Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Let me tell you about yesterday.

It was brutal. I ran off to add my stream of arrows to the others on the wall--the inner wall, as the outer defenses buckled in two places under the numbers of undead coming through. I fired two hundred and seven arrows, the urge to count them just another expression of my inner OCD child. I was on that platform for an hour and some change. By the time it was done the pile of bodies was half the height of the wall in places. The buffer held, but it was full of dead people. Teams had to go out and unhook long sections of the cables and wires just to be able to clean the buffer out.

I had just made it home when the damn bell went off again. Fortunately some brilliant soul had made cutting arrows from corpses a priority, so my position was stocked back up with the same shafts I used the first time. Rows or bundles.

Rinse and fucking repeat. We fought all day yesterday. The last attack came after dark, and by then we were all too dehydrated to even sweat. Too tired to think past the mechanical effort of dealing out death. Looking back it seems obvious that the UAS planned it exactly that way.

They used our own trick against us. The team of infiltrators we scared off a few weeks back apparently made their first go at us a shitty one just so we'd let our guard down. Don't know how many of them were in the swarm on the last attack, but they did quite a lot of damage even if it was just the two we managed to kill. In the cover of darkness and chaos they wormed through the horde, bodies covered in zombie ichor and meat. That was how they got close, shimmying beneath the buffer, which was never made to stop a clever human being.

The explosion wasn't something out of a movie. These guys knew their business. We're assuming they used a shaped charge and picked their spot, because the blast destroyed a section of the wall, thick and heavy stone aggregate though it is, nearly five feet wide and almost down to the ground. For the first time in ages we had zombies inside Central in numbers. Dozens of them.

We're not idiots or undisciplined. We always have people ready just in case. There was no panic in the streets, thank god. People stepped up and contained the breech quickly and efficiently. We lost five people in that crush, and now have a gaping hole in our defenses. Secondary explosives took out that section of the buffer, too. Not wholly, but enough to make getting through it all too easy.

Work is already being done on the gap, and hopefully we'll have that bit functional by the end of the day. We will do as we always have, rebuild and adapt, but this is hitting a lot of people hard. To know how easily it happened, to suddenly realize how much danger we're actually in. This was a handful of men with small bombs, hiding in plain sight.

What happens when it's an entire army at our doorstep?

Monday, April 29, 2013

War Machine

It's hard to know where to start. I mean, we knew the UAS was planning something big. The sheer number of people massing behind their lines total our entire population with change to spare. Heavy gear is being moved in, including what look suspiciously like giant fucking missile platforms.

So here's what's happening: our troops are pulling back. This war just hit a level we simply can't compete in. This does not mean we're giving up. It just means a different sort of fighting. The sort of firepower being brought against us now is enough to wipe our front lines off the map in a couple of days. I assume most of it was being held in reserve for an especially rainy day. It's almost flattering that the UAS leadership brought the heavy gear in so quickly.

So, yeah. A lot of our people will be coming home. A large group of UAS deserters will come with our forces. Men and women with families have been braving the lines for a few days now, convinced they aren't safe where they came from.

And honestly, we need the help. The undead are getting frisky all over the map, and the planting season is upon us. I don't want to sound like a whining asshole, but it's bad enough here without all the other stuff. Just getting by under the constant strain of fighting the undead is almost all we can manage. Hell, I'm still hurt and I've had to go out three times in the last day and a half. Granted, I got to shoot arrows, but still. It's rough and getting rougher. I like the idea that people will be coming home, even if it isn't all of them.

That's not to say I'm not worried as hell that we're having to change tactics so sharply. But the hard truth is that if we try to maintain a solid front, fight on their terms, we'll lose. A huge number of our people will die in a short period of time and we'll be left without an army of our own.

I can't get into the details. But I will say that the current strategy and tactics being worked on...play to our strengths. I'll have to leave it at that. Cryptic and annoying, I know, but if you're reading this and don't have some idea of what that means, then you probably shouldn't know in the first place.

Goddamn it, the bells are going off again. Got to grab the old bow and head out. Keep your heads down and your chins up, everyone. This is far from over.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Buildup

Kincaid made a good point yesterday, even if the way he made it left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. We can't afford to get complacent. The news I received over lunch proves that. 

The UAS is readying a strike. The buildup is big enough that they aren't even attempting to hide it. Forces mass on the other side of the lines far enough back that we can't hit them. Our scouts push the edges of what they can see as it is, and enough bodies thrown at the defenses might actually be enough to overcome them. It's not really a matter of it being possible, but rather of the willingness of the UAS to spend lives. Put a large enough amount of human death and suffering against any problem and chances are good you'll eventually solve it. 

Things are calming here at home somewhat. Kincaid wasn't joking when he mentioned working his ass off to clean up the remaining swarm inside the defensive perimeter. Far beyond that, he has led units out into the unprotected county to thin the herd as much as possible. The guy needs a vacation, I think. Hell, we could all use a break from our lives at this point. 

That's a funny thought, you know? I remember the stress of everyday life before, paying taxes and working and dealing with the thousand pieces of paperwork that came with civilization. I'm not saying I wouldn't trade what we have for what we had--I would, in a heartbeat--but it does give some interesting perspective. Things are much more dangerous now, but it's a clear sort of stress. You know where you stand: you against the world. There's no worry from a million tiny sources. It's all down to what matters most, which is survival. A big, nasty problem but in the end simpler and more straightforward. 

I'm trying not to stress over the impending attack by the UAS. The logical part of me knows that it won't hit us so far away, but the fear I feel for the men and women on the border can't be described in English. I worry for them, I worry for what might happen to the rest of us should the front line fall. I don't doubt that if it came to a full-scale invasion your average Union citizen would be more than a match for your average UAS soldier, but the size and scope of that struggle pushes the limits of what my brain can handle. It's a nightmare scenario, and I'm trying hard not to dream it. 

I'm in meetings all day tomorrow, which is a wonderful way to spend my day off from the blog. The gash on my leg is keeping me from doing much physical work, so Will has me on his war council for the moment. My opinions apparently matter to him, and since I'm about the only person with a functional laptop right now, I can track ideas and take notes easily. I think the technology won me a spot more than my keen analytical capabilities. I hope to have something more about the attack to come when Sunday's post comes around. 

Keep sharp, everyone. Now is not the time to falter. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Get Over Yourselves

[Post by Kincaid]

Hey. Been a while.

Josh is out of commission this morning. Don't worry, he's fine. Last night he tripped and fell. He didn't break anything, but he tore the stitches in his leg. Gabrielle has him off his feet for the day at the clinic. Promised I'd stop at his house and let everyone know what the situation is.

Dodger and I have been working like bastards to secure Haven. We're lucky that the worst of the zombie attacks have only been due to failures in the perimeter. People just don't listen sometimes when you tell them things, and we spent weeks explaining that the perimeter defenses weren't meant to stop huge swarms. Not stop them cold. But there you have it anyway, what happened a few weeks back. People felt safe enough to be outside of Haven's walls, got comfortable, then when the shit hit the fan they got dead.

Think I'm being too harsh? Sorry about that. You weren't the one who had to clean up their bodies and kill a few of them a second time to make sure they didn't kill you right back. I'm glad Josh is off today. I've wanted a chance to say this where people can see it for a while now.

Let me say it again, people: this is not a fucking game.

