Oh man there is a lot to cover here Mr. Journal. We’ve been super busy and there’s a lot changing here.
The big news I’ll share is that Caleb is still alive, and it appears he will make a full recovery with little to no long term disability. He’ll be down for the count for a week or two while his leg heals up, but after some stiffness, he’ll be fine. Having said that…
Mike went back to MGR on the 17th with Patty. He took replacement food and water and left in the Prius. It’s fairly nondescript in this neck of the woods, and with the whole ability to run silent it’s a nice little ace up our collective sleeves. It also means we don’t have to store excess fuel at MGR for a normal vehicle. If Mike keeps the speed low, theoretically the Prius will consume next to no fuel. Of course if it breaks, it’s broken. We’ve no idea how to fix one.
Mike waxed on that the warehouse operation went more or less flawlessly, even in the light of my brother getting shot, but that was a variable we had no ability to control, or really foresee. Shit happens in combat I guess. My brother will be the first person to step up and accept that fact. Not the first time he’s been shot at.
That same day we got Sophie Becca and Adam fully settled into the third floor of Hall E. As I’ve said, Hall E is strictly reserved for people I trust implicitly, and my family clearly falls into that category. I don’t want my flesh and blood putting head to pillow anywhere on this campus while our arsonist murderer is still potentially moving about. Granted, that asshole could just torch the building, but we’ve got fire extinguishers everywhere, and the buildings are made to last in a fire. Yay private school attention to detail and huge donations from rich parents.
One factor that does worry me is the idea that I am playing favorites. Hall E is the Cadillac of dorms here. The most amount of food, power, hot water, electricity, and it’s where the most weapons are kept. In the event campus is overrun again, Hall E is the most fortified, and most likely to survive the assault. Constantly stocking it with people of my own specific choosing does look an awful lot like I’m playing favorites. I guess I just need to hope folks understand.
Other than getting the family settled into Hall E the entirety of campus took the day off. Everyone was really beat up over the Warehouse work, and frankly, we’re lucky no one died in the heat, never mind being bitten by zombies, or shot by the Outsiders. I know a few folks were right at the point of heat exhaustion multiple times, and everyone was just dead to the world today. Here’s an interesting factoid: with no bananas or kiwis, where do we get a lot of potassium to help prevent muscle cramps? I need to research what food provide lots of potassium. We had a lot of light farm work that day, and a lot of sitting around while the rain came down. Lucky for us, the rain has broken the humidity, making the weather a shitload more tolerable.
Yesterday I spent time with Becca and Sophie. Adam started to meet the other kids here on campus, and while he played with them, meeting the kids and their parents or babysitters, we went over their story.
Super short version of their year was this: it fucking blew. Lots of close encounters in the east suburbs of the city plus a general void of good void and beverages. I guess some of the other local survivors were getting more and more violent as time went on, which might explain the presence and audacity of the Outsiders. Supplies are running low everywhere. Luckily they were able to find and gather enough water to stay hydrated, but they are still very thin. The girls said they lived on squirrels and chipmunks for a long ass time, but last winter was a real beast. I’m so glad they made it.
LaFrenz told them I had a huge place where others were surviving. He called it Bastion. I like that name. I think it’s a little silly to call ALPA something so dramatic, but I’ve heard a few of the Westfield folks drop the word when they think they’re outside my presence, and the arrogant prick inside me really likes that name. Maybe this is the Last Bastion. Humanity’s last, best chance at weathering this storm.
I’m not going to stop saying ALPA. But I won’t fight it if I hear folks call it Bastion. Sometimes it’s more important to go with something because the idea represents more than the reality. If the people here living with me, under my fragile umbrella of protection really think this is the Last Bastion for humanity to survive, then so be it. If they think they are safe, and are willing to put the work in to make sure they are all safe together, then they can call this place the Grand Poobah Temple of Holy Hamster Curry for all I care.
If the name makes them feel better, then it’s Bastion.
The two girls were surrounded and attacked in a minivan by two undead. The van had just died, and Caleb left to find them new wheels to continue the trip here. The wagon they stole rolled up just about then, and the two men inside took the zombies down and told the girls they were going to be taken back to a factory, put to work, and forced to have sex for food and water, as I understand it. Just when one of them was about to break a window, Caleb returned, and peeled their caps back with his .45, which is a handgun I’ve shot myself a few times. Huzzah for Marine marksmanship. Once they were down, they switched into the wagon.
They noticed the blocked road, and thought it was shady as well, and they turned onto the side street that the warehouse was on. When they heard us engaging foot mobile undead from around the corner, they decided it’d be a bad idea to drive into us, and that’s when Becca came on foot, and Abby saw her. The rest you already know.
