I've been up all night going over what I wanted to say today, how much I was willing to share, and what tone I wanted to take. In a shocking moment of confidence, Will and the council gave me carte blanche to use the information they passed on to me however I see fit. The problem, writ large, is that while our allies and other groups are now fully aware of the problem, there are some of you out there who don't communicate with others but do keep up with events via this blog.
Because of all the personal problems I've had and seeing my friends stand beside me to hold me up when I just wanted to fall, I cannot in good conscience allow anyone to move forward from today without being warned. You may not trust others enough to participate in the tenuous society we're building, but that doesn't mean you aren't valuable to the world. By surviving, those of you who choose not to associate with our allied force have made the world a brighter, better place. You're just as important and valuable as anyone else.
A few months ago I might not have been able to make that claim. The dark place I was in kept me from seeing the value in the world around me, warts and all. Thankfully the efforts of those I care about--and notably many people I didn't know well or even at all--showed me what community really is. The kindness of strangers has become a loaded term in the world as it is now, but you stragglers out there sometimes remind us that the phrase very much encapsulates one of the best angels of human nature. Rare, but marvelous.
So at the risk of putting all of us in slightly more danger, I'll give full disclosure. Because you deserve to know, and frankly you'll know soon enough without my saying a word. At least this way you'll have time to prepare and maybe make the call to join with a larger group for safety. Our doors are open if you do.
Without further ado: There are new players in the game, and they make the Exiles and Hunters look like rank amateurs.
While our scout team wasn't successful in putting off the zombie swarm (and may have inadvertently pointed them our direction), they did see some odd signs in the wake of the swarm's passing that made them curious. Enough that Will arranged a refuel with a few of our allies and a small trailer for additional fuel to extend their range.
There have been spotty reports over the last month or so from various places across the midwest and even a bit northeast of here. A large area stretching from the Gulf of Mexico in Texas to Minnesota. Off and on reports have been coming in describing large groups of men and women moving quickly into an area, then back out in a few hours. At first these sightings were assumed to be unrelated bands of marauders, perhaps more organized and disciplined than usual but nothing extraordinary. Sightings were few and without pattern, except that a common thread kept appearing: the same vehicles.
I don't mean similar ones, like they were all using military-issue transport (though they are using those). I Mean a few long-range scouts caught sight of them through powerful binoculars and tried to write down every detail they could, including license numbers. They're identical. Based on the time and location of several sightings, we now believe that there are many such teams from one large group. And they're bypassing us far more often than we're catching sight of them.
From what we can tell, they know a lot about us. Seems likely they read the blog and probably even watch communities, though we've not caught them yet. There are signs--now that we know to look for them--that they've been all over the map. Fresh tracks where there should be none, reports of storehouses and supply caches being cleaned out in the dead of night.
Whoever they are, they're very good. Stealthy. They don't engage with the undead that we can see. They seem to avoid them at all costs. Strange, and I don't have a ready explanation for that. I don't mean avoidance the way you're thinking of it: we found one storehouse with less than two dozen undead nearby, but fresh tire tracks tore away at full speed through the mud. Well, we didn't find the tracks, one of our allies did. But it's an interesting piece of information to have. Evidence indicates that particular set had driven at least a hundred miles (based on private data provided by allies but not to be shared) only to run away at the sight of a group that half a dozen people should have been able to clean out with ease.
I haven't forgotten our scouts, no fear. Their report tied together the above data into one tapestry of "oh, shit, we're in serious trouble". The swarm that hit us was originally in the neighborhood of three, three and a half thousand strong. It takes a hell of a lot to scare off New Breed in the first place, much less so many of them. And I couldn't imagine what it took to send them packing so far and in such a hurry.
Now, I don't have to. We have every reason to believe that this group, whoever they are, are based in the area the undead came from. If our guess is correct based on the evidence we've seen, it seems likely they're bigger than almost any one of our communities. How they managed to stay hidden at that size is a question we've got no answer to, but the reality can't be ignored any longer:
They're out there. They're quietly raiding our supplies, and they don't seem to have any worry about moving across three quarters of the country to do it. Larger places like New Haven and North Jackson are presumably safer because of their reluctance to get close. Smaller groups and individuals are at greater risk. If you're worried about protecting yourselves, send us a message. We'll talk.