Bugout! California Part 128 – Home Fires

Jules drove the battle wagon into the outskirts of Sacramento, Shelly beside him in the passenger seat. Sparky and Dana were in the salon with several of the women they’d rescued.

“It’s gonna be light soon,” Shelly said. “Where are we stopping?”

“Shingle Springs, but we’ll be on road for while,” Jules said. “Facility there. Well protected and staffed.”

“Where’s Shingle Springs? Never heard of it.”

“East on Highway 50,” Jules said. “We go up in hills.”

“How can we hide?” Shelly asked. “We’ve got a big caravan of RVs going there, and with all these small heavily armed vehicles too. People are gonna notice.”

“Video systems down, and they have no access to satellite or drone video now. Enemy crumbles before us. Social media team start to work. Citizens help us. Wait and see.”

“You sound more confident than I feel,” Shelly said. “What about the hostages?”

“They stay at facility until we can get them where they want to go,” Jules said. “They okay?”

“I think they’re terrified,” Shelly said. “Except that blonde that spoke in the show. She’s ready to fight. Asked me if she can join.”

“Ivan make decision on that. What’s name again?”

“Samantha,” Shelly said. “She’s not with us. She’s in Tex and Karen’s rig.”

“You know women in this rig?”

“Only Kelly,” Shelly said. “The small black-haired woman. She’s interested in joining too.”

“There’s Highway 50,” Jules said, getting into the right lane. He took the ramp onto the smaller road, following several battle wagons, more behind him with the small fighter vehicles.

 

Sparky came up to the front. “It’s too quiet. Where are the enemy fighters? We’re right in the middle of the state capitol. They ought to be attacking by now.”

“Ivan have other actions going while we pull job at auto mall,” Jules said. “Enemy have hands full. Many UN thugs die tonight.”

“What happened to the Islamists?” Sparky asked. I don’t see many hits anymore.”

“They were moving south, but Daan and Saladin need to bring some back,” Jules said. “See, thin out fast on this road. Now only residential. Soon country road.”

“How’s Dana doing?” Shelly asked.

“She’s a bundle of nerves,” Sparky said. “I’m worried about her, but she says she’s better after talking on the TV show. We’ll see.”

“Night terrors?” Jules asked.

Sparky shook his head yes. “Where’s Ivan? He in one of the battle wagons?”

“He’s with Mr. White and Mr. Black,” Jules said. “Going to alternate location. We won’t see for while.”

“Is the kid with him?” Sparky asked.

“Kid? Oh, you mean Ben Dover, no?”

“Yes,” Sparky said.

“He with Ivan, but not for long,” Jules said. “He head social media team. They work from remote facility. Ivan not say where.”

“UN vans, up ahead,” Shelly said. “See them?”

“I see, onramp by Target store,” Jules said. “We’d better kill them.”

“You mean this we?” Sparky said. “We’ll be past them in a second.”

“Look, off roaders pull on dirt off highway and open fire,” Jules said. They could hear explosions behind them, followed by machine gun fire.

“They called in our location, ten to one,” Sparky said.

“And if they send people, we blast,” Jules said. “Ivan had thirty of the small fighting vehicles stay behind couple miles.”

“Those aren’t armored,” Sparky said.

“They fast and well-armed, though,” Jules said.

“There’s the sun,” Shelly said. “Gonna be hard to hide now.”

Dana came up to the front. “Are we going into battle again?”

“Small fighters took care of it,” Sparky said. “Nothing to worry about.”

Dana looked at him, then at Shelly, who shrugged at her.

“You’re not scared, Shelly?” Dana watched as Shelly formulated her reply.

“Yes, I’m scared, but the odds are in our favor,” she said.

“You and Jules are on the same page, aren’t you?” Dana asked.

Shelly stared at her for a moment and shook her head yes.

“Okay, dearie, that’s good enough for now,” Dana said. “I’m with you guys come hell or high water. No sense in getting too worried.”

“That’s right, honey,” Sparky said.

“Can we go sit?” Dana asked.

“Of course,” Sparky said. The couple left the front of the rig.

“Nice job there,” Jules said, glancing at her.

Shelly laughed. “I’m scared to death, but I didn’t want to let her see it.”

“That’s why I say nice job,” Jules said. “We make good partners, you and I.”

“We do,” Shelly said.

They sat quietly for a while as the road unwound before them.

***

“Looks like we’re ready to take off,” Seth said, at the wheel of his battle wagon, on the west end of Dodge city. Half of the 75-vehicle force of cowboys was in front of them on the dirt road, the other half sitting on the side, to take up the rear after the last two battle wagons took off.

Tyler was sitting in the passenger seat. Kaitlyn walked up to look out the windshield.

“Hey, you want to sit?” Tyler asked.

“Nope,” she said. “Go ahead. Think I should have the M60 out, just in case?”

“Yeah,” Seth said. “Better safe than sorry.”

“There they go,” Tyler said, watching as the multitude of vehicles took off. Seth put the coach into gear and drove forward.

“Hope we don’t run into trouble,” Kaitlyn said.

“If we do, we’ll have plenty of help,” Seth said, “Not to mention having these battle wagons.”

“They’re not indestructible,” Tyler said.

Seth glanced at him. “I know, but their sting is pretty tough, and they do give us some protection.”

“Wish the UN creeps had RFID chips,” Kaitlyn said.

“Seriously,” Seth said.

“We were lucky at the winery,” Tyler said. “Real lucky.”

“I was thinking the same thing,” Kaitlyn said. “That could’ve gone very badly.”

“We lost a coach and a few cowboys,” Seth said.

“Yeah, why only one mine?” Tyler asked.

“They probably weighed the protection against the hassle to themselves,” Seth said, “and the danger.”

“That’s kinda what I was thinking,” Kaitlyn said. “Doesn’t matter. We hurt them pretty bad, from what Ji-Ho was saying in our conference call earlier.”

“Yep,” Ryan said, “and they whacked them really good up north too. Maybe even better than we did down here.”

“We got more muckity mucks,” Seth said.

“Yeah, but they rescued all those girls,” Kaitlyn said. “I’d like to shake hands with each and every one.”

“Wonder if the teams will ever meet?” Seth asked.

“Hope so,” Tyler said. “I’d like to meet the guy who developed the apps.”

“Me too,” Seth said. “Big time. Hope he lives through this. I keep hearing that the enemy has a whole task force chasing him.”

“I’m gonna sit down,” Kaitlyn said. “Too hard to stand when we’re on this damn dirt road.”

“You sit here,” Tyler said. “I’m gonna sit in the back and call Ed.”

“Okay,” Kaitlyn said, taking his seat after he left.

“Hey, beautiful,” Seth said, smiling at her. “Sorry the road’s so bumpy. Well, kinda sorry.”

“Stop leering,” she said, half a grin on her face. “My chief is right back there.”

“I’m just kidding around,” Seth said. “Hope everything’s okay at home. Makes me nervous. The enemy knows where we are.”

“That’s what Erica kept saying in the meeting. Hit them before they get strong enough, or find new places to hide out.”

“They’ll only find us again,” Seth said.

“Do you think they’re stronger or weaker?”

Seth thought for a moment. “Relative to us, I think they’re weaker, because of the apps.”

“The UN guys don’t have RFID,” Kaitlyn said.

“Yep, so we went from having no view of the enemy to having view of more than half, as far as I can tell. That’s an improvement.”

“I guess,” she said, twisting her hair with her fingers as she watched the road ahead. “What do you think of my mom?”

Seth chuckled. “I think she’s great. You know that.”

“She’s going to leave the tribe to be with Garrett.”

“Think so?” Seth asked. “Maybe Garrett will join the tribe.”

“When they’re married, that’ll happen almost automatically.”

“She’s still married to your dad, though, isn’t she?”

“Step-dad,” Kaitlyn said. “They’re married in the tribe, but they never got married in a way that the state recognizes.”

“Oh,” Seth said. “Do you mind doing that?”

“We already talked about it. We’re going to do both.”

“Good,” Seth said. “That’s what I wanted to hear.”

“You know how I feel,” she said.

“I know, but with all this craziness we haven’t been as close lately.”

She studied him for a minute.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean that the way it came out,” Seth said.

“I know what you meant,” she said. “You still love me, right?”

“Yes, very much,” Seth said. “More than ever.”

“I feel the same,” she said, “but you’re worried about it.”

“You aren’t pushing to get married like you were,” Seth said.

“There’s been deaths in the tribe, and the enemy’s been running us ragged.”

Seth was quiet for a moment, then looked over at her. “Okay, I understand. I’m just impatient, that’s all.”

She smiled at him, shaking her head. “Tomorrow, okay?”

“Really?” Seth asked.

“Yes,” she said. “I know Tyler will do it.”

“You’re sure? I’m not going anywhere.”

She rolled her eyes. “Yes, and don’t feel like you’re pushing me into this, either. Please?”

“Okay,” Seth said. “There’s the highway.”

“Finally,” she said, watching the vehicles turning left onto Highway 94. “Wonder how things have been in Dulzura?”

“We’ll find out pretty soon,” Seth said.

Both of them got buzzed by their phones.

“Dammit,” Kaitlyn said, pulling hers out and looking. “Enemy fighters.”

“Where?” Seth asked, gripping the wheel. Tyler rushed up to the front.

“Feel that?” he asked, looking out the side windows.

“Yeah,” Seth said.

“They’re in that big building close to the Post Office, on the way into town. Only ten of them.”

“One of you text to the convoy,” Seth said. “The other look at the long-range app, and see if there’s a larger number someplace.”

“Roger that,” Tyler said. “I’m sending the text now.”

Kaitlyn studied her phone. “No others close by. Wait, there’s quite a few to the south. They’re a ways away, though. No way could they meet us on this road before we get home.”

“Interesting,” Seth said. “That’s not making much sense.”

“We’d best get ready,” Tyler said. “It could be ten Islamists and a hundred UN punks.”

“Yeah, that’s what I’m worried about,” Seth said. “Somebody make sure texts go to Dodge City and to the Williams place. We’re in-between the two. Cavalry could get here from either location pretty fast.”

“Yeah,” Tyler said, typing on his phone. “I’m on it.”

“How far are we from the spot?” Seth asked.

“Quarter mile or so,” Kaitlyn said. “The first wave of cowboys ahead of us will be on them pretty fast.”

“Hey,” Seth said. “Wait a sec. Don’t have our other locations send a bunch of their forces here.”

“Why?” Kaitlyn asked.

“It’ll leave our loved ones un-protected. It might be exactly what they want. We have enough firepower to mess with them real good here. Trust me.”

Tyler leaned back in the couch. “Dammit. I’m gonna take a chance and assume you’re right. I’ll resend, saying they should hold tight and wait for an attack.”

“Yes, and whoever gets hit, we go help,” Seth said.

“Damn straight,” Kaitlyn said.

“They won’t hit Dodge City again,” Tyler said. “They tried and failed yesterday, and Garrett’s had patrols going ever since. They’re gonna hit the Williams place, ten to one.”

Everybody’s phone dinged.

“Holy crap,” Kaitlyn said. “Garrett just made the same comment that Tyler did.”

“Great minds think alike,” Seth said. “He say anything else?”

“Yeah, pull over and fire on the building where the enemy hits are.”

“Roger that,” Seth said, flipping a switch, the mini gun and grenade launchers rising from the top of the coach.

“He just told the cowboys in the vehicles in front of us not to go near the building,” Tyler said.

“He thinks it’s a trap,” Seth said. He drove on, hands sweaty around the wheel. Kaitlyn pulled the main target sight over and looked through it.

“Ready?” Tyler asked. “It’s the big building just this side of the Post Office.”

“Crap, the trees are in the way,” Kaitlyn said, eyes glued to the sight.

“They end,” Tyler said, looking at his phone. “You can fire after we get past them,”

“Got it,” Kaitlyn said as she opened fire, shooting to the rear. The grenades exploded on the target, the third one setting off a massive explosion.”

“Good Lord,” Seth said, watching debris raining around the area.

“Mind the tires, and haul ass towards the Williams place,” Tyler shouted. “The Williams place is gonna get attacked.”

***

Ryan sat in the driver’s seat of the battle wagon, Ed next to him in the passenger seat, reading a text message. “We got trouble brewing.”

“What?”

“Enemy hits near the post office,” Ed said.

“In Dulzura?”

“Yes,” Ed said, sending another text, which dinged in Ryan’s phone.

“That you?”

“Yeah,” Ed said. “I believe we are about to get hit. Sent a broadcast text.”

“The enemy appears to be in Dulzura,” Ryan said.

“Ten RFID hits. They tried to hit Dodge City last night and failed, and now Garrett’s men are patrolling the property on horseback. The enemy is coming here.”

“Why did they send the text?” Ryan asked.

“They requested that we send the cavalry there,” Ed said.

“Did you order it?”

“No,” Ed said. “It’s a trap. Go into siege mode. I’ll send a message to Ji-Ho to do the same.”

Ryan nodded, flipping the switches to activate siege mode. Both their phones dinged. Ed looked at his and chuckled.

“Seth. He figured it out. Said don’t send anybody. Get ready for an attack.”

“Dammit,’ Ryan said.

“Those forces will be here in less than ten minutes,” Ed said. “Four battle wagons and seventy-five cowboys. We have our warriors and a couple hundred mounted men here.”

“Where are the women and children?”

“In the house,” Ed said, sending another text.

“Who are you texting now?”

“Anna,” he said.

“Why?”

“I want your grandmother and the rest of them in the basement right now.”

“Good idea,” Ryan said. Their phones buzzed. Ryan looked at his, then glanced over at Ed. “Islamists.”

“I figured,” Ed said. He sent the text, then studied his phone. “About fifty, and they’ll have some UN folks here that we can’t see.”

“Ji-Ho has siege mode on,” Ryan said, looking through his sight.

“Where’s the cavalry?”

“Already mounted, in the trees surrounding the property,” Ryan said.

Ed was watching through the target reticle in the pull-out console in front of his seat. “Our front-facing guns are pointed right at the driveway.”

“Yeah, so are Ji-Ho’s,” Ryan said. “Anybody in there with him?”

“Sarah,” Ed said. “They put all the folks who can’t run and fight in these tin cans.”

“Hey,” Ryan said.

“Your wound will keep you from being fully effective out there,” Ed said. “You know that. I meant no offense.”

“I know,” he said, smiling at Ed. “I’m just messing with you.”

Their phones dinged with a text message. Ed looked at it while Ryan kept his eyes on the main sight. “Trap. Seth hit the building the Islamists were in with several grenades. It blew sky high.”

“Dammit. We lose anyone?”

“Nope, they knew better. Seth is a smart cookie.”

Ryan chuckled. “My future brother-in-law.”

“You okay with that?”

“Are you kidding? I’ve fought with him. He’s already my brother. I have deep respect for him.”

“Good, me too,” Ed said. He laughed.

“What?”

“Look, to the right of the driveway. They’ve got three of those old cannons over there, pointing down the road.”

Ryan laughed. “Glad we’re in here. Those things made my ears ring for a couple hours last time they went off.”

“They’ll fire first if the enemy comes down the driveway. Great sight line from where they are.”

Machine gun fire floated towards them from the left. “Here it starts,” Ryan said, training the mini gun and grenade launcher in that direction.

“Don’t fire where you can’t see,” Ed said. “Aim at the driveway in front, but keep an eye on the driveway in back too. Our main mission is to stop Gaz Tigrs.”

“Hope they don’t have any tanks,” Ryan said.

The cannons in the front all fired, shaking the ground under the coach.

“Whoa,” Ed said, watching as smoke and fire rose from behind the trees on the driveway. Then a hail of bullets erupted from all sides of the compound, focusing on the driveway.

“Gaz Tigr coming in behind us,” Ryan said, swinging the mini gun to the rear and firing, blowing in the plate glass windshield. He fired a grenade, which went through the broken glass and blew up, the vehicle burning, stopped on the road.

“Nice shooting,” Ed said, checking the rear machine gun target reticle. He opened fire, hitting the men who were sprinting up from behind it. “Fire some grenades back there.”

“Yeah,” Ryan said, pulling the trigger, hitting the area with six in rapid succession.

“I’m only seeing Islamists so far,” Ed said. The cannons in front went off again, and the cavalry started to show themselves, men riding and firing Winchesters, chasing some enemy fighters into the bushes. “I take that back, there’s some UN Peacekeepers up there. The cavalry is on them big time.”

“Look, UN Peacekeepers running onto the lawn. They’re in range of the forward guns.”

“On it,” Ed said. “Keep an eye on the back.” He opened fire, knocking down the running men in a hurry, stopping when about thirty cavalry men rode into view.

“They better have a whole lot more people than that if they want to take us,” Ryan said.

There was a pop, and a mortar round came down about twenty yards in front of the house.

“Dammit, you see where that came from?”

There was intense gunfire from that area, the air thick with black powder and sulphur smell, and explosions went off.

