The rogue UAS chasing us tried to run there at the end. It did them no good.
K and Jess took the last four of them this morning. It wasn't much of a fight; the last little handful of them camped out a final night, probably deciding whether we were worth dying for. That was their downfall. Some men learn lessons the hardest way possible while others never learn them at all. Had those UAS deserters just gone on their way and left us, they'd still be alive. Mercy isn't beyond most of us, especially not the three survivors in our vehicles, but taking stupid risks is something none of us are inclined toward.
It wasn't even that hard. Those men weren't without skill or determination. They did manage to follow us for a long stretch without being seen. We might have missed them for much longer had one of them held his twitchy trigger finger. They probably even had some good combat ability, but the critical factor against them seems to have been their lack of experience fighting a different kind of war. From their perspective this was a fight against men (and women) and nothing more. The rest of us have battled a war against the world itself for years.
That sounds dramatic and I suppose it is, but it also happens to be the truth. The dead soldiers lit a fire rather than cold camp, which given the time of year was a curious and stupid idea. It ruined their night vision and made them easy to track. They were armed and armored. If we'd have faced them head on there is no doubt in my mind the three of us would be dead ten times over. It seemed as though they expected us to do that. No. No, thank you. Why come at an enemy with every advantage over you head on? I'd much rather move sideways and catch them off guard.
K did that. He and Jess took those last four down almost as an afterthought. The result of our victory is a new vehicle loaded with extra fuel, being driven by K, and all the weapons, armor, ammo and other gear those dead men carried. It's a nice chunk of material which will be spread among the folks joining our community. I expect we'll be the best-prepared small community within a thousand miles. Strange to think of it that way, you know? The end of the world wasn't even a handful of years back and folks are already moving out and homesteading new areas.
Now we're nearly home, only stopping about an hour away to make absolutely certain there are no living people keeping an eye on us. That the dead will follow is a foregone conclusion, we already know that's going to happen if it hasn't already. We can't risk knowledge of our location being spread around. Even our friends and allies don't know where our new compound is located. No one who doesn't live there knows. We'll be doing all our trade by sending out people. It's going to be expensive since the small quantities of gasoline being refined will eat up a large chunk of what we trade for, but it's necessary.
We're shooting to do something better here, something big and unique. I can't give details, but I hope to see results not long from now, even if those results are just a better formula for survivor communities, a design and method to be repeated elsewhere. That's not all we've got planned, not by miles, but as a minimum accomplishment I'd be happy with that as a result.
I see Jess coming back from her recon. I imagine that means we're clear to move. In an hour or so I'll be at my new home, hopefully the last new home I'll ever have, and we can begin working on ways to make this a better world. It's something I'd have loved to do ages ago. Without the pressure and business of being out there in the thick of the new world's growing pains, I think we have a shot at making it happen this time around.