There's a war going on out there. It's far away for the moment, but we're the backup. We have to be ready to provide whatever support we can. To do that we have to be cautious. If we get comfortable and take risks, even just being outside the walls when it isn't necessary, we're being dangerously stupid. Selfish, even. We can't afford that. The men and women who rely on us to provide them with food and other supplies while they fight the UAS can't afford our mistakes.

You think I'm being disrespectful of the dead. You might be right. Maybe the dead should have been more careful. Their loss isn't catastrophic for the rest of us but it's pretty goddamn close. I came here as a criminal. I've done bad things in my time, things that still haunt me every night when I try to sleep. But I never let my people put themselves in needless danger. We had a proper fear of the world out there.

I get it. I really do. Most of you, original Haven citizens and immigrants alike, spent a lot of time and effort building something new. I've been a part of that. You've suffered just like the rest of us. Thing is, you've grown too used to things being easier. You're getting complacent in some ways. Though I'm sure to get flak for saying it, in many ways you're arrogant. You think you're ready to handle any situation.

I have dozens of dead bodies that say otherwise. I know it might be a little late to make this point since most of you already got it when the actual deaths happened, but I'll be damned if I don't take the chance to drive it home while I have it. Right here, right now, is not the fucking time to get lazy. If you lose sleep because your heart won't stop hammering with terror, then that's the price you pay for being ready. We can't any of us afford to lose that fear, not yet. You're a brave group of people, but you can't have bravery without being frightened, and I worry some of you have become too jaded to allow that feeling to overcome you.

If the deaths of all those citizens didn't do it, then my words probably won't either. But I've been losing sleep over it. Now that I've said it, I feel better. It's on you, now.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


In the worst-case scenario, this war ends with both sides so devastated that there's nothing left for any of us to work with. Think about that for a second: the end of the world already came, but there were enough survivors to carry on and rebuild. This war with the UAS is existential, when you couch it in those terms. We can't afford to let everything be destroyed. This is, at its core, an endgame.

It's pretty insane when you ponder on that. We've faced a lot of strife since The Fall began, but nothing on this scale. The human race survived one extinction-level event, and if things go south then this conflict will serve as the coup-de-grace that finally ends the suffering of the human race. I don't like thinking about that, which is exactly why I'm putting it out there. We need to think in larger terms.

There are too many of us--and yes, I'm as guilty as anyone--who see this as just another conflict to be dealt with. That attitude is especially prevalent here at home where the horrors of the war are distant. It's hard to appreciate the size and magnitude of the thing. But as with underwater earthquakes, you can begin to measure the danger by seeing the waves that form as a result.

The zombies wash across us and the rest of the Union as a consequence of this war. Over the last few years we've seen the number of undead slowly dwindle, starvation and cannibalism and our own deadly hands slowly whittling their numbers down even as they evolve. Yes, they group in larger numbers, but there are less and less of them blanketing the countryside, instead clustering together for survival and coming after the living.

So consider how big an impact this war is having: tens of thousands of zombies have come up from south of the border and from UAS territory, pushed like a bow wave toward the west and the Union. Imagine how large the movements of people have to be, and extrapolate from there. Across our new nation, the undead fall in the hundreds on a daily basis, the people worked half to death to protect their homes. How many people does it take to drive so many undead? How well armed must they be? Ask yourself these questions and you'll start to appreciate how daunting this war really is.

This is not a situation where we can easily shrug off the danger and rely on what has worked before. We're good, we're brutal, and we're at a severe disadvantage. We are in serious danger, people. I know most of you know that, but I'm not sure how many of you actually feel it.

And do you know, I said all of that just to prepare for saying this:

There are more waves of UAS citizens moving in from their central territory. Toward the people we just bombed and shelled, to help them. At a rough guess, more than five thousand are heading that way just as easy as you please. How big a threat are we facing that five thousand people can just take off within a few days of a major attack? With that many willing bodies, they will be able to rebuild quickly.

Things are often darkest before the dawn, right? We've been through a lot, enough to know that things are also darkest when the end is near. We can't afford to wait any longer. We have to do something drastic.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Shattering

I'm laid up at the moment. The injury I took the other day wasn't severe--a messy gash across my thigh--but it is painful and is keeping me from doing more than sitting or laying down. Fighting is out of the question, according to Gabrielle. Too much movement will tear the stitches and only prolong my recovery.

Fighting the undead in the mud is a dangerous affair. Equally because they're zombies and anything that hinders your movement is risky and because other people tend to make more mistakes in those sorts of circumstances. In this case one of the men I was working with got tripped up when his boots got stuck in the mud, and his spear met my leg with predictable results.

I know a lot of people are probably expecting me to rail against unfair fate, taking me from the fight when every body is needed. Sorry. Not this time. I've spent the last few weeks busting ass and not without reason; the main swarm threatening us has been broken. A lot of them are dead, but mostly they've been split into smaller groups, which make them much easier for our people to deal with. the constant exhaustion caught up with me, and it took six inches of lacerated thigh to let me finally get some rest.

The parallel between what's going on here with the zombies and what's happening on the front lines is pretty striking. I mentioned the massive action our forces took the other day, but I didn't get into the details. Basically, a bare-bones plan was put together when our people realized the UAS were digging in and working on permanent settlements. As vicious and brutal as it had to be, the leadership decided not to allow their plans to go any further.

I mentioned before that the UAS brought noncombatants with them into this war zone. I believe the purpose was to use them as a deterrent. The idea, of course, was that no matter how much the UAS claimed to their own people that we're violent savages with no regard for human life, that in reality they expected us to hold back if we knew there were innocents about.

The most we were able to compromise was sending out a warning half an hour before the attack. Our advance units warned the UAS to evacuate their positions, which would be destroyed after that length of time. For the most part those warnings went unheeded.

Our people proceeded to shell those positions mercilessly. It wasn't a universal attack; some places along the hundreds of miles of front didn't get hit at all. Others were bombed with vehicles set up with homemade explosives. A few were expertly demolished with dynamite set up by our own very talented infiltration experts.

At the least, a thousand people in the UAS camps died. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers they have at their disposal, but the real cost in human lives was atrocious. Think about that: at a minimum, a thousand lives are gone. Men, women, children. Families with histories and hopes and dreams, snuffed out in an instant because someone told them to go to a place. I feel so terrible for the children, who were only guilty of having cowards and fools as parents. Order me to take my child into a war zone, and I'll ignore you, laugh in your face, and fight you to the death if you don't relent. I can't imagine what drove them to such bad decisions.

We aren't without mercy as the UAS leadership would have people believe, but it is not an infinite mercy. We gave warning. It's a sad reality that people didn't stop being selfish, short-sighted assholes when the world ended. Our hope is that this action will be enough to break the UAS drive forward. If enough of them realize the cost of this war, maybe they'll pull back and give up.

I hope, but as I often have to say, I do not expect.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Raising Hell

I'm keeping this one short, for real. I say that a lot, but I've been injured and I'm tired and need to sleep. I'm only posting anything at all because communications have been spotty over the last few days, and Will asked that I share some information to alleviate confusion.

Yes, there was a strike yesterday by our forces on the UAS positions up and down the front line. Yes, we took losses, and no, we have no solid numbers on that. The fight went in our favor, but there is a lot of chaos and information is still coming in. So please stop flooding Will and his office (if you live here in Haven) or whoever your local leader is (if you don't) with requests. We're trying to sort through it all as fast and efficiently as possible. When we know and it's safe, you'll know too.

