Bugout! California Part 102 – Heart

Shelly and Jules went back to their rig after shutting down the meeting.

“I’m a little upset with you,” Shelly said when they got inside.

“I know, I saw look,” Jules said. “That not bad as came out. Ivan knew I would act. He didn’t have to tell.”

Shelly sat down on the couch. “We’re really on our own for the rescues, though, aren’t we?”

“We run operations on own,” Jules said. “With equipment provided by Ivan. So yes and no.”

“Geez,” Shelly said.

“Still mad?”

Shelly sighed. “No, I get it. It bothered me a little that you made that point to the others before you made it to me.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re mine. I’m first. That’s why.” Shelly stood next to him and hugged him. “Listen to me. Sorry. That sounded so childish.”

“No, not,” Jules said. “I keep in mind, be more careful. You right. You number one. Always.”

“Good, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear,” Shelly said, looking up at him. They kissed, and then her phone dinged. “Wonder who that is?”

“Check,” Jules said, letting her out of his arms. She sat back on the couch and picked up her phone.

“It’s the other women,” Shelly said.

“Which?”

“All of them,” Shelly said. “They want to meet. You mind if I go?”

“Of course not,” Jules said. “You not need permission. You are adult, no?”

“Thanks,” she said, getting up.

“Where?” Jules asked.

“House.”

“Take pistol,” Jules said.

“Why? You always have yours? I thought it was safe here.”

“Yes, I always have gun either on me or nearby,” Jules said. “I plant few here and there.”

“You have one in the house?” she asked.

“High cupboard, above fridge,” Jules said. “You need ladder, so take own, okay?”

“Okay,” Shelly said. She went into the back, grabbed her 9 mm auto, and came back out, slipping it into the back waistband of her pants. “There.”

“Good. Have fun with friends. I see later.”

“I don’t think this is a social visit,” Shelly said. “Be back soon.”

She left the coach, walking into the dusk. Other women were getting out of their coaches.

“Hey, kiddo,” Karen said, joining her. “Who called this meeting?”

“Well, the broadcast text came from Morgan,” Shelly said. “Haven’t heard anything else.”

They climbed the steps onto the porch and went into the living room of the house.

“Would you like coffee?” the maid asked as the women came in.

“I want to be able to sleep tonight,” Morgan told her, “but I’ll ask when everybody shows up.”

The rest of the women arrived and looked for places to sit, the maid bringing in some folding chairs.

Morgan got up in front of the room. “Thanks for coming. The maid offered to make coffee. Anybody want some?”

A couple hands went up.

“I’ll use the small pot,” the maid said, hurrying into the kitchen.

“What’s up?” Shelly asked.

Morgan hesitated for a moment, waiting for the chatter to die down. When it was quiet, she stood up.

“Thanks for coming,” Morgan said. “I had a thought, and wanted to discuss it with you all. It came to me after the meeting this afternoon.”

“We’re all ears, sister,” Tisha said.

“Yeah,” Katie said. “What’s on your mind?”

Morgan’s expression became serious. “The conversation about using the rescues as a recruiting tool. Remember that?”

“My boyfriend kinda stepped in it,” Katie said. “Sorry.”

“I wasn’t offended by that,” Dana said.

“Me neither,” Allison said. “I thought it was a good idea, actually.”

“So did I,” Morgan said, “but we can’t make that choice for others. I have a suggestion. After we complete the first rescue mission, let’s get on the air with Ivan and tell our story.”

The room exploded in murmurs. Haley stood. “I think that’s spot-on. I’ll go along with that.”

“You think Ivan will go along with it?” Karen asked, glancing at Shelly. “Or Jules?”

“Jules will go along with it,” Shelly said. “I can guarantee you that.”

“But how about Ivan?” Dana asked.

“I don’t know,” Shelly said. “I’m sure I can get Jules to talk to him about it.”

“Did you lower the boom on him after the meeting?” Dana asked.

Shelly chuckled. “No, but I did tell him that I wanted to know about stuff like that before he went public with the whole group. If it pertains to him, that is.”

“Why?” Dana asked.

“They’re together,” Karen said.

“Oh,” Dana said. “I thought that was coming. Good for you.”

“Does anybody here have a problem with this idea?” Morgan asked.

“Some of our men might not like it,” Brianna said.

“It’s not their choice, honey,” Tisha said. “Besides, from what I can see, you’ve got Stacey wrapped around your pinky. He probably won’t object.”

Brianna smiled. “He’s stronger than he appears, but you’re right. I can convince him. He’ll be worried about me, though.”

“Let’s be honest, all of our men will be a little worried about this,” Katie said. “I know I can convince mine. Do any of you really think you can’t do the same?”

“I want to do it,” Dana said. “It won’t be easy, but we need to do this. There’s still people who support the UN in Northern California. They need to know what the UN is doing.”

“Exactly,” Morgan said. “Do we have an agreement? Does anybody object?”

“We might want to wait until after we do the final rescue,” Shelly said.

“Why?” Morgan asked.

Dana stood up. “I think I know why. The enemy might decide to kill the women at the other two locations before we can rescue them.”

“That might happen anyway, you know,” Karen said. “At the very least, we’ll go up against a more prepared facility for the second and third rescues.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Shelly said. “Didn’t think about that. We really need to do all three at the same time.”

“We don’t have enough people for that, do we?” Brianna asked.

“No, we don’t,” Morgan said. “These missions are going to be dangerous enough as it is. Some of us might get killed.”

“We need to recruit help,” Allison said. “Or at least go to Ivan and talk to him. He might be willing to help, if he knows we’ll go on the air with him and talk about it.”

“You might be right about that,” Shelly said. “Want me to call Jules over, and have him get Ivan on the phone?”

“When?” Morgan asked.

“Now,” Shelly said.

“No time like the present,” Dana said. “I say we do it, but should we also call our men over? This affects them too, you know.”

“It’s still our choice,” Tisha said.

“I agree,” Dana said, “but let’s get real. These men are in love with you. How would you feel if they launched into something like this without talking to us about it?”

“You’re in the same boat, dearie,” Tisha said.

“Kinda sorta, I guess,” Dana said, “but that’s not the issue here. Do you guys agree with me or not?”

“Maybe we should do it tomorrow morning instead of now,” Katie said.

“Anybody want to wait until tomorrow?” Morgan asked.

There was silence in the room.

“I’ll call Jules,” Shelly said.

“Yeah, I’m calling Cody,” Allison said.

The rest of the women pulled their phones out and called or sent texts.

Morgan stood back up after a couple minutes. “Any of them not coming?”

Nobody said anything, and then the men started to filter in, many of them looking nervous as they took seats next to their women.

“What going on?” Jules whispered, sitting next to Shelly.

“Something that will make you proud, I hope,” Shelly said. “Think you can get Ivan on a call with us tonight?”

“Ivan?”

“Yes,” Shelly whispered.

“Probably. What about?”

“Morgan is doing a good job of explaining it. I’ll let her talk.”

Morgan stood back up, Robbie sitting next to where she was standing. “Thanks so much for coming. I know it’s already been a long day for many of you.”

“No problem, little lady,” Tex said. Karen snaked her arm around his shoulders, looking at him with pride.

“What’s this about?” Cody asked.

“It’s about the conversation we had in the meeting today about the rescue missions,” Morgan said. “Remember Justin’s comments?”

“Oh, crap,” Justin said. “I’m sorry.”

“Stop,” Morgan said. “I’m glad you said it. We have a proposal. Well, a couple of proposals.”

“Go on,” Jules said. “We listen.”

“After we do the rescues, we want to go on live TV with Ivan and tell the people what the UN has done to us,” Morgan said.

There was a hush over the room for a moment.

“Won’t that be really hard on you?” Justin asked.

“Yes,” Morgan said. “We don’t care. There are still people up here who believe the UN is helping them. They need to know what’s really going on. It will help us win the war.”

“But you’ll live with the public knowledge of this for the rest of your lives,” Stacey said, looking at Brianna. “Sure you’re okay with that?”

Brianna looked at him. “I’ll need lots of support from you, honey, but you’re already giving me that.”

“What was second thing?” Jules asked.

“Can I handle this one?” Shelly asked.

Morgan nodded, and the group watched as Shelly walked to the front.

“Okay, we’ve been told that there are three locations where women are being held,” Shelly said. “During our conversation tonight, we realized that once we do the first rescue, the women in the other two locations will be doomed.”

“Doomed?” Justin asked.

“Yes,” Shelly said. “Think about it. They might just kill them as soon as they find out about the first rescue, or they might fortify their positions so much that we can’t mount a rescue without losing our team.”

“Or they might move them to a different location,” Sparky said, “so we can’t find them.”

“Yes, that’s another possibility,” Shelly said. “We want to hit all three locations at once. We think that’s the only way.”

“What if there are more than three locations?” Robbie asked.

“We can only react to what we know about, partner,” Tex said.

“Our forces not large enough to pull three at same time,” Jules said. “You know this.”

“We want to ask Ivan for help,” Shelly said. “What do you think?”

Jules got up and walked to the front, joining Shelly and Morgan. There were tears running down his cheeks.

“You okay?” Shelly asked, looking at him. He bent down and kissed her forehead, and then turned to the crowd.

“I’ve never been more proud than today,” he said. “Such bravery. Such resolve. I’m stunned.”

The other men applauded, the women looking around the room.

“Then you’ll talk to Ivan?” Morgan asked.

“We all talk to Ivan. We get laptop set up with camera and do video conference. I set up now. Anybody object?”

“You sure he’s available tonight?” Tex asked. “You know how he is sometimes.”

“He’ll talk to us,” Sparky said.

“Yeah, I agree,” Ted said. “This can win the war in California for him. He’ll understand that right away, but he’ll ask hard questions, so we’ll need to be sharp. That man is wicked smart.”

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “Come on up and help me get conference set up. I shoot him text so he be ready.”

“Sounds good, partner,” Tex said, coming up.

Shelly put her arms around Jules, looking up at him. “I love you so,” she whispered.

***

Zac, James, Ryan, and Tyler drove up in the Jeep, followed by Kenny and Bradley driving a battered pick-up truck, the back holding several deer. They all looked worried.

Sid saw them and rushed over. “Wow, looks like we’ll be eating well.”

“Meat, anyway,” Tyler said, getting out of the Jeep with the others. “What happened? We heard gunfire in the distance. Couldn’t tell if it was coming from here or not.

“Did Silver Wolf make it back here yet?” James asked.

Sid laughed. “Does he really make you call him that?”

James smiled. “No, but I like to show respect. His warriors mostly call him that.”

“I’m calling him Ed, but I’m not one of his warriors,” Sid said. “He’s been here and left again. He didn’t call you and tell you what happened?”

“No,” Tyler said, looking more worried.

“We got attacked by two waves of enemy fighters,” Sid said.

“You obviously beat them,” Zac said, eyes darting around.

“Yeah, we beat them, but they accomplished their objective,” Sid said, face looking grim.

“Oh no, who’d they kill?” Tyler asked.

“The prisoner,” Sid said, “and two of Garrett’s men who were guarding him.”

“Crap,” James said.

“Did the assassin get away?” Tyler asked.

“Nope, Anna shot him,” Sid said.

“Nobody else got hurt?” Zac asked.

“No,” Sid said. “We killed thirty-four enemy scumbags.”

“So where’s Ed, then?” Tyler asked.

“He went looking for a person named Black Crow.”

Tyler glanced at the other warriors, his brow furrowed. “What did he do now?”

“We think he planted the prisoner’s RFID chip in his room. The assassin knew exactly where to go. He ignored the chips in the shed with the bodies from the earlier attack.”

“I knew it, man,” James said.

“Yeah, we should have banished that jerk weed,” Kenny said. “He probably told the enemy about the ghost town.”

“That’s what some others have said,” Sid said.

“Somebody see him plant the chip?” Tyler asked.

“No, but Anna told Ed that he was helping with the bodies. He had access.”

“Dammit,” Zac said. “If Silver Wolf finds him alone, he’s liable to get killed.”

“You’re right,” Tyler said. He hit Ed’s contact and put the phone to his ear, brow furrowed, waiting through the rings. He ended the call after almost a minute. “This is bad.”

“He probably can’t hear you if he’s in that damn hovercraft of his,” James said. “You know how noisy it is. Leave him a message to call back.”

“He’ll know when he sees the call,” Tyler said. “This scares the crap out of me.”

“Yeah, me too,” Ryan said. “I think we’d better get ready to go after him.”

The tribal women came over to look at the deer, some of them stopping to greet their husbands.

“Tyler,” Mia said. “I’m so glad you’re back. You hear what happened?”

“Yeah, I heard,” Tyler said. “I’m worried sick about Ed.”

“Why, where is he?”

“Trying to find Black Crow,” he said.

“By himself?” she asked, looking scared.

“Yeah, unless he took somebody along on the way out. Anybody missing?”

“Not that I can think of, but I’ve been with the kids all day,” Mia said. “Haven’t wanted to be away from them for more than a few minutes after what happened earlier.”

“We’ve got the apps to warn us now, at least,” Tyler said.

“I know,” she said. “I’d better get to it. Nice looking deer.”

“There’s plenty out there,” Tyler said. “It’s poaching, of course, but the state isn’t in a position to enforce anything.”

Mia nodded and walked to the other women, who were chatting about where and how they were going to do their work.

***

Trevor was sitting on the coach in his rig, messing with the RFID apps. Kaylee came out of the bedroom.

“What are you doing? You’ve been messing with that thing for more than an hour.”

“I know, I’ve got to plug in my phone pretty soon. These apps suck a lot of juice.”

“So set it aside and tend to me,” Kaylee said.

“Don’t tempt me,” Trevor said, flashing her a smile.

“You aren’t done yet, are you? What are you looking for?”

“Ed hasn’t come back yet. Heard about it from Tyler a couple hours ago. Thought I’d keep watch.”

“What are you looking for?” Kaylee asked, sitting next to him.

“Small groups of icons showing up within about twenty miles of us in all directions.”

“Oh,” Kaylee said. “Evidence that Ed’s been snatched.”

“Exactly.”

“Dammit,” she said. “I’ll go get my phone. It’s got a full charge. Plug yours in.”

Trevor nodded, smiling at her. “Thanks, honey.” He got up and took his phone to the kitchen counter, plugging it into the charging cord. Kaylee was back in a few seconds, the app already loading up.

“Will you teach me more about the apps?” Kaylee asked. “I’ve barely touched them so far.”

“Sure.” Trevor took her phone and started looking again, taking the time to explain how it worked to her in greater detail. They worked together for twenty minutes.

“Hey, look,” Kaylee said, pointing to the lower left-hand corner of the screen.”

“There it is,” he said, using his fingers to zoom in. “Four. Out in the middle of nowhere.”

“Text the others,” Kaylee said.

“Yeah, I think you’re right,” he said.

“What’s that lake?”

“Barrett Lake,” Trevor said as he sent the text. “I told them to come over here.”

“Wasn’t Barrett lake the spot where the trail started?” Kaylee asked. “The trail that the tribe came on?”

“I think so,” Trevor said.

There was a knock on the door. Kaylee got up and opened it. Sam, Tyler, James, and Sid came in.

“Still showing?” Sam asked.

“Yeah,” Trevor said. He showed the screen to the others.

“Ed couldn’t have gotten that far this fast, even with the hovercraft,” Tyler said. “He’d run out of gas, for one thing.”

“Where’d they come from?” Sam asked.

“Don’t know,” Trevor said. “I was only going out about twenty miles. I went further in this direction kinda by accident.”

“Yeah, that’s more like fifty miles away,” James said.

“What if this Black Crow person is holding Ed out there, and this is the enemy team coming to get them?” Kaylee asked.

“Crap,” James said. “This isn’t good.”

“No, it’s not,” Sam said. “Is there a faster way for us to get into this area than the way we went in to meet the tribe?”

“Yeah, you could use the highways and come down from Barrett lake,” Tyler said. “You’d be risking a lot of exposure, though.”

“We have the apps now,” Sam said. “They can’t sneak up on us.”

“Expand the view and look for other clumps of icons,” James said, “in the directions we know they could be coming from. North, to the west and the east. They must have a base someplace up there.”

Trevor nodded and started zooming out more. “Oh, boy, look at this. Descanso. Oh, and look at Julian. Guess some of them stuck around after they kicked us out.”

“We need to talk to Garrett’s group and the rest of our folks,” Sid said.

“Yep, you’re right,” Tyler said. “I’ll send the texts and get a meeting set up.”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

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Bugout! California Part 101 – Leftover Coffee

Tex and Karen were sitting in the dinette of their rig.

“The meeting is coming up fast,” Karen said.

“You don’t look like you want to go.”

She smiled, reaching across the table to take his hand. “I’d rather just hole up with you in here for a while.”

Tex smiled. “When you decide, you decide, don’t you, little lady?”

“Having second thoughts?”

“Yeah, right,” he said. “I haven’t been this happy in years.”

“Keep talking like that and we’ll miss the meeting,” she said.

