Here is the Zina story from one of the Falling Skies teams.
This morning the link is up, which means Zina can connect to a few people in the Midwestern United States—if she’s lucky, she can bounce around the Net and find a way to connect with her relatives in Portland, but she’s not holding her breath. These days, it doesn’t pay to hold your breath about much—it usually just leads to suffocation.
Zina does eventually end up connecting with her brother and sister-in-law in Portland, OR. It seems being near an ocean and a major river is a good thing. Portland was so close when she moved to Coeur d’Alene, but without fuel deliveries and with nearly five years of unmaintained Interstates, getting anywhere now is a major adventure. And Zina isn’t into adventure.
Zina, however, does like people. She was hired by the Coeur d’Alene city council as one of their networking specialists. This isn’t about computers. It’s about people. Zina’s job is to figure out who knows what, and to correlate knowledge with the ability to execute—she has to ask for each skill: does the city have the right tools and materials to make the skill relevant? You see, some jobs are critical, but they aren’t relevant because no matter how much one knows how to do something, or how much that something needs to get done— if you don’t have the tools and the materials, then you just can’t do it. The city, for instance, ran out of asphalt about three years ago. They would like to repair roads properly, but they’ve now switched to just filling in potholes with gravel. All of the asphalt application and operations skills are no longer relevant.
Like many of the newly invented city jobs, Zina doesn’t have a title, she is just a city employee. People, however, call her a “Connector” which is just fine with her, and she thinks, pretty descriptive. Zina keeps notebooks full of notes about people, along with files, certification papers where she can get them and identification records where they exist. A lot of people conveniently lost their IDs and have reinvented themselves. They don’t miss the bigger brother aspects of the Internet. Zina was never a big user of the Internet, or so she thought, until it went missing, and now she realized how much of what she did as a college recruiter relied on the technology she took for granted.
Zina looks out her window at the beautiful forest, but she isn’t happy. She didn’t come to Coeur d’Alene to have the world come crashing down. After the money went away and the government failed to re-establish a workable economic system, everything about American-government just slowly faded. It wasn’t like one of those science fiction movies where helicopters and tanks come pouring in to create order. For the most part, there wasn’t disorder—and it appears the tanks and helicopters, airplanes and soldiers were needed elsewhere. Coeur d’Alene just fell off the map. Coeur d’Alene, though, was still part of America and it was hopefully going to get reconnected someday.
Occasionally a military plane does fly by, but they never stop.
Linda, one of Zina’s colleagues, is a 50ish women with greyish-blond hair. The natural look is in if people like it or not. Linda is also a “Connector,” and today, she needs someone who can work sheet metal in order to reinforce the shipping dock over at the city distribution center. Not that the city distributes all that much, or distributes anything all that often, but when they do, they really want to avoid having people fall off the edge of the frayed brick dock. The metal will provide a more definite, less crumbly edge. What happened to Leonard won’t happen again.
Zina does now a sheet metal artisan, Art and she makes the proper introductions to Linda.
Zina’s value goes up in Linda’s book, literally, as she puts a little star next to her name and moves her page closer to the front of the book.
Although Zina doesn’t like adventure, she early this evening she needs to meet with Neal out near Bennett Bay. He’s from Pinehurst, and he may have a lead on a farmer who used to work in Israel—a farmer who knows how to increase yields without a lot of technology.
Zina can’t be Zina tonight though. She doesn’t want to be known to Pinehurst as a Coeur d’Alene “Connector.” What she knows would be very valuable to another local township. Neal thinks Zina is another farmer looking for advice, not a “Connector” looking to poach talent. This evening Zina will be Harper.
The meeting goes off without a hitch. Neal is none the wiser, but Zina is. Zina knows about Lev now, and she intends to give him ample reason to move to Coeur d’Alene. Sometimes, for a moment at least, information is its own reward.