After the bombs fell, people cowered and ran. Most stayed above ground, some for reasons of paranoia, claustrophobia, scotophobia. But most stayed above simply because there was no room below. Radiation was mostly mild, and the panicked throngs of the cities were largely annhilated, so those in the countryside had few to contest with. Aside from a change in lifestyle, and occasionally harsh weather, it should’ve been a simple transition and reconstruction. But the clouds blot the sun wholly for a time, and left the sky a mosaic of grey for years. The rain was tainted and consumed those who thirsted for life. These are a few of the hundred plagues that consumed mankind.
A mere third of human kind was destroyed by the disaster, but only a twentieth survived the aftermath.
Below the earth, life proved equally difficult to preserve. They drank from the same sky, and ate from the same dwindling surplus. However, in absence of the sun they became starved, little space was shared by many, and disease was a fact of life. Those who remained were fearful, and shunned the surface and those who came from outside. This fear was so strong, some of these alcoves remained for decades, laying right next to a burgeoning city.
Aside from these two realities, there were a few who found shelter in protected bunkers, but their numbers were negligible, and stayed negligible.
But, things were different in Moscow. The Soviet, then Russian, government had prepared more than any other for life after war. They had constructed the largest underground metro system, just below one of the largest cities. Then, beneath those tunnels lay another, a series of facilities meant and maintained for military and governmental purposes. Constructed later, a few pumps were laid within the tunnels themselves, and allowed to supply the city with water. Also, just before it happened, the people had taken precaution to supply these underground shelters with large quantities of food, fuel, and bedding.
In addition to its prior blessings, the radiation levels in Moscow were higher than in most places. The city itself was destroyed by several bombs, from several attackers. By chance, Moscow developed an edible and generally useful fungus, that thrived in the darkness of the tunnels, partly by utilizing the more toxic elements of radiation for nutrition.
That is not to say that life was easy, pleasant, or entirely maintainable. Resources were spread unevenly, the survivors were disbanded, and bandits patrolled the tunnels between settlements. In addition, men found ways of producing arms, and these were proliferated throughout the metro. This allowed for rather extravagant wars to take place among the more aggressive stations.
Strangely, the ‘other’ metro remained silent, even as civilians became militants and proceeded to lay waste to other civilians. Not once, but in rumors, did the ‘gods’ below rise to the pleas of their flock. This has never been explained.
And so, for years, Moscow was stagnant and fed on itself. There had been attempts to bring the different settlements together, but these had all been repelled for various reasons, particularly a lack of popular leadership. Other, more aggressive, attempts to unite Moscow failed as well, partly because of the difficulty in feeding and supplying an army, and partly because certain prominent stations remained neutral.
The city above was dead. The world beneath was silent. And the tunnels, they did ring with strife and hope and desperation. And this was for fourteen years.