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Thanks to everyone's hard work, we now have a near definitive Timeline, so everybody can see what's happening and when.
_______________Start of Season _______________
Day One: Date: JANUARY 1ST.
Dramatic Appearance of Fog. People outside or in cars find themselves trapped in the fog. Many car crashes, especially on the Motorways. Local roads blocked from collisions. People make their way blindly to wherever they can. Our characters head towards the local pub which has switched all its lights on. Altercation in the Pub between Freddie and others. He's not wanted there. Jane (Main Character) called. Jane Turns up with her Partner in tow to deal with the altercation.
Foreshadowing that the fog effects some people. TV. Government recommends people don't travel. Police and Emergency crews lead the stranded to safety. Police and Fire Brigade set up lights/beacons/radio systems to inform the populace whereabouts they find themselves.
TV. Commercial flights delayed. TV. Schools Shut. TV. Trains operational, but cancelled. Lot of people stranded in Train Stations. People wondering how long it will last. TV. News reporting that it's everywhere.
Motorways and many local roads blocked from Road Traffic Accidents. Police evacuating people stuck on the motorways. Police trying to find ways to direct the lost home. Emergency crews can't clear the roads enough for civilians. Too many accidents. Too dangerous. First Meeting of the COBRA committee. TV and local news instructing everyone to stay indoors and only leave for emergencies. Keep phones on you at all times and make sure you know where you are. The roads are only avilable to Emergency Services. TV. Commercial flights grounded indefinitely. TV. Supplies, including Medical Supplies disrupted. These include medicine for conditions such as Diabetes, as well as anti-psychotics and such but Government assures any delays are only temporary and solutions will be found. Livestock on motorways, trapped in lorries? Trains only running emergency supplies. GPS etc still active. People putting lights up to light the way.
Day 3 Some people still missing. Army called in to help Emergency services? Some Work shuts down. Most offices close. Others try to soldier through. Some treating it like a holiday. Going to the pub. Hospitals and Power Stations still operating.
Local gangs playing up a bit. Mild harassment. Vandalism. Burglary. Foreshadowing of them being dangerous later.
Guy who later become cult leader starts staring intently at the patterns in the fog. He begins recording his experiences on a Journal. Psychological Effects and Potential Physiological effects becoming clearer.
Local Community Meeting to discuss situation. Anger expressed at situation. Pleas for calm.
Satellites/ Iss space station reporting that the fog is worldwide, with only mountains clear. COBRA.First sign of real trouble...Farmers reporting crops are wilting nationwide. COBRA. Government scientists informing them that if it continues indefinitely crops will fail. COBRA. Government does not release the information for fear of creating panic. Local Radio. Knowledge that the crop damage is worldwide starts to leak out. Farmers phoning up. Just have to hope that the Fog clears. TV. Religious groups offer prayers.
COBRA/TV. Period of scientific observation of the fog. COBRA/TV. Discussion of possible causes. COBRA/TV/Pub. Discussion of how long it can last. TV/Pub. Economy suffering. Economists discussing effect on local and Global economies. People complaining about not being able to work.
People reporting first stages of Fog Mania. Feeling of mild depression, isolation, of nothingness. Demand for answers. TV/Local Radio. Crop situation worse. Food production/crops affected. Certain food types still OK. Mushrooms. MAIN STORY. JANE. The first people begin to stockpile food. TV. Government tries to reassure public that there are food reserves and that the Fog is a natural, if unusual weather phenomenon and will disappear.
Scientist says that because we do not know what's casuing it, it's impossible to say whether it will disappear without intervention. Stories are already running rampant about who is responsible. Conspiracy theory about plot to reduce population? Others claim it's Climate Change. Developing psychological effects amongst some people. First disappearances. Possible murderer on the loose suffering from 'Fog Mania', or something else? Is the Fog taking them? Search parties organised. People start to believe there are things in the Fog.
Conclusions about the nature of the Fog from scientific observation. They understand the composition. They are baffled about it's scale. COBRA Meeting. Have to start planning for the fact it's here to stay. Worries that supplies, including Medical Supplies will be disrupted. These include medicine for conditions such as Diabetes, as well as anti-psychotics and such.
Publically, Government assures any delays are only temporary and solutions will be found. People begin stockpiling food in droves. Scenes of violence at Supermarkets.
Some people already without food. Food banks have no stock. Rise of crime. Local gangs causing trouble. Burglary on the increase.ï¿¿ Local Communities organise Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
Beginning of scapegoating of minorities or specific groups due to conspiracy theories.
Developments of fog mania. More people experiencing Depression and mild hallucinations brought on by Sensory Deprivation. Future cult guy continuing descent into insanity.
Medical shortages? Diabetics etc?