It can be said with certainty that the strikes achieved their primary goals at the least; the enemy camps have been disrupted to the point that construction is halted.

We've slowed them down for a bit. I'm starting to fall asleep at the desk. I'll fill you all in on the details of my injury and anything else I learn about today's attack in a few days.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Yesterday was a bad day. I just woke up.

Jess actually had plans for us for our anniversary, but much like the adorable kid in a family comedy the zombies wrecked those plans. Only this was less cute and more 'we're going to mass for a huge attack on your supply lines.'

The long and short of it is that with the weather getting nice, the undead are becoming more and more of a problem. It's a sticky situation since so many of our people are out fighting the good fight. Haven is big, with a lot of wall to defend. And we're not even seeing the full effect here: the outer defenses are still keeping the worst of the attacks from getting to Haven's walls. We're hard pressed to get anything done other than defend the place and, as of yesterday, the people moving in and out of Haven who keep the place supplied with vital resources.

Big K has been out and about for the last few days. I've only seen him once or twice, but I heard he's been working about six different jobs and catching naps on the wall. The guy is dedicated, I'll grant him that, but I worry about him pushing too hard. Jess went out a few minutes ago to try to find him and drop off a care package. Being the head of agriculture has its advantages, being a noncombatant primary among them.

As for the rest of us, well, we're beat. I don't know how long we can deal with these sustained attacks. It was different when the undead would pile up and strike at one place, and even more so when Haven was a fifth of its current size. Now we're short on bodies and have so much more wall to defend, and the undead are hitting all over the place when they aren't attacking supply caravans. It makes for a lot of running and use of energy. The greatest tragedy in the world right now is that the only caffeine we have access to is in the form of tea. I'm risking my life for this place. You'd think the universe would give us a break and allow me a more palatable intake method for my drug of choice.

I meant that to come out funny, but I think I missed the mark.

It's just so hard to keep going. I'm all for the fight, don't get me wrong, but the exhaustion is reaching critical mass for a lot of us. We're waking up at all hours, fighting for our lives, missing meals, and then doing it all over again. I'm not complaining; it has to be done, no question. But I've noticed the strain in other people as well. Men and women who, a week ago, would laugh and joke between fights are now as grim-faced and quiet as anyone. We're being stretched paper-thin and tight as piano wire. It's less of a question of whether or not we have the will to continue as much as if we have the physical ability to do so. If something doesn't change soon, and for the better, I have no doubt that we'll start making mistakes.

This war has consequences and repercussions none of us anticipated. The problem with building a better world, a better community, is that you end up with so much more to defend. The stakes raise on an emotional and mental level, but the real-world analog is that what you're defending is bigger and more delicate. It takes more people and effort.

We've got the effort, but the shortage of human beings available is getting drastic. We need a miracle.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Drop The Science

There's such a thing as the inertia of expectation. I've never thought of it in those terms before, but after a long night--I'm still awake, rather than just waking up--of thought, I'm pretty sure I grasp a larger concept, one I may have just been missing.

Think about it this way: expectation in the world as it was before The Fall was probably most broadly expressed in that we never saw the plague coming. Zombies, after all, were fiction. They were a concept so ridiculous that none of us even allowed the idea to be possible, much less plausible. So, naturally, when 'impossible' suddenly flipped over to the 'actual' category, our brains had a hard time handling it. Those of us best equipped to manage became survivors, people living out in the world, shaping it and themselves to fit the needs of continued existence.

Those slightly less inclined toward adaptation became marauders, I think. Not that there isn't a lot of variation within that group, but by and large I get the sense that marauders come from people who simply lost their compass when everything they knew was gone. The inertia of expectation was thrown wildly off the track and into unknown territory.

Even now it comes into play. I've been missing Becky something fierce, and my visits to her have been sporadic at best. So when I went to see her yesterday, imagine how shocked I was that the smallish building she had been using as a lab, crammed in there with her assistants, was gone. In its place is a warehouse that stretches across the divide between Haven Central and Haven West, also known as the big ass addition made of shipping containers. We've tinkered and built and altered and added on over the months, and West is something of a fortress now. With all the recent zombie activity, people have migrated there many times over the last week or so.

Becky's lab is huge. It's made of repurposed shipping containers, these brought in over time to fill the specific need for more space. There is a staff of at least twelve working at all hours, twice that during the day. Some of them are people brought in from the outside, but most are the old Louisville survivors, long since integrated. I can't get into the details of what the lab produces in any of its sections (mostly because I have no idea) but I can tell you it's breathtakingly different from what I expected to find. Becky was there giving orders and working her skinny ass off, though she spared me a few minutes and a hug.

Today is my wedding anniversary. I'm trying not to think about how things were when Jess and I tied the knot, nor the fact that by this day next year, we'll have spent more time together after the end of the world than before it.

The inertia of expectation is a strange and sometimes disturbing idea.

My point, if I even have one, is that we can't allow our expectations to rule us. I don't just mean in practical things like the defenses and the reliance on them that cost us so many lives recently. I'm also talking about even the tiniest things in our lives. When Jess and I said the vows and signed the papers, we never could have dreamed the world would come to an end, turn out the way it has. Things got bad. Very bad.

But I won't let that inertia drag me down. I can't pine for what might have been no matter how much my heart and mind want me to think about the possibilities we might be missing out on. Because when all this started, we were living in darkness, shivering in the night and trying to stay quiet to avoid the undead. We were the modern equivalent of the caveman, huddling in fear.

And now look at us. Those conditions created expectations, and we told those expectations to go fuck themselves. We stumble and screw up, and sometimes it costs us dearly. The war and the recent tragedy here are proof of that. Patrick is proof that nothing is perfect or goes on forever. Life is change.

If you had asked me in those first few months if we'd have power and a growing community and a newly born nation, I would have laughed at you and told you to cut back on the sauce. Today we have those things, and no matter how many bad things happen we strive toward ever more amazing changes.

I talk a lot about choices, and today, again, I choose to be happy. No matter what heartaches come, opening myself to the possibility of finding joy in the unknown is up to me. It's there, always. We just have to see it. Today's my anniversary, and I will find moments of happiness in it. For myself and for Jess, and in the memory of those we lost here in Haven. For Patrick and the people protecting us. For my mother and everyone who passed before. I'll find a moment of radiance and bask in it for the living and the dead, because life is too short and precious to spend alone and in sadness.

It's too easy to obsess over what could have been, what should have been, and thereby miss what is.

Friday, April 19, 2013


It's tempting to let myself fall back into an earlier state. Losing Pat has been a blow so hard I'm still reeling from it days later. I want to curl up into a ball and ignore everything else. The monster inside me has my brain in its claws again, but I'm not going to give in. There's too much at stake, too many lives in the balance, for any of us to check out like that.

Not a lot of news from the front lines. After Patrick's scout team was discovered and I broke the news, our people on the front lines surged in a new wave of furious assaults. Most of them were naturally long-range since that's how the war is playing out so far, but more than a handful were powerful strikes across the killing fields, aimed at the heart of several key enemy positions. Those attacks weren't part of the plan, but there's always room for flexibility.

Pat was a popular guy, but it turns out he was a popular character as well. Being the one who writes this blog, it's very easy to forget that many of you out there read it or know someone who does and who shares it with you. I always think about that in terms of the information I supply, but this week reminds that for many of you out there, my life is sort of a soap opera. Maybe not the most interesting one in the world, but over time you've grown accustomed to the quirks of me and my friends. Pat was someone you knew, even if only by proxy.

