Very much a busy set of days here on and off campus. I’ve got a lot of mundane detail to chronicle. Where to begin Mr. Journal?
Yesterday was a day of small fires that were fairly easy to put out, but irritating. Our first and largest issue was coming up with an executable plan to install the repeater tower on top of MGR. That took the majority of the day for those of us involved with that.
Ryan pulled me aside after that large meeting and made his huge plea to get more assistance on the hydroponics system in the gymnasium. He has such a good point too. We really need to hit the plumbing shop near Gilbert’s warehouse, but we’ve got other things to do first. MGR needs to get done, and the repeater tower must be installed and operational, and we’ve got to staff the damn place first. It just sucks that poor Ryan is taking it in the proverbial pants while we get our asses sorted out from our elbows on this.
I really wish we could just get in the trucks and head out to that fucking restaurant supply business, but the reality is, we’d be killed. I know it with complete certainty. I’m really hoping Gilbert or Gavin comes to me in one of my famous dreams, and they send me some amazing message that makes my life go much easier. I’m actually thinking that might be a possibility. If anyone is going to come through for me in the clutch, it’s Gilbert.
I KNOW that with certainty. Funny how things can change. Now that I know the one man I completely trusted after the end of the world betrayed me, I feel like I trust him even more. Sometimes trying to make sense of it all just makes things worse.
While all that was going on, the rest of us on campus were working on the wall. However, with a fairly small crew, they were only able to do about 30 feet. Progress is progress though, and I’m happy whenever we can accomplish multiple things at the same time. Especially multiple important things at the same time. Very happy.
Today had toe pusher written all over it. Some turds circled the drain, and they got gently mashed down the grate, but fortunately none of us got pushed down with that shit. Oh, speaking of which, Chris’ arm is broke in a few places. I don’t remember how much detail I went into earlier, but it’s broken clean in three places. He’ll be in a cast for at least six weeks according to Doc Lindsey. For the moment though, he’s useless. He’s on campus only duty for the moment, but at least he’s alive, and he still has his arm attached.
As you might imagine, he didn’t accompany us on our trip to MGR today.
Because of our recent attack at the municipal station, we elected to roll exceptionally heavy today. We brought the semi trailer that had the tower in it obviously, plus two humvees, the ladder truck, and the HRT. As far as staffing is concerned, we brought Mike, Hector, James (sitting in the HRT passenger seat operating as a shooter/spotter), Dwayne, Alex, George, Chad, Abby, Patty, Martin, Blake, and Angela.
What scares me about that is it meant we left Ollie and Melissa in charge over all the new folks at campus. Ollie is not a hardcore shooter, nor is Melissa, especially now that she’s getting big and fat with that spud inside her belly. She’s been struggling with the pregnancy too, according to Ollie. Lots of back pain and cramps at night I guess, and she’s had morning sickness here and there, but when it hits, Ollie says it’s debilitating. I really don’t want to put any additional bullshit on her, but life is filled with it, and we all need to find a way to shovel it, or get buried in it. It pained me to leave them behind, but we really needed the manpower for safety and security.
Martin and Blake had a winch they found somewhere that was pretty industrially powered. When we rolled into the MGR area of town, the first order of business was securing that area, and getting that winch to the top so we could get the tower up.
The undead presence at the base of MGR was very manageable all day. I think the largest push we had all day was perhaps ten undead, and with all those well trained shooters it was a piece of cake. I think the two worst parts were the waiting for those assholes that shot at us the other day to show up again, and the actual raising of the tower. The raising didn’t go quite as smoothly, or as fast as we’d hoped.
Here’s the laundry list of the shit that went awry on us:
Martin and Blake had to attach the winch to the rooftop with a cement bolt gun, or whatever they call it. They had to enter at the ground level and run all the way up to the roof carrying the damn winch, which was at least a three person job. Fucking thing was heavy as balls. When we were winching the tower up on the first try, two of the bolts holding the winch came loose from the roof, and the winch was maybe five seconds from ripping free and sending the whole tower smashing to the ground. Fortunately, Blake was a ninja on the winch, and hit the switch letting the cable play out. The tower slid down, and he managed to hit the switch again just in time to catch it before it crashed. The winch ripped free from the moorings at that moment, but only went about five feet before clanging off some air conditioning unit on the roof. Talk about lucky.
