Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Don't forget... With the upgrades you can change the theme in your profile.
The "Original" theme is available again. Choose "Old SurvivalistsSite Theme (2.0) for the "Original" theme.



Helping you prepare since 2005!

One of the oldest survival / emergency preparedness / prepping sites on the web.


           
The links above will open in a new window.




Would you like to advertise on SurvivalistsSite.com? For more information email ads@survivalistssite.com

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Grog

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 15
1
Other Items / Hygiene equipment a few thoughts
« on: September 10, 2017, 11:02:59 AM »
Consider a 5 gallon capacity bucket, scrub brush(Like vegetables, but for cleaning under your grunked up under your finger or toe nails.
Nail clippers, manually operated hair clippers(Admit dang hard to find) soap or detergent safe for babies (Lava Soap does not meet this criteria, however a few bars may be a very good thing).

At least one extra box of large reinforced trash bags, scrub board, and plunger, borax and powder not liquid detergent.
N-95 masks,Gloves, dish type, Goggles and N95 masks, if you need to conduct autopsy of animals.

Tyvek coveralls, and Wellington style boots (NOT FOR CBRNE Protection)

Make that 3 sets of surgical tools, and a pressure cooker (Improvised sterilizer)

Shovel, pick axe, quicklime, map of area and compass, build an outhouse at least 300 yards from the edge of running water. Cholera is an epic survival fail.

Rat/Mouse traps, Water Filters , while purification tablets will work after about 6 weeks of continuous use the good bacteria in your gut will start to die off.

Consider Vinegar and Orange oil for general cleaning of hard surfaces.

2
Your Survival Tales / Prep Fauilures
« on: January 11, 2017, 09:35:36 PM »
This is a NON blame post, more like a "Dang, I messed that up hardcore post.


I had Home Owners Insurance, fire boxes for the important papers and carriers for the two cats, at the time (NO, sorry No dogs).
I had an escape plan, a meet up plan ans had resourced places to shelter/house both humans and pets, or so I thought,


What I DID NOT think about, was  the event something happened, (House fire from a 2nd hand freezer) shorting out, burning the house and having two cats there, while I was at work and my spouse at the time being out of town.

The first cat was rescued by some nice neighbors, the second I had to locate, which i did. trying to confirm that , Yes pets could be co located in a motel , where I had previously, had checked before, revealed a big NO.
No, at that tome, I did not think to look elsewhere, offering to pay the folks who had rescued the first cat, to , for a 2 to 3 day period, take care of both cats. Thank you for having neighbors,as I had made friends with their dogs, Boomer and Luna.

I did mange , through insurance as a home owner at the time, to get the cats settled in a semi permanent place with then my wife and recover, along with the Fire boxes of important contacts and documents, with Insurance, we survived , although there were failures.

Hopefully you will all learn from my mistakes, avoiding the same stuff.

3
First Aid and other Medical Kits / Suturing, how to
« on: July 24, 2013, 01:21:25 PM »
With kits and other tools, we all are aware at some point, of training.

Here is a good resource, the gentleman is a retired MD, aka Dr. Bones of Dr Bones and  Nurse Amy, here is a URL that might be useful ,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GlkuxNdTgc

4
I was going through some of my supplies and noted that , among other things, I could use more N95 specification masks. Trouble out here is alot of folks are selling similar but not the same quality/ specification masks, and for a box of even five, it is about fifteen dollars or more in either Drug stores or hardware stores, the local Habor Freight down the road, does not even carry actual N95 masks, Any one lese noticing a difficulty in locating vendors for such items, even if not medical/ first aid? Thanks

5
Survival Fiction / 072013 Hardy, final 072013
« on: July 11, 2013, 11:50:58 PM »
 Hardy

   Henry Andrew Randolph David Yance was a finally retired E7 from the National Guard, finishing up several years of service, starting in the Federal reserve, several years on active duty and finally the National Guard. His last marriage, like the first was a past issue, ending in divorce. Though painful, at least not as bitter as his first.

   The decree had left his retirement, collectable at age 62 alone, and no support requirements. Having worked in the tech sector and location of a nice piece of rural property, Tanking several months to locate the land for wind flow for power, well quality, distance from major cities or government offices/installations, and other considerations, like ease of concealed weapons carry laws, alloidial or tax free titles, and the like.  He had arranged to telecommute to work, save the once a month trips to the regional office and set up as a amateur farmer. Hardy, to what few friends he had, was a pretty quiet fellow, not much for social occasions, but willing to help if needed on down time with wood harvesting, or working on fences or the like, each time picking up some knowledge or skill, he thought useful. His military experience served him much better in the civilian world, than some folks thought. Solid attendance, willing to resolve what could be resolved at his level. Sometimes escalating things that needed more research than he had time for, the Escalation Team never objected to his tickets, in fact, on more than one incident, he had inadvertently identified issues that were just beginning and then “bugged” for a larger issue.

   While he had proof of US Citizenship, he knew little of his family due to a fatal accident when he was three. He had been with his daycare provider, when the Long haul truck had flipped and spun across the highway, killing his Father and Mother in a “Freak” Accident. Being raised in an Orphanage, while a shelter and sort of a life, was not without difficulties, like the towel snappers in the boys lavatory. Once hit, and the towel 'Rat tailed” drawing blood, Hardy, as he was known, had simply reacted by spinning around and accurately throwing the new soap cake directly at the snapper's head, in the right eye. The attacker fell down, with a slip in a puddle of wash water and a concussion. The black eye was even more than that,, however the head injury and follow on concussion hid it for years.

   Hardy was eleven at the time, and while somewhat smaller in build, had quiet the arm and accuracy. In most situations, bullies would try and establish control. Hardy was having nothing to do with that, and in some situations, even took matters into his own hands, one time walking up to a bully, who was trying to take a toy from one of the smaller children, only to be grabbed by the shoulder, spun around and kneed in a vulnerable area, followed by a knee across the neck, applying pressure to the arteries, and squeezing off blood flow, until the bully cried “Uncle” . The smaller kids here herded to their rooms, Hardy went to the Administrators office and made a full report of what had happened and why. The Bully had not been caught in the act before, but there had been several reports of his misconduct.

   Over time Hardy grew up to be a good man, and a soldier,A few deployments for “Operations other than Warfare” Hardy became a gifted, though amateur in the art of “Low Intensity Conflict” was good with radio communications. And Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense. With training in Demolitions and Armory operations plus military maintenance. A tour of duty with a less than stellar officer a few years later had led Hardy to muster out under the Clinton Administration, Though before then , Sgt (Sergeant “Hardy”) had met and served with a few who were “Awesome” in the language of the Infantry.  Meaning of such respect, if called back directly by said fellows in arms, “Hardy” would be all over it.

    At age 25 He found out that his parents had set up a trust fund for him, however he could not access the funds until his 25th Birthday. He was not sure as to the best use for the funds, never having had much money.  The Trustees were professional, and had even had a special fund for external audits of all business practices every year, using one of five companies for the audits every year and more than one for each area of business. The trust was in the mid nine hundred thousands. Hardy had requested a conservative plan for investments, Avoiding blue chip stocks, and Big Agra. Using a mixed portfolio in real gold, silver and smaller farm properties.

   
   As time and the world situation changed, it was more and more obvious that the United Nations was one, A joke, two worthless and three by its very charter, an potential danger to the Constitution of the United States of American and the Republic for which it stands.

    Hardy, going by his nickname on the Blogcasted podcast radio, was non governmental to a point, He made sure on his weekly 'casts that folks , who where willing to listen and think for themselves understood the issues and repercussions of all political acts. Robert A Heinlein, had made it pretty clear in Star ship Troopers about the use and deployment of Military forces.

   Once a week he put tougher an audio cast over the internet, mostly on preparedness, again not going political for or against any one party, trying to keep things balanced and accurate. He mostly spent the time on subjects like fiscal good sense, mostly if you don't have it don't spend it and at times if you can't feed em don't breed 'em, food storage, container gardening howto's and other self reliance matters. He never aired anything about his location, and went 'casting paid for not one but four proxy services.

   The Hardy pod casts was some what popular, but no MSM or Main Stream Media service noticed or made mention of it. That was fine by him.

   Seeking a low key area , low taxes, small to modest population and no nuclear or other target area of industries for possible attacks terrorist or otherwise, for preparedness, “Hardy” was able to locate an area, not too far for travel, but not so remote as to take more than two hours , over back roads and routes to get to his BOL or bug out location. Using other techniques, with so called double cache, “decorative planning” for things like the hand pumping cistern, fed by an electrical trickle charging pumping system for the emergency five hundred gallon tank, set as a “doughnut” several feet below the tent location, but with a clear tunnel into a large , ten foot tall, ring of some 50 yards in diameter, tripled walled and section ally secured “pods” each with an air filtering and channel system some one hundred yards distant, emerging under what appeared to be over sized fire plugs. By a factor of two. While well constructed, if used for water access, only a few pints per minute were obtainable. Thus the fact the so called covers were permanently welded shut and the overgrowth encouraged to cover it all.

   Hardy had a small store of PV panels, but was considering wind power as well. The fewer long term costs the better. Additionally with a smallish dome, also under air filtration was incorporated. Some fifty yards wide and twenty feet tall at the interior, with some “sweat equity” was emplaced, though without animals at the moment.

   The original idea was a retirement/vacation spot, that was pretty much off the grid, but with facilities. With a few small scale solar chargers, Hardy was able to maintain Shortwave receivers and other FM/AM equipment. Cbs without SSB or single Side Band where excluded. Some money went into digital scanners, transferred to tape. As were SAME radio broadcasts and the local weather reports in the region. Hardy has established some relationships in the local area, like the nearby town business development team and library. Abstaining from school athletics, ,when asked about that, He had mentioned thinking over scores and education over athletics. An educated mind was better than a blown out knee or disrupted shoulder.

   The Administrator argued about funding, Hardy argued fact, The Administrator resigned after an intense and fierce battle of politics, Hardy was voted in for town council, but declined, stating he as only doing what he thought was right, and not anything else.

   With the decrease of sponsorships, fewer donations were providing for the sports programs, getting student to college, Hardy argued brains aka education were key, not anything else.


   Hardy had paid some taxes more like fees , locally for automobile registration but paid more tor the volunteer EMS facilities as he was out of town limits and insurance for his property, when time permitted drilled with the CERT and Fire Departments. Just enough to stay current, but was on the “reserve team” mostly due to his age, Retirement from EMS/Fire and rescue was age 51, He was fifty two.

    The thinking folks allowed that Hardy had long term plans in mind, and not just the “Conventional Thinking” going on. On those occasion when it was called for he was present for the Fourth of July and founder's day parades, when the local reporter for the bi weekly news had asked for an interview, Hardy , with respect , declined, citing privacy, The reporter, tried to push, only to be told leave off or get hit with a restraint notice, and fuhrer if sighted within a quarter mile radius of Hardy;s land, charged with criminal trespassing, Hardy had even gone so far as to file and pay for the notice delivery, along with a cease and desist order for the editor of the local biweekly paper.

   Helping out was one thing, Privacy and OPSEC were priority, Even the real estate agent was under a non disclosure agreement when he had first obtained the property, as were any and all contractors, each being hired out of state and no one state twice. The items that were public record were a minimal as possible. The improvements, not requiring permitted were all under NDAs.

   Same for the LTS and other supply transporters , though most were given direction to a local feed lot, with a half acre area for Hardy, paid before, in cash, tarped on delivery and configuration of same within 24 hours /, if late a fee of 75 per cent of the hauling costs were penalty against the late delivery of the loads. And verified against the  pre faxed/ emailed bills of lading. Hardy never had to go for the penalty, as a matter of fact, those drivers who waited around to confirm those same bills of lading, got a 5 percent bonus, as long as the log books were in order.

    Getting on with his life ,Hardy spent a little more money, again outside and no one vendor twice, securing his longer termed desires and needs. When the county auditor came out, there was nothing that was covered un existing regulation, or law to get either taxes or fees applied since everything was :alternative” and thus exempt.

   The next year or so while not a Power ball winner, Hardy had secured winning for One Megabucks Lottery , a total cash out of about 1.2 mil after taxes in a lump sum payout. The rest was in several places and accounts, not including the four foot tube drop safe. While accessible, a lift was going to be needed, if brute force were applied. With the right keys a hydraulic lift was employed for the lift and access. All five of them. The funds were re applied to the trust fund. Hardy did make a donation to the Orphanage of 5 per cent of the total.

   The rest was converted into silver, maybe 2 percent into physical gold, ammo and the like. Other expenditures went into better monitoring and audio production gear, after the homestead was finished, with extra propane, diesel, gasoline and various repair parts for his “production toys” and the like.

   With the State broadcasts of his winning, rather that some one had won Hardy contacted the trustees for handling the filling , taxes etal, Hardy posted NO trespassing signs, re affirmed his being on the Do Not Call list and finally found a POTS or Plain Old Telephone Service, and was just in range for the lower end of DSL or Digital Subscriber Line service. Hardy opted for Satellite Internet and TV as well. Redundancy was a good thing. He also got the broadcasts to bleep his name out at time of broadcast. Wearing a very modest, almost nondescript attire and his name blocked with the infamous black bar across the over sized award check.

   He rather liked the M4 over the M16 save for the 40mm Grenade system, and the M1911 in .45 Acp over 9mm. His former armory training had led to several anti IR measures including several phosphor and Mylar chaff home made perimeter defensive munitions that could only be triggered by a sapper or the hardened and well buried non metallic conduits to the end device systems, each tube as it were was off set enough, to preclude forest or range land fires. With the net winnings, Hardy finally settled down and carefully went about his weaponry. A magazine fed 30 round magazine in .223 loaded to 28 rounds per magazine, using a variation of the AR 15, a telescopic sight for the 7.62mm bolt action rifle lever action 303-30, and Z 75 in 9mm on the browning frame, and last but not least 12 gauge pump shotguns, ideally the Mossberg 500s, and two side by side shotguns in 20 gauge with inserts for .45, .22 and .243.

   He obtained three of each weapon, those which took magazines, he carefully obtained twenty each. Along with repair parts and several semi automatic sears for the .223 ensuring to account for weapon. A worn sear could induce an automatic fire situation, that would be uncool.

   He began to improve the area, with a combination upgrade to well , septic with that tank getting a special triple barrier liner, similar to what was used for underground fuel storage tanks, but smaller for the septic, reducing the chances of leaking into the water supply. He had a team of excavators come in and do the earth works. At 180 degrees from the septic access and some twenty yards away, three thousand gallon capacity water tanks, also with triple layer protection were installed.

   The rest of the work, was initially contracted out, until the Contractor wanted to sub contract, with out informing Hardy. Hardy fired the contractor and filed a complaint with the State Contractor Board. The sub contractor needed the work and asked Hardy to reconsider. The only saving grace was that the original contractor had ensured the sub contractor was under the Non Disclosure Agreement as was the main. Hardy looked over the documents, signed, witnessed and notarized. Hardy amended his complaint to lack of reasonable notice, and turned the Sub contractor to the Main , on a per project basis. The three men, two brothers, the third a brother in law, got busy. If there was anything wrong with these guys, it was a lack of equipment, for some things, but in general the projects proceeded nicely, Hardy did get some cost over runs, however this    was due to specialized equipment rentals like the crane system for installing the liners and tanks, rather than other materials or labors. Hardy had insisted that one day a week the crew rest and spend time with family, They were working Fourteen hour days, including travel to and from the Job site. Once the initial work was completed, it was found that one of the brothers had been a carpenter, the other a journey man plumber, but do to lack of work had turned to general contracting when and where ever there was work.

   Due to the professionalism and skills of the men, Hardy hired them for more work as possible or paid a 5 per cent for any one who they recommend for special work, if they could not do it themselves. Normally Hardy would on pay a bonus upon satisfactory completion of work, under time and under cost. Considering the additional costs had been equipment and there had been a clause for such, when all was said and done, He paid the men , or the ones who other wised the same thing a bonus. The secondary hires got 5 percent , the trio, was given 7 per cent. The crews were pretty happy, work had been pretty slow, and of course there were bills needing to be paid.

   Hardy got a much better structure emplaced using a combined slip form and earth covered dome system The windows were actually three feet in diameter , three foot long continuous tubes on a rail system , once emplaced were slid in and rotated ninety degrees clockwise from the internal view and so locked into place, Internally there was a leverage system that would both unlock the “windows: and pop out, using a secondary system to pop the cork as it were to a distance of five feet if needed to evacuate.

   The exterior seals were rated for -130 , up to +140  either way under the Celsius scale and CBRN rated as well. The ends were polarized and both internally and externally could be ballistic ally shuttered. The internal system had a specialized heating system of water at a temperature of 75 degrees circulated by pumps that were set for solar or wind sail power to the battery banks, sealed in an intentionally over built and partially buried enclose with one way ventilation values, if needed, A back up breathable air compressor was near by with a big enough tank to purge the bank room in thirty seconds on full release. The tank itself was buried a few yards away under a similar construction method

   There was a black water tank of some 400 gallons, again triple lined and rigged with a pump to the Methane Generating system, The idea was to get moderate production , adding material as needed and with the produced gas, burned for water sterilization by distilling and a series of cloth strips to collect the minerals, those that were safe, like copper and iron were added to the cooling and collection tanks, the strips with other contamination were taken to the County of ppm or parts per million measurements for quality tracking, The so called strip system took a bit in order to get the right minerals collected and the wanted ones re introduced to the water thus treated, pure distilled water was great in most chemistry, but the human body required base minerals for hydration, as did most other mammals, and other life forms. A gray water tank, this one being only doubled as that water would get slowly pumped into an above ground tank, some five feet tall at the upper end, and on the lower set with manual valves for the array of irrigation, both mist and drip for the Polycarbonate enclosed Green houses. Hardy had an idea for a more efficient Methane system, but did not require the additional power just as of yet. On site he had three 1000 pound propane tanks for heating and for the Freezer/refrigerator system. Flash heaters were fine for his few hot water needs, Just about everything else was 12 volt, unless he required inverters of which he had more than a few, in various wattages. Most of these were in the kitchen area. He liked to use the microwave once in a while.

   The interior was set up with three sleeping rooms, two bathrooms, the second had a a full bath, the first was a sink, shower, toilet system. Between the propane powered appliances and the cost for composting toilets, the septic was a better option, intentionally over sized by a factor of 5.

   There was a combination barn/ work place also domed , and between home and barn was a tunnel system, with a turn off to the Green houses, although a tad snug, being a four foot diameter tube some four hundred feet long. Hardy had come up with a rail system and low sled on rails, like from the movie “The Great Escape”. There were a series of red light capable leds for internal illumination and if needed a low voltage series of fans for air and humidity control, Each area was capable of being sealed and filtered, but not on the scale of say the now retired Space Shuttle or Submarines.

   Hardy wanted to look into bee keeping, but was not sure if the gardening systems would be enough to sustain a colony, unless it was winter time. He would have to visit the County Ag extension offices for more information. He had been there previously to get the well water quality tested previously.


   Over time, He had acquired several pieces of pre 1900's technologies and equipment, Oil Lamps, crocks, washing boards, copper Kettles and the like. Always on the QT. He also did some land clearing, but declined to clear cut. He had enough open land for his needs. The trees were thinned , however and checked for distress or disease. Anything not healthy was carefully harvested, and with a rental of a wood / lumber system what could be turned into lumber was, Other wise, yep, firewood.

   Hardy did have a Texas sized barbeque and harvest kitchen set up, complete with a copper mesh screened unit. He had gotten a really good deal when he had been setting up his Faraday rooms. Even the ceiling was enclosed, the interior set with five inches of insulation, and Tyveked.  The door was a simple construction of four hinges to the side and set with five  pound recoil arms for closure, reducing possible insects gaining entry, While Hardy was not allergic, he hated wasps.

   The walls of screen were triple layered and again went at a 90 degree angle under the concrete for a distance of about three feet or so, then the lower area, think base boards, were set and sealed against the elements.

   This was more to due if hard rains hit rather than anything else, however the pitch of the roof with the intentional over hanging to a height of five feet and from the exterior walls a distance of six feet, would make keeping the roof snow free, pretty self performing, The domes were rated for a lot more stress that way, including the earthquake package. The domes were only showing the top seven percent, but where over planted with soil and plants, both for blending in and for cultivation of herbs.


   Hardy was a hit on the Blog casts, but still was discrete in his messages. Not a sermon, nor a manifesto, though those were becoming more and more prevalent, Hardy made a final 'cast as to the state of things and terminated all pod casting, and reduced his forum participation under various handles for OPSEC. He still monitored the Airwaves and made notes. Keeping to himself,. The few times he went to town, other than for a hair cut, his other contacts were pretty short. Shopping was a by the vendor/aisle/item, checkout and depart sort of situation. While polite, conversation was minimal.
Being in a state where you had to have an attendant pump the fuel was okay by Hardy , who always used one of each station over the course of the month. Noting the verification seals of weights and measures, No one under or over filled him.

   He was settling in, with a few mini grain silos, some pastures and good wintered over plots. With two good if lower pressure wells, and his modest dwelling, life as getting good, locally.

   He had 'farmed' out some more work to the trio here and there, paying a premium. The men were professional, hard working and eager for work. Hardy had stipulated the one day a week off rule and always made sure there was plenty of cold clean drinking water. The lumber work went very well, Hardy wound up with about ten cords of firewood and so let each man take two after work was completed, The men could either use or sell as needed.

   Word got around, Work for Hardy, hard work, good pay and while demanding, Hardy was not a micro manager and for a hiring person, was pretty good with a shovel and knew that some times other equipment might be needed. Once a deal was made, it was held to. The brief mention of performance bonuses did not hurt either. Hardy surveyed the property and was pretty happy, He did arrange for what few pieces of equipment he did need were a like in type, and fuel so he could maintain them with little outside support. Using the triple lined system and cathodic protection again by solar power and wind if needed began storing Diesel , using two tanks, the untaxed tank was for the farm equipment or off road only the other , tax paid was for his truck.

   A smaller concreted and sealed pad with sheet metal construction like a twenty by thirty foot pole barn was the mechanical shed. In fire proof lockers were the various lubricants, filters and spare parts. The other tools were set to interior mounted peg boards and set with both j hooks and bungee cords for securing tools, in case of earthquake or sever wind storms. Similar design for the copper screening was installed, and once the shed door closed, was sealed as well.

   All structures were set with lighting rods and a bit off was a windmill that doubled as an Antenna system for FM/AM/SW and digital over the air broadcasting, more for reception than transmission.

   The solar array was a three section system, spread about so that it was not all concentrated in any one area. While maintaining this took a little more time, it reduced getting compromised, Same with the three wind power systems, not including the windmill itself. The wells were under individual pumps to a central flow system. There were few options other wise, with the underground tanks, save the Gray water, the system inlet could be closed off in case of compromise.

   The Barn, Green houses and Home could be closed off and had CBRN rated filter systems Hardy had taken extra consideration, since if contaminated, by what ever would change how to handled the media, if needing replacement, He did have a pit of sorts, using a very heavy close fitting plug arrangement if needed. Not to be confused with his selection of three others set up as long term storage, one marked by a bird bath, the other a stock tank and the third with what looked like a lightning stuck stump, carefully crafted to also grow real fungi as further deception. These three were caches no one knew about as Hardy had built them himself. Again when sealed all three were fairly EMP proof.

   If necessary, using a double tripod and come a long winching system, if the bobcats were not operational, he could get access, The holes were six feet deep, the plug two feet deep, leaving a four foot by four by four cube in each location. The supplies were in waxed and sealed ammo cans or super pails, all food grade, and included repair parts, ammo, food and water purification , literature for survival and other materials, like sewing needles , cloth , thread and the like. Also tarps, all the soft items were in vacuum sealed bags, in a triple layer system. Hand tools, whet stones, hatchets, files and the like. At the bottom of each bucket were three one ounce, twenty tenths of Gold and some one hundred in various pre 1964 dimes and quarters of silver. So were vacuum packed heirloom seeds, and mini green house materials.

   Hardy also had several added hand cranked radio/ cell phone charging systems. Working with care to preserve soil , he increased his fire breaks and added some semi raised portable tanks for fire fighting. Along his fence lines were wide areas of low growing grass, kept trimmed short, more to hold the soil, without creating more ladder fuel situations.

   He had made sure that his fence lines were within twenty feet of the external property lines, avoiding any confusion, as on the very exterior he had posted several equally spaced apart posts with all weatherized No trespassing signs, at the three, six and ten foot tall heights. Even in a lot of snow, the signage was hard to miss. That fall, with the first real gardening getting harvested, Hardy hired out for canners and materials. He had a good amount, but felt it better to get more up front. He paid in firewood, a third of the harvest and cash. Using smaller bills, tens, fives and ones.

   The harvest went well and with the outdoor kitchen complete with the additional water tanks that were set for gravity feeds, being topped off by purified water in five gallon buckets and using the large fireplace/BBQ unit , plenty of heat .

   At the end of the harvest, Hardy had gotten a good deal on corn, a half a beef, dressed and both
a keg of Root beer for the kids and a rather nice local micro brew for adults. The harvest celebration and the compensation were appreciated hugely. Some folks tried to talk business, Hardy was having nothing to do with it, citing the celebration for labor already completed. He sort of let it be known he was shutting down for winter, but might have something come Spring. What he did not tell folks was that in fact he would stay over the Winter and did have some work to be done, but he had already filled those jobs with the Terrific Trio as he called them. The word was to keep quiet about it. Some folks were trying to get work, however Hardy was not impressed with their previous labors, after doing some home work, prior to his earlier contracting.
   
   As Hardy was learning, look forward and consider the next season, before the current one was getting started. Some folks were cash strapped, but doing well, feeding themselves and the like.

   Hardy spent some time traveling around the area, getting to know some folks who did not actually live in town. Some he hired as consultants, again under NDA, for some things he wanted to either know more about or have done. Most of this was for the Barn and Bee keeping.

   He had moved the wood stove into the main dome re plumbing the chimney and flue to fit, again, if needed the external outlet could be covered with a fine mesh and with smaller installed thermocouple powered fans, “over pressure” enough for use, however Oxygen monitoring might be needed

   This was a stand by option, The shelter was set with Carbon Monoxide detectors and with several fans going at low rpm, a good flow, even if slightly diminished capacity with full filtration.

   A secondary unit was set for heating the Green house systems, with more humidity and stricter controls for ventilation, Hardy did not want the Bees or Crops impacted any more than needed be.

   The shed roofs were over layered with differing colored panels of corrugated/colored fiberglass. The idea being with ambient day light on the sides and coloring over the immediate top, with a four foot gap to avoid over heating and some retained warmth in the cooler seasons. The offsets were rigged
for both some wind flow and snowfall/dust removal conditions, PAM worked well enough, one can applied seasonally.

   With the preps completed for the month, well inline with his assessments, Hardy started working more with the soil, amending it here and there using simply soil testing. He was using the by products of the processed manures for fertilizer and the small methane generator. With careful management the waste from the septic system was periodically pumped to the generator, With the saved gas and a simple conversion for the former propane three burner system, the outdoor kitchen with some interior work could serve in winter time. The use of heavy 6 mil thick plastic sheeting with lightly weighted rods could be dropped and a secondary over lap to finish the job as long as the winds were low. Ventilation was easy with a large hood arrangement, however the area was not CBRN tight.

   Being of sealed and plasticized over wrap and other wise metallic, potential decontamination as long as not Nerve Agents would be pretty simple. Hardy had invested in several units for over pressurization of the barn , home and Green Houses, with a few suits and filtration masks and associated equipment if needed. Radiation Monitoring was his next area to prep, He wanted 5 meters and associated personnel meters, calibration equipment and the like.

   Storing large quantities of STB or Super Topical Bleach, but avoiding DS 2 a very caustic decontamination solution, He was moderately well set, so long as there was ambient Oxygen to breathe. Filtration devices still required there be some Oxygen available, Since most chemicals were heavier than air, getting in a ditch or other low ground was not real practical.

   Those decon supplies and brushes were stored with several hand pump charge able systems for wash down in a special area that was again triple lined and set as a catch pool into a large sealed tank, that would get topped off with STB and sealed. The drain was pre sealed , and while able to be accessed was currently over covered and triple sealed against in inadvertent access. The total capacity was some two hundred gallons, Using a rinse down, scrub down and final rinse system should take care of things, Again with a roof set for a Fourteen foot clearance.

   The various Radio and TV reports were getting grim. Hardy decided to accelerate his preps, and through a storage unit and rental postal box system set up a small shell company. He filed the barely necessary paper work and began to receive more deliveries, which once unloaded, using a U haul and later Ryder rentals, always paying cash and either one of the three non US Postal Service box providers had a certain degree of OPSEC, though he did fudge a bit as to his real name on the paperwork, Having multiple middle names helped a bit. Using the smaller trucks, and re fueling in different locations, again paying cash, he was soon ahead of schedule. With the break out of more cash, he got his CBRN items acquired, paid for, delivered and calibrated.

   The local weather service was decent especially for the rural farms, but investing in his own systems made him feel better. The County had some phone lines out his way, but DSL was iffy at best, so he opted for Satellite with a back up receiver dish for TV and Internet. The spare modem was secured in the Faraday Cage.

   Hardy decided to attend the local range and practice for his ccw. The locate Sheriff , last name of Mackay , was willing to issue, however since Hardy did not have either .45 or 9mm on his dd214a he bit the bullet, no pun intended and attended the classes. He was quickly certified, and accused of sandbagging, Once he explained, the trainer was more forgiving. “So you play by the rules, right?”

   Hardy grinned. “As long as the rules are not capricious or arbitrary, I usually do, tended to reduce stress that a way.” Both men grinned. His initial forms filled out, after clearing the facility with his other weapons locked in a secured and braced security box, thus needing a search warrant in the state, he headed into the County seat and applied. Once a phone call, a scan of the DD 214 and the two phone calls, one to the trainer and one to confirm the information presented and cross referenced in NCIS with a notation of prints on file, no record, no outstanding charges and listed as Identified US Military retired reservist, Hardy got his permit. Along with an additional endorsement for search only after radio approval given. Hardy thought that was odd,

   The Sheriff had mentioned some deputies were a bit over zealous and needed a tad of reining in. Hardy found out, when, with his new permit, was fastening on his holster, when Deputy Nelson was pulling up. Telling Hardy to freeze, he stepped over and began to reach for Hardy's pistol, Unfortunately for the Deputy, Sheriff Mackay was just stepping out for a smoke, since there was no smoking in the building and saw enough. “Deputy Nelson. Freeze, Do not move a muscle. You are formally charged with Malfeasance of Office, Unprofessional conduct and are under arrest'” With that two other Deputies who had heard the exchange, walked out, hands clear and moved, while not crossing the path of fire from the Sheriff, Deputy Nelson was quickly disarmed, relieved of all gear, handcuffed and searched, being taken into custody and booked. Hardy was willing to leave well enough alone, however the Sheriff had made mention as to since this was the only location within the County to get a CCW, the Deputy was way out of line. He had barely slid by for previous misconduct.

   The Deputy was given a choice, resign, and leave the County , with no CCW privileges or get fired, tried and dealt with, Only as these would be State Felony convictions, no Firearms rights as a Felony conviction was enough to disbar firearm ownership under Federal Law.

   Hardy, was asked to make statement, and did so under oath, but did not decide to press charges, but left it open , if the ex deputy tried to push things. The Deputy was also hit with a Temporary Restraining Order, pending a Judicial Review. The phone call , fax and faxed back copy of the court order, so signed and decreed was in effect immediately. Hardy had a one mile range that Nelson had to obey in keeping away. This included when Hardy was in public places. Not wanting to cause further issues. Hardy obtained approval to leave and did so.

   The court that oversaw the trial found the former Deputy guilty on all counts, and based on additional testimony for several others was sentenced to ten years at the State Penitentiary, without Parole, or reduced sentence for potential good behavior. Fortunately, Nelson did not have any arrests that had said members in the State Facility.

   Hardy was out and about, heading in for a haircut, being retired, he was no longer wearing the old standard of the “High and Tight” but pretty close to regulation standards.

   Hunting season was starting soon, Hardy got his license and tags, that year, he took a Mule Buck, two geese and only under duress a wild boar. The boar had come charging after him, so he used the 7.62 mm rifle, shooting at a range of fifty feet, working the bolt after the first and follow on shots.

   Both were lethal , the Head shot had removed the brain, however with the momentum the second , in the chest as he had side stepped and fired again. He filed the report with the local Game Warden, who agreed , under the circumstances the shooting was protective, but poaching in conduct.

   Hardy gave up the Boar, once checked out, the beast was processed, being disease free and quietly supplied to those a tad less fortunate, in the county.

   The other game taken had been processed and that Christmas season, Hardy had donated one of the Geese to the local old folks home for the season, with sides of fresh potatoes and the makings for biscuits.

   Yet another nice thought and action folks were thinking, Maybe, just maybe they had been hard headed about the Man. When the power had gone out for a two day period, Hardy was one to show up with two 5 kw gen sets for powering the Old Folks home and the school which was set as as a Community Shelter. The local Mayor had tried to get more help in, with little success, as the entire northern part of the State was under the same conditions. The Mayor, one Frank DeSoto had also managed the three regional Diesel and Gasoline stations, had donated fuel, filters and lubricants for the generator system. With power, water and hygiene were pretty much a non issue.

   The School was not so well off, simply due to the large spaces, The distance from the Gymnasium to the Kitchens , which were on the other end of the building took more resources. The Kitchen , like most in the later part of the twentieth century were more processing of prepared foods, rather than in previous decades where the Kitchen as just that, with ovens, ranges , etc.

   The water supply for the Shower areas was given the higher priority. Once power was restored, folks went to those homes. Most had been set up with blown out plumbing to prevent freeze ups and the incoming water supplies shut off, Those homes that were heated by propane did a little better, those at least with pilot lights and not using on demand electrical ignition systems.

   The more distant homesteads were pretty good, under the circumstances, where a loss of power, did well.

   There were plenty of folks were helping here and there, be it with things like soap, toilet paper and the like. Others supplied things like blankets and spare coats. There were few fatalities. One was literally due to exposure, The older man had not been able to get his vehicle started, and attempted to walk into town.

   The second was actually a family of four, With attempting to keep warm, the entire family was moved to one room, the old wood stove insert had cracks and a semi blocked flue, being seldom used, the resultant Carbon Monoxide had taken them all. A combined service, Non denominational in nature was held. The second property was in such disrepair, it was determined to raze it after being condemned.

   The first was in good shape, and with a few donations of either cash, materials or labor, refitted and improved. The remaining family was grateful and in the past, even without much had shared what they had with others. Hardy found out that the Henderson Boys, the sub contractors he had hired were cousins to the family. He provided more cash and paid for premium materials when he had asked the men about helping out. The deal was through helpful third parties who agreed to keep quiet.

   The repairs completed, it was decided that while the town had done okay, it could be better. Hardy was quietly asked by both Sheriff Mackay, the Mayor and the Henderson's to help. Hardy was not sure as to what he could do, The generators were available, and in fact he had originally bought one for local work where his 12 volt system was not up to the task, or too far to reach.

   Hardy had a few suggestions, mostly like Check in and get to know your neighbors. And of course , prep when and where one could. Most of the out laying farms simply nodded, things that had been done for years, just for longer periods, Others , mostly those in the townships , looked like this something new, somehow. Sheriff Mackay had a little more information. With the weather, there were more indications of home invasion and poaching, including some cattle in the region.

   Hardy pretty much to himself, other than waving hello here and there to his neighbors, being some five miles apart. That was until an afternoon, in late April, There were two folks, looking like they were repairing fences, the rather large rolls of barbed wire and come a longs being present. The two were out manned by a group of five in two trucks who were bad mouthing and getting ready to beat the two, the two in question were Hispanic. Hardy quietly pulled over, His vehicle having a low sound signature. Hardy was ready tor trouble and then some, First he called 911 and mentioned what was happening, telling the Dispatcher, he was also on CB Channel 9 and the mike locked open.

   As he got ready to use the rifle, He soon realized it was not needed, Hispanic 1 picked up a canister and used it, Hitting @holes 1,2 and 3 in the face, with Wasp Spray, Hispanic 2 was more direct, using the shovel handle to hit 4 in the Solar Plexus and 5 took a hit to the ribs, and a smack to the shoulder, Hardy winced, hearing the bone of the Clavicle, or Collar bone break. 5 Had been trying to draw a pistol, Hardy then stepped , in first with a Butt stroke to the Kidneys, and to the shoulder, making the weapon drop. Working quickly Hardy got between the five and the Hispanics, letting the Hispanics know in his rather unused Spanish he was there to help. The smiles in the two men's voices let him know his Spanish, while understandable was pretty bad. Hardy had decided the best way to curb this sort of behavior was to put the others under gun point and stripped to their underwear.

   Once completed, He had one of the Hispanics get into his truck tool box and get either zip ties or his roll of 550 or para cord. Using a few plastic bags, Hardy policed up the pistol, and unloaded it, Tying off that bag, he carefully gathered the clothing and bagged it as well. Introductions were made as several trucks coming from within the fence line approached, stopped short and several men got out, some with Machetes, others with Shotguns, One with a rifle, Yelling commenced to let the folks know that Hardy, who had to give his name, was a “ Good Guy, Chill out, Don't get stupid, etc”

   Deputy Matthews was on the scene, from the opposite direction the bullies were traveling.
Taking a few notes, noting the damage done, and the fact other than the fellow who got kicked, and the Sprayer had done its job, none lethal, but effective this time., did not arrest any one that was not already tied up, things being pretty self evident, , only asking for contact information, Until @hole 1 started yelling about White Power and got pretty foul Mouthed. Hardy had heard enough, and with an economy of motion, got his water cooler and after removing the few edible items left, dumped over the uncivilized person, wetting down and thus, as he put it “prevented a brush fire due to all the pitiful and acidic tripe.” That got a big chuckle.

   The five were collected up in the County Paddy Wagon and booked on pending charges of racially motivated hate crimes, minor vandalism and indecent exposure. The two Hispanic men were in fact legal citizens, but had rather thick accents. Hardy was introduced to the others quickly learning the entire property was managed by the entire family. The only ones not currently present were the wives, daughters and grand parents, who were guarding the homestead itself.

   The word got around that Hardy had been of assistance to the Hernandez clan. Hardy set the record straight, he had arrived and gotten ready to help, but the Hernandez family had things well in hand. The Deputy had made mention of weapons being found, unloaded and secured, and not from the Hernandez or Hardy. Some folks thought helping out strangers in the day and age was something pretty rare, but a good thing. Others were upset that there were prejudiced and violent types in the area.'

   That summer, when possible, Hardy hired both the Henderson and Hernandez crews for labor , the hedge rows needed some trimming and with a rented number of goats used in the fence lanes to keep the plant growth down. A couple of portable twenty gallon buckets of water were set up for the animals, and a copper free salt lick. The arrangement worked well. With the fence system keeping the animals free of predators and other wise satisfactory.

   The tree harvesting was a bit smaller, however the over all quality of the trees was improving. There was a moment of concern when a large hive was located. While there had not been reports of Africanized Bees in the State, an Apiarist was called out to check and relocate the hive. The hive was wild, but not as feared. Once relocated, Hardy and the others harvested the honey, and after getting it tested to ensure the honey was not made from Oleander, was soon canned and the bulk given to both families. At some twenty gallons, and a retail price for a pound, going for about eight dollars locally, This was pretty valuable stuff.

   The beeswax was carefully treated and made into candles. Hardy had taken a third, and gave the others to the families as well. With the crops coming in, the harvest was pretty impressive.


   The foodstuffs were processed and stored. That fall , the weather was still pretty warm, The prices for electrical energy went up, most power in the area was based on Hydro, and with the extended heat, water levels had been at record lows. Hardy was pretty much off grid and so was not impacted much. Fuel prices were creeping up, Diesel was about six dollars a gallon, before taxes, Gasoline was up to four seventy eight a gallon. More and more folks were trying to get by, without much work, the higher prices were driving more and more businesses were relocating. Hardy was in a position to retire as his company was relocating as well The State was attempting to raise business taxes to increase revenues. Obviously this tactic bit the State Administration you know where.

   There were attempts to recall both the Governor and the State Assembly membership for the increase of prices, rarely checked and for economic malfeasance. The Governor resigned. The Assembly was a hit and miss effort. Retired from real work, Hardy did take some of his winnings and paid for Health Insurance, privately, COBRA was a fiscal joke with the fees being so much higher.   

   Over time Hardy took down the outfitter's tent and its contents, carefully packing it all into a travel trailer, using a shop vac to vacuum seal everything, as much as possible to reduce space. The internal furniture was designed in such a way, they could be taken down and stored flat, getting shrink wrapped and also stored in the trailer. There was enough room for several days of supplies and with modifications after market for extended fuel tanks, two additional batteries and the alternator set with an additional generator unit. An inverter rated for 1000 watts was also installed.

   The vehicle was a modified for Diesel and made as non electrical as possible, save for the radio, which was AM/FM/SAME rated. A CB with SSB or Single Side Band and a Scanner were installed.

   Hardy had spares in a Faraday style container. This container held spare fuses, a wiring harness and bulbs. He also got the lighting system set into a console for engaging or shutting off each circuit.

   The vehicle was a non nondescript gray with black paneling. The trailer was a custom job, the interior of the doors were set with the additional spare tires and pioneer tools, Mattock pick, Shovel and Axe, and four Jerry cans, two of water, two of fuel, and a hard case container with filters and a few gallons of oil and a ready to go grease gun and a spare cylinder of lubricant. The engine was equipped with a fording kit and added skid plates and brush guard for the front, and if needed a roof rack with aerodynamic hard cases , which with the unlocking of anchor pins, could be removed, if necessary, The vehicle was equipped with for and aft winches and in a center sleeve with cap were two mini ramps that once deployed and expanded into locked position could span a distance of eighteen feet with a two foot fore and aft overlay that in softer soils could be anchored into position. A tripod arrangement and come a long could be used to recover the anchors. The brush guard on demand, could be set with an extended wire cutter arm, if necessarily. By design, this was a full two feet taller than the top of the hard cases.

   A specialized package with extendable fittings and shock cord could be deployed for a weatherized canvas enclosure with the trailer off loaded for an expanded automobile camping situation.

   A portable ring shower system with a catch basin , collection and filtering system for re utilization even as potable water,and three dry bags was included. One for existing clothing, the second for new clothing the third for the towel, soap and sundries, all in a series of smaller protective hard cases.

   The system could use either pre existing water supplies or a propane piezo electrically ignited water heater, with an on board canister for about 6 gallons of water, even though equipped at the shower head with an on demand valve, that when released shut off the water supply. The total shower unit , when deployed as a cylinder about six feet tall and three and one half feet wide in diameter. Plenty of room. A vented gap hood rather coned shaped could be added for the weather. Once collapsed, the entire package, again with shock cord poles took up a package about three feet by eight inches. The bottom was a collapsing affair, which after trapping the gray water could be dumped, well away from natural water sources.

   The materials were easy to replace or repair, if needed. This was not for decontamination. The vehicle was set with well concealed storage areas, each with a solid locking mechanism, each lock having a different key. Set up for every thing from fishing equipment, fire arms and other potential survival items. Additionally there were three manual water filters and spare cartridges for a total capacity of about 800 quarts for all items. Hardy did not have enough storage space for all that water, but better to have and not need than vice versa. At ten gallons per day max, he was in pretty good shape, with the trailer carrying ten five gallon water cans, five to a side for load balancing.  If he had to bug out. There were three sets of keys, one on his person, one hidden under the passenger seat bottom, the third was secured in a cache easy to recover , but hard to find, unless one looked very very carefully.

   He had opted to leave the reinforcements for the outfitter's tent, in place. Using a system of drop down curtains sealing with a hook and pile system to the interior walls, and the window areas filled with sandbags, further covered with a semi rigid external cover made to look like cemented into stone. The main opening was set with a similar reinforced cover and small shrubs planted for obscurement. The land was getting set up with a small wooden cabin. Set with a trap door system to a tunnel that led to the other sheltering units. Once completed, it was as off grid as possible, but not as prep obvious.

   The Henderson and Hernandez families worked together when possible to get both animal shelters and better conditions as each family grew. The older Root cellars were no longer large enough for an extended stay. The extended cellars were deeper and longer, with solid foundations, reinforced walls and roofing. There were still access by the homes or the external doors, able to be secured on either end, situation depending. Both shelters were re wired for 12 volt systems and modest solar panels.

   With slightly smaller septic tanks installed, waste could be managed. While not CB proofed, There were filtration systems for either ash, dust or smoke, as long as the ambient oxygen level did not drop. About three weeks after completing the construction, it was getting about time to cull the herds and finalize the harvesting of the season. It was a joint effort and soon was short, efficient work.

   Rigging several solar powered dryers and dehydrators , a lot of the food was successfully preserved for future use. One trend was vacuum packing of the food,with Oxygen absorbers, storing it with minimal space being taken.

   Hardy wanted some more supplies, and while he did not need all that much, in exchange for labor and helping with transportation, made a group purchase for both people and animal first aid supplies and supplements. It took three pickups with tarps to get it all in from the in town drop off. Hardy had hired a third party to secure the load, under yet another non disclosure agreement, paying cash. Every thing was rechecked against the order, invoice and bills of lading. Once secured. The caravan headed home, pre staging each load to get to each destination. Among the loads were heirloom seeds, more canisters of long term foods, reloading supplies, repair parts and lubricants for chainsaws, files and chalk for maintaining of shovels, and other hand tools, water filter systems, and animal preventatives like wormers and other materials used in farm animal husbandry.

   Hardy had secured more Advanced First Aid items, Trauma kits , AED, and discretely acquired portable oxygen bottles., traction splints , advanced trauma first aid dressings with “Qwik Clot” and while not getting the actual hypodermic IV needles, did get saline and lactated ringers solutions, the later was for some injuries, but not for head wounds.

   Going “off the reservation” He was able to use the 'infamous' Canadian pharmacy system for the actual needles. With an improvised pressure cooker /Autoclave, he was able to secured, sterilize and store the equipment. Some other items would still take some time, as he would need a paper trail of the scripts for things like Epi-pens, Cipro antibiotics and Ibuprofen in the 600 mg range. Other items were Elderberry decoctions for flu symptoms, 190 proof Ethanol in ounce bottles and fifths for herbal tinctures, and two full glass sets for chemistry applications, United nuclear was a good source for materials like Potassium Permanganate for either water purification or in stronger concentrations, wound cleansing. Sulfur, and Thermite, Providone Iodine, under conditions was obtainable.

   OTC or over the counter medications that required prescriptions were replaced with non prescription medications, when and where possible, again paying cash to reduce or avoid a paper trail.

   Once all secured, Hardy asked, paying on Int 1099 forms for Grandpa and Grandma Hernandez for checking out a few parcels he was considering purchasing. He wanted a longer term of land sense for what he wanted to do.

   Activated charcoal in single unit dosages was also obtained. Additionally there were eye wash bottles, Syrup of ipecac, various suture sets, Two automated AEDs and Traction splints, With a few stretchers as well, Hardy reviewed his emergency response packs and updated accordingly. Good timing to. A few days later, there was a multiple county warning concerning Tornadoes. The alert went out, and the animals on each homestead were rapidly rounded up and secured in the barns, All families checked in via business radios, Hardy had paid for. some folks were secured in the barns, others into the enhanced root cellars. EMS had issues with servicing the region, due to the storm and lightning strikes on the EMS central facilities. The sub stations were operational, but the major resources were going up in electrically induced flames. Water pressure dropped from the Hydrant and water /sewer systems, making fire response catch as catch can.

   
   Once the initial all clear was given, Hardy loaded up and headed to town, Just because he was the “reserve” did not mean he could not help.

   The Henderson/Hernandez complex had survived and were combining forces to also assist. Part of Hardy's packages included stuffed animals for kids, if needed. The ride into the nearest town was unencumbered, but heart breaking. Several homes were without roofs, and or collapsed.

   Slowly making his way through the debris fields was tedious, but not arduous, though the trailer made things interesting. Once spotting an area that appeared to have some organization, He pulled over and dropped the trailer. One reserve fireman recognized Hardy. “Hey, Grandpa, what are you doing? There is not enough here to work with, We are relocating to the High School, if yo don't need help, and it appears you don't get out of here.” Hardy gave him the bird and yelled, You Dumb sh!t! I am bringing in medical supplies. Gawd how did you even pass the basic course, you Jack @ss!”

   The other man had the decency to blush, “Sorry, just with so many gawkers and not much help, its kind of tough,. The Fire Chief is okay, but his home collapsed on his basement, he is okay, but told folks to response else where until he got dug out. Right now I am senior on site, but really all I am doing is trying to get folks to shelter and then treated, I guess, I screwed up, huh?” Hardy lightened up a bit. “No, you are doing something, better than nothing, but yeah, You could use some help. I have a few supplies here, but either a Para medic or PA would be a nice thing. As to shelter, well that is important and no joke. However some folks are not going to make it without medical assistance first.

   “Tell you what, until relieved my competent authority, you are HMFIC, Me I am a resource, now how about a Trauma Center? The second engine bay looks empty, and I can use it, Okay?”

   Fireman trainee Brooks agreed, Mentioning he had cut the power, water and natural gas, pending review by the right personnel.  Using a Bullhorn, he announced to folks that while there was some assistance now in fire bay 2, all those who could safely move, please get to the High School

   The town had emergency plans including the Schools and Old Folks home. The second faculty had held up well, with a little broken glass, but that was about it. The Elders where out in force, some in wheelchairs, but helping, be it with what blankets they had, A few old folks, were providing some first aid. But limited on supplies. Hardy got some help and with evacuating the elders to safety, managed to get a few former military medics to help out. The equipment and supplies were well received, here and there were a few scared children, thus the stuffed animals. Some kids wanted them but refused stating they were brave enough, but maybe a smaller kid would want one?” Hardy was about ready to cry over that one.

   As more and more survivors were located a retired MD and a Trauma ER resident showed, up, Asked where to wash up and got busy. Hardy's supplies were seriously getting depleted, and he had set expectations as to what was available. The two one retired the other on vacation and not completed trained took that information in stride and did what they could, Hardy set up a way station and started making soup and coffee. With a small set up for either tea of Cocoa. These offerings and potable water were well received. Slowly, County Officials arrived with Units of the local National Guard.

   Hardy did a slow fade , leaving the supplies in the fire station, taking his trailer and left.

   This was not noticed until the Fireman trainee went looking for him. Seemed a county official more bombast than sense was attempting to establish authority and control, under the EMS/ ICS system, or Incident Command System, there were few folks to turn over responsibility to and this “Schmedlap” was not one of them, A few neighbors had gotten Chief Townsend out from his basement, with a few scrapes, Being single, there were no others, the Chief had been on vacation, sadly his Executive officer had left a few hours earlier to attend a family Funeral. He had not survived the trip back, having been hit by a freaked out novice trucker who had spilled the load, loss control of the truck and blocked the highway, the impact had flipped the vehicle, which  landed on its roof in a ditch, completely smashed in, There were no survivors in the car.

   Once on scene and getting a hand off report, Chief took over and quickly got things under control, Authorizing the MD and the Student to use the Paramedic truck, more supplies were obtained and used to good effect.

   There was mention of Hardy and his actions, The County mouth had tried to commandeer supplies and resources, only to find Hardy was no where to be found, and while attempting too wrestle control was secured under “protective custody” and locked into a police cruiser back seat, in both hand cuffs and leg irons.

   Out of the way, things got into both rescue and recovery. The trainee learned a lot of valuable lessons and experience, Other members of the EMS arrived, having checked their families first and then providing aid.

   Hardy had made a slow circle of the outlaying region and made notes as to the extent of damages. GPS was still working, and with that, he made an overlay of the area. Heading back into town, he provided the Deputy Sheriff with the information and how he could be contacted, if needed.

   When asked why he had left, he had explained it was easier to leave than to cause a scene by if needed, producing a firearm and telling the County Horses Ass to shut the F 'up. and so Hardy left, having done what he could. The Deputy grinned and said, The Sheriff was out of town on a court case when this happened, He will return later. I am sure while he might not approve of your not shooting you know who, he may want to chat with you, that going to be okay with you?” Hardy agreed and headed home and back with more water and soup makings.

   The shelter at the school was doing well, folks cooperating , rather than complain about a lack of resources. Some of the elders were trying to calm done young mothers, or entertaining kids, by reading out loud, or things like simple “Magic” tricks mostly with sleight of hand.

   Hardy had brought in a few 5 gallon cans of treated Diesel fuel and oil for the generators. The elders were being taken care of, mostly raised back in the Depression or World War II were getting along just fine.

   The teenagers got into the scene, helping out and not complaining about the lack of cell phones or the like. Most were from the outlaying farming or ranching families in the area, in for either school or shopping for school clothes. There were no Malls to hang out in , anyway. When things finally got settled down, Hardy was asked to come over the the center of the Gymnasium floor and recognized for his contributions. More than a few of the Elders were clapping. The Sheriff and Fire department members were clapping as well.

   Hardy said thanks and tried to leave. The leaving would take a bit, County Horse's butt was trying to get Hardy in trouble, Hardy gave him the bird, mentioning he had not voted for the man, and allowed the man was more than likely an embarrassment to the county and humanity. With that he left.

   Taking a rather circuitous route, went home. He hated attention , and crowds, People tended to get stupid en mass. With a re check of his properties and structures, the light beginning to fade. He went into the cabin and made dinner, Beef and Vegetable soup and biscuits.

   Cleaning up the dishes, He headed for sleep. His rest was not restorative, mostly due to his nightmares. Heaps of burning buildings, Corpses all around, and seemingly all alone.

   Getting up early, Hardy checked the radios and did not like what he was hearing, due to financial issues, the Federal Government was slow to react to the State's issues, with a full 75 per cent of counties reporting the need for assistance. The nearby states were holding off on the Mutual Aid Agreements, as all were dependent on funding. Hardy rechecked the weather reports and decided to let the few animals he had out of the Barn shelter system.

   The Animals were eager to get out, but where staying close to the fence line where humans were in the area. Even Old Bull Issac was hanging back a bit, While there were a few fallen trees and broken limbs here and there. His clean up was pretty easy, taking out a Quad Runner with a tow chain, Hardy was able to relocate the lumber, what of it was suitable for other purposes, otherwise using a chain saw to harvest the material for fuel and heating. The wood gas plans came out and were put into use on another vehicle as an alternative due to rising fuel prices.

   He took his plans and reviewed his situation, the lack of external support bothered him more than he had planned on. He knew that with what he did, there had been some serious mistakes, after the fact. If folks looked to him for supplies and resources, he was to be frank Screwed, Not matter how well intentioned. With that, Hardy rechecked with the other families, who reported all was well and thanks for asking, The information and good paying employment had meant a lot to both families.

   The property owners Hardy had been checking into were willing to sell, being anxious to sell and get out of the region, A few were greedy, Hardy made a one time counter offer, either take it or leave it, no negotiations. All but one agreed,    Hardy was able to pay cash, the Hold out wanted double what was originally asked when it was found Hardy was paying cash. The seller and agent were told to go screw. Hardy had checked the parcel in question was past due in land taxes.

   The seller was trying to avoid paying the taxes as a condition of sale, and Hardy had made it known past debts were none of his responsibility. For Hardy the last parcel would get him land to the county line, however the lack, thereof was not a breaker in his plans. Longer term.

   When the other sales getting finalized, closed and completed, the Hold out finally tried one last time to get a deal, Nope. Not happening. Hardy could wait for the tax foreclosure and bid at auction.

