Bugout! California Part 41 – Tunnels


Robbie waited at his restaurant, watching the lighter-than-average traffic flow by on Sepulveda. Ted came back out of the office, brow furrowed.

“Where’s your car?” Ted asked. “It’s not in the parking lot, I hope.”

“No, it’s down 2nd street about two blocks,” Robbie said.

“So how do you know Sparky?” the manager asked. He was a middle aged man with a slight build and a bald head.

“My girlfriend works for him, Ted,” Robbie said, eyeing him. “You’re nervous as hell.”

“You know who Sparky runs with, right?” Ted asked quietly.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “Don’t care. The UN thugs took my girlfriend. They tried to kill me in the process. Time to choose a side.”

“Sparky has murdered people before, you know,” Ted said.

“Yeah, I figured,” Robbie said. “He treats my girlfriend like a kid sister. He’s probably my best chance to save her.”

“Probably your best chance to get killed too, either by the UN or by Sparky’s people. Watch yourself, kid. I mean it.”

“I understand,” Robbie said. “And I will. You’ve always been good to me, Ted. I’m gonna miss you.”

“You’re not coming back?”

“After what we’re about to do, I’ll have to make myself real scarce around here,” he said.

A UN Van pulled into the lot, parking in the handicapped spot. “That might be him,” Robbie said.

“You know what he looks like?”

“I have this picture.” Robbie showed it to him on Morgan’s phone.

“That’s him, all right,” Ted said, looking at the phone screen. “Go hide in the back until we’re sure it’s him. This might really be the UN. You know they’re looking for you after what you did. Where else would they come?”

Robbie felt dizzy for a moment. “Dammit. Why would Sparky want me here, then?”

“They’re probably going to pull something,” Ted said. “Sparky is nuts.”

Robbie rushed into the back and hid in the supply room, pistol in hand. Ted watched him, then turned back towards the door as two men in UN uniforms walked in. One stood by the door. The other walked up to Ted.

“Are you the manager, sir?” the man asked in a Greek accent. He was a tall thin man, clean-cut with dark hair and olive skin. “I’m Inspector Demetriou of the UN.”

“Yes, I’m the manager,” Ted said, smiling. He extended his hand to shake. Inspector Demetriou stared at it. “What time does your establishment open?”

“We’ll open for lunch in just over an hour,” Ted said. “Why are you here?”

“We’re looking for one of your employees. His name is Robbie Johnson.”

“Robbie works the night shift,” Ted said. “He won’t be here until about six pm.”

“Yes, we know what his hours are,” Inspector Demetriou said. “He has left his house, after killing three UN Peacekeepers. Has he come here?”

“No sir,” Ted said. “That doesn’t sound like Robbie.”

“It’s not a good idea to question UN Inspectors.”

“This is still the United States of America,” Ted said, feeling his face flush. “We have a constitution.”

The Inspector chuckled. “Your silly nationalist document means nothing now. You are under Global Governance, just like the rest of the world. We’ll finally have progress.”

A huge man came out of the kitchen. “Hey, boss, these slugs bothering you?”

“No, Stacey,” Ted said. “Get back to work. I’ll handle these guys.”

The Inspector grinned. “If you want to engage us, be my guest, Stacey.”

“Boss?” Stacey asked, face turning red.

“You heard me, Stacey,” Ted said, sweat breaking out on his forehead.

“I’m calling for backup,” the large UN Peacekeeper by the door said in a British accent. “You’re playing with this bloke. That’s what got Stephan killed.” He pulled out his phone and made a call.

“Go ahead, Cameron,” the Inspector said. “The more the merrier. Now, on with the questioning. You say Robbie is not here. Has he contacted you?”

“No,” Ted said.

“I don’t believe you.”

Ted sighed. “Oh, hell, believe what you want, Eurotrash.”

“How dare you?” Inspector Demetriou spat. He pulled his weapon and aimed it at Ted’s forehead. Then there was a shotgun blast, the Inspectors head splattering all over the front of the Restaurant.

“Dammit, Stacey,” Ted said as he dropped to the ground. Cameron pulled his pistol and fired wildly in his direction.

Stacey waited until he emptied his pistol, and then moved out and fired the shotgun, catching him in the shoulder.

“You bloody wanker,” the man screamed. Then he saw another UN Van roll up. “Yes! You blokes are dead meat now.”

Sparky leapt out of the Van in a UN uniform that barely fit. He rushed in.