First attempt to clear the fog using Military means.
[Calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, activated carbon, zeolites and silica gel are all common desiccants that could theoretically remove moisture from the air. It would take great quantities spread efficiently through the atmosphere. Think crop planes seeding the air, military jets].
After a moderate success, it fails. They will try again.
Day 31ï¿¿ FEBRUARY 1st.
Winter comes. Freezing fog. Livestock dying. Others fleeing to escape cold. Asthmatics and people with breathing difficulties start to die. Birds falling from the sky, frozen to death.ï¿¿ Major Food shortage. Majority of crops fail due to the freezing fog.
Government response. COBRA meeting. Scientists inform them that they cannot predict the length it will last. Government announces financial measures. Temporary freezing of debts due to situation. Imports from other countries effected. Second attempt to clear the fog using Military means. Fails. Rationing introduced. Government orders Police and Military to protect food supplies. Camps will be established to distribute food. Government instigates hydroponic crop growing and other emergency food growing measures. Angry response...it's going to take too long to complete. Government asks for calm, but are already aware that they are right...it's not going to be enough.
Fog mania getting worse. People saying they see things in the fog. That there are patterns. People trying to make sense of the patterns. Another murder/disappearance. Future Cult Leader again. Maybe Cult Leader is gathering together with other people who are slowly going crazy. Shocking scene. People trying to escape the fog by going to high ground. They take tents, what food they have and head for the hills. Rich elite put their survival plans into operation. They retreat to their bunkers.
Food riots. Looting. Mass violence. Mass Migration from Cities into suburbia and countryside in search of food. Local communities build haphazard defences against predicted influx. The local communities desperately try to barricade their homes and hide their vauluables and their food. The Migrants appear. Local Communities attempt to head them off at the ends of roads and re-direct them elsewhere. Altercations take place. Fights ensue. Defences fail. Huge number of migrants from cities swarm through into the local town. Suburbs overrun. People's houses raided for their food. Lots of violence, several deaths of characters.
Aftermath of town attack. People check on each other and on the damage. They bury their dead. Or not. One of main characters is wounded. They take him/her to Trafford General Hospital. Main characters meet the Doctor.
Local communities gather what little they have left. It's not going to be enough. Survivors go off try to find a community or To find a Government Hydroponic installation.
At the Hospital they learn that:
Martial Law declared. Looters will be shot on sight.
Low risk Prisoners released from Prison. Decision made to abandon high risk inmates. Hospitals have been abandoned. The Hospitals have no food. Their patients will die. Despite Patients abandoned in hospitals, Doctor stays with them. Future Cult Leader overhears part about the Prisons. He leaves the Hospital and makes his way to a Prison.
Government officials collude with heads of Military and selected Scientists to discuss problem. We hav to start worrying about our own survival. Government attempt to burn Fog away in some way with Military.
They are aware of the extreme nature of the risk, but believe they can contain it.
Government officials disappear. Updates from Politicians on News stop. People turn solely to local news.
Survivors from local community travelling cross country:
Barter economy. People willing to do anything for food. People eating cats and dogs. Others hunting for food. Learning to trap etc Packs of starving dogs now on the prowl.
Starving people target zoos and animal centres to eat them.ï¿¿ PETA and or/zoo owners release animals to give them a chance of survival. Animals now lurking amidst the Fog.
Witness a crashed Police Helicopter. Local Gangs celebrate round the burning wreckage. Then drag the dead bodies out to eat them. Main characters are shocked and terrified. They head for a Hydroponic community mentioned by the Doctor.
Government/Military attempts to grow crops are thwarted as people overrun installations to get food. Military fire on civilians to protect food. Military and Police disband and form their own Militias. Some try to protect the people, some are out for themselves. Bad Militias take food from people. Create their own encampment/village. Take control of one of the hydroponic towers to keep food for themselves.
Future Cult Leader arrives at a Prison for a group of high risk, criminally insane inmates. He releases them. Weird, creepy scenes.
The high risk criminals act as a tribe and will stop at nothing to get food.
They gather forces with the Local Gangs.
The psychos/cult hunt down the Rich Elites attempting to find and infiltrate their Bunkers or they chance over a community trying to establish itself.
First people affected by the disruption to Medical Supplies start to die.
Main characters reach a community. Protected by decent Military.
All society has fallen. Individuals run, hide, defend. New communities band together to survive and defend.
Cult army moves through the fog conscripting or slaughtering everyone they come across.
Decision made to try to burn the atmosphere to dispel fog.
The cult army discovers the community. The army has the firepower, the community has adapted to defending themselves in the fog. Good vs. evil. David vs. Goliath. The inevitable clash nearly destroys both sides.
The cult is going to win, but at that point the Military attempt their atmospheric experiment.