“I think they got them,” Ryan shouted. “Wow, look at those horsemen go. I want to learn how to shoot from the saddle like they’re doing.”

“Yes, I’m impressed,” Ed said, watching them. “More fighters coming from the back. He opened fire with the rear guns. The cannons went off again, one after another, adding to the thick black smoke.

“Gaz Tigr coming up behind the ruined one,” Ryan said, swinging the mini gun back there and firing, punching through the plate glass with the .50 cal rounds, the vehicle stopping. Men struggled to get out of the ruined vehicle, Ed picking them off with the rear machine guns as they attempted to flee.

“That got the attention of the cavalry,” Ed said, watching a group of twenty gallop to the rear, guns blazing.

The mini gun on Ji-Ho’s battle wagon fired, Ryan swinging the sight to that direction, his eyes opening wide. “About a hundred UN Peacekeepers running up the drive. He pulled the trigger on the mini gun, helping Ji-Ho sweep the area with lead, some of the Peacekeepers literally cut in half by the intense fire. Then a new volley of black powder fire came from both sides of the clearing.

“They’re getting hit from three sides!” Ryan shouted.

“Yeah, but we’re gonna have to reload that mini gun quickly at this rate of fire. Switch to grenades, while I hammer at them with the front guns.”

Ryan nodded and fired a series of grenades. “Crap, they overran the cannon.”

“There’s too many,” Ed shouted, seeing another big group rush the side of Ji-Ho’s coach. A barrel came out of the side slit, spewing lead at a furious rate, causing the remaining Peacekeepers to dive for cover, only to be found by mounted men, who rode up with guns blazing.

“More, coming from the rear,” Ryan shouted, swinging the mini gun around. “I can’t see the cavalry.”

“Then hold your fire,” Ed said.

Ji-Ho’s rig pointed their mini gun in that direction and fired, men shouting as they dived for cover, mounted men showing up from the sidelines, opening fire.

“Damn old Winchesters,” Ed said. “Those men should have M4s or AKs.”

“Yeah, when the numbers are nearly equal, it makes a difference,” Ryan said. They were startled as machine gun fire pelted the driver’s side of the rig. Ryan fired the mini gun at the men rushing toward them, but ran out of ammo. “I’m out!” He leapt out of his seat and picked up an M60, going to the gun slit and opening up, mowing down most of the rushing Peacekeepers, the rest diving for cover.

“Go reload the mini gun,” Ed shouted. “I’ll get on the grenade launcher.”

Ryan nodded and sprinted towards the back, pulling the cover for the mini gun down in a panic, and threading a new ammo belt into it as Ed wailed away with the grenade launcher.

“If our folks don’t get here quick, we’re gonna lose this battle,” Ed shouted from the front. “They’ve got to have about three hundred men here. The Cavalry can’t handle them all.”

To be continued…

 

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Bugout! California Part 127 – Testimony

Tex sprinted out the door to his battle wagon, climbing in, pulling down the main sight. He broadcast a text to the other men in the battle wagons around him, saying he was ready to go. Return texts came from the others out there. He smiled, checking the time. The women’s testifying had just started, Tex leaving after Karen had said her piece. He’d thought about staying inside, but the hackles on his neck were up. Somebody was coming. He looked at the roof with his sight, glad to see several men with M60s standing, looking out. Mr. Black showed himself for a moment, setting up a tripod at the corner nearest the main access point. He sent him a text, asking what he was setting up. The reply said TOW missile launcher. His phone rang. Ted. He put it on speaker.

“Tex, think they need me out there?”

“Stacey’s in your coach, right?” Tex asked. “That’ll probably do it. I’d keep up the pressure to get finished quickly in there.”

“You see anybody?”

“No, but the hackles on my neck are going nuts,” Ted said. “Mr. Black just put a TOW missile launcher on the roof. Does he know something?”

“He’s cautious,” Ted said. “I’ll make sure they move it along. We’ll have to distribute the women amongst the coaches.”

“I know, not a problem. These puppies are rated for a lot of weight.”

“They are, but they’ve also got a lot of heavy hardware on them, so we’ve got to distribute carefully,” Ted said. “I’m out. Keep me informed.”

“Will do,” Tex said. He ended the call, then checked the apps. He got hits on the short-range app when he refreshed, but they were all inside the Ford dealership and the surrounding parking lot. Dead. His phone rang again. Sparky.

“Tex, you set?” Sparky asked.

“Yeah. You?”

“Yep,” Sparky said.

“How’d it go inside?”

“I left after Karen said her piece,” he said. “Ted’s staying in there, since we got Stacey in his rig.”

“Wish we had more than one per rig, though,” Sparky said. “Nobody here to work the gun slits if we get attacked.

“Lots of M60s on the roof,” Tex said, “and Mr. Black just set up a TOW missile launcher.

“Good,” Sparky said. “Dana holding up okay?”

“No worse than the others, from what I could tell.”

“Okay,” Sparky said. “Talk to you later.”

The call ended, and Tex went back to the apps, checking the long range. There were hits in the surrounding towns, but none were on the road. His mind was on the UN Peacekeepers with no RFID. He had the grips of the sight in his hands, which were sweaty. He wiped them on his pants, trying to calm himself down. Suddenly there was mini gun fire, from the coach at the opening of the driveway.

“Dammit,” Tex said, moving his sight in that direction, watching a Gaz Tigr burning, rolling slowly to the side of the road. Machine gun fire came from the far side of the compound, from a road separated from the parking lot by a dirt strip to the west. He swung his weapon over, seeing a group of UN Peacekeepers trying to get a good position to fire from. Tex fired, sending a salvo of grenades from the M19, several other coaches joining in as M60s on the roof of the building opened up. The gunfire stopped, but then there was creaking. Tank.

He sent a quick text, keeping his eyes in the sight as much as he could, warning of the sound, and then he heard the whoosh of a TOW missile racing from the roof, its dual wires unfurling behind it. An M-60 tank on Laguna Grove Drive blew up, pieces of armor flying all over the place. More machine gun fire came at the coaches, bouncing off the armor, fire being returned from the mini guns and M19s. Conserve mini gun ammo.

There was a cannon shot from the far side of the building, off Elk Grove Boulevard, clipping the Ford dealership. Mr. Black fired another Tow missile, blowing the tank up where it sat, pieces now blocking that road. UN vans got stuck behind it, several of the coaches on that side of the parking lot firing their M-19s, blowing the vehicles up. Tex picked up his phone and called Jules, putting his phone on speaker as he got his eyes back onto the targeting system.

“We hear,” Jules said. “Done. Road clear?”

“Yeah, but there’s been two tanks so far.”

“M-1?” Jules asked.

“No, just old M-60s, thank God. TOW missiles blew them both up. We knocked out at least one Gaz Tigr too, but getting out of here is gonna be crazy.”

“We have secret weapons in underground parking lot and service bays,” Jules said.

“What secret weapons?”

“Texas team designed M19 and machine gun mounts for off-roaders and Jeeps. We got design, make on 3D printers. Commando team getting to them now. Don’t shoot them. We flood area.”

“Holy crap,” Tex said. “When were you gonna tell us about that?”

Jules snickered on the line. “I send broadcast text. Battle wagons queue up by north and south sides of building on our mark. Pull up close, we get out of building, take battle wagons to the Golden State Freeway, go north. Got?”

“Yeah, I got it,” Tex said. “We’ll need people re-loading the guns in these coaches.”

“Understand,” Jules said. “I go. Be ready. Broadcast text coming out.”

The call ended, and Tex scanned the area with his sight. The gunfire had stopped, and there were broken vehicles and dead men littering the area. He looked at the access roads. There was enough space to get past the busted tank on Laguna Grove Drive, but barely. The main exit was Auto Center Drive to Elk Grove Boulevard, and the eastbound lanes to the Golden State Freeway ramp were clear so far. More gunfire started up, again from the west side of the building. He whirled his guns around and opened fire with grenades, firing off several shots, other coaches joining in. Then there was a pop from the roof, and the patch of dirt along Laguna Springs Drive exploded into flames. He swung his sight around in time to see another mortar round fly, hitting the area just north of the first impact, the whoosh of the willie pete sounding to the west. The text came in to queue at the doors of the facility, and he took his battle wagon out of siege mode, watching out the front windshield after the armor retracted, just in time to see a bunch of Jeeps and off-roaders flying out of the underground parking, heading towards the roads.

“Now I know how B-17 crews felt when Mustangs showed up,” he quipped to himself as he drove to the south side of the building. He opened his coach door and Karen rushed in with several other women.

“You see all those new vehicles?” Karen asked.

“Yeah,” Tex said. “Get ready to reload the main guns. Show the others how.” He shut the door and drove forward, the four women who were with Karen grabbing onto anything they could to avoid falling.

“C’mon,” Karen shouted, leading the women into the back, showing them how to reload the mini gun. “You’re not out yet, you know.”

“I know, but this ain’t over, little lady,” Tex shouted back. “Show them how to reload the M19 too, then get up here. I need you manning the forward and rear machine guns.”

“Okay, sweetie,” she shouted back.

“Hold on, we’re going up the curb to get past that busted tank.”

The women grabbed hold as the coach climbed, then crashed back down, the body of the rig creaking as it settled onto Auto Center Drive. Tex checked his rear-view camera. Two more coaches were behind him, a multitude of off-roaders and Jeeps cruising around, guarding the rigs who were still loading. He got onto Elk Grove Boulevard just as Karen got up to the front.

“Wait on the M19,” Tex said. “Get that console out. Look up ahead. Line of UN vans coming against traffic. Blast them.”

She nodded, rushing to the passenger seat as the other women watched, pulling the tray out, getting onto the target reticle, hands on the joystick and the trigger. Fire spewed from the front of the coach, stopping the UN vans, some of them trying to turn away behind the ruined vehicles in front. Tex fired off half a dozen grenades and made the left turn onto the Golden State Freeway on-ramp, hitting the accelerator hard, blasting onto the deserted road. Karen took a last look at the sight video in front and back, then got out of her seat and showed the women how to load the M19.

“How are we gonna get away?” one of the women asked. “They’ll track us, won’t they?”

“They’ll try,” Karen said. “They’d better bring something big if they want to take us out.”

Several of the heavily armed Jeeps roared out in front of them, and more came up along both sides.

“We got an escort!” Tex shouted, smiling.

“The other coaches all out?” Karen shouted back.

Tex looked in his gun sight. “Yeah, looks like all of them made it out. Geez, how many of those new vehicles did Ivan cook up? I swear it looks like a hundred of those things back there. Reminds me of frigging Sturgis.”

“Know where we’re going?” one of the women asked.

“Folsom,” Karen said.

***

Sam was tired, eyes still on the target reticle. He leaned back and rubbed his eyes. Erica was in the passenger seat, asleep, snoring. There was a soft rap on the door.

“I’ll get it,” Sid said, getting off the couch in the salon. He opened the door, Garrett walking in with a large basket.

“That smells good,” Sam said. Erica stretched as she woke up, then turned to see Garrett put the picnic basket on the kitchen counter.

“The rest of the cavalry get back?” she asked.

“Yep,” Garrett said. “They’re still asleep. I’ll wake them at about three in the afternoon.”

Yvonne got up to help hand out the food, which consisted of pulled-pork sandwiches and potato salad. Clem helped, getting paper plates out of the cupboard above the sink.

“Everything still okay at the Williams place?” Erica asked.

“Yep,” Garrett said. “We’ll be going back in a few hours. Ed asked that we take the seventy-five folks in vehicles along, in case we run into problems on the road back.”

“That’s a good idea,” Sam said. “You coming with us?”

“If I don’t, Anna will skin me alive,” he said. Erica chuckled.

“This is good,” Sid said, taking a bite of the pulled pork.

“It sure is,” Yvonne said.

Sam’s phone rang. He looked at it. “Ji-Ho. I’ll put it on speaker.” He set his phone down on the center console, and everybody gathered around. Sam and Eric slipped out of their seats to grab some food. “Go ahead, Ji-Ho,” Sam said as they walked away. “You’re on speaker.”

“Very good,” he said. “Everybody safe?”

“Yep,” Garrett said. “I just delivered some food. We’re taking Ed up on his suggestion, and using the cowboys in vehicles to escort us back.”

“Glad,” Ji-Ho said. “Everything quiet here. No enemy activity.”

“Good,” Sam said, getting back into his seat with a plate of food. “You calling to check on us?”

“Yes, also give news. Ivan’s team in north take out UN base, rescue women, successfully fight way out of area.”

“Good,” Erica said as she sat down in the passenger seat. She took a bite of her pulled pork, pausing to chew for a moment. “How’s Mia?”

“She worry, but fine,” Ji-Ho said. “I spoil with ice cream and games. I Uncle Ji-Ho now.”

Sam and Erica both laughed. “Great.” Sam said, “wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“I’m gonna go make food deliveries to the other coaches,” Garrett said, getting up. “See you soon.”

He left the coach, as the others went back to eating.

“How he holding up?” Ji-Ho asked.

“Garrett?” Sam asked. “Fine, from what I can tell. He lost a few men last night. Barely mentioned it so far.”

“I noticed,” Sid said. “There was a sadness in his eyes that I usually don’t see.”

“What’s next for us?” Erica asked.

“Can’t speak now,” Ji-Ho said. “Still working issues, and Ivan too busy with new TV show to deal with. We talk tonight after show.”

“Oh, he’s going on tonight with the hostages?” Clem asked. “Already?”

“Yes,” Ji-Ho said. “Next battle be difficult there, too.”

“What is it?” Yvonne asked.

“We cover that when you get home,” Ji-Ho said. “I let you go for now. Be home soon. Be safe.”

The call ended.

“He sounds more than a little bit nervous,” Clem said.

“Yeah, I picked up on that too,” Sam said. “This war is wearing on all of us.”

“At least we appear to be winning at the moment,” Sid said.

“Things change fast,” Yvonne said. “We’ve got to keep our focus and stay sharp.”

“Yes,” Sam said, glancing at Erica, who was deep in thought, her brow furrowed. “What is it?”

“The enemy knows where we are, but we’re too strong for them to take us out,” Erica said. “We can’t wait around for them to become stronger. We need to actively work the strategy for beating them, and carry it out before they can get strong enough to kill us.”

***

It was evening. Daan was standing on the roof of his building, looking at the glow of remaining light to the west. What’s he doing? He could see Ivan in his mind’s eye, grinning at him like a skull with a fedora. His phone dinged. He looked at it. Text message. No survivors at the auto mall. He grimaced as he stuck the phone back in his pocket, then went to the staircase and left the roof, changing to the elevator for the ride down to the bunker.

Saladin turned to him as he came in the door of the lounge.

“You look like you just saw a ghost,” he said.

Daan ignored him, heading for the bar. He poured the last of the bourbon into a glass and drank it down, set the glass on the bar, and threw the empty bottle into the trash so hard that it broke.

“You aren’t going to talk to me?” Saladin asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “I don’t want to bite your head off. Turn on the TV. I want to see what the news is saying about this.”

Saladin nodded and picked up the TV remote as Daan opened a fresh bottle of whiskey. He brought the bottle and his glass to the couch, putting them on the coffee table and sitting down. The news was showing the carnage at the Ford dealership, a banner at the bottom of the screen calling it a terror attack.

“Did they mention what happened to the UN leadership down south yet?” Saladin asked.

“No,” Daan said. “We’re suppressing that information.”

“It’s already out on the alternative media, you know,” Saladin said, “I’ve been following it all day. Where have you been?”

“Meetings with Brussels,” Daan said. “Bastards. They ought to come over here and deal with this. These people aren’t like Europeans. They don’t know how to take orders.”

Saladin chuckled. “They’re like the people in my part of the world. They only understand power. We haven’t hit them hard enough.”

“If the society fails, it’ll send the entire world into a depression,” Daan said. “You know this. We need the productive output of the United States to keep going at a certain level, or we’ll all suffer, and the people will resist even more.”

Saladin laughed. Daan looked at him with dark eyes. “You don’t want to mess with me tonight. I had to take it from Brussels. I don’t have to take it from you.”

“Calm down, my friend,” Saladin said. “Have another drink. We’ll break them. It’s only a matter of time.”

“We’ll be lucky if we both survive this,” Daan said, pouring himself another drink. “Wait till George Franklin gets wind of your presence.”

“If you don’t want us to mess with each other, we both must make an effort,” Saladin said.

Daan sighed. “Okay, I’m sorry.” He poured another drink and tossed it back. Saladin watched, brow furrowed.

“You might want to settle down a little.”

Daan nodded, pushing the bottle and his glass away. “Fine. You’re right. What are you seeing on the alternative media?”

“Huge amount of traffic,” Saladin said. “They’re getting many more eyeballs than your mainstream media now.”

“Everybody knows those folks on the internet are nutcases. Tin foil hats.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Saladin said. “They’ve got us pegged pretty well, actually.”