“Thank God,” Cameron said, his eyes getting wide as Sparky pointed a pistol at his head. He pulled the trigger without pausing on his way through the door.

“Sparky, dammit,” Ted said. “Thanks a lot. You did this on purpose. Now I have to leave too.”

Robbie ran out in a panic, looking at the carnage.

“Hey, kid,” Sparky said. “Good to meet you.”

“Who had the shotgun?” Robbie asked.

“Me,” Stacey said. “How’s it going, Robbie?”

“We’d better get the hell out of here,” Sparky said. “Let’s pile into the UN Van, okay?”

“What choice do we have now?” Ted said.

They all rushed out the door and got into the van.

“Stop by my car so we can grab the weapons,” Robbie said. “I’m a couple blocks down 2nd Street. Turn right at the light there.”

“You got anything worth taking, kid?” Sparky asked.

“Two Weatherby rifles with scopes,” Robbie said. “Nice sniper rifles. Cost over a grand each.

“Yeah, that’s worth it,” Sparky said. “What else?”

“There’s a 30-30 lever gun, a double-barrel twelve gauge, and two 9mm auto pistols.”

“Okay, we’ll grab them,” Sparky said. He made the right turn and drove down the street.

“There it is,” Robbie said, pointing to his car. He slipped out the side door of the van and opened the trunk, grabbing the guns and setting them in the van. “What about my car?”

“Leave it,” Sparky said. “You won’t be needing it anymore.” Robbie got in and they drove away.

“Where we going?” Stacey asked.

“Our hideout,” Sparky said. “It’s not far.”

“Listen,” Ted said. “Those damn euro-sirens.”

Sparky chuckled.

“This isn’t funny,” Ted said. “I had a good gig going there.”

“We’re on a mission from God,” Sparky said. “We’re putting the band back together.”

“You son of a bitch,” Ted said, shaking his head. “You sent Robbie to my place on purpose. You knew what would happen.”

“You found me out,” Sparky said. “You still as sharp as you used to be?”

Robbie and Stacey looked at each other.

“You two knew each other before,” Robbie said.

“Yeah,” Stacey said.

Sparky laughed.

“Quit laughing, Sparky,” Ted said. “You could’ve just asked me.”

“Would you have left that high-paying gig to join us?” Sparky asked.

Ted sighed. “No, but after the way those guys threw their weight around, I’m mad enough to join the fight.” A smile crept over his face.

“Good,” Sparky said.

“How do you two know each other?” Stacey asked.

“Navy Seals,” Ted said.

Robbie grinned. “Son of a bitch.”

“What about these two?” Ted asked Sparky. “I won’t allow them to be hurt.”

“We want Robbie on our team,” Sparky said. “He killed three UN Peacekeepers so far, and he’s an expert hacker.”

“I killed that Inspector and wounded the other UN creep,” Stacey said. “I get to join up too?”

“Probably,” Sparky said. “We’ll talk when we get to the hideout.”

Ted glanced over at Robbie. “This what you bargained for, kid?”

“I’m just reacting at this point,” Robbie said. “Job one for me is getting Morgan back, but I’ve seen enough of these cretins to know we have to fight them no matter what. You saw how they were in your place. I heard a lot of it.”

“I’m not going to disagree there,” Ted said. “You’ll be dealing with some very dangerous people. You’re gonna have to get a lot more street-wise than you’ve been in the past.”

“I know,” Robbie said.

“You think you know,” Ted said.

“Hey, don’t discourage the recruits,” Sparky said. He got onto the 405 freeway, heading north.

“Where the hell are we going?” Ted asked.

“Marina Del Rey,” Sparky said.

“Ivan there?”

“No,” Sparky said, “but he’s still running things. He moved up north to get the resistance started there. Once we’ve turned the people against the Globalists here, we’ll join him there. I think he has something big planned. I’m guessing Sacramento.”

“We just enlisted, didn’t we?” Stacey said, grin on his face. “If you let me join, that is.”

“We’ll see,” Sparky said. “I like what I see so far.” He made the turn onto the Marina freeway. His phone rang. He answered it and put it on speaker.

“Sparky. I’m driving, so you’re on speaker. Who is it?”

“Cody,” the voice said. Robbie’s head snapped towards the front of the van, and he moved up to hear.

“Hello, my friend,” Sparky said. “Nice job in Beaumont. They can’t use the 10 or the 60 to get out to their base in Coachella Valley anymore.”

