Madison is the Capital of Wisconsin, The City of Four Lakes, and former home to PRT Office 83,. Since the Simurgh visited it in December 2009, it has been home to the seventh Quarantine Zone in the United States.
The area around Madison was occupied by numerous villages and smaller towns. Most interestingly it had four lakes it used in trade and recreation.
Government and heroic organizations
Madison originally had the 83rd PRT office, whose resident capes were presumably mainly concernedwith guarding decommissioned tinker devices. Now it has a full Quarantine PRT department with cape members rotated out on a regular basis.
Members are periodically swapped in. Considered a Punishment Detail to be constantly checking on people in the zone.
Largely evacuated even outside of the zone. No one wants to live at a quarantine site, and those that do have almost free reign in the lawless abandoned city. This did not mean everyone of them wanted to leave when given the option.
In the early days of the quarantine there was even a non-profit, Eyes Inside, trying to monitor the situation as an outside observer even if their behaviour was getting increasingly suspicious.
Newly triggered individuals, Case 53s including a few especially dangerous specimens, capes created from the readily available vials strewn everywhere, panicked civilians.
Also of interest, besides all of the above, two major groups were formed in the first weeks of the Quarantine. The Locusts, an ethnic gang, and the D.V.A.R.G., skilled professionals from many walks of life. All had capes in their group and all werescramblingg for territory.
Points of Interest
A large construction of possible parahuman make or influence. The wall has guard towers and the main PRT facility is at a main entrance that is presumably opposite to where Faultline’s Crew entered. Instead of having a guard building or embassy within the zone announcements are made over the wall whenever something needs to be communicated. An electronic deadzone is maintained outside the wall for several feet to prevent occupants inside the wall from communicating.
There is a three hundred foot bulldozed section between the actual wall and the remaining sections of the city.
Inside the Wall
The quarantine zone covers a wide area, including several important buildings that were built and occupied before the early 1980s. As such well before the timeline division.
St. Mary’s Hospital
The basic hospital site that processed detainees and provided medical care.
Within the Quarantine the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which would likely have had minimal staff given the winter holidays. Selected examples of buildings within include the imposing Humanities Building dedicated to George Mosse It contains upwards of 16 schools for various disciplines including Engineering, Medicine and Languages.
Also within the quarettine area are some resident halls and university bookstores.
The Henry Vilas Zoo Is close to 100 years old and include exotic animals the world over.
State Capitol Building
The state government was likely in recess.
There are numerous open areas with a somewhat natural habitat in the area.
Presumably was the same as the Madison on Earth Aleph.
Protectorate Office 83 substantiated here, eventually a vault full of tinker equipment from various sources was also placed here. Things were presumably peaceful; and it definitely was compared to what followed, when the Simurgh came.
Endbringer Attack and immediate aftermath
She was quickly met by Scion and over a period of several hours, arriving Protectorate and allied forces who tried to subdue and drive away the Endbringer. Eventually, The Simurgh accessed the tinkertech vault where among other things the leftover technology of Professor Haywire was kept. She brought in materials from multiple worlds including from Earth Aleph and a mysterious building from an unidentified world. Notably The Travelers were brought in from Earth Aleph.
A chain link fence and similar measures was present hours into the Endbringers attack, though individuals were still able to make illegal crossings in the first week. By the end of that week this was made considerably harder by large prefabricated walls, erected with parahuman assistance. Those who were able to evacuate were paid restitution through international relief funds.
The Parahuman Response Team established a full quarantine department for the area.
The heroes and armed forces were sent in as peacekeepers, but the passing of the simurgh had left such a dangerous and volatile situation, that the peacekeepers were eventually withdrawn and fast-tracked out of quarantine.
The outtakes eventually ground to a halt and the people had the make due with where they were.
Had been under Quarantine for two years. Infrastructure had largely collapsed inside the wall, and the city of Madison outside was now largely evacuated.
Care packages and medical supplies were randomly dropped in to the city in hopes of getting to the remaining civilians.
The city was infiltrated by Faultline’s Crew, who found the city in an advanced state of decay bithe inside and out.
In late 2012 the outtake process restarted after being stalled for various reasons for close to three years.
It is unknown what exactly happened to the city but all former quarantine sites were reported breached.
- It is unknown if the Madison of Earth Bet remains the capitol of the State of Wisconsin, in either the de jure or de facto sense, or if the state government has moved. Especially as it's capital building is within the quarantine zone.
