Trudi Springfield, Nurse Practitioner, looked around Fuller Park. There was a tent or tarp every twenty feet. By her eye, that was 400 square-feet per campsite or roughly a hundred camps per acre. She vaguely remembered that Bennett Park was about 30 acres so that was three thousand campsites in Bennett Park.
At five campers per site, that was an even 15,000 people crammed cheek-by-jowl, not that there were ever that many people in the park at any one time. There were always hundreds, maybe even thousands of refugees combing the streets of Ann Arbor for work or items that could be sold for cash, money.
Trudi knew of another ten parks with varying degrees of campsites. None were as crowded as Bennett Park as they were farther from the center of town and offered fewer ammenities.
First things, first. She needed to call another medical person and have her nightmare confirmed.
Ever since the night-time bombing of the buildings in north Ann Arbor, band-width had been severely restricted. As a medical person, Trudi was allowed to send a limited number of texts.
Racking her brain, Trudi tried to remember the other medical people who had patients in Fuller Park. The distribution was limited to five addressees. She sent out the message and got two “Ping”s in return in the next two minutes.
A very short time later, the two other medical people were at the campsite.
“I am not going to tell you what I think I found. I want you to do your own diagnosis. But I do advise you to use universal precaution.” Trudi told them.
Ricky was wilting like a cheap bouquet.
They concurred. “Ebola”.
Fortunately, it was not their job to formulate a plan. They kicked it up-stairs after warning Ricky’s family to not touch him.
Trudi hoped that the medical establishment of Ann Arbor already had a plan on-the-shelf.
Suddenly, all of the people in the route north of the Red Cedar simply disappeared. The people were gone. The livestock was gone. All food and useful materials were gone.
The Political Officer told the crews to burn all buildings and to shit in every well.
The crews were suddenly able to extend the sanitized route by four miles a day.
The onset of hostilities along the Buffer-Zone was both rapid and total.
The first warning was the whistle of incoming mortar shells from Sayed’s forces.
Wyatt was gathering firewood for the nightly stew pot when he heard the incoming.
Instincts move faster than thought. He accellerated toward the closest foxhole. Even as he lunged up-hill, he heard the sickening sound of a “Pop!” from is left thigh.
His leg gave out. Fortunately, he was close enough to the foxhole that his momentum carried him into it. He landed atop the punky, semi-rotted sticks he had been collecting.
Something told him that the deep, burning ache in the back of his left thigh was going to get worse, much worse.
After the mortar barrage, Wyatt was able to hop on one leg back to the main camp. Pep called a medic. The medic yellow-tagged Wyatt, much to Pep’s dismay.
“Look” the medic told Pep “he has a pulled hamstring. It might be mild. It might be severe. If we send him back for a week of recupation then there is a better than 50% chance he will be back as good-as-new.”
“If you keep him here and he does that one-more-time, it will be a year before he is back to 100%. Your call. What is it going to be?” the medic asked.
Pep conferred with Wohlfert. Wohlfert didn't have a clue so he called Spackle and asked for "guidance".
Spackle had experience with recovering from grievous injuries.
Spackle didn’t give them an answer. Rather, he asked a couple of questions. “Is there someplace out of mortar range where he can recuperate but close enough so we can recall him quickly if we need to? Is there somebody there who can watch him?”
Pep was on that like a hobo on a ham sandwich. Spackle’s questions showed him how he could have his cake and eat it, too.
The only person Wyatt could think of was Tikka Contreras “But I am not sure she would watch me. I couldn’t keep her fiance, Keagan alive.”
Pep had little patience for would-have, could-have and should-have. That is what radios were for. In short order he learned that Tikka would be honored to nurse Wyatt back to health.
That is how Wyatt found himself transported back to the rear areas just west of the Buffer Zone. It was an area where he had not spent any time before. The medic gave him a 3-by-5 card with instructions for the next week. Basically to totally rest his left leg for two days, wear compression bandages and to keep it elevated.
Then, for the next five days to take several, very short, very slow walks. When it started to hurt, to hop into the wheelchair and let Tikka bring him back to the house.
Mészáros strafing run had not been very effective. His machine-guns had been regulated for aerial combat. The lines-of-fire converged with his line-of-sight at 200 yards. Since the guns were mounted on the bottom of his fuselage, that meant that the lines-of-fire were angling upward.
Very few of the bullets hit any of the trucks lined up at the fuel depot in the background.
However, most of them did hit the immense tanks filled with oil.
Fortunately for the Hard-timers, one of the men watching the facility was handy with tools and knew where to get his hands on 5/32” and 3/8", self-tapping screws. The viscous crude oil was exiting at a goodly rate but it was not that big of a deal to insert the bolt into the 0.308” hole and turn it in. It didn’t exactly seal the hole but it certainly slowed the leak.
The Ann Arbor airforce shooting up the oil-tank was the last straw. The Hard-timers declared war on Ann Arbor.
The Jackson County Hard-timers started ripping off chunks of Ann Arbor territory along the western boundary. The Hard-timers were not intellectual in their approach, making them the exact opposite of the People's Collective Voice. Rather, the heads of the Hard-Timers reacted at a visceral level to what had happened to them. They were not going to stop until they found the bastard flying the large, sleek airplane with the blue football helmets painted on the side and had nailed him to the ground.
The People’s Collective Voice were not very concerned. It was very lightly populated, rural areas and it was land they could afford to lose. They were confident that the Ann Arbor forces could easily repulse the Hard-Timer forces as they neared the population center.