“Yeah, that worked out pretty well. Almost as well as what those retired folks did to that pass outside of Dulzura.”

“Yeah, the enemy finally gave up trying to clear that pass,” Cody said. “You know we lost most of those people, right? The enemy hit the RV Park. Beheaded almost everybody there.”

“The core people got away,” Sparky said. “They’re with the Barona tribe now.”

“You’re kidding,” Cody said. “Good news. I look forward to meeting them.”

“Why are you calling?” Sparky asked. “I’m kinda busy.”

“I captured another UN Van. Just wanted to know where you want it brought.”

“Where’d you get that?” Sparky asked.

“I know where he got it,” Robbie said.

There was silence on the line for a moment. Sparky cracked up.

“Robbie?” Cody asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “You stole their van from in front of my condo, huh? Good job.”

“How do you two know each other?” Sparky asked.

“Cody lived across the street,” Robbie said. “He was there during the problems this morning.”

“In your condo?” Sparky asked.

“No, man,” Cody said. “I was at my condo picking up some stuff, when I heard the gunfire.”

“How many people did Robbie kill?” Sparky asked.

“Three,” he said, “although I had to put a bullet in the one he ran over in the driveway. Guy wasn’t quite dead yet.”

Sparky chuckled. “Okay, then I guess the score is two and a half.”

“Two and three-quarters,” Cody said. “He was pretty close to dead.”

“You guys are sick,” Ted said as Stacey snickered.

“You doubt my story?” Robbie asked.

“I trust nobody until I get to know them,” Sparky said. “And by the way, you shouldn’t either.”

“The van?” Cody asked.

“Bring it to the tower, and park it in the structure. We’ll be getting there in a couple of minutes. We can chat.”

“Okay, see you soon,” Cody said. Sparky slipped his phone back in his pocket.

“Small frigging world,” Ted said.

“You ain’t kidding,” Sparky said. “Talked to him lately?”

“Yeah, a couple of months ago,” Ted said. “He tried to enlist me.”

“A couple of months ago?” Robbie asked. “You guys knew about this a couple of months ago?”

“Yeah,” Sparky said. “We found out about that meeting with the President, Governor Sable, Saladin, and Daan Mertins. It didn’t take much digging to find out what they were up to.”

“Guess it brought Ivan out of hiding,” Ted said as they drove into the parking structure. “I didn’t want to get involved, although I’m pissed enough at those UN thugs now to enjoy this.”

Sparky parked by the elevator. “Okay, let’s go. Hide your weapons on your person.”

“What about the long guns?” Robbie asked.

“Cover them with that blanket back there,” Sparky said. “They’ll be fine.”

Robbie did that, and then joined the others by the side of the van.

“Ready?” Sparky asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. They got into the elevator, Sparky using his key to access the top floor.

“Damn, Sparky, you ought to either lose a few pounds or get a bigger UN uniform,” Ted said.

Sparky chuckled as the elevator doors opened. “Yeah, I know. This is the only one we have that isn’t full of holes.”

They walked through the entry way, past the armed guards, and through the double doors.

“Sparky!” Jules said. “You bring more than expect.”

“Hello to you too, you Belgian son of a bitch,” Ted said, smiling as he walked in.

“You said you sit out, no?” Jules said as he shook hands with Ted.

“Sparky here set me up,” Ted said. “Took advantage of the situation with Robbie.”

“Who other?” Jules asked.

“Stacey, one of my employees,” Ted said.

“He join?” Jules asked.

“I told him we’d chat about that,” Sparky said.

“Can he handle self?” Jules asked.

“Yes sir,” Stacey said, shutting up quickly when Ted and Sparky shot him a glance.

“He parted the hair on a UN Inspector who was holding a pistol against my forehead,” Ted said. “With our 12 gauge. Then he hit the second one in the shoulder.”

“I finished him off as I walked in,” Sparky said, “but it would have been more difficult if he wouldn’t have hit the guy. I think he shows promise.”

“Okay, we work detail later. You in, kid.”

“Thanks,” he said.

“And you’re Robbie Johnson,” Jules said. “Nice to meet. Don’t worry, we get woman back. She might be damaged.”

“I know,” Robbie said. “They’ve probably already abused her.”

“You still think you join?” Jules asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “Had two run-ins with the UN now. We can’t let them take over. We have to attack. There’s no choice, if we want to remain free people.”

“I like what say,” Jules said. “Welcome aboard.”

