Friday, June 21, 2019
Seven Skinny Cows: Loose ends
Mark’s homecoming was a tremendous surprise.
Paul Seraph had handed off the task of resupplying Mark to a minion who had connections in Albion and points south. Then Paul was distracted by a pressing problem and spaced the fact that he had promised to tell Kate and Rick that Mark was alive. That is one of the hazards of being a micro-manager.
Paul rode his bike out to Eaton Rapid’s southern frontier after the guards radioed that a man-and-daughter named Mark and Rosie requested safe passage. Paul recognized Mark as soon as he laid eyes on him.
Then he apologized profusely for dropping the ball. He said he would make it right.
He called Di Carney on the CB and requested priority service. He needed her to hook up her fastest horses to her lightest buggy. He had two people who needed to be carted back to Kates Store.
Then he whistled up Rick and Kate and told them that Mark was alive and to expect him on their doorstep in two hours.
It took closer to three but that is a damned good speed for a twenty-four mile round trip.
Unfortunately, Mark and Rosie had to go into quarantine but there was plenty of room in the Duckworth mansion.
The celebration was muted. Every family was waiting for somebody like Mark to show up. Most of them were disappointed.
Chernovsky’s forces requested that their sub-sonic (i.e. quiet ammo) be enhanced the way their high-speed hollowpoints were. Quinn was more than happy to help. Bill and Judy spent another couple of days collecting material and dipping the tips in melted wax/lard and powder.
The results were staggering. Zombies started dropping as if hit with .357 magnums. They worked almost too well. Many of the bodies barely crawled off the pavement.
Confident shooters make good shooters. The most vigorous hostiles were still shot in the heart-lung area but the ones that seemed less vigorous were tagged with liver-kidney shots.
What Chernovsky’s fighters did not know as that they were seeing the results of Ebola, Bubonic Plague and extreme dehydration brought on by prolonged diarrhea.
The toxin in the tropical seeds impaired protein synthesis and while lethal in very, very small doses it took five-to-ten days to kill. The time-frame for the strain of Clostridium perfringens that came from the swine filth was slightly shorter with death usually occurring three-to-six days after being shot.
The huge increase in knock-down power was not due to magic ammo. It was due to the fact that the hostiles were infected with a rogue’s gallery of infectious diseases and were barely able to remain vertical before they were shot...the very reason the hostiles were being repelled. It did not take much trauma to push them into the abyss.
The disaster that Squad One experienced drove a host of changes.
Chernovsky informed Salazar that all Team-Leads needed handguns and appropriate holsters. Salazar authorized the purchase of handguns and holsters from the Dimondale population. They were awash in Glocks and Smith & Wessons and Hi-Points etc. taken from dead zombies. A Glock 19 with two magazines could be had for a hundred pounds of corn, the consequence of the implacable laws of supply-and-demand.
Salazar reiterated that the goods had to be in a pot of boiling water when Chernovsky purchased them.
Tomanica’s advice was to purchase 9mm. Everybody knew that 9mm had less stopping power than a 40 or a 45 but the ammo was everywhere and Tomanica’s advice was to shoot the magazine dry and to carry multiple magazines. Warfare is different than peace-time
Tomanica had several friends who had been active in IDPA. They hand loaded 9mm ammo and, in the spirit of Defensive Pistol shooting, they eschewed cheap, full metal jacket ammo and shot the same type of hollow points they carried for defense. Hearing of the circumstances they both volunteered a thousand rounds. That put a dent in their supplies but it was for a good cause.
Tomanica also advised Chernovsky to let any fighter who was willing to carry the extra weight to carry a handgun. Murphy’s law dictated that the next time you needed somebody with a handgun the designated carrier would be in the shitter
Tomanica also advised that the troops be drilled on handling and dry-firing but not accuracy. His reasoning was that any target far enough away to require careful aim was far enough away that the troops could get a rifle.
Other changes included putting up alarms. The simplest alarms were installed before nightfall. Those alarms were fish line strung through the trees at knee height and tied to cans filled with rocks.
Within a week, each camp had a dog. The dogs were trained to be on the alert for anybody entering camp. Barking was optional. The training was easy. Each person who came into camp asked, "Did he go on alert?". If the answer was "Yes." the dog got at least one kibble. Since that was the dog's only source of nutrition, the dog became highly motivated. It is true what they say, hunger doubles a dog's intelligence.
Dmitri worked on electronic alarms but did not get them perfected in time. Even the cheapest smartphones have microphones and accelerometers embedded within them. There was no physical reason they could not be attached to a wooden stake that had been driven into the ground and trigger an alarm via WIFI.
Chernovsky also outlawed fried food. It just smelled too good and hungry people can smell the tiny fat particles from half a mile away if the wind was right.
The troops grumbled even more when he required “cold camp” on the rare days when the wind blew toward the road. At least he still allowed Cookie Girl to visit.
Chernovsky was walking past Quinn when something caught his eye. "What the hell is that?" he asked.
Quinn followed Chernovsky's pointing finger to the web gear on his chest. He mentally looked in the mirror and found nothing amiss. "With all due respect, what are you pointing at?"
"Your magazines." Chernovsky said.
Quinn was carrying three, duplexed, 30 round AR magazines for a load-out of 180 rounds. The magazines were taped together, with the second one upside down.
Quinn pulled one out. "Whats wrong with it?"
"Its not 'factory'." Chernovsky said.
"Yes it is." Quinn untaped them and snapped them apart. Then he snapped them back together. "They are designed to do this."
"Lose it anyway." Chernovsky growled.
"Why?" Quinn asked.
Chernovsky was tempted to say "Because I told you to." but checked his tongue. He was not entirely clear why he had a visceral, negative reaction to the magazines.
"I'll get back to you on that. But for now I want you to carry your magazines as singles." Chernovsky said.
Quinn understood this to be the collective "you" and so he directed his fighters to breakdown their duplexed magazines into singles. There was much grumbling.
That night, at the campfire talk Chernovsky talked about his directive.
"Why do you duplex the magazines?" Chernovsky asked.
"Because it is faster to reload." one of the fighters responded.
"What happens when you are under stress?" Chernovsky asked.
This was a tough question to answer. There had not been many engagements where the fighters were effectively being fired at. The prepared positions were solid. The surprise was nearly complete. The marksmanship was good. It was a slaughterhouse for the hostiles.
Chernovsky did not get a response.
"I will tell you what happens. You go into tunnel vision. All you see is the target in front of you and all you do is pull the trigger. You have to work to remember to move." Chernovsky said. There had been many times he had not heard the whistle on the football field that signaled the end of play but stopped because his target stopped.
"What happens if you are in a hot fire-fight and you forget you already switched to the second magazine? I guarantee it will happen."
"You will switch to a dry magazine. And you will yank on the trigger. And you might not even notice that your rifle is not firing." Chernovsky said.
"Then you are fucked and so is your buddy next to you."
"Lose the duplexed magazines and practice dropping empty magazines and grabbing and loading full ones...with your eyes closed." Chernovsky ordered.