Bugout! California Part 42 – Bulletproof

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Trevor, Seth, and Angel sat in the big motor home, watching out the windshield.

“It’s been almost an hour,” Trevor said. “We should go look for her.”

“All of this really shook Kaylee up,” Angel said. “Think she’s just upset about Emma?”

“She did just break up with Matt,” Seth said. “They went out for a long time. I know she was ready, but it’s still not easy. It wasn’t easy for me to break up with Emma, even though it was past time.”

“I could see that, I guess,” Angel said. “I hope Matt doesn’t get himself killed.”

“I’m a lot more worried about Kaylee at this point,” Trevor said.

“She’s probably at the lookout,” Seth said. “I know where it is.”

“Then let’s go get her,” Trevor said.

“She be back soon,” Ji-Ho said. “She have to work this through head. Leave alone for few more minutes.”

“Here she comes,” Trevor said. “Thank God.”

They watched her approach. When she noticed, she looked away.

“Remember, don’t bug,” Ji-Ho said as she came in through the door. She silently walked to the dinette and slid in, leaning her head against the back wall. Her eyes were red from crying.

“She going to be okay?” Trevor whispered to Ji-Ho, Angel, and Seth.

“Give time,” Ji-Ho whispered back.

“Hey, quit talking about me,” Kaylee said. “Give me a chance, okay? I just lost my best friend.”

“Lost boyfriend too,” Ji-Ho said. “Sorry it be like this.”

She started to calm down. “I’m not sorry about Matt. That was only a matter of time.”

Trevor, Angel and Seth sat silently, watching her with concern, afraid to say anything.

“Don’t you guys get all weird about this,” Kaylee said. “You understand what happened. And uncle, knock it off with the match-making. I can choose on my own, you know.”

“Yes, I know,” Ji-Ho said. “You know what I think. These men all worthy.”

Kaylee rolled her eyes. “How do you know I’m worthy of them? Like I said, stay out of it.”

“Okay,” he said.

“What now?” Trevor asked.

“I show what we have, what plans are. First show my rig, although we not use in first mission.”

“We’ve already seen your rig,” Seth said.

“There’s a few strange things about this coach I’ve already noticed,” Trevor said. “It’s bullet-proof, isn’t it?”

“Yes, is,” Ji-Ho said. “Also armed. Guns in front. Guns in back. Gun slots in sides. Turret on back roof.”

Trevor’s eyes lit up. “Turret?” he said. Seth looked shocked. Angel laughed and shook his head.

“I show,” Ji-Ho said, getting up. He went to the driver’s seat and punched a button. A console came up from the dashboard with a touch screen.

“Shouldn’t this be away from the window?” Seth asked.

“Bullet proof glass, plus can raise shield.” He touched the screen and a metal cover came up from below the windshield, covering it. “This metal stop .50 cal.”

“Who made this rig?” Trevor asked.

“Me,” Ji-Ho said. “With help from friends. You meet someday. You like.”

“Does my dad know about this?” Kaylee asked.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “By way, he not in Torrance. He and mom in South Korea. I sneak them out when we have chance.”

“Why didn’t they take me?” Kaylee asked.

“No time, hammer already down,” Ji-Ho said. “Time for your training anyway. Your folks agree.”

“They knew what was going on?” Kaylee asked.

“Run in family,” Ji-Ho said. “You hear of Gyeongbokgung Royal Guard?”

“Gyeongbokgung?” Kaylee said. “Yes, from Korean school. That was the palace in Seoul. Our family was in the Royal Guard?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Warrior blood. All have.”

“The Gyeongbokgung Royal Guard is just ceremonial now, isn’t it?” Trevor asked.

“You know about?” Ji-Ho asked. “Impressive for American.”

“I read a lot,” Trevor said. “So you’re saying they got involved in this mess?”

“No,” Ji-Ho said, “but family from, have traditions. Not back down. America my country now. I do job. I guard just like family guard Korea.”

Seth eyed Ji-Ho, then Trevor. “This all sounds pretty crazy to me.”

“Seriously, dude,” Angel said.

Ji-Ho chuckled. “You learn. Have what takes. Seth, Angel, Trevor too. And Kaylee.”

“I’m no warrior, uncle,” Kaylee said.

“Direct line from father,” Ji-Ho said. “You have. Don’t know yet.”

“Let’s see the turret,” Trevor said.

“Can’t raise now,” Ji-Ho said. “Park people see. Come to back, I show you in down position.” He got up and walked towards the bedroom in the back, Trevor and the others following. “See metal box on ceiling?”

“That’s big,” Angel said.

