The world prior to the First Outbreak was rife with new technologies and burgeoning hope for the future of mankind. Research and development of all sorts was being carried out by private corporations, governments and multi-national organizations. Some went even so far as to label the time as a "Golden Age" of science. It was out of that golden age, that Project Algol was concieved.
Interest in space exploration had reached an all time high and the governments of both the United States and the United Kingdom were keen to venture beyond the heavens. To facilitate this desire for exploration, the two countries entered into a partnership to develop the necessary technologies and expertise required to go to Mars, Jupiter, and beyond.
With a great deal of capital invested from both sides of the Atlantic, the technology to make these sweeping dreams a reality was developed and rigorously tested surprisingly fast. (Rumors that development was spurred by an impending ecological meltdown are just that, rumors.) However, though the technology was deemed sound, there was still lingering doubts on whether or not a human crew could handle the long-term isolation that would accompany deep-space flight.
To test the effects of prolonged isolation, as well as the technologies necessary for self-sustenance during an extended space voyage, two nuclear ballistic missile submarines were retrofitted for an unprecedented undersea voyage. The goal of HMS Erebus and SSN Terror: to test the newly developed space technologies, as well as the limits of human endurance, submerged beneath the ocean's waves and isolated from all outside contact for three years.
HMS Erebus and SSN Terror represented the pinnacle of submarine technology and design. Though both were initially commissioned as ships of war, their systems were easily and speedily integrated with Project Algol's scientific gear. Once the retrofit was complete, the lead scientist and engineer of the project, Gareth Brisbane, predicted that (allowing the crews' mental condition holding out) the boats could stay submerged indefinitely. Shortly after that pronouncement was made, the two boats set sail, scheduled never to be seen again for 36 months. Hopes were running high that not only would the boats, crews and technologies stand the test, but that they would also redeem the names of these two boats.
You see, during the nineteenth century, another Erebus and Terror dared ventured into uncharted scientific territory. However, their ill-fated expedition ended in madness, mutiny, murder and cannibalism.
It should be noted that for the entire length of the boats' voyage, things appeared to go according to plan. It was only a fluke of fate that their scheduled return to port coincided with the height of the panic concerning the First Outbreak.
We do not know for sure exactly what words were exchanged between the captains of the boats and the project leads on land when radio contact was first re-established. However, judging from sworn testimony during the subsequent Congressional and Parliamentary hearings, the general message to the crews of these boats was that an unsurvivable apocalypse had befallen civilization and that the two boats would be better off re-submerging and writing off humanity-- which is exactly what these two boats apparently did. All efforts to re-establish communication with these boats has failed, no doubt in part to misinformation (that zombies could talk and would do their best to lure fresh prey into their grasp) relayed during that fateful first radio communication.
Occasionally these boats are spotted off the east coast of the United States, but all efforts to establish contact with them have failed. Apparently, the idea that all surface dwellers are now, in fact, zombies is well ingrained in the minds and psyches of these boats' crews. Efforts continue to this day to convince these heroic men and women that all is safe for them to return, but as of yet there has been no response.
It is partially because of these, for all intents and purposes, missing individuals that this wiki has been constructed. If they can access this record of the First Outbreak and the new world situation, then maybe they can finally know that it is safe for them to come home.