The report came in the evening. UAS forces--small in number but heavily armed and armored--moved in on a little isolated settlement called Newcastle. The UAS believed Newcastle contained less than a hundred adults and maybe half that number of children. Easy pickings for a force of two hundred people driving armored vehicles and carrying the kind of gear that pacified entire towns before The Fall.
Problem is, the western groups are fast learners. They don't take the theft of people, property, or land with much grace. Individually most of the communities not close to the coast really would be little trouble to take if they acted alone. But man, the end of the world teaches you some important lessons about the spirit of working together.
Basically, going it alone? Fuck that.
Most of the settlements out that way have contributed a number of citizens to a set of flying companies whose only job is to patrol large sections of land, defending against the UAS incursion. Those two hundred men and women in their pretty vehicles and with their heavy guns didn't know what to do when the road dropped out from under them.
Pit traps are just one small part of guerrilla warfare. The UAS seems to think people are going to give in to fear and submit. That or fight it out in the open.
No. Afraid not. Pit traps, attacks from the trees, dirty tricks of every conceivable variety. You can bring a fifty-cal machine gun to a fight, but when someone pelts you and your fellow warriors with rotten eggs and human waste it's pretty hard to concentrate. Your big heavy armored truck matters not at all when it can't move; spike strips and holes in the road will do that.
Explosives tied to trees to block your way when they blow, packs of dogs chasing you down in the woods when you get out, molotov cocktails thrown right in your way when you do manage to get away. The problem with putting ordinary people in safe little boxes and then expecting them to do the job of soldier is that they need order and routine to even have a chance at it. Without training and experience, they're screwed.
Survivors--and by that I mean those of us out in the world during The Fall and after, and the UAS doesn't qualify--have the experience and we've had to learn the hard way. I'm told that scaring off those two hundred fighters--while only injuring a few of them and killing none--was actually pretty easy.
No one expects the next encounter to be as simple. The UAS are many things, but stupid isn't one of them. They'll adapt and learn and probably won't give the next group a chance to prepare.
But the UAS are aware now that they aren't getting the west without a fight. Nothing in this world is free, and resistance is most harsh when people are defending their home, the people they love. For the part of the westerners, I doubt they'll be as nice the next time. They won't frighten and dazzle; they'll kill.