Protection and Preservation, Book 10
We landed in Taipei. We were met very soon by a group in trucks and military vehicles. Ellis was with us again. He began to speak and was interrupted by a man who kindly said, "Many of us speak English and practice it regularly. Let us use your language."
We were surprised but he quickly continued. "My name is Lee Shan. We would be friends. Please call me Shan." He shook David's hand. "I believe you are the leader of this group?"
David said, "Yes. My name is David Lewis and this is our co-leader and my wife, Bobbi. We had no expectations in coming here but thought we should as we are trying to check on the rest of the world on behalf of our communities."
Shan said, "Then, you do not represent the United States government?"
David said, "Not in the way you contemplate. There is no United States government. Our party represents two large communities that are allied with a number of others located in various of the old states though those boundaries no longer have meaning. Our primary two communities are Preservation and Protection. Preservation is centered in what was the state of Georgia while Protection is based in what was Tennessee. My wife and I happen to be from Protection.
"The old United States is populated with people in the southern tier of states from South Carolina through to Arizona. People don't live in the northern states because of the cold. California is deserted because of the dry weather and earthquakes. It is a different world."
Shan nodded. "We have found that to be true, too. We have lost contact with the mainland as the people there descended into chaos. We don't have planes and our last boat expedition was beset with attackers from landing until leaving. That was five years ago. We haven't been back since then."
I said, "We found warlords in the Shenyang area. There was no one in Siberia when we went through there. What are your plans for your area?"
"We are trying to build our strength and restart technology. At some point, we would like to return to the mainland. We see this as a multi decade objective. We are trying to make life on the island enjoyable for the almost six thousand survivors and children. We are starting to celebrate the birth of grandchildren. Our medical doctors have found that some people who were alive at the time of the virus have trouble having children and then others don't. We haven't figured out why. That is troubling."
I said, "The native Africans seem to have fared much worse. Our trip across North Africa found the area deserted. Europe isn't much better. One of our doctors has speculated that there was some racial gene involved. No one knows and my communities didn't have the time and available personnel to find out. There was and is plenty for everyone to do. We are the world's only exploring group to our knowledge. We haven't heard or met others. It is a different world."
Shan nodded and smiled grimly. "It's a very different world. Without police or an army, we have had to be our own police and armed forces. We have found in clearing our island of problem persons that force is frequently the only method to handle some situations. We would prefer peaceful contact and discussions."
David said, "We have found that to be true also."
I wanted to change the subject. "We maintain contact by radio. Many of our early leaders were amateur radio operators and they have passed that skill to others and we make use of it regularly. We will be reporting to our communities later."
Shan said, "You can talk around the world? That's amazing. We have trouble with messages just on our island."
I said, "We have radios for local use as well as distant use. It has become second nature to us. You should be able to locate some old amateur operators' stations and put together a good station. Our communities have many. Some will just listen in on the reports we make. There are stations now in Europe, too, because of our exploring and travels."
Shan looked impressed. I continued. "We will set up a station in the airport terminal. I can hook up loudspeakers to the output of the radio to let many people hear the talks."
Shan said, "I think many of my people would appreciate that. We haven't heard from anyone off the island in too many years. I will also talk to our technical people and find some who would be willing to look into your radios. It will be good." He smiled and held out his hand to shake with each of us. We shook.
We talked with SJ and Jacob among others. All felt comfortable with Shan and his people. I noticed the SJ was still carrying her pistols and I continued to carry mine along with my new sword. David had me practice with it and helped me. We hadn't had much practice so I had no intention of using it in a fight. A number of the ladies drew admiring looks from the local men. No one had made any advances or remarks but they enjoyed looking. I mentioned that to David.
He said, "You can't blame them. Their lives do not show much skin in public places. Also you and a few others are generously endowed which attracts attention. Warn some of the younger ones to not wander off. Let's try to avoid any incidents." I nodded and went about my business. I did talk to some of the other women to make sure they were aware of the interest and of the potential problems.