April 30, 2015: Oh, Schmidt!
We sent Schmidt off to retrieve his daughter today. He was coached on a few key elements of misinformation to provide to his daughter’s captors. He was also instructed to keep his eyes open and his ear to the ground to learn anything he could about the group holding his daughter.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty confident that, if pressed, he will spill the real beans and the misinformation will go by the wayside. I can’t say that I blame him. If my daughter was being held by similar brigands, I’d do whatever it took to get her back too.
On the other hand, they may have absolutely no intention of returning the girl to her family. A group willing to kidnap and hold a teenage girl … willing to use that girl as leverage to force her family to spy on others … let’s just say that a group like that is probably willing to stoop pretty low.
If Schmidt can hold out, his story will be reinforced by the two other families that slipped into the Union Creek community. We’ve surreptitiously fed them the same misinformation about the community as a whole.
The basics of the story run along these lines: The Union Creek community was a tight-knit farming community long before the crash. We’re all simple, peace-loving farmers who are used to living a near-subsistence lifestyle. Initially, the crash wasn’t that big of a deal to us, but the end of our typical cache of supplies like home canned fruits, vegetables and meat are dwindling and without fertilizer or fuel to re-plant, cultivate and harvest our crops, we’re in a difficult position.
In reality, the story isn’t all that far from the truth. We’ve just left out key bits of information like our fuel reserves, alternative energy sources, weapons, ammo and military backgrounds.
If the captors have an inkling of what happened at Pete’s place, they’ll most likely smell a rat. If not … and if Schmidt can present the story in a convincing fashion … we may just have a shot at a (new normal) happy ending.
With Mr. Schmidt gone (I just realized I’ve never learned his first name), we’ve released the remainder of his family from house arrest. They’re expected to pull their weight around the farm and have been told, in no uncertain terms, that a failure to do so will result in a return to house arrest. They’ve also been warned that they’re on probation, so to speak, and that any suspicious or untoward actions may result in an immediate return to house arrest or expulsion from our community.
I haven’t had a lot of time to think about it during the day, but at night I wonder about Ariela. Is she going after the Schmidts’ daughter? Is she doing OK? Is her brain injury causing her behavior to become even more erratic? Is her memory flagging further?
At night, I worry over her like she was my own daughter. In that respect, I am completely empathetic to Schmidt and his plight. Of course, Ariela is an accomplished Marine and the Schmidts’ girl is a teenager who, just months ago, was worried about what to wear to school and the latest text message from one of her friends.
Ariela can take care of herself. The Schmidts’ girl … probably not so much. I only hope she is still unharmed.
Security enhancements have gone well. Interestingly, one of the patrols on the southern edge of the community came across a group of unarmed men on foot today. According to the radio report, there were twelve men. They were dressed in military/para-military garb but had no weapons or supplies. One of the men had a broken leg. Several others had cuts, bruises and generally looked as though they had been through the mill.
The leader of the group is a giant of a guy who claims to be a former Marine. Most of the rest of the crew also claim to be former Marines.
Their story is an interesting one that, if true, makes me really nervous. Supposedly, they were in the area conducting some sort of retrieval mission (details were not provided) when they were ambushed inside of what I would consider Union Creek territory. They escaped the initial ambush only to run into a second ambush along their escape route.
I don’t like how well-coordinated the dual ambush sounds. They’re either making stuff up or it has to be the same group that attacked Pete’s place. If it’s the same group, they have a pretty darn good tactician laying things out for them.
It also sounds as if the ambushers were well armed and well supplied with vehicles. According to the former Marines, the attackers now have one of their two HMMWV’s (the other one was destroyed in the first ambush) and two five-ton military trucks.
All of this brings several things to mind.
First, things are getting a bit crowded around here. The presence of these alleged former Marines and the group that attacked them puts at least two well-armed and well-equipped forces in the area – either of which could have been … or may still be a threat to us.
Second, we’re not the only ones who’ve survived by forming bonds with other survivors. However, our bonds across Union Creek seem looser than those of the former Marines and their attackers. I’m extrapolating a little bit, but it seems that these other survivors are much more closely knit, for better or worse, than the families living in the Union Creek area.
Finally, it seems as though my early warning “spider senses” were accurate. A ground swell seems to be developing. Violence and other interactions between survivors seem to be on the rise. Obviously, the violence is of concern. What about the other interactions? Are they a good thing or will they be the source of spreading disease and other negative and perhaps unforeseen consequences?
We’ll see what tomorrow brings, I guess. Pete and I will take a little trip to the south end of Union Creek to check out the Marines and take a look around at the site of their supposed ambushes. Hopefully, by traveling in broad daylight, we’ll avoid ambushes ourselves.
I think we’ll take horses instead of vehicles and go in low and slow.
Everyone else goes on high alert!
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