Amonita phalloides, nicknamed the deathcap mushroom, is a uniquely deadly fungus found commonly in much of Europe, including the New Kingdom Protectorate.
The deathcap mushroom is an innocuous white colour. Its taste is surprisingly sweet and pleasant, with an earthy, umami undertone.
In 2041, The New Kingdom Protectorate was founded to, in the words of founder Harold Marsh, ‘Guard our proud island against the scourge of the unknown man, and his undignified way.’
There are almost six hundred known breeds of amonita fungus.
By 2049 the NKP had, via a ‘Religious Crusade’, replaced the government of the United Kingdom. It is illegal to refer to this event as a coup.
Half a deathcap mushroom contains enough toxin to kill a grown man.
It would be illegal to read this document within the borders of the NKP. I am writing it in Susshire, in the south of that same country.
Death almost inevitably follows the consumption of the deathcap mushroom, in most cases taking a little under two weeks.
Susshire was given its name during the Great Purification of 2050, when the official list of impure and illegal terms was written into law. Within two years, the penalty for disobeying purity laws was increased to execution.
The only potential cure for deathcap poisoning is multiple organ transplant. Even then, chances of survival are poor.
Organ transplant was made illegal in the New Kingdom Protectorate in 2055 for being an affront to God. Those who had previously received transplants, or were otherwise deemed imperfect, were executed as abominations.
The first stage of deathcap poisoning is unnoticeable. It takes, on average, three days for the first symptoms to manifest.
The NKP enforces its law with DNA scanners. The DNA record of every citizen is recorded from birth and contains a perfect record of their existence and adherence to state law. There is an average of three scanners on every street, along with multiple roving scanner units.
I consumed a deathcap mushroom nine days ago. It tasted quite nice.
The next stage of deathcap poisoning is the ugliest. Vomiting, diarheaea, and dehydration are evidence of your body trying, and failing, to expel the toxin.
In 2062, the NKP formalised martial law and citizen access regulations. If your DNA is ever detected in a region you are not required to be in, you are executed without trial. Server errors have caused the deaths of three hundred and twenty-seven innocents, when the DNA scanners failed to receive a positive response from the central servers in time.
After the first stage of symptoms subside, a victim of deathcap poisoning enters the ‘walking ghost’ phase. For the next few days the victim exhibits few symptoms, barring jaundice and nausea, as their organs slowly fail.
Citizens are assigned work orders. The space in which a citizen is allowed to exist is their home, their workspace, and the most efficient transport line between the two. Improperly marked roadworks have caused the deaths of seventeen innocents this year. To my knowledge, no-one has been given citizen’s access to an NKP leisure centre in three years.
The deathcap mushroom’s primary toxin targets DNA, dissolving it to nothing. This leads to organ failure and death.
Given the total, automated security coverage of the Protectorate, rebellion is considered impossible.
After the walking ghost phase, the deathcap victim’s organs fail and death soon follows. The timing, however, means that for a brief period the victim has little to no recognisable DNA, and yet can still mostly function as usual.
With an automated security system so perfect and infallible, the New Kingdom Protectorate stopped recruiting security years ago. There are almost no manned positions left.
A citizen with no DNA can walk directly into the headquarters church of the NKP, with only one hurried government official asking if they’re quite well. They can then leave a briefcase under the bust of Rand and walk out without anyone else questioning them.
The NKP government was informally dissolved on the 15th of March, 2066. I won’t see what happens next.
I imagine new record keepers will soon find a safer way to do their own work.
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