How the World Went to Shit
It began with the out-of-control CO2 emissions burning such a large hole in the ozone that by mid 20th century, you couldn't go outside with bare skin. Such large populations eating red meat, manufacturing goods, and companies lying about levels of auto-emissions had been humanity's downfall. Spending even a few seconds in the sun could cause aggressive cancer; spend any longer, and you don't want to know what could happen. The brain was never the same, however.
The harsh ultraviolet rays from the sun also made vegetation and water a scarce commodity. Water that was not a certain depth was unable to absorb the rays and dried up. Whole ecosystems died within a span of weeks. Governments in every country rushed to follow hastily researched construction plans; settlements they would evacuate their populations to, underneath thick transparent domes made of special material that would protect them all from the sun. The settlements were equipped with shipments of seed from the world's seed bank in Antarctica, greenhouses, animals, solar-powered generators, and much more. Everything humanity would need to start fresh.
They were so deep in their dread and panic, they never expected the biological warfare, or the bombs. Terrorism is made all the easier when you need what someone else has to live. Officials were able to evacuate 25,000 people to Utopia before they had to close the doors. Around the world, there were reports of evacuations as high as 400,000 people. Some countries, it seemed, had months more notice of the disaster than the West had.
The bombs dropped for some weeks outside, but soon fell silent. Through the transparent dome, the people of Utopia had front row seats to destruction. They saw the landscape burn, acid fall from the sky, felt the tremors from bombs. But the worst thing by far, was the relentless horde of crazed mutants; their brains addled from the sun and radiation from biological warfare, flesh oozing with pus, tumors, and growths, pressing their misshapen faces and hands against the dome.
They wanted in.
The first years were the most difficult. Because the evacuation had been an emergency, people vital to the project had been overlooked in favour of getting as many lives through the doors as possible. They had satellite contact with the other settlements, but after two weeks, contact went dark. Nobody knew what happened to them. There were not enough doctors and scientists to go around and so disease and unrest took hold. Within ten years, Utopia's population diminished to a paltry five thousand people, living in a dome built for 1 million people.
Out of the shadows stepped a charming, handsome, and mysterious Stranger. It was easy for him to play on the fear of humans, and promise to protect them. To make them see that the destruction of humanity in fire and brimstone was a punishment and warning from God, and that they were the chosen people. The Lord was giving them all a chance to live clean lives. He was like Jesus, a son of God himself, a Prophet performing parlor tricks and passing them off as miracles. The people of Utopia became his flock, and he led them out of the darkness and into the light.
The Stranger, he had given his name to the grace of the Lord, was a pillar of strength to the people of Utopia. He helped them set up a system of government comprised of a handful of community 'elders', he began the important Unmother Research program when female infertility became a problem, and most importantly, he kept the Lord first in all things. He drew his counsel from a tattered version of 'The Bible'. Some pages were missing and some were only partially there, but that was okay because he just filled in all the missing information with whatever he felt like or made up at the time. They lapped it up like hungry dogs.
Because he kept such close counsel with God, The Stranger was able to notify the people of Utopia that God was still unhappy with all the things they had accomplished. There were still unbelievers among them; criminals, rapists, blasphemers, and thieves. They needed to send the evil away before it spread and tarnished their everlasting souls. And he knew exactly how they should do it.
Some hours across the desert, there lay a labyrinthine settlement, also underneath a protective dome. The difference, however, was that it was built on a mechanical base. Every so often without warning and quite like a puzzle, the streets would shift and rearrange themselves around the core. It was impossible to escape, and built before God's Great Wrath was upon the world. A mega-prison settlement, for the worst of criminals, never used in time. The perfect trashbin to cast away Sinners who had turned their faces from the Lord.
With the Elders in agreement, strong, faithful men were outfitted with special gear to protect them from the sun. They rode in a clanky machine that bore some semblance to a car, and in tow they had three hog-tied prisoners, branded in accordance to their sins and bound for imprisonment in what would become known as 'Labyrinth'.
They never returned.
The Stranger disappeared as mysteriously as he had arrived; though his leadership was sorely missed, he soon became a saint and the stuff of legends, and though the Elders never had contact with Labyrinth, they continued to send transgressors across the desert to be imprisoned there. Sometimes the men in charge of transporting them came back. Often, they did not. However, the cost was always seen as worth the price. And in this way, twenty more years passed.
Your story, dear soul, begins in an undetermined year, 30 years after the disaster.