Jess is doing well, but she'll be a while in recovery. Her right leg took a brutal hit from the bomb, which is actually pretty lucky considering the damage other folks took. Two men in front of her died. I shudder to think what would have happened if she'd been leading the column...
Her injuries make this next part all the harder for me, but it can't be helped.
My duties in New Haven are redundant now, which is a good thing. Where before there were only two people to handle the logistics of running this place, now there are half a dozen and the number is growing. Gabrielle has someone specifically to manage the gathering of supplies for her projects, as do the other major groups of people inside NH who have moved toward manufacturing.
I have a wide variety of skills and talents, many of them honed in the last eighteen months of rigorous and practical use. Apparently my best and most useful one is surviving.
I've been asked by the council to lead a team in a cross-country journey. Late last year, Courtney did the same, moving across the remnants of America in a mission of mercy. To say her trip was a success would be to understate the issue to a huge degree. Courtney and her team kept going long after the original goal had been met, building ties and ferrying people and supplies all around the country. Every trader that came here was either a person she had worked with before or someone who'd heard of what she had accomplished. All of them gave her team's actions as a primary reason why they felt they could trust us.
The bazaar was so successful that the council wants to reach out to as many others as possible in order to keep trade going, and to build on what we have. We're in the harvest times now, and winter will be here before we know it. The idea is to personally meet and encourage as many people as possible to open themselves to trade. Not only to enrich themselves, but also to help others.
There's not much left of the human race, and every life counts. Every man, woman, and child is vital.
I get to pick my team, which is a relief. Ideally I'd take Jess with me, but she'll be weeks in recovery if not months. The council wants us to head out in the next week to ten days, so that's not a possibility. I can't take Courtney, either, which makes sense. She's our diplomat, and I'm going to be doing her job out in the field while she continues to build bridges at home. Risking both of us out there would be foolish.
I'd like to take Steve with me, but given how much I hate the idea of being away from Jess, I don't know that I have the heart to take him away from Courtney. Patrick is also a no-go, since he's vital to New Haven in his own job as a metalworker and blacksmith. Not to mention he's only got the one hand now. Unless it's a serious emergency, Pat's days as a front-line fighter and scout are long over.
I'll be picking my group in the next day, and I'll keep updating.
I feel a curious mixture of things when I think about being asked to make this long, long commitment. I've been asked, but really I was told. With the strengthening of our people, the politics of the place have begun to resurface. We took an awful hit from the homesteaders, and the council is worried about anyone who could be seen as a gathering point for opposition. Not that I'd do that, but I was the one who founded this place. If a faction of our people ever decided to do what the homesteaders who became exiles did, I could be used as a rallying point.
Not to mention...well, it was made clear to me during the council meeting the other day that some of the things I wrote on this blog about the homesteaders probably didn't help the situation with them. I think that's probably fair: I have a long history of shooting off at the mouth in anger.
The general idea is to get me away, let things solidify and calm down here, and at the same time accomplish a needed goal. I can't argue with the logic of it, though I hate to leave at such an exciting time. I'll miss this place. More than I will ever be able to say.
On the plus side, I'll be provisioned heavily, and I'll have plenty of time and opportunity to study zombies in the wild. I've put that to the side for a long time now, but my interest in the undead that blanket the land has never wavered. Silver linings and all that.