Right, so, Courtney here, with all the latest zombie-apocalypse gossip. Actually, not so much with the gossip; I'm not exactly what one might describe as "wildly popular" here at the compound. Sayeth the almighty Josh, as one might recall, "It shouldn't be any real work for her, to be honest. It isn't for me, since we have no issues at present that require an arbiter. I haven't had to make a call on anything since we let the looters go, and since the compound is in agreement on most everything else at present, my hope is that things will run just as smoothly for her, in my absence." Ahh, Josh. Great guy. Likes to paint himself as the worldly cynic at times, but really? About as much of an optimist as you're ever going to find, sometimes to absurd, spiky-haired-anime-hero levels. He's had high hopes and grandiose plans basically as long as I've known him, and suffice it to say that diving headfirst into the Battle For The Fate Of Mankind has done little to abate this.
Of course, he is so focused on these firefights and rescue missions and whatnot, that he tends to overlook other details, like the fact that the compound is NOT in agreement on things, and things are NOT going smoothly. Tension is at an all-time high, and I've entertained more than once the idea of attracting the attention of a roving pack of zombies just so we have something to band together and fight against, rather than ripping each other apart. Obviously haven't gone with that option; more using that to illustrate my perception of the situation.
Some of these former captive chicks hate my guts, utterly despise me, and I guess I don't blame them. I argued for sparing the lives of the captives we took, the "looters" themselves. And man, we have got to find a better way of referring to these dudes. It's freaking doomsday out here, EVERYONE is a looter, if they have even a ghost of survival instinct. Beside the point. Anyway, my own (possibly too) optimistic belief is that there are very few people in life who literally have zero hope of redemption. Once you kill someone, though, boom. That's it. Not even the remotest chance they will ever do a good work upon this earth, no chance to feel remorse for their wrongdoings, no chance to prevent another from going down the same road they did, nothing. Beyond that, I promised myself long ago, a geeky, socially ostracized tween, that if there was ever somebody with no one else there to defend them, no one to speak up and advocate on their behalf, I would do it.
And so there these guys were, no longer assaulting us with gunfire or molotovs, but completely restrained and sullenly awaiting their fate, or, in some cases, looking downright terrified. So I spoke up for them. Are these classy-looking dudes? No. Would they have been my friend, pre-zombieland? Are you kidding me? Chuckleheads like these dweebs were the reason I and others of my nerdy tribe even WERE socially ostracized! And, ohh. Oh, my God. The things their people did to these women. Josh has glossed over it, from what I can tell, so out of respect for him, and for them, I'll spare the bulk of the details, too. But on some nights, you can hear their muffled sobs as they wake up crying, or perhaps were never able to sleep in the first place. I've comforted some of them, in the past. The fact that they are so hurt, hurts me. Was making a few friends. I was teaching them to play D&D, and some of them were even nice enough to pretend like they were interested. But now, for the most part, they want nothing to do with me. They have this furious, yet deeply wounded look in their eyes. Even if they don't speak a word to me, their faces seem to say, "You betrayed me." And maybe I did. Not only that, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing.
So. When it came down to the decision-making crunch time, as Josh has said, I was SO not in favor of electing a king or whatever the heck. I do stupid stuff, and get taken to task for it time and time again, but my accomplishments and screw-ups are my own, and I don't need anyone else to take the credit or flack for them. And let's think, do we maybe have a bit of an issue of situated power already? Josh and Jessie took the initiative and prepared for what was coming, and everyone is grateful for that, but their world is our world now. Mrr. This is coming out wrong, never mind for right now. Anyway, the only reason I eventually gave in? Steve asked me to. Steve never demands anything. He only very rarely even asks for it. Thus, when he actually vocalizes a request? I tend to listen. "Baby," he said, very quietly, of course, just right in my ear so no one else could hear him. "Let it go. Just for now." And so I did. Later he explained that he was fairly sure certain members of our merry band were literally going to kill me if I kept "getting in the way" of things. I told him I was willing to die for my beliefs. He said he wasn't willing to have me die for my beliefs. Then we sort of cried/hugged for a little while. In conclusion, Steve is still one of the absolute greatest human beings.
Of course, now here we are, in different states, him off on a noble yet insanely dangerous quest, me back on the homefront sans my usual support group with a handful of folks who are under the (incorrect!)impression that violent rapists are just A-OK in my book. So I'm basically just chilling here, working on chainmail, making the usual patrols, and hoping no one decides to cut my throat in my sleep because they don't want to waste the bullet. Probably working my way a little to the paranoid/depressive side of things, but hey, maybe that means I'll just be pleasantly surprised when everything "continues to run smoothly," right? Right?
Sigh. I do exaggerate, I suppose. I guess I just worry that Josh has made this place sound like some Utopian Promised Land, that everything runs like a well-oiled machine, that we are the best and brightest humanity has to offer, so on and so forth. I don't want anybody coming here and winding up horribly disappointed. We're just people. We work hard, we slack off, we pay the price, we learn from our mistakes. We argue, and we struggle. Eventually, I hope, we forgive.
So if you're out there somewhere in the wide world reading this, and you've allied yourself with a group of not-so-nice individuals for your protection and survival, please know that there are other alternatives. What we have isn't perfect, but it is alive and dynamic and it WILL improve over time. Hey, actually, even if you don't want to join up with us, opening up dialogue with other groups would probably be a good thing. We don't want to get too closed-off and insular in our (re?)construction of society. And finally, if you're out there struggling for defensible survival with your own neo-tribal-type unit, take heart: if we can blunder through it, so can you!