> TEOTWAWKI Blog: You Took Away Tomorrow: Chapter 2 - Shopping Spree



You Took Away Tomorrow: Chapter 2 - Shopping Spree

The follow-up to our first scenario, more apocalyptic happenings and another decision making scenario for you to game plan. Thanks to all those who commented on the previous entry--I took the general consensus and used it to guide Jack's decisions.

If you're new to You Took Away Tomorrow, you can find the initial introduction here, and the first scenario here. Enjoy the new entry!

Chapter 2: Shopping Spree

Jack braked hard, swerving into the shopping center’s parking lot.
“Calm down, Rourke—Fiona does the school pickup thing every day. She can handle it today,” he told himself.
Jack went first for the gas station – there were no lines at the pump, and he would have a few moments to gather his thoughts. He unlocked the pistol safe he had installed inside the truck’s arm rest, removed the 9mm S&W Shield that he kept inside, sliding the inside the waistband holster into place, and untucking his dress shirt to cover it. A spare magazine went into his back left pocket. Like many times in the past, he was glad to have a pistol close by and the license to legally carry it concealed.
While he waited for the gas pump to accept his credit card, Jack fired off another text message to his wife: “Made it to the grocery store. Stopping for supplies. Be home soon.” The card went through, and Jack began pumping.
Hustling into the gas station, Jack bought four red, 2.5 gallon plastic cans, eight flats of the bottled water stacked high right next to the shop’s door and two 25 gallon propane tanks. One of the attendants helped him carry the water flats out, sliding them into place in the back of the Tacoma’s camper shell covered bed. After topping off his tank, Jack filled up each of the gas cans and collected the propane tanks from the attendant, slipping him a $10 bill for his help.

