Bugout! California Part 37 – Scan and Post


Sam, Connie, Clem, and Jason snuck up Washington Street to the intersection with Main Street.

“Oh, crap,” Connie whispered. “Look, they got a gun on Sid. Down at the next corner. Two of the others are trotting down there.”

“Looks like we need a diversion,” Sam said, taking a grenade out of a bag he carried. He pulled the pin and tossed it under the UN Van across the street. It blew the van sky high, killing the two men beside it. Clem moved out and fired his hunting rifle at the UN Peacekeeper holding his gun on Sid, hitting him in the head. Jason ran forward with the shotgun, hitting a man who was by the checkpoint barrier. The gunfire erupted from behind Sid, killing the three peacekeepers running towards them. Sid joined the fight, killing two peacekeepers who were running away. Then there was silence.

“Wow, that was fast,” Clem said.

“You know where the rest of them are?” Sam asked.

“This may be all of them,” Jason said.

“We just killed seven, and you only saw six before,” Clem said as they walked down Main Street to meet the others. Then there was a shot, missing them, hitting the building past them.

“Up there,” Clem said as they dove for cover behind a car. “Second story window across the street. They looked up and saw two gun barrels sticking out.

“At least two people in there,” Sam said.

A rifle shot sounded, Yvonne on one knee, watching where she shot. One of the people in the window screamed and dropped their weapon out onto the sidewalk below. Another rifle came out and fired, almost hitting Yvonne as she leapt back under cover.

“There’s several in there,” Sam said. “Cover me. I can toss a grenade in if I can get across the street.”

“Be careful,” Connie said. They started firing into the window, the gun barrels pulling back. Sid and his group got the message, and they started firing into the window too, also hitting other windows surrounding it. Sam bolted across the street.

“Damn, that Garand is loud,” Clem said. “I’d forgotten.”

“Yeah,” Jason said. “That’s the old man’s pride and joy.”

Sam hugged the brick façade of the old building, pulled the pin on the grenade in his hand, and tossed it through the window. It blew up. That stopped the gunfire for a moment.

“Chances are good that didn’t get all of them,” Jason said. “I’d better go over. We’ll have to enter the building. This shotgun will be good for that.”

“There a back door to that building?” Clem asked.

“Yeah, in the alley behind it,” Jason said. He ran over to join Sam on the sidewalk.

“Let’s go,” Connie said, running down Washington to the alley behind the building, Clem trying to keep up. Sid saw them run down Washington, and headed into the alley from B street as the others in his group aimed at the windows and door of the building. Sam and Jason rushed in. There was shouting from inside, and then the shotgun blasted, followed by the pump being cocked again. Sam’s rifle fired, then another rifle went off. There was another shotgun blast.

Connie saw the door in the alley open. Two men ran out. She and Clem fired, hitting one of them.

“Dammit, one got away,” Clem said. Then there was a shot from the other side, hitting the fleeing man in the chest.

“Sid’s over there,” Connie said, grinning.

There were two more shotgun blasts from inside the building, then silence. Sam and Jason ran out the back door into the alley.

“Hold your fire!” Connie yelled as Clem raised his gun. He lowered it as Connie ran to Sam. “You okay?”

“Fine,” Sam said, his breath still coming fast. Sid, Yvonne, Hank, John, and Sarah rushed over.

“How many were in there?” Hank asked.

“Another six,” Jason said. “Glad I picked the shotgun.”

“Seriously,” Sam said, smiling. “You’re good.”

“So are you,” Jason said. “We need to go back in there. One of the guys was trying to shred documents when I stopped his clock.”

“Yep, just what I was thinking. Some of you stay outside, here and on Main Street, just in case there are others.”

“Townspeople are probably awake now,” Hank said. “I’ll be out there to talk with them.”

“Hey, by the way, I found our guns in there,” Jason said. “I’ll bring them back to the station.”

“No, we’ll load them in the car,” Hank said. “We can’t stay here.”

“Where will we go?” Jason asked.

“Where are you guys going?” Hank asked Sid.

“Anza Borrego, to meet up with some Indian friends from the Barona tribe,” Sid said. “We’d love to have you guys along.”

“Definitely,” John said.

“We’d better get this done,” Sam said, heading to the door. Jason nodded and followed. Connie rushed to catch up to Sam as he got to the door.

