After the Apocalypse
Chapter 27: Entry #2

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

1 January 2002 (Day 3, early morning): The Future Society - that name seems more apt now than ever-meeting has just broken up. I've been re-elected to another term as secretary-seeing as I was already keeping a log, it seemed reasonable to everyone else that I should continue taking Society minutes. That'll be a lot more work than it was last year.

It's been a weird 48 hours. Starting with the realization that there might indeed be nothing else standing out there, and then the discovery of the Girl Scouts' equivalent of Winter Camp and fifteen new folks joining us, and now this new order that we're trying to establish-quite a lot for two days' time. (Is it still okay to call it Winter Camp? Who knows?-but that's what I'm calling it.) If I ever get a chance to update Encyclopedia WinterCampica, this will make for a whole flood of really strange entries…"Tundra Stomp", for example.

The question of whether we can make it for a long time here suddenly doesn't seem so impossible to answer. After tonight, when we got the bugs worked out of our new organization and set some different people in charge for different things-that, I think, went a long way toward relieving fears that this might all be beyond us. There are good people here-we need to remember that. The time has come for all of us to trust them to do their assigned jobs and do them well.

But that only brings up the larger question of what might be going on outside D-A and how the rest of the planet is coping with what might or might not be going on. We're still scanning the airwaves when we can, looking for any transmissions from other survivors-nothing. And we've tried transmitting, but again, we don't know if anyone's out there listening.

I have to wonder about the big picture. If the Russians are behind this-and they're really the only ones with enough nuclear capacity to pull it off-one wonders about the state of the government; if anyone's alive in D.C. to keep the country going. I'd have to believe that they were a first-strike target, which makes me question if people like us-isolated pockets of survivors far from any really urban areas-might be all that's left. Of course, it really doesn't make any sense to think that we and the Girl Scout crowd made it and no one else in the area did-maybe there's something special about the terrain around here-but Steve and Lou say they saw no survivors in Lapeer, and Dave and Tim went a long way south without seeing anyone. That can't be good.

Now also it's time to start thinking about long-term things. Like how we're going to keep cabin fever from raging throughout our limited little world. Five days was always about the right length for Winter Camp, as intense as it is. It was always a great time, but come December 31, I think we were all kind of looking forward to getting home. But now that that's not an option, there's obviously no point in trying to maintain that intensity. We're just asking for trouble if we do that-but what can we replace it with? As strange as it seems, there's not a lot more work that we'll need to do right away. We've done the emergency needs work; a lot of what's next will be kind of routine.

Questions: How are we going to keep people excited about anything? How long are we going to be able to live in such close quarters without really getting on each other's nerves?

Answers: Darned if I know.

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