Bugout! California Part 50 – Tunnel Warfare

 

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“Sam!” Sid asked, looking down at him, crumpled on the sand.

“Is he alive?” Yvonne asked.

“Yeah, he’s still breathing,” Sid said. “Where’s Connie?”

“Oh, God,” Yvonne said, looking around in a panic.

“There’s pieces of One Eye all over the ground,” Sid said, tears streaming down his cheeks.

They rushed around, finally seeing Connie, lying about thirty yards from Sam.

“Oh, no,” Yvonne said. “Still alive?”

“I can’t tell,” Sid said, getting down close to her. He listened. “She’s breathing, but it’s shallow. We have to get both to the hospital right away.”

“I’ll call John and have him bring his truck down here, with whatever blankets we can find in the vehicles.”

“Yeah, you do that,” Sid said.

Sam moaned. Sid ran over to him.

“Sid?” he said, groggy. “Where’s Connie?”

“Unconscious,” Sid said. “Yvonne’s calling John to get his truck down here. We’ll take you both to the hospital in La Quinta. It’s close.”

“One Eye?”

“Gone,” Sid said.

“Oh no,” Sam said, trying to sit up.

“No, relax for a few minutes,” Sid said.

“John and Sara are on the way,” Yvonne said. “I’m going to run up there and get our Jeep so we can follow them.”

“Good idea, honey. I’ll stay with them.”

“If Connie’s dead I’ll never forgive myself,” Sam said.

“That wasn’t your fault,” Sid said. “Don’t go there.”

“What’s the tribe going to do without One Eye?” he asked.

“The tribe will be fine. Don’t worry about anything right now.”

John’s truck came down the hill and around to the broken driveway. He rushed over.

“He’s alive?” John asked.

“Yeah,” Sid said. “He might have internal injuries. Connie isn’t conscious. You get some blankets?”

“Yeah,” John said, “They’re already spread out in the back. It’s not very clean back there, but it should be okay for a short trip. Sarah’s mapping the route to the hospital on the GPS.”

Sarah rushed over. “The closest place is JFK Memorial, on Monroe Street,” she said. “It’s not far. Ten minutes’ tops.”

“Maybe we should call for an ambulance instead,” John said.

“I think minutes are gonna count,” Sid said.

Yvonne drove up, three tribal warriors in the Jeep with her. They got out and rushed over, all of them crying.

“Let’s get them loaded,” Sid said.

They lifted Connie and put her carefully in the back of the truck, and then went back and fetched Sam, who was becoming more lucid.

“Okay, let’s go,” John said. Sarah got into the passenger seat.

“We’ll follow,” Sid said.

“Good,” John said, getting behind the wheel. The two couples took off down the road, hitting Monroe Street in less than five minutes. They arrived at the emergency room and Yvonne rushed to the counter.

“We’ve got two wounded people in our truck,” Yvonne said. “At least one of them is critical.”

“Wounded?” the orderly asked.

“Yeah,” Yvonne said. “Come on, let’s go.”

The orderly typed something on her computer, then called out for the paramedics, who rushed outside with gurneys.

Yvonne came over to John, Sarah, and Sid. “Well, that’s all we can do right now.”

“Oh, God, I hope they both survive,” Sarah said.

They sat down in the waiting room, looking like death warmed over.

***

Jules looked at his phone, shielding it, then shut it down. “Almost time.”

“Finally,” Robbie whispered. “Going stir-crazy.”

“Settle down, kid,” Tex whispered. “You’ll get plenty of action soon.”

“What’d they say?” Sparky asked.

“Audience almost full. Most of players backstage. Security heavy. Mister One say he see Blake down there.”

“As in Attorney General Blake?” Ted asked.

“Yeah, he’s big Fed who’s here,” Jules said. His phone buzzed. “Wait, something new.” He looked at his phone, then chuckled softly.

“What?” Cody whispered.

“It Ivan. Coup happening in DC. Just coming out on channels. Not on news yet.”

“You’re kidding,” Robbie whispered. “We still going?”

“Yes, we still go,” Jules said. “Kill bad guys while can.”

“Good,” Tex whispered. “Didn’t want to give up this kind of entertainment.”

Suddenly there were footsteps again, more than the times before.

“Freeze,” Sparky whispered. They watched as about two dozen UN Peacekeepers ran from the police station to the City Hall, all of them murmuring.

