Katie looked at Justin in their battle wagon, her eyes wide as the second mortar round fell, closer this time. “Maybe we’d better take Tex’s advice and backup.”
“On it,” Justin said, “but we’ll have to go out of siege mode.”
“I know, I know,” she said, firing the front machine guns, mowing down a group of Peacekeepers rushing towards them. “Better do it anyway. Keep the weapons up. We should have more people in the rig with us.”
“Look, their mortar got moved into a place I can see!” He aimed the grenade launcher and fired several grenades, hitting the mortar, blowing it apart, the ammo exploding big.
“Nice shooting,” Tex said.
“Moving back now,” Justin said, flipping the siege mode switch, the metal plates in front of the tires and windshield moving out of the way. He backed up as soon as he could, as machinegun fire hit the bare windshield, bouncing off but leaving marks.
“Hurry!” shouted Katie. “Look at that big gun they’re bringing up!”
“Shoot them!” Justin shouted has he hit the gas, the big coach lurching backwards.
Katie’s eyes were on the targeting system tray, firing, killing the Peacekeepers who were manning a tripod-mounted weapon, killing them all, another group taking their place.
“That’s far enough, go back into siege mode!” Tex shouted.
“Yeah,” Justin said, stopping the coach and flipping the switch again, the wheel armor and front windshield plates moving into place.
“Dammit, they’re gonna fire before the front shield is in place,” Katie said, trying frantically to hit them as the metal sheet slowly crept upwards. Then a round hit an exposed part of the windshield, shattering the glass, shards hitting Katie in the face. She dived out of the seat screaming.
“Katie!” shouted Justin.
“Stay on your guns, dammit, or they’ll take you,” Tex shouted. “We’ll try to move.”
“Don’t come out of siege mode, Tex,” Jules shouted.
“Yeah, don’t,” Justin said. He looked at Katie for a moment. She crawled to the back of his seat and touched his leg.
“Stay in the fight, or we’re both dead. I’m not gonna die from this, but there’s too much blood in my eyes to see.”
Justin pulled himself together and fired up the mini gun, sweeping the area near the big gun, killing the Peacekeepers there, then switching to the grenade launcher to blow their gun apart.
“Bullseye!” shouted Robbie. “Great shot!”
“This why I want more than two in coach,” Ji-Ho said. “Look for chance to back away, Justin, and leave area.”
“We will,” Justin said. “Shit, they’ve got another gun like that.” He fired the mini gun, nailing the people carrying it. “When I have to reload, nobody will be manning the guns.”
“Screw this,” Tex said. “I’m moving.”
“Keep together, my friend,” Jules shouted. “Be smart.”
“Ted and Bryan, get back in your coach!” Ivan shouted.
“They know what they’re doing,” Haley said. “They’ve got the mortar out, and there’s cover. Bryan’s going to Justin’s coach as soon as the mortar is set up.”
“Yeah,” Ted said. “Robbie, spot for me. You can see where the bad guys are, right? Between us and that row of trees behind the shopping center.”
“I’m on it,” Robbie said. “Go for it, boss.”
“Dammit, Ted,” Jules said. “Don’t get killed.”
“I’m not planning on that.”
“They’re working out of a semi-truck pulled up in the loading dock of the big store,” Robbie said. “Second building on the west side of that shopping center. You can probably see the roof line.”
“Roger that,” Ted said. “We’re set up. I’ll use high-explosive first, then switch to willie peter. After that’s gone off, Bryan will get over to Justin’s coach. You hear that, Justin?”
“Yes sir,” Justin said. “Be careful.”
“We’re coming, brother,” Bryan quipped.
There was a pop, the mortar round coming down about twenty yards short of the semi-truck.
“Close,” Robbie said. “Move it out about twenty yards.”
“Thanks, kid,” Ted said, adjusting the mortar. He let another round fly, and it hit the semi-trailer, blowing up big, secondary explosions going off a moment later, sending debris in all directions as Peacekeepers tried to flee the area. Ted dropped in a willie peter round, fire consuming the area behind the store.
“Nice one,” Tex said.
Bryan got up and ran towards Justin’s rig, rushing in the open door.
“How’s Katie?” he asked.
“Don’t mind me, get on the guns,” she said. “I’ll be fine.”
Justin got back on the main sight, scanning the area. “I think we burned up the enemy.”
“Yeah, not seeing anybody out there,” Robbie said. “Now’s your chance. Come out of siege mode and get the hell out of there now!”
Ted fired several more rounds of willie peter as Justin took the coach out of siege mode, pieces of broken windshield bouncing into the cockpit.
“Where should I go?” Justin asked. “This isn’t roadworthy for the freeway anymore. Surface streets will work.”
“Park and get into different coach,” Ji-Ho said. “Join Ted and Karen. They alone in coach. Bryan, get back in Ted’s coach.”
“Park it on Loma Paseo,” Robbie said. “Can Katie walk?”
“I can,” Katie said. “I’m going in the back to wash out my eyes.”
“Don’t rub them,” Jules said. “Might do more damage, no?”
