The Vatican Militarized Zone is a restricted area within the depopulated ruins of old Rome and home to a sizeable Conglomerate military garrison tasked with the defense of the territories formerly controlled by the Holy See, and in a broader sense refers to the ten kilometer radius extended exclusion zone surrounding the area prohibiting unauthorized access to the area, with intruders being taken in for thorough questioning and subsequent processing.
Within the military, the area is widely regarded as a dead end posting as any unauthorized outside communication is punishable by summary execution, very few chances for promotions exist and reassignment to more active combat postings is almost impossible. In order to be assigned elsewhere, soldiers must undergo thorough extensive mind screenings and memory reassignment therapy.
Due to space constraints, much of the garrison's necessary infrastructure has been placed in restored portions of the building complex, such as the former Swiss Guard Barracks, the site of the pre-war Vatican Radio Station or the Palace of the Holy Office.
Facilities of Note
The Swiss Guard Barracks and the barracks of Papal Gendarmes, which both were refurbished and turned into housing for base personnel, in part due to their proximity to the most important areas of the complex.
The site of the former Vatican Radio Station now serves as the site of the base's main communications array and the old train station is a secondary point of entry to the base, with most supplies being delivered by automated trains.
For convenience, the Palace of the Holy Office now serves as the residence for the base commander, as barracks for the local officers and the officers' mess.
Due to an unusually large number of unexplained extranormal phenomena around the ruins of St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and to a lesser extent the Apostolic Library there have been no attempts to restore these areas and are only accessible by authorized research personnel under constant watch from at least three guards.
Sistine Chapel Emissions
Every day to the same hour, a single cloud of black smoke rises from the ruins of the Sistine Chapel. Extensive research has yielded no precise results as to its origins, though the currently prevailing theory draws strong parallels between the phenomenon's appearance and pre-war Papal elections. First recorded on October 23th, 2077, as timestamped video evidence contained in mirculously intact blackbox. Video evidence suggests a much more intense manifestation, as the sky above Rome appears to have been almost entirely blackened.
Expert for Psionic Phenomena Maurice Beauregard was found dead covered in halberd and sword wounds at the steps of the Apostolic Library on January 4th, 2144, after having requested permission to enter the restricted area. According to reports, subject was last seen approaching the Library alone. Security tightened and single-person access to all restricted areas prohibited.
In the morning of October 23th, the area in and directly around the Vatican erupts into sudden activity as numerous humanoid shades scramble to enter St. Peter's Basilica, reaching something of a crescendo at 9:42 AM with a deep rumble heard in the east. Following this event, most overt activity suddenly dies down as most shades still visible outside disappear as if blown away. Whispered prayers, as well as sobbing and the occasional pained wail are said to be heard by people in the area for the rest of the day. People caught outside before 9:42 AM all report a strong compulsion to flee towards the Basilica along with the shades, and over the years, several base personnel have gone missing.
Their remains were later discovered by a research team when they unearthed a bomb shelter deep within the catacombs of the Basilica - the thick blast door had been crowded by withered corpses, many of which wore uniforms and carried dogtags. Closer examination of the bodies indicated that the fingers had been worn down to the bone, presumably in the subjects' ill-fated attempts at clawing their way out.