Bugout! California Part 120 – Meeting at Minus 4

“The engine turns over, but at least one of the motor mounts is toast,” Cody said, getting out of the driver’s seat.”

“So, what does that mean?” Allison asked.

“It means we blow it up and catch a ride with somebody else,” Cody said. “Grab your belongings.”

She nodded, and they went into the bedroom to grab their stuff, racing out the door with it.

“Not road-worthy?” Tex asked.

“Nope,” Cody said. “Broken motor mount.”

“There’s some explosives in my rig,” Tex said.

“There’s some in here, too, in the middle storage compartment. Perfect placement. We should grab the ammo and mortar rounds out and use those to blow her.”

“I’ll help you,” Tex said. They got to work. Morgan approached Allison.

“Put your stuff in our rig,” Morgan said.

“Okay,” Allison said.

“Think Cody is up to driving? Robbie’s a mess.”

“Probably,” she said. “I know how to drive these rigs too.”

“Good,” Morgan said, walking with her. They entered the coach.

“Where’s Robbie?”

“He took off walking with Stacey and Justin,” Morgan said.

“Were they all old friends?”

“Justin was part of Robbie and Gil’s group,” Morgan said. “Stacey was on the fringe of that group. He worked with Robbie at Ted’s restaurant.”

“Oh,” Allison said. She stashed the possessions in the cabinet above the pull-out queen bed towards the front of the salon. “This okay?”

“Sure,” Morgan said. “This is horrible.”

“It was a successful mission,” Allison said. “We’re going to lose people. We’ve been lucky so far, but that won’t last forever.”

“Wonder how much this damaged the enemy?” Morgan asked.

“Good question,” Allison said. “The enemy had a much worse night than we did. You see any of the news reports?”

“Yeah, before the battle started.”

They heard diesels starting up.

“Dammit,” Morgan said. “I hope the boys get back here fast. We need to split.”

“Want to go find them?” Allison asked.

“Okay…wait, here they come.”

“Good,” Allison said.

Cody poked his head in the door. “We need to leave. Fire up the engine.”

“I’ll do it,” Robbie said, walking up behind him with Justin and Stacey.”

“I’m going back to my rig,” Stacey said. “Take care, man. We’ll talk later.”

“See you soon,” Justin said, walking to his rig. Katie rushed out to meet him, throwing her arms around him.

Robbie nodded, then climbed the steps and got behind the wheel. He fired up the engine, and then shook for a moment as the tears came back.

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry,” Morgan said, hugging him as he sat in the seat.

“I can’t believe he’s gone,” Robbie said.

“You want Cody to drive?”

“No, I can handle it,” Robbie said. Allison stepped out for a minute, then came back.

“We need to move this down the road a little so Tex and Cody can blow our rig.”

“You got it,” Robbie said, shaking himself out of it. Allison sat on the couch as Robbie backed up, watching his mirrors. When he was far enough away from the line of trees, he made a sweeping turn back to the road and got on, going as far as the first clearing. The two coaches that were there already had moved onto the road. Jules and Ted’s coaches came up behind him, beeping the horn for everybody to move further away.

“Hope we don’t have problems getting out of here,” Morgan said.

“Me too,” Robbie said. “It bothers me that Ivan didn’t know about those tanks. There could be more waiting for us before we get to the highway.”

“Hope not,” Allison said.

The line of coaches stopped and waited. After a moment there was a huge explosion, lighting the sky behind them, catching the nearby trees on fire. There was a knock on the door. Allison opened it and Cody rushed in.

“Let’s get out of here,” he said.

“You want him to drive?” Morgan asked Robbie.

“No, I’d rather drive. It will keep my mind off things.”

“Hey, dude, if you need me to take over, just say the word,” Cody said. “So sorry about Gil and Tisha.”

“I know, thanks,” Robbie said. “Glad you guys survived. Could’ve been different.”

“Tell me about it,” Allison said.

The coaches rolled down the dark road like a long train. Robbie’s eyes darted to the sides and the mirrors often, half expecting to see a tank’s cannon pointing at them.

“Do we know where we’re going?” Allison asked.

Cody shook his head no. “Not yet, but we’ll hear from Jules soon, I’m sure.”

They rode silently for a while through the winding dark road, heading for Highway 4.

“We need to know which way to turn when we get to the highway,” Robbie said.

“Want me to send a text to Jules?” Morgan asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said.

She pulled out her phone, and it dinged with a text message, along with the other phones in the rig.

“There it is,” Cody said. “Get on Highway 4 going east. We’re taking I-5 north after that.

“They’re moving us up to Sacramento already,” Robbie said. “I’m surprised. Thought we had a lot more to do around the Bay Area.”

“Maybe not, after the patriots started their rebellion, and the enemy bases got abandoned,” Morgan said. “Wonder what happened to the women they were holding?”

“Nothing on the news about bodies so far,” Allison said. “Hope they’re okay.”

“There’s the highway,” Robbie said, making a right turn onto it. He sped up, and they were off.

***

Saladin was in the elevator with three of his men and two of Daan Mertin’s guards, heading below ground, enduring a tense silence. The doors opened into a basement hallway with gray cement walls and plumbing running along the ceiling.

“This facility is four levels deep,” Saladin said. “What is its purpose?”

Daan’s guards looked back at him silently.

“You can’t speak to me?” Saladin asked as they walked out the hallway towards the left.

“Answer the question, infidel,” one of Saladin’s guards spat. Saladin shot him an angry glare, and the man looked down, like a child scolded by his father.

The first guard opened a door on the left side of the hallway and walked inside. The second guard held the door waiting for Saladin and his party to walk in. He pulled the door shut and stood next to it just inside as the others walked down the short hallway to another door. It opened when they got there.

“Saladin, how are you?” Daan asked, extending his hand. Saladin took it reluctantly, half a smile on his face.

“Nice rabbit hole,” Saladin said.

“How’s your caves at Capitol Reef?” Daan asked, smiling.

Saladin chuckled. “I guess we both deserve that, don’t we? I’m sorry, my friend. We need to work together.”

“Don’t say bury the hatchet,” Daan said. “Come, I’ve got food lined up for us. Only the best.”

Saladin’s men and Daan’s guard looked at each other with relief and sat in chairs by the door as their bosses went into the next room, which was lavishly furnished, not a hint of gray cement or plumbing anywhere to mar the effect.

“I wasn’t able to contact you on the way here,” Saladin said. “I had others telling me you couldn’t be reached. What happened?”

“Minor problem,” Daan said. “Some of Ivan’s people took out our communications facility in Nortonville. We’re back to normal cell phones now. Use the old numbers.”

“Those aren’t secure,” Saladin said.

“That’s okay, we own the system now,” Daan said. “Hell, we’re running the whole state, at least from an infrastructure standpoint.”

“It appears you’re losing control, from the news reports I’ve seen. The UN is ready to pull out completely unless their safety can be guaranteed.”

“Tell me something I don’t already know,” Daan said. “We are working to get control of the Bay Area back, and we’re making some progress in east San Diego County as well. Once we have these areas shored up, we can consolidate our power in the other areas. We must have the pipeline of fighters reopened in San Diego county. That is the most important piece right now.”

“I agree. You don’t have enough forces, even if the UN stays. We need that supply line re-opened along I-8.”

“Yes,” Daan said, “and don’t worry about the UN. They’ll stay and increase their forces. If they don’t, my counterparts in Belgium will pull their funding. They’re having a real problem since the US Government became unreliable.”

“What happened to the counter-demonstration program?” Saladin asked. “I saw a news report that the main hub of that activity got taken out last night.”

“UC Santa Cruz,” Daan said. “Yes, it got hit by reactionaries last night. Most of it was burned to the ground. That wasn’t our only facility. We have several other campuses that are up and running. Real progress takes time, though. It’s a long-term effort.”

“Hope you did something about Dean Wilson,” Saladin said.

“He’s underwater, somewhere between San Francisco and Alcatraz,” Daan said.

“You never got the professors back, did you?”

“No,” Daan said, “not that it matters. Ivan has no reason to hold them at this point, but he will just out of spite. We know one of them is already dead for sure.’

“Yes, I saw the video. Ivan is entertaining, I’ll give him that.”

“I wasn’t entertained,” Daan said, “but no matter. We did hurt him last night.”

“Oh, really? How?”

“We took out two of those ridiculous battle wagons he has, and killed one of the crews,” Daan said.

“You can’t track them now, though, can you?”

“Since our satellite access has been cut off, we really needed that communications center. We’re limping along now, but we don’t have the capabilities that we need, until we can replace that center.”

Saladin laughed. “Don’t tell me, let me guess. You haven’t been able to track the remaining motor homes after the battle last night, and now you have no idea where they are.”

“We still have video cameras up all over the state,” Daan said, his smile starting to crack away.

“But you haven’t seen them yet, have you? They might be right outside this facility.”

“I wish they were,” Daan said. “Let’s not get back into old habits. We’ve got real problems to solve, and if we can’t work together on them, we’re gonna lose. Is that what you want?”

“I’ve got so many sleepers in this country now that we’ll never lose completely,” Saladin said. “We could just lay low, bide our time, make the infidel think they’ve won, and then start up our attacks again.”

“The leadership in Belgium will never sit still for that. They’ll cut your funding and stop your operations. The enemy might expose your forces eventually, you know, without any help from EU leadership.”

“The chips?” Saladin asked. “They have to break them first.”

“Rumor has it they’re well on the way to that. I personally think they’ve already broken them, based on some of the attacks Ivan has made.”

“That’s not possible,” Saladin said.

“Actually, it’s very possible, and it’s partly your fault,” Daan said.

“I thought we were going to work together,” Saladin said. “Now you’re blaming your own failures on me.”

“We need to be honest with each other, without the testosterone getting in the way,” Daan said. “We’ve both been outsmarted repeatedly by General Hogan and General Walker. We need to get better.”

“We killed Walker, remember?” Saladin asked.

Daan chuckled. “You participated in his sacrifice, by which he saved the real prize.”

“Oh, that again,” Saladin said. “You really think some retired IT executive is going to be our undoing?”

Daan sighed and sat down, picking up a phone on the table next to him. “Bring in the food.” He put the phone on the receiver and motioned for Saladin to sit next to him.

“What?”

“We need to have a long detailed chat, so we might as well eat and be comfortable.”

The door in the back of the room opened, and a man in a chef’s outfit pushed a cart in, stopping at a table and unloading the covered silver trays. He lit burners under some of them, and then pushed the cart back outside.

“We’ll eat in a second, but I want to finish a point,” Daan said.

“Go ahead,” Saladin said. “I’ll try to keep my testosterone in check.”

They smiled at each other for a moment, Daan looking like he didn’t want to talk. He looked down, then looked back up at Saladin. “There’s something about Frank Johnson that I never mentioned to you.”

“Uh oh. I’m not going to like this, am I?”

“No,” Daan said. “Frank Johnson designed the system that were using for the RFID chips.”

“What?” Saladin asked, eyes widening. “When were you going to tell me this?”

“I hoped never,” Daan said. “I expected your forces to make short work of Walker and Hogan’s operations. I didn’t think Frank would have enough time to work the issues.”

“If he understands the system, how much work is really involved?” Saladin asked.

“Quite a lot, actually,” Daan said. “He has to break the encryption, for one thing, just to get access to the signal. Then he must break more encryption to get to the payload of the message. Then he has to hack into our systems and steal some data on our personnel.”

Saladin was silent for a moment. “You think he’s done it, don’t you?”

“I suspect he’s getting close,” Daan said. “It’s possible that Ivan and a few people in Hogan’s command have just gotten lucky.”

“There’s no such thing as luck,” Saladin said.

“Yes, there actually is,” Daan said, “but luck doesn’t happen repeatedly.”

“I need to run the hunt for Frank Johnson personally,” Saladin said, looking down for a moment. “That’ll take me out of California. We think they’re in Colorado right now.”

“There’s two other problems,” Daan said.

“Okay, what are they?”

“First, we need you to run the forces in East San Diego county. The leadership there is poor. They need to be whipped into shape, so they can be successful in opening I-8 to traffic again.”

“As I said earlier, I agree with that. I’ll go there after this, but what about the Bay Area? Ivan is giving you a hard time.”

“We have a new shipment of UN Peacekeepers on the way, to populate a new base in Davis. Once they’re here, we’ll make short work of Ivan’s troublesome little band.”

“Ivan is more than troublesome. I saw the news reports. The people up here are rebelling, just like they did in LA and Orange Counties. He’s a master at stirring them up.”

“I’m planning a surge with these UN forces, and remember one important thing.”

“What’s that?” Saladin asked.

“UN Peacekeepers don’t have RFID chips,” Daan said.

Saladin was quiet for a moment, thinking. “I’ve still got roughly sixty thousand of my people up here. I need to take them south with me to work the southern problem.”

“That would be my suggestion,” Daan said.

“Consider it done,” Saladin said. “I’ll give the orders tonight. Was that the two problems?”

“No, that was only the first problem,” Daan said.

“Go ahead.”

“I’ve gotten intelligence on the southwest team,” Daan said.

“From whom? Is this just another rumor?”

“No, I don’t think so,” Daan said, face grim.

“Well, are you going to tell me?”

“George Franklin has joined Hogan’s team. He’s with Frank Johnson right now.”

Saladin froze. “What?”

“You heard me,” Daan said. “I know of your history.”

Saladin sat back, thinking, a smile washing over his face. “I broke him, you know. Turned him into a babbling idiot.”

“He’s recovered,” Daan said, “and he’s got a crazy friend.”

“What crazy friend?”

“Malcolm Davis,” Daan said. “Ever hear of him?”

“No,” Saladin said.

“I suggest you do some research on both of those guys, because when you’re done in San Diego County, they are your next task. We need Frank Johnson dead. You’ll have to get through those two guys to do it.”

“Give me a preview at least,” Saladin said.

“Come, let’s get our food, and we can continue talking.”

Saladin nodded, and they got up, walking towards the food table. They filled plates and sat at a large table in the middle of the room, covered with an ornate tablecloth with fancy place settings.

“This is exquisite,” Saladin said after taking a bite of lamb.

“Glad you like it,” Daan said.

“So how do you know that George Franklin has recovered? Intelligence?”

“No, it wasn’t a recent development. He’s been back for a few years.”

“How are you so sure?” Saladin asked.

“He and Malcolm have been busy. They took out Jason Beckler and Sadie Evans, and then took on a guy named Sailor Boy. Then they had a tussle with the family of Red Dagger.”

“I have heard of these people,” Saladin said, “American serial killers, correct?”

“Yes,” Daan said.

“This is not like war,” Saladin said. “I can defeat police.”

Daan looked at him for a moment, making Saladin uncomfortable.

“You think George Franklin will kill me,” Saladin said, setting his silverware down.

“I didn’t say that,” Daan said, “but you’d better not take this lightly. I mean it. We may have our differences, but we need each other. If either of us are lost, the operation in the western US is over. The eastern US will fall as well.”

“Where did you get this intelligence?” Saladin asked.

“One of the militia groups, formerly based in Williams, Arizona.”

“I don’t trust them,” Saladin said. “We’ll just have to fight them after this war is over.”

“I agree, but that is a discussion for later,” Daan said.

The door burst open, one of Daan’s lieutenants rushing in.

“What is it, Stephan?” Daan asked.

“Ivan the Butcher is on TV again. Would you like the screen turned on?”

Daan and Saladin glanced at each other, then Daan looked back at Stephan. “That won’t be necessary.”

To be continued…

 

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The first of my full length novels has been published in the Amazon Kindle store, available now. For those of you have have been readying the Bugout! series, the story involves George and Malcolm, and is set about seven years earlier. This book R rated, instead of the PG-13 of the Bugout! Series, so be warned. Here’s the link to “Never A Loose End”

 

 

Copyright Robert Boren 2017

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Bugout! California Part 119 – Black Smoke

Ryan drove the hovercraft over the fire road, eyes darting between the road and the fuel gauge. Quarter tank. He scanned the sides of the road for red paint behind the brush. His repair job on the hovercraft was holding together. It purred along, smooth as silk. “I could get used to this,” he said to himself.

There they were. Two red jerry cans, behind the bushes, near a curve to the right. He shut down the engine, the craft sinking to the ground, and climbed out, rushing to the cans, taking them one at a time due to his wounded shoulder. The hovercraft’s tank took all of one can and half of the second. He put both cans into the back seat and got in, starting the engine and driving forward, a dull ache in his shoulder after wrestling the cans up to the filler on the side of the craft.

After cruising along for another half hour, he rounded a curve by a rock outcropping, and there were a multitude of men on horseback before him. He spun the craft in the other direction, almost going off the cliff, shutting down the engine so it would lower onto the skids. He could hear the horses whinny, and the men trying to calm them down. Garrett walked forward, holding his horse’s reins.

“Well that was interesting,” he said. “So glad to see you’re all right.”

“Hi, Garrett,” Ryan said. “Sorry about that. No brakes on these things. Figures we’d meet someplace like this.”

“How’s that shoulder?”

“I think the bullet when clean through,” Ryan said. “The Jeep kept going down the road past where we were trying to fix this thing. Oh, and my M60 is up the small ridge to the north of the road. I couldn’t take it and get down. Didn’t want to chuck it off the cliff.”

“We’ll look for it,” he said. “Here.” He grabbed a few water bottles out of his saddlebag and tossed them into the back seat of the craft. “That ought to hold you. Got enough gas left to get back?”

“Yeah, I think so,” Ryan said. “I could go with you guys if you need me to.”

“No, you get back to base,” Garrett said. “No sense in getting that wound infected. I’ll get the horses off to the side so you can pass. The terrain is a little rough on one side of this road, and there’s a cliff on the other. Not great.”

He turned and walked towards the rest of the men, and then a shot rang out, hitting the top of his hat, blowing it down the cliff. He hit the dirt, Ryan getting onto the ground behind the hovercraft.

“Shit, they followed me,” Ryan shouted.

Men started rushing forward with Winchesters, getting into position. One of them handed a gun to Ryan, and he cocked it and aimed.

“Where the hell are they?” Garrett asked. “That was my favorite hat. I’m gonna kill somebody for that.”

One of Garrett’s men chuckled.

“Fan out, guys, but keep your heads down.”

“The only place they could be is on that ridge over there,” Ryan said, pointing down the road. “Passed it about three hundred yards back.”

“I figured,” Garrett said. “Jamie, get that mortar out. Let’s give them a bad day.”

“It might just be one or two guys,” one of the other men said.

“You think one or two guys is gonna take a potshot at a hundred men?” Garrett asked.

“They did a good job of following me,” Ryan said. “They’ve got a vehicle of some kind.”

“Maybe more than one, boss,” Jamie said, bringing out the mortar. They placed it just around the curve, setting the range. Another cowboy brought over a crate of mortar rounds.

