Quinn’s conundrum with releasing fighters to start homesteading was that all indications were that the invasion was imminent. He did not want to be accused of playing favorites and since he couldn’t release everybody to tag a house he didn’t let anybody tag a house.
The other thing that concerned Quinn was the inevitable conflicts that would arise when two or more fighters wanted the same property. He knew it was going to happen. There were some beautiful houses that were available because the previous owners had died or moved away.
From a purely practical standpoint, it would be good to get occupants into the houses. Houses degrade with incredible speed when nobody lives in them. Raccoons take up residence in the houses. Roofs leak. Basements flood.
Dysen’s solution was simple. Hold a lottery every week. Put a hundred numbers in a hat and have every member of the squad except the leader draw a number. The high number won.
The squad member had one day to choose his property and six days to “improve” it, then he returned to his normal squad duties. The two conditions were that the property had to be in the zone his squad was tasked with defending and that the forty acres be square and fall along already platted lines (and not already be claimed by living residents).
If the forty acres around the house had parcels claimed by living residents, then the living residents took priority and the square-forty was less than forty acres.
The next week, everybody except the leader and the previous winners drew numbers. High number wins.
The lottery would be suspended when hostilities started.
The reason the leader was not allowed to enter the lottery is that he needed to be free of the moral hazard of the desire to protect his own property when the invasion came. Quinn's concern was that a squad leader might hesitate to call in an artillery barrage if invaders took shelter in his house. Battles can be lost in fractions of seconds.
Sheila Galt was NOT impressed with the frontier between the Buffer-Zone and Livingston County.
Sheila was notable for two things.
One:She was Jon Galt’s mother
Two:Sheila had been the force that had anchored the main “immigration” station between Lansing and Capiche. Her steady hand resulted in the admittance of the Wilder family and a host of other people with needed skills. She had also turned away many who would been a drag on Capiche if they had been allowed to enter.
To say that Sheila Galt was unimpressed with the facilities and procedures the defense force had for processing immigrants was a gross understatement.
Quinn gave her a blank check for manpower and local materials.
The first thing she did was have the squads put up signage that informed immigrants that the office opened at 9:00 AM and closed at 4:00 PM. People who arrived outside of those hours would be treated as invaders and shot. The signage had a significant impact on the number of immigrants who tried to sneak through after dark.
Then Sheila sent crews out to cut posts; great big posts...9” to 12” in diameter and nine feet long.
The only bridge spans across the West Branch of the Red Cedar, the Buffer-Zone’s eastern boundary, and Livingston County were the eastbound and westbound spans that carried I-96.
The first hundred-and-fifty yards west of the river were muck-bottomed, cattail marsh. With spring thaw in full bore, they were filled with eighteen inches of ice-water.
Sheila set the men to planting the posts starting IN the cattail marsh and proceeding westward for 100 yards. The post-holes were thirty inches deep and the posts were planted on forty-eight inch centers.
Boring the holes for the posts was quite a job. The first couple of inches were greasy mud, then six-to-twelve inches of frozen soil. Then it could be augered, except Mrs Galts choice of large diameter posts precluded hand-held equipment. In many places, the slope of the land made Milo’s PTO driven auger an impossibility as well. In those cases, the holes were hand-dug.
Four-foot tall woven wire fence was stapled to the bottom of the posts. Two strands of high-tensile, electric fence wire were run at 5’ and 6’ heights.
Yes, the strands were energized with a 10 Joule electric fence charger.
The “Bull Fence” funneled traffic to a cluster of mobile classrooms Sheila had Milo locate and transport to the site.
In the first mobile classroom, potential immigrants were instructed to put all of their metal objects and electronic devices into tubs. The immigrants were very pointedly asked if they had any metal rods or surgical devices in their bodies.
A few lied, of course. They assumed they would be disqualified from immigrating if they admitted they had various pins or plates or screws holding them together.
They became uncomfortable in the second classroom when the two, 1000W microwave ovens, sans doors, lit off. The metal parts became toasty warm. The reason for the irradiation was to smoke any video recording devices Ann Arbor was sneaking in to generate footage for their ad campaign.
“Not on my watch” was Sheila’s motto. The potential immigrants would be treated as humanely as possible AND Sheila was not going to let close-up footage of the facilities and processes get back to the enemy. Her son Jon was one of the fighters in the Buffer-Zone.
Ann Arbor was clearly waging a propaganda war. Information that leaked back to the enemy made her son's job more dangerous and Sheila was not going to let that happen.
The next two classrooms were administrative. They were manpower intensive and partitioned into multiple “offices”. Claims of kin or property ownership were checked and double-checked.
If the immigrants were approved, they went to a delousing classroom where their hair was shaved, then they stripped naked and were sprayed with vegetable oil. After an uncomfortable half-hour to ensure the lice were smothered, they showered and their auto-claved clothing was returned to them.
If they were not approved, they were escorted to the eastern end of the Bull Fence and pointedly told to not come back. They were not welcome. Then they were handed the metal doo-dads and electronic devices they had deposited in the tubs at the first classroom.
About half of the people who wished to immigrate into the Buffer-Zone and points west were accepted. Half were rejected.
Some of the rejected applicants did come back. If they were recognized, their devices were confiscated and they were TASERED. They were escorted back to the east end of the Bull Fence and their devices were not returned.
Sheila liked to think ahead. She had Milo bring some extra mobile classrooms. She didn’t know what she was going to need them for, but it was better to get them while Milo was happily transporting them rather than find herself two or three short when Milo was pinned down with spring planting.
So she had Milo bring six extra classrooms and park them west of the ones she was using.