Posts Tagged ‘ factory ’

zDay 42 – The winds of change

I had a nice long conversation with Ben last night. We’ve never really had a chance to do a one-on-one since Anna and I arrived. We’d spoken briefly in group meetings and at dinner, but nothing substantial. I tell you he’s an interesting dude. He was a CPA for 26 years prior to zDay. The way he has things clicking around here I could have swore he had some kind of military training but no… he’s never even served. I guess it just goes to show that you can’t judge a person by their job.

The other 20 survivors Ben has assembled are all from Grand Rapids. Most of them found one another while on the run in the initial days and decided to stick together. After they settled in the old UPM factory they started actively going out rescuing those in trouble. They multi-tasked rescuing, securing and gathering supplies for the fist couple of weeks and set up quite an operation here. There are a few skilled people here as well. Okay so it’s unfair to say “a few skilled people”. Everyone here has skills that help contribute but let’s be real, trade skills are invaluable. Take Keith for example. He’s a contractor so he’s well rounded when it comes to anything technical like construction or electrical. George is a cop and Kyra is a Marine only a couple of months removed from Iraq so their tactical skills are very important. There’s also a nutritionist, a health care worker, and a mechanic in the fold. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned in just the past few days from just observing. Talk about on the job training.

We were the only ones to come from outside of Grand Rapids so getting the opportunity to trade notes with Ben was beneficial to us all. According to him this was the only stable settlement in the city. Every other day they send a patrol out to not only look for survivors but scout out potential threats as well.  They haven’t gotten much further past 6th street so it’s hard to tell what’s going on in the north end. There are gangs lurking about though. There’s no doubt in that. He was actually quite disturbed to hear about the incidents we went through in Two Harbors and Aurora but thankfully his rather unique defense against looters and marauders seems to have some sound logic behind it. I didn’t get it at first. It seemed like too much of a risk to draw the attention of the zombies and have them at the gates – literally. For the past month I’ve been doing everything in my power to avoid them. This just seemed stupid and risky to me until he explained the reasoning behind it.

Everything is a risk. It’s a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. Having the zombies constantly at the walls provides an extra buffer of protection – if you can believe that – from raiders. No one is going to approach with that many zombies in front of them so it makes a frontal assault pretty unlikely. So long as the walls are maintained and the body counts monitored and regulated, it limits the amount of manpower needed to defend all points. That leaves us less ground to cover in defending the reservoir and bridge, hence why they scoped us out so quickly. Definitely risky but based on the loose cannons I’ve seen it’s a daring endeavor.

They’re also trying to finish off a greenhouse inside the factory itself, over in the west wing. With winter bearing down on us it’s probably the best idea I’ve heard of yet. Sustainability is a huge advantage. I guess they’re digging in for the long haul. Keith has been toiling with that for a while now. The biggest obstacle is getting the supplies needed to complete it. We may have to send another couple people out when there’s a salvage run in order to pull that off. It may be interesting to tag along on one of those. I think I’ve kinda proven that I can handle myself outside. Course I’m not gonna push for it. if they need me I’ll volunteer but I’m not going to push my way in. They’ve got a smooth operation going here so I’m not about to disrupt that.

Oddly enough I’ve noticed that the deadheads have been slowing down quite a bit. I haven’t seen a runner in about a week now. It seems as though the wear and tear is putting the brakes on them. They’re still very much as dangerous as ever but at least you can skirt by them without winding yourself… for the most part. The key is still to avoid detection when outside the compound though. You get enough of those dumb fuckers around you and it doesn’t matter how slow they are, they’ll maul you.  I’m glad we can get in and out of here without drawing too much attention. There’s access to the sewer system from the factory. They’ve secured a line all the way to 4th street near the Army Surplus store so our people can get in behind the bulk of the horde. They’ve even brought industrial carts from the mill down there to make running supplies back and forth much quicker. It’s pretty much our lifeline cuz we’d have to sail up the reservoir if we had any thought of getting out of here to restock otherwise.

Duty calls.

Stay strong and be safe out there.

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zDay 41 – Safe?

It never ceases to amaze me how a human can adapt to anything. Even when presented with the most dire circumstances, people find a way to make things “normal”.

Normal. That’s a term I use lightly.