They had to remount the winch, as well as tie some length of rope to the tower to steer it as well as add some manpower to take the strain off the winch itself. The second attempt was far more successful. Getting it up and over the edge of the building turned out to be a task that required extra people. Leveraging that much weight up and over the corner was something they couldn’t do easily.
Once they got the tower up to the roof we miscalculated the amount of area needed to move the damn tower around in, and they needed extra assistance from the security folks to get it all done. I wound up running up to the top of the building to lend an extra two hundred pounds of muscle to get it all done. We needed to more or less tip this thirty odd foot tall tower upright using just muscle, and a single nylon cord wrapped around what I think was a fire sprinkler pipe. I think I busted a disc or two in my back doing it, but we got it upright and in position.
Hector and Blake took over mounting the tower. They used a tap and die set to get bolt mounts put into somewhere solid, but even after fully bolting the tower down, they all thought that it’d need wires as well to keep it from blowing away. Blake and Martin are going to scour campus and the surrounding towns to find strong wire and appropriately strong clips to attach it with.
Hector started to run the wiring and the gear down to the fifth floor of the building, but once he started the whole process, it became clear that there was no way he was going to get it done in any kind of a reasonable timeframe. He elected to remain behind by himself to get more work done. We were really not keen on him staying alone there to do work, and without a minute’s hesitation, Dwayne raised his big ass hand and volunteered to stay with him.
Dwayne’s a big guy, and he’s smart as well, so the two of them were a really great pair to get technical work done safely. Once we’d made sure they had enough ammunition, food and water to last at least through two nights we packed everything up, and left MGR. As we drove back, we calculated the exact distance the radios work, and they don’t quite reach campus. As in, there was a three mile span of dead silence.
Clearly worrisome. However, it’s not like we haven’t spent nights or days apart before. Like when I was scouting Westfield, and was out of radio contact for extended periods. It just worries me to have anyone out of my realm of protection for any period of time. What’s that called? A paternal instinct? Fucked if I know. I don’t feel like a dad to these people.
Oh, and I’ve forgotten to mention that Hector and Blake both fully believe that there isn’t enough power available at MGR to properly run the repeater, as well as deal with the energy needs that the staff there will be requiring. We need to get another generator transported there, and if we can, I’d like to find more solar panels to go there. I now feel like a tool for moving the solar panels from there to the gym, but at least now we’ve some power going to the pumps and lights for the hydro setup on campus.
So here’s the plan for now. We’re guessing it’ll take a day or two for Hector to get the tower more or less hooked up and running. I’m not sure what he’s going to need for the long term to make it permanent and functional, but I believe he has enough for now to get it up and running. I KNOW we need more power there, as well as here on campus, and that’s now our main priority.
We’re breaking up into two parties tomorrow to go outside the wall to look for more solar panels, and portable power generators. We need a beefy one to go there to run everything in tip top shape, or at least a smaller one and a few solar panels to run together. Hector’s got enough brains to hook it all up, we just need to give him the proper tools to make it happen.
I’m really hoping we find panels. I know I wasn’t looking for them when I was clearing houses all winter, and if you add the fact that most roofs were covered in snow at the time anyway, I’m betting there are at least four or five houses around here that have panels we can remove.
As I said, our reliance on diesel and gasoline needs to get addressed, and quickly. We also need to hit Gilbert’s place, and finish the wall, and go to the clinic in Westfield, get the rest of Lenny’s cows from his farm, build the fences to contain those cows, and safely train Doc Lindsey before we die of some horrid injury or disease, etc etc.
But that and all the other shit I’m forgetting about is for another day.