546 days after Yosemite
I was along the Savannah River, we avoided almost all of the ash. The worse-off elements of our town saw the confusion of the eruption as a chance to loot and go crazy. With our infrastructure being undamaged, the military and LE quickly stepped in to insure order. Everyone who had any sense stayed away from the problems that followed. People used the gas that they could get their hands on to haul ass to the outskirts of town. Some families convinced themselves that the federal government would come to their aid, that this was just an ashen version of Katrina, that everything would be back to normal in a few months. Those families are starting to rethink, as many of them have had to move in with neighbors and work on their farms as what we call "bread-serfs". The LE and military, with no real contact to the feds, have set up a sort of police state. They don't have enough manpower to create a true, strict state, so they've agreed to nominally join the Carolina Confederacy. In reality, what used to be the military is king here. However, since the initial looting and rioting following the eruption, things have been eerily quiet. Nobody here wants to risk their lives just yet. The few skirmishes that have erupted have been over medications for things like diabetes. These have been mostly solved through superior firepower, the military has stepped in to distribute medicine evenly. This means that the diabetics and chronically ill have maybe a few months left, as many have already died, and the medication was distributed mostly evenly. With this relative quiet (we hear horror stories from Texan caravans) has come clamors for some semblance of self-governance. The military and LE (combined, we call them "Protectors") are reluctantly considering a triumvirate-style system in which the Protectors, land-owners and bread-serfs each elect a Consul
My story begins here, as a candidate for the office of Land-Owning Consul
--The Calm-- Edit
When Yosemite erupted, I was home for a break visiting my dad. We live on land situated right on the Savannah, perfectly suited for a farm. In fact it used to be, up until the early 1900s. We were relatively isolated from the violence following the eruption. A few vagrants had wandered on the property, looking for a place to sleep. We had saved some food for situations like this, nothing crazy, but enough for maybe a year and half off-grid (just for 4 people). I convinced my dad that we could at least give everyone who showed up a meal before we turned them away (I'm a little soft for the helpless). A few people realized that they had nowhere to go, and agreed to work on our land in exchange for food and a bed. We didn't know it at the time, but when we agreed, we had created some of the first "bread-serfs". There's more than one house on the property, so we all pitched in to convert the larger house into a sort of barracks for the 8 people that had decided to stay with us, while my dad and I slept in the smaller house (with the guns and a stockpile of ammunition, which should be noted). We started to till the fields in the month after the eruption, figuring that even if the federal government was coming to our aid, it wouldn't hurt to set up a farm to tide us over. With our 8 new friends (we really did think of them as friends, the only difference between them and us was that we had land and firearms) we slowly planned and gave shape to a farm. My dad came up with idea of using a steep hill that we couldn't plow as a space for apple trees. Because we had taken in so many others, we knew our stored food wouldn't last more than a few months. We needed food with a quick growing cycle. We traded ammunition for seeds with other locals who had full farms running before Yosemite. We planted potatoes and beans in the field further from the river, and constructed a ramshackle chicken coop next to the larger house. We bartered one rooster and four young hens from a factory farm that couldn't sustain their population. The woods around the land were full of small game and a family of deer that had been there since before I left for university. In order to not scare the deer off of the property, I used a bow and arrow that I had learned to shoot as a teenager to eventually take a doe and a younger buck for fresh meat and jerky. We were at least 4 months past the eruption at this point, and all seemed calm. Things had calmed down in the more populated areas. The Protectors had established a system. They found all of the land owners in the area who would cooperate, and distributed (or tuned) radios that would allow us to contact them in the event of an altercation. Most ignored this, preferring to deal with any scuffles themselves. The Protectors adopted a policy of live and let live, only intervening when something threatened a key resource (like the hydroelectric dam). They kept up communications on the radios, letting all the land-owners know of developments in the wider world. We continued in this way for more months, slowly coming in to contact with people from other areas. With our proximity to the Carolinas, most assumed that the Protectors would release control to the growing Carolina Confederacy in the coming months, as it seemed most of our former state had.As the days went on, the growing silence on the radios told us that the Protectors were uneasy at giving up the reins to a larger entity. Eventually, over a year and a half after the Ash fell, the Protectors reached an agreement with the leadership of the Carolina Confederacy. The Protectors would give up nominal control of their stretch of the Savannah River, paying tributes of foodstuffs in return for access to the resources of the Confederacy. The Protectors had already been collecting tributes from land-owners in order to feed their ranks, and this new agreement only meant that their collection would increase. With their entrance into the Confederacy, many claimed that the Protectors couldn't continue their method of governance, saying that it wouldn't sit well with their new comrades. Being friends with a few of the Protectors (mostly LE that I had befriended when they came to collect tributes), I heard the rumors that we would be instituting the 'Triumvirate' method I mentioned earlier. My dad, not expecting to live long into this ordeal (heart problems, but he's really healthy as a horse now at the ripe old age of 70), had transferred ownership of the land to me. I didn't think much of this, deferring to him on all decisions and really just continuing on as normal. Imagine my surprise, then, when a group of Protectors approached on horseback one day while I was working on our well, asking me to run for office in the new Triumvirate. My dad, working beside me, grinned and exclaimed "A regular Cinncinatus!". I remember those words every day, wondering where we went wrong.