“It mini-gun,” Ji-Ho said. He stood on the bed and undid latches on the passenger side of the sheet metal box, then lowered the cover. The mini-gun was there, with a large holding area for the ammo belt. “Load from here, shoot from front. More ammo under bed.”

“Hell, this thing is a battle wagon,” Trevor said. “No wonder you wanted the girls to ride in here.”

“Why aren’t we using this thing for the first mission?” Seth asked.

“We meet other group in wilderness area,” Ji-Ho said. “This no good off pavement.”

“Wilderness area?” Trevor asked.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Jeeps and off-roaders only. Have more toys. We go to Murrieta in morning and get. Come, we go have food and talk in salon.” He closed the sheet-metal cover and led the group out. “Zap lasagna in microwave.”

“We have pizza in the fridge too,” Kaylee said. “Brought it from the house.”

“Good, you cook?”

“Sure,” she said. “Microwave, right?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “I set up TV screen to show plans for attack.”

Ji-Ho plugged his laptop into a port on the wall next to the dinette table. “Trevor, TV remote in center kitchen drawer, next to range. Grab and turn on.”

Trevor nodded and went for it, getting next to Kaylee. She shot him a glance. He looked back at her, then looked away quickly.

“I said don’t get weird,” she whispered, half a smile on her lips.

“I’ll try,” he whispered, looking at her in a way she hadn’t seen before. They lingered for a moment.

“Okay, up now,” Ji-Ho said. “TV please.”

Trevor snapped out of it and aimed the remote at the TV over the kitchen counter, clicking it on. He sat next to Ji-Ho on the dinette, Angel and Seth sitting on the other side of the dinette. Kaylee backed up a little to see the screen.

“Here map,” Ji-Ho said, bringing it up with the laptop. “We south of Temecula, here.” He moved the cursor over it, doing a circle motion over the spot.

“Where’s the other hardware again?” Trevor asked. “Murrieta?”

“Yes, north,” he said, moving the cursor over it. “Big warehouse. We go in my SUV and Seth’s SUV. Leave there, take Jeeps. Tow off-roaders.”

“We’re leaving the RVs here?” Trevor asked.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “We come back later. After mission.”

“If we live,” Kaylee said, as she loaded the frozen lasagna into the microwave.

“We’ll live,” Trevor said quickly. Kaylee shot him a glance, and he looked away quickly again.

“Where’s the target?” Angel asked.

“Due west from south La Quinta, here,” Ji-Ho said, circling the cursor over it. “We meet up here, in Anza Borrego.”

“Meet up with who?” Angel asked.

“Indian tribe, and another group who just join them,” Ji-Ho said. “Enemy expect attack, but not from wilderness.”

“Are these people who are working with Ivan the Butcher?” Seth asked.

“Indian tribe yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Other group no, but Ivan has watched. I know leader. Old friend. He be shocked when I show up.” Ji-Ho chuckled.

“You’re enjoying this way too much, uncle,” Kaylee said as she turned on the microwave.

Ji-Ho’s phone rang.

“Excuse,” Ji-Ho said. Trevor got up and let him out. He rushed back into the bedroom with the phone to his ear.

“Wonder what that’s about,” Seth asked. “He looked a little concerned.”

“Nothing will surprise me now,” Angel said.

Ji-Ho ran back out. “Jamie and Gus captured,” he said. “Probably talk. Move other motor home away, and vehicles too. Go to open spaces in other side of park, then rush back.”

“Oh, no,” Kaylee said.

“C’mon,” Trevor said, heading for the door. Seth followed, then Angel.

“Un hook the utilities and water,” Trevor said as he ran. I’ll move in the slides.”

“Got it,” Seth said. “C’mon, Angel, you can help.”

“I don’t know how,” Angel said.

“You can undo the water. You know how to use a garden hose, right?”

“Hey, that’s racist,” Angel said, grin on his face. “Just because I’m Mexican.”

“You’re joking now?” Seth said, eyes full of terror.

“Yeah. We’re going to kill those slugs,” Angel said. “Wait till that mini-gun goes off.”

They got to the back of Trevor’s motor home. “There, turn off the water, then undo the hose and cram it into that compartment there.”

“Got it,” Angel said.

The engine started, and then the big slide on the driver’s side moved in, motor whirring. Seth unhooked the electrical, and then the cable TV as Angel stuffed the dripping hose into the compartment. Then Seth undid the sewer. The coach lurched.

“What’s that?” Angel asked.

“Leveling jack’s going up,” he said. “Close the compartment. Then we’re done.”

They finished and rushed to the door of the coach. “Done,” Seth said.

“Good,” Trevor said. “Follow me in your Four Runner.”

Kaylee ran out. “I’m moving my uncle’s SUV. Where we going?”

