I know it's early, but Courtney and crew are starting back home today, so I was up anyway to get the call from them. The cleanup at Jack's compound is still ongoing, of course, but the locals reckon they have things well in hand now, and told our folks to head out if they wanted to.
With all the traffic through the corridor between our compound and theirs, I don't see it taking all that long for them to get back. Hopefully tomorrow, barring any major vehicular issues.
But something else interesting happened this morning. While I was waiting for the confirmation call from Courtney that they were heading out, I checked my email, only to discover a message from a regular reader and long time friend. When I say long time, I mean since we were kids.
Rachel lives in Kansas. You may or may not have seen her comments posted on the blog from time to time, generally being inquisitive and occasionally snarky. I have implored her many times to come here with her family, who all managed to survive the initial plague of zombies and the subsequent fall of society. She declined every time, pointing out that the apartment complex they were living in was pretty much zombie-proof all on its own (thanks to cheap campus housing, it's all cinder blocks and tiny windows). They have ample supplies and land to work when they need to up their food stores, plus a shocking lack of swarms around those parts.
Naturally, she also mentioned that the drive would be tricky at the least and possibly fatal at worst.
So she emails me last night after I went to bed to tell me that she wants to head this way. With her family, her husband...and a lot of friends.
Rachel has been trying to reach the same goal as us this whole time. She's been searching for survivors and bringing them together in small groups, pooling resources and trying to build something lasting where she is. There are more than fifty people with her now, and things have been pretty good for them until the last few weeks.
Recently, bands of marauders have been moving through her area. Not too close to where she and her people live, but the signs are there, and getting closer. Her group are short on firearms, and have stayed alive by being fast and clever, not through the constant fighting that we've had here. They simply aren't equipped to deal with a coordinated assault. So, they are looking for a haven.
I should point out that I had no idea she had managed to gather people like this. Her reasoning for not saying something is solid; she knows what horrible things I and others here have done, not all of it strictly necessary. We've killed people by the score, led preemptive strikes against our enemies, even burned marauders alive while they slept. We are friends, but her caution about this compound and the people in it is well warranted. That being said, it still hurts a little that she didn't trust me.
I totally get it, I wouldn't trust us at first glance either. I didn't say it was logical, only that it bothered me.
Anyway, yesterday's post seemed to be some kind of a sign. Rachel's dad, who in my humble opinion is probably one of the smartest people I've ever met as well as an amazing judge of character, made the point that if we would use precious materials and time to make something like a theater, we can't be that terrible. I think Rachel herself was already leaning toward trust in this matter, but I have little doubt that her father's words played a part in writing to me.
I don't want to make it sound as though these folks can't take care of themselves and need us to be their knights in shining armor. I have no doubt whatsoever that with the right weapons and experience, they could take out the marauders near them. It's simply that they do have another option beside risking their lives and safety trying to defeat an unknown number of probably enemies who have god only knows what kinds o weapons. This is the safer route for all of them. It's smart.
While they are set up to leave at any time, and indeed have managed to pack away many trailers worth of grains and other foodstuffs, they are short on gas. Rachel estimates that they can make it about two hundred and fifty miles with what they have, and then will run dry. This isn't an insurmountable problem, since we have plenty in our reserves at present and are always looking for more. We could meet them if we need to, to refuel and guard their caravan all the way to Frankfort.
Which would be fine if she knew exactly where the marauding band close to her was located. With that information, escape would be fairly safe and easy.
But so far, no clue. A few of her people have gone out at night and scouted the land, but haven't yet managed to figure out what direction they are coming from, much less where a safe route around them would be.
So I think we're going have our election here as soon as Courtney and the others get back, and then I am going to Kansas. I imagine that I can get a team outfitted by then. I just hope that luck holds out for Rachel and her group until we can get there. I don't want to fight if I can help it, nor risk the life of any of my people or hers. My plan is to get in, figure out where the enemy is located, and then leave in a direction that avoids them at all costs, avoiding any swarms of zombies if possible.
It's going to be dangerous. A million things can go wrong.
Why the hell am I looking forward to it?