The Nutriment Revolution was supposed to save the world. Nutricorp unlocked the key to infinite food, built inside a laboratory. After their breakthrough, synthetic generation exploded as a commercial field. The corporations announced the end of scarcity: food, water, energy, they could fabricate it all.
Threatened by the approaching end to their industry, agriculture corporations responded with radical experiments of their own.
At first everyone celebrated the age of innovation.
Produce mutated first. Corporations and their legal teams labeled the reports of disfigured fruits and vegetables as freak incidents. They dismissed the claims of people falling sick as unfounded rumors—and surely not their liability.
Animals caught the effect next. Twisting in size, sprouting extra body parts, developing odd features like fur on fish and scales on deer. The effects spread out from the research laboratories, most in remote locations, so the news was originally discarded as no more real than the next Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster. They attacked rural communities, feeding off their power lines and fiber cables. These were explained away as human scavengers. Then they attacked people, rending cyberware from their bodies. These were, of course, the horrible assault of synth-addicts, deranged by virtual memories.
The first human mutations were dramatic: people spontaneously combusting, but unhurt; others able to jump to supernatural heights; some began to report voices speaking to them from the Wild. Calling their name. Calling them home.
The deviant effects multiplied as they spread, altering life—and natural laws—beyond recognition.
It became known as the Wild Strain: to some it was a twist of science, to others the resurgence of something magical, and to still others, a new form of the divine.
But everyone agreed on one thing: it was dangerous.
By the end of the first generation, a new order established itself. Some wildlife developed human-level sentience. With their intelligence and ingenuity, these creatures known as the Chimera ruled over the rest of the Wild. Under their command, the Wild became the new apex predator.
It also became clear that the Wild fed on a mix of organic and synthetic sources. Technology drew them; the more advanced the tech, the faster it seemed to call their attention.
Military experiments produced technology that could hold the Wild off, but it was expensive. The elite leadership decided to focus protection on the most efficient course: protect the urban centers. They built blockades and a militarized defense zone around each major metropolis.
Those outside the defense zone?
Left on their own.
Some built up their own militias. Some built hidden shelters. Some banned the use of technology. Others took the side of the Wild, and made pacts with their local Chimera.
Still other communities turned to corporations and the wealthy elite. They accepted exploitative deals for the construction of private prisons, experimental laboratories, military bases, entertainment estates for the wealthy, and more, in exchange for protection.
Everyone chose a different strategy but shared one goal: survive.