A few people have asked questions regarding the last post. I need to get on to something more vital, so I'll reply quickly:
The dissenters that left New Haven do not need to be rounded up by anyone even marginally associated with the Union, particularly New Haven itself. They're leaving our sphere of influence. What they do from there is entirely on their own. We don't have much doubt that whatever their plans, they'll ultimately be destructive. I suggest leaving them alone lest you risk being seen as collaborators.
As for watching out for poisons similar to what the guards used on the Exiles, I can't be much help. We don't know what it was exactly, though Henry has miraculously pulled through, and so far we're seeing so many complications from the poisoning that we can't be anything close to sure exactly what was used. We do know it was introduced into the water supply, but there are plenty of poisonous substances that dissolve in water. My suggestion is to be cautious and wary, and not to let anyone you don't know and trust implicitly near your food or water supplies.
Now, on to more important news.
In response to recent events, it seems the UAS wants to prove their benevolence. To that end they're setting up clinics on the borders of their land, open to anyone and everyone who wants to use them. They have a lot of medical staff and supplies, they say, and want to help those of us who have suffered without them. No one who uses this service, only available for a short while, will have any obligation to the UAS, nor will they be held or threatened for crossing the borders.
On the surface it seems like a nice gesture, and honestly if they go through with it as described it really will be. Unless they've got far more in the way of resources and manufacturing than we're aware of, this will only cost the UAS valuable commodities they can't easily replace. I don't want to be the guy who gets pissed off that a group is doing something constructive, but the intent behind the act is almost painfully obvious, isn't it?
They want people to know what kinds of services and treatment they can expect as part of the UAS. They want to lull groups into feeling positive about them, either to draw away people by defection or to force populations to vote about joining the UAS. It's not that subtle, I'll be honest, but it scares me as a tactic. The old saying says you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and this is going to be a very sweet deal for a lot of people who have suffered without medical care for several years.
At first the whole thing seemed curious to me. Why do this when you've got so many people on your own team already? The UAS doesn't need more mouths to feed, do they? For the sake of practicality, why on earth would you waste supplies and manpower like this?
Then it clicked. The UAS has military gear and weapons galore. The people that use them are obviously civilians and ones that have been safely away from the kind of experience that forces you to get good at fighting or die trying. They may or may not actually care about those of us who've been living above ground since day one of The Fall, but they absolutely care about themselves. The UAS knows they're weak in the one area that counts: fighting. Specifically the undead. They want to lure in new members who know what the hell they're doing. They need people who've been in the trenches. Maybe to teach their own people how to handle it, but probably as a security force.
And this is winter, don't forget. Even so far south the weather will be enough to at least slow down the undead. It's the perfect time to recruit new people and move them onto the new homesteads they're securing.
I don't have any proof for these theories, but they feel right. It's psychological warfare. It's the one thing we've tried to avoid as much as possible since The Fall: politics. Weapons-grade politics. We can fight an enemy trying to kill or steal from us, but telling people they should ignore the generosity of people and keep on struggling in the cold, dark world...that's a hard job. The UAS is playing a more complicated game than I would have imagined last week.
The worst thing is that it's not a game we're trained to play.