My cohorts have been working pretty hard to plan out where all the new arrivals will be staying permanently and what jobs each of them might be best at. Farming and hunting are obvious choices, and a few of them have a lot of experience defending. Today we're doing interviews with each of them to try and determine what the best fit will be. They'll be short ones, I hope, maybe ten minutes apiece, and each of my fellow coordinators will be doing them along with me. Part of the reason we're doing this is because we want to try to move some of our less satisfied citizens away from jobs they don't like since we now have extra people that might actually enjoy some of those jobs.
I know for sure there are a few guys who hate working in the mess halls, and would rather get out on the wall or to the farms. A few of the pregnant women we brought from Tennessee like to cook, and since it's relatively safe I think a trade might be beneficial.
One of the women we brought back with us is very interesting. Her name is Jen, and I watched her for a long time last night. No, not like that--well, a little, since she's a lovely woman. No, I was watching some of our spearmen practice working in a phalanx, as many of us do from time to time. You may remember them from a while back, a small group of interested people that wanted to work on the spear-and-shield technique as a way of defeating much greater numbers of zombies.
They've been practicing a lot lately in their spare time, and last night I watched Jen stare at their drills in fascination. She's an interesting lady, very knowledgeable about a lot of things but most interested in hunting and combat. She was the person most likely to be found patrolling the edge of the valley while we were there. She is a good archer, I'm told a good shot with a gun, and she definitely knows how to use a machete and hatchet. I saw that firsthand.
The phalanx was practicing for about twenty minutes before she got up from where she stood and walked over to them. A few of the men were surprised to see her grab a spear from the rack. Even more were caught off guard when she shouldered her way into the hollow square formation they were in without a shield. No one said anything at first, but Jen caught them off guard one last time by shouting the orders she'd heard Will giving the men from inside the square.
Those men are well-trained, and Jen has grown used to command. The tone of her voice was as rough and take-no-shit as any drill sergeant, if a few octaves higher. When the line moved forward to strike, shields tight, Jen slipped between the men with her slim frame and brought her spear down with a powerful overhead strike. When she gave the order for the line to pull back, she leaned hard against the men locked together in a tight defensive stance and swept her spear out in a hard arc.
It was awesome. The men had practiced similar things before, but most of them were too heavy or big to make it work out right. Someone always overbalanced or broke the line apart. That was mostly due to the fact that the space inside the hollow square is small and hard for most guys to maneuver around in.
Jen showed us the obvious solution to that. She suggests four women inside, each with a polearm. Not a spear, but rather a bladed weapon like a halberd. Swinging away from safely inside, mowing down the undead beating on the shields.