“Follow me,” Trevor shouted from the driver’s seat of his rig. He pulled through the front of the site and got on the road, heading for the back of the park. Seth and Angel rushed to the Four Runner and took off after him, Kaylee taking up the rear. They parked about six hundred yards back, in a vacant space hidden from Ji-Ho’s spot.

“This will be good enough,” Trevor said, locking the door to the coach as he left, Winchester in his hand. Kaylee ran over, then Seth and Angel.

“Shoot, we need to grab our lever guns out of the back of your Four Runner,” Angel said.

“Yeah,” Seth said. They rushed back over and grabbed the rifles and a metal box full of ammo.

“Let’s go,” Kaylee said in a panic.

They ran the whole way back to Ji-Ho’s rig.

“Look, there’s plates in front of the wheels,” Trevor said as they scurried in the door.

“Shut door,” Ji-Ho said. “They almost here. Got call.”

“Dammit,” Kaylee said.

“No worry,” Ji-Ho said. “We nail them.” He got into the driver’s seat and turned on the console, still above the dashboard from when he showed them earlier.

“What about dinner?” Kaylee asked.

“What, you want to eat now?” Seth asked.

“No, the microwave is running, silly,” she said.

“Leave it,” Ji-Ho said. “Get ready. They be here soon. You brought rifles?”

“Yes,” Seth said.

“Good. If we need I open slots. Probably not need.”

They watched out the windows silently for a few moments.

“What happened to Emma?” Kaylee asked.

“They no say,” Ji-Ho said. “Not good.”

“Oh, God,” she said. “I hope they didn’t kill her.”

“Wonder how they found them?” Trevor asked.

“Maybe they know about Gus,” Ji-Ho said. “They too badass for own good. Maybe not careful.”

“Look,” Angel whispered. “White van. Just pulled into the gate.”

“Another one behind it,” Seth said.

Ji-Ho flipped a switch, and they heard a whirring noise as the mini-gun rose into position. He chuckled. “Come papa.”

“Better wait until we’re sure it’s them,” Trevor said.

Suddenly there was the sound of metallic impacts on the outside of the coach.

“They’re shooting at us!” Kaylee said, moving away from the wall.

Ji-Ho grinned. “It them. Hold ears!” He pulled the trigger, following the vehicles on the monitor, keeping the cross-hairs on the target as the two vehicles literally came apart, one of them exploding in flames.

“Holy crap,” Angel said. “None of them survived that.”

“Another vehicle coming,” Trevor said.

“I see,” Ji-Ho said. “Can’t get past wreckage blocking gate.”

“You going to fire?” Seth asked.

“Let them push van out of way. Less for us to do when leave.”

“Yeah, we’ve probably overstayed our welcome already,” Angel said.

Ji-Ho laughed. “That funny. Look, they push out of way. I let come in further.”

“Don’t play with these people, uncle,” Kaylee said, brow furrowed.

“That far enough.” He pulled the trigger, the tight stream of bullets plastering the side of the van with lead. It exploded before their eyes. “Wonder if that last?”

They watched silently for several minutes as the two vans on fire burned out.

“Anybody get out of the van that wasn’t on fire?” Trevor asked.

“Not that I saw,” Seth said. “Might be somebody alive in there, but I doubt it.”

“I hope Emma wasn’t in there,” Kaylee said, eyes glassy with tears.

“They might follow us out of here,” Seth said.

“Yeah,” Trevor said. “What should we do?”

“We need to leave,” Ji-Ho said.

“I’ll go unhook,” Trevor said.

“You’re going out there?” Kaylee asked, eyes wide.

“Have to,” Trevor said. “I’ll take my gun. I’m good with it.”

“I’m going with you,” Seth said. “C’mon.”

“Okay,” Trevor said. They slipped out the door, closing it and running in a crouch to the back of the rig. Trevor undid the power while Seth undid the water and cable. Trevor shut the rear compartment, then both of them heard a door slide.

“Van?” Seth asked, heart beating faster.

“Maybe,” Trevor said. “Wish there was a back way into the coach.”

“You and me both,” Seth said.

“Well, here goes nothing,” Trevor said, sneaking around to the front rear. He started towards the door when a shot rang out. He dived to the dirt and played dead as Seth opened fire with his Winchester, hitting the van several times. Someone yelled something in Arabic.

“Watch out!” cried Kaylee, her voice muffled from outside.

Two men were running towards the RV, getting too close for the big gun to hit. Seth fired, hitting one of them. Trevor rolled and opened fire, hitting the second man in the head. Then he got up and ran towards the van, aiming the gun. Seth followed him slowly, looking in all directions. Another shot rang out from up the driveway. Seth fired but missed, then leapt behind some cover next to the road side. Trevor was on the far side of the van now. Two Islamists rushed towards the van, and Trevor showed himself, hitting both of the running men before they got twenty yards. Seth got up and ran towards him.