“Oh, it won’t last that long,” Tex said.

“Okay, but clear sometime afterwards,” Karen said, getting out of the dinette.

“What are you doing?” Tex asked.

“I need to wash my hair,” she said. “It’s a mess.”

“Oh,” Tex said. “Fine. Think I’ll go get some air.”

“Okay, sweetie,” she said.

Tex got up and left the coach, walking along the row of other coaches. Ted was outside of his, having a smoke.

“What’s up, partner? I thought you quit putting nails in the coffin.”

Ted glanced over at him, then went back to his forward stare. “Don’t bug me about it, okay? I’m not starting again.”

“Sorry,” Tex said. “You want to talk, or should I continue on?”

Ted sighed, then dropped the butt and ground it into the dirt. “I could use a walk, I guess.”

The two men walked towards the house.

“What’s bothering you?” Tex asked. “The rescue mission?”

He chuckled. “No, I literally can’t wait to do that one. Nothing I hate more than the UN. Hope we abolish the whole damn thing after this war gets over.”

“That’ll depend on who wins,” Tex said.

“You think we’re in danger of losing?”

“You been studying the apps like Jules suggested, partner?”

“No,” Ted said, shooting him a sheepish grin. “I’m coming down with what the rest of the group has.”

Tex looked at him blankly. Ted returned it and shook his head.

“Oh,” Tex said. “She falling for you?”

“No,” Ted said. “Haley is still keeping me at arm’s length. It’s me that’s having the problem.”

“I know how that feels.”

“Oh, please, you knew Karen was going to fall for you.”

Tex chuckled. “No, I didn’t, but I wanted it so badly that I kept at her.”

Ted smiled. “Well, that’s fair, I guess. Still going well?”

“If we could just disappear somewhere and make babies, I’d die a happy man,” Tex said.

“Baloney. You’d get bored.”

“I don’t think so, but who knows,” Tex said. “When did you know?”

“Know what?”

Tex laughed. “Really?”

“All right,” Ted said. “When I told her about the rescue mission. I was afraid about her reaction. I wanted so badly to protect her from it, but I knew it would be the end of our chances if I didn’t tell her.”

“I don’t get it,” Tex said.

“Do I have to spell it out for you?”

“Yeah, maybe,” Tex said.

Ted stopped walking, and looked down at the ground.

“Hey, partner, you don’t have to say anything. I’ll leave you alone.”

“Funny how these women can turn us into mush,” Ted said. He looked over at Tex. “I realized that keeping her close was very important to me. In fact, I realized that what she thinks of things is more important to me than anything. Hit me like a ton of bricks.”

“That can happen without romantic attraction, you know.”

“Oh, I’ve got plenty of romantic attraction,” Ted said. “I’ve been pushing it back as hard as I can. It’s out there now.”

“Whoa,” Tex said. “What happened?”

Ted was silent for a moment.

“Forget it,” Tex said. “Let’s go see if they have any coffee left.”

“No, I’ve started this. You can keep your mouth shut, right?”

“How long have you known me again?” Tex asked.

“All right, sorry,” Ted said. “When I told her about the rescue missions, she had a bad reaction.”

“What kind of reaction?”

“She started to tremble and cry. I hugged her. It was the first time we’d touched like that. She held onto me for dear life.” He paused again.

“Go on,” Tex said.

“Let’s get the coffee first, if they have some,” he said. “I could use it. Could use a belt in it too.”

“I’ve got some whiskey in my rig, but Karen’s in there.”

“There’s some in the kitchen,” Ted said. They went into the house. The maid was there, smiling as they walked up.

“Looking for a snack?” she asked.

“Coffee, if there’s some left,” Tex said.

“Sure, there’s some left,” she said. “Help yourself.”

The two men walked into the kitchen, grabbing Styrofoam cups and drawing coffee out of the big canister pot.

“Smell’s a little burned,” Tex said.

“It’ll do,” Ted said, reaching up to open one of the high cabinets. He took out a bottle of Jim Beam. “You want some?”

“A little,” Tex said. “We’ve got that meeting coming up.”

“Yeah,” Ted said as he poured a small amount into Tex’s cup. He poured a larger amount into his, then capped the bottle and put it away.

Tex had a sip. “It’s good, partner.”

Ted nodded and took a sip, then another. “Good, that’s better.” They walked outside.

“See you later,” the maid said as they left.

Tex waved at her as they walked down the steps. “You ready to finish? I’ve got to get back to Karen in a few minutes. Only said I was stepping out for some air.”

“Okay,” Ted said. “There isn’t much more to tell. We hugged until she settled down, then broke it, looking at each other. She thanked me and was about to back away when I kissed her.”

“On the mouth?”

“First on the forehead, then on the mouth,” Ted said.

“How did she react?”

“She bolted,” Ted said. “I called for her to stop, but she ran out of the coach.”

“Know where she is?”

“Around,” Ted said. “I think she’ll be back. I shouldn’t have hit her with that. She was dealing with the rescue mission. I dumped more on top of it. I feel like a jerk.”

Tex chuckled. “You’re not a jerk, and I’m sure she knows it. You been sending signals to her?”

“I don’t think so,” Ted said. “Shoot, I don’t know. Maybe. We still interact like friends.”

“You haven’t tried to change that yet, have you?”

“Nope,” Ted said. “It’s like being attracted to your best friend’s wife. I looked at her as off-limits, and was doing a good job of controlling myself.”

“Until just now,” Tex said. “Don’t worry about it. She’ll settle down, and then figure out what she wants. May be just friends, but she hangs around with you most of the time, from what I’ve seen.”

“There aren’t other un-attached women around for her to hang with.”

“That’s true,” Tex said. “You need to think this through. Don’t rush yourself or her.”

Ted chuckled. “You sound like Dr. Phil.”

“Maybe. Just common sense. Let her take the next step.”

“Okay,” Ted said.

“I’ve got to get back, partner. See you at the meeting.”

“Thanks, Tex,” he said, watching as he walked away.

“You were gone for a while,” Karen said. Tex sighed and sat on the couch.

“Ended up chatting with Ted. Sorry. Want a sip of coffee?”

“Sure,” she said, taking the cup from him and sipping. Her eyes opened wider. “Is that whiskey I taste?”

Tex chuckled. “Oh, yeah, forgot. Ted wanted some. Put a little in mine too.”

“It tastes kinda good,” Karen said as she handed the cup back to him. “Ted okay?”

“He’s nervous,” Tex said. “Can’t really talk about it.”

“Oh,” Karen said. “Haley.”

“I didn’t say that,” Tex said.

Karen laughed. “You didn’t have to. Look at us. We’re like an old married couple.”

“No, more like a young married couple,” Tex said, watching as she sat next to him.

“Yeah, maybe we are,” she said, looking into his eyes.

“You have something to say? You look serious all of a sudden.”

“No, it’s okay,” she said. “I’m happy. That’s all.”

“You want to be married,” Tex said.

“I didn’t say that,” Karen said. “We’ve only just started the dating phase, remember?”

Tex kissed her, Karen returning it with more passion than he expected. “Wow, little lady. Wish we had more time before the meeting.”

“Me too,” she said. “Think Ted is going to be okay?”

“Not talking about that, remember? I promised.”

She looked into his eyes again. Tex had the urge to kiss her, and started moving towards her. “No!” she said quickly.

“Sorry,” Tex said.

She giggled. “If we do that again we really will miss the meeting. You can have me when we get back here.” She tried to read his eyes, petting his cheek. “There’s that look again.”

“What look?”

“Maybe we should stop talking. It’s becoming worse than the kiss was.”

Tex leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, hands holding his chin.

“Thinking?” she asked, leaning forward so she could see his face.

“Yeah,” he said.

“We need to talk, don’t we?” Karen asked, brow furrowed. “Are we going too fast for you? Are you getting nervous?”

Tex looked at her. “No, that’s not it, at least not for me.”

“Then what?”

“I’m serious about you,” Tex said.

“I know that,” Karen said. “I got that message before we broke through with each other.”

He looked back at her silently, her face turning red, her eyes dilating. “Oh.”

“What?” Tex asked, looking down. She put her hand under his chin and turned his face back towards her.

“If you thought I’d go for it, you’d take me somewhere and marry me right now, wouldn’t you?”

Tex stared silently at her, the look of reverence back on his face.

“Never mind,” she said. “That look said it all. I will, by the way.” She stood up. “We’d better get to the meeting.”

Tex looked at her, shocked and speechless. She shot him a smile and reached out her hand to help him off the couch. They left the coach, heading for the patio near the house.

***

Ted wandered the grounds, looking for Haley, wondering if he should be. The conversation with Tex made things even harder, and he regretted saying anything. Everything was going wrong. He felt despondent, like he did when he left his restaurant behind. His life was out of control. He was riding it along, afraid of where it was taking him, just wanting to get off. His phone dinged at him. Broadcast message. Meeting starts in five minutes.

“Dammit,” he said, hitting Haley’s contact. He typed out a text and sent it.

Haley, sorry. I got carried away. Can we just go back to the way it was? I’ll behave. I promise.

He slipped the phone back into his pocket and walked quickly towards the meeting, dropping his half-finished coffee into the trash on the way. People were already showing up. Jules and Shelly were under the covered part of the patio, the flat screen TV moved out onto a table next to them. He saw Sparky there with Dana, and most of the younger people were already seated towards the front. He avoided them, finding a place near the back. Robbie turned and nodded to him from the front. Tex and Karen walked in slowly, hand in hand, Tex shooting him a glance as they sat down.

“Hello,” Jules said from the front. Thanks for coming. Anybody not here? Ted, where Haley?”

“She’ll be along,” Ted said. “Go ahead. I’ll brief her on whatever she misses.”

“Good,” Jules said. “Anybody else not here?”

“Sorry we’re late,” Gil said, rushing in with Tisha.

“Yeah, sorry,” Tisha said. They sat up near Robbie and Morgan. Stacey turned, seeing Ted by himself, his brow furrowed. Ted nodded and smiled, trying to keep him from getting concerned. Brianna snuggled closer to him, and whispered something in his ear. They both faced forward.

“Okay, I go,” Jules said. “First, we talk mission to destroy Mertins Electronics.” He nodded to Shelly, who sat in front of a laptop on a small table. She used her mouse to share a picture. It was a satellite view of the electronics factory complex.

“We don’t go in here. We get near and blow up, with battle wagon guns and mortars,” Jules said. “Team from Oakland join.”

“Do they have battle wagons too?” Tex asked.

“No, we break open location. They go in with five thousand fighters. More like infantry.”

“Citizen fighters,” Robbie said. “Good.”

“This looks like it could turn into a trap for our vehicles pretty easily,” Justin said.

“Yes, but we have new advantage. Some already know about. Now we show rest of you.” He nodded to Shelly, who changed the screen, picking up her cell phone. An image of it went to the screen.

“What’s that?” Gil asked.

“General Hogan’s technical lead finish prototype apps that show enemy RFID chips. Shelly, show San Jose.”

She nodded, moving the map on her screen to that area. Large numbers of icons showed up.

“This enemy concentration in San Jose. We can see real time with apps.”

“Who has these now?” Justin asked.

“Leadership team for now. Restricted. Eventually all have.”

“Why is it restricted?” Justin asked.

“Final version show name, rank, and country of origin data. All ranks of enemy have RFID chips with this information.”

“We need to keep them in the dark on our capabilities,” Tex said. “Until we can see all of them by name.”

“Oh, I get it,” Justin said. “That will keep government infiltrators from escaping.”

“You got, young man,” Jules said. “Exactly right. These apps keep situation from becoming ambush. We see. We’ll be ready.”

“So, we break open this facility and let the citizen infantry finish the job, then,” Katie said. “That sounds less dangerous than some of our other battles.”

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “Ivan take to airwaves as it’s going, show video., All channels, like in southern California.”

“Is this what we’ll be doing for the rest of the war?” Tisha asked.

“No, move to next part of meeting now,” Jules said.

“Wait, when are we doing this?” Justin asked.

“Exact timing come from Ivan within hours. Probably within next three days.”

“Okay, thanks,” Justin said. “Sorry.”

“No sorry, ask questions always,” Jules said. “Very important. Thank you for doing.”

Justin nodded, smiling.

“Okay, next part. This dangerous part. Ivan identify three locations like Torrance Police Station.”

“Oh, God,” Tisha said.

“Son of a bitch,” Cody said. “We’re going to mount rescues, I hope.”

“Yes, do, but like I say, dangerous. Everybody involved needs to understand, make choice, volunteer. Understand? I know emotions run high on this. Too much emotion result in dead team members.”

The room burst into murmurs.

“Count me in,” Tisha said, tears streaming down her cheeks. “It’s the least I can do.”

“Me too,” Katie said.

“Don’t decide yet. We lay out what we know now, and you decide later. It won’t happen until after assault on Mertins Electronics.”

Ted felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned, Haley’s beautiful face staring back at him, eyes red from crying. She sat next to him. He looked at her, but she nodded towards the stage.

“We need to listen to this,” she whispered, avoiding eye contact with him. He shut up and watched. The discussion went into each location, and the beginnings of a strategy for handling each. Jules highlighted the dangerous parts, while Shelly showed long-range app visuals of each of the areas. The crowd sat mesmerized. Then Jules opened it up for questions.

Cody stood up. “One thing is bothering me about this.”

“Go ahead,” Jules said.

“The rescues aren’t strategic. I thought the focus was on beating the enemy as quickly as we can. In the first rescue, I remember there was some doubt as to if Ivan would agree to the risk.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Justin said. “This could be valuable as a recruiting tool.”

There was a collective groan from the crowd, Justin looking like he wanted to take it back right away.

“No,” Jules said. “We not use Torrance rescue, and neither use these rescues. We won’t expose victims. If they want, they do themselves. Not us.”

“Then why?” Justin asked. Robbie shot him a glance, which he ignored.

“I push issue, when find out from Ivan,” Jules said. “My fault. That’s why voluntary. This not strategic war, this rescue only.”

“But Ivan’s okay with it, right?” Karen asked.

“He’d rather we didn’t, but he not forbid. Hell to pay for me if we lose people and hurt mission.”

“You didn’t tell me that,” Shelly whispered. He glanced her way, then back at the crowd.

“Well, I’m all in,” Ted said from the back. “It’s the right thing to do. It’s the only thing to do.”

“I agree,” Tex said.

“Me too,” Sparky said.

Others around the room nodded or said yes in agreement.

“Take time to decide,” Jules said. “Relax and enjoy during time we wait for Mertins operation. Any other question?”

Ted watched the crowd as they sat silently, nobody asking anything. He glanced over at Haley. “Shelly’s going to read Jules the riot act when this is over.”

“Why?” Haley asked.

“They’re together, and he just told her he’ll be in trouble if this doesn’t work out.”

“They’re together?” Haley asked. “How’d I miss that?”

“Just happened, and there’s been so many other things.”

The crowd started to get up and leave the patio, most heading back to their rigs. Ted got up.

“Wait a minute,” Haley said. “We need to talk. You know that, right?”

He sat back down and looked at her. “Okay.”

“You think I’m angry at you,” Haley said, seeing the fear in his eyes.

“Not angry, exactly,” Ted said. “That would be easier.”

“How long?”

“What?” Ted asked.

“You know. How long. Has it been since the beginning, or recent?”

Ted sighed. “It’s been a slow ramp-up. I’ve always liked being with you, and we’re together all the time, so it’s been building. Holding you made the feelings rise in me beyond what I expected.”

She studied his face, giving nothing away with her expression. Ted’s heart was pounding in his chest.

“You still look scared to death,” Haley said. “How strong is it?”

“I don’t know, I….”

“Stop,” she said quickly. “You know exactly how strong it is. I know you. Like you said, we’ve been together all the time.”

“What do you want me to say,” Ted asked.

“Just answer the question,” she said.

“It’s strong,” he said softly.

“Strong meaning your attracted to me, or is it more?”

“You mean am I madly in love with you?” Ted asked, smiling, trying to break the tension.

“Stop that,” she said. “This is serious. Is it just attraction, or is it more?”

“It’s more.”

“Geez, this is like pulling teeth,” she said. “Do we have to do the scale between one and ten thing?”

Ted felt anger rising in him, and looked at her, trembling. “Dammit. I’m in love with you. You’re all I think about. I adore you. All right? I’m sorry.”

“Okay, we can go now,” she said, standing up. “Let’s go see if they made more coffee.”

He sat looking up at her, flabbergasted. “That’s it?”

“That’s it for now,” Haley said. “I’ve got to think about this, and I won’t be rushed.”

“If I can’t have you that way, I still want to be friends with you,” Ted said. “I know I blew it, and I’m sorry.”

Haley smirked at him as he got up, shaking her head. “You have no idea what I’m thinking, so don’t project. Let’s go.”

To be continued…

 

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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!

 

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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

Bugout! California Part 100 – Legacy

“We need to give this kid a proper burial,” Garrett said, staring at the user name and password scratched into the wall, above the bed where Hasan’s body lay. The others were gathered, staring, trying to avoid looking at the gore which used to be Hasan’s face.

