Day 2 at the Retreat
Matt sat down, exhausted, at his desk on the first floor of his townhouse unit, laying down a small microwaved pizza in front of him, a late lunch. The large leather office chair felt good, but not quite as good as his lazy boy recliner. Matt had finished unloading another delivery, this time plywood, lumber, chick wire, and plastic sheeting into the main storage building. He had also helped a few of the arrivals throughout the morning unhook trailers, and carry heavy items, while maintaining quarantine, wearing a N95 mask and gloves. He also was cataloging ever one who had shown up so far, and was emailing Paul on his Smart phone. Much as most members liked the iPhone, US Cellular had the best service in rural areas of Wisconsin. Paul had emailed he would should arrive by late evening and take over this responsibility from Matt.
It had been a long morning in getting the retreat utilities going as tested. Usually members were only there one to maybe 4 families at t time. The workload of doing everything was somewhat overwhelming to Matt. The water softeners had to be activated, water heaters turned on, and common areas heated to low energy saving settings, and many more tasks members were very used to Matt doing for them. In addition to all that, given the situation, Matt had also performed test runs of the main and secondary generators. The solar cells were tracking the sun perfectly today. The windmill was in good shape, even though there was no wind. The propane tanks had been refilled, and four new two thousand gallon tanks added and filled, to the delight of the local propane dealer who appreciated the business, and dropped everything to put them in.
Matt thought it was time to take a break and check the computer for any new news. He found nothing new in the regular media, CNN, FOXNEWS, Yahoo, just a few stories of early onset of the flu, and a few stories about adults getting chicken pocks. He logged into SerComINT.net, his alert service. There had been no new emergency pages today. Matt checked the website and they still did not have any actual confirmations.
11:30 EST –
SerComINT.net Level 4.5 Alert issued to subscribers
Confirmation confidence factor: 96%
Cell page function initiated for subscribers
Possible epidemic outbreak: More than half of the top 25 metro areas in the United States now effected. 19 states still show no sign of outbreak. Updated list to be posted shortly. Our sources continue to suggest small pox, CDC has not confirmed.
URGENT: Isolate from public human contact immediately.
Virus suspected, symptoms said to include high fever, head and body aches, and vomiting. There are some reports of rash formation.
Analysis: source still unknown, and no pattern of contact established, appears non-random with many concurrent point source exposures. Our analysis are concluding this is not natural, this is a biological attack. Victims include high concentrations of doctors, nurses, emergency health care providers, teachers, elderly, and most unfortunate, pregnant women.
Unconfirmed reports now suggest the calling up of special medical units of the National Guard to replace the healthcare workers who are exhibiting symptoms.
Details to follow as we get them.
There was the buzz again – the front gate alarm, someone was turning off the main road. Normally this alarm wasn’t even on, but Paul had told Matt to upgrade to a yellow security level. This meant the gate was to stay closed unless someone from the outside knew the key code or someone from the inside buzzed them in. Matt checked the video feed, and could see the distinctive shape of a H2 Hummer. It was Uncle Larry, and it brought a smile to Matt’s face. To Matt’s surprise the H2 was pulling a new white single axle six by ten foot enclosed trailer. It looked like the usually frugal Uncle Larry had gone on a shopping spree as promised.
Although Matt enjoyed poking fun at the H2 as a midlife crisis vehicle, Larry was both able to laugh at himself and his H2. Larry of course was far beyond mid life crisis. He would say, “Well the Baby Boomers keep re-defining everything, and they tell me the new 30 is 50, so I guess I’m really well into my 40s”. Whatever. He could poke fun, and even he admitted once the H2 was “A sheep in wolf’s clothing” but it still had several respectable capabilities, such as the 9000 pound winch, 32 gallon gas tank, 6,000 plus pound towing capacity, and reasonably good ground clearance and off road/ Wisconsin winter handling. “Most of all though”, he’d say, “It looks the part and I get the effect I want out of it from others, which usually amounts to the right of way in down town Sturgeon Bay”. Though seemingly a splurge, if compared to buying the original Hummer, it was no contest. Larry would say, “Why spend over $100,000 on a H1, when you can get a good used H2 and a used M-35A2 for less than $50,000 combined,” which Larry had done (back when they still made H1s). The old M-35A2 truck was in the large utility shed behind the compound of condos.
