George reflects on how his transformation of the ranch came together rather easily.
CHAPTER 8 - ...Like Fort Wagner
By the end of the days-long battle, the Union Army had lost over 1500 soldiers while the Fort Wagner had lost only 36. While the fort was eventually abandoned by the South after a prolonged siege, it was never taken in battle, and this was the most important thing to George.
CHAPTER 10 - A Freak of Nature
Using his military experience, Ernie’s simulations started with him assuming the role of the attackers. He meticulously planned his attacks to take full advantage of what he perceived to be Fort Porter’s most obvious weaknesses. Then he would figure out ways that a small force inside Fort Porter would deal with the attack. When Izzy was 9 and Jake 12, Ernie and the whole family spent several hours every Sunday evening playing the simulations as a game.
CHAPTER 13 - Finishing Touches
George and The Chief stood on the promontory and surveyed the ranch. It had taken the better part of 15 years, but it was finally complete. George counted the 20 individual bunkers, and he mentally traced the paths of the underground tunnels. Then he looked at the various structures, all constructed with reinforced concrete slabs covered with false facades that mimicked typical farm housing, sheds, storage and utility buildings. He felt a tremendous sense of pride and the satisfaction that comes from a long, hard-fought journey that has come to a successful end. He looked at Ernie and smiled, extending his hand.
“I think we’re done, Ernie.”
CHAPTER 14 - "Where Would You Go If..."
All he needed to do was plant the idea that the children could be safe there, should the worst happen. While Twin Pines was a relatively small community of about 10,000, it wasn’t a particularly close-knit community. But still, people talked with one another and increasingly, people found themselves, embarrassingly, talking about worst-case scenarios. George was almost always mentioned. And even while dismissing the crazy idea that something terrible was going to happen, in the back of their minds, they all wondered what George had built out at his ranch. It was all George could have hoped for.
CHAPTER 15 - Countdown
Things were pretty much the same for most of Jake’s first year at college. Izzy made the rounds, cared for her horses and continued to amaze both George and Ernie. George obsessively amassed supplies and provisions at auctions, closeout sales and through his contacts. And Ernie oversaw the operations at the ranch. George counted the days, reviewed his research and waited. They all waited. Meanwhile, outside the walls of the ranch, life went on.