“Then what do we do?”

“Deny all of it, of course,” Saladin said. “Capture and kill those who traffic in this alt network.”

The TV screen went black.

“Oh crap,” Daan said. “Here it comes.”

The screen came back up, showing the top of Ivan the Butcher’s fedora. He slowly looked up at the camera.

“Well, he does have style,” Saladin said. “I’ll give him that.”

“Hello, fellow patriots,” he began. “Thought I was dead, didn’t you? Don’t believe the media. We’re coming to you from the new UN base. It was being readied for a group of high-ranking UN slugs. As you can see here, they won’t be coming.”

“Dammit, those are our dead friends from the UN leadership,” Daan said. “Some of those men I’ve known since grade school.”

“Why’s he showing this?” Saladin asked. “Interesting.”

Daan shot him a sidelong glance.

“This facility is at the abandoned auto mall in Elk Grove…the Ford Dealership, to be exact. This facility was to be used for training and staging UN personnel, who are on their way here in vast numbers, thanks to the people now running this great state. And who are these people?”

Daan and Saladin watched as their pictures were put on the screen next to each other, mug shot style.

“Son of a bitch,” Daan said, listening as Ivan said a few words about both of them. Saladin watched, his expression a mixture of anger and amusement.

“As you can see behind me, we are in the room where UN dignitaries would’ve been entertained by kidnapped women. This is not the first time the UN and the Islamists have used our women for their own pleasure. We want it to be the last. The women seated behind me have all been held captive and abused by the enemy. They wish to tell you their stories. The women standing behind are other women who have just been rescued from this facility. Morgan, this was your idea. Would you like to go first?”

“Oh no,” Daan said. Saladin chuckled.

“You see why I got so mad at that idiot from UC Santa Cruz?” Saladin asked, shaking his head in disgust.

“Your fighters partake as well, every chance they get,” Daan said.

“Yes, but they kill them after a short period of time, not drag them around and share them with others,” Saladin said.

Daan stared at him for a moment, then turned back to the screen and watched as the first woman gave her story.

“This isn’t going to play well in Peoria,” Saladin said. “Isn’t that how you say it?”

“Shut up,” Daan said.

“We’ll have to get more ruthless. You know that, right? Economic downturn or not.”

“I know,” Daan said. He poured himself another drink and sipped it as he watched, the glass shaking in his hand.

To be continued…

 

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Copyright Robert Boren 2017

Bugout! California Part 126 – Rescue

“When’s Sam and Erica coming back?” Mia asked Anna. They were in the living room of the big Williams house in the early morning, the TV playing cartoons.

“This afternoon,” Anna said. “They’re okay. You should call them mommy and daddy now.”

“I know,” Mia said, turning her head back to the TV. “I’m afraid they’ll be dead like before.”

“Don’t worry, sweetie,” Anna said.

Ji-Ho walked in, motioning to Anna. “The attack on Dodge City put down.”

“I know,” Anna said. “I got a text from Garrett about twenty minutes ago. The first of the cavalry has made it back home. Our people will come back after they’ve rested enough to go back on duty.”

“I worried more about trip home than stay there,” Ji-Ho said. “Islamists we can see, but UN thugs all over.”

“Garrett said they were moving up north.”

“Yes, Ivan tell me,” Ji-Ho said. “How’s girl?”

“Missing her new parents, but good. She’s waiting for the other shoe to drop. Poor thing. I wish Sam and Erica could just take her someplace safe, away from the fighting.”

“No place left,” Ji-Ho said. “Target on backs. Hard, but better to stay in fight till over.”

“I know,” Anna said. “You still think we’re safe here? They might try since they failed at Dodge City.”

“We have cavalry patrols,” Ji-Ho said. “They’ll see thugs if come. We be fine.”

“I hope so,” Anna said.

Ed came down the stairs. “Something going on?”

“No, just relay information from Garrett, but Anna already have.”

“What information?” Ed asked, sitting on a chair at the dining room table.

“I was on way to your room,” Ji-Ho said. “Cavalry starting to arrive back at Dodge City. Our people back late afternoon.”

“Wish we had enough people and vehicles to escort them,” Ed said.

“Me too,” Anna said.

“Is Garrett coming too?” Ed asked.

Anna smiled. “I told him he’d better. We might end up back at Dodge City again, though. That’s his home.”

Anna nodded. Mia came out. “They aren’t dead, are they?”

“No, honey,” Anna said. “They’ve been talking to Ji-Ho. They’re safe, sweetie.”

“You want ice cream?” Ji-Ho asked. “More in kitchen.”

“Yes, please,” she said, smiling at him.

“Come. Uncle Ji-Ho get for you.”

The two walked into the kitchen together.

“She’s going to be unsure of everything for a long time,” Ed said, watching them leave.

“I know,” Anna said. “She’s strong, though. I can tell.”

“Yes, me too,” Ed said. “How are you holding up?”

“I’ll be worried until Garrett gets back,” Anna said. “I agree that coming home on the roads is risky.”

“I’m going to suggest that the seventy-five cowboys in vehicles come with them,” Ed said, “and go back with you and Garrett when you go home.”

“Go home?”

Ed chuckled. “You’ve staked your claim, and he likes it. Gonna deny that? You’ll live in his house with him.”

Anna sighed. “Probably. Does it bother you, since he’s not in the tribe?”

“These people all in our tribe,” Ed said, “and we’re all in theirs. We’ve bonded. Can’t you feel it?”

“Yes,” Anna said. “I do feel it.”

“Good. Wonder how much ice cream is left?”

Anna laughed. “You’ve always had a sweet tooth. Come on.” They went into the kitchen.

***

Half the people in the service waiting room were asleep, the rest watching the video feed from the Ford dealership, or talking amongst themselves in hushed tones. Mr. White came in.

“Boss, it going down, five minutes. I got to go.”

Ivan snapped himself out of sleep, looking at him. “What?”

“It’s starting in five minutes,” he said. “Wake up team. I go.”

“Oh,” Ivan said, sitting up straight, shoving Jules in the shoulder. People in the room woke up.

“What time is it?” Morgan asked while she stretched.

“Three in the morning,” Robbie said.

“You been sleeping?”

“No, I’ve been watching, mostly,” Robbie said. “Don’t worry, I’m good. Ready for battle.”

“Hopefully we’ll just be watching outside,” Justin said.

“Our women will be going inside, to be on TV,” Sparky said while shaking Dana. “Hope we kill all the stragglers before they go in.”

“No worry there,” Ivan said.

“Should we go to our battle wagons now?” Robbie asked.

“No, we’ll wait until the operation starts,” Ivan said. “We don’t want to tip off the enemy. We can just sit tight and watch.”

“Where’s Tex?” Sparky asked.

“He went to his rig with Karen a few hours ago,” Robbie said.

“I’ll go get them,” Ted said. “Anybody need to load their weapons?”

“All done,” Robbie said.

“Me too,” Justin said.

The rest nodded or said no. Ted was back in a couple minutes with Tex and Karen, both trying to shake off sleep.

“Anything happen yet?” Tex asked.

“Any second now,” Ivan said. Every eye in the room was glued to the TV screen.

“Look, it’s starting,” Morgan whispered, watching two armed men sneak into the cell room, standing by the door, ready to kill whoever came in. Some of the women woke up, and one asked them who they were. A commando said “We’re the good guys. Be quiet.”

***

Mr. White joined Mr. Black in the underground parking area.

“What happening?” he asked.

Mr. Black grinned. “Two commandos took control of cell area. Women protected. We go any time.”

“Two men are enough?”

“We left angle iron above ceiling tile. They barricade door, and its thick metal. They wait until fighting over to open.”

“Who had that idea?” Mr. White asked.

“Kaplan,” Mr. Black said. “He good, boss should promote. Snuck material in shortly before cretins come.”

“Good. We go.”

Mr. Black sent a text message to the men in the service bay, then turned to the men in the parking structure, raising his hand silently and pointing upstairs. The men grabbed their weapons, forming a line at the stairwell. They started up as quietly as they could, the lead person opening the door.

“Hey, who you?” asked a man with a French accent. He was shot by a silenced pistol, falling without making a sound. The men flooded into the hallway, checking each door, several men going into one, the snapping sound of silenced weapons going off, a few muffled squeals coming out the door. The door on the end of the hall led to the office area. Commandos rushed in, shooting everybody in sight, then leaping over the counter, killing the screaming men, the rest of the UN Peacekeepers waking now, trying to get to their weapons as more commandos rushed in. One of them got to his weapon and shot two commandos. He scrambled into a door in the back wall of the office. Commandos rushed it, standing on either side as bullets flew through, hitting the outside wall. They waited, then opened the door and rushed in, killing the Peacekeeper and several other men in the room. There was noise from outside. Vehicles starting up, footsteps.

“Men outside,” Mr. Black shouted. “Be ready.”

A team of twenty commandos rushed to the outside doors, one of the men pushing it open. Machine gun fire came through, hitting the door, wounding the commando in the arm.

“Call Ivan,” Mr. Black shouted as he raced for the windows on the side of the building with a team. They opened fire, peppering the two UN vans they could see, men trying to flee, being cut down by more gunfire from other nearby windows.

Mr. White took the rest of the team and rushed up the stairs to the roof, opening fire on the Peacekeepers below with M60s and tossing grenades. Then there was the sound of diesel engines approaching.

“Hey, battle wagons!” shouted a commando. The sound of mini gun fire filled the air, several UN vans turning into swiss cheese, hit so hard that nobody survived to climb out. One of the battle wagons started hitting the remaining UN vans with grenades, blowing them up as a handful of UN Peacekeepers fled to the road, picked off by another of the battle wagons, which had parked itself on the main driveway.

“They handle, let’s go finish inside,” Mr. White shouted. He led his men down the stairs again, rushing into the hallway, were they could hear a fire fight going on, in a long hallway just before the office area. “Must be where barracks were.” Several of the commandos snuck in with the M60s, diving for cover as a couple Peacekeepers fired from a door, held ajar by a box of rations. The commandos fired at the walls with their M60, the bullets smashing through the drywall on either side of the door, men screaming from inside. Another commando rushed to the door and stuck his M60 inside, firing at every corner of the room, then ripping the door all the way open and rushing in, having to dive for cover as the survivors tried to fight him off. Several more commandos rushed in afterward, tossing grenades at the furniture the Peacekeepers were hiding behind, wood and body parts flying all over the room.

“That’s it for this one,” a commando said. “Some next door.” They rushed out into the hallway and kicked in the next door, finding non-combatants huddled in the corner of the room in fear, killing them all.

“Hey, what’d you do that for?” asked one of the commandos.

“Could be Peacekeepers trying to hide, Jackson,” another said. “Kill everyone here. You know this.”

Jackson shrugged and rushed out the door, going down the hallway and kicking in the next door, opening fire on the inhabitants, some of which were peacekeepers, some cooks and mechanics.

It took only about ten more minutes for the commandos to kill the remaining enemy personnel. Mr. Black and Mr. White both came to the counter in the office area, now smeared with blood.

“We call boss?” Mr. Black asked. Mr. White nodded, watching Mr. Black put the phone to his ear.

“Ivan, we finish. Ready for you.”

“Excellent,” Ivan said. “Be right there. The women are okay, right?”

“Yes. Door barricaded. I open before you come in.”

“Barricaded?” Ivan asked.

“I tell when you come,” Mr. Black said. He put his phone away. “Tell them to take down barricade.”

Mr. White nodded and sent the text, then they walked to that hallway with twenty men. There was the sound of an electric drill, and then the clank of metal. The door opened. Mr. White and Mr. Black entered, their appearance causing one of the women to scream.

“They’re good guys,” a commando said. “We just rescued you. All the UN peacekeepers are dead.”

“Thank you,” said one of the women, a beautiful blonde with dark eyebrows.

“They’ll just come back,” another woman said, slight of figure with short black hair. “We thought we beat them. They hit us when we were resting. Killed all our men and took every woman under forty.”

“We have battle wagons outside, and we leave soon,” Mr. Black said. “Ivan doing TV show first, then we split.”

“Ivan the Butcher is with you guys?” the blonde asked, her face lighting up. “I love that guy.”

“What TV show?” the black-haired woman asked.

“We have women from previous captivity in Torrance,” Mr. White said. “They agreed to tell story. Already been filming in here.”

“Can we join in if we want to?” the blonde asked.

“Ask boss,” Mr. White said. “He comes soon.”

“I’m here,” Ivan said, walking in with Ben Dover, Tex, Karen, and several others. “Hello, all. I’m Ivan. Do any of you need medical attention?”

The women were all up now, gathered around, some saying thank you quietly, most looking down, embarrassed and shell-shocked.

“This guy said you’re doing a TV show from here,” the blonde said. “With other women who were held captive. Can we join? I’ve got a story.”

“Yes, of course, but take a few minutes to think it through,” Ivan said. “Your face will be on TV. Everybody you know will see. Be sure you want to do it.”

The black-haired women looked at Karen, who was crying now. “You’re one of them, aren’t you?”

Karen looked at her through tears and nodded yes. The black-haired woman rushed over and they embraced, both crying, Tex looking on, not sure what to do.

“Where should we shoot the show, boss?” Mr. Black asked.

“In the room with the mattresses,” Ivan said. “We’ll use footage from the mounted cameras to show the audience around the facility. We edit after we leave.”

“I think we’d better get busy,” Tex said. “We don’t want to fight off a bunch of these cretins on the way out of here.”

“Yes,” Jules said, coming in. “We ready. Come.”

Shelly stepped in, eyeing the women, her eyes wet with tears.

“You’re another one, aren’t you?” the black-haired woman said, rushing over to her with the blonde. “How many are with you?”

“There were thirteen of us,” Shelly said. “We lost five.”

“Lost?” the blonde asked.

“We joined Ivan’s forces,” Karen said. “We’ve been fighting. Four of us died in action.”

“What about the other one?” the blonde asked.

“Suicide,” Karen said, barely able to get the words out before she started crying again.

“Oh, Geez,” the black-haired girl said. “I’m Kelly.”

Karen smiled. “I’m Karen, and this is Shelly. The others are outside.”

“I’m Samantha,” the blonde said.

“We ready,” Jules said. “Everybody who be on camera follow me.”

Shelly nodded, rushing to Jules, putting her arm around his waist as they walked.

“She’s with him?” Kelly asked.

Karen nodded yes. “I’m with Tex. The tall one over there.”

“Battle romance, huh?” Samantha asked. “Any left?”

Karen looked at her and smiled.

Mr. White and Mr. Black brought in two men with high-quality cameras and microphones. Robbie and Justin brought chairs in, set up in a semi-circle in front of the mattresses on the floor.

“This enough?” Robbie asked. “Eight, right?”

“There’s a few who want to join in from this group,” Tex said.

“How many?” Robbie asked.

Four women raised their hands, including Kelly and Samantha.

“I don’t want to talk, but can I stand behind the ones who do?” asked another woman, with longer black hair and pale skin. “I’m Kit.”

“Of course, anybody who wants to be in the picture can, but no pressure,” Ivan said.

“Okay, four more,” Justin said. He and Robbie left the room.

“This one still has a little blood on it,” Kit said, pointing. She picked up a pillow from one of the mattresses and used it to wipe the mess off.

The women who were going to talk took seats, the others getting behind. Ivan changed into his fedora and pinstriped suit. He stood in front of the semi-circle of chairs, Ben Dover checking his tie.

“Looking good, boss,” Ben said.

“Damn straight, partner,” Tex said.

“Where’s Ted and the others?” Morgan asked from one of the chairs.

“Manning the battle wagons,” Robbie said. “I’ve got to go back out there too.”

“Yeah, I’ll be out there with you in a moment,” Tex said. Justin nodded in agreement.

“Are you going out there too, Jules?” Shelly asked.

“Sparky handle,” he said. “I’ll stay to assist Ivan.”

“Good,” she said. “It makes me stronger when I can see you.”

“We got men on roof with M60s, too,” Mr. White said. “Proceed, then let’s blow joint.”

“Lights, camera, action,” Ivan said, grinning.

The floods came on, Ivan looking down, the top of his fedora hiding his face. He slowly looked up at the camera.

“Hello, fellow patriots,” he began. “Thought I was dead, didn’t you? Don’t believe the media. We’re coming to you from the new UN base. It was being readied for a group of high-ranking UN slugs. As you can see here, they won’t be coming.”

Ivan paused, so footage of the dead UN officials from the winery in the south could be edited in.

“This facility is at the abandoned auto mall in Elk Grove…the Ford Dealership, to be exact. This facility was to be used for training and staging UN personnel, who are on their way here in vast numbers, thanks to the people now running this great state. And who are these people?”

Another pause for editing.

“The man on the left is Daan Mertins. He’s an operative of the EU and the Globalists who are having their way with this country. The man on the right is Saladin, leader of the Islamist thugs who have been killing our people wholesale, in California and many other places.”

