The ‘trigger’ for a post-apocalyptic existence can come from all manner of sources. Over the years, across all forms of media, we have seen it being blamed on a new strain of super flu, cross species infections, scientific experimentation, and of course, a global mass extinction event. Whatever the cause, whatever the source, the truth behind each incident is always intriguing, gripping, and very insightful, forming the basis of each post-apocalyptic world.
So, it might seem strange that, 5 series on (or more like 7 if you also count the official continuation novels) we still do not comprehend the full extent of the virus or possess a complete understanding of its origins. Just what is the truth behind the virus?
Though we don’t actually get our first real concrete pieces of information until the backend of series 1, we do get an initial insight at the start of episode 1. And we’re not talking about Trudy’s flashback here. The opening credits itself presents us with a very quick glimpse of a scientist, outfitted in a decontamination suit, observing a very strange substance in a container. This has always hinted that the virus was something man made rather than from any outside influences.
Trudy’s evacuation flashback shows us the City’s plans to try and separate the younger generation from any infected adults because, so far, they hadn’t shown any signs of being contaminated by the pandemic. But the cause and source of the virus was never learnt.
Fast-forward several story arcs, and we now learn that the virus, which must still be present in the air, has mutated, as it is now affecting even the younger population, causing their cells to rapidly age – eventually leading to complete cellular breakdown and death. This gives us an insight into what actually must have happened to the adults themselves, giving us a clue to what the virus could be.
It is this event which leads the Mall Rats to finding evidence which points to something on the old prison facility, Hope Island. Though we don’t learn anything concrete, it does confirm to the Mall Rats a lead to Eagle Mountain. Within the top secret base, the Mall Rats hear a recording from the adults, learning that an antidote was being distributed to all the major cities.
This message gives us some pretty heavy information about the virus, all at once. The most shocking of these is that the adults were able to manufacture an antidote. This suggests that there was a lot more time between ‘patient zero’, and the final adult dying, than we might have previously perceived. This is further corroborated by the next statement that the adults even had time to transport the antidote into all the major cities on the mainland.
The fact that they didn’t have time to transport it worldwide however is very interesting, but even more-so, is the suggestion that some adults tried to escape the virus altogether – something that the continuation novels shed more light on.
But before we get to that, we come to the actual makeup of the virus.
It is through the character of Danni, who we are introduced to in series 2, that we finally get our full confirmation on the true nature of the virus. Her father, Professor Young, was working on an anti-aging project within a large pharmaceutical company named Pandorax. As we know, something must have gone wrong in their research, something that caused the mass acceleration of cellular aging, rather than the intended opposite effect.
Or is this really the case? Was it all just an unfortunate accident?
The continuation novels harken back to what we originally learnt in the observatory message on Eagle Mountain, that the adults were a lot more prepared than was initially believed. The Mall Rats uncover the Jzhao Li, a ship from the United Nations Task Force, which states that the military was monitoring, evacuating, and researching a cure. Further to this, we later learn that hibernation chambers were set up in places to put important adults into suspended animation until a cure could be found.
Then there is the mysterious explosion at Arthur’s Air Base…
These shocking pieces of information shed new light on the virus, and just how informed the adults, and the government, originally were. Let’s not forget that they had time to set up an entire Boot Camp programme to try and train and prepare the younger generation for the future. But this begs the question, just how could the adults have been so prepared? How could the military have maneuvered so much in so short a time? It definitely seems that a lot more people than just Pandorax knew about the virus.
If knowledge of the virus was known right from the top, then does this not suggest that anti-aging was simply a smokescreen? Thus, was the virus originally designed to be a weapon?
The original presidential broadcast transmission, uncovered as a dismantled videotape by Jack and Ellie, casts even more damning evidence towards just how much the government really knew:
This blatant lie to the public seems to confirm that not only did the government know about the virus, but they also must have been heavily involved in it in order to go to such lengths to cover up its true nature. The final nail in the coffin is the snippet of additional audio that can be heard as the video continues to play:
“Well, what do you think? Was I convincing?”
“Yes Sir, very convincing I’d say!”
“Do you think they’ll swallow all that guff about the comet?”
Though an argument could be put forward that the transmission was made in order to avert mass panic from the public, combined with everything else that we know, it is not a statement that can be maintained. The antidote having been prepared in all the major cities, the Boot Camp programme, the United Nations fleets, the secret facility hidden under the secret facility of Eagle Mountain, the ‘arcs’ and hibernation chambers built in order to save the adults … too much points towards the knowledge and involvement being there.
The story of THE TRIBE is of course still ongoing as we eagerly await the next novel installment in the saga. One thing is for certain – evidence points to the government being heavily involved, as well as something more sinister than simply trying to find a fabled anti-aging drug. Regardless on whether this turns out to ultimately be true or not, we can all agree that there is a lot more to the virus than we knew, and there is a lot more information still to come.
Already, the post-apocalyptic landscape of THE TRIBE has already been fundamentally altered by what we have learnt from the novels, and the possibilities of encountering live adults – hidden and frozen in the hibernation chambers and arcs – in the future.
The truth behind the virus will finally be revealed … and we can’t wait to learn more!