Original Work EMP

Discussion in 'Survival Reading Room' started by monkeyman, Jul 31, 2005.

  1. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I started this story on another forum and some of it is only save by a cut and paste from there so the early parts of it may look a bit strange but it will clear up as it goes. It is also a work in progress so chapters will be added as I have time and come up with them especialy if there seems to be much intrest in them. Hope you enjoy and maybe even that it gets you thinking.

    DISCLAIMER: This story is FICTION. The people and events discussed are fiction and any similarities to real persons are coincidental. The things mentioned in this story should not be attempted at home as they could result in death, sever bodily harm, imprisonment, deportation, angry neighbors, and lots of other nastie things.
    That said, use good sence and enjoy the story.


    Jack threw himself back to avoid the belts and blade of the running buzz saw and landed on the ground with a thud. His heart was pounding as he thought of the arm he might have lost, or worse, if he had fallen forward, and as he calmed himself he asked his dad, "What the hell was that?" "I don't know," Frank responded, "Are you O.K.?" "Yeah, just lost balance as I tossed that log off. The flash or whatever it was got me distracted," Jack said as he picked himself up. Frank pushed in the throttle and shut down the saw. "Lets go in and get a drink, thats about the last of the wood anyway."
    Frank had grown up useing the buzzsaw with his father to cut cordwood, mow brush, buck up logs and so forth with his father in thier tree business but Jack had alwayse been a little nervose around that 3' circular saw blade with no guard, being run by an 8 hp motor and the thought of what could so easily happen. However Jack had been out of work for a while and needed to borrow the saw and splitter to cut wood and make some extra money as well as to get the wood to heat his own home in the winter. It was only spring but he wanted to get started now so as to be ready. Frank agreed to let him borrow them as long as Jack came up and helped get his wood worked up first. Frank lived in K.C. and had a wood burning furnace. He got his wood free from the local tree companies who liked haveing a free place to dump the wood but it was in pieces of whatever sizes they could carryand so still had to be worked up. Jack lived in the country about 80 miles away near the airbase and was glad for the chance to work beside his ageing father.
    They got in the house and Frank reached over to flip on the light as they went into the kitchen, but nothing happened. "Hmm, guess it must be burned out. Lets grab a drink then we can change it out," Frank said. Jack opened the fridge and noticed the light didnt come on. "Looks like it must be a breaker," he said as he grabbed 2 sodas, "the fridge is out too." They went to the basement to the breaker box, but at the top of the stairs they noticed that the other lights were out too. Jack began to feel a bit uneasy as he knew the flash had been no transformer and the lights were out all of a sudden, the two must be connected but he wasnt sure how. Frank decided to call the neighbors and see if thier power was off too. When he picked up the phone it was dead too. "Well, phones out, lets go out front and see if anyone knows whats going on." Frank said. The two went out to the front yard and saw the neighbor standing in the street looking under the hood of his car. "Car trouble Mike?" Frank called as they went over. "Dont know whats going on. There was a flash in the sky and the car just died." Jack and Frank looked at each other and both began to realize that something was wrong. "The power and phones are out too," Frank said, "Well, dont know whats going on but do you want a hand pushing the car back into the drive?" "Apreciate it," Mike said. They pushed the car into Mikes drive and after chatting for a bit Jack and Frank decidedto walk over a couple blocks to the hiway to see if the same thing was happening there. As they got to the top of the hill they saw what they feared, cars all along 435 stalled. Some had coasted to the shoulder and several were in the middle lanes. "Whats going on," Jack asked. "I dont know, butit dosnt look good." They noticed a semi trying to make its way between the cars and wondered if that meant that the van would run since it was desil also.
    Back at the house they found that the van would indeed start and decided to turn on the radio and see what was going on, but nothing but static came through the old radio. "I dont know just whats going on, but it looks like its wide spread and I dont like it. I get the feeling it may not be going away real soon iether," Frank said. "Well if this is widespread and lasts, things are gonna get bad around here," Jack repl;ied, "You think we should get some stuff togather and head down to my place?" "I'm thinking it may be a good idea and I think just to be on the safe side we should assume it could last. Since 9-11 and with us at war this could be the start of something bas," Frank said.
    Frank pulled the van around into the back yard by the big shed and they hooked the 20' trailer onto it that Frank used to haul his cargo canoe. Jack decided to go see if the new splitter still started, but unfortinatly it didnt. "Well dad looks like the splitter is down but I think we should grab the buzz saw." "Yeah, might not hurt to grab the welder and tools too. We'll also want the guns, reloading stuff, camping gear, and I'll gather up the canned stuff from the basement." Frank said. Jack asked, "Do you still have those nets from when we used to fish the river comercial?"

    [ Added: Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:47 am ]
    "Yeah, thier in the shed. Those could be good to have and those old bodark bow blanks from when I used to make bows are in there too, might as well bring them too."
    The two gathered things and loaded the van and trailer down with all the things they thought might be needed and a few keep sakes. The van was stuffed by the time they were ready to go but an area had been set aside between the seats for the guns and loaded ammo.
    They decided to take surface roads over to 210 then go to 291 and take that to 50 so they would avoid the main interstates as much as possible. It took about 6 hours Rather than the normal 2 but they finally made it to the farm at near 3 a.m. As they got out of the van they heard a womans voice from the corner of the house, "That you Jack?" "Yeah Sue, Its me and dad," Jack replied. Sue stepped out with Jacks 20 ga. in one hand and Jack didn't miss the barel of the .270 sliding back in the window either, he knew that would be thier son Mark. "I wasnt expecting your dads van and knew it wasnt the truck from the sound so I slipped out the back and around the back to see what was going on. Greg next door was at Whitman running errands when it happened and his truck started running bad so while he was checking it out said he saw a big convoy of trucks leave the base towards the city. I guess he asked a guy there and they said that they were headed to the city, that there had been an EMP and they were going to help keep the peace." Jack asked, "Whats an EMP?" "I dont know exactly but Greg said it was something that shuts down anything with a computer chip. He said noone knew for sure what had caused it but that was what it seemed to be. He said that one of the guys said it might have been from the big solar flairs that have been happening lately." Jack said, "Well, I guess its a good thing we came down then." Sue replied with a little smile, "Its a real good thing. If you had stayed gone any longer than you had to and let me set here worrying I'ld have had to slap the crap out of you!" With a wink she turned to Frank, "How you doing dad? Have you guys eaten yet?" "Well a little on edge but as good as good as can be expected I suppose, could use a bite to eat though. You got anything going?" Frank asked. "Sure do, have a big pot of stew on the I made up from the stuff in the freezer. Sounds like the power will be off a while so Ive been canning and cooking as much of the stuff as possible from the freezer. Come on in and get some dinner, you all look beat."
    The next day all went out and unloaded the van and trailer takeing a closer look at what all had been brought and put it away.
    "We're going to have to fill the water tank today and figure out how we're goingto have water out here when the tower in town runs empty," Sue said, "Hauling it from town has only ben an inconvenience untill now but thats about to be out of the question." "Well," Jack started, "to start with we can run the down spouts from the gutters into the tank and put screen on the end to catch any gravel from the shingles and such and we can use some strips of tin on the barn to make gutters that can drain into barrels connected by some PVC. We can use the feed barrels or whatever. That should get us through the spring any how, but as little rain as we get in the summer, we'll have get a lot more storage or see if we can witch a shallow well around here that we can dig in the next couple of months. We wont have any way of sending the water in to be tested, so I I guess if we do that we'll have to water a few of the critters with it for a month or so and use it only for wash and such untill we make sure they do O.K. on it. Since we have the little generator we use to run the charger for trolling batteries on long fishing trips we could use one of the barrels on the roof as a water tower and run the generator for the pump to fill it as needed. We can also use it some of the time to run the freezer to freeze some food as well as ice so that we can use the foam ice chest and burry it to have an ice box." "It's been years since I've done any water witching," Frank said, "But I think I can probably still do it. I'll go find a branch and try it later. I think we may have a more pressing problem though, with you being right here on the blacktop I think we may have a lot of folks headed out of the city in a few days. Most of them are going to be hungry and some will be a lot more interested in what they can take than in what you can spare or trade." "Yeah," Jack sighed, "Ive been thinking about that too. We cant really fortify the whole property line to keep people out so I've been thinking more along the lines of setting up some kind of setting up some kind of alarm system for most of the area and move the old dinner bell out to the end of the drive so we can close the gate and post a sign that anyone wanting in needs to ring the bell and wait for an invitation then set up a surprise for those that ignore it." "What do you have in mind," Sue asked, "I'm still working it out but Im thinking some kind of noise cannon on a trip wire so that if anyone hits it it makes a loud enouph noise to let us know they're there and hopefuly scare them off or at least convince them to politely use the front gate."
    "Sounds good so far. What do we need to do," Frank asked, "Well we have a couple places we should go for some supplies. I hope the elevator has someone around still, and we need to go over to the amish bulk grocerystore." Said Jack. Frank asked, "What do we need?" Jack thought for a moment, "I know we should get some extra feed for the chickens and rabbits if we can to hold them over for at least a couple months so things have a blow over or at least settle down some. While we're there I also wanted to get at least a couple hundred pounds of potash. I know you've mentioned you used to mix it with sugar and use it to blow stumps and in more precise ways to split nasty logs, I figure it might come in handy. We can pick up two or three hundred pounds of sugar and a hundred or two of flour at the amish store to add to what we have and have extra sugar to go with the potash." Frank nodded, "Sounds like a plan, lets get the feed barrels loaded, we can dump them into a bin in the shed as soon as we get the time to build one so we can use the barrels for water." Sue asked, "What do you need Mark and I to do while you're gone, or did you want to take him with you?" Jack stopped for a moment, "No, I want him to stay with you, he's a good shot with the rifle and up close he can do O.K. with the .38. I'ld say you you should try to finish up with the canning, the food will be thawed soon and we cant afford to loose any of it. You should keep the shotgun handy and your rifle at the door just in case you need them. Mark, you wear my .38 and keep the .270 close at hand, it may not fast with being a bolt action but with the way youre able to shoot it at least each bullet will take its target. You'll need to keep your eyes open while you work and keep buck with you, his nose and barking should give advanced warning of any visitors, but get all the stock other than the guineas in thier pens. I want them up where we can want the critters up where we can keep an eye on them and the guineas are even better guard dogs than old Buck," Jack chuckled, "They'll start squackin and goin off soon as anything gets within a hundred yards night or day." "No problem dad," Mark said, doing his best to keep from showing how nervous he was. He was 15 and accustomed to carrying his shotgun or the .22 when he was out on the property, but he knew that today the main concern wasn't just snakes or coyotes. Jack looked at his son and told him, "Son I know this is rouph and I doubt there will be any need for shooting but have to be ready just in case. You know not to look for any fights but keep some room from anyone you don't know that comes around and be ready for whatever happens. Folks are gonna be scared and desperate, some who don't have what they need are gonna be looking to take it from who ever dose and if they take it from us we starve, and folks that wanna take have no regard for the wellbeing of others. If anyone shows up and seems to be friendly and needing or wanting something, keep them back a bit and call your mom out to deal with them, if they aint friendly tell them to get on down the road, call for your mom if you can and do whatever you have to do. We're in a different situation now than you're used to and in these kind of times, I'm sorry to put it on you, but I have to count on you and treat you as a man rather than a boy. We're all gonna have to come togather and carry our weight and I know you can and will do it. I'm counting on you to protect yourself, your mom and the farm, because I know your up to it, if I wasnt sure of you I'ld have you stay in the house with your mom but I know your man enouph to stand up and protect your family. O.K.?" "O.K., thanks dad," Mark said with a half hearted grin. Sue spoke up, "You boys better get going so you can get this stuff done and get back. We'll see ya when you get back."
    They were lucky, Jack had just cashed a checck the day before for some tree work he had done in the city a few days before so he had $750 and Frank alwayse kept a few hundred dollars stashed in his wallet and around the house, a habbit from his days as a trucker, so they had about $1500 between the two of them. When they got to the grain elevator in town the manager was there, he let them know that they couldnt do any business other than cash and couldnt mix any feed unless it was already mixed since the power was out. Jack said, "No problem Bob, I was Just needing 500 pounds of rabbit feed, 200 of potash, 1000 of cracked corn, 500 of rolled oats, and was also needing to get a few bottles of oxytetrocyclin, some blood clotting powder, and some other vet stuff off the shelves if thats o.k.. I know the scales wont be working but we've figured out these barrels are pretty close to 475 pounds each so if you want to run some corn out of the truck we can just fill the 2 and call it 1000." Bob thought for a minute, "I think we can handle that." He looked at Frank, "If you want to pull around to the dock we can load up the sacked feed and then get the potash and corn." Jack helped them load the bags then went in to get the vet supplies while Bob and Frank loaded the rest. He had been without insurance enouph to learn that antibiotics for cattle and some of the other things like utterbalm, blood clotting powder and sutcher kits worked just fine on people too in a pinch, and had been poor enouph to figure out that rolled oats was just oatmeal in a cattle feed bag, so he got a good supply of these and a few other items. When he was done he took the stuff out front where the light was a little better so they could add up the bill. Bob totaled it up on scratch parper and they settled the bill and stood around talking about what was going on for a bit then Frank and Jack headed out.
    They had to go right past the house anyway so Frank suggested that they stop and unload before going to the amish store.

    [ Added: Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:51 am ]
    Jack took no convincing, he knew Sue and Mark could take care of them selves but he had been through some times growing up in the city of haveing to be in the middle of gun fights and bad sceens, even if they could Jack just didnt want his family to have to go through that, especialy not without him there to take on the brunt of it and he just wanted to check on them. He knew that was probably a big part of why Frank had brought it up but niether of them needed to bring it up, besides, it was a good idea not to carry any more supplies than they were getting from one trip as if anything happened to them then the family would loose anything that was with the two of them.
    They got back to the farm and unloaded with Marks help. Jack made it a point not to ask if anything happened or show any concern, after the talk he had with Mark he didn't want to let it seem that he was checking up on him. Soon as they got unloaded Jack let Mark know they were headed to the store and would be back in a while and they were off again.
    They got to the amish store and as expected they were doing business as usual, if a bit heavier than usual. They walked in and Earvin greeted them from the behind the counter. Jack smiled, "How ya doin?" "Pretty good," Earvin replied, "I hear theres been some problems around with the power and cars and such though." Jack replied, "Yeah seems powers been knocked out all over and isnt expected to come back on any time soon. Not sure how it's gonna affect gases availability so dont know how long the vehicle will be up and the 30 miles over here is gonna be a fair piece without it so thought I'ld stock up a fair bit more than usual." Earvin nodded, "Sounds laike a decent idea. What did you need?" Jack told him,"Well, I could use about 300 pounds of white sugar, 200 of raw sugar, 250 of polyana flour, 5 gallons of peanutbutter, 150 pounds of potatos a case of oranges and we'll need to get some things from the shelves." Earvin shook his head affirmative, "Alright, that is a little more than usual but we'll fix you up. I'll have my boys just load it up for you." "Thanks, oh and can I add 20 pounds of red star yeast," Jack said. Earvin nodded as he headed to the store room. Jack took a cart and went through loading up on spices to last a couple of years easily and a few extra cases of canning jars, loads of jams, pasta, several feet of lamp wick, a box of lantern mantels, a few yards of candle wick and other odds and ends. By the time they checked out Jack had two carts over flowing aside from the Jars and list of good he had given Earvin. They settled the bill and after a bit of gabbing were back on the road.
    As they drove back to the farm Jack said, "You know, Ive been thinking, if we do have any shooting there at the farm the walls of the house wont do much to slow down any incomeing bullets. We still have a bunch of stuff in the ditch out back that we havent gotten hauled off yet, I think there were a couple of old bathtubs in there from when the house that was here before we got the place burned. I was thinking that we might go cut them up with the tourch and put chunks of that under some of the windows so that the walls right there would provide better cover rather than just concealment." Frank said, "yeah, couldnt hurt. those old tubs were built pretty solid. I dont know, we may have touse a hammer to chip off the enamil where we're gonna cut but I think we can get it done."
    When they got home Jack asked Mark to unload the van and Jack and Frank took thier rifles and the welder with them and headed for the ditch at the back of the property that the former ownershad used as a dump for all sorts of unwanted things. After a bit of tugging they managed to get one of the tubs up out of the ditch and to a suitable spot to cut it up. Frank took the slag hammer kept on the tank dolly and started chipping the enamil while Jack went to unbury the other tub that was sticking only half out of the pile. By the time the first was cut up Mark came back to help and they got the other tub out of the ditch. While Frank was cutting it up Jack and Mark started carrying the plates frim the first one to the house, no easy job even for the two of them as each of the 3 larger plates was easily over 100 pounds and the smaller 2 were over 50 pounds each. These had been heavy old tubs of solid cast iron. They finaly got all the plates from both tubs and the welder to the house and blew a couple holes in the corners of each piece with the tourch. Found some lag bolts in the barn and mounted the plates under the windows. By the time they were done Sue had dinner ready and all were ready to eat. Sue had pretty well finished up the canning except for the 2 five gallon pots, one of stew the other of chili, that were still simmering on the stove. After dinner they shut off the stove and left the pots to cool over night and all headed for a well earned rest.
    Shortly past dawn Jack decided to get up as he had scarsely slept, being awakened by every bug, bird, or breeze through the night. "I've got to get some alarms set up or I'm not even going to be able to sleep," Jack thought to himself. He got out of bed and went to the kitchen to start some breakfast for the house, still contemplating the best way to set the alarms and perhaps a few "deterants" around the barn and such for any would be thieves. By the time breakfast was done the rest of the house was up and Jack had a few ideas. As Jack dished up biscuts and gravy for himself, after putting a plate full in front of the others in the house, he sat down and said, "Sue, did Greg say what he was up to at the base by any chance?" Sue thought for a second then anwsered, "I think he said the other day there was going to be a small surpluss auction or that he was picking up stuff he got from some other auction that they had sent through there or some such thing. You know the way he's always getting surplus stuff to sell at fleaa markets and such. Why?" Jack replied, "I think I'm gonna go over there after breakfast and see what he has in stock and if there's anything we could use." "I'm sure he'll be glad to see you. He always sees you comeing and gets out the list for what he needs to replenish." Sue said with a laughter in her eyes.
    After breakfast Jack headed out for Gregs while Frank and Sue and Mark got started on adapting the down spouts to drain into the water tank and connecting barrels and getting the barn set up to collect water to drain into them. As Jack pulled into the drive at Gregs the stout old man walked out to see who was comeing up the drive with the always present .45 on his hip. Soon Greg was able to recognize Jack through the windshield even though the van was unfamiliar and waved hello. Jack pulled up and got out and called, "Mornin." "Mornin, "Greg replied, "What ya up to this mornin?" "Thought I'ld come by and see what all you had in the warehouse that I might be able to use." The 'warehouse' was Gregs barn where he kept all the things he got at auctions, estate sales and who knows where all to take to the fleamarkets and sell, sometimes for a profit and other times just for the fun of haggeling with the folks he met. "Well I'm sure we can find something in there to haggle over." Greg said with a big grin. They walked in to the warehouse and as usual there were things stacked and piled as high as a man could reach all through the place with only isles between them. Greg was the only one who had any idea where anything was or what he ever had in here, and even he was always in for several surprises when he started digging around to get something. "Anything in particular you were looking for today," Greg asked. "Well, had several things I was wantin' to see if you had. Wanted to see about some extra rope, parachute cord, fishing line and was also wanting to see if you still had any of those dummie grenades you always sell as paper weights and if you had any extra barrels," Jack said. Greg looked around thoughtfuly then said, "The only barrels I have are those old barrels out back, thier a little rusty but if you can use 'em I'll give 'em to ya for a couple of those rabbits, long as Sue cooks 'em up with her famous dressin'. On the grenades your in luck, I just got a dozen cases at a great deal, you know I always have the rest of the stuff around, how much of the stuff you want?" Jack gave him a list of how much of what he wanted, then came the fun part, finding it! In the search they came across several odds and ends Jack just couldnt do without, Greg always had a way of "stumbling across" those kind of things whenever Jack came over, Greg knew him to well like that. By the time the stuff was loaded and the haggeling was done Jack had 4 foot lockers that even he couldnt remember what all was in them, 20 old barrels, 5 cases of dummie grenades a couple hundred feet of strong rope, a large spool of parachute cord, a case of nylon cord and a box with several spools of different sized fishing line as well as a couple boxes of wax and candle wick. He also had a commitment to bring over a full dinner from Sue and come by when he had a chance and butcher a couple hogs for Greg and smoke them out, though Jack would also get half of one of the old hogs for this. Both men knew it was quite a deal but Greg was really just "selling" all this stuff to defray the cost of shoping at the auctions and such and an excuse to get out to gabb with new folks.
    After visiting with Greg for an hour or so Jack finaly took his leave and headed home. As he got out of the van Sue came out and gave him that look and sigh that always followed any trip to Gregs that said, 'What new toys did you get talked into this time?' but only said, "So, what am I cooking this time?" Jack gave a guilty grin and said, "Two rabbits with your apple stuffing, a loaf of bread and abowl of gravy." As he made a show of cowering as if in preperation for flying objects. Sue just laughed and shook her head as she turned to go into the house and called over her shoulder, "Go kill me a couple rabbits when your ready, I'll go start the bread."
    Jack unloaded the haul and just put the foot lockers in the barn deciding to go through them when he had more time. He took a case of the grenades to his work bench and unpacked them, takeing the tops off each as he went through, they all had the holes in the bottom and no detinator in the caps so they were disarmed and could be sold as novilties but he had an idea. After he had the caps seperated from the bodies and the pens out of them he started checking the various primers in the reloading suplies untill he found the ones that fit the nipple of the capsthen put one on each cap, drew back the spring loaded hammer, secured the hammers in place with the handles and replaced the pins. "There" he said. Then he went to the pile of scrap metal, pipe and such he kept behind the barn and got a couple 10 to 12 foot long sections of galvanized pipe. He took them into the barn and cut them into 6 to 8 inch sections and secured a cap in the end of each then got the potash and some sugar and mixed them in about equal parts and poured a few tablespoons in each and stuffed a good wad of paper in after then he melted down some wax and poured a bit on the paper to seal it. When he had a good supply of them he made sure the pins were secured and put them into a duffel bag and started off to the back of the property. Jack walked the fenceline of the property and each time he found a likely spot to cross the fence he put one of the pipes on the base of a tree or rock on the side closer to the house then ran a piece of fish line from the ring on the pin across the path of anyone crossing the fence there at a little lower than the top of his boot height and tied the other end to something on the other side. Then he straightened the pen and went on to the next place, untill he had done so on all crossings and all trails about 25 feet inside the property line. If anything pulled the fishing line the pin would come out and the charge in the pipe would instantly go off and blow the wax and paper outthe end since that was the path of least resistance for the pressure to escape, but not without creating enouph "chamber pressure" to make a nice BIG BOOM! They were all aimed basicly up so they wouldnt hurt anyone or any animals but would let everyone know there was something coming through there.
    Jack then set a post just outside the gate at the end of the drive and moved the old bell from the front pourch to the post at the gate. It was a large bell like the old school house bells that they had gotten at a yard sale to use for a dinner bell but had found that it generally worked just fine to step out the door and yell since anywhere on the property you were within 200 yards of the house and if you couldnt hear Sue hollar at that distance you wernt gonna hear much of anything anyway. Then Jack got a sheet of plywood and painted a large stop sign on one side in red and in yellow he painted this message, "NOTICE: Guests ring the bell and allow us to come let you in, Those who enter uninvited will have thier remains fed to the hogs!!!" Then he mounted 4 pipes, loaded with rock salt in front of the first wad of paper and a second wad with wax in front of that, over the drive so they would spray the entire area of the gate if triggered and concealed the line as it went to the gate post and attached to the latch on the gate and ran a piece of black parachute cord from the top of the gate to a piece of empty pipe out in the open and painted yellow with a screw in the on cap on one end. "Well," Jack thought, "that gives them the idea of what the sign means and what they face if they ignore it. Besides that should give any thievs enouph false security to think they have disarmed the gate if they want to trespass, thievs always think everyone else is so much stupider than they are." Then Jack secured the barn and out buildings similarly and made sure the whole family knew everything he was doing and how to disarm and arm the "alarms" and what was in store for anyone who tripped one, so it was a good idea to be sure you didnt forget. Everyone felt a little better knowing these were up and that, while they still had to be alert, they had a far better chance of knowing if anyone was trying to slide up.