“Let’em have it,” Garrett said. Jamie smiled as he dropped a round into the tube. It popped and flew, landing behind the ridge about fifty yards. He made a fast adjustment and hit them again, this time setting off secondary explosions.

“Pay dirt,” Garrett said. “Let’s get down the road. They’ll try to run that way. Jamie, keep up the pressure.”

“You got it, boss,” he said, firing another round. Then there was a barrage of automatic fire coming at them. Ryan nodded at the hill, Garrett looking and seeing the enemy snipers up there. They both started firing with Winchesters, the sulfur smell and black-powder smoke rising. More gunfire came at them, but the first sniper rolled down the hill, shot in the shoulder, screaming in pain.

“C’mon, men, this way,” Garrett said, rounding the rock outcropping on the curve, then dropping, firing at men who were racing away on the road. Some of them returned fire wildly in a panic, only to be answered by about forty shots from the cowboy’s long guns, most of them dropping, a couple falling off the cliff on the side of the road. Mortar rounds continued to pelt the area as the cowboys rushed forward. Then Ryan saw the yellow Jeep.

“Hey, that’s our Jeep!”

“See it,” Garrett said, firing, hitting the rear tire, the vehicle going out of control and hitting the dirt wall on the left side of the road. More UN Peacekeepers rushed out of their hiding place on that side of the road and ran away, the cowboys closer now, filling the air with smoke and flying lead.

“Maybe Zac and Bradley were with them,” Ryan said, heading down the road with the rest of the cowboys. He got to the Jeep and looked inside. The back was empty, except for a lot of blood.

“They dragged somebody out of the back,” Garrett said, face grim. “Look at the blood streaks there. Still liquid.”

“Dammit, we probably killed them during the battle,” Ryan said, tears streaming down his face has he raced towards the back side of the ridge. There were bodies lying everywhere, some in several pieces. Then he saw it. Pieces of Zac, and some of Bradley’s clothing. He looked away quickly. Garrett got there, looking at the carnage, then turning away.

“One of them was hand cuffed to the ammo box that exploded,” he said. “Probably both of them.”

“Should we move ahead, boss?” one of the cowboys asked. “They didn’t all come in that Jeep. They’re probably driving away in trucks.”

Garrett thought about it for a moment, looking down, then looking at his men. “No, we go back to base. We can’t see these guys on our apps. They might have a much larger force waiting for us. We know where their main base is. We need to concentrate on taking that out, instead of splitting up our forces and chasing ghosts out here.”

“I agree,” Ryan said, wiping the tears from his eyes. He gingerly picked up what belongings of Zac and Bradley he could find, and then followed the cowboys back to the hovercraft and the horses. They headed for home, Ryan in the lead, but moving slowly to keep together with the rest of the men.

***

Ted was driving, straining to see out in the darkness, as they snaked their way along Nortonville Road.

“Spooky out here,” Haley said, pushing her blonde hair back on her head. Stacey was behind them, standing, looking out the windshield. Brianna was on the couch, watching him.

“Don’t fall down, Stacey. Maybe you should come sit by me.”

“In a minute,” Stacey said, turning to look at her, one hand on the back of the passenger seat. “I’m a little antsy.”

“I’m flat out scared,” Brianna said. “Sit next to me. Please?”

“Okay.” He settled next to her on the couch. “Don’t worry.”

“We’re going into battle,” she whispered. “I always worry. We’ll be brave when it’s time, though. We always are.”

“Yes, we always are,” he said, kissing her forehead. She nuzzled next to him. “I’m glad we’re together.”

“Me too,” Brianna said.

“There’s that last turn,” Haley said to Ted. “Black Diamond Trail. Wish we could go in with no headlights.”

“I don’t see any buildings around here,” Ted said.

“Did Jules say we were looking for buildings?” Haley asked. “I never heard him say that.”

“He didn’t,” Ted said. “This road looks smaller and darker than the last one.” He made the left turn onto Black Diamond Trail and slowed down. “Look, there. I see a glow.” He turned off the headlights and slowed down more.

“Sure that’s a good idea?” Haley asked. “Don’t run us into a hole.”

“It’ll be fine,” he said. Their phones all buzzed.

“Getting close,” Stacey said.

“How can they not know we’re on the way?” Brianna asked.

“Ivan says they didn’t chase us past the freeways,” Haley said. “They’ve got to shore up their control. Patriots are hitting check points up here, just like we did in SoCal.”

“You were dozing when that call went on,” Stacey said.

“Oh,” she said, “Sorry. Where are the patriots operating?”

“Concord, Antioch, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, San Jose, Palo Alto, San Mateo, and San Francisco. Oh, and the Santa Cruz campus has been over run and is now on fire.”

“Geez,” Brianna said. “We’re going to win, aren’t we?”

“They’ll counter-attack,” Ted said. “You can count on that. Trust me.”

“There’s the clearing Jules was talking about,” Haley said.

“That’s only the first one. We’re going to the furthest one down. We’re going to surround these folks.”

“That’s probably the second clearing,” Haley said as they slowly rounded a curve.

“Yep, that should be number two,” Ted said. “See that road? That’s the access road for the communications installation.”

“I can’t believe they don’t have video cameras protecting the area,” Stacey said.

“They might,” Ted said. “Nothing much they can do. We’re here. We’ll take out that facility in about ten minutes, and there’s nobody they can get here to help them.”

“How many people are here?” Haley asked.

“According to Ivan, less than twenty. We’re here to take out the equipment.”

“That’s what the app is telling me,” Brianna said.

“Why so few, if this is such an important installation?” Stacey asked.

“To lessen the chances that one of us gets inside and spills the beans,” Ted said. “Of course, somebody did.”

“He’s not there now, I hope?” Brianna asked.

She’s not working tonight,” Ted said. “She’ll be missing when they try to find her tomorrow.”

Haley snickered.

“There’s our spot,” Ted said, slowly pulling off the road.

Who else is gonna be here with us?” Haley asked.

“Jules and Sparky,” Ted said. “Not sure about the rest. There’ll be three in the middle clearing and two in the first one.”

He drove forward to the line of trees, the glow of the installation visible.

“Don’t turn on any lights,” Ted said. “And keep down the noise.”

“You don’t think they heard the rig?”

“They might have,” Ted said. “We’re going into siege mode in a sec. I want to wait until Jules gets here.”

They sat silently, seeing a large dark hulk rolling towards them after about ten minutes.

“There they are,” Haley said.

Their phones all dinged with a broadcast text message. Stacey was already looking at his phone, and pulled it up. “Don’t go into siege mode until we get the signal, just in case they don’t know we’re out here yet.”

“I can’t believe they don’t know,” Haley said. “It’s quiet up here.”

“Wish we could see in there better,” Ted said. “Hey, use the sight for the forward and rear machine gun. That’s got night vision, remember?”

“Oh, yeah,” Haley said. She pulled the console out from the passenger side dash and aimed the reticle at the glow. “Hell, those aren’t buildings. They look like big storage containers.”

“They use those to fly drones out of, sometimes,” Ted said.

“The roofs are covered with dishes and other kinds of antennas,” Haley said, moving the reticle around. There’s a few cars parked outside, but I don’t see any guards walking around.”

“The metal on those containers is thick,” Stacey said. “Can we shoot through it?”

“The mini-guns probably can,” Ted said. “Don’t know if these grenades are strong enough or not.”

“We can always hit the antennas on top first,” Stacey said

“I suspect Jules will send us some instructions before we start,” Ted said. Haley looked at him, the lines in his face showing concern.

“You’re worried,” she said softly.

“This was too easy to approach,” he said. “Something doesn’t smell right.”

“What could they have?” Haley asked.

“I don’t know,” Ted said. “Maybe a lot of UN troops. Maybe some better hardware that we don’t know about.”

Another text message came through.

“Fire up siege mode,” Haley said, watching her phone screen.

Ted nodded, flipping a couple switches above his head. The metal plates slid into place, the sound of the motors seeming way too loud. Then there was another noise outside.

“Hear that?” Haley asked. “Squeaking.”

“I hear it,” Stacey said, rushing to the side window, trying to see what it was.

“Dammit, we might have to get out of this thing fast,” Ted said. “That sounds like a tank.”

“It’s getting closer,” Haley said, her eyes showing terror.

“There’s more than one,” Ted said. “Listen.”

“Hey, man, there are two tanks coming towards the middle clearing, where the road was,” Stacey said. “No, three.”

Ted’s phone rang. He looked at it. “Jules.” He put it on speaker and set it on the center console. “Are those tanks, Jules?”

“Yes,” he said. “TOW missiles in my storage compartment. They don’t see us yet. Going to middle clearing. I see through trees. Let’s get out before they attack and set up TOW launcher.”

“You got it,” Ted said, racing for the door, Stacey following. He turned. “If things get hot, fire at those communications buildings, then get the hell out of this death-trap.”

The women nodded as the two men left the coach, meeting Jules. He already had the TOW missile launcher out of the storage compartment, and was rushing towards the right side of the clearing, nearest where the tanks were. Then there was an ear-shattering explosion as the main gun of one of the tanks fired, hitting a battle wagon, pushing it several feet forward, fire coming out of the rear end.

“Dammit!” Jules said, struggling to get the tripod set up with Sparky. The tank fired again, blowing the battle wagon sky high. Another of the rigs in that clearing fired back at the tanks. The other battle wagons unloaded on the communications installation at once, the storage containers exploding in flames.

“That tank is pointing at another battle wagon,” Ted said. He slid a missile into the tube, as Jules looked through the sight. He pulled the trigger. There was a flash, and the tank blew up, spreading fire and metal all over the scene. The turret on the second tank turned towards them, aiming as Ted shoved another missile into the tube.

“Get women out of rigs,” Jules shouted as he fired another shot, hitting the second tank broadside, stopping it from moving, a small fire breaking out underneath. The turret continued turning towards them as Stacey ran to their rig, telling Haley and Brianna to flee. They took off, joining Shelly and Dana who Sparky had just warned. Jules fired again, hitting the turret just in time, blowing it off the top of the tank, a secondary explosion shattering the vehicle.

“There’s still one more,” Ted said, rushing over with another missile. The third tank fired, hitting a second battle wagon, knocking the rear top off, the mini gun breaking into pieces which rained down around the broken rig. Jules fired again, hitting the tank in the turret, stopping it. Two men tried to get out of the top hatch, a battle wagon cutting them in half with fire from its mini-gun. Then there was silence.

“My God,” Ted said. “How did Ivan miss this?”

“Not know,” Jules said. “Who we lose?”

“Gil and Tisha,” Stacey said, tears in his eyes. “Don’t know about the second one.”

“People may be alive in second one,” Jules said. “Come. Let’s look.”

“No, you stay here with that TOW missile launcher, and load it up again,” Sparky said. “We’ll go. We have no idea if that was all the tanks or not.”

Ted nodded in agreement, and they ran to the middle clearing. Shelly rushed over to Jules with Dana, Haley and Brianna joining them.

“My God,” Shelly said, hugging Jules for a moment. “Are you expecting more?”

“Not know,” Jules said. “Watch. We take out if more.”

“Some of our people got killed,” Brianna said. “Where’s Stacey?”

“He go with Sparky and Ted to check,” Jules said.

Automatic fire started up from the wreckage of the communications installation, several battle wagons firing more grenades into the scene, two of the mini guns firing up too.

“Get down,” Jules said.

After a few seconds Sparky and Ted came back.

“Where’s Stacey?” Brianna asked, a horrified look on her face.

“He’s comforting Robbie,” Ted said. “Gil bought it. That was his best friend.”

“No,” Haley said. “No no no.”

“What happened with other coach?” Jules asked.

“Cody and Allison,” Sparky said. “They’re both fine, but the mini-gun is toast. Coach probably still drives.”

“We blow up here if not, and take them away,” Jules said. He was on the verge of breaking down.

“You were right,” Haley said, hugging Ted.

“What right?” Jules asked.

“Ted said something wasn’t right,” she said.

Tex ran over with Karen, Justin, and Katie. “You okay, partner?” Tex asked.

“I fine,” Jules said.

“Damn good thing you had those missiles, or we’d all be dead right now,” Justin said.

The others nodded.

“We just checked out the communications center,” Tex said. “It’s toast. Completely destroyed.”

“What kind of tanks were those?” Justin asked.

“M-60 battle tanks,” Ted said. “Guess the California National Guard had a few.”

“Anybody follow the tracks to make sure there aren’t more?”

“Cody and Allison are doing that now,” Tex said. “We better get the hell out of here.”

“Yes, we leave. Cody rig drivable?”

“I think so, but it can’t defend itself,” Tex said.

“It’s still got the grenade launcher, and the front and rear guns,” Justin said.

“We check out. If not work, we leave it. Blow it up. Understand?”

“Yes, Jules, we got it,” Tex said. He trotted back to the middle clearing with the others.

 

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 2 – Resistance has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 118 – Mechanic

Ryan struggled with the tourniquet, holding one end with his good hand and the other in his teeth, pulling it as hard as he could. He couldn’t see the Jeep anymore, but made note of the direction. He was sweating like crazy, the hot sun beating down on him with no mercy. Can I make it back down? He started, using his feet and one hand, the bullet wound in his shoulder now just a dull ache.

Down. Slip a few feet. Grab. Slow down. Slip a little more. He was exhausted when he hit the bottom, looking around for a shady spot to rest. Nothing. He was thirsty, and remembered the water bottle he had in the bottom pocket of his cargo shorts. He pulled it out. Only a third left. He took a small sip and put it away, then got up and walked to the road. There was shade under the hovercraft, which was still propped up. He sat under it for a few minutes, catching his breath as he cooled down slightly, noticing the parts and tools on the sand where the Jeep had been. Can I fix this thing? He turned towards the spot where the transfer case attached. The bad one was already off. Four studs were there. He looked around on the ground. The four nuts were sitting next to him. Can I lift the new one? He got out from under the hovercraft and walked to the pile of parts and tools, picking up the transfer case. It was heavy, but he could lift it with is good arm. He wrestled it over to the Hovercraft, dreading the point where he had to pick it up and fit the splined shaft and the holes for the nuts against the bottom of the engine. Here goes.

He lifted it, his shoulder burning with pain as he made a shove, losing his grip, the heavy transfer case falling onto the ground beside him. He picked it up, rotating the shaft so the splines would align closer with the mounting holes, and then tried again, his shoulder going numb. The part slipped in. He scrunched up so his good shoulder was holding it in place, the sharp angles of the transfer case biting into his skin. The first bolt. Once that’s on, the others will be easy. He reached for it, feeling the transfer case slip down slightly when he moved, grabbing the nut in a panic, twisting it on the closest bolt, getting a few threads engaged, then turning it harder, getting it as tight as he could with his fingers. He was right, the other three were easy. He had them all finger tight, then looked at the pile of tools, seeing the wrench. He couldn’t reach it, so he crawled out from under the craft, into the blaring sun again, picking up the tool, dropping it as it burned his hand, then grabbing it again and tossing it into the shade under the propped-up vehicle. He looked at the tools, picked out a couple more he thought he might need, and tossed them into the shade too, then crawled back underneath. Water. He took out the bottle and had a sip, then put it in the shade next to him. The wrench was cool enough to hold now, so he tightened the four bolts, stopping when the hovercraft started to shift on the angle iron pieces that were propping it up.

Propeller. He glanced around. It was sitting in front of the hovercraft. He could reach it from underneath, and pulled it into the shade, letting it cool for a few minutes. His phone dinged. He pulled it out and looked. It was from Ed.

Posse on the way. Stay put.

Ryan typed a reply. No, hovercraft almost fixed. Not enough water left to wait for horses.

Ed sent a reply. If you leave, will you remember which way they were taken?

Ryan typed Yes and went back to work.

The propeller was cool enough now. He lifted it into place and then remembered that he needed the nuts to fasten it. He started searching, finding them under the front of the hovercraft, realizing that his crawling around almost buried them in the sand. He picked them up, then lifted the propeller again and got all the nuts started, then tightened them down.

“Now, will it start?” he asked himself, sliding out from the shade and looking at the angle irons. He moved one, and the hovercraft shifted, creaking as the frame twisted. Dammit. Slow down. Think. He took another drink of water, eyeing the amount left with worry.

He positioned himself between the angle irons, trying to reach both, his wounded shoulder burning with pain. He could just do it, and started rocking back and forth, working the pieces out slowly, the hovercraft finally falling down onto its skids. “Good thing this is sandy,” he said to himself as he looked at it. “Wonder how much gas I have?”

His phone dinged again. He looked at it. Ed. Big water jug rolled down hill. Was at least half-full. Check. He walked to the edge of the road and looked down. The clear plastic jug was there, caught by some brush, but it wasn’t an easy climb. Loose rocks and sand, then a steeper drop to the river bed about twenty feet below. Not enough to kill him, but enough to hurt him badly. Wait. That chain. He turned, looking for it, seeing it still attached to the back end of the hovercraft. He hobbled over to it and undid the bolt holding it on. Too short. Dammit. I need to get out of here. He tossed the tools into the back of the craft, and noticed another half-full bottle of water on the floor in front of the back seat, but it was only a small bottle. He reached for it, putting it in the cup holder next to the driver’s seat, then climbed in and started the engine. It started easily, settling into a purring idle. Gas. The gauge said half a tank. Ed always left cans along the way. Did he take this road the whole way out? Hopefully. The cans were red. Easy to spot. What if the enemy got them? He shrugged, then engaged the clutch for the bottom propeller, the hovercraft lifting off the ground. He pushed the throttle forward and drove towards home.

***

Ed sent a message to Tyler from his bed. He arrived in a few minutes.

“What’s up?” he asked as he sat down in a chair by the bed.

“Ryan got the hovercraft fixed,” Ed said, his expression showing a mixture of pride and worry.

“What? How?”

“The cretins must have thrown the parts and the tools out of the Jeep to make room,” Ed said. “Or Zac and Bradley were a lot further along when they got snatched than I was thinking.”

“He texted you about this?”

“Yep,” Ed said. “He replied about it when I texted him to stay put.”

Tyler chuckled. “Sounds like Ryan. How are we gonna figure out where to start with the posse?”

“He said he knows which way they went,” Ed said.

“Maybe we should text him now and get the information, just in case.”

“He won’t hear it,” Ed said. “That hovercraft is loud. I usually wear ear plugs now. It was taking too much of a toll.”

“Crap, I don’t like this,” Tyler said.

There was a knock on the door.

“Come on,” Ed said. The door opened, Anna and Garrett walking in.

“We’re just about ready to take off,” Garrett said. “Think a hundred men is enough?”

“You probably won’t catch them,” Ed said. “They have a Jeep and a head start.”

