July 6, 2013
Jason insists that I take the weekend off from working. I have too much work to do, not enough time to do it in. He says that I have to, though. I’ve been going pretty much non-stop since everything went down a couple of weeks ago. He also asked me to start a journal of everything that’s happened. Whatever.
On Thursday, June 20th, Scion apparently went crazy. We completely missed it. Well, not completely, I guess. They probably waited for him to go crazy first before they opened the portals. At least, I’m guessing that they did. Unless they lied and he didn’t.
We’re all from Kansas City. I was at work when this weird portal opened in front of me. Through it, I could see the wilderness and more portals like it. There were also three big buildings. The portal was blocking the door, so I couldn’t really go anywhere without stepping through it. I think that’s why I went through, at least. I don’t know anymore. I try not to think about it.
There were gobs of portals, though, and a good number of people stepping through theirs. Only a fifth of the portals had people stepping through before they closed, though. I found that out later. But when the portals closed, we all seemed to guess that we were kind of fucked.
People were freaking out, but Jason just walks up to the closest building and pulls a note off the door. It said that Scion had gone crazy, and people had expected it. They’d put a contingency plan in place, just in case. They’d whisk groups of 250 people away to an Earth in an alternate dimension, spreading humanity out. 5,000 people per world, 250 per community. The buildings were supposedly full of everything that we needed to make a community.
There are 57 of us here. They sure fucking lowballed the number of people who would step through those portals.
So we had food, water, and everything that we needed. It wasn’t until we cracked the buildings open that we discovered that we were completely fucked.
First off, they had given us these prefab homes that we could build. Everything for the home fit in a box on a pallet. Which is great. They also gave us a kit that we could build into a “multipurpose” vehicle in a matter of hours, and one of the attachments for it was a forklift. Again, great.
The building kits were all in Building A, the vehicle in Building B, and the forklift attachment in Building C. The crates containing the building and forklift were in two different buildings, way in the back, behind a bunch of other crates that were too heavy to move without a fucking forklift. Fucking brilliant!
Whatever. After some arguing, those of us who weren’t too busy sobbing decided to set up a chain, opening the house boxes and carrying the stuff outside so they could be built. The good news is with two people and a rubber mallet, we could build one of them in a couple of hours.
The bad news? We had one rubber mallet, and we trashed one house before we found out that using one of the other hammers we were provided wouldn’t work. Also, there was only one set of directions, and not just for the houses. No, this one super-thick book had the directions for fucking every God damn thing.
Needless to say, it took a few days to get everything sorted out and homes built for everyone. Jason stepped up as our leader, and has been trying to get everyone in shape. Since I’m about the only person of a mechanical mind here, he’s been having me work on other things.
Like, they gave us a lot of cool, useful stuff. Like, wind turbines, to make electricity. Cool, right? It wasn’t until I got a good look at them that I realized that even all 50 of us working together couldn’t get it built without the vehicle. So I had to tear open the crate, nab Tommy, and have him help me lug everything out as we needed it.
Only, get this: some stuff needs to be welded together. Oh, we have a welder, but it needs power to operate. Seriously, god fucking damn it! There’s got to be a tech tree or something to this, but I’ll be damned if I can find it. I rigged something up that barely provides enough power, if we took it real slow.
So we get it built and set up in the tractor configuration. It uses two of these “biodiesel mechanical power units.” They’re basically small engines that can be used as an engine or power pneumatics, and can be removed to be used in different things as you need them. All fine and good, right?
They’re shit. They’re barely going to provide the torque to use as a tractor if we move at five miles an hour, and in the flatbed truck is going to be just as slow once it’s loaded up. Once ten of us dragged the forklift attachment out, I found out that I had to extend the back and put extra weight on it just to move some of the heavier pallets of shit.
But we got the windmill things set up. All good and dandy, right? Wrong. Before they can supply power to anything, we need to put together a power station kit. Two days ago, I finally got that thing put together. Fucking hell.
