One of the major bits of world-building that I did for Salvaged is the creation of the Corps.
My world doesn’t have one bad disease that wipes out the population. It has six years of normal seasonal flus, and a series of misfortunes (which may be due to bioterrorism). P2 – short for Pandemic 2 – is the next big pandemic influenza strain that flu vaccine specialists have been predicting. As the evil writer and world-destroyer, I just made the vaccine unavailable.
People aren’t serious enough about the flu.
At any rate, I figure the government would do what it could to retain order, even with lawmakers and military leaders dying in droves. It does what it knows how to do. So, in my world, the Corps is the consolidation of all of the branches of the military under a single chain of command. As the emergency progresses, it slowly grows to incorporate paramilitary outfits who are used to following protocols: Police, fire, emergency medical staff. Later, the CDC, universities nationwide, doctors, nurses and hospital staff were co-opted into the Corps.
There is a prequel story that I’m still working on called Crashed. Crashed occurs at the heart of the P2 pandemic and the creation of the Corps. Another prequel story, the Uncounted prequel that I’m working on with Carlo over at End of Times, happens about two years after the Crash.
By the time Salvaged occurs, six years have passed since the Crash caused by P2. There are worse diseases out there, that the medical staff remaining does not understand. The Corps has matured into its own entity. They employ anyone who is healthy, vaccinated and willing to work. In addition to free medical care, and a job, Corpsmen get free food, credits to spend on salvaged consumer goods (like clothes besides the Corps-issued uniforms), and a place to stay. Corps outposts dot the landscape, strung together by rail lines. Supply trains ship goods, produce and people across the country.
Anyone can walk into a Corps outpost for free medical care, free food, vaccines, and anything else they might need. Not everyone chooses to walk into the Corps outposts.
Even though the Corps stated mission is “To Preserve Life and the American Way,” not everyone trusts the goverment all that much.
The patch design at the top of this post is the one I envisioned for the Corps. I fashioned it off of the patches for the various branches of the armed forces. The caduceus is in honor of their mission to save lives. The bald eagle represents that questionable phrase “The American Way”. He is in diving position, with his talons stretched. He may be attacking, but if there is bioterrorism, the attackers are yet unknown. There is a knife-edge to the Corps, a killing side. I wanted to be sure the insignia didn’t ignore it.