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Author Topic: 072013 Hardy, final 072013  (Read 2513 times)


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072013 Hardy, final 072013
« on: July 11, 2013, 11:50:58 PM »


   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 and the he had studied up and with notable mention of http://, , YouTube videos, with screening, 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 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..,
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