Another pause.

“As you can see behind me, we are in the room where UN dignitaries would’ve been entertained, by kidnapped women. This is not the first time the UN and the Islamists have used our women for their own pleasure. We want it to be the last. The women seated behind me have all been held captive and abused by the enemy. They wish to tell you their stories. The women standing behind are other women who have just been rescued from this facility. Morgan, this was your idea. Would you like to go first?”

Morgan nodded, looking self-conscious, and stood, walking next to Ivan, who patted her on the back. “Thank you for this,” he whispered.

She nodded as he left the screen.

“I was living with my boyfriend in Redondo Beach, California. We were visited by two UN Peacekeepers, who were questioning all the residents in the area who’s passage through check-points raised questions. My boyfriend was held at gunpoint by one UN thug while I was forced to leave with the other. I was taken to the Torrance police station, which had been converted to a headquarters like this one, thrown into a cell like the one here with sixteen other women. We were forced to serve the UN Peacekeepers and their allies, being forcibly raped more than once every day. Do not live under the illusion that the UN Peacekeepers are here to help. They are here to subjugate the population so the globalists can take over. I was raped approximately thirty times. I’m still trying to recover, but I never will completely. If you have missing daughters, wives, sisters, or friends, there’s a good chance they are going through this hell. Resist this enemy. Fight them. Kill them. They are evil. Thank you.”

She sat, breaking into tears as Karen stood, walking to where she was.

“I was taken from my father’s place of business, after they murdered him and my mother in front of me,” she began.

All the women had their say. Some who were standing behind found courage from the others and told their stories as well.

To be continued…

 

Bug Out! Texas 9 – Patriots Unleashed has just been published, and is now available in the Kindle Store, free in Kindle Unlimited!

 

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 125 – Night Arrival

The battle wagons got turned around and left the winery, heading for Dodge City on the dark highway. Sam was at the wheel, Erica in the passenger seat manning the target console. Garrett, Sid, Yvonne, and Clem sat in the salon.

“That was easier than I expected,” Sid said. He looked at Yvonne. “I understand why it makes you nervous.

“I wouldn’t call it that easy,” Clem said. “You notice we aren’t in our coach anymore.”

Garrett laughed. “Good point.”

“You really think it’s fixable?” Yvonne asked. “Sounded really bad when you tried to roll forward, and it wasn’t easy getting it into neutral.’

“We can change out the whole unit,” Garrett said. “I’ve got people who know how. The worst thing will be parts, I suspect. Gonna need at least four tires, too.”

“How about this coach?” Yvonne asked. “Everything okay?”

“Yep,” Sam said from the driver’s seat. “These things are built like tanks.”

“Yeah, by rights we ought to be dead after running over that mine,” Clem said.

“Interesting that it was there, and that we didn’t find others,” Garrett said.

“Yeah, that makes me wonder a little bit too,” Sam said. “Why’d they bother?”

“It would’ve stopped the older coaches,” Sid said. “I’m glad Ji-Ho didn’t come in his.”

“Heard from him?” Yvonne asked. “Everything okay at the Williams place?”

“Yeah, they’re fine,” Clem said. “I’ve been texting back and forth with him.”

“They’ve got two hundred cavalry men and two battle wagons,” Garrett said, “plus all of the people there are well armed. It’s not an easy target.”

“I’ll be nervous until we get back to Mia,” Erica said.

“She’ll be okay,” Garrett said. “If I was worried I’d be back there to get Anna.”

“Pretty sweet on her,” Yvonne said. “Better watch out or she’ll snare you.”

Garrett laughed. “She already has, I’m afraid.”

“Sarah’s sticking pretty close to Clem, I’ve noticed,” Sid said.

“That’s purely platonic,” Clem said. “I’m too old for romance.”

“One is never too old for romance,” Garrett said.

“So, what are we gonna do?” Sam asked. “Camp out for a day or two at Dodge city?”

“Only until tomorrow afternoon,” Garrett said. “Half the men from the battle tonight are going there, but it takes over an hour on horseback, and neither the men nor the horses will be ready for any action until they’ve rested a while.”

“Oh, so the other half is going back to the Williams place?” Yvonne asked.

“Yeah,” Garrett said. “We’ll be well protected in both places.”

“This the turnoff?” Sam asked. Garrett came up front. “Yeah, that’s it. Gets a little bumpy, so you’ll have to slow down.”

“How long is this dirt road?” Erica asked.

“Five miles,” Garrett said. “We’ve got sensors and cameras along the way. It’s kept us safe so far.”

“I’d be more worried about the people living there than the electronics if I was gonna attack,” Clem said.

“I think it’s good to have the electronics,” Sam said. “Somebody could sneak some mortars in there and do a lot of damage before you could shut them down.”

“That’s right,” Garrett said. “We’ve got human patrols going on 24/7 too. Large space to cover, though.”

“What are we gonna do next?” Yvonne asked. “Take on Julian?”

“Ji-Ho said there’s a large group of Islamists coming south soon,” Clem said. “Said they were going to use that winery for a base.”

“Oops,” Garrett said.

“They’ll probably join their buddies in Julian,” Sam said. “We need to cut all of the supply roads to that area.”

“Yeah, that’s what I’d suggest,” Garrett said. “Highway 78, Sweeny Pass Road, Highway 86, and a few others. We need to do more long-term damage to I-8 as well.”

“The state will be working on repairs for years after the war is over,” Sid said, “and they’ll charge us through the teeth.”

“You got that right,” Clem said.

There was a flash ahead of them, and the rumble of an explosion.

“Dammit,” Sam said. “Somebody is firing a mortar up ahead.”

“Son of a bitch,” Garrett said, getting up to the front. “See where it’s coming from?”

“That ridge over there,” Erica said, pointing out her side window.

There was a huge boom, and an explosion on the hillside.

“Holy crap, what was that?” Sid asked.

Garrett looked at him. “That’s one of our cannon.”

“Somebody shot a flare above that ridge,” Sam said. There was another boom, the round hitting higher up the hillside. “Takes a little more work to aim than a mortar.”

“That it does,” Garrett said. “Don’t worry, they’ll get it.”

“We’ve got mortars in the storage compartments, you know,” Sam said.

“Get a little closer,” Garrett said, his phone out, sending texts. “We’ve got the cavalry rushing into that area, too, so we’ll have to be careful. Don’t want to be hitting our own.”

“That’s for sure,” Yvonne said.

The coach got hit with gunfire.

“They’ve seen us,” Sam said.

“Should we stop and go into siege mode?” Yvonne asked.

“No, keep going,” Garrett said. “That main gun sight moves around in the front cab, right?”

“Yeah,” Sam said, flipping the switch to raise the weapons as more small-arms fire hit them. “Want to handle it, honey?”

Erica nodded, pushing in the small target console and pulling the main sight over. “The forward and rear guns won’t do us any good here.” She aimed, the whir of motors above them sounding. “I see where the fire is coming from.” She opened up with the mini gun, sweeping the area, then firing off several grenades. The gunfire stopped.

“Well, got those guys,” Garrett said, looking out the side window. “Won’t be the last. Be careful as we get closer. My men ought to be getting up to that hillside any minute.”

Another mortar round flew, hitting a barn in the distance. Then another, not hitting anything but dirt.

“Where’s your munitions factory?” Sam asked.

“In a mine shaft,” Garrett said. “Pretty hard to touch with outside fire, and we’ve got the entrance well-guarded.”

More machine gun fire hit the coach, on the other side. Erica swung the minigun and grenade launchers around and fired, hitting their nest, setting off their ammo. Then everybody got buzzed.

“Islamists,” Sam said. “Somebody get a good bead on where they are.”

“Roger that,” Clem said, taking a look. “Most of them are up where the mortar fire was coming from, but a few are to the right of the road.”

“I see the nest to the right,” Erica said, looking at her phone app. She set it up on the console. “Slow down a tad, honey.”

Sam nodded, taking his foot off the accelerator for a moment, and then Erica fired five grenades in rapid succession, the coaches behind her doing the same almost at the same time.

“Looks like our friends had the same idea,” Sid said.

“Yep,” Garrett said.

“Wow, see those secondary explosions?” Erica asked as the enemy nest blew.

“That took care of them,” Sam said, speeding up again. “How much further before we should stop and dig in?”

“Another mile,” Garrett said, looking at texts on his phone. “All of the men are on horseback now. The cannon fire took out that mortar emplacement. We’ve already got guys up there killing anybody who survived.”

“I don’t hear gunfire,” Yvonne said.

“They’re using their swords,” Garrett said. “We conserve ammo where we can.”

There were no further attacks before they got to the outskirts of Dodge City.

“Let’s take this coach through town and park on the far side,” Garrett said. “We’ll have the other two stay about here to guard this end.”

“Hope they don’t hit us with mortars,” Clem said. “Hate to lose more of these rigs.”

“I’ve got three hundred mounted men patrolling the area around town,” Garrett said. “I suspect we won’t have any more problems tonight.”

“Wow, this is cool,” Sam said, eyes darting around at the city street as they drove in, gaslights above the wooden sidewalks on either side of the road, people out and about, piano music drifting out of the saloon.

“That looks like a fun place,” Clem said.

“You got that right, brother,” Sid said. “Went there after a show at the opera house once. Great place.”

“We can hit it if this settles down,” Garrett said.

People stopped walking to get a look at the two battle wagons driving down the street, some waving, others cheering. They got past the main part of town and continued for another four hundred yards.

“There,” Garrett said. “See the clearings on either side of the road? Let’s have one park on the right, one on the left.”

“Got it,” Sam said, making a turn to the right as Garrett texted the rig behind them.

“Who’s behind us?” Erica asked.

“Trevor and Kaylee,” Sam said.

“Where’s Tyler?” she asked.

“Seth and Kaitlyn’s rig is on the other side of town,” Garrett said. “One of them is close to the mine where the munitions factory is. Angel and Megan are on the other side of the road from there, guarding the front door.”

Sam shut down and put the coach into siege mode.

***

“Are we driving the battle wagons to the Ford Dealership?” Morgan asked, sitting with Robbie and several others in the service waiting room, TV still running with the sound off.

“We’re going to have a strategy meeting in a few minutes,” Ted said, sitting next to Haley. “Ivan and Jules are having a chat about it now, I think.”

“We only need these rigs to keep the enemy from escaping,” Sparky said.

“They’re still saying that Ivan is dead,” Brianna said, watching the TV.

Stacey chuckled. “Yeah, they’ll continue to run with that story even after they know it’s not true.”

“You got that right,” Ted said.

“You guys don’t even look nervous,” Ben Dover said. “You’ve seen a lot of action, haven’t you?”

“Yep,” Ted said. “It’s been a wild ride.”

“That’s for sure,” Haley said.

“I wish it would get over,” Dana said. “It’s making me too nervous.”

“Where’s Tex and Karen?”

“Probably he’in and she’in in their rig,” Cody quipped.

“Stop,” Allison said, rolling her eyes. “Men.”

“Tex doesn’t trust that side of the building,” Ted said. “I don’t blame him.”

“We’ve got motion sensors there now,” Sparky said.

“Yeah, I’ve got those around my restaurant,” Ted said. “They don’t work half the time.”

“Then why aren’t we out there?” Haley asked.

“See where my M60 is,” he replied, nodding towards the gun, leaning against the wall next to where he was sitting.

“Oh,” Haley said. “Maybe I should have my M-16 closer.”

“Where is it?”

“Just outside the door, on that table in the hallway.”

“I’d get it,” Ted said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

The door to the manager’s office opened, and Ivan came out with Jules and Shelly. Mr. White followed them.

“News reports still run story about you, boss,” Jules said. “Look.”

“Expect that to continue until our show,” Ivan said.

“The women there yet?” Morgan asked.

“Nope, it’ll probably be the morning,” Ivan said.

“You’re all smiles,” Ted said.

“Your old friend Ji-Ho had a good night,” Ivan said.

“He pulled off that attack on the winery?”

“Yes, did,” Jules said. “Wipe out entire delegation of UN thugs.”

“They lose anybody?” Sparky asked.

“One of the battle wagons ran over a mine in the driveway,” Ivan said.

“Crap,” Sparky said.

“No worry,” Jules said. “Nobody hurt. Transaxle busted. May be fixable.”

“I don’t want them risking their lives to retrieve that,” Ivan said.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t either,” Ted said. “Nobody killed?”

“A few of Mr. Garrett’s cowboys,” Ivan said. “There was an attack at their base, too, but it was put down quickly. Sam is there now.”

“Where’s Ji-Ho?” Ted asked.

“At the home base,” Ivan said, “guarding women and children. He’s got one of the old coaches. I didn’t want him getting into a big battle in that one.”

“He’s not guarding that home base by himself, I hope,” Sparky said.

“No, no, he’s there with over two hundred mounted cavalry and one other battle wagon of the new type,” Ivan said. “They’ll be fine.”

“What are we gonna do?” Ted asked. “You work out a strategy?”

“Yeah, we aren’t just rolling up to that Ford dealership with our rigs, are we?”

“No, we’re sending a commando unit in after the women arrive,” Ivan said. “It’ll be run by Mr. Black and Mr. White. We don’t want the enemy killing the hostages this time, and if we show ourselves, that’s what will happen.”

“Good,” Morgan said.

“After the battle is over inside, we pull some battle wagons to that side of the auto mall,” Jules said, “to make sure we don’t get interrupted while we make TV show.”

“Exactly,” Ivan said. “We film TV show and send it to my people for broadcast, then get out of here. Part of the video is already in the can.”

“What part of the video?” Robbie asked.

Ivan chuckled. “We have film of the UN Peacekeepers going to my old headquarters and getting blown up.”

Ted laughed. “You son of a bitch. You just love to twist the knife, don’t you?”

“I need to have some fun from time to time,” Ivan said.

“Where’re we going after this?” Morgan asked. “If you can tell us, that is.”

“Folsom State Prison,” Ivan said.

“What, after they catch us?” Ted asked. A few people in the room laughed nervously.

“No, we’re doing a jailbreak,” Ivan said. “Almost the entire California Legislature currently resides there, as well as the acting Governor.”

“You sure we should bother?” Sparky asked. “Many of those cretins helped to put us into this position.”

“We know for a fact that they’ve seen the error in their ways,” Ivan said.

“The State Supreme Court there as well,” Jules said. “Like to cane them before we let them go.”

“Be nice, Jules,” Ivan said.

Ben Dover laughed. “They’ve gotten a front-row seat, watching the policies many of them fought for brought to their true fruition.”

Jules laughed. “You right, Mr. Dover.”

“Mr. Dover?” Justin asked, grinning. “What’s your real name, anyway?”

“I don’t recognize that name anymore,” Ben said.

“That good,” Jules said.

“Okay, I get it,” Justin said. “Well played.”

“We aren’t gonna let everybody out of Folsom, are we?” Ted asked. “There’s some people who should stay in there.”

“We’re researching that now,” Ivan said. “Political prisoners are gonna be set free. Real criminals won’t be.”

“That sounds like a dangerous mission,” Sparky said.

“We’ll have several concurrent operations going on at once,” Ivan said. “We’ve been learning about social media recruiting from General Hogan’s people. A team in Texas has brought it up to an art form.”

Mr. White jerked as his phone buzzed. He pulled it from his pocket, putting it to his ear and walking into the hallway. He was back after a moment.

“Boss, Mr. Black say the entertainment crew has arrived. Cameras are broadcasting.”

“Good,” Ivan said, pulling his phone out. He went to a URL for the video feed and then cast it to the TV set, which showed a picture divided into quarters, with the top left-hand side showing a long dark hallway, the top right showing a room with several mattresses on the floor, the bottom left hand side showing an office area with a counter manned by several UN Peacekeepers, and the bottom right showing a large holding cell with rows of cots.

“Oh no,” Katie said, turning away. “I can’t watch this.”

“That looks like where they held us,” Morgan said, Robbie putting his arm around her, pulling her close. Dana started to cry. Sparky and Morgan rushed over to comfort her.

“Are you recording this?” Robbie asked.

“Yes, are,” Mr. White said.

“I’m getting Tex,” Sparky said, rushing out of the room with Dana.

The team watched as the lights came on in the dark hallway, several armed UN Peacekeepers walking down, looking around as several other UN Peacekeepers from the office area left, meeting them in the hallway. They chatted briefly in what sounded like German, and then one of the newcomers turned and motioned. More Peacekeepers came in, leading a large group of young women, all of them with their wrists zip-tied behind their backs, their expressions making them look like zombies.

“Oh, God,” Morgan said, eyes tearing.

“You don’t have to watch this, honey,” Robbie said.

“No, I do have to watch this,” she said, “and we have to tell our story too.”

Tex and Karen rushed in with Sparky and Dana, Karen stopping as she saw the video feed, starting to tremble. Tex pulled her close. “Don’t worry, little lady, we’re gonna stop this.”

