It was morning. Robbie sat in the dinette of his coach, setting down his phone. Morgan came out of the bedroom.
“Who were you talking to?” she asked.
“My folks. I hate lying to them.”
“They still think you’re in the Army?”
“Yep,” he said. “It’s for their own good, and ours.”
“What’s up today?”
“I think we have the day to ourselves,” Robbie said. “We aren’t supposed to leave until tomorrow.”
“Good, then maybe we can take a walk. It’s so pretty here.”
“I’m game. I’ve seen some of the others walking towards the house. Maybe they’ve got some coffee going.”
“Or some breakfast,” Morgan said. “Wonder how Gil did last night?”
Robbie chuckled. “They probably had as much fun as we did.”
“I hope so,” she said.
“I was afraid you’d have a real problem with that, after what happened.”
“They’re two different things in my mind,” Morgan said, “although I was worried about it too.”
“If it ever is, you tell me, okay?”
“I will, sweetie,” she said. “I’ll go get dressed.”
Robbie nodded, and picked up his phone, looking for news. His usual sources were locked down. Obviously censored. He went to a site that he rarely trusted. Too many conspiracy stories, but every so often they found something nobody else did. Perfect. Stories of the resistance. That was what he was looking for. He raced through a story about Governor Nelson of Texas. Innuendo. Not believable. The Republic of Texas making deals with foreign countries? He chuckled. Then he hit a story about General Walker and General Hogan, and how they were training civilian groups to take on the enemy in the Southwest and Mountain states. He zeroed in on one story about an RV Park in Utah. A picture caught his eye. A row of motor homes. One of them looked just like his folk’s rig. The picture was too small to see well.
“You about ready?” Morgan asked.
He didn’t answer for a moment.
“Earth to Robbie.”
“Oh, sorry,” he said, saving the link. He stood up and stuffed his phone into his pocket.
“You see something interesting?”
He sighed. “I think I’m just missing my parents,” he said. “There was a story about the resistance in the Southwest, and one of the pictures had a motor home that looked just like theirs.”
Morgan’s eyes got wide. “You think it’s them? You think they’re part of the resistance?”
“Probably not,” he said. “Picture was too small on my phone. I’d like to take a closer look on a PC or an iPad.”
“Maybe there’s something in the house,” Morgan said. “C’mon, let’s go.”
The couple left the coach, walking to the main house. Gil and Tisha were in front of them.
“Hey, Gil,” Robbie said.
“Good morning,” Gil said. Tisha eyed them, then smiled.
“Good morning,” she said, arm going around Gil’s waist. Morgan shot a glance to Robbie.
“Hi,” Morgan said. “You guys sleep well?”
Gil nodded yes, an embarrassed smile on his face. Tisha’s eyes showed confidence. “We did. You?”
“Best in days,” Morgan said. “Wonder if they got some food going?”
Tisha laughed. “I saw Shelly go into the house last night. She’s probably got everything set up.”
Morgan chuckled. “She does like to take charge. You don’t think her and Jules…”
Robbie laughed. “Jules likes her, but she wasn’t having it at the warehouse.”
“Any man would like her, dude,” Gil said. “She’s gorgeous.”
“Hey,” Tisha said.
“Don’t worry, she’s not my type,” Gil said.
“Uh huh,” Tisha said, breaking into a giggle. “I’m just teasing you. I can be kind of a jealous bitch, though. Fair warning.”
“I think I figured that out pretty fast,” Gil said.
They climbed the veranda steps and entered the house. The smell of bacon and eggs hit them.
“Yes!” Morgan said.
“Ah, good morning,” Jules said. “Breakfast in kitchen. Plenty. Eat up. Enjoy.”
“Thanks,” Robbie said. “You know if there’s a PC around here that I can use?”
“In den, down hall past bathroom,” Jules said. “Might have password. Why?”
“I was looking at an article about the resistance on my phone. There was a picture that I want to get a better look at.”
“That right, you blog writer,” Jules said. “Don’t give away position.”
“I won’t,” Robbie said.
They went into the kitchen. People were eating at the table and at the long bar which made up part of the generous island. Shelly was working the food service with Dana and Alexis.
“What’d I tell you?” Trisha whispered. “Queen bee is in control.”
Gil chuckled. “Yep, you called it.”
