in places like Hades or don’t live in zones at all (people like traveling traders, hunters, scavengers, etc) are lucky – or just skilled – to get past their thirties. Jerry is very lucky (and skilled), same with Ramona, who is exceptionally lucky. The rest of the cast are either young still or have lived in very privileged environments most of their lives.
MENTIONS OF "THE WAR"
The war was simply a zombie apocalypse. A global pandemic of a new kind of virus no one had heard about or ran into before (or that mutated too fast from, I don’t know, any virus, although I’ve been thinking it had to be one that could easily break through the blood-brain barrier so I’m slowly leaning towards it being any virus that can cause viral meningitis, e.g. enterovirii, or even HIV. Note that I am not an expert on virology at ALL, I just read a lot) that wiped most of human kind off the face of their planet in a span of couple of months.
So the “war” that’s being referred to is the surviving human kind’s battle against the undead. It wasn’t like WWIII or anything like that: people didn’t bomb each other, there wasn't large-scale infighting going on or battles over resources (or at least in the closed-off part of the world No End takes place in that didn’t happen, at least not in a large-enough scale to become a problem, and whatever happened in other parts of the world is not relevant to the comic. It’s not even known if other continents past the seas survived. There's the somewhat isolated south, which is known to be inhabited, warm, richer in resources and also a lot more ravaged by the undead still). It was just the end of the world (as they knew it).
ON NAMING THE ZONES
It was just something that sort of happened on its own while we started the RP No End is based on: basically we just pulled the whole thing out of our butts without thinking about it further or how much of a cliché it is (because at that point it was just a thing between the two of us). However, the names were left as-is when the RP was turned into a comic since cliché or not we didn’t really see any reason to change the names since so many of them, at that point, in one way or another sort of reflected the nature of the deity they were named after. There are the Anemoi which are very deliberately chosen names, and maybe you can figure out the rest.
There are places (they are few, and small) that are not or never have been under military control, so they naturally don’t have names of the greek gods.
In any case, the zones needed a uniform naming system since most were named by the military, starting with Zeus, so it was easy to go with Greek deities with the rest. There are places that have never been under military rule and don’t have the name of a Greek deity, and you’ll… somewhat soon learn of one such place (that was Fen Mills). That’s why Hades and Io ALSO have names from Greek mythology despite not being military zones: they have, at some point, been under military rule). That’s also why the Haven’s called Haven and not, like, Elysium: it implies the military has nothing to do with it.
So yeah, No End’s world is not ours, but it was like ours and if religions and mythologies like ours still exist in their world. Canon reason is also that the military, back in what became Zeus, wanted to give their new “bastion of humanity” a really pompous name, and what better than to name it after a king of ancient gods.
CLIMATE IN NO END
No End pretty much has winter all year round with a couple of more temperate “summer” months that allow for a short period of growth. (Current time is around April-May.) It is more temperate in the south, like near Hecate, where you can see the snow is almost gone.
The characters have gotten used to the climate. When thinking about No End's climate, always go with "Finland".
The area has always been cold: after the bombs were dropped, the area cooled down for some time but calling it nuclear winter would not be right. It's also possible that the area has began to suffer from a little ice age.
ON CLEAN WATER
In most bigger zones, yeah, they usually have plumbing and at least some form of water distribution in place, and water is purified/treated (at least in places like Zeus and Nyx) so what comes out of faucets can actually be drank and used for e.g. cooking without any extra distillation measures. In Zeus they have pretty comprehensive plumbing and sewage network covering even the poorer parts of town, but in the poorer districts the piping can be in poor condition because it’s old. Then in places like Hades yeah you get running water in some houses and it’s usually clean enough to use for e.g. washing (they have a river running right past the town so they pump water straight out of it), but I wouldn’t go drinking it without distilling it first. Water’s also used for space heating in many places with and without electricity.
There’s not really SHORTAGE of water anywhere what with the snow everywhere, and e.g. travelers can just gather snow, distil and bottle it and save it for drinking (and taking care of hygiene) later. In smaller towns where there is no actual plumbing in place possible nearby water resources like rivers or lakes AND snow is used for pretty much everything from doing the dishes to taking baths to cooking and drinking.
That’s why water can’t really be used as a bargaining chip by the military or whoever runs an independent town. Even if the military were to cut water distribution to some small zone they are overseeing, the townspeople would just start using snow or local water sources instead. The only place where military could pull off shit like that is, like mentioned, the poorer districts in Zeus. Most of the time though those people just mind their own business and don’t cause any trouble because they know the military already holds immense power over them (same with smaller zones), so the military has never had a reason to actually cut the water supply (because it’s not worth the trouble if people start e.g. rioting). The worst they do is ignore them when any of the old water pipes break or there’s a sewage leak, but the people who live in poor districts have learned to deal with stuff like that and fix it on their own.
ON PRESERVING THE PAST
Since we assume No End's world was just like ours, let’s just go with this: the apocalypse happened NOW and the comic takes place eighty years in the future. (You can actually see the year on Benny’s dog tags: you can’t see the entire figure, but it starts with 2 and ends in 5, which is obviously Benny’s year of birth. We don’t know what year it is in the comic, which is exactly why rest of the figure is blurred out. It’s really not relevant, because the world is not ours and the year could be anything).
