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  1. "Humanities best tool for survival is our ingenuity. Thus necessity is the mother of invention." This sentence stuck to Friedrichs mind like it had been glued on. It was what his old friend told him in Obersalzberg. Back when his world was whole. Now he stood atop a grassy hill, overlooking the vast and open countryside of Scandinavia, with the skyline of Nyheim sitting on the horizon, barely visible behind a blanket of fog. With a heavy sigh, Friedrich strode off towards his new home. His heart raced as his mind filled with regret, hatred, and self-pity. Images of what had happened in Obersalzberg flooded his mind, the thoughts of all the sorrow and destruction he had caused almost made him throw up. He would have to start again, no one could ever know what happened, he'd be banished just the same. Deep inside he knew that this, Nyheim, was his last chance. He would not survive another exile. But let me rewind a few years, and shift the focus away from Nyheim, and to a small community of survivors near the Obersalzberg - Germany. Famous for its former use by a dictator of the old world, Obersalzberg was more than well equipped to handle any kind of crisis. The outbreak of the virus and the resulting downfall of civilization were no different. When the world sunk into flames, a community consisting of residents from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland began to form near Obersalzberg. They had an abundance of basic goods such as food, water, and medical equipment, and their home was easily defendable. After all, it was designed to withstand invasions, even from foreign armies. They called themselves the "Liga der Neuen Welt", which roughly translates to "League of the new world". This community lived on for decades. Mostly isolated from other settlements, and thus from any kind of conflict exceeding a neighborhood dispute, they lived in relative prosperity and safety. When their numbers grew, so did their territory, though their expansion was relatively peaceful. In the year 2045, a boy was born in a crude shelter just inside the safe walls of Obersalzberg. His name was to be Friedrich Straß, son of Albert and Maria, and he would one day destroy the peace that had lasted for so long. Friedrich grew up behind walls which was a privilege, to say the least. His father owned a workshop that sat just next to their home. It was nothing more than a few shelves and an old, rusty workbench but it was enough to repair and maintain all sorts of tools and trinkets for the residents of Obersalzberg. Which were not very keen on ancient technology and more focused on basic, crude tools they needed to survive. At the age of six, he began helping his father with day-to-day work. Repairing hammers, removing rust from knives and sicles, fixing bicycles, and whatever else it was the people needed, and paid for. Friedrich was content with his work, although not very exciting, it taught him many useful things. Years passed by. Friedrich grew up into a teenager and nothing in his world seemed to ever change. At least, that was until someone brought an old computer into his father's workshop. It was his first exposure to the technology of the old world, and a turning point in his life. The stranger that had brought it in said he lived outside the walls, though no one knew exactly where. He would just show up randomly once or twice a year and then disappear again. However this time, he had brought something truly amazing. Friedrich was fascinated when he had started up the computer. The digits and words flashing brightly on the screen made his heart race like it never had before. The two of them seemed to be sharing their interests, and they became friends soon after. Friedrich learned that the man's name was "Markus" and that he actually lived inside one of the hidden bunkers below the city, which were filled to the top with even more ancient technology. From this day on, Friedrichs life would change drastically. He no longer cared about the workshop, his family, or anything else. The two of them spent years upon years down in the bunker, examining and repairing technology that seemed to have been forgotten by the world decades ago. They began experimenting with radio communication and even attempted to launch a satellite, though they might have been a bit too ambitious with that one. Obersalzberg, you see, had no intention of establishing communications with other settlements, much to the dismay of Friedrich and Markus. Which were keen to exchange knowledge and information with other like-minded individuals. And so, just after Friedrichs twenty-fifth birthday, they began constructing a rudimentary radio tower. They had worked their way through the bunker, there was nothing left to explore, so they wished to expand their horizon. Although they were met with resistance from the people at first, they eventually managed to convince them of the necessity of their work, and even managed to raise some funds for their tower. Two months later, the new "Obersalzberger Signalantenne" was finished. It stood tall and proud in the town center, and a new chapter for Obersalzberg was about to begin. Markus