   The seller knew this and hated Hardy for it. Hardy did not care either way. It took about six months, but Hardy got the land at auction, he bid lower but was paying in cash. No time or loans. He got the land, the other party acknowledged good business and wished Hardy well. The two men went across the street and over two drinks discussed the possibilities of the property.

   Hardy continued to work his properties and carefully retired from most town or county actions, even retiring from the Reserve EMS / Fire and Rescue teams. No harm , no foul and a great deal of thanks.

   His “Social Capital” was in good standing, and while he was not given special treatment, he hardly ever had to wait for getting a hair cut, or for getting a feed or fuel order placed. He never sought for favoritism, but did not mind if some one was willing to wait , so he could get things done.

   The other families went from a status of “lower class, hard working “poor” to contributing members” of the region. The first part was a severe misconception, not having a lot of cash liquidity, and otherwise keeping to their respective properties had caused some misconceptions. Hardy had helped a bit with the outstanding “loans” at some 9 months left at rather excessive interest rates, he had ponied up as the phrase went, and paid for the note delivery “Paid in full” The Bank and the Bank Manager had little choice, accept , or get all the branch and home office books checked out. Period.


   After all the hard work, efforts and consistent labor, Hardy, felt it was the least he could do, all things considered. The loans paid off, the rest of the income was used by the families improvement of properties, Better insulation, and other improvements, including additional wells. Taking a few tips from Hardy's property, a communal greenhouse was emplaced and working fairly well. A bit smaller, however with good construction and insulation, it did not take much to heat even in winter. The triple paned window/walls helped to trap in the heat. The dual layer door system did not hurt either. A series of raised beds with trellis systems allowed for vertical growth and square foot gardening techniques, led to pretty decent production, but it did take a good amount of effort to begin with.

   Hardy was getting along with his own plans. He had managed to get a few large capacity in ground potable water tanks, set in to position, and well insulated, laid down about three feet below ground, with one inch diameter in put and a half inch diameter output, via a mechanical or even manual pumping system. In series four 500 gallon tanks were set, one feeding the other, each able to be isolated and sealed, if necessary, and tapped from the input if needed. If there was a well failure, he had some water for a while, including the gray water system for diverting to the soil or greenhouse systems.

   The Barn Dome was also getting improvements, more insulation and the improved
waste management and collection. He added an additional three hundred gallon capacity internal tank, and a semi raised platform for fodder and silage storing on hand, including his other external storage, also accessible via the tunnel system.

   The animals were set for diversity and with a key herd of 8 Scottish/Bison bred cattle were about max for the dome, over the winter. The Bull was in a separate pen, the Heifers another, by close by, the few steers were in yet another. The diameter was about
two hundred feet, externally, internally about one hundred eighty feet, with an interior height about thirty feet from center. The interior slope was set with reenforced shelving with three access ladders, mostly with the internal track/hoist/crane system was for additional storage. His other plans would take some time, the materials were available, and he managed to obtain the property in question, but getting in a well, and septic would take a bit. His idea was for a small cabin, maybe four hundred square feet, if that,
settled with a coal and or wood burning stove system for heating and cooking , with a twenty gallon tank for heating water and keeping it hot. Composting toilets would make sense, but at a thousand dollars or more at a pop, too pricey for his mind.

   He backed off on precious metals, too many state, not federal regulations were going on. Including a potential bill for purchasing via card or check only, no more cash. The bill was being fought, vigorously. There was some talk about either criminal charges being brought to the state senator who proposed the bill, but it was for the moment, just talk.

   The potential good news was the Governor would veto the bill. The State Senate voted for censure, the State Attorney General was all for a full court indictment, prosecution and if possible ejection of said member for the state. Hardy worked on a few things, listening to the broadcast news over the radio set, while setting up the seed pods in the Greenhouse, this time , mostly healing herbs and a few culinary ones as well.

   He managed to obtain, with a lot of research a basic chemistry hardware set, three in fact over time. Mostly for the distillation of tinctures and the like. With the heat source of the methane system,there was plenty enough heating fuel to be had. Blackberry, Ethanol albeit below the five gallon Federal limit, if he remembered correctly, and others all well and literally by the book, into bottles and jars. With the right storage and temperature ranges. Hardy was not to attempt opium poppies for medicinals just as of yet, though he did have poppy seeds, and not just for muffins. Treated and stored . Awaiting a professional to prep, or destroyed

   He also worked on reloads, and was developing an impact detonation system for the “Stinger” added to “The Mud Bug” His slightly hybrid “Baja Bug/Rail rider vehicle.

   The idea of both On/off Road and train rail riding vehicle had appealed to his multi use concepts of transportation, with either bolt action rifle for longer distance accurate shooting, or the three hundred plus yardage crossbow from history more like a Roman era Scorpion, the three pound all iron bolts would wreak havoc, if needed.

   The sight system was a hybrid of M203 leaf blade and M60 D model iron sights, Not sexy, but effective enough. Through testing, He could hit a target within five inches center mass at some three hundred twenty to three hundred and forty yards. Firing five times a minute, using the ratcheting crank system and while not a true magazine, a “feed box” of the right dimensions, for the finned and sharpened munitions. At some twenty eight inches long, and if needed, Mylar ribbon ed stabilized rounds would make a mess quickly. Why the Mylar? Simple, the ribbon would help to stabilize the flight path, and be hard to see, if back tracking to the launching point.

   The impact detonators took a bit of work, impact to the rear end of the hand load Plus pressure .50 caliber rounds took a wee bit more spacing and engineering to make effective and consistent.

   The other plans were a bit easier to fulfill, OTC or Over the Counter medications, vitamins, supplements, various heirloom seeds, animal medications, mostly preventatives, though Hardy drew the line as to Antibiotics being pro forma, rather than as needed, hand tools, and a few more Uninterrupted Power Supplies, more for the radio/scanner systems, but a few for the computers as well, minerals, in a form to be well ingested, and several lots of so called “Fish medications” or anti biotics, with a background chart for weight to dosage dispensing, duration of dosages and warning symptoms of bad reaction.

   He continued to obtain inverters, rechargeable batteries, solar cells and panels, plumbing supplies and concentrated chlorine for purification, as needed. His water tanks, well insulated and buried , held some 5000 gallons of potable water. Most folks had some water, but how potable was in question. His herds were a hybrid of Scottish Cattle and Texas Long Horn. Docile , sort of, by worthy of the land in question, and suffered few predations.

   Once he got a “feel” for the local weather patterns, Hardy paid for a dual purpose windmill, both to pump water and produce power, into a battery bank. With everything else, he was able to offset the cost for a POTS line or Plain Old Telephone Service and with a “Pronto/Stinger unit” about a mile closer to town, able to get mid range DSL or Digital Subscriber Line service, in addition to his satellite Internet/ Television.
   
   On his internal end, suitable insulation/ Protection was added to protect his electronic devices. With various UPS or un interrupted power supplies and the other systems, He was sure to have communications of a sort, including the scanner bay for LEO/EMS/SAME and lower channels. Monitoring did not require the same licensing and with a frankenstiened computer /decoder system, he got most if not all traffic as well

   The methane production unit was doing well, and with information from sites like
http://www.solar1234.com/ and the http://survivalistboards.com he had studied up and with notable mention of http://http://frugalsquirrels.com/ http://thesurvivalpodcast.com,
http://jerrydyoung.com ,http://shtfschool.com/ YouTube videos, with screening, http://survivalistssite.com among others, he was able to almost 'fine tune” things.

   The various “Animal meds” were vac sealed and o2 absorbed packages, thanks to things like http://www.doomandbloom.net/ and some videos from the US Military sites, before Department of Home Land security got way, in his mind, out of line and either restricted or cut off any information , under the guise of National Security. Hardy had the information, burned o DVD, on various EMP protected external hard drives/flash/Thumb drives and well cached, Some Caches were further protected with anti personnel mechanisms, usually non explosive, but not all. The locations were labeled on acetate overlays, again cached. Only Hardy knew which were “Active” or “Mechanical”

    Some folks might figure it out, most would get hurt. Hardy was clear in his mind, as signs were posted and all the caches were on his property, well within the property line.

   Hardy was having trouble finding Heirloom seeds, seemed there were folks who had the same idea, and while he was trying to obtain specific varieties, others were buying up even larger lots, Rumor was Big Agra was doing so to restrict supplies. Hardy did one better, paying in cash not pay 30 agreements, and in a few cases offered to offset ship and handling at an additional 5 % of total sales price. He got what he wanted, well sealed and in a large variety, including things like flowers and herbs, not just food crops.

   There was an itinerant blacksmith traveling through the area, and so Hardy got stocks of coal, coke and rigged a ringed forge with a thermal couple powered on demand blower. With recovered spring steel stock from the local wrecker/ U pull it shop, reached an agreement with the man, Nels by name, who could produce nails, shoes and did a mean fabrication of various hinges. Mostly wrought iron, but set up for a five by ten hinge, suitable for internal placement. Properly installed, a door weighing some two hundred pounds could be supported, using four hinges to a side and anchored some three inches deep.

   Hardy got a Pole barn structure installed using flat siding and a pitched roof of corrugated sheet steel, The frames were made using very stout 4 by 4s, with 8 inch diameter support poles from a five foot deep base up to the ceiling some fifteen feet ten inches tall. The interior floor was a slab set with inset re-bar and using twin anchoring systems between the interior of the external wall and the exterior of the interior wall.

   Filled with concrete to a thickness of ten inches, the interior ceiling was set with interior coverage, while not chemical/ biologically protected, for an above ground structure, it was pretty radiation protective in design. Hardy was not sure what he wanted to do with the reinforced structure, but knew he needed one any way.

   There was room for both the truck and mud bug, or mud bug and the trailer but not both. The walls were set with folding, wall mounted  shelving and a table/ four seat setup designed and built by Nels. Who was also a pretty fair if Shade Tree carpenter.

   Hardy offered to set Nels up for winter, Nels declined, but appreciated the offer, Nels let it be known , though rare, there were others very similar to the “Tinkers” of the 19 century who were itinerant craftsmen and wise women. If it was okay with Hardy, the “word” would go out as to a sometimes hiring man, who liked his privacy, but willing to hire as needed. Hardy allowed as to such, with the caveat that any who did, needed to mention themselves through either the Library or the Barbershop in town, As Hardy checked those locations about twice a month. If sooner, stop by the fence, and politely acknowledge the house.

   Nels agreed and understood, Hardy set Nels up with some extra fuel, food and water along with silver, and a letter of recommendation. Nels thanked him and mentioned he might be back that way come spring. Hardy mentioned this was fine.

   Nels departed mentioning out the window of his truck, “You might find something you like on the kitchen table, thanks again.” and headed off.

   Curious, Hardy headed inside and found a few very well made tools, Pick Ax, two period looking throwing Tomahawks, and a rather wicked looking ten inch Bowie knife, with sharpened false edge, well balanced and with an oak and cured leather handle. Half inch thick four inch long guard and a reinforced sheath. A brief note was “Great Forge, seemed like these were destined to be made with it, Nels.” A larger packet included what sort of tools Nels thought Hardy would be able to use, and what to look for. Nels had used his own anvil, and mentioned to Hardy ,what to look for and possible sources to acquire same.

   
   Hardy went shopping , discretely. Files, punches, pins, tools, and the like , including more “stock”. He was able to close down the forge, not needing it much, but when Nels had shown up, Hardy wanted one, not having one before. He worked on his acquisitions of land, where and when each met his needs, Clean water, solid titles, and with trees or good soil. Slowly He managed to obtain more “undeveloped” land and with careful soil and water management , got productive, sometimes a coppice wood, otherwise grazing or in soil crop production, Organic when possible, though at times were were generous amounts of “Hot sauce” misting using three to five drops per quart of water, getting the hottest sauces available , within a twenty mile radius and spraying, thus fewer deer or other animal predations, including insects. In most areas Hardy planned for a five percent “donation” of unsprayed crops, that were”welcomed” by the local wildlife, with a severe injunction against hunting/ poaching out of season, personal land regulations aside.    

   The harvests went very well, Onion, garlic, Wild Rose hips, berries, wood, and more traditionals like Carrot, Potato, Celery, Amaranth and the like.

   The local area was more than willing to buy, The harvests netting about 5 percent more than total expenditure and most customers were in fact either repeats or willing to work off hours for the bounty, with Federal reserve notes being worth less and less, Barter for things like food, or wood became a very common exchange of labor for food, as it was not for things, like fuel or the like “aka real goods” the State had no taxation.

   There was a note that some one was looking for Hardy, friendly like, but looking a bit rough. Hardy headed , after the hair cut, to the library, and discretely located , not just the man, whom he was thinking of, but two women who were looking over what ever medical books were on hand, taking hand written notes. Clean, for sure, polite, obviously literate and studious. Hardy quietly dropped off a note to meet in twenty minutes or so at the local cafe/ restaurant, Hardy would buy.

   A brief nod, and Hardy finished his book search, made notes and nodding to the Librarian with a tip of his hat, left. Obtaining a table to seat eight, with a pre paid reserve of fifty dollars in cash, the Owner/Cashier nodded and two of the crew policed up the tables, joining together, re locating chairs, a Baby seat and fresh menus, table ware and “reserved” notices on the tables.

   Well in the back, most seats to the back to be able to watch the entry way, hardy was not disappointed, The group came in, looked over and sat down, Hardy waited until the folks were seated, motioning with his hands for one and all to “light and set”

   He made mention as to house specialties and for folks to review the menu. Since the meal and conversation were about business, he could write most of it off, A second baby seat and a booster were needed. The cafe crew were awesome with a quick delivery alignment and ice water being presented, with lemon slices as garnish.

   The meal was good quality, generously portioned and well served. An Agreement was reached as to work and pay out. Hardy would offer lodging and infrastructure, in exchange for five percent of final production. Otherwise , pay per item / service was arranged. Hardy was impressed, with the skills for tool care, all of his hand tools that needed it were sharpened, oiled and his local garden was cultivated, canned and above all else, Henry and Allison improved his methane capture unit by five to eight per cent, including some Non chemical/non toxic methods for animal worming and preventative care. Henry had shoed the entire herd, anything over 23 months of age, and Allison had made tinctures or solutions of Hardy's medicinal herbs. Hardy added a ten percent bonus, stating his pleasure as to the production and professionalism of service rendered.

   However. Within town some folks were still stupid, then , again same folks were not what Hardy, himself, hired, either. To say “Townies” got “ticked” was an understatement. The Hendersons and Hernandez clans were still in there, economy be danged.

   Hardy had made plans and documentation as to commonly accepted drawing accounts, to be paid, under five days, or pay 5, not a pay30 or longer. Usually within hours, as long as letter and receipt to the bank. Since Hardy was able to make it happen, with FRN or Federal Reserve notes on hand, or on the day presented, FRN to silver rates at the 12:00 noon rate. Provided Internet or phones were working.

   Since Hardy had something like 5 to 10 grand in local pm and another 25 K in actually FRN.” aka cash, the local banker was ready to accept notes, within reason and having an exact copy of the Document and had little issue. Sadly, Not some Business persons. Hardy, had thought the discrimination issue was done with, “FAT CHANCE”, even with the “ We are used to it” was not acceptable, at least in his mind, Sadly , No matter where the $ or money was from no matter. Hardy had a simple idea, No more business, until the Owner or Manager with a pair, got professional, if not, Hey Truck in in and avoid the Middle man.,period, and so he did just that. After all the of previous events, Hardy pulled out, shut down and either planned for the fall out so to speak, and went elsewhere.

   Yet again, The “locals” were ticked, No money, no commerce, no wages. Hardy gave a dang. Racist No business, not Racist, get business.

   Hardy got his latest and unknown to him at the time, last set of preps in and secured. Due to the increased fuel costs and more intrusive regulations. Hardy shut down direct deliveries, but had planned for a drop point and re pack/reload systems, in several “shell” companies to “get 'er did” as the expression went.

   Reviewing of consumables, reusable, recyclables and ascertainable, led Hardy to a better sense of preparedness. Not everything could be prepped for, Hardy knew that, however many things could be.

   Working with potential situations , not events was a key of sorts. His medical stuff could use a bit more, but other than a Massive Casualty event, say forty or more, at one time, he was pretty well set, if set meant, no MD , Nurse , Vet MD or Hospitals.

   His expanded lands and wells , were all part of his long term planning. The titles were clean, and both fenced in and monitored, fed information to a series of AMD, dual core processors aligned into Grids and Sectors. Some even had Gnomes with color tags, and anti handling measures.

   The entire set up had taken time and expense, but was well set up. Even Deer and other wild life were tracked, counted and in time and place , discreetly harvested. The local Wolf population , helped out sort of, The herd of Hybrid cattle was doing well, with few attacks, and the deer were mostly taken out side of the open field gardens, along the various properties, though the so called 'Guerrilla Gardens” were some what preyed upon. Marigold and other plants helped reduce that along with a two gallon amount of sprayed, not concentrated urea helped as well. The last time Hardy had centralized , He had several game animals trying for the source. With that, he dropped off several non metallic sodium pure licks at almost a mile out of his lands. That helped, a bit.

   In other places, Salt licks with trace minerals,and suitable tracking of wildlife, herd migrations and the like. Hardy made sure to get the pink licks. With careful planning, both his “Herd” and the local herbivore population grew, However “Mud Bug” got a few work outs, if deer were bad enough in the Gardens, Wild Boar/Sows were worse.


   Outside, in discreet places, as off the land, “poaching” was a crime, Hardy dealt with 'sacrificial gardens/ licks “ and otherwise left well enough alone.

   Over time, Hardy repeated his inventories and where possible, even with fuel at a premium for hauling, he decided to make a trip, trailer in tow, for an eight hour trek.
   That being the entire time, he felt he could be away. The route was preplanned, with fuel points, and two alternate routes, either way.

   The trip avoided the nearest Township, by about twenty miles with getting around the latest boundaries, Hardy disliked the Mayor, and the local LEO/PD were in his mind, worthless and dang near criminal in conduct, He would rather avoid a shoot out, but would do the needful, if pressed. The route was clear, at least this time, sans Mud Bug.

   He had planned on a “survey: Usable, obtainable and free of issues. Hopefully. That was without any issues, like, Fire Flood, EMP/CME or the like.

   The end results were rather disappointing. Almost no one with the “City Limits” had a true generator, from what he could see, or base from fuel purchases, and there were no backups for either Sewer or Water, either, The local Township, was ill equipped for a grid down situation, thus much better he was not a part or parcel to those considerations.

   Heading home, with little to show, other than his “recon” , Hardy fed , watered and cleaned out the “shed” and put the Herd to bed.

   Sealing the domes, as in both of them, He called it a day, taking a brief, cleansing shower, rather than a true bath, and went to bed. Animals aside, He hunkered down.

   His schedule was like thin, wake, feed the herd, shower, eat, research for radiation, mostly, and if clear, get the herds out and about. Chemicals, well, there were more than a few chicken and local bee hives for monitoring.

   Hardy, kept back ups, though with Bees, it was tough, if the Dome were to be sealed, water was non issue, pollen? Maybe..., sugared water, sure, access to greenhouses, able, but would take time.

   Try , he would, succeed? Unknown. As to preps,. He was good there, even with the delays un shipping, having located other venues for delivery, sources being plentiful, if paid in silver, two thirds upfront, the rest on delivery. However, Hardy made short business of those businesses. Learning that they had either six to eighteen months of back log, He canceled orders and went else where, While willing to pay for expedited and discrete shipping, naw, no price gouging, period. Once the issue was settled, as in Hardy took business else where and for what remained of the Internet, gave ALL DETAILS,
The vendor went bust,l with a quickness.

   The next year or three, were something else. Yellowstone/ Mid American Caldera, Five nukes, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washingto0n D.C. New York City, and Corpus Christie , Texas (the last a dud, small area, no criticality, but the explosives made clean up a BIOTCH, for radio active particulates. Not a lot, but there it was.) None of the attacks made it on Main Stream Media, TV wise, but did on FM or Frequency Modulated Radio, Since the cities in question got hit, and about fifteen minutes, later TNN/CNN/Bloomberg News, ( Hardy thought no loss there, Bloomberg, in his mind a political hack, at best, and New York city being stupid from the neck up, from the floor up,and MSNBC, etal, where already dust, when the few words got out, Al Jeezra, Der Spiegel, WSJ were all hard down, Hardy closed shop, got  the animals into shelter and hunkered down. Due too, Thou, Shall Not Induce Panic, FCC/ Command Decision from the White House, Several thousand folks. Died.

   Not that FEMA did not try, pre preemptively, with training courses. FEMA, per se was not hat bad. Hardy, felt FEMA got a bad rap, response, yeah not so good, per event training, not so bad. The UN/WHO not so much, CDC, good.)

   Once, closed down, Hardy, went into both protection and production.

   His few chickens, made eggs, cattle in select cases, beef. Though small quantities, with milk, and excess when it occurred, where well accepted, though not over all enough to fulfill the overall needs of even the county. Thus the problem, perceived, not real as to have/have nots.

   The few foodstuffs, he could provide in a pre incident situation were some what “lame” “pre incident” meant “No Nuclear deployments/attacks” three weeks later, Hardy had an issue, A twin heart attack and aneurysm. Twenty Days later, he was found, buried with military honors, and the lands sold off, the agent was later found to be unprofessional, illegal and otherwise a “POS” prosecuted,at federally, state and county levels. The lands, now under iother control, almost went fallow oir non productive, until the 270 day device3 went off, with a long enough fuse. Kaboom, The domes and eveerything else went off, Hardym some how knowing of his ill health,n planted, timed and set the fuse, with preps for the animals, feed , water and range, done, His own demise, in months, not years. Thus, the combined detonations of posts/wire/domes

   All on a simple meter with a radio link to do the deed..,

6
Foks, Here is is and Please spread the word
Please let folks know:

Please help spread the word to mitigate the latest ping flood attack on SurvivalBlog's main server. Folks can use this temporary site:  http://64.92.111.122. (You'll note that we've temporarily omitted all graphics, to minimize the bandwidth needed. Going "thin" makes ping flood attacks less successful.)

7
Survival Fiction / Hardy part 1 revised
« on: March 25, 2013, 08:16:16 PM »
Hardy

   Henry Andrew Randolph David Yance was a finally retired E7 from the National Guard, finishing up several years of service, starting in the Federal reserve, several years on active duty and finally the national guard. His last marriage, like the first was a past issue, ending in divorce. Though painful, at least not as bitter as his first.

   The decree had left his retirement, collectable at age 62 alone, and no support requirements. Having worked in the tech sector and location of a nice piece of rural property, Tanking several months to locate the land for wind flow for power, well quality, distance from major cities or government offices/installations, and other considerations, like ease of concealed weapons carry laws, alloidial or tax free titles, and the like.  He had arranged to telecommute to work, save the once a month trips to the regional office and set up as a amateur farmer. Hardy, to what few friends he had, was a pretty quiet fellow, not much for social occasions, but willing to help if needed on down time with wood harvesting, or working on fences or the like, each time picking up some knowledge or skill, he thought useful. His military experience served him much better in the civilian world, than some folks thought. Solid attendance, willing to resolve what could be resolved at his level. Sometimes escalating things that needed more research than he had time for, the Escalation Team never objected to his tickets, in fact, on more than one incident, he had inadvertently identified issues that were just beginning and then “bugged” for a larger issue.

   While he had proof of US Citizenship, he knew little of his family due to a fatal accident when he was three. He had been with his daycare provider, when the Long haul truck had flipped and spun across the highway, killing his Father and Mother in a “Freak” Accident. Being raised in an Orphanage, while a shelter and sort of a life, was not without difficulties, like the towel snappers in the boys lavatory. Once hit, and the towel 'Rat tailed” drawing blood, Hardy, as he was known, had simply reacted by spinning around and accurately throwing the new soap cake directly at the snapper's head, in the right eye. The attacker fell down, with a slip in a puddle of wash water and a concussion. The black eye was even more than that,, however the head injury and follow on concussion hid it for years.

   Hardy was eleven at the time, and while somewhat smaller in build, had quiet the arm and accuracy. In most situations, bullies would try and establish control. Hardy was having nothing to do with that, and in some situations, even took matters into his own hands, one time walking up to a bully, who was trying to take a toy from one of the smaller children, only to be grabbed by the shoulder, spun around and kneed in a vulnerable area, followed by a knee across the neck, applying pressure to the arteries, and squeezing off blood flow, until the bully cried “Uncle” . The smaller kids here herded to their rooms, Hardy went to the Administrators office and made a full report of what had happened and why. The Bully had not been caught in the act before, but there had been several reports of his misconduct.

   Over time Hardy grew up to be a good man, and a soldier,A few deployments for “Operations other than Warfare” Hardy became a gifted, though amateur in the art of “Low Intensity Conflict” was good with radio communications. And Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense. With training in Demolitions and Armory operations plus military maintenance. A tour of duty with a less than stellar officer a few years later had led Hardy to muster out under the Clinton Administration, Though before then , Sgt (Sergeant “Hardy”) had met and served with a few who were “Awesome” in the language of the Infantry.  Meaning of such respect, if called back directly by said fellows in arms, “Hardy” would be all over it.

    At age 25 He found out that his parents had set up a trust fund for him, however he could not access the funds until his 25th Birthday. He was not sure as to the best use for the funds, never having had much money.  The Trustees were professional, and had even had a special fund for external audits of all business practices every year, using one of five companies for the audits every year and more than one for each area of business. The trust was in the mid nine hundred thousands. Hardy had requested a conservative plan for investments, Avoiding blue chip stocks, and Big Agra. Using a mixed portfolio in real gold, silver and smaller farm properties.

   
   As time and the world situation changed, it was more and more obvious that the United Nations was one, A joke, two worthless and three by its very charter, an potential danger to the Constitution of the United States of American and the Republic for which it stands.

    Hardy, going by his nickname on the Blogcasted podcast radio, was non governmental to a point, He made sure on his weekly 'casts that folks , who where willing to listen and think for themselves understood the issues and repercussions of all political acts. Robert A Heinlein, had made it pretty clear in Star ship Troopers about the use and deployment of Military forces.

   Once a week he put tougher an audio cast over the internet, mostly on preparedness, again not going political for or against any one party, trying to keep things balanced and accurate. He mostly spent the time on subjects like fiscal good sense, mostly if you don't have it don't spend it and at times if you can't feed em don't breed 'em, food storage, container gardening howto's and other self reliance matters. He never aired anything about his location, and went 'casting paid for not one but four proxy services.

   The Hardy pod casts was some what popular, but no MSM or Main Stream Media service noticed or made mention of it. That was fine by him.

   Seeking a low key area , low taxes, small to modest population and no nuclear or other target area of industries for possible attacks terrorist or otherwise, for preparedness, “Hardy” was able to locate an area, not too far for travel, but not so remote as to take more than two hours , over back roads and routes to get to his BOL or bug out location. Using other techniques, with so called double cache, “decorative planning” for things like the hand pumping cistern, fed by an electrical trickle charging pumping system for the emergency five hundred gallon tank, set as a “doughnut” several feet below the tent location, but with a clear tunnel into a large , ten foot tall, ring of some 50 yards in diameter, tripled walled and section ally secured “pods” each with an air filtering and channel system some one hundred yards distant, emerging under what appeared to be over sized fire plugs. By a factor of two. While well constructed, if used for water access, only a few pints per minute were obtainable. Thus the fact the so called covers were permanently welded shut and the overgrowth encouraged to cover it all.

   Hardy had a small store of PV panels, but was considering wind power as well. The fewer long term costs the better. Additionally with a smallish dome, also under air filtration was incorporated. Some fifty yards wide and twenty feet tall at the interior, with some “sweat equity” was emplaced, though without animals at the moment.

   The original idea was a retirement/vacation spot, that was pretty much off the grid, but with facilities. With a few small scale solar chargers, Hardy was able to maintain Shortwave receivers and other FM/AM equipment. Cbs without SSB or single Side Band where excluded. Some money went into digital scanners, transferred to tape. As were SAME radio broadcasts and the local weather reports in the region. Hardy has established some relationships in the local area, like the nearby town business development team and library. Abstaining from school athletics, ,when asked about that, He had mentioned thinking over scores and education over athletics. An educated mind was better than a blown out knee or disrupted shoulder.

   The Administrator argued about funding, Hardy argued fact, The Administrator resigned after an intense and fierce battle of politics, Hardy was voted in for town council, but declined, stating he as only doing what he thought was right, and not anything else.

   With the decrease of sponsorships, fewer donations were providing for the sports programs, getting student to college, Hardy argued brains aka education were key, not anything else.


   Hardy had paid some taxes morel like fees , locally for automobile registration but paid more tor the volunteer EMS facilities as he was out of town limits and insurance for his property, when time permitted drilled with the CERT and Fire Departments. Just enough to stay current, but was on the “reserve team” mostly due to his age, Retirement from EMS/Fire and rescue was age 51, He was fifty two.

    The thinking folks allowed that Hardy had long term plans in mind, and not just the “Conventional Thinking” going on. On those occasion when it was called for he was present for the Fourth of July and founder's day parades, when the local reporter for the bi weekly news had asked for an interview, Hardy , with respect , declined, citing privacy, The reporter, tried to push, only to be told leave off or get hit with a restraint notice, and fuhrer if sighted within a quarter mile radius of Hardy;s land, charged with criminal trespassing, Hardy had even gone so far as to file and pay for the notice delivery, along with a cease and desist order for the editor of the local biweekly paper.

   Helping out was one thing, Privacy and OPSEC were priority, Even the real estate agent was under a non disclosure agreement when he had first obtained the property, as were any and all contractors, each being hired out of state and no one state twice. The items that were public record were a minimal as possible. The improvements, not requiring permitted were all under NDAs.

   Same for the LTS and other supply transporters , though most were given direction to a local feed lot, with a half acre area for Hardy, paid before, in cash, tarped on delivery and confirmation of same within 24 hours /, if late a fee of 75 per cent of the hauling costs were penalty against the late delivery of the loads. And verified against the  pre faxed/ emailed bills of lading. Hardy never had to go for the penalty, as a matter of fact, those drivers who waited around to confirm those same bills of lading, got a 5 percent bonus, as long as the log books were in order.

    Getting on with his life ,Hardy spent a little more money, again outside and no one vendor twice, securing his longer termed desires and needs. When the county auditor came out, there was nothing that was covered un existing regulation, or law to get either taxes or fees applied since everything was :alternative” and this exempt.

   The next year or so while not a Power ball winner, Hardy had secured winning for not one, but two Megabucks lotteries , a total cash out of about 900 K The rest was in several places and accounts, not including the four foot tube drop safe. While accessible, a lift was going to be needed, if brute force were applied. With the right keys a hydraulic lift was employed for the lift and access. All five of them. The funds were re applied to the trust fund. Hardy did make a donation to the Orphanage of 5 per cent of the total.

   The rest was converted into silver, maybe 2 percent into physical gold, ammo and the like. Other expenditures went into better monitoring and audio production gear, after the homestead was finished, with extra propane, diesel, gasoline and various repair parts for his “production toys” and the like.

   With the State broadcasts of his winning, Rather that some one had one,  Hardy contacted the trustees for handling the filling , taxes etal, Hardy posted NO trespassing signs, re affirmed his being on the DO NOT Call list and finally found a POTS or Plain Old Telephone Service, and was just in range for the lower end of DSL or Digital Subscriber Line service. Hardy opted for Satellite Internet and TV as well. Redundancy was a good thing. He also got the broadcasts to bleep his name out at time of broadcast. Wearing a very modest, almost nondescript attire and his name blocked with the infamous black bar across the over sized award check.

   He rather liked the M4 over the M16 save for the 40mm Grenade system, and the M1911 in .45 Acp over 9mm. His former armory training had led to several anti IR measures including several phosphor and Mylar chaff home made perimeter defensive munitions that could only be triggered by a sapper or the hardened and well buried non metallic conduits to the end device systems, each tube as it were was off set enough, to preclude forest or range land fires. With the net winnings, Hardy finally settled down and carefully went about his weaponry. A magazine fed 30 round magazine in .223 loaded to 28 rounds per magazine, using a variation of the AR 15, a telescopic sight for the 7.62mm bolt action rifle lever action 303-30, and Z 75 in 9mm on the browning frame, and last but not least 12 gauge pump shotguns, ideally the Mossberg 500s, and two side by side shotguns in 20 gauge with inserts for .45, .22 and .243.

   He obtained three of each weapon, those which took magazines, he carefully obtained twenty each. Along with repair parts and several semi automatic sears for the .223 ensuring to account for weapon. A worn sear could induce an automatic fire situation, that would be uncool.

   He began to improve the area, with a combination upgrade to well , septic with that tank getting a special triple barrier liner, similar to what was used for underground fuel storage tanks, but smaller for the septic, reducing the chances of leaking into the water supply. He had a team of excavators come in and do the earth works. At 180 degrees from the septic access and some twenty yards away, three thousand gallon capacity water tanks, also with triple layer protection were installed.

   The rest of the work, was initially contracted out, until the Contractor wanted to sub contract, with out informing Hardy. Hardy fired the contractor and filed a complaint with the State Contractor Board. The sub contractor needed the work and asked Hardy to reconsider. The only saving grace was that the Original Contractor had ensured the sub contractor was under the Non Disclosure Agreement as was the main. Hardy looked over the documents, signed, witnessed and notarized. Hardy amended his complaint to lack of reasonable notice, and turned the Sub contractor to the Main , on a per project basis. The three men, two brothers, the third a brother in law, got busy. If there was anything wrong with these guys, it was a lack of equipment, for some things, but in general the projects proceeded nicely, Hardy did get some cost over runs, however this was due to specialized equipment rentals like the crane system for installing the liners and tanks, rather than other materials or labors. Hardy had insisted that one day a week the crew rest and spend time with family, They were working Fourteen hour days, including travel to and from the Job site. Once the initial work was completed, it was found that one of the brothers had been a carpenter, the other a journey man plumber, but do to lack of work had turned to general contracting when and where ever there was work.

   Due to the professionalism and skills of the men, Hardy hired them for more work as possible or paid a 5 per cent for any one who they recommend for special work, if they could not do it themselves. Normally Hardy would on pay a bonus upon satisfactory completion of work, under time and under cost. Considering the additional costs had been equipment and there had been a clause for such, when all was said and done, He paid the men , or the ones who other wised the same thing a bonus. The secondary hires got 5 percent , the trio, was given 7 per cent. The crews were pretty happy, work had been pretty slow, and of course there were bills needing to be paid.

   Hardy got a much better structure emplaced using a combined slip form and earth covered dome system The windows were actually three feet in diameter , three foot long continuous tubes on a rail system , once emplaced were slid in and rotated ninety degrees clockwise from the internal view and so locked into place, Internally there was a leverage system that would both unlock the “windows: and pop out, using a secondary system to pop the cork as it were to a distance of five feet if needed to evacuate.

   The exterior seals were rated for -130 , up to +140  either way under the Celsius scale and CBRN rated as well. The ends were polarized and both internally and externally could be ballistic ally shuttered. The internal system had a specialized heating system of water at a temperature of 75 degrees circulated by pumps that were set for solar or wind sail power to the battery banks, sealed in an intentionally over built and partially buried enclose with one way ventilation values, if needed, A back up breathable air compressor was near by with a big enough tank to purge the bank room in thirty seconds on full release. The tank itself was buried a few yards away under a similar construction method

   There was a black water tank of some 400 gallons, again triple lined and rigged with a pump to the Methane Generating system, The idea was to get moderate production , adding material as needed and with the produced gas, burned for water sterilization by distilling and a series of cloth strips to collect the minerals, those that were safe, like copper and iron were added to the cooling and collection tanks, the strips with other contamination were taken to the County of ppm or parts per million measurements for quality tracking, The so called strip system took a bit in order to get the right minerals collected and the wanted ones re introduced to the water thus treated, Pure Distilled water was great in most Chemistries, but the Human body required base minerals for hydration, as did most other mammals, and other life forms. A gray water tank, this one being only doubled as that water would get slowly pumped into an above ground tank, some five feet tall at the upper end, and on the lower set with manual valves for the array of irrigation, both mist and drip for the Polycarbonate enclosed Green houses. Hardy had an idea for a more efficient Methane system, but did not require the additional power just as of yet. On site he had three 1000 pound propane tanks for heating and for the Freezer/refrigerator system. Flash heaters were fine for his few hot water needs, Just about everything else was 12 volt, unless he required inverters of which he had more than a few, in various wattages. Most of these were in the kitchen area. He liked to use the microwave once in a while.

   The interior was set up with three sleeping rooms, two bathrooms, the second had a a full bath, the first was a sink, shower, toilet system. Between the propane powered appliances and the cost for composting toilets, the septic was a better option, intentionally over sized by a factor of 5.

   There was a combination barn/ work place also domed , and between home and barn was a tunnel system, with a turn off to the Green houses, although a tad snug, being a four foot diameter tube some four hundred feet long. Hardy had come up with a rail system and low sled on rails, like from the movie “The Great Escape”. There were a series of red light capable leds for internal illumination and if needed a low voltage series of fans for air and humidity control, Each area was capable of being sealed and filtered, but not on the scale of say the now retired Space Shuttle or Submarines.

   Hardy wanted to look into bee keeping, but was not sure if the gardening systems would be enough to sustain a colony, unless it was winter time. He would have to visit the County Ag extension offices for more information. He had been there previously to get the well water quality tested previously.


   Over time, He had acquired several pieces of pre 1900's technologies and equipment, Oil Lamps, crocks, washing boards, copper Kettles and the like. Always on the QT. He also did some land clearing, but declined to clear cut. He had enough open land for his needs. The trees were thinned , however and checked for distress or disease. Anything not healthy was carefully harvested, and with a rental of a wood / lumber system what could be turned into lumber was, Other wise, yep, firewood.

   Hardy did have a Texas sized barbeque and harvest kitchen set up, complete with a Copper mesh screened unit. He had gotten a really good deal when he had been setting up his Faraday rooms. Even the ceiling was enclosed, the interior set with five inches of insulation, and Tyveked.  The door was a simple construction of four hinges to the side and set with five  pound recoil arms for closure, reducing possible insects gaining entry, While Hardy was not allergic, he hated wasps.

   The walls of screen were triple layered and again went at a 90 degree angle under the concrete for a distance of about three feet or so, then the lower area, think base boards, were set and sealed against the elements.

   This was more to due if hard rains hit rather than anything else, however the pitch of the roof with the intentional over hanging to a height of five feet and from the exterior walls a distance of six feet, would make keeping the roof snow free, pretty self performing, The domes were rated for a lot more stress that way, including the earthquake package. The domes were only showing the top five percent, but where over planted with soil and plants, both for blending in and for cultivation of herbs.


   Hardy was a hit on the Blog casts, but still was discrete in his messages. Not a sermon, nor a manifesto, though those were becoming more and more prevalent, Hardy made a final 'cast as to the state of things and terminated all pod casting, and reduced his forum participation under various handles for OPSEC. He still monitored the Airwaves and made notes. Keeping to himself,. The few times he went to town, other than for a hair cut, his other contacts were pretty short. Shopping was a by the vendor/aisle/item, checkout and depart sort of situation. While polite, conversation was minimal.
Being in a state where you had to have an attendant pump the fuel was okay by Hardy , who always used one of each station over the course of the month. Noting the verification seals of weights and measures, No one under or over filled him.

   He was settling in, with a few mini grain silos, some pastures and good wintered over plots. With two good if lower pressure wells, and his modest dwelling, life as getting good, locally.

   He had 'farmed' out some more work to the trio here and there, paying a premium. The men were professional, hard working and eager for work. Hardy had stipulated the one day a week off rule and always made sure there was plenty of cold clean drinking water. The lumber work went very well, Hardy wound up with about ten cords of firewood and so let each man take two after work was completed, The men could either use or sell as needed.

   Word got around, Work for Hardy, hard work, good pay and while demanding, Hardy was not a micro manager and for a hiring person, was pretty good with a shovel and knew that some times other equipment might be needed. Once a deal was made, it was held to. The brief mention of performance bonuses did not hurt either. Hardy surveyed the property and was pretty happy, He did arrange for what few pieces of equipment he did need were a like in type, and fuel so he could maintain them with little outside support. Using the triple lined system and cathodic protection again by solar power and wind if needed began storing Diesel , using two tanks, the untaxed tank was for the farm equipment or off road only the other , tax paid was for his truck.

   A smaller concreted and sealed pad with sheet metal construction like a twenty by thirty foot pole barn was the mechanical shed. In fire proof lockers were the various lubricants, filters and spare parts. The other tools were set to interior mounted peg boards and set with both j hooks and bungee cords for securing tools, in case of earthquake or sever wind storms. Similar design for the copper screening was installed, and once the shed door closed, was sealed as well.

   All structures were set with lighting rods and a bit off was a windmill that doubled as an Antenna system for FM/AM/SW and digital over the air broadcasting, more for reception than transmission.

   The solar array was a three section system, spread about so that it was not all concentrated in any one area. While maintaining this took a little more time, it reduced getting compromised, Same with the three wind power systems, not including the windmill itself. The wells were under individual pumps to a central flow system. There were few options other wise, with the underground tanks, save the Gray water, the system inlet could be closed off in case of compromise.

   The Barn, Green houses and Home could be closed off and had CBRN rated filter systems Hardy had taken extra consideration, since if contaminated, by what ever would change how to handled the media, if needing replacement, He did have a pit of sorts, using a very heavy close fitting plug arrangement if needed. Not to be confused with his selection of three others set up as long term storage, one marked by a bird bath, the other a stock tank and the third with what looked like a lightning stuck stump, carefully crafted to also grow real fungi as further deception. These three were caches no one knew about as Hardy had built them himself. Again when sealed all three were fairly EMP proof.

   If necessary, using a double tripod and come a long winching system, if the bobcats were not operational, he could get access, The holes were six feet deep, the plug two feet deep, leaving a four foot by four by four cube in each location. The supplies were in waxed and sealed ammo cans or super pails, all food grade, and included repair parts, ammo, food and water purification , literature for survival and other materials, like sewing needles , cloth , thread and the like. Also tarps, all the soft items were in vacuum sealed bags, in a triple layer system. Hand tools, whet stones, hatchets, files and the like. At the bottom of each bucket were three one ounce, twenty tenths of Gold and some one hundred in various pre 1964 dimes and quarters of silver. So were vacuum packed heirloom seeds, and mini green house materials.

   Hardy also had several added hand cranked radio/ cell phone charging systems. Working with care to preserve soil , he increased his fire breaks and added some semi raised portable tanks for fire fighting. Along his fence lines were wide areas of low growing grass, kept trimmed short, more to hold the soil, without creating more ladder fuel situations.

   He had made sure that his fence lines were within twenty feet of the external property lines, avoiding any confusion, as on the very exterior he had posted several equally spaced apart posts with all weatherized No trespassing signs, at the three, six and ten foot tall heights. Even in a lot of snow, the signage was hard to miss. That fall, with the first real gardening getting harvested, Hardy hired out for canners and materials. He had a good amount, but felt it better to get more up front. He paid in firewood, a third of the harvest and cash. Using smaller bills, tens, fives and ones.

   The harvest went well and with the outdoor kitchen complete with the additional water tanks that were set for gravity feeds, being topped off by purified water in five gallon buckets and using the large fireplace/BBQ unit , plenty of heat .

   At the end of the harvest, Hardy had gotten a good deal on corn, a half a beef, dressed and both
a keg of Root beer for the kids and a rather nice local micro brew for adults. The harvest celebration and the compensation were appreciated hugely. Some folks tried to talk business, Hardy was having nothing to do with it, citing the celebration for labor already completed. He sort of let it be known he was shutting down for winter, but might have something come Spring. What he did not tell folks was that in fact he would stay over the Winter and did have some work to be done, but he had already filled those jobs with the Terrific Trio as he called them. The word was to keep quiet about it. Some folks were trying to get work, however Hardy was not impressed with their previous labors, after doing some home work, prior to his earlier contracting.
   
   As Hardy was learning, look forward and consider the next season, before the current one was getting started. Some folks were cash strapped, but doing well, feeding themselves and the like.

   Hardy spent some time traveling around the area, getting to know some folks who did not actually live in town. Some he hired as consultants, again under NDA, for some things he wanted to either know more about or have done. Most of this was for the Barn and Bee keeping.

   He had moved the wood stove into the main dome re plumbing the chimney and flue to fit, again, if needed the external outlet could be covered with a fine mesh and with smaller installed thermocouple powered fans, “over pressure” enough for use, however Oxygen monitoring might be needed

   This was a stand by option, The shelter was set with Carbon Monoxide detectors and with several fans going at low rpm, a good flow, even if slightly diminished capacity with full filtration.

   A secondary unit was set for heating the Green house systems, with more humidity and stricter controls for ventilation, Hardy did not want the Bees or Crops impacted any more than needed be.

   The shed roofs were over layered with differing colored panels of corrugated/colored fiberglass. The idea being with ambient day light on the sides and coloring over the immediate top, with a four foot gap to avoid over heating and some retained warmth in the cooler seasons. The offsets were rigged
for both some wind flow and snowfall/dust removal conditions, PAM worked well enough, one can applied seasonally.

   With the preps completed for the month, well inline with his assessments, Hardy started working more with the soil, amending it here and there using simply soil testing. He was using the by products of the processed manures for fertilizer and the small methane generator. With careful management the waste from the septic system was periodically pumped to the generator, With the saved gas and a simple conversion for the former propane three burner system, the outdoor kitchen with some interior work could serve in winter time. The use of heavy 6 mil thick plastic sheeting with lightly weighted rods could be dropped and a secondary over lap to finish the job as long as the winds were low. Ventilation was easy with a large hood arrangement, however the area was not CBRN tight.

   Being of sealed and plasticized over wrap and other wise metallic, potential decontamination as long as not Nerve Agents would be pretty simple. Hardy had invested in several units for over pressurization of the barn , home and Green Houses, with a few suits and filtration masks and associated equipment if needed. Radiation Monitoring was his next area to prep, He wanted 5 meters and associated personnel meters, calibration equipment and the like.

   Storing large quantities of STB or Super Topical Bleach, but avoiding DS 2 a very caustic decontamination solution, He was moderately well set, so long as there was ambient Oxygen to breathe. Filtration devices still required there be some Oxygen available, Since most chemicals were heavier than air, getting in a ditch or other low ground was not real practical.

   Those decon supplies and brushes were stored with several hand pump charge able systems for wash down in a special area that was again triple lined and set as a catch pool into a large sealed tank, that would get topped off with STB and sealed. The drain was pre sealed , and while able to be accessed was currently over covered and triple sealed against in inadvertent access. The total capacity was some two hundred gallons, Using a rinse down, scrub down and final rinse system should take care of things, Again with a roof set for a Fourteen foot clearance.

   The various Radio and TV reports were getting grim. Hardy decided to accelerate his preps, and through a storage unit and rental postal box system set up a small shell company. He filed the barely necessary paper work and began to receive more deliveries, which once unloaded, using a U haul and later Ryder rentals, always paying cash and either one of the three non US Postal Service box providers had a certain degree of OPSEC, though he did fudge a bit as to his real name on the paperwork, Having multiple middle names helped a bit. Using the smaller trucks, and re fueling in different locations, again paying cash, he was soon ahead of schedule. With the break out of more cash, he got his CBRN items acquired, paid for, delivered and calibrated.

   The local weather service was decent especially for the rural farms, but investing in his own systems made him feel better. The County had some phone lines out his way, but DSL was iffy at best, so he opted for Satellite with a back up receiver dish for TV and Internet. The spare modem was secured in the Faraday Cage.

   Hardy decided to attend the local range and practice for his ccw. The locate Sheriff , last name of Mackay , was willing to issue, however since Hardy did not have either .45 or 9mm on his dd214a he bit the bullet, no pun intended and attended the classes. He was quickly certified, and accused of sandbagging, Once he explained, the trainer was more forgiving. “So you play by the rules, right?”

   Hardy grinned. “As long as the rules are not capricious or arbitrary, I usually do, tended to reduce stress that a way.” Both men grinned. His initial forms filled out, after clearing the facility with his other weapons locked in a secured and braced security box, thus needing a search warrant in the state, he headed into the County seat and applied. Once a phone call, a scan of the DD 214 and the two phone calls, one to the trainer and one to confirm the information presented and cross referenced in NCIS with a notation of prints on file, no record, no outstanding charges and listed as Identified US Military retired reservist, Hardy got his permit. Along with an additional endorsement for search only after radio approval given. Hardy thought that was odd, The Sheriff had mentioned some deputies were a bit over zealous and needed a tad of reining in. Hardy found out, when, with his new permit, was fastening on his holster, when Deputy Nelson was pulling up. Telling Hardy to freeze, he stepped over and began to reach for Hardy's pistol, Unfortunately for the Deputy, Sheriff Mackay was just stepping out for a smoke, since there was no smoking in the building and saw enough. “Deputy Nelson. Freeze, Do not move a muscle. You are formally charged with Malfeasance of Office, Unprofessional conduct and are under arrest'” With that two other Deputies who had heard the exchange, walked out, hands clear and moved, while not crossing the path of fire from the Sheriff, Deputy Nelson was quickly disarmed, relieved of all gear, handcuffed and searched, being taken into custody and booked. Hardy was willing to leave well enough alone, however the Sheriff had made mention as to since this was the only location within the County to get a CCW, the Deputy was way out of line. He had barely slid by for previous misconduct.

   The Deputy was given a choice, resign, and leave the County , with no CCW privileges or get fired, tried and dealt with, Only as these would be State Felony convictions, no Firearms rights as a Felony conviction was enough to disbar firearm ownership under Federal Law.

   Hardy, was asked to make statement, and did so under oath, but did not decide to press charges, but left it open , if the ex deputy tried to push things. The Deputy was also hit with a Temporary Restraining Order, pending a Judicial Review. The phone call , fax and faxed back copy of the court order, so signed and decreed was in effect immediately. Hardy had a one mile range that Nelson had to obey in keeping away. This included when Hardy was in public places. Not wanting to cause further issues. Hardy obtained approval to leave and did so.

   The court that oversaw the trial found the former Deputy guilty on all counts, and based on additional testimony for several others was sentenced to ten years at the State Penitentiary, without Parole, or reduced sentence for potential good behavior. Fortunately, Nelson did not have any arrests that had said members in the State Facility.

   Hardy was out and about, heading in for a haircut, being retired, he was no longer wearing the old standard of the “High and Tight” but pretty close to regulation standards.

   Hunting season was starting soon, Hardy got his license and tags, that year, he took a Mule Buck, two geese and only under duress a wild boar. The boar had come charging after him, so he used the 7.62 mm rifle, shooting at a range of fifty feet, working the bolt after the first and follow on shots.

   Both were lethal , the Head shot had removed the brain, however with the momentum the second , in the chest as he had side stepped and fired again. He filed the report with the local Game Warden, who agreed , under the circumstances the shooting was protective, but poaching in conduct.

   Hardy gave up the Boar, once checked out, the beast was processed, being disease free and quietly supplied to those a tad less fortunate, in the county.

   The other game taken had been processed and that Christmas season, Hardy had donated one of the Geese to the local old folks home for the season, with sides of fresh potatoes and the makings for biscuits.

   Yet another nice thought and action folks were thinking, Maybe, just maybe they had been hard headed about the Man. When the power had gone out for a two day period, Hardy was one to show up with two 5 kw gen sets for powering the Old Folks home and the school which was set as as a Community Shelter. The local Mayor had tried to get more help in, with little success, as the entire northern part of the State was under the same conditions. The Mayor, one Frank DeSoto had also managed the three regional Diesel and Gasoline stations, had donated fuel, filters and lubricants for the generator system. With power, water and hygiene were pretty much a non issue.

   The School was not so well off, simply due to the large spaces, The distance from the Gymnasium to the Kitchens , which were on the other end of the building took more resources. The Kitchen , like most in the later part of the twentieth century were more processing of prepared foods, rather than in previous decades where the Kitchen as just that, with ovens, ranges , etc.

   The water supply for the Shower areas was given the higher priority. Once power was restored, folks went to those homes. Most had been set up with blown out plumbing to prevent freeze ups and the incoming water supplies shut off, Those homes that were heated by propane did a little better, those at least with pilot lights and not using on demand electrical ignition systems.

   The more distant homesteads were pretty good, under the circumstances, where a loss of power, did well.

   There were plenty of folks were helping here and there, be it with things like soap, toilet paper and the like. Others supplied things like blankets and spare coats. There were few fatalities. One was literally due to exposure, The older man had not been able to get his vehicle started, and attempted to walk into town.

   The second was actually a family of four, With attempting to keep warm, the entire family was moved to one room, the old wood stove insert had cracks and a semi blocked flue, being seldom used, the resultant Carbon Monoxide had taken them all. A combined service, Non denominational in nature was held. The second property was in such disrepair, it was determined to raze it after being condemned.

   The first was in good shape, and with a few donations of either cash, materials or labor, refitted and improved. The remaining family was grateful and in the past, even without much had shared what they had with others. Hardy found out that the Henderson Boys, the sub contractors he had hired were cousins to the family. He provided more cash and paid for premium materials when he had asked the men about helping out. The deal was through helpful third parties who agreed to keep quiet.

   The repairs completed, it was decided that while the town had done okay, it could be better. Hardy was quietly asked by both Sheriff Mackay, the Mayor and the Henderson's to help. Hardy was not sure as to what he could do, The generators were available, and in fact he had originally bought one for local work where his 12 volt system was not up to the task, or too far to reach.

   Hardy had a few suggestions, mostly like Check in and get to know your neighbors. And of course , prep when and where one could. Most of the out laying farms simply nodded, things that had been done for years, just for longer periods, Others , mostly those in the townships , looked like this something new, somehow. Sheriff Mackay had a little more information. With the weather, there were more indications of home invasion and poaching, including some cattle in the region.

   Hardy pretty much to himself, other than waving hello here and there to his neighbors, being some five miles apart. That was until an afternoon, in late April, There were two folks, looking like they were repairing fences, the rather large rolls of barbed wire and come a longs being present. The two were out manned by a group of five in two trucks who were bad mouthing and getting ready to beat the two, the two in question were Hispanic. Hardy quietly pulled over, His vehicle having a low sound signature. Hardy was ready tor trouble and then some, First he called 911 and mentioned what was happening, telling the Dispatcher, he was also on CB Channel 9 and the mike locked open.

   As he got ready to use the rifle, He soon realized it was not needed, Hispanic 1 picked up a canister and used it, Hitting @holes 1,2 and 3 in the face, with Wasp Spray, Hispanic 2 was more direct, using the shovel handle to hit 4 in the Solar Plexus and 5 took a hit to the ribs, and a smack to the shoulder, Hardy winced, hearing the bone of the Clavicle, or Collar bone break. 5 Had been trying to draw a pistol, Hardy then stepped , in first with a Butt stroke to the Kidneys, and to the shoulder, making the weapon drop. Working quickly Hardy got between the five and the Hispanics, letting the Hispanics know in his rather unused Spanish he was there to help. The smiles in the two men's voices let him know his Spanish, while understandable was pretty bad. Hardy had decided the best way to curb this sort of behavior was to put the others under gun point and stripped to their underwear.

   Once completed, He had one of the Hispanics get into his truck tool box and get either zip ties or his roll of 550 or para cord. Using a few plastic bags, Hardy policed up the pistol, and unloaded it, Tying off that bag, he carefully gathered the clothing and bagged it as well. Introductions were made as several trucks coming from within the fence line approached, stopped short and several men got out, some with Machetes, others with Shotguns, One with a rifle, Yelling commenced to let the folks know that Hardy, who had to give his name, was a “ Good Guy, Chill out, Don't get stupid, etc”

   Deputy Matthews was on the scene, from the opposite direction the bullies were traveling.
Taking a few notes, noting the damage done, and the fact other than the fellow who got kicked, and the Sprayer had done its job, none lethal, but effective this time., did not arrest any one that was not already tied up, things being pretty self evident, , only asking for contact information, Until @hole 1 started yelling about White Power and got pretty foul Mouthed. Hardy had heard enough, and with an economy of motion, got his water cooler and after removing the few edible items left, dumped over the uncivilized person, wetting down and thus, as he put it “prevented a brush fire due to all the pitiful and acidic tripe.” That got a big chuckle.

