Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Another Q&A

A couple people from smaller and less communicative bands of survivors have been asking me questions lately. Some of these folks only have contact with the wider world through word of mouth, making it difficult for them to gain much outside information. Since things are calm and relatively boring today, I thought I'd take the time to answer a few of those questions.

Are we still using chain-link fence for parts of our wall or boundaries?

Not so much. This question makes a lot of sense. Early in The Fall, an easy way to keep zombies out was to use this stuff. It's easy to install and plentiful. Old school zombies have a hard time taking down a good long stretch of chain-link, assuming you've put it up properly and made sure to strengthen it as much as possible. Not as much help against swarms, of course.

Unfortunately most of them come in swarms now. A few dozen bodies pushing on a small enough section will topple it. We used a lot of the stuff in our original wall to span small gaps here and there, but we made sure to back it with a lot of metal piping and anything else we could use. Now, with the coming of the New Breed, it's too risky to use it to protect our home. Not a bad solution for outside farming, though. I'll have to look into it. Our scouts probably know if there's a large supply out there.

We've found a large supply of tazers and don't want to risk finding out if they work on zombies first-hand. Do you know?

I do not, though my best guess is that they won't do much. We've seen raw electricity used against the undead before, but there's a big difference between a device intended to incapacitate but not harm a living person and the juice it takes to run a small factory. Tazers put out a lot of volts but at a relatively low wattage, and the power coming from them isn't nearly enough to cook the parasite controlling the undead. When the folks at North Jackson fried a bunch of zombies with their bottled lightning, they did it with nets of copper wire carrying massive voltages at the wattage needed to power large machinery. The difference is like the light from the moon versus the light from the sun.

And the last question is also the biggest and most important to me, because it matters.

Do you hear from the rest of the world? Do you know what's going on in Europe or Asia? Is there anyone over there still alive?

This one hurts, I won't lie. We don't have much direct communication outside of North America. The bits and pieces we do hear--such as the tsunami that hit Japan a while back--are usually from the handful of brave souls willing to travel and share news that eventually spreads. Becky saw a large portion of Europe and the middle east as she made her way back to America, but the news isn't great. They face many of the same problems we do and on even larger scales--there are a lot more people on that side of the world. those continents are all connected and suffer accordingly. Becky has stories about the chaos and destruction, though there are (or at least, were) good people over there trying to manage just as we are.

The reason this question bothers me is many-layered. I've been busy a lot lately, then not nearly as much once I had my surgery. I could have spent some of my free time thinking about those people so far away, maybe trying to ferret out information and build relationships with anyone over there who might be able to access what remains of the internet. They're human beings, after all, and worthy of consideration and friendship just like anyone else.

But I didn't do that. In fact, I've put very little thought into the world outside of what I can reach by land for the very simple reason that I can't do a goddamn thing for them. There are probably people who would be happy to hear a new voice, to commiserate and share news. I haven't done it because I spend enough time worrying about my own people that I'm probably going to have a heart attack by the time I'm thirty-five. If I don't get killed long before then.

The idea of growing close to someone so far away, learning their nuances, the trials they go through, making friends, has some appeal. Enough that the practical side of me wavers a little when I think about it. I make the conscious decision not to pursue that desire because none of us can afford to use time and energy worrying about people we can never do a thing to help. Which is awful.

Not just the people, either. Europe, Asia, Africa, the middle east, India...the continents and countries that make up the eastern hemisphere are packed with human history. We began there and spread, learning and growing on the move. Technology, philosophy, art, religion, and every other element that is part of the human mind and soul springs from there. Countless works of thought and beauty, written words and paintings and architecture, are probably gone. I'm sure some folks try to protect them for future generations, but that's where the truth hits home.

My job, everyone's job, is to make sure there are future generations. Which means doing what we can and ignoring distractions we have no control over. Hurts my heart to say it, but it needed to be said.

If you've got any questions, leave them as comments on this post and I'll do another one of these in a few weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Depending on what their power situation is like, might I suggest to boys over at Google try to access the satellites they used to have to check on them. There's had to be more than enough time for the automated pictures to have been taken to give us some semblance of what it's like out there. Oh, and miss you guys. I was sick for a bit, but better now. Funny how you can survive the zombie apoc, yet still be taken down a few pegs by a spring fever. Go figure.