Bugout! California Part 73 – Tense Agreement


The horde of Islamists and UN Peacekeepers huddled behind the ruined vehicles, as the cowboys rode in from all directions, Winchesters and Sharps Rifles pointed at them. AK-47s were tossed out.

“Don’t shoot,” yelled a man in a French accent.

“Where’s the rest of you?” Garrett asked. “Lie and we’ll slaughter you.”

“What others?” the man asked, standing up.

“I said don’t lie,” Garrett said, shooting the man in the head. The other enemy fighters hunkered down, trembling.

“Maybe he wasn’t lying,” Sarah whispered to John.

“Oh, he was lying all right,” John said. “I trust Garrett on this.”

“Anybody else going to answer my question?” Garrett shouted.

Several of the cowboys dismounted and gathered up the AK-47s.

“Okay, come out with your hands up,” Garrett barked. The Islamists and remaining UN Peacekeepers slowly got to their feet, hands in the air, and came out, forming a line in front of the ruined vehicles.

“Now, who’s going to be honest?” Garrett asked. “When is the next wave of your people going to arrive?”

An Islamist slowly raised his hand. The person next to him pulled a knife and stabbed him in the back before he could speak. Garrett shot him right between the eyes. The others broke and ran. The cowboys opened up, dropping all of them in seconds.

“Somebody get in behind those busted vehicles and make sure there aren’t more vermin in there,” Garrett said. “The rest of you start dragging these bodies out of sight. Might as well re-set the kill zone.”

“What if they send a larger group?” Yvonne said, standing up next to Sid.

Garrett chuckled. “We’ve only got a third of the people I called for here. There’s another two hundred of us right around the corner.”

A battered old International Harvester drove through the gate, getting all guns trained on it in an instant.

“Hold your fire, that’s Chucky with the .50 cal ammo,” Garrett shouted.

“Where do you want it?” the grizzled old-timer asked from the driver’s seat.

“Bring here!” Ji-Ho shouted from the door of his rig. The old man smiled and drove next to it quickly, then ambled out of the driver’s side door and went around to the back.

“I’ll need some help carrying this stuff,” he said. Trevor rushed out and looked in the back of the wagon, his eyes getting wide.

“Hey, Ji-Ho, there’s more here than we started with,” he shouted.

Seth and Angel rushed over to help move the boxes into the coach as Ji-Ho walked over to Chucky.

“Thank you,” Ji-Ho said. “This make us whole again. Battle wagon ready for service.”

The two men shook hands.

“Battle wagon, eh?” Chucky said. “Well I’ll be damned. Where’s the .50 cal. Those guns sticking out of the front don’t have big enough holes.”

“Front and rear machine guns 7.62,” Ji-Ho said. “Mini-gun on turret comes up through roof in rear of coach. Full 360-degree range.”

“You’ve got a mini-gun? Jumping Jehoshaphat.”

Garrett chuckled as he dismounted and walked over. “Well, what do you think?”

“I think I like you guys,” Ji-Ho said, smiling. “You really have seven hundred men?”

“Yep, and we’re growing every day,” Garrett said. “The people are DONE. We’ve even got folks showing up with smokeless guns now. Had an illegal alien and his family join us the other day. Guy has a blunderbuss. He fills it with rocks and broken glass and wails away. Love that guy. When this is over I’m gonna vouch for him to get legal. We need folks like him here.”

“Yeah, love Juan,” Chucky said. “He’s had enough of the lousy government south of the border. Wants this to be good like it was. He deserves to be here. We ought to give him a better gun, though. I’m afraid that crazy blunderbuss of his is gonna blow up in his face.”

“Hey, he never runs out of ammo…except for the primers and powder, that is.”

Ji-Ho shook his head. “You guys make good movie. Can see now.”

Garrett chuckled. “We’d best cut this short and get back into position.”

“What Jeeps do?” Ji-Ho asked, watching James, Tyler, Zac, Seth, and Angel drive by the ruined enemy vehicles.

“They’re going to tow the wrecks away,” Sam said, walking up. “We need to re-set the kill zone.”

“That’s good thinking,” Chucky said. “I’d better get the Harvester out of here. I think they got her unloaded.”

“Park it in the back,” Garrett said.

He nodded and slinked back, getting behind the wheel and driving behind the motor homes.

“We’re all loaded up with plenty of ammo to spare,” Trevor shouted from the back. “Should I raise the gun?”

“Wait until need,” Ji-Ho said. “Element of surprise.”

Garrett smiled. “Be careful with that thing. I don’t want our men or our horses hit.”