“Hey, guys,” Justin called out from the table.
“Good morning,” Katie said, sitting next to him.
How are you two doing?” Robbie asked.
“It was nice to get a decent night’s sleep,” Katie said. “Wish we were staying here longer.”
“Seriously,” Morgan said. She got in the food line next to Robbie, Gil and Tisha following.
“This is quite a spread,” Tisha said to Shelly.
“I was surprised there was so much here,” Shelly said.
“You sleep in here last night?” Tisha asked.
Shelly turned red. “Yes, by myself.”
“Uh huh,” Tisha said, eyes twinkling.
“Stop,” she said. “All we did is have a couple of drinks. Really.”
“She’s just teasing you,” Gil said. “Thanks for doing this.”
“You’re welcome,” Shelly said. “It wasn’t just me, though. Dana and Alexis did as much as I did.”
“Thanks,” Alexis said. “You guys see Tex yet?”
“Nope,” Gil said. “Want me to go check?”
“No,” Alexis said, looking embarrassed.
Dana whispered something in her ear, and they both cracked up.
“What?” Gil said. “Oh, never mind.”
“He’s probably still in bed with the redhead,” Tisha whispered as they took their food to the table. Gil looked at her and shook his head no.
“Let’s not start up on that, okay? I like Tex.”
“Okay, sorry,” Tisha said as they sat down.
Tex walked in alone, scanning the kitchen before getting into the food line. Alexis picked up on it right away.
“So, where’s Karen?” Alexis asked.
“She wanted to take a shower,” Tex said. “Why?”
“Just wondering,” Alexis said. “You got her dirty, I suppose.”
Tex chuckled. “I never touched her. She’s a challenge.”
“Nope,” Tex said. “Where’d you end up?”
“In Sparky and Dana’s coach,” she said. “I don’t think I can sleep in ours. At least not yet.”
“Oh,” Tex said. “Understand. Karen was having a problem with it too. We both slept out in the front of the coach.”
“Is it cleaned up yet?” Alexis asked.
“Oh, yeah, I did that last night,” he said. “Kinda got to me.”
“I’ll bet,” Alexis said. “Poor Lili.”
Robbie finished his breakfast quickly, Morgan still working on hers. He started to get up.
“You’re going already?” Morgan asked.
“I’m just going down the hall to try out the PC,” Robbie said. “Mind?”
“No, not at all,” she said. “I’ll bring you a cup of coffee when I’m done.”
“That would be excellent,” he said.
“Okay, sweetie,” she said. “Don’t get too worked up.”
“I won’t,” Robbie said as he walked away, heading into the hallway. Jules nodded to him as he walked by the living room. He was seated in front of the bar with Ted, Stacey, and Jordan.
The den was masculine, dark paneled walls and over-stuffed dark leather furniture. A pool table sat to the left, another bar in the middle and a huge TV across the room. The PC was on a desk just inside the door, running, cycling through security camera video. He watched the pictures from the video feeds flash by for a moment, then clicked on the browser. It loaded, much to Robbie’s surprise. He looked at his phone, and input the URL of the story. It came up in a few seconds, the pictures showing up large and clear on the big monitor. The photo wasn’t very high resolution, but it was much easier to see than it was on his phone. He was just about to zoom in when Morgan came in with coffee.
“Here you go, honey,” she said, setting the cup down next to the keyboard. He nodded to her and took a sip.
“This hit’s the spot,” he said.
“Still think it might be your folk’s coach?”
“Sure looks like it. Wish this was a higher-res picture.”
“Where is it?”
“Someplace in Utah,” Robbie said, zooming in closer. “Holy crap.”
“See the face inside?” Robbie asked, pointing.
“Barely,” she said.
“That’s my mom,” he said. “Wonder if she knows about this picture.”
“Your parents are part of the resistance?” Morgan asked.
“Looks that way,” Robbie said.
“Oh, good, you on,” Jules said, walking in. “You find what looking for?” Ted followed him in.
“It’s my parent’s coach all right,” Robbie said.
“Maybe you shouldn’t say anymore, kid,” Ted said.
Jules shot him a glance. “We on same side. What about article?”
“You want to read it?” Robbie asked.
“Yes, please,” he said.
Robbie un-zoomed the picture and got up, giving his chair to Jules. Ted read over his shoulder.
