We got the news yesterday while I was having lunch with a couple named Linda and Troy. They're the folks who took Brian in. They have a nice little apartment kind of place set up over in The Box, and thanks to the almost biblical drop in temperatures over the last few days, it's not very dangerous to travel the short distance from East to the Box. Brian was the one who invited me. He wanted to introduce me to his new family, show me some of the small projects he has been working on.
Will sent a messenger with the news. Linda, a woodworker and welder, laughed so hard at the name that I though she was going to pass out. Troy just kind of shook his head and went back to cooking. That's his whole job over there, making food for everyone. Guy was a sous chef before The Fall at some nice restaurant in Indianapolis. Nice guy. Don't know how he does what he does in the kitchen with just one hand, but he makes it happen with that hook.
Linda made if for him. That's kind of how they met. Love is deeply weird but just as deeply awesome.
At any rate, the other bit of news is that the UAS is drawing lines in the dirt. They don't have the stones to come this way any longer. They aren't going near any of the allies that make up The Union, actually, or even traveling through the vast tracts of land in between. I guess they don't want to chance interfering with our trade caravans and supply lines. They're very cautious, and seem eager to avoid anything that might be construed as an act of war.
Can't blame them for that. They might have a lot of hardware and gear, but they clearly don't have the experience and willpower to deal with a lot of the same things we've had to handle over the years. Or maybe they do and they're just biding their time. Who knows? We'll take being feared over being underestimated, no problem at all. It saves us a lot of work.
I'd tell you to ask the Hunters about that, but there aren't any of them left.
The interesting thing to me, and to all of us here, is that the UAS are patrolling their own little corner of the country one hell of a lot. Don't know if that means they're spreading out and setting up outposts or even founding small communities, but our allies and even our own long-range scouts have seen groups of them moving in repeating patterns all over a huge swath of the southwest. Not all that bothersome for us since we aren't interested in that area. No allies there, no trade routes through it. As far as we're concerned they can take Texas and the areas they're running around further toward us and do what they please with it. Live and let live, and all that noise.
Linda and Troy pointed out that if the UAS are spreading their people around, then that probably explains why they were after so much more fuel. Any large-scale effort to relocate is going to require a lot of fuel. Given the enormous area they're trying to cover with their patrols, Troy suggested that there might be a lot more of them than we originally thought.
Even Brian said that made sense. Again, not a big concern for us as long as they stay timid and respectful of the fact that we have no desire to deal with them in any way, shape, or form. If so, everything is Kosher and they can form their own little country and do whatever they like, including coming up with self-important names. If not, well...we can always cross that bridge. Or burn it to its foundations, as the situation dictates.