“What do you mean you have no seed grain” said Rick to the warehouseman.
“Just as I told you Sir, We simply have not got any seed grain, no winter Wheat, no Rye, no Corn, no Barley, nuthin we aint had squat from the suppliers for three weeks now “ said the guy behind the counter.
“Heck I can’t seem to find any at all this year, not even from the wholesalers” said Rick as he walked out.
Rick decided to ponder over his problems with a coffee down at the cantina near the railroad yards, when he arrived his old friend Jim was already there scrawling notes on a lined pad. Getting his coffee Rick sat opposite Jim and asked him why he looked so worried this morning.
“You need ask, you really need ask” said Jim bitterly, “you have been complaining about getting hold of two 25 pound bags of seed grain for weeks, but your problems are nothing compared to mine” snapped Jim.
“Ok I’ll bite, what’s up then”
Jim leaned over the table and whispered “ You know my company supplies 95% of the grain and milled flour for this region doncha ?, Well we are running out, we only have enough grain and flour for another 8 days, the silos, mills and bakeries are almost empty” .
Jim continued “God knows what is going on, I know its been only a modest harvest but the farms still produced millions of tons of grain, but its not getting to me, My opposite number who runs the eastern area reckons he has only four days supplies left. But that’s only part of the problem. The grain company is part owned by the railroad and Northern Oil Inc as you know. What you don’t know is the two refineries in the estuary have not had any crude oil deliveries for 3 days and the railroad only has enough diesel bunkered to last until Friday. Oh and according to the gossip there no tankers due to arrive in the near future”.
Hells teeth said Rick “I wonder what’s going on, I think I’ll ask on the preparedness forums the only sure fire thing I know is just about everything I like from coffee to wine that comes from abroad has nearly doubled in price lately.
That evening Rick found the true value in having a communications link with other members of the survivalist community, these folks picked up news that the mainstream media missed, ignored or were prevented from broadcasting.
Much of the nation’s basic food stock of grain was going overseas to pay for the oil that kept the nation moving and working. Because of political problems in various areas (plus a few anti western governments) the oil producers were not accepting more than a third of the payments for their crude oil in Dollars, Sterling or Euros. The oil producers were demanding payment a third in grain, a third in gold or silver and the last third in ordinary currencies. This was being compounded by the oil producers giving preference to the growing economy of China. We were giving away our food for oil and not even getting enough to keep the fires of industry burning. The worst part of it was the govt was pretending nothing was wrong.
The information shared between the survivalist communities soon spurred them into activity, almost immediately every family or group went out shopping. Every credit card got maxed out as the survivalists stocked up on essential food stuff that had long shelf lives. The survivalist’s pressure canners and vacuum packers worked over time, and the fuel drums and jerry cans at caches, houses and retreats were filled up with fresh diesel and treated with Sta-Bil. Prescriptions were filled and medical supplies updated. Water filters set up, vehicles serviced and defensive weapons cleaned and loaded into BOVs. Vacations and long trips got cancelled, kids who were schooled outside the neighbourhood stopped getting the school bus each day, instead Ma or Pa did the school run in a fully fitted out Bug Out Vehicle. If trouble hit the kids already knew exactly where to go and what to do while waiting for their parents to arrive and pick them up.
While the motivated members of the preparedness community worked themselves into a frenzy in order to best protect their homes, retreats and families, the average man in the street either ignored the warning signs or believed with blind obedience the information being put out by the western governments.
Six days later the government announced that rationing of fuel and food would be implemented immediately as a temporary measure, that same day Jim from the yard phone Rick and told him “Rick you are a friend and I trust you so I thought I would let you know, last night the fast freight from the capital did not arrive, nor did the stopping freight or the bulk oil train turn up this morning. I’ve just seen some reservist troops putting up a barricade by the hypermarket and mall. I may not be a survivalist Rick, but I’m no bodies fool. I’m getting the wife and we are heading up the our fishing cabin, I think you………………………………………………….
The phone line went dead, Rick pressed 3 to return the call to Jim and the phone rang but it went unanswered. Shortly after Rick noticed a police car cruise slowly passed his home, pausing only briefly as the driver peered across the lawn towards Ricks house before driving off.
Rick phoned his wife and told her to get the kids, he said “AB” which his wife well knew was his coded warning for her to drop everything and get home now. He then went to his computer and sent a group posting to the people he knew and trusted in the survival community. It simply said “Alas Babylon” in homage to the far sighted author of a book that inspired so many survivalists.
Then Rick got changed into boots, cargo pants, T shirt, leather ranger belt with his knife and multi tool on it. He then put on his old Regatta OS 4 travel vest containing his EDC and his PSK, finally putting on his shades and baseball cap he proceeded to add the last few items of supplies into the van.
An hour later with the gas, electricity and water turned off to his home Rick and his family drove quietly out of the street and set off the meet the other two survivalist families who should be waiting by now at the lay by outside of town.