We’ve also gone through a full barrel of gas. Brilliant. But at least the houses have power, which means the HVAC units that came with them will work. Air conditioning is heavenly. I’m so not looking forward to when those start developing problems. They told me that my time was wasted working maintenance at a hotel. Ha! If they could only see me now.
While I’ve been handling the big stuff like that, Jason put Adam in charge of building the latrines. Well, more like communal showers and bathrooms. It requires some digging with the backhoe attachment, and I’ve already had to walk him through some things, but I’m going to be so glad for a shower.
The most important thing is that we have food and water. We can at least get to that without having to navigate other crates. They apparently gave us enough food to last 500 people for a full year. You know, just in case more people than they expected came through those portals. Since there’s less than a hundred of us, it should last us over eight years. We have plenty of water, plus ways to purify more. And a way to make a well. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.
It’s already dark out, so I’m going to go ahead and hit the sack.
August 18, 13
Okay, so. I’ve given it some thought, right? I don’t think that they packed everything into those buildings out of stupidity or anything. I mean, yeah, there was some stupidity there, but that’s besides the point. I think that they were just limited by the space. They had everything that they wanted to give us, but tight limits on how big the buildings they set up were. So they had to pack it in there in a way that they thought was efficient, so some things got shuffled around.
They gave us one set of directions on how to set everything up, but I can make a little bit of sense out of that, too. It’s a big book, and we’re not likely to lose one big book than a bunch of little ones. There’s another big book on how to use everything, too.
I also have to give them props on where they put us. There’s a nice river within walking distance, but not so close that we should have to worry about flooding. We’re a day’s walk from the ocean, and maybe two days from the foothills of mountains.
Thuy says that where we are doesn’t make sense. She says that the mountain range doesn’t make sense, at least, if we’re still in America. I know we’re on the west coast of somewhere, though. That’s the important thing.
I’m still irritated with them, though. Whomever they are. For example, they gave us a way to make aluminum out of clay. Which, yeah, is pretty cool in a way. Except, of course, that I can think of a million other uses for clay than that, most of which we’re going to need eventually. It pisses me off.
Everyone now has a house, all four communal bathrooms/showers are set up, and the three extra prefab buildings are set up. We also set up a few more houses.
Not that they really count as houses. They don’t have a kitchen, no bathroom. Just a single room with two beds that fold up into the wall, a table, three chairs, a dresser, an overhead light, and a wood heater. I think I’m going to look into some changes that can be made during the winter, if I have the free time. Additions, whatever.
I have a proper shop, now. It’s got everything that I technically need, some stuff that, again, is stupid to include, and missing some stuff that I’d really like. In total, three huge buildings, two large buildings, 63 houses and two that are drafty as fuck that nobody’s using, and small sheds for everyone.
There’s a gun safe with a bunch of rifles and shotguns, plus ammo. Pistols would be nice. I’m already thinking ahead, though. That ammunition is going to run out eventually. We’re going to have to figure out how to make our own gunpowder. I have no idea how that’s going to happen, but I’ll figure it out.
There’s some science books, and a bunch of other books, but they’re all geared towards children. I guess that they thought we might have some, or might eventually have some. Ugh, annoying. I was good in chemistry, even took a few classes before I dropped out in college, but I don’t have a perfect memory.
They did include some instructions, but the holes in them are insane. Like, there’s this rig to make up biodiesel, and instructions on how to make soap from the glycerine from that. That’s good, sure, but both the soap and biodiesel need lye for it. Now, they did include lye, but that’s also going to run out eventually. How do we make more? Your guess is as good as mine.
We’ve been clearing trees for fields. They included a ton of seeds for a lot of different plants, and we can’t rely on the wanna-be MREs forever. Come spring, we need to start planting.
Until then, we have some cows, chickens, and sheep. Zack lived on a farm as a kid, so he’s in charge of those duties. Trust me, that’s a lifesaver. Jason has assigned a couple of people to help him out and to learn. Until then, we’re welcoming the change from the MREs. They’re edible, but nothing like real eggs, chicken, milk, pancakes and stuff.