The characters know some things about the past, depending on how much they’re interested in history and things that don’t exist or aren’t relevant anymore, but generally all of them realize most of it is gone and it’s sort of pointless looking back to what once were when their world is as cruel and fucked up as it is. Maverick is the only one who thinks it’s important to “keep the past alive” and Jenn enjoys reading history occasionally, rest are pretty much “don’t care”.
History books from before the apocalypse still exist; some people have written down what they know to chronicle for future generations what the world was like before (like in first chapter extras E. Brooks had just written the history of Zeus and was battling with military censorship about HOW exactly did the zone get started); some things are passed on in families from parents to children. Schools of course teach some things related to history; the kind of stuff that people feel is still relevant, mostly just how and why the world became the way it is today. If you want to become a historian and research the past, you will obviously learn more (and subject yourself to dangerous journeys into the old cities in an attempt to find books, technology, etc). The military tries to keep scientific know-how etc. alive, looking forward to the day they have enough resources to start building and mass-producing the kind of stuff we take for granted, and e.g. putting up networks to connect what little civilization is left in the wilds.
ON TRANSITIONING OF TRANSGENDER FOLKS
are very few people who go through HRT and even fewer who go through
full transition. Hormone therapy is expensive first of all (you can
probably imagine in No End’s world pharmaceutical manufacturing is most
of all concentrated on producing antibiotics and analgesics and medicine
to treat the most common diseases to keep people alive, and everything
else is produced by demand and if demand is low, it’s going to be costly
and rare), so it’s basically only possible for high social class
civilians and military personnel. Surgeries for “cosmetic” stuff such as
mastectomy are not very high on priority list when there are also e.g.
tumors, appendectomies, badly broken bones, bypasses, etc. It’s not that
medically inclined people wouldn’t want to help trans folks who feel
they need medical assistance, it’s just that resources are still SO
limited in this world that they often simply CAN’T help. Many try,
I’m not sure if I’ve written about it here already but generally it is easy to get your gender changed in No End’s world: military doesn’t care, you have to be over the age of 16 and maybe take an interview and you can get your ID stamped with the gender (or the lack thereof) of your choice and transgender people are generally accepted all around because in No End’s world (in the military) it’s indeed the most important thing to be able to fight and survive, and gender has nothing to do with that. But transgender people with e.g. bad dysphoria can have horrendous time dealing with everything because transitioning can be really, really difficult. For poor lower class civilians it’s rarely even a possibility.
There is one character
in No End who has transitioned fully, some who are on HRT and some who
just make do with what they have and can afford.
I actually doubt they use coins at all: mining for precious metals just for pressing coins is probably not worth the effort (and the metals have more important functions e.g. in different kinds of industries) and paper money is easier to print, use and carry around the wilds. I figure they set the value of currency according to the most wealthy people because they don't really have precious metals (ie. gold) enough to set the value, They just use paper money instead of actual coins. Counterfeiting is a huge issue, which is why some merchants only deal in trading goods for goods.
Anyway, paper money is military-printed standard currency, bank notes. When the twins were walking about "big ones", they likely meant hundreds or thousands. We made it just “big ones” because we haven’t made clear what’s the state of the world’s economy and if Ratan had said “four hundred” for example, the reader couldn’t have known if it’s a lot of money or not. “Big ones” immediately makes it sound like a lot of money, which is what they’re worth. They’re likely thousands, so four thousand whatever their money is called (probably just “cash”) for Wight and so on.
(Despite the world using an actual currency a lot of trading
is still goods for goods, especially in independent and smaller zones.
You could trade for example food for clothing and so on, all depending
on needs and the particular trader’s supply and demand).
Military zones have prisons and most civilian criminals just end up serving time. Murderers get firing squad (military’s preferred method of execution, no electric chairs or lethal injections) if the victim worked for the military, if it’s between civilians the murderer’s just usually thrown in jail and left there, generally ending up living in very poor conditions and often doing hard labor (construction, mining) without pay.
And in Hades where you can basically only make crimes against Moreau, it’s her who decides the course of action taken. Usually people end up dead or thrown out of Hades with the “return and you’ll end up dead” disclaimer, since Moreau doesn’t like to keep around people who are not loyal to her, not even in some kind of jail, where there is always a chance of rebellion or a jailbreak. She sits on a pretty precarious throne after all and likes to cut down any and all threats to her reign.
ON RECREATIONAL DRUGS
Generally the most widely used recreational drugs in their world are alcohol, nicotine and caffeine.
But yeah they mostly have synthetic drugs, like LSD and E, although stuff like cocaine and opiates get sometimes shadily traded with southern merchants because they can obviously grow coca plant and opium poppies more freely since the weather isn’t as unforgiving down south. Chemistry hasn’t gone anywhere, so drug trade isn’t just someone with a greenhouse growing a crapload of cannabis (although those exist as well). Might be a bit harder to find the right compounds and basic building blocks you need and the product might not be very pure, but it’s not impossible, and laboratories that have the capability of producing significant amounts of synthetic drugs and medicine exist as well. Military already uses stuff like morphine and other opioids as analgesics, so they have greenhouses filled with opium poppies. So there’s that already.
