Tales from the Wasteland: Information is Power

There are only so many ways to make a living after the apocalypse, and most of them aren’t exactly suitable for a middle-aged woman who’s spent her life working behind a desk. So Allie found herself getting inventive, she didn’t want to go back to working in customer service and pandering to people. To avoid wasting this chance at re-invention she took hold of an old saying and changed it into her new reality, ‘information is power’.

As the post-apocalyptic landscape shifted from desolate wasteland to makeshift town Allie gathered information on what other survivors were doing. If someone new was brought in by the military then she would seek them out for an interview, slowly acquiring a large archive of notes (scribbled hastily on recycled paper and sticky note pads that she’d gathered from inside Dan’s).  But collecting information wasn’t enough, Allie needed to make money (or rather trade) to survive.

It was through sheer luck that the way to turn her hard work into a lucrative business came to her. Through a late night chance encounter with her old co-worker, Ricky did the idea come, while they’d never gotten along before the apocalypse that was mostly due to the fact they’d been working together. No longer stuck in close quarters and constant arguments, victim to each other’s bullheadedness about how to handle customers, Allie found Ricky was in fact not wholly unpleasant to talk to.

Ricky who had worked in the military before an injury forced him to retire and eventually go into customer service, was now using his old skill set to lead up Survivortopolis’ very own night watch. He made a small stipend from the army who were grateful not to waste their limited manpower on patrolling the settlement. Of course, Ricky had always liked to know everything he could about his job and so he found himself seeking information on all the residents in Survivortopolis. And who else could he turn to but Allie who had already carried out this work, and was in need of turning a profit.

Thus Allie’s information exchange was born, and with Ricky spreading the word about how reliable her research was business was booming. There wasn’t a person in Survivortopolis who didn’t know who Allie was and what she did, the small business owners would seek her out day and night to get an edge on any possible competitors. Even members of the general population would come to her for information – potential scavengers looking to find luck in the wasteland, hunters wanting to know the best ways to take down certain mutated beasts, and anyone and everyone searching for some trace of the pre-apocalypse technology.

Demand for information was high, and Allie knew it wasn’t likely to wane – knowledge would always hold value. But that meant it was paramount to always be gathering more information and maintain hold of the market, to do that Allie would need to hire on help. At first, she wasn’t sure anyone would meet her expectations but as luck would have it she managed to find a few capable hands. Her team was small but efficient, and they allowed Allie to take more time for herself – though even in her personal time she found herself gathering new information as it came up.

Cindy was the most capable, which is why Allie made sure she wasn’t overworked and always felt valued (she couldn’t take the risk of Cindy striking out on her own and forming a competitive business). Then there was Luca and Owen who weren’t exactly great but they were determined and would go out on any assignment Allie gave them, no questions asked and without hesitation. It was nice to be in charge, to have workers who were competent enough to handle themselves, and to have a job that was enjoyable…

But it was lonely, and the information Allie coveted most was unattainable – had her family, her children and grandchildren, survived? Way before the apocalypse Allie had been a teen mum, a young grandmother and a grieving widow, family had shaped her life for so long and now it was all gone. Menopause hadn’t come yet, and 35 was still a year off, there was still a lot of life left for Allie to live. Scrounging for information it was easy to realise she wasn’t the only one, her old co-worker Ricky wasn’t yet 40 and had lost his wife and child to the apocalypse.

That’s how the power of information kept bringing them together, unravelling similarities and offering a chance to start fresh in this post-apocalyptic time.

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