They went through every room in the ground floor, checking for documents and weapons.

“Nothing much here,” Connie said. “Shredder was upstairs?”

“Yeah,” Jason said.

“There was communications stuff up there too,” Sam said. “We might be able to learn something from that.”

They went up the stairs. “It was this room,” Jason said, nodding to the left. They entered the room, stepping past two bodies sprawled on the floor.

Sam rushed over to the stack of documents, laughing when he read the first one.

“What?” Connie asked, walking over to him.

“They’ve got their plans for the subjugation of California spelled out here,” Sam said. “It’s too broad to be of immediate use, though. Wonder why they bothered to shred?”

“Most people have no idea about this,” Jason said. “We should scan that and post it on the internet.”

“Good idea,” Connie said, taking the paper out of Sam’s hands. “They forgot to lock the screen on that PC, and there’s a scanner right next to it. I love it when they’re so helpful.”

“What are you gonna do?” Sam asked.

“Duh,” she said. “I’m going to splash this all over the net. Find me more material.”

Sam smiled as he watched her logging into her internet accounts.

“Change the password on that PC,” Jason said.

“No need,” she said. “It’s not set up with a screen lock time out. Look.”

“Idiots,” Sam said, continuing to look through documents. He stopped on one. “Holy crap. Here’s an org chart of who’s running the California Government. Funny how Sable isn’t anywhere on it.”

“Hey, what’s this thing?” Jason asked, looking at a device about the size of a stereo receiver with USB ports on it and a small LCD screen.

“Good question,” Sam said. “Look, there’s a phone connected to it. See?” Then his expression changed, glee washing across his face.

“What?” Connie asked, looking away from the PC screen.

“I’ll bet they load their virus program on cellphones with this,” Sam said. “We need Clem up here. He understands this stuff.”

Connie was by the window. She stuck her head out. “Hey Clem, get up here. There’s something we want you to look at.”

“Okay,” Clem shouted.

Connie finished scanning the first document, then sent it out onto every social media site she had an account on. Jason watched her.

“Those your accounts?” he asked.

“Yep,” she said.

“Aren’t you worried about them knowing who did this?”

Connie laughed. “They’ve been trying to kill us for weeks now. This isn’t going to make things any worse, trust me.”

“Hey, what was the guy logged into?” Sam asked.

“Good question,” she said, clicking on an item in the application tray at the bottom of the screen. “They have a database site. Look.”

“How much access do you have?” Sam asked.

“Good question. I don’t know. Let’s see if I can delete anything.” She navigated to a tab called Schedule and opened it. “There were more people on the way, I suspect. I count twenty names on here. What’d we kill?”

“Thirteen or fourteen,” Sam said.

“What do you guys want to show me?” Clem asked as he walked into the room.

“That,” Sam said, pointing to the device with the phone attached. Clem got closer and looked at it.

“Son of a bitch,” Clem said. “This thing programs solid state memory. He hit the power button and watched the display fire up. “We have to take this with us.”

“Why?” Jason asked.

“So I can attempt to reverse-engineer their tracking software,” Clem said.

“You know how to do stuff like that?” Jason asked, eyes wide.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Well, I can delete stuff created with this account,” Connie said from the PC. “I just deleted their checkpoint schedule.”

“Here’s another document to share with the public,” Sam said. “It’s a listing of the number of firearms expected by town. It’s twenty pages.”

“Excellent,” she said. “Hand it over.”

Sam gave it to her, and she loaded it into the document feeder, scanned it and posted it.

Gunfire erupted outside.

“Dammit,” Sam said, rushing to the door with his gun. He saw another UN Van, rolling towards the curb as Sid, John and Hank ran towards it. Hank paused to fire the big M-1 Garand into the van, the 30-06 rounds slicing through the thin metal like a hot knife through butter. The side door slid open and somebody fell out, trying to crawl away. Sid and John both opened up, killing the man dead.

“Must be the other folks on the schedule,” Jason said.

“I wonder if they’ve got a residence around here, or if they were just arriving from someplace else.”

“Good question,” Sam said.

“Anything else to post?” Connie asked.

“Not yet,” Sam said, getting back to the list.

“Hey, there’s a tab in here that says Gun Registry,” Connie said. “Wonder if I can delete this?” She clicked on it.