   The five were collected up in the County Paddy Wagon and booked on pending charges of racially motivated hate crimes, minor vandalism and indecent exposure. The two Hispanic men were in fact legal citizens, but had rather thick accents. Hardy was introduced to the others quickly learning the entire property was managed by the entire family. The only ones not currently present were the wives, daughters and grand parents, who were guarding the homestead itself.

   The word got around that Hardy had been of assistance to the Hernandez clan. Hardy set the record straight, he had arrived and gotten ready to help, but the Hernandez family had things well in hand. The Deputy had made mention of weapons being found, unloaded and secured, and not from the Hernandez or Hardy. Some folks thought helping out strangers in the day and age was something pretty rare, but a good thing. Others were upset that there were prejudiced and violent types in the area.'

   That summer, when possible, Hardy hired both the Henderson and Hernandez crews for labor
Hedgerows needed some trimming and with a rented number of goats used in the fence lanes to keep the plant growth down. A couple of portable twenty gallon buckets of water were set up for the animals, and a copper free salt lick. The arrangement worked well. With the fence system keeping the animals free of predators and other wise satisfactory.

   The tree harvesting was a bit smaller, however the over all quality of the trees was improving.
There was a moment of concern when a large hive was located. While there had not been reports of Africanized Bees in the State, an Apiarist was called out to check and relocate the hive. The hive was wild, but not as feared. Once relocated, Hardy and the others harvested the honey, and after getting it tested to ensure the honey was not made from Oleander, was soon canned and the bulk given to both families. At some twenty gallons, and a retail price for a pound, going for about eight dollars locally, This was pretty valuable stuff.

   The beeswax was carefully treated and made into candles. Hardy had taken a third, and gave the others to the families as well. With the crops coming in, the harvest was pretty impressive. The foodstuffs were processed and stored. That fall , the weather was still pretty warm, The prices for electrical energy went up, most power in the area was based on Hydro, and with the extended heat, water levels had been at record lows. Hardy was pretty much off grid and so was not impacted much. Fuel prices were creeping up, Diesel was about six dollars a gallon, before taxes, Gasoline was up to four seventy eight a gallon. More and more folks were trying to get by, without much work, the higher prices were driving more and more businesses were relocating. Hardy was in a position to retire as his company was relocating as well The State was attempting to raise business taxes to increase revenues. Obviously this tactic bit the State Administration you know where.

   There were attempts to recall both the Governor and the State Assembly membership for the increase of prices, rarely checked and for economic malfeasance. The Governor resigned. The Assembly was a hit and miss effort. Retired from real work, Hardy did take some of his winnings and paid for Health Insurance, privately, COBRA was a fiscal joke with the fees being so much higher.   

   Over time Hardy took down the outfitter's tent and its contents, carefully packing it all into a travel trailer, using a shop vac to vacuum seal everything, as much as possible to reduce space. The internal furniture was designed in such a way, they could be taken down and stored flat, getting shrink wrapped and also stored in the trailer. There was enough room for several days of supplies and with modifications after market for extended fuel tanks, two additional batteries and the alternator set with an additional generator unit. An inverter rated for 1000 watts was also installed.

   The vehicle was a modified for Diesel and made as non electrical as possible, save for the radio, which was AM/FM/SAME rated. A CB with SSB or Single Side Band and a Scanner were installed.

   Hardy had spares in a Faraday style container. This container held spare fuses, a wiring harness and bulbs. He also got the lighting system set into a console for engaging or shutting off each circuit.

   The vehicle was a non nondescript gray with black paneling. The trailer was a custom job, the interior of the doors were set with the additional spare tires and pioneer tools, Mattock pick, Shovel and Axe, and four Jerry cans, two of water, two of fuel, and a hard case container with filters and a few gallons of oil and a ready to go grease gun and a spare cylinder of lubricant. The engine was equipped with a fording kit and added skid plates and brush guard for the front, and if needed a roof rack with aerodynamic hard cases , which with the unlocking of anchor pins, could be removed, if necessary, The vehicle was equipped with for and aft winches and in a center sleeve with cap were two mini ramps that once deployed and expanded into locked position could span a distance of eighteen feet with a two foot fore and aft overlay that in softer soils could be anchored into position. A tripod arrangement and come a long could be used to recover the anchors. The brush guard on demand, could be set with an extended wire cutter arm, if necessarily. By design, this was a full two feet taller than the top of the hard cases.

   A specialized package with extendable fittings and shock cord could be deployed for a weatherized canvas enclosure with the trailer off loaded for an expanded automobile camping situation.

   A portable ring shower system with a catch basin , collection and filtering system for re utilization even as potable water,and three dry bags was included. One for existing clothing, the second for new clothing the third for the towel, soap and sundries, all in a series of smaller protective hard cases.

   Hardy filed for the patent on this system, having researched and not found what he wanted.
The system could use either pre existing water supplies or a propane piezo electrically ignited water heater, with an on board canister for about 6 gallons of water, even though equipped at the shower head with an on demand valve, that when released shut off the water supply. The total shower unit , when deployed as a cylinder about six feet tall and three and one half feet wide in diameter. Plenty of room. A vented gap rood rather coned shaped could be added for the weather. Once collapsed, the entire package, again with shock cord poles took up a package about three feet by eight inches. The bottom was a collapsing affair, which after trapping the gray water could be dumped, well away from natural water sources.

   The materials were easy to replace or repair, if needed. This was not for decontamination. The vehicle was set with well concealed storage areas, each with a solid locking mechanism, each lock having a different key. Set up for every thing from fishing equipment, fire arms and other potential survival items. Additionally there were three manual water filters and spare cartridges for a total capacity of about 800 quarts for all items. Hardy did not have enough storage space for all that water, but better to have and not need than vice versa. At ten gallons per day max, he was in pretty good shape, with the trailer carrying ten five gallon water cans, five to a side for load balancing.  If he had to bug out. There were three sets of keys, one on his person, one hidden under the passenger seat bottom, the third was secured in a cache easy to recover , but hard to find, unless one looked very very carefully.

   He had opted to leave the reinforcements for the outfitter's tent, in place. Using a system of drop down curtains sealing with a hook and pile system to the interior walls, and the window areas filled with sandbags, further covered with a semi rigid external cover made to look like cemented into place stone. The main opening was set with a similar reinforced cover and small shrubs planted for obscurement. The land was getting set up with a small wooden cabin. Set with a trap door system to a tunnel that led to the other sheltering units. Once completed, it was as off grid as possible, but not as prep obvious.

   The Henderson and Hernandez families worked together when possible to get both animal shelters and better conditions as each family grew. The older Root cellars were no longer large enough for an extended stay. The extended cellars were deeper and longer, with solid foundations, reinforced walls and roofing. There were still access by the homes or the external doors, able to be secured on either end, situation depending. Both shelters were re wired for 12 volt systems and modest solar panels.

   With slightly smaller septic tanks installed, waste could be managed. While not CB proofed, There were filtration systems for either ash, dust or smoke, as long as the ambient oxygen level did not drop. About three weeks after completing the construction, it was getting about time to cull the herds and finalize the harvesting of the season. It was a joint effort and soon was short, efficient work.

   Rigging several solar powered dryers and dehydrators , a lot of the food was successfully preserved for future use. One trend was vacuum packing of the food,with Oxygen absorbers, storing it with minimal space being taken. Hardy wanted some more supplies, and while he did not need all that much, in exchange for labor and helping with transportation, made a group purchase for both people and animal first aid supplies and supplements. It took three pickups with tarps to get it all in from the in town drop off. Hardy had hired a third party to secure the load, under yet another non disclosure agreement, paying cash. Every thing was rechecked against the order, invoice and bills of lading. Once secured. The caravan headed home, pre staging each load to get to each destination. Among the loads were heirloom seeds, more canisters of long term foods, reloading supplies, repair parts and lubricants for chainsaws, files and chalk for maintaining of shovels, and other hand tools, water filter systems, and animal preventatives like wormers and other materials used in farm animal husbandry.

   Hardy had secured more Advanced First Aid items, Trauma kits , AED, and discretely acquired portable oxygen bottles., traction splints , advanced trauma first aid dressings with “Qwik Clot” and while not getting the actual hypodermic IV needles, did get saline and lactated ringers solutions, the later was for some injuries, but not for head wounds.

   Going “off the reservation” He was able to use the 'infamous' Canadian pharmacy system for the actual needles. With an improvised pressure cooker /Autoclave, he was able to secured, sterilize and store the equipment. Some other items would still take some time, as he would need a paper trail of the scripts for things like Epi-pens, Cipro antibiotics and Ibuprofen in the 600 mg range. Other items were Elderberry decoctions for flu symptoms, 190 proof Ethanol in ounce bottles and fifths for herbal tinctures, and two full glass sets for chemistry applications, United nuclear was a good source for materials like Potassium Permanganate for either water purification or in stronger concentrations, wound cleansing. Sulfur, and Thermite, Providone Iodine, under conditions was obtainable.

   OTC or over the counter medications that required prescriptions were replaced with non prescription medications, when and where possible, again paying cash to reduce or avoid a paper trail.

   Once all secured, Hardy asked, paying on Int 1099 forms for Grandpa and Grandma Hernandez for checking out a few parcels he was considering purchasing. He wanted a longer term of land sense for what he wanted to do.

   Activated charcoal in single unit dosages was also obtained. Additionally there were eye wash bottles, Syrup of ipecac, various suture sets, Two automated AEDs and Traction splints, With a few stretchers as well, Hardy reviewed his emergency response packs and updated accordingly. Good timing to. A few days later, there was a multiple county warning concerning Tornadoes. The alert went out, and the animals on each homestead were rapidly rounded up and secured in the barns, All families checked in via business radios, Hardy had paid for. some folks were secured in the barns, others into the enhanced root cellars. EMS had issues with servicing the region, due to the storm and lightning strikes on the EMS central facilities. The sub stations were operational, but the major resources were going up in electrically induced flames. Water pressure dropped from the Hydrant and water /sewer systems, making fire response catch as catch can.

   
   Once the initial all clear was given, Hardy loaded up and headed to town, Just because he was the “reserve” did not mean he could not help. The Henderson/Hernandez complex had survived and were combining forces to also assist. Part of Hardy's packages included stuffed animals for kids, if needed. The ride into the nearest town was unencumbered, but heart breaking. Several homes were without roofs, and or collapsed.

   Slowly making his way through the debris fields was tedious, but not arduous, though the trailer made things interesting. Once spotting an area that appeared to have some organization, He pulled over and dropped the trailer. One reserve fireman recognized Hardy. “Hey, Grandpa, what are you doing? There is not enough here to work with, We are relocating to the High School, if yo don't need help, and it appears you don't get out of here.” Hardy gave him the bird and yelled, You Dumb sh!t! I am bringing in medical supplies. Gawd how did you even pass the basic course, you Jack @ss!”

   The other man had the decency to blush, “Sorry, just with so many gawkers and not much help, its kind of tough,. The Fire Chief is okay, but his home collapsed on his basement, he is okay, but told folks to response else where until he got dug out. Right now I am senior on site, but really all I am doing is trying to get folks to shelter and then treated, I guess, I screwed up, huh?” Hardy lightened up a bit. “No, you are doing something, better than nothing, but yeah, You could use some help. I have a few supplies here, but either a Para medic or PA would be a nice thing. As to shelter, well that is important and no joke. However some folks are not going to make it without medical assistance first.

   “Tell you what, until relieved my competent authority, you are HMFIC, Me I am a resource, now how about a Trauma Center? The second engine bay looks empty, and I can use it, Okay?”

   Fireman trainee Brooks agreed, Mentioning he had cut the power, water and natural gas, pending review by the right personnel.  Using a Bullhorn, he announced to folks that while there was some assistance now in fire bay 2, all those who could safely move, please get to the High School

   The town had emergency plans including the Schools and Old Folks home. The second faculty had held up well, with a little broken glass, but that was about it. The Elders where out in force, some in wheelchairs, but helping, be it with what blankets they had, A few old folks, were providing some first aid. But limited on supplies. Hardy got some help and with evacuating the elders to safety, managed to get a few former military medics to help out. The equipment and supplies were well received, here and there were a few scared children, thus the stuffed animals. Some kids wanted them but refused stating they were brave enough, but maybe a smaller kid would want one?” Hardy was about ready to cry over that one.

   As more and more survivors were located a retired MD and a Trauma ER resident showed, up, Asked where to wash up and got busy. Hardy's supplies were seriously getting depleted, and he had set expectations as to what was available. The two one retired the other on vacation and not completed trained took that information in stride and did what they could, Hardy set up a way station and started making soup and coffee. With a small set up for either tea of Cocoa. These offerings and potable water were well received. Slowly, County Officials arrived with Units of the local National Guard.

   Hardy did a slow fade , leaving the supplies in the fire station, taking his trailer and left.

   This was not noticed until the Fireman trainee went looking for him. Seemed a county official more bombast than sense was attempting to establish authority and control, under the EMS/ ICS system, or Incident Command System, there were few folks to turn over responsibility to and this “Schmedlap” was not one of them, A few neighbors had gotten Chief Townsend out from his basement, with a few scrapes, Being single, there were no others, the Chief had been on vacation, sadly his Executive officer had left a few hours earlier to attend a family Funeral. He had not survived the trip back, having been hit by a freaked out novice trucker who had spilled the load, loss control of the truck and blocked the highway, the impact had flipped the vehicle, which  landed on its roof in a ditch, completely smashed in, There were no survivors in the car.

   Once on scene and getting a hand off report, Chief took over and quickly got things under control, Authorizing the MD and the Student to use the Paramedic truck, more supplies were obtained and used to good effect.

   There was mention of Hardy and his actions, The County mouth had tried to commandeer supplies and resources, only to find Hardy was no where to be found, and while attempting wrestle control was secured under “protective custody” and locked into a police cruiser back seat, in both hand cuffs and leg irons.

   Out of the way, things got into both rescue and recovery. The trainee learned a lot of valuable lessons and experience, Other members of the EMS arrived, having checked their families first and then providing aid.

   Hardy had made a slow circle of the outlaying region and made notes as to the extent of damages. GPS was still working, and with that, he made an overlay of the area. Heading back into town, he provided the Deputy Sheriff with the information and how he could be contacted, if needed.

   When asked why he had left, he had explained it was easier to leave than to cause a scene by if needed, producing a firearm and telling the County Horses Ass to shut the F 'up. and so Hardy left, having done what he could. The Deputy grinned and said, The Sheriff was out of town on a court case when this happened, He will return later. I am sure while he might not approve of your not shooting you know who, he may want to chat with you, that going to be okay with you?” Hardy agreed and headed home and back with more water and soup makings.

   The shelter at the school was doing well, folks cooperating , rather than complain about a lack of resources. Some of the elders were trying to calm done young mothers, or entertaining kids, by reading out loud, or things like simple “Magic” tricks mostly with sleight of hand.

   Hardy had brought in a few 5 gallon cans of treated Diesel fuel and oil for the generators.
The elders were being taken care of, mostly raised back in the Depression or World War II were getting along just fine.

   The teenagers got into the scene, helping out and not complaining about the lack of cell phones or the like. Most were from the outlaying farming or ranching families in the area, in for either school or shopping for school clothes. There were no Malls to hang out in , anyway. When things finally got settled down, Hardy was asked to come over the the center of the Gymnasium floor and recognized for his contributions. More than a few of the Elders were clapping. The Sheriff and Fire department members were clapping as well.

   Hardy said thanks and tried to leave. The leaving would take a bit, County Horse's butt was trying to get Hardy in trouble, Hardy gave him the bird, mentioning he had not voted for the man, and allowed the man was more than likely an embarrassment to the county and humanity. With that he left.

   Taking a rather circuitous route, went home. He hated attention , and crowds, People tended to get stupid en mass. With a re check of his properties and structures, the light beginning to fade. He went into the cabin and made dinner, Beef and Vegetable soup and biscuits.

   Cleaning up the dishes, He headed for sleep. His rest was not restorative, mostly due to his nightmares. Heaps of burning buildings, Corpses all around, and seemingly all alone.

   Getting up early, Hardy checked the radios and did not like what he was hearing, due to financial issues, the Federal Government was slow to react to the State's issues, with a full 75 per cent of counties reporting the need for assistance. The nearby states were holding off on the Mutual Aid Agreements, as all were dependent on funding. Hardy rechecked the weather reports and decided to let the few animals he had out of the Barn shelter system.

   The Animals were eager to get out, but where staying close to the fence line where humans were in the area. Even Old Bull Issac was hanging back a bit, While there were a few fallen trees and broken limbs here and there. His clean up was pretty easy, taking out a Quad Runner with a tow chain, Hardy was able to relocate the lumber, what of it was suitable for other purposes, otherwise using a chain saw to harvest the material for fuel and heating. The wood gas plans came out and were put into use on another vehicle as an alternative due to rising fuel prices.

   He took his plans and reviewed his situation, the lack of external support bothered him more than he had planned on. He knew that with what he did, there had been some serious mistakes, after the fact. If folks looked to him for supplies and resources, he was to be frank Screwed, Not matter how well intentioned. With that, Hardy rechecked with the other families, who reported all was well and thanks for asking, The information and good paying employment had meant a lot to both families.

   The property owners Hardy had been checking into were willing to sell, being anxious to sell and get out of the region, A few were greedy, Hardy made a one time counter offer, either take it or leave it, no negotiations. All but one agreed, Hardy was able to pay cash, the Hold out wanted double what was originally asked when it was found Hardy was paying cash. The seller and agent were told to go screw. Hardy had checked the parcel in question was past due in land taxes. The seller was trying to avoid paying and Hardy had made it known past debts were none of his responsibility. For Hardy the last parcel would get him land to the county line, however the lack, thereof was not a breaker in his plans. Longer term.

   When the other sales getting finalized, closed and completed, the Hold out finally tried one last time to get a deal, Nope. Not happening. Hardy could wait for the tax foreclosure and bid at auction.

   The seller knew this and hated Hardy for it. Hardy did not care either way. It took about six months, but Hardy got the land at auction, he bid lower but was paying in cash. No time or loans. He got the land, the other party acknowledged good business and wished Hardy well. The two men went across the street and over two drinks discussed the possibilities of the property.

   Hardy continued to work his properties and carefully retired from most town or county actions, even retiring from the Reserve EMS / Fire and Rescue teams. No harm , no foul and a great deal of thanks.

   His “Social Capital” was in good standing, and while he was not given special treatment, he hardly ever had to wait for getting a hair cut, or for getting a feed or fuel order placed. He never sought for favoritism, but did not mind if some one was willing to wait , so he could get things done.

   The other families went from a status of “lower class, hard working ne'er do wells “to contributing members of the region. The first part was a severe misconception, not having a lot of cash liquidity, and otherwise keeping to their respective properties had caused some misconceptions.

   In Hardy's mind, civilians and population in masses were Stupid!, Leaving well enough alone, He got things secured, locked down, The animals were either traded or sold off.

   Hardy began to further shut down the outside, one account at at time was either transferred or liquidated, and secured. His 'castings stopped, by then either America got the message or not.

   Hardy had obtained several “Weather Balloons” and valves, using a combination of semi rigid frame work, with one entry, had trapped the Methane he could not readily use and stored, with a well protected , Lightning rod and ground system, If the containment were compromised, each balloon would got up quickly, not getting twenty feet up, thus preventing the potential of fire or firestorms, Using a small, directional set of thermite “jets” to ignite the fuel. The rise of the balloons would pull a mechanical fuse and go off. While the flaring would be significant, at the current conditions, other than blast over pressure, no real damage would occur. Hardy had also set up more water supplies, and with what he had been apply to replace for supplies, using the similar cut outs, The county and smaller towns were slowly recovering from the Tornadoes that had hit the region.

   Hardy was getting a case of the “Rump” More and more folks were attempting to get what was not theirs, A few were attempting to take over already occupied, and paid for with clear titled properties, usually targeting those , which were already developed, by owned by minorities. Hardy fell into that classification, so he thought, as he was not married anymore, so single, and was not a member of any organized religion. Sure enough, some came “sniffing around” the few who did were given short shrift, and charged with Criminal Trespass. The word went out, if one was not careful, under the so called “Castle Defense” was still alive and well.

   He had politely ended his business relationships, citing both the Economy and current political trends. When actually confronted by a very leftist leaning group, Hardy had exercised his First Amendment rights, and using the power of the press, in the local region, and Several States around the area, launched a campaign, citing who was funding, what was the actual agenda and contributors, There were a few FOIA or Freedom of Information Act filings. These were granted, with Zero redactions.

   That Winter was impressive, both for its brevity and its conditions. Hardy had to use the tunnels on more than one occasion, was due to the near White Conditions, three days in a row. One knew it was pretty bad, when even the sanding and plowing trucks could not get out, due to weather conditions.

   While he did suffer a loss of the methane generator , itself, the previously obtained gas was used for heating and treating of both snow and water for sterilization and distillation. Finally being stored in several insulated tanks. He got about 500 gallons that way, not including what he got from the well systems.

   The previously harvested wood was used here and there for supplemental, rather than primary heating. Mostly in the green houses to help maintain a 65 ~70 degree internal range.

   Spring arrived, with modest temperatures, and a lot of moisture, rain for four to six days in a row, with temperatures around the mid forties. While not as warm as desired, if the temperatures , in fact held or went higher, the seedlings would do well. The previous fencing had preformed well in keeping out deer and rabbits from the fields. With the Winter, the were several reports of dead or dying animals in the region.

   Domestic animals did a bit better. A ranch that specialized in Bison/Beefalo production but was in a bit of hit, with the reduced growing season for fodder. Hardy, while not wanting to take advantage of folks in dire or painful straits, knew a deal when he saw it. He extended an offer for getting in more fodder in exchange for three heads, to be culled or harvested in that fall.  He was able to make the deal, and with it, obtained some other possible crops for the greenhouses and with the manure, was able to both resurrect the Methane generator and improve the soil quality. He went further and for every employee or son site worker paid for Tetanus inoculations.

   The Hernandez clan was willing to work, and with the slightly more technical skills of the Hendersons did well, almost working themselves out of actual work, save basic maintenance. With the Bison/Beefalo system, Hardy knew he was paying a premium, but was assured to have fist pick on the animals, with tanned hides in the deal.  He did get a deal on the hooves, setting up a dedicated kettle for glue making. Hardy was working on a laminated system for long bows, with true sinew for the bowstrings. His initial bows were only about 50 to 60 pounds of draw, but effective for the bow hunting season, using a quadruple designed broad head on a thirty four inch shaft. While not “Brand Named” they were popular. The arrows were fletched with either Duck of Geese feathers. His other sideline for fishing hand tied flies were a hit as well, if locally in use. Hardy did spend some time researching how else to get things self sustaining, but with only twenty acres in production, including the trees, was not perfect. With the water holding tanks, he had about a ninety day supply of water, if the wells quit.

   Not enough, He was considering on either inputting and capping wells for use, but there was overall, only so much water. He had been involved with the Anti-Fracking movement, due to impacts on the local water quality. His other side businesses were doing okay, if not great, One of his properties was semi leased out as a gardening site, for a tenth of total harvest, using only organic methods.

   The produce was canned, dried or preserved and added to his supplies. Manufactured items were on his constant obtain list in a spreadsheet. He had spent the season , when possible, with beginning Blacksmith skills, Mostly with making nails, and simple hinges. As a Farrier, he needed work, and training, reading from books and practice were okay to a point. His modest breeding attempts , were more successful, with Sires of differing blood lines, to the heifers of his Scottish Shaggies went well. The calves were study, health and less prone to breed line issues.

   His herd was only about twenty, but healthy. His works with the Bison ranch, went well. The breeding was very productive and the animals were fertile. This was an issue as most cattle or their cousins, only bred one calf at a time, not twins. Or in one case, triplets. Veal was just not that popular.

   With more and more attempts on gun control, even primers and smokeless powder sales were getting recorded, The State declared these actions Illegal and passed laws to arrest , try and prosecute any federal agents who attempted to obtain records, without a State issued warrant. Said Warrants were not issued, Federal agencies without State court representation was summarily denied.

   The County did not have a high end business form for the generation of capital, meaning fees , taxes and the like. What it did have were several small businesses that were steady and with modest, preplanned growth business models, were maintaining of at least basic services and the Educational system was pretty good too. Though most kids left for College, a few came back, usually with Agricultural Business degrees and the like. A few came back with Nurse Practitioner and Herbal medicine degrees. A few were in Veterinarian medicine, The current providers were getting ready to retire within the next few years.

   Hardy took a hard look at his holdings. Most of his land was adjacent to his other properties were able to get to and with planning, he got more land into production, rotating the plots, so that only sixty five per cent was getting used, the other was under green manures or nitrogen fixing cover.

   The idea was with rotating and good management, the land would be fairly productive all the time. He did pay for wells being drilled and tested for quality. Most of the wells were in storage mode,

   He had tried to keeping his use of the land water to a minimum. Water was more precious than folks sometimes realized. The use of large, above ground storage tanks set with gravity feed for either irrigation or fire fighting. About five per cent of the time was spent only in land maintenance.

   His crops were mostly vegetables and his first attempt with some variations of Corn and Spelt were showing promise. The larger plots were also producing fruits, mostly berries and legumes. Two items Hardy was not able to produce, yet, Salt and Sugar. The second was a work in progress with sugar beets. Sorghum was another option, He made a note to study up on making Molasses.

   


   With the help of the Hendersons and Hernandez families, that Spring and into summer, the harvest went well. The Sugar beet harvest and processing went well. With the fruit harvests, while only a few varieties were made into Jellies, preserves, fruit leathers and syrups. When it came time for the Beefalo harvests, Hardy had some processed for steaks, roasts and the like, he took a third and made both Jerky, real Jerky, not the flavored stuff, Biltong and Pemmican. The grains were collected, using attachments for plowing and disking of the soil. But otherwise, harvested by hand, each being only about an Acre or so.

   Using a series of coarse to fine grinders were used to process some, but not all of the grain and corn into flour. As mentioned before, the use of lime in processing the corn, meant better nutrition. Some corn was dried, still on the cob. Otherwise the larger and superior seeds were re tasked for the next season, as was the Spelt and other food crops, when possible.

   Heirloom seeds were used almost exclusively. One original Greenhouse was re tasked for the drying of the foodstuffs pending the real task of canning or other wise preserving and storing the food. While he had thought about Soybeans, he did not like the idea of GMO or Genetically Modified Organisms. From the Hernandez family, he bought two hogs, dressed and processed into bacon and well smoked hams. The Hendersons had been raising chickens, and so Hardy bought a lot of eggs, cooking, drying and canning for future use. The cost of retail market foods was increasing due to transportation costs , like Fuel and an increase in sales taxes on ready to eat foods. Ah the Nanny State.

   Bull. The State attempted to raise property taxes, but failed. Counties were already under watch for such a move. Those County Commissioners were called to task, and in a few intense and well covered media streams. Recalls of elected officials were becoming more and more common place.

   The following fall was colder and wetter, The later harvest season across several states was pretty meager. The futures markets took a pounding. The CBOT or Chicago Board of Trade was looking pretty grim. Hardy downsized his portfolio and increased his on hand stores of both cash and precious metals and other supplies. More and more of the Towns in the County were beginning to lose business and shutting down. Again, fuel prices were a big factor. Most incomes could not match when it took ten miles to get to work or longer, even with carpooling as Gasoline was getting up there, almost six dollars a gallon.

   Hardy , while not processing Bio Diesel himself, made a deal for the investment of equipment and support chemicals to a family who had more land for growing fuel crops, but not the means to reliably harvest and process the crops. Hardy would get twenty five per cent of the finished product, though he would have to rent the tanker truck. He had bought such a tanker at auction years before, and had it certified as sound. The Semi tracker was something else. Not having CDL or Commercial Drivers License, He had to hire some one. He did, however set up a special storage location for the pumped fuel into a triple lined and cathodic protected tank with the same storage capacity.

   Using a battery powered pump, got it back out as needed. His other fuels had been treated with both PRI G and D and anti gelling additives for the Diesel. Since these were for the actual farm vehicles and not his truck, there were few taxes to pay. His truck tank was set with legally taxed fuel and he kept duplicate copies for his records. Setting up as a Sole Proprietorship business, years past. When he paid for work, he paid and issued INT 1099s, thus taxes , then were on the Payee, being an Independent Contractor. not the Employer, However there were arrangements in place for things like health care while working for Hardy, with minimal expense. The local bank Hardy had opted to use did provide assistance for tax withholding for a fee of .5 per cent of the total tax liability. Notably few folks had tax issues.

   The nearest town was about fifteen miles one way, and while not quiet as suffering as others, was in a decline. Being dependent on the regional locals for business, things were hit and miss, usually over the winter. Hardy was careful to not take too much advantage when he found a good deal on equipment, Some folks were in a constant loan and refinance cycle, getting newer, bigger and so had to be better , right equipment. Hardy kept his equipment in fine order. Sometimes for some jobs, he hired the local Diesel Mechanic, but since he had a good quantity of parts and lubricants, the major jobs usually were not too expensive. The Mechanic had joked as to how Hardy could have beaten out the local distributor. Hardy had smiled and left it alone. The reason he had what he had was with the quantity of his purchases from the same man, Hardy had avoided paying retail.

   With the practice of good land management and firebreaks, being about a half mile from the State forest, when a fire broke out, Hardy had opened his fences for the Fire Department and Forestry crews to use his fire lanes, and well access for fire suppression. Though several acres were destroyed, the fire was put out fairly soon, however there were several teams in the region, checking for and eliminating “Hot Spots” There were particularly hazardous as if fire got into a root system, it could smolder for weeks or even months and pop up again.

   Hardy's access had been instrumental on getting into a strong series of positions, with water reducing the potential damages over all. Once it was safe to do so, Hardy hired some folks and harvested was could be, and split, stacked and tarped for firewood.

   He also paid for getting the soil reseeded with native vegetation to try and maintain the soil. In an attempt to reduce runoffs and other contamination.  The fire had been severe enough that no hunting permits were issued that year for the State Forest.

   Hardy did not have that problem. In a location on the far end of his holdings, he was able to get a rather nice 4 point Buck, on his private property. Not poaching and the kill was clean. One shot behind the shoulder, straight through the heart. Using the bobcat, He had hoisted, bled and field dressed the animal, looking carefully at the entrails and organs for signs of disease. There were none. Getting the kill home, rinsing out the cavity and hanging the kill in an un used Greenhouse. Free of bugs, the game was processed and the hide cured over the next few days. The hooves and sinew were harvested for glue production and bow string manufacture.

   Hardy did take some time for special trips, usually to the local library, often buying the well used books on a variety of subjects, and the occasion fund raiser. The trip to the Old Folks home was a bit different, usually taking to the Administrator concerning evacuation and relocation plans if thing got nasty. A small portion paid for by Hardy provided for a four day supply of fuel for the back up generator, and for fuel oil for the back up heating, the furnace being a manually started , battery powered ignition system, Once lit, and feed fuel, it would heat the facility with its twenty apartments warm, if not hot. Those who were able to move with out too much assistance were on the upper level. Those with either walkers , scooters or wheel chairs were on the ground floor. The specially modified bus was able to transport the entire population, if necessary. For maintenance purposes, it could be leased for transport to the next major city, about an hour or two away.

   Business settled, Hardy decided to make a longer trip, into the “Big City” overall even with fuel costs, it would be cheaper to use a trailer and transport himself, than his usual methods.

   There were a few items he wanted and the only reliable suppliers were in the town.
Taking care to ensure the strongbox, locked down and secured to the rear of the cabin floor, thus needing a search warrant, if a nosy LEO or Law Enforcement Officer tried to take a peek.

   With his documentation on hand, License, Insurance, Registration and Conceal Carry Permit. He had the .45 loaded, chamber empty with three spare magazines and went. The trip was in good time, traffic only becoming an issue once in the more business sector of the City. One stop was a Wielder Supply outfit that was closing. Hardy got a good deal on Oxy / Acetylene unit and several rods for thermite burning. And accessories. The tanks were strapped down and chained.

   He had made sure to get the right hazmat placarding, but the quantities did not require a Hazmat Endorsement. The next stop was for plumbing supplies. Wax rings, two commodes and plenty of hardware. The third was an alternative power equipment supplier, here, several kits for wind power, transfer switches and associated end items were also obtained. Loaded up, with one last stop. Not a metals shop, better, There was an estate sale going on, the family had been big on re en-actors for Rendezvous and 1850s- 1890s frontiers.

   The items he was looking for were smaller, butter churns and the like. He did find a good deal on a couple of Adzes, Axes, and smaller hand tools, and three anvils in various weights. Plenty of cast iron and enamel ware. Packing up, paying in cash, he was pointed out and a younger woman came forward, extending a hand. “Sir, I am Matilda Green. I have some items that most folks are not interested in that are for sale. Could I have a few moments of your time?” Hardy remembered to let the lady know he went by “Hardy” and preferred that to Sir, and please lead on.

   The items were black powder rifles, a shotgun, reloading supplies. Bullet molds and two percussion cap revolvers in .45 caliber, all black powder.  A check of the actions , barrels accessories, He noticed there was a good supply of pre knapped flint for the rifles, Hardy did not object to the total price, taking all. He offered a good rate, got countered offered and agreed. No hassles.

   Matilda was not sure if she should have tried harder, however since he was paying cash and it was Sunday, the items had not moved so the sale was made. She added in the not quite full containers of primers, powder and sundries. Loaded, Hardy re checked the bill of sale, locked up and headed home. One last stop was a Brewing supply house, with carboys, bottles , caps and materials for brewing several batches of different brews.

   Finally home, Hardy got things unloaded and stored. Some items over the next few days he was able to cross load the other trailer with the supplies he felt would be useful in a PAW situation or pro longed not quite PAW level event.

   The Black powder weapons were cleaned, oiled and stored. Several loads were pre set and stored into a few vacuum sealed bags with Oxygen Absorbers. Finally stored in a well sealed ammunition can. The entire load was placed within an all plastic containers, shrink wrapped and buried at a pace count of fifty from the front porch and buries, under a Rose bush, obtained a week earlier.

   He also cached preserved seeds and other items, going as non metallic as possible. Using the auger attachment for the bobcat, He introduced sleeves of rubber coated or heavily waxed tubes some three feet in diameter and a length of three feet as well. The containers were for the most part in PVC pipes capped and sealed, once in place, agricultural cloth was triple layered and then set with soil and seeded.

   Using an overlay of a local map, the caches were marked, stored with copies into other PVC tubes and stashed within false piping or plumbing tubes here and there on the properties. The properties were slowly closed down for the season, seeded, with plenty of available moisture and other wise “fallow” or resting. Again with an eye towards sustainability.

   The Beefalo ranch had a few issues, fortunately, not with endemic diseases like Brucellosis.
A few years previously Cattle ranchers had made mention as to this disease, without real fact where Bison were concerned.

   No the issue was more subtle, Cattle, raised and finished in feed lots on Corn and the like, as opposed to grass for fattening up. Unlike Bison, which fed upon grasses and other vegetation where getting some trouble with colic like conditions. The usual treatments included penning in, with a well natural lubricant, reaching in and with warm water, cleaning out the equivalent of the lower GI Tract.

   Reality was getting some one willing to actually do the needful, with the insertion of limbs into the orifice and getting a gentle hand on the obstruction and removing it. Castor oil and or stool softeners on that scale were not an option.

   Once cleared of the obstruction, the Animals usually did better. Usually lower grade fodder and not enough water caused the issue. While the regular foliage was fine, the Hay had been a bit damp and caused the troubles. The herd got over this, just in time for Summer and insects. With the damper and cooler temperatures, a lot of flying insects, like Horse Flies and Mosquitoes were out and about.

   Citronella oil or candles provide a modicum of relief, Smudge pots little better. Trouble was with things like malaria and other diseases and the increase in tick and flea populations did not help.

   The bumper crop as it were for Earthworms was something else. Gardens love worms and vice versa. Tragedy hit some families, Grand Papa or Don Hernandez passed that Summer, not much pain
an intense aneurysm in the brain. He passed quietly His wife followed him that August.

   Hardy had gotten to know the entire family very well and was present at the Funeral services for both, each time a bit chocked up when asked to say a few words. He had made glowing statements as to the knowledge , wisdom and skills each had possessed and shared with himself, the family and overall with the community at large. There was nary a dry eye for the gathered. He had asked for and received permission for the commissioning of head stones, a twin set in Polished Granite, with true engravings, not laser, marked the final resting place. Of the wonderful and to always be missed family members

   It was with some surprise, Hardy was asked to attend the reading of the wills, Seemed he was to get a Receipt book or how to manual hand written by the couple, a second set to the family proper. Both copies were hand written and bilingual, with the original text printed in cursive and in English, with standard and metric measures, plus the odd Pinch or Scant measures being listed. Hardy , was impressed with the detail and over all information. The information was pretty authentic in his mind, Like chicken soup with notes on how to checkout places for locating, obtaining. Harvesting and processing of the bird for food.

   He spent some time going over the actually Spanish notes, and then the translations into English. No errors, that he could find. Binding up one set into document protector sleeves, Hardy had sent in a second copy to a small publisher, and for a hefty fee, got twelve copies in a hard bound and DVD version. He gave over none of the tomes to the Hernandez family. Kept two and gave one to the Henderson family. The information would produce many, much healthier diets and lifestyles. Though , not a common USA lifestyle. But if it was to happen in a PAW event, that was no longer an option.

   At least not for the 21st century, according to mainstream media outlets, Hardy was used to screening out the chaff from the grain to be polite, but how much filtering was pretty much a signal to noise ratio. Bye bye CNN,ABC, CBS and NBC, Fox News op ed broadcasts were close. News was one thing, thinking back to the original 5 points of Journalism and the like, So called Reality TV, not in his house. In the year 2015, things got very interesting. With no third term presidency, There was hope, but not much. There were political movements, which cut out both political parties, mostly only in name, not practice. Inner City violence and anger against the Federal Government grew.  For better or worse, some senior female political figures had expired, and their replacements were either as useless, or ineffective, Party lines were much more divided, with the extended lack of control over the Federal Budget, more and more states were passing legislation against every thing from Gun Control, Currency and Immigration reform, The major cities were not quite in riot, however it was close.

   With things going to craptastic, swiftly, and Hardy's personal insurance rates climbing about 30 per cent per year, even though he had maybe visited the MD for semi annual check ups and maybe one eye exam in the calendar year, he decided to get out of his losses and found a doctor, with a good solid license, for about 500 a year, cash for both preventive and other needs. There was a trend in this manner over the last several years, plus with a :legit” MD scripts, Hardy got his longer term needfuls met, including IV sets and the like with a turn in agreement as things got within sixty to ninety days of expiry dates. This avoiding the legacy of you know who care. He also filed suit against the previous provider of insurance, agents and office specifically. He did not consider he might win, but he would have his day in court. Seemed not needed, The home office filed no contest charges, was fined all collected premiums by the State and when dissolved of ability for any an all transactions, lost huge.
The Bank behind the corporation was in dire straights, however with most offices being off shore the losses were not considered in the U.S.A. The judgments were effective and had some teeth. Hardy got about 87 cents on the dollar, though the current Dollar was worth about 65 cents from what he had paid for coverage ten years earlier.

   His auto insurance went up, due the age of vehicle and performance, He told the agent to either find something better or lose his business. The agent balked, and was dropped as he found a better policy, when mention was made as to sustainability and durability of the vehicles in question. The reduced need for repair and the like got him a better deal, rather than replace for exactly the same in current dollar value, the lack of so called upgrades worked well with a company that was more aligned with total loss reduction and or prevention, than the new vehicle every three year owner. Yada yada.
   

    He did ensure a rental clause, if needed. The fees went up,. Until he mentioned again rental versus total replacement. Said fees went down.  The rest of the world went on, even with rising rates of crime in all states were the more restrictive guns laws lent to more criminal acts. Illinois, New York and other states were nearly under “Martial Law” save there was no Federal action to cause such actions. The disputes went Federal court and lost. Hardy decided with all being what is was either now, or heading too, shutting down outside contact as much as possible. The Hendersons and Hernandez clans were doing well , enough. In fact Hardy was a big consumer of their productions, either with his own production or money.

   Electrical costs were going up, however, for Hardy not so bad. Being off grid and not producing enough to sell back, he was in good shape, Rotating the batteries out, he had both power and for his selected neighbors, were in good, if not great shape.  Bow Hunting went well, Two deer, one each Buck and Doe, in season, and a Boar and Sow, Not the Ursine types, yes all kills were from a tree stand, and no baits.  Using a .22 insert/choke device, he had obtained the other food animals and processed all that he could, including glue, tanned hides and the feathers for the recent arrow fletchings and fishing fly lures.  Soldering some barbed hooks to caltrops for future use, He was able to further deter trespassing attempts. The Pam/Teflon sprayed coated devices , scattered on the land where his fences installed at a twenty to thirty foot gap between the actual property line and offset fencing, worked well.

   The No Trespassing Signs were posted on the line, minus two feet. Since the devices were only hit when approached, there was no  crime being committed, due to “trapping” in his state and the county.    There was one situation, where an “out of towner” came by, looking for investment land or properties, with the current economy, he felt secure, bad idea, Approaching Hardy's land, the 1D10T, entered the gate. Leaving it open, and honked the horn, giving off a rather irritable tone. More than one farm animal, tried for the gate. Hardy did things better, triggering the closure of the gate, and putting three .308 caliber rounds through the engine block. When F'tard, tried to leave the vehicle, both the door and window received two shots, followed by two to the windshield. The “bullhorn” transmitted the messages of criminal trespass, animal abuse due to the horn, and essential dislike of visitors without invitation, notice or warning. The person in the car was attempting to clean out their undergarments, when the last shot was fired, almost, but not quite hitting the exposed hand. Hardy went further, noting the license plates, make and model. Sure enough, hired by a certain Asian, Non capitalistic nation.

   While so called Diplomatic Immunity saved such from Federal Prosecution, it did not work where US Citizens , well within their rights, took action. The notices, ,emails cables,fric and frac went around, the state , was The nation, in question could either apologize, and remove all parties involved from US Soil, or, get a Bounty on every remaining members head, with in the State itself.

   Hardy had a less developed location in mind, if needed. He took the time and effort too essentially mine the structures, As in blowup, if threatens or taken by other means, with Allodial titles, or tax free, no harm or foul. Though through EMS there was some grumbling as to who would pay for services. Hardy had done one better, With the County, He had posted an additional two thousand  bond for such reasons. Said news of Bond, reduced complaints. Plus Hardy's willingness to authorize EMS access along his exterior roads, with Fire and Medical Service Chiefs checking the routes and offering suggestions, Which Hardy paid for, removed any angst. Several members of the Democratic party, attempted to contact Hardy, only to find per the Federal Do NOT Call laws got fined , shut down and otherwise disregarded. With state law, Hardy, got a reward from the courts for some twenty five grand, tax free. Personally Hardy, did not like or serve either party, being a Liberation, Things were heading south for sure, More rights being questioned, Sadly the violence in Cities were the laws were most restrictive, had the higher violence rates, including the actual wounding or killing of elected officials, LEO/EMS types and most states, Like New York, Illinois, California, Washington State and the like were just this side of Martial Law. Washington D.C was slight;y better off, In at least two situations, Armed Citizens came to the rescue of the LEO's. However both the BATFE and Treasury Departments were hit, hard, The Base at Quantico was under lock down.


   Hardy was working on more self sufficient, including, gardening and canning of on site produced foodstuffs. Using “Tattler lids” and Mason or Kerr branded jars. He collected what animal hides he could and using Larry Dean Olson's method, brain and oak wood treatments for the tanning. The hides were well done, and very very supple. He had managed to acquire a “Baja Bug” with diesel engine, snorkel kit , roll cage , fully skid plated, while a good thing to protect the axles and transmission, among other things, reduced overall efficiency. Paying cash, getting the 1970's era vehicle registered was not a problem due to the so called “Grand Father “ clauses within the State DMV codes. Hardy had located a good mechanic who would check it out and do some other work.

   
   
   One thing Hardy had wanted was a hatch in the reinforced roof. A few weeks later, He got a commo set installed, paying for the smallest, most versatile units available and with spares. The antenna was incorporated as much as possible into the body of the vehicle. Naming the vehicle Mud Bug. Like Herbie was gonna happen, Nope. All said and done, Mud bug was for short range, all terrain vehicle. With some highly specialized modifications, like the rail road transport gear, allowing to ride the rails much like the rail company maintenance teams. There were two seldom used, but still serviceable spurs leading to the main tracks.

   He had obtained a few other things, like reusable diapers, pads and like items, Along with things like Baking soda, Washing Soda, Boxed Borax, Washing Boards, Big buckets , a few bathing seats, circa 1850's , Bucket showers and sponges, Extra towels, cloths and both Lard , with wood for making ash, forms for soap in 2 inch by 3 inch forms. HTH Branded Bleach tabs, being the best locally acquired amounts and desired quantities. Vacuum sealing systems with O2 Absorbers worked well.

   He estimated , with the right temperatures and humidity He could extend the shelf life of the meds to three years. Little did he know, how good that would be. His cache systems were pretty good, buried deep enough, with the right time of season, etc, The items were good to go. He had more seeds, plant stakes and plastic, with PVC pipping to rig small mini/micro green houses.

   Three caches were filled with buckets, hand trowels and , either liquid soaps , sharpening stones and without rods, fishing gear. Some were set with reloading gear in bits and pieces. Hardy planned on re accessing of the varied caches, using known navigational points, and pace counts, in lieu of GPS/ Geo Caching techniques. As GPS was dependent upon Satellite, and from his military service, could be shut off at any time. IN the early 2000's Lorans , much like the frequencies for Analog Modulation had been either trimmed or cut off. Hardy had felt those in “Government” had made mistakes, but only time, would tell.

   He did have a few kits for AM radio, but with limits, Alternative Computer Operating Systems like the variations of Linux, burned to DVD and secured, a long with a few systems. Also secured and cached, were obtained. Ubuntu was one, Searching the internet and burning DVD s for things, like CD for the third world in torrents was another resource, with both the medium and “seeding” torrents on the disks. Again sealed, and buried deep, there were five such devices, with solar panels to power.

   Hardy over the years spent a small fortune in ink , paper, document protectors and binders.
About once every quarter, there was a new set, again vacuum sealed on a per book/ cache basis, and the like as yet another day of the week. Even so called Holidays. Marketing events aside.  A few of the various “faithful” had invited him to services, however, the varied doctrines had made him feel both bitter, and better to leave alone. Period, End of Discussion, One brave soul attempted to push things, only to be politely, Leave and let no other member of the person's congregation darken either door step or property line, upon pain of trespassing, and with well posted signs, trespass was a shooting offense.

   A few folks, attempted to express angst, however private property was exactly that. Period. Not to say Hardy was not respectful , at times an odd , yet generous donation in true coinage and with instruction as to where and how said monies would go best served happened, though never as expected. New feeding/ township clinic/food kitchen, sure. Church needed a new roof, not so much. All donations were Anonymous. Community one thing, Any thing else, No money.

   
   Hardy had taking some time to study up on medieval siege weapons, and personal weapons, Pole Arms, Bows, trebuchet/catapult, tactics and the like. As such “Mud Bug” got set up with a 300 draw weight crossbow, with assisted Cocking and a variation of a five shaft, spring assisted magazine , using sharpened and finned re bar, range was about 350 yards, max under optimal conditions. There were a few other options in ammunition, He had paid good sums of cash for well seasoned Oak quarrels, with split heads for the introduction of vials like tear gas crystals,. Or worse, if needed. The vial project had taken some ingenuity to package and seal with out damaging the contents, and storing safely.

   Engineering for various situations, like severe weather, within the property line obstacles were emplaced as well.. Tangle foot, trip flares, varied dry moats some twenty feet deep and eight feet wide, and eight feet across. Facing to the interior of the property were a few posts with a day-glow marker that only was visible in direct line of sight from the interior, The exterior view would not show anything. The fence line was some five feet in front of the ditch system. If the need be, the systems could be used to hold more water, for emergencies like supplying the portable pump for fight brush fires, however the forward line was pretty clear of brush as well, Being County land, Hardy was given a break as to clearing and then seeding the ground with native grasses to enhance the soil and reduce erosion.
   An interior fence of wire was the interior boundary., was cleared of brush, or other vegetation for clear fields of fire. Hardy had deep hopes that he never had to use it. Since he could not as of yet, use razor wire and seismic sensors, he had hoped it would do. Anti Armor traps were something else, requiring more resources than what he currently had, unless set up wire traps, where the wire would catch in the “Final Drive” units and cutting the seals, making both a mess and a “Mobility Kill” where the vehicle could still fire, but not move. Other options, including Dead falls, and abatis obstacles.

   When the EMS went off, Hardy was in the southern end of his land, He figured on a ten minute travel back, in Mud Bug to get actually home, Hitting the improved drive way, and setting mud bug into an over sized culvert tunnel, Sans doors, he got into shelter as the follow on warning of Tornadoes were being spotted in the region. This was the third time in as many years.
   The green houses took a hit, barely, The five inch thick panels and off over hangs at some two and a half feet, with timed releases cleared any potential issues, though there was little actual dust, almost 85% of the local area was defacto “Done” by the tornado.
   When the storm was over, Hardy went to check things out. The dome structures had held up well. Not having traditional roofing or the like, there was little debris. The roads were another story. Several trees collapsed across the roads, making things a mess of things. What Emergency Response was available, with the roads being in tough shape, the delays in getting to those areas requiring assistance were measured in hours, not minutes. The Tornado had taken out almost all of the local grid system, impacting both power and water. The concept of TSHTF was nothing new, but sure was upfront and personal for quite a few folks. The EAS had saved some lives, but sadly not enough people had prepped ahead of time. He got his radios working and checked in with his neighbors, All was well,, save for some minor damages here and there, Messy but survivable. The Old folks home had stood up well, however the County Emergency Management Agency got egg on its face. When the storm hit, a transformer blew, and the back up switch did not work. The contractor had not completed the connections and no one had noticed, as the back up generator was always started manually and once running was brought online for power manually, never by the automated system. The agency was functional, however the ten to fifteen minute lag was not good. During the recovery process, it was learned that most power and phone lines were down, including cellular and microwave transmission towers.

   Hardy was able to pull some information via Ham radio and the Satellite receiver, but not as much as he would have liked. He spent some time checking out the AG Dome, and let the animals outside. Using the internal plumbing system, he got the barn mucked out and the manure into the pit, letting it age a bit before adding to the methane system.

   The gas production system had held up, but there were signs the containment system needed a little help. Hardy hated to waste anything, but the amount of gas collected and not yet used needed to either be used or some how pumped into a more stable storage solution. He knew it could be done, and while he could get another tank, was not sure if he had time. Making up his mind, carefully setting the gas to a feeder unit, He got several stock tanks, filled with water and carefully set each to get a boil on

   Once boiled, he carefully transported the hot water to the ditch system, Working the the theory that the hot water would not attract mosquitoes. Once completed and the reserves down to where he could closed the connections from the generator, He found that for all 500 gallons of water boiled and moved, it barely covered the bottom of the ditch system, maybe a few inches at best. Hmm, he thought, it might not be such a good idea for fire fighting, but would still make a good series of fire breaks, if need be. As it was getting towards evening, He rounded up the animals, got them fed, watered and bedded down for the night.

   Heading home, he got cleaned up, checked the charging systems, and made a few notes, Battery rotation was easy, just time consuming. The cells had held up. The green house was fine, only needing some debris cleared up , but that could wait, He was hungry and tried. Having a dinner of canned beef stew and a couple of beers, he got ready for bed, setting the battery backed up alarm and SAME radio on the night stand, in alarm mode, just in case. He slept well, got up, cleaned up feed the animals, got breakfast, bacon, black coffee and biscuits, cleaned up the debris and made his radio checks. The high school was severely damaged, mostly broken glass, but the real damage was to the roof, about Eighty percent was completely destroyed.

   He declined to take Mud bug, figuring that the truck would be better, and he needed to check the road conditions. A few detours and a quick use of the winch to pull a fallen tree off the the side, and a few quick cuts with the chain saw to make braces to prevent it from rolling back onto the road, he got into town. He did bring in some supplies, mostly things like hygiene kits and plenty of writing materials, if power was out, so would be things like computers. Heading for the local insurance office he dropped off the supplies and headed towards city hall. The town was doing okay, His donations included a small kit for making coffee and the two pound package was well received. The paper items had included a rather large supply of toilet paper, and a few quart bottles of hand sanitizer.

   These last items were split between the Old folks home and the local relief shelter. He noted the stores were open, but limited purchases to one bag per person, not too exceed fifty dollars, again per person. With the power out, cash was king, Checks, if local were accepted. The gas station was running, sort of, the owner was doing well with a modified lawn mower providing just enough power to run one pump from the tank, and measured into three gallon fuel safe containers, no more than nine gallons per customer. The local bank was open, using flashlights and while folks were patient, it was certain that money in the form of currency was going out, not coming in. Hardy had a few hundred dollars on him, and had a small account, about twenty five grand or so, and really did not need anything. Deciding to set a positive note, he waited in line, and when getting to the tellers station, had his deposit slip filled out and mentioned he wanted to make a deposit, not a withdrawal. The clerk perked up. Hardy was known to do business, usually for incoming funds, being directly withdrawn. He deposited three hundred dollars. Not much, but when folks saw some one making a deposit, the confidence went up. The Bank Manager, Herman Bushman, had personally thanked him. Some folks did need the money to be sure, but rather than a run on the local bank, folks took out only enough for the immediate need, not complete withdrawals.
   The generators he had brought in a few years before were working well, again getting some power and just as importantly potable water. Hardy made a few notes and was able to locate a source of transportation to import repair materials, like roofing trusses. associated hardware , and replacement windows. Over the years, things had gotten standardized. So replacement was easier. A few structures needed engineering review. Hardy's donations were valued at some twenty grand, and while well received, would barely make a dent, but it was a start. He did locate a local contractor,who by word from the Hendersons did good work, was honest, professional , had the right tools and possible work crews, but really needed the work. Hardy got in touch explained the basics, the man agreed, and between the two of them, with input from the Fire Chief and Old Frank, a retired architect and construction engineer had made a few suggestions. Hardy got the information and paid up front another fifty grand for materials, contingent on full delivery, no shortages or delays over twenty four hours.

   The delivery was on time some two days later, each truck went item by item against the order and bills of lading, Hardy did get a grump about the picking up of the pack materials that would not be needed on site. One trucker asked if Hardy could give them a minute, Hardy agreed and walked a ways off, he did not listen in, however it was pretty clear that the objector was getting the riot act and finally nodded. With a raised hand Hardy walked back over, Grump apologized , as he forgot the contact had included clean up and asked if Hardy would over look a grumpy old trucker. The two men shook, before they left, Hardy shook hands with all five men, and paid a tip for the clean up of fifty dollars each.

   The men took the money and each left his contact information, taking the time to offer a better rate, if Hardy ever needed their services again. Hardy agreed. The contractor was impressed, every thing was exactly what was ordered, and he had not had to pay for it, he knew his bottom line was going to be lower, but at least sixty percent of his expenses were cut, right out the gate, The recovery went well.

