After the Apocalypse
Chapter 26: Meeting Of The Minds

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

While the Order of the Arrow was widely and correctly described as a youth-run organization, it was clear even to the youth leadership that the new developments necessitated a more experienced set of leaders. At 4:17 Winter Camp Savings Time on December 31, the traditional end time of Winter Camp, a brief closing ceremony was held and authority officially passed to the WCFS.

The Future Society met on the night of December 31 and attempted to face the long-term implications of the developing situation. The unexpected influx of seventeen newcomers appeared to be manageable, and all were glad for that. Everyone's basic physiological needs seemed covered for the immediate future, but now that it was clear that Winter Camp XXV would be extended, perhaps indefinitely, there were higher-order and more complicated matters to address.

The Society quickly decided that the Communist-style government used at Winter Camp in the early 1980's, when a central committee of overseers entrusted individual campers with responsibility for specific aspects of the encampment, might be the best organizational structure. By common assent, several Arrowmen were appointed to oversee various aspects of the "new fellowship", as Ron had dubbed the continuing adventure. Jeff, who was noted for his meticulous management of several previous Winter Camp kitchens (including meal preparation sheets for Winter Camp IX which included information on the cost per kilocalorie of each menu item), was put in charge of the food. Doug's multidimensional talents as a tinkerer were tapped in his appointment to head up utilities, including heat, natural gas, and the possible generation of small amounts of electricity. Ron was put in charge of accommodations, with the confident expectation that Jeanne would be advising him closely on family housing issues.

The horses would prove no further problem. Among the Girl Scout company was one woman, Amy Allen, who was experienced with horses and actually seemed excited about the chance to care for the Ranch herd.

Mark's was a tough assignment. He had long put his mathematical talents in Winter Camp's service as finance adviser, but it was clear that money would not be playing a part in the new order. Tim had restrained his elation at Lori and Melissa's safety to attend the meeting, and suggested that Mark might be useful in the food service area.

"If we get to the point where we're rationing food, there might be a lot of math involved," he said. "Mark, that's where we need a number cruncher."

"Or maybe in housing," said Jeff, somewhat anxious to avoid having an assistant. "Distribution of humans and equipment in an optimal fashion: that's where good math skills are most important."

Steve agreed with Tim, although for other reasons. "Food's too important now, and too much responsibility for one person. It'd be good to have two quick minds working on that."

In the end, Mark was named as kind of a roving consultant; he'd contribute to everything, particularly kitchen operations, while continuing his efforts to establish radio contact with anyone else in the world. He suspected there was something behind Steve's unexpected flattery, and was completely convinced when Steve leaned over to him for a private exchange of ideas.

"You know what you have to do in the kitchen, right?"

"Something about keeping Jeff under control, I would guess."

"Right. It's good to have a miser keeping watch over the food, but I worry that he might go too far. Especially now that we've got all the kids here, that could be disastrous."

"Good point. I'm on it."

John enthusiastically volunteered to direct security matters-a little too enthusiastically, some people thought. The position of Security Director had been established alongside other leadership roles at Winter Camp V, but had been phased out for Winter Camp VIII as everyone began to realize that the security staff drew lavish salaries (in Winter Camp dollars) for little or no work. While it was readily acknowledged that John's police experience made him a reasonable choice, several Arrowmen made private notes to keep a close watch on him.

Steve's role was officially "entertainment director", in charge of morale, but everyone knew he was more than that. As the only Winter Camp founder still living in the Downriver area, his role in keeping Winter Camp going over the years was quietly acknowledged by every returning veteran, and he was unquestionably the one everyone regarded as the leader, although the Society was careful not to designate anyone as the chief officer.

As the evening wound down, Ron's watch began beeping.

"It's midnight, guys," he said. "Happy New Year."

"And may it be better going out than it is coming in," added Mark.

They shook hands silently all around and called it a night. No one bothered to ask Ron if his watch was set for Winter Camp Savings Time or Eastern Standard; it was midnight by some clock, and thus 2002 had arrived.

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