“Jeeps leave tracks,” Garrett said. “Unlike that hovercraft of yours. We’ll at least figure out the general direction. Anything on Ryan?”

“That’s what we were just talking about,” Tyler said. “He got the hovercraft running again. He’s on his way back here.”

“Good,” Garrett said. “Hope he’s not going in the same direction as the enemy. He’ll erase the tracks.”

“He’s not,” Ed said. “I’m sure of it.”

“How?” Garrett asked.

“I just am,” Ed said. “Trust me on this.”

“Okay,” Garrett said.

“He’s gonna run out of gas before he gets here, isn’t he?” Anna asked.

“No, he knows that I stash gas cans along the way,” Ed said. “He’ll find the first of them before he’s down to a quarter of a tank. Hope he was able to get that water jug.”

“That went down the side of the hill, didn’t it?” Tyler asked.

“Yeah,” Ed said. “There was a little in another bottle, on the floor in the back seat. Hopefully it’s still there.”

“All right, I’m leaving,” Garrett said. “Wish me luck.”

“Thanks,” Ed said. “Good luck.”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “Wish I was going with you.”

“Better that you don’t,” Garrett said. “They’re liable to hit us here or at Dodge City.”

“I know,” Tyler said. He watched as Anna and Garrett went out hand in hand, then turned back to Ed.

“Those two will marry,” Ed said quietly.

“She’s still married, remember?” Tyler asked.

“That’s over,” Ed said. “I’m happy about this, by the way.”

“I know, I am too, both for them and for us.”

“Yes,” Ed said. “It will cement our peoples together.”

***

Jules looked at his phone as Sparky drove the battle wagon down Ygnacio Valley Road, a smile washing over his face. “Front of roadblock under attack with small force, most held in reserve. Diversion.”

“Where do we turn?” Sparky asked.

“Meadow Lane,” Shelly said. “It’s coming up fast. Follow that around and get on the northbound 680 going the wrong way. They’re about to have a very bad day.”

“This fun,” Jules said.

“Don’t get overconfident,” Sparky said. “This could go a lot of ways.”

“I not,” Jules said. “We need to run this by numbers. They have several Gaz Tigrs. Take them first, before they get off shots.”

“There’s Meadow Lane,” Sparky said, making a left turn. “Another deserted street.”

“Hope we don’t run into any checkpoints,” Dana said. Jules snickered.

“It won’t be good for them if do,” Jules said.

“I can see three battle wagons behind us,” Sparky said, watching his rear-view mirrors. “No, four.”

“Rest be along soon,” Jules said, watching the texts flow on his phone. “Good firefight going on in front of roadblock. They bring in chopper. Our folks shoot down.”

“Now I see six back there,” Sparky said. “That’s all of us.”

“Excellent,” Jules said. “Slow down so they get close. We need united front when we get on road.”

“Will they be able to see us?” Shelly asked.

“If they look, yes,” Jules said. “Right now they worried about what’s to south, not what’s to north.”

“Listen,” Dana said. “Automatic fire.”

“Yeah, there’s a lot of smoke, too,” Shelly said. “Off to the side of the road.”

“Probably the chopper,” Sparky said, taking the final curve before the freeway on-ramp.

“Raise guns right before we go up off-ramp,” Jules said. “I text others with same.”

“Yeah, we need to be ready to fire,” Dana said. “This isn’t just UN folks. I see Islamist hits up there with them. They aren’t hiding the fact they’re together anymore, are they?”

“Yes and no,” Jules said. “They got exposed by Ivan’s TV show.”

“We’re gonna need to be careful where we fire these mini-guns,” Sparky said. “We don’t want to kill our own people on the other side of their position.”

“Yes, use mini-guns for Gaz Tigrs, grenades for UN Vans and the roadblock itself.” Jules said. “I text that. Thanks.”

“There’s the off-ramp,” Sparky said, making the turn and raising the mini-gun and the grenade launcher as the massive coach climbed the ramp.

“I can see them,” Shelly said, looking out the windshield. “Four hundred yards, give or take.

“The Gaz Tigrs see us,” Dana said.

“On it,” Sparky said, opening fire, hitting one and then a second one. Then another coach was next to them, firing at the other two, stopping both of them. Grenades began flying, hitting the UN Vans as the enemy ran for cover, some trying to jump off the elevated freeway.

“That’s too far to jump,” Shelly said, watching them.

“Use front machine guns,” Jules said. She nodded, eye on the reticle, sweeping lead into the mass of panicked UN Peacekeepers and Islamists as more of the battle wagons got up onto the road and joined in.

Jules laughed. “Look! They run.”

“Watch the back,” Dana said, looking at the console that Shelly was using. “More vehicles getting on behind us. Better fire.”

“I’ll hit our folks,” Shelly said. They could hear bullets hitting the armor and the rear of the coach, then explosions and mini-gun fire behind them.

“That’s Tex,” Jules said, smiling. “and Robbie.”

“Maybe we ought to have a few assets placed there to guard our retreat,” Sparky said.

“Look, enemy done,” Jules said. “Our forces rushing forward. Turn around. We take this road. I text others.”

Sparky nodded and made a wide turn, the other coaches following his lead, and soon they were all racing up the freeway.

“Should I keep the guns out?” Sparky asked.

“Yes, do,” Jules said, watching his phone. “Good thing that Islamists are joining with UN. We can see. Another group on way to road, closer to Concord. We blast. More Ivan people on way too.”

“How are we gonna hide when this is over?” Shelly asked.

“We on attack, not retreat,” Jules said. “Ivan have trap set. Follow road. Changes to 242. Then take Highway 4 west. I guide from there.”

“Hope you guys know what you’re doing,” Sparky said. “They’re probably watching us with satellite right now.”

“Nope,” Jules said. “Same people who help Ivan with TV broadcast jam satellite. Planes grounded too. US Airforce help.”

“They’re not on the side of the Feds?” Dana asked.

“No, not,” Jules said. “Feds don’t know yet. They get education.”

“We’re gonna hit a roadblock,” Shelly said. “I can see the Islamists moving around up ahead. Right after the road changes to 242.”

“They probably be gone before we get there, but if not, we blast,” Jules said.

“We’ll find out quick,” Sparky said. “The sign for 242 says two miles.”

“This is scary as hell,” Dana said.

“It be okay,” Jules said.

“Yeah, honey, we’ll do fine,” Sparky said.

Shelly laughed. “Those Islamists are fleeing to the west. Somebody’s chasing them.”

“You see? I say, no?” Jules said.

“Look, they didn’t even get the barricades set up,” Sparky said.

“Stop! Tack strips,” Dana shouted.

“Son of a bitch!” Sparky yelled, slamming on the breaks, tires screeching. The other coaches got the message and stopped too. Jules grabbed one of the M60s. “I go.”

“Me too,” Sparky said.

“No, you stay behind the wheel,” Shelly said. “I’ll go.” She picked up her M-16 and followed Jules out the door. Machinegun fire started up, and they both hit the dirt.

“Dammit,’ Shelly said. “See where it’s coming from?” They heard the motor of the mini gun turning, then the gun fired, sweeping along the edge of the road to screams in Arabic.

“C’mon,” Jules shouted. They ran over to the tack strip, grabbing it and pulling it out of the way of the vehicles, tossing it over the side. Jules looked over the edge, seeing a group of Islamists running in their direction from below, and opened fire with the M60, mowing down the first row and causing the others to flee in a panic.

Coaches started rolling past the spot where the tack strip was.

“Jules, let’s go now!” Shelly cried.

He nodded and they ran back to the coach, getting safely inside.

“Hit it!” Jules said. Sparky hit the gas and they rolled forward, following the last of the coaches through the area.

“No more hits up ahead,” Dana said, “so if there’s more action coming, it’ll just be the UN.”

“Thanks for saving us, Dana,” Jules said. “We are in your debt.”

She nodded, looking scared but happy.

“There’s the turnoff for Highway 4,” Sparky said, following the other coaches on the transition.

“I sent text to watch for strips,” Jules said. “Who in lead?”

“Ted’s rig, I think,” Sparky said. “At least he was the first one to continue on after you pulled the strip out of the way. We should’ve kept that, you know.”

“Too much bother,” Jules said. “Thought about.”

They drove along, everybody watching out either the windshield or a side window. Highway 4 wove its way through residential areas. Jules sent a text with directions for their next location, then walked over to Sparky.

“Get off at Railroad Avenue coming southwest. Follow as turn to Kirker Pass Road. Then take Nortonville Road.”

“What the hell is out there?” Sparky asked.

“Nortonville, and large enemy base,” Jules said. “Action not over yet. Girls, help me reload weapons.”

Sparky gripped the wheel, eyes on the vehicles in front of him, their weapons still out. “Hey Jules, how about the weapons? In or out?”

“Out,” Jules said. “Everybody know. We not care now. On offensive.”

“What’s the target?” Shelly asked.

“Main communications facility,” Jules said. “We shut down, blind whole operation.”

“They’ve got their communications way out here?” Sparky asked.

Jules chuckled. “They think safe. Maybe not so much, no?”

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 2 – Resistance has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 117 – Foster

Zac, Bradley, and Ryan cruised down the dusty road in their Jeep, the back filled with replacement parts for Ed’s hovercraft.

“Should be just around this bend,” Zac said from behind the wheel.

“Watch the apps,” Ryan said, looking around nervously, M-60 across his lap in the back seat.

“Nobody around,” Bradley said. “I think we chased them away from this area.”

“I don’t,” Ryan said, his brow furrowed, eyes squinting as he scanned the hills on either side. They rounded a big rock outcropping, and there was the hovercraft, stuck on the downside of a berm to the right of the road.

“It’s gonna take all three of us to wrestle that sucker back onto flat ground,” Zac said as he parked.

“We could hook it to the Jeep and pull it up,” Bradley said, climbing out of the passenger seat. Ryan jumped out of the back, Zac getting out of the driver’s seat. They walked to the hovercraft, Zac looking underneath in the morning sun.

“Starting to get hot,” Bradley said.

“Seriously,” Zac said, getting back up. “I think the skids will protect the bottom well enough if we tow it up. Need to move a couple of those rocks, though.”

“On it,” Bradley said, lifting the bowling-ball sized rocks away from the front of the hovercraft, as Zac got behind the wheel of the Jeep.

“I’ll help,” Ryan said.

They worked for a couple minutes.

“Okay, we’re clear,” Bradley said, dusting his hands off against each other. He stood with Ryan and watched Zac back up to the edge of the road. Then Bradley pulled the chain out of the back, attaching an end onto the Jeep’s rear hook as Ryan pulled the other end towards the hovercraft. He got down on his hands and knees and looked underneath. “We need a big bolt or something to attach this.”

“Got something,” Zac said. He rushed from the driver’s seat to the back and opened the floor compartment, pulling out a large bolt with washers and a nut on it.

“That’ll work,” Ryan said, smiling as Zac walked over. He used it to fasten the chain, then rushed back to the driver’s seat.

“Watch for me,” Zac said. He started the engine and moved forward slowly, the Jeep in 2L four-wheel drive. The hovercraft moved when the chain got taut, sliding up the dirt and onto the road.

“Hold it,” Bradley said.

Zac shut down the engine and joined the others.

“We’re gonna have to prop this up,” Ryan said.

Bradley smiled. “That’s what the angle iron is for. We’ll prop it up like a lean-to so we can get to the busted transfer case.”

The three men struggled to get the hovercraft propped up.

“That’s stable enough,” Zac said.

“You guys need me here?” Ryan asked.

“No, not really,” Zac said. “Why?”

“I want to go on that ridge over there and keep watch, just in case. We can’t see those damn UN guys on the apps, remember?”

“Good idea,” Bradley said.

“Yeah, go ahead,” Zac said. “We’ll be done in about twenty minutes, as long as there isn’t something busted that I don’t expect.”

Ryan nodded and trotted down the road, making a left and going up the side of a small ridge. The wind blew his hair around as he reached the top. He looked, squinting again, watching for signs of movement, his M60 next to him. His phone dinged with a text. It was Ed, asking if they got there. Ryan replied yes, and said he was watching from the ridge. Ed replied with a thank you. Ryan went back to watching the area, as the sun rose higher in the sky, scorching the area.

Zac and Bradley had the bottom propeller and the broken transfer case off the hovercraft in about ten minutes, fighting the heat and the sweat which was running into their eyes.

“Damn, this sucks, man,” Bradley said.

“We’ll be done in a few minutes,” Zac said. “Let’s get a drink, though. We’re sweating enough to get dehydrated in a hurry.”

Ryan watched, thinking he was hearing something. What was it? Buckles hitting each other? Rustling? He caught movement out of the corner of his eye. European Commandos. Damn UN. Three coming from the ridge next to the road. Where were they hiding? They were almost to the hovercraft. It was too late to send a text. He leveled his M60, wishing it was a sniper rifle, and squeezed off two rounds, causing Zac and Bradley to whirl around.

“Hold it,” shouted one of the Commandos. They froze, Ryan above trying to get a bead on them, when shots came at him from the other side of the road, one hitting him in the upper arm. He fell beneath the top of the ridge.

“We got that son of bitch,” shouted one of the men in an Italian accent. “Grab them. We take their Jeep.”

The men rushed Zac and Bradley, one frisking as the others covered them.

“Dammit,” Zac said under his breath.

“Shut up,” the commando closest to him said, smacking him in the face with his rifle butt, knocking him out cold.

“Stop, fool,” another commando said. “You want to carry these guys?”

“We’re putting them in their Jeep anyway,” said the man who hit Zac. The men lifted Zac into the back, tossing out the rest of the hovercraft parts and the tools.

“You, get in back,” a commando said to Bradley. He nodded, staying silent, climbing in next to Zac, several guns on them.

“We’ll get them to the van in this,” a man with a German accent said, getting behind the wheel.

“Maybe we should keep this, and follow in it,” another said.

“It might be bugged, idiot,” the German said. “Get in. Now.”

All five commandos squeezed into the Jeep, two of them sitting in the back, guns on Zac and Bradley. The German fired it up and drove forward on the road.

***

Garrett woke up, the sun shining through the window. He threw back the covers, feeling Anna’s matronly body against his side. She stirred, stretching, then rolling towards him, covering one side.

“Good morning,” she said sleepily.

“Yes, it is,” Garrett said, his hand caressing her body as she stretched again. “This is nice.”

“Me?”

“Us together,” Garrett said, finding her mouth and kissing her deeply.

“Our breath,” Anna said, smiling at him.

“Do you really care?”

“No,” she said, coming in for another kiss. “Take me again.”

Garrett moaned, rolling onto her, not taking any time for foreplay. They rushed towards their peak, then came down, lying next to each other on their backs.

“Can we stay here all day?” Garrett asked.

“We’ll have to work up to that. I’m sore. It’s been a while for me.”

“Then maybe we should have breakfast,” Garrett said, getting out of bed. He went to the bathroom for a moment, then came back out and picked his phone off the dresser, looking at the string of text messages. “Dammit.”

“Oh no, what now?” Anna asked, sitting up.

“Zac and Bradley got nabbed while they were trying to fix Ed’s hovercraft. Ryan got wounded, but they didn’t take him. He was up on a ridge. They left him for dead.”

“No,” Anna said. “What’re we going to do?”

“Send in a posse,” Garrett said, getting underwear out of his dresser. “I need to go.”

“Are you going back to the Williams place?” she asked.

Garrett watched her get out of bed and get dressed. She noticed.

“Disappointed?”

“And worried sick,” Garrett said. “Such are the times we live in. We have to take what time we can and hope for more later.”

“Yes, we do,” she said, pulling her top on.

“We have any leads on where they took our warriors?”

“Ryan said they continued on the road where the hovercraft broke down,” Garrett said. He sat on a stool and put his boots on.

“Ryan’s a more experienced warrior than the other two,” Anna said. She walked to him fully dressed. “Ready to go.”

“Good, me too,” Garrett said.

“Somebody already going after Ryan?”

“No, Ed forbid a small group going out there again,” Garrett said. “Shouldn’t have sent three guys out there on their own in the first place.”

“Yep,” Anna said. They walked down the stairs and out onto the veranda, the heat of the day ramping up. Garrett motioned to Tommy and he rushed over.

“Yeah, boss?”

“Tommy, I’m taking off. Two of our guys got nabbed. We’re riding out to find them. Keep an eye on things. When does the main group come back from the hunting trip?”

“They got back early this morning,” Tommy said. “They need to sleep a little while longer.”

“They have any luck?”

“Yeah,” Tommy said. “Four deer. That’ll hold us for a little while.”

“Good,” Garrett said. He helped Anna into the truck, then got behind the wheel and took off.

“What if those people who knocked out Tommy come back?” Anna asked.

“They’ll get killed,” Garrett said. “We’re back up to twenty guys at the bunkhouse, and all of them are good fighters.”

Anna nodded as they bounced along, rolling past the town and onto the highway, heading for the Williams place at high speed.

***

Sam was sitting on the couch looking at his phone screen, Mia next to him with a coloring book in her lap and a box of Crayola’s next to her. Erica came in from the back of the coach, noticing Sam’s worried expression.

“Something wrong?” she asked.

“Let’s go in the back and talk for a minute,” he said, glancing down at Mia.

“Mia, we’ll be right back, okay?” Erica said.

“Okay,” she said, not looking up from her coloring. Sam got up and followed her into the back.

“Let’s have it,” Erica said in hushed tones.

“Zac and Bradley got ambushed and captured by the UN,” he said, his face grim. “While they were working on Ed’s hovercraft.”

“Oh no,” Erica said. “What about Ryan? He went with them.”

“Ryan got wounded, but it sounds like he’s okay. He was up on the ridge, watching for them.”

“Then how did they get the drop on our guys?”

“Not sure,” Sam said. “Garrett and a posse are on their way out there.”

“Sam, when are you coming back?” Mia asked from the couch.

“We done?” Sam asked.

“Wait, we need to talk about something else real quick,” she said.

“Sam!” Mia said.

“She’s scared to be by herself,” Sam said. “There’s still some popsicles in the freezer. I can give her one if we need a few minutes.”

“Bribing that little girl, are we?” Erica asked.

Sam chuckled. “Maybe that’s not a good idea. Can we discuss it in front of her?”

“I can talk around it,” Erica said. “C’mon.”

They went back out, Sam getting on the couch next to Mia. She settled against him, smiling. “Look, it’s pretty.”

“That’s beautiful, honey,” Sam said, looking at the page she’d just colored. He glanced up at Erica, who was smiling. “Ready?”

“We need to discuss our family,” she said.

“You’re not, are you?” Sam asked. “We’ve been careful.”

She smiled. “The birth already happened.” She nodded towards Mia.