Regular and poorer people are more likely to use drugs that give you the feeling of euphoria because their world is a shitty place and their problems often many and forgetting that is pretty great. Stuff like meth is used more by people who work in hard manual labor (such as miners) so they can get through the day easier. Military folk mostly get high on morphine and other opioids since they’re something people in the military can relatively easily get their hands on, and users are often people who have been injured and may have spent a lot of time on morphine already, developing dependancy. Getting caught of drug abuse almost always means a dishonorable discharge, though, but military life can be super tough and the prevalence of e.g. PTSD is high so it’s not surprising some are driven to using drugs, although alcohol is the go-to release for most people. Same goes for civilians too, since alcohol is often cheaper and easier to obtain (although most stuff alcohol can be made of is made into food instead because it’s a tad more important, some of the grain, potato, fruit, berries, etc. goes into producing alcohol as well) And interestingly enough it’s cannabis that is a bit of a “rich people drug” now because it just makes you generally unproductive and you can just lie around doing nothing, which is exactly what rich people do. Cocaine is the rarest drug out there because it can be mainly only purchased from southern merchants (since there are not as many commercial or pharmaceutical reasons – that can’t be covered with something else that doesn’t have as high possibility for abuse – to grow the coca plant unlike there are for opium poppies and even cannabis to a smaller degree) so it has the fanciest reputation and it’s mostly a show-off “I have enough money to get this stuff” drug.
Generally people in military zones don’t use a lot of drugs (aside from alcohol, which is legal as usual, go figure), though, because the military is always there (even though zones like Zeus do have their underground mob bosses and organized crime as well) and it’s more likely the people there just see to it that the right stuff gets sent to Hades and other independent zones where the drugs can be manufactured and produced more freely. Some of that makes its way back to military zones, but most drug users are people who live in independent zones. Let’s say people in military zones use drugs because they feel the need to and people who live in independent zones do it in the more recreational sense; because they can. People who travel a lot don’t generally use drugs (other than those that can increase the level of alertness) because they need to be wary of bandits and undead threats while they travel and being high as a kite on something can quickly become a death sentence.
Tobacco is also
a bit of a fancy thing to smoke, although popular enough that southern
merchants deliver a lot of cigarettes to north. Some even have trade
contracts with military because the number of nicotine users in military
is very high. You can also assume most of Jerry's loose cash goes into
ON LIVING IN OLD CITIES
It’s… in theory possible to live in the old cities. The apocalypse happened 80 years ago, so the radiation isn’t an issue anymore, although I assume it can make dosimeters beep wildly near old debris, but that’s honestly the least of the problems regarding the old cities. They’re STILL filled with the undead. Most people died in cities: radiation doesn’t kill the undead (they were only killed in the blast damage area of the bombs and from thermal radiation if they were close enough; also from collapsing buildings and debris) and they neither age nor rot, and although hordes come out of the cities every now and then, the military assumes the cities are still so full of undead that trying to reclaim any of them is a fool’s errand (the old city close to Hades – called Cascade City back in the day, ftr – was a metropolis with a population of over 5 million: you can imagine how many zombies can still be around).
The thing is, maybe people DO live in the cities: nobody
knows! Generally when someone goes into a city, they don’t come back, so
it’s anyone’s guess if they ended up dead or found some surviving
society and joined it. There were rumors about Haven being in one of the
old cities, remember?
ON CONTRACEPTION AND PARENTHOOD
In independent and smaller zones condoms are VERY RARE because generally they can only be bought from traders and from bigger zones (mainly Zeus and any zone with large military presence. Beside the point: military rather likes it that couples can choose when they attempt to get children and mothers at least aren’t forced to go on maternity leaves right in the middle of the arduous rank-ladder climb – that was the exact reason Cotton never had any children with his late wife, who was very career-oriented and wanted to at least secure a commissioned officer rank before considering children). In smaller zones traders ask for ridiculous prices for condoms because they are rather low in supply but great in demand. (Brothels get deliveries specifically for them because almost all sex workers refuse to work without a condom in play). Often people go full renaissance and use e.g. the intestines of butchered animals to make condoms and those are not quite as expensive to purchase.
Families in independent and smaller zones can be larger than in military zones because of the lack of contraceptives, yes, but the more glaring problem is the spread of STDs and having the actual funds to feed and raise a big family. (Rich families in bigger zones tend to have a lot of children, though, but they DO have the funds to raise them all.) There are birth control home remedies and all kinds of hooey and sometimes the town’s doctor has to perform abortions or sterilization procedures they might have never done before. Adoption actually flourishes somewhat and since same-sex couples or couples unable to conceive for one reason or other sometimes want children and aren’t rare, the couples more luckier on that department hand out the excess newborn kids they don’t have the money or space or whatever to raise and the process is… pretty much that (there’s some paperwork included if you do it in bigger zones). You can probably imagine the more gruesome alternatives. Don’t.
Some travelers like hunters, scavengers, etc. who visit bigger military zones get condoms to last when they pop by Zeus for example, some don’t care because depending on their background their sexual education could have been reaaally poor and they don’t even know how things work, and some people are just dumb and don’t care.
Benny being the only child is somewhat the product of all of this, and same with Modra. (His parents are rather old, they waited a long time until getting children because Modra’s mother wanted to secure a good rank in the military first). Benny’s family is very poor, and they decided against having more kids, since they had a hard time supporting their small family of three as it was. And Benny’s father was gone for long times and he didn’t want his wife to take care of a gaggle of kids while he was away.
Small families are the way
to go usually as long as you have some form of contraception at hand and
unless you’re wealthy: most of the cast are the only child in their
family (Jenn and Wight are the exception). Back when repopulation was
still believed to be important large families were encouraged and they
often received military support: not so much nowadays as military
funding is poured elsewhere (and not to help the poor: go figure).
