“Hey, kid,” Sparky said to Robbie while they were waiting for Jules.
“What?” Robbie asked.
“You mentioned a couple of friends. Tell me about them.”
“Okay,” Robbie said. “Gil and Justin. Gil is good with a gun. He’s the first person I know who shot at anybody.”
“I remember Gil,” Cody said. “Seemed like a good man.”
“Who’d he shoot at?” Sparky asked.
“Gang members at my apartment in North Torrance, before the Martial Law took over,” Robbie said. “By the way, Morgan lived next door to me in that building.”
“He killed one and wounded one at your parent’s condo, too, remember,” Cody said.
“Yep,” Robbie said. “That seems like ages ago.”
Sparky smiled. “Okay, what about the other one?”
“Justin. He’s a different kettle of fish. His girlfriend was snatched the same day Morgan was. He’s plenty pissed off.”
“You been in any fights with him?” Sparky asked.
“No,” Robbie said. “I didn’t kill anybody either, until Morgan was taken.”
“Those the only friends you have?” Sparky asked.
“Well, there’s Steve. He took off with his girlfriend Colleen about ten minutes before the UN Peacekeepers arrived at the condo.”
“Where were they going?” Sparky asked.
“Colleen’s folks have a cabin up in Mountain High,” Robbie said. “They were gonna go there and wait this thing out. Good thing they left, too. Colleen is beautiful. The UN guys would’ve picked her up for sure.”
“That was the redhead, right?” Cody asked. “What a dish. If any of the UN Peacekeepers saw her in the car, they’ve probably pulled them over. Her hair was something else.”
“Long, dangerous trip to that area,” Sparky said. “Chances are good they didn’t make it.”
“I know,” Robbie said. “They tried like hell to get Morgan and I to join them. Maybe we should have.”
“Maybe,” Sparky said. “You haven’t tried to call them?”
“No,” Robbie said. “I haven’t had any idle time since Morgan got snatched. By the way, Steve is the brother of Justin’s girlfriend Katie. I probably should try to contact him just to let him know about that.”
“If he’s still alive, he shouldn’t come back here for that,” Sparky said. “Maybe you ought to wait on calling him until we get his sister back.”
“If we get her back,” Robbie said. “You really think this plan is going to work?”
“It’s risky, but it has potential,” Sparky said.
“Risky?” Cody chuckled. “It’s insane, but I’ve seen plans like this work.”
Jules walked into the room.
“Well?” Tex asked, getting out of his chair.
“Ivan say yes,” Jules said. “Tonight. We need to get into position for tunnel earlier though, in daytime. Boss want no tip-off before attack happen on City Hall. You guys be out of sight waiting.”
“If we do this at night, won’t a lot of people working in the Regional Governor’s office be home?” Robbie asked.
“Regional Governor living there,” Jules said. “Only Torrance city employees go home at night.”
“How do we know that?” Tex asked.
“We know,” Jules said. “All I can say.”
Tex chuckled. “You got yourself an insider in the Torrance bureaucracy.”
“No comment,” Jules said, sly smile on his face.
“So what now?” Robbie asked.
“Tunnel team needs to get ready. Go in three hours. Three hide in library until close. Four go in cultural center. Armstrong Theater best bet.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet they don’t have any shows running there,” Robbie said. “I’ve been in there before, back stage and downstairs where the orchestra pit is. Know my way around, but I don’t know where the tunnel is.”
“I do, partner,” Tex said. “It’s in the shop. There’s a trap door in the corner, about five feet to the right of the big roll-up door.”
“The shop isn’t in the basement,” Robbie said. “It’s behind the stage.”
“Yep,” Tex said. “Who’s doing what?”
“Ivan work directly with the team that will attack City Hall building,” Jules said. “Not come from this cell. Come from cell that work West LA and Valley.”
“Why?” Sparky asked.
“They better equipped for massive ground assault,” Jules said.
“Who’s going on this one?” Sparky asked.
“Ted, Robbie, Tex, and you in Armstrong Theater,” Jules said. “Stacey, Cody, and I in library.”
“How do we hide in the library?” Stacey asked.
“Bathroom stall, perhaps?” Cody asked.