A lot of you had met him before. Pat has been all over the place, and tried to spend time catching news from the convoys we trade with. You know what kind of guy he was first hand. That's why it doesn't really surprise me that so many folks are shocked and angry at his passing. He was loved. Is loved.

Overall the war is static. We've damaged the UAS in the last few days, but nothing game-changing. The apparently endless string of storms coming up from the gulf and tromping all over the Union is slowing down a lot of combat operations. That's good.

It's also making for a lot of saturated, spongy ground around these parts, which is also good. It means that Jess has spent a lot of time at home since the planting can't continue with the grass floating. She's still trying to come to terms with Pat as well, and for all the strength she's found over the last few years, at heart she is still a very emotionally sensitive and turbulent person. She hurts so hard, and I'm glad circumstances have kept her here longer than intended. Call me sexist, but part of the office of husband is the whole 'holding you while you cry' thing. Helping her through this is honestly helping me through it as well.

The mud is also slowing down the zombies. Turns out all those choke points are pretty devoid of vegetation from the concentrated pressure of so many zombie feet being funneled into them. They're basically huge mud pits now, but the undead seem to pay no attention to that fact. They keep on wallowing in, getting mired and making a really disgusting wall of flesh that can easily be dealt with and that also provides a break from the constant pressure of fighting.

It's a rough week. For right now we're in a relative lull, and I'll take it. I'm drained, stretched thin, and whatever other expressions you can think of for at the end of my patience and strength. I think I'll spend the day sleeping if I can manage it, and get to sleep by focusing on all the things I want to accomplish tomorrow and in the days that follow. It's the only thing that keeps me sane.

But that's all of us, I guess.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Goodbye, Alaska

A day later and the news still seems so unreal to me. Patrick is gone.

I would love to tell you that he died in a moment of glory, saving the lives of small children from a burning school bus while beating zombies about the head with the stump of his arm, but I can't. He died along with five others in an attack on his scout group. Pat was driving, the vehicle was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade, and his song was cut off mid-note. The team that found them were only able to identify the bodies--the skeletons--because Pat's arm was missing.

It's almost too much for me to handle. Seeing the people around here react is sort of like watching what would happen if something fundamental like gravity suddenly clocked out for the day. His nieces are completely devastated, of course, but Pat did right by preparing them both for the likelihood of this very piece of news. They're broken, sad things right now, but not hopeless. He taught them better than to give in to despair.

Jess took yesterday and today off, which is unheard of. She doesn't stop working until the work is done, but Pat was her friend long before the world ended. He was one of the few people she was comfortable around before The Fall, back when she was so pathologically shy she couldn't even make phone calls most of the time. Pat always made her laugh. Every damn time he was around her.

Patrick's daughter is still so young, just a year old now. I'm tearing up just thinking about her growing up without him in her life. Nothing will ever fill that hole, but I will do my best (as I know everyone will) to make certain his memory is honored and kept alive. It's a pale imitation of the man himself, but with any luck it will serve as something for that little girl to wrap herself up in as she grows, something of him to hold on to.

And as for me?

God, where do I even start? I lost my best friend, maybe the best I've ever had. Someone who never stopped trying to lighten the mood no matter how bad things got--and look around you, people, because it's full dark out there--and never took it badly when you glared at his (occasionally) stupid jokes. It's selfish as hell that I get to share my grief with so many of you, but right now I don't care at all.

I lost a brother.

My world just got a whole lot smaller. This is a sad reminder to many of us that we don't appreciate the magnitude of what we have until it goes, and Pat was loved. Very much so. There are so many people here comforting each other; even folks who only knew him as the town blacksmith have commented about his personality, memorable even in those short business transactions. To be fair a few of those people mentioned Pat breaking wind, loudly and without apology, and the smile that followed. I'm not trying to sum up his character as a fart joke, I swear, but it's kind of true. Pat did things like that without shame or guile, because he liked seeing people react. Usually with a smile. Sometimes vomiting.

And look at that; even remembering him makes me laugh and joke. Pat was the kind of guy who could be very hard to take seriously, but I'll be damned if that doesn't translate into some pretty great memories. He was a good man, a loyal friend, and a dedicated father. I think the last would have been, in his opinion, the most important achievement in his life.

As I continue to babble here, I think of all the things most of you don't know. Pat once seriously considered becoming a priest, which I'm thankful he never did if only because it would have robbed me of an amazing human being in my life. So many little details about him keep leaping up to me, so many memories and thoughts. I'll write them all down, if not here. So I can share them with his little girl when she's old enough.

Memories are all I have of him now. As I think about that, I consider myself lucky. She doesn't even have that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Close to Home

The swarm of zombies laying into us ended up being a blessing in disguise. We've long assumed that the UAS wouldn't try to strike at Haven itself. For several reasons; we're too visible, too easy a rallying point. Making martyrs of us would only harden the resolve of the rest of the Union. We're also pretty deep behind the lines, but as we all now know, that's not a hurdle the UAS can't overcome. The groups they slip through are small but effective.

Which is a lucky thing for us, because we never saw them coming. Had they been able to move a mortar or something with comparable firepower within range, we would have been in serious trouble.

As it is, a small strike force did attack Haven. Or, more specifically, they've attacked our storehouses. The old ones we don't use any longer. I don't know if they got their information from this blog or what, but it's obviously old and inaccurate. Haven is freaking HUGE now. We can store almost everything we need inside the walls. The attacks did little to harm us and actually let us know that the enemy was nearby. In the struggle of this war so far, this is almost funny in its ineffectiveness.

We do have a few talented trackers, and they found evidence that the UAS soldiers responsible hightailed it out of here once we got on their trail. I won't say that the experience wasn't sobering--if they'd have bombed us, no one would be treating this as lightly as I am now--but overall we're looking at it as a good thing. They couldn't get close to us because of all the damn zombies wandering around, but their pointless attack did wake us up, make everyone here in Haven more alert and aware. That's a good thing no matter how you cut it.


Well, shit. I was going to write a bunch more here, but K just answered the door and has a message for me. I need to head out of the office for a while, apparently Will needs to talk to me in private about something. Ah, well. I'll be back tomorrow, as always.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I've been fighting for almost twelve hours now. They came in the rain last night, the mud weakening the defenses so much that the sheer weight of bodies knocked over posts and created breaches in the outer defenses. It's a hard lesson to learn, but we learned it. The problem with having those outer defenses is that people become comfortable moving around inside them since they have a chance not to be bottled up behind the walls of Haven.

I just sat down after half a day of fighting and cleanup, and I'm so damn tired. I know intellectually that the bone-deep weariness I feel is affecting my mental state, that the chemicals in my brain are sending false messages of sadness and a sense of defeat in order to force me to sleep. I'm aware of that, yet months of fighting those impulses have left me with an automatic response, which is to tell the chemicals in brain to go fuck themselves.

We took losses. The undead came in waves so dense they were almost a sea. We fought in the hot rain, like blood coursing down from the sky, every inch a battle against old enemies and New Breed alike.

There weren't many kinds of weapons I didn't use. All of us at one point or another fired guns, shot bows, used swords or machetes, knives, and during the initial flood of zombies, spears too numerous to count. With simple wooden sticks we defended the injured, breaking the points off so often that runners--most of them younger men and women not old enough to fight--had to resupply us in a constant run back and forth to the supply sheds.