“I think we could’ve turned him to our side,” Anna said.

“Looks to me like we did,” Garrett said.

“I agree,” Sid said, “but what can we do with this? We don’t know what system this user name and password are for.”

“Ivan might,” Sam said, taking his own set of pictures of the scrawled data. He texted the pictures to Ivan.

“Good thinking,” Garrett said. “Let’s get this cleaned up.”

The women left the room, and the men gently picked up Hasan’s body and carried it outside. Anna followed with a few of the others.

“Where?” Sid asked.

“Shed, for now,” Garrett said. “I’m gonna find out how you respectfully bury a Muslim. We’ll set something up. We have a cemetery outside of Dodge City.”

Anna looked at his face. “You really care about this?”

“Yes,” Garrett said, breath short as they set him down just inside the shed door. He came out and looked at her. “We failed him. This is really tragic.”

“That’s an understatement,” Sam said.

“Ivan reply to the text yet?” Seth asked.

“Nope, not yet,” Sam said. “One thing really bothers me. How did those cretins know where he was? I thought the chips were all in the shed.”

“Yeah, I was wondering the same thing,” Garrett said. “I had one of my men put them all in there.”

“Let’s check,” Sam said. The two men went back into the shed and came out with a small cardboard box, which Garrett opened.

“Crap, there’s only two in there,” Garrett said.

“Dammit,” Sam said, whipping out his phone. He refreshed the short-range app. “Two hits inside the house. Can’t tell where inside the house.”

“Let’s go find it,” Seth said. “We need to drag the bad guy out of there, too.”

“And my men,” Garrett said, pained look on his face.

“Who was supposed to put the chips in this box?” Sam asked.

“Charley,” Garrett said. “He was one of the two men in the house.”

“So we aren’t going to be able to figure this out,” Seth said. “Dammit.”

“Wait a minute,” Anna said softly. “One of our people was helping them.”

“Who?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Black Crow,” Anna said, looking down.

“We need to talk with him pronto,” Sam said. He sent a text to Ed.

Seth looked at the expression on Kaitlyn’s face. “What?”

“This is bad,” she said. “He’s been a problem before.”

“What kind of problem?” Garrett asked.

“He hates the white man,” Kaitlyn said.

“Don’t be too hasty,” Anna said. “We worked that mess out, remember?”

Ed arrived in his hovercraft after a few minutes.

“Where have you been?” Sam asked. “I was worried when the battle started up.”

“We’ve got to feed everybody,” Ed said. “I was out scouting game with Zac, Tyler, and Ryan. Thought I heard gunfire, and headed home. Just got back a few minutes ago.”

“Oh,” Sam said. “Well, glad you’re okay.”

“What happened here?” he asked.

“The attack was a hit,” Seth said.

“On who? Ji-Ho?”

“No, on the prisoner we took yesterday,” Anna said.

“Oh,” Ed said, looking relieved. “None of our people got hit?”

“Two of my men got killed in the attack,” Garrett said.

Ed looked at him. “Oh no. So sorry, Garrett.”

“Thanks,” he said.

“You okay?” Anna asked, watching him struggle to hold back tears.

“I always have a delayed reaction to this stuff,” he said. “Sorry. These were good friends of mine.”

“Why did you call me over?” Ed asked.

“The enemy knew exactly where the prisoner was being held,” Sam said. “Somebody put his RFID chip near him. It was supposed to be out in this shed with the bodies.”

“You think one of our people did this?” Ed asked.

“I saw Black Crow helping Garrett’s men last night,” Anna said. “He was involved in moving bodies and chips into the shed.”

“And one of the chips is missing?” Ed asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

Ed sighed, a worried look on his face. “Where is he now?”

“We don’t know,” Anna said. “I haven’t seen him since last night.”

“He’s a problem?” Sam asked.

Ed was silent for a moment, then looked at Sam. “Yes, he can be a problem. I’ve tried to work with him, but he’s troubled. He’s got a huge chip on his shoulder, and he’s been in and out of jail several times.”

“For what?” Sid asked.

“Assault on customers at the casino and the hotel,” Ed said.

“He was with us at the ghost town,” Erica said. “That’s probably how the enemy found us.”

“Don’t jump to conclusions yet,” Anna said. “We need to be sure.”

“Mom, you’re going to have to back away from this,” Kaitlyn said softly. “I know you worked with him a lot, but we have to protect ourselves.”

“I’ll go look for him, but I suspect he’s long gone,” Ed said. “We’ll have to track him down. Hate to give up the resources for that.”

Sam’s phone dinged. “Text from Ivan.”

“What does he say?” Sid asked.

“He said Thanks. This might be useful.

“That’s it?” Sid asked.

“Yep,” Sam said.

“He’s got somebody who knows what system to go to,” Trevor said. “Ten to one.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me,” Sam said. “We’ve got other things to think about. These folks have very good apps to read the chips. Better than ours.”

“Why do you say that?” Trevor asked.

“He’s right,” Anna said. “I saw the guy rush in. He ran right up the stairs, and right into the correct room. He didn’t have to look around.”

“Black Crow might have told them verbally, you know,” Seth said.

“That’s possible,” Erica said. “There were no RFID chips involved at the ghost town, remember.”

“One step at a time,” Sam said. “Let’s find that chip. If it was hidden in the room, we’ll probably have our answer.”

“Yeah,” Sid said.

“Wonder if they’re apps can read the names?” Trevor asked. “Why didn’t they go to the shed first? There’s no evidence that anybody bothered it.”

“How can we tell which chip was in Hasan?”

“I can tell,” Anna said. “I damaged the one that was in Hasan. It has a cut in the capsule. Let’s see that box.”

Garrett handed the box to her and she looked, her brow furrowed.

“The one that came out of Hasan is missing, isn’t it mom?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Yes,” she said, handing the box back to Garrett.

“I’m still not getting something,” Sam said. “How would Black Crow have known which was which?”

“Easy,” Garrett said. “We didn’t take the chips out of the dead guys until afterwards. Black Crow probably had Hasan’s chip.”

“You don’t remember putting all three together?” Sam asked Anna.

She shook her head no. “I didn’t keep track of where the chip was after I dropped it into the pan down in the kitchen. Sorry.”

“I’m looking at this as good news,” Sam said. “General Hogan’s guy is gonna figure the name part out. There’s a way to do it. This proves it. I’ll text that to Ivan so he can pass it along.”

“I’ll see you guys later,” Ed said. “I’ll go ask questions – try to find out who saw Black Crow last night or this morning.”

“Good luck,” Garrett said.

“Please don’t let this ruin our alliance,” Ed said.

“No worries there,” Garrett said. “Really.”

Ed nodded and walked away.

“Let’s go find that missing chip,” Sam  said.

They went back into the house and up to the bedroom. Anna and Kaitlyn stripped off the dirty sheets while Sam, Garrett, and Sid tore the room apart looking. Some of Garrett’s men arrived while they were working and took the bodies of the fallen guards out of the house.

“Bingo,” Sam said, holding a toy car. “It’s in the driver’s seat.”

Anna took the car and shook it upside down, the capsule falling into her hand. “Yep, this is it.”

“Okay,” Garrett said. “I’ve got to go. There are family members to talk to, and funeral arrangements to make.”

“You want me to go along?” Anna asked.

“Thanks, but no,” Garrett said. “This is something I need to do by myself. I’ll be back later in the day.”

“Okay,” Anna said, giving him a hug. He left the house.

***

Robbie and Morgan were walking back to their coach after breakfast, with Gil, Tisha, Justin, and Katie.

“I wish we could keep going like this for another few weeks,” Morgan said. “Feels like another world.”

“Don’t count on that, dearie,” Tisha said.

Robbie smiled. “I know this is a nice break, but I really want to get on with the rest of our lives. I hope we get the war over with soon.” He looked at Morgan, pulling her close as they walked.

“Have plans, do you?” Morgan asked.

“He probably wants to knock you up,” Gil said.

“What a romantic way to put it,” Katie said.

“C’mon, you guys,” Robbie said. “You know what I mean.”

“No, what do you mean?” Morgan asked with a sly grin.

“It’s not just that, it’s building the nest,” Robbie said, face turning red. “I’m also worried about my parents and my sister all the time. I’m just done.”

“That’s a good point,” Katie said. “I’d like to see Steve. Doubt that’s going to happen until the war is over.”

Robbie’s phone dinged. He pulled it out and looked at it, Morgan flashing him a worried glance.

“Jules,” Robbie said. “He wants to see me.”

“Crap,” Morgan said. “You don’t think it’s about that problem from a while back, do you?”

“I don’t think he wants to kill me,” Robbie said.

“We all should go,” Gil said.

Robbie was quiet for a moment. “No, I’ve got to trust him. I’ll go talk to him.”

“Where?” Morgan asked.

“In his rig,” Robbie said.

“Ask him if I can come too,” she said.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Robbie said.

“If you aren’t worried about his intentions, why would it matter?” Morgan asked. “Text him and see if I can go along.”

Robbie nodded, looking worried, and sent the request. His phone dinged right away.

“Well?” Morgan asked.

“He says fine. Let’s go.”

“Want us to hang around nearby?” Gil asked.

“Yeah, man, we could do that,” Justin said.

“No,” Robbie said. “I’ll be fine.”

“All right, but call me as soon as you’re out of there, so I don’t sit around and worry.”

Robbie smiled. “Okay, I’ll do that.” He took Morgan by the hand, and they walked to Jules’s rig.

“I heard that Jules and Shelly finally got together,” Morgan said.

“That’s good.” They got to the coach and tapped on the door. It opened, Shelly standing there, ushering them in.

“Good morning,” Shelly said. “Have a seat. Jules will be out here in a second.”

“We aren’t in trouble, I hope,” Morgan said.

Shelly smiled at her. “No, not at all.”

“Oh, you here, welcome,” Jules said, coming out of the bedroom. “Coffee?”

“Sure, if you’re having some,” Robbie said.

“You too, Morgan?” he asked.

She nodded yes. Jules went to the counter, but Shelly got up and took over.

“You go ahead, honey,” she said. “I’ll make some for all of us. You talk to them.”

“Honey?” Morgan asked. “You two?”

“Yes,” Shelly said. “We’re so happy.”

“I can see that all over your face,” Morgan said. “I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks,” Shelly said. “Take a seat in the dinette.”

Robbie and Morgan sat on the back bench. Jules slid into the front bench, facing them.

“Your father is amazing,” Jules said.

“You’ve heard from him?” Robbie asked quickly. “I haven’t been able to reach him for a while.”

“He hounded by the enemy, but being protected. General Hogan’s team talked to Ivan.”

“General Hogan has been rescued?” Robbie asked.

“Yes, has,” Jules said. “We talk in big meeting later today.”

“Why do you want to talk to Robbie?” Morgan asked.

Jules smiled. “You still afraid, no?”

“Well, yes,” Morgan said. “How can we not be?”

“No need worry,” Jules said. “Robbie, you will get download link on phone. I just clear with Ivan and General Hogan.”

Robbie looked at him blankly. Jules chuckled.

“Your dad release prototype of RFID app to Ivan’s leadership. I figure because you son, you should get too.”

Robbie smiled, relief washing over his face. “Oh, really?”

Shelly slid coffee cups to Morgan and Robbie, then went back to get cups for Jules and herself.

“Here, I show,” Jules said. He walked the couple through the short-range and long-range apps on his phone. Robbie was getting more excited as the demonstration went on.

Shelly got onto the bench next to Jules with their coffees. “You should be so proud.”

“I’ve always been proud of my dad. In awe of him, frankly. This hits it out of the park.”

“Yes, major advantage, at least for a while,” Jules said.

Robbie’s phone dinged.

“Nice timing,” Shelly said.

Robbie looked at his phone. “Yep, it’s the download link.”

“Go ahead and load, and we verify it working,” Jules said.

Robbie did that, as Shelly and Morgan each had sips of coffee.

“We were just talking about wanting this war to be over,” Morgan said. “Now maybe that will happen sooner than we thought it would.”

“Maybe,” Jules said, eyes narrowing. “We have rough time to come. We talk about in big meeting.”

“We can tell them now, can’t we?” Shelly asked.

“Go ahead, give preview,” Jules said.

Shelly looked Morgan in the eye. “Ivan knows where other women are being held. Like we were.”

“No,” Morgan said. She trembled slightly, eyes starting to turn glassy.

“We know hard for you,” Jules said.

“We’re going to rescue them, I hope,” Robbie said, determination and anger on his face.

“Yes, do, but volunteer. We make case in meeting. Dangerous mission. Like Torrance.”

“Count me in,” Morgan said.

“And me, of course,” Robbie said. “When do we do it?”

“After initial mission,” Jules said. “Initial mission easier, and we have more help.”

“What is the initial mission?” Morgan asked, then paused. “Sorry, it’s not my place.”

“No, is your place,” Jules said. “RFID chips for enemy manufactured at Mertins Electronics plant in San Jose. We take out.”

Robbie shook his head. “You’ve got to be kidding me. An American company made them?”

Jules smiled. “Belgian company, supported by late Governor Sable and former President Simpson.”

“Wait, that name sounds familiar,” Robbie said. “Mertins. My dad knew him. He had a weird first name. I think it had two As in it.”

“Daan Mertins,” Jules said, a distasteful look on his face. “He scum.”

“I’ll bet that creep got the idea from my dad’s research and development of RFID technology.”

“Could be true,” Jules said.

“Geez,” Robbie said.

“How many of our team has the apps?” Morgan asked.

“Me, Tex, Ted, Sparky, Shelly, and Robbie,” Jules said. “When General Hogan okay, everybody get.”

“I think it’s smart that they’re restricting it until my dad finishes the name part,” Robbie said. “Otherwise the cockroaches in DC will scatter.”

“Exactly,” Jules said.

“Honey, we’d probably better get to planning the big meeting.”

“Yes, you right,” Jules said. “Please excuse. Any questions before we finish?”

“No, and thank you very much,” Robbie said. “I’ll keep my mouth shut until the meeting.”

“Thank you,” Jules said. He ushered them out the door and shut it behind them.

“Well, that was a surprise,” Morgan said.

“I’m relieved,” Robbie said.

“Were you really worried about him?”

“Ted was, and that made me worry. I’ve always felt that Jules has a good heart, though. Had a hard time believing he’d want to kill me.”

“He can be a little shifty, but I like him more now than I did. Helps that Shelly’s with him now. I know her pretty well. She’s a good person. She wouldn’t be with him if he wasn’t.”

“I got that impression,” Robbie said. He picked up his phone and typed, then hit send.

“Telling the others you’re okay?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. He continued to look at his phone as they walked. “LA and Orange counties still have problems. I was surprised at how many hits there were, even after all of the victories.”

“I know.”

“San Diego and Imperial Counties are the bigger problem, though. Look.” He showed his screen to Morgan.

“Wonder why?”

“The border,” Robbie said. “The enemy needs more fighters in here.”

She nodded, and they walked silently until they got back to their coach, going inside quickly. Robbie sat down on the couch, Morgan sitting next to him.

“Scared?” Robbie asked.

She looked at him for a moment, not saying anything.

“You know, about the rescue mission,” Robbie said.

“I should be,” she said. “I’m not. I’m anxious to be involved. It’s my duty.”

“Something’s bothering you,” Robbie said.

“I wasn’t thinking of this as a national war before I saw all the hits on that long-range app. I thought of it as a California problem, and that seemed almost over to me.”

“I know, that hit me too,” Robbie said. “Even though I already kinda knew.”

She looked at him and smiled. “It kills my favorite daydream.”

“What was that?”

She sighed. “Leaving here, going someplace safe. Now we know that there’s no place safe. At least for now.”

“I know,” Robbie said.

“It’s going to be a while before we can start our life together.”

Robbie took her hand, moving closer to her. “We’ve already started our lives together, honey. They started when I took you home from your apartment. Remember?”

They kissed, and then studied each other’s faces.

“You always know the right thing to say,” Morgan said.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

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!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

Bugout! California Part 99 – Hit Squad

Sam and Erica were on the veranda, sitting on the wicker love seat, enjoying the afternoon. Kaitlyn and Seth walked up the steps with Trevor and Kaylee.

“What’s cooking?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Just relaxing,” Erica said. “It’s so nice this time of day.”

“Where’s your mom?” Sam asked Kaitlyn.

“She took a walk with Garrett,” Kaitlyn said, grinning.

“My my,” Erica said. “Figured that was gonna happen.”

“Be nice, you guys,” Kaylee said. Trevor chuckled.

“So, we know now that those chips are planted deep in all the fighters,” Trevor said.

“Well, at least in the three that we’ve removed so far,” Kaitlyn said.

“I’ll bet it hurt putting those in,” Kaylee said.

“Maybe,” Kaitlyn said. “They put them in livestock with a special tool. Might not be as bad as you’d expect.”