    [ Added: Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:53 am ]
    His security system had only taken a few hours to install so Jack went out to the rabbit hutches and got a couple of rabbits and butchered them so Sue could cook them up for Greg and took them in the house. Lunch was ready so the four of them sat down to eat and Jack said, "You know, with everything being down the stores are gonna run out of everything pretty soon and I was thinking that between the folks around here we already produce most of what we need though no one farm really produces everything so I thought we could kind of try to talk to a bunch of the folks around and see if we could have a kind of trading post here. I have the anvil out in the barn and could set up a forge again to make or repair some tools and such, we could reload ammo for folks since that will run out sooner or later, dad, you could make bows for folks that want to use them to hunt. Sue you could set out a couple of tables and run a little eatery. We could trade for whatever folks have or work and scavenging things for us like the coal, scrap metal and such for the forge and make it so folks can come to one place to get what they need for what they have rather than haveing to go to each farm for each thing and figure out what they have that that farm could use, at the same time we could trade those services and our goods for what we need." Sue thought for a moment and said, "Well, I have always wanted to start my own diner, never thought it would be like this though. Why not, we can see what folks think of the idea, You and Mark could go talk to the neighbors and we could have our 'Grand Opening' in a couple of days for everyone to bring thier things and have a kind of farmers market to set it off." After a bit of discussion they all decided to give it a try. While Jack and Mark went to invite the folks around Frank went out to see if he could find a good spot for the well. As the two of them left Sue gave them the food to take over to Greg so they decided to go there first.
    Greg was a widower and not much of a cook so he always took any chance he could get to have some of Sues cooking. They delivered it and let Greg know thier plans. Greg offered to help out with the shop for for a sort of credit acount at Sues chow hall and to bring a load of the things from his warehouse to trade with. They agreed that they could work something out and Greg thanked them for bringing the dinner by and asked them to let Sue know he would bring back her dishes on Thursday when he came to the market, then the two headed out to the other folks in the area.
    Some of them were more upset than others by thier new situation but most just took it in stride and resolved to get through it. Everyone thought it was a good idea to have the market and liked the idea of a new store close by. They were also looking forward to the idea of folks around just getting together.
    The last stop on thier way home was the rolling Y. Tom had grown up on 150 acres there and raised horses more just because he loved to work with them than any real financial goal to make a bunch of money from the place.
    He generaly kept around 50 head or so and knew each of them by name. Jack had chosen to stop here last for a reason. He knew that Toms wife had been married before and lost a child to an accident with a gun and so when they had thier daughter she made him sell his guns. Since Tom didnt hunt he had grudgeingly agreed. Jack had a feeling that in light of current events and Jill being 17 that Martha might not be so opposed and Tom might be in the market for a rifle and Jack was the market for a horse. The gas in the van wasnt going to last forever and was only going to get harder to find so he figured that conserving it would be the best coarse whenever possible. As they walked up Tom came out to greet them, haveing been alerted to thier presence by Jakes barking. Mark walked over and started playing with Jake while his father and Tom talked.
    When Jack mentioned the trading post Toms first question was if he could get a rifle there. While Jack had not thought of this before he did store the thought in his mind for further consideration then said, "Well, if your in the market I think we could work something out this evening." After a bit of back and forth they agreed on a 30-30 winchester and a single shot 12 ga with 200 rounds for each and some credit at the new shop in trade for a couple of two and a half year old geldings, one green broke and the other not broke at all and an old saddle that had a broken girth strap. The geldings were healthy but nothing special, they came from the stallion getting out of his pasture and getting ahold of the wrong mare Tom had said. Jack knew they were decent horses though and that the one that was green broke had a lot of spirit, even more than Tom actualy and thats why he had never been finished out yet, but he had enouph experience to know he could handle them. Both men knew that Jack had gotten a real deal on the trade but they also both knew it would be balanced out by time and other trades in the future.
    With Mark carrying the saddle and Jack leading the horses they made thier way home and got there just past dark. Jack had left the winchester and 50 rounds of the ammo for Tom, that he had taken along with the thought in mind, and told Tom he could pick up the rest Thursday or sooner if he had the chance to come by.

    [ Added: Sun Jul 31, 2005 7:00 am ]
    After they got home Jack got the horses settled in then went to work on the saddle with a sewing awl and some heavy nylon strap he had, and repaired the strap so the saddle could be used, then he got to work on a list of things that he knew he would need a constant supply of for the shop so that folks would have an idea of things to look for to trade as they chose in addition to thier crops or stock or whatever they might have in mind. He planned to paint the list on the wall under the car port off the side of the barn where he planed to have the shop.
    On the list he had RR spikes, and coal that he knew could be had from a walk along the RR tracks a mile or so down the road, for makeing knifes in the forge, crops, livestock, ammo brass, lead, tin, scrap metal, springs, fabric, and several other items and at the bottom he wrote, "If you have anything else we can haggle, if you have nothing I can find work for you to do in trade." After he finished the list he went in to dinner then to a good nights sleep. The next day Jack gave Mark a brush and a can of paint to put the list on the wall and he went to slaughter one of the pigs from the last litter for Sue. She had decided to roast it for the following days get together. After he got it ready to go in the large smoker he had built several years ago, he and Mark got an old steel wheel and with a bit of work turned it into a workable forge. Then with some scrap tin and a heavy duty trash bag and a bit of imagination, as well as the alwayse useful duct tape, made a set of billows to keep it hot enouph to work the metal. Once they had it set up Jack and Frank took the van and trailer and went the 40 miles or so to the power plant to see about a load of coal. When they got there they didnt see anyone around. Jack had helped a friend of his who had worked there in the past haul coal from there as they alwayse had a pile of coal that would fill several rail cars that they had rejected for haveing other rocks and such in it, or some other various reason. They would send it back or if anyone wanted it they would let them haul it away and his friend had done this to burn it in his stove. They pulled up to this area and loaded the trailerwith all it would hold then headed back to the farm and dumped it by the forge area.
    It had been years since Jack had worked at a forge though he loved it, and couldnt wait to get started. Soon he had a fire in the forge and took the a spike he had laying around and started to work. An hour or so later he had a nicely shaped hunting knife with a heavy butt and no hilt that he knew from ones he had made in the past, while not the best, would make a very decent hunting knife and hold an edge well enouph once it was put on. So he started to work with the file and soon the knife had a decent edge and was ready to find an owner.
    Jack knew there would be refugees from the city soon and they would need tools that they could trade for cheap but would do the job and this was what he planned to make for those with little to trade. Jack heard Sue call that lunch would be ready soon so he went to clean up since, after shoveling the coal and working the forge, he knew Sue would skin him for setting down to lunch if he didnt.
    Over lunch Jack said to Frank, "You know, some of the folks around had electric stoves and propane dont figure to last for ever. I dont know if they will even be able to get it out of the holding tanks let alone deliver it, and if things arent straightened out by winter folks will need a way to heat thier houses this winter. I got those barrels and thought while I make up some other tools this after noon maybe you could take the tourch to some of them and make wood stoves from them, we could put flaf plates on the tops for a cook area and make two or three smokers so folks could use them to cook or to smoke meats depending on how and where they run the fire." Frank thought and said, "I could do that, I had been thinking we should get started digging on the well though." Jack said, "Well, some folks wont have much to trade, especially since I expect to start seeing city folks looking for greener pastures any day now who arent likely to have much of anything and are likely to be figureing out that they need a lot of things, so I figure if we have work around here that needs to be done then those who dont have goods to trade can tradethier services, like digging the welland such in return for the things they need." "Makes sense," Frank admitted, "That sounds good to me," Jack replied, "I guess I'll take care of those barrels after lunch then." "You want some help at the forge," Mark asked. "That sounds good to me," Jack replied, "You can run the billows and help me with the fileing." "So long as you all stay out of my kitchen, I have a lot of cooking left to do for tomorrows opening of my diner," Sue said.
    After lunch Frank started in on the barrels while Jack and mark started up the forge. Jack took an old leaf springthat had broken from the truck and was laying in the scrap pile and cut the brackets with a chisle after heating them, so he could get a single leaf then went to work. Cutting the longest one into thirds he pounded one end of each out so it was a couple inches wider and tappered to an edge then heated the other end and beat it around a piece of pipe in an oval and forge welded it back to its self makeing ax heads. These would basicly be for heavy hatchets or backpack type axes but could be used for large jobs if needed. As Jack was starting on the third ax heard the old bell he had placed at the drive. He put down his hammer and made sure the .357 on his hip was loose in its holster as he walked around the corner of the barn. He looked and saw that it was Tom at the gate and was relieved. He knew there would be strangers comeing soon and that most would be decent enouph people but he was still dreading haveing to figure out which ones werent and how to deal with them. He counted himself as very fortinate that as many bad situations as he had been in he had so far never had to kill another human being and it ate at him to know that that could soon change with no law around and lots of desperate folks. He had alwayse been prepaired to do what ever it took to protect him and his but that situation was now just looming as a dark cloud in the back of his mind. He knew he would do as needed but it still made him sick to his stomach. Jack got to the gate and after disarming the gate invited Tom in, since Sue was cooking in the 'summer kitchen' also known as the smoker, out in front and in good view of the gate he just left the gate unarmed.
    Tom had ridden his chestnut mare, she was a fine horse by any standard. He led her up the drive and tied her to the fence by the chicken yard. "You're gonna need to set up a hitchin post pretty soon," Tom chuckled, "I've had three more folks come over this mornin to buy horses from me and I understand the other fellas around with horses have been getting visits too." Jack smiled, "Well, I guess I just may have to do that then. You come by for that 12 ga and the rest of the ammo," Jack asked. "Yeah, was gonna see about that and get a sneak peek at what was gonna be at the shop." Jack said, "Oh so far I just have a few mid grade knives and a few axes, my dads workin on some wood stoves and a couple of smokers. Greg is supposed to bring a load of his stuff over tomorrow and I hope to get at least one good hunting knife done still today." Tom nodded his head, "Sounds like a fair start, I was kinda thinkin about a hunting knife myself. I've alwayse taken the stock to the locker and had them take care of it in the past but thats almost 35 miles. Not far by truck but on horse back thats a pretty good ride, so figure I'll have to start doing my own and dont know that a kitchen knife will be the best for some of it." Jack shook his head, "I tell you what, I'll get on it this afternoon and I'll have you a good general purpose skinning and hunting knife and a cleaver tomorrow. Come on in and we'll go get the rest."
    Jack led the way into the house, Tom stayed in the front room and Jack went into the bedroom where he kept the guns that wernt used on a regular basis and returned carrying the shotgun and an ammo can and said, "We can put the ammo in your saddle bags so I can keep the can, Theres a box of buckshot in there and eight boxes of number sixes. I put the 30-30 shells in there too." "Thanks," Tom said, "There was something else I was wondering about too, I was wondering if you had a small handgun that Jill could handle. I talked it over with Martha and she dont like it but we agreed that since she still rides all over our place and we cannot go with her all the time... she's a pretty girl, and things could get bad around and well..." Jack knew what Tom meant and told him, "I do have a .380 that I don't use. I got it several years ago to play with and just decided I didnt care for it as much as I thought I would. Sue and Mark both like my .38s so I could part with that one." Tom said, "There is one other thing, I need her to know how to use it and Martha is going a good ways from what she would normaly accept but she still would not do well with me turning the back yard into a shooting range to teach Jill to shoot, besides I dont have much experience with anything but long guns. So I was thinking that I could finish those horses for you and give you a blanket type saddle I have if you could get that little piece for Jill and spend a day or two teachin her how to take care of it and be safe and hit what she needs to and such." Jack smiled, "I'ld be happy to Tom." Tom sighed, "Ishould have kept hold of a couple guns and taught her to use them years ago. Ignorance about guns and haveing them being forbidden was the cause of Marthas first childs accident but she always blamed guns and I just never thought it was important. Now I wish I had tried harder to change her mind." Jack said, "We never know what the future will hold, just be glad it was a choice for your home and not manditory for everyone from the government. Why dont you have Jill come by Friday and I'll start working with her then, shes got a good head on her, in a couple of days I should be able to have her safe and accurate enouph to defend herself inside 20 yards at least, and lets face it, past 20 yards and people usualy arent a threat anyhow."
    With that the two shook hands and Tom took his new shotgun and ammo and headed home while Jack headed back to the forge.
    Jack finished the last ax and started in on the cutlery he had promised Tom. He took a bit more time on them but when he was done he had a fine hunting and skinning knife made from folding spring steel with an old file to make a high grade damascus knife about 12 in over all and a nice heavy cleaver from a piece of leaf springthat was cust a bit larger and a little over 4 inches deep. He cut a couple pieces of oak from a stick in the pile of firewood and carved them into handles, split them and after boreing a cople holes in them, riveted them to the cutlery. Then he took some oil on a rag and rubbed down the handles and used nylon cord to tightly wrap the handles so as to give a better grip on them if they were slick from blood or what ever, the cord could also be unwrapped and used in absolutely needed by cutting it at one end to free it. It was a fine set and he was sure Tom would be pleased. By the time he was done it was time for dinner and bed, tomorrow was a big day. Jack went down and rearmed the front gate then went in and cleaned up for dinner. The four had a good dinner from some of the extras that Sue had made to get ready for the next day and then all went to bed for a good nights rest.
    Jack wondered as he lay in bed if he was that out of shape or if this new life was makeing everyone else as sore and tired as him, they had always lived a little more primitive than most folks but had never really been prepaired for this. Jack was thinking of this as he drifted off to sleep.

    Jack woke in the morning to the smell of coffee and of breakfast on the stove. He lay in bed for a couple of minutes still to gather his thoughts on what he needed to get done before folks started showing up and what all the day held. then he got up and went to the kitchen and after telling everyone good morning, went outside and disarmed and opened the gate for any early arivals and tied Buck out front to let them know, along with the guinies, when anyone arived. Jack then went back and sat down to breakfast. As they were eating Jack heard the guinies going off and Buck barking. Jack recognized the bark as one reserved for those Buck knew rather than the challenging bark he had for strangers. Jack went to the pourch and saw Greg comeing up the drive with a wagon behind his old tractor loaded with goods he had brought for the big opening. Jack called out, "Mornin. Come on in and have some breakfast then we'll help you unload." Greg called back with a smile, "I was hopeing I wasnt to late for breakfast."
    After breakfast the men all went out to unload and set up while Sue finished getting ready for the opening of the dinner. Greg had brought water filters and purification tabs, surpluss firstaid kits, fishingsupplys and all sorts of other things as well as his large canopys and several tables to display his wares as well as a couple extras. The men set up the canopys and tables and helped to unpack the goods and lay them out. Once everything was unpacked they could see that between the two of them they had a little bit of just about everything you could think of from a sporting goods, militery surpluss, hardware store and a few things you wouldnt find at any of them. Once they were done they set up a couple tables with benches for Sue and put up a large tarp awning over them to make some shade and keep off any rain. As they were finishing up the dinning area the first of the people started to arive and look around. By 10 that morning over 50 folks had shown up, some from as far as 10 or 12 miles away. Seemes word had already spread about the new shop and a lot of folks wanted to come and check it out and also Jack knew, to see what news there was and what everyone planned to do or was already doing to cope. Tom and his familyshowed up and Jack pulled out the promised cutlery from his shop. "You may want to make up a sheath for them as I havent done that but its good steel. You will need to protect it though as its not stainless, you can oil it or rub it good with the stump of a candle then heat it enouph to make the wax run and rub it down," Jack said. Tom looked them over and replied, "These are butiful. I never knew you could make knives like this. They have a nice heft and balance to them too, thanks Jack, I appreciate it." Jack nodded, "Glad you like em." The two chatted a bit then went over to see what Sue had on the menu, Jack knew that Sues eatery would do as much to bring folks in as anything in his shop if not more for the folks that had had her cooking before, and many had at one time or another.

