This is the twelfth installment in a series of previews designed to introduce newcomers to Chronoplex. In this, the seventh in a series about the history of the Plex, we learn about perhaps the greatest tragedy to befall the Plex.
The Jeet Rush took participating tempors around the globe and across a wide swath of linear time. It was an inspiring event that captured the imagination of the citizens of the Caesian Confederation. Sadly, there were only so many tracts of land to go around and many jeets had to return to their former GTLs empty handed. Most came home with nothing but memories and some good stories to tell their friends. However, an unfortunate few who crossed particularly pathogenic areas in linear time came home with a little bit more.
Illnesses began cropping up across Caesia. The first cases were reported in Sprosny and Inkarri, but those were soon joined by cases in Donatus, Croatan and Olmecca. Symptoms ranged wildly; severe fever, coughing, a rash of pustules on the face and limbs, enlarged bubos around the neck, armpits and groin, bloody vomit and/or diarrhea. Physicians were confounded as to what the ‘Contagions’ were and citizens grew panic-stricken. Within three months an estimated one million tempors had died from the Contagions and the death toll showed no signs of slowing.
On 126.96.36.199.9.11 researchers from Virachoa University in Paititi went before the Caesian Confederation Congress to report their findings regarding the Contagions. Drawing on the relatively advanced medical knowledge from the early 20th century, the researchers found that the sickness in Caesia was not due to a single illness, but was due to at least three different ones. It was just difficult to distinguish them because many of the victims, due to their already compromised immune systems, contracted more than one affliction. The researchers had clearly identified smallpox and bubonic plague as culprits and they suspected a third unknown illness.
Moreover, the researchers predicted that the reduced labor force across Caesia had the potential to greatly exacerbate the problem. Reduced labor would create food shortages in many parcels. This, they reasoned, would result in malnutrition among the remaining citizens, which would likely increase susceptibility to the Contagions due to weakened immunity. The researchers predicted that without quick and decisive action, civilization in the Plex could collapse within a year.
It was clear that high-level regulation was needed to slow the spread of the Contagions. The Confederate Congress wasted no time. In the aggregates’ weakened states the Congress was able to convince them to – or in some cases strong-arm them into – granting temporary regulatory authority over the aggregates of Caesia. They quickly drafted and passed the Spanner Control Act, authorizing tolls to be collected in order to gain entry into populated chroneurisms. In addition, spanners wishing to cross borders had to submit to a quarantine period of at least 48 hours for observation. And to ensure that the new tolls and quarantines were enforced, the Confederate Congress passed the Temporal Regulatory Labor Act, granting Congress the authority to enlist the necessary forces.
The measures enacted by the Confederation Congress did not stop the Contagions, but the slowed traffic between aggregates halted the unchecked spreading of the diseases. Over the next five years the Contagions ran their course and settled back into infrequent occurrences, but by the end they had exacted a terrible price. The Contagions had decimated the population of the Plex. In just five years more than half of the citizens of Caesia succumbed to the illnesses. Scores of children were orphaned. Several GTLs stored so many festering corpses that they had to be permanently blocked off. No one was left untouched by the tragedy.
As for the Confederation, the end of the Contagions did not mean the end of their leadership. They quietly maintained and continued to build upon the authority they had gained. The era of the independent aggregates was over.
Check back in two weeks to see the emergence of a new threat to both the Plex as well as linear time: History of the Plex, Part 8.