Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Field Testing

K asked me for the rest of the week off, so you'll all just have me today and tomorrow. Friday is my next schedule day without a post from me, and I have to admit that it feels weird to be here tapping out things on my keyboard without Big K hovering over me or working at his desk. A month ago I'd have told you it was weird to be working next to someone after so long spent in this office alone. We adapt to things quickly, it seems, and when our routines change it's never as simple as accepting it and moving on.

That reaction varies. This morning Patrick is also starting what is essentially a vacation. His apprentices have taken over the work completely, so Pat is taking some time from working the forge. He has spent so much time and effort helping out with projects and ideas over the years, and his decision a few months ago to move on and learn something new hasn't been forgotten. In the end, Pat knows that he can't work as efficiently as someone with both hands, and that the community might be better served with more able bodies swinging the hammer.

It helped push him along that the Box is producing a lot of items, reducing Pat's workload to relatively small jobs. He's happy to see his nieces and other apprentices come into their own.

So to keep himself busy on what may be an endless hiatus from forge work, Patrick is heading out to help field test some of our new outer defenses this morning.

The huge swarm of zombies coming across the southern border and filtering into Union territory has spread out somewhat and broken apart. They're not close to us yet, but since they will just keep walking endlessly assuming they've got the reserves of protein to do it, they aren't as far away from here as we had originally thought. There is a chance that a large sliver of the group will eventually come here. Add to that the seemingly endless seasonal wanderers that make it here from Louisville and beyond, and it equals out to an interesting Spring to say the least.

Patrick was one of the people who came up with the idea to set up a net of deterrents like ammonia and burned zombie corpses (surprisingly still very effective) to protect us. The idea isn't to absolutely turn away thousands of them. That would be impossible. Pat was the one who pitched the thought that instead we should be channeling them into an area designed to put us in control.

All around the county there are stations meant to create bubbles of gas and fumes that will drive the undead. At regular intervals there are gaps, free spots where the zombies can move inward toward Haven. Here we tried to use the natural features of the landscape to our advantage. Frankfort has a lot of sinkholes and small caves, for example, so one of the channels the zombies will try to walk into leads to a disguised pit nearly forty feet deep, ten across, and twenty long. It may be deeper, but the bottom looks like dirt. None of us were brave enough to go down there and poke it with a stick to see if it was solid or just a huge plug of soil waiting to be dislodged.

That's just the most simple of our traps. Beyond that there are man-made traps that will slow the undead down and even stop large swarms cold, bunching them up and making it easier for our people to kill them. It was Pat that pointed out the system would be at least partially self-sustaining since we could kill the trapped undead and burn them to replenish the supply of charred zombie that makes up part of our defenses. He's a smart guy.

We're testing it section by section with undead that are being herded to us by scouts. Pat is overseeing the efforts and taking notes for Dodger to present to the council. There was a happy spring in Pat's step this morning. Haven't seen that in a while.

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