    By that afternoon Jack had traded off most of the items from his forge, a couple of boxes of nails from the barn, he could always make more, and a few other things in addition to what Greg had sold or traded, and had gotten several bushels of feed and corn in addition to a fair selection of home canned foods, preserves and jams. He had also gotten a case of .38 special ammo for a smoker. He had several requests for manual pumps and had let them know to check back in a few days and he would see what he could do. He had an idea to use chainlink fence pipe as the body and tin can lids covered in leather or rubber to make check vualves then put a second moveable check vualve in the tube above the first so that as it went up the top one would seal, drawing water into the chamber below it then as it went down the lower vualve would be pushed closed and force the water through the upper vualve to be pulled up on the next stroke and keep going untill the water came to the top. Jack also had orders for several more of his better knives and a couple of teen boys agreed to come by and put in a couple of days each for hunting knives or hand axes. Sue had done pretty well also and had made a fair bit of money, and had plenty of help for the dishes and other chores from folks that agreed to give her an hour or so of work for thier meals, honestly she had more help by the end of the day than she did work but she wasnt going to turn down anyone who wanted a meal and had some of them help with other various things around the place. She had also made a few deals to feed folks for a set time in trade for livestock and other stuff she was going to use to put on the tables. Folks left well before sundown and all seemed to have enjoyed the day, several mentioned plans to return to trade later, others to come back for meals. Jack had several ideas for new items to make by the end of the day and several folks who had agreed to bring him large amounts of materials in return for items they wanted. It surprised Jack how many folks were looking for firearms of any type since they had none or had only one or two and wanted to have something for everyone in the house. Jack had told them to try back in a few days and he would try to have some close range guns. He planned to make some 12 ga shotguns from 3/4 in pipe and a nail on a mouse trap for a trigger and fireing pin, and made up some match lock black powder guns from some other various pipe or variations on potato guns to use a few drops of gas or spray from aresols and a lighter to fire a projectile.
    As soon as most of the folks left Jack fired up the forge and got started on the orders he had taken through the day and a few odds and ends of other things to trade and ended up working untill well past sundown by the light of a lantern. By the time he stopped he went in, washed up and had dinner then went to bed.
    Jack was suddenly awake and lay in the dark for a moment wondering what had woke him. Then he heard the guinies and heard Buck in the front room bouncing up on the couch and start growling. Jack woke Sue as he jumped out of bed and jerked on his pants, his .357 still on the belt, and his boots. "I forgot to close and arm the gate and it sounds like we have company," Jack said. Sue jumped up and threw on a house coat. "Where do you need me," she asked. Jack said as he grabbed the shotgun, "Get the SKS and watch from the front room window, I'll go out the back and circle around. Past that we'll just have to play it by ear." With that Jack went through the front room and out the back door. As he reached for the door Frank, who had been sleeping on the couch and awakened by Buck on his chest looking out the window and growling, said, "Whats the plan," already haveing an idea that there must be something wrong outside. "Sue will explain, just back her. I dont want two of us out there in the dark mistakeing each other for a stranger or hesitating against a stranger thinking they're family," Jack whispered quickly as he slipped out the door. Jack went around the back of the house swinging wide at the corners so that if there happened to be anyone there he would be out of reach of a club or knife and couldnt be disarmed from a gunbarrel comeing around a corner before he could see what was there. As he came around to the front he stopped and surveyed the area.

    Jack looked by the barn and saw two figures that appeared to be men, looking around by his shop and carrying backpacks in thier hands. Jack waited a moment looking around the yard to try to be sure if there were others, he didn't see anyone else and turned his attention back to the two. One was keeping an eye on the front door of the house. Jack could see them pretty well as it was a clear night and there was a little over 3/4 of a moon, he didn't see any guns on them and decided to try to give them a chance to surrender. Jack slipped back from the corner and headed back so as to circle around by the pasture and come in behind them. He stayed to the concealment of the pig pen and came up 15 yards behind the pair and as he stood up he said, "You boys should have waited untill we was open for business." The two jumped like they were snake bit and as they spun around one started to reach for his waist. Jack cocked the shotgun as he brought it level from the hip, "You wont get it out before you die if you try it," Jack said in a cold matter of fact voice. The man froze and both slowly put thier hands out from thier bodies. Just then Jack noticed the gleam of moon light on something metalic from the shadows in the shop. He quickly turned the barrel of the shotgun and fired at the gleam and along with the report heard the scream ot the man in the shadows. Jack broke the shotgun over, dropped a fresh shell in as the empty came out, closed and cocked the gun before the sound of the report letf the air, a trick he had learned by shooting at two clays at a time from the trap thrower with this single shot. He was reloaded and ready for a second shot before the mans dieing body could even hit the ground. "Is there anyone else," Jack demanded pointion the shotgun at the nearest punk, he knew the one in the shop was hit hard in the chest as between the fadeing screams he could hear the blood spraying out and splattering the surroundings. Jack knew well from the deaths he had seen in his past that death, even from a shot to the heart or head was rarely clean and never pretty, even those shot in the head would commonly convulse for several seconds. "No! No, it was just the three of us man. Oh God please don't kill me, it was all Tonys idea," whined the punk. "You sure?! If anyone else pops up I'll shoot you first," Jack shouted. "I swear!" the punk said. "If iether of you tries to run or tries anything I'll kill you where you stand," Jack said, "Now nice and slow, undo your pants and put 'em around your ancles then put your shirts over your heads and get a face full of the ground! If you have any thoughts that you have me outnumbered youll wanna know there's two more guns on ya from the house." The two quickly did as they were told. All was sow quiel in the shop aside from the slow dripping of blood that had sprayed on things in the shop dripping to the ground. Once the two were on the ground Jack called to the house, "Sue, bring me some zip ties!" After just a couple of moments Sue came out and gave him a bundle of large zip ties. Jack said, "I'm gonna tie em up, if they even look like thier gonna try anything shoot to kill." Jack layed the shotgun on the ground behind Sue who had the rifle still in her hands then went over to the first thief, "Put your hands behind your back, "he ordered. Jack looped two of the ties together and put them on the teen and pulled them snug as hand cuffs then did the same to his ancles and did the same to the second punk. Jack realized the two were both around 18 or so. "you boys made a big mistake trying this move. We don't have any cops or jails close enouph to take you to so you wont be getting any bale to skip on or any plea bargians out here. You just get what the folks you tried to steal from decide you deserve." Jack said. "Please man don't kill us," the one teen beggede as the other began to sob. "I'm not gonna kill you," Jack said, "but you aint goin free iether. You boys'll stay tied up in the barn tonight and I'll decide what to do with you tomorrow." Jack drug the two boys into the barn and closed the door. By this time Frank was satisfied that his cover from the house would not be needed and came out with a flashlight and firstaid kit. "I didnt figure we'ld need the first aid kit but thought I should go make sure. Couldnt tell for sure, where was the one you had to shoot?" Jack replied, "He's in the shop. You can check but from the sounds I heard I can pretty well tell you he's done. I'll be right back." As the adrinelin slowed and the full force of what he had been forced to do hit and Jack stepped around the corner and vommited violently. This wasnt the first time he'ld seen death but it was the first time he'd had to kill another humanbeing.

    Jack wasnt a weak or cowardly man but he spent several minutes wretching before he came back around the barn. Shakeing from the toll the events had taken on his nerves, Jack met Frank comeing out of the shop, "Well," Jack asked. "Through the chest and neck, what kind of loads did you have in there anyhow?" Jack replied, "Three inch mags with No. 2 shot." Frank said, "Well, this was beside the body," he said as he held up a Mosberg 12 ga. pump. "I saw the moon light on the barrel as he brought it up," Jack said. Frank nodded, "You did what you had to." "I know, but it still dont make it feel good," Jack said. Frank said, "If it ever gets easy or feels good then I'll start to worry about you." "I'm gonna go close the gate, then we may as well start some coffee. I dont think any of us are going to get any sleep tonight." Jack closed and armed the gate and the three went inside. Mark had woke up at the blast of the shotgun and Frank had told him what had happened.
    They put on the coffee and as it was ready they heard the bell at the gate. Jack took the shotgun and went to the window that faced the gate and after opening it called, "Who's there?" "Its me, Greg. I heard a shot and came to make sure everyone was okay." Jack called, "Ill be right out." Jack went and let Greg in and closed and rearmed the gate behind him. As they went in Jack briefly filled Greg in on what had happened. They all sat and sipped thier coffee for a couple of hours untill the sun came up with only limited awkward conversation. No one disputed what had had to be done but none took it lightly either. Shortly after day break Jack went out and got two lengths of chain and attached them to wheels with bolds and took them into the room in the barn where the two teens were held and attached one to the ancle of each boy and cut the ties while Frank stood guard with the shotgun. Jack went over and got two shovels and a pick and said as he tossed them down in front of the two, "You boys have a grave to dig." The two were taken out past the gate to the end of the drive where they were told to dig a grave for thier friend. While Frank stood over them Jack went and painted a marker that read; "Here lies a thief, any who come to steal or fight will be laid by his side" and when the two prisoners finished burrying thier friend they were told to dig a second grave beside him for the next person that wanted to try any such thing. After they were done Jack told them, "You boys tried to steal from me and your friend tried to kill me, now he's dead and since things are not normal now and I dont think you two had any violence in mind, the two of you are going to spend the next six weeks here learning how to work for what you get. If you dont work you wont eat or drink and the time will grow, if you try to escape or attack anyone you'll be shot. If you do what your told and behave yourselves youll be turned loose but if you steal anything in this area again I"ll personaly track you down and kill you. Are we clear." "You cant do that man, we have rights. You have to give us to the cops and we get a trial," one of the boys said. Jack replied, "you gave up any rights you had when you decided to become a criminal, if you want the protection of the law you have to honor the law. As to cops, there arent any that I know how to find and as to what I have to do, I have to do what I figure is right and your in no position to argue or give an opinion on whats right, by the way, I find that disrespectful so you just added a week." The boys looked at each other then said, "Alright, what do we do?"
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  2. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Jack decided that though he still really had no appetite they all needed breakfast so he had the two clear out the small tool room they had been in the night before and locked them in untill he brought them food and locked the door back and went in and forced himself to have a bit of breakfast.
    After breakfast Jack went out and put the two to work on digging the well shackled to the heavy tire rims and informed them that weather they saw anyone or not they were being watched and trying to run of would be a fatal mistake. Then he went back to his shop to get more work done. After an hour or so he heard the bell at the end of the drive. As he walked out of the shop he glanced over to be sure that the prisoners were doing as told then looked down the drive and saw Tom and Jill comeing up the drive, Jack had showed Tom how to disarm the gate in case he needed to come to the door without a big ruckus. He had forgotten all about them comeing by today. "Howdy Jack," Tom said, "That dirt pile at the end of the drive is a decent idea, otta help scare off some of the bad element." Jack replied, "It's not just for show, we had thieves in the shop last night and the one in that 'dirt pile' pulled up with a shotgun. Luckily for me, I was a little faster to shoot." "Lord," Tom said, "I thought it was just a decoy. Is everyone alright?" "Well as can be expected I suppose," Jack said. "You said thievs? What happened to the rest of them," Tom asked. "That's them digging my new well. I can't call the sherif to come get them and I can't just turn 'em loose to try again so I figured I'ld put them on a chain gang for a bit and see if I can show 'em that an honest days work can be as benifical as stealing and a good bit safer. Main problem is I don't have a good place to keep 'em and really don't have the time to guard them." "Wow," Tom said, "this is something I hadn't thought of but we need to deal with it. If you think you're still up to it and think Jill will still be safe here, then while you work with her I could go round up a bunch of folks and we could all come out and have a kind of town meetin and see if we can come up with a better solution than each person haveing to hold thier own prisoners." "I'm still willin to teach her, and as to safety I have 'em chained and after burying thier friend this mornin they're fairly obedient. I reckon it would be a good idea to have a meetin, but I don't want them setting on thier back sides getting handed the basics while the rest of us scratch for the same. I want them to have to work for the privlages of food, water, a decent place to sleep and so forth." Tom kind of looked at Jack for a minute thinking and said, "Well, I dont know that I'ld call those things privlages, those are basic human rights." "They're rights that we have to earn Tom. If you or I don't work our farms or work up trade goods or whatever work we do then we don't eat. If we don't care for our homes they fall down around us and we're sleeping under the sky. Why should it be different for those who find it easier to take what others have worked for? No, I say those are privlagessince we have to earn them and I sure as hell don't figure they deserve any better than the rest of us. Folks thinking they 'deserve' thingsweather they earn them or not is how we end up with people like that. They think they're entitled to what others have weather they work for it or not and it is only a very small step from being entitled to have it to being entitled to take it from whoever has it." Tom stopped for a moment, "You know, when you put it like that I can't disagree, and I'm pretty sure the rest of the folks around will be for the idea of putting the trouble makers on chain gangs too. There's a lot to get done and there's no reason to have them settin and eating the fruits of our labor while they take it easy all day." "Well if you would, keep an eye on them for a minute and I'll go get the .380 and some ammo. They wont be any trouble but I don't want to have 'em fully unsupervised iether," Jack said. Tom replied, "Sure thing."
    Jack returned shortly with a jug in one hand and a large ammo can in the other. He handed the ammo can to Jill and said, "I'll be right back, they've been workin pretty well for an hour or so I'm gonna go take 'em some water."
    Jack took the water to the two young men and told them, "You've been working ok so far so heres some water. If you keep up the pace you'll have lunch in 3 or 4 hours, and as long as the hole keeps getting deeper then call out if you need more drinking water." "Mister," one of them said, "can we get some gloves? This is blistering our hands." "What's your name," Jack asked. "I'm Tim," the boy said, "and he's J.J." "Well Tim I tell you what, you two get this hole to 6 feet deep by lunch and you all will earn a pair of gloves each and some salve for your hands. For the time you're here you'll learn that nothing's free but you can earn what you need and maybe some of the things you want. At the end of your time here you'll leave with the knowledge of how to work and some tools you'll have earned to do the work with, because if you haven't earned worked enouph to earn them your sentance will wind up being very long."

    Jack handed Tim the water as he continued, "Now you boys best have a drink of water and ger back to work, the more you work the better you'll be treated while you're here." Jack started to walk away then paused and said, "Soon as you get to that 6 foot mark, just past your height, call out and I'll get you those gloves and salve." Then Jack left them to thier work and returned to Jill and Tom. Jack knew that between the two boys getting to 6 foot shouldnt take more than an hour or two since they were already close to 3 foot down but it gave them the idea of working toward something rather than just haveing it handed to them. Tom said to Tom, "well, see who you can get to come out and try to get an offical of some kind from one of the towns here, I know niether has a jail or police, we've alwayse been under the county and 20 miles is to far to send for the law now, especially when we dont even know if they'ld be there if we went for them, but maybe they could help out with something." "No problem," Tom said. "You ready Jill," Jack asked. "Yes sir," Jill said. It alwayse made Jack a bit aucward being refered to as 'sir', but her folks were raising her to be respectful so he went along. "You mind Jack and listen to what he has to teach you now, and I'll be back this afternoon," Tom said. "Okay daddy," she said. Tom got on his horse and rode off and Jack had Jill put her horse in the chicken yard since it had a good fence and he wasnt sure how the horse would react to gun shots. Then they got an empty coke carton from the trash and headed back a little ways past where Tim and J.J. were working. Jack said, "Before we even get the gun out comes the most important things you need to know. First, never pull a gun unless you mean to use it, it just lets them know you're armed and takes away from surprise which can give you an edge. Second, never point a gun at anyone or anything you don't mean to shoot, that's a good way to have an accident and you can never call back a bullet. Third and most important is keep the gun loaded at all times with a round in the chamber and the saftey on then treat it as if the saftey were off. An empty gun is far more dangerous to you and loved ones than a loaded one, empty it can't be used for defense but can get you shot and also if you have it unloaded it could end up with a surprise load in it, then since you think it's empty you're more likely to be careless. Understand so far?" "Yes sir," Jill replied. Jack opened the ammo can and took out the .380 and the holster he had for it, then he unloaded it and tore it down and showed her how to put it together so she could do a total cleaning and oiling of the gun as needed. Once she was able to tear it down and reasemble it with confidence, Jack emptied the three clips he had for it and showed her how to load one then had her load the other two. About that time Tim called out, "Hey mister, I think were down to 6 feet." "Go ahead and take a break then I'll get you those gloves and salve in a minute," Jack called back. "Jill," he said, "meet me up at the barn. I don't reckon they'ld be foolish enouph to try anything but I don't want to take any chances of you getting hurt." Putting the gun back in the can Jack handed it to her. "O.k.," she replied, and headed up to the barn. Jack went and got the water jug and took it up with him. He had Jill fill the jug while he went to the barn and got some bag balm and 2 sets of leather work gloves, a tarp and some rope, he put it all in a 5 gallon bucket and took it back a ways then handed Jill the tarp and and told her to take it and the ammo can back to where they had been and spread the tarp on the ground and put a box of ammo at each corner. Then he took the rest to the two at the well and let them know that when they started back to work they could use the bucket to pull dirt up in. "If you get to 12 feet by sun down you earn sleeping bags, 15 feet gets you pillows too," Jack said. The two seemed to like the idea of a bit of comfort and agreed. Jack went on then to where he was giveing Jill her lessons. "Whats the tarp for Mr. Kunkle," Jill asked. Jack said, "Ammo is gonna get scarce quick, if we have the brass then I can reload it and it can be reused. The tarp is so it's easier to find than in the grass." After putting a large black + on the box in marker Jack sat it on the ground about 20 feet away, "If you don't know folks, especialy if they give you a bad feel or are out of place you dont want them to be any closer to you than that. If they are and they mean you harm they have a chance of takeing the gun from you and useing it against you." Jack explained. Then he went over loading the clip in the gun, racking a round into the chamber, operating the saftey and such and made sure she had it down. Then he went over some malfunction drills with her.

    Jack explained as they went through them with an empty gun and clips. "If you pull the trigger and nothing happens move your finger over to the saftey to be sure it is off, if it is then slap the clip up into the gun then tip it so the side where the brass comes out is down, draw the slide all the way back and let it go then try again. If it dose it again drop the clip out of it and on the ground, slap in a fresh clip and do the same thing as before. That should fix any problem you would have with it as long as you take care of it like I told you. Now we hope you never have to use this on another human being but you need to know what to do and how to do it well in case you ever have to protect your self or your family. The clip holds 9 rounds so if you think you fired 7, put a fresh clip in and put the old one in a pocket, and if you have to shoot at a person you shoot twice here on the chest," he said indicateing a spot just on the left side of the sternum nad an inch or two above a mans nipple level, "then if they haven't fell yet you shoot once at the head and repeat this pattern untill they go down. With me so far?" "Yes sir," Jill replied. "Ok then tear the gun down and put it on the tarp," Jack said. She did and he told her, "Alright now put it together and ready to carry." She assembled the gun quickly and with ease then loaded the clip, put it in the gun and racked in a shell and set the saftey, then as Jack had told her she removed the clip, topped it off and reset it firmly in place. Jack handed her the holster and had her put it on her belt and put the gun in it and fasten the saftey strap. Then he explained to her, "Now, when you draw the gun, don't look at the sights." "But how will I shoot where I want to then?" Jack said, "Point your finger at the center of that mark on the box. Now look down your finger, its pointed dead on at it. If I hand you a stick to point with you will do the same thing, and with just a very little practice you'll be able to point the gun like your finger and hit right where you want to at a reasonably close range." Jack had her practice drawing thr gun and point it at the target several times then said, "Now remember to point at the center of the mark and not just the box. The more exact the target you try to hit the closer you will get to it." After a few more times now takeing off the saftey as she pointed the gun then putting it back on and back in the holster and repeating this several times, Jack had her shoot when she got it pointed at the mark. Two shots then one more. Of the first three shots all 3 were within 1 1/2 inches of the center in a 3 inch group. After a few clips the group came to 2 inches or so and then they went and got a couple more boxes and put them at 40 feet. Her group was 6 inches but still none more than 3 inches from the center. By lunch she was laying 6 inch groups at 60 feet. This is close range for hunting or most targets, but if anyone wanted to harm her they would most likely be within this range before they were a threat or they would be shooting from ambush and she would have no chance to shoot back anyway. Before they went in for lunch Jack had her clean the gun, oil it, load all 3 clips and the gun, holster the gun and put the spare clips in the holders on the holster. When she finished and started to take it off, he said, "You've learned to use it, now you will need a bit more practice to get better and keep your skill but you keep that on you now. You never know when you may have to have it."