I’m so glad they’re here. Later that night I introduced the girls and Adam officially to everyone at a huge spaghetti feast in the cafeteria. Everyone said hi, had fun, and ate like pigs. The girls and Adam were floored at the amount of food we had. Fresh veggies, pasta, juice, and even soda on hand? It was funny watching them eat. At first like birds, trying to save it for later, and finally once encouraged they went right at it, eating their full. It was very satisfying watching my nephew eat. He was a monster, but a skinny one that really wanted to stuff forks of pasta into his face.
Watching Sophie and Becca try and keep the red sauce off his face made me get up and walk away. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I sat in the handicap stall in the bathroom with my eyes emptying for nearly ten minutes before I could return. I just couldn’t handle it. I was so happy, and scared, and god I don’t even know. Sophie looked up at me when I returned and she knew. My eyes must’ve been all puffy and red. The eyes of a guilty crier. She smiled, and didn’t say anything.
Caleb woke up after dinner. Doc Lindsey took his meds down enough for him to wake up for a bit. He wasn’t entirely aware of what was going on, but he recognized everyone, said hello, asked how everything went, asked how bad off he was, and then went back to sleep. It was nice to actually talk to him for a smidge, even though he wasn’t all that coherent.
Mallory through all this was weird. She’s sort of pushed off to the fringe as I focus almost entirely on my family. I was up late each of the last few nights talking to them, and as a result, she’s going to bed alone, and not getting any. Sex, or attention for that matter. I feel bad, but this is my family, and I’ve missed them sorely. I just hope she understands, and uses this time to do her own thing, or be productive, or whatever.
Today the rain broke, and the heat stayed away as well. It was an idyllic late summer day. Maybe 80, no humidity. Because everyone took the past two days off, they were ready to roll on the wall. We broke up into work crews like before and now that the back gate has been designed, that got built. I can’t quite describe it with any justice, but the basic idea is a two gate design with a dead zone in the center. We can open the outer gate, let folks into the courtyard area, shut the outer gate, and then open the inner at our leisure.
The courtyard area was designed to be the size of the HRT so it could be drive out the back if needed. Granted the forest and the stream is right there, so driving out that way until a road is made is not really an option at the moment, but later on down the line, the gate is prepared to handle it.
Today we made the majority of that gate, and it rocks. Its walls are berm and log, like the rest of our construction, but we’ve got platforms on the sides so we can shoot down into the area easily. The outer and inner doors are made of half logs reinforced with logs and steel bands Martin and Blake made. He also made the massive hinges, and the huge locks that can be opened and closed from the top of the berm, or from ground level. Pretty slick all in all.
All of this work has raised two concerns. Well, three concerns if you want to split hairs.
We need more scrap steel and iron for Martin. His welding ability has been a huge asset for us, but the need for it has destroyed our supply of raw materials for him. We need to send some teams out the next few days to recover the solar panels we found on roofs, and to gather steel and iron and whatever he needs. He also needs some more supplies of other natures, but he said he knows where they are, and with a small team and a truck or two, he can recover them easily.
Second issue is that Ollie is tweaking over food again. Being +4 mouths set a fire under his ass and he’s worried that the extra strain on our crops will be bad. Of course he isn’t turning anyone away, and I’m not asking anyone to go. Especially now that we have all of Gilbert’s food. What he really wanted to say to me was issue #3, which is that we still haven’t gotten the hydroponics shit up and running to anyone’s satisfaction, and that in our overwhelming desire to get all the food out of the fucking warehouse, we entirely overlooked checking in on the plumbing supply store.
I can’t believe we bricked that. HUGE oversight on everyone’s part. Now we need to go back, and that means going close to the Outsider area. I can’t imagine these motherfuckers want to tangle with us anymore. Every single time we’ve encountered them they have come out as the losers in very one sided exchanges of gunfire. We have superior numbers, equipment, and skill, and if they haven’t figured that out by now… They really are a bunch of inbred dipshits.
That doesn’t mean our encounters with them aren’t costly. I need to take one look at my brother in Doc Lindsey’s infirmary to see how close we were to calling that exchange a draw. A quarter inch to the right and my brother bleeds out in front of me in the fucking street that day. Holy shit. I can’t even imagine how badly I’d have lost my mind. I’d have taken that fucking humvee right then and there and gone after that fucking wagon and murdered every last soul I saw who got in my way.
Hell has nothing on my fury.
Sigh. I’m such a dramatic bitch.
