The weather continues to stay very warm for this time of year, and to the south a large swarm of zombies was spotted forming by our scouts. This was yesterday, when the scouts saw the swarm--zombies gathering together a few miles down the highway. New breed zombies at that, and they were doing their damnedest to convert the plain zombies that moved toward the group in steady streams. It wasn't a huge gathering, maybe a hundred and fifty at the time, but the threat alone was enough to send the council into emergency session.
The call came down to our entire scout force as well as the auxiliary soldiers stationed here from North Jackson: this morning, we hit that swarm. Coordinated assault from multiple sides, swarm destroyed.
That happened, sure. Our people are well-trained and experienced and managed to kill the entire swarm in about forty minutes. Nearly half the men and women who participated in the assault took injuries of one kind or another, and seven people died. Seems like a decent ratio if you look at it as an abstract, but those seven people are a loss we can't afford, not with so few people living in this part of the country. Not with the Exiles and the threat of attack hanging over our heads.
The injured people are taking a toll on our resources. Medical staff working nonstop for hours, supplies being used up at ludicrous rates. The number of able-bodied fighters here has dropped by a staggering percentage, and for what? To kill some zombies that may or may not even have attacked New Haven. If they had, our defenses would have been sufficient to mow most of them down before they got within spitting distance of the wall.
Were we a larger community, this would have been less of a problem. Hell, even if this morning's assault on the zombie swarm were a one-off event it wouldn't be so bad. But that isn't the case. This action is just one of many that put our people in needless danger because of the changing attitude of the council.
Before, we were led by people who believed more in reactive measures than proactive ones. Yeah, not all that brave a way to live and certainly it came with drawbacks, but not going out picking fights was a great way to keep our people alive.
It's evident with this morning's assault and just as evident in the recent spate of scout runs that the council has gotten tired of the 'wait and see' way of doing things. I'm all for long-range search and recovery of any and all supplies we can find, but why on earth do we have to send our people on missions where they're going to knowingly engage the remaining marauders. The most unreasonable and violent of the marauders, I'll add. Is the risk in going after them worth the rewards?
I talked to the council yesterday and again this morning. I made my case as best I could, and they were fair enough that they listened without interrupting. They answered my questions, and the hardest part is that I could and can see where they're coming from. For them, it makes perfect sense to send parties against marauder camps. The advantages are obvious: you reduce the number of active marauders out in the world, and the camps are treasure troves of materials and supplies. Marauders, when questioned, are also apparently very knowledgeable about where to find other supplies, since they search everywhere they go constantly.
The old me would have agreed with this, but I can't be that cold anymore. I can't see my fellow citizens--or, for that matter, my fellow human beings in general--as just numbers in an equation. I can't think of the people we lost today and how that weakens our defenses without also feeling the loss that their friends and families must be dealing with.
Yeah, the council's actions are logical, but there has to be an element of humanity to the policies here or the situation in New Haven could potentially snowball into a much worse one. How many people will die out on these trips before it sets off a riot among those left behind? How many reluctant citizens will risk their lives time and again when it isn't absolutely necessary, creating the sort of hate for those that order them to go which leads to revolution?
In the end, my meetings with the council were cordial, even professional. There was every indication they kept their minds as open to what I had to say as I did to their position. A small comfort, but that's the way things are with people. Only comic books and bad Hollywood scripts have clear-cut bad guys. The rest of us are just human beings with differing opinions. I told them mine, and the final call by the council was to ignore my advice and continue on with the status quo. They told me that I should come talk to them again if I had any new ideas, but I read the subtext of the conversation perfectly.
They would listen, they would agree with parts of what I had to say, and in the end they'd just do what they thought was right. My words were just wind to them.