    They went in for lunch and Jack brought out a full plate for each of the two boys and told them they could eat under the shade tree. He knew from the growing pile of dirt they must be near 10 feet so he added a glass of tea and a slice of melon for each. Then he went to the tables out front to eat. There had been a few folks in and out and most planned to come back that afternoon for the meeting he was told. Frank and Greg had been tending the shop and Mark had been careing for the critters and garden and helping out as needed. Jack was feeling a fair bit better, knowing others were interested in the problems they faced and were takeing them serious as well as spending time with a fine young person like Jill had helped his mood considerably. He ate a good lunch then took Jill back out for a bit more practice. By the time Jill finished off her third box of shells for the day she was able to hit a target the size of a mans vitals up to 40 yards or a little more draw and shoot and put them in a 4 inch group at 25 yards. Jack decided they should call it good as they only had 7 boxes of shells and, while he could reload the empties, components would be hard to come by once they used what they had and he knew ammo would be in high demand between increased hunting and defense, besides he would need some of those for the shop and she was hitting quite well. As they walked up to the shop Jack said, "Now we'll clean the gun. If you take care of it, it will take care of you but if you neglect it, it may well fail you when you need it." They went to the shop and sat down and Jack watched her clean and oil the gun on her own this time to be sure she had it down. AS Jill put the pieces of the gun back together then put the clip in and racked a shell into the chamber, dropped the clip, filled and replaced it, Toms voice came from the door, "Looks like you'd been doing that all your life." Jill smiled and blushed a little, "Hi daddy. Mr. Kunkle taught me all about takeing it apart, saftey and shooting, see." She said as she held up a target with several holes in about a 3 inch group, "This was at about 60 feet." Tom looked a little scepticaly at Jack who nodded confermation. Tom smiled approvingly, "Good job sweetie. Thanks for helping her out Jack," Tom said. "Glad I could help," Jack replied, "She has the holster and 3 loaded clips, and I thought I'ld send 3 boxes of shells along, that would leave me 4 boxes and the brass to reload for the shop." "That would be great. Well folks should be getting here soon. I told them 2:30 and its just now past 2:00," Tom said as he looked at his old pocket watch he alwayse carried. "Say, would you mind helping me with something before they get here," Jack asked. "Sure thing, what do you need." Tom said. "I keep getting busy with other things and forgetting to put up a hitching post. I have some pole wood behind the barn and was thinking we could set up at least a temporary job by tieing one of those poles from the fence post to the light pole. I just kind of want one place for folks to park the hay burners so I only have one area to clean up," Jack said. The two men went and picked a stout pole of sufficent length and brought it around then used some baleing wire and tied it securely in place on the side of the posts furthest from the drive so that if any horses pulled at it they would pull the rail into the polls not break the wire. "Ther," Jack said, "At least it gives a place for half a dozen or so if needed."
    No sooner had they finished than folks started showing up, several arived early and were finishing up a bite at the tables but it was now starting to look more like a group for a real meeting.

    By the time it was 2:45 there were over 70 folks milling around, it seems as Tom would tell folks they would go to the neighbors and word was spread surprisingly fast. Tom said, "Well, I reckon you should get the meeting started." Jack was stunned for a moment, "Me? I'm not a town leader or anything, I thought we were just haveing it here." Tom said, "The mayors of both towns were at the stste capitol when all this happened and noone has seen them so there is no leader, you're the closest thing we have out here since you set up a means of trade and such. All you gotta do is let them know what you're thinkin of and see what they have to say about it." Jack was a little lost, he had never been much on public speeking and had not planed on much more than maybe a couple words from the back. Finaly he worked out a rouph idea in his head and after asking Frank to keep an eye on the two prisoners, reluctantly walked up on the pourch. He tried to call for the folks attention but just kind of croaked. Annoyed with himself for being so worried over talking to his neighbors he cleared his throat then called out, "Afternoon folks, Im glad so many of you were able to make it, if we can get started I'll try to keep this short so you can all get back before dark." Everyone gathered around and cut short thier chats. "Wellyou have thier attention so say something," he told himself. Jack began, "Sorry for the short notice, but this was something I had not thought much of and I think we all hoped we wouldnt have to, but that wasnt going to happen. We are to far out for the county sherifs to be reached by any practical means and thats assumeing that any of the deputies are even still going to work. Unfortinatly that dont stop criminals from comeing to us. What you all were called here for is basicly this, we need to decide how to handle criminals for the near future and what things we will consider worth enforceing. My basic idea on the it, though I'm happy to hear any better ideas or just additions to these, would be that we forget about all the fancieness of law books and go back to the basics. Murder, theft wether by force or by stelth, rape, assault and vandalism would seem to me to cover the crimes that have victims and thus need to be inforced. Personaly I dont think we need to be dealing with any more of this than needed and so think makeing sure we have very few repeat criminals would be our best bet. We will need to set up a court to make sure theres more than an accusation and sentance, but I think if we have a murderer or rapeist the best solution would be a short drop and a sudden stop at the end of a rope from the nearest tree. On the other hand I myself cant really take to killing a man willing to surrender who was trying to get something he wanted or needed, especialy in times like these when there may be a lot of folks who feel they have no choice, but I cant stomach letting them off scott free iether, so I suggest we figure out a place to keep them and start a chain gang for the thiefs and those convicted of theft, assault, or vandalism. The chain gangs could be taken around to do work for folks in trade for the supplies needed to help feed them and shelter them or things to offer for folks to guard them while they work."

    Jack was gaining a little confidence from the nods and murmors, so he continued, "I know noone wants a prison on thier front lawn, but we need a place to house them and someone to see that they are treated fair but learn that these things wont be tolerated as well as someone to set up where they will work and for what, then we need a way to transport them and some folks to watch them. Whatever we are going to do though needs to be set up now, I have two thiefs that tried to get into my shop last night working here now and thier friend who pulled a gun is in the grave at the end of my drive. That said, dose anyone disaprove or have any better ideas?" Everyone looked at each other but noone had anything to add. Jack had hoped someone would take charge and get him out of this situation but since they didn't he went on, "In that case, I guess the first thing would be to decide on how to run the court. I would think since the law is simplified we could stick with a jury of 12 and we could have someone preside to keep things orderly, but we should have no need of lawyers. Let the charged speak for themselves and the victim or if they are unable a family member or other proxi, can speak for the prosicution." Everyone seemed to agree so he continued, "Second would be a place to house them, I think the best way of doing this would be for us to get together as a comunity and build a jail and provide guards somewhere on the property of whoever is organizeing them. The person in this position would obviously be due compensation for thier time and energy so they and thier family should also be alowed to recieve what they need from the supplies gathered from the work of the chaingangs. I guess the next thing then would be, who will organize them and run the gangs. Any volunteers or nominations?" "I nominate Jack Kunkle!" came a voice from the back, "I second that came a voice to the left." Jacks stammering, "Wait a secon, What? I...", was drowned out by a wave of "AYE!" Jack was left wondering what had just happened and what he had gotten himself into, he croaked then cleared his throat and called out, "Those opposed?" The silence was defening to him, "Any other nominations?" All was silent for a moment then someone called out, "Nomination passed unanimously!" "Damn!" Jack thought to himself, "What the hell did you go and do this time?!" Then he said, "Well, I guess that means a lot of you will be back tomarrow with materials and we'll put up the jail. The only things remaining are transportation and guards, anyone willing to help out as a guard or got any ideas for getting the around see me before you go, otherwise I suppose I'll see most of you in the mornin." And that was how the meeting went. Jack was still reeling wondering wether to feel honored or ambushed as several folks clapped him on the back and congradgulated him. Steve Douglas came up to him and said, "Say Jack, I sure could use some help out at my place on a consistant basis. I have 100 head of holstines and am milkin 75 of them twice a day. Since the powers out the milkin machines dont milk so its all got to be done by hand. Its all me and the boys can do to get them milked in the morning before we have to start on the evening milking. I'm afraid if we dont get some help a lot of the cows are gonna start ruptering and such and never be able to milk again or just die off. I tell you, if I could get help out there at my place any time they're available I could donate the old Ford 8N I use to mow and such along with a wagon for the jail and I can also put in 75 gallon of milk a day for them and the guards. Thats another reason I came, since you have the store I was hopeing I could bring in the rest of the cream and milk and trade it or sell it here, since the lights went out the truck aint come to make any pick ups and Im thinking they wont. Oh and if the chaingangs are workin at my place me and the boys can take shifts guardin them while thier there, so that would put one on guard and the others of us can take care of the rest of the chores." Jack thought for a moment, "Well, I think we can arrange that. I could send these two over in the mornin if you come get 'em or send one of the your boys for 'em. Then bring 'em back in the evening along with whatever milk you wont use, we can take whats needed of it for the prisoners and whoever is willing to guard them, then Ill see what I can do for you on the rest. About how much milk do you get in a day?" Steve replied around 700 gal., we will start useing a hundred or so for the hogs and chickens though." With that Steve headed out, Jack got 3 volunteers as guards from the group and arranged for one to be there each night for the next three days then rotate and also found that most of the folks would indeed be back the nextday. Seemed it was going to turn into something of an old fashioned barn raising.

    Shirley stopped to talk to Jack and said, "You know, I run a dog school, training dogs to show and general obedience, but I used to be an MP in the USMC, my M.O.S. was as a dog trainer. I trained guard and attack dog. My Rodigian ridge back had pups 5 months ago. I still have 3 of them, if you want to work out a trade, I could train them to help guard the prisoners." Jack thought this sounded like a good idea and so they worked out a deal. One dog could often do more to guard or run down escapies than half a dozen men.
    As the last of the folks left and Jack took dinner to the prisoners, who Frank had brought in near an hour ago after they had hit water, then went he went to his own dinner his head still spinning. "What just happened," He asked Sue. "Darlin, you just got the job of warden, sherif and I suspect mayor, all rolled into one," Sue said with a giggle as she set his dinner in front of him on the table.
  3. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Jack had one of the guards start immideatly and after giveing the promised pillows and sleeping bags to the prisoners he went to bed knowing that the next day would be a long one besides, he was tired after the little sleep he had the night before.
    Jack woke just past dawn and went to the kitchen without wakeing Sue. He made a large batch of biscuts and gravy, knowing that there would be several folks showing up in an hour or two and some would be wanting to have breakfast at the dinner and this would help out Sue. He grinned as he thought, 'Now Im glad the nice new stove went out and we got this old thing'. The stove they had before was one of the newer ones with an electronic starter rather than a pilot and it never worked when the power was out. It had finaly gone out all togather and they got one of the older stoves with pilot lights, otherwise cooking would now be a real problem. He started a pot of coffee while the biscuts baked. When the coffee was done he took a cup out to the guard who was out at the barn. Jim thanked him as he took the coffee. "I'll bring out breakfast for you and the prisoners in a bit," Jack said, "I suppose you better get 'em up and about too, I suspect Steves boys will be here for 'em in the next hour or so." "Sure thing," Jim said. Jack went back in and got the biscuts out of the oven and put in another batch then fixed three plates and two more cups of coffee and took them out. When he got in Mark and Sue were up and Frank was getting up as well.
    After breakfast, Jack went out to the field and picked out the spot for the jail that would have a good view on all sides. Jack knew that there might come a time that a jail break would be attempted so he picked the spot to build it for a good field of fire with no cover to get to it and in a spot where stray shots at or from the structure would be the least threat to the house. He took 4 stakes and some string and staked an area 30 foot wide and 60 foot long. He planned to have a 5 foot wide hall around the outer wall for the guards so the main area for the prisoners would be 20 foot by 30 foot with two other rooms 10 foot by 20 foot each at one end. The main area would be the mens dorm, with bunk beds, that the chain gangs could build as needed. Jack figured this would hold two dozen men and maybe more if needed. Of the two smaller rooms, he planned to use one for a womans dorm. While there would undoubtedly be some female criminals, he didnot expect near as many as men, the other was for any prisoners who needed to be seperated for any reason. Jack sat down by the sight with a pen and a pad he had along and drew up a rough floor plan and blueprint. By the time he was done folks started to arive, bringing tools and materials they had along. Some had lumber, brick or stone, others had tin or fenceing, and nails. Jack had everyone put the supplies in seperate piles according to type and as he took a mental inventory of what there was to work with he worked out the details for the building. Jack went over to Buck Johnson, who while he lived a couple of miles down the road, also owned the timber across from Jacks place. "Hey buck, you mind if we cut a few trees on your timber over here so we can use a pole frame, and save the lumber for the walls?" Buck said, "Hell I wouldnt mind if you wanted to clear it all for me. We can get Joe to come over with his tractor and wagon to haul 'em back." They rounded up half a dozen of the strong farm boys to help with this taskand Jack let Frank know what he had in mind and asked him to organize the others to dig the holes for the poles.

    The timber crew cut several trees and what wasnt fit foruse on the pole building they cut to cord wood and piled for later use or in brush piles that could be burned at a later date. In a few hours they had what they needed and headed back. By the time they got there the holes were ready. They put up the poles and framed them in for inner and outer walls and the roof. It wasnt any 16 inch studs, but with the tin they had it would do fine. By the time they had the frame done it was a bit past noon so they stopped for lunch. Some had brought lunches but most ate at the dinner and Sue got a good supply of things for the diner on barter deals, eggs, chickens, fish, and so on. After lunch they put up tin on the outer walls and half way up the inner walls with welded wire fenceing for the top half of the inner walls. They put windows in the outer walls and used clear sheets of plastic in frames for them. Below the windows they used bricks or stone with what mortar they had to make safer areas for the guards to get behind incase they had to defend the jail in a fire fight. Jack also had a small cage type structure put in one end of the main room for a heating stove in the winter. He wasnt interested in makeing any prisoners comfortable but did not intend to freeze them to death iether. As they were working Sue called Jack up to the shop. When he got there she said, "This fella came up and was looking around at the shop and was wondering about working for some goods, I told him he should talk to you." Jack walked over to the man, he was in his later twenties, a little over 6 foot tall and built like an ox. Jack put out his hand and said, "Hi there, I'm Jack, I run this place, what can I do for you?" "Good to meet you. Names Railey," the man said as he nearly crushed Jacks hand without intending to. "I'm headed out from KC with my wife looking for a place to wait this out, things have gotten pretty nasty there, and I needed to get some supplies but dont have money or anything I can trade. Was hopeing you might have some odd jobs I could do or I could help with the building you're doing in trade. I've done a fair bit of construction and a little bit of a lot of other things." Jack said, "You said something about your wife, where's she at?" The man replied, "after the things we've been through in the city and getting this far, I decided to send her back up the road a little ways to hide and wait while I came to be sure everything was safe." Jack could imagine the things he mentioned and was impressed that the man seemed to be thinking. Jack said, "As to the building, thats a comunity project, we're building a jail for those who create problems, so I wouldn't be tradeing much for work on that but if you want to work I think we could help each other out. I somehow got put in charge of the prisoners who will be on chaingangs earning thier keep and truely repaying thier debts to society, I also run this shop and this farm. I don't reckon it would be all that fitting for me to have the chain gangs working my place if there's other work for 'em to be doing and I have more work than the family and I can do right now. So, as long as your wife is willing to earn her keep as well, you are welcome to stay on for a bit and work off supplies and see if we both want to extend the arrangement longer. What is it your wife dose anyway?" Railey said, "That sounds like a hell of a plan to me, as to my wife, she's a nurse. The Dr. she worked for got killed the day before we left by some punks wanting drugs. I sure do appreciate this Mr." Jack chuckled, "No problem, but dont thank me yet, you may change your mind after seeing what a days work out here is like." The big man smiled, "I'm not afraid of hard work. Truth is thats mostly all I've known. I dropped out of school to go to work and support myself then did a year in jail for putting a guy in the hospital after he got rude with my wife in front of me and tried to proposition her. With no diploma and a record, hard is the only kind of work I can get and I'm used to haveing to work extra hard to be sure to keep it. I'll go let my wife know and bring her back." Jack said, "Sure thing, when you get back just come on over if you would and lend a hand, I can't give much for that but could at least offer you dinner and a bedroll in the barn before we get started tomorrow."

    As ARailey left Jack went back to work on the jail. After a little under an hour Railey returned and headed right over, his wife at his side, and said, "Jack this is my wife Laura, Laura this is Jack Kunkle." "Hello," Laura said as she put out her hand, "Thank you for letting us have this chance to earn some supplies and a place to stay. We truely do appreciate it." Jack replied, "My pleasure, truth is we're glad to have some extra help, especialy a nurse. We dont have any medical folks around." Railey said, "Well, what can we do to help?" Jack said, "Well, grab a hammer and I think we're ready to put up the wire and finish up on the roof and doors."
    The whole group worked at it and by the time folks had to leave for the day all that was left was the last touches that Jack planned to leave up to the prisoners, such as beds. They had even put in a small area where a bucket could be sat for a chamber pot situated so there was a bit of privacy from the other prisoners but the guards could still keep an eye on them to be sure it was not used as a blind spot for causeing trouble.
    Shortly after sun down the Douglas boys came up the drive on the tractor with two saddled horses tied behind the wagon. The oldest came to Jack and said, "Pa told us to leave the tractor here so the guard could bring them out in the morning and for us to ride the horses home." Jack said, "Alright, I'll send them out in the mornin then. How'd they do? Any problems?" The boy, a stalky 19 year old, said, "No, we had to show them what to do of coarse, but once they knew what was expected of them they did pretty well. They did have a little fuss early on but nothin much." Jack asked, "A little fuss? What do you mean?" Me replied, "Oh the one just started to sass a little when he was told what all they were gonna have to be doing and the other smacked him a good one in the back of the head and told him to shut up cause he didn't want any extra time added and wanted work his time off, learn what he could that would help himout and get out of this area. After that they both did pretty good, especially for a couple of city boys." Jack nodded, "O.K., I just wanted to be sure if they earned a good dinner or just something to keep 'em going. Sounds like they did what was expected of 'em." The boys got on thier horses and headed out and Jack went to the kitchen and got thier dinner and took it out to them at the new quarters and said, "I brought you out your food. I understand there was a bit of an attitude problem this mornin but that you worked hard so you get a decent supper, now if you put in a good day tomorrow without any problems then when you get back, I'll let you use the materials and tools and walk you through it so you can make a couple of beds to sleep in instead of just the bags on the floor." The two took thier dinner and agreed readily.
    Jack went back to the house, leaving the guard behind with the prisoners, then went in and cleaned up for dinner. Railey and Laura had dinner with the family and everyone got to know each other. After dinner they sat about talking and Jack said to Railey, "Well, if you want to head out with me, we have a small travel trailer that you all can stay in, but we'll need to clear it out a bit and it may be good if we moved it around here by the shop." Railey agreed and they went out and moved it up by the barn with the van then set it up on blocks and cleared it out. As they were finishing up Jack said, "So, do you all have a gun?" Railey said, "No, when I was on parole I wasnt allowed to have them and even though my time wasnt for a felony, I haven't gotten any since then." Jack said, "So you used to have some?" Railey said, "Yeah, I used to hunt a lot when I was growing up." Jack said, "So you know how to shoot then?" "Yeah, used to be a pretty good shot in fact." Jack replied, "Well, there's a single shot 12 ga. under the bed there and 3 boxes of shells I keep in here for camping trips, one is turkey loads one is buckshot and the small one is slugs. If anything happens and you need it, its there. Just be damned sure of your target and dont shoot anyone if you can help it, we do have a jail now and if we can get them to surrender then we dont have to worry about shooting the wrong person or anything. At the same time though if they are a threat to you or others dont take unnessicery chances for thier sake." Railey said, "Thanks Jack, I sure do appreciate this, we had no idea what we were gonna do or where we were gonna go and this is a real life saver." Jack replied, "Don't worry about it, you help me out around here and We'll all benifit from it." The two finished up and after a bit more chat inside, Jack warned Railey and Laura that the gate was rigged at night and not to poke around without a family member, then everyone went to bed haveing had a long day.
  4. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Jack turned over the running of the shop to Frank and Greg and over the next week or so worked with Mark and Railey around the farm. Laura worked helping Sue with the diner most of the time, though it didnt take long for word to get out that she was a nurse and most days one or two folks would come by to ask her medical questions or to have her patch them up. She felt a little out of her depth at times when folks came in with major gashes and such but realised she was the most qualified one around to deal with it and since she had assisted with most of these things in the past, made due as best she could and did a good job of it by all acounts. Jack and Railey got started on a windmill and attached it to a pump that Jack had made from a pipe with an adaptor to a smaller size on one end to keep a metal disk from falling out, the disk was hinged at one side and created a one way check vualve. Then he made a smaller version of the same thing that would fit in the first pipe, so that the smaller one sealed on the sides but could be moved up and down through the larger pipe. As the inner vualve went up it created a vacume in the larger pipe below it causeing it to fill with water then as the inner vualve went down the water was pushed into the upper chamber and as this was repeated it raised the water level untill it came out the top. It wasnt pretty but after a bit of tinkering, such as putting a piece of inner tube on the flappers for a better seal, it was functional. Jack geared the axel on the windmill so it would not be to much load then had it turn a crank, on the end of the crank he had a rod that went around with the end of the crank and ran a second rod at the other end up and down. The second rod in turn would run the pump and pump water into barrels they had put on a stand about 10 feet off the ground on the up hill side of the house. It didnt give much pressure but it allowed them to have running water. Jack also spent some time in the work shop, makeing pumps for trade as well as shotguns, black powder muskets, knives and verious tools. He took the first couple muskets out along with some potash and sugar and balls made for them, he tied them to the back side of a large tree and fired repeatedly with a string from the other side of the tree with gradualy increasing amounts of 'powder' untill it blew up. Then he reduced that amount by about 30% and fired the other around 20 times and checked to be sure there was no damage. He took note of this amount and cut it in half then started shooting it as it would be used and adjusted the charge to find one that would lay a group inside a 6 inch area out to around 50 yards. Since he had the materials to make a few dozen identical muskets from the same stock, and the charge he had settled on was around 1/3 of what it took to blow the first one, he knew how much of a charge to suggest with the potash and sugar, and decided he would do the same test with black powder once he could make some. He had nearly 250 pounds of the mix and and so he made powder measures for the muskets. They would not be good for long range but they could take a deer or other large critters, including a man out to 50 yards or so and made a rather intimidateing large hole and a big boom. They could also be loaded with shot and used as a shotgun at close range. They should at least be far better than nothing for those who didn't have a gun at all, and new amunition could be made after all the components for modern ammo had run out or make current supplies last longer for emergency usees. They were a strange system that was kind of like a flint lock that used the flint and wheel from a disposable lighter and the flint could be replaced with one from a dead lighter. Jack knew it would be some time before all the dead lighters were gone and they nearly alwayse still had flint left after the fluid ran out.