“We go in, be studious, case joint,” Jules said. “We find space.”
“Yeah, Jules, you three look like students,” Cody quipped. Ted snickered.
“Maybe Robbie ought to be on that team,” Sparky asked.
“Robbie wanted man after killings,” Jules said. “Less people see the better.”
“Oh, yeah,” Cody said. “They’ve got pictures by now. You know damn well they’ve got a big fat APB out on him.”
Tex chuckled. “How does it feel to be famous, kid?”
“Not great,” Robbie said. “So we get into position, and manage to avoid being seen until zero hour. What then?”
“When attack hits, we go into tunnel and wait until police rush from station to city hall,” Tex said. “All that noise will cover up our presence.”
“As long as none of them see us,” Ted said.
“Roger that, partner,” Tex said.
“Then what?” Cody asked.
“Four run into police station and kill bad guys, save women,” Jules said. “Rest hang out with shotguns in tunnel. Blast anybody trying to return from city hall to police station.”
“Sounds like a job for me,” Stacey said.
“You got,” Jules said.
“This is a pretty rough plan,” Ted said.
“So what else is new?” Tex asked. “Remember that first attack on the checkpoints? We just drove down there and started shooting.”
Jules chuckled. “Yes, you right. Nobody expect, so we get away with. Nobody expect this either.”
“You want me to call those two friends of mine?” Robbie asked.
“No, not until after this mission,” Sparky said. “We’ve got enough going on as it is. Let’s sit down and do some planning. We have time, and Tex got us good diagrams of the area.”
“Yeah, I agree,” Ted said. “Let’s get busy.”
Ji-Ho sat alone in his motor home, driving down the dark deserted road, one eye on the video from his rear camera. He could see the four Jeeps behind him, towing off-roaders. His GPS screen glowed in the dark on the dash in front of him.
“There is,” he muttered to himself, making the turn onto a much smaller road. The huge coach lurched as he slowed down. The walkie-talkie blipped at him. He picked it up.
“Ji-Ho?” Trevor asked.
“Yes, how you?”
“Fine,” Trevor said. “Maybe I should get in front of you. If there’s going to be a problem on the road, it’d be better if I saw it in the Jeep than if you run into it with the battle wagon. I’m tracking the coordinates on my GPS. I can lead us right there.”
“Smart. Think you can pass here?”
“Yeah,” Trevor said. “Move over just a tad.”
“I do,” Ji-Ho said. He moved over, watching Trevor come forward, along the side of his rig, inches away. He slipped in front of him.
“Okay, I’ll keep watch,” Trevor said. “Out.”
“Thanks,” Ji-Ho said. He put down the walkie-talkie and settled into the drive again, more confident with Trevor in front of him.
Does he like Kaylee? Ji-Ho hoped against hope that he did, and that the feeling was mutual. He wouldn’t be able to protect her forever. She needed a good man. His mind flashed to her parents, hoping he’d be dead before Kaylee found out, hating himself for telling her they escaped. Ji-Ho had been hunted for years, along with his old pal Ivan. Daan Mertins made it a priority to find all the members of the old outfit. The European press considered Daan an anti-crime crusader. Ji-Ho chuckled. Little did they know that Daan just took over Ivan’s operations. He was Al Capone to Ivan’s Bugs Moran. Nothing more.
The dark desert sky calmed him as they drove along, getting to the first fork. Trevor took the right one without even slowing down. Did Kaylee buy what he said about her Gyeongbokgung blood? He chuckled to himself. “As long as Trevor believes, he protect queen. Don’t worry. Clear your head.”
The road was all dirt now, rutted and rough, but wide and flat enough for his rig. He watched the dirt ahead, lit by his headlights, searching for tracks other than the Jeep in front of him. Nothing. Desolate. Perfect. Ji-Ho’s thoughts moved back to the enemy. To his past, when he recognized the danger of the globalists, of their ever-increasing grasp of governments and banks and phony aid groups. The controls on free speech. The demonization of anything nationalistic. The separation of people by race, ethnicity, religion, and income level. The constant outrage in the press as the splintered society faced off against each other, whipped up by political hacks on all sides. The half-truths and outright lies. His thoughts were once of finding refuge, of escape to watch the world sink into darkness. A life boat, which he planned to row away from the sinking Titanic that was global governance. Then there was the appointment. The tests. “Two years,” the doctor had said. His wife’s only hope was anonymity. He pushed her back home to Korea, with a new name and no ties, aching for her constantly but comforted by her relative safety. He tried with his brother, but he was too late. The UN found him. Kaylee got away just in time, aided by the craziness that the UN had caused themselves.