Sam shot her a blank look. She raised her eyebrows at him, and his expression changed to one of love. “You want her.”

“So do you,” Erica said, her eyes welling with tears. “Let’s not kid ourselves.”

Sam looked down for a moment, then back up at her, his eyes tearing up too. He shook his head yes. “How? Are those systems even in place anymore?”

“It’ll have to be unofficial until we can get it taken care of.”

“There might be somebody,” Sam said. “More distantly related. They might come out of the woodwork someday.”

“Let’s worry about that if and when it comes up,” Erica said. “For right now, she needs somebody. I think that somebody is us.”

“Are you sure? You wanted to have your own when this was over.”

“And we still can,” Erica said. “She could use a brother or sister.”

Sam was quiet for a moment. “What about us? Shouldn’t we make it official?”

“In due time,” Erica said. “I’m not going anywhere. Are you?”

“No,” Sam said. “Not a chance.”

“So, we can call it settled?”

Sam shook his head yes. “When to we break it to her?”

“I want to chat with Anna about it some,” Erica said. “She might have some ideas on how to broach it with her. She was involved in our preschool back when we had an operating reservation.”

“I’m good with that,” Sam said. “That means I can spoil her a little longer.”

“No you can’t,” Erica said with a grin. “We need to adjust our mindset, and fast.”

“What about the battles?”

“Anna and the others will watch her. We need to get her used to them as soon as possible.”

“They’ll be okay with that?” Sam asked.

“Yes,” Erica said.

“I’m hungry,” Mia said.

“Would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” Erica asked.

“Yes,” Mia said.

“Say please.”

Mia looked at her for a moment. “My mom used to say that.”

“Because it’s what you’re supposed to do,” Erica said.

“Please?” she asked.

“Yes,” Erica said, getting up. She fixed the sandwich, putting it on a small plate, then taking it to the dinette table. “Over here. You can bring your coloring book if you want to.”

She smiled and got up, knocking the crayon box on the floor. “Uh oh.”

“Don’t worry, sweetie, I’ll pick them up,” Sam said. He watched as she climbed onto the dinette bench and set down her book. Then he picked up the crayons, put them in the box, and set them on the dinette next to her book. Erica put her arm around Sam’s waist, pulling him next to her. Mia looked up at them.

“Are you going to be my new mommy and daddy?” she asked.

Sam and Erica glanced at each other, then back at her.

“Would you like that, honey?” Sam asked.

“Yes,” she said. “If you can sing to me at bedtime. My daddy used to do that.”

Sam struggled to keep from crying. “Of course I will, honey.”

“Okay,” she said.

“Well, that was easy,” Erica whispered. She kissed Sam on the cheek. “Maybe it’s time for us to eat lunch too.”

***

“Tex still behind us?” Robbie asked from behind the wheel of their rig.

“Yep,” Morgan said. “Too far back to see, but I just got a text from Karen a second ago. The rest of the rigs are on the road too, about ten minutes behind us.”

“Not all bunched up, I hope.”

“Can’t tell you that,” Morgan said, eyes scanning forward. “You think we’re gonna escape?”

“I’m worried about it. How can we not be under surveillance at this point? There’s video cameras everywhere, and the enemy knows all about these damn battle wagons now. They might be following us the whole way.”

“We’ve done damage,” Morgan said. “Maybe that’s enough to keep them off the trail for a while.”

“Makes me sick that they’ve left the other hostage locations.”

Morgan sighed. “I know. Haven’t heard that they’ve found bodies at the other locations. Hopefully that’s a good sign.”

Robbie was quiet for a moment, his face serious. He looked over at her. “Did you want to just die? When you were a captive?”

“No,” she said quickly. “Not even once. Not even when they were on me.”

“Why?”

“Because of the chance that I was going to get free,” she said. “My love for you helped me a lot. It was a source of strength. You’re thinking that the remaining hostages would be better off dead?”

“I don’t pretend to understand what it’s like to be raped over and over.”

“Every POW who was tortured has a pretty good idea,” Morgan said. “You don’t hear about them wanting to end it all instead.”

“Sometimes you do,” Robbie said.

Morgan sat silently for a moment. “Okay, you’re right. We had a few who had a really hard time. Dana was one. Brooke too. The worst was Lily.”

“Crap, two of them are dead,” Robbie said.

“Lily killed herself,” Morgan said, “but Brooke didn’t. Brooke went down fighting for her life.”

“She did,” Robbie said.

“Lily probably would’ve killed herself eventually no matter what, you know,” Morgan said. “She’d tried more than once before this war started. She was severely bi-polar. The meds weren’t doing enough for her.”

“She told you that?”

Morgan nodded yes, not looking at him. “Dana has night terrors.”

“Who told you that?”

“Sparky,” Morgan said. “You know we’re close.”

“Yes, I know,” Robbie said. “I’m close with Ted.”

“Strange that both of our bosses ended up in this outfit,” Morgan said, shaking her head.

Robbie was quiet again as they drove along, brow furrowed, grinding his teeth.

“You want to ask me more,” Morgan said. “Go ahead.”

“No, we should drop it,” Robbie said. “At least for now. We’re flapping in the breeze. I’d rather keep focused on staying alive.”

“Are you afraid that I’m going to go nutso sometime in the future?”

“I think it’s possible that you’ll have problems,” Robbie said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. It doesn’t worry me.”

“Then what?”

“I promise we’ll talk about it later, okay?” Robbie said. “I really don’t want to now.”

Morgan looked over at him. “I’m not going to stop loving you because of what happened to me. Please believe me.”

Robbie looked at her for a long moment, then back at the road. “That was never a question in my mind, honey. Really.”

Both of their phones dinged.

“Uh oh, text from Jules,” Morgan said. “Don’t look at it. I’ll read it to you.”

“Okay,” Robbie said.

“Ivan says roadblock coming up, shortly before Concord. He’s got a team on the way to destroy it, but we need to get off the road, and come around the back side. Get off in Walnut Creek, onto Ygnacio Valley Road and head northeast. Wait for further instructions.”

“Here we go,” Robbie said. “Walnut Creek is only two miles away.”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 116 – Red Resistance

Ted checked the text message as Stacey set up siege mode. Now they were hearing gunfire along with the explosions.

“Stop!” Ted said. “Let’s get this thing ready to roll.”

“What’s going on?” Haley asked.

“There are some patriots who took Ivan’s message seriously,” Ted said, on his way to the door. “They’re hitting a UN facility right now. There’s Islamists there too. One of you girls use the app while I go unhook us. It’s happening in a private school, a couple miles west of us.”

“Who’s heading there?” Stacey asked as siege mode rolled back.

“Everybody close by,” Ted said as he walked away. He was back inside in a flash. “Ready to go. See the site?”

“Yeah, just under a mile away,” Haley said. “Only about twenty Islamists there. Why are we helping?”

“It’s one of the rescue locations,” Ted said.

“Oh, crap,” Brianna said.

Haley looked closer at her phone. “They’re on Mount Diablo Scenic Boulevard. Take Clubhouse Road to Alameda Diablo. Then go right on Cll Los Callados. It runs right into Mount Diablo. Make a right there, and the school will be on the left.”

Ted got behind the wheel and they drove out of the Country Club, onto the street. Gunfire was ramping up, and more explosions.

“Who else is coming?” Brianna asked.

“Tex and Karen, Jules and Shelly with Sparky and Dana, and Robbie and Morgan,” Ted said.

“We’d better bring more,” Haley said. “I see a line of Islamists heading for the area.”

“Where?” Stacey asked, sitting in front of the gun console.

“Blackhawk Road, heading in from the southeast,” Haley said. “I’m sending a text to Jules, just in case he hasn’t noticed.” She sent the text. Her phone dinged after a moment.

“Well?” Brianna asked.

“They see it. The rest of the rigs are on the way, but some are further away than others.”

“These are tight roads,” Ted said as he drove down Cll Los Callados.

“Maybe I ought to get out the M60s and let one of the women take the console,” Stacey said.

“Yeah, good idea,” Ted said. “Send Haley up here. She’s got experience.”

Stacey nodded and left the passenger seat, Haley taking his spot. “Seeing any enemy vehicles yet?”

“Nope,” Ted said. “We’ll be on site in a couple of minutes.”

***

Sanchez was hunkered down, returning fire at the school, a line of UN Peacekeepers and Islamists shooting at them from the roof of the main building.

“We bit off more than we can chew, dude,” he said. “Wish we brought more dynamite and more ammo.”

A young man with long blonde hair looked at him. “I just sent a message out on 4Chan. We know Ivan watches that. We’ll probably get help.”

“Hope so, Kerry, because otherwise we’ll be dead,” Sanchez said, wiping sweat off his forehead. He put the rifle to his shoulder and fired, hitting an Islamist who was trying to sneak forward. That brought a barrage of fire from the roof, and then there were explosions on the far side of the school.

Kerry smiled. “That’s Johnson. He’s still got some explosives left.”

“Look, the main building is on fire,” Sanchez said. Those creeps on the roof will have to find someplace else. We might not be pinned down for much longer.”

“Well, let’s keep at them,” Kerry said. “Watch the ground-floor of the building. We can see three of the doors.”

“Here they come, dude,” Sanchez said, waiting for a few men to rush out. He and Kerry opened fire with their rifles, Sanchez working the lever furiously on his Marlin, Kerry firing with his Ruger Mini-14. They dropped several men, the others racing back into the building.

“Wonder if there are doors on the other side of the building?” Kerry asked.

“If so, Jones and Curtain will nail their asses,” Sanchez said.

“If they’re still alive,” Kerry said. “Haven’t heard from either for a while. Most of the others are still sending texts.”

Suddenly a large group ran out from behind the building, racing for cover behind cars in the parking lot.

“Dammit,” Sanchez shouted. “Hit those guys.”

“On it,” Kerry said, firing at them, hitting a couple, the survivors returning fire with AK-47s.

“We’re out gunned, man,” Sanchez said, struggling to reload his Marlin. “We should’ve brought more than twenty guys.”

“This isn’t the only battle,” Kerry said. “And twenty is all we had trained well enough.”

The men behind the cars rushed out, Sanchez stopping his reload and firing, hitting two of the six, Kerry hitting three more. The last one got to cover closer to them and opened fire, forcing their heads down.

“I have to reload the Mini-14 in a sec,” Kerry said. “You ready?”

Sanchez stuffed the last couple of rounds into the side gate of his Marlin and aimed. “I’m ready. Only have seven shots, though, so hurry.”

Kerry nodded as he reloaded. “I’m almost out of ammo, man. This magazine and another half magazine and I’m out.”

“Maybe we ought to be looking for an escape, then,” Sanchez said. “There’s one.” He fired, hitting a running Islamist in the side, and then another hail of bullets flew at them, forcing them down.

“This is almost over, man,” Kerry said. “Nice fighting with you.”

“Don’t you dare give up,” Sanchez said. Then there was a shot from behind them, hitting one of the tree trunks nearby.

“Dammit, they’re behind us now,” Kerry said.

“Son of a bitch.” Sanchez turned and fired, hitting two running UN Peacekeepers, but an Islamist fired, hitting him in the shoulder.

“Sanchez!” Kerry cried, firing fast, hitting the Islamist and several others who were rushing forward. Then there was firing from the other side again, one of the bullets splitting Sanchez’s head wide open.

Kerry looked at him in horror, and opened fire, killing a couple more UN Peacekeepers, the fire returned from several spots in front of him. He could see people sneaking forward, going from car to car in the lot, too fast for him to hit. He was almost out of ammo, firing wildly, running out, struggling to reload. Then a large group rose, rushing him like a football defense line. Kerry said his prayers, but then the running men were cut down, some of them nearly in half, as automatic fire flew at them. They broke and ran, and then there was automatic fire from the other side of the building, causing Islamists and UN Peacekeepers to flee right towards Kerry again, only to be hit with more automatic fire. There were light sounding pops, and several grenades went off around the building and the parking lot.

“Holy crap,” Kerry said, watching in amazement, reloading what was left of his ammo and joining in, crying out with glee as he watched the enemy cut to ribbons. Then he saw it. A massive bus-like vehicle with a mini-gun mounted at the rear and a grenade launcher mounted near the front. Islamist from another building peppered it with gunfire, all of which bounced off as the mini-gun moved on its turret, sweeping fire on the roof, dropping about half of the Islamists. Then grenades hit the roof from three directions, blowing half the building up. Kerry’s phone dinged. He read the text. It’s Ivan’s folks!

Automatic fire and grenade explosions continued after Kerry shot his last round, and then he heard explosions and automatic fire to the southeast.

“Hey,” somebody yelled, rushing up with a military weapon, gun belt dangling under it. “See anymore?”

“Who are you?” Kerry asked.

“Stacey,” he said, crouching next to him. “You’re out of ammo. What’s that take?”

“It takes .223,” Kerry said.

Stacey pulled a box out of the lower pocket in his cargo pants and slid it to him.

“Wow, thanks,” Kerry said, hurrying to reload. “You with Ivan?”

“Yep,” Stacey said. Ted ran up behind him with his M60.

“He a friendly?” Ted asked.

“Yeah, and I just gave him more ammo,” Stacey said.

“How do you know he’s not an enemy fighter?”

“Look at his gun, man. That’s a mini-14. The enemy is carrying AKs, mostly.”

“Okay,” Ted said, looking at Kerry. “You know about the girls?”

“What girls?” Kerry asked.

“We were gonna hit this place and liberate women the enemy has been holding here as sex slaves,” Stacey said. “You guys beat us to the punch.”

“Son of a bitch,” Kerry said. “We just hit it because we knew it was a UN base. We didn’t expect to see Islamists here.”

“They’re all over the place,” Ted said. “I think Jules and Tex took out the ones coming up here on Blackhawk road.”

“There were more coming?” Kerry asked.

“Yep,” Stacey said. There were more explosions and automatic fire to the south east. “Speak of the devil.”

“I think we killed most of the enemy at the campus,” Ted said. “We’d better go take a look.”

“Want company?” Kerry asked.

“Are you military?” Ted asked.

“Nope,” Kerry said, “but I’m a good shot.”

“Hang out here and cover us, then,” Ted said. He took off in a crouch with Stacey. The sound of choppers approached.

“Crap, look out,” Kerry yelled.

“It’s TV choppers,” Ted yelled back. “Don’t fire on them. Ivan will need the footage.”

There was the sound of approaching vehicles, and then two UN Vans came into view.

“Look out!” Kerry shouted, firing on the lead van. Then a grenade hit them from one of the battle wagons, blowing them both up.

“This isn’t over,” Ted shouted. “C’mon, let’s get into those buildings.”

They rushed forward, going into the closest building to the main building, which was now fully engulfed in fire. Ted kicked the door in and they entered, shooting two UN Peacekeepers who were hiding inside. The building was like a small warehouse, stuffed to the rafters with ammo, rifles, and other weaponry.

“Wow, the mother lode,” Stacey said. “Maybe we ought to give this to the resistance team.”

Ted stuck his head out the door, and motioned to Kerry, who trotted over, his eyes wide as he saw everything. “Does your organization need some firepower?”

“Hell yes,” Kerry said. “I’ll text the others to come over.”

“You ever fired one of these?” Stacey asked.

“Nope,” Kerry said as he sent the text.

“I’ll show you guys after the others get here,” Stacey said. “How many folks did you bring?”

“Twenty total,” Kerry said as he sent the text.

“You guys decided to take this place on with twenty guys?” Stacey asked. “You’re brave.”

“Yeah, that’s biting off a lot,” Ted said. “These guys are well equipped, and the Islamists fight pretty well. You’re gonna have to be more careful in the future.”

“We only had twenty through our training,” Kerry said. Others started to slip into the building, a rag-tag group of late teens and early twenty-somethings, all of them looking tired and scared.

“Crap, we’ve only got seven other survivors?” Kerry asked, eyes tearing up.

“We’re lucky that any of us survived,” said a large man with red hair and a full beard. “These battle wagons got here just in time. You part of that?”

Ted and Stacey nodded. “You’ve got military training?” Ted asked,

“Yeah,” the man said. “I’m Red.”

“Big surprise,” Stacey said, smiling. “You know how to work AK-47s?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll teach the others.” He looked around the room. “Crap, look at the mortars and the RPGs. Mines? What the hell were these folks planning on doing?”

“Fighting you,” Ted said. “Subduing the population.”

Sparky and Jules rushed in the door.

“Whoa, weapons stash,” Jules said. “They were planning something big, no?”

“Who’s he?” Red asked, eyeing him. “He sounds French.”

Sparky chuckled. “Watch that. He’s Belgian. They don’t like being called French.”

Jules chuckled. “No offence taken. You resistance?”

“Damn straight,” Red said, still eyeing him suspiciously.

“Lighten up, Red,” Ted said. “This is Ivan’s second in command for this region.”

“Oh, wow,” Kerry said, smiling. “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Jules said. “Where women?”

“They didn’t know they were here,” Ted said. “They just knew this was a UN base.”

“They tried to take this place with twenty guys,” Stacey said.

Jules chuckled. “Men like this win war. Let’s find girls. Rescue.”

“You know there’s a good chance they’re all dead,” Sparky said. “Happened before.”

“Yes, so we hurry. Maybe some wounded but still alive.”

“I leave you to the weapons, then,” Ted said to Red. “Give your guys a crash course on these, and dump the hunting crap.”

“Good advice, thanks,” Red said, shaking his hand. “We’ll be ready to go in a few minutes.”

Jules led the others out of the building, rushing towards the next building that was still standing, Red watching them until they were out of sight.

“We’re gonna win,” Kerry said.

“Not if we can’t do better than we did tonight,” Red said, picking up an AK-47. “We lost twelve out of twenty men. Gather around and listen up. Pay attention.”

His men gathered around him.

***

“Jules, slow down a tad,” Sparky said. “There’s still enemy around.”

“We need to get in, get out,” Jules said. “Look at apps. Two hundred Islamists on way. Robbie and Tex waiting for convoy after smashing first group with me, but I don’t want to take on big group. Get women and get out.”

“Okay, then maybe we should split up,” Stacey said.

“No, stay together,” Jules said. “Two men with M60s and two with M-16s about right. Let’s go.”

They rushed to the first building, Sparky kicking the door in. It was filled with rations and other supplies, but no people.

“Next,” Jules said, and they rushed out the door towards a large one-story building. As they approached, rifle fire came at them.

“Watch out,” Ted shouted as they all dove for cover behind some cement block benches. Ted eyed the windows where the shots came from, and then nodded to Stacey, who lifted his M60. “That’s a frame building, Stacey. Shoot under the windows.”

He nodded, and both opened fire, the bullets cutting through the wood and plasterboard, screams in Arabic coming from inside. Then Sparky and Jules were on their feet, rushing up, firing through the windows at the few Islamists who survived. Jules kicked the door in and all four men rushed inside, looking at the dead enemy fighters.