   The one thing Hardy had not considered what was to be done with the debris. When possible, anything that could be recovered should be. There was a lot of material, like brick, plumbing and fixtures, and most of the wiring was still usable and up to code. He paid for a team of plumbers and electricians to reclaim what could be and re used. This also save a lot of cash. Tripling the reinforcement and connection hardware for the roofs of the high school and other buildings improved and hopefully mitigate against future tornadoes.

   The town medical center was something else. Hardy had spent a good amount of cash, not seeking to recovery his costs, however some folks though he had deeper pockets than he was willing to admit too. He was pretty blunt, he had spent money, maybe folks should talk to their insurance agents and get out of his face. Scurrying away like chickens after being barked at by the farm dog, they went.

   Frank, the mayor came over and shook Hardy's hand, thanking the man for his support and foresight. Citing the generators and supplies for reconstruction, he made mention that if Hardy was going to run for Mayor, Frank would be torn between actually liking the job, he would find it tough to not vote for him, Hardy smiled and said “No worries, You keep on doing the good work. Me? Just trying to help. You? You help make this town function.” Frank grinned and mentioned that while the town did in fact have good insurance for the public buildings, it would be a while. Hardy mentioned he had done what he could, Frank eased his concerns a bit, “No , Hardy that was not what I meant. We can and will rebuild, but it will take some time. You got more done in two days and a bit than I am getting from the under writers. However, I am more concerned about some folks who,while they have insurance, due to the amount of damage, where are they and how are they going to live? I heard most of the folks out in the county came through much better, which is a relief.” Hardy acknowledged it was going to be tough, but capabilities were there, if used right.

   The small businesses, like the filling station, store and the like, would do okay, if the store could get a reefer unit in, business could continue to work. The filling station needed power and the other business could all team up, Hardy called up the truckers and asked for rates and rentals for two reefers, and three fifty three foot long trailers for on site use. The men agreed as to locating the reefers, but mentioned the difference in on versus off road diesel, Hardy asked if a pup trailer for off road diesel fuel

   The loads were located, Hardy asked for a rental agreement on the rigs, He would sign the agreement and for a fee would send it back with the trucker to the vendor. Hardy had to go to the bank, where he was well received and invited into the manager's office. Shaking hands, Hardy mentioned he needed to access some more cash, but did not want to clear everything out, after making a deposit earlier. It was agreed. Hardy would return with a brief case in an hour, The amount was about twenty grand, in small bills, with receipt.

   Leaving quietly, Hardy accepted delivery, paid cash, getting a receipt, the rental agreement, the vendor had added a clause for refueling at cost and mileage due to “recovery needs”, Hardy knew he got a deal, One of the truckers was grinning and explained how his cousin was a fuel distributor and owed him a favor. Agreement had been reached. Included with the rental agreement was a copy of maintenance information for the reefer units and pup. The recovery went well, and the store was able to do business, The filling station was working well, and things to continue. The county was able to bring in a few modular trailers for temporary housing, but it was tight.

   Several families took the insurance payouts and moved out. A lot of property was laying fallow, or the lots were empty. Hardy did not want to seem like a vulture, so he quietly made inquiries as to repairing or if needed razing of properties, as such, the insurance companies were will to sell, being stuck with properties that would not normally be able to sell otherwise. Hardy got the land and deeds, Allodial as well. Avoiding taxes, he was able to get a couple of trailers emplaced, plumbed and wired on slabs for the current time. This took a course of weeks. The properties that were razed had to have the debris removed, and the slabs filled in other than for plumbing and sewerage. He would not sell the properties, but did rent for low rates, He was slowly going to recovery these expenditures.

   Getting in a specialized trailer, the medical clinic was back up and running much sooner. The town was grateful, including the library staff, who were trying to keep things going. With the schools being repaired, classes and the school year were tough to sustain, so the library was quite popular.

   Once things got settled down, there was a big push to get things completed as much as possible before winter arrived. The town council met, Hardy was asked to attend the meeting as well.

   Once every one was seated, the meeting was called to order, It seemed most folks were happy for the help from Hardy, however there were two members of the council who felt more was owed.

   Hardy politely informed them that other than the properties he bought, and set up for housing, he owed nothing, noting he had in fact got the properties without taxes and his other support was out of his pocket, He had asked nothing other than for those who used the resource maintain them.

   The two attempted to push, in the name of good citizenship, Hardy let it be known such attitudes were not going to be entertained, and if persisted with, he would sell the lands, reclaim the generators, water trailers and place a lien on the town for what he had paid for already. Did folks want to continue? No, fine, With that, he thanked the Mayor, and left.   Working with the bank, he made arrangements to sell the properties on short notice to the current renters at 1 percent interest on a ten year note. The bank manager was a bit shocked, and so like any good business professional, asked hardy who had pissed him off. Hardy gave the short version of the town meeting. The banker mentioned two names, though Hardy had not, but there was a match. The banker got an evil grin. “Hardy, what if I told you there were loans out on the properties of both those folks, and could quite legally be sold.”

   Hardy thought it over and asked for a ballpark figure. It was doable, however Hardy was not feeling quite that vicious yet. He made a note about it and would keep the information in mind over the next few weeks. Heading to the county seat, the hall of records was open, so he looked up the land and other relevant property documents. He had enough information to make a very well informed decision, The loans were personal and not through any agency other than the person in question and the back, under current law he could obtain the properties and give thirty day notice to vacate, or call the entire loan outstanding amount due on demand.

   Both properties were adjacent to each other, making the purchase more tempting. There were some outstanding taxes, however the amount due was not in arrears, being paid at the end of the fiscal year.

   Heading back to town, he checked his on hand balance, made an incoming wire transfer of nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine dollars for ten days, each amount being below reporting requirements on a daily basis. Once fees were on hand, Hardy considered his next course of action.

   




   The wannabe socialist saw Hardy and attempted to turn to the court of public opinion, trying to start a dialogue as he called it, about Hardy, his obvious resources and the common good.

   The problem was that there were several retired veterans of various branches, who heard the BS and acted accordingly. First, the man was told, while there was freedom of speech, promoting theft was illegal, two, as a member of the town council, under the town charter, a recall vote could be asked for at any time for cause. Three, as they were already in town, the people filled up into the town office and requested a vote for recall. Mayor DeSoto was in the office, attempting to get more recovery resources into action, and heard the hubbub. Waking out into the main foyer, and hearing what was going on, He took a leadership role, and with elegant simplicity asked for the other members resignation.

   The fellow tried to refuse, forcing the recall vote anyway. Hardy went to the bank and inquired as to the outstanding loan amounts on both properties, There was a unique clause that the loanee was required to maintain employment within the county limits. The word went out for the vote in twenty four hours in order to get as many town citizens involved. Since Hardy was a property owner, normally he would be able to vote, but technically was only about a month as such, requirements for town citizenship was a requirement for six months of residency. Hardy had not planned to be there any way.

   He had noted that there was a legal method to cut short the thirty day notice, if he obtained the outstanding loan outright , once registered, he could produce an on demand order for payment of the debt in full. He decided to await the vote, if recalled, he would reconsider,if the recall was challenged, there would be a re vote, if it past, He would go ahead and make the purchase.
   He could get a notarized notice for the payment summons. The recall was quick, with a ninety per cent recall, While the vote was at it, the socialist’s friend was also voted out of office as well.

   A follow on vote required repayment of all wages, allowances and removal of all benefits immediately. The wage and allowance repayment was for the last thirty days, citing lack of performance, negligence of office and misconduct of same. I t came out that these two had repeated attempted to obtain goods and services paid for with town monies for private usage.

   Hardy made up his mind, bought the notes, registered same via fax to the county, got a notarized copy in his possession and so posted the immediate order for payment on both properties, and getting a cease occupation request in place as well.

   Withing 48 hours, the two were essentially removed of housing due to inability to repay the loans, Hardy did a small kindness, getting the local police to witness as everything within the dwellings that was considered personal property was loaded up with two individual witnessed inventories, into the moving van, locked and sealed. The seal number being recorded as well. The documents were again notarized and filled with the town hall.

   


   Hardy had paid for the unit to be taken out side of the county line, where he had a team ready to remove the trailer and let the truck bob tail down the road. The two were taken to the same location and released on foot, neither owned a vehicle other wise, as the properties were within a mile of the city hall. Once completed, Hardy hired some folks who could use the work and did quality work at that, to check the structures and property out, take care of any maintenance issues

   Once settled, Hardy put the properties, with taxes paid for the year up for rent As a private renter, he could add covenants to the property purchase, including no card grows, while legal in the state, he did not support such activities, The purchaser had to also maintain the property for five years, not be able to sell to third parties and no other criminal activities , or would be prosecuted and evicted with only a twenty four hour notice.

   Tough terms, and Hardy was pretty sure he was not going to get a renter who would agree, After three months, he put the properties up for sale, however the sale would have to be eighty percent down and the remainder paid off in thirty months. With what he had paid, the total, with no outstanding taxes, the value was just at a hundred thousand dollars.. While the down payment was high, twenty grand over two years was cheap, considering it all.

   The families that had rented the trailer units he had provided earlier were all over the sale, With the insurance payments for the total lost of housing, there were two younger families willing to go forward with the sale, At a counter offer of a total of Ninety grand down, and a remainder of ten grand over one year, would Hardy be willing to sell? Yep. Done deal.

   Glad to get out to that one, Hardy had made arrangements to sell the rentals to the town at cost plus the equivalent of two years of property taxes. The units would continue to be rented at a slightly lower fee structure. Hardy took the money from the sales and re deposited half, after registration of the sales and deeds, headed home, paid off the hands and started stocking back up. The workers had kept exact notes as to how much of what was used, when ,where and maintenance records. He added a ten per cent bonus, in cash and supplies, to each of the workers.

   The herd had increased a bit, and it was getting towards fall, time to harvest. He opted to thin the herds by a full third, given the severity of the last couple of winters and stocked on thirty per cent more feed and hay.

   Hardy held a later in the season harvest festival, inviting Mayor DeSoto, and the other town members  the Police, EMS and County Sheriff office personnel out as well for the celebration. Those on duty were set up with insulated containers with plenty of hot food for them and family members. Others pot lucked, or contributed with entertainment items like footballs or music. A good time was had by all the participants, including the children, Teens were enjoying the gathering the kids fascinated by the elders from the Old Folks home, who were transported out at Hardy's expense to be able to enjoy the celebration as well. As it was getting late in the afternoon, folks helped to clean up and headed towards home,before it got too late, While the weather was considered “Balmy” there were reports of an incoming storm system.


   The winter came in hard and fast, freezing rain, and for several days the temperature barely cleared twenty degrees Fahrenheit.    The storm fortunately did not knock out the power distribution grid.
   Fuel prices crept up a bit. However the town, after the repairs from the tornadoes the past few years had been redesigned and made more efficient in heating , cooling and water usage. As such, there were few folks stuck between heating and eating that year. Sadly the same could not be said for the rest of the State. The wild game trying to survive were in a bit of hurt, Hardy did something quiet rare, for him any way, As it was on private land, hunting was not so regulated with traditional seasons. Checking with the County Sheriff and Game Warden, it was determined hunting on private land was well within Hardy's rights. He got some help to determine how best to get the hunt done, as to gender of animal and after the hunt, what he could do for assisting the wild life, without knocking things out of kilter.

   He arranged to host a two day, day light hours only hunt, for six hunters, each one had to have family in the area, be under employed or unemployed for the current time, legal to hunt in the state and provided with one deer, over one year of age, if able to successfully hunt. Each hunter was authorized no more than three rounds, and had to hunt in pairs, and no use of baits or salt licks.

   The small, late hunt did help some, each hunter, man or woman got a kill, helped each other to process the game, cleaned up the dressing sites and made it through the winter a bit better off.

   A few folks mentioned as to being grateful for the chance for the very late season hunt. Understanding this was a one time thing. Two offered to work the land as scouts, encase some one else was poaching/trespassing. Hardy would take it under consideration. With the weather being what it was, he did not like the idea of roaming folks away from home under such conditions.

   Spring could not get here soon enough to suit Hardy. He was headed into town and stopped by the barbershop, when Officer Johansen asked if he could speak to Hardy for a minute, Hardy agreed and so headed for the station. Once there, Officer Johansen asked to confirm Hardy's identification. Hardy agreed, producing his driers license. One completed, Hardy was served notice of a suit against him for “Financial Coercion” from the former council member, seeking damages and seizure of property within the town limits, Hardy thanked the Officer, got his hair cut and headed to the County court house. Stopping by the records facility, obtained records of his property sales and dates, went to see the Judge.
   Court was not in session, so he did not wait long. Submitting the information to the Judge, His Honor Calvin Allenby Jones, reviewed the suit, the evidence produced to the satisfaction of the court, called in the clerk, took a sworn affidavit as to the accuracy of records, Hardy's identity, and declared the suit to be frivolous, with out merit, and as the court documents against Hardy were not within County Jurisdiction, the other County not having legal jurisdiction and when the other Judge was notified, a quick conversation was completed. The other County Clerk was summarily fired for forgery.

   The documents were in fact forged, illegally notarized and the filling Attorney had in fact been barred from legal practice within the State., As the crime crossed county lines and were also illegal under State law, State Police had no wait time for arrest warrants. Hardy did make a further statement as to the highly professional conduct of Officer Johansen, stating that he did not believe the officer was in any way culpable.

   The Judge agreed. The arrests barely made the news, The bogus attorney was arrested, with both of her 'clients' in less than dignified activities, prosecuted, with No contest pleas. Hardy gave sworn statements, his evidence was pretty damning to be sure. The sentences by the court were for forty years, each on the charges of forgery, filing false documents, conspiracy for same, sentencing to run one after the other and not concurrently. Hardy was home and caught the brief news cast. Figuring he should still let Office Johansen, there were no hard feelings, he headed into town. And located the officer, just coming off shift. Hardy shook his hand, letting it be known how professional the had felt he had been treated by the officer and his conduct being exemplary. He handed over a hand written letter stating this as well, getting permission to have it added to the Officer’s performance file.

   Chief Greensward had been more than happy to do so, Officer Johansen was new to the force, coming down from the State Capitol, and had been quite the professional. He had sought something quieter, having been on the SRT or Special Reaction Team as a Sniper and Protective Detail Officer. He had been a great loss to the State Capital Department, but it was well known that with such good work, “Burn out” was a common situation, Officer Johansen had been on the team and detail for an amazing Nine years, other than being shot, once, and spending a few days in hospital, never had a sick day, and had done a good deal of overtime.

   He had opted to move, and taken a pay cut to do so, However a deal was worked out, that his housing costs were cut by ten per cent, as the Town owned the housing.

   Once the spring arrived, Hardy was busy, working to get a crop in and harvested before Fall, On his off days, Officer Johansen had asked for and granted, in writing permission to access the property for hunting , in season, and was quite the small plot gardener. The Hendersons and Hernandez clans took notes and shared the labor, thus all three additional plots did very very well that year, a bumper crop in carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, and various other vegetables where harvested. The fruit trees finally produced a good crop. It seemed that before getting into Law Enforcement, Joe Johansen had been studying agriculture science while getting his degree with a major in Law Enforcement and a double minor in agriculture and animal husbandry, working summers as a farrier and was a passable blacksmith, As he did not have room for these projects, Hardy was willing to pay for materials and labor, it was decided one or the other but not both, to avoid questions about “Unofficial Gifts, Gratuities or the like.” Hardy got the agreement written, notarized and placed on record at the County, and a local town copy, a second certified copy in the official officer record just be transparent about it.

   Hardy decided to show off Mud bug, He got Joe to check out the Crossbow system , noting the sight system, being a mixture of M203 400 mm leaf site and M60 D model Circle sight, coated with non radium luminous paint. The system was accurate for 350 meters, under most conditions. The commo system was a cross of Army track commander/ crew helmets and had the add on for the face/vision screen system, not CBRN, but not set for such conditions either. The rail kit, winch, lifted and armored vehicle was something to try, Hardy safed the weapon, essentially unloading the weapon and removing it from the vehicle, fueled up Mud bug and with a map of the best all terrain routes win the county, let Joe drive the vehicle for several miles, returning, with a huge smile. “Hardy, that sucker could be addictive, great handling, good all over performance and the commo unit is something special.”   Hardy agreed and with well accepted help, got Mud Bug serviced and taken the range. Setting up a few targets, He let Joe try the crossbow out, He got both shots in the three hundred meter target, set center mass. Joe was impressed, while effective, the basic role of the system was anti vehicular, however Hardy did show him his anti personal option, a load of Buckshot, delivered in a dish pack system with a capacitor unit that discharged on the down side of the arc. There was a direct fire option, however the range was only two hundred meters max.

   The option for perimeter vehicular defense worked well, being a variation for the Rhodesian/South African 12 gauge twelve tube system., with a double stack of tubes, first set at a ten degree angle from the horizontal and on line level , if using the secondary set of twelve tubes was something else.
   Cleaning up the range, including the warning flags, Hardy felt necessary, with earlier radio to the Town Police department as to firing or Hot and Cold statuses.  Range closed, and cleaned up, including target frames, Joe was impressed with the come a long unit to retrieve the bolts in question. Hardy did not mention the road pack with tire stopper system secured in a roll on the rear, with double the usually length, Once deployed the weight of Mud Bug dropped by two hundred pounds. Legal to own yes, but it would and could raise eyebrows. Hardy was finally alone for a few weeks, as the harvest was done, and so he took some time off..
   He hired the usual crew to maintain things,and headed into the “big city” for some items he had located as being up for sale. Another Estate sale, this time from a collector who had specialized in both blacksmithing and farrier tools. Hardy showed up, while there some collectors, the items initially offered were sub par, the seller was green, and clueless, Hardy made a bulk bid at two thirds of the total asked for, willing to pay cash, with a one hour notice of acceptance, and a closure of all bids. This went into an almost frenzy of bids and offers, Hardy left. Using the rare phone book,. He located a pawn shop and checked it out, nothing much, until he spotted a lever action 30-30 carbine. It was over priced, so he made a low but not low ball offering, The proprietor was trying to up the price, Hardy was blunt, how long had it sat there? Don't tell him what was paid for it, what was it willing to be sold for, in cash, right now?

   The man agreed, however Hardy wanted more than just the rifle in question, He did , however check the bore, action and over all condition. He told the man to place it aside, it was one thing he was willing to buy, but not the only thing, Perking up the shop owner got an assistant on the counter to cover, with the weapon on the back counter, Hardy had the trigger lock removed to check the firearm out and once done, asked it to be re locked. No problem there. The stack grew, Double Bladed Axes, a cross cut saw, several Swiss style files, watch maker grade, and several Vietnam era ponchos, Tiger striped camouflage uniforms, and ALICE pack style systems, not knock offs.

   The entire load was placed on the back counter, Hardy was willing to pay a fair price, but not get taken to the cleaners, When all was said and done, he went only one hundred dollars over original offer, plus City Sales Tax. The proprietor was happy, he had sold a lot of stuff that had not moved in months if not years. He gave Hardy his card, mentioning he either would buy or note similar items if Hardy was interested.

   

   Hardy allowed as the fellow did not try to take him to the cleaners, merely wanting to make a sale and as a business man, could forgive a bit, Taking a small list of items pre 1900's and gave it over, suggesting if of High Quality, he would pay a premium. Deal done, a few weeks later, he got an email as to what, when, where and how much, plus the man would pay for independent inspection as a condition of sale. Hardy immediately liked the guy, and got Simon from the Hendersons, Franco from the Hernandez clan and Joe, since he was on vacation to go with him, Each item was superior, so Hardy was willing to pay a bit more. He was willing to pay the verifier a fee of three percent of the total pre tax sale, the agent five percent , same deal, and the full price as offered, after review from his own “Experts”, The crew in question had little to argue about, though there were a few functional questions which were carefully answered and demonstrated, His crew admitted it was a good, not great but a good deal.

   Franco looked around and with Joe checked out a few double barreled 10 gauge shotguns. Rare, yep, functional yep, re loadable yep, needed work yep, including replacing the firing pins. Hardy knew a fellow, as did the shop keeper who was willing to pay for the replacement for another one percent of purchase, per tax with a 100 per cent guarantee of function, or the specific weapon would be taken out of the sale. Hardy felt that was fair, but was only willing to wait two days. If three, then delivery would need to be guaranteed, and at the seller's cost.

   Ha, Hardy felt, The fellow agreed at once, and made a phone call, The gunsmith in question looked like a cross between a 1800's Mountain man, and a cave dwelling Troglodyte. How ever his work was impeccable, including a few minor but well detailed notes as to each shotgun. Hardy paid the man two hundred in cash, with a receipt and note as to excellent services.

   The pawnshop owner grimaced, but hey it was not his money and paid the agreed upon fee as well. With good humor. That said, he was careful to mention he had something, based on Hardy's purchases led him to believe that Hardy was going to be interested in, Certified by an independent lab to be lead free, a complete functional still system. Hardy knew he could use it if anything else for small quantity fuel production, and took it, separate from the main buy, he paid three hundred and got it loaded into the truck, with a list of suppliers for other materials, as long as the production was five gallons or less, no harm, no foul.

   There was on the list an ammo reseller, who was confirmed via phone to have some two thousand rounds of Slug, and Buck shot and willing to sell in the right gauge, if Hardy was willing to take it all, for four hundred, Hardy countered for 350, the shop owner asked for a minute and returned, “Done, but he wanted cash, I mentioned , discretely yes, however, if he tried to screw you, I was also done with him, Bad for business you know.”

   Hardy agreed as to what was Bad for business, and after paying up, with a clean bill of sale, left.
   The Ammo seller was true to his word, even as to a three shot test, no charge , each round picked at random for testing in the basement firing range, The best loads were a tad “hot” but had good spread, Hardy bought the lot, No questions asked , full amount. Sensing a quality buyer, Hardy got introduced to flechette, in the form of same gauge in a lot of some three hundred rounds.

   
   With the specs as to munitions, powder loads , primer specs and having parts for sale, at a price., Hardy agreed, no haggling on price for the rest of the lot, got loaded up.
   The trip back took a wee bit longer, as there were folks able to supply the right items, with placarding for the trailer, along with a Big Box store buy, for reusable diapers, composition books, ink, quills, and the like on the way out. Also several packages of toilet paper, paper towels, bleach, Ammonia in bottled form, avoiding such things as ANFO, and things like the closing shop that had antique parts, and hardware, hinges, pins etc, that Hardy was not ready to make himself, A couple of phone calls, and cash got the freight hauling team on site within two hours, the drivers agreeing to “lump “ the loads and take in an additional pup trailer for return fueling, Again Hardy paid cash, Joe was impressed, there was no spend thrift here, just good business.
   Once at home, Hardy divided out the various purchases and gave each member a tenth of an ounce gold coin. Citing as to serviced rendered and delivered, The pawn shop owner was on the lookout for what ever Hardy might be interested in, as he paid cash, seldom quibbled and did good cash business, while staying completely above board in his transactions. Hardy had as a bonus, stopped by a package store, obtaining some very high end, Scotch, Tequila, and Makers Mark whiskeys.
   He was pretty happy with his purchases, securing same, and under wraps. Joe did ask if Hardy was willing to part with the flechette rounds, Hardy was agreeable to half, for the Town, not the person. No issue. The ammunition would work well, It seemed that were rumors of Meth dealing Neo Nazis operating within a tri county region.
   That raised eyebrows. The State was not known to be a bastion to anybody, much less skin headed, inbred, neo Nazis. Or for that matter, Tree hugging liberal goofs. The news was not good, but in Hardy's mind , not unexpected either. With his previous planning unless he got more hands on deck as it were, Defense was going to go “sucktastic, if not craptastic.”

   Paying off the men, after a good beefalo fajita, red beans, rice and green salads feed, Folks departed schedules allowing back in three days. Two nights later, Hardy got a broadcast ed alert with air horn over the channel, awakening him, The Hernandez property had been attacked, One of the day hands had actually been spy for the Neo Nazis and gave a lot of detail, including where the grave site was known to be located, The modest cemetery was violated, and desecrated. The folks were okay for the moment, but needed sanctuary asap. Hardy cleared the “common gate” asking for a total vehicle count, The number was five, four trucks and a trailer towing Quad runner.

   The odd vehicle would be operated by Michael, Not Miguel, as “tail end charlie” or TEC. The Eta was twenty minutes. Hardy was in Red Alert OPS Mode, and caffeinated as well. With the few Night vision options, he decided to park Mud Bug at a ninety degree off set, using an electronic activated solenoid for two shots, one at 0 degrees, four hundred meters and a second at a twenty degree offset also lined up for three hundred fifty meters, Then he got the second call, The Henderson's got hit, and like the Hernandez crew screwed over, Trying to evacuate with all family members, Hardy arranged for one family first, then the other on another inbound route, citing potential over watch by the “enemy”.

   Once all were accounted for, with three vehicles stopping short of the gates, turning on right  angles to provide some over watch, the folks were allowed in, on basis of license plates and head counts.

   Hardy felt he had resource issues, however the various Ladies of the two families worked things out, including who was going to guard the doors, or entry ways, Including Claudia, taking a rifle from one of the men, climbing up into to the treeline and as good as any sniper, Hardy knew off assumed an over watch position, firing twice once killing a coyote at some three hundred meters, and one boar, at five hundred feet. Hardy knew the legend of the World War 1, Female Russian Sniper, but was impressed any way. The men were trying to dig slit trenches, until Hardy had mentioned fighting position and with a laser pointer marked the entry ways. The men deployed quickly and without a sound, Armed with rifles and the recent shotguns, Hardy was thinking any arsehole was going to go to Valhalla and left wanting when judged by one eyed Odin, or whoever, was there, to do the deed as it were. Spirituality was Not his strong point. For sure.

   Predictably enough the arse faces showed up, making noise and attempting with epic failure to plow the earth, Hardy decided enough and deployed the Mud Bug, in full Stinger mode, firing a few pieces of steel, followed by Oak quarrels in a modest binary round of water, metallic sodium and shavings of Magnesium, Fire , hot burn was an understatement with the follow on trebuchet of napalm/ home made Ammonia/ Chlorine bombs, The Addition of thermite made things more effective and worse, when the flames got out of hand, on the outside of the property lines. Hardy cared less, Less effort or clean up,.and death to bad DNA.

   Harsh, yep, Mercy nope. The dense was brutal, First the vehicles were shot, the engine blocks. Followed by windshields and when doors opened, penetrated, by sabot, Not something Hardy had paid for, The Hendersons had re loaded and half to the Hernandez clan , though all in either 12 or 10 gauge rounds. The effect was pretty clear, Bang, zwing/chunk, thud. The munitions pierced the metals, and when impacting, shattered femurs, thorax or skulls with little effort, but were not so high pressure loaded to exit the now sudden corpses.

   Hardy had deployed the Wheel killing array on two locations, the first about two hundred feet from the gates as a time giver,, and the second, just within the gates, as well. Tearing up some sod, in a “cookie” , he backed off, sealing the gate and over watching with the “Stinger” Uber crossbow. Only one shot, but lethal for sure. Once sunrise had past for two hours, the teams went forward, using the bobcat for a mass grave, of the bodies, the various arms destroyed with a few propane torches,, the ammo secured , bodies buried in an unmarked grave, with a quad layer of earth, lime and enough other chemicals to really screw up any possible DNA recovery.
    Once the All Clear was given, Time to feed every one, including Animals. The counter attack had led to more fuel consumption than he was ready for, biting the bullet, so to speak, the job got finished, though it took a few masks, goggles, Tyvek and shoveling, with both Bleach and quick lime, in special locations, avoiding contamination along the water table.

   The rest of the gang went underground, however Hardy was not believing the “storm” was over. True enough, at three weeks later, while driving into town, he witnessed two bald and tattooed men, attempting to frighten a Hispanic family, Hardy pulled over, drew his .45 and slowly walked up the road, when Baldy One turned, and started to lift the pump shot gun, Hardy hit the deck, assumed a prone firing position and fired six times, the first three, were two to the skull, one to the chest and when Number two turned, three to the skull, messy but limited , Radioing in, he gave up his pistol, made sure the family was okay, swore a statement, and once in town. ,made a few purchases of a few items he wanted,but did not need enough to pay freight and dray age for.

   He took some time with the review of his accounts and found he was making a bit of interest, obtaining only the interest about 250 dollars, he decided on checking out the local hardware and sporting store. He was somewhat shocked as to the increase in ammo prices, got a few bricks of .22 and a few crates of 12 gauge slug. Loading up he headed home.

`   He decided to increase his larger battery supply, where ever possible getting Marine grade units, gel pack systems and while not as efficient, made a few solar panels.

   The wiring was harder to get, due to shortages across the board in the region, after the tornadoes.

   On his return, he found out there was a situation developing on the main route into the complex. A local news team was seeking an interview, and was not taking no for an answer. Hardy noted the vehicle was just outside the boundary, but was also blocking the road. Noting the make, model and license plate of the vehicle, Hardy changed radios and called in that his main road and fire lane was being blocked, and the party would not leave. The Sheriff mentioned he could be there, but it would take about thirty minutes.
   As it was towards Summer and fire a moderate, however real threat, Hardy moseyed along another route and radioed in that he was using the secondary route along the external fire break. Once in side and gates secured, he headed to the main gate.

   The reporter was standing there, attempting to argue for access, citing that folks had a a”right to know” what was happening. Hardy simply pulled a Bull horn, and told them to leave, When smart Alec mentioned they were not trespassing, with a smirk, Hardy said, while true, they were blocking the main route and Fire lane, and as such were in the wrong. Smirk face was like “so what” there were no fires at the moment.

   Larry, the local Fire Chief was listening in on radio, checking the fire breaks and lanes, decided to check things out, Being a less than humorous sort, he pulled over and made a call to Jimmy, the local wrecker operator. Jimmy was between runs and if the LEO or EMS called him it was a guaranteed 150 dollars in his pocket.

   As Smirk and the Video crew were focused towards the farm, and not paying attention, Larry had let Jimmy set up for a tow, Introducing himself, He proceeded to ask for licenses for vehicle operator, and issued a ticket for instigating a fire hazard.

   The citation as formally called, was essentially a notice of the danger, the local fine was 750 dollars and by the conduct of being told to move, and refusing to do so, Jimmy hooked up and towed the vehicle to the county holding yard, daily storage fees were 50 dollars a day.

   Left on foot, as no one agreed to be interviewed or recorded, when refusal to turn the tape over, Hardy came out, looked the camera operator, in the eye, his hand covering the lens and said” Tape, or lose the camera” The operator refused, Hardy grabbed the camera with both hands, tearing it away, and through it to the ground, smashing it in several pieces. Hardy informed the operator that recording without agreement or by a court order was invasion of privacy, and there would not be a warning next time.

   The reporter grabbed Hardy by the shoulder, Hardy obliged, turning around, smiling. Assault meant Defense. A punch to the solar plexus, an arm lock and pin to the ground, with a boot to the back of the neck finished said altercation.

   The Sheriff arrived, Howdy s were given, and Hardy with his team gave statements
Larry and Jimmy did as well, Once the reporter and the camera operator gave conflicting statement, an admonishment about giving or uttering false statements   was a prosecutable offense.

   Both were arrested for willing causing a blockage of a public roadway, blockage of Emergency Vehicles on County lands, and illegal conduct of recording and observation, both in violation of State law, and persisted in same, when told to stop. Reporter tried to argue, with dirt on his face, Camera man was smarter, not saying anything more, The reporter had been driving and so was the one cited as the vehicle had expired tags, and no proof of insurance, Arrested for the last two charges, the reporter was searched, cuffed and loaded in the back of the cruiser. Camera man, sans Camera was thinking it was going to be a long walk back. Larry allowed as Jimmy was heading back to town first, Camera man could get a lift into the nearest town. From there, he was on his own.

   The local network, after being informed one of its employees were under arrest, said they did not have such a person employed with them, The fact was the reporter was a “Free Lance Journalist” and had not even contacted the station in the first place.

   A check found nothing outstanding as the the “Journalist” but there were records of arrests, but no convictions for trespassing, breaking and entering and one count of possession of Marijuana, in a state that allowed for it, but having no card, was charged.
   The charge was dropped, as there had been a No contest plea and so a small fine of 100 dollars.

   Jimmy called into the yard, after dropping off camera man, who politely asked if he could recover his pack from the vehicle. Jimmy guessed so. The Camera guy thanked him, took his gear, and tipped Jimmy a Twenty for the lift. Jimmy let him know, as long as he behaved, there was a place in town that took in boarders, Sparse, clean and two meals a day. Taking the tip, the camera man headed off. He stopped to make one phone call, having a friend fed ex him “His” camera set. The other had belonged to the “Journalist” who had met him in a diner down the road a ways and offered a job to work the camera as he, the “Journalist” could not do both. But had claimed to have a good story. Camera man, was between jobs, but not hurting, agreed, but wanted five hundred up front. He was glad he got the money, before taking the job. It might be a while.

   Camera man's name was Edwin “Ape man” Kowalski. He got his name from getting shots while hanging from trees, harness anchored from roof tops and the like.
   While not yet Pulitzer, he had good work history and usually could pick and choose his assignments. He was not afraid of hard work either. The next day, after getting his camera gear settled. He located Jimmy and asked if there was work to be had. Jimmy allowed that there was, he could use some help out on the county yard. Apeman showed him his CDL or Commercial Drivers License and with a quick DOL, (Department of Licensing )Check, Apeman was signed out a wrecker, coveralls , gloves and given a tour on how to operate the wrecker. Apeman had been sandbagging, he was a wrecker operator in the Navy, but had preferred photo journalism. His desire to get the story had overridden his usually more common sense and so he would remember that in the future.
   A few weeks later, as things settled, Apeman was on a run to jump start a truck a few miles out. On arrival, he found things a bit more interesting, The woman was alone, and very pregnant. She had been en route to the medical center, and the vehicle failure was enough to start her into labor. Apeman pulled over hitting the warning flashers and put out triangles. Called in on channel 9 pm the CB and explained the situation quickly.
   He introduced himself as Edwin, and that things would be okay, What were her contractions like? He had delivered two babies under worse conditions while in the service. Larry the fire chief was in the area and radioed he was en route, His duty rig had a good First Aid kit and blankets.

   Edwin had helped the woman, Judith, get comfortable and her breathing under control, just as the water broke. Coaching the woman through it, The baby was crowning, just as Larry showed up. He gloved up and got the blankets ready. The baby was healthy, and there were few issues other than the follow on after birth.

   Larry went into EMT mode, checking mother and baby, ensuring they were kept warm. Apeman got on the radio and reported the update. The country was sending an Ambulance to the scene, ETA fifteen minutes. Larry had recognized Apeman, and reconsidered his opinion of the man. Once the mother and child were safely en route to the clinic, Edwin got the vehicle checked out, The cable to the battery was loose and so the charging system had not worked properly, getting under voltage and so the vehicle had quit working. Hooking up and clearing the road of warning gear, He headed to town and radioed Jimmy, explaining things. Jimmy had a small holding lot next to the mechanics shop and told Apeman where to delivery.

   Once done, both men cleaned up and went to the clinic, to see how Judith and Micah Edwin Jones was doing, Edwin was surprised the kid got his name. Judith was doing well, but was concerned about the vehicle, Jimmy explained that it was all part of the service, and to just get and stay healthy for her and the baby.

   Officer Johansen was in the waiting area, he had been working his patrol route and had located a Cow stuck in a ditch where there had been barbed wire in a tangle. While trying to free the animal, he took a few cuts and so wanted a tetanus booster.

   While on location, He had gotten the story about Apeman and stopped him in the lobby. “Good work, and thanks, Judith is a cousin of mine, You need a favor, ask me.”
   Jimmy was grinning, Apeman was shocked, a Cop was willing to offer him a favor for doing what was right? Maybe a small town was not so bad after all.
   The Fire chief, and Ambulance crew caught up with both men, and mentioned thanks, good call and nice work.

   Edwin, aka Apeman was a tad embarrassed, It did not help that the Delivery Doctor had mentioned that his handling of the situation had been timely. The delivery under such conditions could have been worse, as the wrecker would not have been suitable, Judith had needed a bit of Oxygen, more to calm her down than anything else.

   Joe Johansen had let Apeman know Judith's Husband was on deployment and so had not been able to help. He was due to come home for a mid tour leave, but that was about a week away.
   Joe got checked out and inoculated, needing only a few butterfly strips for his cuts. Jimmy knew of the area where Joe had been working and offered to clean out the wire from the ditch. Joe allowed that was a good idea and so the two headed out, with wire gloves, bolt cutters and a large box. Arriving on scene, marking the area with warning triangles and yellow warning tape, the two men reduced the snarl in a few minutes, got it collected up, repaired part of the fence with what was usable and left to the land fill. There was a small recovery smelter that was going, and so the wire was dumped and melted. The material was usually sold to a recycling center who would take the ingots of melt metal and reprocess into nails and other items for reuse.

   “Journalist” was released from jail, pleading No contest to the charges, but was not employed and so dropped off at the County line and told not to come back, until he could so proof of employment, updated license plate tags and pay for the vehicle storage and towing fees. He never returned, Ninety Days later the van and its contents went up for auction, Apeman won the bid, there being only one. With it, he outfitted it with other tools of his trade, got it registered, insured and licensed.

   Judith was safely home with Micah, when her husband Ralph arrived in town.
Joe Johansen had met him at the bus station and drove him home. Giving him the details of the birth and the actions of both Jerry and Apeman, in reverse order.

   Ralph was grateful his wife and son were safe and healthy, Judith had refused to move in with her parents, as to who would take care of their small farm if she was not there? Ralph had made arrangements for caretakers, but Judith had refused.

   As they were headed out of town, Joe saw Apeman coming back in, towing a motor home that had some how lost its transmission, The motor home had been towing a sedan, and so the owners were able to drive into town. The tranny had been destroyed by one each rather large and deceased Armadillo.  Pulling over, Joe and Ralph got out, and Joe made introductions. Ralph had almost broken Ape man’s hand shaking it and thanking him for his good deed. Apeman allowed as it had been the right thing to do. But he was willing to bet Ralph needed to get home to his family, and from one veteran to another, thanked Ralph for his service. The men got loaded up and headed their separate ways.
   Ralph was happy to be home. He did get some help from his extended family with chores around the homestead, and plenty of good home cooked meals, and helping with his wife and son.
   Two weeks went fast and so heading back to the station, Ralph went back to his unit, loaded with plenty of pictures of his new family. Edwin had donated some time and effort into getting several different photos taken and developed as a gift for the family.
   Winter was coming on, Edwin found a nearby trailer park, well kept and reasonable rates. Since he did not have much to move it was pretty quick. When the word went out, folks both in the county and town set him up with some good furniture and fixtures for his home. Shopping around, Edwin located a quality bed, instead of his cot he used when traveling and set up house. Jimmy got him a good deal on pre loaded Propane tanks for heating and cooking, and showed him out to installed the tanks and how to care for the system, There was a nearby storage shed just for his use, where other tanks were stored and chained for safety. Push came to shove, he had more fuel, if he did not get a change to get refueled, since he worked odd hours.

   One afternoon, in strong rains, there was a three car wreck/accident. On scene were the Sheriff's patrol, ambulance and trouble. One vehicle was in a ditch, and slipping
   The vehicle was occupied and hard to extract due to slippage. Jimmy and Apeman came up with a two vehicle anchoring situation , enough to secure the vehicle , until a rescue could be enabled. Working quickly the Fire Department crew got in with the Jaws of life, and got every one out of the ditch, Good thing as the anchoring clevis bolt broke off just moments afterward, snapping the cable around, dangerously. Apeman hit the release of tension, the weight and slack reducing the power of the cable.

   Jimmy was hitting the other release as the rig slid deeper, jerking the truck a bit.

   It would take about an hour of work to recovery the cables. Apeman knew better, and set up his cutting torch and at about fifteen feet from the end of the still anchored cable, cut it and upped the heat, re melting the end, once cooled down, he taped it off and helped to secure the cable to the rig, the anchoring mechanism would need a special refit to be functional and rated accordingly. Down to one rig, for actual work, the two headed back to station. Jimmy would need several hours for the replacement, once he got it. Tow systems were supposedly guaranteed for fifty years.

   Taking a few days off, Jimmy agreed to the down time, he had a good competitor who could take the work and no hard feelings either way. No one company could cover all the area, and over time a Gentleman's agreement had been made. It was not like the favor had not been exchanged in the past, when the other fellow was out for several weeks with a dislocated shoulder. At times a fee was paid to the other party when working in the others area. Three years ago, both companies had worked on a major wreck, taking almost 24 hours to clear up enough to get the roadway cleared and vehicles moved.
   Hardy had settled in for winter, having as usual thinned down his herd and weatherized Green houses and facilities. He had slowly decommissioned the Methane system. Though Mothballed it to be accurate.
   The Hendersons had sold off their holdings and moved out of state. The properly was purchased by an outside outfit, who wanted to develop a semi farm/Dud ranch situation. The Hernandez clan was stating put, business as usual.
   The County Sheriff retired, and so did The town Police Chief. The Fire Chief had to medically retire, due to a heart condition that only came up after about age Fifty.
   Hardy had retired his reserve status a while back. Edwin got a part time job with the local police department as a photographer, both on accident and crime scenes.
   His work was high quality and he was respected on several levels. Even the defending Attorneys and Prosecutors agreed as to the quality and professionalism of his work, his notes and his conduct. On a few occasions , when he had arrived on accident scenes first, he had been instrumental as to documenting the scene. One call was a one vehicle roll over. He had taken several shots, with a few pointers on accident investigation and was able to almost perfectly point out areas of events.

   Hardy decided, since it was getting towards spring to get things going again.
   Hiring folks, again as independent contractors, with insurance and legal coverage while working on the property or on business for the farm, he got into production , with few issues. Those whom had previously had declined to do business with him had learned the hard rule of the Open Market, when he had taken his business elsewhere, even if paying a bit more for doing so. Some folks tried to re open doors they, themselves had closed.

   Hardy was willing to forgive, but not forget. He did have Jimmy and Ape man on retainer if need be.

   The season was a tad odd, while not as severely wet as previous years/seasons. A bit warmer, but not consistent. The weekly temperatures were in between sixty and seventy five degrees. The use as needed with drip or misting irrigation took a bit of man power and hours,, but paid off. The Green houses were doing well. Especially the herbs, both medicinal and otherwise useful.

   The fruits and vegetables actually produced, almost too early for market, Hardy had a plan, sell lower and earlier, beating the market and thus little went unconsumed

   His other products came in more or less on time. With a localized glut impending,
Hardy made plans for a range of road side stands, very popular and each sold out for the first five or six days. Later on, as supplies increased, some folks again attempted to play the Race card, claiming the Hernandez could not have produced so much, it must be stolen. Hardy tried to track down the smack talker, but most folks either did not know, or seemed to care.

   Hardy decided to try something. He had the clan work the properties and spent a day on one of the farther out road stands, He did okay but was more looking for information, The usual purchasers were white, male, short haired or almost bald, no tattoos being seen. The few comments as to seeing a “White Man, doing honesty work in the current economy” was enough for Hardy. He finished the current sale and started loading up. When asked why he was closing early, He mentioned he had been up early and wanted to get home, it had , for him been a busy day. The answer seemed to work, Folks were disappointed, One family was almost tearful. Hardy noticed the difference in this group from others, being a large group, mostly children and not all were white. He disliked politically correct labels, and being his own boss, asked the family to come on up, He would rather sell than have stuff get spoiled. The two men, three women and older kids had a quiet discussion and a few walked up, with their own baskets and a shared list. Hardy sold them everything, taking a reduction of the posted prices, if folks bought as much as they could use.

   The other folks got surly, Hardy told them they were free to shop elsewhere, He neither asked for or needed their business. One overweight fellow tried to get in his face.

   Mistake, Hardy walked into his space, and began to verbally force him back.
   'What you going to do , Lard bucket? Kick my ass? You can barely lift your knees to tie your shoes, You want a piece of me? Try it, I guarantee you the interaction will be brief, intense and a significant , life altering event. Your “friends” are not going to save you, and I seriously doubt a single one of them even knows CPR, which it looks like you are going to need, Now then, get the hell out of my face, before I decide to embarrass you by kicking your racist ass up one side of the road and down the other, Now Get!”

   Lard bucket was going fish faced, turning very red and gasping. One of his “buddies” attempted to grab Hardy by the shoulder, when one of his smarter group held him back saying “ Le Roy, don't even think about it, Time and time again, you knew Lawrence there was and is a closet bigot, and a bully, You try to take this guy, he is going to pound you beyond dog poop.”

   Hardy looked the other fellow in the eye and nodded, out of the corner of his eye he could see Lawrence was telegraphing a punch from his rear right. Hardy simply side kicked, in the gut, followed up as Lard bucket bent over and gave him a knee to the face, and a second kick to the wide open chest. Not martial art, for sure, but effective.

   One of the family, got the others to load up in their vehicle, ready to leave if things got uglier. The “Smart Fellow” as Hardy had labeled him, told the others to be quiet and load up, being polite at all times. Lard bucket was still pretty red faced, and had both lips swollen, a few teeth chipped and had bitten through his tongue.

   He had no broken ribs, per se, however he could feel at least three were either bruised or cracked. His breathing was not frothy, but not good either. Hardy finished loading up, and once the load secured, He asked the family to head up the road and wait for him. The others had left, going the other way.

   Lard bucket was left on his fat butt. Hardy pointed down the road in the direction with his thumb, where the others had headed. He also informed the fellow he was free to think what he wanted, but if he ever , ever tried to cross Hardy again, Hardy would do much much more than knock him on his fat, racists buttocks.
   
   Hardy had found the folks, barely, They had pulled off the road, way off and partially hidden from direct view. Pulling up ahead of them, He pulled over, Radioed in and updated the farm crew as to what was going on. He declined re reinforcements. Give it about twenty minutes.

   A brief introduction and names exchanged, Hardy met Alfred, Alice, “Mama” Grace and the rest of the family. Learning a bit about them, Hardy extended an offer of either three days and two nights stay on the land, if if an agreement could be made, employment. Alfred was a semi retired machinist. The Semi was due to lack of work.
Alice was a retired teacher, having been fed up with liberal BS, and had left New York state a few years earlier. Mama Grace was a Naturopathic Doctor, Most of the “kids” were from previous situations not worth mentioning in polite company.

   Hardy stepped away and radioed he would be bringing in some folks, and as there was room, having over the seasons, obtained three double wide trailers set with the same facilities as his domes.
   The conditions would be a tad snug, but better than the two vans and towed trailer home.

   The kids, while home schooled, were polite and instead of arguing, tried to cooperate and help out as much as possible, The older ones helping with the youngsters and so on. Sure there were some squabbles here and there, but not many.

   The family was settled in and shown the facilities, The offer for a stay over was welcomed. The food stuffs were soon consumed. The folks were clean, and appeared healthy, but pretty thin. With fresh air, lessons, chores and good meals, all fleshed out.
   Hardy found there was work for all, some one site, otherwise in towns. Hardy had ensured that any one hiring was not racist, nor their employees, One comment, Just one, and not only would the recent hire leave, Hardy would sue, and hard core resources to do so. Most potential businesses were , perse open to the hiring, but more than a few could guarantee a lack of comments, citing freedom of speech. Hardy decided in some cases to find other competitors and did business with them instead.

   The work paid well, but benefits took ninety days, Hardy was willing to cover some of that, Eye exams, glasses and initial preventive dentistry, vaccinations and the like. It took a bit, but was doable.

   The local situation soon improved, The older , more tolerant folks were open for business, the younger , closet racist “New comer” were eased out, slowly over time, with declines in business, and some folks were deciding not to do business, heading elsewhere, when ever possible.
   Most folks were tolerant, up to a point, No Ebonics, and if you had an accent, fine, at least you were trying to speak English, and attempted to be part of society, rather than trying to “be me and my heritage” Heritage, tradition, fine, so long as no one else was injured, period.
   As time would tell the racists finally left, not without cracks as to improper breeding , yada yada. Hardy could care less. Personally, while he agreed with the Constitution of the United States of America, and the Republic for which it stands, meant However he despised hate groups, especially when said anger was due to race or religion.
   That was a big reason for not being a member of any congregation. He had from time to time used churches to be a conduit for aid, here and there, discreetly, One member had almost “outed” him, and so he had never done anything again with that outfit, period. While , during the earlier tornadoes had not denied assistance, but made sure such aid was non denominational in nature.

   Fall came around, and the combined families did well, Hardy was able to pay for some enhancements, like weather shielding walls and installed roofing on I beams, rather than posts of 4 by 4 lumber, both bolted and welded into position, peaked enough on three sides to drop any accumulation of snow, to the sides. The front portions were able to be cleared with good, old fashioned shovels.
   When the kids needed clothing, Hardy ensured with a group purchase, the best items and materials were obtained at the best price, Denim, good solid leather dusters, with liners, insulated boots, under layers, etcetera, Save Prom time, Hardy had brought in a team of experts to clean up, dress up and get the kids set for style and grace. The same at Graduations.
   For those who wanted to work, fine, hired at good wage, again as contractors, and with the Bank, for taxation issues, went well.

   The newest additions blended in well,. The kids, as Hardy had them in his mind, were polite, hard working and those old enough and mature enough were open to being properly trained in the use of firearms, The three older teenagers, Marcus, Samantha and Heather, all did well, and always were safe. Marcus tend to prefer shotguns, and either max ranged targets with shot, and closer range slug, the two girls were so so with shot guns, but where better with rifles. Marcus had explained, as a kid in the barrios, a shotgun was better for in home defense, or so he had been led to believe. His shooting within 250 feet was almost scary, the Ladies, as Hardy labeled them, liked defense, but each felt something to prove with game hunting, Marcus liked to fish and was pretty good at it. Locally, The fact that when they collectively had free time, visited the Old Folks home, either baking, oddly Marcus made a wicked awesome pancake, the Ladies cookies, both were a huge hit. That fall, when the school system in town tried a fund raiser for sports, open to all, under 18 and able, for things like mitts, bases, some Football gear and the like, held a bake sale, as even with Homeschoolers being allowed on the teams, regardless of sport, though gender separated, the Girls football team had gone to State that year, being the highest competition, and the Boys Baseball team, The Boys football team was under academic suspension, though Coach Lewis Purple was working hard, if you were not a 3.25 GPA student, no foot ball team for you. Hardy liked the man and his labors, so in a rare fit of generosity, asked the Coach, if there was a gift of five grand, how was it to be used, regardless of team, When asked if he was serious, Hardy drove the coach to the bank and showed proof, Coach Purple apologized for his less than polite comments, Hardy grinned, and left it at that. With a bit of home work, Coach came up with a plan, but a bit more than 5 grand, Seemed he liked having a cross training set of machines, He had plenty of free weights , but would like more Cardio/Aerobic machines in addition to stressing a cross training of Anaerobic training systems.
   Hardy simply asked how much more, Coach gave figures and four distributors, Hardy had coach make the phone calls, One outfit could deliver in 48 hours, with assembly, Hardy took the phone,made payment and it was a done deal.

   Coach Purple then mentioned, if Hardy was reasonable about expanding the library to include an in house online AP or Advanced Placement system for Accounting, Biology and  Physics programs, Coach, was in fact a closet numbers geek.

Hardy looked over the information Coach had provided and with the added passion of a true educator, not just a “Sports Jock” Hardy agreed, providing the football team held to the GPA rule, first, and sweetened the deal with new equipment for not just Football, but an already blossoming Tack and Field team.. The Librarian was beside herself with joy. The School board almost screwed up the deal, mentioning the entirely irregular process and lack of control, Hardy let it be known, if the board tried to get in the way, He would be more than happy to take his donation to someplace else. And get it in the local new papers and broadcast stations as to the “Board's” flagrant stupidity.

   The “Gauntlet” thrown, the collective board backed off, with a country quickness.
   Hardy left it at that, until he got an un asked for phone call, Being on the do not call list, he was ticked as all get out. It had seemed the word had gone out about his donation and the board conflict, Hardy , simply said, DO NOT CALL! And hung up.      Twenty minutes later he got another call, same number. Hardy hung up did a search and found the business in question, heading to the County Seat, filed charges as to violating the Federal Do not call act, Three hours later, same number. Only this time he did not answer, he got his number changed, still un registered and update those who had a need to know, but kept the other for tracking purposes, Recording the time stamps and the listed origin, He again files complete with a cease and desist order, Some folks never learn, so he went to State court, filed and in a week was contacted by someone claiming to be the dialer legal officer, Hardy asked for a state bar association number,, did not get one and listed that call as well. The same reporter aka “Jack @ss freelance” was at it again. Hardy got a court order for cease, desist and since the number was out of state, opted to file Federal charges. When met with resistance, He got the name and position of the person responsible and sued the person, not the agency. The ensuing ruckus was enough for immediate termination, forfeiture of all pay, continued employment ceasing of any and all benefits, Hardy wanted that and Cash, his time was valuable and since both parties were guilty as hell, he wanted it tax free, and both parties fined as high as the law would allow, there was some push back, being an election year, Hardy in no uncertain terms said either pay up, or get the whole sordid, illegal and by conduct of one Federal Employee, yet to be fired, on to the alternative media. When accused of black mail, Hardy responded with the Freedom of Speech right, and with the information, filed suit, again against the individual as well. There was still enough folks to take such misconduct seriously, Hardy went further with demand of Congressional investigation and let it be known it was ALL of it going to the press, in more than one state and internationally.

   He got justice, though the IRS did look things over, finding nothing out of line and in fact informed Hardy he had omitted entitlement to his donations to the school. Hardy argued since he did not pay State or other local taxes, it only seemed fair, The IRS agent declined to argue the point.

   Hardy got his award for damages, even better the company was shut down, investigated and charged with some Ninety counts of fraud, the so called Legal rep was an illegal alien, the office had been funded by a certain Democratic member of congress trying to “Stimulate the economy” and was both censured and found to be a foul of tax laws, thus stripped of office.

   The fallout was impressive, It was also found, said former and now disgraced member was a receiver of large donations from Countries like Iran , which were illegal as all get out. The Fourth Estate had a Hay Day and ran with for weeks, or would have until it happened.. North Korea with Iranian and a few others help, had launched, while crude, but effective EMP weapons using a submarine of Iranian design, and once surfaced an erector stet system at some fifty miles off the shores of Washington State, but still within International waters, as most Nation States had only agreed to a twelve mile limit. The sub was destroyed, minutes into the launch, however, due to various in fighting of agencies under the misguidance of Home Land Security, had been ignored, Three other vessels, fired along the Atlantic seaboard within minutes. Two rounds hit New York , and Washington D.C. The third got high enough to detonate at some two hundred thirty miles above ground, and with resultant HEMP, or High Electromagnetic Pulse.

   The attack time was 3 am on the dot, pacific, or 7 PM GMT. Another three had made it close enough to hit Europe, Germany, France and The United Kingdom, which as able to nail the device in boost phase, killing it over the Atlantic.

   The EAS was broadcasting, sputtered and died, Not due to equipment faults, on Hardy's end he was sure. Hitting the Klaxon, thus alerting the compound, the animals and Greenhouses were quickly checked, and perimeter secured. Some kids were sleepy and fortunately not protesting as they were evacuated into the shelter systems, The Adults were a tad concerned to be sure, especially when it wen over the Bullhorn to get underground NOW!, This was NOT a Fricking drill!”
 
   Folks and resources safe, at least locally, Hardy setup the watch, two people at all times to monitor what communications and radiation levels where information was available. Setting up routines and schedules, everyone above age fifteen had a job, those younger had “chores” be it laundry, food preps for cooking or mucking out the AG Dome on short duration basis, until an exposure and background limit could be figured out.