Sid and Yvonne climbed the steps with Clem, John, and Sara.

“Mind if we join you guys?” Clem asked.

“Be our guest,” Sam said.

“What are we gonna do with the chips?” Trevor asked. “Ji-Ho decided yet?”

“I think he liked Garrett’s idea of using them for bait,” Sam said.

Sid laughed. “Well, they liked doing that with your RV Park.”

“Yeah, that’s going to be difficult to repair,” Sarah said.

“That’s the least of my worries,” Sam said. “Garrett said they aren’t showing up there anymore, though. Guess they finally got wise.”

“Or they don’t have enough excess forces to waste on that effort,” John said. “Surprised they threw as many into that meat-grinder as they did.”

Sid chuckled. “I wonder how many of them crapped their pants when they looked in the clubhouse.”

“That’s nasty, honey,” Yvonne said.

“Sorry,” Sid replied.

“Does Ji-Ho really think some enemy fighters might show up to get their dead?” Sarah asked.

“I think he does,” Sam said. “I’m a little skeptical. It’d be different if we didn’t have them on the ropes.”

“Don’t be so sure we have them on the ropes,” Erica said.

“Yeah, I was just gonna say that,” Sid said.

“Evening,” Garrett said, walking up with Anna. “Mind if we join you?”

“Please,” Sam said. They walked up and took seats.

“Hi, mom,” Kaitlyn said. “Have fun?”

“Shut up,” Anna said. She flashed a smile.

“We’re just friends,” Garrett said.

“Yes, and why shouldn’t they be?” Yvonne said. “They’re about the same age.”

“I don’t remember telling anybody how old I was,” Anna said.

“I can tell them,” Kaitlyn said.

“Don’t you dare,” Anna said. Everybody chuckled, but then Sam jerked. He looked at his phone.

“Well, here’s Ji-Ho’s answer,” Sam said. “Enemy fighters on the way here, it looks like.”

“Should we take cover?” Sarah asked.

“They’re almost half a mile away,” Sam said. He refreshed the app. “They’re coming in pretty quick though. They must be in a truck.”

“How many?” Trevor asked.

“Twelve. No, fourteen.”

“Lock and load, folks,” Garrett said. “No more prisoners. The one we have is going to be enough of a pain.”

“They might just be driving by,” John said. “What road are they on?”

“Highway 94,” Sam said. “They just passed Pringle Canyon. Go get your guns.”

“Should we get siege mode going on the rigs?” John asked.

“Some of us should, perhaps,” Sam said. “I’m sending a broadcast text.”

“Let’s go get our guns, honey,” Kaitlyn said. “I don’t want to be in the battle wagon.” Seth nodded and they rushed off the veranda.

“If you see them stop out a ways, say something,” Trevor said. “I’m gonna go get the Winchester.”

“Why do you need to know that?” Kaylee asked, getting up.

“Because they’d do that if they were gonna set up a mortar,” Trevor said.

“The kid’s right,” John said.

“Yep,” Sam said. “I’m gonna go get my M60. You want to get your weapon, honey?”

Erica nodded yes.

“You don’t look very worried,” Anna said, looking at Garrett. He flashed her a smile.

“I’ve got men all over the place, on patrol. I’m gonna send them a text right now.”

“Good,” Anna said. “We might want to leave some men upstairs with the prisoner, just in case.”

“Will do,” Garrett said, getting up. “You should go into the house.”

“I can take care of myself,” Anna said. “I’m going to get my gun.”

“Girl after my own heart,” Garrett said. Anna threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Sam and Erica watched, glancing at each other afterwards.

“What?” Anna asked.

“Nothing,” Erica said. “Let’s go get ready.”

They all left the veranda to get armed. Ji-Ho trotted up.

“You see, right?” he asked.

“Yep, we’re getting ready,” Sam said.

“Battle wagons?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Some should go into siege mode,” Sam said. “I’m grabbing my M60. There’s only fourteen of them.”

“We should kill all. No prisoner.”

“Agreed,” Garrett said. “See you in a couple minutes. They still coming, Sam?”

“Yep, they’re still coming, but they slowed down. They’re just hitting downtown Dulzura.”

“If they don’t come here, we should go get them,” Garrett said.

“Damn straight,” Sam said. He took Erica by the hand and they rushed to their battle wagon.

“You sure you want to carry that M60 around?” Erica asked.

“For this, yes, but I’m bringing the M-16 too. You gonna use your AK?”

“Of course,” she said. They rushed into the rig and got their guns and ammo, then headed back towards the house.

“Where are the RFID chips?” Erica asked.

“In the shed behind the big house,” Sam said. “Bodies too.”

“I hear some motors for siege mode,” Erica said.

“Yep.” Sam looked at his phone again. “They’re just passing Campbell Ranch Road. They’ll be here in a minute.”

“Want to position ourselves by the front gate?”

“No,” Sam said. “I want to see what they’re coming for, but we need to be ready to get into the Jeep. They’re gonna die either way.”

Erica nodded as Seth and Kaitlyn rushed over with Trevor and Kaylee.

“Those aren’t black powder Winchesters, I hope,” Erica said.

Trevor chuckled. “If we run out of ammo, might be a good way to go.”

Sam shook his head. “Don’t worry, Ivan will make sure we get ammo. Black powder will drop your power by a lot.”

“Where are they?” Seth asked.

“Slowing down, almost here,” Sam said. He refreshed the app again. “They’re off the road, heading into the trees by the creek bed, on the other side of Dutchman Canyon Road.”

“They’re gonna try to rescue their folks,” Erica whispered.

Sam nodded yes to her. “C’mon, let’s set up behind the house and let them come in.”

“What if they set up mortars?” Seth asked.

“We’re going into the woods,” Kaitlyn said. She glanced at Trevor, and he nodded yes.

“Let’s go, then,” Kaylee said.

“You sure, honey?” Trevor asked.

“I’m not so bad, you know,” Kaylee said, holding her M-16. “I’m a natural, remember?”

Trevor looked her up and down, and then sighed. “It’s not that I don’t think you can handle it, it’s just that I can’t live without you.”

“Now you know how I feel every time you run off with that damn Winchester,” she said. “C’mon. We’ve got to stop them in case they set up a mortar.”

The two couples ran toward the woods, Sam watching them, a worried look on his face.

“They’ll be okay,” Erica said. “Kaitlyn is good.”

“Yeah, Trevor’s at that level too,” he said. “I’m a little worried about the other two. Ji-Ho keeps telling me that Kaylee is a natural, but I’m skeptical.”

They positioned themselves in the bushes behind the house, a little left of the shed where the bodies and RFID chips were. Sid showed up with Yvonne, both carrying weapons.

“John, Clem, and Sarah are getting their battle wagon ready,” Sid whispered to Sam. “I’m gonna sneak towards the enemy position and keep an eye on things, just in case.”

“Me too,” Yvonne said. They ran towards the road in a crouch, slipping across and into the heavy woods.

Sam’s phone buzzed him again. “Dammit,” he said, looking at it. “Another group coming. Twenty this time.”

“Check the long-range app,” Erica said.

Sam tapped the icon and loaded it up. “Send a broadcast text about the second group, okay?”

Erica pulled out her phone and sent the text.

“Whoa,” Sam said. “We’re about to get hit hard. There’s another hundred enemy fighters coming.”

“Crap,” Erica said. “I just sent the text. Where are the others?”

“There’s a convoy on Highway 94. They’re just getting to Jamul. The first two batches were sent to soften things up.”

Sam’s phone rang.

“Who?” Erica asked.

“Ji-Ho,” Sam said. He put the phone to his ear. “Yeah, I see them.”

“I suggest sending six battle wagon off to tire dealership,” Ji-Ho said. “Blast last group on road.”

“Good suggestion,” Sam said.

“Okay, we go. I’ll tell Garrett about larger group coming.”

“He’s already got the app, right?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Just want to be sure.”

“Okay, talk to you later. I’m gonna go into the woods and help to nip the first two groups in the bud. They’re probably trying to set up mortars. Then we ought to get the rest of the battle wagons ready while Garrett’s men are on the way.”

“Roger,” Ji-Ho said. “Talk later.”

Sam checked the long-range app one more time before putting his phone away. “They stopped in Jamul.”

“Probably waiting for the first two teams to soften us up before they hit us,” Erica said. “C’mon, let’s go.” She got up and ran across the road, heading into the trees, just as the Winchesters started to fire. Sam raced after Erica.

***

Seth watched, worried look on his face, as Kaitlyn and Trevor rose and rushed the enemy, who were trying to set up a mortar, both firing as they ran. He got up and ran after them, pausing for a moment to blow away an enemy fighter who was trying to flee. Sid and Yvonne were right there with them, firing into the first group of enemy fighters, who were searching for cover in the underbrush. They hadn’t even returned fire yet. Seth made it to where Kaitlyn was.

“There’s only four of them left,” she whispered. “I can see one of them. She turned her AK towards a bush and pulled the trigger, not even raising it to aim. A man cried out in Arabic, and then there was a rustling, three more men making a run for their vehicle. Trevor was running behind them, firing. Then he tripped, hitting the ground, his gun sliding just out of reach. One of the Islamists saw it and turned, running back towards Trevor. Kaylee popped up and ran towards them, firing her gun as she ran, diving in and out of cover as they tried to hit her. She killed two of the men. The third broke and ran, only to be killed by Erica as she and Sam joined the battle. There was silence for a moment. Kaylee rushed over to Trevor, who shot her a sheepish grin.

“Thanks, honey,” he said. “Wow. Your uncle is right about you. You are a natural.”

“You scared the crap out of me,” Kaylee said. “Don’t run over ground like this and fire at the same time, okay?”

“Okay,” he said. “There’s more coming.”

“Yes, I got the text.”

Sam rushed over, Erica by his side. “The other group just made the turn onto Dutchman Canyon Drive. Get ready.”

Kaitlyn and Seth showed up, Sid and Yvonne just behind them.

“Hey, maybe we ought to turn that mortar around and use it,” Sid whispered.

“Now there’s a good idea,” Sam said. “C’mon. You guys cover us, okay?”

The others nodded as they reloaded their guns.

“We can’t hit Highway 94,” Sid said as they got to the enemy’s mortar. “Ji-Ho is gonna be using that with the battle wagons.”

“Yeah, I know,” Sam said. Erica rushed by him, going a little past, finding a good spot to fire from. Kaitlyn and Seth joined them.

“Listen,” Seth said. “Our rigs are starting.”

“We need to splatter this second group before they get a chance to attack them,” Erica said.

Gunfire erupted at them from near the road.

“Get down, they’ve seen us,” Sid shouted. Everybody hit the dirt and returned fire.

“We need to get away from this mortar,” Sam said. “Not enough cover from this direction.” He turned and fired his M60 into the bushes where the fire was coming from. Then there was a pop, and a mortar round flew, hitting about sixty yards to the right of them.

“Take cover!” Sid shouted, turning to see Kaitlyn, Erica, Sam, and Kaylee in a full run towards the source of the fire, slipping in and out of cover as they ran. Kaitlyn did a drop and roll, firing, hitting some enemy fighters, their voices screaming out in pain.

“Nice,” Erica said, hot on her tail, slipping behind a tree near her and opening up full auto with her AK-47. Sam was almost even with them to the right now as another mortar round flew, hitting the spot where the first group’s mortar was, setting off the ammo box.

“Drop, dammit!” Sid cried out. He and Yvonne raced towards the others as Sam spewed lead at the enemy position with the M60.

“Kaitlyn, be careful,” Seth shouted, running after her as she weaved in and out of cover, sliding onto the dirt in front of some bushes like she was hitting home plate in a baseball game, then opening fire, hitting the second group’s mortar rounds, the explosion killing all the enemy fighters surrounding it. There was silence for a moment, the others rushing up behind her, peering through the bushes at the carnage.

“Damn, woman,” Seth said. “Nice work, but you scared the crap out of me.”

“Looks like you’ve gotten even better since I was working with you,” Erica said. “Sam, where are our friends now?”

“Two of them are running back towards Highway 94,” he said, his comment punctuated by the sound of horses, guns firing, the smell of black powder hitting them within seconds. “Scratch those guys.”

“We’d better check,” Erica said, bounding forward, Kaitlyn and Kaylee following in a full run, the others moving in that direction behind them. Erica stopped when she found the bodies, about fifteen yards from their truck. She looked away.

Kaitlyn and Kaylee each took a look and then backed off.

“What a mess,” Kaylee said.

“What now?” Trevor asked.

“We find all the bodies,” Sam said. “There should be exactly thirty-four.”

They fanned out and searched, and then Sam got a call from Ji-Ho.

“Yeah, what’s up?” Sam asked.

“Enemy group in Jamul turn tail and flee,” he said. “We come home.”

“That means word got to them before we killed everybody here,” Sam said.

“You sure kill everybody?”

“We’re checking now,” Sam said. “Should be thirty-four.”

Ji-Ho was silent for a moment, but then he gasped. “Get to house. One chip moving that direction.”

“Dammit, they’re going for Hasan,” Sam said.

“C’mon, let’s go,” Erica shouted, running towards the house, Kaitlyn joining her, Seth and Sam trying to keep up. They got to the house as Garrett was riding up with a bunch of men.

Suddenly there was gunfire from inside. Two black powder shots, and some automatic fire.

“Tarnation,” Garrett shouted, dismounting and sprinting up the veranda steps, Erica and Kaitlyn rushing into the house ahead of them.

“Mom!” Kaitlyn yelled as she bolted up the stairs. Then there was more gunfire, and some screaming.

Seth rushed inside, his heart hammering in his chest as he raced to find Kaitlyn, stopping when he found her and Anna at the top of the stairs, looking down at three bodies. Anna was holding her AK-47, crying. Sam and the others got there in a hurry, Garrett rushing over, pulling Anna into his arms.

“He killed your men, then shot Hasan,” Anna said, sobbing as she dropped her rifle and hugged him.

Seth took Kaitlyn into her arms. “Thank God you and your mom are okay.”

“What happened?” Trevor asked, rushing over with Kaylee.

“One of the Islamists got to Hasan,” Sam said.

“Is he dead?” Kaylee asked.

Anna shook her head yes. “He got shot in the face. It’s not pretty. That poor kid.”

Obviously, this wasn’t a rescue attempt,” Seth said. “It was a hit.”

“My men didn’t do much good,” Garrett said. “God rest them.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Anna said. “One of your men wounded him.”

“In close quarters, it’s hard to beat an automatic weapon with a couple single-action revolvers,” Sam said. “We need to remember that.”

“Yeah, they didn’t have any cover up here, either,” Seth said. He walked into the room and stared at Hasan’s body, sprawled on the bed, wrist and ankle irons still on him, blood all over the bed and the wall behind it.

“What’s that?” Kaylee asked, pointing to scratches on the wall.

“Dammit, he was trying to pick the locks,” Garrett said, looking at the scratches, and at the nail on the bed.

“Wait, look at this,” Seth said, getting closer. “He wrote something.”

Sam rushed in and got next to him, looking at the scratches, then glancing over at Seth, who smiled back at him.

“What is it?” Kaylee asked.

“Looks like a user name and password to me,” Seth said, taking his phone out. He took several pictures.

“Well I’ll be damned,” Garrett said.

“The battle wagons are back,” Sid said from the hallway. “Hear them?”

“Yeah,” Sam said. “Somebody check the long-range app and make sure the enemy really split.”

“I’m on it,” Sid said, putting his phone in front of his face.

“Anybody get hurt in this?” Anna asked. “Other than these two men?”

“Only bad guys,” Erica said.

“Maybe we should burn those chips sooner rather than later,” Kaylee said.

“No,” Sam said. “We should leave them in the shed back there.”

“Yeah, we don’t want the enemy to know what we know,” Trevor said.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

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!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

Bugout! California Part 98 – Damage

Ivan made good on his promise, sending the download link to Jules’s leadership team early in the morning. Shelly woke to her phone dinging when it arrived.

“It’s here, honey,” Shelly whispered to Jules.

“How you know I awake?”

“Your breathing,” she said. “Did you send out a meeting notice yet?”

“Not yet,” Jules said.

“Sounds like a Chief of Staff task to me,” Shelly said. “I’ll do it. Tex, Ted, and Sparky, right?”

“Yes,” Jules said, turning to gaze at her. She noticed.

“Wait,” she said. “Let me do this. We can play afterward if you want. It’s still early.”

He nodded as she typed on her phone and broadcasted the message to the leadership team.

“Should we schedule a meeting with the rest of the team?” she asked.

“After the first meeting,” Jules said. “Now come here.”

“My, but aren’t we hot to trot, even after yesterday.”

Jules didn’t say anything, the need showing on his face. Shelly moaned as he pulled her to himself.

Afterwards Jules drifted off to sleep, waking to find Shelly out of bed. He got up and went into the salon, where she was making coffee.

“Hey, sweetie,” she said, turning towards him.

“Good morning.” He sat in the dinette and watched her in her long t-shirt, her short blonde hair swaying as she moved. “You’re so beautiful.”