“I know, thanks,” Katie said.
Sax drove his big rig south on Spring Street, Kevin, a buff man of thirty-four, was sitting in the passenger seat with an M60 leaned up next to him.
“What’s the name of that street, again?” Sax asked.
“You want to be on Riviera, but it’s not called that for a couple of blocks,” Keven said, looking at his phone. “I’ll let you know when to turn. The street will probably be called Gateside Road.”
“Yeah, it’s screwy on the map. To the left of Spring it’s called Palm Avenue. To the right it’s called Gateside for about two blocks, then it splits. Gateside becomes a residential street. Riviera is bigger. Most of the battle may be over by the time we get there, though. Jesse and his buds creamed them good, and there were hundreds of cops from all over San Diego County joining in.”
Sax’s phone rang. He put it on speaker and set it on the center console. “Yeah, Jesse, what’s up? You guys didn’t get all the fun, did you?”
Jesse laughed. “We nailed them good, and now they’re trying to flee north back to their hideout. Guess which road they’re taking?”
“Riviera,” Jesse said.
Kevin laughed. “Oh, we do get some fun after all.”
“There’s a lot of them, all in vans, and heavily armed too. What’s your 20?”
“We’re on Spring, getting close to Riviera.”
“We just passed Fresno Street,” Kevin said.
“How many trucks you end up with?” Jesse asked.
Sax laughed. “Probably overkill. Nine-hundred. We’ve got almost two thousand men, all armed with Ivan’s new toys. M60s, M4s, and the like. Mortars too. Don’t have as many men experienced with this stuff as you guys have, though. You really kick their ass like Kevin is saying?”
“Oh, yeah, it was beautiful. Spoiled their fun big time. Here’s my suggestion. Use about a third of the trucks to bottle up Riviera on that stretch where they can’t get around it. Just past Payson Road. Make sure they can’t get to Highway 94. You’re gonna have to basically make a fence out of all those semi-trucks. Think you can do that?”
“Hey, dude, that’s doable,” Kevin said, looking at his phone. “We need to park the rigs past Quarry Road, to keep the enemy from seeing them before it’s too late. The road curves pretty good right after Quarry.”
“Hell, they might not even think we’re a danger if they see us,” Sax said. “We’ll park the rigs along Highway 94 first, and move about ten semis onto the road at the last minute. What about the rest of the rigs?”
“Have them continue on Spring Street past Highway 94,” Jesse said. “Make a right on Broadway, and come on down to block their escape back to the south. Start with Broadway and Grove, and get all the side streets north of there blocked, up to Highway 94. That’ll give us a great kill-zone.”
“We need to get this set up fast, man,” Kevin said. “They’re gonna be here soon. There’s your turn. I’ll send a broadcast text with the instructions. First three hundred rigs makes the left here at Riviera. The rest to Broadway, right?”
“Yeah, that’s it,” Jesse said. “We’re on the way there too. Happy hunting.” He ended the call.
Kevin sent the text telling the drivers what to do. Several rigs behind them tooted their horns as Sax took the turn.
Sax laughed as he looked at the shoulders along Riviera. “This is perfect. Glad they don’t got Jeeps. Lot of that sand off to the side is too soft for their vans. You know we’ll have to get a bunch of our rigs pulled out of this after it’s over, right?”
Kevin looked at it, nodding in agreement, then checking the belt on his M60. “We’re gonna have to get out of the rigs and fight. You ready for that shit?”
“I was born ready.”
Kevin laughed, shaking his head. “Well I’m scared shitless, but I’m doing it. I’d start pulling off about here. Park along 94.
Sax nodded, getting off, the others behind him getting off on either side, parking close enough that no vehicles could get between them. They had a good wall on both sides in a few minutes.
“Who should we ask to block the street when it’s time?” Kevin asked.
“Juan, Stuckey, Chevy, Frankie, and the rest of their local,” Sax said. “Just get with Juan and he’ll know who to bring in.”
Kevin sent the text, his phone dinging with a return text after a moment. “He’s got it. Let’s find a good position to shoot from.”
Trevor and Kaylee watched the small shopping center on the east side of Lake Otay Road burning. They hadn’t seen any Peacekeepers flee for a while.
“I think we wasted them all,” he said.
“That leaves the thousands inside the country club,” Kaylee said. “We should get away from here now that we can. It’s too tight to maneuver.”
“Yes, get out and re-group,” Ji-Ho said over the blue tooth.
“Do not go into country club until ground troops arrive,” Jules said. “Too many to assault.”
“How many do you think are there?” Tex asked.
“Thousands, based on how many vans are in the parking lot,” Seth said. “Might want to rain grenades down on their vehicles.”
“No,” Ivan said. “Wait until they try to escape, then nail them. I suggest moving your rigs to a place that is somewhat protected but in grenade range of the parking lot and clubhouse building.”
“We’re taking our time, aren’t we?” Ted asked. “What’s going on?”
“There’s an operation at Dana Point,” Ivan said. “That’s all I’ll say now.”
