The first of the giant cisterns is already filled. Instead of taking a long time to build one big enough to service all of New Haven, the decision was made to build smaller (but still big) reservoirs spread out over a large area. Several reasons: the water pressure inside the tanks will be less, which makes it more manageable. Losing one won't be as damaging.
It's also less work. Which means we can bring running water to sections of our home one at a time. For now the quick reservoirs will be pairs of tanker trailers buried underground and fed by catch basins. Depending on what sizes tanks we use, each site will hold between 10,000 and 20,000 gallons of water.
Filtration is something we're still working on, but most of us have systems at home if it comes down to that. In general, we're doing pretty well.
That's a lot more than I can say for the Exiles. In all the recent craziness I've drifted away from talking about them much. Partially because of how busy I've been, but also because they seem to be less of a threat than ever.
The lookouts tell us that the screens they erected in front of the fallback point to block our view have been shredded by the storms. That side of the river still has a lot of trees, unlike New Haven which has had all trees within a hundred yards cut down long ago. That means during heavy winds a lot of debris gets thrown around. We've had gusts up to seventy miles an hour lately.
Since killing Scar and his lieutenants, the Exiles seem to be aimless. Sure, they're still farming and trying to turn those buildings and their patch of land into a home, but there are signs that some vital thread that held them together is gone. Maybe it was fear of Scar that united them, made them work as a whole. It's a stark reminder that while some of those people were once disciplined survivors from right here where I live, the majority were marauders. Many small groups grown set in their ways.
I hate to give the murderous fucker any credit, but Scar seemed to keep the Exiles focused and on task. Guard duty there used to be clockwork in its efficiency. Now we see a lot of erratic behavior, missed shifts, arguments between people, and, worst of all, some deaths at the hands (teeth) of wandering zombies. People over there are dying because no one has taken up the reins of leadership. At least, I assume that's the case. I don't know.
Strange as it is to say, I feel a little sorry for them. I don't feel less anger or hate toward them than I did, but there's tinge of pity now along with those emotions. It would be almost impossible not to. Those folks stood up to a tyrant and made the hard choice, the dangerous choice. They risked everything for a chance to make it on their own. They fought for freedom, twisted as it was.
Facing the daunting task in front of us, I remember sharply being where the Exiles are now. They're just beginning the massive work we started two and a half years ago. It's vivid in my mind, those days of workign breakneck speeds to make something better than I had. Being afraid of the chaos outside, not knowing where the future would take us and only having myself to blame for failures.
We're doing that all over again right now, and that makes me pity them. We've got a huge support structure to help us out. Years of practice and friends to lean on. A safe home with resources we can utilize. The Exiles aren't as blessed. They aren't helpless or without means, but we've surpassed them now.
I feel for them, but it's the generalized sadness I have for all human beings enduring a struggle. As hard as it is to say, despite the fact that they have children there and are to all appearances trying to be better people...
I'd let them die. I won't advocate breaking the truce and making war on them, but neither will I suggest offering them any help. It might hurt me to do it, but I could watch from the cliffs as the last of them passed from this world and not lift a finger to help. I feel that way for a variety of reasons, a slew of them over time that add up to the inescapable sense that the risk of every helping those people could never be outweighed by any possible good.
Each of my reasons is the result of a corresponding number of bad decisions both large and small from the Exiles themselves. I believe in redemption and moving forward. I'm no angel. I won't kill them without cause, but I won't risk anything to help them, either.
New Haven is growing into something more, something amazing beyond our imagination. At the moment it's as simple as running water, but even that is an achievement in engineering to be proud of. Step by step we'll add on to what we have.
I can't help but think of what's ahead for both groups. I don't wish them well, but as time goes by I become less interested in them as long as the Exiles leave us alone. Maybe a strange reason for peace, but given all we have and are working on, and thus stand to lose, it's one I'll take in a heartbeat.
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