Roger flipped the channel to 3, 4, 5. He’d never heard anything on 1. He flipped back to 2, again.
“Why do you keep bothering with that thing?” Aubrey said, rustling in her sleeping bag. She rolled over, putting her back to the room. Her blonde hair was a contrast against the dark military green of the fabric. She always did that when she wasn’t happy with him. In a place where humanity was packed in so tight against one another, this was as much privacy as one could get. This is what survival had come to: residential lockup.
This was what he wanted to stay away from when he’d left South Hill with Elliott. In the end, they were nothing more than kids who’d come running home to their governmental parents for help. Now Elliott had lost his mind over Shavian. McNabb was going to be… what? How do you court marshal someone for surviving? There was no military anymore, there was no government, only these fools who thought they were in charge.
He looked back to Aubrey. She was curled up, her back still to him. She looked even smaller than she already was. He let out an exasperated sigh. He’d already explained it a dozen times. It seems he was going to have to do it again. “As I’ve already said, lass. This…” he waved a hand at the HAM radio, even though she wasn’t looking, “is all that is left of the internet.”
“The internet uses computers, Roger,” she said, her voice muffled by the pillow.
She was one of the smartest girls he’d ever met. Even at her age she was already an accomplished brew master in her own right. She could pilot a military grade helicopter. And despite what that hypocrite Elliott might say, she was surviving the zombie apocalypse. That had to count forr something.
All this but she could still play dumb when she wanted to.
“It’s a radio, you confounded girl. A cable modem is just a type of radio too, you know!” He stood up, his belt digging into his belly as it did when he got worked up. He hoped maybe the end of the world would help his waistline but no. “The FCC had designated channels for USB and secure email transfer. It was created for just for this event!”
She snorted, “The FCC made radio email in case of zombie invasion? Even spam is going to outlive us.”
“Don’t play daft, woman. They made it in case of the SHTF scenario.”
She rolled over and looked at him, her eyes large and blue. They always gave him pause. “You aren’t going on about that Shit Hitting the Fan thing again, are you?”
“It’s precisely what I’m going on about! It was made to be robust! It’s simple and it will survive well after we’d lost every fiber optic backbone the digital world is built upon!”
They watched each other in silence for a moment. He could see the recognition on her face. He’d at last gotten through to her. “Why is spam mail so important?”
He flopped back into his chair, a failure.
“I” he started again, his voice sounding tried, “am trying to reach others that have survived. We aren’t the only people out there. This is how we will be able to leave messages for one another. How we’ll be able to send help when it’s needed.”
She crossed her arms. “If it was so important, why hasn’t the military done so itself?”
“I’m sure they’re using them too. Where do you think I scrounged up most of this kit? I just don’t trust them to tell us what’s really going on. Do you think they aren’t guilty for what’s happened? You heard them, this Dr. Irons guy was working for them or was pretending to before this started. Now that his rotting corpses are on the loose and they can’t control him they are trying to stop him.”
“People using computer radios are going to know where to find him? Why do you care? Let them deal with it.”
Roger leaned back in his chair having given up on finding a signal today. “Because they aren’t going to tell us anything. They aren’t even letting us help now. They have no reason to tell us anything, and if they think it’s for our own good they’ll keep it from us.” He stood up and walked for the door.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to go find a beer.”