For those who can’t watch the scene, it’s when Will Smith is hunting at the beginning of ‘I AM LEGEND’. He finds a deer, stalks it, and a lion takes it out before he can shoot. This scene has managed to stick with me for years because I found it to be more telling than a lot of the movie. Mostly, it touches on how we have a bunch of non-native animals in zoos that could play a factor in an anarchist country. As long as they are released, which I’d say is more likely to happen than them being left to rot. At least the big ones even though I’ve got no idea how you’d get an elephant over the moat.
Animals will occasionally play a major role in Crossing Bedlam as obstacles. There is a loosely organized group that calls themselves Guardians. Cassidy and Lloyd run into a few of them, but not the sane kinds. These people care about the wild animals that are trapped in the Shattered States along with humanity. So they freed all of the animals and do one of two things. Some united to create havens for animals that require certain environments like tropical animals going to Florida and arctic ones going to Maine. These aren’t zoos, but preserves because they are huge. These Guardians aren’t encountered very often because they stick to themselves. You may run into an agent in the wild, but they’ve become very good at hiding from strangers.
The other type of Guardian is more dangerous in that they let their charges roam through the country. Many of these people love animals, but know very little about them. This puts them at odds with the Haven type. This isn’t the dangerous part either. Some of these Guardians are so obsessed with protecting their charges, they kill any human that gets too close. Men, women, children, elderly, and sick could be killed if they inadvertently move too close to these animals, which range from elephants to butterflies. Needless to say, they give all Guardians a bad name and have even been known to kill the Haven types. Doesn’t help that these people are more inclined to be snipers than any other type of killer, which means a person won’t even see them near the animals.
There is a third type of animal that I couldn’t put into Crossing Bedlam, but will be appearing other stories. These are the Carrier Beasts, which sounds pretty scary. Good news! They are pretty scary. Honestly, it’s easy to figure out what a Carrier Beast does. These are animals that can transfer diseases, but show very few signs of being sick. Many of these diseases are new and stem from the Plague Bogs. Guardians and other groups try to locate these animals or simply keep an eye out for them. It is agreed that they should be destroyed since they can infect humans and their species entire population if left unchecked. Thankfully, Carrier Beasts are rarely found near areas of civilization, so only those on the open road and in the wild have to worry.
It’s going to be fun to see what else comes up in the animal world of Shattered States.