   The few internal networked systems were for information only, Nothing else to avoid potential compromise of the systems, while there as an internal music and video database, nothing was more current than ten years prior, sans commercials. Thus the gift of the Digital Video Recorder systems. The Teenagers were a blessing and a pin, up until Hardy showed the graphs, reports in PDF and cross referenced reports on radiation, survival rates after exposure and even reproductive statistics, The teens, while respectful had, until that moment been willing to argue, with well thought out, though lacking all the facts about truly outside work, unless one and all were willing to wear heavy and its own potentially hazardous , lead lined underwear. Given facts, the kids apologized. Profusely. Hardy set his foot down, if you did not know, you did not have enough information as to the facts. Ask questions, Please do, unless it was a tactical decision, then ask later, after the dead were in fact dead and safely buried, six feet down, for at least a month or so, in case of Zombies, (Joke). Hardy's secret “vice” was B movies, ideally in Black and White, with the lights off.


   The external meters produced no significant traces of radiation, so the conditional All Clear was given, Every one was on board, and agreed to get things working again. Hardy had mentioned the additional need for some security, if not total security as in every one on deck 24/7. That would be more human resource intensive, than what was available, even if every one was willing to work a twelve hour production shift and a four hour security shift, including the older teenagers, while eager to help either were lacking in experience, no fault of their own, or total lack of sheer number of personnel and resources.
   Felix, the younger figured it out, first, “Hardy, Hefe, Boss, You have always been , how do the Mason's say, ah yes, On the Square, You have tried to help. Knowing you have limitations, like any mortal man, yet, you still try, I will clear things with the Family Elders, however I am fairly certain as to agreement, However it would require a reduction of fences, in part, but an expansion for both groups, I will admit an additional well or two would help, how does one say, ah yes “:sweeten the deal.”

   Hardy had done the potential math a few years ago, but had not planned on the Henderson's collective departure, the original company had gone under, but the actual property, between his holdings and the Hernandez was an open void.

   Hardy had asked for 72 hours, however within 24 got a clean and again Allodial title for the property at hand, He also got an agreement to re align the fences with the Hernandez Clan, and as much as possible re used the posts and wire to good effect.

   With help, just as Fall was arriving, the harvests, fence lines and wells were completed. The use of temporary fencing had helped to maintain grazing and with slower herd growth, Hardy and the Hernandez clan still made a good profit, though not as much as seasons past. Partially due to inflation, and for the smaller yields, However the initial expense of the project was been paid off that same season. Without local power, the nearby towns were ill equipped to handle business as usual, however the Hardware store and the pharmacy were still in business. The generators from all those years ago, where able to provide some power, however,Fuel was almost as expensive per gallon as silver was per ounce, last check, Silver was at 40 dollars an ounce for .999 fine bullion.

   Hardy was glad he had plenty or reserve, prior to the EMP, but it would not last forever. The power generators were in good shape, but unless or until Bio Diesel production could get on line, it was going to be a real B!tch Kitty, for a while.

   What little news available was pretty grim. The larger metropolitan zones, without power, declined, No power meant no water, thus no sewage processing, no ability to put out fires, and for all the benefits of technology, a serious downhill slide.

   North Korea was pretty much done for. While more conventional munitions were used at key infrastructure points, The United States had fired three nuclear missiles from Submarine based launch platforms. South Korea had been on a war footing and at full alert, managed to save 70 per cent of its city populations. The DMZ was something else. When North Korea attempted to cross the zone, two nuclear bombs were detonated by the United States, the US troops were well sheltered in re enforced fighting positions and hull down defilades, The wide spread use of FASCAM or Family of Artillery Scatter able Automated Munitions did a heck of a job, concentrating on creating “channels” for the North Korean forces into extended “Kill Zones” with creeping fire from the front, and flanks, slowly closing in the zones, with all the devastation, the invading forces could not move forward or retreat.

   The North Korean senior leadership that was still alive, requested a nuclear strike on their collective center of mass. The device was launched, but as the munition cleared the launcher, the vehicle was targeted. The device gained altitude, but the warhead failed. Not even a nuclear “fizzle” . China had waited things out, Forty days later, it launched, While North Korea could not hit some locations, China was another story.

   These launches were much more successful and damaging, rather than just hit targets and damage resources, The Chinese leadership bunker ed down, and had a two target plan, First, EMP was cheaper in the long run, than fallout and residual radioactive contamination. Second was to hit major roads, especially major bridges, and where ever possible, either fault zones or the larger dams, letting physics do its thing.

   Damage was in the billions. To be sure, if not trillions, Russia was able to stop about a third of the missiles launched, however the other two thirds were able to reach target, Australia and New Zealand were not touched, but Taiwan took one nuke.

   The United States was down, but not dead, when the “birds” were reported as being launched, a counter battery was fired, mostly Anti missile interceptors, but a few offensive nuclear missiles got launched and hit target. Beijing was done, as were the port cities of Shanghai, Yantai and Guangzhou. The Commonwealth of Independent States, as Russia was being called these days, responded with a few of their own, Mostly targeting the several thousands of kilometer common border, on the Chinese side of Mongolia, closing off a good section, with a mix of Ground and relatively close, under 1.6 kilometers above ground level detonations.

   Iran made a try at Israel, big mistake. Iraq, while not having Nukes, did have ground forces, and invaded. Having learned much better as to the use of Momentum, and not getting pinned down or fixated, they got a foot hold into Iran's territories, What happened next was ugly for sure. Iran did not have the time to get its chemical weapons online, which was a big plus for Iraq, Up until the Israeli defense forces counter attacked,

   The weapons were a combination for MOAB technologies and targeted population centers, major infrastructure locations and of course launch sites.

   Syria had been collapsing for quite a while, even after the removal of the Assad regime, the power vacuum was quite as lethal in its own way as were nukes.

   Most of Europe, was paralyzed, The United Kingdom survived, though it was pretty tough, No one knew for sure, but France was out of it. While it did have its own nuclear capabilities, the launch sites had been preemptively hit en mass.

   South America, collectively played a waiting game. Mexico was divided between attempting to reclaim territory it had legally agreed so many decades before from its neighbor to the North, and trying to survive the influx of refugees, fleeing the South Western United States, and especially California.

   Africa and the Saudi Peninsula were a wash. So much for OPEC, other than the Dutch, and the United Kingdom. Germany took exactly three nukes, an above ground burst, a ground burst and one Neutron device, Berlin was defacto toast.

   Hardy still monitored EAS or what was left of it, The first attacks had pretty much knocked out earth based transmission, however the United States Satelitte systems were still up. The National Command Authority was down about forty per cent. The various COM commanders were busy trying to maintain operations, with what little communications were to be had.


8
Survival Fiction / Fed the heck up.
« on: February 18, 2013, 11:39:23 AM »
               Fed the Heck up

   Sam was fed the heck up. The Scheduling and payroll section had still not gotten payroll
straight, and owed him at least and over time180 hours of pay minus taxes. Figuring out the amount owed him, Sam went to the boss and gave notice to have it fixed, or get sued.

   The Boss, called his attorney, had the unit in question audited, and found even more
irregularities, Firing the unit and letting it be known termination was for cause, and so don't even consider filing for workman’s unemployment insurance. Sam was promoted and some of the others to shift supervisor and on site security management, rather than the more traditional dispatch model..

   Setting up into the Apartment in four days, He had everything set. The small stay in a motel dug
 into his ready cash a bit. The clearing out of one of his storage rooms would serve to re dedicate his cash, such as it was. He found a new firm to work for, and better pay and benefits.    

   The old company died away. The former scheduler was charged with embezzlement, he attempted to implicate the Owner and as such the suits and counter suits finished the company off.. Sam had a slow spell and so checked for some other ways to earn money, and improve his situation. Finding out there was some stuff one knew, and using it, could provide a bit of income, Working with minor repairs to the rental properties in the complex.

   There were about thirty units, some needed only some paint or weatherization. Old school stuff like screen repair and some minor appliance repair, got him a small break in his rent. His cash went into savings and cash savings on hand. While he liked the place, it was temporary. He had a small parcel of land he was ever so slowly working on.

   Sam got a better paying job with better benefits and working conditions. Several months into his first year, he was asked to meet with Jerry , The owner of the firm. His new employer asked if Sam had a regular suit, Sam had dress clothes, but noting like Saville Row or Brooks Brothers, and asked the big Why question. The Answer was to interview a potential client, who had some odd ideas, but since it was for a start up company, Jerry wanted more eyes on than what his “Customer Relations Officer or CRO and the department” was telling him. Sam would have to travel, the location was about an hour away and wanted 24 and 7 Security on site.

   Sam came in early and was already on the clock. For this job, he was temporarily on Salary,
 being paid triple his hourly rate at an equivalent of twelve hours at triple pay, but for the duration of his mission, was considered to be on call, as well as working the usual 8 hours with two breaks and a 1 hour lunch period.

   When he arrived with a suit bag, and changing on the company grounds, where there was a shower/dressing room. He went to “Inspection” He passed muster and was issued a Company Credit Card, with the usual receipt required clause and need to purchase, While given some latitude, He was issued a computer, given a login and about a 45 minute class on the unique and secure data transmission of his reports. The Boss, Jerry, no last name offered, it could be looked up, suggested Sam get some more attire to fit his role as “Preliminary on site consultant”. Sam raised his eyebrows on that one.

   The formal document for his position made it temporary, Any items like Clothing, were his during or after assignment, Other items as needed would be reviewed on a case and or item basis.

   A secure cell phone was issued. Business only, not for personal usage. Sam asked for where were the better places to shop, and a tailor. Jerry asked why the tailor, the answer was since Sam was concealed carry, the suits would need to be refitted for the holster. Jerry grinned, “I so miss the on site operations thinking.” He gave a name, and mentioned if the Scheduler got pissy, to mention Jerry's name and the company.   

   Sam filed that tidbit away. Last question. “Why him?” “Answer “ The folks who would
 normally do this were tasked, Due to solid work and great insight, it was felt to give Sam a chance with a larger role.”Sam signed the documents and was given a back up modified CZ75 in 10mm and sent to the range for initial sighting. Ernie, the range master was also one of the armament team.

   On his exit of the site to get to the interview location, Reception stopped him and gave him a package of documents, ID and CCW, Company insurance cards for the vehicle, back up SIM card and Phone, Chargers and Inverter for any vehicle he may need, This was to power off his laptop, phone or the local electronics he may need in case of issues, like no other power source.    

   The usual kit for personnel and vehicle was in place, re inventoried and resealed.. Sam was off,
 with both map and GPS. Off he went, and about 50 minutes later arrived on site. Just before the entry, He pulled off and called in. He went forward and at the gate, a simple single bar affair, no other real fencing and a shack, was met by the Guard, A rent A cop of the mainly mediocre    class. He produced his corporate identification card and drivers license.


   “Sam, with Security Services ,USA LLC. I am expected.” The guard nodded, made a note of time , vehicle and license number, raised the bar and let Sam through. No tire rods, no radio that could be seen, unless the communication was via cable, or other precautions.

   Driving up the road, no other information as to where to go or where to stay away from, Sam hit the switch, The eight micro cameras where in record mode, storing the information to be triggered when he parked the car, shut off the engine and checked the door locks twice with his remote fob. The files were encrypted and sent digital burst. Once back at the company a second data burst would get harvested and the sensor array pulled for review and servicing.

   He walked into the first structure and was informed to go to building 2, Building 2 had a double entry way, but not much else to provide access control. Another minus, Sam was wondering if this outfit was seeking to have all the safety and security infrastructure supported by his company. Not smart. And way stupid, changes in personnel alone ruled this out.

   The personnel at the first desk in building 1 had not even looked up from the computer screen.
Note was network monitoring going to be part of security? Not being in his initial brief, this was looking worse as he was on location. The meeting room had expensive furnishings, but    there were no cameras visible, nor where there signs of fire suppression and no marking for evacuation routes. These folks were a piece of work, and other than the guard and the first clerk, he had not been greeted by anyone, and his arrival was not impressed from where he was for a potential client to even be considered for a job.
   
   Reaching into his bag, Sam produced a digital camera and took several shots, including through the window of the building and grounds. The internal GPS recorded location, orientation of the    camera cross referenced between true north and magnetic north, adjusted for declination was digitally timestamped on the electronic file. He shut off the device as he heard the door close behind him.

    “Thanks for coming we thought you were not arriving until later today, I am Stanley, CFO of Standardized Eco Solutions, Martin is due soon , delayed by some potential investors, I apologize for the lack of fanfare, however we are small and sort of tasked out.”    Stanley extended his hand for a shake, Sam Shook his hand out of courtesy, Stanley shook hands with a weak grip, poor coordination and weak wrist, Not an orientation thing, just poor    character Sam was betting a background check would have given Stanley a heart attack, anxiety attack and more than likely getting jailed. He made a mental note for all stake holders and company officers getting good, solid back ground checks as a matter of business. They may want to hire the firm, He was not so sure about accepting such a client. The interview process worked both ways.

   Martin arrived, apologetic and had an even worse hand shake than Stanley. After a quick briefing, mostly Power Point stylized infomercial, and a tour that was more verbal than terrain.

   Sam made some notes, asked some general questions, taking down the answers, he then Thanked the two men with professional courtesy and departed. He used hand sanitizer for 5 minutes when he got to the car, checking things out. No obvious contact had been done on the vehicle, Not sure, he made a paper note for a full sweep. Stopping about half way between the base and the site, Sam got lunch, after spending a few minutes in the men's room of a small restaurant, ordered a light lunch, trying not to give in to his desire to vomit over what he had seen, due to the total lack of security, safety or even basic business knowledge. On the road again, He got to his company base. Logged the vehicle and did the driver level maintenance, re fueled the vehicle, checked in the gear bag, and then his unused gear. The camera, and notes    were taken with him into the”Post visit and observations “office, Also refereed to unofficially as the “Client Review Center” Taken from the military, a so called “”Murder Board was used to prove a potential candidate for say promotion to get hammered prior to actual progression. If one survived the review process, success was 99 percent guaranteed. He expected to get hammered by the other and in his own mind more experienced personnel. Rejecting a client was not considered a sustainable business model. These meetings were always on client review and always made only after an on site survey had been made.


   While the board went long on the review, his imagery was excellent and was called up repeatedly for points of clarity. Sam was tired, The    sudden changes , work and the meeting had    taken a big chunk out of him and he felt it. If this what was what he was to do going forward, he was going to get fed the heck up, quick. He was informed the car had been swept, and while not Sam's forte, his additional note was taken to heart. The sweep did reveal one thing, but this was mechanical and not electronic espionage, One of the tire inflation sensors was preparing to go. Internal Security and Maintenance were reviewing all vehicles and non personal assets.


   Jerry was quiet the whole time, taking paper notes on what he thought relevant. When the dust had settled, He asked two questions. 1”What did Sam think, and why? 2 “What did the board think and why?” Sam replied as to what his concerns including mental notes, not actually logged, asking to add a addendum to his report, Action granted, seconded and approved. His addition with a HUGE IF,    the client was wiling and able to pay 100 % upfront for the company to cover all expenses and liabilities, it would NOT be worth it.

   

   The rest had already agreed. The Client would NOT be taken on, and Sam was officially promoted to a full time position. Jerry pulled Sam off to the side along with two others, Mat and Thorn. All three shook hands with solid grips and mentioned why Sam had been given a “crash recruitment test”. Things were setting up to get bad, quickly. Sam was informed to take 72 hours off. , Full pay etcetera, Then he was to come back and meet with Jerry at noon on the day of Sam was to return. He was to leave his phone off, Unless he did not want to. Sam took the time off, and went home. He did a little work with the simple tasks of repair and gardening. He added some more to his preps, using cash. He had locked away the company card in a firebox in his locker at work. With anti tamper seals. Along with his company issued firearm. He was still “packing” with a CZ 72 in 9 mm. This was his personal firearm.

   He drove a well treated but used Chevy SUV with a highly modified topper shell. Retro, but not
 readily identifiable being painted a dull blue gray. The engine was rebuilt for diesel, and other than the radio, no electronics. Mrs. Henderson's unit needed a new stove, complete, in Sam's mind. He called the owner of properties and gave the facts, and the why.

   The Owner put her up in a nice motel and her dog precious for three days. It seemed on superior inspection there were gas line issues. Sam had save a life and properties with his call. He got three months free rent for it, Mrs Henderson got all new appliances and new carpeting. The repairs actual cost less than the after intervention of Insurance would have been. During the down time, Sam got set up with four more tailored suits and accessories. The tailor would bill the company directly, Seemed the tailor hired the firm as a business client and just like the Security company, took pride in its clientele. If you asked, you obviously did not need to know. Mr Warsharski was elderly, and while he younger staff perform the preliminary work, His customer was not done, until he said so. He still measured each stitch by eye and when completed for each outfit, pronounced Sam as yet another client. Sam felt like he had been looked over every inch of his being. Jerry had not mentioned the tailor was in the “Very Special Club” of folks the firm did business with.

   Sam liked the complex, as it was about half way from work in one direction and about ninety
 minutes from his property. Sam return to work, early as was his routine, his routes and times departing always varied, however the arrival was always plus or minus 20 minutes from work., itself. Good Security was almost but then again, Nothing was ever perfect, even misdirection or security.

   When he was dressed, in Suit , rather than Uniform, he was at Jerry's offices at 11:57 am. Jerry had said Noon, however Sam did not want to be late. Jerry waited until 12:00 hours and opened the door personally. Sam was invited in, The two shook hands, firmly and Sam was asked to have a seat, and was he ready for Lunch? , Oh yes had Sam met Mr Warsharski ? Yes    wonderful The two Gentlemen were discussing a possible change in uniform design, while nothing Parade Ground, a good uniform , worn by good people did have its own Esprit DeCorps.  Mr Warsharski heartily agreed and with a nod from Jerry, explained to Sam how Jerry's Uncle Zachary had been in the OSS and save  Mr Warsharski and his family from the actual Gestapo. The fire within  Mr Warsharski eyes made the most impression with Sam. As the saying went, He too had seen the Elephant.

   The menu choices were Club Sandwich, or French Dip. Sam took the Club, Jerry the French dip with side salad. Mr Warsharski opted for the salad and club Jerry did hit a buzzer switch and left a brief message, The response was polite, professional and short. Sam figured that if Mr Warsharski had a driver, the driver was getting fed. .Only after the meal was consumed, Jerry rose and assisted Mr Warsharski to the door and to his limousine, not to be pretentious, however the elderly man no longer could drive.


   The Chauffeur was professional and looked almost as hard as Sam knew he was. Taking the time and concern with his charge, Sam noticed a resemblance, The Driver was some blood relation, so was taking extra special care. The Footman was another relation, and ensured  Mr Warsharski, secured, only then entering the vehicle.

   Returning to the office, business did get discussed. Jerry already had Sam's report, but wanted to know more as to what Sam had experienced and why he personally made the decisions he did,    

   The board was satisfied, but curious. They had all agreed as to the candor and professionalism of Sam's report, but motivations and gut instinct were always while an unknown, a good thing,    most of the time. Sam gave it his all. The guard, the first desk, hand shakes and everything else.    Jerry took some notes, and confirmed again the discussed was still final, and as to why.

   Jerry , then let Sam know his off site actions had been reviewed as well. It seemed the property owner was a retired member no name given of the company, and reported Sam's actions when    he was initially hired, and the usual    questions asked, such as, “do you know or are you aware of X?” The report was glowing and then some. One reason the owner of the complex of apartments was noteworthy was client retention, and a good profit was made as the properties were paid for, and the payments covered water, sewage, trash and taxes, only 15% was actual profit, and so Mrs Henderson and the like could be covered.
   

   Jerry also let Sam know the car was recording, when he had first stopped and called in, thus the
 increase of video footage. The triggers Sam did set up the second set of recordings, thus the entire footage of video.

    Sam went third parties, to get the land and facilities he wanted , The company was great to work for , privacy was lacking. Sam located a parcel with good water and no outstanding issues. Sam settled in to the property, setting in a pump system. The pump was both solar powered and hand pump accessible. The holding tank was at a 1000 gallon capacity.

   The area was about 15 acres, but not all of it horizontal. The roads in were private, but well cared for. Sam did his due diligence. Not yearning to get blocked from access. He filed and got    the required easements, and to ensure them As the roads were not incorporated, Sam would    have to maintain them himself. Another expense, He located a good diesel powered rig with snow blade and a gravel grader set up.


    His work let him take some time off here and there and with the money, invested in preps, property and sustainability he never had earlier. He still visited the complex folks,some times making grocery runs with a few of them and the like. He did locate another route almost 180 degrees away, but the actual route was almost a third more in ravel distance, with all the turns and twists  .Much more secure for the lack of travel and knowledge of the path. Sam made arrangements for more fencing, and trip wires alert systems and the like.

   At some eighteen months, he had the property where he wanted it to be, with good, clean water, septic, some 3000 gallons of propane, and the right appliances, solid structures with steel frames ,Internal Rafters tied with Carriage bolts to Vertically installed I-Beams with five foot below ground beds, ballistic walls and windows, complete with 48 inches of insulation and 96 inches of hidden gravel and wire mix for bullet resistance, he was almost set.

   It had cost him some cash to get the switching system set up for Grid/Solar/Wind generation switching, in case any one system failed in order to power the over pressure system for the CBRNE/HVAC units, was accomplished.    The water system was set with Berky filtration units with a Reverse Osmosis feed, storage tanks, and a pressurization system for fire suppression. With a circuit shut off, if the fire suppression was triggered, all electrical systems were disabled at the same time.

   Sam hated fire incidents, since as a kid, he had once been in a house fire.   Fire in a pit or fire ring, He was fine with. Not houses or Forests either. With his plans getting to where he wanted    to be. He got back to work. While more on site inspections, versus actual work , in his own mind, The company gained a reputation for being the best for what was paid for, the internal units for loss prevention and regulatory compliance did a lot of the work, Most client companies did well. There were a few restrictions. No Casinos, Waste Management or Trading companies were ever taken on. This included Research and Development firms. There was however a secure courier division. This was a good chunk of income and expense, however this is what got Sam his rig. Ever buy a used vehicle that had its entire maintenance history made as part of the package?

   A few business insurance companies wanted to hire on, but were refused, period, end fing dot.

   One company attempted to hire Sam outside of the company, the representative was hospitalized with acute blunt    trauma to the chest and upper legs, No broken bones, however it was odd that all the impact sites were all uniform in size. When Sam was questioned, He only replied, “I did not lay a finger on him” with a mouth that would not melt butter. He was asked to take a Polygraph, but declined, 1 Polygraphs were not admissible in a state court of law, and 2    The asking party was not a member of State or County Law enforcement, therefore having no rights to even ask. When there where mentions of complaint, Sam offered to fix things by suing the company in question, its board of directors, share holders and employees for various    violations of law and regulations complete and in total. The company representative left in a hurry. Sam called Jerry, explained the high points and what happened over a secure line. Jerry told him to sit and wait. Jerry had his best Attorney on the scene, with the COO as well.

   Paper work was minimal when it was shown Sam was within company compliance and the other fellow did not have enough gray matter to figure out somethings are simply not asked, and when he pressed, Sam was supporting the Company and its policies.

   Internally there was a review board, Sam got through it, thinking he as going to get canned any minute. The review, while absolving him of inherent wrong doing, let it be known that “not laying a finger on some one who was engaging in dubious business practices was , while not unheard of, not endorsed as a means of resolving situations.” Thus the legal team. Sam was given 2 Months of paid leave, while company policy was reviewed.

   The offending company was    attempting to sue. The Legal team was fairly certain Sam was good to go, and the other fellow was in a bad way. Having been warned off, still attempting to get Sam to violate his employment agreements, was in the wrong. When pressed Sam did what he could to stop the situation. As he was armed, but did not use the weapon, it was not mentioned. With the all clear from Legal and HR, Sam was still on paid administrative leave. He took the time to get his land set for gardening and truck farming. While working, he met Bob and Beth his neighbors. She was a homemaker and home educator for the kids and some of the others in the area, he was an Insurance underwriter who also did small scale farming. The kids, Two boys and a girl and Ralphy Boy made the family. The kids were ages 10, 12 and 14. All were polite and considerate of each other. The family was walking their property and a math lesson was being given, How many spools of barbed wire would be needed for a stretch a quarter mile long, with five strands per section of poles.? The kids came up with two answers, both which would work, The average spool was a 100 feet so 5280 divided by 4 was 1320 feet, or 14 spools times 5 for 70 spools. With the left over 20 feet, call 5 spools left over, the actual order was for 65 spools. The math lesson for distance, calculation and actual work , Sam though was pretty sharp, considering the kids had to do it in their heads. The oldest then made the question about 3 or 6 barb wire? When asked why, he mentioned seeing a price difference, but did not remember the exact difference, call it fifty dollars and 85 cents per spool, for 4 barbed wire and fifty nine dollars and 85 cents, then the cost went up. At 14 rolls times 9 dollars difference, that was 126 dollars more to be paid for. Sam smiled and shook his head. The math was about right on.

   Introductions made, Sam was invited to dinner in the next few days. He decided this was suit occasion and asked if it were acceptable to bring something? Sure, just not flowers, seemed while Beth loved them to look at , her hay fever did not. Sam decided Chocolate Ice cream or Vanilla and a Growler of Root beer was in order. Make that two growlers of root beer,  With the kids. And no the the Chocolate, Ralphy boy, being a Dog did not deserve the hassles.

   December 21 2017. Sam had a week to go on his leave when the message came via radio. All major cities were being closed due to economic unrest and a Super Flu that was 80 percent hospitalizing and 70 percent lethal. This latter part was in the news only lightly in the past few weeks. This was a month after the first dinner ,when he had first met Sabrina.

   All company members were told to get home and stay there. All wages would be paid for up to 60 days with benefits, however all clients or locations of clients were considered under Quarantine effective Immediately.


   Sam decided to hunker down. He kept in touch on his personal phone, His company equipment at the Company facilities. Under the Circumstances He had faxed a Letter of Authorization to access his locker and recover Company assets as need for use or inventory. Ernie sent back a thanks email and got Jerry to if possible ask if off site company members would do the same? The response was one hundred per cent. With that chore done, Sam was reviewing preps and attempting to get more preps together before the Highway shut down. He was well set up, N95 Masks, Tyvek, Goggles, Gloves and the like. Long term storage foods, water and power. With both traditional and flash heaters for water, He could run decon almost as well as the Army. His company had provided EMT certifications and HAZWOPER had made him even more prepared with Medical and HAZMAT response gear, though local to his site and not at the County level. Though few folks even thought to train to hit 400 meter targets while in full HAZMAT, even more severe than familiarization fire with Mil Spec CBRNE gear.

   
   Monitoring the available radio transmissions and other broadcast medias, Sam could tell things were getting worse. Locally there was the outbreak in the County Jail and mention of Influenza symptoms/ Sam was not in a position to be up 24 and 7, however he did have an extensive monitoring system, with radios, sensors and scanners. Vox type microphones and cameras, using the Gnome system he had read about a few years before. With a good map board and overlays, he could be alerted and on site anywhere within 20 minutes of notification by the sensor system if on foot. He was in contact with Bob and Beth via business radio, Seemed Bob was a HAM, and agreed to share with Sam, Bob got a few cords of well aged wood on the deal. Sabrina was safe, opting to stay with the family for the duration.    

   The other kids were able to stay in touch with internet most of the time, even with the current situation. Most of the County Escapees were captured, Three were remaining outstanding and were to treated as Armed, Dangerous and Infected. Schools and public places were closed due to the outbreak. Sam was glad he had not set up for Animal production just yet. Minimizing his contact other than Phone or Radio, since he obtained his Amateur Ham Radio license. His commo set up was redundant, with spares in a rather large Faraday cage, along with his shelter system, almost fifteen feet below the surface, with a dual door system not too far off from being an Airlock. With the power systems in place, He had filtration and over pressurization. The system was set up for a total of six comfortably, Fourteen was max capacity. That was the first portion of the system, Sam had planned for. Power even in the house was set for 12 Volt, with Inverters where needed for some appliances. The basic plan was something like a pentagon of each ,Forty foot long Conex boxes, set up on a leveled bed with a solid , reinforced foundation some five feet thick. Down under a covering of some twenty feet deep.
   
   The connections were set with salvaged but cut to fit for the angles, welded literally air tight, and with other than insulation on all four sides an additional five feet of insulation, The ventilation system was also insulated and filtered, CBRN filters, Noxious gases were filtered, but there was no sure method for a direct charge of High Order Explosives, well placed. Observation and Reaction were the best protection. The Barn/Dome was set exactly over the location. There were four tunnels, including a large manually cranked Dumbwaiter sort of system to lower the animals out and evacuated if need or to upload if the exterior doors were sealed. A small but effective over pressure system for CBRNE events with filters and UV processing at both ends of the tunnel/channel system. Rated for a weight of 3000 pounds, even with a gear reducer, it would be work.

   The interior space as set with a 'cross lane” core of tunnels, The interior could be sealed from within, and on the other side as well. The cross sections were set while a set of doors were opened to any two sections, the end sections were under a binary powered Electro and Mechanical lock out. The remaining space was filled with earth and insulating foam, again as deep, with each having an insulated pipe for water distribution, save the Battery/Power room which was ABC dry chemical set for fire suppression, if needed. CBRN was harder to decon, filtration and prevention were the keys there. The Barn/Dome was placed over the top, centered with a concealed entry and two foot wide steps for every Stair, for transportation of supplies, hidden under a few Hay/Fodder bales, The interiors were actually caches of small but useful materials., Vacuum packed in semi rigid containers, metal free.

   There were twenty gallon hot water heater and for the bathroom and kitchen sinks, Flash heaters working on the on site propane. Natural gas was available, however getting a line out to his place was cost prohibitive. The phone land line was bad enough. Sam had installed Poles along the Road and through the tree lines in wide spaces, paying a premium to a Surveying firm for the map and GPS location of each pole. Not perfect, but as a back up, Sam could get land line and dial up internet service, but opted for Satellite as it was much much faster, through prone to the weather conditions.

   There were three pump able holding tanks for Black, Grey and Potable water. There were costs, but other than NASA, how did one create a Micro Environmental system, being air and water tight?
   The shelter, when completed, would be able to accommodate twenty people, with ten to a side,
using two bunks to a section, no real storage, but with sleeping arrangements. Using a fold down series of bunks, and wood and tiled flooring, with drains and a partial divider down the middle of each section, There was a full Hygiene area, with Showers and composting toilets.

   Working with a portable radio on his belt, Sam finalized the winter work for the garden and
once completed, set up a meal and reviewed his preps between on hand, Incoming or nice to have.  
This task took him a good while and finally He was ready to call it a night.

   Three days later a sensor went off about a quarter mile from Blue Gnome 1. That was on the southern side of his property, and about twenty minutes walking distance, five if he took the mountain bike. He decided to bike and stop short low crawling up with his hand made ghillie suit. Using binoculars, he scanned the area once and then again. Spotting the target, he panned back and located the intruder. It was one of the Jail escapees, Dirty, ragged and coughing. Red Alert 1 crossed Sam's mind. No mercy for this one . With the Flu and there other factors, This guy was going down.

   As Sam lined up for his shot, He spotted a second person, much like the first, Sam thought he was not in a good place, here were two of three wanted convicts, all most likely infected and the third as not in sighting.

   Easing back, Sam re conned and spotted a cold camp where the third convict was laid up and in a bad way. Sam decided discretion was the better part of valor, and with a GPS marking , backed off and called 911, Since the Flu was so lethal, The life or limb loss clause stuck out. The Sheriff and State patrol showed up within 30 minutes, Geared up for possible contamination control and made the final arrests. One Deputy had his own Ghillie suit, usually working poaching patrol. Sam was sworn in, a statement taken and asked to come into town the next day for follow up. He declined, citing the current emergency, however was willing to stay under oath and give testimony via radio
   
   Deputy “Poach” as Sam labeled him, was seriously looking Sam over, The Deputy snapped his fingers, “Dang if that does not absolutely work, Sheriff Jones, This guy has an ice water system cooling him down so I could not get him on IR. Dang, How in the heck did you get that to work?” Sam shrugged, “ I played with a variation from NASA as to space suits. Heating is an issue, cooling is easier, I modified the power pack for a CBRNE filtration unit for pumping and a second for actual cooling. If you can go UV, there might be a faint signature for the evaporator cooler, but the pipes if you will are scattered through out the suit. Not Air tight, but with the right batteries, Good for about 12 hours, Keeping hydrated is a chore, with the cooling, most hydration bladders freeze up,solid..” The Deputy thought about that and nodded.

   “Mister, if you need help just holler, I for one will be on site asap, though I may have to tell you point blank, Shut the hell up” period. Okay?” Sam replied “Fine by me, Give me about ten minutes and I will give you the current  specs. But not the other information,That is pending patent. Deputy “Poach” showed up a day or two later, He stopped at the gate, honked thrice and left a bundle at the outside of the gate, keeping with the Quarantine.
   
   The package contained institutions for recording, under oath for the prisoner capture, and a side note. “Suit info would be nice, but NOT with testimony:” Sam had some of the same tape formats, and marked each accordingly, save those details which were under patent , or pending patent. Via radio the package was picked up two days later. Time and events went on. Sort of.

   The Sheriff was up for reelection, Most of good folks did not care, getting some sort of food on the table was more significant, however with most things with in the county, hitting a fiscal wall and the like due to die offs, Politics mattered. With reduced incomes, and the like there was less money for services. EMT/Fire, etc.

   Not so good in Sam's mind. He for one declined to support refugees, of any kind. Neighbors were something else, but not refugees.  Sam was secure within his location. With the walls being fourteen feet tall, at five feet below ground, and a simple track system to his escape tunnel at the bottom of the building to his “bomb shelter” he was set, complete with over pressure and a battery backed up and manual pumping system, Co2 absorbent pads, and O2 tanks. Even EMP or Fallout, but not a direct nuclear hit. He did have other access and egress points. All well secured and monitored internally. Additionally, each wall portion was some four to five feet thick, both for insulation and protective measures.

   Sam was welcomed back to work, Once the quarantine lifted. While things were sort of improving, Sam was not standing still. Working with developing the land, slowly, Sam got a second shelter system installed, with three tunnels, on to the first house and another as an escape hatch, the third to the other shelter, intact it was the only way to get to the secondary shelter, other than its own escape hatch/tunnel. Adding    more storage tanks, both Water and Fuel, Propane and Diesel for work on site. Updated total capacity was now sixty, though more dormitories than what he considered properly
designated housing.

   He liked the Bobcat mini tractors for working on most projects , since he could not acquire CEVs or Combat Engineer Vehicles, and enhanced the wind powered tower that ran his original water pump, with Radio Antenna for AM/FM and Short Wave monitoring, He used a variety of protective measures including spark gap insulators and grounding rod against either Lightning or EMP. The Radio antenna portion could be lowered manually into an insulated tube under ground set up like a skinny Faraday Cage, Using non conducting materials for raising or lowering as needed. Once lowered, a cap would seal the system, The cable disconnected and rolled into a protective structure very much like a Faraday cage as well. He used Gas gap devices in addition to the Faraday Cage systems. His newer structure was basically a dome set under four feet of earth, the internal height was twelve feet at the high point, and about five hundred square feet. Set for a few folks, with a semi enclosed bunk room, a small master bed room with a half bath with shower repeated in the bunk room. A small but well equipped kitchen, with gray water diverter to a storage tank for use as fire suppression or gardening. There was a combination work area and communications center, Using a similar storage system for antennas, most energy use was by battery banks recharged by a combination of wind and Solar panels, was for a 12 volt system with inverters for the simple range of hot plates and a small oven, If careful it might take a ten pound Turkey, Lighting was by Led using full spectrum, but could be switched to red light for night operations. In addition, he applied for a low powered FM license using it to transmit a weekly show on prepping, without being political, And when he remembered to tape an episode on Blogtalkradio.com. There were others in one vein or another who did things a wee bit better, but what the hey?


   There were redundant sensors for perimeter observation and reaction. Ventilation was something else. Using a mixture of low rpm fans within sections of CBRNE quality filters set in various intervals, ensured the entire    system was pretty tough to compromise. As long as there was enough ambient Oxygen available. Sam had located CO2 absorbing blankets and had some tanks of Oxygen mixed with Helium for emergency breathing, call it about forty eight hours worth on “canned” Air. The entire dome could be sealed off, but this was a total go to h_ll plan.

   There was a work area with hood similar to a chemistry lab, set with an arms locker, a modest section for reloading of a few calibers. Sam had 9mm, .410 and 12 gauge .45 , .308/7.62,3030 .   22 LR and rim fire, just enough for about 300 rounds of each, He had 3 CZ 75s in 9mm, 3 M1911s, 3 Marlin and on3 Winchester level action 3030s, 4 Modified M14 rifles set for Semi Automatic, 3 410/22 single shot combo systems, and 2 .22 rifles, bolt action, ten round capacity tube magazine with Olympic sights.

   Sam believed in accuracy versus rounds per minute, and while making good money, Full Automatic firearms were expensive, regulated too much and required in his mind a heck of a lot of maintenance.

   There were some storage areas within the dome, and an annex set to one side, only accessible within the dome for supplies and consumables did not require refrigeration. There were stores of fuel with appliances that required additional ventilation, Theses, if needed would be set under a special hood arrangement using a coil like arrangement Thermocouple to force the gases up through a up drafting system also filtered. The water heater was set for 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and set for a twenty gallon tank, heavily insulated. Additionally There were Flash heaters in use as well.  The Showers were set up for rinse, shut off, wash up / lathering and rinsing. The toilets with diverter for urea, otherwise were composting to reduce water consumption. Using a boiler/still system and Berkey water filter system set from a 500 gallon tank, that was filled and pressurized. The water was set with lines for kitchen or bathroom sinks. Laundry was a combination of wash boards,buckets, hand cranking laundry balls and drying racks.

   He also set up seeding and sprouting trays under full spectrum led lighting for fresh greens, in lieu of full fledged vegetables or fruits, He had a pretty solid medical section, but would have felt better with more training, but as EMT it was as good as he was going to get. With everything so far, He was set for about a six months long stay at full capacity. Providing no diseases. Sam had a love for the written word, and prepped accordingly, As a backup he secured several pencils, erasers and Composition books, long with reams of unlined paper, document protectors and binders.

   Setting up for Radiation and Signal Monitoring was accomplished, It had taken a bit to get good quality and calibrated Sensors, Radios and Weather station  but trying to get good information and monitoring and keeping things low key or even unobservable was the trick.

   Somethings , like a common table was set to be folded into a wall section, as were the bunks in the Bunk area for storage space. Benches would fold out from the table, setting up to eight, three to a side and one on each end. With both the dome and the rest of the facility, there were  shower/decon point with its own drainage tank and enclosed from the rest of the    structure. Internally there were two well sealed containers for contaminated clothing and coveralls with slippers for internal wear, if needed. This was mostly in case of Ash or Fallout, but could be used if Chemical Agents were used. Otherwise the regular showers could be used.    

   He stocked plenty of hygiene supplies and other items, besides the third set of eighteen months of long term storage foods. Figuring out he might wind up with a “guest” or two who was not male and perhaps have at least 2 children under the age of eight maybe a possibility. He was also set for either Dogs or Cats in the dome. He was working on a Barn/Corral system for use, currently not as well sheltered. CBRNE protection for such a structure was more expensive than he had funds for, currently. Getting back to work, Sam learned that more and more clients were wanting to get prepped for when things went balloon up. While no Security perse, He thought there might be a market. Speaking with Jerry and the board, it was looked into as a project. A special division was set up and after repeated research and review the new division was emplace    and slowly advised and consulting for clients.

   While training for MZB AKA Mutant Zombie Bikers was not provided, under certain conditions Weapons training was provided. Supplying firearms was not provided. Redundancy    for power, water supplies, and the like were covered. Not every thing was covered and while resources were listed, the company did not and would not undertake things like shelter construction and the like. There was already too much competition. Later Sam would learn the company already had internal plans, but this was kept internally and not for public consumption. Most clients , once given some of the basics and given an honest evaluation took charge and went forth. Sometimes a secondary consultation was asked for paid for of course. With the provision that no judgments or sureties would be given, as preps where just like Insurance and as such was not covered under business law for the company.

   Sam got another promotion, More duties rather than title, He was very busy. Sometimes being away from the property for weeks at a time. Living like he did back in the old days, he saved a    good bit of money and being resourceful, He slowly increased his holdings, minimizing taxes    and fees when and where ever possible. He found one real estate agent, Christina, who was worth every penny of her fee/ percentage for the property he was looking for , given his requirements. While not a CPA, she did let him know how she used. The CPA was worth it, being both CPA and Jurist Doctor for the State, at almost 300 dollars per hour, Sam did not have enough work for months at a time, he did have enough work for about 12 hours every six months. The CPA was happy with a consistent client, versus a one time mega money bag client. Sam finally moved from the Apartment Complex , but visited from time to time.

   Sam was able to obtain about ten percent of his net income in precious metals, mostly in Silver, with some Gold coins. Over time, this was securely delivered to the faculty as he called it and    mostly stored in the dome, He also increased his holdings in lead, as in ammo and reloading supplies.

   A firing range was built over time, with a single lane for up to 1300 yards. He did obtain 2 high caliber rifles in .50 cal for this, minus tactical sights like IR scopes, Telescopic sights yes, once    zeroed, he was able to fire three rounds within a one inch grouping at 1100 yards, but nor the full 1300.

   Planning for longer term, Sam obtained more heirloom seeds, piping and fixtures for additional irrigation. Sam was concerned with how things were going and things were not really improving.

   The weather being both more severe in temperature ranges, moisture and duration, Agriculture was hit pretty hard. Sam was settling up for some supply interruptions, but at some point, he would need items or supplies that he was not currently able to produce himself.    He could produce protein by plant and small animal product, working with Chickens and Rabbits. He was not good enough a farmer for Wheat production, but did some Corn, locating enough Lime for Nixtamilization.

   This was to prevent dietary deficiencies. While Stockpiling Iodized Salt, Yeast, Lime, Vitamins and the like. There was not a sustainable method to obtain more, if things hit hard. Black Powder, sure, Sulfur was easy to obtain, There were several areas to get it in the region. Charcoal he could make, Salt peter was easier, He collected the animal wastes and relocated to a confined pile, when aged was spread over the soil, with the salt peter being cleaned and    carefully combined in order to make a Black powder, milling the material for a consistent texture and size, while not number 7 smokeless or more modern, would work with his reproduction percussion cap 65 caliber rifle. He managed to get a good deal on abut five thousand caps. More than enough, but what the heck, He could always barter a few. He also fished from the not so far, creek it was only about two miles from his property, however he took care as to when and where he fished, never using the same spot twice in a month.

   Sam was still concerned, the economy was trashed, he had power, sewer and potable water resources, food and shelter, but others were not so successful. He did not have a trusted cadre of folks to work with, but did have good neighbors, Good being defined as NOT Noisy,Nosy or curious and employed, to a degree. While not anti social, Sam mostly kept to himself. At times he would visit, mostly if seeking to get more firewood, He would offer labor and maybe Gasoline for the chain saws when helping clear land. His visible home did use wood heating in addition to standard utilities. Most folks could care less about his other structures, hey if a neighbor helped with wood harvesting, and minded his own business, this made him a good guy.

   There had been a time or two when neighbor needed some help, like needing to go into the city, but needed some one to help with livestock or the house in the absence. Sam did well. Mostly through cleaning out the stables.  Bob asked if Sam was busy next Monday, as he could use some help with some fencing. Sam agreed to show up, bringing a couple sets of gloves, pliers and come a longs for tensioning the    barbed wire strands. It took most of the day to complete a    half mile of wire, but productive enough. Bob had three wire and wanted to get in a forth strand. With Sam's help he got five strands and additional tensioning. Bob returned the favor working with Sam harvesting wood for heating that season. While they were working, Sam's Alert Radio went off,

   The message was concerning a funnel cloud being spotted. As they were on Sam's property, Sam got every one, Bob. His wife ,the kids , Sabrina and the dog, Ralphy Boy into the Shelter system..    
   
   Sam had not planned on having company, per se, however the situation was more important , than OPSEC. Once every one was inside, Sam hit the switches to pull down antennas and lock    them under ground. If the windmill pumping system was lost, he could still power communications and water. Beth, Bob's wife was busy with Sabrina's help  getting folks fed, Asking Sam for directions for the kitchen and how tos. Being a couple of quick studies, The ladies, had a hearty meal prepared for all in about an hour.

   Sam powered up the communications station and monitored both Digital Television and Radio for damage reports. The last known or recorded Tornado had been almost fifty years earlier.
Sam did provide a few coloring books and crayons, puzzles and found Beth was a great    cribbage player. Sam wound up doing all the dishes for two days in forfeit for getting his rear end handed to him via cribbage.

   Bob merely laughed and helped to keep the kids and dog in line, Ralphy boy was uptight but got used to newspaper, after a few years of getting away from it. Sam had handled the wastes via the composting toilets. Not the Dog's fault the toilets were not Dog friendly. The decision was to stay hunkered down for a full 24 hours. Sam had enough hygiene materials on hand to set every one up with the basics. Pulling out a few coveralls for those who wanted them, after cleaning    up, Sam produced the shelter laundry systems. These chores including the linen washing and drying took a little bit longer. Beth and Sabrina rechecked the list of every thing used and after    cross referencing gave Sam a copy of the list. Once the All clear had been given, They decided to check things out.

   While few folks were hurt or minorly wounded, property damage was severe. The County Seat got clobbered. Hospitals were crowded to over flow and both municipal power and water were so damaged, causing additional issues. The last few years had impacted the county, with loss of revenues , infrastructure was impacted. Most Fire and Rescue facilities were strictly    Volunteer staffed., and medical facilities had been closed and re consolidated in a cost balancing    act. As such it took more folks longer to get treatment. The next twenty four hours were under tension to be sure. Bob found out the hard way he was a bit claustrophobic.

   Bob's  family was a bit better about it. Sam cut folks slack, The kids were well behaved, did not whine or complain, understanding things were serious.  Riding it out, after 24 hours,  most of the farm land and animals were surviving, However a lot of structures like barns and silos were destroyed. Sam's planning and building won out. He had viable , safe structures, but many did not. He helped to set up temporary shelters, mostly tentage and with the Bobcat, set up a  massive outhouse on County land, but not his own.  Running some irrigation piping, he was able to provide potable water for the emergency housing as well. Heating was something else, due to a lack of power production. However the weather was fairly mild, after the storm.

   Bob and family returned home, giving thanks for the property being intact and in fact still safe to occupy. With all that Sam had provided, The Sheriff showed up with a Water Trailer at 400 gallon capacity, a few generators and space heaters. Some folks had managed to bring in some food and blankets, Those who stay at their homes did so, but sent in supplies, including things like Baby formula and Diapers.


   Using the Bobcat, several disposal sites were dug, about five feet deep and three plus feet wide for compostables, a large dumpster was brought in for solid wastes. Sam headed home and locked down his fences. Keeping in contact via radio, He was kept informed about the local situation, which originally was doing well, but went to crap quickly. It seemed some folks felt others were getting more than what was “fair” and began to riot, burning shelters and destroying outhouses and generators. Bob and clan were told they were staying with Sam until things could get worked out. The relief for Bob was great. He was not looking forward to getting into the office, if there were no power. The traditional phone lines were out, so no voice or fax information was available. Power was hit and miss, The county law enforcement was over whelmed, Too many outbreaks ,too few personnel.

      
   Sam locked and loaded for bear, setting up various sensors and so called “Bread dough Claymores” along his property lines. He gave the adults a crash course on the destruction panel    and what went where. The ladies loaded the 30-30s, Bob took one of the M14s. Sam had mentioned the scoped rifles were set for 1100 yards. Murs Radios were issued and tuned.

   A few folks attempted to trespass, however stopped after the first charge went off, crippling a car and two motorcycles. It was not as if there were no signs posted, Sam had signs at the ten foot level, ten feet in his property line. The fence was intact, being wire, rather than anything else so there was minimal damage to it, when the charge was tripped and so detonated.

   There were a few complaints. Easily handled with a tight shot group to the damaged automobile from 900 yards. One complainer tried to fire back,  Bad idea, Sam fired back, intentionally fired just to the shooters right and Chest high, just past the Elbow. He was a bit off, but the message had been delivered. Sam changed locations , spotted and monitored the group, calling in on the radio.

   No children, and no women were visible, so he did not care. The group backed off, but not far enough to suit Sam. While they had not trespassed far enough to get shot normally, Sam did not trust one who could read and decided to violate property boundaries any way. He fired once, hitting just above the loud mouthed fellow's head, with the warning, the next shot would be exactly twelve inches lower. Loud mouth yelled about having rights, Sam's response was not one foot lower, however it was on line at some 800 yards scoped in to the person's left knee, blowing it out completely. Loud Mouth got bundled up and evacuated to someplace else with his “friends”. Bob had heard the rifle report and radioed Sam, asking if things were alright. Sam replied so far so good, so far. However some folks had other ideas, Sam could have dropped the shooter, but felt better with hitting hitting the knee, as proof he was superior in acquisition of target


   Things cooled down and folks were slowly getting back into living, not just surviving.
The entire group had a final breakfast of Coffee, toast and oatmeal. Bob and Beth got the house repaired and the shelter put in at the same time. Beth was adamant about it. While she did not fault Bob for being a great provider, the storms and influenza really had her worried. Bob agreed that Sam had saved them all. Sabrina originally had an apartment in town, but not sure    about how it came out.

   Sam offered to take her into town to look. Travel was limited more by available fuel supplies.

   Sam locked up and escorted Sabrina to her apartment, While intact as a structure, the door was broken. The kitchen had been raided, and the linen closet was attacked. While no filth from humans there were signs of animal spoor, Sam decided there was no way in hell Sabrina was going to stay. He managed to get back to the truck with a few of her bags and plead his case to Bob and Beth. They both agreed without issue. Sabrina held up well , until getting within sight of Bob and Beth's home. Looking like something in a Norman Rockwell painting by comparison of everything else. Beth took charge, basically looked at the two men, as “Sure you don't having real important to go do right now?”

   Sam noticed the “look” as did Bob, however Bob was not sure why he was getting it, he had been good, he was sure of it. Nudging his arm, Sam tilted his head towards the truck and mentioned checking some fence line. He had the tools in the back. Taking only time to unload Sabrina's bags and put them in the house, The two men did just that, checking the fence, At a quarter mile of fencing, and on foot, it took a bit of time. Beth radioed the all clear, and advised they wash up before coming into her clean house.

   The kids were taking a nap upstairs. The men used the washroom back along the rear of the house and removed their boots prior to entering the house, through the back door.

   Dinner was a quiet affair, Sabrina was better, and settled in. Sam was getting odd looks most of the meal by the kids, Here was the neighbor, at table which was fine. Yet he did not have family and seemed to be able to fix things. Their own father made mention of this earlier in the day. Sam seemed bigger than life, yet so quiet. Never boasting, or bragging, always seeming to be in the right place at the right time.

   After dinner, Sam was told to stay seated, the kids put to work with the dishes and leftovers.
Ralphy Boy came over and laid his head in Sam's lap, looking for a scratch. Sam did so, and Ralphy Boy licked his hand, then headed for his dog bed, watching the people of his adopted pack and with the kids,litter

   Sabrina quietly thanked Sam for all of his help and kindness. Sam looked at her for a moment, Saying she was welcome and it was the right thing to do, so he did it. Departing shortly there after thanking one and all for the great meal, Sam left. Beth noticed the look Sabrina was giving Sam as he left. Bob knew another look was about to get delivered, so he rounded up the kids and headed for the living room to read a story. While not as much as of a tradition as it was    when they were younger, the kids loved the stories of the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift    and his inventions or Mysteries like Sherlock Holmes or  Agatha Christie.

   Sam was up the next morning,taking care of the animals, While small, his livestock had been secured in the Barn for the last few days, Sam had been wanting to beef up some places and did not want the animals to give the locations away following humans the way some would  Sam fired up the Bobcat and got to work tilling more ground, following up with manure spreading. It was to rain later in the week, so Sam did what he could before then. He improved the Barn and had an internal section made of concrete and wire reinforcements. If necessary the animals were good for 24 hours, with back up lighting , air and water. He was expecting a final shipment of supplies, mostly LTS and hand tools, with sundries. More Cob fodder for animals, vacuumed packed, salt, lime and bulk coffee and other teas of various types and the ingredients for other beverages. And three more sets of Berkey Water filtration systems. Sam also got more medical supplies and dietary supplements.

   Bob called later in the day, seeking some more information about the shelter he wanted to retro fit on his own property. Sam came over and made a few suggestions. Bob and Beth were on board and the work completed in two months. Feeling much more secure, Beth asked if Sam would consider staying with them if necessary. Sam was surprised, stating he had opened his shelter that day as it was closer and safer, but did not want to cramp anyone else's style.

   Once things were in place, it was decided to be mutually supporting if need be. Sam went back home, getting more work completed, including stacking firewood. He had back up wood heating equipment, but mostly for the outside fire pit. When possible, Sam attempted canning. Working outside, under an roofed in section. He had more lids, rings and seals than jars, however he had quite a few pints and quarts on hand.

   Adding to his supplies, He made up “Trade packs” Things like small jars of bullion, Instant Coffee, needles, thread, water proof matches, some Aluminum foil, small packets of spices, Female health items like pads, maybe fishing line and varied hooks, and water purification tablets.

   Each pack may have variations, but were pretty consistent. He had included small vacuum sealed pouches of Baking Soda and Iodine Salt. His idea was to offer these for small trades, if needed. Or as aid packages here or there. He was able to trade ready to burn firewood for things like more help putting up more fencing. He preferred to get Cyclone Fencing, but with his acreage five strand barbed wire was more likely. While most folks who were preppers decried FEMA, however Sam knew better. If one trained, researched and was more up to speed than most folks thought. He had improved his setup for food animals and crop production. He also reviewing his insurance needs. About once a quarter, he went into town and got a check up on his needs. He was not into so called Financial Products, He was well set with his precious metals, and set up for retirement on his land. He managed to get his property taxes low enough that he paid up for ten years, adjusted for so called inflation.

   He was set for a good stretch, but one could do better. Sam got his crops harvested and put up.
He setup his property for improved insulation and power consumption. His annual bill was about two hundred or less. Since he had on site sewerage and little to no garbage, his other bills were pretty minor. He had expanded his structures with improved thickness and hardening. He set his security and safety for longer term. Over time, Sam had a large enough system that he    could set up things to where the few animals could be sheltered easily, with tunnel access to the animals with another access point that was secured if needed from the out side pasturage. This was a big reason as to the amount of fencing on the property. He had built up hedgerows and berms along the perimeter, with designs zig zagging routes to prevent a direct run from the edges to the home or the shelters, There were a series of gates, each one set to open in opposite directions, and only one at at time. If needed, these gates could be electrified and traces of what appeared to be sprinklers could get filled with Propane, and ignited, causing fire channels    within the hedgerow system. This was the It just went to H_ll plan.

   With the wells being on the land, and in good quality, There were no near by creeks or streams some one could try to sneak up using. This was one of the reasons Sam had made the choices he had. With the steady decline of the Economy, Bob sold what of his in town business he had left,

   Over the years he and Beth had worked hard, and somewhat frugal, but as long as College did not get over $100,000 for a four year degree, the kids at current number were set. Several investments had paid off and with the accumulation of money, The family could retire.

