Hey everyone, it’s A.J. again. Mr. Beckley if you’re nasty. Josh has given me permission to occasionally post here. I guess it makes sense from a propaganda standpoint to have the voice of a defector ring out for people in UAS territory. Still, that’s a very cynical way to look at it and I like to believe that Josh is a standup guy who just wants another point of view as he continues to work as the historian to all mankind.
So to those people in the UAS who have access to this blog, I want to tell you a little about this new home I have. New Haven is fantastic. But first, let’s start with the lies. I have no doubt the UAS has told you all that I and the three others that left with me are locked up or being tortured for information. We were all debriefed, of course. It wasn’t particularly pleasant, but being questioned in a small room seldom is. There was no torture, no one went Jack Bauer on me, there were just questions. Unfortunately I didn’t have much to tell them. It’s not like I was in a compound with the higher-ups in the government. I just lived in a UAS town with my laptop. I only started getting attention from the more important UAS figures when my posts on the blog got noticed.
Let’s talk about the good in New Haven. They have…and am not even joking about this…they have cheeseburgers. God help me, real cheeseburgers. Do you have any idea how completely at a loss I am for words right now? They’re not free, of course, you have to barter. It’s worth any price, though. This couple makes the burgers and they gave me one for free when they found out I was a defector from the UAS. It was refreshing to know that there was someone willing to accept me at face value. When I told them that, they pointed out that whether I’m exactly what I say I am, or whether I’m a spy, there’s nothing they can do about it. So why not believe the option that causes the least amount of pain? So I shut up and ate my burger.
New Haven itself is a tightly run ship. I’m not going to discuss all that for two reasons. One, Josh already talks about the goings on and I don’t want to just parrot information. Second, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m passing information about defenses. But what I will say is that people are specialized here. Since the fall we’ve all had to do everything. I’ve had to defend our walls before, I’ve had to go out foraging, I’ve been on an undead raiding party. It didn’t matter that I’m a horrible shot or that I favor a baseball bat over an assault rifle. We defend what’s ours and we all do what’s asked so that everything gets done. New Haven has been settled for so long, and has enough people, that they have their own force patrolling the walls. They have their own force of beaters to go out and trounce some undead booty. There’s no rotating schedule among the population at large. People all have jobs, but they’re jobs that they actually know how to do. When the powers that be in New Haven asked me what job I could do, I didn’t know how to answer. I’m so used to being put on a schedule and having a new job each week. These people are not savages or anarchists like the UAS tells you. They’re organized and disciplined. They have developed their own metropolis here and it’s closer to the world that was than anything else I’ve seen since the Fall.
Oh, and the medical facilities here are phenomenal compared to what I’ve seen in this post-Fall world. I paid them a visit to introduce myself and give them my medical information. All of the workers are great people and the hospital itself looks pretty much like a pre-Fall hospital. That is almost as incredible to me as the cheeseburgers. In a world where people can die from a scrape because penicillin is no longer readily available, this hospital – fully stocked and manned by professionals– is nothing short of a miracle.
Let’s touch on the bad. I don’t want to seem like I’m whitewashing everything. New Haven isn’t perfect. It has its seedy areas as well. Walking through the place, there were certain houses that looked more rundown due to their occupants being slobs. At least one place was pretty clearly running a gambling establishment with a bouncer out front who had a jailhouse swastika tattoo on the side of his neck. Another house looked to me to be a speakeasy (if the exiting drunks pretending to act sober were any indication.) Yet another house had its owner sitting in a window in her underwear, pretty obviously looking for clients. She was also scratching herself in a profoundly unladylike way. You’d think that would deter people, but she didn’t have long to wait in that window before someone came in. And then he appeared to insist that she keep the curtains open.
So New Haven is – gasp! – like any other city that used to exist. It has some good parts and some bad parts. And the people are the same. A lot of people have given me their support. Still, there are others that clearly hate me because I once believed in the UAS. If I go for a walk around town, a long walk, mind you, there will be at least one person who will spit in my general direction. Or at least glare at me until I walk away. One kid, maybe thirteen, threw a muddy rock at me once. That’s as bad as it’s gotten, though. Just some cowards throwing mud and their own spit.
What this all comes down to, though, is that by living here, I get to be myself. It goes back to what I said before about specialization. I don’t have to do a stint on the wall or in the kitchens. If I want to go back to being a therapist, I’m allowed to. Hell, I’m encouraged to. It’s a way for me to pull my weight and I do think that, given recent traumas we’ve all experienced, it’s a necessary service to have. Of course, I don’t know who would want to have a therapist who was involved with the UAS, but the point is that I get to find that out if I choose to. This is a place that can be a home, not just a place to survive. The time for survival is over. We have to start living again, otherwise mankind truly is extinct.
So, in closing, I want everyone in UAS territory to realize that there are other options. You want to stay with the UAS, fine. But know that there’s a whole world out there. One with cheeseburgers, with a stabilized work force, one with floating craps games and hookers with Chlamydia. It’s a real world, not a shadow of what once was promising to resurrect a world long dead. And it’s run by people who don’t gas children in their beds like mass-murdering cowards. Think about it.