I'd call it a cold war, but given the time of year and the half a foot of snow outside the label seems like a bad joke. You might say instead that what is happening with the UAS at present is a different kind of war instead. Let's not be shy about it; their statement to the Union was clear. They want to form a new, larger government with us as their citizens.
That itself wouldn't have really been a problem if the UAS had been less intrusive and brash in how they interacted with us initially. I'm all for a larger affiliation of citizens working under a common set of laws. Together we can accomplish things far beyond what our individual communities can manage. I'm behind it in theory all the way.
Yet the UAS isn't proposing a cooperative effort. The thing about the Union is that while we have formed our own tentative government, a larger structure that ties us all together, we did it out of choice. Federalism, if you want to call it that, is a decision on our part. The UAS wants us to join up with them--in fact, to live under their rule--regardless of our say in the matter.
It seems like a weird distinction to make, but there you go. We're happy to cede power and control to leaders of our choosing and to building the Union into something resembling the previous government of the United States. We're much less inclined, after two plus years of fending for ourselves and living through hell, to bend knee to people who've suffered little or not at all.
Beyond that, we've had some suspicions over time that seem borne out by facts. I mentioned a while ago that I had a theory but that I wouldn't share it unless Will and the council gave me permission. I can't publicly disclose the details of the evidence (messages will be sent to everyone who needs to know) but I can tell you the final conclusion.
The Hunters were the military arm of the UAS. There's no question about it.
You remember them, right? The group of people whose compound we assaulted and burned to the ground after they spent a few weeks annihilating small communities and stealing everything that wasn't nailed down? Those guys. They were UAS members.
Even if the evidence didn't prove beyond doubt that this was the case, we were already at war with the UAS. For us the idea of war since The Fall has been one of pure combat. We fight the dead, we fight the living, we protect what belongs to us. Simple. Now things are different. We aren't dealing with people who just want to take what we have. If the above is correct, the UAS has very few soldiers left after the slaughter of the Hunters. Why else send obvious amateurs out to gather critical supplies?
They don't want to fight us. We don't want to fight them. This is a war of politics, of resources, and of willpower. Neither side can afford to be drawn into serious conflict. We have more people and much more experience, they have vastly superior firepower and weapons resources. In any scenario (and I've run through several over the last day) everyone loses. So yeah, I suppose it's a cold war after all.
Here's what you can do if you're out there unaffiliated with any group, or a mobile group like Ketill and his people, or even a small group that remains hidden:
Join up. If you prefer to remain mobile, then we have patrol jobs for you. I'm going to contact Ketill tomorrow to see if his folks would like some work. The Union will pay in fuel and supplies. We'll pay in food and weapons. Whatever your need, we're happy to oblige. Borders are going to be enforced, the enemy will be watched, and we will prevent incursions at all costs .
The undead are quiet throughout the Union, but that won't last. I keep saying that, but I'll drill it into the heads of anyone who wants to pull a John Wayne and fight because the other party deserves a beating. That's how we've operated before, and it's not always a bad thing. But we're evolving into something else, and it's time to put away childish reactions and act like grownups. We must endure insults, previous attacks, and anything short of armed conflict the UAS throws at us. We've got work to do and a short time to do it in. We all need to come together and get it done while we can. When the world begins to thaw we'll face an enemy with a full season of preparation behind them. They'll be plotting and planning, and we have to be ready.
For months shots may never be fired. But make no mistake about it: this is a fight and we intend to win it.