   Gold and Silver were going up, getting some one to sell was another thing. Sam knew one could not eat gold, and in a rural area like his, there were other items of value. Wood, for fire or construction, with limits, the food products themselves, but with a basic industry for things like clothing or footwear would be lacking locally. Sabrina had moved back into Town but was not happy about it. Folks with all their pettiness gave her guff when She had mentioned that if folks spent a bit of time preparing for things like storms and the like, there would be less of an impact. Mack, who thought he always knew better than one what to do with his life, especially women, told her to mind her own business and get him another beer. Sabrina decided he had  enough and cut him off. Especially after he belched. Mack tried to reach over the bar counter, Mistake 1, Sabrina punched him dead center mass, aiming through the back of his skull. Mack had a”Glass Chin” as it is known in boxing terms. Mistake 2, He tried to grab her blouse, Mistake 3 Sam was walking through the door and saw what was happening. Walking swiftly, He grabbed Mack by the belt and back of the neck, kneed him in a bad place and launched him through the door, head first, face down, When Mack hit, he tired to get up. Sam hit him again, once. Mack fell, in a heap. Sabrina was yelling for Sam to not kill Mack.

   Sam replied “ I won't kill him, but I am not letting him try to hit you again either. He is down for the count, Somebody better get some Law enforcement down here. If he gets up again, I won't hit just once, I will beat the hell out of him.” Removing his jacket, He held it out to    Sabrina to cover up with. One of the patrons called for the Police, using a non emergency number, Seeing Mack, face down in the dirt was not considered to be an emergency. Getting a bowl of ice, Sam got Sabrina to soak her hand, to reduce the swelling from her hitting Mack. Folks paid their tabs, and quietly left, believing the Bar would close for the night. Officer Reed    showed up, took some notes, asking questions, got Sam to help load a stunned and intoxicated    Mack into the    Cruiser and went back to the station. Unless Sabrina wanted to press charges, Mack would be on 72 hour hold, but that was about all that would be it. Sabrina declined. Sam waited until everything was closed up, stopping by her place to get a few items, taking Sabrina    home. She did not feel like being alone, so she stayed in the guest room of the house that night. That morning, Sam smelled Coffee and Bacon cooking. Sabrina had gotten up first and decided    to make breakfast. Sam was thankful for her courtesy. She was finishing up with cooking, Sam    set the table, and seated Sabrina first. Breakfast was a quiet affair, Sam mentioned wanting to get some more work done. He was finalizing the last tunnel portion between his first shelter and the add on. Clearing the table, Sam did the dishes. Sabrina did not feel safe in town.
   
   Sam extended an invite for her to move in taking the guest room, She was welcome. Sam remembered something, Contacting the CPA, he made instructions for a tenth of his wealth to be discretely delivered , under reportable amounts into the coffers,to the Old Town Orphanage, The CPA Sal , made it all happen, No taxation records, each delivery under the reportable amounts, All in gold and silver. Bullion with a list of ten broker's and delivered on time. The Orphanage was in plenty of good shape, The monetary supplies were greatly appreciated, even if the donor was not mentioned and if Sam had his way, never would. Sal had mentioned things like Mass. The Catholic, not the science type. Sam never felt he owed anything to any one or religious group. He did feel that with the Orphanage, Help could and should be given. That mentioned. Sam felt free to do as money would allow, IRS be danged. He had been raised since age five, when his parents were killed by a freak power line failure that dropped a power line on their car.


   The parent's had both been disowned by their families, and so Sam would up with a proof of US Citizenship, but not much else. While not great, Sam had spent some time in isolation, Usually for stomping Bullies, three or more years older than he was at the time. While protecting smaller kids was right, putting any one into hospital was not okay. Sam instinctively knew better. Bullies were to be stopped,. Period , end of sentence. His last Bully was in hospital for two weeks, with a broken knee, broken collar bone and missing three teeth. Seemed Sam had  used a Fire Extinguisher repeatedly, finally discharged into the Bully's face, kicked, and punched. Sam was Nine at the time. The Bully was Eleven.

   Several children, finally feeling safe with Sam, gave testimony about the Bully in question. When it was revealed the “ I did not see it, so I can do nothing” approach of monitoring was revamped.

   When Sam was eighteen, with a few Advanced Placement classes to his High School Diploma, his record of taking out bullies, made him tagged for “Anger management” issues and under the Politically Correct BS of the time, refused admittance into the US Military, in spite of everything else.

   Sam had quietly worked and focused on Martial Arts for discipline and focus, and Everything he could in Security and Law enforcement, where he was accepted and had previously gone into Security, and not the Rent A Cop variety. He had further worked on Firearms and Tactical Marksmanship, From there to a prepper.


   With a few hard earned dollars , College Level Examination Program tests and the like, he got a Bachelor's Degree in Law Enforcement in three years. Thus getting hired on with Security Services, LLC. There was no question about his anti bully activities. In fact that was one of the reasons Jerry had agreed to hire Sam in the first place. There was a letter delivered via Sal's sources to Sam from the Orphanage, with out Sam's address being given, The letter was brief, but expressed thanks for the donation and well wishes for the unknown Benefactor.

   Sam wanted to get some more land into production, He had worked on using some vertical tiers
with a good success rate, but sought to get into livestock in a larger production scheme. Things were still not great with the Economy, so Sam figured it was past time for getting into other venues.

   He managed to find some materials for carding wool, spinning and weaving into clothing.
With an out building, he set up a small tannery, first working with Deer hides from hunting, Sam made a few pairs of moccasins, and pants, Shirts would take a bit more, Sam used wooden pegs in place of buttons or zippers. So far so good. While not tailored, the clothing was indeed functional. He seldom went into Town, getting most of his purchases via Semi. He had a few military grade containers that he buried and had down sloped entry ways on concrete pads and bermed over. Adding shelving and 12 volt lighting systems had prepared for the various sealed buckets, totes and cans, each shelve had a series of “Lazy Susan’s” for rotation of goods and items. This helped with stocking and rotation of supplies.

   Sam was adding a few items, not that most folks thought about, Toilet paper, vacuumed packed and double sealed, Suture kits sealed yet again, Fish Hooks, several thousands of rolls of various weight fishing lines, and lures. Making nails , he felt was easier than making Spinners, flies were something else. Needles, Sharpening stones, varied oils, linseed, 3 in 1, etc. Separated supplies of Battery Acid, Baking soda , Blocks of Game. Livestock salt. Seed Corn, sans preserving chemicals or Antibiotics, Large rolls of Aluminum foil, This was a bit more, however Sam was not a fan of anything “Monsanto” or Big Pharmacy/Agriculture. Rocket motors/engines, fusses aka Road Flares, Things ,Sam felt needful if TSHTF/PAW.

   Also Non Hybrid seeds, again Double Sealed. Half were set into dry ice sealed tubes, caches outside of his buildings or structures, along with more common items, again cached.

   Sam had made overlays, coded, rather than directly on any map of the region of his various holdings, in three other fire/strong boxes , two were cached, with the keys in other cached locations.

   Late that fall, he got hist first Buck, a four pointer, dressed out about one hundred thirty pounds.
Sam got half as steaks, and carefully made both Jerky and Biltong out of the rest. He tanned the hide,
and used what he could in making a re curve bow, strung with sinew (what a chore that was) and reinforced with glue made from the hoofs. He tried to waste nothing, cooking down the bones and finally adding the last into the soil.

   He managed to also get a black bear, though it was not by choice, The bear had oddly enough charged Sam, so Sam did the needful, First shot center mass, Second shot for insurance went in the bears mouth, blowing through the spinal column, dropping the bear at about fifty feet from where Sam had been standing. That had left him shaky to be sure. As both kills were on his property, not much trouble, Though he did call the county Sheriff’s office and reported the bear killing. That kill was examined, Seemed the bear had been starving and suffered from rabies. Sam saved the county a bundle,
burying the bear on the property, using the Bobcat, and making a hole about eight feet wide, six across and with the slope, about six feet deep, Using a tow line, he dragged the bear into the hole, sprinkling with a generous amount of quick lime and filled in the hole. Adding seed in the spring would make a grassy mound helping to preserve the soil.

   Sam would have liked to have the bear hide processed, but with Rabies, he had decided it was not worth it, not knowing enough about the disease. Winter hit hard and fast, the temperature dropped to minus five Fahrenheit, over night, While his plumbing was secure, insulated with a compressed four inches of insulation and backed up with a series of heat tapes at the pipes, themselves, water and toilet still functioned. The house, much like the Shelter system was 12 volt, with a series of inverters for 110 volt items, like a tower computer, Sam liked the idea of being able to repair things, including a “Frankenstein” style of dial up modem over twisted copper pair, even though the local POTS situation was attempting to get away from copper and migrate to fiber optic.

   Sam finally got a real above ground barn built, Heavily re enforced and insulated. With a on demand tank for water, and auto feeders, most waste went to the Truck gardens, but some was re purposed to the methane digester he had set up a few months prior, mostly for water boiling and distillation. This water was tasked for either fire suppression or irrigation as needed.

   The Animals did well, with good feed and plenty of water, Oddly enough, when practical, most animals did their business outside, weather permitting. Sam still processed what he could for crops, soil maintenance or water processing. With a manual pump he knew he could not get above 32 feet, and so at 20 filled the various tanks for the animals or in a series of smaller water towers, getting about five thousand gallons of water on gravity feeds throughout the property.

   Sabrina had given Sam a few hints about longer term relations. Sam was okay with the idea of marriage, but wanted to ensure things would be more sustainable, Sabrina had other ideas, It was almost Twenty months, since they had started dating, and while Sam had been a gentleman, including one point when a town member had made an off color remark about Sabrina staying out at Sam's gotten his jaw busted, by Sam, who used his boot upside the head, in keeping with “I did not lay a finger on him” The fellow, after reconstructive surgery had apologized. Word went out, Do Not Disrespect Sabrina.” Sam , finally proposed, on bent knee to Sabrina when she was at work, Tony, the line cook was the first to Whoop it up. “”Bout Dang time , Dude, She and you are meant to be!” The rest of the usual were cheering as well, Sabrina, her eyes glistening a bit, stammered “ Oh, Sam, I accept!” The hurrah and congratulations took a bit, finally winding down. Ray, the owner finally made a presence.

   “Sabrina,if you are willing, I will stand for you, unless you have family.” Sabrina was out right crying with Joy. “Ray, that would be wonderful, I do not have family and having you do that would be A joy and blessing, Thank you so very, very much.” They were planning on being married within the month.  Getting into Town and meeting with both a Lawyer for pre nuptials, Wills and the like, and the Reverend Jones on the ceremony and some counseling, The date was set. As the day approached, Bob and Beth helped out including the night prior hosting Sabrina. There were a few visitors, Padre Timothy from the Orphanage, and Salvatore, an Orphanage Alumni, and while not in contact as much, showed up as well, Some folks felt Salvatore was “The Family” and no , not kin.” That was a falsehood, to be sure. Sam was concerned, as he was used to carry, but did not want to offend the Reverend, with bringing in a fire arm to the chapel. Reverend Jones was pro gun, but if the weather held, about an out door ceremony? Issue resolved. The reservations for tenting and the like were planned and paid for, Three days prior to the Ceremony, Sabrina wanted to get into town for a few things, Sam gave Her the keys and Sabrina was on her way, Then it happened, There was a three car accident, and Sabrina pulled over, setting the flashers, Making a CB call and Cell call as well for assistance. Those calls would ultimately save her life. As Sabrina approached the closed Vehicle, Mack popped up from the ditch and fired, Thinking it was Sam on site, He fired Twice. Sabrina was down, but not hit, Unfortunately, A Good Samaritan was running up to her, and got hit in the lower back and thigh, the .308 slugs breaking bones and passing through. One of the injured in the collision, due to cables , steel ones at that and some caltrops had stopped the original cars with great effect and little warning. Sabrina heard/felt the rifle rounds through the back wind shield glass, and whip by her right side of her head. Under the current conditions, a variation of the “Boot bootleggers 'turn” was required. Keeping her head, while ducking meant immediate survival.

   Sabrina was lucky, Even with three out of four tires shot out, she was able to get out out of  the “Engagement “Area. Mack tried to get closer, when she finally pulled her 6 inch barreled .357 Magnum and fired all six rounds, Mack backed off, sort of.

   Deputy “Poach: was first on site, lights and siren going off, Sabrina collapsed into a heap, not Physically, but emotionally wiped out enough, to be out of the picture, Being safe, for now, Deputy “Poach” called for support, Sabrina nodded, and with a thumb, pointed out the rather advanced First responder/ aid kit and a few o2 on demand bottles. Many lives were saved, though barely..

   Sabrina was credited for on site immediate supply, though it was Sam's Truck and pre planning.
The Rig was totaled. Even with Insurance, it was not easy to get replaced, due to interior Roll bar, Super charger, Non EMP vulnerable components and the like, Though the policy would pay out replacement dollar amounts. Inflation would not be adjusted for, even though there was a clause for just that, including Terrorist attacks, As Mack was not prosecuted, having died in an escape attempt, the regional adjustor felt free not to honor the contract, As things went, Sam made a few phone calls, got his money and the Adjuster stripped of license, business and prosecuted for fraud. After the pay off the Insurance Corporation decided not to continue coverage for Sam, stating costs for damages and claims.

   Sam found out the company, after his last check cleared, was bankrupt, and as such the Corporation was ejected from more than five States for improprieties.


   Mack was bagged and buried The Sheriff’s Department got County Legal to cover Sabrina's actions.

   Sam was fricking Livid. Good thing Mack was dead and six under. Sam was willing to dig up the corpse and mangle it, into dust and nothing else. Reason was there, the Emotional charge was something else.

   Sam spent some time Radioing invitations to Jerry and a few , select others, including Bob and Beth to the “Formal”wedding. With Seating traditionally being Groom or Bride, There was a Middle section for the idea of “Both”. There were a few on the sides, about 80 percent in the middle.

   The Wedding went well, with the reception, though Sam had paid for it, It cost nothing, as folks all contributed, be it the Space, furniture pieces or food and catering. The Staff was hired out of Ray's business, but all wanted to give something on such a special occasion. This was two months after the shooting.

    There were no hitches, The first dance was impressive, Seemed Sam had training in the past, and so a Tango was danced. The Dance was impressive, suggestive without being lascivious. That transcended into a dignified and sedate Waltz. The cheers were enough to cause the couple to bow/curtsey and blush.

   Jerry and Ray flipped a coin, Ray won and so got the “Father's dance” with Sabrina.
Sam got a lump in his throat. He was one lucky man, and knew it. Sabrina did not stop, rather offering her hand, The duo danced again, More classic than modern. The dance was again beautiful. Jerry did get a dance, both were graceful and Jerry , while older , still had a few moves, including a well executed dip and rise of Sabrina. This was a Grand Finale, and very well done.

   The applause was loud , and heart felt. Between the dances. Sabrina was glowing, with the dances and love in her eyes for only Sam. Both Ray and Jerry admitted that Sam and Sabrina were the classic “Meant to be”  Once the evening round down, The two headed for home and slept in. Sam had hired Bob and Beth's kids for the farm until Noon for the day.

   Sam woke up about five in the morning, Sabrina had better ideas, After actually getting out of bed, getting ready for the day, and so on. Sabrina fed every one, including the “hired hands” a hearty and fulfilling meal, The two got into the day.

   Sabrina was even better with spreadsheets than Sam was, and he was no slouch. His Macros got tweaked, for better performance. Sabrina copied over the originals and input to a new sheet.

   The prep numbers were improved by .85% from the original. Sam was happy about being more accurate. The adjusted numbers, meant better food stock age. His original estimates of 500 days at 3 meals per day at a daily total of 4000 calories, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates had a smaller margin, but better than he thought. While not as much, any margin was better than none. Sabrina was a bit slow, still recovering a bit and while healing, admired to over doing it during the wedding reception. Sam asked her to take it easy, maybe a tub soak and a heating pad. Sabrina mentioned this sounded like a good idea.

   Sam had finalized his small herds and kept production sustainable, selling a few calves here and there , some of the Rabbits as well. His sales were more in labor than cash, but with the added help, next season would be very productive, providing there were no disease outbreaks.

   Selling off some excess feed, with his more modestly sized and able to be sheltered herd, when that winter went into a deep, nasty and freak freeze, - 35 , his survived, though mucking out the barn took a lot of work, with the lower temperatures, the proto Methane generator was struggling.

   The energy being produced, was barely enough to heat the water enough for purification. At Sea level, 212 degrees at five minutes per gallon was sufficient, The steam was easy to collect, cooling was a non issue. The water was then put into forms and with a solid insulated containment system , turned to ice, potable ice and if there were power failures into Summer, a plus.

   
   The panels, and compost heating helped out the Green Houses where and when possible not
all plants needed all that much light, Though the Green Houses were both solar and methane powered with thermocouples to generate lighting, full spectrum led lighting worked well.

   The wells and tanks, and the like were full and ready to distribute as needed. Elevated and pressurized as possible There were some 50000 gallons of potable water available at any time. Either for domestic use, or fire suppression.

   Sam had installed a water pressurized irrigation system with “suds tanks” for fire suppression along the “Barbarossa” lanes. With an available 2 gallon per minute rate, with foaming, Not great, but good enough.

   The fences and hedgerows were growing well, and set with over engineering by intention,
The Guardian Gnomes were replenished with MURS Radios, IR and UV and audio sensors, trip wires to mil grade flares and in some locations, Tannerite devices with Electrically triggered High Velocity rounds for surety of detonation or “Bread Loaf Bombs” each series could be isolated, on a case by case basis.
      
   The rest of the land was in rotation or cultivation and doing well. The following Spring went well, and with the crops doing well enough. Jerry had obtained a few parcels adjacent to Sam's and asked Sam to get things into production over a three year period. Sam's methods of prepping the soils, available water and seasonal temperatures worked well.

   
   Jerry and Sam kept in touch, while maintaining exclusive locations, there was a mutual agreement for support, but other than Harvest times, not much was expected to happen, Jerry was given notes on Bread Loaf Mines and the Gnome setup, Jerry returned with mentions of pre staged Bentonite channels, “Tracked vehicle traps” and Tangle foot. Both men incorporated items as needed in each area of operations. Sam and Jerry had both hoped to have and not need, Fate had other ideas.

   Spring 2016, The winter had been severe, Minus fifteen most days, yes Fahrenheit. While Bob, Beth, Jerry , Sam and Sabrina were okay, other were not. Not that the temperatures were so severe, rather with repeated exposure, already weakened systems were more prone to failure, without maintenance or replacement entirely.
   
   The town and county seat were virtually wastelands. No power, no sewerage, water or with the intense cold and subsequent effects of weather were viable. The networks for data, voice and like collapsed, Not just within the County, but State and while not quite federally, regionally were being devastated.

   Without Communications and Cooperation, Societies tended to fall apart. Rather quickly.
Then , there were the break outs, Influenza, Measles and Plague, seemed folks who originally thought rats were a common experience, within cities, were clueless, and so with crowding and other things, like warmth, water and what little food was available, were improved locations for disease and cross contamination. Ray had closed the doors, sealed his in town properties and let the crew go, though with a two month's severance package, not that money at that time meant much, with inflation and all.

   Tony got a job through Sam to be a line cook for Jerry , who was very selective in hiring, as he was also providing, room, board, healthcare and wages, even if said wages were below pre incident levels.

   Tony did well, and after finding out the “Chief Cook” was cooking the books, got promoted, the former Chief, was escorted out of the compound, banned and only with his uniform, sans identification and a warning to never return, was booted out. Literally Jerry put a size 11 into the man's backside upon exit.

   The Perimeter guards were not being so nice, but with a defacto or else No fire order, none crossed that line, however there were several comments on distance, identification and the like. Some teams. Rather than Stand Down, were into active patrolling, When Sam showed up, having circumvented five of the six teams, without real effort, Jerry asked for a security review. Sam was happy to show his three routes an how each had mattered, the simple camouflage off road and hit the vehicle,frame but not engine block with  suppressors, to dissipate heat, etal, The on site security teams remarked either “well done, cool no pun intended or Damned Ringer and therefore on site security was “sucking butter milk through a straw.”

   Jerry was not happy, while not angry with Sam, at all, his security was “punked” and with out advanced Intel, Forces were doubled and reinforcement training was intensive and severe, Two failures on exercises were grounds for firing, isolated, ejected, no weapons, no supplies, and a warning to never return upon pain of bounty.

   Training drills were 24/7 without warning. The teams either got it right or were ejected, period.
Sam did not mean to stealth, rather cautious, Three of the Sixty security team members were ejected.

   Sam had let Sabrina into things, like preps, certain channels or frequencies to be monitored, but not more, Sabrina let Sam know while Opsec was Opsec. Between Husband and Wife secrets were not tolerated. Sam was saved with the NDA or Non disclosure Agreements. Sabrina acknowledged the same, and so, given some , but not all information. Sabrina was willing to sign an NDA. Jerry agreed and made it happen. While the driving distance was a bit long. There were routes that were off road, that could be used as well.

   These were periodically checked but teams on either end, with notes on fire breaks , erosion and the like. Usually in civvies and not uniform. The Security teams would travel in teams of two and spread out in ten to fifteen minute intervals, with varied routes. Not all were in daylight either.

   In some locations, additional, non priority caches were emplaced, marked on overlays and confirmed by local markers , pace counts and compass direction in addition to GPS coordinates.

   Sam and Sabrina had just gotten the latest delivery of supplies, including teas, coffee, tattler lids and jars, Vacuum Sealer bags, and the like, Finishing up perceived gaps, with some of the supplies going to Bob and Beth who had made bulk purchases. Totaled up, this would be the last major purchase for a while. Most supplies went into the Shelter Systems. Some went into the House as well.

   The weather continued to be rather cold, and dry, almost bitterly so. The herds were mostly in the barn system, with augmented lighting and heating, food and water, exercised regularly.

   At minus twenty was just too cold for most animals for continued exposure. The fall crop harvest had been successful, however the yields were just par, no excess. This included the fodder crops. With what had been stored previously, there were enough for the current livestock. However little excess to sell to others. Sam was willing to ease his ten percent margin to eight percent, but that two per cent was only about usable to some one who maintained the smaller levels , like Sam and Sabrina were doing.

   The news was not good. China's Economy was steadily losing momentum, and the EU was in about the same straights. Germany and Britain were doing okay, however not much could be said for other nations. Africa was just about done. Israel was so so, most of its neighbors did not want to do business, since they could not afford it. The South Pacific Island nations were hanging in there, Australia was doing well as was New Zealand.

   South America was hit and miss, Some nations were strong, others not. There were rumors of border clashes and disputes. Argentina, again attempted to get Britain to relinquish the Falken Islands

   Britain held to the idea that the folks on those islands opted to be British, Not Argentina's Citizens. Britain let it be known Argentina had better behave. Or face dire consequences.

   The British Ambassador and team were recalled to Britain, the Embassy closed , as were its consulate offices. The Argentine Ambassador asked for audience with the Prime Minister. The Argentine staff were informed of being declared “Persona Non Gratia” and required to depart immediately. Argentinian Air Carriers were informed as to no longer being authorized within British Airspace. This went to the EU council, only to be rejected as Britain was a sovereign nation, and could not be forced to change its decision, even if the decision seemed a bit over dramatic.

   Argentina attempted to again attack the Islands. Too bad, they forgot about British Naval Submarines in the area, each landing craft was fired upon. British surface vessels launched Harries for Air Superiority, with devastating effect and efficiency. The citizens again re affirmed being British Citizens. This went to the United Nations. While the security council did not agree with the total force used. Argentina had been critically in the wrong.

   China was secretly pleased, It had used several stealth capable units, satellites and other EW/ELINT assets to obtain all sorts of information about the two nations war fighting abilities.

   The British were some what aware of this, and its ECCM or Electronic Counter Counter Measures blocked accessing of encrypted information, but not the video recordings.

   Argentina was much more broadly hacked, in the end, China had figured out that nation's encryption and navigational systems to great advantage, without Argentina realizing just how bad it went. Six months later, Argentine systems were selectively hit with a Stuxnet type attack.

   As it was in bits and pieces and the code was set if discovered to overwrite any and all hard disks with a fifty times wipe, The damage was severe. Argentina did have one thing going for it.
Not being as technical in some ways, it had replacement clean drives, with stronger anti virus and access monitoring mechanisms on line within thirty hours. The internet access points had been closed,

   Each system was more autonomous. And communications were over laser/microwave transmitters, Not cable, wire or satellite. Slower, but by far more secure.

   The United States offered forensic resources for the impacted systems. Argentina Thanked the US but no thanks. On a side channel, Argentina let if be known, the British were NOT suspected of the attack.

   The British Parliament set a motion to provide humanitarian aid for impacted areas. Arrangements were made to have carrier groups at the international limit staged for transshipping to an to be agreed upon, neutral maritime carrier, to be placed under Argentinean Customs control.

   Argentina accepted with grace. The Prime Minister asked to re establish diplomatic relations between the two nations. Through interest desks with third party nations.
   
   Accepted. For assistance, Argentina was not about to look the beggar. Arrangements were made for transshipping of Fuel, Beef and Beer to the United Kingdom, in exchange for the Aid.

   China was quiet, simply stating that it was good that nations who disagreed with each other could still be Humane, even after violence.

   Russia was about the same, however, with more and more debilitating weather , was interested in grain imports. Argentina was agreeable. As the weather to the north was not as severe in the southern hemisphere.

   Japan had been struggling, mostly with weather, The Korean Peninsula was hammered as were those portions of China and The Russian common wealth in the area.

   The United States offered aid as well. Argentina was more selective, seeking more computer infrastructure and encryption technologies. The US was okay with the first, but not the second.

   China kept mum. The Middle East was a bit better off than Africa or The rest of the European Union. Then it happened. Chechen terrorists, not followers of Islam, for once. Detonated three medium range Nuclear war heads across the border with Russia. This did not go without Notice. China went to full alert. Russia did the same, Turkey and Israel went to equivalent Defense Condition status, Arming Patriot and Iron Dome systems. Iraq got smart and eased back its border security from the Kurdish collectives. Let the Kurds get hit and then reclaim the real estate.

   Palestine Forces went on alert, trying not to give Israel a reason, and used its non talked about , though every one knew about them, Tunnel systems to provide some sort of protection for its populations.

   No one was certain if China fired from along the Chinese/North Korean Border, of if North Korea finally did the stupid thing and fired three mid level Nuclear missiles into Russian and Japanese real estates. Russia fired in retaliation, trying for an EMP event rather than Neutron devices.

   Two things occurred. One the EMP devices worked, Better than expected. Two, The detonations were much much higher than programmed. China had worked on getting into the Russian Missile Corps but failed. A Russian Missile Corps General, fearing what a Nuclear hit on Bei Jing would do, changed the flight path for a 200 mile above ground detonation, rather than the more conservative 10 mile range. This made the Pulse more powerful, over a wider range of land. The second missile went awry and detonated over the Northern Pacific, the pulse from this device hit the Pacific coast inland through to the Mississippi River and from the Yukon Territories down to The Gulf of Mexico.

   China had other ideas and decided Russia and The United States needed dealing with, and so fired five EMP missiles to an altitude of 400 miles and detonated, with even better yields than the Russian missiles.

   When the EBS alert went off, Sam was wearing his alert radio, just as the warning tone went off, the unit died. Sam headed back home. From checking fence line, while being well bundled up for the weather. As the House was not on grid and with the weather the major antennas were already down and secured, the lights were on as he got home. Heading in, the remote did not open the garage door,
Slowing down, the bike engine, being a diesel modified machine was apparently EMP proof.

   Using the manual key, Sam went inside and disconnected the Electromechanical drive and manually raised the door, only enough to get ducked in and the bike secured.

   Shutting the door and locking it. Sam headed for the above ground communications and security center. Without more information. He wanted to wait and see, before declaring a lock down.

   He had to replace a few gas gap parts and was back up and running within minutes. While he was up, most were not. He decided on discretion and called it. “Love, we need to shelter. The tunnels will allow us to take care of the Animals and we have power, I need to alert Bob and Beth, The notebooks are in the main Shelter, arranged numerically. I will use the code word “Popcorn” if there is an issue, so you keep the door secured if I say “Chicken soup” we are good to go, Okay? If so, I need to get going.” Sabrina kissed him, and said” Go, be back soon, I love you. The rifle is loaded and I have the .357 magnum loaded and ready to go. Dang, I was going to bake bread” Sam was suiting up in Tyvek and a CBRNE mask and accessories, He would walk, saving fuel. Over the suit was his Poaching rig.

   Bob and Beth were heading for the shelter, having gotten the kids in first, The oldest was hanging by the door, Pump shot gun ready, wanting Dad and Mom safe NOW, but being careful, He spotted something and yelled for his Dad, Bob turned and spotted something, Sam Slowly stood up and spread his arms wide, rifle slung. Easing off his mask, he yelled “Bob, Its Sam, No radiation yet, not sure what happened, but my Alert Radio went off and then died. Are you all okay?” Bob motioned for Beth and son to get to Shelter. “Sam, we are good, I will contact you via the TA1 once we are secure, get out of here, thanks for the warning, but get to Shelter, you idiot”!

   Sam grinned, gave a thumbs up and stealthed back home. With the voice transmitted “chicken soup” Sabrina opened the exterior door and with the mechanical non electrical drive, closed it behind Sam. Sam headed for the Decon station and did a rinse off, holding on to his mask, dropped gear, Scrubbed up, rinsed off, held his breath, crossed the Hotline and sealed the door behind him, with all gear hanging up to dry. Hitting the second, on demand shower point he cleaned up and activating the meter, carefully scanned for radiation particles. While he did not know this was currently a non issue, no point in taking changes.

   Once clear, Sabrina had clothing out for him to change into and off to the table he went. First to activate the log, and second to eat,. The couple enjoyed a quiet meal, and then went to work. Sabrina went over everything on the third terabyte hard drive, a duplicate in the secondary Fire/Faraday case, and with the third older laptop running Ubuntu, but otherwise working, reviewed on hand inventory strictly within the Shelter first and Above Ground secondarily.

   The numbers looked good, including Consumables, Tools, Supplies and the like. Sam had down well, however Sabrina copied over everything into a secondary set of spreadsheets using LibreOffice
and her revised Macros.

   The Telco lines were fried, The Satellite system had been triple gas gaped, and when Sam had replaced those units were back on line. The feed was slow , but working. The light Annunciation was going off, as the TA 312 from Bob and Beth, through a grounded and EMP sealed conduit was asking for attention. Sabrina picked up the “phone” Hello, How are you all doing?” “Sabrina, this is Beth, we are okay. Bob is alright, though he hates being enclosed, I just gave him some generic Benadryl and it is helping some. Do you know anything, yet?” “No, just that Sam came back, safe and no radiation, so far. He thinks it was a HEMP or the like, but we are on line, He replaced the Gas Gap gizmos and so while Copper pair is down, we are okay.”

   “Good, with hope,. We are less than five days inside. Shall we check in, and if so at what times?”Sabrina pulled Book 3 and reviewed the Communications plan. “Every four hours from now, I show time at 16:21:50 Now, Next check to be 20:20 Hours and revised as needed. I will ask about the connector tunnel with Sam between properties. If Bob is okay, get his take and we will talk later, Okay?” Sounds good, I will review guides 1 through 3 for key components. Beth Out”

“Sabrina Out” Sabrina closed the circuit and swapped batteries into a charger, making a note on the clipboard as to when and why.

   Sam was coming back from the barn tunnel, The Animals were nervous but doing okay, Sam inputted some soft classical music over the barn speaker array for the animals. Music soothes the Savage Beast, etal.

   Sabrina got Sam to speed and he did the same, making manual notes,as he did not notice the Laptop was working. The screen saver had come on. Sabrina tapped the space bar and re logged on.

   Taking his information, She updated the Spread sheets and did two hard copy print outs. Putting each onto clipboards and used the Master as it was, a working copy, pencil only and a hard clean copy as well.

   Sam unlocked a sealed and gaped set of antenna cable and attached with a double gas gap set up carefully used an inverter , powering up a hand held CB, The reception range was great Transmission out was another issue. Carefully monitoring frequencies, he was able to determine who was online and who was not. Switching to a Shortwave receiver, he got more information.

   Setting up with a pre supplied one time pad, Sam updated a situation report, encoded, and sent via manual Morse code to Jerry. There was a brief return under clear transmission stating “Change 3 to 5 to 11. If one had the one time pad, the information was easy, Go to page 3 from origin, Count to 5 and from five to eleven, and re trans on that code sheet. While not great, with short text, was dang near impossible to intercept, as one had to have the original in the first place. Since there were ten books
each based on obscure science fiction or westerns, if one did not have the right version or edition and start page for one time pad generation, it was pretty solid. All the source books were Pre 1947 in edition and print date.

   The 12 volt lighting flickered, as the boom hit, Not Nuclear, A lighting strike hit the Lighting rod attached to the Water pump,.Wind Mill , The rod worked, the lighting was due to a slight hit to the grounding rod, but not severe enough to case issues, The battery banks were well secured, insulated and protected.

   The actual direct hit on the Ground was another story, energy had to go some where. Badda Boom, as the roof creaked. One of the well pumps burped and died. The other two were okay, Using a pre placed diverter, on a secondary circuit, the water was flowing from the cistern, via gravity to a secondary tank, under gravity fee to a tank, which over time would take the contents and be able to get pumped as needed.

   Sam could and later would replace the pump,. But right now as not right then. On a more positive note the fledgling Bee colony was during well, Being let into the interior Greenhouse and fed additional Sugar water, the hives all two of them were well. The few goats were being milked by the five kids, and so no human action was needed there. Cleaning and transporting to the Methane system could be a day, but not immediate. Sam would use a lined game cart later, suited up to be sure.

   The scanner went off, first with a SAME Alert and followed with the County EBS sub system,
Sam attempted to get word out his location was secure enough, he could barely hear a response.

   “Poach” got on the air, stating he was okay but on foot, Vehicle toast. Sam was sure Deputy Poach could not hear him, however the Shelter was closer than town based on the report. Sabrina took over, Hugging Sam, saying” Go get him here, We can contact his family later, based on his report even with Mountain bike and doubling up, He is better here than on foot, I will let Bob and Beth know about things.. Please go my love, Now” Good as her word, Sabrina was cranking the TA 312 to get in touch with Bob and Beth, Bob answered with “Understood, and will monitor, Sam, be safe, No heroics, Ya hear?”

   Sam smiled, while getting suited up, sans Ghillie suit, however it was packed for deployment.

 Sam got suited up, used map and compass for route planing and overlay, figuring GPS was down, for now, and with a Thumbs up, left, Sabrina, again closed the door, and using differing code words, :Hot sauce “ being okay, and biscuits and gravy the duress sign. Each phrase set was rotated, as necessary.

   Twenty minutes later, Sam spotted Deputy Poach, who got ready to draw, Sam yelled “Idiot, were I to shoot you, I would have from more than five hundred yards!. Deputy poach was wearing his mask, Not great, but better than Nothing, Sam tossed him a set of Tyvek and told him to suit up, The Deputy was about to remove his gun belt, Sam told him not to bother, get suited up and take what he could from the disabled vehicle and hang on to the bike. Sam helped with securing the electronics, if any were to survive. The saddle bags were filled and the two were off to the shelter.

   Thirty minutes later, the two, still masked went through basic decon and entered the shelter, after the uniform and weapons were cleaned and screened for contamination. Once inside, Poach was seated in the “Commo center” and made his report. Being safe and the cruiser having the battery and spark plugs removed, and the tank emptied into three two gallon capacity tanks.

   The vehicle was not totaled, only deactivated. For now. The Sheriff radio network noted the transmission while it was not sure of reception of the message.

   Sabrina insisted both men were fed, rates checked and logged. Sam did not complain
When it came to Safety, there was no arguments.

   Deputy “poach” was actually named Sam Adams, III. To avoid confusion, Deputy was still Deputy “Poach” or simply “Poach” he did not mind, His service issues firearms, sans side arm were locked and he held the only key. Sam had a battery charger for the hand set.

   The hand held unit had been powered off during the attack. Then the ground stuttered.
Twenty seconds later, the stuttering stopped. China had fired a sixth round, GPS and with stolen technology, did a Cruise missile hit on Hoover Dam. That was nasty POTUS, declared all other available nuclear munitions to be targeted along all dams, population centers and militarily significant
targets, Avoiding Russia, The damage was precise, however, Iran was siding with China and so deployed and fired its arsenals . Israel knew better and so launched with its own MOAB munitions

   Iran became as the saying goes, “Toast” China was the same way, Tai Shan, as per the song, was done. Tibet and the outer regions survived, barely, With that, those who could survive did, barely, Not much different from the last 80 years. Or so.

   Canada survived, barely, having learned lessons from previous Solar eruptions had gotten smart, just not enough, about 90 percent survived, the other ten percent died hard and viciously, sadly.

   The Koreans were sadly dust. Africa , at 87 percent was back to the stone age/ hunter gatherers.
The Saudi Peninsula was toast as well, Syria, Libya, Mozambique, South Africa etal were done, No power, no water, no infrastructure, Boom. Done, Iraq , oddly got it together, and with the little it had sent relief into Israel and the Palestinian territories, no BS, no politics and genuine good. In fact Kuwait was involved as well. Tensions were high to be sure, none the less, it worked, Kuwait and Iraq were willing to hire and pay for Israeli personnel for region security, as long as Israel was not to be compromised, all was good, this would take much later over time.

   Iran, glass, Not by the US, seemed Iraq and South Africa both went there, Hard. India was told to back off, Pakistan as well Pakistan attempted to launch,    China, Iraq and Israel fired with extreme accuracy the Russian devices were stopped at about 100 miles above ground, with complete Russian missile system in launch were destroyed and the launching sites followed upon, China was taken out as well. The secondary rounds were even more accurate. Italy tried to muscle in, only to have France, Britain and Germany fire. France go hits on the thirds, Italy, Germany and Britain fired again. So did Russia. Paris, Done. Marseilles as well.

   Northern Italy and Sardinia, done. The various former CCCP 'Stans. Each got at least one munition at some 100 miles, with EMP being the big factor. Those zones supposedly claimed by the Taliban, no one knew for sure, but rather than Nukes, Either Airborne diseases and or vectors were released. The effects were painful, foul and 100 percent lethal. Chechnya was another total target, Siberia was oddly left alone. The Czech Republic, Sarajevo and the Baltic states were not spared.

   Nor Mongolia. It almost seemed If Eurasian, and having any history longer than 100 years, Nuke it.

   Sam and Sabrina were attempting to catch what little information was still available, Sam was impressed that Sabrina understood, Russian, German and French. Neither understood Arabic, Hebrew, Mandarin Chinese or any of the various African languages. Not that much was coming out from those regions.

   Recovery of the power and water/sewerage systems were deemed key. With both of those, things like potable water and sanitation could proceed. There came a warning over the CB radio, on channel 9 The broad cast was to listen on AM, reply on changing FM, and use certain “Code words”or “Brevity Codes”.

   Monitoring, it was found there was a School Bus, with some Twelve children and counting the Driver, Three adults. Sam did a potential map plot, checked the weather and got on to a SSB channel on 9, stating Go M1911 Up, drop Kalashnikov, add Winchester” Meaning add 45 from 9 to from there subtract 47 channels, go 30 from there,once up, continue instructions on the net. Without a formal net control, it was as dicey as using “BLACKHORSE” where each letter meant a number and the Set number was for a UTM Grid map, usually under a Security Over watch, frequently set with both far and near recognition signals, based on line of sight. With the EMP damage and previous lack of economy, locally, Things were NOT good. Sam had a brief conversation, Sabrina agreed, Sam should go help. The Shelter, while a bit tight , would work for immediate shelter for the children, it was not perfect, however neither one could see the sense in terms of Humanity leaving them out there. Sam prepped for a 96 hour out and back, with a 24 hour margin, just in case. Sabrina told Sam, in no uncertain terms to be safe as possible, but “Get them here”. Period F'ing dot. Sam agreed heartily.

   Sabrina called in favors, adding to pay out from the fuel stores or items, if folks would show up, teaming as much as possible , in vehicles , while Sam was “AFK” or away from keyboard/commo.

   Sam planned on using his ROKON bike, with a rather severely Stealthed modification. While quiet, it was not so powerful , however the gases were captured and the more usable ones were re piped into the engine, so while not as fast, he did get an additional 2 miles per gallon of fuel, Dragging a modified cart made it tougher, The cart held immediate hygiene items, water and lifeboat rations, some trash bags for ponchos or other weather gear, and a rather overstocked first aid. Medical kit, just in case, plus replacement ammunition and the like.

   Sam was pondering the “Kitterand machine” as mentioned in Jerry D Young's Story about a PAW Survivor , some sort of Marine Officer, who had a tracked motor cycle sort of gizmo for overland travel, He had the PDF on file for all of his computers.

   Sam made one radio check about ten minutes from the “Target” and carefully did an eighth of a mile off center 360 degree route of the site. Nothing special, but still..., Sam did not like it. While entirely plausible, the situation was Not Good. Sam had no choice. He decided to set up a “hide” and threw a rock, almost a half pound in weight,, It landed on the Hood of the First Bus, followed by a second,

   From what Sam had learned, Shoot, Move and when necessary Communicate.

    Sabrina was both networking and taking care of the Animals with all that was going on, Sam had plenty of information on hand, tools and supplies, still things were different from reading and doing. No drama as the British would say, but it made for long days.

   Sam was on time and on target, he had made two “sweeps” and made the decision to go in.

    One word, “Access,” was on the MURS Radio, and three clicks were returned. As he was about to approach, he dropped the Ghillie suit while riding up on the Rokon, stopping. “ I am not harmless, but willing to help.” The Bus Driver , who was doing what he could, but not that much, almost leapt out of his skin. “Jeazus, don't do that, liked to take five years off an old man.!” Sam quickly got things settled for relocation. While he could carry some on the trailer system, There were too many to carry.

Sam did what he could, though four miles became eighty minutes of travel... Fortunately the children did their best to be quiet, even the wanna be bullies, first one to sound off,was informed in twenty seconds, to be tied, gagged, hung form ankles by five yards from the nearest tree limb, and coated with Honey to attract hungry Bears. Might have been a motivator, Sam did not care. The kids performed wonders, including tapping one of the few Adults when needing a stop. The kids worked hard, developing a rotation for pulling a few plastic sleds over the dirt, or the larger kids, helping the smaller kids. The “March” seemed to the kids to take “Forever” The Adults tried to help but four to thirty were long enough odds. Sam worked out that Speed was safety, and the faster the better. However relaying with kids on the trailer would not work due to social considerations, like who went first, etc. The Rokon was not powerful enough to pull all that weight, safely.

   Since there no medical emergencies, there was not a viable 'triage' to get the first closer than the others, and the fuel cost was not worth it, ten trips back and forth would take more fuel than the much more time consuming march.

   Sam, frankly out of answers radioed in “Lone Ranger to base ops, Logpac equal too long, if possible require assistance for transport, will local signal within location TIR (Terrain Reference) Malcolm Oaks.: This was the code name for the next road junction about a quarter mile ahead. ETA Malcolm Oaks, two zero mikes, over. “

   Bob's voice was on the Net. “Roger, confirm 20 mikes , Malcolm Oaks, request movers, eta variable, will local ack on arranged signal, over” “Lone Ranger out” said Sam.

   Bob had a copy of TIR listings and code names, in addition to Sabrina, Those were the only two of four who had copies, Sam being the third and a main set, locked up tight.

   

   “Poach to Lone Ranger, over” over the radio. “ 'Ranger, Over” Ranger, advised low profile, Fae folk approaching eta 15 to 20 mikes, assets, Note be prepared for Colorful, Say again, Fae folks aka Resourceful, make nice, again Colorful, Poach out”

   Sam was on the “pins and needles” state, Where the help was coming from, who, what when, where, how, all entered his decision loop. He got the bus folks off the road about three meters or twenty paces into the sides and hopefully hunkered down. Sam absolutely hated surprises.


   
   True to his word, Poach was right, The rig looked like a cross between Hippy Van, Semi Tractor, Super Camper and School Bus. The paint job was an almost eye searing red, blue, puce, chartreuse and purple. The vehicle, for lack of a better word stopped and folks got out, quickly forming a perimeter, in some of the most colorful attire, Sam for one ever had seen. No matter how odd they looked, the folks were pretty sharp with the security. A man and woman came up, Armed but not aiming at any one. The woman spoke first, “ We are looking for the “Lone Ranger” per my cousin you know as “Poach” the Lone Ranger also goes by Sam, and we ere informed there were some “munchkins needing a lift to the “Promised Land.” The Man walked up, This is the company of the “Fae Folk” and I am Luther, This wonderful woman, our Co Captain is Wanda, While I am sure more introductions should be in order, perhaps now is not the time... Oh yes, as to Bona Fides, Poach mentioned that you both met capturing escaped convicts and he admired your Ghillie suit.””

   Sam would have to leave it at that, Breaking cover, Sam slung his weapon and walked up, slowly, He stook out his hand and shook both Wanda and then Luther's hands. Both had firm hand shakes. Sam replied “ That about sizes it up, There are three adults as well, I can give you directions, but will need to go first, in order to make sure you can get in. The route may be a bit complicated for your rig, but the assistance would be deeply appreciated.”

   Wanda smiled, “Assured we will and are happy to assist. Acts of kindness are their own reward, however Luther is correct, We should get moving, what little weather information we have been able to get indicates a severe storm is incoming, expected to get into the teens.” The kids and other adults were all loaded up, then the security team loaded up, and with a rather musical horn tune sounding like something from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons indicated readiness. Sam waved, recovered his Rokon and lead the way, using a switch on the side of his helmet, changed frequencies and reported in, Informing Sabrina to shut down the Green Gnome sector. He was informed this was done, led the way through the “Fire gate” and so the company was led in and once past Sam, Sam secured the gate and walked over the the vehicle giving directions as to where best to park. The driver nodded and slowly maneuvered to the location and began to deploy a set of out riggers with spikes, locking into position.

   Sam radioed Sabrina to bring Green Gnome back on line, and received acknowledgment.
The area secured, Sam walked over and began to guide every one to the external door into the Shelter system. As the children came in, Sam relieved each one of the trash bag covers and put them to the side.

   The adults took turns helping the children use the facilities and followed. The Company, agreeing to rotate sentries in the vehicle also made use and gathered in the central room. Sabrina , with Beth's help was laying out comfort food, Mac and Cheese with all beef hotdogs and milk.

   The kids were fed first and guided to sleeping quarters, boys to one room, girls the other. Fortunately the sleeping arrangements were just enough, but Sam was worried about the longer term.

   The Company opted to bunk out in the common room. Sam had extended the invitation. Bob was monitoring the communications room, freeing up Poach. Who came down and shook hands with Luther, and got a very welcoming hug from Wanda. Quickly explaining that some of the company was extended family, Uncles, Aunts and cousins, and how the original plan was to get into the county on some land nearby. When things hit, under the circumstances, they came here.

   Sam decided to give the Nickel Tour in shifts, the first group of the company and in rotation, the second. Other than the mini armory. Luther and Wanda inquired as to laundry facilities and if more help was needed. Sam replied not as of yet, however He could provide them with fuel, oil and potable water.

   Laundry would have to wait until the morning, as space was a bit snug. Wanda asked about how it was done, the laundry that was. Sam explained the shelter system laundry equipment. Luther raised an eyebrow in admiration. The Company did use the shower system and asked for rags and cleansers to police up. In short order folks were secured and bedded down other than the four on security, to be relieved in four hours. It seemed to be part of the company standard operational procedures or SOP.

   Poach made a few radio calls and located the Sheriff, reporting the new arrivals and the children were safe at Sam and Sabrina's. Sam mentally smacked himself for the lack of foresight. Poach told him to knock it off, No one man or woman could do everything. Further, There were a few details to get worked out. The Storm was coming in even faster than predicted. Sam excused himself, kissed Sabrina and went topside, getting the animals into the barn system. A few of the company got up and helped out. Once secured, all went into shelter. Sam did get some Hot Chocolate and cookies out to the sentries and set up a guide rope from the vehicle to the shelter entry way, just in case. The storm was even more severe than predicted. The Temperatures were in the single digits, and worse would be for the next five to seven days.

   Sam, Sabrina , Luther and Wanda made a pact of sorts, The company could stay as long as they wanted, food, shelter, water and certain supplies given , in exchange for security and maintaining the properties. The company agreed totally. Even with the keeping the “munchkins” with education and entertainment. Seemed the Company were frustrated educators , chefs, gardeners and former soldiers, No mention as to relationships, the Company was “Family” enough said. Sam was worried, Sabrina could tell, but did not know the exact why there of.

   The AM and SW radio receivers both went off at once. “Ladies, Gentlemen, Citizens of The United States of America, I give you the President of the United States.... “Good evening, those who can hear me, and for those who can not, please accurately and without editing spread my words. A terrible day in history has occurred, Foreign powers have attempted to bring this Great Nation to its knees, Contrary to popular belief, This Nation is and forever shall be a republic, with A democratic view, however, Not a true democracy. History has shown us time and again how that can fail. Sadly, I must inform you all of certain decisions, I have made, no matter how bitter the taste of those decisions are. The Following States or Cities are under Military Control , The States of New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Alabama, California, New Hampshire, Colorado, Mississippi, Connecticut. The States of Washington, Oregon, Idaho , Montana. Both Dakotas, Wyoming. New Mexico.,Arizona and Texas are clear as far as is known of Radioactive Fallout, As such. I the President of the United States of America ask that they all cooperate and if needed repel any and all foreign entities, Not limited to the following, The United Nations, any Non United States \Governmental Agency or entities, such as BATFE, IRS, Treasury service and the like, after review by competent Authority, Governors, You had best listen, Because if I can not trust you, neither can your states/

   “I know there are several of you out there, Good, Solid Citizens who have not, will not and no matter what , disagree with me on almost everything, However this is not the time or place to do so.
   I, humbly ask, Not as the President of the United States of America, but as yet another citizen, that you aid where and when you can, be discrete and cooperate with each other, to the best of each person. and ability, and while disagreements shall and will occur,. At the end of the day, even if not a beer. Perhaps, a Root beer and Vanilla Ice cream, get along. We , collectively have a long, hard, bitter, painful path to deal with, In that, To those who have attacked, pray to what ever you believe in, for I shall, with the good citizens of the United States of America, claim that ,too which might be reserved as some say God., Vengeance!. To those who are our Allies, Thank you and Thanks be to God. Those whom would see us fail, Kiss my American A$$ and die!.” In fifteen minutes,  I have acknowledged, by Executive order that the above mentioned States are Sovereign, other than where Martial Law has been declared to have total enforcement rights where there are concerns over Firearms. This does not remove the responsibilities of the Federal Government concerning Class 3 drugs, Explosives or Currencies. Good Night, and God Bless the United States of America.”

   Three days later, Sam, Sabrina, Luther and Wanda were meeting around the main table in the common area. Bob had mentioned previously wanting to sell off some property, Sam was tempted to buy the twenty acre parcel, but other concerns had taken up his time. With the arrival of the “company” and all. He had gone a head and paid for the land. In gold and silver, and obtained a Deed for the property. Room was at a premium. The shelter was just that, Temporary and not meant for such a large number of people.

   Luther looked at Wanda , who nodded. “Sam, you have been a great host and over all a good man to meet and to know. We, the Company , that is never meant to be a burden, in any way. You and your wife have been generous, gracious and very kind, allowing us a break and shelter. We will be on our way in two days, if that is acceptable.” Sam looked up “ Luther, Wanda, it is not like that, at all.

   With the new parcel, I get some into production, If a well or two can be put in, like what we have now, it could both productive and provide more space. I was thinking of how to grant your company part of the land, and help with establishing more adequate housing and the like. While not great to the eye, right now, It would be nice to have good neighbors, helping here and there mutually, like I do with Bob and Beth, right now. I just was not sure if you folks would be agreeable or not.”

   Wanda stared at Sabrina , saying”Did you know he was going to do this?” Sabrina smiled. “We discussed this a bit and I agreed. We have some materials for putting in pads and enough tools to set up a secondary septic system and a smaller PV system, but actual housing is something else.”

   Luther got another nod from Wanda. “We accept, but with conditions. We pay for fifty percent of what you did per Acre and the rest within three years. We may need to travel, but will work the land.

   We are not coming hat in hand, however, it has been discussed time and again for a place to truly call Home. We will check with the other members of the Company, as this would be a collective buy in. We are not entirely without resources.” Wanda smiled. Luther grinned. The four all shook on the deal, Sam drew up a deed of sale , using the plot information from his original and secondary purchases and a suitable area was established.

   With most of the power out over the entire state, Things were interesting to be sure.

   The company was in full agreement, though some wanted to buy outright, even though it would dig deep into what monetary reserves. The original agreement was stuck too, however there was an option for early pay off.

   There was no interest rate on the purchase. Luther and a few of the company took off returning a few days later with a Double long trailer hauling two rather large double wide pre fabricated homes and a Bobcat with full accessories. A second Tractor Trailer rig was also pulling a set of doubles, with Coordination for getting past Green Gnome Sector. The weather broke rapidly, and got above forty degrees. Using the Bobcats and accessories were used to good measure, setting the pad and working to get in the basic plumbing and sewerage. A methane generator was set up as well.

   Using a quick curing concrete, the pads were emplaced and the housing set, in stages for anchoring to the slabs and securing with additional anchors and armored shutters. Once established, what appeared to be a rock facade for each structure was set up to the base of the triple paned armored glass windows providing more protection. Using a variation of a water tower, plumbing for the outside of the shelters was emplaced for fire suppression. Finally large roofs were set on top with a three foot gap from trailer roof to the interior of the over cover, secured to I beams and locked into place with one inch thick carriage bolts. Luther had located two 5 KW generators for power until the PV system could be completed.

   Working in three teams, and shifts, Security, work and down time made the work go quickly but with great quality. The dwellings were set in a square with the interior being well plowed, and set with raised beds, further covered with polycarbonate panels and roofing for a small but intensely productive green house. The wells were easy to set, and a misting system set for the Green house.

   The water heating was via flash heaters, on 20 pound propane tanks for now. Again, this was a work in progress. A slightly smaller dome was set, set with a few polycarbonate sky lights.




Continued in the attached pdf.

9
Communications / A little Old School Radio Thought
« on: December 03, 2012, 09:35:06 AM »
Is it just me, or does it seem harder to locate AM Crystal Radio kits, these days? Radio Shack does not even sell them on line any more from what I can tell. If power goes out a Crystal set still will get a signal if stations are broadcasting.

There were a few kits that could use a 9 volt battery and so one could get AM/FM and Shortwave. Again these units were only receivers not transmitters.

Personally I have one of each kit, along with more modern units in the kit, but replacements might be iffy. While Technology is generally a good thing, the older stuff works well and would be easier to use if it hit the fan.

10
Survival Fiction / Fred and Rupe
« on: November 07, 2012, 06:28:03 PM »
Rupe and Fred

2014, January, Pacific Northwest,

   Fred had just completed his final session of Therapy,after his loss of his right leg and most of his hip. He was getting set up with the works, including an Assistance Animal.  Rupert Fierce Fang  was the dog's official name, his working name was “Rupe”. “Rupe” had what Fred would call an “Attitude Problem”, The dog was willing to help, but disliked rabbits, moles, stray dogs, strangers and almost any other animal within a 1/2 mile radius of what he considered “Home Turf”.


