Spent a good deal of time yesterday working on the computer. It's still very strange to me that I sit in one place to work, don't have to rush through because of fuel constraints on our generator, and can get up to pee pretty much whenever I want. Freedom to use the bathroom is one of the perks you forget about when you're on the road.
I've been doing everything I can to get the word out to other communities about what's going on here. The marauders joined up with our own exiles can't be more than a fraction of the total number of them left out there. I'm certain beyond doubt that many more marauders will grow desperate and angry as time goes by, and that the conflict here is going to hasten that process. Better for the survivors we've made contact with to know the score and prepare themselves.
Will is doing much better. He's obviously not up on his feet yet, and the mandate given to him by the council no longer serves a purpose now that hostilities are open between New Haven and the...
Okay, I really need to call the enemy something. It's going to make life so much easier with a good noun to use here that differentiates this group from the others that we've faced. They're an alliance of marauders and homesteaders, so I could call them the allies, but that's confusing. I could call them the Axis of Evil, but that's melodramatic. I could call them something totally non-threatening like 'the bunnies', but that might serve to antagonize them.
To hell with it. I'm just going to call them the Exiles, because that's easy and it fits. Marauders choose to exile themselves from what remains of society, and we kicked the homesteaders out.
So: Will no longer has to worry about going out to find the Exiles. That doesn't mean he's not working on things. He is. Will's official pardon seems to have brought him fully back to life, and even as he sits in his bed at the clinic, he works on problem after problem. Not just defense issues, but other curious things that bug him. He's pretty sure, for example, that the people following us home from the south were probably trailing us for a long time. Scout reports indicate that the group we left trapped on the other side of a rockfall have joined with the Exiles. Will thinks they were sent to track our movements and make sure we came home, so all the New Haven fish would be in one barrel.
When I mentioned to Will that I thought it was odd that no major zombie attacks have come this way lately, he reminded me that this place still reeks of dead zombies. Evans thinks that a dying zombie might release a potent pheromone or something like it to warn off others. Add to that the very likely scenario that for a few months now, the Exiles have been massing in hidden camps all around the area and clearing out the undead, and you've got a pretty good idea of why New Haven has had such an easy time with zombie attacks.
Yeah, my people have been living in relative peace due to the efforts of an enemy that wants us all to themselves, but you have to take the bad with the good. That sounds sarcastic, but really think about it for a minute. Hard. The exiles have been staging around here for months, gathering materials and people quietly as they planned and prepared. They've been meticulous and detailed, minimizing risk as much as possible. I'm not arrogant enough to think they were only waiting for the team and I to get back--they've clearly been building up their forces for a while--but I think that factored into their time table.
All of that is bad, but it's also good. Yes, the exiles have been careful, but that caution has allowed my people to make severe modifications to New Haven itself. The new walls were up long before the Exiles joined together (at least, I hope that's the case...) but much of the new work has been done since Kincaid and his people joined up here. In their urge to be as safe and quiet as possible, the Exiles allowed my people time to turn New Haven into a goddamn fortress. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word. There are defenses here that blow my mind.
I'm not telling you what they are, but they go way beyond many of the ideas Will, Dodger, and I floated before the team and I left on our trip. Much of what I've seen has been augmented by supplies brought in by the scouts as they raided those marauder outposts. I've been curious about a lot of things since I came back, but this isn't one of them. I know why living, thinking people haven't tried to assault New Haven directly: because they recognize the suicidal nature of such an action.
On that note, I should get going. I meant to mention in detail how I spent a smaller portion of my day going out to local communities, of which there are now several. I was pretty shocked to learn that, but in the last several months a few new groups have settled in the area. Not in the county, but still nearby as such things are counted. I did the rounds with them--to Shelbyville, where I invited the folks we rescued from Tennessee to come stay with us should the Exiles make their way east to threaten them. They accepted graciously. The other three small groups were a little less open, but as they'd never met me before, much less lived with me as the Tennessee folk had, I couldn't blame them. I'm hoping to hear more back this morning.
I don't intend on leaving anyone out where the Exiles can terrorize them at will.