We’re storing the wood in one of the large prefab buildings. We’ll need it eventually. Fortunately, we have a sawmill set up for when it dries out. Some of it we’re burning. They gave us a gasifier and storage tanks. I’ve jury-rigged a few small stoves in one of the buildings to run off of it, but we’ll need to scale up production eventually. Fortunately, I should have everything that I need to make another one, but I’d like to see if there’s something else we can use, too.
I’m idly designing a new vehicle. It’ll probably take years, but still. That tractor is crap.
The clothes they left us has me a little worried, but that’s more long-term. They included summer and winter clothes for 500 people, all of varying sizes. It’s one of those things that’s great, since we didn’t bring anything but the clothes on our backs, but it’s all cotton or synthetic stuff. I don’t think any of it was made to really last.
Fortunately, the seeds seem to have included cotton, and we have sheep. We even have what we think is a good loom. We aren’t completely sure. What we don’t have, though, is a way to make thread. Again, the strange holes.
Jason is doing a GREAT job as our leader. He steps up and helps out if he sees something that needs done, but isn’t afraid to tell others what to do. He keeps us pretty busy.
It’s weird, though. He asks me my opinion on a lot of things. I mean, he asks others too, like Tommy, who apparently hates being called Tom when talking to him on a personal level. But he talks to me first. I don’t know why.
I’m not supposed to tell anyone this, but apparently there’s six vials that can turn someone into parahumans. There’s a warning that they might turn someone into a Case 53. We’ve agreed to only crack them open if it’s absolutely necessary.
I’m only writing this because I made myself a safe. I made one for the vials, too, but I kept the prototype for myself, and hid it away in my shop. I’ll keep the diary in there.
All in all, I still think that we have a very good chance of being fucked in the long run. For now, though, I think we can last.
January 4, 2014
So happy belated new year.
Everyone made something for someone else. I made knives, since we all could use them, and somehow something beyond cutlery was almost completely ignored. Only five utility knives to use between all of us.
Now that I write it, though, I get why they didn’t include more. All of this was probably insanely expensive, and if someone could work everything in the shop, then they could easily make more knives with the metal they included. They had to cut corners somewhere, so why not there?
It was nice to have a real meal, though. Enough canned goods for a few feasts, though I’m pretty sure only one feast was intended by it. The meal, the gifts, the holidays, they all were bittersweet. Sad because of everything and everyone we’ve lost, but good because… Well, we haven’t had anything that’s 100% positive in a while now.
I’m building a still. Next New Year’s, we want to have alcohol of some sort.
We think that Joanna might be pregnant. That’s pretty cool, right? At least, I think it is. There’s some other people who disagree, but whatever. We can handle it.
It’s plenty cold here, not cold enough for snow, but cold enough that crops are out of the question. Thuy says that the weather’s like the Pacific Northwest, but I’m not sure if she’s reaching or not. It’s fine, though. I don’t care where we actually are, just that we’re all staying sane.
She’s a huge help, though. Smart as a whip. She’s already identified some rocks that should have iron ore. We’re hitting up the gasifier pretty hard, so that we can have plenty of charcoal. I’d like to use the gas it makes, but I’m not sure about quality, and I want to make sure we have enough for bread and everything else. We’re still feeling this stuff out as we go long.
I haven’t had much time to do what I’ve wanted to, unfortunately. Jason has people “helping” me. We were all starting to go a little stir crazy, and with what little we can do in this weather, he asked if I could come up with any busy tasks. At this rate, we’ll have every single kit put together here within a week.
Unfortunately, it means that I’m babysitting. Everyone is kind of unsure as to what they’re doing, so I’m trying to guide them as best I can. Mainly, I’m trying not to let them screw anything up so badly that we can’t fix it. Jason’s helping, but this sort of thing isn’t his deal. I’m not sure if he even knows what Ikea is.
