Bugout! California Part 173 – Lemon Grove

Jesse drove the pickup truck from Spring Street to Broadway.

Erik was watching the drone feed on Jesse’s phone. “We’re gonna run into a UN roadblock just after we go under the interchange between Highway 94 and Highway 125.”

“Road block? You’re kidding.”

“They might not know how many are with us. They’re not going to stop over two hundred heavily armed vehicles. They’ve got two UN Vans parked diagonal in the road, on Broadway right before Grove Street. There are a bunch more vans west on Lemon Grove Way, but some of the cop cars are heading in that direction.”

“Make sure the rest of the group knows what we’re running into,” Jesse said. “We’re almost there.”

Erik stared at his phone. “Hey, there’s a huge block and brick outlet just before Lemon Grove Way, with plenty of room to park our vehicles. I’ll tell everybody to make a left into that parking lot, then we’ll take out that roadblock and kill as many of these creeps as we can.”

Jesse smiled. “Good, go for it.”

They drove under the interchange. “There it is. See it?”

“Yeah, Erik, I see it,” Jesse said as he made the turn, the other vehicles pulling in too, finding places to park amid the stalls set up for different types of bricks and blocks. “This is perfect, but we need to watch ourselves. Not all of these UN creeps are stupid.”

“Roger that,” Erik said. “The cops are heading in that direction from the other side. I’m seeing about thirty cruisers.”

“Hope they’re better armed than normal.”

“You and me both,” Erik said, passing the phone back to Jesse. They got out of the truck, the men in the bed jumping out, joining the multitude who were getting out and checking their weapons.

“All right, men, let’s look sharp. The UN isn’t stupid enough to have two vans blocking this road all by themselves. Watch for snipers in the buildings. Stay under cover as best you can. Consider this just like Mosul, understand?”

“Yeah, we get it,” somebody shouted from the group.

“Let’s go,” Erik said. The men left, some staying on the north side of Broadway, others crossing over to the south side, all getting away from the road, working their way through parking lot brush and behind buildings, hauling their weapons and mortars.

Jesse and Erik stayed together, moving on the north side of Broadway, crossing Lemon Grove Way, heading behind a gas station and into the parking lot of a Senior Apartment complex, half of their five hundred men behind and around them, scattered about, making themselves a difficult target. A hoarse, loud whisper got Jesse’s attention. He pointed his MP5 in that direction, and a police officer in uniform poked his head out of the brush, motioning him over.

“Cop,” Jesse whispered. “C’mon, let’s go talk to him.”

Erik nodded, turning to the others to point at the officer, giving them the signal to hold under cover for a moment. He and Jesse rushed over.

“Hello, officer,” Jesse said.

“Officer Roberts,” he said. “The UN creeps are all over the place, starting just past Columbus Place. We’ve been sneaking people into the church right past it. About thirty officers.”

“What are they packing?” Erik asked.

“M4s, shotguns, and their side arms.”

“That’s not so good,” Jesse said.

“They’re full auto M4s,” Officer Roberts said.

“Oh, that’s good, then,” Erik said.

“What are you guys packing? That’s an MP5, right? Only 9mm.”

“We’ve got a bunch of stuff. Lot of M249s, M60s, and some mortars too. Also some RPGs.”

“Holy crap, where’d you get that?” the officer asked.

“Ivan,” Jesse whispered.

The officer’s face turned white. “How big is this gonna be?”

“Sizable, but we’ve got five hundred men in this first wave, all ex-military. There’s a few thousand heavily armed Teamsters on the way in semi-trucks too, plus Ivan’s sending a bunch of his people from Dulzura.”

“Wow,” the officer said.

“I think we ought to bring the mortars up here and ruin their hiding places,” Erik said.

Jesse nodded, pulling his phone and sending a text. “You know which buildings to start with?”

“There’s a small auto repair center just past Columbus, and a small shopping center across the street. We were planning to assault the auto repair center. We’ve got other officers to the south. Be great to have some help.”

The mortar teams rushed forward in a crouch. A large Hispanic man rushed over to Jesse. “Where you thinking, Chief?”

“Hey, Luis,” Jesse said. “There are shopping centers just past Columbus Place, on both sides of Broadway. Nail both of those areas.”

“You got it,” he said, rushing back to the mortar team. They moved into covered positions past the Senior Apartment building, behind a Pest Control business, a few of them sneaking across Broadway to set up in a hair salon parking lot. Shots rang out.

