Friday, November 5, 2010

Moving Forward by Backing Up

Damn, jogging in this weather is brutal. You can't wear a heavy coat because you end up sweating, and you can't just wear a shirt or you'll end up freezing.

While I was out I talked to Dodger, who has completely taken over runs to the outside with the scouts. They've been out hunting groups of inert zombies just after dawn, when it's still extremely cold but with enough light to see. He told me several very interesting things.

One is that they are still finding groups of undead here and there, but usually in small clusters. Most of those look very emaciated, as though they hadn't managed to find food in a very long time. Interestingly, those groups tend to be very small. The largest one our scouts have located so far was about a dozen. Most have been much smaller, three or four together.

Dodger found a large group this morning, and he only did so because he disobeyed his instructions from Will. Instead of staying within the radius of travel he was given, Dodger moved much farther out on a hunch. It seems that the smart zombies (smarties) might have seen the pattern in our patrols and gone outside their reach to hibernate or whatever it is they do. The group this morning was found about ten miles from here, all laying down with leaves and brush pulled over them in a dense copse of trees.

Dodger found them by the tracks they left in the mud around the place, so they must have been there a while. He stepped on one of them before he realized they were all laying down, but luckily the cold had the zombie so immobile that all it could do was moan before he crushed its head with a crowbar.

I guess they tried to move far away from people before they became unable to move for the winter. I worry that this means a large number of them will go unscathed this winter, but we aren't going to take inordinate risks when the weather gets bad.

The flip side to that coin is that a longer distance between us and them means that any warm spells would have to last a long time for them to make it back here and attack us. I see that as a big plus, since we've had no days in the last week above fifty five degrees or so.

Oh, while I was out jogging I saw Aaron. He's been pretty busy lately trying to keep ahead of his students on pretty much every subject, but I caught him talking to a very pretty girl. I hated to interrupt, but I had some news for him that couldn't wait. I'll share it with you as well.

My sister has been working with Jack and his people up north to try and help us with some technical skills that we sorely lack here. To that end, she will be coordinating with Aaron to send some of his more interested students up north to receive training in whatever areas of engineering and fabrication (or pretty much any other subject Jack's people know). With luck, those folks will come back with some new things to teach others.

Roger's death drove home a lesson we already knew: we can't allow specialized knowledge and skills to be lost. Patrick worked with him and learned enough from him to continue his work, but Pat is gone right now, and that is too risky. Pat will be home again soon, we hope, and when he gets here he will stay long enough to teach what he knows. He's agreed to do that full time until there are two others that know was much as he does about smithing and metallurgy. That will be helped by the surprising delivery of books Roger's wife dropped off here this morning, which contain between them thousands of pages of instructions and bits of information, all written by him over a long career with metal. Bless that man for being so obsessive.

I have work to get back to, much as I hate to cut short. I have a good feeling about sending some of our people north to learn. It feels right.

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