Thank god we've stockpiled and stockpiled, because we ate through most of what we had in this fight. Our kids carve spears every day, both as a learning experience in how to make weapons from almost anything, and because we need them.

The fight is far from over, you understand. The wave that hit us came out of the breach like water through a dam; high pressure and concentrated. Sixty people were in the area when it happened, some merely going about the business of enjoying the night and the spring rain, but most others actually out there for a purpose. Most of them were working. Some planted crops, some shoring up the defenses, and all sixty of the folks in the initial danger zone lost their lives.

I can't even explain that loss. I won't try.

Much of the fight was just trying to stop the flood of bodies long enough to allow everyone else to retreat to Haven proper, where walls and proven defenses could keep us safe. Then it was an hour or more of fighting our way to the gates, then god knows how long holding a line so we could get inside. It all blurs together.

I do remember having my life saved by Big K. I've only seen him fight once or twice, but last night was something else. The guy is a demon with a spear, and for someone closer to seven feet tall than six, he can move like the wind. I'm not saying the guy was a kung-fu master or anything, but there wasn't a shred of fear in him as he skewered a zombie trying to maul my face and flung the damn thing over his shoulder like a pitchfork of hay.

I remember seeing K's eyes when he did it. There wasn't any anger there, or hate. Just calm attention. It was a little unnerving.

And now I'm starting to ramble. I'm going to listen to my body now, and my wife, and K, who are both over my shoulder trying to get me to rest. I've taken a few injuries, and both of them are mothering me the way they always do. From my wife I can manage that behavior. I guess I'll have to do the same for K since he's big enough to crush my head with one hand. Though considering the effort he went to saving my life, I'd be willing to bet he'll restrain himself.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thunder Down the Mountain

Somewhere along the way, a largish group of UAS soldiers managed to sneak through our lines and traps. I guess it's possible they've been here for longer than our precautions, which is frankly pretty fucking scary to think about for any length of time. However they managed it, the end result is what matters. That result being the total annihilation of a small community deep within the borders of the Union.

The potential loss of life would have been about a hundred people, and a very important hundred at that since the community in question had a very specific focus. They produced bullets. Not hand-made ones, either. A lot of resources went into the town, which I'm told must remain nameless, in order to give us a manufacturing base capable of making high-quality ammunition that won't foul our gun barrels.

I say the loss of life would have been a hundred or so people because thankfully the movements of the UAS soldiers was noted a day before they attacked. We were able to relocate those folks with a few hours to spare before the destruction could begin.

And that destruction was total. Heavy machine guns shredded the buildings, incendiary bombs slagged the equipment. Most of our stockpiles were picked up at their usual time with the last shipment, which was a particularly good stroke of luck. But no more new bullets will be made there.

As for the UAS soldiers in question, well...

However they discovered what the place was making, their sources of information clearly didn't warn them that we knew they were coming. Hell, they attacked from a distance at first. They weren't even aware that the place was empty until the first salvo was over and their soldiers moved in with their fiery grenades that burned hot enough to melt steel.

They surely weren't aware that even as they were coming down the small mountainous hills near our little manufacturing center, our own people watched them. There's a lot you can do with a good hunting rifle and time to find exactly the right place to shoot from. Hell, I've talked before about the sniper known as the White Death, who killed hundreds of men without the use of a scope. In winter. In the mountains.

Our people aren't that insanely good, but the plus side is that they had plenty of time to hide in places they'd be difficult to spot. Fifty men and women whose ability to fire a bullet has been directly proportional to how well they eat, every one of them insanely pissed off at the invasion before them.

Then there were the land mines. Look, I don't want to get into the details. It was bad, okay? And the UAS didn't have a single survivor from that group. Not that the total destruction of those soldiers matters on the large scale; this attack was crippling. We're still well provisioned for the time being, but the longer this drags out the more starved for bullets we're going to become. Whatever ridiculous stocks the UAS has access to, they aren't hurting for materiel.

Combined with the fact that we now know they're digging in for long-term occupation and settlement, and this does not bode well. Something is going to have to change. Fortunately, the Union and her people aren't exactly known to slack when it comes to adapting to new circumstances. We'll manage somehow.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mixed Blessings

It's somewhat fitting that last night the weather turned colder. Rain and wind came through, giving us a much needed boost to our water reserves since we're about to start the planting, but the storms also threaten our safety. In the world as it is today, even mixed blessings are still blessings.

Yesterday nearly three hundred UAS soldiers on the northernmost section of their line abandoned the fight. These are men and women, even children that their parents didn't want to leave behind. You might ask yourself why on earth the leadership would allow kids to go with their parents if they're leaving to fight a war. It sounds inhumane, doesn't it?

Those three hundred people made their way across the lines in the dead of night, fighting off god only knows how many undead. They carried every possession of any importance with them--that is to say, food and some clothes, minimal survival gear, and weapons. As I understand it, my words have spread among the UAS despite efforts to stem the flow of information. We've made the offer that every person who wishes to avoid the fight will be allowed sanctuary in Union territory. We can't afford to simply give, but there's enough work to be done here in Haven alone that another three hundred pairs of hands wouldn't be turned down.

I don't know where those refugees will end up, but they're out of this conflict. This morning a report was hand-delivered to me by Will himself containing details of this entire event. It's quite a lot thicker and thorough than I would have expected something put together in a matter of hours to be, and before I could even begin to read it, Will put a hand on my shoulder and pointed to the report. He then said three words to me. No, they weren't 'I love you', but that particular phrase does carry some weight here; it shows that even a simple string of three words can carry a dictionary's worth of meaning. Said correctly, a short sentence can create love, hate, rage, fear, hope...

"Follow your conscience," Will said to me.

We're friends, good friends. Sometimes I live in the here and now so much that it's easy to forget all we've been through together. Even with the mental and physical stress he's under now, what with managing a war and basically leading a freaking nation--not to mention the distractions of rapidly escalating zombie attacks--Will is still at his core the man I grew to trust. Hell, I might as well say it: I love the guy. He's as much my brother as anyone I don't share DNA with can be.

Those three words prove it.

Will trusts me to share what needs to be shared without compromising our security. Not trying to create any overly dramatic tension here, but part of why today's post is so late is because no matter how self-righteous I appear to be sometimes, I do actually agonize over some of the things I believe. It's a hard row to hoe, being the filter between what is known and what is shared. I try to balance it as well as I can.

I've spent all day debating what I should be sharing from that report, and I'll likely dole out bits and pieces over the next week or two if it seems appropriate to do so.

Two salient points, however, cannot wait. One: the reason many of the new recruits from south of the border were able (strongly encouraged, actually) to bring their entire family with them is because this war is something completely different than we expected. The UAS front line isn't just the place where their armies gather for a fight. It's also a defensive perimeter. These people aren't just invading; the camps set far back from their lines are the beginnings of settlements. Permanent settlements. The UAS isn't planning to sweep across us and take over.

They're setting up whole communities, entrenching themselves as deeply as possible, and then pushing forward with those communities as bases to work from. It's brilliant. Utterly fucking brilliant for a lot of reasons.

The second point that all of us need to be aware of? The reason they're doing this is because on the whole, the UAS is running out of food. They farm and hunt, but they don't have several years of practice and infrastructure built up around it. We're long past the point when most canned food went bad, and the long-term supplies in those bunkers ran dry last year. That's why they came out of hiding in the first place. They're going hungry.