“Stop it,” she said. “That meeting is coming up in an hour.”

“I know,” he said. “I get dressed.”

“Yes, do that. I’ll get dressed in a few minutes too.”

“Where we meet?” Jules asked.

“Here,” she said. “I thought it would be best for such a small group.”

“You right,” Jules said. “More coffee cups in pantry.”

“Yes, I found them earlier.”

Jules went into the bedroom and got dressed, thinking that they needed to do laundry, and that they needed more clothes. Shelly joined him after a couple minutes, handing him a cup of coffee. “You like it black, right?”

“Yes,” he said, taking it from her. He sipped. “Perfect.”

She nodded and dressed as he left the room.

Tex showed up first, Karen by his side. Then Sparky and Ted, both alone.

“Uh oh, should I leave?” Karen asked.

“No,” Jules said. “No problem. Shelly will stay as well.”

“We in trouble, partner?” Tex asked.

“No, we get gift. You see download link on your phone this morning?”

“Shoot, I haven’t checked,” Tex said, pulling his phone out.

“Been a little busy, huh?” Sparky asked. Karen turned four shades of red. Tex just shot him a smile.

“It’s here,” Tex said. “What is it?”

“Remember applications that General Hogan’s team worked?”

“The ones that read enemy RFID chips?” Ted asked.

“Yes, that it,” Jules said. “They do limited release to Ivan’s leadership team.”

“Oh, really?” Sparky asked. “Do they work?”

“Yes, do,” Jules said. “Pretty good news, no?”

“Very good news,” Ted said. “I saw the download link earlier. Thought it was some kind of spam or something.”

“Yeah, me too,” Sparky said.

“Do downloads, then we install and walk through,” Jules said.

They got to work. Karen nodded to Shelly, and they went into the bedroom.

“How’s it going?” Shelly asked. “Your body language with Tex looks different this morning.”

She smiled. “I’m his.”

“That’s it? You’re his?” Shelly looked into her eyes. “Because you want to be?”

“Of course,” Karen said. “I resisted him for a long time, remember? Kinda like somebody else I know.”

Shelly sighed. “Yeah, I know.”

“Is it going okay between you and Jules?”

“Oh, God,” Shelly said, her eyes misting up. “I’ve fallen so hard for that man.”

“Really?”

“Really,” Shelley said. “It’s still hard for me to believe.”

“I know that feeling,” Karen said. “I wish we were in normal times. I’d rent a hotel room for a week and not let him out of bed the whole time.”

Shelly snickered. “We’re so naughty. I’m anxious for the meeting to be over so we can be alone again for a little while.”

“I know, isn’t it weird? I’m having the same kinds of thoughts.”

“We need to be careful,” Shelly said. “Both of us.”

“Why?”

“So we don’t get hurt too badly if things go wrong,” Shelly said.

“I can’t be like that,” Karen said. “That’s holding back, and holding back isn’t what I want to do.”

Shelly thought about it for a moment. “Dammit. You’re right. We’re cast out on the sea, and we’re going to roll with the waves.”

“It’s like that even when the world isn’t like this,” Karen said. “You know that, right? You’ve been in love before, haven’t you?”

“Of course,” Shelly said. “It’s scary and intoxicating at first, but it always either settles down or ends after a while. Hope it doesn’t end this time.”

“Yeah,” Karen said. “Do you understand what they’re talking about out there?”

“I do,” Shelly said. “We’ve been set up since last night. Wait till you use the long-range app to look at Washington, DC.”

“Lots of traitors?”

“It looks like a blob on the map,” Shelly said. “Want to go back out there?”

“Sure.”

They got up and went back into the salon. The men had finished setting up their apps, and Jules was showing them how to work them.

“This is a game-changer,” Ted said.

“You got that right, partner,” Tex said.

“Where are we hitting first?” Sparky asked.

“We hit the Mertins Electronics plant in San Jose,” Jules said. “Timing depend on Ivan’s other teams. Joint effort. That easy part, though.”

“Uh oh,” Ted said. “What else?”

“Ivan know where women being held,” Jules said. “Like our women were, in Torrance.”

Karen got a scared look on her face. Shelly noticed and put her hand on her shoulder.

“We’re going to rescue them, I hope,” Tex said, his face grim. “I hate these bastards.”

“Yes, we do, but this most dangerous of missions,” Jules said. “Not just blow up and kill. Complex operation. Must do by numbers, like assault on Torrance Civic Center.”

“I want to be involved,” Karen said. There were tears running down her cheeks.

“You shall,” Jules said. “We all, but must volunteer. Like I say, more dangerous. We meet with big group this afternoon. Show apps, discuss Mertins plant, then talk about rescues.”

“You don’t look that upset about this,” Karen said, looking at Shelly.

“I found out last night,” Shelly said. “That’s when I had my reaction.”

“Oh,” Karen said. “You’re going in too?”

“Hell yes,” Shelly said. “How could I not?”

“Maybe we shouldn’t be including the women in that operation,” Sparky said. “Some of them are just now getting back to normal, you know.”

“That’s for us to decide,” Karen said.

“I know,” Sparky said. “I’m just worried.”

“Is Dana having problems?” Shelly asked.

Sparky was silent for a moment, then looked over at her. “Yes, I think so, but she won’t talk about it. She’s using me as her life raft. It worries me. This could make things worse.”

“Why worried?” Jules asked.

“I’m a human being,” Sparky said. “I’m not the knight in shining armor that she thinks I am.”

Shelly looked at him, seeing the tears forming around his eyes. “You’re in love with her, aren’t you?”

“I’m not good enough for her,” Sparky said.

“There’s the answer to that question,” Karen said.

“No, really,” Sparky said. “I probably can’t hang in there the way she needs me too. I’m not the selfless hero she thinks I am.”

“You worry too much, no?” Jules said. “If works, works. Don’t pressure self. Love of a good woman make you strong if you let it. Tomorrow take care of self.”

“Easy to say,” Sparky said.

“Do you want her?” Shelly asked.

“That’s not the problem,” Sparky said. “She’s the best woman I’ve ever been with, and that’s the truth.”

“You don’t want to disappoint her, partner,” Tex said. “That’s the best indication of love that there is.”

“Can we talk about something else?” Sparky asked. “Please?”

“All right, let’s move on,” Jules said. “Study apps while we have down time. Get feel for movement patterns of enemy. Share thoughts with others on team, but don’t replicate apps for anybody. Understand?”

“How long do we have before the Mertins attack?” Karen asked.

“I just guess,” Jules said. “Three or four days. Possible it’s earlier, even tomorrow.” His phone dinged. Jules looked at it, a wide smile washing over his face.

“What just happened, partner?” Tex asked.

“General Hogan,” Jules said.

“What about him?” Ted asked, standing up.

“Rescued. Back with team.”

“Thank God,” Sparky said.

“Okay, on your way,” Jules said. “Meeting over. You know what do.”

Everybody stood and got ready to leave.

“Sparky,” Jules said. “Stay for minute, okay?”

He nodded yes as the others left.

“Can you give minute, Shelly?” Jules asked.

“Yes, I’ll go outside for a few,” Shelly said. She followed the others out the door.

Sparky watched them leave, Shelly closing the door behind herself. “Am I in trouble, boss?”

“I worry about you,” Jules said. “I want you to know what others think of you. How much respect they have. You need to know.”

“Oh, come on,” Sparky said. “I’m fine.”

“No, not,” Jules said. “You one of best men I ever work with. Solid. Smart. Loyal. Good heart.”

Sparky sat back down on the couch, on the verge of tears. “I’m a mess.”

“What mess? Just relationship?”

Sparky smiled. “Just relationship. It’s pretty much everything.”

Jules studied him for a moment. “Love deep with you. I didn’t see until this morning. Thought you were reluctant with Dana. Not that way. Not at all.”

“She’s having problems, and I’m not strong enough to cope with them,” Sparky said.

“What kind problem?”

“I don’t think I want to talk about it,” Sparky said.

“It me, Jules, your old friend.”

“I know,” Sparky said.

“Then tell.”

He sighed. “Okay, okay. You’re right. I’m in love with Dana. It took a while, but now she’s the focus of everything that I am, and it makes things all that much harder.”

“This not bad,” Jules said. “I feel like that about Shelly.”

“You notice we aren’t staying in this coach with you whenever possible, right?”

“Shy about lovemaking,” Jules said. “Not unusual, but we have door between us. We knock before going through.”

“It’s worse than that,” Sparky said. “Sometimes when we’re making love, Dana slips back into the captivity and goes kinda crazy.”

“How crazy?” Jules asked.

Sparky stood and unbuttoned his shirt, showing bruises and scratches on his chest. “This crazy. I have to hold her down until she gets over it.”

Jules was silent for a moment, looking away, then back at him. “You stay even with that. It says something.”

“It doesn’t happen every time,” Sparky said, buttoning his shirt. He sat back down.

“How often?”

“Maybe every third or fourth time,” Sparky said.

“You think you aren’t strong enough to help her through,” Jules said. “Not that you aren’t good enough to deserve her.”

“Yeah, probably,” Sparky said.

“Not probably. You know, don’t run away from your feelings.”

“It was easier before I was in love with her,” Sparky said. “Now it’s like watching a family member go through this.”

Jules was silent for a couple minutes, thinking.

“Are we done?” Sparky asked.

“No,” Jules said. “Gathering thoughts. Sit tight.”

Sparky nodded, looking nervous.

“She need therapy,” Jules said. “Probably years of. That tough now. She only have you for time being. Can she survive with just you for short term?”

“I don’t know,” Sparky said. “I’ve tried to limit our intimacy, but she won’t have it, and now it’s hard for me to resist it too.”

“She still wants because of comfort,” Jules said. “Probably because she wants to keep you on hook. She needs you.”

“I guess,” Sparky said.

Jules chuckled. “Always hem and haw with you. Does she know you love her?”

“I’ve never said it,” Sparky said.

“Tell her,” Jules said. “Make her know you not leave her. Make her know you stay no matter what. Then maybe she not worry, not push herself too hard.”

“I’ll try,” Sparky said, eyes misting up. “I know she wants to hear that. Can’t imagine that she doesn’t know it already.”

“You have to tell,” Jules said. “Even if she should know. Very important.”

Sparky nodded.

“Go be with her,” Jules said. “We talk later, no?”

“Okay, boss,” Sparky said, getting up. He walked to the door, then turned back to him. “Thanks. You’ve always been a good friend to me.”

Jules nodded. “Send Shelly back in if you see, okay?”

“Will do,” Sparky said as he left.

Jules plopped himself down on the couch, trembling, then crying. Shelly came back in, not expecting to see him in that state. She rushed to his side.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“War,” he said. “Cruelty. The human soul. It’s so bleak. Society have problems, even after battles over.”

“What did Sparky tell you? Is he having problems with Dana?”

“Dana having episodes,” Jules said. “She slip into when they together.”

“Oh,” Shelly said. “I’m surprised more of us aren’t having that problem.”

“That why I cry,” Jules said. “I worry. About you. And Karen. And others.”

“We’re survivors,” Shelly said.

“Yes, I know, but price to pay. May pay now like Dana. May pay years from now.”

“You’re afraid I’m going to have problems,” she said softly. “I understand. Just know this. You’re helping the situation, not hurting it, and I suspect it’s the same with Sparky and Dana. I know it is with Tex and Karen.”

“Sparky not tell her he loves,” Jules said. “I told him he should. Hope I did right.”

“It was advice, not an order,” Shelly said. “You don’t have that much power there, so don’t worry. Sparky is a smart, sensitive man. He’ll figure it out. The two of them will figure it out.”

“I hope,” Sparky said. He got off the couch. “What do now? Go outside?”

She stood up next to him, standing on her tiptoes to kiss him. “Do we have to be anywhere right now?”

“No,” Sparky said, his arms going around her waist.

“Good, then let’s go back to bed,” she said. “I think I need some more therapy.”

Jules chuckled and shook his head. “That was almost in bad taste, no?”

“So I’m a little naughty. C’mon.”

They went back into the bedroom.

***

Hasan woke with a start, trying to roll onto his side, stopped by the heavy wrist and ankle irons. Sharp pain hit him in his upper arm. The last several days came rushing back at him. He looked around the room. He was on a twin-sized bed, the chains attached to the brass bedframe. The walls were covered with pictures that a young boy would put up. There was a shelf against the far wall holding toy trucks and cars, a desk next to that with a broken computer sitting on it.

“Hello?” he said as loudly as he could. “Anybody here?” He shook his chains hard, making metallic noises. The door opened, and Anna peeked in.

“How are you feeling, Hasan?” she asked as she walked in.

“The wound hurts like a son of a bitch,” he said. “Do they have to keep me chained up like this?”

“We have to protect ourselves, at least until you prove yourself to us,” Anna said. “I’ve got more pain meds. I’ll go get them, and then we’ll get you something to eat. There’s a water bottle right above your head, on the shelf at the head of the bed.”

Hasan nodded, then reached up with his unchained hand, finding the bottle, taking a large drink. Anna came back in with a pill bottle. She gave him two.

“These will help,” she said.

“Will they put me to sleep again?”

“They shouldn’t,” Anna said. “Unless you need the sleep. We need to keep a close eye on the wound. That was basically an operation we did on you, and it was in a kitchen, not a hospital.”

“I understand,” Hasan said. He took the pills. “Do you know what they’re going to do with me?”

“I heard a couple of the men talking about a jail in Dodge City,” Anna said. “That would be more comfortable than here.”

“I hope so,” he said. “What’s Dodge City?”

“It’s where Garrett’s group is based,” Anna said. She shot him a smirk. “I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it’s a replica old west town.”

“America is strange,” Hasan said. “Never ceased to amaze me.”

“Did you choose to go to school here?” Anna asked.

“Yes,” Hasan said, “and don’t get me wrong. I actually love this country. I just got pissed, and made some bad choices.”

Anna pulled the chair out from the desk and sat facing him.

“This is a little boys room,” Hasan said. “Where is he?”

“This place belonged to the Williams family,” Anna said. “When the Islamists and the UN first rolled in here, they slaughtered the whole family, as part of taking over the town.”

“Oh, my God, the boy is dead?” Hasan asked.

“You know what’s been going on,” Anna said.

He sighed. “Yes, I know.”

“You say you love this country,” Anna said. “Can you forgive the bad that we’ve done?”

“I didn’t think Americans thought that anything they do was bad,” Hasan said. “No offence.”

Anna chuckled. “I’m an Indian. You know that, right?”

“I know,” Hasan said. “Your people are fighting us everywhere, sometimes even harder than normal Americans.”

“Normal Americans?” Anna asked, flashing a sly smile.

“Sorry, you know what I meant,” Hasan said.

“Governments do bad things from time to time,” Anna said. “All governments. The US Government was very unfair to my people. Sometimes they were downright brutal.”

“And yet you are okay with them now?”

“The Federal Government?” Anna asked. She laughed. “Land sakes no, they’re at least partially behind this mess we’ve been in.”

“But you ally yourselves with the population,” Hasan said. “Why?”

“Our problems were mostly during the nineteenth century,” Anna said. “They were real problems, and we have grievances. In the twentieth century and this century, we’ve made peace. We’re friends. And by the way, my daughter is engaged to a white boy. They’re getting married today.”

Hasan smiled and shook his head. “Like I said, this country never ceases to amaze me.”

Anna stood, smiling at him. “I think you’re a nice young man. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to hurt you. We will protect ourselves, but you can win us over, given some time. I’ll go get you some food, and bring a couple men to escort you to the bathroom.”

She left the room. Hasan took another drink of water, then laid down on his side. What do I do now?

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

Bugout! California Part 97 – Breakfast Meeting

Seth woke up as the sun shined into the battle wagon’s bedroom window. Kaitlyn was still asleep, her body rising and falling, her breathing relaxed. He snuck out of bed, slipped on a shirt and his sweat pants, and went into the salon to start the coffee maker, then looked out the windows. Nobody was up yet. He picked up his phone. Only six. Geez.

“Hey, you up already?” Kaitlyn asked from the bedroom. He walked back in there.

“I woke up because of the sun shining on my face,” he said. “You don’t have to get up yet, if you’re not ready.”

“You could always come back in bed, you know,” she said, pulling back the covers to show herself to him.

He moaned and joined her. They kissed passionately.

“You still have clothes on,” she whispered, tugging the shirt over his head. He slipped out of his sweats and ravished her, both of them caught in the moment together, not caring about anything or anybody but each other.

“Wow,” Kaitlyn said as Seth rolled off her. “This just keeps getting better.”

“I know,” Seth said. “When are we getting married?”

“Maybe today, if things aren’t crazy,” Kaitlyn said. “Everybody’s here.”

“Yes, everybody’s here,” Seth said. “What were you going to tell me about your mom and dad?”

She looked at him, her eyes showing pain. “It didn’t work. They’ve been unhappy for a long time. The elders let them dissolve their marriage.”

“Oh,” Seth said. “I’m sorry. Where is your dad? Is he with us?”