     Closing up the back of his pickup, Jack checked his phone—he had a new text message from Fiona:
“Got Porter. Traffic is a mess. Almost home. Be safe.”
Jack sighed in relief.
He hopped into the Tacoma, taking a minute to think through his next move. The gas station stop had taken just under ten minutes. Ten minutes in the grocery store and ten minutes in the hardware store, give or take, were reasonable enough targets. Any longer than that and Jack felt he was pushing it in terms of hitting a mass exodus of traffic of people racing to pick up kids from school and get home after leaving work early. Besides, it wasn’t like he was going to casually browse—he was going to get in and get out, fast.
He went for the grocery store first, guessing that it would be the first place to get swamped by the panic rush. Jack grabbed a cart, rushing into the store, moving with urgency but without trying to look too frantic. The grocery store was certainly busier than usual, with several customers noticeably speed walking around the store, carts loaded with non-perishables, but not yet all out pandemonium.
Jack made a beeline to the canned goods aisle, sweeping stacks of canned meats, stews, chilis, baked beans and a wide variety of veggies into his cart. His next stop was the baking aisle, where he added bags of flour, boxes of dried milk, 1 pound containers of salt, a dozen bottles of honey and an armful of pre-packaged spice mixes. Third came a quick trip down the cleaning products aisle, where Jack added three gallon-sized containers of bleach and bottles of dish soap. On his way to checkout, Jack stopped by the store’s battery display, piling bulk packs of AAs and AAAs on-top of his food.
The shortest line to check out was four customers long, with two other customers with carts that were similarly loaded down with shelf stable foods. With so many individual items to scan, it took a long time for the teller to move through the line.
Waiting in line, Jack’s phone buzzed with two more text messages. One from Fiona—she was home, safe. And the other from Tyler “Tex”—he was on his way. Jacked fired off responses with an update on his position. He sent texts to Mike Blackwell and Kyle MacNab as well, looking to get an update on their locations.
Finally at the front of the line, Jack added several packages of Bic lighters to his order while the cashier rang him up. He forked over his credit card to pay and waited for it to run through. There was some kind of problem with the first attempt, so the cashier had him try to run the card again. After a full minute of waiting for the card to process, it was clear something was up.
“Is there a problem?” Jack asked the cashier.
“Not with your card, sir. It looks like something is wrong with our system…it’s timing out.”
The cashier called her manager over.
“Is your terminal out, too?” the manager asked, clearly stressed by the growing crowds in his store. He checked over the register screen quickly.
“It’s been fine all afternoon. It just stopped working all of a sudden,” the teller provided.
The manager scrolled through a few other screens before turning to Jack.
“I’m sorry, sir. It looks like our card processing system has gone down. If you want to step off the line, we can wait a few minutes and try again. Or, if you have cash or a check, we can accept that as payment.”
Jack reached for his wallet. He usually had some cash on his person—some dedicated for just-in-case use, and then some extra for regular use. He tallied the cash up--$190 in emergency cash, $65 in day-to-day cash—which would cover the groceries with additional to spare.
“Cash is fine,” Jack said, handing over the greenbacks.
He jogged out of the store to his truck, weaving the heavy cart through the vehicles that were starting to crowd the parking lot. A minivan nearly backed out of its parking spot into him. On the streets that ran alongside the shopping center, lines of traffic were starting to build. There was an accident at the intersection and a lone police officer on the scene.
Jack broke into a sweat tossing heavy grocery bags into the back of his truck, then paused to check the time again—it’d been 24 minutes since the last he’d checked. He was already past his total time goal for the both the grocery store and the hardware store. Jack weighed his options. The parking lot was fast filling up, drivers starting to get reckless. The card processing system was having troubles. But, Jack still wanted to try for the hardware store and saw no imminent threat to his safety. Traffic was getting bad, but traffic a traffic jam was unlikely to kill him. Jack grabbed the extra spare cash from his daily carry bag—an extra $100 in $20s—and jogged to the store, shooting Fiona a text along the way.
“Almost done – home soon.”
The hardware store was bustling, but not as busy as the grocery store. The greeter welcomed him to the store, and warned him that they were also having problems with their credit card system. With his budget constrained to cash on hand, Jack went for the gaps in his supplies over buying redundancy. He wanted some way to seal up his home up fairly airtight if it came to that, and found a 10x100-foot roll of construction grade plastic sheeting to do the job. That was $60. Two cartons of N95 masks and a box of contractor-grade trash bags and his budget was blown.
Jack checked out through the express lane, having only a fairly short wait. On his way out of the store, he checked the time. Eight minutes in the hardware store. Much better, he thought.
He loaded his final purchases into the back of his truck, fired up the Tacoma and left the shopping center, merging into the line of traffic on the road that led towards his house.
The lone police officer was doing his best to direct traffic around the accident at the intersection, but it was clear he was overwhelmed. The two smashed up cars were still in the middle of the intersection, the passengers looking shaken up while trying to exchange insurance information. One was holding a rag to a broken nose.
“One cop for an accident with injuries? They’ve got to be swamped,” Jack said to himself, checking his phone. A text from Kyle MacNab said he was on his alternate route, sixty miles out and stuck in bad traffic.
On the other side of the accident, traffic was going slowly, the roads were packed, but at least things were moving. It took Jack twenty five minutes on the normally quiet country road to make his way home—apparently Jack wasn’t the only one who knew about the shortcut. He could only imagine the chaos on the interstate.
Jack felt himself relax noticeably as he made the turn onto his quiet, forested street. The neighborhood was small and out of the way, a single dead end street with eight homes on large, multi-acre private lots. He checked the time. Roughly ninety minutes since he’d left work, and closing in on two hours since the attacks had hit.
Jack’s home sat second towards the end of the street, a welcome sight. It a was a single story brick home with a basement, built in the 80s but gutted and renovated on the inside by previous owners. An L-shaped driveway led to a detached two-car garage with an upstairs loft area. Jack had added a large storage shed in the spacious backyard.  
Tex’s camper trailer, pulled by his old Chevy truck, was already parked alongside Jack’s home. Fiona, Tex and Porter were waiting in the front yard, waving to Jack as he pulled into the driveway.
“Who have we heard from?” Jack said, hugging his wife and son as he exited his pickup, Esme was inside with her and Tex’s children and Jack’s younger boy, Link.
“I got ahold of Mike, he was in the middle of a shift and would get a hold of Brooke and have her and the kids come on over here,” Tex said.
              “Have we heard anything directly from Brooke? Anyone been able to get a hold of her?”
              Fiona shook her head.
              “No, but you know how bad she is about answering the phone. We did hear from Amy, though. She sent a text twenty minutes ago. She is on her way here,” Fiona said.
              “Good. Kyle was out of town on an install job, and, as of about half an hour ago, was still sixty miles out and stuck in traffic. It’s probably a safe bet that he will be at least a couple hours from arriving.”
              “Damn,” Tex said under his breath.
              “So, what should we do?” Fiona asked.
              “Have we heard any news? Any more details about the attacks?”
              “Not much,” Tex said.
              “I’ve had the news on since I got home—some of the news networks are down or others have rolled back to a local affiliate or secondary offices. I think most of them lost their main offices in the attacks. The story is mixed—some are reporting the attacks weren’t nuclear, others are saying they were. No one knows if the President or Vice President are alive. They’ve got talking heads talking about the line of successions—apparently, the Secretary of State is overseas for her visit to China and might be the next in line as Commander-in-Chief. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet. It’s a real mess.”
              “Anyone talking about fallout?”
              Fiona shook her head.
              “Nothing, at least on the channels we’re getting in.”
              “Crap,” Jack said “I’ve got to find that nuclear war manual I have. I can’t remember how far fallout usually travels. I think we’re outside of the danger zone for D.C., but I’m just not sure.”
              “I know where it is, Dad,” Porter, who had been quiet, chimed in.
              “Can you go grab it while Tex, mom and I unload my truck?”
              “Yep—be right back.”
              Jack, Fiona and Tex began to unload the contents of the last minute shopping spree, and a few minutes later, Porter returned with the 1980s vintage manual.
              “Thanks, son,” Jack said, taking the manual and thumbing through its contents. Towards the middle, he found the section on fallout patterns. The book had several black and white illustrations of how fallout spread—long, teardrop shaped plumes downwind of the blast. The size of the cloud depended on the power of the blast—a 25 megaton nuke would generate a much larger cloud than a 1 megaton blast and so on. The illustrations also displayed estimated peak times for radiation exposure after the blast, with a gradual increase in time to peak exposure as the distance from ground zero grew.
              “No mention of how big the bomb was, right?”
              “Nada,” Tex said, unloading the last stack of water flats.
              “That makes things tough. If we’re talking a 50 or 100 megaton bomb, then we might be on the outer edge of the fallout; if we’re talking smaller than that, then we should well outside danger zone. It looks like the wind patterns work in our favor, too. We’re south of the path. West Virginia and Kentucky look like they won’t be as lucky,” Jack said.
              “So, what do you think?” Fiona asked.
              “I think we’ll most likely be fine. Russia and China have big warheads; rogue states like Iran and North Korea, last I read, don’t have that level of tech—maybe a few megatons at best. And because just New York and D.C. were hit, and not a dozen other cities, I’m guessing it wasn’t Russia or China. Limited attacks, not an all out thermonuclear war.”
              “That’s my vibe too,” Tex added.
              “All right, quick game plan: I’ve got that little radiation meter keychain in my bug out bag; I will go grab it so we can monitor the radiation levels. Let’s get one of the radios and keep that on to see if they have any kind of updates. If we have time, we might want to harvest some of the stuff in the garden, too. We will get the windows boarded up and hunker down inside for a few days to be safe.”
              “Porter and I will start harvesting,” Fiona volunteered, “What about the chickens?”
              “How about the garage for now?”
              “Sounds good. Tex, you up for some manual labor?”
              “Yep—good thing I skipped my manicure this week.”
              The four split up and went to work.
              An hour later, they were tired but finished. The window boards had been successfully bolted into place, the garden picked of anything close to ripe and the chickens relocated to the garage. Porter’s keychain radiation meter showed zero abnormal radiation, so there was no worry about fallout yet.
Amy arrived, flustered, makeup smeared from tears, obviously stressed out, trying to call people on her cell phone and shooting off texts furiously.
              “Just got a text in from Kyle, he says he’s making progress, but still far out, though. This is a total nightmare,” she said, coming in through the door and dropping her 72-hour kit on the floor of the entry way. The group greeted her warmly.
              “Is there anything else we can bring in, Amy?” Tex asked.
              “Ya, there is. I grabbed some stuff and threw it in the back of the Explorer—Kyle’s zombie bag, some of his guns, sleeping bags,” Amy said, collapsing onto one of the couches in the family room. Jack, Tex and Porter went to unload her SUV.
              “Hey Amy, can you help me get some dinner together for everybody?” Fiona said, looking around their fridge.
              “Dinner? Umm, I guess–let me send this text message off.”
              Amy’s fingers flew across her smart phone’s virtual keypad with practiced ease. She hit send, but quickly received a network error. She checked her phone—no signal at all.
              “Wait, I just had four bars!” she said, cursing under her breath.
              “What’s wrong?” Jack asked, returning to the house with a load of gear.
              “I have no cell signal at all. I’ve never had a problem at your house before.”
              “Oh crap,” Jack said, putting the supplies down and checking his own phone. No bars. And he had a different cell company. Tex had done the same.
              “No signal here, either.”
              “Something knocked out the cell service,” Jack said.
              “Wait, what?” Amy said.
              “This isn’t normal—two cell networks both down at the same time. The government can shut down cell service in an emergency, or maybe something else could have taken them out.”
              Fiona, Esme and Porter had joined them in the family room. Amy put her head in her hands, running it through her hair and growling in frustration.
              “What else is going to happen today?”
              As if in answer, the lights flickered, then went off for good.
              “Oh no,” Porter said, the first to speak, his voice sounding weak and uncertain in the fading evening light. Fiona moved to comfort him. Jack checked his phone—though it still had no service, the smart phone was at least functioning, which meant that an electromagnetic pulse was probably not the likely cause of the outage.
              “It’s ok Porter, just a regular old blackout—somebody probably crashed into a power pole. I was wondering what we were going to do for dinner, and this solves it—let’s get some of those steaks and burgers out of the freezer and have us a barbeque,” Jack said, trying to sound upbeat. The cell system failure followed up by a power outage had raised his suspicions, but he didn’t want to panic Amy or concern Porter any more.
              “And ice cream for dessert?” Porter asked.
              “Yep, all the ice cream you want, bud.”
              Jack and Tex worked together on the grill, flipping over steaks and burgers. Amy played with the kids in the yard, and Fiona and Esme worked on a salad and ears of sweet corn in the kitchen. The gas line was still pressurized, which meant their stove and water heater were still up and running.
Hitting the barbeque was a jarring but welcome change of pace from the urgency of the rush home. It was hard to not be running around like a mad man, but for the moment, Jack felt like it was time to rest, wait and see how things developed. If the radiation started to climb, they would cover up the windows and doors from the inside of the house and hole up in the basement. As a precaution, everyone had already taken some potassium iodide.
              “What do you think, man?” Tex asked “About the power outage and the cell phones?”
              “It might be nothing, but I’m worried. Doesn’t make sense that the attacks would cause the stuff here to go out a few hours later—there’s got to be more going on,” Porter said, checking one of the steaks.
              “Ya, muy bizzaro.”