“We be careful,” Ji-Ho said. “Won’t even use unless we’re in trouble. Goes through ammo like crap through goose.”

Garrett laughed as he got back on his horse. “Hope they’re wearing brown pants.”

Ji-Ho and Sam laughed. Then Sam went back to his position and Ji-Ho went back into the battle wagon, shutting the door.

Sam checked his M60 magazine and ammo, sitting next to Sid and Yvonne.

“Hey, we still got claymore mines in the rig?” Sid asked. “Maybe we ought to place a few.”

“Those things have too large a blast range,” Sam said. “We’ll hurt good guys.”

“Oh,” Sid said. “Yeah, probably right.”


Ji-Ho settled on the couch, catching his breath. Kaylee got next to him.

“You don’t look so good, uncle. Everything okay?”

“I got touch of something,” he said, avoiding eye contact. “Don’t worry. I be fine.”

Trevor sat in the driver’s seat, eyes on the sight, scanning the area with the target reticle.

“Trevor, use mini-gun only as last resort,” Ji-Ho said. “I don’t want friends killed.”

“I know, I was thinking the same thing,” Trevor said. “You up to running this thing? If I’m needed, I’ll go back out with the Winchester.”

“Dammit, Trevor, I don’t want to lose you,” Kaylee said.

“You won’t,” Trevor said. “I know what I’m doing. Hell, I’m not as good as Kaitlyn. You see her?”

“Yes, you are,” Ji-Ho said. “You better, but not by much. You perform better than her with museum piece. She have AK-47. Better than lever gun.”

“Don’t encourage him,” Kaylee said.

Ji-Ho chuckled. “Don’t worry, he survive to marry and fill your belly with babies.”

“Uncle!” Kaylee said.

Ji-Ho chuckled, breaking into a cough.

“You sound terrible,” Trevor said. “Sure you’re okay?”

Ji-Ho composed himself. “Yes, I fine. Don’t worry about me. Worry about task at hand.”

“Uh oh,” Trevor said. “Here they come. It’s a larger group than last time. I see two Gaz Tigrs in the front.”

Ji-Ho’s phone dinged. “It Sam, he say use mini-gun on Tigrs.”

“Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking,” Trevor said as he pushed the button. The motors at the rear of the coach started, the gun raising. “They’ve seen it. They just stopped.”

The ready light indicator came on, and Trevor opened fire, hitting both Gaz Tigrs in an instant, blowing one up, causing the other to go up in flames. Then the Cowboys rode out of their hiding spaces and opened fire, hitting the trucks that were rushing through the broken fences again.

“Dammit, there’s a lot of enemy fighters out there,” Trevor said. “Hey, Kaylee, get up here and run the front machine guns, okay?”

She nodded and leapt into the passenger seat, pulling out the tray and getting on the joystick. She opened up on the enemy fighters who were running in, cutting down wave after wave.

“Save mini-gun for more heavy vehicles,” Ji-Ho said.

“I think I ought to go out there,” Trevor said.

“No, stay, I not up to running guns,” Ji-Ho said.

“Yeah, stick around, and stay on that mini-gun,” Kaylee shouted as she let off another volley. “How much ammo we have for the forward machine guns?”

“Lots,” Trevor said.

“There goes Sam, running while firing that M60,” Kaylee shouted. “That guy’s good. Kaitlyn and Seth are out there fighting too, and James, Tyler, and Zac. Wow. The enemy’s starting to panic.”

Bullets hit the back of the rig, the sound rushing through the coach. “We got company coming in the back way,” Trevor said, wheeling the mini-gun to the rear. He opened fire, flooding the area with lead as Kaylee fired the rear machine guns.

“You see how many there are back there?” Kaylee yelled in a panic.

“Over a hundred, I’d guess,” Trevor said. “They’re not very good. I’ve killed a lot of them already.”

“More just came in the front,” Kaylee screamed.

“Keep calm head,” Ji-Ho said. “The other cowboys haven’t arrived yet.”

“Another Gaz Tigr,” Trevor said, spinning the mini-gun around again and firing, the vehicle stopping in an instant, doors opening, men and smoke flowing out. Sam, Sid, and Yvonne dropped all of them before they could get ten feet, and then another vehicle came in, ramming the first from behind, trying to get close enough to the Battle Wagon to do some damage. Trevor hit them with mini-gun fire before they could get close.

“My God, look at all those ground troops,” Kaylee said. “We’re in trouble. This reminds me of Julian.”

“Calm down,” Ji-Ho yelled, picking up an M60. He slid open one of the gun ports and opened fire, stopping a group of twenty men trying to rush into the area from the left side.