ON MENTAL HEALTH
depression and other mood disorders are very common in No End’s world,
as you can probably imagine. Mental illnesses have not gone anywhere and
their world is not exactly a stress-free environment. Post-traumatic
stress disorder is rather common in the military and they rarely have
any way to diagnose, treat or medicate mental disorders properly. Same
goes with civilians, and the prevalence of depression and other
mood/mental disorders keeps growing the lower in the social structure
you go. It doesn’t help that there is basically no help available to
these people (the military doesn’t find it profitable trying to
rehabilitate poor low class civilians and rather tries to help their own
people), and they’re being forced to live in awful conditions and it
leads many people into self-medicating with alcohol and drugs, only
creating more problems and often making their condition even worse. You
will understand it better once we actually get to Zeus in the comic and
you’ll get to see the stark division of civilian social classes.
Sometimes these people strive to leave the zone and the toxic environment they are in and seek out Hades or other independent zones, where things aren’t necessary any better, but at least people there help each other out because everyone there has been more or less rejected by the social class system in military zones. Unfortunately to some leaving the zone they are in isn’t a possibility, maybe due to the nature of their disorder (same goes with physical disabilities too), or they just simply feel like they have no energy to do so or that it’d be pointless. Some make it and even get better, thanks to the support and help of close friends or family. People generally take care of each other: the importance of family (or any kind of support network) is pronounced.
Generally mental healthcare isn’t available for
people like Benny. Only the military has access to it, and even that
consists of mostly prescribing patients sedatives despite the nature of
their disorder and providing therapy by people who might not have any
actual experience in dealing with mental health issues. It simply SUCKS
to have certain psychiatric disorders or disabilities in the world of No
Of course people had access to firearms, their world pre-apocalypse was basically our world right now and we’ve always imagined it quite like the US, although we have never really thought about it if their gun control laws were as ridiculously lenient as in the US of now. Amir however was around 11 at the time of the apocalypse, so to me it’d be understandable he had never seen a real gun in his life (his father likely kept his own firearms, assuming he owned personal firearms because of his army career, hidden and locked up tight somewhere his son couldn’t reach, because I figure he knew how dangerous guns are and knew to keep them away from children).
The army never started handing out guns (they worked on getting people safely out of the cities for as long as possible) but there was of course looting happening the moment people realized what was going on and seeing what people were turning to, gun shops were usually the first ones emptied since of course people wanted to have that boomstick to protect themselves with, unless they already had one. The civilians who made it to army bases or towns the army had set up as outposts (like the small town that became Zeus) were given guns and taught to handle them (even kids like Amir), and if the civilians were already armed, they were usually able to hold onto their weaponry because it just meant more guns, which we all of course know solves problems better. (That was a TF2 reference, please, we're pro gun control and we don't think anyone should own a firearm for any reason.)
and PROPER dental hygiene are probably only a thing in bigger zones
like Zeus and in the military. Rest of the people either don’t have it
very high on their list of priorities and people living on the road or
in places like Hades can have really poor teeth. Depends on the person,
really! I imagine toothbrushes shouldn’t be too difficult to obtain and
water is everywhere, so people can at least brush their teeth every day
if nothing else (getting toothpaste probably isn’t quite as easy or
quite as cheap, it’s probably the kind of stuff only military uses). Our
cast probably brushes their teeth regularly: it’s not exactly ideal to
get infections on the road, even if it’s just gingivitis or something
caused by bad teeth.
ON WILD ANIMALS
Animals seem to be immune to the infection so there are no zombie bears lurking about, thank heavens. They’re so up north they used to have four seasons with a long winter, like FINLAND, so wildlife is used to longer cold periods of time. The global fallout from nuclear bombs during the apocalypse caused a brief nuclear winter and likely set off some sort of little ice age, because they’ve had neverending winter with a couple of warmer months during summer ever since. I would imagine that some species have adapted to the colder climate and at least there isn’t permafrost unless you go very deep north so animals can dig stuff out of the snow to eat, so let’s just pretend that there are plenty of our familiar Northern hemisphere wildlife around from bears to wolves to elk to rabbits to squirrels to all kinds of birds. Carnivores are having the time of their life and humans hunt a lot because game is the easiest and cheapest food to aquire, so it’s likely that without any preventive methods some of those animals will go extinct eventually.
you cross a mother bear with her cubs during the warmer summer months
hell yeah you’re in danger. Wolves and packs of wild dogs, likely the
descendants of our domesticated companions left alone when their owners
turned undead, prey on humans pretty often and are likely the biggest
threat out there aside from undead hordes.
details of the outbreak hasn’t been discussed actually although most of
the background of how it played out is strongly implied in Amir
Khouri’s diary entries in the first chapter extras. Guess I can
elaborate a little, although there isn’t much to say. It doesn’t really
matter where the infection began, but it quickly became a pandemic (yes,
it’s known to have been global) before people even realized what was
going on. Containing the disease was useless because it took a while for
people to even realize how to DEAL with the reanimated corpses and how
they can only be killed by destroying the brain completely (infected
people who are still alive ALSO need to be killed the same way:
otherwise they’ll just reanimate as if they died from the infection.