              An hour after dinner, a pound or two of steak and vegetables in their bellies, Tex and Jack sat in his office under the light of an LED lantern, talking through the game plan for what to do next. An FM radio in the corner relayed the little information that was available—most of it local, with reports of isolated mobs and violence breaking out around malls and shopping centers. The station claimed to be running on backup power—no grid for them, either. The radiation levels on the key chain meter were still normal.
              “I’m worried about Kyle and the Blackwells—especially the Blackwells. They are a fifteen, maybe twenty minute drive from here normally, there’s no reason it should have taken them this long to get here, especially in bad traffic.”
              “Mike was going into work—maybe he told Brooke to wait ‘till he finished up, then they would head over here?”
              “Maybe. Doesn’t make sense, though. Given what their area is like under the rule of law, I’d send her and the kids over here at the first sign of trouble. The country is under attack, communications and the power grid are down now, cops are overwhelmed—it’s not going to take scum long to figure out they’ve got a chance to run wild.”
              “I hear ya, man. What do you think we should do?”
              “I’m not sure—think we should go check in on them.”
              “And MacNab?”
               “Worst case, the roads are shut down and he has to ditch his vehicle and go on foot. I told him we would send out a search party if he wasn’t back by tomorrow morning—that’s still the plan, I think.”
              Tex leaned back in his chair.
              “I wouldn’t mind another run back to my place—if this is the end of the world and we are making our stand here, there’s some more stuff I’d like to pick up. Heck, I forgot my cowboy hat. I can’t survive the apocalypse without my damn hat!”
              Both men laughed at that.
              “I hear you, Tex. I know for a fact that Kyle has a bunch more gear we could use—Amy barely scratched the surface. Lower priority than getting our people together safely, but on the list for sure.”
              “So, we’ve got a whole lot of errands to run, don’t we?”
              “Looks like it—probably some errands we’re forgetting, too. The question is, what’s the timing? Do we roll out now, give the Blackwells a bit more time and wait ‘till later tonight or do we wait until tomorrow morning? And then who goes along for the ride? Both you and me go and we leave the women armed to the teeth? Just one of us? How should we split things up into separate trips—or do we try to do it all at once?”
              “You’re forgetting the most important part, Rourke,” Tex chipped in with a half-smile.
              “What’s that?”
              “How armed and dangerous are we going to be?”