“You know this is an unreliable source, right?” Ted asked after he finished reading.
“Yes yes, but right sometime,” Jules said. “What your dad do?”
“He’s retired,” Robbie said, Jules’s intense stare making him nervous.
“Before retire?” Jules asked.
IT manager at a big aerospace firm,” Robbie said. “Why?”
“What are you thinking, Jules?” Ted asked.
“I hear some things from Ivan. Remember when I say Malcolm and George needed by General Hogan?”
“Yeah,” Ted said.
“This why. One asset make this group crucial. I bet it Robbie’s father.”
“What are you talking about?” Robbie asked.
“When last time you talk with?” Jules asked.
“Everything okay? He sound okay?”
“Yes, Jules, he and my mom sounded about normal. I feel a little guilty lying to them about where I am, but it’s probably just as well. They’d worry too much if they knew what I was doing.”
“What cover story again?”
“I joined the army to get away from the martial law situation,” Robbie said, looking more agitated.
“Calm down, Robbie, you’re with friends here,” Ted said.
“Sorry. I know that.”
“What father’s specialty?” Jules asked.
“Sure we should go there?” Ted asked.
“Yes,” Jules said.
“It’s okay,” Robbie said. “He was a manufacturing systems expert. I don’t know that much, but he wrote papers. I think he was highly regarded in his field.”
“He ever mention RFID?” Jules asked.
“Jules,” Ted said.
“Yes, as a matter of fact,” Robbie said. “He invented some stuff for that. Got an award.”
Jules looked at Ted. “You didn’t know about this?”
“Hell no,” Ted said. “We should talk to Ivan.”
“I agree,” Jules said. “Close door. We do in here.”
“What the hell is going on?” Robbie asked.
“Your father is most important person in country,” Jules said. “He holds key to victory in head.”
“I can’t get anything from him,” Robbie said.
“We don’t want you to get anything from him,” Ted said. “The enemy is looking for him. They’ve made several attempts to capture or kill him already. We need to make sure there’s no way they can figure out that he’s your dad. The enemy could use that against the resistance.”
“Crap, my parents are in danger?” Robbie asked. “They didn’t sound like it.”
“And you sounded like you in army.” Jules chuckled. “You should be proud, but we need to protect. It may affect how we use you.”
“You really have no idea where they are?” Ted asked.
“I only know the state,” Robbie said. “They said they couldn’t tell me anything else over the phone.”
“That’s good,” Ted said.
“Not stop enemy from using him,” Jules said.
“I know that, Jules,” Ted said, pacing around behind them. “We have to tell Ivan.”
“Why?” Robbie asked.
“Everything Ivan is doing has same focus,” Jules said. “Win war only.”
“Does that mean he might lock Robbie up to protect his father?” Morgan asked.
“If he does, I’m through,” Ted said.
“No, he not do that,” Jules said. “I’ll make sure. I have influence.”
“What difference does it make if I don’t know where he is?” Robbie asked.
“If they captured you and knew who you were, it could be a big problem,” Ted said. “They could use you to drag your father out of hiding.”
“Are either of those things really likely?” Robbie asked.
“This war, anything possible,” Jules said.
“Jules, let’s talk about this and call Ivan later,” Ted said. “I don’t want to go off half-cocked over this. We need to have Tex in the conversation, and Sparky too.”
Jules sat silently for a moment. “Okay, I can agree to that.”
“You’re going to discuss my future in private?” Robbie asked. “Should I be worried?”
“No,” Ted said. “Ivan isn’t going to want to hurt you. He’s going to want to protect you.”
“Wait a minute,” Morgan said. “If you’re worried about Robbie being taken captive and used to get his dad, Ivan might want to do him in so that’s not a possibility.”
Robbie’s face went white.
“No,” Ted said. “That won’t be allowed. We go with united front to Ivan. Sparky, Tex, Jules, and me. He’ll listen. I know him.”
“Yes, Robbie, don’t worry,” Jules said. “If I thought like that, I’d lock you up right now. You two go be with others. Send Tex and Sparky. Go relax.”
Robbie shook his head yes, and took Morgan’s hand, leading her into the hallway.
“Should we split?” Morgan asked.
“They’d only find us,” Robbie said. “I trust Ted.”
“I trust Sparky, too,” Morgan said, “but this makes me nervous.”