For now they're able to manage on a day-to-day basis, but this information gives an entirely new dimension to the problem. They're coming after us because we have plenty, at least from their point of view. They're coming not for us, because what are we but more mouths to feed, but for our crops, our stores, and the land we're already beginning to seed with new life to sustain us.

Desperate people are the most dangerous sort of enemy. Starving people are near the top of that list.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bodies Fall

From what Will has mentioned, the expectation was that the main thrust of the UAS incursion would come essentially at the center of the border. That's why it nearly caught our people off guard last night as a major offensive pushed through the far southern region only a hundred and fifty miles from the Gulf Coast. 

Defending such a vast area is difficult, but attacking entrenched defenders is harder, lucky for us. I don't have solid numbers on the death counts and don't know if the fight is still going on at present. I know for sure that at least two hundred members of our unified forces fell in the early hours, more than twice that number of UAS soldiers died. 

Things aren't quite so bad here, but Haven is having to deal with its own problems. Still. The weather seems to have leveled out into comfortable Spring conditions, and while we've managed to make most of our protected area free of zombies, the plateau in numbers we were hoping for didn't happen. They're still coming, and more of them at that, which makes for some rough days here at home. 

It was such a long and harsh winter that we were sort of hoping for an easy start to this season. Ah, well. Bitching about the work doesn't make the work go away. 

So far we've been fortunate here. While the southern guard have taken hits and lost people, most of the communities left behind have managed fairly well against the undead inundating our land and gathering around our homes. If I seem dismissive of the losses suffered by our forces, please don't think that. 

It's just that I'm not there. I could paint you pictures based on what I've heard--not much in the way of details as communications are laggy and sporadic--but doing so by necessity would force me to fill in major gaps, to lie somewhat, and to tint the entire thing with my own perceptions. The hardest part about not being out there for me is the need to report the general status of the war within the confines of my own moral obligation not to hide or massage the truth. 

I'm here, they're there, and being so far away creates a certain amount of intellectual and emotional distance. Without doubt, the horrors of war are being seen by many. I've been in battles before, watched some men weep while trying to hold their guts inside them while others desperately tried to repair the damage. I've never seen it on this scale, however. It's kind of hard to even imagine how terrible things on the front lines are right now, even though the majority of both sides aren't actively engaged in combat. It's even harder to imagine just how bad it's going to get when that does happen. 

As always, I will report what I know when I know it and always with permission to do so. I will not, however, turn this blog into any kind of propaganda machine. I haven't been asked to do so, I should point out. Not that I've had a lot of free time between defending from the undead to get asked for such a thing. I just won't let this space become a mouthpiece for motivating the people who read it into becoming angry killing machines that stop seeing their enemies as human beings. 

I know, I know. That would make it easier for Union soldiers to kill them. Which is exactly why I won't do it. Why I encourage everyone who has any influence at all not to do it. remember what we're fighting for, the ideals we carry with us and live by day to day, just as much as who we're fighting against. It seems like such a small detail, but it's a damned important one. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Old Guard

It's like night and day, spending so much time outside of this office. K and I only got in half an hour ago, and thank god Jess and I have a very large retention system for water, because both of us needed showers. I got first dibs, of course, this being my house. K is luxuriating in his first honest-to-Jesus shower in ages. 

It felt surprisingly good to be outside. I've been doing it for several days now, but today I worked the mess hall closest to my house. K was right there with me, cooking and preparing and serving. I introduced him to some people I've known for a while, which made me realize how small a percentage of our population the old guard really is. Through countless fights, zombie attacks, illness, and famine, the numbers of Haven citizens who wandered these streets back when we called it 'the compound' are few. 

Strange thing is that it didn't put me in a bad place. Really. 

I thought about old friends and family who have passed on since all this began, people who helped build and run Haven. Some of them died fighting off invaders as our troops are doing to the south. Others worked day to day, the oil keeping our little society rolling along, until something unexpected took them from us. The new plague did for many of them, starvation for some others. 

My point is that none of those people's lives were wasted. Whether they died on the battlefield or in a bed from a fever high enough to burn out their brains, their lives were what mattered. Each of them contributed to the safety and growth of our community, helping to bring us to where we are today. 

I fed children. So many children. I fed pregnant women and guys I'd never seen before in my life. I heard people complain that the electricity in their building was down a few days ago. Complaining about something they didn't even have until this year. Those gripes were gorgeous for their normality. They represent how far we've come. 

If I had died somewhere along the way, but knew what kind of world my efforts would leave for those left behind, I would have been happy to go. I can't find en erg of sadness for my fallen friends, not in the sense that their lives were wasted. I miss them dearly, but their deaths were not in vain. 

If our purpose was to serve the greater good, to build a future, then we've accomplished it. The machinery of change is built and in place, just starting to plug along and cycle up to speed. 

All the pain, the death, the heartache and sacrifice? Worth it. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I've had a rough few days, but no more so than anyone else in Haven. The sudden upward tick of the mercury, from a hard freeze and snow a week ago to eighty degrees out right now, has made life here sort of miserable all by itself. Our bodies are trying to keep up with the rapid changes, but we're all working so much it's all we can do to manage some sleep, much less feel better.

And we have it the easiest. 

On the front lines, our men and women deal with minor incursions regularly. The bulk of the UAS army is split up and hanging back--surprising and a little weird, but welcome--while smaller units filter through the wilderness between to cause havoc.

We're managing incursions here as well, but ours are just the dead people wandering across the state. The flow from the direction of Louisville is increasing as it always does this time of year, and added to that fun are a rather large number of zombies rolling up from the south. That poses a problem: our defenses in the county are already being tested. More undead will strain what we can manage, possibly past the breaking point.

Most of life's problems can be solved with a chainsaw. I've always said that.

Ten of us, including Kincaid and myself, spent all of yesterday making it much harder for the undead to work their way into the large area we've cordoned off for ourselves. I often say something about 'the county' when I'm writing on here, but that lacks accuracy. In truth we've set up a lot of choke points within Frankfort itself and around the edges of town, but most of the perimeter we've set up is centered to within a mile of Haven itself. We've always been careful not to harvest too much of our wood very close, choosing instead to haul it in from farther out. Yesterday that decision came in handy.

We cut down...well, not everything, but a hell of a lot of trees. They make an unholy mess when you drop three or four in a spot, branches breaking and tangling as they pile together. It makes for an excellent barrier against the undead, even the New Breed, and we didn't waste any time doing it. Oh, it isn't a perfect solution. But it's one that works. Reality constantly hammers home the point that every advantage, no matter how small, adds up in the final equation.

As it is with the undead, so it is with the UAS. We're working to keep our home safe, all of us, in on form or another.

It's a much muddier pond when it comes to our living enemies, nowhere near as easy to deal with them in a whole spectrum of ways. Not physically, psychologically, morally, or whatever. Zombies are dead things with no future and as sad as we may be for what they once were, killing them is an act of kindness as well as one of survival. Killing them in droves will almost assuredly be needed in the coming days or weeks, also as an act of survival. I'm really not trying to downplay how concerned we are about the resurgence of zombies.

Yet I don't want to downplay the importance of how the UAS differs from them, either. No one is sure why the main forces of the UAS are hanging so far back, but I want to use the lull in major combat operations to remind everyone that these actually are human beings we're dealing with. I'm not saying to hesitate should one of them start shooting at you. Do your duty. Rather I'm only reiterating that they're as unpredictable as human beings have always been, which means they could attack from a direction and in ways you can't possibly imagine.