All righty tribe, what would you do in this situation? How would you respond? The characters actions in the next chapter will be based on your comments!


  1. irishbrian90June 06, 2013

    They're facing a tough couple of choices here. On one hand, they could use the cover of night to go and check on the Blackwells, but in this situation and the part of town they would have to be traveling in, darkness is probably not their friend. If the Blackwells don't show up by morning, they could go then, but one of them should probably remain behind in the home if they have any doubts about the safety of those they are leaving behind.
    Kyle will be a lower risk to go and recover based on his location, so he does not need to have such a priority as first thing in the morning. If he isn't back by mid-day a search party could be sent for him, and they could swing by to pick up any needed gear then with the extra manpower..
    As for the how armed question, they definitely need to be armed, but at this early point they probably need to be concealed carrying to avoid raising any hostilities

  2. Check the water pressure. If the pressure is still good, fill every container possible, otherwise cut the water at the meter to keep the hot water tank still viable as a water source. Start strict water protocols if/when water is no longer a given resource. Security detail is now a full time job in the neighborhood. At this point, play the probabilities and gather gear from the member's home that is probably the safest to reach. Plan to return to the house just before sunrise. The bad guys will have probably run out of steam by early morning and/or very messed up. Have the women divide some of the canned goods of food and store them in the storage shed, cleverly hidden of course while it is still dark. You don't want the neighbors to know that you are loaded with a stockpile of food. While the gas lines are still working, preserve any meat into jerky, and possibly make some fry bread for the morning.
    The early dawn should include a game plan for rescue if the Blackwells are still absent. A small scout session should be sent out at dawn to check the nearest major roads, and to collect information about the local landscape. SOP is to return at the first problem that arises, and report. Talk to the neighbors and find out what they know about the local area too! Collect solid information then formulate the game plan for rescue.

  3. I have 2 things to say before I answer the questions. WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!! The next chapter is here! (which is what I said when I saw the next chapter was here) and the other thing is, man those are some tricky questions to answer.
    1. Go in the morning. When we evacuated from Katrina, The traffic was beyond terrible. It took most of a day to do what would normally take 2 and a half hours. Give them more time.
    2. One of the guys should go and take one of the women, preferably the one with the most gun and first aid training.
    3. Make all your stops in one trip. If you make a bunch of different trips, you will be using up too much fuel. If you go get which whoever is closer first, you would have a little extra man power to go on the longer trip. It might even be worth making one trip for the people that are closer and "run errands", and then go get the people that are farther away.
    4. I don't know! What kind of ammo and guns do they have? I would take small arms, and things like a saw off shotgun, a razor sharp blade for fighting if worst comes to worst. If I knew better their arsenal, and the kind of area that they were going into (heavily urban, rural, Semi-rural, suburb), I could tell you in a lot better detail what to bring.