But I have made some progress. I doubt that I have the resources to make a proper tractor, but I’m pretty sure that I can at least make a dedicated enging for the vehicle that we have instead of using the modular power units that it currently uses. Hopefully, that will give us more horsepower than what we’re currently dealing with.
There’s a lot of “if” in that statement, though. If I can finish the designs. If we can collect and smelt enough iron, because I don’t want to waste the stuff we already have on something that might not work. If we can cast it all right. If I don’t make a design flaw. If I can mount it. If I can get it so that it’s fuel efficient enough that we can actually use it.
Anyway, getting tired, so that’s enough for now.
April 10, 2014
Well we are truly and completely fucked.
A lot has happened since the last time I wrote. We’re supposed to be starting the planting season, but that’s on hold.
First, we figured out that Zack lied to our faces about living on a farm. How did we figure that out? First of all, he was seriously underfeeding our cattle. They were losing a lot of weight. Second, our chickens started to get sick and he had no idea what to do. We’ve been leaving him completely in charge of them, but once we took a closer look, we realized just how fucked up everything was.
For example, he never cleaned the chicken coop. All that chicken shit was just getting worse and worse. We’re lucky that none of us got sick.
But our chickens were getting sicker and sicker, so we had to do something. Some of the eggs were starting to go bad, so we kept an eye on which chickens were laying good eggs and made sure those eggs were fertilized. Meanwhile, I built a incubator on the other side of our village and a brand new coop.
The problem, though, is that he was trying to hide it from us for a while. Now, I get his basic logic, but what he did… He’s lucky we need hands. See, he got into our medical supplies to try and treat them. The problem is, he had no idea what he’s doing. I mean, it’s possible that he only made them more sick. But the worst part is that he used over half of our antibiotics, and quite a bit of other shit.
That’s right. He was giving random drugs to the chickens without knowing what those drugs did. Hell, we don’t know what most of these drugs do beyond the brief little blurb given for them.
Long story short, he gets to live, all of the other chickens are dead, and we’ve got chicks growing. They seem healthy so far, but only time will tell.
Now, had that been all, starving and sick animals, that would have been bad enough. But once the temperature started to warm up, we had another problem. Even without rain, that river started to flood pretty fucking badly. Again, long story short, we had to build an emergency retaining wall, and our truck sucks ass. I need to get that engine made.
Then one of our buildings burns down. Not a problem, we have plenty of them, right? Except that it was the one we’d set aside for a hospital. So now we have nothing for meds except ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Thanks, Rocky. That bonfire was really helpful in lifting our spirits. Remind me never to let you near a fire again.
Then there were these wolf-like creatures that got one of the cows. We’ve killed them, but we’re starting to wonder if maybe we should work on our defenses or something, while still trying to figure out how that building burned down and how to replace what we lost in it.
This is a huge problem. I promise you, those kinda-wolves weren’t alone. They wouldn’t have gotten this close to the city unless they were either hungry or aggressive or something. Now, we see plenty of game on occasion, so if they’re hungry, there’s competition. If they’re aggressive, it might be mating season and they’re trying to get more game or prove their worth or something.
I’m not seeing many scenarios where it’s a one-time thing, and Jason’s inclined to agree. This is bad news no matter how we look at it. Our idyllic paradise world just got a serious kick in the danger department.
Speaking of Jason, apparently he’s been thinking ahead. I finally asked why he’s been coming to me for advice. You know what he told me? That if something happens to him, I need to be the next leader. His choices are slim. He’s got me, he’s got Tommy who is way too independent and seems to just want to go hunting by himself, and that’s it. I’m the highest educated, and I’m the only one with an idea on how to fix all the stuff that keeps us going. If he kicks it, he wants me in charge so that I can have the freedom to do what needs to be done.
We argued about it for a while. First off, that’s morbid as hell. Why’s he thinking about his own death? I’m doing my best to pretend that death doesn’t happen.
