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?”
“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…
Bug Out! Texas has just been published in the Kindle Store! This is the story of Texas Patriots and their struggle against enemies, foreign and domestic, during the Bug Out! War. Chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance. Pick up your copy of Bug Out! Texas Book 1 today!
The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”
Copyright Robert Boren 2017