The point being, I've been out and about. I'm usually the contact point between us and the other groups of survivors out there. Courtney does a lot of that as well, since she's our diplomat, but because until recently I was always working on my laptop, it was easier for me to keep in touch with other groups.
In the last several days, other citizens, most of them on the council, have been doing that. Indeed, they've been organizing all kinds of trade agreements and arranging shipments for the basic, topical antibiotics Gabrielle is working on.
I was asked to bend my efforts toward organizing the whole process. To coordinate workers to gather and process the base ingredients, schedule training sessions with Gabby so others can learn how to do it. I'm also to negotiate details for trade with some of the outside groups, mostly people that are used to dealing with me and are slightly distrustful of others.
I can't say I'm overwhelmed with this idea. The way everyone in the council meeting was talking, they think we can become a viable presence in the trade between survivors. That we can manage to produce enough medical supplies to survive that way without having to produce anything else for ourselves. I'm not a fan of that. I've always liked being a generalist, and the compound has (so far) had the same attitude.
Making our own weapons and armor, along with a hundred other things, gives us a degree of security that is truly significant. We didn't have to rely on others to arm our people or to supply our food. Specialization, as the wise man once said, is for ants.
I do see the merit in it, though. Right now we've got some pretty useful items being made if on a smaller scale than you might think. There are people out there who are flush with extra food to trade, and while our windfall of slightly stale soup is helping a lot, it will only last a little while. We need to build up reserves, and right now we are barely eating enough to keep from losing more weight, much less put on the pounds all of us lost.
It's against my inclination to focus on one item so deeply, but there are truths in front of us that can't be ignored: the zombies are attacking again, we're still dangerously close to the edge of starvation, and without some kind of trade we're going to stay there.
For now, I'll just consider this an opportunity to make some seriously helpful gains in the short term, and let the long-term come as it may.