    1. Check out the introduction - it talks a little about each family's firearm situation.

    2. Each person who goes should carry a concealed handgun and then they should bring a (small) rifle and something like a saw off shotgun. Keep the long guns well concealed under the back seats or something.

  4. AnonymousJune 06, 2013

    Ditto on the water and hiding some or most of the supplies. Assuming the women know how to shoot, have Tex and Amy leave to get and return with any supplies that would help them survive (ie. guns, ammo, food, water containers, seeds, garden tools, medical supplies, small portable valuables like jewelry.) In emergency medicine there is the concept of a "golden hour" after a serious injury...the body is designed to maintain homeostasis as long as it can. Similarly, after a cataclysmic event, there is likely to be a little time as people digest what is happening...a golden few hours...people don't lose their civility/socialization immediately...and also probably believe that the cavalry is coming to save them, and this time should be taken advantage of. Once the golden hours are gone, things can crash pretty quickly. There is risk in leaving, but risk in not going as well...people will need to adapt to a new life where sometimes the best you can do is pick the less risky option. It was interesting to read the responses, because I think there are gender differences...as a woman I would have gone straight to the school and only later to the store. And I think most women are hard-wired for the prime directive, which is getting to their babies as soon as possible in any threatening situation and ensuring they are safe. I am not knocking men...they are just as invested in family safety and the supplies add to safety...but most women I know would have gone to the school first.

  5. AnonymousJune 07, 2013

    You do a really good job writing. Keep it up!

  6. AnonymousJune 07, 2013

    They should go for Kyle first as the first 24 hours most people are still in a state of shock and denial, so violence shouldn't be an issue this early, as time goes on things will deteriorate. Definately bring small arms for protection, as there could be desperate people. After getting Kyle they can work their way back stopping to check on the Blackwells or stopping at Tex's place whichever is the farthest out.

  7. I agree one of the men should stay put. If you're going to Kyle and Amy's place for more supplies she needs to go with for one simple reason. If the shtf and I saw a couple people in my neighbors house grabbing up stuff that isn't theirs I'm gonna shoot em as looters. Plain and simple.

    How long is the dead end road Jack lives on?

    How well do they know their neighbors? When they see a bunch of people gathering at Jack's they're probably gonna be curious as to what's going on. If you know one or more of them can be an asset it'd be wise to get them in the loop.

    As for weapons, I don't think it would be smart to go out looking like a swat team member. Pistols on your person and maybe a rifle and shotgun out of sight in the vehicle.

    Do they have a well or city water?

  8. Day TripperJune 07, 2013

    Work through the night on organizing supplies and fortifying defenses. Definitely fill up water storage containers...if Kentucky and West Virginia are experiencing any radiation fallout then the Ohio River could be contaminated and emptying fast into the Mississippi which is going to cause some major problems for a majority of the east and midwest water systems.

    Plan out a strategic supply run at dawn. I think that the fact they live in a quieter, more rural area and the fact that we are still within 72 hours of the nuke attacks, the women should stay and guard the homestead while the men make the run. I'm already starting to doubt Amy's efficiency and effectiveness and feel she may get in the way on the supply run. Observations on the supply run may lead to a better understanding of what is taking the others so long to get there, be it traffic, road blockage, riots, etc. Whoever stays at the house need to stay locked and loaded inside until the others return. No running generators, no outside work...nothing that will attract attention.

    A rescue party for the people who haven't arrived yet is not quite warranted and could wait until the next day...which would only put them 48 hours from the event. The last thing you want to do is split your party up even more if the rescue team gets bogged down and stuck. It would be best to wait it out a bit more and hope that the others finally make it.

  9. AnonymousJune 07, 2013

    Maybe going for Kyle first is not really needed, as it appears that vehicles are not affected, however Kyle could just be stuck in gridlock because of an accident, traffic, etc. Going to get him would only put the group in the same situation. Best to give Kyle a little more time to work his way home as he seems to be a very capable person. Supplies first, then Blackwells.

  10. AnonymousJune 07, 2013

    Tex should take Amy to gather as much as possible from her house and check on the Blackwells right away to make sure that they can beat looters to the house and try to round up the majority of the group. Kyle will stick to the plan and know to leave a trail that only Rourke will know if he has to go on foot because of gridlock or danger. Overnight some neighborhood patrols should be conducted to find anyone who doesn't belong well before they have a chance to reach the house. I also agree that talking to the neighbor's would be smart in times of crisis you can really get a feeling for who can contribute and who will try to ride your coattails through the mess. Water should also be a priority fill every available container because the backup generators at the plant can only run so long before they run out of fuel. If a police scanner is available listening can give you a good idea of how things are in your area of operation.
    C Scout

  11. Wow. This is so amazing! Your a great author. ;) This really makes you think and to me seems more realistic than Patriots.... Either way this is much harder than last time.
    I think the barbecue was a bit much, keep a low profile for now. Talk to a few trusted neighbors: better to have an alliance than looters. Kyle should be fine, wouldn't worry to much; one of the guys takes Amy to her house and grabs some stuff, or maybe...was it Tex? Maybe Tex should go to his house pick up his stuff, and when Kyle (hopefully!) comes back then he and Amy can go to their house and work together.