“Let me see that,” Clem said, looking over her shoulder. “This is a copy of the state registry. They’re using it to keep track of guns they’ve confiscated. Look at that column there.”

“Holy crap,” Connie said. She tried to delete it. A message popped up that said Forbidden.

Clem looked at it, then looked around the desk by the PC, and at all of the post-it notes on the monitor. “Click on that message,” he said.

Connie nodded and clicked on it. A password input window came up.

“Thought so,” Clem said. “Sometimes people put passwords on paper. Look in the drawers there while I check around on the table.

Connie opened the drawer under the keyboard. There were pencils, pens, stamps, paper clips, and a couple post-it note pads. One of them had a seven-digit number written on it in red ink. “Maybe this is it,” she said, typing it into the window. She hit submit, and a message came back saying Incorrect Pin. “No dice.”

“We probably only get three tries before we get locked out,” Clem said. “Keep looking.”

“How about the dead guys?” Jason asked. “I’ll take their wallets.”

“Yeah, I’ve kept passwords in my wallet before,” Clem said. “Good idea.”

Jason pulled the wallets out of both the men’s pockets and handed them to Connie. She looked in the first one.

“Nothing on the desk that I can see,” Clem said.

“We should take the enemy weapons,” Jason said.

“We always do,” Sam said as he continued looking through the stack of papers.

“Hey, this might be it,” Connie said. She held up a yellow post-it paper, folded so that the glue section was covered. It had a code on it which was a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters. Clem looked at it.

“That might be it,” Clem said. “It follows the rules for strong passwords.”

Connie typed it in and hit submit. “Dammit. Incorrect Pin again.”

“Don’t toss that one,” Clem said. “It’s for something. Keep looking.”

Connie continued going through the wallet. She found a paper card that said burn after use with a code similar to the complex one from the post-it note. “Check this out.” She handed it to Clem.

“Well, we know this guy doesn’t follow instructions very well,” Clem said. “Might be it. This is probably your last shot. Maybe we should look through the other wallet, just in case.”

“Here,” Connie said, handing it to Clem. “I’m still not finished with this wallet.” She continued to look in all the card spaces as Clem looked at the other one.

“Nothing else in this one,” Connie said.

Clem was still looking, all of the credit cards and pictures laid out on the table in front of him. “Nothing that looks like a password in this wallet. The man had young kids. Sad.”

“That’s war,” Sam said. “I don’t see anything else that’s worth posting in this stack of papers.”

“Nothing else in this wallet,” Connie said. “Should I?”

“Might as well,” Clem said.

“Yeah, we can’t stick around here forever,” Sam said. “We don’t know if any of these folks got a chance to call out when the attack was going on.”

“Good point,” Jason said.

“Here goes nothing.” Connie typed in the password from the card and hit submit. A message came back. Accepted. “Yes! We’re in.”

“Delete that database,” Clem said. He watched as she clicked delete and then clicked through the Please Confirm window.

“It’s gone,” she said with glee.

“What else can you mess with?” Clem asked, watching over her shoulder.

“Here’s a list of partners in local government, sorted by city,” Connie said. She hit print. The laser printer on the other side of the PC fired up and printed the document.

“Twelve pages,” Clem said. “Fine type.”

“Give me that,” Connie said. She loaded the document into the feed shute on the scanner and then clicked the scan button on the PC.

When the scanner finished with all of the pages, Jason pulled the pages out and looked for Julian. “That jackass.”

“What?” Sam asked.

“The Mayor of Julian is listed as a partner. We ought to stop his clock on the way out of town.”

“You know where he lives?” Sam asked.

“Yeah,” Jason said.

“Sure that’s a good idea?” Connie asked. “It’s so barbaric.”

“This is war, honey,” Sam said.

“These cretins were hunting down citizens who wouldn’t turn in their guns yesterday,” Jason said. “I heard gunshots more than once. They were killing citizens who resisted. This can’t stand. Wish we could take pictures of the Mayors body and post them with a caption saying what he did.”

“How far away does he live?” Sam asked.

“Couple of blocks,” Jason said.

“NO,” Connie said. “You want to kill the guy on the way out, fine, but we aren’t waiting here while you go try to get the guy for a photo op.”

