Looking back over the last few years, I've come to recognize how things go in cycles for us. Hard times and good, one after the other. Starvation and plenty, danger and safety. It's obvious on the large scale with, say, the pattern of zombie activity. Staying relatively quiet in the winter and active in the summer. Also on the small scale with swells in attacks followed by short periods of calm.
That off-and-on pattern seems to apply to most aspects of our lives. The most important one at the moment is the new plague. It started off very slowly and built to a dangerous crescendo, killing people and weakening us as a community almost to the point of collapse. Then it leveled out and we found a way to treat the illness, which has worked so far. The numbers of sick people have dropped off as new cases became sparse.
Today that pattern changed. It's so frustrating to think you've got a problem solved only to see it spring up again. This time it's our plumbers that are ill, and it's most of them. We're trying to figure out why the majority of them would fall ill all at once when our data so far implies that the new plague takes a while to get working and that there seems to be no external factor that causes it to attack.
But here you have it. Sixteen men and women who feel as though their lungs are in a vice. We're treating them, of course, but it's a new twist in a situation we thought we were beginning to understand. The only significant factors I can think of off hand are the zombie attack--meaning widespread exposure to a possible mutation in the plague itself--and the weather, which has been crazy. Was the dust storm part of it?
I fucking hate that we don't know. Not simply for my own curiosity, but because being able to work out why might give us somewhere to work from. Maybe a way to predict how the plague changes and spreads.
What worries me the most is that we'll get a group of newcomers in here (and there are a group of them hitting the gates sometime in the next few days--the workmen for our plumbers) that will bring a variant of the plague that will hit us all over again. One that may not be vulnerable to heat, or be more damaging to human tissue, or any number of other problems. Or, god help us, many of them at once.
And what happens when we bring people in here who don't have any resistance to our own strain of the new plague? My brain hurts just trying to lay out the lines of probability.
I know that in the end all of our problems fall under two categories, which are 'things we can affect and change' and 'things we can't'. I know intellectually that human creativity and ingenuity have upper limits. I can wrap my head around the concept. It just doesn't make my heart any lighter, though. It doesn't heal the sting of knowing that somewhere down the line, chancy fate is going to start the cycle spinning all over again like some giant wheel of fortune and it could land on 'unsolvable problem'.
We've done well so far. Two and a half years in, and we've weathered worse than I would have imagined possible. I mean, come on: the apocalypse happened. Most of humanity is dead. We're alive and thriving. I just hate that we have to continue to face such terrifying and potentially deadly threats constantly. It's hard and wearing on the soul. Especially right in the middle of the largest project we've ever attempted. We're too invested in the expansion to stop, and so far none of the people who are moving here have voiced objections because of the new plague claiming more victims.
They say they could get sick and die where they are, so they might as well go where they want to be. Can't argue with the logic, though I'm disheartened that circumstances force us to be so fatalistically honest. All I can do is hope that eventually fate will stop spinning the merry-go-round and let us move on to a safer and less volatile future.