Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Seven Minutes to Midnight

They're coming. Every soldier from Richmond, and they will probably make it here in the next hour or so. We set up a lot of traps along the highway, dug a lot of holes below the road to weaken them. One of those holes cost them a tank.

But still, they come.

A few people pretty much went crazy when we broke the news at seven this morning. One guy started screaming about having to run, shaking people by their shirts and demanding that they follow him. That man is at the clinic, sedated and restrained. Another man took the news to mean that all bets were off, and tried to rape a woman he cornered between two houses.

My wife saw it all from the tower. Saw the group of people running toward the poor woman's screams. It took her a bit to line up a shot, but she nailed the guy right through his knee.

The crowd did the rest. There's not a piece of her attacker bigger than a piece of steak left.

Darlene hasn't been our leader very long, but she's a fast learner when it comes to true leadership. She's leading the teams that will be acting as our first line of defense today. She's a brave woman, and a hellishly fierce one in combat. I know she will make the right calls, especially with someone as brilliant as Will to rely on for advice.

These soldiers represent a much bigger threat than anything we've faced before. It's strange to think of them as some unavoidable event, rolling towards us inexorably. In an open conflict, our small collection of assault vehicles just can't match up to their armor and firepower. Of course, we don't have any intention of playing by  any rules but our own.

And those rules say that when winning the game means survival, anything goes.

I won't lie and say that I'm not worried. I am. I'm terrified that I will die, or lose someone dear to me. I'm scared in general for the safety of my people, our supplies, and even our animals.

Last week I talked about my misogi experience, and what I learned from it. Funnily, I re-read Dune over the weekend, and something in it that related caught my eye. It was the first lesson of the Mentat, which says, "No process can be understood by stopping it."

It fits. My realization was that no struggle can be won by fighting against the circumstances that define it, or at least not the ones you can't help immediately. All of that sort of gelled together in my brain.

I am ready for this fight. All of us are. We cannot and will not shy away from it or the risks involved simply because we don't like them. We won't hesitate to pull the trigger or swing the blade because of the horror that wells up inside us as we watch the blood spray or feel the steel bite into bone and sinew. The survivors who live here in the compound have bought and paid for what we have built here with blood and tears, too many times already. The idea that anyone should come here and try to intimidate us into leaving or submitting is simply unacceptable.

People will almost certainly die today. Us. Them. We will fight if we have to, kill if we have to, and never for a moment mourn our attackers. Any guilt we might feel will simply be the regret all of us go through at the grim necessity of what we have to do to live. Perhaps a shred of sadness thrown in that the human race still can't get on the same page even after all civilization has fallen down.

I need to go, and I don't know when I will be back. Wish us luck, pray for us, whatever it is you do for those you want to succeed, we'll take it. Today will leave its mark on us forever, no matter what happens.

They are coming.

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