Secondly, Tommy, I think, would make a better leader than me. Yeah, Tommy goes out on his own all the time, but he’s a hunter, that’s what he does. You go out, you bag some game, you come home happy and help feed everyone. That’s the deal.
This is depressing. Something else.
Thuy and I have successfully made lye out of wood ash! It’ll work, but it isn’t as good as containers of lye that we have. My guess is that it’s a different chemical composition, but it achieves the same effect. This is a good thing, because we can still make soap and biofuel.
We’re working on creating a whole bunch of stuff. She was never into chemistry or construction, but she’s admitted that it helps her take her mind off of everything else. Helping me keeps her from getting too depressed, and makes her feel useful.
She has her eye on Farkas, but that’s a whole mess that I don’t want to get into. I just hope that she doesn’t get hurt. She’s a good friend.
When I was babysitting, I got a group of people making barrels. Wooden barrels. With it, we can make alcohol, and with that, we can make vinegar. That’s going to be important later on.
Crops are planted. I just hope that the weather holds out well enough. It isn’t exactly rainy here, so we’re having to do some irrigation. The trencher is helping with that. Remember when I said that we had a thousand uses for clay? I’m making clay pipes to help with the irrigation.
I also realize how lucky I am. It’s strange. Me taking those physics and chemistry classes in college seemed like a waste when the only job I could find was working maintenance at a hotel, but now all of it is coming together. All of the stuff my parents grumbled about, all the time that I complained about helping my gearhead dad, it’s all useful here. Maybe not in the way that it was originally, but it’s all there. That’s… liberating.
Also, we did confirm before our hospital shut down, Joanna’s pregnant. Which meant that Jason got to perform his first wedding. She’s now Joanna Ann-Heart. A good time was had by all, and I built a crib for her as a wedding present.
The animals here are really weird. We killed more wolves, but they aren’t quite like our wolves. Bet’s wolves, I guess. Just like the cats we’ve seen prowling around are close to Bet’s cats, but not quite. I’m not really sure how to describe it.
Jason sent Tommy and Kat out scouting. We don’t want to go a full year without at least making contact with some of the other communities that are supposedly in the area. It’s probably likely that they’re having the same problems as us, or similar problems to us. If so, that would explain why they haven’t made contact either.
Since our mysterious benefactors weren’t kind enough to give us a map, we’re taking some blind guesses. Hopefully, they were also put on or near the coast. If so, then we should be able to find them. Tommy and Kat are heading south, taking guns, ammo, food, and a tent that we made up for them.
I wish them the best of luck.
Need me still.
June 4, 2014
Illness took the entire village. Pretty much everyone got sick, and I mean bad. Couldn’t keep food in us, fever, all of it. In retrospect, it was bound to happen eventually, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any easier to deal with.
We lost 13 people. We’re down from 57 to 44. One of them was Jason.
When we first got sick, right after Tommy and Kat left, Jason revealed to me that he had saved one package of each type of medication just in case. But one package of each kind of antibiotic wouldn’t keep all of us going. So it was up to me to make more, pronto.
At first, it wasn’t bad. I didn’t get sick right away. But Thuy did. I didn’t realize just how much I bounced ideas off of her, how handy it was to have her nearby to give me a hand. It made things a lot slower, and even more once I did get sick.
I have to give Karan props. After everyone else got sick, she kept taking them bread and broth. Even if she did have to sit and rest a couple of times with each delivery. She kept doing it right until the very end.
It was the bread that saved us, because I was able to propagate penicillin. Not immediately, mind you. I had to make sure that I grew the right fungus, so first I had to make a microscope. Which meant making glass, then shaping it right. These are skills that took ages to figure out, and I had to bootstrap them. It wasn’t easy, even harder after I got sick myself, but I did it. Then I used the bread to grow the mold, ground it up, and bam.
It wasn’t as good as the stuff that you get from the doctor, but it saved most of us.