How can anything be considered normal? I equate normal to being comfortable and I’m certainly not comfortable right now. Grand Rapids reminds me a lot of Duluth. Course a lot of cities and towns in Minnesota look alike. Sure would have been interesting to visit a big city like Minneapolis or St. Paul. Maybe not now but you know. I’m kinda kicking myself for not doing so before. Fuck. There’s a lot of things I wish I had done. Oh well…

We’ve been here for a few days now. I was half expecting this city to be another forage into Waco but thankfully we happened upon some rather stand up folks here. I’m not sure of what’s going on in the rest of the city but these people got their shit together. They had cleverly set up shop along the Paper Mill Reservoir in a factory next to the bridge. They’ve sealed off the other side of the bridge and have created a perimeter using a series of obstructions from cars to heavy machinery creating a decent wall around the immediate area. The parking lot in front of the factory serves as sort of a staging ground with the factory itself being a lock down fortress. We saw it from miles away. It’s hard to miss actually. They have the area well lit with flood lights so we were kinda drawn to it like moths to the flame. There’s a steady plume of smoke that emanates form the factory making it look like a giant cabin. It draws a lot of attention from the deadheads but from what I learned later is it’s part of their strategy. We had come in along the banks on the other side of the reservoir. We were spotted by sentries they had posted immediately. We had been traveling so long that I didn’t even try to escape. I guess the fact that we weren’t immediately fired upon was a good sign.

They sent a small armed fishing boat across to us and helped dispatch some of the local nasties that had started to gather. We were greeted by an older black gentlemen named Benjamin Jones. He looked as though he’d seen his fair share of  grief in the past month but welcomed us aboard with a proud smile and open arms. They didn’t look like military but their operation was quite professional. There are 24 of us in total here. Everyone has a job. Everyone contributes. I guess that’s where the normalcy comes into play. I’ve never been much of a leader. I’ve always felt most at ease just going with the flow. For the past however many days I’ve had to make some really tough decisions… some of which have been awful… a few good. It’s very taxing to say the least. I suck at being responsible for others so it was refreshing to have a group of people that knew how to do the job correctly… or at least it looks like they do.

I’m still not too sure about Joesph though. Yeah, I managed to fish that name out of him a couple of days ago. Well I didn’t but Anna did. One day while we were camped out on a rooftop in La Praine waiting for a scavenging mob to pass us by he finally started to talk – to her. I’m not exactly sure how comfortable I am with that but I overhead him say his name was Joesph… Joesph Barnes. We still haven’t exchanged words since that day but he’s been tagging along ever since getting all buddy buddy with Anna. She doesn’t see the potential threat he poses. I mean why not, he looks like someone’s grandfather and talks in a soft baritone voice. There’s something about him though. Something distant in the way he just gazes at things – at people. We’ve all lost so much in this ordeal but I can’t help but think his train left the station a long time ago.

Oh well. He hasn’t done anything detrimental as of yet so I guess I can’t crucify the guy for doing nothing. But I’ve definitely gotta keep Anna away from him…

So here we are now going about living the way we have to now. I can’t knock it though. It’s good to have some structure back in my life. I have bank patrol in a couple of hours then I’m on burn duty after dinner. Yes burn duty. They actually burn the bodies that start to pile up so as to not promote disease. No one’s exactly running the sewage treatment plants anymore so you kinda have to make due. Letting the bodies accumulate also poses a threat of breach because these dumb fuckers just keep marching forward stepping on the bodies of their fallen comrades. If you let it go for too long they’d eventually have a ramp of bodies to walk right over the walls with. We can’t very well toss bodies into our water supply out back either so burning is the only option. It’s quite a horrid odor… even more than the stench that’s already in the air but you get used to it. It’s a small price to pay considering.

I’m thinking about talking to Jones tonight and seeing if he’ll disclose how he got things set up here. Perhaps it’ll be beneficial to others around the world if they had a sorta guideline of how to defend. He’s a man wise beyond his years. Oddly enough he doesn’t even consider the zombies the biggest threat. It’s the looters he’s more concerned with. This whole compound is more geared towards fending off people than the undead.

“Zombies march, moan and eat. That’s all that’s on their minds. It’s the living human mind that keeps me up at night.”

A man after my own heart.

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