Tex snickered. “Gonna shut off the flow before they signal a massive retreat from everywhere.”
Ivan just chuckled.
“There aren’t any covered places to fire from,” Robbie said. “I’m looking at the satellite pictures and the drone feed. Our best bet is to lay low until we’re ready, then just cruise onto Bonita Road and let them have it.”
“Might want to notify some of the police involved that we’ll need to block up Bonita,” Ted said. “Maybe from Willow street all the way to the intersection with Central Avenue. If we can disable their vehicles while that’s blocked off, that’ll put them on foot with no place to go.”
“What the hell were they thinking?” Haley asked. “I don’t see what they thought they could accomplish by this operation.”
“They plan attack on San Diego,” Jules said. “Look at map.”
“I am looking at the map,” Haley said. “I don’t see it.”
“Jules is correct,” Ivan said. “They planned to come into National City, blow the I-5 bridge and the others along the channel to the south of that city. Then they stop up I-805.”
“There’s no way they could pull that off,” Ted said.
“Oh, I don’t know, partner,” Tex said. “It’s the perfect time, since a whole lot of the Marines who where guarding that area are in Mexico at the moment.”
“Yes, Marines and a whole lot of their hardware. Tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, L-ATVs, and so on,” Ivan said. “It won’t work. There are a lot more troops left there than they think, and they’ve already forgotten about how many citizens there are there.”
“They not forget, boss,” Jules said. “They don’t know we got okay to recruit them.”
“Yes, you’re right,” Ivan said. “Our sources say there are fishing boats massing in Ensenada. Some are already on the way north. Boats like those we found running Peacekeepers into Dana Point Harbor.”
Trevor laughed. “Wait, what about the US Navy? They’re still in San Diego, right?”
“Yes, but all the enemy has to do is beach all these boats and unload men,” Ivan said. “Meanwhile all of these Peacekeepers are creating a diversion in National City while they arrive, and if they’re successful in blowing the bridge on I-5 and stopping up I-805, there goes our conduit to the border.”
“They won’t pull that off,” Ted said.
“They not know that,” Jules said. “Yet.”
“Who’s running the operation at Dana Point?” Katie asked.
“Ah, Katie back,” Jules said. “Eyes okay?”
“Yep, I’m okay,” Katie said.
“Good. Sam, Mr. White, and Mr. Black run operation in Dana Point Harbor. Small commando team.”
“What’s that gonna leave at the UN base in El Cajon?” Justin asked.
“Depends,” Ivan said.
“Oh what, partner?” Tex asked.
“They might empty the place out to help save this operation,” Ivan said. “That’s what we’re hoping, and that’s why we’re trying to turn off the faucet in Dana Point Harbor sooner rather than later.”
Ted chuckled. “This was the enemy’s Hail Mary.”
Sam was driving his Jeep on Highway 78, heading for I-5. Erica sat in the passenger seat, guns filling the back. Sid’s Jeep was behind them, Yvonne by his side, Tyler in the back seat.
“Think we’ll run into problems getting on I-5?” Erica asked.
“I doubt it,” Sam replied. “Mr. White and Mr. Black went that way, following the UN slugs from El Cajon.”
“Well, if those two creep-looking characters could make it, we should be fine, then.”
“You haven’t seen them in person, have you?”
“No, only on the conference call,” she said. “Think we have enough people?”
“I’m more worried that there won’t be a boat coming in tomorrow. Seems like throwing good money after bad. They’ll know they lost by then.”
“You that sure we’re gonna win down there?” Erica asked.
“Oh, yeah, we’ll win. I hope we don’t lose anybody.”
“We could check.”
Sam was silent for a moment. “No, I don’t want to know. I want to focus on this mission. It’s critical.”
“Ivan didn’t make it sound critical.”
“And yet he sent us,” Sam said. “I understand what he’s doing. They want to stop the small boats getting ready to converge on the San Diego beaches from Ensenada. If they know we’re onto them, they’ll turn south.”
We could just use Navy fighters to take them out, couldn’t we?”
Sam shook his head. “Too many boats that are too small. Probably not easy to get replacement munitions for those jets right now. They need to reserve that kind of hardware for bigger targets.”
Sam’s phone rang. He put it on speaker.
“Hey, guys, hear anything?” Yvonne asked.
Erica chuckled. “Sam says he doesn’t want to know yet.”
“He’s leading this operation,” Sid said. “That takes a clear head. Don’t worry about it. We could always call somebody else.”
“Oh, it’s okay,” Yvonne said. “Just feeling a little isolated from the group, that’s all.”
“I-5 is coming up pretty soon,” Sid said.
Sam nodded. “Fifteen miles.”
“Good. We’ll get off and leave you guys alone for now.”
“Talk to you later,” Erica said. The call ended. “Hope you didn’t just scare the crap out of them.”
“They were just bored,” Sam said. “Sid understands. He’s a natural warrior.”
“I’d say Yvonne is as well,” Erica said.
“True. One of the best snipers I’ve ever worked with.”
Where are we meeting Mr. White and Mr. Black?”
“At the Boneyard.”
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”
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