Last updated on August 25th, 2018
Infection & Radiation
Infection by spores & virus
The infection is based and spread on the spores of the invasive fungus called Epidecordyceps Incandis, genetically altered version of the common Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis. Created in secret, European science centers for biological warfare, it hosts and spreads a highly aggressive virus, called the C-Mandis Virus or, in more civil naming, CMV, the Brainruler Virus or the Braineater Virus.
When the spores enter a mammal's system, the virus is always released, and makes its way at once into the brain of the victim. Both, the spores and the virus though need a certain high dose to actually go beyond the body's suppression - a creation of antibodies that could destroy either spores or virus is not possible for a body, hence there is neither any kind of immunity, vaccine, nor any other kind of cure or medicine against them. Holding a dose too low for breaking out - Dormant Stage - just means that any bigger dose added (e.g. by breathing in a single full breath of spores / getting infected blood into the own system or getting a single bite of a turned, infected or zombie), as well as any weakening of the body's immune system (e.g. by dieing), makes the infection break out - Active Stage.
Given how the spores were distributed during the apocalypse, and how the climate and winds had distributed them all over, every mammal, including every human being, has this suppressed low dose of spores and virus in their brain. Even children already get it while still in the mother's womb.
Infection by spores
The spores, if gathering in sufficient dose in a person, begin to grow, from the brain onwards. If that happens to someone already dead or short of, the spores will turn that corpse into a roughly humanoid shaped fungal colony that blasts out green clouds of spores in relatively high pace. If growing in a yet normally living mammal - non-humans need far higher doses - the fungus takes away their higher brain function (and with it, their humanity), and cause the infected host to become hyper-aggressive and incapable of reason or rational thought. Anywhere in between 1-2 days of sufficient infection so, the host becomes a so called "Stalker". After roughly a year during which the fungus grows more and more, the infected turns into a "Clicker" which is determinable by its fully fungus grown head usually. Finally, after several more years and the fungus having overgrown and gone through and through the entire body of the infected, they become basically a "Bloater".
The single tiny spores spread throughout all air of the world meanwhile are harmless, even for everyday breathing or bleeding. Yet if a bigger mass of spores is encountered, it would suffice for a dose big enough to get fully infected. To prevent this, a person needs to shut off their mouth and nose as well as their eyes (the spores can enter through tear ducts), and also cover every open wound as well as their genitals. That means that every open wound needs to be securely bandaged, good panties need to be worn, as well as a full-face gasmask (or combination of breather mask covering nose and mouth combined with secure goggles) is a definite must.
Turning from spore infection: Infection from spores happens
A) by inhaling a single breath already from a spores cloud (100% chance),
B) by absorbing spores e.g. through tear ducts, mucous membranes (e.g. inner mouth) or body openings like anus, penis or vagina (50% chance),
C) by being bitten by an infected (100% chance), or
D) by being scratched by an infected or else getting spores into an open wound (50% chance)
In sim spore clouds are displayed by big masses of green fog.
A full-face gasmask can be picked up at sim entrance.
Infection by virus
In early times of the apocalypse, it happened that Infected bit a living person. And many living were bitten, as none of them expected that to be done to them anyways. By that, only the virus gets transfered, as the spores do not gather in the teethridge of the infected. This though caused the virus caused sickness to fully break out in the bitten, i.e. to go from Dormant Stage to Active Stage.
When an inidividual is bitten by a zombie, a high enough dose of pathogen is transmitted into them as well as a plethora of bacteria and other infectious agents that reside in a zombie's mouth. The C-Mandis Virus then yet needs to travel into the brain of the bitten. In the event that amputation fails or is not possible, the additional dose turns the entire virus load from Dormant State into Active State.
The Active State of the CMV infection begins with a fatal and irreversible cytokine storm, causing the stages...
