I'm writing this from Spring Meadows. Spring Meadows is the gated community that we'd been eyeing for some time, and visited yesterday. As you can clearly tell, I'm still alive, and I am happy to report that we met some survivors that didn't shoot us.
I'm not sure quite how we made it all the way to this phase of the planning without having the realization that there could be people living in the community, much like we ourselves wanted to. Silly in retrospect that none of us even considered the possibility that someone else was using the area already.
When we arrived at Spring Meadows yesterday morning we knew immediately there were probably survivors inside the walls. Spring Meadows is large, 18 houses large, all on about 2 acres each. It's a central road leading into three cul de sacs arranged like a cross. Six houses on the straight road in, then four houses arranged on the circles at the end of the three roads. Surrounding all of this luscious property is an eight foot tall, two foot thick concrete wall covered in red bricks and ivy, and topped with ornamental wrought iron spikes. Looks classy from a distance, but it means fucking business.
The main gate to the community is also wrought iron looking, but is actually very sturdy steel with a coating to age it with a neat looking patina. Just outside the gate is a guard house with the controls to open the gate. When we arrived the controls were inoperative, but the gate opened with little fuss. Especially when we asked the locals and talked to them. Insert smiley face for avoiding violence.
Our first huge tip off to survivors was the number of dead bodies arrayed right at the gate. Not undead bodies mind you, actually dead bodies. I'd guess at twenty or thirty, all close enough to have been killed with melee weapons from through the gate. It told us someone inside had killed undead outside, and likely fairly frequently, and recently based on the condition of the corpses.
So with our team in the front of the gate like that with likely survivors, we formulated a new plan: try and talk to the people.
I mean talking has gone so well for us in the past right?
I got on the HRTs loudspeaker and let out a quick holler, announcing our peaceful presence at the gate, and asking if anyone on the inside would be willing to talk to us via radio, or in person if possible.
As you'd suspect, we received no reply for several minutes. Long enough for them to gather their weapons, and get themselves into shooting positions at the two closest houses. Ethan was with us, and through his scope he had their two shooters eyeballed long before they were ready to fire on us. Finally, after sending my second message out, a tall man and woman came down the straight portion of the road towards us. I was going to go out to greet them but Kevin told me to toss his salad, and he went out instead. The Warden takes his job seriously, despite his clever use of the English language.
The couple were tall as I said, and blonde. They looked Nordic. Swedish or Norwegian or something. Hawkish features, long arms and legs, and very clean. They looked like theyd managed to get all this way after the end of the world without missing a single shower. Both of them had a blade and a pistol on their belts. Pretty folk, especially considering the state of the world. They had slate like faces until they got to about forty yards away. Once they saw the humvee, the deuce, and the military issue hardware all over us, their expressions changed immediately. They had confidence before, but after that moment, you could feel their unease. I knew immediately that these people were used to being safe, and having the upper hand. Now they looked like they felt the opposite might be the case with us.
Kevin had his throat mic turned to on, and we could kind of hear them, but the sound was utter garbage. The man spoke first. He introduced himself as Anders, and the woman as Agnes. They politely explained that the Spring Meadow area was their area, under their control, and they were unable to share any of their dwindling supplies, and that they had ample ability to protect themselves should we object with them. After about that I had enough and walked up to talk with the two of them. Ethan shat an acorn on the spot and thumbed his safety to off. If either of their shooters did anything funny, they'd be dead.
I said hello, and introduced myself. They saw the Mohawk and instantly thought less of me. I feel very Road Warrior esque when I meet people. They don't see the fun and humor in having a Mohawk. They only think likely violent and or flesh eating moron who is immature. I might need to rethink this haircut if we keep meeting people.
I told them plain and simple that we were from a settlement outside of the city, and we were making runs for supplies into the city, and we saw their community, and thought it would be absolutely perfect as a secondary place to reinforce. Walled, gated, large houses well spaced, and lots of lawn and garden areas that could grow a lot of food. I essentially framed my talk about how it was awesome that they had already secured the place, how happy we were for them, and how much of a shame it was for us that they were already there.
Agnes and Anders both agreed with me on all counts, and were civil and pleasant. After asking a few questions about us and our and various locations, they became far more comfortable, and started to ask us about how we able to go into the city. I told them we had military men on our side, and fuel still, as well as ammunition and whatnot. Without sounding threatening, I made it clear that we were armed, able, and willing to do whatever it was that needed to be done to stay alive, and help others around us stay alive.
That's when they opened the gate, and invited us in. Three of us went inside and headed for the first house to get out of the street. Just about at the same time a few undead had managed to catch up with us, and they needed to be dispatched by one of us with a halligan. It made a lot of sense for us to all move inside the gate, so we did.