    More refugees from the cities were starting to come through and the Douglases hired on a few to help out on the farm in return for room and board, so the chain gang, which had three new members that had killed a cow and got caught as they were finishing thier dinner, was now helping to dig wells and cut wood around the area.
    Jack took railey and, after talking to a neighbor with a large spread of around 500 acres, went on an herb hunt. By the end of the day they had several pillow cases filled with various herbs from mint for teas or seasoning to wild tobacco to dry for smokers who were out of cigarets and willing to trade for it. They also had greens for the diner, wild onions and garlic, cat tail roots that could be cooked up like potatos.
    Over the next couple of weeks the number of refugees increased and so did the chaingang, there had also been 4 local families wiped out and a few other individuals killed by folks trying to take what they neededas well as several of the refugees that had gotten the worse end of things, there were a couple of rapes as well so there had been half a dozen hangings and there was a group of men out hunting one group that had killed an older man and his wife then thier 22 year old daughter had been gang raped and murdered.
    Many of the refugees were already getting desperate and starting to be less willing to take no for an anwser however most were still not desperate enouph to get into a shooting fight and the locals had all started carrying guns at all times. There had also been several refugees that had been inviteed and helped to settle in the area includeing a butcher that had been settled across the road from Jack.

    Since the entire families had been killed on the 4 farms and there was noone to claim them, the locals had decided to use them as places to settle those with skills that were not available who came thier way and wanted to stick around. Three of the farms were large ones and so the families were given 40 acres and the rest was going to be held by the community for future use if needed but the families had use of them untill that time. One of the families was as old couple and thier grand children. The man was a shoe maker and the woman was a seamstress. They had had a full clothing store in the city for years but a couple of years ago had retired. The other two larger farms were still vacant. The smaller farm, a mile down from Jack was 30 acres left of an old farm and had a large old house on it along with a huge old horse barn. This house they had decided to turn into a hospital as they had been haveing several medical workers comeing out. It seemes that things in the cities had become hell on earth in the little time since what they found out was an electro magnetic pulse caused by a giant solar flare knocked out everything with a computer chip, and the hospitals had been over run by looters looking for drugs and food as well as anything else that wasnt nailed down. So in the past week or so they had 2 EMTs that had left the city togather, 3 nurses, a doctor and a veteranerian had come through on thier way to anyplace out of the city and had jumped at the chance to settle and share the house with the rest of the medical staff and the families of the Doc and the one nurse that had her family with her. All together there were 12 people in the 6 bedroom house. With the help of the chain gang they were turning the barn into a hospital and would be given a little bit of supplies from each of the local farms to keep them fed and in firewood as a kind of insurance. Any of the folks helping to support them would not be charged if they or thier families needed medical attention and others would be treated regardless but when able would be expected to work off thier bill or give a good trade, as these trades were set to be a fair bit higher, most of the locals opted to contribute to the medical staffs needs what they could. The community, or at least those who had showed up for the meetings and had become the interm 'elders' of this community, had decided this would be a wise investment of resources so as to be sure that the medical staff could have the time to be at the house in case of need rather than haveing to spend 90 percent or more of thier wakeing hours working stock or the fields and other chores to keep themselves fed and warm. The Douglases were still bringing by around 100 gallons of milk every couple of days for some grain and hay that Jack got in on trade. Sue and Laura had started skimming the cream off of half of this to make butter as it went over well in the diner as well as in the shop. Of the rest a few gallons were set aside to use in the dinner or to trade off in the shop and the rest was used to make cheeses. Everyone loved the cheese used to cook some of the dishes and to buy to take home as this had become scarce untill hers had started being finished. Also it kept far longer than milk and unless it was being used for cooking most folks really didnt care for milk now since it couldnt be kept any cooler than the cellars or a well for those that had hand dug wells rather than the narrow drilled wells.

    Over dinner one evening Jack brought up an idea he had been toying with for several days. Since there were no stores to go to now and gardens were just starting to produce the early crops every one had to slaughter quite a bit of stock to keep thier pots filled and had been mostly liveing on meat. So Jack said, "I have been thinking, a lot of folks could use a change in diet and just something to supplement the local food supply. We brought along the canoes and the hoop nets and that 200 ft trammel net, and I have gotten in enouph fuel on trades that the van is full again. The South Grand river is just about 25 miles south of here, and if I got 3 or 4 guys to go with me for a share of the catch I think we could have a good supply of fish in a day or two." Sue said, "First off, what is a trammel net? Second, are you sure its a good idea, with all the trouble there has been lately?" Jack said, "A trammel net is a net that has 3 nets put togather. There is one in the middle that the fish cant get through that has a bunch of sag to it and one on each side that has openings about a foot and a half or so square. The fish swim through the outer net and into the center one, when they try to turn around to get away they take the center net with them and go back through a different hole and it tangles up around them. The more they try to get out the more they get tangled. It's around 200 ft long and around 8 ft tall. As to being safe, I was thinking I would leave dad and Railey and Mark here to look after the farm and shop and see if the Jenkins boys would go along for the trip. They are all crack shots and a kind of roudy bunch that I figure would be good in a fight if it came to that as well as that theyre all strong as oxes. Thier old man is mean enouph that if anyone comes at thier place with less than 50 folks I folks I dont think it would hardly be a fair fight and with thier ma there, well shes the only one that can knock thier old man down when he gets drunk and wild and she can best any man around for shooting with a hand gun." Frank said, "How do you figure to keep the fish? We cant exactly freeze them." Jack replied, "Well, we have the smoke house and the pressure cooker. I figure we can make up a live box from some of the chicken wire and keep them alive in the water untill we head back then when we get here we can clean them and can a bunch of them then smoke what we cant use in the next day or two for us or in the diner." Sue looked at him and said, "I see you have thought it through. Im a little worried but I agree, we could use another food source here, so I guess you should do it. When did you plan to go?" Jack said, "I'll ned to get ahold of the Jenkins boys and get them on board, then I figure the day after the next good rain. The fish alwayse seem to be more active there after a rain when the water is up so I think that will be the best time." They all agreed and the next day Jack went to the Jenkins farm and set it up with them that the boys would go for a third of the catch with the option of an equal amount of goods from the store if they prefered and feeding them on the trip. The 'boys' ranged in age from 17 to 22 with the twins in the middle at 19. A couple days later it clouded up and Jack knew the next day would be the time to go. He loaded the van with the nets and canoes on top and the livebox on the trailer along with the large net live box that he and Frank had used when they had fished the Missouri river in his teens. He put half a dozen roosters in the wire box to be cooked for meals and the entrials could be used in a sock to chum the water and get fish to the trammel net or to bait the hoop nets along with the moldy pieces he had trimmed from the the cheese. Sure enouph, it poured all night and was just letting up in the morning when Jack arived at the Jenkins farm and picked up the boys. The oldest 3 had thier rifles and the youngest had a 12 Ga pump, each also had a handgun in a holster and 2 extra boxes of shells for each gun. Jack had brought along his .357 and his SKS. With the 5 of them they made a formidable force if anyone were foolish enouph to attack them.

    Jack and the Jenkins boys got into the van and headed out for the South Grand. They decided to keep to the county roads, rather than the blacktop, to avoid as many problems as possible. Jack also decided to go around Clinton rather than through it as he would have normaly done. It wasnt a big city like K.C. but he had no doubt there would be a lot more folks there than they really wanted to deal with. This turned the 25 mile trip into more like a 50 mile trip and they had to follow some directions from the oldest Jenkins boy, Jerry, who knew all the back roads as he had lost his lisence over a DWI and was alwayse trying to avoid areas that the highway patrole sat.
    Shortly after they turned east to go past Clinton and towards the fishing spot near Mont Rose, they had to stop as a tree had been felled across the road. Jack asked Jerry, "How far do we have to go to get around it?" Jerry replied, "Hell if I know. I usually aint on this side of town so I just know the one way."
    Jack didnt like it but they would have to cut it out of the way. It was iether put there by folks trying to keep others away from thier homes or by folks looking to set an ambush and iether way this could be a bad scene, but the last place to turn to look for a way around was 2 miles back and there was no place to turn around unless they went at least a half mile or so and he didnt like backing the trailer that well. "O.K.," Jack said, "I have a couple of axes back there I brought for fire wood. I didnt bring the chainsaw cause I didnt want the noise attracting attention, I kind of wish we had it now. Tommy," he told the youngest, "Grab the axes. You and Jerry will have to cut the top off of it so we can try to turn it enouph to get past. Me and the twins will cover you in case there is any trouble and we can spell you in a bit if you get tired." Tommy grinned, "Get winded on that little old stick? Shoot we chop up sticks like that for kindlin." The tree was not all that large Jack realised, only around 18 inches in diamiter. What had him more concerned was why it was there and who might try to stop them. As Jerry and Tommy got out Jack said to the thinner of the twins, weighing in around only 210 as opposed to John who was a good 250 and solid, "Mike, get up on the van between the canoes and keep an eye out. John, you go over on that side of the road and up 20 yards or so past the tree and keep an eye out. I'll go on this side." The three took thier positions as the other two started chopping. John found a patch of weeds ans saplings and sat down dissapearing into them. The Jenkins boys were well known in the area as woodsmen or more precisely as poachers who made a point of being able to vanish into the terain when the need arose to avoid conservation agents. Jack recognised the advantage of this idea and settled into some bushes. If anyone came with ill intentions it would be better if they thought the two cutting were alone.
    Once the log was cut it was reduced to a 20 foot long pole that was around 18 inches thick. Jack had planned to hook the van to it to move it but Jerry who was a good 275 and except for his slight beer gut was solid as a rock and Tommy who, though he was the youngest was as large as Jerry and even stronger, both grabbed ahold of the end and raised it useing the berm at the edge of the road as a fulcrum and lifted it a foot or so and turned the log far enouph for the van to pass. As Jack shook his head at the sight and was getting ready ready to stand and go back to the van, he heard a voice from the road ahead of the log. "Hold it right there," A tall slender old farmer said as he held a shotgun trained on the two. There were 3 other men with him, also armed. "What do you think youre doin'?" Jack looked closely at the area where John was positioned and was able to make out the barrel of his rifle trained on the group and he could also see the barrel of Mikes shotgun under the canoe. Jack stayed hidden and trained the sights of his SKS on the group then calledout, "We aint lookin for any trouble, we just need to get through, but if this goes bad you may wanna know you all are nice and bunched and in a 6 way crossfire." Jack doubted that they had noticed any of the the 3 hidden men from the way they jumped at the sound of his voice and wanted to be sure they were confused if they did spot the 3 and would be looking for the rest.

    Jack continued, "I'm Jack Kunkle from up at Chilhowee, we're just trying to get to the grand river to try to get some fish to help out on the food supply." The old man relaxed a bit and said, "I can understand that, we just been haveing a lot of trouble lately from folks trying to get out of town that figure anyplace that they dont see a house setting is public land and if there's noone in sight they figure livestock is fair game." The man gestured for his companions to lower thier guns and they did, still looking around though for the other gunmen. Jack stood up and lowered the barrel of his rifle. He said, "I know what you mean, we've had several murders and a couple of rapes up our way in the past couple of weeks. So we wont have a problem with one another then?" The farmer said, "We aint looking for trouble niether, we're just lookin' to protect our own. If you come back this way and have enouph, we could sure use some food around here too though. We have loads of feed corn but that dont do to well for eatin', if you want to trade we would sure like to work something out." Jack said, "Long as the welcome dont figure to be so tense next time, I reckon we would be comeing back the same way and I'ld be glad to do some tradeing." The two talked for a couple more minutes and when Jack was satisfied it was safe he nodded to Mike and John and they both stood up with thier guns relaxed at thier sides. The group of locals looked around and the farmer asked after a moment, "Is there a reason the others aint comeing out?" Jack grinned, "Cause there are no others, I just didnt know for sure what your intentions were or how this would play out and wanted to keep you guessing untill I could be sure if this was gonna be a friendly meeting or a turkey shoot." The man half grinned and shook his head, "Well I reckon it worked, I had seen the one barrel in the brush over here and figured there might be one on or in the van but was sweatin' it wondering where the other three were aiming from." The two groups talked for a bit then Jack and the boys headed on thier way.
    By the time they made it to the river it was nearing noon. Jack had the twins go and gather up some wood for a campfire and he and the others unloaded the canoes and put them in the water with the nets in them then started in killing the chickens and plucking them. Jack had some old socks that he put the guts and waste into to bait the hoop nets with and a bucket that they tried to catch as much of the blood as possible in along with the innards that didnt fit in 3 of the socks. The other socks were filled with the cheese trimmings. By the time they finished with the chickens and unloading the twins had a good supply of firewood for a day or so and had started a small fire in small clearing no more than 12 feet across under several over hanging trees that would disapate any smoke the dry wood did give off.

    Mike had Jerry stay at camp and got the chickens started while he and Tommy got in one canoe and the twins in the other and they got out into the river to go set the nets. The river was up as he had hoped and moveing swiftly but they were able to slowly make headway up stream. They went about 1/2 a mile up stream to set the first nets then set a pair every couple of hundred yards at 4 different places. The last ones were just a couple of hundred yards up stream from camp and they floated down to the camp and had lunch. After they ate they attached one end of the trammel net to the bank and went across the river with the other end. After they had set it Jack went went up stream about 25 yards and poured a good bit of blood out of the bucket into the water and put a sock full of guts on a heavy piece of cord with a hook incase a fish got ahold of it and tied it to a sapleingthat hung over the water. They let the netset for a little more than a half an hour, then tied the far end to one of the canoes and let it drift over to the near bank. It took the 5 of them 2 hours to untangle the fish and turtles from the net. They decided to keep the turtles as well and put them in the wire box and put the fish in the net basket. It was 10 ft long and 3 ft across so they decided it should hold a good haul of fish. By the time they were done with the trammel net they had close to 75 lbs of catfish and a dozen large drum plus 7 turtles and several carp and gar that they had thrown back. After they had finished they went to run the hoop nets and took the one furthest up stream to use for transporting the fish back to camp. They repeated this 4 more times before they turned in for the night with Jack takeing the first watch.
    The next day they did 10 runs of the nets and 5 with the trammel net. None were as good as the first haul but by the time they left they had a bit over 1000 lbs of fish and 25 large turtles. They had told thier families they would be back on the third day, so they packed up and headed back the way they had come.
  5. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    The group made thier way to the farm that the old farmer from the baracade had pointed out as his place. As they pulled up they realized it was a dairy farm. The farmer came walking across the yard to greet them as they pulled up. "Howdy," he said smileing, "Do any good at fishing?" Jack returned the smile and offered his hand as he got out of the van and said, "Not to bad, got enouph that we figured we could ablige and stop in to do a little tradeing." " Well good deal," the farmer said, "Lets go over to the picnick table and sit for a bit while we hash out the horse tradeing." The farmer motioned to a table with benches setting about 10 feet off so Jack and the others went over and sat down. Jack started off as the farmer sat down, "You mentioned that you had feed corn to trade, what kind of trade did you have in mind?" The farmer shrugged and replied, "I don't know, how much fish you want to trade off and how much feed would you want for it?" Jack thought for a moment then said, "Well, I suppose we could trade off maybe 100 poundsor so if you wanted that much, say maybe 10 pounds of fish per bushel of corn?" The farmer responded I reckon that sounds reasonable, and we could use all you can spare. Tell you what, wait here a minute and I'll go grab a tub for the fish and some sacks to load the corn into." Jack replied, "We can give you a hand with that." "Nah, I got it, you sit back and relax," the farmer replied as he walked off.
    Jack stood up and turned to the boys to let them know to unload a good 100 pounds of fish but just as the farmer stepped in through the door of the shed across the drive he was cut short when, as he spoke to him, Jerries face exploded spraying Jacks entire upper body with vissera, before Jerry could even fall Jack heard the rifles report and the flash from the hayloft of the barn registered in his mind. Jack dove to put the van between himself and the barn as he drew his .357 and screamed, "AMBUSH!!!". The other 3 had realised this on thier own and were diveing for cover and seeking targets already. Before Jack could hit the ground a bullet ripped through his left calf. John popped up behind a barrel and fired into the door of the hayloft finding his mark and knocking the man back and as chance would have it, through an opening in the lofts floor for throwing down hay, a large hole in his chest from Johns old .30-40, at that same moment hovever a shot rang out from the silo at the other side of the yard and a puff of red cloud flashed behind Johns shoulder as the bullet creased his left bycept. The farmer poked his head out of the shed with a rifle in his hands and got his face destroyed by a load of no.6 from Tommys 12 guage which reported twice so quickly that the second report was nearly lost in the echo from the first in the farm yard. Mike fired 3 shots in rappid succession and found the mark in the chest of the shooter on the silo sending him bounceing down the tube that surrounded the ladder. Jack saw movement in a window of what appeared to be the milking parlor and seeing that it was a person with a gun he fired two shots at the torso and the figure jerked as each slug found its mark then hit slid down the wall on the far side of the hall they were standing in. Jack heard the door of the house slam and as he turned he saw a woman with a shotgun in her hands and fired twice into her chest and once into her head as she fell. They looked around franticly for a moment for any more attackers but saw noone and the silence was deafening then Mike ran over to John and still there were no further shots and Tommy ran to the body of his oldest brother. The battle had seemed to last an eternity and at the same time had happened so quickly that thier minds were still trying to prosess what had happened, in reality the entire thing had lasted no more than a total of about 4 or 5 seconds from the first shot to the last. In the end there were 4 men and the farmers wife dead in addition to Jerry and it didnt take much to notice the steam comeing from the radiator of the still warm van. There were two holes through the radiator from the rifle that had shot Jack.