“I know,” she said. “It’s bringing back thoughts I’ve been pushing away for a while.”

The women filed into the office area, the Peacekeepers forcing them to the counter, where other Peacekeepers were taking their names and marking them off on their tablets.

“How can any of these creeps think this is okay?” Katie asked. “All of them have mothers. A lot of them have sisters, maybe even daughters.”

“At least I’m not seeing any young girls in this batch,” Haley said.

“Thank God,” Dana said, only half watching, still clutching Sparky.

“They’re dumping them into the cells,” Robbie said as the first in the stream of women were seen in the holding cell, most finding cots quickly and laying, backs to the door.

“Where’s the commando team?” Ted asked.

“Some in the underground parking area,” Ivan said. “Others in the service bays.”

“How many?” Tex asked.

“Nearly hundred,” Mr. White said.

“How about outside?” Sparky asked. “They got any Gaz Tigrs out there?”

Mr. White sauntered over and held up his phone, which showed video of the parking lot from the roof of the huge building, the picture cycling from one camera to another.

“Don’t see any,” Sparky said. “Just a lot of those white UN vans.”

“They might have armor nearby,” Jules said, coming over to look.

“Yes, they might,” Ivan said. “That’s where the battle wagons come in. You guys need to be sharp. Nail them before they can get off a shot.”

“How long do we wait before the attack?” Tex asked.

“We wait until UN Peacekeepers retire,” Ivan said. “They’ve been up for nearly twenty-four hours.”

“We aren’t going to watch them attacking the girls, are we?” Morgan asked.

“Nothing happen tonight,” Mr. White said. “They bathed and fresh for UN muckity-mucks. Off limits for UN grunts until after big arrival.”

“Which is never gonna happen,” Ben said. “The nightmare should be over for these women.”

“The nightmare is never over,” Dana said.

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 124 – Mismatch

Sam was at the wheel of the battle wagon, driving northwest on Highway 94 in the darkness.

“Here’s Jamul,” Erica said. “Deserted.”

“I see lights on in buildings here and there,” Sam said.

Erica nodded. “Think the two battle wagons we left at the Williams place are enough?”

“Worried about our little girl?”

Erica looked at him, eyes misting. “That’s the first time you’ve called her that.”

“It is?”

“Yes,” Erica said. “I like it.”

“She won me over fast, that’s for sure.”

They rode silently for a few minutes.

“Our turnoff is coming up,” Erica said.

“Who’s that in front of us?” Sam asked.

“Sid, Yvonne, Clem, and Tyler,” Erica said. “They’re in the lead, because Sid and Tyler have both been here.”

“Yvonne probably has too, unless she lets Sid go drinking alone,” Sam said, glancing at her with a grin on his face.

“He might have been there with some of his guy friends, you know.”

“I’m just joking around,” Sam said. “Look, they’re making the left.”

Sam followed them onto Vista Sage Lane.

“Whoa, this is thin, with some low-hanging branches,” Erica said. They heard scraping on the roof as they went under a low tree.

“Glad we don’t have the guns out yet,” Sam said. “This wasn’t made for big RVs. Hope it doesn’t get worse ahead.”

“Wish this wasn’t so curved here. We can’t see very far.”

“They’ll hear us soon, I suspect,” Sam said.

“Sharp right-hand turn coming up.”

“We to the second street already?” Sam asked.

“No, same street, it just turns sharp.”

Sam followed Sid’s coach through the turn, branches on the side of the road scraping them. “This is tight as hell.”

“Yep,” Erica said. “If this gets bad, we need to get out with our weapons.”

“No argument here.” Sam said. “At least it’s straight now. I can see the whole way to the last street. No big problems. Looks like the other coaches are pretty tight behind us.”

Erica pulled the console out and looked with the targeting system. “Yes, we’re tight back there all right.”

“Sid’s making the final turn. Get ready.”

They rolled forward, watching the big coach ahead of them as it got onto Colina Verde Lane. Sam followed them around the tight corner.

“Won’t be long now,” Erica said.

Suddenly there was a big explosion ahead, under the coach, which stopped.

“No!” Erica cried.

“Dammit,” Sam said. His phone rang. He pulled it out and handed it to Erica. “Put it on speaker.” She nodded and did that, putting the phone on the console.

“Talk to me,” Sam said.

“We’re okay, thanks to the armor they put underneath, but the transaxle is toast,” Sid said. “I got it in neutral, and I’m putting up siege mode. Push us forward.”

“You sure?” Sam asked.

“Yeah, and hurry, because you know everybody heard that.”

“Okay,” Sam said. He flipped the switch to set up siege mode as he rolled forward.

“Why’d you do that?” Erica asked.

“Because the pushing is gonna screw up the front armor,” Sam said as he pulled forward slowly. “Watch out the targeting system. Guide me. I’ll look through mine too.” He brought down the sight for the main guns, using it like a periscope as the front of their coach touched the back of Sid’s. He gunned the engine, pushing the coach forward.

“Keep going,” Erica said as she watched. Sid opened fire on the tent as they got close, riddling it with machine gun fire and shooting several grenades into it.

“Let them have it!” Sam said.

“He’s turning onto the driveway, so you’ll have to compensate,” Erica said.

“Roger that,” Sam said, still watching through his target sight. He pushed them all the way to the main building of the winery, then pulled out of the way, the other rigs coming in, opening fire. The coach was pelted with machine gun fire.

“See where they are?” Erica asked.

“Yeah, coming out of that outbuilding to the left,” Sam said, swinging the grenade launcher in that direction and firing. The outbuilding exploded into flames, UN Peacekeepers flooding out, running for cover.

“There’s about fifty men there, see,” Erica said, firing the forward guns at them, mowing some down, others diving behind cover. Sid hit their cover with several grenades, killing all of them, as the other coaches concentrated fire on the big circus tent from up and down the road. Part of the canvas fell away, revealing rows of tables and lots of mutilated bodies. More machine gun fire hit the side of the coach.

“I think I need to get on the M60 through the side slits,” Erica said.

“Go for it,” Sam said. “Crap, two Gaz Tigrs, coming from the left.”

Sid’s mini gun started up, hitting both in the front windshield, blowing them up before they could fire.

“They get them?” Erica asked, holding the M60 to the gun slit.

“Yeah, Sid wasted both.” A hail of gunfire hit them from the main house. “Upper windows, see?”

Erica nodded and aimed in that direction with the M60, as Sam fired grenades through the windows and doors of the building, blowing the front wall off in one spot. Four other battle wagons fired, riddling the building with grenades and mini gun fire. Then they were pelted on the driver’s side with small arms fire. Sam whirled the sight around. “Crap, there’s about fifty UN Peacekeepers charging our lines.” He spun the mini gun around and opened fire, and then the smell of black powder and the sound of a thousand hoofs filled the area, a hail of lead thick in the air.

“The cavalry arrived!” Sam shouted, stopping the mini gun. Mounted men were everywhere, firing Winchesters and pistols from their saddles, more on foot rushing to each of the out buildings.

“This is gonna be over quick,” Erica said, still firing at fleeing men on the passenger side of the coach. Sam turned the grenade launcher towards another set of out-buildings, hitting one, causing secondary explosions.

“Whoa,” Sam shouted. “Found their ammo supply.”

“Hope none of our guys were close to that when it went up,” Erica said.

The cowboys were at the front building now, chasing down terrified UN Peacekeepers, some dropping their weapons and putting up their hands, only to be shot by several mounted men.

A broadcast text message hit Sam’s and Erica’s phones. Erica read it.

“Garrett,” she said. “The mounted men coming from Dodge city ran into a large force of UN Peacekeepers on the road. They defeated them and rushed back to their town to get ready for an attack. He’s wondering if we have enough ammo left to go there. He said this battle is just about over.”

“Tell him that Sid’s coach is toast and ours might be too, if we can’t get the armor plate to retract from the front windshield.”

She nodded as she sent the reply. “How are we on ammo, anyway?”

“I only used the mini gun a few times. Probably need a new belt of grenades loaded.”

The gunfire subsided and stopped outside.

“It’s over,” Erica said.

“So it would appear,” Sam said. “I’m gonna try getting out of siege mode. He flipped the switch. The electric motors started up, the armor plate lowering itself. “Hey, it still works,” Sam said. “Excellent.”

“You want to reload before we turn around and get out of here?”

“Yeah, and let’s have the folks in Sid’s coach come over with their ammo,” Sam said.

“We didn’t lose anybody,” Erica said as she typed the text message.

“The night is young,” Sam said.

“Sid’s coming over with Yvonne and Clem,” Erica said. “They’re bringing some of their ammo. Tyler’s going with Seth and Kaitlyn, with the rest of the ammo.”

“Yeah, I see them getting out now,” Sam said. “Here comes Garrett.”

There was a knock on the coach door. Sam opened it.

“Ah, you got siege mode to retract,” Garrett said, smiling.

“Yeah,” Sam said. “Surprised. How’d the front of the rig look from out there?”

“A little creased, but not bad,” he said. Sid came in behind him.

“Hey, thanks for the ride,” he said.

Clem followed him. “Thanks for the push too, man. Damn shame that our rig is out of order.”

“We’ll come get it after this is over,” Garrett said. “We can probably fix her.”

Yvonne came in and sat on the couch. “That was too easy.”

“We caught them by surprise,” Garrett said. “They were planning on catching us by surprise at Dodge City. Would have, too, if my men hadn’t run into them on the road.”

“You want to hitch a ride with us?” Sam asked.

“Let me see if somebody can get my horse back home,” he said. “I had him brought here.”

“Okay, we need to reload anyway, so we’ve got some time.”

“Gonna have to jockey around a little to get turned around,” Clem said.

“There’s a good place to turn around a little further towards the main building here,” Garrett said. “It’ll take a k-turn, but it’s an easy place to do it, and it’s paved. I suspect the semi-trucks use that for deliveries to the winery.”

“Great,” Sam said. “See you soon.”

Garrett left.

“I’ll help you reload,” Sid said.

“Yeah, me too,” Clem said.

“Okay, I’m going outside to check for damage,” Sam said. “Be back in a sec.”

“Who’s checking for survivors?” Clem asked.

“I saw Garrett’s men doing that,” Erica said.

“Surprised we haven’t been hearing gunshots, then,” Yvonne said.

“They’re using their knives,” Erica said, “saves ammo.”

“That’s a little grizzly,” Yvonne said.

“This is war,” Erica said.

***

Saladin was sleeping on a couch in Daan’s lounge when he heard yelling in the hallway. He got up and checked his phone. It was early morning. He was headed towards the door when it burst open, Daan rushing in with an aid, who looked scared to death.

“They’re sure?” Daan asked.

“Yeah,” the aid said. “You want us to give the info to the press?”

“What are you, stupid?” Daan asked.

“What happened?” Saladin asked.

Daan stared at him angrily for a moment, then turned back to the aid. “That’s all. Let me know if anything else comes up.”

“Yes sir. Sorry sir.”

“Not your fault,” Daan said, trying to calm himself. The aid left, and closed the door behind him. “Dammit, I miss Gunter already. I shouldn’t have sent him.”

“Something bad happened,” Saladin said. “What?”

“Ivan played us,” Daan said, heading for the bar. He poured himself a stiff belt of bourbon and tossed it back. “Want some?”

“No thanks,” Saladin said. “You okay?”

Daan poured himself another and downed it, then turned back to Saladin. “Yeah, I’m okay. That son of a bitch rubbed his DNA all over everything.”

“Ivan’s not dead, is he?”

“Nope,” Daan said. “The DNA in the flesh on the body parts didn’t match the blood that was smeared on the outside and on the clothes.”

“I had a feeling,” Saladin said, sitting on one of the stools at the bar.

Daan took another stool and had a third drink. “Guess who the body parts belonged too?”

“Someone you know?”

“Those college professors from UC Santa Cruz,” he said. “That son of a bitch.”

“We’ll be lucky if this is the only bad thing that happens,” Saladin said.

“I know,” Daan said. “I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“Let’s think through this step by step,” Saladin said. “Where are you most vulnerable? Do you have any big plans going down?”

“We’re moving a bunch of high-ranking UN folks from SoCal up to Elk Grove.”

“Where’s Elk Grove?” Saladin asked.

“South of Sacramento,” Daan said. “They’re not supposed to be here for a couple days.”

“How are they getting here?”

“UN vans,” Daan said.

“Who’s at the Elk Grove base?”

“Just a handful of technical folks, getting it set up as a training center,” Daan said. “We took over about half of an Auto Mall that was abandoned a couple months ago. It’s got lots of space to stage vans and other vehicles from, and several large buildings.”

“Do you trust the people there?” Saladin asked.

“I don’t know them,” Daan said. “They’re low level. The facility will be run by the people who are in the south.”

“Hmmm. Doesn’t sound like a juicy target. What else?”

“Up north?” Daan asked. “Not much. We’re expecting an attack down south, but we’re dug in good.”

“Where?”

“Julian,” Daan said. “You should know that. A lot of those folks are yours. Why do you ask?”

“Just trying to brainstorm a little bit. Is that where the UN leadership folks are?”

“No,” Daan said. “They’re in Jamul. It’s way southwest of Julian. The officials came in via El Cajon a couple months ago, before we lost control of I-8.”

Saladin thought silently for a moment, watching Daan cap the bourbon and put it back on the shelf behind the bar.

“How well do you know Ivan?” Saladin asked.

“Not well at all,” Daan said. “I’ve met him, of course, in Belgium. Discussed business with him briefly. It wasn’t a cordial meeting.”

Saladin chuckled. “I can imagine.”

“He doesn’t think in a normal pattern, from what I’ve seen. Sometimes I think he does things as much for fun as anything else.”

“Fun?”

“Yeah, look at his videos,” Daan said. “I mean really. Fedora and pin-striped suit? It’s a costume.”

“He seems to take a certain glee at hitting us,” Saladin said. “Where does he get his funding? Maybe we can attack that.”

“He’s quite wealthy himself,” Daan said, “and he associates with others. Industrialist types, for the most part. Wealthy and untouchable, even by our group, for now.

“When are these high-ranking UN people leaving Southern California?”

“I’m not sure on the exact hour,” Daan said. “Sometime in the next two days. They weren’t sure. There were several people who hadn’t joined them last time I talked to the coordinator.”

“Interesting,” Saladin said. “Maybe you ought to check with them again.”

“That’s not a bad idea.” Daan walked to his phone and hit the button. The aid walked through the door after a moment.

“Yes sir,” he said.

“Get me Jonathan Geller, please, on the land line. Do you know his number?”

“I’ll check Gunter’s book,” the aid said. “It’s on his desk.”

He left the room.

“Jonathan Geller?” Saladin asked. “He’s English. I thought we lost most of those folks.”

Daan laughed. “Jonathan decided to stick with the EU after England bailed. He’s not the only one, either. Several of their intelligence officers and several high-ranking people from the House of Lords left Great Britain, remember?”

“I haven’t followed that for a while,” Saladin said. “Ever since they suspended my visa.”

The aid rushed back into the room. “Sorry sir, Jonathan Geller isn’t answering his phone.”

Saladin and Daan shot each other a glance.

“Try to get ahold of his associates,” Daan said. “You know who they are?”

“I’ll look at Gunter’s notes,” he said, leaving the room again.

“This isn’t good,” Saladin said.

“Don’t get worried yet,” Daan said. “Jonathan’s a player. He’s probably shacked up with some woman down there.”

“That should make me feel better? Remember your college professor.”

Daan snickered. “Boys will be boys.”

“We’re taking enough female prisoners,” Saladin said. “He should be using them instead of pursuing others. Too many things can go wrong if he’s out in the general population. They’re not under control. He might even run into an agent of the resistance.”

“He’s a professional,” Daan said. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”

The aid came back in again. “Sorry, sir, I’ve called the five people who Gunter had associated with Mr. Geller in his notes. None of them are answering.”

“Maybe they’re on their way north already,” Daan said, thinking out loud. He looked at the aid. “Try again a little later. It’s early yet.”

“Yes sir,” the aid said. He went back outside.

“They’re all dead,” Saladin said.

“No they’re not,” Daan said.

“We’ll see. Care to place a wager?”

Daan looked at him, his expression half amusement and half worry. “No, I don’t want to bet on this. Let’s give it some time before we go nuts, though. I’ll get us some breakfast.”

“Thank you,” Saladin said, watching Daan pick up the phone receiver.

To be continued…

 

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Bugout! California Part 123 – Big Tent

Tyler snuck down Vista Sage Lane, staying in the bushes. Kenny and Will followed him.

“Hope they don’t find the Jeep,” Kenny whispered.

“Don’t worry,” Tyler said. “It’s well hidden. Stay sharp. They’ve probably got sentries all over the place.”

“We should’ve brought our bows,” Will said.

“We don’t want to start anything,” Tyler said. “They’ll take off if we do. These are leadership folks. Not fighters.”