Trevor slowed down, going around a tight bend next to a small hill. There it was. A big, flat clearing. Ji-Ho smiled, driving deep into the clearing, then making a sweeping turn, facing the coach towards the incoming road. He watched as the other three Jeeps parked next to him. Trevor was already out. Ji-Ho shut off the engine and went outside.
“You find, very good,” Ji-Ho said.
“Look at that old truck over there,” Trevor said, pointing to it.
“Been here long time,” Ji-Ho said as they walked over to it. The tires were flat, the metal showing rust. There were bullet holes in the sides.
“You think this was in a gun battle?” Trevor asked, looking at the bullet holes with his flashlight.
“Probably target practice,” Ji-Ho said. “Lots out here.”
“Hey, guys,” Angel said, walking up. Seth and Kaylee were right behind them.
“An old truck?” Kaylee asked, looking at it in the glow of the flashlight.
“Abandoned junk,” Angel said. “We used to shoot these up. Probably what happened here.”
“We going the rest of the way tonight?” Seth asked.
“I think long and hard,” Ji-Ho said. “I say we spend night in coach, turn on motion detection system. If followed, we blast.”
“Motion detection?” Seth asked.
“More from bag of tricks,” Ji-Ho said.
“You’re something else, uncle,” Kaylee said. “How many beds?”
“Six, but some double up,” Ji-Ho said. “Two in bedroom. Couch convert to queen bed, another two. Two in dinette bed. Work for one night.”
Seth chuckled. “We don’t even have a whole night left.”
“I call on radio,” Ji-Ho said. “Tell them we wait till morning.” He went into the coach and picked up the radio, changing the channel to the one Sam told him.
“Sam? Come in.”
A hiss came from the speaker.
“Sam? It Ji-Ho.”
There was a click. “Hey.”
“We arrive. We stay here tonight. Turn on motion sensing device and sleep in bullet-proof coach. If we followed, we blast them.”
Sam’s chuckle came over the speaker.
“Who’s that, honey?” a groggy woman’s voice said.
“The other group,” Sam said. “We’ll go get them in the morning.”
“You go back to sleep,” Ji-Ho said. “We see you tomorrow.”
“Roger that,” Sam said. The radio went silent, and Ji-Ho put it back on the console, then went outside.
“Move vehicles behind coach,” Ji-Ho said. “Out of sight from road.”
“I was gonna suggest that,” Angel said.
They got back into the vehicles and moved them, Ji-Ho watching from the road vantage point.
“Perfect,” he said, walking over to meet them. “Let’s go inside and hunker down. Wait. Sleep.”
“It’s dark out here,” Kaylee said, following Ji-Ho inside. The others came in after a couple minutes.
“You mentioned motion detectors,” Trevor said. “What do you have?”
“Here, I show how we button up. Motion detector part of that.” Ji-Ho sat in the driver’s seat and turned on the generator. It started and then purred silently. Ji-Ho pushed the button to raise the console and screen. “We set up in siege mode.”
“Siege mode?” Seth asked, glancing at Angel, who was on the verge of cracking up.
“Yes,” Ji-Ho said, pushing a series of buttons. The sound of electric motors filled the coach, as the screen in front of the windshield came up.
“That’s dropping those plates in front of the wheels too, isn’t it?” Trevor asked.
“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “And raising screen around engine compartment. Can’t run main engine in that configuration, but bullets not disable.”
“This thing is a fortress on wheels,” Angel said.
“It good against small arms fire, even up to .50 cal,” Ji-Ho said. “We done if somebody fire RPG or TOW missile at us.”
“Comforting thought,” Kaylee said, moving closer to Trevor.
Ji-Ho pushed another button on the touch screen, and they heard a whir in the back of the coach.
“You’re raising the mini-gun?” Trevor asked.
