April 28, 2015: Gone with the Storms
She and I had a talk about her behavior yesterday morning. I brought up the subject of her head injury. That set her off like a firecracker.
By noon she had packed her go-bag, asked for the oldest of our horses and set out in a southerly direction. There was no dissuading her. She was convinced that it was time to part ways … for a number of reasons … and only asked for her weapons, some additional ammunition, the horse, some food, water and a few other survival supplies.
It was the least we could do.
I argued with her for a few minutes and then realized two things. First, she had made her decision to leave. It was set in stone. Second, she was probably right. Whether any of us, including Ariela, wanted to say it out loud or not … her behavior had become more erratic over the last few weeks. She said that her memory had started to fade as well. Instead of recalling more about her past each day, she had reached a point where mid-term memories became less and less distinct. She could remember her childhood. She could remember what happened yesterday, but she could no longer clearly recall Marine Basic … or some of her other military training.
That might explain a few things.
Everyone has been down in the dumps. Ariela was like a member of our family. No, strike that. She was a member of our family. Interestingly, D.J. seems especially affected. I suspect he had a little bit of a crush on Ariela. They spent quite a bit of time together working on various projects. They worked with Pete to make mortars, flash-bangs and shrapnel grenades. Pete helped them with the mix for the explosives, but the two of them did the rest of it on their own.
I feel like I should write a eulogy. But, Ariela’s not dead. She’s very much alive. She’s a survivor. If she can … no, not, “if” … when she finds a way to regain control of herself, she may very well return to us.
Until then, we will most definitely miss her.
As to her recent actions … regardless of their rogue nature, they were beneficial. We found that the Schmidts were unwilling participants in a probe of the area. They have a fourth child … held by the same group that attacked Pete’s farm. The Schmidts were to act as a Trojan. Our suspicions were correct.
They believe there are others like them. However, they have no knowledge of the attack on Pete’s farm.
I’m puzzled by the frontal attack, frankly. The only reason I can think of for such an attack was to measure the time and force of our response. That’s reason enough, I guess.
So, we’ve been probed and measured by an enemy sophisticated enough to implement a multifaceted strategy on multiple fronts.
When does the other shoe fall?
The Schmidts have no knowledge of the larger plans of the group holding their third daughter. They were plucked from a FEMA camp, dropped a few miles away, told to come up with a believable story that would get them into our group long enough to scope us out and then told to report back within two weeks or their daughter would be killed.
Holy smokes! Is that where Ariela is headed … to atone for her crime against the Schmidts? How could that not have occurred to me until now?
My initial reaction is to set out after her, but we need to stay here now more than ever. We need to prepare for battle. We need to strengthen our defenses and warn our neighbors. All of that will take time … time that we won’t have if we go chasing after Ariela.
No, as much as I care for Ariela – as much as we all care for Ariela – our first duty is to protect what we have here. We simply cannot afford to run around the countryside looking for the Schmidts’ daughter or rescuing Ariela.
Have I mentioned how much I hate the new normal?
Regardless of whether we like it or not, the new normal is our reality. We need to deal with it. Even prior to the crash, there were tribes and peoples living similar realities all over the globe. We’re not unique. We’re just soft. We grew too used to comfort and convenience and … peace. Given the cyclical nature of history, this phase had to come sooner or later. Better now, I guess, when a few remnants of our survival instincts and abilities still remained, than a few decades from now when the “civilized” world had all but forgotten how to survive on their own.
I’ll head over to Pete’s tomorrow. He’s my right hand now that Ariela’s gone.
We need to review what our enemy knows about us.
We need to review what we know about them.
We need to warn the rest of our neighbors about the soft probes. Some may already have families like the Schmidts in their midst so we can’t do it by radio.
We need to bolster our defenses.
We need to develop a counter-intelligence plan.
We need a plan, a back-up plan and a “hell in a hand-basket” plan.