Burning will do, too). It only took at most a few weeks for the biggest
cities to be overrun by the undead, while survivors attempted to flee to
the countryside and evacuation zones usually set up in military bases
or small, defensible towns (many of which were overrun by undead in the
end). The military bombed the biggest cities with nuclear warheads
around a month after the infection’s spread reached its peak (the
bombing happened on a sunny, windless day with ground bursts so as to
minimize the effects of global fallout). It was assumed the bombs killed
off majority of the undead in the cities, but the first military
ventures into the cities later on proved that so many undead had
survived that reclaiming the cities would be and is still considered to
be a fool’s errand.
Some people do celebrate their birthdays (kids especially, like in our world). On the road it can be sometimes tough to keep track of days so some people might go “oh I had a birthday, welp, a year older then”. Right after the apocalypse was when population levels were (believed to be) dangerously low. There were estimates that around 90% of the people on the continent No End takes place in had died (or become undead) during the apocalypse. There were several surviving societies but they weren’t often aware of each other because it was very dangerous to move outside the settlements because the undead were much more numerous back then and with communications cut and electricity often being a rare commodity, it was difficult to keep in contact with other survivors.
It took around two generations for birth rates to start reaching healthy levels (successful birth rate was low at first and lots of mothers died of complications because people just didn’t have access to the sort of medical care they were used to). Zones were growing, the straggler undead in the wilds had diminished in numbers radically because of military eradication measures, radio communications had been established with other survivors and actual trained doctors and advances in medicine made sure that human population kept growing steadily.
The world of No End is idealized in MANY ways compared to our world (and absolutely horrible in other ways) and discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. has been reduced to individual level only, mostly because the institutional power in their world, the military, does not do that at all (their discrimination is based on social class and the perceived ability to survive, note: not eugenics! If a disabled child is born in a military family, they will find the child a career that fits their disability. Poor families strive to do the same) since at the beginning of the apocalypse the only thing that mattered is that you could pick up a weapon and fight and survive, not whether you were a man or a woman or black or white, and people who then took part in fighting are the ancestors of many military families and they basically dismantled insitutionalized racism and sexism straight off the face of the Earth.
What comes to sexual orientation, the military sort of frowns upon homosexuality (mostly because of repopulation issues, but since the human race isn’t in immediate danger of going extinct anymore, they’ve relaxed A LOT in that regard. You can imagine they were a lot stricter about that stuff right after the apocalypse, and some old military families remain strict because they want the family legacy to continue far into the future, so the family’s children are expected to have children of their own one day, although homosexuality ofc doesn’t mean that you can’t or don’t want to have biological children), but doesn’t prohibit marriage and generally just doesn’t care who people want to share their lives with as long as they do their duties in the military. Hate crime is something you can get yourself dishonorably discharged from the military for. In the eyes of law people of different sexualities are equal in all aspects of life. And civilians care about sexualities even less.
Individual people (like Modra’s parents) can of course be just as homophobic and disgusting as people are now and sometimes that can create problems if that individual is for example a high-ranking military officer or a wealthy, successful civilian, and the military is corrupt with old military families being more likely to rise to higher ranks ONLY because they’re old and respected. Not EVERY member of old military families are bigots, and almost always for every powerful big cheese there’s someone even more powerful tolerant person to knock the bigot down, because rank is everything in the military.
sexualities other than straight are widely accepted, way more so than in
our world. And yeah there is some correlation between sexuality and
social class, but probably only because civilians are more likely to be
OPEN about their sexuality compared to military folks, who are more
likely to remain closeted (like Cotton and Jenn used to be). That always
skews statistics a little.
THOSE WHO TRAVEL THE WILDS
There are all kinds of travelers for all kinds of reasons. Some travel occasionally to see their family that lives in some other zone. Some wish to move out of their zone hoping to find something better elsewhere, this is especially true for poor people who are living in less-than-ideal conditions in their zone (usually Zeus). There are surprisingly lot of people who just enjoy the adventure who travel for the exact same reason people do in our world: to see other places, run away from something, whatever. And then there are the people, usually criminals, deserters, etc, who the military has warrants out for who can’t go into military-ruled zones.
Trade caravans and scavengers (who look for useful old-world goods from ruins, etc) also travel and usually don’t have a “home” anywhere, so they stay at the inns. Same with groups of artists or theatre groups, etc, who earn their living from performing in different zones. Also Ramona’s inn always has some people living in there for longer periods of time or permanently (until they find a home of their own, you can imagine real estate isn’t exactly blooming in Hades), paying rent to her.
Of course they still play sports in No End! There’s ice everywhere, ice hockey is popular, every bigger zone has their own team. Figure skating. Skiing too, travelers already use skis to get around.
SAFETY OF THE WILDS
the military doesn’t really have anything against people who travel/live out in the wilds (unless they’re bandits because bandits are bad for everyone). People in the wilds usually sustain themselves by hunting, etc, so they aren’t even using supplies meant for people who live in zones. The military’s a bit iffy about independent zones existing because they draw people out of military zones and may take trading opportunities or thriving businesses etc. with them, but the military can’t treally do anything about them, since they were the ones who first established the zone, found it non-profitable (Io was an experiment of sorts that didn’t turn out the way military wanted and Hermes turned out to be the less useful frontier zone version of Boreas) and then left to leave the already-settled civilians to fend for themselves. Taking over the zones again out of principle just to have them under military rule again would cause an uproar and simply wouldn’t be a good PR move, so they let the independent zones be. Once again Hades is a whole another can of worms, but they make do well enough and don’t bother the military, so the military endures.