1) initially dizziness, weakness, fatigue and chills, soreness
2) additionally fever, delirium/hallucinations, nausea/vomiting/fluid discharge, dehydration
3) additionally pale skin, diluted pupils, spontaneous aggression or anger
4) additionally hair loss and missing scalp pieces, coughing up Blood, pale yellow sclera, internal hemorrhage
5) additionally delirium and organ failure
Each stage from 2 through including 5 has a 20% higher death chance than before already.
In other words: As the infection progresses, the active pathogen invades and spreads through the brain like meningitis, infecting synapses and other neural structures that are concentrated in the brain stem and parts of the cerebellum. At the climax of the infection, the adrenal glands hemorrhage and the brain completely shuts down. All brain activity would cease, followed by the major organs and the body would be clinically dead: no measurable brain activity, no reflexes, and no respiration or pulse.
The time between the onset of the symptoms and death, followed by reanimation is very dependent on the severity, location, and quantity of the bite wound(s) of individuals who cannot be saved. Also the general health and nutrition level of the bitten as well as the average recent stress level can make a difference. The entire process from being bitten to dieing though can last anywhere between 5 minutes and 3 days - not all stages have to be passed through, but when stage 5 is reached death is close and certain.
The dead corpse of anyone that dies from being infected (Active Stage) - or that dies for any reason other than fungus infection of course - will reanimate as a zombie, unless the brain of the individual is badly damaged or destroyed, or the person was dead prior to the outbreak. Since the active pathogen only reactivates the brain stem and not parts of the brain such as the frontal lobe and neocortex that are responsible for higher-order brain functions, the reanimated person retains only a physical resemblance to their former self. The process of reanimation can happen anywhere from one minute to one hour after death.
A person turned into a zombie goes, similar to the infected, through various stages. These are mainly depending on the state of decay, the percentage rate of which their body was destroyed by the biting zombies or other cause for death. Usually a priorly healthy, middle age and only once bitten or heartstabbed living person goes through the stages of becoming a "Runner", then a "Walker", and finally a "Crawler". Given the circumstances, also other types of Zombies are possible, just like with the spore infected.
Turning from virus infection: Infection from virus happens
A) by being bitten by an infected (100% chance), or
B) by being scratched by a zombie or else getting a bigger dose of additional virus into an open wound (50% chance)
Exposure to low-levels of radiation does not cause immediate health effects, but can increase the risk of cancer over a lifetime. Radiation exposure increases the chance of getting cancer, and the risk increases as the dose increases: the higher the dose, the greater the risk. The bigger the exposure to radiation becomes the higher the risk increases to get cancer, hepatitis, and cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. A very high level of radiation exposure delivered over a short period of time can cause symptoms such as nausea and vomiting within hours and can sometimes result in death over the following days or weeks. This is known as acute radiation syndrome, commonly known as "radiation sickness" or "radiation syndrome". It takes a very high radiation exposure to cause acute radiation syndrome—more than 75 rad. Acute radiation syndrome is rare, and comes from extreme events like a nuclear explosion or accidental handling or rupture of a highly radioactive source.
In the roleplaying game iRP/AC living in the ruins of Seattle in general means to have a constant but low exposure to radiation. Groundwater when drunk, local animals when hunted and eaten, as well as certain spots ((spots defined by roleplay of players)) and surely some other items count as highly radiated.
Players are encouraged to try to IC let their characters prevent high radiation exposure and the consequences from it. Yet players are free, and also encouraged, to play their characters to begin to suffer from radiation effects, e.g. to have cancer break out, to have the character's skin or organs ulcerate, perhaps organ failure, etc.. If such happens, they may roleplay to get into medical AND mechanical treatment, e.g. have a leg amputated and replaced by a mechanic makeshift prothesis, or even the lung replaced by a tinkered breathing machine in the body paired with a breather mask over the face (see: Immortan Joe from the movie "Mad Max - Fury Road"). Such protheses are usually worse than the original limb or organ, but may be played as being as good - never though as being better or as giving any special skills.