Bug City Express
More than any other part of the Zone, the former downtown core is a ghost town. Decrepit skyscrapers stand tall, even with floors gutted by fire and winds howling through broken windows. The streets are effectively closed to vehicle traffic; there’s too much trash and debris even where the pavement is still solid. In addition, at least forty thousand vehicles were in the Zone when the wall went up, and almost every one of them is still there, stuck in a perpetual traffic jam. Some people do still live and work in the Core, a few communes and magophobic splinter groups. Squatters who don’t know better camp here for a while, but everything worth looting is already gone. Scrappers from Northside and Southside do come in to search for pipes or hardware, but they know better than to come in alone, unarmed, or after dark.
Then, there are the bugs and the maggots. No matter what you may have heard from Ares or the UCAS government, or the governor of Illinois, there are still insect spirits in Chicago. Some bugs die almost as easily as people; some bugs look like people. You can’t tell them apart and you can’t trust anyone. There are still old-timers in the Zone that think everyone they meet is a bug. There’s a video on NooseNet where Chicago’s last mayor rants about how he is a bug and then shoots himself (he was wrong, but we applaud the effort). It’s not like the bad old days, exactly; you don’t see swarms of Wasp spirits flying overhead or beetles the size of Volkswagens grabbing kids off the street. No, now they keep to their secret hives and rarely venture out. Anything else they need, they have their maggots do it for them.