- The Quarantine Zone was the setting for at least one non-canon and lapsed Weaverdice campaign, and Wildbow has dropped some adventure hooks about the situation.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 🐦PRT Quarantine Zone #7 - Madison
Formerly PRT Office 83, Madison was the site of a Simurgh attack, which took place over thirteen hours at the tail end of 2009. The area is a 'no man's land' within, as communication with those in the area is deemed high-risk with massive potential for causal fallout. PRT teams are brought in for a series of duties, described below, and rotate out on a schedule. These teams are hard to find and prepare, as they often center around a thinker who the others know, so they can support them and identify any odd behavior, they must be cleared & signed up for crisis events, with a great deal of counseling and evaluation prior to their assignment. Such cohesive, balanced and capable teams are often more comfortable elsewhere, and the PRT faces the awkward position that sees this being treated as a punishment detail.
Within the walls, infrastructure is failing, some power effects linger from the 2009 fight against the Simurgh (runaway Master minions, a cloud of energy, and unstable tinker tech rubble), there is a high number of dangerous case 53s, and the unevacuated human element is just as dangerous, with a number of newly triggered individuals and bandits.
Outside of the quarantine zone, all possible citizens have been evacuated, but some facilities and neighborhoods remain occupied, primarily by a low-level criminal element. Ironically, in a city with so much of a PRT presence/focus, the area is lawless, as authorities have other critical things to focus on. - Excerpt from a Reddit comment by Wildbow.
- ↑ Cities that break from this convention but nonetheless have departments are named with special designations.
Madison - Q7 - Site evacuated and sealed after Simurgh event, all measures in effect - PRT Master Reference
- ↑ PRT departments in nearby areas are staffed and set up to send their capes out to neighboring regions in case of emergency. Further, some cities have PRT offices but not departments, which aren't fully staffed and rounded out with X criteria and Y resources.
Take, for example, the small town of Stafford. Less than 15k people, three parahumans. PRT office is established in the same building that handles passports, drivers licenses, and votes - literally a one room affair with one staff member and one part time employee.
Two parahumans in Stafford are technically Protectorate, but for varying reasons don't have it in them to join a major team in the big city: - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
- ↑ The 66 or so largest cities in the US & the various special case scenarios (Brockton Bay being one) have a much more regimented approach. Offices (PRT establishments in smaller cities, small towns) are far looser, but don't have, say, informations departments or branding departments, or whatever else. So the cape is sorta asked to pick up the slack or handle some of that themselves. Being proactive about being liasons, keeping tabs on police scanners and incidents at schools. Time traveling outside of their city to the nearest PRT department to get stuff like costumes done or so on.
There's a lot more leeway in how much they patrol or don't patrol, how many events they do, etc. Though they'll get pushed to do something in various departments, even if it's sort of a 'You haven't done an event in the last two months, the guys at [nearby department] are very strongly suggesting that you go and do a school assembly or something in the next few weeks' thing. - comment by WildBow on Reddit
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 “…final decisions. In the meantime, plans are underway to build permanent blockades around the affected area, with concrete walls placed South Midvale Boulevard to the west, Capitol Square to the east, and Haywood Drive to the south. A quarantine processing center is already established at St. Mary’s Hospital, servicing city residents who were not evacuated before temporary blockades were set up.
“Restitution will be offered to citizens displaced from their homes, paid for with international funding. Authorities report that no catastrophic damage was done, and the situation was quickly brought under control by the first responders to the scene. Chicago Protectorate leader Myrddin is quoted as stating, ‘This is a win for the good guys. Scion arrived early to put the pressure on within minutes of her arrival and Eidolon delivered the final blows, driving her off. We’re getting better at fighting these guys, and it’s showing.’
“However, insider sources in the PRT suggest that things are not so glowing. A vault holding the equipment of now-deceased supervillain ‘Professor Haywire’ was accessed by the Simurgh. Shortly after, the source alleges, the Simurgh activated a large-scale replica of the devices, depositing large amounts of foreign bodies in the heart of the city. Among these bodies, multiple reports say, were innumerable monsters with superpowers and hazardous materials. When asked, the Chicago PRT director declined to comment, except to say that there have been no breaches of quarantine and there is no indication of risk to anyone in the vicinity of the quarantine zone.” - Excerpt from Migration 17.6
- ↑ themanwhowas:
- 2.You mentioned PRT Watchdogs. Is that a group of PRT-specific capes? What are their responsibilities besides evaluating Simurgh victims?
- 2.The Watchdog group is the group Accord belonged to. Parahuman thinkers and investigative bodies keeping an eye on economy, politics and other possible shenanigans behind the scenes. - Excerpt from a Reddit comment by Wildbow.