Matt came out to greet Larry at the garage door of Unit 2, which they each had a bedroom in, and Larry smiled at the sight of Matt, as he came up the long driveway, raising his right index finger from up from the wheel. He swung in an S turn, and backed the trailer up to the garage.
“Wells Cargo, and looks new too” Matt razzed him.
“Wells Cargo, yes, spared no expense, but that’s chicken feed to what’s inside,” said Larry with a smile. “Lucky for me the good stuff was in stock”.
“Hey Larry, mask on!” said Matt.
“Oh yeah, we’re in quarantine aren’t we,” and Larry turned back into his H2 and put on a mask, resuming conversation with Matt.
“Oh, did you clean out Bob?” chuckled Matt.
“Bob is a happy camper right now, ready to retire for winter on what I just bought.” said Larry.
“Geez, you and grandpa used to be so tight you’d make copper wire fight’n over a penny, and now listen to you brag how much you spend today” smirked Matt.
“Yeah, back when pennies where copper. Well, a man needs to change his thinking as the rules change on him,” Larry said, as he entered the combination on the padlock and opened the two rear trailer doors. Matt looked into the tightly packed enclosed trailer, recognizing the many items and cases as he looked around. “Kick ass,” Matt said quietly.
“I think I tipped off Bob this morning that something is up. He started calling some of this buddies as I was taking trips out to the trailer after my purchases. He said he might close early today since my card was approved,” Larry said as he winked at Matt. Got to love AmEx, no limit, and there when you need it.” Matt listened as he poked through things, very intent on all the contents of the tightly packed trailer.
Larry looked around. “So, is Mutt in the basement because of quarantine?”.
“Yes, all animals and pets inside.” Matt.
Then looking from the open trailer into the garage, “So, let’s get it all in the garage first. I’ll set aside what goes up to my room, unless you filled it with your exercise stuff again.” Larry said.
“Nope, I even cleaned it for you. Should smell like Febreeze even, with a little pine scent,” Matt said as he continued to dig around in the trailer. Matt came across a large, heavy and distinctive black plastic case.
“Oh, is this what I think it is?” Matt jolted out.
“Yeah, pulled in a favor, and had to swing by Waupaca and see Mel also. I finally got him to part with one as he promised, with three mags, and 3,000 rounds, half of them AP. All that and a 24x Leopold on her too. Mel called her Betsy, I say we let the name stick. Mel took 3rd with her last year and gave me his scope adjustments for range and wind with FMJ and AP both. She is a sexy thing, isn’t she?” Larry said.
Matt struggled to pull the case out and had opened it on the clean garage floor when Larry was talking. It was a Barrett Model M82A1 – a 50 BMG caliber semi-auto sniper rifle with 10 round magazines. It was 57 inches long, and over 35 pounds with scope and magazine in it. Matt felt the weight. The group had one Barrett Model 99, which was the smaller lighter single shot only 50 caliber rifle from Barrett, but this was the ultimate. Matt looked up at Larry. “I’m sorry, were you talking while I was looking at our new toy?” said Matt.
“We’ll need to do a few test shots tomorrow, maybe a target on the South Ridge. I have to huff it too, I don’t think the spotter scope will see a hit that far away, unless you want to zero in your telescope”. Larry said. “Knowing Mel though, I’ll bet she’s close to dead on at 1,000 yards right now”.
“OK. That’s a date. Things here are a little behind on arrivals; we they are almost half-here, or at least one from half of the units – I’ve got the head count inside, but I’ve got to add some more to it now, including you. The rest we’ll see by this weekend I hope. Started strong, but I worry some are going to wait. Anyway, what else is new here?” asked Matt enthusiastically.
Larry reached in grabbed a flat hard metal rifle case. “Let’s open this on the kitchen counter” Larry said, and they walked in, Larry opening the case on the counter.