“No, he left the tribe for a while,” Kaitlyn said.

“You don’t look too upset about that.”

“We never got along,” Kaitlyn said, “and by the way, he has a big problem with women in the tribe wedding men from outside.”

“You never seemed worried about that.”

“I knew this was coming, and I knew he’d be leaving. Happened earlier than I thought.”

“So, your mom really was flirting with Garrett, then, wasn’t she?”

Kaitlyn giggled. “Not seriously, but I’ll bet she’d give him a good roll in the hay.”

“He does like her,” Seth said. “I could tell by the way he was looking at her.”

“She’s a little on the hefty side,” Kaitlyn said. “A little bottom heavy. I’m liable to get that way, you know.”

“Yeah, especially after you have all the babies I’m going to put in you.”

“Stop it,” she said. “You just can’t wait, can you?”

“Neither can you,” Seth said. “Deny it.”

She looked at him, her eyes misting. “No, I don’t deny it. You’re my man and I’m your woman. It’s what we do.”

“It is,” Seth said. “Can I get up now?”

She grabbed her pillow and hit him in the head.

“Oh, you want to play, do you?” Seth asked, picking up his pillow and doing the same.

“Stop! We don’t want to break these. They aren’t ours.”

Seth laughed. “Okay, okay. You’re right.” His phone dinged.

“Uh oh,” Kaitlyn said, eyes showing fear.

Seth looked at the phone. “No worries, it’s just a meeting. In an hour.”

“We should get up and eat, then,” Kaitlyn said.

“Don’t worry, they’re feeding us breakfast,” Seth said. “This is early for a meeting. Must be something important.”

“Well, if we don’t need to eat, maybe you can keep me occupied for a while,” Kaitlyn said.

“Yeah, maybe,” Seth said, turning towards her. Then there was a knock on the door. Seth laughed. “So much for that.” He went to the door and looked out the window.

“Who is it?” Kaitlyn asked,

“Angel and Megan,” Seth said. “Get dressed.”

“Okay,” she said.

Seth cracked the door. “Give us a minute. We’re not decent.”

“We already knew that,” Angel said.

“Hardy har har,” Seth said as he shut the door. He got dressed in the bedroom. Kaitlyn opened the door while he finished.

“Good morning,” Megan said.

“Good morning to you,” Kaitlyn said. “Uh oh, what’s up? I’ve seen that grin before.”

“We had a little chat with Tyler,” Megan said.

“You did, did you?” Seth asked as he came out of the bedroom. “We were just talking about that.”

“Backing out already?” Angel asked.

“Yeah, right,” Seth said, pulling Kaitlyn close to him. “I can’t wait, and that’s the truth.”

“You got the meeting notice, right?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Meeting notice?” Angel asked, reaching for his phone. “Oh, yeah, here it is. My phone ringer was off.”

“Oh, crap, what now?” Megan asked.

“Just a meeting with breakfast,” Angel said. “Ji-Ho and Garrett are holding it.”

“Well, I hope it isn’t something that will foil our plans with Tyler,” Kaitlyn said.

“Me too,” Megan said. “We’ve got to get this done sooner rather than later.”

“There’s that look again,” Kaitlyn said.

Seth laughed. “Damn, dude, you knocked her up already, didn’t you?”

Angel snickered. “Knocked her up? How crude.”

“Megan?” Kaitlyn asked, looking her up and down.

“Alright, alright, I’m late. Might be nothing. It has been a little stressful, and that plays hell with my clock.”

“Why’s your face turning so red?” Seth asked.

“Yeah, imagine if she was a white girl,” Angel said. Megan elbowed him.

“Stop that,” she said. “Don’t tell anybody else, okay? This is bad enough as it is.”

“Not even Trevor?” Seth asked, a sly grin on his face.

“Oh, geez, then Kaylee would know,” Megan said.

Seth laughed. “You’ll be lucky to beat those two.”

“Are they getting married?” Megan asked.

“Not with Tyler,” Kaitlyn said. “I think they want to go into town and find a Justice of the Peace.”

Angel looked at Megan. “Do you want to do it that way too?”

“You mean instead of Tyler?” she asked.

“No, afterwards,” Angel said. “It probably makes a difference in California, you know.”

“Indian ceremonies aren’t valid here?” Seth asked. “Never heard that.”

“No, you’re not getting me,” Angel said. “It’s all about the marriage license. All kinds of things are affected. You know that.”

“Oh, yeah,” Seth said. “It’s not like we have to do a second ceremony. We just get the license and fill it all out.”

“Maybe I want to have that kind of ceremony too,” Kaitlyn said.

“Yeah,” Megan said.

“See what you started, man?” Seth asked. He and Angel laughed.

“Let’s go get a good seat for breakfast,” Megan said.

“Yeah,” Angel said, “and no mimosas for you, mother of my children.”

Megan punched him in the arm as they left the coach.

“We’ll be along in a few minutes,” Kaitlyn said. “Save us some seats.”

Megan turned back at her and nodded.

“Whoa,” Seth said as he closed the door. “Think Megan is right?”

“About being late? She would know that.”

“No, about being pregnant,” Seth said. “You know what I meant.”

She giggled. “Yes, I know what you meant. I’ve been late once too.”

“No, really? You didn’t say anything.”

“False alarm,” she said as they stepped out of the coach.

“Oh,” Seth said. Kaitlyn grabbed his arm and stopped, turning towards him.

“Crap, you’re disappointed that it was a false alarm, aren’t you?”

“Maybe a little,” Seth said. “I told you what I was feeling about this, remember?”

“I thought it was just about tying the knot.”

“It was about everything,” Seth said, face turning red. “Sorry.”

“Sorry? Are you kidding?” she asked, pulling him in for a kiss.

“Hey, people are watching us,” he whispered.

“So what,” Kaitlyn said. She got a wild look on her face and then kissed him again, harder and longer. They broke it, their breath coming fast.

“You’re something,” Seth whispered.

“We’re in love, and everybody knows it,” Kaitlyn said. “Why hide it?”

“I wasn’t trying to hide it,” Seth said.

“Uh huh,” Kaitlyn said as they climbed the steps of the veranda. Anna was just inside the door of the house.

“Great, you’re here,” Anna said. “Kaitlyn, want to assist me with Hasan? We need to check his dressing.”

“Sure,” Kaitlyn said. “See you in a few, sweetie.”

Seth nodded and went looking for Angel and Megan. They were at a table near the far end of the big room, and waved him over.

“Where’s Kaitlyn?” Megan asked.

“Assisting her mom with the prisoner,” Seth said.

“Oh, yeah, I was gonna ask you about that,” Angel said. “Is he going to be as useful as I’ve been hearing?”

“Depends on what you’ve been hearing, I guess,” Seth said as he sat down.

“C’mon,” Angel said.

“He was doing hacking for the enemy. He was part of the intel team.”

“No crap?” Angel asked.

“How do we know we can believe him?” Megan asked.

“We don’t know, yet,” Seth said. “We’ll see how his stories play out.”

“Where are we gonna keep him?” Angel asked. “When I saw him sleeping, he had a leg iron and a wrist iron on. Didn’t look comfortable, not that he was noticing at the time.”

“Yeah, he was out,” Megan said.

“I heard Garrett talking about the jail at Dodge City,” Seth said.

“They have a jail?” Angel asked. “Figures.”

“Garrett likes Kaitlyn’s mom,” Megan said.

“He likes women,” Seth said. “I’ve seen him check out every woman here. Not in a bad way, exactly, but he enjoys looking at them.”

“Wonder if there are women at Dodge City?” Megan asked.

“I’d assume so,” Angel said. “Here comes Kaitlyn.”

“Hey, guys,” Kaitlyn said, sitting next to Seth. “Breakfast is almost done. Of course, they had to clean up our operating room before they could cook.”

“Eeewwwww,” Megan said.

“Oh, don’t worry, mom and I cleaned it up pretty good after we were done.”

“Where’s Hasan?” Seth asked.

“In the bedroom on the south-east corner of the house.”

“I don’t know east from west,” Seth said.

Kaitlyn rolled her eyes. “Paleface.”

Megan and Angel laughed.

“So sue me,” Seth said. “I’m no Daniel Boone.”

“He’s up the stairs, on the back hallway, all the way to the left,” Kaitlyn said. “Better?”

“Yeah,” Seth said.

“Food is ready,” Ji-Ho said from the kitchen archway. “Line up, get food, then we talk.”

People got up quickly and headed for the line, a mixture of tribal folks, Garrett’s men, and the original group.

“I think I’ll wait until the line dies down a little bit,” Kaitlyn said.

“No problem,” Seth said. Anna walked over, drying her hands with a paper towel.

“That wasn’t so bad,” she said. “Mind if I join you guys?”

“Sure, mom,” Kaitlyn said.

“By all means,” Seth said.

“Can we join too?” Trevor asked, walking over with Kaylee.

“Have a seat,” Angel said.

“I’m getting in the food line first,” Kaylee said, setting her bag down on the table. Trevor nodded and followed her to the line.

“I figured you’d be sitting with Garrett,” Megan said to Anna, a twinkle in her eye.

“Stop,” Anna said.

Kaitlyn chuckled. “We’re all on to you, mom. Forget it.”

Anna got a sly grin on her face. “He’s one of the speakers.”

“Oh, so that’s why you’re with us instead,” Megan said.

“There’s nothing going on between Garrett and me,” she said. “We just like talking to each other.”

“Oh, you’ve spoken since we did the procedure last night?” Kaitlyn asked.

“A little,” Anna said.

“What’s a little?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Okay, we talked for a few hours last night,” Anna said. “It’s no big deal.”

“Were you horizontal when you were talking?” Megan asked. Angel laughed out loud, then covered his mouth.

“Sorry,” he said.

“It was an innocent conversation,” Anna said. “Really. Probably won’t get you guys to quit teasing me.”

“Probably not,” Kaitlyn said. “Don’t get hurt.”

Anna chuckled. “Please. I’m not looking for a relationship with anybody, but I enjoy the company of men. Always have. You know that.”

“Yes, I know that,” Kaitlyn said. “I’m getting in line. Coming?” She got up and Seth joined her.

“I need to have a talk with Megan,” Kaitlyn whispered. “I don’t want her saying stuff like she just did to my mom.”

“Which comment?”

“The horizontal comment,” Kaitlyn said. “She’s still my mom. I don’t like to think about her like that.”

Seth shook his head. “Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that to come out of her mouth. Either was Angel. Good thing he didn’t have a mouthful of food when she said that.”

“Seriously,” Kaitlyn said. The line moved quickly. Soon they all had their breakfast plates, and were back at the tables. Ji-Ho got up in the front of the room, helping a couple other people move things around. Then they brought in a flat screen TV, sitting on a tray with wheels.

“Wonder what that’s for?” Megan asked.

“That was a drink tray,” Seth said. “I saw it in the parlor.”

“I remember,” Anna said.

Garrett joined Ji-Ho and the others near the TV, and helped connect a cable to the back. They plugged it in and turned it on.

“Can I have attention, please?” Ji-Ho asked.

The talking came down to a soft murmur. Ji-Ho took out his phone, and plugged it into the cable. “Please watch screen.”

The screen showed a map program.

“This long-range application developed by General Hogan’s group,” Ji-Ho said. “See icons? Each represent one enemy fighter.”

“Where is that?” asked Kaylee.

“El Cajon,” Ji-Ho said.

“Hasan was right, then,” Trevor said. “Where is he, by the way? We need to make sure he doesn’t hear this. Isn’t he in the house?”

“He’s on some really strong pain meds,” Anna said. “He’ll be out for several hours.”

“And there’s two guards right outside his door,” Garrett said. “We’re fine.”

“Do we have access to this technology now?” Clem asked. John and Sarah were next to him, eyes glued to the screen. Sid and Yvonne were at their table too.

“This would’ve saved our friends at the RV Park,” Sarah said softly. Yvonne nodded in agreement.

“General Hogan’s group has provided access to the leadership team only,” Sam said, getting up to stand next to Ji-Ho. “Fortunately that will be enough. Want me to explain how the apps work and what they do, Ji-Ho?”

“Please, your English much better.”

Sam nodded as Ji-Ho took a seat, and then he went through the short-range and long-range app, showing them how they work and where the enemy fighters are, both locally and nation-wide. The people watched in awe.

“Any questions?” Sam asked.

“Why aren’t they just releasing these wide?” John asked.

“The final piece not in place yet,” Ji-Ho said.

“What is the final piece?” Sid asked.

“Name and rank,” Ji-Ho said.

“Oh, so they can use this to ID the traitors in Washington DC,” John said. “Smart.”

“Yes,” Sam said. “But remember what I said. This is top secret. Anybody on the leadership team who gets captured must destroy their phone, if at all possible.”

“There’s a good chance they wouldn’t notice the apps anyway,” Garrett said.

“True, if we are captured by the usual run-of-the-mill Islamist,” Sam said.

“Hasan would figure it out in a hurry,” Seth said.

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “You right about that.”

“How long are we gonna keep Hasan?” Sarah asked.

“As long as he’s willing to cooperate,” Sam said.

“I suspect that will be for the duration,” Anna said. “He was only partly lucid when we changed his dressing. He really does hate the Caliphate. He was babbling on about it.”

“Yes, I agree,” Kaitlyn said. Erica saw her from near the front of the room and shot her a smile. When the presentation was done, she made her way over.

“Hey, kiddo,” Erica said. Kaitlyn got up and hugged her tight. “Sorry I didn’t come look you up last night.”

“Oh, please,” Kaitlyn said. “How long were you two up during the last part of the trek?”

“Thirty-six hours, give or take,” Erica said.

“Sam is your man now, isn’t he?” Anna asked.

Erica smiled. “Don’t tell anybody.”

Megan laughed. “Everybody knows, dearie.”

Sam walked over. “How are you all doing? Congrats on the battle.”

“Same to you,” Trevor said, shaking Sam’s hand. “It’s going to get easier now.”

“Within a specific window, yes,” Sam said. “They’ll figure out we can see them pretty quickly.”

“Won’t they just start removing the chips?” Kaylee asked.

“No, they won’t,” Anna said. “Those were put in way too deep. I think somebody put them in that deep to discourage deserters. Digging that chip out of Hasan was about as far as I’d go without being in a clean operating room. He might get infected because of this. We’ll have to keep a close eye on him. No way would the enemy be able to remove thousands of these things without losing a lot of their soldiers.”

“You think so?” Erica asked.

“Sounds like something Saladin would do to me,” Sam said.

“Maybe they’re not all planted that deep,” Trevor said. “We’ve got to deal with the other two bodies, right? Maybe instead of just burning them up we should dig the chips out first.”

“That’s a good idea,” Sam said. “We should do that. Do we know where the bodies are?”

“They’re behind the house,” Trevor said. “I helped the team drag them over.”

“Then let’s do it,” Kaitlyn said.

“Wait a minute,” Anna said. “I’ve got to go change into my other clothes. I’m not ruining two outfits.”

Kaitlyn and Megan chuckled.

Trevor was sitting silently for a moment, thinking. Kaylee noticed.

“What’s on your mind, honey?” she asked him.

“We need to understand more about these RFID chips.”

“How do you mean?” Sam asked.

“Well, for one thing, can they be hidden by shielding,” Trevor said. “Say they come in a special vehicle that’s shielded somehow. They might show up without us seeing them on the apps.”

“Crap,” Megan said. “Now we have something new to worry about.”

“I wouldn’t get worried quite yet,” Sam said, “but it’s smart to consider that. Wish we could test.”

“Maybe we can,” Trevor said. “Wonder how much internet research we can get away with doing?”

“None,” Ji-Ho said, walking over. “I hear conversation. Good thoughts, but no internet search on this. We have to assume we under surveillance. Hasan make that clear with his comments. He know lot about us.”

“He’s right,” Erica said. “They might be watching what we search for, and if they see those kinds of searches, they’ll know that we know.”

“Okay, I see your point,” Trevor said.

“We still should check how deep those chips are in the others,” Sam said.

Anna sighed. “Oh, all right, I’ll go change. You’d better too, Kaitlyn.”

“Yes, mom,” Kaitlyn said. The two women left, one heading for the stairs, the other to the door. Seth looked at Sam.

“Maybe we ought to be asking Hasan about this.”

Sam shook his head no. “We don’t want him to know what we know yet, either. What if he escapes, or can get a message out somehow?”

“Dammit,” Megan said. “Just when I get to thinking we’re out of the woods, I get reminded that we are still in a war for our lives.”

“Good thing to keep in mind,” Ji-Ho said.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

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!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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

Bugout! California Part 96 – Peach Cobbler

Anna and Kaitlyn used disinfectant wipes on the massive granite island in the kitchen. Seth and Trevor stood on either side of Hasan, watching them.

“I’ll go get my bag while the counter dries,” Anna said. “You can assist, Kaitlyn.”

“Okay, mom.”

Anna left the room.