    Also, where is Jack's house?
    Thanks again!

    1. They live somewhere in the south east - trying to avoid getting bogged down in area specifics. Outskirts of a Medium sized city, could be in NC, SC, VA, GA.

    2. Sweet!
      Thank you. Can't wait for the next addition!

  12. On 9/11 we all knew thousands of people just died. In the story 10+ million just perished in an instant with more to follow. I don't care how tough, badass, calm, cool and collected you are in a normal crisis there are very few people who aren't going freak out some, so I think its a little early to label someone useless. You're just hours into the attack so in my opinion your worst enemy right now is Joe and Suzie Blow in their cars trying to get home to their families. Your more likely to get run over than meet up with a band of marauders at this point.

  13. AnonymousJune 07, 2013

    I only have time for a short comment but nobody has mentioned one thing that stick in my mind. You shouldnt leave unarmed without some of your guns but dont forget Katrina. Riding around armed could make you a target for gun grabs by both corrupt or uncorrupt law enforcement and military that may have road blocks set up.

  14. I AM ALL AQUIVER!!!!! Awesome writing Brother Wolf!!!

    1. Randy,

      Are you sure that aquiver-ness isn't from the pain meds they're giving you? Hope you're mending well!

  15. AnonymousJune 07, 2013

    While I am all "aquiver" also, I cant help but wonder what has happened to the content of this blog. Where has all the gear, and ideas for preppers, zombie hunters, survivalists, ect... gone?

    1. Seriously??? I think you commented on the wrong blog. Fail. Try again.

    2. None of that stuff has gone anywhere. I have been posting stuff and have more in the pipeline.

      The story/the scenarios have admittedly been the main focus of the past week or so, but each entry has also gotten two or three times more views and attention than the average post.

    3. I will also add that there is a lot of gear and ideas in these scenarios - that's the point. Just pay attention for 'em.

  16. AnonymousJune 07, 2013

    As a Cali prepper (whatever that is,) with food, water, guns and ammo, land, ex-military and a righteous attitude, I'm loving' this story. Only problem is that I'm afraid that a situation like this is all too possible.

  17. AnonymousJune 08, 2013

    Okay I am going to ask some dumb questions.

    "The gas line was still pressurized, which meant their stove and water heater were still up and running."

    How do you tell if the gas line is pressurized?

    Also, when the power is out, gas stove will still supply gas but the electric spark that lights the gas is out. Is it safe to use a match in that case?


    1. Basically, they turned on the stove and gas was coming out it usually did.

      I would have no concerns about using a match or lighter if the sparker did not work.

  18. GodfatherJsJune 08, 2013

    I would only be infavor of a supply run if you have enough gasoline to complete that run and then get to your bol with all of your supplies (sounds like a multi-vehicle caravan with a camper trailer as well). If they plan to bug out at all it needs to be asap. Look at recent major events and you find people run out of gas waiting on the freeway and become a roadblock. Soon the pumps will go dry or simply not work due to the outage and whatever gas they have is all they can depend on unless stolen from other vehicles (night time mission to fill any cans laying around the house and other containers). You essentialy have 2-3 days max before things will break down in this situation. Food and gas will be gone within 24-48 hours and other major preps soon to follow. If you dont get everything you need for roughly a year survival time you may be in a rough spot if they finally get an upper atmosphere explosion (I.e. one second after scenario). I would suggest hang tight and pack everything into the vehicles you plan to bug out with. Do a night raid or two and be ready to bug out in am picking up supplies on way out of town.

  19. AnonymousJune 09, 2013

    Trying to put myself in this scenario, my first concern would be home security. I doubt that violent looters will be romping around yet because most people have the resources to get by at least a day or two without the infrastructure of a city, but you do want to make sure that everyone accounted for is home during the expected peak fallout if it were to be carried this way. That would create a time frame to get chores done as well as give a nice excuse to let everyone get some sleep. The basement should be prepared for habitation, and food stores should be placed there. If there is extra worry about fallout, they should also establish procedures for decontamination (ie removing clothes before coming inside) and sealing the house up a bit.

    Mike seems like a nice guy so I would assume he is doing his best to help out at his job. Emergency personal (and really everyone else) abandoning their jobs would be the signal that society has collapsed. It is kind of everyone's responsibility to try to maintain a status quo. How long that lasts depends on everyone involved. Anyways, I digress. It would probably be prudent to swing by the Blackwells soon to pick up Brooke and the kids. If Mike is at work he will probably keep working and have some sort of accommodations wherever he is based. They should try to get in contact with him regardless if it is possible, maybe swing by wherever the paramedics are based while out and about?

