This morning I was put in a situation that required me to prove whether or not I meant what I said about the community coming first, even as I stay home to care for my wife and others. One of our key allies in the local area, and by that I mean within a hundred miles or so, asked specifically if I'd help them with a project. They said I was their first choice, for my familiarity with the area in question as well as having worked and communicated with me more than any other citizen of New Haven.
Understand, these folks are critically important friends of New Haven. They offer us tactical assistance in extreme need, and beyond that they're good people. And yeah, I know the part of the country they live in very well. Of all the people here, only the team I took with me across the country and I have spent any time there. Me more than anyone else; when I was a kid my mom and dad used to meet there sometimes to exchange me between them for the summer.
And the job itself is something I have experience with. I can't say more than that right now, but there are some pretty compelling reasons for me being the one to go.
Obviously, that would mean leaving Jess and my guests. Jess wants me to do it, and the others are behind her on this, those of them that can still talk. Pat has offered to take care of everything, to schedule duty between himself, the girls, and Becky. I don't want to go, that's my gut reaction, but I have to consider the larger implications of refusing.
When I told Jess that I'd be devastated if something happened to her while I was away, she pointed out that given the new plague's seemingly instantaneous ability to kill, she could die while I was in the bathroom. Life is random, death is random, and if you wait around worrying about what will happen if you move, nothing can ever get accomplished.
Have I mentioned how wise my wife is? I really should make a habit of doing that.
I'll go, of course. I can't refuse the request in good conscience. This is a delicate situation that our allies can't afford to attempt on their own. Once I've done the job and can explain, you'll understand why that is, and why I can't go into more detail.
Will told me that should I choose to leave, I will be able to take two people with me. What I'm being asked to do is dangerous to the extreme, but we can't spare more than that. Really, we shouldn't be sparing anyone since people still get sick almost daily and there are many hundreds of pissed-off, hungry zombies buzzing against the walls, but exceptions have to be made sometimes. We're doing something to help ensure the survival of an entire community, a group of more than three hundred people.
It would be awful for me to be away if something happened to Jess. Logically I would understand my own faultlessness in that situation, but just imagining the scenario makes the guilt center of my brain (which feels suspiciously like my heart) go into overdrive. However, while that would make me feel terrible, not going to help people in desperate need and by so doing possibly doom them to violent deaths would be the worst kind of immoral act by way of neutrality.
Letting those people down, letting them come to harm because I was too selfish to take a risk, would be awful in ways I can't describe. I've done many terrible things since The Fall began, but not when I could avoid them. Through those hard choices and scarring acts, I've always tried to do what's best for the community. I've done immoral things to serve a larger good. Maybe that's why I can look myself in the eye.
But if I refuse to go, I don't think Jess would be able to do the same. I would prove myself to be a different man than she married. Less than I was. I can't let our allies down, but in the end I make the choice to go because I want her to be proud, more than any other factor.