“They’ve seen us,” Erik said. “Nothing they can do, though. Let’s return some fire to keep them from being pro-active.”

Jesse nodded, and the men fanned out in the bushes, opening fire at the Auto Care Center with M249s and M60s.

“That’ll get their attention,” Officer Roberts said, joining in with his M4.

After a few moments, there was a pop, a mortar round landing in the parking lot of the Auto Care Center, blowing out most of the windows in the buildings surrounding the parking lot. Then another round dropped into the strip mall across Broadway, hitting the building closest to the street, blowing glass all over. UN Peacekeepers streamed out, running for better cover. A hail of lead met them, dropping most, a few making it behind something good enough to shoot from. Then another several mortar rounds dropped on their positions, destroying two of the buildings at the Auto Care Center and blasting a restaurant in the strip mall.

“They’re running back towards their roadblock,” Jesse said, moving out with his MP5 and spraying lead down the street at the fleeing men.

“Here,” Erik said, shoving an M60 at Jesse. “Use something with a little more firepower. That damn 9mm toy ain’t gonna cut it.”

“Okay, okay,” Jesse said, setting down the MP5 and picking up the M60, checking the belt, then aiming at a group of UN Peacekeepers trying to run to the next set of buildings, cutting down about half of them. More of the team were in good positions now, firing at the Peacekeepers who were fleeing the barrage of mortar rounds falling into their hiding places.

“They’re going into the next structures,” Jesse shouted. “Send some mortar fire there. Get those creeps into the open!”

“Read my mind, Chief,” Luis said, turning to his team, pointing forward. They picked up and moved closer, setting up again as the rest of the team rushed forward, clearing the enemy who were left in the first position and firing on the UN vans blocking the road at the end of the block. The police officers flooded out of the Church grounds, heading into forward positions with guns blazing.

“Maybe we ought to take out those vans with mortars,” Erik said.

Jesse shook his head. “I’d rather hit the buildings first. Those vans were only there to provide a stoppage, so the UN could fire on anybody trying to get past them. Their men are in the buildings. Hell, those vans might be rigged to blow. You know how these cretins are. They’re as bad as the Islamists.”

“Crap, didn’t think about that,” Erik said. “Look, the UN Peacekeepers behind the roadblock just fled north on Grove.”

“Let them go. We need to clear this area. I’m gonna send a text for nobody to get near those vans.”

Jesse did that, as Erik drew a bead on some UN Peacekeepers trying to sneak around the front of the car wash, just past the Auto Care Center. The area blew up with a mortar round before he could get a shot off. “Whoa. See the secondary explosions? We hit some of their ammo or something.”

“That explosion was too big for ammo. They’ve probably got mortars they haven’t used yet. Let’s keep on them.”

“Hey, Chief, saw your text about the vans,” Luis said. “Tell everybody to get down. I’m blowing those things. The enemy might be able to detonate them remotely, and they could have enough explosive in them to take out people who aren’t that close.”

“All right, go ahead,” Jesse said, sending a text for everybody to take cover. Luis adjusted his mortar and fired, short about twenty yards.

“Look, the enemy troops are running away,” Erik said, raising his M249 and cutting down as many as he could. “Luis is right, there’s something in those vans.”

Luis dropped another round, which was within about ten yards this time. “Dammit. Third time will be the charm.” He made the adjustment and fired another round, which hit the van on the right, blowing up huge, setting off the other van and a gas station on the south side of Broadway, debris and fire filling the air.

“Take cover!” Jesse yelled at the top of his lungs as burning pieces came down around them.

“I think I just hit the jackpot!” Luis shouted.

“Yeah, I think so,” Erik said, laughing as the fire spread, more UN Peacekeepers trying to flee from nearby buildings, getting cut down by the multitude of machine guns brought in by the group.

“The enemy is moving further north,” Jesse said, watching his phone. “We need to make sure there’s forces over there.”

“They can get home that way,” Officer Roberts said. “We need to stop them.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll get the Teamsters to block that off,” Erik said. “Maybe we should tell Ivan’s folks from Dulzura too.”

“There’s a larger group still heading south,” Jesse said. “We need the Dulzura group for that. Last I heard they were just getting to Highway 125 from Lake Otay Road.”

“Oh, didn’t know they were still that far south,” Erik said. “We moving?”

“Yeah, let’s chase them,” Jesse said. “Sax’s crew is gonna be on Riviera Drive in about five minutes.”

“Riviera Drive?” Erik asked.

Officer Roberts chuckled. “Grove turns into Rivera Drive. Those cretins are in trouble. Let’s go stop up their retreat route.”