Caleb was awake and in bed when we wrapped up and I spent all the evening talking to him. It’s crazy to talk to him after everything. Ring men don’t cry in front of each other, it isn’t our way. We’re too macho, too military, and that’d be just too damn weak. Tonight, we cried. It was the first time I’ve ever seen Caleb cry, and to watch his tears stream down his face as he held Adam made me realize just how much I miss everything that was.
I miss the safety, I miss the security, I miss the convenience, and I miss the normalcy of the world that was. I want so badly for things to be normal again, but I know that’s not happening. The best I can hope for is to live as long as I can, make the best life that I can, and try to enjoy the company of my family friends, and lover. I guess that’s not that much different than the life I should’ve been leading before the world came apart.
Anyway, Caleb is good. He’s sore like I said, and Doc Lindsey is keeping him bedridden for an extra couple days to make sure he doesn’t accidentally tear that artery at all. Now that it’s mended well, there’s little sense in rushing it and risking him ripping it at all, and bleeding out. Wouldn’t that be a bitch.
I should also mention that I have said a million thank you’s to Doc Lindsey. She did some on the fucking spot medical treatment for Caleb, and if it wasn’t for her, there’s a good chance I’d be a brother short today. I am suddenly filled with confidence in her medical skills compared to before. She’s much further along and capable than I gave her credit for. We just need to get her training more folks so we’re not making do with a single medical professional here. I vaguely remember from an old conversation that Lisa had been training another person too, but I don’t recall who that was. I don’t even know if they survived the fire. If so, then we really need them to get their ass in gear and get working on learning more.
Oh yeah. I forgot. Wow, I can’t believe I forgot.
Caleb had dreams while he was sedated, which I guess is unusual. Apparently the drugs can shut off or hinder dreams. Caleb dreamt of my mother and father, but not of The White Room. I’m glad for that. If he had a White Room dream I’d be really worried.
As it is, he still dreamt of our parents, and I guess in the dream they told him that I would need his help once he was healed up, and that he would be okay and so would his family. The dream was auspicious enough that he made sure to tell me, and from the look on his face, he knew something weird was up. At that point Sophie said LaFrenz had told them about how I was “connected” to a greater power or something, and that she was “really curious” what that meant.
Her skepticism was… really powerful.
I dodged it as best I could. I didn’t want to have that conversation right at that moment. It was too much for me to explain, and I didn’t want to come across as a crazy person. Well, crazier than they already knew I was. It’s hard to say I didn’t want to come across as a crazy person when I go everywhere with an assault rifle, and 10mm handgun sporting a Mohawk and tattoos all over the place. I am the definition of sketchy from a distance.
I told them now wasn’t the time, and that we could revisit the conversation at a later date. That seemed to work. Sophie looked at me with a really odd expression. Almost like… respect. I can’t quite place it. My gut tells me she knows more than she was letting on earlier tonight, and that wouldn’t surprise me. She was always the observant type, always one step ahead of everyone. I’m glad she married my brother. He needed someone like that to make sure he stayed on the straight and narrow. I just hope I’m right and she’s not ready to tie me to a post and set it on fire.
I’m not sure what exactly to do next. I want us to take tomorrow and finish the wall. If we put extra effort in, we can wrap it up tomorrow or the next day. The gate really took up a lot of real estate, and with that in place, I think we have maybe a hundred feet left to do. I mean there will be finishing touches to be done for months, but with that last length completed, we will have 360 degree surface protection.
As far as outside the wall stuff goes, we can send Martin out to get his supplies with some warm armed bodies for support at any time. If he does that though, I want him to take the time to remove the solar panels from the houses that we recon’d the other week, or whenever the fuck that was. The big thing we need to achieve right now though is the run back to plumbing supply store to get all the hydroponics supplies back here. It’s silly how badly behind the eight ball we are on that project. These guys have been here how long now and we still haven’t addressed the issue?
Poor Ryan being overlooked constantly. He must be developing a complex at this point.
I think we’re going to let Martin do his thing here the next few days while we get the wall done. He can do the solar panels, the welding resupply, and tomorrow MGR needs a resupply run as well. Maybe on the 21st or 22nd we’ll head back to the Warehouse. Now that we’ve been there, I’m a lot more confident in us returning and getting the plumbing store operation done. We’ve been to the territory, cleared it pretty well of undead, and sent a strong message to the Outsiders that if they cross us, they will bleed.
Another full sized run on the 22nd would be pretty nice all things considered. Get the plumbing gear, get the fuck back, and get Ryan’s hydro operation kicked into gear.
I’m headed to bed. Tired as fuck.