“Look, a couple were UN,” Stacey said.

“Yep,” Ted said. “What’s behind that door?” He rushed to it and tried the knob. It was locked, and there was blood coming from under the door jamb on the hinge side. He shot a worried glance to Jules, who nodded to go ahead. Ted stood back and shot the lock, then kicked the door in and froze. The floor was littered with beheaded women’s bodies, blood a quarter inch thick on the floor. “Oh God.” Ted backed away, tears filling his eyes.

“Those bastards,” Stacey said, starting to cry as he looked at the carnage.

“Take pictures,” Jules said. “Now. Many. Be men.” He reached inside and turned on the light switch, several banks of fluorescents coming on.

“Some of these girls are no older than fifteen,” Stacey said, shaking his head, taking pictures with his phone as the others joined in.

“Send pictures to Ivan right away,” Jules said. “In case we don’t make it out alive.”

“Think they’ll make it here before we finish?” Stacey asked.

“Yes, might,” Jules said. “We have other battle wagons coming, but they won’t make it in time. I’m telling Tex and Robbie to leave before the large group shows up.”

“There were mines in that building over there,” Ted said. “Maybe we ought to provide our guests with a special welcome.”

“Yes, you go do,” Jules said. “Get help from Red’s guys, then tell them to split. Good idea, no?”

“I love it,” Stacey said. He sent his pictures, then took off with Ted.

“That kid gets better after each battle,” Sparky said as he and Jules finished taking pictures and sending them off.

“Yes, does,” Jules said. “We have top notch team. Let’s back up. Show doorway, then back up and show building. Can’t hide that this was UN facility that way.”

Sparky nodded and they finished up their shots, then took a few more of the dead Islamists lying side by side with UN Peacekeepers, sending them all off to Ivan.

“What now?” Sparky asked.

“Go back to rigs. Take off. I text new spot to regroup. For now, go north on 680 towards Concord.”

Sparky nodded, and they took off, getting to their rig in seconds.

“Take out of siege mode,” Jules said as they rushed in. “We leave now. Sparky, drive while I send messages.”

Sparky got behind the wheel as Shelly continued at the console and Dana held her M60 near the gun slits. They were soon on the road, leaving the area.

“Okay, texts away,” Jules said.

“How about Ted and Stacey?” Shelly asked.

Jules smiled at her. “They just mine all entrances to scene with ordinance we find in their storage shed. They getting on road now. Tex and Robbie leave too. They ahead of us by few miles on 680.”

“There’s the on-ramp,” Shelly said.

“Yep,” Sparky said, taking the ramp and speeding up.

“They killed all the women, didn’t they?” Dana asked softly.

“Yes, did,” Jules said. “We document with photos and send to Ivan. It on news soon. I suggest not watch.”

“It was bad, wasn’t it?” Dana asked, watching the tears stream down Sparky’s cheeks.

“I’m glad you didn’t see it,” he said, turning to her.

Jules’s phone rang. He answered it. “Ivan.”

“Jules,” Ivan said. “Those bastards are gonna regret this. Nice job on the documentation. Especially the shots outside the door, leaving no doubt where this happened.”

“Hope helps,” Jules said.

“How was the resistance there?”

“Green, but possibilities. We gave weapons stash to them. Lots of AK-47, plus mortars and other toys.”

“You told them you were with my organization?”

“Yes,” Jules said.

“Good,” Ivan said. “We’ll meet in Concord. Safe space there. We’ll do the TV show there with your women, if they’re still willing.”

“Understand, boss,” Jules said. “When do pictures come out?”

“Tonight,” he said. “Last show from this location.”

“What about the other rescues?” Jules asked.

“Those facilities have been abandoned,” Ivan said. “I’m sorry.”

“The women?”

“We don’t know yet,” Ivan said. “They probably took them. If they did, we’ll find out where they land. I’ve got moles.”

“Okay, Ivan. Anything else?”

“Yes,” he said. “Good work.”

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

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 115 – Country Club

Tex and Karen sat next to each other on the couch as Ivan’s appearance ended.

“Gotta love Ivan,” Tex said.

Karen looked at him and smirked. “Ben Dover? Really?”

Tex chuckled, then his phone dinged. He looked at the screen.

“Uh oh,” Karen said.

“No problem. We have a meeting coming up in a couple hours.”

“About the rescue mission, I suspect,” Karen said.

“Yep,” Tex said. “Nervous?”

“Anxious,” she said. “I want to get this over with. Hell, I want to get this war over with.”

“And then what?”

“You need to ask?” she said, smiling at him.

“Oh,” he said. “You want to make a little Tex.”

“Or a little Karen,” she said. “I don’t care which comes first.”

“Planning on more than one, huh? When were we gonna discuss that?”

She smiled at him, then got up. “Hungry?”

“I could eat,” Tex said, getting up.

“Sit,” she said. “Check out the apps. We’re all by ourselves here. Don’t want anybody getting the drop on us.”

“Probably time to look again,” he said. “Haven’t looked at the long range app since before the Ivan show.” He looked while Karen got up and went to the fridge.

“We could really use more food,” she said.

“Crap,” Tex said.

“What?”

“No cretins nearby,” he said. “I was in the mood to kill a few of them.”

“Dammit,” Karen said, shaking her head. “That’s really not funny.”

Tex chuckled. “The closest ones I see are west, on the other side of those mountains.”

“Good,” Karen said, “Not much food that I’m interested in.”

“There was a little restaurant down the street,” Tex said. “We could mosey over there for a little while.”

“I’m game, if you think it’ll be safe. How come there’s no checkpoints nearby?”

“Because we’re on the outskirts,” Tex said.

“Why the RV Park here?”

“You didn’t notice the sign for the Alameda County Fairgrounds?” Tex asked.

“Nope, missed that,” she said. “County Fairs. I used to love them.”

“What? There are fairs in Southern California?”

“Of Course,” Karen said. “There’s a huge one in Pomona. Big deal. Surprised you never heard of it.” She looked in the pantry.

“Oh yeah, I’ve heard of it,” Tex said. “Forgot.”

“Nothing good in the pantry, either,” she said. “Maybe we should go out.”

“Well, they delivered the Jeep, so we have a way,” Tex said. “I want to take guns, though.”

“Of course,” Karen said. “Let’s go.”

Tex stood up, picking up his handgun and slipping it into his waistband. “This ought to do.”

She snickered. “Will this rig be safe?”

“There’s only a few people here, and the person in the office is a friendly, so we’ll be fine,” Tex said.

They left the coach, locking it up, then got into the Jeep and headed for the front gate of the park, which was not much more than a big parking lot with hookups.

“Not very rustic, is it?” Karen asked. Tex chuckled as they got to the gate. The old woman in the office stuck her head out the window.

“You folks taking off?”

“Just to that diner down the street,” Karen said. “Seen any checkpoints around here?”

“Nope, we’re too far on the edge of the hills,” the woman said. “Watch out for the UN, though. They still patrol out here some.”

“They’ve slowed down on that?” Tex asked.

The woman came out to talk. “Call me Denise. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself earlier. I was a little nervous.”

“Okay, Denise. I’m Tex and this is Karen.”

“Good to meet you,” she said. “You know what they’ve done here. People are being forced to move closer to their jobs. Got them packed in like sardines in some of these towns. Disgusting.”

“Why haven’t they shut this RV park down?” Karen asked.

“The enemy has been using the fairgrounds for something,” she said. “They’ve had overflow crowds staying here a couple of times.”

“Maybe you should contact us next time they show up,” Tex said with a twinkle in his eye.

“Oh, I always let Ivan know,” she said. “You folks be careful and keep your eyes open. I’ll watch your rig. Not like there’s a bunch of foliage here to hide the coaches.”

“True that,” Tex said. “See you later, Denise.”

She nodded, going back into the office as Tex drove the Jeep out the gate.

“She’s nice,” Karen said.

“Yep, and she’s on our side,” Tex said. “Wonder what they’re using the fairgrounds for?”

“We aren’t going to check it out, are we?”

Tex smiled. “No, little lady, let’s just get a quick bite and then get back to the rig. We’ve got a meeting coming up, remember?”

“Look,” Karen said, brow furrowed. She pointed to a UN Van, making a left turn onto an eastbound road a couple blocks down.

“Well, lookie there,” Tex said. “Too bad we don’t have more time.”

“Stop it, that scares me.”

“Sorry,” Tex said as he turned left into the parking lot of the diner. “Looks like a greasy spoon.”

“Look, we can get food to go here,” she said, pointing to the sign on the wall as Tex parked.

“You want to take it back to the rig?”

“Yeah, I feel completely exposed,” Karen said.

“Then we’ll get it to go.” Tex got out and opened Karen’s door for her, and they rushed into the diner.

“You folks gonna eat here or take out?” the young man behind the register asked. “We’ve got plenty of room. All this craziness ruined our trade.”

“I’ll bet,” Tex said. “I think we’ll take out.”

“Okay,” he said. “What’ll you have? We’ve got everything except the pork dishes.”

“Figures,” Karen said. The young man laughed nervously.

“What happened? The Islamists didn’t like it?” Tex asked.

“Last big meeting, over at the fairgrounds,” the man said in hushed tones. “They contracted with us. Made us get rid of all pork products and disinfect the whole damn kitchen.”

“You don’t sound too happy about that, friend,” Tex said.

The man’s eyes showed fear. “Sorry, sir.”

“He thinks we’re with them,” Karen said.

“You’re not?” he asked, looking uncertain.

Tex grinned. “No, we’re just here for a short layover. We’d rather not run into any of those folks. We don’t like them much.”

“Neither do I,” the young man whispered.

“Do anything about it?” Tex asked.

His eyes got wide. “How could I do anything about it?”

“Never mind,” Karen said. “Let’s just get our food and get out of here.”

The young man nodded, took their orders, and then rushed back to chat with the cook.

“This sucks,” Tex said. “I could use some bacon.”

“Quiet,” Karen said, her eyes darting around nervously.

“Anybody who shows up here is gonna have a bad meeting with Mr. Colt.”

“Tex…”

“Your order will be up in a few minutes,” the young man said, coming back out to the register. “Want to pay for it now?”

“Sure,” Tex said, walking to the register. He pulled out his wallet and waited to hear how much.

“It’s sixteen dollars and eighty-nine cents,” the man said, eyes getting wide as Tex counted out cash. “We’re not allowed to take cash. Only credit cards.”

“What?” Tex asked. “This is legal tender.”

“Not since martial law,” the young man said.

“Forget it honey,” Karen said. “We’ve got to go.”

“These bastards want to track us every second,” Tex said.

“That’s the general idea,” the man behind the counter said. Then the cook came out and whispered in his ear.

“Here it comes,” Tex whispered.

“Here what comes?” Karen asked.

“They’re going to let us pay cash, as long as they get a premium. Must have some slack in the stock.”

“Hey, dude, we can get in trouble for this,” the cook said, eyeing him. He was a large man with a beard, having the look of a biker.

“Hey, no problem, friend, as long as it’s in reason.”

The young man behind the counter looked nervous as hell.

“Well, partner, what’s it gonna be?” Tex asked.

“How about thirty bucks?” he asked, waiting for a tongue lashing.

Tex chuckled. “Is the food any good?”

The cook smiled. “I’ll make sure it’s great.”

“Hell, I’m down, then,” Tex said, handing him the thirty bucks. “Oh, and here’s a tip.” He passed him another thirty.

“You don’t have to…”

“Nonsense,” Tex said. “I get the feeling that you don’t like the enemy. I don’t like them either.”

“The enemy?” the cook asked.

“The UN and the Islamists are the enemy,” Tex said. “If you don’t realize that, there’s no hope for us.”

“Yeah, that’s what that guy on TV said a little while ago,” the young man said.

The cook laughed. “Ivan the Butcher and Ben Dover. Please. They just took credit for a terror attack.”

Tex snickered. “How long till the food’s up?”

“Just a few minutes,” the cook said, rushing back into the kitchen.

Tex walked towards the window and gazed out, looking over at Karen as she joined him.

“You should be careful what you say,” Karen whispered.

“I didn’t tell them anything they can use,” Tex said. “Wanted to gauge how they reacted to the TV show.”

“The cook didn’t believe it.”

“Yep,” Tex said. “They believed the media spin. We probably should be watching it. We need to know what they’re feeding to the folks around here.”

“Look, another UN van,” Karen said, nodding at it as it passed by. “Should we be worried?”

“Denise said they were still patrolling,” Tex said. “Wish I didn’t have to refrain from taking them out.”

“Don’t screw up our mission,” Karen said, looking him in the eye. “You’ll get to kill plenty of these folks during that.”

“Yep,” Tex said. “Maybe we ought to move away from the window. Might look a little suspicious.”

Karen nodded and they went to the benches in the waiting area, sitting down. The young man at the counter smiled at them.

“Where are you from?” he asked, trying to be friendly.

“I’m from Texas. My lady is from Southern California originally.”

“Heard some wild things about Texas,” he said. “What do you think of Governor Nelson declaring Texas a Republic?”

“I think he had no choice,” Tex said.

“I’ll bet you’re glad to be away from there,” the young man said.

“On the contrary, I’d be there if I could. I was away from home when they shut down the Texas border, and it’s in a bad neighborhood.”

“Bad neighborhood?”

“You’ve heard about the warfare in New Mexico and Colorado, haven’t you?”

“Oh, that,” the young man said. “We used to get a lot of news about that, but now they never talk about it on the news. Not since martial law kicked in a hundred percent.”

“Doesn’t that tell you something?” Tex asked.

“Honey, let’s not talk politics, okay?” Karen asked.

“Sorry, sweetie,” he said.

“It’s up,” the cook said from the back, sliding the white Styrofoam boxes forward on the pass-through between the kitchen and the counter area.

“Surprised they still let you use those around here,” Tex quipped as he walked to the counter.

“We’ve only got a few left, then we switch to paper,” the young man said as he fetched them and brought them to the counter. “Eventually people will have to bring their own containers.”

Tex laughed. “What about people who are traveling?”

“Who gets to travel anymore?” the young man said. He put a wad of napkins into a bag and put both containers on top of them.

“See you folks later,” the cook said. “Terry, lock the front after they leave. We’re closing early.”

Tex shot a glance at Karen. They picked up their food and left, getting into the Jeep.

“We need to split,” Tex said. “Somebody’s coming.”

“I know,” she said. Tex fired up the Jeep and they roared out of the parking lot, racing down the street. The office was closed up as they flew through the gate past it, a note on the window saying to leave as soon as possible.

“Dammit,” Tex said.

They pulled up next to the rig and rushed to the door, Tex getting behind the wheel in near panic.

“What about the Jeep?” Karen asked, getting into the passenger side.

“I don’t think we have time to hitch up, and we might need to fire out the back. Get that weapons console out. I’m gonna go pull the power cable.”

He rushed out, yanking the cable quickly, and disconnecting the water. The big diesel was warmed up by the time he got back inside, and he drove forward. “Send Jules a text, and ask him where we should go.”

“On it,” she said, keeping one eye on the target reticle, pointed towards the rear.

“Here they come,” Tex said, nodding up ahead. “Four UN Vans, coming this way. He flipped the switches for the minigun and grenade launcher.

“You sure that’s a good idea?” Karen asked.

“We have any choice?” Tex asked. He fired the minigun, splattering the first two vans. The two behind them tried to turn around, but he hit both with grenades, blowing them up as he raced by.

“Get on 680 north,” Karen said. “We’re joining Jules up in Dublin. It’s right ahead.”

They headed for the on-ramp as the sound of sirens approached from both sides, making it up on the freeway before they were in sight.

“Stay on that weapons console, little lady,” Tex said as they got up to speed.

***

Ted and Stacey sat in the salon, watching the news reports, which were covering the Mertins Plant attack and Ivan’s TV show. The reports were being heavily censored, with whole phrases being beeped out and pictures covered over. Ted got up and went to the window, peering out.

“You worried, boss?” Stacey asked. “We can go get the girls if you are.”

“I’m worried, but let’s give them a little while longer. This compound is pretty well guarded.”

“The Diablo Country Club,” Stacey said. “Now I get to see how the other half lived.”

“Hell, a lot of the other half still lives this way. They’re colluding with the enemy to do it, and it will be the death of them.”

“So how are we allowed to be here, and why is it empty?”

Ted chuckled. “This was shut down by the local authorities. They have to make it look like the rich and powerful have nothing better than the rest of the population. The joke is that they’re probably someplace better as we speak.”

“Some of them might be dead,” Stacey said.

“Don’t bet on it,” Ted said. “We’re still getting all of the basics of American life. You know…food deliveries to markets, water, gas. That sort of thing. You can’t keep that kind of stuff flowing without private enterprise. The Chinese finally figured that out. That’s why they dumped communism.”

“They still call themselves communist, though, don’t they?”

“Yeah, but what they really are is a form of totalitarian capitalism,” Ted said, turning to look out the window again. “Good, here they come.”

“Two blondes,” Stacey said. “Look how much their hair shows up even in this light.”

The door opened, Haley and Brianna coming inside, both carrying food bags.

“We were lucky,” Brianna said. “They were almost out of food, and deliveries to this place are no longer a priority, according to the chef. He’s trying to decide if he should split or hunker down here.”

“He said the UN has been here doing inspections a couple of times,” Haley said as she put her bag of food on the counter.

“Wonder why they keep it open?” Stacey asked. “Why not just padlock the place, or open it to the public?”

“The chef said they were holding this place in reserve,” Brianna said, “for when the area is completely stable. Foreign dignitaries will stay here, since it’s so easy to secure.”

“How does the chef feel about that?” asked Ted.

“That’s why he’s considering whether to stay or go,” Haley said.

“Maybe we should recruit him,” Stacey said.

“This guy is about fifty and weighs about four-hundred pounds,” Brianna said. “I don’t think that’s happening.” She helped Haley put the food onto four plates and set them on the dinette table. “Anything interesting on the news?”

“Propaganda, but the video tells a decent story,” Ted said. “When they think they can get away with it, they’ll black these kinds of stories out completely.” His phone dinged. “Dammit.”

“What?” Haley asked.

“Tex and Karen had to shoot their way out of the location they were in,” he said.

“No,” Brianna said. “Are we safe here? Maybe they’ve kept track of where all of these RVs went.”

“We won’t be safe until this damn war is over,” Ted said.

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Haley said. “This smells great.”

“It does,” Stacey said, sliding onto the rear bench in front of a plate. Brianna slid in next to him. Ted and Haley took the other side.

“Too bad there’s no wine,” Haley said.

“I wouldn’t drink anything anyway,” Ted said. “If they found Tex, they might find others.”

