North Jackson as a community has not been destroyed. That's the good news. The bad news, however, is truly and deeply terrible, so bear with me.
Two nights ago, well after dark, the sound of planes could be heard. Though it was impossible to tell at the time, the pattern of attack suggests those planes--at least two jets capable of dropping bombs, and two firefighting aircraft capable of dropping water--came in from the northwest. We assume this means the UAS made a serious effort to move those airplanes without being seen, since it's highly unlikely they flew all the way from the Texas region to Michigan. We think they must have moved the jets at least, and maybe flew the air-tankers in shorter jumps from a different location since it's unlikely the UAS just had them sitting around.
Either way, this attack reeks of planning. For their part, the UAS has taken full responsibility, openly acknowledging this as their action.
Bombs fell on strategic points in North Jackson that night, hitting the main industrial complex, two secondary complexes, and the massive greenhouse that provides a large portion of their food. In one swipe, the ability of our allies to produce anything at all was destroyed.
You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned NJ much in the last few months. That was an effort not to draw attention to the place, as they've been acting as a primary manufacturing center for the Union even before the Union was created. A wide array of items came from there, things the rest of us can dearly use to make each community stronger. No more.
We've tried to downplay the importance of NJ to the Union's efforts, not mentioning the massive shipments of goods coming from and going to the place. Someone, somewhere, is leaking information. A traitor that we have little chance of finding given how many people knew about the situation.
Much worse than the loss for the rest of the Union is the impact on the residents of North Jackson. They lost a lot of people the other night. The death toll isn't certain yet, as there is a lot of wreckage to sort through, but at last count more than four hundred people were dead or missing. Four hundred mothers, fathers, sons, brothers, sisters, lovers, friends, and fellow survivors. I can't wrap my head around the magnitude of that right now. I don't know if will ever be able to.
The bombing attack was followed by the air-tankers dropping their load of water. The layout of NJ and the fact that the place is lit up at night made seeing the target easy enough; the central field between the manufacturing buildings. The huge patch of--currently--bare dirt NJ uses to grow crops in. Not as critical as the greenhouse, but still very important. The UAS dropped many tons of highly concentrated salt water over that field. Maybe enough to keep anything from growing there again.
I could sit here and list out all the troubles NJ is facing and will face, but you know what they are. You've been through hell like the rest of us. Rebuilding is the least of their worries for the time being. Just managing to get by will be challenge enough.
It would be better if there were someone to fight. If we could just send soldiers up that way and be able to help by force of arms, it might bring some sense of satisfaction or feel as though we could truly affect the situation. Humanitarian aid is all we can manage. The urge to strike down the bastards who did this will have to be ignored for now. The planes are long gone, anyway.
So many lives lost. So much of our potential strength eliminated in less than ten minutes.
Since The Fall, we have managed to defeat every threat we've faced. For the first time, I truly believe we might be outmatched. I don't know if we can win this one.
Not that we won't try. The true measure of a person isn't if they come out on top. It's how they deal with defeat, adversity. Better to try and fail than give in to tyrants. The practical part of me wants to do what would best serve the group and keep the most people alive.
But god...is that the kind of world we want to live in? One ruled by people like the UAS? It's a question I now ask myself constantly. I think you should too.