The first partial confirmation came a week later.
There was a small item in the news feed for San Diego that the navy was diverting ships and planes to bases other than San Diego. The reasons given were that the dry-dock was being overhauled and the other maintenance facilities were being audited for pernicious computer viruses that might infect fire-control and avionics systems.
The article had a few “human interest” tag-alongs where dependents shared their feelings now that their partners were being diverted to Bremerton and Pearl. The hardware and humans who moved them were isolated to facilitate cyber-forensics and that had the dependent's knickers in a knot.
Rick was puzzled that two potential breeches showed up at the same time and appeared to be at the same stage of development. It was just a matter of time that one breech would show up. It was a huge statistical anomaly that two had popped up at the same time...or it was not a random fluke. Said another way, statistics suggested that Ebola’s arrival in the US was the result of enemy action and was not an accident.
That got Rick sniffing around Atlanta and DC news feeds. Atlanta and DC were the other primary destinations for refugees from the Horn of Africa. DC was of particular interest because that is where people were most likely to be "in the know".
What he found was that it was impossible to hire somebody in Maryland or Northern Virginia to install retaining walls and/or security fencing...that they were booked six-to-12 months out. When he called one of the security fencing companies and tickled them to see how busy they were, he learned that customers had already paid substantial deposits for those commitments and he could not cut to the front of the line by waving cash.
He also found that many of the communities in and around the Beltway had very strict zoning restrictions that prevented fencing and the wholesale clearing of vegetation. Curiously, nearly all those communities had put those ordinances into abeyance for the time being.
Rick shared this with Kate, Dmitri, Tim and Kelly.
Kate gave the go-ahead to purchase the items on Rick’s list. Rick sent the kids an email and told them that he had started the count-down to the zombie apocalypse. He said, “Come when I say come. Keep your gas tanks full and warm stuff in the trunk. I don’t know how fast things will get goofy but I want you to be ready because I cannot promise that we will open our doors to you if you dally.”
The girls emailed back. They wanted to know if they could bring a friend when the time came. They also wanted regular emails so they could judge for themselves the urgency of the situation.
Rick and Kate talked over the problem of “friends”. They agreed that friends were “OK” as long as they were an asset, i.e. low maintenance and willing to pitch-in and do chores and would cheerfully live in tents or the barn.
After noodling on the issue a bit, Rick started sending out a weekly email update. The first one outline the conditions under which “friends” would be welcome.
Predictably none of the boys responded.