After the Apocalypse
Chapter 86: Debriefing
by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue
Dave woke up early, but not as early as Melissa who was already gone. He got dressed and tidied up a bit so no one would know what had happened here the night before save the two of them. He planned to keep it quiet, not out of shame, but because he felt she deserved it. He liked Melissa and hoped to spend more time with her. Clean up didn't take too long and he was soon on his way back to the Beaver Creek building - he'd probably arrive right on time for breakfast.
Melissa crept out of Trout Lake cabin as quietly as she could. It wasn't like her to "spend the night" with some guy she'd just met. She wondered briefly at her apparent loss of self-control, but dismissed it. Dave was a nice guy, polite and thoughtful, and there was nothing wrong with being interested in him. She planned to spend more time with him in the future, but for now she wanted to get back to her cabin and avoid having to offer a lot of explanations for where she'd been. She got back to Chippewa without any difficulty and was soon resting, as comfortably as possible, in her own bunk.
Ron had been surprised when he'd seen Melissa come by his guard post early in the morning, but seeing Dave heading back from the same direction a half-hour later was at once a relief and an even bigger surprise. He didn't like to make assumptions, but this one was pretty obvious - the two of them had been together most of the night. He was glad - maybe spending some time with her would help Dave take some of the edge off - but a little shocked; Melissa hadn't seemed the type. Still, it might prove dangerous - dating someone in the current enviroment was tantamount to dating a co-worker. He didn't normally condone that practice, but of course, there weren't going to be a lot of other options. He decided to keep what he'd seen to himself - after all, this wasn't what he was guarding against.
Dave strolled into the common room at BC and was immediately the subject of a hail of questions. His absence had, of course, not gone unnoticed and everyone wanted to know where he had been. There were a few people who had been afraid he'd taken off just like Steve. In the end, they accepted his story of needing a little peace and quiet to work things out. After breakfast, he helped with the cleanup and the dishes - it wasn't his job, but it was as close as he was willing to come to apologizing for his outburst of the night before.
Once the dishes were down, the Future Society convened down in Clearwater to find out what the two groups had discovered. Dave spoke first, partly because he knew the other group's story would be more interesting and partly because people were more concerned about Steve than about the dangers in Lapeer.
"We tracked him into town - there were footprints and signs of a camp in a clearing behind Lang cabin. After that, it looks like he went into Metamora." he began. "From there, we could tell that he spent the night in the White Horse Inn."
"So he's alive?," asked Ron, sounding somewhat relieved.
"He was. It looks like he gathered supplies for a long trip, then headed north from Metamora," replied Dave.
"North? Why would he be heading North," asked Ron.
"How do you know he got supplies," asked Jeff.
"Couldn't you catch up with him? I mean you guys had a car and he was on foot." said Katie.
"Slow down, big river," said Mark Hunt, speaking for the first time.
In the intervening silence, Lou continued, "It looks like he took a snowmobile and made a trailer using an old sled or toboggan of some kind. We were able to track him up 24 to the 69 exit where he seemed to head west."
"Seemed to head west," asked Ron.
"Well, we were tracking him. The tracks were pretty confusing in the area of the intersection anyhow, then we got the radio call and stopped looking."
"Stopped looking? What radio call?" asked John.
"Maybe that's where I can fill in some gaps," said Joe. As everyone nodded their assent, he continued.
"As you probably know, Steve asked me and Woods to do some spying in town. He thought he had seen someone and he was worried that they were watching us. When we went, he didn't tell us anything about having killed anyone."
"Dave and I arrived in town in the middle of the snowstorm. We parked by the overpass and walked the rest of the way. We hadn't gone too far when we spotted a couple of the Night Razers in a jeep. They had..."
"Night Razers," interrupted Jeff. "What on earth is a night razor?"
"Oh, sorry. They're a group of survivalists who are blowing things up in Lapeer to hide the fact that it wasn't destroyed by the bombs from the Russians."
"Oh," said Jeff, perhaps more confused by the answer than he had been by the Night Razers.
"Maybe you should just tell us what you found out, rather than recounting all the details," suggested John. "We really don't care if you bought boots somewhere." Pezet and Milon chuckled, but the joke apparently eluded the rest of the group and Joe continued.
"Okay. Most of this is from Emily, but some is direct observation. There's a group of surivivalist/militia types in town; Emily's son was one of them. They're convinced that the Russians will continue bombing the US until there's no one left. They go around at night and blow things up to make the damage look worse than it really was. They're the ones that were shooting at us when Milon kicked their ass."
Several people prepared to interrupt but were silenced by the Beast loudly clearing his throat.
"The other group is called the Flock. They're led by some guy named Whateley who plans to lead them all south when the weather breaks. He's blaming technology for most of what went wrong, so his group is kind of the opposite of the Razers. I don't think either group is happy with us."
"What makes you say that," asked Ron.
"Well, the Razers were setting up a tracking system to track radio broadcasts; they have a radio blackout themselves. Woods and I think they were looking for us. They're the ones that were trying to stop us from leaving town with Emily and the kids. One of the guys that Steve killed was Nick Whateley, the son of the Flock's leader. I don't think the two of them are allies, but they do talk to each other."
"Damn!" said Mark, swearing for the second time in his life. The assembled Winter Campers stared at him open-mouthed.
"The radio." he said. Noticing them all staring, he continued, "When I spoke to Hawaii, I gave them our location. If they were monitoring, they almost certainly know where we are by now."
The room fell strangely silent at the revelation that a group of crazed survivalists might be visiting Winter Camp with extreme prejudice.
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