“I know, me too,” Robbie said.
Trevor and Kaylee left the house to take a walk around the grounds.
“Well, our friends are happy,” Kaylee said. “You notice?”
“I noticed,” Trevor said. “I haven’t seen Seth like this before. Angel either.”
Kaylee froze. “Hear that? Sounds like horses.”
“Yeah, I hear it,” Trevor said. Suddenly there were a large number of men in western garb riding towards them, Garrett in the lead. They stopped when they met the couple.
“Where’s John, Sam, and Sid?” Garrett asked.
“In the house,” Trevor said. “What’s wrong?”
“You guys must be hot, because there’s a large force of Islamists coming this way,” Garrett said. “With some of their UN thug buddies.”
“Oh, crap,” Trevor said, pulling his phone out. He sent a broadcast text to the group. “Sent them a message. I’ll go get the battle wagon ready to go.”
“We’re going into the trees. Got over a hundred men here now, and another two hundred on the way.”
“Here they come,” Trevor said, nodding towards the veranda as everybody flooded out, weapons in hand.
Sam rushed over. “How many coming at us?”
“Sixty to eighty, from what we could tell,” Garrett said. “You guys got plenty of ammo?”
“For everything except the minigun,” Sam said. Ji-Ho and John showed up, with Tyler and James.
“Get ready,” Garrett said. “We’ve got maybe ten minutes.”
“We need more .50 cal,” Ji-Ho said. “Dammit.”
“We got some of that, but no gun to use it in,” Garrett said. “I’ll have it brought over. Might not be in time for this fight.”
“Very good,” Ji-Ho said. “Battle wagon still in siege mode?”
“Yep,” Trevor said. “C’mon. Front and rear machineguns are loaded, too.” Trevor, Kaylee, and Ji-Ho ran into the rig and got inside, turning on the weapons systems. The barrels of the machine guns inched out of the lower front and rear of the coach.
Kaitlyn and Seth raced to their Jeep to grab the AK-47 and the M60, Angel and Megan doing the same.
“We should take these Jeeps to the back, just in case we need to hi-tail it,” Angel said.
“Yeah, let’s do that,” Kaitlyn said. “I can’t believe we’re back in this so fast.”
“Tell me about it,” Seth said. “Look, there goes James, Tyler, and the others.”
“We don’t have enough people,” Angel said.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Megan said. “I saw a lot of those cowboy folks out there. Way more than fifty.”
“Let’s get these Jeeps hidden,” Seth said. They parked them toward the trail-head at the back of the property, then raced back up in a crouch, staying in the underbrush as much as possible.
Sid and Yvonne and John and Sarah moved their vehicles to the back also, then came out with their guns and ammo, and hid around the house. Sam was ahead of them, going towards the front of the property where Tyler and James were.
“I hope he doesn’t still have that death-wish,” Sarah said, checking the magazine in her M-16.
“Seriously,” Yvonne said.
“He’ll be fine,” Sid said. They were all in position, waiting. The grounds were peaceful, everybody out of sight.
“Maybe they were wrong,” Sarah whispered.
“Doubt it,” Sid whispered back. “Look.”
A UN van drove into the driveway, heading up to the house, followed by several troop transport trucks. Men jumped out, looking around, surprised that nobody was in sight.
“Crap, if we hide long enough, they might just leave,” Sarah whispered.
“No they won’t,” John said.
A horse whinnied from one side. Several of the Islamists turned, just in time to be hit with the first volley of shots, black powder smoke getting into the breeze as the survivors rushed for cover in a panic. The machine guns on the RV fired, ruining the vehicles in front and cutting down most of the UN peacekeepers in a few seconds.
A stream of trucks raced onto the property, busting through the split-rail fences on either side of the gate.
“My God, how many are there?” Yvonne asked, her eyes in the scope, taking out the drivers of the trucks one by one.
“There’s too many of them,” John said, firing with his M-16.
Trevor burst out of Ji-Ho’s rig with his Winchester, acting like he was on a combat range, taking out enemy fighters one by one as they panicked. Then the cowboys showed their numbers, riding in from both sides of the property at a gallop, guns blazing. There was a commotion at the front of the property, and many more cowboys rode in firing. The enemy took cover behind their trucks as best they could as they were surrounded.
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 2017