Destruction Aftermath, Book 3
Copyright© 2011 by radio_guy
Our group gathered together, thankful to rest a while without fear of danger. I said to Jen, "The lack of animals surprises me."
She replied, "One of the women told here that there had been a real effort to kill off predators and their prey leaving only farm animals. If that's true, it will take some time to replenish those populations."
"That's true. There's lots of fallow farm land and, sooner or later, deer or some wild animals will find their way here. Then the predators will follow."
After a little while of talking together, a couple of the women came to us. One of them said, "Who's in charge?"
George pointed at me and said, "When we're on land if his wife and sister let him, Mike is." He grinned wickedly.
Jen grinned at me and said, "Go ahead. We all really work together when it's not an emergency, and this isn't anymore."
The woman said, "What are your intentions toward us?"
I was a little startled, but said, "We have none. We were attacked and defended ourselves. We then had to finish what we started and freed all of you. We plan to return to America and aren't interested in doing anything to you. We believe people should handle their own lives. We will help while we are here but you must make your own decisions."
"We aren't from here originally and I think the men were going to move us elsewhere soon."
"Well, that is a decision that you will have to make. I do know how to farm and this is good farming land. You should realize that you will have to make lives somewhere, be independent, and able to fend for yourselves. We can offer a bit of technology that will allow you to communicate with us in the future but that's about it."
She said, "We will have to talk some more."
Jen said, "I would suggest you select a spokesperson and temporary leader. It will help."
The woman smiled and went back to the group. They talked among themselves some more. Finally, the same woman and another rose and came over to where we were sitting. She said, "My name is Millie and this is Belinda. We have been asked to speak with you on behalf of the rest. We are still trying to figure out what to do."
Belinda nodded and said, "Only Annie knows farming though the rest of us have worked in the fields. The four men don't know anything about it either and they haven't worked. What are you going to do with them?"
Jen said, "We aren't going to do anything. We stopped a bad situation because we were attacked. As we have said, you will need to govern yourselves. We can try to help you some before we leave to return home but we will not take over." I just sat and let her talk. She had it right.
She continued, "We can help you if you want to stay here and farm. In any event, we want to talk to you about radios for communication."
Millie was a forty plus years old woman who was old enough to know something of the things from before the Day. Belinda was about my age so would have been a baby or very young on the Day.
She continued the conversation, "What about these radios? Can you talk to America? Don't they need power?"
Jen looked at me so I replied, "Okay, this is the short version. The radios are amateur radios from before the Day. The operators were called hams. They are fairly easy to operate with some instruction. Yes, we can talk to America and can use other types of ham radios to talk close range. Yes, they need power and we can show you how to put together a simple power capability to make them work. We are offering to help you get set up to use the radios.
"Unless you don't want them, the radios we will help with. Where and how you're going to live are decisions that you must make as a group as you will have to live with those decisions." I concluded.
Annie joined the group and said, "Do you have a time limit on staying here?"
Jen looked up her, "No, but I want to have my baby at home and I think Lois does, too. We can't stay forever. We want to help you but will not make your decisions. Mike's dad and mine both have tried to help people to communicate from the time of the Day. In that area, we have expertise that will help you."
I said, "Millie, what other questions do you have?"
Millie looked at Annie and Belinda and then said, "Mike, how does your community govern and work?"
"We elect our leaders, now. All people can vote if they are sixteen or older. At first, my dad was the leader because he brought together the families in the area that were there before the Day and hams from all over the nation. He remains on the council and he and my mom are the ones who talk with new people still. We have a council of six plus a chairman who votes tie-breakers and presides over the meetings.
"It works for us, but we are a large and diverse community based upon farming. I would suggest that your community elect a leader who will consult with everyone frequently and listen to differing opinions."
With that, they left and sat down together to talk. Jen said, "Should we ready a radio and antenna and where should we put them?"
"That depends upon where they locate." I answered. "They must decide that first. Also, we need to develop a simple generator and some batteries to power that radio. We can start on that right now. Let's go find a car and rob its generator and set up a bicycle power unit to charge batteries. We will also need some charging gauges. It would be nice if we could find a ham's home with equipment around here."
"Let's talk with George about what we want to do and get Bennie and Janice to help. If we had two teams of four, it would be faster and safer." She said.
We talked with George. He offered Ed and Joe to help search. They were willing as were George and Janice. We left, going in opposite directions, looking for antennas and an electronics store.
We were headed toward the dock area. We walked through a housing district and Jen saw it. There was a small antenna sticking up from a balcony in an apartment building's second floor. We entered carefully as these buildings had suffered from twenty years of storms and no maintenance. They were a bit scary. We had flashlights and were using them as we carefully went up the interior stairs. We reached the second floor without incident and began to try doors on the correct side. If they didn't open, Ed or I forced them open. There was nothing to see in the first. The second one had what we wanted. There were three radios; a HF, a VHF, and one that I didn't recognize at first. We found his manuals and realized that we had an old ten meter rig. We took all three along with anything else that could be used. The dead ham had plenty of coax and we took it all along with antennas, connectors, tools, and meters. Jubilantly, we retraced our steps back to the street and looked around for something with wheels. We continued on to the next street and found an old shopping cart which we loaded and I pushed while Jen and Ed continued to watch for another ham or an electronics store of any kind. We also watched for people and animals, too.