All three of Jess's students are still under Gabby's care at the clinic, none of them showing signs of infection yet. Gabby is a wound specialist, and that training includes dealing with burns. It's actually lucky that none of the burns are over large areas. The biggest is about the size of a quarter. That's important because it means that each burn only has to heal itself. The prognosis is just on the positive side at the moment.
I'll try to keep you updated on their condition, but the world spins on...
I've gotten updated and more detailed information about the earthquake in Japan. It happened quite a lot longer ago than I was originally told. There's some good news to be had out of that situation, however: a large number of survivors there have been confirmed alive in several of the smaller communities on the main island. They've managed to set up a transmitter powerful enough to talk with others in the area. I'm still sifting through the details, but it looks good for them right now.
Every morning when I go through my messages, I hope to find something game-changing. I couldn't tell you what that might be, but it's sort of like the high-strung expectation you got as a kid on Christmas morning. The sense of potential and anticipation I feel when I open my mail or check my phone is powerful. I've yet to get that piece of mail that could have life-altering ramifications for all of us...but this morning I got some interesting news that has more potential than most.
The news about the soldiers that joined forces with the people of North Jackson has predictably spread among the known groups of survivors like wildfire. NJ is now the largest known group of survivors anywhere, and their leadership is putting out daily reports via email about how things are working out there.
I have to say, the news is pretty cool. It's awesome to read about so many half-finished (or barely started) projects that were going on while I and the other refugees stayed there finally having the manpower to get finished. The fence to the hydroponics bay? It'll be done in a few days. Clearing out several more acres adjacent to the main complex? A week, tops. With so many soldiers willing and eager to get on the walls and defend in order to give the civilians of NJ a chance to work on other things, just about every idea and pet project is getting some attention.
Of course, it doesn't take four hundred people to guard the wall. Even split into three shifts, it doesn't take that many. They post a hundred guards per shift three times a day, leaving about a hundred of them left to work on improving defenses, constructing new walls, and the like. NJ is going to quickly turn into a very interesting place to live, I bet.
I'm a little envious of them. I think of all we could have accomplished if the Richmond soldiers had taken the path of reason and just asked to come live here, and it rubs me the wrong way. The proof of what could have been is in stark black and white on my screen.
That's life in this new world, though. It's impossible to predict how fortune will favor you, or fate cheat you. All you can do when life gives you challenges is meet them or fail. Other options just don't exist. Pining away at lost opportunities just wastes time and effort. I remember how hard I used to wish to win the lottery--and now I wish that I'd spent that time in pleasant imagining learning some skill that I currently lack. Oh, yes, I would trade millions of dollars for the ability to properly dress a deer. I'm still not good at that.
I don't know if the changes going on in NJ are going to be the game-changers I hope for them to be. My imagination is pretty good, and I see a lot of possibilities. With such dedicated protectors, maybe NJ will become a center of trade and commerce. I can see them becoming a society that trades technology to many smaller communities.
Maybe they'll become a highly militarized group, and work tirelessly to produce technology that will help them expand in order to make room for ever more citizens.
Maybe they'll become evil marauders who rape and pillage. I doubt that one.
Really, my best guess is that for the time being, the people of NJ new and old alike will struggle and scratch to get by. There will be hungry times and moments of plenty with so many mouths to feed. But people are a resource like any other, and they've got a nice surplus. If anyone can make that work to their advantage, the people that Jack gathered together can. I know that.
We'll be here to help them in any way we can. Just as they would do for us.