Generally, unless you do something shady on the widely used roads out in the wilds, the military lets you be.
All marriages in the world of No End are civil ones. Generally all the hubbub and pomp and circumstance we have about weddings doesn’t exist: the couple registers their marriage with military officials (since military is the government in their world) and then throws a party afterwards for family and friends if they want to.
Couples following religions CAN have a ceremony that follows the wedding traditions of their faith: at Zeus especially you will most likely find a religious leader of your own faith to do the ceremony, especially since people of same faith often associate with each other frequently. That alone isn’t enough to get legally married, though (churches and state, ie. the military are separate), and you will still have to register the marriage with the military. Religious couples in smaller zones can still follow their wedding traditions without the need of an ordained person to lead the ceremony: all they have to do after all is register their union, which is just basically signing papers.
A little bit more about marriage while I’m on a roll: in independent zones like Hermes and Io that are still in friendly terms with the military but there is no military presence, a couple registers their marriage with the zone leadership, who then send the papers forward to the military so that they can register it and it’ll be acknowledged in military records, but generally the marriage is legal in the zone in question even if military doesn’t know about it since many independent zones have a set of their own laws (problems arise if the couple will at any point try to go live in a military zone, in which case they have to get married again, basically).
And since Hades is mostly full-blown anarchy, people do whatever they want. If they want to register their union with military, they can, but generally they just decide “we’re married ok cool”, since there are no laws or rights associated with marriage and it’s just a personal committment.
There are schools, of course! Every zone, even the smaller and independent ones have at least some sort of school for civilian children (around ages 8-12) to give them rudimentary education. They learn to read and write, do some simple math, learn some history; the kind of stuff that’s important in their world (yes, also survival and other related skills: they are taught to handle firearms and how to deal with the undead). They only go to this school for a couple of years, though, and then most start working small jobs around the age of 13-15 under supervision while they learn their craft. This is also what the children of poor families do in bigger zones like Zeus. Some of the bigger zones (Hecate, some frontier zones) have higher education available.
If you want the highest education, you go to Zeus, where you can go to high school and university (it’s more like a vocational school too because you can also learn other than academic subjects) and learn more advanced stuff and have a whole new world of job opportunities open up to you. And that is if you have money, because the university is NOT CHEAP and most make do well enough with the education they get from high school.
Also military has always higher education than civilians: military children go to school at the age of 8, learn about a variety of stuff for 5 years + 3 years of “higher education” and more military-oriented basic training and at 16 they can continue to a university in Zeus or do military training in Nyx and choose whatever specialization they wish to pursue, which is two years of special training. Jenn for example did the whole shebang: at 13 she went on to pursue education in higher-level mathematics and at 16 chose the specialization of a cryptanalyst (to decipher and create codes for communication between military bases). She eventually gave that up two years later when Wight chose to become a scout with specialization in sniper rifles and was later on lauded for his shooting accuracy and the siblings became a sniper team together.
Depending on your choice of specialization you might have to move to another zone (usually Nyx, since it’s the military’s center of everything). Military also scouts exceptionally talented individuals from the university in Zeus to recruit, so that is one of the “easier” ways for civilians to actually get into military (they usually end up with a research or a desk job).
They all wear several layers of clothing (even Jenn's black leggings are thick and woolen). Most of their undergarments are made out of wool (which is perfect for insulation and absorbing moisture) and their outer clothing is of some synthetic wind-resistant material (Except Jenn’s whose coat is wool too). Also the temperture in their world averages to 5 – -10 Celsius degrees, so it’s not SUPER COLD and if it gets down to -25 degrees or thereabouts during colder months they’ll make safe camp and won’t travel.
short: all major religions in our world still exist but their
practioners are not as numerous. Zeus in particular has churches,
mosques, etc. for those who still practice religions. Some of those
religions have also twisted and morphed into something only barely
resembling the religion they were based on, for example it is very easy
to take the darker parts of Christianity (like the Book of Revelations)
and turn it into a doomsday cult, especially after something like the
apocalypse having happened. I can see Buddhism and any religion more
centered on the “self” being popular because of the lack of a creator
ON FOOD ON THE ROAD
spam is mostly made of beef rather than pork because pork is rare and
expensive because breeding pigs commercially is not as profitable or
useful as breeding cattle. And no, the canned foods are not from 80
years ago, they’re produced in Zeus. They're very profitable to make
because they're easy to carry when you travel, and they don't go off.
Our heroes ofc hunt or fish sometimes if they have the time to prepare
the meat afterwards. And in general vegetables, fruit and stuff like
sugar and bread are a bit more expensive than in our world since they
need to be grown in greenhouses because of the cold climate, and most
people eat very meat-heavy diets because meat is easier to come by.
ON TRAVELLER HIDEOUTS
The hideout (in chapter four) is used mostly by couriers and hunters since it’s nowhere near the bigger more widely-used roads, so yeah, people tend to stock the firewood before they leave since they know the next people to stay there are likely fellow hunters/couriers who are exhausted after a whole day of traveling. People like that tend to help each other since they know it’s not easy out there on your own (since couriers especially usually travel alone, hunters for the most part in pairs).
And then some assholes stumble by, make a mess, use up all the wood and leave without restocking. Shit happens.