    Jack pulled the knife from his belt and slit his pant leg up to the knee to get a better look at the damage. From the way it felt Jack honestly wondered if there would be a leg left and so, while relieved, he was honestly surprised to see once he got the blood wiped off a bit that there was a small hole on each side with little difference in the size of the entery and exit holes and they were far enouph back to be sure the bullet had missed the bone and passed through the muscel. The blood was still running fairly heavily but was a steady flow with no spurting so he knew that no arteries had been hit. Satisfied that, while it didnt feel like it, the wound was only superficial Jack pulled himself up and reached into the van to retrieve the firstaid kit. He had alwayse carried extensive first aid kits and now was no different, the kit was a book bag type back pack loaded to the hilt. Jack got out a bottle of distilled water and rinsed the wound then covered both sides in betadine and covered it with a feminen pad on each side then after a layer of guaze he used duct tape to secure it. Once he had bound his leg he went over to where Jerries body lay, it was clear to all there was nothing to be done for him but his brothers were there looking on thier big brother and trying to absorb what had just happened. Jack spoke softly, "I'm sorry...I thought they were just wanting to trade for some food...I didnt think there would be..." John replied almost mater of factly, "None of us did. They had us all fooled, there was no way for you to know what they had in mind." Jack shook his head as he looked over at John and said, "How bad is the arm?" John shrugged, "It burns a little but it just tore a furrow, didnt even through." "We need to get it cleaned up and bound," Jack said. "Yeah,"John said as he walked over to the table and took off his shirt as he sat down. Jack limped over to the table with the first aid kit and cleaned Johns wound then said, "It's nothing to serious but it will need to be sewed up. Do you want me to sew it up now or would you rather wait untill we get home?" John replied, "It wont be the first time Ive been sewed up in the field, if you got some thread and a needle we might as well get it done." Jack pulled out a sutcher kit from the pack and John grunted in numb amusement, "Hell this will be the first time I ever had the fancy store bought stitches, Ma usualy just brings out her sewing needle and some heavy thread to work on us." Jack knew that he wasnt jokeing, the Jenkins family had never had a lot of money but alwayse tried to work for what they got so since they worked had never been able to get state health care but were to poor to buy insurance, so unless it was a true threat to thier lives they never went to a doctor. Jack took a razor and a pair of tweezers from the pack and after giveing John a warning of what he needed to do, cut out the small pieces of aviserated tissue that would have no chance of healing and could otherwise cause extreame infections, after the wound was cleaned up he sewed it up with 18 stitches.


    By the time Jack was done patching up John, Mike and Tommy came over and Mike said, "It dont look like the vans going anywhere and the truck there is new and ran on unleaded so its no good iether, Tommy and I are gonna go see what we can find. You two want to come along or will you be okay here?" Jack said, "We need to stick together. We dont know who may have heard the shooting or how they will react if they come, I dont want us sepperated." John agreed and so Tommy helped Jack along and they decided to start with the garage. When they walked in they saw that it was basicly just storage but Jack was glad to see a set of crutches hanging on the wall. Mike worked his way through the mess and retrieved them for Jack. As Jack adjusted the crutches to an apropriate height the others looked around a bit and saw that while there were a lot of hand tools, there was nothing here for transportation and nothing worth carrying on thier backs if it came to that.
    The barn was the next stop and when they walked in, just past the body of the shooter from the loft, in the dark of the barn they saw 2 tractors. One was an old Ford 8n and the other was a larger John deer with a bucket on the front. Tommy went over and checked the Johndeer first and it started up so then he went over and tried the Ford which also fired off readily, he turned both off and they decided that since there were two large hay wagons in the barn as well they would see what there was to load the wagons with. Mike and Tommy hooked up the wagons then Tommy went up in the loft and returned with an SKS and a bag filled with loaded clips. "No point leaveing the guns behind," he said putting them on the tractor, "The loft is also full of clover hay, it looks pretty good." They decided to load a row of hay around the sides of the wagons up 4 rows high to hold other stuff and so it could be used back home, but before they loaded it up they went to see what else they would take. By the time they had started loading they used the loader to put the propane tank from the house and a 300 gallon farm tank of gas both on one of the wagons. Then after putting on the hay they loaded up most of the tools from the garage and the guns from all of the attackers. They also found a room in the barn beside the feed bin that had tons of empty feed bags, they took them over to the grain bin in the yard and filled 50 or so of them with corn and loaded them on the wagon. It made this much easier since the machinery was there to hook up to the tractors PTO and run the corn out the shoot and catch most of it in the bags. After everything else was loaded they went and searched the house and found several more guns and a good load of ammo. There was no food left in the cupboards so they went to take the guns to the wagon and noticed the door to a cellar that was hidden from sight from most angles by bushes. They decided to go and see if there was anything there so Mike grabbed a flashlight off the wagon, since everything from the trailer and van had already been transfered to the waggons, and brought it back. John opened the bolt to the door and as he opened the door they heard a girl crying. They looked at each other then Jack, gun in hand called out, "Come on out of there!" An auburn haired girl that apeared to be around 16 years old came out trembeling. Squinting from the light she looked around at the men then at the bodies of the ambushers, Jerries body had been wraped in blankets and loaded on one of the wagons already, then she broke down sobbing, "Please help me, my families dead. They killed them." She sobbed. Jack holstered his gun as he motioned for the others to check and be sure the cellar was empty. "Alright," Jack said, "slow down, what happened?" The girl calmed down a bit and explained that her family had been passing through and had been caught at the blockade and robbed, they had tried to fight back and had been killed. She had been unarmed and froze when the shooting started and they had decided to keep her as a slave so that she couldnt tell anyone of what had happened.


    Once she calmed down a bit and they got the rest of what they could find loaded up, they found out that the girls name was Amber and that she had been here for about 3 weeks. She also filled them in on what she knew of the local situation which didnt seem to be good. It seemed that from what the family here had said in front of her, there was a group that was refered to as 'the forragers' from Clinton that were basicly privateers that went out and colected food for the residents of the city by what ever means possible, and they had raided the farm a week or two before she had come to be there. They had taken all the livestock and cleared out all the food from the farm. After that the family had started robbing anyone passing by for food to survive. She had heard them talk about the group that were going fishing, they had been away from the ambush eating a lunch of food they had gotten a couple days before when they had arived. When they got there they ended up walking into a better laid ambush than thier own and had decided that it would be best to wait untill they had a better set up to attack and that it would be best to wait and see what fish they might bring back so that there would be more to gain. After talking to her Jack decided to let her go with them and she could stay with them for a bit untill she could decide what she wanted to do. So they finished loading the wagons behind the tractors and headed out for home.
    As they neared home the John came over and told Jack, "I been thinkin' and I think it would be best if we went to your place first and drop the wagons and if we can borrow the tractor with the bucket, I think we should take Jerry home on our own. It nothin against you and I want you to know we don't blame you for what happened, but this is something we need to have private for the family." Jack nodded, "I understand, if thats what you prefer then of coarse that wont be a problem. The group pulled into the farm on the tractors mid afternoon and there were several folks around that came to see what was going on. The boys pulled up behind the barn to unhook and move Jerries body to the bucket where they would not be bothered and as soon as they were unhooked and had thier brother left with a deep nod to Jack and took thier brother home to tell thier folks. Sue came out and seeing Jacks pant leg and the blood spatter across his chest and torso she turned a sick grey. She ran over to him and questioned, "Jack?" Jack looked at her solemnly and said, "There was a fight, Jerry was the first hit...he didnt make it, most of the blood is his. I got hit in the leg and will need to go to the hospital later to have it patched up but need to get the fish taken care of first and this stuff squared away." Color came back to Sues face as she looked at him and flatly stated, "Like HELL you will! Frank and Mark and Railey can make sure that stuff is taken care of. We're getting you to the hospital now and haveing that looked at!" Jack knew better than to argue and in truth agreed that it was the best idea so he took a couple minutes to tell them what all needed to be done then he and Sue got on the tractor and headed to the hospital.


    After going to the farm that had been set up as the local hospital and being patched up Jack got a shot of antibiotics and he and Sue went home. By the time they got there the fish had all been cleaned and the majority of them had been put in the smoke house to be cured. Laura had cooked up a big batch for the diner. The hay had been put in the barn and a tarp had been used to cover the rest of the things on the wagons. After a bit of dinner and relateing the story of what had happened on the trip Jack and the family went to bed. While he was exhausted he was still unable to sleep well due to the pain in his leg as well as the feelings of guilt he had for putting Jerry in the situation that had cost him his life.
    The next day Jack went out and, after being scolded a couple of times by Sue, sat back and supervised the unloading of the wagons. A little before noon John and Mike came by on the tractor. As they aproached Jack stood up and greeted them, "Howdy." John replied, "Howdy, we came by to bring back the tractor and let you and who ever else might want to come know that we would be seeing visitors this evening at the farm and will be burrying Jerry tomorrow." Jack nodded, "We'll be there and I'll see that word is passed along. I know this may not be the best time but since you are here I was wondering if you wanted to go through the things we brought back and see what your family can use. I have 300 pounds of the fish marked for you all as soon as it is done smokeing and also at least a couple of hundred pounds of corn flour or meal as you prefer soon as it is ground. I also figure the Ford is yours along with one of the wagons and the gas." John nodded and they went over and looked through the things and the boys picked out a few of the guns and some of the tools. Jack also gave them most of the ammo that they had guns for, "I know it isnt much considering the cost to your family and Im truely sorry that I got us into that scrape," Jack said. John replied, "It was thier fault not yours, we all knew the risks when we agreed to go along, these are not good times and travel aint safe but we do what we need to and we all needed the extra food. Dont blame yourself. Well, we need to get back home but we wanted to let you know about the funeral. We'll see you later, okay." "Sure thing," Jack said.
    After the boys left Jack had Mark and Railey go out to the neighbors and spread word about the visitation and funeral. Frank and Greg finished up putting the rest of the things away.
    Later that afternoon Jack and the family, along with Amber and Laura as well as Greg and Frank went loaded up on the wagon and took the tractor to the Jenkins farm. They took along several dishes of food for the Jenkins family. Railey stayed behind along with a couple of refugee men who had stayed on as guards for the jail to keep an eye on the farm, they had decided that Railey would stay today and Frank would stay the next day but that it would be a bad idea to leave the farm abandoned in these times.
    When they got there they were a bit surprised at how many folks had already heard and showed up, the yard was filled with folks waiting to go in to offer condolences as the house was already near full. The Jenkinses, while not particularly disliked, had never been a prominent of especialy loved family but in the past couple months since the lights went out the comunity had realy come together. They went in after a bit and spoke to the family a bit and let them know that if they needed anything they had only to ask and Jack would do his level best to help. After seeing the family they milled around for a short time to talk to the various neighbors that would catch them and finaly got home well past dark.
    The next day they got up and dressed in thier best and headed out for the funeral. The minister from one of the churches in town had come to do the services and some of the local men had dug the grave in an edge of the yard where the family had wanted it, knowing that the labor of digging a grave was not something the family needed added to the strain right now. The services were solemn but somehow inspireing since this nearly the entire community was there to show respects for a boy who a few months ago was considered somewhat less than a piller of society.


    The next day Jack decided they needed a decent mill to grind flour nad such. They had a hand crank grain mill that they had been useing but it was not efficient enouph to grind the amounts needed so he took Railey along to do the labor since he was gimpped up and knew Sue would skin him if she caught him trying to do it on his own. They found a a metal barrel and set a post for chain link fenceing in the center of it then mixed up a couple bags of cement that they had left from the materials for the Jail and after cutting the barrel down to about a foot tall they filled it with the cement around the post. Then they sank another post into a level spot in the ground and surrounded it with rocks and made a ring about 5 foot in diamiter and 2 foot wide and as level as possible then the mixed most of the remaining concrete and spread on it to make it smooth with a lip about 1 inch high along the edges. They then went to the forge and Jack made up plates to go on the sides of the wheel to funnel everything from the pad under the wheel and also mounted a ring large enouph to fit around the post on the end of a pipe that would fit inside of the pipe in the wheel and set a peg at the apropriate spot to keep the wheel from geting to close to the post and made the holes for one to keep it from getting to far away he also put a smaller ring on the other end where the beast turning it could be attached. The next day they cut out the bottom of the barrel around the pipe and put the shaft through it and insetred the pin then they put the ring over the upright post. It would take a couple more days for the cement to cure enouph for it to be used but this would make it so that a horse or goat or more likely an inmate from the jail could be hooled to the pole to turn it and could grind large amounts of grain at once.


    Once it had cured a couple more days Jack had one of the men from the chain gang who had refused to do his work the day defore chained to run the mill. Since the rest of the men on the chain gang had seen his refusal he decided they should also see the start of his following days wor and had the rest of the inmates lined up under guard a few yards away. Jack went out with his .357 on his hip and a bull whip in his hand. He walked up to the inmate who had a chain hooked around his waist and the other end was attached to the pole by a padlock and looking him in the face told him flatly and calmly, "You chose to commit a crime against the folks around here and you are here to pay your debt. We only have two punishments, hanging or the hard labor. So if you choose not to do the labor you are instructed to you will get harder labor and if you refuse you will be whiped until you do it or my arm gets to tired, by which time your back, or whatever is the easiest target, will be burger and if you still choose not to do as you are told it will show me that you have no remorse and cant be rehabilitated and so you will iether be hanged or shot dead where you stand. Is there any part of this that you dont understand?" The inmate looked at Jack and decided to try to see if he was serious and said, "Yeah, what gives you the right to decide what I will do?" Jack stated without hesitation, "The folks around here have decided to make me thier sherif, so for now Im the closest thing there is to law around here, but most importantly and on a level that you can understand is the fact that Im the one that gets do decide if you eat, drink, sleep, and for that matter breath. Also I find your tone insulting and so you will be grinding tomorrow also. If you work hard enouph and keep a civil tone you can still get water in 2 hours and food in 4. If you arent working hard enouph or if you anre less than civil again I will open your back with this whip and you can start loseing meals." The inmate scoffed, "I been without meals before and if you tried ueseing that little whip on me I'ld take it away and use it on you. So what do you have to say to that." Jack stepped back as he flipped the whip out and caught the inmate across the cheek drawing a thin ribbon of blood and a yelp followed by curses from the inmate. Jack calmly stated, "That was a love tap for what I can do with this, now you can grab those bags of corn and start spreading a layer of it in that trough or I can show you what this thing can do when I mean it." The inmate spat, "Fine you fuckink ass hole, I do it." Jack cracked the whip across the mans chest laying the shirt and skin open. The man howled and Jack flatly stated, "Thats 'sir' to you. You will do what you are told and you will do it with out attitude. You are now up to dinner befor you eat and 3 days at this. Would you like to continue the pissing contest or are you ready to get to work and lose the attitude?" "I'll do the work...sir," The man said and turned to work. Jack then walked over to the other men and stated, "This is not the old prison system, you will earn your keep and pay your debt. Any disrespect or infraction of the rules will have you on the mill from daylight to dark for as many days as I decide are deserved. If the problem persists or is judged severe you will be killed PERIOD. Your time here can be hard or harder and longer, but if you choose to do as you are told you will be treated fairly and have the oprotunity to learn what you need to survive if things stay as they are. Am I perfectly clear to all of you?" The inmates looked at each other a bit nervously and murrmered, "Yes, sir." Jack had the guards take the men on to thier work sights for the day. He knew that if the inmates were allowed to think that they could run things that there would be no chance of them learning that this was to high a price to risk paying and would repeat thier crimes if released.


    The next day Sue used some of the corn flour along with some lard and made up tortillias. Many of these she cut up and deep fried to make corn chips and made up some salsa from some of the tomatoes and pepers that had come in in the garden. She also melted some of the cheese and served nochos in the diner. They were not the same as those that you would have gotten in the old days but it was a real treat if for no other reason than the fact that it was different from the normal fair and folks loved it.
    Later in the day Bob, the manager of the elevator came by to talk to Jack and work out an ongoing trade. They had many tons of grains at the elevators and they arranged a trade of grain for Milk and cheese. Jack would send him milk and cheese for his family and to trade with and in return would get grain to trade for feed or grind for meal and flour.
    Over the next couple of weeks Jack healed up enouph that he was able to set aside the crutch he had been useing and started useing a cane. The pain was less and he had been useing small amounts of marajuana that someone had 'found growing wild' and had brought in for trade. Jack had traded for it knowing that it could be used as a pain killer as well as for some other medical applications as well as traded at a VERY high price to those who used it recreationaly. He had been useing it in the evenings to take the edge off enouph that he could sleep through the night. He was now able to sleep without it though he still woke occasionaly with a howl when Sue got restless and kicked him in his wounded leg. Then came the morning that a man came to the farm from Post Oak, a small town just a couple miles to the south and toward Clinton. He told Jack that there had been a raid on the a farm there the night before by the Foragers and that they had killed a man who had tried to stop them then raped his wife and took 20 head of cattle from the farm. Jack sent out Railey and Mark as well as 3 men that were at the diner as messengers to gather folks for a town meeting, the foragers were hitting close to home and some thing had to be done. By noon there was a large group gathered and they got the meeting under way. The man who had come to tell Jack what had happened stayed for the meeting and told the folks what had happened. Jack speted up and opened the floor for suggestions. One of the younger men suggested sending someone to the air force base at Whiteman to get help from the militery but it was decided that it would be to risky since they didnt know the condition of the militery, if there even was one anymore, and if they had no supply lines or if the chain of command had colapsed as they had to assume it had due to lack of comunication, then the militery could well be doing similarly and would be more heavily armed so that was an unacceptable risk. Another man suggested rounding up a possey and going after them but it was decided that there were not enouph folks to form a large enouph possey to do any good since by best accounts the foragers were at least 100 strong though they generaly went out in groups of 10 to 20 and they would be back in town by now and there was no way to realy know them from the general citizenry. They would be far out numbered and with no clear target. It was finaly decided that they would form a milita that would defend the area and they would close it off with guarded gates on the roads. Any groups with over 6 adults or seeming threatening would only be allowed to pass with an escort and they would warn anyone traveling south of the problems. It wasnt a great solution but was the best they could realisticly do at this point.


    They decided that they would have some of the locals that wanted to be a standing force and would recruit some of the refugees that seemed like solid folks and wanted to settle as well. Three of the cattlemen present agreed that between them they could come up with a beef every two weeks for the milita which would come out to a beef each every 6 weeks but it would keep them from loseing them all to the Foragers. A local pig farmer offered 2 pigs a month and Douglas offered 20 gallons of milk a day. There was also a poltry farmer that had been contracted to Tysons who offered 6 dozzen eggs a day delivered weekly and some chickens from time to time as well. Others agreed to contribute from gardens ad materials and such as they could includeing that two running rail buggies were donated to be used for responding to need. One of Jacks elderly neighbors who had a good bit of land that he had farmed 'sold' Jack a 40 acre field that bordered him to be used to build barracs on and to plant a garden to help the milita in return for meals for him and his wife at the diner free of charge when ever they wanted. By the time the meeting broke up they had decided on outposts and the security measures they would try to implement.
    Over the next few days they modified the rail buggies with a bench seat attached to the back and a barrel for a turret on the top so a man could be placed there with a good semi auto rifle for fire power and would have at least a little protection from incomeing fire. This made it so that each buggie could carry 6 men easily and an additional 4 on the running boards that had been added if nessisery. There were also many folks recruited over the week, 35 men of varying ages and skills volenteered, mostly town folks who didnt have much way to provide well for themselves otherwise. There were also 15 additional recruits from the families of refugees who had settled in the area and 50 more refugees were recruited. Jack had been trying to figure out where to come up with materials to build the baracks and guard shacks when it dawned on him that the phone and lights no longer worked and there were loads of logs that would work fine for building holding up the lines and the lines could also be useful. He sent out a group of the recruits with shovels and the tractor with the wagon behind it to dig up and collect power poles for building with as well as the lines them selves figureing they would be useful for something along the way. By that evening they had enouph logs to build 3 of the baracks each 30 foot square and large enouph to hold bunks for 15 two tiered bunks so they had houseing for 90 men and since most of the locals still stayed at home when off duty that was plenty for now. The next day he sent the group out to get more poles for the guard shacks and the rest of the men got started on building the barracks. By the end of the second week they had 15 outposts set and running to cover all the roads comeing into the area. They also built a signal post on the hill top by the barracks. They used light poles set in the ground then connected more on top useing leaf springs with rod through them and the post on each side to conect them on top of the lower ones and built a tower better than 50 foot tall with a shack about 8 foot by 8 foot on the top from which a guard could see carlights wired to batteries and mounted to poles at the outposts that could be used to signal at night and they could see the flags used for daylight signals. There were also truck horns from grain trucks that could be used but it was hard to hear them at up to 4 miles away though it was surpriseing how well sound did travel from a high point now that there was no machinery to drown it out. Standard operating procidures were established includeing hourly signals to check in. The flags had been set up so that there was a pully at the top and there was a 20 pound weight tied to the rope at the top, the rope was in a loop and at the other end of the loop was 6 foot square of material so if the rope was unhooked the flag shot to the top on its own. They had a 3 different flags on each pole, a white one for check ins, green when an escort was needed and red when there was a problem. With thier positioning a person at the central tower with bonoculars could watch anf see the flags in the day and at night the lights were red or white with the same meanings and and no groups needing escorts were allowed to pass untill day time.
    They had also come up with a dozen mounts and so organized 2 patroles to go around and check in from time to time at the outposts as well as being sure all was well in the area.