“Hey, guys, come in here,” Tex said from the next room. “I’ve got the plans just about done. I want to run them by you.”

“We come,” Jules said.

The men walked into the room. Tex was sitting at a keyboard, looking at a large monitor on the wall. It showed the Torrance Civic Center.

“Google Earth?” Robbie asked.

“Yeah,” Tex said. “You the little lady’s man? I’m Tex.”

“If you mean Morgan, yes,” Robbie said. “Good to meet you. Morgan told me about what you did in the card club. Nice.”

Tex laughed. “Yeah, that was fun. Now let’s get down to business. As usual, the enemy hasn’t thought things through very well.”

“Hey, Tex, you know Ted?” Sparky asked.

“Never met, but I’ve heard good things,” Tex said. “Glad to meet you, partner.”

“Likewise,” Ted said.

“Let’s see what you’ve got,” Sparky said.

“Okay. We know that prisoners are being held in the Torrance Police station, here, on the center-north portion of this complex. We also know that the regional governor of the UN forces has his headquarters in Torrance City Hall, which is on the south-east part of the complex, right on Torrance Boulevard.”

“That’s a big complex,” Ted said, walking towards the screen. “That police station looks pretty well protected.”

“It’s totally protected from a ground assault,” Tex said. “We don’t have to do a ground assault.”

“I don’t get it,” Robbie said, getting closer to look at the screen.

“You said they missed something,” Sparky said. “What did they miss?”

“Had to dig to get this info,” Tex said. “I’m hoping Robbie will be able to help out on this kind of stuff in the future. Not my forte.”

Jules shook his head and sighed. “Get on with. What weakness?”

“There are tunnels linking most of these buildings together,” Tex said. “The city hall, the police station, the courthouse, the human resources department, the library, and the cultural center are all linked together. It’ll be easy to enter the system.”

“I can understand the court house and the police station being linked,” Sparky said. “Why would they bother with the other buildings?”

“You have to look at this in the context of the time it was built,’ Tex said. “Most of it went in during the late 1960s. Remember what was going on then?”

Jules chuckled. “Unrest on scale not seen in USA for years.”

“Exactly,” Tex said. “The tunnels between the courthouse, city hall, and the police station are probably still in use. I have reason to believe that nobody’s paid any attention to the tunnels from the library and the cultural arts system in years.”

“Why would they have tunnels to those buildings?” Ted asked.

“The Library used to have the city’s communications center on the second floor, towards the back,” Tex said. “It made sense to link that, in case the city needed to do emergency TV broadcasts. The cultural center was built later, and they moved the communications center there. Extended the tunnel for the same reason. The one I don’t get is the theater.”

“Theater?” Sparky asked.

“Yeah, the Armstrong, and also the art gallery next to it. Those are linked by tunnel as well. Torrance must have had money to burn.”

“Tunnel systems are good places to get killed,” Ted said.

“Yes, sound risky,” Jules said. “What is proposal?”

“Simple. We do exactly what we planned to do next. Attack the city hall building, and take out the regional governor. Kill everybody there. That will be the main team, and it will be large and very heavily armed. While that’s going on, we load up the tunnels from the library and the cultural center. When the UN Peacekeepers try to rush from the police station to city hall, we’ll get in, get our women, kill everybody else there, and take off.”

“I like, but I talk to Ivan,” Jules said. “Get okay. I know he plan hit on regional governor. Might not want distraction of rescue mission.”

“We should sneak into the police station and take video,” Robbie said. “Show what they’ve got going on in there. I can get it onto the internet. All over. It’ll go viral. Industrial rape by the UN.”

Jules laughed. “That good idea. I run past Ivan too.”

“Yeah, partner, I like how you think,” Tex said. “You’re gonna fit in with this group just fine.”

“He have friends?” Jules asked. “Remember what I say. Maybe we bring in.”

Robbie’s eyes lit up. “I have two friends who might join. One of them lost his girlfriend the same way I did. She’s probably in the same place that Morgan is right now. I’ve got another guy who has good experience with guns. Good in a fight.”

“Call them,” Sparky said. “We’ll get on a conference call and chat, but that won’t happen until this operation is over. You understand?”

“My woman is being raped by UN thugs in that police station,” Robbie said, eyes tearing up. “I want to do this mission as soon as we can.”

“He right,” Jules said. “I go talk to Ivan. Be back five minute tops.”

To be continued…


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