Or, hell, some of them might choose to walk away. You never know. All I'm saying is to be cautious in all things, and keep aware of how circumstances change. Old hat to citizens of the Union, I know, but it's sort of my job to play mother hen and say these things.

Back to the ramparts, so to speak. More trees to cut, more references to Army of Darkness to make while I do it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


During the night a contingent of UAS soldiers--real ones, I assume--moved in on one of our supply camps and destroyed it utterly. There were forty Union citizens there, noncombatants whose job it was to dole out food and water to our troops in that area.

Every one of those volunteers are dead. The supplies were taken, the equipment that couldn't be carried off was burned or otherwise disabled. Most of the workers at the camp weren't killed with head trauma, meaning that our returning soldiers had to put down the ones that reanimated and prevent the ones that hadn't from doing so. All in all it was a bad night for us.

It's easy for me to forget (and maybe for all of us who aren't out there) that just because I'm getting regular reports to share with all of you, this is not a simple situation. The lines aren't easy or straight or even solid. There are places where the enemy can slip through with enough effort. We're defending hundreds of miles of front. The only reason we're able to do so with any effectiveness at all is because the vast majority of the UAS forces aren't trained for this. They rely on their equipment and vehicles, meaning they have to stick to roads and easy paths.

Yes, we prepared the way with breathtaking attention to detail. We've slowed them down and frustrated the vast majority of their troops, but last night's events are proof of a lesson every survivor in the Union has learned the hard way: don't get overconfident. Take nothing for granted. Never for a moment assume that you'll win or survive because you think you're on the right side.

Because you can be absolutely certain that the enemy feels they're on the side of the angels, too. There are few people in human history that did evil things and twirled their giant black mustaches (they're traditionalists) while doing so. Last night forty people lost their lives for a few tons of food and tankers of water, all because the people responsible thought it was the right thing to do.

If there's a more succinct example of humanity's flaws, I really can't think of it.

This is a war. People are going to die in it, and that's as sad as it is necessary to the process. We have so far been very, very lucky that our precautions have been enough to stave off the majority of the conflict, but it can't last forever. Every time we slow down the UAS enough to throw off their plans of attack, we frustrate them. We piss them off, make them less prone to rational behavior and reasonable reactions. It's a huge risk to take, but the other options are all much worse.

The idea that forty dead people and a supply depot represent just the opening notes of the fight in front of us is a sobering thought. To be honest, it's one I'm having a hard time getting past. My conscience tells me that's a good thing, while my survival instincts disagree.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Web Slinger

Kincaid, as it turns out, is some kind of diabolical genius when it comes to figuring out how to stop zombies. I spent most of yesterday afternoon out in the county with him and a team, clearing out the undead and breaking out the summer clothes. 

It never actually got hot, but the day was pleasantly warm and swinging a weapon while wearing twenty pounds of armor has a way of heating a body up. After three hours of constant work, constant killing, I came home and slept like an enchanted princess. 

It's a good thing I'm getting out of the house more. I mean, I'm not glad it's taking a war for our very existence to do it, but you know me: I'm all about those silver linings. If every person left in Haven weren't needed to ensure our basic functions remain, well, functional, I might not have seen Kincaid's brilliant idea in action. 

The Union has a fairly large group of deep, long-range scouts who scour the land (which just sounds badass) for useful things. Those people who used to hoard things in their homes have nothing on us. Not far away from here, I think somewhere between Frankfort and eastern Kentucky, someone found a distributor for bulk fabrics. Useful, but not super important. Among the loot from that particular run? Nylon webbing. I've talked about it before, you may remember. It's just standard flat nylon material, like a dog leash is made from. 

There was a lot of it there, and as our teams slowly brought in shipments from all over the state, the webbing made its way here. That distributor must have worked with an online store of some kind, because there was a truly ridiculous amount of the stuff on hand. It's kind of amazing how well it stores; several hundred feet can roll up into a disc you can carry in your hand. 

Kincaid spent a lot of time cataloging all the junk we accumulate, and coming across tens of thousands of feet of this stuff piled up in a shipping container and forgotten gave him an idea. 

Yesterday I watched as teams of four ran out ahead of us as we approached one of the choke points designed to funnel the undead right where we want them. Those men carried a homemade net, five feet tall and a hundred wide, which spread across the choke point before the zombies could make it all the way through. Each side of the net was quickly and expertly tied to a tree, stretching it tight. This stuff was the military-grade business, I should add. Strong as shit, which is good since a lot of zombies ended up leaning against it. 

Then it was just a matter of stepping in, armored gloves and sleeves holding onto the undead as we chopped down on their skulls. 

It wasn't perfect--nothing ever seems to be--but it was effective. We worked that single choke point for a long time, and I got to see other clever uses of the stuff as several zombies eventually made it past us. My favorite was the guy who ran around with lengths of webbing with slipknots in either end, carefully lassoing one zombie, then tossing the other loop around another. Sort of made a gigantic zombie nunchaku. The practical effect of this was to disorient and disable the two undead by way of a tether. Even your average New Breed, who seem to be thinning out as a species, are susceptible to it. I saw two of them get roped yesterday, and while they did figure out how to move in unison (clever bastards) it took them at least thirty seconds. Plenty of time for an enterprising defender to split their heads open with a handy tool. 

The tethering thing was my favorite, but there were a few others; snares and straight-up hanging come to mind. Tethering seemed the most effective of the one-on-one techniques, both for the brilliant simplicity of it, and for the fact that the strap connecting the two undead has a tendency to trip up or tangle even more zombies. It was pretty awesome. 

I think it would be a good idea to see if there are places down south that have access to this stuff. It would work with any kind of rope, too, and I know some people have used methods similar to this before. Kincaid was just the first to show how it can work on a large scale. Our people--all people--need access to every method and means to deal with the undead, who are in the end the real enemy. 

If only some folks would remember that...

Friday, April 5, 2013


Well, it wouldn't have been the call I made, but the fighting has well and truly begun. This morning, Will gave the go-ahead to whoever is commanding our troops on the ground to commence the attack on UAS forces. It should be said here that the UAS soldiers were not actively moving at the time. That is, they were in camp, probably working on a strategy to get around the truly ridiculous number of roadblocks and traps in front of them.

Our people have been preparing for this for months. Every major roadway for hundreds of miles (and no small number of minor ones) have been prepped. All it takes is a small band of people in each area to set off the chain reaction of explosives that drop trees across the road in great piles. All it takes is for the UAS to stumble across a trap and suddenly they're dealing with bombs going off right on top of them. We've got many thousands of hands to do work, and the last few months have been busy ones. Quietly busy, of course. You don't want the enemy to know they're going to be slogging through paths peppered with thermite that will eat through the armor of their vehicles until they've already learned it the hard way.

But this morning was different. It was a slaughter.

The good thing about being the defenders is that you have the home turf advantage. Our scouts are good--very, very good--and they can mark camp locations with relative ease. That was how the people operating our mortars knew where to aim.

The UAS may have forgotten this fact, but just because we're not former officials like their leadership, all packed up with military gear in a bunker, doesn't mean we aren't resourceful. Also, we have literally the entire eastern third of the United States to work with.

I don't like the idea of shelling the living shit out of people not actively engaged in fighting us, but it's a distinction that doesn't matter in the larger scheme of things. They're here on our land and their overall purpose is to take over or kill us all trying. It makes a cold sort of sense to hit them when they'll hurt the most, when the resulting confusion will be at its worst. We don't have any idea how many of them were killed since our people hit them from a long way off, but the trails of pig's blood our scouts left through the woods will ensure an interesting day.

