Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Other Shoe

Part of living in the world nowadays is the constant effort to work and improve while understanding on a deep, almost fundamental level that Bad Things are going to happen. I've written about that before, and it remains true. The other shoe is always waiting to drop. Fate seems to have an infinite closet full of them.

There's no easy way to say it, so I'll just say it: this morning we lost twenty people in less than five seconds. Twenty. Human. Beings.

It wasn't zombies that did it. The weather has decided to shift back into winter for now, and at any rate the local population is at an ebb since our last big fight with them. The cold is preventing very many from wandering into the county. We're basically free from the dangerous dead for the moment. No, this tragedy was committed by living hands.

Those twenty people were working in the fallback point, completing the tedious room-by room search of the old hotel and the large office building that serve--served, I should say--as the primary safe zones and living quarters. The trap was brilliant and simple but obviously professional; shaped explosive charges cleverly hidden among the supports of both buildings. They were rigged to blow when a specific door was opened. That door was at the top of the office building, clearly somewhere not prone to random wandering. Who the hell wants to climb twenty stories worth of steps?

We know this because the search teams were in constant radio contact with watchers up on the hill. Yes, the Exiles are dead and gone except for Henry, but the watchers listened in as the search teams kept up a constant monologue of every step they took. The concern was that bad guys might have crept in under the lessened security at the fallback point in an effort to take the position from us. We didn't expect sabotage.

At any rate, the office building blew first. the charges were placed in such a way that the whole office building toppled directly onto the hotel exactly when the hotel's own charges went off. The result was a total loss of life in the fallback point. The few people who weren't inside were hit by chunks of concrete the size of cars. Debris scattered all the way across the river, destroying our makeshift bridge as it killed our people.

There's no way to know if those explosives were already there, perhaps put in place by the guards who murdered the Exiles or if someone managed to sneak in since then and set this trap. My first instinct was the blame the UAS, but after the initial shock and white-hot spear of anger mixed with sadness tearing through my head, I began to doubt that. Not because I don't think they're capable of it or because they aren't a bunch of conniving bastards. They would and they are. But it doesn't seem to fit. Why go to such lengths and risk war with us for such small gains? We lost twenty people, yes, real human beings whose lives mattered to us. Friends and family and citizens.

But the macro scale says the effort wasn't worth it. We lost less than one percent of our population, and the attack has only made us more cautious. Destroying the fallback point didn't even do much harm to our provisions. We had people remove everything of value weeks ago, making the long trip to bridges in other counties that are still intact.

No, it doesn't fit for me, but I'm just one guy with general knowledge facts to go by. I could be completely wrong here. In light of the fact that we can't do much investigating because of the destruction and the supreme unlikelihood that anyone will step forward to claim responsibility, we're at a dead end.

Just when you think humans can't get much worse...


  1. Maybe a final gift from the Exiles? Rig the place up with a trap in case the fallback was taken from them by force?

    1. That would be my guess too. Though is it possible that these charges preexisted even the Exiles? If they never went up to the top floor of the office building and never noticed the charges it could have laid dormant for some time. Hell, this could have even been set by the Richmond soldiers way back when. They were a bunch of sneaky little punks too.

  2. The way the trap was set, it does sound military. Could it have been the hunters even?