Few people recall how World War III started, but everyone remembers how it ended.
In the waning days of the last Great War, nations crumbled. Soldiers on all sides kept on for a while, until realizing they fought only out of routine. With no leadership to turn to, some officers became warlords, ruling over little fiefdoms. Most soldiers tried to go home. Former enemies sat side-by-side on any truck, bus, or car that still worked to leave the horror behind them.
But they hadn’t seen the worst of it.
From the skies came a new kind of death, indiscriminate and cruel. A wasting death that left its victims delirious as their bodies turned grey and their minds disintegrated. No one knows where it came from: alien microbes, industrial accident, weapon of war, the wrath of God… only the dead outnumber the rumors.
Years later, humanity has reestablished itself. The Citizens live safe within Sanctuary Zones, Nons cling to survival in Habitation Districts, or worse: the Wildlands. Along the eastern coast of the former US, a loose affiliation of Sanctuary Zones have formed the Eastern Commonwealth States, under the watchful eye of The Authority.
In New Baltimore, one person holds all the power: Vanessa Oman, CEO of Ascendant Pharmaceuticals. The company manufactures Xenodril―the only known cure to the ever-present threat of Fade. Cheap to produce, expensive to buy, it has propelled Ascendant to its place. They own the Authority. They own what remains of the world.
Only one thing threatens her rule: her daughter, Maya.
A nine-year-old girl.