    Kyle has a walkie, right? Don't worry about him until morning like planned unless he manages contact and needs help quickly. He would probably shelter in place until morning if traffic was gridlocked.

    I am not sure how the criminal element would act in a situation like this. Anyone have any ideas how they reacted during other disasters? Like I don't think there is a huge surge in crime every time the power goes out. I want to say most of the looting I have heard about has been opportunistic like during civil unrest (which at this point would probably be localized to shopping centers or inside the city) or during/after a natural disaster when supplies are running low. At this point your average thief will still be interested in stealing the fancy stuff they can sell. That being said, I would judge that the empty homes of the other group members would be as safe as usual for at least another day. Like was already said, just make sure you bring one of the homeowners when you go to pick up more supplies.

    I doubt you can expect serious, violent, desperate, crime at this point so I would send the men to the Blackwells concealed-carrying their handguns, plus a longarm for the person riding shotgun (haha!). Unless you run into gang-controlled territory, not drawing attention to yourself if probably the best MO. If you do run into a threat, however, you do want to be able to demonstrate overwhelming force on cue. Another thing to think about and decide upon before leaving is the amount of personal risk you would take. Of course you want to save your friends, but first responsibilities is probably to your own family.

    I would say bugging out is premature especially with the threat of fallout looming. On a side note, the local power company probably should know why they aren't powering their city and then so should the local news stations. I'm no expert by any means, but it could be possible that the nuclear blasts damaged some sort of control system but I am not sure it would be able to render the local power plants/system inoperable. If I was in this situation with my current knowledge I would say that the blackout is temporary provided the power company is working on fixing it.

    To end this long comment (thank you for reading by the way! this is one of the only blogs I really enjoy reading) I would say you gotta make sure the home is secure for the night (including fallout prep), go pick up the Blackwells if you won't die trying, come home and sleep (maybe keep someone on watch), and in the morning try to get Kyle and other supplies.

    1. Great points, I believe bugging out now is a little premature, but you dont want to be stuck on the road when the "real" panic ensues. Mike is a paramedic, so he has some obligation to the public, eventually he will head home and scoop up his wife and kids and when he does you would definitely want his expertise in the group, Kyle is also a valuable asset and as you stated he has a radio and the where with all to get back home, so why not wait

  20. At this point I think most people will still be in shock due to the day’s events. The chances of widespread looting and criminal behaviour will be low, there will be a few opportunists but how is that different from any other day?.
    First I would spend the remainder of the day / evening securing the house and making sure that all he preps are secure, one of the women should do a quick inventory of available food, water, medical supplies and tools. Fill up as many containers with potable water as possible. Next sort out sleeping arrangements and draw up a bathroom schedule making sure that everyone has a water allocation for their ablutions.
    Although I would not expect any trouble within the first 24 hours I would make sure that a watch schedule is drawn up (there should be someone on watch at all times and armed with at least a sidearm and a sawn-off shotgun.).
    I would think that Kyle would make it home ok, he may not arrive until the early hours of the morning but barring serious trouble on route he should make it by morning.
    Again because it is still early days I think that the vast majority of people will still be trying to get to grips with the situation, attempting to learn more about the event and therefore would stay home and try to make sure that family members are safe, Most people have at least three or four days food on hand so I would guess that things would be quite quiet in the morning and the roads should be fairly quiet. So in the morning Tex should make a quick run home to pick up the remainder of his preps. Jack should go with him because if Kyle arrives as I suspect he would then he would be bone tired.
    So Jack and Tex should be armed with their CCW’s and a sawn-off shotgun (well hidden) and as much cash as they have on hand. Get the Blackwells and their preps and perhaps see if any stores are open. If they are they may be swamped with people but if not then get as much food, tools, medical supplies, clothing, boots etc ; as they can afford with the cash they have on them. Then hightail it home.
    Once home ensure that preps are secured. Then make sure that everyone is armed with their sidearm of choice (concealed of course).
    Jack, Fiona and perhaps Tex should then check on their neighbours. Making sure that they are ok and perhaps trying to arrange a meeting that evening at a convenient location (Jacks front yard?).
    Items to discuss at meeting

    Who knows what?, perhaps someone in the neighbourhood has more information about the event?.
    Neighbours food available on hand
    Mutual Defence (Weapons neighbours may have available)
    Medical issues anyone may have
    Hygiene and Sewage disposal if the water stops flowing and the sewage systems packs up.
    Available skillset, Doctors, nurses, engineers, military, teachers etc.

    Anything else????

    1. AnonymousJune 10, 2013

      The only precaution I would take with the neighbors is you don't want to get sucked into providing for them too. In a societal-collapse-but-not-the-end-of-the-world situation, a friendly neighborhood community would be an asset. Thats based on FerFAL's experience with the Argentina economic collapse.

      If on the other hand you lost all public utilities forever and there was no more government to maintain law and order, you might be better off with a group this size adopting an isolationist attitude until you have established a sustainable lifestyle and that would be the time to consider bugging out... provided everyone else in the city isn't doing the same thing.