   Fred was happy to have some help, fetching either the 'leg” as he called the apparatus that would be used to replace the hip, knee and ankle he lost  to an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in the war, that took out almost 30% of his body weight, once the other organs or what had been left, after the blast had been weighed.. Fred was one stubborn person, he went though all then rehab had to offer and then with the “apparatus” as he called it twice a week ran the obstacle/confidence course. With the retirement and disability pay and the winning the Power Ball Lottery for 180 Mil cash (annuities were not reliable and the funds had already had taxes paid.) Fred got three different CPA’s to assist with processing funds, Hefty fees were paid, Fred got 155 mil, after all was said and done. He had to remember to work with the device and all. Fortunately, He had 4, 2 for 'Regular work” and 2 for “Dress occasions”

   
    Fred was a prepper, however with his condition,  He was taking time for through planning.
He was eligible for retirement pay at 75 percent, plus his lottery winnings. Once he found a suitable location, with the basic land and soil he was looking for, He paid cash for the fifty acres, and all water, land and mineral rights, with structures, Near to but not incorporated into the nearby town. He paid for an over sized sewerage system, three water wells, and removal of any and all structures and rehabilitated all the materials possible into a few single level homes, wired for solar wind and on site included a methane generator, along with small farming of mostly 30 acres, and small level ranching of cattle and chickens, the waste material was included with other materials that feed into the methane generator, mostly for boiling of water, after it was processed through a reverse osmosis filter system, and then at the sink or tap , Berkey water filters, He purchased the multiple systems through Directive 21.  and with the water/sewer systems, added gray water diverters where possible to feed either the garden beds or structural fire suppression systems.

   He set up his own home with an inner core of a double wide modular home over a similar sized basement, and an exterior of walls some three feet thick, filled with 3/4 minus gravel and a brick and mortar outer layer with Storm/Ballistic Shutters. The roof was made of sheet steel anchored to a row of some 20 posts to a side of  20 feet long, 8 by 8 inch pressure treated timbers and heavily insulated to an interior depth of 48 inches, packed and with a triple interior layer of  Tyvek and finally Mylar. For heat reflection. The basement entries were set for storm and or cebrne, conditions


   The windows were all 5 layer thick clear Lexan for ballistic protection, with quintuple seals and an over pressure system for keeping out chemicals or micron sized material like volcanic ash. The system was set for some ventilation of course for venting heat and humidity, the exhaust system as it were also went through several CBRNE quality filters set up in such a way with overpressure could be changed as needed. The Roof extended to a level about 72 inches anchored to ten feet long posts, set some 4 feet deep underground, and at every 5 feet. In case of wind issues, the exterior roof was as bullet proof as he could get.

   The other structures were set up as well , with interlocking fields of fire. Think of triangular buildings with the tip outward , all being both equilateral and  with roofs the same, at a pitch that lent to snow or ash fall, being slid off and or re delegated to holding pits  Each had two sides out facing A hedge row series was laid in, set for a Zig Zag approach to the house the third wall sort of like a pentagon with twenty foot gaps, for fire fighting. with the truck garden and greenhouses set within the perimeter. The wood line and brush line was set back some 450 meters,

   Garden gnomes with different distances and colors, each with a MURS alert system.
In the future, where needed there would be both tangle foot and in certain locations betonite and some other items to keep folks who were not invited out, period.

   Fred was not paranoid, but he was sure picky about Neighbors and  hatred , no loathed HOAs.
   As such he had set up some non negotiable rules.

1. One must believe the Second Amendment  NOT TO BE ALTERED,or Misunderstood from where it was since 1776.
.
2. Every one owned and trained on firearms. Safely and with proper security.

3. Gardening was fine, NO grows for Marijuana/other crops without a permit, and subject to internal review, internal review for anything was the final Authority.

4. All members of the internal review board, were Prior Service, not just US.
 
5. Have a checkered past? After review, if admitted, New Clean Sheet

6. Every one worked in some fashion, Be it reading to kids, physical labor or manning the communications shack, etc.

7. Basic first aid or Military First Aid was mandatory!

8.  Reduce, recycle, reuse!


   Fred got to know his neighbors, while making improvements to his property. He hired some locals to help with thinning out the trees, setting up a couple of small bridges over the creeks in the area and generally maintaining the land, while putting in a largish truck garden. The streams and creeks were cleaned up from run off and debris. The brush was trimmed back some, more for fire control than anything else. With his conservation efforts, he was able to get some land into fall production for growing some Alfalfa and Hay. While not owning any cattle or horses himself,yet ,He knew there some some folks who did and having a closer source for fodder would be good both ways, Fred could either sell some or trade for barter, like labor on the property.

   About six months after the starting with with a large greenhouse using solar panels and two small wind turbines for power. He did not need a lot of power, just enough to run the heating lamps and the combination sprayer/irrigation system. Some plants got induced 'rain' while others got drip irrigation as needed.

   The house water systems were repeated on each property. Only his house had dual escape hatches through a semi sub basement. This was expensive, as he had to ensure NBC protection all the way through, exited lower than ground level made this tricky but it was done.

   The back up location was set on a much smaller scale, being a two room cabin like affair with mostly underground construction. Set with 12 volt solar/wind systems and a series of micro water turbines from the near by river, The water/sewer system was set for a gray water holding tank and a composting toilet. Heating was also available with a combination wood/coal stove and a smaller propane system, A supply of some 50 25 gallon bottles in a few caches helped if needed.

   Not being one to have all the eggs in one basket, Fred had also set Guerrilla Gardens and if needed could use fish weirs and snares if necessary. The back up location also had some solar for computer and radio, but no internet. Even a CERC communications unit would not work without some sort of data transmission system. Satellite was out and so was cellular coverage, No way was there going to be POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) either.

   If one did not know exactly where to look, the Cabin was not able to be seen, Being set a halt mile from the nearest road or fire lane either. The structure was heavily insulated and dang near Infra Red Invisible as well.

   The location was set up with the gray water tank being able to use a large CO2 canister to pressurize it and deploy for fire suppression. While not perfect, it would work of course there was a lead of 50 gallons of water in the system already. A simple lever operated valve would switch to propane, for internal fire for reasons of scorched earth type of “varmint removal” if needed. Fred had the only key for the heavily armored lock mechanism, just in case of such a situation.

   The larger home was set with additional storage for long term supplies, Fred never used the same carrier twice , setting up a drop location and having the load repacked onto a different transport service, for a fee of course.  All locations were outfitted with MURS and SAME NOAA radios.

   The construction work for the escape tunnels was performed by an out of state service under some pretty strict Non Disclosure Agreements.

   His weaponry in more than one location consisted of four caches and one arms locker consisting of 3each 12 gauge Model 500A Mossberg shotguns, with 500 rounds each, 3 each M1 Rifles, 3 each bolt Action 308 caliber rifles with scopes, another 3 each  SKS rifles each with 500 rounds, 2 each M1911 .45 caliber pistols with twenty Magazines each and 750 rounds each, and 3 each CZ 9mm with ten magazines each and 450 rounds, and three combination .22/.410 gauge single shot rifles, 3 each Crossbows with 150 bolts each strictly Broad head. Fred believed in Maintenance and had repair parts for the user and next echelon of weapons and other hand tools, like Axes, Shovels, Picks, Mattock, Hoes, Cross Cut Saws, Files and the like. Additionally replacement filters, tires, belts, batteries, spark and glow plugs, and lubricants and stabilized fuel at a large level. And of course several copies of manuals for reference, among other things of use, also in hard copy, The spares where possible were vacuum sealed and when appropriate, oxygen absorbers.

   The fuel tanks were set in several locations, able to get to, but having in different locations was so if one were hit, the others were still available. His “Prime Mover” was set with after market tanks, Diesel, of course, and stabilized.  He also had a few 1.5 KW generators five in diesel, three on gasoline.

   His Animal and Personnel first aid and longer term medical supplies and tools were stocked the same way.

   Fred got to know his neighbors, while making improvements to his property. He hired some locals to help with thinning out the trees, setting up a couple of small bridges over the creeks in the area and generally maintaining the land, while putting in a largish truck garden. The streams and creeks were cleaned up from run off and debris. The brush was trimmed back some, more for fire control than anything else. With his conservation efforts, he was able to get some land into fall production for growing some Alfalfa and Hay. While not owning any cattle or horses himself, he knew there some some folks who did and having a closer source for fodder would be good both ways, Fred could either sell some or trade for barter, like labor on the property. He had gotten most families together, with some working with the land, others providing cooked foods and clean water, all paid as independent contractors, well paid at some ten to twelve dollars per hour, subject to their withholding both state and federal taxes at the end of the season. For those interested, Fred set up pay accounts with the local bank, with tax oversight, for a fee of course.  For any injuries, Fred placed a per person bond of up to 5 grand, every worker/contractor was , in writing charged with personal safety and responsibility for the same, Those paid as contracted work, not on int 1099s were required to have health insurance as a requirement prior to being hired for any job. Most contractors had this covered. Those who did not were not hired and were informed that not only where their services NOT required, but even if sub contracted, they , themselves would be charged with criminal trespass and where possible insurance fraud.

   About six months after the starting with with a large greenhouse using solar panels and two small wind turbines for power. He did not need a lot of power, just enough to run the heating lamps and the combination sprayer/irrigation system. Some plants got induced 'rain' while others got drip irrigation as needed.

   Fred was working on his other home. A small one room cabin affair, with a manual pump well,
compost toilet and both a propane flash heater and small multi fuel barrel stove with a modified 25 gallon water heating tank.

   The structure was built with concrete brick on 3 sides from a foot down to the sheet metal roof
The walls were three feet thick with layers of mesh between the bricks, reinforced with re-bar in between the hollows and concrete fill. The Windows were 5 layer thick Lexan, with Ballistic Shutters.
The Front wall was set up to a height of four feet not counting the below visible ground foot the same way. The door was a three inch steel with wood laminate exterior set with 4 locking bolts and a cross bar. The bolts went top, bottom left and right, 4 inches deep and an inch in diameter.
   
   The chimney system was routed with a series of elbows and a thermocouple powered blower to vent to the outside for a distance of fifty feet and a series of baffles back in the hill, and hidden by the simple expedient of an old foundation of rock slab.

   Each wall had 2 gun ports, each port able to be sealed tight. For other protection, Fred had a modified military NBC system that would be able to be basically inflated and over pressured against contaminates.

   The one down side was there were no good locations to install Antennas for communications.
 He would have to use a hand held unit, and the old trick of long wire over the highest tree limb he could toss it over. For this he used a modified mini cross bow , using a quarrel rather than a broad headed bolt. The blunt tip was better suited to avoid obvious marking of the tree branch.
   
   Rupe and Leroy each had a safe place as as well, In both the main house and the cabin, a doghouse sized over pressure unit with water was made ready. There were a series of puppy pads for use if needed.

   
   The layout for the cabin , the bed as set with storage underneath, and a combination pantry cupboard system, with a small rotation system from Shelf Reliance. Power was provide by a series of PV panels powering LED lighting, and the on demand ignition unit for the flash heater. The sink had a diverter for the gray water, which went into a holding tank, that could be used for the raised bed garden close to the cabin.

   The interior of the roof was set with a four inch thick layer of insulation for deadening noise from rain or even hail, a false ceiling was set but reinforced with beam style rafters using 4X4s that were sealed and varnished. Hooks allowed for hanging other items, like pots and pans.

   Fred's regular home was a bit more modern, and had more space. It had started as a three bedroom one and a half bath single level structure with a basement and a ceiling crawl space that other than being well insulated to a thickness of one yard against the roof interior and another half foot from the base into the space , was otherwise empty. With Fred's physical state he really did not mind.

   
   Fred went into Town about twice a Month. Each time the Shop Keeper Jim would dedicate two of the staff to load up if needed,Fred usually did it all himself, however the staff would make double sure the entire load was tarped well. Fred was gracious with his thanks,and tipped well but lumped his own load.

   Usually obtaining items he did not have himself, some times hand tools, other times Groceries, mostly long storing staples and food for Leroy and Rupe. The three of them enjoyed a nicely cooked beef steak.

   Rupe was either helping Fred with things like getting the artificial leg, shoes or the like, when the Assistance Animal vest was on him, he was On DUTY, as only a canine could be. Leroy the cat generally prowled the barn and near yard, for small varmints like moles, voles and rabbits.

   Fred decided against raising livestock himself, One person could not do it all.
He did however reach out to one of his nearby neighbors and asked if they were raising and if so how much for chicken or beef? The family was land rich, but cash poor, so the offer of solid cash in very competitive rates was welcome. When there was summer work to be done, Fred would get in contact with folks in the local area first, Sometimes for direct hire in tree thinning or the like, or Like his older neighbor Frank, ask who would be best in the area for some work, be it roofing or the like.

   
   Through third parties, Fred bought more ammunition and silver, some gold, but mostly silver and ACOS copper and Silver as well, from http://Http://tspcopper.com and http://Http://silverandgoldshop.com

   The firearms and ammo were paid for in cash as much as possible, as were parts and products.
Fred did not trust the Federal Government, much less the State, when he was not given an Allodial Title for his land purchases.  Thus a Trust, action great of lawyers, And sucks for States.

      That Summer, Fred had hired one family to cook for the work crews two meals a day, a lunch and dinner, One family was working the wood lot, another was on the creek beds, working on erosion control and a third for the Alfalfa and Hay to be harvested.  Fred also stocked up on Tattler Lids, Pints, Quarts and half Gallon sized Jars, Several Cases, and both pressure cookers and Pressure canners and Wet Hot Bath systems as well. The White and Higher Acid Pickling Vinegars were harder, seemed no one wanted to sell in anything larger than Gallon sized containers.

   Fred paid top dollar and made sure that maintenance of any equipment being used was paid for.
He used the local bank for the business money of paying wages and taxes so there would not any trouble. Granted there were some fees, but without being an actual business, it was a lot easier, and folks , if they wanted to could accrue some interest on their hard earned cash.  More Supplies, Like Heirloom and NON hybrid seeds of all kinds, Staples, like Coffee, Tea, Cocoa, Rice, various Beans, Lentils and Grains. Spices as well, vacuumed packed with O2 Absorbers, in half ounce sizes.

   Most “Meal Systems” were set up into 4 portion servings. Hand Sewing Needles, Thread spools both small, and machine sized were collected, Hand tools. Reproductions of 1800.a Farming implements and more modern ones were obtained, Horses, A few Oxen, Goats and Chickens were obtained. Fed raised  and Rabbits.  Blacksmith tools and Supplies, like Coal, Coke, Iron ingots, molds , and More current tools, like presses, Drills and CNC Machines, generators, fuel , ;lubricants, belts and filters.

   First Aid items were triple packed , Vacuumed sealed. And then placed into pressurization capable kits. A full setup for Medical Freezers were set with Triple redundant power supplies and Prescription items were added, slowly.. Dental items as well, a few Autoclaves were added as well..

   Firearms reloading supplies tools, dies and replacement parts for the full range of Flintlocks to the most modern firearms and Optical gear with the ability to create lenses and even Glassblowing equipment as well. Looms. Wood working tools and Shop tools were included.   

   If there were any profits from the sales of the wood, as some folks would pay for it , but did not have the time or tools to come harvest it, and from the Alfalfa and hay, Fred would add 5 percent from the sales as a production bonus.

   He got sort of popular, but in a good way. He was still the “New Guy” but alright. He took care of his property, and if hiring, paid top dollar and while rather strict in the end results was easy to work for.

   October 2017,

   Frank was retired, but had lived in the area all his life. His knowledge of folks and their various skill sets, let Fred pay a consultants fee to Frank for every job recommendation that worked out.

   Frank was getting older and took a bad fall heading into Autumn that year. He was not far from the house, when he slipped on a rock and took a tumble. Fred and Rupe where on the way over on Fred Quad Runner, being easier with his artificial leg for traveling than driving his truck. He did not like the idea of needing to get it adapted, too many electronic parts to keep up with.

   Frank had been there for about half an hour, when He heard Fred pull up. Rupe could tell something was not right, Frank was to be on the porch, not on the ground. Fred stopped the engine and he and  Rupe both ran over to where Frank lay. He had taken a good shot to the head and Fred could tell a concussion was involved. Carefully going over Frank  through the basic first aid evaluation, it appeared Frank had also either badly sprained or possibly broke his ankle as well.

   Fred called 911, and gave location using the GPS from his 'runner for location and informed Dispatch as to what was happening, that it was Frank who was injured and while Fred was performing First Aid, an Ambulance would be really appreciated ASAP.

   Getting his kit, he got Frank covered with a Space Blanket, the one with the tarp backing, and carefully elevated Frank's good leg for treating for shock, and using a Sam Splint stabilized the ankle.

   Rupe did not know what else to do, Trying to help, so he went up by Frank's head and licked his face, Frank tried to protest, Fred did not want Frank trying to go to sleep on him, so he asked Frank to talk to him. Rupe would from time to time lick Frank's hand, and if he did not move, licked his face again. Dispatch checked in with Fred, and updating him stating Life Flight was coming in, Due to Frank's age, injuries and the very real chance of Hypothermia ( It had been only 28 Degrees out at 5 AM, and it was now 7 AM. ) The chopper was inbound in 4 minutes. Fred informed Dispatch that he was the only human on scene and could not assist with setting up an LZ, however there was a large open area in front of Frank's house that might work.

   Dispatch told Fred to just keep on with what he was doing, the Pilot would figure it out, but thanks for the concern. Most folks did not think about things like that.

   Fred could hear the helicopter coming in, The pilot was completing a survey, preparing to land.
Fred told Dispatch the 'Copter was on visual. He then pulled a pocket pen flare and fired it off.  The Pilot and his Medic decided to lower the medic and then the Stokes Litter. The Medic Fast roped and as the litter was being lowered, The Medic pulled his ground stick, Booted into the ground and hit the hook, This discharged the line, Fred moved over to help move the Litter to Frank. Carefully both men got Frank in the litter, recovered with the Blanket and secured for the Hoisting. The Crew Chief gave a return Thumbs up and Frank was lifted into the helicopter. The line came down , again the Medic discharged and hooked up, Fred pulled the rod loose and let the Medic take over. As the bird was lifting the Medic up and rotating to the County Medical Center, Fred informed Dispatch he would lock up for Frank and check the place until he got word on Frank's condition. A phone call to the Sheriff got Fred listed as okay to visit Frank, since he had no family, but trying to play by HIPPA. Fred had to secure Frank's cat Dinah and get her safe. He left a note stating where Dinah was and why. While Rupe was attempting to be friendly, Dinah was having nothing of it. Rupe got on the back of the Quad runner and waited for Fred to lock up. They headed home, where they had a late breakfast.

   Dinah was not a Dog person, end dot period. Once home, Leroy was NOT impressed. Seemed Dinah was 1.Spayed, 2. Old Almost 17 in Human years, 3 All white in coat and fur, 4 Like yards but was not much of a hunter. Dinah was good for petting and given striches, being civil sort of, and being a house cat, not a land/ barn cat, until the day in Spring 2018, she attacked a Falcon trying to get Leroy to be the main entree for lunch, Dinah did a straight drop on the Falcon, just as the Falcon missed, hitting dirt. Rupe got on the back of the bird with with calculated power, broke its neck. Leroy reconsidered Dinah after that. Too bad she did not like other cats or dogs, she had done well under the circumstances.

   Fred did have to bury the bird, only after taking to some locals about the body and feathers, since some folks were of American Indian descent, and Fred did not want to get them ticked off. The few “Elders” cut some slack since he had asked and the falcon was not a bald eagle.


   Fred had some unexpected visitors two days later, Fred had two visitors. One was Sheriff Brown, the other was the local pastor. Fred had not been a real church goer. Sheriff Brown walked up and knocked on the door. Rupe woofed, but left it at that. Fred opened the door and invited both men in. “Welcome and have a seat, I was just making Coffee, Care for a Cup?”

   Both men said “Yes”, and Fred set up with a few mugs and a tube of Honey, if needed.
Sheriff Brown made the introductions “Fred, This is Pastor Thompson, Pastor, Fred one of our neighbors and the fellow who helped Frank.”

   The men shook hands. “What can I do for you , Gentlemen?” Fred asked. Sheriff Brown replied “Fred, Frank was in worse shape than initially thought. Seems he suffered a small stroke and will need to be hospitalized for some time. You saved his life, so don't be faulting yourself, The Doctors had to do an MRI to locate the damage. You impressed Life Flight with the local assessment and taking charge, until they arrived. They got real impressed with how you handled the static discharge and when they found out you use an artificial leg were even more so.

   Pastor Thompson here wanted to meet you, since Fred has no other family, He wanted to know if you felt it were okay for him to visit Frank.”

   Fred shook his head. “Not for me to say yea or nay, Pastor, if you can do anything for Frank, Prayers, visits or whatever, I am sure Frank will have to be the one to ask.”

   Pastor Thompson spoke”Fred, I think something is being overlooked, It seems the stroke has taken way Frank's ability to speak very well.”

   “Ah, C.....p!” Sheriff Brown grinned very slightly. “That was better controlled then What I said, when I heard about it.” Pastor Thompson said”Fred, Frank had me witness some papers for him, One was a limited power of attorney that in the event something happened, I was to choose some one  to look out for his interests. He mentioned that while you might not want the job, you could recommend some one for him. The Sheriff would be a witness as to whom you recommend.”

   Fred said “ I can think of three folks, Two of which could do the job , but may have trouble keeping things together with all the work. One, The Sheriff here, Two, John Conroe of the bank. Three would be some one Frank trusted and I think that would be you Pastor, otherwise a combination of the two or three of you, especially if Frank has monetary functions to taken care of.

   Otherwise, I would see if there was a way to set Frank's holdings into some kind of trust so there would be no monkey business if some one came out of the wood works, claiming to be a long lost  relation.”

   The two men finished their coffee and left, Sheriff Brown would be by in a few days with updates.
   
   Fred asked Pastor Thompson if he knew anyone who might be able to act as interim caretaker for Frank's home and property... As winter was coming on, and not knowing what Frank's status was going to be, it might be better to have some one care take rather than winterize everything, and perhaps get some quotes for re vamping the bathroom and the like for some one who might not be able to get around so well. Fred mentioned when he had bought the property, he had gotten things like assistance rails installed and most things in the house were at or below chest height for the reason he might need to use a wheel chair one day. The Pastor admitted he knew a few folks who might be up to the job for general care taking, but not the refit. Fred got a business card, followed by two more, The last one was for a in home care service that was top notch, being retired military personnel, Each provider was given the same level of background checks as required for the military equivalent of Secret and had to maintain it every year or lose employment. The other two cards were refit companies. One Fred used as  the refits he wanted were given locally, The other was recommended for complete revamping, including security, emergency alert systems and complete 1000 hour emergency power and communications back ups. The latter was a sub branch of CERC. A Communications company that Fred had managed to get some stock in, but it was non voting but paid well.

   He had some smaller more long term projects, like a barn dome with an internal over pressure system and CBRNE filtration, mostly in the ground, and shielded with a four layer thickness of sandbags between the exterior and interior layer of the dome still above ground. And for the seedlings. Though a second dome would bring out “growers.  Not the ones he wanted or needed.
 When was the last time one of those grew food or helped others, so called anti nausea for money was quack medicine, nothing more.

   Rechecking his local fiances, Fred decided to invest more into silver bullion, so called “Junk silver” dimes, quarters and only about 3 percent in actual Gold.  He also decided to go ahead with more domes, each with an escape tunnel, and interlocking tunnels if the weather got intense enough. Each dome had a 50 foot interior height, and a above ground base of 500 yards. , while seemingly shallow, with both layers , great protection. The central ventilation/HVAC systems were proof against most things, save a KEW or Kinetic Energy Weapon or an 100 mile away Nuke burst. The interiors deep sunk wells were an additional back up, with solar panels, wind mills and therm coupled  pumps and filters for both air and water. While tending to smaller herds and vegetables, the domes were dang near Bio spheres.

   Additional storage for both Water , power, lighting, heating and batteries was included so that any dome could be shut down and its resources re distributed accordingly, while each dome could also stand alone, if needed.

   Those domes scheduled for livestock were set with holding areas for containment and isolation, as well as feed and or seed storage. With 5 Domes, he would need a farm manager, He could pay for those services, but how to get both People and Animal medical professionals would be tricky. Doable, but tricky.

   Fred began to realize his plans were going to run out of land space, to get all he wanted to accomplish. The actual acreage, farming, etal would take another 100 acres to get completed successfully, including all the resources he could bring to action.

   His long time finances were secure, while slumbering, like seeds in the well kept soil deep in winter. 

   Fred had made some work with the local township , near by with enhancing the Library, both the school and town, and the medical facilities as well as the local EMS department with donations and or directed projects as needed or felt to be needed by Fred and Fred alone.   Fred also made large free grants of some 5 million dollars to the State Veteran;s Affairs Departments of Idaho, Washington State, Oregon, Montana, and Texas.

   The Projects were both successful and welcomed. While again the New Guy, in the area, He was welcome in the local community and also known as one guy to not cross as some Union workers tired to get in on his projects, but were stopped cold, period, complete with restraining orders, cease and resist orders as well as Armed Guards with Federal Weapons permits.  The reality was three caught, hanging by the ankles, fitted with IVs thought to prevent dehydration, and left alone outside of the perimeter.

   Some folks in the SOCOM would either applaud or mention “armatures”, Fred wanted the message made, but no police/court interactions. In that he succeeded.


   Fred and the outsiders, sort of.........
   
   Fred was not a local, nor did he have any pretensions, While he had made nice with the locals, hiring and paying well for all of it, He did not have that semi unalienable and unalterable quality of being a “local”. When he had posted through some third parties for employment advertisements, with qualifications , the results were limited, based on responses were of higher than expected quality, Fred did his research, complete with hiring through intermediaries, private investigators to check things out.

   When all was so called said and done, he hired a few folks to work the land, carefully.
The Foreman was actually a woman, Melinda, who had two degrees, both Masters Degrees, one in agriculture and the other in resource management, The second was male, Cadius by name, who could farm, was both a jack leg mechanic and had a degree in Veterinary medicine and a Bachelors in
Pre medicine and a minor in mechanical engineering.

   Fred decided to get two more domes built as soon as possible.  One other hire was a retired Master Chief, USN Construction Battalion, last name of Johnson, He would be the on site security officer, though with Fred's prior planning was pretty much given a low work load, though there were a few suggestions, like punji stakes at the 450 meter limits, the pits lined with both water and oil, set to ignite with fusees and magnesium wire, or upping the wire with small wires to trip flares and noise makers, though both were covered already, save for a few projectiles of “Tear gas” or Foo gas” and coffee can Improvised “claymore” mines with the similar tubes of   binary launched Ammonia and Chlorine Bleach rounds.  Fred had mentioned wanting to stay .low key. The Master Chief was impressed.
   
   The low key approach was impressive, however the so called “improvements” were incorporated as soon as possible.

   None of the working staff knew of the cabin or of Fred's supplies. “Chief ” had prepped a good bit, but did not have the second or third back ups for resources..

   The domes were completed, finally, with solar and wind powered lighting and electrically powered watering and heating systems. The Crops , Corn for food not fuel, some other crops, not for Bio Diesel were productive, as were the Animals, Cattle, Pork and Chickens, Fish were harder to produce , however were being harvested.

   The lack of bio diesel was non issue as the alternative fuel was either methane or wood gas for most vehicles.

   Fred still had difficulties with the local government so called Officials , especially since he lived and resided out of the town and so was under County rather than City regulations, The local Mayor was ticked , since Fred had made township improvements, but was not a town citizen. As such his resources were untouchable, period, end dot. Exclamation Point! The County received some volunteer funding for Emergency Services from Fred as well. Including Search and Rescue.

   The County intra Library also got a boost. He invested in a few more parcels of land around his property, expanding the fence lines and working the soil, He got some help from the local ranchers on how to properly graze and practice good land management, along with water.

   After doing some research, Fred even got a matching grant. He started with both clover and alfalfa, intermixed with manures, carefully measured out to not overload with too much Nitrogen.

   Using a variety of techniques , including Trees along the property lines, carefully monitored for fire control. There were some additions, like stock water tanks here and there as well.

   With controlled grazing, and good management with both Cattle and Sheep ranchers, He managed a test group of Llamas as well. So far things were looking pretty good, Though as yet had he been able to actually turn a profit, The local markets were pretty well covered.

   He paid for manual wells to be installed in a few locations,. They all were fed from the same replenishing Aquifer. The wells were tested periodically. With the improvements , the land was very fertile for the some 150 acres.  The land was leased to ranchers, and sheep herders in various portions, avoiding overlap and over grazing. There was some issue with this, but all parties were otherwise satisfied, No one was dominating the resources and the fees were low. Although it tool almost 3 years to get there, with the seasons As the improvements were more agricultural and not with actual structures, the taxes were low, until Fred, once again set up the land under a Trust. The County Commissioners were more interested in getting services up, and with Fred's donations, it was ruled in his favor for a tax credit for improvements, rather than getting hit for property taxes. 

   The homestead was in pretty good shape, The on site wells were clean, potable and the cisterns full as well, being underground and well situated. There were a couple of Water towers for fire suppression as needed.

   Over time, Fred was able to get the type of neighbors he wanted, Hard working, 2nd Amendment believing folks, Who also engaged in secondary jobs, like weaving, brewing, gardening and other folks who dressed more like Ren Faire types, worked with thinks like dyeing fabric that was woven from the locally harvested wool or leather for foot ware or even larger clothing., all as part and parcel of a self reliant life style. Some, like Fred and The Master Chief were retired, but still able to work and sought to do so. Sometimes with help with things like canning or tree harvesting.

   The group also worked on training with help from the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department with fighting brush and structural fires and Emergency First Aid. The local Farmers and Ranches liked to hire members for repair and maintenance work, The crews were paid top dollar, had better safety and attendance records and usually found more work to do and did it. Of course Fred was upfront about ensuring supplies and materials were available , He got paid full market value, as it was cheaper to haul from his location , than to special order and deliver in the farther out homestead.

   Fred, had paid for the freight, but since he bought wholesale rates and quantities, what he got back made up for it. Since he was retired, his taxes were pretty light. The local IRS agent had gone through every single return and found nothing amiss. Of course with three C.P.A.s this was not surprising. The tax refund just about covered his filling fees.

   The arable portions of his holdings under the Trust were fairly productive, using both Square foot and tiered methods and both plot and crop rotation every season keep things in good shape for years, if not longer.

   With this, power production was still a question. Bio Diesel was only going to get so far and Fred was not growing Corn for the Vehicles. He loathed Monsanto and ensured where he grew crops there were at least a one acre wide boundary from any other Farmers Land,. While folks could do as they wished on their own lands, Fred refused to buy from any one who grew GMOs.

   Overtime a firing range was built, with lanes to handle up to .65 cal Black powder rifles , and .308/7.62 mm. As well as smaller calibers. With Tactical Village as well. He rented it for reasonable fees to the Sheriff's Department and Police as well.

   Chief had taken up a new hobby, reloading and civilian Fire Arms repair, and was an NRA trained Pistol, Rifle and Tactical Shotgun trainer. Some of the Ren-Faire types, like William and Renee were Re curve Archery and Atlatl instructors. Both were pretty wicked with the old standby Shepherd’s Sling as well.

   Overall the first Five years were pretty successful. The crops and by the fourth year, small herds of Scottish Cattle and Sheep were fairly productive with good blood lines.

   While small, only about twenty head of each, were healthy and fertile, Fred was going to have about eight young animals each come spring. To maintain the herds, he would sell the young, and maybe four each Ewes and Cows.

   Over time, a small collection of Trailers were acquired and set up with a local clinic and at the other end a Veterinary clinic , both for large and small animals.

   Chief had located a semi retired General Practicing M.D.  And Veterinarian as well.

   The two professionals were on site 4 days a week, being Widowers and so did not mind sharing a Double Wide trailer set up as a sort of Duplex, wired just like the rest of the homes and plumbed as well. Of course they were paid well. Given rent free housing and utilities. Fred paid for the Supplies and equipment and while not a full fledged ER or Trauma Center was as good as anything in town. There was a small dental facility, This staffed for four days a month by the Town Dentist who was not ready to retire and liked being given both Free housing and access to the local creeks as he was an avid fly fisherman.

   The Economy was still going down the crapper, so As Fred worked on his holdings, slowly re investing in Food production and limited Timber operations, He was steadily working to improve conditions in the region.  His and Chief's efforts were paying off. With being able to have a Micro Economy and secondary trades were beginning to make a profit, which were re invested over time

   Slowly adding to more land and securing all rights as possible, Fred held through the various Trusts almost thirteen per cent of usable land in the two counties. With Superior Management and limited and planned slow growth, the holdings had gotten large enough for a second set of homes for crews and trades folk. As such, with input by all, it was agreed to work harder in stocking Books and Home school, The curriculum was through and varied. So called Electives including herbalism, First Aid, Fire Arms repair, Black Smith, Animal Husbandry, Carpentry,  Plumbing and the like.

    Fred and Chief were out and about  looking over the land for both tree and brush thinning and water courses needing repair.

   
   Fred was driving his reconditioned 4 wheel drive diesel pick up, It had brush guards, an external rear mounted rack for additional Fuel cans ,2 each, 2 specially modified Water cans insulated to an external temperature of minus 35 Degrees Fahrenheit. with two spare tires. With his lack of two regular legs , this was easier than the under the rear fender option. There was a PTO winch, rated for three times the Vehicle weight, and of course repair belts, tools and additional filters and glow plugs. In a secured lock box, bolted to the interior of the truck bed. Same for the additional firearms, besides what was already available in the truck cab itself, Both men were armed with bolt action .308 rifles and 12 gauge shotguns. Fred had a M 1911 with three magazines, Chief was riding shotgun, he was packing a 4 inch barreled .357 Magnum and two speed loaders, There had been serious rumors of wild Boar in the area, possibly these were actually Feral Pigs, but why take chances? Between Fred and Chief the fairly extensive First Aid packs could cover a lot of the more likely injuries. Driving slowly , to reduce noise, each man took time to slowly survey the area, About twenty minutes into the first route of which it was planned to check out two, both for access and for fire breaks or possible thinning of so called ladder fuels. Chief saw the man first, or rather the boar that had the man treed and was making a huge ruckus.

   Fred eased the truck to a stop, and carefully got a rifle from the rack, Chief was pulling out his revolver and lining up his sight picture. Fred leaned over the hood of the truck and lined up as well. If Chief either did not get a fatal shot, or missed, Fred would back him up. The man in the tree stayed quiet, not wanting to alert the Boar as to its soon to be demise. In the tree position, the man was unable to bring his bow to bear properly,. Having to use both arms and legs to stay in the tree limbs.

   Chief low voiced said “ Ready, Steady, Fire” and eased off his first shot, The Boar jinked at the last moment, and instead of a Behind the Right shoulder, To it the the side of the chest. The Boar turned to face the new menace, when Fred fired, hitting the Boar in the left eye. Chief followed up with two more shots. The Boar went down, had, Fred, having heard about the tenacity of the beast, Fired again, this time just behind the base of the skull to the neck. His round tore the head off. No way would that Boar ever do anything again.

   The man in the tree yelled, “Okay if I get down now?” Both men agreed, carefully reloading one at a time and safeing the weapons. The man in the tree was wearing Mossy Oak camouflage and well made knee hide moccasins.

   Thus, Fred and Chief met William “Bill , Bowhuntin” Black Elk. While not a full member of the tribe as they considered blood lines. He was usually pretty good with hunting quietly.

   Walking slowly and limping a bit, he skirted around the deceased Boar and eased up to what was left of his pack, He had intentionally dropped to distract the Boar when he hit the tree, On the way up, he had slipped and banged up his left knee and so was limping pretty good and obviously in some pain.

   The pack was a total loss. The Boar had been nothing if extremely destructive. Looking around a bit, The two shooters decided things were okay for now and opened the back of the truck, swinging out
the rack, and dropping the stability foot, taking down the gate and lifting the hatch to open things up. Chief eased out the First Aid kit, after helping Bill hobble over and take a seat, Chief cut along the seams of the leg in question, to better expose the wound, There was some abrasion, but nothing serious, so he sprayed it with an aerosol topical Anti-biotic, dressed the injury and adding an ice pack.

   Following up, Bill was given a liter of cold ,potable water and two generic Advil for the pain he most be in. Once done, While Fred was maintaining security, as Boars were known to have packs or herds or what ever you called it. Chief got Bill into the back seat of the truck and covered Fred while Fred secured the Kit and the rack, covering Chief once he got up to the drivers seat, door open. Chief got in right smartly and shut the door. Fred did as well. Bill mentioned He was not even ready to harvest the kill. Both men decided to leave it there, Other critters had to eat, and while they liked pork from time to time, this one was out.

   The report was radioed in on a business radio to the base, with the message that spotter 6 and spotter 5 were RTB with 1 Male, en route to the clinic. The general operations center had been equipped with SAME/ FM /AM /SW receivers  , Business radios and scanners as the entire area was several miles from Town.    Chief pulled out a map using the Township and Range system and over layed with Military UTM Grid, crossed checked with GPS to mark where the animal was killed.
   
   Getting back, Bill was taken to the clinic and while protesting was put into a wheel chair, until he was checked out by the on site MD. Fred  said he would be back, Chief would stay a bit, once he was sire Bill was taken care of and like all good military men, left getting out of the way, He and Fred would debrief later, first getting the Vehicle re fueled and rechecked for maintenance, and Fred and the Chief would clean weapons.

   Bill got a full physical, Fred had given both the Doctor and the Dentist a “resource fund” from that find came a used but sound portable X ray unit and processing equipment, and a basic blood lab.
   Again not a full fledged Trauma center, but pretty good. The X ray room was set up with a shielded area and hardened with power only to the unit and other wise set up like a Faraday cage.

   The Prognosis was fair, Bill would not be crippled, however the Doctor wanted Bill to get a localized MRI in case of tendon or ligament damage. The Doctor was not sure if anything were actually torn or not, but did not want to take chances.   

   Bill was driven into the Hospital, Got checked and thankfully no real damage had occurred.

   Fred paid cash up front, not knowing if Bill had insurance or not. Chief had taken the time to update the map in the control center, which not only monitored the farmlands and other parcels, but was a “Situation Center”, coordinating the various work crews and when needed, the local emergency response teams.

   In order to maintain skills, the more traditional ones and to bring in more practitioners, Fred had started up an Interpretive center of how life was just under a century ago. The outlay was spendy, but what the heck. The wooden security walls looked real, however the interior was re-bar and concrete with wire mesh, with log exteriors, the wood treated to be fire retardant. The well was functional, however there were in fact well hidden redundancies that were very modern.  The Mercantile was also the trading post, and with help of the locals, Fred was able to also get a Living Museum of skilled and authentic costumed reenactors for the various skills and  techniques that were used back then.

   Fees were relatively cheap at 5 dollars per Adult, and 2.50 per kids under the age of fourteen.
   
   During the School year, fees were waived for any school that reserved a visitation day, Any one over 55 got in for free,

   There were some special undocumented features to the center, The various root cellars had interior, deeper sections to serve as storm or tornado shelters, a common house was large enough to hold up to 100 people for three days if needed. Each building had cunningly well hidden fire suppression systems, and were built with additional insulation hidden between the exterior and interiors of the roof/ceilings, made to appear authentic. Each had a Berky water filtration system and set with special plumbing for gray, and black water, using what appeared to be outhouses, but were composting toilets. The open gardens and small barn/stable were working models.

   Chief had a lot of fun working out both the design layout and inputting the special features.

   Bill was helping out, teach basic Bowyer skills and Archery, Some others were teaching native harvesting and tracking techniques, blacksmithing, use and care of 1890's style tools and other skills that were back in the day practical living. The school was a one room Black board and slate with chalk. The students were kids who were good in school and had to maintain 3.75 or better GPAs, in order to participate. Special credit was given for attending. 
 



   Rupe was having a good time, riding in the truck, all Dog, ears back, tongue out, the works.

   Fred again with Chief, were out and about, looking things over, when there was a radio call at the Interpretive Center. By the brief report , it seemed some bikers, the 1%, were making folks nervous and making the mistake of showing firearms. There were school kids visiting, most of the civilians were indoors in the root cellars. The gates were closed, however some of the stay behinds outside of the wall
were starting to take aim at the personnel on the wall. Bad idea, Shooting down is always more accurate than shooting up.
   

    The wall sentries were taking aim, but the guard commander was attempting to defuse the situation. Sadly , the “Foreigners” were not willing to cooperate. Pulling out a “Whippet” style two barreled 10 gauge was not a good thing. Pointing one towards Women,. Even less.

   Both Chief and Fred were armed, after the Boar incident, with Bolt action , sighted and scoped to a distance of 500 yards , with .308 caliber rifles. Easing up on the outer wall on the far side as to be unseen, the two called for the Sheriff,The reproduction weapons were truly functional, however the ballistics were not as desirable as oh, say Sniper rifles.

   The two got up the wall, Fred being pissed at his lack of finesse, with the loss of his leg. Taking position, Chief asked to take charge, Fred shrugged his shoulders and said “ Fine, but if you get shot, I will do my damnedest to ensure you get to tell your wife what happened., I am so not wanting to write that letter, Hear me?!?

   “Keep your pants on, and get ready, if they don't wise up, I need you to shot three of those motorcycles through the gas tanks, and use the pen flare of yours to ignite the fuel ASAP. I intend to either get them to depart or fertilize the corn patch, period. Are you in?”

   Fred replied “ Sure, but it would surely be a waste of a good few Harleys, For that I will be sad, as to these folks, yeah, not so much, let me know who is on first, I will take second and if needed, the bikes will be third, if that is okay with you?”

   Chief smiled, like a wolf, “Sure, and if I did not know better, you are going to take two on second base, Okay Men, take positions and remember, Aim small, Miss small.”

   “Each Man will team up, so there are two rifles per target, Don't worry if we lack coverage. (Note each sentry had a MURS radio, hidden, but all could hear) While I expect one to shoot,the other will acquire target and fire again., While the first reloads, I want these vermin stopped. Now then report in and take positions.” Nodding to Fred, Fred mentioned re opening the gate as rats will fight when cornered, and it would provide for a clear range of fire , if indeed, necessary. Lets get the gate open, Rats who are cornered would fight, fiercely. With the near side gate open, and security keeping out the few still with the motorcycles, left a possible option without shooting. Neither Fred or Chief were betting on it, however. The interior teams had sent the message about the other visitors were safe.

   The bikers were having nothing about it, The demands included surrender of all property, goods and facilities. Fred said “Not going to happen, You can leave, or die. Hurting any one will get you shot, first, like all good leaders, that example will be sure to influence your gang.”

   Fred had made sure the Sentries had live powder and bullets, though not ball, rather they were set with Hollow Points for rounds. While not match grade, at under 200 yards, they were accurate.

   Fred gave the command to fire. It was over in seconds. The outside bikers, got on their machines and fled. There were three dead bikers, and the others were either wounded or surrendering.

   The Doctor (Medical student in his last year) and the Barber (Retired EMT) came out. Each man was armed with double barrel shotguns. There was no resisting of arrest.

   The Sheriff had arrived, with three Ambulances and a transport bus for the prisoners. Six  Deputies and three State Troopers also showed up. With full tactical gear.  Statements were taken, and the gang members were rounded up and once seated, shackled in the bus, the wounded were taken by ambulance, as were the corpses.

   The school children were escorted back their buses and sent home, no injuries. Fred was waiting for the fallout from some parents, but rather than getting the “I'll Sue” attitude, he and the others were recognized for the professionalism, and safety of the children. Several parents were grateful it was not worse. The bikers were tried by the State as terrorists. With all of their collective and singular misdeeds,
the sentences were either fifty years to life in most cases.

   Back at the farm, the crops were getting harvested, and the food animals were culled as well.
The Winter forecast was grim, with a larger than normal predicted snow and colder temperatures.

   The center was closed for the season, With a care taker crew on site. With Generators, water filters, powder, ball, flints and all the items post 1890 to live, survive and thrive, including trauma kits and training. Along with reloading supplies, Black smithing, and the like.

   Fred was considering putting in a rail line, Steam powered and the track running from the Farm to the center and back, maybe including a circle of track around the interior of properties for transportation of people and supplies. Chief was thinking it was a waste , but hey it was Fred's money.

   Folks were heading into town, getting those few items that were not yet manufactured within the region. So called Wellington Boots, ice melting chemicals, items that were needed like additional batteries, weatherization kits, and the like. Fred was not yet ready to set up a full fledged store.

   He did not want to create competition with other local businesses yet. Considering things, Fred and chief agreed that getting a large fuel supply with two 50 KW generators , transfer switch and the like for power back ups with parts and lubricants might not be a bad idea. Running one or the other as needed might be a good thing, with the weather reports and projections. Being several miles away from towns made this a serious consideration. Chief over saw emplacing and siting water towers. Chief reconsidered the rail line. At least between the Center and the Trust lands. If roads would not be cleared, a rail way might be a good deal.. However it was a bit late in the season to survey the tracks, get the lines laid,etc.  Chief checked things out and realized with modern equipment, rather than using hand tools, modern technology could have the job done fairly quickly, After the survey, that was.

   Fred allowed as chief had more of an idea of what was needed to let him head up the project.

   Fred was looking for Steam powered Engines, Not the sort of thing one can find on E bay to be sure. And transporting the machine would be interesting. Realizing he did not need more than two cars and the engine, He could get it shipped in pieces and re assemble on site. With a smaller engine and a more efficient engineering, The engine, one car and caboose would be all that was needed.

   Getting loops of track for turning around would be the only difficult part. Laying two sets of track would make things easier. About fifteen yards apart at most., Using an oval rather than circles would be easier as well.

   The current trip was about Forty miles round trip, The train would be Fifteen. Additionally with the rail, being near the farm complex would make getting freight into the complex and taking visitors to the Center would be both easier on traffic and reduce issues like the biker incident.

   The engine would have to be dual fuel, Diesel and Steam powered. As the train would be isolated on each run, the redundancy made sense. If need be, it could also provide some power generation as a diesel electric motor. When ever possible with the generators already being installed, The excess power would be stored in the large and intentionally so battery banks, using Marine and Golf cart batteries for back up power utilization. Each building was set with enough battery banks to provide local power for up to 96 hours at full load, However the plan would be for consolidation of personnel and equipment for conservation.

   The exhaust from the 50 KW generators would be channeled into the larger of the green houses when there would be down time for people. The exhaust gases, using low sulfur diesel would give more to the plants for crop production and reduce the signature of the generators, save for exhaust heat.

   Working with the others in the local community, more preps and supplies were brought in.

   Chief had the route surveyed fairly early, and brought in a Rail engineer for route review.
   
   The rails were emplaced, and without the need for much grading and no bridges went pretty straight forward. Within the Farm complex, a loading bay was built, with loading ramps from trucks to the train, if needed. If necessary, save for the gardening dome, most of the personnel and farm animals could be relocated to the Interpretive center in event of real disaster. Fred had not really planned it that way, but having back ups , in his mind was a darn good thing. Or vice versa.

   Among other supplies, Salt, iodized was ordered in 100 pound lots, sealed in barrels, More seeds, vacuum sealed were stored, The Animal and People medicines were stocked, Additional water purification systems and filters for existing filters were obtained. Fluoride rinse and preventive medical and other dental supplies were purchased for each dwelling.  Each shelter had enhanced ventilation systems with on demand over pressure systems and filtration. The Barn Dome was set up to the same standard. Granted over pressurization would take power, however with the various power generation systems, this would not be difficult to maintain. The external plots were harvested and prepared for winter.

   The local waterways were checked over one last time, mostly debris clean up prior to winter arriving, However the three Beaver dams were left alone and intact. Since the water was filtered and sterilized, Giardia and the like were a non issue, so long as one did not drink directly from the rivers or streams.

   The winter came in hard and fast, Several storm cells intermixed, lowering temperatures to sub zero and in between  dumping snow two to three feet within a 48 to 72 hour period. The farm itself was in great shape and so was the Interpretive center, due to prior planning.

   The town was not so well off. The storms had dropped power lines and the cold snapped the municipality water lines. Sewerage was impacted as well. Most homes and businesses could not function either. Folks who tried to stay sheltered made do for about three days before things got critical.

   Without power for furnaces or other heating, most homes were slowly becoming well decorated and furnished coolers. Even those with good insulation were hard hit.   The local sub station was in a bad way as well, The cold was severe enough to crack the casings in some transformers, causing even more severe power outages.

   The local communities were hit hard. The storms were so long and powerful in duration that the County could not keep them maintained. Traffic was almost non existent. The systems Fred had setup were about it, The Train was working, although slowly. When it was white out conditions, It was not moving either.  Internally, the paths were cleaned up, the anchor points and guides were proving mandatory. The animals were safely sheltered and maintained, as were the crops withing the various Greenhouses as well.

   Water was flowing, the power generation systems were heating water to temperatures of 160 degrees and supplementary pumps were online, circulating between the sources and storage tanks.

   The original planning was working. Then folks attempted to move to the Farm.

   Fred, Chief and the other members of the community met and discussed what could be done.

   There was not enough room, housing wise for more members beyond the planned growth for another thirty people over time. While there may be short term food and water supplies. The rest of the local infra structure could not absorb the numbers from town or the local outlying homesteads.

   Numbering about twenty thousand, County wide, there just was not enough to go around.

   Power generation could be increased slightly, but there were not enough lines to distribute the power, and absolutely no method to get enough food or water out to all of the impacted areas.

   The county seat and government was attempting to get shelters in place, but with the roads being essentially out, There were few options for transportation. With the various pockets of population,. With little water or basic sanitation, it happened. Flu and or Bronchitis. With so many people crowded together, over 65 percent of folks got infected. The fatality rate was almost 80 percent.


   Quarantine. Necessary and in its subtle way almost terrifying. Contact with the “Outside” , would be difficult. In order to try to provide some assistance, some sort of contact would be needed.

   Traditional Communications like radio required power. Phone lines were not working, due to either being down or the local tel-cos batteries had depleted.

   With the wide spread area, one of various factors Fred had considered in his planning was now a bit of a liability if trying to provide assistance. If nothing were done. That would be bad enough. If some thing was done. Not all areas would or could be assisted.

   Triage at this level was not something Fred or even Chief had considered. Not because of  so called Normalcy Bias, but due to never planning to be a resource to an entire county.

   The storms finally let up. The rail was used for transport, It was decided to check in with the Interpretive center by something other than radio. Loading with supplies and fuel for the remote location generators. The center staff was in great shape. There had been some minor attempts to get into the facility, however the walls, gates and a few warning shots were all that was needed.

   Once the weather broke, Fred asked for volunteers to set out, checking for survivors, No personal contact, but each team would take food, potable water and some propane canisters with heating elements out to be distributed. Each team would be armed, using three vehicles in each convoy
and checking regularly. There would be no leaving of main roads. If there were any survivors. The supplies would be dropped to the side of the road in easy sight and the teams would return to the farm.

   Other than current team members , no one would be brought back. If any attempted to hijack the teams, Disengage and return to the complex, using over watch techniques.

   The teams went out, some five teams and fifteen vehicles. The next day all teams, but only fourteen vehicles returned. One vehicle had taken several rounds through the radiator   

   The crew in that vehicle got out , with minor injuries. The offending shooter was hit five times with 7.62 mm rounds through the head and chest and left.

   The equipment and supplies were secured and returned to the complex.

   The decision was made to stay close and go to full security mode. The towers and patrols were maintained. The Rail system reported some one had attempted to blockade the mid point. However the armed teams made short work of the obstacle, once the blockade members were rendered useless.

   The addition of backing up the engine, and setting chainsaws to the log obstacle, not even a true abatis, took minutes. There were no survivors on the blockade side.

   Fred was in the control facility which was monitoring for radio or television traffic.

   The local news stations were not providing any real information. At the State level, The Governor was declaring a state of emergency. While this would get some things going, when people trying to help were almost in as bad shape as those needing help, well one can do that math.

   The neighboring states were almost as bad of shape. The mutual support agreements were only as good as resources and personnel available.

   Quarantine was declared in most if not all counties. The community was in fantastic shape. Compared to other locales, even better than most governing authorities.

   There was some radio traffic from the County seat, Asking for all folks to assist where and when possible. Those who were “hoarding” would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

   Fred decided at that point it had hit the fan. While he and the community were not hoarding at all, others would not feel that way. He managed to get some radio traffic to the County Sheriffs office

   He was willing to help, but not if getting shot at, and No outsider until cleared by competent medical authority would be allowed in to any of the facilities he owned or controlled.

   No official would be allowed access to any of Fred's or the communities properties, goods or materials. If attempted, there would be severe and through consequences. If the governor was going to attempt imminent domain, or so called emergency powers, Again there would be consequences.

   If there were any aircraft flying over head, it would taken as an aggressive act of criminal trespassing and dealt with extreme prejudice. The Sheriff had little choice but agree.

   The county seat officials were ineffective, but not discounted. People would be stupid, sadly there would be no changing of that any time soon.

   Coordination was made, and some supplies were positioned outside of the complex gate, under over watch. The supplies were picked up and distributed as much as possible.

   Obviously what was given was barely a dent, and those who were inclined to complain did so.

   Fred decided , after speaking to the rest of the on site community and via radio to the center decided to not render assistance, if this was going to be the way of things.

   Over the rest of the winter and into spring, there were a few attempts by desperate people which resulting in several injuries, light ones on the defender side. The decision to emplace Tannerite charges with shrapnel packages was not a light one. Once set into position, one rifle shot was all it took
and suddenly there would be a lot of high velocity metal bits flying around.

   The casualties were left over night, teams in Tyvek, boots , masks and gloves would go out, using bobcats to dig large mass graves, the corpses dumped in and the graves filled in, with interrupted layers of quick lime.

   Slowly those survivors who did manage to get it and keep it together banded together. The non belligerent slowly obtained assistance, at times things seemed pretty painful, but survivable.

   When Chief  had asked what Fred had planned for aircraft, Fred smiled, “See those three tube clusters on each tower? Those are rocket clusters with five each D sized motors, each cluster holds six rockets that are set up with one hundred pound test mono-filament line, set with sinkers and so work like a net of line and metal, This is Foreign Object Damage or FOD from hell, especially when aimed for the rotor blades. Using two or even all towers firing one cluster at a helicopter would make it difficult for the helicopter. On rotation, I had each team run though tracking and firing simulators.

   Thus, bad day to be airborne. “ Chief chuckled. “That is so redneck, it just may work, Since the rockets are not using electronic tracking, no warning other than the rocket flare. Nice.”

   As the two men were talking an alert signal came in from Tower 2. The report was of an ultralight flying towards the complex. Fred took the microphone and advised the tower teams to get ready to deploy the 'Turkey” which was the code word for the rocketing system. Each tower began tracking, Tower 3 had the best sight picture and at fifty meters from the fence line, when the ultralight would not veer off, the first salvo was fired, center mass to the propeller. The craft began to descend. The pilot attempting to get across the gate. Fred gave the command to fire if the craft or pilot crossed the line. A few feet short of the gate, the crash occurred. The gate was still sealed.

   The pilot attempted to get out of the debris, only to hear and feel the flying dirt for the shot not two feet from his head. Slowly raising his hands over and then behind his head, he sat there.

   The team backing up Tower 1 on patrol headed over on quad runners. At the gate, the team stopped, Weapons ready. The communications were brief. Leave, period, no questions.

The pilot attempted to argue. The second shot was within a foot of his left leg. The pilot turned around and attempted to pull a pistol. Dumb move. The tower teams and patrol guards each opened fire, one shot each.
   
   Fred told Chief, “That is why I had the gate system set two hundred yards in from the property line, so there would be clear definition of the firing line. I even filed such a restriction with the local airports when I bought the properties in question. Since filing of flight plans is a state requirement, fair warning had been given years ago.”

   Weather finally began to cooperate and so operations went full throttle. Folks worked the land, keeping sentries out and the herds. Teams would check various locations when possible but at a distance. If there were survivors, assistance was provided. Mostly supplies of clean potable water and some food stuffs. Most survivors either rebuilt or relocated when possible.

   Over all the county lost about 45 % of the entir4e population. Property values dropped, drastically. With the decline in population, there went the tax base as well. The story on a larger scale, though in smaller overall percentages was happening as well.