“I bet they hear about coup,” Jules whispered. Then his phone buzzed again. He looked at it, carefully shielding, and then locked the screen. “Two minute. We’ll hear shots. Then go.”

“Yes!” Tex said, picking up his weapon, and slipping some of the explosives into his pocket. The others did the same. They all quietly checked their weapons.

“Stacey, get ready with shotgun,” Jules said. “We clean hallway if anybody come. Rest hit police station.”

Shots rang out above them, and people’s screams floated down.

“Now,” Jules said. The men rushed down the tunnel as explosions rocked the area by the City Hall.

“Here comes men from City Hall,” Jules shouted. Stacey got to the junction and pointed his shotgun in that direction, pulling the trigger and reloading several times as the UN Peacekeepers yelled in panic, not even able to get off a shot.

Robbie, Tex, Sparky, Jordan, Cody, and Ted rushed down the hall towards the police station, rushing through the open door, firing at the UN Peacekeepers minding the door before they could react. Then they headed down the hall.

“You know where we’re going?” Robbie asked.

“Yeah, kid,” Sparky said, rushing down a long corridor.

“Where is everybody?” Tex asked as they ran.

“Twenty-four or so left, remember?” Sparky said. “Probably a lot of them in the theater too.”

“There’s the corridor where the cells are,” Sparky said. They raced down it. A door opened behind them. Jordan heard it and turned around. He waited until a few UN Peacekeepers went out, heading for the exit door. Jordan fired his M60, hosing down the hallway with lead, dropping all of them. Then he and Ted ran back down with Cody, going into the door and firing, men screaming for their lives. They emerged and got back behind the main group, who were just getting to the holding cell door. Tex put the plastic explosive and detonator on the lock and motioned for everybody to get back, pulling a remote switch out of his pocket. He blew it, the door bouncing open as women inside screamed. Then Robbie, Sparky, and Tex ran inside as the others watched the hall, waiting for more UN Peacekeepers to arrive.

“Robbie!” Morgan shouted, tears of joy running down her cheeks. Katie was next to her, crying as Tex put explosive on the cell door.

“Stand back, ladies, and face the wall,” Tex said. He got back and used his switch again, blowing the door open. “Everybody out. Let’s blow this joint.”

The women rushed out, Morgan rushing to Robbie and hugging him.

“Save that for later, little lady,” Tex said. “We aren’t out of here yet.”

They raced for the stairs, rushing up, Sparky and Jordan shooting several UN thugs who were rushing towards the stairwell. The women cued up behind them, then rushed forward when Sparky called to them.

“Ted, put claymore mines by stairwell and wait,” Jules said. “We collapse whole area before we leave.”

“C’mon, ladies,” Tex said, rushing to the back door. He looked out the wire-reinforced window into the parking lot behind the police station. “Wonder if they left keys in any of those UN Vans?”

“You go check, bring women out back,” Jules shouted. “We look for documents, then blow mines. Keep eyes open. Shoot out video cameras.”

“Roger that,” Tex said.

The women were led under a ledge along the back wall of the police station. Robbie and Jordan stood by them as Tex and Ted rushed to the nearest van. Tex got in, found the keys in the ignition, and started the engine. Robbie saw a video camera and shot it out with his rifle. They could hear the battle going on in the City Hall building.

“Better get that other van too,” Tex said. “Lot of girls to carry.”

“On it,” Ted said, getting into another van a couple spaces down. He got it started too, and both vans drove to the women, side doors facing the wall. Robbie and Jordan opened them and helped the women in, all of them scared to death.

Gunfire erupted from inside the police station. Robbie looked at Jordan, and they both ran over to the door, guns at the ready. Jules, Sparky, Cody, and Stacey burst through, turning to fire another volley. Jules had a briefcase in one hand. Stacey had the remotes for the claymore mines.

“Now?” Stacey asked.

“Yeah, blow to kingdom come,” he said.

Stacey grinned as he blew the mines. The explosion was so large that it blew the back door of the station right off its hinges.

“Let’s blow joint now,” Jules shouted, getting into the first van with Tex and Sparky, Robbie jumping in last and shutting the door. They raced towards the gate, the other van following right behind them.

“Oh no!” one of the women in the back cried. “The gates are shut.”

Tex chuckled and pointed to the opener hooked on the visor. “This probably opens it.” He pushed the button and the gate rolled away, both vans driving through.

