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The fact that it is interesting, doesn’t mean it is true. The fact is, reality is dull. That’s why we’ve invented books, theatre, movies, video games and webcomics.
Unless they were “on it” when Endtown was constructed. Remember that we don’t know if Aaron Marx was involved with construction of it in this reality, only in a different one. In this reality this could be just as well some bunker for the rich "just in case’ that got overrun.
My theory is that it may be some sort of airborne toxin similar to fictional one in TMNT in the way it works. HAZMAT suits can’t protect you for long when it comes to radiation and some topsiders were out for long before returning. Meanwhile, they can protect you well from toxins for extended periods of time.
What if it’s a mutagenic airborne toxin (like in TMNT, sans airborne part) or airborne bacteria that can change its hosts dna? Technically not a virus so fitzgerald still would be correct.
Wellm Fitzgerald could be correct but only on a technicality. What if it is some mutagenic bacteria that works similar to CRISPR and replace part of host’s DNA with its own? Or mutagenic, airborne toxin? Both aren’t a virus and would explain that some areas (unseen as of now) are supposedly free from this thing.
Or some sort of airborne non-viral toxin? Some people could be immune to say toxin which would explain humans who didn’t mutate. Still it wouldn’t be a virus so Fitzgerald would be technically correct. And would explain that there are supposedly areas free from it.
Well,the AI said that it wasn’t a virus. What if it was a bacteria that could change genes in similar way CRISPR can?
Am I the only one who gets a strong Doctor Who vibe from Marx?