After the cordyceps brain infection outbreak around late September 2013, Boston transformed from a heavily populated, bustling city into a military controlled Quarantine Zone. Under martial law, the city is littered with checkpoints and soldiers. Military personnel carry scanners to check for infection, and the military's infection protocol makes soldiers execute any infected individual on the spot. The authorities deal with distributing rations to the populace, as long as they have the appropriate ration cards. Half-ration weeks are declared whenever there are shortages, sometimes for multiple weeks in a row. Able-bodied civilians are conscripted into work details, both inside and outside the walls. Therefore, drafting notices are handed out to individuals every 6 months.
Despite the heavy military presence, a black market has emerged, where one can buy drugs, weapons, and other illegal goods using ration cards and bullets as currency. Tess and Joel run most of the smuggling into and out of Boston. Although Firefly attacks occur frequently, Boston appears to be a lot more stable than other cities, some of which had devolved into total warzones. Boston currently doesn't experience riots, and the local Fireflies are becoming defeated due to the military cracking down on them.
Events of Left Behind Edit
Surprisingly, the city is actually well-supplied with electricity. It is unknown how they managed to maintain so much, but it was shown by Riley that the military secretly had lots of power but kept it for their own use or conserved it, much like with rations. She proved this by going into the shopping mall and activating a switch that restored power to the lights in the shops.
Events of The Last of UsEdit
In the events of The Last of Us, Boston is shown to have transformed into a heavily controlled military Quarantine Zone. When the infection spread across the country, the U.S. military created this zone to secure themselves from the infected. Joel traveled all the way from Texas to Boston during the twenty years after his daughter died. Ellie was born in the Boston Quarantine zone; after the death of her mother, Anna, she was looked after by Anna's close friend and leader of the Fireflies, Marlene.
By the year 2033, it is one of the last intact Quarantine Zones left in the entire country. While other zones were overrun by infected or abandoned by the military following uprisings by civilians, the Boston zone did not suffer the same fate. This may be due to the extremely tight security measures employed by the military and an abnormally heavy level of fortification even for a Quarantine Zone. These measures include concrete walls that are 30 or more feet high with searchlight-equipped guard towers, a large "No Man's Land" which stretches a considerable distance from the walls that is routinely patrolled by soldiers, a strict 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM curfew, summary execution of anyone who is found to be infected, and an aggressive and fairly successful crackdown on the Fireflies.
Despite the intense military rule, the smuggling trade in the Quarantine Zone was thriving, with many finding ways to avoid the military patrols and searches. Joel and his partner Tess gained a formidable reputation among the smugglers and the inhabitants in the Boston QZ for their ruthless attitude towards those that cross them. Furthermore, there were areas within and around the zone that had since been abandoned (such as the shopping mall) or overrun with infected (such as downtown Boston). It was in the mall where Ellie and her friend Riley were bitten. Ellie survived and learned of her immunity whereas Riley succumbed to the bite. Marlene would later request Joel and Tess to take Ellie outside the QZ and rendezvous with a Firefly group at the Capitol Building.