“Don’t worry,” Kaitlyn said, looking at the fear in Hasan’s eyes. “She’s good. It won’t hurt. You’ll be sore for a few days, but we have medication for that.”

“Thank you,” Hasan said.

“Who made these chips?” Trevor asked. “You’ve got to have millions of them for your whole organization.”

Hasan chuckled. “They’re made right here in California. The Mertins Plant in San Jose, to be exact.”

“No way,” Seth said, shaking his head. “Figures.”

“Do the UN Peacekeepers have chips?” Trevor asked.

“No, but our other partners do,” Hasan said.

“Other partners?” Trevor asked.

“The Militias,” Hasan said. “They’re not active in California, but their a big deal in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado.”

“Which militias?” Seth asked. “We’ve never heard of this before.”

“Secessionists,” Hasan said. “They hate the Federal Government, but are too stupid to realize that they’re fighting for them.”

“Geez,” Seth said. Anna walked back in with two bags.

“Get up on the counter, please,” she said. “On your back, head facing this way.”

Hasan climbed up quickly, looking more scared now.

“I don’t think I can watch this,” Trevor whispered. “I’m going back by the far wall.”

Seth nodded, but stayed where he was, watching Kaitlyn and Anna work. “You’ve assisted before, haven’t you, sweetie?”

Kaitlyn nodded. “Yep, in the tribal clinic. That was a part-time job for me.”

“You should go back to school and become a nurse,” Anna said. “Hand me the gauze, please.”

“We’ve been over this, mom. I like accounting better.”

Anna sighed.

They worked for about twenty minutes, Hasan sleeping through most of it.

“Done,” Anna said. “Let’s bandage him up.” She used her tweezers to drop the chip into a small metal pan.

“Where are we gonna put him?” Trevor asked, walking back over.

“Good question,” Kaitlyn said.

“He’ll be sleeping this off for at least a couple of hours,” Anna said.

Garrett walked in. “How did it go?”

“Fine,” Anna said. “It was buried pretty deep. He’ll be out for a couple hours. You know where we can put him?”

“We’ve got some leg and wrist irons,” Garrett said. “We can chain him to something while he sleeps. Then maybe we can move him to Dodge City. We have a jail there.”

“Dodge City,” Anna said. “You guys finished that?”

“Yep, after we settled some things with the county,” Garrett said. “That was a learning experience.”

“So I’ve heard,” Anna said. “Didn’t you have to tear some things down?”

“A few,” Garrett said. “To be honest, I’m grateful. We learned a lot. Built a bunch more the right way after that. All with permits, all to code.”

“Well, that’s good,” Anna said. “I’d love to see it someday.”

“Then you shall,” Garrett said, tipping his hat as he went out to fetch the irons.

“Flirting with Garrett, mom?” Kaitlyn asked, grinning.

“Shut up,” she said. “You’re one to talk.”

“Yeah, but I’m not married,” Kaitlyn said.

“Your father isn’t with me anymore.”

Kaitlyn looked at her, sadness in her eyes, and nodded. Seth shot her a glance, and she nodded to him, saying later with her eyes.

***

Karen and Tex were still in the embrace they fell asleep in earlier, facing each other. Karen woke, feeling the sweat between them, and rolled onto her back. Tex stirred, his eyes fluttering open.

“Wow, we stayed together the whole time, didn’t we?” Tex asked. “I’m all sweaty where I was pressed against you.”

“This thing has an air conditioner, right?” Karen asked.

“Yeah, two, one for the bedroom and one for the salon. The thermostat for the bedroom is by the door there, see it?”

She looked, then nodded, catching his eyes on her breasts when she looked back. “Oh, you like, huh?”

“You know I do,” Tex said. “Is it okay for me to look, or does it bother you?”

“I guess you can look,” she said. “You’ve earned that much. I’ll give you more of a show. I’m going to the bathroom. Can I turn on the air conditioner?”

“Of course,” he said, watching her climb out of bed. She turned on the air conditioner, and it started up quickly.

“Wow, it’s loud,” she said.

“Sorry,” Tex said.

“Maybe that’s a good thing,” she said as she slipped out to the bathroom.

What did she mean by that? Tex’s mind went to them, coupling with passion, his eyes glassed over when she returned. The sight of her made him moan.

“You’re in quite a state,” she said as she went back under the sheet.

“I think I’d better hit the bathroom too,” he said, getting up, his back to her to hide his condition.

“Turn around,” she said. “You got to see me.”

“I’m in a state you might not be ready for,” he said.

“Oh, please,” she said. “You were in that state quite a bit while you were asleep, by the way.”

“Oh,” he said, sheepishly. He turned towards her as he maneuvered around the bed to the door.

“Wow, impressive,” she said, half a smile on her face.

“No Texas comments,” he said. She giggled, and he chuckled as he left the room, rushing to get back. She was lying on her side, head propped up on her hand and elbow, grinning at him.

“Looks like you’re back to normal.”

“Around you it isn’t really that normal,” Tex said.

“My, but aren’t we talking naughty now,” Karen said, watching as he went to his side of the bed. “Maybe I spoke too soon.”

“Stop it,” he said, shooting her an embarrassed glance.

“What time is it?”

Tex picked his phone off the ledge next to his side of the bed. “Almost ten pm,” he said. “I think our nap might have messed with our sleeping patterns a little.”

“It’ll be okay,” she said, turning on her back. “That air conditioner is cooling the room down nicely.”

“Getting too cold?”

“No, not at all,” she said. “It feels good. And besides, we need the noise.”

“What?” Tex asked.

She rolled her eyes, then pulled at him. He got the message and rolled towards her, moving his upper torso against her.

“C’mon, move closer,” she whispered.

“I’m…you know.”

“I would hope so,” she said, reaching for his hip and pulling. He groaned as he moved against her. “Wow. You’re back and then some.”

“Sorry,” he said, starting to move away.

“Stop!” she said, pulling him back. He groaned again.

“You’re torturing me,” Tex said, half a smile showing. She looked at him, a loving smile on her face. Tex trembled at the sight of it. “Haven’t seen that look from you before.”

She looked him in the eyes, then took his hand and put it on her breast. “You don’t have to be that way anymore.” He rolled closer, kissing her gently, his whole body alive, his senses at the max.

“How long will that air conditioner run?” she asked.

“Depends,” he said. “What’d you set it at?”

“Sixty-six,” she said.

He chuckled. “It’ll run for a while.”

“Good,” she said.

“Why?”

“I get noisy,” she said, pulling him over herself.

The passion grew quickly between them, and they were together, riding the waves, beside themselves as they rose and fell, Karen screaming and crying out. Tex focused on her face, amazed and so much in love. Then they settled down, laying on their sides facing each other, silent for a time.

“Told you I get loud,” she said, her eyes misty.

“My God, woman,” Tex said, caressing the back of her head as he went in for a kiss.

“Was it worth the waiting? Worth all the dramatics?”

He chuckled. “I’m so much in love with you that I can hardly stand it.”

“I know,” she said. “I’ve known that for a while. I’m sorry it takes me so long.”

“So long?” Tex asked. “I’m the one that should be apologizing. I’ve been hounding you since the moment I met you.”

“Yes, but in a nice way,” she said. “I was so angry when we met. You pushed past it. You pushed me past it.”

“When did you decide?” Tex asked.

“Decide what? That I’d let you take me?”

“No, that I was okay. That I was safe.”

She smiled, a calmness showing on her face that was new to him. “That’s not what you really want to know.”

“What do you think I really want to know?”

“When I fell in love with you,” she said, eyes dancing with his.

“You don’t have to say that yet.”

“You did,” she said.

“I know,” he said, “but it has to happen naturally. Without pressure.”

Her eyes teared up more, and she reached up to pet his cheek. “Okay, cards on the table. I knew I was in love with you last night. When I offered myself to you and you wouldn’t do it.”

“Oh,” he said. “I was hoping. I felt like you were close.”

“So, you calculated a little in turning me down?” she asked.

Tex smiled. “No, it was after that. It was your reaction when I admitted that I loved you.”

“Okay, I could see that,” she said, more tears coming. “I cried. Geez, it’s so obvious. I’m such a dope. I should’ve told you then and there.”

“You weren’t ready,” he said. “It happened when it was supposed to happen.”

“Yes, it did,” she said.

“We can get up for a while if you want,” Tex said.

“No way,” she said. “We’re not done yet.”

They kissed again.

***

“You hungry?” Jules asked, sitting up in bed next to Shelly.

“I guess we’ve worked up a good appetite,” she said. “What did you have in mind?”

“There was peach cobbler,” he said. “In kitchen fridge. You like, no?”

“Oh, yeah, I like,” she said. “Should we go get some and bring it back, or just eat it there?”

“Maybe eat there,” Jules said. “Mind?”

“No, not at all,” she said. “We need a break anyway. We’ve been making love on and off since this afternoon.”

“Sore?”

“I should be,” she said. “You know why I’m not.”

“Oh,” Jules said. “Sorry. I wish that never happen.”

“I know, sweetie, but I’m a survivor. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Jules smiled. “That one of Ivan’s favorite sayings.”

“Will I ever meet him?”

“Almost certainly,” he said, getting out of bed. He pulled on his clothes, and picked up his phone. “Message. Didn’t even hear it come in.”

“Gee, I wonder why,” Shelly said as she dressed, her face turning red.

Jules shot her a sidelong glance, then focused on his phone. “Oops, it Ivan.”

“Call him back,” Shelly said.

“Let’s wait until we get to kitchen,” Jules said.

“Somebody’s got a sweet tooth,” she said.

“Maybe little. Let’s go.”

They finished getting ready and left the coach, stepping out into the crisp night air.

“Northern California is always cooler than I expect,” Shelly said, pulling him closer as they walked.

“Warm compared to home,” Jules said.

“You want to go back there?”

“Back to Belgium?” he asked. “Spend time there, spend more time here. This new home. I run business with team who reside both here and there.”

They walked into the house and stepped into the kitchen. Jules opened the fridge.

“Still there?” she asked.

“Yep.” He pulled out the large glass baking pan and set it on the counter, then removed the foil covering it. “Look. Enough for us, no?”

“I think so,” she said, looking at it. “If you want me to keep this figure, don’t feed me this stuff too often.”

He chuckled, looking for silverware in the drawers. Shelly went to the cupboard and took down two small plates. They split what was left and took it to the table.

“Mmmmm, this is good,” Shelly said after a bite.

“Yes, good,” Jules said. “I call Ivan, put on speaker, okay?”

“Sure,” Shelly said.

Jules hit the contact and put the phone on the table, hitting the speaker button.

Ivan picked up. “About time.”

“Sorry, boss, I was otherwise occupied. I’m with Shelly in the kitchen of the groundkeeper’s house. What going on?”

“Oh, with your milkmaid again, huh? Getting anywhere?”

Shelly giggled. “Yes, he got somewhere.”

“Oh, my my,” Ivan said. “Congrats to you both. I’ll be waiting for Wedding invitations.”

“One step at a time,” Shelly said.

Ivan chuckled. “Well, I’m happy for both of you, however serious this is. Now on to business. I have good news. General Hogan’s team has given us the prototype of the apps we were talking about.”

“No, really?” Jules asked. “Why they do that? They finish?”

“Very close. We still have to keep it to leadership team, though, okay?”

“I understand,” Jules said.

“Who’s on the leadership team now?” Ivan asked.

“Sparky, Tex, Ted, and me,” Jules said.

“Want me to leave the room?” Shelly asked.

“Put her on the leadership team,” Ivan said. “Anybody who can put up with you deserves it.”

Jules laughed. Shelly shook her head. “I’ll bet you two are a riot at a party.”

“You’ll find out, when this is over,” Ivan said.

“What next?” Jules asked.

“I send link to each phone. Have Shelly call me so I get her number.”

“Yes, I do,” Jules said, his mouth a little too full of food.

“You guys are eating? Kinda late, isn’t it?”

“There was some left-over peach cobbler,” Shelly said. “Sorry.”

“I’ll bet it was Jules’s idea,” Ivan said. “He always did have a sweet tooth.”

Jules’s phone dinged. “I got link.”

“Good, follow it, download, and install, and I’ll walk you through what it does. Then you can show the others.”

“Downloading now,” Jules said. He took his last bite of cobbler. “This good, wish more left.”

“You have to watch your figure too, you know,” Shelly said.

“Belgians,” Ivan said. “No wonder they’re famous for chocolate.”

“Downloaded. Installing app number one now,” Jules said, watching his screen.

“This is going to make our operations a lot safer, isn’t it?” Shelly asked.

“Yes, it will give us an enormous advantage,” Ivan said. “But we must avoid letting the enemy know about this, at all costs. That’s why we’re keeping it to the leadership team.”

“Does Ji-Ho get this?” Jules asked.

“Yes, he got it earlier today. Same situation. Leadership team only.”

“Can we tell the others that we have it?” Shelly asked.

“Yes, but they can’t have it on their phones. Soon, but not yet.”

“Any word on General Hogan?” Jules asked.

“There’s an operation happening to get him out in a couple days,” Ivan said. “Keep your fingers crossed.”

“I do,” Jules said. “Second app done.”

“Great, then open the first app.”

Jules tapped the tile, and the app opened. “Map show up.”

“If there are enemy fighters within about half a mile, you will get buzzed, and the display will show their location.”

“Wow,” Shelly said.

“Nobody close now,” Jules said.

“Yes, and that’s good,” Ivan said. “This app can be used even where there is no cell coverage. It works peer to peer with the enemy RFID chips.”

“Wow,” Jules said. “They can’t sneak up anymore.”

“That’s right,” Ivan said.

“How do we know this really works?” Shelly asked. “Since nothing will show up?”

“Let’s check the long-range app,” Ivan said. “Load it.”

Jules tapped that app, and it loaded, taking a little longer than the short-range app. “Okay, it up.”

“Expand the map, just like you would do with the normal map application. Go to San Jose.”

Jules did that, and his eyes got wide. “Whoa.”

Shelly got close and looked. “My God, there’s so many that they just look like a blob on the screen.”

“That first target area,” Ivan said. “Mertins Electronics factory. They’ve been making the RFID chips.”

Jules snickered. “Are you kidding? The enemy chips are made in America?”

“You got it,” Ivan said. “One of your Belgian buddies did it.”

“Daan Mertins,” Jules said, a look of disgust on his face. “That man’s whole family has been a disaster for Europe, going back hundreds of years.”

“He’ll get his,” Ivan said. “We’re going in on three sides to hit this factory. Then we move on to another pocket. Move the map towards San Francisco. Make it wider. Expand to show the entire Bay Area.”

“Wow,” Shelly said. “Daly City. Palo Alto. Oakland.”

“Not many in San Francisco,” Jules said.

“Not in the city itself,” Ivan said. “Look at Sacramento. That’s the other big hive of enemy activity.”

Jules moved to that part of the map. “More here than Bay Area. We hit next?”

“Yes,” Ivan said. “Remember focus, though. You don’t try to kill all yourself, you make big show for recruitment. Don’t get killed trying to destroy any single target. Do you understand? We couple with more of my TV appearances. Just like LA Area and Orange County.”

“Yes,” Jules said.

“One other thing,” Ivan said. “There are three locations we know of where women are being held as sex slaves. I think your team is uniquely qualified to liberate them. Do you agree?”

Jules looked at Shelly, who shook her head yes, terror in her eyes.

“Yes, we agree,” Jules said.

“Think about it and get back to me after you’ve talked to the others. The rescue missions will be the most dangerous jobs you will take on.”

“Okay, I discuss, but I think we fine with it.”

“Damn straight,” Shelly said, resolve showing on her face. She put her hand on Jules’s.

“Okay, that’s all I have for tonight. Remember to have Shelly call my phone. Also be ready in the morning to work with team leadership. Take vote on liberation missions. Call me when you’re done. Conference call with the leadership, including Shelly. Got me?”

“Yes, I got,” Jules said. “Thank you.”

“Talk to you soon, old friend.”

The call ended. Jules set his phone on the table and took a deep breath.

“Wow,” Shelly said.

“Look,” Jules said, showing the phone screen to Shelly.

“My God, is that Washington DC?”

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “This why we wait for wide release. Need names of traitors before they can get rid of RFID chips and hide.”

“Can we win this?” Shelly asked.

“Yes, we can win,” Jules said. “Ready to go home?”

“I’m ready,” Shelly said, getting out of her chair. Jules picked up the plates and put them into the sink, and they left the house, heading into the night air, holding hands, fingers intertwined.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 6 – Citizen Vengeance – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Horror Road Book 4 – the latest in the series is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 4 – Texas Battle Cry is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 3 – Republic in Peril is now available in the Kindle store!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 2 – The New Republic is now available in the Kindle Store. Pick up your copy of this exciting thriller today!

 

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!

 

Please visit and like my author page on Facebook!

 

Here’s the series that started it all! Bug Out! Pick up your copy of book 1 for just 99 cents in the Kindle Store!

 

Horror Road – A Supernatural Thriller! Available now in the Kindle Store

 

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.