“Let’s get to the vehicles, everybody!” Jesse shouted as he sent out the text.


Ted was behind the wheel of his battle wagon, Bryan in the passenger seat watching his phone. Brianna and Haley were in the back, ready to go with the M60s.

“Real mess in Lemon Grove,” Bryan said.

“For us?” Ted asked.

“No, for the UN. They just got forced to retreat.”

“Which way?”

Bryan moved the phone closer to his face. “North on Grove. All those Teamsters are heading in that direction from the north. This ought to be interesting.”

Their phones all dinged with a broadcast text.

“What?” Ted asked, not trying to pull his phone out.

“Big group of UN Peacekeepers massing at a Country Club along Bonita road,” Haley said.

“Dammit,” Bryan said. “We should’ve stayed on Otay Lakes Road. It would’ve taken us right there. Get off on EH Street and go west.”

“To where?” Ted asked.

“It’ll take us right back to Otay Lakes Road, honey,” Haley said. “I’m texting the others.”

“Good,” Ted said. “I see it coming up already. It was the next off-ramp.”

“How many UN creeps are there?” Brianna asked.

“Hard to tell,” Bryan said. “We should put the Blue Tooth headsets back on. We’re about to be in the thick of it.”

“Yeah,” Ted said, putting his back on. “Anybody on.”

“Read you loud and clear, partner,” Tex said. “Never bothered to take mine off. Got an extra if the battery gets low.”

“Good, Ted, you back,” Jules said. “Satellite view just come in. UN Peacekeepers in Lemon Grove cut off from main group, trying to flee north. Rest of slugs heading to the country club. Chula Vista. Recruits in cars beat you there. I tell to hold off, but they’ll get seen, so kick into high gear. They need firepower of battle wagons.”

“Everybody remember the weaknesses of these rigs,” Trevor said.

“Yes, remember,” Ji-Ho said. “Don’t get caught up. Leave coach and fight on ground if you get stuck.”

“You aren’t with us, are you Uncle?” Kaylee asked.

“No, at Dodge City. Traded for second generation rig that was powering mine computers.”

“Oh, you’re Edison today, huh?” Trevor quipped.

Ji-Ho laughed. “Summer rates apply.”

“Hey, everybody, it’s Ivan. We won in Mexico. The last group of Islamists are fleeing to the south. Our guys are chasing them, and they won’t get away. They’re on foot.”

“Good news,” Jules said.

“So, the regular army never had to leave the Mexico City area?” Sam asked.

“Nope,” Ivan said.

“Sounds like we’re getting to the last part of the California war,” Justin said.

“No, there’s still a lot of UN Peacekeepers at the base in El Cajon,” Ivan said. “We aren’t safe until we root them out and kill or capture them.”

“I vote for kill, partner,” Tex said.

Robbie chuckled. “Yeah, me too.”

“Do we know what the size of the force at the country club is?” Ted asked, sounding more serious than the rest.

“Couple thousand, assuming they not pick up more sleepers from southern region,” Jules said, “Take seriously. This dangerous mission.”

“Thank you,” Ted said. “I’m about to turn right from EH Street to Otay Lakes Road. Everybody keep their eyes open. One person from each coach keep an eye on the drone feed. All of us need to watch carefully. If you see something, say something, even if it looks like a minor threat. Everybody got that?”

“Good advice,” Ivan said.

“Yes, agree,” Ji-Ho said. “Damage enemy, but live to fight another day. This not over.”

Haley took off her headset. “Why do they keep saying that?”

Ted pushed the button to turn off his headset. “Because there’s several thousand of them and about one thousand of us, and we’ve seen the weaknesses of these battle wagons. We’re also too far away from Garrett’s cavalry. We’ve got a whole bunch of recruits, but we haven’t fought with most of them before. Stay sharp. Don’t take chances. If somebody is aiming something big at us and you can’t take them out, we need to get out of this thing in a hurry. Got it?”

Bryan nodded. “Put your headsets back on.”

“Uh oh,” Haley asked.

“Nothing happened, but Ivan and Jules want everybody on,” Bryan said.

“I’m back,” Ted said into his headset.

“Good,” Jules said. “You still in the lead, correct?”

“We’re the first battle wagon. Lots of citizen recruits are in front of us.”

“Listen,” Haley said. “Gunfire.”

“The citizens are engaging the enemy already,” Seth said. “I can see them in the drone video. They’re taking tremendous fire.”

