I've got a few minutes before I sit down to have a very long and hopefully productive discussion with the leadership of North Jackson. I want to spend them babbling my amazement at the changes here since my last visit.
It's clear that the best possible thing that could have happened to North Jackson was the soldiers joining them. The sheer amount of manpower freed up by not having to patrol or provide defense has allowed the people here to massively expand. Where one main building used to house almost all the citizens, now a truly huge area is under their control. They've kept the old walls, much as we tried to do, and built large berms around the entire area with barricades on top. And around the outside of the berms--you guessed it--trenches from the excavated dirt.
It's an amazing setup. New buildings have been raised, but built partially below the ground to keep the temperature stable. The level of farming here is outstanding. NJ has taken to growing food with a passion. The building we loving nicknamed the "hydroponics bay" is now a verdant greenhouse, the ground aside from footpaths and roads is crisscrossed with plots of vegetables everywhere.
They've even put up some light barriers around a large area adjacent to the main compound that's only for farming. No structures, no paths. Just food.
I've asked around about where they've managed to get all the materials from, and the answer explains a lot. Parties have been out and about for many months stripping every useful item from the surrounding areas. When that began to peter out, the teams began to range farther and look harder. They've got stockpiles of materials we can't even dream of. They've been finding abandoned tankers and siphoning every vehicle they can, but that's been just enough to keep their trips out for materials going. Well, that and keeping the construction equipment going. It's a constant process around here.
The one really strange thing is the behavior of the local zombies, which is opposite to what we've been experiencing lately. Ours have learned to be afraid of us to a certain degree, and our daily runs around town to thin out their numbers keeps us from having to deal with too many of them at once. The smell of burning zombies tends to drive away the rest of them.
Here, that isn't the case. North Jackson has been doing the same things we have, but the number of undead doesn't seem to be dropping. They don't seem frightened. The best defense NJ has aside from their walls is the fact that there are more than a thousand people here, and they all pee. There's almost an industry here for reducing urine into its constituent parts to produce ammonia. There's a lot of it around here, more than enough to defend their walls for weeks at a time. This is good, as ammonia would be a good trade item...
The facilities here are better than anything we have back home, and the few chemists here have managed to collect other parts of waste products and distill elements and compounds from them. It's neat. It's also too much to go into here.
We'll be here for a few days, and then off. I need to hammer out some details with the leadership before we head out. Seeing what I've seen, I've had a few ideas for trades I'd love to make.