“They’ve got protection, though, right?” Will said. “We’ll run into fighters. Probably some of their best.”

“You can bet on that,” Kenny said.

“Quiet,” Ryan said. “There’s Colina Verde.”

“Dammit, there’s no cover,” Will said. “They’ve got the brush cleared by the road.”

“Geez, there’s houses on either side,” Kenny whispered.

“Stop,” Tyler said, eyeing both, wishing it was Ryan and Zac. “Look to the right. See that dirt road? We’re going that way, along these bushes. We’ll head in from the back of the Winery. Keep your wits about you.”

They took the dirt road, staying in the brush on the right side. They could hear music playing, and muffled voices.

“Sounds like a party,” Kenny whispered.

“Perfect,” Tyler said as they snuck along. “That house probably belongs to the owner of the winery.” They passed it. There were lights in two of the upstairs windows, but the rest of the house was dark.

“Look, there’s bushes between the house and the winery,” Will said. “We just have to make it past about thirty yards of bare ground. We can probably do that.”

“Now you’re thinking,” Tyler said, shooting him a glance. “I don’t think anybody’s hanging out in the back end of that house. Let’s go.”

They sprinted across the dirt road and through the back part of the houses yard. A dog barked. The hackles on Tyler’s back rose, near panic hitting him. Keep it together. They made it to the thick bushes and stopped, checking both directions.

“Where’s that dog?” Kenny whispered.

“In the house, I think,” Will replied. “Quiet. There’s somebody pushing a cart from the main winery building.”

They crept forward. “Circus tent,” Kenny whispered.

Tyler nodded as he looked at it. The waiter pushed the cart through an opening on the north side of it. “That’s a big shindig. You see all the wine on that cart?”

“Looked like deserts, too,” Kenny whispered. “Makes me hungry.”

Tyler shot him a glance and shook his head. They crept further, to the end of the cover. “Well, we either try to rush across that open ground to the next clump of cover, or we go back right now.”

“Stop,” Will nodded. A UN Peacekeeper walked by the outside of the tent on their side, cigarette hanging from his mouth, his assault weapon slung over his shoulder.

“We’ve seen enough,” Tyler said. “If they’re having desert, the party might not go on much longer.”

“That was a lot of wine,” Kenny said. “They’ll hang for a while.”

“Still,” Tyler said. “Let’s go now. We need to start the attack in an hour or less.”

They snuck back to where they came from, sprinting across the open ground next to the house, the dog barking again.

“Shut up, Fritz,” said a German-accented man from inside the house.

“Crap,” Will said under his breath as they made it to cover beside the dirt road.

“The battle wagons will have a hard time turning around once they’re in there,” Kenny said. “If we take them in, we’d better win.”

“I was thinking the same thing,” Tyler said. “C’mon, let’s haul ass.”

They rushed back to their Jeep and took off for the Williams place.

***

Tex and Karen sat outside their rig, watching through the windows of the Jeep show room.

“This really makes you nervous, doesn’t it?” Karen asked.

“I’m okay, little lady,” he said, shooting her a grin, taking in the vivid red hair laying around her shoulders. “You’re a vision.”

“Stop,” she said. “Well, maybe don’t stop completely.”

He chuckled. “You don’t have to worry about that.”

Ted walked over with Haley. “He’s gonna be here soon.”

“I know,” Tex said. “Hope he didn’t get followed.”

Haley smirked. “They’re still reporting on his death. It’s all over the news.”

“They’ll figure out it was a setup,” Ted said. “They probably know already.”

“They’ll keep reporting on it anyway, just for propaganda value,” Haley said. “We won’t know when they figure out what Ivan did.”

“Yeah, this media is even more corrupt than they were in the mid-teens,” Tex said. “And don’t forget the Russia connection.” He laughed.

Ted snickered. “Yeah, I remember that witch hunt. Didn’t work.”

“But the damn globalists took him out eventually,” Tex said. “He could’ve stopped what’s going on now, if he’d been there longer.”

“Everybody in the establishment was against him,” Ted said. “This mess we’re in now has been coming for a long time. He was too little, too late.”

“You think so?” Haley asked.

“In our society, the constitution should be paramount, but it’s not anymore. When it’s not, you must worry about who gets elected president, because you know if it’s the wrong person, your liberty and your property are in danger. The constitution is supposed to guarantee that no elected leader can reduce the rights of law-abiding citizens for any reason. Our system has morphed into a hybrid where the protections of the constitution are ignored or interpreted away.”

“I never paid much attention to politics,” Karen said. “Wish I would have. I made some bad choices, when I bothered to vote.”

“Don’t beat yourself up for that,” Tex said.

“But don’t forget about it, either,” Ted said. “Why did you make the choices you did?”

“Constant ridicule of the leaders my parents liked from entertainers,” Karen said. “So there was some rebellion, and some peer pressure too.”

“Don’t forget the news media,” Haley said.

“I never watched the news,” Karen said.

“A lot of it was free stuff,” Tex said.

“Not for me,” Karen said. “Guilt, maybe. I grew up without want of any kind. My parents owned a company. They were rolling in dough before the state finally ruined the business climate and choked them with stupid regulations. The last few years they barely survived, but we had investments.”

“That was the business that Gil worked at, right?” Haley asked.

“Oh, God, don’t bring him up, or I’ll start crying again,” Karen said.

“That was a bad loss,” Tex said. “He was a good man.”

“Tisha was strong, too,” Ted said. “I saw her in action. She was a natural.”

“My dad was so desperate for good help that he forced Gil to come back after he quit,” Karen said. “Used the government that he hated to do it, too. The state broke him.”

“If we win, what’s to stop our society from getting right back on the brink in a few short years?” Haley asked.

“We need to get involved,” Tex said. “No more sitting on the sidelines. No more moly-coddling stupid celebrities while they rail against our liberty and our free markets.”

“It’s the schools,” Ted said. “We can’t let them continue as they have.”

“We need to have free and open debate from both sides,” Karen said.

“True,” Ted said, “but the choices should always be between two different points of view that are inside our basic system. When one of the major factions decides it’s time to wipe away the system completely, we have a problem. I don’t know how you stop attempts at that in a free society, but unless we figure out some way to handle it, we’re going down this road again. The founders attempted to protect us from this problem with the Bill of Rights. It failed badly. Any politician who wants to break down those protections needs to be shunned.”

“Yeah, imagine if they would’ve been successful in shutting down the First and Second Amendments,” Tex said. “We’d all be slaves right now. At least we were left with a fighting chance.”

Jules and Sparky came out. “Oh, there you are,” Sparky said. “You get enough to eat?”

“Yeah, partner,” Tex said. “Mighty good, too.”

“Worried about exposure?” Jules asked.

“Just a tad,” Ted said.

Jules’s phone dinged. “Bet that Ivan.” He read the screen. “Yep, going into underground parking with crew. Come, we go meet. Stairwell next to room where food is.”

“Shouldn’t somebody be here to watch?” Karen asked.

“We just put motion detectors on the roof, pointing down in front of the showroom,” Sparky said. “Somebody shows up, we’ll know. Don’t worry.”

Tex and Ted looked at each other, then shrugged.

“I’ll stay here if you’d feel better,” Karen said.

“No way,” Tex said. “I’m not leaving you alone.”

She smiled at him. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

“We meet for few minutes, then you come back,” Jules said. “No problem.”

“Okay, partner,” Tex said, standing. He held out a hand to Karen. Ted and Haley got up too. They made their way back into the office area.

Ivan and his core team were coming out of the stairwell by the time Jules and the others made it back to the waiting lounge. The TVs were still going, media people basking in the relief that Ivan was dead, all of them beaming.

“Hey, boss, you dead,” Jules said as Ivan walked up. The two men embraced.

“Jules, my friend, how are you?” Ivan asked.

“Good as can be,” Jules said. “Come, eat.”

“Hey, it’s Ben Dover,” Tex said, smiling. “I’m Tex.”

“Hello,” he said, eyeing Tex and the others. “Heard a lot about you guys.”

Jules introduced Ivan and the others to the entire team, who had assembled in the lounge.

“Have some food,” Shelly said to Ivan as he walked towards her with Jules.

“In a moment,” Ivan said, looking her over. “Nice, Jules. Your milk maid is even more beautiful in person.

“Yes, is,” Jules said proudly.

“Thank you, I think,” Shelly said. “Have any new intelligence on the operation?”

Ivan looked at Jules and smiled. “Keep her. She’s all business.”

“Well, not all business,” Shelly said, face turning red.

Ivan chuckled. “I can imagine.”

“Don’t imagine too much, boss,” Jules said with a smile.

“Of course not, old friend,” Ivan said. “Here’s what we know. There’s an advance team going to the facility. They’ll be there tomorrow to set up a short-term replacement of the communications system you took down, and to ready the facility for the delegation of high-ranking officials coming in the next two days.”

“If there’s a big delegation coming, shouldn’t we wait till they get here?” Shelly asked.

Ivan smiled. “They’ll be dead within the next couple hours. The Dulzura team will see to that.”

“Ji-Ho,” Jules said, smiling.

“How important are the people we hit here, then?” Shelly asked.

“They are lackeys, but they’re bringing in entertainment. Human entertainment.

“This truly is a rescue mission, then,” Shelly said, eyes tearing up. “Are they over there right now?”

“No, they’ll arrive either later tonight or early tomorrow morning,” Ivan said. “Mr. Black and Mr. White will notify me when they get here.”

“We’ll have to set up cameras for TV appearance, no?”

“No, Jules, they’re already installed around the facility. We only have to uncover them.”

Jules smiled. “Figures. Everything set, but what happen with tanks at communications center?”

“I’m truly sorry about that,” Ivan said. “I had my people investigate. Those tanks had been there for more than a month. We didn’t start watching until last week. They were well hidden.”

“There’s nothing like that we need to worry about here?” Shelly asked.

“No,” Ivan said.

“How about Ji-Ho target?” Jules asked.

“We’ve done our best to check that out,” Ivan said. “We don’t think so, and we’ve been watching that facility closely since we got the tip about it.”

“Where’d you get the tip,” Shelly asked.

Jules shot her a worried glance. Ivan chuckled.

“No problem, old friend. Remember those professors we grabbed from UC Santa Cruz?”

“Yes, do,” Jules said.

“We found out from them. Took a little torture.”

“Torture?” Shelly asked.

“We’re in a war, Shelly,” Ivan said. “We do what we must.”

“Where are those professors now?” Shelly asked.

“Pieces of one of them are at the morgue in San Francisco, labeled with my name,” Ivan said with a sly grin.

Jules broke out laughing, loud enough that others in the room noticed.

“I figured you’d like that, Jules.”

Shelly wasn’t sure how to react. Ivan watched her for a moment.

“You disapprove?” he asked.

“Not really,” Shelly said. “Remember what they did to us. I hate them with a passion. That doesn’t mean that I’m not bothered by the tough things that are going on.”

“Good, you should be bothered by them,” Ivan said. “We’re fighting to give the country back to the citizens. We need to make sure that society settles into a place where these kinds of actions are unthinkable.”

“Here here,” Jules said. “You should eat.”

Ivan nodded. “Yes. Please excuse me.” He walked to the line, getting behind Ben Dover.

“He’s an interesting mix of personalities,” Shelly said. “With loads of charisma.”

“Yes,” Jules said.

“Is he going back to his underworld career after this?”

“He retired for several years,” Jules said quietly, “until this mess start up. I doubt he goes back, but predicting what Ivan will do is difficult.”

“You won’t get involved, though, I hope?”

Jules laughed, taking her into his arms. “I was done more than ten years ago. Rebelled against father, but grown up now. You can tell, no?”

“Yes, I can tell,” she said.

***

Seth woke from his nap. He checked out the window. It was dark. His phone alarm went off. Kaitlyn stirred next to him, rolling in his direction.

“Is it time already?” she asked.

“Yep,” Seth said as he sat up. “Nine thirty. We’ll be leaving soon.”

She got out of bed and pulled on a robe.

“Wish we had more time,” Seth said, watching her as he stood.

“We will later,” she said. “My blood is always up after these. You’ll get your reward.”

He smiled at her as he put on his pants. Kaitlyn got dressed quickly, then went into the salon and checked out the kitchen window.

“Lots of people already on the veranda,” she said. “We’d better hurry.”

“I’m ready,” Seth said. They left the coach, heading to the big house.

“Hey, man,” Angel said, arms locked with Megan as they joined them.

“Hey,” Seth said. “Get any sleep?”

“I did,” Megan said.

“Only a little,” Angel said. “Pre-battle jitters, plus I slept a lot of hours the previous night. You guys?”

“Slept like a baby,” Seth said.

“Me too,” Kaitlyn said.

“There’s Ji-Ho,” Angel said.

“We’ll have to listen from the lawn in front of the veranda,” Seth said.

“Hey, Ed’s on his feet again,” Kaitlyn said. “Good.”

“He’s not going into battle, I hope,” Megan said.

“Nah,” Angel said. “I’m sure he’s helped with the planning, though. Him and Tyler.”

“Everybody here?” Ji-Ho asked, speaking loudly so everybody could hear.

“Erica will be here in a sec,” Sam said. “She’s handing Mia off to Anna and the others.”

“I’m here,” Erica said, coming out of the front door. “Go ahead.”

“Wait for us,” Clem said, rushing towards the veranda with Sarah, Sid, and Yvonne.

“Okay, that good enough,” Ji-Ho said. “UN base on west side of Jamul, in abandoned winery.”

“Which one?” Erica asked.

“The one on Colina Verde Lane,” Ed said.

“The town only fifteen minutes away,” Ji-Ho said. “Have to drive past, make left from Highway 94 to Vista Sage Lane, then wind through small roads to site.”

“Twenty minutes to a half hour,” Sid said. “I’ve been to that winery before. They used to put out a nice spread. Hope all the people there didn’t get killed.”

“We don’t know what happened to them,” Garrett said. “I fear the worst.”

“Hopefully they just closed up and split when things got bad,” Clem said.

“How are we going in?” Sam asked.

“There’s only one road in and out,” Ed said. “The battle wagons and other vehicles will go that way. Vista Sage Lane to Colina Verde Lane. Both of those roads dead-end not far from the site.”

“I scouted it earlier,” Tyler said. “There were twelve UN vans in the parking lot. Lots of people around. We’ll need to be careful.”

“You guys go in there and make a good diversion on the road,” Garrett said. “I’ll bring a three-hundred-man cavalry in from the hills to the west. Most of them are already back there, hiding out. Sent them direct from Dodge City.”

“That big meeting still happening?” Trevor asked. “Should we wait until they arrive?”

“They’re already there,” Tyler said. “They’ve got a huge circus tent set up to the right of the driveway.”

“Circus tent?” Sid asked.

“You know, like they put up for big events,” Tyler said. “They were serving wine and deserts twenty minutes ago, so we’d better get moving.”

“Tell them about the access road,” Will said. Kenny nodded in agreement.

“It’s one way in, and it won’t be easy to turn around and flee if things go south,” Tyler said.

“So if we’re going in there, we’re totally committed,” Sam said. “You get a feel for the numbers they have there?”

“It’s hard to tell,” Tyler said. “There’s a lot of people inside that tent, but I doubt that many of those folks are combatants.”

“We saw UN Peacekeepers there, patrolling with assault rifles,” Will said.

“Yeah, they know they’ve got some vulnerability.”

“See any Gaz Tigrs?” Sam asked. “Or any other military weapons, like artillery pieces?”

“Nope,” Tyler said, “but there are a lot of out buildings at that facility. Could be some hiding out that weren’t visible.”

“My men have been looking around too,” Garrett said. “Nothing so far. No tracks, nobody maneuvering in anything like that.”

“You look a little nervous,” Sam said.

“Think this place will be safe with a hundred of my men here?” he asked.

“Why?” Ji-Ho asked.

“I’m tempted to take the other hundred there, as a second wave, just in case.”

“Will you get there before it’s over?” Seth asked.

“We can go as the crow flies,” he said.

“That won’t buy you much,” Sid said. “Highway 94 is almost like the crow flies.”

“He’s right,” one of Garett’s men said. “We’ve still got three hundred men at Dodge City. Break off a hundred from there. They’ll get there half an hour after we arrive.”

Garrett thought about it for a moment. “Okay, Chauncey, I see your point. If we do that, though, I want to send some of the folks here to Dodge City, just in case. It’s harder to protect than this place is.”

“Send the guys in the vehicles,” Chauncey said. “We’ve got seventy-five, give or take.”

“I like that idea,” Garrett said, taking his phone out of his pocket. He sent texts out. “Consider it done.”

“Okay, I say we get moving,” Tyler said. “Before they decide to retire for the night.”

“Yes, we should leave now,” Ji-Ho said.

The group dispersed to their vehicles.