“Wow, Kaitlyn is amazing,” Trevor shouted, watching her as she ran, firing her beaded AK-47, hitting almost everybody she aimed at, then leaping behind cover as bullets hit the trees around her. Seth waited until several approached where she was hiding and then fired his M60, surprising them, dropping most of them where they stood, a few rushing away in a panic. Sam was still running from one location to another, firing the M60 like a maniac.

“They keep on coming!” Kaylee shouted, firing the rear machine guns again, taking out a group that was trying to rush in. “They’ve got us surrounded.”

“Keep fighting,” Ji-Ho said, rushing to the other side and using the gun slits, cutting down a group of about twelve Islamists who were rushing in from behind the house. He killed half of them as bullets hit the side of the coach, bouncing off the metal and the plate glass. “Got you, creeps.”

“Another Gaz Tigr coming in the front,” Kaylee shouted.

“On it,” Trevor said, aiming the mini-gun and firing, blowing up the vehicle, pieces of it flying high in the air. “Damn, that thing had ammo in it or something. Big secondary there.”

“Enemy about to crap pants,” Ji-Ho said. “You hear? Hundreds of horse hoofs. Wow.”

The second group of cowboys galloped into the scene, guns blazing, causing panic in the enemy ranks.

“Yes!” Trevor shouted. “Look at that. My God, a few hundred men on horseback are an amazing sight.”

“Keep on target,” Ji-Ho said, firing at the fleeing Islamists and UN Peacekeepers. “Don’t let escape. Kill the ones who run. Watch for more Gaz Tigrs.”

The area was filled with black powder smoke, gunshots going constantly now, sounding like the finale of a huge fireworks show, sulfur smell floating through the air, cowboys starting to cheer, joined by James, Tyler, and the other braves with their war cries. Everyone had their blood up.

“We’re gonna win,” Trevor shouted, watching now, not having any targets to fire on. The gunfire diminished quickly, cowboys riding up to wounded or hiding enemy fighters and finishing them.

“We aren’t taking prisoners, are we?” Kaylee asked as she watched.

“No, and we shouldn’t,” Trevor said.

“I agree,” Ji-Ho said.

“We’ll never be the same,” Kaylee said, watching the carnage continue to unfold. “Shoot, some of the cowboys are using their swords now.”

“Probably out of ammo,” Trevor said, watching as the action died down. Soon it was silent.

“Our people are gathering around,” Trevor said. “Should we go out there?”

“Just wait a while,” Ji-Ho said, plopping back on the couch, setting his M60 on the floor. “In case we get guests. Maybe reload mini-gun.”

“I’ll do that now,” Trevor said, getting up and rushing to the back.

“I’ll reload the front guns,” Kaylee said. “I watched you last time.”


Jules, Tex, Sparky, and Ted sat in the den.

“You sure we have to do this,” Ted asked.

“If Ivan doesn’t know and something bad happens, he’ll come after us,” Tex said. “You know him.”

“I meant what I said about the kid. I won’t allow him to be harmed over this. Period, and I’ll make sure George and Malcolm find out about it too. You know how George will react, especially if he becomes friends with this guy.”

“Yes, he only person Ivan scared of,” Jules said. “That why we don’t have problem. We be fine on this. Trust me.”

“If I see Mr. White and Mr. Black showing up, I’m gonna take them out,” Ted said. “Unless I know ahead of time, and there’s a good reason for them to be close to us.”

“Understand,” Jules said. He pulled his phone out and hit Ivan’s contact, then set it on the table next to the PC. It rang once.

“Jules, how are you doing?” Ivan asked. “Didn’t expect to hear from you so quickly. Nothing’s wrong, I hope.”

“Hi, Ivan,” Jules said. “Ted, Sparky, and Tex in room. Issue came up. We must discuss.”

“We in trouble?”

“No, boss,” Jules said, “but we want cards on table. Have new information about team member.”

There was a pause on the line. “None of these folks are indispensable.”

“Listen carefully to us,” Ted said. “This is important.”

“Okay,” Ivan said. “Of course, go ahead.”

“One of our team members is the son of General Hogan’s most important asset,” Ted said.

There was silence on the line for a moment.

“You there, boss?” Jules asked.

“Yes, I’m here,” Ivan said. “Which one? How do you know?”

“He saw an article about the resistance in Utah,” Ted said. “His parent’s RV was in the picture.”

“He sure about that?” Ivan asked.

“He could see his mother’s face through the windshield,” Ted said. “Just barely, but you can make it out.”

“What site?” Ivan asked.