“I think that’s all of them,” Trevor said, breath coming hard. “Look in the van. That’s Matt’s Winchester.”

“Dammit,” Seth said. “Let’s see what else is in here.” He climbed in and took out his phone, turning on the flashlight, looking around inside while Trevor stood watch. He came out, face grim.

“Crap, what did you find?” Trevor asked.

“Emma’s bra and panties,” he said. “Don’t tell Kaylee.”

“Shouldn’t she know?” Trevor asked.

Seth was quiet for a moment, thinking. “Finding these doesn’t mean she’s dead.”

“True,” Trevor said. “You want to go rescue her?”

“I would if I could,” Seth said. “We’re not going to get the info we need to do that.”

“I thought you were over her,” Trevor said.

“Are you for real, man?”

“What do you mean?” Trevor asked.

“She’s alone and afraid, and she’s a human being,” Seth said.

Trevor looked back at him, tears in his eyes. “Oh, geez, I’m such a jerk.”

“I didn’t think about it right away either,” Seth said. “We need to talk to Ji-Ho, but I think right now we’d better just get the hell away from here.”

“Let’s get back,” Trevor said. “Ji-Ho’s rig will go through here just fine.”

They hurried to the coach and climbed inside.

“Nice job,” Ji-Ho said. “We need to go now.”

“Should we go get the other vehicles?” Angel asked.

“No,” Ji-Ho said. “We’ll go to Murrieta tonight. Pull inside warehouse. Maybe get other vehicles in morning, maybe not. Ready?”

“Yeah,” Trevor said.

“Let’s go,” Seth said.

Ji-Ho got back into the driver’s seat and used the touch screen on the targeting console to lower the front shield. Then he brought down the turret, raised the wheel plates, and hit the button to lower the console screen.

“Okay, we go,” he said, starting the big diesel. He drove forward to the access road and headed for the gate. Trevor went in the salon and sat on the couch. Angel got on the dinette bench, Seth joining on the opposite side. Kaylee took the front passenger seat.

“She still looks pretty shook up,” Angel whispered to Seth.

“We found some stuff in the van,” Seth whispered. “Matt and Emma’s stuff. Once we get on the road, we need to talk to her and Ji-Ho.”

“Maybe we should wait until we get there,” Angel said. “Murrieta isn’t far.”

“Okay,” Seth said. “Did you see Trevor out there? Wish I could handle my gun like he does.”

“You shot a couple of guys,” Angel said. “I was on my way out there, but Ji-Ho asked me to stay inside just in case.”

“Just in case of what?” Seth asked.

“In case the mini-gun jammed. He said we’d both need to fire out the slots in the side.”

“Okay, I could see that, I guess,” Seth said.

“Kaylee likes Trevor,” Angel whispered. “Should have seen her watching him out there.”

“Yeah, I know,” Seth said. “That’s probably a good thing.”

“Probably?”

“Trevor isn’t as mature as she is,” Seth said. “He’s off-the charts smart, and that covers for it a lot, but not always.”

“Oh,” Angel said, chuckling. “I can’t think of one girlfriend I’ve ever had who wasn’t more mature than me.”

“Yeah, but that’s you,” Seth said, straining out a smile.

“What’s wrong?”

“Worried about Matt and Emma,” Seth said. “I’ve seen Emma scared to death a lot lately. Now all I can see is her face with that expression.”

“Maybe they aren’t hurting her,” Angel said. “Maybe they let her go. What good is she to them?”

“Her underwear was in the van,” Seth whispered.

“Oh no,” Angel said.

“Now you get it.”

“We’re back in town already,” Trevor said. “Didn’t look at the side when we were out there. Are those bullet marks going to show up much?”

Ji-Ho turned to him for a second, smiling. “They show, but people don’t know. Scratches and dents.”

“You hope,” Kaylee said. “You think anybody followed us?”

“I have one eye on rear camera screen,” he said. “Guns in back. We shoot if we need.”

“Let’s just hope nobody followed us,” Trevor said. “How far is the warehouse?”

“Not far,” Ji-Ho said. “Longest part route 79 through town. Once we get to I-15, another ten minute. Get off on Los Alamos Road.”

Kaylee fidgeted in her seat, then got up and walked into the Salon. She stopped in front of Trevor. “Can we go talk for a few minutes?”

He looked at her silently, and shook his head yes. They walked to the back, Angel and Seth watching them with concern.

“Think he’s gonna tell her?” Angel asked.

“I hope so, for his sake,” Seth said.

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2016

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