Catastrophic result. Atmospheric burning goes out of control and burns everything in sight.
We leave the Season on a cliffhanger not knowing who, or how they are going to survive.....
______________________End Season _____________
Coal powered stations go offline? Parts of country without power?
I like the idea of the temperature during winter being well below freezing but the fog doesn't go away. More mystery.
We can create a journey to an elevated position to see if the fog has a ceiling, or we could just have someone come from a skyscraper and tell everyone that the fog is all the way up there too.
What do they see from space? Maybe the ISS informs everyone that the fog is global.
How thick is the fog? How much light gets through? Will that be enough for the plants to survive or does the world have dying crops and that is a major problem to overcome? Do infrared goggles penetrate the fog?
The military and police would be pretty helpless as far as being proactive if they can't see through the fog.
We need to go over the basics of the world this story takes place in, and then come up with the bones of the story: A family's survival? Communities band together? World peace? Aliens terraforming Earth? (Bad idea. Not winning.)
I'll throw out some timeline ideas, trying not to repeat the above too much:
- There is a period of time where governments full-on lie about the realities of the fog; no one is willing to admit that the fog has covered everything everywhere for fear of creating a panic, so this information comes out in bits and pieces
- Period of scientific observation of the fog; at the same time, stories are already running rampant about who is responsible, and every advance in knowledge by those studying the fog immediately becomes distorted/politicized/etc. to the point where they can't really get their message out (and they don't know much anyway)
- Once the fog has really settled in everything comes screaming to a halt pretty quick. People can't see, so people can't work; people can't drive/fly, so goods can't travel. Crime follows this almost immediately, then an attempt at martial law that is basically useless, riots, looting -- lawlessness sets in
- Loss of power, running water, internet, etc.
- Mass deaths of especially the poor lead to powerful diseases that run rampant through heavily populated areas
- The rich and powerful have a variety of escape plans set up, but most of these involve air travel and will not work. Underground bunkers -- the major ones, like Raven Rock (does the UK have equivalents?) -- become a major gathering place for the powerful due to their freedom from the fog.
- There's basically a top-down effect once it becomes clear that the fog's not leaving anytime soon; first the richest and most powerful abandon the world for the safety of bunkers etc., many at the top of the military chain of command disappear
- As military communication breaks down, military sites become dangerous and violent places, as they are an obvious place to flee to. Generally bereft of leadership, many army groups essentially become independent militias. Same for police stations, prisons, etc.
- Some sort of widespread witch hunt occurs: [whatever unlucky group] becomes blamed for the fog to an extent that they are in frequent mortal danger from strangers
And obviously at some point the cannibals develop their own kung fu style that's based primarily on teeth attacks.
I personally think the key success to this is to build the world and have it established but have the central story and characters smallish scale - Birdbox, A Quiet Place, The Silence, The Road, Children Of Men, all focus on a small group of central survivors.
If you look at even grand scale backdrop movies like 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, Work War Z, with world changing events their success in terms of audience appeal is that we follow a small band of central survivors. Take this on a grand scale I fear it might be a mess of too many cooks in the kitchen and way too many story strands. Jmho.
Health issues? Does being in the fog itself create respiratory problems, skin issues, blindness?
Maybe it drives animal crazy. Causes them to stampede into the suburbs, destroying property, killing people. Animals have to be put down, but if you eat animals killed, it causes death in the consumer. Thus, food shortages abound.
Is the fog worldwide, or is it contained to America, for example? That could present interesting scenarios as people flee the states to Mexico, but are turned away, arrested, sent back to the U.S. Too political?
If it's not worldwide, what does the end of the fog look like? is it a wall, or does it slowly dissipate? How thick is the fog? In most fogs, you can see a certain distance in front of you, say ten yards or so, but then everything beyond that is a haze or completely invisible. Could lead to cases of mistaken identity or things suddenly appearing out of the mist (what a title! I think I used that in the writer's tournament!).
Do we have an ultimate resolution to the fog? Or do people just adapt to it? Could this be a mechanism developed by the Russians in an ultimate attempt to take us over?
Can technology be developed to "see" through the fog?
Just a personal opinion from me -- but we have to have hope for our main characters. This can't just be bad things happening over and over and then there's a neat or abrupt resolution at the end. Think about "Lost". They were on this island, seemingly no chance of escape, and then polar bears show up, and they find the hatch and then other people on another part of the island. So likewise, we can build layers where there are surprises that keep coming, and with it, the hope that somehow there is a way out of this situation.
Does the financial system collapse? Do certain items become valuable to use in bartering? For example, is a bottle of water more valuable than a gold brick?
Basic hygiene. Is that out the window? Do toilets and showers function?
