Monday, June 4, 2012

Hand of Doom

There are some days that start off bad and just roll downhill from there. Bad days like that can be epic from a single event, so terrible and mind-shattering that they leave scars on you that take years to get over. Others aren't as damaging in the long term but have the same kind of impact.

Where to begin?

I guess it started last night. The giant outdoor freezer I'd been designing before the team and I left out, the one my brother completed while we were away, failed. Not a structural failure--I spent too much time digging through the various articles and texts in my copy of the Ark and too much time double-checking my work to have made an engineering mistake that bad--but plain old human error. Our Absorption fridge needs a heat source to keep the process going, and last night the person who was on duty passed out just after they relieved the person before them.

The guy who passed out was sick with the new plague and didn't tell anyone. The fire has to be carefully tended, and no one came by to check on him as they should have. As a result, the contents of the fridge began to thaw. We insulated well, but the amount of time that passed means we have to eat a lot of the stuff that's in there. Mostly meat. Now that the fridge is cooling back down we can restock it, but we've got a lot less people to send out hunting than we did a few weeks ago.

Oh, and it's not like we can easily send people out. The zombies have apparently taken notice of the lower number of guards on the wall. They're coming closer to the ring of traps around New Haven all the time, and our people have been told not to fire on them unless the undead actually attack. We don't want to provoke them. The game here is to keep from having to fight again for as long as possible.

Sending out hunting parties is problematic for that very reason. We can't let them through the gate where the undead can easily spot them and attack. We have to get hunters out over the wall at times when they aren't being observed. Getting them back in is even more of a mess, because they have to come in wherever there's an opening, which means we need teams ready to run to any given spot to haul ropes and ladders at a moment's notice.

Two more deaths since yesterday, and four more sick. Three of those four are council members, so we're running a deficit in the responsible leadership area. The Exiles have started to reappear in small numbers at the fallback point, some of them going outside to work on their crops. Not devastating news, but it means they're either recovering somewhat from their outbreak of the plague or on death's door with hunger and desperate enough to survive that they'll send a few healthy souls out to collect food.

I don't know which is worse, to be honest.

Oh, and on top of those bits of bad news, the annex--the burned-out section of New Haven we abandoned last year and now farm in--is being invaded. By gophers.

Yeah, cute little guys that annoy Bill Murray in legendary golf movies. It's almost funny how dangerous those fuckers are to us. The ground and crops are being assaulted by a force of dumb, adorable tunnel dwellers that only want a nice meal. We've got deadly enemies across the river, implacable and clever undead nearly beating on the walls, and our biggest worry at the moment is how to deal with buck-toothed rodents nibbling on the food supply.

I can't help thinking of how hard Joss Whedon would be laughing right now. I think back to season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the cryptic warning that echoed through the episodes: From beneath you, it devours.

We're in a tough spot and dealing with a lot of stuff at once. It's just frustrating and disheartening to have these kinds of setbacks all at once. I'm doing what I can, which includes taking Jess over to the annex to see the damage for herself. I don't want to strain her, but she insists.

We need to catch a break.


  1. Trap and eat the gophers! People eat groundhog (even I did as a kid growing up in the region), so can gophers be much different? If nothing else, they could be put in the repaired freezer against hard times, or fed to the dogs/cats in New Haven.

    1. Gophers are edible and you would be taking care of two problems at once. But be careful. Gophers have a nasty set of teeth to chomp on you with! Do you have the resources to make jerky (in this case gopher jerky)?