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…


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