“Well, here we go again,” Kaitlyn said. “You think we’ll get stuck? I won’t stay in this tin can if it looks too dicey.”

“We’ll have to play it by ear,” Seth said as he opened the door to the coach. Engines were starting all around the pasture in front of the house.

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 122 – Street Riot

Saladin and Daan Mertins were through with dinner, and almost through talking. A desert tray was brought in, with some coffee and brandy.

“You know how to live,” Saladin said, picking up a small piece of cheesecake on an ornate plate.

“I try my best,” Daan said. “We must always remain civilized.”

Saladin chuckled. “As we do un-civilized things.”

“It’s for the people’s own good. It’s for equality, and for the environment.”

Saladin laughed. “Keep telling yourself that, brother. It’s really for power, as far as I’m concerned.”

“I thought you’d say it was for your religion.”

Saladin shot him a wicked grin. “That’s a control mechanism. Works well.”

There was a knock on the door.

“Come in,” Daan said.

A UN official came in, looking nervous to see Saladin.

“What is it, Gunter?” Daan asked. He eyed the strong-looking young man, with his good posture and crew cut.

“We just got a tip on the whereabouts of Ivan the Butcher,” he said.

“Oh, really?” Daan said.

“I’m skeptical,” Saladin said.

“Where?” Daan asked.

“He’s in an office building in the financial district,” Gunter said.

“Which city?” Daan asked.

“San Francisco.”

Saladin laughed hard. “He’s right under your nose, in a city that you control?”

“I thought you were skeptical,” Daan said, glancing at him. He looked at Gunter. “Your people are on the way, correct?”

“We wanted to clear it with you first. That’s a densely populated area, and we have a lot of associates nearby. If we get into a shooting battle, there will be some collateral damage.”

“Do your best to be careful, but take him out,” Daan said.

“You don’t want us to capture him?”

Saladin laughed.

“No, I want you to kill him, but don’t mangle his face. We can use the pictures for propaganda.”

“Yes sir,” Gunter said. He turned and left the room, shutting the door behind him.

“Do you believe this?” Saladin asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe. Ivan would love to stick it to us like that. He’s got a history of being right under his enemy’s noses.”

“Maybe,” Saladin said. “You want to go over there?”

“Nope,” Daan said, picking out a desert. “There’s no benefit in that, and he might have the whole damn block rigged to blow.”

“Good point,” Saladin said. “Too bad he’s not on our side.”

“We tried that, early on,” Daan said. “When we were trying to set up new smuggling routes between Eastern Europe and Russia.”

“He wouldn’t play ball?”

“He’s a libertarian,” Daan said. “It’s like a religion to him. Any state who tries to exercise even reasonable control over the population is his enemy. I knew it wouldn’t work, but some of my associates had to see that for themselves.”

“Strange for a Russian,” Saladin said.

Daan laughed. “He’s not Russian. He’s an American. He grew up in Southern California.”

“No, really?” Saladin asked.

“Really. He’s wanted here, of course.”

“He’s wanted everywhere, as far as I can tell,” Saladin said. “I know the feeling.”

Daan snickered. “Yeah, this is true. I can’t go to New York state anymore, as you know.”

“That will change when we’ve consolidated control.”

“Hopefully,” Daan said. “There won’t be any public announcement of that, of course. Even though we’re going to increase government control over the individual, we need to make the people think they’re still free.”

“That’s not going to work,” Saladin said. “You’ll have to make examples of people. You’ll need concentration camps.”

“I know that,” Daan said. “We’ve already been working out plans.”

“How many people are you expecting to put into these camps?”

“Rough estimate?” Daan asked. “About twenty-five million people.”

“That’s a lot of people. How long will they be in these camps?”

Daan gave him a deadpan look.

Saladin chuckled. “Maybe I’m underestimating you. Yes, you’ll have to kill at least that many. Probably more. There are a lot of people in this country who won’t go quietly into a more structured society.”

***

Gunter was nervous, sitting in the back of a UN van, first in a caravan of twenty vehicles. He was wearing full riot gear, and it made him sweat.

“One block away, sir,” the driver said in a French accent. “Where do you want me to park?”

“Right in the middle of the street,” Gunter said. “Set up a perimeter. I want the whole block closed.”

“Well, at least it’s not a busy time,” the driver said. He looked at the man in the passenger seat. “Send the message.”

The man nodded as the van slowed.

“Get ready,” Gunter said to the five men sitting with him in full riot gear. They checked their weapons as the van stopped.

“There you go, sir,” the driver said. Gunter nodded, and opened the door, stepping outside. He looked east on Merchant Street, his heart going into his throat for a moment as he saw the Transamerica building right across the intersection.

“Dammit,” Gunter said.

“What’s wrong, chief?” asked the second man out the door, a large blonde with a Finnish accent.

“Oh, nothing, Aku,” Gunter said. “Just that we’re right next to the most famous building on the whole damn peninsula, that’s all. If Ivan wants to make a big show, this is the place to do it.”

“What about the Golden Gate Bridge?” Aku asked.

Gunter laughed. “No place for a secret base there.”

The rest of the UN Peacekeepers were out of the first van. The vans behind were opening their side doors, men flooding out. Gunter motioned for them to meet him in front of the building, as other UN Peacekeepers set up barricades on both ends of the block.

“The tip is that he’s got the top four floors of that building there,” Gunter said, pointing. “We’ve got a lot of associates in this area, so be careful. We don’t want to kill friendlies. Understand?”

“We get it, sir,” one of the men said in a Spanish accent. “Let’s go get that bastard.”

Gunter nodded, and they rushed across the street, going through the heavy glass doors into the lobby of the building. There was a guard behind a massive desk, eyeing them. He was a black man in his early 50s, built like a linebacker.

“Can I help you?” he asked calmly.

“We need access to the top four floors of this building,” Gunter said. “We have a tip that there’s a wanted fugitive up there.”

“Oh, really,” the guard said. “Then send the real police over here.”

“We are in control,” Gunter said, feeling a sweat breaking out on his forehead, the helmet heavy on his head.

“I’ll take that under advisement,” the Guard said. “Go get the SFPD and we’ll talk. Oh, and you’ll need a warrant, of course.”

“That fugitive will get away if we wait for that,” Gunter said.

“Why are you messing with this guy?” Aku asked. He pointed his weapon at the guard. “Let us in now.”

“No,” the guard said. “Go ahead and shoot me. I’ve got my job to do.”

The sound of police sirens approached, just in earshot.

“That’s going to warn him,” Aku said to Gunter.

“Where’s he gonna go?” Gunter asked. “We have the street blocked off.”

“Listen to your boss,” the guard said.

“Shut up,” Aku said, pointing the rifle at him again.

“That’s not nice,” the guard said, eyeing the angry Peacekeeper as a father would eye a misbehaving child.

“The police are out front,” one of the other Peacekeepers said.

“I’ll go talk to them,” Gunter said. He headed towards the door when the SFPD officers rushed in, wearing riot gear and holding assault weapons.

“Who’s in charge here?” asked a Hispanic officer.

“I am,” Gunter said.

“Why have you started an operation of this size without notification? You are required to clear any such activities with the SFPD. I’m Captain Valencia.”

“We don’t have to notify your department in cases like this,” Gunter said.

“What?” Valencia asked. “Guess I didn’t get that memo.”

“Your entire force received those instructions, so back off right now, Captain.”

“I think I’ll ignore that request,” Valencia said. “Until you tell me exactly what you’re doing here. I’ll relay that to the Chief and we’ll see.”

Gunter shook his head, and motioned for him to move to the corner of the lobby. When they were away from the main group, he got close and whispered. “Ivan the Butcher is on one of the top four floors of this building. We got a tip from a reliable source.”

Captain Valencia laughed. “So, the most wanted man in California has been holed up right in the middle of the San Francisco financial district?”

“As improbable as that sounds, that’s what we’ve been told.”

Valencia shook his head as he walked away, hitting the button on his lapel microphone. He had a quiet conversation, then walked back over. “Okay, the chief is okay with you going in, but if there’s gunplay and somebody gets hurt, you’ll have to answer for that.”

“I can’t shoot anybody during an assault on a known fugitive?”

“Oh, if they start shooting at you, by all means defend yourself, but if you catch this person or any of his associates and can take them alive, you’d better do exactly that. Comprende? There will be no executions here, and we’re going up with you.”

Gunter sighed. “All right, I understand. Will you get us access? The guard is asking for a warrant.”

“I’ll talk to him,” Valencia said. He walked to the guard’s counter and had a hushed conversation with him. Gunter watched as the guard shook his head yes. Valencia came back over.

“Well?” Gunter asked.”

“He’ll allow us to go up,” Valencia said, “but he’s going to notify his superiors, and we’d better not break things up there.”

“We’ll try hard not to,” Gunter said.

“I know, because my men are going with you,” Valencia said.

“Is that really necessary?” Gunter asked.

“Yep,” Valencia said. “I’ve gotten too many reports of you goofs hurting people and going beyond what’s allowed per our Constitution. That’s not going on in my district. Sorry.”

Gunter stared at the man for a moment, trying to cow him, but seeing no breakdown at all. He nodded yes, and started for the elevators.

“Wrong way,” Valencia said. “Stairs. Over to the right. I’ll show you.”

Gunter shrugged, then followed him, motioning to the other Peacekeepers.

They went past the guard’s desk and headed into the stairwell, climbing up twelve floors, all of them winded by the time they reached the bottom of the four floors Ivan was supposed to be on.

Gunter called forward a couple of his men, and they came to the door, guns drawn, ready to enter. They burst through it, expecting to see a multitude of people. There was nobody there. The door opened onto a storage room holding a bunch of audio and visual equipment. The UN Peacekeepers fanned out, looking in all directions. Valencia’s men stayed by the stairwell and watched.

“This is a trap, Captain,” one of the SFPD officers said.

“Makes me wonder, O’Malley,” Valencia said. “I think we’ll just let them search.

“What if it’s booby-trapped?”

Valencia snickered. “What, do you think we should go down a few floors?”

“Yeah,” O’Malley said. “I don’t want to get killed helping these bastards.”

Valencia laughed. “Tell me what you really think.”

“Nobody here,” Gunter said, getting back to the stairwell door. He opened it, getting up the next flight and bursting through the door again. Valencia stayed behind with his men.

“Listen,” Aku whispered as they walked into the hallway. “Hear it? Conversation coming out of that air vent up there.”

“I hear it,” Gunter said. “Check this floor out quickly, but be quiet about it.”

Aku nodded and led the men down the hall, opening each door slowly and looking inside. They were back in a few seconds.

“Storage again,” Aku said. “Next floor?”

“Yeah,” Gunter said, looking nervous.

“What happened to the SFPD?”

“Guess they thought this wasn’t interesting,” Gunter said. “Good, that gives us a free hand. I thought I was going to have to kill all of them.”

Aku snickered, and they went back into the stairwell, heading up the next flight. The sound of people was louder by the door. They burst through, all the men rushing into the hallway. There were double doors, which opened into a reception room with an empty desk. The conversation was coming through the single door to the back.

“By the numbers,” Gunter whispered. “This is it.”

They snuck towards the door, Aku by the handle, Gunter behind him with his assault rifle pointed at the door. Aku ripped open the door, and there was a huge explosion, filling the room with smoke and debris, the men closest to the door killed instantly. Two men closest to the stairwell door survived, crawling on the floor, going through the door. Valencia and his men rushed up the stairs, guns drawn.

“Where’s the rest of them?” O’Malley asked one of the survivors.

“All over the room,” he said, fainting, the bloody gash on his abdomen showing.

“Hans!” said the other man, bleeding heavily from his upper arm.

Valencia got on his radio. “Booby trap. Most of the UN team bought it. I’ve got two survivors up here. Send the med unit.”

“Knew it,” O’Malley said.

Valencia shot him a glance, putting his finger to his lips.

***

The last of the battle wagons pulled into the big auto dealership showroom, parking next to the window. The door opened, Ted climbing out, Haley, Brianna, and Stacey following.

“Not exactly out of sight here,” he said.

“Don’t worry, this isn’t visible from any part of the road,” Tex said, walking over to them.

“And we control rest of the facilities, including the new UN base,” Jules said. “Just got a text from Ivan. He said to turn on the news.”

“There’s a TV in the service waiting lounge, right back here,” Allison said. She led people back there. Stacey found the remote and switched it on.

“Holy crap, what’s going on there?” Morgan asked. The screen showed a high-rise with the top floors billowing smoke through broken windows, the Transamerica building in the background.

“Did our side do that?” Robbie asked.

The newsreader came on.

“This is the scene of an attempt to capture Ivan the Butcher in the San Francisco financial district tonight. Investigators are at the scene now, trying to piece together what happened as the fire department works the remaining flames.”

He’s not dead, is he?” Brianna asked.

Jules chuckled. “No, I just get text from him. He on way here. Left boobytrap.”

“We’ve just been told that the floor where the explosion happened was the scene of a large meeting. There were voices heard from the stairwell. Body parts litter the floor at this grisly scene. No word on the condition or whereabouts of Ivan the Butcher or his team. UN Peacekeepers ran this operation. All but two of them were killed by the explosion. SFPD was also on scene, but were on a lower floor at the time of the incident.”

“This is a riot,” Justin said.

“No it’s not,” Katie said. “People got killed.”

Bad guys got killed,” Justin said.

“It’s just been reported that remnants of Ivan the Butcher’s signature fedora and pinstriped suit have been found at the scene, covered in blood and tissue. The coroner has rushed these items to the lab to test for Ivan the Butcher’s DNA. It is on file after an arrest in Brussels several years ago.”

“Now it get funny,” Jules said.

“Why?” Shelly asked.

“Ivan had blood drawn, smear over clothes and hat,” Jules said.

Tex laughed hard. “That son of a bitch.”

“Wonder how long they’ll run the story that he’s dead?” Ted asked.

“Not long, he do TV appearance from our target building tomorrow,” Jules said. “Ladies, if you still want to testify, that will be chance.”

“I do,” Morgan said.

“Me too,” Allison said.

Several of the other women nodded in agreement.

“Hopefully we can actually pull off a rescue this time,” Ted said. “We need to be very careful tomorrow.”

“Planned to T,” Jules said. “Mr. White and Mr. Black are already there, holding initial team hostage with families there. They make sure no escape, and do best to protect women.”

“Look at the trained monkey,” Justin said, pointing to the screen.

“That’s the Lieutenant Governor,” Ted said. “That’s not the State Capitol building, though. At least it’s not the usual place where they do press conferences.”

“We bring you to Acting Governor Lance Kreski,” the announcer said.

“Fellow citizens,” Kreski said. “We have all watched this horrible incident unfold tonight. I want to assure you that we will investigate this fully. The loss of life was horrendous. An unknown number of criminals working with Ivan the Butcher were killed, along with seventeen of our UN Peacekeepers, who have come here at great sacrifice to get us through this difficult time.”

“Look at him,” Ted said. “His eyes are watering and darting around, and he’s as thin as a rail. He’s been under house arrest.”

“He has,” Jules said. “All California state elected officials held at Folsom Prison. Mr. White and Mr. Black will lead team to spring them after this job.”

“We sure all of them are worth springing?” Ted asked. “This jackass played right into the hands of the martial law and UN occupation.”

“Look at that guy,” Allison said. “He’s scared to death.”

“Wish he’d shut his pie hole,” Cody said. “Not interested.”

“He’s done,” Ted said. “Something’s happening. Look at the grin on that newsreader’s face.”

“Just in,” the newsreader said. “The coroner has announced that we do have a match of blood type and DNA to Ivan the Butcher, found on the fedora and clothes. Ivan the Butcher’s reign of terror has ended.”

Jules practically fell on the floor laughing, Tex and Ted joining in, then Robbie and others.

“This rich,” Jules said. “Wait till tomorrow. We make monkey of press and officials, no?”

“Hey, guys, social media is going nuts,” Robbie said, looking at his phone.

“Really?” Tex asked. “What are you seeing, partner?”

“Calls to riot in the streets,” Robbie said. “Ivan’s got a whole lot more fans up here than I thought.

“Look, on the screen,” Shelly said, watching a flood of civilians rushing into the street by the smoking building, pushing the news people out of the way as the SFPD and UN Peacekeepers tried to hold them back.

“It be long night for enemy,” Jules said. “Wait till we nail them tomorrow.”

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 121 – Blood Samples

Garrett and his men rode through the gate at the Williams place and trotted towards the big lawn in front of the house. He dismounted, turning to see Anna coming towards him in a flat-out run. She leapt into his arms, kissing him hard, her arms around his waist.

“I was so scared when I heard,” she said. “You’re not wounded?”

“No, but I lost my hat,” he said. “Got shot right off my head.”

“I can’t believe we lost Zac and Bradley.”

“I know, neither can I,” he said, walking his horse to a hitching post. He tied the reins onto it, and followed Anna onto the veranda. Ji-Ho was sitting there with Sid, Clem, and Sam.