Inside the first house Kevin and I sat down with the two who'd met us, as well as a few others. Three more adults, all armed with sidearms, though not holstered, as well as two younger teenagers. They looked hungry, and a little cold, but they also looked hardened. Like survivors. Like people who'd been through it and were still kicking. I had respect for these people right from the jump.
There are four families left in the neighborhood. Agnes and Anders are the Jessen family. They have two kids, a 13 year old boy, and a 14 year old girl. Other families include the Winthrops (mom and dad plus two kids and an uncle), the Cartwrights(mom and dad plus two kids), the Whites (mom plus two kids), and the Littrell family (mom and dad plus four teenage kids). Thats a grand total headcount of 22 souls. Most of which are less than 18 years of age.
Luckily, the youngest of the kids is just 10, so even the littlest of them is still somewhat productive.
An hour turned into two, two turned into four, and before you know it, they're sharing some of their small amounts of freshly made beer with us, and were sharing some of our fresh food with them. It was really pleasant. We had brought enough food for days with us, so as a gesture, we gave them lunch out of our stocks. We ate chicken salad made with Melissa's new homemade mayo, and some potato salad, also made with the mayo. These people absolutely, positively devoured our food. I don't want to say they were starving, but I think they hadn't had chicken in a very long time.
After the food and the stomach aches from eating all that food, we asked them about their situation. The four families still here have been here since that day. They happened to be home that day for whatever reason, so they didn't get caught up in the bullshit in the city. They also managed to miss the bombings late in the summer of 2010. (which apparently were enormous and loud. From the sounds of it, there were several runs late in the summer on the city, and based on their descriptions of the noise of the bombs, it was probably a huge drop of cluster munitions. They're pretty unique when they go off.)
Anyhoo, they knew shit was bad, so they got some chains from their sheds, chained the gates shut early on, parked their Escalades and Expeditions against the gate to prevent ramming, and hunkered down. Lucky for them many of the nice homes in the community already had large organic hobby gardens in the back. They had a ripe harvest that first fall, and with careful rationing, they made it through to last spring. They expanded their gardens over the year, and now they're essentially vegetarians, and self sufficient. Miraculously, they have been able to save rainwater and snow for hydration up to this point. Of course it's been really dry the last week or two, so they're starting to redline a bit.
I wonder how you make a pond?
They have had to fend off several groups over the last year and a half. Many more than us, but with such an excellent wall and gate, as well as multiple firearms theyve managed to do well for themselves.
They were still jealous of our chicken, and I think that was the straw that broke the camels back for them. As we were winding down into the early evening they made the offer for us to stay in the house inside the community to talk more with them. They needed some technical help fixing things the next day, and we didnt want to drive back in the dark unless necessary, and frankly, having the bulk of today to spread our people out and bullshit with them was super helpful in coming to the agreement we just came to with them.
They want to join our network of friends.
Essentially they wish to become like the Factory is to Bastion. A linked separate settlement that can offer assistance both ways when needed. Safety in numbers and all that jazz. Plus, they've got a solid ten or twelve acres of land that we could easily transform into farmland for them when winter is over. God forbid we have more crops growing, right?
We told them we were preparing to mount a large mission into the city within a week or two, and that wed love be able to use Spring Meadows as a launching point to help us with timing the operation. We didnt say what the mission was for, but they were more than willing to assist us.
We're still here tonight, socializing and whatnot. These are nice people. People that had money before the end of the world, but that worked for it. New money people. Workers. Not trust fund assholes. They're still here because they busted ass, and made good decisions that day and every day since.
It'll be a pleasure slowly bringing them into our fold. If tomorrow goes well, well leave them with one of our walkies. Not our military comms, but just a walkie. We cant quite reach Bastion from here, but we can contact the Factory, and the Factory can contact us at Bastion. Better than nothing, and it'll give them some much needed reassurance.
They aren't alone anymore.
Yesterday while we were moving here a second team of our people moved into the western edge of the city to the parking garages to scout them. Contact was very heavy, and they were forced to stop and engage over a hundred targets on the way in and out. Fortunately they brought a SAW in the turret, and that was the ultimate equalizer. I'm not too happy about the timing on the noise, but I can't complain.
Mike and Patty (who were in charge of that run with Blake and Quan) said the garage is perfect for the idea we have. It's only four floors, which means easy in and out for us, but also enough floors to cause some serious fucking damage when that Semtex goes boom. Quan said it'd take him maybe six hours to get the loads in, and he might be able to shave that time down with some assistance on drilling, and some really special prep ahead of time.
We return home tomorrow.