Early this morning, one of the five men from Mason's team pulled into the compound in a truck that looked like it had been rolled down a cliff. Mason was with him, unconscious and injured. They were the only two survivors of the excursion north to try and help the trapped survivors near the Ohio border.
By that I mean that none of the group they went up there to help made it either. The guy that managed to get back here is asleep right now, completely exhausted, and Mason is still out cold. Looks like he got a pretty bad thump to the head at some point. Before Darryl, the guy who escaped and brought Mason with him, dropped off to sleep, he gave us the bare bones of what happened.
Our people got there and observed for a few hours, set some traps, and then tried to draw groups of zombies away from where the survivors were holed up. Long story short, it was working until some smarties caught the pattern in what Mason and his guys were doing, and caught them all by surprise. Darryl isn't sure how it happened, but apparently somehow the other truck we sent North got out of control and slammed into the building the locals were shut up in to stay safe from the swarm. He said you could hear the people scream from where he was, nearly a quarter mile away.
I'm not sure what happened to Mason exactly, but Evans says he'll be fine.
I'm glad that those two made it back, but I and most people around the compound are stricken by the outome of their trip. It's hard to lose people, even one. Four at one time is extremely rough emotionally, and every one of us feels it a little differently. No, the men we lost weren't related to any of the rest of us by blood. Blood can be important, but so too is the bond that grows from living in close quarters. Giving of yourself for the betterment of the tribe.
They were good men, strong fighters, and decent human beings. In my job, I have to be cold and calculating at times, like figuring the loss of the truck that crashed into the apartment building of the people that they were trying to save. The weapons and fuel inside. Even the work that can't be done by the men we lost, or by Mason and Darryl until Evans gives them the go-ahead.
Make no mistake, though. I see every lost brother or sister as a blow to the compound, and to all the people in it. It isn't made any easier to know that they were lost in service to strangers that we owed nothing to, however noble that may be. We've undergone (and, I suppose, are still undergoing) a strange evolution. We've been hard as coffin nails when the need arose, practical and pragmatic in our assessment of the world around us and what we have needed to do to survive in it. We can take pride in the fact that our lost citizens gave their lives during the act of living in accordance with their ideals--the protection of those who wish no harm on others, who can't defend themselves.
Still, that hard-nosed bitch called realism has to step in. The plain truth is that had we not sent our men north, they'd probably all still be alive and healthy. Given that our people were the ones who breached the safety of the apartment building, it's safe to say that the chances of the whole group of survivors there being killed would have been a lot lower if our boys had stayed home.
There isn't anything to be done for it, though. We'll cry our tears, have a service, and then move on. Our men might have died heroes' deaths, for all I know, but they're still dead. It's going to raise some interesting points of debate at council, whether we should allow these kinds of outings in the future. We've been pretty liberal with running out of town and even out of state to help others. Maybe the time has come to look at how feasible that is in the long run. Even of we only lost a person every other trip, the attrition rate on our population will end up being awful.
The attrition of our spirits would be just as bad, if not worse. And that's the last thing we need.