   The Economy was struggling as well. Few folks, fewer jobs. Banks were skittish, Credit Unions were a bit better.. The Federal Government was not taking it well , either, While not declaring Martial Law Nation wide. Several Cities were under Military Control for Infrastructure and support.

   With such severe weather and the overall decrease in population due to disease, Both the United States of America and Canada were hit pretty hard. Mexico got hammered as well.

   Europe got hit hard enough that even into early June there were still almost a full meter of UN melted snow and ice in most nations.

   With such decline, those nations that were normally expecting International Aid got some but no where near what was expected.

   
   The good thing, so thought Fred, was that the United Nations facilities in New York City were defunct, and in fact, condmend.

   With careful communications, Fred was able over time quietly getting his funds away from the current system, mostly in gold and silver bullion and stored directly on site.

   The local bank was still in business, barely. Fred was about the only depositor of any size still in the area.  With careful review, Fred slowly bought those loans that were outstanding but with solid payment histories. Once a loan was purchased. The borrower was informed only the principal was to be paid, no interest for 24 months. The Business could not be sold during that time.

   With this small scale relief, most businesses began to grow again. Fred was willing to take the long term view. While not worth a dang where invest capital was concerned. The pay off was in good will, which was in low supply after the severe storms. The supplies Fred and the Community had be able to distribute had been accepted. However a lot of folks were  still grumpy about things.

   Fred did not lose any sleep over it. He had given information through the local paper and tried to stimulate the region with real work, real wages and real educational opportunities.

   Obviously some folks thought it was not enough. Too Bad.

   The farm and ranching operations were going 24 and 7, teams were in rotation so every one got at least one day a week off for down time. This got tough at times. But when folks saw Fred, Chief and even Rupe taking shifts for guard patrol, or even mucking out the stables or helping with farming or feeding and watering herds, Folks were willing to work out down time and coverage. Some families were expanding, Others had folks deciding to relocate, with blessings and some supporting supplies.

   Most wanted to check on extended family and return, It was a condition that no more members would be allowed until and unless more properties and structures were available.

   Fred had been looking over some properties, but the nature of them did not fit into his planning.

   He had no use for closed service stations, and in fact had better tanks and supplies. So not wanting the hassle of environmental clean up for defunct businesses. Same for restaurants, however he was interested in the appliances and furnishings.

   There was a small apartment complex in the town and small motel with a mom and pop style eatery. It would not take much to refit for better weatherization and plumbing, but at Fifteen units and not a one ADA or pet friendly, Fred had doubts. However it might be nice for local housing for folks from the complex to be able to stay when in town. Or for guests, if any where invited to visit the complex.

   Fred decided on going for it, it was only money, sort of, He bought and outfitted the facility
Mom and Pop Timm where still in business, barely making ends meet. Fred paid them for working and revamped the eatery with updated and efficient appliances. The couple were not sure how to pay for this , not liking debt. Fred fixed it so they and he were partners. The couple was given a 85 % partnership. As Fred admitted to being a lousy rotten and pathetic cook, the idea of having a place where he could eat was worth it. And yes he would be billed full charge for meals, but did ask if he could reserve the booth at the far end. The couple agreed, and a week later, mentioned they thought they had found both a good facilities person and a site supervisor/manager for the motel, if Fred was interested. Fred said sure, but he would like the couple to do the interview first and if the candidate was worthy, then Fred would conduct the second with the couple as well.

   Fred's end would of course be wages and maintenance fees. He had previously set up “Drawing Accounts” which were carefully managed and supervised. He had never had a loss. The types of accounts and those given access to them were making his three part time book keepers and part time farm managers ( working in shifts and a wonder , the three were a team, with coordinating and continuity, making operations so smooth) almost wanting to complain about too much documentation

   Fred did have a discretionary account for some ventures. However this too was well documented.

   
   The interviews went well. Some units were set for the odd visitor, others were for the complex exclusively, and a few were for extended stay situations.

   The few long  haul truckers liked the parking space and the availability of sleeping in a real bed
with on site laundry and home cooking, though the late night arrivals would have to wait , the usual breakfast made up for it. Fred had obtained propane tanks and had both electrical and pro-paned powered systems, double redundant water heaters and while old fashioned, steam registers for heating of individual units. This last worked well, as he had a water pumping and circulation system installed.

   With a constant of 70 degrees year round, this was very popular. The Manager and Maintenance team, while colorful between tats and tie dyes were professional in act deed and conduct.

   Each unit was redesigned with 18 inch thick insulation in the ceilings, walls and floors. the windows were triple layered insulated and well tinted.  The facilities were not as well contained as the Complex, but pretty decent. The water supplies were on a well, with three filtration systems involved even before it got to the heating systems or storage tanks. The roof was redone with PV thin film and set to a 45 degree pitch to facilitate snow away from the roof.

   The motel became a hit with the locals. Folks traveling and not wanting to try the roads at night due to the previous season's storm damage liked the idea of a local business and great if plain food close by.

   The Timms were hard workers, Fred knew this, and so was careful about asking if perhaps it was time to maybe hire a few select work staff/

   The idea was well taken, but standards were high. Fred knew of a few Complex residents who could do the job but did not want to offend the Timms.

   The interviews went well, Though Mama Timm was a hawk in her kitchen. The candidates were asked to prepare three dishes. Fred had Chief select them and put them into a drawing box, pre sealed. Even Mama did not know which ones were selected. Pop Timm was grinning. These guys were stone cold serious, but not in a life and death kind of way. At least not now.

   Fred brought in both the Sheriff and the local banker, and the local newspaper editor and Mayor for a review, taste and presentation wise for the meals and service in question. Chief had the  final vote. Mama and Papa were not allowed to give hints or tips, but were on the evaluation team.

   With these numbers the Five candidates were under a lot of pressure. Al-lo them made selection. Either in prep, style of presentation or service.  Such endorsements worked well. Mama and Papa finally got a chance to take a whole week off for vacation for the first time in Thirty years.

   The Motel had something else working for it. With the enhancements and service, more and more folks did business. The local laundry mat got contracted for all linens and the local Government paid for temporary quartering of out of county or town visitors, The Satellite internet and TV did not hurt. The front desk was set up for local phone service in each room. Long distance would be handled through the phone booth off the front desk, complete with a computer set with printer for word processing. While not set for email, The room was quiet and had a speaker for truckers and the like to type out and print information. First two sheets were free, as there was a counter for the printer, costs were pretty low.

   There was a small fueling facility not far from the Motel, but Fred was not involved with it.
. The property was leased to a Franchised outfit, from out of state. Fred had no bones about it. Just did not want the environmental historical issues inherent.

   When he did get into town or the other members of the complex, he disliked the idea of “The Compound” He bought from the Franchisee. He did not mention using the same distributor on site.

   He set up a Company account, paid for weekly, in cash. This was well accepted. Mama and Papa fed the Complex visitors a special rate, Complex members paid a 25% Gratuity every time.

   With guaranteed housing and great meals. More and more complex members went to town. But never in so large numbers to overwhelm the facilities.

   The complex supplied Mama and Papa almost exclusively, but not for everything, Napkins and the like requires either better laundry turn over for napkins and the like or a distributor. While the local Laundry was willing, the obtaining of such linens was a challenge. Folks needed clothing before fine linens.

   Some truckers, sensing a market brought in loads of fine linens and even actual China. Though not always in matched sets. Mama and Papa took it all and used it well The traditional Blue Plate special was now on fine china and crystal as well. With such items service picked up. Eventually the Adjutant General for the State came down,, with Staff. They all paid cash and in the motel were given wonderful service, Fresh linens. Good food, Great Civilian communications and with upstairs rooms as suites for the upper six and downstairs with nine double bed rooms worked well. Fred had thought about a meeting or communications room, but decided not to over do it. The entries were inside, not out and with a double entry door way, was fairly secure and well insulated. The all weather Awing while some what “Tripinpicular Dude” style was welcomed, with a thirty foot cover draping down to an above walkway height of five feet gave good protection with out hampering security.

   There was a brief hiccup when one of the General's staff obtained services and thought it was pre covered. The fee was small, but no pre coverage agreement was in place, The Staff member apologized immediately, Paid cash, and was given two receipts, just in case.

   There were a few folks who took umbrage about the facilities, believing that such resources should be freely given. Martin the Maintenance Man took care of the situation, with the simple use of CO2 fire Extinguishers, from behind. At minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, this worked well to cool off hot heads.  The one objector who was trying to use a Molotov, got injured, getting your skull hit with a now empty 20 pound extinguisher was going to hurt, Just not as bad as getting shot.

   The TAG had observed the incident and sent a report as to the “Professionalism, restraint and conduct in de escalating of native population disagreements.” of the Motel and staff.

   The complainers were found to be guilty of Trespass, outstanding bench warrants and in two cases behind in both Child and Spousal support.

   Fred had always insured that all complex and center members would respect the County Officials, Especially the Sheriff.

   When the TAG and the Sheriff decide to pay the Complex a visit, being good folks, They asked for permission for the visit. Fred and Chief agreed, only after getting a consensus about it.

   While not a Democracy, input was encouraged when possible. The visitors were welcomed and provided escorts around the facilities, The TAG liked the security, profe3ssional no ego or glory hounds.

   The Sheriff was polite, almost subdued, until Chief mentioned to the TAG the Sheriff had a hard job, dang near impossible with the last storm, but did it well with what little he had or still had.

   The TAG made a personal note. The Governor would be informed as soon as appropriate and possible. The Facilities were impeccable Clean, Productive, No issues with personnel.

   The gardening Dome was a hit. Nothing quite like fresh cherry tomatoes in full ripening in March to work wonders. The local brewery was pretty popular. The security detail was given a case of bottles to take back and enjoy once off duty.

   Folks were polite, non hostile but every where is was obvious that defense was seriously considered The TAG raised eyebrows for a moment about the rocket packages on the towers and the Trebuchets around the perimeter. He noted that the systems were 1) legal, 2) Impressive, 3) had great coverage and observation lanes. He did not want to tick these folks off. He knew with even the best of technology, here was it was was pretty doggone good. After a lunch in the communal cafeteria which was fresh with produce , meat and even full creamed milk and Barley Biscuits, helpings stored and well insulated for the security details once they were off duty, made up the TAGs mind.

   These folks were an Asset, or going to be some right evil rat b#$&)!@#&) to disagree with.
The TAG already knew Fred was legit, and the others, however it never was a good thing to disregard wither an ally or an Enemy.

   The Sheriff  was better informed. Fred and the rest of the Complex were just that , Complex.
While willing to help, They were not and would not be pushovers, far from it. The kids were better educated, the population fed, armed and supplied than any one else in the region.

   The facilities were impressive, And the safety and operational oversight did not impede productivity, No wonder this section of the state was so well off, compared to others.

   The medicinal herb formulary was equally impressive. While no Opiates, the production rivaled any pharmacology facility in the state.

   Returning to Town, and getting into his Helicopter, with Apache escort, the radio communications were brief, The Warrant Officer W-4 had agreed that while Low tech the Rocket modules were effective, more so due to low signature , High effectiveness. Not to be messed with.
The perimeters lined with not just fencing, but Tangle foot, 18 inch tall wire strands, Barbed and Razor wired sections, and the odd one or three sectioned Tannerite devices deployed, Attacking would be expensive as all get out.  There were guesses  of “toe poppers” as well, .223 or worse .45 caliber rounds. It would not take much to do damage. Accompanied with Punjab stakes and ditches with Betonite, and piping for Propane Gas flaming would really and truly suck.

   The whole perimeter was fairly solidly covered, While possible to over take, The cost was not worth it. And the really embarrassing bit was other than the rocket systems , the whole thing was both legal and two frugal.   

    The TAGs  report was pretty cut and dried, DON'T mess with Fred and Company. Better to make them as Allies, or at least NOT hostile.

   The Governor would not be happy. S it, The facts were the facts. Given how things were currently, the TAG was almost willing to ask for a slot for retirement. He doubted this for a few reasons.
1) Fred had no Commissioned Officers on the payroll or even as members of the community.
2) There were few slots open so far as the TAG noted.
3) Chief was a primary consideration as he only deferred to Fred, with limitations
4) Those limitations were MINOR, but considered.
5) Fred was not so authoritative that it ways his way or the highway, However he made a FINAL decision, where necessary.
6) His facilities and personnel were sharp, professional and within limits polite.
7) The purely defensive measures and local infrastructures  well maintained.
8) He did not have evidence, but highly suspected there were Claymores or similar defensive, command controlled munitions were emplaced and available for utilization without difficulty.

Just like professional Non Commissioned Officers , Folks were taken care of, The food items would be screened, However the samples, The TAG was sure would be pure, Too bad he did not notice his Pancake breakfast contained banned Chocolate Flavored Ex Lax, Papa Tim recognized the General from back in 1967 The then Lieutenant was his platoon leader and from Papa's experience a Jack !$$ and incompetent. While the General had gotten better, Papa felt he was a waste of brass, not even being worth “F ragging” The medication worked at 1800 feet AGL and some Forty Minutes from the State Capitol.

   The Governor was torn between the metaphor and the indignity of what happened. The TAG was much better about it. A former comrade in arms had seen fit to ensure a Commissioned Officer was Healthy. In fact given how severe things could of gone. The TAG was happy it was not worse, say a Termite grenade in the fuel tank. While noted, The township was not to be messed with, Period.

   The TAG got even with a draft order for “Papa aka Shelley Timm, Staff Sergeant, US Army was eligible for recall into the State Guard, With Consideration for his age of 75, Such recall was not too occurred due to the Service Members age. The First part would induce the message, the second would ease blood pressure, Unfortunately for the TAG, Mama read the letter first.

   Papa Smiled, “That $#@()U%” Nicely done, Thanks Mother. He kissed her cheek.

   The TAG was still grinning when he received the registered letter, signed for and almost giggled,
    For all that was done, things were not so bad, Granted the need for a new uniform was embarrassing, but understandable.

   The Complex was getting to need more territory. The current position was sustainable, However the total population needed room. Ten Families were expecting. And as such while expansion itself over time is good, attempting to birth three or more babies with so called Birth Focused results was not, If triplets happened, fine, Deliberate intent to have at least 3 children at one time was not. As population growth was in fact a consideration towards Complex membership and included not once but five times in the Articles of membership, The family in question was paid immediate market value for property, other holdings under the Complex membership covenant were immediately rendered Null, Void and without merit. Fred had this done only once. Those who objected were immediately cashed out, and frog marched to the exterior, and the gates sealed. As the membership agreements went there were few successful arguments when  all the Is were dotted, Ts were crossed and every document notarized.

   When the dust settled the complex was reduced by 25 %, those agreeing to leave signed a Non Disclosure documents and fore go any and all rights, responsibilities and any and all other interests. Period, End Dot.

   There were other applicants, however screening and interviewing would take time and with crops in the field, Fred was more than happy to pay for seasonable labor at some 20$ per hour, with proof of USA Citizenship. Skilled Labor only.

   The Neo Nazis who had survived took exception, the Astaru folks were otherwise, being neither Neo Nazi or welfare types. While having some skills but not all, they interviewed, So did the Basque and Wiccans. Across the board, with few exceptions the primary candidates performed well.

   When the background checks cleared, such as they were, Fred had a much better work force, and even Chief Agreed.

   A few folks attempted to get in, but failed miserably. Real easy and simple, No stupidity, no race bias and No liberals, Period. Some folks tried to file lawsuits, however after a records check proved to embarrass the suers from the suee, without being personal attacking in nature, the suits were dropped, those filing found to be in contempt of court and made to pay just as if they had sued and lost. Those same parties legal counselors were revoked of license as well for frivolous suit and lack of conduct to be members of the State court, The State Bar Association did not quibble about it.  When the Union membership attempted to Boycott Fred's hiring of outside skilled labor, The unions were prosecuted for several violations of inter state commerce, Indra state commerce, Intimidation, unlawful assembly, Tax evasion, violations of labor laws in state, and all Legal counsel guilty of misconduct, malfeasance and mis representation along with inter state wire fraud for mis stating hours worked via Fax or Internet.

   When some hot heads attempted to protest at the Complex gates, Obstructing and or impeding traffic, getting a declaration of Domestic Terrorism was a Slam Dunk.

   Rebuilding did not take suits or “management” It did take drive, professionalism and standards.
   

   



         Chapter 2


   Fred had a mini crisis, later that year, First Leroy and then Rupe died, Between the cold and diseases plus Rupe getting hit by a bullet, things were hard. Fred got the shooter, but when he did, Even Chief vomited, Fred had disemboweled the shooter with the flipper end of his “Apparatus” most Martial artists would agree , while crude, it was effective, without a doubt. Fred struck only once.

   
   Fred was firmly set to at least have a Wake for both Animals. Folks were a tad irritated, Since Fred was putting more interest in to the wake for his “partners: than for all those lost over the brutal winter. Fred was stone cold serious, Participate or not, Fine. Interrupt, Either leave immediately or stand for a duel. Chief intervened a bit, Grief was just that, and with Fred having no other living Family, well there it was.  Spring came about, seemingly with a vengeance to over ride the harsh winter. Fred got more crops in the ground and with his pre planning over the years, got a bumper crop of grains and herds.

   Working with care a fore thought, He had minor trouble with getting all to market in a timely fashion. Seemed his planning was too good. More production in action than systems to delivery.

   Bummer. Fred went on campaign, be it a religious group, co op, or township, Most folks in what remained of the county were willing to buy but the demand was not as great as the almost sudden supply. Even with best efforts at storage, Fred was looking at some 30 head and some 3000 bushels of grain to be done something with, Not to mention the 500 pounds of goat cheese, 500 gallons of cattle milk and other items.

   There were no food banks to take it, and even with State standards, the products could not be released as was. Fred got everything and anything he could to get it all “legal” and safe. Since the “Government” was Defacto worthless and other than existing regulation, Powerless, Fred decided to open several locations of “Here it is, if you want it”. With full descriptions as to harvest, process and the like.

   Remembering something Biblical about 7 and 7 years, Fred put in long hours as did the remaining others to secure food, water and health.

   Times were getting interesting as in the Asian curse of ?may om live in interesting times”

   Fred had been taking time off here and there, but not as most folks thought, He had been working on hit other locations, with the guerrilla gardens, and the like. When all was said and done, His
alternate locations were up to standard, improved and equipped.

   It was ten years now from the day when Fred won the lottery. As such, he decided to celebrate, Alone. All of the loans had been repaid, and since he had not made a profit , there were no taxes, His implement still twinged now and again, but he did not care. Sine that day when he was injured Pain was something that thankfully he was still alive.

   The state government was eventually replaced, and the TAF retired, somewhere else, Fred was down to his last 20 million, mostly in land or silver when it actually hit the fan. Between Iran's Nukes.

   A new flu variation and the slow collapse of the American political system, To say it was a mess was an understatement. Fred took a newish angle on location, He re based everything on the solitary location where he had buried both Rupe and Leroy. From there with GPS he re aligned his preps and caches. He did not tell anyone else or even leave mention is his Official log.

   Fred got the center and complex re configured, restocking, resupplying refit and rearm as reasonably and efficiently as possible. His alternate locations were redone as well. Some folks wanted to leave, that was fine, after signing Non disclosure agreements, and given 5 days of supplies and using only 2 vehicles, each with a full fuel tank and 5 gallons of additional fuel.

   With the smaller staff and fewer children, education was easier and more focused for the students. The crops were harvested and the surplus was put up. The food animals were harvested as well. Working with the others, Fred was able to help the town refit a bit better. With redesigning of the public water and sewerage and getting buildings rebuilt and much more efficient with heating and cooling. Each cluster of structures were retro fitted with back up generators, and tested regularly.

   Everyone was nervous, The flu was causing folks to social distance themselves. Transportation was impaired. Trains and Long haul trucking was dangerous as the Flu could spread so fast. From time of infection to full symptoms was not a week, but 72 hours or less. While not completely lethal the lung damage was almost 70 percent. Pneumonia was a secondary but serious concern.

   The recent anti flu vaccines were not even close to working. No matter which strains were used, none were effective.. The State was still struggling to get into the business of being a state, The severe winter and now this were causing other issues like little or no services. Fred and Chief had discussed making the county old folks home a priority for refit and the like. This was easy in some ways, more difficult in others. Getting folks into good alternative and adaptive housing was mostly by getting some pre fab double wide trailers set with ADA fixtures. The latter part was a little tougher, but hey its only money Cash money. The refits got completed, certified and folks moved back in at the end of August.

   The Township school was refit even further in case it was needed to be a shelter. The County was well equipped, but lacking in trained personnel. Other than folks like out at the complex, few were skilled or had the inclination for such work, The pay was competitive but few benefits and the hours were long.

   Chief did some checking and found out the County was barely liquid for actual cash. Fred perked up at the news. There were properties , undeveloped and not zoned for more than agriculture he could obtain. Working with his last CPA as the others had retired or died, Fred was able to get the land for about half of the asking price, Part of the deal including no property taxes for direct wire transfer of funds.

   Fred used the trust mechanism with a twist. He could sell, however the tax agreement was non transferable if sold. There was no restriction on gifting or inheriting however.

   With the impact to transportation, Fred was working more on sustaining what he had. Supplies and goods like Blue jeans or shoes generally took outside resources and supplies. The Center and Complex could make clothing, if one did not mind wool or leather. Cotton growing was not productive in the region.

   The Greenhouses were sectioned off to grow some crops that were not native to the area, such as Coffee. Traditional food crops like carrots, potatoes , wheat , corn and beans were better in the region.
   
   The herds were kept small, and the breeders were the only outside animals for siring.

   The acreage was well maintained, cared for and rotated in production, as were the water courses and woodlands. With careful management, The was plenty of sustainable production.

   Herbs and plants for medicine and health were maintained, and with the partial input from the Guerrilla gardens helped to continue to round things out. The previously obtained items like Jars were carefully used and the glass blowers were making larger bottles. This helped to ensure there would be enough food for the Complex and the Center. With the disease issue, it was agreed to recall the center personnel and equipment. With the added materials and personnel on one location, the center was easily mothballed and stored away.

   The defensive structures would keep all but the most determined folks out, without needing a security force. The underground facilities were emptied of everything and locked out.

   The center wells and sewage systems were sealed and the lines blown clear, as if for weatherization.

   The County was still struggling, More folks were attempting to relocate, however those moving out were finding out there were few places to be able to move to, without a lot of the systems one expected from just a few months before.

   The township was in equally bad shape. Fred gave an invitation to the Timms to relocate to the complex. They accepted readily.

   Every structure was rechecked for insulation and power generation and utilization as well.

   As long as the wells held up things would stay sustainable. Each building had on hand storage of some 500 gallons of potable water ready to go. The water towers held even more.

   The rivers and streams were doing well, even if the water level was down, not unusual during summer. The earlier spring had not as much actual moisture as the previous year, but adequate for the use of the Complex.

   Chief had come up with the idea of redesigning the methane generator for better efficiency.
   The increase of energy production led to more water purification. And heating for food production. The lumber mill was making enough for the complex, not just for structures, but for furniture as well. With the starting of weavers and working if antique style looms, both clothing and actual rugs were made. Chief had located a sufficient quantity of alum to fix the dyes for the rugs.

   By the time Autumn had arrived, the fields were cleaned, and the remnants from the methane generator was processed into the acreage. Seeding with legumes and other so called green manures were keeping the soil intact and well nourished.

   Fred was ready when the word came down that his truck deliveries were not going to be able to continue due to the Flu still being around. His alternative was to get a rail line to the local rail head and took his supplies directly from one rail car to another. This had an unexpected benefit. With the more direct transportation and fewer humans in direct contact, led to getting items and goods into the township.

   The previous investments were paying off. While not making interest. Every loan Fred had bought up and let the loan only be paid for the principal were paid in full. The town was still struggling, but the actual businesses no longer had debt other than to suppliers or vendors. They were paid off as soon as possible so even that debt ratio was pretty limited. Compared to the County, The area around Fred and the other members was actually profitable.

   There were some folks who were interested in joining up with the complex. Fred was not really interested , however Chief was considering skills and knowledge where there were gaps.

   Fred was willing to listen, Chief lined out that the Complex was in good shape, but only for about another ten years or so, Folks age, and wanting to move on in a lot of cases, thus the need for review of personnel and skills.

   Fred agreed, noting that He was a tad a focused on his own state than on sustaining of the complex, which was a sort of plan, but not a long term situation as it most likely should be.

   Fred was reviewing his assets and decided to reduce some holdings, He figured out he owned about a third of the properties within the county and decided not to control so much.

   He set some parcels as parks, and with management would be cared for and stay healthy as land should be, His conditions for returning to the County were simple, No rezoning for Manufacturing or Commercial use. No setting for mass housing either. With this his Federal taxes were pretty low as well.

   His military retirement pay was more than enough to take care of his personal needs, even without the lottery winnings. Over time he was down to his last twenty million and so decided to be frugal.

   Most of his investments within the region were paying off in other ways. Folks were working together when possible , even if wearing N95 masks. The teamwork and neighbor helping neighbor led to things like repair of barns, better land and soil management were adding up.

   The township was in fact producing more local food and less importing.
   The area in between the township and the complex was in production for food and other useful agriculture.

   The exercise helped keep folks healthier as well. The improvements in infrastructure paid off as well. The bank was not making loans, but was getting more savings accounts opened up, with monthly conversions to bullion silver. The local pharmacy was able to get better pricing for its prescriptions with the rail system and being able to store more in bulk, thanks to Fred's finding and relocation of a medical grade freezer and back up generator.
   
   Once the flu had finally spent its course, schools were re opened. Fred's investment in internet had allowed most if not all students continue some education while public structures had been closed.

   The County began to pick up as well. With folks leaving, others wanted in and the prices were right. With almost no HOAs and limited taxation. Compared to the rest of the state, population with skills and knowledge coming in. Slowly things were reversing. Fred slowly reduced his involvements and investments in the local bank. The Federal Government was getting greedy and Federal Reserve Notes were buying less every day.
   
   Finishing up his outside interests, Fred had a considerable amount of wealth with food production and sustainability. His localized investments with the crafts people and the like were making a slow profit in the region. The glass works, lumber and weaving were popular, and bringing in capital. Either foodstuffs, other craft made items or labor. He had finally finished grieving over the loss of Rupe and Leroy and so adopted another cat and dog. The cat was all white with green and blue eyes, but without the hearing deficiency. The dog appeared to be a 1/3 wolf and 2/3 Shepard. Smart, good genes, no hip dysplacia noted, and with a sense of humor. Seemed the dog, Named Samson, liked to hide things, but only toys like squeaky balls or freebees. Did not matter who they belonged to, either.

   The smart folks learned quickly to share “toys” or Samson would leap, catch and run, fast.

   His stashes were found, often in places most folks would not look at twice, Once he hid a football from the local high school under a dumpster, during a practice game. The coach was torn between yelling at the Dog or his team as the Dog had intercepted the ball, raced up and down the practice field and then had the audacity to run off and hide the dang ball.

   Fred was not amused and so had put a chain to a buried concrete block and attached it to Samson's harness. Samson hated being grounded and whimpered when Fred got into the truck and headed to town without the dog. Fred went in to get a haircut and a few newspapers. Internet was fine to a point, but there was something about reading the paper with a cup of coffee that felt right in a non nonsensical practice, but right all the same.

   Samson was repentant, and even dug up two freebees and returned them to the kids where he had taken them from, well chewed but still usable. The kids forgave him and gave him many pets and scratches. He was in quote “hog heaven” end quote.

   The cat was different, beyond hunting in the barn dome or local fields, she liked being a house cat. Her hunting was more like I can do this see, with catching rodents, but rather than killing them , she would drop them into the box which was meant for wood for the fireplace, but with tall sides almost three feet tall and three feet wide and five feet long.

   Fred appreciated fresh food, but mice, voles and moles were not his taste. He did process the animals for pet food, Samson and the cat were not too picky, and other than the one time Samson had taken a fawn on the local property and in hunting season, so no tag was required, Fred made unseasoned Jerky from it and used it as a treat throughout the winter.

   It was now 2019. The Democrats were almost powerless, and the UN was evicted from the United States. President Clapperton was up for re election, however Congress and the Senate were not happy about it. While he had repealed almost all executive orders from the Carter Administration through Obama. He had used his Veto power on almost every single piece of legislation to come out of either branch, stating that these documents were in direct violation of the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the United States of America.

   The Supreme court did not have to have an opinion one way or the other where the President's actions were concerned. The Senate and House were something else.

   When the two committees on intelligence were indicted for treason, it had hit the fan.

   To their combined credits, the US Army, Marine Corp, Navy and Coast Guard kept their oaths.
The Air force members below the grade of Brigadier General did the same. The US Secret service security details were secured , BATFE was disbanded, as was the US FDA, DOE and NSA.

   The FBI and CIA were clean for once. Their dedication and professionalism were credits to their work and efforts. Pelosi and Company were given a hard choice, resign or be prosecuted. They were prosecuted any way. High Crimes and Felonies,. Not just misdemeanors. The United States of American quickly became the Disunited States of American and Chaos.

   California was effectively isolated, its borders where the State had not sealed itself off, were sealed off by its former neighbors. Oregon , Washington, Idaho , Montana and Nevada banded together.

   The United States East of the Mississippi river were in extreme conflict down to the township level. County Authorities were shot as much as respected, even when the States themselves collapsed.

   Illinois, Indiana and Ohio went first, Then Michigan, Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts , DC, Virginia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, Maine and Nebraska.

   The Dakotas some how survived intact, as did Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and half but not all of Colorado, seemingly divided almost directly down the middle. The nation of Canada sealed its Southern borders as well as the Alaskan one. The great white North collapsed quickly. Alberta was dominate, Quebec had fallen, hard, along with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The others survived, Barely. The First Nations quickly re established dominance, While this was not the case in the lower 48 of the Continental United States. With the Collapse of the United States, thus went Mexico, Most of south American, save Panama and Costa Rica for some odd reason. Africa was a total loss as was most of the middle east, Israel survived barely. Iran tried to use Nukes. Bad idea, Tehran was glass within minutes. Most of South east and South West Asia were the same, India survived barely, as did Tibet and Myanmar, China collapsed, Mongolia survived, most of the Former Soviet States and Russia perished in violence and conflict. New Zealand, Australia and New Guinea survived as did Japan. While the latter had to deal with the nuclear idiocy of North Korea. South Korea got hit hard, but survived, North Korea was a largish zone of radio active glass, Seemed what was left of the Russian Federation had decided China was too stupid and feeble to take care of business. Beijing was glowing. So was Manchuria, Szechuan and Hong Kong. Taipei survived aka Taiwan.., barely.

   With the deployment of various nuclear club members it was going down fast. Oddly Enough, Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Finals survived. The Benelux and smaller nations were destroyed not by Nukes, but by their own socialist parties or governments. Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, France, Armenia, Sardinia and Iraq perished. Just about 85% of Eurasia died.

   With the massive die off. Things got interesting quickly. Fred was monitoring things when Chief accessed the Operations Center. “Well here we are and its the end of the world as we know it, while prepped this still sucks.” Fred agreed. With the additional fallout and tracking of such contaminates, times would be severe. Fortunately Libya, Syria and the like were taken out so fast there was little to worry about concerning Chemical Weapons.

   Monitoring would take time and people as well as sensors. Exposure was going to be a real B#@()$ kitty. The towers would have to be evacuated, and hopefully the cameras and audio pick ups would suffice. Every one was ordered to shelter, those outside of the complex had two hours maximum to get to shelter.

   Fred was not at his best right now. Thinking things over, No one could be, Washington DC, NORAD and the like were powerless in more ways than one. All of the Cabinet members of the current Administration were pretty well off the map. It appeared hopeless.

   Chief had other ideas. With all in hand, surviving was still viable. Fred agreed, but gave the opinion that rebuilding was all but impossible. For the first time in ten years. Fred drank something stronger than beer. Opening a desk drawer, He produced two shot glasses and a fifth of Glen Fiddich scotch. With a toast of “here or high water, Damn it.” they both had the shot and one more each. Fred put the lid back on the bottle and returned it to his drawer. The two then threw the shot glasses against the fireplace interior. Breaking the glasses in ancient tradition.

   “Now, then what do we do?” Fred asked rhetorically.. Chief replied “ Get ours safe, wait it out and go from there, I for one was never big on Nuclear Winter, but fall out surely sucks. Best estimates are the next 49 to 96 hours for it to hit our shores, back when we had all 50 states. The Territories and Protectorates are toast, as well as so called foreign interests. Better to save what we can, though within the County, much less the state, we are going to have trouble unless we can keep things civil, which I doubt.”
   

   Fred reconsidered his and the complexes situation. While most folks would be willing to wait things out, Not all would. He had kept a list, of who he wanted and those whose skills and abilities, he personally could do without. It was a short list of about six people. The other ten were a mixed bag, usefully but a PITA or knowledgeable and PITA. In the end, He decided to hold a meeting. Of those 16, all were agreeable to leaving, but wanted to be re reimbursed for their efforts, per the membership agreements this was a Non issue. More than one 'barracks lawyer” tried to “Yeah but” without success.

   They were housed, fed, and hydrated, 48 hours later were evicted with prejudice. Violation of the NDA was NOT acceptable, and failure to comply was immediate reason for ejection.

   Chief thought this, while within the law or agreement was correct the action itself was pretty dangerous. Fred let Chief in on a secret, Once outside the perimeter all access codes were changed,. And files submitted for Criminal Investigation. Leave with no hard feelings, fine. Leave as you got kicked out. Tough Noggies, as each party was hired under conditions as contractor rather than employee. Fred had it made in the Shade so to speak.

   Things settled down, the Township was well hunkered in, however not so much for the rest of the county. Fred had gotten out of the bank system and when what was left of the fed announced FRN, Gold and other precious metal confiscation, He laughed. His precious metals were smelted into one ounce ingots, save for some “junk silver” and one ounce coins of gold. The majority was cached throughout the properties. Set with materials to throw off detectors, and even if found would if one were not careful a full five pound shrapnel charge.

   The rest of the year was relatively calm. The two months of sheltering, other than the servicing of the domes was uneventful. There were a few attempts to penetrate the facility, however the capacitor charges made that shot work. Hard to get into a place that hit one with some 100 Amps of discharged electrical energy, followed on by a 150 and then 300 amp discharge on contact.

   Once the radiation levels dropped, the much harder task of clean up began. Almost 90 percent of the State itself was dead or dying. In an almost Feudal methodology Counties were attempting to rebirth, but not without pangs. When the newly “elected”Sherri ff attempted confiscation, things went badly. Under existing county regulation, the “Sheriff” had no real legal standing, being voted on by a minority of citizens who did not have the power or authority to make such action, without the full voting of every registered member of the county. Flaw 1. Flaw 2, No where within existing County law, regulation or code was there any way, shape , form or condition to which confiscation could be conducted. In short, for the first time in the county history was a “Sheriff” stopped. Shot and hung by the neck until dead. There were plenty of historical laws pertaining to the execution of thieves still on the books, Theft by action of impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer was at the top of the list.

   The State Governor heard about it and when having a discussion with the Attorney General and The Adjutant General or TAG. Figure it out quickly. Since no one other than a pompous a$$ was hurt and under the circumstances in the commission of a crime, Fred was within his rights, under state law.

   The TAG, recommended that an olive branch offering might be in order, After all, Fred had an infrastructure, maintained order, albeit his assistance had been limited, it had been offered without reimbursement sought, had improved parcels, stimulated local economies and otherwise helped where he could and did not interfere elsewhere.

   The Vice governor had reservations. One person with such resources was a potential issue.
The TAG reminded the Vice governor that such thoughts could get one either removed from office with extreme prejudice or even killed for being a personally hostile person, under the current state laws.

   When challenged, the Vice Governor was called to task immediately and her resignation demanded immediately. She attempted to demure, to no avail. When she refused , the Attorney General had little choice but to place her under arrest. Pending hearing for bail. Since this was a state matter and most if not all state Judges were in seclusion, riding out the fallout and or other disasters.
She was incarcerated for 5 months before there was a hearing.

   Being incarcerated for such a time was pretty much tough living. Even the guard forces were under managed or under personnel ed. Prison time was risky at best. Those prisoners who over time had proved to NOT cause trouble or even actually proved to be repentant, got better treatment. Fred and Chief had even hired some in the past for Shift management and herding. These were jobs that took tough decisions, well though out and well reasoned. One such was Ralph. Convicted for Armed robbery, though he never shot or injured any one, other than a rent a cop. He did not shoot, but kicked the guard upside the head. To Chief and Fred this meant a few things. Do no more harm or damage than needful, minimize the damage. And get the job accomplished. Ralph had paid his debts, proven to be a hard and honest worker, it seemed his theft was to prevent foreclosure on his paternal Mothers home and lands due to an unscrupulous real estate agent. Said agent was doing federal time.

   Ralph was a wonder, half cowboy and ranch manager, seemed his time in the state facility had seasoned him a bit. He worked twice as hard as anyone else, and twice was ordered by both Fred and Chief to take at least 13 hours off in a 7 day week for rest and down time, Ideally a full 24 hours. As Ralph was NOT on salary. He took the advice seriously. When on his downtime, He read, and relaxed. Going over the maps and terrain, he located ways to improve grazing and land quality. Fred upped his pay and facilities from hand to manager, Although all hands were paid well and taken care of, Management got their own data services and rather than once per week invited to supper or dinner at the main facility were invited twice and to the once per month dinner. Conference. While some hands got the invite, it was rotated to be both a reward and treat. For management it was more.

   To be able to sit as equals, and have all concerns addressed without prejudice was important,

   Fred did not consider himself above anyone else, and neither Samson or Chief did either. This sometimes caused issued when one did not even attempt to speak to the shift supervisors or the like.

   Whiners were given short shrift, Those with valid issues were checked out and lo unto the supervisor who was lacking or slacking. Only two in the last 24 months were fired for cause, 5 complainants were ejected for cause, malfeasance or even misconduct. Those with military experience or were formally convicts did well. No judgments, Clean slate until one botched it or else. Most times the ex cons did so well that in two years Fred went to court to plead for re installment of gun ownership and voting rights for most if not all ex cons.


   Stan was a bit of a hard case. However, He would work do it well, never complain, help others
but other than Fred , Chief or the immediate supervisor would punch out who ever tried to “boss” him around, in his own words, Chief explained that a suggestion was not bossing, however if some one got “pushy” call first, that was why each hand was equipped with a MURS radio.
   
   Stan got the message and after getting three calls in and all responded to, quit calling for the most part, Stan and Ralph respected one another, but there was nothing else. Think two Junk yard mongrels.

   Oddly enough each would hear the other out and at times give suggestions, but little socialization. When Stan did not report in on time Ralph got ticked, “If Anything that _()#@_%UI is professional enough to check the #$)$ in!” “Where was his last location, so help me if he is poaching or “growing” I am going to have his @$$ on a silver platter.!” Chief grinned, and said “Ralph,.chill out, Let Fred and I find him, who knows he may be treed by a feral boar and dropped the radio.” Ralph allowed as it might happen, but again this was Stan and so anything was possible.

    It took a few hours, to locate Stan, yes he was treed, by a feral sow, not a boar, and tied to him was a lamb, only 4 months old. The Bleating gave away the position. It seamed mama sow took exception to both mammals and so Stan even with being armed with a black powder weapon, decide to tree rather than fight, had lost the radio, thinking the stock more important.

   The ex cons welcomed Stan\s return. Those who had previous issues were welcoming a fellow home, if with rough affection. Given the fact that both :BOSS MEN: had gone looking personally meant a lot to those who previously had thought they were useless.

   The odd thing with sub cultures is tribalism. Those who opted for it, free of charge of their tats removed. Some thought it an act of submission. Others of purification.

   Those who were for the most part without tats, were given more authority those who kept tats were still equal in treatment and responsibility. Though the have tats were more likely to track livestock and run fence line. All were allowed free range. Sometimes the tats located rustler camps. The tat less more prevented the same. The herds increased and required more supervision over time. Both crews did well, though the tats were a wee bit better on preventing rustling, the non tats were just as good with guarding herds, When both teamed up, the rustlers were both hurt and embarrassed. Being lassoed, and hung by the ankles from a telephone or power pole tended to take the starch out of a fellow. Since the crews got 10 percent of the harvest or sales, they had an interest and desire to make things better. To increase said harvest.

   When the more”civilized folks” got involved it got even better. Some ex cons were pretty creative with blown glass or pottery or even herbal remedies. excluding actual narcotics, they were excellent at quality control and precise packaging. As one put it “ The product , its purity and packaging are all of marketing. Better if it keeps most folks alive or at least from suffering. My Grandmother was terminal from cancer, Dope was the only thing we could do to ease her pain and got me into trouble, This, This stuff is legal, healthier and with the Herbalists skills and a legit network to distribute, this is solid.” Most ex cons agreed, Healing was better than hurting and without hurting, perhaps even saving lives was better, Teams would ask for observers to watch and positively critique actions. There were locations were supplies could be distributed with little notice and to great assistance. Fellow cattle ranches were hard tasked for the same productivity. Fred let it be known crews were for hire , however if any crew member was involved with rustling it would really suck for all others related to the crews or teams. The rustlers were hunted down in almost no time, even what remained of the County Sheriff's office was impressed, with hogtied crooks, photos and even video camera footage, documentation, sworn statements in front of five signatured witnesses and logs at to where , when and how, including VIN numbers, GPS coordinates and Township and Range locations. The stock thieves were done, through and stopped. Cold.

   While the federal government was attempting to regain some control and failing , local economies were sustaining, if not growing, Fair market value was returning, while Wall street was still dead, Most if not all surviving economists were paying attention. The NYSE, DOW and the like were NON movers, Hank the hog or Ernie the cattle herder were better markets. CBOT was dead. Wide Nation monitored trade was dead, Those who sought to impounded wealth or weaponry were equally dead. Washington DC was effectively sealed off. Along with Both Congress and the Senate.
PACs were prosecuted fully, information ceased and since pacs were like persons, subject to US laws No more hiding. All information was fully disclosed. Many a millionaire, if not billionaire was exposed.
Under the various anti criminal acts and legal regulations the used to be non disclosed was in fact disclosed. The ex cons proved to be excellent investigators, where one missed something the other did not. The Sheriff was willing to take testimony on all cases, in some the professionals were called to task when something was glossed over or even omitted.

   The local prosecutor had trouble, even with sworn statements and direct evidence the testimony of ex cons was under suspicion. Even with Fred and Chief's character recommendations.

   While the ex cons knew it was going to happen, none the less, being able to finally do the right thing was just that. Anyone nailed with that much evidence was in a bad way. The County Judge was a tolerate fellow and allowed even if a person had a 'Colorful” past did not make them a liar, unless convicted of fraud. Since most if not all ex cons hired were for one time violent offenses. No rapists, or pimps. Then things were considered on the face value. When cross examined, most looked to the Judge, and stating “Your Honor, I am speaking and willing to prove the truth of what I have sworn to and there are those who will rightfully accuse me of things, but lying under oath is not one of them, and with escort I am willing to show how and where I discovered what I did, where and when I did;”

   Most cases were slam dunks for rustling and the old laws were severe enough. Within a year there were more applicants than positions to fill. At $10 per hour    and benefits it worked out.
   
   The herds were ranched, cared for and like the crops harvested. Folks got housed and fed. While out side of the state, folks suffered, within the county folks prospered. Some of the ex cons knew trouble before it happened with the open door policy day or night, folks were taken care of. When a bunch of punks tried to torch a church or synagogue, it was stopped cold. Usually with a force of folks who would shoot even with cap and powder and the with clubs. Those who demonstrated smarts over muscle were granted paid time for superior studies. Not for Law or Medicine, but Agriculture or plumbing.

   


Winter came again, and with those successful, moved on, with skills certifications and some cash and supplies. Much better than those who had left after the first year. Some came back, welcomed.

   Sadly on July 9 2019 Fred died, in his sleep of a blood clot that caused a severe stroke to his brain. The pain was brief. Somehow knowing his time was near, He had written a letter asking to be buried near Rupe and Leroy, the overlay had the exact location. In three years all he had w0rked for save his precious metals was either lost or taken. In the end he had a Pyrrhic victory of sorts. All government above the township level had been either removed from office or destroyed en mass.

   The complex lasted for three years. Chief had passed on in year one , after Fred';s death. And sadly, and finallly so did a small but vital part of The United States of America and the Republic for which it stood for.

11
SurvivalistsSite.com General Information & Announcements / Holidays
« on: December 24, 2011, 07:45:04 AM »
To One and All, Merry Christmas and may next year be better.

12
Economic Collapse / Inspite of it all
« on: November 24, 2011, 07:39:16 AM »
With all the doom and gloom these days, inspite of it all, I wish one and all Happy Thanksgiving Day.

13
General BOV Discussion / stowing stuff aka the load plan
« on: July 06, 2011, 01:58:38 PM »
Canuck's posts about the trailer got me to doing something I have not done in a while. Figure a Load Plan for a vehicle. In this case I used his trailer, made a few decisions with the old Mark 1 Calibrated Eyeball ( Not quite so out there as an Informed guessitmate, but close.)
Note: This was done free hand, so I apologize in advance for the quality. There are two views 1 is birds eye or looking from above. 2 is looking from the ground into the rear of the trailer. These are in pdf format.

Certain considerations were implied. Weights are non issue due to prime mover capability. If there were a Water Trailer that usually is in the 450 gallon capacity range for example, weight would in fact be a serious consideration.

Over all height of packed items did not exceed 40 inches. length, and width were given some consideration, looking into a modular storage configuration, and not having to "plug in the gaps" Anchor points were not in the load plan process, this being generic the load 2 image does not show the wheels or stands, but is for visualizing the space and how it is used.

In the planning, the distribution of items is based on items that would be immediately used like tire changing tools , other food and additional gear for the weather in the current region/environment, and items that are either going to be needed in the near future towards the middle and longer term items in the back of the trailer back being from the gate of the trailer  up against the interior portion of the external wall that would closest to the truck/ SUV.

Comments as always are welcomed and encouraged.

14
  Tony had heard of a new person of interest in the area, one Anton Eliiis, He knew of only one, a Soldier, he had testified against while in the Army. His testimony had basically sealed the proceedings for Anton's sentencing. He, Tony had mentioned that while Anton had made a bad decision, He felt that Anton , could be a good solider, and after sentencing was served, Anton could be re introduced into the military, and even perhaps succeed, past this.

Anton, had privately thanked him for it, and let him (tony) that there were no hard feelings, he, Anton , knew that he had been wrong, and had went ahead any way, killing persons , who should have been shot in the limbs, not through the back of the head, with the sniper rifle.

Over the4 years and ten months that Anton had served his sentence, Tony had worked with the US Military Court of Appeals, that while Anton had done the deed,
The Battalion Commander, One Marcus Edmond Smytheson, who had directed, personally the Battalion Sniper Assets, had been an absolute bastard, disgrace to the uniform and officer corps, While the Lt.col was offered "retirement" and accepted, Anton took all of the heat for the order to fire.

Anton had been release just 96 hours before the incident occurred that knocked the USA on its butt. With few resources, other than given a "general under Honorable Conditions" discharge and his civilian clothing back, He had to scramble, He did, first off, getting out of the city and onto a working family farm, telling the truth and proving to be a hard worker, never taking more than his share, the farmer had put him in charge of security, Anton's idea of security had included more food production, animal husbandry and water purification. He also began networking for trade and resource opportunities

Over the last eighteen months, he had gotten a remuda of horses, with tack and grain for mobile patrols, had in fact, saved some of the smaller farms with the same skills and decision making that had originally gotten him imprisoned,  Set up a school, though books and supplies wer tight, until he located slates and a chalkboard, and several 4 H guides Girl and Boyscout manuals, including merit badges, and for a small fee, some one who could re create slide rules, batteries were in short supply, "slip sticks" were cheaper, by far.

,Anton had gathered in the heads of most of the local farms and ranchers and had them collectively produce maps with notes, terrain , elevation and water resources, with boundaries, his reasoning was for security and patrols, but also for resource development, avoiding depletion of any one resource in any given area.

The first map took about a week, given two hours a day collectively, The addition of firebreaks was made as well.  With this, he was able to expand his forces, working with the county sheriff as deputies, and the county emergency management team, one of Anton's team from the surrounding area had managed to identify a potential outbreak of hanta virus, which was able to be treated quickly and effectively due to recon and local knowledge of the area.

When Tony heard of this, he went hunting, not in the literal sense, some one trying to hunt Anton was going to get killed, long range and impersonally.

Tony knew better than anyone, He had trained Anton, way back. There was a local pub, serving more than just barely palatable brew, that was also a local information exchange, with little electrical power, things began to revert to an 1890's interaction, pubs, saloons back in the day, were not just places for drinking , but for exchange of information and business.

Tony had walked in, wearing an overcoat and hat,with wraparound sunglasses, (Gargoyles in fact) not quite concealing his features , if one was watching, most folks were not watching, two were, the barkeeper and Anton, sitting in a booth, with his back to a corner, not farm from either the main door or the back one, next to the restrooms , which were still working, being on septic systems, not the mains which required more power on the town grid.

The Barkeep was good and tactical, Tony had already located the best place to park a "riotgun" along the under side of the bar, and moved to the far side, the barkeep was right handed, giving a good indication as to the initial orientation for the muzzle of such a weapon. The counter was small enough to most likely only permit the one firearm. There was no overhead balcony behind him, making for a reduced threat level. Not that tony was scared, his pull pin claymore in the left side of his coat, and the 12 gauge pump under his right were more than enough, the shotgun rounds all slug, with mercury waxed over into the holes of the slugs.

Death would be certain. Tony was not able to play, his .380 in a hide out in the small of his back,waxed hollow points with metallic sodium was ready as well.
Once the wax was stripped, the material would ignite in the water that is the basic part of blood, causing even more damage.

easing up to the counter, Tony removed his glasses, and set his hat , crown down onto the counter. Bruce, the barkeep looked up from his Suduko book and walked over. "Howdy, what would you care for, Mister? "Beer, aged at least 4 months, baring that, if you have scotch left, I will pay and handsomely'

Tony put down a one ounce Gold Eagle, " I am trying to locate a fellow, no ill will, His name is Anton, Though he may just be using his last name Ellis, Not a big guy
about average height, good teeth, literate, extremely good in the bush, hell of a shooter, hard working, honest fella. Good man or he makes the Devil look kind, if he is your enemy. If you see himuin here, and I get word with in 12 hours, I will match this. If he has need for anything, it gets met. This is not just for the drink, you understand, If he asked who is looking for him, tell him 'Sargent Tony', he will understand, he may not thank you, but he will uinderstand, and No he is not iun trouble with me far ,far from it.Here is my card and where I can be located." Handing over the gold piece and the card,

Bruce looked it over, took the gold and said " I have one bottle left, unless this Anton fella has the same thirst as you do, we are okay,. if he wants scotch, I may be out" Tony smiled "Far enough, if you have more, let him know. oh and if it is a blend, let me know right now, I prefer single malt."

Bruce nodded. "Glenfiddich, still sealed, last bottle I have most folks like "Cutty Sark". That I still have a case of. "How about Vodka, and not local either" said Anton,
Walking up the the counter, Anton carefully extended his right hand, Tony turned and extended his own, "Nice to see a free man once again, let me buy the first round, If you need to cut the dust." "Hella Yeah Sargent Tony, that would be really nice, Good folks out here, oh yeah Bruce, meet Sergeant Tony, best damn man I ever met, Truthful, Honest, even at cards, and good person or an evil bastard to make your enemy." Tony sighed, "Gee Thanks," "Nice to meet you, Bruce, I trust Anton has been a good customer?" Yes, he is polite, never rude to the ladies, and buses up after himself. I offered him a job, but he said and I quote "Customer Service is not my forte, but thank you , Sir".

Tony, Anton and Bruce got a good chuckle out of that, all had been prior service and enlisted. Anton was a ZStaff Sargent before the courtmartial, Tony had been Sargeant First Class and Anton's primary trainer at the NCO academy.

 Bruce returned with the scotch, Tony nodded and held up three fingers. Bruce joined in the sampling of the liquor. Anton sipped with appreciation, as did the other two. " I can understand why you like it, but I still prefer Vodka, I really miss steak with a good Bloody Mary."




   Bruce smiled, "Beef or Beefalo on that steak? I know a local who breeds beefalo well and true, but he has too much stock at the moment to feed them all and no one to give him a fair price for each head" Anton looked over at Tony, "Boss , I think you just found another investment for that firm of yours." Tony grinned, "Maybe, but I would need some help getting them into the compound, and I never been what one could call a "cowboy" in the true sense of such a hard working career. know anything about beef, or cowboying?" Anton grinned,. "Nope, but I know some one who does, and is looking for work, but he dislikes army types, so I dunno if you want to hire him and say four others, they have horses, but are a bit short for cash, not quite looking for the 'grubstake" but close.

They have families, but not a lot in resources, willing to work, but almost need charity, not that I would mention it, more likely to work for supplies and goods rather than gold or silver, though that would not hurt either."

  Tony replied "How soon can they be ready, if I can get a deal?" Bruce replied " If you can get a deal, I know for a fact they can be right there, in fact, I would suggest you get them to come out and select the heads, the fellow who wants to sell wants max value for as few as possible, but he is not a real business type, if you understand, He knows Beefalo, but not how to make it profitable."

 Tony put down a once of silver "Bruce, I consider this a fee for information, if it is accurate, there may be more, If not, then this will be the first and last time we do business, no hard feelings." Bruce got wide eyed. Anton spoke "Boss, Bruce is a straight arrow type, if you trust me, you can trust him as well, he was the one who thought I was in business, not the other way around. and those folks he is talking about? They have good reason not to like Army, much less Government types, they are what the Canucks call "the First Nations" and are down from Canada, looking to feed their famiiles, and are eager for things like books to use the get the youngsters to read, write and do better than they are. Seems with the weather and the like have really hit them hard, and history being sadly what it is, I have not been able to help as much as I would like. They are good folks, but been hard done."

"Bruce, I apologize, folks can not be too careful these days, but knowing Anton as I do, One thing is for sure, He does NOT lie. and that is good enough for me, now if you are okay with it, the fee is still yours, where can I find this gentleman who raises beefalo?"

Bruce got wider eyed "Mister, I know what he can do, and if you are vouching for him, even better, but him vouching for you? are you guys former green beanies or something?" Anton smiled "Not Special Forces, but close enough, every thing about duty, honor, country, and evil, wicked , mean and nasty, I knew from birth, Him? He makes me look like a gifted half blind, half deaf idiot." Tony grinned " Never an idiot, just head strong, Hopefully you have wised up over the last few years, I may have to make alternate arrangements, as the facility is guarded by "Army" types, but I also have a place out of the perimeter that will work for you and afew others, discreetly. The Colonel is okay, his exec is a piece of work, like bad grain in the beer batch."

to be continued







15
Cons & Scams / Bad and or inaccurate sites with "experts"
« on: April 05, 2011, 07:04:19 PM »
/survivalist-hub.blogspot.com the sister site is http://www.survivaloutdoorgear.com/, very unhappy with the so called information they offer and as the the expertise of their expert, well put it l;ike this, your grand parents will be a much better resource.

Another site that is not quite so off the mark, but I question who does their marketing is "thereadystore.com" recently emailed some inaccurate information, in their operations, I will respect that the several comments that recently took the email author to task were available on their site, so I am willing to let them have the one "bite".

Information is good, quality information is better yet, omissions in information are as bad and out and out lying.

I leave it up to others to make up their own minds. I offer this as something to be aware of. My most recent research shows , to me the "more" experts there are out there, the more snake oil is too.

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 15