Bugout! California Part 53 – Life Support



Trevor sent out the text to everybody, warning them to take cover for a possible attack from the back of their position. Then he hit Ji-Ho’s contact and put the phone to his ear.

“Trevor, got text,” Ji-Ho.

“Turn those mortars around,” Trevor said.

“Already working that,” Ji-Ho said. “Sent James and Tyler down to make sure all of first group dead.”

“Smart, we don’t need those guys firing at us. Talk to you soon. I’ll let you know if the enemy comes this way.”

“What about camp?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Kenny and Bradley just texted the elders,” Trevor said.

“Who Kenny and Bradley?”

“Two of the Barona warriors. Good guys.”

“Okay, we talk soon. Watch self. Protect Kaylee.”

“Always,” he said, hanging up.

“My uncle is moving the mortars?”

“Yep, he was already working on it when I got him on the line.”

They scrambled up the ridge and went over to the other side, the rest of the group doing the same thing.

“How do we know the men in those first set of vehicles are dead?” Kaylee asked.

“Don’t worry about it,” Kenny said. “I just saw James and Tyler down there checking.”

“What if they don’t come that way?” Kaylee asked. “What if they double back and come this way again?”

“Then we scramble for cover, and hope the old man with the RPG can take out the Gaz Tigr before it can hit us,” Trevor said.

“Comforting thought,” Bradley said.

“See anything?” Kaylee asked,

“No,” Trevor said. “This is starting to worry me.”

Suddenly there was a pop and a whistle, a mortar round flying over their heads and blowing up near the ruined vehicles below them.

“Crap!” Kenny shouted. “See where that came from?”

There was a pop near them, and then a bright flash from the willie pete.’

“Ji-Ho is a genius,” Trevor shouted. “See them? Fire!”

Everybody on the ridge opened up, firing at the mortar team first. They ran off in a panic, and then Ji-Ho dropped another mortar round. It blew up in the midst of the vehicles.

“Bullseye!” Trevor shouted. “Hit them again!”

Ji-Ho’s laughter could be heard above the gunfire as he dropped in another willie pete round, the target area exploding in flames. Several men were on fire, running in a panic.

“Whoa!” Kenny shouted. “That’s no fun.”

Bradley fired his AK-47, killing the running men as the others continued to spew lead.

“I think they’re all dead,” Bradley shouted.

“Look, there goes James and Tyler again,” Kenny said, pointing as they ran towards the flames. A gunshot rang out, forcing both of them to the dirt.

“Let them have it, but don’t hit our guys!” Trevor shouted, pointing his M60 at the enemy.

James threw something towards the hulk of one vehicle and it blew up, setting off the gasoline. Another burning man tried to flee, falling in the dirt.

“Geez,” Kaylee said, watching him burn, rolling in agony until Kenny shot him.

“Hopefully that was it,” Trevor said.

“Seriously,” Bradley said.

The group came off the ridge slowly, looking around, guns at the ready. They met near the vehicles.

“We got problem,” Ji-Ho said. “We kill these guys. More come. Follow tracks to camp.”

“I know, I was thinking the same thing,” Seth said. “What do we do?”

“Need to talk,” Ji-Ho said. “In meantime, we use mines.”

“Claymore mines?” Trevor asked. “I thought we had to be nearby to use those.”

“No, vehicle mines,” Ji-Ho said. “Had few. Brought. Good thing.”

“Think we can hear those all the way back at camp?” Clem asked. “If not they’ll just give us a false sense of security.”

“That is a problem,” Kenny said. “Sound doesn’t travel all that well through this terrain.”

“Better than nothing,” Ji-Ho said.

“Wait a minute, let’s use our heads here,” Trevor said. “I say we use the mines, but not at the fork. We put them much closer to camp. Close enough that we’ll hear them go off.”

“That good idea,” Ji-Ho said.

“What about tracks?” Seth asked. “Maybe we should go down this road a ways and then crank back over to the original road.”