“How many get away?” Ji-Ho asked.

“We never saw the whole force,” Garrett said, sitting down next to Anna on the porch swing. “We killed quite a few, but I had a bad feeling. When are we gonna hit their base? Might be good to hit it sooner rather than later.”

“We talking about now,” Ji-Ho said. “Jamul next target. Too far for Julian forces to stop us.”

“How many UN Peacekeepers in the Jamul location?”

“Two hundred,” Ji-Ho said, “but most consist of brass, there for training and strategy development.”

“If we hit them, it’s like cutting the head off the snake,” Clem said.

“How many more are gonna show up?” Garrett asked.

“Less than expect,” Ji-Ho said. “Intelligence say large group of UN Peacekeepers going to Bay Area, not south.”

“I see movement of Islamists,” Sam said. “Coming south on I-5, mostly.”

“They change strategy,” Ji-Ho said. “Use UN north, Islamist here to re-open I-8. Otherwise they starve for fighters.”

“That intelligence or a guess?” Sid asked.

Ji-Ho chuckled. “Guess, but educated one. Tidbits of info from Ivan help put pieces together.”

“I think he’s right,” Sam said. “We need to nail those UN leadership folks in Jamul before they move north to shore up the UN Peacekeepers on the way to the northern base.”

“They not leave yet,” Ji-Ho said. “Ivan make big mess up north. Take out communications installation. They back to cell phones, and Ivan can hack.”

“You think the enemy is going to wait to move them north until they replace their installation?” Sid asked.

“Good chance,” Ji-Ho said.

“Maybe we need to go hit that base today,” Garrett said.

“Don’t you need to rest up a little?” Anna asked.

“We do when dark,” Ji-Ho said. “Take nap now. We meet again at seven. Work for everyone?”

There were nods of agreement around the veranda.

Garrett stood. “That’s our cue.”

“Don’t waste time going back home,” Anna said. “I’ve got a room upstairs.”

“I was hoping you’d suggest that.”

“I’ll take you up there, and then leave you,” Anna said. “I’ve got things to do.”

“Like what?” Garrett asked as he stood.

“I’m going to introduce Mia to the other women, and help her get comfortable,” Anna said, shooting a glance at Sam. “That way Sam and Erica can still fight when needed.”

“Thank you,” Sam said.

“Okay, I’ll see you in a few hours,” Garrett said. He followed Anna into the house and up the stairs.

“It’s this room,” Anna said. “Feel free.”

“Thanks,” he said, pulling her into his arms. “I had you on my mind the whole time I was gone.”

“Later,” she said, backing away. “Sleep.”

He nodded, watching her leave the room, shutting the door behind herself. He stripped and climbed into her bed, asleep within minutes.

***

Ivan sat behind his desk as the camera shut down. He looked over at Ben Dover and chuckled.

“We have them on the run,” he said.

“Hope so,” Ben said. “What’s next?”

“For TV? The women.”

“They’re really going through with that?” Ben asked. “Do they even need to now?”

“There are still forces in the media trying to combat the truth,” Ivan said. “Hard to argue against the testimony of living victims.”

“They’ll just say it’s phony,” Ben said.

“Of course they will, but the people aren’t going to buy it,” he said. “It’s one more thing. Drip drip drip.”

“Where we gonna do that?” Ben asked.

“Elk Grove, just south of Sacramento,” Ivan said. “We’ve tracked one of the bases that had women captives to that city.”

“We’re gonna try a rescue again?” Ben asked.

“Yes, and hopefully it’ll be successful this time. We can go in there without having to do a large frontal assault. The situation is like what we had at the Torrance Civic Center.”

“Mr. Black told me about that,” Ben said. “Sounded like it was a pretty hairy operation.”

“It was, but we had the element of surprise,” Ivan said. “We also had a talented team.”

“You’re not going to tell me details, are you?”

“It’s on a need-to-know basis,” Ivan said. “You don’t need to know. Jules doesn’t even know the whole plan. Right now he just knows to move up I-5. I’ll be sending instructions for the location in a few minutes.”

Ben sat silently for a moment. “We aren’t doing the broadcast from the new base, are we?”

“That’s more than I’m going to say right now,” Ivan said.

“Shit, it’s going to be from the rescue scene,” Ben said.

“I told you I wasn’t going to talk yet. You’ll be told when it’s time. Trust me. It’s better this way for everybody involved.”

Ivan’s phone rang. “I’ve got to take this,” he said. “Pack your stuff. You’re leaving with the others in ten minutes.”

Ben nodded and got up, heading for the door. He turned for a moment as the phone rang. “Be careful, boss.”

Ivan nodded, then put the phone to his ear and accepted the call, watching Ben leave the room before he spoke. “Mr. Black?”

“Yes, boss. Everything in place. We have head of infrastructure captive, and brought his family here. Mr. White with them. He play ball. We set up video equipment now. Hiding will be easy.”

“Excellent,” Ivan said. “Will the location work for an easy escape?”

“Yes, once we finish. Piece of cake. Where we go afterwards?”

“You and Mr. White are going to Folsom. I’ve got a job there for you.”

“Okay, whatever you want, boss,” Mr. Black said. “You can send team here now. We ready.”

“The rest of the buildings are empty, correct?”

“Yes, boss, they vacant for while. Lots of room to hide. Out of sight.”

“Good,” Ivan said.

“Any big fish coming?” Mr. Black asked.

“Not here, but we release big fish in Folsom afterwards.”

“Okay, I wait. Be careful. Don’t get caught.”

“I won’t,” Ivan said. “Talk to you soon. Call me if anything unexpected happens.”

“Yes sir.” The call ended, and Ivan put the phone in his pocket, then picked up the phone receiver on the land line. “I’m ready. Hurry. I need to be out of here in ten minutes.”

He hung up the phone, then stood behind his desk, taking his fedora off, then stripping out of his pin-striped suit. There was a knock on the door.

“Come,” Ivan said. He watched as two women in white lab coats came in, pushing a stainless-steel cart. The top held a blood-drawing kit. The shelf underneath had a cardboard box on it, bent and soggy, a mangled hand sticking out of the top, just touching the top shelf.

“Ready, sir?” asked the brunette in a Russian accent.

“Yep,” he said, sitting back down in his chair. The woman picked up the blood drawing equipment and walked over to him. The other woman, a slim blonde, wrestled the box off the cart and put it on the floor, then shoved the empty cart through the door into the hallway. She laid two arms and a leg on the desk, then watched as the brunette tied a piece of surgical tubing around Ivan’s upper arm and cleaned around the veins on his inner elbow.

“Small pinch,” she said, slipping the needle in, then filling several vials. The blonde picked the first one up and used a small stick to transfer blood onto the open parts of the arms and leg, making sure she got good coverage around ripped veins and arteries. Three more vials were filled. The nurse bandaged Ivan’s elbow, and he got out of the chair, grabbing one of the vials and pouring his blood onto the inside of the fedora and the suit.

“Spit on the upper part of the suit jacket,” the brunette said, “and drool on the desk. Get it nice and wet.”

“Sounds like good instructions for later,” Ivan said, shooting her a wicked grin.

“Behave self,” the blonde said as she finished with the arms and leg.

“Won’t they wonder where the torso and head went?” Ivan asked. “And the other leg, for that matter.”

“No problem, we set up blast so most would be liquified,” the brunette said. “They’d eventually figure out.”

“They see you live before they finish forensics,” the blonde said. “Why bother?”

“They’ll go live on their propaganda outlets about my death,” Ivan said. “They won’t be able to help themselves. We’ll make monkeys out of all of them.”

The blonde shook her head, smirking at him and the other woman. There was a knock on the door.

“That must be the demolition team,” Ivan said. “You about done, ladies?”

“Da,” the brunette said. “Don’t get killed. We see in new location.”

“Yes,” Ivan said. The brunette opened the door, and several men rushed in, wearing surgical outfits, complete with masks and booties. One of them tossed a small gym bag on the couch across from the desk. Ivan went to it, pulling out clothes and putting them on. Blue jeans and a white t-shirt. He watched as the explosives were placed around the room and underneath his desk. One of the men was working a trigger mechanism, and he put it on the door, moving it open and closed to ensure that it was working correctly.

“I’m ready to leave,” Ivan said. “How long before I can send out the tip?”

“Give us ten minutes after you leave,” one of the men said, his voice partially muffled behind the mask.

“Make it fifteen,” said another of the men. “We still have to get in the car and split.”

“Got it.” Ivan smiled at them, then rushed out the door, joining others who were cueing up at the elevator. He rode it down with the next group, landing in the underground parking structure. Ben saw him walk up and snickered.

“Wow, you look like a frigging middle-class family man in that getup,” Ben said.

“Good,” Ivan said. “Ready?”

“This van is waiting for us,” he said. The two men got in, and the van took off, climbing out of the parking structure, making a right turn onto the busy San Francisco street.

“Which way we going?” Ben asked.

“We’re taking I-80 across the bridge, then all the way to Sacramento. We’ll go through the city to the south side.”

They settled in for the ride.

***

Jules was driving the battle wagon, Sparky in the passenger seat, Dana and Shelly on the couch behind them. Their phones all dinged.

“Somebody check,” Jules said. “I driving.”

Sparky pulled the phone out of his pocket and looked. “Elk Grove Auto Mall,” he said. “Southeast section. Dodge Chrysler Jeep underground structure and Subaru underground structure.”

Jules grinned ear to ear. “Good.”

“Aren’t people going to notice us there?” Dana asked.

“Right off freeway,” Jules said. “Deserted.”

“This freeway?” Sparky asked.

“No, Highway 99,” Jules said. “We cross over on Highway 12. It’s  late at night. We sneak in.”

“This sounds kinda risky,” Shelly said.

“How are we gonna get these damn things into an underground parking lot?” Sparky asked.

“Trust me, we fit,” Jules said.

“How do you know?” Sparky asked.

“Ivan planned,” he said.

“Ivan planned the communications center hit,” Sparky said. “We had tanks waiting for us.”

“This I know,” Jules said. “He working to find out what happen there, but if we stop trusting because of one mistake, game over.”

“Somebody died,” Dana said.

“I know,” Jules said. “Sorry, but war is war. Changes happen on ground. Most Ivan setups work well, though, no?”

“I get your point,” Sparky said. “Can’t blame us for wondering a little bit, though.”

“Right,” Jules said. “Can’t blame.”

“If we’re going to take Highway 12, better get ready,” Shelly said. “It’s coming up in three miles.”

“Thank you,” Jules said. He glanced over at Sparky, who was looking at his phone. “Problem?”

“Highway 12 isn’t a freeway, you know. It’s got stop lights, especially when we get close to Highway 99.”

“We spaced out,” Jules said. “Should be fine. It’s dark, too.”

“No hits on the apps,” Shelly said.

“That doesn’t help us with the UN,” Sparky said.

“True,” Jules said, “so keep eyes peeled, be ready to fight if we need.”

“I texted the others,” Shelly said.

“Good, thanks,” Jules said. he took the off-ramp, settling onto Highway 12, which ran through a rural area with wineries and lots of farmland.

“It’s peaceful,” Sparky said. “I’ll give you that.”

“There’s the residential area,” Dana said. “What town is this?”

“Lodi,” Shelly said.

“Nice little town,” Jules said. “Nobody on street.”

“Wonder if they’ve moved a lot of the people out of here?” Sparky asked. “To urbanize the population.”

Jules snickered. “They still trying, but people mad now. Helps us. Lots of vacant places to hide.”

“Except we stick out like a sore thumb,” Dana said.

“Look, freeway ahead,” Sparky said. “We make it. Highway 99 be fine.”

“Make a left under the freeway,” Shelly said. “The onramp is real close.”

Jules nodded, rolling through the intersection and turning left. The ramp was before them, and he drove up it. “There, see, we made it, no?”

“So far,” Sparky said. “Wonder if everybody else is okay?”

“No messages so far, and everybody responded to the text I sent them about Highway 12,” Shelly said. “I think we’ll be okay.”

“I hope so,” Dana said. Sparky got out of the passenger seat and went to sit with her.

“Take the passenger seat,” he said to Shelly.

She got up and sat there, looking over at Jules. “You’re so confident, even when the rest of us are scared.”

“This a must for commander,” Jules said. “You know this.”

“Yes, I know this,” she said. “I’d trust you with my life. I’m not as sure about Ivan, but if you think he’s trustworthy, I’ll go along.”

“He is,” Jules said, “but he can’t control all.”

“I know,” Shelly said. “Wish this had a bench seat. I’d cuddle next to you.”

He glanced at her, smiling. “I know, me too. We be there soon. Not long way.”

The coach cruised quietly on the road, engine barely audible in the front half of the coach, through miles of farm land.

“It looks like the farms are being run,” Shelly said.

“Must,” Jules said. “California farms important. That’s why freeway not shut down. Truck traffic has to continue, or society fall apart, no good for us or enemy.”

“Who’s running the state? That Lieutenant Governor?”

“Kreski,” Jules said. He looked at her and grinned. “Blow hard is face of government, but not run. Daan run.”

“How?” Shelly asked. “Why don’t the elected officials rebel?”

Jules chuckled. “Some like what they do, push for it before. Green living, everybody in their cubbyholes by work, no private cars. They think they in charge with UN as helper.”

“Not all of them are that stupid.”

“True,” Jules said. “Some in on it. Many profit. State legislators get rich. Until we stop fun.”

“What will happen to them if we win?” Shelly asked.

“When we win,” Jules corrected. “Always have positive thoughts.”

“Okay, when we win,” she said. “Are we gonna line them up against the wall or something?”

“Some, maybe. Most do jail time.”

“Are you going to stay here? After the war’s over?” Shelly watched him as he looked at her, then back at the road.

“We talk already. I be where you happy. Can run family business from where ever.”

“Are you still sure you want me after this?”

“Yes, sure. You?”

“Yes,” she said. “It’s all I think about when we’re not in the middle of craziness.”

“Rough times coming, but get better fast. You see.”

“Think we’ll survive?” Shelly asked.

“Yes,” Jules said. “I think, and you think that too, even if hard.”

“Look, we’re on the outskirts of Elk Grove.”

“Told you short drive,” Jules said. “Check apps, then find me off-ramp by Auto Mall, but must enter from southeast. Probably enemy target area in north part of complex.”

“Do you know this place?” Shelly asked as she looked at her phone.

“Looked, considered buying in with Volvo dealership,” Jules said. “Huge facility. Linked utilities, shared gasoline and other supplies.”

“Why didn’t you go for it?”

“Fees too high,” Jules said. “Rather be on own, like in Culver City.”

“That isn’t a real business, though, is it?”

“Not at first. Money laundering at first, and smuggling. Now just tax write-off, mainly. All legit. Sell big.”

“How many dealerships do you have?”

“Six,” Jules said.

“Wow. How much money do you have, anyway?”

“Enough to buy private jet if want,” he said. “I try to live normal life.”

“Good,” Shelly said. “We’ve got a problem, if you want to avoid the north side of the mall.”

“No good off-ramp before?”

“Worse than that. No way to cross road except for on Elk Grove Blvd. We’ll have to get on that and come back south.”

“Text Ivan, let him know we might be visible from north part of mall,” Jules said.

She typed the text and sent it. Her phone dinged about five seconds later. “He says don’t worry about it.”

“Good, then he already has trap location under control,” Jules said.

“Get off on East Stockton and make a left. Follow it around and make a left on Elk Grove, then go over the freeway and make a left on Auto Center Drive. Then left on Laguna Grove. That will wind around to the dealership you were talking about.”

“Watch, remind if I miss one. Lot to remember.”

“You got it, Jules.”

“We almost there?” Sparky asked.

“Yep,” Jules said. He took the off-ramp and followed Shelly’s instructions, only needing to be reminded on one of the roads.

“There,” Shelly said, pointing. “To the left, See it? Big Jeep sign.”

“Yes, I see,” he said, making the turn onto the lot. He approached the service bay, and Mr. Black appeared, guiding him to the massive showroom instead of the underground lot.

“Guess we not going in garage after all,” Jules said. He rolled the coach onto the linoleum floor of the showroom, pulling forward as directed by Mr. White, who was inside.

“Those guys are scary looking,” Shelly whispered.

“They worse than they look,” Jules said, “but they on our side. You know this…they help during your rescue.” He shut down the engine. Mr. White gave a thumbs up, and walked away.

“This is kinda exposed, isn’t it?” Sparky asked.

“We won’t be here for long, and we can crash out any of these windows if we need.”

Jules went to the door of the coach and opened it, stepping down to greet Mr. White.

“When next coming, my friend?” Mr. White asked.

Shelly climbed out, looking at her text messages. “Next one in about two minutes. It’s Tex’s coach.”

“Good,” Mr. White said. “Food in conference room down hall. Enjoy. I spread word.”

“Thank you,” Shelly said.

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