  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It had been nearly a month since the raid on Post Oak when a party of men came rideing up to one of the sothern guard shacks. There were ten heavily armed mounted men and each was leading a pack horse with nothing on them. There were four men on duty at the shack and Tim went out to see what the mens intentions were while Tom and Kent watched from the windows and Will waited at the signal ropes at the rear window of the shack for word as the procedure had been set. This way only one man was exposed if things went badly with 2 to cover him and one ready to send whichever signal was needed as soon as word came. The apparent leader of the riders looked at the guard and smirked, "Whats with the play fort and the gate?" Tim replied, "Theres been some problems with a group being called the Foragers from a town south of here that have been raiding farms and takeing what they want as well as some other problems so the locals have set up checkstations to keep folks out that want to cause problems, we have also set up some ordenances to keep things safe for both locals and travelers includeing that any groups need an escort through our area so that we asure there are no problems and so the locals dont get nervous. So you all will have to wait a bit untill we can get an escort out here for you." The leader chuckled and turned to his men and said, "You hear that boys they heard of us and think they can get out of giveing us thier tributes." There was laughter from the men as the leader turned back to Tim and said, "Boy, we are the Foragers and we came for some grub and whatever else we find that we like, now you can go and get enouph to load these horses and bring along some cattle or you can get out of the way and we'll go get them ourselves." Will heard this and pulled loose the rope that held the red flag and the wheel rim that was the counter weight came speeding to the ground as the flag shot up and Will held down the button for the horn for a full 2 count then Will grabbed his shotgun and moved to the edge of the door and the other two men at the windows quietly flipped the safteys off on thier rifles and chose those who would be thier first targets.


    Tim looked at the leader and calmly stated, "The only tribute you will be getting you dont want cause if you fellas want to try thievin around here you'll iether end up on the chaingang, at the end of a rope, or with a bullet in your chests. Now I suggest you turn your horses around and get back to where you come from and tell who evers in charge that this area is off limits to skum like you." The group erupted in laughter then the leader said, "I have a better idea how about we kill you and go on about our business, and as to whoever youre signaling to, we'll get to them soon enouph." As he motioned the rider to his left the man started to raise his rifle toward Will then Will reached for the .45 on his hip and 3 shots sounding like one came from the shack takeing the riflemen and two others from the saddles almost simoltaniously includeing the leader. In the next instant there was an eruption of gun gire from both sides and another man went to the ground while another was penned as a stray round dropped his horse instantly and it landed on his leg as his weapon flew from his hands. As Tim tried to run for the cover of the shack he took a shotgun blast to his back and he hit the ground screaming. Will tried to run the few feet to him to help him to shelter but was shot in the head as his foot hit the ground on his first step out the door and another blast went through the open door grazeing Toms shoulder. In that same instant the group spun and spurred thier mounts to a dead run, dropping the leads to the pack horses. As they ran Tom and Kent fired and while they may have hit more could tell that they had hit 2 of the fleeing riders as they pitched in thier saddles and dropped thier guns but stayed on the mounts. The battle had lasted only a couple of seconds but had left 3 of the foragers dead and two, Will dead, Tom grazed and Tim with a back full of bird shot. Of the two wounded that were left behind one had a busted leg pinned under a dead horse and from the bloody froth comeing from his mouth and the sickening sound when he tried to breath it was clear that the other had been hit in the lung. Tom and Kent ran from the shack and made certian that both of the wounded men were disarmed. Kent had gone to the man pinned under the horse and after makeing certian the man was unarmed he pulled a set of interlocked zipties from his pocket and secured the mans hands behind him. Tom went over to the man who had been shot in the chest and as the man reached out a hand as if to ask for help, Tom considered for an instant if his mercy extended to skum like this or not and decideing that he would not change who he was for the likes of trash like this he raised his rifle and shot the man in the head knowing that in these times the man had zero chance of survival since he would be dead in 10 minutes or less and it would take half an hour to get him to the hospital and even then there would be little or nothing to be done for him so he ended the missory of the misserable excuse for a man. Then he went to Tims side followed momenterily by Kent. Tim was laying face down rolling around a bit as he half sobbed and half screamed out in pain. They cut off his shirt and Kent went into the shack and took the white flag from the rope and brought it out folded in thirds and applied it to Tims back to try to stop the bleeding. Though he wouldnt have thought so at the time, he had been lucky since the load had been a skeet or upland game load with little power and small shot that had not penetrated deeply.


    Though it seemed like an eternity the rail buggies came screaching to a stop at the shack within just under 5 minutes from the time the flag had gone up. As soon as the horn sounded the guard had spun and seen the red flag that signaled a need for reinforcements and called out to the men milling around the barracks, "Outpost 5, code red!!! LIVE FIRE!" They had run a few drills to be sure the men knew what to do but when the men heard 'live fire' they knew this was for real. There were 30 of the men who had been selected as shock forces who had iether been in the militery or police or had other special qualifications such as 3 of them who had driven race cars on dirt tracks. These were the men who were to mount the rail buggies and go to assist outposts or be the first to any need. At least 12 of them were required to be at the barracks with the buggies and ready to go at all times, today there happened to be 15 of them there and each had thier weapons and kits already at or on the buggies. They all ran for the buggies and by the time the drivers were in the seats with the engines running and starting to roll the other men all had thier places and the last man jumped on the running board by the driver locking one arm around the top rail and holding his rifle in the other hand. There were 3 men in the bench seat on the back of each buggie, the driver and a passenger in the front and a man in the makeshift turrit. One car had a man on the running boards on each side and the other had a man only on the drivers side. They tore out onto the road and took off with the pedals to the floor. The buggies had fortunately been overpowered for the play toys they had been originaly as each was powered by a bored out 350 motor. By the time they had gone 100 ft on the black top they were well over 60 MPH they covered the 3 miles or so to the outpost in the best possible time. Before they were even able to fully stop the men on the running boards were jumping off and moveing forward and away from the vehicles, weapons at the ready and scanning for targets so as to cover the men still in the buggies to get out as the turret gunners also scanned for any signs of hostility. All they saw though was several horses scattered a short distance down the road and a few bodies in front of the shack and a man trapped under a dead horse with his hands tied behind his back. Kent called from the shack, "We're in here, we have wounded. The drivers pulled the cars up by the shack and got out along with the front passenger. Those on the rear had gotten off just after those on the running boards and the turret man was to stay and guard the vehicles untill the area was fully secured as a running vehicle was, in these times, far more precious than gold. They went in and saw that the two men were wounded. Kent quickly and clearly gave a brief account of what had happened includeing the number of friendly dead and wounded as well as the enimy dead, captured, estimated wounded and how many had run and which way. One of the men hearing this exclaimed, "They cant have gotten far, lets go get 'em!" The man who had been in the front passengers seat, which was alwayse the comander for the vehicle, snapped around and barked, "What the HELL are you thinking?! First and most important we have wounded that need evaced includeing a prisonor who may have intell, on top of that we have no way of knowing but what this was a scouting party for a larger force. We go chaseing them past our outposts and we could be running into an ambush against 100 men or more! We put the wounded on the cars and send them to the hospital," he said as he turned to the drivers, "As soon as you drop the wounded at the hospital report the situation at base and bring another load of men." He then turned back to the man who wanted to persue the riders as the wounded were loaded on the cars and said, "All but the gunners and drivers stay here. We will secure the outpost and recover the horses that we can as well as the fallen weapons." The men nodded and turned to thier work a few of them went first to drag the prisoner from under the dead horse not much careing about the pain or harm of pulling him untill the leg came out from under the horse, then loaded him on the second car, the first haveing already sped away with the 2 wounded guards. They then went to help the rest of the men herd the horses which had run off 100 yard or so as well as the fallen arms from the bodies and across the ground.


    As soon as the wounded guards were in the hospital the first buggie sped away toward Jacks to report and gather more men passing the second buggie just after leaveing the drive of the hospital. They arrived at the farm and Jack was already in the drive with several folks wondering what was going on. Jack still wondered how he had ended up haveing the responsibilities of so many jobs, quasi mayor, sherif, general of the malitia, warden of the jail, and all this in addition to those things he was doing to try to provide for his own family. The driver came running over and gave a report of all that had happened at the outpost as best as it was known at this point. Jack told the man, "Go to the barracks and take what men you can and get back to post 5, as soon as you drop those men at post 5 come back and get a load for outpost 6 and leave word for the other car to take thier load to outpost 4. I want extra men at all the southern outposts in case they try to regroup and attack at another post. I'll be at the hospital to question the prisoner." With that the driver jumped back in the buggie and they tore out for the barracks as Jack went to his horse that had been saddled for a trip to some neighbors to find out about some trades before the alarm had sounded and he decided he should wait to be sure of the situation. He mounted and was acompanied by one of the mallitia men who had been at with him in the yard. They ran the horses to the hospital wanting to get what intel they could as soon as possible in case there were more attacks planned.
    When they got there the prisoner had already been tied to the bed and the gunner from the buggie had been left to guard him. Jack went into the room leaveing his escort outside to care for the horses. He walked over and said, "I understand you are a member of the Scavangers, I want to know how many of them there are, if there are any more raiding parties on thier way and who is in charge." The man laughed out loud then cringed a bit as he jarred his swollen leg then smiled at Jack and said, "People in hell want ice water, kiss my ass." Jack calmly walked over and dropped his knee with most of his body weight behind it on the mans leg right where it bent unnaturaly and colly explained, "You are a prisoner captured in a raid that cost one of our men his life and wounded two more as you attempted to steal or extort whats ours, if youre uncooperative you will look forward to your hanging long before it comes," He said as he twisted his weight a bit on the leg, "On the other hand, if you cooperate, tell me what I want to know and behave yourself we could change things a bit and charge you as a thief and just put you in jail for a while." The man cried out, "Alright! I'll tell you what you want to know just get the hell off my leg, shit! The city hired us, after things went to hell and everyone started running out of everything they started rioting robbing eachother and looting. The city decided that the only way to keep the entire city from going up in flames was to find a way of getting food to the people. They started asking for volunteers and when they didnt get much response they sweetened the deal and said that if you would join the 'supply aquasition teams' that we all started calling the Scroungers then you would be above the law and could do as you pleased without reprisal while everyone else was haveing curfues and crap put on them plus you got first pick of what came in and extra shares. A bunch of us joined and we were told to go out in surrounding areas and get what was needed 'by whatever means nessicery' so we do. We bring in livestock, canned foods, stuff from gardens and stuff like that, whatever guns, jewlery or whatever like that that we come up with we get to split up among ourselves." As he talked the man started getting more and more confident and then he smiled and said, "Theres over a hundred of us and we got some bad ass mother fuckers and they wont put up with you ass hole trying to stand in our ways or you shooting at us! They're gonna be back for me with enouph men and firepower to take you and your little bunch of wanna be rent a cops out." With that the man layed back with a smug look on his face. Just then the Doc came in and asked Jack if he wanted him to treat the man yet. Jack said to go ahead and as a plan formed in his mind he stepped out and confident that the man was securely restrained he motioned the guard to come too.


    Once they were down the hall far enouph to be sure that the prisoner couldnt hear them Jack turned to the guard and told him, "I think this guy could be useful to us yet, as long as we let him go." The man was obviously stunned, "What do you mean 'let him go'?" Jack said, "I need you to borrow a horse from someone here and ride to my place and send a dispatch to every outpost south of here that they are to let this guy 'sneak past them' and get away. We're going to set up a little play for his benifit and let him take intel back to the Scroungers. If things work the way Im hopeing they will act on it and fall into an ambush. Send me back someone to escort him 'to jail' also. Besides, if all goes as I hope it will then by the time its all over with his own people will kill him as a spy." The guard smiled as he realised what Jack had in mind and ran off to do as instructed then Jack went outside and set it up with Joe who had ridden here with him then returned to the room. A few minutes after Joe came running up the hall shouting to nurses and such, "Where's Jack?" then he burst in and told Jack in front of the prisoner loud enouph to be sure he heard but not so blatant as to be obvious, "Sir, the county line outpost wasnt hit and the stores in the barn are fine. The riders just got in to let us know. Damn its a worry not haveing comunications with them and then with keeping such a light guard there..." Jack erupted at the 'messenger', "Shut your damn mouth! This man is one of them, get ouside and you can finish your report there!" The two men walked outside and Jack clapped Joe on the shoulder and said, "Not a bad preformance, my back was to him though. Do you think he bought it?" Joe smiled, "He seemed interested as I was talkin' but he realy lit up once you tore into me for talkin' in front of him." "Good," Jack said, "Now lets just hope the rest all falls into place.
    After the Doc was done setting the prisoners leg and splinting it a millita man came in and bound his hands and let the Doc know he was told to transport him to jail to wait for his hanging as he led the man out. Before comeing in he had put his sidearm under his shirt where he could get to it easily but it was out of sight and took the round out of the chamber in the rifle in the scabbord just in case the man made a grab for it. They left the prisoners hands tied in front of him and though they tied him to the saddle they didnt tie his hands to the horn and let him hold the reins of the horse and sent him off with the lone guard. Half way to the jail the guard ordered him to stop then he dismounted sayind, "I think my horse picked up a stone." Then keeping his mount between him and the prisoner he fained checking the horses hoof for a stone and the prisoner did exactly as he was supposed to. He kicked his mount in the sides with a yell and bolted away. Just to make things more believable the guard shouted, "HALT!" and pulling the gun from his waist fired several shots well wide of the 'escapeing' prisoner.


    That afternoon word was spread that there would be a comunity meeting the following morning. At the meeting Jack let everyone, includeing the malitia men who were off duty that all attended, what information had been gleaned from the prisoner and what information he had been allowed to overhear at which point one of the new imigrants asked, "What? We have stores backed up and you let him find out about it? I didnt even know about them." At which point Jack chuckled to himself at the persons slowness to catch on and explained, "There are no stores there but there is a good place for an ambush. We intentionaly let him overhear that there were stores there then escape so as to bait a trap. The terrain there will have them forced to bunch up in the bottom of a bowl giveing us a strong advantage along with the available cover there, for an ambush. It seems they are going to be after us untill delt with so I think we need to deal with them and this is the best way I could come up with to assure the minimum of casualties for our people." Jack went on to explain that they would to set heavy security at the other posts to the south as well in case they attacked at more than one point or didnt go for the bait. They had several of the millita men that had been avid hunters accustomed to shooting varmints at long ranges, stalking undetected and camoflageing themselves to a level that even the keen eyes of turkey would miss them. There was also a neighbor who was now disabled and would be unable to do much fighting himself but had been a trained sniper in Vietnam and so he was helping to instruct and train the sharp shooting hunters and train them to make them into effective snipers. They would set snipers at each outpost on the south. They also set scouts outside thier borders to watch for the Scavangers and let those who lived in the area know that there would be rewards paid for advanced warning if the scavangers were comeing. As the group discussed it they decided that there should be no survivers allowed from the Scavengers that came. It was a difficult decission that any man who dropped his weapons and tried to surrender would still be executed on the spot but they realized that if they didnt then they would have to be treated for any wounds with supplies that could not be spared then put on the chaingang for life or they would return to the same when they got out and after a certian point would become useless to the chaingang. In short it came down to the fact that they could not afford to waste food and medicine on murderous, rapeing thieves like these. It was alos decided to bring on more volunteers from refugees as well as any additional locals.
    The Jenkins boys along with thier pa all let it be known that they would be available for anything they could do to make the Scavengers pay for createing the situation that had cost thier brother his life.


    There was no way to know for sure how long it would be before the attack so preperations started that very day and continued for several more days at a fevered rate. The area approaching the countyline road outpost had a berm along each side of the road that was a good 10 feet high for about 100 yards and just past the ridge was a treeline as it was mostly in timber. So they set several men to work on these berms carefully cutting pieces of sod from the areas they were digging spider holes so that it could be set on lids to conceal them untill they were ready to attack. These were dug large enouph for a man to comfortably sit cross leged in and easily manover to his knees so as to avoid problems related to haveing the men spend much time in excessly cramped places and ackward possisions. The men would get into these when alerted that the scavengers were approaching if possible and there had been a man stationed a mile down the road on a hill top with binoculars to come and warn them if they were comeing. Each sothern outpost, with plans to add them to all outposts as time allowed, was also provided with a cannon. They were not overly fancy but they a cross between cannons and sawed off shotguns. They had taken iron sewer pipe that was about 4 inch internal diameter in sections 4 foot long and attached caps on the one end of each, they had a small hole drilled near the capped end with a small tube running out of the hole to a nipple that would take a primer this way the cannons were placed in the shacks at the outposts and aimed at the road aproaching them then covered with a good 6 inches of dirt to help contain the chamber pressure and the primmer tube stuck up so that it could be filled with powder and primed then when needed it could be struck with a hammer to set off the cannon. They were then loaded with 1 pound of black powder, a wad then a good 3 to 5 pounds of shot mixed with small pieces of chain and such, then another wad to hold the charge in place but the shot was all unwrapped so that within a range of 10 yards or so nearly the entire road was hit by the charge and at 15 the entire road and then some was well covered. Many of the youngsters and wemon were also put to work makeing caltrops by takeing 2 fenceing staples and after linking them togather with the points out and the tops against each other they were twisted untill they were well joined and the points on one end would lay flat on the ground while the points on the other end would point up and down, this way when they were thrown they would alwayse land with a point up and with a whole bunch of them could make an area virtualy impassable to men on foot in a hurry, horses, or anything with air filled tires. There were several hundreds of these made and they built a small catipult of sorts from a leaf spring mounted to a heavy base made from a couple of 2 by 12's and a box on the spring to hold the caltrops then a bar to stop the travel of the spring at the correct point. This was set up so that it could be triggered and cover the area just in front of the shack with hundreds of caltrops and another was set up useing a stout sapling about 40 yards down the road so as to block any retreat.