“Well, we know there’s a way,” Angel said. “The enemy used it.”

“Yep,” Clem said. “Won’t buy us much, but it may be worth it.”

“We aren’t staying at camp long anyway, are we?” Kaylee asked.

“Where would we go?” Megan asked.

“Yeah, the reservation has been destroyed.” Kaitlyn said.

“Not all of it,” James said. “But it’s probably not safe to go there now.”

“We need to think about,” Ji-Ho said. “Talk to elders. Talk to Sam too.”

“Okay, then I say we head back to camp right now,” Trevor said.

“I agree,” James said.

Others nodded, some saying yes.

“Okay, let’s go, but keep your eyes open all the time,” Tyler said.


John sat on a waiting room couch, Sarah asleep against him. Sid and Yvonne were both wide awake.

“It’s been too long,” Yvonne said softly. “Way too long.”

“Don’t get too frightened yet, sweetie,” Sid said.

“Wonder what’s going on with the others?” John asked. “Wonder if they took out those enemy fighters we saw?”

“Hope so,” Sid said. “I think three AM is too late to call.”

“Yeah, it’s not like we can offer any help from here,” Yvonne said.

“Hell, John here probably saved our whole group,” Sid said.

The door opened from the emergency room, the nurse coming out. Her expression was grim.

“Oh no,” Yvonne said, her hand going to her mouth. “She’s gone, isn’t she?” She started to sob.

“Connie’s still alive, but she’s on life support,” the nurse said.

“Is she going to come out of it?” John asked. Sarah woke up, looking at the nurse, and then John.

“What happened?” she asked.

“Connie’s on life support, honey,” John said gently.

“Oh God,” she said, starting to cry.

“What happens now?” Sid asked, fighting back tears.

“We wait until her husband wakes up,” she said. “He’ll have to give the okay to stop life support, if that’s what he decides.”

“There’s no hope?” Sarah asked.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse said. “She’s brain dead.”

“Oh no,” Sid said, breaking down into sobs next to Yvonne, reaching for her.

The emergency room door opened again. A small mousy girl looked out. “Nurse Grace, you’d better get in here. The husband just woke up.”

“He lucid?”

“I don’t know,” the young woman said.

“Okay, coming,” Nurse Grace said. She looked at the others. “I’m so sorry.”

She disappeared through the door.

“What’s Sam gonna do?” Sid asked, rocking on the couch, sobs still coming.

Yvonne stopped crying, but had a numb expression. “I need some air.” She got up and walked to the door, Sid getting up and following her.

“John, what are we gonna do?” Sarah asked. “This is just going to kill him.”

“He’s stronger than you think,” John said.


Robbie and Morgan were on the floor, leaned up against the wall next to Justin and Katie.

“Those were good tacos,” Robbie said. “Never been to this place before.”

“You’ve never been to Tito’s?” Morgan asked. “It’s the bomb. One of my old boyfriends loved to go there.”

“Well, he had good taste in more ways than one, then, I guess,” Robbie said.

“Not really,” she said. “He dumped me, and not in a nice way. I was so devastated at the time. Now that seems like nothing to me.” Her eyes teared up.

“I’m so sorry,” Robbie said, pulling her close. Katie watched, starting to cry too. Justin shot Robbie a helpless glance.

“Hey, Robbie, got minute?” Jules asked from down the hall.

“Just a sec,” he said.

“No, go ahead,” Morgan said. “I’m gonna get like this for a while. It’s okay.”

“All right,” Robbie said. He got up and went down the hall. Jules ushered him into the office. Tex, Sparky, and Ted were in there.

“Take seat, kid,” Jules said.

Robbie nodded and sat in the empty chair.

“How’s Morgan?” Sparky asked.

“She’s an emotional wreck,” Robbie said. “I’m worried about her.”

“She’s strong, but you’ll need to give her time,” Sparky said. “You’ll need patience. This is gonna make your relationship difficult for a while, if you get my drift.”

