After the Apocalypse
Chapter 47: Setting a Snare

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

"Geez, it's a blizzard out there."

"Doesn't matter, Miller, Jameson wants this equipment deployed tonight, no matter what. He's hoping to pinpoint whoever it was that sent that transmission."

"Yeah, I know, I know. I'm just wishing is all."

"Wishing won't get it done soldier," said Zaluski, lowering his voice in an effort to echo one of Jameson's favorite sayings.

"I never wanted to be a soldier either," said Miller, the effort at humor completely wasted on him.

"Me neither," said Zaluski, "but it beats the hell outta takin' orders from old man Whateley or just bein' flat out dead."

"I know, I know, I just wish things were different."

"All I know is they'll be a hell of a lot worse if we don't figure out where that transmission is comin' from. I can't remember the last time I seen Jameson this mad."

"I can," laughed Miller, "Remember that time you accidentally drove over his cooler full of beer at the gun range?"

"Hey, that wasn't my fault. Why'd he put his beer under my truck anyhow?"

"It's called shade. You ready?"


The two men hoisted their duffels and headed up the stairs. They weren't that eager to do this, but there didn't seem to be much choice. They weren't entirely sure Jameson was right about the Russians looking for more targets (heck, they didn't even know for sure it was the Russians) but they didn't want to find out he was right the hard way. Besides, he'd done pretty well for them and their families so far, and it would be disloyal to change their minds now.

They loaded the duffels in the back of a well-camouflaged jeep and started the engine. While they waited for the truck to warm up, they scraped four inches of snow off the windshield and hood. Even as they swept it off, more continued to fall. Zaluski headed down to the bunker and came back with tire chains.

"I don't think anyone will complain about the road damage anymore," he joked, as he laid each chain in position to secure it to the tires.

With the chains mounted, the jeep did pretty well and they made good time to the first checkpoint. Their biggest problem was going to be capturing the signal. They didn't really have enough wire to run back to their base, so Miller had designed the units to work in a non-standard manner. Normally, they were calibrated by hand, using a joystick. Since he couldn't monitor them from the base safely, he'd rigged them with a signal meter and a tracking motor. He wasn't sure how well it would work in a blizzard, but it was the best he could do on twelve hours notice.

They put the two machines in place, then set the timers to make them active at thirty-second intervals. If they received no clear signals, they would shut off, but if they received a signal of some sort, they would stay on and attempt to track it. A small sensor in the antenna portion fed back directional data to a small computer in the machine. The strangest part of the whole contraption was that a lot of the sensors and motors were actually scavenged from an old Lego kit. He wished he could submit his new invention to the Mindstorms web page, but it looked like that wasn't going to happen any time soon.

The first unit was placed almost a mile from their bunker, near where the hospital had been. The area was near the top of a gentle rise and the elevation might help. The second unit was placed about a mile in the opposite direction. They were hoping the broadcasts were coming from somewhere fairly distant from them. If the source was too close, they wouldn't be able to pinpoint it. Likewise, if their equipment was in too straight a line with the source, they'd have trouble as well. They'd guessed that if the transmissions were coming from inside the city, they'd know about it. After considering the general lay of the land and what they knew of the attack, they'd oriented them along a north-south line, thinking that the transmission most likely came from one of the smaller towns to the east of them, which were more likely to have been spared from attack.

With the second unit in place, they headed back to the base. At one point, they were almost certain they saw two men walking in the blizzard, but they didn't investigate. Whoever they were, they weren't likely to be much of a threat; they had to be idiots to be out in a storm like this.

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"Who do you think those guys in the jeep were?"

"I don't know Joe, think we should try to follow them?"

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