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.

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