Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Train Job

From what I understand, the idea was to take advantage of the narrow window between wiping out the local Exiles and the Hunters deciding they need to take a swing at us to keep New Haven from rallying against them. It was all planned in advance, mostly between Will, Dodger, and the leadership in North Jackson. 

The plan was to use a convoy of attached cars to haul as many people as possible from NJ in the short span of time right after the Exiles were cleared out but before the Hunters could come after us. What couldn't be planned for was the Hunters keeping close tabs on everyone. They must be very, very good to observe so many parties without being seen.

They knew we were moving people. And that isn't a good thing. 

But being prepared for the worst is a trait that you can't live without nowadays. I mean, let's be clear: we have to worry about swarms of the undead trying to eat anyone out on the road. It's not such a huge step forward to add some provisions to deal with living people as well. It's not like we didn't see the possibility. In fact, based on how organized the Hunters seem to be, Dodger expected it. 

So when the hunters hit the caravan with a slightly larger force than their previous assault, our folks were ready for them. The Hunters learned from the last time, moving to attack from both sides of the road and in a pattern with a much wider spread. This time they were the ones firing shots from a distance first, trying to take out our drivers to immobilize the convoy. 

When the first shot rang out, one of our people blew a horn. That was the signal. 

Every person in every vehicle not designated as a combatant dropped to the floor. The lower sections were all reinforced to provide as much protection as possible. In a string of twenty trailers in the crazy, haphazard train, there were three dummy trailers put together for just such a scenario. When the horn blew, the convoy stopped. that's when those trailers--their tops left off and the four sides held together by large lynchpins--opened like flowers. The sides were rigged to fall at the pull of a chain, yanking those pins out. 

Three mounted guns in each trailer, three trailers in all. Crammed inside beside the gunners were some of the sharpshooters from the last attempt to bring people here. Smaller escort vehicles moving with the caravan swooped in to pick up a few others, men and women armed with precious military-issue assault rifles and the even more valuable training that makes them deadly efficient. 

People who know how to use a giant fifty-cal machine gun mounted on a frame that allow it to rotate around in a full circle are rare nowadays. It's not exactly a skill you pick up working the counter at McDonald's, you know? But NJ has never been shy in giving us help when we need it, and they don't believe in half-measures. 

The thing about the Hunters you can always count on is that they'll run in the face of overwhelming odds. They aren't a group of martyrs by any means. Our people beat them soundly, popping off heavy rounds with calm, cold precision. Last count I heard was sixty Hunters dead, eleven of their vehicles slagged. Fully half the people they sent against us. Maybe they'll learn to stop touching fire. 

They should have picked up on that already, because the tide of victory around here right now probably means that as soon as we're done moving people here and can finish the expansion, we'll turn our attention to the Hunters and taking them on at home. It's going to be a while before we're close to that, but not many people here see it as a bad move. Taking the fight to the enemy is the only real option at this point. We've gone back and forth between forgiveness and practicality in dealing with overwhelming enemy forces. 

Now we're the overwhelming force. And compassion for those who would kill us is no longer on the table. 

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