Dogs haven’t gone anywhere and since animals are immune to the virus, they’re pretty good at dealing with the undead. In military zones specifically-trained dogs are utilized at the gates to sniff out people who have open wounds, since having been bitten is the most common way to turn into undead. Of course there are false positives because people can have wounds for whatever reason, but once checked out it’s pretty easy to tell if the wound’s been caused by a bite (and usually people who have been bitten and are desperate enough to try and get inside a zone for whatever reason are pretty reluctant to let anyone see the bite wound, so that’s pretty telling as well). If uncertain, the person can be taken into custody and put into quarantine to make sure, since it usually doesn’t take more than 24 hours to turn from a bite.
People who have been infected some other way, like ingesting undead bodily fluids are PRETTY RARE, but in those cases the dogs are of course useless because there is no wound and sometimes the infected person doesn’t even know they’re infected before the first flu-like symptoms suddenly turn worse. Almost all cases of ‘undead inside zone walls’ have begun with someone who’s experienced non-traumatic transmission getting inside.
Military also uses trained dogs with scout patrols for sniffing out undead. They need to be trained because these undead don’t rot for whatever reason and don’t smell particularly rancid unless they’ve eaten recently, but dogs have better sense of smell anyway and there’s some certain smell to the undead definitely. Some traveling civilians have trained dogs as well to warn them of undead threats ahead of time, hunters use dogs for multiple purposes (spotting the undead, fetching the kill, etc), farmers use them as shepherds and smaller breeds inside zones are popular rat dogs to keep vermin in control (and kill them for food too. Cats are used for the same purpose as well). Guard dogs are also common, since there is no better alarm system than a big dog in your house, some are used as work dogs to help their owners and some people in zones of course keep ones simply as companions and pets.
Home-made pads and sanitary napkins, made of whatever cloth available and reused after proper washing.
Also I think mooncups are in very wide use (especially in the military) because of reusability and low risk of infection and I would guess they can be easily manufactured in Zeus alongside other silicone products. Tampons are probably not in wide use, especially on the road the chance of infection from not changing often enough can become an issue.
ON MAKING CLOTHING
I mean it’s been 80 years since the apocalypse and the world is slowly rebuilding itself, being in this weird post-industrial revolution stage right now where people have the know-how of how to do stuff but not the means or resources to do it yet. Making fabric out of fiber and turning that fabric into clothing is not rocket science however.
Zeus, being the forerunner in every possible industrial endeavour (except medicine, because that’s where Nyx shines, and oil refinement, which is Eurus’ area of expertise because they’re closest to the oil rig off the eastern coast), has booming textile industry. They have factories for making that stuff. They use artificial fibers (mostly for military clothing because it needs to be durable), wool and leather instead of plant-based fibers because it’s a bit more important to grow crops and other food than cotton in greenhouses. Stuff like zippers and buttons etc get scavenged from old clothing and since Zeus is quite industrial and has a lot of factories I’m pretty sure they can make that stuff too, along with dyes. Not a lot of clothing from pre-apocalypse has survived unless it’s been protected some way from the elements, but since there are magazines and books, people who make clothing take ideas from those and that’s why most commercially made clothing looks a lot like our (recent) fashion.
And then people knit their own sweaters and hats and mittens and cure their own leather and some even make their own fabrics if they’ve gotten their hands on a loom and southern traders bring also fabrics to north along with everything else they know sells like hotcakes (and they can grow cotton because the weather is not winter all the time).
The only thing is that most people have only
one set of outdoor clothing and very few indoor clothes and generally
they just start patching stuff up when it breaks because clothing is not
exactly cheap unless you’re a wealthy citizen of Zeus.
ON OTHER CONTINENTS
People build boats or rafts and sail away and nobody hears of them after that. I mean obviously world maps exist and people who are curious enough to seek out this information know that there are other continents, but nobody’s ever crossed the oceans to the continent No End takes place in (or at least it isn't widely known, who knows, maybe someone came from east or west), so there is no knowledge about what’s the state of the world over there. Some are willing to take the risk and go see themselves, but whether they perish during the journey or make it to other continents, nobody knows.
I’ve mentioned before that there
is a known civilzation to the south of the map, but the channel that
separates north from south is difficult to cross (to east, near Hecate,
there is a large old city full of undead and to west, way past boglands
and Fen Mills there is a very marshy river delta: both are deathtraps,
and the channel itself is ravaged by strong currents that make
navigating it a nightmare). There is a trade route out on the open sea
past the river delta, operated by a few sailing ships that brings
southern goods north and basically only these traders have ever been in
contact with southern people. For this reason not much is known about
the southern civilization: traders tell tales and when those tales get
told form one person to another the truth just eventually turns into
myth. What is definitely known about south is that it’s warmer, but the
undead are more numerous. To only few it sounds good enough to make the
Of course some magazines and smutty literature have survived the apocalypse, later found and saved from the elements by scavengers.
The main source of pornography are probably a bunch of industrious photographers, artists and writers who distribute their self-made zines to traders. Maybe someone somewhere has a working computer and a hard drive full of porn too. Maybe some video material has survived, but who knows.
Makeup isn’t something everyone uses: it’s horrendously expensive and hard to get, although there is of course a booming industry for cosmetics in Zeus. There is a booming industry for pretty much everything in Zeus. If someone happens to find vintage makeup, for example while scanvenging, they will rarely keep it for themselves. They sell it for a good price to a merchant who sells it at Zeus with an even bigger price tag attached to it.