- ↑ Outtake
The outtake process, following from the now-defunct D.D.I.D. measure (revoked in Summer 2010), involves a long series of checkups by PRT staff and allowed staff within the quarantine zone. Individuals must maintain appointments with counseling services regularly over ten months, missing no more than ten out of eighty.
Once an individual completes this regimen:
Staff in the PRT building conduct a thorough background check.
- They are placed on a list for outtake. They may or may not be placed on a low-priority or high-priority list, allowing for needs and/or risks. Wait time may be two weeks to eight months, depending.
Secondary screening by PRT thinker.
- The subject is contacted and summoned.
- The individual receives initial screening from a PRT-approved parahuman, provided by the Watchdog arm of the PRT or the Protectorate.
- The subject must provide verification of identity, conducted through a digital waypoint. If ID is not available, outside authorities (banks, DMV) should be contacted, or the PRT staff may use internet credentials on the part of the subject (professional or school emails and password, etc).
- A relation or outside contact is brought in or otherwise contacted to serve as a third party and verify details.
One of three stress tests are chosen at random and conducted; the subject’s response to stress should be measured and noted. The deception may be bypassed if staff decides there is no need, depending on the ability of the screening thinker. The goal in this is to provoke the subject, knowing that the vast majority of Simurgh afflicted are poor at handling stressors. Stress tests include:
- An impromptu discussion follows, with the PRT officer, outside contact, the quarantine individual and (if viable/possible, the outtake screener, see below) conversing. For the individual, this is the first opportunity to reconnect with their old life. For the PRT officer, the conversation should be observed for discrepancies or alarm bells.
- Notification that they have failed to pass procedure and must remain within the quarantine zone for another ten months/for life.
- The outside contact cooperates by providing sufficiently stressful news: the death of family to Endbringers, death of a child, loss of something valued, etc.
- A Medical examination is conducted and they are told they have a terminal illness.
The subject undergoes a medical checkup.
- Final screening by PRT thinker, typically a different one than the two prior screenings.
- The individual is freed, with mandated checks six times a year. The individual should avoid high-profile events, and has their drivers license marked.
- More severe and problematic measures under the D.D.I.D. act have already been removed from the process (including the tattooing of those leaving quarantine). - Excerpt from a Reddit comment by Wildbow.
- ↑ Civilians. Five of them. They were wielding improvised weapons. A makeshift bow and arrow, spears. Nothing that posed a serious threat to Newter.
“These are my friends,” Newter said. He was holding his hands and tail up in the air. “More will be coming shortly. We’re not here to hurt anyone.”
“Why are you here? You’re insane, coming to a place like this. You know what the Simurgh does.”
“We do,” Faultline said. “But we have a friend, she’s got a bit of precognitive talent. Enough that it should clear us of any schemes the Simurgh is pulling.”
Eyes went wide.
“We’re looking for answers,” Faultline said. “Information, either about or from the monsters who came through that portal the Simurgh made. Give us something to work with, we’ll show you how to leave.”
“Assuming we want to,” one man said.
Why wouldn’t you? Faultline wondered. She chose to be diplomatic and keep her mouth shut. “Assuming you want to. I’m sure we could come to another deal.” - Excerpt from Interlude 18.f
- ↑ Eyes Inside is a civilian nonprofit who are very concerned with the fact that people don't know what's going on inside the walls. What they want is recorded material of the worst of the worst that's going on inside. But when capes go in with the recording devices and computers, they end up tumbling down a rabbit hole of hearing about worse things. Every time they radio in to request the waygate to teleport them out, the nonprofit insists they go deeper to get more info. Past a certain point, it starts to feel like they were in the Simurgh's radius, as paranoia escalates and things stop making sense. - /ctht547 Excerpt from Reddit Conversation
- ↑ Cauldron capes were explicitly more stable. Case 53s (barring Shamrock, Madison and Dealer C53s) all had a reason for being dropped where they were, with individual programming. - Excerpt from a Reddit comment by Wildbow.
- ↑ Fool Option - You're amnesiac and monstrous, the last thing you remember is waking up in a prison. Then the entire world turned upside down and you were dropped in a strange city at war. You can decide from a few options (ie. deciding on thinker classification, hardy body) and everything else is randomized.