“Yes, in case we get surprised during night,” he said. “Save seconds. Might be enough. Have to reload anyway.”
The console screen changed to a reticle view with cross hair. Ji-Ho touched the picture on the screen, causing the gun to move, the picture moving with it. He stopped when the gun was pointed at the road.
“That’s so cool,” Trevor said.
“Now we set motion detection. Works on all sides of coach.”
“What happens if somebody shows up?” Seth asked.
“Alarm go off inside coach,” Ji-Ho said. “Weapons systems go off standby, ready to use. Come to back, I show how to reload mini-gun. Ran out during battle at RV Park.”
He got out of his seat and walked to the back, Trevor right behind him, the others following. He stood on the bed and opened the sheet-metal compartment, then pulled a metal box off of one side of the gun.
“Cartridge brass,” Ji-Ho said. “We save. Maybe reload. Have setup in warehouse.”
He pulled a box out from under the bed and poured the brass inside, then grabbed a long belt of ammo. He pulled a box off the other side of the gun, and loaded the belt inside, with the end sticking out of the slot in the top. “See?” he asked. Then he put the box back into position, clicking it into place.
“That’s pretty easy,” Trevor said.
“Not done. Thread end into gun, see?” He stood and moved the belt into the slot on the side of the gun, then flipped a lever next to the slot. “There, ready to fire.”
“A belt doesn’t last long, does it?” Seth asked.
“No,” Ji-Ho said.
“I thought that mini-gun was ready to protect us on the road,” Kaylee said.
“Did I say?” Ji-Ho asked. “I meant front and rear machine guns. Those fully loaded, don’t fire as fast as mini-gun.”
“You can’t aim them as easily, though, can you?” Trevor asked.
“Range of motion small,” Ji-Ho said. “Road protection and road attacks only. Larger ammo, though. They .50 cal.”
“What’s the mini-gun?” Trevor asked.
“It 7.62,” Ji-Ho said. “Now we set. Want bite to eat?”
“We never ate that lasagna,” Kaylee said. “I’ll go heat it up. I’m sure it got cold.”
“Will the microwave run with the generator?” Angel asked.
“Yes, everything work,” Ji-Ho said. “Come. We eat, then hit sack.”
Trevor watched Ji-Ho close the metal cover for the mini-gun as the others went into the salon. He stepped off the bed. “You like my toys?”
“Hell yeah,” Trevor said. “You designed this for what we’re going through now?”
“It my bug out vehicle,” Ji-Ho said. “Was going to take to Montana or Idaho and sit out mess, but hit too close to home. Now it battle wagon.”
Trevor laughed. “Yeah, it is that, all right.”
They went out into the salon together. Kaylee had the food warming up, and pulled the pizza out of the fridge. “Want me to heat this?” she asked.
“Nah, it’s good cold,” Angel said.
“Yeah,” Trevor said. He went next to Kaylee. “Need help with anything?”
“I’m fine,” she said, turning to him, soft smile on her face. She whispered in his ear. “We aren’t fooling anybody, are we?”
“Probably not,” Trevor said. “I don’t care.”
She sighed. “Maybe I don’t either.”
“How do the beds work?” Angel asked.
“Sofa sleeper here just like normal house version,” Ji-Ho said. He lifted up the cushions. “See, grab this bar, pull out. Normal. Comfortable.”
“We have to lower the table for the dinette bed, right?” Angel asked.
“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “It little short. I use. Then two and two in other beds.”
Kaylee shot a worried glance at Trevor, still standing next to him.
“Don’t worry,” Trevor whispered. “I’ll sleep on top of the covers with my clothes on.”
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t get all nuts over this.”
“I won’t,” he said.
“Go talk to my uncle while I finish,” she said, making eye contact with him. He shuddered at her look. “Stop that,” she whispered.
He nodded and left her side. “How sensitive are the motion detectors?”
Ji-Ho turned to him. “Very sensitive. Hope no rabbits nearby.”
“Oh, great, we’re gonna crap our pants when some wild life walks by?” Angel asked, grinning.
“Be aware,” Ji-Ho said. “Remember that we bullet-proof. We have reaction time.”
“You don’t think anybody followed us, though, do you?” Seth asked.
