Worldbuilding Prompt #312 - After the Apocalypse - The Mushroom Blight

Colim Lak-Zito wiped invader blood off his knife, leaving a dark smear on his tattered, dusty cloak.

"That's the last of them, at least around here, Dann," he muttered, more to himself than to his comrade. Dann was too busy to listen anyway, wrapping a filthy strip of cloth around his forearm to act as a bandage. A little further away, two more of their small band rifled through the pockets and pouches of invader corpses. There were five of them in total, the survivors of a regiment that had gone to war three thousand strong.

A hundred yards beyond them lay the tangled smoking wreckage of the enemy space cruiser, bought down by the last remaining charge of the team's heavy laser. The silvery metal was framed in the distance by the tattered streamers of the dispersing mushroom cloud over what had once been the beautiful city of Primat.

Captain Alexion was sitting on a nearby tree stump, coughing up blood. The drops splashed onto the dusty ground, blackening the dry, dead grass. "Private Colim," he said, controlling his breathing to be able to speak, "you're our comms specialist, in between killing the occupying scumballs. What can you tell me ? Who is still operational, and who is in charge ?"

Colim gave a bitter laugh. "No-one is in charge, it's all fallen apart. Groups like us are all about, claiming that whoever their leader is, is now the new king. The Setok brigade say they have seceded and will rebuild their zone as an independent operation together with Cwam Brigade. Login's Division are saying the same kind of thing, but no-one seems to know if any of their command staff are actually still alive."

Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

He hesitated, as if pulling up a map in his mind's eye. "All of the cities are gone; Primat, Danoo, Sohnt. Mostly dirty fusion bombs. Chances are anyone who made it to a shelter was vapourised anyway."

"The refugees who got out in time are calling it the mushroom blight. Smart-asses. As for further afield, the last message from Garilan was that they'd been hit by some kind of radiation bomb, everyone was sick and dying. Their scientists say it's a lingering thing, will take from a thousand to ten thousand years to disperse. Locot and Grecot got it even worse. Earthquake bombs. The last message was about the whole continent sinking and the sea washing everyone away. Then it was just screaming."

Dann looked up. His once fine crimson uniform was a singed, bloodstained mess. Most of his webbing was missing, and like the others, his radiation mask hung useless on his chest, the absorptive filters long since over-loaded.

"So apart from it taking us ten thousand years to rebuild Goll after this shit-show, if we even can, have you got any good news for us, Colim ?"

His friend grinned, the kind of slightly mad expression of someone who has seen too much hell.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

"Oh yes, I've got good news. We've killed every last one of these invaders or driven them off our world. All their spacecraft have been destroyed. Although so have ours. And we hit their homeworld really hard, so hard it's created an ice age for them to deal with."

He paused for a second, fastening a new adhesive radiation detection strip onto one of the few clean-ish patches on his uniform. "It'll take them as long to rebuild as it takes us. In about ten thousand years our mutual descendants, whatever they look like after all the radiation, should be just about ready for round two. Oh, and we totally destroyed their capital and the island it sits on. Some place they called Atlantis....."

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