United States. Library of Congress. Beyond the End Volume II: Survivor Story Archive. By Doctor Howard Remington et al. Edition Two. Nevada: Las Vegas Printing Office, June 2072
Subject: Brian Mixon, subject number 8891-80-10
NEST arcology survivor
The big three questions they ask is what did you do before The Event, how did you survive, and what did you do afterwards. One and two are easy - appliance installation and luck. Three is short and complicated - I was a rat, R.A.T.
You could manufacture whatever you wanted in a micro-fac with the proper setup. Getting it to where it was needed and functioning properly once its there, that is another story. Its not a job that requires a lot of education, and certainly not one that gets a lot of accolades. But so long as you need something mechanical put in place, you'll be in dire straits without someone like me. I'd say look what I did there and ask for some checks for free - but chances are none of you listen to the hundred year old music I do. A shame really - there was a lot of experimentation with the medium when music videos first became really popular.
My hobbies might not be on topic, but I've got time to fill, and there really isn't much to say about luck. Other survivors might talk about their great plans or narrow escapes and the brave people who sacrificed themselves so others might live. So far as I'm concerned, its all lies though. You survived because of luck, and nothing else.
Most of the world was was already F-ed up from the aliens' arrival, the EMP, the war, doomsayers and cultists - civil unrest from the electronic shut down, and already simmering feuds. Reanimates were not the straw that broke the camel's back so much as the jackals that stripped the camel's carcass as it lay there. Little communications, difficult commutes, distracted governments - you can't legitimately claim to have had a plan, you just were in the right place.
My right place was NEST 9 in Pennsylvania. Amazingly uninteresting for a thing as awesome as a city in a bottle. Kind of like how the public lost interest in moonshots and later found space shuttle launches too mundane to interrupt TV broadcasts. Wasn't the first, wasn't the biggest, wasn't some sort of helical architect's mad dream - just a couple of interconnected really big buildings to fix urban sprawl.
It wasn't even scary when the reanimates invaded. At least not for me. The solution to the problem was terrifying, no doubt, and probably kind of cruel. They just flipped every switch, and locked every partition in place for 24 hours. No rescuing, no trying to separate infected from clean. Just close everyone up, then go bit by bit to see where people were still capable of responding. People in public areas were obviously up in arms, not sure if they were stuck with reanimates or in the clear. I was alone in my apartment when the magnetic locks engaged. Nothing to do by video chat with my girlfriend two floors down or read. Both I and the person I cared about were safe.
A day later only about 20% of the doors unlocked. Something like fifteen percent of the population remained. Not for very long, since we did a lot wrong in the early days - but far better than the 0% of many other places.