The nature of the quarantine and the high level of conflict within the walls make for an environment and distinct goal. There are two or three monsters within the quarantine that could be called mini-endbringers, and you're bound to run into one. Things have settled by the time you get your powers, and teams of capes and armed personnel man the walls. Paths to victory include brute forcing your way past the barricades, effective infiltration, recon and attempting to rush through a gap or weak point in patrols, or gathering up a small army and storming the wall.- /copkgq9 Another excerpt from a CYOA
- ↑ The Locusts are an ethnic gang with numbers but not particularly good powers. Their focus right now is on finding and distributing more vials in hopes of getting more firepower. Their leader is a self-duplicator, and the two lieutenants are blasters.
First questline: Scavenging
Secondary questline: Decide on a way out, seize the needed assets.
D.V.A.R.G. is a group of companies and factions who've banded together. They're skilled individuals, including a few with military training and a number who've done construction work, and a lot of powerful capes, including a speedster, brute, and a very powerful space-warping breaker. They've marked out an area, and the breaker has been altering the environment, all to better fortify against outside threats and plan for the long-term. They're somewhat elitist (for good reason) and xenophobic, and if you want to join, you're going to have to prove your worth. Problem is, their leader is obviously simurgh-affected, so making full use of their facilities may require some changes.
First questline: Prove your worth, alone.
Secondary questline: Behead the king.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Elle opened the window into a proper exit, complete with a staircase leading to the road behind the hotel. Faultline paused to look at the looming stone wall, only a few blocks away. Three hundred feet tall, it was all smooth stone. Parahuman made, no doubt. The barrier encircled the area the Simurgh had attacked, containing everything within.
Every house and building within three hundred feet of the wall itself had been bulldozed. She couldn’t help but feel conspicuous as they crossed the open area. It was dark, there weren’t any spotlights, but she couldn’t help but be paranoid.
“Cell phones are dead,” Shamrock commented.
Faultline nodded grimly. Of course there wouldn’t be any transmissions into or out of this area. No messages of any sort would be permitted. Not even water entered or left the quarantine area, let alone communications or goods. Anyone still inside was left to fend for themselves with whatever resources they could gather.
She’d checked and double checked the measures authorities were taking, ensuring that the area wasn’t being watched for intruders. There weren’t any people on the wall, and the only surveillance was busy keeping an eye out for anyone who might be trying to make it over the top of the wall. - Excerpt from Interlude 18.f
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 themanwhowas:
- 4.What channels of communication are there in the quarantine zones? An official PRT embassy of sorts, with Dragon-moderated contacts, like the hospital in the Travelers interlude?
- 4.No embassy, limited communications. The PRT periodically makes announcements from the walls. There was a presence of capes and forces who established an initial presence, but they were allowed out, separately quarantined, and went through an accelerated extraction after a short duration. - Excerpt from a Reddit comment by Wildbow.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 themanwhowas:
- 6.How large are the zones? A mile in diameter? Five? Ten? Is it as far as the Simurgh's psychic scream, and if so, what is that range?
- 6.Scream's rage varies. Fight took place over hours and covered an area of the city. Covered roughly the following area: http://i.imgur.com/sRbKrDI.png+-+/ctht547 Excerpt from Reddit Conversation
- ↑ Seen in this Review and history of the Building
- ↑ Actually, in the Simurgh fight mentioned in Migration, it’s Scion who arrives first on scene and the heroes who wrap it up. Eidolon, specifically, mops up.
17.6, ctrl-f ‘restitution will be offered’ - Comment by Wildbow on Cell 22.4
- ↑ When the Simurgh had attacked Madison, she’d copied Haywire’s technology to open a gate to a building much like this one. A research facility. The portal had dumped the buildings, soil, plant life and all the residents into the city on Earth Bet, costing Cauldron a horrific amount. Even a stockpile of formulae had been lost. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
- ↑ The loudspeaker blared, “Step away from the fence!”
The man in charge must have given an order, because every gun present moved to point their way. As one, Krouse and his friends backed a healthy distance away from the fence.
“Bastards,” Krouse muttered.
There was a distant rumble. The Simurgh ascended from the skyline a mile away, a half-dozen uprooted buildings orbiting lazily around her. As chunks of concrete came free of the ruined ends of the structures, they too orbited her, a protective shield. - Excerpt from Migration 17.3
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Quarantine
Evacuation and quarantine measures during/after the fight were prompt and reasonably effective, though a number of individuals slipped still past the initial defenses, which included armed forces (both military and PRT) and quickly erected chain-link fences with barbed wire.
Longer-term measures were established, with walls erected using materials prepared in advance as well as the assistance of parahuman abilities. In the months following, watchtowers were constructed, with bunkers and a specialized PRT facility at the main exit point. Buildings were bulldozed to create a ‘no man’s land’ in the space between the quarantine walls and the residential area, and regular patrols were set up.
