While I wait for Jess to come back, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the means we'll be using to set up our new home. It's funny, because so many of the ideas we used building Haven at the very beginning were my ideas. Some of them worked--enough to keep us alive, obviously--and others failed miserably. The larger point being, it has been a long time since I've had to think small. I've been working on large scales for years now, and it's a fun exercise to sort of start over with all the experience and understanding (I'll decline to call it wisdom here) we've gained since The Fall began.
The basic things are fascinating to look at now, all this time later. Jess is setting us up with a rabbit warren to provide regular meat. I'm not a fan of eating the whole animal, but with them being such a constant supply of meat, even in winter, there isn't much choice. Not that the area we're moving to doesn't have game to hunt, but that's always an iffy proposition. We'll have potatoes galore since we can grow literal tons of them in a very small area, as well as other veggies.
The place will have a fence heavy--should have already, actually--heavy enough to repel zombie incursions of at least moderate size. K and Kincaid are managing that part, using what we know to fabricate a defense as efficient as it can be.
Judging by the activity around here, that's going to be important. As the season passes, we're seeing less and less old school zombies mixed in with the swarms. We've known for a while that the overall population of the undead appears to be declining, which makes sense. We've been killing them off for years, and there is only so much food easily available. Add that to the New Breed eating the old school zombies when food is scarce, and it makes perfect sense.
But while the larger scale indicated the numbers are dropping, it's a relative data set. There are still untold swarms of them out there, and the percentage of New Breed among them is growing. Smarter, stronger, faster, more difficult to kill. We've grown used to fighting the New Breed, using our advantages to their fullest. We tend to put the undead in situations where their cleverness and mutation-driven improvements mean little or nothing.
That said, we're seeing them in larger and larger concentrations, and that's bad. The New Breed are going to become a larger problem very quickly. And while our new home is in an area with extremely low population density--virtually empty, now--there exists every possibility we'll see an influx of zombies at some point. It's not chance; we're certain the undead use smell to track prey, much stronger than our own senses. They've proven time and again they'll follow the trail of people for hundreds of miles. All it will take is one band cutting across our path, and we're in for fights.
Which circles back around to the work we're having to do. It's going to be Haven in miniature. I watched a group of archers slide along an undamaged section of wall this morning, firing at a small group of New Breed smart enough to escape detection. Most of the exterior traps and defensive measures are depleted and broken from the war, leaving our people dependent on manpower for defense. Haven is big, requiring our folks to move place to place. One good thing about our smaller compound will be how much less of it there is. A good thing considering the smaller group of people living there.
All told it should work out. We'll have electricity on the regular thanks to North Jackson gifting us with the necessary equipment for generation and storage. Our sister community has been rebuilding for a long time, but it shows a lot of heart that they'd be willing to help us even though their own home is still damaged.
I can't stop thinking about the potatoes, you know? It's such a simple thing, just a little brown-skinned tuber sitting in the dirt, but without it all the other stuff would be impossible. We're human beings, right? We've rebuilt some technologies, survived the worst, fight the dead, plan for the future. None of which could happen without the humble little spuds growing even now in the ground of our new home.