“Good point,” Haley said. “This is tasty. We still having a meeting soon?”

“Yeah,” Ted said, “although the mess Tex and Karen ran into might throw a monkey wrench, since they’re going up to where Jules is.”

They ate silently until the food was gone. Then Ted got up and looked out the window again.

“Anybody?”

“Nope, quiet as a church,” Ted said. “I don’t like being behind these big walls like this, though.”

“Why not?” Brianna asked. “Doesn’t that make us safer?”

“We could be surrounded by UN Vans and have no idea,” Ted said.

“Should we go out and look?” Stacey asked.

“Yeah,” Ted said. “Quietly. Hand guns only.”

“I’m game,” Brianna said.

“No, you and Haley stay here,” Ted said. “We might need you two on the battle stations.”

“Crap, you think there’s somebody out there, don’t you?” Haley asked, fear in her eyes.

“Oh, probably not,” Ted said, “but I’m too antsy not to take a look.”

“It’s pretty dark out there now, so watch your step,” Brianna said. “Most of the lights are off.”

“Let’s get it over with,” Stacey said. The two men grabbed their pistols and slipped out, walking into the lush greenery of the area, between the massive clubhouse and one end of the golf course.

“It’s quiet, at least,” Ted said. They rushed towards the nearest wall.

“Do we have to climb up?” Stacey asked.

“Not right here,” Ted said. “See that gate over there?”

“Oh,” Stacey said, looking at the tall double-wide gate, covered with olive drab canvas. “Look. They’re still mowing the grass. See the fresh clippings?”

“That might mean there’s some VIPs coming,” Ted whispered. “No talking now. Watch the ground. Don’t step on anything that will make noise.”

They inched forward, to the crack between the fence and the left side of the gate, both peering out.

Ted gave a thumb up, then they hurried away.

“Well, that side is clear at least,” Stacey whispered. “Nobody around.”

“That would’ve been the best place to attack from, too,” Ted said.

They were almost back to the coach when they heard explosions.

“Dammit, what the hell was that?” Stacey asked. “Didn’t sound that far away.”

Another explosion went off, a little closer.

Ted’s phone dinged. They rushed to the door of the rig.

“You aren’t going to check the message?” Stacey asked.

“When we’re inside.” Ted opened the door and held it for Stacey, then followed him and shut it. “Set up siege mode.”

Haley and Brianna froze, looking around in a panic.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

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 114 – Starvation

Garrett ran out to the body in a crouch, startled when it rolled towards him.

“Hey, boss,” the ranch hand said. “Can’t get up.” He was an old man, looking too frail for his dress.

“What happened, Tommy?” He rushed over and helped him sit up.

“Some cretins showed up to steal cattle,” he said. “Cracked me over the head with a rifle butt.”

“Dammit,” Garrett said. “Think you can walk?”

“With help,” he said.

“How long ago did this happen?”

“Few hours,” Tommy said. “The other hands went on that hunting party.”

“They should’ve left somebody here with you,” Garrett said, shaking his head.

“They did. Casey’s around here someplace. We’d better find him. He might be hurt.”

“Did you see who it was? It wasn’t Islamists, was it?”

“Nope,” Tommy said. “Hungry Mexicans. I heard them talking. We would’ve gotten buzzed by the app if it was the enemy. I have one of the phones.”

Anna came out of the truck and rushed over. “So glad he’s not dead.”

“Anna, this is Tommy.”

“Pretty lady,” Tommy said. “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise. You’ve got a pretty good bump on your noggin. Maybe I’d better look at it. I’m a nurse.”

“He might have a concussion,” Garrett said.

“He might,” Anna said. “It wasn’t the bad guys, was it?”

“Mexicans,” Garrett said. “Heard they’re starving down there. They came to steal cattle. Hell, I’d give them some if they’d ask.”

“You’re nicer than I am,” Tommy said. “We’d better find Casey.”

“Casey?” Anna asked.

“The other ranch hand that was here,” Garrett said. “Most went on that hunt.”

“Oh,” Anna said.

“Let’s get to the truck­­,” Garrett said, helping Tommy to his feet. He wobbled a little, but got steadier as they went.

“Where was Casey last time you saw him?” Anna asked.

“In the barn,” Tommy said. Garrett and Anna helped him into the cab of the truck, then drove down the long driveway, past the two-story house with a wrap-around porch.

“That house is beautiful,” Anna said.

“Thanks,” Garrett said. “There’s the barn.” It was an old-fashioned wood barn, painted red, a yard around it sectioned off, goats and chickens wandering in their areas. Garrett parked the truck and they all got out.

“Casey!” Garrett yelled.

“I hope he’s not hurt bad,” Tommy said. They walked into the barn. “There he is!”

There was a younger man tied up, leaning against the wall on some hay. His mouth was covered with duct tape, his wrists and ankles tied together. His eyes showed relief, peeking out under his longish blonde hair.

“This is gonna hurt a little,” Garrett said, ripping the duct tape off his mouth.

“Garrett,” Casey said. “Sorry I let them get the drop on me. Where you been, Tommy?”

“They brained me out in the front pasture,” Tommy said. “You hurt?”

“Nah, they just held a gun on me,” he said as Garrett and Anna untied him. “Damn Mexicans.”

“What’d they take?” Garrett asked.

“I couldn’t see everything they did. I could hear the chickens going nuts, so I’m sure they took some of those. They took one of the milk cows too, and I heard them talking about taking some cattle. They didn’t know I speak Spanish.”

“I’m just glad it wasn’t Islamists,” Anna said.

“I was a little nervous, since Tommy had the phone,” Casey said. “You okay, old man? That’s a pretty good knot on your head.”

“I’ll be okay,” he said. “I just feel like an idiot.”

“You gonna go after them, boss?” Casey asked.

“This time, no,” Garrett said. “I’ll send a warning. I know some folks.”

“Luis?” Tommy asked. “You don’t think he did this?”

“No, but he might know who it was,” Garrett said.

“This happen often?” Anna asked.

“Nah,” Garrett said. “The Mexican Government has fallen apart. We had a similar incident a month ago.”

“Yeah, you old softy,” Casey said.

“Softy?” Anna asked.

“After he caught them, he gave them a couple of animals and sent them on their way. This is the thanks he gets.”

“Don’t be so sure it was the same folks,” Garrett said. “I told them I’d help them if their families got into trouble. This war is hurting them even worse than it’s hurting us.”

“We’re getting kinda low on food ourselves,” Casey said. “That’s why the others went hunting.”

“I know,” Garrett said. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll be fine.”

“We should put some ice on Tommy’s head,” Anna said.

“I can do that back at the bunk house,” he said. “I’ll be fine. Really.”

“I’ll watch him,” Casey said.

“Okay, but don’t take this lightly,” Anna said. “You got knocked out. That’s not good. I’d try to stay awake for a while.”

Tommy nodded. They got into the truck, Casey climbing into the bed, and Garrett drove them to the bunkhouse, about a hundred yards behind the barn. A dog rushed out to meet them as Garrett parked. It was a large German Shepard.

“A lot of help you were,” Casey said as he jumped out of the truck bed.

“Yeah, he’s no guard dog,” Tommy said. Anna got out of the truck, letting the big dog sniff her, then petting him on the head. Tommy got out, and the dog rushed to him, nuzzling his side. “Hey, Blackjack.”

“He’s probably hungry,” Casey said. “Don’t worry, boss, I’ll take it from here.”

Garrett nodded, and headed back to the cab with Anna.

“If he passes out or starts acting funny, call,” she said. “I mean it. Even if he doesn’t want you to.”

“Damn, you know him already, don’t ya?” Casey asked, a sly grin on his face. “Don’t worry, I’m a good babysitter.”

Tommy shot him a sidelong glance. “Keep talking, junior.”

Garrett chuckled and helped Anna into the truck. “See you guys later.”

He drove them to the big house and parked outside.

“You keep surprising me,” Anna said, “and always in a good way.”

He smiled as he helped her out of the cab. “These are tough times. I’ve done business with our friends south of the border over the years. They’re good people, who are badly served by their government and their society. They’ve always dealt fairly with me.”

“Except when they steal from you,” Anna said. They climbed the steps onto the veranda. “This is a nice place to have a few drinks.”

“It is, he said, unlocking the front door. “If these folks were really criminals, they would’ve broken into the house. I’ve got all kinds of valuable stuff in here.” He held the door open for Anna and she walked in, looking around at the front parlor.

“Very nice,” she said, turning to him. She got on her tiptoes and put her arms around his neck, pulling him in for a kiss. They kept it going for more than a minute. “I was so anxious to do that.”

“Me too,” Garrett said, looking at her face, his hands on her matronly waist. “I’ll give you the tour.”

They walked through the ground floor of the house, checking out the kitchen, his office, and a couple of guest bedrooms.

“Very nice,” Anna said. “I expected this to be a lot more rustic. It’s quite elegant.”

“Thanks,” Garrett said. “I hired somebody to set this up.”

“What’s upstairs?”

“We’ll go check it out,” he said, leading her up the stairs. There were two more small bedrooms, one of them being used as a hobby room, the other as another guest room.

“That the master?” Anna asked, looking at the double doors.

“Yep,” Garrett said, pushing the doors open.

“Lovely,” she said, looking around the large room, with the king-sized bed and the sitting room to the right, in front of the windows. “What a great view.”

“Yeah, it’s nice,” Garrett said. “The master bath is pretty outrageous. I balked, but my designer said it always pays off.”

They walked in, looking at the huge jetted tub with windows behind it, and the large shower on the opposite side. A dual basin sink was on the right, and then a large walk-in closet.

“Wow,” she said. “Now run along while I freshen up, okay?”

“Want me to whip us up something to eat?”

“Have any white wine?”

“Sure, I’ll bring some up,” he said, his heart beating quicker.

“Mind if I rinse off in the shower?”

“Not at all,” he said, pausing at the door for a moment, then heading down the stairs. He went to the wine cooler and picked out a bottle, then got a bucket, set the bottle inside, and filled it with ice. His hands fumbled. “What am I, a high school boy?” he asked himself. He could hear the water running upstairs and decided to give Anna a few minutes. The water stopped running, so he started up the stairs with the bucket. The water started again, and he paused at the door.

“You up here?” she called out.

“Yes,” he said. “Are you decent?”

“Decent enough,” she said. “Come in. Hope you brought the wine up.”

“Shoot, forgot glasses.” He set the bucket on the floor and raced downstairs, almost tripping, returning in a flash. He froze as he entered the bathroom, staring at Anna’s naked round curves as she stood in the big tub, water running from the faucet.

“Get your clothes off and get in here,” she said.

“Yes mam,” he said, rushing to her.

***

Ed was lying in a bed at the Williams house, crying as the doctor hooked up the iv. Tyler had just told him about James and John.

“You’re lucky,” the doctor said. “Dehydration was well on its way to killing you. Why didn’t you carry more water?”

“My main bottle rolled down the hill before I could grab it,” Ed said. “I’ll have to strap it down next time.” He turned to Tyler. “The families know, right?”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “The town is a mess.”

“Descanso?”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “The enemy fled after they figured out how many people we had, but along with the boobytrap that killed John, they also boobytrapped the grocery store. Bastards left a little girl in there as bait.”

“That’s not good,” Ed said. “Did the little girl get rescued?”

“She’s with Sam and Erica. No luck finding any next of kin.”

“Geez,” Ed said.

“Anna says they’re going to raise her,” Tyler said with a twinkle in his eye.

That brought a smile to Ed’s face. “She’s always right, you know.”

“Seems like it,” Tyler said. “We’ve decided against hitting Julian for now.”

“Why?”

“They’re dug in,” Tyler said. “We could beat them, but it’d be too expensive.”

“Oh. Won’t they just end up attacking us?”

“Eventually they will, but it would be easier to defend against them than to mount an attack against their fortifications in Julian.”

“Why are they even there?” Ed asked.

“I-8, we think,” Tyler said. “We have a new target.”

“What?”

“Big UN base being set up in Jamul,” Tyler said. “We want to hit it hard before they get it fully populated.”

“I’m going to leave you two,” the doctor said. “Bed rest for forty-eight hours. Get me?”

“Yes sir,” Ed said.

“Oh, and use those other bags of saline, okay? Have Anna swap them for you.”

“Anna’s not here,” Tyler said.

“Uh oh,” the doctor said. “Then I’ll show you how. It’s simple.” He showed Tyler, then left.

“Where’s Anna?” Ed asked. “Garrett’s place?”

“How’d you guess?”

Ed chuckled. “Good for them. How are we gonna get my hovercraft back here?”

“Don’t worry about that now,” Tyler said. “Sure you want that thing back?”

“It didn’t break down on me,” Ed said. “I had to do a quick maneuver to get out of sight, and turned it down a hill, right onto a rock. Broke the junction box for the bottom fan.”

Tyler sat down next to the bed. “You saw Black Crow?”

“Yes, and he saw me,” Ed said.

“That’s not what he said.”

Ed chuckled. “And that surprises you because…?”

“You’re right,” Tyler said.

“I assume you guys killed him.”

“Yeah,” Tyler said. “We tried to get some info out of him, but he wasn’t very forthcoming.”

“Figures,” Ed said. “When are we gonna hit that UN base?”

“I don’t know,” Tyler said. “Ji-Ho is waiting for more intelligence from Ivan. Probably within the next few days.”

“Good,” Ed said. “Now let me sleep for a while, okay?”

“Will do,” Tyler said. “You got the parts around to fix your hovercraft?”

“Yes,” he said. “Zac and Bradley know how to fix it. Take them out there when you have time.”

“Will do, Chief,” Tyler said. He left the room.

Ed stared at the ceiling, tears starting to come back. James’s face was in his mind’s eye as he drifted off.

***

Jules and Sparky climbed the steps of the rig, after hooking up the coach to the power and water.

“You guys done?” Shelley asked. She was sitting at the dinette facing Dana.

“Yes, we done,” Jules said. “Getting warm. Need air conditioner soon.”

“Anybody nearby on the apps?” Sparky asked, sitting next to Dana.

“There’s a facility about four miles from here,” Dana said. “About twenty hits. East of where we are, on 580.”

“Maybe we should go pay them a visit, no?” Jules asked.

“No,” Sparky said. “We can only see the Islamists, not the UN folks, remember? We might walk into a hornet’s nest.”

“I kid,” Jules said. “We need to keep focus, prepare for rescue missions.”

“Everybody else report in?” Sparky asked.

“Yep,” Shelley said. “Everybody is placed. Robbie and Morgan got pulled over by a cop in Livermore, though.”

“That’s not a concern?” Sparky asked.

Dana looked over at him. “The cop knew who he was, and said he wished he could’ve been part of the Mertins Plant attack.”

Sparky and Jules laughed.

“That rich,” Jules said.

“I wouldn’t get over-confident,” Dana said. “We don’t know for sure if this cop was being straight with Robbie.”

“He call if there problem,” Jules said.

“Wait, you aren’t worried because of the connection to the father?” Sparky asked.

“No, too late to stop now,” Jules said. “Tools almost finished. Nothing enemy can do now.”

“Is this almost over?” Dana asked.

“No,” Shelley said. “I was just looking around the country with the apps. There’s nearly a million enemy operatives in country. Even when we can openly hunt them down, it’s going to be tough going. Lots of good people will die before we root them all out, and there will probably be terror attacks going forward for years.”

“Marvelous,” Sparky said.

“Hey, turn on the TV,” Jules said. “Ivan on soon.”

“Why does he bother?” Sparky asked. “It’s already all over the news.”

“It is, but he bring special guest,” Jules said.

Shelley picked up the TV remote and turned it on. “Which station?”

“Any,” Jules said.

Sparky cracked up. “How the hell does he do that?”

“Ivan’s connections legion, and his tech staff great,” Jules said. “You know this.”

Sparky nodded. “Yes, I know.”

The screen went black for a moment.

“Here it comes,” Dana said.

Ivan appeared, sitting behind his massive desk, wearing his pin-striped suit with fedora.

“Hello, Northern California. I’m Ivan the Butcher.”

The screen changed to video of the firefight at the Mertins Plant.

“As you can see, we have made an attack. The news media is telling you that this was a crime. It was not. It was an act of war against the foreigners who have put the state under martial law, and are currently having their way with the population. Here are the people we killed in this attack.”

The screen switched to a graphic, showing twenty-five faces with captions under them.

“I’m sure you recognize many of these people. They’ve been on the news talking their globalist lies while chastising each and every one of you for resisting the invaders. They are all dead. We will hunt down the other criminals in this land who are still working for Global Governance and the Caliphate.”

The screen came back to Ivan, who stood up and walked around to the front of his desk, face filling the picture.

“I call upon all of you to resist. We will help. We will soften the targets and kill many of the invaders. You must do your part. Ignore the rules of martial law. Kill UN Peacekeepers. Kill Islamists. Destroy their bases. Have no mercy, because they have no mercy.”

Ivan got back behind his desk. “We have a special guest this evening. Before I introduce him, please look at this exchange which aired on the local PBS station a week ago.”

The screen changed to video of the panel discussion about martial law and its benefits, ending with the beating of Ben Dover.

The screen came back to Ivan’s desk. He stood and motioned to Ben, who came into the frame next to Ivan. Both of them leaned against the front of Ivan’s desk, facing the camera.

“This is Ben Dover, patriot of Northern California, and student at UC Santa Cruz. As you can see, his head is almost healed up after the beating he took, but he will have some of the scars for the rest of his life.”

“Hello, fellow citizens,” Ben said. “Our institutions of higher learning have been infiltrated by the enemy. Your sons and daughters are at risk. They are being lied to, and recruited to use as muscle in demonstrations. They are being taught to bully and injure those who demonstrate against martial law and the globalists who have infested our state and national governments. Pull your kids out of school now. Cut funding. Round up the University staff who are helping the enemy.”

The screen changed to video in the dim cell, where two live professors and one dead one were propped up against the wall.

“These men hosted the invaders, allowing Islamists and UN Thugs to train your sons and daughters at UC Santa Cruz,” Ben Dover said. “They have been brought to justice by our freedom fighters. There are many more like them. Shun them. Arrest them. Kill them. Save yourselves. Save Western Civilization. Stand with us.”

Ivan’s face was back on the screen. “In the coming days, we will provide proof of the treachery of our government officials and the foreign invaders. In the meantime, you know what to do. You know who to target. Take back your state. Take back your country. It is not too late.”

The screen went black.

“Wow,” Dana said.

“He does have his way about him, doesn’t he?” Sparky asked.

Jules smiled, looking at his phone.

“What?” Shelley asked.

“Text, points to site with details on rescue mission. Ivan wants meeting with team in two hours.”

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 113 – Boarding House

“He’s gonna pull us over,” Robbie said, looking in his rear-view mirror at the cop cruiser behind him, it’s red light shining. The siren blipped.

