Sunday, July 29, 2012

Growth Spurt

You may remember a while back--a long while back--that we once had plans to expand New Haven in a very specific way. That idea was derailed by a series of events beyond our control, and though current events are trying to do the same thing we've decided to use that old plan as the basis for our current expansion.

At the risk of making us appear weak at a time when several major aspects of our future are balancing on a fine edge, I can't help but share. We're seeing cases of the new plague come up again at a rate that makes us pretty sure this is a variety brought in from the outside. That itself isn't surprising; we expected it. We aren't back to a point where we have to worry because so many people have become ill again, but six falling ill in one day, two of them people who have had the plague before, is something to be concerned about.

As always, our dedicated medical staff are on the case. Though somewhat more resistant to heat than the previous strains, a nice hot sauna seems to do the trick. Our clinical people are on the ball with the newest outbreak, and it's a major advantage that people with symptoms know better than to write them off as a summer cold. People get sick, they come to the clinic, and the illness is treated as fast as humanly possible.

If recent history is any kind of measuring stick then this whole situation could turn bad very quickly. We don't know if previous exposure makes a person more or less likely to get sick again. We don't know if the new version is more or less virulent than the old one. Just as before, there are a lot of factors in play that we have no way of understanding other than guesswork based on evidence before us. To gather that evidence, people have to get sick. A lot of them.

On top of that, a few prior victims of the new plague have fallen ill with what looks like regular old illnesses. Maybe the trauma of the zombie plagues fighting in their lungs has weakened immune systems. Since the people in question all live and work together and have similar symptoms, this probably isn't as big a deal. I know when I get sick Jess usually follows or vice versa. The situation isn't more than a blip on the radar right now, but long experience coupled with a healthy desire not be caught off guard means I'll be keeping an eye on this even if no one else does. Which they will. Which probably makes me paranoid and overprotective.

Considering the work ahead, I don't think being overcautious is a bad idea. One interesting thing about the next phase of our plan is the amount of work that is being done off-site to make it happen. Part of the reason we abandoned our original expansion plan was due to the difficulty we foresaw in setting up a new wall around any areas we wanted. The idea was to go eastward, which we began with the annex of the smaller neighborhood next door. That didn't end so well. You may recall that the wall there was breached and the place set on fire. That's why the whole thing is a big farm now.

But the people coming to join us have been working with the brainy engineers in North Jackson on a solution. A way to quickly put up walls and cordon off sections of neighborhoods and empty land for our use. The idea was taken from the smaller expansion we did with shipping containers not long ago. Those giant metal boxes don't need supports or any more work than putting them into place.

So the NJ people came up with the idea to cut a bunch of shipping containers up, put hinges on the edges, and send a bunch of them (salvaged from defunct trucking companies and railyards. Thanks, Michigan, for being full of those things) to us on flatbeds. Many varieties of the them will fit together snugly if you lay the sides flat, meaning large numbers of the cut-apart boxes can be moved at once. Just slice 'em up, stack the pieces like paper, and away you go.

It does represent a heavy investment in fuel, which we're struggling to find more and more, but we've got enough ethanol to make that stretch for a long while if we use vehicles that can burn it. North Jackson has a couple heavy trucks that can. We've got a small team of people working on setting up support posts for the new walls even as I type this, based on the specifications sent to us by the folks in NJ. I'm curious to see how this will work out. It's a brilliant idea, honestly. Instead of using a whole shipping container to make a wall section, we'll be using the hinges to put half a box together. A ninety-degree angle, tall side standing up, short side on the ground. A little welding of braces, then attaching the thing to the posts our people are placing, and voila.


It's a great idea, and it means being able to grow at a much faster rate than we could have ever hoped for. Most of the work is going to wait until we have the hands to do it, but with this plan in mind I see not just a greater possibility that it'll work, but a high probability that it will. Think about that. More than two thousand people living here, working together. Making the future happen as one.

We'll certainly have to dodge some obstacles to get there, but when was the last time our lives were easy?

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