Following the institution of the Marking program in the American Union, people without Marks could no longer use public transportation. Since private means of transportation were rare, the Markless found it extremely difficult to travel. Some resorted to using bicycles, but most Markless did not have a bike of their own.
In response to the growing problem, some Markless, including Papa Hayes, organized a network to help Markless travelers cross the A.U. without the need for public transportation. When the Dust needed to reach Beacon City, Papa Hayes taught them how to use the River so that they could cross the empty lands between the Spokie/New Chicago area and the capitol.
The River includes Markless activists like Papa Hayes as well as Marked people who sympathize with the Markless cause. Some participants in the River shelter travelers, while others help transport travelers to the next safe house.
In Markless CultureEdit
For security reasons, the River is not common knowledge among the Markless. Those who are a part of the River tend to be selective about who they share its existence with. For instance, Papa Hayes knew the Dust for at least a year before he mentioned the River to Logan and Peck. He would not have mentioned it even then had he not overheard their plans to leave Spokie.
River workers created a code in order to prevent DOME from learning of the River's existence. The code communicates safe houses, danger areas, and other knowledge important to Markless travelers. The code symbols include:
- Anchor--You can rest here.
- Boat--You are near a captain who can direct you to your next stop on the River.
- Fish--To determine whether someone knows of the River and can help you, make an arc in the dirt with your foot. If the other person is a fisher--a River worker--then they will make another arc with their foot, creating a fish symbol on the ground.
- Hook--You are near danger.
- Life jacket--You are near a lifesaver, a Marked man or woman who is willing to help Markless travellers.
- Waves--You are on the Unmarked River.
The River faces fewer problems from DOME than it does problems related to its own operations. Some workers on the River have gone bad for various reasons and attempt to set traps for innocent Markless travelers. Other Markless, however, are not so innocent. Criminal Markless can be difficult to differentiate from those who refused the Mark out of principle, and River workers sometimes face danger from the very people they are trying to help.
The River extends from some locations in the west of North American continent to the east coast. It includes water as well as land routes.