If people are dying in the streets, how are they being disposed of? Can they even be found in the fog? Does the fog disrupt the sense of smell?
IS THE FOG A METAPHOR FOR SOMETHING ELSE (e.g., hatred taking over our country)??
I really like communities banding together among other stuff. Maybe fighting each other over old relics or something valuable. Like a valuable weapon or a device. Like device that reads minds or something.
RE: Too many story strands... I don't think this matters too much. I'm put in mind of the series, Lost.
All great ideas and suggestions so far. Like space... maybe a cliche, but we could have astronaut characters who can see all.
I like people going crazy... but this should be left open as to whether the situation is driving them mad, or there's something in the fog causing it.
We need a scientist character.
A character that takes advantage of the situation, uses it to further his/her own ends from a criminal and domination perspective.
An ordinary family... maybe Mom's a climatologist.
How far into the fog can people go? Do they just disappear? Do they scream first or are they just gone?
Maybe we should just jump right into the story... so the fog has landed heavy right away. No warning. It's just there one morning when the world wakes. This could also be a world-wide thing. We could have US, UK, and AUS characters. Perhaps others too.... Russian, Chinese... etc.
The vibe I want is that the characters and the audience don't know for sure if there is anything in the fog, or if there isn't. So it's always a mystery and people come to believe things about it, that aren't necessarily true.
So someone can go into the fog and disappear.. But we don't know if they've fallen down a storn drain, been murdered by a crook, been eaten by a pack of starving dogs or whatever... But people will start to believe there are things there, even if maybe there aren't.
That whole scepticism vs belief, "is there /isn't there" should play a strong part all the way through, for me. Because it will keep you listening to find out.
Trying to find out will almost certainly become part of any central story as well, I imagine..
Just throwing this out there, but I'm guessing that there are writers like myself that prefer working alone. Even with a good writer here, I feel our styles will clash.
We could still collaborate but perhaps this would be better done after the fact. So we all treat this as a normal OWC. We take your frameowrk and create characters within it. Then we all review each others' scripts like normal and then the best storylines are worked on by two or more writers.
We could also write about our own places - where we live. The people we know and see. I still live on a council estate... a couple of gangs around here. How would a family living in that situation cope?
Does anybody else feel uncomfortable jumping straight into a collab?
Two background strands that can intersect with the foreground story as convenient:
Science, Certainty, and Skepticism: Since an audio play can’t just show newspaper headlines or computer screens, someone needs to say out loud what “they” think is happening. The mouthpiece can be a climate scientist, meteorologist, etc. but that only makes sense if we’re going to involve that person in the global hunt for the Fog’s nature. A second choice could be some conspiracy nut or climate skeptic character (“Hey, I don’t remember the IPCC predicting a Fog.”) giving this part of the story an Unreliable Narrator vibe. What we should not do is fall into the trap of using a generic scientist who’s good at all things sciency. So if we go with some third choice (for example a pediatrician or engineer or something) that person would be explicitly out of their field trying to explain the climate stuff to the other characters.
Semi-regular arguments between a skeptic and a non-climate scientist might fulfill the exposition needs, and allow for getting unhinged as the story goes on, but it means not having the central characters involved in the global effort to solve the mystery.
Transportation: Most forms of commercial transport shrug off fog as an inconvenience. Now a Fog that scatters radar signals would pretty much end civilian aviation. There are military craft that can substitute for control towers (e.g., AWACS planes), but the simple fact that those “towers” are moving make everything non-routine. Sea planes have the least need for aviation infrastructure, and would be the last to cease operations.
Fog that scatters radar would also make shipping significantly more dangerous, but long-range shipping existed for centuries before radar was invented. If nothing else, every docking becomes a hair-raising experience prone to catastrophe. It’s a given that Fog screws up celestial navigation, so they would rely on GPS, and LORAN might be brought out of mothballs as a backup.
Fog that messes up GPS signals would bring shipping to a halt, and make a mess of ground transportation. Trains would be the most robust to this because the tracks are all in known locations, but this also makes them prime targets for bandits. Pipelines (including aquifers) aren’t affected by Fog at all, but need to be maintained and might also attract bandits.
Failing transportation networks can feed into foreground stories via the availability of things to the heroes. Are there local sources of food? Fuel? Medicine? Probably not enough to keep everyone in good shape, and someone can explicitly mention how interdependent communities have become.
We can have more than one scientist. I don't think we should approach this in the usual storyline manner. This isn't a movie. It can be a collection of podcasts of different characters experiences. So long as the framework remains consistent then we could have multiple story strands... as each strand will merely be about survival and not solving the fog issue. The good thing with this idea is that we will appeal to the broadest possible audience.
The way we solve the fog issue or give reason for it can be decided way, way down the line... if ever.