Some do celebrate Christmas and other “our” holidays, but mostly only those who still follow the religions associated with those holidays. I mean sure our very commercial Christmas (celebrated by non-Christians) has hardly anything to do with Christianity anymore, but it’s been 80 years since there’s been a commercial Christmas. Things are forgotten.
Religious holidays still get celebrated by those still following religions (and there aren’t many since I think an apocalypse can be a test of faith to anyone believing in some sort of ‘god’, and the military doesn’t ‘uphold’ any religions. Also new religions have arisen in their stead, including a crapload of different sort of cults).
There is one particular military holiday that is celebrated sometime in July, Cascade Day, which is a memorial day for the day 80 years ago when the military fired the tactical nuclear warheads at the biggest cities. Military thinks it probably secured the victory for human kind in the end, which is why they celebrate it. The celebration is almost strictly military only: they do a march in full dress uniform with a band and all and once sun has set, they set off a couple of fireworks (only in Zeus where there is basically no chance of attracting an undead horde because of the noise). Military families gather together for a dinner probably. Civilians can of course enjoy the show and celebrate alongside the military, but they don’t really have anything to do with it.
probably do have more holidays and old holidays may have morphed into
new ones. It hasn’t come up in the comic (and likely won’t come up,
although there is maybe one cult that will show up in the comic! Unless
is gets cut, which it might because it'll be very late into the comic.)
ON PRODUCING THINGS AND STUFF
Military’s not STRICTLY in control of food distribution even in military zones: most mass-producing industrial-sized farms and ranches and greenhouses are owned by merchant and landowner civilians and worked in by working class civilians, who all, in effect, work for the military. Military USED to be the be-all end-all of food business, but the bigger for example Zeus grew, the bigger farms they needed to support the expanding population, and they didn’t have the manpower to do that on their own. So they created a very class-based social infrastructure in Zeus, which now exists in almost every bigger military zone (military’s at the top, after that landowners, merchants, traders, then simple working class, then the poor who are unable to work and scraping the bottom of the barrel, usually forced to leave the zone in hopes of finding something better out in the few independent zones. Being in one way or the other disabled in the world of No End is a horrific thing).
Military still controls the electricity distribution in Zeus and other big zones. Most smaller zones have electricity turned off during daytime and people will have to warm/light up their houses other ways (fireplaces, candles, open fire even), this is also the case in Hades since their electricity is only produced by one working hydroelectric turbine (and guarded hard by the organized crimelord Moreau who’s the real big cheese in Hades. There is also a goof-up in the comic: there are no power lines coming into Hades in the opening shots of chapter two. Just one of those little things that slipped our minds while drawing). Biggest military zones have electricity on all year round. Once again working class civilians do all the actual work in the power plants (mostly coal-powered with hydroelectric plants close to suitable water sources with some old, still-working wind turbines providing a little extra).
And in independent zones like Hades, well, they take care of it the best they can. Trade caravans travel the land delivering goods, there are people who hunt for living. There are cattle/sheep/poultry being raised in Hades for food and there is a big greenhouse owned by Moreau who does the food distribution to the traders, but yeah most meat comes to Hades from dedicated and traveling hunters who bring in game. Back in chapter 2 Crow has access to military wares so he probably pulled the T-bone steak from there with the greens coming from the local greenhouse. Food is being used as a currency very often. Caravans use horses, but military has a couple of cars in their use which means they can move stuff around a lot faster than civilians can on their own (fuel is RIDICULOUSLY expensive and rare and only refined by the military – they have a working oil rig off the eastern coast which is where the oil comes from – which is why it’s very hard for civilians to get their hands on it, hence no motorized vehicles for civilians) and they also have the dedicated railroad connection between Zeus and Nyx (Nyx gets most of its food from Zeus and caravans). The raildroad is constantly being worked on so that it would cover more area, but it’s still strictly in military use only.
Being a scanvenger is also a good job: travel the wilds, pick up stuff someone might be interested in (electronical stuff like old laptops, cellphones, radios, TV’s, etc are very valuable to the military and can be traded in for big bucks at the caravans who then trade them for the military) and bring it to the nearest zone to barter with. Cotton and the others do this quite a lot since they run low on money constantly and travel off the main roads which is the best way to find any goods at all (most places have been scrounged clean decades ago). Old cities like the one next to Hades would be TREASURE TROVES for scavenging, but you don’t really go into old cities without an army.
A lot of cattle and poultry are not bred solely for butchery since they provide milk and eggs, which are important as well, and there are nearly not as many pigs as there is cattle, for example, since pigs are only bred for food and aren’t generally as useful. So pork has become sort of rare delicacy food. Bread is also rather rare, and the crops are almost always rye and used to make crisp bread, which stays fresh for a long time. In smaller zones bread is often baked with pine bark added in to substitute for some of the flour.
The ranches and farms and greenhouses are almost always within the zone walls, or in a separate walled area very close to the zone and guarded heavily since unsurprisingly humans are a bigger threat to farms than the undead. Military hands out free food (bark bread and slightly outdated meat for example) to the poor to at least keep them fed. After all it’s going to drain a lot more resources to fight them off the farms than give them what little they need.
And at least there is no shortage of water with all the snow around.