“I know,” Robbie said. “I’ll support her. I really love her.”

“I know, I can tell,” Sparky said.

“You say you have other friends,” Jules said.

“Yeah, Gil and Steve, but only Gil is around. Steve’s the one who left. He went to Mountain High.”

“Oh, yes, forgot, much sorry,” Jules said. “How about Gil? You think he interested?”

“I can call him,” Robbie said.

“Do now,” Jules said.

“Sure.” Robbie pulled out his phone and hit Gil’s contact. It rang several times, and then Gil picked up.

“Robbie, where are you? Thank God, I’ve been scared to death that they killed you.”

“Hi, Gil,” Robbie said. “I’m at a safe house. Where are you? What’s been going on?”

“I’ve been hiding out at my grandparent’s house in Lomita,” he said.

“What happened to your job?”

“Two UN thugs showed up. Killed my boss. I was in the yard out back at the time, and hid when I heard the gunshot.”

“Oh crap. They see you?” Robbie asked.

“No. I waited till they split. My buddy was inside. They left him in charge. He said they took the boss’s daughter with them.”

“What about your parents?”

“When all the ruckus at Torrance City Hall happened, they headed down south. I’m hoping they made it into San Diego County. We’ve got family there.”

“Why didn’t you go?” Robbie asked.

“I’m dangerous to be around. They know where I worked,” Gil said. “They’re already looking for me, because I know they took the girl.”

Robbie laughed. “Think that matters? They’ve been doing this all the time. They took Morgan too.”

“Do they still have her?” Gil asked.

“No, I was able to get her out, with a lot of help.”

“What kind of help?” Gil asked. “A social worker or something? The City? I’d like to get the daughter out. I owe my boss that much. He treated me so well towards the end.”

“What was this girl’s name?” Robbie asked.

“Karen,” Gil said.

“She a lanky redhead?”

“Yeah,” Gil said. “How did you know that?”

“You want to talk to her?”

“No, she barely knows I’m alive,” Gil said. “Where are you? What’s going on?”

“I was involved in that ruckus you were talking about.”


“Yeah,” Robbie said. “Morgan and Katie were being held in the Torrance Police station. They were being used as comfort women.”

“Katie too? What do you mean comfort women?” he asked, then was silent for a moment. “Oh. Geez. They were raping them. Karen was with them?”

“Yeah, there were a bunch of girls in there,” Robbie said.

“Hey, kid, what you think? Jules asked. “Want to put on speaker?”

Robbie nodded. “Gil, I’m working for Ivan the Butcher now. We’ve got a pitch for you. I’m putting this on speaker.”

“What the hell?” Gil said, half of the words coming over the speaker phone.

“You hear us?” Robbie asked.

“Yeah, I hear you,” Gil said. “What the hell is going on?”

Jules chuckled. “Hi Gil. This is Jules. Lieutenant in the army of Ivan the Butcher. Nice to meet.”

“I guess,” Gil said. “Robbie, how did you get in with these guys?”

“Morgan jotted down her boss’s phone number before she left with the UN thugs,” Robbie said. “After I killed the UN guy they left with me, I found the number and called.”

“That was me. Name’s Sparky. Nice to meet you.”

“Oh, you’re the guy who runs the poker club,” Gil said. “Morgan said good things about you.”

“Glad to hear that. We got Tex and Ted in here too.”

“Nice to meet you, partner. I’m Tex.”

“You probably remember me. Ted. I ran the restaurant that Robbie worked in.”

“Oh, yeah, I know you,” Gil said. “What’s this all about?”

“You want kill UN thugs?” Jules asked.

There was silence on the line for a moment. “What do you want me to do?”

“Join up and go on missions with us,” Robbie said.

“We don’t have a better way to go, do we?” Gil asked.

“Not that I can see, man,” Robbie said.

“Okay, I’m in,” Gil said. “What now?”

“We come pick up,” Jules said. “Let’s work out detail.”

To be continued…


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