Friday, January 27, 2012

Easy Money

The price you pay for living in a community of people is that you get sick. In the world as it was before The Fall, it was easier to stay clean and limit the transmission of viruses and bacteria from person to person. I've been sick more since the zombie plague came than in the previous decade. That's not the point of this post, just an observation. If I seem a little wonky, blame it on the stomach bug I seem to have picked up.

I intended to spend a good portion of yesterday trying to talk to some of my friends on the council, but that didn't work out. There were votes while I was gone, replacing many of the key people I know I can trust on the council. Add to that the fact that I myself am not the most trusted person around, and begin to understand why appealing to the leadership to change their ways directly probably wouldn't have gone well.

That being said, I never got the chance.

While we've been away, the number of zombies that actually manage to make it to New Haven's wall have been few. Only recently have new breed zombies been spotted, and if ten have been seen I can't imagine less than five times that number are in hiding. It's easy to forget when you're away from home that the people you've left behind aren't experiencing new things with you--oh, they can read what I write, but there's universe of difference between reading accounts of fighting the new breed and actually doing it.

So far, none of them have attacked New Haven, but it can only be a matter of time. In a moment of surprising competence, the council came to agree with my and Dodger's assessment that the new breed nearby are probably building numbers. The solution? Should be obvious. We rode out to see how much damage we could do.

It was a small team, just me and Dodger in one truck, three scouts in another. One of the advancements Jess came up with while I was away was perfecting plastic armor. We'd tried before to mold some pellets of plastic from the factory Jess used to work at into armor, with disastrous results. She and Patrick have worked on the problem, and the result is a skin-tight, lightweight set of gear that will easily stop a zombie bite.

It's a good thing I've lost so much weight over the last two years, or I'd look even more ridiculous wearing it.

The good thing about the stuff is that all the plates are just small molded tiles, repeating over and over. Jess and Pat can make hundreds at a time, and Jess has her small group of ladies who make armor fabricate them into suits. A whole outfit is about ten man-hours (er, woman-hours in this case) of work, or about half a day from Jess's team.

It's pretty cold right now, so Dodger and I decided to lead a strike on the one patch of hibernating new breed zombies our scouts had located. Not many of them--fourteen--but a good starting point. The scouts told us that three new breed were alert and guarding the others at any given time, so we figured the job would be easy.

And the damnedest thing about it? It was easy, and that makes me very suspicious. We parked half a mile out, moved within a hundred feet of the group with our bows out, and watched. No sign we'd been seen. No reaction at all from the zombies guarding their sleeping brothers.

We moved in. Ninety feet. Eighty. Sixty. Forty.

We were being quiet, sure, but the undead seem to locate and communicate by something close to smell. We'd all taken the time to mask our scents as much as possible, but even then they should have reacted at that range. Dodger and I gave each other confused looks, but we weren't going to look a gift horse in the mouth, either.

I gave the hand signal for a countdown, and three bows took careful aim. A few seconds later, three new breed zombies lay dead, arrows jutting from their skulls. From there it was all cleanup, as the remaining eleven zombies were still hibernating. We used the heavy, elongated machetes North Jackson made for us as their weight made cutting through tough new breed necks much easier.

I'll be honest, the whole thing felt wrong. Dodger and I talked about it for a while, and we agree that the zombies seemed to want us to find them. If that's the case, why? They didn't have a trap set for us or anything. What was the purpose?

Dodger and I are taking a trip back out to that killing ground today. Maybe a close look at the area will give us some clue what's going on.

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