  21. I believe they should wait it out a little longer, wait for Kyle and the Blackwells. This is based on the fact that I think many of the sheople will be relying on the government to provide, and panic will not erupt until said sheople realize that no help is coming!

  22. AnonymousJune 10, 2013

    Sorry this is long!

    I agree about the neighbors. An "inventory" of the neighbors should have been accomplished pre-disaster and friendships developed where appropriate. I feel that this is something Rourke would have done, so even if none were befriend-able, he at least has an idea of their disposition, skills, etc.

    As for Amy, give her some time. Make sure she has responsibilities (things to do) and companionship. Let her cry it out (preferably not scream it out, for security reasons) if she needs to, because sometimes that's how it is. The simple fact that such preparations have already been gone through prepared her much more extensively than the average Joe for this scenario. Of course, some people still aren't cut out for it.

    I wouldn't be worried about Mike or Kyle yet, but I would be worried about Brooke. If I were Mike, I would have sent her over ASAP, but I'm not sure about with his personality or hers, she may have stayed at home out of fear or shock or not feeling safe outside of her home without Mike. Brooke is definitely a priority for the search party. Getting Brooke may clarify the situation with Mike, too, and lead to a change in plans, but prior to that I would plan on using the trip dually to gather supplies if they're not too out of the way (aside from those supplies at the Blackwell's, of course) and maybe seeing if communication with Kyle and Mike can be made (land lines, weak cell signals restored but only in certain areas or something? not really sure how that works). Of course, like mentioned by others, situational observation and the radio and/or police scanner should be employed at all times to gather as much info as possible while out. Oh, and I agree about taking homeowners with them to pick up supplies if/when the time comes, at least for the first few days when life as we know it isn't yet accepted as "gone"(just a guess on time, I am still a student on disaster time lines)

    Those that stay home should stay busy, too, like those above said: inventorying, scheduling, preserving food in fridge and freezer, security detail, other roles, etc.

    Also, I agree with the consensus about carrying concealed and have in the vehicle a shotgun or rifle (at the ready while in the vehicle). If it is in the early stages still, the reasons why we have CCLs still apply (protection while enemy doesn't KNOW whether or not you have). Soon enough open carry will be necessary, but not yet I don't think.

    It seems to me that this prepper network's bug out plan WAS to go to Rourke's, although they have that camping land, too. So are they going to bug out farther when they've gathered everything, or stay put until the situation worsens? Obviously, we may have to wait to read that, but it may affect their plans as far as timing goes, and what becomes priority verses just-leave-it.

  23. This is a difficult one as we dont have specifics on what time it is or proximity etc. If it is around 8 and tex's place is close, and out of town, then a quick trip to grab stuff and out would make sense. Leave the woman armed at home will be fine till thry get back. It is probavly best to keep amy busy as she is probably worrying about kyle. Doing an inventory will be helpful and keep her busy. The trip to tex's will start to give them good intel to base next moves. If the time is closer to 10 then i wouldnt bother and would hunker down for the night.

    Get a security detail going for night. I would say 2 hours on and sleep the rest. Amy to go first, with a light sleeper next, so an alarm wakes them if amy does go down.

    Aside from that now they must make a plan if they dont have one already. Also, do they try a search and rescue for the blackwells and fir kyle. No to the blackwells as they are close enough that they could walk. However, the 20 min drive means that their neighbours are close by and will soon be roving and knocking down doors. Sometime in the next couple of days you will need to engage the neighbours, though timebis probably on your side. The positioning of the house is good as you will have some notice before the looters get close as your neighbours house will get trashed first.

    Getting kyle is a hard one. You promised to get him and him being at the retreat will increase your odds massively as he is your number 2 as well as probably lifting his wife into a more useful member. However, being 60 miles out means that if he has to walk out, we are talking more like 3 days away depending on fitness and terrain. Sending a sewrch party out will just get a vehicle stuck or send out a party for 3 or so days and not protecting the retreat. Kyle could have also gone home first to grab his gear and that could be taking all the time. Best thing to do is monitor the radio, whilst trying to conserve battery - kyle would probably do the same and do the accepted on for 5 at top of every hour. Stay and protect his wife and kids; he will be thankful for that - and send out someone; the morning after tomorrow. Preferably, with a bike or something more mobile with rules that they are out 1 night and come back. Kyle could have gone any number of routes and been forced into the woods or other wild areas.

    Sorry its a bit long and rambling. Just some stuff off top of my head before bed and on my phone. Keep up the good work cant wait for next installment.

  24. Agree with the inventory and consolidate their position. A watch needs to be stood up now, and I disagree with the masses and say the now is the time to openly and notoriously carry the AR-15's, full mag, chamber empty. Seal up the windows and put together doorway screens with the plastic. It has not been discussed, but security procedures need to be talked about, passwords, who goes where with who... etc. The kids need to be included in this so they know how serious it is. I wish they had a ham radio, or a HT. That would help find out more about the local situation. Cell system and power going out, not at the same time, but very closely has me worried. It sounds coordinated, not incidental.

    As for the supply run and checking on other members, I would wait until mid-day tomorrow, and have two or more gunners along.