A landslide is a cataclysmic moment in time that changes the topography of an area instantly and for all practical purposes, forever. A point of fracture, earth trembles and shifts, and suddenly the situation is totally different. Things are in a new configuration. Sometimes that's a good thing, though usually it's not.
Kincaid isn't apologizing for hitting the switch and blowing up the explosives. He doesn't seem to feel a bit of remorse that hundreds of tons of stone rolled down on those people, nor concerned about the consequences that come along. I spend most of yesterday waiting for the flood of outrage to hit us, mostly from the UAS citizens that communicate with us and read the blog but also from our own folks.
Feedback has been thin the last week or so. The tense situation seems to have put most people into a breathless state, not wanting to so much as hit us with an errant leaf in fear of throwing things out of whack. Imagine my surprise to discover that a great many people in the UAS had no idea people were being tortured. Seems my honesty about how Haven and the Union function has been fuel for the fire in UAS propaganda. I say an honest thing, point out a hard decision and explain that we weren't happy to make it, but the UAS leadership just highlights the cruelty in our actions. Never the regret or necessity.
Which had an interesting effect: people in the UAS thought we were monsters to one degree or another (which makes sense given the constant effort to compare us with zombies) but they also began to trust that though it would be brutal honesty, we--I--would give them the truth. Trusted enemies, you might say.
So when the word went out that someone was being tortured by their people, an activity the leadership assured them was only something savages in the Union would partake in, their citizens got angry. Very angry. There's a wave of people questioning the things they're hearing. We might try to kill them, but at least the Union and I won't lie about our motives. Every time we've made a promise we've kept it, right up until Kincaid blew that wall of rock.
Details are sketchy about the blast itself, though I've heard a few things from third and fourth hand sources. People evacuated as soon as we took Patrick away. Casualties were probably low.
I'm not happy about Kincaid breaking trust but after talking to him about it I understand why he did it. No matter how much I talk about survival by whatever means necessary, Kincaid is truly the only person I know who understands that concept. I still hope for some kind of honorable behavior. He sees more clearly than I that this is a war. No playing nice by rules. The UAS only treated with us in this case because we managed to suss out one of their weapons depots, basically unguarded so as not to draw attention to it. We held a sword over their heads and they even risked the lives of their people by coming after us. They broke trust first. We'd have been justified in hitting the switch then.
What Kincaid did wasn't right, but it was smart. He gave the people time to run and showed the enemy that we're unpredictable and unafraid to take risks. With a simple gesture of his hand the man taught our enemy not to test our resolve. It bothers me, but I see the wisdom in it.
We're still on the road right now. Camped at the moment and letting Patrick's injuries have a break from the brutal jouncing they get when we're underway. That truck isn't the smoothest ride in the world. We're far away from any occupied areas and major arteries of travel. There don't seem to be any zombies about, though that will change soon enough when we cut back toward the highways and head home on a more direct route.
No undead out here and no signs that the world ended either. The big old farmhouse we're parked in front of is faded and drafty, but it looks like it has been that way for decades. Not run-down at all. Just lived in and comfortable. The kind of place you can sit on the porch and drink summer tea while the kids play in the yard with your pack of dogs. It's nice here. Peaceful. No hungry corpses snapping at our flesh. No politics or war or enemies. Just the land and the sky with us in between. I long for a life so idyllic.
Back home again soon, and into the maelstrom.