Because the UAS was nice enough to send so many zombies our way, we decided to return the favor. The timing was just about perfect, and even as I write this there are likely a lot of men and women cursing us as they mourn friends dead at the hands of the zombies we sent at them.

It was a massively coordinated effort, and it's only the first. Even if only a handful of the enemy at each camp died, the cost in damage to their vehicles and gear was worth the effort a dozen times over. Our scouts are watching from a safe distance, so they can only report generalities. But there is a lot of smoke. A few vehicles were seen retreating back into UAS territory.

Still, there is an entire army of them out there. This is only the first blush of what might be ahead of us, and I shudder to think of how brutal this will become.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


In the grand scheme of things the petty squabbles between people over things like political power and who controls a tract of land aren't all that important. On a personal level, though, they matter very much. There's a lot that can be said about the present situation from a philosophical, abstract viewpoint.

It's important to remember that this is about the lives of human beings above all other things. I've driven that point home time after time, but it will always bear repeating.

Steve still hasn't made it home. We know he ended up making several detours on the way back, visiting communities and resupplying as needed, offering help to anyone who needed it. In that way he's almost like a character from a role-playing game; constantly completely side-quests in the desperate grind to reach the next level. In real life Steve is just an exceptionally good man who has a hard time doing nothing when others need a helping hand. His presence here isn't vital, and no one is overly concerned about him getting home on a schedule.

What is worrying? We lost touch with him. It could be something as simple as being far from a place that has communications, even just a flat tire out on the road. I'm trying to think as positively as possible, which isn't as hard as it sounds. Steve is more capable of taking care of himself than almost any person I know.

Which is good, because everyone else is focusing on defending each other. The mass of people every community is sending to deal with the UAS incursion has it worst, of course, but the warming temperatures mean more undead trying to get through our perimeter, which is sorely testing the men and women dedicated to maintaining it. Kincaid is one of the folks managing that, though if it were up to him he'd be out trying to thin the vast swarm moving across Union territory.

I'm going to be doing some work outside of the office myself, actually. Enough of us are gone that we're now in a position where everyone has to put on at least two hats. I'll be doing some runs with Kincaid, time in the mess halls, and wherever else an extra body will come in handy. K is doing the same.

I will say this: the swarm aimed this way by the UAS is actually saving lives at this point. It's a lot of effort for our people to contain those undead, but the consequence of three years of doing so on smaller scales means we have the knowledge to do it on a larger one. It's not complicated, but it is a lot of work. Fortunately the benefit is that many in that swarm turn back the way they came, which is right into the path of the UAS soldiers, who don't have nearly as much experience defending from zombies as the rest of us. That, and every bullet they fire killing the undead is one they can't fire at us. Every minute they spend dragging bodies off the road is one they aren't moving toward us.

And the huge number of undead bottled up in the places where our people are managing it--not universally successful, I'll add--will create an additional barrier.

Which leaves those of us left at home to make sure that nothing slipping through the cracks manages to catch us by surprise. There's a fair division of labor and responsibility going on here; our soldiers are out there fighting the undead and standing ready to fight the UAS when the battle is truly joined. Everyone back in the communities those soldiers come from are doing the rest. We're making sure those men and women have a place to return to. We're making sure food is provided and transported to our lines regularly. We're the logistics, the bottom of the pyramid that supports our fighters, who are the capstone.

I imagine things around here will pick up in intensity and pace very soon. There are only so many obstacles we can throw in the way of the enemy before the way is clear for the real battles to commence. That will mean more work for us, and more danger for the soldiers. No one is getting off east here.

Still hoping for that miracle, the one where the UAS soldiers see the waste and stupidity in their actions and gives up this fight. Like I said before, we're going to fight dirty, and it won't be pretty. I'd rather see that not happen, but we're ready and willing if (when) it does.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Business

I actually thought about trying to keep everyone's spirits up by doing an April Fool's post today, but I checked it off as a bad idea. Big K was weirdly for it.

But today I watched friends and people I consider family leave our home, and I just can't find it in me to joke around. They're just the first wave of volunteers, but given the scope of the threat coming our way sending them out in constant groups of ten or twelve to keep up a steady flow of reinforcements might be the only real path to victory. Big movements are more easily spotted.

I'm worried for everyone, of course, but I'm done appealing to the better angels of our enemies' nature. It's not that I don't want them to choose a different way--I do--or that I expect every single one of them to follow orders and slaughter our people indiscriminately--I don't--but I've said time and again that when it comes down to the moment of truth, I will give no quarter.

Well, my friends and family are going to be out there fighting for their lives and our safety very soon, and while I hope to see mass defections from the UAS or at least soldiers who refuse to invade without purpose, I don't want to cast any doubt in the minds of my fellow Union citizens. We can maintain our compassion and humanity while also doing what we have to do. Which, in this instance, means killing the people bent on killing or conquering us.

Now that I say that, I do want to bring up a larger point: what is this war about? I don't mean on our part; as it is with the zombie plague, so it is with the UAS aggressors. Survival, plain and simple. No, what I wonder is whether this whole thing is still about controlling and unifying the country under the UAS banner, or if it has devolved into simple revenge. The war in Iraq comes to mind when I think about the situation, given how badly it was bungled and how thin the justifications for it ended up being. Some of them nonexistent, actually.

I have to question the leadership of the UAS for embarking on a war of conquest, if that's what it is, enacted purely through the application of force. Granted, the UAS has tried to entice some people in (one of our communities even joined up) but overall I'd say their efforts have been for form's sake at best. Maybe I'm just especially dense, but I can't stop wondering why open conflict is their method of choice.

It has been established that the UAS has more land than they can possibly utilize for the next twenty years, so it's not about needing space. They have the southern oil reserves and surely the capacity to refine it into new fuel, so it's not about gas. They're clearly better armed than we are. All of that adds up to petty revenge in my mind, and that's just....well, stupid. No one is that stupid.

So maybe there's some mystery there. I mean, even faced with the UAS invading us right now, the Union still has hundreds of groups out there trying to thin and redirect the massive swarms of zombies drifting across our territory. The UAS is choosing to attack people who have the guts to take on 100-1 (or worse) odds fighting the undead. There is no quaking fear left in us, only healthy survival instinct. I've heard zombie body counts in the thousands as teams move around setting traps and sculpting the landscape to send the undead where we want them.

It's driving me crazy not knowing why the UAS would dream of coming after people who've come so close to being able to really live in a world of the dead. We're clearly capable of handling almost any amount of the undead given enough time to prepare (like Batman, who could beat anyone with planning) and are not afraid to defend ourselves.

We're kind of badass. There's really no other way to say it. Three years of practice have made each and every survivor in the Union a killing machine when it comes to zombies, and we don't hesitate if you threaten us and manage to have a pulse when you do it. Look at the history of the world, and you'll see a litany of examples where larger invading forces lost on the offensive, because defending a position is much, much easier. Too, you will notice that open warfare versus guerrilla tactics tends to end up about even, but that in extended campaigns guerrilla organizations can usually keep up the fight while ridiculously outnumbered.

And yeah, the UAS outnumbers us, but it's not by much.

Whatever the motivation, the point is now moot. We're in a state of war on the ground, and no matter the driving force, we're in it to win it. Or die trying, but that's the business of survivors, isn't it?