and Friedrich stood at the control panel, excitedly entering commands and preparing the tower for its very first transmission. Little did they know that it would also be the last. Obersalzberg had been isolated for well over forty years now. Many people were certain that they were the last ones left, and as such had no interest in the tower, claiming it to be a waste of time and resources. Nonetheless, they allowed the two of them to proceed. On the 25th of March 2070 just after 4 PM, the tower sent its first message across the world, broadcasting on all channels available to them. "Hello, world." was to be their message. Much to their surprise, they were quickly met with a single response coming from somewhere in Austria. It read ... "Be silent, or they will find you." The following static that filled the radio was almost deafening. Nobody knew what to do, the air was filled with silent terror as everyone quietly left the town center to go about their day. Without a single word, the two shut down their tower and left. Disheartened by their vision smashed to pieces, they had more than just one drink that evening. However, just a few days later, fate came to knock on their gates. With tanks, machine guns, and bombs. They called themselves the "Tech Hunters" and their name did them justice. As feared by many, they had found them after receiving the transmission from the tower, and they did not come to say hello. Markus and Friedrich were awoken by the sound of gunfire, screams, and blazing fire. Years of isolation had left the town of Obersalzberg with only a small military force, which stood no chance against the raiders tearing down their walls. The streets flooded with masked monsters that plundered, razed, and murdered as they liked. Only those that were fortunate enough to escape into one of the many bunkers had a chance to survive, the rest was slaughtered like cattle, their blood merging into small rivers as it poured down the cobblestone streets of the city. The tower stood tall above, watching over the chaos as everything around it was engulfed in flames. With nothing left to steal, nobody left to murder, and nothing left to burn, the raiders left just as quickly as they had arrived. Their backpacks were filled with anything that was not nailed down. A few hours later, the bunker doors opened and the few that survived the mayhem emerged from their concrete shelters, Markus and Friedrich were among them. They were greeted by a sea of ashes. A city razed to the ground, engulfed in thick mist. Of course, it did not take long until they found the ones to blame. Anticipating the impending retribution, Markus and Friedrich left the town just an hour after. They had no time to pack their belongings or to find Friedrichs parents, they had to leave before anyone found out they were still alive. It felt almost like silent banishment. Fearing the wrath of the other survivors, the two of them made their way into the wasteland. For days upon days, they wandered, surviving just barely and narrowly escaping the infected more than once. Neither of them was skilled survivors, though they somehow managed to pull through and find shelter with a group of nomads. For the first time since leaving Obersalzberg, the two of them were able to speak with one another about what had happened. They tried to find excuses as to why it was not their fault, though, deep inside they both knew that they were to blame, and nobody else. They stopped speaking to each other afterward. Both of them believing the other to be at fault, their friendship slowly deteriorated into hatred. And a few weeks later, their hatred turned into violence. Friedrich and Markus were, once again, arguing about who had come up with the tower idea, when Markus insulted Friedrichs parents in the heat of the discussion. Something inside Friedrich snapped then, in a blind rage he grabbed his heavy-duty flashlight and struck Markus over the head. Just once. But it proved to be enough as Markus slumped to the floor, his gaze empty and face pale. He died just minutes later. Friedrich now stood over the bloody corpse of the only friend he ever had. And as the rage faded, replaced with fear and regret, Friedrich turned and bolted. He ran away as fast and far as he could, trying to outrun his past. The reality of what had happened and the consequences they would bring proved to be too much for him to handle. He spent the next few months alone and drunk, wandering the land and somehow not ending up as food for the infected. Weeks, days, and months turned into a blur of memories and emotions he could no longer remember. Eventually, though he had forgotten when or where, he was told about Nyheim. A supposedly striving community in the cold north where everyone would get a second chance. A new life. Salvation. And so, being out of options and other alternatives, Friedrich decided to make his way north. Somewhere within the year 2071, he arrived atop a grassy hill overlooking the vast and open countryside of Scandinavia, with the skyline of Nyheim sitting on the horizon, barely visible behind a blanket of fog. His future uncertain, the story continues...
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