“Are you gonna pull over, or should I waste him with the rear guns?” Morgan asked.

“I’m gonna pull over,” he said. “We’re bulletproof.”

“Our tires aren’t,” Morgan whispered as Robbie slowed, pulling to the side of the road.

“So if he doesn’t shoot those right away, we’re probably fine,” Robbie said. “Put your piece out of sight.”

“Yeah,” Morgan said.

Robbie pulled over, and slid the heavy plate glass side window forward so he could talk to the officer, who was leaving his car.

“He’s alone, isn’t he?” Morgan asked.

“Yep. Might have called for backup or something.”

The officer walked up, looking around.

“Good day,” he said when he got to the window.

“Hello, officer,” Robbie said politely. “Did I do something wrong?”

“You’re not staying in town, are you?” the officer asked, searching his eyes.

“No, we’ve got a place outside of town,” Robbie said.

“How about your friends? They’re not coming here, are they?”

“Friends?” Robbie said.

The officer chuckled. “I saw what happened at the Mertins plant on TV.”

“Oh,” Robbie said, sensing the officer was a friendly. “You don’t have a problem with that?”

“Would’ve joined in had I known,” the officer said. “I’ll deny I said that.”

Robbie laughed. “Don’t blame you there. Are we gonna be okay?”

“I’m not going to mess with you, and I won’t tell anybody you’re here,” the officer said. “I just wanted to find out if there was going to be a battle here, that’s all. There are people I’d want to move away from town if that’s the case. People I love.”

“Gotcha,” Robbie said. “We aren’t planning anything here that I’ve heard about.”

“I think we understand each other,” the officer said. He pulled out his ticket book and scribbled something, then handed it up to Robbie. “Have a nice day. If you have issues or problems, feel free.”

“Thank you, officer,” Robbie said, looking at the phone number on the ticket. “Nice to know there are other patriots around.”

He nodded and went back to his car.

“Whoa,” Morgan said. “That was interesting.”

“I’ll say,” Robbie said, starting his engine. He pulled away slowly. “Smooth how he used his ticket book. If anybody was watching, it looked like a normal traffic stop.”

“I noticed,” Morgan said. “Maybe we’re gonna be okay.”

“We’ll be fine while we’re here, I suspect,” Robbie said. “Any hits around?”

Morgan picked Robbie’s phone off the center console and checked the apps. “Nobody in this town or near it. The closest large concentration is in Oakland.”

“Figures,” Robbie said. “There’s probably stragglers all over the place, though, right?”

“Oh, yeah,” Morgan said. “Lots of hits in San Jose, Palo Alto, and San Mateo. Also some in Berkley and Concord.”

“None in San Francisco?”

“Just a few here and there,” Morgan said.

“Interesting,” Robbie said. “Where do I turn?”

“Concannon Boulevard,” she said. “Take that to South Livermore Avenue, then get on Tesla Road. Follow that all the way out of town and into the hills. The name changes to Corral Hollow Road when we’re getting close to the RV Park.”

Robbie nodded. “There’s that street up ahead already.”

“We’ll have some twisty roads once we get out of town,” Morgan said. “You’ll be tired by the time we get to our destination.”

“No problem,” Robbie said. Morgan’s phone dinged. “Gil?”

Morgan looked up, smiling. “Yep, he got the apps too.”

“Excellent. Can’t wait till we get to the park.”

“Me too,” she said. “The fire’s still burning a little from the battle.”

“We have to get set up first, you know,” Robbie said.

“We’ll work together.” She shot him a sexy grin.

Robbie made the turn onto Concannon, curving towards the left after a mile, then making a tight right turn onto Livermore.

“That wasn’t fun,” Robbie said. “We aren’t on this one for very long, are we?”

“Nope,” Morgan said, watching her phone screen. “After this curves to the left, you’ll be making a right on Tesla, and then you’ll be out of town in a hurry.”

They were into the hills in minutes, cruising at a good clip on the empty road.

“This isn’t that tight,” Robbie said. “The curves are pretty gentle.”

“Give it time. It looks worse when you zoom out. This is a good road, though. By the way, the place we’re going is for the off-road park nearby.”

“Really?” Robbie said. “Used to love those. Bummer that we don’t have our jeep anymore.”

“Probably won’t have time to do off-roading anyway,” Morgan said. “Hard to believe we just left the city. Feels remote out here.”

“Part of it is the lack of cars,” Robbie said.

“I’m surprised the RV Park is open.”

“Hell, it might not be,” Robbie said. “Might just be some special deal that Jules and Ivan set up.”

They followed the road through the hills, clumps of trees showing up every so often.

“Look there,” Morgan said, pointing at blackened ground and trees. “Must have been a brush fire recently.”

“Welcome to California.” Robbie glanced at her, smiling.

“That’s right, you’re a native,” she said, looking out the windshield. “I could get used to it here, if the government wasn’t so crazy.”

“Here’s a big curve,” Robbie said, turning the coach hard, applying the brakes.

“Wow. Careful.”

“Time to slow down a little bit,” Robbie said. “Sorry.”

“You’re doing fine,” Morgan said.

“More curves coming. Spoke too soon. Some of these are pretty tight.”

“Take your time, honey,” Morgan said. “We’re not in a hurry.”

“I know,” Robbie said, hands gripping the wheel. They rolled along for nearly a half hour before they saw the signs for the RV Park and the OHV facilities.

“We’re getting close,” Morgan said, looking at her phone. “Wonder if we’re gonna have to pay?”

“I’ve got cash if we need to,” Robbie said. “Hope there’s a camp store there.”

Morgan chuckled. “There it is. See it? Looks almost empty. Sparse. Not many trees.”

“Geez,” Robbie said, looking at it as they approached.

“There’s the driveway, to the right,” Morgan said, pointing. Robbie took it, slowing to a crawl as they neared the office building.

“They have a small store,” Robbie said. “Looks like only about five coaches here. The whole damn place is visible from the road.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that. There’s nobody on this damn road.”

“Good point,” Robbie said as they pulled into the check-in lane. He shut down the engine, and they left the coach, walking down the steps into the warm, dry air.

“Wow, there’re dirt race-tracks on either side of this place,” Morgan said as they walked.

“I’ll bet it’s noisy as hell here when they’re busy,” Robbie said. “This was my dream place when I was in Junior High.”

“I’ll bet,” Morgan said. “Back home we just drove off the road a little. There were off-roading places everywhere.”

“Country girl,” Robbie said, shaking his head.

“At least you didn’t call me a hick,” she said, smiling as Robbie pushed open the door and held it for her. They entered, walking up to the counter. There was a middle-aged woman sitting behind the register, eating a popsicle.

“Howdy,” she said, standing up, wiping her mouth. She set the popsicle down on a paper towel. “You Robbie?”

“Yep,” he said. “This is Morgan.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Jill.”

“Not many people here,” Morgan said.

“Damn war killed our business. We just have a few locals living here. The rest of the trade hasn’t been around for more than a month.”

“You got something that’s a little away from the road?” Morgan asked.

“We’ve got you set up in thirty-six,” Jill said. “Oh, and your Jeep was dropped off this morning.”

“It was?” Robbie asked.

“Glad they did it in time,” Morgan said, eyeing Robbie. “We didn’t expect it until tomorrow.”

“How much do we owe you?”

“Paid in full,” Jill said. She got out a map and drew on it with a felt-tipped pen. “We’re here. Just follow the line. It’s a pull-through, 50 amp.”

“You got a store?” Robbie asked. “We could use some food.”

“Yes, but I’ll have to open up for you. Can you wait until tomorrow morning?”

“Sure,” Robbie said. “Thanks.”

The couple walked back to the rig with the map and pamphlet in hand.

“Well that was easy,” Morgan said.

“Glad they brought the Jeep. They had this whole thing planned to a T.”

“Indeed,” Morgan said, waiting as Robbie unlocked the coach door, then climbing up. “I’m so glad we’re here.”

“Yep,” Robbie said, getting behind the wheel. He fired up the rig and drove it down the long access road, finding their spot quickly.

“We can see the road from here,” Morgan said.

“Hell, you can see the road from every single space I’ve seen here,” Robbie said, shooting her a grin. “This place is solely focused on the off-road park. I’ll bet this is filled with drunk off roaders on Friday and Saturday nights.”

“During normal times,” Morgan said.

“Normal times,” Robbie said as he drove into their space. “At least the front of the coach isn’t facing the highway.”

“There’s more coaches here than I expected,” Morgan said.

Robbie shut down the engine, then started the auto-level program. Morgan got up. “Can I walk around while this is going?”

“May want to give it a minute,” Robbie said.

She nodded and sat back down until the coach settled.

“There we go,” she said, getting up again. “Hungry?”

“Yep,” Robbie said.

“Good, I’ll see what I can come up with while you get us hooked.”

Robbie pulled her into his arms and kissed her, then left the coach to do the hookups, leaving her looking at the door.

***

“Wow, this is something,” Anna said as Garrett drove her into Dodge City. It was a long western street, with buildings on either side, looking like a movie set. He parked and got out to open Anna’s door. She took his hand and stepped out. “Wow, realistic down to the mud in the streets.”

He chuckled, holding her hand as they went to the wooden sidewalk, his boots clomping on them as they walked towards the saloon.

“What, the first place we’re going is the bar?” Anna asked, shooting him a sly grin.

“That’s where my friends will be,” he said, helping her through the door.

“Garrett, you old son of a gun,” said a short, skinny old man behind the bar. “This the woman I’ve been hearing about?”

“Sure is, Willard. Her name’s Anna. Anna, this is Willard.”

“Nice to meet you,” she said. “You two related?”

“He’s my cousin,” Garrett said.

“Yep, can’t you tell the resemblance?” Willard asked, laughing.

Garrett shook his head. “Willard here was the black sheep of the family.”

“You tell her,” Willard said. “You drinking?”

“One,” Garrett said. “People staying on the wagon for the most part?”

“Yeah, pretty much,” Willard said. “Rumor has it we’re not going into Julian.”

“Those rumors are true, and I agree,” Garrett said.

“What’s we gonna hit instead?”

“New UN headquarters,” Garrett said. “That’s all I’ll say right now.”

“You want a drink, Ms. Anna?” Willard asked.

“Maybe just half a shot,” she said.

Willard poured a full shot glass and a half one, then poured one for himself. He held it up. “Here’s to new friends and old.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Garrett said.

They tossed them back.

“Where’s everybody else?” Garrett asked.

“Home, for the most part,” Willard said. “Jess and Frankie went hunting with a few other folks. Probably won’t be back until tomorrow morning.”

“Figured we’d need to do that,” Garrett said.

“How’s the game holding up around here?” Anna asked. “Tyler said it was getting a little sparse around the Williams place.”

“Damn drought really knocked the herd for a loop,” Willard said. “We need a few wet years, like we had back in 2016.”’

Garrett chuckled. “Yeah, a lot of things were better back then.”

“Damn straight, brother, but things aren’t all bad now,” Willard said. “Now we get to shoot back. Saw this mess coming all the way back in 2016.”

“Preaching to the choir,” Garrett said. “I’m gonna go visit my sis. See you later. Pass the word around that I’m in town for a day or two.”

“Will do,” Willard said.

“This really is cool,” Anna said as they walked out of the saloon. She looked at a horse-drawn wagon coming slowly up the street. “No cars on this street?”

“We discourage driving through the middle of town, but just about everybody has some kind of motor vehicle,” Garrett said as they walked, past a hotel and the sheriff’s office and a bank. “Our pride and joy is the opera house, but we don’t have any talent to run it now. Before the war we were bringing people in and putting on shows. Drew a lot of the locals out here.”

“I remember reading about that,” she said. “Always wanted to come.”

“You should have,” Garrett said.

“My husband didn’t like that sort of thing,” she said.

“Well I do,” Garrett said. “Sis lives up there.” He pointed to a two-story boarding house across the street. “Hey sis!” he yelled.

After a moment one of the second story windows opened, and a gray-haired woman stuck her head out.

“What are you yelling about, you old goat?”

Garrett chuckled. “She’s a little salty.”

Anna smiled. They went across the street, avoiding the mud and road apples.

By the time they got to the wooden sidewalk, the gray-haired woman was waiting for them, a grin on her face. She rushed up and hugged Garrett. “Glad you survived that last battle. Heard bad things.”

“We lost people,” Garrett said. “This is Anna. Anna, this is Susanne, my big sister.”

“Great to meet you,” Susanne said. “Heard this old fool got himself a girlfriend.”

Anna smiled, watching Garrett get embarrassed. Both women laughed.

“All right, all right,” Garrett said.

“Come on in. Want some coffee?”

“Sounds great,” Anna said. They walked into the door ahead of Garrett.

“Hey, Garrett, you want something stronger than coffee?” asked an old bald man in the back of the parlor. He was large with an imposing demeanor.

“Don’t you dare, Elmer,” Susanne said.

Elmer laughed, rushing over to shake hands with Garrett.

“This is Anna,” Garrett said.

“Heard you took a woman from the nations,” he said, a sly grin on his face, his scraggly beard making him look goofy.

“Took a woman?” Susanne asked, shaking her head. “Sorry, Anna. Elmer engages his mouth before his brain kicks in.”

“It’s a stream of consciousness thing,” Elmer said, following the comment with a snicker. “You’re lovely, Anna. Hope you float Garrett’s boat as well as Susanne floats mine.”

“Oh, please,” Susanne said, face turning red. “You’re just a gentleman friend. Nothing more.”

“What about last night?” Elmer asked, sending a wink to Anna, who chuckled.

“Shut up about that,” Susanne said. “It was a weak moment.”

“Been a lot of those lately,” Elmer said. “Maybe I should just move in.”

Susanne rolled her eyes. “Ignore him. I’ll go get the coffee.”

Anna followed Susanne into the kitchen. Garrett sat on one of the antique loveseats. He shot a grin at Elmer and put his booted feet up on the table in front of it.

“You’re a brave man,” Elmer said. “How’d you get hooked up with Anna? She’s cute, by the way.”

“We’re just friends, really,” Garrett said. “I like to talk with her.”

“Uh huh,” Elmer said. “I know that look she’s giving you.”

“There are some sparks,” Garrett said. “I’m not discouraging them.”

“Here they come,” Elmer whispered. Garrett pulled his feet off the table and sat up, straight and formal.

“Got your feet off my table pretty quickly,” Susanne said, walking back into the room with Anna. Susanne turned to her. “He looks housebroken, but he’s as much of a beast as Elmer is.”

Anna chuckled.

“You two gonna shack up?” Elmer asked.

“Dammit, Elmer, stop that,” Susanne said. “It’s not polite.”

“I’m just kidding. Don’t get your bustle in a bunch.”

Garrett laughed, patting the space next to him. Anna came over and sat there.

“I think your sister is lovely,” Anna said.

“She’s that, but she’s also ornery as all get out,” Garrett said. “Without her operation, we’d be toast.”

“Operation?” Anna asked.

“I run the ammo factory,” she said with pride. “Dangerous work because of the black powder, but we’ve got it down. We need some more brass, though. You got any ideas, Garrett?”

“I’ve asked my guys to save what brass they can,” Garrett said, “and we’ve been picking it up off the ground after battles. We still need a better source, though, now that the routes into Arizona are shut down.”

There was sputtering from the kitchen. Susanne got up and rushed back there, Anna joining her.

“They’re conspiring against us,” Elmer whispered, a grin on his face.

Garrett shook his head. “When are you gonna make an honest woman out of her?”

“Like Susanne would go for that. I’ve already tried. I’ll just take what I can get at this point.”

Garrett chuckled. “Well, whatever makes you two happy.”

“You’re taking Anna to your spread?”

“Yeah, I’ll take her out there,” Garrett said. “Might bring her back here tonight, though, so she can have a room in the hotel.”

“Don’t count on that,” he whispered. “Here they come.”

The women were back, each with two coffee cups in their hands.

“Good,” Garrett said after his first sip.

“When do our men get back?” Susanne asked. “The large group.”

“They’re probably already at the Williams place,” Garrett said. “I’ll leave some of them there to help protect it.”

“Why don’t you just move everybody here?” Elmer asked.

“Might come to that,” Garrett said. “We’ve got room, that’s for sure.”

“Then why not?” Anna asked.

“Don’t want all of our eggs in one basket,” Garrett said. “Being split between the two locations makes an assault twice as hard for the enemy.”

“Yeah, but they have to go against a force that’s double the size,” Susanne said.

“These folks have access to advanced weapons like artillery,” Garrett said. “That can water down our numbers quick, and then we’re done.”

Anna nodded in agreement. “It helps to have your forces in more than one place. Our tribe would be gone now had we all stayed together.”

“Yep,” Garrett said. “We could get bottled up in here, too. Not something we couldn’t put down, but how many people would we lose? They could lob shells in here and blow the hell out of our little town, too. Better to have them worried about their backsides.”

“Hope you two are right,” Susanne said.

“You worried, honey?” Elmer asked, moving closer to her on the couch.

“Stop it,” she said.

Garrett’s phone rang. He answered it, his face showing a smile.

“What?” Anna asked.

“Thanks, man,” Garrett said into the phone before he ended the call. “Ed’s been found.”

“Alive?” Anna asked. “Obviously that’s a yes, with that grin.”

“Yes, he’s alive, but we almost didn’t find him in time. His hovercraft broke down in a bad spot.”

“Never trusted that damn thing,” Anna said.

“Well, this is great news,” Elmer said. “It calls for a drink.”

“You don’t drink anymore,” Susanne said.

“I know, but it still calls for it. I don’t have to answer the call.”

Anna laughed. “You two are a riot.”

“I’m a riot,” Susanne said. “He’s a stupid old coot.”

“Yeah, but you love me,” Elmer said.

Susanne rolled her eyes.

“I think we’ll get going,” Garrett said. “I want to show the homestead to Anna while it’s still plenty light.”

“Yes, I’d love that,” Anna said.

“Look at the love birds,” Elmer quipped.

“Oh, leave them alone,” Susanne said. “I think it’s sweet.”

They said their goodbyes, and Garrett walked Anna outside.

“I love them,” Anna said, “and I’m so relieved about Ed.”

“Me too,” he said. “We’ll need to go get the truck. I’m a few miles outside of town.” He walked with her back to the parking spot, and they got into the truck, Garrett taking it on a back road to the far end of town, then onto a well-worn dirt road.

“They think we’re a couple,” Anna said as they drove along. “Did you tell them that?”

“No, that’s their idea, although you’re the first woman I’ve brought out to meet them.”

“I see,” Anna said. “We going to an old-west shack, or is it a modern house with a bathroom?”

