Friday, May 18, 2012

City of Iron

On the second and last run from George's abandoned community, he and his team brought back a load of shipping containers and supplies almost equal to the first one. That was overlooked in all the worry about our sick people, but the accomplishment shouldn't be overlooked. Mainly because thanks to the bravery of George and his team and the resourcefulness of another group, we're better off now than we were a few weeks ago.

That other team was led by Kincaid and filled out with some of his reformed marauders and long-time citizens of New Haven. Not to diminish what George and his folks managed, but you know the details. They haven't changed much from the first trip out. Dangerous as hell but nothing new to report there. Kincaid and his group need a bit of recognition as well, though. The reformed marauders who chose to give up their violent lives on the road and take a stand with us have done everything asked of them.

Though they're guilty of terrible sins, they risked our judgment to try at a better life. Kincaid and each of his crew knew that coming here could mean death for them. More, since they've been here each of them has proven their value and dedication. When serious threats rise up Kincaid's people don't hesitate to stand tall with us and fight. They risk just as much as anyone else.

When a quiet open-ended trip to locate supplies was brought up, Kincaid volunteered. The idea was to plan the lowest-risk to highest return ratio we could come up with. That meant from a material standpoint that we couldn't send out things we can't replace. Vehicles we have in planty, guns and ammo not so much. Kincaid's unit went out armed only with spears and bladed weapons. They were given fuel and an idea what direction they might want to go.

We kept the whole thing very hush for the obvious reasons. We couldn't talk about sending a minimally armed group out scavenging without inviting the very kinds of attacks Kincaid and his folks used to make on others. They didn't meet any living people on their trip, but there were obviously undead to contend with. No loss of life, and in a period of three days they managed to locate what we were hoping for.

More diesel fuel, of course. Kincaid brought in some other stuff his team found along the way, but this is the big one. With a tanker of juice we were able to gas up the small crane and other heavy equipment. The result has been a solid day of intense work on the expansion, which is quickly becoming a city unto itself. With all the extra shipping containers we've been able to make living spaces for a lot of people very fast. Really, all it takes is getting the things into position and cutting some ventilation in them. Heating and cooling aren't a huge concern at the moment as the weather is nice, but the people from George's community that are taking up the new housing in the expansion for their own are working on that anyway. It's kind of amazing how fast they're working even in their off time.

Even a metal box can go from being a place to sleep to being a home with love and care. The excitement over in the expansion is infectious, even I've been over to help out. Part of my own enthusiasm comes from knowing the expansion is going to be an incredible resource for us. I'm super glad for the new housing and for George's people (and whoever comes after them) but there are so many other angles to consider.

After all, the place is one giant set of armor. Steel is pretty damn hard to set on fire, resists bullets, and is a strong building material. Then there's the interior of the containers themselves, which can be used for any number of things. Farming (Jess is thinking we should grow mushrooms in some of them. Gross, but not a bad idea) is one possibility, storage another, and the ideas keep on going. The modular nature of the place means we can alter and move things around as we need. The expansion is like a big-boy version of building blocks, with the attending infinite permutations that come along with that.

It's a self-sustaining cycle, hopefully. We'll be able to farm in the new area of New Haven (have already begun to, actually) and the storage will allow us to keep more food in reserve. Which means we can feed more people, which means bringing new blood in. That will lead to expanding again. This is what we've been planning for, but the last six or seven months have been a perfect storm of opportunities to make it actually happen.

We're on the tipping point of seeing New Haven go from a colony of survivors to a budding civilization with its own momentum in growth. The Exiles and the New Breed aren't making that easy, but despite those threats and even the new plague, we're making it happen.

That 'something new' I've talked about survivors creating? We're on the cusp of it now.

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