I almost expected some huge change to come after our fight with the UAS. There have been enough instances of that happening over the last few years to create a reasonable expectation, but not this time. We were never going to end this with one fight, we were never going to deliver such a crushing blow to these people that they'd decide to just call it quits and go home.
I think about it in terms of what we've gone through with the Exiles. They hated us, many of them, and wanted at first to destroy us utterly. Then we put them in the position where making war on us would cost them far more than they could gain. Conditions worked out such that they had the choice between going back on the run or making a go of permanent settlements.
It's hard to maintain the fire in your heart needed to push you toward obliterating an entire people. It takes focus and effort, both of which are also required for survival. The Exiles learned fairly quickly (or at least some of them did) that life is too damn short to spend all your effort on vendettas.
The UAS isn't that way. They don't hate us or, I think, particularly fear us. In their eyes we're nothing more than the scraps of what was, the remainders. We're tea leaves and coffee grounds. They see us as tenacious enough to have survived the worst but somehow less than what they are. Maybe because they've maintained order and rule of law better than we have. Easy to do when you're not out here in the real world, I suppose.
They aren't going to be scared off. I doubt the UAS would have come out of their bunkers if they didn't absolutely need to, and here they are. Their leadership clearly recognizes the need to put down stakes and set themselves up for the long haul, that's easy to see by their eager run to grab land none of the rest of us want. The longer we go without hearing a word from the UAS about the battle last week, the more convinced I am that the whole thing wasn't as big a deal to them as it was to us.
Which begs several disturbing questions. How many people are at their disposal that losing a large force of soldiers and equipment is acceptable? What kind of resources do they have to replace those losses? Are they biding their time to hit us with something big? The one huge advantage the Union--and for that matter, the western communities--have over the UAS is that we're not nearly as centralized as they are. We are many groups working as one.
For now it looks like a waiting game. I'm not sure if that's the UAS trying to use fear against us by giving us time to worry about what may happen, but if so...well, three years of living in that state constantly means it isn't a very effective tactic. We'll take every moment of peace as a gift and use that time well.