“Yeah I splurged, you’re grandpa is rolling in his grave as I spent more today than he ever made in a year in his life. I got two Yukon 3×50 mm Titanium GEN 2 night vision rifle scopes, and one 2.5 x 42 Yukon GEN 3 scope,and an ATN ThOR 3 color Thermal Weapon Sight also. Those were the only good stuff they had in stock. I got a set of Crimson laser grips for my Springfield Armory 1911-A1, the TRP-Pro Model™ that the FBI and many SWAT teams use. Much as I love my old Gold Cup, this baby is really smooth, had Mel trick it out for me a month ago. Any, thought I better finish it off with those laser grips you bought me for my Gold Cup. Those are really nice”.
“Just trying to keep you up with technology” smiled Matt.
“Now I have to really think about what I grab, those or my Kimber. They are all nail drivers now.” said Larry.
“I’ve also got that other indulgence you got me for Christmas last year, the KA-BAR Eagle D2 extreme knife. I always liked the Marine fighting knife design, but this is one light and tough piece of metal. It keeps an edge better than any knife I’ve every had, thanks again.” Larry smiled at his nephew and Matt returned the smile.
“Anyway, since I didn’t have time for the pistol waiting period for anything knew, I got this. Since I already have my Super Match M1A, and the group has a couple standard M1As, all with 22” barrels, this Socom 16 with a 16.25 inch barrel. I’d thought about getting the Scout Rifle, but this may provide some handy fire power in the tight places. Anything, it seemed to be one of the few things we were lacking, along with these,” said Larry as he pointed to two Ruger PC9GRs in 9mm with ghost rings, two Mini-14s, and two AR15s, HBAR and M4 style with the quad front rail. “Otherwise, another 4×12 Leopold scope, some of the newer combination red dot over scope, a couple dozen more magazines, couple thousand round of ammo, and a shopping cart full of random this-and-that besides the main stuff”,. and Larry smiled under his mask.
“Fantastic! Hey, what’s this weird giant flashlight?” said Matt.
“Oh, almost forgot, the latest must-have from Mel. It’s pulsing high power green laser that causes disorientation. Here stand over there.” Said Larry as he grabbed it. Matt backed up a few feet as Larry held it light a flashlight pointing it at Matt.
“OK, got it on the lowest setting, now try and approach me eyes open” said Larry.
Matt took a step forward as sudden pulsation of green light was all he could see. He was blinded but more than that he immediately felt disoriented, and then lost his balance until he looked away. “OK, I get the idea,” said Matt. “It works”.
“In a few seconds the effect will clear. Mel did it to me a few times to the point I got a headache. On higher settings, the effect lasts much longer and you’d be dizzy. It’s for crowd non-lethal control.” said Larry.
“Pretty cool, what the range?” asked Matt.
“Mel claims around 500 yards plus on the highest setting. Dissipates then.” Larry said.
Larry and Matt continued unloading the trailer, lining up some items and ammo in the garage along the wall, and carrying the gun cases and duffel bags of clothing into the condo, placing them on the kitchen counters and floor. Metal ammo cans began to fill the right side of the garage, along with various gear, tools, power tools, and equipment.
Larry started moving up and into his bedroom upstairs. All units had 2 bedrooms upstairs, the master with a small private bath, and a hallway bath and other bedroom. Sure enough, there was the pleasant, yet slightly artificial, smell of pine trees. Larry smiled, and felt a sense of gratitude he has agreed to buy into this with his only living Nephew, and then his thoughts turned to Matt’s mother, and his niece. He pickup on the phone extension in his bedroom, but could not get an outside line. Paul had gotten a deal on a large business phone system, over 50 phones, enough for 3 phones in each unit (1 on first floor near kitchen, and one in each upstairs bedroom), and few in other places, such as the main bunker, defensive positions, and pool dome. The main function was to be an intercom, and make it easy to call from unit to unit, and to have what Paul called a reverse 911 – the ability for one main phone call all phones at once, and deliver a message to everyone. This function was perfect for quarantine also.
The phones also functioned as phones, but as most members’ cell phones that did work in there area (especially if they reset to local towers pay dialing *228 first), they agreed the condo association to only pay for 4 outside phone lines, which was usually not a problem as usually only a few members were ever there at a time. Obviously this was a new problem, esp. with lots of children there now. Larry, getting no dial tone, dialed in *228, waited for a minute for the reset, and called his niece.