“Don’t worry, we’re on septic. No outhouse.” He looked at her and chuckled. “There’s plenty of horses and cattle. I’ve got hands living in a bunkhouse on the edge of the property.”

“I hope this place has a bathtub big enough for the both of us,” she said.

“Oh, really now?”

“You have a problem with that?” she asked.

“Not even a little bit,” Garrett said, rolling down the road.

“It’s so pretty out here,” Anna said.

“Something’s wrong,” Garrett said, looking at the gate as they approached. “The gate’s open. Shouldn’t be.”

Anna looked at him, fear in her eyes. “We’ve got guns, right?”

Garrett pulled over, getting out and rushing to the truck bed, pulling back the tarp and grabbing two lever action rifles. He brought them up to the cab, then drove forward.

“These easy to shoot?” Anna asked.

“They’re just like modern Winchesters, except they kick less and let off some smoke,” he said, going through the gate, staring around the area.

“Is that a body over there?” Anna asked, pointing.

“Dammit,” he said. “Wait here, and keep the gun in your lap, okay?” I’m leaving the keys in the truck and the motor running. If something happens to me, high-tail it.”

Anna nodded yes as Garrett got out, grabbed one of the rifles, and trotted into the pasture.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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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 112 – Captives

The choppers on the roof of the Mertins Administration building started their engines as gunfire raged around them, explosions going off on the floor below them. One of the choppers leaned as the roof over the big conference room started to collapse, the chopper sliding sideways down into the building, exploding with a huge fireball. The other two choppers tried to lift off. Commandos approached from the far side of the roof, unsteady as the building shook, trying to get a bead on the closest chopper with their RPG. Then machinegun fire erupted from the third chopper, cutting down the team, the RPG falling to the composite roofing.

“Back off!” shouted the voice over the headsets. The commandos running to take the place of the first team dived behind cover as more machinegun fire came at them.

“Don’t worry about the choppers,” the voice on the headset cried. “Nobody from the building was able to get on. This is just the chopper crews trying to save themselves. Concentrate on officials running around. The routes to the roof have all been destroyed.”

“Roger that,” said the leader of the second team, who peered over the edge of the roof. “Van trying to escape below. You see it?”

“We’re heading towards it, but still a lot of snipers. Take out if you can.”

“You got it,” the Commando said, getting up, sprinting towards the RPG, picking it up. Blood dripped off it as he ran to the side of the roof. Machinegun fire started again from the chopper, the commando bobbing and weaving through what little cover there was while the other commandos fired their M-16s at the chopper, killing the pilot and copilot. The chopper went out of control, slamming into the third chopper, both of them exploding.

“Shoot that van,” shouted the man on the headset.

The commando aimed the RPG and fired, hitting the van, exploding it in front of the gate.

“Nice, that blocked their exit,” the voice over the headsets shouted.

“Glad to be of service,” the commando said. “Crap, get ready. There’s a line of vans headed our way.”

“Where they come from?” Jules asked over the headset.

“Alpha One, good to hear your voice. Nice job on those enemy choppers.”

“Where they come from,” Jules repeated.

“Oh, sorry sir. Coming on Route 17, good clip. I see about twenty of them.”

“Vans only, or military vehicles?” Jules asked.

“Vans…no, wait. I see two Gaz Tigrs.”

“Okay, we attack,” Jules said. “Everybody hear?”

“I got you, partner,” Tex said.

“Yeah, we heard you,” Robbie said. “On our way. You want us up on the freeway?”

“Yes, going wrong way,” Jules said. “I be there quick.”

“Be careful, chief,” the commando said. “We’re almost done here. Killed all of the leadership.”

“Oh, crap, more choppers,” the commando on the roof said. “Scratch that. Those are TV choppers. They’re filming.”

“Leave them be,” Jules said. “Ivan need footage for show.”

Several people on the radio chuckled.

***

Daan sat in the passenger seat of the van, at the back of the caravan, his first lieutenant driving, headset on, brow furrowed.

“We shouldn’t go in there so fast, boss,” the lieutenant said. “In fact, you shouldn’t even be here. It’s too dangerous.”

“Shut up, Hanson,” Daan said. “That’s my place.”

 

Hanson’s eyes squinted as he listened to a message coming in. Daan noticed.

“What?”

“I got intel from the lead,” Hanson said. “The entire leadership bought it.”

“What about the choppers?”

“The ones on the roof? Destroyed, but the leadership had no chance to get up there anyway.”

“And the two I sent to help?” Daan asked.

“Destroyed before they got there. Crap.”

“What?” Daan asked.

“The new UN base got destroyed,” he said. “Overwhelming force of citizen fighters aided by MERCs. The ammo storage blew. I told you we shouldn’t put it inside, even temporarily.”

“This is Ivan,” Daan said. “I’m going to skin him alive.”

Hanson looked forward, afraid to say anything, then his eyes grew wide. “What the hell is that?”

“What?” Daan asked, looking up from his cellphone screen. He froze, sweat breaking out on his forehead. “They’re coming the wrong way on the freeway? What are those things? They look like buses.”

“That one has a minigun on the roof,” Hanson cried. They both watched in horror as the two Gaz Tigrs exploded in a hail of lead.

“Dammit, all of those things have miniguns,” Daan said. “I thought that was only a prototype.”

“What? You knew about these things?”

“We nailed one in central California, remember? And that damn Ji-Ho had one in the south. Almost wasted it, but he limped away.”

“Oh, the battle in Julian,” Hanson said. “Sir, we’d better turn around now.”

“Yes, do it,” Daan said. “Go to the alternate location.”

Hanson slowed quickly as several vans in front of them blew up, then made a sweeping u-turn as machinegun fire ripped into the roof of the van, going through the driver’s seat, guts and brains slamming into the front windshield as Daan looked on, horrified. He held on tight as the van went out of control, rolling onto the driver’s side and sliding to a stop against the center divider.

“Hanson!” Daan shouted, struggling to climb out. The door was jammed. He grabbed Hanson’s rifle and shot through the passenger side window, then scrambled out and ran off the freeway as the other vans were blown to bits with minigun fire and grenades.

***

“That got them,” Robbie said, watching the UN Vans burn on the road ahead. “Should we go check them out?”

“That’s a negative,” Ted said over the headphones.

“Yes, Ted right,” Jules said. “Retract weapons. Turn around, head north on this road. I send text with GPS coordinates for each coach. All separate RV parks. We reconnect before rescue operation. Nice work, everybody. Turn off headsets when text come.”

“Wow, that was a rush,” Morgan said, her face flushed. “I could get used to this.”

Robbie glanced at her, smiling. “Yep, gets your blood up, that’s for sure.” He got the rig turned around, and retracted the weapons systems.

“I wish we could pull over right now,” Morgan said.

“Why?”

“Guess,” she said, shooting him a sexy grin.

“Oh,” he said sheepishly. “Yeah, I could really get into that now, but it’ll have to wait.” Both of their phones dinged.

“Watch the road,” Morgan said. “I’ll look up where our GPS coordinates take us and guide us there.”

“Hope we don’t run into trouble on the way.”

“Just drive casual,” Morgan said as she looked at her screen. “Ah, there we go.”

“Where?”

“Way east,” she said. “Take the 280 to the 680. I’ll guide you after that.”

“What’s it near?”

“It’s southeast of Livermore,” she said. “Looks like a pretty rustic place.”

“How long will it take?”

“Just over an hour, if we don’t run into any problems,” she said.

“I doubt we will, from what we heard about the attack on the UN Headquarters.”

Morgan snickered. “Yeah, why would those morons put so much ammo in their headquarters? Seems pretty stupid.”

“I suspect it was temporary, and we lucked out. Where’s everybody else going?”

“All over the damn place,” Morgan said. “We’re a good sixty miles from the nearest of our friends.”

“Who’s closest?”

“Cody and Allison,” she said. “Ted’s about eighty miles.”

“Where’s Jules?”

She looked at her screen for a couple minutes. “Someplace called Dublin. You aren’t still worried about him, are you?”

“No,” Robbie said. “How’s he going to handle the folks that don’t have the apps?”

“Every coach has a laptop with the new app, remember?” It’s got the normal long-range app on it too.”

“But not the short-range app,” Robbie said. “That one might be the most important, since it doesn’t require LTE.”

“I’m looking at that matrix of coaches and people that Shelly put together. There’s only two coaches that don’t have leadership people in them.”

“I know, Justin and Gil,” Robbie said. “Text one of them and see if they’ve been sent the apps. If not, I need to get on the horn with Jules.”

She nodded, moving her fingers on the screen, sending a text. “I sent a broadcast to the two of them.”

“Good,” Robbie said, hands gripping the wheel. “Here comes the 280.”

“It just turns into the 680, by the way.” Her phone dinged. “Text from Justin.” She smiled. “He got the apps.”

“Gil?”

“Not back yet,” she said. “Give it time.”

“Okay.” He made the transition to the 280. “This road is deserted.”

“Not surprising,” Morgan said. “Wonder if we’ll see any checkpoints?”

“Not on the freeway. Do we have much in the way of surface streets to deal with?”

“We go from the 680 to a much smaller road. Route 84. Looks like it goes through the residential part of Livermore.”

“Freeway or highway with stops?” Robbie asked.

“Looking.” She focused on her phone for a moment. “Crap. Big street, but there are stop signs and such.”

“Are there other ways there?”

She looked closer. “Not better than this way. There’s mountains we have to go around after we leave Livermore. No shortcut to there that I can see, at least with a road vehicle. We should trust Jules, though. I’m sure they thought through these spots.”

“Hope so,” Robbie said.

They rode silently for a while, the freeway transitioning from 280 to 680, then going into rugged terrain.

“Really deserted out here,” Morgan said.

“Yep. Wish we still were towing the Jeep. We’ll probably need to get some food.”

“There’s quite a bit of stuff in the freezer,” Morgan said. “I checked before we took off this morning. Quite a bit of food in the pantry too, but some of it might be bad now. Wouldn’t trust the loaf of bread that’s in there.”

“At least we can tell by looking.”

“It won’t be long before we hit the beginnings of Livermore,” Morgan said, looking at her phone again. “What do we do if there’s a checkpoint?”

“Fight our way through, I guess,” Robbie said. “We’re sure as hell not letting them search us.”

“We’re probably dead if it comes to that,” Morgan said. “How can we outrun anybody in this thing?”

“We have a lot of firepower,” Robbie said, “but you’re right. It’ll be tough. You know it’s possible that we’re being tracked via satellite right now. All of us.”

“I don’t think so,” Morgan said.

“Why not?”

“They would’ve found us at that winery,” she said. “Think about it.”

“Good point,” Robbie said. “Thanks, that makes me feel a little better. We’re getting into town.” He slowed as the road went from freeway to highway. The side streets were nearly empty, with only an occasional car or truck. There was a semi rig ahead of them and a couple of cars behind them. Robbie’s eyes kept darting between his mirrors and windshield, as Morgan looked nervously out the passenger side window.

“So far so good,” she muttered under her breath.

“Traffic light ahead,” Robbie said, rolling to a stop.

“Look, there used to be a checkpoint here,” Morgan whispered. “See the barricades over there?”

“So why is it not running now, I wonder?”

“Maybe because of that big shindig that we messed up in San Jose,” Morgan said.

They cruised along, going through several lights, and then Robbie’s eyes lingered more on the rearview mirror.

“What?” Morgan asked.

“We’re being followed by a cop.”

“Oh no,” Morgan said.

“Don’t get upset yet,” Robbie said. “There’s a big difference between a cop and the UN.”

***

“No luck?” Erica asked. Sam put his cellphone and the address book down on the coffee table in front of the couch. He shook his head no. Mia was sleeping next to them on the couch, her head on Sam’s lap. Most of the people had left the house after the meeting, and it was quiet.

“Should we take her home?” Sam asked.

“Home?”

“Our coach,” Sam whispered.

“Oh, let her sleep,” Erica said. “She’s still recovering from the trauma. You okay to sit there for a while?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he whispered, petting Mia’s head tenderly. “Poor girl.”

“Want a cup of coffee?” Erica asked.

“Sure, thanks,” Sam said. Erica got up carefully and walked into the kitchen. Garrett and Anna were in the kitchen with Clem and Sarah, all of them looking exhausted.

“Hey,” Erica said as she went to the coffee pot.

“It’s a little stale,” Sarah said. “There’s a smaller coffee pot in the cupboard next to the dishwasher.”

“Okay, thanks,” Erica said, retrieving it. “Any of you interested?”

“Sure, I could drink a cup,” Clem said.

“Me too, come to think of it,” Sarah said. “Thanks.”

“How are you holding up?” Erica asked her.

“I’m numb,” she said. “I can’t even cry now. It’s weird.”

“I’m so sorry,” Erica said.

“How’s Sam doing with Mia?” Anna asked.

“He’s in love with that little girl,” Erica said. “Should have known that would happen. He’s a good man. Even better than I thought when I first met him.”

“Yep, he’s good people,” Garrett said.

“So are you,” Erica said, glancing at him. Anna smiled and nuzzled up against him.

“I’ll say,” she said. “How do you feel about Mia?”

“I know what you’re gonna say,” Erica said. “You sure?”

“Yeah,” Anna said. “You couldn’t raise any of the family, could you?”

Erica stopped spooning coffee into the drip basket and looked at her, shaking her head no.

“Do you want her?” Anna asked.

Erica looked at her, starting to tremble a little, tears running down her cheeks. She nodded yes, looking embarrassed.

“What’s the matter?” Sarah asked.

“I’m afraid I can’t be a good enough mother,” she said.

“Rubbish,” Clem said. “You’ll make a fine mother.”

“And you’ll have Sam to help you,” Garrett said. “I saw how he looked at her.”

“He didn’t have any kids with is first wife,” Erica said.

“First wife?” Sarah asked. “He’s only been married once.”

“He’s married to Erica now,” Anna said. “Or as good as married.”

Erica continued making coffee, feeling a welling of pride within her. She turned and smiled. “This is weird.”

“What?” Anna asked.

“I wanted to have kids with Sam,” she said. “It struck me so fast after we met. I thought I was going nuts. It kept up, too.”

“That’s not weird,” Sarah said.

“No,” Erica said. “Now it’s not urgent anymore. Now I want Mia. I can’t explain that.”

“Biology works in strange ways,” Clem said.

“It does,” Anna said. “Have you two talked about this yet?”

Erica turned on the coffee maker and turned back towards Anna. “No, not in so many words, but we’ve definitely had some non-verbal communication about it.”

Anna chuckled. “Hell, even I picked up on that, and I barely know Sam.”

The coffee maker pulsed, coffee dripping into the pot, the room filling with the aroma. Anna looked up at Garrett. “Maybe we should be off.”

“Where are you two going?” Clem asked. “Upstairs?”

“Clem!” Sarah said. Anna laughed.

“No, he’s taking me to Dodge City, to meet his sister and some other people,” Anna said.

“Oh,” Sarah said. “Is it safe to go there?”

“Sure,” Garrett said. “Probably safer there than it is here.”

“I meant the drive,” Sarah said.

“Oh. Yeah, we’ll be fine. A few others are going with us. Most are staying here, though, at least until the cavalry gets back. They should be here in a half hour or so.”

“Okay,” Sarah said. “Just be careful? Please?”

“We will,” Anna said, getting off the stool. She walked towards the archway into the living room and stopped, turning towards Erica. “You’ve got to see this.”

Erica walked over to her and looked. Sam and Mia were both asleep, looking as peaceful as can be.

“Oh geez,” Erica said. “Guess he’ll have coffee later.”

“They won’t sleep long,” Garrett said. “Those horses will wake them up.”

“Let’s go out the back door so we don’t wake them yet,” Anna whispered. Garrett nodded, and they went through the kitchen slider into the backyard, pulling it closed behind them.

The coffee pot sputtered as it finished. Erica poured three cups, sliding one to Clem and one to Sarah, then taking a sip of hers.

“Thanks,” Clem said, taking a sip. “Wish we could have a little booze in this.”

“We have some,” Sarah said.

“I know, but I’m not comfortable,” Clem said. “I know we’re supposed to be safe and all, but I still want to be alert.”

“Good policy,” Erica said.

“You know, our marriage was having real problems before this craziness started,” Sarah said. “John had a real drinking problem.”

“I remember,” Clem said, watching her start to tear up.

“The old goat had to become such a good man,” she said. “Right before I lost him.” She broke down, Clem and Erica both rushing to hug her.

***

Dean Lambert sat in the cement room next to Hodges and Davis, their hands still bound, their mouths uncovered.

There was a clanking sound, and the heavy metal door creaked open.

“Shit, what now,” Dean Lambert muttered under his breath. Hodges looked over at him, pure hatred in his eyes.

“What are you gonna tell them this time, traitor?” he said, sweat glistening on his bald head.

“Shut the hell up,” Davis said. “Both of you. He scratched his kinky black hair on the wall behind his head.

“Gentlemen, how are you?” Ivan asked, walking in with Mr. White and Mr. Black. “Somebody wanted to see that you were really here. Come on in, Ben.”

Ben Dover walked into the room slowly, his face still battered, his head bandaged. “Hey, no fair, these creeps aren’t beat up as bad as I am.”

“Your name is Kent Garland,” Davis said. “You were in one of my classes. What are you doing with these reactionaries?”

“You don’t know what this little cretin did, do you?” Hodges asked. He spat at Ben, who leapt back to avoid it.

“We don’t need Mr. Hodges anymore,” Ivan said. Mr. Black nodded and walked towards him as his eyes grew wider, grabbing his head with both hands and twisting, a sickening crack reverberating in the cement room. Davis and Lambert both cried out, trying to scoot away from Hodges as he fell, ending up across Davis’s lap. He began to cry.

“There, there,” Ivan said. “You don’t have to suffer the same fate as your friend here. All you have to do is cooperate as well as Dean Lambert has.”

“They’ll kill me,” Davis said.

Ivan chuckled. “Your leadership is the least of your worries. Trust me on that. They’re in more danger from us than you are from them, I guarantee you.”

“What do you want?” Dean Lambert asked. “I’ve already told you everything I know.”

“If that’s the case, you won’t last much longer,” Ivan said. He turned to Ben Dover. “You might want to leave the room. This is liable to get a little intense.”

“I’d rather stay, if you don’t mind,” Ben said.

“You didn’t ask me to call you Kent again,” Ivan said.

“I think I’d rather go by Ben,” he said. “Sounds like a good name for a revolutionary. I might be able to help you steer the questioning. I know a lot of details that you might not.”

“Capitol idea,” Ivan said. “Hey, Mr. White, close the door, would you please?”

He nodded, his bulky figure moving towards the door, slamming it shut so hard the walls shook.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! California Book 1 has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

Bug Out! Texas Book 8 – West Border Mayhem has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

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!

 

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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