“As we expected,” Ben said. “How far out are the battle wagons?”

“We’re hearing the gunfire in our rig,” Ted said. “Several blocks.”

“Yeah, partner, we hear it now too,” Tex said. “The enemy is gonna expect us to go right down this road now. Some of us should split off.”

“Yes, he right,” Ji-Ho said.

“Hey,” Kaitlyn said, “the enemy isn’t firing on the citizens from the country club, they’re on the roofs of those stores, in the shopping center at Otay Lakes Road and Bonita Road. Be careful. Get behind it and lob grenades if you can.”

“They’re also on the roofs at the smaller shopping center on the east side of Otay Lakes Road,” Seth said.

“Oh yeah, see them too,” Kaitlyn said.

“Guide us in,” Ted said. “We’re almost there.”

“Okay, most of you turn left on Allen School Lane,” Kaitlyn said. Follow it around. It’ll put you on a hill behind the big shopping center, with several escape routes.”

“After you’ve laid down fire there, we could put a couple battle wagons across the street and to the north on Songbird Lane,” Ben said. “It’s on a hill with a perfect view of the smaller shopping center, but there’s no back way out. I wouldn’t put more than one or two there.”

“Yes, I see,” Ji-Ho said. “Be careful on east side of Otay Lakes Road. Good spot to shoot from, but death trap.”

“I just made the turn onto Allen School Lane,” Ted said. “Bryan, go man one of the M60s and get Haley up here to man the front and rear machine guns.”

“Okay, boss,” Bryan said, getting up, Haley taking his place, pulling the targeting tray out in front of her.

“The road turns to the right,” Kaitlyn said. “Looks like a different road, but it’s got the same name. Turn there, and when that stretch starts to curve, pull up into the driveway. There’s a large dirt area. Looks like a house with a huge piece of land around it.”

“Got it,” Ted said, making the right turn in the massive coach. “Kinda small back here. Residential streets. Lousy road surface too.”

The front of the coach was pelted with machine gun fire.

“There’s people on that land we were gonna use,” Haley shouted, aiming the front machine guns and firing, mowing down several UN Peacekeepers, the rest running for the line of trees behind the shopping center. Ted pulled onto the dirt, making way for more battle wagons, raising the weapons and going into siege mode.

“Watch the sides with those M60s,” Haley said.

“There’s Tex, pulling next to us,” Ted said, waiting for the grenade launcher to lock into place. When it did, he pulled the targeting sight in front of him and fired a salvo of grenades, hitting the tops of the closest buildings, blowing up three machine gun nests, the UN Peacekeepers on the nearby roofs scrambling towards the trap doors and ladders, just as Tex opened up with his mini gun.

Justine and Katie drove past them, getting on the far side of the property and going into siege mode.

“We’re going to the second location,” Trevor said. “If we have to leave the coach, we can do a lot of damage when we’re outside.”

“Be careful,” Ji-Ho said.

“Don’t worry, Uncle, we know what we’re doing,” Kaylee said.

“We’re going there too,” Cody said. “Allison and I are both pretty good on the ground. We’ll park so if either of us get hit, the other can still back out.”

“Good,” Jules said.

“In place,” Trevor said. “Activating siege mode. We’re getting hit by a lot of machine gun fire.”

“Don’t get stuck there,” Ji-Ho shouted.

“Weapons up,” Trevor said, noise from the mini gun sounding. “We just swept the creeps who were shooting us off the roof.”

“Look, there’s a bunch of them running up the road,” Kaylee said. “Going at them with the forward machine guns.” She fired.

“I’m in place,” Cody said. “Perfect view. I can see both shopping centers. Taking out the crew on the grocery store now.” The M19 grenade launcher chugged away, sending one grenade after another onto the roof.

“Whoa, honey, caved in that whole side of the roof.”

“Watch out, look at those fighters coming at us!” Cody shouted. The front machine guns fired.

“Don’t stay there too long,” Ted shouted as he continued to fire at the shopping center roofs.

“Look at those guys rushing Justin and Katie’s rig over there.”

A mini gun fired up.

“Never mind, Tex nailed them good,” Haley said.

Suddenly the ground near Justin and Katie’s rig exploded.

“Uh oh, they’ve got mortars going,” Tex said. “I think I know where they are. Firing grenades.” Another mortar round exploded, closer to Justin and Katie’s rig as they fought back with the mini gun and grenade launcher.

“Justin, move back, man,” Tex shouted as he fired several grenades towards the source of the mortar fire.

To be continued…


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