“Nobody that I see,” Ji-Ho said. “I do this for sleep and to show friends we safe bet.”
“Well, if you’ve got the capability, might as well use it,” Trevor said.
“Yes,” Ji-Ho said.
The microwave bell went off.
“I’ll check it,” Kaylee said, pulling the container out of the microwave above the range top.
“Smells good,” Angel said. “I’m really hungry.”
“Seriously,” Seth said.
“It’s hot enough,” Kaylee said. “Plates in the usual place?”
Ji-Ho chuckled. “Shoot, forgot to stow in safe travel spot. We’re lucky they didn’t fly out.”
“I’m surprised you can drive with the microwave turntable in,” Trevor said. “We have to take it out in my parent’s coach.”
Kaylee grabbed five plates and started dishing out the lasagna. Trevor got the pizza out of the fridge and set it on the counter as she worked.
“Thanks,” she said, glancing at him. He nodded and sat back down.
“Okay, come and get it,” she said.
They got the food and ate quickly, barely saying anything.
“Think we can get anything on the TV?” Angel asked.
“Need satellite dish,” Ji-Ho said. “Buried under weapons in storage compartment. If we stay longer I’d get out. Not worth for tonight.”
“Okay,” Angel said. “Wondering if our little dust-up in Temecula made the news.”
“Can your warehouse be tracked if they find your SUV?” Kaylee asked.
“No, different names,” Ji-Ho said. He got out of the dinette and set his plate in the sink.
“Should we wash dishes tonight?” Kaylee asked.
“No, we sleep,” he said.
The others finished and got busy with the beds.
“Who’s sleeping where?” Trevor asked.
“I’m sleeping here,” Angel said, pulling out the convertible sofa. “Wow, this is full size, huh?”
“Full queen, yes,” Ji-Ho said. “I set up dinette.” He got to work on that.
Kaylee glanced at Trevor and he looked away quickly.
“I’m gonna bunk with Angel,” Seth said. “If I can trust him.”
“Shut up, dude,” Angel said. Both of them snickered.
“C’mon,” Kaylee said to Trevor.
“We’ll leave the door open,” Trevor said, shooting a glance at Ji-Ho.
“Stop it,” Kaylee whispered as they walked back.
“Just trying to be polite,” Trevor said.
“You’re being weird. I’m not undressing with the door open in front of all those men.” She slid the bedroom door shut.
“I’m going to sleep in my clothes, remember?”
She rolled her eyes. “You’ll get cold. Forget it. Turn around.”
Trevor’s heart pounded as he turned.
“Don’t get weird,” she said softly. “You’re trembling.”
“Sorry.” He could hear the flutter of her pants as she pulled them off.
“I’m getting under the covers,” she said. “Your turn.”
He stripped down to his underwear, back still to her, and then turned around.
“Wait a minute,” she said softly. “Underwear. Let them dry out, at least. It’s not like we have new clothes to change into tomorrow morning.”
“You sure that’s a good idea?” he asked, back still to her.
“It’s what I did,” she said.
Trevor slipped off his underwear and rushed to the bed, slipping under the covers. He lay on his back, still trembling, heart pounding.
“You need to settle down,” she whispered, turning her face to him. She giggled. “You’re afraid to move.”
“Sorry, I’m trying to settle down,” he said softly.
She sighed, then moved over him, her naked body almost on top of him. “There, now you don’t have to worry about it. Can’t get much more familiar than this.”
“Kaylee,” he whispered, beside himself.
“Relax,” she whispered. “You don’t get me tonight. We’re not even close to that stage yet. Just settle down and go to sleep. Keep me warm. I’m freezing.”
He turned to her, the urge to kiss overpowering.
“Go ahead,” she whispered.
She rolled her eyes and kissed him, slow and passionate, both of them moaning. Then she broke it. “There. Now let’s go to sleep.”
“Seriously?” Trevor whispered. “You’re trying to drive me nuts.”
“No I’m not,” she said. “It is what it is, now sleep.” She moved slightly away, still facing him, still touching, feeling him tremble. When he shut his eyes she let a grin wash over her face.
To be continued…
Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!
The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”
Copyright Robert Boren 2016