Bugout! Part 95 – Prisoner

Erica and Sam left the house. Ji-Ho had tipped them off on the RFID apps. They ate a hearty dinner, and made plans to load up phones for the leadership team the next morning. Ji-Ho gave them a battle wagon, and showed them how to use the weapons systems.

“What color is it again?” Erica asked.

“White,” Sam said. “It’s the one on the end, furthest from the house.”

“Who had it before?” Erica asked.

“It was used in the battle by three of Garrett’s people. It’s never been lived in.”

“They didn’t want to keep it?”

Sam chuckled. “No, they want to be on horseback. Can’t say that I blame them, given their skills and tools.”

“Yeah, I could see that, I guess. Not sure how I’ll feel about fighting in one of these things.”

They got to the coach, Sam reaching up to open the door. He held it as Erica climbed the steps. She giggled. “Smells like black powder in here.”

“We’ll open the windows and air it out,” Sam said as he got inside. He shut the screen, then went to the windows and opened all of them. “Glad Ji-Ho got us trained.”

“We really have to go into siege mode at night?”

“We can still get out,” Sam said. “It will improve the headroom in the living room and bedroom, too.”

“Okay,” Erica said. “Can we set it up now?”

“Ready to settle in already, huh?”

She laughed. “We’ve been on the trail for several days, and we haven’t slept for a long time. First, I just want to sleep. Then I’m going to keep you occupied for a while. You okay with that?”

“Yes, mam,” Sam said. He got behind the wheel and flipped the switches to set up siege mode. Erica went into the bedroom to check it out. Sam joined her after a few minutes. She had just turned down the covers on the bed, and was unbuttoning her shirt.

“You are in a hurry,” Sam said, coming up behind her, his hands going around her waist, pulling her against himself.

“Sleep first, remember?” she said.

“Oh, all right,” Sam said, faking disappointment.

She snickered. “You probably couldn’t even perform. We’ve been up for over thirty-six hours.”

Sam let her go, and turned her around to face him. “How did this happen?”

“What?”

“How did we become so close so fast?” Sam asked.

“You mean how did you fall for me?”

Sam chuckled as he got undressed. “Maybe I’d better keep my mouth shut.”

“Oh no you don’t,” Erica said.

“Look, it’s not what I wanted, or what I expected,” Sam said. “It just happened.”

Erica finished undressing. Sam looked at her, sucking in air as he feasted his eyes.

“Put your eyes back into their sockets and get into bed,” she said.

He tossed his clothes into the corner of the room and got under the covers, moving towards her. “This feels nice.”

“It does,” she said. “Not that I don’t enjoy camping.”

“You aren’t surprised at all about this, are you?” Sam asked.

She rolled on her side, facing him. “No, I wasn’t surprised. I knew from the moment I saw you.”

“Oh, please,” Sam said. “Really?”

“Really,” she said, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “You look so tired.”

“It’s hitting me pretty hard now that we’re in a nice soft bed.”

“When are you going to tell me about this dream you had?” Erica asked. “After that you changed. You decided that I was going to be your woman.”

“What? I didn’t say that. I’ll admit that I like you a lot, but we’ve got a ways to go in our relationship. We’ve just barely met.”

“Uh huh. What was the dream about? Your wife was in it. You said her name.”

“It doesn’t mean anything,” Sam said, his eyes starting to tear up.

“Then why are you on the verge of crying?” She paused, looking at him. “Don’t worry about it now. Let’s sleep for a while.” She turned, facing away from him. “Cuddle up, okay? I need you close.”

Sam moved against her, his body trembling slightly.

“You’re crying,” Erica whispered.

“Sorry,” he said. “I’ll be okay in a minute.”

“Sam,” she said softly. “I’m sorry I pushed. Let’s sleep, okay? We’ll sort this out when we’ve rested.”

Sam was silent for a moment. “Dammit.”

“What’s the matter?” Erica asked, turning back towards him.

“I can’t sleep now.”

“Yes you can,” she said.

He searched her eyes for a moment, then kissed her forehead.

“Connie told me it was okay,” Sam whispered.

“That’s what I figured.”

“She said you are the mother of my children,” Sam said. “I can’t believe I told you that. It was just a dream.”

“Oh, God,” Erica said, moving closer to him. “Guess we aren’t going to sleep right away. She moved over him, kissing him hard, her hands reaching for him. They made love urgently but quietly, and then fell asleep in each other’s arms.

***

Ji-Ho woke when the short-range app buzzed. It was about six in the morning. “No, not already,” he muttered to himself. He looked at the screen. There were three icons approaching the east side of the property. He expanded the view in a panic, looking for more hits. There was nothing. Then he sent a text to Trevor and Seth.

Three enemy fighters on east side of property.

They both replied a few seconds later. Then Ji-Ho did a broadcast text, and got out of bed. He slipped on his clothes, grabbed his M-16, and slipped out the door. Seth, Kaitlyn, Trevor, and Kaylee were outside his rig. He showed them the phone after refreshing it.

“Let’s go get them,” Trevor whispered.

“Yeah,” Kaitlyn said.

The two couples checked their magazines, then rushed forward in a crouch, Ji-Ho following. A shot rang out, chipping the bark on a tree just right of Ji-Ho’s head.

“Uncle, get down,” Kaylee yelled. Kaitlyn and Trevor took off running towards the enemy position, weaving in and out of cover as more shots rang out. Kaylee and Seth fired into the bushes where the enemy was, and one of them screamed in agony. Then there was a rustle and the two other fighters bolted, running for the highway, Kaitlyn and Trevor right on their tails. Kaylee and Seth took off after them, Seth shooting the wounded Islamist in the head as they went by the bushes where he hid. They caught up with Kaitlyn and Trevor.

“I think we lost them,” Trevor said, looking down the highway. “They probably went across the road and back on the trail they followed to get here.”

“Text your uncle,” Seth said. “Ask him where they went. He can use the app.”

“Okay,” Kaylee said, sending the text. It came back after a few seconds.

“What’d he say?” Trevor asked.

“Across the road, down toward a river bed. It leads right back to the trail that the tribe came from. He’ll be here in a minute. We should wait, and let him guide us.”

“Wonder if there’s more around?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Uncle said no,” Kaylee said.

Ji-Ho rushed across the street. “They make good time. Here, take phone, I can’t keep up with you kids.” He handed it to Kaylee. “Code is your father’s birthday.”

Kaylee looked at him and nodded, and the two couples took off, across the road and into the dense foliage where the river bed was, Kaylee refreshing the screen every minute or two.

“They stopped,” Kaylee whispered. “About fifty yards ahead, to the left of the river bed.”

They snuck to the area, staying under cover. There was the sound of a magazine being pulled from a gun and put back.

“Hear that?” Trevor whispered. “They’re almost out of ammo.”

Kaitlyn smiled. “Let’s go get them.”

Trevor nodded, Seth glancing at her, worry in his eyes. “Don’t get shot.”

She gave a thumb up and took off, AK-47 in hand, Trevor with his Winchester. A shot rang out, and both dived for cover.

“I saw where that came from,” Seth said, aiming his Winchester. He fired, and there was screaming in Arabic, then silence.

“Where is he?” Seth asked Kaylee.

“Same place,” Kaylee said. “He thinks he’s hidden.”

Trevor moved forward to the clump of bushes. There was a moan from the fallen Islamist. Trevor shot him in the head, and then somebody threw an AK-47 on the ground.

“Don’t shoot, please,” shouted somebody.

“Come out,” Kaitlyn said. “Keep your hands where we can see them.”

A figure appeared, just a teenager, eyes filled with horror, hands in the air.

“You got a handgun?” Trevor asked, Winchester pointed at him. He shook his head no, then looked down at the ground. Trevor looked at Seth and Kaitlyn. “Cover me while I frisk him.”

He approached as the others watched, rifles aimed at the trembling boy. Trevor frisked him quickly. “He’s clean. Let’s take him back to the base.”

Seth and Trevor grabbed him, one on each arm, and they led him to the road, then across, where Ji-Ho was hiding.

“Why not kill?” Ji-Ho asked.

“He surrendered,” Trevor said. “We should question him.”

The boy shot a worried glance at Ji-Ho, then looked back at Trevor. “I’ll talk.”

They brought him back to the Williams place, and took him into the parlor. Seth and Trevor sat him down on an antique love seat and pointed their guns at his head. Ji-Ho stayed outside and sent a text to Trevor.

Don’t tell him about the apps.

Trevor sent a reply, which Ji-Ho read. Then he sent a broadcast text telling everybody that they had a prisoner in the house.

Trevor looked at Seth, then back at the prisoner. Kaylee and Kaitlyn sat on chairs on either side of the door, guns in their hands.

“What were you guys doing?” Trevor asked.

“We survived the battle on the trail,” he said. “We were looking for a way to get back to the base.”

“Which base?” Seth asked. “Where’s it located?”

“El Cajon,” he said.

“That’s a long way,” Seth said. “How did you figure on getting back there?”

“We were looking for a car to steal,” the prisoner said. “We saw vehicles here. We didn’t know this was your base. I swear.”

“You’re English is good,” Trevor said. “Where are you from?”

“I was here on a college visa when the war started,” he said.

“You joined them, after you knew about this country?” Seth asked.

“Drones killed my family in Iraq,” he said. “I got mad and joined. I regretted it almost immediately.”

“Why?” Seth asked.

He looked up at Seth and Trevor, shame in his eyes. “Rape and murder. Terror. This isn’t good. Making sex slaves out of young girls isn’t good.”

“Why did you stay?” Trevor asked.

He shook his head. “Once you’re in, you can’t just quit. They’ll kill you. Happened to two of my friends.”

“What does your army plan to do next?” Trevor asked.

“Get rid of you guys, so we can go back to our main task.”

“And what was that?” Seth asked.

“Rebuild the supply depots along I-8, so the rest of our force can use it to come into El Cajon.”

“What then?” Seth asked.

“Attack the military bases in San Diego, with help from the UN and certain parts of the US Army,” he said.

“The US Army is going to work with you guys?” Trevor asked.

“They have been all along,” the prisoner said. “Some of them, at least. The ones who aren’t working with General Walker and General Hogan.”

“You know about them?”

“I know a lot about computers. I usually work intel. When you guys cut off Highway 94 and ruined a bunch of our supply depots, we got low on fighters. They forced me into the battle along the trail.”

Trevor sent a quick text to Ji-Ho.

This guy is valuable. We should keep him.

He got a return after a few seconds.

Garrett on way into house. I tell, so he doesn’t just kill.

Trevor showed the phone screen to Seth, who nodded.

“Are you willing to cooperate?” Seth asked.

“I’ll tell you what I know,” he said. “I’m done with those guys. I hate them all. They’re perverting our religion, and living by the flesh as they kill those they say are non-believers.”

Garrett burst into the room, pistol in his hand. “Prisoner, huh?”

“Yeah,” Trevor said. “He’s agreed to cooperate.”

“Well, is that a fact?” Garrett asked, pulling a chair away from the desk and sitting down. “That true, heathen?”

The prisoner nodded yes slowly.

“Cat got your tongue?” Garrett asked.

“No sir,” the prisoner said.

“What’s your name, heathen?”

“Hasan,” he said, his voice trembling.

“Well, Hasan, what can you help us with?” Garrett asked.

“I worked intel for the Caliphate,” he said. “I saw a lot of stuff.”

“I’ll just bet you did,” Garrett said. Seth and Trevor shot each other a glance.

“How are you guys finding out where we are all the time?” Trevor asked.

“Originally, we used cellphones,” Hasan said. “That doesn’t work so well anymore. Somebody on your side figured out how to get around it.”

“Somebody in California?” Seth asked.

“No, somebody in Texas, and it spread around from there. Now all we have is satellite imagery, and we’ve lost some key contacts for that.”

“What are the longer-term plans?” Trevor asked. “After you get I-8 opened up again, and attack San Diego?”

“They want to re-open the route on I-8 and attack San Diego, huh?” Garrett asked. “You’d have to move thousands of cretins into this area to take on the Navy base. You know that, right?”

“Do you have any idea how many fighters for the Caliphate are in the US and Mexico?” Hasan asked.

“Please enlighten us,” Garrett said.

“Right around six hundred thousand,” Hasan said. “With more on the way.”

“Does that include the UN thugs?” Seth asked.

Hasan shook his head. “Those guys couldn’t do the job in California, thanks largely to your boss.”

“Our boss?” Trevor asked.

“Ivan the Butcher,” Hasan said. “You guys are allied with him. We know that.”

“Some of us are,” Garrett said. “Some of us have never had any contact with him.”

“Those crazy motor homes you have come from Ivan,” Hasan said.

“How do you know that?” Trevor asked.

“Intel,” Hasan said.

“We need to keep this guy,” Garrett said.

“Like I said, I’ll cooperate,” Hasan said. “If you’ll do me a favor.”

“A favor?” Seth asked.

“Do you have any medical staff?” Hasan asked.

“Why, got a hang nail?” Garrett asked.

Trevor shot him a glance, and he nodded to go ahead.

“We have a registered nurse here,” Kaitlyn said. “My mom.”

“That would do it,” Hasan said.

“What do you need?” Trevor asked.

“I’ve got an RFID chip in my right triceps,” he said. “It’s how the Caliphate tracks its fighters. If I’m gonna stay with you, I’d like it taken out. This is something you’ll need to do anyway, because my leadership can see wherever I am if the chip is in me.”

“You’re chipped like livestock?” Garrett asked, grinning.

“Exactly,” Hasan said. “It’s a genius move. You didn’t know we had RFID chips?”

“No,” Trevor said. “Do all of your fighters have RFID chips?”

“All of our personnel have chips,” Hasan said. “All the way up the chain of command.”

“Holy crap,” Garrett said. “Let’s go have a brief powwow. I’ll put a couple of my men in here to watch the prisoner.”

“Can you guarantee that Hasan won’t get accidently shot?” Seth asked.

Garrett chuckled. “I’ll tell them not to. If Hasan doesn’t try anything, he’ll be fine.”

“I’m okay with that,” Trevor said.

“Me too,” Hasan said.

Garrett nodded, and slipped out of the room. Two of his men came in, both with 1873 Winchesters, wearing double six-guns. Garrett stuck his head in the door and motioned for the others to follow him out.

“I’ll stay here if you want,” Kaylee said.

“Fine with me,” Trevor said. Garrett’s men nodded in agreement.

Ji-Ho was standing outside the room with Garrett. The others joined them.

“This guy is valuable,” Garrett said.

“I agree,” Trevor said.

“Yeah,” Seth said. “We can’t slip about the RFID chips around him.”

“Agreed,” Trevor said.

“Are we going to remove his chip?” Kaitlyn asked.

“I think we should,” Seth said. “We might be able to turn this guy completely, you know.”

“You mean use him as a double agent?” Trevor asked. “Send him back to the enemy?”

“We can’t,” Ji-Ho said. “Not if we remove chip, and we must if we keep him around more than day or two.”

“Crap, you’re right,” Trevor said. “He does want out of that org, and he might still have access to some of their systems, you know.”

“Yep, if his chip disappears, they’ll probably write him off as dead,” Seth said.

“You guys okay with my mom doing this?” Kaitlyn asked.

“Do we have the stuff we need to do it?” Seth asked.

“Yes, the tribe has stuff,” Kaitlyn said. “Anesthetics, and things to keep him from getting infected, at least.”

“I say we do, and do quickly,” Ji-Ho said. “We should get other bodies and burn, so chips disappear.”

“I’ll go get my mom,” Kaitlyn said. She rushed for the stairs and climbed them.

“I think we can get this guy to join our team,” Trevor said.

“You sure about that?” Garrett asked. “Once we get the chip out of him, what’s to stop him from taking off?”

“We keep locked up for now,” Ji-Ho said. “See how he cooperates. Treat him with respect. Treat him like team member under house arrest.”

“He said there’s six-hundred thousand Islamists in the USA and Mexico,” Seth said.

“I believe,” Ji-Ho said. “I know Saladin. Only way he do this is if he has good odds. That many men good odds.”

Kaitlyn came back down the stairs, Anna following her.

“I asked her,” Kaitlyn said. “She’s okay with it.”

“Where should we do it?” Trevor asked.

“We could lay him on the kitchen counter,” Anna said. “That big island would work. We can get that granite clean enough.”

“Okay, let’s get to work,” Trevor said.

“Thanks, mom,” Kaitlyn said.

Anna nodded. They went into the parlor to get Hasan.

“Hi, I’m a registered nurse,” Anna said, moving forward and shaking hands with Hasan. “I can do the procedure. We have what we need.”

Hasan looked relieved. “Thank you. When you’re done, we need to burn the chip. I’d do that with the two men I was with, too.”

“Agreed,” Garrett said.

They escorted him out of the room.

To be continued…

 

The Plan – How the Bugout! War Started is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 7 – Flood of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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Bug Out! Texas Book 5 – Wave of Patriots – next in the series is now available in the Kindle store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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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!

 

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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