It is believed that at least 7,000 individuals were caught within the quarantine, though it is likely that more were included. In the process of her attack, the Simurgh deposited a number of individuals with a strong resemblance to the Case-53s at the attack site, and these individuals have been reported to be active and at large within the zone. This threat slowed, then stalled quarantine outtake, causing no small amount of distress to the individuals in processing.
Three years after the incident, the PRT restarted the process of outtake, each individual undergoing a background check and screening by a PRT-approved thinker. To minimize the effects of cumulative influence, the PRT rotates out directors and teams.
The quarantine remains a controversial subject in the public debate, with many suggesting that outtake should be prohibited, while others say that it’s inhumane as it stands. The PRT may well need to step into the public debate to shape the narrative and control expectations. - Excerpt from Wildbow Reddit comment
- To maintain the safety of the public outside the zone, first and foremost.
- To combat the Simurgh’s influence wherever possible.
- Contain the Case-53 element within the walls.
- Maintain the quarantine perimeter against attempted breaches.
- Provide supplies and necessary services (water, power, shelter, medical) to those within.
- Maintain the peace and continue regular PRT duties in respect to the now sparsely-populated Madison periphery.
- PRT deals with number of incidents, including breakout attempts, ‘infected’ and ‘at risk’ individuals attempting to slip through outtake, crises within the site, such as hostages, gangs taking over supply drops and managing interactions with those within.
- ↑ themanwhowas:
- 5.How quickly do the first walls go up? With prefabricated and/or parahuman help, it should still take a while for 300 foot walls to go around a city, even if it's just a part of a city.
- 5.Fast. Within the first week. - Excerpt from a Reddit comment by Wildbow.
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 Picture a game set in Madison, WI, just after the Simurgh attack. The quarantine area is walled in, people are going nuts, there's monsters everywhere and the city is littered with vials with sporadic paperwork, from when one of Cauldron's storehouses were dropped on the city. - Excerpt from a Reddit comment by Wildbow.
- ↑ themanwhowas:
- 3.What measures does the PRT take to ensure that supplies aren't taken by normal/parahuman gangs or bandits? I imagine not too many guards would want to expose themselves to Simurgh Quarantine Zone threats just to make sure the supplies go where they're needed.
- 3.Random placement. That's all they can do. - Excerpt from a Reddit comment by Wildbow.
- ↑ How fragile civilization is, Faultline mused, as she emerged on the other side. Newter clambered up the side of the nearest building for a vantage point.
Some of it was the Simurgh’s doing, no doubt, but the thing that made her catch her breath was the degree to which things had degraded. Windows were broken, plants crawled over the surroundings, a building had collapsed a little further down the street. Stone was cracked, windows shattered, metal rusted. The buildings, the cars that still sat in the middle of the street, they looked as though they had been left abandoned for a decade, though it was closer to a year and a half in reality.
It didn’t take much. Animals found their way inside, fires started and spread, and weather damaged the structures. Once the spaces were partially breached, the wind, sun, rain and temperature were free to wear on the interiors, and everything accelerated.
That damage, in turn, paved the way for other things to take root. Mold could get into materials and surfaces. Plants could take root, winding roots into cracks, widening them. Ice did much the same in the winter months.
Still, it was so much, so fast. - Excerpt from Interlude 18.f
- ↑ ► Nutty
Replied on August 17th, Y1
@ Boosher – This article, search for Nancy Y’s statement. People traveling across the US to get to portals are being warned about multiple threats. Word on the capevine is that with everyone having pulled out, all former quarantine zones are breached. In the US and elsewhere. - from Glow-worm P.1
- ↑ Martichora (Manticore) is a cape with a strong changer ability, who fissions off one of five different parts of themselves. The fifth part is antagonistic, with personality and mutations based on what aspect of Martichora's personality was fissioned off. This creates a dynamic where Martichora is a powerful cape with some nasty mutated weapons, and a 'little brother' or 'little sister' that generally has to be restrained (though every single one has enough going on that they can eventually work their way free of most confinement or situations).
Martichora was separated from a younger brother or younger sister by the way the quarantine went up, the 4/5ths 'big' sibling trapped within the zone. Their teammates restrained the little sister, apparently, until she used acid to melt through her cage, and killed three, hospitalizing a fourth with head to toe acid burns. She's since killed a bunch of people. Authorities aren't having any luck tracking her down, and what they really need is Martichora themselves, who is the only one who really knows the current suspect. But it's possible that Martichora isn't well, after exposure to the Simurgh. - /ctht547 Excerpt from Reddit Conversation