“Where are you taking us?” another woman asked.

“Away from here,” Tex said.

“Robbie is my boyfriend,” Morgan said as he held her. “The big man in the passenger seat is my boss.”

“I know Robbie too,” Katie said.

“Kid, call friend,” Jules said. “If not him, hang up.”

Robbie nodded and pulled out his phone as they raced down Madrona towards 190th Street. He hit Justin’s contact and listened to it ring.

“Robbie,” Justin’s voice said, sounding scared. Robbie gave thumbs up to Jules.

“Where are you? We just rescued Katie.”

“Really? How?”

“Long story. Where are you?”

“I’m in one of the dugouts at the Alta Vista Park baseball diamonds. The one next to the parking lot.”

“Prospect and Knob Hill,” Robbie said to Jules.

“Good, we go,” Jules said. “Need more recruits.”

“Great,” Robbie said. “Justin, stay put. We’re coming in a UN Van.”

“UN Van?”

“Yeah, we just stole it,” Robbie said. “Here, I’m going to give you to Katie.” He handed his phone to Katie, and then hugged Morgan.

Jules went to the front of the Van. “Prospect and Knob Hill,” Jules said. “I call other van and send to safe house in Culver City. We meet them there afterwards.”

“Sounds like a plan, partner,” Tex said, grinning back at him. “You don’t think all this tooling around is going to get us caught?”

“We just cut head from snake,” Jules said. “They can’t find ass with both hand right now. Don’t worry. We still got machine guns, too.”

“True, we do,” Tex said. “I can pick up Prospect from 190th.”

Jules got on his phone and called Ted.

“Ted, activate plan to go to safe house. Wait for us there. We go to pick up recruit.”

“Got it,” Ted said. He continued down 190th as Tex turned left on Prospect.

“Who are you guys?” one of the women asked.

Jules sat down next to her. “You hear of Ivan the Butcher?”

Her eyes got wide. “Really?”

Sparky smirked. “Ivan is a resistance leader. We’re working for him.”

“What’s going to happen to us?” the woman asked, pushing her long black hair back. Her face was dirty and her clothes tattered, but she had an exquisite beauty that showed through.

“Our priority is to keep all of us alive and keep you safe,” Sparky said. “The worst place you can go right now is home, though. You know that, right?”

She was silent for a moment, then nodded yes.

“My name is Sparky. What’s yours?”

“Dana,” she said. “What about my family?”

“We have ways of finding things out,” Sparky said, “but this is gonna cause a real crap-storm. Relax. Everything is gonna be okay.”

Robbie looked at Morgan’s face. She was looking down, avoiding eye contact. “Hey, you okay?”

“I’m ashamed,” she said, starting to sob.

“This wasn’t your fault,” Robbie said. “I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to stop them from taking you.”

“You don’t know what they’ve been doing to me…to us.”

“I have a pretty good idea,” Robbie said softly, petting her hair. She moved closer, clutching him, arms around his neck as she cried.

“Are we really getting Justin?” Morgan asked.

“Yes,” Robbie said.

“Why do they care?”

Robbie looked her in the eye. “We need recruits. I’m working for Ivan’s resistance now.”

“These people can be a little rough,” she whispered.

“They’re good people,” Robbie said. “Really. Especially Tex, Sparky, and Ted.”

“Ted? Your boss?”

“Yeah, he and Sparky go back years,” Robbie said. “Most of these guys were special forces. They’ve been training us.”

“You’ve killed more people?” Morgan asked.

“I killed that big dumb German guy who I was left with, and the two men they sent to check on him. Killed half a dozen UN Peacekeepers tonight, too, but most of the carnage happened at City Hall and in the Armstrong Theater.”

“Armstrong Theater?”

“Yeah, long story,” he said, his face changing. “Hey Jules, what happened to Mister One and Mister Two?”

Jules laughed. “They killed most people in theater, including dirty Attorney General and Regional Governor. They take off. Long gone.”

“How about the rest of the battle, partner?” Tex asked from the front.

“Rout,” Jules said. “Close to hundred enemy slugs. High ranking, most.”

“Wow,” Robbie said.

“Don’t get over-confident,” Sparky said. “This was just another battle. There will be more.”

“Can we join?” Dana asked. “If we want to?”

“You shoot, keep mouth shut, spy?” Jules asked.

