Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Seven Skinny Cows: Shotgun Start

The change in weather purely sucked for Chernovsky’s forces.

Chernovsky made it a practice to move camp at least once a week. Sometimes it was after a four day interval. Sometimes it went a full seven days.

During the cold of the winter, the young men became adept at cutting brush and driving the stems into the wind packed drifts. They salvaged brush from the old site and wove them into the new.

The soldiers, for they were soldiers now, slept two-to-a-tent. They erected the tents on wooden pallets and piled straw into them before unrolling their sleeping gear. Wet is the enemy of warm. Body heat will melt snow if there is not separation between the warm, sleeping bodies and the snow. The pallets, straw and sleeping bags did just that.

While they were not exactly comfortable, they all survived a night of -14F without the loss of any fingers or toes.

Moving camp was a full squad evolution. One fire-team held over-watch while the other team moved a single tent. Wooden pallets are heave and the fire-team alternated moving heavy and light parts.

Quinn Spackle thought the constant moving was a waste of energy. When Quinn pushed Chernovsky he simply replied, “Best practice.”

Later, after the relationships had developed, Chernovsky pointed out that they went through a lot of firewood. He also pointed out the fact that they could not dig proper privies given the deep snow and frozen ground. That was not a problem now but would be when the spring thaws came.

Finally, Chernovsky pointed out that permanent camps were magnets for attacks. Moving the camp on a frequent, semi-random basis was one way of denying attackers solid intelligence.

Quinn regretted calling this to Chernovsky's attention because Chernovsky immediately started drilling them on how to respond if/when the camp was attacked. If a human can imagine it, Murphy will make it happen someday

The relentless rain made hot meals almost impossible. The tents shed the rain and thus ended up teetering on two-foot tall plateaus of melting slush.

Needless to say, "Cookie Girl" did not make any deliveries which added to Quinn's misery.

Chernovsky blew the whistle and they moved camp during the heaviest of downpours.

They moved to the ridges and knobs of a played out hay field where the exposure to wind and rains had melted off all of the snow. They threw the pallets on bare, mineral dirt for the first time...ever. Ok, not dirt….mud.

Chernovsky barely thought about the breach in “best practice.” His soldiers’ tents were in the open and sky-lined from 360 degrees of approach. If he thought about it at all, it was that NOBODY was going to be pushing through the rain and flooding for weeks.

The water in Silver Creek backed up and flooded the ground floor of the honey-pot houses and the de-roofed pole barns.

The approach to the bridge in Dimondale was under water.

And while 24 inches of water does not sound like much to wade through, it must be remembered that the water was snow-melt, that is, as cold as ice. The water was flowing swiftly and with the grid down there was no easy way to dry out wet clothing and footwear. Furthermore, famine depletes a body's resources and there is not enough fat to shiver-more-heat. Hypothermia is a mortal risk to a hungry person.

The young men in Lansing were less organized than Chernovsky’s soldiers.

More often than not, a gang of young men forcibly evicted a family from their home shortly after sunset only to wake up at mid-morning to find their new home was surrounded by three or four foot deep water.

No food. Rats. Fleas. Cold. As often as not one of the gang members had some shitholistan form of the cooties.  Miserable.

But they were alive, which might not have been the case if all of the gangs had crowded into the small bits of old Lansing that had not flooded.

As the flood waters receded, the first bits that were opened up were the roads and bridges upstream in Eaton Rapids and Dimondale.

Then the roads that crossed Carrier Creek became passable. Then land-bridges formed over the Dibble Street flooding.

The receding waters also made the gangs escaping the flooded houses a progressive thing.

From the perspective of Chernovsky’s soldiers, they would see the tide of refugees and gangs as a shotgun start rather than a Le Mans, standing start.



  1. Bridges. Always great, until they're not.

  2. Shotgun starts work both ways, and can cause shotgun endings...