“She’s right, Sam,” Clem said. “We’re sitting ducks here. If they roll up with a tank or even a Gaz Tigr like we’ve seen, we’ll be lucky to get out alive.”

“Okay, okay,” Sam said. “Post that stuff and then let’s gather weapons and ammo and blow this joint.”

“I’m done,” Connie said. “Let’s go.”

Clem picked up the phone programming device. The others grabbed weapons and ammo that was in a downstairs room, and they joined the others outside.

“What’s that thing?” Sid asked, eyeing the device Clem was carrying.

“We think it programs phones with the tracking functionality,” Clem said. “Gonna try to reverse-engineer it.”

“Good,” Yvonne said. “We’d better get going before somebody else shows.”

“What else were you doing up there?” Hank asked.

“We found documents they were in the process of shredding and posted them on social media,” Connie said. “I also deleted their gun registry database.”

“Really?” John asked. “How’d you do that?”

Sarah chuckled. “Clem probably helped.”

“Connie found the password,” Clem said. “We did a lot of damage to them. That gun database covered the whole state, and had check-boxes on each line.”

“Oh, they were using it to keep track, eh?” Sid asked.

“Yeah, it was a good find,” Clem said. “They’ve got a backup, but it might take them several days to get it up again, and the backup might not cover all of the people who’ve had their guns confiscated already.”

“Did you guys gather up the weapons out here?” Sam asked.

“Yep, we already ran them back to the station,” Hank said. “We’d better get going.”

“Hey, Hank, we saw the Mayor’s name on a list of partners. I’m gonna stop his clock on the way out of town.”

“No you aren’t,” Hank said. “He’s got young kids living with him. Don’t worry, he’ll get his if that list got published. It did, I hope.”

“Far and wide,” Connie said.

“C’mon, let’s get out of here,” John said. “We need to get back on the road.”

They ran back to their vehicles, loaded the guns and ammo, and took off.


Morgan woke up next to Robbie as the dim light of the overcast morning streamed through the window.

“Hey, you awake?” she asked softly.

Robbie stirred. He turned towards her and smiled. “I am now.”

“Sorry,” she said. “Sleep okay?”

“Nightmares,” he said.

There was a soft knock on the door.

“Just a sec,” Robbie said. He climbed out of bed, threw on a robe, and went to the door. Steve was standing outside.

“Hey, Steve, what’s up?” he asked.

“Coleen and I are taking off,” he said. “You two want to come?”

Robbie studied him silently for a moment, then turned towards Morgan, who was walking over in her robe. “You want to go to the mountain house with Coleen and Steve?”

“No, but if you want to go, I’ll go,” she said. “I’ll follow you anywhere, in case you haven’t picked up on that yet.”

“I don’t want to go either,” Robbie said, watching Steve’s disappointed face. “I’m sorry man. I think it’s too risky.”

“Okay,” Steve said, sticking his hand out. Robbie shook it. “Take care of yourself and Morgan.”

“You two,” Robbie said.

Steve went back down the stairs.

“They’re really going to do it,” she said.

“Yep,” Robbie said. “I think they’re nuts. The UN is liable to go on a rampage after what Ivan the Butcher did last night.”

“That’s what I’m worried about,” Robbie said.

They listened as the front door opened, and sounds of car doors opening drifted up.

“I hope Steve’s car makes it all the way up there,” Robbie said. “It’s kind of a pile.”

They heard the car back down the driveway and head down the street.

“Well, that just leaves us and Gil,” Morgan said.

“Yeah,” Robbie said, feeling nervous all of a sudden.

“You all right?” she asked.

He sighed. “Yeah, I guess. Let’s get up.”

Morgan nodded, and they both got dressed. “Want French toast? We still have the makings.”

“Sure,” Robbie said. “Wonder if Gil is still here?”

“I think he left early,” she said.

Robbie rushed down the stairs and saw that Gil’s room was open. “Yeah, he’s gone,” Robbie said up the stairs.

“Hope he’s careful out there,” Morgan said.

There was a harsh knock on the door, startling Robbie.

“Who’s there?” Robbie asked through the door.

“It’s the UN doing a neighborhood survey,” said a voice with a German accent. “Open up immediately please.”

“I have to get dressed,” Robbie said.

“You’ve got two minutes,” the German voice said.

To be continued…


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