By the time that Tommy and Kat got back, we were already struggling to get back on our feet. By the time they realized what was going on, it was too late. Fortunately, they didn’t stay sick for a fraction of the time that we did.
They also came back with both good news and bad news. They found another community. Five houses were built, with another three burned to the ground. No sign of people, though. Not for a long, long time.
So, I’ve had everything removed from my plate. All other objectives are now minor, no matter how big they really are. Thuy is handling all of them as best she can. Which is good, she’s been crying whenever she has down time. She needs that time to grieve, but having time where she isn’t grieving is good, too. I even got her to laugh a little the other day.
I’m beginning work on that engine. Dad would be proud of me, I’d think. Or constantly telling me what all I was doing wrong. I’d still give anything for him to be here right now. He’d probably take over and show me what a real gearhead can do.
Everyone’s helping me. This one outbreak showed us just how much we need medication, and while we have penicillin now, we don’t know what the future will hold. We’re going to get those medical supplies.
People will come in after working the field and ask what I need done. The first step was getting all of that iron ore. And I mean all of it that we could find. Folks would scour all over the place in pairs, filling up baskets and bringing it back. Or working to make even more charcoal. Or whatever.
The first tests went through good. There is iron, though it isn’t of the best quality. I can use this. It won’t be as good as a real car engine, but I can use this.
I’m designing two of them. The first one won’t be able to be mounted on our modular vehicle. I’m purposefully going to make it too big. I want a model that I can work with, make sure will run right. So I can either wait until the second one is made, which will take a while, or cobble something else together. I haven’t decided yet.
I’ve got some basic plastic made from milk, which is handy. I’m looking to make rubber, so we’re also collecting all the tree sap we can. Finally, something that I know how to do. A little tricky with the materials that we have on hand, but I’m managing.
When Tommy came back, people were looking to me as a leader, but I’m not very good at it. I convinced him to take the reigns. It wasn’t hard, really. He’s got the charisma, he’s easy to like and listen to, and he isn’t stupid. Just like Jason, though, he insists on asking me for advice all the time.
Ernie says that it’s kind of politics. Jason was grooming me to be a leader, but I handed it off to Tommy, even after proving that I could do it. Which I don’t agree with, just for the record. But now that Tommy is the leader, he’s still connecting with me the same way because it gives him sort of a legacy to Jason’s leadership.
I don’t get it. I really don’t. But whatever. I don’t have time for politics.
Tommy is doing a bang-up job. I was right, he’s got what it takes to be a leader in him. Well, once he got over the shock of so many people being dead. He went to our little graveyard, then went to the center of our town and just stood there for the day. When we woke up the next morning, we found out that he’d stayed up all night building a monument in my shop, not just for those who died here, but for all those back home.
Depressing again. I don’t really have much good news is the only problem. I will say that Zack has been working his ass off. Nobody’s even mentioned how he almost screwed us over either. He just sees something that needs done and does it without complaint. I think that getting sick and folks dying might have changed him.
I’m trying to remember that this is the guy who almost killed off all our poultry, something we’re still reeling from. I’m trying to stay mad at him, as stupid as it sounds. But he’s putting his heart and soul into it, all day every day. He asked me about building a wall around the village, to protect from the wolves. I told him that we might be able to do that, and when I gave him eyeball figures, he said that he wanted to fence in the fields, too. He wants to keep everyone safe.
I don’t think he’s talked to Tommy about his idea yet. It’s not necessarily a bad idea, just a ton of work. But I do know that he’s chopped down more trees than anyone else. That counts for something. He lied because he knew that handling the animals was a big job, and that he thought he wasn’t as skilled as everyone else at the stuff that we were all doing, so it was something for him to do. That he was freeing the rest of us up to do stuff.
I don’t know anymore. I just don’t. And right now, I haven’t had the time to figure it out in my head. I have too much that I need to do, and not enough time to do it in.
I know that I haven’t had a lot of good to say, and I know that I’m probably going to jinx us, but I think we’re going to make it. I really do.