“Will it result in the death of UN pigs?” she asked, hatred rising in her eyes.

“Hey, I like you already. Welcome to team.”

“You’d better explain how crazy this is gonna be before you start committing people to our operation,” Sparky said.

“Hey, kid, we’re almost to Knob Hill,” Tex said. “Where to from there?”

“Turn right, then take the next right, which leads into the parking lot. He’s at the baseball diamonds right next to the lot.”

“Okay, kid, get ready.”

“He’ll be ready,” Katie said, handing the phone back to Robbie. “He’s still on.”

“Justin?” Robbie asked.

“Yeah, man,” he said. “Thanks. I owe you big time.”

“Hey, I’m just glad we’re getting you back.”

“What happened to the others? Steve and Gil?”

“I have no idea,” Robbie said.

The van turned onto the street and rushed to the parking lot, both Tex and Sparky searching the area for trouble.

“Okay, kid, go get him while I turn this sucker around. I don’t like dead-end streets.”

Robbie nodded and slid the door open, bolting onto the parking lot.

Justin appeared from the dugout and ran over, then both of them got into the van. Robbie slammed the door shut. “Let’s go.”

“Hold on,” Tex said, speeding forward, going too fast for the little street, the van bouncing over the speed bumps.

“Hey, be careful,” Jules said. “You see something?”

“No, but like I said, I don’t like dead-end streets.” He turned right onto Knob Hill and took it down to Pacific Coast Highway, where he turned right.

Justin sat next to Katie, taking her into his arms, both crying.

“Thank God,” Katie said, rocking with him, cheeks sopping wet. “I’m a mess, and I stink.”

“I don’t care,” Justin said, looking at her, seeing the hurt in her eyes. “You had it rough in there.”

“They raped me over and over,” Katie said, the shame showing on her face.

“I’m so sorry, honey,” Justin said, hugging her tight.

Robbie looked at Jules. “You want to talk to him?”

“Later,” Jules said. “He be with woman now. We talk at safe house.”

***

Ji-Ho yelled for everybody on top of the ridge to gather around.

“What was that explosion?” Tyler asked, worry on his face. “Who got taken away in the truck?”

“Everybody hear me?” Ji-Ho asked.

Everybody looked at him, a few murmuring they could hear.

“I sorry to have to say,” Ji-Ho said. “Our dear friend One Eye killed in explosion.”

“Oh, God,” Kaitlyn said, crying, Megan running to her side. The other tribal members were crying or looking numb.

“What happened?” James asked, tears streaming down his face.

“Booby trap on supply containers,” Ji-Ho said. “Sam and his wife got thrown. Sam probably okay. Wife Connie may die.”

“Oh, geez,” Trevor said, pulling Kaylee close to him.

“I’m so sorry,” Seth said to Kaitlyn. She left Megan’s arms and fell into his, her head resting on his chest as she cried.

“He was my cousin,” she said.

“Angel,” Megan said, crying uncontrollably now, Angel trying to comfort her as she held him.

“What now?” one of the warriors asked.

“We go back camp,” Ji-Ho said. “Wait for news. Who second leader for tribe?”

“We have to elect a new leader,” Zac said. “The elders do it. They’re all back at camp.”

“They’re going to take this hard, man,” Tyler said.

“I know, I take hard,” Ji-Ho said, trying to hold back tears. “Let’s go.”

“We don’t want to sift through the stuff down there?” James asked.

“Maybe more booby trap,” Ji-Ho said. “We have what need. Let’s go. Be with loved ones. Pray for Sam and Connie.”

“I knew we were going to lose people,” Kaitlyn said. “Why’d it have to be him?”

“I know,” Megan said. “I’m surprised James can hold it together. They were close.”

“We’ll leave you two alone if you want us to,” Seth said softly. “I don’t want to intrude.”

“Yeah,” Angel said. “We can give you some time.”

Kaitlyn looked at Seth, stopping, putting her arms around his waist. “You make me feel better,” she said softly. “I’d rather be with you.”

“I’m glad,” Seth said, petting her black hair. “Whatever you need.”

Megan didn’t say anything. She just pulled Angel over and hugged him hard, sobs shaking her body. “Let’s stay together. Please?”

“Yes,” he said, tilting her head up to look into her eyes, feeling himself on the verge of tears again. “Let’s go.”

The weary group walked back towards their vehicles.

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2016

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