    One of the local men came rideing hard to the outpost looking for Jack who was there superviseing. When he reached him he said, "Jack, when I got in today my kids had these out playing with them," as he pulled 4 walkie talkies out of his saddle bags, "I hadnt even considered that they would still work but they do. Truth is I had forgotten that we even had them, they were a gift and had never been used but were still in the plastic inside an old ammo can that was down in the cellar. When I saw the kids playing with them and realised they still worked I thought that these would be helpful for the mallita." "That they will," Jack exclaimed. They were the 5 mile range type of small radios that would in actuality reach 2 or 2 and a half miles in good conditions and a little over a mile reliably but they would be ideal to give one to the look out to radio in and one to the outpost then with another at the barracks and the fourth for a strike team that could be between the outpost and barracks and could be informed if the alarms went up at any other post....these could be a god send. Jack thanked the man profusely, they were not certian how they had been spared but Jack did make a mental note to ask all the folks around to check all such devices to be certian it they might still work just in case. They then promptly started testing them for range in different directions and moved the lookout to 2 miles out so they could have as much warning as possible and the signal came in well, from the outpost it also came in clearly at the barracs.
    The preperations were made and plans laid and rehearsed that there were 2 snipers with semi auto weapons and as many extra clips as they could come up with were stationed concealed in the trees at all times, it would be close enouph range that the uber-accuracy of the bolt action guns they had just in case would not be nessicary but the ability to fire a lot of rounds in a short time at many targets might be. There was also a man at the outer caltrop position at all times with an SKS and a couple hundred rounds on stripper clips. The rest of the men were allowed to stay at the shack or the barn 50 yards away but there were 30 extra troops there in addition to the 4 normaly at the shack. They had drilled and when the call came 12 men would go to each side of the road and into the spider holes and an extra 3 into the shack in addition to the 2 snipers and the one at the outer caltrop thrower.
    They also set up a strike force of another 20 men was set up in a temperairy camp that was more centraly located to the sothern outposts in case they were needed at another post but could respond in under 2 and a half minutes from getting a call to the county line outpost. They had the 2 rail buggies that would carry 8 men each and 4 motorbikes that were on loan from some of the locals.
    Plans were also made that if needed then 15 of the men from the county line outpost, but no more, could advance to other outposts near them if needed and had thier horses in the barn where the stores were supposed to have been, just about 50 yards from the guard shack at the outpost.
    Jack also happened to think that it would be likely that it might be a night time attack so they set up several headlightson the front of the shack and on a couple of poles at the county line out post hooked to batteries and a switch so that if they were attacked at night they could throw on the lights and blind the Scavengers, hopefuly the surprise of this with the fact that the troops there would have a lantern going and so be used to at least some light and not faceing toward the lights and so would hopefuly not also be blinded and gain a good advantage.
  7. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    The days passed tensly for the next week and a half, time spent in any number of added preperations they could think of along with the daily tasks that had to be done to produce thier food and to make preperations for the winter that was still a ways off but would be long and hard for all and especialy those who waited untill the last minute to try to prepair. Then by the dark of the moon the call came from the look out. The Scavangers were only a little over a mile and a half from the countyline outpost. Even with all of the advanced notice, preperations and expectations noone could help a certian level of surprise when the moment came but the milita had become well disaplined and knew what they needed to do. Though it was just past midnight and most were asleep the milita men jumped out of thier beds and into thier boots set up fire fighter style with thier pants over the boots and shirts conected to the back so that as they pulled on the boots they could dress in basicly one movement in less than 15 seconds and thier weapons were kept at the ready as well. The reinforcements were on the fly in the rail buggies in less than 60 seconds from the alarm going out and at the barn within 5 minutes showing just how much thier drilling had payed off. They skidded the strike buggies to a stop behind the barn and the men dismounted and set up behind some logs that had been set up on the berms just past the guard shack. The troops who had been staying at the barn were already in position in thier spyder holes and at the key locations as they had been assigned. It seemed like an eternity as the men waited silently with the seconds dragging like hours as every man both dreaded what was to come knowing they would be ending the lives of other men and possibly dieing there in the night but also anxious and driven by the adrenaline courseing in thier veins to do what they knew needed to be done and have it resolved. Though any man there would have thought it had been hours it was just a little over 20 minutes when the Scavengers rode up on horseback 150 strong and came to a stop at the shack unconcerned about the few men expected in the shack.
    As they arived one lone guard stepped out of the shack and over to the side in front of the gate to meet them. The aparent leader of the Scavengers steped his horse up and told the guard, "Open the gate and help us load up the stockpiles in the barn over there and maybe we'll let you live." The guard replied, "Thats not gonna hapen." "Then we'll just have to kill you and whoever else is in that shed and take what we want." At this statement several of the Scavengers started to chuckle as they reached for thier weapons. At that moment the guard shouted in a roaring voice, "FIRE!", as he dove for cover behind a pile of sandbags just behind him and to the left, but he was dead from a bullet fired by the leader of the Scavangers before he hit the ground colvulseing with a section of his skull missing. In that same instant the lights came on and turned the black of night into blinding daylight which had the desired effect of causeing mass momentairy confusion but before any of them could even react there was a roar as flame belched from the shack as the cannon erupted showering the area with shrapenel hitting 20 of the scavengers and killing 4 instantly, 3 lie on the ground dieing, 5 more were badly wounded and another 8 were winged to varying degrees. As this all was happening the caltrops were also released, some of those from the southern catapult landed among the rear ranks of the churning Scavengers wounding several of the horses some of which fell on thier rider, others began to buck and try to throw thier riders adding to the confusion in the box they were now closed into. Several of the riders also howled in pain as caltrops drove into thier flesh. At the sound of the cannon the malitia men took thier signal and poped up from thier spider holes and from behind thier cover and opened fire on the the confused and swirling mass of men and horses. The Scavengers realiseing they are caught in an ambush start fireing back at the guards and malitia men and in the next moments kill 10 of thier own men with friendly fire in the kaos and wound 8 more while killing only one of the malitia men that was in a spider hole as they fired blindly from thier spooked horses some of which were bucking and nearly all of which were moveing out of controle of thier riders. The malitia men continue to fire until all of the Scavengers are iether dead or dieing. The entire battle lasting less than 2 minutes.
    As the Jenkins boys and thier Pa went about finishing off those who were wounded or playing opossum and gathering the weapons they found that amaseingly only 3 of the malitia men had been killed and 6 others wounded. The wounded were loaded onto a wagon behind a tractor that had been staged in the barn and were sent off to the hospital.


    Just as the tractor pulled away the alarm sounded at the southern hiway outpost and the men all heard the roar of the cannon there and an eruption of gunfire. The striker team leader shouted for the strike teams to mount the buggies and for the rest to gather what was useful from the dead. The 14 men men of the strike teames sprint to the buggies and mount up then race off to the southern outpost on the main hiway.

    The men of the main southern outpost felt the adrenilin dump into thier blood when they heard the cannon at county line go off and the insueing battle. They could clearly see the glow in the sky when the lights came on and even the fog from the gunsmoke that rose over the area. After a couple of minutes the shooting died down to the slow reagular shots that the men knew was the clean up of the survivors. Only a few minutes after the battle stopped 50 men on horseback rode up to the outpost and attempted to charge the gate. The guards fliped on the light that was thier new night alarm as the riders charged in on them and once they were within range they set off the cannon dropping the 8 lead horses and riders and sending 4 more riders off thier mounts and under the hooves of the horses behind them that were then stopped by the pileup of the bodies of horses and men in front of them. The sharp shooters pop up from thier stations out from the outpost and open fire on the attacking Scavengers but the raiders were not thrown into confusion as had been hoped and fired back deliberately at the guards and at the sharp shooters that they were able to locate only by thier muzzle flashes. Within moments all 6 of those maning the outpost were dead but they had taken 26 of the Scavengers to the grave along with them and wounded or incapacitated another 11. The surviveing Scavengers were looting the bodies of the dead guards and the outpost when the strike teams arived. Both groups open fire as the strike teams aproach and at about 75 yards the drivers vear first to one side of the road then to the other as the begin to slow so the men were able to dismount on thier respective sides of the road right by the ditches where they would have cover as had been practiced. Two of the men hurt thier legs in the dismounts but rolled into the ditches and opened fire. Once all the men but the drivers and gunners had dismounted the drivers spun the vehicles around and raced back to a position just over 100 yards from the shack where large round bails of hay had been set up along a drive and skidded the buggies in behind the cover so as to protect these valuable assets as best they could then the drivers dismounted to fire from the edges of the bails as the gunners stayed in thier turrets from which they could fire over the bales. By the time last men to dismount emptied thier first clips 15 of the remaining Scavengers were dead and the 3 still on thier feet jumped on thier horses and ran. Two of them were taken out of the saddle by the men in the ditches but the third escaped. Five members of the strike team were dead and in addition to the two who had injured thier legs in dismounting 2 other men were wounded. The wounded were loaded onto the buggies and those in the best condition drove the rest to the hospital while the 5 men who were still unharmed remained at the outpost to guard it untill replacements could arive and to gather what could be of use from the bodies along with rounding up what they could of the horses. They recovered saddled horses and another 9 with packsaddles as well as a large number of weapons, loads of ammo and a variety of miscelanious odds and ends.



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  8. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Three guards arived in the morning with a chain gang from the jail to burrie the Scroungers just outside the baracades, where a sign was posted, 'HERE LIE THE CARCASSES OF RAIDERS WHOS FINAL MISTAKE WAS ATTACKING OUR PEACFUL COMUNITY'. Coffins were made from planks cut with chainsaws from felled trees for the malitia men who had died while the bodies were cleaned. By the time the last of them were buried 5 more of the wounded were among the dead.

    Over the next few weeks Jack started to realize that the need for currency was becomeing ever more evedent. Folks needed a way to buy things now when thier goods wouldnt be available untill the fall and folks with things available now would need something to trade with when the crops came in and when time was more ideal for butchering this fall. Barter worked out on a small short term scale but had definate draw backs, so Jack decided to call a town meeting to settle the matter.
    At the meeting a form of currency was brought up and discussion was opened, one man stood up and asked, 'Whats the matter with cash? It alwayse worked in the past.' Jack explained, "Cash no longer has any set value. With things as they are we have gone back to a totaly localized economy and so with the refugees that come through, cash is worthless to them since most wont accept it anymore and since there are not many that even have anything to sell from what we have heard in most ares, so to them it is worthless for anything other than toilet paper or fire starting. Concequently they would happily give you $500 in cash for something worth little or nothing, it has the same value to the, so after a while we would have so much cash in the area that it would flood our economy and become worthless."
    Another man sugested, "Why dont we just use IOUs as a form of credit, Joe buys a cow from be with an IOU for X bails of hay this fall and so on?" That was adressed by another local who mentioned, "That is fine for some things between individuals but dosnt work for general trade. What if you then want to buy something from me in the mean time, all you could do is offer me X number of the bails owed to you that you will need and I have no use for and after a while you loose track of who has what parts of whos IOUs. Besides you may not trust someone I do business with enouph to trust thier IOU and so then its useless, not to mention that say the only thing I have to trade is something you dont want but I need to buy from you, I cant trade you anything and if I give you an IOU you have to find someone who wants what its for and trusts my IOU. We can use some of that but its just not practical for everything."
    One of the wemon sugested useing seeds or bulbs, but it was brought up that the amount fluxuates to readily makeing it unstable as a currency.
    One of the malitia men who had been an accountant prior to the flash stood up and said, "The first thing I think we need is to consider the basics of economics. Any currency needs to have a reasonably fineite amount. If it is to rare then it is impractical for small purchases, a dimond for instance would be fine to buy a steer but to valuable for say a jug of milk. If it is to plentiful, say like gravel, then it has no value since the person you are trying to trade with can just go out to the road and fill up a wheel barrow with it themselves. The amount of the currency has to remain reasonably stable and constant in order to keep its value stable. It needs to be something that is not consumed or used up like say nails, you start off with a lot of them but they get used to build and such and in a year or two one nail is worth 50 times what it is today. If it is able to be readily produced then everyone can just print thier own money so to speak and so the economy is flooded and currency becomes worthless. You dont want it produced by one person or group of people iether though since then they decide how much to produce and have total controle of the economy. They make to much and the economy crashes to little and the value becomes like dimonds. The valeu is fully arbitrairy and decided by the producers, like cash once it wasa no longer backed by the gold standard or anything else. It all comes down to supply and demand but has a lot of variables that have to be considered."
    An older man in the back chuckled, "Well hell, I have it all figured out then. We can just use tin can lids as small bills and brake pads from the dead cars for large bills. They are common enouph but cant just be cranked out any more."
    Everyone started to chuckle then slowly stoped and started murmering and looking at the other folks around them to try to understand the problems with the idea.
    After a moment of thought Jack said, "That actualy isnt a bad idea. They are in finite supply but can also be gathered from abroad for any merchant groups that may develop, they would be reasonably easy to carry a supply of for any purchases, not widely needed as a consumeable resource, they could take on a reasonably constant value.... I think that is an excelent idea." The man who had suggested it looked stunned haveing simply intended to be a bit of a smart ass and make a joke. The idea was accepted and expanded a bit. Values were assigned to the different varieties. Brake pads were worth 200 vegie can lids, 1 tomato juice type can lid was worth 25 vegie can lids, the soup can lids slightly smaller than a vegie can were decided to be worth 5 vegie can lids, number 10 can lids were decided to be worth 50 veggie can lids, 20 pop tabs or beer bottle caps were worth 1 veggie can lid and one veggie can lid was determined to be the equivilant in worth to what one US dollar was prior to the lights going out.
    The new currency was unanimously passed with a bit of a chuckle but it was also decided that it needed to be clear that removeing brake pads from vehicles that you didnt have claim to was theft and punishable as such in order to protect those whos vehicles were away from home when the EMP had struck as well as the few that still ran.
    Durring the meeting they also decided that the empty farm remaining would be used as a home for the widdows and orphans of militia killed in the line of duty.
    As soon as the meeting was concluded all the kids along with the adults started off haveing a field day collecting the new money that was laying in most any ditch in the area to varying degrees along with those in the trash piles and the ones still remaining full in the cupboards.
  9. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    One of the projects that had also been under way since the attack was a telegraph system for the outposts and the barracks to comunicate. They had used the standing poles for phone and power lines where possible and trees as needed to keep the distances as short as possible. It consisted of car batteries at each the barracks that were charged as needed by an alternator hooked to a lawn mower motor then a wire run from the hot post to all the the outposts with a door bell in line at each then came back to the barracks along the same route. This side of the wire was attached to an insulated board with a small piece of spring attached to this wire, then a ground wire ran from the barracks to all the out posts. When the spring was pushed down at any station it would close the circuit with all of the door bells in line and so all the posts could hear the message. All the militia was also trained in morrise code as well as shorthand meathods of sending certian messages. It had taken a lot of wire but with no lights the electric fencers were now useless and there was a lot around, and it helped a lot to make it so that folks could just get to the closest outpost to send for help if needed instead of haveing to go all the way to the barracks so everyone was willing to do what they could to help.

    Even though it was still mid summer preperations were haveing to be franticly made for the comeing winter. Any members of the chain gang that didnt have other jobs along with the militia men were the ones doing most of the preps around the tradeing post and for general comunity stuff. They were building a large hay barn from car hoods and sheet metal that had been donated or traded for so that hay could be cut in addition to what bales had been traded in for the live stock over the winter. They were also cutting and splitting loads of firewood, both from what was down as well as farms that wanted to clear more area for crops, hay, fence rows, or to clear fields of fire for better security. The wood, aside from what would be used at the jail, barracks, widows & orphins farm and out posts would be sold to support help support the militia and the prisoners.
    Jars for canning had become a very sought after item as everyone tried to find ways to preserve what they could from gardens and some wild foods they were finding that would be needed for the winter ahead.
    While Jack was at the shop one day talking to some of the farmers and ranchers that were in about buying things for the diner a messanger came in from the comms center and let Jack know that he was needed for a 'pressing mater'. Jack excused himself from the conversations he was in and as they walked away the messenger descreetly explained, "Theres a group at the northern outpost and they want to come through and also to do some tradeing." "So whats the problem," Jack asked. "Its a big group, the guys at the post sent a message that there was a large caravan and asked that you be sent ASAP." Jack replied, "OK, lets take the buggies with full complement. If they sent in for us there must be some reason." The messenger said, "The buggie crews are already waiting, I figured you would want to get there soon."
    Jack got to the barracks and the men loaded onto the buggies and started them up. Jack hopped in the open passenger seat of one and they headed off for the outpost. They arived just a few minutes later and Jack saw why the guards had sent for him. There at the gate were 4 semies with trailers, 10 pickup trucks, 3 RVs 2 vans 12 cars and 15 motorcycles. Some were older gas vehicles and others were desils. Jack guessed there must be well over 100 people in total in the group and could see that while not showing any hostility or signs of agression at all they were well armed. As he spoke to the lead guard he found that they had talked to the leader of the caravan and there was a total of 150 people total includeing men wemon and children. They seemed friendly and had said they were simply finding saftey in numbers, "but I wasnt sure how I should handle such a large group," he said, "If they tried anything they could do serious damage, I dont think thats thier intent but I thought it was just best to send for you." "Its fine, you did the right thing," Jack said. Jack walked up to the gate and a large heavy set man in his mid fourties stepped up and held out his hand to Jack, "How you doing, you must be the fella we were told we needed to talk to," the man said. "I guess that would be me, names Jack, whats yours," Jack asked as he shook the mans hand. The man replied, "Im Bob, Bob Jones. Im the one that passes for a leader for this group." Jack looked along at the caravan backed up the road, "So whats the story on your group? Were are you headed?" Bob anwsered, "Well I was up towards Souix Falls when everything went to hell and I decided to head for my brothers in KC to make sure he and his family were OK, Im still a batchlor so they were the only ones I had to be worried about. Besides, he owned a nice little gun shop there and I was a little lite in the arms and ammo department so, I wound up running in to some of these folks along the way and we decided to travel together for a while just to make less of a target of our selves. We got to KC and hooked up with my brother and he was just trying to figure a good way out of the city, its getting nasty there. So we loaded up what he had in stock along with some supplies he had and headed out. We're planning to head on down to the Mark Twain national forest and see if we can set up a little village there. We were hopeing we could come on through and maybe do a little tradeing. We need some meat and could use some various tools and such if you have what we're looking for." Jack nodded in acknowledgment, "What did you have to trade?" Bob replied, "Well you can see the one semi with the flat bed has people and thier things, all the folks have thier own things and may want to trade something, but of the other 3 trucks, one was headed to a Walmart and is loaded with a mixture of all kinds of things, one was headed to a grocery store and is filled with all you would expect, and my rig has the guns and ammo from my brothers shop along with various odds and ends. So we could likely come up with something to trade if you are interested." Jack agreed, "Sounds like you would have a lot of tings we could use. The one thing that is a bit of a concern though is the size and armament of your group. We recently had a runin with a large group of thieves and so a lot of folks are still real nervous. Im sure you can understand how your group would make folks a little nervous. Now in your place I wouldnt allow myself to be disarmed and escorted by an armed force in these times and wont ask you to. I would like very much for us to be able to do some tradeing as I think we could all benifit from it but we need to figure a way that every one can feel secure. The best options I can come up with for us to handle this would be ietherthat you can be escorted through in groups of a dozen or so and be on your way if thats what you want, you could go around us, or my preferance would be that we bring our security folks out here to escort your group to our tradeing post and they can help to be sure there are no misunderstandings with the locals thinking you are here to raid us and make sure everyone finds thier way to where they need to be to be considered guests as opposed to areas where they might be considered trespassers. If we could do that then we could set up a camp area for you all to stay for a day or two and give some of the locals the chance to come in and make some trades with you all." Bob agreed, "I can see where you are comeing from, we wouldnt be disarmed but I can understand your need to have an escort to follow us and be sure of our movements. I'ld do the same in your place. I think the plan of stoping at the tradeing post you mentioned for a couple of days sounds like a good plan that we can all live with and benifit from."
  10. dano23

    dano23 Monkey+++

    What happened to "lost and found?"
  11. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Not sure what you mean on 'Lost and found'? I had called this one 'Lights out' before I heard about Halfasts story by that title.
  12. sarawolf

    sarawolf Monkey+++

    Hey wheres the rest of the story? It is good.
  13. surplus-addict

    surplus-addict Monkey+

    This was awesome! What ever happened to it Monkeyman? I was really enjoying it!
  14. poke2000

    poke2000 Monkey+

    Thanxs for the story. It's a good read. The idea of the rail buggies is neat. There was this tv show back in the 80s about a gunslinger and a scientist who end up fighting crime in the old west. Even though the gunslinger had firearms later in the series he used a electron fulmenator which was basically a stungun the scientist invented. Later in the series they used forced steam powered buggies that had electric lights powered by batteries that was recharged by using huge lightning rods. Still can't recall the shows name.
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