The Constant Watcher,” Ted said.

Ivan chuckled. “That site puts out a lot of bogus information.”

“And sometimes they get things right, partner,” Tex said. “This is legit. Trust me.”

“I concur,” Sparky said.

“Okay, what do you want to do? Get rid of him so he can’t talk if he’s captured?”

“That’s exactly what we want to prevent you from doing,” Ted said.

“It’s the safest path,” Ivan said. “You know that. Think big picture.”

“This is a good kid,” Ted said. “He worked for me before this garbage started. I won’t allow you to kill him.”

“You watching him right now?” Ivan asked.

“He out with others,” Jules said. “I not lock up. We protect him. Just want you to be aware.”

Ivan was quiet for a moment again, his breath coming over the line.

“You tell General Hogan yet?” Ivan asked.

“Boss, we not go around you in that manner,” Jules said. “This us. You know me.”

“I can’t commit,” Ivan said. “I need to talk to some people.”

“There won’t be any more discussion,” Ted said. “We’re telling you about this as a heads-up only.”


“Yes,” Sparky said. “This kid is valuable in his own right, and besides that, why would we kill the child of a patriot like we’re talking about?”

“To keep the patriot from getting killed and causing the war to be lost,” Ivan said. “You have thought about that, correct?”

“Of course,” Jules said. “That why we call. To make case.”

“I’m more than making a case,” Ted said, his face starting to turn red.

“Calm down, Ted,” Tex said.

“No,” Ted said. “I got coerced into fighting with you guys. I’m glad I did, but I know how you operate. I will not allow you to harm this kid, Ivan.”

“He’s a man, not a kid,” Ivan said.

“Yes, I know that,” Ted said. “Figure of speech.”

“How can you stop me if my advisers suggest we neutralize him.”

“You mean murder him, partner,” Tex said. “Don’t mince words. We deserve more respect than that.”

“This isn’t personal,” Ivan said.

“Okay, well here’s how I’m gonna stop you,” Ted said. “I’ve got a message set up, and it’ll get sent out if anything happens to us or to the kid.”

“Message? To whom? The enemy?”

“No, Ivan,” Ted said. “It’s going to George and Malcolm. You know what George will do if you go down this road, and Malcolm will help him. Malcolm is a mad dog, you know, and George is worse. Those two will find you and gut you. Oh, and I’ll make sure General Hogan knows about it too.”

“Settle down, partner,” Tex said. “I agree with your position, but let’s not make an enemy out of our partner. He’s not going to do this. Are you, Ivan?”

“Dammit,” Ivan said. “No, I won’t. I’ll give you my word. One thing, though. If he gets captured, you guys must either rescue him or kill him. Understand?”

“I can live with that,” Ted said. “What do you think, guys?”

“I agree,” Jules said.

“Me too,” Sparky said.

“And I,” Tex said. “Do we have an understanding?”

“Yes,” Ivan said. “I wish you guys would give me a little more credit.”

“No offense,” Ted said. “Any news for us?”

“Yeah,” Ivan said. “I was about to call you guys.”

“Good, go ahead, boss,” Jules said, face still red, sweat beaded on his brow.

“Ji-Ho linked up with a very strong outfit. They just took on almost two hundred enemy fighters and won.”

“Really?” Ted asked. “That’s great news.”

“Yes, it is,” Ivan said.

“We still need to help him?” Tex asked.

“No, we’ll get somebody else to take care of delivery of the new battle wagons,” Ivan said.

“Who help him?” Jules asked.

“A crazy bunch of black-powder enthusiasts on horseback,” Ivan said.

Tex chuckled. “Really, now? I used to be into that.”

“Sounds like a joke,” Sparky said.

“I did a little research on this group,” Ivan said. “They’re seven hundred strong and growing in that area. I think we can convince them to strike out to the north after they’ve crushed the remaining enemy fighters in eastern San Diego County and their end of Imperial County.”

“Well, then I hope that works out,” Sparky said. “When are the new battle wagons ready?”

“We accelerated a little,” Ivan said. “Three more days. I’m going to call Ji-Ho about it as soon as we’re done here.”

“Anybody have anything else?” Tex asked.

“I do,” Ted said. “Sorry I got so testy.”

“No problem, old friend,” Ivan said. “Things will work out fine. Good luck to you all.”

Ivan hung up.

Jules took a deep breath, then looked at Ted and shook his head. “You have guts, my friend.”

“Think we convinced him?” Sparky asked.

“Until somebody else talks him into a different path,” Ted said. “Now we got to watch both the enemy and our boss.”

To be continued…


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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


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