Post plague, and post Riot Years, some semblance of order begins to form. Ex-military types begin to form small communities and protect them from rioting, looters and other travelling bandits. Most power plants around the country aren’t functional anymore, or don’t last long, so people have gone back to other sources for power, water driven, wind driven, solar driven and in some cases, no power at all. Much of the remaining populace begins to return to a more agricultural existence, and in some cases (near natural huntable resources), they hunt for their food again. Medical care continues to exist, and the system that had begun to form before the collapse evolves and continues to do business. People exchange drugs, food, chemicals supplies, nearly anything the doctors will accept to get care. Doctors begin to form their own small communities in known central areas to provide this care, hire on their own military guards and maintain in the largest cases, whole hospitals. The largest of these become known as HC’s (hospital cities) or eventually, just Aitches, and exist in several places around the country (Denver, Atlanta, Austin, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Burlington (VT) and Raleigh(NC)).

Some communities use this model to get themselves back on their own feet as well, and form ‘Free Cities’, usually quite near the Aitches, and begin to try to restore some of the public services that were present before the collapse. Some are able to bring mainstram power back online, or setup enough solar/wind based power to provide themselves with electricity and basic amenities. All of these maintain their own police/military forces, and protect themselves fiercely from outsiders.

Travel between cities is very dangerous. Bandit groups in the large stretches of country between Free Cities and Aitches and prevalent and in some case, organized as well. The Free Cities often send out caravans to attempt to find essential resources from abandoned areas, looting from whatever is available. Canned goods, gas, appliances (where applicable), in some cases technological artifacts (computers, etc), chemicals and medical supplies, etc. These caravans are constantly plagued by bandit attacks, and are always accompanied by heavy military escort.

At some point, someone (need a name here … Phoenix comes to mind … Blackbauch also) realizes that one of the resources that is being largely ignored is the knowledge and communication networks that used to exist, and begins trying to extend control over the old Internet networks and data centers. Focused heavily on high technology areas, probably based out of Texas. Their rading parties also target old technology companies and anyone producing or using large bodies of computing resources. Hard drives and storage arrays become very highly prized by these Techs. They slowly secure and resurrect bodies of data and research and teams of them focus on the cataloging of the knowledge they find and bring back online. They are largely ignored by the remainder of the Free Cities. Aitches, however, recognize the value of having access to the old research and contract with the Techs to gain access to that again. A loose alliance is formed, and health care for the Techs is secured in exchange for access to the data pools.

The networks begin to come back online, focusing on buried lines that were using railroad rights of way for their tracks. These railroads are also slowly brought back into service, and resources and communication begin to flow around the country again, completely controlled by the techs. As soon as communication between sites is restored, they quickly implement a badge identification system, and security and access to Tech resources is based on that. Aitches and Aitch staff are also pulled back into the slowly growing ‘identified’ populace, and are also allowed access to Tech resources based on ID. Eventually, fingerprint, retina-print and dna/blood-printing identification methods are brought back into standard practice.

Other Tech targets: military installations with advanced tech and satellite capabilities. Limited satellite data and connectivity is restored. International communication is (in very limited circles) restored. Weather and other military satellite data is restored (Monterey Bay). Eventually, production plants for hard drives, and research facilities into efficient storage methods are restored. International travel is slowly brought back online, primarily through shipping. Planes aren’t used yet since transponder networks aren’t online, but that eventually returns as well.

Eventually, the world is brought under one control, managed by the people who manage knowledge and technology and information. Haven’t thought too far ahead yet because I think the meat of the writing will happen during the turmoil following the collapse and during the rebuilding stages.