January 24, 2015: Pete & Repeat
Pete and I spent about half an hour catching up until my relief showed up the other day. After Miriam took over for me in the blind, and I introduced the two of them, Pete described the location of his farm and we agreed to meet the following day, yesterday, at a location roughly half-way between our two farms.
Based on Pete’s description of his group, it sounded as if it was a little larger than ours with an average age perhaps fifteen or twenty years younger. For the most part, it was Pete, his wife, their kids and grandkids. Strange to think that a guy a day younger than me was already a grandfather. I guess I got a late start.
Pete and Theresa, his wife, had five kids. Both came from fairly large families – Pete with four siblings and Theresa with five – and loved every minute of having lots of brothers and sisters around. They took the “be fruitful and multiply” command to heart.
Pete’s oldest is 25 – a boy named Tate (pronouced tah-tay), which means “wind” in the Sioux language. Pete wanted to honor his Sioux heritage when he named his kids even if his name and his wife’s were about as plain vanilla as you could get. All of the children have Sioux names.
In addition to Tate, Pete has three daughters and another son. The first two daughters’ names are Peta (pronounced pay-tah), wich means “fire”, Mini (pronounced mee-nee), which means “water”. The second son is named Maka (prounounced mah-kah), which means “earth”. Apparently, the youngest daughter was a bit of a surprise as she is only twelve – seven years younger than her closest sibling – and is not named for one of the four elements. Her name is Iktomi, which is the Sioux name for a trickster spirit. She goes by Tomi (pronounced toh-mee). According to Pete, she lives up to her namesake – quite the little trickster.
The two older daughters are married, as is Tate. Tate and Peta each have two children. The children, their spouses and their kids all live with Pete and Theresa in their big farm house. By my count, that made a total of eight adults and five children in Pete’s group.
After he graduated from college, Pete was kind of trying to find himself, as he described it, and ended up digging into his Lakota roots. Theresa was an anthropologist working on a dissertation about the Lakotas. It was a match made in heaven – or the Lakota Sioux equivalent.
While Pete’s family hadn’t done much in the way of preparation for any sort of global collapse, Pete had pretty much lived off the land since he sold his feed and seed business about ten years ago. The adult children had all settled in the area and had been able to make it back to Pete’s farm before things really got bad.
They’d all survived in relative comfort heating their big farm house with wood, hunting and butchering stock and eating vegetables canned from their garden. They lacked a few of the creature comforts that we had, with our PV systems but nothing material.
The one important thing that they lack, in my opinion, is firearms. Pete, in his “get back to my Lakota roots” mindset, mainly hunted with a bow that he had made himself. He and his boys all had lever-action rifles with open sights but that was about it for guns. They didn’t even own a single shotgun. Pete had been trapping pheasants for food for years and never saw the need for a shotgun. Trapping upland game birds was illegal before the crash, but Pete hadn’t really taken note.
Yesterday, as I approached our designated meeting place, I saw that Pete was already in place and had a small fire going. I walked up and greeted Pete. We shook hands and squatted down next to the fire.
When I questioned Pete about ranging as far from his farm as he had the other day, he sighed.
“From what I can tell,” Pete began, “there’s trouble brewing. I’ve been trying to scout it out before it comes knocking on my door.”
I nodded, “That’s why we have the remote observation post set up where you found me. We ran into some nasty stuff at that place.”
Pete didn’t look surprised, “Probably one of several outposts.”
It made sense. The Gunters weren’t a good enough target to trail that many people behind them without some other reason. Perhaps fewer farms than I initially suspected have been abandoned. We may well be smack-dab in the middle of an area relatively rich in resources and survivors.
The prospect warmed me as Pete and I sat next to our fire in a stand of trees about two and a half miles northwest of my place.
We haven’t had any more snow in the last few days but the temps have dropped considerably. I don’t think we’ve been above single-digits since the blizzard left us in its wake.
“What about other families?” I asked.
Pete fed a stick into the fire, stoking it a bit, “There are a handful around. Most of them have fewer people than we do.”
“Any idea on how well-armed or stocked they are?” I inquired.
“Not really,” Pete admitted. “We haven’t had much contact with anyone since winter set in.”
“How about any other outposts?” I was trying to formulate a plan.
“I think there’s a couple more in this part of the county,” Pete was picking up on what I was thinking. “You think we should get rid of them?”
“Absolutely,” I nodded, chewing on my lower lip. “I’m trying to get my head around what, exactly, is going on. We found military-grade communications equipment at the abandoned place to the north.”
Pete huddled a little closer to the fire as the wind whistled through the trees.
“I was able to question one of the inhabitants of the deserted farm,” I volunteered. “She gave me some basics but died before I could get into much detail.”
Pete squinted at me across the fire. I could tell he was trying to figure out whether Marta had died while I was questioning her or for some other reason.
“I know what you’re thinking, Pete,” I said. “I didn’t hurt her at all during questioning. She attacked me inside the house. I’m pretty sure the injuries she sustained during that scuffle were what eventually led to her death.”
Pete was still squinting at me. I think he was trying to read my mind with some Lakota mind trick.
“You know, David, there’ve been some pretty wild stories about you over the years,” Pete was still trying the Lakota mind trick.
“I had some pretty wild years,” I admitted.
“You ever kill anyone?” Pete was deciding whether it was wise to work with me, I guess.
“I killed six people at that abandoned farm house the other day,” I wasn’t telling him anything he, most likely, didn’t already know. “After what they did to those two girls and that baby, I wish I could have done it much more up close and personal.”
“You have the Warrior Spirit,” Pete decided. “Disrespect makes the Warrior Spirit restless.”
“I guess you could say that,” I concurred. “What those … animals did to those two girls and that baby goes way beyond disrespect, though.”
“I agree.” Pete stood up.
I stayed put, “Are you with me if I decide to take out those outposts?”
“My sons and I will fight by your side,” Pete said.
“We need a plan,” I was starting to formulate one in my mind, but I knew Pete would have some valuable input.
“Let me talk to my boys,” Pete replied. “Let’s meet a mile north of here in two more days.”
I agreed. We smothered the fire, said our goodbyes and made our way back to our respective farms.
I’m really glad that Pete came across my path. I have a feeling we’ll be needing each other in the not-too-distant future.
Today, we had another family meeting. It reminded me a lot of the one a few days ago. Most of my family still doesn’t know what to think about a number of the things I’ve done recently. We broke the ice a little bit the other day but it seems like my behavior is still weighing on their minds. I’m still a pariah.
At the meeting, I debriefed everyone on Pete and his family. We also discussed a few aspects of a potential plan to clear any other drug gang outposts in our area. We don’t have much intelligence so our plans are very preliminary at this point.
In my mind, Pete knows this area as well as anyone. Terry is probably a close second. They’ve both spent several years living in this area and both have spent virtually all of those years hunting which teaches you a lot about the land.
Knowledge of the area of operations is key to tactical advantage. At this point, we’re operating under the assumption that the gang bangers are unfamiliar with the territory. Assumptions can be deadly, though. It’s entirely possible that some of them were living and working in this area before the crash. That would give them some knowledge of the area and its terrain.
Pete and I will meet again in a couple days and start fleshing out the details of our reconnaissance. Once the recon is done, we’ll have a better idea of how to proceed. We’ll, hopefully, know whether or not there are other outposts in the area and how we might go about closing them down.
One thing I almost forgot … we probably don’t have long before Hernandez’s scouting party shows up to investigate why the first outpost isn’t communicating with them.
Pete’s right. Trouble is brewing.